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Speak truth even if your voice shakes

Easier said than done whether this is face to face, at home, in business, or on social media. But getting to the truth and being your authentic self is the only way forward.

The world is transforming at a startling pace.  We hear about digital transformation and innovation all the time.  But to move forward with this, we also have to innovate within ourselves and go through a personal transformation.

Transformation starts with a commitment to speaking truth.  When we see leaders role modelling speaking their own truth within organisations, there’s something very empowering about that for those who work with them.  It gives people permission to be themselves and to add their own voices which promotes self-worth and motivation.

When human beings hear the truth, it holds power - the power of connection, of knowing, of joy.

I’m here to help businesses and business owners connect with their own truth about what they’re offering, and to whom, and to enable them to speak it online in the most authentic way possible.

If your voice shakes?  We'll write it instead.  We'll turn it into a picture.

Why Being Authentic Matters On Social Media

Authenticity is my middle name.  Actually, it’s Jane, but perhaps we’ll get onto that another time.

Back to authenticity: since setting up Zebra I’ve talked a lot about authenticity.  What I really mean is that Zebra is a values-based business where being truthful and open matters – and that runs into how we present ourselves and our businesses online.

Being truly yourself in your social media presence isn’t just good for your wellbeing and personal development, it’s great for your business, too.

Are you really and TRULY yourself on social media?  Do you need to be for your business to thrive and for you to make the most meaningful connections with the right people, to get you from where you are now to where you really want to be?

I’d go as far as saying that if a potential client comes to me and something about their personality or business offering doesn’t stack up (i.e. they have an issue with authenticity) then I’m highly unlikely to work with them.  Learnt THAT one through painful experience.

They too, in response, would be highly unlikely to warm to my values-based, call a spade a spade approach.

I’ve had a few times when a business owner has asked me to “do their social media marketing” but upon trying to dig deeper there’s nothing at all to dig into and you’re left with two choices – (1) whether to polish a turd or (2) say goodbye.  Option 1 is soul destroying and impossible once you’ve committed to authenticity.

Social media is all about growing and deepening your connections – hopefully resulting in sales, but also picking up fans, new opportunities, insights, training, mentors and collaborators along the way.

Authenticity is uncovering those aspects of you and your business that speak to the masses.  Your USP always comes from your people so by showing people the REAL you, you cannot fail to make the right connections.

Having an authentic presence on social media enables you to find and develop meaningful contacts who love what you do and stand for, and ultimately will help you grow your business.

What’s stopping you?

I’m living proof that people are their own worst nightmares when it comes to creating blocks for themselves.  I’ve got walls that would make Donald Trump proud and I’ve been trying to smash them down for the past few years.  I’m one of those people who finds that easier to do for others than for myself, like so many people in helping professions.

Reasons why people shy away from being themselves on social media:

1.      Fear of success (self-talk goes like “shit, what if I’m really good and my business grows beyond my wildest dreams! How will I cope?”)  This is more common than you might think

2.      Fear of what others will say (imagined talk of others “who does she think she is? Oh gosh what if they have a point – who do I think I am? Better get back in line”.)

But please don’t!  Please don’t get back in line.  If you have a great message, one of information sharing, one of truth, one of progress, then I’m not only on your side, I’m here to help you shine more brightly than you thought was possible.

Let my knowledge and skills boost you and your business to be the best version of yourself and your business.

I hear you.  Really – I’m a good listener.  But also, I HEAR YOU on a deeper level.  I can hear the passion in your voice, I notice when your eyes light up, I hear when your voice gets stronger and I feel it when your energy animates your entire body, even if you’re on the other side of the world and we’re chatting over Skype.

I see all the spaces in between what you’re saying and then I find a creative and authentic way to replicate that online so that you feel what you’re saying OUT THERE is also what your heart is saying IN THERE.  I can give as much or as little input as you need.

I’ll help you find the best hashtags and the best fit accounts to start you on a path to building relationships with the people that fit you.

Sometimes we can’t see ourselves clearly – but I’ll see you.  And I’m there to help you be your best self.  I’m your springboard away from fear and toward the life and the business you want.

Just come to me with your authentic self and I’ll do the same back.

5 Steps to proving your worth on Instagram

Instagram is not all pretty pink chair and fluffy rugs
but a bit of eye candy won't hurt

How can you prove your worth on Instagram?

