Episode 23: Making Sales Social: Digital Strategies to Grow Your Business with Mandy McEwen
In this episode, Brynne and Bill are with Mandy McEwen, Founder & CEO at Mod Girl Marketing. Listen as they discuss how digital marketing had transformed in the social selling world, and how should you as a thought leader, present yourself.
Mandy McEwen 0:01
Making sales social to me, honestly, just means being a human being when you’re selling, right, so that’s what social media is for. That’s what social is, It’s about that human-to-human connection.
Bill McCormick 0:13
That’s so good.
Intro (Bob Woods) 0:17
Welcome to the Making Sales Social podcast, featuring the top voices in sales and marketing. Join hosts Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick. As they discuss the best tips and strategies, they are teaching their clients so you can leverage them for your own virtual and social selling. Here are your hosts, Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick.
Bill McCormick 0:43
Welcome to Making Sales Social, I’m Bill McCormick and I’m Brynne Tillman. So Brynne, who’s our guest today?
Brynne Tillman 0:49
We have one of our new partners and good friends, Mandy McEwen, who I am so excited about because he has a whole perspective on content and thought leadership that our audience is going to get so much value from. So hi, Mandy.
Mandy McEwen 1:08
Hello, thanks so much for having me. (Brynne) Thanks for being here. Just share a little bit about you. (Mandy) Yes, for sure. So I am the founder and CEO of an agency called Mod Girl Marketing that I created back in 2010, and we focus on building influential personal brands for executives, entrepreneurs, and executive teams leveraging LinkedIn, primarily but of course we also leverage the other lovely social channels and we are all about organic thought leadership marketing at Mod Girl.
Bill McCormick 1:41
So great, so Mandy we ask every guest on the show, the very first question we asked them all this. So what does making sales social mean to you?
Mandy McEwen 1:52
Making sales social to me, honestly, just means being a human being when you’re selling, right? So that’s what social media is for, that’s what social is, it’s about that human-to-human connection. And so when I hear you know, social selling, that’s what it is. To me, it’s building those relationships socially, and allowing the world to see how amazing you are and your organization is, by sharing those things socially, but not as a one sided arena, right? It’s all about giving value, engaging, building relationships, it’s not just “let’s throw a bunch of stuff out on social and the sales are going to come in”, right, it’s about the people, the people behind it.
Bill McCormick 2:36
That’s so good, so good. And what I’m excited about today is the last few weeks we’ve been really heavy on the sales side. And so this week, we get to talk to a Marketing Pro. And so the next question I guess, where I want to go with this is, you know, from the digital marketing world, how do you-what do you teach your clients how to transform that into the social selling world?
Mandy McEwen 3:02
So good question there, it’s, it’s interesting how things have shifted to just really, I would say, just the last five years on really in the last last year, since the pandemic, but before you know, when I started out as a digital marketer back in 2007, that kind of a wild west there was really no emphasis on the human-to-human connection when it came to digital marketing. It was just let’s throw up a bunch of SEO friendly like keyword stuffed blog articles and I did the same thing right let’s get it ranked on Google throw up some PPC ads and let’s drive some sales you know, that was it for a long time a lead magnets and send people to a free download. And then let’s send them a ton of email, you know, drip emails, and you know, call it good. And this new shift, thank the Lord that’s been happening, is on the human-to-human, you know, social aspect of it, and really coming from a place of value and showcasing the humans behind your brand. But not only that, but building quality relationships and helping people. It’s not just about, you know, throwing stuff out there and making sales, it’s about genuinely making an impact, because not only do you help and inspire the communities that you’re in, and people that follow you, but it comes back tenfold to you because you’re building up your authority. And I say you in a sense of a brand in general, right? It could be an individual, it could be a company in general, but you’re building this up. And so you’re this trusted authority that people you know, they respect and they trust, and there’s so much value there because people are coming to you. Not only that, but you’re able to positively impact and inspire the industry you’re in.
