Branding 101: How to Market Your Business
With Carrie Morey, Nicole Reyhle, Nana Agyemang, and Brittany Smith
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Is it time to join Clubhouse? Should you be advertising on local television? How do you get on the Today show? In this recorded session from Yelp’s Women in Business Summit (March 24-25, 2021), you’ll get first-hand insights from industry leaders on how to incorporate marketing, social media, and PR when building a brand.
Learn more about:
- How to achieve more organic business growth
- How to support diversity and inclusion as a business owner
- Important steps to launch your brand
- How to select the right media platforms for your marketing efforts
Founder of Callie’s Charleston Biscuits and Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits, Carrie has dedicated over 16 years to intentional, authentic baking and raising up women in business. An expert in entrepreneurship and branding, Carrie provides keen insights and motivation to fellow business owners, inspiring them to build successful businesses around their core beliefs.
Global retail thought leader and influencer Nicole Reyhle founded Retail Minded in 2007 to provide independent retailers with timely education and news that supports business growth and consumer trust. She is the author of “Retail 101: The Guide to Managing & Marketing Your Business” and has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, and NBC.
Nana founded EveryStylishGirl in 2017 to supercharge Black and Brown womens’ career advancement in media, fashion, and beauty by providing networking and job placement opportunities. She received her Masters in Journalism from Columbia University and is passionate about displaying diversity in media and reporting on social activism and women entrepreneurs.
For 10 years at Yelp, Brittany has promoted local businesses, hosted community events, and advocated for her beloved city of Indianapolis. She is passionate about connecting people, creating a sense of belonging, and nurturing vibrant communities.
Ali: Brittany is going to be leading this panel, Branding 101, how to market your business. We’ve heard so much about what’s the best way to brand. There’s so many different answers, so many different opinions. So, I’m really excited to hear from these lovely ladies on this dynamic panel. Brit, I’m going to pass it over to you now.
Brittany: Thanks for this sweet welcome. Some of you may have caught Andy’s session just a moment ago, highlighting ways to connect with the Yelp locally through our community team. And I am honored for the last nine years to have been on our community team. I am our senior regional lead for community and marketing here in the Midwest. I’m based out of Indianapolis. And a lot of what I do is businesses to build their brand, gain free exposure and build media relationships, which ties in beautifully to what we will be talking about today. And I am honored to be joined by today’s dynamite lineup of industry leaders. I’ve had so much fun connecting with these women in the weeks leading up to this session, and I know you all are going to love them as well. So, I’m going to kick it off by introducing you to Nicole.
Brittany: Nana is a multimedia journalist and CEO and founder with a focus on black and brown women advancement in finance, fashion and beauty. Currently, Nana is contributing social editor at New York Magazine. Formerly she works at BBC News, the New York Times and CBS. Her focus on telling stories about the lives of black women led her to attend Columbia University for her masters in multimedia journalism. Nana has done her part to continue her passion to display diversity in media. She created EveryStylishGirl. And in addition to running ESG, Nana’s very busy, Nana loves to report on social activism and women entrepreneurs. She wants to ensure that the news we read reflects the diverse world we live in. I’m so excited to have you here with us Nana and as we kick off this session, Nana, do you want to unmute and share any piece of advice that you were given early on in your business and professional field that you’d like to pass along to everyone who’s tuning in today?
Nicole: Yeah. And thank you so much, Brittany, for that beautiful introduction. Thank you so much. I’m super excited to be here today. So, a piece of advice that I learned earlier on in business is to have multiple streams of passive income. I’m sure everyone’s going to talk about it today, but you’re going to have those rainy days, especially when you’re starting your business. So, think about what is an ebook that you can create? Honestly, delivering Postmates like me [inaudible 00:02:40] as possible and know that it’s really about passive multiple streams of income when you’re just starting out.
Brittany: That’s great advice. Thanks for kicking us off Nana. Next up we have Carie who actually hosted a very tasty virtual biscuit baking class last night with our Yelp Elite Squad community across the country. And Carrie is the founder of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit. She founded her handmade biscuit business in 2005 with the goal of making tender buttery made by hand biscuits of her mother accessible across the country. I have not had lunch yet. Carrie, I’m getting really hungry. Just thinking about this. Over 15 years later Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit is widely recognized as an iconic Southern brand with national retail exposure for grab and go eateries in Charleston, Atlanta, and Charlotte.
