As a social media consultant, I have always embraced and preached the benefits of well done, strategic social media and what it can do for your business. It simply can’t be beaten as an effective way to reach a new audience and learn more about your current one. It is also for so many businesses the start of their marketing journey.
But as I also tell people, there is a risk to putting all your eggs in one basket. We are also increasingly seeing people’s social media accounts shut down overnight, leading to the loss of those carefully nurtured followers and often your content. This can’t happen with your email list – the list is yours, and people have opted in to receive content from you!
In the online age, we all have a lot of choice about what we buy and who we work with, and people need to get to know us and see us and our content many, many times before they purchase from us. As a business owner, you need to give people the opportunity to see that message and get them to a place where they understand why they want and need exactly what you are selling.
Quite simply to support your customer’s journey and establish a relationship with them. No one marketing channel is perfect, and we do need a combination of things to make our marketing work smarter and harder.
We all need to build a sales funnel of people who need our products and services and take them to the point where they become a client and one that will recommend us to their customers and friends.
But first of all, people need to know you exist. That’s where social media comes in. When done well, social media can get you in front of the audience you want and need, build your reputation and provide a window into how you operate and, crucially, how you can help them.
In contrast, those on your mailing list are (or the one you are planning to build) are a little bit closer to you. They have either:
To sum it up, a combination of social media and email marketing is extremely powerful.
To put it into the words of Erik Harbison: ‘…Social Media is the cocktail party. Email marketing is the meet up for coffee. The original one-to-one channel’.
Read on to find out the key differences and some tips on combining the two.
People tend to use social media for pleasure. They are there to browse and are unlikely to be looking for a particular product or service that they have decided to purchase (that’s what googles for).
According to Smart Insights the top reasons for people using social media are:
Regardless of this, social media is still super important for businesses. It’s a highly cost-effective way of raising awareness of what you do, building connections and creating a community!!
It’s also great for social listening and learning about your audience. Over time you will start to understand what resonates with your audience, what is helpful to them and what type of content they need from you.
You can continually access a new audience and build relationships without people having to constantly opt-in.
But there are also some downsides to social media. Firstly, only a small percentage of your audience will see your posts as you are competing for a limited amount of space in the newsfeed.
Secondly, you are subject to changes in the pesky algorithm and reliant on a third party (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc.) to keep you connected to that following you have carefully built.
Thirdly, it can be hard to stay on top of the workings of each platform and come up with fresh ideas to keep your audience engaged.
Quite simply, social media is there to provide a taster, raise awareness and get your audience thinking YES!! I want to know more. How do I find out?
You then need to consider the next step’s – how will you turn those followers into raving fans and customers? Those who engage with you remember what you do and come back for more.
This is where email marketing comes in. In contrast to social media, your email will be delivered directly to that person’s inbox. They may not choose to open it straight away, but they will see it, and your name will be front of mind.
According to Mailchimp, email marketing has an average global open rate of 18% doesn’t account for all those who spotted that email in their inbox and were reminded that you exist.
In contrast, Facebook posts will only reach around 3% of your followers.
Moreover, you can serve specific content to individual people on your mailing list based on
You can also see which individuals are regularly engaging with your emails. The higher the email open rate is – the more interested they are in your products and services.
Email also feels a bit more personal and is often addressed to us as individuals from another individual, which psychologically makes us feel a little bit special!
This is a golden opportunity for you, so you will need to make the most of it and ensure they are getting the content they want and need, and that helps them to make a purchase decision.
In return, you get the opportunity to own that list (no risk of having your account shut down or that pesky algorithm changing). But you can also monitor which individuals are most engaged with you and also how they got there! This will help you understand who is likely to buy and which products or services resonate with them.
If you are still reading this, you probably think this sounds great, but how do I even make a start on my mailing list, and what would I talk about?
If you are a product-based business that retails online, you have the option to ask people to opt in when they purchase a product. You can even run a £ or percentage discount on your website to encourage people to join your mailing list and claim that discount off of their first purchases!
I have honestly lost count of the number of times I have chosen one website or product over another because of this very thing. So you get a sale and also a commitment to continue marketing to that person on a one-to-one basis—a total win-win.
