Meny Hoffman talks to "Queen of Social Media" Rachel Pedersen about the secrets to using social media to fast track your growth.
We all know that social media, when done right, is a powerful tool for growing your audience, generating leads, and scaling your business. But with so many social media platforms (Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? Tiktok?) and no shortage of social media “gurus” offering their advice as to the best strategy—it can be difficult to know where to start, how to post, and when to pivot.
That’s why I’m thrilled to have the “Queen of Social Media” Rachel Pedersenon the show to clear up some of the confusion. Recognized by Content Marketing Institute as one of the Most Influential Online Marketers, Rachel is a highly sought after Social Media Strategist and educator and the founder and CEO of The Viral Touch and Social Media United, a leading online university for those aspiring to become successful social media managers and strategists.
Rachel answers some of the most common questions I hear from business owners about social media: “How do I decide which social media platform is best for business?” “What are the secrets to successfully growing my audience?” “What are the pros and cons of outsourcing my social media management?” … And so much more.
If you want some practical tips for leveraging this powerful tool to grow your business, then be sure to listen and enjoy!
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How to Use Social Media to Fast Track Your Growth—with Rachel Pedersen
Rachel, thank you for joining me on the show.
I’m excited to be here. Let’s talk about business.
This is what we love, but not only talking business. People always ask me, “Why did you give this name for Let’s Talk Business and why not Let’s Do Business?” I always say that every good business deal starts with a conversation. There’s always the talk before the doing.
I love the name. It’s incredible. I know exactly what to expect, which is cool.
For our readers, we have the pleasure of speaking to Rachel, which is known to be the Queen of Social Media. Bring us back a little bit to the beginning of your journey. I know that the typical story is the 9 to 5 and you’d like to call it the 8 to 5. Bring us back to that journey where you started and where you moved into social media and a little bit of what you do.
My journey began back in my 8 to 5. Even before that, I was working full-time as a hairstylist. One day, one of my hair clients came in and she’s like, “Can you help me with our social media for our business?” I was like, “I don’t know if I can help anyone with this, but I can try.” I was up for trying and that became my first client. That is my first real experience on social media as a business person, which was crazy. I jumped right into working for a marketing agency. I still don’t understand exactly why they hired me because I didn’t have a degree. I didn’t have any experience but for whatever reason, they were all about it, which is cool. From there, as I was working in my 8 to 5, I started to notice that I wasn’t ever going to have the freedom to go to my kids’ games or chaperone on a field trip. That idea of not being able to make my own decisions made me start to realize it was time to do my own thing. I started securing clients on the side and within six months, I replaced my income from my 9 to 5.
The title of Queen of Social Media, where did this come about?
That one always makes me laugh a little bit. It was something that a few people jokingly said. I remember I was speaking at Russell Brunson’s big event, Funnel Hacking and he used that title. Part of me was a little bit mortified at that point in time because I didn’t have a ton of followers and I was still growing in my skillset. I was super nervous about that, but then the more I talked to Russell and other people in the Funnel Hacking community, they’re like, “Just embrace it.” It’s not like you’re sitting here saying, “Everyone must bow down to me,” or anything like that. Be you, show up as the queen confidently, and support people. It was a little bit nerve-wracking at first, but then it became second nature.
This is a great segue into my first question, which is the concept of social media, what it did and what it allowed businesses and individuals to do is build their platform. Sometimes, people ask me exactly they don’t understand how social media works. I always say that years ago, you were forced to listen to what people behind the cameras said on television or radio. They were forced to report or not to report based on what’s available for them or what they were told to say. With social media, when it opened up, there are many people who have a voice. To demonstrate that with you doing this for a couple of years and being able to own that title of Queen of Social Media, that’s exactly the concept of what social media is all about.
I remember when I first started diving into social media, personally. I was in the Myspace era, but this was when I was playing around on Twitter. What I discovered with Twitter was that I was able to reach out to people that I saw on Netflix shows and reality shows, and they would reach back. For me, it felt like social media was this crazy time machine portal that allowed crazy growth to happen overnight, almost like a quantum leap.
