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20 min read

How to Finally Make Social Media Work For Your Solopreneur Business

how to make social media work for your solopreneur business


Watch the Episode on YouTube

Joe and I (Carly) have not historically been fans of social media. I haven't posted on my personal accounts in years (aside from LinkedIn).

However, knowing it's a necessary evil for our business, we decided to embark on a mission to not only enjoy it, but do it right.

A few months back we interviewed Shelley Goldstein, who actually convinced us that social media could be something to look forward to if we changed our mindset, and she was right.

Once we had the motivation, we had to finesse our approach to optimize our efforts and increase success...and that's where we are today, in this episode, with Karlyn Ankrom.

In this show, she answers pressing questions for solopreneurs, such as:

  • What are 3 tangible things solopreneurs can do today to move the needle on their social media efforts?
  • So many people measure vanity metrics. What should solopreneurs actually measure and how often? Can it actually impact ROI quickly?
  • How does a solopreneur inject personality into their posts?
  • People often forget to use CTAs in their posts. What are some good CTAs to use to increase engagement and do they change across platforms?
  • How do you best advise solopreneurs to straddle the line between their personal and professional lives on social media? Do the lines get blurred with relationship building on social platforms?
  • For people who only serve their local community, should they be doing anything differently?

Be sure to check it out!

Connect with Karlyn Ankrom

Favorite Quote About Success:

"Live your values and your dreams will come true."


Going solo in business doesn't mean you're alone! Join our thriving Facebook community group exclusively designed for solopreneurs!  Connect with like-minded individuals who understand the unique challenges and triumphs of running a business single-handedly. Gain valuable insights, discover proven strategies, and unlock the power of networking as you engage in lively discussions and receive expert advice. We hope to see you there!

About Karlyn Ankrom

Karlyn Ankrom is the founder and lead strategist of Oh Snap! Social and creator of the Fan Firestarter Framework, a new approach to social media marketing made specifically for businesses “tempted to fake their own death and flee to Tahiti at the mere thought of content creation.”

Backed by a journalism degree, Karlyn has always been creative and loved writing. As the world transitioned from Web2 to Web3, she has seen the evolution of social media taking the place of traditional PR, with businesses utilizing it to get information to potential clients and the press without the traditional press release.

Karlyn developed her user-friendly strategy after working for a decade with a variety of
brick-and-mortar businesses that were decidedly social media allergic, not because they didn’t want to do social media, but because they were intimidated by it. In response, her new system helps newbies get on the fast track to “unsticking their social media” in just one hour per week.

Karlyn has written for the Social Media Examiner, been highlighted in Business Insider, and appeared on ABC 7 news.

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on Apple Podcasts Thanks!

Full Episode Transript

Karlyn Ankrom (00:00):

In reality, the more you, you can be, the better people will come to you and the people that aren't for you will just leave you alone.

Intro (00:10):

Welcome to the One-Person Business podcast, the show for solopreneurs, consultants and contractors who are ready to take charge of their business and reclaim their freedom. Join us as we bring you inspiring stories, invaluable insights and practical strategies from successful solopreneurs and industry experts, empowering you to create a thriving business that aligns with your unique goals and allows you to live life on your own terms. Here are your hosts, Joe Rando and Carly Ries.

Carly Ries (00:40):

Welcome to the One-Person Business podcast. I'm one of your hosts, Carly Ries.

Joe Rando (00:44):

And I'm Joe Rando.

Carly Ries (00:46):

And if we're being honest, Joe and I are trying to figure out a new way to do the intro of the show as ways to make it more engaging from the get-go. We've started to not read or not talk about our author's bio as much just from what they send us, what we know about them. But Karlyn, you are a little different story because what we know about you speaks so directly to us and you say it so succinctly and who you target so succinctly that I feel like I need to actually say that instead of coming up with my own shtick about it. So everybody, we have Karlyn Ankrom here today. She is the lead strategist and founder of Oh Snap! Social and she's the creator of the Fan Firestarter Framework.


