How To Start Marketing Your New Business On Social Media

[If you’d prefer to watch this in video format, scroll to the bottom!]

You’ve just started your new business.  Congratulations!!  I’m sure you’ve already realised that you should be using social media in your marketing mix.  But how do you get started and what are the right steps to take to lead you towards success?

 

  1. Work out what you want to achieve

Rather than just jumping straight in, take a bit of time to work out what success on social media looks like for your business.  If you’re looking to generate sales directly through social media, how many will you be aiming for in the coming year?  And then break that down by how much you expect each quarter.  If it’s web traffic, how much traffic are you expecting?  Get specific on what you wish to achieve and the date by which you wish to achieve it.  This will help keep you focused on the actions you need to take on social media.  It will also allow you to measure the success of your activity.

 

  1. Define your audience

Who is it you want to attract as your social media audience?  Get clear on as many features of your audience as you possibly can.  The more specific you can get, the more this will help you generate the right content.  And remember, if you target other businesses, your audience will be someone within the business, not the business itself.

You need to consider all demographics, plus behavioural features such as what challenges them, what knowledge they are seeking, what entertains them, what value can you provide for them.

 

  1. Pick the right platform(s)

Once you’ve highlighted who your audience is, it’s time to work out where that audience is.  You don’t need to be on every social media platform.  In fact, it’s probably best to not spread yourself thinly across them all.  Focus your efforts on the one(s) that will get you the best response from the audience you are looking for.  Research the demographics of each platform.  If you are B2B, LinkedIn is likely to be a must.  But consider other platforms too.  For example, Instagram is a popular place for professionals to build relationships in a more relaxed way than may be typical on LinkedIn.  If you’re B2C, you’re probably going to look more at Facebook and Instagram.  Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube may also want to be part of your marketing mix, depending on your audience and your message.

 

There is a full video with 12 steps to start marketing your business on social media available to Planet Social Media members.  To find out more about Planet Social Media and what benefits members receive CLICK HERE.

 

 

50 Social Media Posts That Can Help People During the Coronavirus Crisis

If you’re feeling a bit stuck with what to post right now on social media, then the answer to that is to think about how you can help people.  This situation has brought up a lot of new needs.  By helping your audience meet those needs, you will raise your profile, build a relationship with them, and have a higher chance of converting them to customers either right now or when this is all over.

So, what kind of content could help people right now?

MENTAL HEALTH

  1. Managing anxiety
  2. Overcoming insomnia
  3. Stopping intrusive thoughts
  4. Managing boredom
  5. Managing depression during the crisis  

FITNESS

  1. Improving your running ability
  2. Maximising walking for fitness
  3. Home strength workouts
  4. Home cardio workouts
  5. Using items around the home to workout with

NUTRITION

  1. Overcoming sugar temptation
  2. Creating nutritious food on a budget
  3. Foods to eat to boost your immune system

HOME

  1. Spring cleaning tips
  2. Sprucing up your garden
  3. Creating a calm home
  4. DIY projects

SELF CARE

  1. Cutting your own fringe
  2. DIY men’s hair cut
  3. Techniques for painting your own nails
  4. Salon treatments in the home
  5. Treating yourself to a home facial

PARENTING

  1. Maintaining attention when homeschooling
  2. Fun activities to do at home
  3. Managing children’s anxiety around illness
  4. Keeping children away from screens
  5. Activities to make your daily walk more fun with children

MARKETING

  1. How to market your business during the crisis
  2. How to market your business when you have been forced to close (e.g. hairdressers, restaurants, pubs, etc.)
  3. How to stand out right now with your marketing
  4. How to get your messaging right
  5. How to create compelling offers that will work right now

BUSINESS

  1. How to furlough your employees
  2. Managing virtual teams
  3. Maintaining productivity during the crisis
  4. Managing business finances

FOOD

  1. How to cook restaurant standard food at home
  2. Creating a meal from a few ingredients
  3. Making your food go further
  4. New cooking techniques to learn

PASSING THE TIME

  1. Book recommendations
  2. Boxset recommendations
  3. New skills to learn
  4. Uplifting songs playlist
  5. Arts and crafts for adults

FINANCES

  1. How to apply for a mortgage holiday
  2. How to reduce your outgoings
  3. Free activities and entertainment
  4. Managing debt
  5. Overcoming financial anxiety

 

This isn’t an exhaustive list.  In fact, it only just scratches the surface. But could certainly help trigger your thinking as to the type of posts you could be creating right now.

