November 1, 2021
Emma speaks to Ellen Matis of Hello Social Co about the Focus on Local approach to social media.
In this episode Emma speaks to Ellen Matis of Hello Social Co about the Focus on Local approach to social media.
Hello Social Co. is a social media marketing agency based in Pennsylvania. The "Focus on Local Approach" is a process that helps small business owners position their businesses, and the communities they call home, as destinations, and drive overall economic growth in small-town communities.
02:13 Focus on local approach
07:57 Getting Started
11:55 Brand ambassador
18:00 People buy from people
25:08 Learning Center
31:11 Making a plan
39:48 Quick fire round
Find Hello Social Co
Ellen Matis 0:00
When you allow your customers to become ambassadors of your brand and and talk about your brand on behalf, your brand just gets that much more exposure to your potential target audience.
Emma Peacock 0:16
Welcome to the Digital Hive Podcast where we talked all things digital marketing for small businesses. On this episode, I spoke with Ellen Matis of Hello Social Co about the focus on local approach. We talked about having synergy between your online and offline worlds, how to get started with the focus on local approach, and the effect it can have on your business and your town. Hello Social Co is a social media marketing agency based in Pennsylvania, the focus on local approach is a process that helps small business owners position their businesses and the communities they call home as destinations and drive overall economic growth and small town communities. I hope you enjoy listening to this chat about small town business, sharing your why, and allowing your community to be your brand ambassadors. Welcome to the podcast, Ellen, it's so good to have you.
Ellen Matis 1:00
Thanks so much for having me, Emma.
Emma Peacock 1:03
To get us started. Tell us about you and your business.
Ellen Matis 1:07
Yeah, so my name is Ellen and I own Hello Social Co, which is a social media marketing agency based in central Pennsylvania in the United States. And we only offer two services, we offer social media management and social media strategy. And we've kind of niched down on those two things. And we use us a particular approach to do what we do for both of those services. And it's called the Focus on Local approach. And I'm excited to talk to you more about what that is today.
Emma Peacock 1:38
That's awesome. Yeah, it's, it's, um, it's certainly a thing as a business to focus on one thing and do it really well and just execute really well for your clients and your community and, and really just focus on how you can bring that one core part of business which social media feels like such a big thing these days. But really, it's like how people communicate with their audience, their community. So it's really interesting. So how did you actually land on offering the local based approach?
Ellen Matis 2:13
Well, when I started, Hello Social almost five years ago, we actually started as a full service digital agency, and that that posed a lot of challenges. It's hard to wear that many hats. But there was one thing that always really stood out to me, which was that I wanted to support local businesses. And more importantly, were or just as importantly, I should say, the communities that they do business in. So as we kind of niched down on those services and thought about what we were going to offer at that time, we said it all has to come back to the small businesses somehow, and it all has to come back to the growth of particularly small town communities. And a lot of them here in Pennsylvania.
Emma Peacock 3:02
So it kind of might seem like it's in the name, like the name explains it, but maybe walk us through how the Focus on Local approach totally like works.
Ellen Matis 3:12
Yeah, for sure. So when our team talks about the Focus on Local approach, and how to focus on local, it's, it's really about storytelling. It's about telling the story of your business. It's about sharing experiences that you can have in your business and in your community. And by positioning your business and the community that you do business in as a destination for both residents and visitors. So the more people that come to your business, the more people that are in your community, and vice versa, the more people that are that visit your community, the more opportunity you have to grow your business. So at its heart, this approach is really all about placemaking. And it's about putting the place that you do business on the social media map.
Emma Peacock 3:54
That's amazing. Yeah, it just has that. When you focus. Well, basically anything you focus on grows. So if you're focusing on the negative aspect, the negative aspects tend to take over your life. So if you focus on local, how like that impacts, not only your local community, but everyone who visits you the enjoyment that they have, and then all of the knock on effects of that. So amazing. So if someone has a type of business, where it's like, Oh, should I focus on local? Should I focus wider? Maybe they're like e-commerce or something like that, where they could theoretically sell further than, say, like a coffee shop. How would you position it to them of like, maybe starting in one place or something like that? How do you approach that kind of business?
