What is your unique selling proposition?
If it sounds too similar to everyone else in your industry and doesn’t reveal what makes you unique, this interview with the amazing Brand Messaging Strategist and creator of the Statement Piece Framework, Hillary Weiss, is for you.
Hillary completely unearthed my USP after working together in 2023, and it gave my business so much more clarity in what I do, who I serve, and how I deliver results.
She can do the same for you when you hear Hillary’s strategy for finding your uniqueness in a sea of similarities, creating social media content that creates an experience, and so much more.
In this episode of the podcast, we talk about:
- Why Hillary retired from copywriting
- Creating a North Star to guide your positioning
- The challenge of standing out in a sea of similarity
- How Hillary helped me find my brand positioning
- Offering a unique experience and feeling to customers
- The power of the Statement Piece
- The third element to add to your messaging
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:
Meet Hillary Weiss-Presswood — creative director, positioning strategist, retired copywriter, and proud go-to collaborator for some of the coolest weirdos you know and love on the internet.
Since 2011, she’s worked with veteran copywriters, designers, coaches, consultants, strategists, speakers, and authors
to turn the talent that’s gotten them so far already into statement piece branding and positioning that does more than stop the scroll — it reaches through the screen to pull their perfect people into their universe permanently.
Maybe you’ve seen her work featured on Business Insider, The Next Web, The Observer, and other cool places. But if not, go catch her riffs on all of the above on her blog, or say whaddaaap! on Instagram @hcweiss where she hangs out most.
Watch the Episode Below:
Andréa Jones (00:00):
You've got to show up on your social media as a personal brand and you're trying to figure out how to stand out in the sea of sameness. And all of that comes down to positioning, which is why I have today's guest on the show, Hillary Weiss, to talk all about positioning and what it actually means for you and your business. Let's get into it.
Before we get into it, we have a little ad spot from our sponsor, Riverside. It's the digital virtual recording studio we use for our podcast. You get 15% off when you use the code, Drea, DREA at checkout. Click the link in the show notes and check out Riverside for yourself. And with that, Hillary, welcome to the show.
Hillary Weiss (00:46):
Oh my gosh, I'm so excited to be here. Thank you so much for having me. This is a wonderful day. Obviously, I'm so obsessed with you and your work and obsessed with the work we did together, and it's just been a joy, so I'm so happy to be here.
Andréa Jones (00:58):
Yay. I'm excited to pick your brain even more. So for context listeners, Hillary and I worked together earlier last year on my positioning. You may have noticed on my social things sounded a little more buttoned up. That's all thanks to the work that we did with Hillary. And so today I want to talk about positioning, but first you didn't start off as this kind of creative director role. No. You started off as a copywriter, right?
Hillary Weiss (01:23):
I sure did. Yeah. I think that's when you and I met a million billion years ago. Yes. Yeah, so I was a copywriter for 10 years in the online space. I got my start in 2011, so it was before you could throw a rock and hit a six steps to six figures, an online business course or program. So it was very, I'll be clear, the industry is the wild west now. It was even more of the wild west then. So a big part of what I was doing in copywriting was kind of working with people who needed gaps filled in the strategy before I could even do my job, because I had people come to me, they're like, I actually don't know who my audience is, or I actually don't know what my offers are. Can you help? This feels incomplete. I think I want to do this, but maybe it's actually that, can you help me?
And at the time, well-meaning, well-meaning little gal that I was like, okay, well I need to do this to do my job. And then the more I did it, the more, and as time goes on, as happens to many copywriters, it's very much a matter of like, oh, I should probably be getting paid for this. Hang on. I be actually charging more for the work I'm doing for free so I can do my job. Fascinating, curious, you might say. So I really found my way into more strategy. From there, I started doing messaging strategy, and then I realized what I was actually doing was focusing on the audience differentiators offer suite in ultimate USP that these brands were working on, helping them get clear on that so that we could do the overall messaging work, we could do the copy work. And I realized that really was positioning. And so I started to make into more of that and also into more creative direction. I realized I loved doing visual branding. I started doing more and more creative direction work as well. I fully retired from copywriting in 2020 July of 2020. Oh, yeah, actually it was supposed to be March of 2020, but there was something, I don't know if you've heard about this, but the Coronavirus or something.