Brittany: So, hopefully some folks are taking note to visit, a food truck and a cult like following. Carrie is the author of the cookbook Callie’s Biscuits and Southern Traditions, and is starring in a culinary docuseries, how she rolls about biscuits, business and the balance of her life as an entrepreneur debuting on PBS in spring of this year. She resides in Charleston with her husband and three daughters. Carrie, welcome, and thanks so much for being with us today. What piece of advice would you pass along that was given to you early on in your business that you think would be helpful for everyone here today?
Carie: Well, thank you for having me. This is such a fun departure from the real world of running a business. So, I love getting to be a part of that. Mine is much more emotional, although I love Nana’s advice. For me, it’s a journey. It’s not just this one time race. It goes on and on this journey of being an entrepreneur and starting your own business. So, one thing that I didn’t start when I first started and I wish I had, and I have been doing it now for the past seven or eight years is to journal and write everything down, because you have so many experiences that you’re going to forget along the way, and to be able to refer back to those and see how you handled them for me it’s like therapy. So, I would say write everything down, even if it’s three sentences every day or once a week, you recap your week. It will be so important. And you never know it could be a best seller one day too.
Brittany: That’s amazing. I can only imagine how reflective that is to turn back to your first pages when you’re first starting out. That’s really cool. Thanks, Carrie. Last but not least. We have Nicole Reyhle. Nicole is the founder and publisher of retailminded.com. A well respected retail industry resource that has been recognized worldwide for the leading and business insight since 2007, with a core focus on independent retailers, small businesses and technology, and how various touchpoints of commerce influence modern merchants. Nicole is a frequent guest and contributor on various media outlets, including the Today Show, Forbes, Entrepreneur.com and countless B2B podcast and publications. Nicole is also the author of the book Retail 101, The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business. So, as you’ve all probably gathered, we have such a lineup of women here today to share with us. Nicole, what is a piece of advice that you were given early on in your business, just starting out that you think would be helpful for others to hear?
Nicole: Well, first I would say thank you, of course, for having me. I’m so thrilled to be with Carrie and Nana and Brittany and all of you guys at Yelp. One of the things I want to share is that early my 20s when I founded Retail Minded in 2007. So, that adds some years to my life, if you’ll. But I know I look 21, but-
Nicole: Way back in my 20s, I was told by the CEO of the company I worked for at the time, that age is just a number, Nicole, he goes, “Don’t let that hold you back from your goals.” He goes, “I was pretty young to take on a national marketing director role for a very prominent brand,” Franco Sarto footwear at the time. And relocate from Chicago to New York and Boston and do great, exciting things. But a lot of the people that I managed were older than me, and he gave me the assurance to say, don’t let that hold you back.
Nicole: We gave you this opportunity for a reason. We see the value, we see the work ethic. We see the hard dedication that you have. So, I share that because I really do think that sometimes people say I’m going to hit pause. It’s okay. I’m only 21. I’m only 25. For that matter, you can go backwards. And if you’re, let’s say 50 and you want to start something new, that’s great too. Age truly is just a number. So, don’t let it define any of the responsibilities, goals, and aspirations that you have.
Brittany: That’s such great advice. Thank you, Nicole. I want to share just a few housekeeping items before we even kick off. If you have any Q&As or questions along the way, you can pop those into the chat. We’re going to save those up and hopefully if we have time at the end, we’re going to get back to them. Just not answering in real time so we can get to all this great content. And you may notice on some of the questions we may have one or two of our panelists share, just so that we can get through all the questions and then kind of lean into some of their specialties.
Brittany: So, without further ado, I’m going to kick it off with a little broader question, thinking out what is the most important part of digital marketing. And yet with Yelp, we recently did a survey and 67% of those surveyed for today’s summit said that social media was the most effective marketing tactic for them. Carrie, what would you say is the most important digital or part of digital marketing? And I know authentic is a key part you’ve mentioned in the past, but I want to hand it over to you. What do you think is most important for your business and for digital marketing?
Carie: I definitely always go with that big A word, be authentic, be you. People know, they can feel it, smell it. They know when you’re not being yourself. So, if you’re going to take that leap and put yourself out there, then just do you, and people will love you for it. Don’t feel like you have to keep up with everybody else and what they’re doing. And that’s a really hard thing to watch that social media community. And you’re like, oh, am I doing something wrong? Don’t second guess yourself. Just follow your path, put your blinders on and do you is my best advice, which is something that, by the way, I am still telling myself that every day. I’m like, ugh, should I be doing this? Should I go here? No, stay in your lane and do what you know is authentically truly you.
