As important as it is to learn the most effective tactics and strategies for success with your social media marketing efforts, it’s equally important to keep yourself grounded in reality.
So let’s talk about myths and misconceptions around social media marketing that might be causing your head to spin.
In this super chill conversation, Shayla Appell and I sit down to chat about why you shouldn’t obsess over the algorithm, how to get more bang for your buck from your content, and so much more.
And just a little bit about today’s guest expert, Shayla Appell…
Shayla is a Gen Z, millennial cusp baby who found her love of social media marketing after interning with a local start-up mental health company in her hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
After starting her own social media management business in the midst of the pandemic, she has worked with over 15 service-based businesses to build their social media presence, create content that resonates with their audience and share their stories, digitally.
She’s recently pivoted to helping aspiring social media managers start their own businesses with her first online course, in hopes to mentor others throughout their journey to become an entrepreneur.
Tristan Thibodeau is the founder of Wild Womn Haus and is a brand strategist for entrepreneurs in the wellness, beauty, and lifestyle brand industries.
She specializes in helping companies create and maintain their image. She works with market research, industry analysis, and consumer trends to offer strategic insights for brands so that they can enhance their marketing efforts and grow their bottom line.
Today’s Guest Expert:
Shayla is a Gen Z, millennial cusp baby who found her love of social media marketing after interning with a local start-up mental health company in her hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
She’s recently pivoted to helping aspiring social media managers start their own businesses with her first online course, in hopes to mentor others throughout their journey to become an entrepreneur.
Want to Connect with Shayla and SB Marketing:
Resources mentioned in this episode
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Host | Tristan Thibodeau: Hello, you have reached The Wild Womn Hotline, a place for visionary entrepreneurs like you to listen in on value, packed episodes for growing your brand in bold and strategic ways. What’s up wild woman, welcome back to another episode of the hotline. I’m so excited that you’re here because today I’m having a very different type of conversation.
And I am having this conversation with a woman who is an expert in the arena of social media, marketing and management. So Shayla Appell is a gen Z/millennial cusp, baby, who found her love of social media marketing while she was interning at this really cool local startup that focused on mental health in her hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
So here’s the deal. Shayla now runs her own social media marketing business, where she helps entrepreneurs to do things like build their social media presence, create content that resonates with their audience and to share their stories digitally. But here’s the extra fun part about this episode with Shayla is that we don’t talk about strategies or tactics.
Instead, we really focus on the myths and misconceptions that kind of hover around social media and make business owners overthink decisions such as, should I take a break from social media? Should I pivot my marketing and my content? And obsessing over the algorithm, how much of a waste of time that is.
So in this episode with Shayla, we really dive into how to break through those myths and misconceptions that hold you back from using social media for its intended purposes, but also to add so much extra weight and stress on your shoulders. So consider this episode to be a gigantic permission slip to rethink how you use social media and to really make it for you instead of against you.
So let’s dive on into this epic conversation with Shala Appel. Okay. Shala, I’m so excited to have this conversation with you because every time I talk to a social media manager or somebody that’s in marketing, I get to ask deeper and deeper and deeper questions. So I’m really excited about where we’re gonna go with this conversation, but before we kind of go down those twists and turns and dive in, can you tell the wild woman fam.
How you got started in the social media marketing industry and maybe like why you love it as much as you do.
Guest | Shayla Appel: Sure. Yeah. Thanks for having me on, first of all, it’s nice to officially meet you. Cause I feel like we’ve been, you know, kind of talking back and forth on social media,
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: but Instagram flirting with each other.
Guest | Shayla Appel: we’re Instagram friends, so it’s nice to actually get to kind of meet, you know, face to face. Um, so as far as my story goes, um, I’m a 96 baby, which is kind of. A funny time to be born. Yes, exactly.
The like flip flops, um, cuz like depending where you find your information, some people will say I’m a millennial, some will say I’m a gen Z and some just like to forget that we were even born in general and it’s kind of just like floating in the middle.
But uh, I think kind of the funny thing about being born at that time was that I lived through all the social media platforms. Coming into play. Right. I wasn’t like an iPad kid who had, who knew what Instagram was when they were really young. Like, I specifically remember being kind of in high school and those platforms starting to come out right.
When, like, you were just getting your first phone and it was really cool. Um, so I kind of saw the progression of those platforms from the very start when they launched to like where they are now, which I think is kind of. Really cool, because I’m sure you remember, like when Instagram came out, how it was used, like it was heavily filtered, like really bad photos that people would post super contrasts with.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Those like low fi filters and stuff and um, yeah, so bad. It definitely wasn’t. A platform, same with Facebook really used for businesses or brands. I don’t find it very much personal focused. Um, so I think it’s kind of cool to like to see the progression of that. But in terms of how I got started in social media, I actually went to school for marketing.
So I have a big fancy piece of paper. Um, with the degree. And then once I actually graduated, though, I was having trouble finding a job. Um, like I think a lot of graduates feel that. So I started interning with a startup mental health company. Um, and they put me in charge of their social media, which I didn’t really know overly what I was doing.
So there was a lot of trust in them to do that. Uh, but I really quickly fell in love with doing it and growing the brand and just everything that I like came from creating content to like engaging with people and just, I started to see the benefit that social media could have for businesses, which I never really realized before cause I never used it that way.
Um, so kind of when I was engaging with different accounts, um, I just really realized like there were so many businesses out there that looked like they could use some help in social media. Like. They had the presence per se, but they weren’t, you know, using all the features or really like utilizing it to the fullest extent.