Now, here's where it gets to something unique and something that I really just wanted to say from what she sent, she takes a new approach to social media, marketing it made specifically for businesses and Joe, we fall in here, who are tempted to fake their own death and fleet to Tahiti at the mere thought of content creation. I create content for a living. I don't mind content, but there's something about social media that just really gets me, and it is so hard. And Karlyn developed her user-friendly strategy after working for a decade with a variety of brick and mortar businesses who are decidedly social allergic. Again, speaking my language, and it wasn't because they did not want to do social media, but it's because they were intimidated by it. There's a lot to know. There's a lot to remember. Her response was to build a system that helps newbies get on the fast track to unsticking their social media in just one hour per week. I know that's a lot. I had to say it all. Karlyn, welcome to the show.

Karlyn Ankrom (02:36):

Thank you so much for having me. I am so pumped to be here and chat all things social with you all.

Carly Ries (02:42):

Karlyn, this is actually a perfect time to hop on the show because a few months ago, we had a guest on the show, and I'll link to this in the show notes. Her task was to convince us that we should use social media. Now I'm a millennial, I'm supposed to love this thing. I can't stand it or I couldn't stand it. She did convince us. And now we have a very active LinkedIn strategy going. That's where we get most of our leads or not most of our leads, most of our leads on social. So we're sticking with that platform, not going rogue on other ones. And we're excited to have you because you're going to kind of break it down and talk about things that people can actually be implementing. Let's say they're convinced, they know they have to do it now we want you to take the fear out of it. So just off the bat, can you just maybe talk about three tangible things solopreneurs can do today to move the needle a little bit on their social media efforts?

Karlyn Ankrom (03:39):

Absolutely, and I think you hit it right on the head. There's some fear, there's some overwhelm associated with social. The first thing to do, and this is not included in the three by the way, is to get over that fear. A lot of that comes with leading with action rather than painstakingly over the perfection of it all. The first thing I would say is practice on how you're going to show up on video as you. Not as your competitor, not as someone else in your industry and not as that guru, as you. Because as an audience and consumers, we get inundated with ads and messages every single day and we're becoming very smart in how we're looking at those messages and dissecting them.


We can tell what's authentic and real versus what is, for lack of a better word, trying too hard. So that's number one. Show up as you on video as much you can. Number two is to create a way for people to opt in. I call this connecting the digital dots. How are you going to take people from your social media over to your website or over to your registration page or over to listen to your podcast? What is that call to action that you're going to include in your content that's going to be the driver of that action? Because truth be told, we do not own our followers. We do not own them. Zuckerberg does. Microsoft does. We own our email list. So what can you put out there into the marketplace to get people to give up their coveted email address in exchange for something of value?


So that's number two, create a way for people to opt in to something. The third thing is engage with others in the community where your audience is already hanging out. I'll just use Instagram as an example. If you are say a handyman service, I'm in northern Virginia, so in Northern Virginia, and most of your residential customers are between a certain demographic and you know this about them and they love to go to that mom and pop coffee shop every single Sunday after church. I know that about my audience. So what am I going to do to bridge that digital gap? I'm going to go engage on that coffee shop's Instagram page as my handyman service and provide relevant content, relevant engagement, asking them questions in the comment. I know that they're following that coffee shop just like they're going to that coffee shop every single Sunday. So what can I do to expand my digital footprint? Engaging and doing that outreach to local community establishments where my audience is already hanging out. So those are three things. Really quick recap. Show up on video as much as you can, as you; create a way for people to opt in to a freebie in order to get their coveted email address; and three, engage with others where they already are on social.

Joe Rando (06:54):

I have a question. So you're saying that I really should use video?