It's like the beer, but it's like a, anyway, but yeah, COVID came and got us all and then I was like, oh shit, I don't think I can actually retire from copywriting. After all. I lasted a few more months and then I was like, you know what? I think I need to make this jump. I'm going to do it. Threw myself a big retirement party on Zoom, and I've been doing this work ever since. So the business is about 50 50 creative direction and positioning.
Andréa Jones (03:43):
So creative direction and kind of what you described to me, I think some people would think that as business strategy or business coaching. What's the difference between business strategy and creative direction?
Hillary Weiss (03:56):
So it's got visuals, so it just sort of depends on how you do it. The word creative director, I think it's being a little overused in the space in terms of just a person who directs some creative project, but that's neither here nor there. It's always been a bit of a blanket term depending on what industry or focus or discipline you come from. But for me, I find when I do creative direction work, just depending on how it's done my done for you creative direction where I just take it from my client's hands and put the pieces together myself, you have to come with all those business elements ready. So you've got to be clear on your offer suite, your signature frameworks, you got to be clear on where you want the business to go in the next three to five years, whatever. And we develop a really strong brand concept and then verbal and visual brand from there. But I also offer an approach to creative direction that's a little bit more build your business around the positioning focus, and then we do the visuals on top of that. So there's two roads to get my creative direction support, one that's done for you, you've got everything. Great. And the other one that's a little bit actually more coaching focused, positioning focused initially, and then we add on the visual concept because as a logical next step. So those are two ways to get in there
Andréa Jones (05:08):
And those foundations are key. And I think one of the things that helped me the most in our work together is I am way too fricking close to my brand and I'm looking at myself, I'm looking at my competitors, and I'm like, we kind of sound the same. And that's where positioning comes into play. But for those people who are listening, how do they approach positioning? What's kind of the first step to thinking about it?
Hillary Weiss (05:36):
I think for me, the big part is exactly what you described, which is looking around and thinking what makes me different? Because I think the big challenge for a lot of folks is that you look around the industry and when one person has a good message, it tends to kind of trickle down and they're like, oh, your competitors go like, oh, that's perfect. We got to do a variation on that, or we do something similar. This is where the sea of sameness starts to come together. I wouldn't say the industry as a whole is monkey, sea monkey. Do I think that that is very casting a negative light on what is very natural. We are herd animals, so when we see something working for another human, we're like, okay, let me give this a shot. But the differentiators a really, really big one. But I always encourage people to think about your brand is less a single thing and more of an amalgamation of things.
And when I think about positioning, I forget who coined it. I didn't come up with this structure and approach, but I find the best way to think about positioning, especially the kind of concept-based positioning that I do, it's at the intersection of who is your audience? What are their challenges and goals? What are your differentiators? What is it that you are uniquely bringing to the table when it comes to your background or the way you do things or the experiences that you offer clients? And then we think about your offer suite. Okay, are you more retainer style if you're in service? Are you more retainer style? Are you more big project and done? Do you come on in a member of the team capacity? Are you a coach who creates this transformation in a really short span of time or all of these sort of things or questions you need to be asking yourself in terms of what are your offers and what is succinct about them?
Why are they structured the way that they are? And then of course the unique selling proposition. So based on all these sort of things and what can you promise people that is really powerful and attractive to your target market. All of that comes together to form what I call a positioning concept, which is really just like a big idea that's a north star for everything you do from then on. Because I find conceptual thinking when it comes to social media, when it comes to branding, we are all asked to essentially take on these huge projects in the online space of these just massive, massive projects of social media. You got to be the face of the business and the product. You're serving clients, you are a marketer. You have to be visible, you have to be a content creator, you have to be an email person, you have to be a really brilliant author.
You just need to be able to do all of these things. So having a conceptual north star that you understand that ties everything together really just makes it easier to think about what's priority and what's not, and think about the future and think about how do you want to position yourself and frame what you do as a whole, just sort of across the board. I find a lot of people spin out when they're sort of thinking about strategy, thinking about how they want to show up, thinking about their message, because it's all so broad, it's all just so big, and it's of course, it's impossible to wrap your head around. So I find having a concept is really powerful because that sort of gives you something to anchor into. It's easy to remember. It's easy to remember, okay, everything fits under this. So it sort of gives you a direction to go in North Star, so to speak, so that you stop asking so many different questions and spinning out and everything kind of, while it may take be variations on a theme, it all falls under this bigger umbrella.