Suppose you are a service-based business owner, though? In this case, it isn’t as simple as offering a discount on your products or services in exchange for an email address. As people’s consideration to purchase from you is mored considered and probably won’t be on a whim – the likelihood is you will still be building that ‘know, like, trust factor.
You will therefore need a compelling reason for people to opt-in. This could be as simple as a downloadable freebie to help them or their business, a free video or masterclass, a fun quiz, or even a competition!
You will need to know what your audience wants and what is helpful to them – So make sure you do your research!
You will need to create something and make sure it is easily accessible via your website and social media links – so your audience can easily find it and download it. You will also need to ensure you have an email marketing system up and running: Mailchimp, mailerlite and active campaign are all good options.
Lastly, you will need to have a strategy in place to onboard and regularly email those on your list. This will need to tie in with your overall marketing strategy and support your sales.
You will also need to shout loud and often about your list and your freebie on your social media and in your other marketing channels to ensure that list continues to grow!!
Stuck for content ideas? Make sure you download my free Ultimate social media content guide and find some inspiration.
Last week I ran a poll in my Facebook Group; I asked my lovely members what their most prominent social media challenge was. The top result was ‘I don’t know where my ideal clients hang out.
It’s a question I have been asked time and time again, and I know it’s a massive frustration for so many service-based business owners. They often explain it to me in this way:
The good news is that all of these things are fixable, but you need to rewind and ask yourself the following questions:
We spend so much focussing on our clients that we often don’t think about who we want or need to be working with. But once you take the time to do this, a lot of things will fall into place (although this won’t happen overnight).
Think back to when you started your business: Did you retrain, did you leave a corporate career and what were the reasons for doing so, what was your motivation and who did you want to help?
I work with a lot of therapists, coaches and business advisors (my ideal clients), and most of them tell me they started their business because they had seen the positive impact the services they now offer had on people’s lives and businesses. They wanted to be part of that journey and spread that message.
Firstly, ask yourself: Why do I do what I do?
You can brainstorm, you can write it down or even better, get someone to ask you and video/ record what you say (you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to quantify once you say it!)
Then you need to think about:
Often we fail to focus on the values part, but if you were interviewing for a job and the company culture didn’t match your ethos or what you were looking for, you probably wouldn’t want that job! It’s the same in your business. Whether we know it or not, our values underpin everything we do, and if our client’s values don’t match ours, the chances are it’s not going to be a happy union!
There is a lot of talk around niching your business/ your audience at the moment. As a business owner, particularly if you have just started out, the notion might sound scary! That little voice in your head tells you that you might be missing out on a huge pool of people who might buy from you.
Not everyone will buy from you, and that’s ok; actually, it’s more than ok. Because it means you can focus on those who really need you, and there will be plenty of those people. The great thing is that this makes it much easier to refine your messaging and understand what works and what your customers need.
The good news is that niching doesn’t need to be about a particular industry or group of people. It can be about who you help and the problem you solve – but you need to be clear on this.
If you are developing a new service or proposition, it makes sense to do your research and ask potential customers what they want and need from you and what they like about your products or services.
But before that, you need to research your ideal client. If you are lucky enough to already have some clients you love or even contacts you love to work with, You can always ask if you can interview them to find out more about their:
Most people will be flattered you to asked. This is also a great way to build relationships as it shows your customers you are interested in them and encourages conversation without selling!
Survey’s and polls also work well. Although these need to be more focussed and specific, they are brilliant for finding out how your audience consumes content, what they know about your services and, the challenges and struggles they have that relate to your business and your content.
If you are already marketing your business, make sure you analyse it to see what is working and what isn’t. What we see on the surface isn’t always the whole picture. You can learn just as much from something that isn’t working as from something that is.
You have now uncovered a whole load of information about your ideal client, so it’s time to create a client profile. A client profile is a fictional representation of a real person that reflects your dream client (you can base it on an actual client). But it is essentially a profile of your target customer based on the research you have done.
It is recommended to have between 3-5, but one well thought out one will be much easier to create. You will need to include:
Having clearly defined user personas will help you empathise with your customers and position your messaging to resonate with them.
