Lighting up your LinkedIn profile in 20 minutes

LinkedIn

In the time it takes you to eat a sandwich, have a nice cup of tea and maybe a digestive (dunked or not, your choice!) you could have made some very significant changes to your LinkedIn profile which will definitely make you more appealing to your ideal clients and therefore generate increased enquiries and sales.

 

So I put on the timer and did a dummy run through LinkedIn to see what improvements could be achieved within just 20 minutes.

 

This is what is potentially feasible and if you’ve already completed some of these steps then congratulations you’ll be spending less than 20 minutes on your profile and still have made useful changes that will give you an advantageous position over your competitors.

  1. Profile photo. Choose a professional well lit headshot. I know this seems really quite obvious but you’d be surprised how people still choose to use holiday snaps or selfies with your girl/boyfriend(s).

  2. Background cover. Don’t leave the default blue dot-to-dot as your background! Choose an image to compliment your profile photo and that correctly represents you as a business professional. Tools like Canva are great for designing social media covers and they have a template for the LinkedIn cover.

  3. Edit your public profile URL. LinkedIn automatically put a collection of numbers and letters after your name in your url, ensure you edit this so it is a unique, tidy URL like https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahhannahcook/

  4. Ask for 5 recommendations from the last 5 clients you’ve worked with. And if you’re not connected with them on LinkedIn yet...why not!? Pop them a connection request with a personal note.

  5. Then find 5 people you’d like to recommend and give them a recommendation on their profile. Just click on the three dots under their headline and select ‘recommend’

I think that probably wraps up a very productive 20 minutes, don’t you think?

If you’ve other suggestions on how to light up your LinkedIn profile in just 20 minutes, I’d love to hear from you. Please do get in touch.

And if you’d like me to help you for more than 20 minutes then why not book a LinkedIn tutorial that is designed just for you and your business.

(Title Credit: Karen Cook from Plan & Grow http://www.planandgrow.co.uk )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Its More Than Just A CV

  Gone are the days when people used LinkedIn as an online CV. And if you’re still thinking that it’s only purpose then think again!   Aesthetically LinkedIn is right on trend. With recent updates it’s no longer a stuffy old place just for men in suits (sorry no offense to men in suits!). It’s mobile friendly and modern, and I believe they’ll continue to stay on top of their game in terms of the user experience & new innovative design features.   So as a small business owner what you really want to know is ‘is it worth my effort?’ And my answer is a big fat YES!   Unless you have all the clients you’ll ever need for the rest of your working life…. But then I would still encourage you to have an up to date profile on LinkedIn. And by the way if you are at full capacity in your business - congratulations!   For the majority of us we wouldn’t mind a few more clients and depending on the nature of your business & your clients life cycle it would be a natural part of your regular process to have a constant flow of customers.   A constant flow of customers…. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it?   There are 2 key steps to achieving this.  Step 1: Voice your opinion on issues that relate to your subject matter and issues that your ideal clients care about. Post articles & updates that reflect the quality of your work & the types of businesses that you work with. Step 2: Do step 1 CONSISTENTLY!   Take an outsider's view of your LinkedIn presence and ask yourself these 2 questions:   ‘Am I demonstrating that I’m an expert in my field?’   ‘Do I come across as a friendly, genuine, approachable and helpful person?’ If you are answering no, then review your current LinkedIn activity and make these small changes to make a big difference. So wouldn’t you agree it’s a lot more than just a CV? If you’d like to know how I can help you utilise your LinkedIn profile to find more clients and & raise your visibility then please get in touch. I have 121 training & group workshops   ** LinkedIn Workshop July 5th in Bristol, ticket sales close Wednesday 28th June** Click here for Ticket Sales.  

 

Gone are the days when people used LinkedIn as an online CV. And if you’re still thinking that it’s only purpose then think again!

 

Aesthetically LinkedIn is right on trend. With recent updates it’s no longer a stuffy old place just for men in suits (sorry no offense to men in suits!). It’s mobile friendly and modern, and I believe they’ll continue to stay on top of their game in terms of the user experience & new innovative design features.

 

So as a small business owner what you really want to know is ‘is it worth my effort?’ And my answer is a big fat YES!

 

Unless you have all the clients you’ll ever need for the rest of your working life…. But then I would still encourage you to have an up to date profile on LinkedIn. And by the way if you are at full capacity in your business - congratulations!

 

For the majority of us we wouldn’t mind a few more clients and depending on the nature of your business & your clients life cycle it would be a natural part of your regular process to have a constant flow of customers.

 

A constant flow of customers…. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it?

 

There are 2 key steps to achieving this. 

Step 1: Voice your opinion on issues that relate to your subject matter and issues that your ideal clients care about. Post articles & updates that reflect the quality of your work & the types of businesses that you work with.

Step 2: Do step 1 CONSISTENTLY!

 

Take an outsider's view of your LinkedIn presence and ask yourself these 2 questions:

 

‘Am I demonstrating that I’m an expert in my field?’

