329: Social Media Strategy – Creating a Content Plan, Growing Your Following, and Diversifying Your Platforms with Andrea Balogun

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A hand holding up a phone and the title of Andrea Balogun's episode on the Food Blogger Pro Podcast, 'Social Media Strategy.'

Welcome to episode 329 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork interviews Andrea Balogun from Balogun Strategy & Design about how to craft an effective social media strategy.

Last week on the podcast, Bjork chatted with Liz Della Croce from The Lemon Bowl about how she plans and runs food blogger retreats. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

Social Media Strategy

Have you ever wanted to pick the brain of a social media consultant? Here’s your chance!

Andrea is a content strategy and design consultant, and she’s here on the podcast today to talk about how to effectively market your brand and grow your following on social media.

In this episode, she shares her advice on a lot of different topics, including how to repurpose your content across various social media outlets, how to lean into a particular topic or series on social media, why it’s important to diversify your platforms, and more.

Andrea’s advice will be a great reminder of why it’s important to really think about your goals and purpose when sharing on social media. We hope you enjoy this episode!

A quote from Andrea Balogun's appearance on the Food Blogger Pro podcast that says, 'I'm just a big cheerleader of diversifying the platforms and not feeling like you have to be on all of them.'

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Andrea became a social media consultant
  • Some systems and tools she uses to run her business
  • What services she offers to her clients
  • Tips for crafting your profile on Instagram
  • How food bloggers can make the most of the different content types on Instagram
  • How Instagram is offering bonuses and badges to creators
  • How you can effectively repurpose your content
  • Why it can be helpful to focus on a particular topic or series on social media
  • Why it’s so important to diversify your platforms
  • How to grow your email list
  • Her advice for transitioning a side hustle into a full-time business

Resources:

About This Week’s Sponsor

We’re excited to announce that this week’s episode is sponsored by our sister site, Clariti!

With Clariti, you can easily organize your blog content for maximum growth. Create campaigns to add alt text to your posts, fix broken images, remove any broken links, and more, all within the Clariti app.

Sign up for the Clariti waitlist today to receive:

  • Early access to their $25/Month Forever pricing
  • Optimization ideas for your site content
  • An invitation to join their exclusive Slack community
  • And more!

You can learn more and sign up here.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].

Food Blogger Pro logo with the words 'Join the Community' on a blue background

Transcript (click to expand):

Bjork Ostrom: This episode of the Food Blogger Pro Podcast is sponsored by our sister site Clariti. Clariti is a powerful tool that allows you to organize, optimize, update your blog content, all in service of growth. It’s a little bit hard to explain something like this on a podcast, so the best way to figure it out is actually just to go over and check it out at clariti.com. Our food blog Pinch of Yum has over 1,600 recipes on the site, and that’s a lot of content and there’s a lot of opportunities. We’ve talked on the podcast before about this idea of juicing the orange. There’s a lot of opportunities for us in that content to improve and to optimize, to get more growth, to get more traffic, and we’ve learned a lot about incredible valuable blog post content since we’ve started our blog in 2010 and what that looks like and it’s important for us to go back to those older posts and apply those learnings that we have to those older pieces of content. Things like adding nutrition information or optimizing alt text, making sure internal links are all optimized, no following links, or adding video.

Bjork Ostrom: Clariti is the tool that we’re using to create campaigns around doing that and not only helps you filter and understand your content by syncing with Word Press and Google Analytics now, a new feature that we just recently released, but it also allows you to then build campaigns off of those posts to say, “Hey, these are the 10, the 100, the 500 pieces of content that I want to optimize around a certain area.” So you already have great recipes, Clariti is kind of that additional layer, the strategy consideration that you can wrap around your content to help you optimize an improvement all in the service of growth. That’s what we’re here about and that’s why we exist. We want to help you and your company or your blog get a tiny bit better every day. Clariti is a way that we are doing that.

Bjork Ostrom: If you want to check it out, we are offering a plan that we call 25 Forever for the first 500 people who sign up for Clariti, which you can do by going to clariti.com/food. You’ll see a really simple kind of waiting list signup page that you can join and then the Clariti team will follow up with you there, get you onboarded, and explain a little bit about how the tools works and we would love to have you.

Bjork Ostrom: The other thing that we’re doing is there’s a little Slack group that you can be a part of that people are sharing feedback, ideas, insights, that will help not only you but also help shape the direction of the tool. So again, that’s clariti.com/food if you want to check that out and join the 25 Forever early access plan for Clariti. Thank you to Clariti for sponsoring this podcast.

Bjork Ostrom: Hello, and welcome to the Food Blogger Pro podcast. Thanks for listening. This is Bjork Ostrom, and today, we are talking with Andrea Balogun. She is a consultant, she focuses on helping people grow their social media following but also realistically in the conversation that I had with her, it’s not just about growing your following, it’s around growing the impact, growing the thing that you are trying to do and some people think that they just want to grow their followers but actually there’s some strategy involved with that and we actually had a conversation with her about Pinch of Yum. What does that look like? How do we be intentional with the work that we’re doing in social media? So it’s not just growing our following, it’s growing the thing that we want to be doing more of and she’s going to be talking about kind of from a consulting standpoint how she works with clients and some of the success stories that she’s seen with folks that she has worked with.

