In this episode, Stacy sits down with Dre Fox, who is a social media coach, blogger, speaker, and the CEO of TimeOfDre Media, a media consulting firm that helps women monetize their message through online platforms. The two discuss how to profit off your socials, and build a brand for you, or your business. They touch on key differences between marketing yourself and marketing your brand, as well as the failure that (sometimes) follows from imitating others’ success. Dre shares why it is important to know your ideal customer—or follower, and master one social media platform, at time. They also talk about the importance of adopting a message that is real and unapologetic.
Hollywood Branded Refresher Episodes
Check out some of the past episodes we’ve covered on this topic:
- EP 268: Turning Your Website And Socials Into Effective Tools with Wayne Mullins | Ugly Mug Marketing
- EP 226: Developing Brand Positioning and Personal Branding with Lysa Miller | Ladybugz.com
- EP 68: Branding At The Oscars – Walmart Short form Branded Content
Hollywood Branded Content Marketing Case Studies
The following content marketing case studies below provide even more insights.
- The Increasing Trend Of Political Branding
- Hollywood’s Branding Power Couples
- The Multifaceted Branding Power of the Music Industry
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Welcome to Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of influencer marketing and branded content agency Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for topics for us to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today. While it is impossible to be well-versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy, or money, whether you are doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.
Speaker 2 (00:31):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones,
Stacy Jones (00:35):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, and I’m so happy to be here with you all today. I want to give a very warm welcome to Dre Fox. Dre is the CEO of Time Of Dre Media, a media consulting firm that empowers women to master and monetize their messages through a variety of online programs. Dre uses her experience as a former social media strategist of Fortune 500 companies to help create an impact with up and coming brands. In addition to being a social media coach, Dre’s also a blogger and motivational speaker.
Stacy Jones (01:06):
Today, Dre and I are going to be chatting about how to build your personal marketing strategy as well as how to form a social media strategy for your brand that is customized. We’ll learn what works from her perspective, what should be avoided, and how some businesses and people just miss the mark. Dre, welcome. So happy to have you here today.
Dre Fox (01:26):
Thank you so much for having me. Happy to be here.
Stacy Jones (01:29):
Of course. So what I always like doing is having our guests give our listeners a little peek behind the curtain of how you got to here today. You have all this experience. You’re an expert in personal branding and social media strategizing. How did you get here?
Dre Fox (01:46):
Yeah, my story is kind of fun. I’m actually a trained pastry chef. And so I was thinking I was going to open a bakery, wedding cake designer, the whole thing. And so I moved from Missoula, Montana to Austin, Texas to open a bakery. I got offered a really great job, but that job was $30,000 for the head pastry chef job and in that moment, I realized that pastry was not going to be a job that really sustained me. Unless you reach celebrity levels, it wasn’t going to be in the cards. So I decided to go back to college for a second time. And a part of that was that I needed an internship. So I got an internship at a software company here in Austin. And as the cookie crumbles, they had to fire my boss and they actually hired me on full-time two weeks later for a job that I had no experience with, had never considered, didn’t deserve. And kind of the rest is history. I really ended up being in the right place at the right time, way back when, this was like 2010. And now I’ve worked in social media ever since consulting Fortune 500’s like ESPN, L’Oreal, Target, Caesars, and so forth.
Stacy Jones (02:57):
That’s awesome. And so you are a small town Montana girl moved to Austin, which is still a very small town feel, though growing rapidly overnight right now. That’s the fun, pastry to marketing. You don’t usually hear that one.
Dre Fox (03:12):
No, you typically don’t. But I would say that there are a lot of aligned interests, which is using your brain creatively. Being a creative thinker and a creative human is something that converts really well on social. So they do lend themselves together nicely in some ways. 0
Stacy Jones (03:28):
Well, what I love about what you do is you have a major focus on helping women, female entrepreneurs and executives, really reach their next level. Why did you decide that was going to be your core focus of where you wanted to uplift and help?
