Making 2020 Your Best Year Ever On Social Media

I have a really really REALLY good feeling about this year!

It may be because I’m launching my new business.  But I also just have this feeling that great things are about to happen!

2020 can be a year we can all achieve huge success.  I for one am committing more and more time to my social media activity, in particular Instagram.  LinkedIn has served me as a great source of business for many years now, and continues to do so.  But I think Instagram could take its crown for my new business.  Time will tell!!

So, how can you make 2020 your best year ever on social media?

1. Create content your audience wants

Don’t create content for you.  Don’t focus on what you want to sell them.  Don’t focus your content on what you want to tell people.  Focus on what they want to hear.  With every new year, there are more and more social media users.  If you focus your content on your business and away from your audience, they’ll just scroll on past.  Think about how you can help your audience, how you can add value to them, how you can entertain them, how you can inspire them, how you can make them laugh, how you can get them thinking.  All of this will have a much bigger impact and will undoubtedly lead to more sales than focusing on sales related posts.

 

2. Spend more time engaging than creating

Engagement is more important than ever on social media.  Why expect engagement on your posts if you don’t give it elsewhere.  My engagement went up dramatically when I spent more time engaging on others’ posts.  I aim now to spend approximately an hour a day engaging on social media, and it has had a massive impact!  It’s lead to more engagement and reach on my posts.  But, more importantly in business, it’s lead to more sales!

 

3. Pay attention to your insights

Your audience is telling you what they enjoy from you through your insights.  Those posts that get the most engagement are the ones they love.  Those that get the least are the ones they are less keen on.  Don’t ignore the messages your audience are giving you.  Check in weekly with your insights and analytics to see what’s working best for you on each platform.

 

4. Be more you!

I’ve always spouted on about how important it is to be personable on social media.  But again, I think that’s more important than ever.  Businesses that don’t have faces tend to struggle on social media.  Your audience want to see the people in the business.  Faces bring your business to life.  And, after all, we socialise with people.  And this is SOCIAL media!  Include selfies of you and your team, sign off with names if managed by multiple people, share more about your life beyond your business.  You know you’ve got this right when your audience feels like they know you despite having never met you.

 

5. Stop worrying about the number of followers you have

If I had a penny for every time someone asked me how to get more followers, I could buy myself a fair few chocolate bars!  My first question would be ‘how much business do you get from the followers you already have?’.  If the answer is very little, then what’s the point of getting more followers that you hardly get any business from?  Instead, focus your attention on building relationships with the followers you already have.  Get to know them.  Let them get to know you.  It’s very rare that any follower is going to buy from you after seeing one post.  So be consistent with your content, engage with their content and build that relationship. Then when you do post a sales message, it’s far more likely to convert.  When you build relationships with the followers you already have, you will naturally grow your follower base too, as you’ll have more engagement on your posts and will get more and more reach!

 

6. Create video content

It’s time!  This is the year to get out of your comfort zone and start getting in front of the camera!  People hearing you speak is a sure fire way to increase the relationship with them and often a great way to get your message across.  Hardly anyone likes being on camera.  Which is why hardly anyone does it!  Be the one who does.  It will really help you stand out.

 

7. Stop doing what everyone else is doing

It’s tempting to look at successful accounts on social media and think ‘I’ll just do what they do’.  Then when you do, it doesn’t work!  We firstly need to work with our audience, not someone else’s!  So, think more deeply about how you could appeal to your audience. And being the same as everyone else will not help you stand out.  Think of a way you could be different.  For example, a video I put out on Instagram at Christmas received my highest view count of any video I’ve ever posted on there.  Why?  Because I sang on it!  Be different!

There is so much I could add to this.  But definitely, doing the 7 things above will lead you to much greater social media success in 2020.  I hope it’s an amazing year for you!

If you want to explore more about how you can make 2020 your best year ever on social media, I’m hosting a free webinar on Wednesday 15th January.  You can register here!

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.

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!