 

‘Do I come across as a friendly, genuine, approachable and helpful person?’

If you are answering no, then review your current LinkedIn activity and make these small changes to make a big difference.

So wouldn’t you agree it’s a lot more than just a CV?

If you’d like to know how I can help you utilise your LinkedIn profile to find more clients and & raise your visibility then please get in touch. I have 121 training & group workshops

 

** LinkedIn Workshop July 5th in Bristol, ticket sales close Wednesday 28th June**

Click here for Ticket Sales.

 

Oops I went viral! (and 8 lessons for small business owners)

There are moments in life when you feel so compelled to take action it takes over your entire being. All the cells in your body are living and breathing this thing inside of you knowing that there is a real urgency to let it escape. And not only to let it out so you can feel content and calm again but to voice the core of your pain to the world and ultimately make a difference to other people and their families, as quickly as possible.

Well this moment happened to me recently after listening to a tragic story about a 14 year old boy in London who died from an anaphylactic shock resulting from a food allergy from something he ate at school for lunch. The school staff did not administer his epi-pen that could have saved his life.

I knew I could be proactive in preventing another tragedy like this happening again and so I began a mission to educate as many people as I could by demonstrating how to use an epi-pen with a video on Facebook. I thought  ‘if this reaches 1000 people then I’ll be really chuffed!’ Within 3 days it had been seen by 30,000 people! And within just a few weeks more than 45,000.

Astonished at the quick response I’d received I quickly put my business head on and scrutinised the key underlying reasons why hundreds of people had shared my video and thousands had taken the time to watch it.

In my conclusions I came up with 8 reasons why this scenario had such enormous success.

No1: It was newsworthy. I had piggybacked onto a current news story. Therefore my video was current and relevant.

No2: I gave people real useful practical advice. (Top Social Media Tip No1: Being useful should be your ultimate objective with your social media).

No3: I’m emotionally connected to this story. My son has an epi-pen and I once had to administer it after a reaction to nuts. My own personal story drove the momentum and strength of my video and compelled people to share it.

No4: There was no sales. Period.

No5: I asked people to share it. I gave examples of types of professions/groups of people whom would benefit from the video and why I wanted them to share it. (Top Social Media Tip No2: Always ASK!).

No6: My advice was really important - potentially life saving.

No7: I made sure I followed up my video with post updates on how many views the video had received along with my response to this. Plus I did a 2nd video showing how to use an epi-pen with a banana, after someone who saw my original video asked a question about how to administer it.

No8: Because I’m an active social media user I have a large like minded network of connections worldwide. This always helps when you want a favour!


If you’d like to discuss how I can help your business utilise social media to get the outcome that you want. Please get in touch, it would be lovely to hear from you. sarah@sarahcook.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Why Twitter is like Dating

It’s not ok to just be on Twitter. I often hear people say “I’m on Twitter” as if this ticks the Twitter box on their social media plan. Well I’ve news for you…. It’s not enough, it just won’t do! It’s like going to a party hoping to find a boy/girlfriend but not actually talking to anyone. Ok yes you went & maybe soneni might have noticed you and then maybe they decided to say hi or maybe not. Maybe they were more interested in those that approached them and therefore forgot about you. That’s quite a lot maybe’s, isn’t it?

 

Attracting new business & being noticed by potential clients & collaborators is no different. It’s pretty similar to dating. And if it helps to make this comparison then do it! Twitter is the most misunderstood platform so us whatever analogy to understand it well & use it to its full potential.

 

Imagine this scenario. You see a guy at a bar you’d like to get to know a little more shall we say. Which option do you think you’d get the best chance of getting his phone number?

  1. Completely ignore him. Remain talking within your circle of friends about things that interest you. Keep your fingers crossed that he’ll notice you.

  2. Be brave, approach him and start a conversation. Ask him questions about his interests. Listen to his answers, be genuine, honest & friendly.

My point is when you want your perfect clients to notice you & buy from you, you have to notice them. You have to show an interest in their interests. This is crucial because you need to be confident that your business client relationship is a good match. When you find these matches you’ll have very happy customers & we all know what happy customers do = share their experiences & tell their friends (to you and me this is called Social Media!)

So please don’t just be ON Twitter, but DO Twitter. Start conversations, seek out other businesses to collaborate with, take time to build & nurture new relationships.

All good relationships (business & personal) need energy, commitment, time & patience. This nurturing & growing stage is a whole other blog in itself!

Remember Twitter as the dating stage. So get out there and start flirting! (professionally speaking of course).



If you’d like to book a 121 Twitter tutorial please get in touch to find a convenient time for you - sarah@shcsocialmedia.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.

 

More than a blog: 16 Ways to Repurpose Your Content by Amy Morse

I'm delighted to share this guest blog with you from the very talented and wonderful Amy Morse.

