Social Media Marketing

I was interviewed by a Journalism student about social media and this is what I said.

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Why is it important to maintain good social media profiles?

It is crucial to maintain a consistent social media profile that truly represents your business with high quality interesting & valuable content because in today’s media world your social media profile could well be the first point of contact for your prospective client.

If your profile is inconsistent and lacking in providing your target audience with inspiring & entertaining content then they are likely to unfollow you on social media and not think positively towards your brand.

I often talk about a Trust Tree. Every communication on social media is an opportunity for your ideal customer to be putting a leaf on their Trust Tree. The more touch points you have with them the quicker they can fill up their tree, the more stable your relationship is with them the more likely it is they are to have confidence in you & what you offer and therefore buy from you.


Do you think they act as the modern version of CVs?

If you are looking for employment then I believe a well crafted CV plus a smart, tidy & active LinkedIn profile is the perfect match. It’s also important to remember that your activity on other social media platforms will be taken into account! So always be mindful of what you say and do on social media. I once heard someone say ‘Don’t do anything that you’d be embarrassed for your Granny to see’!


Tips on maintaining professional accounts?

My top tips would be:

  1. Know your target audience - really really well!

  2. Niche as much as possible so that your marketing is more efficient & streamlined and you’ll connect quicker & easier with your potential customers

  3. Do one platform well before embarking on another one

  4. It’s better to manage a few platforms effectively than try to be on all of them. You’ll only dilute your message

  5. Be consistent

  6. Be active

  7. Be genuine, authentic & engaging


Which is the best platform for what? (e.g: Instagram for fashion for example)

Typically people say if you have a product based business then you should use visual platforms like Instagram & Pinterest. And if you have a service based business you should use platforms like Twitter & LinkedIn.

It all comes down to knowing your customers - where do they go for information? What platforms do they use? Where are they most likely to buy from you? THIS is where you should be.


How do you think social media can launch someone the career of their dreams?

Social media can definitely be the key to launching someone’s dream career! I believe wholeheartedly in this, that’s what I’ve built my business on! Helping others set up, establish & successfully grow their dream business from nothing to something incredible where they are adding value to their clients lives on a daily basis and making an important and heartfelt contribution to their community.


What makes an account stand out?

The attributes of a successful social media account, that make it stand out from the crowd are:

  1. Daring to be different

  2. Having a strong clear brand identity

  3. Knowing your clients and speaking directly to them & involving them in your business, so they actively take part in the journey with you.


What is your opinion on bloggers and their increasing number?

I think it is marvellous that blogging as a career has become so accessible for people especially with its flexibility for working hours etc so ideal for parents, students & older generations.

Although there is a feeling that it is becoming rather over saturated, but saying that I still see great value for small businesses to collaborate and team up with bloggers for reciprocal benefits.


I'd love to hear your opinion on any one or more of these questions. Feel free to comment or email me sarah@sarahcook.co.uk

Four proven ways to book more clients

We all want more clients, right? If you answered no and you have plenty of business now and lined up then congratulations that’s brilliant! But for the majority of us, especially small businesses that work on one-off projects we need to work on ways to find more clients.

I’ve used all these methods with positive results, why not try one a week every day and see what happens? Try, measure, tweak, try again.

1. Social Media! Haha! I had to feature this as my top strategy, of course I’m slightly bias! A lot of people say to me ‘I’m on social media, but it isn’t working, I’m not getting any business.’ But it doesn’t work if you are just ‘on’ social media you have to DO IT! You need to decide what platform(s) are the ones your ideal clients use and then consistently engage with people there ensuring you are clear on your business message and giving away your expertise - be generous with your advice.

2. Referrals. In a recent seminar I attended with Oliver Dax he revealed that referrals are the number one way to get new business & have a typical conversion rate of 67% compared to cold calling which is only 3%. Surprisingly only 11% of business owners ask for referrals, but 91% are happy to give them. So as the saying goes if you don’t ask you don’t get!

3. Blogging. Not only does regular blogging dramatically improve your SEO opportunities but it also is the best way to demonstrate your skills & expertise. People work with people they like, know & trust and guess what…. Blogging is a brilliant way to build the like, know, trust factor and establish yourself as the go-to expert in your niche.

4. Networking. Technology is amazing these days, but we can’t and shouldn’t attempt to replace good old fashioned face to face networking. When you network within a circle of people who have the same values and goals as you, you find yourself in a very like minded community full of potential clients.

If you’re looking for a female focused small business networking community that can help you get more clients, then look no further than Come Network With Me!

CNWM has a variety of different networking experiences for women in business in Bristol & the South West.

 

Turning Social Media into Lead Generation

Put your hand up if you like being bored by what you see, hear & read?? No of course not! None of us want to log on to Twitter or Facebook or wherever and find it as dull as watching paint dry. Noooooo we want excitement and thrills. We want laughs and crys. Ooohhh’s and ahhhhh’s. When our minds are being intellectually challenged and our hearts are being stroked with human stories of kindness and gratitude and love, guess what happens? We fall in love! OK, so not quite but you get the idea…. We form an emotional attachment and fondness for these people/brands/businesses that make us feel: Happy, understood, cared for, confident, humoured and so on.