Brynne Tillman 4:42
So I love that I want to go one deeper on that. Okay, yeah. So I want to touch on the authority piece and the thought leadership piece. What does it take to show up as a thought leader and to be that authority?
Mandy McEwen 4:49
A lot more people think, so for one mindset is huge. And you have to have the confidence that you are the authority figure and that these are subject matter experts within organizations too, right? So working with a company like we, we want people that are confident in their expertise and their knowledge and their experiences. So one is confidence, right? Confidence. I mean, knowledge is first if you have to know what the heck you’re talking about, right? And be experienced in it. But the second thing is mindset and confidence and knowing that what you have genuinely is valuable, and your unique experiences are valuable, and it can make a difference in your organization and for people, right? So that’s one and the second thing is you have to show up, you have to be consistent. You can’t just throw some stuff up one week, and then take a break for two weeks and then do it again. Right? So it’s it’s mindset, you know, competence, and then consistency, honestly, and we’re not even like, these are so important. I’m not even talking about content, right? I’m talking about the value of content, just those two things alone. If you don’t have them, then it’s pointless, don’t even try.
Brynne Tillman 6:09
And then one more, one more I have to go. What do you do to capture that confidence and that knowledge?
Mandy McEwen 6:17
Ego boosting. So obviously capturing, you know, the genius, as you say, Brynne, from, you know, from people’s brains and putting it out there, but it gives you feedback along the way, right? So and this is whether you work with someone or whether you’re doing this internally with your team, it’s so important to give people the confidence, because even the most confident leaders in the world, they still need people to tell them yeah, this is good. Yeah, this is gonna make a difference, right. And then just getting different perspectives on that. But it’s all about teamwork, whether you’re working with a, you know, an outsourced provider, like you or I, or whether you’re doing this internally, it really is a group effort. And so you have to encourage your people to you know, continue on and in even if you do something and it flops, right, like you can’t just be like “I quit no more” like you have to, you know, you have to keep going and realize that not everything is going to be a home run. So it’s a lot of, you know, a lot of group efforts and feedback and just constant you know, “yes, this is right. Yes, it’s on the right track. Yeah, that’s great. Or how about we do this”, you know, so it’s, it’s a lot of feedback and brainstorming.
Brynne Tillman 7:28
I love that. All right, Bill, back to you.
Bill McCormick 7:30
The curveball, how has digital marketing changed since a year ago?
Mandy McEwen 7:37
That is a good question. Well, considering that there are no longer loads of in person conferences, right. So for one digital marketing changes, where you know, mostly everything’s online, virtual right, virtual events and conferences and, and companies are now realizing that they have to pay more attention to social because they don’t, they aren’t going to these massive trade shows every, you know, quarter whenever, however, frequently we’re doing it, and conferences. And so what’s changed is people realizing that they have to be doing this, right. So companies have already, obviously, every company’s been on the social media bandwagon, but I don’t think people have been taking it as seriously as they have, you know, in this past year, because they had to take it seriously. So that’s one. The second thing is, which I’ve been talking about the entire time since we’ve, we’ve been chatting here is more of that human connection, because people crave that more than anything, especially now that we don’t have as much in person interactions as we do now. So you have to be more human in everything you do. And you have to humanize your brand and that’s what we do at Mod Girl. We help humanize brands, so it’s not so stale and you’re not just posting the boring lane content that no one cares or how. You have to be, you know storytelling right? More storytelling is more important than ever and then leveraging human stories, so talk more about customer stories, employees stories, so really just leveraging more of the human elements behind digital and social.
Brynne Tillman 9:12
I love that, that authenticity is a huge–(Mandy) Authenticity, yes, 100%.
Bill McCormick 9:16
It’s gigantic, so I think what I heard you say is there are a lot of companies now that are on social. There’s a lot of noise now on social and on digital platforms. Yeah, so what is it that you’re teaching your clients in digital marketing to do better to stand out from the competition?