I want to start with the fundamentals, which is a question that many people constantly ask. I bet a lot of our readers are saying, “Social media, this is a question that I have.” A lot of social media is being approachable and being that human voice that could be authentic, and that’s what we all need to be. We can’t play the game of social media. We have to be authentic. The question is, am I speaking the voice of my brand, which is my company and my business or am I speaking the brand and the voice, which is me as an individual? How do you balance the two? If you could shed some light, that would be great for our readers.
One thing that is important for each person/business to decide is, are we building this business under a personal brand? I built all my businesses under my personal brand, so under Rachel Pedersen, and everything stems from me as the main character of the business. That decision is personal. I believe that you can incorporate a lot of personality into your brand or business, but it shouldn’t necessarily just be the personality of one person in the business unless you are building a personal brand around that person.
That’s a decision that you have to make before you start building your business. Do we want to build this as an umbrella with a logo and a name, maybe with a hero at the front of the business? Do we want to build this all underneath the CEO’s personal brand? Truth be told, there’s a lot more criticism that comes personally when you build under a personal brand, but at the same time, I feel like it grows a lot faster because you personally build rapport with people. I’m a huge fan of personal brands, but I recognize that they’re not right for everybody.You can incorporate a lot of personality into your brand. Click To Tweet
If the business owner decides that they don’t want to run it under the personal brand, that they want to separate it. That means they’re running two separate profiles and audiences. How connected should it be? Is there a way to interconnect the two, periodically?
Yes, you can bring a CEO’s personality into a business brand. I’m not familiar with how to separate them. Once you’ve built the identity of the brand under the personal brand, there’s going to be a huge shift. If you want to start showing more personality, video is the portal into know, like, and trust. If I built a business under the umbrella of a logo and name, not under a personal brand, I would show occasional interviews of the CEO. I know T-Mobile’s John Legere does a great job of that on Twitter staying personally active. He represents the brand well. You can do TikTok and YouTube videos. Letting people see you as the CEO through social media video is a powerful way to go, but you have to decide, “How much am I comfortable with showing myself inside of this brand?”
With social media, you spoke about some of them like TikTok, which is relatively new. You also mentioned Myspace that’s not here anymore, and everything in between. Those mediums and those platforms are shifting and changing, and people are jumping from one to the other. People are trying to manage multiple. What’s your take as far as rather go in deep into one of those platforms and monetize that or being diverse and being all over the place because you need to have a presence?
I will say that it’s powerful to double-down on a couple of platforms. It’s different for every single business, but I’m a huge fan of saying, “Which presences are going to most connect with our audience? Which ones are we able to be the most consistent on?” A lot of times, business owners will come to me and they’re like, “I want to be on TikTok but I’m already stretched thin on every other platform.” My big question is, are you getting the results that you want? Are you seeing what you want here? The cool thing about any social media platform is it can be monetized as long as you understand the fundamentals of building out an invisible funnel of your business.
Every single person who sees you, your brand, and your products are at the top end of that funnel. How do you keep getting them closer and closer? TikTok is no different than that. I see it as an extension of the marketing funnel. It’s a great option for those who are like, “We’re not seeing results on Instagram or Facebook or posting to crickets.” It can be a great, almost like trade out because you do see results faster on TikTok. For example, I’m growing between 2,000 and 4,000 followers per day on TikTok, which is crazy. It doesn’t make as much sense for me to spend a lot of time on Instagram, so I’m going to trade out the time I used to spend on Instagram and focus on TikTok instead.
How does the person, business owner, or marketing team within a company make that decision to understand how to build out that funnel? You mentioned the fundamentals of building out that funnel. How would a business owner evaluate that and how soon do they need to see the return? You could hear a lot of people saying, “I’m doing this for a long time, six months on Instagram. I am posting all photos of my specialty cookies and stuff like that and commenting on other people, but I’m not seeing the results.” How many results do they have to see in order to make sure that it makes sense for their return on time?
I’m going to share a resource that’s helpful. Dan Kennedy’s Magnetic Marketing is a phenomenal book that helps you to understand the fundamentals of how to build out an entire marketing plan, but there’s always awareness and branding. That doesn’t mean anything if you’re not ultimately driving the needle towards revenue. That’s an essential part of being able to continue running. I’m a huge believer that eyeballs are awesome. You need to find the fastest path to cash. Generally speaking, in our business, what that looks like is you’re going to start with eyeballs and then you’re going to get them into leads, whether it’s emails or text messages.
