Life can be chaotic, we’re busy people leading busy lives and it all has the potential to become stressful after a while. Running your own business comes with its own stress points too. However, how you manage that stress and the various scenarios that take place, can play a big part of whether that stress will bring you down / create burnout, or make you stronger.
As a business owner, there are things that will keep you up at night and play on your mind, and it can be hard to switch off, keeping work and pleasure separate. So, how can you manage the stress and the constant flow of interruptions? The quicker you can learn to manage stress levels as a business owner, the better your health and business success will be.
Prioritise your time
It’s easy to get snowed under with the pressures of work, to take on everything yourself and to find yourself in the middle of high workloads without a hole to breathe from. And the way to get through this is to learn to prioritise. Without schedules or a plan, it can be easy for tasks to merge into one and to forget what is most important, leaving half-done jobs left on the table. (You may find our social media checklist beneficial)
When you get to this point, it’s time to take some ‘me time’. Burnout is a real issue and more and more business owners are facing this scenario way too often. Me time is important to take stock, refocus, rethink priorities and what matters most.
The art of delegation can be a small business owners’ best friend. It’s not a case of ‘giving up’, it’s a part of growing a business and expanding and taking on the responsibilities that you need and want to, finding other people to help support you as you grow. This takes away the stress from you, and relieves you from certain responsibilities that can free up your time for what you need to do, including taking some personal time for you and your family.
Use tools to help your business
Gone are the days where everything has to be done manually. There are many tools out there which can help with the automation of your business, tools that can make your life much easier and manageable when it comes through getting through daily tasks.
Apps, software, online-programmes, equipment etc, there any so many tools that can help you manage your business, taking the stress away from you as a solo business owner. Yes it can take a trial and error period to realise what works for you, but when you find the ones that do work, you’ll never look back!
Make a list of what tasks you need help with and research what tools could possibly help the health of you and your business. Ask other business owners what they use and what they could recommend. You could try social media groups to ask for advice and to discover new tools that already work for other business owners that you could try. In turn for finding new ways to manage your business, you can manage your stress levels.
Listen to your body
Our bodies are great at indicating when they need to stop or slow down and there comes to a point where we need to listen to those signs. If you need a break, take one. If your body needs to stop and get some fresh air, a chance to refresh and take stock – give your body what it needs.
Your body knows when it’s tired and we lose concentration when our body gets to the point that it feels it’s losing. That’s when it is time to stop – listen to your body!
A rest will give your body time to refresh and breathe. You may not be one for stopping but taking that time to refresh can far out way the time it takes to rectify any errors – it’s worth taking the time.
“Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.” ~ Ralph Marston
Learn to recognise what works well
When we’re feeling stressed, it can be easy to focus on the negative things that are happening rather that what is working well. Recognising achievements and positive outcomes can have a positive effect in our mindset. Stress comes when we feel we are not coping or are not achieving what we set out to achieve. When we switch the mindset to praise ourselves for the good and the positive, our bodies realise that we are in control of what outcomes we produce and are more inclined to think positivity and feel happier about what’s happening around us.
We can also learn from the good things too and by focusing on these things, we keep our minds active, stay vigilant and break the cycle of negative thinking.
Let go of what is not working
You may have been doing something for months or even years, but if it’s not working – ditch it! There is absolutely no point in carrying on with something that does not work for you. This can also be said for things that are not working in the practicalities of your business and personal life. Find a routine that works for you, whether that be a change in the way you manage your daily activities or the way you organise your projects. When something works, it gives you a better sense of achievement and you’re likely to feel happier in yourself and more productive.
Managing stress levels as a small business owner can be tricky but it’s achievable. Stress can get you down, it can even result in burnout but before you get to that level, do something about it. Talk to the people around you, find networking groups for support, discover different places to work or meet new faces. There are a number of ways in which you can help stress levels stay on par.
As we’ve mentioned above, delegation and outsourcing is an effective way to manage your workload which results in less stress for you. If marketing plays a big part in this and you’ve not got the time to get out there and tell people about your business, perhaps it’s time to outsource. We’re here and happy to help at the click of button, even if it’s just a sounding board to see what options are available for you. Get in touch and let’s talk.
