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[Podcast] Influence Acceleration: Using Events and Social Media to Grow Your Community (Ashley Ann)

By Bob Sparkins  |  Published Aug 17, 2022  |  Updated Feb 08, 2024
Bob Sparkins
By Bob Sparkins

A marketer with 17 years of experience, Bob has taught over 1,000 webinars and spoken at over 50 events.

Ashley Ann - The Lead Generation Podcast

If navigating the world of social media more profitably is a key priority for you, then you’re going to love this two-part episode of The Lead Generation podcast.

Ashley Ann Jones (@KingAshleyAnn on the social channels) teaches entrepreneurs how to stand out on Instagram and TikTok through authentic and strategic content. She’s also the host of the Accelerate 180 business conference.

In part 1, Ashley Ann shares lessons she's learned turning her side hustle into a dream business, and how to create live event experiences that truly stand out. In part two, she reveals some of her top tips for driving more revenue from social media.

Key Takeaways

  • Know what entrepreneurial net you need. If you’re thinking of leaving a 9-5 to start a business, understand your own sense of risk-tolerance before you leap faster than you’re comfortable with.
  • Your experiences sharpen your potential. Any trials and tribulations you face can turn into a secret weapon when you become more empathetic to the situations your audience may face in their own lives.
  • Put your self-care at the top of your priority list. If all your focus is on your business, your mind and/or body will eventually wear down and force you to take a break. Find activities that energize you and add them to your regular routine.
  • Create events that treat your customer as a whole person. People are hungry for well-rounded business conferences, not just specific tactics that avoid other areas of people’s lives.
  • Focus on being a resource, not an expert. Your business can grow faster when you’re there to serve and connect, rather than be the smartest person in the room.
  • Use the social platforms in different ways. Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, etc., attract audiences that show up for different reasons. Post value, relational, and promotional content at the right frequency to succeed.
  • Build a texting list. People will respond well to marketing texts if you’ve built up a strong community and value from your communication.
  • Gravitate towards tools you’ll actually use to create and publish your content. Keep it simple and focus on the messages you want to share.

Resources Mentioned

Podcast Block Blog@2x

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Part One

Get to Know Ashley Ann Jones

Bob Sparkins: Hey, it's Bob Sparkins. I'm excited to introduce you to Ashley Ann Jones, better known as @KingAshleyAnn on the social channels. We had such a great conversation that we've split it up into two episodes. In part one, Ashley Ann shares lessons she's learned turning her side hustle into a dream business, and how to create live event experiences that truly stand out. In part two, Ashley Ann reveals some of her top tips for navigating the world of social media profitably.

Be sure to check out leadpages.com/podcast for the show notes, transcripts, and links to the resources that we discuss. Let's get into it. Ashley, it's so great to have you on today's episode of The Lead Generation.

Ashley Ann: I'm super happy to be here.

Bob: I cannot wait to dive in and ask you all the cool questions that people want to know about social media and entrepreneurship and all that kind of jazz. I know that there's some people listening who haven't had the chance to really get to know you yet. So the first question I have is, how are you transforming the lives of your clients?

Ashley Ann: Thank you for that. Hey, y'all, hey, to all you guys that don't know me, so nice to meet you. Basically, I help people get paid to do things that they like to do, or that they're called to do through social media. I help with return paths, funnels, automated systems, and I'm really good at really unique conversion methodologies. It's really dope because I've figured out a way to help my clients attract customers and clients to them so that they don't have to have the anxiety that comes with selling.

Bob: Cool, no anxiety with selling. I think that's a really good thing that people want to have for sure. I see that all the time when people are really heart-centered, they're really powerful about transforming the lives with their clients. But when it comes to actually asking to be paid or deal with sales, they get all wiggly about it. It's great, the service that you're offering for people with what you do.

Now, you didn't always do this, of course. Back in the day you did some corporate stuff, you came up the ranks like the traditional pathway of a good person is supposed to do. Talk just a little bit about that. What was life like pre-entrepreneurship that made you want to start up a side hustle? Then we'll talk about jumping ship after that.

Ashley Ann: Yeah, so I got sucked into the matrix and no offense to people who want to keep the nine to five. I will say this. I think if you are in a corporate position, it's actually fulfilling to you or it's part of your purpose, I'm like, keep on going. But for me, my bachelor's is in finance and I was really good and I was working as an analyst, but it was not fulfilling work. When I was coming through, it was like when everyone was going through this leaning process.

