Keep It Personal

There seems to be a habit in business of leaving yourself at the door when you log on to social media and becoming a corporate machine.  But people don’t want to speak to a machine.  They want to speak to a human.  Plus, corporate speak can be pretty boring!!

So, how can you make your social media more personal and less corporate* (*boring)!

 

1.   Your Personality

Include personality in your posts, or as I like to call it, BRANDONALITY.  This is the personality of your brand.  This could be the personality of the business overall, or it could be your personality.  The latter is especially the case if you are a small owner-managed business.  My personality is definitely what you get on social media.  So, embrace your personality.  It will immediately strip out the corporate approach.

 

2.   Your Voice

As a result, it should sound like someone talking in your social media posts.  Use a conversational tone.  Don’t use words you wouldn’t use in every day language.  We have a habit of using words like ‘therefore’ and ‘however’ in text, but often do you actually use these in everyday life?

 

3.   Your Day-to-Day

Share more of what’s happen in the day-to-day life in your business.  It brings your audience along with you and they understand more of the ‘behind the scenes’ and what it is you do.  You could do this via short videos, such as Instagram or Facebook stories.  Or share short updates on Twitter, including pictures.  Bring your business to life!

 

4.   Your Interests

Take it beyond talking just business.  Share the interests of those within your business.  Is there a particularly sport that everyone in the office is talking about?  Is someone running the marathon?  Are you doing something as a business to raise money for charity?  Or if you work on your own, you can share more of your personal life (though of course only what you’re comfortable sharing online).

 

5.   Your Conversations

And the final part of being more personal on social media means not just broadcasting but also interacting!  If you’ve ever met someone who talks non-stop about themselves and doesn’t bother to listen to what you have to say, you’ll probably remember some of the choice words you had in your head about that person.  Yet, so many businesses take this exact approach on social media.  Interact with the posts of others, especially your target audience, and build conversation with them!

So, it’s time to get personal on social media.  Just don’t get ‘too’ personal, ok?!

If you run your own business, you might want to read this…

I’ve been my own boss now for 8 years.  8 years of having to answer to no one but me!!!  And those 8 years have certainly been a rollercoaster and a HUGE learning curve as well.  After two weeks off due to illness and school holidays, it got me thinking today about the pressures of working for yourself and how sometimes it can feel like a huge weight.  So, if you are having/have had one of those days, I thought this might help.

  1. Remember You Are Your Own Boss

Being your own boss is fab isn’t it!  But sometimes, it can be incredibly overwhelming too.  There’s no one there to ask ‘is this the right way to do it?’ or to pass the buck when you need someone else to take the heat off you.  So, instead of getting down about the hard stuff.  Focus on the good stuff!  “I can do this however I want to”.  “No one is watching me to see if I’m up to the job”.  “I did this all on my own and it’s amazing!”.  You are doing a great job!!!

 

2. You Can’t Do Everything

I’m a sucker for business books/courses/blog posts that give me great ideas about how I can grow my business.  Without trashing them too much (because I am one of those course creators!), you don’t have to do everything!  Pick the ones that will work best for your business.  Maybe give yourself a few things each month to put in to action, rather than trying to do it all at once.  Then give yourself a nice reward when you achieve it.  Also, I’ve found outsourcing to be a godsend!!  And it doesn’t have to be expensive.  I’ve realised that it is far cheaper to pay a bookkeeper than it is to spend the time doing it myself, when I could be billing my clients for that time!  There are also lots of virtual assistants out there who can take on tasks for you by the hour or project.  You can’t do everything, so stop trying!

 

3. It’s Up To You What To Do

And the great thing is, it’s completely up to you how you run your business.  Some of the most successful businesses started with one woman/man doing it the unconventional way.  You don’t have to follow a formula.  Do it your way!  I sometimes panic that I’m not running my business how others are.  Then I realise it’s my business, so that’s fine!!

