What Do Your Audience Want On Social Media?

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

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

 

  1. CREATE A PERSONA

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

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

 

2. SPEAK TO YOUR CUSTOMERS

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

 

3. RUN A SURVEY

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

 

4. LET THEM TELL YOU

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

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.

Stop Selling To Start Selling

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, stop selling to start selling please!!!

Here comes the lead capture….

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







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The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media

Often when I’m designing training and speaking to clients, they ask me to include the dos and don’ts of social media.  What can you do and what can’t you do.  The answer:

WHATEVER YOU WANT!!!

Ok. That is slightly extreme.  I would definitely advise against being discriminatory, offensive and any other kind of nasty approach.  And some of the platforms do have their own regulations.  Like no pornography for example.  But I’m sure you weren’t planning that…!

The Dos and Don'ts of Social Media

But we can often become too obsessed with what we should and shouldn’t be doing.  And as a result, we end up doing exactly the same thing as everyone else and just blending in to the background.

I’ve seen approaches on social media from businesses that use bad language.  I’ve seen funny videos of staff messing about in the office.  I’ve seen humour shared in every post.  And lots of other things that break the ‘professional’ norm.

I’m not suggesting you have to do all that.  But there are two things you need to think about when it comes to deciding on your approach.

  1. The Personality of Your Brand – Brandonality

I’m always banging on about brandonality (mainly because I invented the word!!).  But personality is so important on social media.  Figure out what your personality is and then put that across on social media.  I hope you agree that you see my personality coming through in these blog posts, in my online videos, in my posts, and in everything I do on social media.  I don’t try to pretend to be something I’m not.  And I only want to work with businesses who enjoy my personality!

2. Your Audience

The other thing you need to consider is your audience.  If you are going to lose lots of business by swearing on social media, then it’s probably advisable not to do it!  Know your audience and what they’d like to see from you on social media.  Paddy Power get this perfect with their football related humour on their Facebook page (go take a look when you’ve got a spare few minutes by clicking here).  Their audience are going to relate more to football humour than constantly hearing about the latest odds.

So, this might not have been what you expected when you saw the title.  But don’t get hung up on the dos and don’ts of social media.  Instead, create your own dos and don’ts.  Because your approach should be completely unique to your business.

Good luck!

 

 

What SHOULD You Be Doing On Social Media?

I’ve been quite hard on myself recently about some of the things I SHOULD be doing on social media and aren’t doing.  I look at what other social media trainers and experts do and worry that I’m not doing things the same as them.  And yet, my advice to other businesses is always to be different and, more importantly, to be yourself.

We can read as many articles as we want.  We can go on courses.  We can take advice and guidance.  But it still comes back to our businesses, our aims and our approach.  And there is no SHOULD when it comes to that.

What SHOULD You Be Doing On Social Media?

Because every business is unique, and every marketer unique too.  And the most successful social media is the authentic kind.  Where we focus on what is right for us rather than on what we SHOULD be doing.

At the start of the year, I wrote a post about my social media resolutions for the year ahead.  When I look back now, I realise that post was focused on what I thought I SHOULD be doing, rather than what I knew was right for me to do.

It’s very unlikely that I will generate large volumes of business through Instagram.  And yet, I thought I SHOULD be using it more.  That I SHOULD be posting a picture every day.  It’s been wearing me down, as I haven’t kept up that resolution.  Yet, when I really think about it, what I really SHOULD be doing is what I’m already doing.  Focusing more of my attention on Twitter and LinkedIn.  Platforms that do generate business for me.

I worry that I’m not going to appear to be an ‘expert’ unless I’m spending all my time on social media.  That I SHOULD have a good presence on all platforms and spend the majority of my office time and spare time being present on there.  But there are many other things in my business that I SHOULD be doing too, and that I have to do.  Plus, work/life balance is incredibly important to me.  I have two young girls, and I want to spend time with them.  I also want to keep up my other hobbies as well.  And being an expert is showing other businesses how to take the right approach for them.  I need to do the same for my own business.

I see other social media experts progressing their career.  Getting great media coverage.  Interacting all the time with other key industry professionals on social media.  And, I think I really SHOULD be doing that too.  But I look at my business goals and aims and know that that is not the right approach for me.  That I have other things and areas I wish to conquer.

So, what SHOULD we (both you and I) be doing on social media?  You should be being you.  Focusing on your business aims.  Taking the right approach for your business.  Being authentic. Being different.  And not worrying about the things you think you SHOULD be doing.  That is when social media will really work for you and for your business.

