Earlier in the month, we remained closed to clients but spent the week working on our company goals and the business. When you’re so busy week to week with clients, it’s often your own business that doesn’t get the attention, so we really were keen to spend the time chatting, sharing ideas, brainstorming and making sure everything is in place for a great 2022.
During one of our brainstorming sessions, we were putting down a list of social media top tips. The ideas were mainly for Reels on Instagram, but the discussion soon led into whether we should use TikTok, should we branch into Clubhouse, or use Spaces on Twitter.
It did get me thinking – we are, as a company, quite used to the same platforms we’ve always used: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. We definitely embrace any new updates and changes, and make sure we make full use of the functionality. However, when new platforms come about, how do you decide if you should spread some more energy into them?
For example, we use the four platforms above on a regular basis, and we also blog. That’s a lot of work for a small business, but given our field of expertise we want to lead by example, and be present online.
A few people have said to me over the past 12 months how we should definitely get onto the other platforms. We’re looking at TikTok, Clubhouse, Reddit – and there are surely more. How do you choose which platform to use then? While also recognising the fact that there are only a certain amount of hours in the day, and you do need to actually work to bring money in to pay the bills.
My trail of thought then went onto analytics (naturally). However how much can you trust those? I know that a lot of our enquiries for the business come via Facebook and word of mouth. Yet our analytics would suggest we do very well on Instagram and Twitter. Of course, we know to take analytics with a pinch of salt, they don’t give you the full picture – but that makes it harder for me to decide if we do put more time into a new platform or not, and do we do that in addition to the efforts we already have in place.
The next thought then is the target audience – for us it’s a fairly wide audience. We target small businesses and organisations, and staff of those businesses and organisations who may be interested in websites, WordPress training, social media and digital marketing. It’s quite broad, which is why typically, we’ve felt the 4 platforms we currently use work well. For example on LinkedIn we focus on business to business posting, perhaps on Twitter it’s more focussed towards organisations than small businesses. Each platform has its own merits, and it’s own strategy from us.
Of course, I suspect the answer is: we won’t know until we try, which is very true. Do we put in some extra time for trialling a new platform to see how it works for us, while trying to repurpose content?
What would you do?
Last week, although we were closed to clients, we were having a week dedicated just to the business itself. It deserves some TLC, and it’s easy to just go with the flow over the course of a year and forget to update websites, or work on your business.
So, a whole week dedicated to the business and our goals for the future. I thought, why not post on my own website my goals for 2022, as some form of holding myself to account? I’d love to know what your goals are too!
- Write that book! In 2021, I really wanted to write a business related book. There’s lots around in English, but definitely room in the market for ones in Welsh.
- Launch our online courses – this is a business related goal, but one I really do personally want to acheive as well. Again, I think there’s so much room for Welsh courses online, and it’s something I want to help lead the way on.
- Gardening. In 2020, I took on some small amount of gardening. During lockdown 2 at the start of 2021, we completely renovated our garden so that we could grow more (3 beds and lots of pots). This year, I’ve got plenty of books, a journal and a LOT more pots, planters and one extra bed. So, onto the gardening this year, and then the pickling.
- Exercise. In 2021, I signed up to Bethan Davies fitness, and the group PT went very well for me for the first 4 months of the year. It then got busy, and I know I let the excuses dominate. However, by the end of 2021 I was feeling completely gutted that I’d thrown away 4 months of hard work, and was basically back at square 1. So, this year, I am going to focus on myself more – my body, the food I eat and the exercise I undertake. It’s a slow burner, but I have to stay committed this time.
I might add to this … we’ll see! Let me know your goals 🙂
Keeping up with posting on your social media platforms is no mean feat. Plus, if you’re on a few platforms it can become a bit of a juggle with everything else you need to do.
Over the years I’ve used a range of different ‘techniques’ to try and find one that works. I’m not entirely sure there is one, but all you can do is just find a way that works for you and your business or day to day activities. I’ve tried allocating an hour a day to doing it on the day, or putting aside a day a week to schedule in advance. Sometimes I’ve managed a month in advance, other times I hit a huge wall.
Here’s what I currently do and I thought it might be useful to share!
- Jot down the different types of content I can share/create for a month. For example, sharing articles, sharing blogs, creating video content, Canva templates, text only.
- Then, I think about the topics I want to share over the next month. For example, if we’re in January then I’d probably want to post more about website design as people may be looking for a new website at the start of the year. From this topic, what kind of posts can I make? Ones showcasing previous work, answering questions, giving advice, showing off our experience, some behind the scences.
- Then I attach those topics/post ideas, with the content types.
- I’m quite a visual person, so I would then jot down these post ideas in a calendar form so I can see when they are going out, and making sure that the content is diverse and not too repetative.
One thing I have learned over the years is that when you do start to think of ideas, more ideas generally come along. Apparently it’s a method called ‘free writing’, where you basically let your brain go off on its own direction but thinking about a particular topic. If you did try this, you might find you have more content than you need for one month. Some people plan their content well in advance – just leave room for things happening organically!
Do you ever sit down and wonder – what have I actually done this year? It’s been another weird one hasn’t it, with Covid still dominating every day. Our office chatter often ends up with us wondering where the year has gone, how has it gone so fast? But then, remember we were basically in lockdown until April weren’t we?
