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Follower management – are you sure you’re following back your biggest supporters?



With so many apps that allow you to see just who does and doesn’t follow you back on various social platforms, it’s essential to have a regular clear up of your social accounts.  This is especially relevant on Twitter and Instagram, to check these three things:

  1. You ARE following back the people who you value
  2. You are NOT wasting your time following accounts that are not a good match for you and your business
  3. Who is following (or not following) you?

There are a few people who I know I am connected with personally, who for whatever reason, are not following me back.  I’m talking about people who are in my life, who message me frequently, people I trust implicitly.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that these people value me as I do them, but as a crude sense check, the fact that they don’t follow me back looks on the surface as though I am not important to them.

You see how this could play out with someone you only vaguely know?

Believe me, I can only say this because I know this has happened a few times with people who do genuinely value me - and because with my Zebra hat on, I'm hyper on top of this kinda stuff.

Think about it.  What signal does it send when you don’t follow someone back, whilst they are liking and engaging with your posts?  Cringe, not a great one, truthfully.

There’s a risk (in all the chaos involved in social media) of losing someone as a warm connection simply because you’re not following them.  When you know a person in real life you also know that they’re just not on top of their social game, but if you don’t know that person, you might mistakenly think they don’t value you.

We all want to be valued, especially by those people who we also value.

There might be someone who you do genuinely value, but because you’re not connecting and engaging with them or following them back, you might be losing out on a warm friendship, networking opportunities or ultimately, business.  This will happen naturally with those accounts that have millions of followers, but I'm talking about smaller ones by far.  Just regular people.

Many people use apps to assess who’s following them (and there are many very good ones available).  Meaning you could be losing out on business simply by not being on top of your account.  That's sad, especially when you put a lot of effort into producing content in the first place.

So I'd like to put it to you: are you able to keep on top of managing your social accounts?

If the answer is no and you need some support tailored to help you, perhaps just a quick clean up and sense check, let me know.  I have lots of simple tools, tricks and techniques to move you forward faster and smarter, leaving you free to do all the meaningful work your business entails.

Rachel :) Just send me a message if you feel you'd benefit from some help xx


Common frustrations with social media and how to overcome them


I recently recorded my first podcast – you can listen to it on Soundcloud - Overcoming Frustrations with Social Media. For those who prefer to read their content, I produced a transcript here. Let me know if this message resonates with you and if you’re in need of any help with your social media, just get in touch to start the conversation.  Transforming your social media presence can happen quickly.

In this podcast I talk about the kinds of frustrations regular people in businesses have with social media, what I’ve heard people say over the past 4 years and what you can do to overcome some of these frustrations.


Undoubtedly everyone feels that social media is such a DRAG sometimes.

You get stuck for what to write and whether there’s any point anyway.

Should you be asking questions, stating your offers, telling a story, showing a snapshot of what you’ve been doing, a picture of your cat, sharing meaningful quotes or ploughing ahead with some kind of sales talk??

You might wonder how often should you share and what happens to your social media on the days when you feel grumpy?

Sometimes you feel like you’ve said it all, or that you’ve said it, but what you wrote online just didn’t hold the same power as when you speak it?

Some of you are undoubtedly rocking the live videos but even when you’ve got over that initial hurdle of putting yourself out there online, sometimes you feel like a video was a bit off and then all those worries and vulnerabilities can come back, and you wonder whether the feedback is truthful.

To some people, making videos might seem like a lot of effort and putting yourself out there and vulnerability, and risking negativity, for what you get in return.

Or maybe you can’t fathom why other people and businesses who are churning out frankly lower quality posts are getting more likes? And that can seem frustrating or unfair.

Want to write your truth but the naysayers in your head are holding you back? That emotional block that we might attach around specific stories can be built up into quite repetitive story that we tell ourselves about why we can’t move forward.  We can stay stuck in the same place if we’re not aware of what that block really is.

Then there’s those sponsored adverts with cheesy faced successful entrepreneurs that promise you are going to be a millionaire or Rockstar if you just hustle more…

Wait what?

If you’re like me you think well, we don’t talk like that in Yorkshire!