Andréa Jones (09:10):
Yes, I love it. And honestly, I'll listening to this, this helped us this year in trying to decide what else to create next. So when working with Hillary, we came up with lightweight social media strategies for industry heavyweights. So now
When I'm coming up with something, I'm going, is this lightweight and is this for people who want to make a big impact? It answers questions for me because it does give me a direction, but it doesn't box me in so much that I have to be, I think I used to say simple social media, everyone says that, right? And simple. It's like it's not simple anymore. It's not easy anymore. So I can't really say that. And so that's what I love about the work that you do is that North Star element. And one of the things you said that I want to touch on as well is that you also look at people's offers. I find that a lot of people in let's say branding focus so much on the unique selling proposition or just the audience. And I do think the offer is a huge piece of that. And even if your offers are still developing, I still think that's a huge piece of how do you present this? So I like that you also have that as a part of your package too.
Hillary Weiss (10:26):
Thank you. It's so important to look at. The Offer suite is a spinal cord of the business, and it gives you so much information about how people like to work, who they're serving, what's working and what's not, because there's so many different ways that you can create an offer. Now, is it a VIP day style? Is it an intensive of any kind, or do we prefer to be retainer and lock in for six months to a year so we can see results? There's just so many variations that also speak to the larger story of the brand. And I think this is also a benefit of coming into the creative direction and positioning strategy side of things from the copywriter perspective. Because as a copywriter, you have to know a lot of people get into creative direction, especially from the design side. And while it's important, you don't need to know for design in the same way that you do for copy. So for me, it would be walking around with one leg doing the whole strategy. You've got to have both legs down. You got to understand how the whole anatomy of the business works in order to brand it properly and give you a concept that's useful.
Andréa Jones (11:31):
Yeah. Okay. I want to also ask a question about being unique because I get this question a lot, and of course authenticity is a buzzword. So how do we start thinking about our unique selling proposition? How do we start thinking about what makes this different from everyone else out there?
Hillary Weiss (11:49):
Oh man. The million dollar question, truly when I have a nicely packaged answer for you, but I'll make a million dollars, but I'll give you sort of my best take on this now is to the point we were talking about earlier, it is less about what is I, it's so much easier if you're doing, you're like a plumber where it's like I sell plumbing to people with Victorian houses done easy. You have your unique selling crop, someone's sewage tanks. I don't know. I don't own a house. What does sewage things do? But the sewage does its thing incorrectly. In comes the plumber because they have this unique specialty for business because there's so many different directions you can go. I encourage people to think about what is it that sort of think about elements beyond just what do I do for a type of person?
What do I do for a type of person? Sure, which is important, but how do you do it? Do you create a really calm environment? Are you really fast paced, get in, solve the problem? Are you hyper analytical and perfectionist? What are the qualities of the people that you're doing this for? That they're going to value your work specifically? Maybe they love luxury, maybe they're super no nonsense people themselves. So they want somebody to come in, give 'em what they need on a silver platter and then pull out. You really need to think more deeply about the experience as a whole that you're creating with the business for your unique selling proposition. So just basically add a third element beyond, I do this for this type of person by and finish that final element, which brings in, of course, the offer suite, which we talked about, which a lot of people miss, but I think for you, it's the heavyweights who want this lightweight strategy that's speaking to this, the experience that you're offering people where these people are industry heavyweights, they're busy, they're doing their thing, and they don't have a lot of time to spend on social media, but it needs to actually work.
It needs to be paired down to the best of the best strategies and things that will work for them because these people are time poor because they don't like being on social media 24 7 because they know social media is awesome, but not easy, which was a big qualifier we talked about. And so when thinking about USP, if you just focus on what you do for what kind of person, you're going to sound like everybody else, there's always this third element or going to say quo, which is about the experience that you offer people, the feeling almost, or in your case, the biggest value is a strategy. I mean, excuse, correct me if I'm wrong, but such a huge value of what you do is giving people only what works. We're not going to waste your time. You're not going to be doing TikTok dances if your people aren't over there. And that is something that people who fall into your category, which are these businesses who are ready for the type of work that you do that is important and valuable to them. So really just putting yourself in the shoes of your target and thinking about the experience that you're offering will really help to probably unlock some things to feel a bit more unique in your unique selling proposition than just being like, I do social media for people on the internet. Yeah, that's how I see it anyway.
Andréa Jones (15:05):
I love it. And that's what I love about this work is because it is focused on the feeling as well, the experience. And I think that some people discredit that, right? They think that, oh, that's how everyone does it. But that is something unique that you bring to the table, which I love. I love. Okay, we're going to take a quick break. When we come back, I'm going to get nosy about your own social strategy. So we'll take a break.
