01:36 – From legal worker to course maker
04:39 – At a crossroads
07:03 – Bundling it all into a course
08:57 – The all-in-one course solution
13:01 – A biased question
17:19 – When people come to Stevie
22:24 – Post-launch optimization
23:59 – How a podcast proved life-changing
26:57 – Other work beside the course
28:05 – Some low-hanging fruit
31:02 – What works on a dry platform
33:15 – Where Facebook is at now
38:31 – What about Pinterest?
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. This is Episode 650. There will be a full transcription available. Today, we’re talking about social media. We’re going to have a look at a framework that you can use to get better results from your social media. We’re also, I think, going to talk a little bit about what it takes to put together a course, because I’ve brought along a special guest, Stevie Dillon, and she has a website called StevieSaysSocial.com. And she put together a bootcamp for people who want to understand social media. So I’m going to talk about social media, putting together a course, the platform she uses. Stevie is also a member of SuperFastBusiness membership, so I’ve had a good behind-the-scenes look at the lead-up to this. So I think there’s a great story here.
Welcome to this episode, Stevie.
Stevie: Hi, James, thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.
From legal worker to course maker
James: I love having discussions with SuperFastBusiness members. The most popular episodes on SuperFastBusiness – and there’s been a lot now, I mean, this is Episode 650 – are the case-study-style episodes where we’re talking to real people about real results, about actual things that happened. And there’s a lot of podcasts out there that focus on getting the most famous people, whether it’s the president of the United States or, you know, tick the box for any number of billionaires or startup successes. But I think the real stories are people in the trenches doing the job, getting stuff done, getting results that are within reach and within the grasp of regular ordinary folk. And that’s why I really like what you’ve done, you’ve actually taken an expertise, bottled it up, packaged it into an easily-consumable course, and you’ve been helping people. And of course, you’ve got a reward for that, too. So why don’t you just give us a little bit of background about Stevie Says Social? Like, what was the genesis of how you got to being a course publisher, and let’s see where we go.
Stevie: Yeah it’s actually so interesting. I can’t even remember who said it, but who said that quote that was, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking back,”? Something like that.
James: Steve Jobs, it was.
Stevie: Yeah, yeah. But I actually started out life, so before I even started in marketing and doing social media, as a solicitor. And before that, had always wanted to be a teacher and a journalist, and somehow sort of was completely off track for a while there and ended up sort of in the legal world for about 10 years, and hated it. Honestly, would wake up every day and just say, what am I doing?
And I had a friend that was in marketing and I was looking at what she was doing. I was living in London at the time and I was just going to this horrible office and she was going to this office that had slippery slides in the office. And I was like, you know what? I want to do that.
And so when I got back to Australia, I went right down the rabbit hole of just learning everything I could about social media. And I started off writing these epic 3,000-word blog posts every weekend. So I spent my Saturdays doing it and my Sundays editing it. And from there I kind of had learned enough to kind of get into marketing and got my first marketing role, and worked in marketing for about five or six years and just kept kind of the blog up, kept doing kind of all of the learning things around social media.
And I went out on my own three years ago, and basically hit capacity with service work. That was actually when I first found out about you, James. I went to the ProBlogger event – when was that, three years ago-ish?
James: I think it was a couple of years ago. Was that the one in Queensland?
Stevie: In Brisbane, yeah.
Steve: Yeah, that’s the one.
James: That was a great event, and I was thrilled to be asked to speak at ProBlogger again this year. They have the best crowd, just lovely, lovely people, and such a good fit for what I do as well.
James: I can trace a lot of contacts back to that sort of event.
At a crossroads
Stevie: Yeah. I’d listened to your podcast, the podcast that you did with Tim Reid years and years ago, so when I was still in Lorne hating my career. And yeah, came across you at the ProBlogger event, and that was literally just after that that I kind of hit capacity with my service work and was like, what on earth am I going to do? I was loving it, but I was at the point where I was burnt out, basically, and I didn’t have time for any more clients. And basically the options that were presented to me was either I could go down the agency route, so I could have other people working for me and do that sort of thing, or I could go back to what I originally wanted to do way before I even kind of became a solicitor and teach. And that’s what I loved.
And so I decided, after having people come to me with the same problems over and over when it came to social media, to put together a course. And so that’s when I came to you, I think, in SuperFastBusiness, and said, where do I start, what do I do, what platform do I use, what’s the next step? So that’s kind of how it all came about.
