Have you ever wondered how you can create a healthy balance in growing your business without the overwhelm? In this episode, Camille welcomes Ruthie Sterrett, the podcast host of The Consistency Corner podcast and the founder of The Consistency Corner, where she helps small business owners create consistent content.
Ruthie shares her journey pivoting from working in a corporate role to helping other working mothers and women grow their businesses. She shares her tips on how you can maximize your social media presence, particularly Instagram, without sacrificing all your time.
If you’re looking for better ways to engage with your audience, tune into this episode to hear Ruthie’s advice on how you too can create an effective marketing strategy without being tied to social media.
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How to Step Away from Social Media: https://www.theconsistencycorner.com/decide
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Connect with Ruthie:
Follow Ruthie on Instagram: www.instagram.com/theconsistencycorner/
Follow Ruthie on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ruthiesterrettconsistencycorner
Follow Ruthie on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ruthie-sterrett/
Listen to The Consistency Corner podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-consistency-corner/id1573435207
Visit her website: www.theconsistencycorner.com/
RUTHIE STERRETT [00:00]
People are on social media. And so, you need to have a presence, but we can't give it all of our time. And that was when I really realized that social media in and of itself is not a marketing strategy. It's a container.
CAMILLE WALKER [00:23]
So, you want to make an impact. You're thinking about starting a business sharing your voice. How do women do it that handle motherhood, family, and still chase after those dreams? We'll listen each week as we dive into the stories of women who know. This is Call Me CEO.
Welcome back everyone to Call Me CEO. This is your host, Camille Walker. And for those of you who are new here, we celebrate mothers building businesses, we talk about balance. How do you handle it all? What is the magic sauce that our guest has today to share with us?
And I'm so excited about today's guest, Ruthie Sterrett. She is the CEO and owner of The Consistency Corner. And her niche is all about how to create strategy, so we're not strapped to social media and that we can create a healthy balance to keep our business growing without the overwhelm in that regard.
I'm so excited to talk about this. I feel like this is so relatable. It doesn't matter what kind of business you have. Social media is now pretty much a part of every single one. And it can be really easy to feel a feeling of, I have to or, oh, no, I didn't show up, or I'm doing this wrong, or feelings of guilt for being tied to your phone and distracted. So, we're going to dive into all of this. I'm so thrilled. Ruthie, thank you so much for being on the show today.
Yeah, thanks for having me. I'm really excited to have this conversation. And as I work with different clients in my community, I see the business owners are in one of two camps. And one is, like you said, you're tied to your phone, you feel super guilty about it. You're constantly trying to churn out content. And then, the other camp is like you have this should in the back of your head as I should be posting, I should be doing more. But I'm not. I don't have time. I don't know what to do. And then, the weight of that guilt is hurting your creativity in other areas of your business.
And I actually think there's a lot more of those business owners than maybe we realize because the content that's out there is like, "Do this, do that. Post here, post that." And what we tell ourselves is everybody's posting. And I'm the only one who's not.
But I can tell you from the work that I do with business owners, there's a lot of business owners that are not posting and not leveraging social media because they think if they do, it's going to take up all of their time. So, they've just given up, and then they feel guilty about it. But we're going to talk today about there's a better way. And there's another way to do it without sacrificing all your time.
I love it. And here's the thing. I love that you and I are talking today because we're both solution finders to this. If you are a person who's thinking, I despise social media and you want a virtual assistant to help you, that is what I help people with. So, if that is you, I have a whole course training that I've put people through that brings 12 plus years of experience into a course training. And it has people who are trained and ready to help you and they love it. So, if that's something that you're like, I don't even want to.
But even with that being said, I feel like Instagram is very personal. And it is a really tricky one to hand to someone, it can take a process. So, if you can do this on your own, it's really important that you understand your voice. You understand the cadence of your content, the pillars of your content, so that if you did decide to pass it on, it could still retain that quality of reflecting who you are.
So, I'm so thrilled to dive into this because I feel like whether you're in the camp of like, yeah, I've done it forever. I'm sick of it, pass it on, or no, I really need to get a handle on this and make it feel consistent without being all consuming, yes, please.