Hillary Weiss (15:28):
Andréa Jones (15:30):
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Okay, Hillary, I love the carousel posts you post on Instagram, but I want to kind of take a step back because you didn't always do it that way. What was your strategy right before that?
Hillary Weiss (17:56):
Oh God. Oh my. Nobody's asked me that. Oh my, what was my strategy before that? That's a good question. Well, I'll tell you what the big thing that happened right before, and I'll think about that strategy, so I'm actually stalling a little bit, but I do want to give you a little bit of context. The decision I made last summer was actually to take my content back from the person who'd been doing it for me. I had somebody on my team, not like I worked with a really great CMO, big ups to working with an amazing social strategy team like Andréas. They will save your life. And I was at a space where I had kind of passed that onto my team. We kept repurposing old content of mine. So I was like, okay, this is enough. This was a lot of content from my copywriting days.
I don't believe a lot of this anymore necessarily. My mind has changed. I've learned so much. I need to take back the reins of my copywriting. I need to just take it all. I need to take it back. I need to, or not my copywriting, excuse me, my social media. I just need to start writing to figure out what I actually think and to start sharing from the me now, so to speak. But prior to that, it was a lot of repurposing. I found that stuff that did best. So I didn't really write carousels. I did pretty long form captions, which were very in vogue for a while before carousels became the thing. Prior to that, I was also trying to make it work with reels, and I can do reels. They're nothing better for reach on Instagram. They're still rewarding them so much. But I was really trying to master how do I actually use these for the type of work that I do?
And a lot of it was, here's the reel, read the caption and these long captions, which is fine, and there's nothing wrong with that. But I think for me, I felt so, it just didn't feel as fulfilling for me to do it that way. Listen, there's again, nothing wrong with that strategy. I will still do it that way. But for the way I like to write, squishing everything into short form really made it difficult for me to feel like I could get into the weeds in the way that I wanted to. And my clients are, if a client is watching this, I just yelled at somebody about getting too in the weeds with their content. So don't get so in the weeds that you get lost. But for me, I just like to do the deeper stuff. And I was seeing carousels going around and everyone was doing those screenshot iPhone notes carousels against the white, which is fine. I'm still being so pragmatic here. One of my clients, actually a colleague of mine called it the dry shampoo of content where I was just like, yeah, that's fine, but it's not. Come on now, girl. At least try for your people.
So prior to that, it had been a mix of reels. It had been a mix. I did some long form captions. I was just kind of playing around. I had found Instagram had really worked for my business. I also do really well on stories. I'll do deep dives. I'll do, and that's the other thing I love doing long form on stories and everybody will tell you, and they're all wrong, that people don't read anymore. People will read when it's good. So I realized that I was having the most fun doing stories in long form there. So I was like, okay, let me bring it over to carousels. I think I can sort of take it started repurposing emails that I liked, trying to shorten them down, and then it became, I will actually write in carousels first and then repurpose onto email. And it's just a really great, it's very shareable.
It brings people into your world. People seem to love them. They're easily the best performing of any of my posts, with the exception of posts about my cats, which the internet just really loves. But yeah, so again, prior to that, I would say it's a little more random. I'm on a daily post cadence now because I can and I enjoy it. Back then though, it was only three posts a week and stories every day, which is really all you need for, I would say, maintenance. It's like the maintenance phase of social media. So I was like, okay, how do I continue to grow this account and do the stuff that I enjoy? I can't do it if I'm not writing, creating content in the style that I enjoy. And writing was always my first love. So off we went to carousels.
Andréa Jones (22:06):
Yes. See, this is what I keep saying about preference matters. Yes. Just because you can do video doesn't mean that's your strength, and you found your strength. I love that you said it's not that nobody reads anymore. People read if it's good.
Hillary Weiss (22:20):
Yep. Okay. Exactly right. Yep.
Andréa Jones (22:24):
I think when you find your strength and you find your preference and how you want to deliver your content, that will show up in the results themselves. So you also, you focus in on Instagram. Has it always been Instagram for you? No.
