Apparel Graphic Academy

Deborah Sexton talks Social Media with Erik and Ken from The Referral Sender
“How to promote and build your business via social media.”

October 2nd 2020

Deborah Sexton is the owner of Saracen Communications that specializes in social media marketing. 

The topic is “How to promote and build your business via social media.” We bring you tips for social media posts and content, so your business will be recognized throughout the community.

Erik Mickelson and Ken Bines interview Deborah Sexton

Transcript Deborah Sexton Interview

Erik Mickelson:                 Hey, good morning and welcome to the Referral Sender Show. This is the show where we invite guests to bring their business expertise to you. Our goal is to make sure your business is here for good. It’s Friday, October 2nd, 2020. Can’t believe it’s already October. I’m Erik Mickelson, along with my awesome cohost, mister Ken Bines.

Ken Bines:                           The one and only.

Erik Mickelson:                 And we have an awesome episode today. Today’s topic is how to promote and build your business via social media. And believe it or not, we have a very special guest from the great state of Texas to help us out with our social media. Deborah Sexton is the owner of Saracen Communications and is a social media guru. Deborah was the editor of Impressions magazine, which serves the apparel graphic industry. Then she went out and started her own marketing and PR company in 2001 to help companies with their PR, social media and marketing. And we have the pleasure to invite Deborah into our studio. So let’s get Deborah on camera here and invite her in.

Deborah Sexton:              Hey, everyone.

Ken Bines:                           Good morning, Deborah.

Deborah Sexton:              How is it going?

Erik Mickelson:                 Hey. Good morning.

Ken Bines:                           Morning.

Erik Mickelson:                 It’s a pleasure to have you down there in Austin. We’re up here in the Northwest. We got our typical Northwest cloudy, rainy skies. I’m sure you’re sunshine and hot down there in Austin.

Deborah Sexton:              We are. Yeah. We’re still hitting 80s and low 90s in the day. So we don’t have any cold yet and I’m grateful.

Ken Bines:                           Good thing.

Erik Mickelson:                 Good. Good. Good. Good. Good. I might have to come down and visit. But today we’re going to be discussing is how to build your business via social media. A lot of our viewers out there are small local business owners and some of them do very well on social media and some of them don’t even have a clue on social media. So we’ll just maybe start with the basics is what is social media and what’s this all about?

Deborah Sexton:              Well social media, the thing about it is that some people gravitate to it and they already had their own personal account. And so you learn by being on it. And then you have obviously a certain percentage of people that they don’t gravitate, great. They don’t gravitate to it. And so a lot of them, they don’t want to go there. They don’t know how to use it. They don’t want to know. And I think you’ve seen unfortunately some of those businesses struggling or even going out of business. Because in my opinion, in today’s environment and especially with COVID, social media is the best marketing and advertising tool there is in the industry today. It was totally free about 10 years ago.

Supporting your local community makes great Facebook posts. Ken Bines is wearing a t-shirt to support his Milton Police Department.

                                                And nowadays you definitely need to have an organic presence and a presence where you’re just posting to your own page and it doesn’t cost you anything but you really do need to take a look at also boosting that with some kind of paid social media advertising and with the kind and the type and all that varies on a large range of factors. But you do see when you see those ads pop up, whether it’s for a mask or for a novelty t-shirt or depending on… Everybody’s page is different depending on what you click on is what you end up seeing in your ads. And we’ve all seen the advertising but when it’s done right, it really, really works. And I’ve heard so many success stories of people who have really used social media to their advantage and built their business and continue to grow it. And of course, they have a big advantage over those who don’t.

Remembering community members shows you care. Ronja was a long loved K9 with the Tacoma Police. Steve Deland created this tribute post on Facebook.

Erik Mickelson:                 So it’s more important now with the COVID is to start getting your name out there on social media. You see all these businesses, restaurants going out of business. But the reason they’re going out of business probably is because I never see them on social media. You just drive by, they’re closed. They’re out of business. And you see the ones that are successful, you see them all on social media.

Shop local post was used to create awareness of local businesses during the Covid shutdown.

Deborah Sexton:              Right. I mean, that’s very true. The thing is that the one thing COVID has done is… I mean, we’re all on our computers more than we’ve ever been in our entire existence. I mean, kids and parents both. I mean, YouTube has gone through the roof with people watching more YouTube, and whether we’re on Netflix or Hulu or Facebook or Instagram, stuck at home, some people are stuck at home not working. And some people are working but when they want to take a break, they go check their Facebook page or something. Online obviously for eCommerce and for marketing and advertising is really become…

Showing product is a great way to boost you Social Media presence like Northwest Custom Apparel does

                                                I think the people that were thinking they could get by without it, since COVID has hit, have realized that they’ve dropped the ball and not kept up with what they should have been doing. Because they weren’t interested and they didn’t know how to do it and they didn’t want to… We do have lots of veterans shops where you’ve got people in their 60s or even older and they did not grow up with all this. And some people get into it right away and other people don’t want to go there. So it’s sad but it could cost you your business, unfortunately.