It’s Never Too Early To Plan Christmas Social Media Campaigns
Plan ahead: It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark. ~ Richard Cushing
If there’s one thing that is true for marketing, it’s that it is never too early to plan a social media campaign. We see Christmas or seasonal items appearing in shops much before the season arrives, the marketers are ready with campaigns and promotions in plenty of time before we decide to hit the shops.
Why? Because it allows our minds to think about their products and promotions for when we are ready to buy. If we’ve already seen an offer that we like, we’re more likely to purchase that item when the time comes rather than wondering around a dozen shops or websites to find what you’re looking for.
If marketers can make an impact in your mind, and make it convincing, appropriate and enticing, you’re more likely to buy from them.
The same goes for social media campaign.
And as we head towards the Christmas season, many people have started their Christmas shopping or have an idea of what they want to buy. They’ve already started to think about the people they need to buy for and what types of gifts they would like. This makes it easier for brands to sell as they have campaigns running on social media way before December that puts triggers in our minds, which brings us straight back to their product when we are ready to purchase.
Have you started your Christmas marketing campaigns?
Now is the time (if you haven’t started already) to get plans and strategy into place for your Christmas social media push. These can drip feed over the next few months, but now is a great time to get them out into the online world and where your brand can start to be noticed and recognised.
Christmas campaigns are about speaking directly to your audience, pleasing them and tailoring to their needs. Your bottom line shouldn’t be the main thought in this process – it’s about engaging with your customers.
Marketing campaigns are successful when a brand is recognised. So, creating social media content is about raising your brand awareness and letting people get to know who you are. The more you are known, and people start to notice you, the more successful you’ll be.
Do what it takes to get noticed, this may be by getting a little creative, eccentric, different from the norm, anything that allows your brand to stand out from the crowd.
Christmas is a busy time, it’s a season where every brand out there is pushing for attention and in order to get noticed your business needs to do something different, that other brands are not doing.
What could you do to spice up your Christmas marketing campaigns?
1) Get creative with your social media profiles
Spruce up your social headers and profiles with some festive graphics. You don’t have to be super talented in the graphics department, you can head over to Canva to create some free images, or if you don’t have time, ask a Virtual Assistant to help! Have fun with your social headers, make them memorable. If you create a theme or series, you could change them on a regular basis to gain a little more engagement from your audience.
Here’s a Facebook header example:
2) Utilise key festive dates
You may be focusing on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years day, but there are many more days out there that you could get creative with. We’ve got a few on our social media planner, including #CyberMonday #ChristmasJumperDay and a few more which could be interesting for your social media content. It’s all about creating engagement and excitement – jump on the trends and turn them around to suit your brand and audience. You may not be promoting your business or offers, but you’re getting people to interact with your content. They’ll start to know you and like you and will share your content with others – then when you do promote your products, you have a ready made audience to speak to.
Download our free 2019 social media planner for key dates
3) Engage with your followers
This may be something that you’re already actively doing, but if it’s not, now is a great time to start. Bring a little Christmas cheer into the conversations, jump onto conversations that are happening where you can a) add value and b) have fun with it, both while raising your brand profile.
If you’re using any social listening tools, use these to discover people mentioning your brand as to not miss any opportunities that arise.
4) Run a giveaway or competition
Everyone loves a giveaway, especially around Christmas when people are already buying gifts for their family and friends. When you’re planning your giveaway, you want to think about what you’re trying to achieve by doing it – don’t make it a wasted exercise.
Are you looking to raise brand awareness? Are you looking to gain more followers? Do you want to grow your email list? Depending on your goal, gear your campaign around how to achieve the right outcome.
If you’re wanting to grow your email list, you’ll want to ask people to ‘sign up’ in order to be in with a chance of winning your prize. If you’re looking to raise your profile, ask people to comment and tag another person in their submissions, in order for more people to hear about you. If you simply want to gain more follows, ask people to like your page and share your posts. There are lots of outcomes and ways of achieving them but try to focus on one for each campaign, it will make it easier and less complicated to manage.
