Scott talks with Kristie Whites from Serving Social on how entrepreneurs and business owners can expand their marketing reach.
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Marketing Monday With Kristie Whites
We are so excited to have you today, extremely excited to have our special guest on here today who is an amazing friend and an amazing business and entrepreneur. I am honored to have you this morning, Ms. Kristie Whites, our rock star from Serving Social.
Thank you for having me. I’m very excited about that. Of course anything, you text me, you say we want to be here, sure. It’s fun, it’s exciting, you’ll learn something.
That’s what we try to do, we like to try to add value to things. We’re excited for the podcast and everything like that. For those who don’t know you, because we’ve known each other for a couple of years now. We’ve been really good friends, four years now actually. The minute we met it was like boom, peas and carrots. The same mentality, same mindset. For those who don’t know who you are, tell them who you are or what you do, Kristie, and we’ll go from there.
Right now, I’m giving the podcast from my RV. I’m a full-time RV-er and a full-time entrepreneur on the road. My business is called Serving Social. We’ve had it for four years. We help people make marketing simple. It really is as simple as that. Marketing shouldn’t be difficult. It’s just some people don’t know where to start. You can’t read the label when you’re inside the bottle even for ourselves. We have our own marketing consultations, especially with you, Scott. I actually sit down, scratching my head going, “I don’t know what to do here.” Scott’s like, “Why don’t you do this?” He’s a marketer. My husband, he’s my partner in crime in everything. He helps run the tech side of things while I help run the strategy side of things. It’s rather exciting to take it nomadic and get to meet with people all over the country.
I totally love what you’re doing with that because I spent three and a half years traveling basically sold everything in Austin. Traveling in the United States going from city to city working with note investors and you guys are doing the same thing but with entrepreneurs and working with cities. That’s so exciting. It took you six to eight months of planning beforehand, if I remember correctly?
From selling the house all the way to us getting the RV, it was about a full year. We had a big house, we had established ourselves and our family there. You have that big of a house and not much crap. It was a bunch of crap. We had rooms full of stuff that we didn’t even visit because we were working our business. It didn’t make sense on multiple different levels to keep having it. The thing I do miss about it is my backyard but I’m sitting on an alpaca farm right now. I have a whole field of wonderful wild life and animals.
How long have you guys been traveling now with the traveling entrepreneurs?
We moved into the RV in January and we officially started traveling around April or May. We wanted to wait until the weather was nice. We wanted to make sure we planned everything appropriately. We wanted to get used to the fact that we were now in an RV. I will tell you, as a tall person, I ran in things a lot. I’ve already bumped my head three times this morning. It’s just part of it. You just got to get used to your surroundings and your space. I think the most nerve-racking part, and I have a video of this which I’ll be releasing on our Entrepreneurs Roadshow page, but it’s me holding my seatbelt like this, my eyes are so big because it’s the first time we were carrying the RV down road. You’re going 75 miles an hour on the highway and you have 13,000 pounds behind you and it’s raining. If somebody cuts you off, you’re like, “Please stop. Please stop. Please stop.” Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Never cut off an RV, people.
Let’s talk a little bit about some of the things that you’re doing. You’re going out traveling across the country, you were in Nashville a few weeks ago, you’re up outside of Dallas now. What are some of the things that you’re doing on your roadshow?
Some of the things that we noticed when we’re working with business owners is that business owners are struggling everywhere and they’re struggling with marketing. It’s not something that any one person has necessarily figured out because it keeps evolving. When we work with entrepreneurs, we like to work with those in smaller role communities. Although we have been to Nashville and we do work with those in Dallas and in Austin, they have abundance and that’s part of the problem. There’s so much noise everywhere just like the internet that they can’t figure out which pathway they should go. They don’t have a strategy put together which is what we help them do.
What we do is we partnered with city organizations, like public-private partnerships or Chambers of Commerce, to get in front of some business owners and to give some more resources that they might need. We’re also Google partners, so we work with two different programs with Google: Google Get Your Business Online and the Google Streetview Program, which is all about being local, getting your business online, claiming your listing. I was surprised to learn when we first started working with Google that only 39% of businesses have actually claimed their listing online. It’s completely under-utilized.
The first step is just to get them online and then, you know this, Scott, because I was working with you on it, we spent the last two years working on Marketing Made Simple, which is Serving Social’s whole mantra, it’s to make marketing simple. Now, we’ve developed it into a series of courses that we teach to business owners when we come into town. “This is how you create your content. This is how you set up your calendar. This is when you should post. These are the resources that are free to do it.” You can run your whole entire marketing campaign for free or for about $100 a month. We love working with non-profits. As soon as we tell them that they’re like, “What?” It’s possible. You just got to know what to look at and they don’t all the time. We lead with education and technology and have a little fun while we’re doing it on the road.
I’ve always thought of marketing as having a hundred channels on the radio all on at the same time. It confused people. You can’t listen to one specific channel because you’ve got all these other stuff blasting. Half of the job of an entrepreneur, a business owner is simply to turn channels off I think a little bit. Even though it’s blasting, I’ve got to take and turn that one off. I may not listen to the gospel hour, I may turn that one off a little bit. I think it’s what a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with. They see all this other stuff, all this noise as you talked about. What are the things they have to identify to help them narrow their focus down so it’s not so overwhelming?