Karlyn Ankrom (06:59):

Yes, I am. Because that's another piece of building that trust. It doesn't need to be long video. The greatest thing that ever was given I think to social media was short form video because it doesn't need to be overly produced. There's not a lot of heavy editing involved, and it helps kind of get you more comfortable with your messaging and showing up as you. I have a 15 month old, we're lucky right now that I'm wearing makeup. The hair is in a messy ponytail from yesterday when I was Wendy for Halloween as part of Tinkerbell and Peter Pan. This is what we're getting today. That is how I'm showing up. That's authentic to me. That doesn't mean another social media person's going to show up like this either because maybe they don't have a 15 month old.


You just have to be authentic to who you are because like I said, people can see you right through it.

Carly Ries (07:58):

Absolutely. Okay, I have a question. You put this stuff out there, and this is the reason I ended up getting off this social media because I actually don't post personally anymore. I don't have an Instagram account or I don't post my Instagram account, Facebook, anything. The only thing I post to now is LinkedIn, and it was for a conversation that Joe and I had yesterday of why I avoided it. I had some traction and I see that very loosely on this LinkedIn post, and I kept checking to see if I was getting more likes, kept checking to see if I was getting more comments. I too have a 15 month old. I do not have time to check every five minutes if I'm getting more engagement.


It's ridiculous. And then I remembered, oh yeah, from a business standpoint, these don't necessarily matter. The amount of impressions I'm getting don't matter. So what should people be tracking? I know they're called vanity metrics, feelgood metrics is how I interpret them. What should they be tracking instead from a business standpoint? I think this question is always really tricky because it really just depends. I always say measure what matters. What's going to move the bottom line? What's going to get you closer to your goal? And that's something that a lot of people don't start with. They don't really put in stone what their goal is. What does social media success look like for them and how do they ladder up to their overall marketing goals? Because social media, I don't know how it got this reputation, but it always seems to be operating on its own island, within marketing departments or even as a solopreneur or a small business owner.


We think that social media is a standalone approach when really it's just a sliver of our overall marketing tactics. I always say "measure what matters as it relates to your marketing goal". Yes, impressions don't really matter unless you're looking for more visibility. Likes don't really matter unless you're trying to measure more engagement. It's focusing on where are you in that typical buyer's journey for your customer. If you're new on the mat, getting likes and comments and shares is going to be a great metric to measure. The second piece of that, which is where I like to steer my clients, is driving traffic. How is your social media driving traffic? You can measure that on your Google analytics, which has gotten a little bit different since they transferred over from Universal Google Analytics to what is now known as GA 4. So there are different ways to be measuring that referral traffic.


Then in terms of overarching ROI, everyone's like, oh, what's the ROI on that? Again, it's a long-term game. It is a part of your marketing, but you need to know from a marketer's perspective how it is influencing sales. And that goes back to that tried and true buyer's journey aspect of are people at that awareness stage? Are you brand new to the market? Are people in that consideration where they're kind of comparing you with other competitors or are they ready for that decision where they're ready to pull out their credit card and be like, "take my money". You have to figure out where they're at and are you delivering content in accordance with where they are in their buyer's journey? So, not a quick and simple answer to the question, but it really goes back to what is your goal? What do you think success looks like on social?


Okay, so we were talking about impressions and we're talking about measuring, but the things we're trying to measure is the content itself. I do want to dive into the posts and I have a few questions on how people can get more out of what they are posting on social media. So first, how do you put your personality in there? So many people are using AI to generate posts now, do you want to use Chat GBT ai more so from a brainstorming standpoint and to generate ideas, but not for the actual content generation itself. I feel like personality is just more important than ever. I guess this question is twofold, how do you use it in your posts? But also if you're posting personally and professionally, where is that line between the two with your personality for your business? And this is for solopreneurs, so a lot of times they're one and the same. I'm just curious on your take with that.

