Category Archives for "DIY"

How to maintain your social influence after going viral

Congratulations! You’ve got your social media channel hooting along. You’re gaining followers, you’re getting great feedback, you’re interacting, and you’re closing sales. Now keep it up! You’ve got to keep paddling to stay on the wave. You’ve got to maintain your social influence.

Businesses will hit gold and get a spike of social influence. The thing is, unless you maintain it, you will head back into social obscurity. Perhaps your business received a fantastic shout out, or one of your posts/tweets went viral. Sadly, you can’t rest on your laurels and coast. In fact, this is when you have to paddle hard.

Social media has a lifespan on its content. Some it’s instant, others it is 24 hours, some never expires. Regardless of how long it lasts, it won’t be long before the next best thing is breathing down your neck, wrestling you for the top perch.

Riding the top of the wave comes with perks:
– increased visability
– growth of brand recognition
– increased sales, and
– increased expert status.
Rightly so though! This is where you benefit from your great content. On some platforms, your influence will continue for a week or so.

In this time you need to be putting out some great offers, showing your benefits, and growing further. It’s not a time to coast. You need to be developing relationships, showing behind the scenes, driving people to your offers and opt-ins.

More importantly, you need to be watching, listening, & analysing. Take this time to test your market & ask questions about their needs/wants/plans/likes. Watch their responses. Look at how they react to new offers or content. If you thought something was going to work and you heard crickets, then try a different time, a different day, or a different benefit. You need to use this time of high visibility to test, grow, & learn.

Once you start seeing trends, this is your time to find more content that your followers will enjoy. This is your opportunity to keep that wave going. This is where you can keep riding high, learning, honing, developing, growing. This time is where you make your gold and you keep looking for more. You can’t rest, this is when you need to grow the most.

To find out more on how I grow Facebook pages without advertising, subscribe to my newsletter. If you are ready to take the next step, then download my Facebook Reach workbook or book in for a live workshop. If you can’t wait or you need to be able to grow across a number of social media platforms, then your best decision is to move to my one-on-one coaching and business development package.

How to achieve your goals and get the life of your dreams. JFDI

Talking with hubby other day and he told me that he had taken on my philosophy of JFDI. He realised that really no harm could come of anything he was about to do, so why not JFDI. He also said that it was my new way of thinking. The thing is that it’s not ‘mine’ nor is it new to me.

Not sure what JFDI is? Well you could Google it, but just think of the Nike Swoosh and their ‘Just Do It’ slogan – except adding your favourite suitable ‘f’ word in there. I admit, I use ‘fuck’, others I have seen use ‘focus’; the intention and outcomes are the same.

I have one disclaimer, my JFDI does not mean that you make irrational or irresponsible decisions or take like actions Tweet this. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. JFDI means that I will look at my options & risks, make a decision, then JFDI. Now for me, this process can take milliseconds; when for others it can take months.

So why is it that I can take these leaps, make these changes and others don’t? Perhaps it’s the fact that I live by the mottos that ‘I never regret anything I do’ and that ‘A life lived in fear is a life half lived’. Perhaps that spurs my action? Perhaps it’s the resilience I have? I honestly believe that many of us don’t JFDI as we overthink the outcomes. JFDI is about taking intent-filled action and realising that come what may, the result will come what may & honestly ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’

So, when I left my six-figured corporate income to be self-employed, many people thought I was crazy but even more people said ‘I wish I was that brave’. I wasn’t brave, I JFDI knowing that the worst that would happen would be having to get another job. Was I worried that I would have to go job hunting? Not really. I did actually do it. There were weeks where I scoured boards, had email services send me jobs, and I even listed myself for re-employment with the Pubic Service. All the while I was practicing JFDI on a daily basis in my businesses.

So, you had to bite that bullet daily, Kara? Ok, so there were days, where doing anything was too much. Those days, I did nothing. Personally, the thing I need help to JFDI is self-care. I suck at self-care; so much so that last month, I lost my voice, had to pull out of a business booking and rest. That was tough. I had to JFDI admitting that I was sick, that I couldn’t meet my obligations, that I was as important as anyone or anything, and that I really needed to take care of myself.

