Avery Sly, a marketing and social media expert with years of experience in the field shares her insights on using Social Media for your business. She talks about how blogging can be an effective way to create searchable content that will attract people who want more information from you or what you offer – not only does this increase brand awareness but also shows sensitivity towards audience needs/wants as well!
Topics covered in the interview
Social media advice to entrepreneurs
How to stand out in social media platforms
The power of blogging
Avery Sly’s Bio
Avery Sly is a social media mogul – with over 100 million views on her Instagram Reels and over 400,000 followers on Tik Tok, she knows her stuff when it comes to the social media world. She started coaching small business owners in 2018 and has since helped many achieve success on social media. Avery graduated Magna cum Laude from the WP Carey School of Business at Arizona State University in 2020. Since then, she has worked as the marketing manager and director of brand development at Agency 8. In her role, she works alongside clients to help them turn their marketing goals into reality. Avery is also an avid writer and is currently studying at MIT for Artificial Intelligence and its Implications for Business Strategy. In her free time, Avery enjoys spending time with her cat Theo. Avery is an automotive enthusiast and an avid foodie who is always on the hunt for new recipes!
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Welcome to Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, the show that dares to bring the no nonsense insight to those who have the courage to start, grow, and scale a business. Here's your host, entrepreneur, investor and best selling author, Susan Sly.
Susan Sly 00:23
Hey, what is up, Raw and Real entrepreneurs, I hope you're having an amazing day. And first and foremost, I want to apologize to you. If you're a regular listener of the show, you might be wondering like, Hey, what is going on, Susan?You've been releasing a new show every single week and you missed a week? Yes, I did. It has been a little bit chaotic. And I apologize to all of you. We had a guest cancel at the last minute. And then we had some personal things going on here. So I did miss a week. And I'm very, very deeply sorry. And my commitment is that is not going to happen again. And in my world right now, I'm doing a tremendous amount of travel. So depending on when you're listening to this, I am speaking at the AI at the Edge Summit in Santa Clara. I have a function in Las Vegas for Radius and then I fly to Gainesville, Florida. I'm speaking at the Loss Prevention Research Council, big conference there and I'm talking about AI at the edge. And of course at Radius, we continue to be growing value in the company and getting out there and speaking at events and bringing in customers and meeting with clients. I mean, it's just, it's entrepreneurship, right. And I had someone say to me the other day, Susan, most people don't get it. When you travel, on social media, it looks so exciting. But it's early mornings, you have to be on all the time. It's late nights. It's business dinners, wine, and he was right. And I said to him, thank you. Thank you for seeing that. Because it isn't easy. It's gritty. And that's what this show is about. And my guest today is a social media expert. She is the marketing manager and director of brand development for Agency 8, which is an agency that focus on, focuses on serving startups, and also those in the automotive sector. And she is absolutely amazing. And also is my daughter, and she is our resident social media expert. So Avery Sly, how are you today?
Avery Sly 02:30
I'm great. How are you?
Susan Sly 02:32
Well, I am getting ready to, as you know, jump on an airplane after we record this show. No, I think I have one more meeting and then I jump on an airplane, I lands, I've got a business dinner. And then I have to be on camera at seven in the morning. And then you know, the whole day starts speaking and so on. But I am doing great. It's always fun to chat with you about social media. And there's a lot of, a lot of things going on right now. We have, in the economy, we have record inflation. We haven't seen these levels since the 70s. We have in August, 20 million Americans couldn't even afford to pay their electric bill. We have businesses, even large companies who are telling their employees that they can't travel anymore. They're reducing their spending on all sorts of things, including things like marketing. And I guess I just want to jump right in and say, in this environment, what advice do you have to entrepreneurs when it comes to their social media right now?
