Andréa Jones has built an online business committed to empowering businesses to utilize the power of social media in a positive and impactful way, without being overwhelmed and drained by it.
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- EPISODE 172: HOW TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS THROUGH STORYTELLING WITH MICHELLE KNIGHT
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Welcome to the photo Field Notes podcast, where you’ll find stories, tips and inspiration from professional photographers to get you taking action in your own business and making your business dreams a reality.
Hi, everyone, this is Allie Siarto. And today I’m talking with Andrea Jones, who has built an online business committed to empowering businesses to utilize the power of social media in a positive and impactful way. And that’s without being overwhelmed and drained by it because I think we all have had that experience of just being like, oh, social media. I know I talk a lot about that I’m here. She has seven years of experience. And she hosts the acclaimed podcast savvy social podcast leads a team providing done for you service inside of her marketing agency that was named a top digital marketing agency in 2021. And she serves over 100 students in her membership savvy social school. Andrea, welcome to the podcast.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.
And as we go, I apologize to everyone. You can maybe hear my cat in the background. Really loud right now. But let’s jump in. I always like to start with the backstory. So let me hear about your kind of journey, getting into social media and then providing the service and then also teaching on the side.
Yeah, so I actually like social media and was fairly new to the internet world. I started my blog in 2004 definitely was not cool back then. And I graduated with a degree in English literature, I got into hospitality and but on this side, I was managing social media for my parents, who are both entrepreneurs, and for my friends who are artists and singers and that sort of thing. And while I was running my blog and my YouTube channel, I met my husband. And so we lived in separate countries at the time. And we actually did me on YouTube. Funny enough, but we lived in separate countries. So when I
That’s so crazy. Okay, just go into that for a quick second. Because that’s so interesting. Yeah, so we
while we were doing an interview, just like you and I are doing together. And then we just kept talking after that. But we were both kind of like networking and collecting, connecting with other YouTubers at the time, because that’s what you do. That’s how you grow your channel, right. And so it kind of happened a bit organically. But social media is like in my life now. But with that move, so with moving to Canada, I had to tend to think about what I wanted to do. And that’s really what I launched the business. I started freelancing, doing all of the things and then landed on social media. Because I liked it, I found it to be a really nice mix of what I learned in school and university. And it was repeatable. So I was doing other things like writing product descriptions, and writing blog posts. And those are kind of like, if they need it one time kind of thing where social media is ongoing, it never stops. And so the good thing about that, as my clients always needed me. So that’s kind of how I built the agency. And things kind of grew from there.
Okay, so now let’s get into kind of some strategies that photographers can take and use in their worlds. First, let’s talk about posting strategy. I think that’s, you know, I think the ongoing nature of social media, which is what makes it so great for you as a business owner, because it’s it’s this like retainer, ongoing work is also what tends to make it so overwhelming for small business owners who don’t necessarily have a team doing this for them. So what is your advice to the those people when they’re sitting down to say, like, Oh, my God, what am I going to post? What am I gonna share here? What are you Where should they start?
Yeah, and you know, I think part of this feeling of needing to post all the time comes from this world of being an influencer and being a content creator. So we see a lot of people posting these beautiful, perfectly styled versions of themselves. And then as business owners, we try to compete with that. So I want you to kind of separate yourself from like thinking about this as a con content creation strategy and refocusing in on this as a business owner strategy. So you’re not posting just to get likes and comments and views and all of that. That’s what content creators want. As business owners, we actually want business at the end of the day, we want people to take action. And so when you’re approaching your strategy, I want you to think about it that way. Typically, for a lot of my business owners, we’re giving ourselves a time limit instead of a content limit. So I think it’s very easy to go, I need to post, you know, four or five times a week. And for some of us, that takes hours of time that we do not have. So what I instead suggest doing is focusing on a time limit. So typically, I recommend one hour a week, that’s a that’s a significant amount of time, but enough that we can commit to especially commit to long term, right, not just like going into big bursts, and then going, I’m never doing that again. So within that one hour a week, you want to focus in on the two different types of content, we’ve got the type of content that people will convert on, so they see your beautiful work, they’re like, I want to hire that person. So those posts, your goal is to get someone to say yes, please, I want that. And so that’s what you craft that post around. And then you have the type of content that people want to engage with, they want to like it, they want to share it, especially or save it for later. So when you create that content, just keep that in mind, this isn’t the goal of this post isn’t to have someone sign up and become a client, the goal is how can they like it and share it with their friends. And so when you sit down to write those types of content pieces, it really makes it a lot clearer as a business owner, where we should be spending most of our time and how we should be approaching content creation. And then from there, we can start measuring the success of those posts. So some of the posts where we’re saying hire us people probably aren’t going to like and comment and engage because that wasn’t the point. So you want to look at different analytics, like profile views, website clicks, those sorts of things. Whereas the other type of posts to see if they’re successful, you look at things like likes and comments and shares.
