When it comes to visibility for your business, you can’t ignore one of the most prolific ways of marketing online for the last few years: social media.
And so many influencers make it seem like they have it all figured out. It’s like they live on the platforms, posting 24/7 about the things they do and the things they buy. The shopping excursions, the vacation photos, the lifestyle tutorials–all of it designed to sell to a mass audience and make them think they too can have this kind of life if they do (and buy) what the influencer recommends.
Being a CEO is completely different than being a social media influencer, though, so you don’t have to document your life on social media just to have business visibility there successfully. But how can you make the shift from trying to get a mass audience to trying to get the right audience?
If you’re tired of being told that you need to show up more on social media and do all the things the influencers do, then you’re in for a treat with my conversation with Andréa Jones as we continue this series on visibility.
In this episode of the Promote Yourself to CEO podcast, you’ll learn valuable (and updated) insights from a social media agency owner about how to get real results from your social media without being on it all the time. Andréa Jones teaches you what social media algorithms are really looking for, why creating more content isn’t the answer, how to share without oversharing, how top-of-funnel differs from conversion content, ways to sell beyond the bio, how businesses can take advantage of the next evolution in social media marketing, and more!
On this episode of Promote Yourself to CEO:
3:39 – Recently, Andréa changed her messaging around social media. What was the change, and why did she make it?
7:02 – What is the purpose of social media algorithms, and how do you communicate with them so that your content gets out there?
9:36 – You also still have to produce content for your audience to meet your business goals. We discuss the content that works (and that doesn’t anymore).
11:45 – Andréa talks about what you need to do to avoid acting like an influencer on social media.
14:23 – What’s the distinction between content meant to get people into your funnel and content meant to convert them into clients?
16:37 – Marketers on social media default to asking for people to click their bio link to make the sale. Andréa discusses how to sell on these platforms beyond the bio.
20:29 – Algorithms always change, and platforms like Facebook roll out new features. What is the next thing you need to know about in social media marketing?
23:37 – What is Andréa’s prediction for how artificial intelligence will change social media marketing for small business CEOs?
Mentioned in How to Gain Business Visibility On Social Media Using What Works with Andréa Jones
- Andréa on Instagram and TikTok
- Savvy Social Podcast
- Andréa’s “Social Media Starter Kit Free Mini Course”
- “Bro, do you even AI?” by Forest Linden | Clarity Lab
- The CEO Collective
Racheal Cook: In the last few years, I have seen so many small business owners get completely fed up with trying to figure out social media and how to actually make it work for their business without feeling like they need to become an influencer basically documenting every minute of their lives 24/7.
That's why I'm so excited to have this conversation with Andrea Jones of onlinedrea.com to share her insights as a social media agency owner about how small business owners can stop trying to keep up with all the influencers and start getting real results from their social media.
Are you ready to grow from stressed-out solopreneur to competent CEO? You're in the right place. I'm your host, Racheal Cook, and I've spent more than 15 years helping women entrepreneurs sustainably scale their businesses. If you're serious about building a sustainable business, it's time to put the strategy, systems, and support in place to make it happen. Join me each week for candid conversations about stepping into your role as CEO, the hard lessons learned along the way, and practical profitable strategies to grow a sustainable business without the hustle and burnout.
Hey there, CEOs. Welcome back to another episode in this series all about visibility and what is currently working when it comes to getting more visibility for your business. We can't talk about visibility without talking about social media. I think one of the worst pieces of advice I am hearing out there is people thinking that the only way to win at social media is to just post more, more, more, putting you on that feeling like you're on this content creation hamster wheel, you're always on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or whatever platform you have chosen to be on.
I just think that approach is not sustainable for small business owners. Unfortunately, I think what has happened has been that the world of influencers where they are on social media all day long, where they are documenting their life all the time, where they're constantly creating content has somehow become the same advice for small businesses and they are just completely different.