Author and entrepreneur, Amy Morse, has a background in skills training, business support and writing. She now works with small businesses to help them tell the story of their business well in their own words. She offers workshops, 1:1 support, proof reading services and eBooks to help businesses write their way to success.

Amy writes fiction as, Amy C Fitzjohn and her thriller fiction novels are available on Amazon.

 

For a small business, having a blog on your website is a great way to show your expertise in your field, build your authority as a business and boost your ranking on Google searches. It’s also social media gold dust - if you write a blog, you’ll never run out of informative content to share!

As you get into the swing of blogging regularly, you will naturally build up a library of content. This knowledge has value and can therefore add value to the portfolio of your business.

Every time you write a piece of content you’re creating something new, something with the potential to use over and over again.

I recently told a client I was lazy. He gave me a crooked look and said; “Way to sell yourself, Amy?”

…I’m lazy because: I like to have simple systems and processes in place so I can get stuff done, quickly and effectively, leaving room in my day to do what I enjoy. There’s no sense in constantly reinventing the wheel. I want to do something once then re-use, re-purpose and recycle it (without being repetitive).

When you create a new piece of content, look for opportunities to use that knowledge in different ways. Here are 16 ways to make the most out of that piece of content:

It’s not just a blog post, it can also be…

1.       Workshop handouts

2.       The basis of a face to face workshop

3.       A flow chart

4.       Built into an online course

5.       Visually represented as an infographic

6.       Recorded as a podcast

7.       Presented in video form

8.       Turned into a cartoon

9.       A printable

10.    Made into a quiz

11.    Gamified (turn into a game)

12.    Revisited and referenced into an updated post

13.    Used as a checklist

14.    Presentation slides to deliver as a talk

15.    Crib sheet / handout for a 1:1 discussion

16.    Expanded on to form the basis of an eBook

What innovative ways have you repurposed your content? 

If you want to be better at blogging for your businesses, I’m in the process of writing ‘Blogging for Business’ - the book will be available in August, please get in touch if you’d like a pre-order review copy or would like to be notified when it’s released.

 

7 things I do that make introverts feel at ease

1. Create an environment where there are no surprises. Introverts prefer to know what’s happening, where & when. This reduces the build up of anxiety - as much as possible you are removing the unknown. I offer an online Facebook group exclusively for guests, where they can get to know the other guests they are going to meet on the day. It gives them a feeling of belonging and being connected, it is less pressured than face to face. When they meet in person they already know these people and can continue conversations they’ve had online. They are not meeting strangers, they are meeting friends.

2. Prepare them for the day. People who find social situations uncomfortable will prefer to arrive early before everyone else. So information in advance about where to park, what the venue looks like and how best to get there will ease their feelings of worry or uncertainty.

3. Introverts don’t want to feel that they’ll be the only one. Reassure them with examples of quotes or testimonials that other guests have given saying how they felt anxious about networking, but they enjoyed the experience much more than they had imagined and were not only happy to do it again, but looking forward to it.

4. Tell them exactly what will happen on the day. Showing them video and photos from previous networking events will give them an insight into what it is really like. So they can see for themselves before they decide. A ‘try before you buy’ type opportunity.

5. A small number of people in an open welcoming place will put them at ease. Crowded pokey places with lots of people and lots of noise will only exaggerate an introvert's apprehension. I specifically design events for a maximum of 12 people in a beautiful tea room vintage boutique called Heartfelt Vintage. It is run by husband & wife team Kate & Will who homecook all our delicious lunches. So guests feel they are spending time with friends in an open warm informal environment. There is no pressure to perform or be anybody you are not.

6. Attract people with similar interests & goals and introverts will feel they belong. Everyone’s passion & energy for their business is high and this breeds security & support among a network.

7. Leading by example. I share my worries & concerns (as the whole group do) with my guests. They can see I have the same troubles as they do. Introverts then feel included, accepted & that there is a real sense of kinship.

Thank you for the contribution from Come Network With Me Tribe! Who without them my networking experiences wouldn't be successful or exist at all!

Come Network With Me is a monthly networking experience for female small business owners & start-ups in Bristol & the South West.

Not a flipchart or soggy sandwich in sight!

If you're expecting your average type of workshop... grey miserable building, Nice biscuits, nasty tea & coffee, soggy limp sandwiches (leftover from the workshop the day before) four blank walls and one big flipchart dominating the room (ok so I am painting a rather gloomy picture here and I know there are some awesome workshops out there now but bear with me) then BE PREPARED FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!!

Workshops from SHC are: Inspiring. Imaginative. Exciting. Interactive. Fun. Because..... guess what? So are you AND so is your social media!

But you need to hear that from someone who has actually been on my workshops, not just me! Right?