 

My Social Media Resolutions for 2017

Happy New Year!!!

With a new year comes new plans, new opportunities, new ways of looking at things and the resolve to do things a bit differently.  Of course, we know that resolutions aren’t always kept (which is why I didn’t get the call from Victoria’s Secrets for this year’s show…!).  But they are good for focusing us on something we want to achieve and setting out plans for how we will do it.

There are lots of ways we can all improve on social media.  And that includes me too!  So, I thought I’d share with you my social media resolutions for 2017.

  1. Schedule More

In true trainer style, I’m great at preaching, not so good at practising!  So, this is the year I will practice more of what I preach.  I will schedule updates every week to go out.  I do quite a lot of social media in the live moment.  But on busy days, that means my activity can dwindle.  I’d like to see that I have a good few posts scheduled each week to go out.  I plan to do this on a Monday morning (if I’m not out training) and know that I’m covered for the week.

2. Engage More

Again, practice what you preach Sam!!!  I used to do a LOT of engaging on social media as I was building up my business.  Now things are a bit busier, that’s not so easy to do.  I used to love building new business relationships via social media, so I plan to do more of it in 2017.  Responding to tweets, replying to Facebook posts, reading and replying to LinkedIn posts.  There are so many ways to engage.

3. Publish More LinkedIn Posts

We all know how easy it is to drop a habit.  That’s why the new year’s diets never last long!  I used to publish a post every week on LinkedIn.  They had a high volume of views and actually lead to business too.  Slowly, I broke the habit, and now I need to get back in to it.  So, keep an eye out on LinkedIn for more published posts from me!

4. Go LIVE More

In December, I went live 12 times on my Facebook page.  It was great!  In fact, I’m going to write a post next week on what I learnt about going live so much within a month, and the live videos that got the most views.  I really enjoy going live.  It’s a lot easier than producing a video, as there is no editing or retakes.  A 5 minute live video literally takes 5 minutes, and then you’re done!  So, I will definitely be going live more on my Facebook page, and maybe on Twitter (via Periscope) too!

5. Use Instagram More

I LOVE Instagram.  It’s personally my favourite social media platform, and I do spend a lot of time in the evenings looking through other’s pics.  But, I’ve never really gotten in to it in a business sense.  I post occasionally, maybe every couple of weeks.  I’d like to do more on Instagram, but make it more personal too.  I don’t want to post motivational quotes and infographics all the time.  I want to make it about me and my business.  Go follow me and give me a dig if I don’t post on there often enough!!!

And that’s it!  Of course, there are so many more I could include, but then I’d do none of them.  So, these are the ones I will focus on for now and maybe revisit them in a few months time, and add some more in.

I’d love to hear what your new year’s social media resolutions are!

 

Why Are You Using Social Media?

I work with a lot of businesses who struggle to answer this question, and we have to explore it quite openly before we can really get in to the bones of the training.

There has to be a reason we do everything in business.  An end purpose.  And I’m finding a lot of businesses just don’t know what that is when it comes to social media.  They want more business.  That goes without saying.  I haven’t met many businesses that don’t want to grow!  But beyond that, many feel they are doing it because they ‘should’.  That they don’t want to look old-fashioned.

Why Are You Using Social Media-

So, why are you using social media in your business?  It could be one big reason.  Or it could be many.  There are about a thousand different reasons you’re doing it, but here are some of the main ones.

  1. Brand awareness
  2. Web traffic
  3. Lead generation
  4. Customer service
  5. PR opportunities
  6. Networking
  7. Wowing customers
  8. Reputation management
  9. Thought leadership
  10. Knowledge sharing
  11. Increase footfall
  12. Local community involvement
  13. Advertising opportunities
  14. Event promotion
  15. Research
  16. Increase web sales
  17. Release new products/services
  18. Gain speaking opportunities
  19. Become a key person of influence in your industry
  20. Generate higher levels of repeat business

Yours might not be on the list.  Or you might have a few on the list that you’d like to meet.  In fact, you probably want to hit all of them.  In which case, I’d try to pick your top three reasons.  These form your objectives, which ultimately guide your activity and allow you to measure it.

So, get clear on why you’re using social media and the impact you want it to have on your business.  Then get implementing!