Ellen Matis 4:45
I think it's it's important to always start local because for most businesses, it's always great to start small. It's great to figure out who that target audience is, and a little way before you expand much further, but when you focus on building That entire place up on social or even in your other marketing efforts, what you're kind of doing is cultivating community pride. And you can cultivate that pride for your business as well. So, you know, in our world, proud and happy residents usually mean that tourists are going to be happy too, they're going to be excited to see this particular place. And then there's the snowball effect. So even if you're doing business online, that same thing can happen. If you think small, and think locally, and act globally, as the phrase goes, then you have the the opportunity to grow your business that much further and get people really excited about what you're doing, I think.
Emma Peacock 5:47
Yeah, yeah, that makes total sense. And it's like, in the world of like having those cheerleaders for your business. Like, imagine if your entire town was your cheerleader? Like, how cool would that be? I mean, you are that and, like in return, you do that for your other local small businesses, you support small local businesses. And then when you travel, you also support small local businesses where you travel, and it just creates this amazing feeling of like water, like, like why people love small town communities anyway, but through businesses rather than it just having that like big town, and personalized feel, I guess. Like, you know, the people when you walk into the store, or the, the location there, and as a visiting person, you really pick up on that as well. And like, you start to feel part of it, even if you're only there for the weekend.
Ellen Matis 6:43
Yeah, and it's really interesting how, you know, by just implementing this approach, you can see that really happening in front of your eyes. So I think of a small business here in my community that they opened their brick and mortar shop just this year. And they really focused on what they could do to build up the community around them, not just their physical shop. So she's bringing in food trucks, she's bringing in other businesses that offer complimentary items, and just kind of throwing these mini festivals, if you will, on the weekends, and getting people excited to come to her shop. And what she's doing then is building up those other business owners, she's bringing more traffic into our cute little town. And she's just putting her name out there in a way that makes her business really recognizable, while building up the entire community at the same time. So it's once you see this happening, other businesses in those communities start to do this as well. And it just keeps going and going keeps having that snowball effect. And people get really excited to come to this community that has a lot going on.
Emma Peacock 7:56
Yeah, totally. It's like piece by piece that builds up and becomes like a wider thing. So how, how can people start to engage with their local community? Obviously, it's been sometimes a little bit harder in the last couple years, to engage in your local community. And maybe as we come out of that, there's a little bit of forgetting how we used to do it. So how can business owners really start to get that ball rolling, maybe when they don't necessarily for the first few times they do it, get that reciprocal feeling of it,
Ellen Matis 8:33
I think the most important thing to remember is to just put yourself out there, nothing you do in the marketing world, particularly on social media is going to be an overnight success. But if you just put yourself out there, and keep doing it, and keep trying, your following is going to grow your the people that are excited about your brand, they're going to grow. And it's you know, it's it's gonna take time, and it's going to be worth it. But I think it's also important for business owners and to share more of why they do business. And one of the questions I always ask our clients is why did you choose to do business in your community? Because if you share that, why, you know, your your why as a small business owner is super important. And we talk about that all the time. But there's also this, why behind your place. So why did you choose to do business in this physical location? Or online? And how does that serve you and the life that you want to live?
Emma Peacock 9:33
Mm yeah, and then it all kind of just stems from there, I guess of like, okay, so what are those connectivity points that you have, like, is it I grew up here, is it I visited here and I loved it. This town has made me feel like I'm part of family even though I didn't move here until I was 25. Or like, whatever that feeling is their connection to their local community and then their connection to the business and how that combines into that what they love and the parts that they've loved with their community? Yeah, that totally makes sense.
Ellen Matis 10:07
You know, there's a, there's another business owner here locally that she got very involved in our local community and in some volunteering efforts around town, particularly in an events committee capacity. So she's throwing a lot of the cool things that are going on around town. And if you were to ask her why she did that, it's it's not for her business, as much as it is for the sake that she wanted to live in a cool place that had amazing things to do. And she wanted to be able to provide other people, the kinds of experiences that, you know, other humans in her community wanted to partake in. And did that help her business grow? Absolutely. So it all just has that ripple effect?
Emma Peacock 10:51
Yeah, totally. And there's also that effect of like, if you're the first person to start doing that real, local based thing. And people enjoy it, obviously, other people start doing it, and it does become like, part of your town, essentially. But it takes one person, like, if that doesn't already exist in your community, someone's got to start it. And so if you're the person who's already noticing that you could benefit from it, you're probably the person who was primed to kick that off. Because you already care about it enough to to have thought about it without, you know, too much outward pressure. So yeah, that makes total sense. Okay, so how can businesses work with them most dedicated customers, as like brand advocates, or partners or referrers to grow either their physical community or their online community? Like, is there ways that people can like, incentivize it, if after a while, it doesn't generally kind of come together? How do people do that?