I want to get their information so that they’re in an asset that I own, which is my list. From there, we’re going to move into, “Do I offer them a tripwire? Am I going to send them something of value?” I nurture the relationship once they’re on an asset that I own like my email list. My big goal is always to get people from eyeballs to emails and to do that as soon as humanly possible. If you’re doing something over and over again, you’re not seeing any results, and you’re putting a lot of time into it, it’s time to ask yourself like, “What can we do differently? We need to change something up. How can we ensure that we’re getting sales from this channel? Is there a channel that’s going to work better for us in the long term?”
This is something important that I learned from you. This is something probably that a lot of people don’t do and therefore, they’re not seeing the success. A lot of people are growing their platforms in their communities and they’re happy saying, “I want to be this influencer on Instagram. I want to have thousands of followers. Whenever I post something, I want hundreds of comments.” If the audience is not taking the next step, which is in your case, getting into your email list, ultimately, you’re not in control of that audience in the first place. There’s a limit on how much you could push in order to get it into your funnel and convert it into sales.
Honestly, one of the craziest things that I’ve found with the timeframe is that there is such a thing as the long-term game. While we need to generate sales to keep our business running, we have to find the fastest path to cash. There are a lot of people who are going to need nurturing, especially online because they’re hesitant about buying from someone that they don’t know. I’ve talked to people who have invested into my $12,000 per year mastermind and they’re like, “I’ve been on your email list for three years and I’ve never bought anything from you.” I don’t necessarily think that there’s a timeframe or a window that it has to happen in. If you’re playing the long game, you also need to find a short game that’s going to generate sales.
A lot of brands, in particular private label brands, there are younger brands that you could sometimes see. They’re coming in strong and they have zero big-box retail presence. They’ll be at their eCommerce website and they pick a platform like Instagram or something else, and they’re killing it. They’re knocking it out of the park. Meaning, they could contribute their sales coming from that engagement and the relationship they’re building on the community. At the same time, you could see companies that are not moving the needle. They are posting, but it’s not growing. They’re not seeing the ROI. What would you say are the common mistakes you see those brands do or the common steps those other brands that are successful are doing that you could share with our audience?
One of the big things I see with brands that are posting and getting zero results is they fallen in love with their brand and their voice before falling in love with their customers. One of the things that’s crazy is I’ll see a lot of marketing material, and no judgment at all. It’s what I see. I’ll watch it and I’m like, “If I didn’t know this brand, would I even care? Is there any reason for me to care? Does this get into the thoughts or the conversation inside of my head? Is this just noise on a social media platform?” Many brands are sitting there talking about their product without ever realizing the emotional journey that their customers go on.
If you’re continually posting and not getting any results, maybe it’s time to bring in a consultant or spend some time researching how to do excellent copywriting and how to write a great copy. If you’re not getting any results and you keep posting, you’re probably talking to crickets at this point. You’re not in capturing the audience that needs exactly what you offer. I’m a big believer in, even though it’s harsh, if you’re not seeing results, you’re not doing something right. I’m a big believer in going back to the drawing board and saying, “What can we do differently? Can we master copy? Can we bring in a copywriter who can help us to understand the desires of our audience?”
That’s true. A lot of people will hire a social media manager and all they care about, “Did you post three times a week?” It’s a calendar. Could I put a checkmark next to each box that had a date that something has to go out? Sometimes, it’s not about that. It’s about the strategy and saying, “This week, we’ll only post one but one good one that will engage with the audience.”Eyeballs are awesome, but you need to find the fastest path to cash. Click To Tweet
It’s better to post once a week or once a month if it gets results than constantly posting over and over again and getting nothing. That being said, once you crack the code on how to communicate with your audience, it’s going to be addicting and you’re going to want to do it more. It’s powerful for revenue.
For our readers on the show that maybe failed the first time around when they started doing social media, either in-house or externally with an agency, and they want to revisit social media as a whole and then platform and content, what would be able to share? How do they arrive at strategy? What would be the 1, 2, 3, 4 steps they should do when they sit down on a piece of a paper or with a whiteboard trying to figure out where they should invest their money or their resources?