It’s really simple. They got to know who they serve. They have to know their audience. I mean who they are, I’m not talking about where they females and they’re 25 to 30 years old. That’s a good start but really understanding your users is how you need to proceed with your marketing. It will tell you exactly where you need to be. For example, if you do serve those that are of a certain age, an older age, you wouldn’t necessarily want to be on Snapchat. You would want to go towards the older social networks that are more used and more known and they’re more comfortable with. It’s almost like Shiny Object Syndrome too when a new social network comes out and everybody keeps talking about being on it, they think they have to be on it and the truth is that they don’t need to be most of the time. I have a Snapchat but I just use it to get friends’ messages. I don’t send anything on it, personally. As my business, it’s another story.
As you’re working with entrepreneurs, besides getting their business on Google, what are probably the three biggest things, the nuts and bolts of entrepreneurs, the social media things and things that they need to be doing on a daily or weekly basis? What are those three biggest things?
Minus daily or weekly, I would say build out your profile. The profiles that actually take the time to fill in all of the information to really be filled up, to optimize it as much as they can or those that are going to get more visibility and more trust because you’ve taken the time to do that. I would say do it first. From a daily or weekly, post every day. You can post more than once a day but only if it comes naturally. Use the 80-20 rule; 80% of the time you’re going to be educating and you’re going to be basically showcasing and engaging with your audience and 20% is that sales part of it.
Don’t lead with sales, lead with, “I’m trying to get to know you. I want to have a conversation with you.” What we tell people is, “Think of how you use a social network personally and apply a business voice to it and act like that.” You do it really well in your social accounts. It’s always Scott all the time, even when it’s We Close Notes, we know the tone, we know the personality and we relate to that. That’s what I think the disconnects us with some business owners and they think that traditional advertising is, “I give you an ad.” Here it’s, “I give you a video to take a look at to learn more about something.” My highest rated video over the past month was one we did for Shark Week. It had nothing to do with marketing. It was just a shark. Then I would say the under-utilization of hashtags and the over-utilization of hashtags.
That’s a good idea. Let’s talk a little bit about that. First of all, what’s a hashtag?
Put simply because that’s what we are, a hashtag allows you to group your postings or to include your postings in a group of a specific topic. If it is social media day, which we did, then there was a hashtag created for that event. By using that hashtag in your postings, you included your posting in with ours. People search by hashtags. I do all the time. It allows us to just be able to find information quicker but it also allows you to get more exposure.
If you’re in real estate, #realestate or #notes or #fixandflip, those are some basic ones to get in those types of conversations for real estate.
For example, today’s the eclipse so there are hashtags for the eclipse as well, lots of people taking photos and including stuff in there. One of the ways that you could have your posting put in there if you wanted one is by using that hashtag.
I do see some posts and I know I’ve been guilty of it before, there’s twenty hashtags after a comment. What are probably the basic numbers? Should they have ten? Should they have three? Should they have one? What’s the ideal hashtag use?
Hashtag usage is going to be better in predominantly two networks: Instagram and Twitter. Not to say that it’s not unused in LinkedIn, but it’s traditionally professional networks so I wouldn’t go there yet. People who have used the network for a while, they don’t like it. In Facebook, it’s actually been proven to give you a negative outlook if you’re using even just a little bit of hashtags depending on your profile. I would never go for eleven. Eleven seems to be that prime number from our testing. Social media today, Buffer, all of them came up with the same number. I don’t know why eleven but it’s eleven.
Guys and gals, if you’re listening on iTunes, make sure to email your question to Scott@WeCloseNotes.com or leave it in the comment section. Let’s talk about some of those networks. A lot of people will copy content across different pages. Their Instagram post, their Facebook post and LinkedIn post all do the same. I think some of that works if it’s professional. Some people’s personal stuff isn’t professional and it’s getting posted in networks that really don’t make sense. Why don’t we talk about Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn because those are probably the three most popular ones right now? Would you agree to that, Kristie, if you’re an entrepreneur?
Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, I would say yes. Twitter is not out but Twitter has morphed and changed and so has LinkedIn. They’re evolving consistently, but it’s always going to be Facebook and Instagram is right behind it.
Let’s talk about the demographics of those three. What do you see is the difference? Start first with LinkedIn.
LinkedIn, like I said, is traditionally a professional network so you’re going to see a lot of C-class, a lot of entrepreneurs somewhat, but you won’t see a lot of businesses. Business pages on LinkedIn are very minute compared to the actual user. I wouldn’t be talking to necessarily We Close Notes, I would be talking to Scott Carson. When Scott Carson talks to me, I expect it to be something professional, something related to the nature of the network. Each network, if you look at them like a person for example, they all have their own personalities and their tone of voice and how you would address them. That’s the concept of it.
When it’s LinkedIn, I’m professional. It’s like I’m in a board room. It’s starting to bleed in some other stuff because they’re wanting to expand the network and testing and see how it goes. Traditionally, it’s going to be where you go to do business. It’s where you’re going to go and find a job potentially. It’s where you’re going to go and find research or information on that business that you might want to do business with. We use it as a lead opportunity as well because lots of the people on here are like, “I need this. I’m looking for this.” Because it’s a professional network, people are responding to it. They want to see professional-related articles and videos. TEDx postings do really well we’ve noticed in there because all of them are entrepreneurs or business owners that are all looking for that inspiration. When you think LinkedIn, think business.
