What’s the best search engine around?

If you said Google, you’re probably right, but something else is catching up quicker than you think (and no, it’s not Microsoft Bing).

It’s social media.

My guest, Erin Ollila, an esteemed podcaster and storytelling expert with a rich background in copywriting, joins me to explore how and why social media is increasingly becoming the preferred search engine of millions.

This isn’t a trend to look at, it’s an evolution that businesses can take advantage of to better connect and serve their online communities.

Listen in and discover the seismic shift in search behavior, particularly among Gen Z, the underestimated power of repetition in marketing, and the long-term SEO game that outlasts instant social media gratification.

In this episode of the podcast, we talk about:

  • How TikTok started the social media search engine evolution
  • Strategies for optimizing your content with keywords
  • The value of recycling content to fit long-term goals
  • Erin’s Thesis on social media’s influence on personal storytelling
  • Differences between follow-for-follow and building authentic connections
  • Erin’s tough decision to leave X, formerly known as Twitter

This Episode Was Made Possible By:

Riverside All-in-One Podcast & Video Platform
Visit Riverside and use the code DREA to get 15% off any Riverside individual plan. We use it to record all our podcast interviews!

Digital Brain PowerPack
Your past content has stories, insights, and value that deserves another day in the spotlight.

The Digital Brain PowerPack guides you in the tools and methods I use for my done-for-you clients to resurface your content treasures, allowing you to tell richer, deeper stories without the constant pressure of starting from scratch.

About the Guest:

Conversion copywriter. Copy Coach. Wing Woman. Word slinger. No matter what you call her, Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience.

When she’s not working with big brands and small businesses to marry strategy, storytelling, and SEO, you can find her hosting the Talk Copy to Me podcast or exploring southeastern MA with her family and friends. Erin graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and then co-founded Spry Literary Journal, which celebrates undiscovered and established writers' concise, experimental, hybrid, modern, vintage or just-plain-vulnerable writing.


Resources mentioned:

Grab Erin's Free SEO Checklist

Watch the Episode Below:


Andréa Jones (00:00):
I've talked about this before on the podcast, but social media is becoming a search platform. SEO search engine optimization is becoming even more important. Yes, on our favorite social platforms like TikTok. And today I have Erin Ollila on the podcast to talk all about it. Let's get into it.

Before we get into it, this episode is sponsored by Riverside, which is the all-in-one podcasting tool we now use for our show. And y'all, they feel super luxurious. Riverside is the all-in-one podcasting and video platform that gives you studio quality recordings right inside your browser and y'all, it's super intuitive and easy to use. Once your recording is done, you'll be able to automatically download separate audio and video tracks and edit it all within a few clicks. It's really very easy. So head over to Riverside and you'll get 15% off. That's one 5% off using my code Drea, DREA at checkout. But y'all, it's free to get started, so click the link in the show notes and get started today.

Erin Ollila (00:59):
Hey, thanks so much for having me.

Andréa Jones (01:01):
I'm so excited, Erin, because I know you come from a copywriting expertise. You have this beautiful background in storytelling. You're also a podcaster. You have so many creative modalities that you play in, and so I'm really excited to just pick your brain today. And I know that you actually, this goes way back, you started your, I shouldn't say started, but you have a career in this because your PhD thesis was in social media. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Erin Ollila (01:37):
Okay, so I'm going to correct you a little. Not that I don't want to have a PhD because I've been dying to add the word doctor to my name, but it's actually an MFA, so I cannot claim the full PhD, although if anyone wants to call me Dr. Ola, I will happily answer to that. You are right though. Overall though, my MFA program was a really full-term long study of the idea of writing. And instead of just writing a thesis of a body of work for our own creative writing, we actually had to spend an entire semester doing a critical thesis and study something that was important to both our genre and my genre was creative nonfiction, which is essay and memoir and something about the world around us. So at the time, and I'm an old lady here, so at the time, this was in the early two thousands, I think maybe 2010 ish, social media was definitely a public thing.