Karlyn Ankrom (12:38):

I get this question a lot just even from my clients who are book authors, but they're also parents or they have other interests. My advice for people who are trying to straddle the line between what's considered personal versus what's considered professional, I think the good news is there's no right way to do this kind of balancing app. There's only your way. For me, I've always blended the two specifically on platforms like Instagram. You get to see more sides of who I am over there. I'm a mom, I'm a dance teacher, I'm a therapeutic foodie. I love cooking in the kitchen after a long day of work. It's centers me in a weird way. There's always going to be an outcome and it's always going to be delicious.


At least that's what I hope. I'm also the social media content connoisseur and a CEO. And there are a lot of different things that make me who I am because we are humans, we're complex creatures. I think our content should reflect that, but also showcasing some of that personality and that relatability attracts people to you who are for you as well as repels people who aren't for you. I think that's where people get in the weeds is they're afraid to put their full self out there and their personality because, "well, what if they don't like me? What if this doesn't resonate?" In reality, the more you you can be, the better people will come to you and the people that aren't for you will just leave you alone.

Joe Rando (14:15):

Are you saying that if you have controversial opinions about some topic, put them right out there so that you drive away the people that don't see it your way and attract people that do?

Karlyn Ankrom (14:26):

Yeah, and I've done that with several things. I used to do Instagram stories around bad behaviors on social media that I kept seeing that was irking me a lot, and I would share it and people would send me dms. "Oh my gosh, same. I hate when people do that. I'm so glad you called this out." All those people were here and then the people who were doing it just were guilty or they just didn't say anything and left. What if the controversial thing you're saying is political or something and doesn't have to do with your business. For a business you can attract people that don't necessarily align but personally, everybody has their political opinion these days. Are you saying you should even put that out there, or should you still reel it in?


I don't do that. I live in DC and it's already a political hostile environment. I stay away from it.

Joe Rando (15:26):

I think that's expanded to Planet Earth, at least planet United States because there's no place where you can get away with that.

Karlyn Ankrom (15:34):

Yeah, I don't chime in a lot. If I feel some sort of way about it strongly, I will share something, but I also know that my audience doesn't particularly want to hear that kind of stuff from me. They would rather me talk about my opinion on why people tag you in a LinkedIn post when it has nothing to do with you. That's a bad behavior that I've pointed out and people are like, "oh my gosh, same". I also like to keep my content very much on brand with me, which is extremely vibrant and kind of quirky and high energy, and some of that stuff just brings the energy way down, and that's not what people are coming and seeking from me.

Joe Rando (16:28):

You're saying the BU is kind of a only the aspect of you that relates to your business, but be authentic?

Karlyn Ankrom (16:33):

That's what I firmly believe. Yes. I definitely think that is a big part of it. I also know that I've been vulnerable in some cases too from a personal side, and I think people appreciate that as well. A lot of it has to do with who you are, your brand and the energy and what you're putting out into the world. And how comfortable you are in sharing that aspect of your life. One more example is it took me a year to share, but I had a pretty traumatic birth experience. I'm not going to lie. I was talking behind the scenes to some of the people, some of the professionals, etc and they're like, you should share that. It might be really helpful for people just to hear it. I was like, well, it's not really in alignment with my brand.


They're like, but it's vulnerable and it's definitely about you and your story as a mom and a business owner, etc. I was like, okay. So I shared it, but it took me a year to share it, a full year. I didn't share it for a year. I got this phrase from one of my business coaches where she says, "I share my scars, not my scabs". There's something so fresh about a scab, whereas a scar, you've had time to process, to reflect and then share. And I think in this culture of social media, we want to share real time all the time. I think that's actually been something that I've taken a step back from doing as much and sharing it a day later, seven hours later, just so I have time to process what it is that is happening in my life and not always having to rely on my phone and putting it out there for the world to see.

Joe Rando (18:21):

That's very smart and very unusual I think for a lot of social media, the active people. It's like the old story about you write the letter and then you wait, especially if it's an angry letter. Wait, then read it again because you put stuff out quickly and it's like, "oh no", sometimes.

Karlyn Ankrom (18:41):

Even though some things only last 24 hours, that screenshot that someone could take could last a lifetime.