Bjork Ostrom: Any time we can have a conversation with somebody who works with a lot of different people in a specific niche, it’s always really interesting because they’re able to see some of the commonalities and some of the things that happen on a recurring basis for people who have success and some of the insider kind of tips and tricks that we might not think about, we being people who are trying to do everything. We’re trying to blog and right and photograph and do lots of different things, but any time we can have a touchpoint with an expert who focuses in one specific category, it’s really exciting to be able to pull out some of the things that they know and see and opportunities that you can be aware of, so it’s going to be a great conversation and I think there will be a lot of takeaways that you can have. So let’s go ahead and jump in. Andrea, welcome to the podcast.

Andrea Balogun: Good to be here. Good to be here.

Bjork Ostrom: Good to have you here. Yeah, so I’m excited to talk to you because you were actually talking with the Pinch of Yum Team recently and we’re talking about Instagram strategy session, you had to call and talk through that and interesting time in the world of Instagram and Facebook, which we’re going to talk about in a little bit in that this week, Instagram went down, Facebook went down, and that presents a good opportunity to talk about some strategy around considerations with not putting all your eggs in one basket, but before we do that, I want to hear a little bit about your story. Obviously, you talk about this stuff a lot, it’s the focus for your business, consulting with creators, consulting with people who are trying to build a following. How is that something that you got into?

Andrea Balogun: Sure. Originally I was actually an accountant and I did that for about 10 years but I went back to school for marketing and spent a lot of time with the focus on the music industry because I worked at Sony. So I kind of –

Bjork Ostrom: As an accountant, you worked at Sony?

Andrea Balogun: Right. Yes. Mm-hmm.

Bjork Ostrom: Okay, and then coming out of that, you’re like, “Wait, I don’t like doing this. I would be interested in marketing.” Is that kind of the general idea?

Andrea Balogun: Right, exactly. I am … Part of my background is still that analysis with accounting, looking at numbers, and so I kind of like move that towards the marketing side in terms of analytics and problem solving, which is a lot of what marketing is. So I think it’s just a little more creative than accounting. So that’s how I got started –

Bjork Ostrom: Is that hard to have a position in accounting and then to realize, “Wait, this isn’t what I want to be in?” To hit the reset button to go back and start it over again?

Andrea Balogun: Yeah, a little bit because … I think getting into accounting, a lot of people think it’s just numbers, but it is a lot of problem-solving. So I did get that feeling of I am doing something, but I think the marketing piece was about helping people solve the problems for whatever their business was and so I think I felt more fulfilled and so it was kind of like an easy pivot. I stayed in my nine to five and then just created my company along the side until almost a year ago I only do this now so yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Can you talk about that because that’s a transition that I think is hard to pull off which is nine to five, building a side hustle, and then transitioning that side hustle into the main hustle, and you’re close enough in having done it that you can still remember it. Like now for us, it’s far enough away where it kind of becomes mythology and it’s like what was that actually like when we made that transition? You kind of tell the story enough where it’s like is that still exactly what it was like? But for you, it was during the pandemic then that you made the transition. I’m guessing you still probably vividly remember what was that first day like when you sit down at the computer and you’re like, “Now it’s just me doing my thing.” What was that like?

Andrea Balogun: It felt great honestly. Some of the things that I kind of prepared for was systems. Systems was a big thing for me, and in order for me to structure my day between my family, I have a son, so he was having to stay home and we’re all trying to figure out this new normal, having a system to where I knew I was going to spend this much time on this, I had a system in terms of how to manage clients, because I had kind of been doing it a little while, so now it was just like, “Okay, you have more time, but how are you going to manage it?”

Andrea Balogun: So that was the biggest thing. I have an office space, so I was kind of used to that because we were already working virtually. So not huge in terms of any problems because I had kind of like been in the world a little bit. But it was kind of refreshing to have more time to focus on my own business and being able to serve people with more time during the week versus maybe an hour in the middle of the day-

Bjork Ostrom: Squeezing it in the day.

Andrea Balogun: Yeah, exactly. Squeezing it in, so …

Bjork Ostrom: When you talk about systems, what do you mean by that and what does that look like? How have you been able to implement systems to help you?

Andrea Balogun: Sure. The biggest thing, especially when you are marketing on social media, is that you are getting people, you’re capturing them on your website or on your email list, and I needed to have a system to kind of move them through the customer experience. If you’re not on my calendar or if you’re not in my database of clients, I will forget. I just … If it’s not in someplace where I know you’re holding, it will escape me in that I just didn’t want to have a bad customer experience where I just lost somebody in my inbox or something like that. So having some of those automated emails or the big thing about moving people from social media to my website, so that they can see what it is that I offer. Things like that to kind of keep the leads coming so that was the big thing for systems. Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s interesting, it reminds me a little bit of an interview I did with an author named David Allen, he wrote Getting Things Done. I don’t know if you know it, anybody who does like GTD, getting things done. But yeah, one of the things that he talks about a lot is the brain is a terrible place to store stuff. He’s like that concept is such a … I’m always having to remind myself of that, like my brain is not a good filing cabinet. It’s a good easel, it’s good for creativity and learning and curiosity, but it’s not a great place to store the project that needs to get done. Like what I hear you saying is you’ve realized that and created systems, almost like … I think of it as like secondary brains, like places to put stuff…

Andrea Balogun: Yes. That’s perfect.