By now, you will have a better idea of where your audience is and how you can target them. However, it is essential to remember that most people have multiple social media accounts and use each platform for different purposes. They may not have given too much thought to why they are using that Social Media Platform, so you’ll need to conduct your own research.
You could do the following:
Facebook: Still, the Worlds most popular social media platform with 2.5 billion active uses per month. Facebook is excellent at identifying and reacting to what its users want, and it’s not going anywhere.
Instagram:Also owned by Facebook, Instagram originally started off as a photo-sharing site. It has 1.2 billion active users a month, and those who have an Instagram account are amongst the most active on the internet.
Twitter: Quick to use on the go and completely open to the public. Twitter is brilliant for interacting with brands, customer service, research and driving conversation.
Linkedin: Seen initially as an online CV store. Linkedin has grown to be the no. 1 site for B2B marketing with a high-value client base who are actively looking to make business connections.
YouTube: 2020 was a massive year for Youtube as we consumed more video than ever before. The original video sharing site which boasts more than 2 billion logged-in users per month.
Pinterest: Not technically a social media site, Pinterest is more of a search engine as people intend to purchase products and goods.
There is also an entire module in my Unlock your Social Media Confidence course on telling your story, developing a user persona, and attracting your ideal client! As well as full demographics and a walkthrough of each platform. You can find out more here.
Even if you are a productivity ninja, it can be hard to stay on top of everything. Sadly, as a small business owner, it can be challenging to make time for your marketing and focus on growing your business.
In 2021’s online and digital landscape, it is more than ever crucial to stay visible, be consistent and add value for our audience. There are people out there who want and need your services and for us service-based providers people will often be considering our services for a year or more before they ‘know, like and trust you enough to take that leap.’
Being visible doesn’t mean showing up every day and creating loads of video although if you have time and the inclination then go for it, that’s great! If not read on, find out how you can stay visible, save yourself time and be more productive.
1.Be consistent: The algorithm and your audience love consistency for many of us; this means posting on our social media every day. But if this is a struggle for you to work out what is feasible according to your schedule, what content is meaningful to your audience? And stick to that goal even if it is only 2-3 times per week!
2.Make the most of your Bio: When was the last time you updated your profile? Does it say what you do, how you can help and who you work with?
3.Use a clear call to action: You are focussing on producing content for your audience that helps them, adds value and positions you as a thought leader. BUT if you don’t tell people how to take the next step. Someone may really want to work with you, but if they don’t know how to contact you or take the next step, then the chances are they won’t do it.
4.Use the content you have: What has worked in the past, and how can it be repurposed? Do you have blogs, videos or website content you can use and breakdown? I actually repurposed this blog by transcribing a video with the help of www.zubtitle.com and have started dictating some posts using www.evernote.com. This will save you time and can also be your authentic voice!
5. Identify which platform & format works for you: We have A LOT of choices when it comes to using social media for our businesses, and like anything, if we try to do too much we usually end up doing nothing at all. Use the platform insights to identify where your audience is hanging out. Once you have identified the platforms, look at the formats you are using and see what works best. This way, you can focus on the content that is working for you.
6. Show up at the right time: Check when your followers are online and when they are engaging and make sure you schedule, post, and engage with people at the right time. It’s so disheartening when you curate the perfect post which you know helps your audience, and no one sees it you may be able to change this by simply tweaking the times! You will need to trial what works for you, though.
7. Leverage your personal brand: We all have a personal brand it is every interaction we have with someone, every email we send and every social media post we write. Don’t be afraid to share yours, it what makes you tick and helps you build and find your tribe.
8. Share behind the scenes content: Sharing behind the scenes content helps your audience understand who you are, how you do what you do, and crucially helps them to relate to you.
9. Engagement: Get out there and talk to your potential customers, the people you learn from and the people who are influential to your followers by liking, commenting and sharing their posts you build credibility, bring your audience the information and content they need and get in front of a broader and potentially different audience who could be on the lookout for your products and services.
10. Take a break: Yes, consistency is vital when marketing your business, but we all need a break from time to time. So if you need one take one, you will come back with fresh ideas and fresh eyes.
