Juicy Social Media Nuggets – Creatively Grow Your Online Presence
Hey Ladies! Are you struggling with creative ways to show up on social media?! Dan Peterson is in the house!… and YES, I said the name “Dan” He is my first ever male guest and he did not disappoint! Dan as a sales and digital marketing expert with 25 years of experience in small business. In 2012, he started Flip Switch Social Media, a nationally recognized social media agency focused on helping small businesses grow their social presence and drive more revenue! There are so many juicy nuggets in this episode. Plus, I throw Dan in the hot seat with a “mom” question! Let’s dive in!
Today, we are going to be chatting about how to creatively grow our presence on social media but before we dive into that, Dan please tell us more about you and your business!
Sure! I started Flip Switch eight years ago and it really started as a solution for small business owners who didn’t have deep pockets or deep budgets but needed social media help. Originally, it was centered around web design for the first two years but then after that, we became a social media house and now, we have clients all over the country! We just try to help as many small businesses as we can!
That’s really cool! Now, Dan, it’s no surprise that you are the first ever male guest on my show, so before we dive in, we’re just going to have a little fun! I know you work from home and your wife is a stay at home mom so I want to know: What do you think your wife would say is the hardest part about being a stay at home mom?
It’s probably having me in the house working while she’s trying to run a house! Seriously though, she’d probably say pre-pandemic, it would have been just managing our three kids! We have three girls, 10, 8, and 1, and keeping them on schedule with all of their different activities is a full-time job! We all know being a stay at home mom is the hardest thing you can do. My wife, she does such a great job with it! Other than that, working with me in the house is a struggle. It’s hard to keep the kids quiet, especially with everyone being at home right now, trying to keep them out of my hair and me trying to stay out of their hair is a HARD thing to do. But we are making it work!
Well, I can certainly relate to that! I have two boys, a high schooler and one in junior high, and I was so used to having my space! Now, they’re at home needing extra space for e-learning and my husband’s at home as well! He pretty much took over my office! Adjusting to all of that, where I’m used to being a stay at home mom has been tough! I don’t want to be a stay at home anymore I want to leave! Haha!
Was there a major hurdle for you to get over when you started your own business?
Yes! This is the second business that I’ve owned. I used to run multiple doors to door sales offices. I managed one in Chicago and then I owned one in Champaign, IL, and one in Houston. That was interesting in and of itself, but then when I transitioned from that into the consulting company that became Flip Switch, it was difficult. You have to find an area that needs to be served, you have to provide value and as I said before, the goal of Flip Switch is to provide really valuable service at a price that’s affordable. All these other companies are out there charging hundreds and even multiple thousands of dollars a month for small businesses and they just can’t afford that! So, we tried to find a different way and the biggest hurdle was trying to find the perfect price point) which I don’t know if you ever really come up with that) but I think we’ve settled on that area now. That was a difficulty in the beginning because nobody knew, and still don’t know, what social media is worth. It’s easy to put a price tag on something that’s tangible but with social media, it’s hard to find what it’s worth and because of that, there’s a lot of price gouging in our industry. I’m not ashamed to say that! There are a lot of companies out there that are taking advantage of the lack of knowledge of business owners. We try to make our money in volume and that’s been the goal since day one. The other big hurdle would be providing a streamlined system for ourselves to work within. The streamlined system, as a business owner, helps us to figure out a way to be profitable and be really on top of all of our client cases. This helps us with overhead so that we can offer our services at the price point we want to. Those are probably the two biggest hurdles.
I’m sure so many entrepreneurs out there can totally relate! Especially regarding pricing! That is a HUGE struggle for so many. We want to serve, we want to help and we’re so proud of what we’ve built… but then, when you have to flip the switch and say, “now I have to charge for my time”. That’s really hard to do, no matter where you are at in your business or how little or big that price point may be. You’re not the only one!
Right! Well here’s something funny too, Allison. When we started, our pricing was too low! We actually had a hard time getting business because people didn’t see perceived value at our price point. We actually have raised the price two or three times in the first few years and now we’re settled on a price. We don’t raise people’s rates. I always say, “We’re not the cable company! We’re not going to keep jacking up your rates!”. However, the first couple of years we had to figure out why people were not perceiving any value. I had somebody finally flat out tell us, “Well, there’s no way you can do everything you say you’re going to do that price point!”. That hit home for me, so we charged double! People then were eager to pay that because there’s obviously perceived value there. We would never have been able to do it at a lower price point so we had to raise it anyway but when we were young and dumb, we didn’t know any better!