I totally agree with that. We use LinkedIn a lot looking for asset managers or secondary marketing professionals. You’re looking for people in their title that we could connect with as well. One thing we’ve also used it dramatically over the last six months is taking my connections from 6,000 to almost 11,000 people now. The thing to keep in mind is I started going out and searching people that are real estate investors or note investors. Those are the people that I want to connect with that have the most bang for the buck for us when it comes to either buying and selling assets or finding new note investors to come into our education platform.
We search for business owners or C-level managers because those are the ones that make the decisions and those are the ones we want to talk with. We send them a nice little message for connection, tell them who we are. Keep in mind, it’s never sales-y but it’s also with the intention of, “I’m messaging you for this purpose.” I found that if you just message somebody to talk in LinkedIn, it doesn’t work the same way it does in Facebook. You have to message them with a purpose. If they know what that is, the more likely they’ll reply back to you.
By C-level, you’re talking CEOs, COOs, something with a C in their title, you’re talking operational, which is a great way to do that too because we use that aspect to identify potential private investors that are very busy working that are making decent money and had probably savings or retirement funds but don’t have the time to invest themselves.
You have to keep in mind too with LinkedIn that if they have it on their phone, they’re going to get that notification that you have messaged them. It’s actually hitting them on their phone, which is if you’re a CEO, it’s in your hand, mine is right here. It doesn’t necessarily leave because it’s how you do business.
LinkedIn is the number one social media website really for CEOs and high level stuff. They’re not spending a lot of time on Instagram or Facebook. They spend most of their time on LinkedIn and Twitter as well.
You’ll find them on LinkedIn and Twitter, professional types of stuff. Twitter, I find is more for that relevant news, what’s happening right now. It’s for those hot topics type of deal, that’s why you have the whole trending section on the side. That’s why Google started including some of the tweets that were happening in their news feed because it was happening much faster than what Google could reflect it. It’s how they get the news now. Whereas a C-level or a CEO or something, they might use LinkedIn professionally. They might use Facebook personally. When we research somebody, if we want to do business with them, we research them on every network to see where they are and what they’re doing. People, keep in mind that they do that when they go to hire you for a job too.
We do our own borrower sluething on our end here of tracking down on LinkedIn to see if they’re working somewhere, look what they can afford. We use that pretty good on what we do with it as far as following a borrower and borrower research. Let’s dive in to Facebook a little bit. How is it different? What are you seeing people really goof up on Zuckerberg’s platform?
Facebook did that transition into ads and went public. Since then there has been a restriction on business pages in getting views because they want you to run ads. In some regards, it can be a pay-to-play if you don’t know how to interact and engage with people. The biggest thing that people forget about it is that it’s a social network. You can post all day long but it doesn’t mean they’re going to come. Are you talking to people? When somebody tells me, “No, we’re not engaging but we’re posting,” I’m like, “You want people to talk to you but you’re not talking to them?” That’s the biggest disconnect. They get content down but they forget all about engagement.
All those conversations basically is what you’re trying to go connect.
It’s having conversations. It’s liking somebody else’s post, it’s sharing, it’s commenting, it’s re-tweeting, it’s hearting, which ever network you’re in, it doesn’t matter. Engagement is the key to everything. You can get engagement by paying for it and running the ads or you can get engagement by actually doing what you would do when you go to a BNI group or a networking group or anything else. You have to go and talk to people to get them to talk to you. It’s the same concept here. Go talk to them.
We create rules of engagement. It could take you twenty minutes a day depending on how many social network you have. Go to the social network and say, rule five here, “I’m going to like five new pages. I’m going to comment on five new posts. I’m going to share one or two things that are relevant.” Just creating that every single day, you’ll see growth. That’s part of our Marketing Made Simple, is we teach people to do that first. Content is great and you need it but engagement will get you more interaction. I would rather have 400 really engaged followers than 10,000 people that never talk to me. That’s a quick sign to be able to go look at somebody’s page and if people are talking to them, they’re active, they’re engaging, they’re doing what they need to be doing. If you go to a page that has tons of followers and has nobody talking to them, you might not want to do anything with them. You’ve got to look at those followers to even see if they’re real.
You mean the 18-year-old boy in Afghanistan that’s a follower of somebody’s page isn’t a real person?
He possibly could be. You just have to look at his profile. I did one, I can’t believe she even said this to me. “I let everybody be my friend. That’s a quick way to get your page up.” What do you mean? You give them access to your information by allowing them to be your friend. If you haven’t set your privacy settings for your page or for you personally, you’re opening yourself up to basically anybody coming in and taking it. Additionally, the quality of your group and your friends is just like the quality of your group and your friends individually. You are surrounded by those people that you want to be known for. It’s the same thing on your social accounts. It’s a life put online.