Ellen Matis 11:54
Yeah, absolutely, I think that the biggest thing that they can do is develop some sort of brand ambassador program. So whether that's through a hashtag campaign, or through some kind of micro-influencer marketing, or even through just in store incentives, when you allow your customers to become ambassadors of your brand, and and talk about your brand on behalf, your brand just gets that much more exposure to your potential target audience. So you know, there's a, there's a business down here that I loved watching them build their their brand ambassador program, and they offered a discount to five people every quarter that wanted to show off their different products. So they would get to shop in store using a certain amount of credit. And then just post, you know, real life, social media pictures, tagging them and letting people know that this is the brand that they're wearing, this is the brand that they're kind of taking out into the world. And it's it's always interesting to see how people respond to that, because now, other people's followers are seeing that content, they're stopping by in that shop on their way through that town. And it just kind of builds and builds and builds. And it was a very low cost way to do something like that. You don't have to put a lot of money into a brand ambassador program. In most cases, it's maybe giving away a little bit of product or offering some kind of referral incentive. So there are there are just a million ways that you could go about that. But I think that anything that you can do that comes back to building those brand ambassadors is going to be the way they can go.
Emma Peacock 13:36
Yeah, totally. And then it's almost like they become like, head cheerleader, if you will, like as the person who who started off. And then I thought that one of the words that was really important that you said there was allow that you allow your customers to become your brand investors. And oftentimes, with certain types of businesses, it can feel like it's the thing that you tell your best friend about, but it's maybe not the thing you post about on social media. But if you love that company, like why not share more about it. And the more that you do that in your community, the more that becomes normal to share something that you bought and loved and you enjoyed a storefront experience or whichever. And sharing that can become part of it as well. I guess too, there's that thing of like, the like marketing terms, like user-generated content, but it's like just sharing when your community share about you, like you know, resharing on Instagram stories or using the the highest quality photos as actual posts from yourself with permission and kind of showing your community that you're thankful for them posting about you as well. Has that feel good factor and kind of keeps the momentum, the momentum going in just like a fun, like conversational actually saying thank you kind of away. Yeah, that's also really important.
Ellen Matis 15:07
I think that, you know, using user-generated content is becoming a form of customer service. You know, when we, when we shop small and we shop at littler businesses, instead of these huge corporations, it's, it's almost expected that if I share a photo from a small business, I've supported, that they're either going to regram, or they're going to share it in their stories. And that's becoming the norm. And it's such an easy way to say thank you, like you said, to that person, for supporting their small business. And I think if we can make that the norm, if we can, you know, if businesses can make it normal to share that content all the time, and get people excited, that their friend shop there, or their aunt shop there, then it's, it's gonna build a better social media world, and it's going to build better customer service as well.
Emma Peacock 16:02
Yeah, totally. And also the information that you can gain from how people photograph your product, or use your product, especially if it's something that, you know, they take it away and do something with it. You know, like seeing how like, where they set up the birdhouse that you sell in your store? Do they paint it? How do they like, what birds have they captured? All of those kinds of things, give you so much customer insight as well, that you can start to better serve your customer to give them ideas, give their friends ideas, ways of how they could take the same birdhouse paint it different ways, plant it in different places have different things around it. And it gives you that information of like, okay, this could be a hurdle that someone is trying to cover as they don't know where to put it. What food to put in it, all of those kinds of things. How can I create that around that to not only use the content that someone has already created for me as a customer and say thank you to that person. But then how can I create other content that also provides that insight? Because as all businesses have, there's always that slight hurdle of what do people have questions along the way. And just as testimonials are really important, seeing something actually in use, like a real human went in there and used it and enjoyed it and liked it so much that they wanted to share about it. That has that knock on effect as well, not only from a business perspective, but just a perspective of people get more enjoyment out of the product, because they know what to do with it as well, which has all sorts of knock on effects for like the environment and everything. With people using the things that they own instead of buying new stuff. All of that comes into it as well. But it starts with that little piece of insight you can get from that person's photo.
Ellen Matis 18:00
Yeah, and, you know, your listeners have probably heard this a million times, but people buy from people. And when you know, you have a certain responsibility on your own accounts to not be super promotional. And not just try to sell, sell sell all the time. And that's where telling your story and in sharing that why and sharing more of your community comes in. But also when you share that content that other users have created on behalf of your brand. That's when a little light bulb comes on for other potential customers. And they say, Oh, I didn't think to use the product that way. Or, Oh, I didn't know about this business. Look how much I love the products that they're selling, and just personifying your social media accounts can go a long way there.
