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Let’s Talk Social Media Marketing Challenges During the Pandemic with Andrea Jones

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Andrea Jones is a social media strategist and the host of Savvy Social Podcasts. She’s also the host of the Savvy Social School, an amazing online school where you can go to level up your social media marketing skills.

Social marketing has become more integral than ever during this pandemic, so she had some fantastic insights to share on this episode.

Here are the highlights:

  • (2:01) How Andrea is helping clients.
  • (4:44) A starting point for businesses who are pivoting to social media for the first time during this crisis.
  • (6:02) Being sensitive about messaging during the Covid-19 crisis.
  • (7:40) On evaluating risk-taking in your messaging.
  • (9:10) On being proactive about reaching out to clients.
  • (10:59) On communicating your value to your clients.
  • (14:47) Advice for social media managers who are losing clients.
  • (21:27) Brands that are really killing it right now.
  • (23:48) Predictions for the post-pandemic era.
  • (25:52) Andrea’s causes.

Here are the major takeaways!

Ways that social media management agencies can help clients

Andrea speaks of businesses that have a lot of opportunity for pivoting, like therapists, life coaches, yoga businesses, fitness businesses, and food delivery.

“We’re coaching our students who are working with their clients in these industries to help them take things to the next level. Maybe they’ve already thought about starting an online membership for fitness, now my students can help their clients get there. Or maybe they’ve been putting off launching their Facebook ad strategy. There’s just been a lot of shifting and pivoting.”

Andrea says it’s hard to plan right now, but nothing stops everyone from taking steps to move forward however they can, and to take advantage of the opportunities that are there.

“For a lot of us this is the time to connect with people digitally, maybe in a way that we hadn’t done before.”

A starting point for businesses pivoting to social media for the first time during this crisis

There are a lot of businesses who have, as a result of this crisis, been spurred to jump into social media for the first time. Andrea has had to educate her clients on how to educate their customers.

Here’s how she’s doing it:

“Lay the foundation of thinking of social media as connecting. It’s not like a billboard. When you think about billboard marketing, traditional marketing, even radio and things like that, it’s very one-way. You kind of blast it out there, and you hope people see it or you hope people hear it. Whereas with social media, it’s more of a connection. It’s more of a relationship. There’s intimacy involved.”

She also points out that social can help you self-correct if you’re going in the wrong direction.

“People will tell you if they don’t like it. Pretty instantly. You’ll figure it out.”

A great argument for businesses who realize they now need to jump right in!

Being sensitive about messaging during the COVID-19 crisis

These businesses who are entering the social media world for the first time are also entering the social media world at a very sensitive time. How should they do it?

“You have to acknowledge it,” says Andrea. “One of the things we’re seeing right now is ads where people aren’t acknowledging there’s an issue right now are flopping.”

She also says any business who previously had a problem needs to be very careful right now, as advertising right now can tend to agitate previous reputation management issues.

She’s created a resource for people who are getting stuck. Listeners can sign up at You’ll get free captions to help you transition your marketing.

covid free resources

One example is:

“Yes, this is happening, and here’s what I’m doing right now. If you’re closed, mention you’re closed. If you have different hours, mention that you have different hours. And you can just simply say: we don’t know what’s going to happen. You have to be able to show up and be a leader.”
facebook family business beer company

You can talk about work you’re doing during the downtime and when your product will be available.

Rhino coffee facebook post

Or how to get your product and what’s available…

madness games facebook example

Or what your current policies are.

On taking risks with your messaging

Garrett brought up the Steak-Umms Twitter account, noting that the social media manager has been going on some philosophical tirades about responsibility.

“It’s coming from Steak-Umms which you’d never expect it from, but they were having all sorts of positive reactions. It’s also the kind of thing that can completely backfire…”

So Garrett asks: “When it comes to taking risks with your social media, would you recommend to err on the side of caution, or do you think there’s appropriate types of risk that you can take when you’re messaging out there and talking to your audience?”

Andrea replies, “It really depends on your niche.”

She gave two examples of private clients in the E-commerce space.

“One is a beauty product where we did a gentle lead-in. It’s an at-home beauty company. All the spas are closed. So we’re talking about that. Spas are closed, maybe doing online. It’s doing fantastically.”

Her other client was in the fitness industry.

“Here’s an idea, you can’t go to your gym or you can’t go to your physiotherapist, use this product at home.”

She stresses the importance of testing.

“You have to test, and you have to be able to put yourself out there. I would just say wade in. You don’t have to dive off the deep end with some strong messaging, and you guys know your clients. You know your clients know their customers. So just start a conversation between you and your clients and figure out the happy medium, and what message would be a really great place to start.”