Brittany: That’s great advice. So, true. It could become overwhelming trying to keep up with all these different things. Nicole, can you speak to when and what areas to prioritize when it comes to digital marketing?
Nicole: Yeah. I agree, absolutely with Carrie. Be authentic and expanding on that. I always suggest to businesses be clear, concise, correct, and courteous. Those are the four Cs of communication that I believe can help people take their action steps in those digital marketing journeys. So, if you’re clear, you’re being effective, short as consumers work quick. Concise, you want to be concise. Correct just means accuracy. I can’t tell you how many times I see things have errors and spelling or grammar. And I know they’re slang used, but even with slang, you want to make sure you’re accurate in how that’s perceived by your audience. And then courteous just really represents the tone of your brand. So, be consistent in that as well.
Brittany: That’s great. We want to talk a little bit more about authenticity and social impact. And Nana, I want to kick this question up with you given how closely this ties to EveryStylishGirl’s mission. How do you think about social impact, diversity and inclusion and how can businesses make sure that they’re prioritizing that?
Nicole: Right. So, when I was being in media, as you mentioned, my background is journalism, specifically fashion journalism, I was often times the only black woman in the room. Or the youngest actually, how Nicole brought that up too. I graduated grad school when I was 21 and I had my [inaudible 00:10:47] degree. So, everyone in the room was like you don’t know anything. And also like, what do you know, you’re a minority. That was oftentimes the experience that I was having in those rooms. So, I really struggled to get access into those career opportunities in journalism. And I wanted to make sure that other black and brown women did not have to face those same obstacles.
Nicole: So, I decided to take my knowledge, my resources, and put them on social media and share it. How did I get my first [inaudible 00:11:16]? What is a great cover letter? What you need? Where should you start interning at? How to start a small business? I’ve really finessed the system to be honest with you, because I didn’t have any fashion media background. I had hard news and I was trying to work in fashion. I’d moved to New York city, was so excited to get a job in fashion. That’s when I created EveryStylishGirl and I created my own opportunities for myself. So, I think it’s really important when it comes to social impact to take your knowledge, your resources, and share with your community. Because if it weren’t for people giving me that opportunity and opening doors for me, I would not even be where I am today to be able to share that with other women.
Brittany: That’s great. Thank you. Thank you for sharing. And Carrie, when you think, coming from a business owner perspective with a small business or small previously, now very large. When you think about authenticity, what does that mean to you? I mean, I know you noted on it in the last question too. And how do you think other brands can be making sure they’re not getting caught up in something that isn’t authentically them?
Carie: Oh, well I think being yourself is super important and really just feeling comfortable in your own skin and when you’re making your plans for your social media or any plans for your business and your growth, it’s what do you feel comfortable doing? What do you not feel comfortable doing? What are your hard nos? And at the end of the day, you have to be happy and you spend a time with this dream that you’re building and continuing to grow.
Carie: So, don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re like, ah, that just doesn’t feel right. People are going to see it, they’re going to know it. And why would you want to choose something to make yourself feel uncomfortable just because you think it might make growth. Maybe it is short term growth that you’re going to get, but is that the kind of growth you want? Let’s just be honest with yourself and say this is what I really am passionate about, which is another very important, in fact, in my opinion, the most important thing is to be passionate about what you’re doing and don’t compromise.
Brittany: Thank you. And as you all probably have gathered, we have a large mix of attendees today who are maybe just starting off their business or years into their business, or just starting to think about it. So, we’d love to hear what advice for someone just thinking about getting their brand off the ground. What advice would you have for them? Nicole, I’m going to hand it off to you first. What comes to mind?
Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. I would say be consistent. So, not just in your work ethic, but be consistent in all the touch points of where your business is visible. So, of course that’s going to include, for example, Yelp. It’s also going to include social media. It’s going to include your email marketing, your physical signage, wherever that’s represented, whether it’s in a community or a newspaper, your logo. Make sure that you are consistent with your store hours or your business operations.
Nicole: Services, sometimes you change things. Maybe inventory has shifted. Maybe if you are a restaurant or you’re providing a service, something you did offer you don’t offer anymore. If these are things that are represented anywhere that a customer may be going to learn about you, make sure you’re consistent. And then with that consistency also be consistent in your branding. So, when you’re speaking about your brand, whether to Carrie’s point, like you want to have passion, well, let that passion lead through conversation of consistency as well, because I think that, that’s where consumers really start to connect with you.
Brittany: That’s great. And Nana, what about you? What kind of tips come to mind? I’ll just reiterate the question too. What advice you have for someone who’s just thinking about getting their brand off the ground?