Natalie from Baby Bank Network & Bond Lingua Bubs and Tots said this:

Thank you Sarah, I had the most amazing day and feel so inspired on how to move forward with @BondLinguaBubsandTots. You managed to cover some basic and more complex ideas to cater for all levels throughout the workshop without anyone feeling bored or left behind. I've already started to put some new things into practice and have told all my friends about you. So you should be getting some more people heading your way soon. Thanks you also for the 'after care' contact it has been invaluable! Natalie xx

If you'd like to experience a different approach to workshops while learning how to use social media effectively for your small business then think about attending  a workshop with me at Heartfelt Vintage in Clifton.

See here for all workshop details. Early Bird tickets are available on all workshops so book in early to grab the Early Bird price!

Photography: Nicola Jane Photography

'Ooh you smell nice'

Who taught us to ‘save it for a special occasion’? Our parents? Society? Why is it we choose one outfit as our ‘best party dress’ that gets worn a couple of times a year? If it’s our best shouldn’t we be wearing it and enjoying it say every week at least?

In life we ought to be enjoying our ‘best’ clothes, jewellery and other materialistic possessions that make us feel good… all the time! Feeling our best and looking our best shouldn’t be something that happens a couple of times a year, it needs to be a daily occurrence.

Okay so maybe we’re not going to go on the school run in a sequinned ballgown or spend hours in the hairdressers to then do the weekly shop in Tescos.

But we can be enjoying more of those ‘special occasion’ experiences on a regular basis. After all stopping ourselves from having pleasure from these things more often is an insult to our lives. The precious years we have on this planet and we’re limiting our best moments! I don’t think so! Isn’t today special enough? And tomorrow? and the next day?

Well I believe that it is. And so I recently took out my favourite perfume (only for VERY special occasions) from my perfume box (where other ‘special occasion’ perfumes live) and I placed it in a prominent position on the bathroom sink where I couldn’t help but see it every morning.

I then spritzed myself every day (sometimes twice a day!) with my favourite perfume and an incredible joyous feeling came over me, a highly positive excited ‘jump up and down’ feeling, like I was going to have the best day ever!

If that wasn’t brilliant enough I then received countless compliments throughout the day. Without hesitation people would say ‘Ooh you smell nice’! as if I’d cast a spell on everyone to sniff me and say those words. I don’t have any hypnotic skills nor did I pay them to be nice.

I was just wearing my favourite perfume that reminded me of many happy memories of holidays and nights out. I was reliving those lovely feelings every day and enjoying all the nice compliments too. To which I’d reply ‘Thank you’ and smile to myself knowing I’d feel just as fabulous the next day and the next.

Now my beloved perfume has run out. The empty bottle still sits proudly on my bathroom sink reminding me to feel special every day.


Do you save things for ‘best’? Why not make it an every day thing?

Three reasons why running is like social media

It is well known that I love running (I post pics of my pink trainers and places I’m running on social media quite a bit) and it is well known that I love social media (I am hugely passionate about unravelling the mysteries of social media for small businesses so they can benefit from this awesome online world).

So let’s kick of with the first similarity.

No1: It hurts at the beginning

If you are new to running or you are returning to running after a break (like having a baby!) then yes it can be really hard and yes it can really hurt! But as they say there is no gain without pain. This is like social media, before you step into this apparently confusing rather baffling world of tags, hashtags, mentions, retweets, shares & other oddities you may feel some pain. This is in the form of resistance, uncertainty, fearing change & fearing the unknown. But do not fear. Because a) the pain is short lived & b) I can minimise the pain for you.

No2: Little & often is best

If you think going out running in your local park for a quick jog once a fortnight is going to improve your fitness, stamina, endurance, health and so on then I’m sorry to tell you it isn’t! Well no that’s not exactly true, all exercise is good exercise but if you’re serious about running (read serious about your business) then you need to be training at least 3 times a week with a schedule to improve your fitness levels and challenge yourself.

Ok so let’s translate this into social media terms: if you post on Facebook on a random basis, say once a fortnight like our jogger then you are not going to get anywhere near where you’d like to get with your social media. Likewise if you tweet occasionally and expect to gain new followers and engagement then you’ve got the wrong idea. So often clients say to me ‘I’m on Twitter, but I’m not getting any followers or RTs’ The key word is ON. That’s it they are on Twitter. Yes, but they are not DOING Twitter!

Organise yourself a schedule to ensure you are CONSISTENT with your posts & tweets…. Little & often is the best strategy here. If your plan is to run a 5k within 3 months you’d need to start off running little and often, then build up the distance until you’re able to run 5k without stopping.

No3: The results can be astonishing!

I’ve heard so many people say how running has changed their lives and they’ve achieved a personal goal, maybe a new distance or PB or even a marathon when they never thought it would be possible. But they didn’t get there through an occasional spur of the moment run. OH NO! They got there through sheer hard work, dedication, training, commitment, perseverance & drive! Apply all these principles to your social media and you could be achieving incredible results too! I know its possible! Why? Because I’ve done it myself and I’ve helped clients do it too.