Carly Ries (18:50):

I want to piggyback on this topic of the lines between personal and professionals, especially for solopreneurs, because they're one in the same a lot, and they share the same account with their business. I think sometimes people have a hard time having that personality and then kind of doing the business side of it. You have, I believe, seven CTAs that you recommend people include in their posts, but sometimes people might have a hard time being like, oh, when I did this for Halloween, dah dah, dah, dah, check out my ebook. So what CTAs do you recommend and how do you recommend that they're included organically and not as that new car?


Yeah, super used car salesman. I think the biggest thing to remember about Calls to Action is there are two different kinds. There's the internal kind of calls to action, which means they're used within the platform to keep people engaged on the platform. And then there's the external call to action, which is used within the platform to direct people off the platform. That's the first thing to remember. If we're talking about internal examples or things like safe related or double tap as you found this helpful, make it easy for people. Simple as drop an emoji here if you agree, drop a thumbs up or whatever. I think in order to integrate it into whatever you're doing, if you're posting about Halloween or you're posting about the upcoming holidays, asking people what is their favorite holiday tradition? Do you go out of office all week of Thanksgiving or do you only check your email three times out of the week? Having that relatability.


Or if you're like me, you check it even though you have someone who's checking it for you, you check it all the time, right? Slightly addicted to the inbox. I'm not going to lie to you. Creating that type of content, making it easy for people to answer with one or two words, will help up your engagement. And the ever popular one, which I don't think is used enough if I'm being totally transparent, is follow for more X, Y, Z. Things like tips or how-tos. Because people, if they're just discovering you, you want to tell them what else you do. And as solopreneurs, we're terrible at being our own salespeople. Maybe that's just me, but we just don't ask. We don't share, we don't ask. A big thing I did recently is I shared one of my lead magnets on my Instagram stories.


One of my friends who has a larger group was like, "Hey, I saw your lead magnet. Can I put that in my group?" I'm like, yeah, sure. Then in 20 minutes, I had 30 people signed up on this freebie lead magnet because I shared it. We forget that we have all of these free things in order to grow our list, to grow our following, to grow our visibility, and we're not sharing them. So if you have something like that challenge for you, share it and ask people to download it. That's a great external example, connecting that dot. So commenting with the word X, Y, Z in order to get the thing, because there's really cool power moves that you can do there in the comments of Instagram as an example. Download your copy, ready to get started, find out more. We just forget to ask people to take some type of action after they consume our content. And this goes for on graphic or on screen as well as your captions. But it's first deciding, is this an internal call to action on the platform or is this an external one? Are we driving traffic away?

Joe Rando (23:01):

So when you do drive the traffic away from the social media site, I understand that a lot of times you get punished by the algorithm. Is that something you agree with?

Karlyn Ankrom (23:14):

No, it's funny. There are different schools of thought specifically on LinkedIn of do you include the link in your post itself or do you just add it to the first comment? I have not seen data that says yay or nay, and perhaps there is data out there, but my thought is, why are you going to make it hard? Why make it harder for people to find the information that you're trying to get them to find? I'm not going to go click all around a post just to find the information that I'm looking for. So my best advice is make it easy for people to click and leave to find what they need. Algorithms will do what they do. We have no control over the algorithms and they are constantly evolving and changing. We just have to keep that in mind. And also understanding the different behaviors of the platform.


For example, Instagram, the behavior is not to leave the platform. So maybe the call to action there is, "Hey, drop me a DM and I can share the link with you that way". Again, you're building up a community and relationships with on social media, but at the same time, you want to make sure that you make it easy for people to get the information that they need.

Carly Ries (24:30):

Speaking of platforms and their algorithms, they're constantly changing. Is there anything that used to work really well that people were like, "oh, this is awesome that just doesn't anymore", so that if there are solopreneurs that aren't staying current, we could be like, maybe you shouldn't do that and try something else.