If you're trying to model an influencer as a small business, first of all, you're just spending a ton of time you likely don't have, but you have to remember, the whole point of influencers doing that is so they can amass a certain type of audience and so they can partner with brands and get brand deals. That's not what we're trying to do as small business owners. We're trying to get the right audience, not amass audience, and we're trying to grow our businesses and get amazing clients.
How can we make that shift? I think this episode is going to be really helpful, especially if you are so tired of being told you just need to show up more on social media, that you need to do all the things, and you're ready for some practical profitable advice. That's exactly what you're going to get in this conversation with my friend, Andrea Jones. She is fantastic and one of my favorite people to follow and to listen to when it comes to all things social. Let's get into it.
Andrea, thank you so much for joining me today on Promote Yourself to CEO. I'm so excited you're here, especially because recently, you updated your own messaging around social media. You used to say social media is easy and you changed it to social media is awesome. I want to start right there. Tell me what has been behind this major messaging shift for you.
Andréa Jones: Yes. Thank you for having me on the show because this type of messaging is something that I think is really important for CEOs to understand. Yes, I used to say social media is simple, easy, and fun because it used to be that you could take the same post, the exact same post, and post it on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It could be like a square campographic, same caption. Remember those days?
Racheal Cook: Yeah.
Andréa Jones: It's no longer that way and I was really struggling with my clients and students because I definitely still see the power in having a tool like social media on your side and yet it's not easy. It's getting more and more complex with the rise of platforms like TikTok and how that has impacted all of social media with the complexity of each platform, it's not as easy just to take the exact same post and auto-share it everywhere.
While social media is no longer easy in my opinion, it is a very awesome tool for business owners, CEOs to find people who they would have never found before, people who would have never known what they do.
Racheal Cook: Exactly. I could not co-sign this enough because I think you and I have been around so long in our own businesses, we've seen the start of pretty much all of these platforms. It was easy back in the day, 10 years ago, even 5 years ago was easier than what we're seeing now with all these different platforms coming up. I think the copy-paste just throw the same thing across all platforms has been a lot of the thought process for a lot of people using social media.
The other thing I've been hearing from a lot of people is that if the algorithm isn't working in their favor, then they just have to post more and create more content. But we're talking to small business owners. They're not trying to be on social media all day long and this is your specialty. This is why I love your content so much because you agree that we don't have to be on social media all day long.
Andréa Jones: Yeah. It's easily a full-time job. As a business owner, you're doing that and actually running a business. It makes me instantly panic when people say, “Oh, post to TikTok five to seven times a day.” I'm like, “Who has that kind of time? I sure don't.” I think that the algorithm is not necessarily against us, it's actually for the users of the platform.
Once we understand how to speak, I like to call him Mr. Al, how to speak Mr. Al's language, once we understand how to communicate with Mr. Al, it can be a lot easier to create content that both he likes, shows to more people, and still resonates with the people that we're trying to connect with. Creating more content is not the answer for sure.
Racheal Cook: Well, this leads us right into my first big question for you around how do we speak to Al, how do we talk to Mr. Al so that our content gets out there? Because this has been the major complaint for so long is that organic reach has been declining so much. A lot of the thought I think in the marketing space has been, “Well, this is how they're shifting everyone to ads. We are going to decrease organic so that you have to pay-to-play.”
But I don't think pay-to-play is the only way to get some organic reach on social media. What can we do to get Mr. Al to share more of our content?
Andréa Jones: Yeah. If you understand his goal, Mr. Al is just trying to keep people on the app for longer. He wants all of the users to consume more content so yes, they can show ads, but ultimately, they want that time on the app to be very long. When we're thinking about the content that we're creating, it needs to be consumable.
I think sometimes, we go for “buy my thing.” If people leave Instagram, leave Facebook, or leave LinkedIn every time you post, then Mr. Al may go, “Oh, these posts are causing people to leave when I want people to stay here.” Having a balance of content is key to satisfy Al.
