Link to Part 1 of this special collab: Social media marketing and the true costs for small business on the Building Balance Podcast
This is a special podcast collaboration with my good biz friend Jenna from the Building Balance podcast.
We decided to do something a bit different with this topic and split it into two separate episodes.
In Part 1, which you can find right now over on The Building Balance podcast, we answer the question: “Is social media costing you more than just your time?”
Listen to Part 1 here before you listen to this episode – Part 2!
In this episode – Part 2 – we talk about how we can start to move away from social media toward other marketing methods. Because if not social media, then what?
Read the transcript(ish) for this episode here!
If you’re interested in taking a different approach to marketing your business, I highly recommend downloading my free SEO Cheat Sheet and Tutorial at staciemitchell.com/seo. This also adds you to my twice-monthly newsletter where I dig deeper into the topic of moving away from social media, as well as how to overcome the mindset gunk that can come with entrepreneurship.
Jenna has a guide, called Instant Relief, which includes a really simple 4-step exercise that’s specifically designed to help you figure out which marketing and sales activities are actually bringing in sales, so that you can stop doing *all the things*, or reduce the time you spend on marketing activities that aren’t bringing in sales –– whether that’s social media or something else. You can find it along with Jenna’s other current resources at jennahellberg.com/resources.
Mentioned on the podcast:
Jessica Eley’s Free Workshop: The Top 3 Reasons Why Your Expertise Isn't Converting To Sales (and what to do about it)
Claire Paniccia (@conqueryourcontent): The importance of creating long-form content for your ideal audience to binge.
Read the prettier transcript(ish) for this episode here!
Hello lovely listeners and welcome to a special podcast collaboration with one of my good biz friends Jenna from the Building Balance podcast.
Jenna messaged me a few weeks ago about the true costs of using social media in our businesses and I immediately replied that we must record a podcast episode about it!
We decided to do something a bit different with this topic and split it into two separate episodes. In the first episode, which you can find right now over on The Building Balance podcast, we answer the question: “Is social media costing you more than just your time?” I think you all probably know my answer, ha!
In this episode, we talk about how we can start to move away from social media towards other marketing methods. Because if not social media, what then? Let’s dive in!
Intro to the subject
S: So we’ve just wrapped up talking about how social media might be costing us more than just our time – now we’re gonna dive into how people can begin to slowly divest from social media and find new ways of marketing their business.
Jenna, you know I’m passionate about this topic, so to avoid turning this episode into a rant instead of an interview, I’m going to let you start us off!
J: Can I share what I think is the best way to figure out where to spend your time?
J: It’s not sexy or rocket science – but gosh, we should base more business decisions on data. Not based on “what everyone else is doing” – because once we interact with business owners outside of social media, we can actually see that there are plenty of people who are running viable, successful businesses who aren’t worried about building a social media presence. They don’t have time to worry about it because they’re busy doing the things that actually work best for them.
If we know which of our tasks and activities bring in sales, we know what will be the best use of our time.
Anyway. Data can tell us what’s a good use of our time, money, *and* attention – which we talked about in part 1 as being things we might be wasting on social media if it’s not where we get our best ROI.
But then, on top of the data, we can also look at what we actually enjoy, what works for us energetically, and what suits our way of doing things. That tells us what is the best use of our time, vs what we might want to invest money in instead so that someone can support us with that thing.
I’m curious to hear, where do you get the best return on your investment of time, money, and attention?
S: Honestly the very, very best ROI I get is from 1:1 and small group connections. For example, I’ve coached several coaches who’ve graduated from the same coach training program I graduated from, because I’ve gone back as a panelist during their coach training. Never once have I actively pitched them there. I just give value and answer questions.
And you can use this same approach by hosting free workshops or speaking at events and giving lots of value. Now I’m not saying you never pitch at those, but I like doing those kinds of things as a service and without expectation and it almost always comes back to me. And it takes so much less time than posting every day to social media.
I’ll also say that providing your clients the absolute BEST experience you can, from onboarding all the way to offboarding is one of the best investments you can make in the future of your business. It’s not just about their testimonials either, they are the best referral network you can get, and many of my clients have returned to me for coaching or other services, sometimes multiple times! And I get emails regularly asking if I’m taking clients because their partner, sister, friend, etc. needs coaching. It’s a huge honor and it’s so dang easy!
And as you know, I’ve begun to focus in on SEO and am starting to see a ton of results – from growing my email list, to getting applications for my marketing intensives from Google, which just happened and totally blew my mind! So I’m a walking-talking example of how social media isn’t actually the be-all, end-all of signing clients and growing a business!