We get bombarded, even you guys, the staff here is talking about, “Who’s this guy that liked my page or who’s requested to be a friend? I’m going to keep my personal page separate from my business life.” For me, it’s a little bit different where you’re the face of a brand. There’s a tremendous amount of fake profiles because I guarantee, I don’t have a hundred women with huge boobs and cleavage shots trying to friend me every day but I don’t know you, nothing in common.
You don’t even know the creepy guys that I get messaging me sometimes. I’m like, “Who are you?” They can message you, it doesn’t mean you have to accept their friend request.
Right, or block them and things like that. As you grow your network, your proverbial tribe rose as well with everybody.
It has to be curated.
See what you have in common with people and things like that. If you have friends in common, which is a great identifier if you really are a real person, along with just seeing what they’re posting, what they’re creating. If they’re taking the time to post stuff as well versus just being somebody who’s just a fake profile.
If you see their profile and they haven’t posted anything since 2015, you might not even want to bother.
Any questions out there, Nicole?
We do. One is super specific and it’s from Stephanie Cann. Apparently, their music is getting banned on Facebook even though they have rights. Can you help them out with that, Kristie?
For Facebook Live? Is that what she’s talking about?
I’m assuming that they’re posting videos and they keep getting banned even though they have the rights to the music.
Facebook Live was just released. I say just released, it was months and months ago but it’s still something that they’re working out the kinks for. We even got banned; a few of our videos were taken down and it was basically just background music that anybody can download and you have rights to it. You have to appeal the video and to prove to them that you have the rights to the music that you were using. It’s a bit of a task but generally once you go through it and you get it all taken care of, as long as you continue to use the music that you have proved that you have the rights to, you should be fine. It’s going to be a bit of a hurdle at the beginning to do it. Unfortunately, because this is still evolving, it’s relatively new.
That happened to me a couple of months back where I was just running an intro music playing on my phone here in the office before we started. The first ten, fifteen seconds on Facebook Live heard that background music, it shut down my Facebook account for 24 to 48 hours. I couldn’t post anything.
We did that a couple of times and we tried to post to Note Camp, some of the background music, it will say that even though it’s the free download, you have all the rights to it, you just have to appeal for it. We have another one, KC Lang asked, “Is there a program that allows you to post once and able to choose what platform it automatically shares to?” I suggested Buffer, but do you have any other suggestions?
There are multiple ones. There’s Meet Edgar, there’s Social Sprout, we use Hootsuite. I just like the user interface of Hootsuite. It has a nice layout. I’ve used Buffer before but I didn’t prefer the dashboard that it gave me to manage things, so I switched over. They all have different levels depending on what you’re wanting out of it. If you’re simply wanting to post, go with the Buffer or Hootsuite because it’s free for up to three accounts and you can’t really beat free.
Simply scheduling your stuff. I know KC has a very busy schedule. I think he’s a truck driver. It’s probably not a good idea that he’d be posting while he’s driving the big rig.
I would say definitely no. That’s a big no-no. I don’t know if you all saw that news story of the girl that was Facebook Live-ing while she was driving drunk while she was in a wreck and continue to keep Facebook Live-ing. It was an unfortunate deal. Definitely, KC, don’t do this while you’re driving.
Let’s talk about the best times to be posting. Should people just be posting every hour or are there specific times throughout the day that they get to better hit off of it, Kristie?
It depends on your business and what you have to offer and who your audience is. You have to think of the nature of who they are. I worked with a lot women’s organizations, and I still do. You have to think about the everyday entrepreneur woman. We like many different things. It can be complicated sometimes. I think about the mom, let’s just take one section of the mom. This is a scenario I run through my Marketing Made Simple course. Here is a woman, she is 40 years old. She has three kids and a full-time job. What time do you think that she gets online?
Never? Late at night? End of the day? Probably when she wakes up, naps and then end of the day.
She has a full-time job. She gets on at lunch because she’s checking her phone to make sure everything’s good to go. She gets on at night after the kids have already gone to bed. We’ve noticed that for our women’s organizations or if you want to target this specific type of woman with a full-time job and with kids, post it at 9:00 at night. It’s when we found that we got the most engagement. We use the analytics or the insights from our social accounts to help us figure out when exactly somebody is using our accounts and we use that to make sure that we still provide information to our current users. Also take a look at who it is that we want to target and when we think they’ll be online the most and that’s when we post. There are peak points of the day. I just mentioned one of them and that was lunch. Lunch hour is generally around the same time for everybody and so, what do you do? You get out of the office, you check your phone. It’s a good opportunity for you to get in front of people, try the lunch hour.
That’s a good one. 4:00 in the afternoon too is people are waiting to leave the office and killing the last few minutes of time.
We tested this. We scheduled postings for 4:50, ten minutes prior to 5:00, it works. They’re waiting, they’re checking their phones and then they get a notification that somebody posted and they’ll go and check. It’s just how it works. I’m finding that people check Facebook the most because they use it personally the most and it’s one of the oldest. Twitter comes through so quickly that you can be lost. Think about the network you’re posting to if you want to pick a certain time of day as well.
They say a little about that, initially, you shouldn’t be posting the same thing there throughout the day the same thing on Twitter. You just said very viable. There are a lot of posts, they get buried. If you get a feedback initially, sometimes posting it in a different time during the day that same post later on can identify the most likes and shares. Correct?