Don’t just think about how you could use these ideas in text format.  Consider creating images, image carousels or presentations, infographics or videos.

And, most importantly, stay safe and stay home!

If you want to learn more about marketing your business on social media, I have added an 8 module course on this topic to Planet Social Media.  And you can currently join for only £1!!  You can find out more about the course, and join Planet Social Media to get access to it, here.

 

 

10 Positive Actions To Take On Social Media In The Current Coronavirus Crisis

There’s no denying that this is the weirdest of times for us all.  Whether you’re having to juggle working from home with your children there, stop the routines you’re so used to like going to the gym (and the pub!), having financial concerns or the threat of business closure, or even suffering from coronavirus.

It may want you to hide away from social media, not knowing the right approach to take for the best.  But I suggest the opposite.  Social media can offer a place of solace and togetherness right now.

So, here’s ten positive actions I suggest businesses take on social media right now.

 

  1. ACKNOWLEDGE IT

It frustrates me when you read posts saying how it’s “business as normal” for them.  No matter what situation you have found yourself in as a result of this crisis, it is not business as normal for anyone!!  We are having to change the way in which we live our day-to-day lives.

So, acknowledge that this is the case for your audience.  Yes, social media can offer some form of escapism.  Or add humour to the situation.  But this can still be done while acknowledging what’s going on in the world.

Simply starting your post with things such as “let’s not mention the C word for 1 minute!” to lead in to your non-coronavirus related post.  Or a “I think we could all do with a laugh at the minute” to lead in to your humorous post.

The important thing is you don’t act as if nothing in the world has changed.

 

  1. BE VISIBLE

No matter how this has impacted your business, if you want your business to still be operating when this is all over (and one day it definitely will be), it’s important to stay visible and don’t let your audience forget you exist.

You don’t have to post as often as you used to.  I have definitely reduced my volume of content creation, mainly due to the time constraints of having my three young girls at home all day on my own.  But also, I understand that many of us aren’t feeling all that creative right now.

If you’re stuck for ideas of what content to share, the first thing I would be asking is ‘how can HELP.’

 

  1. HELP

If there’s one type of content that is definitely working right now, it’s content that provides help, support and guidance to others.  We all have new needs that we didn’t have before.  And new questions we are struggling to answer.

Do a brainstorming session of how you can help people right now through your content, with the knowledge you have.

There are needs and wants for:

  • Keeping children entertained in the home
  • Keeping fit at home
  • Managing nutrition on limited resources
  • Cooking restaurant standard food at home
  • Home cocktail making masterclasses
  • Understanding furloughing of employees
  • Managing productivity when working from home
  • Home hair dying when you have only had it done at the salon
  • Self care
  • Managing anxiety
  • Selling in difficult times
  • Managing finances
  • Learning new skills
  • Managing boredom
  • Overcoming insomnia

You get the idea!!!  We’re all faced with new needs, so how can your business help with those.  For example, a restaurant could provide guidance on how to cook the perfect steak.  A beauty salon on how to perform your own facial at home.  A bar could teach people how to make cocktails.  Just because you’ve been forced to close, doesn’t mean you have to stop posting.

 

  1. ENGAGE

I think it’s really important we stay connected with others while we are isolated in our own homes.  Social media offers such a big opportunity for this.  Simply taking a bit of time out each day to comment on the posts of those you follow will both help you feel a bit more connected to the outside world, but to also build relationships with those you engage with.

