04 Jun Interview with Amanda Robinson a.k.a The Digital Gal
In Champ Life Series, this month we have Amanda Robinson aka The Digital Gal. She specializes in helping entrepreneurs and small businesses thrive with digital marketing that gets results. After just one hour with Amanda Robinson, your eyes will be opened to so many new tools and techniques, both within Facebook Ad Manager and advertising in general.
She has taken the time to walk through how you can set up your ads, and how we were using Ad Manager’s reports. Amanda identifies areas that you could be losing ad spend due to inefficiencies or lost opportunities, and she will help you to re-think your Facebook Ad strategy.
When it comes to tackling the complex and highly-technical areas of social media advertising and automated chat behavior, you couldn’t ask for a better resource than Amanda Robinson.
Let’s see what she has to say about how you can utilize Facebook Ads in your best interest.
Amanda Robinson -The Digital Gal
Going down the memory lane, how did it all start? Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
Fantastic question. My name is Amanda Robinson. I am The Digital Gal. I teach Facebook Advertising to small businesses and entrepreneurs as well as advise on everything geeky, Facebook Ad related, and messaging Chatbot in the digital online community.
It didn’t start that way. I got into marketing; I stumbled into marketing after starting my career arresting shoplifters.
So I took my Law Enforce-Security as my official education, and then I got into Corporate Law Prevention.
From that company, I worked my way into their marketing department, and I hated it!
Honestly, I hated it!
It was traditional marketing for a large national corporation, and it just wasn’t my thing.
So I left, went and started water skiing school and worked in a small town, just really getting out of the marketing industry altogether, but it sucked me right back in through graphic design and photography, which are hobbies of mine. And they naturally led me back into marketing where Facebook Ads became a thing.
So I’ve been doing Facebook Ads since Facebook Ads were even possible. So back in the day, when you could drop 20$ in the slot machine of Facebook advertising and get tons and tons of results back. So since then, Facebook has, over time, grown into this Frankenstein Beast of new features, tacked on top of old features, tacked on top of different features.
Sometimes the system doesn’t work as well as it should, so having the knowledge and experience and the mental encyclopedia I’ve built over the years of how everything works with each other has been a really great advantage.
I’ve grown my skills, and I just keep current. I mean, Facebook is a fire hose of daily changes. By keeping current on that, it has allowed me to be really effective in the Facebook Ads industry; It just became something that I really realized that I had skills for, and it evolved, one day at a time, one year at a time, till now I look back. I’ve been running my business for 6 years solo, versus running it as a side hustle many years prior to that.
So it’s been a lot of years now. I never really thought I would be an entrepreneur, but it kind of just happened, and now, I’m at the point where I can’t even imagine it any other way.
What is The Digital Gal and how did the idea come about? What makes the brand unique?
The Digital Gal was not always the name of my business. It’s only been almost a year and a half that I have rebranded to The Digital Gal, and it’s amazing how the brand really hits the nail on the head. It just takes off.
So prior to this for several years, I had a different business name, not even gonna say what it was. It’s so irrelevant now that I look back, and it just didn’t impersonate, and it didn’t fit or make any sense. I was really shy about putting out content and content behind that name, associating behind that business name, it just felt backward.
So I started really digging down deep and trying to understand what my brand is all about. I am known for Facebook advertising, and I could’ve made my brands really align with Facebook Ads, but I do so much more than just Ads.
Part of my superpower is really understanding analytics and algorithms. So, leveraging the power of google analytics with Facebook Ads, building messenger marketing chatbots, doing live streaming, all of these little pieces are components that make me The Digital Gal, and they’re opportunities and areas of future businesses that I can really branch into and grow into in the future.
Even though I am so focused on Facebook Ads at the moment that it is my main superpower. I have so many other places where I can grow, and that’s why The Digital Gal just made sense.
The second part of it is that The Digital Gal has so many of us working the online space, and so many of us are women. A lot of you out there can really resonate and connect to that idea of the brand: we are all The Digital Gal, even you digital guys out there, you are too. But to has something fun and representative of all of this knowledge that we have kicking in our heAds is not just me as a brand of The Digital Gal, but a lot of people can embrace the concept of The Digital Gal.
So that’s how it came about when I went to rebrand I went through several different names and ultimately came down to making sure that I had the name available on all the networks that I wanted to be present on and making sure how it really aligned with how I wanted to grow my self and my business in future.
We saw that you had some new branding done in the previous year, how did that idea come by?