James: Something I noticed about you at that phase is you had a really good planning process. And I can now see, you having been in the legal world where you have to do a lot of study, there’s a high emphasis on accuracy and preparation and research and planning, and I can now see those marketing plans, also spending five years in a marketing job. And now I know the background to that, it makes a lot of sense. You had such a clear vision of what you wanted to do, and I remember reading through those, making some comments and some ideas, but I got to see your product before it was created. It was created in your mind, you had a very strong intent to do it. I think that’s one thing.
“People who have talents end up getting to capacity.”
And that thing you described before about where you got maxed out, that’s something I hear about two or three times a week, is, you know, I’ve reached the limit; I’ve had enough; I’m sick of this; if I could just go back to how I started, keep it all simple, life would be easier. People who have talents end up getting to capacity, so a huge part of what I’m doing on a regular basis is helping people find leverage to scale that talent. And going down the education path, creating a course, is a really leveraged way to do it. I’m often amazed at what can happen with my book, and my Audible. It’s just mind-blowing that every single day people are buying a book or an audio that I created a while back. Every single day. The leveraging, that is phenomenal. And a course is just like that.
Bundling it all into a course
So let’s talk about that process – what sort of things did we discuss around you packaging your information into a course? There would have been a discussion around what’s in it. There would have been a discussion around how to sell it, and especially how much to sell it for. And also, what sort of tech stack or platform to use? Because that’s a really common question, I get this one all the time, you know, what tools should I use? There’s so many choices for course creators, everything from loading up your course onto a learning platform like Udemy and getting a small slice of the action, or controlling it all yourself, and you can go to great lengths and glue together bits and pieces, or you can get tools that do a lot of it for you. And I’ve been running a popular membership series on this podcast, on SuperFastBusiness, called The Membership Series, and John Lint, the founder of 10XPRO, and I have been doing episode after episode covering off the major sort of question marks and decisions around what choices you have and what tools do what and so forth. And I think that’s a platform you’ve actually ended up building on.
Stevie: Yeah. It’s so interesting. Inside, there’s so many different options. So I was really clear in my head about what I wanted the content to be, because I had so many people coming to me and they were kind of like, I’m stuck in this social media vortex, can you help me out with the tactics? Can you help me out with hashtags? Can you help me out with – whatever it is? I knew that in order to cater to those people and not have the same conversations over and over again, I had to put together a framework which wasn’t just focusing on random tactics. So I had that sorted. I knew what I wanted the content to be, I had mapped it all out. I’m a detail person, so I’ve kind of gone through and I’ve sort of done that process.
The all-in-one course solution
But where I found that I was getting stuck was I was going down this rabbit hole and I was literally spending every night just googling different sort of course platform options and how do I do this, and how do I do that. And what I was finding was that a lot of the articles online are written by the course platforms themselves, they’re incredibly biased. And I signed up for a couple of trials for different ones, and there wasn’t any of them that really kind of nailed what it is that I wanted to achieve.
And that’s when I came to you, and I think in a private message I was like, what do I do? Do I go with one of these course platforms? And you let me know about 10XPRO. And I had a chat to Ange Henderson as well – I think you’ve just had on the podcast – and she was telling me that she had gone with 10XPRO. So I had a call with John and he was really passionate about the platform and kind of told me everything that it did. And I thought, sounds too good to be true. So I signed up for a free trial, and it was just easy.
I’m a big design person, so I really care about brand and how everything kind of looks within the platform. So that was important to me, and what I really liked about the platform is that it was completely customizable. So I could take everything that I put together, all of the content – and it’s a big course, it’s an eight-module course – and I could put it in there really simply, have it look beautiful, and then from there actually launch and sell it as well, because that’s a whole other beast. You spent all this time putting the content together, and then you’ve actually got to sell the thing, and there’s so many kinds of tech things involved in that. And honestly, if I didn’t have 10XPRO, I would have been spending up till two or three o’clock in the morning trying to work out how to piece things together and it’s just not where I wanted to be spending my time.
James: How passionate is John Lint?
Stevie: He’s so passionate! I love it!
James: I surf with him. He comes to the Maldives, and so did Angela. No doubt that’s where they’ve spent some time together talking about how she’s going to solve her membership challenges. And he’s just so passionate, especially when it comes to catching the waves. That’s what I like about him, it’s why I support his platform, because the people using it get results, and that is what it’s all about.
“People buy the cover, not the book.”