Either way you probably don’t need yet another free webinar that actually just sells you an expensive programme for 20 minutes.

So many days social media efforts can feel like a lot of faffing and effort for not a lot of return

And it leaves so many people saying why am I bothering?

So what do you do?

First of all recognise EVERYONE feels like this!

Secondly, admitting that returns only come through hard work and you have to keep going to see any returns, you have to keep digging deep into the most authentic version of what you’re offering and why.

All your negative self-talk is no excuse not to push forward and keep going with your messages on social media. You just have to make sure they absolutely speak of YOU!

In fact, in order to state who you are, what your business stands for, what your offers are, you absolutely MUST be on social media and consistently pushing out the most authentic message you can.

There are no quick fixes (are there ever??)

You have to do the work and some days it’s harder than others.

The good news is, everything you need is inside you.  And it just needs unlocking.

The way in which I work with each of my clients is on an individual basis that suits them.  It might be one or two hours per month.  It might be a day of training and brainstorming ideas.  It might be setting a strategy for your social media, it might be coaching followed by writing work that we do together as though I’m part of your team, whether you’re a team of one or more.  There is no one size fits all.

There is this misconpetion that social media is really easy. It’s not. Done well it looks easy, but it takes a lot of patience, time, creative effort and thinking about.

The biggest work you can do is on yourself, to make sure that the messages you are conveying are really what you want to put out.

Then you are in vibrational flow with what you are sending out into the online sphere

Then you will find your natural match, saying yes I get it, and wanting to reply to the stuff you’ve put out there. that’s when you know yu’re in flow because you’re getting the engagement back

There is no shame in asking for help, so many entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, freelancers, and it’s so hard to work on your own and produce everything on your own

Sometimes an hour of working together, with someone else reflecting back to you your core messages and saying this is what stands out when you communicate, that is really powerful, to see yourself back

What I do is present a person back to themselves in writing, in their own powerful voice and make suggestions over the types of posts that will work for you.

When you start to build up a profile for yourself, for your brand and business, you are creating an online reality that matches your internal self – that is when you feel in flow and attract the right people into your life

Of course when the right people, friends, clients, associates appear – then it validates you even more that your messages are on the right lines and gives you the confidence to work from that place on a more regular basis.  You become a better online creator naturally because everything is in flow.

I’ve seen this work for so many people, that really is the key to making it work online.

That’s where I get my energy from.  The more people I work with who go on to do marvellous things online that they once could barely dream of, from seeing people coming to me saying this is how I feel but I don’t feel like I can put this online, and then seeing them blossom into their best online selves, is an amazing transformation.

We work together until you are really happy and confident with what you are putting online.

To see people flourishing in an online space is absolute magic for me.

The world needs more of this, more truth and authenticity online, rather than fakers.

I’ve been through a phase in my business where clients have appeared who wanted me to polish a turd.  Sorry for the plain speaking.  That’s not me, and doesn’t honour what I’m capable of.  For a while I worked like this, but all it does it tie up my time when I could be working with passionate innovators who just need that extra bit of confidence, push, feedback , help and to see them flourish.  

People with a yearning to get their message into the online space.

I hope what I’ve said has sounded useful to you.

I truly believe that what we each need to be putting out there online is held within us, and it’s about finding that key to unlocking the magic within you and getting it out so that the people who you are meant to work with, can find you.

If that resonates with you, feel free to get in touch because I would love to hear from you and to work with you on presenting you and your business in its best light online.


Putting a fresh stamp on your social media efforts



Feeling the energy of new starts this morning:

New term at school. Spring. Mornings. Mondays.  Really any time can be a new start!  Any time you get that “new” feeling, a spring in your step that means you’re ready for change.

You can start afresh any time, with a new idea, a change of direction or even a fresh injection of enthusiasm into your online efforts.

The energy of your life and business is down to you.  You are the creator.

People can feel your energy by the way you write, speak and the images you present, so it's important to make sure your content has the right energetic vibe for the people you want to attract into your business.

If you haven’t been enjoying creating your online / social media posts or feel that there’s a block, something is not flowing right, I’d be happy to talk it through with you to help you better represent yourself or your business online.

