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.

What Social Media Training Do You Need?

Not only do there seem to be millions of social media platforms and tools to get your head around, there are also loads of ways to learn about them. So where do you start? Here are some things to bear in mind when considering social media training, plus a run-through some of the most commonly available options.

So, before you book onto a course or hire a consultant, have a think about these three things:

1.      Where are you at now?
Are you a complete novice? Do you have a sense of what’s out there and need help crafting a strategy? Or are you after tactics tips – how to get the best return on investment? Knowing where you are in terms of skills and
understanding will help you work out which training is for you.

2.      What does your company need?
A multi-national law firm is going to have very different needs to a local ice cream parlour: different audiences, channels, tone and voice. Your company will have a brand and audience all of its own, so take the time to think about how you want to position yourself before launching into expensive training you might not need.

3.      Who’s being trained?
If you’re a solopreneur, chances are it’s you! If you’re in a bigger organisation, think about how you’ll manage your social media presence and achieve both consistency and authenticity when several (or several hundred) of you are tweeting away.

Ok, enough with the reflection.  What training options are out there and how do you choose?

Free Online Training
The key benefit to this is up there in the heading – the F-word. Most of what you need to know about developing and implementing a social media strategy is out there, right now, for free. So if you’ve got no budget, or you’re interested in marketing, the good news is that you can start doing your research and getting to grips with it all, gratis.

The downside is obvious, of course – time. The internet’s a big place. But this blog’s not a bad place to start – you’ll find tips for getting started and getting better with twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more.

These can be a rich source of information and help, however, they also might not be and you’ll have to sit through an hour’s information to see whether it has any relevance.  In my mind it’s like sitting through a YouTube video and clicking off after 10 minutes, finding another one and doing the same.  It’s easy to give up and think the right training is not out there – but it will be, it’s just finding the right support!

Don’t forget webinars often come with a built in hard sell to join a membership programme or to sign up to something that you might not want.  It can get a bit tedious.  I focus on where you are right now and where you want to be next.  All my training and consultations are tailored completely to your business.

Training workshops
If you know where you want to upskill, training workshops are a good way to go. They’re usually cheaper than a private arrangement and cut through all the research you’d need to do with the DIY free option.  It’s worth discussing your needs with the trainer before booking anything – you’ll get more out for the course or workshop if you (a) trust the trainer knows what they’re doing and (b) have checked out that the course will be pitched at your level (if other delegates are total beginners or experts when you’re looking for something at an intermediate level the trainer’s going to struggle to keep you all happy).

In-house training
Do you want to get more people trained, and make sure that your set up is just right for your brand and audience?  This option is my favourite all round training option – I love getting stuck into all your nitty gritty questions.  We can focus on your own company’s needs and because I’ll already have worked with you around understanding your business and employee needs this training is much faster at getting you where you want to be.

One-to-one consultation
One-to-one consultation can be great for problem solving, or problem identifying.  A consultation is actually just a conversation, usually over Skype, where we discuss your current issues, blocks and discover together a roadmap of how to get from there to where you want to be.  Some companies come for one consultation and resolve their issues right there and then.  It can be such a powerful thing just to touch base with someone who is in the know about the current trends in social media marketing (and wider areas of digital marketing and branding) that this is a very quick and powerful way for companies to check in that their strategy is working – and where possible to learn little tweaks that can have big benefits even in a short timescale.

If you’ve got a specific campaign or business issue that needs a boost, you can achieve real focus and depth with a consultation.

It’s my mission that any conversation will result in my clients leaving with clarity and actionable advice.

If you’re not sure where to start with training, a consultation might be the best bet for getting to the heart of your issues, fast.

So, as you might’ve guessed, I offer the whole range of training formats!

But I’m not into the hard sell – it’s better for my business if I only work with people who want and need my help.

if you feel like you could do with more energy and expertise behind your social media, whether it’s for personal or business branding, just drop me an email and I’ll be happy to arrange an open and honest discussion.

Which social platforms are right for your business?

As I work mainly with larger B2B companies my main social platforms of interest are Twitter and LinkedIn.  However, that’s not to say that there aren’t other channels you can have a go on too.  With my client, The AREA, we are finding that we have a decent following on Instagram too.  It does make sense that a lot of startups and developers who are into technology and may be a younger audience would hang out on Instagram.

It’s all about adapting your content to suit the audience, so on Instagram we tend to do shout outs for our member organizations which sets the scene for the size of our global alliance and gives others an indication of the types of companies they’d be mixing with if they joined The AREA, and we intersperse that with information about events.  The events are open to the public so it’s ideal for a platform like Instagram – we can help attract a global audience through hashtags of locations as well as the technology that will be showcased and discussed.

If you have a business social media presence but you’re unsure about the types of content to share on different platforms (tailored to your business and to the audience you most want to connect with) then do get in touch!  Genuinely, sometimes all it takes is a conversation to bounce ideas off another person i.e. me (!) to get you to the next level in your social strategy!

5 Steps to Instagram Magnetism

What makes some Instagram accounts so successful and others fall like a lead-bellied lemur? Instagram might seem like a fun and fluffy platform, but there are most definitely some dos and don’ts in getting it working for your business. Here’s a blueprint for getting your account set up to attract your ideal client, and keep them close.

Check out your competitors
There will be people from your industry using Instagram already, some better than others. Spend time researching them and working out who you admire. Who’s most successful and what are their most successful posts? Can you identify what it is that works well? Once you’ve got a sense of what it is they’re doing, emulate them. Don’t copy them, you need to create a brand identity and voice all of your own. But make use of their success to position yourself well.