And I feel like from day to day, I can go from one camp to the other where some days I'm like, I'm so creative and I feel so comfortable. And then, other days I'm like, yeah, no, I don't want to look at Instagram for a week or TikTok for a week or even longer. Sometimes I'll have people say, "Oh, I'm not even on social media." And I'm like, "Oh, isn't that nice? Because I've been on it for 15 years."
One interesting thing that I hear business owners say about that is, "I'm not on social media. My clients are not on social media."
Because I disagree totally.
So, even if they're not finding you on social media, there's a good chance that they're looking you up on social media. And if you have content there to nurture that relationship, those sales conversations become easier, the conversion becomes easier. Your retention is more likely to be stronger because you're nurturing with that content on their schedule. And so, there are ways to do it, like we said, without having to constantly pump out content or feeling like you have to spend hours and hours creating.
Yeah. Okay. We're going to dive into it. Now, I know you had mentioned that having your son really what is what kicked you out of the corporate world and put you into this space of wanting to call your own schedule and have a business of your own. Give us a brief story of that background. How did that work and how did that come to be?
Yeah. So, I was in the retail management and merchandising space for about 15 years. I knew that once I had kids, I didn't want to work a traditional retail schedule like nights, weekends, overnights, holidays. I knew once I had children, I didn't want to do that.
And when I had my son, I felt this calling that I was supposed to do something that served working moms. I didn't know what it was, but I just felt deep within my bones that I was supposed to do something that was serving and helping working moms.
Because at that time and my son's eight now, you look out into the world. And it was like the beginning of the Pinterest mom and early Instagram days of you saw all the mommy bloggers do all the things. And you're like, wait, but I work. How do I do that? And I don't have time.
And I just remember thinking there's got to be a better way for working moms. But like I said, I didn't know what that looked like. I tried blogging, I tried direct sales, like jewelry sales, network marketing. I tried health and fitness coaching.
And along that journey and as I was working in corporate and landed a role in corporate marketing for a small retailer, I taught myself how to do marketing and realized as I taught myself in my corporate role how to do marketing and about branding and the funnel and marketing strategy and content planning, all of these things, I realized that if I could teach myself, I could teach other people.
And so, that was when I made the decision to pivot my business from health and fitness coaching to marketing strategy. And that was the summer of 2021 that I made that decision and switched. I had just launched my podcast, we were 10 episodes in that were about health and fitness. And it was like we're going to make this about marketing.
The content poured out of me because it was like this is what you were meant to do. And this is how you were meant to show up in the world. Still didn't quite know what that looked like in terms of supporting other working moms, nut I knew I'd figure it out and I'd get there, right?
Fast forward to my son going to kindergarten and we struggled with kindergarten. He had always been in daycare. So, it wasn't like he went from being at home to being in kindergarten, but he really, really struggled with kindergarten. And we had to change schools.
And when we made the decision to change schools, the new school that we were going to didn't have aftercare. And so, I was like, okay, I have to leave every day at 3 o'clock now. I worked in a traditional office, corporate environment. Work from home was not really a thing in this company.
And I told my husband, I said, "I'm just going to go to my boss and tell him I have to work from home after 3 o'clock and I have to leave every day." And my husband was like, "What if he says no?" And I was like, "Then I'm going to tell him I don't work there anymore." And that was the decision. I made the decision that day that I'm going to bet on myself. And I'm going to bet on my family. And I'm going to bet on this business.
And over the course of a couple of months, I eventually resigned and knew that my son needed more of mommy, needed more of me. And if I was ever really going to grow my business, I needed the capacity to do it. Where in the past, I've been telling myself once I hit this certain revenue, then I'll leave. I need that security net, but I left with no clients, with no income, and just of that faith of it's going to happen and it's going to come because this is what my family needs right now.
And within a month, I landed a freelance role, landed some retainer clients, and was able to replace my corporate income within three or four months. And I knew I was meant to be there. Because I had been looking on the back end for work-from-home jobs, I had been looking for jobs with more flexibility and couldn't find them and I realized I wasn't meant to find them. I was meant to create one.
