What Do Your Audience Want On Social Media?

If you want social media success, the most important thing to focus on is your audience.  It is very tempting to focus your content on what you want to tell people.  But if you instead shift that to what they want to hear, you are likely to achieve so much more success.

But how do we know what our audience wants from us on social media?

 

  1. CREATE A PERSONA

Write down every detail you can possibly think of in relation to your target audience (and remember if you’re B2B, your audience is not a business.  It’s people within the business).  Drill down to age, location, gender, job role, family, education, industry, what makes them laugh, what are they worried about, what challenges them, what do they read, what are they interested in, what do they want to learn, and anything else you can possibly think of!!!

Grab yourself a big piece of paper and write down everything.  Then create a persona from this.  In other words, take it from being a huge audience to being one person.  You can even give them a name!  If it’s tricky to make just one persona, you can make a few.  But try to avoid having any more than 5.  Each time you create content, have this ‘person’ in mind.

 

2. SPEAK TO YOUR CUSTOMERS

I’m sure you’re trying to attract people that are similar to your customers to follow you on social media.  So, speak to your customers.  If you have regular conversations with your customers, ask them about their social media use and what they would like to see from you on social media.  Ask them to give you honest feedback on your current activity and whether they can relate to it.

 

3. RUN A SURVEY

You can ask questions on social media directly to get some feedback from your audience.  You can also run a more in-depth survey to gain a better understanding of what might appeal to your audience.  Free tools like Survey Monkey will allow you to email a survey or share the link on social media.  You could incentivise the survey with a prize draw to increase response.  Ask questions like which platforms they use and the type of content they like to see (top tip: don’t leave this open ended.  Instead give multiple choice responses so you don’t end up with lots of different answers!).

 

4. LET THEM TELL YOU

But by the far the easiest and most effective way of understanding what your audience wants on social media is to let them tell you.  And they do this by engaging, or not engaging, with your content.  Each platform gives you insights and analytics behind each of your posts.  At the end of every week, look at how much engagement you have had for each of your posts.  Likes, comments and shares typically suggest that your audience is interested in that content.  If you don’t get as much engagement for a post, it is likely this is due to them not being as interested.  This will give you an idea of what your audience wants to see from you.

Pay attention to overall themes.  For example, if you get more engagement for videos rather than images.  Or if you get more comments on images with people in rather than products.  Do more of what gets you the most engagement, and less of what gets you the least!!

 

So, what does your audience want?  If you don’t know, it’s time to start figuring it out!

 

 

 

5 Ways To Use Instagram Stories

I LOVE Instagram Stories.  It’s probably where I spend the majority of my personal time (and some business time too) when it comes to social media use.  It feels so much more real and in the moment than any other social media content.  And really helps you to get to know businesses and people too.

Instagram users are spending more of their time on stories now than looking through feed posts.  So, if you’re an Instagram user, how could you be using Instagram Stories for your business?

Instagram Stories

  1. Research

There is a poll feature on stories, allowing you to give users two options to choose from.  Which means it’s a quick and easy way of getting answers to important questions.  Such as, ‘bourbon or custard cream’ (bourbon), ‘ketchup in the fridge or cupboard (cupboard)’, ‘gin or wine’ (both!).  Obviously you can ask some serious questions too relating to your business, industry and products/services.

You are also able to see individual’s responses, so you can then strike up a conversation with them via DM relating to their response and build the relationship further.

 

2. Behind-The-Scenes

Where your grid posts might be more thought through and creative, your Instagram stories can take people straight behind-the-scenes of what goes on in your business day-to-day and give them a greater understanding of what it is you do.

 

3. Share Tips

Use your stories to impart wisdom.  You can do this with video, or by sharing an image with text over.  Think about current hot topics in your industry and create a small number of stories about that topic.  You can then create highlights on your profile to add this to so that people can come back at a later date and still so those tips.

 

4. Increase Your Post Reach

By clicking on the paper aeroplane symbol under your post, you can share it to your story.  Add a related hashtag and this will increase the reach of your story, leading more people to click through to your post.

 

5. Have Fun

Stories are fun!  You can add face filters, GIFs, do boomerangs, rewind videos, and so much more!  Have fun with it.  Show the personality of you and your brand.  This will undoubtedly help your customers and potential customers build a stronger relationship with you!  Don’t be afraid to be yourself!!