Nicole: [inaudible 00:15:13] throw back to the audience. Many of you have written down an idea or aspiration and seen it come to fruition and you were kind of like, wait. Okay. So, when I put things on paper, I’m manifesting. And when I’m creating a plan, I’m manifesting for my career and I’m seeing it come to pass. And so for me, the biggest piece of advice that I have that I love that Carrie mentioned is, [inaudible 00:15:38] and journaling it down. Journaling your steps of the way [inaudible 00:15:42] in your journal, because I always tell [inaudible 00:15:45] create a 10 year life plan. I know this sounds really daunting at first, but hear me out, hear me out. So, what it does is that it gives you clarity and understanding of what you’re working towards. It might help you see what timeline that you’re working towards. Maybe for me, every company I’ve worked with on social strategy, whether it be a company with a million followers or 10K, I’ve done it both.
Nicole: I always say to them like, let’s create a 10 year social strategy plan for you. What does that look like? Do you want to hit 5k followers in the next three months? Great. Let’s focus on that. Do you want to launch a Twitter? Do you want to be more active on Yelp? What does that look like for your company and for your business? And really quick, stay with me on this. So, you start at one week, which is pretty easy [inaudible 00:16:34] for that week. Two weeks, three weeks, two months, three months, six months, a year, two years, three years, five years and 10 years. And by 10 years, honestly, you’re just writing down like, I’m going to have four offices. I’m going to have seven business launches. Like you’re just coming up with these fun, extravagant ideas that you want for yourself. But you’ll be so surprised how much can manifest when you just write it on a piece of paper. So, I highly recommend having that activity this weekend to create a 10 year plan for your business.
Brittany: Nana, you are totally teeing me up for the next question. So, that was beautiful. I know we spoke a bit in our call a few weeks ago about the importance of both short-term and long-term goals. And so the question here is when should you be thinking about building your brand? When in the process, is it something you should think about right away or first build an audience? Carrie, can you speak to this a little bit?
Carie: I think the moment that you think about what you want to do and what you’re passionate about and what it is that you want to create, that’s the day you start building your brand. And it’s a baby. It grows, it slowly evolves and it may … Just like children, they grow really tall and then they go this way and they go … You kind of change and evolve and it’s really up to you to create the brand that you want to create. And there’s a million ways to do it. But I love what Nana said about writing things down. For me, I truly wanted to be in the food space and I wanted to create something of my own that didn’t have the F and B hours of owning a restaurant.
Carie: How could I have my number one priority, which was raising our daughters and being at home, but also be creative and have a food business. I had to create that in my head. It didn’t exist. So, just like Nana said I created that for myself. I stayed true to my passion. I wanted to be at home. I wanted to be in food and you create it. And that started the first day I wrote down Callie’s Biscuits and started doodling about how to make a package. And what was this going to look like? And that was way before Instagram. So, it just starts from talking to people.
Carie: It’s not always just about social media. It’s like, this is what I want to do. And you say it over and over and over again and tell anybody that will listen. And the 10 year plan is great because I already think about five to 10 years out now. And I’m 15 years in, well, in 15 years, this is where I want to be. And that doesn’t mean that you have to have all the answers and have the exact roadmap. But the more you manifest, the more you say it, the more you write it down, the more it will happen. And that’s what you got to do.
Brittany: Love it. It’s a passionate answer. Yeah.
Nicole: I was just going to piggyback off what Carrie said because when I started business and entrepreneurship and I would love to hear Nicole and Carrie, if you have this experience. I have people telling me, [inaudible 00:19:34] share your ideas with others because they will steal it. And Carrie said something really important. She said, tell everyone what you’re working on. It’s exciting. Share it. And I just want to tell people that how are listening right now, don’t feel like you need to hide your ideas. You’d be surprised how many people can actually help you have resources connects like, [inaudible 00:19:53] trust me, everyone is busy. No one is going to pick up your idea and [inaudible 00:19:57] it and launch the whole company tomorrow.
Carie: 100%. And they will tell you, oh, that’s not a good idea. And that’s okay. Let them tell you because every time they tell you, it’s not a good idea. You’re going to come up with 10 reasons why it is a good idea. So, the more you talk about it, you’re building it in your head.
Brittany: Opens up for a little bit of feedback and to kind of build the idea up along the way. I love it. And Nana, you led me into it. I wanted to get Nicole’s perspective on this as well, because I think this topic just of goals and having a vision is such an important piece, no matter where you are in your journey with your business. So, Nicole, I want to open the question up to you as well. When should you think about building your brand? What do you think should be the up first priority and what do you think maybe should come down the road?