Avery Sly 03:32
Well, that's a wonderful question. And I think it's something that often kind of gets overlooked by entrepreneurs. In some cases, they perhaps have social media, but they're only using it for personal reasons, or they have social media, but they're not paying too much attention. Or maybe if you're a rock star, you have social media, you're posting on it every single day. It can be hard in this economy to find time for social media. And I think that there is a bit of a challenge where business owners might be overlooking the potential that social media has for their business. Now 74% of customers actually like to learn about new products through social media. So if you're a business owner, and you're using social media, you should definitely be posting about your products. Another thing that you want to make sure you're doing is you're not over selling to people. I like to follow the 411 rule, which is four pieces of relevant content, one piece of reshared content and one promotional posts. You don't want to oversell to people. People in this market especially can get basically fatigued from being oversold too. And I think another thing that I want to mention that is highly important in this economy, whether you are a job seeker or a job provider, you want to make sure your social media is polished. So using this example, let's say you, yourself are a business owner, you want to make sure that on your business's Instagram page, for example, you're posting content that is related to or relevant to your business or your industry. This means that unless you are someone that sells, you know, political hats or something like that, you don't want to post your political content on your business Instagram page, that's a big no, no. We don't want to be posting about our families and friends. That can be for our private accounts. Our business accounts are really for business and things that are directly correlated to our business. And on the flip side of that coin, let's say perhaps you are an entrepreneur, and you have a child that is looking for a job, you want to make sure that your child is aware that their social media platforms are going to be looked at by employers. Employers are not going to hire individuals, especially in you know, post graduation jobs, people really are going to look at your social media, and you want to make sure that you have a polished image that you're not being too bipartisan, so to speak. I just personally believe that politics should stay off social media just in general, but you really want to make sure that you or your child, if you are a job seeker, that you're making sure that your social media is cleaned up, because especially in this market, when so many people are not working or looking for jobs are all over the place, but that you want to make sure that your social media shows that you are either a strong candidate to purchase from especially in a market where there's so many choices, or you're a strong candidate to hire for the job. And I think so many people overlook having a nice, clean, put together social media profile.
Susan Sly 06:37
Well, you bring up a lot of really interesting points, especially around the noise on social media. And also you mentioned politics, because in the United States, we're coming into midterms. And then you know, we have many listeners in the UK as an example. So Liz Truss is the new prime minister in the UK, the Queen just passed. And there's there's a lot of noise on social media. So what do you say to the entrepreneur who says, when I post, no one's really engaging, because they're paying attention to all of these other things going on? And they're, they're frustrated with it. What advice would you give to them?
Avery Sly 07:17
It can definitely be hard in this current climate to stand out amongst the noise. I think that's one of the biggest things that people face, whether you are a personal brand on Instagram, or you are a business owner on any social media platform. We're seeing engagement rates on most of these platforms decline. So there are a few ways, in my opinion that you can stand out. The first one, in my opinion, is the best way you can stand out. And that is by posting video content. Video content on Instagram, on LinkedIn, on Pinterest, on whatever social platform it is you're using, tends to get more engagement. And if you can really hook your audience on the first 3 seconds of your video, and you can stop their scroll, now you've got them engaged, and they're more likely to like, comment and share with your content. The other thing I would say is basically staying in your niche and staying in your own lane. If people come to your social media profile, they're gonna follow you if they know what to expect from you. So something about that is that, for example, if like, I found this account on Instagram that sells crochet animals, and I know this is so random, but they sell crochet animals. And that's all they do. And that's all they post about. So I know if I follow them, I'm going to see really cute crochet animals, they're not going to throw some random content at me. People like to know what it is they're getting into when they follow accounts. So the more you have content that is directly relevant to your niche. And thirdly, providing value. Providing value is so important. And thinking about those things that you can share with people for free, that's going to help them see you as a resource and understand your authority in your industry. And that's going to make them more likely to follow you, to like you, and to trust you. And when customers or Instagram followers or social media followers, in general, when they trust you, they're more likely to purchase from you, they're more likely to recommend you to their friends. And so that's a big way that you can kind of stand out from your competition.
