When you’re starting from zero on social, it can feel completely overwhelming to do all the things, be all the places, and throw your voice into the middle of a crowd that seems MUCH louder than you are.
Katie Brinkley joins us to talk about growing from zero – and what’s more, leveraging that growth to equal real sales.
Don’t miss this special episode designed for authors but appropriate for everyone!
FREE Guide: How to navigate Clubhouse – if you're curious about what Clubhouse is and how you can use it for your business, Katie's guide is your best first step!
Free Video Training: The 3 Biggest Mistakes Small Businesses Make With Social Media (and how to fix them)
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Alyson Lex 0:09
When you have a bigger community, you have a bigger business, you get better book deals, you have better book launches, all of those things. But it can be really, really overwhelming to figure out where to get started, especially if you're starting from zero. So we have Katie Brinkley, one of our favorite social media strategists here with us. And she's going to talk to us all about building that community getting that engagement. And maybe we'll even talk her into telling us how we can sell in the DM. So Katie, thanks for being with us today.
Katie Brinkley 0:49
Thanks for having me. always excited to talk with you too. Because you guys are one I love the sound of the voice Ellison, but you guys are so knowledgeable. And every time I talk to him, like, brilliant idea.
Alyson Lex 1:02
Well, I want to pretend that we're starting at zero community followers, no groups, nothing we are, you know, maybe it's just a cat picture here in there. What should we do first, to begin to grow our following?
Katie Brinkley 1:19
Well, you have a very first thing that I recommend doing is figuring out where your ideal client is hanging out. You have to figure out what social media platforms your clients is even on are your ideal people to that are going to be reading and engaging with you. So one of the best places for organic traffic still is Instagram, unless you feel super confident on video, and you're ready to start dancing and pointing tik tok is also a great spot. But Instagram is still a fantastic place for organic community building for you to get to know your your audience, and for them to have the opportunity to get to know you a little bit too.
Alyson Lex 2:03
I absolutely. I was gonna ask this later. Because I know that a lot of our clients, they're like, well, I need to be on all the platforms, I need to make sure I'm seen everywhere. But you're saying to find out where your person is, and just focus there should I just stick with one?
Katie Brinkley 2:24
Well, if you want to do social media the right way, it's a lot of it's a lot of work. And that's, that's one of the biggest things is, I don't think a lot of people realize that it's more than just posting a pretty picture or posting a graphic, there's a lot more that goes in to a strong social media presence. So if you start with, I'm just going to stick with just Instagram because again, I think it is a great place for for organic growth. So if you're just gonna say, Okay, I'm gonna stick with Instagram. If you think about it, there's five ways to post on it. So there's the feed, which all of us are, you know, accustomed to and familiar with, you know, you see the pictures in it there. You can also post videos, and I mean, so the feed is what most people are familiar with. But there's four other areas that you can post to Instagram, as well, there is Instagram stories, there's igtv, which is traditionally a longer form video content. There's Instagram Live. So if we wanted to do this live on Instagram, we could. And then there's reels of so that that's kind of the 15 to 62nd video clips where you can speak, you know, and point at things. The most Trending videos are ones where you kind of dance, or use, like, funny audio or with it or whatever. So I mean, like, but that's an entirely another way of posting on Instagram. But that's that's five different areas to Instagram that you need to show up in. So if you're gonna do it, right, you need to give people the content, five different ways, because everyone consumes content differently. So that's just Instagram. I didn't even talk about Facebook. I mean, there's Facebook groups, there's Facebook business pages, there's your personal pages. I mean, once I start going into all these different ways to post on each platform, people are like, well, maybe I shouldn't even post on social media at all. But that's where again, start with one, go all in on it, get really, really good at it. Build your community, build your audience there. And then you can start adding in the Facebook's the LinkedIn, the TIC tocs. And really trying to grow today. I think that that's one of the biggest problems that people get overwhelmed. Or they post a picture to Instagram and I go well, I got two likes and I'm no one reached out. You know, I haven't made any sales and I have no followers. I mean, there's so much more to posting on social media then than just than just posting I mean, you're not going to grow unless you take all the steps that I'm sure we'll talk about and you know, show up in all the different areas of these feeds, the social media platforms and neighborhoods that we're going to talk about today.
Jennie Wright 5:07
I find it interesting that you were talking about the five different ways that you can post just on Instagram alone. And there's a lot that's in there. 100%. So I want to ask you do authors need anything super special, so they can stand out and be different from the crowd? Because I think they're missing out on some of the strategy. But what specifically for authors is going to help them stand out?
Katie Brinkley 5:29
them. That is the biggest thing that I think a lot of people overlook, they, they think that, okay, well, I need to post a bunch of, you know, book, you know, excerpts or I need to post a bunch of product images, I mean, whatever. But it's, it's you and you. That's one of the side note, that's one of the things with with me and my business. The second that I stopped being behind the camera and stepped in front. That's when everything for my business changed. And that's because people can do social media strategy with with anyone, but people choose to do it with me because they they feel connected to me. And that's what you need to build your audience on these platforms. As you you know, let them see the behind the scenes of, you know, your storyboards, let them see, you know, the process that you work on, to get everything out there. So I think that, once you let people in on the journey with you, they're going to want to see that end result because they've been along the, you know, they've seen from concept to, you know, the bookshelf. So I think that that's one of the biggest things is showing up and letting people see you and your journey, because it's, it's more than just the book.
