I had a great chat with Felicia Oliver about social media.
In particular, we talked about Twitter and Facebook, and getting started in social media. This is a really great episode for those who are just starting out and trying to figure out the best approach in what has now become an essential marketing strategy for most freelancers and entrepreneurs.
Journalist turned freelance writer turned social media maven Felicia Oliver’s business, Essentially Social, helps small businesses, nonprofits and solopreneurs grow their online visibility, to “find their tribe” and grow their bottom line through social media. Download her free Social Media Quick Start Tip Sheet at essentially-social.com
Here’s the full transcript:
Paul Urwin here Welcome to Episode 35 of the freelancers and entrepreneurs podcast. We got a great interview coming up for you in just a second. Don’t forget to come and join the Facebook group if you’re not already in it. More information, www.freelancersandentrepreneurs.com right. Let’s get cracking with today’s interview. Okay, well I’m here today with Felicia Oliver, journalist turned freelance writer turned social media, Maven, Felicia all of his business, essentially social helps small businesses, nonprofits and solopreneurs grow their online visibility to find their tribe and grow their bottom line through social media. Download her free social media quickstart tip sheet at essentially dash social.com. Felicia, welcome to the show.
Thanks so much, Paul. It’s great to be here.
Okay, fantastic to have you here. And I’m really looking forward to this conversation because social media so important for small businesses, especially these days But I thought I’d start out by asking you a little bit about how you got to where you are today. So tell us a little bit about you, Felicia.
Sure, absolutely. Well, I started off in journalism. I’ve always been a writer. I went to Northwestern University here in the Chicago area, the great journalism school at McGill. They have a program or they had at the time a new media program. So there really wasn’t social media, per se, but basically just pursuing online journalism. I worked for a couple of websites where I was the editor and also did some photo editing, which really comes in handy on social media. Yes, one of my more recent jobs I was able to write for home builders. To help them with their business. I started off with a web as a web editor there as well. And then my current position I started off as the editor for their online journal. The person that was doing our social media left They didn’t replace that person. I took on their responsibilities, and I loved it. A few years later, I ended up taking on that role full time. And so I just really developed that love for it. I think that I love the fact that you can be social in, you know, in a way to promote your business and really get to know your, your clients, your audience and let them know you know, their person, your personality. Yeah, well, I just decided I wanted to be able to do it. Doing even more. So that’s what brings me here.
Okay, fantastic. Fantastic. Well, obviously, social media is quite a big, quite a big area. What sort of platforms are you currently using? What sort of tools are you using at the moment?
Sure. Well, right now, as far as my own personal accounts I’m using mainly Twitter and Facebook. And definitely, I think It’s good if you’re new with social media to not overwhelm yourself, just, you know, find the tools that you’re comfortable with the channels that you’re comfortable with working with.
Yeah, I totally agree with that. I think some people try and start with sort of five different things at once, and then they just get overwhelmed. So I would certainly agree with starting off, starting off with perhaps one platform at the beginning.
Right, right. Yeah, just depending on your comfortability, and especially if you’re doing it for your business. Think about what you use in your personal life. That’s a good place to start. So you know, the mechanics and how it works.
yeah. Okay, well, let’s, let’s talk a little bit about Twitter, then. How might you go about using Twitter to promote a small business or a growing business?
Right. Well, I think definitely want to think about the fact that you want to be very active on Twitter. I think it’s not one of those things where you can just like post once or twice a week, really to build like out a calendar of have what you want to say and make sure that you have a mixture of things. I think a lot of times people get excited and they just want to promote, promote, promote, we’re doing this, we have a sale. Twitter’s a great place to really show your personality, even as a brand, even as a business. So, you know, there’s these popular hashtags, you know, Monday, motivation, Wednesday, wisdom, just find ways to connect with your audience through things like that. I think always try to find a way to talk to your audience. You know, you can do poll questions, just to kind of see what they’re thinking about not just your product, and not just about the industry, but just about things in general. Just so you kind of get an idea of your customer avatar, just who they are and how they think and what makes them tick.
Okay, just creating that kind of connection offering value.
Right? Definitely offering value, not just this is you know, what I want To sell you a special product.
Yeah. So just in terms of a couple of specifics, how often do you think you should be posting on Twitter?
Honestly, I would say a minimum of five times a day, and I know that sounds overwhelming.
Wow. It does. Yeah. Yeah. Well, that sounds a lot. Okay. And how often and how often do you think you can promote then? one out of five or one out of 10? or?
Yeah, I would probably say one out of five. But the most the most Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And the other for the other for your offering value and connecting basically with your audience.