You can also look at different ways to engage, such as sending voice notes or video messages, to add a more personal touch.  This will definitely give a boost to those you send them to.

And, commenting on other’s posts will also help increase the engagement on your own posts.  Stay connected.

 

  1. SELL

Selling is tricky at times like this isn’t it?  I say times like this.  When have we ever had a time like this?!!!!

But, businesses have to survive it, and still need to make sales.  I think many businesses assume that their audience have no money or no inclination to buy right now.  And an assumption is exactly what it is.  There are still people earning every day.  And they might be more inclined to buy right now, depending on what you sell.

I usually suggest an 80/20 split with your social media content, with 80% being non-sales posts and 20% being sales posts.  I don’t see that as being any different right now.  Your sales messages will probably need adapting though.  You may need to point out that you are still operating and still need to make sales.  You may want to adapt your message to suggest why this is something that they might need right now.

You may also want to consider running an offer.  You don’t have to dramatically reduce you’re pricing.  Again, it’s an assumption that people don’t have money right now.  But, it could be a good idea to run a deadlined offer for something that could be really helpful to people right now.

For example, I’m currently running an offer to join Planet Social Media for only £1, to help businesses learn more about how to grow their business on social media (which I think is becoming more and more important to businesses, especially those who have had marketing budgets slashed and are having to rely on free or low cost methods).

Remember, there is a big difference between profiting (which keeps your business going) and profiteering, which is taking advantage of others in a time of need (such as those people who bought loads of hand sanitizer then sold it on ebay for ridiculous prices).

 

  1. GO LIVE

Have you noticed there seems to be an influx of people going live at the moment?  I think partly it’s a need to connect with others beyond our four walls.  I also think people are more in need of openly communicating.

If you’ve never gone live before, or have a fear of going live, now could be a good time to break through that fear.  The majority of the audience for a live broadcast watch the recording after.  So the first few times, you could decide not to share the recording of the live and limit your audience while you get confident in doing it.

You could also schedule lives that are relevant to your audience’s needs.  Let them know you’ll be going live and the time/date and suggest they add it to their calendar, or add a countdown on Instagram stories for them to get reminded.  You can then prep the main points you want to discuss.  It’s a great opportunity for your audience to interact directly with you and ask questions.

 

  1. SHARE SELFIES

Social media has always been about people.  But again, I think this is more important than ever.  Remind your audience who the people in your business are.  They may not be able to see you face-to-face, but they won’t forget what you look like!  It adds a much more personal touch to your social media.  People want to hear from people right now, not stock images.

Show your face!!!!

When taking selfies, lighting is important.  You want to stand near a natural light source.  Cloudy days work best rather than direct sunlight.  You can also use apps like Snapseed to improve your image and add features such as brightness and lens blur.

 

  1. OFFER SOMETHING NEW

It may be that you’ve offered the same product/service for years and years but are unable to sell it right now.  Let’s not use the word ‘PIVOT’ because everyone else is!!!  But it could be that you add a new offering and share it on social media.

This could be as simple as a takeaway service if you’re a restaurant and never offered it before, delivering home hair dye kits if you’re a hairdressers, creating an at home pamper package, switching your in-person training delivery to online, creating a new online course, running online exercise classes, and so on.

I’m sure you’ve seen many businesses add a new offering to allow them to continue in the current situation.  And you may be able to as well.  Social media is a great place to share what you are now offering.  AND, you can continue to offer it once this is all over.

 

  1. BE INSPIRED

I’m finding social media a place of inspiration lately.  For good news stories.  For businesses doing their part to support those on the front line.  For quotes to lift you up.  For humorous memes on this whole crazy situation.

Social media can definitely be somewhere to lighten the mood and remind you about the good going on in the world.  It may just get your creative juices flowing when you see others creating inspiring content.

