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Sean interviews digital marketing consultant EG Orren about a social media strategy (particularly Facebook) that can transform your business.

Get a free half hour of consulting with EG here: https://tidycal.com/egorren/custom-social-media-tips

Click above to listen to the 33 min audio.

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Sean Corbett:
Hello, everybody. Sean Corbett here. Websites.ca Marketing. I have another cool episode for you today. So what I wanted to talk about was one of the bigger problems that a lot of people come to us about at Websites.ca is they heard from somebody, they went to a conference, they read a story online about how businesses are using social media to crush it, and so maybe they’re thinking of dipping their toe into that. Maybe some of you listening have got on different social accounts before and really just couldn’t get over the hump to figure out, “How can I make this work for my business?” So that’s why I’m extremely excited today to talk to our guest. EG Orren is a digital marketer. She specializes in content creation and social media for small businesses, and even cooler, she has a special method to eliminate your online overwhelm and turn your passion into paychecks. So, EG, thanks for being here.

EG Orren:
Thank you very much, Sean. Great to be here.

Sean Corbett:
Yeah. So I wanted to dive right in. Maybe you could tell the listeners a little bit about your background and expertise. Basically, why they should pay attention to what you have to say.

EG Orren:
Well, let’s see. I started in online advertising quite literally before phones were smart and Google was a verb. So for the older crowd out there that used to have to ask Jeeves or Yahoo to get information instead of Google, I’ve seen a lot of changes, and there’s just going to be more changes coming. That can be overwhelming even for people like me that are in the industry, but there are tips and tricks that they can get around to, like you said, eliminate the online overwhelm. It’s more a matter of not having to be everywhere. Right?

EG Orren:
I mean, you mentioned in the intro that people have probably tried different accounts and stuff or different platforms because they heard so and so at such and such company managed to have great success on TikTok, or on Instagram, or in Clubhouse. Right? But they’re not necessarily connecting it back to, “Is that where my audience is? Is that what my industry is? Is their business at the same point in development as mine?” Right? So they’re just seeing… The analogy I use is you’re just seeing a duck coast along the water, but you’re not seeing the frantic paddling happening underneath. Right?

EG Orren:
So I’ve seen a lot, and I’ve seen it with small businesses and big businesses. I’ve seen it, and it’s pretty much universal. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Canada, in the US, in Australia. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or if you’ve been in business for 20 years. It doesn’t matter if you’re a solopreneur, a little mom-and-pop corner shop, or if you’re a big corporation. We all have the same needs in terms of marketing, but it’s not about necessarily where as opposed to where your audience is and how you can approach them. What I do with big companies, with small companies, it’s all the same. It’s all in how you apply it. It’s all in how you make it connect for you.

Sean Corbett:
So would you say that it’s one of the biggest misconceptions that people have with, say, content creation for social is that they approach it platform-first instead of audience-first where they’re like, “Oh, this week, I have to be on Twitter. This week, I have to be on TikTok?” Would you say that’s the first misstep that most small businesses make?

EG Orren:
Yeah. They’re looking at the medium and the platform first. With my clients, I work through what I call a SPA method. So you want to take the bigger picture, a step back, and have an overall strategy. With whatever business you’ve created, it wasn’t just, “I’m going to do this one specific thing and forget about everything else.” Right? If you’re producing something, if you’re selling something, you have a process that you have to go through, and the same applies for being on social media and for connecting with clients online. What’s that bigger strategy?

EG Orren:
Once you have an idea of what your strategy is, what your goals are, then you create a plan for those strategies. Then, you act on them. Right? So S-P-A, SPA. Essentially, a lot of people will go, “Oh, TikTok is all the rage. I have to be on TikTok.” Right? “Oh, and I have to figure out how to make viral TikTok videos,” or, “I have to run ads on TikTok,” or last year, clubhouse was all the rage. Instead of chasing after the proverbial hot stock tip of the week, right, think about your business, and your ideal clients, and where they are, and why they might be interested in what you have to offer them instead of looking at where the fads are. Right? It’s not where the fads are. It’s where your ideal client is.