Yes. Also think about the content that you’re posting within each network. You’re on Facebook Live right now, video is dominating every network. Think about it, we’re visual people. We want to see something pretty. We are captivated by the visual element of it before we’ll even read it. If you give me too much text, I’m not going to read it at all. Why? Because I’m going too fast and moving through my feed too quickly, I’m going to stop on what catches my eye. Think about that. Sometimes just posting content postings, like a question that you’re proposing to somebody will work, but could you put it in a visual that might get somebody to look at it more, that might get them to stop?
In Facebook right now, you see these little animated GIFs that are coming through with just text, that’s all they are. Because video is so predominant right now and it’s dominating everything, they take a photo and they turn it into a little video clip because it’s going to automatically get more interaction and engagement online. My favorite comment from somebody is, “When the heck did photos become videos?” I was like, “When Facebook and the rest of the social networks decided video is going to dominate.” That is what it is.
I would say though that the most under-utilized network, especially for those businesses that are local, that are brick-and-mortar, would be Google Plus and Google Local. Keep in mind there are two different pages with Google and people forget that. One of them is your Google Plus brand page and the other one is if you’re a brick-and-mortar business and you have an address, you have a local page. That local page is the page that gets searched through Google Maps, that’s how you show up locally. People are under-utilizing those two pages. I don’t ever expect those pages to give you engagement but think about this. If you’re trying to get seen on Google and you’re trying to be found, why wouldn’t you automatically give people some content to relate back to you?
Think about it this way. I’m a Google partner so I’m a little biased here, so forgive me. But I wouldn’t say this if I haven’t tested it and it wasn’t true every single time it is. Google Local just opened up posts. You can post directly to your Google Local page. It could be a sale. The more you do it, the more your rankings will start to reflect on that in your local listings. With Google Plus, everything posted to Google Plus is instantly indexed in Google. Think about you have a card catalogue and this is your name and all the cards behind it. It takes Google a while to go through all of your other social accounts and find your content and index that in your card catalogue. You’re giving it directly to them with Google Plus.
One of the great things about Google Plus, and we ran this at our Mastermind group, one of our investors, Laurie Davidson out of Georgia, had a blog written two years prior. She created some content but hadn’t done much with it. We did a search and lo and behold that blog article showed up because she posted to Google Plus. It showed up on her search engines and she’s like, “Holy cow, I have 1,700 views on this. I completely forgot about.” I’m like, “Some people are seeing that, engaging.” She’s like, “There are some comments. That person’s a client, emailing and commenting.” I think that’s the biggest thing about Google Plus. You don’t get a lot of the same conversations or interactions that you do on Facebook or things. You hit the nail right on the head. It’s like card catalogue system. It’s going to show up. Why not use the largest search engine in the world, in the galaxy?
Also keep in mind too, the different types of content you post within Google, the different types of searches you can show up for. There’s your normal organic and local searches but there’s also photos. There are also video searches. We had one client. We just posted a nice graphic for Easter on his Google Plus page and no more than about 72 hours later, he was showing up second line for image searches of his posting for a very good keyword. I’m sitting here going, “People are missing some stuff.”
Let’s dive in a little bit into Instagram. Let’s talk a little bit more about how Instagram is growing and why it’s just not for those two categories anymore.
Instagram is owned by Facebook now. They bought it out. That’s why you have this integration between them. You also have to think that the networks are going to be very similar because of that and that’s why you can share between them very easily. Instagram has expanded its reach. If you are teenage girl and you’re selling clothing or make-up or whatever it may be, it’s going to be your network that you want to target them on because it’s still the dominant demographic that is on it, but it’s growing, it’s expanding. Just look at your page, Scott. You post often. The same types of postings you post on Facebook, you can post on Instagram. The difference is the hashtags and the emoticons. That’s what’s going to get you seen.
It’s a really great visual image or a nice little video clip and you can do live on Instagram too now. It’s the hashtags and emoticons at the bottom. By emoticons I mean, it could be the happy face or the little poopie sign or whatever it may be. It’s just using the emoticons to have your conversation. It’s the Justin Timberlake hashtag Instagram type of deal that is all the rage. I would keep in mind that there are very under-utilized things in Instagram as well.
A lot of people, they don’t Instagram stories. They’re great. You could tell a whole story of your entire game and post a whole series. For your Quest event that you just had this past weekend. It would be a great story to line out just the visual storytelling like a book of your event. I think that’s what people aren’t using the most. I love it because I can post one photo and put some hashtags and stuff with it and gain a new audience that I didn’t have before. #foodie. I told you I was eating a lot on my RV trip, you see us posting a lot of food photos that make you a little hungry. It’s the engagement of the network that you really are looking for.
It’s very visual and stuff with the Instagram. I think people don’t realize, you’ve got an amazing camera, probably the best camera, in your smartphone, taking photos. We took a photo when we were on our cruise at St. Kitts at the Four Seasons. The Four Seasons contacted us to use that photo to their advertising. We had the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico do the same thing. I took a picture on the morning we’re leaving there to head back to the United States mainland and they reached out, “Can we use your photo for advertising?” I’m like, “Are you going to pay me a free stay?” They’re like, “No.” I was like, “Okay. Go ahead and use it anyway,” because it’s better to use it and then share it versus take a photo and never use it at all. Sharing is caring.