Susan Sly 09:24
Avery, those are, those are great points and thinking too, people get fatigued, right? They get fatigued talking about the you know, politics and the economy and your social media as a business owner, could be that bright light for someone. I know you follow a lot of accounts that are businesses that have let's say cats or businesses that have food based businesses, and even in the automotive space, which is your zone of genius, that for a lot of people that's the place they're going at the end of the day they're pretty exhausted and they love watching the videos you're creating, and they love seeing that content and being aspirational around it. So do you think that for businesses in general, that they can have aspirational content, regardless of the type of business?
Avery Sly 10:17
100%. And I think that in some fields, it might be challenging to have that aspirational content. You know, for example, if you're a divorce lawyer, I don't really know how much aspirational content you can have. But what you can have is you can have positive content. You can talk about, you can give people tips and tricks. Here are three ways to manage your stress when you're going through a divorce. Here are some support networks. Providing other related things like such as support or collaborating with, you know, marriage therapists and stuff like that, working with those people. If you're in the, if you're a divorce lawyer, for example, you can start to kind of put a more positive spin but show that you're supportive of your clients, regardless of what you're going through. So if you can't be aspirational, if you aren't in something like the luxury car space where you can make people aspire to have these vehicles, maybe you're in something that's a bit more serious, or it's hard to be light hearted, definitely showing support for people and providing that support network, I think is a great alternative to aspirational content.
Susan Sly 11:29
That's fantastic. Avery and I was thinking about the divorce attorney. I think that even a divorce attorney could have aspirational content, because it's what is on the other side of that. And our friend Rebecca Zung, how to negotiate with a narcissist. For the listeners, if you haven't heard Rebecca's show, go just check it out. And whatever podcast platform you're listening to, it was great episode. And even something as difficult as divorce and especially narcissism. Rebecca is able to paint that picture about what is on the other side of that, right? And I think that's so important. Now, you and I were in a meeting last week, and you were talking about the power of blogging. And I think that you, we were looking at companies in let's say, even the AI sector, and how infrequently they were blogging.And you shared a statistic, I was actually really surprised at the power of blogging, and I had no idea that blogging still had such a significant impact. Can you talk about that?
Avery Sly 12:31
Yes. And the statistic that you're talking about for all our listeners out there is that 79% of customers like to learn about new products through blogging. So this is such a powerful and underutilized tool. I mean, if you go to, it doesn't matter what industry you're in, you can create content for that industry. You can create helpful content, supportive content, tips and tricks. There's really a lot that you can do to establish your authority and set yourself up as a person of interest in that. Because the more that people can turn to you for as a resource for these things. For example, maybe again, you're divorce lawyer, you can do five, five things to look forward to after your divorce is over after you sign the papers. Maybe that's not the best headline. But you can start to write that content. Now, once, or if you are a business owner, for example, let's go back to my crochet girl on Instagram. She can say oh, we just made this new crochet cow that's holding a Tarot boba. And she actually did create it. It's very cute. I think about it frequently. But you know, she can write a whole blog article about it. And she can say, here's how I made it, here's why it's special. Here's my inspiration, she can give kind of that background story. Because when you provide context to your products, and what inspired you to make them, then that can really help your customer start to connect with you more. And they're more likely to do like make a purchase with you. But I think for services and for b2b, my goodness gracious, there's so much blog content you can create. And you can show behind the scenes, you can introduce your employees, you can really talk about your process, what sets you apart, why you started the company. There's so many blog articles that you can write about yourself, but also the industry. You can respond to industry events, happenings in industry. And I think that blogging really is an underutilized tool. While it can take more time, I think that really and truly, getting more blog content out there is going to be powerful, Now, again, 79% of customers like to learn about new products through blogs, and that's to compare to 74%. They like to learn about new products through social media. I think we always think that more people like to learn about new products and services through, you know, Instagram or Facebook or LinkedIn or other social media channels, but it's, surprisingly, blog content is actually in the lead for that. So yeah.
