Social Media is one of the most important resources any blogger or small business owner can use these days. I had the opportunity of interviewing an expert on this topic, Stephanie Gilbert from Small Talk Social. I’m excited to share with you the tips that this talented lady is giving us today!
Hi Stephanie! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your business.
Hi, I’m Stephanie Gilbert and I’m the owner and creative director of a boutique social media agency called Small Talk Social. I work with small businesses + lifestyle brands to create exciting + engaging visual content– to help them grow a targeted audience on various platforms.
I also use the online side of my business to teach the DIY creative/solopreneur how to leverage their digital content to attract more customers and make more money.
What was the most difficult challenge you faced when you decided to take the solopreneur road?
The most difficult thing about deciding to leave my safe, full-time job was having to figure this whole business ownership thing out on my own. Even in my previous jobs as a leader/manager, there was always someone above me that I could go to when I needed an answer.
But here, you’re the boss. You’re at the top of the totem pole. I’ve hired a team of people to help me, but I’m still “the boss”. There are definitely still days when I wish I could just ask someone “what the hell am I supposed to be doing right now?”
I look around and realize that it’s MY business, and it’s always up to ME where I put my focus and effort. If things go wrong, it’s up to me to figure out a solution to the problem.
The thing that keeps me from losing my mind is knowing that pretty much everyone is just figuring it out as they go along. We all go through the day trying to make the best decisions that we can.
Also, surrounding yourself with supportive, like-minded people is definitely the best way to stay on track!
Social Media is one of the most important tools to grow a business these days, what are your 3 top tips for building a social media presence that converts?
1. Be consistent: make sure you have a plan in place to show up on your platforms often, whether that be by outsourcing the responsibility to someone else, using scheduling/automation, or by DIYing it, it’s important to stay on top of it. Posting only when you’re trying to sell or promote won’t work. Post daily if you can.
2. Engage with your audience: find a way to reply to your comments, ask questions to get your customers to open up to you, and ensure that your conversations are 2-sided. There should be time scheduled in each day to interact with your audience, it’s that important.
3. Understand that things don’t happen overnight: many business owners will look at their follower growth and feel defeated when comparing themselves to others. Organic traffic takes time, and you can’t focus on a vanity number to gauge success. If you’re posting high-quality content and engaging with your audience regularly, it will happen. The worst thing you can do is get impatient and start buying followers and ignoring your real audience– stick with it and don’t take any shortcuts.
When it comes to having your own business, all you hear out there is all about ‘the hustle’. But, you have a different perspective (which I love!). Tell us more about it and how it changed your business.
Yes, haha. Over the last couple of years, I have gotten really annoyed with the word “hustle” because it’s almost become a badge of honor for online entrepreneurs. While I do understand the sentiment, and that we sometimes have to just put our heads down and get shit done– that life, all the time, is NOT why I left my 9-5.
I believe in working smarter, not harder. So I use passive income, through the sale of digital products and online courses, to make money. I actually increased my annual salary last year by $10k with 4 products that were $29 or less. All of those sales happened without me needing to be present, so I essentially made that extra ten thousand dollars in my sleep!
I’ve also scaled my freelance work into an agency, which was scary at first — thinking of paying others when I didn’t even feel comfortable paying myself.
But, as I’ve hired more people, even more, amazing clients have come on board.
Now I sub-contract out a lot of what I do for clients, and simply oversee the finished result.
This has allowed me to be more of a CEO and less of a “daily grind” business owner. At the end of the day, I now make more money without hustling more. Plus, I’m able to give more opportunities to others to earn money and do what they love, which feels really good.
There are still seasons when I “go hard”- to create or launch a new course or to grow my business. But hustle is NOT something that I do every day, and I def don’t brag about being busy. I HATE being busy.
What advice would you give to aspiring small business owners out there?
I think the best advice I have is to just go for it. Jump and the net will appear. I know it seems easier said than done, but I bet if you were to ask anyone who has walked this path what the hardest thing has been — they will say the first step.
If you can rip the band-aid off and trust that you know just as much as the next guy– and you are willing to be uncomfortable sometimes (because all change is uncomfortable, that’s how we know it’s working) then you CAN make it work.
My second best tip is to not pay attention to what everyone else is doing, that’s a dangerous path to walk down– one that causes you to doubt and compare. It’s best to put your blinders on and simply listen to your gut. You know why you started, so don’t start looking around at everyone else and forget.
Stay connected with Stephanie over at Small Talk Social.