It wasn't just for college students anymore, but it wasn't used for business. It wasn't used in the ways that we use it these days. So what I did was for my critical thesis, I studied how what we post on social media is actually writing our own mini memoirs for us. So it was the idea behind what are you sharing and the statuses, the posts now what you'd call things like stories and reels that we're sharing very often have a backstory to them. So what you may see in someone's text posts, let's say now on threads or previously on Twitter and Facebook, there's usually a story that influences what gets shared and you don't get the whole story. So how does the sum of all these statuses kind of build into a larger story about who a person is? Fast forward to today, how does what we share for our business and our personal lives build this fuller autobiography? I guess you can say now of who we are as individuals and what we stand for in our businesses?

Andréa Jones (03:42):
Yeah. Oh, that's such a fascinating take because I do think sometimes as business owners we think very short term, this is what I have to promote right now, or this is what the message that I want to share today. And really what you're doing is you're building a body of work digitally online, even outside of social media with your blogs and your podcasts and your YouTube videos, you're building a history there that people can go back and peruse and look at. No pressure though. No pressure.

Erin Ollila (04:14):
And they do, if you think about it. So we're talking today more about how to get found using social for your business and obviously ideally how to convert with the social that you're creating. So we have to think that this cannot be something that's like subconsciously done or unconsciously done, this creation of content that we're doing because people in your audience who you do not know at all have found you and they are a hundred percent judging you in your business on what you have shared. So there's that body of work that you've created. So all of these people that you're hoping to attract, you have to convince them that you are the right person for them. And not that I say this as in the pressure is there do a good job. It's that we have to make decisions about what do we want to stand for, what do we want to showcase?

How do we want our expertise to come across? And I think where people go wrong so often on social media is that they share reflexively trending topics are great. They actually do help in some ways when it comes to SEO on social media. But if a trending topic is not related to your overall business, your overall way that you want to show up and brand yourself, I guess I'd say, then it's not going to be beneficial for you, right? It's the idea of virality. How do you say that word? You definitely know. I'm like, all right, I definitely was thought I was butchering it. But it's the idea of why do you want to go viral and how could it potentially help your business goals? The exact same thing implies for search. So why do you want to be found and what are both your long and short term goals on getting found on social media? It's really important to consider that before you start deciding what content that you're going to use to do that job for you.

Andréa Jones (06:11):
Yeah. Oh, that is so spot on because it's so easy to get caught up in those trends in the, what's the flash in the van popular thing today, when in reality you can leverage them to be found, but you want to do it strategically in a way that still makes sense for your business. There's so many stories I've heard over the years of people who go viral for something silly that they posted and then they come to me and my agency going, okay, I went viral, but none of these people matter to my business now. And I'm like, well, basically means nothing.

Erin Ollila (06:46):
And it's kind of harder then because we talk about algorithms, and one of the things when it comes to SEO specifically on social media is that while the algorithm does not appear to be something that you can influence as the person putting in the effort to optimize things, the algorithm plays a large role because what all of the social platforms are doing is paying attention to who is listening to you, who's watching you, and how they're interacting with your content. So let's say I got found today for propagating plants. I say that I have a couple plant propagations on my desk around me, and I went viral for maybe, let's say a really funny container that I put my plant propagations in and I gained, I dunno, let's say 10,000 followers from this. The algorithms now think I'm a plant lady, they don't recognize me for content.

So I have to put a massive amount of work in to remind the algorithms that those 10,000 people are not getting what they want, which is already making me look bad in the quote algorithm's eyes, which is the best way to describe it, because I'm not giving them that gardening content now. And for all of those people, I kind of need to get it to the point where they're not seeing me anymore so I can get into the eyes of the people who want to see me for and content. So being viral needs to be strategic or even just kind of gaining traction, gaining followers needs to be strategic. It's why all of these follow for follow things never work when it comes to people like posting in groups like, oh, follow me and I'll follow you. Well, if you are, let's say someone who helps teachers leave their jobs and start their business, and I am someone who has a construction company, how are we benefiting each other? How are these following things working? Unless we both can find a common ground and actually want to work together, it just never works.

Andréa Jones (08:43):
Yeah. And I think it just feeds into that ego piece that we have as business owners where we go, oh, just the pure number of followers matters. Totally. We're all there. We're all there. So I want to dive deeper into search on social. My platform of choice right now is a tie between Instagram and LinkedIn. The threads is making me really happy, but TikTok, I spent an egregious amount of time there because I'm studying it and it impacts so much of the other platforms, and they're actively branding themselves as a search engine. Talk to us about what does this even mean?