So I got out of college during the recession in the '08, '09 era. It was leaning out. People were losing their homes and their cars, businesses were going down left and right. So it was very interesting because even though I was good at the numbers and I was good at understanding campaigns and helping companies know what they needed to do to bring in a greater return, it also was not fun because normally if I showed up and because I was so good at what I did, that meant that there were going to be a number of people that lost their jobs. I hated that, could not stand that.

I also wasn't down with the whole assimilation dance that I had to do. In corporate, you're not allowed to be as free or as flexible. I'm always into my little nails and all these shimmy-shangle things and that's not deemed as professional. Or my hair is normally really big and curly. It's tame today, but normally it's all huge and curly. Someone telling you that's a distraction, it just was not working for me. Then I just started doing the math and the math is not mathing for me, so I was working probably about 60 hours a week.

So I was like, okay, you're making great money, but you don't get to enjoy your money because you're always working. I'm like, okay, I've been in school for a gazillion years to get out. Most of my classmates were getting jobs at $9 and $10 an hour. So it really wasn't enough to be able to pay their bills. I'm not talking about living a lavish life. I'm talking about living in a normal place that's safe, having a decent car, making sure you have health insurance and stuff like that. I was like, at this rate, I'm never going to be able to have the security that I'm looking for. I'm not ever going to be able to have the freedom of my time. It felt like at the time I was working 24/7, but it wasn't enjoyable. I wasn't getting breaks. You know what I'm saying? There was no vacation.

I was like, this is just not what I signed up for or what I thought it would be. I was in an entrepreneurship class in my master's program and I had to do this feasibility study. I went through everything and I was like, dang. I was like, this is actually a really good business idea. I think the model will work. So I should give it a try. So I hadn't quite quit the nine to five yet, but I started the process of doing my own thing. So I opened up my event design and production business, and it took off. Within three years I had my first million-dollar year. That's actually how I learned I was good at social media, marketing, and all of that stuff.

So one day they came and they're like, "Hey, it's time to renew your contract." I was like, "I'm actually not going to renew my contract and I'm just going to go full time on the entrepreneurship." You still work a lot and stuff, but it was just fun. It's more enjoyable. I get to create and people were happy. They're happy now to see me come in. I'm putting people in a position now where they're making money. Instead of being in a position where I'm taking something, you know what I'm saying, away, or I'm the catalyst to why HR has decided that they need to lay off these 40 people. So this for me is a much better fit for who I am as a person. I would much rather be creating and putting light into the world instead of more on the doom and gloom.

The Road to Entrepreneurship Doesn’t Need to Jump a Cliff

Bob: It's amazing to see what that transition has been like for you. I've seen it on the other side. We're going to talk more about your events that you're doing now, but take me back to 12 years ago or so, or 10, was it eight years ago? Whenever it was that you started doing the events as a side hustle. A) the revenue obviously was pretty nice, I'm sure. But B) was there anything else that made you say, "Yes, now is the time for it to go from side hustle to my full-time thing?"

Ashley Ann: So one of the things, I worked backwards. So I actually built up a clientele big enough first to support me having a brick-and-mortar space. Which is funny, because I did all that work to have a brick and mortar and then a few years in I realized I was like, I don't need a brick and mortar space. I'd rather work from home and have the flexibility. So then I started working my way out of the brick-and-mortar and the retail space.

Back in the day, the biggest part of transition for me was one, I got the ability to have fun with my creative side because I get to do all these fantastical, crazy events, and trees and buildings and people hanging out of ceilings and people dressed up like Dr. Seuss characters and all these other amazing things is just create an experience for people that's fun.

When I was getting started before I transitioned over, I was really trying to figure out, can I make enough money doing this to pay my bills? So that was a major concern for me. I worked my full-time job for three years. I don't have the story of, "Oh, I just got this idea." I was like, "I'm taking a leap of faith and I'm jumping." That was not me. I was just like, "Yeah, I have faith that this is going to work, but I need to leave in a logical, sound way." I need to make sure if there's six months or nine months that it takes for me to start getting to a place that I'm profitable, that I can still pay my bills because I watched a lot of people try and go from side hustle to full time and they didn't ever have enough of a financial base there.

It was like, one thing didn't work out or they had a couple bad weeks and all of a sudden they had to go back into the corporate thing. Then they were always in and out and they could never really fully develop the business the way they needed to. So I saved my money. I got everything done that I could get done insurance-wise, like eye exam, dental, surgeries, physicals, everything you could think of. I had also spent a pretty extensive time looking at realistically, what my expenses were and thinking about big items. If you need new tires or a roof or, you know what I'm saying? I don't know, you break an ankle or something, but realistically, how much does it cost me to live? Then if I have an extraordinary event, unusual event come up, making sure I could handle it.