JFDI comes down to this: want to get stuff done, achieve goals, live the dream, you need to get out of your own way.Tweet this Get out of your head. You need to ask for what you want in life. Set your goals, work out how many customers that means, how many products you need to sell & then ask for the sale. You need to follow up on sales. What’s the worst they could say; ‘No’? Don’t forget that a ‘No’ doesn’t always mean ‘not ever’, it can mean ‘not now’. It might mean, ‘not that product or service’. Keep plugging away, keep sharing your message.

Perhaps you find JFDI difficult; then perhaps you need to stop making excuses and start taking action. I find nowadays, people are adept at excuses, at finding problems, at blaming, at deflecting. Maybe it’s nothing new, and maybe it’s that as a parent I want my children to become adults who find solutions not problems. I think that’s it! People who JFDI are solutions focused, they know the problem and they act to get to the solution. They will push past it. I read recently that a key behaviour of successful entrepreneurs is the fact that they will JFDI. They have the ability to go and try.

Speaking of pushing past! If you have heard of upper limit problems or beliefs, then you really need to become skilled at JFDI. You see, Gay Hendricks states that the best way to bust through these upper limit problems (or even self-limiting beliefs) is to JFDI. I admit that this is bloody hard! When you are feeling stuck or paralysed and unable to make the next step in your business, to move to the next level, to take a new step in your life – you need to JFDI. Remember, I’ve done it – I made the big leap. I jumped from a six-figure salary to self-employment. Now, I can promise that I am yet to replace that salary – let’s face it, it’s early days. But had I not, JFDI and left, I would not have the happy family, the balance, or the freedom to achieve my lifestyle. Now taking yourself out for a coffee, to the shops, to the movies, or the freedom to be present at school events may not be everyone’s cup of tea. (I’m serious!) Some of you need structure, direction, management, and boundaries; if you need that structure and security, then JFDI and get your life going. If however, you know you are destined for bigger things, then JFDI and set to those goals. What’s the worst that could happen? Seriously?

The beauty of JFDI is there is no right or wrong way of doing it.Tweet this There is only ‘doing it’. Better still JFDI doesn’t have to mean all or nothing; remember there’s only ‘doing’. So if you want to run your own business, but you need to pay the bills then you don’t always have to get a loan and ditch your job; you can do it part-time. As your business ramps up, wind back the ‘day job’. The thing is, that without considered action, nothing is likely to happen; so JFDI.

 

2

Bust business beliefs

Alright, it gets to the point where a girl has to bust some business beliefs floating around the interwebs. This week, there are a couple of BS posts I want to bust. The first is about blogging and the second about Facebook posts.

There are an optimal number of words for a blog post

I call utter BS on this one and I have some good reasons.

No two blogs are the same. ‘Well, derr Kara that’s obvious!’ Just hang tight.

Consider your favourite subject and how much you would read on that, now consider stuff that you kinda find interesting, like celebrity gossip… So there’s a reason why tabloid posts are short, there’s not much substance to them. However, if it’s a topic which holds your passion you will read and read and read.

So I call BS to the ultimate 300, 400, 600 word blog and say – it depends.

What I will say is, make sure your blog posts have plenty of white space; so short paragraphs or quotes, or left justifying your text. These things create white space, areas where the eye can rest.

Make sure you hook the reader in the first two paragraphs. We scroll down a website, so you will need to engage a reader early to get them to continue to scroll.

Make use of the ‘page down’ key when writing your blog. For each press there should be something on the screen which is visually different; be it a picture, quote, a title, or a video. Each of these creates visual interest and encourages scrolling.

There are an optimal number of posts for a Facebook page

Ever seen that? You should make sure you are posting at least ‘X’ times a day. What a crock! Sure the more often you post the more likely you are to ‘catch’ your audience, but if you look at your Insights you will be able to see when they are on and target those times. Let’s face it, with all the hats business owners wear; we need to work smarter, not harder!