 

  1. LEARN

Many of you reading this will find more time on your hands.  Which offers a great opportunity to learn new skills in your business that will put you in a solid position when all this blows over.  Jot down everything you’d like to learn about for your business, and then seek out the social media accounts that will help you learn that information.  Also look for books, podcasts and online courses that can help you achieve your learning goals.

You will probably want to relate this to your particular situation right now.  For example, you might want to learn how to turn your business from offline in to online.  Or, if you have been forced to temporarily close down, now is the time to be learning as many marketing skills as possible to help you grow quickly when you are able to reopen.

If you want to learn more about marketing your business on social media, I have added an 8 module course on this topic to Planet Social Media.  And you can currently join for only £1!!  You can find out more about the course, and join Planet Social Media to get access to it, here.

 

Wishing you all good health.  Stay safe and stay home x

10 Instagram Success Tips For Beginners

Instagram is the ‘platform de jour’ at the moment (unless you’re under 18yrs old, then of course it’s all about TikTok!).

I’ve recently been having a lot of conversations with business owners who want to give Instagram a go but feel a little apprehensive about it.  What are stories?  What pictures should I share?  How do I get my first follower?  Starting any platform can be daunting.  But with the different features of Instagram, it’s one that seems to bewilder quite a few people.

So, what would be my top tips for getting started on Instagram?

  1. Go take a look at other people’s profiles

To get a good idea of what goes on on Instagram, it’s worth having a little snoop around first.  Search for businesses and influencers in your industry, or other businesses/people you know, on Instagram.  Take a look at how they use it so you can get a feel for it.  This is definitely not for you to replicate what they do.  More to give yourself a feel for the platform and a little more confidence in using it yourself.

You can look at anyone’s profile without logging in.  If you Google ‘Instagram and BUSINESS NAME’ it should help you find their profile.  Or if you know what it is, just type www.instagram.com/USERNAME in to your browser.

 

2.  Make sure your profile introduces YOU!

Sounds so obvious, but there are so many businesses with wishy-washy bios.  The ‘we help make people’s dreams come true’ type ones!!  Just get straight to the point.  Make it easy to read by using bullet points.  You could use emojis as your bullets to bring more interest to it.

Also, if you’re a small business like me, don’t hide behind your logo.  Use a headshot for your profile picture.

 

3.  Start posting as if you have an audience

Don’t wait for your audience to arrive before you start posting content.  If you go to follow people and they see you have posted nothing, chances are they won’t follow you back!  Plus, posting content means you can include hashtags that will allow people to start finding you (more on this below..).

An obvious one to begin with is introducing yourself/the business and include a selfie or a team shot  (FYI, you have to include a picture or video with your post).  You could do a ten facts, including some comical ones to engage people.  Make it more interesting than “Hi I’m NAME, I’m new to Instagram.  Let me introduce my business…..”.

 

4. Post consistently (every day!!!) with content your audience wants to see

Don’t dabble then decide it’s not going to work because you posted one picture and only got one like!  You need to post consistently to help build your audience and the engagement on your content.  Set yourself the challenge to post every day.  You can have the weekend off if you want, though I find my Saturday posts get a good bit of engagement!

Don’t get too hung up on what the image should be.  You can share selfies, team pictures, employee spotlights, product pictures, office views and whatever you think would work well to showcase your business.  I mainly share selfies on my account, so that people can get to know me. But I do incorporate text based images too.  These are easy to create using Canva.com.

The important thing is that you are consistently present while you build your audience.  Avoid selling in your posts.  Instead, share knowledge, raise discussions, introduce your team members if you have a team, ask questions.  Essentially, anything except trying to sell!  Your audience won’t be attracted to follow you if you only posts sales messages.

 

5. Go follow those you know to start

To start building your following, think about who you already have a working relationship with.  This could be customers, people you know through networking, other local businesses, or your industry peers.  This will help to start off your presence.  As these people/businesses already know you, chances are they will follow you back.

 

6. Then start looking for your audience

Once you have started to build your following and have posted consistently (I would wait until you have posted 9 posts so you have a 9 square grid), you can then start seeking out the audience you want to be following you.