So I kind of like my brain kind of, the wheels started turning and I’m like, it looks like a lot of people could use help with this. Um, and I’d never even really heard of a social media manager. Quite honestly, I thought that this was like some novel idea that no one had ever had. Um, and I was just like a genius, but turns out there’s a lot of us
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: I feel like that’s how we all feel when we start our business.Cause like we’re not really. In the business world yet, unless we have family members that are entrepreneurs. And even then, I mean, it doesn’t really introduce you, but we go in thinking like this is so revolutionary. And then we realize, oh wow, there’s a crap set of people all over the world that do this.
It’s just funny, I think we all experience that to some extent. Totally.
Guest | Shayla Appel: Yeah, it was pretty funny. Um, so yeah, I mean the pandemic hit and, uh, I had more than enough time on my hands, so I kind of drafted up a business plan and started reaching out. One of my first clients was actually a family friend. Um, and then it’s kind of just taken off from there.
So. Yeah, it’s been a good
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: ride so far. I love that so much. And it’s so interesting to me that like you grew up as Instagram was coming out because I don’t remember Instagram coming out. It was all Facebook and you’re gonna laugh at the dogs by face. Oh really? It was so terrible. Anybody out there that’s like, I hate this term, elder millennial.
We’re not even older millennials yet. We’re like right in the middle of the millennial age. Is like late twenties, early thirties. Um, everybody remember customizing your MySpace. And how much of a public statement about who you were customizing your MySpace page was? hilarious. Absolutely hilarious.
And then one question I have for you that kind of sparked as you were talking is I love that you have a marketing degree and I would love to just take a quick moment to get your perspective on. What you were taught about marketing, and then maybe what you had to teach yourself about social media marketing.
Are, is there a lot of crossovers? Is it more so the bigger concepts support you in figuring out social media marketing, or are they completely different? And the marketing degree was like, well, this didn’t really prepare me for the social media market. I’m super curious.
Guest | Shayla Appel: Yeah, that’s an awesome question. I feel like there definitely are a lot of business principles and marketing principles that are good to learn kind of in it.
Doesn’t have to be like a degree, which you pay a lot of money for, but I think either like a free online course or books or something, I think to be able to build effective social media strategies and fully understand what you’re trying to accomplish. I think having those business basics is pretty fundamental.
Um, and then I think like sometimes I’ll go back and I’ll, I’ll be doing something and I’m like, oh yeah, I did learn this in school. Like this kind of goes back to what I learned in school. And then the social media part of it for me was mainly. Kind of taking that and applying it to the platforms.
Right. And like how each platform’s so unique and kind of almost like a puzzle that you have to figure out, cuz they’re all just so different. So I think there are like a lot of those fundamental principles and the main challenge that comes with like learning the social media part is all the features and the fun algorithm changes and the updates and all of that stuff.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau:
Which I think that the past couple of years have just been an era of people being like Facebook, you or Instagram. You are so on the cusp of me being like I’m over you. So I’m so appreciative, but also amazed by how much work social media managers and, and specifically social media marketing experts put into staying on top of the algorithm change.
Like there’s a couple people that I follow. Um, have you heard of, if it’s modern Millie, she specializes in Instagram updates and it’s just like, girl that’s like that in and of itself is a full-time job. And she’s one of the great content creators for social media marketing and, and brand collaborations.
And I , she made a piece of content the other day of, you know, satirical content of one, you’re a social media manager and a marketing expert. But the Instagram update, the Instagram algorithm updates literally multiple times a day, or sometimes like once a day. And it was just her staring off into face.
This look of this expression on her face is like, this is what madness feels like. . So given that you guys do so much to stay on top of it, How do you suggest that the everyday user, the, I mean the business owner, we’re talking to business owners, but the everyday business owner. How do you suggest they stay on top of these changes?
Do you have to work with an expert? Does it have to consume every hour of your day to be familiar with what’s changing or does it not really matter at all? We need to pay attention to like the big seismic shifts that happen and then let the little things just kind of fall by the wayside.
Guest | Shayla Appel: Yeah. That’s actually, you kind of answered how I was gonna say.
Okay. Um, I think, focus on the big things, because a lot of the updates. Like, they’re kind of just trying them out too. Right now. They’re kind of in those trial phases. So if you’re really focusing on trying to learn every tiny little update and then it might not even eventually fully roll out, it’s kind of a waste of energy.
Right. And also just focus on the things that will actually impact your business. You know, like if there’s an update that comes out that you’re like, mm, I don’t really feel like that’s necessary for me then. Just ignore it basically.
And I do think a good way too, is kind of what you said by following, not too many, because you can kinda get a little overwhelmed, but following some big creators who work in social media or in the area that you’re, you know, needing some guidance in and turning on those post notifications and just really paying attention to what they’re saying, because they like creators give away so much information for free that people really are like very lucky to have access to.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: extremely, and I was so glad that you said that because what creators are doing when they’re experts in their arena is they are. narrowing down the amount of effort that you have to put in to get results, because all of this information is available everywhere. Right? You could spend hours hunting and picking and like selecting the things that are relevant to you.
Or you can find an incredible creator like yourself that specializes in this arena. And then. Pay attention to what they’re saying for those specific recommendations. And just to kind of circle back to one thing that you said, I would love your perspective on what you think the different platforms are, are best suited for cuz you were talking about each platform is like a puzzle that you have to figure out what works, what engages people, what type of delivery is best on here?
What type of content is best on. So I can share with you my perspective on the different platforms and how I use them because I am everywhere and I’m, I love it. And I regret it. Right. I love it. It’s a love, hate relationship. And we can talk more about that. Yeah, it is a lot. It is a lot. And I’ll explain kind of, you know, later, once we talk about it.
Whether or not, you need to be everywhere. I’ll explain why I’m on so many different platforms, but to start out the way that I see, like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok are kind of the big platforms that I utilize, Instagram and TikTok being the, the first and foremost. I see TikTok as being that just like free range discoverability, you can get discovered so easily on TikTok.