The name of your business is Flip Switch so let’s flip the conversation over to “pivoting”. Many entrepreneurs and mompreneurs had to make some changes or “pivots” in their business during the coronavirus. I would love for you to share ways they can get creative to maintain or grow their online presence.
If you are currently running an online business pre-pandemic, you’re not a brick and mortar business and you’re solely online, the biggest thing that we’re seeing people do that has been creative, successful, and innovative is to do more with the different tools that social media channels have. For example, instead of just posting on Facebook or Instagram going “live” on Facebook or Instagram is a step above. A lot of people aren’t comfortable doing that. They’re not used to getting their face on camera right and they worry too much about perfection which is a killer of progress. People don’t feel like they can just go out and make the content that they need to make so they sit on their hands and wait and wait. By the time they finally pull the trigger on it, their competition is already passed them up because they didn’t wait! The biggest thing that they can do in that regard is to start creating that content at a different level. As of now, in May of 2020, Instagram and Facebook have come out with some new tools. They’ve integrated within “live” and within “stories” different tools for business owners that you need to stay on top of. The second thing is if you do have a brick and mortar store and now, you’re forced to either not sell or serve within that store and you’re having to work from home or work remotely, we’re finding creative ways businesses can utilize social media. For example, we’ve worked with a small family-owned boutique clothing store that’s here in Chicagoland and they have always been brick and mortar and they didn’t really sell online. However, what they started doing is running Facebook live and Instagram live videos where they would walk through the store, and they would show their clothing and talk about almost like an infomercial. During their live, they’d say, “Here we have this bright yellow dress with lace and whatever” (you can tell that I don’t buy dresses!) but, they go through the store and they showcase some of their items and people can actually pick out that item then say the size that they want and the business can ship it to them! They can come up with that sales process right there on the fly. Taking it a step beyond just eCommerce, we’re seeing business owners get really creative with some of the ways that they’re starting to sell through social media channels and that’s a big plus! Here’s what’s going to happen… when everything gets back to whatever the new “normal” is, people can start shopping again in the “old way” of doing things which worked for you for years and now you’re going to have a “new way” that you had to start doing because of the pandemic. Then, you combine the two and now you have two sales processes that are potentially going to double or triple your revenue once you get back to that normal. We have this “pivot don’t panic” campaign and I love to talk about this all the time. Through #pivotdontpanic we talk about how businesses can get creative and innovative during this time. One of the things that we’re seeing and hoping for is that businesses use these tools and their new ideas and their creativity right now to help him get through this time but then add that to what you were already doing and come out ahead on the back end!
What would you say to someone who feels like they are not creative or innovative enough?
So, there are two ways to overcome this. One is to cheat! Here’s what I mean by that… Go online and find people in your industry pull off their ideas! If it’s somebody that’s eight states away, nobody is going to know that you pulled their exact idea and started using it in your business. If you have a larger scale business where you potentially are going to sell nationally and you really have a presence where you could be seen as copycatting something that is really specific, then you might need to tweak it a little bit. But honestly, the chances of that are slim to none. Don’t worry about you utilizing what other businesses are doing and go ahead and find what’s working for them and use it! There’s nothing wrong with that. People have done it since the beginning of business. There are all sorts of things that businesses have done forever where they pulled from other ideas. That’s a big thing that we’re already seeing businesses do and we’re recommending that some of our clients even do! The second thing would be to speak with other people in your small circle. Speak with family members and friends and tap into their brains and say, “Hey you know me, you know my business, I’m really struggling to be creative. Do you have any ideas? If you were a customer, what would you like to see from me?”. To take this action step further you could run online polls. Run a Facebook poll or an Instagram poll asking, “What would you like to see?” The biggest thing that people don’t do enough on social media is to listen! People don’t listen to their audience! If there’s one key point out of this whole conversation, this might be it right here… LISTEN! Listen to your audience! They will tell you what’s working and what’s not working. They will tell you what they like to see and what they don’t like to see. Sometimes they might not tell you directly so you might have to read between the lines. Look at data and what posts aren’t performing as well. It could be because that post may not be a popular type of thing on my channel. Then you need to look at what is performing well. People really love it when I go out and do these live videos or when I do this or that… double down on the stuff that does work and throw out the stuff that doesn’t work. Then rinse and repeat! We do this exercise at Flip Switch where we do A/B testing. You post type A and type B and find out which one works… keep that one get rid of the other one. Then do A and C and keep the one that works and get rid of the other one. You will go back and forth for months and months at a time but that really has been effective.