Bjork Ostrom: So your brain doesn’t have to store it. What are some of the systems that you use for that?

Andrea Balogun: Sure. One of the things that I have to do is I write notes a lot and I dump them into a tool called Notion and I probably use tons of tools leading up to Notion, so before that Airtable or sometimes just my Google Docs, Google Sheets, things like that. But as soon as I have an idea or something, it’s got to be put somewhere because it will leave that quickly. So if I am trying to come up with content, I’m saving it for Later, Notion. I’ve started doing the whole time-blocking thing in my Google Calendar, just to kind of keep me like this is the time I’m going to spend creating content, this is going to be the time I’ll have for any calls or strategy sessions. I’m trying to stick to that because I need that 10-minute reminder before this call to be present…

Bjork Ostrom: The idea being that you get a little notification and it’s like, “Hey, in 10 minutes, you got to be starting to think about creating content.”

Andrea Balogun: Exactly. I also have … I use Dubsado as my client management system so that as soon as somebody fills out an inquiry form or an application on my website, they’re automatically put into my system as a lead until I book them and say, “This is an actual project I’m working on.” But it’s kind of like it runs everything in my business, invoices, contracts, everything is in there. Scheduler.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and that’s called Dubsado?

Andrea Balogun: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s great. When you say that, I can think of a few times where I’ve seen invoices come in from Dubsado, so we haven’t used it personally but I know that a lot of people we interact with use it. So that’s maybe a good transition point. So you talked about kind of essentially this funnel where you have people that are interacting with you, you have a social that you’re creating, maybe it’s content that you’re creating that leads people through this process of eventually saying, “Hey, I want to work with Andrea.” They fill out a form, they follow up with you. What is it that you’re actually doing? Like what are the services that you’re offering to the clients that you work with?

Andrea Balogun: Sure. So there are a couple of ways when it comes to social media. I can just do an account review. Some people just kind of need to have somebody else look at their account to see, “What am I doing? What am I not doing?” That’s usually the first step, and then they can determine if they want to have an actual strategy session with me, where I kind of talk about … We can talk about all the platforms honestly in that call, but we usually focus on Instagram because it’s one of the ones that everybody’s on. It’s probably where people are going the most, and then kind of apply some of those things to the other places and then the other service I have is after I’ve done the strategy, we’ve done the audit, if you feel like you still are having trouble creating content or designing it, then I have a couple of retainer spots, but I recently moved to a content planning day for people who have long-form content podcasts or a blog. We can literally create your full month in just a few hours based on repurposing some of that content, so that’s the three ways. The review, the session…

Bjork Ostrom: I’d be interested in that… Oh sorry, review, session, and then the content planning.

Andrea Balogun: And the VIP day.

Bjork Ostrom: Is that what you’re saying?

Andrea Balogun: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Bjork Ostrom: Cool. So I’d be interested in that first one. When you’re doing an audit of somebody’s account, what are some of the things right away that come up as opportunities or common mistakes that you see? I would assume it’s kind of like I’m trying to think of another profession. Like an organizer, like who comes in and they’re like … They kind of have all the tool in their tool belt of like, “Okay, you see it enough, and you know here are the things that are kind of some common areas of opportunity or potentially some areas that might be considered mistakes that could be cleaned up.”

Andrea Balogun: Right. The first thing I look at is someone’s profile. That’s usually what people look at when maybe somebody shared your content somewhere else or they happen to see it on the explorer page or in a hashtag and I always look at that profile page because it’s where you’re going to capture people either for them to go to your website or they decide, “Oh, I’m going to follow for a little while.”

Andrea Balogun: So the first thing is usually how they are being searched on Instagram. A lot of people find me on Instagram because my profile name is Squarespace + Social Media Strategy. So if they’re looking up those things in the search, that’s better than having just my name, because maybe aren’t searching for my name.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Interesting.

Andrea Balogun: So I leave my at name, it’s still my name, but that means I have extra space for something that people will actually search for. So that’s the first thing I’ll always say.

Bjork Ostrom: Interesting. Yeah.

Andrea Balogun: Getting Instagram as like a many Google in terms of what people are searching for is helpful, and then other than that –

Bjork Ostrom: So the idea with that being because it’s a search engine, you want to think about potentially branding almost like the title of your account around … Maybe not your brand name, but what your goal is or like the tagline almost. So for Food Blogger Pro, maybe that’s a little bit easier, but Food Blogger Pro, we could potentially look at saying something like Food Blogger Pro – Grow Your Food Blog or like… Is that kind of what you’re getting at?