Just send me a message to start the conversation 😊  

The Long Term game of Social Media


Social media is a long term game.  After a while it can seem a bit samey for any business to keep ploughing ahead with their social media.

Changes happen.  Life happens.  For a while I’ve been pretty neglectful of my own Zebra marketing, and the reasons around that have been many-fold - perhaps some of them may resonate with you.  I was so busy with other work that there was no time to invest in taking care of the business social media account, combined with the fact that I had no space in my diary to serve other clients, so it seemed natural to halt proceedings for a while.

Yet there are dangers in being too absent from social media.  People start to question whether you're still around, and what's happening.  Any potential newcomers would just click away and think if I'm not taking care of my own social accounts, how could I possibly help with theirs?  Oh the irony!

But something deeper was happening too, and it’s something we’re all subject to.  The natural changes of life.  My own life story was changing rapidly, and everything I say about being authentic online suddenly fell by the wayside on my own business social media as I grappled with “where am I now and what do I share?”

It’s not that I stopped being authentic, more like I invested my new-found voice and energy elsewhere.  Business social media wasn’t the right channel to post about the “other stuff” that was going on, and so my authentic outlet became my personal blog and the books I'm writing.

It’s easy to see how social media accounts get neglected. But eventually you have to come back and say, hi, I’m still here.  So hi.  I'm still here.

Now what to share?

When things change, we can sometimes end up re-framing what’s okay to share and what’s not.  What channels should we be on and which are not working? (This is a constant question since developers on our fave platforms are always in the business of changing the interfaces and algorithms).

You may have found yourself asking questions (both on personal and business accounts):

Who are we now?

How do we reposition ourselves?

How to advertise our new services?

Can we still say the same things as before?

How should we come across now?

Authenticity

I always say authenticity is the best way forward because of the principle of like attracting like.  Okay but how - and what - and who?

Values

The easiest way to position yourself for the long haul is by values.  Regardless of what is happening externally in your life (personally, nationally, politically, globally) you can share your values and write around them.

Why?

People do business with people they like and who give them something they need - whether it's a need to feel heard, comfortable, safe, invigorated, motivated, whatever the heck it is.  Emotional needs are really important even if they are not verbally or consciously stated.

People will come to you and your business for a reason.  The more you express yourself in terms of values, the more people can get to know the real you.  Business social media marketing is essentially a global match making online service between real people who we call providers and clients.

The chemistry part comes from values.

When you do meet a client you've attracted via social media, you're way more likely to match up because you've already been the real you online and you "click" more quickly in person.  This is why surface level marketing just sounds phoney and fake.

Businesses who stay strong on values – whatever those values are – loyalty, integrity, innovation, adaptability, whatever marks you out as being you – that is unlikely to change significantly despite external stuff changing, so if you're going to re-purpose content for your blog or website, make sure you have plenty of evergreen values based content to share.

Regardless of all the external changes that come and go: however many new staff you take on, however many awards you win, whichever events you attend, the magazines you're featured in, whatever courses you do, whatever new certificates you produce and whatever new services you offer, underneath it all, you’re still YOU.

Are YOU re-evaluating what to share publicly at the moment?

Often this exact dilemma is why clients approach me, to help them with creating messages that feel like a good representation of what they truly want to communicate online about themselves and their business RIGHT NOW.  Not next year, cos we haven't reached that yet.  Not last month, because we are past that now.  But now.  And the more we practice getting in the flow of sharing compelling content, the more easily we can be our authentic selves online.

There is no accident why internet sensations like Gary Vee and Marie Forleo are so popular, because every time they share content you can feel that they are completely in the flow.  They are a walking talking masterclass in authenticity (and high vibe energy!)

To summarise, when developing a social strategy, always keep in mind social media is a long term game.  If in doubt, share content that connects you with your values.

To work with Rachel, please get in touch via the contact page for an initial discussion :) 

New to Instagram? Here’s my best advice



Not everyone in the world is on Instagram (although to be fair, many are), so if you’re a little late to the party but want to build an audience, fast, here are some ways to do this!  By the way this is the most condensed written form of my training ever.