So not only is it one thing to decide that I’m going to rebrand my whole business and start producing content, putting my name behind it, and really pushing it out that way, the actual branding of the business is where I feel I’ve really unlocked the power of digital marketing.
So it’s one thing to call myself, The Digital Gal. It’s one thing to create a Gmail account and myself an email address and to flip my website branding into that, but what really started to click is when I started to align everything I do with The Digital Gal brand.
What is that? Well, I’ve always got pink. I have pink and black. I generally have sparkly earrings, the pink lipstick. I am very educational with my content but fun and relaxed. So its a matter of delivering everything with a little bit of extra oomph of class and clarity and beauty. Because people will pay attention to beautiful things, it doesn’t have to be the beauty of the face; you can use a beautiful background.
Aligning all my stickers of my brand, letting people participate in the brand. So when I started producing stickers and mailing them out, snail mailing them out to everyone and letting other people participate in the brand, that’s what made it more fun.
If people are having fun, they are ten times more likely to learn more difficult topics like digging deep into Facebook Ads and the Facebook Ads pixels and going into optimizations and all those things that we could get into. So it is so much easier to learn those things when you’re having fun. while you’re doing it.
The Digital Gal brand is fun, so when I realized that I could really embrace every aspect of it and really be The Digital Gal every time I show up on camera, for a client call, speak at an event, I am The Digital Gal.
I’m really just channeling that time here. Even when I drink my coffee, I am The Digital Gal because of the logo on the mug! And it really does make a difference. It also switches my mind into the gear of this is what I’m doing, I’m here, showing up to the table, ready to work and ready to bring my all to the table versus before when I wasn’t putting in all my efforts into the production value, into the branding.
It just didn’t feel the same. As soon as it clicks, it takes off like wildfire. Everyone seems to recognize The Digital Gal, so much easier than the previous business name. So even though I have the same skills and talents as I did before, right now, it’s just all aligning and making sense for me. not just for me, but also for all the other people I’m doing my business for.
Amanda Robinson – The Multitasker
There is a common perception that people who are influencers don’t get much time for themselves. What do you think of that? What do you like to do in your spare time?
Ooooh! Well, I’m guilty of not really making a ton of time for myself. I think there’s something that just needs to be said about being an entrepreneur that, it’s just in your blood, it’s ingrained in you, you can’t help it. So to switch it off is the hardest part. But what do I like to do for fun? Anything that involves any kind of watersports, getting outside, hiking, camping, exploring, being outside 100%.
The entire purpose of doing what I do is;
Step 1: I love what I do. And I can wake up every day and be so happy, getting on the computer and being excited and anxious to crack open that computer and keep working on whatever I was working on the day before. That lets me know that I am in the right line of work.
Step 2: I only do all of that is to fuel the ability to go on to the adventures, to go hiking at the beach, to go water skiing, wind boarding, windsurfing, and doing all the things that I want to do.
So the job fuels the fun, the fun is what I’m doing it for and spare time? I don’t understand that question! (chuckles).
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain? What is the mantra that you live by?
Well, my mantra is separate from brain drain. My mantra that I live by nowadays, it’s just something new for me.
That, in business. I have this new philosophy that really seems to be working for me.
It has helped me get really focused with my work. And business and it goes if you’re not helping me, you’re either hurting me or standing in my way.
So if you’re helping me, awesome! We’re in this together. Let’s be amazing!
You’re hurting me, as in, you’re diverting my attention from where it needs to be. Or you’re a negative influence. Or you’re just somebody who should not be my space. Or you’re standing in my way.
You aren’t positive nor negative. You’re not advancing forward. So that’s something that I’ve started to adopt recently to really get focused on my business and move things forward.
It has been really helpful.
But my mantra also contributes to brain drain. Because it’s very easy for me to get lost in the rabbit hole. And spend hours and hours on my computer and feel like only 20 minutes went by, so I have to make a fairly big effort to make sure that I do activities that are very disconnected from the computer and get off from the screen.
Like I said before my hobbies include photography and graphic designing. Well, digital photo photography and graphic design. and these are still activities that are on the computer.
I have to make a real conscious effort to go and have activities and hobbies that I can find that are off-screen.
A lot of times outdoors, like I said getting off the computer being outside. And making sure that I have a little bit of time to give my brain a break.
Because it is too easy. I mean, I love what I do. So it’s very easy to get stuck on it for hours at a time.