5) Create a festive offer
You may not want or have the means to do a giveaway so a festive offer could be an easier campaign to do. Christmas is one of the biggest times of the year for businesses to earn income. Campaigns that are planned and run well have a good chance of being taken seriously, whilst growing your audience and raising your brand awareness.
Use words like, one day left, Christmas countdown, buy-one-get-one-free – these are all appealing and give a sense or urgency to the buyer.
Get creative with your visuals but don’t make it too crowded, allow the offer wording to stand out, be bold and showcase what you are offering.
You could also offer free-shipping for a limited time or one day only and have a message that shouts about that particular day being important.
6) Create an event
Have you ever thought about holding an event to create excitement or awareness? This could be online or offline, meeting people face to face or holding a ‘live’ event online. People like to see the face behind the brand and to engage with real-life people. So much is automated in the world we live in that to physically see or hear a person that represents a brand is a novelty for many. Utilise that and build up momentum prior to the event. Use your email marketing to invite and remind your audience and use social media to promote it. The more momentum the better!
7) Create templates
When you’re creating your Christmas graphics, stick to a theme or a create a template where wording or images can be changed but that doesn’t give you a headache every time you want create a new one. Make your graphics simple, make them bold and make them effective. If people cannot recognise your brand from one image to the next, it’s not going to be as successful. Branding plays a big part in how your business is perceived and received.
Here’s a couple of examples:
8) Be joyful with your Christmas promotions
Christmas is a festive season and should be full of joy – your social media content needs to be social and engaging, where people can enjoy interacting with you and your followers. You want to get people excited about Christmas, about the holidays and of course about your brand!
You could do this by asking simple questions about their Christmas experiences or do they prefer X or Y product. This will not only give you great research into your audience but will help you market the products or services that are favoured.
When it comes to creating a marketing campaign, too early is always better than too late. The more preparation you can put in, research into your target audience and gain insights into what your customers want or would like to see and hear, the better the impact it has on your business.
Do you have any other ideas that you could use for Christmas promotions? What’s your favourite and most successful promotion you’ve done? We’d love to hear your comments below.
If you’d like get started in promoting your material for Christmas but just not sure how and where to begin, get in touch, we’d love to help!
For further reading, check out our post from last year about preparing early for Christmas social media marketing
Marketing is important for anyone looking to promote their services and this is applicable to absolutely anyone; from those just starting a business, to freelancers, entrepreneurs to small or large organisations.
Many larger companies will have a marketing team where they can hire a social media manager to do the job however it’s not as easy for freelancers who are trying to make a name for their business, with just themselves to do the work.
As a freelancer you know your business better than anyone else and therefore can push your marketing in the direction that you know it will hit your audience but how do you do that well and effectively when time management can be a factor as well as understanding all the social channels in order to do a good job?
Embrace social media
Don’t think that just because you are a small fish in a big pond that social media is not important – it most certainly is. And for some freelancers it can be the main stream of marketing that brings in new clients and reaches out to even more people.
Whether you personally love or hate social media, as a freelancer you need to be using it to promote your services.
Embrace the social networks as if they were your best friends and find a channel that works well for you, and stick to it.
Which social network do you use?
This will totally depend on your type of business and who you are looking to attract. Before you do anything, you need to establish the basics.
- Who is your ideal client?
- Are you working B2C or B2B?
- What do you want to achieve from social media?
- Who is your competition and what are they doing?
By working on these basic questions, you can give yourself a basis to build your social media content around.
If you’re a B2B freelancer you will probably find that LinkedIn is a great place to discover clients. Check out our recent post on why LinkedIn is good for your business.
LinkedIn is a great place to network and build on your relationships, showcase your knowledge and expertise as well as getting your name known within the industry circles.
Facebook is good for brand awareness and building a community. Facebook is still the largest social network and one that is great for building a following. By creating a Facebook group and providing value through this to an audience that is interested in your services, you’ll build trust, reputation and loyal customers. If you’re not ready to create your own group, there are plenty that you can join and add your value to. Be sure to jump into conversations and give solutions to people’s problems. This way you become recognised as an expert and people will come to you when they need assistance. The way you manage this will determine if these people turn into paying clients.
