Expert Advice - How to Start Your Social Media Marketing

 Expert Advice

How to Start Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Erica Johnson

Devin Miller

The Inventive Journey - Expert Advice

Podcast for Entrepreneurs


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How to Start Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

"Done is better than perfect. I think a lot of business owners get in this perfectionist mode, and they hear an outside voice tell them, 'Well, you're not posting, what you're posting isn't good enough, ...' from their families, or their friends, or some guru they see.

"No. In the beginning days of your business, you've just got to get started. You just have to do something..."


The Inventive Journey

Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.

ai generated transcription

done is better than perfect and i think a lot of business owners get this perfectionist mode and they hear an outside voice tell them well you're not posting what you're posting isn't good enough from their family or their friends or some guru they see and it's like no you just gotta get in the beginning days of your business you've just got to get started you just have to do something [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host evan miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several businesses the seven and eight figure companies as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where we help startups and small businesses with patents and trademarks and on today's expert episode we have another great expert on erica johnson and uh she will uh i'll give a quick intro and then i'm sure she'll give even more of her background but she'll be talking a lot on everything this kind of online marketing whether that includes social media blogs podcasts linkedin instagram instagram tv facebook twitter pinterest and i'm sure there are a whole bunch more that i'm not even listing but we'll have a good conversation about that and how as a business you can leverage these platforms in order to grow your business and make it even more successful so with that welcome on to the podcast erica thanks for having me devin i really appreciate it my pleasure well before we jump into all of the the great things of online marketing maybe just give everybody just kind of a quick intro on yourself and your background and and what you do sure so i'm erica johnson the owner of epartners marketing where i help busy business owners like you with marketing design and public relations i have a small but mighty team so it's the public relations partner and that's what we do i've been in this industry for eight years and i've had my own business for roughly around four so yeah all right well that's easy enough so been doing this for about four years and you've worked i think when we talked a little before you've worked with you know a lot of different businesses different sizes different types of businesses and what they do but if you're to start to dive in you know if i'm a business i'm a startup small business and i'm looking to grow or i'm looking to get our name out there how do i decide because there's a whole lot of different of which you know and we'll get into whether or not you should go with the marketing firm versus do internally yourself maybe is another question but before we dive into that even just a general picture of should i explore this should i look at it you've got a whole bunch of different platforms everything from social media to facebook and instagram and pinterest and twitter and youtube and linkedin all the way to blogs you can do videos you can do podcasts so how do you start to even tackle that because there's so much you could do i'm sure not all of them are going to be the the right fit for every business so how do you kind of start to figure that out that's a great question evan i would say that a business owner really has to focus on where their customer is they might have a current customer that they've been currently serving even though they're very very just starting out they can look at if they've had between one and five sales they can say to themselves okay did i enjoy that customer interaction do i want to kind of serve someone else and then they can see where that someone else is hanging out so if they're b2b they might be better on linkedin as their business and consumer is their consumer hanging out on facebook or they more on instagram same thing with an online boutique if they're an etsy shop owner are they promoting themselves on pinterest if their audience is mostly youtubers or bloggers pinterest and youtube might be the platforms for them um i would say that's what the business owner should definitely ask themselves first where do my customers hang out because you can have all the content in the world but if your customer is not hanging out there they're never going to see it and the second part of the question you said you know should a business owner try it themselves first i would say yes i would love my favorite customers are the ones that try it themselves my favorite clients i should say are the ones that try it themselves because they understand how much work goes into it to be consistent whether they're getting serious about one platform or all the ones you named they understand that a lot of work goes into it to get any results not even just getting good results but to get any traction at all it takes a lot of work so i love when a business owner has tried it or someone on their team has tried it that way we can actually optimize what they've had because a lot of the times a business owner what they're doing does not suck what some of what they're doing is good so we just have to make it better no i think that's the helpful answer so i'm going to dive into part of what you said so let's say i haven't tried any because the difference is if i tried some and you said you know do you like that interaction was it a good customer or a good client or was it a terrible one and maybe you're trying to filter that