Dan, THANK YOU for saying, “listen to your audience” because I hear over and over from frustrated entrepreneurs say, “Social media is not working for me!” Then, I’ll look at their stuff and I’ll say, “Well, you have the second part right – the media- because it’s just a billboard of all your things!” However, they always forget about the first word — social! That’s what social media is… BE SOCIAL! Which means you need to interact with your audience it’s not about you just blasting your billboard and they will flock to you. It really is a combination of being social and listening. You have to have those back and forth conversations constantly going and you have to constantly ask for feedback if you want to grow your presence on social media!
That is correct! We talk about this all the time. In fact, you took the words right out of my mouth! I do a lot of seminars a lot of lunch and learns and one of the things I say a lot is the keyword of social media is “social”! You’re supposed to be interacting with people, you’re supposed to be engaging, and most of all—listening. Sometimes feedback doesn’t come in the most direct form. People are not necessarily commenting and saying, “Here’s what we like and don’t like”. Sometimes, you just have to go from a data driven perspective and really look at your posts and compare that type of content. Look at everything you put out and see what’s working and keep what works and get rid of what doesn’t.
What is the best piece of advice you can give moms who feel stuck growing their online presence?
Well, I think that the hardest thing right now is overcoming some of the mental hurdles that people have. Whether it’s pre or post-pandemic or if you’re in the middle of this and you’re reading it right now it really doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world, people have always gotten in their own way. I think some of the biggest things that we tell people is to go ahead and just start doing and don’t let the lack of perceived creativity or perceived value or whatever your mental hurdle is. So many people think, “Nobody’s going to want to see my post. Nobody’s going to want to interact with my brand. Nobody’s going to want to buy my stuff.”. Whatever the case is, get those mental hurdles out of your way. That’s the first step! Once that’s gone, then you can just create with freedom. The biggest thing is that you need to CREATE! Put out content in waves. Put out as much content as you can that is correct for your type of brand and your audience. Obviously, you don’t want to go overboard but most people don’t even scratch the surface. Before you start thinking that you’re over posting… just start posting! You’re probably not putting out even a quarter of the content that you should be. Get out of your own way, start creating content, and then look at the data and build your campaign ongoingly around that. So, if you’re seeing that certain types of posts are doing well, keep up with that because it’s the perfect example of what’s working!
I think that’s a really good point, Dan. When you said, “get out of your own way and start creating content”. I think you’ll agree that a lot of us are SO overwhelmed with so much content that it has become a problem! I think the problem of social media and entrepreneurs is that we are consuming SO MUCH content that we are not creating enough of our own! That is kinda where the metal blocks come in. That’s almost when you need to put your blinders on and stop consuming so much content and begin to create your own and just keep putting it out there!
Yes! And you know, another thing that I would add is compartmentalization. As a stay at home mom for example, if you’re working on your business and you’re at home with the kids and you’re trying to deal with the family structure and the business structure you really have to separate the two. Moreover, you need to set yourself up for success in your business by having literal compartmentalization in your home. What I mean by that is mentally you have to do it but physically you need a workspace that allows you to separate yourself from the family. When you get that time whether dad’s coming home and watching the kids and you take that 30 minutes or an hour to do what you need to do, or it’s nap time or playtime or whatever the case is, you have a set space in your home where you are able to get away. This space should be fairly soundproof, so you’re not interrupted. You need to set up that structure at home to say, “OK look kids, mom is doing this right now and it’s very important you don’t make noise or interrupt me because I’m on an important call”. It’s important that you set those expectations. Of course, they are kids and they don’t always listen, but over time it really does work to a certain degree. I have kids at my home that are yelling or fighting in the background, but you have to set those set those expectations and allow yourself the opportunity to be successful. It takes away a lot of stress once it starts working and you figured it out, that will alleviate some of that mental hurdles of feeling like, “Man I’d like I can’t get on this call but I can’t do this because they’re going to interrupt me!” Compartmentalizing physically and mentally is a huge key to success for those who are working from home.
