August 2017 - Small business consultant

Monthly Archives: August 2017

Why just running Facebook Ads or Boosted posts isn’t enough

There’s a belief out there in Facebook Page Land that paying for ads is enough for your business & Facebook Business Page because it puts your business in front of your audience and that’s all that matters. Well, I’d like to give a little insight into why this isn’t necessarily the best policy for your business.

Facebook Algorithm  & your Facebook Page

This one is for those of you out there who like to boost posts. If you’ve ever wondered why one boost will work one time and then not another – read on.

Facebook Boosted Posts work on boosting it to the chosen Audience. The key term here is ‘boost’. Unlike an Ad, it’s not going out cold – Facebook will Boost it dependant on the popularity of the post and your Page. Here’s how it works.

If you Boost a post based on a suggestion by Facebook, it has looked at the existing or predicted popularity of the post and they have decided that your chosen audience would like to see that sort of post. So they will help you to get it seen, by boosting it out to a wider audience. Consider it like a sling shot, you’ve pulled it back so far with the comments, likes, & shares on the post before you boosted and Facebook says that it can get you that little bit further and they help you draw the slingshot back further so the post takes off and goes a longer distance.

If you boost a post because that’s the information you want to send to a wider audience then the Facebook Algorithm will look at how popular your other posts are and decide if the audience it will send it to will like it. Think of it as being back in school and waiting to be chosen on a sports team; the less popular you were the less likely you were to be chosen early on.

The Facebook Page Checkout

Ever stalked a business on Facebook? Seen them elsewhere and checked them out? Googled them and checked them out? Had a friend recommend them and checked them out? Seen their ad and checked them out? You’re not alone. 61% of Australians read between 1-5 reviews before they purchase and 52% of Australians who have researched online go on to purchase.

The thing you need to consider about Facebook Ads and Boosted Posts is that the intention is to go out to people who may not know your business exists. I don’t know about you but I generally do some background digging on a business before I buy from them. And I do that digging on Facebook.

So, there is a good chance that the people seeing your Facebook Ad will in turn go to your Facebook Page to read some reviews, look at the type of information you post, learn a bit about your business; generally try to work out if you’re the type of business they’d want to do business with.

So what happens when they look at your page and the last review is from 2 years ago, you haven’t posted in the last 3 months or you don’t post regularly? What impression does that give someone? And before you say ‘that you’re busy’, while this might be the case does it make them feel that you have time for them if you don’t have 5 minutes to show them what you’re up to?

No to your Facebook Ad offer

So they said ‘no’ to your Facebook Ad, just remember that that isn’t a ‘NEVER’. Running a Facebook Ad is just increasing your chances of a particular product or service being seen by a particular person at that particular time. What happens if they didn’t want that ‘thing’ in your ad, does that mean you’ve failed? What if they aren’t in a position to purchase from you at that time, do you run the ad forever?

The benefit of running a Facebook Page with relevant, engaging, and varying content is that your customers can see that and it gives you opportunities to educate them through your offers and about you and your business. There is a double benefit to this, you educate the person who saw your initial ad but didn’t want to buy then, and you have information for the person checking out your page the next time you run an ad.

Now before you run for the hills screaming that you don’t have enough time to post everyday on Facebook, you don’t have to. In fact, you could post every other week and still achieve these outcomes. You just need to be consistent. If you’d like to know more about what to post, then you can download these 6 keys to posting on Facebook, and I will teach you the what, when etc on running a vibrant and engaging Facebook Page.

3 sure fire steps to increasing profits

I realise that it’s just gone tax time here in Australia and many have looked at their bottom line and wondered where all that money has gone. Expenses are creeping up and margins are sliding down. So it’s no wonder that I’m often asked how to increase profits. Well, there’s three way. (no I won’t say they’re easy)

There are three main ways I walk my business coaching clients through looking to increase their profit margin. In the main, you can decrease costs, increase the number of jobs/services you do, or you can increase your prices/spend. Before you jump headlong, you need to have your last Profit & Loss statement printed, you need to know how many hours you worked last financial year (or a good idea how many you would have liked to), and you’ll need to know what the average industry rate is for your field. Got it? Let’s go!

More Profit : Decreasing costs

Ok, so it sounds like it’s easily enough done but you’d be surprised how often it’s not. For example, I’d been holding onto a US$99/month piece of software that I needed for one client when if I had read the fineprint the free version would have worked. So, I cancelled and saved myself over $1000 a year!

My favourite place to start is insurances, yes I understand that if you have them then you need them but do you have to pay that much? One coaching client wanted to join the industry body but couldn’t afford it. We looked at it and realised that one of the perks was cheaper insurances and so they saved themselves the membership. The membership also gave them 6 months of free access to a piece of software they were paying for monthly, there’s another saving.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to join your local chapter if you’re not going to get benefit; it then just becomes a cost.