Are you using Instagram Stories?  How do you use them?

Momentum Rather Than Firefighting

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the 9 years I’ve been working for myself it’s that firefighting doesn’t lead to success.

I’m sure we’ve all been there as a business owner at some point.  We’ve had a good bit of work in, then suddenly it dries up.  And we go a bit crazy trying to fill the gap.  We release mad offers.  We start discounting quotes we haven’t had a positive response from.  We stop sleeping and start wondering how we’re going to pay next month’s bills.

We firefight.

And it is stressful!!!!

Over the last few years, I haven’t done any firefighting.  I’ve realised the big difference comes instead from momentum.

But momentum takes planning.  It takes thought.  It takes looking to the future (as in months in the future, rather than next week).  It takes doing stuff now that will lead to work later, and carrying on doing that stuff even when we’re doing that work.

Social media is a prime example.

We jump in all guns blazing when we have no customers to serve.  But when we get busy, we stop.  Stop posting, stop being present.  Complete the work, and back to firefighting by posting constant content.

Instead, if you continue your online activity, the momentum carries you on.

This means thought through content, pre-planning and a schedule to help you achieve this.  Or potentially outsourcing some areas of it.

I’m busy working on something now that I won’t be releasing until February.  It’s taking me a lot of willpower to not bring forward that release date.  But I know, for this to be a success, I need time.  And then I can ride that wave of momentum, because I will have a plan and programme in place after release.

There’ll be no firefighting.  Only momentum.

How do you ride the momentum wave rather than putting out weekly fires?

Mental Health Awareness Week – Making Social Media A Positive Place For Business Owners

This week (13 – 19th May) is Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK.  So, I thought I’d talk a bit about the impact social media can have on anxiety of business owners.

There is no doubt that running your own business is stressful in the first place.  We are alone are responsible for our own success, and that brings with it a lot of anxiety.

But, social media can sometimes make that feel even harder.  We get to see what other businesses are doing.  And then we worry that we’re not doing the same thing.

So, how can we use social media to help us feel less anxious as business owners, rather than falling down a comparison rabbit hole?

  1. Remember, It’s Not Always Real Life

What you see other businesses getting up to on social media might not be a true reflection of their business.  It may look like they are generating far more business than you.  But you don’t know what they’re charging, or what their outgoing costs are.  Or whether those really are their customers.  Of course, it’s important to be authentic on social media.  But don’t forget that, just because you are authentic, doesn’t mean that everyone else is!

2. Being Different is GOOD!

Don’t worry if you’re doing things differently to everyone else in your industry.  In fact, doing things differently is really important on social media!  It allows your business to stand out from everyone else.  Do things your way.  In a way that feels right for your business.  And that allows you to have fun in the process.

3. Spread Positivity

The more positivity we put out on social media, the more we will attract.  Think about how you can use social media as a positive place to be.  Share posts that lift people up.  Don’t knock down other businesses.  If we were all like this, how much nicer would the social media world be?!  And remember, you get to choose who you follow.  If an account makes you feel on edge or overwhelmed, unfollow!

4. Use It To Build Relationships

Now I have three young children, I’m not able to get out and network as much any more.  It can be quite lonely as a business owner.  But now, I have built relationships online instead.  I don’t need to leave my office to network.  I’m able to find the people I want in my community and build relationships with them.

5. Be Real

I touched on this above, but if you put on a facade on social media, chances are it will leave you feeling more anxious.  Like that knot we get in our stomach when we tell someone a lie.  It sits there until the truth comes out and we suddenly feel relieved.  Don’t lie on social media.  It’ll burn away at you.  Speak the truth and be real.

6. Use Social Media To Learn

Social media offers a great opportunity to learn new things.  Follow the right experts and you have free information right at the scroll of a thumb!  I always find I feel empowered when I’ve learnt something new!

7. Ask For Help

None of use are immune from needing help now and again.  As business owners, we can’t always have the right answers.  Use social media to ask questions from your community and get their input on problems.  A problem shared is a problem halved after all!

So, please, please, please don’t see social media as a negative place to be.  Somewhere that makes you feel more anxious as a business owner.  Instead focus on the positive impacts it can have on your business and on you as a business owner.