Andrea Balogun: Yeah. Something to where… I mean food blogger is probably going to be pretty niche. It’s better than a lot of other accounts. But if you were focusing on just the podcast, people might look up a food blogger podcast. Anything that will be as specific as you can get it but also something that you believe people are looking for on the platform. So that’s pretty optimized I would think, and then in terms of your bio, you’re really just I think expounding on what that profile name is and what you can provide for people, so those are usually the first things I look at.

Bjork Ostrom: Yep, so idea being, and I feel like Food Blogger Pro maybe is doing a decent job with this, but it’s … So Food Blogger Pro is the name and then below it says, “We’ll help you start, grow, monetize your food blog. Tag Food Blogger Pro for a chance to be featured. Learn more and become a member.” So it’s kind of like we’re kind of doing some promotional stuff there but also sharing a little bit about why we exist and what we do. That might not be the ultimate example because it says food and more food. It’s like essentially that’s what it is, but opportunity potentially there to do a little bit more explanation of like, “Hey, here is why Pinch of Yum is great,” and explaining specifically some of the things in the bio area. Is that kind of where you’re getting at with that?

Andrea Balogun: Right, right, and I mean I like that you gave a call to action too about getting people to that one link you have so that’s pretty important too, so that people know what the next step is, so …

Bjork Ostrom: What do you do once you’re here, yeah.

Andrea Balogun: Mm-hmm.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. How about other things that are common when you do that kind of initial analysis or audit that would be worth pointing out?

Andrea Balogun: So hopefully people are using Stories or some of these other content types that Instagram provides in terms of reels or even guides which I think are really great for bloggers because in those guides, you can include maybe your top post about a particular ingredient or these are all the recipes we did for October. So utilizing those different content types means that people actually kind of look and see what you’re doing right there on that profile page, and then keeping your highlights, those Story highlights, refreshing if there’s something from two years ago, people would be like ‘ehh.’ But if you’re sharing everything that’s going on recently and those highlights, it gives people a good idea of what they’ll expect to see kind of day to day on your account.

Bjork Ostrom: So the idea being if you have something that’s a little bit outdated, potentially just drop it and making sure that your Stories and highlights are … Well, Stories would be but highlights would be up to date, relatively recent, that it’s not kind of this old, outdated content that exists there.

Andrea Balogun: Right. Yeah. I mean using Stories in general is helpful because people get to see kind of like the not polished stuff if they’re going through your grid, so yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Do you have a sense for … I feel like over the last five years, different areas of Instagram have had more traction in terms of your ability to grow. I’m thinking of a … For instance, this was maybe more than five years ago, but like, “Hey, if you do video, it’s really easy to get a bunch of views.” Like it’s a new thing, Instagram is really promoting that, it’s becoming important, and then eventually there’s enough … My understanding would be like, “Hey, there’s enough video where that isn’t like a little cheat code anymore. It’s essentially just a common practice.” So it’s harder to get exposure just through the type of medium. Is there anything like that within Instagram right now that you get the sense of, “Hey, if you do this type of content, there is a better chance that it will get more exposure,” because Instagram wants to give that medium of content more eyeballs or there’s less competition there maybe?

Andrea Balogun: Right. That’s what it is. Honestly any time they introduce something new, it’s always great to test it or hop on it as soon as you can because there will be not as many people.

Andrea Balogun: Now I do know since they are kind of pushing video, especially for creatives, they’re giving all of these different bonuses to people who are creating reels or if they’re doing Instagram Lives, they have all these bonuses for if you’ve done three or if you’ve done five, they’ll actually give you money to actually create some of these things. I know that they’re also rolling out ads for IGTV, so if it’s something that you’re normally doing in terms of those long-form videos for Instagram or maybe you’re pulling something from YouTube to Instagram, they’ll allow you to monetize those videos with ads. Obviously, they’re slow to go out, some of these things for everyone, but there is opportunity.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure. Sure. How do you know if you have access to that or not? The ads?

Andrea Balogun: You go into your settings and you can look at the Creator section and it will say, “If you can activate these bonuses for the month or for the quarter.” So you just look in the settings and then it will actually kind of pop up under creator accounts and it will say you’re eligible for these bonuses, so they’re really trying to push –

Bjork Ostrom: It’s almost like Lyft or Uber. Like I had a friend who is a Lyft driver, he was like, “If you do three rides in the next week, you’ll get a $50.00 bonus or whatever,” but it’s almost like Instagram doing that where they’re like, “Hey, if you create three types of this content.” Is it literally them just Venmoing you money? Like how does that happen in terms of then sending you money and then what amount would somebody be able to get if they do do some of these monetary bonuses?

Andrea Balogun: I think a lot of people have them linked to like a PayPal, and then you can send it to where … This amount you get it, or it’s like a timing thing. They’ll give it to you at the end of the week or something like that. And just as we were talking about that, they also have these badges where if you’re doing Instagram Live, people can just … A dollar up to five dollars, people can buy these badges and I’ve seen people, it’s just like tips, and I’ve seen people make up to like $100.00 just hopping on Instagram Live and talking about things –

Bjork Ostrom: Instagram Live?