J: It’s funny – for my photography business, pouring my time and energy into blogging, and thus increasing my SEO, was *the best thing* I did for my business. I did that for a few years, and to date google is still the #1 way that new families find me. Otherwise my clients are repeats, from having provided that best experience you talked about, and then them recommending me to their friends also became a thing.
For the longest time, though, I didn't really think about using SEO for this newer business. Because with photography, I was very focused on building my SEO around local keywords right – like “San Francisco documentary family photographer”, “San Jose newborn photography at home” etc. But I felt like there’s so much more competition to be found as a coach on Google, that I kind of gave up on it. But since you started creating content around SEO, it opened my eyes to the fact that *yes*, it’s harder for me to get found through something like “productivity coach for small business owners” because there isn’t that local location to add into the mix of keywords. But I can for sure write blog posts or create podcast episodes that can be found, that maybe other coaches aren’t creating.
Creating podcast episodes is feeling a lot more “evergreen” vs making posts on IG that the disappear to never be seen again unless I reshare them to stories. Like I mentioned before, you’ve really opened up my eyes to how I can use SEO as a not-so-local business. And Jess Eley has opened my eyes to how important it is to build connections and borrow other people’s audiences – just because I publish a weekly podcast episode, it doesn’t mean that my audience will grow. I need to actively get it in front of new people – so both her ideas around building credibility and awareness outside of my own circles *plus* your content around SEO have been helpful during this process.
How to put social media in its place?
J: So how do we put social media in its place, how do we figure out what to do with it, if we use it for business?
S: There’s a great metaphor from The Growth EQ that really encapsulates my feelings on this, and I’m going to directly quote them: “I think the best metaphor for social media is a giant cocktail party. You can meet people, exchange ideas, poke jabs, and have fun. If you go to a cocktail party once a week for an hour or so and have a drink or two, it can be energizing. But if you go to a cocktail party every day for multiple hours and have multiple drinks, you’ve got yourself a real problem. Perhaps we are spending too much time at the social media cocktail party, to our individual and societal detriments?”
J: Ok. I’m pretty obsessed with this idea. Thinking about it as mingling and not spending all our days dipping into and out of a cocktail party. BRILLIANT!
What I’ve been doing personally, is that I’ve let go of the attachment I carried for a long time around how I “should” be posting on social media. I mean, for probably a year or so I haven’t been posting too often, maybe 2-3 posts per week – but now I’m ok with lettin a week or maybe even two go by, without feeling that pit in my stomach that’s like “Oh noo my business is gonna collapse”. I’ve seen enough evidence that literally nothing changes if I just take a break from it. So now I’m mostly posting when I feel like I have something to share, when I’m feeling really compelled to say something. And then I often write a post just to share the week’s podcast, which is always a really easy post to create. And I just saw someone, I believe it’s Katrina Widener of the Badass Business Squad podcast, who just posts a monthly round-up of episodes – I like that approach and think I will try it out.
Like I mentioned in part 1 of this episode, I would go nuts if I didn’t have an outlet to share my thoughts on. That’s where podcasting has become so important!
Social media can be a good spot for me to share thoughts and to interact with others, but my time is best used elsewhere and social media is a good spot where I can then share or even repurpose what I’ve already created elsewhere.
S: I’m with you there. I love to create content and I get a bit itchy when I can’t share my “a-ha” moments with the world!
And as you probably know because you follow me, I just decided to change my Instagram feed to a static grid, with the most important information about me and my business. I have no idea if I’ll keep it that way, but I felt such a relief knowing that I didn’t have to post there anymore. I can still share stories or reels if I want, but I don’t have to share normal posts – which I’ll be honest weren’t doing all that well anyway, being off the app as much as I am now!
But I will say that I think the evidence helped – seeing that I could stop or slow way down on social media and still have a successful business helped me. This year, I’ve made 6x what I’d created as a goal. Now – that goal was really low, but I still feel really good about where I’m at to be just over half-way through the year.
So if you’re in a place right now where you’re really worried about switching it up but you also really, really want to move away from social media, I want you to know it’s absolutely possible, and that you can take baby steps out of it, so that it never leaves you lying awake at night worrying you made some huge mistake.
S: Speaking of baby steps, are there any tips you’d want to give the listeners about spending less time on social media overall?