And I will say this, you have the most beautiful website that I’ve seen. You’ve shown what’s possible with that platform in terms of customization, because your design is amazing. I’d love it if you could share with me after this recording a screenshot of what is inside your membership. Because people buy the cover, right? Not the book. But if they could see that inside the membership, they would be pretty amazed what you can achieve with off-the-shelf software, where you would think that you’d have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for custom design. So if you would be able to share a little sneak peek of something inside that, that would be great, and we’ll put it up on Episode 650.
Stevie: Yeah, sure.
James: And we’ll link to your course, and we’ll show what’s possible with the software.
Stevie: That was one thing that I was really mindful of, because I bought courses before where they really focused on these beautiful landing pages, and they really get you with all of that sort of side of it, and then you get into the course and it’s just like they put no time and attention into it. And I was so mindful of that, because I’ve been burnt with it before.
James: Look, there are some beautiful platforms. It’s been a constant challenge for my own membership. Mine is very forum-based, and I’ve paid for a custom template to get my style guide done, all the exact colors down to the hexagonal numbers they use. At least it all matches, but it’s still not as beautiful as I want it to be. And my challenge is, I’ve got a lot of legacy posts, literally 100,000 posts there, and there’s a lot of content. I’m talking probably a thousand videos, and for me, it’s not quite as simple as a course.
But I can tell you, with my wife’s business, and in partnership with John, him and I are making a course, they’ll go into 10XPRO and I’m really looking forward to the hassle-free process of that. Because there’s no way someone that’s starting out is going to be building on the platform that I use. I mean, just for my hosting alone is pretty much $1,000 a month.
James: You know, to have it up on Amazon S3 and to support that. So I think you’ve got a really good platform there.
A biased question
Let’s talk about the course framework. And just before we do that, I just wanted to just, a biased question here. Was it helpful at that pivot point to be able to just ask me questions here and there inside the membership?
Stevie: Yeah, totally. So the thing for me is that I have no one around me that understands online business. Most of my friends are still working in corporate. My family doesn’t understand. I have some business friends, but they’re not necessarily in online business. So what I found before is, I was asking people that had no idea, and chewing their ear off and saying you know, pricing is a perfect example – “What do I do with this? How should I price it?” And they’re like, you know, “I have no idea, Stevie. I’m not the one to help you.” And I think probably the most useful thing when it comes to SuperFastBusiness for me is when I’m stuck with that – and it’s not all the time, but you know, every couple of weeks, I’m like, I’m really stuck on this – and I know that there’s somebody that can actually answer it that knows what they’re talking about.
James: Yes, exactly. You’re so right. We don’t have people around us who know what we do. I remember going to a business function with my dad, and he had to introduce his guest. And he stood up and he said, “This is James, he’s my son. I don’t know what he does, but it’s got something to do with the internet and evidently he does okay with it.” Like, if your own parents don’t know what you do, then what chance do we have?
Stevie: I know. My partner is the same. I asked him what I did and he said, “I think it’s something to do with seminars and, I think, influences,” and he meant influencers, and I was like, “Well, at least you listen.”
James: That’s funny, because you know, up until recently, people didn’t really know what a Twitter or a Facebook was. And you know, when I started out, gosh, 2005, end of 2005, 2006, it was very strange, all this stuff. I mean, I’ve had my group before Facebook groups, and it’s like the veil, the curtain of awareness is lifting over time, and it’s now become normalized, but we’re still not even close. Like, the sort of things guests are talking about on the shows now, like AI in particular, this is going to sweep the world. Like, in five years from now, there will be significant changes from where we’re at now. And especially in 10 years. In 10 years, one of the guests said that the majority of courses that people are studying today at university, like their industry, won’t even exist.
Stevie: Yeah, but it was the same 10 years ago. Like I remember when I was wanting to study journalism, and I actually remember some of the modules that I did in journalism were so completely irrelevant to anything now. Like, Facebook didn’t exist. Instagram didn’t exist. We were barely using computers, which shows my age, but it just goes to show…
James: Did fake news exist?
Stevie: What’s that?
James: Fake news, was that one of the modules? Russian bots?
Stevie: It did not. Yeah.
“You’ve got to pick a platform that you can work with.”
James: Yeah, like it is changing. So, really interesting. So you’ve got to pick a platform that you can work with, that’s customizable enough to make it your own, without having all the hassle and annoyance and cost of bolting together bits and pieces, which is kind of how I had to approach it, because it wasn’t the same stuff back then.
And you know, I sit side by side with John for a week in the Maldives, and he replicates all the good things that I’ve been able to develop and innovate, and he puts them all into his platform. So everyone’s winning after that.