Aside from Covid cancelling a couple of breaks away, and reducing the amount of time we can see family – it hasn’t really had an affect on our ‘office life’. With the huge move to virtual in 2020, most of our clients and events seem quite settled to have everything on Zoom or Teams. I for one definitely find Zoom calls more efficient than the travelling time I was spending in 2019, as well as saving on petrol costs too of course.
By autumn 2021, I was beginning to feel a bit stuck in the same Covid rut, I have to admit. I think many of us are the same to be honest. At the start of the year I’d written down some goals, and in August realised I hadn’t even started to look at them. Cue some panic during late summer and autumn, wondering where the year has gone and what have I achieved. But, it’s been a busy year and I’ve found it more important than ever this year to reflect on what we’ve done. It’s so easy to forget, and not pat yourself on the back. For myself as well, I’ve definitely felt a lot more anxious this year about the general day-to-day, so looking back, and having some time to reflect, is definitely worthwhile.
Things I wanted to do… but didn’t: write a book, launch online courses, launch a website academy. Still, there’s 2022 right!
Digital Women Awards: I was genuinly shocked to have been shortlisted for two awards at the Digital Women Awards 2021 – Role Model of the Year, and Entrepreneur of the Year. Not only that, but I was listed as one of the 40 Digital Women to Watch in 2021 too. Now that was definitely something on my bucket list!
Becoming an Aberystwyth Town Council Councillor: this wasn’t on my list of things to do for a while, but I was approached by a few different people when some seats came up for co-option. It was something I had planned to do later on in my 30s to be honest, but why pass on the opportunity? Also, being a Town Councillor linked in quite well to other community things I do. It’s been a big learning curve, the councillors have been very supportive and I’ve enjoyed the difference I’ve managed to make to my local community. Next year, it’s elections – so there will be plenty of campaigning before May! I’ve yet to decide if I’ll go for County Councillor or not…
Aberystwyth University Tutor: My first interview in years, and potentially, my first ever ‘real’ interview too, to apply to become a Tutor with the Lifelong Learning department at Aberystwyth University. They offer a range of short, online courses for anyone to purchase, and when I applied I thought it would be a great opportunity to showcase the expertise we have.
Facebook Blueprint Community Manager: a tough exam, but I was absolutely delighted to pass my Facebook Blueprint Community Manager exam this year. I’ve got 2 Blueprint badges now, and just need to plan and work on the next one.
Ardal Aberystwyth Rotary: I was asked to join a new Rotary club that was being set up in Aberystwyth, and before long, was putting my name in to be the first Llywydd (President). As a new club, we did feel it was important to emphasize that it was open to women, all ages – and well, basically just to everyone. Gone are the days of old-fashioned Rotary clubs! It’s been such fun since we began meeting in the summer, and we’ve already supported some great events. Our official charter arrived 1st December 2021. I can feel 2022 will be an exciting year.
Forward Ladies Awards: you may have read some blogs of mine talking about the Forward Ladies Awards in 2018. Honestly, they have been such an important part of my journey, so it was a delight to be shortlisted again this year! No Award on the night, but being listed against some fantastic women once again was an honour.
Gwe Cambrian Web: I can’t do a reflection on the year without quickly mentioning the business! In January 2021 we took on our first ever full time member of staff! We are since a team of 3 with Catrin onboard since June, and we are advertising for 2 full time positions. Hopefully this time next year, we’ll be a strong team of 5! We also took a huge office move in November as well, moving from our place on Bridge Street in Aberystwyth to above Nationwide on the main street. A much larger space for us to grow into, and we’ll also be able to open up our hot desks again in the new year as well. Finally, we smashed our record of website launches, from 26 in 2020, to 44 this year. Lots of hard work from the team, I’m so proud!
Holidays: Despite Covid, we’ve had 3 fantastic holidays to Scotland, and also explored county Durham as well. It’s important to me to take time away from work and also from Aberystwyth. Exploring parts of the UK was something we did pre-Covid, and although I miss going abroad and discovering new cultures, I’ve enjoyed discovering a lot more of Scotland.
When I started thinking about reflecting back on the year, I found myself feeling a tad deflated I’ll be honest. It’s been a hard year. I have found myself being quite anxious, I’ve dropped a few balls along the way and felt overwhelmed at times. But then I look back on what I have achieved and I know I can feel proud about the year. I’m looking forward to some time off over Christmas, to allow my brain to have a bit of a clear out. I’ve already got my Forward Ladies Goal Setting book, and I’m already feeling those first tinges of excitement for a new year.
What on earth can 2022 have in store? Aside from a few Scottish holidays…
You may have seen that I’m a tutor for Aberystwyth University’s Lifelong Learning department, and in January I’ve got two Welsh language courses launching with them:
Marchnata ar y Cyfryngau Cymdeithasol: a social media marketing course, we’ll be looking at setting social media goals, creating a strategy, and how to use each platform. Of course, there’s a fair bit more along the way but that’s the nutshell.
Find out more here.
Creu Podlediadau: creating podcasts – this was a popular course I ran in English during the autumn 2021, and it’ll be back in Welsh for January. Taking you right from the acorn of an idea, to producing your own podcast by the end of the 10 week course.
Find out more here.