Dre Fox (03:44):
Yeah, so I’ve resisted social media for a long time. I really didn’t want to be on it. Wasn’t sure if it was the right place for me, though it was for my clients. And when I started my social media journey, I saw the power in marketing and having this platform to amplify yourself to the next level. And I was able to leave my full-time job in under eight months of being on social media. And I thought to myself, “This is the dream. This is actually the dream. Being able to use a platform that is completely free in order to build a new reality or a new future for yourself when you learn how to do it.” And so I had so many women coming to me saying, “I’m burnt out in my job,” or, “I want to create an additional income stream”, or, “I’ve got this really passionate thing that I want to speak about, but I don’t know what to do with it.” And then really helping them cut through the clutter and weed through this, into creating their first digital business, whether it’s coaching, courses, or products.
Stacy Jones (04:45):
Well, I think we’ve had such a big transition. And it’s sped up, certainly, because of COVID, but it’s been coming, where people are not happy with their day-to-day jobs. And with all the digital solutions out there, you can become a coach and you can become a leader. And we’re seeing so many people going in that avenue of direction, but at the same time, as you touched on people are inspired, they have their message, they want to share it. They know that they can do good, but the digital world can be kind of confusing to work in. And people kind of suck at marketing themselves, even if they might be great at marketing something else. So how do you first start working with clients to help them over that hurdle of going, “I know my stuff, but now I’m going to share with the world on social.”
Dre Fox (05:38):
Yeah. My philosophy maybe is slightly different than some people. My brand statement is ordinary is optional. And so I think that when a lot of people start marketing themselves or they’re faced with coming up with their own plan, they try to follow the rules. When we know the rules, we try to follow them. And I realized that some people are most unhappy with their online brand or the presence that they’ve created, because it really is playing into a different version of themselves that isn’t real. And so I help my clients really understand what makes them tick and how to really uncover that unique thread inside of them and actually use that as their marketing ploy or play on social.
Dre Fox (06:18):
Typically, this is not 100% of the time, but it can be those things about you that made you feel a little weird or kooky when you were younger or growing up where people looked at you a little different when you said something or you acted like this or you took bright, colorful photos, those are the things that you can springboard off of on social that really convert well. So we always need to know where we’re steering the ship before we can hop in and actually go somewhere. So we always start with those foundations of what truly makes you different and how can that be a big crux of your marketing strategy on social media.
Stacy Jones (06:56):
And what’s key here of what you’re saying is what makes you different? It’s exact same approach that you would be taking if you were a brand. So you are building a brand, and whether you are a marketing team brainstorming on how their mobile phone is different that they’re lunching or how their bottle of water is different or how these tasty little gummies are different, it’s all exactly the same. But we forget that as people that were brands.
Dre Fox (07:20):
Absolutely. It’s so tempting to say, “I’m going to start an online business. Okay, let me get my photo shoot when I put on my suit and I’ll grab my laptop and my coffee cup and sit in the corner with some ferns and I’m going to do that whole shoot.” And then you sit back and you reflect and you’re like, “Why am I doing that? That isn’t actually who I am or the brand that I’m trying to create. That’s my perception of what professionalism looks like.” So taking that step back and saying, “Okay, now what does it really look like in order to be me online?” And now with this spaces being even more crowded than they typically are, you really have to slice through the noise in a big, bold way. And that is being unapologetic about your branding and your messaging.
Stacy Jones (08:03):
And while perfection is lovely with the world of digital and social, you don’t necessarily have to aim for being perfect in your photos and videos, right?
Dre Fox (08:13):
Absolutely. I suppose I’ll use myself as an example here, but I do everything the wrong way. If you wanted to look at it objectively, you could go to my Instagram page. It’s bright, it’s colorful, it’s very zany and youthful in a lot of different ways, but it’s grown me to 19,000 organic followers and a multiple six-figure business, doing it in a way that most other business owners would maybe look down their nose at. And I found that that was exactly the secret to my success is doing everything different than everybody else. And I was able to get a lot of visibility.
Dre Fox (08:50):
So where you might want to do a great job, and I honor you for having those feelings, definitely want to do a great job, it’s not about being polished. You don’t need to be serious in order to be taken seriously.
Stacy Jones (09:03):
It’s more about being real.
Dre Fox (09:05):
Absolutely. People hire people. So if they don’t relate to who you are and what you’re talking about because you’re too perfect, they won’t want to work with you.
Stacy Jones (09:13):
Yeah. And so there’s two things here. One is you might be building a brand, and you aren’t necessarily the brand or you are the brand, it depends. If you’re a coaching business you’re the brand, but if you’re an entrepreneur and you have created the next widget of whatever, you can be taking your widget marketing and your marketing in different directions. Right?