Susan Sly 15:11
And when I, when you say that, you know, I think about Apple's new release of the iPhone 14. And so I've been on the tech blogs reading the tech reviews about the iPhone 14 as I make a decision, like, of course, I'm gonna upgrade, because I'm an Apple devotee. Right? But it's like, you know, looking at the the blog and getting in the weeds, it makes so much sense. And if people go to agency8com, and they click on the Resources tab, we have a resource there that's called Jasper. And it's an AI content writer. So someone who's saying, you know, I don't even have the time to do this, guess what, there's no excuse for you, because it's going to you can plug in some key things. And it's going to help you create that blog content that's going to help to rank you higher in SEO, search engine optimization, and also be able to save you a tremendous amount of time. And I know when I'm stuck, I use it because I you know, I don't always have a significant amount of time to be creating new content. So Avery, let me ask you those. Recently, well, you had a reel that went crazy. And it was organic. And can you talk about that?
Avery Sly 16:22
Yeah, so I recently had an Instagram reel, hit over 90 million views on Instagram. And honestly, I was shocked because it's really a seven second, it's either five to seven seconds. And it's, if you go to my page, I'm just @averysly on Instagram, there's, the cover for the reel is a pink Lamborghini. Now it was some really standout content where in, I had a wide body Lamborghini Urus and a very customized Lamborghini Huracan. And they got really close to each other to the point where their bumpers, they actually, their bumpers fit so close together, that it was just remarkable content, they were probably only like a centimeter or half an inch away from each other. So there's a few things that I want to kind of unpack about this. So the first is that I've been posting on Instagram reels since 2020. Not every one of my reels does well. I have had videos that only get 1000 views. I've had videos that have gotten a couple, couple 1000. What I want to talk about first is consistency and sticking in your niche. I know I mentioned niching down earlier and really not straying out of that. As soon as I found the automotive niche and found that that worked for me, and I really love it and I'm passionate about it. As a creator I was like, okay, cool. I am an automotive niche now. I do not post things- I love to bake, I love my cat, I love spending time with family, I love traveling, but I only post automotive content on this Instagram page. And for that reason, when this video went viral, I was actually able to go over 80,000 followers just from this video alone. I had, I believe 16,000 before I posted the video. So I've really upped my following just from this one Instagram reel and that is because as I mentioned earlier, having your profile be consistent. Because my content is all automotive content, when people go from my reel to my page, they know that they're going to get automotive content from me, so that makes them a lot more likely to follow me. Another thing I want to point out is that I have not monetized my Instagram reels. That can really affect your engagement. It affects it on Tik Tok as well. Now this is just a rumor, but you know, there are, that on undefined, there's the Creator fund where you can get paid for more, having more views on your videos. And on Instagram, they kind of have a similar incentive where you can make some money from getting more views and more engagement. I had a friend who saw how viral my reel went. And she was like, Please tell me you monetize this. And I'm like, I actually can, but I don't have it monetized. So that's part of the reason why it got so many views. I was looking at this article, and I do believe I'm in the top 10 Most Viewed Instagram reels of 2022 if this article is to be believed, which is pretty cool. But I think the next thing I want to add to that, in addition to sticking to my niche and having consistency across my profile, the next thing is filming that stand out content. What's some content that you may see in your daily life? Now for example, let's say you're an automotive car wrapping shop, and you specialize in wrapping cars. Maybe you can film a very satisfying video of one of your employees pulling the wrap off a car and revealing the color underneath. Or you can do a before and after. Just this content that users don't see in their daily life. That's part of the reason why it went so viral is because when in your life, do you see two Lamborghinis basically you know, kissing in a video or in life. So finding that standout content. And every single business has content that may seem normal to them, but isn't necessarily normal to everyone outside of their business. So filming that content, and finally is keeping it short and sweet and entertaining. Again, this video was only five to seven seconds long, the attention span of users on the internet has greatly decreased. We used to be making these five minute long videos, and then it went down to two minutes long, then it's 90 seconds. Now it's like 60 seconds. And now really, if you are posting videos more than 15 seconds long on Instagram reels, it's a challenge for them to go viral. They have to be crazy, crazy content. So hook your audience in the first three seconds, don't make your videos too long, film those standout moments that you see in your daily life. I jumped onto the car immediately to film that when I saw it. And really just focus on niching down your profile Those are some of the things you can do behind the scenes so that when you do have these videos that go viral, again, you're gonna want to post consistently because it's not every video, it's not every day, it's honestly, in my experience, the ones you kind of don't expect to go viral that blow up the most. And those are kind of my quick tips for going viral on Instagram reels.