How do you find the balance between the two? Because obviously, if you post too much of that, like, okay, just hire me or call to action come work with me. People might be like, Okay, this is just an ad, I don’t want to like just see ads, I want to see the more fun stuff. So what do you think, do you think? Have you found a good balance for how often to do each type?
Yeah, so for a lot of us, we do want to switch back and forth. But even then, it depends depends on your audience and how they react. One of my clients, for example, we tested out all of these different engagement posts, we spent about a year trying to boost engagement, but honestly, when we were promoting their products, that got the most attention on their account. So and that’s a bit of an anomaly. But sometimes that happens, outside of that typically one in every five posts is directly promoting something. So maybe one of your posts is a little bit more educational. Maybe another post is a little bit of a behind the scenes, maybe another post is a question. Maybe another post is talking about your local community and uplifting the things that are happening around you. And then that fifth post is, you know, hey, here’s how you can hire me. Um, so usually one in every five is typical. But definitely look at your own stats, because it really depends on your own audience and how they react to your content.
I find my brain immediately going to Instagram as I’m picturing this, just because that’s where I put a lot of my stuff. But now I personally now use Planoly. And I finally upgraded to the pro version so that I could just auto post auto post Auto Post, the first comment, auto, post it to Facebook, etc. And so I do in that case, just share content automatically to Facebook from Instagram is like the same thing in both places. But then I also have some content that I’ll separately share on Facebook that kind of like fits better in that format, like longer form videos, slideshows and things like that. How do you approach that when you’re looking at different platforms? And I know, obviously, not everyone should be on every platform, or we might lose our minds. Like we need to focus on probably the ones that we like and can excel at. But do you tend to do that, like show the same thing in each place to catch different people? Do you tweak it a little bit for each platform? What’s your advice?
Yes, and I love Planoly too, by the way, I think it’s a really great tool for that, especially if you’re visual, which I know a lot of y’all are. So when you think about posting to multiple platforms, I agree in that one platform is probably your main platform. It’s your main focus. You’re spending 80% of your time there, but maybe the other 20% You are kind of cross posting to some of these other platforms and I love that when you look at the bigger brands like Starbucks is one of my favorite ones go Look at their latest Instagram, and then their latest Facebook posts. They’re the same. So even these large companies that we all admire are doing the same strategy. Some people do like to post different different things to different platforms. And there are exceptions to this, especially depending on the type of content. But for most of us, we want as many people to see that content as possible. And that’s really the best way to get the most value out of that work you put into creating that content piece.
What about as we’re building this community, and I’m learning more and more in my own world, you know, I have talked a lot about Instagram and my own feelings and some on this podcast some days, I’m like, I hate it. Some days. I’m like, Yeah, okay, it’s fine. I’ve never been like, it’s my favorite. However, in the last maybe month, this this season of my business, I tend to photograph a lot of college seniors, it’s become a huge trend in the area. I mean, I assume it’s become a trend everywhere. But maybe it’s just here, where college seniors get professional photos, like similar to how seniors used to get high school seniors get used to get photos. And so they want some cap and gown photos, they want some photos without the cap and gown, they some often want photos with their roommates with their friends with their significant other. And so this is a huge like, this is like I’m booked every night doing this. And I found that when I shared on Instagram, and then I asked my client, you know, to tag me when she shared or when they shared on Instagram. I started getting a ton of DMS and booking through DMS. And so I realized oh, okay, like Instagram actually really does matter for some things. And I and it actually became fun for the first not for the first time. But like it became really fun seeing that like true engagement and messaging and booking that way. So when it comes to approaching that, you know, now I kind of look at it as it’s a little bit of the social and the community and a little bit of the search engine where people search hashtags, and they find it and finding that balance. But that’s my like long winded way of getting into the context of my question. When you are building this community or going on social? Do you have advice for turning these people who are either engaging with you or finding you through hashtags search or whatever search and actually turning them into clients? What’s your best advice for kind of making that conversion?