out if you use platforms once if i haven't even tried or haven't dived into it yet how do you even start to delineate should i try pinterest first or should i try facebook first or should i try instagram first and i'm sure you know the easy answer is you know shotgun and try all of them but i'm assuming that a lot of businesses don't have an unlimited funds and they also only have money a limited bandwidth either them personally doing it or hiring someone so how do you start to figure out which one you should even try first if you haven't started yet so a great way is you know doing a quick competitive analysis you can you know take a slice of humble pie and say hey i do this thing but who else does this thing and might not be in your local area but maybe not using you as an example i'll say a wedding photographer let's say the wedding photographer is in jacksonville where i am in jacksonville florida but they're saying okay which platform should i be on they can look at a wedding photographer in atlanta or in california and then see what social media platforms are they on are they on instagram are they on pinterest are they on youtube do they have any youtube videos do they write blog posts do they have a podcast you can do some competitive analysis before you have even one customer that you generated from social media or one post at all and figure out does it make sense for you to be there um by looking at what are your competitors already doing i don't almost think and correct me if i'm wrong it almost makes sense you can also see you know if they are and i think you can do that most i'm not a social media expert by any means um but you can see are they getting a lot of responses right so let's say if they're on facebook and they've got five likes and they're on instagram and they've got 5 000 likes and i'm making extreme numbers but one may be an indication of instagram for this type of business so that works better and so focus on instagram as opposed to facebook or whatever that may be is that a fair fair a summary yes i definitely agree with that so now you you take that and you said okay let's say i have tried it and you said you know i've tried it out a bit different platforms kind of figure out a little bit of what i like or what may make sense and now i'm trying to decide does it make sense to do it internally higher on the resources go to an outside place and i know that it's kind of like it's a bit of a biased answer kind of like the asking a patent attorney if you need a patent they're always going to say yeah you probably need one because you know that's what you build your business around but how do you decide when to do it internally how to do it internally when to bring you know whether it's hire someone in have that as a full-time position or a part-time position go to an outside firm hire someone that's independent how do you start to weigh that or make that decision as to what is the best investment for your dollars i would say and this is going to be counter-intuitive because i make websites i do marketing by make websites i would say test the market first with marketing before you even think about a website i know like all the designers listening are probably gonna like send me pew pew or something you're not going to want to shoot me but before you invest in a logo before you invest in an llc even before you run down to the courthouse and say i'm going to make this a business i would say focus on getting your first sale and how you can get your first sale is talking to your family and friends aka social media because they're all social distance so i would say that's what you want to focus on first and i know that's counter-intuitive because it's hard because like okay i need sales but i need marketing i need sales to make the marketing but i need the marketing make the sales so i would say very first thing you want to do is focus on social media first maybe focus on one to two three and four and five you don't have time and you won't have the motivation either because you'll be frustrated if you've never had any sales at all you'll get a little bit frustrated and self-doubt so to just build up that muscle for social media i would say focus on maybe one or two platforms that you've seen your competitor on start to build that habit of posting consistently and especially a new business owner starting out it might only be one to three times a week you know i don't expect them to post every day because you know when i was starting out yeah i would post every single day i didn't have anything else to do because i barely had any customers right but i know that you know with covet in life it might not be that way so they just have to get consistent and start building some sort of presence whatever that looks like i would say that has to start internally first where even if it's a solopreneur they have to find the time even if it's 10 minutes a day or you know 10 minutes out of the week or 30 minutes out of the week even to where they sit down and they do the post even if the post graphically is not that appealing at least you did it i would say the coin phrase done is better than perfect and i think a lot of business owners get this perfectionist mode and they hear an outside voice tell them well you're not posting what you're posting isn't good enough from their family or their friends or some guru they see and it's like no you've just got to get in the beginning days of your business you've just got to get started you just have to do something you just gotta get to my goal for instagram would be 12 post because that looks like a full grid um twitter's completely different animal you can have as many tweets as you want over there pinterest my goal for pinterest a starting account for pinterest would be 20 pens on each board for youtube it would be three videos for facebook it would be again you know at least consistent post i don't have a set number post for facebook i would say at least three posts on your facebook fan page would be acceptable and same thing with