Nicole: Well, I definitely think you need to look ahead in order to prepare for the future to everyone’s point here. And you can’t be scared to try things that maybe you didn’t plan for along the way. So, when you’re looking forward, plan big, plan to everyone’s point 10 years in advance. But reflect immediately around you what’s going on as well. And the path to purchase, I always say, is not straight.
Nicole: So, as consumers ourselves we can really put that consumer hat on to better prepare ourself as business decision makers, because we know the path to purchase is not straight. And we, as consumers make purchase decisions, we can easily get on a detour, get an accident, a total roadblock that never takes us to the destination that we originally had intended to go to. So, as a business operator, we need to also plan with that same intent in mind to be like, I know there’s going to be an accident that steers me in the wrong direction. I know that the path to this goal is not going to be straight. So, you need to prepare for that and you don’t let that rattle you. What do you do? You shift gears, you change lanes, but you keep going.
Brittany: Can you all tell that we are surrounded by tenacious women here for this panel today with a vision. Those are such great answers. Thank you all. I want to change into thinking about platforms. I know we touched on it a little bit earlier about which platforms to leverage. And I work with many local businesses here in Indianapolis, and always tell them the importance of consistent messaging, which actually came up earlier across all of their platforms, whether it’s their website, their Yelp page, social media, so on. But how can they determine which ones are right for them? So, Nana how do you decide which platforms to leverage?
Nicole: So, guys, I’ve done it all. I’ve [inaudible 00:22:36]. I’ve done Snapchat for the company. I’ve done Twitter, I’ve done Instagram. And I think the key message to all of that is fail fast. I decided to experiment with of platforms. I hopped on the new wave as you’re supposed to do on social media because they promote and they prioritize new people that use new trends, et cetera. For me, I think it’s really important that as a business you cannot stay stagnant because if you want to grow your audience, you need to find them in different places. Maybe you’ve hit or cap on Instagram. Have you tried Twitter? Have you tried rails on Instagram? Even with different platforms, try different avenues. So, I think it’s really important to experiment, but like fail fast and don’t be afraid to take those risks.
Brittany: That’s great advice. And Nicole, what comes to mind for you when you think about which platforms to leverage?
Nicole: So, I definitely want to reinforce everything that Nana just said. I mean, absolutely. You have to try things. You have to be prepared to fail sort of like those roadblocks and accidents I was just sharing. But I would say get creative and step outside your comfort zone. I’ll use TikTok as an example. As a traditional an author, writer I’ve done so much from a traditional content perspective, but TikTok is outside of my comfort zone. But one of the things I’ve always said is content creates conversation. So, if you want to maintain conversations among your audience, make sure you’re where your audience. So, if you know your audience has switched gears and is now within that TikTok world, you need to be there too.
Nicole: Then you need to define what it looks like for you. And it might not work at first and it’s okay to redefine how that works. You might not need to do a dance. You might share educational things. Everyone looks at, not everyone I should say, but a lot of people look at TikTok as an entertainment, even when you’re trying to promote a business, you’re doing it through entertainment. But there’s a lot of great value to different things. So, just leverage the opportunities of trying and it’s okay if it doesn’t work, but at least put the effort there to start.
Brittany: Yeah. So, true on the note of a little bit of discomfort in trying the different platforms, but you got to give it a shot. Carrie, when you’re thinking about figuring out who your audience is. I know that’s a key piece that you’ve thought of too. How do you decide which platforms to leverage?
Carie: Well we try to be on everything, but I always naturally gravitate towards the ones that make me feel most comfortable. So, we have a presence, which I think is important to have a presence, even if you’re just grabbing your brand name for a future, because you never know when you might gravitate towards that. But I certainly do not feel comfortable on TikTok yet. You never know it could come soon, but I have three teenage daughters who love TikTok. So, they have kind of pushed me into that realm a little bit. And I do some TikToking with them with is showing my vulnerability to my audience, which I think is important.
Carie: But also if you don’t have an interest in TikTok maybe you have somebody that can intern for you or is in a company that can really help bring new audience and new light to your following. And also you want to put a lot of effort into the audience of where your audience is. So, for us, we have a lot of audience on Facebook and Instagram and I love the idea of taking TikTok and pushing new followers that way. Because of course we all want to have more exposure. So, that’s really the best way to do it.