Not all Facebook fans are created equal. What works for a page followed by tweens and teens, won’t necessarily work for a group of middle-aged women, nor will it work for a group of male retirees. Their internet behaviours differ.

Not to mention that people get annoyed if they see you ‘clogging up’ their newsfeed.

Over the years I have been managing Facebook pages, there is something I have come to understand about the number of posts a page needs. The more people you have following your Facebook page, the more posts you need. (Tweet this) The magic number of how many will depend on your business, the demographic of your fans, and their Facebook behaviours. You can find your specific details in the Insights on your page.

If you would like to know more about how to run a blog on your website, or how to optimise your Facebook page, then contact Write to Right. We have a number of workshops and workbooks on the subject, we can work one-on-one to develop your skills and strategy, or we can manage it all for you. We believe in empowering your business

Creating content for Facebook

Quick ways to create Facebook ContentCreating content for Facebook, or even your blog, needn’t be difficult. Once you know where you want to take your business and what your customers want from you, then the secret is to find where they cross and the content which sits there.

So, in the past I have spoken about goal setting and defining your ideal client, I will also let you know that the workbooks from these popular workshops are now available to download, so this post is about getting the content.

The first thing when looking for content is to hang out on the pages where your clients hang out. Now, I don’t mean that you should stalk them, but I certainly believe that you should understand where they are coming from, what drives them, their likes, and their passions. The best way is to out and out ask them. The good thing is that when you do this on Facebook that it will actually increase your interaction and increase your Reach. So you won’t just be learning more about your customers, but you will also be increasing the number of people who see the post and your page; that means more potential customers.

When you have a list of pages, head on over to them. Here’s the secret, you don’t have to ‘Like’ them. Shock horror! Nope, in fact, with my other business I don’t even ‘Like’ my competitors’ pages. If you choose to like them, after you do, head back to that ‘Like’ button and check out your options.

Steps to creating easy Facebook content

Get Notifications

Up the top of your Facebook Newsfeed there is your profile picture (and Name), the word ‘Home’, 2 people together, 2 speech boxes, and a picture of the globe. In that globe are your Notifications. This is a collection point for where people mention your name or tag you in pictures, and this is also where you will receive updates from the pages where you choose to receive ‘Notifications’. When you choose to receive notifications, you will also see a box pop up in the bottom left of your screen, letting you know that the page has made a change, added a photo, or written a new post etc.

I use Notifications to ensure that I get to see what my favourite pages are up to and as an alternative Newsfeed of my choosing, not the choice of the Facebook Algorithm.

Following

You will want to make sure that this is checked, otherwise the Page’s posts will not appear (at all) in your Newsfeed. This is a default for Facebook, however, there have been times after upgrades that this has become unchecked. So if your favourite pages have fallen off of your Facebook radar, then I would highly recommend checking this.

Interest Lists

This option is my ALL TIME FAVOURITE!!!! The beauty of this one is that you can add pages to your Interest lists without liking them. (Super handy for competitors pages) You can add pages to multiple lists. You can create lists for various reasons. So, I have lists for Competitors, Suppliers, Mastermind participant pages, Inspiration, and my all-time favourite is for Content to Share. That’s right, I have a list of pages, that when I am utterly stuck for things to share, I go to that list. It’s a gold mine of information, inspiration, blog posts, helpful hints, delicious recipes, questions, and the compulsory funny videos.

While the majority of my lists are private, I do have some public lists. These public lists are for my Mastermind participant pages, where we can readily see what is happening on our pages, like comment, and/or share from there. By having these lists, I help my fellow business owners by promoting their businesses, boosting their Reach, and sharing great content which my clients will enjoy.

Now What?

Well you can share the content, you can write a response to the content, write an argument to the content, review the content, find similar content. The options are endless. The idea is that when you need some inspiration, that you use these hints to get you ‘unstuck’.