When we're thinking about the algorithm, it's having that content that people actually engage with on the app, so asking questions, starting conversations, sharing information, those types of posts do really well if your audience actually consumes them and then you can sprinkle in the post that takes them off the platform, which is always my goal as well.
We met on social media but we're going to take these dating relationships more serious somewhere else. That type of content works really well. I also want to speak about how you mentioned that reach is lower than it ever has been. Statistically, that is just a fact across every platform except for TikTok.
Rival IQ released a report recently that talked about this and engagement and it's down across the board and TikTok's engagement is increasing just based on how much time people are spending on that app. If you're on Instagram and you see your engagement going down, it's not just you that is going down everywhere and it's because there are more people than ever producing content. You have a little bit more competition when it comes to satisfying Mr. Al.
Racheal Cook: Yeah. I think what really stands out to me about this is if we go with just do more without really thinking about the quality of what we're putting out there, then we're not going to meet our goals. I think this is where a lot of people need to step back for a second and really start to understand the different types of content they should be creating.
Because I see a lot of people that it feels very generic, almost like they looked at someone else's feed and then said, “How can I create the same types of posts for my feed?” and now we've got again tons of people sharing content that could have come off of anybody's feed because it's very, very generic.
It reminds me back in the day when everybody used to focus on the quote graphics. That was huge. Remember everybody was sharing quotes that were in a pretty graphic every single week? Now you actually have to have something to say. You have to have something that people want to hear and even something that might be contrary to what people might think about whatever field you're in, whatever work you do. You have to be a little bit polarizing I feel like to stand out. It has to be unique.
Andréa Jones: Yes. It's the type of content where people feel like you just intimately know them in a way that no one else does. An example for me is when I'm talking to people for the first time about social media, I'm like, “Have you ever had that moment where you're like, ‘I'm done with this. I'm just deleting Instagram off my phone’?” as soon as I say that, most people are like, “Oh, I thought I was the only one who went through that emotional journey.”
A lot of business owners do. They're like, “I'm so sick and tired of posting, posting, posting and not meeting my goals. But I'm just done with the whole thing.” If you're at that spot, usually I can then go, “Okay, that's great because we've all been there and it's not all doom and gloom.”
I think having those moments that you can speak to on social media really humanizes the whole experience. It's not just someone shouting and saying, “This is what you should be doing,” but instead, it's connecting on a human level and going, “Hey, do you feel this thing? Because I feel this thing too.”
Racheal Cook: Yeah. I think that's really important and it's interesting because the more I share about the challenges that I have, whether it's life, business, or whatever, the more people connect with that. I think this is a place where business owners struggle though because influencers tend to share everything. You're going behind the scenes, you know what the drama is, you know what they're facing day to day because they are literally documenting their life non-stop.
What about small business owners? Yes, we want to share and we want to share a little bit about our behind-the-scenes, but do we have to be so let it all hang out there if we are more private people?
Andréa Jones: Yeah. I'm a very private person. You won't see photos of my daughter on social media. I think I posted one maybe because that's just my boundary. I think first, it starts with understanding where your personal boundaries are, what do you want to share on social media, and then also making sure that you have the role that social media plays in your business clearly outlined.
For influencers, it's getting as much attention as possible. That's how they make money by basically being walking advertisements. We don't make money the same way as business owners. Sharing what we ate for breakfast is an influencer strategy? Sure. Would it work for a small business owner? Maybe not.
Racheal Cook: Unless you have a restaurant. Honestly, I can't think of why anybody wants to know that about a small business owner unless it's directly like do you do food prep? Are you a nutritionist?
Andréa Jones: Yes. Nutritionist, yes.
Racheal Cook: If not, no one really is going to take business advice from you based on what you eat for breakfast.