It’s All Got A Bit Boring

I don’t know if it’s just me, but do you ever feel like things have got a bit boring on social media?  Everyone’s saying the same kind of things, taking the exact same approach, telling us constantly about their business, and really just lacking any kind of personality.

It's All Got A Bit Boring

The thing is, if you get a bit bored by social media, then it’s likely your audience is too.  That offers a really great opportunity for you to STAND OUT by being different!  Bu breaking the boredom mould.  Oh, but that’s not very professional is it?  I think one of the big issues with social media is how ‘professional’ businesses think they need to be.  Professionalism isn’t really going to attract anyone to want to follow you on social media, let alone buy from you as a result of your social media activity.

What I’m not saying here is to be unprofessional.  Of course, you still have your reputation to uphold.  I get that.  What I cam saying is, think a little differently.  Do things in ways you haven’t before.  Share more images of you and your staff.  Share videos!  Videos stand out an awful lot and they get lots of views too!  Share knowledge.  Share funnies.  And look at what all your competitors are doing on social media and have a really good think about how you could be completely different.

The more we bore people, the more they switch off.  The more we entertain them, the easier it is to build the relationship!  So, let’s challenge ourselves to be less boring on social media, and to have more fun with it too!!

Why Your Company Needs Social Media Training

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my offering.  You may have picked up on that from my last few posts!  But one thing I really want to get clear to businesses when they are thinking about whether they need more services or not, is to what social media training can actually entail.

I’m not a ‘techy’ person.  I pick up on tech stuff pretty quickly with the help of my friends Google and YouTube.  But it’s not something that is a passion or, really, even an interest.  And so, naturally, my training isn’t technology focused.  Sure, there’s the odd bit of tech thrown in.  But not much.  My approach is much more psychological, because that is where my background lies (I have an MSc in Organisational Psychology).

Often I find companies think they don’t need social media training, as they know how to use the platforms.  But I’m not going to show you how to use the platforms.  The reality is Google, or even the platforms themselves, will quickly answer your questions on where to click and where to find certain options.

Why your company needs social media training

Instead, I focus on the ‘how are we going to make this work for our company?’ question.  What content would work best for our target audience?  Who is our target audience, and where can we find them?  How are we going to stand out from all the other businesses on social media?  How are we going to engage our audience and make them want to talk about us?  How are we going to generate leads through social media?  How are we going to sell to new customers?  How are we going to encourage previous customers back to our business using social media?  And many many more questions that can be answered with the help of training.

I don’t want this to be a salesy blog, as I believe blogs should be more focused on educating and knowledge sharing.  So, my aim in this post is to open up your thinking.  To consider how social media training could be of huge benefit to your activity.  To see beyond it being just about the technology.  And to question whether you are doing everything you could be doing on social media to make it work for you.  And to explore your training options, whether that’s with me or another social media trainer.

Though obviously you know where to look first right?!

Working Backwards on Social Media

I’m planning on doing things a little differently in 2017 in the way I deliver training and run my business.  That will all become more clear over the coming months.

But it means I need to start working backwards.  I can’t achieve what I want to in January without doing the leg work now.  And much of that leg work will take place on social media.  It’s far too easy to be reactive and ad hoc on social media.  To work week-by-week on content.  To come up with a business idea then quickly play it out on social media.

Working Backwards on Social Media

But often it’s much better to be planned and organised and know what you need to start doing now to achieve what you need to in the future.  I’ve started by looking at who I want to be targeting as customers in the new year.  Of course, I need to start finding those people on social media now.  Connecting with them.  Engaging with them.  Building the relationship.  Then when I’m ready to go out with my new ideas in January, there’ll be the right receptive audience.  I’ll have worked backwards to move forwards.

It also means I’ll have to commit more time to platforms that I’ve barely scratched the surface of for business, as they’ve not typically been where I’ve generated business previously.  Now they will be platforms that I need to build my following and show my expertise.  Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.  It means I’ll be committing more to weekly videos and building my personal reputation.  It means I’ll be doing more Facebook Live broadcasts.  It means I’ll be creating new lead captures for my website, and possibly focusing my blogs in a slightly different direction.  It means I’ll have to start highlighting the businesses I want to work with, and finding out who the people are within that business that I need to speak to.

I talked in last week’s video about planning for 2017, and why it is important for me to do that now.  There is so much work to be done now to make 2017 the best year in my business EVER!  And all of the work needs to take place before 2017 begins.  So it begins NOW!

Are you ready to make 2017 your best year ever?

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Working Backwards on Social Media (1)