Yes, absolutely. And your example of this with the college senior photos is perfect, because it’s a combination of the right offer at the right time to the right people. Okay, so you know, the right offer, especially with something that’s timely is so important, especially if you if there’s a sense of urgency to it. So you know, book this now, because you want to, you know, basically save this moment forever, through photography. So you can describe how people are feeling through words on Instagram. So that can help with the conversion, you want to have the right time as well. So posting about graduation photos in September, may not hit as well as it does in April, right. So think about the timing of the different offers that you have. And you can kind of adjust your content calendar for that. The last part of that the right people, people do find you through hashtags through search. But you nailed one of the best things about social media, which is having other people talk about your work. So as much as we can kind of pat ourselves on the back and go, I’m awesome. Hire me, it is so much more valuable when other people do it. So it’s that simple shift of asking your clients to tag you can make a world of difference that you can also be proactive about this as well. There are oftentimes a lot of community groups on Instagram. So if you are I’m going to make this up. If you’re in Charles Charleston, for instance, there’s probably like, best of Charleston page or something like that, where you can reach out to them and see if they’ll feature your work. But also just networking and participating in the community. Oftentimes we look at our followers and go, I want all of these people to hire me. But what if instead of saying I want all of these people to hire me use instead that I want all these people to share this with someone they now think about how many more people you can impact that way. And so when you’re kind of approaching your work and thinking about how to connect with the right people, get out there, start engaging and networking with people send some DMs yourself, but also start crafting that content and people want to share that they want to tag that they want to kind of DM it to their friend or whatever the case may be.
Yeah, kind of looping back on that two interesting things experiences from the last few weeks. One was that in my previously in my print release that I give to my clients, it says it has a little note that says you don’t have to tag me you have you have personal use to these images. But I would love for you to tag me. I wrote that in the print release which they probably never looked at. And so for the first time, I was like, why am I not just putting this in the communication to the client directly in the email when they get it? And so I always ask for review in every email when I send it over. And this time I just said, it goes a really long way. If you just tag me and she the one of the it was a roommate, six roommates, at least one of them did. And immediately I booked I mean, I probably booked $2,000. And work within like two days from that. Another similar in the community side was somebody posted, hey, we’re looking for a photographer to take senior photos of my daughter, Michigan, say senior photos. And I, a lot of times, I don’t post those things, because there’s already 20 comments, and I’m like, you know, who’s gonna care? Well, I had just blogged this session. So I had these really nice photos curated, put together in a blog. And so I just said, Here’s my most recent session from campus, like it goes exactly what you’re looking for. And that thread then became a whole sub thread of like, 10 more comments. And a woman contacted me and was like, I’m not even a senior, but I want to get my college friends together this fall and take photos, because I’m so inspired. So you never do know, like, it’s interesting. I think it’s also great if you kind of have those examples, like have that blog post and have that really relevant example to share. Instead of just like throwing your name in the hat. In those cases, you can actually point to something relevant. So I’m like becoming a convert a little more each day, on the season, and how busy I am. Um, what about if you’re like completely starting from scratch and building a new business online? Where would you recommend people start, so they don’t get too overwhelmed?