If you figure out how to make and I don’t even wanna say valuable content, but like engaging content that people want to watch. I constantly get new people following me or new people watching. And I’m not even really doing anything outside of posting on the. Right. Mm-hmm, , it’s a lot less effort from my perspective than Instagram is.
However, with Instagram, I see that as being the place where you can really nurture relationships because of how easy it is to cross communicate. Even if you’re not following each other, like DMS comments, those sorts of things. Whereas TikTok, you have to mutually be following each other to message back and forth.
So it’s like I see Instagram as being the place where you can go deeper and show more of who you are as your personality and more of your brand. And then TikTok is the place where people from all over the world can very easily discover you because of the way that the algorithm is set up over there.
Mm-hmm and then Facebook is just kind of like, I see FA I mean, for me in particular, Facebook is like where my colleagues are sharing their opinion about their business.
Right. It’s like, that’s where we go to connect with other business owners or that’s where we go to share our perspective. Cause I think we all see Instagram as work.
deeper and show more of who you are as your personality and more of your brand. And then TikTok is the place where like people from all over the world can very easily discover you because of the way that the algorithm is set up over there.
Mm-hmm and then Facebook is just kind of like, I see FA I mean, for me in particular, Facebook is like where my colleagues are sharing their opinion about their business. Right. It’s like, that’s where we go to connect with other business owners or that’s where we go to like share our perspective. Cuz I think we all see Instagram as work.
It’s not as work, but it’s like we use that platform for our business and then Facebook is more a place for us to connect and like ask questions amongst each other. So I’m really curious about your perspective. Because this is just like your world. So lay it on as, what do you see the platform? No, I being valuable for.
Guest | Shayla Appel: I feel like you nailed those three, for sure. Like, I definitely see Facebook as like the community, you know, it’s great for Facebook groups. Um, it’s also great to have in case you wanna advertise like the paid ads on Facebook are above all ads, the way that you can target. um, like such specific audiences I think is just huge. Um, so I do agree, like it’s definitely an older, more mature platform and it’s really great for that community building kind of aspect.
Um, and then, yeah, TikTok is kind of a funny one because it’s a, it’s the baby, right? Like it’s, it’s still such a new platform compared to all those other ones. Um, and I definitely think the content, if you’re going to be on TikTok, you have to kind of be willing to. Film, some silly, maybe like what you would think, stupid kind of content, you know?
So I think that’s why a lot of brands are hesitant to hop on that because they don’t really feel like that works for their brand. But I think that it can work for your brand really, no matter what. What your brand is or what your industry is like. I’ve seen, um, you know, doctors there and like eye doctors and lawyers who everybody is.
Yeah. Everybody. And it’s just about creating that captivating, like short form, interesting content. Um, sometimes, you know, having, having some extra fun with it. Um, but I do really think, like you said, TikTok has such strong potential for, I would say pretty much every business mm-hmm . Yeah. And then Instagram love hate with Instagram, but ,
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: I feel like, talk about Instagram, finish, finish your thought, and then let’s just get into it.Cause I know I’m ready to snap it over my knees. How frustrated I am with Instagram.
Guest | Shayla Appel: Yeah. I feel like Instagram is unfortunately very necessary, you know, it’s kind of the platform I would never, I would never advise the client to have a social media strategy without having Instagram as one of their platforms.
So you kind of gotta do it. So that’s why we have to love it. But we also hate it because we’re sick of all these changes. Yeah a little bit. But at the same time, you know, I do think that they are really trying to make the platform better even if the way they’re getting there is a little glitchy and frustrating.Their intentions are pure. So mm-hmm, , can’t can’t hate on them too much.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: I agree. I think everything they’re doing is they’re trying, you can tell they have so much emphasis on creators and the CEO, Adam, I can’t remember his last name. Do you remember his last name? Mosa?
Guest | Shayla Appel:Yeah, I think so, yeah.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: Constantly talking about. How they’re trying to benefit and push and encourage creators, cuz that’s just where the future of marketing is going. Like we have so much data to support that you can see it with your own eyes. If you have your eyes open, like literally that’s just where marketing is going. Is.
Creator content. So I can see him constantly trying to reassure people by saying we are just, we working out the kinks. Like we want, we encourage creators. We wanna support creators. But in the meantime, we’re like dog, everything about this is so frustrating and yeah. As a business owner, When you are used to a specific type of response, and then you don’t get that response from your community on Instagram, it sends you into a spiral of, okay, what is happening?Are people no longer interested in what I’m selling? Do people no longer think that my brand resonates, does my brand no longer resonate with my audience? Are my prices too high? Are people no longer, you know, it’s just a huge spiral of what’s happening and it’s really hard to separate the facts.
Instagram is changing so many things to improve their platform in the long run. But in the short term, we’re feeling the effects of those changes, cause we’re not seeing as much engagement. We’re not seeing our following grow. Like maybe we’re used to when the algorithm was a bit more friendly, um, and not as complex.
So this is a great time to get into this and misconceptions about social media in general. Is there anything you would say to reassure people to continue using Instagram, but like, how do we reprioritize, how much time we spend on it, or what’s the best strategy for including Instagram in your overall social media marketing strategy?
Guest | Shayla Appel: I think first of all, it’s important to keep in mind that I don’t think this is gonna be happening forever. You know, kind of how we talked about before. Um, they are really trying to change a lot all at once, but I think once things are more concrete and more in place, things will probably go back to kind of how they were before and it won’t feel as challenging.
Um, but also I think just being flexible with, you know, maybe taking the time to kind of reevaluate your strategy and maybe pivot a little bit and try out some new things, you know, there’s, there’s no harm in kind of taking that pivot and trying out new things and seeing if that sticks. If I don’t like it, I always say to clients that marketing is all about pivoting because as soon as something starts to work, like a couple months later, it just stops working.