Sean Corbett:
Yep, and piggybacking off that, maybe you can tell me if I’m on the right track here. A lot of times, when I’ve seen small businesses get into… pick any social platform, and they might learn a little bit about it. So they get excited, and they go, “Oh, the algorithm rewards X, Y, Z thing, and I can get way more reach by doing X, Y, Z thing,” and they start to look at these things marketers like you and I might call new metrics. So reach, likes, this kind of thing. But what I find that they’re forgetting is that… Is it better to reach 10,000 people who are never going to buy just because they, “Ah, that’s a cute cat,” or “Ha-ha, that’s a funny video,” or is it better to reach 20 people, half of whom are supremely qualified customers?

EG Orren:
Right. The big challenge with social media is the vanity… I call them vanity metrics, right?

Sean Corbett:
Yeah.

EG Orren:
It’s not a popularity contest. You can have a hundred. You mentioned like 10, right? It can be 10, a hundred followers on Facebook. But if they’re hardcore followers, and they’re advocates, and they’re buying your product, and they’re helping to support you by commenting and sharing your post, at the end of the day, that is going to be a lot more valuable than just to having, like you said, a cute cat meme or something, and then that happens to go viral. That’s not to say you can’t use those, but it has to tie in. Right?

EG Orren:
The idea behind social media is it’s meant to be social. Right? It’s, “Let’s have a conversation. Let’s discuss. Let’s build a relationship. Let’s see.” Right? It’s like going to a party, going to a networking group, only it’s virtual instead of in-person. Right? Just like you wouldn’t start walking into a room and handing out business cards or handing out sale flyers and just going, “Buy my stuff. Buy my stuff. Buy my stuff.” Right? You assess the room. Right? Find where you can spot your people, so to speak, and go in. Try to get involved in the conversation. Put your hand out. Say, “Hi, my name is…” You introduce yourself.

Sean Corbett:
Yeah.

EG Orren:
“What do you do? This is what I do.” Right? You’re establishing that relationship. Ryan Deiss from Digital Marketer at one point likened it to dating. He said, “You wouldn’t walk up to somebody at a bar and say, ‘Hi, my name is… Want to get married?'”

Sean Corbett:
Yeah.

EG Orren:
Right? You have to build that rapport. You have to build that relationship. You have to suss each other out, and that’s really what social media should be. No matter what any of other marketing agencies might tell you, that’s the secret behind the algorithm, finding content that isn’t just necessarily viral, but it’s engaging with your audience, and you’re having that… You’re building that rapport, that communication. Those likes, and those comments, and those shares will come if you’re talking to them as people. Right? As equals as opposed to trying to pitch them something.

Sean Corbett:
For sure. Yeah, and I think also, it’s important to tell the listeners what end goal we’re all having in mind here. Right? Would you agree that the primary end goal of using social media is really to get people off of social media onto your email list?

EG Orren:
I wouldn’t necessarily say get them off of social media, but carry the conversation offline. Right?

Sean Corbett:
Yeah.

EG Orren:
So liken it to getting somebody’s phone number, right, at an in-person networking event or a bar, whatever analogy you want to use.

Sean Corbett:
Yeah, yeah. You could go back to the bar every Thursday and still see them there, but you also want to make sure you have them in your Rolodex, let’s say.

EG Orren:
Exactly, exactly. Especially with social media, it’s… Everyone calls it rented space, right? You don’t have control over the algorithm. You don’t have control over if somebody potentially hacks your account, if suddenly the platform decides you don’t deserve to be on. Right? If they change the algorithm, they do whatever, you don’t have control over that. Does anybody remember MySpace or Vine, right? I mean, those…

Sean Corbett:
I do.

EG Orren:
Vine doesn’t exist anymore. MySpace is actually still there. It’s just not as active as it used to be.

Sean Corbett:
Yeah.

EG Orren:
But if you’re just relying on a platform and you’re expecting just to reach people in that platform, what if that platform shuts down? Right?