Erin Ollila (09:27):
Yeah, well, they're rightfully branding themselves as a search engine. I don't know the exact stat at this point in time of when we're recording, but in the end of 2022, I think the stat was that Gen Z individuals went, I think it was almost 50% of Gen Z individuals went straight to TikTok to search things out. And they're not just searching like T-shirts and clothes to wear. They're searching location-based things, which I found incredibly interesting. Meaning let's say you have early adult, late teenagers going on vacation with their family. They would search restaurants, the location, they would search activities, the location, so they would find results from average individuals, what I like to call micro influencers myself. Let's say if I'm posting about my town and they'd really get the 4 1 1 on what's happening because they're not technically being served branded content. If you think about it, it's not the brand saying, oh, come to my restaurant, come to my restaurant.

It's the average individual posting about their meal, posting about their experience. So the social proof element to this is ginormous. And the reason I'm not a Gen Z-er, but the reason I specifically bring them up first is because there are entering newest people who have money to spend, right? And they're young, so their brains are still forming, which means they're being conditioned completely to search in this manner. If you are a millennial or even Gen Xer and you grew up with the transition of the telephone book to the internet, or one thing I like to talk about very often is the encyclopedia to Google that you can understand, this transition is pretty massive. So instead of using a glossary like approach to search, they're using a user formatted larger search serve. Meaning instead of just going to that encyclopedia and saying Taco restaurant, well, let's just say restaurant.

And then they get a list of all the restaurants in that potential city. They type in restaurant with a location and they get served things like the taco place, the sushi place. They can take it a step further and put in tacos, and then they can get served the food trucks and all of these different things that they might not have found in their glossary approach that older people take when it comes to search. So they're really getting a more dynamic result to their, and really TikTok was the leader in that because that's where the younger people were spending their time, and they're not only getting text-based content, they're getting that very visual, very social proof related content. But because video really did become massively so huge in the last decade, people are able to get those same or similar results on many different social platforms, Facebook, even LinkedIn, which LinkedIn has had quite a branding change in the last decade.

So people are actively using it to search for things instead of search for individuals and jobs. So anything that has a bar with that little magnifying glass where you're able to input a term, whether or not it is a true search platform like Google would be or YouTube would be, or Pinterest, it is still a search platform and people are very much using it as such. So we as business owners have to adapt to that and kind of decide, well, how am I going to adjust what I share, how I share and where I share it so that I can get found by all of these individuals who now have spending budgets and who are searching in this very specific manner to find my business.

Andréa Jones (13:35):
Yeah. Oh my gosh, I find this so fascinating because I do think there's this generational ego thing that happens where we're like, oh, gen Z's changing things, whatever they're doing, it's terrible. We just instantly assume that it's not for us. But I think, so I just spent time with my mom this weekend and I was trying to convince her to get Netflix, and it's like even that shift for her is challenging. She's so used to TV guide, if it's on the TV show, watch it. If it's not on there, she doesn't even think about watching it. I'm trying to convince her, but Netflix, you could watch it at any time and there's no commercials. And she's like, I don't want to fiddle around with that. And so it's that generational ship that's happening with the next generation with Gen Z. And then as business owners, most of my audience 35 plus, so we are not Gen Z, and then we're business owners looking at these shifts going, well, it may not matter to me, but ultimately they're shaping how we're going to use these tools. So as a business owner too, I think one of the things that comes up a lot with my clients and my students is what to tell the search. And I'm always recommending people, we like the cutesy titles we like if you're a financial advisor, we like the wealth generational manifester, and it's like that's not what they're looking for. They're literally typing in financial advisor. Am I wrong in that?

Erin Ollila (15:12):
No, you are 1000025% right here. People stop being clever. Clever will never get you where you need to be in business. And I think that sometimes people hear it a little bit better when it comes from someone like me, a copywriter, because I think that they imagine as unicorns or word ninjas, they imagine that we are so clever and the way that we attract people is using our cleverness. Clever is not going to get you found. I think I'm so passionate about it because I have the SEO background, whereas some other copywriters, sure they might like clever words, no offense, other copywriters and a bad idea. But when you're searching for anything, let's talk about the idea of the taco truck. If you're going to a location and you type in location name tacos, you are not typing in location name and then ceviche wrapped.

