In this interview with Salomon Paredes of E2 Outlook, we uncover some hidden truths about why website development and social media management is difficult, and discuss the purpose of each for small business owners.
"The main points of your website is to tell people who you are and what you do."
Website development can be frustrating, but don't lose interest because it offers great potential for your business.
Develop your social media strategy around one platform first, invest in it fully, be consistent with it, and measure the results.
If you create a Facebook page you're not immediately going to get a hundred people that are going to hit like. But the potential that it has is huge.
About Our Guest
Salomon Paredes is an expert web developer, social media expert, and CEO of E2Outlook. For the past 8 years, he has built web pages and managed social media and related marketing activities for small businesses in the greater Washington D.C. area.
Mike: Alright, hello everyone. This is Mike with Modern da Vinci. And welcome to another Modern da Vinci podcast and interview series where we are talking today with Salomon Paredes who is CEO at E2 Outlook in Sterling, Virginia. E2 Outlook is a web and social media company, and before I say too much more about it, I just like to welcome Salomon to this interview and thank you for taking the time to talk with us. So Salomon, how are you doing?
Salomon: I'm doing great, Mike. Thank you very much, and I want to thank everyone else that's listening as well. I'm very excited about this opportunity.
Mike: Yeah, it's great to have you. So why don't we start, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and about E2 Outlook?
Salomon: Yes, like you said my name is Salomon Paredes, I'm the owner, CEO of E2 Outlook, and we do specifically websites, web designs, and social media. We were a little bit different than a typical web designer and graphic designer you find. We provide more of a one-stop solution for businesses. So you shop here at once, and you get the whole package with us in regards to websites and social media on a monthly price. And so we've been in business for about eight years. I just past November I started doing this full-time and it's been very exciting to be working with several churches in the area, cleaning companies, residential and commercial and then also a couple of restaurants and real estate agencies. So yeah, we're very excited to be working here in the DMV area.
Mike: Yeah, that's awesome. And web development and social media is such a big thing and a difficult concept for a lot of small businesses. You're never sure what you should be doing or what you should be focusing your time on. So that's why I'm really excited to have you on here. So let me ask you, have you always done web development? It sounds like you've been doing this you said for eight years, that's quite awhile. But is web development your background, social media management, all of that?
Salomon: Well, the way it started is I went to bible college, and I started designing websites for churches and at my local church we experimented with it, I started learning on my own and basically everything I've known so far is what I've learned on my own. One of my specialties I could say of myself is picking up programs very fast, so I learn all Adobe Suite, I learn coding as well, and eventually a couple of churches that saw my work started calling me and then I opened up to start offering services to other churches and different businesses. And that's where it's started.
Mike: Wow, yeah, that's the self-taught master that's in eight years of doing that you've probably seen the web space and social media change quite a lot over that period of time.
Mike: So you help a lot ... you're a small business yourself, and it sounds like you help a lot of small businesses both develop their website and manage their social media and all of that. What's the biggest challenge that you typically see, typically experience when you're talking to small business owners about their web related activities?
Salomon: Well, number one they're not educated enough in the aspect of what is a website and how to use it appropriately and also social media. So they need a little bit of training in that area. And number two is what they're really getting themselves into. So for example, if a web designer goes to you and they say, "I'm going to charge you a certain fee for the web development. Then there's also additional fees for hosting, domain, maintenance on top of that that has to be done. Browsers like Chrome, life Safari, Internet Explorer are updated daily so you need to update your website code in order for everything to work so your user interface won't get interrupted or messed up. So you're going to pay a designer and you have to pay another amount for maintenance."
That's one of the areas that I've been trying to solve is why not pay a monthly fee only at a reduced price that would make my team a complete solution for you so you don't have to go back and say, "Can you price this out for me? Hey, how much would this change be?" But we would take care of the whole thing for the whole year, for the whole site.
So those two I think have been the most challenging for small business owners, really understanding what they're getting into and also how to use it appropriately. So we also coach them in how to use it, what content needs to be out there, and we work with them.
Mike: Yeah, I mean I have seen it myself, I mean, developing a website can be incredibly expensive. I worked with a small business in the past who had to spend upwards of a quarter of a million dollars to put their website together. I mean, granted it was a complicated one. But these guys were ... they were firemen, and they had a good idea, and they did not know to develop websites and not only was it extremely expensive but they had to do all that maintenance and beyond.
Mike: So really it comes down small businesses being challenged with understanding how probably also the whole web space fits in with them as a company, right? They're not web developers themselves. It's got to be difficult what to focus on when it comes to web development, social media and all that.
Salomon: Yes, that's very true.
Mike: So with small business owners being pulled in all sorts of different directions how do you help them, how do you coach them through understanding what to focus on and how social media can be an important part of their messaging? How do you advise these small business owners to view their website and social media as an overall part of their business strategy?
Salomon: Well, the main point of your website, at least one of the main points of your website to tell people who you are and what you do, but also to get traffic on your website. And we have to develop well-written content, and you also have to work on part of your SEO and more around in social media. With the packages that we offer we take over completely so that they see a final product, and they also see content as being specific forward to them, image, graphics are made specifically for them and Google SEO that's specifically for them to get specific leads. So when for example if you are my client, you wouldn't have to worry about it. I would be your point person, your to go person.