If you’d like to book in a complimentary social media strategy session where I can help you to see how you can achieve results with your business, then please click here & I look forward to helping you.

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

Enlightening, Motivating, Inspiring, Supportive.....

Need I go on? OK I will! Warm, Gorgeous, Fun, Stylish & more!!!

I asked my 'Come Network With Me' guests to describe the event in one word. One word that for them summed it up, how it made them feel. And this is what they said. Isn't this great? :)

Well I'm rather chuffed because most of us have probably at some time in our lives had a not so nice experience with networking. Uncomfortable, awkward, anxious, out of place, bored, waste of time, uninteresting, irrelevant..... any of these sound familiar?

The important bit here to remember is when you find whats right for you then stick with it and keep doing it. 'Not really my cup of tea' rings true here - there are zillions of different types of tea & equally as many different types of networking events. So find your perfect tea match and hey presto you're onto a winner!

If you're wondering if CNWM if your cup of tea? Well try it and find out! What have you got to lose? I can GUARANTEE you'll meet an incredibly lovely bunch of women who run their own businesses, often starting off from scratch. They've made mistakes, they've learnt a lot, they've gained enormous amounts of experience, they've won new clients & new business.

Most of all they are strong positive inspiring women. Just my 'cup of tea'.

 

Take a look HERE for all upcoming CNWM events. See you soon for a refreshing style of networking!

Photography: Visuable

What would you prefer: 6 inches or a whole day?

I know what I’d choose! Ok so I’ll explain a bit more. Option A: a one off 6 inch ad in your local paper or Option B: a whole day of Facebook Marketing Training?

What would you pay for a quarter page ad in your local paper? £200? £250? more? Or for a lot less than that - just £137 (well actually only £117 if you book before the Early Bird offer expires) you could learn an enormous amount of hugely valuable info, tips and tricks that could elevate your business above your competitors on Social Media.

Not only that you’ll have the opportunity to pick my brains as much as you like! Just like my previous clients have, to give you an idea here are some businesses I’ve worked with in the last 18 months: Madame Wax, Baby Bank Network, Scarlet & Nell, TotsUp, BeFabBristol, Jax Glam Beauty, Freelance Mum, GS Styling, Designs For Education, JAKS Decoration & Design, Bump & Beyond Nutrition, Your Heart in Your Hands, Freedom Here & Now, Linda Thomas Eco Design and many many more!

My training sessions are friendly and enjoyable. It is a practical workshop with lots of activities for you to do as we go along. The best way to learn is first of all by doing it and secondly by enjoying the experience and this is what I aim to do for you! All workshops are limited to a maximum of 8 and so you will have the opportunity to have great in depth group discussions about how together we can help you understand & change your Social Media marketing to make a big positive impact on your business. And at the end of the day that’s what you want isn’t it?  You need to know that the money you invest in this day will make a BIG POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOUR BUSINESS! I don’t believe you could get the same results with a 6 inch ad, do you?

To read more about my workshops please see HERE and if you’d like to have a chat with me about your Social Media needs please just  email me sarah@shcsocialmedia.co.uk

 

It’s amazing what a bit of courage can do! (An account of my workshop journey)

I think I must have been having a particularly amazing day, you know one of those where you think ‘life is incredible, I can do anything YEAH!’? Well in that moment of euphoria I decided it would be a fantastic idea to do my own one day social media workshop…. by myself!

You’ll find out at the end of this blog if that was one of my best or one my worst business decisions!

Having a background in events and finding unique and inspiring venues that others wouldn’t have considered, I went about my mission of finding such a venue. And lucky me… I was fortunate enough to meet Kate of Heartfelt Vintage at a women’s networking group and we just gelled straight away and I knew I would enjoy working with this bubbly friendly lady who by the way has fabulous style (to match her gorgeous boutique/tea room of course!)

So that was my venue ticked off the list. With date, time and other important details like the menu sorted. Talking of the menu… the food is delicious! Homemade with love by Will, Kate’s hubby. I must make a special mention here to the amazing scones!! They are huge, homemade and scrumptious! All gobbled down with homemade clotted cream & strawberry jam Since tasting these I have literally raved about them to everyone I know and booked a table to enjoy them again (with more afternoon tea treats too) with a good friend of mine.

Sorry I realise I’ve gone off on a tangent a bit (scone distraction!). So once I’d sold my workshop tickets it suddenly dawned on me that this was real & it really was going to happen. This meant two things:

  1. I hadn’t even started writing the content yet and time was going fast! Argghhhh!
  2. I’m going to have to listen to my own voice for 7 hours no stop! OMG Noooooo!!

I turned to my partner and said PLEASE PLEASE remind me once this is over to NOT do it again!

Panic snuck in and I knew I was going to have to manage my workshop only one way: MY WAY!

This meant a ‘non-workshopy-type-of-workshop’. No whiteboard or projector, no formal ‘do this…do that’ format and definitely not 7 hours of me talking non stop!