Andréa Jones: Yeah, and hopefully, that's a relief too for business owners. It's like, “Ooh, I don't have to be an influencer. Okay, good.” So then it's creating content that is aligned with your business goals. Someone who's a speaker, for instance, has a different business goal than someone who is a restaurant.
A speaker is trying to book speaking gigs so maybe that person is showcasing their expertise and networking with event planners. A restaurant is connecting with maybe the local community and showing off what it's like to be in their restaurant. Either way, social media is a mirror and can reflect what's actually happening in your business.
The conversations, the feelings, the atmosphere, the experience, what it's like to work with you in your business reflect that on social media, not what you ate for breakfast this morning.
Racheal Cook: I love that. As we're talking about things to think about as a business owner on social media, I think another thing I wanted to ask you was around the difference between content that grows your audience and that top-level awareness stage, just finding out you're here versus content that actually converts people into clients.
Because I think those are distinct and a lot of people seem to have a hard time making those transitions from top of funnel, getting people just to know who they are, and then to get people to actually take action. What is the difference between those two types of content?
Andréa Jones: Yeah. It's all about who you're talking to. When you're creating that top-of-funnel content and usually I like to use placements like TikTok or Instagram Reels because you're talking to people who may not be familiar with you, usually, you have more of an educator hat on. Why are you an expert at this? Why are you the industry leader? Why should they listen to you? Having more of that perspective can help warm that person up to you.
Then as they get warmed up to you, we're shifting into conversion-focused content which really is more of that why now content. Why me is like top of funnel and then why now is more of that conversion content. Let me think of a specific example. If you are hosting a retreat, for instance, maybe the top of the funnel is the impact of retreats on business owners. Why is this type of event important?
Then the conversion element may be why now. It's really speaking to what challenges businesses are going through right now. We're talking about heading into a recession. We're talking about mass layoffs and how can we navigate those decisions. The content gets a little bit more specific and has a call to action. Being very crystal clear obvious about what that person should do next if they're interested in taking it to the next level with you.
Racheal Cook: I love that distinction. That's such a great distinction to have in place. The why now piece I think is all about why is this relevant and urgent to me as the consumer reading this thing. Why should I take action right now. A lot of times, we see people default to just click link in bio but there are other ways that we can have people in that why now stage. Can you share with us a little bit more about what it's looking like selling on social media beyond just link in bio?
Andréa Jones: Yes. Statistically, with our client group, I find that saying in a feed post “Click the link in the bio” doesn't convert as well because of the amount of steps it takes the user. I challenge you, listener, go through the steps yourself. It's a lot of steps. But what we do find is initiating conversation works really well. Asking them to leave a comment, asking them to send you a direct message works really well to help with that selling on social, and then having clickable links.
On Instagram, for instance, we see that link in the story outperforms saying “Click the link in my bio” in a feed post. If we have something in the feed, we may share it to a story and add this linked sticker so that people can tap the link and then head on to the next step. Really making it as easy as possible for the person consuming that content to take action.
Racheal Cook: Okay. I love this because I'm seeing this as well. This is why I shifted my entire Instagram feed from trying to have posts on the grid to Reels. It was starting to get overwhelming to me so I set up an instasite more static grid with just if someone was to find us and wants to know more about my company, they're going to learn a lot just by checking out the static, I think it's like 12 things that we have.
But most of where we're getting engagement is in stories or is in Reels. I love that you've delineated that Reels are where you can attract very, very front end just like on TikTok for me, same thing, that's getting in front of newer people generally. But Stories are where you can shorten that sales process from reading a post, that's one step, click a link, that's one step, click another link, that's another step, and then scroll down a whole page of whatever you've sent them to versus when you're in the story, if you have the link click, that's one step for them to get directly where they want to go or usually, there's been a few times where you don't have the DM bar at the very bottom of a story, there's a few people that I don't see that but often you do see that.
I also think something I've been experimenting with is if you use the little stickers in there that are like “Ask a question” or engage, you can tell who's taking that step and then follow up with them about it like, “Hey, tell me about this question you had,” that is such a good way to continue the conversation.