Stevie: That’s what I love about it, as well. Like, I have gone to John a few times, he’s probably completely sick of me. I’m joking.
James: No, he loves you. He’s one of the people who said, you know, it’d be really good if you chat to Stevie about what she’s done with her course, because it’s best practice.
Stevie: Oh, that’s really great to hear.
Stevie: I guess probably what I was going to say was, there’s so many things that I’ve gone in and I’ve said to John, you know, it would be great if we could have this feature or we could have that feature. And he’s been very open to if other members want it as well, and it’s not just, you know, something that I want, changing things as well. And that was the frustration I had with other course platforms. I’d find something that was a block, and it obviously wouldn’t change, and it wouldn’t be the right platform for me.
James: I’ve had situations in the past where I went to my cart provider and I’ve said, could we do this? And he said, yup, if you pay for the development, we’ll schedule it and we can do it next year, for $40,000. John is, like, the very opposite of that. He just builds it. He’s got this full-time developer.
When people come to Stevie
So let’s talk about social media for a second. I suppose we should cover that, too. I’d like to know, what sort of situation are people in at the point where they come to you for help? Like, what sort of mistakes or challenges are they having at that point, pre-Stevie? What does a prospect look like for you?
Stevie: I work with a lot of small businesses. And so what I find is that most small businesses know that they should be on social media, they’ve been told that they should be on social media. And so what they do is, they’ll generally open a Facebook account, they’ll open an Instagram account, they’ll start posting about their sale next week or whatever, and then they’ll wonder why they’re not getting traction, and they’ll say that social media doesn’t work.
So at its kind of most extreme, they’re the sorts of people that I’m sort of working with and had previously been working with a lot in a service capacity, and it was just the same things over and over. People would come to me and they’d say, “My social media isn’t working because my hashtag strategy isn’t right,” or whatever.
James: So basically they were super tactical.
Stevie: Really, really obsessed on the tactics.
James: Very tactical, but their whole strategy is flawed.
“Brand personality is important when it comes to social, because you need to then amplify that out.”
Stevie: Yeah, or just didn’t have one of a number of different points right. And this is kind of the framework for the course. But generally, it was, they didn’t have their brand sorted, so they didn’t understand what their purpose was. And it doesn’t have to be world-changing, but they didn’t understand what they were in it for and they couldn’t amplify it out on social media, and that’s so important these days. They didn’t understand their points of difference, and they didn’t understand their brand personality. So that’s important when it comes to social, because you need to then amplify that out with things like, you know, your visuals on a visual platform like Instagram, and your copy. Your copy is so important. And your digital storytelling and things like that. So that was a big one. They didn’t have that sorted before they got onto social.
The second thing was social media and content, and this is where most people got focused so they’d start posting and posting and I call it the social media vortex. Because people just go around and around and they’re spending, no joke, three or four hours engaging and doing these things that the social media experts tell you to do, but they don’t have the basics right. They don’t understand how the algorithm works, they don’t understand the importance of having content, pillar content, really good quality content that works alongside your socials. And so that’s kind of the brand and the fluffy side, I guess, but it’s really, really important.
And then the other two things that potentially they didn’t have right was the sales funnel, so a process for actually selling from social media, and then finally traffic. So they were posting over and over and over on Facebook or Instagram or whatever, but they didn’t actually proactively get off their own social media accounts to go and get people within their target audience and pull them back into their audience.
So they were sort of the four things, and it was some people didn’t have any of it right, some didn’t have one right, some of them didn’t have a couple. But that’s where they were falling down, and that was kind of the idea for the framework of the course.
James: Nice. Well, so I’d be interested in how you solve some of those challenges as well, if you’ve got a short sort of introductory solution. For example, you piqued my curiosity. I’m wondering what you teach them to go and get people to bring them back into their social media so they keep topping up with new people.
Stevie: Yeah, that’s a huge one. So the biggest things I generally teach what works for me and it’s obviously different for a service business.
James: Hang on a minute, you mean you actually teach something that’s been done and works?
Stevie: Groundbreaking, right?
James: You’re in the rare minority, but it’s great. I mean, that’s good. I like real people teaching real things. Every month, I run a training inside SuperFastBusiness membership, and the majority of the time it’s a case study based on a result that I’ve got that screenshotted, proof-laden and actually works.
James: Like, it’s always a hit, that sort of training. The one that I did at ProBlogger actually was how to sell people into your membership on autopilot, and that was one of the most powerful trainings that I’ve ever done, because that is a huge problem for most people. Like, how do I get customers? How do I make sales without having to get on the phone? And I just laid out the whole, even the emails that I send, the technology that I use, which incidentally has all been built into 10XPRO.