And I was meant to create this marketing agency so that I could hire other women and other working moms and give them that flexibility of doing work that they love and using their zone of genius, but still being able to have the flexibility to take care of their families. And so, The Consistency Corner today is we have to serve our clients and they get to step away from marketing. So, it gives them that time back. And then, my goal is to grow my team so that I can give more women that opportunity for the work life flexibility that I found.
I love it. That's so great. That's so in line with my mission as well. I feel like there is so much possibility for you. If you're listening and you're like, I've been wanting to change something, but I'm not sure, this freelancing is where it's at. There is so much need and opportunity.
And I love that it does take that leap of faith of believing in yourself and knowing that you can be in the driver's seat. You can change your mind. You can pivot and you can create a whole new space of your own business. So, let's dive into this, how to use social media to gain clients without having to post every single day to set it and forget it. How do we get started?
Yeah. So, some background from my corporate role and career is at the time, I was managing 16, 17 different social media profiles. And it was a lot. And I was also still trying to build my business on the sides. So, I'm also managing my social media. And I realized I was spending a ton of time on social media. And one day, I was scrolling for fun thinking that I was disconnecting or relaxing through the scroll and set my phone down after about 45 minutes and realized that added nothing to my life.
I don't feel any better. I don't feel any more inspired. I didn't connect with any clients or friends or anything, I just wasted 45 minutes. And there has to be a better way. And so, I sat down that day and mapped out what are five steps I can take to stop the scroll and not sacrifice my marketing strategy?
Because I knew and like you and I talked about, 3 million people are on Instagram. 6 billion people or whatever the number is now are on Facebook. People are on social media. And so, you need to have a presence, but we can't give it all of our time. And that was when I really realized that social media in and of itself is not a marketing strategy. It's a container. Just like a coffee cup isn't coffee, it's a container.
And there's a lot of other different containers that you could use. There's email marketing, there's long-form content, there's SEO on your website, there's networking, there's paid traffic, there areso many different things that we can do. And social media is a piece of that puzzle. And so, that was when I really realized that what I want to help business owners with is figure out how to use social media as part of their puzzle, but not taking up all of their time.
And so, I do content planning, I do Done For You services for my clients. I teach people about how to batch and how to get better at having long-form content that they can repurpose into short-form content.
But this past summer, I launched an offer. It was a group coaching program for marketing strategy and brand strategy. And I was like on the content hamster wheel, pumping it out. posts, reels, stories, so, so much. And then, my launch flopped. I'm going to be honest, I filled zero spots. And I was so burnt out that I was like you know what? I've got to take a break, I've got to take a break from social media because I just need to regroup and figure out what I'm doing.
And so, I created a nine grid for myself. And I had heard about the nine grid strategy and wasn't really sure and didn't know if I liked it or not or what I thought about it. And if you're not familiar, what the nine grid strategy is, is a visual Instagram strategy where you create nine cohesive posts. And they're in a puzzle pattern so that they all look like they go together.
But it basically turns your Instagram profile into a mini website where you're super strategic with the content in those nine posts and you tell who you serve how you help them, the problem you solve, what makes your brand special. And that way, when people land on your Instagram profile, they're getting the exact information that they need.
And so, when I created that strategy and realized that I could set it and forget it and stop worrying about what to post, I was like, oh, now, I have more creativity for other things. Again, I could go to networking events and feel lighter. I layered in a second weekly podcast episode for my podcast. I was able to have more genuine conversations with people because I wasn't constantly thinking about those next posts.
And I realized as I started to talk to different clients and work with different clients that this was a strategy that could really work for people who are not posting because they're like, oh my gosh, I'm not posting. And let's say I do throw up a post and I get crickets and nobody engages and what was the point? And why did I even do that?
But what was happening for business owners is that they're getting referrals, they do great work, their clients are referring them, people go look them up on the internet, and don't see what makes them special. And so, I knew that business owners were leaving money on the table by not having that strategic content. But if they didn't have the capacity to post all the time or maybe hire a social media manager to post for them, then a nine grid was a great solution.