So, you know, you have to be flexible with it and just not let it get to you as much. Um, . And also, I always think, because we’ve all felt that way, you know, kind of a little discouraged. I always just try not to take it personally because I’m like, it’s just an, it’s an app. Like it’s not a specific person telling me like, oh, your content sucks or you’re doing such a bad job.
No one cares about what you have to say. It’s just an app. That’s basically a computer that is like scientific programming. Right. So I just kinda tried to let it slide, change what I can, try some new things.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: mm-hmm yeah. Just kind of go from there. I love it. And I love what you said, and this is, you said it perfectly, and I can hear people being like God dammit when they hear that marketing is constant pivots.
I cannot agree with you more. And for somebody as an entrepreneur, if you cannot be fantastic at everything as an entrepreneur, you just can’t and understanding that marketing requires constant pivot. Is not necessarily intuitive, right? Unless you are a marketing expert.
Before I started really specializing in marketing and branding, when I first started my business, I was working as a nutrition consultant, cuz that’s what my educational degree is in.
I didn’t understand that concept, so, I thought, I’m gonna figure out what works, I’m gonna do that and do that and grow and scale. And we’re gonna keep repeating that strategy over and over and over again. And when that didn’t. It was so scary and frustrating.
And so just taking a moment to highlight the value of working with a marketing expert, whether it is holistic marketing. You’re specific to social media. You’re specific to email, you’re specific to whatever the value of, of working with a marketing expert is that a, they reassure you that this is normal, that there’s nothing wrong with your business in the sense of what you’re selling or what you’re providing. And if there’s anything that needs to be tweaked, they can see it from a bird’s eye perspective, cuz they’re literally watching for these shifts to happen.
They’re waiting for these shifts to happen like you and I, when we look at a business we’re like, okay, This was working, here’s potentially why it’s not working, let’s try this instead.
We take so much off the plate of entrepreneurs because we’re looking for those shifts to happen.
That’s the value in my perspective of working with a marketing expert, like what you and I do is because you cannot be informed.
And on top of everything, as an entrepreneur, you’re worried about taking care of your clients, your customers, selling products, selling services.
Being the best you can be as an expert. And on top of that, you’re expected to know how to pivot a marketing strategy at the drop of a dime. No, that is way too much, right. That’s way too much. So that’s why I love that you brought that up because that’s really ultimately what I see as our value as branding and marketing experts is we get to sit back and look at the big picture.
Objectively and then offer perspectives and offer advice and suggestions to help them accomplish their goals, to help our clients accomplish their goals. So I just wanted get a soapbox for a moment about that, but that was such a great point.
Guest | Shayla Appel: No, yeah, that’s so true. And we have, you know, the experience in pivoting.
So we have maybe suggestions we’ve already put into place or we’ve had similar scenarios in the past. whereas if you’re trying to kind of DIY your marketing and you don’t have that experience, if something’s not working, it might be a lot harder for you to identify, like why it’s not working specifically.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: There’s so there’s literally so many elements. It could be, is this call to action not strong enough, or are we not speaking to their actual desires?
It can be something as little as we need to change this wording to as big as you’re not actually marketing to the right person. Right.
Like, it could be, there’s a huge spectrum of problems that can come up.
I love that you brought that up so much, and I’m really curious. Let’s, let’s just dive into some of the really annoying myths and misconceptions that you hear about social media, because, and I’m gonna add some in as we’re talking because you know, I am a business owner, so I get that perspective and I’m also a mentor to clients that have these questions.
So I might throw a few extra in there, but let’s just start off. What are the most frustrating miscon and misconceptions that you hear about social media marketing?
Guest | Shayla Appel: I think, um, like I’m gonna kind of take it from a client’s perspective where like a business owner’s perspective.
Um, I think one that I’ve heard so many times that makes me kind of wanna bang my head into a wall is that my customer isn’t on social media?
Um, I think, you know, with just the amount of users on social media. I think there’s around a billion users on Instagram alone, per month.
So I feel like to say that your client isn’t or your ideal like client, I guess isn’t on Instagram, is almost impossible out of a billion people, you know that at least like some of those people aren’t your ideal client.
So mm-hmm I think that tends to be. A misconception from a bit of the older demographic as well, because they’re just not used to this new form of marketing. Right. So they think like, well, everything’s worked in the past how we’ve done our marketing. Um, so we’re just gonna keep it the same. And I think that’s fine.
Like, that’s great when things have been working for you, but I definitely think exploring new routes. And like we talked about before kind of doing that pivoting, um, is never a bad idea. You know, if you have the possibility to grow your business, wouldn’t you want to take that option, right? Mm-hmm mm-hmm so, yeah, I don’t know.
Have you ever heard kind of people saying that they don’t think that their audience would be on social media or something like that realm?
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: 100% and kind of the way that I. Just swipe that out of the way, cuz that you’re right. It is a huge it’s not true. Like nothing about that is true. Billions of people around the world around social media.
And I think the reason people say my audience isn’t on social media is because they’re basing that off of the people that are immediately around them. So if your target audience, you know, I’ve worked with a client whose target audience was, you know, the boomer generation.
They were, they were older in age and she kept saying, they’re not on social media.They’re not on social media. And I’m like, your friends who are your target audience may not be. But that doesn’t mean the entire generation that you’re trying to reach is not on social media.
I know for a fact, that’s not true. And I think the bigger question here. What’s the best platform for you to be on to reach that target audience, because yeah, there might be fewer boomers on TikTok than there are on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean they’re not on social media.
So how can we tell, like, what are some really, maybe intuitive ways, but then also more strategic ways of picking the right platforms or is there, is it just kind of throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what happens? Like what’s the best way to select the platforms that we build our strategy.