Dre Fox (09:35):
Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. I see this a lot with CEOs or high-level women who own their own business on the side, there’s a lot of confusion around how to market themselves versus their brand. And they are different. The second that you start a public facing Instagram or social media account, and you make some content, you become a brand, and people are developing a perception around you and who you are and what you do or what your brand does. And so you have to start controlling that narrative or have an understanding of what you want that to look like pretty early on in order for it to be successful. But there is a big departure from the brand you might own and the personal brand that you might create as the leader of that company.
Stacy Jones (10:17):
So when you’re starting to work with someone, what’s the first step, how do you drill down into those differences?
Dre Fox (10:23):
Yeah. So we typically do like a SWOT analysis, which is strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, with anywhere from three to four different people who are in the industry that they maybe look up to or think they’re doing something really well. But it’s really easy to get down on yourself when you start, because you say, ‘Wow, all these people have great budgets. It’s clear that they’ve got a great photographer,” whatever it is. But when you do a SWOT, you really are able to peel back the layers and say, “No, there is something that I’m doing differently here. I have 20 more years experience or I’ve got this great team behind me,” or whatever it might be that you are then able to say, “We’re going to move that forward in the line of things that we talk about in order to stand out a little bit more.”
Stacy Jones (11:10):
And what’s the next step? So you do the SWOT analysis, you know what you’re going to rock at and you know where you might have some holes. What’s then?
Dre Fox (11:18):
Yeah. So I take a signature approach to this as it might not work for everybody, but I want my clients to get into the heads of their ideal client, or a follower in this case, depending on what it is. If you don’t understand your audience, they’re not going to feel seen, heard, and understood. So we usually do a mapping exercise where we really get granular on do these people shop at HEB or do they shop at Whole Foods? Are they driving Range Rovers or Prius’? What does their life look like every single day when they wake up? And what message about you as an entrepreneur or your business is actually going to convert with these people?
Dre Fox (11:58):
Because when we see these bland statements like, “We are targeting women in their twenties who like health or interested in health.” It’s like, “Yes, but what about them? What are they going through? Why do they even want your product or your service?” And so we need to get really clear on that because I like to encourage my clients to write to one person. We write to one person on the opposite side of the phone, and you’re only able to do that successfully if you know who that is.
Stacy Jones (12:28):
Okay. And so, taking in, I own an agency. And so we do entertainment marketing and pop culture partnerships, influencers, celebrities, product placement, all these things. And I’m certainly the essence of a lot of the things with our agency. We’re very educational, we’re very driven. Again, just using me as the example here because why not? When I’m building my own social profile of who I am, as a podcast host, as an author and writer, as this person who created a business, am I supposed to be creating social that is still going to directly correspond to my clients who might hire my agency? Or am I trying to go wider and do something different where it’s more about me as an expert, educational, other things besides what Hollywood Branded would do?
Dre Fox (13:24):
Great question. So where we would start with that is understanding what your six to 12 months business goals would be. So if you were telling me, “I want a book deal.” Or, “I’m going to go off and I’m going to do my own thing.” I would say, “Absolutely. We have to start branding you as a thought leader in your own space to play in, which is completely separate than your agency.” However, if you had a podcast page and it was like, “Yeah, but really we want this to be a funnel back into the agency for people to hire us as a service provider,” then we would be using a social strategy that really spoke to the targeted person of the podcast. So I suppose it really is ultimately up to that goal that you’re looking for and what you are wanting to do there. But I see it all the time where people are like, “Hey, I’m trying to kind of do my own thing. I need to have my own separate space because I want to get hired as a speaker at events or start my own podcast,” or what have you. And so we typically break that apart and just give them that leadership style, that CEO voice, which is kind of a departure from what they’re doing in their business.
Stacy Jones (14:27):
Yeah, it’s a big departure. It’s everything that PR doesn’t teach you when you’re brand building.
Dre Fox (14:34):
Oh yeah, absolutely. I feel like PR beyond social media is kind of like doing your own self PR if you want to think of it that way. But most people don’t have backgrounds in this stuff. So it’s really easy to get confused with what to do and I think that’s why you and I both have jobs.
Stacy Jones (14:51):
It is. It’s very true. The next question I want to dive into is where do people go wrong? How do people just mess it all up and make mistakes?