You firstly need to get clear on who that audience is.  Who do you want your Instagram audience to be?  For example, if you are B2B, do you want to attract someone within the business to follow you rather than the business account, which may be controlled by a marketing team or an external agency.

You can then search the hashtags they are likely to be using in their content.  For example, small businesses in the UK are one of my target audiences on Instagram and so I search the hashtag #smallbusinessuk, #businessowneruk or #entrepreneuruk.  Follow those you think fit the audience you are looking for and, most importantly, engage with their content to start building the relationship with them.

You can also seek out your audience by thinking about who they might already be following and then taking a look at the followers of that account.

 

7. Use hashtags your audience will be searching for

This will also help you to build. your following.  You can add up to 30 hashtags to a post.  Don’t use hashtags just to increase the reach of your post.  For example, if your target audience is working mums, there is no point you adding #coffee to a picture of your drinking coffee!!  This may up your reach but not to the right people!  Instead, you’d want to be using hashtags that your audience are likely to search for.  For example, #workingmum, #motherhood, #mumhacks, etc.

To find the hashtags to use, have a look at what other influencers in your industry are using.  Search hashtags that you think might be relevant and Instagram will give you a broad idea of how many posts use that hashtag on Instagram.  It’s good to use a range of hashtags, including some that are very popular and others that are less so.  Searching for hashtags will also show you similar hashtags.

There are also websites that help you find relevant hashtags, such as hashtagify.me.

 

8. Engage, engage, engage, engage and, engage!

This is the bit that you definitely shouldn’t miss out, and yet most businesses do!  Engagement builds relationships with your audience.  It encourages them to follow you.  Plus, the stronger relationship you have with your audience, the more likely they are to buy from you.

When anyone comments on your posts, respond back.  Build the conversation with them.

But, don’t just leave it at that!  Take time daily to look through your home feed, where you’ll see the posts of those you follow.  Then add a comment to those posts.  Make it a meaningful comment rather than a simple ‘this is great’.  This definitely makes Instagram a more fun place to be.  But it also has a huge impact on success.

 

9. Create daily stories

Instagram stories sit across the top of your home feed.  They are the little circle profile pictures with a red ring round them.  These stories only last 24 hours.  So you can be a bit more relaxed with them.  I have a blog here on 5 ways to use Instagram Stories, which may help give you some ideas.  Again, take a look at a few stories to give you an idea of how you might use them.  Then get stuck in!!!

People spend more time looking at stories than they do their home feed, so it is definitely worth being present on there daily.

 

10. Post video content to IGTV

This may feel like a step too far for some of you.  And, if you’re not creating video content for other platforms yet, you may feel like you should wait until you’ve been on Instagram a while and are feeling more confident with it.

BUT confidence comes from taking action!

IGTV is for longer videos on Instagram, between 1 minute and 10 minutes.  It stands as it’s own feed and allows a new audience to find your content.  Plus, you can share a 1 minute preview of your IGTV video to your feed to increase the views on it.  I think it’s well worth getting involved with IGTV as soon as you start posting to Instagram, as this will quickly help establish your authority on the platform.  I personally aim to post one IGTV video every week.  You could start with an intro video then progress on to more knowledge based videos.

 

Of course, you don’t have to take all these steps.  But success really does come down the actions you take.

Are you ready to storm Instagram?  Come and say to me on there!!  You can find me here!

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!

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!

 

10 Things I’ve Learnt From 10 Years In Business

At the age of 24 years old, freshly married, I decided that employment wasn’t my future and I started my first business.  Last week marked 10 years in business for me.

It has definitely been a rollercoaster.  I’m not a big rollercoaster fan (mainly because I have a bad fear of heights), but I’m really glad I got on this one.

 

So, what have I learnt in my ten years of business?