So I set about constructing a thorough workshop workbook (thanks for the term Helene Jewell) full of lots of really useful tips, ideas & practical exercises for my workshopees to enjoy and learn from.

Another important criteria was to have a small group (6) where everyone would have the best opportunity to gain the most from the day.

And you know what? It worked!

Apart from designing and compiling and editing my workbook day and night for days on end and right up to the very last minute before my printers gave me a final deadline. Yes apart from that, I did it! And from what my guests told me I did it pretty well too!

And now…. with lots of learning under my belt on how-to and how-not-to do workshops… I can’t wait to do another one!

It just shows you need a bit of courage to jump in at the deep end, then you might feel as though you’re drowning but you swim harder, you survive, you get out and climb back up to that high diving board and…. jump back in!

 

 

Here are some comments from my workshop guests:

Laura Jane Dernie5 star I attended one of Sarah’s amazing Social Media courses. Not only was it set in a beautiful location it was done in such a way that she enthused us all. Sarah you are bloody brill x

Lesley Waldron5 star I attended one of Sarah’s workshops on Social Media, and it was fantastic. I feel like I can put together a social media action plan with more confidence that it will reach and interest my audience. I loved the interaction with other small businesses too – there was so much crammed into one day. The venue was also inspiring – not a flipchart or office chair or soggy sandwich in sight. we were surrounded by beautiful things and fed home cooked, delicious food. What a great day. I’d recommend to any small business feeling overwhelmed by social media and wanting some more focus.

Helena Sime Today I had the fortune of spending the day with this almighty woman Sarah Cook of SHC Social Media. She is the WARRIOR PRINCESS of the social media world!!! I’m indebted. Thank you Sarah! I seriously recommend her to you all!

“I have been lucky enough to receive 121 support from Sarah and to also attend a Social Media Training event she ran. Both were brilliant. I felt in incredibly experienced hands. Sarah is passionate about what she does and this comes across and is infectious. Sarah has motivated me to push my Social media activities to the next level for my small business. I’m very grateful to her- thank you.” Misty Tunks of Makey Mamas

 

"I'd love to do better with Facebook... but I don't like computers"

Many of the clients I work with are coaches, therapists and health/wellbeing professionals who are incredibly talented at what they do, but they’d rather not have to do anything on a computer. They want to be working with people hands on - changing their lives through emotional or physical touch.

If this sounds like you, you might describe yourself as a ‘techno-dinosaur’ or that you and computers just don’t get on! Well please do not fear! I really can help you with some simple techniques and tools to make social media work for you and your business.

They key aspect to remember is that your pc/laptop/mobile is just the vehicle with which to communicate with your customers, it is not the important bit. What’s important is your message - what you say and how you say it. Are you being true to your beliefs and your business ethos? Are you being honest & genuine? Are you being helpful & kind? Ok so I know you are these things, but is your Facebook page demonstrating this?

Facebook is the most user-friendly platform there is and with 1.55 billion active users* it is by far the most popular, so can you afford not to be there?

If you think you are not making the best use of your time on Facebook for your business then get in touch with me  and I can help you! Book a complimentary call with me here.

* http://www.statista.com

Are you neglecting yours?

You wouldn’t dream of letting passers by see your shop window display like this, would you? So why not give the same care and consideration for your online shop window? Your potential customers might find your business for the very first time on Social Media and their first impression of you (remember first impressions last!) is what they see on your Facebook page (I’m not talking about photos of your kids and you walking the dog! No, no I’m talking BUSINESS! Your Facebook Fanpage - although I’m not keen on this rather old fashioned term so lets call it your Business Page as opposed to your Personal Page).

What people see when they land there is important, it’s VERY important! If it doesn’t look open, inviting, welcoming or friendly do you think they’ll stay? Do you think they’ll want to come in and browse or chat? Nope, I don’t think so either. You’ve probably got about 3 seconds to convince them that they DO want to stay and find out more about you and your business. 3 seconds… that’s not very long is it? So my question to you is if you were visiting your page, what would you think? Give yourself 3 seconds and then decide: Am I staying or am I going? Think. Like. Your. Customer.

 

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!

Why we need to acknowledge our achievements more!

Well it was a big enough reason to get lots of amazing women together for one night and basically just have fun! Relax, chill, be ourselves, let our hair down. Yes I’m talking about my recent party to celebrate my first 12 months of SHC Social Media!

It made me wonder…. do we acknowledge our achievements ENOUGH? And more importantly are YOU?

Maybe it’s because of my love of events or socialising or just bringing people together or all three but I’d visualised the occasion well over 6 months ago. By doing so not only did I already know what I wanted it to look like and how I wanted it to feel (for me and my guests) but also it meant that it WOULD happen! This little business of mine would survive the first year and not only survive it but do bloody well at it too!