You're not describing something, you're just typing in T-A-C-O-S tacos. That's it. So you don't have to suddenly describe the way a taco is wrapped or anything like that because a taco is a taco is a taco, and a financial advisor is a financial advisor, and a copywriter is a copywriter. So if you did put thing like word unicorn, what's happening is, and this is a very practical, I'll go from my rant to very practical advice. If you are searching for a copywriter for your business and you type in word unicorn into Google or TikTok, what the, let's just use Google because I always call everything Google. What Google's going to do is it's going to say, okay, here are two words. This person wants me to present them with results about these two words. One of those words is word. There's a lot of things to do with words here.

It could be books, it could be stuff that had to do with school, it could be instructions for a video game, right? Anything, a word is present because a word is such a common word and the other word is ninja or unicorn or whatever I had used. Those are magical creatures and individuals with insane ability. How do I then take these two words and give them the best results? They're not going to give you a copywriter because copywriters can't do stunts like ninjas and copywriters are not literal like mythical beings. So you are making Google put in so much more effort to serve you up to the people you want to be served to. And I love to tell people, I truly think of Google as the wingman. If you make your wingman's job easy, your wingman will totally make you look good. They are going to get you found and give you the people that you want to attract.

If you don't give the wingman anything to work with, good luck. Who knows what they're going to say about you. My friends, if they were trying to introduce me to dating someone when I was younger, they would be like, oh, Erin's so funny. She wears really big earrings all the time. She sleeps in them. She loves candy. None of that's going to help me find a date. Yes, it's true to me. I did wear really big earrings and ate a lot of candy, but it's not going to convince someone to go out to dinner with me. So now bringing it into the business age, if you want Google or any of the social media platforms to show you in those results pages or anywhere where you're going to have a search capability, you need to only give them the information that is very clear and precise to how you can help the end user. Because bottom line is people care what's in it for them, even if they're a selfless, kind, lovely individual. We're all given too much content on a daily basis, whether it's the news, the tv, Netflix, our social media feeds, there's an insane amount of content that people really want to know, well, how does this benefit me and why would I spend my time consuming your content? And that's really the benefit they get from you.

Andréa Jones (19:37):
Yes, oh my gosh, I love all of this. And it reminded me of, so I like cooking. It's my, and I'm not really that great at it, but I love doing it. It's my decompression at the end of the day of looking at all my devices. I want something tactile. So I stopped looking for recipes on Google because these bloggers have a fricking novel. Before I get to the recipe, now I'm on TikTok bookmarking recipes because it's just the recipe.

Erin Ollila (20:06):
No, and you can see it

Andréa Jones (20:07):
And I can see it. I can see what it's supposed to look like. I can see as they're making it, there's one creator who I follow who's always like, measure with your heart. I'm like, that's the kind of cooking I should. Yes,

Erin Ollila (20:18):
Yes. Find me up for that one.

Andréa Jones (20:21):
Find me up. And so I think about this shift away from trying to check all the boxes, trying to do too much towards give the people what they want and then the algorithms will reward you for it. So when I start to think about this too, actually, we'll take a quick break and then I will ask my next question when we get back. What a tease.

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Okay, we're back. As you're talking through these things, one of the resistances that comes up for me as a business owner, and I'm sure that comes up for our listeners is, oh no. Now we have more work to do as we're creating content. So what are some of the ways that we can factor in search SEO as we're creating our social media content?

Erin Ollila (23:11):
That is a great question, and that is the biggest hurdle that people kind of have to work through when they decide they're going to commit to SEO. Two things to say about this one, you don't have to do anything extra if you're already being strategic. If you are creating content, let's say that is themed or category based or has a role to attract people about services or offers or products that you have, you've already done the work of optimizing things for your business, that's the O and SEO. Now, I know that doesn't kind of allay everyone's fears because there are a few things that take a little bit more effort that everyone skips, and I'll raise my hand and say, I skip these things all the time even though I preach about them, so I get it. And that's things like making sure the titles of your videos actually have a keyword in it.

You cannot just upload. Let's say you film something and it's like VID one 17 2020 3 99. That's going to do nothing for you. If you very simply change a video title to Erin Ollila, SEO and copywriting or something to that effect, that is so much more helpful because now the social platforms are recognizing the video by the title that you have, and it's making it stand out from all of those other videos that have very strange titles. And because a lot of the times we're using our phones now, we're not just uploading content. The other way to think of it when you're not titling the actual video is to title the title with keywords. So if you are posting something and it's like the cooking show for example, and it's like how to make chicken kaori, chicken kaori is your keyword because you're not suddenly going to start talking about pancake batter within the chicken C to video that you're doing, or even if you're just using still images.