 

4. Enjoy the Flexibility

This has to be one of the biggest advantages of working for yourself right?  After I had my first daughter, I dropped my working days to two days a week (give or take), and have only recently increased that to three days (so long as people stop having events they want me to speak at on Mondays and Fridays!).  It means that I get to drop off and pick up my eldest from school a couple of days a week.  And that I get to spend two extra days a week with my littlest (though don’t get me wrong, work is sometimes a more appealing option than spending the day with a two-year old!!).  It also means that sometimes, I take some time for me.  I go get my hair done.  Or I fit in a gym session in the middle of the day.  It does mean I occasionally have to sit with my laptop on my knee in the evenings, but it is definitely so worth it for the time I get back.  You’ve got to enjoy that freedom (so long as you’ve earned it of course, by being productive in the time you do work!).

 

5. You Don’t Have To Be Aiming To Be The Next Big Thing

This is also another one I sometimes struggle with.  Other than breaks to have my two kids, I’ve steadily seen my business grow over the 8 years.  But, that growth is relative to where I want my business to be.  I’ll be honest, right now I don’t want to employ anyone.  It works really well for me to outsource what I need to and do the rest myself, without having the headaches that come with employing.  It means my business can’t grow beyond a certain level.  But I’m cool with that!  I’m achieving the success I desire right now, while getting to spend time with my kids, and that’s amazing!

I really hope this gives you a boost if you ever have a ‘why am I doing this?’ day!!

5 Ways To Find Blog Inspiration

If you write a blog for your business, I’m sure you’ve been in the position at least once when you realise you’ve not blogged in ages, and you need to get something out there, but can’t for the life of you think what to write about!!

I definitely suffer from it myself, so thought I’d share with you how I find my inspiration!

  1. Brainstorm

It’s far easier to come up with several ideas at once, than one at a time.  So, I recommend grabbing yourself a large piece of paper and a pen and writing down as many ideas you can think of.  Go in to free flow and write anything you think of.  You might scrap half your ideas, but you’ll be left with a good few you can use.  Start by thinking of a topic area in relation to your business, and the tips you’d share around that topic area, and go from there!

 

2. Read Blogs

Without a doubt, reading blogs gives me inspiration for my own.  I read a lot of social media blogs (so I can keep up to date, and find good content to share on social media too!).  And they always spark ideas for my own blog posts.  Usually, it’s one point mentioned within a blog that gets me thinking about a blog post.

 

3. What Do Your Customers Ask?

I also like to think of questions I’ve had that week from my clients or audience at speaking engagements.  If they are asking the questions, then chances are your other customers/clients are want to know the answer too.  So, answer it in a blog post.

 

4. What Do You Enjoy Writing About Most?

When I lose inspiration, I think of the topics I love writing about.  Even if I’ve written about them before, I write about them again with a different slant.  Usually, my loss of inspiration is a result of not really feeling like writing.  But, once I start talking about my favourite topics, I get empowered to start writing again!

 

5. What’s Happening In The World Right Now?

Is there something in the news that you could talk about in relation to your business?  Or is there a seasonal event coming up, such as Valentines, Mother’s/Father’s Day, Easter, Christmas that you could tie in to a post?  Or is there an International Day of ‘Something’ that you could turn in to a blog post?

 

If you have a relatively rigid blogging schedule (for example, every week) and feel the pressure to stick to it.  Then don’t!!  Sometimes, it’s better to miss a week than to put a post out for the sake of it with content that just doesn’t hit the mark!

But if it’s just a lack of inspiration stopping you blogging, then definitely give some of the tips above a go!!

7 Quick Ways To Increase Engagement on Social Media

Engagement is more key than ever on social media.  The more someone engages with your post, the more likely they are to see future posts of yours.  It helps increase the reach of that post.  AND, it builds a relationship with the person engaging!

So, how can you increase engagement on social media?