Social Media Reminder for the Holidays. Steve Deland creating our Bigfoot character

Erik Mickelson:                 But everybody has these telephones. My dad’s 77 and he’s on the Facebook and everyday you see him scrolling through stuff and making comments. So saying that they’re too old to be on Facebook or social media, you can’t say that anymore.

Photos from Northwest Custom Apparel’s Christmas party 2019. Left is Ken Bines and right is owner Jim Mickelson

Deborah Sexton:              Right. Yeah. I would expect your dad who’s always been an innovator and on the top of all the trends and always interested in what’s going on, he’s a really good example of the people that have adopted it and modified their businesses using it as opposed to the people that just… I mean, I don’t know what percentage of older Americans are on but obviously it’s a lot lower than younger demographics. But yeah, your dad has always been a leader and a pioneer so it doesn’t serve… I mean, Mark Coudray is another great example. I mean, he’s completely embraced digital marketing.

Owner of Northwest Custom Apparel. Jim Mickelson compliments the social media presence with Thank you cards. Hit your customers from all directions.

                                                He started a digital marketing Facebook page and he evolved from being a screen printer to now he’s just a consultant for not only decorative pillow businesses but other businesses as well. And showing them how to use digital marketing, which of course also includes email and web and advertising, SEO webpage advertising. But his clients are doing phenomenally. Every time I talked to him, he’s telling me how people are doubling and tripling their revenue in a year because they’re adopting his strategy. So to me, he’s really proof that if you do it right because you can do it wrong and it’s not going to work but if you do it right, it really does work. And you’re going to reach that target market that you’re wanting to hit.

Erik Mickelson:                 So that brings to me is how can a local business, a restaurant and an attorney, a gym, how can they start doing social media? What are the platforms you recommend? You’ve got Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram. What do you recommend for a newbie out there?

posts of your employees is a great start to your social media adventure

Deborah Sexton:              Well, getting started, I mean, you’re going to have to actually just get on each of those platforms and open your own account or find somebody in your company who’s willing to do that. I mean, you have to spend a little bit of time on the platform to get an understanding for it because every platform has differences in what kind of content you’ll put on it and how frequently. And what might be a great Facebook post will not work at all on LinkedIn. I mean, because they’ve got different audiences and different formats and different rules. So I would say if you have no social media presence at all, the first step is to go ahead, sign up, get a personal account on each of these or find somebody to do that for you. And then look for your competitors. Look for other companies that you’re in competition with and see are they on there? What are they doing? What are they posting? How frequently?

post of your customers having fun in your product. The Multi-Care team are showing off their t-shirts.

                                                And then the other step would be pick your top 10 customers. What social media are they on? Are they on Facebook? Are they on Instagram? Are they on Twitter? Because when you get started, you can’t say, “Okay. I’m going to be on all social media.” Because that just isn’t going to fly. So you’ve got to pick which of all the social media is most of my customers on. Are lawyers more on Facebook or Instagram. So you don’t know that. So you kind of have to do that research. And the best way suggests pick your top 10 lawyer customers and see if they’re on and see what they’re doing and how active they are and then go from there. So to some degree, it really is… Even if you hired a digital agency, that’s what they’re going to do.

Public Service Social posts keep eyeballs on your company

                                                They’re going to do a lot of homework and research to figure out which social media channels your niche is on. They’re going to try to find out as much about your niche as they can and then take it from there. And then pick one channel to start with, whether it’s Facebook or Instagram. LinkedIn is a tremendous B2B platform that I think is vastly underused. But again, you have to learn the rules of LinkedIn. So if your demographic is 20 somethings, then no. But lawyers, LinkedIn’s probably a big networking tool for lawyers. I mean, lawyers might be a great LinkedIn option.

Social Causes such as October’s Breast Cancer Awareness

Erik Mickelson:                 Wow.

Deborah Sexton:              So that’s where you should start.

Erik Mickelson:                 So let’s say we want to start on a Facebook. How do we make a post and what would be a good post? Do you start like a salesy pitch? Do you want to just put up there and say like, “Here’s my menu of my restaurant, come in and get the 999 steak and eggs.” Or do you want to show maybe a little video of the cooks making the eggs and how much fun it is in the particular restaurant? What do you recommended?

Photos of your product in different countries like this photo of a water bottle taken in Thailand

Deborah Sexton:              Right. So I mean, I know you know the answer to this question because of course the whole reason we’re having this conversation was that I recently wrote a column for Impressions on putting together educational content. And guys do a fantastic job. And this podcast is another great example. I mean, you’re not here to sell anything about your company. You’re here to help your community, to educate your community, to foster interaction, to get people together that have needs. And that just to me, hits the nail on the head of what you want to use social media for. You do not want to promote or sell hardly at all.

4th of July. Erik Mickelson showing is Patriotic Pride
Van Halen purchased embroidery back in 1979.

                                                I use the ratio, 90% of your content should be to either entertain, educate or inspire. And the rest of it, the 10%, yes, you have a sales. Sure. You have a new Halloween mask. Yeah, of course. You’re going to want to let your people know that. You’re offering some kind of package or you’ve gotten a whole new line of women’s tees. Yeah. I mean, you’re going to put some promotional posts on there but 90% of it should be more what are the top 10 fashion colors that women want in t-shirts right now? Or Tom Rauen from Envision Screen Printing and Embroidery. He’s been a power social media user for the last 10 years. And he’ll put posts up about… A recent post was the 10 top selling promotional products things or products, which I thought was great.