  1. Don’t Do It All Yourself

In terms of the payroll, my business is just me.  But I’ve used many, many services over the years that I could technically have done myself, but either would have done them badly or wasted time that I could have spent on growing the business.  Knowing the worth of my time shifted a lot of things for me, and I stopped doing stuff that could be outsourced.

 

  1. Marketing Matters

When I started my first business, an employee survey business (for which I still do work for clients, though focus the majority of my efforts on the social media training business now), I thought I could get a great website then the phone would start ringing. It didn’t!  I quickly learned I would need to focus the majority of my efforts on marketing.  It doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do if no one knows about you!

 

  1. Your Business Could/Will Change

When I started Personnel Surveys, I thought that was it for me, my business was outlined for ever more. Within a year, I had started Sam Flynn Social Media.  I never would have dreamt that it would become my main business and passion.  And it’s going to change again next year (though still with a social media training focus!).  Nothing is permanent.  And, when I listen to interviews with entrepreneurs, it seems that many started out on a completely different route to the one they’re now on!

 

  1. It Won’t Always Be Easy

After having my second daughter, I really struggled to get back into my business.  There were numerous factors (the main being that she was a terrible sleeper, and I was running on about 2-3 hours a night!) but I seriously thought about calling it a day and seeking employment.  I decided to give it another 6 months to cement my decision. That was about 3.5 years ago.  I’m still here and so glad I stuck around!

 

  1. Learning is Key

I’ve always been quite academic and love learning new things.  And I can’t imagine my business would be where it is today if I hadn’t kept learning new things.  Reading books, listening to podcasts, investing in courses and memberships.  There’s always something new to learn when it comes to running your business, and I love that!

 

  1. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

There have been so many ways in which I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone as a business owner.  I’m quite a shy person, so even going networking felt like a huge step for me.  Putting myself out of my comfort zone, going on the stage, creating video content, putting myself out there more, has actually really helped my overcome my shyness. And the saying I always have in my head is ‘success happens outside of comfort zones’.

 

  1. Work Smarter, Not Harder

Before I had my first daughter, I worked flat out on my business.  After having her, I cut down to 2-3 days a week.  I now work only 3 days a week, but my business is more successful than it was working 5+ days a week.  I’ve realised the importance of working smart and making the most of the working time I do have.  Time off is so important.  And I started my business to allow me the flexibility to be with my children, which is working out great!

 

  1. It Will Be Stressful Sometimes

I’ve had times of extreme stress.  It’s not as possible to walk out the door at the end of the day and switch off from work when it’s your business.  I often wake in the middle of the night stressing about something to do with the business.  I’m trying to find ways to make sure that doesn’t happen, but it’s not always that easy!

 

  1. You Decide What Success Looks Like

Success is different for every person.  And it can change.  How success looked like for me when I started the business is different to how I view success now.  And it’ll change again in the future, especially when I have all 3 girls in school!  Right now, I do feel successful.  I’m running a business that works well around my family, that allows me two days a week to do school runs and spend with my youngest, that gives me an admirable income and that I enjoy.  I’d say that’s a success for me!

 

  1. Business Relationships Matter

In the early years of being in business, I did a lot of networking.  I dropped back on networking after having my first daughter, and shifted most of that online.  While I work on my own, I have lots of people that I’ve built working relationships with over the years.  And they have been so valuable for me.  I love meeting new people, especially now on social media, and building those relationships.

 

It’s been a good ten years and I’m so excited for the next ten!

What have you learnt in your time as a business owner?

End of an era, start of another…

My littlest started nursery last week.  My middle daughter started school.  And my eldest returned to school (in a cast thanks to an end of summer hols accident!).

In the 10 years I’ve been running my own business, I’ve been on maternity leave three times.  It definitely causes huge disruption to the business.  Three times taking chunks of time away, then working to get myself back out there.

I’ve worked through each maternity leave, but as minimally as I can.  You can’t get the baby days back after all (sob!).

Last week signalled the start of returning to a three day week (I’ve done no more than three days since my eldest, now 6yrs, was born).  Back to normality.  And, I guess what makes it different this time is that I’m 99.9999999999% certain there’ll be no more maternity leave disrupting the business flow.

