Water Cooler Chats ... with Stevie Dillon from Stevie Says Social

Stevie Dillon of Stevie Says Social knows first-hand the power of good social media and a killer social media content strategy. Addressing a glaring gap in knowledge when it came to making social media work for service-based businesses Stevie Says Social was born. Stevie has been captivating audiences since then with her real-talk and incredible insights into social media platforms and consumer psychology.

You regularly talk about giving value in your social media, what does that mean for service-based businesses?

Let’s put it this way.

Nobody likes that person at a party or networking who launches into a conversation with a new person they’ve never met and just goes on and on and ON about themselves and how good they are.

I’ve experienced it before, and it’s the worst. You’re pretending to listen, trying to look interested and frantically searching for an exit all at the same time.

It’s kinda the same the same with social media. Social media is not a SALES platform like Google Ad Words is. People aren’t specifically going to Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn to BUY something. They’re going there to get updates from their friends and family, or as a source of inspiration or education from the people and brands they follow.

So, if a service-based business jumps on and starts bleating about how good they are and why you need to hire them without having established any sort of relationship first, it’s just annoying. People aren’t going to follow you, and they definitely aren’t going to show up on your page and book your service because you told them to.

Lead with value instead. Treat your followers like your best friends, and look after them by giving them what they want. It’s all about developing a relationship. People want to know what you’re all about. What other people think of you. Whether you’re the type of person they would want to do business with. You do that by giving more than you take, and you do that by consistently delivering value.

For example, if you’re a lawyer you can write informative articles (which will also position you as an expert) and distribute on Facebook. If you’re a financial planner, give away little money tips every day on Instagram. If you’re a dentist, talk about what makes you different and showcase your culture.

Do that over and over, until you’ve developed a relationship and earnt the right to ask them for their business.

(Expert tip? If you do it right, you won’t ever need to ask – people will start coming to you because you’re the one that’s been helping them).

Businesses will go through different phases - pre-launch, growth, established audience. Is it for businesses to adapt their social media approach accordingly?

Nope. I mean, SURE, there are different strategies that are relevant at different times - for example, Facebook ads can be great to assist with a launch strategy. In the growth stage, collaborations are a great strategy for increasing reach without spending the earth. And so on.

But at it's core, social for business is simple - provide value, be relevant, be consistent, rinse and repeat.

It's simple, but it's HARD to do.

Standing out from the crowd can be difficult to balance with being on trend and recognisable - what tips do you have for business to reach their desired audience without looking like a rinse and repeat of other businesses?

DON’T follow what everyone else in your industry is doing! Really. Look at other industries to get inspiration from and see what you can incorporate into your social media marketing efforts. When you spend too much time looking over the fence at what your competitors are doing – their marketing, their blogs, their socials – you’ll find you will (consciously or subconsciously) end up doing similar things.

Ignore them, and think instead about what SETS YOU APART. Then, do THAT.

Often, it takes more time, effort and creativity to do this, and so a lot of businesses don’t bother (and then complain that social media doesn’t work for them).

Doing things differently is how you get more followers and ultimately more business than everyone else.

Let's talk numbers - what do you think is more valuable to a business: a smaller engaged following or a larger visible following? How does that translate for businesses?

Massive, unengaged followings are the ABSOLUTE BEST.

Chill. Joking.

Chase BUSINESS, not followers. Here’s my golden rule – EVERY single follower should be a potential client. Because (other than an ego boost), what’s the use of followers if they’re never gonna convert into clients or customers?

For example, there’s NO use having a whole lot of followers based in Sydney, for example, if you’re a local accountant working in Brisbane. They won’t be engaged (which will affect your visibility in FB and Insta’s algorithms), and they definitely won’t buy.

A fixation on followers at any cost distracts some service-based businesses from really reaping the benefits that come from cultivating a smaller audience of passionate, engaged brand advocates.

To that end, what is your view on the value of Instagram Pods - does that give businesses a true indicator of the impact of their SM?

NO. Just NO. It's just the wrong mindset.

See above. You want people who are genuinely interested in you and your brand.

If you’re concentrating on that from the outset, you won’t even NEED to worry about getting engagement from pods because you’ll already HAVE engaged followers that like your stuff.

Businesses often recognize that SMM is not their strong point and go on to outsource this function - what are your tips to businesses to ensure that they can retain a unique voice when taking a more hands-off approach to their SMM?

Service-based social is a WHOLE different ballgame to social media for businesses selling products. I have seen SO many service-based businesses outsource their socials, and then complain that social media doesn’t work because their outsourced SMM didn’t understand how to DO service based social.

Success on social for service providers requires them to create connection with their followers by delivering content that makes them relatable, and by providing value.

YOU know yourself and your business best. If you’re gonna outsource, you MUST ensure that your SMM is clear on your story, your brand personality, your tone of voice, what makes your ideal client tick, what they want and everything that sets you apart.

Pick the right person – someone that is passionate about your industry and what you do, and can communicate that in your socials.

Keen to know more about Stevie and what Stevie Says Social can do for you? Check out www.steviesayssocial.com or what her practice what she preaches on Facebook and Instagram: @steviesayssocial.