And so, when I work with business owners, we have opportunities to help you map out your nine grid to do it yourself. Or if you're like, you know what? I don't have the creative capacity for this right now, we can do it for you. And we create nine grids for businesses now so that they can set it and forget it and use social media as part of their overall content strategy and marketing strategy without it being the thing that they're putting all their eggs in that basket.
Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. I would think that it's a snapshot that the nine grid is what people are seeing. So, what is it? What are those steps for creating that nine grid?
Yeah. So, the first step is to really identify your marketing strategy and how you're using social media as part of it. So, when I work with business owners and I do consultations with people on the nine grid strategy, I want to talk about are you using email marketing? What are you doing to get visibility on your brand in terms of pitching yourself to be on podcasts or using SEO and writing blog posts or website content that people are going to find you through search? How are people discovering you?
Because social media in and of itself, it's not a magic bullet, it's not an easy button. And when we talk about the marketing funnel, strategies to attract, nurture, and convert, I really believe that social sits in that nurture space. So, what are you doing to attract? And what are you doing to convert? We want to make sure we've got some strategies in place for those things.
And those are going to be different for each business, depending upon where you are in your journey, Your current clients, your offers, they're going to change for different people, but we want to have strategies around those things.
And then, the second thing is to get super, super clear on your branding. And the reason that you want to get super clear on your branding is not just because we want to have pretty colors and nice fonts. We want to know, what are your brand values? What do you stand for? What's your mission and your vision? And who is your ideal customer? Who are you serving? And what are some of, like when we talk about brand values, those things that make you unique and your brand unique? Because those are the things that we're going to want to pull into the content of the nine grid.
And I see a lot of business owners that they have those things loosely defined in their head, but we haven't gotten them out of their head and on paper. And so, that's why sometimes creating that content becomes really challenging because we haven't clarified those things. We walk through that. We clarify those things. And then, we also talk about like, how do you help your customers? Do you have free resources? What are your paid offers? And get, again, really clear on that.
And with a nine grid, what I like to do for most business owners is to refresh it quarterly. So, let's look at where we are in your year and in your campaign calendar. And what are the offers or the solutions that we're focusing on in this quarter? Because that's probably what we want to have be the focus of the nine grid, if you have multiple offers.
So, we go through all of that branding pre-work, we figure out what you're doing on other ends of the funnel. And then, we map out the posts. And I have a free resource for you guys that we'll share in the show notes that gives you those first three posts,because I love to have you test it out with a three grid, which is just the three posts that you can pin to the top of your profile and start to understand and feel like, do I like posting like this? Does this make sense for me? Does this make sense for my business? So, you can kind of step by step try it out.
And then, if you're ready to dive deeper, we can talk more about the exact nine posts that you can put in. But when I say the exact nine posts, the reason that I can't go through all nine of them with you today, it takes a little bit of time, but it is going to be different for each business.
It's going to be different depending upon what your offers are. It's going to be different depending upon whether you have a lot of testimonials or you're just getting started. Whether you're launching something new or you've got an existing product suite that you're just trying to grow, it's different for each business. And so, it's a little bit custom in terms of how all nine posts flow together.
Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. I love that you're talking about understanding and really connecting with that core value of what it is that you're offering and how that unique service really applies to the person that you're talking to because if you haven't defined what those things are, it's hard for someone else to grasp it if you yourself haven't defined it for you, which can feel a little bit maybe simple.
But then, I think it really helps to clarify, if that is my value or if these are the messages I'm trying to help, how am I portraying that by this piece of content? And that makes it very purposeful and takes the what out of it and more of the why. And I think that that's what makes that post so powerful.
Yeah. And the other thing, too, and when I talk a little bit about, it's going to be depending upon where you are in your business, thinking about your website. And I know a lot of business owners, when they're just getting started that they don't have the money to invest in a website, or then we get to season two of our business that maybe we've invested in our website, but it's not reflective of where we are today.