Hillary Weiss (22:38):
Okay. No, not at all. It was the start of my career. It was much more Twitter, much more Twitter and Facebook. I mean, the artist formally known as Twitter, that's not formally known as Twitter. What was it? The new name of which we shall not speak. So I actually, yeah, I got my start on Twitter. I actually started my career on Twitter because a friend of mine sent me a copywriter's website who happened to be very active on Twitter, and I stalked her for six months, and then I reached out and I asked her if she ate a minion to do her bidding, and she was like, actually, yes. So that's how I got my whole career started with a dm. That's true enough. I was Alexander friends and God bless her, excuse me. But Facebook was also a really great spot for me for a while.
But this what I think is important to note, because a lot of service providers get really startled by this transition when they move away from deliverables and more into strategy and the thought leadership space, there's this gap. So where we talked about the plumber, you need your thing fixed, I'll come and do it. For creative service providers in the space, it's very much the same thing for me as a copywriter. I rarely had to market myself. I just didn't have to promote my offers. It was literally a contact form on my site. Here's what I can do for you. Come on in. It was easy. Your name gets passed around. When you're good at what you do, you get referred a lot. And I was very grateful for the network that I was able to create and the people who sort of found me along the way.
But when I wanted to do something different, when I realized I wanted to be in more of a thought leader, strategist, creative director, positioning person, space, I needed to start talking about stuff in public. And I had these offers that were new and that nobody understood what they actually were. So I had to talk about them. So I had to start bridging that marketing gap, and I started doing that, I would say when I started writing in earnest for myself back in 20 15, 20 16. So I started writing on Medium, and then my writing got passed onto Facebook, and it sort of picked up there, and I did really well on Medium for a while, which was great. I have since abandoned the platform, but whatever.
So I was on Medium and Facebook for a while, and then it wasn't until, I want to say Instagram was more of my fun platform. I used to take a lot of my own photos, and it was more of a slice of life in New York City type of thing. I got really obsessed with Instagram when it first came out. We all did. And I would do the outside editing and the Snapseed app and all of those things. There we go. Snap seeded. I remember Snap. That is a core memory, is what that is. I always used the Valencia was the best filter whenever, but I hadn't really thought about it as really a space where my clients were or an opportunity for business. But I think the way Instagram has evolved since Meta bought it is to be a little bit more, it's much more of a content space now than it was then where it was largely images.
I didn't get how it could work. I didn't work in a visual space at the time. I was writing copy. So I had a team member at the time who I hired say, I think this could be a great platform for you because you have good taste where you're moving in this visual direction, and there's all kinds of things that you can kind of do on the platform and it's growing. So what if we've sort of planted your flag here? And that was in, I want to say 2018, maybe 2019. And ever since it's just been my platform, I just love it. It's just everything I could want, where it's like we got the reels, we got stories, we got posts, carousels. It's my little happy place. And I'm getting used to TikTok, but it's still a little bit, I'm like, oh, this is for the children.
There's too much going on here. And not to say there's not too much going on in Instagram, but for me, it just became a place where I found it easier to have conversations because Facebook, it just got really crowded. I cannot even open my Messenger app. Most of the time. I will go blind. It's just endless posts and there's ads everywhere, and you're just like, who am I? Where am I? And just the spam DMs are so for real, and they're just a little bit more under control on Instagram. So it just sort of became the natural next step.
Andréa Jones (26:48):
Yeah. Okay. Now, I love your Instagram carousel posts. Thank you. I I do read them and I like
Hillary Weiss (26:56):
Andréa Jones (26:57):
When it's people read, and I also see other people sharing them. So I definitely can see how it's working for you. I'm curious about your process. You said you used to start off as an email, turn to Instagram. Now you're writing straight on Instagram. How long does it take you to craft that post and what are the steps?
Hillary Weiss (27:17):
That's a great question. So many great questions. Yes. I never get to talk about my process, so this surprises people. But I can get one done just depending, I can get anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour usually. Oh, yeah. I can pump 'em out because usually, so I made a commitment last year to commit to doing long form carousels for a year, even if I started it and I hated it. Luckily I started and I loved it because I wanted to master that form because I was like, I feel like this is the direction the platform is. I just feel like this is good for Instagram. This is what Instagram is for these sort of image-based posts. So even if other text-based, they are images. So the biggest thing I've challenged myself to do is making the ideas smaller. So in terms of my process, it starts with a lot of thinking.