Stevie: Yeah. It’s funny you say that, but I obviously was a pro blogger. But I’m automating my course after the next launch, and John’s helping me out a lot with that. But I actually went back and listened to that episode.
James: Well, the one that I just did this month, at time of recording, was what I did after that. Like, I did that at the beginning of this year to double my sales again, and that’s a really good refinement. And I’ve already taken John through this. For example, I brief with him every week, and I share with him, here’s what I’ve just done, here’s what worked. And then he goes and builds it in. So he actually immediately followed up that training with a post, with a video showing how you can do it in 10XPRO. Like, it’s just phenomenal. And it has a lot to do with shopping cart abandonment technology and sequence that I’m using. But it’s definitely worth having a look at that one as well.
Now here’s the big point – you’ve done your first launch, you’ve made sales, and then you come back and you tune and refine, and the conversations you and I are having now is how you’re going to optimize it for the next time around. And you know, frankly, I’ve been doing that for the last decade with my own membership. I’ve had 50 versions of SuperFastBusiness membership over the years, with different ways that I price it, different ways that I deliver it, different ways that I automate elements of it, the way the team do things in the background. It’s constantly evolving. It’s not the kind of business that you set and forget, but it’s certainly the business that can afford you a lifestyle. And you know, I’m actually frightened by the fact that someone would spend three to four hours a day on social media. That sounds scary.
Stevie: Oh, it’s wild.
James: I don’t even work that much in a week. Like, that is frightening.
Stevie: Yeah. And it’s just some of the bad advice out there, right? Like, if you are concentrating especially on a platform like Instagram, if you’re just concentrating on organic social media, you need to do things like engage and you need to do all of those things. But it’s slow growth, right? And it’s really, really time-consuming. So, that’s when it comes back to traffic and actually proactively driving traffic to your account through Facebook ads and Instagram ads and influences and collaborations have been huge for me.
James: For me, it’s stuff like this. Like, if that person is spending three hours a day on social media, if they spent 30 minutes of that making a few videos or doing a podcast and publishing that, and then using social media to spread the word and get some shares, that would be a good pillar content, good foundational stuff.
How a podcast proved life-changing
Stevie: Absolutely. I will say, starting my podcast and it’s something that I recommend to people constantly, you know, have really valuable content. But I think you were actually the catalyst for me starting my podcast as well, but I’ve got about 50 episodes, so I’m nowhere near 650, James.
James: Yeah, but I’ve been chipping away at it since the middle of 2009, for perspective.
Stevie: Yeah. But it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my business. Like, it’s built an audience. It’s allowed me to change my business model, to go from service to actually selling a course. And if I didn’t have that audience there, over the year and a half that I’ve been doing it, there’s no way that I would have been able to sell my first course the way that I have. It’s so valuable even though it’s not one of those things where it’s a sales funnel with a direct ROI. I can definitely do all of that stuff, but I just think building a brand through something like a podcast, honestly, it’s been life-changing for me.
James: Definitely for me, it’s my prime thing and I’ve had different podcasts. The one with Tim, Freedom Ocean, was the first proper podcast we set up, and then I retro podcast the audio episodes that I’d already collected. That’s how I’ve extended the timeline on how long I’ve been podcasting. I like to think that I inspire people to podcast because I’m really not that good at it, but I do it anyway.
It’s not just a traffic thing. It’s also a conversion thing, because someone listens to you for half an hour or an hour, they’ve got a pretty good idea of what you’re all about. And we can hear in the tonality, we can judge someone over a long period of time. I mean, I do have a body of work now that will consistently prove what I’m about over and over again. And as I said before, the case studies alone, if you just listened to only the case studies of people who have been inside SuperFastBusiness membership or SilverCircle and got results, you would have enough proof to feel like it was a low risk choice to try it out. You know, that’s really how it works for me.
Stevie: Yeah. I feel like it’s kind of a situation where people used to interview you, or they would pick up the phone and see whether you’re the right person, and this definitely happened for me with the service-based stuff with my podcast. I was competing on price to begin with, and so people were coming to me and price-shopping, and there’s so many social media people that will work for peanuts. And starting the podcast, what it meant for me is people could see that I knew what I was talking about, they could see whether I am somebody that they liked as a person and they wanted to work with. And so I was moving from having these phone conversations that went for a really long time talking about whether I could discount, to literally people saying Okay, I want to work with you. What’s the cost? And it was no issue.
