Reviewing Your Year On Social Media

The end of 2019 is fast approaching!!

I for one am very excited for 2020.  It’s going to bring a lot of change in my business and a new approach to how I do things.

A big part of that for me is going to be planning my content for the year ahead (look out for the next blog for more on this!).  But the first stage in that process is to review how well this year has gone on social media.

For this, I’ll be looking at the free insights and analytics available on each platform.  I’ll look back through the year’s posts and see which performed best in terms of:

  • Reach
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Clicks
  • Views

This will help guide my content for next year, as I’ll know what content my audience has been loving in 2019!

I’ll also be looking at which posts performed least well in each of the above metrics.  This will then give me an idea of what I should doing/talking about in 2020.

You see, your audience are telling you what they enjoy and what they’re less keen on.  You just need to pay attention to them!

This is definitely something you should be doing more than once a year.  At the very least, I would suggest looking at your content every month to see what performs best and least well.

So, set yourself an appointment before the end of the year to review your metrics before you start to plan your social media content for 2020!

Doing What Everyone Else Is Doing Won’t Get You Very Far

Every day we’re being hit by different types of marketing.  TV ads, billboards, leaflets, Google searches, emails and, of course, social media posts.

As such, as marketers of a business, our subconscious absorbs these different types of marketing.  Then, when we go to create our own, our brain naturally suggests creating what is very similar to everyone else.  Because that is sat there in our subconscious.

I do it myself.  I get the idea for a blog post or social media post.  And sometimes I realise it’s because I’ve seen a similar one recently.

Our subconscious can be a bit of a pain in the bum!!  It stops us breaking free creatively, because our brain is getting filled with the ‘norm’.

If our content replicates that of others, we just become part of the noise.  We’re not standing out in any way.  Creative posts stand out, same old same old don’t!

Instead, challenge yourself to think about what other businesses in your industry are NOT doing!

Are they NOT creating video?  Are they NOT sharing selfies?  Are they NOT going live?  Are they NOT raising discussions with their posts?

This will definitely help you be seen on social media.  And what’s the point of posting if you’re not going to be seen?

If you are stuck with how to be different on social media, you can watch the recording of a recent webinar I did.  Click here to access the ‘Be Different On Social Media’ webinar recording!

 

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!

 

 

 

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?!

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!

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!!!

Stop Selling To Start Selling

I’ve just come back from an event with multiple speakers.  It was an exhibition, so the speakers were from businesses that were exhibiting at the event.  And it really struck me the big difference between the 5 talks I sat in and listened to.

There were two types of talks – those that gave information, knowledge and advice, and those that simply sold what they sell.  And, I wonder if you can guess which was most successful?!

In general, we don’t enjoy being sold to.  We don’t want to listen to how great your product or service is.  We don’t want to listen in minute detail to all the different features of your product/service.  We don’t want a demo.  We don’t want to be BORED!!!

Instead, people come to these events to gain knowledge and help and advice.  It’s why I went.  I was particularly drawn to a talk about increasing leads in to your business.  It’s something I’m really committing to at the moment (you may have noticed!  There’s a bar across the top of my page, a form in the side bar, and a popup if you haven’t seen it popup before!  Oh, and I’ll probably tag one on to the end of this post too!).  I was so disappointed when the talk was in fact about the company’s software that can provide leads in to your business.  Very useful I’m sure.  But I would have been more likely to take interest in the software if the talk first gave guidance on how to build leads.  In fact, the person next to me left half way through the talk.

The talks that seemed to pull the biggest crowds and the most note-taking, were those that gave lots of value.  Because that is what people want!  VALUE!!!  Give them something valuable, they’ll believe more in you and your product/service and be far more likely to buy.

Social media, of course, is no exception.  If you use it purely as a means to broadcast about your product or service, then it’s likely you’ll have much success.  Instead, you should be using social media to give value and build relationships!  Yes, it takes time.  But you’ll make far more sales this way than if you are posting sales messages.

So, stop selling to start selling please!!!

Here comes the lead capture….

If you get stuck for how to win customers on social media without posting constant sales messages, then you may want to have a watch of my free webinar recording – 5 Ways To Win Customers With Social Media.  You can download it by filling in the form below!







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What Should We and Shouldn’t We Be Posting on LinkedIn?

It feels like LinkedIn has had a bit of a revival recently.  The new layout seems to be working well.  The app has improved.  And, it seems that people are committing to putting content out via their personal LinkedIn profiles.  I’m really enjoying being part of it!

But, I have seen a lot of posts recently on LinkedIn that have questioned what should go on LinkedIn and what should be saved for Facebook.  I’ve also seen people be lambasted for posting something on LinkedIn, reminding them that it is a professional network and what they have been posted would have been better placed elsewhere.

The fact is, there are no rules when it comes to social media.  I’m often asked to talk about the ‘etiquette’ of social media and the do’s and don’ts.  The reality is, they don’t exist.  Only in the eyes of the beholder!!!  The important thing is to stick with what is right for you.  I don’t swear on social media.  It just doesn’t fit with me and my personality.  But it doesn’t mean that not swearing is a rule.  In fact, on some platforms, businesses are having huge success because they do swear and are using the same language as their target audience.