Exactly. Exactly. And a lot of your activity on Twitter can also be retweets, comments on other tweets, interacting with other with other accounts. So that might make it a little less overwhelming. If you’re just thinking about you know, because I know this is long as you’re busy. They’re trying to do business with you would you suggest? Posting manually for all of those five, would you use any automatic automation tools? Or would you go in five times a day? Because it does seem a little bit tricky. And like you said, most people are really busy. So if I’m going to go into Twitter five times a day, on, you know, obviously five different points in time, it’s a little bit disruptive. I personally find that quite different.
Yeah, exactly. And so what I because I do my own Twitter as well, I use Well, there are lots of tools out there, social sprout, agora pulse, social reporting, they can really help you post or to pre schedule tweets. So you could actually take an afternoon, just think about what you want to tweet for the week. And just, you know, plop it in, and then let it run. And obviously, you know, check and see the interactions, the engagements, respond to people. But yeah, I mean, you can even a month ahead of time if you just really sit down and think about what you want to communicate to your audience. So You’re definitely not trying to set it up. We have to go in five times a day. in real time. Yeah. And yeah,
yeah, that would be. Okay. That makes sense. So perhaps a combination of automation and some manual posts.
Okay. Very good. And if we could just talk about the mechanics of a of a tweet, how do you actually set up a tweet? So I mean, I do use Twitter. I don’t use it extensively, I must admit, and then I’ll just tell you how I do it. And then you can you can tell me where I’m going wrong. So I would just go in I would, I would try and use the maximum number of characters. I don’t know what that is right now. Just write a little a little headline, then I would include some relevant hashtags. And I would either post an image or a video with that. Is that is that about it?
Well, I think you’re doing great. That’s a great strategy 280 calc, characters that What Twitter allows these days. And I definitely think you should maximize and use up all those characters definitely include hashtags, hashtags are so important in terms of helping people to find your content. Because you have you have followers, but in order to expand your reach, people sometimes look up different hashtags. If they’re looking up hashtags about your industry, you want to make sure that that hashtag is in your tweet. So I’d say at least a couple of hashtags, a catchy headline. And definitely some sort of visual so like you said, a video, a GIF if, if appropriate, something to draw your attention because if everybody’s doing the maximum tweets per day, your message is going to get lost unless you’ve got something to really catch their attention. So yeah, yeah, yeah.
Why not? In that regard. And in that regard, Felicia, how much sort of personal stuff Should I be including? Or should one be including and how much funny stuff I say put it like that. So, I mean, obviously one approach is just to be very business focused and try and offer value in a particular industry. Serious professional comments if you like. And another one is Oh, and by the way, here’s a picture of me doing something else. Here’s a picture of me eating a pizza. Or here is, here’s a funny GIF. How do you how do you find that balance between being serious professional offering concrete value, and lightening it up a bit because we don’t want a boring twitter feed doing?
Exactly, exactly. I try to aim for like a equal balance of, you know, business, funny, and personal or human interest.
I think that you have to have a variety. You have to think about your industry as well. I mean, there there are possibly some business As an industry that maybe you don’t want to be funny, quite bad often, maybe it just won’t really go over well. But I think the personal is always attractive just I think, particularly with small businesses or solo entrepreneurs, as I like to call them. You are your brand. So yeah, sometimes maybe you eating a piece of pizza might be you know, just kind of get an insight into your life, who you are what makes you tick. You know, if I’m going to trust you, if I’m going to purchase from you, I want to know a little bit more about you. And that’s kind of the, the key about social is you want to be social. And if you were just talking to somebody about business 100% of the time, that’s not really gonna go over.
Yeah, people get a little bit bored.
Right, right. Yeah,
yeah. And people definitely like Like you said, People like to connect with you a bit more. It’s the sort of know like and trust before someone is willing to buy something from you. So I definitely think that that sort of personal and as you say, especially in the case of solar As you are your brand, so I think it’s I think it’s really, really important to try and find that balance.
Okay, what? Go on Felicia?
No, I just say variety is key. Variety is key variety is key.
Yep, totally agree with that. Okay, so one thing that I struggle with or have struggled with a little bit, is like I can understand what we’ve talked about so far. But now what most people seem to want at the end of the day is to get more clients, right? So if you’re, if you’re running a small business or a growing business or you’re a freelancer, what you’re looking for is more clients at the end of the day, and tweeting and and running these social media platforms is great and kept but it can take up quite a bit of time as we as we know, you can get you can get likes, okay, so we’ve got some likes, we’ve got some interaction we might have the odd question and, and retweet and things like that, but How do we actually go from a little bit of interest? And then an active account? And let’s say a growing number of followers, how do we actually go from that stage to converting some of these people into clients?
