Back to basics – Communication

Get back to basics and communicate!

Get back to basics and communicate!

Over the years it has been fascinating to see how communications have changed and how we use language to communicate. I can remember spending many hours getting very frustrated with mail merge, printing off letters by the hundred and stuffing envelopes ready for post office. Now using systems such as Mailchimp we can send out correspondence to hundreds of contacts at the click of a button.

Even how we communicate with friends and family has changed. Once upon a time we would set aside time to write to a friend, probably having spent a lot of time at some point choosing just the right paper and envelopes. Now we send short text messages in ‘text’ speak, or quickly comment on or like a Facebook post. We even send birthday and Christmas cards electronically.

So have we evolved?  Sometimes I think we have abandoned traditional communication methods not necessarily for the best

That is why I am pleased to see that week commencing 21-27th Sept is National Thinking of You Week. The objective is to encourage people to ‘think’ of people they haven’t been in contact with and reach out to them. Do you remember the last time you sent a handwritten card or letter?  How do you feel when one arrives at home addressed to you? I bet you smile and feel just a little bit excited.

This doesn’t just have to be about friends and family. Think about your business – are there people on your database you have not interacted with for ages? Why not use this special week to focus a handful of contacts and connect back with them. Not by bulk email. Be daring – pick up the phone and talk! You really might be surprised at the results.

Help – I don’t know what Social Media content to post!

I have run out of ideas for social media content – this is something I typically hear people saying when they talk about their social media. Does it sound familiar?

There are lots of content you can post – you just need to be more creative and dare I say think ‘outside the box’!

So let me help with triggering some content ideas that hopefully you can start incorporating in your social media today.

Let’s start with – What are you doing today? Are you attending a networking event, going to a exhibition, having a 1-2-1 meeting or perhaps doing some training? Why not share what you are doing and link to other people you are meeting or you have connected with. You can post before you go and also afterwards. If you are going to an interesting venue don’t forget to take and post a picture.

Have you read a good book recently. Did you post about it?  People love recommendations. This is especially true at this time of year when they are looking for interesting holiday reads both fiction and personal/business development. Tell people why you enjoyed the book for example was it inspirational? You could take it one step further and write a longer review as part of a blog.  I recently read a brilliant thriller on holiday in Spain. When I got home I posted in a local Book Club Facebook group which stimulated a discussion, and even interacted with the author on twitter.

People like consistency so why not set up a structure of posting specific content on specific days.  For example on a Monday you could post an inspiring quote to kick start the week.  On Wednesday you could give away a top tip and you could finish the week with something fun like a ‘quirky picture of the week. This can all be planned and schedule weeks in advance.

Don’t forget to share important milestones. Have you just won or completed a major project?  Launching a new product or service?  Perhaps you have a new member of staff or formed a collaboration.  It could be that you are celebrating your 1st, 5th or 10th year in business. Tell the world!  Sharing this sort of information shows a human side of our business.

I hope you have found this useful. For more ideas on content for your social media why not get in touch at karen@littleacornmarketing.co.uk

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Tips For Creating A Professional Twitter Profile

I love using the social media platform, Twitter. I enjoy the challenge of putting my message across succinctly in 140 characters or less – it really makes you think. It offers a great opportunity for engagement and there is so much information your can glean from it.

Whilst many of my clients are familiar with Facebook I find that Twitter is not really understood and therefore overlooked as an option in a social media strategy.  With the constant changes  at Facebook and its dwindling post ‘reach’ it really is time to seriously consider if Twitter should be incorporated in your strategy.

So this week I am focusing on some tips for creating a Professional Twitter Profile:

  • Username: often referred to as a Twitter handle and limited to 15 characters. I recommend that you use your real name or company name but avoid using numbers.  If you name is already taken consider using an underscore e.g. John_Smith
  • Bio: This is important for both new followers, as they will check this out before deciding to follow and for Google search.  You’ve got a total of 160 characters and it is important to ensure you include your keywords.  It is an opportunity to tell everyone what you do, why you do it, and what interests you.
  • Profile picture: this represents you and your business. Not only is it on your homepage but it is also displayed every time you post a tweet. Remember that Twitter is a ‘social’ media platform and you want people to engage with you so use a good photo – it is really worth investing in a professional headshot to be used across all your social media for consistency. The recommended dimensions are 400×400 pixels. Whatever you do make sure you get rid of the default egg image.
  • Header photo: This is similar to the cover picture on Facebook. The recommended dimensions are 1500×500 pixels. Make sure your header coordinates with your branding doesn’t clash with your profile picture or make it difficult to read your bio.
  • Theme: Twitter provides a number of default themes with a variety of colours that can theme in with your branding but you can also upload your own custom background.
  • Website: Don’t forget to add your website address to your profile  If you don’t have a website or you don’t want to use it then you could include a link to your blog, your LinkedIn profile or your Facebook page.