Dre Fox (15:03):
The very first thing is trying to replicate the success of somebody else, especially if you’re a DIYer or you’re trying to start things on your own. Finding an account and saying, “Oh, I like this.” And then really trying to walk in those same footsteps typically allows, creates a really bland message, because that message isn’t even yours and it might be getting them record-breaking numbers, tens of thousands of clients, but it’s not going to do the same thing for you and you’re going to be really frustrated about that. So that is the first thing is really empowering yourself to say like, “It’s okay for me to go on my own path even if I don’t see it elsewhere.” That could actually end up being the biggest secret to your personal branding success.
Dre Fox (15:49):
Second thing is thinking that personal branding or social media branding is about colors. And I see this all the time, people are like, “I need a brand. So what’s my logo. And what’s my color palette and my fonts.” And sure, that’s a part of your visual identity, but your brand is such a complex diamond, if you will, of your reputation, your areas of expertise, your messaging, your positioning statement, and your colors and branding. So try to put things in the right order and make sure you have ultimate clarity about what it is that you’re trying to actually achieve before you go down the path of picking colors and fonts, because that’s the fun stuff that can come a little bit later.
Dre Fox (16:33):
And then the third thing I think would be people can get really gray on their message, what I do and this is how I help people, but that’s much different than a positioning statement and really starting to leverage out their specific experience or leveraging out the focus on entertainers or whatever it might be and bringing that to the forefront. And I think some people fail to do that in that first year or so and they come up with it in the second year. But if you came out of the gates with it, you would be in a much better place.
Stacy Jones (17:05):
Well, I will say for anyone who is listening and not watching, you cannot see that Dre is a very colorful person. She’s wearing bright colors. Her wall behind her is super colorful. You already heard from her that her social media is very colorful, but she’s still not saying that this is number one. So your branding, your logo, all of your fonts, that is not what you need to be leading with.
Dre Fox (17:29):
Right. Yeah. It’s a fun thing to do as a project later on.
Stacy Jones (17:33):
Perfect. And then, so what else, what are other things that people do when? One of the things that I’ve seen, and I still remember, I had a coach, business entrepreneurial coach, and she was just supposed help us hone in on how we wanted to build our businesses. And she was female based as well, but I never saw her face in any of her collateral. And in fact, she used images that were very similar, always. They looked like maybe someone. And then one day when I finally saw who she was, it was such a disconnect because I had thought of her as one way. And I don’t care what she looks like, but it was like a bait and switch of like, “Surprise. Nope. I’m really over here.” How important is all of that into your marketing strategy?
Dre Fox (18:22):
Yeah, I’m a big proponent of eyes and photos. That’s what I tell my clients. It’s like, “Your eyes need to be in the photos. No weird head crops or like from behind the back or something.” And I think that obviously requires a little courage, like putting yourself out there. There’s a reason that people avoid themselves putting themselves out there. But building an Instagram account or a social media account that is representative of your brand with stock images or only graphics, it can be done, but it is a much slower path to getting brand loyalty and having people on board with you. And if you are a one-to-one service provider or a coach or anything like that where people are investing in you, you absolutely need to be a figment of what it is that you’re putting out online.
Dre Fox (19:08):
And I think, as you said, it’s really important that people know what their investment is going to get them. And that is by showing up on stories, showing up on your timeline, your website, and really connecting to people with, in my opinion, your eyes and the way that you connect and show up with your personality.
Dre Fox (19:27):
But if that is something that is challenging to you, what I recommend doing is scheduling quarterly photo shoots. So putting it on your calendar, not doing the one-time photo shoot a year where you end up with all the same photos and you don’t want to use them anymore, creating some sort of cadence where you can constantly get new photos into your business so that you feel more comfortable using different imagery.
Stacy Jones (19:50):
And with that, do you need to go and get a professional photographer? Or can you do, “I have a good friend?”
Dre Fox (19:57):
I think it depends on what you’re saying. So people are very smart. People are very perceptive. So if in your Instagram bio, you say that you are a coach to multi-billionaires and you are a seven figure earner and the photos look like my grandmother took them herself, then you are really going to hurt your personal brand. This is a direct contradiction of A plus B does not equal C. And people pick up on that very quickly. So what I recommend is that it depends on what industry that you’re in. If you are just a service provider, you’re just conveying information, you can get away with a cell phone or having your partner take some photos of you. If you are a luxury brand or you are trying to be perceived as a luxury brand, then making investments that help you reinforce that narrative are always going to be good best practices.