Once I had that, then I went and I started researching, how much does a lease cost? What's my cam going to be? What's the average rent on these buildings? How much is the utilities? What do I have to spend in marketing costs? What's a security system? So anything, I was very thorough. Anything I could think that's going to be an expense or a cost, I just started tabulating it.

So while I was working my nine to five, my goal was to build on my foundational fund strong enough that I could actually live for 18 months. I don't believe in that six-month mishuganah, I'm like, no, we need a whole 12 to 18 months. 18 to 24 in my ideal land is what it should be. On top of that, now I need to be able to put up enough every single month from these clients that I'm getting to see if I can actually cover the overhead of having a physical brick-and-mortar building and what it's going to take to bring the customers in.

So I waited until I got that stuff underway before I was even like, okay, I will go full time. Then on top of that, once I had all that in place, I still was like, "God, please send me a sign." So I ended up booking a $150,000 client. So I couldn't have gotten a clearer sign than that, and I was like, "Okay, time for me to spread my wings and go fly in the sky." So that's how I left. I was not a person that just jumped out and was like, "Oh, I'm going to jump in the net's going to appear." No, I'm the person that builds the net. Then I want to go and put up the net. Then I had to secure the net. Then I had to go double-check it. Then I wanted to go look at the beams and the joists, connected to the net. Then I was like, all right. I'll jump now.

Bob: By then, it's not even jumping. It's just like, it's a good...

Ashley Ann: It's a little a step, a little skip. Okay. It wasn't that bad. I can do it.

Bob: That's amazing. Super happy that you took that step, or skip and not a leap and that it's worked out well for you. I imagine it's not been a smooth journey the whole time.

Ashley Ann: No.

Victimhood Won’t Get You Success

Bob: Has there been a roadblock along the way that you continue to look back to in gratitude, as a learning experience?

Ashley Ann: I'll be honest. My biggest roadblocks and challenges have come more on the intrapersonal side. I feel like all of us have the same professional struggles, learning your market, figuring out your pricing, finding a good network, and referral sources. I think all of us have that type of thing. I think that just comes with the territory as far as building a business.

The one that I'm very thankful that I was able to get and understand, really honing in on my own power and my mindset and understanding whatever I tell myself is going to happen is what's going to happen. For me, at this point, I speak to thousands of entrepreneurs and most of the time people are in their own way. That's their biggest roadblock. It's really, it's them.

So if you can get it in your mind that everything is happening for me, even if it's not happening in the time that I want it to happen in, even if it doesn't come in the package that I want it to come in and no matter what happens, because I had a surgery on my neck. I've had four surgeries on my spine. I'm actually supposed to be in a wheelchair and not walking. So I'm a walking miracle around here.

I have had to go through betrayals. I had a person that was trying to be in business with, as a partner, they stole $25,000 from me. I was not making money the way I make money right now. So that dang near took me out. I had an ex that was really vicious once I decided that I wanted the relationship to be over, and he called and put the people in my life and had all my accounts frozen and audited. That was crazy. That was a really horrible 14 months of trying to be able to make everything work and make it happen. Of course, I was cleared of everything and they didn't find anything, but just still going through the whole ordeal. It's just been so many things.

What I find it happens is people go through these trials and tribulations in life and they just quit. You know what I'm saying? They're just like, "Oh, it's too hard. It's too stressful. It hurts too much. I don't want to deal with it right now." The biggest thing is being able to find it every day, not even trying to forecast myself a year or a month down the line, just every day. Just, I'm waking up today and I'm going to do the best that I can with today to move forward and just keep finding that in yourself over and over again. That's the biggest thing. I find that more people, they have such negative self-talk. They tell themselves that because something has gone, I don't want to say astray, it's off script at this point, plot twist that's happening.

So then they feel like, "Oh, it's the end," or "It's a sign I should stop." Or, "I need to quit," instead of saying, "No, I'm supposed to learn something from this and figuring out what exactly am I supposed to learn and how can I do my best today to move forward?" Even if I'm just moving forward a millimeter, because sometimes it's not going to be an inch. You know what I'm saying? Some days it's going to be a millimeter, another day it may be a foot. You know what I'm saying? Then the next day it may be six inches. Then the next day you may get a mile down the road. But really just every day saying, "I'm going to do my best to try and move forward and I'm going to figure out what am I supposed to learn from this."