Sean Corbett:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EG Orren:
What if it gets sold out? What if they change the rules and you can no longer… You lose that audience. Whereas with email, you own the email just like you own your website. So it’s a way to have that conversation. It’s more personal, right?

Sean Corbett:
Yeah.

EG Orren:
Right. The other challenge…

Sean Corbett:
Oh, go ahead.

EG Orren:
Sorry. I say going to say the other challenge with social media is because of the algorithm, and you don’t necessarily know if what you post on social media is going to be seen. Right?

Sean Corbett:
Yeah.

EG Orren:
Something like Facebook. If you’re lucky, 5% of your audience will see it. Right? So what about the other 95%? Whereas with email, 100% of the people that give you their email will have your message in their inbox.

Sean Corbett:
Yeah.

EG Orren:
Right? So it’s a more direct, intimate conversation and relationship. You know that you’re going to reach them, and you won’t lose them to whatever platform rules or owners decide to do.

Sean Corbett:
Also, going back to your SPA method too, that’s why you have the strategy and the plan is if something happens to a platform or something happens to your account, you can take that strategy and plan, and apply it to another suitable arena, another suitable media.

EG Orren:
Right, and it isn’t just social media. Right? Anything thing that you do with marketing, with advertising, it needs to be multi-platform and not just within social media. So you’re not just looking at Facebook, and LinkedIn, and TikTok. You’re looking at what are you doing with your website? If you’re a smaller local company that has physical brick-and-mortar location, what are you doing with maybe the local free newspaper, or do you have flyers, or are there any local things that you can… It can be print. It can be digital. It can be community groups. Right? So it’s not just, “I have to have a social media,” “No, I have a Facebook account,” or, “I have to be on LinkedIn even.” Right? Everything has to all come together. It all has to tie together literally like a web, a spider web.

Sean Corbett:
Yeah. There you go. That’s the…

EG Orren:
t’s all connected. You may have specific tactics and action plans for Facebook, or TikTok, or LinkedIn, or the local newspaper, but that’s where the bigger picture of having a strategy comes into play. They all end up interconnected. Right? They all end up using and coming together to play out to be able to build up your reach with your ideal client.

Sean Corbett:
So, that in mind, maybe I was hoping you could give the audience a few, say, easy wins they could do to improve their content, their social presence right away.

EG Orren:
First of all, don’t try to be everywhere.

Sean Corbett:
Right.

EG Orren:
Right? Think about not necessarily what platform you’re the most comfortable with, but where would your audience hang out the most? So, start there. Right? That’s not to say you shouldn’t have more than one account across multiple platforms, but spend your time focusing on one. Build your audience there and have that conversation with them. So make sure that your presence online matches who you are in person. Right? You can talk about your products. You can try to sell your products, but it’s not about the product. It’s about how your client can benefit from it. So the easy win, right?

EG Orren:
So you set up a Facebook account. You’re having a sale because everybody is going to go, “Let’s buy something first.” Right? You’re having a sale. Well, okay. So you get 20% off, right? Well, so what? Right? Make it about them. Make it advantageous to them. I know that they’re probably thinking, “That’s overwhelming. I can’t do that.” But really, just start. The initial win is starting more than anything.

EG Orren:
A lot of my clients say, “I don’t have anything to say. I’m boring. I don’t have any content.” The content is there. You just don’t realize it because you’re in the thick of it. Right? You’re not on the outside looking in. So as a small business, you started this business because it was probably a passion project. Right? So what interested you in whatever it is you’ve created? Right? Why did you start it? Who were you trying to help? It could have been that you were just trying to do this for yourself, and then you found that this worked for other people, and so you just expanded, but explain that to people. “This is why I do what I do.” Right?

Sean Corbett:
Yeah.

EG Orren:
“This is how I help myself. This is how I’m helping you.” Start there. Right? It’s it’s that, “Hi, my name is…” You know?

Sean Corbett:
Telling a story basically, and taking little pieces of it, and using that as content.

EG Orren:
Telling their story. Exactly. Right.

Sean Corbett:
Yeah.