Brittany: That’s great. Changing gears just a little bit. I know that budget is a big piece that comes to mind when we think about how much are we spending on all this digital marketing or are we spending nothing? How can we leverage free tools? So, how do you encourage organic growth? And what do you think is key to achieving success. For many it may seem like you need to go into the paid space. But I know all of you here have been able to leverage organic success, which is so great to hear, because I’ve seen this with a lot of businesses and all the markets that work in that they’ve been really creative and found ways to make organic growth. So, how can others try to replicate that success? It’s a long-winded question. So, I’ll just reiterate, how do you encourage organic growth? And what’s key to achieving that success? Nana, I would love to start with you on this one.
Nicole: Yeah. So, I love this questions so much, because once again, it goes back to the idea of, oh, if I have 3000 [inaudible 00:27:09], what a brand with a hundred K is doing. That is not actually true. I use my same strategic growth methods for EveryStylishGirl to apply it to the cut when I was running the account. So, it can work. I think what you first need you is like figure out what are your top performing posts? Just take some time out, go through what is getting the highest engagement? How can you [inaudible 00:27:31] that in different ways? So, I think [inaudible 00:27:34] a lot of people don’t know, going back to another [inaudible 00:27:37] people don’t know what their niche is and they’re kind of very scattered with their brand. But once you just figure out, I love Carrie’s company Instagram, because it’s food, it’s all just food everywhere.
Nicole: And I’m like, oh my gosh, you know what I mean? And Carrie has found out what her secret sauce is on social media. I think it’s important to figure out what your secret sauce is and use that to grow organically. Also, be shorter experiment. One thing I’m seeing on Instagram, that’s getting a lot of really high engagement and let’s keep this in this room. But it’s called discussion stories. So, pretty much what that means is you’re going on Instagram stories and you’re picking a topic that could be interesting right now to your audience, is being talked about widely online. And you’re just going more deep on it. You’re asking your audience polls, questions, quizzes, to share their opinions. And I realize when I have those discussion stories, my Instagram views go 3000 to 13,000. So, obviously there’s a [inaudible 00:28:43] here that’s working. Highly recommend figure out your niche, experiment and speak to your audience and be vulnerable like Carrie mentioned.
Brittany: Yeah. And Carrie, I know you’ve had incredible success too with growing the brand on social and organically. So, how have you done that? What advice would you give to this audience?
Carie: Well, I’m horrible about speaking on stories. So, I love hearing that Nana, because I know I need to do it and you are so right. The engagement goes way up just from having a conversation, which it’s hard for me because I have three teenage daughters. So, I’m constantly saying get off your phone. Don’t be on your phone all the time. So, I’m trying to lead by example, but I know it’s something that I need to do more of. And when I do it, I see the numbers go crazy inflated. So, I think the organic growth for us has been being authentic.
Carie: I hate to keep saying the same thing over and over again. But showing the food, showing the people behind the food that are making the food, making it fun and light and just … I do a lot of stuff at home with my kids and cooking, which has absolutely nothing to do biscuits. Last night we made Chile relleno. You’ll see that on my story in the next couple of days, people love that. And I’m like, this has nothing to do with biscuits. Y’all realize that. But people are falling in love with you, the brand builder, they want more, they want to understand what’s going on in your house. So, don’t be afraid, if you’re comfortable of course, to share that. And I think that is the best organic growth you can get is when you’re authentic and you share your true story.
Brittany: Yeah. I’m hearing a common theme of humanizing and going behind the scenes can go a long way. Before we go onto these next few questions here. I just want to remind folks, if you have any questions you can put them in the chat and we’ll try our best to get some of those here at the end. But in a recent Yelp survey, 29% of our respondents had said the one thing they would be interested in learning about and gaining educational tools around is setting up their social media. So, for this question, I want to think of it as, and I’m going to pop it to all three of view as thinking of a toolkit. If there’s a time saving tool that you’ve used or just something that’s really made a difference for your social media. Nana, do you have any particular tools, classes, or time saving hacks you’d recommend for those starting out or looking to save time?
Nicole: Right. [inaudible 00:31:23] question. I’m launching an ebook at the end of this month. That’s going to be-
Brittany: Perfect timing.
Nicole: Right. That’s going to be all the things I wish people knew about social media growth in 2021. So, that’s there. But I also [inaudible 00:31:36] organization for my company’s Instagram, I use Later, I don’t know if Carrie or Nicole have used that. But it actually [inaudible 00:31:44] in your Instagram stories, your in feed [inaudible 00:31:47] as well, [inaudible 00:31:48] helpful. If you’re very busy, you have a small team, but you want to plan ahead, create a lot of my Instagram story templates with the app Canva.