I really feel like all those experiences, they helped me develop better discernment, better tools, better interpersonal skills. You know what I mean? Better rapport with people. I have my clients, they joke and they call me the Oracle, like from the Matrix. I have a really uncanny ability to be able to connect with people. When they're in pain or when they're distressed or when they're really in self-doubt and stuff, being able to identify and help them get out of it because I've experienced these other things. So literally looking at those trials and tribulations too and saying these are tools that I'm being equipped with to help me move forward in my professional life and in my personal life.

I really feel like that's the biggest one. You know what I'm saying? Especially being, I'm African American, I'm a woman, and I'm young. So I face ageism. I face racism. I face sexism, all of that stuff, but still being able to find some way to say, "I'm not going to let that stop me." I'm still going to go out here and get what I know that I can have. I'm going to try and be the best version of myself that I can be.

Get Unstuck by Helping Somebody Else

Bob: Yeah. I'm always inspired by what you have been able to achieve and what you continue to achieve, and really just this internal drive that you have. I know that you're still human though. I wonder, is there something that you say to yourself when this negative self-talk might still pop up? Because I'm sure it probably happens. Anything that you just tell yourself back and quiet it down when that negative self-talk still happens?

Ashley Ann: Yeah. If I'm being honest, when I get in that little weird spot and negative self-talk or I'm feeling sorry for myself, I go and I help somebody. That's the easiest way to put something back in perspective for yourself. A lot of the stuff that we are complaining about or crying and whining about, there is somebody on the planet earth, they would love to have your... What we're seeing is a problem, it's a blessing to them.

If you want to stop feeling sorry for yourself, go help somebody because you will find a million reasons that you should be grateful. Sometimes the problem that you're having the solution will be there inside of helping someone else. So for me, that's always worked for me. Like, girl, stop. If you need to take a day, okay, girl, take your day. Cry and whine, and the next day, get up. It's not that bad. You're still alive. So that means you still got an opportunity to change it to what you want to.

I'll be honest though, something that helps me, I had to learn myself and learn my triggers. I think everybody should do that. So I know I respond well to sunlight. So it's really important for me, every day I know it sounds silly, but I like to go on walks. I like to go dig in the dirt and be in my garden. I don't care how busy I am. I literally will be outside in my garden, taking my client calls because that helps me stay in a more positive mindset, in a better mood. I think that entrepreneurs get so busy and focused on the business of business and the sales and the 25 things that we have to do that we forget we're the head of the business and we have to take care of ourselves.

So if we're not taking care of ourselves, nothing else is going to get taken care of. That was like, I'll be honest, I didn't learn that lesson until my disc ruptured and I couldn't walk. I was on bed rest and it was just like, honestly, if I would've probably made more time to take care of myself the way I should have, instead of I got to take this call. I got to finish this contract. I got to do this for this client. I got to pick this up. I got to send in these reports. I got to file these taxes. I got to do these emails. Whatever you're busy running around doing, I wouldn't have had to learn that very difficult lesson. So for me, it's taking care of myself, trying to make sure I'm not in a position to where I'm going to be in a low energy state, if that makes sense.

I'm really particular too about my friends and my family and colleagues. I love people that are progressive. I like people that are forward-thinking. I like people that are not really going to give you the opportunity to sit there and be the victim. I want people that are going to push me to be victorious around me. So I'm very intentional too with selecting the proper people to be around me that are not going to... People that are not going to tolerate you being a sad sap or a wet blanket because it's really easy to fall into that victim mentality.

If you have people around you always going, "Oh woo. Oh my God. It's so sad. Poor you." Like, okay. Yeah, poor you, but what you going to do about it? Let's go. Let's go. So for me, that's been very, very important to helping me keep a more positive mindset. Whenever I do have those days, because like you said, we're all human, but when I have those days and I'm a little low, it's pretty much just a day and I can get right on out of it and go back to the next thing.

Intentionally Create Events Your Raving Fans Will Love

Bob: I love that, Ashley. It's really great, great insight. One of the things I want to talk to you next about is your upcoming event. We're super excited to partner with you for Accelerate 180. Had the chance to be there last year. What a party you threw for the people that made it down to Little Rock. This year it's going to be in Houston.

I would love to know when you think about events as you have had these events over the last few years, and before that you were doing event design for clients, you are super intentional about your events. About putting the right people in the room, but also just everything about the event is super intentional, which I really loved as I got to experience it. What would you say is one or two things about the events that you like to design that sets it apart from other events in the business conference world that you and I both have experienced over the last decade?

