This week we feature Jodie Cook, Founder of JC Social Media. JC Social Media is a specialist social media agency providing management and training services. Their team becomes your online brand and communicates with thousands of members of your target audience every day.
In this interview, you can read more about her work, favorite marketing tools, productivity tips as well as her advice for budding marketers.
Your location: I’m currently, Austin, Texas. However, I spend about half of my time in Birmingham, UK, and the other half somewhere else! In the past few years I have spent one month each in Sydney, Toronto, Melbourne, Dubai, Cape Town, Vancouver, Bali, San Diego, Berlin and now Austin.
Your favorite gadget: My selfie stick. Just kidding - I’m not a fan. My Kindle is my favourite gadget because it goes everywhere with me, has loads of books on it and I can test my own ebooks on it (social media ebooks and Clever Tykes). I also love the "download a sample” feature, which lets me try before I buy if I have something recommended to me. I’ll download a sample of every book ever recommended to me, then if I like the style of the first few pages I’ll buy the rest of it. I’ve also recently started a podcast, interviewing entrepreneurs and business leaders about their childhood, so my podcast mics have started going everywhere with me too!
You start your day with: If I’m in the UK, my light alarm clock wakes me up before I put my murphy bed away. I typically go to the office via a latte and then start changing the world.
Your favorite time-saving trick: Delegation. I have a motto, “train and trust”. You have to train someone to do something and then trust them to do it. In the long run, it means everyone is doing the things that only they can do. I believe doing everything yourself is a false economy, but working on clearly communicating instructions is a skill.
Your top 3 blogs you read daily: I don’t spend a lot of time reading blogs and I try to avoid the news. I read the Daily Stoic email, which is a daily reminder to focus on what I can control rather than the things I can’t.
A picture of your workstation or the view outside your window if that inspires you:
Describe an average day at JC Social Media?
The JC Social Media office is usually a hive of activity, whether it’s because account managers are creating content, reviewing paid ad campaigns or speaking to clients, there’s usually a lot going on. Each team member will typically work on three or four client accounts each day, which keeps things varied.
The sales and training team is usually out and about or holding calls or meetings in the office. Personally, I’ll work on whatever’s needed, usually on a strategic, sales and operational level.
As a Founder/Marketer what are some of your favorite productivity hacks?
I’ve found it really useful to have a very polite “no” template in my email signatures. As a founder or business leader, you get many offers and requests for your time and you simply cannot do everything. Being able to say no is big part of productivity.
I’m a big fan of lists, rather than using my inbox as a to-do list. Someone once told me that your inbox is a list of other people’s priorities! It’s easy to lose track of your own priorities when you’re hit with emails, calls and other messages. Ensuring I stay focused on the really important tasks, as well as the bigger picture, is key for me.
As a person who is well-versed with online marketing/ inbound, I’m sure you rely on a few marketing tools to automate your efforts. What are the top 3-5 tools you use?
Processes and automation play a huge role in the business - we created a hundred page manual on how to run our agency! This helps us take mundane tasks and decision making out of the equation so we can focus on the things we actually need a human brain for.
What is your strategy for getting people to your site and then converting them to a customer?
We work hard to ensure the traffic that reaches our site is high quality in the first place. That’s through a combination of search marketing optimisation and PR; both digital and traditional. Attracting high quality traffic is the foundation to great conversion.
We then focus on ensuring people can navigate our website easily and make an enquiry. I’m a big believer in convenience and ease of use - how many times do you give up on a website because persisting with the user experience isn’t worth it? Tools like Hotjar are great for seeing if people use your website in the way you think they should.
Is there any advice you'd like to give to budding marketers to help them work smart and stay productive?
Knowing the difference between urgency and importance is crucial but, equally, know which tasks are important and urgent to you and your business - not just what other people are demanding of you.
Ask questions all the time. Don’t get caught doing something that will take hours, drain your soul and not actually move the needle in terms of your success. The 80:20 rule (or close variants) holds pretty true to most businesses, in my experience, so focus on the top 20% of activity that gives you 80% of your success.
How do you make use of your downtime? Any hobbies, out of work interests that rejuvenate you?
I spend a lot of time in the gym training for powerlifting, which is squatting, bench pressing and deadlifting the most weight possible. Training is a great way to focus on something that isn’t work, so it’s a kind of meditation. It’s also super motivating to see improvements in your strength and physique. This year I was selected for the Great Britain powerlifting team and competed at the world championships in Calgary.
A big thanks to Jodie for taking the time out to answer these questions!
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