So having that as your title, using it in the description, they really should be natural processes, whereas it's not extra work. It's just making sure you're actually doing the thing because it's so easy to just say something like, for myself, I do a lot of talking on social about my podcast. So on this episode of the podcast, we're talking about storytelling. Well, that's not exactly, if I could be a little bit more specific about the type of storytelling we're talking about, that's what I need to do a little bit better. Or maybe instead of saying on the podcast, I say the name of my podcast. So it's the littlest tweaks to be more detailed will absolutely help serve you up in search a lot easier. So number one, it is not really anything different from what you're currently doing. And number two, I think earlier when we first started talking, I mentioned what are your long and short-term goals?

If you can relate the content that you create for social media or any off SEO efforts like podcasts for example, or YouTube channels, if you can relate it back to those short and long-term goals, it's going to help you identify whether you're creating the right type of content or not. Again, the viral real idea of picking a trending topic and just going with it, if it's not related at all, that's not helping you get to that long and short-term goals of getting more customers for your business. Whereas if you were to do videos that you talked about how you've helped clients, social proof, all of these things, they're going to benefit any of the shorter or long-term goals. So when I say short-term, maybe you're in a launch for Black Friday or for a new product you're doing at the beginning of the year or a summer slump type of activity.

If you're talking about the SEO related things, you do get the short-term impact. And social is where short-term impact really is. We're so conditioned, literally our dopamine in our brain has been changed by social media. We're so conditioned to want an immediate result and expect that from our social efforts. If you kind of adjust and realize that SEO everywhere is a long-term process that gives you long-term and results, meaning the work you do now could benefit you tomorrow or it could benefit you a year and a half from now. Yes, even on social media, it can benefit you that long in the future if you adjust that and realize you may not get immediate results, but the efforts that you're doing are compounding upon each other, I think it's so easy at that point to then see that tiny effort of making sure you're using keywords within your copy is going to benefit you so much more in short and long-term ways.
Andréa Jones (28:10):
You're so right in this. It's one of those things that I talk about to newer business owners a lot because we assume we've said it once, we don't need to say it again, but that repetition helps the algorithm categorize you. I see this a lot with events. Sometimes I see events pop up and it's the first time I'm seeing it, but the person posting it is like, reminder, here's the event. And I'm like, where is it? When is it? What is it about? The basic information is helpful, and this is honestly how I found my bookkeeper because I was looking for a bookkeeper that worked in Canada. I'm in Canada, but also familiar with the US and working across the border currency, conversions, all of that, and also is familiar with online business, and it's so I kept looking at people and because I'm in social, if I find someone's website, I'm going directly to their social to see what's up.

I don't want to have to explain to them what's Instagram. You know what I mean? So I want them to get it. She has a podcast, she has all these resources where I'm like, oh, I now can consume all of her content and understand that she understands the nuance of my business and now I want to hire her. And that just comes from her long-term goals. I'm assuming I've never actually asked her, but that comes from her long-term goals of continuously talking about those topics and repeating herself enough so that her account is categorized under the umbrella of topics that I would want for a bookkeeper that I was looking for, which is so beautiful.

Erin Ollila (29:46):
Oh, go ahead. I just want to add to that to say that I think this is probably the biggest misconception about content and social media is that people feel like they cannot be repetitive. And what they don't recognize is social media is the biggest gift when it comes to marketing for repetition because our clients and customers, our leads, our audience members that we don't even know about yet, they need repetition before they can make a conversion based event. This is psychologically proven through decades and decades of studying marketing and sales. That repetition is the key to conversions. Now, that's why long sales pages have become such a rage in the past 10 years because you can repeat, repeat, repeat. Yes, they're annoying as heck, but it's a sales method that is proven to work. Now take this to social media where we have these tiny posts that people only see for a second on their feed that they may or may not click on, and their feeds are moving at the speed of lightning, especially at places like Twitter or threads where it's a massive amount of content that just kind of gets shared and shared and shared.