Ashley Ann: Thank you so much for that. I'm so excited that you guys are part of it. Just in case y'all don't know, Bob killed it. Everybody in the Kingdom calls him Uncle Bob now. I'm like, that's his name, okay? Because he came with the sauce and he was so dedicated to just helping everybody there, which I'm so appreciative of.

First thing is, I think I'm pretty sure because I've been to a bunch of business conferences as an attendee and as a speaker and like you said, as a producer on the event side. We have one of the few that we're really focused on the business owner from a holistic perspective. We want to talk to you about your marketing and your sales and building your team. But we also want to talk to you about diversifying your portfolio and your retirement.

We're going to talk to you about your time management and we bring in relationship experts. So you can talk about parental or romantic relationships and just that regular stuff that nobody ever really talks about that's going on that will really make you or break you. So we try to focus on the business owner from a holistic perspective. So different days are carved out for different activities.

I think the second biggest thing, we have one of the only business conferences where people actually get funded while they're there. So I have all kinds of banks and investors with me at the conference. They're on site. They're looking for businesses and we literally have people walking away with anywhere from $20,000 to half a million dollars in funding, literally that day. So I'm always really proud of how many small business owners we've been able to help them get the capital that they need to get on the way to build their businesses.

So I would say, and I'm going to do one more, it is a party. It's a lot of fun. This is the most fun you're ever going to have in your life, building your business and making connections. Everybody always says they've never been to anything like it before and how much they love it. It is. It's a party. We are bound to break out dancing anywhere. We have all kinds of crazy competitions and we're really good at helping people consume information. The way that you're consuming it is really easy for you to remember it. It's not work.

Bob: Yeah. It's really spectacular how much fun is in the room. A lot of times people go to conferences and the deals are made in the hallways. They're made at the bar. They're made somewhere else. People think the event is just an opportunity to do those things, but you want to be in the room at Accelerate 180 because it is a lot of fun. There are opportunities to network of course too and talk to the other partners of your events, like the folks that you mentioned. Man, what a great time.

Ashley Ann: Thank you.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Event Venues

Bob: I'm going to ask you some more questions around social media in just a moment, but my last event question, because since you are such an expert in this, there are some people listening from The Lead Generation who are trying to put on their own events. Maybe they have in the past and they're just coming back to them as we hopefully get to the end of COVID times where things are such a... They're just blown up.

How do you decide what kind of a venue that you want to use for the event? Do you have any tricks on picking the right venue? I know that can be a real nightmare for people who are trying to put on either their first retreat or their first workshop or bigger conference. Do you have any tricks that you like to follow for that?

Ashley Ann: Yeah. The first thing is really focus in on the experience that you want your attendees to have. That should lead and guide everything. So if you're doing a smaller retreat, a boutique or maybe something more intimate and thinking outside the box, maybe a presidential suite or something like that, it's going to help you pull off what you need to.

If you're doing a pretty large-scale production, I know for me like, Bob, you were just saying how deals are made at the bar or in the hallway. So really trying to cultivate the spaces that encourage people to meet up and hang out with each other and network and connect. Also, for me, really looking at how easy is it going to be for the guests to get in and out of where they're going. So for instance, we're in Houston this year, which is going to be so much easier for people to navigate around.

We were in Little Rock last year. Little Rock is small. If you get a late flight at 10:30 or 11, you can't get an Uber. They're nonexistent. But in a city like Houston, you can catch a car. We have shuttles that are going to be running to one or two in the morning. Thinking about the guest rooms. So when the guests go back, are they able to relax, get a good night's rest, or are they going to be uncomfortable and waking up with their neck and back hurting and they can't focus the next day?

I would also say, find a venue that's going to work with you logistically as far as what is set up, the breakdown, the lunches, the after hours, your load times, and stuff like that because for you the event producer or the event host, that's going to make your life a thousand times easier.

Bob: Yeah. That's awesome. I think we might need to have you back at some point in the future just to talk events because I think we could go on and on about all the ways to make sure events work out well for you.

Ashley Ann: I've been doing them for a long time, like 16 years. So I ain't seen everything, but I've seen a lot of things.

Bob: Awesome.


Engagement is More Important Than Size of Your Audience

Bob: So let's switch gears over to your entrepreneurial zone of genius, which is turning social followers into customers and clients. You're super good at it. You've been doing it for a while. You continue to do it on the daily, but you also teach your people how to do that very actively. So my first question in this area is when you think for the new folks that come to you, they likely come to you with a misconception about social media and what role it has or how to do it. What kind of misconceptions are you seeing? Maybe one of them, let's just highlight that if you could rid the world of that misconception, then a lot of people's lives would be a whole heck of a lot better.