These hints are fundamental to how I run and grow my businesses on Facebook. If you are interested in learning more about Facebook and how my pages have a consistent Reach of between 60-90%, without advertising, then sign up for the Newsletter to hear when training will launch. If you cannot attend the training, but would like to receive the workbook, then you can pre-order it now and receive it straight to your Inbox before the general public.

How to write for online

The key to social media is being social

Have you been following the expanded series on ‘how to write for online so you don’t look like an utter Noob‘? So here is your business checklist so far:
– you have a plan for the coming 6-12 months
– you know who your ideal customer is
– you have detailed your business mission & vision
– you have worked out what terms you will use (your style guide); so
– NOW WHAT?

Guess what, now you are ready to write for your customers. What? You’ve been doing it for a while? Good for you, now step back and consider this:
– Do you know where your ideal customer hangs out online?
– Do you know how they use the various social media platforms?

Unless you are lucky enough to fall into your definition of your ideal client, do NOT assume that they use social media the same way you do and do NOT assume that they want to either.

Websites

Let’s start with your website, Etsy page, Made It page etc. While I’m not going to tell you how to set these up, because they all differ, what I will say is this: whose need is it meeting? Don’t laugh, because the vast majority of websites I edit or visit are written for the owner’s benefit, or worse they are written in industry terms making them written for your competitors!

Consider the product categories, descriptions, and tags. Are they words you use to describe your products or services, or are they words that your customer would use? Go back to your definition of your ideal customer, their needs and where they crossed with your mission and vision. Now, are there words there that you can use in your description etc.? Why is that important? If you can:
– make it easy for your customers to find
– show them that you understand where they are coming from, then
– you will boost your sales.

Let’s face it we like to feel that we are understood, that our needs are important and are being met, and that we matter.

Do you blog? If you don’t and have the ability to add it to your site then I highly recommend it. Why? There are many reasons, but my favourite is to educate. But I reiterate, you need to blog for your customer (if you are running it on your website); that does not mean that all of the posts have to be about your products, in fact blogging about their other pain points can help to build a relationship (very important in building buyer confidence). Read more about the importance of blogging in my previous post (make sure you come back here though).

Before you read on, consider this:

Not all social media is created equal.
&
Social Media is there to be social.

Tweet this

Now read them again, consider where your ideal customer is on the chart above and then read the following points about the major social media sites.

Now I generally say not to post the same thing across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The thing is, most of us don’t have a lot of time and it is convenient for us as business owners. But, are we our customer? No! I’m not saying don’t do it at all, but as a customer I beg you, DON’T DO IT ALL THE TIME. Seriously, if you find it difficult then use the scheduling function available in Facebook or on your social media scheduler. By all means schedule the same post over different days at different times to ensure you have grabbed your customer where they are hanging out. Otherwise, give us some credit that we will see that you have posted the same thing in 2-3 locations, where we follow you because we love you, and we will wonder just how much you value us as individuals. Don’t believe me, consider how you feel when you hear mainstream radio play the latest hit over and over and over again, get sick of it & want to hear something different?

Time spent on social media

Facebook

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Work smarter

work smarter with Write to Right

Working on over working in. Work smarter, not harder. Have you heard either of these in business? They are not cliché and are actually related.

When you choose to work on your business, you are dedicating your time to working smarter. (Tweet this) Working smarter doesn’t mean lowering prices, increasing profits, or churning out more widgets. It’s not about doing more with less, either.

Working on, similarly isn’t about working out how to increase sales, profits or decreasing costs. These things are all about working in your business.

So what’s my point?
As an owner of two businesses, I have had to establish some clear systems to allow me to meet my obligations. With a family to go with these business obligations, I like some flexibility. This is where I have started to work smarter. This doesn’t mean that, at times, I have to work hard.