Karlyn Ankrom (24:49):

Something I've been seeing more, but also less of, reels on Instagram in particular. Again, I'm very focused on Instagram. That's where a lot of my clients live. I live on Instagram and LinkedIn. Those are my two. A lot of the short form video are widely adopted. However, what used to work was that it would get shown to a lot of people who were not following you. Now currently, as we sit here recording this podcast today, I always have to say that it could all change tomorrow. It's not showing your short form video content to as many non followers as it was. So that used to be a great strategy for getting you out and in front of newer people who don't know you. But now there is less of that happening in terms of the analytics that I've seen. People who were all in on creating reels, maybe have backed out of that a little bit and getting back to the drawing board and creating content around static posts as well as the slider carousel style posts as well.


So it might be time to add that variety back in. Which is great news for all of us who are socially allergic to videos. It is great for us that just would rather put up a graphic or create a sliding carousel for content.

Carly Ries (26:24):

Alright, good to know. I guess the last question I wanted to ask you today is, we have a lot of solopreneurs who are nationwide, even worldwide, their businesses are not local. But then we do have a few that are local and they serve just their community, let's say Northern Virginia. Should they be doing anything specifically on social that another person wouldn't just so that they're targeting the right audience?

Karlyn Ankrom (26:53):

Yes. I think if they're very much driven by the geography where they're based, it would really be a solid strategy to make sure that you're adding geotags to all of your content as well as keywords. If you are someone who owns a cupcake business out of your home in Dallas, Texas, you might want to look up Dallas, Texas hashtags as well as making sure you're tagging your content as Dallas, Texas and adding Dallas, Texas to your captions. Because more often a lot of, and you see this on LinkedIn too, are not solely relying on hashtags for discoverability because people are typing in just words in the search boxes of all these different social platforms. So they're starting to use them more like a Google, more like a search engine. That's why a lot of them are shifting into having more of their captions and the words that you include be searchable for that end result. Thinking about that as you create your captions and keyword development is going to be something that you should be thinking about, especially if you are in a specific geography location.

Carly Ries (28:16):

This just clarifies so much. Joe, I feel like we have been, ever since that last episode, we've been really good about being on LinkedIn and building relationships there. Not just posting, but creating a community, which is so great. So I feel like we have that. Now we have the tools from you Karlyn, to keep going. I feel really motivated. Like I said, I didn't get that millennial gene that I was supposed to get with having social media come naturally to me. I really appreciate this. We ask this question to all of our guests. You spend your days helping people find success on social media so we want to know what your favorite quote is about success.

Karlyn Ankrom (29:03):

This is hard because I love me a quote. This is one that I actually have on my graduation cap somewhere here on my shelving unit, and it's from my leadership professor in college, Dr. Mark Warner. His quote was, "Live your values and your dreams will come true."

Carly Ries (29:25):

Wow. I love that.

Karlyn Ankrom (29:29):

Your success will come and stem from who you are, which is kind of cool.

Carly Ries (29:32):

This has been so great. If people want to work with you, if they want to learn more about you, where can they find you?

Karlyn Ankrom (29:45):

You can go to, and I have a ton of freebies there for you all to download and take a look at. You can find me on the socials as well. I hang out on Instagram at OhsnapsocialKarlyn, and on LinkedIn, Karlyn Ankrom. You can find me there.

Carly Ries (30:04):

Wonderful. All of those will be in the show notes. We really appreciate it. Thank you so much for coming on today.

Karlyn Ankrom (30:10):

Thank you so much for having me.

Carly Ries (30:12):

Listeners, we appreciate your time today. We'll see you next week for another episode of the One-Person Business. See you next time.

Closing (30:23):

You may be going solo in business, but that doesn't mean you're alone. In fact, millions of people are in your shoes running a one person business and figuring it out as they go. So why not connect with them and learn from each other's successes and failures. At Lifestarr, we're creating a one person business community where you can go to meet and get advice from other solopreneurs. Be sure to join in on the conversations at