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How can you start to leverage social media for your business? How do you turn your social media followers into clients? How do you even build a social media following? How should you brand yourself?
Social media is a powerful tool, and every business should be using it! However, there are lots of questions you need to ask yourself (and lots of answers you need to know!) if you want to use these platforms the right way. So, we sat down with a social media expert to get all of the answers. In this blog, Hollywood Branded shares the expertise of Dre Fox, CEO of Time of Dre, on how you can start monetizing your social media and improve your personal branding.
Dre is the CEO of Time of Dre Media, a media consulting firm that empowers women to master and monetize their message through a variety of online programs, but more specifically, social media. Aside from being an entrepreneur, Dre is also a motivational speaker, blogger, and social media coach. She uses her experience as a social media strategist to Fortune 500's to help create an impact for upcoming brands.
Question: So what I always like doing is having our guests give our listeners a little peek behind the curtain of how you got to here today. You have all this experience. You're an expert in personal branding and social media strategizing. How did you get here?
Answer: Yeah, my story is kind of fun. I'm actually a trained pastry chef. So I was thinking I was going to open a bakery and become a wedding cake designer—the whole thing. So I moved from Missoula, Montana to Austin, Texas to open a bakery. I got offered a really great job, but that job was $30,000 for the head pastry chef job and in that moment, I realized that pastry was not going to be a job that really sustained me. Unless you reach celebrity levels, it wasn't going to be in the cards. So I decided to go back to college for a second time, and a part of that was that I needed an internship. So I got an internship at a software company here in Austin. And as the cookie crumbles, they had to fire my boss and they actually hired me on full-time, two weeks later, for a job that I had no experience with, had never considered, and didn't deserve. And kind of the rest is history. I really ended up being in the right place at the right time, way back when; this was like 2010. And now, I've worked in social media, ever since, consulting Fortune 500's like ESPN, L'Oreal, Target, Caesars, and so forth.
Question: Well, what I love about what you do is you have a major focus on helping women, female entrepreneurs and executives, really reach their next level. Why did you decide that was going to be your core focus of where you wanted to uplift and help?
Answer: Yeah, so I've resisted social media for a long time. I really didn't want to be on it, and wasn't sure if it was the right place for me, though it was for my clients. And when I started my social media journey, I saw the power in marketing and having this platform to amplify yourself to the next level. And I was able to leave my full-time job in under eight months of being on social media. I thought to myself, "This is the dream. This is actually the dream. Being able to use a platform that is completely free in order to build a new reality or a new future for yourself when you learn how to do it." And so I had so many women coming to me saying, "I'm burnt out in my job," or, "I want to create an additional income stream", or, "I've got this really passionate thing that I want to speak about, but I don't know what to do with it." And then really helping them cut through the clutter and weed through this, into creating their first digital business, whether it's coaching, courses, or products.
Question: So how do you first start working with clients to help them over that hurdle of going, "I know my stuff, but now I'm going to share with the world on social."
Answer: Yeah. My philosophy maybe is slightly different than some people. My brand statement is ordinary is optional. And so I think that when a lot of people start marketing themselves or they're faced with coming up with their own plan, they try to follow the rules. When we know the rules, we try to follow them. And I realized that some people are most unhappy with their online brand or the presence that they've created, because it really is playing into a different version of themselves that isn't real. And so, I help my clients really understand what makes them tick and how to really uncover that unique thread inside of them and actually use that as their marketing ploy or play on social.
Typically, this is not 100% of the time, but it can be those things about you that made you feel a little weird or kooky when you were younger or growing up where people looked at you a little different when you said something or you acted like this or you took bright, colorful photos—those are the things that you can springboard off of on social that really convert well. We always need to know where we're steering the ship before we can hop in and actually go somewhere. So we always start with those foundations of what truly makes you different and how can that be a big crux of your marketing strategy on social media.
Question: So when you're starting to work with someone, what's the first step, how do you drill down into those differences?
Answer: Yeah. So we typically do like a SWOT analysis, which is strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, [00:10:30] with anywhere from three to four different people who are in the industry that they maybe look up to or think they're doing something really well. But it's really easy to get down on yourself when you start, because you say, 'Wow, all these people have great budgets. It's clear that they've got a great photographer," whatever it is. But when you do a SWOT, you really are able to peel back the layers and say, "No, there is something that I'm doing differently here. I have 20 more years experience or I've got this great team [00:11:00] behind me," or whatever it might be that you are then able to say, "We're going to move that forward in the line of things that we talk about in order to stand out a little bit more."
Question: The next question I want to dive into is where do people go wrong? How do people just mess it all up and make mistakes?
Answer: The very first thing is trying to replicate the success of somebody else, especially if you're a DIYer or you're trying to start things on your own. Finding an account and saying, "Oh, I like this," and then really trying to walk in those same footsteps typically allows, creates a really bland message, because that message isn't even yours and it might be getting them record-breaking numbers, such as tens of thousands of clients, but it's not going to do the same thing for you. You're going to be really frustrated about that. So that is the first thing, really empowering yourself to say like, "It's okay for me to go on my own path even if I don't see it elsewhere." That could actually end up being the biggest secret to your personal branding success.
Second thing is thinking that personal branding or social media branding is about colors. And I see this all the time, people are like, "I need a brand. So what's my logo. And what's my color palette and my fonts." And sure, that's a part of your visual identity, but your brand is such a complex diamond, if you will, of your reputation, your areas of expertise, your messaging, your positioning statement, and your colors and branding. So try to put things in the right order and make sure you have ultimate clarity about what it is that you're trying to actually achieve before you go down the path of picking colors and fonts, because that's the fun stuff that can come a little bit later.
And then the third thing I think would be people can get really gray on their message—what I do and this is how I help people. But that's much different than a positioning statement and really starting to leverage out their specific experience, or leveraging out the focus on entertainers or whatever it might be and bringing that to the forefront. And I think some people fail to do that in that first year or so, and they come up with it in the second year. But if you came out of the gates with it, you would be in a much better place.
Dre has so much great information from her experience in social media. Check out the podcast below to learn more about how to elevate your personal branding!
Every week we have a marketing professional on our show to share their tips, tricks and lessons learned from their professional experience. Check out some of our other podcast blogs from earlier this year:
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