Lift your social game with Stevie Dillon


I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to consuming anything related to social media and digital marketing. And while I’m hungry, I’m not necessarily the first to sign up for long form written word – instead, I love to listen, to digest my learnings. For years I’ve been yabbering on about podcasts…my poor colleagues who have put up with me rabbiting on about my favourite channels. For anyone who follows our social media accounts, you’ll notice that I’m forever sharing audio books and podcasts. One of my fave topics of course, is social media. I’m tangled deep in that glorious stuff day after day and while I love the way it lures me in, there are times I find it a touch mentally draining. 

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So I’m thinking someone like Stevie Dillon, the Social Media Marketing brains behind Stevie Says Social, must have come up with some well-honed skills by now to help her dive in, and out, of that social media rabbit hole with ease. It was the first thing I asked her when we chatted recently, and her no-nonsense approach was more than refreshing. 

“Social media is a total time suck and vacuum,” says Stevie. “Sure, spend time marketing your business on social but get on, post, engage and then get the hell off. There are so many times in the past where I’ve found myself sucked down that social media rabbit hole, it’s easily done and it’s the biggest waste of time. But these days I try to be really mindful of it.”

On pursuing her passion

Stevie’s a sharp shooter. Which should come as no surprise given the woman’s also a trained lawyer – talk about your all-rounder. She was awarded a scholarship in journalism and law and studied for five years before being poached by a top-tier firm. But by the age of 25 she realised she’d been lured in by the prestige and money and asked herself how she’d gotten so far off track from her genuine passion, marketing and journalism. 

“It was 2007 and I was working as a 9-5 trainee lawyer. The thing is, I was more hooked on MySpace than I was with preparing court documents. It wasn’t an awesome time. So I quit.”

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There’s that sharp shooter again. Stevie spent the next few years travelling around South America, moving to London and finally deciding that marketing was her thing – good news for us because I’m sat here now soaking up all her social guru goodness. She’s since worked with some of Australia’s biggest brands (think Red Bull and The Queensland Reds) and has fine-tuned her niche in social media marketing – supporting service-based providers. 

“I’ve repeatedly experienced how good socials and a strong content marketing strategy can completely transform a business,” she says. “So these days I train, develop strategies and deliver courses for passionate business owners and marketers seeking similar successes for their own business. I work with clients both big and small and have a particular knack in working with service-based businesses. But the bottom line is, I genuinely love what I do.”

On showcasing your expertise

I hear ya. Because I do too, hence my problem with getting caught up in that social vacuum we mentioned earlier. But after chatting further, Stevie said something that made detangling myself from that social web seem like the easiest thing in the world.

“We don’t own our social media audiences. We build them on rented land and the latest Facebook algorithm changes are a salient reminder of that. Facebook/Instagram etc can and do change the rules all the time – and for that reason, it’s so important that we treat social media as a conversation starter. It’s where everyone’s hanging out so it’s important to be there, but work on getting people off social and into a platform that you own, be it your email list or website, as soon as you can.”

It’s clear as mud. Bye bye rabbit hole, hello social media sunshine and goodness. But once you’ve got your peeps right where you want them, what do you do next? Build a relationship, bring value and expertise into their lives, develop trust and make sales… without being salesy… if you get my drift. Stevie gets me. 

“When it comes to service-based providers in particular, it’s important that people know you, like you and trust you enough to want to do business with you,” she says. 

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“It’s all about showing people your expertise over time and positioning yourself as the go-to expert in your space. For example, if you’re a financial planner, give away little money tips every day on Instagram. If you’re a dentist, talk about what makes you different and showcase your culture. If you do that over and over again and continually provide value, you’ll be the obvious choice when someone’s seeking your service.”

On the rise of LinkedIn

Ah Instagram, you’re so pretty and powerful at the same time. The latest stats show that there are currently more than 800 million monthly active users and experts believe it could reach a billion this year (wowsers). That’s more than double the monthly active users of Twitter and over three times as many users on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. 

But what about our business-focused friend, LinkedIn? Now in its 15th year, it’s going strong and regularly offers up some incredible opportunities for corporate business people the world over. But it’s a platform that’s often neglected by small business owners for a couple of reasons – it’s traditionally been pretty dry and it just ain’t as pretty or fun as the social butterfly of the moment, Instagram. But hold onto your hats, because according to Stevie, LinkedIn is about to have its time in the spotlight.

“It’s really coming into its own. It was acquired by Microsoft and has very much morphed into a content marketing and education hub,” says Stevie. “The benefit of that for business is that if you can produce blog posts, video, or other high-quality content, it can be a great channel for distributing it – if that’s where your target audience sits of course. For me personally, LinkedIn is a huge traffic driver.”

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On finding your voice

High fives for LinkedIn. Sounds like 2018 is going to be the year it finds its voice – something that’s crucial for all of us in the social media world. Even I can sometimes find myself at a loss for words, shocking I know. But in all seriousness, identifying your tone of voice and starting those conversations is a challenge faced by businesses on a daily basis. If you’re one of them, Stevie suggests doing two things: 

Number one: List five words that sum up your brand personality. From there, think of stories you can share that showcase those things. For example, if one of your five is that you’re helpful, offer up an example of that. Tell the story of an issue a client was facing and how you went above and beyond to help them out.

Number two: Think about your points of difference and shout them from the rooftop. For example, you might be the only gym in your area with a crèche. Post a picture on Instagram with one of the bubs in the crèche with a caption that reads: “This is Annabel. She’s chilling with us in our dedicated kids’ crèche while her Mama Rach is smashing out a Pump Class. Isn’t she the cutest?

On what lies ahead…

When I asked Stevie what else she saw on the horizon for 2018, she offered up yet more wise words:

  • Organic reach will decline and there will be more competition for ad space as a result, forcing costs to increase.

  • Engagement is more important than ever. You need to try and get people talking about nurturing a community in order to be visible.

  • Be careful with starting up/running Facebook Groups. My prediction is it will be the next thing for Facebook to monetise with things like ads. And remember that Facebook Groups are built on rented land.

I wrapped up our chat by asking Stevie if there’s an all-inspiring, earth-shaking, soul-nourishing quote she looks to when she finds herself in a pickle…

“Just f*&ing do it.”


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