Guest | Shayla Appel: I definitely think diving into, first of all, knowing exactly who your ideal client is. I typically don’t emphasize demographics, but when you’re selecting a platform that is like a big thing, gender and you know, their age range, um, and kind of their user behavior.
And then, um, going from there and kind of like this, you can even do a simple Google search and seeing what the platform usages are, you know, in general, I just even kinda look at my parents, like they’re both boomers and my dad will spend like hours on YouTube. He loves YouTube. And I feel like that’s such a dad thing. Like a lot of dads, they love YouTube. Um, whereas I think, you know, my mom loves Pinterest and she’s on Instagram a lot.
So it just really depends who your target audience is. And if you know who they are, it makes picking that platform quite easy, I would say.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: I love that. And something you hit on was you don’t typically focus on the demographics. So I would love to just kind of share your, I would love to hear your perspective and then share my perspective because I think demographics, meaning age, um, gender race, sexual orientation, like things like that, religious preferences. Those sorts of things are what would classify into demographics. And then you have psychographics, which are things like, what are their aspirations? What are their biggest challenges? What do they desire to have? What are their goals?
So those sorts of things kind of fit into the psychographics. Can you explain why you choose to focus more on the psychographics, outside of selecting the platforms and why you’ve seen that work?
Guest | Shayla Appel: Yeah. So my reasoning behind it is I just always think about how different literally everyone is you know, so to, to say your target audience, for example, would be a female who’s age, say like 35 to 50 or even 35 to 40. Keep it small.
There’s just still such a wide array of people and their interests and how they grew up and their goals and their dreams and their pain points. Like, you know, that just really doesn’t narrow it down too much I don’t think.
Obviously there are certain products that are geared definitely towards males versus females and definitely towards a younger demographic versus an older demographic. But I think that’s only kind of the tip of the iceberg when you’re trying to really understand who you’re trying to market towards.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: Yeah, I, and I’m just gonna preface this by saying, some people include a lot of demographic information in their marketing and some people choose not to, and neither way is right or wrong. I’ve seen, yeah. People get phenomenal results doing both. It depends on which one kind of lands with you and makes the most sense for you as the person speaking on behalf of the brand.
So that is honestly, I mean, there’s pros and cons to including both or just focusing on one, but that is, I feel more of a personal preference and I used to hate demographic information. And the only reason I’m now in the camp of needing to include it is because I’ve started looking at more of, um, what do I wanna call it?
Like mindset shifts that happen relative to the age that you’re in. So that’s one of the main reasons why I love looking at demographic information because I’m very into the psychology and the sociology that happens throughout the transition of buyer’s life when you’re 18. The things that you care about are vastly different than when you’re 40.
Like when you’re 18, you don’t know what the hell is going on in the world. You’re trying to figure out who you are. You’re trying to figure out where you wanna go. You feel like, you know, you’re behind or that you’re failing or something’s happening. So that’s like the stage of maturity that you’re in at 18, but at 40 you’re like, you’re trying to set yourself up for the future.
You’re trying to set yourself up for retirement. Maybe you got kids, maybe you don’t have kids. Maybe you’re watching over an elderly parent. You know, there’s so many things that happen. In those different age brackets. And that’s kind of why I like to look at the demographic is like, is there a grouping, like literally, is there a grouping?
I mean, somebody like Tony Robbins, there’s not, he freaking works with everybody. Right? You can be 75 and work with Tony Robbins. You can be 16 and work with Tony Robbins because he’s been around the block for that long and has established that big of a brand presence. Right. But. With somebody that maybe doesn’t have that much power with their brand or with their social presence.
That’s why I like to focus on the demographics, but I’m just gonna come out and say it, you get results with both. So it really comes down to where do you feel the most connected to your target audience? Can you tell a little bit about how people can really zoom in on their ideal client so that they know they’re talking to the right person?
What’s your favorite way to help somebody identify their target audience or create their avatar?
Guest | Shayla Appel: I think, uh, one of the top things, first of all, actually I just wanna say, I love the way that you talked about where people like mindsets are at, at different stages in their life. I’ve actually never really thought of it that way.
And I think that’s really cool. Like, you know, we all are on our own journeys, but everyone kind of, that is a good way of grouping people kind of by, you know, we all move through life on a similar sort. So that’s really, that’s really interesting. Mm-hmm I think one of the most useful things I learned in my degree was that the main thing about marketing is really putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.
Um, and that’s definitely easier said than done. It’s really hard sometimes to kind of put yourself in, for example, I’m a 26 year old female entrepreneur.
Like I would have trouble putting myself in the shoes of a corporate, 65 year old male, you know, like we have very different lives.
Right. But, um, I think it is really important to kind of figure out what they would be like thinking about what they would be struggling with, what their dreams and their aspirations would be, you know?
And if that means conducting some market research or, um, something like that, it’s just really, really trying to put yourself in their shoes and be kind. In their mindset mm-hmm and kind of going from there.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: Mm-hmm okay. I’m gonna ask you a question related to what you are comfortable with as an expert.
And this has come back to some experiences that I’ve had on discovery calls lately, where I’ll get on the call with somebody that’s in a very specific industry. And from my perspective, the, you know, the big question that I always get asked. Have you ever worked with somebody in the music industry or have you ever worked with somebody in the, um, you know, the energy drink industry?
And I’m always a little hesitant. It’s not even hesitant, but it’s almost like a little bit of a frustration or a disappointment from my perspective, you don’t necessarily have to be. A specialized expert in that specific industry to help somebody with their marketing. I’m really curious about your perspective on this.
And it might even reassure somebody to reach out to somebody that’s maybe not specifically niched down into their micro arena, but it’s the way that I approach it.
