Sep 21, 2021
How to Leverage Social Media to Generate Clients With Chantal Gerardy
We're always told to leverage social media sites to bring in more business, but what does that actually mean? Sometimes just putting up posts of cats or just resharing things work. Some things don't.
This week, Chantal Gerardy, an online business strategist, talks to us about how to leverage social media to generate paying clients.
Get more tips on how to leverage social media at dorksdelivered.com.au
Is there any reason you should be on every single social media site?
Chantal: Hell, no. We wouldn't sleep if we are on every single platform. I honestly believe that we just need to be where our ideal customers are, but we also need to be where it makes us comfortable. If you're not comfortable on a certain platform, then maybe that platform is not for you.
Chantal: Facebook is my favourite because there are so many people on Facebook. I love being on Facebook, and I love working with clients on Facebook. It's quite a user-friendly platform and it's social, which means you don't have to be overly sales-y. You can focus on building meaningful relationships, and you can find your ideal client on them.
A lot of people have someone who's managing their Facebook profile, a niece or a nephew, and they wonder why it's not bringing any more people. My personal thought is if you're really good at eating apples, that does not mean you're really good at growing apple trees. That's the way that I would define the difference between someone who's using a platform and someone who's actually jumping in to use the platform to make money. I'm sure you see that all the time.
How does Facebook digital marketing work versus just putting up posts of cats, dogs, the last job that you did, or smiling customers?
Chantal: There are just way too many people out there, and there are way too many cats and dog photos. Like you said, just because you can log into the profile and share your cat photos doesn't mean you know how to generate paying customers. The good news is that you can learn how.
Many business owners think that they actually have to get a marketing degree or they've got to outsource it to someone else. I'm massively hyperactive and completely non-techy and I taught myself social media marketing, but I learned how to do it the non-fluffy and cookie-cutter way. I was able to transform my business and get paying customers. If I can do it, anyone can do it. But there is a skill to it.
If you don't want to be stressed, overwhelmed, and frustrated, it's important that you learn how to properly use the things that you are going to use in your business, which means reading the instructions.
There are a lot of things when it comes to Facebook and marketing that people get confused with, such as paid advertising versus organic advertising. What is the difference between the two? What works and what doesn't? What did work and what do you think is going to work?
Chantal: We have to realise that the social media platforms are businesses so they're constantly going to be asking you for money. Does organic work? A lot of people say that it doesn't work.
However, for myself and all the clients that I've worked with, we see massive results. It's like building a house. If you don't get the foundations right, which is kind of like your organic strategy and your organic marketing, it doesn't matter how much money you put on it, it's simply not going to work.
At the end of the day, it's how you position yourself online. You have to make sure that you position yourself as a professional. You've got to understand your privacy settings. If you're going to be a little bit aggressive or risque in your marketing, then you've got to have some sort of crisis and management plan in place. You've also got to know how to hide things, block people, and report things. If we're going to use these things in our business, we've got to learn how to use them properly.
Chantal: If you choose to do organic marketing and you set up your profiles, you follow the instructions, and you do them correctly, then you learn how to get it all started and get it working for you. The next part of that is the growth side of it.
Just putting content on a page that has no one following is not going to get you business. Launching a product when you haven't gotten some hype about it beforehand doesn't mean you're going to have a massive stream of clients coming in the next day. What's really important is you sit down and you focus on three things:
A lot of people will say that you've got to do advertising. I think everybody is hoping for a magic pill, and there isn't one.
There's a scenario we like to play on the podcast, which is if you've just started running a hair salon or a pie shop, you've got no customers, and you've got $5,000 for marketing, where would that $5,000 be best spent to get a return?
Chantal: The scenario is my life. I came from South Africa to Australia. I knew absolutely no one and didn't have a cent. I was in a saturated industry, and I didn't even have $5,000 to put towards a website.
Nowadays, you don't need a website. A lot of people say you've got to have the website first and then social media. For me, you can generate paying clients from social media. When you make money, go and get that website. You need that website, but which comes first, I'm always going to say social media.
If money is important, it's more about getting those clients and you can position yourself online. It is something that business owners could do. If I had had $5,000 and the experience I have now, would I have gotten the website? I think I would have invested in myself as a business owner to be better in business and to develop my skills. I think that's something that would have been a valuable tool, especially when you are just starting out and you don't have customers. You only know what you know, right?
It's like the chicken and the egg, isn't it? When we're talking to different business owners, most of the time they've got one of two major problems: they've got no money coming in and they've got all the time in the world or they've got lots of money coming in and no time. So we try to get them more time. They might spend $1,000 on something, but then we're removing a process that's costing them $3,000 over 12 months so they've got that money back. They've spent a little bit, but they can see the results from it, like the chicken and the egg.
If you're just starting off fresh, what are the best Facebook marketing tips to make sure that you're spending your time appropriately on the platform and you're not just trying to find friends?