This is good news for everyone because I know marketing can quickly become expensive. I’m a huge fan of reading books. It’s one of the cheapest investments that you can make into developing a skillset and cracking the code on something that you haven’t figured out. I have a ton of different books that I like to pay attention to. One is Influence by Robert Cialdini. It’s a phenomenal book that helps you to understand what’s going on inside of your prospects’ minds. Every single person should honestly read that book.
There’s another book and I’m not going to recommend this one as a resource in a sense like, “It’s cheaper than hiring an agency,” because this book is expensive, but it’s called Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz. I’m going to give you a heads up. This book is $600. It’s crazy expensive, but it was cheaper for me than even purchasing a course on how to write excellent copy and advertising. There’s also The Ultimate Sales Letter, and that one’s by Dan Kennedy. The Ultimate Sales Letter is a great way to understand what levers are going to move the needle for your business. Books have been huge for me and my growth without breaking the bank.
I wanted to mention it to you that we have a program that’s called The Book of Initiative, which I pay $50 for every book and one of the team members read. The reason for that is regardless of where you are, if you want to grow, your needs will change what type of content you want to learn. If you’re a copywriter and you’re in the beginner stage and you want to read certain books, we’ll give you that as a starting point. The dummies one-on-one, and then once you advanced, you want to read a bit more of the mindset of a consumer, and so on and so forth.
You can only do that as you’re doing work and you’re figuring out, “I became a manager. I became a leader, so I need to read some leadership books.” We have implemented this program for a couple of years and it works like wonders. All you need to do is read a book of your choice and then we have an email that goes around for the whole company every Monday, which is the list of books. Also, you would recommend other people to read the book in some synopsis of the book. I’m with you on reading books.
It was years ago that someone influential shared with me, “Read a book a week and you’ll be ahead of 80% to 90% of people within a year in terms of your ability to take in information.” I started doing that and then I turned it up to about 2 or 3 books per week. That has sped up our learning process and our implementation. It’s been powerful for our entire team.
There are certain fundamental books that are there and that every business owner could read, but then there are many different things. Speaking about social media, there are many changes happening in the way people consumers are shopping. Branding on print is different than branding on digital, and the span of people. Leadership has changed and cultures aren’t important in businesses nowadays. Learning to be that leader that understands culture, and understands how to operate with their tribe. Books have been phenomenal for me as well. People ask me, “What’s the one number one book that you would recommend?” I said, “There’s no number one. It depends where you are in your journey.”
I love that you brought that up because people will say, “Give me your top five.” I’m like, “My top five years ago when I was first starting is different than my top five now. If I shared my top five with you, it would be way too intense for someone who’s starting out.” It’s advanced skills and advanced concepts that I had to layer on to my basic growth to even understand.
You mentioned some of the books as a starting point for a business owner, leader, or team that’s looking to get into a revisit their social media strategy. What would be afterward?
This is huge. Getting into the minds of people. One of my favorite ways to do this is to join groups that own my ideal audience. I usually do this on Facebook. You can also do it on Reddit. You can also read Quora threads, which are powerful. I like to research and stock. When you ask the question, that sounds creepy, but it’s powerful. Many people go with the ask method, which is, “Tell me what your number one struggle is. Tell me what you think about this. Tell me why you buy X, Y, and Z.” When people are put on the spot, many people get this weird reaction. They tense up and they don’t answer the question accurately. I’m a bigger fan of seeing the natural conversations that people are having like, what is going through their heads? What are they thinking? Having you and your team spend a lot of time researching what those conversations already are, it makes it a lot easier to join the conversation.
What’s your take about rather a company hiring somebody internally to manage social media versus an agency or somebody freelancing from the outside?
It depends. If you want to bring in someone who’s an expert, doing a freelancer is a more cost-effective way to do it. I sometimes see these businesses that are like, “I can hire someone full time. My budget is $30,000 per year and I want an expert.” I’m like, “An expert doesn’t settle for $30,000, but what if that expert can give you a portion of their attention for $1,000 a month, and then you can also bring in someone for Facebook ads or copywriting or whatever?” It’s a more cost-effective way to get some expertise. Sometimes, there are also people who are like, “I don’t like the results I get from freelancers.” There are no promises with an employee full-time either.