James: Nice. I mean that’s the sort of conversation I have at the top end where it’s often, they’re familiar with me, they know some of my customers, and it’s not a question of, it’s not even price. Some people don’t even know the price when we’re chatting, and it’s not important because they just want to do that work.
Other work beside the course
I am curious – do you still do consulting and service-based stuff as well as the course?
Stevie: So, I stopped doing consulting as of December. I still do some higher-level stuff, a little bit of it, but it’s pretty much just the course now and workshops and training programs. So it’s a complete change in business model, and I honestly credit the podcast, number one, and the content that I produced for that. But then, obviously, having the course itself.
James: Fantastic. You might look at the revenue share model that I did some training on in February, because that will be a way that you can grow your business portfolio and use your skill without having to have much risk, virtually no risk.
Stevie: Yeah. I’ll definitely check it out.
James: And it also, it’s different from just being a service provider. It’s less job-like and more owner-like, which is fantastic.
Let’s talk about the social media platforms – what’s hot right now and where do you find that, you know, if you were to 80/20 it, what’s the low hanging fruit for someone to get involved with social media if they’re already doing it but doing it wrong, or they’re trying to come into it? Where do you see the attention should be put?
Some low-hanging fruit
Stevie: It depends on what you’re interested in. So for me, I will always say Instagram, because I love Instagram, I think it’s a great platform. But that said, it’s also a very brand-based platform, so it’s a lot more difficult, for example, than Facebook, with a paid budget, to actually get conversions on the back end. But it depends on what you’re interested in. So you choose one or two platforms that you love.
So I’ve really noticed that a lot of the accounts that really get traction, especially on a platform like Instagram, have the person behind the business either managing the account, or very closely associated with the account. So, you know, whereas a couple of years ago, a lot of people were outsourcing, and they were outsourcing pretty much everything to do with their socials, because it’s time-consuming, right? I actually think that the fact that it’s really kind of human-to-human these days, people want to hear about the behind-the-scenes. They want you to show your face. So any posts that I put up that actually has me in it performs three times better than any other posts on my social media accounts, which is quite annoying, because I hate actually doing it. But it’s what people want to see. So I think there’s really a lot of benefit in, even if you can’t be the one producing all of the content, I think that you really need to have a hand in the management and the running, especially on a platform like Instagram on your own account.
James: Where does it go between business and personal brand? Are you running both, or just one? Because I notice you’ve kind of got a mash-up with Stevie Says Social, it’s a little bit of both.
Stevie: Yeah, it’s both, and I think that’s what works. So you just got to be really careful. Like, you can’t obviously promote over and over. But I think that whether you’re a personal brand or not, it works, is a split of value content, so providing value and thinking about what your ideal audience wants. Not necessarily right when they need you, but also maybe a couple of steps before, then connection content. So really getting people to connect with you through things like telling stories, behind the scenes, really expressing your brand personality, and then a little bit of promotion. Because if all you’re doing is promoting the whole time, then you’re not going to get the engagement. And engagement ultimately is the lifeblood of your social media accounts, and if you don’t have it, you’re not going to get seen regardless of how many followers or whatever, you know, you have in terms of people connected to your account.
So you’ve really got to focus on that value content, whether you’re a personal brand or you’re not a personal brand, so educating, entertaining, whatever it is that works for your brand, connection and a little bit of promotion. So for a service business I’d say 75% value and connection, 25% promotion. And for a product business, because you need to be showcasing your products more, you still need to add value and sell the lifestyle, that’s the key with a product business, but about 75% valuable promotional content and 25% connection content.
James: Yeah, that’s interesting. I notice that I get about four times more profile bio views on my personal account versus our company account.
Stevie: Yeah, it’s interesting.
James: Profile visits is probably where people are clicking through to the site, as well.
What works on a dry platform
Interesting. It’s been a tough one to decide, because I’ve got sort of a corporate set of accounts and personal. But the one thing that has to be in your own name is the LinkedIn stuff. The business stuff does nothing there, and even though it’s a business-ey platform. And I’ve also been quite surprised by how responsive people are to videos there, and I suspect it’s because it’s so much more boring than instagram.
Stevie: It is a dry platform.
James: It’s a dry platform. You go dropping a video there, that’s a great distraction. Video with captions – great distraction in your little office corner there. And anything I post about team or pay plans, those sort of things go wild, because that’s very in with that audience.