Therefore there was no failing, no ‘it didn’t work’, as I had a party to go to! So if we set ourselves rewards and treats at specific dates or to mark certain occasions then we are literally making ourselves more successful, we’ve just programmed ourselves to reach that milestone, driven by the reward. Well we all like treats, we’re human after all. It’s just as simple as giving a toddler a chocolate bar when they’ve behaved nicely with their friends and not bitten anyone! (Oh don’t you bribe your children? or do they never bite anyone? LOL mine did!)

My point is, it is essential to acknowledge our achievements to ourselves and to the world. What have you achieved recently that you’re proud of? And what do you have your sights set on for the future? What about this week? This month? The next 6 months? Ensure it is specific and measurable and make a note in your diary of how you will celebrate, what exactly will you do to treat yourself? Remember this is your opportunity to shine and give yourself a well deserved big ol’ pat on the back!

Thank you to Nicky at Nicola Jane Photography for the beautiful photos.

 

5 Mistakes Start-ups make when using Social Media and how to correct them

In my head I was saying ’Yes yes yes I’m doing it right!’ and on the outside I think I was nodding a lot!

It’s an amazing experience to have one of the most recognised social media experts describe their best practice, and its exactly the way I do things.

There’s nothing like getting reassurance to make you feel good. And this really made me feel good! On top of that I felt a positivity boost (we all love those) and I have James Brain (my Advanced Social Media trainer) to thank for that.

I dedicate this post to James and all the other lovely people that attended the course with me and are the inspiration behind writing this blog. It really was an eye opening & uplifting 2 days. Only wish it could have be longer!

I’m not a social media angel and I’ve made plenty of mistakes too. As they say mistakes are all steps along our learning journey that make us better at what we do.

So I’ve put together some of the most common mistakes start-ups make when using social media. So here goes….

1. Using the platform that you are most familiar with regardless as to whether it is where your customers are! This isn’t about what’s comfortable for you, you need to think like your ideal customer does and be where they are. If you’re busy brainstorming great stuff to post on Facebook but your customers are engrossed in Pinterest or Instagram then you are in the wrong place!


2. Not interacting with people! I know this sounds silly but so many start-ups don’t engage with their audience on social. Here’s the thing, and there is no maybes on this one…. you MUST comment/reply/offer feedback/aim to rectify complaints. It really is essential, this is your opportunity to interact directly with your potential customers. How you react and respond will determine their perception of you and your business and whether they will/will not do business with you. I’m going to quote a really great line from James Brain and that is “Your 1* (Facebook) review can be your 6* review. Your negative customer feedback is your biggest opportunity to shine.”


3. Posting the exact same status (word for word) on every platform. Ok I know social media stuff is time consuming but please don’t be tempted to do this. It is far better to focus on 2 or 3 places where you KNOW your customers are and plan your updates on these platforms accordingly, than to be posting the same thing everywhere - it makes you look like a robot! And that is something you definitely don’t want! Just think how different Twitter & LinkedIn are for example. So the key is to be platform specific, basically tailor your words and phrases to the readers in that arena. What will make the most sense to them? What lingo are they expecting? Know your customers inside out and you’ll be on a roll!


4. Acting different online than you do offline.  You wouldn’t talk non-stop about yourself to a complete stranger you meet at a social function or networking event (please tell me you don’t do this?!) so why would you do it on social media? It’s a 2 way street, ask questions and be interested just as you would if you met these people in the flesh. Be real, genuine, authentic, honest and most of all be YOU!


5. Saying ‘My customers are everyone’. Yep all ages, cities, regions, lifestyles, cultures… men, women, children and so on. I did the same when I started - I thought if I aim to please everyone then its the answer to getting lots of great business, right? Wrong! Your messages need to be clear, concise, specific and targeted. Who exactly are you talking to? Where do they hang out and what do they like to do in their spare time? What motivates them and what are they passionate about? Be as niche as you possibly can, the better you know your market the easier it is to reach them and you’ll be amazed at how effective you can be when you’re speaking to a specific group of people than the whole world!

If you’ve made some social media boo boos, don’t be embarrassed it’s all great learning! Please do share with me I’d love to hear them and we can progress on life’s journey of learning together! :)

Photography: Visuable

Top 10 Tips - How to use Social Media to Help Grow Your Business

(First published with www.charliedeighton.co.uk February 2015)

Charlie.....

I like Facebook (generally).  I LOVE Instagram (for its simplicity, immediacy and 'gentle' visual stimulation as opposed to the sometimes constant bombardment of Facebook).  Twitter? Um. I'm trying...but still don't. quite. get. it.  

But, I do 'get' that all three of these Social Media Platforms (and Pinterest to add another) can be instrumental in helping small and growing businesses well 'grow'; helping us to reach and engage with our target audience.  

For me a key strength of social media is that it provides a platform from which I can forge new friendships, networks and connections - all three of which are critical to me as I work from home without a 'team' of colleagues around me to provide company, support and direction.  

I don't however have a 'strategy' in terms of using social media to help grow my business - although I know I should.  