Finding my motivation…

As many of you will know, I had my third daughter 6 months ago.  In the last 5.5 years of my business, I’ve had three maternity leaves (and 3 pregnancies!).  While it’s brilliant to be able to run your own business around your family life, the downside is trying to stay motivated to keep it going and pushing forward when you have a young family to focus on.  There’s a lot to be said for there being a return to work date after maternity leave, and knowing that you’ll be returning to the income you are used to.

With all three babies, I’ve been back at work in some form almost immediately.  With this one, my daughter was born in October and I had a big project on in November that was deadlined.  It does make me question whether I’d be better off returning to employment, rather than being held to account by me.  But I know deep down that this is much better for me.  I like to be in control of my own path.  And I love that it works so well around my family life (mostly!).

It means I have to rediscover my motivation.  Get past the life changing experience I’ve just gone through in adding to our family, and get back at the MacBook getting ‘stuff’ out there.  And that’s the hard bit! So, I thought I’d share with you how I rediscover my motivation in case you go through periods where you struggle for motivation.

  1. Focus on why you’re doing it

I don’t just run a business for fun.  I do it to earn money for my family.  One of my ‘whys’ is definitely being in control of my own destiny.  But the other is them.  I can earn money and work part time.  At the moment, I’m only child free one day a week and that will increase to 3 days in September.  The rest of the time, I get to spend with my kids and be very present in their lives.  Do school runs, make dinner, help with homework, listen to them read, give them cuddles.  That’s my why!  What’s yours?

2.  Listen to inspiring people

Last weekend, I went along to the Grace The Stage event.  It really turned on my burners and made me want to crack on with work straight away!  There’s something magical about listening to inspirational people.  So much so, I’ve decided to create a YouTube inspiration playlist and try to listen to someone inspiring every morning!

3.  Learn, learn, learn

For me, changing how I do things and coming up with new ideas really pushes me forward.  But to come up with those ideas, I need to learn.  Read, listen to podcasts, watch videos, attend courses.  Whatever way you do it, learning is sometimes the toe you need and where you need it!!!!

4. Move

The more I exercise, the more energy I have.  I’m no ripped and toned gym bunny, believe me!  But moving regularly definitely gives me the energy I need in my business.  Whether it’s going out for walks with dog and baby or sticking the earphones in and getting sweaty in the gym, I need to move to keep me moving forward.

5. Earn money

This might seem obvious, but there’s nothing more motivating than seeing it working.  People wanting to work with you.  People buying your stuff.  It definitely drives me to carry on and work harder on my office days.  Once the momentum kicks off, don’t let it stop.  Keep that ball rolling.

I’d love to hear how you motivate yourself in your business!

Hello, it’s been a while….

I’m so sorry I’ve been MIA on my blog.  There is one very cute reason for that…

Introducing my third daughter, Nancy!

Nancy is now 5 months old and I’m back working again, so I thought it only right that I start with an update blog post.  Then, from next week, I will start creating your usual blog content with social media and business knowledge and ideas!

A few things that have changed round here:

  1. My social media content

Maternity leave is a great head clearer.  To take some real time away from the business and not have the mental capacity to even think about it is definitely advised, though maybe don’t do anything as extreme as having a baby for the sake of that time!

And one thing it made me realise was that I needed some focus for my own social media content.  I now have a theme for every working day of the week.  If you head over to any of my social media (links in top corner!) you’ll soon pick up what the theme of each day is all about.

2. My Instagram stories

Instagram has always come pretty far down my own social media list for my business.  But it’s my absolute favourite for personal use.  So, I’m giving it a much bigger focus for the rest of this year.  Which means, if you want to hear me ramble on a bit and share a bit of my working and sometimes not-working life over on Instagram stories, then go give me a follow on Instagram!

3. My online courses

I have created 9 online courses that are sat there ready for you to devour.  So, over the next few weeks, I will be loading them up to my site and putting them out there for you to get your hands on!

4. My learning days

I’m going to be running regular ‘learning days’ this year!  This is where you have the chance to have me to yourself, 1:1 (or 1:team!) online for an hour and a half, and we can focus in on your social media activity!  The sessions are recorded so you can watch them back at a later date.  More to be revealed very soon…!!!

5. TRAINIng and speaking

And of course, I will be doing what I’ve always done – speaking at business events and delivering in-house training.