You need to objectively and systematically go through your expenses list and work out where you can make savings. Can you change internet or phone provider (this is something I’ve done this year)? Could you buy larger amounts of stationery? Would you be better off on a commercial postage plan? Could some of the things you buy be bought using reward points?

This might seem like a thankless task, but you will thank me next financial year when you reap the benefit of reduced costs.

More Profit : Increased number of jobs/services

I am not asking you to give up sleep or weekends. I promise you. In fact, I have recently increased my client load by 50% but I now work fewer hours. How do I do it?

You would be surprised just how much time we waste on various things:
– social media
– emails & message alerts
– thinking what we had to do
– planning our week

I know it’s ironic that I put social media first, and yes I spend a ridiculous amount of time on it, but there are times (like now) where I actually turn it off.  I wrote about this a while ago, but I switch it off and then rely on my devices for notifications. They sit on my desk and I can see them out the corner of my eye, but it takes longer to log into them than having a tab open on my browser.

Did you know that I have my devices on silent, even my laptop?! Every single ping & bing takes my attention, like Pavlov’s dog, away from my task and then it takes me time to get back into the groove. This is why I have a smart watch, and even that only buzzes. What I suggest is muting your computer, except for watching videos, and see how it works for you. When I started I also switched my phone to vibrate, this is handy for those in the service industry who need to answer calls but can’t always. Alternatively, set up your phone so that when you are in an appointment that your phone is put to ‘Do Not Disturb’ and only emergency contacts will get through. Then you can block out time as appointments and go undisturbed.

Make a to-do list, or better still, make a to do schedule each week with your appointments, tasks, and other obligations. I’ve recently done this and found I then spend the time I used to use trying to remember or think of tasks, actually achieving them. It also means that I can see when I have slower periods, I can block in some ‘me time’, or I can work on those passion projects. Having time mapped and scheduled doesn’t make you more rigid in your time use, it actually makes you more flexible as you know when you can move things to.

So now that I’ve given you hints on how to make more time, what do you do with it? Well you can book more jobs in, look for more prospects, or you can work on additional services to increase the spend of your existing clients. All increase the jobs you do.

More Profit : Charge more

Now this is often the first change people make, but I always have it as the last. Why? I prefer efficiency gains first. I like efficiency gains as they will often be long lasting and can be cumulative. There’s generally only one way to go when you solely rely on increasing your prices.

There are a few ways I have helped businesses increase fees, but in the main it comes down to knowing your cost per unit (be that physical item or hour of your time), how much you want to earn in the coming period, and how much time you want to dedicate to making that money.

It does come down to straight maths:
– total expenses/total hours
– total expenses/number of products

From there you need to add a markup, it’s this markup which is your profit. For most business I have them double their costs and then compare it to the industry. In product based businesses we normally add 20-30% to arrive at the wholesale cost and then double wholesale to arrive at the retail price; we still then look at the marketplace and consider what the market will bear.

So you’ve done that? How do you feel with the end figure? Not enough, less than your current charge (if so go look at the first 2 tasks again), feel sick to your stomach because it’s too much. You need to then sit with this figure for a few days, think about it periodically and write down any fears or objections that pop into your head. From there consider the likelihood of them eventuating, you could change the wording to “What would I do if (fear) happened?”, you can discuss it with a friend or mentor, or we can discuss it in the Facebook Group.

In the end, the aim of this exercise is to increase your profit so that you can achieve the goals you have for your business and yourself. If you have no idea what that is, then I suggest downloading my Dream Business worksheet or we can set a time to discuss moving you through this into a more profitable business.


Organic Facebook: Fact or Fiction?

I really get tired of having to argue the point against the common belief that organic Facebook doesn’t exist and it’s all too hard, but I suppose while people keep messing up there is still a need. You can get good results without Facebook ads. The role of Facebook ads (including boosted posts) is to push your Facebook Page out to an audience, guess what, organic Facebook does the exact same thing. Let me show you.

Here are three lots of insights, none of these Facebook Pages have run ads in the past four weeks, one hasn’t run an ad in over a year. One has 571 fans, another 1617, and the third has 9 614 fans.

Just so you know, these organic Facebook results aren’t freakish once offs and they were all from the same day.

I manage all three pages. One page has about 50% bought fans. Two of the pages run entirely on posts scheduled outside of the native Facebook scheduler. One page runs a mixture of native and external scheduling.

One of them is on the Business Manager platform, one is my page, one I have been managing since October 2016, and one I have managed for four weeks.