Yes, and you know, Instagram is one of the most popular platforms right now. Because it’s very easy to post, especially since you already have the photography to support it, right? It’s very easy to connect as well, when you’re looking at something like Facebook, especially starting a Facebook page, you can’t really connect with other people. Whereas on Instagram pages, personal profiles are all kind of considered the same thing. So you can connect. Um, so where I recommend starting is Instagram and start building out your portfolio on there, showcase the variety of your work. And if you haven’t done anything professional yet, grab a friend, you know, take take stock of the world around you, I think there’s so much power in that. Because I know for my personal experience in choosing a photographer, it’s all about someone who I connect with their their aesthetic, essentially. So you want to showcase that. And then start building connections. Start showing up and commenting this comment example you gave is such a great example of how so many people actually read the comments, right. So even though people may not be connecting with your profile, maybe go to a local restaurant, or go to a local schools page and see how you can contribute to the community. This isn’t about promoting yourself. It’s about showing up and contributing. And it plays into natural curiosity. So what happens is when you leave a thoughtful comment, someone goes, Oh, I wonder who that is. And they click over to your profile, and they’ll see all of your beautiful work. So it’s really playing into that curiosity. I suggest spending about 1520 minutes a day on this. And it’s really is a muscle that you’re working here. This isn’t about going in on a Saturday and spending the whole day trying to do this strategy, you’ll get tired, and you’ll delete Instagram off your phone and never want to look at it again. So this is about long term lasting habits. And you’ll continue to see your own community grow and your own business grow from the strategies.
Yeah, good advice. What about LinkedIn? I feel like in the photography world, it’s looked over a lot, but there seems to be a lot of potential there. So what can you tell us about LinkedIn?
Yes, and especially if you’re a photographer, who does like event photography, or something like that. LinkedIn search engine is one of the best when it comes to social media. So you can look for all of the people who maybe go to a specific school or university or the people who work there, you can look for people who plan specific events. So for instance, if you work really well, with event planners and your wedding photographer, start connecting with wedding event planners, they see how you can be in their Rolodex, you know. So with LinkedIn, it’s a great platform for finding those strategic collaboration partners who can really make or break your business. One of my friends who’s a photographer does this really well, or she did. She’s booked now. But she does local, pre pandemic local, like sporting event photography. And so she got really booked up just from connecting to the directors and leaders in these kinds of sporting event groups. And so I easily could see this happening On LinkedIn finding kind of an angle, reaching out connecting with someone and seeing how you can support them, and be of service and kind of use that platform. It’s not as pretty as Instagram. So you can still showcase your work. But it’s not like in that aesthetic as much I can easily see though, if you had kind of like the blog post overview of your work, how that could work really well on a platform like LinkedIn.
I think LinkedIn, I did a sales training many years ago when I ran a whole separate business, like how to connect with people, through people and through your groups and things like that. So it wasn’t necessarily like a cold contact, you’re finding them through a group. But do you think in her case, or in kind of the way you’re envisioning that, do you think it’s okay to just reach out to someone and send them a cold message and say, Hey, I do this? Or how can I support you? Or do you think that you have to be a little bit more like strategic about it in finding a similar connection to connect to you or finding a similar group to join? How do you think you should go about doing that?
Yeah, I’m all about the warm the warm connection. So I think, you know, reaching out cold can work sometimes. But I think of this a little bit like dating. Like, if you just bumped into someone at a Starbucks and said, Will you go on a date with me tomorrow, they’d probably be like, I don’t know, you. I don’t know, maybe, maybe it’ll work for some people, it will. But for a lot of us, we kind of need to know them a little bit first, maybe we exchanged numbers first and talk first kind of thing, right. And so the same thing goes for LinkedIn, if you can find a way to connect with them. First, warm up the conversation first, and then ask even better. And, you know, when I’m thinking about these groups, even as you get into a group and get to know someone, and then you reach out, you want to make sure that it’s mutual. So if you’re just reaching out saying hire me, most people, I mean, we all get those messages, right? In our DMS, we’re like, delete, I don’t know who this is. Or I feel like they’re just trying to sell me something, right. But if you actually reach out with intention and say, Hey, I see a need here, I’d like to talk about how we can both come to an agreement to solve it, or we can work together on something. And so it’s got to be mutual, but I love finding connection points with people. So they’re one of my favorite ways to do this is look for the people who went to my school, I went to Georgia State University. So if I’m looking in one of those groups, I’m gonna say, Okay, did anyone here go to Georgia State because at least I can start a conversation that way? Or maybe you know, the same person or maybe you know, a friend. And if you do maybe reach out to that friend first and say, Hey, I saw you’re connected to this person, would you mind introducing me? And so that, yes, it will take longer, but it will be so much more rewarding at the at the end of the day. Otherwise, you could end up in that pile of deleted messages from all of the spamming people who are just trying to ask for something, you know?