Recognize employees on your social media

                                                So I mean, if you’re just thinking, we’re going to have an open house for our grocery store or the lawyer’s opening a new business in a new place and he wants some promotional products and does not have a clue what promotional products he might want to pick. Well, the top 10 list gets him started. Obviously pens are always on there but what are some of the cool, unusual, new promotional products out there? I mean, letting your customers… I mean, obviously you offer those but that’s not part of your post. You’re just talking about what they are, whether it’s a beanie cap or I don’t know. Yeah. I mean, there’s so many cool electronic gadgets now that they’ll put a promotional product name on.

Feature your customers using your product. Great social media post ideas

                                                But basically if you use a general guideline, does it educate, entertain and inspire? You’re going to be pretty close. And then from there, you really have to just see what kind of reaction do you get? How many likes, how many shares, how many comments. If you post it and nobody does anything, that’s a lesson. Don’t do that kind of post again. Maybe it’s the recipe. Recipes go crazy on a lot of Facebook businesses but maybe a lawyer’s Facebook page would not do well with a recipe. So some of it’s common sense but a lot of it’s going to be trial and error. You try different content and you just make note, “Hey, wow. We got 50 shares on this video of whatever it is. And then yeah, this recipe got nothing. So no more recipes”.

cross promote your other brands. Ken Bines is holding a Referral Sender t-shirt to build awareness of his social media webcast

                                                So it’s very, very trial and error. And I listened to a podcast that’s a digital agency guy and he says over and over, “It’s trial and error. It’s trial and error. You got to try different things, see what works, what doesn’t work you don’t repeat and what does then you go in that direction. So it doesn’t happen overnight. You’re not going to get a great response in one month. It might take you six months to figure out what kind of content is really resonating with your audience.

empty box of caps to remind customers to reorder before they run out

Erik Mickelson:                 Is there amount of content you should be posting every day, week monthly?

Deborah Sexton:              Well, that is a very frequently asked question and I’ve heard a lot of answers to it. And my summary of all the answers I’ve heard is it depends. So it depends on your niche and your market. I’m really big in the music industry and all the music gurus there, they say breakfast, lunch and dinner. You should post three times a day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Which that’s a lot. But in the music industry, you want to constantly have your name and your music in front of your audience. And so that’s a general recommendation. Again, I think that it’s trial and error process. For sure I would say once a day would be a minimum. I would post something every day. And the time of when you post, that can be strategic as well. And if you go into your Google analytics, your Facebook analytics, you are able to see when the most people are online or when the most people have viewed your page.

Absher Construction crew wearing apparel from Northwest Custom Apparel. Show off your customers

                                                So that might be 8:00 in the morning. That might be 8:00 at night. You don’t know but there are ways to see by using the back end of your… And I believe most of that is free. If you have a business page, if you get free analytics. So you can just go in and look at that and see, okay, when are the most number of people on? And then you want to post in that window. And again, trial and error. How often is trial and error? I mean, there’s definitely, I think some niches that would be gagging it three times a day if they ended up seeing all three. But I mean, the other thing you have to remember is Google’s organic reach now is about 2%. So if you have 100 followers on your business page and you post something, Google’s only going to put two to eight of those people in the newsfeed and your other 80, 90 people are never going to see that unless they just happen to go to your page.

Artist Steve Deland creates fun Facebook Posts throughout the week

                                                So I do think that’s one reason why a lot of Googlers recommend posting more frequently because then you get… So each post gets that 2% organic reach. So that’s something to keep in mind as well. Twitter, for example, nobody goes back down and reads all tweets. When you get on Twitter, you see the… How many tweets do you usually scroll down and look at 10 or 20, right?

Ken Bines:                           Yes. If that.

Deborah Sexton:              Right. So if you post at Twitter at 9:00 AM, by 11:00 nobody has seen that and never will. So Twitter is a good example of a media where you may want to post 10 times a day in order to get people to see it. But the real trick is to combine your organic content with some advertising. And that way your posts are going to get seen.

Seasonal Social Media posts work great

Erik Mickelson:                 So Facebook, it works on an algorithm. So sometimes I make a post where everybody sees it, then I make a post nobody sees it. Is there a method to this madness or you just got to keep posting?

Every 7 posts you can offer a special sale or dea. Don’t overdo it

Deborah Sexton:              Well again, if you Google how to beat Facebook’s algorithm, you’re going to get as many answers as there are sands in the sea. And my conclusion again, there’s no real way to beat the algorithm. Again, it varies. It depends on so many factors but you use trial and error and if you consistently put content on there that is relevant and of interest to your audience, they will get… Because again, Facebook rewards. If you get 100 likes on something, then Google is going to… Not Google, Facebook will reward you for that. If you get none, then you’ll get punished.

Company History Photos like the one of Jim Mickelson back in 1985

Ken Bines:                           Wow.