Andréa Jones: Yes, yes. It's so engaging. It's almost gamifying the entire process. We're humans. If I post something that's “Do you like A or B?” we naturally go, “Oh, I like A, I like B, or I like neither,” it starts a conversation that taps into the human psychology of it all, which is why I love some of those placements over the feed because the feed is just hard to stand out right now.
Racheal Cook: Yeah. It's just changed a lot compared to a few years back. Those two things focus on stories for the why now and getting people to click that direct link or DM you directly versus Reels on the very top. I think that makes so much sense.
As we're thinking about these different things for our social media, social media is always changing, the algorithms are always changing, they're coming up with new features, when they come up with new features, they're amplifying them. Usually, if Instagram rolls out something or Facebook rolls out something, the minute they roll it out, if you jump on it and start playing with it, you have the potential to get more reach just because they're trying to get that feature off the ground.
I'm curious, what things are you playing with right now or what experiments are you running either for yourself or for your clients? What are you playing with that you think might be the next thing we should know about?
Andréa Jones: Yes. We're really leaning into memes and pop culture references. It feels like there is a little bit of an evolution in the business space in this regard. When we think about how we personally use social media, my Facebook feed is just like a ton of memes and I love seeing them, I love engaging with them so it's taking something that users naturally gravitate towards and trying to still connect it to the business side of things.
We're testing out quite a lot of things right now. One that has worked really well for one specific client is we actually took a clip from a TV show and posted that as a Reel on Facebook and I got a million views. We added context to it, we had a little title, and we added context into the caption that ties it back to the client. But now that that clip got in front of so many people who never knew the client prior to that, we saw 600 followers-ish instantly and then we're keeping an eye on it.
We haven't really seen much drop-off. We expected to see quite a bit of drop-off from that. It's little things like that that we're playing around with how do humans participate in social media just naturally and then as business owners, how can we show up in those spaces and be a member of that group. It's almost like showing up to a party with the same energy that's already at the party. We're trying to tap into that a little bit more. It's been a fun experiment so we'll see how it goes.
Racheal Cook: Okay. That makes me want to go back. I have a clip from an interview I did for money and it's perfect for right now so I'm going to go back, pull that clip, and turn it into a Reel. It's a couple of years old but it's still so relevant because it's all about what to do when there's a business emergency or a recession. I’m going to do that today. We'll follow up on how that does.
Andréa Jones: That's perfect.
Racheal Cook: Okay. I love hearing this because I think this is something that I've definitely seen. If you're too dry in your social media, I think this is where business can't just be so boring and flat. You have to put some personality into it. I love playing with memes and with pop culture references. Now I'm like, “Okay, I need to start paying attention to a few more. How can we make those work for our business?”
I'm getting so many great ideas from you, Andrea, today. As we wrap up our conversation, things are always changing but what are your predictions for where you see small businesses using social media in a way that actually drives results for them? What are the things you're going to be paying attention to for your own clients?
Andréa Jones: Yeah. One of the things I have my eagle eyes on right now is artificial intelligence, the impacts of AI, and how that will impact how we navigate marketing as business owners. Because with tools like ChatGPT, it's so easy for people to pump out this surface-level content.
One of my predictions on how this is going to impact business and marketing in the future is that the human element isn't going to become even more valuable. I've already started infusing into my marketing like you're talking to a human, not a robot, and I think that's going to be really key for business owners going forward.
I personally like interacting with a human. If I'm calling customer service and I have to press three numbers before I can talk to someone, I'm frustrated. That's the experience that's going to probably happen on social media with the robots, with the artificial intelligence.
If we can show up as a human, have those human elements, those human interactions, that means maybe there's a mistake, maybe it's not a perfect studio setup, maybe it's a live video, something that's more interactive that's going to help elevate business owners who can tap into that now and differentiate you from all of the other people who are using artificial intelligence.