Mandy McEwen 9:36
Yeah, good question. Think outside the box and try new things. So don’t do what everyone else is doing and you’re going to look like everyone else. So we have to get creative here, we have to leave with the hook right and the end the copy and, and get creative on what questions we ask people to get them to engage. And it’s really just testing out new things. Let’s try out different media. Let’s try videos like Try, you know, to upload a document. I mean, there’s so many different ways to get creative. And I feel like that is something that a lot of companies lack. And I think it’s just because they–a lot of marketing teams have so much on their plate. And so they’re just like, let’s just throw up some posts, like we have to, we have to post on social media, you know, and they just get in this habit of just let’s just throw plays, blog posts, you know, and then you look like everyone else. And so it’s taking it a step further and thinking, how can we stand out? Like, what can we do to make us stand out from the crowd? And how can we leverage the humans in our company to do that, and our customers to do that, and so it’s, a lot of it is experimentation. To be honest, though, I’m trying new things. And a lot of companies are afraid of that, especially old school companies, because they don’t know any better. Like that’s all they know, is doing the same thing over and over again. So it takes people coming in that are like, “okay, let’s encourage the trying new things”. Because that’s really how you grow is you step outside of your comfort zone, and you innovate, and you try new things, and some things are gonna work and some things aren’t. And that’s okay, once you find something that works, then you can say “Okay, let’s rinse and repeat and try new things based off of that”.
Brynne Tillman 11:07
Can I jump into asking you a story? To tell something that you’ve done with a client, you don’t have to name them, but just generally, that was sounding like everyone else and getting lost in the noise. What did you do with them that got them to really stand out? And potentially what result did they get?
Mandy McEwen 11:32
Yeah, so there’s, there’s a lot here, but I will say I’m taking a different look. So we had a client in a particular industry that all looked the same, they were doing something a little bit different in the same industry, but in a slightly different way. And so we did, we got them on camera and did videos, but we did it, the content was positioned in a way that built them up as the authority but got people involved and engaged. And I feel like that’s missing from a lot of companies is the engagement perspective. Because if you go when you book, its social media posts from companies, I don’t care if it’s on LinkedIn, or Facebook, wherever, a lot of them are not. They’re not purposely getting engagement. They’re not asking questions and getting people to comment, right? So that is huge. And so when you make that shift for people, and you’re like, hey, let’s create posts that create engagement and start conversations let’s be known as people who start dieting meaningful conversations, not pointless, compared to meaningful conversations. Oh, my goodness, so much amazing things can come out of that. And so I would say that part of like, let’s transform your content to not just be so Oh, all about us. Look at me, look at me, like how great we are, go to our website, let’s start a dialogue and not even send people to your website all the time. I mean, you can, but you don’t have to do that in every post, you know. And I know you guys are with me on this. But so many companies feel like every single post they make they have to send a link back to their website, or their blog, or video, whatever. And that’s not the case. And so, you know, the long the long short diversion is engagement, I think focusing on a more engaging content strategy is what we’ve seen really transform with our clients.
Brynne Tillman 13:18
One of the things we have seen that does that are polls, (Mandy) polls, yep. (Brynne) Putting out polls and asking for their point of view. (Mandy) Yes. (Brynne) It seems to get some great engagement. Do you have any other tips on a question that you might ask or something that will elicit engagement?
Mandy McEwen 13:35
It really depends on you know, I like asking, like, experiences like, “what has your experience been?” Or have you ever experienced something like this? Or tell us a story in the comments about what you have found in a situation like this? You know, I like asking those types.(Brynne) Oh, those are great.(Mandy) Yeah. Because people usually give longer than two word responses. And that’s what you want. You want people to think, you know, so I like asking questions like that.
Brynne Tillman 14:02
So love that, we’re going to use that.
