At the start of the year, I always have a good think about what I want to achieve during the year. This year, I wanted to get started on hosting workshops with the business – and because of coronavirus we did this, albeit it virtually. They’ve been super popular and something we’re very keen to continue doing!
A much longer term plan would have been to speak at an event, so it certainly wasn’t something I was expecting for June 2020 at all! However, with coronavirus locking us all down, I’ve been doing a lot of networking online and wowee, has it paid off!
I’ve written a blog about the importance of networking before, and especially for those of us who are from more rural areas. I’d never have been able to go to as many events as I have during lockdown, because everything has been virtual – and that includes the hour long networking events here, there and everywhere!
All of this networking led me to becoming a founding member of the new Digital Women membership platform (which if you’re not part of, I highly, highly recommend you look at). This then led to being asked (or told, whichever way you look at it) to speak at the next digital skills summit that Digital Women have been arranging during lockdown!
FANTASTIC! I actually did a few happy dances at the thought! Then it was a case of figuring out what to talk about. With the Gwe Cambrian Web, our bread and butter is websites, but we’ve also moved hugely into social media. Thinking cap on, and knowing there would be a huge range of other amazing speakers, I decided to stick to the websites as a topic.
So, why not sign up to my talk at the Digital Skills Summit on June 30th, – level up your website. It’s a completely FREE event, with 22 speakers from 10am to 4pm, covering such a huge range of digital skills.
Facebook really is such a powerful tool for small businesses, and large businesses! During lockdown, I’ve delivered many webinars about social media and Facebook specifically, and it really made me realise that a lot of people do not know how powerful it is.
Even just looking at Facebook in a basic sense, it’s potential for you as a small business is a great. You can set up a specific business page which you fill with all of your business information, and you can post to your followers. You can just try and grow your page like this but it’s the networking and features that Facebook offer which is where you can really boost your social media.
Facebook has a lot of features for business, it’s really there to make promoting your business easy and dare I say it, enjoyable! The more you use and get stuck in with Facebook, the easier you’ll find growing your page and your following.
You can post in loads of different ways on Facebook, which really helps to keep your page looking diverse and interesting. I’d always recommend making sure each post looks good – that could be by using an image or video, or even a website link which pulls through a good picture. You can also use polls, background colours, you could go live, make slideshows – lots of difference features. Facebook even helps you choose them!
Facebook has a good stories feature, which works in a very similar way to Instagram – although personally, if you do have an Instagram page and post to Stories on there, I would share them directly over. The options on Instagram feel more sleek!
This is the big one for Facebook and it’s growing and growing in popularity. So there’s a two prong approach here really – the potential for joining groups and networking, and then also creating your own group around your page and business community.
On Facebook you can search and find a group for pretty much anything – the key is finding one that will be valuable to you. So, for me, I like groups that are talking about digital or helping small businesses feel empowered. I want a group that has a lot of discussion and nattering (because it’s what I like to do as well), answering questions and sharing information. I’ve joined many groups that end up just being post after post with no engagement – that’s not for me. So, find your group on Facebook and then remember – be a part of it.
I’ve honestly had a lot of business through Facebook groups and networking in them. My top tip, forget the “sell sell sell” and concentrate more on providing valuable answers and comments, and working on your repuation that way.
Did you know you can book appointments via Facebook? It seems to be a little known feature, but incredibly powerful depending on your line of work. I’m thinking especially beauticians and hairdressers. You turn on the appointments tab on your page, and set up what appointment slots you have available on what days.
Visitors to your page can then book that slot, and you can confirm and communicate with them via messenger.
Now that the new Facebook shops has rolled out in the UK, a huge new potential for anyone selling online!
First though – don’t rely on just Facebook shops, please! It’s a fickle beast, and if you put all of your energy into this and don’t look at an ecommerce website or other platforms, you might be left hanging if your page gets taken away from you – and they do!
The new Facebook Shops comes with a lot of features, and from my small amount of dabbling – you can create catelogues with collections and products, link your shop to your website or take payments via Facebook (for a small cost, of course), link products and of course link it over to Instagram too.
The beauty of a shop is, when you then post to your page, you can tag your products and promote them. Even if you’re only tagging them in the picture and not directly “sell sell sell-ing”, it just makes your page a lot more flexible, and helpful to you.
The new shops will also soon be able to link up to your websites, so if you’ve got a WordPress ecommerce shop, you can link the two and it manages your stock control. Swanky! I’m not sure yet of the full list of platforms it will work with, but I know WordPress is on the list!
Similar to the appointments tab, you can also advertise jobs on Facebook and they get brilliant reach too! Within the tool, you can set up how people apply for the job (be it through Facebook or an external website, do they send a CV or fill in some questions you can set up) and reply to them. You can tag them as making the interview or shortlist stage, you can really keep on top of the process all from within the one area.
What’s great about this is that from experience, the jobs do get a lot of local traction, so if you are a hotel or seasonal business with jobs coming and going often, Facebook is a great avenue to go down… and it’s free!
This is a fairly new feature, where you can create video rooms either on your personal profile or within a group.