Ashley Ann: That you need to have a huge amount of followers to make money on social media. That's the biggest one I see, and it drives me nuts. And I wish I could shake people because they're like, "Oh, I don't have a hundred thousand followers, so I can't make a hundred thousand dollars." No, reality you only need like a hundred people to like you to make a hundred thousand dollars in a year. That's just the truth. I have clients that have between 500 and 800 followers, and they're making an average of five to $10,000 a month. And then I have other clients that come to me that literally have millions of followers, they are verified and they cannot figure out how to make $10 a month with their pages. So popularity does not equal prosperity. That's the first one that I would say, get it out, get it out of your brain.

Bob: Popularity does not equal prosperity. I love that. That's really a good takeaway already in the segment of the conversation.

Think and “Publish” Social as an Individual, Not as a Business

Bob: So for those people that are pretty new at trying to monetize social media, what are one or two of those first steps that you encourage people to take on so they're headed down the right path and they can avoid some of those wrong mistakes?

Ashley Ann: First step, I would tell you to get a creator account on any social media platform, even if you are a business, the creator account is going to give you more flexibility. You're going to see better analytics, it's going to be better to engage with your audiences. And if you're a business, that social media platform wants you to get on there and run ads. If you're a creator, now they want you to get on there and create content so you can keep other people on the social media platform. If that makes sense? So creator accounts are definitely the way to go.

The next thing I would say is pick a specific niche and I know y'all hear it all the time, but yet I see people not doing. Y'all are RAMing. I call it raming, random acts of marketing. We need to stop that. Okay. What you need to do is you need to pick something that you want to be known for in these social media streets.

And 80% of your content is going to revolve around that. The other 20% can be whatever you want it to be. And the reason this is important because you have to establish yourself as a resource. We've been in this weird expert culture thing, and I cannot stand it. And I'll be honest, I felt victim to it too when I first started learning social media marketing and conversion and monetization, I thought I had to be an expert. No, you don't have to be an expert. You need to be a resource. A resource is way more valuable because if you're a resource, it just says, this is what I'm doing and I'm going to share my experience or my knowledge or my content about this. I'm just going to share it. That's all I'm doing. I'm just sharing what I'm doing and what's working for me or what's not working for me.

And so if you can pick a specific category or niche or interest or whatever you want to call it, and 80% of your content is going to be either value-based or relational-based. Those are the only two types of content that make you money in the social media streets. That's it. Value-based is when you're doing things like answering questions, definitions, terminology, showing people how to do things, so like tutorials, breaking down case studies, talking to people about maybe a law that changed or something and how it's going to affect them. And you don't have to be first. You just need to give good information. That's value. And if you're like a comedian or artist, making people feel good or making them laugh, that's still valuable.

Then relational content, that's when you are literally just getting to know people, like do you like coffee or tea?

You can say anything. I think people are weirdos that eat chocolate ice cream. It doesn't matter which one has to go, but literally just being able to build up. So it's like engagement and questions and what's your opinion and thoughts and meet my puppy or what did you have for lunch, things that are actually built on a relationship. That's how we make money, literally value-based and relational content. That's it. You can put whatever other kind of content you want, but if you want to make money, you have to have those two.

Bob: That's awesome. And do you have any ratio that you tend to follow or do you-

Ashley Ann: I normally try and do two-to-one. Two is going to be value-based, one is going to be relation. So like for instance, on my TikTok, my page is just let's level up together over there in general, compared to Instagram where it's really strictly let's make money and get to business as far as digital marketing. So on Instagram, I always have affirmations, helpful tips, stats, things to help you with emails, funnels, softwares you should be using, stuff like that. And then for one post, I may put up what I have for lunch or a date night or something like that.

On TikTok, I'm more relational-focused and so it's the opposite. So I'm two relational-based or opinion posts or commentary. And then one is, oh, by the way, here's some business information because it's a different culture over there.

So I think also learning your social media platform is going to change what that ratio is. So TikTok people are really more into getting to know more about you and then you can introduce this is also what I offer. And if they like you, they're like, "I'll buy what you offer." And over on the other side, on Instagram or Facebook, I feel like it's really more important to lead with the offer or the content or whatever the community is founded on. That's what you really should be leading with over there.

How to Pick Your Top Social Marketing Channel

Bob: Cool. So let's say somebody's coming to you as a client and they only have time for one social channel, either Instagram or TikTok. What question are you asking them so that you know which one to steer them too?

Ashley Ann: The biggest question is I want to know who's their target audience and it's a combo question. Who's your target audience and what do you help your target audience achieve? That's how I would figure out which platform they needed to be on.