Chantal: For me, it's your personal branding. Maybe because I came from South Africa, I was always around privacy. I wanted to understand the privacy settings of the social media platforms that I was using because I am cautious about how my kids would be seen online, especially when you're trying to go out and generate customers.
How do I want to be seen? I'm an extrovert, so I don't mind having everything public, and I don't mind going out there and shouting things from the rooftop. But I was very conscious of the fact that a lot of people are introverts and maybe they don't want to be the face of their brand. So it needs to be an understanding of how you want to position yourself on social media. There is no right or wrong strategy. There's a different strategy for each person.
Second, don't forget to tell your personal story, your journey, your business backstory, how you got to where you are and what you're passionate about. At the end of the day, it's social media, which is social, and people want to connect with you at a deep and meaningful level.
You will become memorable just for the story that you've shared. Don't forget to keep telling those stories online because someone who has a similar experience will connect with you, and that becomes a part of what you do.
Personal branding is really important, but strategy or words are also important. When I first started out, everyone said to me, just be visible—take everything, give it away for free, and just shout it from the rooftops and go online and just go crazy. That's freaking exhausting! It's disappointing when there are crickets and you get absolutely nothing from them.
When you consider a strategy, it's about working out who your ideal customers are, where they're hanging out and figuring out how you're going to best communicate to them, not in your language, but their language.
We can communicate through written words, photos, and videos, so it's important for us to take some time to consider how we are going to effectively communicate what it is that we do to the people that we want to do it with so that we can get a yes from them and then find those people online and then present it to them professionally with the end in mind.
Don't just give it all away for free. It's not selling if you're servicing someone and they're happy to pay you. It's servicing.
A lot of people are scared about that call to action, but a call to action is one of the most important things that you need on social media. You have to let people know what the next step is. You've got to let them know how available you are, or else, they won't click and then you won't get a view. You'll get scrolled over.
Can you do too much?
Chantal: As a business owner, I think you can. You'll just burn out, and you'll get so frustrated.
Before starting with me, a lot of my clients used to sit on their phones or laptops all the time. They even go to the toilet with their phone. They couldn't leave it because they were so scared that they were going to miss out on something.
That's where the system comes in. You've got to book it into your calendar—your time to do your online marketing, create content creation, do your growth strategy, generate clients, and engage or follow up. It needs to be part of your business model.
If you do too much, you will burn out, you will get frustrated and it's not sustainable.
Even if you've got someone in your business, let's say I have a receptionist and while they're not answering the phones, they're doing other admin stuff like doing some social media posts, is there a chance that a potential lead looks at your profile, sees there are updates twice a day every day and thinks we must have too much time or too much money? From the perspective of a person looking in, do you think there could be a bad problem by having too much on your social media page?
Chantal: It's not a problem. They were going to stalk your page and see a whole lot of valuable stuff that you'd strategically put out there from your content bucket. That's not the problem. The problem is actually the step before that.
If you're constantly posting stuff, you're not allowing the organic reach of things to come in. If people aren't engaging, it's just going to go dead. You're not actually going to get that engagement, which means you're not going to come up on people's feeds. You might be posting every five minutes, but you're going to mess up with the organic reach.
You've got to allow posts to go on and reach people, but you've also got to have a growth strategy, meaning you've got to go in and grow your page. If you're putting posts up but there's no one on the page, it's not going to happen.
You've still got to take those profiles and grow them. For example, on Instagram, it means following hashtags and doing hashtag searches, which is the same as in LinkedIn. It's going into groups or communities that have got your ideal clients, and I call it "peacocking." Peacock in front of them and let them know what you do.
Content creation is only one part of it. It's obviously a very important part, but the other part of it is the growth part of it, meaning that you've got to go and do joint ventures, collaborations. Get your customers involved in your marketing, i.e. user-generated content.
There are influencers, but I don't really like that word. I prefer to say raving fans or cheerleaders. We've got to also encourage that part happening in your social media and get that organic reach going.
Josh: What is a good reach? If you've got 1,000 followers or 1,000 people who liked your page, is 5% to 100% a good reach?
Chantal: There are a couple of factors. First, where did those people come from? Have you only just got the page going or has it been dead for months before?
History is so important. As long as your Insights each week is going up, that's all you're looking for. If it's not going up, you're going to ask yourself why.
You've also got to look at the time of the day that you're posting. You’ve got to look at the audience and the type of content. Is the content suitable for the audience?
You've got to respect the platform. Facebook is an older platform. It doesn't use hashtags, but it's more social and storytelling. Instagram is more about the images. It's a younger demographic, usually under the age of 25.
There are so many different aspects, and you cannot let your ego get in the way. Making it about just the engagement is what I call ego metrics, which doesn't fly for me.
I have had many clients who called me. When I asked them where did they find me, they said they've been following me for 5 years on social media. And I had no idea. They've never engaged, they've never liked anything. They've just had all these touchpoints across all these social media. Suddenly the time was right and they picked up the phone.