Think – Zoom or Teams, it works in the same way with a maximum of 50 people. Great way to create networking sessions within the groups!
Almost a month has passed since my last blog post, which was at the very start of the Covid-19 “lockdown” here in Wales. By then, Emlyn and I had already closed our office to the public and gone into voluntary isolation, but now, the whole country is in lockdown. Working from home – much to the joy of our cat, Luna.
Of course the business itself can continue – websites and digital marketing means we can work from anywhere, so we’re very lucky. One of the major changes for my line of work is a huge shift into online meetings and webinars. Conferences and meetups cancelled across the UK, meaning webinars running a huge range of topics have opened up – and it is FANTASTIC.
For the past 3 weeks I’ve been enjoying attending Facebook based training sessions with Kent FSB, which would not have happened in the usual running of the world! The Digital Women conference we all missed in March is moving online next week, and I’m also attended 3 days of webinars the week after too.
Online meetings have also been a great way to attend networking events that I usually would miss because of other committments or travel problems (Aberystwyth is far from many places afterall!). Yesterday afternoon chatting to the North Wales Tweetup folk which we advertise with and support.
And finally the push… we’ve talked about hosting our own training sessions and workshops in the past but never quite got around to it properly. This year though, we’ve launched 4 webinars so far over April and May with hopefully many more to come.
So – welcome, webinars to our world. Here’s hoping that the way we work in the future may change a little! I love going away to conferences and meeting people in real life though, so not too much!
Award season is here, and we’ve been fortunate enough in the past years to have won a handful across Wales and the UK for Gwe Cambrian Web, and for myself as an entrepreneur.
I always get asked whether or not we’ve applied for awards directly, or been nominated. Well, to be honest, it’s always a bit of both! We have amazing customers and contacts who do nominate us for awards across Wales, but I do also make a point of looking at different awards, and applying myself if I feel that the award would be useful to us as a business. In my opinon, there’s little point going in for everything (if anything, it can look a little awkward if you did get shortlisted), and I do think a measured approach to choosing which award would work well for you is the best way forward.
I really do feel though, that as businesses and entrepreneurs, we don’t celebrate awards enough. The first step of actually applying is the biggest – is it because we feel embarrassed? Awkward? Not deserving? All of those personal feelings aside, awards are an excellent marketing tool and over the years have done wonders for our business across Wales and the UK.
Why? Because it adds a great amount of credibility, and if you do your marketing well, you could end up with a lot of increased exposure. I also really enjoy award ceremonies for the networking opportunities, and one of my most influential experiences as an entrepreneur so far was attending a live judging day for an award in 2018. Sounds horrible right? I came away so inspired from that day, that even though I didn’t win the national award, I felt like I’d come away with something much more valuable.
We really do need to celebrate ourselves more. If you run a business, or you’re an entreprenur, or making waves in the charity sector or community – why not get out there and see what awards you can apply for? You never know what will happen – I ended up in the top 4 Young Entrepreneurs of the Year in the UK in 2018, mingling with a whole range of business owners and inspirational people (one of them is now training to be an Astronaut, I mean, come on!).
If you don’t try, you’ll never know what you’re missing out on!
I probably run my social media training in very different way to others in my area. I really do much prefer the 1-2-1 or small group setting, than larger workshops… but why?
I remember years ago when we first started Gwe Cambrian Web in 2013, going to a lot of workshops and events about websites and social media. One of the ones I remember vividly had around 40 in the room, and I came away learning nothing. The range of experience was so varied, it was impossible to cover all aspects for all in the room.
So, when we decided about 2 years ago to branch into digital marketing more officially, I knew that I wanted to concentrate more on the smaller, intimate workshops/groups. I also believe you can’t provide truly useful training without a good understand of the business you’re helping – its values, ethos, goals.
That’s not to say large workshops are impossible, quite the opposite. In fact, it just doesn’t strike a chord with how I’d like to provide training for social media. That’s just a personal thing.
Before I host a training session, I take time to complete a detailed audit of the social media activity for my own records. This gives me a really good basis to understand what’s already going on and where training will help. I also spend time going through the website, making sure that the message the website provides is the same as the social media – especially in terms of goals, ethos, attitude, branding.
Hosting my sessions like this means that no matter how experienced you are, if you feel like you want to come to me for training, I’ve done plenty of research to help and discuss your social media with you.
Don’t forget, training isn’t just showing you how to navigate creating a post or going back to basics. It’s boosting your social media at the moment.
Just what does a social media audit mean? It’s a service I offer, but perhaps the title itself isn’t very clear. Let’s explain…
Think of an audit as a second pair of eyes. For a social media audit, I look at the following and more:
- All of your social media platforms
- The variety of your posts
- How well you use the different post options available to you
- Your brand consistency
- Your brand language
- Use of graphics
- The variety and use of call to actions
- Use of hashtags
An audit is a great way to give you some ideas on how to boost your social media – it’s not a service I offer to critique you or pick holes in your current marketing strategy. It’s there to affirm what you are currently doing, and help you tweak and improve moving forward.
Sometimes, it does just take that second pair of eyes, from outside of your business to provide some new ideas! Nothing wrong with that at all.