EG Orren:
It’s like you’re interviewing me. You probably have a list of questions for me, and it’s literally the, “Who are you? What do you do? Why do you do it? Where do you do it?” We’re in Canada, right? We had W5 here for how many years. Right? Go through the who, what, where, when, and why. Right?

Sean Corbett:
Yeah.

EG Orren:
Just start having those conversations. Easy wins is just sharing, right? “This is why I do what I do. These were my challenges in getting from A to B.” Right?

Sean Corbett:
Yeah. Okay. I got an idea from what you said there, and maybe we can workshop and massage it a little bit.

EG Orren:
Yeah.

Sean Corbett:
We used the example like a brick-and-mortar business is going to do a sale, and what is the thing that we’ve seen? Because everybody, when they start with any content, I find they start by copying other people, which is better than nothing, but like you’re saying, it’s not really about them, and so it typically fails. So let’s say, “Okay. I’m going to do a sale…” Typical thing to do is to put up a generic stock image that says, “20% off.” A crappy clip art thing. Right? Then, the content says, “Basically, buy, buy, buy.”

Sean Corbett:
But using the method you just described at least as I understand it, if you want to tell your story a little bit as the business owner, you have a photo of you physically in your store putting up the discount sign on the wall with a smile on your face. You can see some of the store in the background and maybe some of the other employees, and the post talks about, “This weekend, we’re getting ready for our big blah, blah, blah annual sale, and this is why we do it. Blah, blah, blah.” So, am I on the right track, that that’s getting towards more of a unique personal content?

EG Orren:
You are. Yes.

Sean Corbett:
Okay.

EG Orren:
It doesn’t necessarily have to be you the owner if you’re… because a lot of people are introverts, and they’re not necessarily comfortable putting themselves on social media, but chances are you’ve got someone that will advocate for you. It could be a friend. It could be a family member. It could be another client that just can’t stop talking about your product or service. Right? You can use them as the image, but yes, don’t just go with the stock image. Personalize it. Right? Make that connection.

EG Orren:
There’s a saying that content is king, and I would tend to agree with that. But in order for the content to be king, you need to have the visual element, right, on social media. You can’t just have text. You have to have an image. Right? So that image needs to stop the scroll. If you’re doing print advertising, that image needs to catch the eye, and then once you’ve got their attention, then the words and the message is what will carry through. If they see that you’re trying to make the connection, that is going to resonate more than just trying to stand on a soapbox with a megaphone and then just preach essentially.

Sean Corbett:
Yeah, and the flyers. Yeah. We’re talking about storytelling and personalizing stuff. I will put you on the spot and say, could you tell us a specific story about maybe a case study of a business who came to you with an issue and how you helped?

EG Orren:
Recently, the past couple of years during the pandemic, I’ve spent a lot of time helping independent musicians. I mean, their world literally came to a screeching halt when they couldn’t perform in person. They couldn’t go on tour. They couldn’t go in studio. They couldn’t do anything. So one of my clients who had a bit of a Facebook phobia, I guess you could call it, had never done any live streams, didn’t know what to say, even though she’d been in the industry for over 20 years. It’s like, “I’ve got nothing. I don’t know how to handle this thing. I’ll like every now and then, and that’s about it.” So it was, “Well, let’s look at your music. Why do you write what you do? Who are you trying to connect with? Who do you perform to when you’re on stage? So who’s your audience?”

EG Orren:
Then, it’s like, “Okay. So all we’re doing now is we’re taking that you’re not on stage in front of a live audience. You’re now in your living room or in your studio, and your audience is now on the other side of a screen.” So we started making themes out of each show, each live stream. Right? So, if that week is Easter, right, there was just an Easter episode. So if Christmas, you have Christmas songs. If it’s hockey season, Canada is big with the hockey songs, so there are hockey songs, or there’ll be guest appearances by other musicians or that somehow will tie in. Right? It’s just a matter of you’re doing everything already probably at some level of comfort in person, and we’re just translating that to online. So she went from having a tech phobia, “I have no idea what to do on Facebook Live or any live, and what if it doesn’t work? What if I can’t get whatever to happen?” to literally 21,000 people tuning in.