Brittany: Big fan of Canva. I feel you. [inaudible 00:32:01].
Nicole: Don’t have graphic designer to use it.
Brittany: So, fun. So, fun. I lose myself in it. Okay, Nicole, I’m going to hand it over to you. Any time saving hacks tools or resources that you would recommend for social media.
Nicole: Well, I also love Canva, so I will say that’s great. But the other thing I would actually say is that go ahead and set yourself to a timer. So, I just use my phone, but people have done different things, because when I do encourage you to be social, it’s called social media for a reason. So, be social like we’ve been discussing, but go ahead and also limit yourself, because you can get lost sometimes. Give yourself, allocate, let’s say 30 minutes a day if you can to say, I’m going to engage socially within this 30 minutes.
Nicole: And do not get distracted by an entertaining video or a friend who pops into your messenger feed. Simply commit to that by being interactive or whatever it is that your responsibility needs to be at that time. But you can easily get lost in social media as both a business leader and a consumer. So, I have found that by setting a clock, literally I just use my phone, but you can do whatever might work best for you. It can help you stay on path to reaching all the different goals that you need to make within that day.
Brittany: That’s great advice. Help save you from going down that rabbit hole. So, true. Carrie, what about you? Any particular educational tools or time saving tips or anything that you would pass along?
Brittany: Social media, yes.
Carie: I’m going to tell you that I’m really good at hiring experts when I don’t know how to do things. So, and that can fit every budget. So, when we were first starting out and I couldn’t afford that, I would find an intern and pay them just an hourly and give them some college credit. And then we graduated to having a service that would only do … So, you do what you can until you can afford more. And I know that we have all the tools that y’all are talking about.
Carie: I just don’t, I’m not educated on them. But we have it all planned out. And I know that that has changed our marketing department’s life to be able to plan it out because before they were posting seven days a week and they never had a break. And so down to you can set up auto responses when people are writing in over the weekends when you don’t have people working. So, I highly recommend that. But start out small, baby steps. And if you can’t afford to have a team, then there are other options out there and you can just graduate up as you go.
Brittany: So, true. And on the intern note, I know so many of my interns over the years have taught me so many new things about social media. So, it can be its own learning process along the way too. So, it we want to go rapid fire around the horn. Any other pieces of advice that you want the audience to hear before we move on to Q&A? Nana, I’m going to start with you.
Nicole: [inaudible 00:34:54] is don’t wait for someone else to invite you to their table, create your own seat at the table. Or sorry, create your own table. Yes. Don’t wait for someone else to you to their table create your own table. So, this means like don’t wait for someone to start this business idea. Start the business idea for [inaudible 00:35:10].
Brittany: That’s great. Carrie.
Carie: I think that people often have many great ideas and they don’t take the leap. And the thing is, you got to take the leap and then you’ll figure out the rest later. If you’re truly passionate about it and you know this is the thing that you were built to do, then do it. And everything else will come because a lot of people think that when you start a business there are going to be problems in the beginning and then you’ll figure those out and then everything’s fine. Well, I’m here to tell you 16 years in, there’s still problems every single day. So, that is never going to change. So, just go for it and just worry about the day to day problems as they come, because they’re never going to end. So, take the leap.
Brittany: So, true. Nicole, what about you? What would be one more piece of advice you would share with the audience?
Nicole: I would say that in taking that leap, just protect yourself legally, so to speak, by making sure that the copyright or trademark of whatever it is you’re doing is legally okay, so to speak. There’s so lot of legal black and white going on sometimes when we first start businesses. But I have seen a lot of businesses with great intentions who spend money and effort into branding something only to find out that the brand name is already taken and they have to change it. So, you can do a quick search with some of these details, but take the time to do that up front so you have to go backwards later.
Brittany: That’s great advice. And Nicole, I’m going to stay with you actually for our first Q&A question. I’m going to read it verbatim. Because I think this is really sweet. These ladies are so inspirational that we got a question from Nikita an entrepreneur who’s looking for a new mentor. “What advice would you give to someone about how to approach someone you admire, but don’t know about mentoring them?”
Nicole: What a great question. I love that. Just the effort and the instinct to want to do that too. So, I applaud you for that. But I would say anytime you’re reaching out to someone that you admire, but you probably know or assume, even though we hate to make assumptions, but you can assume it’s probably busy as well. Go back to those first Cs that I said, clear, concise, correct, and courteous. So, share something with them, but don’t share an entire elaborate lengthy something with them. So, you want to capture their attention in a short way while also letting them know what your objective is.