So, life will continue as normal but as a family of 5 now (6 if you include our Westie Ned!), which means it will be a slightly busier normal!!!  It’s great to be back!

How Good Are You At Social Selling On LinkedIn?

I’ve never been one for ‘metrics’.  Numbers don’t excite me much, to be honest!  But, I know they are important as a means of analysing how you are progressing.

One platform that has been pretty rubbish for insights when it comes to your personal profile, is LinkedIn.  But, slowly they are adding in opportunities for you to see how you are performing on the platform.

One such metric is the Social Selling Index.  This gives you a score out of 100 for social selling on LinkedIn, and also compares you against your industry and your network.

Your score is made up of 4 factors:

  • Establish your professional brand
  • Find the right people
  • Engage with insights
  • Build relationships

These in themselves give you an idea of what you should be doing on LinkedIn to help you generate business.  It will give you a score out of 25 for each, so you can see which areas you need to improve on.

To view your own SSI and give you a starting point from which to improve, click here!

A Few Things That Are Coming Up

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog!  I won’t list a million different excuses here.  Instead, I thought I’d do an update on a few things that are happening that you may be interested in!

  1. Speaking Engagements

I’ve been so busy with numerous different speaking engagements recently.  Many of them have been private events.  But, I thought I’d let you know about one I’m doing in Manchester on 6th July. Big Social Media Conference is an event filled with fantastic social media speakers.  I will be speaking about Stopping The Social Media Bore.  If you fancy coming along, book your place here: BIG SOCIAL.

 

2. My Own Event

I’m busy squirrelling away at an event I’m hosting on 11th September.  The finer details haven’t been confirmed as yet.  But what I can let you know is that it will be a two hour event, in which I’m going to pack as much value as I possibly can!  Plus, each attendee will receive one of my new courses for free!  Speaking of which…

 

3. Online Courses

I’m in the process of creating a full range of online short courses in different topics around social media.  These will be launched at the event on 11th September.

 

4. Growing A Baby

And that event will be my last for a few months, as I’m currently growing baby number three!!  Which is why I wanted to have a range of courses available for anyone who was interested in learning while I’m on maternity leave.

 

On top of this, my diary is getting really busy with in-house training ahead of maternity leave.  So, if you would like me to come to your business to deliver training, get in touch asap!!

 

5 Ways To Overcome Your Fear of Video

Believe me when I say, you are not alone in hating being in front of camera!  Whenever I talk about using video at conferences, I ask for a show of hands as to how many love being in front of camera.  There’s usually about 2 hands up in a room of 100 people!

Yet putting out videos of yourself talking to camera is a great way of building engagement with your audience, or showing your expertise and of creating a more personal connection with those who follow and are connected to you.

So, how can you overcome your video fear?

 

  1. Remember, Only You Are Bothered!

The reason most of us hate being on camera is because we are self-scrutinisers!  We focus on the way we look and/or on the way we sound (because who likes hearing their own voice?!).  The thing is, we are the only people scrutinising ourselves like that.  No one else cares.  They care far more about our message than about what we look or sound like!

 

2. Brainstorm

Come up with some ideas for what you can talk about on video.  It will give you more confidence that you have a reason to be in front of camera, and some great advice to share.

 

3. Practice and Relax

Chat to yourself about what you are going to record in your video.  Maybe jot down a few key points.  I’d definitely recommend going script-free, as it sounds very obvious when you’re reading from a script.  So, have a practice of what you want to talk about before you hit that record button. And relax!  The more real you are, the more authentic you will come across.

 

4. Record and Don’t Post

Record some videos without posting them.  Watch them back.  Have a think about how you could improve.  Could the lighting be a bit better?  Are you talking too fast?  Never worry about the little stuff.  I often fiddle with my hair in videos.  I can’t help it and if I tried to stop I’d probably have to record about a thousand videos to get the one when I don’t!

 

5. Hit That Publish Button!

Get that first video out there.  Once you start getting comments and likes, you’ll feel less embarrassed and realise that you’ve helped people by sharing your knowledge!  Plus, how rewarding is it to go out of your comfort zone?  And, let’s face it, out of your comfort zone is where success happens!

So, my challenge to you is to post a video if you’ve never done it before!  Please tag me too and let me know that you’ve done it, and I’ll be there with a huge round of applause for you!

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?!