Bob: Cool. And can you give an example of when one would steer them to TikTok and one would steer them to Instagram?

Ashley Ann: Yeah. So if your target audience is more, I would say service-based, or if you have a product, a physical product, but it has a higher price point, I'm probably going to steer them more into Instagram, not to say that you can't find high price buyers on TikTok, because they're there, but maybe you don't really have an affinity for being online. Maybe you're a little camera shy or something like that. You're going to have a harder time with TikTok. It's not impossible. It may just be a little overwhelming for you.

The fact that people want to be that engaged with you on a personal level.

Then if we have someone and they have retail products and they have a lower price point, I would say 4.97 are under, is going to be really easy to convert a customer or follower into a buyer over on TikTok land. And also if you're coming over where it's something that's like consumer-based, definitely a really easy transition over in TikTok land too, because you can really build all your content around showing people how to use it, consume it, eat it, how you're making it, shipping it, all of that kind of stuff.

Get Attention the Right Way on Each Social Platform

Bob: Very cool. And then with either of those two channels, how do you transition them from that value-based or relational content into the selling? Are you letting them find out through a link in biotype of situation? Or are you doing deliberate posts that make offers? How frequently would you be doing those?

Ashley Ann: So in TikTok land, it's constantly, but you're always going to be in soft sell mode. So it's more, this is what I'm into. This is what I do. If you want to know more about it or text me or click this link. And then as people have comments, you can respond to the comments and encourage people to sign up, write, sign up, go check out a link, join your list, whatever you want to do. Literally they may be like, "Oh, how'd you do that?" I did this doing X, Y, Z, and L, M, N, O, P. And if you want the details on it, go click the link in my bio and get this course or get this program or something like that, or come to my store, whatever you want to do.

In Instagram, you are going to have soft sales, but every day you have to make a hard sale.

You have to just straight up and down, say, "Here's a testimonial, go get this. Or DM me or click this link." If you have a tier one funnel set up properly, go click here and get my free stuff. But the back end right on that confirmation page is automatically, always there should be an offer and there should be an offer that shows up in your email.

In Facebook, you definitely, at least once a day, need to be putting out a direct offer. TikTok, definitely more soft selling, just oh, don't mind me. I'm on my way to the post office with this huge bag of orders to ship out. You want to know what I'm shipping? And people are like, "What are you shipping?" And then you can open up the door to talk about it, because literally it's very communal over there. And so when people ask you questions, all you have to do is instead of a regular reply and typing it out, you just push the button and turn on the camera and just answer people that way. And it's really great because it gives you a lot of traction. It helps you grow really quickly. And normally if one person has that question, at least a thousand people have that question and you just answered all of them, just like that.

Bob: Very cool. We could talk all day about TikTok as well because that's an area that I have no real experience in to be honest. And I know it's something-

Ashley Ann: It's fun. It's fun. I would say this, if people are like, "What's the easiest platform to grow?" It's definitely the easiest to grow. And the thing about people on TikTok, they will follow you to other platforms. So if you want them to come to your YouTube, you want them to go to your Pinterest, you want them to go to your Instagram? If they're into what you have going on, they will definitely come over and follow you.

From Follower to Lead to Buyer

Bob: That's awesome. Now once they click from whatever link you've mentioned over to somewhere else, what are some of the tips that you're doing to get them on your list and then from your list to becoming a buyer?

Ashley Ann: Yeah, so I'm all about text messages. I know people like email lists. Don't get me wrong. I have an email list. It's good to go, but I want your phone number before I want your email. So I'm always, you want to try and create something that people feel like is worthy enough to give you a text. So if you're a live streamer or content, any type of reminder, people will definitely sign up because they know they'll forget. And they're like, "Yeah, text me. So I can remember to come to your webinar or come to your class." People love cheat sheets and checklists. They love them. And you can come up with a cheat sheet or a checklist for almost anything. If you have a restaurant and you want to give people a free dessert or free appetizer or something like that, say, "Hey, text me and I will give you this."

People are more apt to text you than to download an app. And then on the back end, once they text you, you just send them a link and say, "Hey, you're almost there." And then on the link you can have them download the app or put in a name and an email to go to an opt-in page for offer or whatever you want to have done. That's the easiest way.

And then if you have a big event or maybe you're doing like a giveaway or something like that, then you can say, "Hey, if you want to be entered into this giveaway, text me and we'll draw from someone that's here." And then also we use a lot of free things that we only give away to people inside of our text community. So I may give away a free marketing plan or I have a 14-day crash course that's coming up called Scale Your Sales. You can only get that if you're inside of the text community. So things like that also really incentivize people to jump into your community.