That’s great! You really have to have a streamlined processes in our business, but we also have to have those streamlined processes at home as well. That way, we’re not functioning in chaos day after day because my kids knew well in advance about this interview that they are not to run up the stairs like a herd of cows because my microphone will pick that up! Haha! They know that my door is shut there’s a sticky note on the door saying, “Do not disturb” and you know what?… they can have as much YouTube time as they want so I can get what I need to get done!
Yes! You know what I’m talking about! You set it up, you set those expectations, and you put systems in place whether it’s a sticky note or a street barricade across your door! Whatever the cases, you put it in place so that you know you’ve got this time to get done what you need to get done and they know that mom is busy. That’s a key element of staying at home and working at home and I don’t think enough people do that! I think a lot of people expect it to go smoothly without putting those processes in place and really, you’re just setting yourself up for failure.
I have been doing this for 4 years and there are still messy days! I don’t think it’s ever 100% streamlined! I agree with you though, you have to implement those processes and make sure those expectations are noted.
What is something that you wish you would have known sooner when it comes to social media?
My biggest issue was exactly what I was just talking about… getting out of my own way! For example, I just started my personal brand “Dan Peterson Official” two months ago (March of 2020) and in March 2020 I wish I had started in March of 2015! I could have been doing five years more of this, but you know what, hindsight is 20/20 and you can’t go back and do it over. You just have to start! I think that’s the biggest thing that I wish I had known, or somebody had just kicked me in the pants and said, “Hey why aren’t you doing this?”. Another thing I wish I would have known is that my own business wasn’t personally using social media. We were doing it for everybody else, but we weren’t doing it internally for ourselves. Ironically, we were (are) a digital marketing company that didn’t use digital marketing to get our business! We were too busy doing seminars and lunch and learns and getting a lot of referral work. We work through the Chambers of Commerce and do a lot of “old school” type of marketing. It works, don’t get me wrong! But we could have been coupling that with digital and really benefiting from it. Instead, just at the end of 2019, we started really pushing our own social media. Because of that, we are years behind of what we could have been. We have been blessed to have business without it, but in the back of my mind, I always wonder what we could have done if we had been doing more stuff digitally. We were like the shoemakers whose kids had no shoes!
I have a follow up question to that… “Dan Peterson Official” I’m curious, why do you think a personal brand is important? I want to know your opinion on this!
Your personal brand is your reputation played out digitally, so to speak. It gives you the ability to put out your living resume in digital format. Depending on how you set up your brand, my brand, for example, is my thoughts that are played out in my head into posts. I didn’t realize this until just recently that all of the posts I put out on @danpetersonofficial, those posts are me motivating myself and putting them into post format. So, whatever those posts are each day you will know what was on my mind that very day! Some of them are like, “Get up and go work! Get out of your way and just do it!” and other ones are just for content. I think everyone should have a personal brand. I think that no matter what you think, you have something to offer! It could be that you’re a social media expert or love fashion and you love wearing the cool new trendy clothes. Put them on and make a brand about that! Be the consumer! You don’t have to be the creator to be the brand. You don’t have to be the dressmaker; you can be the dress wearer! Put on a dress that you like and go out there and show it on your social media channels and build that brand around yourself. You never know where that might lead! You might hit the right post at the right time with the right viewer and have someone think you are perfect for their company and make you a brand rep. Next thing you know three years down the line you’ve got 10,000 followers and you’re making money just putting on that dress and taking pictures of yourself in something you would have worn anyway! There’s so much power in social media these days.
When I look at your company, Flip Switch and then I see Dan Peterson Official, I think people are going to vibe with Dan Peterson Official. At the end of the day and what people don’t realize about social media is that people don’t buy from companies they buy from people! That’s why I think it’s SO imperative that you need to represent yourself an represent what you stand for. Thank you so much, Dan! Before we end today where can we connect with you on social media?
For Flip Switch, you can find us at Flip Switch Social Media on both Facebook and Instagram and @flipswitchLLC on Twitter and on LinkedIn. For Dan Peterson, it’s @DanPetersonOfficial on all those same channels! I’d be happy to connect with everybody on both but it’s two totally separate things because again, Flip Switch is all about the social media as a brand and Dan Peterson is all about the more motivating, helping, and mental side of things on the back end!