An Important Part of your Brand
How many of us set up social media accounts, add pages for our business and spend time posting, following, liking and commenting but never look at, or review, our social media profile sections?
We spend time and sometimes money on optimising our websites for search engines whilst many social media profiles are left blank or with only a very sketchy outline of what we do. Interestingly I do a lot more posts on Twitter than Facebook but in a Google search my Facebook page comes up far earlier in the list due to the words I have used in my page profile.
For personal profiles it is important to come across as friendly but professional. People very much buy people. I would therefore strongly recommend a good quality head shot especially for LinkedIn. You can be less formal with Facebook and Instagram but still give an accurate impression of yourself.
If I am looking for people to link with and don’t already know you I will skip past any profile that has a blank grey square and no photo and I also don’t wish to see your baby, dog, cat, tortoise etc. in a business related profile.
Use your personal profile to tell people about you, what your values are what motivates you and your link to your business.
Your business page profile on any platform should give a very clear idea of what you offer, who your product or service is aimed at and why your offer will help them. For example, Helping businesses in South Devon achieve growth and success through effective business planning & marketing strategies.
In the description area use as much of the space as possible to explain your offer in more detail using words that you would like to be found under when prospective customers are searching.
All social media platforms are searchable under interests and activities so by optimizing your social media profiles you are becoming more visible.
On some platforms, business description categories are very prescriptive and not flexible, especially for businesses that offer a range of services so it is important to opt for the one that you wish to be found under. If that is not clear you might consider listing under a different activity on different platforms for example, I may list under Business Consultancy on LinkedIn but under Event Management on Facebook. You can then expand on your other services in the description area.
Photographs and images are important – you need to adapt your logo to fit the parameters on each platform – for example the Facebook shape is a circle so make sure you adapt for this rather than cutting off part of your image and that you use an image that is clear and not pixilated – first impressions do count. (Just be aware that the LinkedIn Android app does sometimes pixilate some banners).
If you use a designer or have access to design services such as Canva then make bespoke cover images for your platforms and adapt these for each. LinkedIn should be professional but you can have a more fun image for other platforms to convey your personality.
I have been asked before about using cartoon or caricature images – I would say it depends on what you do. Something fun and quirky would be very acceptable for a graphic design business but may not go down as well for a law firm for example. Whatever images you use do make sure that they are royalty free if not your own.
Finally check the privacy setting for your business page profiles – privacy barriers need to be removed and set to public or only existing connections will be able to find you.
If you would like a review and emailed report on your social media accounts email firstname.lastname@example.org these are free of charge until the 31 May 2020
On Torbay Hour last night I was asked if I could put together some top tips on funding bids and applications. So below are my thoughts which may help businesses to access funding at this difficult time. Some grants relating to Covid-19 will be automatically allocated but as we come out of lockdown and need cashflow to restart, other sources of funding may need to be looked for.
We are happy to talk to anyone who needs advice on this subject and offer a free 30 minute telephone consultation to discuss your business needs and options you can consider. Give me a call on 07717 130226
Running a business can be hard and you cannot be expected to be an expert in everything. Outsourcing certain aspects such as HR, marketing, bookkeeping etc. can be a good solution leaving you the time to bring in new work and clients and deliver on contracts.
On the positive side you are buying in knowledge & expertise without the staff management and associated bureaucracy and, depending on the contract you sign, only pay for the hours or activity you use.
An expert in their field will suggest new ideas and processes that you may not have thought of yourself. They can relate their experiences from a range of different businesses, improving your efficiency and effectiveness. Cost needs to be considered against the extra revenue you can bring in whilst you are not undertaking these tasks.
However you need to choose carefully. There are many who promise everything you need but are they actually qualified to deliver to your expectations?
Some tips to consider
Marketing – how active robust and relevant is their own social media, do they have any qualifications, ask to see examples of past work
Website building - is their website legally compliant (you would be surprised how many are not). Will you own the copyright to your site, is it bespoke or will they just be building from a template site
Strategic planning – what level of experience have they had? Were they responsible at senior level for strategy and planning or did they just deliver at a lower level
Insurance – the wrong advice or delivery could be damaging to your business – make sure whomever you outsource to has professional indemnity and liability insurance in place
Testimonials – ask for 3 client names and give them a call don’t just rely on logos on a website. Referrals from people you know and trust are always good
Reliability – do they have the resource to deliver to your timescales
Communication – will they be easy to get hold of to check progress and brief on new work. Agree reporting at outset
Outsourcing, like most things in business, needs to be viewed as an investment, carefully researched and planned to ensure that you find the best fit or your business. Once you have found your outsourcing partner(s) ensure the contract and briefing is clear concise and measurable giving you the peace of mind to go and focus on growing your business and in some cases achieving a better work life balance.
What a difference a year makes. 12 months ago I was writing a New Year message to members of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce as CEO from my Hampshire home. This year I am writing this as owner of my own business from my new home in Devon.
This is a time of year for reflection and planning. Reviewing what has been achieved, what challenges and obstacles have been overcome and what would you like life to look like this time next year and beyond. The most important thing I have learnt this year is that taking calculated risks does reap results. The old adage “if you always do what you always did you will always get what you always got” is very true. I have spent a number of years wishing I had time to do things I enjoy such as photography. I now have that time but had to make a lifestyle change and accept the risks attached to that to achieve it.
Starting a business especially in the current uncertain economic climate is challenging and who knows whether it will work however, if you don’t try it you will always wonder what if.... I already feel more relaxed, healthier and am loving the flexibility to undertake projects I enjoy without the constraints of standard office hours.
So what are my new year resolutions?
I was given a copy of Debra Searle’s book for Christmas – The choose your attitude, priming your brain for positivity journal. I fully intend to use it to keep me focussed on logging small wins, developing positive habits and journaling personal aspirations.
Businesses are the same. It is so easy to get taken on a journey that has the wrong destination. Being busy is not the same as being successful. With a well thought out plan and achievable goals you can chart your path ensuring it leads you to what you want your business to achieve. Taking the time to plan properly is an investment not a cost. For example, too many businesses undertake scattergun marketing often spending a lot of money but without knowing the end goal. Some simple planning first would enable this spend to be targeted, audience relevant and undoubtedly achieve better results.
it can often help to have a planning day with an external facilitator to ask the questions those bogged down with day to day activities may take for granted and overlook. They can also act as a sounding board and look at things through a potential customer’s eyes. Allow your team to participate and buy into the vision and plan too. They will welcome the opportunity to contribute and share their ideas.
If you have had a successful year don’t keep it to yourselves. There are many business award schemes which can reward success, raise your profile and give your staff something to be proud of. If the categories and entry forms are a bit daunting at first we can help as with many years awards judging we can focus on what the judges will be looking for.
So in 2020 dare to dream, focus on your journey, try to avoid unnecessary detours along the way, take calculated risks and celebrate your successes.
Come and have a chat if you think we can help with any aspects of your business planning, marketing or manage a project for you whilst you focus on your core business.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and successful 2020
Maureen Frost has spent the last 21 years working within Chambers of Commerce helping businesses of all shapes and sizes. Now taking the opportunity to branch out into self employment and recently moved to Devon with her partner.