Right, right? Well, one thing that I am a big proponent of is having some sort of offer a free offer that kind of give people a taste of what you’re about and what what services that you make available, excuse me. And so it’s no risk or very little risk. You know, give me your email address, I’ll send you this great, valuable piece of information. I have a social media quickstart kit that I offer on my website. And I think it’s important to be able to show that you’re willing to give people value with a little investment or for free so they can kind of sample with You have to offer. Yeah. And you know when the time is right, when they’re ready to do more, they’ll, they’ll feel like well, I kind of know what this product is I know this reputation, I know that they’ve offered valuable input service, whatever before. And so now now that I’m ready to take the leap, I’m going to take the leap with you. So, I think that that’s very valuable. So you offer something into in in return, so it’s basically a lead magnet, you offer them something in return for their email address.
Exactly, exactly. Okay.
And then you’re using an email marketing tool to stay in touch with them.
Exactly. Yeah. It is really important to stay in contact and not just be like, oh, here’s your thing. Yeah. See you later. To try to keep in contact on a regular basis. I think weeklies ideally. Ideal timetable. That’s just like with the tweeting every day that can be challenging, but, but you also got to think about what the ultimate Goal is and like you said it’s all these efforts are going to bring are going to come into fruition eventually. So if you’re not tied up with with work all the time or you want to keep people in the funnel, you’ve got to you got to work at it. You don’t want the well to run dry.
okay, okay so you’re building up your email list any particular tools you you’re using a using lead pages or AWeber, ConvertKit anything like that, what do you use to make it all happen?
I am kind of going between a couple right now. MailChimp, of course is a free tool ConvertKit just began offering a free tool as well or free version freemium version. So I’m just kind of, you know, trying to see and I think this is important too. If you’re starting out. You You have to kind of price what you’re going to do. Sure. No, I think MailChimp is good for if you’re just starting out. You know, you don’t have a lot of money to spend. I think You can have up to, I want to say 1000 subscribers before you would have to pay anything with MailChimp. Okay. Yeah, I think that’s, I think that that’s a good way to start. Where I’m gonna I’m seeing how ConvertKit is going to work for me as well with the freemium version of what they offer. So, yeah, but some sort of tool. Those are the ones that I’ve used. There’s plenty out there, you know, compare contrast, see what’s going to work best for you?
Yeah, okay. Good stuff, good stuff. Well, I definitely think that’s, that’s an important part of the strategy is to start off with social, social media. And then to get people onto an email list. That seems to be a technique or a strategy that many people have successfully employed and sort of build up that list over time. You You, of course, have complete control over your email list. You’re not subject to any, any sort of changes on the platform and that kind of thing. And that’s what seems to make it very powerful. Right.
Right. Right. Yeah. It seems hard to think of it that maybe Facebook or Twitter disappears one day, we’re on problems. So you got to email us, like I said, You’ve got total control, and all these kinds of people.
yeah, well, I definitely seem to change the rules in terms of, if you post an update, it doesn’t necessarily go to all of your followers and that kind of thing. So with an email list, you do have a lot more control. So I think it certainly makes sense to build up an email list over time. And I think, you know, even if you’ve only have 10 people on your email list, as long as you’re increasing the numbers, then you’re and those are basically targeted people, like you mentioned your avatar, then then then you’re going in the right direction.
Right, right. And it’s a good point with the algorithm. I mean, the mysteries of Facebook’s algorithm can change, you know, month to month, and what’s working for you, you know, in the spring might be totally the rules change by the fall, so Yeah, you’ve just got to really be nimble and have your own.
Yeah, like that be nimble, be nimble. Absolutely. Okay. Well, let’s talk a little bit about Facebook. So that was the other the other sort of platform that you mentioned at the beginning how using Facebook at the moment, Felicia.
So I don’t post is often to Facebook. I probably try, I would probably advise people to not post more than once a day on Facebook. And you can probably get away with even less than that. Obviously, you’ve got more room to protect CW not constructed to needy characters. So I think you can do a lot with that. And same thing, you want to make sure you’re using photos and videos, Facebook Live. And even with Twitter, you can use Periscope. So there’s just a lot of different tools that you can use to connect with your audience.
You Do you do a lot of lives?
I do for certain occasions. We have a conference every year. And we have an expo and I go up to some of our exhibitors, and I just ask them, in their own words to talk about their product on Facebook Live this like little minute or less snippet. Those go very really well.
