Building your social tribe

Social media is more powerful than you think.

“Social” is the single word that I would use to describe Amanda McLernon. The first time I met Amanda, she greeted me with a big smile and warm hug. She’s a bit of an extrovert! To boot, she’s got social media down to a science. Online and offline, Amanda is a social butterfly.

Amanda owns McLernon & Co., a social media business that helps companies find their voice online. To Amanda, social is not about how many followers you have, but about authentic connection. To put it in Hashtag Language (she’s bilingual), her philosophy is to #KeepSocialMediaSocial.

Here’s what Amanda McLernon wants you to know about using social to grow your business:

Having followers is not the number one goal

“One thing I do want to hit on, our motto is Keep Social Media Social. That stems off of the follow-unfollow game, which is the number one growth technique on Instagram. It’s lazy. People will follow you in hopes that you’ll follow them back. Even if you do follow them, they’ll still unfollow you. Keep Social Media Social came from that.”

“Part of Keep Social Media Social is that having followers is not your number one goal. We’re building a tribe! Followers are not the end game. If it was, then just go buy them. It’s a vanity number. It’s not about focusing on the number of followers. We do not participate in the follow-unfollow game. It’s actually engaging when you want to engage.”

“We’re building a tribe! Followers are not the end game.” –Amanda McLernon

“I decided I wanted to do this on my own. When I started, I only had two freelance clients, not enough for full income, but I knew it would come. I started in September. It blew up the minute I told people I was on my own. I had friended all my clients online, not in a creepy way, but we were actually friends or acquaintances. The minute I started opening my door, I was blown up. I didn’t even have a website.”

Find employees who believe in your vision

“To people who think they need business card or website to start their own business, that’s not true. I was sending people to my Instagram. When I realized how quickly I was growing…I thought I was going to have one and a half years until I’d have a team. I hired my first employee in December.”

McLernon & Co
Kaitlin Godbey, one of the social media geniuses of McLernon & Co.

It’s finding people who will be along with you for that ride, trust you and trust your vision. They’re not just employees, they’re also friends. I’m very clear and upfront about what we’re getting paid from a client and what my employee is getting paid from that. I don’t want my employees to feel like I’m using them. I can’t wait to give them a raise. I’m so excited for that. I like to pay people what they’re worth.”

“In terms of training, that’s been fun. It’s teaching someone something that I’ve taught myself. Processes. When you’re alone you just do it how you do it, without a process. You Tasmanian Devil it. With processes, you have to slow down to speed up. I have to have a way we do things, a process, ways to get faster at content.”

McLernon & Co Team
“It’s finding people who will be along with you for that ride, trust you and trust your vision.” –Amanda 

“It’s been really challenging for me because I’ve never managed people before. Trying to figure that out is challenging. But it’s really fun to have other people on your team. It lets me run the business and grow the business. I’m still doing social, that’s still what I love. I’m still the main on most of our accounts, or I touch the account daily. It’s cool to train our employees to be the main account executive.”

Growth is about the conversations

“For my clients or for my potential clients, as important as social media is, it should not be 6 hours of your 8 hour day. It needs to be 1 or 2 hours. If you’re not good at your business, your social can’t be good either. I see too many other people saying that social should be Number 1. No, your business should be your Number 1 focus.”

“I’ll teach you how to do it or I’ll do it myself. That’s why you outsource to someone like me, so you can focus on running your business. I understand it’s important to get your followers to grow, but if you’re not doing a good job with your business, it doesn’t matter what your vanity numbers are.

“And if you have a bunch of followers and they’re not converting, it’s a problem. If you have followers they should be converting. Growth to us is about the conversations, that’s more important.”

Amanda McLernon
Amanda having fun helping her client, Julie, of PantyDrop

“For owning your own business or for your career, self development is so important. I spent a lot of money on courses over the last 2 years. Part of that when I was working full time. I never asked my employer to pay for that. I love what I do and I want to be the best. My advice is you need to come to the table. If you don’t know how to do something, go learn it on your own, go try it on your own.

Change- or expire

“It changes so fast, like with social, I do continuing education on a monthly basis. I research on my own, I’m taking different webinars, just to try to get better at it. In any industry, specifically social, if you don’t change, you expire. I can keep up with it better that anyone else that I’ve seen. I’ve seen people getting something, staying on it too long and not seeing that it’s changed.”

“In any industry, specifically social, if you don’t change, you expire.” -Amanda McLernon

“Spend time on social. Look at your favorite accounts. What are they doing that makes them your favorite? Are they using certain hashtags, are they engaging with their followers? I was aggressive and I did call and talk to some of my favorite accounts. I took 10 minutes of their time to ask. A lot of it was engagement, which I explain more on my blog, but just look at what they’re doing. Don’t copy. Just look at their account, strategies, and how you could implement them for yourself.”

“Honestly, just reach out to me. For example, I got my first inquiry from a blogger the other day. She’s looking to be more of an influencer and get more paid opportunities. Because I’ve seen the brand side, I know exactly how to help. If we’re not a good fit, that’s okay. I have a deck of people I will refer you to. I will always try to help.”

Want more of Amanda? Check out McLernon & Co. on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or through their Website. And #KeepSocialMediaSocial my friends. Amanda also started a Keep Social Media Social Facebook group. It’s rad. I joined, and so can you!

How has social media helped-or hurt- your brand? The comments are yours. 😉

Until next time- Saludos!

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