Emma Peacock 18:48
Making social media actually social between humans and not like X company and then the humans that buy stuff like really having that both sides of the conversation a human is super important as well. And that is what is so brilliant about like small town small business is when you walk into that shop, you probably recognize that person even if you haven't actually met them before. Like say you're new to town or whatever. You recognize their face in a way that doesn't necessarily happen in like a big bustling city. If you're listening to this episode and wondering how you can market your own business, I might just have the solution for you. The Marketing Apiary is the one stop shop course for digital marketing teaching you everything you need to know to be seen, make sales, and grow your business online. With videos across honing your one ability, putting your best foot forward getting the numbers straight, helping people find you content marketing, growing with advertising, and passing the torch to your team. We cover every platform and angle you can approach marketing through a process I call the Seven Stages of Suite Marketing, since DIYing everything alone and molding everything for your business can bring up a lot of questions, and maybe some decision fatigue. We have Q&A calls every two weeks. So you can submit your questions and receive answers customized for your business from me, even if you can't attend those calls live. To find out more, you can pause the episode and go to themarketingapiary.com. or find the link in the show notes. Once you're done listening, for now, let's get back to the episode. So how, so over the last year, let's say of, okay, we're moving into this online world. But people still want to engage in their local community, they still want to come back to that community as much as they can health wise, maybe in different capacities. And over that time you've grown your online network. Tell us a little bit about how you are working with people kind of like all across the country, and maybe even beyond, for people in their local community rather than simply where you physically are.
Ellen Matis 21:16
Yeah, for sure. So, you know, I, I have been trying to figure out what I don't want to say what the next big thing for me is going to be for a long time. But kind of that, most importantly, I just wanted to know how I was going to make an impact outside of my local community, or at least outside of communities in Pennsylvania. And we went through a, you know, a year and a half or so now getting a glimpse into what life would be like without small businesses. And that did not sit well with me. As a relentless advocate for small towns and small businesses, I wanted to figure out a way to help these businesses grow more, and my team can only manage so many social media accounts on their behalf. So over the course of this year, I worked to develop and launch the Focus on Local Network and Learning Center. So this is an online community for small business owners and community leaders. And just people that want to make their community a better place to live and work and do business and visit. But this Learning Center aspect, there's kind of a course aspect built in. So all of that information that we typically talk about in physically local workshops, where, you know, we have built into this learning center platform. And to make it a little bit different I did, I did want this to be really valuable to small business owners. So there's the social media side of all of this, where my team is kind of weighing in on what it means to Focus on Local and how to take this approach into your business. But there's way more than social media marketing out there for small businesses. So each month, we have a guest expert build their own module on a different marketing tactic. So there's just always this ever growing content library on there that lives on the network forever, that small business owners can access and learn from at any point.
Emma Peacock 23:18
Yeah, perfect. Are you working with people outside of the U.S.? So how does that work?
Ellen Matis 23:24
Yes, I the platform is built on mighty networks. So we're able to accept, you know, people into the network from any location at this point, I would say that certainly our workshops right now are geared towards U.S. based businesses, but the the principles can apply really anywhere. And the approach can apply pretty much anywhere.
Emma Peacock 23:46
Yeah, for sure. I know, obviously, I'm not in The States. So I know, I've taken many a course and join many a community over the years that was really, you know, focused on one particular country. And what I found is like, aside from like, maybe some legal things and some tax things, it's all the same, like, obviously, in the current climate, we're all maybe at different stages of coming back out of our houses. But there is that aspect of like, we're all pretty much like the same, the same kind of learnings and strategies. If it worked for someone somewhere else, it probably could work for you, if you went at it with the best of intentions and just tried something new. So yeah, borders and all those kind of things don't totally matter too much. And as a small business owner, generally you're pretty savvy at adapting things for yourself. So yeah, sure. Totally works. Yeah. So tell us about maybe some of the people that you've worked with over the years, the effects and the ways that they've kind of approached it? Did they start with their person to person communications in their physical locations? Or was it more of like a tandem social thing? How did that work?