blogging as long as someone can go to your website and see at least three blog posts you gave some effort that's better than it says blog and then you go there and it says coming soon and it's like really so yeah just doing the effort is what counts because especially if they go to your social media profile they're going to scroll down to the bottom and then they can understand that okay this person is just starting out they'll figure it out really quick that you're just starting out they don't expect you to have a hundred posts or a thousand posts and you just started your business two weeks ago you know so um yeah i would say that's when they should think about it first um they should think about it before they get a sale or while they're getting their sales when they're just starting out now switching gears to win should they hire externally i would say to get the most bang for your buck to where it's a good investment you can actually get some results i would say wait until you're saying oh my god i'm too busy to post if you're too busy to post but you're busy with client work not just life then that's the time that someone's got to come in even if it's not a full-scale social media manager maybe it's just a va at first that you get for some simple tasks that's what i would say it's time to upload it if you start looking at you're promoting your business and you're not enjoying it or you're too busy you don't have the time that's when it's time to get someone else in that will enjoy it and does have the time that's what i would say to do that all right no makes perfect sense so now i'm going to shift a little bit or gears a slightly self-interested question but i think it applies to a lot of ours so one of the other ones that you didn't mention as much on was linkedin right and for me if i'm looking for more of a b2b or business professionals sometimes you know in my mind and i may be completely wrong you know faith so law firm run a law have a harder time and me if you have ideas i'd love to hear them on facebook and that but i find that the people that are oftentimes looking for patents and trademarks and those scenes were oftentimes a lot or the ceos c-level people founders co-founders and they're a bit easier to find on linkedin or to approach them so if you were to take that as a premise and you can tell me if it's wrong but how do you you know any thoughts or guidance on linkedin posts as far as what kind should i or should you be regularly posting on linkedin is there what type of material you should do you do it paid advertising organic i don't know enough so give us a little bit of insight because i think there's a lot of people that use linkedin within our audience that are saying hey how do i attack linkedin i know it's a great platform and i don't really know what i need to do anna so for me linkedin has been a strong focus for my business and one of my social media clients in particular and i've noticed that with linkedin linkedin right now is what facebook was a few years ago like remember you'd post on facebook and get so many so much interaction so many views and stuff like that so that's what linkedin is right now you can post on linkedin not even consistently like you can post once a week or once every few weeks but as long as you post there people will interact with it they get really excited because i think a lot of people get intimidated by linkedin because it's super professional but now people especially with everything going on in our world now people are letting their hair down they're really relaxing and i'm finding that over there more lifestyle type of posts do really well just candid behind the scenes not super professional flyers and stuff like that when i post those really nice flyers they don't get those many likes or the that much comments and stuff if i post a video it does really well like if i was to post this interaction just like this like a screen share a recording of this that would do really well because they see us interacting the people the people thing is what um they like and i would say for any social media platform not just linkedin in particular but any platform people love people so if you can show and i know a lot of business owners are like i don't want to be the face of my company but that's what they like on across the board you know so but going back to linkedin just focusing on linkedin i would say a mix of personal type of posts where you know it's you and your office but you know you're looking engaging with some caption that draws them in um sharing your own blog post your own podcast as long as the caption or the heading draws them in and i would say i use a few hashtags there too i use like maybe three hashtags i've noticed it reaches people outside of my um sphere of my connections i should say okay so now diving is just a bit deeper because i think that's very insightful and helpful so you take linkedin and let's say it sounds like you do a mix if maybe summarizing a mixture of almost kind of personal backing up so the question i always see or the question i have personally and other people in the audience i'm sure you too is you know it seems like suddenly some people on linkedin are saying hey this is a professional platform we don't want it to become the next facebook or everybody shares you know they they have birth to their child or their wedding pictures or those type of things is that a you know or they don't want it to say hey i went for a run today and you know now i'm awesome you know and i worked out those type of things that are oftentimes more social media share with your friends and family is that a correct assumption that you're wanting to bifurcate or delineate that or appear as you're saying is that people are still looking for that personal or should the personal be business related or have a business moral or should it just be share personal stuff whatever that may be does that make sense yes i would say you got to find that mix um i look at other accounts that i follow and i look at okay well they shared