I just switch on the old brain computer and I'll have a lot of ideas. I'll either write them down or in the notes app on my phone, or I'll just hold onto them. I work out a lot, so I get a lot of my ideas when I'm moving and running and lifting and all these things. And so I will work out problems and I'll figure out first how I want to start and how I want to finish. Okay, I have this idea, and I'll talk about shrinking the ideas in a second, but I have this idea for what I want to talk about here is the story that I think can open it. And here's how I think I want to close it. Here's what I want to leave people with, even if it's not an action steps. Here's what if I want people to take away anything from this story, what is it and what note do I want to end on?
And then I just kind of fill in the middle. It's like I got my little sandwich, but I will weirdly have the first few lines already written in my head and the last few lines already written usually before I start writing, which is why it happens so quickly. And also, I've been a writer by trade my whole career. So 12 years of practice will do that. But for me, I found the best thing to do, especially for Instagram as a whole, is to shrink the size of the idea that you're trying to convey. You'll see me in my carousel posts name phenomena a lot. So yesterday it was like, do you have a cool kid problem? A low while it was like the curse of competence. So I see these issues happening and I like to name them, and then I like to tell you what they are because it's just taking one sort of idea, like this little phenomenon, here's how it is, here's what you can do about it, and sort of here's the takeaway.
And so I find where I really struggled in the early days of, aside from formatting, because figuring out formatting on Instagram is a huge pain in the ass to make the carousel readable, because editing yourself down is hard to do, which is why the carousel format is a really good discipline. And don't let your font get below 29 point size that is a free tip from media. Nothing below 29 point for your written just makes it easier to read. And the eye flows anyway. So we get the font size and the formatting, and then you just have to practice the discipline of getting clear about how do we share this idea without getting too in the weeds? Because in the early days, my ideas were just too big. It's like, what is the problem with struggling to find your USP? And that could be a series of six posts.
And so I would start, and then of course, because trying to give everybody context and background so they know where you're coming from, it gets too big and unwieldy, and then you're like, oh, I can't possibly edit this down or else is going to be incomplete. And then you never post it and everything falls apart and nobody comes to your birthday party and you die alone. So that is, I think the reason why I wanted to challenge myself to that format in particular, because I think the biggest struggle, especially copywriters have, especially strategists have, is that there are these things that you want to tackle that are just so big. They're just huge, and they're not right for social media. Social media is about bites. It's not about the whole cake. We're trying to put on a whole cake so we can create that feeling of value.
No one's going to want to eat a whole cake. They just want a bite. For me, that was a big part of that carousel process and learning how to use that format because it was a process of whittling ideas down into bites. And you don't need to give everybody everything right away. You can take these small aspects, which for me, a lot of the time is like, okay, so if you have a cool kid problem, which is what I talked about in my latest post, which is basically you run your business trying to impress the judgmental people in the industry as opposed to trying to satisfy and impress yourself. That is a bigger story of what holds entrepreneurs back from making the pivots they need to make, doing the stuff they need to do, having the business that they want to have. But that would never fit in a carousel post. So do you see what I mean? So it comes down to these little figuring out what these little aspects are that you can talk about and make sense and feel valuable and are relatable, but not so much that people are like, I have no idea what you just said.
Andréa Jones (32:17):
Yes. And I think that is the, well, you talked about the curse of the curse
Hillary Weiss (32:23):
Andréa Jones (32:24):
Competence. You feel like that is what's happening on social media. It's like we know too much. We know too much. And we go look at a carousel post and we're like, I only get 10 slides.
Hillary Weiss (32:35):
Andréa Jones (32:36):
Devastating. Do everything I know
Hillary Weiss (32:38):
In this sense. I know. And you feel guilty because then it's more in the caption and it's too
Andréa Jones (32:42):
Much. It's too much. Yeah.
Hillary Weiss (32:43):
And you see this. You see people do, I bet you people about, I certainly hope you do scold people about this on reels all the time because people on their reels text, it's like going too fast or it's a huge, I'm like, no, it was, people are like, the algorithms shadow banning me. It's like, no, nobody can read this. That's the problem. So they're going to scroll past. It's learning how to move with the platform I think is so important and so annoying about social media. That's still
Andréa Jones (33:12):
Important. It is. It's important. It's annoying. And they just watch a cute cat video right before they landed on your post. Yes. Yeah.
Hillary Weiss (33:20):
This is the idea of blending into the feed too, which I'm curious about. If I can flip a question back to you when reading about this in the social strategy world where especially for business owners, some of the trick to building, following aside from creating relatable content that people like and finding your niche and blah, blah, blah. It's blending in with the feed a little bit, learning how to match.