Sean Corbett:
Nice.

EG Orren:
From zero to 21,000, within three months. Right?

Sean Corbett:
That’s great too.

EG Orren:
Then, that turned into… It’s like, “Okay, so you’ve got people tune in.” The other challenge with social media is sometimes people aren’t comfortable asking for money. Right? They’re not comfortable asking for the sale. They can do it with an ad, but not if it’s in person kind of thing. So then it’s, “Well, let’s create a tip jar where you’re donating money to a charity.” Right? So some of it, you may keep half, so it’s a 50-50 split, and you let your fans vote on who the charity is this month, and then you post, “This is how much we’ve raised for X, Y, Z.”

Sean Corbett:
Right.

EG Orren:
Right? And not just…

Sean Corbett:
So content is creating content is creating work also.

EG Orren:
Content is creating content is creating content.

Sean Corbett:
Yeah.

EG Orren:
You’re getting your audience involved. Right? So the people that are watching her live shows are choosing who to donate money to. Right?

Sean Corbett:
Yeah.

EG Orren:
She’s getting some of this as well, and then she’s turning around, and she’s donating that money. She’s taking screenshots, and she’s saying, “This is who we helped this month.” Right? “This is how the money is being used by that organization. Whether it’s a children’s hospital, whether it’s an animal rescue, right, whatever it is, this is how you guys are helping me. This is how, together, we’re building a community online, and you’re supporting me. I’m interacting with you, and together, we’re helping other people.” Right?

Sean Corbett:
That’s awesome. That’s great. Yeah.

EG Orren:
It is. It’s a snowball thing. You just need that one little domino, and then once that first domino falls, it just gets easier and easier.

Sean Corbett:
Well, it helps too to have somebody like you. There is a consultant who can see the big picture and realizes it’s not just about one post. But like you said before, it’s this interconnected web of posts, and they keep coming and interact with people, and all that kind of stuff. When you set up that live, did you have a pre-launch campaign of content plans so that you guys could make sure you had X amount of people on the live?

EG Orren:
Right. So, it is. If you’re going to do something, you announce it. Right? If you have a sale, “We’re going to have a sale. We’re having a Black Friday sale.” It’s like, “Come down.” Right. So, in this case, it was, “I’m going to do a live stream. I’ve never done one before. I would appreciate your support. Come help me work out the kinks because I’m a technophobe,” kind of thing. Right? That message went on social media. So it went maybe a week before, and then it went again a couple of days before, and then the day of. Then, you have the live stream, you have the interaction, and then you have the review afterwards. Right? So you have a follow-up post that says, “I had the live stream. These were the good things that happened. These were the bad things. These are the challenges that I had. This is the experience I had.”

EG Orren:
Then, with anything that you do online, really, the trick is asking for something. Right. In marketing terms, we call it a call to action, and what tends to happen is most people will think that that call to action means, “Buy my stuff.” A call to action can be asking a question where you want to get a response. Right? Like, “Tell me your thoughts,” or, “What do you think?” or, “What’s your opinion on this?” or, “If you agree, like my post or share it with your friends and family.” It doesn’t have to be purchase related. It can just be engagement. That’s what your call to action is.

EG Orren:
So that’s what she did. She started saying, “Give me feedback. Right. This was my experience. What did you think of it? Let’s try to build this together.” Right? Ultimately, with small business, you have that starting point. You have that widget that you created for whatever need, or interest, or desire. But now, if you can have that conversation with people to say, “What do you think of it?” It’s customer service. Right? “What was your experience? How can we improve?” Right? “Help us build this.” Right? Like, “I want to make this better for you.” Right? “I want to support you as much as you’re… because you’re supporting me.” Right? “Let’s grow this together.” So that’s really how… You have that one little bit, and that one little bit is enough to give you two weeks’ worth of content. Right?

Sean Corbett:
Yeah.

EG Orren:
Then, you just circle back.

