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?!

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!!

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.

My New Social Media Videos and What I’m Using To Create Them

If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook then you will have seen I have started to create short (less than 1 minute to allow for Instagram) videos every week.  I publish around 3-4 videos a week.  And each video is a little action or idea that you can take away and use in your business.

My New Social Media Videos and What I'm Using To Create Them

I love video content.  It is the type of content I definitely consume the most of.  And it is something I had been doing myself ‘now and again’.  But I realised I was making it too complicated.  It only needed to be a quick simple video that gave people a piece of inspiration or an idea to use.  No big production needed.

I take around 5 minutes filming, producing and publishing each video.  5 MINUTES!!  And I think that the desire for perfection is something that can hold us back from doing what we know we should be.  Being authentic is often much more desirable to your audience than a slick production.

The one thing I wanted to make as easy as possible for these videos was the addition of subtitles.  Most people will watch your social media videos without audio.  So, if the main message is in the spoken word, chances are they won’t watch it.  Add subtitles, and your viewing figures will start to rise.  But I didn’t want to spend ages adding subtitles to my videos.  So, I did a little research and discovered a really easy to use free app from Apple called Clips.

Clips allows you to record your video, adding subtitles as you record it.  You can then watch it back, stopping it and making edits to any of the subtitles that are incorrect.  I’ve found, so long as I speak slow enough (which is quite a challenge for me!), there are only a small number of corrections to make.  You can then share your video directly from Clips to social media or download it to your phone.

So now I have no excuse, and neither do you!!!!  Video content gets far higher reach than written content typically, and it also helps people build a relationship with you.  Much easier to get to know someone when you hear and see them speak than in written word.

Go and have a look at some of the videos I’ve done using Clips to get an idea.  Click here to go to my Facebook page videos.  I’m definitely going to continue with this new content approach, and hope I’ve inspired you to do the same too!

My next LIVE online Creating Social Media Content That Sells starts on 12th September.  To join me, click here!

What Happened To My Business When I Stopped Blogging

I’m very embarrassed to say that the last time my writing graced these pages of my blog was nearly two months ago.  SHOCKING!!  I always recommend blogging once a week.  And I used to stick to this no problem.  There’d be the odd week I’d miss.  But for the most part, you could expect a new blog post here every week.

This year, I lost my blogging mojo.  I have a personal blog too, and I’ve not blogged there either.  Two months is without a doubt the longest period I’ve ever gone without writing a blog post.  And I’m pretty sure the main reason that I’ve not blogged is because I’m writing my book (it’s so nearly finished!).  It’s very hard to write a book and think of blog posts too, or to get the motivation to blog when office days are mainly spent writing alllllll day!

The book WILL be done this week (determination there!), so I thought I was time to find my blogging mojo again.  Which made me think about what has changed in my business in the two months I didn’t blog.  Let me tell you, it’s definitely given me a kick up the bum to start writing n here again…

What Happened To My Business When I Stopped Blogging

  1. Site Traffic Is Down

I’m not getting anyway near as many visitors to my site as I was last year.  Blogging is such a great way of driving people to your site from social media.  It also helps your SEO (search engine optimisation), so that more people find your site through search engines.

2. Site Enquiries Are Down

And as a result, fewer people have contacted me via my website in the last couple of months.  Blogging is a great way of introducing people to you and what you do.  I can see on my analytics the path that people take from reading my blog to then getting in touch with me.  Far fewer people have done this, as such I’ve had much less enquiries via my website.

3. Social Media Shares Have Declined

My retweet and share figures have reduced too.  My blog posts are one of my most shared and retweeted updates on social media.  So, without them, there’s less sharing going on.

4. I’ve Sent Less Emails

I was sending a weekly email out to my list, which would highlight the blog topic of the week and link people to it.  Without a blog to link people to, I’ve struggled for email content and have sent far fewer emails.  Not great for maintaining the relationship with my list.

