What Do You Do?: An Interview With Myself
It's a question we're all asked pretty consistently, especially if we're venturing off and meeting new people regularly: "what do you do?" I despise this question as a go-to for conversation openers greatly - why don't we instead ask people "what makes you happy?" or "what do you think your purpose in life is?" (yes, may as well get right down to it. life is short, you know.), however, I do understand it's a common question and curiosity.
Whenever I get asked this question, I usually respond with "I own a digital marketing studio and help small business owners with all of their marketing needs. And it's bad-freakin-ass and I'm really good at it, too." Just kidding, I usually don't add in that last part, but dangit, I really should. What if we answered the "what do you do?" question like THAT instead? Anyways...
Upon answering, most people usually go "ohhhh, cool" and I take that as "I really don't know what that means, but cool." In fact, I bet my own parents and my very best friends could hardly put into words what it is I actually do. Most people think I sit on my phone and post on Instagram for clients all day long. And while this may be slightly true on the most minuscule of minuscule scales, there's far more to this ole thing than that. So, to break it all down below, let's talk about what I actually do all day long.
To make this easier for you, I interviewed my own self. And I asked myself the questions I want to ask all the business owners I love. Cause it's my party and I can ask what I want. K, let's go:
Okay, you say you're a social media manager and digital marketer AND a photographer and a content creator. What? Huh? Please explain more.
It's true, I do all of that and more! I have a lot of different roles within running Verb House Creative, and my roles and duties for each client vary based on their needs. For most clients, I'm their social media manager, digital marketing guru, photographer, and content creator. And their right-hand lady. Everyone needs a right-hand lady, right?
That means I'm usually photographing their products or business each month and creating the content that we'll use across all of their social media platforms, website, and email newsletters for the coming weeks and months out. With each client, I try to plan our quarterly marketing schedule and goals out far in advance, so we both always know what we're working on and towards for the next few months.
Once the monthly photo shoot is complete, I work with the client to finalize what our goals and deadlines are for the coming month and then I get to work creating the specific posts and content that needs to be created - this could mean I'm creating Instagram posts, Facebook posts, writing blog posts for clients, and always, always, always creating email newsletters.
I also offer 1 on 1 coaching and strategy services for those business owners or solopreneurs who aren’t interested in full on social media management and just need some help creating a marketing strategy. With those clients, there’s a lot of behind the scenes work that goes on and a 1 on 1 call to discuss their final marketing guides.
On a more daily and weekly basis, I'm usually writing content for clients (again, blog posts, social media posts, email campaigns), working on Pinterest, any last minute changes or edits that have popped up (example, client decides to change some sale details - that means the pre-written Instagram, Facebook, and email content needs to be updated), posting to social media for clients, engaging with their audience, answering DM's and handling a bit of customer service, etc. There's usually at least one photoshoot a week and depending on if I'm onboarding any new coaching or full-service clients at the time, there's the overall digital marketing strategy and quarterly plan to create.
I use several different social media and business tools each day to stay on top of everything and manage each client - which your smart self can find all my faves in The Little(Big) Library of Tricks.
Whoa, okay. That seems like a lot. Do you follow any systems to make sure you get all of this done or what, lady?
It can be a lot! A lot of FUN!
Knowing the quarterly marketing plan and goals for each client helps tremendously. If I was just willy-nilly wingin' it each week or month, that would be a different story. I stay extremely organized with a Trello board for each client where I can easily see the upcoming newsletters, posts, sales, campaigns, etc., as well as my daily and weekly task list for each client, as the tasks do tend to vary from client to client.
I'm also a HUGE fan of batch working. I'll dedicate half a day to one client and that client only. In that time frame, I'll write their content for the upcoming month and plan the next month's content and marketing plan. Later in the day, I may switch things up and work on Pinterest for two to three clients that afternoon. The next day, I'll focus on another client for half of the day and maybe another platform or task later in the day. Batch working is my key to getting it all done.
Okay, cool. Now, what's your favorite part of it all?
I love getting close with my clients and really figuring out what sets their business souls on fire. I love bringing that out in their marketing and their visuals and really making their business finally feel like them, and like someone finally really gets it. I say finally often, because really, finally! It feels so good to find someone who really gets your business and cares for it like you do, and I love being able to be that person for my clients.