Research your existing clients
Whatever your competitors are doing, the most important people to watch are your clients. What is it they are interested in? Who else do they follow and what sort of posts do they engage with? What does this research tell you? If need be, tweak how you present things so you’re more tuned-in to what your clients are following.

Who cares?
Instagram can open a whole new world of clients for you. Your worth holds value to someone out there – quite probably many people. It’s simply a matter of finding them and sharing with them.  These people may be location or interest specific, or a particular demographic. Take time to segment your market and figure out where they are.

Seek feedback (and act on it)
Pay attention to feedback from your customers and clients. What is it that they most value about what you know, do, say, give, make or share?  Feedback is one way to discover your worth. I’m lucky – as a trainer people give me feedback all the time. If you don’t get direct feedback very often, you can find it in a couple of ways. Engagement is a form of feedback – people liking or commenting on your posts is a form of positive feedback!

The other thing you can do is ask. You can use contests to do this in a fun way: “What should I call this latest design?” or get people to submit their own content under a hashtag related to your brand. Whenever you get feedback, act on it. Constantly refining your offering based on what your followers have told you, either directly or indirectly, is key to keeping them keen.

Get personal
Everything you post should be valuable to your clients. But it doesn’t have to be related to your business all the time. It can appeal to them more broadly too. For example, on my own feed, I offer free tips and actions that followers can go away and implement to improve their own accounts. And people find that helpful for their business.

I also post pictures, quotes and truths that resonate with me, that aren’t directly to do with social media or business. But they do hold meaning, and they’re the sort of thing that my followers find meaningful too – so they build more connection between us as people. And in a highly competitive marketplace, people will always do business with people they like and trust. So don’t forget to make use of Instagram to remind your followers of who you are and what you stand for, too.

Fearless personal tweeting: how to attract the right Twitter followers

Basically the answer is always, be yourself

I know lots of business owners who are scared of Twitter. It moves so quickly, how can you be smart in so few characters and crucially – how on earth to get the followers you want…
It all seems too much effort to bother with a personal account alongside a business one.
Here’s the thing. You can relax about it. The secret to success in running your personal Twitter account and growing your following lies in BEING YOURSELF.
I talk a lot about social media strategies – the most important one being authenticity.  The joy of this one is that Twitter works best when you’re honest about who you are and what you’re into – it’s the single best way of making relevant connections.
And even better, running your personal Twitter account is a great way to develop your authentic voice and draw like-minded people to you, which is only going to have a positive effect on your business too. Here’s how to do it:
Create an account you care about
Have a think about the issues that matter most to you at the moment.  Make a list and once you’ve got it down to a handful, go ahead and tweet on those topics.
What types of things?  Cooking, art, history, reading, yoga, rock climbing, underwater basket weaving.  I don’t care what it is as long as it’s truthful and that goes for everyone else.
Tweet whatever you like – it’s your account.
Play with your bio
Your profile image, banner image and bio are how people get instant information about you without scrolling through all your tweets. So choose images that reflect your personality and values, and spend some time crafting your bio – mention the main things you’re interested in and are likely to be tweeting about.  You can add hashtags to these or just use words, it doesn’t matter so much as there are many free tools that allow bios to be searchable so people will find you anyway.
It’s okay if you’re a bit quirky too: a recent follower was a retired trapeze instructor.  And, yes, I followed her back and, yes, I’ve remembered her.
So, keep your bio to your main interests (no-one wants to read a list of 50 hobbies, causes and interests) but it’s nothing to worry about if you’re into HR and hip-hop.  You’re a unique blend of wonderfulness just as you are.
Find your followers
So once you’re clearer on who you are and what you’re interested in, it’s time to connect. Finding people is as easy as this – in your Twitter search, type in a hashtag (#) followed by any of the topics you’re interested in.  Read what it brings up.  Like the tweets and articles you connect with (click on the heart to like).
The people who tweeted those tweets then get a notification that you liked what they tweeted. For a mutual connection to take place, they need to be consciously using their Twitter account and to bother with notifications.

They’ll check out your profile and one of three things will happen:
1.  They ignore you. You’re not for them. No problem. Plenty more fish in the sea…
2.  They like your stuff back. Cool. You’re on an even footing of likes.
3.  They follow you or interact with you further. Fantastic, you made a connection.

You’ll need a follow back strategy.  If someone follows me I tend to follow them back unless there’s something about their feed I don’t like (viewpoints I strongly disagree with, for example – you don’t need that in your life).
If you use Twitter how it was intended: to share interesting stuff, learn, and to connect with like-minded people, and if you remember to be yourself, pretty soon you’ll have a fearless Twitter presence you can be proud of!
So be bold and get out there!

Sociable not sales pitch - being sociable on social media

For many business, engagement is everything on social media.  It's how to grow an audience for sure.  Those who grow an audience via a sales pitch are probably gathering a following through cynical over-use of hashtags - and whilst that's a strategy, it's not really a long term one for actually getting people to do business with you or to buy your products and services.

Engagement is likes, conversations, shares, retweets and reading the stuff you share - that kind of thing.  Basically taking action.

Bots can like and share your stuff, but as they're not real they can't buy from your business.

Focusing on building an audience of real people who you enjoy being sociable with is the key.

Giving information about what you're up to, where you're going, what you've been doing. All these things are natural sociable activities.

Asking questions of your audience.  Do make sure these are questions you'd ask people in real life (!) and that you're interested in the answers!

Like replies you're given and respond to them.

Adopting the mindset that this is like conversation in real life but played out in an online world is a good one.  All very popular accounts will show a good level of engagement so hop in on some of those first to practice your skills.

Also, no matter how big your account, always join in others conversations to show that you're willing to have conversations with others.  Social media is sociable and a two-way conversation.