Susan Sly 21:19
Congratulations, Avery, I think that you know, it just, it just goes to show there's this, we have gone through this full cycle in my opinion. So social media back in '08, '09, people were creating content. And there were more content consumers than there was content available. And then we went through this metamorphosis where there was more content being created than there were consumers. And then people were spending a lot of money on advertising. And now the shift is going again, that this organic content is what people are craving. So that you know, and you defy that because people would say only someone like a Kylie Jenner is going to get that number of views on a reel, but you create a content that obviously people consumed. And so if people want to get a hold of you very quickly, Agency 8 is going under its own metamorphosis, and very niching down. Just super quick, you know, who is the agency for, what services are you providing? And how can people reach you?
Avery Sly 22:25
So the agency is honestly, it is, we are really for small business owners. We love to work with female founded businesses and we love to work, really we love to work with everyone, but as a female founded business, and a business founded by you know, a woman of color, we love to work with everyone like, men too, you guys are great. But you know, we love to work with those female started businesses as well, that's really close to our heart. And we really like to work with automotive brands. We have something to offer for many small businesses. But for automotive in particular, it's my wheelhouse. It's my area of genius. I know what shops to go through in terms of finding new customers and managing their reputation and managing lots of business and understanding how to juggle all these things. At one time you're trying to fix cars, you're trying to bring new customers in, you're trying to manage existing customers, it can really be a hassle. So we've created a product and service that really helps to streamline that. And we can do that with many small businesses as well. But we are really passionate about the little guys, the entrepreneurs that are wearing so many hats in their business that they feel like they can't simultaneously post on social media and write blog content and also acquire new customers. We love to help take away that feeling of being overwhelmed. So you can focus on what you love and the passion that drove you to start your business in the first place. And we can handle all of the difficult stuff and do your marketing so we can bring you more leads. And you can have lots of fun and peace of mind knowing that you don't have to be stressed and overwhelmed every single day to be a business owner.
Susan Sly 24:13
Oh, that's great, Avery. And so go to Agency8.com. And check it out. It's Avery's business. And if you have a social media question for Avery, go to Susansly.com and then on the contact button, the next time He comes on, we can do some rapid fire q&a with your questions. And so Avery, thanks so much again for being here. And for all of you, if this episode has been helpful, please, please, please on, if you're on iTunes, go give us a five star review, write your review. If I read your review on air, you can win an Amazon giftcard. You heard me, for 50 bucks. So check it out. Go on iTunes, five star review, write your review. And I, if I read it you will get a $50 amazon gift card. And so the other last thing I want to say is my course, Employee to Entrepreneur, which helps people who really are wanting to get out of being an employee do steps the right way, the smart way, not the crazy, you know, all over the map way and navigate those waters, that is available on a learn on demand. It is very much done. Like a very, there's a workbook, professionally shot videos. And you can go and find out more on Susansly.com Employee to Entrepreneur's the course. And the way I shot it, as many of you know, I've been studying at MIT for three years and some of the classes I've taken are Learn on Demand and there are 1000s of dollars per course. And so the way I did this was very similar to that. And that is only $297 and so go check it out. It's a great time of year to invest in yourself so that you can come out really strong in January and live your entrepreneurial dreams, right? So with that, Avery, thanks again for being here. God bless. Go rock your day, everyone, and I will see you in the next episode.
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