Ellen Matis 25:08
I think I found that the businesses that kind of dedicate a little bit of time to their social media presence right out of the gate tend to I don't want to say succeed more, but they they see success faster, I think is what I'm getting at. So that, you know, there's a lot to say, just like we we hold a launch for an online course or we hold a launch for an online promotion of some sort of launch is very important in the physical, local world as well. So as you're opening your business, you can be giving people a glimpse into your renovations at your new shop into the kinds of products that you're going to be selling there. And just giving people a behind the scenes look at what they can expect from that shop when it does open in their community. Or I say shop, but it could be any business. And then when you do open it, when you do have that quote, unquote, launch, then you already have this following kind of built up, that is going to come out and support you because they're excited about what you've been doing in their local community.
Emma Peacock 26:18
Yeah, it's the thing of like, whenever like, say a shop becomes vacant, and then the paper goes up. And you know, there's something happening behind that paper and you want to know what it is. And then you're doing the like, Google, figure out what's going in there. And then that first sign goes up of like, coming soon and whatever it is, that like, people actually notice that kind of stuff. And if you can share what's happening behind the paper that like fair enough, you don't necessarily want people looking in while you're constructing the thing. If you can give that peek behind the paper, I care about this, but do my potential customers really care. And the thing is that they actually do. And they will show you that they care if you put it out there. But if you don't put it out there, no one can be like, I love this thing. Because they've never seen it before. So that part is really important as well. And having people know that you're going to be opening and what's going to be behind that door, the first day that you open that door helps people to show up and support you. And if you keep that kind of behind closed doors, you're almost delaying people finding out about you, in a way.
Ellen Matis 27:31
Yeah, I totally agree. And I think that people want to get excited about what's happening in their community and what new businesses are coming to them. But like you said, you can't get excited about what you don't know about. So if you can make it easy for people to follow along with what's happening, then your business is gonna gonna see that growth almost immediately.
Emma Peacock 27:55
Yeah, totally. And like people like new stuff, but they also like, you know, a new way to interact with the same store or cafe or whichever that has been there for five years. Letting people see your enthusiasm for something as well. Because generally, like someone's going to reciprocate that. But if you hide your enthusiasm too it's hard to get that what is essentially the gratification of getting it back. Super important. Yeah. How do you find that people bridge that gap between social and in person like, especially for tourists, like you've seen something, maybe on Instagram, and you're so you're going to that place? For that kind of view that you've seen on social? How do businesses bridge the two, if you will.
Ellen Matis 28:48
I just I think that, more importantly than bridging the two is making sure that your social media is a reflection of what's happening inside. So you don't want to have to connect the dots. You want to make sure that whatever you're portraying happening at your business, online, in in any marketing forum is exactly what customers are going to get when they walk in the door. So if you're like a happy, bubbly person on social media that's excited to show off new products, but then a customer gets into your store and it turns out that you're kind of grumpy, and you'd actually don't want to help them find the right dress for their their the wedding they're going to this weekend, then there's a disconnect between what's happening online and what's happening in person and that can't happen. So just always make sure that your your your brand presence as a whole is reflective of what's happening in your physical shop or location.
Emma Peacock 29:50
What are the first signs that people can really see that the Focus on Local is working for them? Is it the conversations that they have with people? How can they start to see like people are enjoying, especially if it's a new approach to social media? How can they tell that it's working, if you will, that people are enjoying it,
Ellen Matis 30:16
It's hard to pinpoint if you have not seen it happen. But honestly, just people start talking about it. So you know, I've seen this in the communities that we've done some work in. And once some small businesses start to see some success, and more people start showing up at a community, you just there's a, there's a buzz, it's physically in the air in that community, but it's also online, and people are just excited to come to that place, and they're coming to that place more than they ever had. And there's just this, this general excitement for everything that's happening around that thing. So you know, I can't say that there's any way to put like a, you can't measure it like you would a regular social media metric, or a website metric. But you know, that, you know, when it's happening, and you know, when it's working.
Emma Peacock 31:11
Yeah, yeah, totally. And often, sometimes, too, it's like, someone will come into the store, and they'll mention something that they saw on social. And so you can tell that the people on social media who are actually following you, if you don't maybe recognize their faces and the profiles, if they don't necessarily have that in their photo, you can start to marry the two of like, oh, cool, you saw something online. And now you're a real person. You're not like a person across the country who maybe can't purchase from me. And that it is the local people that you're getting in front of? What about when people are feeling like the amount of time that they're dedicating to social media is too much? Is there almost like a way that they can manage that feeling of when they want to take a step back? From social, maybe they just want like, you know, a couple weeks off from social? Is it planning ahead? Or how, how do people manage that?