I remember Traffic and Conversion. I said, “Way to go, Scott, for getting highlighted in the digital marketer blog,” and you’re like, “What?” They had taken your Instagram mind blown graphic and put that as a highlight.
Nicole did a good job with that. She did that on a fly there too. I ended up picking another 60, 70 followers just from that post alone.
On social media day, we did our Instagram and our Facebook Live shooting that out, reaching over 40,000 people organically. We put no add dollar behind it. We just collected our partners, put in our right hashtags and started the video. That was pretty exciting to be able to capture that even as a massive city as we were in, which is Austin.
People are still just running off their base Instagram account and they haven’t converted their Instagram account to a business page. Do you think there’s a lot of help with that that gives them more numbers or better tools to use to market themselves?
Yes and no. It’s the same concept as Facebook where you have your personal profile and you have your business profile. It depends on how you use the profiles that are going to get you the most exposure or not. Because we didn’t have it, we were just serving social as a person and then when they allowed business pages we converted over and noticed that we could actually start searching other businesses and we can have a more in-depth conversation with people and that was the thing to do.
What people do not like and what I’ve noticed and what the social networks do not like because they feel that it’s untrue and it’s shady, is for you to be a personal account playing yourself off as a business. It’s the one thing that I dislike. You can tell that they’re personal pages by the way that they’re set up. Just keep that in mind if you’re a business still running as a personal page, you will want to convert because eventually they’ll start analyzing you and restricting people from viewing you if you don’t. Yes, it does give you some more tools and availability but it also prevents you from getting screwed in the long run.
I can see what’s the biggest likes, what are biggest most impressions or what’s caused the most traffic and then also showing on a daily basis when I get the most influxes, which falls in those same timeframes we talked about before; 11:01, 4:00 to 6:00, 9:00 and 10:00 at night, often surprises me. Quite a bit of people are often on Instagram.
We’ve got a really good friend who is talking about, “My Instagram account has gone viral.” I’m not going to say his name because he’s respected. He’s like, “We can make you get famous.” I was talking to his marketer guy, they’re trying to sell me on the idea of using them and I’m like, “I don’t know. All your followers, when you’re viral, are these actual clients you’re seeing or are they just people that are liking?” They’re like, “They’re local and they’re all across the world.” I’m like, “I don’t know if I want that.” He’s up to his game from a thousand followers to now 33,000 followers. He’s got 366 posts total. It’s great but all his stuff is fluff. He’s not really getting an engagement. I will say that there’s still only a thousand of his followers are really true people, potential business contacts, people that do business with. That’s what you said earlier on, “I would rather have 500 genuine people that do follow me that we interact with versus 33,000 people that don’t do anything.
It’s a vanity number, it’s what it is. It’s, “I got 33,000 people that follow me,” but you have nobody engaging with you and they’re not your actual customer, what service is that doing to you? At the same time, you made a good point, Scott, you could get people from all over the world but do you want to? Is that really going to be the audience that you’re serving? For you, for example, it’s the United States. For me, I don’t want to tackle international marketing. I prefer not to. That’s a whole other type of marketing company. I like working with the small business owners and the rural communities in America because I know their type of business. Marketing for other types of countries is different. Though I welcome other countries, I get a lot of followers from Australia because I have actual genuine Australian friends and I have done some business in Australia. It’s fun to see how your account grows in those other countries, but is it really serving you in the long run if you’re trying to do business through the account?
Let’s talk a little bit about advertising. You mentioned earlier it’s great to advertise and do this stuff. Do you have to have a $10,000 advertising for these things to really make it work?
It depends on the social network, but Facebook recommends that you have $350 minimum a month to really make an impact. For example, in LinkedIn advertising, the larger number of an audience, meaning if you try to drill down and get too specific, you’ll miss the mark every time and spend your money fairly quickly. The bigger audience range that you can get and the longer you can run it, the better you’re going to be. Different networks have different types of advertising opportunities. We tend to go more towards the organic route and only use advertising when it’s going to serve us the best.
What we’ve noticed when we do an event, when we have a video that we really want to get out there, we boost that or we run an advertisement with that. We’re testing out some video ads through Facebook and Instagram right now to see how they convert and to see how we can leverage those with other businesses. It really comes down to, “Do you have a piece of content that needs to be advertised? Or are you just trying to gain more followers?” I found that if I have an event, it’s worth it. If I have a promotion, for example, Scott, didn’t you just have a book that came out, right?
Yeah, my book came out a little back.
Pushing the book and boosting that and doing some advertising could help you because you are trying to get more people to that page and convert them. Other than that, if you’re just trying to see what happens and you’re boosting postings that really don’t need to be boosted that doesn’t have a conversion back behind it, I wouldn’t waste your money.
