Nothing is more refreshing to me than honest, open conversations about the realities of business life. I’m not a fan of surface-level small talk. I believe there’s so much magic to be found in these deeper-level conversations. They also help you to find your people and form genuine connections.
And one person I absolutely love having these conversations with is Jessie Parker.
In today’s episode of the How I Do Content Podcast, Jessie and I have an honest conversation about how to stop relying on social media to market your business.
Listen to the full episode now, or scroll down for the highlights in the too-long;didn’t-listen (TL;DL) version below.
Let me officially introduce you to Jessie Parker
Jessie runs cup-filling in-person events, and an in-person mastermind, for Perth business owners. She has this superpower of bringing people together and creating brave spaces for open and honest conversations exploring the real-life version of being your own boss.
She’s a mum of 3, a FIFO wife, and a dog mum who loves all things creative, especially illustration, graphic design and making a mess. Not to mention, Jessie is really passionate about humans being here on earth to have a human experience and staying true to their values in life and business… NOT spending all their time glued to their smartphones, buying into the social media circus and spending every ounce of energy creating content to please algorithms (algorithms that, let’s face it – aren’t designed with human’s best interests at heart).
I absolutely love our juicy chats about all things life and business and thought why not bring it here for you to listen to as well?
These are the conversations I fucking live for and wish more people would share so openly and honestly – I know you’re going to LOVE it!
So let’s dive in.
Things You’ll Learn in This Episode of How I Do Content
- Why Jessie believes in-person events are so important
- The #1 struggle of business owners who attend Jessie’s Honest Biz Brunches
- How to grow your business without spending all your time on social media
- Jessie’s top lessons from taking a step back from social media in her own business
How To Stop Relying On Social Media To Market Your Business
In-person connection is essential for business and life
There’s something powerful about true, human connection. It’s a primal driving force that we experience as humans. After all, belonging to a community is probably what has kept us alive for hundreds of thousands of years! So, it’s not surprising that finding like-minded people to connect with makes us feel good.
In a world that is becoming more and more centred around social media, we can easily lose touch with the power of in-person conversations. As any new business owner will tell you, you make a lot of wrong-turns in those first weeks/months/years of business. Having people to debrief with in an unfiltered way helps us to troubleshoot hiccups along the business journey. It also helps us to feel that primal sense of belonging and community that we crave as humans.
Reminder: social media isn’t reality
Even though logically we understand social media isn’t real-life, our emotional brain isn’t always on the same page. So often we forget that a person’s social media feed is a persona. We are able to filter and edit what we put out into the world. Even if someone on social media is being ‘raw’ it’s impossible to convey the completely unedited, real-life shit.
Social media is also a one-way conversation. Things can be misconstrued, miscommunicated and misrepresented far more often than through in-person conversations.
Our social media habits see us spending excessive amounts of time on platforms driven by algorithms designed to hook us in. The endless ‘doom-scrolling’ lends itself to intense feelings of ‘comparisonitis’. And we use this as evidence to confirm our internal stories of ‘not enoughness’.
We all want to spend less time on our phones
One of the most common complaints heard around the Biz Brunch table is that women HATE having to use social media for their business. Usually, it’s because of the utter frustration they feel with the algorithms. They feel like they are investing so much time and effort into posting/engaging/commenting without meaningful results. Meanwhile, <insert brand here> is making 7 figures (apparently) and has 1,939,837 more followers, too.
There are often conflicting desires around the table – we want to ditch our smartphones but we’re also totally addicted to them. We feel so compelled to spend time watching the edited lives of others play out through tiny screens. And with just about everyone using social media, it feels impossible to be able to step back. So instead, we stay on the treadmill of likes, comments and shares hoping we can find an elusive version of success we’re chasing.
Breaking up with social media feels scary
There’s so much fear around stopping using social media, especially as a business owner. We know that it’s not necessarily serving us, but we can’t seem to find a way to opt out. Sometimes it takes the courage to try a life without relying on social media apps, to discover new ways of doing things.
The habit of picking up our phones to scroll has become hard-wired in our brains. Part of reducing screen time involves disrupting the thought processes and behaviours we have around our smartphones. There’s a common belief that it takes 21 days to break a habit. This is a good starting point when it comes to breaking our screen addiction. Jessie experimented with deleting Meta apps off her smartphone – with a particular goal of stopping habitual use of Instagram.
Learn to be intentional with social media use
Just to be clear – having a break from social media doesn’t always feel easy. It’s natural to experience fear around taking a step back from something so prevalent in our lives and businesses. Especially when it feels like EVERYONE is still using it. But taking time out from socials is so helpful in examining our relationship with social media. It also helps us to look at our content strategy and creation process.
Being intentional when using social media helps to combat mindless scrolling. Weirdly, we prioritise social media content, despite the fact that it generally has a lower reach and requires more consistent effort.
Taking 4 weeks off Instagram specifically helped Jessie to start thinking differently about hero content. Instead of spending time crafting the perfect social media post, she would invest time in email newsletters and keyword-rich blogs. It helped her identify what social media was helpful for (email list signups), and so she could be more intentional with her call-to-action in posts and stories.