Bill McCormick 14:04
We are going to use that. And one of the things that we’ve seen, even with the polls, with that really increased our clients engagement, has been actually taking that and getting it as Brynne says, into the inbox, actually sending it to people via messenger on LinkedIn. And yes, asking them to engage in it. We love that our clients come back and say, I’ve got more engagement on a post and more views of a post that I’ve ever had ever in my life. And so that’s been really, really good. You talk quite a bit about consistency. So in digital marketing, is there something, is there one thing that you tell your clients, that if they do it consistent, that thing consistently, it’s going to open up and create new opportunities for them?
Mandy McEwen 14:55
Yeah, I mean content for us, right. So content and outreach is my thing and you guys are the sales, you know, sales experts here. So I know you’re not gonna disagree with me there. But constantly getting in front of your target audience and constantly posting valuable content, not just throwing stuff up for the sake of tearing it up, right? So be consistent with your content and be consistent with your outreach, whatever that looks like, you know that your BDR team, going out and building relationships on LinkedIn? Whether it’s cold email, I mean, you have to be doing both consistently if you really want to move the needle.
Brynne Tillman 15:30
So what do you say is cold email? versus like an opt in email? What do you think cold emails really work? Or–
Mandy McEwen 15:39
I do. Yeah, even though it’s kind of, you know, depending on where you live, taboo, right, the whole GDPR thing. But no, it works well, especially when you combine it with LinkedIn, you know, because it’s not, it’s not as cold when you are connecting with people on LinkedIn, and then you send them a email, a cold email that’s like, “Hey, we recently connected on LinkedIn, you know, we do XYZ is anything we help you with”. So it’s just kind of taking that an extra step. But we found actually, a lot of our B2B clients we found really good results with.
Brynne Tillman 16:12
Immediately tell them what you do, before you’ve added value.
Mandy McEwen 16:15
Oh, not really, it’s just a quick little, like a one sentence-ish on what the client does, but nothing very salesy. It’s just like a high level, you know, let us know if we can help you with x, y, z type, like that’s the approach we take, like, Is there anything we can do to help you with the whatever.
Brynne Tillman 16:34
Do you ever send content or ask permission to send content, because that’s our big thing. You know, it’s like, thanks so much for connecting with me on LinkedIn, I’m not sure if you’re leveraging LinkedIn for your business development. But if you are, I have some great resources around x and y. If you’re interested, let me know I’m happy to send a link.
Mandy McEwen 16:51
I like that approach a lot better than a lot of people do, is they just send the content. And that is such a turn off for the majority of LinkedIn users, because so many people are doing that right now. So yes, I’m all about that. But what I say is to our clients, and to members that I coaches, you know, see what they’re saying in the dialogue, and then customize that based on what content works best, you know, so like, once you’re talking to someone, and they’re like, Oh, this is their challenge, then of course, you can write back and be like, Oh, actually, I think you would love this new, you know, five step record, we put out on what you just said you need help with, and then send it so I am with you on the back of like asking or sending them after they gave you information instead of just blanketly sending out which we get all the time. I’m sure you guys do too, you know, we just came up with this new report, and they just blasted it to everyone with no context, you know, so I’m with you, but in a, you know, in a strategic way.
Bill McCormick 17:47
Awesome, and I’d say, you know, making sure they actually connected with the person on LinkedIn, I’ve gotten probably four emails in the last couple of weeks. And we recently connected on LinkedIn, and I made it there with you. And like, No, we didn’t connect,(Mandy) actually, you’re wrong. (Bill) You pitched me on LinkedIn first, and I didn’t take your connection request. So you brought up the opposite worlds. So you’re in marketing, and you said, well, you guys are in sales. So as we all know, in the world, there’s this little competition or maybe butting of heads between sales and marketing. A lot of the folks that are gonna be listening to this, this show are from sales, what advice would you give them to work better with the marketing department?