Do I have to throw in the towel just because I didn't get a like? No, so don't worry about it. Just keep checking your insights, and make sure they're green.
That's good advice. I know I've looked at these metrics and wonder why this post got so many more views or shares and this one didn't, hence, this one seems better. It's just the people at the time. The algorithm is always changing.
You were talking earlier about shadow banning, where a page might not necessarily get the results or the traction you'd expect it to. There's Facebook and Linkedin jail. Tell us more about it. Is there a way to get out of it?
Chantal: Yes, on Facebook and LinkedIn, you can go to jail. The funny thing is when this happens to someone, sometimes you get notified but sometimes you don't.
A lot of the time people didn't even know that it happened or why it happened. I always tell people that they need to ask and to consider what they were doing that got them into that trouble because chances are they might go down that road again.
Also, they've got AI, artificial intelligence. In the olden days, it was humans but during the pandemic, they actually increased the amount of artificial intelligence. When something suddenly happens and it just doesn't seem right, they could just suddenly put you in jail.
Do they tell you or will your reach just go down?
Chantal: I know with Facebook, you do get notified. I've had people that have had their group feature taken away for a whole year. I've had other businesses marketplace for a whole year.
Josh: What did they do to do that?
Chantal: A lot of the time, they are spamming. In Facebook's Marketplace, you are not allowed to advertise your business. Facebook is a business. They want you to pay for advertising, and they give you a page. Use what they give you for free, but the Marketplace is to sell secondhand stuff. It's not to sell your business. When you sell your business there, they'll give you a warning. If you don't listen, they'll take that function away from you forever.
When you close down your personal profile and try to set up another personal profile, they can pick it up. You've got to go to another computer, you got to clear cookies, etc.
To lose those functions to all the platforms are different. With Instagram, they won't even tell you. Suddenly, you'll have no action for a week on your Instagram page. Usually, it happens when people run out of hashtags to use and they just use the same hashtag again and again. Instagram notices you're using this on every single post.
Facebook's new one at the moment is it'll take away your ability to comment in groups. If you've been engaging in groups but you are copy-pasting the same promotional campaign in groups every single day, Facebook will stop you from doing that for a week. You can go into groups and watch, but you can't actually engage.
At the end of the day, it is about relationships. Spamming is not relationships. Spamming is like what you're trying to do to get a quick magic pill.
If you're on Tinder and you send the same boilerplate "how is your day" message to everyone, how engaged do you really think that the other person is going to be? They'd know that that's not hyper-targeted. You can write something that's relevant to the time and the person.
Is there anything you shouldn't write or shouldn't say when doing Facebook marketing?
Chantal: I spoke about personal branding, and it's really important. I'm a little bit cheeky, so I'll be a little bit cheeky, but I work one on one with clients, so they got to kind of be comfortable with that when they work with me. So that's kind of letting them get a feel for me even before we even start working together.
In recommendations or reviews on Facebook, you can't swear or use profanity. If there is, you can actually report it and they can remove it. There is actually a setting in Facebook for you to turn off certain words on your page. So a lot of people that are in marketing or cryptocurrency might come onto their page, and you can control them. You can go into your page and you can set it up so that no person using the word "scam" can post on your page.
This comes back to skills. People don't take the time to develop these skills and understand these platforms, but all those capabilities are there when you know how.
How do you help people who want to know how they can do better in Facebook marketing?
Chantal: The best thing to do is to subscribe to the website, and we'll have a whole bunch of freebies there. We've got content calendars, 21 content ideas that outsmart the algorithm, how to get ready for Facebook ads, and how to save time and money online. Jump on, snap it up and get onto the email list because we'll keep you up to date when things change because they change all the time.
It's more important than anything. The playing field is always being updated.
Are there any books that influenced you to become the person you are now?
Chantal: When this little South African girl came to Australia, she had some money mindset issues. As a business owner, that can actually hold you back and stop you from taking some of the risks in your business or at least enjoying some of your business.
Sandy Forster has a book. She's an Australian, and she's on the Sunshine Coast. I've done the Wildly Wealthy programme twice.
I find her book really helpful. It's mostly for women, but it is for some inspired men. And I got a lot out of it because I love health and fitness. One of the things that I really think it's important to take time out to do is to just get your willpower and your muscles strong as well, and that's your money-making mind muscles.
I've gone down the struggle of being overweight. I changed my mindset completely, so I couldn't agree more with making sure that the instrument that you're using, being your body, is in the best shape that it can be if you got to make the best decisions.
What is business freedom to you?
Chantal: Business freedom for me is simply making sales without spending your life online and having a balanced life. To me, freedom is the ability to know that sales are still coming through the door.
For my social media, I've got a system in place and I'm still making sales. My business is still running, and I'm away camping. To me, that is business freedom.
I love having a reoccurring income coming in, knowing that what you've built up there is going to lend itself to your hobbies and what you want to do.
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