Amanda Robinson – The Facebook Ads Queen
Okay, before going in deep, we know you are basically the Queen when it comes to managing Facebook Ads! Our audience would love to know, WHY Facebook Ads, and not any other platform?
Facebook Ads fill a real need in the industry. They’re not as expensive as other ads such as LinkedIn ads or Twitter ads or direct mail marketing or traditional marketing channels.
Facebook Ads have a really fantastic ability to scale and amplify what’s working. They also have the ability to amplify what’s not working.
So Facebook Ads can really point you in the direction of what you can do next in your business.
And it can do it on a much lower cost than certain other ways of spending your ad dollars and then finding out the hard way.
Facebook Ads are also quite attainable for small to medium-sized businesses. They’re a great entry-level point for those who are just starting to get into digital advertising.
And it’s something that if you’re not already in it, you need to be, because your competitors are there. If not, they’re going to be there tomorrow. You do not need to play catch-up. You want to be present!
And there is a whole range of advertising abilities to Facebook, so you can go really really cheap and cheerful and just reach an engagement through an ad and spread brand awareness, just to get people aware that you exist.
Or you can go right down deep into creating some very advanced funnels and lead people right into sales.
So, Facebook has a really big wide ad facility to serve your business and serve your budget. They’re flexible depending on what you want to do with it.
Just don’t get caught in the “I’m going to put money into it and get an immediate return of my investment”.
Facebook Ads can’t handle all of your marketing. Facebook Ad is just one tool in your entire suite of marketing.
But it is a very powerful tool for almost all businesses. So that’s definitely why I love Facebook Ads.
According to you, the three most talked about components of Facebook Ads are budget/target, objective, and then the ad itself with visuals and content. How can people use these elements to ace their marketing?
So when it comes to Facebook Ads, targeting is probably number one, I would say in my books.
You can always serve the best ad in the world, you know the best image, the best at creative, the best headline to go along with your ad, the best visual to put in front of people, but if you put it in front of wrong people, nobody cares And nobody’s going to buy.
If you have a mediocre ad that’s just “meh”, that could be a lot better, but you are targeting is so dialed in and you’re putting it right in front of people who are ready for it and hungry for it, and are ready to buy, they’re gonna buy.
So it does become a balance of how you can align all of these things, put the best ad out in front of the best targeting, you’re going to do quite well. But it’s always an experiment to get there. And then when it comes to your budget, your budget has to match your targeting and your budget has to match your audience sizes, your budget has to match your objective.
So if you’re trying to sell a 2000 dollar course, as a course creator. But if you’re willing to spend only five hundred dollars on your Facebook Ad, it’s probably not going to fly.
But if you’re just trying to use your Facebook ads to increase brand awareness and serve one part of your funnel, then there’s a lot more flexibility.
So your budget really does go hand-in-hand with the audiences that you’re targeting.
And it has to go hand-in-hand with the absolute objective of what you’re trying to do, are you trying to sell a high ticket price item, or are you trying to sell a really low ticket price item like widgets, or are you just trying to build excitement for your brand?
So it varies in degrees!
For a layman, when diving into the world of Facebook Ads, they see a lot of options, lead generation, brand awareness, etc. What can be the pointers for our audience to look for when using Facebook Ad Manager?
So when you go to Facebook’s Ads Manager, and you go to create an ad, the first thing you’re presented with are all of these objectives, lots and lots of choices.
Do you want to run a lead ad, or do you want an engagement ad, or do you want one for video view ad, do you want one for a conversion ad? There are tons of different options.
And they align with the lifecycle of somebody going through the funnel of the advertising journey.
So we start on one end of the scale. I’m going to give you an example of a cold audience, warm, and hot audience.
A cold audience is brand-new at first impressions. Somebody who has never met you before doesn’t know you. Imagine showing up to a party, and your friends introducing you to somebody who you have never met. You’re gonna reach out, shake hands or elbow bump at this point, and say “Hi. I’m Amanda Robinson, The Digital Gal. I teach Facebook Ads. It’s great to meet you. What do you do?” That’s an example of a first impression. So when I walk into the room, I’m not walking into that room to be introduced to a new person and say “Hi, I’m Amanda Robinson. I teach Facebook Ads. I have a running Facebook program. You should probably buy it. You should buy this up-sell too. You know what? Why don’t you just give me all of your money on spot? Awkward. You don’t want to do that.
So, there are various degrees of choices and objectives for what you want your ad to do.