Ashley’s Favorite Tools for Social Marketing

Bob: Very cool. When it comes to creating your social content, are there any tools or apps that you've been using recently on your phone or on the computer that you and your team can't live without anymore?

Ashley Ann: So I'm a lazy editor and I still make all my content. And so I like really easy tools to get the job done. So InShot, I've been using it for years. I still use it. It's great for sizing, cropping, TimeLapse-ing, changing cinematographer type filters, sound recordings, adding music. InShot, bomb.com. You can get so much done.

There's another dope app for your phone called Capcut. I love it. You can do all kinds of really dope mirror effects and clones and all kinds of cool stuff with that.

And then I like Unfold. It's designed for your stories, but it works really great for reels. And if you want super polished and beautiful covers for your reels or just stuff inside of your stories, Unfold will get the job done. They have all these cool templates. They have all these amazing fonts in there and it's pretty easy to use.

If you have an older version of Word Swag, I still live for some good old Word Swag. I have an old version and I just keep transferring it from device to device. Because in this one, it only has like maybe 13, 14 different fonts in it. You can only stack maybe two or three text box, but God dang it, it works. It's effective and I can make content really quickly.

Bob: Yeah. I've always enjoyed Word Swag for a long time. Of course, we'll have those resources in the show notes, so don't worry about having to re-look them up. Just head over leadpages.com/podcast, check out Ashley's episode. We'll get you the show notes, which we'll have those resources inside. So Ashley, as we wrap up, first of all, thank you so much for the great wisdom that you've shared today. I'm wondering, is there a mantra or a saying that you like to have as a foundation for yourself or one that you share with your clients all the time?

Ashley Ann: Be stubborn about your results, but flexible about the methods. And that just means you go after what you want, but give yourself some flexibility in how it's going to come to you. Almost anything that's ever come to me that's great, it comes in a package or a person that was totally unexpected. It doesn't normally work out the way I think it's going to work out. And so I just learned to let that go and just be I'm focused on this is the outcome I'm going for. And just having the knowledge. Then I would say the discernment to be aware of when this is a step in the right direction towards that desired outcome.

Bob: That's amazing. So hopefully those of you listening will want to join us at accelerate180.com for the event in Houston.

Ashley Ann: Yeah.

Bob: But even virtually you have some training available. Where can people find out more from you?

Ashley Ann: Oh yes. Yes. Thank you. So look, y'all got to go to planwithashleyann.com. I'm so excited. So I recently hit a million followers in Instagram land, super exciting. And so to celebrate, I was like, we just got to do something big on Sunday. I am doing a workshop. Now we'll be there from three to five hours. This is intense, because it's a real workshop, but I'm going to walk you through the blueprint to social media monetization.

So we will cover tools and of course Leadpages is a tool that I use and I've used for years, but we will go through the tools, how you put them together, how you actually build up thousands of real followers that want to engage with you and buy your stuff and refer you and all of that good stuff and the actual conversion methodology that you need. And we'll go through some systems that a lot of people just don't normally share, but those SOPs are going to help you turn out results on a constant basis. And so we're going to cover everything from A to Z that you need to know to actually make money in these social media streets. So go to planwithashleyann.com. And I normally charge $2,500 for this training, but it's going to be free and it'll be Sunday at 4:00 PM central standard time.

Bob: Awesome. And if you happen to be listening to this at a time past when that has happened, will you have some version of this available for folks?

Ashley Ann: Yeah. Yeah. What I've been trying to do is every Sunday, I've been trying to do the training. So if for some reason you hear this on the Wednesday or something, don't be like, "Oh man, I missed it." No, just go over there and check the site. And if I'm not doing it that upcoming Sunday, I'll have the date of the next Sunday that I'm doing the training.

Bob: Perfect. Awesome. Thanks again, Ashley, for all the great wisdom that you dropped for us today. Looking forward to seeing you in Houston and obviously online between now and then.Ashley Ann: Yes. I can't wait to see you in H town and all of you guys, if you come because uncle Bob sent you, come up to me and you say, "Bob told me to be here." Okay? And I'll give you a big old hug.

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Bob Sparkins
By Bob Sparkins

A former high school history teacher turned entrepreneur and marketer, Bob has educated business owners worldwide on how to leverage digital marketing to grow their brands. He’s taught over 1,000 webinars, participated in over 200 podcast episodes, and taken the stage at over 50 business conferences and events.

Ashley Ann - The Lead Generation Podcast
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