Build an audience quickly with hashtags
To build an audience on Instagram, you have to rock the hashtag thing– it works both ways whether you want to be found or to find others. Instagram is like a massive match making platform between you and the rest of the world, I mean forget the spamming weirdos who use it as a dating service, just block them and see it as a means of gathering your rightful audience, your soul tribe.

They’re out there.  Go find ‘em.

First of all make a note of your overall themes.  Let’s say you have a blog about outdoor writing and photography.

Note down your general themes and turn them into hashtags.  I mean, actually please do this.  Get a pen and pad.

Hashtag overall key themes

#writing #poetry #outdoors #countryside #photography

These are your basics. You need to be using these frequently, but they are also overdone, so you can build up your hashtag use by taking any one of these and doing it to death, as in the following example.

Take photography.

#photography #photo #photographer #amateurphotographer #pic #canonnphotography #lightroom #photographoftheday #nikon

You get me?

So if you’re a photographer, put some of your best pics up with these hashtags.  You can either include hashtags with your post caption, or put your hashtags in a separate comment after your own comment that goes with your pic.  You’ll now get followed by other photographers or people looking for those hashtags.  Follow them back if you like their account.

Let’s take another key theme hashtag, say #outdoors

Now go bananas with it and see what happens:

#outdooradventures #outdooradventurephotos #outdoorslover #outdoordude #hike #hiking #walking #hikerlife #lovehiking #hikingwithfriends #walkingclub

You can make up your own, such as I made up Outdoor Dude (?!) but also a great tip is to go to the search facility on Instagram and type in one of your key hashtags.  Take a look at what else that brings up (Instagram will offer you similar hashtags across the top of the screen).  Note down the ones you like.

Trending
If you want to be cynical about it you can also look up what’s trending, and words like #love and #girl are always popular, but possibly out of genre unless your post happens to be about a girl you love.

Cynical audience building
If you’re simply looking for likes and follows then #like4like #follow4follow and all the other crap that goes with it, are ways to get an audience fast, but I don’t advocate this as it’s both cynical and riddled with bullshit accounts you’ll wish you never attracted.

I’ve been saying quality over quantity for the past 4 years and I’m not about to stop now.

Practical implementation
If you have a lot of content to go on IG, the quickest way is probably using a scheduling app like Hootsuite, in which you can schedule photos in advance and type messages as long as your arm and hashtags to go with it.

If you don’t use a facility like this, manually the quickest way I’ve found to get hashtags onto your Instagram page is to keep them in a word doc or notes page then copy and paste them to yourself via messenger app and copy them from there to your Instagram page.

Get organised
Let’s say you want to share content in different topic areas.  If you have some posts about health, some about writing, some about parenting, etc, you can keep your hashtags in a table in categories, making it easier to quickly add hashtags to your posts that are relevant and will drive an audience to them.

Whilst this sounds like a pain, it’s really not when you consider you can hashtag every post with up to 30 hashtags. Yes, it’s like hashtag spamming yourself but it’s also an amazing way to pick up an audience very quickly.  Once you gave gathered an audience you can slow down on the hashtag spam a bit and work on building relationships with your community instead, but to gather your tribe, hashtag away.

The key to keeping an Instagram account going is posting regular content of a high quality.  This is least of all a problem for a photographer.  If you’re not a photographer (I@m certainly not!) then get yourself clued up with some YouTube tutorials on how to take better pics with your smartphone camera.  Learn the basics of what settings you need, lighting, perspective, etc.  General rule – the lighter and brighter the photo, the more clicks it gets, so use your phone edit function to make it brighter.

Caption
Make sure you write something in your caption. This can be a real tough one for some people, we’re not all writers and writers block can be common. The deeper you dig and the more authentic you can be, the better. Humans are hardwired to listen to stories, so try turning your hand to storytelling and making meaning.  Never forget there is meaning to be found in everyday experiences. The more emotionally compelling and truthful, the more we connect.