  1. Ask Questions

Why should people respond when you don’t ask them to?!  Statements close conversation, questions open it up.  Add a question at the end of your update to encourage people to hit reply /leave a comment.

 

2. Fill in the Blank

We struggle to leave an unfinished _________ sentence!!  So, ask people to fill in the blank.  ‘The best thing about my day was _____”.  “The one thing I love most about gin is _______”!  Whatever it is, get people to fill it in!

 

3. Tag a Friend

Get them to tag a mate who the post applies to, or who they think of when they read the post.  It’s the trigger to get other people involved, and leads to comments too!

 

4. Caption This

Always a good bit fun with photos!  Get people to caption your images, or maybe guess where they were taken!

 

5. Respond to Comments

The more you respond back, the more you will encourage people to engage with. you.

 

6. Engage With Their Posts

Go and engage with other people/user’s posts!  The more engage yourself, the more engagement you are likely to see returned.

 

7. Give Them Content That They Love

This is probably the most overlooked one.  Most businesses focus their content on what they want to tell people.  Instead, focus your content on what your audience wants to hear.  They are far more likely to engage with content they can relate to, helps them out, or that they find funny!

So, there is your quick guide to increasing engagement!  I hope it leads to some very fruitful conversations on social media!

5 Things To Do When Launching A New Product/Service

Last week, I launched my new online course The Social Media Super Success Plan and exceeded my sign up targets!

So, I thought I’d share with you some of the things that help lead to a successful launch!

  1. Build Your Email List

I’ve known that I would be releasing this course since around October last year, and that the majority of the launch would take place via email.  My focus from that point was to grow my list.  I’ve always had a side bar capture (see the 50 Things To Say On Social Media box either in the side bar on desktop or when you scroll down on mobile).  And this has generated a good number of email addresses for my list.  But I wanted to step it up.  I started doing more free webinars, with signups having to provide their email address.  I also repurposed one of these webinars, creating a recording that you could receive by filling in a webform (see top bar).  I also added a popup to my site, which has really increased sign ups too!  I grew my list by as many new signups in two months as I had done in the previous 12 months!

 

2. Run A Competition

A ran a competition the week before the course was due to launch to win one of three free places on the course.  This achieved two things.  Firstly, you had to enter using your email address, so I grew my list again, but this time with people I knew were interested in the course.  Secondly, it allowed me to start talking about the course before it launched, and teasing people that it was soon to launch.  I ran a Facebook Ad for the competition to get it in front of a wider audience.

 

3. Set A Launch and Finish Date

I talked about the date the course would be available and counted down to it, including in emails (see below!).  The other thing I did for this course was set an end date for signups.  This wouldn’t be applicable to every product or service, but it worked really well for this one.  If I’d kept the course open forever, there wouldn’t have been a deadline to signup to and no rush to get involved!  You could do the same by limiting the availability or having a deadlined offer.  The last day that you could sign up was the one that I got the most signups!  So, it definitely works!

 

4. Social Media

Of course, social media played a huge part in the actual launch.  I tweeted about it all day on the three days you could sign up and also did daily posts on LinkedIn and Facebook.  I also created some video content about the course, to increase reach.  And I ran a Facebook ad to people who had visited my website and who had watched the competition video.  Social media also played a big part over the months before the launch.  I have been posting more video content to increase my reach and show my expertise, which has lead more people to my website from social media, and to sign up to my lead captures.

 

5. Emails

In launch week, I sent 6 emails over 5 days.  Some might view this as excessive, but it’s not something I’d do every week and I only had a couple of people unsubscribe from my list.  The first email introduced that I was launching a new product on Wednesday and that I’d let them know more tomorrow (Tuesday).  The second then went through all the details of what the course included and told them what time to expect it to launch the next day.  The following email stated that the course was now live to sign up to.  Thursday’s email answered questions about the course and restated some of the elements of the course.  And, on Friday, the last day for signing up, I sent out two emails.  The first reminded them that it was the last day to sign up and again added in a couple of details about the course.  And the final email was a short one to say there was only two hours left to sign up.  With each email I sent out on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I received at least one sign up.  So long as you’re not bombarding people’s inboxes every week like this, it’s absolutely fine to do it when launching.