What have I done?
In the past year I have implemented a number of changes in how I run my businesses, which allow me to grow my income, reduce the time I spend working in my business, and increase the time I can spend with my family. (And I haven’t increased prices or decreased costs)

Last year, I implemented six-monthly reviews of my business goals and broader activity. I track my income and expenses as they occur (but this is working in), however, I also monitor them against the broader goals I set. This review allows me to see where I am meeting (or exceeding my aims) and also where I need to change.

In my business, ‘working on’ has two arms: education and systems.

As a business owner, I find it difficult to put work aside and spend time on myself. However, it is exactly when I spend time developing my knowledge that I receive the greatest benefit in my business. (Tweet this) When I read, I am either developing myself or I am developing my business knowledge. In the past 12 months I have read and learnt from: Get Rich Lucky Bitch (Denise Duffield-Thomas), The Big Leap (Gay Hendricks), Thrive (Arianna Huffington), and Tribes (Seth Godin). I also read a number of blogs, including, Make it Look Easy, Leonie Dawson, and Marie Forleo (plus those whose books I have read).

Grow your business with Write to Right

I have learnt more about goal setting, planning, self-assurance, self-care, and self-love. All of these have helped me grow as a person and as a business owner, but not one of them has directly resulted in an increase in cash flow. They have all been about working ‘on’ me and my business and it is how I have implemented the learning which has resulted in financial growth.

The thing I love most about this growth is that I can then apply it to my business. If I feel more self-confident then I am more likely to make the system changes my business needs.

When I change the systems in my business, I gain time that I can then spend on myself, my business, or my family. There are large system changes and small system changes. Here are a few that I have made and profited from over the past year.

Reverse engineering my time
As I said earlier, running two businesses is taxing. The biggest system change I have made is to reverse engineer my week. I used to be reactionary or first in first out before I started Write to Right (my second business). As a result of starting Write to Right I had to make drastic changes to how I handled my time. I work backwards from when work is due, include other obligations, free time, and some contingency time (because let’s face it we get sick). Now, this does not mean I take all of this time to do the work; in fact, I am more likely to finish the work earlier. What reverse engineering allows is for me to feel less pressured when things go wrong and for me to value my time for myself and my family.

Accounting systems
A recent review of my accounts and time input into the business lead me to change my accounting systems. This has meant a simpler way for customers to pay invoices and a more automated accounting process on my end. So not am I not working harder, I am no longer busy working in my business collecting debts.

Websites
I recently needed to update my website, but realised that I needed to change the entire platform on which it was built. So I outsourced it! There is a misconception in small business that:
– we must do everything we are capable of (and I certainly was)
– outsourcing is expensive, and
– outsourcing is a luxury.

They’re all wrong. While I knew how to change the platforms, I also knew that by outsourcing it, it would be faster and allow me more time for other activities.

So, how will you work on your business in 2015? What will you do to work smarter? 2015 is my year of growth, so I will continue to learn. Growth isn’t always inwards, so I will be growing and sharing what I know with all of you. The first is a series of facilitated courses with practical tasks that will give you knowledge you can implement (straight away). After this I will be working towards my ebooks/workbooks and videos; these will push my boundaries, help me to grow, and allow me to meet my goal of helping you to grow your business.

10 Define your business core values

Core values - Write to Right

My last blog post was all about getting to know your ideal client. When you understand the ‘who’ it gives you something to aim for, but with what are you aiming?

Do you know why you are spending your time in it? What drives you and your business? What are your goals or ambitions? What is your purpose? (Deep, I know!)

These questions set the foundations of how others see your business. Here are some simple prompts to help you:

Who– who are you, are you a multi-national, family company, or sole trader? Who are your customers? Are they families, singles, seniors, small business, multi-nationals?
What– What is it that you do? What do you sell?
Why- Why do customers use your business? What is the benefit to them?
Where– Where can they find you? Are you a bricks & mortar, online, franchise?

I would like businesses to dig a little deeper. Big business does it, government departments do it; why don’t small businesses? Small business has the advantage of size and that they often are their culture and that their culture is a large part of who the business is. But what is culture? What underpins it culture is values. It is the values which we hold, individually and collectively, that help define who we are and how we portray ourselves to others. With the integration of social media into business, the injection of our personality through our values is key to developing lasting and valuable relationships with our clients. Tweet this

What are your core values?