Tips for breaking bad social media habits
Even though it’s all good in theory to say ‘just don’t use socials’ – it feels hard when our habit is to always reach for our phones. Here are a couple of tips to help you stay on track:
1. Identify and remind yourself of your reason(s) for quitting social media in the first place
Having an anchor to come back to is a powerful tool when you get the wobbles in life without socials. Not everyone’s reasons for calling time on scrolling will be the same. For Jessie, it was her desire to be more present in day-to-day activities, especially in the lives of her children. She also felt incensed by the money-making MO of big tech. The fact that big tech companies rig apps to encourage people to spend more time online, to the detriment of their health and wellbeing – didn’t sit well with her and she didn’t want to be part of it. These were powerful reminders in times when she experienced FOMO and the urge to jump back online.
2. Replace your social media habit with a different task or activity
Reducing or stopping your scrolling habit makes you aware of just how many times you reach for your phone in a day. Usually for no particular reason except to have a scroll. It’s truly eye-opening.
From a business point of view, think of different ways you can better use the time you would normally use to social scroll. Things like – typing out bullet points for your next email, researching keywords for a blog post, or mapping out an idea for an event.
And, in a personal sense, well, the world’s your oyster! Sit down to watch a movie, call a friend, take a walk, read a book or clean your kitchen… Suddenly you’ll realise that there’s so much more time in your day simply because you aren’t glued to your phone anymore.
Less screen time = more space for ideas and clarity
When you stop using socials it eliminates constant exposure to the noise and narratives of other people’s lives and businesses. Less stimulation means more space to tune back into your own mind and body. You have more space to listen to your body and what makes you feel good (or bad). This helps in making decisions that align with your values and what you actually want in life. Having space and clarity makes it easier to be intentional and proactive in your business instead of reacting to what you’re seeing everyone else doing.
Marketing ideas for small businesses that don’t rely on social media
When it comes to marketing, as much as we bang on about how NOT to rely on social media, it’s still a great marketing tool. It’s free, for a start. The key is to use social media to enhance your other marketing methods, not as your only marketing method. Because, as we know, Instagram isn’t always the most reliable or effective tool for getting your brand out there. The algorithm makes it really freakin’ hard to reach your followers.
1. Email marketing
Electronic Direct Mail (EDM) a.k.a email marketing is one of the only ways to have direct contact with your audience. There are zero algorithms to contend with. On Instagram, you could have thousands of followers and only hundreds see your posts. Whereas with email, your open rate could be >75% so even though your list may be smaller, the concentration of people actually seeing your content. Sure, sometimes there are spam filters, but there’s a much higher likelihood of your subscriber seeing your stuff. A juicy lead magnet is a great place to start your email list building.
No one enjoys using a clunky, slow website. In fact, it can be an instant turn-off for potential customers. Make sure your website provides a good user experience. Is it easy for users to find their way around? Is it clear what it is you can help your clients with? Do you have a clear call to action visible? Think about websites that you enjoy using if you need inspiration. It’s a great idea to invest in a website or brand copywriter to engage your customers on an emotional level, too.
3. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
This goes hand-in-hand with your website. SEO is the process of structuring your website content so that it has the best chance of ranking higher on Google. A higher search result ranking means more eyeballs on your stuff = more potential customers. This is why it’s also important to have a functional, user-friendly site. Because there’s no point doing the work to get more people to your site only for them to bounce right off. If you put in a little work when you set up your website, it will continue to work for you exponentially into the future. SEO is all about keyword research and knowing what your target audience is *actually* searching for.
Networking events are a powerful way to build your business. Connecting IRL with other business owners helps to build more meaningful, lasting relationships and even friendships. It boosts word-of-mouth marketing – which will help to grow your business exponentially. Do a bit of research and find a networking group or event with a vibe you like. Obviously, if small-group networking is your thing, we recommend Honest Biz Brunches. But there are lots of different options out there and you’re sure to find a networking event that suits you.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other cool ways to market your business without relying on social media. Using different marketing channels means you aren’t putting all your eggs in one basket. It helps with omnipresence and adds touchpoints to your customer journey.
Being successful in business isn’t always about making money
Don’t be fooled by the TikTok videos or Instagram Reels telling you that success is measured by income status. Understanding that success isn’t only making money will change your business experience in the best way. Sure, sometimes success is a financial goal but don’t trick yourself into thinking that money is the bottom line. Yes, you need to ensure your business is profitable but it doesn’t mean it should be the only measure of success. Because as we all know, there are still a lot of stressed, lonely, or even miserable people, who happen to have a lot of money. Would this be considered successful in your eyes?
Getting super clear on your core values and what you want from life and your business will help you identify what success means to you. When you know what you’re trying to achieve, it means you can lean more into that self-awareness and trust that’s needed to make decisions in your best interests.
Self-trust is our entrepreneurial superpower
Leaning into this self-trust will give you clarity and confidence in the decisions you make, not only in business but in life too. It can feel scary AF when we aren’t used to backing ourselves. When we’ve constantly bought into the stories other people project onto us we can lose touch with our powerful inner voice. Instead, we’ve been making decisions based on fear or scarcity instead of what feels right for us. Tapping into our own wisdom and inner knowing has magical results. Having more time off from our social doom-scrolling gives us the much-needed space to tune into our innermost desires and feel clear about what we really want or need.