Alternatively, compared to an Instagram where it is a visual-based platform, when so much content is being shared, your people may never see that post. For example, if you go away for work or to a conference, let's just say, because I know that you just had an event, if you are there for a couple of days, you are immersed in that experience. Whether or not you do social media, you know everything about social, you might not be paying that close attention to your social because you are immersed in your experience. So if you are away for two or three days and someone you may want to work with post about an offer that they have, you won't see it. So it does not mean that your offers aren't good, that your products and your services aren't good. You have the ability to share over and over and over again about the products, the services, the brand story, any of those things, because that's the benefit of social compared to things like blog posts, like email newsletters. Imagine sending an email newsletter three times a day for a week about the same topic. Everyone would unsubscribe because it's too much in that place that they consume content. But on social, you are potentially not even going to be served up to the majority of the people who see your content just based on algorithm things. So why not use that space to continuously share things so that your audience can receive your message when they are available and when they're checking their social,

Andréa Jones (32:38):

Erin Ollila (32:40):
Go for it. If anyone's asking to give you more promo time or more PR in one spot, you accept it. And social's doing that.

Andréa Jones (32:50):
I love that advice. Y'all know I'm a huge fan of repurposing your content. It's a beautiful thing to see, beautiful thing to see. I'm curious, your own approach to social, because you're a business owner yourself, and you do this for yourself. So when it comes to your social, just my quick peeks observations from following you, a lot of it comes from your podcast, so what's your strategy there?

Erin Ollila (33:18):
Yeah, I would say to disclaim on this conversation, I'm not the best social media user because I tend to catch myself in the cycle of consumption versus creation specifically when it comes to social. But the reason why I started sharing more of my podcast on my show is I really had to kind of check myself with the effort that I was putting in for both long and short-term goals. So when I could step out of that cycle of consumption, I found I was still sharing things that were not aligned. It was more of that like, oh, here's a fun reel. I'm going to do that too. But it's still, how did that relate to my business? How did that relate to my goals? So for me, in order to stay visible, to stay consistent, and to point the direction in where I will wanted people to go, it was focusing on making my podcast more present on social media.

So it gave me the ability to do that repurposing. I didn't have to recreate the wheel on everything. I could take highlights from my show and use that as social media post. I could also promote the guest that I have on my show. It's always been very important to me to make sure that my guests feel like they were supported because they supported me on my podcast. And it also, for me in particular, when I did my last round of voice of customer research, I was shocked because I found out that from client interviews that the reason people went ahead to hire me, and these are some of my highest priced packages, was because they liked me once they got on the discovery call. I didn't have a podcast at the time. I very rarely posted video. And they said that yes, we had interviewed a few people who were very similar in experience to you, and they were way better at sales than you were, which is probably true because all I want to do is be friends with people.

But the second you started talking, it was extremely clear that you were enthusiastic, that you were experienced, that you were strategic, that you cared about my business, and it made me think this is pretty shocking. I hadn't necessarily thought about those things. Again, I have an MFA, I've got over a decade of very, very hyper niched marketing experience. So as the business owner, it kind of just feels like, well, duh, hire me, obviously. And I don't mean that to sound conceited, but I mean, I think people, especially in the online world, they might have different jobs as they're testing things out, and that's great, but I just kind of fell into it and I've done the same thing. So I always thought, well, experience speaks, right? No, not for my clients. The number one thing that spoke to them was an interaction with me, or at least being able to witness the experience of Erin Ollila.

And then once they did, they liked me. And that liking is what really, really made them choose me over a different person that they could have worked with. So when it comes to marketing socially specific, in this case, having something where people could hear me and see me was way more beneficial and also way more aligned with me as a salesperson than trying to use social to convince people why they needed me. And there's nothing wrong with that. It is very, very smart and strategic to talk to your audience about their pain points and their needs to present yourself as the expert. But for me, that's in my business. I would say that the way that I like to use social and the way that I think it's been most beneficial is truly the idea of connection and visually being able to make me a real human and not just a logo and a business name.

Andréa Jones (37:13):
Yes, a hundred percent. It's so interesting because I feel like oftentimes as online business owners, we discredit that piece, but I do think we have a unique challenge because we're not typically the local person who you see all the time because you walk by their office. We're in this digital world, and the level of trust that's required from our clients and the people who purchase products from us is extremely high. And so the way that we can build trust with them is just to show them a little bit about what it's like to work with us. And the biggest compliment is when someone gets on a call with you and they're like, oh, you're exactly like you are on social media. You're exactly like you are on your podcast. When I was at my event this past weekend, people kept saying that to me. They're like, you're exactly like you are on the internet. I'm like, thank you.