Deborah Sexton:              [crosstalk] sense you get punished. I mean, they’re going to let less people see your content if they don’t see people sharing it and liking it. So that’s why the most important thing is to fine tune what type of content you want on there. And then the second stage is either get some expert help on how to time it and how often or just keep experimenting at different times of day. And then also combining it with advertising. I mean, advertising guarantees you that you’re going to show up in newsfeed. So again, Mark Coudray, he’s very, very knowledgeable about this. And he he’s done a lot of…

Donations and doing good for the community

                                                He’ll just throw 50 bucks at an ad just to see, just to test, just to do a test. So testing might sound expensive but you don’t usually have the… Some people test with $10 a day. You don’t have to throw a huge budget away but the people who are doing the testing, I mean, they’re the ones who are getting the data that they need to figure out what kind of ad and how often and what the ad should say. And you’re flying blind without that information.

Erik Mickelson:                 Right. Right. So now with Facebook, do you have to pay to play or can you still get into the newsfeed by just doing some organic posts?

Holiday and Events such as Oktoberfest

Deborah Sexton:              Yeah. I mean, that’s kind of what I’ve been saying. I mean, you’re not organic. I mean, now there is a guru called LadyTribe. I forget what her exact name is, but I think her Facebook page is LadyTribe. And her whole premise is you can beat the algorithm and you can… She doesn’t do any paid advertising herself and she has built this following. Now she specializes in women. So all her content is taught. She’s a very targeted niche. She targets women, small business women. And so her premises you do not need to pay. And all her reach is organic. And I have not listened and watched to as much of her podcasts. And she does a lot of live video. I mean, she gets on her page like you guys are doing right now.

St. Patty’s Day Potlucks with employees

                                                She gets on a certain time every week and talks that week about a topic and she takes questions and does all that. And she has built a really decent following and is making a really good income. But I kind of feel like she’s the exception rather than the rule. So again, I mean you might start out trying to keep it organic but I think for the most part, Facebook was not created to entertain the world. It was created to make money. And we all got word in with the free, free, free, free account and free all that. But those days are ending. I think more and more if you’re not willing to put any income at all behind what you’re doing to get the reach and the exposure that you want, that it gets harder and harder.

Christmas Parties and employee awards another great idea for posts

                                                And of course, social media isn’t the only thing you should be doing. You should also be doing email and other things. But to be really successful at social media, the most successful people I think are budgeting at least some money towards advertising.

Erik Mickelson:                 So you mentioned niches, the old saying is the riches are in the niches.

Deborah Sexton:              Right. And that’s still true.

New Embroidery Machines and equipment let your customers know you stay up to date in technology

Erik Mickelson:                 So let’s say you’re a car dealer shipping specialized selling pickup trucks.

Deborah Sexton:              Right.

Erik Mickelson:                 How would you find your target audience on Facebook, a male that likes pickup trucks? Can you buy that through the… Go ahead.

Team up with local radio stations for fundraisers.

Deborah Sexton:              Yes. So that is one of the reasons why Facebook is so effective and can be such a powerful advertising tool because Facebook uses their huge… I mean, we all have been unhappy about the privacy invasions of Facebook but Facebook, they know us, they know every single person on their network. Every time you click on something, you’ve told Facebook something about you. What you like to buy. Where you like to go. Where you like to eat. What you like to wear. Facebook has an unbelievable database on all of us. And that is fabulous for advertisers because Facebook can target… I mean, what’s the demographic of someone who buys a pickup truck? They might be a Hunter. They might be I don’t want to get into any stereotypes about truck driving but you know what I mean?

Post photos when you attend events like your local Chamber of Commerce

                                                I mean so if you can identify what kinds of people. I mean, and I’m sure you could Google who loves pickup trucks. You could Google that and probably get some demographics. And then you give that to Facebook when you place your ad and your ad is going to pop up on hunting pages and fishing and cowboys and all the people who love trucks. I mean, so in the decorated apparel industry, I mean, I will be more comfortable giving an example there. Let’s say you want to target the soccer mom because you want to go after soccer uniforms and soccer fan wear for… How many kid soccer teams are there in the United States? I mean, that’s a huge, huge market.

Sales Awards

                                                And Facebook would let you pick okay, what age group do I want to target? Obviously 60 year old women don’t have kids playing soccer anymore. So you get the age group, you get the income level you want, you get the geographic. What cities have the most soccer teams and they let you… Or maybe you only want to focus on your local area. So all the soccer teams in Austin I mean. So you’re able to do really highly targeted advertising. And that’s what makes it effective and powerful is the ability to do that. You’re not sending any soccer ads to football fans or lawyers or dentists or any of the other skateboarders, people who won’t care. They don’t really see your ads. So you guys know this I know but that’s what makes this is so effective.

Tie in events like the toilet paper shortage

Erik Mickelson:                 So how does the average Joe figure this out? Or do you have to be like a data scientist to figure this out on Facebook? Is there a user friendly interface on Facebook to figure out all this stuff?

Deborah Sexton:              I have never myself placed an ad. I do listen to several podcasts about it and they… So I would start with if you decide you want to do it yourself, which means you got to have the time. You got to be willing to invest learning it. And it’s not fast and easy. I mean, I won’t kid you. Facebook advertising, the people when you hear these amazing success stories, you find out that this client either took a year to figure all that out before he started getting those results or they threw 100,000 dollars at it. And then they finally figured it out. Or I mean I would start with listening to some Facebook or whatever social media you pick. I would listen to a few podcasts because they all are a wealth of information on how to get started.