Alyson Lex 6:48
I want to kind of dive into that just a little bit more, because, you know, you mentioned letting them see the journey, let them see the storyboard, let them see the progress. How do we get there mentally, like, I know that some of the people watching they they're building businesses around themselves, but some watching or listening may not be so how do we? How do we make that shift to being okay, in the social Limelight, if you will,
Katie Brinkley 7:18
it's hard because I feel like the majority of us that we didn't grow up with a phone in our face, you know, I didn't, my daughter, she never she gets a new present a new Barbie doll or lol doll, we have to do an unboxing for YouTube. And the YouTube YouTube is my photos on my phone. But she thinks that she has a YouTube channel. And so every single time that she gets a present, she's like, Alright, we got it. I gotta take a bit video for my for my fans. And then like your six, how do you even think that you'd have fans? Like how do you know all this, but, you know, she watches. There's this Australian Lego builder named LTV. And she's watched her build Legos for the past three years. And so that's what she wants to do. You know, so she has grown up, you know, seeing other people have a phone in their face. Most of us, you know, over the age of 30 did not. And so me getting a cup of coffee, and filming, you know, or taking a picture of my planner to start the day does not come naturally. And so I think that that's one of the hardest things to overcome is thinking, this is this is my life, and I do it every day. But so it's not exciting to me. But for other people where you know, I've never written a book, I'd love to, but I have no idea on the process for it to take take me along your journey, or, you know, if you I've read one of your other books and like, how did you think of that whole storyline, like that's where you, for you for the people that are fans of you and that of your of your work, they're gonna want to see that whole process because they're a fan of you. And, and that's the journey that you need to take them on. Even though it's not familiar to have a phone in your face. It's little things just like 15 seconds here and 15 seconds there that make a difference with your community and building that community around you and your brand.
Jennie Wright 9:17
building up the brand is so important. I completely agree with you. And I think everybody, including non authors struggle with this on a regular basis. There's absolutely the struggle of knowing when to put the camera in your face and even why like it's a thing, right? And I want to ask you, what mistakes Do you see a lot of authors making when it comes to their social media? What's the big struggle that they're experiencing? And how are they kind of screwing it up?
Katie Brinkley 9:43
I think the one of the biggest things I see is not them. Graphics, pretty graphics and stock imagery is only going to take you so far. And that's one of the it's hard. I mean, I totally get it again. It's hard to step in front of the lens But that's, that's really the biggest mistake is the graphics and the stock images, they only take you so far on your journey. And that's one of the biggest things I think that you need to accept, but the having those books are in a graphic, that's fantastic. But they can't just be that people need to, to get to know you and Andrew brand and see what the process is. You don't want it to turn into just a personal scrapbook. But you know, have you been featured on a podcast to talk about your book? Have you done a blog or like a video, live chat like this? You know, that's the stuff that your audience needs to see. Because they're gonna be like, Man, look it, you know, Katie's out here doing this podcast, I want to listen to that, Oh, she did another one. She's speaking at this event. And so like, the more that you put yourself out there and showcase the ways that you're an expert, or the different ways that you're building up this the book or, or your online presence, the more respect that you're going to have from your community and from your audience.
Alyson Lex 11:05
So how do we get that content? How do our authors, our clients are? Us? How do we get that content in front of new people? Like, how do we get that attention?
Katie Brinkley 11:19
Ah, so this is one of my favorite questions, Allison, because I think a lot of people get frustrated, because oh, my God, like I'm posting, you know, the only people that like my page are like, my friends and family, you know, and I, the one of the biggest things I see a lot of authors, small businesses making is, what their bio isn't optimized for SEO. So you can optimize your bio to say exactly what it is and you know, who you are, who you serve. That's an opportunity that a lot of people miss out on your location, having that in there, that is a huge opportunity for the your local community to get behind you and support you. I mean, think about the Olympics that just happened, you know, different people from like, so I went up to steamboat and there was, I think, like two Olympians from steamboat, and like the entire town, like shut down to watch their events. So I think you know, having your local community behind you, engagement, that is one of the biggest things. So you should be using hashtags in all of your posts. There's been a lot of confusing information to come out recently about how many hashtags to use. I, me and my team have been trying a number of different strategies based on the latest news, I've still found the biggest success using 30 hashtags, if Instagrams gonna let you use 30 hashtags use on but hashtags is a great way for reach. But then taking those hashtags that you're using, and then engaging with them. And that's been one of the biggest needle needle movers for me and my clients is engaging on the hashtags that your ideal client, your ideal customer is hanging out in, and paying it forward really liking their posts, commenting, providing engaging comments on their posts. Why does that help you? Well, it's, it's, you've helped them with the Instagram algorithm, because you've given them a comment. So Instagram kind of bumps it up a notch. And then when you after you've commented, they see it in their feed, so Oh, okay, well, who's this I am Katie Brinkley, that's, you know, commenting on my posts, I'm gonna go check out what she is and what she does, they come over to my Instagram feed, holy cow, look at she, she teaches social media that people like me and look at all the free tips that she has, I'm gonna follow her because I want more free stuff. So that's where it's at. You're paying it forward, because you're engaging with their posts, reading their comments, reading their, their posts that they've put out there, put the time and effort into and then they're coming back to your page, hopefully following you and hopefully engaging with you. So that's how you're really going to be growing your community is by being social on social media.