On proactively reaching out to clients

Andrea stresses the importance of using the phone, or Zoom, to “energetically talk to somebody.”

To avoid wasting time, she suggests:

“Give yourself some structure to that call. Know you’re going to talk about what you’re going to address, and next steps. You don’t have to plan before the call per se, but just be able to go to the clients and say, I have some ideas, or I want to get some ideas from you.”

She says this is one of the keys to avoiding elimination at a time where people are downsizing.

“You’ve got to be able to show up and provide your value, and that value is showing your expertise as a social media manager.”

How to communicate your value to your clients

Showing up is only part of the equation. The other part? Metrics…and how you use them.

“I think sometimes we look at easy things like followers,” Andrea says. “Or comments. But if you can’t show your client, okay, followers is one step closer to this goal, then you’re going to struggle to prove your value. So that’s where the social media sales funnel comes in.”

To do this, Andrea says you must know the client’s end goals and their bottom line.

“So, for instance, we have a client who is just trying to grow his email list. Figure out the steps between someone finding that client and someone getting on their email list. Those are the things you do along the way.”

“Because,” she adds, “typically it’s not just [customers] seeing an ad and going yes, I’m in, that’s it. They need to see the ad multiple times. So you have to be able to go to your client and say: okay, this is how many people followed us this week because it gets us closer to our goal of newsletter subscribers.

This is how many people looked at our profile this week. This is how many people clicked over to our website this week. And so to have those kinds of metrics along the way in different areas of the sales funnel lets you prove your value, over and over again, to your client.”

Advice for social media marketing agencies who are losing clients

“Switch niches,” says Andrea, “not services. So, for instance, if you have a bunch of clients in the event space, you’ve gotta pivot. Look for life coaches, therapists, fitness studios. There are a lot of mindfulness and meditation apps doing really well. Streaming services are doing really well. eCommerce.”

Yet at the same time, there’s nothing wrong with growing your skill set.

“If you want to add-on another service, done-for-you is still hot right now. So people may have laid off their full-time person and are looking for a contractor. Or big corporations may have reduced their staff and they need an agency. They don’t want to have a team doing it in-house. There’s space for done-for-you, especially in wellness.”

She also points out ads are doing very well right now because they’re so inexpensive.

“They’re as low as they were in 2014 or 2015. So it’s a good time to start testing some of those strategies, or just look at it as an awareness campaign for your clients.”

She mentions awareness and list building have been on the mind of a lot of her clients, so it may be a good idea to help yours focus on that sort of campaign as well.

Finally, focus on value.

“Now is the time to give your clients twice as much value as you’ve ever given them.”

She discusses the concept of being “embeddable” with clients.

“Sometimes that means giving them more than social media work. Because social media is typically just a piece of their business, a piece of the puzzle. Therapists, great example: we have one of our students whose client has only ever had people come into his office.

So she’s helping him set up a Calendly account. Set up MailChimp so he can now service his clients online. That’s not social media work, but she’s becoming super invaluable to her client because she’s able to guide him through these things that she already does.”

She says many people are working twice as hard to keep their clients right now, and that now is the time to do just that.

She says in her own business she’s not even focused on getting new members.

“We’re focused on our current members. In six months when they’re starting that new business idea or they’re pivoting again or they’re sharing it with a friend we want them to say: these are the people who helped us when we really needed it.”

Predictions for the post-pandemic era

“People who are genuine, this is their opportunity to really shine,” Andrea says. “I’m really looking forward to some of the amazing content that’s going to be created during this time, where maybe they were too busy before and now they’ve gotten the space to make something really cool.

The YouTube videos, the Instagram story strategies, the live shows.”

Andrea mentions how a lot of the performers from RuPaul’s Drag Race are doing virtual drag shows right now.

“I’m just really looking forward to all of it. It’s going to be such an amazing opportunity. I met my husband on YouTube actually, so this is how I connect with people. I’m excited to see how other people discover the power of social media as well.”
i'll take that gif

What’s your right now cause?

Andrea mentions Convert Kit, an email marketing software who has created the “Creator Fund” specifically to help freelancers, agencies, and small businesses who have taken a hit right now.

creator fund convertkit covid
“They’ve activated their community to put money into the fund, they’re matching it with their own funds, and they’re redistributing it to people who needed it.”

She points out they had a big event in June that they had to cancel, and so their business took a hit too.

“But they’re using their resources to help other people.”

The other cause Andrea mentions is Teachable.

“They’re giving away quite a few courses right now. One of my courses on how to make social media graphics is available as part of their current campaign. So if you wanted to learn a new skill there are several course creators like myself who have donated their courses and made them available.”

Connect with Andrea Jones

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