The Design Business Show 158: Social Media Management with Ellen Mackenzie

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | September 27, 2021
Check out episode 158 of The Design Business Show with Ellen Mackenzie to learn all about social media management!

Ellen is a corporate escapee turned 6-figure social media strategist and coach. In 2019, Ellen started a side hustle helping local businesses run their Instagram pages. $30k and 10 months later, Ellen quit her job as a journalist to launch her own business, Dishing Up Digital. Now 25-years-old, Ellen has worked with almost 100 different businesses and individuals from across the world teaching them how to revolutionize their business through the power of social media.

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

How Ellen Started Her Social Media Management Business

  • How Ellen’s team reached out about her being on the podcast because she works with a past guest and how she’s here to talk about something that seems like it’s changing all the time, social media
  • Ellen explains how she started off as a blogger in high school with the dream of becoming a magazine editor, so everything she did was to work towards that goal, which she ended up getting
  • Not even 6 months into her dream job Ellen realized she didn’t like it and found social media management; she spent a year applying for in-house marketing jobs in New Zealand and didn’t get a single job interview, so she started her own business almost 2 years ago
  • How Ellen used to call herself a serial side hustler because she always had something going on, she had her blog, her YouTube channel, she tried influencing, she worked for a lot of big brands, she tried wedding videography and even had a jewelry shop at one point
  • When Ellen started social media management, she thought it was just going to be another side hustle but it was the first side hustle she made a lot of money with and says she made $1,000 her first month
  • While Ellen was in college, she and her sister started an influencer YouTube channel, which they still run today where they talk about fashion, beauty, etc. and explains that being an influencer today is much different than it was when they started
  • Ellen and her sister also had a jewelry store and flipped vintage clothing online, but explains that having a product-based business in New Zealand is challenging
  • How Ellen loves working with people all over the world in her business now and loves that she isn’t limited by location
  • In Ellen’s business, she offers social media management, which is mainly on Instagram because it is her specialty, a coaching program for other social media managers, a self-study course on Instagram marketing, a membership group, and a couple of e-books
  • Ever since Ellen was a kid, she always wanted to be liked but says one thing she had to learn about the internet is not everyone is going to like you and not everyone is going to be your person and that’s okay
  • Another learning curve Ellen had was learning to split her time and her mind between her multiple streams of revenue

Shifts in Instagram + Showing up on Video & SM

  • Ellen shares her thoughts on social media and says it’s changed the way you can connect with your audience and build relationships with them compared to traditional marketing and ties it back to her days working on a magazine
  • When the news came out about Instagram being a video platform, Ellen was excited and says any shift like that is a good shift and explains that other platforms died out because they didn’t evolve
  • Ellen understands that showing up on videos can be scary but it is the best way to connect with your customers and build relationships, so she tells her clients to set a goal of one video, or reel a week and see how that goes
  • When looking at statistics for Instagram, Ellen says reels reach a bunch of new people, while feed posts reach your existing audience and stresses the importance of nurturing relationships with your existing audience
  • Make sure to keep your Instagram app updated and Ellen suggests having a business or a creator account so you have access to all the tools Instagram offers
  • Ellen shares that she only has 4,000 followers on Instagram and still has a successful 6-figure business, and says you don’t need to have a huge audience to be successful
  • How Ellen thinks social media breaks are good for you and believes in quality or quantity
  • Ellen shares that she posts on social media 2 – 3 times a week, sometimes it can be more depending on if she is launching something
  • If you’re posting every day, just to post and get sales, Ellen says you will find almost the opposite happening because you’re going to be overwhelming your audience and you’re not going to be able to put out genuine, quality content
  • How Ellen gets the most conversions when she focuses on personal content that connects with her audience because it leads to really great conversations in the comments and in her DMs
  • Another feature Ellen loves using is Instagram stories, she gives an example of how she uses stories and says it’s a great tool if you’re looking for conversions

The Importance of Design Elements on Instagram

  • Instagram has always been a visual app and Ellen doesn’t think that will change, she says you can still bring all of your design elements into creating videos by having a good color palette, having a cohesive brand, creating reel covers, and knowing how to balance text in your videos
  • Ellen believes having a cohesive and beautiful feed layout for that first look at your profile is so important because that’s your first impression to people
  • How Ellen is redeveloping her Dishing Up Digital School, which is her signature group coaching program, and is in the middle of figuring out how to turn it into a self-study course
  • Earlier this year, Ellen took a course on how to create courses before she launched Get The Gram, which is her Instagram marketing course and the whole point behind the course she took was that you have to charge $1,000 for your online course, which didn’t sit right with her
  • Ellen’s favorite social media platform is Instagram, with TikTok being second, and says on Facebook you don’t get the organic engagement anymore, but Facebook groups are still great
  • For anyone who is interested in reels, go check out Ellen’s Instagram page because she’s sharing a lot of free information and tip and says she’s passionate about teaching people how to do it themselves
  • Connect with Ellen on Instagram, check out her Dishing Up Digital Instagram page, her Dishing Up Digital podcast, or her website


Links mentioned:

The Dishing Up Digital School 

Get The Gram 

Connect with Ellen on Instagram

Dishing Up Digital Instagram 

Dishing Up Digital Podcast 

Ellen Mackenzie Website


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