Mandy McEwen 18:35
Smarketing, I worked with a gal for a long time. And she calls it smarketing, sales and marketing. And they have to go hand in hand. So my tip is, the more information you give your marketing team, the better off everyone is going to be, because us as marketers, we’re not sitting on your sales calls, we’re not sitting on your demos. Like we don’t know the questions these people are asking your prospect. So you have got to have an amazing relationship with your marketing team if you want to make big things happen in your organization. So it’s all about that open communication and giving the marketing team what they need and that is gold.
Mandy McEwen 19:12
Yeah that, so right there. If you’re listening, I hope you wrote that down. And I hope as soon as you get off of this webinar, you email, call, send flowers, buy chocolate for coffee for your marketing person and say, “hey, let’s get on a zoom call, and let’s talk about how we can work together”. Yes, I totally agree with that. Because while we’re salespeople, we also are de facto marketers, because we do stuff art for ourselves. So we’ve had to really, really learn that and we are still learning and one of the things I’d say and you You said it you know, you don’t know the questions that they’re hearing the salespeople hearing. And that’s so very important because that is the content that you need to be writing to a person To the needs that they’re hearing. So somebody important.
Mandy McEwen 20:05
Yeah, and there’s such a big disconnect, I feel like with a lot of organizations with sales and marketing and you know, they blame each other. And if you look at their contents, and it’s clear that they’re not, they don’t have a great relationship with, you know, sales and marketing team, like it’s rather obvious, you know, or they wouldn’t have stale, boring, you know, digital campaigns.
Brynne Tillman 20:24
Well, we were working on a joint client right now, we’ll name them, but we’ve done all the sales training, but their sales and marketing are siloed. And so you’ve been–introduced you in and they’re thrilled and you’re now bridging that gap by interviewing the executives for the thought leadership and the sales people for the thought leadership and bringing that the content to them. So that marketing now is producing not just content that they want to produce, but that the end user their clients want to consume. So it’s pretty exciting.
Mandy McEwen 21:05
Yeah, it’s, it’s so powerful too, when you do that. It’s just setting up systems inside the organization to make sure that, you know, sales is actually relaying information that needs to be related to marketing. You know, it’s, it’s simple, but when you’ve been doing it for such a long time, the old school way, it’s not as simple for these companies. You know, they’ve been doing it that way for a long time. The concept is simple, but it’s just like ingraining that in their brain. So like, let’s go up the system now to where we are consistent with communicating with sales and marketing.
Bill McCormick 21:36
It seems it always comes back to communication, right? (Mandy) 100% Yep. Mandy this has been so good. So many great nuggets. I took notes, the whole user experience, and I forget how you said it. I’ve got to go back. And but you have your unique experience, your unique user experience. I’m going to use that for sure. So thank you for giving me that–(Brynne)For giving us stuff to talk about. (Bill) Yeah, exactly. So thank you for giving me content. So how can the listeners stay in touch with you, check you out, work with you?
Mandy McEwen 22:12
Yeah, for sure. So LinkedIn obviously is a great place to connect, maybe McEwen, but modgirlmarketing.com, you can check out our website. We just recently launched a new brand, which is linked on there, Lumenetics, which is our LinkedIn specific thought leadership brand. So you can check that out. But yeah, modgirlmarketing.com, and LinkedIn really are the best places.
Bill McCormick 22:32
Fantastic. Well, Mandy thanks so much for being with us.
Mandy McEwen 22:36
Of course. Thanks for having me.
Bill McCormick 22:37
Thanks for once again, tuning in here to Making Sales Social. Bye-Bye, everyone.
Brynne Tillman 22:42
Thank you Mandy so much. Bye-Bye.
Outro (Bob Woods) 22:46
Thanks for listening and join us again for more special guest instructors, bringing you marketing, sales training, and social selling strategies that will set you apart. Don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest episodes from the Making Sales Social podcasts. Leave a review down below, tell us what you think, what you learned, and what you want to hear from us next. You can also listen to us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Visit our website socialsaleslink.com for more information.