Basically for $12 a day for 30 days to get to that $350, $360 point, that’s not bad. That’s a cup of basically two Starbucks, four Red Bulls. That’s a great way and very inexpensive to be posting something, whether it’s a deal that you’re working on, you’re looking for investors or an event that you’re going to or hosting, whether it’s a meet-up group or a networking event or just something that you’re going to anyway maybe as an affiliate. “I’m going here, anybody want to join me there?” because there’s a lot of people that will offer affiliates marketing as well where, “If you’re selling tickets to something, we’ll give you half off or half the ticket revenue.” It’s pretty cheap. The one event we’re doing, I would be glad to give somebody 50% of a sign up for our workshop. It’s coming up next weekend. Cost for 30 days of marketing, that’s pretty relatively cheap, right?
Yeah. You should definitely do that. They would love it. We spent $20 or $30. I had an event, it got planned last minute. It was for a non-profit. They had a room for 200 women and they were trying to figure out how to fill it and of course, you start reaching out to your people to start spreading the word and sharing as much as you can. Then we boosted our event and we target it highly to our users because we understand the type of woman that we wanted there. For $20, we got 200 women in that room.
There were other things. There were other outreach but we could measure from our event right to our Facebook the clicks that we got that converted from Facebook that registered to our Eventbrite. Using those integrations like Eventbrite, if you’re going to do an event, it allows you to have some of those analytics that really give you that opportunity to see was it really worth that money I put in to the Facebook advertising or was this actually just my grassroots effort that I got all these people to share and that got me what I needed. The truth was that about 65% of the people that purchased tickets for that event converted their Facebook. I was like, “Yeah, $20.” Our average ticket sale I believe was $130-something, so for $20, 200 women at $135 a ticket, not bad.
You just said 65% converted through your Facebook and Eventbrite, that’s at least 130 women showed up because of that. You’ve got 130 times 130, what’s that come out to? $16,000, something like that.
Non-profits of course, when they host an event, you always got to cover your cost. That event we actually came out with making some money and being able to put that back into the community. It ended up being a great value for them.
Basically, for every dollar you spent on Facebook, it equated to $845 made?
One of the things that a lot of people still avoid is the email marketing aspect of it and I think it’s ultimately got to be the spinal cord of your marketing. Getting people to opt in and connect with you so that you can communicate with them on a daily, weekly basis with content as well direct to them but also videos and then of course the right hook after the jab, content jab, content jab, content, right hook sales.
For email marketing, some people will say it’s outdated and that email marketing is dead and it’s quite the opposite. If you want to do business with people that are doing business, you need to be in email. You need to have that conversion. If you’re in social networks, that’s great. You’re talking to people, you’re getting visibility, you’re getting brand, you could potentially get sales with them depending on your budget and what you’re really doing. You want them to come back to something. You want to drive them into something else, whether it would be signing up for your email list where you can continue to market them on a weekly or daily basis, or going to your website and getting them to take action there for something.
I tell you the biggest group of followers we have is through email. We started just sending out emails once a week. We did this whole seven days of seven announcements deal when we started actually moving into the RV and traveling. Everybody was like, “What the heck is going on?” I was like, “I’ll just tell them.” I started this email campaign through MailChimp and connected it to my social accounts. Every time I posted and sent out an email through MailChimp, it went directly to my social accounts. They get to read my story and then they opted in so they could get the next one.
It’s a great tool, especially when you can’t always talk about the same thing or the things that you’ve already reiterated in social, you can hit them through email. Twelve times in sales, eight to twelve times you have to hit someone before they’ll convert most of the time. If you’re hitting them in every social account that is relevant for you plus email, plus they’re getting messages on their phone of what you’re doing, you’re maximizing your opportunity to be able to get them to convert depending on what it is you’re trying to get them to do. I love email. I use MailChimp. I know others that use Constant Contact. There are tons of other different ones that you can use. MailPoet I think is one of them. My analytics, we have a 20% open rate, which is unheard of, I was like, “What?” That’s exciting.
Paying attention to that is important because you want to be able to know. On average, if you have 3,000 followers you want to know the percentage of those that are opening and you want to pay attention to those that are always opening and make sure to communicate with them individually to let them know, “Thank you so much for continuing.” They’re your brand evangelists. The ones that are always paying attention to what you’re doing. If you have somebody who’s opening an email twelve times, was my email not clear? Did I put the messaging in there right? There are lots of different ways to dissect to know whether or not you’re really being effective. You email really well. I get your email every week.
We focus on email as one of our main spinal cord aspects of our marketing. We’ve got you something at least once a week, if not more than once. Monday night, we have the Note Night in America, so driving people to opt in to that webinar. If they’re not going to be there to watch it live, catch the replay the day or two afterwards, or the different events we have coming up or we’re moving assets this week or next week. Getting to opt in so that you’re there to take advantage of the opportunities we have for you to buy or invest and things like that. Choosing not to do that, I think it’s choosing not to succeed.
It would be like saying, “My main customer is on Facebook but I’m not going to use Facebook. I don’t need it.” That would be the same concept. People are used to email even in smaller communities, they understand email. It’s been around for a really long time. It’s the best opportunity for you to talk to people. If somebody has actually taken the time to subscribe, then it’s worth it because a subscribe to your email is not the same thing as a like to your Facebook page. A like to your Facebook page is very small. A subscribe to your email list is important. In our road show and us marketing and going around, we have people that are interested in sponsoring us and going along for the ride. The first thing they ask us is, “How big is your email list and what’s your open rate?”