And the idea of redoing our site or a refresh is like, oh, my gosh, I do not have the capacity for that. And that's where a nine grid can be really helpful. Because it gives you a home on the internet that is more easily updatable than maybe an entire website where we can talk about exactly what it is that you do and how you help people.
And we can even leverage things like Manychat, which this is, again, an automated funnel system, where you can have ways that people can comment on these posts or DM you from these posts. And then, automation gives them your free resource or an opt-in link or a book a call link, or whatever it may be. And so again, it helps it so that you don't have to be on your phone constantly. But when people do look you up on the internet, because they will, they've got everything they need right there.
Yeah. If you're planning a nine grid, how often are you suggesting that people post? If that's something, how often are you having them refresh those nine?
Yeah. I like to look at it quarterly. So, I like to look at three months worth of data. I like to look at after we've posted the initial one, how was our engagement? What types of impressions were we getting? Depending upon the business owner, did you continue to use stories or reels? Because that's, again, going to be dependent upon your bandwidth and your business goals and your top and bottom of funnel strategies.
But looking at the metrics and comparing them to the previous quarter, if we feel good about the metrics and nothing has changed in your business, you can leave it, leave it up, don't change it. But I find that most of us as quarters go by, we might introduce a new offer or we might update some pricing or our capacity has changed or something may have changed. And so then, it might be time for a refresh.
And I can share in my business, I posted a nine grid in June and was sharing a lot of my different offers. And then as I moved into the fall, realized that I really wanted to focus on my retainer services and the done for you nine grid packages.
So, I redid my nine grid to reflect those things. And so, it was up for three months. We set it up for another three months. I'm going to revisit it in December, and then I'll decide like, can I keep it up or do we need to refresh based upon what's happening with my business goals?
So, are you suggesting that people just have nine tiles or that they erase everything before?
So, I would not erase everything before? I love that question. And what I recommend doing is putting we call them separation posts, where you have a line of three posts that can either just be like a solid color or a solid color with your logo or a solid color with some texts that maybe even says like, "Everything below this line is my previous content, take a look around and get to know me a little bit better. Everything above this line is exactly what you need to know about my business."
And then, you're showing the audience that there's a clear delineation. And so, I've tried from a posting perspective, I'll share this, I've tried posting all nine posts at once. I've tried posting three at a time. I've tried posting one a day over the course of nine days.
And what I found is that when we posted them all at once, the last posts, so the top of the grid, got the most engagement. When we did it in rows of three or one at a time, the first posts got the most engagement and reach. So, it just, again, depends upon your business and your bandwidth of what's going to make sense. And so, when I work with business owners, we talk about those things to decide how we're going to do it but after the whole grid is posted.
When I say set it and forget it, you're not going to post any more static posts Because if you layer more posts on top of that, the grid gets messed up. And then, it's just strategic content that's getting buried down in the bottom of your feet.
Now, I continue to post reels. I have a podcast. I turn my podcast interviews into reels. And I also post fun reels when I get inspired or if see a trend that I want to try. I don't put pressure on myself to do it. But I like to do them, right?
So, how do you post reels without them messing up your grid? What you're going to do is you're going to post that reel. And then after it posts, whether you schedule it or you post it manually, there's three little dots where you can go to edit that reel. And there's an option to remove it from your grid. And then, it goes over to the reels tab, just lives there, continues to live in the feed, so people will see it in their feed, but it's not messing up your puzzle or your little mini website that we've posted.
This sounds like a really good solution for someone who maybe doesn't have a website and is looking for a landing place for people to go to learn about their who and their why and the how, like how they can serve.
Maybe not for people who are looking to grow a social media following unless it's strictly through reels because with posting, it's interesting, I have coaches in different areas. I've been doing social media forever. And it's like to grow in a social media feed or platform right now people say to post three times a day, all the time, which for some of us won't work. And for some of us, we're like, okay, I'll do it. And that's fine. This is a really interesting perspective.
Yeah. And I love what you said about that. And it's really understanding what your business goals are. And so, there are some people that the nine grid is not a good strategy. I would say if you are a product-based business who constantly has new arrivals and new products, this is not the strategy for you because you're going to want to show those new arrivals and keep your feed fresh with what you have in stock.