Stacy Jones (20:51):
Okay. Are there any other mistakes that people typically make?
Dre Fox (20:58):
Well, that was one that we didn’t talk about earlier is like not having things aligned. I see this in bios all the time. Running coach or leader of X, Y, and Z group, and then you look at their photos or the posts, and it’s not represented there whatsoever. And what that does is it creates distrust almost immediately. It makes people immediately say, “I liked the bio or I liked what you were saying up here on the website, but like now I’m completely thrown off.” So that is something to take into account.
Dre Fox (21:32):
And then it’s about the consistency across the board. So this idea of trust is the reason that people are going to end up converting as a client for you in whatever you do, buying into your brand. So if social looks like one thing, the newsletter looks like another thing, the website looks like another thing, and the podcast is about something else entirely, it is going to come back to haunt you in your bottom line in the future. So how can you align those pieces to really work together and reinforce your brand rather than detract from it?
Dre Fox (22:06):
And then the last thing is doing too much. So now in the modern day, it’s groups, TikTok accounts, YouTube channels, and everything going around. And I want to encourage you to be a specialist with your brand. So pick one thing, pick one platform, do it well, to where you could do it with your eyes closed, hands tied behind your back, and then expand out to other things. Don’t be too tempted to jump on to other things too quickly because you’ll burn out and your brand will not be executed well across all of the channels.
Stacy Jones (22:42):
Well, Dre, for all of our listeners who are like, “Okay, what’s she saying makes total sense. I am not going to be a weight loss leader if I am not doing this. I am not going to be a running coach leader if I’m not running.” All of those things that are fitting your brand, but they’re like, “Yes, what Dre saying is resonating with me,” how can they find out more about you? Where can they go, besides our show notes, you can go there. How can they reach out?
Dre Fox (23:10):
So the mothership is Instagram. My handle there is Time of Dre, like time of day. You can also find me at timeofdre.com, but I am very responsive on my social platform. That’s where I live and hang out all the time.
Stacy Jones (23:24):
That might be why you’re so involved in social media.
Dre Fox (23:27):
Stacy Jones (23:28):
You’re actually living and breathing it.
Dre Fox (23:30):
Stacy Jones (23:30):
What are some last words of parting advice that you could share with our listeners who are looking to amp up their personal branding and social media and not necessarily hiding behind their businesses any longer?
Dre Fox (23:45):
Yeah. There is a perception that some of these things are for younger people, Instagram is for younger people. And I really want to break that stigma because I think that there is such a beauty of all ages of entrepreneurs and all genders of entrepreneurs really showcasing their message online in a new way and branding themselves online. So I encourage you that if you’ve wanted to do this, if you’ve wanted to really dive into your personal brand and amplify it through all of your channels, websites, and social, and beyond, now is the time to do it. But don’t be afraid to reach out and get help or get support in that process because doing it alone is always the slowest way. But remember that regardless of how you feel about social or personal branding, you have a message to share that’s super valuable, and all of the different generations and people who are online deserve to hear that. So definitely take yourself out of the equation and realize that you have so much powerful information to share with other people. And we can’t wait to hear more about it.
Stacy Jones (24:46):
Well, Dre, thank you so much for joining us today. Really appreciated all of your advice.
Dre Fox (24:52):
Thanks for having me.
Stacy Jones (24:53):
Again, thank you to Dre Fox for joining us and thank you all for tuning in today to Marketing Mistakes And How to Avoid Them. Dre has provided us with a phenomenal amount of information if you’re really charged about changing your personal branding and getting noticed and making a social media impact. And I appreciate the time she shared with us. Dre, thank you again. And I’ll chat with all of you guys on the next podcast.
Stacy Jones (25:20):
In the meanwhile, if you’re a fan of the show, go to ollywoodbranded.com/podcastupdates to get notified every time we drop a new episode. And you can stay up to date with all things marketing that we chat about on this podcast and more. Check out our weekly blogs at bloggedathollywoodbranded.com and you can subscribe and join over 30,000 other readers. You’re already in the know. Until next week, have a great one.