                                                And they’ll give you beginner strategies and techniques. And then again, like I said, it’s trial and error to some degree. I mean, even the digital agency is going to start with maybe a $10 a day sort of budget and put some ads out there and see what kind of… And then as they get that data in, and it’s compared to a funnel where you start out and you target a broader group. And as you get the data in, you start eliminating, okay, this age group isn’t interested and you start funneling down until you get to that key core person that you want to reach. So I would recommend… I mean, it would be impossible to listen to one podcast and know how to do Facebook advertising.

Customer gift boxes

                                                But Facebook also they have their own trainings. You can Google those. I’ve been to Facebook training sessions in Austin. They just held a big Facebook training. Actually it was a last year and it was about how to maximize your holiday sales. So it was really, really good. And there’s so much great information out there. So I would say, get on YouTube, get on your favorite podcast app and listen to some of the… Go to the first few episodes because that’s where they will tell you about the beginner stuff. And then you can decide, “Hey, do I want to figure this out on myself? Or would I be better off hiring somebody to help me do this?”

500th climb to Mt. Rainier

Erik Mickelson:                 So that brings up my question is, for the business owner that doesn’t want to spend their time trying to figure out social media is, when do you hire a digital agency to come in to do something like that?

Deborah Sexton:              Right. So again, I think after you listen to some podcast, you’ll know what you don’t know. And I would suggest that you ask around to see what other businesses… Obviously every business owner is usually part of a chamber of commerce or something else. I would ask for referrals on agencies. And most agencies, they’re going to talk to… Your first one or two visits or phone conversations will be free. I mean, they’re just going to explain what they do, how they do it, what it costs. They’re going to make some probably suggestions and then go from there. I mean, it’s just like hiring any contract person for your business. I mean, you should get a couple of referrals of good agencies and talk to the people there and do your own research on Google, whatever questions you have.

Posts of your building with your mascot Bigfoot hiding behind the sign

                                                I mean, it’s very rare you’re going to have a question that hasn’t already been asked 100 times and you can Google it and take every answer with a grain of salt because there’s a very wide range of opinions on what’s right and wrong to do. And I’ve learned that for sure because when you listen to a lot of podcasts, they all had their own way of doing it and they were really successful. But no two of them really usually do it the same way. And again, that comes back to the trial and error and figuring out what’s going to work for you. Not every single suggestion you get is going to work for your business or your company. So that’s how I’d recommend you go about it.

Customers wearing safety shirts

Erik Mickelson:                 So if I’m a business owner trying to find a digital agency, I’m sure the first question that they ask you is I want to be number one on Google. I want to be on the newsfeeds. So what are the expectations from a small business owner that that agency can do? So like, should I say, “You have to put me on page one of Google. You have to get me in the Facebook printings.” That’s not going to happen.

Yes that is the unknown comic promoting bags from the Gong Show

Deborah Sexton:              No. I mean, that would be a monumentally unrealistic expectation. And I’ll tell you that even a top digital agency, if they’re not already in… I mean, so that would be another criteria. When you pick an agency, pick someone who already has clients in your industry. Because if you’re a decorated apparel company, don’t pick an agency that specializes in healthcare or construction or military. I mean, because they’re going to have to start from scratch learning your industry. That’s why you would do. Ideally you’re going to pick someone who already has maybe as many as 10 or more decorated apparel businesses or maybe they do Gildan, they know the industry, they already know the niche because you don’t want to be paying them to learn your niche.

This cap is from 1982. History of your product

                                                So that would be one big thing. Who’s number one on Google. I mean, I don’t even know. I mean, but I’ll tell you what, it’s Coca-Cola or Ford or it’s a big, huge company that spends millions of dollars to get that ranking, millions of dollars. But the beauty of it is if you’re a decorated apparel business, let’s say you guys are in Milton, Washington and I’m sure you are national but you’re not trying to be everything to everyone. You’re looking for a very targeted, specific group of people. And being number one on Google, I don’t even know how much, I mean, that would help you. I mean, beauty of social media is it’s going to funnel you into wherever the eyeballs are of your core customer, that’s where you want to be.

Your logo on items you sell

                                                But don’t think you’re going to pay for one month worth of services and go, “Wow. My sales doubled.” I mean, that’s absolutely not going to happen. And a big thing I hear frequently on the podcast is you got to give it time and I’ve heard all these stories about they would say, “It’d been three months and the client was really angry and unhappy that the ad wasn’t getting what they’d hope for.” And the digital agency person would have to talk them off the cliff and say, “It’s too soon. It’s too soon. Don’t worry about it.” And then one month later, it would explode and they would get 100,000 dollars worth of orders in one month. But just like any type of advertising, print or whatever, it’s frequency of exposure and it’s learning, it’s trial and error, learning what type of posts.

shout out to local college teams or high schools

                                                So definitely it’s not an overnight magic pill. So plan on giving it three or six months or maybe even longer. It depends on your industry. It depends on your niche and your market. It depends on your competition. It may take longer to break in than you want but you got to be patient and consistent and you got to be relentless is probably one of the best ways to describe. You’ve gotta be there every day. You’ve got to do the work, do the posts, do the research, consistently do the advertising. And it does pay off in the long run. I don’t ever hear any stories. I mean, the people that say didn’t work gave up and didn’t stay with it.