So, it’s definitely the end of one era.  But also very much the start of a new one.

And I’m really excited about this new era!  Whilst on ‘maternity leave’ this third time, I came up with an idea, which I’m going to be releasing in February 2020.  I don’t want to give too much away too soon, but I honestly can’t wait to get it out there!  There’s a fair bit of work to do and I want to get it right, hence the February launch date.

I know it’s going to revolutionise my working life.  It’s going to mean I can help an awful lot more businesses achieve social media success too!

In the meantime, there’ll be webinars you can join me in online.  I’ll be out and about delivering training and speaking at events.  And you should see much more of me on social media too!

Let the new era commence!!!!

 

 

Using Instagram To Market B2B Businesses

While I am of the thinking you can’t be everywhere on social media, unless you have both resource and time, I do think it can be easy to overlook platforms that could have a significant impact in marketing our businesses by claiming our audience doesn’t use it.

This is often the case for companies who target other businesses.  Instagram, in particular, gets pushed down the list of platforms to be present on.  But could you be missing out?

 

If you target small businesses, with the social media managed by the business owner and the business having selling to consumers rather than other businesses, Instagram could have huge potential for you.

It is also a great platform to elevate personal brands within businesses, such as the owner or other key people within the business.

And, don’t forget, when targeting businesses, it is the people within the business you want to bring in to your audience.  With over a billion monthly users worldwide, there is a high chance some of that audience will be on Instagram.

According to TrackMaven’s research, B2B business experience their highest engagement ratio on Instagram than on any other platform.

So, how could you be using Instagram to market your business to other businesses?

 

  1. Go Behind The Scenes

Where your LinkedIn approach may be more ‘professionally-focused’, Instagram could offer the opportunity to take your audience behind the scenes of your business.  What happens day-to-day?  Who are the people within the business?  This helps to showcase what the business does and helps to build relationships with those people in it.  Instagram stories offers a great way to do this, building a story of what goes on in your business.

 

  1. Share Your Knowledge, Thoughts and Opinions

This is particularly important for thought leadership.  It helps show your expertise, and audiences love to learn, so will help you attract new followers too.  While you do need to include a photo or video (up to 1 minute long) with each post, the text of your post matters too.  You can share tips and advice in the text, and open up discussions, allowing others to comment and build conversation with you.  Short video posts are also a great opportunity to share your knowledge.

 

  1. Take Pictures/Videos On Your Phone

Just because Instagram is visually focused, doesn’t mean you need expensive camera equipment.  Your phone is all the kit you need to build your Instagram presence.  Take pictures when you’re out visiting clients.  Take pictures round the office and in the local area.  Take selfies and pictures of your team.  Try different angles to get different perspectives.  Use apps like ‘Clips’ to quickly create square video with subtitles on your phone.  For longer videos (between 1 and 10 minutes) you can use IGTV to share video content.

 

  1. use Hashtags, Location Tags and Mentions

Use hashtags to reach your ideal audience.  For example, if you target small businesses in the UK, you can add #smallbusinessuk, #uksmallbusiness, #smallbizuk, #uksmallbiz, #businessowneruk, #ukbusinessowner, #entrepreneuruk, #ukentrepreneur…and I think you get the gist!  Don’t forget to tag your location and tag any other businesses worth a mention in your post, where relevant.

 

  1. Use Instagram Ads

You can target your Instagram Ads at businesses and owners of businesses.  For example, you could target home workers, small business owners, self-employed, etc.  This is an opportunity to reach out to a cold audience, so warm them up with an interesting video or post and encourage their engagement.  You can then target the warmer leads, who have engaged with your advert, with a lead capture or possibly a sell.

 

If you want to achieve Instagram Success but still feel you need a bit more know-how, join me for my LIVE online course INSTAGRAM SUCCESS on Thursday 5th September.  You can find all the details by clicking HERE!