And I think that's the biggest issue because also a lot of small business owners are being pulled in so many directions that when you ask them for content, when you ask them for - no, I need this graphic or no, I need this image, can you help me here? They're struggling to get you that. And it's kind of like a tag of war, and that's when actually a lot of clients get frustrated with the designers and say, "You know, I don't want this." Or they get scared of the whole situation and say, "I'm going to step away from this." They start to lose interest around web design and the great potential that it can offer for a business.
Mike: Cause they're not connecting the images and the content and all of that with how it's going to help them, is that what it comes down to?
Salomon: Getting the work done. Getting the correct work done.
Mike: I see. Yeah, it's a big cast.
Salomon: So a lot of business owners they're just so busy that they don't have the time to do that part, and a lot of web design companies will ask you for that content, they'll ask you for your structure. I mean, while we specifically look at your business, we do in-depth interview to find out what is it that you do, what is special about you as a business, and what traffic you need, and then we develop all that for you.
Mike: So it sounds like your website needs to be an extension of who you are, not just to put a website out there but their company address just to have one. But to extend the message to your customers that you already have but just through a different interface, through the web interface.
Salomon: Correct. Yes, I would agree with that a hundred percent.
Mike: And what about social media? I mean I know for my own experience that managing social media can be extremely stressful. I mean, there's so many different tools out there. You've got Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, I don't even know what to do with Snapchat, dozens of all these other platforms I haven't even mention. How do you advise people, small business owners, where should they start? How do they manage all of these various platforms, or do they need to or should they just pick one or the other? What advice would you give them?
Salomon: At the moment if you're just starting off I would say start with a Facebook page and then we develop a strategy on three posts a week, two posts a week and keep it consistent and see analytics, see how many results, start investing in some ad space as well to see and get leads before you go into Twitter, Instagram and any other social media. There's a top five that I've seen there that are most influential and that's Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google Plus. Youtube helps a lot when you do live video as well. But I would suggest starting with one because it's a monster, it's just so much.
Mike: And you said Facebook in particular. Is there any reason Facebook is a better platform or is Facebook is just one recommendation depending on how your business operates you could pick one of the other five?
Salomon: Yes, it depends on your business. Like if you're a photographer you would definitely want to go with Instagram cause they do only pictures, and they're all about images. But I think ... Well, Facebook has been around and has helped so many people so far as well. It just it makes everything easier with content, in regards to content and SEO and advertising is more affordable as well so that's one thing that the business owners also likes to look at.
Mike: Yeah, I mean, I've done a bit of Facebook advertising myself, and I know that you can really finely target your exact audience, your customer's interests, who they are, where they live, it's a very powerful platform for advertising.
Mike: Now you mentioned your social media should be dealing some specific things for your business, and I think you said something like driving traffic to your website, maybe educating people on yourself, your brand. What other things should social media be doing? In other words, why should a small business owner be spending their time in social media? What should it be doing for their business?
Salomon: Well, if you create a Facebook page you're not immediately going to get a hundred people that are going to hit like. But the potential that it has is you share it with your friends and then your friends begin to share, and it goes viral. That's one aspect. Another aspect would be driving traffic to your website. So Google Adwords compared to the cost of Facebook ads, Facebook ad wins, it's much cheaper, and it's also more targeted. So it does help in aspect in regards to that.
Mike: Yeah, now that makes sense. Now here's a question for everyone that I've been struggling with myself. What's the next big social media platform out there? Is there something that small business owners can do to jump on board and get an advantage over their competition by adapting something early?
Salomon: I haven't looked into any of ... any new platforms besides the major ones that are out there. I know that from several sources that Twitter is going down in the list, and some people even say it's going up. So it's very competitive versus Facebook. However, I think Facebook is trying to buy everyone out. They bought Instagram, they bought WhatsApp. So they're the strongest one right now. So I would say definitely stay on Facebook as much as possible. If you don't have any other ones, you should not open them if you're just going to have them static. That's another point. But definitely stay on Facebook for now. I haven't seen anything that has gone viral besides Snapchat. But I haven't had ... as well I haven't had many clients that use Snapchat yet.
Mike: Yes, that's one that I haven't figured out yet myself. But my younger sister is trying to teach me what Snapchat is all about. Salomon, thank you so much for your time. Let me ask you this, if people are interested in contacting you, what is the best way to get in touch?
Salomon: Well, the best way to get in touch is you can either call me to my cellphone number 703-477-0918, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, you can visit our website www.e2outlook.com or on Facebook E2 Outlook.
Mike: Okay, that's great. Well, thank you so much for your time. I hope that this gave some small business owners out there a couple good tips on what they need to do to improve their website or maybe start one from scratch and certainly where they should get started on social media and how to use that for their own business. We wish everyone massive growth and success and please visit us at www.moderndavinci.net where this podcast will be posted as well as a transcript and some links that we've mentioned here in this interview today. So Salomon, thanks again and I look forward to talking to you soon.
Salomon: Thank you, Mike.