Stevie: Yeah. LinkedIn is a good one these days, because think previously with LinkedIn, there was really that perception that professional meant being boring and not showing a brand personality. And I think that’s changing a little bit – people are realizing that you can be professional but still have personality. And I think that content piece on LinkedIn is absolute gold. So my articles do really, really well on LinkedIn.
And the organic reach if you compare it to Facebook, if you put something up, your engagement will pretty much disappear within 24 hours. On LinkedIn, you could still have engagement two weeks later, which I think is really powerful. And someone engaging with a post on LinkedIn really amplifies it out to their followers. So a great strategy, actually for a service-based business on LinkedIn, is to connect with other similar but non-competing businesses. So I always used to say for my real estate clients, connect with every other mortgage broker out there on LinkedIn and put really valuable content up, because that mortgage broker will lack that content. They’ll likely have clients that are aligned to your clients, and that content will then be seen in their newsfeed.
James: Wow. Yeah, that’s a good one. I like that. I like looking upstream and downstream at related fields. Something that my team do is they help me out with LinkedIn a bit. Every time they load a video up, because I’m not logging in and loading up the video, right?
James: They accept the connections who have applied to connect with us, and we’re just organically grown our connection network. Just passively accepting people is one way to do it. But I’m constantly surprised that people comment and even share. Videos especially is popular.
Where Facebook is at now
So you’ve got Instagram, LinkedIn. Where do you see Facebook these days? Certainly it was the thing, and it’s now having a little bit of drama. They’re constantly changing things and getting in trouble with the law for privacy.
Stevie: They’re having a hard time at the moment.
James: And they’re losing the younger people. They’re not interested in Facebook anymore. I can see that that demographic’s declining. So what’s the deal with Facebook?
Stevie: Look, I think with Facebook, organically, people are saying organic content is dead. I think it’s dying. I still have really good organic engagement on Facebook. The secret to organic engagement on Facebook is comments. So you need to be getting people interacting with your posts. So people always say on Facebook you need an image, or you need a video. You don’t actually need that if you’re still going to get engagement. So one thing that’s working really well, and Woolies are actually doing this really well at the moment…
James: And for our overseas listeners, that’s Woolworths, a supermarket chain.
Stevie: Yeah, yeah. But they’re doing a really good job of just single kind of text-only posts, and they’ll ask a question, right? So, you know, I can’t think of one specifically related to them, but one that I put up on my social media account a couple of days ago was, What’s the best piece of social media advice that you’ve ever received? And it’s two-pronged, because people are, you know, replying because they want to share their own advice. People are going through and they’re interested what the other advice is. They’re interacting and commenting with each other, and it’s getting that engagement that’s going to naturally, you know, push it out. And I think that sort of content paired with, obviously, a paid strategy on Facebook and Instagram is the ultimate traffic driver. There’s other ones as well.
James: Those sort of questions, as a consumer, they drive me mental, because I think, what a profound waste of time. Although, the one you posted there is actually a sensible answer. It’s like, the other ones that I’ve seen are like, Would you prefer an apple or a banana? Or, What’s your superhero name? and all these sort of things. I don’t like those for-the-sake-of-engagement type posts, and so I guess we haven’t really done those. But then I have to remember that people are on Facebook to tool around and waste time, aren’t they?
Stevie: Yeah. And the reason why it works is, Queensland Police Service is another one as well, but they use that content because if they have an element of content that gets engaged with, what it will do is it will lift up the content of the other posts, the reach of the other posts. So basically, for example, you know, Queensland Police Service might put something funny up that says, Justin Bieber’s playing at Suncorp stadium this week, it’s a crime to music. And it will get 10,000 likes. So whatever it is. What it does is then when they’re next posting about a crime that’s happened in the area and they’re looking for people that potentially can give them some information on it, whatever it is, that organic post will have more reach as a result of the more kind of engagement-focused posts.
James: Well, the episode before this one, 649 was Lessons From Building A 985,000-Subscriber Facebook Page, so there’s still some gold in them there hills. But yeah, you’ve given some practical suggestions there on how to increase that. I’m going to make sure my team listen to this, and maybe you’ll see some of those posts on our SuperFastBusiness page, which is getting close to 11,000 subscribers. But it does seem to very slowly rise. It’s been 10,000 and something for years.
Stevie: Yeah. And if you’re just sort of doing the organic stuff, that’s why it’s so important to have things like collaborations. Influences, obviously, on Instagram is massive, if you’ve got someone that’s got, you know, genuine influence in their space. And competitions work as well, as long as you’re doing it in a way that’s really targeted towards actually attracting your ideal client. And ads, of course.