Racheal Cook: I just read a great article by [Forrest Linden] and I'll link it up about AI and how it's currently working. It was really helpful to understand the how it works and basically he said that because AI, like ChatGPT—which I'm playing with, I think it's a great idea for brainstorming and coming up with ideas, but basically he said—it's like autocomplete on steroids because it's simply just taking a predictor of what is the next thing that would come in this given all the content that's out there.
But this is where, exactly like you said, we don't want to blend in with what everybody else is saying. If ChatGPT is going to crank out something that sounds like what 99% of the internet is already saying about that topic, it is going to blend in so fast. This is how we end up, again, like with the copy-paste memes in everybody's colors and fonts or quote graphics, it doesn't stand out because it's just the same.
I really think this is something where it's a great idea for coming up with ideas, I'm using it to come up with ideas. I'm using it to draft things like draft a post or draft something. I can't wait to be able to read my website, listen to all my podcast episodes, and then create things for me. But even then, I think we're always going to have to be going back, editing it, and tweaking it. It's not the final product.
If you're using it as a final product right now, then you’re using the most generic thing that you could possibly put out there. It might sound okay because it is pretty decently written but it doesn't mean it's innovative or really thought-leader material. It's going to be the generic material that's readily available.
Andréa Jones: Oh, yes, 100%. I like using it for content as well, especially for naming things. I'm terrible with names and I had this idea for the name of a product I'm working on that I wanted to be Shakespeare themed so I said, “Can you take this idea and then give me some names that are like Shakespeare puns or phrases?” and so using it in that way is super fun. But you're right in that it's not innovative, it's a people pleaser.
It's going to try to answer your question with the most popular answer it has available to it, which doesn't necessarily make it a big resource for 100% writing all of your copy, so I definitely see the people who can leverage the tool to help them come up with ideas faster and then flip it and humanize it, if you could do that combo, you're winning.
Racheal Cook: Absolutely. I love that. Well, thank you so much, Andrea, for chatting with me today. I think everyone who's listening is going to want to go follow you. Y'all, she has a great podcast. Can you share a little bit about what people need to listen into and how they can connect with you?
Andréa Jones: Yes. You can find Savvy Social Podcast on any podcasting app and then I'm everywhere at OnlineDrea. Instagram is my favorite hangout spot right now though I spend a lot of time on TikTok. If you're new to my world, I do have a free course. It's right on the homepage of the website onlinedrea.com. You can sign up for it and learn more about how to use social media as a tool to grow your business.
Racheal Cook: I love it. I highly encourage everyone to go get on her list and go through that course because she is not telling everyone to go be an influencer and share what you had for breakfast. You don't have to point in lip sync in order to continue to do well on social media. You have so many great insights so I really, really am glad you were able to come on today and share it with everyone. Thank you so much.
Andréa Jones: Oh, thanks for having me.
Racheal Cook: There you have it. I love this conversation with Andrea. I think I even got some great takeaways and things I'm going to be adding to our strategy here at The CEO Collective. What I really love is that her entire process, her entire perspective on social media is just so practical and manageable. We don't have to live on social media all day long and we don't have to feel like being on social media means we have to be showing every single part of our lives, we need to be showing our children, our families, our home.
I don't know about you but I like to have a little bit of privacy in my life. Probably if you're following along, you might think the same way. You don't necessarily want to have to put your whole life on display. Andrea's approach is very much about having boundaries around your social media, about having a purpose behind your social media. I just absolutely love that.
I highly recommend you go check out her free resources and her podcast. Thank you so much for listening. We have more amazing content headed your way in the coming weeks here on Promote Yourself to CEO so make sure you are subscribed to the show. If you love this series, please take a minute to leave a rating and review. Those ratings and reviews over on Apple Podcasts really help us to get the show out in front of more amazing entrepreneurs just like yourself and they are so very much appreciated. Alright, until next time.