Nicole: And in that objective also identify what your bigger goals are from that. Is it a one time experience that you want to have a chat with them? Is it something that you want long term? If you can answer some questions before the other side of that equation has to wonder, that’s helpful. But again, make it clear, concise, correct and courteous because everybody’s busy including you. So, you want to do this with both respect to everybody’s time, but also I know I have been a mentor to a lot of different professionals over the year, young professionals who have big goals or so forth. So, I think it’s very possible. You just have to be mindful of everybody’s time and be clear about what your objective is.
Brittany: It’s a great response. Our second question, this one actually in from two folks, this was a very popular question, let’s see, Carrie. I think this one applied to actually something you had brought up. How do you find the social media intern? Any tips for that?
Carie: Well, yeah, we went to our local college here in Charleston and there are boards that you can put out. So, we reached out to the local college of Charleston here and that’s how we started. And we said we want to offer some internships and marketing and we actually, we have them year round. So, that was really an easy way for us to get really great talent and we interview them and choose. And they’re all looking for hours and experience. So, you’re really doing a great thing and it’s helping you out as well.
Brittany: That’s true. And then we’ve got another question. Let’s see. This is on the topic of Canva, which we all, I think lit up a little bit over. Nicole and I think Nana both mentioned Canva. Any other favorite apps for creating content? Nana I’ll hand it to you. And then to Nicole on this one.
Nicole: Yeah. I’m actually going to just pull up my phone because I have an app folder that’s just apps. So, its really good from when you want to make video at audio and top and font. Preview is really good for organizing your Instagram feed. If you want to, if [inaudible 00:39:46] statics, this is the one for you, pretty much. And then I love VSCO because VSCO, people always say, Nana, if you take your photos camera. I say, no, I take them on an iPhone and I edit it on VSCO and then Snapseed because we’re not all professional photographers. There might be a sock on the floor that I miss. So, you can erase that with Snapseed. So, I would definitely say those are probably my favorite social media, Instagram apps right now.
Brittany: Those are great. Those are great. Nicole, what about you? Any favorites?
Nicole: I did the same thing. I’m looking at my phone. So, I do like Animaker. It essentially allows you to make studio video quality, so to speak, that you can insert into whether it’s your email marketing or social media. So, I think that’s a lot of fun. I’ve also found that various photo editing apps are a lot of fun that you can take a photo. So, for me, I spend a lot of time within the retail category and small businesses in general. So, if I have a store image, but then I want to sort of mute the image, but put content over it. Or maybe I want to highlight one thing from the image, but shade away everything else, some of the apps that you can do that for our Prisma and Beauty App is one as well. So, those are fun things that you can just insert into your rotation and kind of play around with and see what you’re most comfortable with.
Brittany: Those are great. I’m taking notes. I’m learning a few new ones here in the mix too. Okay. So, here’s our last question, this is really fun. We’ve got Daniella, a college student, an entrepreneur in Ghana, who’s on the line right now. And we have the question of she’s been getting investment offers just three months into the business. Should she accept or is it too soon? Carrie, I’m going to throw this one to you.
Carie: Well, you’re talking to a girl that has bootstrapped a biscuit business for 15 years. So, I mean, I think you should take every meeting and learn and find more and create connections. But I mean, I wouldn’t, unless it was just some crazy offer. I don’t know that I would accept. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t. You should meet every single person. And again, going back to talk about your business to everyone that will listen and keep those connections because you never know what could happen. So, I would say meet them and get to know them and develop the relationship.
Brittany: That’s great. I just want to say thank you so much to all three of you for such an engaging discussion. It’s been such a personal pleasure for me to connect with you through this process. And now I’m going to hand it back over to our host before the next session and just big thank you to all of you. And thanks to everyone who’s tuned in today too.
Ali: Yes. Thank you ladies so much. That was fabulous. I found myself taking tons of notes throughout. You were all absolutely wonderful. So, thank you for your time. Nicole, I love that you actually said content creates conversation. I wrote that down and quoted it. Actually, Nicole did a free webinar for us specifically for retail businesses. You can check it out on our Yelp business blog. Nana, you talked about manifesting and failing fast. I was like, oh, I need to write stuff down and start. I was really eating it all up. And Carrie, I love your mentality of just going for it. So, thank you ladies. Brit, you’re a fantastic moderator. I invite you guys to come off stage, put your cameras off and we’re going to transition into the portion of the event. Thank you.