Professionally, personally, collectively as a business – what are your core values? What are the fundamental underlying traits, behaviours, and values that you hold? I have included ‘personally’ as so many business owners instil parts of their own personality into their business.

Why should your business define its core values:

  • Point of difference with your competitors
  • Alignment of staff
  • Communicate what is important
  • Influence behaviour
  • Inspire action
  • Contribute to success
  • Shape your culture

I have written on how the culture & values impact on staff behaviours in my Masters of Management, should you wish to read further on the topic please email me directly.

Customers ask how to define their core values. There are a number of ways. Personally, I looked at the one thing I would love to do even if I never got paid to do it; then I looked at what it was about that thing which drove me. For me, it comes down to quality (read my latest post on this) and giving business owners the skills to get the most out of their business and to get themselves to the next level.

At its essence you are looking for what you and your business stand for, what ultimately drives what you do and what it is you actually do.Tweet this

Here is a video, which I have found, that will help you on the journey to finding your core values.

I’ve also found the following video on how large corporations use their core values. I particularly like the point made by Tony Hsieh that their company used the values to ‘hire and fire’. From my research, I know that (certainly in the public service) the alignment of core business and employee values is a key driver in customer satisfaction.Tweet this I believe that the private sector is no different. This is, in part, reiterated by the second statement by Jim Collins in the following video. (I also find the clip from Steve Jobs quite inspiring.)

Now over to you, comment below with your core values (business or personal). Don’t be shy and don’t worry if you only have one. Now think about how you will use this value and transmit this value to your customers.

 

1 Hints to maintain business social media while on holiday

Keep working while you play Write to RightEver wonder how you will keep your social media followers engaged whilst on holiday, while ill, during peak periods, or even when you need some time away from your devices? My family and I have just returned from a four-week overseas holiday (I feel refreshed and with a clearer direction for both of my businesses) and I maintained my Facebook post reach of 90%, engagement rate of 10% and increased my number of followers.

Even though I did have my smartphone with me, wifi connectivity was unreliable and patchy. The other issue that I had was being between 9 and 12 hours behind my regular time zone, meaning that ‘on the fly’ posting to my main follower base was not an option. I wanted a relaxing holiday, so in the four weeks leading up to my holiday I scheduled 70+ Facebook posts and four MailChimp newsletters. I did post occasionally to Instagram and used some time to increase my Twitter following.

 So how did I achieve this?

As I said earlier, I used the four weeks leading up to the break to schedule my content. I do not use a social media scheduler to post across multiple platforms, it doesn’t suit me or my business (in fact I have just read an email from Crush Social outlining why my approach is correct). In the past I have used the calendar on my phone to keep track of which day I am up to with my scheduling. This time I had a social media calendar.

 Social media calendars

There are a number of free and paid social media calendars on the internet. I have looked at a number of them and was lucky enough to receive one from Kellie O’Brien Media. It is a month-to-a-page calendar (affiliate link), BUT (and it’s a big one) the thing that stands out for me is the hints and the special dates. It is the special dates which helped me to determine posts when I had run out of my popular content (I will post later on this topic). The special dates include things like awareness weeks (or days), holidays, and sporting events. While Kellie has used Australian dates, a lot of these awareness events are international and it is these special dates that sets her calendar apart from the others available. (Note: while Kellie did provide me with the calendar, it was done so for user testing, my affiliate link was provided after)

Productivity is never an accident Write to Right

 Pinterest

I am an avid Pinner. I admit to having more than your average number of boards and a few secret ones too. While I do pin content from the internet to Pinterest, I most often repin. The key to Pinterest is to understand your ideal client & pin that. Tweet this  According to hubby, I spend too much time on there, but I see it as all valuable research time (ok, sometimes it’s like a rabbit hole).