Ellen Matis 32:14
I think that more often than not, when people are struggling with social media, and they're feeling a little burned out by it, it's because they don't have a plan. And they kind of feel like every single morning, they wake up and they're like, What do I have to post for my business today? What is actually going to work today? And it doesn't have to feel like that with a little bit of planning. So one thing that we teach in kind of the Focus on Local approach method is to create content pillars. So based on what your business's goals are, what your overall business's goals are. How can you create content that fits in these different pillars or buckets, so that you don't have to think about it as much. So let's say that you have three pillars. So one is going to be your kind of community-oriented pillar, which we'll call Focus on Local. And one is going to be promotion where you you're actually selling your product or your service. And let's say that one of them is meet the team. If you were to get out of calendar then and say, Okay, I need to do these community oriented-oriented posts twice a week, I need to sell something twice a week, I want to introduce somebody to the team once a week, then you can just jot a note down on a calendar and say, Okay, here's what days, I want to hit each of these pillars. And then when you have to create the content, it's not as daunting, because you at least have a category that you're trying to create something for, rather than just pulling it out of nothing. And I found that when businesses focus on at least having that sort of plan, even if it's not super detailed, then they can more easily create content, and they're getting less overwhelmed by it. But also, don't be afraid to schedule ahead, too. You know, there's we went through this world where like, digital marketing professionals were telling us don't use schedulers don't use third party tools. Everything has to be organic, everything has to be natural and authentic. And that is true to an extent, like are there, are there downsides to using third party tools? Sometimes. But is your sanity an upside? Absolutely. So if it's going to make your job easier, and you're going to actually put content out into the world because of it, then it's worth doing. Because the worst thing that you can do for your social media presence is to have no presence at all. You never want to ghost your social media platforms. So if you need to schedule ahead, do what you need to do to get it done. That's totally fine.
Emma Peacock 34:51
Yeah, totally. And the thing about social media is, you want the content to resonate. The quality of the content is the biggest deciding factor, which isn't decided by you, it's decided by your followers and your community. That is what makes it grow makes people feel emotionally connected to it is the quality of your content. And so often the quality of the content has so many different different signifiers that it feels authentic and all of those things. But as much as, say, a third party or scheduling ahead or anything like that can sometimes have that slight feeling of feeling disconnected. Whatever helps you to create better content, whether that's because you're two weeks ahead in your schedule, so you have the brain space to think about what you're going to create, that has far more scaling ability, and has the bigger knock on effects of your business, then, you know, the, in the real time thing, when you're scheduling ahead, and like, you know, your feed posts, and all those kinds of things, maybe on Instagram are more thought of potentially further ahead, you're often able to be more consistent, rather than like, defaulting to the easier content pillar, which often happens is like there's one or two content pillars that people find the easiest to share about. And often that's not promotion. And so if you do that too much in the moment, sometimes it can mean that like, after a month, you realize I haven't promoted a single thing, like whoops left that off. But it also means that of all that feed stuff is sorted, you can, when you show up that day, you can show up on stories, or you can show up on reels in a different way and have that like the brain space, the like emotional space to show up and look at your space around you and say, What can I share today? But if you're so laser focused on something else, that's almost like, distracting you in a way that can sometimes have other effects as well. And that's when people start to feel like lethargic, or like they're not really getting anywhere is because I still have the same feelings I had three months ago, because I'm still focusing on what am I going to share today? Rather than how can I create something today that resonates with my audience? And how can I have a conversation with people? Totally.
Ellen Matis 37:25
Absolutely. And this is something that I've tried really hard to build into my team, because, you know, we have multiple social media managers, and people often don't realize that this is a highly creative business. You know, on the, on the front side of the business, it looks like we're doing a lot of scheduling and a lot of commenting and things like that. But when you use your brainpower for strategy and creative content production all day long it it has, it takes a toll. So, you know, I made it a point to build this business to be flexible. So my team, their only requirement from me is to do a check in on an app with us at 9am, Monday through Thursday, and then they set their own schedule is completely, because if you write your best content or create your best content at 11 o'clock on a Tuesday night, it doesn't matter. You know, as long as the client feels that, that that content has been created, and it's performing for them, and you can't force creativity. So like, I find that I create most of my content for the clients I'm working with, or even Hello Social's content on a Saturday morning, because that's when I'm feeling cozy on the couch. I usually have a cup of coffee next to me, and a soft blanket. And nobody's gonna call me to talk business. So it's, it's just whatever works for you. And just just finding that time and allowing yourself to only write or create that content when you're feeling actually inspired and actually creative is going to make the task just so much easier for you.