Twitter is a place for opinions and news so this is a place to find your audience’s conversations and to offer solutions. You can search for #hashtags relating to your industry and follow trends that will lead back to your audience. Building a following on Twitter can be relatively easy if you’re prepared to put in the time to keep up the pace – but sharing your knowledge will definitely get you noticed.
If you’re love images and can showcase your portfolio or service through imagery, then Instagram or Pinterest will be the place for you. Instagram is rapidly growing and with 75 million people a day scrolling through their feeds, you have good reason to want to use this platform.
Instagram allows you to get creative so whatever you are doing, wherever you are, you can capture the moment and create content that will grab the attention of your audience. Motivate and inspire people, give them a reason to want to follow you and if they like and appreciate your creativity enough, they may even get in touch to work with you!
The same can be said for Pinterest, which has become an extremely effective search engine facility where people are searching for inspiration every day. Your images do not have to be perfect, and with Pinterest you can add text to tell your audience what you are offering. Just be super clear on what you’re offering and who your attracting and if you get the content right, people will discover you.
Pulling it all together
With all your social media efforts, there are few things that need to happen throughout all of it: engagement. The key ingredient to social media marketing is engagement. Without engagement, all your efforts, time and hard work will fall flat and will be for nothing. No one wants to think they are working for nothing, right!
With this in mind, all of your content needs to have a reason or a way for people to engage with you – on every single post or tweet. There should always be a call to action or a next step they can take. Even if you’re just asking for a ‘comment below’, the audience knows what to do next.
With so much content out there, it is so easy for a user to read and scroll past without a second look. But if you catch the eye of the audience and ask them to take action, they are inclined to do so.
In this way you build reputation, trust and expertise. People will recognise your name and your identity becomes your brand, you are building a name for your business which can grow and develop.
And when people engage with your content, be sure to engage back! Show that you are human, you have an opinion and you value theirs. Create relationships with your audience and provide value to them in every way possible.
Social media is a key part of a freelancers success and the more you do it and start to love one or two particular platforms, the more you will get to know your audience and love them too.
Don’t spread yourself too thin
This is one of the hardest things to stick to, there are many great social channels out there and sticking to one or two can be a hard discipline to get into the habit of but it’s much better to do a few extremely well than to be on all networks but do them all not-so-well. Your reputation is at stake with every post that you create. With every piece of content that you produce, it needs to be clear, to the point and be focused on your ideal audience. You can set up personal channels if you want to talk about things irrelevant to your freelancing business. Your business is your focus and yes you want to be ‘you’ but you also need to come across as professional and approachable. First impressions count when it comes to potential clients. Make that first impression good wherever they find your services.
Do you have a website?
Social media is great for promoting your services and shouting about what you can do, but do you have a landing page on where they can go to find you? This landing page or website is as important as your social media profiles. If someone finds you on Facebook and clicks a post to get in touch with you but is hit with an out of date, old website, they will move on to the next freelancer. Spend some quality time updating your website (or landing page) and ensure that it’s always up to date. If you change your prices or a service that you provide, update your website. Simple.
All the above should be workable if you manage your time well. As a freelancer, your time is most valuable as you only have one set of hands! (Unless you outsource your social media marketing of course!) But the fact is that you can only do what you physically have time to do. Planning and organising your time is important for any business owner, so the need to factor in your social media marketing is something that should be a part of that plan.
Social media should be fun and never a chore – planning ahead and being in front of your time is the best piece of advice we can offer and always know what’s coming up so there are no big surprises.
If you’d like help, we’d love to chat with you about how to go about putting a strategy and plan in place for your social media marketing and to get the most out of it for your business. Get in touch today!
Many business owners use the common social media networks to raise brand awareness, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, but how many people forget about LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a fantastic place to raise your profile and is a powerful resource that you can tap into in order to grow your business and find new clients.
LinkedIn? Yes LinkedIn. People often think that LinkedIn is simply a place to add your CV online and that’s it. But that’s not the case, there is so much more to it than that. It’s a professional online community where you can connect with other business professionals, become known as a thought leader, show and share your expertise and get in front of people that are interested in you as well as your business – and it can be extremely powerful.