I understand why Facebook Page owners get frustrated with Facebook. They spend hours and hours trying to get results and get nothing. They spend hundreds or thousands on Facebook Ads only to feel that they have to continue running them so that their regular posts get seen.

In fact, the two clients here were skeptical to start with. One, also a business coaching client, was so time poor they just handed over their Facebook knowing that I couldn’t do any worse. The other page had just finished up with another social media manager and didn’t think they could get any better. Talk about a hard audience!

But see, that’s the key, the audience. One of the things Facebook Page owners say to me is that they are overwhelmed by the information and advice out there. They don’t feel that they understand the technology and so they don’t think they will be any good. Well, they’re going to prove themselves right if they keep thinking like that.

What Facebook Page owners don’t realise is that the Facebook Algorithm is all about behaviours; how many of our friends liked it, how likely we are likely to like it, how often we interact with a Facebook Page; it’s about what we do and not the technology we use to do it. So why are they so worried about not understanding the technology? Shouldn’t they be more concerned about not understanding their client?!

That’s it though. The message Facebook Page owners are receiving is that organic Facebook is all about the technology, but it’s not. Behind that technology is a number of consultant Psychologists and Neuroscientists working out how your customer is reacting, how you’re reacting, and what that means about what you choose to like, share, or comment on. It’s about people.

Now the problem with most of the organic Facebook advice out there is that they believe what they read and they make it about the technology. Why? Because that’s popular, that gets clicks, and it’s easier to understand and explain how something works rather than why something works. Understanding people is a complex task, that’s why Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Neuroscientists study for so long.

So it’s no wonder you’re not getting anywhere with your organic Facebook, you’ve been fed the wrong end of the stick. But when you stop to think about it, it all makes sense:

You’re trying to get a person to like, comment, share, message, buy. So why are you not concentrating on the person first?

If this sounds all too familiar, then I have developed this ebook on how I achieved these results. Use it to help put your clients front and centre and watch your organic Facebook, your Facebook Page, and business, grow. Join my Facebook Group where I provide more insights into the world of client behaviour, social media, & growing your business. Keep watch on my Facebook Page for the next round of my Organic Facebook Course. And finally, book a consult with me where I can zero right in on and address your specific issues.

And if you were wondering, the pages happen to be in order (left > right) in increasing Fan numbers and mine is the one on the left.

The four pillars of social media success

The most common reason business owners come to me is because they know their social media should be working, but it isn’t and they need help. Over the years I have realised that there are some business fundamentals which apply to social media. To be honest, that really isn’t that surprising as marketing on social media is really an extension of any marketing program and in the end, it’s still a person you’re trying to influence – regardless of platform.

I think that’s key and it tends to be forgotten in the hoopla we are presented with having a business social media presence. Too much emphasis is placed on the technology and tools and not enough is placed on the people. The people are actually the most important part of this whole online effort. You want people to part with their time, effort, or money and not a piece of technology. I feel that business owners, trying to navigate this minefield alone, are distracted by the technology circus and I am determined to break through that.

I want to take you back to some fundamental business principles so that you can use these as the basis of how you work online. I have to admit, when I start feeling like I am losing my way, the numbers aren’t going where they should, I bring myself back to a few key points and things turn around. They always do.

So what are the four pillars you need for social media success?

Right person, right place, right time, right thing

These four pillars may look familiar. That’s because they are tried and tested business principles. They are not new school, they are not grounded in technology, they are focused clearly on your customer. That’s where you need to be. The problem I see with concentrating on the technology is that you are navel gazing, you are focusing on your business and not on the person you need most to grow your business.  So let’s get started.

Right person

You might think I have got this wrong, but remember it’s a person you are trying to influence and so they need to be the first thing you consider. But what is it that you need to know?

The most important piece of information you need to know is:
are they the decision maker in the purchasing decision

You need to know if, at the end of the day, they are the one who approves the purchase. Once you know this you can then look at the remaining pillars.

Right place

No point being in the local paper if it just lays on the driveway. Same as there is no point being on one social media platform when your clients are elsewhere. But how do you know where they are? The simplest question is to ask them when they are purchasing from you. Ask which social media platforms they use. The next thing is research.

I recently reviewed the Sensis Report into Australian Social Media Use.  Let’s just say that so long as you’re on Facebook, you’re fine. Here are the top 3 platforms by age:


Right time

So while most of my enquiries come about Facebook Pages, there is one consistent error businesses are making, time. You see, most business owners post on Facebook when they have a few minutes at work. It’s convenient for them, they’re online so why not post! Wrong! Most of your clients are at work and then most of them will only have access to social media on their phone.