Posts of your customer’s logos

Ken Bines:                           Yeah. That makes sense.

Erik Mickelson:                 It’s kind of like the same marketing principles like with Ken, he started in sales about a year ago. But you got to make an account base. It’s not going to happen on day one. It’s going to take a long time. You got to call your customers and make a connection with them. So I think with any type of advertising, you have to wait but you have to be consistent and do it over and over.

Employee birthdays

Deborah Sexton:              Right.

Ken Bines:                           It’s the exercise.

Deborah Sexton:              Right? I mean, what I love about Ken, I mean, because again, social media, the word social is key there. I mean, you’re looking to build relationships, you’re looking to let people get to know you. And I think Ken’s done a great job of that on your pages. He’s fun. He’s energetic, he’s passionate, he’s always smiling and I mean, it makes you go, “Wow. He seems like a fun guy to hang out with or talk to.” And I mean, you don’t ever wait. And if I needed to call Ken, I’d be looking forward to it going, “This is going to be a great conversation because he wants to help me. And he’s friendly and he’s nice.” That’s exactly what we want to try to do in social media. We want to get people to know us, to trust us, to build that relationship. We want to teach him that we’re here to solve your problems. We are here to help yo

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Ken Bines:                           Exactly.

Deborah Sexton:              We’ll do anything that we can in our power to do that. And if your content is consistently putting that message out and you’re building those relationships, the business will come because you’re going to call your friend before you call someone you don’t know. So you’re trying to make friends on social media. And yeah. Ken’s been great. I mean, I’ve spoke to a lot of your social media and he’s got that wonderful personality that everyone’s like, “Wow, he’s so cool.” You just want to, you want to hang out with him.

Ken Bines:                           Pretty shady, you Deborah.

Deborah Sexton:              He’s doing a good job. That’s why I found your page. I’m like, “This is perfect for my article.”

Group photos of customers

Erik Mickelson:                 But it’s cool because he’s been on the social media with us for about a year and now we’re getting people coming in who just want to talk to Ken.

Deborah Sexton:              Right. That’s what I’m saying.

Ken Bines:                           Yeah.

Erik Mickelson:                 [inaudible] don’t want to talk to me anymore.

Deborah Sexton:              Yeah. No.

Erik Mickelson:                 I’m not cool enough.

Ken Bines:                           “You’re the guy I’ve seen on your Facebook page.” “Yeah. Who are you?”

Deborah Sexton:              I mean, you almost make yourself a celebrity. I mean, in a small pond but yeah. I mean, that to me is the… That’s where the magic happens when you can cultivate that relationship and you can find what your people want. I just did a story on a company called Big Printing out of California. And this guy, he specializes in urban streetwear and he started out as a designer himself. He designed an urban streetwear line and he was using this guy to print his shirts and the guy decided to go out of business. And he decided that, “Okay. I’m just going to buy this guy’s shop and then I can do all my own printing and I’m going to have more power and control.” And it was kind of interesting because the guy who sold him the shop said to him, “You know now that you have this equipment, you’re going to be printing for other people.”

                                                And he’s like, “No. No. No. I’m never going to do that. I just want to design my own stuff.” What always happens is people find out that that’s what he was doing. And today, he specializes in urban streetwear for he has like 100 clothing lines because he speaks their language and he’s very aggressive on social media. It’s posting all the cool sayings and he does all these special effects. And if you’re a urban streetwear designer, you see his Instagram page, you see that he’s got the look that you want. And he’s really built his business on that. The fact that he is an expert in that niche and he’s very aggressive in social media, constantly posting pictures.

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                                                He does not do any paid advertising by the way. He’s done it organically but if you go to his Instagram page, you’ll just see photo after photo of cool chenille patches and foil and glitter and all these really cool streetwear designs that he’s printing for all these companies. I mean, he’s a good example of somebody… He’s figured it out.

Erik Mickelson:                 I’m glad you brought that up because about two episodes ago, we had one of our customers called ETC Apparel and they do the streetwear too. And they do the social media, Instagram, and they do a bunch of Tacoma, Washington designs and they actually made Tacoma cool again.

Deborah Sexton:              Yes. Exactly.

Erik Mickelson:                 I think they have over 100,000 followers now.

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Ken Bines:                           They got a lot.

Deborah Sexton:              Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that’s how it happens. I mean, his artwork is resonating with people probably a niche within his geographic area that they wanted to come a design that has that urban streetwear feel which probably isn’t easy to find.

Erik Mickelson:                 No.

Ken Bines:                           It’s not.