If you are serious about getting your social media to work smarter and harder! Then make sure you sign up for my 5-day challenge: Get Intentional, Get Visible and turn those followers into paying clients or Download: The Ultimate Social Media Content Guide.
It’s New Year’s Eve, and I had planned to be all ready for 2021. My social thoroughly planned out, launch dates confirmed, and forecasting completed. But, it’s not, and one of the things this year has taught me is that it’s ok and that I really needed the last two weeks to rest, reflect and spend some time with my loved ones.
We can’t always plan and be ready for everything life throws our way and sometimes trying to plan when you’re not in the right headspace can be counterproductive.
Rewind to January 2020
This year kicked off with the launch of my website! It was an exciting time; I’d mapped out the year and planned to expand my group workshops into other areas in Sussex as well as working in house with businesses to help them use Social Media to grow. Working online was something I had done in the past, but as someone who loves working face to face, it certainly wasn’t a massive part of my plan. When I look back to January, I recalled l that someone actually contacted me to ask if this is something I would do!
January and February were super exciting. The business was growing, and I was lucky enough to meet some fantastic l people via my group training, networking events, and co-working.
At the time COVID was starting to be reported on the news. But to be honest, it wasn’t something I worried about, nor did I think about how it might impact my business.
On Friday 13th March, I ran a fully booked workshop ‘How to Build a Social Media Strategy.’ The group consisted of 2 x retailers, a hair salon owner, a counsellor, a coach, a photographer, a charity founder and a reflexologist (all of whom were to weeks later find their businesses closed).
They were a great group, but the atmosphere was sombre, and there was a definite tension in the room. It was all becoming quite worrying, and there were whispers of school closures. I started to make plans to move my upcoming workshops online.
The following week my husband, Ben, became quite ill and we decided to remove our children from school and nursery and to stay at home! I don’t think either of us knew that they wouldn’t be returning.
The day after we went into Lockdown I couldn’t sleep, I woke up early and set up a Facebook Group and I wrote: I wrote an email about what to say on social media during the CoronaVirus pandemic, my tips were:
Crucially it didn’t differ that much from my usual advice, (but I knew so many people were worried about promoting their products and services). This is still the advice I still give and have followed ever since, albeit with the addition of including a break when it all gets too much and as I sit here at my kitchen table (a place I have spent more hours than I can even think about this year!) I reflect on what 2020 has taught me.
The ten lessons I learnt: from 2020
I also learnt that I am not cut out for homeschooling, full-time parenting, and really hate crafts! But I’m okay with that and so are my kids- they are already asking when they can get back to school and nursery!
Finally, I just really miss people and although it will never be the same as face to face interaction I am so grateful to live in an age where we can communicate with written words, photos and video! I also feel fortunate that I can and do now work with people all over the world to help them develop and implement a social media strategy they feel confident about and that aids growth.
2020 you certainly weren’t a year I would want to repeat, but when I look back at my photos and messages and the connections I forged. I do feel a little bit thankful. I hope I learn some more life lessons in 2021 but surrounded by people!
In today’s digital age the average consumer is spending in excess of 2 hours a day on social media. According to smartinsights.com research shows that 43% of people have increased the time they spend on social media during the lockdown. They are using it to communicate with friends and loved ones, find news and entertaining content but also to find out about products and services they never knew existed or didn’t need before.
But, those consumers are a savvy bunch they are not looking to be sold to and want to find valuable content that enriches their lives and informs their purchase decisions. If you are reading this you have probably identified that there is a bit more to social media for business than posting the occasional selfie or product offer and crossing your fingers.
In this article, I outline how and why a Social Media Strategy vital for your success.
Yes, you will need to invest time and money at the beginning of the process and look inwardly at your business and at what your customers want but the longer-term outcome is that you will have a consistent strategy and plan that meets your objectives, can be planned in advance and measured so you understand what is working and what isn’t.
A robust social media strategy will involve an element of customer research and the development of User Personas. This will enable you to get to know your customers better and develop content that answers their questions. Rather than a vague idea of who you are speaking to you will have defined person in your head and be able to formulate and answer the questions they ask. I recently ran through this process with a client and we came up with 200 pieces of content around one of her products and that product was pensions!