So, that’s how I did my launch!  It’s the first time I’ve really planned through a launch rather than just sending out a couple of emails about a course, and it’s definitely something I’ll replicate the next time I release this course or a new one!

It’s Always Been About Engagement

There’s been a bit of a to-do about the latest news from Facebook about how the news feed will be changing.  If you haven’t heard the news, then you can read the announcement from Mark Zuckerberg here.

One focus that did come through is that it is about ‘meaningful interactions’.  Engagement and conversation.

The things is, social media should always be about this.  It shouldn’t be about using it as a media tool to spout all about what you have to sell.

We all too often forget the word ‘SOCIAL’ in social media.  And social is all about interactions.  It’s not about one-sided conversation.  What’s social about that?

So, are you being social enough on social media?

Are you reading what others are saying and responding to it?

Are you opening up conversation or closing it down?

Be more social on social media and it will definitely work better for you!

My Social Media Focus For 2018

First of all, in case you haven’t heard it enough, HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I truly hope this year brings you all the success you desire.

But, of course, success doesn’t just come from desiring it.  It comes from getting stuff done too!  So, I thought I’d share with you what I will mainly be focusing on with my own social media activity in 2018.

It really follows on from what I started to do in 2017 and that is VIDEO!  Video is such an important element of your social media activity now.  I have never seen as much engagement on my social media platforms as I have when I started incorporating video posts on a regular basis.  So, this will be something I’m continuing without a doubt in 2018.

I will be creating videos up to 1 minute long at least 3 times a week, and sharing those videos on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  The preference would be to have differing content on each of the platforms, but I know I don’t have the time to do that.  Better for me to get as many views of the same video as possible, than restricting those numbers by sharing it on only one platform.

It’s a good idea to add subtitles to your videos, as so many people watch without audio.  To do this, I use an app called Clips to record my videos on my iPhone (unfortunately, I don’t think there is an Android alternative).  This adds the subtitles as you are recording your video.  It doesn’t get them all exactly right, but just go back after and edit any mistakes, and it’s a really quick way of getting subtitles on your video without creating long winded SRT files.

The whole process of creating and uploading a video to each platform takes me about 5 minutes.  Which is why it’s achievable to aim for posting several videos a week.  I aim for a one take video.  They may not be absolutely perfect, but far better to post a good video several times a week, than never post a perfect video because I don’t have time to create it!

Another type of video I’m going to be using in 2018 is more LIVE video!  I ended last year by going live 14 times during December on my Facebook page.  I plan to continue this, but with a more focused approach and a live schedule.  I’m also going to go live more on Twitter, via Periscope, and possibly stream the same live broadcast to both at the same time to compare viewer figures.

And finally, I’m going to start creating some vlogs for YouTube!  For all I was posting short video content direct to my social media platforms last year, I created very little content for YouTube.  I have decided to start doing a weekly blog (video blog), taking you along with me to speaking engagements and training sessions, as well as sharing some social media and small business hints and tips!

That’s a lot of video content!  But video is going to be more key than ever in 2018 and can’t be ignored.  If you’ve never created a video for social media, it’s time to get started.  Believe me, there are very fee people in this world who enjoy being in front of the camera!  But the more you do it, the more you get used to it.  No one will be scrutinising how you look or sound other than you!  They care more about your message.  So, jump out of that comfort zone and hit that record button!

7 Things To Do During The Christmas Wind Down

For some businesses, Christmas time is their craziest time of year.  While for others, it’s the quietest time of the year.  If you’re in the crazy camp, then this post won’t be much use to you (but can be applied at your quieter times).  But for those of you who are currently twiddling your thumbs, I thought I’d suggest a few things you could be doing during this ‘down time’.  December has actually been a busy one for me, but next week gets a little quieter, with only one course to run, so I’ll be putting some of this in to action myself!