Deborah Sexton:              When you see more of the traditional landmark kind of graphics or I mean, I don’t want to say boring but more traditional looking graphics that you see in a souvenir kind of shirt. And here’s a guy that’s tapping into two niches at once. He’s tapping into the Tacoma tourist or fan and the urban streetwear look. And so when people see that, I bet you a lot of people are sharing his photos of his designs because like, “Hey, wow, look at this. This is great.” Or it’s funny and they want to show all their friends and family, “This is hilarious.” And they’ll share it. I mean, that’s the magic spot you’re looking for. And like I said, it takes time to find it but everyone has their own unique qualities and their own unique look. And I mean, it might seem hard to set yourself apart but when you really figure out what your persona is going to be, I mean, you really can score big time with sales and customers and all that.

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Erik Mickelson:                 So that kind of goes back to focusing on your niche. Instead of just saying, I’m going to sell t-shirts to the world. I say, I’m going to make streetwear for this niche and that’s it.

Deborah Sexton:              Yeah. You got to focus on a niche. It’s a waste of time trying to be everything there. I mean, that’s not working for anybody, I don’t think especially not a smaller business. I mean, you’ve got to find something that you do really well, that other people that not everybody else is doing. And then you’ve got to get that message out through your social media. I mean, that’s going to be the best way. I mean, how many people don’t even watch TV anymore? I mean, we’re watching streaming services. Nobody goes to channel 10 or whatever anymore. But I mean, and like everybody isn’t on social media, that’s true. You are missing a segment of people who don’t use social media but you try to pick those up with email.

Ken Bines:                           Right. That makes sense.

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Deborah Sexton:              Yeah.

Erik Mickelson:                 That is cool. Because we switched our focus here with our businesses. We got our niches to the construction industry. So we sell Carhartts, safety hoodies, trucker hats-

Deborah Sexton:              And that makes sense.

Erik Mickelson:                 … and jackets. And that’s all we focus on. We don’t do street apparel and all that. We don’t do schools. We just stay in our lane. And I think we’re doing pretty well and then Ken has kind of embraced that now. He’s kind of the construction guru.

Deborah Sexton:              Wow.

Ken Bines:                           Yeah. Because it was kind of hard trying to sell to everybody and try to work with everybody. It don’t work out for nobody.

Deborah Sexton:              It doesn’t work and you just spend a tremendous amount of time and get nowhere.

Ken Bines:                           Yeah. Yeah. You do. So we decided let’s stick with the construction guys. We know them the best. We understand them. We could talk to them. And ever since then, I mean, sales have been improving. Things have been a lot more better and then communicating with your customer becomes a lot more easier. Yeah.

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Deborah Sexton:              Right. Right. A new construction company comes to you, after they’ve talked to you for 10 minutes, they know that you get them, that you understand what they need, what kind of designs they want, what kind of apparel they want and just build that trust and that bond. And when you communicate that through your social media, again, you’re going to catch the eye of either it’s either someone in construction or someone who knows someone in construction and they’re going to send it to them or share it and go, “Hey, check this out.” And that’s how it works. Niches are definitely the way to go.

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Ken Bines:                           Niches are the riches.

Deborah Sexton:              Yes they are. That will be true till we die.

Erik Mickelson:                 That’s what Mark Coudray says.

Deborah Sexton:              Probably even after we die.

Erik Mickelson:                 Well, cool man. You’ve given us a lot of information here.

Ken Bines:                           Yeah.

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Deborah Sexton:              Yeah. There’s a lot out there. And there’s a lot of good info if you… I mean, I run everyday. And so that’s when I listen to my podcasts or when I’m doing dishes or if you don’t think you have time, I mean, we’re all spending time doing mundane stuff. Just get a pair of headphones and pick a podcast and I’ve listened to lots and lots and lots of podcasts while I’m running or housework day or fixing the car or in the car. I mean, if you’ve got a 15 or 30 minute ride, pick a podcast and listen. I mean, you’ll easily find people that you love and think, “Wow, this is so much value, so much gold in this podcast.” And it’s a way that you can get up to speed and learn a lot without sitting down and looking at a book or going to a class. So I mean, there’s so much free info out there. It’s amazing.

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Erik Mickelson:                

Ken Bines:                           And YouTube never underestimate YouTube.

Deborah Sexton:              YouTube. Yeah. People are teaching themselves how to start and run businesses on YouTube for sure. My son learned how to fix motorcycles on YouTube.

Ken Bines:                           Yeah. You’re learning.

Deborah Sexton:              He started a business fixing motorcycles. I mean, he started from zero. He knew nothing. And he bought an old motorcycle and he watched YouTube and he figured out how to fix it. And next thing you know, we’ve got 15 motorcycles in our backyard [crosstalk]. I wasn’t too excited about that but he learned how to fix them. So you can learn almost anything when, probably not heart surgery but almost anything else.

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Ken Bines:                           Yeah. Yeah. Probably want to stay away from heart surgery.

Deborah Sexton:              Otherwise, there’s so much free information that it’s there for the taking.

Ken Bines:                           There is.

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Deborah Sexton:              I mean, we are all going to say well, we don’t have time, but if you get a good pair of wireless headphones and you download the podcast to your phone, there’s no reason. We all have downtime while we are doing something else and we can listen.

Ken Bines:                           Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.

Deborah Sexton:              And it makes life more interesting for me. I’m easily bored. So if I’m driving somewhere, I got to have something on [crosstalk].

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Ken Bines:                           Same here. I’m a docu type person. Got to watch documentaries nonstop.