So when is the right time to post? Like being in the right place, you will know from the statistics (insights) and interaction you get on your social media. Still not sure, then have a look at these statistics.

So, when are you posting on social media? Are you posting in the evening or first thing in the morning? If you’re not, then I strongly suggest you do this for a week or two.

Right offer

Now I am not advocating the ‘buy my shit’ approach to marketing. Ramming stuff down a consumer’s throat just isn’t the way.

Now you’ve got your business in front of them now is not the time to go backwards and make it all about you. You still need to make it all about them. This is where you need to understand their psychology, this is where your client avatar comes in, this is where (to be honest) it gets hard because you need to make it all about what they want/need/feel/believe.

How do you find that out? Ask them (see a trend?), look at their reviews/feedback, and do some profiling. This step should take you some time and it is likely to shift as your business grows and you experience a range of clients and you learn who you prefer. That’s good if it does. Now I don’t expect you to go alone on this step and I am happy to review and advise what you have.

From here?

Congratulations, you now have a solid plan on who, where, when, & what you are marketing to on your social media. Keep asking questions, of them, your business, download my latest Facebook Plan on growing your Facebook Page, and of course you can join me in some one on one work or we can brainstorm in my Facebook Group with a group of switched on business owners who are reaping the benefit of an engaged and profitable social media presence.




Killing off your confidence gremlins

Can I be honest? I get struck by the confidence gremlins. They come and shake me every so often. They whisper the meanest things in my ears. They laugh at me when I feel like I’m starting to get somewhere. They really enjoy pulling me down a peg or two. Now while they are quieter than when I first started my business, it seems they still attack when my defences are down, when there’s a lot going on in my life, when I’ve been sent something from left field – that’s when they creep back in.

These confidence gremlins take on so many forms:
– the imposter gremlin (they’ll see you for the fake you really are)
– the cricket gremlin ( no one wants what you have to offer)
– the comparison gremlin (you’ll never stack up to this other person)
– the undeserving gremlin (you really don’t deserve success)

And these little monsters relish in attacking when you least expect it, heck, I think they lay in wait for

when you’re at the top of your game and then they attack to bring you down to earth.

What’s prompted me to write this is a number of things. It’s coming through a period where I was rattled. It is also looking back on conversations I have had with friends and clients and realising that something just isn’t getting through.

I by no means believe I am the first or am I alone in addressing these gremlins, nor do I think this list is comprehensive. What has become clear is an issue I was unable to see, it often sits at the centre of this.

I believe that we spend far too much energy putting the emphasis in the wrong place.

Emphasis on competitors

While speaking with a new coaching client, she mentioned that she was feeling incredibly inadequate because she was looking at others in her industry, seeing how they were succeeding, and wondering why she wasn’t. I told her that I too had been there (and I sometimes slip back) and the only way to stop feeling like this is to stop looking. Stop looking at the Social Media, unfollow them or unfriend them, just don’t put yourself in that position. Why? Because the vast majority of us only put the best achievements out for the world to see, we don’t publicise our struggles, and that gives you an incredibly biased perception of their achievements. (I also learnt that a lot of the success out there is funded by debt and I don’t value success at any cost)

Emphasis on valuing the wrong people

In a recent coaching session, my coach reminded me of some work by Brené Brown. Now Brené is one of my favourite speakers and my favourite speech of hers is the one from 99U – The Man in the Arena. Now Brené did not write that famous speech, but she uses it to demonstrate how we hold ourselves back due to fear (these gremlins).

There is one sentence in this Brené Brown speech which jumped out at me in my discussion with my coach. In the speech she says:

If you’re not in the arena, also getting your arse kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.

Too often we, me included, give our energy to people who don’t deserve it, not because they are ungrateful or treat us poorly, but because they’re not on the same playing field. Remember, we show people what we want them to see, and that can include family.

So my coach told me of a Brené Brown exercise, where you take a small square of paper, no more than 5 cm², and you write the names of four or five people whose opinions really matter to you. Now some will say that they don’t care what others think of you, that’s not what this is, this is whose opinion you really value. Now I want you to stop and consider the next thing, are they also in the arena? If they’re not also in the arena, are they someone whose opinion should really matter?

Now I was told to keep the list in my purse for when my gremlins came knocking, I actually keep it under my laptop as my gremlins attack when I am online. So I suggest you write your list and keep it where you are often visited by your gremlins. When the gremlins come knocking, look at that piece of paper, is the person delivering the gremlin on the list? There’s a good chance they’re not and so you can discard the gremlin (and maybe even the person).

In the end, I want you to be mindful of where you expend your energy as every misspent piece is a piece you can not use yourself to do what you want to achieve.