5. I’ve Had Fewer Workshop Bookings

One route I have seen that is quite common on my site, is reading my blog posts and then heading over to the workshops page.  And a certain proportion of people will then make a booking on a workshop.  Without blog posts to read, the workshop bookings have gone down slightly.

6. Less Things To Share On Social Media

My blog posts form a large part of my weekly social media activity.  Without them, I’ve struggled a bit more for content, and have had to rely more on the content of others.

7. I’ve Cringed At Advising To Blog Weekly!

And the final impact is that I stand in front of those I train and speak to at events and advise them to blog every week.  Inside I’m cringing.  Because I’m not practicing what I preach.

So, I’m back in the blogging game now!  And I hope, if you don’t already blog, or don’t do it very often, then this has inspired you to realise just how important writing blog posts is.  I won’t make this mistake in my business again.

 

Should You Connect With People You Don’t Know On LinkedIn?

I think there are two camps when it comes to connecting with people on LinkedIn.  There are those who believe you should only connect with people you ‘know’ in some way, and those who take the approach of connecting with near enough ‘anyone’.

There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to both!  So, let’s explore the two options:

Connecting on LinkedIn

  1. Connect with only those you ‘know’

This would mean only accepting connecting requests from people you know, have met or spoken to, or have been introduced to.

As such, your network will be reduced and have fewer people in it than a more open approach, allowing it to be easier to manage.  It also means that you can build meaningful relationships, rather than taking a broad brush approach.  Nurturing relationships with those you ‘know’ in some way, may result in more referrals from that network, as you become well known to them.

The downside is that you could be excluding those who wish to get to know you in order to use your services in the future.  Many of the ‘connect’ options on LinkedIn send an automatic connection request without allowing for a personalised message to be added.  You could be limiting the opportunity of those wishing to get in touch to use your services, as a result.  The smaller your network is, the fewer second connections you are likely to have.  As search results are displayed in relation to connection to that individual (amongst other variables), you may limit how often you will be appearing in search results.  And you are closing the opportunity to find your target market and send them personalised connection requests and build more relationships with new people (to send personalised connection requests, the easiest way is to go to the profile of the person you wish to connect with, and click ‘connect’ on there.  This won’t be possible if they are not in your network (another downside of limiting your network)).

2. Connecting with anyone

The alternate camp is to connect with ‘near enough’ everyone.  This would mean accepting the majority of connecting requests that you receive, as well as sending out connection requests to people you do not know.

The advantage of this approach is that you could be connecting with someone who wishes to use your services, and has sent you a connection request for this reason.  It also means you will be expanding your network.  For each new connection you accept, all of their connections will become second connections.  Having more connections, and more second connections, should improve your visibility in search results, which may help you be discovered by potential customers and clients.  By expanding your network to those you don’t yet know, you are becoming known to new people, and have the opportunity to then build on that relationship.

The disadvantage of this approach is that your network could expand so far that it is difficult to build relationships with all those within your network.  As such, they are ‘just connections’ rather than people who can help introduce you to new opportunities.  It is more difficult to look through and comment on status updates, as there will be more of them.  And you may open yourself up to spam messages by accepting the wrong people.

WHERE DO I STAND?

I tend to go with option two, but a calculated option two!  I always make sure I have a quick look at the profile of those I am accepting, to determine if they are likely to spam me.  For me, taking option two means the worst that can happen is that they want to sell to me, and will start spamming me with messages, in which case I can remove them from my connections.  They best case scenario (which has rang true many times for me), is that they want to connect so they can get in touch about using my services.  I would have missed out on lots of business had I not accepted connection requests from those I don’t know.

Also, I am found in search far more due to my large network, which opens me up to more people who are interested in my services.

I agree that it is harder to nurture my network on LinkedIn as it is large (currently 3534 at time of writing).  But I use LinkedIn’s tagging options to organise these connections, allowing me to nurture relationships easily with different groups of connections.  That does mean that I hardly interact at all with some of my connections, and interact much more with others.