Deborah Sexton:              Yeah. Sure. I mean, there’s so much out there and you’re never going to consume even a portion of it if you don’t do it while you’re driving or while you’re doing dishes or something like that. It’s pretty awesome.

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Ken Bines:                           Exactly. Get it right in.

Deborah Sexton:              Yes. Yes. Exactly.

Erik Mickelson:                 Well, cool. Jeez. So Deborah, if anybody wants to use your services, how would they get a hold of you?

Deborah Sexton:              Well, I’ve got a Facebook page. So I would suggest that, my Facebook. I have a personal page, which you’re not interested in that. But my Facebook name is Deborah Sexton Saracen S-A-R-A-C-E-N. So feel free to reach out there. I check that regularly and if I get notified, if I get any messages so yeah, that’d be great.

Merch Boxes

Erik Mickelson:                 So I know you focus on the apparel industry. Do you reach out to any other industries that you got?

Deborah Sexton:              Well, I’ve been in the apparel industry for 36 years so that’s what I know. So I wouldn’t suggest a lawyer try to contact me because I don’t know anything about the lawyer industry. But if you’re in any aspect of t-shirts and the other big industry I’m in is music. I have a lot of indie and startup bands with their social media. I write articles. I have a radio show. So I would say music or decorated apparel would be the two areas that I could help you in. Other areas, I don’t know enough about that I wouldn’t want to learn a whole new industry just to help one person. So yeah.

Blanket, Carhartt Beanie and Campfire Mug are found inside the Merch Box

Erik Mickelson:                 Well, cool. Cool. Cool.

Deborah Sexton:              Yeah. Well, this has been fun and I really appreciate you guys having me on.

Erik Mickelson:                 Yeah. Thank you. It was a pleasure. You filled my mind with a lot of good ideas. Ken, I think we’re going to start doing some social media right now.

Ken Bines:                           A lot of notes that I’ve been writing. So thank you.

Deborah Sexton:              Good. Well, I have a monthly column on the Impressions magazine website. So if you want to check that out, I think I’ve got four or five columns up there now. And I’ll be continuing to do that on a monthly basis. And the latest one was how to create educational content which is again, like I said, how I found you guys, I was looking for Facebook pages that were doing a good job of that. And yeah. So I would recommend again, if you want to get started, go check out some of those columns, it’ll probably take you four minutes to read each one. They’re not super long but they’re mainly there to kind of let people know what they need to figure out. So sounds great.

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Ken Bines:                           Definitely.

Erik Mickelson:                 Well, thank you so much for having [crosstalk] show.

Deborah Sexton:              Thank you. Thank you. You guys have a great weekend.

Ken Bines:                           You too. Enjoy that sun.

Erik Mickelson:                 All right.

Deborah Sexton:              I will. Will see you later. Bye-bye.

Erik Mickelson:                 All right. Bye-bye.

Ken Bines:                           Wow. That was a lot of information, useful. Very useful.

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Erik Mickelson:                 Yeah. It’s just amazing how that social media can just spread like wildfire. And it was interesting how she mentioned that the streetwear because we had Umi from ETC a couple of weeks ago.

Ken Bines:                           Yeah. Shout out to Umi and the guys at ETC by the way.

Erik Mickelson:                 So it sounds like other people like Umi around the country are putting these streetwear’s programs together too and they’re doing quite well. And they’re doing it through social media. Without social media, I don’t think they would have a business.

Ken Bines:                           No. Social media definitely changed the world, especially with COVID like she mentioned, COVID hitting the States like how it did where you say yesterday, about 40% of Seattle’s workforce is at home.

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Erik Mickelson:                 Yeah. [inaudible] people are telecommuting in Seattle, which is wow. I [inaudible] that.

Ken Bines:                           Yeah. So all those people are using social media, they’re all on Facebook, Instagram. And with those ads coming out and people expressing their business and putting out content, that allows them to get more views to customers and people looking for their outlet to buy from them or either join their page [crosstalk].

Erik Mickelson:                 Well, that brings me into this right now is we want to have people on our show and what we’re doing is perfect example of social media. So we would like a local business to come on in here and be on our show. Tell us about your business. Maybe give us some tips, some knowledge, pull that knowledge from your brain and let us know. And this would be a good start to be on social media. It builds content. It gets things out there. So we got upcoming shows. It’s every Friday, 9:30 AM. And it’s real simple. You just need to have a microphone, a webcam and a smile and have some business knowledge. And we would love to have you on here. And if you want to get a hold of us to be on the show, Ken is the man. He’s our booking agent. I told Ken when we get big, we’re going to have her own booking agent. But right now it’s Ken.

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Ken Bines:                           Yeah. So email me, reach out to me. I will send you all the information, invite you, schedule you a day and time for you to be part of our show and let’s get it going. Let’s get that knowledge like Erik said, let’s spread out the content. Sign up to be a guest on our landing page Referral Sender.

Erik Mickelson:                 Okay Yeah. So let’s kind of end it right here is so we want to make sure that you are here for good.

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Ken Bines:                           Here for good.

Erik Mickelson:                 Okay. See you guys. Enjoy the weekend.

Ken Bines:                           Take care.

Erik Mickelson:                 Okay.