J: Oooh! If we're talking about how to spend less time dilly-dallying on social media, but maybe still want to use it to some degree, probably the easiest thing you can do if you still want to keep your apps, is to keep your phone somewhere out of arm’s reach.
Just if it’s on your desk or in your pocket, it’s so habitual to grab it and check it, and before you know it you’ve sat there for 15 minutes –– or much longer –– just because of the habit of grabbing your phone. And this of course helps with whatever you tend to check on your phone –– not just social media.
S: I love this!! I just recorded an episode that’s coming out soon and that’s one of my tips: Create a designated spot for your phone and just leave it there!
My other best tip is to turn off your notifications and leave your phone on silent – makes a huge difference!
S: What are some other outside-the-box tips for marketing without social media?
J: So this is something that I’ve really had to think about and work on for myself, too. For the photography business, SEO was (and still is) the #1 way I get new clients. Social media was just a place for me to show that “Hey I’m still alive”, so I’d schedule out 1-2 posts per week and otherwise not even log on.
But as a coach, I’m not gonna lie –– marketing has been rough. And I partly blame having put so much time and energy into social media and content creation overall – when I could’ve been spending more time building relationships, and getting in front of other people’s audiences.
Jess Eley has this theory that there are three different types of business owners: There are sellers who mainly identify as entrepreneurs, there are storytellers who are kind of more influencer-type people, and there are experts who identify as the thing they do. Sellers and storytellers have an easier time rallying a big audience with their cause, because they can easily break down the thing they help people with into one clear message, “I help people do X” – and because they can amass a big audience around their message, enough people trickle down the funnel to buy from them.
But experts (which is what I identify as) have a much harder time distilling what we do down into just one singular message, because the expert tendency is to be like “I can’t just say I help people do x because there are like 40 layers of nuance to this thing plus I need to talk to you 1:1 to know what’s the best advice for you”. So as an expert, it’s hard to amass that big audience because of not having that clear cut message.
So what Jess Eley says is best for experts, is to both borrow other people’s audiences (these people usually are sellers or storytellers), to reach a larger audience – but at the same time, build credibility with this host, this person who’s audience you’re getting in front of – because then they’re likely to talk about you, to refer you, because they’ve gotten to experience you. So for the expert, the funnel model is turned upside down and is instead a pyramid – you get in front of or work with a few key people, who will then help spread the word about you and your pyramid fleshes out.
And then it’s also important to just build relationships with people, and make personal invitations to people who we think could benefit based on the discussions we have.
While having learned all this about experts, about myself, has been amazing (because it totally explains why I struggled for a long time), I’ve kind of also had to mourn all this time that I feel like I’ve wasted on social media. And I think that’s important – to kind of properly let us feel the feelings so that we then can move on.
And I’ve moved on to getting in front of more audiences, and to reaching out to people 1:1. Which probably sounds kind of silly, but I think that social media was super comfortable –– I could just put stuff out in the world without the risk of like, rejection from a particular person. Reaching out to people 1:1, whether that’s to pitch a collaboration or to invite someone to work with me, is a lot more uncomfortable but also is faster and more effective than writing an IG post.
How about you, what are your ideas?
S: You know I just watched Jess’s workshop and I loved it and completely agree. I think we overcomplicate marketing and think we need a huge audience to have a successful business, but most of us just need a few clients at a time, not hundreds, so this method of building a huge audience doesn’t really work all that well for us.
And I’m with you – relationships over everything and really being strategic about where you spend your time. Know your data and drop the things that don’t get you the results you’re looking for.
J: Alright, we’re getting to the end of our time together. But we don’t want to just leave you, dear listener, hanging – we’ve both got some resources that you can use to start wiggling your way free of investing so much in platforms that aren’t giving you as much as you’re putting into them. Wanna go first, Stacie?
S: If you’re interested in taking a different approach to marketing your business, I highly recommend downloading my free SEO Cheat Sheet and Tutorial at staciemitchell.com/seo. This also adds you to my twice-monthly newsletter where I dig deeper into the topic of moving away from social media, as well as how to market without relying on it so much.
J: So earlier I talked about making your decisions based on data versus “what everyone else is doing”. I’ve got a guide, called Instant Relief, which includes a really simple 4-step exercise that’s specifically designer to help you figure out which marketing and sales activities are actually bringing in sales, so that you can stop doing *all the things*, or reduce the time you spend on marketing activities that aren’t bringing in sales –– whether that’s social media or something else. You can find it along with my other current resources at jennahellberg.com/resources