Do you want your ads to make that first impression for you? If yes, then it’s better to start at a much lower touchpoint. And those are typically less costly, cheap and cheerful. They don’t cost as much to run brand awareness reach or engagement ads, for example.
But as we start to move people through the process, we start to move them into the consideration phase. Now you have already met them. There’s a little bit of familiarity. Maybe now you want these people to click on your website. So that’s a much higher ask.
I’m asking them to take an action or do an activity, a proactive action. Not just seeing an ad scroll through your news feed and it’s gone. I want them to click or engage or go to my website. It’s a higher ask and so a higher dollar value is associated with the ad type and the objective.
And then if I want them to go and purchase on my website, if I want them to sign up for my email list, if I want them to do any action that would put money directly into my pocket through a Facebook ad, it is going to be much more costly.
So, as you start working up your way toward those objectives, your ad cost increases with that. But the value of the action can also bring returns of money back in.
So I always say, when it comes to getting familiar with what objectives to choose from, start on the lower end. The lower touch points, earlier engagement audiences.
First, start with your cold audiences, then go up to the people who are engaging, get them to become a warm audience by downloading a freebie, going to your website, taking some kind of action that is showing a higher level of interest, and then serve ads to those people to push them into a purchase or get them into the next stage of your business funnel.
Be prepared that there’s a cause behind all of those. So if you’re going out to build these ads, I think you need to have an entire budget to build it.
If you don’t have an entire budget to work with then you might not find your Facebook ads to achieve all of the objectives.
Perhaps just focus on one of the objectives, maybe growing your engagement on the Facebook page, and I would say stay away from running ads for just page likes. Likes are just vanity metrics. Likes cost you a lot of money as an ad and they don’t really get you that much to fly in the long run.
So, focus on those engagement tactics to start. And work your way up the funnel.
You have the theory of going beyond boosting and finding the Facebook Ads Gateway Drug. Please shed some light on that, what is this drug that is a must-have?
Alright, so what I say is that I call “boosting posts” the gateway drug of Facebook ads.
The reason I say it that way is boosting a post is like having training wheels put on, it’s what gets you started.
It’s the first opportunity you have to spend some ad dollars and get some results back and do it in a very controlled safe environment, where you’re not really going to get hurt.
And that’s generally where advertisers first start, they first start clicking around on that boost post button, and start to get a few results coming through and then you are inclined to do it again.
So you boost another post you get some more results coming through and then you see that you start getting more and more activity. And over time, you get to a point where you’re boosting a lot of posts, you’re spending a lot of money and then you realize, “Wait a second. Is this money really being spent in the best way possible or is there something else out there?”
Yes, there is. It’s Ads manager.
So if you’re clinging on to the life raft of the boosting posts on Facebook, not ready to graduate yourself into Facebook ads manager, then yes, over time you’re going to start wasting your ad dollars in certain ways, because it does not operate as efficiently as the dollars could work for you.
So I really highly encourage you to take the leap, and move into ads manager and start learning how to leverage the full power, a full suite of options.
All of the optimizations are available to you. If you don’t start now it’s going to get harder and harder to learn over time because Facebook keeps bolting on with more features and more options into the back end of the ads manager.
So get off that boost button and get into the ads manager. But yes, boosting posts is what I call the gateway drug to doing Facebook ads.
Amanda Robinson – The Influencer
Digital and content marketing has become an essential field altogether in today’s world. How do you manage your online presence, while you are also speaking at conferences, and looking after a business? Do you use automation tools like Social Champ which allows you to schedule posts on multiple social platforms?
Social champ is an amazing tool. I also use AgoraPulse as my social scheduling and monitoring tool.
But in order to travel and stay on top of client work, and stay on top of my programs, messager marketing chatbots is really where I shine. That’s been my big superpower of business automation.
So by leveraging the power of automation through chatbots, running a lot of my ads through chatbots, running a lot of my lead generation through chatbots, and engagement opportunities through chatbots, I am able to track it. I’m able to better categorize things and push a lot of automation behind.
I mean if you engage with one of my chatbots, for example, if I meet you at a conference and you scan my QR code business card with the chatbot. Immediately, your information is being pushed into my CRM system, to my email list. I’ve got you tagged for the conference that you’re attending, I have a follow-up scheduled, all of that without me touching anything.
It’s just that I’m doing a lot of automation by leveraging Messenger chatbots and doing my business and that allows me to have a lot more visibility to what’s going on and a lot less time touching the data, and it’s been extremely critical to be able to be more flexible.