If you are not on Pinterest, I would suggest having a look. Many businesses, including my own, use it to promote their own products. While I do not find it a good sales vehicle, it is handy for brand awareness. I would suggest starting with the ‘Popular’ pins and over time Pinterest will learn your tastes and customise your feed to suit. Follow the boards of your favourite Pinners or just follow them entirely (some people I follow entirely and others I select certain boards). The thing I like about Pinterest, is that in the main, you will be linked back to the original source. This is great for sharing the content directly and makes attribution simple.

Facebook Scheduling

I regularly schedule Facebook posts and have for a while now. I don’t like being flustered and pushed into posting content on the fly. I regularly check my Insights and I post when my followers are online (a great way to help engagement). Scheduling posts allows me to post when they are on, but I might not be.

I have found this recent video by The Stacey Harris on how to schedule a Facebook post.

MailChimp scheduling

If you have subscribed to Write to Right’s newsletter, you would have received my scheduled newsletters. (You haven’t? Head over and sign up now and receive a free set of my top social media hints) I use MailChimp as my email platform, there are dozens out there, but MailChimp is a well-known provider and integrates with my website.

Email lists are a fantastic way to reach your customers in a more personalised and direct mannerTweet this It’s also a fabulous way to offer digests of your social media content, deliver special offers and generally remind people that you are still there (let’s face it, not everyone spends as much time as I do on Facebook). So my email subscribers didn’t miss out, I scheduled my regular newsletter. Ok, so it didn’t contain new content (there’s nothing wrong with recycling and I will discuss this in another post), but it did help me to stay in front of mind whilst I was away. I found this great video from Chris Durnan, who details how to schedule a MailChimp campaign.

 

These are the main tools I used to keep my businesses running whilst I was away for four weeks. While they work for my businesses, they might not be right for yours. If you have any other tools or hints you would like to share, please leave a comment below. If you would like to learn more about writing for social media, please read my other blog posts.

1 6 big ways blogging benefits business – part 2

big ways your business benefits from bloggingLast week I let you in on the first half of why you should be blogging, how your business benefits from blogging, and a little bit on how you can go about it. This week I round out the series with three very ‘feel good’ reasons to get blogging.

  1. Research

Blogs are fantastic ways to find out more about your customers. You can uncover more about their demographic, their needs, or their preferences.

Start with your ideal customer (find out how to determine this in the online voice post) and start chatting to them. Ask some questions. I am fortunate enough to fall into the category of being my own ideal client, so I often discuss things which I feel are relevant to either my personal or business life. (Great when I have writer’s block)

Ask questions. Engaging in conversation is a great way for you to reveal your personality, develop relationships and learn. There’s no such thing as a stupid question, you never know who else is thinking the exact same. Ask a series of questions and pose answers or solutions. These solutions can prompt further discussions and learning.

Post a number of related topics over a number of posts to discover where your customer interest lies. Posts with more interaction could indicate more interest, allowing you to hone your subject matter. Running a series is a great way to promote a newsletter, RSS, or other subscription service you might have. Never neglect the opportunity to increase your subscriptions (sign up for mine over here and receive a free ebook).

  1. Social media content

Blogs provide fabulous content to share on all of your social media profiles.

They don’t just fill a hole, they provide a vehicle to drive content to your website (helpful if your sales are run through your site). When answering questions on a blog, try to incorporate your product, this allows for internal linking (read how it benefits your site), education, and drives sales. By linking to your blog post from social media you can receive numerous benefits.

If you use catchy pictures on your blog, these can provide useful and shareable content for your social media profiles. Having shareable content is a great way to increase marketing and social reach. Word of advice: when creating shareable content ensure your business name, logo, or website address are on the image; nothing worse than having great viral content and not profiting. (tweet this)

Pay attention to the following items in your blog post as they will be used by Facebook to generate supporting content for your link:
Blog title: this is used by Facebook as your title
First 20+ words: the first 20+ words are used to generate teaser content in the link, and
Meta-description: if you use a meta-description, Facebook will use this in the place of the first 20+ words.
As a WordPress User I have installed Yoast SEO, in their program you have the ability to customise the title and description used by a number of social media platforms, including Facebook. This can be useful if you want to undertake split testing or if you prefer not to show your Social Media followers a description filled with SEO keywords.