Or to your point, somebody who has maybe had some success with growing on social media and wants to continue that growth, this is maybe not the platform or idea for you. But it could be for a season. It could be like, hey, we're getting ready to head into the holidays, I do not want to be on my phone for a while. So, I'm going to pop a nine grid up for a month.
So, I've gotten really strategic or maybe you're working on something behind the scenes that you're going to launch, you could pop up a coming soon teaser nine grid or six grid or three grid that build some excitement and some momentum while you work on other things. Maybe you're building a course or you're doing something that's taking up your creative energy, pop that up so that you can take a break from the constant posting. And then, you can come back to it when you have more bandwidth in your business.
Yeah. I like that. That's definitely something I haven't considered. And there are so many times we have seasons like that, or for some of us that are just starting out and saying, okay, I haven't quite figured out what all this looks like yet, but I can do nine. That really takes away the overwhelm of that. So, I think that that's a really fresh perspective.
And honestly, reels, because you can put them in a different place where people can toggle over and just see your reel content and not your grid content, you can keep them separate, if you take that extra step and do remove from my feed.
What we did for one of my clients who's in real estate is we did one of her posts was the call to action was "check out the reels tab for my most recent listings," or "check out the reels tab to see a recap from our last open house in this market," or whatever.
So, there's even ways to have calls to action to send people over to the reels content pillars. And you can pin reels to the top of your reel screen, you can pin three. So, if there's really dynamic ones that you want to make sure people are seeing, you can pin those.
But you mentioned something about if you don't have a website, this is a really great strategy. And I completely agree with that. And I've worked with some clients who they knew that their website was not up to par, but they didn't have the bandwidth to invest in support for that. So, they were able to do the nine grid instead.
But I also see clients who spend a lot of money on a great website, but then their social media doesn't match. And I can share a story about I was this summer looking for a new doctor. And so, I googled functional medicine doctors near me and I found a couple in my town. And the first thing I did was go to their website.
And their websites were the same. They sailed the same and have the same services. And so, I was like I'm going to check out their Instagram because that is going to give me more of an idea of their vibe, of who they are. And the one that I chose to call and say, "I'd like to make an appointment and become a new patient" is the one that had a great Instagram.
And so, when people are in that customer journey of making decisions, yeah, they might be visiting your website. But when they're trying to narrow it down, a lot of times they go to social. And so, if your social and your website are not in alignment or your social isn't doing you any favors, you could be leaving money on the table by not having that content up there.
Yes. And I know of businesses personally, who say, "Yeah, we don't do social media." And I like that this is a solution that it's like, okay, you don't have to "do it," meaning, actively every day be putting new content, but be present where if people are searching you there, they could find you, or even have a link to your website, or that's just a new way of us googling strangers that might be. That is really where we are.
So, I think that this has been really fascinating. And I really appreciate you sharing this idea with us. Where is a place that we can get in contact with you or find your free resources?
Yeah. So, I am hanging out on Instagram @theconsistencycorner. That's my platform of choice. And then, host of The Consistency Corner podcast. So, if you're looking for more marketing strategy and mindset tips and a little bit of some unfiltered conversations about mompreneur life, I have two episodes a week there.
And then, send me a DM because I honestly am in the process of creating more and more resources to help business owners with this. Before you and I hit record, I was like, It's not done yet. I don't have a landing page for it. So, I'll send it to Camille and you'll make sure it's in the show notes, but just shoot me a DM on Instagram and say hello. And we can chat about whether or not the nine grid strategy is right for you.
Awesome. Thank you everyone for tuning in today. If you found this episode helpful, please share it with a friend. A like to the content is always helpful. And, of course, feel free to DM and reach out to me @camille.co or @callmeceopodcast on Instagram. Have a great week and we'll see you next time.
Hey, CEOs, thank you so much for spending your time with me. If you found this episode inspiring or helpful, please let me know in a comment in a 5-star review. You could have the chance of being a featured review on an upcoming episode. Continue the conversation on Instagram @callmeceopodcast. And remember, you are the boss!
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