Marketing, like you said, is very much about understanding the consumer. And there are so many ways to understand the consumer and understand an industry and you don’t necessarily need firsthand experience in that industry to be able to understand the target audience and to be able to understand what it is that you’re selling and marketing.
Are there benefits to that 100% because you have personal experience with it, but also with marketing it’s as easy. Bringing in an expert that has that, that industry experience that you can consult with or ask questions about. And it’s also something where at the end of the day, people buy for like five reasons, right?
There’s really not that much diversity in terms of why people invest. It’s just about the story that you tell about why they should purchase from you. Right. Mm-hmm so that is where understanding the consumer and understanding the industry is really valuable. But what’s your perspective on the pros and cons of working with somebody that is hyper niche down, let’s just go with like energy drinks or the music industry or something like that.
Would you feel comfortable taking on a client that maybe is not in an arena that you have personal experience with and then how would you. How would you talk to ’em about that? Cause this is a big, I mean, this is a personal question, but I have a, you know, I’m really curious about your perspective.
Guest | Shayla Appel: So a fun fact about me is I’ve actually never nicheed down in terms of like an industry that I work with. Mm-hmm um, personally, I don’t really know, like it’s completely up to whoever works in social media marketing. It’s your call completely. If you want to, you know, niche down to a super specific.
Industry. It probably would make things a little easier because you are really getting to know that industry, but I think it all comes down to, um, you know, just asking the right questions from, I’m just thinking kind of like in a client setting, like I have a really, really. Thorough onboarding process where I’m like, Hey, I’m gonna come basically bring your social media manager to Workday kind of thing, and like really live your life so that I know what’s going on.
And I ask them a lot of questions so that, you know, I understand their industry to the best that I can. And then also I think it’s important that they understand that it’s gonna be a team effort, right? I’m never gonna know. Like, I’m just thinking right now, for example, one of my clients is an ophthalmologist.
So when she has these fancy eye terms, I am like, truly, I don’t know what you’re talking about right now. So that’s not gonna ever be my field of expertise, but as long as I like, they’re understanding that it’s a team approach and I can come up with the strategy and the ideas kind of behind it and they can fill in like the technical side of.
That’s always worked well for me. So that’s kind of how I’ve always rolled with it.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: Yeah. And I, I think, you know, , I think it’s funny that I, I mean, it’s a weird question to ask, but at the same time, I think there is a bit, since we’re talking about misconceptions, there is a bit of a misconception that you have to find a marketing and branding expert that is niche down in your specific industry in order to get results.
And that’s just a big misconception that, and maybe my opinion will change if I end up really specifically niching down in the future. Like I said, there’s pros of working with somebody that has firsthand experience in your industry, because that vocabulary is shared. There’s not as many open ended questions cuz you understand right.
And on the flip side, there are some shortcomings to that because as an expert that thinks that they understand the industry. If I were, you know, I’d work with many women’s health brands because my educational background is literally in that. So it’s easier for me to understand the language and the terminology and kind of the problems that they’re having.
However, I also have a predisposed idea of what that industry is and how it works because I’m so familiar with it. Sometimes there’s a benefit of having somebody that has more of a, I don’t wanna say naive, cuz it’s not even naive, but it’s like fresh perspective on an industry and what’s happening so that you’re not blindsided by things that maybe you’re just so used to having taken place in your industry that is actually outdated and needs to be changed.
Mm-hmm so just a little moment of like, Hey, even if we’re not specialized down defending us and being like, Hey. We are still somebody that has the ability to bird’s eye view, your industry and your target audience. And that is really, really, really valuable. So you don’t necessarily need to work with somebody that’s a niche in your industry.
That’s more of a personal preference than a necessity. So just wanted to bring that out since we’re talking about myths and misconceptions
Guest | Shayla Appel: yeah. I also think, I always kind of, um, like in the course that I’m actually teaching, which is for social media managers, um, to like start their own business. We talk about niching down on your services and your area of expertise rather than meshing down on the industry that you serve.
You know, like a social media manager, I’m sure. Same thing with branding, you know, you can do so much, you can do. There’s just a lot that you can do. So rather than trying to do, you know, SEO and strategy and manage all of the platforms and email marketing and websites and all of that, figure out what you like to do the most and what you’re the best at mm-hmm and really, really get good at perfecting those skills.
Um, and I think that’s more, that’s just my personal opinion. I think that is more beneficial too. You know, say, oh, I’m a video editor or I do SEO, or I am a website designer, and then you can work with so many clients across various industries, but you’re really good at what you do rather than, you know, trying to do it all in one industry.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: Yeah. I love that approach so, so, so much. And something else that I’ve kind of realized from personal experience is you don’t even need to necessarily.
Be super vocal and niche down about the areas of specialization.
So what I’m saying is if I have experience in health and I have experience in beauty and I have experience in, uh, spirituality and personal development, those are the arenas that I feel the absolute most confidence in.
But I don’t necessarily publicly say that those are the only type of people that I work with because that naturally comes out in my content.
When I’m using an example of a brand, I pull from spiritual brands, I pull from personal development brands. I pull from beauty brands. I pull from health and wellness brands, because those are the arenas that I’m most comfortable in.
So you kind of naturally do that anyway in your content. And one of the pros of that is I think you don’t. You don’t niche yourself down so far to where the perception of your brand is that you only do those things, right. And I’m in the same camp.
Exactly, I really want to niche down that far because I can support a lot of different types of businesses.
I have the most firsthand experience in those industries that I just mentioned. But the way that I work with people is not industry specific. It’s very much about harnessing that goal or that vision that you’re trying to get to, and then using your brand to support you in bringing that vision to life.Not so much about the industry specifics.
So I love that you said that so much at such a good point. So let’s wrap up really quickly.
Do you need to be on every single platform and I can use myself as a personal experience in this, but I wanna hear your perspective. Do you need to be on every single platform?