this and it got these many likes and i look at well how many people shared it how many people liked it how many people commented people love the person aspect if you were to go on linkedin right now and say hey i had this shake this morning and have something about you know getting something that ties in with being an entrepreneur getting your day started and why you needed that shake to get your day started to be productive people connect with that even though it's a picture of the shake you're not in it you still talked about how that helps you be productive and people like that because they can relate everyone's cooking now i mean some people are going out to you but everyone's cooking now so it connects with them and they want to learn how to be productive too and i again again i keep noticing that the ones the posts that are getting the most interaction are the ones that we traditionally thought okay that's for instagram or that's for facebook um not to be biased age-wise but i see a lot of younger you know girls coming on linkedin and younger ladies i say coming on linkedin and they look you know fresh out of college but they're getting a lot of traction because they're not doing the uber professional the people that first got on linkedin like i got on linkedin back in 2010 as a college project our one of our teachers said get on linkedin make a linkedin profile back in 2010 oh yeah it was super professional you wouldn't dare post any of your family pictures or anything like that but flash forward to 2020 i see just the other day there's a guy that i follow on linkedin and he posted a picture of him and his daughter you know in his office and people really liked it just like a video i have a video with my daughter on my um linkedin profile and people liked it people interacted with it it was something that you know i i heard that having a personal post on there would work and then i tested it out and i was like okay well people do like that so yeah okay no i think that makes sense and i think that's a question that you know it's a helpful answer because i think some people one to your point people are sometimes shy about sharing personal things but even beyond that on some platforms they're saying should i or what makes sense and i don't want to send their own signal so now with that one other question and i'm peppering you with questions so certainly if you have anything else but is there what are some of the don'ts meaning are there some things that people should avoid whether it's you know posting or marketing or anything that hey this is not a good idea you know don't you know and i'm making it up because i don't know the answer but don't go political as an example or don't talk about which party you do i mean that you know that's an example but are there things that you should avoid or shouldn't post on or shouldn't talk about shouldn't bring up or is everything fair game i would say think about your ideal cost think about your customer base how is your customer base gonna take it if you press post because you have to be bold with it as well as a business owner you've got to be bold with what you post so if it's a strong opinion how are they going to take it are they going to resonate it are they going to resonate resonate with it or are they going to feel alienated are they going to feel connected to you are they going to feel distance from you that's why i would say because even though your uh customer base might not necessarily be your follower yet or your connection yet on linkedin when they go to your profile they can see that so i would say whatever you post really think about it before you click post never post anything out of anger i know with the world we live in there's a lot of religious stuff going on political stuff going on a lot of race stuff going on i would say in a reaction you have to that do not put that on linkedin make sure you know you talk to your real life friends or family about that if you just gotta let it out or you know make sure that your facebook profile has if some people believe the facebook profile for their personal thoughts and their personal family make sure it's locked down like fort knox if you're that type of person make sure it's locked down like fort knox to where the people on that list you actually trust them that they're not screenshotting because what i've seen from past client i had before he had very very strong political views very strong religious views and that's great to have but i had warned him i had said hey look i don't think you want to be sharing that because sometimes your customer isn't necessarily in the same wavelength when it comes to stuff like that he did not listen to me it was detrimental to his business just being honest because if you look at who his client his customer base was and his messaging it was a complete mismatch his customer base was filled with one type of political party and he was spewing another and everything he was saying was out of hate and it was totally opposite from the persona when you see him in person and he presents his product to you totally different you're like this is a completely different person you would be shocked you'd be like oh my gosh that's really him like you would think that his account had been spammed so that's my story with that you know you've got to be careful with where you decide to share that because with the being the internet you can press delete and then somehow someone still has a screenshot of it they bring it up years after the fact um but yeah that's my rule of thumb when it came to like even the black lives matter i'm just being transparent i posted the black box but i don't share and you see i'm a black female i don't share the news coverage i don't share um stuff like that because it's not productive to my client base my client base is a good mixture of different races different socioeconomic classes i have my etsy clients are one type of business owner but then my e-partner's marketing completely different level of business owner right so i can't