James: When we do run ads, we get a huge return on investment, because we’ve built up that base and we have a lot of videos. Since, well, since about a year ago, I think I’ve made at least 280 videos. So, you know, there’s a lot of videos out there people are watching and getting tagged for, so we can reach them easily. So when we spend $5,000 on ads, we make over $100,000 in sales.
Stevie: Yeah. And that’s the thing. Like, I think that’s why it’s so important, and this is the thing that I think is the piece missing for a lot of small business owners, not understanding that you actually need to really concentrate on quality content, whether it’s video, whatever it is. Video is great because you can retarget, obviously.
James: I think Facebook wants videos. They want live, right? That seems to be what they really reward. But people want videos.
“Video attracts engagements, and live attracts six times more engagement than other types of content.”
Stevie: They want engagement. Video attracts engagements, and live attracts six times more engagement than other types of content, so they love live.
Stevie: Video, they want if it creates engagement. So that’s the difference, I think. they used to just want more people on the platform for more time, and so that was why they loved video, video was amazing. But it’s changed since this whole kind of Cambridge Analytica. They very much want the meaningful interactions. So they want video if it’s going to get the meaningful interactions, and if it’s what your audience is interested in.
What about Pinterest?
James: Yeah. I think we’re going to have to update our formula and innovate there, for sure. And Pinterest, that works really well for some markets doesn’t it?
Stevie: Yeah, Pinterest is an interesting one, because it’s very much a traffic driver. It’s a very US-centric market, so there’s a lot of Australian businesses that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend kind of get into it.
James: Is it like, female demographic, handbag, visual sort of stuff, or is it, you know, is that the market?
Stevie: Yeah, it’s traditionally been that. So they’ve got about 200 million users, and they’re saying that their demographic is starting to attract more males. But look, just from what I see on Pinterest, it’s very much kind of a female demographic. It’s that kind of, you know, 30-to-45-year-old demographic. And that’s honestly, like that’s my demographic, and so Pinterest works really, really well for me. And promoted Pinterest pins work really, really well, so paid traffic on Pinterest. And basically promoting good quality content leading to your website, it can work extremely well on Pinterest and because it’s a search engine, so it’s not algorithm-based. It is, but it’s very much kind of focused on search terms, you can have one piece of content. If it’s keyword-optimized, if it is interesting and people are clicking on it, you can actually have that leave on Pinterest and gain traffic over time just like you would with SEO in Google.
James: Yeah, that’s interesting. I mean, if I wanted to get more US audience and I wanted to get that age group and females would it be worth trying? More Pinterest?
Stevie: It’s a no-brainer. Yeah, absolutely. That’s something that I’m really focusing on. So my audience is really that audience, and I’m looking to, obviously, have more of an audience from the US in terms of my course. So my biggest focus at the moment in terms of that audience is Instagram, Facebook ads and Pinterest.
James: Right. Because I think I’ve got more of a 60/40 split male to female, and I’ve got a slightly older demographic, more in the in the 35 to 45 range. And so, you know, it just seems to play out everywhere. Even my events, it’s almost a 60/40 split male to female.
I did a survey recently, like, I asked my members what they would change. One person said, Aw, it’s all blokes. You know? I’m like, really? It’s almost half ladies. But whatever.
Stevie: It’s a perception, yeah.
James: It is a perception. Certainly, I’ve been in all-blokes environments, and it’s very different than our community. I mean, here you are, and there’s lots of other ladies in there, from Angela Henderson. But I think Pinterest is something that i’ll take from this. I do feel like the podcast is a treasure, because I get to get great intel from experts like you. You’ve just been so generous with your information. We’ve talked about different platforms, a few tips on how to maximize them. You’ve really shared tips for each of the platforms. You’ve talked about how you put together your course.
What’s the next version of your course called, just so we can look it up?
Stevie: So it’s called, “Hashtags Aren’t the Answer”. Because I’m sick of people focusing on it. And yeah, so it’s literally actually moving from a course into a membership for the next launch, so that’s really exciting.
James: Very clever. Alright, Stevie, well, thank you so much for coming in and sharing. And this is episode 650. Check out StevieSaysSocial.com, if you like what stevie’s talking about. Plenty of information there. And of course, follow Stevie on social media. Because you do have a beautiful Instagram account, I must say, very nice pictures all the time.
Stevie: Oh, thank you.
James: Thanks so much for being a guest.
Stevie: Thanks, James.
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