When you can make someone FEEL something positive and good from their experience with you, even when that experience just means them retweeting you or commenting on your post or repinning your pin, you are starting a meaningful connection. Their experience doesn’t have to be a face to face one or something lengthy over a period of time with many backwards and forwards communications. In today’s society we’re all busy and we do things faster and we want things done with speed. Quick
brief nuggets of conversations spattered about here and there are what’s expected and what is the norm. The important factor is to ensure these nuggets make people feel good!

What I’ve been talking about here is: Stimulation. In order to for your social media activity to channel through into new customers and repeat customers (as these are very important too & mustn’t be forgotten) the key element for success is keeping your readers stimulated! However much you love joining in Twitter Chats and sharing your thoughts on a discussion thread on LinkedIn you are not solely doing this for the pure joy of it. Or are you?? Well, for most of us our strategy is to build our network, our connections and our business reputation to as many of the right people as possible to propel our businesses forward for bigger profitability and business growth. And for this we need….. Dah dah dah SALES!! We need to generate quality leads by using this wonderful thing called social media!

You might be interested to know that the definition of “lead generation” is: “The marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing a sales pipeline.” (https://www.marketo.com)

There are two significant words here: Stimulating (yep think I’ve got my point across about this!) and Capturing.

It is a complete waste of time if you’re spending your precious energy creating incredibly amazing content for your social media campaigns that is highly stimulating, engaging and useful, if you are then not capturing your reader’s interest. Otherwise you’ve just let them slip through the net to swim off to a competitor of yours. I’m not implying you should be asking people for their email address and phone number at every opportunity but you do need to have a capturing method in place with a plan and a structure, so that when appropriate you are obtaining contact information and you are using it wisely! By wisely, I mean storing in a CRM system that easily and smoothly allows you to communicate effectively with your audience to keep them stimulated!

* This post was first published for The Little Blue Blog on Local Pages

3 things I learned from having no wi-fi for 7 days (& nights)

Firstly I must admit and come clean that I did not set myself a challenge to see if I could do it, a test of my willpower, but I was forced to do without! So how could I cope without internet access, email, Google, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter…. shall I go on? The key tools that have become my trade, but also my friend. Yes that’s right I said my friend! How utterly bonkers is that? I think anyone who checks their newsfeed more than 5 times a day will be able to relate to this. It turns into a necessity that then becomes essential in every day life and then familiarity kicks in and your facebook feed feels like chatter with old friends. Comfortable, happy and reassuring. I know I’m going off tangent here as you wanted to know what I’ve learned about my no wi-fi time, but let me just add one more note to this: It may feel like natter with old friends but tell me this how many of your FB friends are your FRIENDS? I know how many of my 900+ are, and it’s not many! It’s not that I don’t value the other 850 friends – I do, I really do. But they play a different role to my ‘real-life’ friends.
So after my confession that I did not set myself a challenge but rather we were on holiday where getting reliable wi-fi is like asking your children to play nicely together! It doesn’t happen often! I decided that with some pre-planning and a little help from my wonderful associate Emma (who took the reins at SHC while I was away and did a marvellous job too!) I’d go cold turkey for 7 days and nights and embrace the wi-fi free lifestyle.
My conclusion is that this week has been a very positive and pleasurable experience and the 3 biggest lessons I’ve learned are:


Number 1: There is more to life than facebook! (I’m talking about from a personal perspective of course, you mustn’t neglect FB for your business!) Life carries on in the real world – the here & now. So what would you rather spend your time doing, being in the moment right now or having your head stuck in your iphone?


Number 2: My emotional health and wellbeing is more important. When my ‘screen time’ was taken away I did wonder what I’d do with myself! Well it didn’t take me long to make myself a list of all the things I wanted to do and I thoroughly enjoyed ticking each and everyone one off the list. They included: reading (& finishing) a book; going to bed before 10pm; waking up when my body was ready for the day (this ended up being 9am. I got bored!); having a glass of wine in the bath; allowing myself time to think & reflect free from stresses; enjoy a leisurely lunch (instead of eating a sandwich in 2 minutes in front of my laptop); do nothing (without guilt); sit on the beach and watch the waves… for ages.


Number 3: My children and my family are more important. Sorry if this seems very obvious but it it still needs to be said. This evening I saw a family of 3 generations all sat around a table together but all individually engrossed in their ipads and iphones. No conversation, no eye contact, no affection, no laughter. Each family member from the children to the grandparents might as well have been sat alone with just their device for company. So without the distractions of the web and my work I’ve spent quality time (yes I know its a cliche but it’s true!) with my daughter and my son. We’ve played card games for hours; dug big holes on the beach and buried our feet in the sand; played with toy animals in the bath until the children’s fingers went wrinkly. And the best bit of all… watching my children run in and out of the waves again and again with squeals of laughter!