Yeah. And I think just the same thing works for small business owners on Facebook, you get to see the person you’re talking to in real life. You know, this is new, this is my I’m a real person. And yeah, I think that’s a great way to connect to your audience.
Yeah, I think that sort of authentic approach is really, really powerful. And I think when I when I first set up businesses, it was sort of the idea I had was setting up a business that that was separate to me. And you know, people would see the business name and they wouldn’t really see me and now I’m much more inclined to integrate clewd a certain level of personal branding a certain level of, or a total level of authenticity and just say, Hey, you know, this is, this is who I am. And this is what I do. And, you know, this is how we can help you. I think that sort of approach seems to be very, very common these days.
Yeah, it is definitely. And I think social media has really made that possible. In a way that was never really was more difficult to achieve before where you can just, you know, wander through and say, oh, there’s Paul. What he’s up. Exactly, yeah.
Yeah, I think I think it’s, it feels a little bit stranger or felt a little bit strange at the beginning. But I think as you get more into it as you as you do more Facebook Lives as you interact with more people online, it becomes it becomes more more natural, but it certainly wasn’t very natural for me at the beginning.
Yeah, I’m sure that’s the case for most people, and there’s probably some people listening now that feel like I would never do that. But I think it’s good to just, you know, dip your toe in slowly and just you know, See how it goes. And there may be some people for which you know, being live on video just isn’t for them by Oh, yes. So you have to you have to be real and figure that out. But I think for most people, I think most people can do it. And I think I would really encourage people to, to give it a go. I mean, even if you start off saying, right, well, I’m going to do one Facebook Live for two minutes. This month. That’s it, that the nothing else, then I think, obviously, you can, you can you can try it out. Yeah, I mean, the other thing that I suggest to people when they’re getting started is not to do a live is actually just to do a recorded video, and then upload that. And then once you’ve done a few recorded videos, perhaps do a live because he does a slightly different feeling, doing something doing something live, but Facebook Lives a bit more powerful in terms of the algorithm, right?
I think so. Yeah. Yeah. I find that whenever you go live, he just it draws people’s attention immediately. So and I think that’s great advice. You can always start recording something and and Get it the way that you want it to be, and keep it short. And then post them, and then allow your comfort level level to grow, where you can actually do it live. So yes, good advice.
Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Definitely. I would agree with that the keeping it short. I think that’s absolutely, you know, absolutely fundamental because I think sometimes people get overwhelmed with trying to go through 10 different points. And if you have 10 different things to say, Well, why not do 10 videos? Why not do 10 videos or one minute each, I think, I think that can I can help.
Exactly. more content over more days. That’s That’s a great idea.
Absolutely. All right. Well, thank you. Thank you, Felicia. Well, let’s let’s talk a little bit about your business now, about where you are, and about your plans for the future?
Okay, well, I am brand new with doing this as a business. It’s been less than six months. I’m really excited about it. I have one client I want to say another client On the way, and I just really been enjoying it. I think it’s a challenge for for any new business just to really know what to do next. I feel like there’s so many things, so many ideas so many, you know, directions to go, but but I really feel like it’s good to have a support team. I know that you know, especially being an entrepreneur you feel like it’s just you but having mastermind groups having even you know, as you guys have Facebook support group. I went through what’s called Social Media Manager school, Phyllis care want to give her a shout out. Obviously, I had the background in social media, but I think some of the background and running a business is really valuable. Obviously, there’s so many online courses that can help you and you don’t have to go to business school to, to start a business or to be successful. But I think just really talking to people that are doing it, getting lots of advice, and even just a willingness to take risks here and there. I think that sometimes when you’re doing something new, you just want to kind of play it safe. But I think putting yourself out there, you know, even if you, you know, maybe things don’t go perfectly, you know, you learn from that, and you get better and you tweak, and you move forward. So, yeah, I think the experience has been really, really good so far. I’m really excited for the future.
brilliant, brilliant, some excellent, outstanding recommendations in there, Felicia, so thank you. Thank you for that. I’d like to, I’d like to talk specifically about your first couple of clients. So you’ve got your first client on board, you’ve got another one on the way and then you know, you’re gonna get more and more. I think that’s one of the the key stages in a new business, obviously, is getting those clients on board. So So how do you see that panning out for you? Where are you getting those clients from? Because I think for a lot of people, once you can get your first five clients, your first 10 clients, well, then you can start to really see the future. But it’s it’s that sort of getting started. That’s a little bit tricky, a little bit challenging, like you said, a little bit of trial and error. So how do you how do you see your where do you see your first few clients? So your first 10 clients coming from?