On the task side of it, I love the creating. Whether that's creating the initial marketing plan, photoshoots, writing, or creating email campaigns. I also really love seeing the results. So opening up an email campaign report and seeing the direct correlation in sales for my client that day makes me do a happy dance. You know what they say, right? That when you buy from a small business owner a real person does a happy dance? Well, their right-hand marketing lady does a happy dance too.
Morning or night? When do you do your best work?
Morning, by far. It's not uncommon for me to be writing posts and creating content by 7:00am most mornings. That's just my flow zone. Talk to me at 5pm and I'm probably confusing is/are in sentences at that point. Remember what your mom always said? Nothing good happens after 5pm. Or was that midnight?
How do you stay inspired for each client?
Getting out into the real world. Turning my brain off from "work." And oftentimes, driving or showering. Before these two twin babies were cookin' away inside my belly, I would have said running too. But whenever I'm doing something where I'm not actively trying to think, the best ideas and thoughts come to me then.
I find myself thinking about my clients a lot. Sometimes it can be tiring watching a TV commercial or flipping through a magazine and instantly get an idea for a client that HAS to be written down right then and there so I don't forget it, but this is how I know I truly care and am so invested in the success of each client. If I didn't find myself thinking about my clients during "non-work hours," I think that would be a sign it's not a great fit. I've been very lucky with great fits so far. My clientfriends rock.
Did you always know you wanted to do this? How did you get started?
In a way, not at all and in a way, absolutely. I’ve always loved story telling and writing and have always grown up wanting to be a writer or write for a living in some capacity. Somewhere along the way in high school I fell in love with photography, which led me to the cobblestone streets of Savannah, Georgia to pursue a photography degree from SCAD, which by the way, I always say SCAD taught me how to think and not how to photograph. Interesting, huh?
Aside from Facebook, which was only for college aged kids, social media didn’t even exist while I was in college. It was the days of the good ole original blogs (rip - I still miss y’all). Pinterest & Instagram came out right when I graduated. Post graduation I was burnt out on photography and working at a coffee/retail shop, which is truly what sparked my love for small business, when a friend kept saying I needed to start offering my photography services to these businesses & explaining how they could use photos and social media for marketing. Honestly, I thought she was crazy. No business was on social media at this time. It was really still photos of everyone’s Valencia filtered dinners. This friend has always been a trendsetter, I’ll tell ya. Eventually, I worked for others doing a similar form of social media management + photography and when we moved back to Texas two years ago, I launched Verb House shortly thereafter. And got my first three clients almost immediately. When I absolutely wasn’t “ready” yet. I’ve found the biggest, perhaps most valuable lesson there: say yes to all opportunities, and you’re ready even when you’re not.
What’s your best social media marketing tip for small businesses?
This goes towards all of your marketing: know your audience and tell your story. Tell their story. If you can find a way to consistently and clearly communicate your companies story and purpose and your customers role in both, you’re going to be golden.
In “this day and age,” consumers, especially the younger ones like my generations (aka the millennials), are hungry for more. We want more from the brands we buy from and more from the companies we put our dollars towards. And I don’t mean more products. We want more connection and meaning and yes, authenticity. The more you tell your story, tell your customers story, and truly connect with your customers, the better off you’re going to be.
Okay, but like any practical tips?
Stop putting all of your eggs into one basket - that basket goes by the name of Instagram. Diversify your marketing, people!
And, especially if you are a product based business, good photography matters. Like really. really matters (this goes back to telling your brand story...). Don't underestimate the value of investing in your business through quality, true-to-you brand photography. Find a photographer you love and trust and collaborate with them frequently.
Also, one more time - all eggs, one basket, big no-no.
Besides your current clients, what are you working on now/next?
Secret things. But if we're being honest (always are), they're only secret cause they're scary to say out loud, right? So really I'm working on serving my current clients extremely well, as always. Next to that, I'm focusing on writing more for myself, a big "secret" (really, this one has been a secret for way too long now) project that is almost done and ready(ish) for this world, and taking the time to nurture and market test some big ideas before jumping into them 100%. Big, soul-filling, exciting things. So stay tuned, party people. I promise this road we walk together won't be a boring one.
There we go! Do you know what I do now? Ha, hopefully you have a better idea! Mom, this goes for you too.
Any questions, holler 'em down below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll keep this chat going!
Until next time,