Downside
The biggest downside is not having clickable links within the Instagram post itself meaning people cannot directly go to your blog.  In this case it’s best to copy a snippet of your best writing, a tantalising taste, from your blog directly into your IG caption which will give your followers a taste but also make them click through to your website for the full article.

Theme
Also, you need to have a think about your overall theme and positioning. What is the purpose of your IG account?  Is it personal or are you also selling something or showcasing a hobby or driving traffic to a website or blog site? Your purpose will inform your theme, type of content to post both images and captions.

By being clear about who you want to attract you can better understand your audience and how to write for them.  Most of all, be real.  There are no rules, make it as fun and creative as you like.  The more you play with it, the more you’ll want to put into it.  You can see your IG account as an expression of your own creativity.

Be yourself
Of all the platforms I personally find Instagram the place where you can be most yourself.  It’s a creative’s dream.  Aside from the occasional message from users who mistake it for a dating site, it’s an accepting place full of lovely kind tolerant people.  It comes without the harsh sarcastic opinions of Twitter and without the close friends and family ready to jump on shouting WTF that you might encounter on Facebook.

Building friendships and letting your intuition guide you
Use hashtags to search for other accounts you might like.  Ask friends to tag you in accounts or posts they think you might like and do the same for them.  Remember to comment on others’ posts in the same way you might on FB, but comments are normally expected to be complimentary and brief.

Instagram, like any other platform, will offer you friends you have on other social sites and in your phone contacts.  This doesn’t mean you have to follow them.  This is your feed and all posts and accounts come with an energy.  If you don’t like someone’s energy or type of post, simply don’t follow them and then you won’t have to hold yourself in resistance.

It’s really that simple.  Same with accounts you love or otherwise envy – if they give you a case of comparing-itis because their life looks too perfect, leave them alone.  Online platforms work best when you take your real-life energy and pour it into an online space.  Use your intuition to feel into the accounts that make you feel happy.  All else is surplus.


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 be willing to go through regular personal transformations.

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 can always write it instead until it's ready to be said.

LinkedIn private messages – apparently the new way to get business


Not another spammy message!

Recently when I read through my LinkedIn messages, it feels like everyone has been on a course, one that tells you how to send “warm and personal” messages via LinkedIn.  I’ll concede they’re a step up from outright spam, but a small one.

I guess other people must be getting these type of warm and friendly messages from outright strangers too.

No doubt the senders have been told that sending messages via LinkedIn is a successful way to gain clients.  And I’m sure if the recipients were the right target market then it would be a great strategy.  But when they’re not targeted to the right people, then the reading and writing of said messages becomes a colossal waste of time for everyone involved.

Unsolicited uninvited messages to the wrong target market just doesn’t make good business sense.  Then I wondered, what’s the excuse for getting your target market wrong?  With LinkedIn, you actually have tonnes of upfront information to go at.  If your recipient has filled in their LinkedIn profile fully and correctly then you pretty much have access to their full online CV, meaning there should be very little reason to ever target the wrong people with offers they’re unlikely to want to take up.

It’s interesting to watch trends in how people behave on various social platforms and people have upped their game on LinkedIn for sure.  I do feel that the aim has surely got to be true connection, authenticity, clearly defined purpose and a clearly defined target market.  Working on tailored messages would therefore make sense.  Yes it takes longer to craft them, but nurturing real relationships takes time in every area of life – and the rewards reaped are far greater where care has been taken in the first place.

Open ended questions do work well in terms of engagement, but not so open ended that there is zero point in responding.  I frequently get messages from people I don’t’ know whatsoever saying things like “hope business is good, how’s your week?”

Huh?

I have like at least 100 people who I’d like to connect with and tell them how my week is going if only there was the time.  Responding personally via direct message to someone I don’t know is not only a long way down the list, it’s simply not going to happen.

So, advice from someone who has definitely not been on a LinkedIn course but hangs out on LinkedIn for my 2 jobs:

1.       Define your target market very clearly
2.       Only contact people who are in your target market
3.       Spend time thinking about next steps – what do you want to happen next – craft your message appropriately with this in mind
4.       Test out on small handful of people before going wild
5.       Always remember, quality over quantity