If you are a service-based business provider you will need to promote yourself as part of your service. Unless you are lucky enough to have a unique business the likelihood is your customers will have 100’s of photographers, accountants and coaches to choose from. Why they choose you and choose to stay with you will be down to the relationship you build with them as well as the service you provide so if you are showing up and adding value you will become a trusted source of information for that person before they have even met you.
As you begin to see the results and better understand what resonates with people you will be inspired and motivated to keep ongoing.
By understanding where your audience hang out you will be able to target them in the right place and at the right time. This will focus you on those 1 to 2 platforms your audience is actually using and enable you to plan and produce content accordingly.
One of the great things about social is you can track the journey of your audience and find out information about them that can be used to understand their buying habits and help you to formulate new products and services. In theory, this is great but if you don’t understand what to look out for you won’t be able to measure your progress effectively. A social media strategy will help you to define those objectives and focus on the relevant insights.
If you lack direction and are inconsistent the likelihood is that people will be drawn to your competitors because they won’t understand what you do nor will you have established that ‘know, like, trust’ factor and a need for your products and services.
“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media. The question is, how well we do it.”
Continually coming up with new content is time-consuming and that’s time that could be spent doing the work you love to do and focussing on other parts of your business. A strategic approach to your social media will enable you to identify and share the content you already have. Repurpose and reuse what has worked previously and identify successful content that can be used elsewhere.
Social media is all about storytelling and creating a two-way conversation. A social media strategy will help you to understand who you need to talk to, what you should talk to them about and who and what your audience is influenced by. This will set you on the path for high-quality organic growth as well as given you more content to share.
It takes between 8-12 points of contact before someone will buy from you! (yes – you read that correctly!) In today’s Digital World we are constantly surrounded by brand advertising and messaging. No one is entirely sure but it is estimated that the average person sees around 6,000 ads a day and that’s not to mention all the organic content and emails we see from friends, clients and colleagues.
Obviously, there is only so much content that our brains can process so the rest will just be filtered out and forgotten. So if your content isn’t consistent, on-brand and of high quality you won’t be memorable.
If you want to get clear on your social media strategy and use it to build your business and your confidence. You can find out more about my new course: Unlock your Social Media Confidence: 4 steps to sales with your social media strategy.
The course starts on 18th October and is designed to take you from zero to social media hero in 4 modules.
It’s 2020, and social media is more important for businesses than ever before. According to Statista, 67% of the UK’s population are active on social media. With the average user spending 2 hours and 22 minutes per day consuming content.
If used properly, it can be a highly cost-effective way to market your business. Offering endless opportunities to increase brand awareness, generate leads and drive traffic to your website.
According to Shareable companies who focus on social selling and building customer relationships on social media see an average of 119% better ROI than those that choose to ignore it.
If you are a small business or just starting, it can be hard to find the time to build an active social media presence and can also feel a bit like shouting into a tunnel. Using social media to market your business is also very different from using it personally.
Firstly, you will need to develop a robust strategy which takes into account your business objectives, the needs of your audience and who you need to engage with.
You will also need to understand insights to help you work with the algorithms and regularly assess what is working and what isn’t.
Social media training can and will help you to do this. Read on for my top reasons why you should invest in social media training today.
When it comes to social media, there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach. Training will be bespoke to your needs and help you to identify and focus on the areas that will help you to grow your business and build an emotional connection with your customers.
Time is precious and without a robust understanding of your social media objectives and how to use it you and your employees will spend a significant amount of time researching how to plan content, monitor changes and whether to use Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or all four.
Investing in training will remove this headache by helping you to understand what you need to prioritise and how to strategically and effectively meet your objectives.
Not knowing how to do something is frustrating and demotivating. Social media training will equip you with the knowledge and the tools you need to implement your ideas and measure your success.
It will help you to understand what platforms your audience are using. Which type of content is working and how to get in front of your desired target audience. Giving you the confidence to embrace social media and use it in a whole new way.
Understanding what you are doing and learning to use social media in a strategic way effective way will ensure you know where to focus your efforts and stop you from wasting money on producing content that doesn’t reflect you or your business or resonate with your audience.