Andrea Balogun: Mm-hmm.

Bjork Ostrom: And that has to be something you enable within the creator section?

Andrea Balogun: Yes. I think it’s more likely that people can do the whole badge thing versus the bonuses. So you’re more likely to have access to the badges doing Instagram Lives versus the bonuses, but they’re really just pushing video, just kind of how you said. If they come up with something different, like these different stickers, that’s always something that boosts your kind of like Instagram story engagement, using all of those different stickers. But yeah, I think right now, it’s video for sure.

Bjork Ostrom: One of the things that’s interesting, I don’t know if this is still happening, but platforms like Snapchat just directly paying people. It’s kind of like YouTube in that way but it seems less standardized and more, “Wait a minute.” You read these stories of people getting $100,000.00 from their Snapchat account. It sounds like Instagram’s is maybe not quite as…

Andrea Balogun: They’re not there yet.

Bjork Ostrom: Connected to the success of … Yeah, they’re not there yet. But do you know anybody or have you read any of those stories of creators on Snapchat getting these super substantial paychecks and what’s your understanding of those situations?

Andrea Balogun: I’ve heard about it more so with TikTok than I have with Snapchat. I feel like it really depends on that person’s following first of all. Like TikTok, you have to have … A lot of people will tell you it’s very easy to get tons of followers on TikTok, I’m like, “Yeah, but you still kind of have to create the content. You just can’t do one or two here and there.”

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. You have to do the work.

Andrea Balogun: Yeah. So I’ve definitely heard about it on TikTok. I feel like Snapchat is a very niche place now than it used to be, so there’s like not as many people. They’ve kind of like flooded people. But I know that program exists, I just don’t know anybody who has benefited from the Snapchat.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure. It feels like kind of the lottery in a sense. Like there are some people who have won the lottery. I don’t know anybody, but it is happening. But just kind of interesting to see people incentivizing kind of creators.

Bjork Ostrom: The other thing I thought was interesting in talking about the different services you offer, this idea of a content planning day. I think that’s really appealing to people who feel kind of overwhelmed by the burden of creating content and doing that forever. We talk about it as feeding the content monster and it’s like he’s never satisfied. He just always wants more food. What do those content planning days look like and any advice for anybody who wants to get more efficient and strategic around planning their content so it doesn’t feel like every day they’re starting at zero?

Andrea Balogun: Right. I think the biggest thing is repurposing content that you may have already created. Especially for bloggers. They’ve created blogs, they may have done some videos, and they don’t know that you can kind of chop up some of that stuff and use it. Posting once is good, but somebody … Especially if you’re relying on social media platforms, they probably need to see it three or four times to make sure that your following can even see that once.

Andrea Balogun: So the first thing I always say is if you have that long-form content, think about creating your content all around this particular long piece of content. That way, you can probably from one blog post have three to four pieces of social media content, and then when you have something like Pinterest where you don’t really have to spend a lot of time, maybe you have a different graphic, three or four different graphics for one blog post. They’re going the same place, but you never know what people are going to see and they’re like, “Ooh, I want to click on this.” So I kind of start there with how many things can get out of something you’ve already created and then also having these content pillars or buckets where these are things I’m always going to talk about and I’ll just kind of like talk about this on Wednesdays. That means all your Wednesdays are scheduled based on that.

Andrea Balogun: Or I’m going to have these tips on Tuesdays, come up with three or four that will just make it easier, and one of the things that I do for myself is kind of like collect things as I go. Maybe I read something this week, and I need to write that, I’m like, “Oh, when I sit down and create my content, I want to use this, so that when I do sit down I may have already created a couple of ideas that I just need to flesh out.” So that’s really the planning that you do.

Andrea Balogun: Once I do it with somebody, I think it’s easier for them to do it on their own because they’ve seen me go through start to finish in terms of scheduling or creating for the full month. But I’ve had a couple be like, “You just do it better,” and so they might come back. Some people might have a photographer that follows them all the time, so there are tons of content to share. But most people don’t, so maybe we need to find some really good stock images or … You never know.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s great, and the thing that I like about the idea of kind of picking different days is sometimes I feel like restrictions make it easier to make decisions, and so having boundaries, it’s not like blue ocean, where do I go, it’s like here’s the path, here are the guardrails. On Tuesday, I always talk, I’m thinking about Food Blogger Pro. On Tuesdays, we always talk about a tip for Google Analytics. It’s like, “Oh, that’s a boundary but it actually makes it easier because then I don’t have limitless options and it doesn’t become analysis paralysis. Like the decision has kind of been made and then you make a micro-decision within that which feels like really helpful.

Bjork Ostrom: There’s kind of a version of that the Pinch of Yum team is where they’ve shifted from doing any recipe any time to doing series-based content. So there’d be like a soup series or SOS series, and that has also made it easier from a content perspective because it’s like, “Okay, for October, we’re just doing soup.” Like that’s just what it is. You ever see people doing –

Andrea Balogun: Right, but you can still think there are so many soups. That still gives you that berth like, I can stay in this room, but there are so many things here.