But for me, the advantages of being more open to connecting far outweigh the negatives.  Though I do think it is personal choice and there is not a ‘right option’ that fits everyone!

So, where do you stand?  Are you open to connecting or not?  Oh, and don’t forget to connect with me!

connecting on linkedin

 

It’s About What You Know AND Who You Know

Social media offers a world of opportunity for both businesses and individuals.  But for me, there are two aspects about it that I really love.  They are increasing my knowledge (WHAT I know!) and making lots of great new contacts (WHO I know!).

It's About What You Know AND Who You Know

  1. WHAT YOU KNOW

Knowledge is power.  And knowledge is key to growing any business too.  We can never know it all, and learning is so important.  I can’t imagine a day when I’ll stop learning.  I love picking up new ideas, thinking of new ways to do things I’m already doing, and learning about marketing my business in ways I might not previously have considered.

For me, social media is a great knowledge hub.  By following lots of experts in the fields we are interested in, we have the opportunity to very quickly and easily access information that might otherwise have been difficult to find, or that we may not have been conscious of at all.

We get recommended great books to read, linked to articles that are fonts of knowledge, and given quick snippet tips that can actually have a big impact.  Recent things I’ve learnt include – new ways to organise my time, apps for managing to-do lists, great books on content marketing and, how to run Facebook live from your desktop.  I would say that I probably learn something new on social media every single day.  Without social media, I wouldn’t have anywhere near as much opportunity to learn.

 

  1. WHO YOU KNOW

Social media has also opened the doors to me to many wonderful people who I can call both colleagues and friends.  I’ve ‘met’ new people online.  Many of them in the social media space too, who I hope to collaborate with on future projects.  If there’s one industry that is very open rather than competitive, it’s the social media one!

I’ve also met people that I have become a customer of, and vice versa, which is of course a great opportunity for businesses.  And, I’ve met people who have gone on to refer me to other people.  I’ve met people that I’ve then had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face, with an already established business relationship before there’s any physical meet up.

I chat to influencers.  People who have power in their industries.  I’ve spoken to MDs and CEOs of large corporates.  I’ve had banter, fun and chatty chats.  And business-focused, more corporate chats.  The opportunity to ‘meet’ people that would otherwise be difficult to meet is such a brilliant aspect of social media.

 

So, are you using social media to expand both what and who you know?  Because when you do, the opportunities are immense!

10 Ways to Make Snapchat Work For Your Business

Last week, I posted a Beginner’s Guide to Snapchat.  If you’re not yet on there, you can head over to that post to get started!

Snapchat offers a really unique opportunity for businesses.  The user base is growing quite dramatically.  And the offering is different to a lot of the other platforms.  To start with, you can only take snaps from within the app, so we’re all working with the same smartphone technology.  You can get special lenses to add to your camera, or use third party apps to upload images.  But mainly, it all takes place within the app.  That means, businesses are working at the same level as consumers.  As such, it is much easier to build a relationship with a brand on Snapchat.

It also offers a real authenticity to a business.  And it allows for creativity.  So, how can you use Snapchat in your business?

10 Ways to Make Snapchat Work For Your Business

  1. Build the story of your day

Sometimes, as customers, it’s hard to understand what goes on behind the products and services we buy.  Snapchat stories give you the chance to showcase this.  The fashion website, ASOS do this really well.  They take their Snapchat audience through the design process, right through to shooting new collections.  You can also do this in creative ways, using the stickers and text, plus video filters, speeding up, slowing down, or reversing your video.  And there’s one thing that all marketers know, and that’s that stories sell!!

 

2. Sneak peeks

Got something exciting coming up?  Build the suspense with Snapchat!!  Your customers will already be excited to buy before you’ve even launched.  Give them clues to what it might be, show sneak peeks of products, build up to a launch date, and sell much quicker to an engaged audience!

 

3. Share your knowledge

Snapchat allows you to post 10 second videos.  You can build up tips through these videos.  You could do a list (e.g. ‘I’m going to be sharing 5 ways businesses can use Snapchat over the next few snaps’).  Then share those tips, one per video.  Or just do a quick ten second tip.  As with all platforms, think about how you can help the audience, rather than it just being about you!