So, why LinkedIn for your business?
LinkedIn is a professional social channel where like-minded people can come together to network, gain advice, provide advice, or seek opportunities. The more you use the network, the more you will become known and the more opportunities will come your way, if you use it well.
Your profile is the core of everything and what information you put on there will influence the people that you connect with. You can use this for good or you can waste it but if you’re a business owner looking to grow your brand, using it wisely will be the better option!
Think of your CV; career history, qualifications, skills, references, experience. Your LinkedIn profile is where all this can be put into one place online for others to see.
Many companies will search for clients (and it works both ways) on LinkedIn so this is the place where you can stand out from the crowd – if your profile is glowing with everything that person or business is looking for.
The secret to getting ahead with LinkedIn is to be visible and to ensure that your profile is complete. This may sound a simple thing to do, but it makes a difference. Many people fail to complete their profile, leaving gaps in their work history or forget to include skills that could be essential to a what a new client is looking for. Another simple step is that some people fail to make their profiles public which does not do well if you’re looking for clients!
In order to gain a 100% profile, complete these sections:
- Current Position and title
- At least two past positions
- Profile Picture
- At least three to four recommendations
You can use the summary and specialties sections to describe your industry expertise along with skills or relevant experience that you’ve gained to get to where you are now.
It’s important that when writing your descriptions and summaries to use keywords that people will be searching for when they’re looking for your specific specialty. Include things that you’re passionate about, focused on and that drives you. People will see and relate to your enthusiasm and know that you have a passion for those things.
Remember that your profile is the most important part to complete. It provides the most valuable information for potential clients, networks and businesses to learn more about you, your skills and what you have to offer. It also gives people a chance to get to know you further before approaching you for your services.
This is the place to promote your business, to tell a story and to showcase what your business offers. Set up a business page that reflects all that you do and the services or products that you provide. Ensure that all your vital information matches what is on your website, on other social media platforms and Google. This enables the search engines to recognise and authenticate that you’re real and align your business with other places on the internet.
Just like you did on your personal profile, ensure that all the information is complete and it includes contact details for when people want to get in touch.
Once you have a business page, you can use it together with your personal profile to build on brand awareness. It’s not easy to get people to notice your business straight from the word go, you won’t have any followers or post likes and it can be hard to get noticed unless you’ve got some great keyword copy. Therefore, to make it work better, once you have posted something on your business page, share it on your personal profile. More people are likely to see it and if they like what they see, they will visit your page (and hopefully follow!).
Also, your business has a personality and a face behind the brand, you. Let people know who you are and what your business does through your own profile. Share your business page in your own newsfeed and shout about your services! Connect the two on a regular basis so people start to relate you with the name of the business.
A business page doesn’t have to be updated too often, especially if you’re a small business or just starting out. Once or twice a week will suffice if you are still engaging, posting and promoting on your own profile (ensure that your business page is a link on your profile). Your business page is simply a page of reference for those who want to find out more about your business. Don’t stress about not having enough time to post content all the time on there, your personal profile is more important.
People have the idea that LinkedIn is simply an online CV database or a place to look for jobs. But LinkedIn is so much more – it’s actually one of the biggest search engines online! It offers professionals a place to network and build relationships that they would not necessarily have done without the social platform. It a place to ask questions, gain expertise advice from leading experts and improve on knowledge and expertise yourself through learning and helping others.
Networking and LinkedIn Groups
If you’re at a place where you want to take on more clients or build upon your business relationships, LinkedIn is the perfect place to network. And there are groups for everything and anything you could possibly think of! You can find relevant groups through the search function.
Joining groups can help establish yourself as an industry leader and is often how connections become clients because they can see the knowledge you have and the value you are providing. This can help with any B2B relationships you may be trying to grow.
Joining general discussions can also be done straight from your newsfeed too or you can search for topics that you know you’ll be able to give input to. Just answering people’s questions or providing solutions can lead to much more than you think. People like to recommend people they know, like and trust. When you start to build a reputation around the people you’re communicating with, you’re putting yourself out there for other people to recommend your professionalism and services.