Bjork Ostrom: Still so many opportunities. Do you ever see that with social where people will do like a series within a month or a time period and kind of depart from like, “Hey, every Tuesday, every Wednesday, I do this. Instead, for the month of October, I’m going to focus on this general area or niche within my broader niche.”

Andrea Balogun: Right. I think I’ve seen a couple people do that actually where if they’re a brand designer, they want to emphasize the return on investment on what a brand designer does with you. So they may talk for the full month about what you should expect a brand design to do for your business, what can you expect to get back. Whether it’s money or if it’s recognition or things like that.

Andrea Balogun: I definitely have done things where I talk about tools I like to use to create content, so I could talk about something each week. I could spend a week on Canva, I could spend a week on Adobe products or I could spend a week on an app. There are so many apps I use or have tried to use. Or a scheduler. I can spend a week on Later. A lot of people like to use Later to schedule their content, so yeah. I think that again makes it so much easier for you to stick to something and not feel overwhelmed, like what am I going to do today. So even if you’re not a person that plans day by day, if you think of it as a week, like this week I’m going to talk about, it still kind of gives you a structure that you wouldn’t have to actually put out on Monday, I’m going to do this Tuesday.

Andrea Balogun: I realize that there are different ways people like to do planning, and everybody might not be able to do it day by day. But if you think of it as a week or maybe a month, then it really does help you not feel overwhelmed by creating content on the fly for sure.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. Do you have a story or an example of somebody that you worked with or follow along with or know who kind of had an unlock in some way. Like hey, they discovered a way to use social and found business success with it. Or maybe they knew how they wanted to use social, and they were able to experience a lot of growth. Any stories that you can give? I always think stories are so impactful and helpful as we think about our own journey.

Andrea Balogun: Yeah. I had a client and we started from scratch, like zero followers. So we did a strategy session and I kind of listened to what her business was going to be about. She was doing candles, vegan candles, but the theme of the candles were like hip hop references or black culture references.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. So like what’s an example of one of the candles? Like the scents would be hip hop references?

Andrea Balogun: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Okay.

Andrea Balogun: Like one of the scents was called House Party from the movie back in the 90s. So she had that. She had another one like Peaches and Cream and then all these things are references to songs or movies during that time.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s so great.

Andrea Balogun: So yeah. Knowing that that was what she was going to talk about then we kind of went through the whole who will you be talking to, how do you think those people will receive your messaging, what kind of things do you want to talk about. So it was easy for her to kind of pull, “Well this is what’s happening right now in the culture.” So one day she might talk about what’s happening right now, or the other time she’ll be promoting and sometimes I said, “Just seeing behind the scenes about maybe how you’re making candles.” There are tons of accounts where people are literally just making things. No real magic, it’s just…

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s just documenting the process of them, yeah, creating.

Andrea Balogun: Yeah. I said, “These are the things you’re already doing, so just document those things and package them for social media.” So we just gave her that system and she launched and grew. She now has her own brick and mortar.

Bjork Ostrom: Cool.

Andrea Balogun: She has over the 10,000 followers people need to do the swipe-up (or now the sticker). So that was very exciting to see somebody starting from zero. I know people are like, “I want to start with so many followers,” I’m like, “Okay,” but starting from zero is awesome because, one you get to see all the growth, but also you know that you’re attracting people who are actually going to buy or book their service, versus starting with maybe your friends who may or may not engage with your content. So that was fun to see her grow and then eventually open an actual store in the middle of the pandemic. So that was awesome.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s really cool. Sorry, go ahead, yeah.

Andrea Balogun: Oh, I didn’t know if you wanted me to say, her account is @candles4theculture.

Bjork Ostrom: Cool.

Andrea Balogun: If anybody wants to check it out.

Bjork Ostrom: We’ll link to that in the show notes too. So one of the things that recently happened this week, this episode won’t come out as close in proximity, but Instagram goes down, Facebook goes down. It’s like … For a lot of businesses, a lot of people that massively shifts how they work and how they operate, how they communicate. I know for us as an example, we had a sponsor content piece that was supposed to go out, it can’t go out, so we have to wait.

Andrea Balogun: Oh no.

Bjork Ostrom: Obviously not a huge deal, we just communicate with the brand and let them know, but what do you feel like were the learnings coming out of that and recommendations that you’d have for people or maybe just kind of reminders of like, “Hey, social is great. It’s super important, but also don’t forget XYZ, forever.”

Andrea Balogun: Right. The biggest thing I would say is have an email list. Because if you were starting some kind of challenge or something that day, you could move it to the next day, but maybe people need to hear from you, to say, “Okay, this is what we’re doing.” So having that email list is gold because you are communicating directly to them. Whether your social media is up or not.