1. Evaluate the Year

It’s a really good opportunity to spend time evaluating how 2017 has been for your business.  Do an analysis of all your numbers.  Profit and turnover are the obvious ones.  But what about your email list?  Social media following?  Customer numbers?  Number of new products or services released? And look at what worked well in the year and what didn’t work so well.  Marketing campaigns.  Social media activity.  Which products/services sold best?  And think about the best and worst things that happened in your business this year.  It’s hard to grow moving forward if you don’t know how you’ve previously performed, so this will give you a basis for step 2…

2. Set Your Goals For The Year Ahead

It’s so important to set out your goals for what you want to achieve in the year ahead.  Not just financial but life too, as this will relate to the financial success of your business.  You should also think about the numbers mentioned above too and how you want to grow them, such as your email list and social media following.  Consider the new offerings you want to create and how you want your team to grow.  And set yourself a big scary goal too!  One that will make 2018 the best year ever for you!  It’s been proven that goals are more likely to be achieved if they’re written down, so make the time to write down all of the above.  I have treated myself to this workbook to help my plan for the year.

3. Create Some Content

When we’re in the throws of day-to-day work, it can be hard to find time to create good content for social media.  This time offers you the opportunity to have some content ready and waiting for the new year.  This could be blog posts, videos, images, written updates, GIFs, infographics, or any other form of content that will work well for your business.  You could also create a content calendar for the year, outlining what content you want to be released when through the year.

4. Design a New Product/Service Offering

If you’d love to offer something new to your customers next year, now is a great time to start creating that product or service.  Think about the products and services that worked best in 2017 and how you could advance on those in 2018.  I have a new programme I’m launching in the new year, and I’m going to start recording it next week.

5.Create a Launch Strategy

Now you have your new product or service, you could create a launch strategy for how you’re going to let you customers know about it.  Write emails, social media posts, create videos, and do whatever is included within your launch strategy so it’s all ready to go.  Set the sequence to build up to the launch, and work out how you’re going to wow those who have purchased the product so they talk about it!

6. Learn Something New

I’m a big fan of learning.  It’s definitely been the number one factor in growing my business over the 8 years I’ve been in business (and of course, implementing what I’ve learnt!).  To me, any down time is an opportunity to learn something new.  Grab a book that you know will impact your success in 2018.  Or sign up to an online course and learn about a new topic.  I worked with Fresh Bananas this year on creating a social media marketing module for their online SEO course.  If you want to learn about SEO, with a bit of social media thrown in, then take a look here.  And, obviously, if you’re looking for social media success in 2018, then you need a copy of this book!!

7. Take a Break

Sometimes we can push ourselves too much, and a break is actually a good thing for our business. Christmas is busy enough without adding extra pressure on yourself.  If you’ve had a busy year, but the next couple of weeks are really quiet for you, then relax and enjoy them!  You’ll be ready to hit 2018 refreshed and ready for your best year ever!!!

LIVEMAS 2017!

Last year, I made the decision to go live on my Facebook page every day in December in the lead up to Christmas Day.  I didn’t manage it!  But in total, I went live 12 times during December, which was more than I’d done the whole year!

So, I’m giving it a go again this year to see if I can beat my 12 days record!

I’ve just done my first LiveMas video.  You can watch it here.  In it, I talk about what LiveMas is all about and how you can get involved by requesting certain content.

And I’d love it if you tag me in any live videos you are inspired to do as a result.  Yes, it is a bit scary going live.  But the big advantage is that that means very few businesses do it.  It offers a great opportunity to stand out.

Time to take action and hit that live button!

Head here to watch LiveMas day one, and don’t forgot to like my Facebook page too so you can watch the rest of the LiveMas streams!