In collaboration with Creatives Meet Business, we’re highlighting four guides who will be leading workshops during the upcoming CMBXP conference. Designed for creatives, artists, small business owners, and solopreneurs, the conference will cover four tracks–Storytelling, Business, Marketing, and Skills Development–as well as feature mentorship sessions and happy hours.
Next up in our series is Alexis Davis, founder of The Content Plug, who will be leading a workshop for the Marketing track. Below, she shares how she initially got into social media as a career, how she balances her business with her full-time job, and her best tips on using Instagram for business.
Tell us about your background. What experiences led you to start The Content Plug?
Tech and social networking have been my favorite ways to spend time online since the MySpace days. Once I learned basic HTML, I was the user who would update her profile each week and add new music to her playlist daily. Before you know it, my friends started messaging me and asking for help updating their pages.
Facebook became the go-to platform when I was in high school and I quickly asked a friend to send me an invite once grade school students could join. When I started college, everyone began using Twitter, and I found myself creating and managing every club and organization account that I could get my hands on as I understood how to manage them much easier than most did. I would send dozens of tweets on my way to class each morning and I quickly realized that I had no problem keeping everything organized.
After college, I found an internship with a focus on content marketing and social media. It allowed me to learn more about the growing industry well before I had the opportunity to take on social media manager roles at three different companies. I quickly became that person who wanted to take on side projects and help others with their businesses and accounts in order to gain more experience. Therefore, the natural next step was to create my own company that I could grow over time.
What has been the most unexpected part about owning a business?
One of the most time consuming parts of owning a business has been administrative and accounting tasks. I am at the point where I am looking to expand a bit, and taking of some of those items off of my plate will be a major help. I am also looking forward to automating select parts of my business process while still remaining authentic to myself, clients, and brand.
Take us through a typical day in the life. Do you have any routines in place?
I have not taken The Content Plug full-time yet, so my day is jam packed from the moment my alarm goes off until I drift off in the evening.
Once I wake up, I am instantly checking emails and messages from the night before to ensure that I have not missed anything urgent. Then it is off to work where I am the social media manager at a furniture rental company. From there, my day is filled with a lot of meetings and calls, so I try to use my lunch break to check in on anything that needs to be responded to while also ensuring that there is nothing pressing on any accounts.
I spend the majority of my evenings after my 9-5 (and weekends!) planning, updating content calendars, editing photos, creating graphics, reporting, and more. I always try to have everything for the week ready to go down to the emojis I plan to use before heading to bed on Sunday.
As a content creator, where do you go for inspiration? What does your creative process look like?
I read a lot of articles about social media trends and techniques daily and they always inspire me to try out new features and ways to engage my audience and the audience of my clients. Twitter also always gives me a great laugh and the opportunity to see what people are saying and thinking in real time in addition to what is trending. This allows me to jump into conversations and tailor my messages accordingly.
I also love networking with other social media managers and hearing what is working for them and what they can use assistance with. Having reliable people to complete a knowledge share with helps a lot.
Tell us about your CMBXP workshop. What do you hope attendees take away from the experience?
My workshop, From the ‘Gram to the Green 2.0: A Workshop on Instagram for Business, will show entrepreneurs how to use and grow on Instagram as a Business without bots, schemes, or tricks. With so much noise and attention out there, it is important for those running Instagram accounts to have set goals and plans in place. Attendees will gain detailed information about all of Instagram’s features, cool apps to assist them with their feed and stories, squashed rumors, and much more.
As social media continues to shift and develop in new ways, what is your best tip for using Instagram as a business tool?
Brands and marketers using Instagram must be more like Amazon than Sears. A new feature pops up on Instagram almost every week so it is important to stay on top of the trends and adapt to them quickly. For example, just because still photos of your product used to perform well with your select set of hashtags does not mean they will work anymore.
Continuously think about your audience and the ways they engage with your brand. If you see their involvement drop off, switch things up a bit since they are what makes your business possible.
Is there anything you’ve read or listened to that’s made an impact on you or your business?
It is so difficult to read books about social media because so many of them are out of date by the time they go to print. Therefore, one of my favorite books is The Consulting Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Create and Expand a Seven-Figure Consulting Practice by Alan Weiss. It is a great read about growing a business while also making you think deeply about how you market yourself and ways to improve. I would recommend it to anyone regardless if you work in marketing or consulting.
What is your best advice for fellow creative entrepreneurs?
For one, take the leap and go for it. I know it sounds stereotypical, but I really wish I would have started this journey years ago. I know that everything happens for a reason and when the “time is right,” but I sometimes regret waiting and waiting for the “perfect moment” that simply does not exist. You are not going to be comfortable when you decide to start a business and that is perfectly fine. However, you do need to be smart (do not quit your day job if you have $5 in the bank and no way to pay your rent/bills, or eat healthy meals), make a plan (play the long game), and put yourself out there when you feel ready.
And secondly, do not be afraid to ask for help. I am a stubborn Leo who often wants to do everything on my own, but I quickly had to learn that it is not possible to achieve greatness on your own. Look into hiring a virtual assistant, intern, contractor, full-time staff or anyone who can help you make your dream a reality!
Creatives Meet Business Experience is taking place September 19-21 at Springdale General. The conference will include more than 50 hands-on workshops in business, marketing, skills development, and storytelling, and will also feature mentorship sessions and happy hours. To take a look at the full schedule and grab your badge, head to cmbxp.com. Find Alexis’s workshop details and contact info below!