Andrea Balogun: Let’s say you were needing people to come to the website for a sale or something. Having a website is pretty important and being able to go on there and say, “Yes, we know Facebook and Instagram is down, but our shop is still open.” Or something like that. I would also tell people not to just have Facebook and Instagram. Maybe your client isn’t even there, maybe they’re on LinkedIn or a lot of people use Pinterest now as their Google. So I’m just a big cheerleader of diversifying the platforms and not feeling like you have to be on all of them, but just enough to where you can maintain or manage without missing stuff that’s going on in your business.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, it’s almost like … We talk about that in regards to social platforms and I think some times people feel burdened with, “Man, I have to be on everything and produce all the content everywhere,” and there’s something to be said about doing one platform really well, getting traction there, until you have the bandwidth or resources to build out, either hire somebody or maybe you just have more time. Like for you, you make the transition from side hustle to main hustle, suddenly you’re able to do more. I think that exists for other creators as well, but to not forget about those other platforms that might be important considerations.

Bjork Ostrom: For us, we think we don’t really do anything on TikTok, and so it’s like that’s a question for us. We probably have the bandwidth with our team to do it, but we’ve just kind of neglected it, so what does that look like to start to think about creating content on that platform. As we come … Well go ahead, share that thought.

Andrea Balogun: Oh no. I was agreeing in terms of once you feel like you’ve had those platforms down, if you have some more space to move somewhere else or maybe repurpose of the content you already did somewhere else, and see … Let’s see how this does on this new platform, then yeah, that’s a good thing to kind of transition into.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. How about the email piece? So that’s obviously an important piece. For people who feel like they have success on certain platforms, whether that be Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, maybe it is their blog. What are your recommendations for starting to introduce email to your followers as another place and another area where people should be following along with and engaging and just signing up for that in general?

Andrea Balogun: I think transitioning to email marketing means that you have a bigger audience that you know for sure will see your content. I always tell people it’s not always guaranteed that people will see what you’re doing on Instagram, so using your email list. I think a lot of people used to be scared of email lists because it’s like, “Well what do I say if I’m not on selling anything or whatever.” I think it’s got a little easier because people are treating an email list like a social media platform in terms of just kind of either giving the same messaging or expounding a little bit on like you may have seen the post today, but here’s my extra thoughts on it. Or sending out a video that people can directly engage within their inbox and then respond if they have questions. Having that back to forth sometimes feels a little more personable than social media. So I always just think email lists feel like you’re really connecting versus whatever you’re getting when people are scrolling through social media. So nurturing that audience means that you’ll probably get a better response when it’s time to sell something.

Bjork Ostrom: Yep. Yep. When your candle launches.

Andrea Balogun: Mm-hmm.

Bjork Ostrom: I’m looking at the site right now and I’m trying to see. When the poison, that’s one of them, poison candle launches, Black Girl Magic. So great. You have those big launches. So my guess is, in a conversation like this, we get through it and people are like, “I want to be doing this. I want to be doing it better, and I also don’t want to be the one making the decisions on best practice for doing this.” It’s obviously why your business exists. Can you talk a little bit about what that is and how people can get in touch with you if they would be interested in working with you and maybe the best first step into doing that?

Andrea Balogun: Sure. Yeah, I think a lot of people will find me through Instagram, so if you start there, @andreabalogun on Instagram, and then I usually give a call-to-action to either DM me, I’m not afraid of having conversations and DMs that eventually lead to bookings or the link in my Instagram goes to my website which is balogunstrategydesign.com, and on my website of course lists all of the packages or services I provide. I also design Squarespace websites, so you’ll see that too if you go to my website. But that’s usually the first step because again, like I said, systems … It’s the best way to get into my system, to make sure that I…

Bjork Ostrom: Yep, store it in the same place. Everybody’s coming in, same area, yeah. The last question that I have for you Andrea. So having recently made this transition to working on your business full-time, what would your encouragements, recommendations, advice be for other people who are looking to transition their side hustle into their main hustle? What would you say those people?

Andrea Balogun: The first thing or maybe one of the most important things is having a great support system. Entrepreneurship can get kind of … I don’t want to say lonely, but you can get into your own head and you’re not really having productive or positive conversations with yourself. So having a group of friends that are either entrepreneurs too or having a really supportive partner that kind of gives you the time, like you need to focus on this. Having that support is really, really huge. Especially because business goes up and down. On Sunday, Monday, I might need to watch something really motivational to just pump me up for the week, and having that support is vital for me.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s amazing how close together my good days and bad days can be. It’s like, “Wait, shouldn’t there be some kind of slow transition into really good and then over a two-week period maybe it goes to bad,” but it’s like, “No, there’s like a 12-hour transition.” So it can happen real quick.

Andrea Balogun: Yes. I’ve told people, if once a day I need to throw on the Hamilton soundtrack to just pump me up, I will do it.

Bjork Ostrom: What is your go-to Hamilton pump-up song?

Andrea Balogun: One Shot is pretty…

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Andrea Balogun: It’s pretty motivational.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s at the top. Yeah, it has to be, yeah.

Andrea Balogun: And something about listening honestly to a lot of just movie soundtracks, period, because the music is always trying to get you to be pumped up or moving. So I’ve been listening to a lot of those…

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s like created to emote. Like there’s emotions meant to be attached to it, yeah.