Erin Ollila (38:10):
I really hoped that's the case.
Andréa Jones (38:13):
Yes, I just show up as me. So I do think that is very valuable and it's a powerful tool. And I know sometimes we shy away from it a little bit. I know early on in my business, I did this thing where I tried to puff up a little bit because you see other people peacocking here on the internet, and first of all, it's exhausting to try to do something that's not natural to you. But then second of all, it was a disconnect between what it's like to actually work with me, which is sometimes I mix my words up, sometimes I'm a little bit silly, so I laugh when I'm nervous, it just comes out. That's just how I am. So I love that you did that for your business as well. I'm

Erin Ollila (39:00):
Very, I think based on our conversation though, this is the key of why social media and SEO really need to work together. Because if you've taken anything from this conversation, remember that social proof sells. And in order to present social proof to anyone you need for them to find you, you need to show up in a way that your content can be consumed. And I know that sounds so basic and easy, but it really is that simple. If you are creating content, whether that's trending topics, whether that's pain point driven content, or sharing case studies or anything like that, regardless of what you're creating, if you put it out there with the lightest touch of optimization using keywords in the title, and people find you on their own without you having to do a thing, we're talking no advertising. We're talking not forcing yourself into people's feeds and their communities and having to be visible and present and extroverted every single day.

They see you as that human. They see you as that business. They see you as the person or the business with expertise that can help them with their individual needs. So if you put the effort in to get found, and you've created good content, you have done every single step in the selling journey from having an individual who does not know who you are, to suddenly having a primed and warm lead for a potential client or customer. And again, I don't want to oversimplify it and act as if there's no effort that needs to go in on any of this, but if you can take a very simple strategic approach to content creation and implementation, you are doing everything that you need. And I like how you mentioned earlier that we all like to puff up our feathers, or we feel like we have to, at least you should say.

Because while I am absolutely confident again that the way that my conversions happen is from people feeling comfortable with me and feeling like I'm accessible, that does not mean that I don't look at my competitors on social media and think, why am I not doing that? Or they're being so loud. And what I mean by loud is they're presenting their offers, they're presenting themselves as a solution, but it really truly is the fact that there's a lot of people who need copywriters, a lot of people who need SEOs, and I cannot serve everyone in the world. So why not instead truly put myself out there as the way that I want to show up with my clients and serve that smaller batch of people in a way that feels super good for them and super good for me. And that means that I don't show up in the same ways that my competitors do. And when they show up in the ways that they do, they're attracting those ideal clients for their ideal business. And everything's harmonious. If we look at it that way. We're all being our true selves and serving the people that would really be right for us if we don't try to force something that's not right for us.

Andréa Jones (42:16):
Yes. And two, you never know what's happening in their businesses behind the scenes. There's so many times where I talk privately with some of my colleagues and things aren't doing great, even though online they are right. They look like they are right. So yeah, that comparison, I mean, social media makes it so easy to compare, but leaning into you is the superpower there. So Erin, what's next for you? I know you're thinking about leaving X formerly known as Twitter.

Erin Ollila (42:47):
Yes. Oh yeah. This is such a sad moment for me. I am a Twitter user since Twitter started, literally since Twitter started. I have had a couple different usernames in those early, early years, but I think that my current account's probably 14 years old. And what I loved about Twitter or what I love about social media for me particularly, is that I show up differently on every single platform. So I have been able to show up on Twitter in two ways, very specifically one in the literary world. In addition to my business, I also have a online literary journal that has won awards. We have been publishing now for almost over 11 years, depending on when this episode goes live. And we've built up such a beautiful community of people who are so, so supportive of each other's work, and it feels like a really safe and wonderful space.

But in addition to that, it's also where I can react to things like TV shows or political events or very non-business err once Twitter really has changed so much in this past year, I've been more watching like what's going to happen? But we started this episode by talking about the story behind the status, like this mini memoir we've created for ourself. And I don't like what has happened on Twitter or X and I don't support it. And this is the first time in my history that I've had to truly say to myself, I'm going to leave a platform that was once truly a joy in my life. A quick tiny backstory, even to know how important Twitter really has been on a personal level is I had a friend who was killed in Afghanistan in 2011. And the way that we used social media back then non-business related was also search related.