I mean, that’s kind of an intuitive answer, but what is the best way of simplifying your social media strategy with specific platforms? Instead of trying to be everywhere at once and I’ll share why I’m laughing once , once we kinda,
Guest | Shayla Appel: I know. Well, I know you made your blog post the other day that was talking all about yeah where you all are.
And I didn’t even know that, but you know, props to you because I’m not even in all those places it’s matter, but I would say.
Yeah, I could imagine. I would say it goes back to what we were talking about earlier and just getting really clear on who you’re serving and making sure you’re in the areas where they’re hanging out.
Like it really all kind of boils down to that. Um, I always advise people to start small, just kind of with. You know, mastering, I would say usually two platforms. Um, and then the cool thing is like, you can always grow, you know, when you have more resources, you have more time, um, maybe you’ve hired a team member or something like that.
You can always add another platform. But I think it’s a lot more beneficial to go at it in that way than to have all the platforms and never post on any of them, except for like one, you know what I mean?
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: yep. I agree with you. I agree with you. So for anybody that hasn’t listened to the episode, uh, what was it?
Episode 44 I believe I’ll put it in the show notes is where I literally broke down all of the platforms that I’m on, how I manage them, how I repurpose content. And it sounds insane and it is insane. There is so much content creation.
And just to reiterate, I don’t do that because I think I have to be on all of those platforms in order to have a successful business and a successful, successful marketing approach.
I’m on that many platforms because I focus on the ones I have the most experience with. I’ve been a business owner since 2016. I have the most experience with Instagram and Facebook. I don’t enjoy Facebook as much anymore. So Instagram is a no brainer. TikTok came into the fold about a year and a half ago, and it has grown my business so much.
So that one is staying with the other platforms in terms of podcasts, blog and email. Those are things I see as just staples of nurturing my audience. And I’ve gotten to the point now where I’m so comfortable with them, that it doesn’t feel. as stressful, it’s still added work, but it doesn’t feel as stressful to manage those as it once did. But I’ve added platforms slowly.
Over my years of entrepreneurship, I didn’t start a fresh new business with that many platforms. I would’ve drowned myself, had I done that? Right. It took me years.
I mean, since 2016 to be able to manage this much content creation and also I do it all. Right because currently our budget is being allocated to other types of team members and other types of, um, expenses.
And so when I have the opportunity to hire a social media manager, you bet your ass, I’m gonna do it because it is a lot of time. And I’ve had to teach myself how to manage that much content creation. But the benefit to it is that I’m learning those platforms alongside my clients. And so I get to support them. Is this platform genuinely valuable for my brand? Do I need to have a presence here or not? And I actually encourage them exactly what you said.
One or two platforms, focus your energy there.
Do not expand until you have those platforms nailed down and you’re confident with them. So for anybody that’s like, oh my gosh, I have to be on seven platforms because that’s what Tristan does not do it.
Like you don’t do it, do not do it. It’s madness.
And I don’t intend on doing it forever, especially not myself doing it forever, but there’s a very specific, intentional reason why I am currently doing that.
And like I said, the purpose is not because I think I have to be on that many platforms to be successful TikTok and Instagram drive my business,that’s it.
Everything else is for visibility and nurturing, but if I had to drop those other platforms I could, and my business would not suffer because my business thrives off of Instagram and TikTok right. In my email list. So I just wanted to preface that since we’re talking about it, like, don’t do it.
Guest | Shayla Appel: Don’t do it. Oh man. I don’t know how you do it honestly, but to touch on kind. What you said, if you are well, we’ll give some advice.
If you are on multiple platforms, um, you kind of mentioned repurposing. Uh, that is a huge time saver that I think has really changed the game for me and for a lot of my clients.
So if anyone doesn’t know what repurposing is, it is taking a longer form of content and breaking it up into smaller chunks and distributing it to different platforms in different formats.
Um, so I’m sure you do this probably with the podcast. You know, you could post an Instagram real, you could take a quote from it and, you know, post a tweet or whatever, and kind of take one piece of content and turn it into multiple other pieces of content.
So it’s a little cumbersome and time consuming and maybe a little bit less overwhelming.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: And yeah, repurposing is the name of the game. Like literally I don’t love repurposing, like copy for copy, everything that I do, because I think as a user experience, that’s so boring and you’re like, okay, why am I following you on these other platforms?
If it’s literally exactly. We see so many Instagram accounts that are just carbon copies of their TikTok. And it’s like,what’s the point?
You’re not encouraging people to follow you for specific reasons on multiple platforms, if that’s the case. So I, I, you will see some content from my TikTok on my Instagram and from the podcast on my Instagram and from the blog on my Instagram, but, and I’m from the blog on my TAC and from the blog on my blog, like, it’s all just an interwoven set up and that’s kind of how I’m able to create that much content, but also the experience of knowing what’s gonna perform best.
And then being open to that change is also what’s allowed me to create that much content. , but it’s a, it’s a full time job and I don’t suggest it to anybody that is newer or starting out, let somebody else handle it if you can.
Um, and don’t add a platform until you are solid on the ones that you’re currently on. Cuz it’s just gonna add a lot of stress to your plate. That’s not necessary. Yeah, absolutely. Awesome. Well, Shayla, tell us about, so you’re, you’re in a little bit of a pivot yourself as you’re starting to transition into teaching people how to become social media managers.
Am I correct in that? Yeah. Okay, amazing. So as we wrap up, tell us about, for anybody that’s listening that maybe has been curious about. Starting their own business or that maybe is doing something in the realm of a support role and is now looking to specialize in social media management. What are you really excited to be teaching people about?
And what can we expect from this program that you’re putting together?