Let’s firstly take a look at what NOT to do

I’m going to put this out there.  Instagram images that are all about making money make me wanna puke.  You may have seen them – a celebrity picture that has little or nothing to do with the quote or a really expensive car.  The photo will be garish with yellow or red writing.  Seriously - red writing – just don’t!  Instagram is not a horror movie.  There will be copious dollar signs and possibly a behind the scenes shot of some geezer smoking a cigar.  This is a masterclass in how NOT to provide worthy content.  It’s bullshit and will attract bullshitters.

How do I know what’s worthy then?

1.       Research competitors’ pages. Research your competitors and people you admire.  Work out what are their most popular posts. Emulate them.  I said emulate, not copy.

2.       Research your clients existing clients / customers. What else do they follow? What else do they like? What do they engage with?  Give them more of what they want.  This may mean tweaking your services or products or the way you present them.  Go with what is most popular and do it really well.

3.       Feedback. Pay attention to feedback from your customers and clients. What is it that they most value about what you know, do, say, give, make, share, etc?  Feedback is one way to discover your worth. I’m lucky – as a trainer people give me feedback all the time. Face to face, real time feedback (that tends to be the positive stuff!).  The stuff that people respond positively to, provides me with content.

4.       Work out who are you valuable to? Your worth holds value to someone – or many. It’s simply a matter of finding the people who need what you currently know or have or do or create – and then sharing it with them.  These people may be location dependent or a particular demographic. Take time to segment your market and figure out where they are.

5.       Acid test. Is what you’re about to post extrinsically or intrinsically worthy?  Example from my own IG feed – extrinsic worth are the free tips and actions that followers can go away and implement to improve their own accounts.  It’s business-related. It’s social media related. A follower can take it and use it and I’m ok with that.  Posts with intrinsic worth are quotes, meaningful statements and truths.  They will make your followers stick.  If you take time to create content that holds meaning, that is worthy in itself and people recognise that.

6 Easy Methods That Will Dramatically Improve Your Blogging Success

1.       Do your competitor research. Spend some time on Google finding out which of your competitors’ blogs are reaching the top spots. There’s a good reason why those blogs end up at the top of the search rankings!  If you’re at a starting point with your blog, seek to emulate their content. At least you know it will drive some content to your site.

2.       Produce at least 10 blogs per month to drive enough fresh relevant traffic to your website.

3.       Don’t go it all alone! Whether you need to hire a writer with experience of SEO and online marketing or whether it’s just a case of getting someone to cast an eye over your blog to prevent mistakes, make sure there are at least 2 of you on the job.

4.       Check that a link to your business blog can be found from your home page. Easily. You won’t even believe me that many companies fail to do this, but it’s true.  If your readers can’t find your blog, you’re missing vital clicks!

5.       Know your audience. Oh gosh yes, you’re like “I ALREADY KNOW THAT! I did English at school.” But get deeper with it because this matters.  Do you really know your customers and know what makes them tick? What emotions do they connect with? Give them that. Get to know them. When your audience reads your blog, they have to know you and feel like they want to know you more.  So yes, engage a blog writer to help with your blogging.  But make sure you give them LOADS of information about what your customers like about your company and what they want more of.  If you’re unsure – ask them!

6.       Make it conversational. Like you’re having an actual chat with the reader.  Blogging is intentionally informal.  Imagine yourself genuinely having a chat with the reader.  Like you’re sitting down having a cuppa, looking them in the eyes when you’re talking.  Like their ears can hear your voice.

There is a lot more to blogging than this but following these 6 simple steps will ensure you are well on your way to blogging success.
If you’re looking to hire a blog writer, give me a call on 07544461914. I will be happy to discuss your blogging needs.