You have built a business you are proud of, so why not show it off? Research shows that 60% of people will check out a small business on social media before purchasing from them. A strong, engaging social media presence will ensure you achieve stand out, build a loyal following and create a customer experience that adds value.
Social media is continually evolving. Algorithm’s change, rules on best practice change and new tools come out all the time. Regular training and investment in your social media will help you to stay ahead of your competitors and benefit yourself and your team.
Consumers today expect the buying process to be a two-way conversation. We object to being sold to and are far more likely to buy from brands we have an emotional connection with and who share content that is both informative and that we can connect with emotionally. Telling your story and sharing insight and information into what you do and how you do it. Will increase the ‘know, like, trust’ factor and help you to build high-value relationships with your audience.
Social media training will help you take your business to the next level. To, find out more about our social media training.
An influencer is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as ‘Someone who affects or changes the way that other people behave, for example through their use of social media.’
Influencers are not a modern phenomenon. They have since the beginning of the human race been responsible for changing and defining our behaviour — creating modern society as we know it today. To put this into context Jesus Christ is still listed by ranker.com as the most influential person of all time.
The original advertising influencers were fictional characters designed by advertising agencies to create an emotional connection with an audience and give a face to brand long before the advent of TV and internet and the wide use of radio.
Probably the most famous and long-lasting of these are Santa Claus (for Coca Cola) and later Tony the Tiger (Kellogg’s). Fictional advertising characters still exist today but are mainly used for TV advertising. Examples are Churchill (Churchill Insurance) and the iconic Meerkat’s (comparethemarket.com).
The 1950s marked the beginning of the celebrity culture we see today. A higher level of disposable income and leaps in technology paved the way for celebrity and sports stars to become household names.
As more and more brands and products came into being, advertisers looked for ways to achieve standout and the celebrity endorsement was born. Celebrities had longevity then, usually global names these were often partnerships for life and conveyed the message that if you smoked a particular brand of cigarettes or drank a particular drink your life would be immeasurably better.
Celebrity endorsements are still widely used today although partnerships tend to be more short term and campaign-specific. L’Oréal for example have used celebrity endorsements for years. These are, however, constantly involving and matched with a current celebrity who is relevant to that specific product and its target audience.
The rise of Social Media has impacted on marketing and how and why we choose a product or service in a major way. We can now seek out seemingly ordinary people who we make an emotional connection with online these people share our beliefs, interests and values as well as creating content that resonates with us and adds value, making them an influencer.
Make no mistake this is big business for brands of all sizes and is becoming increasingly more commercially viable, making influencer marketing seemingly out of reach to small business and start-ups.
No matter what your size influencer marketing is still extremely valuable to your business and there are ways you can create influence and authentic partnerships with relevant people and this should be a key part of your media strategy.
Micro-influencers are those with a small but highly engaged following. They may be bloggers, local businesses, mums, fitness instructors — anyone really. They will have built an audience online by telling a story that resonates with a specific audience and keeping them engaged by continuing to do so.
This is of course great news for small businesses, these micro-influencers want to appear authentic and as a result, will not charge high advertising fees. They are also highly trusted by their audience and incredibly influential when it comes down to product consideration and driving purchase.
Some micro-influencers may charge for product endorsement however they are also looking to grow on social media and unearth products and services that their followers love.
Firstly, think about your overall brand strategy and crucially your current/ desired audience. What are their values, what inspires them and you! If you are an established business why not ask your current customer and the people in your community.
Once you have identified these people you will need to find a way of connecting with them. The great news is that if you have a similar target audience they may already be aware of your product and/ or service.
This is, of course, a long term goal which will be agreed between yourselves and is, unfortunately, one of the more time-consuming parts of social media marketing. But I would recommend:
This should be a no strings attached approach, particularly if you have no money to offer and believe that your product adds value as this will ultimately be more of a partnership and they will need to spend time creating content whether it be a review and SM post, or something else in return.
This can be time-consuming but if done correctly will give you unprecedented access to your desired target audience and enable your voice to be heard. After all, word of mouth marketing is still the most powerful tool of all.
Find out what The Sussex Social could do for your business.