Andrea Balogun: Yeah, but Hamilton’s been one of the ones this summer that I had to listen to. Just like, “All right. I can get through the rest of my day.”

Bjork Ostrom: I’m going to cue that up immediately after this. That’s great, and I think an important reminder for people that even though you are … Like in your case would maybe be at a place where you’d consider, like would you ever consider yourself a solopreneur? Do you have a team that you’re working with?

Andrea Balogun: Nope. It’s just me right now. There’ve been a couple times where I need to outsource some things, but it’s really just me. Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and I can remember that point as well, and the idea of like you’re an entrepreneur, you’re building your business, and to your point, especially when it’s an online business, it’s not like you have a brick and mortar store where people are coming in and you’re interacting with them. It’s like it’s just you on your own, and that community is so important. How did you find that group of people?

Andrea Balogun: At first sometimes … I have some people that I know in real life that are cool. I have met a lot of people online being a part of other mastermind groups or other Facebook groups, other people’s Facebook groups and just end up connecting that way. I had started doing public speaking at some of these online summits, and so I met a lot of people that way. So just making meaningful connections on social media has been awesome because I think a lot of people are kind of like going through the same thing and if you kind of talk about that, then you’ll find some of the same people responding, so yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Yeah. That’s great, and sometimes to your point takes you being willing to share the thing that then resonates with other people and they say, “I feel that and I see that and I understand that,” and that can be such a great connection point.

Andrea Balogun: Mm-hmm.

Bjork Ostrom: Andrea, great conversation. Really appreciate you coming on, sharing your story and excited for folks to be able to connect with you and learn from you and hopefully work with you as well, so thanks for coming on.

Andrea Balogun: Yeah. Thanks for having me.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s a wrap for this episode. Thanks for tuning in. Thanks to Andrea for coming on and sharing her insights and advice and expertise. Much appreciated.

Bjork Ostrom: If you haven’t yet, go ahead and subscribe to the podcast. I think it’s actually called follow in some places because some in the podcast app for Apple because they realized people thought that if you subscribed, that you’d have to pay for it and this podcast and most podcasts you don’t have to pay for, they’re free, so go ahead and follow. That will allow you to get notified whenever a new episode comes out.

Bjork Ostrom: Also make sure to jump into the different social channels for Food Blogger Pro. We have an Instagram account, we’ve had a couple reels that have done really well recently which is kind of fun. Check out the reel from Casey, the interview we did with Casey, as well as the one with Liz. This is the first time ever where Food Blogger Pro has had 70, 80,000 views on a reel, so props to Alexa and Leslie on the Food Blogger Pro team who do such a great job putting all of the pieces together for the podcast and the different places where you might see us out and about on the internet.

Bjork Ostrom: For any Food Blogger Pro members, if you haven’t logged in for a couple weeks, make sure to jump in and check out the new dashboard we just launched. There’s a goals area where you can designate kind of what your focus is, if you’re just starting, if you’re wanting to do SEO, traffic monetization, video, ads, and what that will do is that will jump you into an area within Food Blogger Pro that highlights all of those … Kind of the topics on that that you can dive deep on. So for SEO, it will highlight the Yoast SEO course, the understanding recipe plugins course, the Google Search consult course, and it will also show you the most recent forum discussion posts. So for example, when I’m looking at the forum discussions that are coming up around SEO, somebody’s posting about declining organic traffic and people are weighing in on how that can help. Somebody says, “I have a website where it’s only recipe cards. Is that hurting my SEO?” Somebody’s asking about updating photos but keeping the old photo URL. Unique image names for SEO, so these are all forum topics where people are posting and having conversations around best practice as it relates to those certain topics they want to talk about.

Bjork Ostrom: We have the live Q&As, podcast episodes which are all kind of rounded up. Obviously, you can listen to those for free, and all of that is available with this new dashboard that we launched. There’s also an industry news area where Food Blogger Pro team members can post any relevant and important news. The most recent one is the announcement about Instagram’s link stinkers that are rolling out to everybody. So on the dashboard, there’s an area to kind of highlight that as well as some recent conversations that are happening on the forum and highlighting active members. So it’s really cool. We’re really excited about it and make sure to jump in and check that out, follow along. If you’re not a member you can go to foodbloggerpro.com.

Bjork Ostrom: You don’t have to become a member right away, but you can just sign up for the email list there and we’ll kind of talk you through what’s involved, see if you might be interested, and along the way, our hope is that we can deliver value even in talking about what it might look like to be a member of Food Blogger Pro, and we start that off by talking about kind of 16 different ways that you could potentially be creating an income from your blog. There’s a lot of different ways it can happen, and you can find out that by going to foodbloggerpro.com and you’ll see that right away right at the top there. So thanks for tuning in. Thanks for being a part of this. We wouldn’t be able to do this podcast without people actually downloading it and listening to it and we really appreciate that. So signing off, this is Bjork, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, actually Shoreview, Minnesota. It’s a suburb of the Twin Cities but we just say Minneapolis and we hope that you can have a great week and that this podcast helps you get a tiny bit better every day forever. That’s why we’re here. Thanks.

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