sit here and get even into the political game or economic game i should say of oh well everyone's struggling i can't say stuff like that like i've seen the weirdest stuff on instagram lately where people will say it's bad to be a billionaire and there shouldn't be any billionaires i was like i don't even try to get into those type conversations because it's like okay some of my customers aspire to be billionaires you know i'm not going to sit there spewing out weird stuff but yeah we're just bringing it home i would say use discretion and then everything you post you got to think about your customer is it going to help them connect with you or is it going to repel them and i admit there's plenty of people that have a train of thought where they're like oh well i don't want those people anyway if they don't like it you know i don't want them so like i said he's got to be bold you have to make that decision so i think and if i would take the takeaway it's almost you know know your customer and know who you're trying to attract if if you're a political partner if you're you know a nominee for senator or governor you're probably going to be a lot more political if you're trying to reach across all or all customers in all aisles you know if you you're going to offend if you if you go down that road you have the potential of losing those customers or offending them and you're going to limit the amount of customer base and so i think that that's that's good advice as we wrap up we have about you know a few more minutes i've asked a whole bunch of questions but anything on your end that people should know that you would you know they if you're have talking to startup small businesses that are either trying to get into this or just getting into this anything that we haven't covered that would be helpful for them to know um something i was gonna say is about seo because i know seo is a hot topic is that a hot topic for you do you wonder about seo is it like the eighth winner of the world i i certainly we do a lot with seo we've had a good amount of success as my law firm so but it's been a slow burn which is always for me you know it's not like i go and write a few blog posts and hey and do a good website and the next day everybody's coming to my website we spent probably a year to a year and a half before we you know it's a slow build but before we really got the traction we want and we see a lot of good results so yeah absolutely i think that's a great one to hit on and love to hear your thoughts on it yeah so um i literally just recorded a podcast episode on my podcast the or co and um it was talking about how a lot of business owners think that seo is over on an island by itself but it's really on an island but all the different social media platforms all the pr articles all the podcasts appearances all the collaborations all the blog posts all the videos on youtube it's like they're on an island but there's bridges and then the customer will go over here look at something then they come back then they go here then they come back then they come here and then they come back so um it's like i look at seo more as reputation management instead of just be you know full focus of website traffic i think a lot of custom or a lot of clients that i've had when they hear seo they think oh my god i just have to blog and that's it it's like well no google's number one youtube's number two and pinterest is number three largest search engine so it's like you know you might not be able to get the highest ranking on google but if you focus on youtube or pinterest or you integrate it then you're good so that's just the two cents i want to leave with that seo works with everything you do online which is good so as long as you're spewing out you know the positivity on social media the positivity on your website positivity and video then you'll be good so that was why i want to leave your audience with no i don't like that because i it tends i think that you know people tend to almost put them in different silos right we got facebook we got instagram we got youtube we got it google and we'll just you know each of those are separate but if you can find a way to link those together bridge them together then i think it sounds like makes a much better holistic approach as opposed to just a siloed approach i think that's great yeah so as we wrap up people want to pick your brain they want to hire you as a customer they want to or as a as a partner a third party they want you to have you manage it they want to get to more information check your out your podcast any or all of the above what's the best way to connect up with you and learn more sure so my instagram is at epartnersmarketing my linkedin is erica johnson i'll be sure to give devon the link for that um let's see the podcast is the it's on anchor spotify i think it's on google podcast i'll have to just give you the link for that too but yeah that's how they can connect with me oh and my website's so that's where they can connect with me awesome well i certainly encourage everybody to reach out to you utilize your services pick your brain find out more and all of the above and appreciate all of everything you've shared now for all of you that are listeners if you either are an expert you want to come on and share what your expertise or you want to come on to our normal episodes and just share your journey feel free to go to and apply to be on the podcast also if you are a listener make sure to click subscribe so you get a notification of all these great episodes as they go live and lastly if you ever need any help with patents or trademarks feel free to reach out to us at miller ip law well erica it's been fun to have you on there's another i'm sure another hours worth of more questions i'd have and more content that we could go over but appreciate your time sharing your expertise and everything that we've gone over thank you so much for having me devin bye bye bye [Music] English (auto-generated) All Sales

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