Let’s talk about that. How can people get a hold of you? What’s your email address, website? How can people follow along on this great journey that you are on across the country?
You can go to ServingSocial.com and we’re going to be dropping Entrepreneurs Roadshow in the next week. We have our landing pages coming out with all of our videos from our travels these last four months. We’re pretty excited. We’re putting in Irving, Taylor, Nashville, Chattanooga. Chattanooga was really exciting because we met with the mayor of course and learned some really cool things about Chattanooga, which one, did you know that they have the fastest internet in the country?
No, I didn’t know that.
They do. The entire city is wired with fiber internet. Everybody gets internet.
We got a question here for you real fast. Scott Heartwell says, “Great info. Does she offer a value bundled package for someone that is new and limited on time?”
I do. What we’ve done is those that are looking for just the basic, “I want three social accounts. I want to run those.” Really, we sit down and we do a little mini-strategy with you to decide where you should be. From there, that’s what we implement. We don’t put it into a box and tell you, “You can only have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.” It doesn’t work that way. From there, we have three social accounts that you can pick from based off of your strategy plus a monthly newsletter through email marketing that we run through your social accounts as well. Then you have us continually being able to assist you and help you along the way. That little package we have bundled and put aside. That’s a monthly package where we create your strategy, engage with your users, create your content, that includes graphics.
We actually have a blog writer, a new copywriting team that signed onboard with us. We’ve opened that up to include blogs as well. That averages about $1500 a month, which when I tell people that, some people are like, “Really?” It seems like a lot and depends on where you are in your business. Other people are like, “Wow, that’s a steal,” because they’ve gotten quotes from other people. Really what it takes to run an effective marketing campaign, it’s time versus money. When you’re getting a bundle of three social accounts plus blogs, plus email marketing, it really is the biggest bang for your buck. It’s going to get your brand on the main accounts and the main place that you need to be and push it out there. You pick it, it’s not a contract-based so we could keep people. We keep it pretty easy, or as we say simple.
One thing that I think people should realize, they’ve got to give their social media, their email, their stuff time to take hold. While we love the instant gratification of somebody liking their posts, it’s not always going to happen overnight. Do you want to talk a little bit about that before we wrap it up, Kristie?
It’s consistency. It’s complete consistency. The people that rank on Google don’t rank there automatically. They’ve either paid for it or they put lots of time into it or they have put tons of time into it and they’re paying for it. There’s no perfect science to any of it. Scott, you didn’t get where you were automatically. It took you years to build your audience of your core people and then it took you years on top of that to put in a good marketing campaign that continued to convert them and continued to reach out to new people. It’s something where you have to understand what’s your objective and your goals are going to be when you’re going in and have a realistic understanding of what you can get from your budget and your time.
The big thing here is just consistency. Post every single day, engage every single day. If you miss those elements, you’re not going to see that gratification of conversion. Even if you only gain one or two followers a day, those one or two followers could be worth twenty minutes of your time or you could have spent $20 to get them. Think about it that way, twenty minutes or $20. It depends on what you want.
Kristie, I know you’ve got to run, you’ve got another appointment in the next half hour so you got some stuff to prepare for that. First of all, thank you so much for taking time to be on the Note Closers Show podcast. It’s always great to hang-out with you. Once again, why don’t you share with them your contact information, how to get a hold of you and we’ll go from there.
You can find us at ServingSocial.com. You can email me at info@ServingSocial.com. Any of our social accounts, you can find us same handle, @ServingSocialLLC. If you want to follow the road show, just search Kristie and Elijah for Entrepreneurs Roadshow and you can hear from business owners’ stories, you learn about some marketing tips. Again, we post some really good food photos.
We’ll definitely have you on again down the road on the road show for you there. Thanks so much again. Have a great day. Drive safe and we’ll see you on the next one.
Everybody, have a great day. Go out and make something happen. We look forward to seeing you all at the top.
About Kristie Whites
Kristie Whites is a brand and marketing strategist, philanthropist, and national speaker. Looking to create social impact in the world, Kristie started Serving Social, LLC whose mission is to show businesses that marketing can be simple when you’re provided the right tools and resources.
Having worked with brands like Harley Davidson, Women’s Business Council – Southwest and various nonprofits, Kristie has helped businesses in establishing their marketing strategy, navigate the uncertainty of social media and measure results.
Kristie’s many achievements include becoming a Google Partner, Board Member of the Year for Texas Women in Business, ABJ’s Women of Influence – Profiles in Power Finalist, ABJ’s Rising Star Finalist, 2nd Place in the Pitch-A-Kid Pitch Competition, and the Moving America Forward Award Presented by Rear Admiral Kevin F. Delaney.
Some of her other business ventures include acting as the COO of VettedHeroes, LLC a revolutionary job placement platform that connects veterans with today’s top companies. As well as an advisor to the prominent Washington D.C. women’s organization Success in the City.
Currently, you can find Kristie and her partner in life and business, Elijah Whites venturing out on the road with their Serving Social offshoot, The Traveling Marketers Roadshow. They’ll be bringing marketing tools and resources directly to business owners across the country in an effort to spread their knowledge beyond urban centers and to build, connect, and grow communities across America.