Being on an airplane, or a road trip or living in a tent as a part of my road-tripping journey, and still being able to handle everything that’s coming and going and flowing through the online space.
And then, keeping myself organized has been a really big thing too!
It is an inspiration to see you do what you do flawlessly, even having a pop-up office with little tech gadgets here and there as you travel a lot. How did you overcome the challenges that were a part of the journey?
Oh my gosh, where do I begin?
Everything has been a challenge, EVERYTHING. But that is a part of the game.
I mean, I consider myself a MacGyver when it comes to overcoming any type of digital challenge. There’s always a solution, always a way to fix it. Half of the equation is how much money can I throw at it, the other half of the equation is how can I make it work with whatever I have?
So I’ve become very efficient in creating a mobile office setup. I travel with little gadgets that I can get my hands on that I can pop up and just live stream from anywhere. I can live stream from a car, I can live stream from a tent, I can live stream, you know, from the side of the ocean as long as I have enough cell service to fuel my data hub, I’ll make it work.
But it’s been an evolution and I come from a very very small community in Northeast Ontario, where cell service and internet reception are challenging at the best of times. So, I became quite resourceful at finding ways around that and then by becoming resourceful and having really explored all the costs of different types of Internet solutions, pushing it to the limit and then understanding, okay, I need at least a minimum of three megabytes upload speed to go on a live stream stably.
And when I start adding all of these other layers of technology, like using ECam Live for live streaming or other things that track my computer system. I’ve learned sort of the limits of how to push those limits and I keep doing it with tools those aren’t the best of the best of studio setup, but it’s just something that I can pack into a bag and move on to the next location and pop it up and keep running and doing what I do.
My whole setup has been a digital nomad roaming around the country and being able to do business from anywhere and that has been so important to me. To be able to do what I do, from anywhere.
And a lot of people who work and this online digital space have the capability of doing it. But some people get really hung up on having the best of the best tools, the best of the best technology and it has to be set up in a certain way. Well, if you can go get really good adjustments and make it work with whatever you are working with that includes that if you just have a cell phone, you can do so much with recording video content from your phone and putting it together on apps. There are just so many solutions. But anyhow, the reason I’ve ended up where I am is that I’m incredibly curious and I’m a MacGyver when it comes to digital solutions and I love finding solutions with whatever.
I have to work with and push the limits of the system until I break. And then figuring out how to fix that after.
And that’s when I come to a point where I can dial it in and get really really comfortable with producing video content on the fly or to the live streaming. I can deal with a situation where the live stream cuts out or I have to live stream with a lot of background noise or anything or anywhere, I can go on and on!
It’s been a journey, that’s for sure.
As one of the top Social Media Influencer, Top of the Charts Entrepreneur, and Social Media Specialist, what is your best advice to give all the new fellows out there?
My best advice is to find a place where you can be part of a group, whether it’s a Facebook group of people wherever you can find YOUR place, where you can be comfortable and where you’re comfortable to fit in, where you’re comfortable to ask any type of question that you want.
But find a really good reliable source of ongoing social digital marketing information, current information. Honestly, this is what has fueled The Digital Gal. It has fueled my business, it has fueled me staying relative and staying on top of the changing algorithms and digital marketing changes.
Don’t wait to find out what’s happening, consume that information, so get in and then find the group where you can ask questions and get clarifications that resonates with you. There are all sorts of different groups that you can join that you can be a part of.
Groups where you start to make friends in the online space and then you start recognizing names and you start engaging with people online. You start with your own online group of people, you feel comfortable. Just ask tons of questions and get involved.
Pay attention to breaking news and breaking information.
Because information gets stale in this world overnight, so find the information that you can actually keep up with. Find the one that works for you.
For me, it started with Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing Society. That’s where I started. Then I have branched out into lots of other groups from there. And now, I think I just shut out most of the noise and can focus on a handful of probably four or five major Facebook groups, that I go to for my current breaking news.
And then I actually go out and seek out the information myself.
So I’m in Facebook advertising, I read Facebook news and releases. I check into it daily for new information because it is straight from the source. So just train your brain, train yourself to look for that information, train yourself to consume that information, and don’t get hung up on stale information. So that’s about it.
Social Champ thanks Amanda Robinson for taking the time out and communicating with our audience. We are truly honored and we’re sure our audience gained tons of information that can be beneficial for them!