Well, it’s interesting. It’s literally been me just talking to people about what I’m doing, Hey, I just started this new business. I’m doing social media for businesses. Really, I think I could use that, you know, type of help with my business. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. Sometimes they’re not quite ready to make that step. It sounds intriguing, but they they aren’t quite there. The business that I have now, one was a small profit. are a nonprofit, small nonprofit. And again, was talking about what I was doing. And it took a while I, you know, you send out proposals, you tweak things, you go back and forth. And you just have to be patient and you have to work with people. I feel like the next clients that are probably going to come on board. I actually did a little bit more traditional soliciting of that business. But I feel like it’s the same thing. This is the service that I did you I did you know that I did this? I had no idea that you did that. And so just don’t be shy about talking about what you do what you can offer value to people because I was talking about it not in the mindset of prospecting. But this is what happened. It didn’t that as a plan. But I think so many people are trying to do their their side gigs. They’re, you know, freelance endeavors and they think about Yeah, social media that that would be a great addition to it, but I have no idea how how to go about it. How can you help me? And so I would just definitely encourage entrepreneurs freelancers to just talk about what you’re doing just naturally. I mean, it’s like, well, this is what I’m up to.
yeah, it’s not. It’s not a hard sell. It’s just sort of talking about what you do and how you can help people. And if you’re honest and honest about that, and you have a genuine interest in helping other people, then I think that that attracts people. Right.
Exactly. Yeah, the genuine interest, which is hopefully why you go into pursuing whatever it is that you’re doing. So yeah, absolutely.
Okay. Okay. Wonderful, wonderful, brilliant, brilliant stuff, Felicia. Okay. Okay. So in terms of a specific offer, I mean, social media was, as we’ve talked about is a huge, huge area. Do you give people or offer a certain package? Or I mean, do you just say, Hey, you know, let’s talk about your social media needs or do you say, hey, well, I’ll do I’ll do friends. For you, and I’ll do so many posts a day and I’ll do or I’ll do so many tweets and so many images or I’ll work one hour a day, or how do you how do you package something into something? concrete? Let’s say?
Yeah, yeah. I think that each client is a little different. So I tried to not and that might change down the road, but I try not to just offer a set package. I just like kind of sitting down and seeing what their needs are, what they want to accomplish. If I were to do a package yet, maybe I would say, okay, we’re going to do five tweets a day, Monday through Friday, or we’re going to do you know, Facebook post, three times a week, that sort of thing. But I think sometimes it really is a matter of just sitting down and thinking about what is going to work for this client. How much time Are they willing to sit down because you know, there’s different things I could I could do their social media posting for them. I could train them on what sort of things they should post So just kind of figuring out what is going to work best for that client has been the approach that I’m taking.
Yeah. And I think that the more you talk to clients and potential clients, you, you’ll figure that out over time. So I’m sure if we talk again, in a in a year’s time, you’ll have it much, much clearer whether you’re going to be focusing on training or whether you want to be focusing on packages, or whether you’re going to be focusing on tailored solutions. And I think that just kind of comes with time. Right. Right.
Right. Yeah, the clients that you end up having sometimes form the business that you end up having in the business structure. So yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if if something along those lines develops down the line.
Okay, brilliant, brilliant stuff. Felicia, lots and lots of great value in there. Thank you so much for talking to me today. I really, really appreciate it. Let’s just wrap it up by by sort of sharing your sharing your link again, and any last message from you?
Absolutely. So that’s essentially the social.com I’m offering a social media quickstart tip sheet, just to help people who are new to social media who want to use it for their business to just kind of get some basics in line so they can get started. I really am passionate about helping small business owners, nonprofits and solo entrepreneurs, as I like to call them get started. I think sometimes, you know, the larger corporations might have a whole social media or marketing team. But some of these smaller enterprises need some extra help, too. So yeah, I’m really excited. Please visit my website. I would be happy to help you.
Brilliant. Brilliant. Well, thank you so much again, Felicia, it’s been awesome talking to you. I wish you all the very best with with your business. So good luck with that. And I look forward to talking to you again soon.
Absolutely. Thank you so much, Paul.
Okay. All right. Take care. Bye bye.
All right. All right. Well, I hope you enjoyed that interview. I thought was a really Really good ones and great information there from Felicia. So a big thank you to her. Don’t forget to check out all the other stuff that we’ve got going on at WWW dot freelancers and entrepreneurs.com thank you so much for listening all the best and until next time, bye