Yeah. Okay, that’s very similar to how this actually was Maria Bayer, if anyone wants to do a search for Maria Bayer, I’ve interviewed her in the past, she was the one who gave me very similar advice and kind of, I hired her to train me on sales, because I was like, way back when I was like, I don’t know anything about sales. I’m so. Okay, last thing, let’s go into that. Let’s say you’re doing one hour a week, and let’s talk about how to spend that hour because I think, and then you also said, like, you know, maybe 20 minutes a day just connecting, but how if we’re spending an hour, are we creating content? How can we best utilize that time so that we’re not just like, whoopsie? I spent the whole time on Facebook, and I didn’t do anything. How should we focus that?
Yes. And you know, I think the hardest part of this, especially for people in the photography world is the writing piece, right? Like, we love the photo piece. That part’s easy. But then when it comes to writing the caption, we go, what do we say with this photo? I just want to post it be done with it, right? So you want to prepare yourself a little bit. So even thinking about this recent campaign you did for the graduation photos, if you give yourself that theme of the season. So this is what I’m going to talk about for now, that can cut out some of the deciding what do I post right now. And then you want to think about the feelings that go along with the photos. So I think sometimes when we sit to write a caption, we’re like, Okay, this is what I did. Maybe this is the location, hire me. But think about the feeling and the intent behind why would someone need these photos and you can actually do a brainstorming session maybe once or twice a year to kind of, like get these feelings out from your clients and even have people do surveys with their clients to see, you know, why do you pick these photos? Now, a lot of the feelings behind these choices are things like I want to save this moment forever. I want to look back on this moment with fond memories. And I want to share these with my friends and family. And so if you think about this feelings behind why someone would hire you in the first place. That’s what goes in your posts. So when you sit down to write, then it’s easy. You pick a photo, you pick a feeling, and that’s what you focus on for that post in that hour. And it does feel like the first couple times you do it, it’s gonna feel challenging. And it’s because you’re literally trying a new skill, just like any skill, if you decided to, like right now, I somehow thought I could do some roller skating. And I’m very bad. I’m like a little baby giraffe, I know, I’ll get better.
So I’m so
I’m like, I have these visions in my head of like, doing some crazy tricks and things will get. But now I’m focused on like, putting one skate in front of the other. And that’s what it’s gonna feel like when you sit down to do this, you’re at the putting one skate baby giraffe section, just like me. So keep practicing, and you will get better at it. And I think that’s part of what, especially as adults where we get stuck, because we don’t want to learn something new. But in business, you’re learning new things all the time, this is just one of those skills that you do need to learn.
One thing that really helped me with the writing piece was I’ve talked about this in the past two, but Kyndra halls, book stories that stick so incorporating storytelling into it. And then with that, I have a recent interview, if everyone wants to check out Michelle Knight, she talks about creating a story bank and creating just like any story that you have that you could kind of pop in there with your with your writing, like creating stories, because those are more engaging. So those are also really kind of good complements to what you’re sharing here where you can also take that feeling and turn it into a story. And that really helps to heighten the level of just interest makes it more engaging with you there. So Andrea, where can people find more from you all of your your podcasts, your resources, everything? Go ahead and share those?
Yes. So the best place to start, I actually have a free course that kind of walks through outlining a strategy that works for you. Is that online drag.com/free. And it’s kind of like a sample of my perspective on social media. Because I don’t believe business owners should be content creators like like posting a million times a day. And so I take kind of a different approach there. But obviously the podcast you can find it anywhere you listen to podcast, it’s called the savvy social podcast, and my favorite platforms Instagram. So I’m at online drag that’s online, Dr. EA on Instagram. I love voice messages too. So send me a voice message. Tell me what you learned from this podcast episode. I’d love to hear from you.
Because they’re great. I’ve also just recently started using voice messages and also really like them. So alright, check those out in the show notes. If you have any questions, feel free to message Andrea, feel free to message me. And thanks for being here, everybody. And Andrea, thank you for being here.
Thank you so much for having me.
Thanks for listening. check out show notes at photo field notes.com. And if you loved this episode, leave us a review on iTunes. See you next week.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai