You spend so much time on social media: growing your group, tending your funnels, marketing your business. Shouldn’t you be getting paid for your time? In this episode, Brenda and Windy go over why monetizing your social strategy is an important goal no matter how large or small your business is — and tips to help you get started.
Brenda Ster: Hey everybody! Welcome to another episode of Social Marketing with Sassy Suite. I’m Brenda Ster and joining me, as always, is Windy ‘Effervescent’ Lawson. Hi Windy!
Windy Lawson: Hey Brenda! Hey girl, hey!
Brenda: Hey! You guys, welcome to the podcast. If you’re new with us, Windy and I run this little group over on Facebook called, “The Socialite Suite”. We do a bunch of social marketing, home-based business owners, and social sellers. And we are changing our gears a tiny little bit today. If you’ve been with us for a while, you know that we talk about primarily introductory social marketing strategies. We talk about becoming an influencer, we talk about developing a social media content plan, we talk about funnels, we would talk about different social applications, we talk about how not to burn out your warm market… And then here’s one, here is what happened; Windy you’ve — you’ve been around the block for a while, you’ve been hanging with us in the Suite. We’ve seen this happen- we have people, who have been in the Suite for such a long time, that they’ve said, “Hey Brenda, Windy- we’ve done every single thing you train on- what now?”
Brenda: And we’re like, “Ohhh, what now!? We should go build more stuff!”
Windy: We should, because the truth is if you’ve done everything that we’ve taught you to do — then you’ve become an influencer, right?
Brenda: A influencer!
Windy: Yes, an influencer. So what’s next? So, before we talk about what’s next, let’s talk, let’s just remind everyone what that means to be an influencer. An influencer is just someone, who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others. So, it just means you have, you have authority, you have knowledge, you have a relationship, you have a position of standing with your audience. So, once you have that following — you’re an influencer.
Brenda: That’s right. And here’s the thing — so many people don’t realize that they are one. There might be a lot of people listening going, “I don’t know if I’m an influencer.” Here’s the thing- if you have ever recommended a restaurant, or a really great outfit, or a product because one of your friends said, “hey, who has a really great recommendation for dot dot dot–, and you said, “you have to try this thing,” you are an influencer, because you were influencing someone’s buying decisions, someone’s buying action. So influencers are huge on social media. They’re sort of an up-and-coming — they’re not up and coming, but they’re just a really, really big population that they’re everywhere. And soon as you sort of understand what they are, you’ll realize that you quite literally, you’re probably listening to influencers right this very second. #BrendaandWindy (laughing)
Windy: Yeah, I think you are! Right this second (laughing)
Brenda: Right this very second! Now here’s the thing about becoming or being an influencer, when, an influencer is not something you can personally declare that you are. Becoming an influencer is something that is bestowed upon you because people know, like, or trust you. And they’re listening to you, they’re listening to your opinion, or taking action on your — on your direction because they trust your reference, they trust your authenticity, they trust your intentions. So, what the angle is that we’re now evolving toward and what we’ve sort of come to find with some of our Suite community who has done every single thing that we provide, they’ve done our video courses, they’ve been through Elite Suite, even up to two times already and they’re like, “I have got this fantastic community. They’re high performing. What else can I give them, what else can I do with my social strategy, what else can I build on? I want to build my community and offer them more.” Well, maybe we have something to do there, maybe we can offer you something there. So, what we’re expanding it to today is the idea of how we expand our monetization strategy. So this is a little tricky ’cause we’re kind of bringing in some, you know, $10 words. Monetizing your social strategy is something we really haven’t talked about much in our Suite trainings, or coachings. It is really more of an advanced idea. The idea of monetizing is how you are making money, directly or indirectly, from anything that you’re posting through social media to a community that might be following you on any number of channels: a page, a group, an Instagram, a YouTube, anywhere that you might be posting. And how you make money, through those viewers, through those community members, is called your monetization plan. Yes, Windy?
Windy: Brenda, I have to say…
Brenda: Windy is raising her hand on video going, “I have a question, question from the back row please” (laughing)
Windy: Yes ma’am, I have a question. No, I wanna say, I just have to say; when you say things like monetize, monetization your social strategy, I feel like we’re big girls (laughing). I feel like we’re grown ups! We’re fancy!
Brenda: I know, we’re so fancy. And this is how it evolved. There are literally people who said, “ Hey Brenda — I sell a product, I sell a product directly to my community. What else can I bring them? Can I somehow make money through my referrals? Can I bring them more? Can I sell them digital services, can I sell them other things?” Umm, yeah, let’s figure out how we package that up into something a little more robust. Here’s the other thing we hear as well, we get this question or we get this comment a lot in our social marketing groups on Facebook. “I used to sell a direct sales company, I left and I have a big group. What can I do with them?” Well, that’s a really, really great question and there is a lot of things you can do with them. So, before we get into sort of the, “what do you do about it?” I thought we’d spent today talking about the difference between direct and indirect monetization. Because I think this is a starting point just to sort of get everyone’s heads wrapped around the idea of monetizing. What does direct and indirect mean? So direct — Windy, what would you, despite virtue of the word direct, what would you think that direct means? What does direct monetization mean?
Windy: So, direct monetization just refers to making money directly from the members of your community. And when we say community, that could be your blog, your Facebook group or your page, your video, any other channels. The community is your followers. So, direct monetization is making money directly from them — from their hands to your hand.
Brenda: Right. They are literally buying your products or services. They are — they are personally paying you for whatever you have to be providing them: whether it is a direct product, it is a service, it is a digital product, it is a digital download, they’re paying to be a part of a membership group, they’re attending an event, they’re paying for a ticket to something you are providing, they are buying swag, anything that is literally your member is paying you for a product or a service, is direct monetization. Now, in our community, most of our community is familiar with direct monetization, because they are probably selling something directly to a community already. So whether it’s a direct sales brand, it is a service that you provide, it’s a membership group or a coaching service that you provide; maybe it is something that you handcraft, or that you sell on Etsy or Shopify; it’s a product that you wholesale, that you wholesale and you turn around and sale for retail – those are direct monetization products and services. You are selling a product directly to your community.
Windy: And Brenda, I think that’s so important to point out because I think for a lot of our listeners and for people in our community — they’re thinking monetization, that sounds like such a big fancy thing. Friend! If you sell a product through a Facebook group, you are already doing it.
Brenda: Exactly! So, if you sell a product through a Facebook group, or through a social channel where you do your marketing — you’re already doing it. And the question is–
Windy: Look at you fancy!
Brenda: I know, look at us all fancy. And this is quite literally how the Suite started. I had this idea of saying, “you know what, people ask me all the time how to do social marketing or how…” Actually, where is started was way back when was, “how do I do my Facebook parties?”. And I said, “okay, I will make a course and I will teach how to do Facebook parties”, and we created an Epic LIVE Facebook parties. So, what I was creating was a digital course, an e-course, that I would sell through social media to an end user, and that was a direct monetization through a social channel. And then it just kind of expand from there. But my point is, it started as basic as deciding that I was gonna sell a product or service. So whether you sell a direct sales brand, or something you personally create or provide as a service, or you wholesale through your own boutique, or anything at all like that — something that you sell directly into a community is your direct monetization — you are directly monetizing the people in your community.
Windy: Brenda, I wanna take a quick sidebar real quick, because when you shared your story of how the Suite came to be and how all of this came to be; it started with you creating a party, people asking you how — how your parties were so successful, wanting training on your parties, and you built a course. Because you accepted and recognized the fact that you were an authority; that you had benefit, you had enough confidence to say, “you know what, there is value in what I can provide.” And I know that there is someone listening right now, that’s thinking, “Well, who is gonna buy my product, who is gonna be interested in my principal, who is gonna be…” You’re an authority, you need to own that, Friend.
Brenda: Yes and this is really, really an important point; when you think about, in the nature of social marketing, that we talk about all the time, there is always somebody out there selling the same thing as you. Whether they’re selling the same thing as you directly, as in they sell the same brand, or they sell complimentary, similar services or products. There are a lot of other social marketing coaches out there. We’re not the only ones – we recognize that. But what we provide; we know who we provide value to and we try to provide it consistently. We know, hopefully, that we are serving our market well. And there’s other people serving their markets well. Part of this is just mindset, right? It’s just mindset of believing you have something of value to offer. And the reality is, and we — I talk about this when I teach blogging strategy, as well — You are not the only voice out there. Of course, there are other opinions. Of course, there are other ideas. Of course, there are other angles of how to serve communities well. But the reality is, is that you have to believe that what I provide is my opinion and my opinion is something that someone might be, might benefit from. Because I have been there, I’ve been around the block; I have experience in this area, I know how to do it. And that confidence is what is actually going to attract someone towards you in the first place to become part of your community.
Windy: That’s right.
Brenda: So direct monetization is the first major idea in monetizing your social strategy. And there’s a lot of ways that you can monetize directly, where someone is quite literally paying for a product or service that you provide. Whether, like I said, it’s a physical product or service or a digital ecourse, or a download, or an audio file of some kind, it is access to an exclusive membership of some kind, whether it’s one-on-one, or group coaching, it’s selling tickets to an event, it is those types of things. Someone is paying for access to something that you provide. Now the other side of monetization is actually more pervasive, but it’s a little trickier here to understand. So this one is indirect monetization. And what indirect monetization says, members can be members of the community for free, but people may be paying for the right to market toward that community. So I can be a member of the community for free, but someone is paying the compute — community moderator for the right to market towards me. So this one’s a little bit trickier and once you start paying attention to it and you will realize it is everywhere. Everywhere.
Windy: Everywhere (laughing)
Brenda: Song and a show today. So… (laughing) I don’t know, when I lapse into singing, you know it is gonna be a good podcast. So here is what indirect monetization looks like. Indirect monetization is where you have the ability to maybe sell advertising, or you can promote content through — to your community that you’re receiving a referral fee for. So for example, one of the really popular indirect monetization methods is affiliate relationships. Windy, let’s talk a little about affiliate relationships, because I think this is one that a lot of people will really sort of jive with and be like, “oh, I could do all kinds of affiliate stuff.”
Windy: Absolutely. So with an affiliate relationship, you are, think of yourself, sort of as like the middle man. You’re making a recommendation to someone, but as the affiliate for that company, you’re getting a little something something — you’re getting a little kick back. You’re being paid by the third party for any sale that comes through your referral.
Windy: So it really is, it is a referral program, it is a… And there are a lot of affiliate programs. And spoiler alert, let me — let me tell you a little secret: If you’re in our community, if you’ve ever purchased any of our video courses, you can be a Sassy Suite Affiliate. We have our own affiliate program.
Brenda: That’s right, we do and know why we have our own affiliate program? Because our community asked for it.
Brenda: They said, “We would love, I would love to promote you to my team, to my friends, other people who do social marketing…” and we said, “Well, we’ll go build one, let’s figure that out”.
Brenda: Affiliate programs are everywhere. Affiliate programs really is sort of a big picture level, operate on very much of a mutually beneficial relationship, a mutually beneficial partnership. So, me, I’m the community leader. I run my community and there is a brand out there who, maybe has a product that would benefit my community. So maybe I run a parenting group, or I have a fashion group, I have a social marketing group. Hey! (laughing). Right? And there might be a product or service out there, that my community would really, really benefit from. The way that the partnership would work, or the way that our affiliate relationship with work, is that it is mutually beneficial, in that they get access to my funnel and I get in exchange for that access, a referral fee in the form of an affiliate commission. So, the more affiliate relationships we build, the more we have potential to earn when we’re making recommendations to our community. So, we in the Suite, have a lot of relationships, a lot of different types of affiliate relationships.
Windy: But! Brenda this is important, this is an important thing I want to note, that we are not affiliates for just anybody.
Brenda: No, we are not.
Windy: We, we want to make sure that our community knows that they trust us, and they know if we’re referring a product, or a service to them, that it’s something we actually would use. It is something that we really believe in. We don’t just refer any old thing.
Brenda: That’s exactly right. And that’s a really important element of the relationship base, that I talked about earlier, of the know, like, and trust factor. So when we — when we make a recommendation, when someone says, “Well what should I use for my link extender?” And we say, “we love Tap Bio” it’s because we’re using Tap Bio, we’ve worked with Tap Bio, we know the CEO of Tap Bio; he has been in our training community, he’s brought value to us, we see the vision of what the tool can do for our market — we’re making a recommendation based on, truly, what, what the value of the product is. So I think that’s an important element. Now, this is where I think a lot of our market has a lot of our community has potential. There are a zillion different affiliate relationships that you can expand. For example, everybody who is listening should be an Amazon affiliate. Everybody should be an Amazon affiliate. Okay?
Brenda: And the Amazon is the 800 lbs gorilla, everybody shops on Amazon and the next time someone says to you, “oh my gosh, what are you reading right now, Windy?” “Oh, I had this amazing book. I’m reading. Let me grab the link…”
Windy: Girl, that better be an affiliate link.
Brenda: Exactly! Because you’re making a recommendation through a relationship. And Amazon pays, I don’t know, four, five, six percent, something like that, on that retail purchase back to the referer. Now, there are some disclosure requirements. In the United States, where the majority of our market is, the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, does have some regulations around affiliate disclosure. But in general, when we think about, “how can I monetize my social strategy?” affiliate relationships and affiliate referrals are one big one. So, what you’re doing is, the member isn’t a member of your community, isn’t necessarily paying you — the affiliate is paying you for the access, for the right to market towards your community, or for you to provide recommendations based on their affiliate relationship with you. So, it’s a different angle on monetization. So we have an ebook that includes 20 different ways to monetize. We’ve talked about two of them so far, we’ve talked about two of them…
Windy: Twenty! Twenty ways!
Brenda: I know, right? It is a really, really long ebook. Actually, it’s really not, but it’s, ‘20 Different Ways to Monetize Your Social Strategy.’ And the reason that we’re kicking off this new book and we want to invite over in to grab it. And I’ll give you the link in just one second, we’re also gonna post it in the link below this video, or below this podcast –s because this is really where: if you feel like you’ve got the introductory content of social marketing kind of under control — you understand your funnels, you understand your personal branding, you have a good sense of how all your channels fit together, you have a good content mix that’s bringing on engagement and you’ve got your people socializing with you, you really feel like you have a handle on your social strategy and you’re selling a product directly — now, our next opportunity is to layer on more monetization. And that’s exactly how we built the Suite. The Suite is built through of this list of twenty, I think we’ve done nineteen of them. I think we’ve done all but one of them. And the one we have never done is we’ve never done of Patreon or donation service. But everything else on here, we’ve literally done. And that is how the Suite was built and it’s — there are a lot of different layers of how monetization can work, when we bring value in different ways, to the community members at the time they need it, when they’re asking. And some of which may be directly paid by the members, some of which may be paid through third parties that are paying for the right to market at those members. And, you know, our goal is to continue offering, through our Suite services, our goal is to continue offering coaching, and ideas, and vision, and strategy that will help our community expand to the next level. And so what we’re gonna be doing in just the near future and the next week or three is launching a brand new premium coaching group called, ‘Monetize Your Social Strategy.” So it is something that’s coming. It will include very, very detailed coaching on, okay, let’s understand really in detail direct and indirect monetization. What does it look like for your specific group, what does it look like for your specific channels? Are your members going to respond better to a direct or an indirect type of methodology? And then a type of affiliates might you wanna build? Do you wanna move into speaking? Do you want to move into — you have a really tight brand and swag is the way to go? What tools and systems will help you facilitate this? You really wanna build digital courses, or e-books, and sell those online? Let’s talk about that because that’s really cool stuff, you guys. I love doing stuff like that. If you want to write an ebook, we’re gonna help you sell it, we’re gonna figure out how to get it online, and get you into the right sales channel and how to market it, so–.
Windy: There might even be a template on designing it, what!?
Brenda: Don’t give away our secrets, Windy!
Windy: I’m just sayin’!
Brenda: I’m only kidding. Actually what Windy is alluding to is we are launching our new premium subscription group and our join incentive is actually three free e-book templates. Three, free ebook templates. So if that is something you’ve ever thought about writing an ebook, we’re gonna give a template, we’re gonna get some templates away to people who join our group. Now the interesting, I wanna tell a little story and we’re gonna tell a little chicken story, just for one second, because this is funny (laughing).
Windy: This is funny (chuckling).
Brenda: Actually, Windy why don’t you tell the chicken story, because I think it is really cute.
Windy: So, ya’ll. We were feeling all fancy today. We were on a call with Facebook. Like literally with Facebook–.
Brenda: With the Facebook.
Windy: With the Facebook. And we were on this video conference call and someone chimed in and he was like, “well, I’ve got a group of 100,000 chickens” (laughing) I was like, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before” I don’t think he literally has a group of 100,000 chickens, maybe it’s a 100,000 chicken lovers, like chicken owners.
Windy: But yeah, the chickens, 100,000 chickens y’all.
Brenda: That’s exactly right, but here’s why that’s so important. We’re participating in this beta project with Facebook to develop the closed subscription group model. It is a brand new Facebook product that Facebook is testing and developing. We’re privileged to be one of the 75 groups worldwide that is launching the new group structure. It is a little bit terrifying to be working with Facebook directly, and totally interesting, and being part of the technology of a new product launch. And there is a lot of different types of groups that are in our beta team. We are the only social marketing group, but there is a group of homesteaders who has also backyard chickens, there is a group of home bakers, a car hobbyist, a car hobbyist group. There is a Harry Potter fan group, there is a lot of different types of hobbies out there; and you know business services, and there is a life coach in our group — there is a lot of different types of communities. So if you’re sitting, thinking, “how on earth would I monetize, what could I create?” I guarantee if you have a community following of any kind, whether it is a sales group or it is a group of that you formerly used to sell and sort of have a group you don’t know to do with now, or if you have a hobby community, or a neighborhood community, or any type of group where people come together, parenting groups, there is a parenting group in our — in our beta team. Those are all different things that we could monetize directly, or indirectly when we bring — when we lead with the concept of value. We’re not talking about exploiting and saying, “okay you guys pay me all the monies!” Right?
Brenda: We’re talking about the angle of, “how am I bringing them more value, how might bringing them recommendations on things that will help them?” And there’s nothing wrong with being compensated for that recommendation and for the hard work that goes into moderating and cultivating community. So–.
Windy: Let’s just be real Brenda, if someone can monetize a group about chickens, you can probably monetize anything.
Brenda: Well, let’s brainstorm about that for a second. Some kinds of things that our backyard chicken and homestead friend is probably doing, or if he is not doing — he should be doing. I would be, I would be making I would be making recommendations of different — different types of products he could use for building coops and food. And all of those are recommendations in a big list, that if somebody wants to build a backyard chicken coop and create the, you know, the backyard structure of how to take care of those chickens — every one of the products that might be needed, is something that might be a referral link.
Windy: That could be a toolkit! That could be a toolkit!
Brenda: You’re right. So when you think about, “oh well, could I monetize something? How do I do that?” This is where a new group is really gonna fit in, I think, fill a really interesting niche in our social marketing, in our social marketing coaching, and round out some of the advanced content that some of our members are looking for.
Windy: Yeah I’m excited, this is gonna be, this is gonna be a great group — even without the chickens! (laughing)
Brenda: We can have chickens, maybe chickens can be our logo, or something, It is gonna be a new joke, “this is the chicken group” #SuiteChickens. I don’t know about that (chuckling). Okay, you realize of course that now I have to go ahead and give so… I’m having like seven conversations with myself right now, but Windy — a couple podcasts ago, I have to give a shout out to some people. A couple of podcasts ago, you and I were making jokes about that Rob Schneider movie.
Windy: Yeah! .
Brenda: “You can do it, you can do it!”Okay. And I told everybody at the end, if you’ve gotten this far and you know what movie this is from, ’cause I didn’t know at the time that it was from Waterboy, and now I had like half a dozen people message me like, “Brenda, it’s from Waterboy!” I’m like, okay, so here’s the thing you guys — if I, and this is just how I how I like to roll, if you’ve gotten this far in our podcast, you’re still with us. Pop me a message and tell me a chicken joke, because I would totally be in for a good chicken joke, okay? Send me a chicken meme, send me chicken humor, send me a picture of chicken McNuggets — I don’t care. But my point is, is that you have made it this far and tell me you’re still with me by sending me some chicken humor.
Windy: Yea, do us this favor, you send us the chicken humor to firstname.lastname@example.org. So we can both can enjoy it!
Brenda: So we both can enjoy it. That would be pretty awesome.
Windy: Oh yeah. Give us a little podcas– give us a little chicken — give us a cluck-cluck. Send us a cluck-cluck over to email@example.com.
Brenda: firstname.lastname@example.org, that’s right. So, you might be wondering, how do you get your hands on this really jazzy, ‘20 Ways To Monetize Your Social Strategy’ ebook. If you don’t have this ebook yet and you’d like one, head on over to sassysuite.com/20ways. Two- zero w-a-y-s. Twenty ways. sassysuite.com/20ways. And it will prompt you to enter your email address and then we’re gonna send you the ebook. It is pretty much as easy as that. And we would love to hear what your ideas are. We know that monetizing your social strategy might be a little bit new, a new idea, a new topic for some people, but it really is the extension of everything that we’ve been talking about in terms of funnels, and community, and culture, and online marketing, and value-centric marketing, and relationship-oriented marketing. And how we now take to the next level and really exponentially grow your monetization and passive revenue. Because you’re making money through a variety of different angles and different channels — that’s our plan. So as always, I am Brenda Ster. Hanging with me is Windy Lawson. And we run the Socialite Suite and Sassy Suite, over on Facebook. If you’re not part of our social marketing community, please come over and join us, you can find us at thesocialitesuite.com. And yeah, that’s our news for today y’all. Windy, what am I forgetting? I feel like I’m forgetting something. Did I cover all the things, do I talk about it all?
Windy: You covered all the things. But, hey, thanks for tuning in, listeners!
Brenda: Hey, thanks, everybody! Thanks for tuning in everybody and we will see you next time right here on the podcast.
Windy: See you in the Suite. Bye!