Sean Corbett:
Yeah. I think that’s really cool, what you’re saying, especially when you’re pointing out ways that the client can be honest and talk about their own experiences. So many people go online, especially with social, and they want to put on a front. Maybe be a little bit phony and whatever. I find that also leads to burnout way faster too. So in all the examples you’ve been giving us, you’re saying, “Oh, my client is not totally comfortable with technology. Well, we’re going to say that in the live, or we’re going to put that in the post. We’re going to be honest about it.”

Sean Corbett:
Then, you’re empowering your client to just be them, which ultimately is… Although it may be scary for somebody listening, or maybe they think it’s stupid, or maybe they think it’s unprofessional, all the words that people will sometimes throw at you as a consultant, but what they’ll find, and I’m sure you’d agree, EG, is that if they follow a path, whether they’re being themselves, and it makes them more comfortable, it makes them more willing to do it, it shows more success long term. They don’t get as burnt out.

EG Orren:
That’s 100% true, and the only thing I would add to that is sharing your experiences, and your affairs, and whatnot online does not mean you have to share every aspect. Right? There are varying degrees of what kind of a conversation would you have with your neighbor versus your partner, right, or even your children or your siblings, right? You have different levels of relationships, and you’re going to be more comfortable sharing more intimate details with your partner than you are with your nextdoor neighbor or whoever you’re buying groceries from. Right? Like the checkout person.

EG Orren:
So it’s keeping that in mind. On social media, sharing your strengths and weaknesses does not mean having to completely open yourself up and be vulnerable. You’re literally just helping to peel back the curtain so that people can get a glimpse of you. Right? You’re not putting on, like you said, that façade. You’re not trying to act your way through something. Right? You’re not trying to be something other than who you are. Right? Authenticity is a big thing on, again, social media. The idea is to be social. Right? You share a little bit about yourself, they share a little bit about themselves, and then together, you build the rapport, and you build a relationship.

Sean Corbett:
Awesome. So for some of the listeners who are looking to take their social content to the next level and could really use the help of a consultant like yourself, what does the process look like? How do they take the first step?

EG Orren:
So if they’re interested, and I know that there’s probably a lot of people that are going to be on this call that might hear at different points, right, from once it goes live to going back. I love having conversations with people one-on-one to help them work through and figure out where they’re at and what they might be able to do. So I think you’re going to put a link in the show notes where essentially, there’ll just be a few questions just to give me a heads-up as to where they’re at in their business.

EG Orren:
So then, I can do my due diligence and homework ahead of time. Then, we can get on a 30-minute call, and I can help brainstorm in terms of where they’re at and what might make sense for them to go forward. That’s not necessarily working with me, but just to give everybody an idea of where they’re at and what their next steps can be in order to make the most out of social media to build that relationship with their target audience, and then transition them into getting them onto an email list. Right? Getting those digits, right? Get those digits in the phone.

Sean Corbett:
Get those digits.

EG Orren:
Yeah.

Sean Corbett:
So EG will teach you Pick Up if you get in touch with her right now! So, yeah, super generous offer. Thank you. So what we’ll do is… Yeah. Everybody listening, link is going to be in the description. You’ll follow that link, fill out a short form, and that’s how you can get a free half an hour consulting call to see how you can take your social media content to the next level. Last word goes to you, EG. Any final thoughts about the topic?

EG Orren:
It just goes back to remember, you don’t have to be everywhere, and you don’t have to reach everyone. Right? Being successful online does not mean you have to live there 24/7. It means having a strategy, right, planning it out, and acting on it. So I like to say I’m living proof of that because I spend most of the year living off grid, traveling across North America. So I’m not online, but my work is online. Right? There’s a lot of stuff that you can do that you can plan to be able to be successful with social media without literally having to live online and have your phone glued to your hand because notifications are coming in, and they will come in.

Sean Corbett:
Exactly. It’s a tool. It’s a tool. It doesn’t have to take over your life, but it’s super helpful. Yeah. I really appreciate you coming on today and sharing with us. Thanks for being here.

EG Orren:
Thanks for inviting me. It was great chatting with you.