Emma Peacock 39:07
Yeah, totally. And then also like when you have a flurry of ideas, like noting them down, so you can come back to them later. If you are planning ahead, rather than only thinking like trying to write the briefest notes often what I recommend to people is that like say they have a blog post idea. Don't just write the overarching topic down, but write down like the parts of that piece of content. Because if you're coming up with the idea, you're like, oh, yeah, I remember this. And then even two hours later, you sit down to write it and you're like, Oh, what was that other point I wanted to make? So it's like documenting that as well, so that your brain doesn't have to essentially do the work twice. Um, totally helps.
Ellen Matis 39:46
Forgetting it is inevitable.
Emma Peacock 39:48
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So there's also that thing of like, you build the building blocks like the content pillars and that gives you so much. You're like the extra like 30% up the hill, before you even really start having to think about it too much. Totally. Yeah, I like that. So let's move into the quickfire part of the podcast. So short answers are welcome. But also, sometimes a little explanation helps. So where do you get the most of your website traffic from?
Ellen Matis 40:25
Most of our website traffic is actually from organic search. So we've had a company work with us on our website for a few years now. And it's just really optimized. And we've also had a few pieces of content that have consistently performed well on our site. So those are all educational guides that have something to do with social media marketing for small businesses. And that has just built our SEO exponentially.
Emma Peacock 40:52
Out of interest are they super specific posts?
Ellen Matis 40:56
They are and weirdly enough, the the one that has consistently performed the best really doesn't have anything to do with marketing. It's, it was a post that we kind of did as a one off once on how to hide your friends. And we did this during not the last election cycle, but the one before it. And it was just a quick post on if you don't want to listen to some of your Facebook friends anymore here's how to unfollow them without defending them. And while that isn't really geared towards our target audience, it has built our website traffic up enough that our target audience ends up finding us a lot more.
Emma Peacock 41:39
Something's going on that you don't really want to bring into your life, but you want to like log on to the app for everyone else. Fair enough.
Ellen Matis 41:45
Emma Peacock 41:46
Yeah. What is your favorite place on the internet right now?
Ellen Matis 41:52
I still love Instagram. I feel like I'm like turning into an elder millennial saying that, but I do really love Instagram. And I'm typically the most inspired by that content, particularly in the travel world.
Emma Peacock 42:05
Hmm, yeah. Nice. I like that. What are you most looking forward to in the next year of business?
Ellen Matis 42:13
I'm just really excited for building the network and kind of seeing what's next for that. You know, I've this was something that wasn't in like the five year plan, it just kind of came because of the pandemic. So we just launched it in July. And it's you know, we're recording this right now in September. So I'm excited to see where it goes from here and see how it builds.
Emma Peacock 42:39
Amazing. What about what are you most looking forward to in the next year in the offline world?
Ellen Matis 42:46
Offline, I really miss teaching workshops. So a big part of how I kind of built my credibility here in my local community was to hold workshops with our chamber of commerce in organizations like that. And although they're not a huge part of our business model anymore, I just love teaching them and I love getting together with those other business owners that are physically here with me so excited to do that, hopefully someday soon.
Emma Peacock 43:13
Totally. So if someone is listening to this episode, and they want to engage more in their own local community online, what is the one thing you recommend they do next?
Ellen Matis 43:24
I would give them a little challenge. So I would challenge them to commit to posting once per week on their businesses, social media accounts about the community they do, they do business in. So it could be their favorite place to go hang out after work. It could be their favorite place to grab a coffee on the way into work. Anything that kind of showcases the place that they do business in and shares the why behind why they do business there. Just once a week is really easy to hit.
Emma Peacock 43:58
Thank you for listening to this episode of the Digital Hive Podcast. I'm your host Emma Peacock and today our guest was Ellen Matis of Hello Social Co. To learn more about the Focus on Local approach and to join the local network and learning center. You can find out more at hellosocialco.com If you're enjoying the podcast, I'd love it if you could share it with a friend or on Instagram and tag us at Honeypotdigital. To find out more about Honey Pot Digital and the work we do or to find more episodes of the podcast and handy tips for small businesses marketing online it to honeypotdigital.com