Passion for Growth through Social Media

Sarah Cook launched SHC Social Media in June 2014 after successfully using Facebook and Twitter to promote her Lifestyle Events Business 'The Beauty Event'.  Sarah is down to earth, chatty, friendly and incredibly passionate about helping businesses reach their full potential through the use of social media.  

Sarah is quite simply for me, the perfect person to help a creative soul find her inner geek!

Sarah has very kindly agreed to share her Top Ten Tips for using Social Media to help grow your business and so without further a do, I am delighted to hand over to Sarah.

Hello

When Charlie messaged me to ask me to contribute to her blog, it was the day before my brand new website launch and I’d just taken on two new clients. I just thought wow everything is happening all at once! Well that’s kind of like life isn’t it? And its the way I like it too! 

Social media can feel rather like this too! You’ll have highs and lows. One day your post will get lots of interaction, then the following day…nothing. The key here is to be flexible and be prepared to quit a campaign that isn’t doing well instead of digging your heels in and following it through until the end just because you are determined to complete it. 

Insights and Engagement

Your readers will 'show' you what they like and what they don’t - I don’t mean literally, but, through your insights and your engagement you’ll see what kind of posts your readers like. So guess what? do these types of posts AGAIN!! Find what works and keep doing it until it doesn’t work any more - then change it.

Here, I’ve put together my top 10 tips for using social media for a small business. I could have written a list of 100 tips but we’d be here all week!

My Top 10 Tips

There are more than 50 social media platforms and tools to help you manage & monitor your social media performance. Not even the most experienced social media expert will utilise all these, you’d never sleep!!

And so my first tip is: 

1) Think about YOUR Ideal Customer

Don’t attempt to be on every platform! Think about YOUR ideal customer - Where do they like to hang out? What makes them tick? How can you reach their emotional side? Answer these questions and then determine which two or three platforms you’ll focus on.  Is it Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook….?

OK, so now for 9 more top tips!

2) Follow the 80/20 rule

(Or even 90/10!) Plan 80% of your content to be entertaining, amusing, funny, light hearted. Something that triggers emotions, connects & resonates with your reader. 

20% of your content can then relate directly to your business. Ensure it’s newsworthy e.g. new services /products, special offers, competitions. Always start your post/update with something that will grab the readers attention straight away. 

Try to get your message across in the first line or two.

3) Create compelling content that excites people

At the end of the day regardless of the ever changing algorithms in Facebook and all the other many rules & regulations that pop up daily the most important aspect to remember is: 

Post awesome stuff that your readers will love! 

If it excites you then it will for others too. Be yourself, be genuine and consistent. Ask yourself before you post ‘Is this interesting, valuable or amusing for my target audience?’

4) Share!

Build your business relationships by showing your appreciation, support and admiration for others by sharing their posts on your page. Ensure you tag them and then they’ll get a notification with the details of your update.

5) Say Hello

It’s a 2 way street! Take time to ‘meet & chat’ to those you’re connected to. Say hello to businesses in your field, those you’d like to collaborate with as well as your target consumer. Start a conversation with those you have things in common with. They’ll appreciate the effort you’ve made, you’ll be more memorable and more likely to be the first person they think of when they need your services. 

You want YOUR business to be in their mind & their thoughts. So why would they contact anyone else but you?!

6) Your brand is YOU!

Your brand personality is YOUR personality! Make sure you express this through your social media. People buy people and your consumers will want to do business with those they have built a relationship with and those they like & trust. 

Your social media is an extension of your brand experience so be sure to wow your customers every time.

7) Encourage Discussion

Respond to questions and encourage discussion. Each time someone comments on your wall, each one of their friends will see what they have said, so it is an effective way to generate word-of-mouth marketing.

8) PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!!

Content that is thought out and structured within your overall social media strategy will be much more effective than purely ad hoc posting. 

Schedule 50% of your updates in advance and then have the other 50% as real time posting/interaction. Decide on a content calender based on your social media objectives and then monitor its progress and effectiveness.

9) Don’t sell

This is not the place for a stream of high-pressure sales messages. Think of it as an online networking event. Promote your services occasionally but this should not be the main event. Far too many people get this wrong. 

Social media is about linking, sharing, connecting and the potential for your business grows from this approach.

10) #Hashtags!

Some people whisper it like it’s a swear word! But it really is a pretty simple and straightforward concept. 

My advice is make a list of hashtags that relate to your business (see what other similar businesses use) then use these in your tweets/posts -  this is what your potential customers will search for. Then YOUR business will appear in their search! Hey presto!

How I can Help You

"SHC is about opening people’s eyes to an amazing and ever changing online world which has incredible potential for your business when used in the right way!"

I help small businesses and start-ups get more social media savvy! If you like doing your own social media I can guide you on how to use it for your business through tutorials, training & workshops. If you don’t like doing it yourself then I can manage your social media accounts for you. The choice is yours.