 

4. Open up conversation

One of the things I really like about Snapchat is the private engagement.  People aren’t engaging just to be seen.  You could open up your chat to the public (I would only do this briefly if you don’t want to be bombarded with ‘suggestive pictures’!).  These chats will only be seen by you, but gives your audience a chance to ask questions.  You could run a 10 minute Q&A for example, and maybe add some of the responses to your story.

 

5. Be real

Snapchat is a very authentic platform.  It gives users a real behind the scenes look.  So, being real as a business makes it much easier to have success on there.  I talk a lot about ‘brandonality’ (the personality of your brand), and Snapchat is a platform where this is essential.  Get clear on your brandonality and then use it in your snaps!

 

6. Snapchat only offers

You can reward your loyal Snapchat audience by offering them something that isn’t available elsewhere.  Make a big deal of the fact they can’t get the offer anywhere else.  Be clear on the process of claiming the offer.  And make it deadlined!  This is also a great way to gain a little more insight in to how likely your audience on Snapchat are to buy from you.  And to convert them in to customers.

 

7. Customer take over

You could hand over your Snapchat account to one of your customers for the day.  Be clear on what you want them to snap about, and of course it should be related to them using your product or service.  Be sure you’re confident with the person taking over your account, and offer them something in return for their efforts.

 

8. Bring your audience to live events

If you hold events, you should DEFINITELY be using Snapchat!  This is your opportunity to expand your live event to an online audience.  Snap your way through the event, and build anticipation for future events.

 

9. Share your snapcode

Don’t be shy in telling people you’re on Snapchat.  You need to make sure they can find you.  Add your snapcode to the side bar of your website.  Put an image of it up if you have premises that customers come to.  Add it to email signatures.  If you deliver products, add a snapcode image in with the delivery.  And keep your username consistent with your business to make you easy to find.

 

10. Have fun

I think the big opportunity that Snapchat offers to businesses, is the ability to have a bit of fun.  And when you relax and enjoy Snapchat, your audience will enjoy your snaps.  You are going to build a whole new level of engagement with them, by being on the same level as them.  Get creative with your snaps, think about the day ahead and how you can build your snap story around it.  Download your snap story and share on other platforms, to showcase your Snapchat account.  And enjoy!!!

If you have any Snapchat related questions, just give me a shout!  Make sure you add me too!  My snapcode is below, and I’m samflynn25 on there!

My snapcode
My snapcode

Facebook Messenger Just Got Serious About Business

1. Read more books2. Get a new hobby3. Try rock climbing4. Be more creative (13)With more businesses taking to Facebook to connect and engage with their audience it was about time that Facebook shook things up when it came to private messaging! That’s why the techies at Facebook have been really busy creating the new Facebook Messenger for Pages and they’ll be rolling the goodies out over the next couple of weeks!
One of the new features will give you the ability to connect with people using your phone camera and your very own unique code. You’ll also get a Twitter-like username so you can find and connect with people much easier on the new platform. To use this you need to have set up your vanity URL (eg www.facebook.com/samflynnsocialmedia/). Now people will be able to find you on both Facebook and Facebook Messenger just by using your new Facebook handle (eg @samflynnsocialmedia) handle.


12481743_220453861675538_1119022713_nThought: Have your unique bar code added to your business cards and other content so people can connect with you really easily

Another awesome feature will allow you to set an auto-responder. This can be used to automatically respond to incoming messages. You could use this to let people know how long until you will be with them, if you’re closed or even if there’s a better way to contact you. This is complimented by Messenger Greetings, a small bit of customisable text that will let you set the tone and let users know what kind of messages you expect through Facebook.

12057255_993514144051606_782868524_nSo in all this is a huge update for messaging for businesses. What are your thoughts on the new messaging platform and what ideas do you have for making it easier for people to connect to your business?