Guest | Shayla Appel: Yeah, so I’m creating a course. Um, it’s going to be like a self-paced online course with some support. um, I get to shout out my online business, best team Nina. Um, so we’re co-creating. Do you know Nina?
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: Nina was on the podcast. Oh my gosh. The show notes too. Yeah. She talked about social media management as well, so, okay.
Nina is fantastic that already just perked my years.
Guest | Shayla Appel: Yeah, so we kind of met similar to you and I, you know, just by following each other and then got started talking and then.
We were both kind of in the, we had been wanting to pivot in our businesses.So we kind of started, um, just brainstorming some ideas. And this was a common theme that we thought of, because we really created this course from, um, it’s like a passion project for both of us. It comes from, you know, the struggles that we both went through to kind of get to where we are today. And really, we want to like aspiring social media managers or people starting out owning their own business and working in social media.
We wanna help them avoid a lot of the challenges and obstacles that we went through and just kind of fast track the process as well. You know, when you, when you’re kind of all alone and you’re creating everything from scratch and you have essentially no idea what you’re doing, um, it can be a little scary and a little lonely at times.
So, um, we’re pretty much walking people through everything from getting your business basic foundation set up to creating offers, pricing your offers, selling your offers. Um, all about onboarding, um, like all the systems you need in place. There’s so many tips on things that we’ve spent years kind of learning about.
Um, we talk about best practices to gain clients, retain clients, all of that fun stuff. And there’s tons of templates that we have created over the span of like the last two years of being in business. So all in all, like it was. Be geared towards helping people fast, track their business and kind of avoid all the guesswork and the questions that come with.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: I love that. And fast tracking is one of the benefits of working with somebody that is in the industry doing what you wanna do if you get there so much faster. Mm-hmm, , I’m sometimes jealous of the clients that I work with because they get results so quickly. And this is not a brag moment. This is literally me being jealous because I took the first two years of being an entrepreneur.
and just flopped around, like Flo had no idea what I was doing. Strug like unnecessary amounts of struggle because I didn’t know mentorship was a thing just didn’t know it was a thing. Right. And when my clients come to me, they’re in that flippy, floppy place, but the speed that they get on track and start making money and having huge results, I’m like, wow.
God yeah, I needed me when I was starting. Like, this is amazing. Yeah. I’m so happy for them. And it’s just proof of how beneficial mentorship and coaching is. Directly related to the industry that you’re trying to go into. So anybody that, even if you love social media and you find it fascinating and you know that you want to be a business owner, this could be a really great route for you is to learn how to be a social media manager.
What are some other really great types of fits that would be perfect for this program that you’re coaching individuals on?
Guest | Shayla Appel: I think I’m just thinking back to like where I was, you know, as a recent university graduate or somebody. Maybe in their last couple years of university and are a little unsure of what they wanna do, or they’ve had maybe a bit of experience kind of with social media and think it’s something they could be interested in.
It’s perfect for somebody who has also kind of like did their feet in, it wants to quit, like their nine to five, somebody who wants to start a side hustle, you know, it can be a very profitable side hustle. There’s really a lot of people that it could apply to. So, and it’s definitely. All about getting your business off the ground.
You know, it’s not as much focused on how to do content and like the fine tuning. Like we’re not doing canvas tutorials and things like that. It’s really about like, you can come to it, having no clue how to start a business. And by the end you will have a fully functional business.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: That’s epic.
Amazing. All right.
Will everybody go check out Shayla’s account?
So Shayla, why don’t you tell us where we can come learn more about the program, but then also just get to know you and follow your brand as well?
Guest | Shayla Appel: Sure. So my handle is, um, @SVmarketingcompany on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and then the course is called the SMM method. So it’s actually linked in my business bio. And then you can also just look up the SMM method and we’re on Instagram and Facebook.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: Amazing. And then for all the business owners listening, is there any last little wisdom nugget piece of advice or thing that you just think every business owner needs to hear about social media?
Guest | Shayla Appel: Um, I would say don’t overcomplicate it, like try and keep it simple. Try not to overthink it. I know it’s really easy to overthink it. Um, but try kind of break it down, think of who your target audience is, dive into their pain points and their dreams and their solutions, and really just keep everything simple and create that content with them in mind.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: Amazing.
Everybody go follow Shala on Instagram, her feed.
I love her feed and we’ve had conversations about aesthetics. So I am just so excited to see where you go with your aesthetic, but also just the value that you provide through your content. Stellar. I think you show up so consistently and authentically, and it’s so interesting too.
It’s like something that you wanna engage in. So everybody go follow Shaila on Instagram.
And Shayla, thank you so much for spending some time with us today and sharing your expertise. This was super fun. I hope you had fun too.
And I just wish you all the success and I can’t wait to see where your, where your program goes once that’s up and fully launching.
Guest | Shayla Appel: Thank you so much for having me. It was awesome to chat with.
Host | Tristan Thibodeau: That’s a wrap, my beautiful friend. Thank you so much for tuning in and listening to this episode of the hotline. And if you fell in love with Shayla, or if you’re just interested to learn more of her expertise in the realm of social media, marketing and management.
All of her socials are @SBmarketing company or SB marketing code. So those are all gonna be linked in the show notes. And if you’re listening and you’re considering getting into the world of social media management as a career path, 10 out of 10 suggests that you go check out Shayla’s account and learn more about that.
SMM method where you’re gonna learn all about how to create a business, where you can be fully independent as a social media manager and working with entrepreneurs that really excite you and let your soul on fire. So if that’s something that you’re interested in, go check that out.
Otherwise, thank you so much for tuning it in today.
I am so appreciative of you taking the time to listen and really just to engage with the incredible experts that we bring onto this show that I hand picked to bring onto this show. So I’m sending you so much love. I am forever cheering you on and now go create that big impact and income that you’re after.