Yes, LinkedIn is a more business-focused platform.  It’s a place to network with other business people.  But go to a live networking event, and only around 50% of the conversations will centre around business.  You may chat to someone about your dreadful journey getting there due to an RTA.  Or talk about how the weather is unseasonably hot for November.  Or about how your daughter kept you up all night (did you see my post about this on LinkedIn the other day?!).  Networking doesn’t have to mean 100% business conversation.  But if you don’t want to share personal details, that’s fine too.  It comes down to choice after all.

There is a somewhat infamous article on LinkedIn (you can find it here.  Be warned, if you don’t like bad language you may not want to read it!) that divided the opinions of its audience.  The article has, at the time of writing, received nearly 10k likes and 1700 comments.  If the author of the post was to just talk about how having a shed in the garden could be the answer to your home working problems, it definitely would never have received this kind of response.  Does that mean you should follow suit?  No, unless that fits with you and your brand, and your audience too.

We can choose to be bland, and the same as everyone else, to fit in, to make sure we’re not breaking any unwritten rules.  But if we do this, we won’t stand out.  Instead, we should embrace our personalities.   You don’t leave your personality at the door when you enter a networking event, so why leave it on the login page of LinkedIn.  Take it in there with you.  It could well help you stand out.

All that said, what would my advice be for what you ‘could’ rather than ‘should’ post on LinkedIn?

1. SHARE KNOWLEDGE

People like to learn new things.  So, share knowledge.  This could be links to your own blog posts, links to articles or short tips.

2. WHAT ARE YOU UP TO?

It can be hard to understand what businesses do.  Give people an insight in to what goes on in your business by sharing a snippet of your day.

3. OPINION PIECES

I think LinkedIn is a really great place for discussion.  And the more comments your post receives, the more people that will see it.  So, open up discussion around a topic by sharing your opinion.

4. ASK QUESTIONS

Yes, I shared a semi-personal post the other day about my daughter keeping me awake.  But the point of the post is whether we should soldier on when hit with exhaustion as business owners, or should we accept defeat and rest when needed.  It was turned in to a question.  Asking questions raises discussion as well, so think of the questions you could be asking.

5. VIDEO

You can load video directly to LinkedIn rather than having to share a link to a YouTube or Vimeo video.  I’ve been using this a lot lately, sharing around 3 short videos a week, and they’ve had a brilliant impact!  They don’t have to be Steven Spielberg masterpieces.  Just you talking to camera, recorded on your smartphone, is enough.  This allows people to get to know you, plus you can share some of the knowledge you have!

6. LEAD CAPTURES

Direct people to a webpage where they can enter their name and email address to receive a document or video.  These are great for building your email list.

7. OFFERS

None of the above focus on selling.  But now and again, we need to remind people they can buy from us!  Focus 80% of your posts on selling nothing, and then 20% on promoting your products or services.

These are just a few ideas.  Of course, what you post is completely up to you!!  There are no rules after all!!

I’m running a LIVE online LinkedIn course – Win Business With LinkedIn – on Tuesday 12th December.  To find out more, and book your place, just CLICK HERE!

Going Outside Your Comfort Zone on Social Media

Whenever I’ve felt a bit scared of doing something in business, I always remind myself that SUCCESS HAPPENS OUTSIDE OF MY COMFORT ZONE.  If success happened easily within our comfort zones, we’d all be experiencing high levels of success.  Instead, we often have to take a leap of faith, or do something that makes our stomach flip, to experience success.

Comfort

Social media is, of course, no different.  We can play it safe and just post sales messages all the time.  But that is unlikely to allow us the success we could be achieving on social media.  Instead, we need to look at ways to do things that other businesses aren’t, to stand out, and to be different.

Whenever I mention creating video content for social media in my training or talks, it’s often met with mutterings of ‘yeah, right’ and ‘there’s no way I’m putting myself on camera’.  I get it.  Not many people have a deep desire to be on camera (and if they do, they usually find themselves on Big Brother or Love Island or such like!!).  Yet, videos are so successful on social media.  I still cringe every time I hear my husband watching my videos, and tell him to do it when I’m not there.  I hate hearing my voice back!  Yet, I still put videos on social media several times a week, because they lead to great results for my business.

From the reaction to video content, I’m sure you can imagine what reaction I get when I mention live streaming!  Very few businesses embrace live video because it’s scary.  Of course, being live is never going to feel easy.  I’m sure newsreaders and presenters who are live on TV still have a few butterflies before every broadcast.  But the more you do it, the easier it becomes.  And it gets great reach for your content.  It’s authentic.  And, even better, most businesses aren’t doing it.  So it’s a great way to stand out from the crowd!

There’s also a lot of value in being personable on social media.  In showing your face or the faces of the people in your business.  This helps to build trust and relationships and is far more ‘social’ than stock images.  Again, this is something that some people struggle with, getting their face out there. But believe me, no one is scrutinising how you look!  They just like seeing people on social media!

So, it’s time to put your hard hat on and take a big giant leap (or maybe even just a little tiny step) outside of your comfort zone.  You’ll not only find your success is waiting there for you, but you may realise it wasn’t that scary after all.