In fact, I’ve known a lot of businesses that brought someone in full time only to be hit with the issues of unemployment once they realize this person is not what we’re looking for in this role. I’m a believer in doing test projects, trials, getting to know someone, seeing their work ethic, and seeing the results of their work before you hire them fully. Either as a freelancer or agency or as a full-time person in-house. I’ve always been a bigger fan of bringing someone in who has a little more expertise as a freelancer or agency.If you’re not seeing results, you’re not doing something right. Click To Tweet
I want to ask you a question that is dear to your heart, which is, being able to be a businesswoman and being in business without sacrificing the balance between life and business. My take is, usually, there’s no such thing as balance. It’s either you focus on life or business or different times. I know that you’re married, you have three kids, and you’re running this coaching business. What guidance could you give for people that are starting or struggling with that challenge?
There are seasons of starting up a business that is going to feel a little less balanced. The cool thing is we all have 24 hours in the day. There’s enough time for us to focus on 1 or 2 things, sometimes even 3. Maybe while you’re starting your business, you’re not able to achieve perfect physical fitness or maybe you’re not able to relax and watch your TV shows like you were used to at night. Is there a time for running a business and family? There truly is. You have to be clear about your priorities. I don’t believe that there’s necessarily such a thing as balanced, but there are priorities. Every single day we’re voting with our time. Become clear like, are your priorities your faith, family, and then business? Is your priority your business and then your physical fitness, and that’s it? You have to be clear about your priorities, and that’s going to become easy to know what is a no brainer.
I’ve been asked many times this question and I always say exactly what you said, which is there’s no such thing like a balance because either your family needs you 100% or your business at this time needs 100%. I’m a proud father of eight, so we have a large family. What I found throughout the years is that sometimes, it’s important to let your family know, “I’m launching this new project. I’m going to be a little bit less involved the next week or two.” When your kids and your spouse have that sympathy, ultimately, you are able to do this, but then when you’re with your family either you’re on vacation or there’s a dinner of time, you’re 100% with your family at that time. It’s being present where you are versus mixing business and family. That’s my take on it.
In the beginning, I mixed a lot more of business and family. I would multitask quite a bit and I felt like some of my attention was split. These days, I focus on wherever I am and be there fully. That’s been a huge shift. There are seasons of our business and seasons of our family for sure that change and require different needs. It’s an ever-evolving thing. If anyone says like, “I’ve got it figured out,” it’s almost like saying, “I’ve got the terrible twos figured out. Now, they’re three. It’s different.” Of course, it is.
Let’s close with the four rapid-fire questions. Number one, a book that changed your life. That should be easy.
No Excuses! by Brian Tracy.
Number two, a piece of advice you got that you’ll never forget.
“If you get good sleep, you can make better decisions. Even though it feels like sometimes the work is never done, it creates better work if you get sleep versus up and trying to get everything done.”
Number three, anything you wish you could go back and do differently.
I wouldn’t work 100 hours a week in the first year of my business. That was based on so much fear and I could have gotten probably better and more accurate work done if I had slept.
Last question. What’s still on your bucket list to achieve?
Many things. I wrote two whole pages of bucket list things. I’ll share a fun one. Once the kids are eighteen, I want to go skydiving badly.
You’ll come back and tell us if you were able to achieve that. Rachel, thank you for joining us. I know your time is valuable. That is why in the name of our readers, we will forever be grateful for sharing some of your time with us.
Thank you for having me. This has been a blast.
It’s my pleasure.
- The Viral Touch
- Social Media United
- Rachel Pedersen
- Breakthrough Advertising
- The Ultimate Sales Letter
- No Excuses!
- Funnel Hacking
About Rachel Pedersen
“The Queen of Social Media” – Founder & CEO of award-winning social media marketing agency The Viral Touch, Founder & CEO of Social Media United.
Rachel is a top social media marketer and consultant, worldwide viral sensation, leading authority on story-telling through social media and Facebook ads.
Rachel’s journey began in 2016 while working in her 9-5 (actually, it was an 8-5) day job. Within 6 months she replaced her income and built a clientele that she loved working with. Rachel is also a mother to 3 beautiful children and wife to her supportive husband!