Jennie Wright 14:08
People really don't remember that it is social. So being social on social media makes so much sense. I love the tips that you were talking about actually using the hashtag. I love that hashtag tip. And my next question is, I want to ask you, how do you leverage the attention that you might be getting on social media into transferring that over into getting new clients or customers for your business?
Katie Brinkley 14:30
There's power in the direct message, whether it is Facebook, whether it's LinkedIn, whether it's instagram or clubhouse, the DM is where the magic happens. And that is where you can really nurture someone along your journey. So for me, I have you know, a lead magnet and it's I have a free guide to clubhouse and once people ask for the guide, they opened the door for communication with me. And it's not like, hey, look, look at me come by from the do business with me. Bye bye bye. It genuinely is a conversation starter. Yeah, you know, I've seen that you've just when did you join clubhouse? You know, what do you think of it so far? And I'm genuinely starting a conversation, I'm being social. I can't stand it when people show up into my DMS and say, Are you looking to grow by 500 followers, you know, superduper spammy. But to is basically like going to someone at a networking event and throwing your business card, and then leaving the party. So you have to go in and nurture these conversations. And it really does happen in the DM. So if you see someone hanging out in your comments on a regular basis, always engaging with you always liking your posts, you can head into the DNS and say, Hey, Allison, you know, I see that you are a expert copywriter. And so you've been engaging with a lot of my posts, you know, how where is it that you live, you can start a conversation, just genuinely asking a normal question. And that you would say to somebody at a real life event and get to know them, and continue growing, you're building your community with them in the DMS. And from there, it's going to feel more like a friendship, when you finally get them on that sales call. And, you know, out of the social media world and into the real world.
Jennie Wright 16:32
So many good things here, from what you've talked about. Katie Brinkley, we love having you not only on the System to THRIVE, but also sharing sort of everything that you've been talking about, we've seen an evolution not only in what you're doing, but how you've been helping Alison and I, even with our own social media. So there's a lot that people have the opportunity to learn, and we want them to find you and connect with you. So before we go into our takeaways, how can people get to know and find more about you?
Katie Brinkley 17:02
Well, I'm on social media. I'm on Instagram. I am Katie Brinkley, LinkedIn, Katie Brinkley, and then if you want to connect with me online, and I'm at the next step, social communications, calm,
Jennie Wright 17:16
perfect, and also that I always love to create some takeaways from every time that we speak to some like an incredible expert like yourself. So we have a couple of takeaways that are going to be helpful for you from this particular episode. So my first one is start getting comfortable in front of the camera right now and use those opportunities, hands up, and total transparency, this is a really big issue for me, because I was always behind the scenes get used to being in front of the camera and using every opportunity you can to be and build more of that brand.
Alyson Lex 17:48
I really like when Katie said that you can optimize your social BIOS for SEO. And we're going to talk more about that because I think you're going to help me do that. But really discover how to optimize your bio for SEO. And that way, using your location and all of those little tips and tricks. I never even thought about that. That was a really cool thing for me to take away.
Jennie Wright 18:13
The other takeaway that I have was about engagement. I think engagements huge. I love how you're talking about just starting a conversation. And that DMS are where the magic happens. I think people really underestimate that. And I think that's fantastic. You know, if I look at my own profile, there are certain people that are constantly engaging on my posts, I absolutely want to make sure that I can have that conversation. And I think just knowing the first step and getting into the DMS is so important.
Alyson Lex 18:40
And my takeaway is a takeaway slash testimonial. As Jenny mentioned, we are working with Katie on our own social media. And it's a brand new relationship as we're recording this, but the hashtag strategy that she talks about going and engaging with people on those hashtags. Literally, in just a couple of days, my follower count has increased, and I've done nothing else yet. My bio is woefully under-optimized. And my posts, we're not going to talk about them. But reaching out following the hashtags of your ideal client and engaging with their stuff. I have had more conversations back and forth. It also reminded somebody that they sent me an email that I missed, and it's a potential JV opportunity. Like there are so many things that are happening just by making comments on other people's posts. That's such an incredible strategy. And so that's my little takeaway testimonial.
Jennie Wright 19:39
Thanks, Katie. We really appreciate you doing this with us. We really appreciate all the information that you shared. Thanks so much for being part of this with us.
Katie Brinkley 19:46
Thanks so much for having me.
Jennie Wright 19:48
Of course, always, we always love having you. And we'll have you back again, for sure. You know, not too far in the future. I'm positive of it. Because there's so much to learn from you in terms of social in terms of community Building especially when it comes to authors and coaches and all these different areas that are so important for people to focus on their social media. Thanks so much for being here everybody. We'll be back again soon answering another big question.