Andréa Jones (33:45):
Yeah. You kind of have to read the room. I think that's one of the hardest things to do right now because the room is changing all the time. So some people are networking on social media and posting on social media like it's 2019, and that's not the party that we're at right now. So it can be challenging for sure. And that's why I always recommend spending more time networking and engaging than creating content because it helps you read the room a little bit better. Praise you.
Hillary Weiss (34:16):
Praise. And that's a hundred percent. I think people, do you remember, because you were around for this, do you remember in 20 15, 20 16 when there were a bunch of zombie Twitter accounts because everyone discovered Buffer, and they were like, oh, I'm just going to have my robot self tweet out roomy quotes every hour on the hour, and it's going to be great. I'm going to build a following. And it didn't work, first of all, because it got devalued. But because if you want to get out of a platform, which you put into it, I think, which is annoying, but that's how the algorithm treats you too. You're going to make more headway on a platform if you're actually spending time there and actually acting like a user than handing people something to do. So you don't want to be on there. I think you're a hundred percent, hundred percent right. You have to understand how to read the row. And part of doing that is actually being there. And I think that's a huge value you add too, because yes, you can and should outsource your social media to a capable team, and you still need to know the rules. Yes, yes,
Andréa Jones (35:23):
Yes, yes, yes. And that's part of why, if I think about my own services too, my team, we all spend tons of time on social media and we tend to work with personality brands. So we still need them. We need them to the video, we need their thoughts, but we can then read the room and go, okay, here's the context. We company in the world right now. I need you to say this in 60 seconds, and then we can turn it social content. So yeah, I love that. And I do want to end on that note with your strategy, because I do know you spend a lot of time on social media.
Hillary Weiss (35:58):
I'm extremely online. It's true.
Andréa Jones (36:00):
Hillary Weiss (36:01):
I have no kids. What else am I doing?
Andréa Jones (36:03):
Well, that's the question, right? What boundaries do you put around yourself to make sure you're not scrolling all day?
Hillary Weiss (36:10):
Oh, well. So I have this little book here that I think everybody should read. It's called How to Break Up With Your Phone, and it's by Catherine Price. So I'll tell you this. I went through a big phase of a big issue of phone addiction, especially in 2020. It wasn't until 2021 that my sister clocked it when I was seeing my family for the first time in two years because of Covid and everything, because we were all over. And she was like, you were so sucked into your phone. Your niece and nephew were trying to get your attention, and you just weren't present. And the kids noticed. And that was like a dagger to the heart because I love my niece and nephew, I've only got the two. I don't have kids yet. My brother don't have kids. So I was like, okay, I have to get serious about this.
So this is handy, this book, if you are struggling with that yourself, I think we're going to hear more and more about it in the coming years. But for me, it comes down to a few things. One, I don't look at my phone. I try not to look at my phone for an hour in the morning just because if you open your eyes, pull out your phone, it does something to your brain where you're just immediate. You just stay in that mode all day, and you're staying in flight and flight, fight or flight and you're stressed out and all those things. It's too much information running at my face first thing in the morning. So I try to stay offline for about an hour, and then I don't sleep with my phone in my room. I try to stop scrolling social media at a certain time of night.
But in terms of what I share and how I sort of keep boundaries and pair social relationships from getting too out of hand is I really just try. I put walls around what I share. Obviously I think everybody should. You will see me feature little things about my life, but I keep my family off. I keep my niece and nephew off. You're not hearing about me. And my husband had a fight last night. I try to avoid, there are things that are saved for the diary, and then there are things that are for public consumption and you get to decide, which is beautiful. So for me, I think it's been very much, I talk mostly about the business, mostly about my work, mostly about pop culture and just my hobbies and things that I enjoy, but I'm not like, I'm working on this devastating, blah, blah, blah.
I just try to keep that to myself because A people don't need to know. And two, that's not what they come to me for. I think privacy is a really, really important, and my husband and I talk about this all the time because as we're working on our own family, it's like, do we want the kids online? And the answer is no, I don't because I think that I might have a little private Instagram where our actual friends can see them and stuff. But I think it's really, really important and to set good boundaries, but it also doesn't take away from the experience of you as a brand. And I think that people get really worried about like, oh, am I not being authentic if I'm not sharing everything? Like the ups and downs. And it's like people aren't coming to you for the downs.