  1. Relationship building

Building relationships is my favourite reason, outside of education, to blog. When I blog I impart a little piece of my own personality. It might be the language I use or my experiences, but there is a little piece of me in every post. I think that doing this is important as it means that when you meet me, you already have a sense of who I am. If I have already shown you a little of myself, then we are on the road to developing a working relationship.

I have previously mentioned that many experts believe that it takes five touches before a customer will purchase. Blogging allows businesses to make another touch with a customer. Reaching out to them, where they are keeps you in mind. Even if they are not quite ready to purchase, a post gets you one step closer and can help keep you in front of mind.

If you blog to answer customer questions, or you answer their comments on your blog, you are showing them that you are listening. No one likes to be ignored, so listening and responding to customer needs is an important part of building relationships.

Why do you blog? What do you enjoy about blogging? Is there something you would like blogged about by Write to Right. Leave a comment below.

How Facebook does NOT influence sales

Meeting your client needs online - write to rightResearch just out of the US indicates that Facebook users are being turned off by hard sell in their Newsfeed. In fact, 95% of people say that social media has little to no effect on their buying behaviour. 94% say they use social media to catch up on what friends and family are up to. Only 29% say they use social media to follow trends or find product reviews. I think these statistics go some way to explaining why businesses have seen a decrease in direct sales on Facebook.

Now I know that we all have different audiences, and this research is broad, but I still believe that as social beings on social media, businesses can benefit from being social. (And this is what is recommended in the report) Now that DOES NOT mean not selling in your posts, it means not being SALES-Y.

The research recommends engaging Millenials, I believe you need to engage your ideal customer. If you have gone through your audience on your Facebook page, you will know the gender, age group, and location of the majority of your customers. If you are targeting your ideal customer, they should fall into this main group of Facebook likers. Use this data to drive your interactions. Imagine your ideal customer’s needs, problems, daily lives, or ask questions; then use this to develop content for them.

Did you notice the last part of the last sentence? “develop content for them” The key is that you need to write for your customer. You need to meet their needs, solve their problems.
People are time poor, but they do know what problems they need solved, so tell (sell) them how you solve them. (tweet this)
A list of features is nice, but it’s then up to me to work out if and how they will meet my needs.

Not sure what I mean by listing a benefit rather than a feature? In general, the benefit will contain verbs (help, stop, prevent, reduce) and the features will contain adjectives (bright, short, long, versatile). Don’t stress about making it a shopping list of benefits. I would aim for between three and five benefits (people retain between five and nine facts) per post. I like three. Why? I have a quirk about the number three, time is short (and three is small), and I was taught to present data in groups of three when trying to convince an audience. There is an added benefit to selling benefits; by doing so you are letting your customers know that you listen to their needs, you are interested, and you understand.

By showing your customers that you are listening, you allow a relationship to develop and facilitate conversations (and then conversions). I mentioned at the start that 95% of Facebook users are there for socialising. If you can bring a social aspect to your page, and particularly sales posts, you are meeting your customer’s need to socialise. Some customers are there to research, by answering customer questions on Facebook you will either answer their question and/or demonstrate that you are listening to your customers. I have previously mentioned the belief that it takes five touches before you make a sale. Being sociable will assist in making these touches and move your business closer to a sale.

Here’s an insight, all of these tips are equally applicable to your website. You can use them in your blog, just as I have here, or better still in your product descriptions. Your website is your way of reaching customers where they are, when they need your service/product; give it the best chance of meeting their needs.

Write to Right offers website checks to ensure that your site is in the best possible shape, meeting both your client’s and your business’ needs. Find out more about this quality service on the website. Alternatively, skip the queue and book your site in to gain an early advantage.