And networking or groups doesn’t have to be all work related, you can utilise LinkedIn groups for personal hobbies or interests too! Many relationships are built from outside the office and people who have hobbies in common also build trust through their conversations which can often lead to business interests.
When you know that a contract is coming to an end, or you’re simply trying to build a business with new clients, LinkedIn is a perfect place to find new life. By engaging with potential clients and providing value in all that you post or write, you’re showcasing your business and allowing others to see what you have to offer.
Show your passion
The enthusiasm and passion that you put into your content, whether that be your own content and posts, articles or within comments and discussions, will make people aware of how much you care about your specialist subject. When you are able to provide passionate answers that clearly show your knowledge and background experience, you’re indicating that you know that you’re talking about! People want to know that you care. People want to know that you’re good at what you say you’re good at. People will buy from people who can prove their capabilities. LinkedIn can allow you to express all your professionalism, personality, cares and desires all in one place! It’s not a platform to share your family holiday photos (unless it tells a relevant story), it’s a place to shout out to the world what skills and talents you have and how you can use them to provide value to others.
We personally love LinkedIn and think it’s a great place to engage with your audience. What do you think? Are you utilising LinkedIn for your business?
If you know you need to be on LinkedIn but are not sure where to start, we’d love to guide you through and help you get started. Contact us and let’s talk.
Yesterday saw quite a few people go into panic mode while they were having trouble accessing Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp following a glitch with the giant company. The problem resulted in people not being able to upload or send images across the platforms.
The reason for the outage has not been confirmed although it could have been rooted in the systems that provide the content or computing power to all three, such as cloud processing.
While the systems were down, users were able to see the AI-generated captions behind the images, automated by Facebook to describe an image, for example “image may contain a person smiling” – this showed an insight into the data stored by Facebook that can be used for ad targeting, although this was not confirmed.
What can this teach us?
A good start is to be prepared in our social media marketing. You never know when a system is going to go down and to stay ahead of schedule can help eliminate some of the problems.
Using a social media management tool allows you to schedule ahead of time, not putting on the pressure when disasters happen. Although it’s still hard to be responsive when the systems are down, you can know that the majority of content is ready to go.
Don’t rely on systems
As much as we love social media, it’s still important to keep a personal touch in everything that you do.
By attending in-person network meetings and becoming known in social circles can go along way in building up your reputation and being a go-to contact when someone is seeking your services.
Plus is allows you to personal in your social media, when people know the real you in person.
Use the time as experience
When systems go down that we rely on, often we can go into panic and wonder ‘how’ we’re going to get around that situation. But in business there are always going to be ups and downs and it’s the way that you deal with problem and what you learn from it that matters. Not just focusing on the social media outage yesterday, but what other trusted sourced have let you down and how have you overcome that? When something happens, we can use these situations in our business plans and put steps in place to get around them the next time it happens.
Embrace the now
We’re a big believer that everything happens for a reason, whether it’s something you plan for, or not! So when the unexpected happens, that can be the time to embrace something new and try something different. And for this example, embrace the now in your marketing, you can take pictures of you doing business ‘offline’ and what you are doing instead, and then use these in your storytelling across your social once it’s all back up and running. You can let your audience know that although there may have been a glitch on social media – but they can still get hold of you other ways next time it happens.
Jump onto another social platform. One of the networks that you’re not so active in, you could use these to still keep your presence alive. Shout out and let people know that you’re still in business even if the networks aren’t!
Embrace whatever happens and use it to give your brand a relevance in the ‘now’ and let your audience know that you’re up to date with the latest news and happenings.
Don’t be negative
Whatever you do, try not to put a negative spin on your social media – people love stories, people love to know what’s going but they love positivity and inspiration and motivation – change a negative situation into a positive. Make it a challenge and not a stumbling block.
What were your experiences through the outage and have you used the time to tell a story or try something different? Let us know in the comments below.
For those who want to get organised in their social media planning, why not download our free social media calendar which gives you ideas and space to get organised as you think about the weeks and months ahead. Don’t let another outage stop you! It’s free – download now!
Are you a women in business? If so, join our Facebook Group and be supported by like-minded women who are looking to grow their business online and receive regular motivational and inspirational encouragement.