I mean, unless that's your brand, if your brand is the downs, fine. But I would say it feels like, have you ever come across, and this is, we can edit this out, man, but have you ever come across an influencer where they're going through a hard time and they're being really public about it, and it feels like work to consume that content? And you want to do it because you care about them as much as you can as a consumer. And you're like, oh, this really sucks. But it's like work to take it on. And then if it keeps going, you eventually lose interest and you're like, you should not be doing this on the internet. You should be doing this privately with your family. And I think that that's never a line you want to cross, but I also understand why people do it.
Parasocial relationships go both ways. You can feel connected to a person and a person can feel really connected to their audience. And if you get into deep, you can feel like your audience are the only people that really understand you. We see this happen a lot with fame and celebrities and all those things. So not to get too deep, but I would say those are always all the things I think about when I set boundaries. And also, I try to set clear expectations about when people can expect to hear from me, because my DMs go crazy sometimes and I just can't catch everybody. So I said it. I like to think that I'll have a little heart react if I catch it or I'll make a little reply. But I think I have good enough boundaries now that people don't come. And because this what happened in my early days, people don't come into my DMs and just tell me their life story and what they're struggling with and expect me to support.
That has happened to me a few times, and I was just like, oh, this is not correct. So you just have to sort of set a boundary, say, I don't think I'm the one to talk to about this. I hope you have people in your life. I wish you well. But I think just really setting, and I think now I have better expectations. I set better expectations about how I participate and how people are invited to participate with me. While I don't have as many people angry that I don't reply. But I also, I think I have a good communication with my audience. They're awesome people with amazing taste, but we have good communication about what is and isn't acceptable in the DMs and what I'm available for and what I'm not. I try to be a warm and open person, but not so open that anybody can just break my door down.
And that's always the tricky balance. I have push notifications turned off on everything just because the DMs were getting the likes and all those little tiny things that grab your attention away from your real life. And for me, my goal always, ever since I've been in my little phone addiction recovery phase, which has been hard to, it was hard to heal from because the internet's where I work and live. But I find that the biggest takeaway is that what is most important is the people in front of me, like my husband, my friends here. I need to be present for my life. And as long as I'm good there, everything else tends to fall into place.
Andréa Jones (42:03):
Beautiful. I love this realization. I agree. More people are going to come to it as well. And it doesn't mean that the internet streets are going to be empty. We're still hanging out here. We're
Hillary Weiss (42:13):
Still here. Yeah,
Andréa Jones (42:13):
We're still here. We're just being present in the moment that we're here, and then we're being present in the moment when we're in the physical world as well.
Hillary Weiss (42:20):
Well said. Yeah.
Andréa Jones (42:21):
I love that. So as we, in today's episode, I want to talk about your freebie, the statement piece framework. Tell us all about it.
Hillary Weiss (42:30):
Oh my gosh. So the statement piece framework is actually, so it's a classic opt-in. I have people come back to it again and again, so I'm so excited to tell you all about it. So it's basically an idea generation tool for content and kind of anything that you want to create, but it's an idea generation tool for entrepreneurs who want to create things that are a little more unique. And I'm going to tell you, inside of three places, you can look for ideas and inspiration that you may not think about. But once that light switch turns on, you're going to go, oh, this is an endless, well, so a big part of what I do and my coaching clients and with my branding clients is to help you recognize how you think and just start to notice your own ideas and thoughts. That's where the best, most original stuff comes from. It's a discipline, it's a focus. But you can give yourself a little jumpstart by downloading the statement piece framework and using that to come up with some more interesting stuff that you're actually excited to write about and share. So if you're curious about doing carousel posts too, that's a good place to start.
Andréa Jones (43:30):
Yay. Go ahead and grab it. I'll put the link in the show notes. Y'all onlinedrea.com/ 2 8 9, and you can connect with Hillary there as well. I put all her socials. Definitely check out those carousel posts on Instagram.
Hillary Weiss (43:43):
Say hi, I won't parasocial. You come say hi.
Andréa Jones (43:47):
I love it. I love it. Hillary, thank you so much for being on the show today.
Hillary Weiss (43:51):
Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure. And you are amazing. Thank you for all you do for the rest of us, my queen.
Andréa Jones (43:58):
Oh, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And thank you to a listener for tuning into another episode of the Savvy Social Podcast. Head on over to Apple Podcasts, Spotify. Leave a review helps keep us in the top 100 marketing podcasts, all because of your listenership and support. I'll be back at you soon with a new episode. I'll see you then. Bye for now.