It's so funny that I think of this at the end of the episode because it was so news specific. Twitter has really been a changing moment in our history on how individuals and people consume the news and consume political events specifically. And at the time, I just remember being like, oh, I think I said 2011, but they definitely died before that. I'm sorry. So at the time, I remember going to Twitter immediately, the second that one of my friends called me and they said, I think that Robert's passed away. I don't have any details. I don't know what to do. I went to Twitter to search if there were any bombings in Afghanistan, and I really did dig into this news area, didn't find what I was looking for at the time, but it is one of those core memories where the immediate thing that I did was that.

And then when I think back on his death and the time very shortly after, it stands out to me that I used social media to kind of process what was happening as I was trying to sort out the details. So now here we are in 2023 and privacy rates have been stripped and certain things are being shared in the algorithm that really aren't related to my type of search. And I see a lot of hate on the platform. I had to make the decision to truly step away. But the idea that I've left this place that I've created and I've left that memoir the history of my time there was and is hard to kind of move through. Sure, I can download my Twitter history, but we don't consume digital files in the same way that we consume content that's shared online. So while I can choose to open my archives and to sort through a decade plus of things that I've shared, I have to kind of also be comfortable just letting it go.

And what did they say? Release and bliss. That was a big part of my life. It served me really well, but it's hard. It kind of feels like losing something that was once important. And while this is obviously a very personal experience, I think any of us can understand that from the places that we like to show up. And it really goes a long way to show you that these platforms, which may drive us a little nuts sometimes, sometimes I'm like, why am I doom scrolling? This is bananas. Aaron put down the phone. It goes to show you that they're such an present part of our life, oftentimes in a very good way. So determining how you show up and determining how you, most importantly are social on the platforms can really be an asset to your life or your business.

Andréa Jones (47:34):
Yeah, that is so beautiful. Such a beautiful story to tell too. And you're right, social media isn't all bad, and this decision, while it was difficult for you, hopefully will open up new avenues and new digital journals online.

Erin Ollila (47:51):
Honestly, I'm thrilled with threads. The second thread started, that was really the push of my decision making. I would've stayed on Twitter much longer. But I think just having a text-based platform allows people to show up differently. Again, I said, I show up very different on all the platforms, and there are pros and cons to that, I would say, of how I present myself. But it's so nice to, I think on threads recently, I was just like, alright, everyone, the temperatures dropped. It's freezing, and my car heat just died. But it felt so important to me in that moment, and I didn't know where to say it. And I could not go and take a picture of the heat button on my car and Instagram, right? LinkedIn does not care about how my heat is working. However, I had friends reach out to me privately and be like, oh no, you're heat on Voxer.

And the funniest thing was, I think it was a fluke. My heat's fine now. I'm just going to keep my fingers crossed on that. But it sparked multiple conversations with people who are my business friends, like in this world that I've created of colleagues. So I say, if you're listening to this, you haven't tried out threads yet, you never really, were a big Twitter user, test it out because it's not just heat dying in cars. There's really great intellectual conversations. I've been in the beginning of a new platform is the perfect time when bringing back our conversation to search. It is the perfect time to align yourself with new people, new to you, let's say, or people you've always wanted to know or your ideal clients because everyone is creating something new. And I think that if you're listening and you haven't done it yet, that could be my little test to you homework assignment to you. Go on threads and just play around and see what new content you could create and what content you like to consume.

Andréa Jones (49:50):
Yes, I am living for threads. It's so, so fun. So I'll put the link to Aaron's Threads account and all the links that we talk about today. So you can connect with Erin in the show notes. That's onlinedrea.com/ 3 0 3. And there's also a little freebie in there, an SEO website checklist, a gift from Erin. Definitely want to check that out as well. Erin, thank you so much for being on the show. This is great.

Erin Ollila (50:19):
Yeah, thank you for having me. I had a great time talking to you today.

Andréa Jones (50:22):
Yay. And thank you, dear listener for tuning into another episode. Make sure you leave us a five star rating on Apple Podcasts and Spotify helps keep us in the top 100 marketing podcasts. That's all because of you. Yes, and I'll be back soon with a new episode. That's all for today. Bye for now.