Once your profile is set up and you are happy, then you are ready to get going.

The first thing you need to think about is who to follow.

I will be covering this and more in my next blog post but in the meantime why not follow me @KL_Creativity and for interesting and informative business info follow @10to12BizClub

If you would like help with any aspect of setting up your account please get in touch – karen@littleacornmarketing.co.uk

Thinking outside the box – marketing collaboration

As a business owner you are no doubt working with limited resources and any budget that you spend on marketing activities needs to deliver results.

I was attending a training course last week and it was really interesting listening to the other delegates talking about the challenges they face in developing their businesses.  A pattern started to emerge and it was clear that although their product and service offerings were all very different that actually shared the same target customers. Some of their marketing activities were very similar too – they had websites, they used social media and they enjoyed networking.

We are obviously all focused on our own businesses but sometimes we are too focused and can overlook opportunities that are ‘outside the box’ to do something a little different. These ladies had the ideal opportunity to collaborate on a marketing campaign – a dressmaker, a photographer and a confidence coach.  For example the professional business women who, for whatever reason, needs some coaching, then has a new outfit made for herself and then has her new headshot taken. What a great story with lots of marketing opportunity!

So what are some of key success factors when considering a collaboration?

  1. Have a clear objective for wanting to collaborate?
  2. Research and brainstorm best companies to work with.
  3. Be clear about what you have to offer the collaboration.
  4. Ensure you have a clear tactical plan with responsibilities so everyone is clear of the expectations
  5. Make sure you build in a measurement element so you know how successful you have been

During March 2015 this subject will be further discussed as part of the 10-12 Business Club structured network meetings. More information on where you can hear more can be found at:  http://www.10-12businessclub.co.uk/business-networking-meetings-berkshire/

So do you have any examples of a collaborative project you have worked on?

Networking – Does size really matter?

Over the last few years I have spent a lot of time networking in and around Berkshire. I have sampled lots of different groups from ladies only to mixed, informal just turn up style to structured and more formal.  One thing I have noticed is how some people are very focused on the numbers. The assumption is that the more people attending a meeting the more successful it will be. But is this really the case?

In my experience no it isn’t.  I have been to very busy informal networking and ended up coming away feeling less than inspired.  My conversations have been constantly interrupted, my coffee has been spilled as everyone is pushing past and I often feel like I haven’t had a chance to really get to know anyone or understand what they are actually offering. The only real result is to arrive home with a big pile of business cards!

On other occasions I have turned up at a networking event to only see a handful of people attending. However at the end I have left feeling uplifted and motivated. There has been some great conversations, I have made interesting new connections. Often a small group allows better interaction to take place and often business issues might be discussed and brainstormed as it is easy to get everyone involved.

My advice is to try different styles of networking and always keep an open mind. Take your business cards, your marketing materials and most importantly an approachable smile. Have a clear 40 second – 1 minute business introduction up your sleeve and go with the flow.  You might be very surprised at the results.

The confusing world of social media and the small business

Aside

I was recently asked to present to a networking group on the subject of social media.  There is so much talk about social media and so many options that it is easy to get confused and struggle to get started.

However if a few simple steps are taken it can be relatively pain free undertaking.

Firstly spend time thinking about your objectives and what you want achieve.  Is it increasing traffic to your website or to demonstrate expertise and thought leadership?

Then identify the social media platforms that are best suited to help you achieve your objectives.  For example blogging, LinkedIn and twitter may suit thought leadership campaigns, whilst Facebook and twitter might be better suited for getting better access to customers. It is easy to assume that they are all good for your business and a mistake that can cost you significantly in time.

My advice would be do not dive in until you are ready and have a clear strategy.

At the end of the presentation I had one member say that he had a very specific target customer and approached them directly so he really didn’t see why time and effort should be focused on social media.

My response was – It all comes back to having clear objectives and thinking beyond the immediate here and now.  How about those people who are just outside the target? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to grow the business reputation and start building relationships as one day they may be a target customer!