Simple Tips to Increase your Interaction on Social Media

If your next action point is increasing your interaction then here are a few tips to help. 
It’s easy to become fixated on growing the number of followers, but doing this alone is no guarantee of online success at all.  The founder of Buffer says about number of followers: “Quality is key. Quantity can’t be forgotten”.
So numbers are important, but stats are not everything.  You have to work on interacting with your key people (mentions, replies, conversations), which increases the quality of your followers and makes it social.
How do you interact?
Ask questions. You could try a mix of general social questions and some that are more pertinent to your business. Use your judgement as you would in face to face conversation.  Twitter is ideal for asking questions as the character limit is short.
Facebook is great for asking questions as people are used to the format of commenting on Facebook.
Who are your key people?
Who do you want to interact with?  Be clear, because the answer will be different for each unique business. It may be customers, influencers, or someone you wish to establish a warm relationship with prior to making a pitch.
In real life, what questions would you like to ask these people in conversation? Let that be your guide to online communication too.
Make sure you know your overall aim in increasing your interactions.  What social media does is mimic real life social interactions but on a grander scale, hence authenticity is vital in all communications.  One aim should always be to get your followers and customers to know you.
Can your Employees & Friends butt in?
Do your employees or connections (or friends for that matter) have accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram etc?  If so, ask them to like, share, follow, retweet and comment on your posts which will increase interaction and help you get going with conversations.  You could try this out with people you meet this week and see how it goes
e.g. “Great to see you yesterday at the ** event. What did you think of….?”  It’s simple, polite and provides a great opener.
Not exactly high cognitive input to get going this way!
Increase your own online content
If you have a website, are you publishing pages of that website via your social media?  If not, then you’re relying on members of the public finding your web pages and blogs naturally via searches or browsing.  If you want to get your content noticed, you have to put it in front of people’s eyes on a regular basis.  Blogging & having rich content on your web pages is the best way to do this.
If you need help with writing quality blog or website copy, please get in touch.
Be an Informer not a Me-former
Did you know that people who share informative content including content that comes from others, tend to have twice the number of followers of people who just share information about themselves or their own business?
Nobody likes an overload of boasting so all businesses should aim to provide helpful content first and foremost, following which your followers won’t mind a bit of informative promotion after that.
Make sure you have a good mix of related, informative content from your own website and from others.
Any questions on how to do this, what blog posts to write? What headlines will get you the most clicks? Need copy writing for you because you’re too busy?  Then get in touch for any of this!

Allowing the authentic in

It's no secret that you're amazing and bright

There may be many deep and meaningful answers to “how to let the authentic in”, however, let’s say you want a business fast track to being more authentic in your online marketing.  Where to start?

If you keep in mind that you want to use your social media presence to help people, it becomes easier to share your thoughts. The potential for learning, expansion, joy and truth is also greater because social media enables you to tap into a massive network.  You're not operating in a small corner of the globe. Online we're all operating globally - when you open yourself up to the potential people you could connect with across the entire world this is something to embrace!  More connections, more fans, more customers, more abundance.

Every time you put out a post, you stamp yourself onto it. Every time you speak, every time you have a thought, a value, a notion…all of those things have your energy all over them. So get that energy stamp put out there!  Why?

Because people are waiting to connect with others who make them feel good as well as people who are competent and trustworthy. They will love you for it, and they’ll choose you over your competitors.

Ideas on where to start being more authentic on social media:

1.      Forget the risk that 'watered down' or 'similar' hits a wider audience.  I’m telling you diluted samey content hits no one.  Better to have a few people truly engage with you than no one at all.  You’re competing with an internet crammed to the brim-full - you gotta do something to stand out so why not embrace your uniqueness?

2.      Tune into your voice – don’t try and be too stuffy or perfectly crafted (unless you naturally are a more formal sort of person, which is fine too). Think about how you speak and stick with that.  Be you.

3.      Don’t pretend to know everything.  Honesty is so important, people can tell. The bonus here is that people usually want to help, so if you admit you don’t know how to do something, chances are one of your connections does!

4.      Approach your posts in a spirit of positivity. If you know that you’re putting stuff out there intending to help people, it doesn’t matter if some people aren’t interested. There will be others who are, and they will latch onto you, because, ultimately, we’re all human and we all want to make connections with people that ‘get’ us.

5.      What about you is unique?  Do you have a hobby or talent that you’re hiding under a bushel?  If so why is your talent hiding?

6.      What do others say about you?  Yeah some of us are a bit uncomfortable in the limelight, and if this is you then start asking for feedback.  Then start USING that feedback in your self-talk and online promotion.

Social media cheat sheets – coming soon

Very soon I’ll be bringing you a range of quick and easy cheat sheets to get your social media planning up and running really quickly.
It’s my view that people are time poor and need practical help as quickly as possible.  Our cheat sheets will be categorised by industry type and social e.g. “Instagram cheat sheet for Financial Advisors”.
These materials will be based on the business knowledge imparted by the fabulous people we’ve worked with over the past three years.
If there are any particular industry types or platforms you’d like to see covered, you can get in touch and let me know what you’d like to see!  We’ll be adding them to the website as and when they’re ready and keeping prices affordable for small businesses.