Category Archives: Social media

Major changes coming to Facebook and Instagram

 

 

In the biggest shake-up since 2014, major changes are coming to Facebook and Instagram over the Summer that are going to affect your business pages.

Once again it means that it will be harder for small businesses to be ‘seen’ in the newsfeed and you therefore need to think about the content you are posting.

To help you with this I have created a free PDF that sets out the changes and what you can do to keep being seen by your ideal clients.

If you need any help with your social media management, don’t forget I offer affordable monthly packages to look after it all for you so it’s one less thing for you to worry about! Book a free consultation.

If you have any questions about the information in the PDF then don’t hesitate to ask.

GET YOUR PDF

The Lighthouse Virtual Assistant Can I Pick Your Marketing Brain Workshop

Can I pick your marketing brain workshop

Please join me for the Lighthouse Virtual Assistant Can I Pick Your Marketing Brain Workshop.  As busy business owners, we can’t be a master of all skills but marketing is an area that, if you get it right, will really help your business grow.  All businesses, no matter how small, should have a working marketing plan that sits alongside their business plan.

The aim of this workshop is for you to be able to have your own marketing plan that you can take away and implement immediately.  I am also going to give you some fabulous social media tips and advice looking specifically at Facebook and Twitter as these are the two platforms that I get asked the most about.

So if you are just starting your business or have been up and running for a while then this workshop will give you the tools to learn how to promote your business pro-actively and bring in new clients.

The workshop will cover the following:

  • What is marketing and why is it important to your business?
  • What is the difference between marketing and advertising?
  • What is PR and branding?
  • Identifying your ideal client
  • Your unique selling point
  • Competitors
  • Your marketing tools
  • Social media (general advice)
  • How to evaluate your marketing
  • Facebook and Twitter – how to set up an account, the difference between a business and personal page, tips for when and how to post (including scheduling), hashtags, statistics and how to use them, content ideas, how often to post.

When: Wednesday 23rd May 2018

Where: Berelia Limited, 2nd Floor, Market Square, Dover, Kent, CT16 1LZ

Time: 9.30am-1.30pm

Cost: £35 per person

Please read: Places are only secure when full payment has been made and places cannot be reserved without payment. Places are non-refundable.  To book your place please click the ‘buy now’ button below:

The workshop on the 23 May has sold out.  I will be running further workshops and if you’d like to be put on the waiting list please sign up and I will send you details.

Got a question? Email rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk

Read more about Rachel’s experience.

Changes to the Facebook newsfeed

What the changes to the Facebook news-feed mean for your small business

Over the last month, you will have seen online that changes are being made to the Facebook news-feed.  In a nutshell, the plan is to fill your personal newsfeed with more content from family and friends and less with public content.

This is great as a personal user but not so great for us as small businesses. However, there are things that you can do to make sure your page is still seen as much as possible in people’s newsfeeds.  Watch my video or read below for advice on how to overcome the changes:

  1. Make your content engaging
    Make sure that your content is engaging (you should be doing this anyway).  So rather than posting ‘salesy‘ posts think about what you can give your followers that will help them.  This way they will be more likely to like, comment and share your post.
  2. Set aside a budget for adverts
    You will need to put aside some funds for Facebook advertising in your marketing budget. This is not all bad news as the adverts are reasonable price wise and you can really drill down to target your ideal client with criteria such as age, gender, location, behaviours etc.
  3. Plan your content
    Schedule your content in advance, this way your content will naturally be more engaging and structured
  4. Use Facebook Live
    Live videos are great as people really seem to like interacting in ‘real time.’ Just make sure you have great wi-fi and remember it doesn’t need to be a Steven Speilberg production!
  5. Join other social media platforms
    Get out there on other platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn so that your business can be found easily – if you need help with these platforms pop me an email as I offer one-to-one tutorials
  6. Set up a Facebook group
    Depending on the type of business you have a Facebook group may work well and is a great way to interact with tips and advice
  7. Check your statistics
    Keep an eye on your Facebook statistics so you can see which times and days your followers are online and gage any drop in interaction from the new changes
  8. Set up the ‘see ‘first’ notification
    On your personal newsfeed set up the pages you enjoy the most so that you see them first in your newsfeed.  For example I have Sky News so I can see their content first when I log in (watch my video to show you how to do this)
  9. Help out other small businesses
    And finally don’t forget to help other small bsuinesses by liking, sharing and commenting on their posts so that it helps them to get seen in the newsfeed.If you would like help with any aspect of your social media then pop me an email for a free, no obligation, consultation to see how I can help.

    You can also follow my Facebook page for free marketing and business tips.

Facebook live tips

Facebook live tips for your business

What is Facebook Live?

Video is now becoming hugely popular across all social media platforms and is a great way to engage your audience both on personal and business pages.  As you will be aware Facebook has now introduced their live video option for all users and allows you, as the name suggests, to broadcast to Facebook live.

The beauty for businesses of being able to broadcast in real time is that it allows for instant interaction with your follows and shows the real person behind the brand. Facebook has also reported that live videos get 10 times more comments than regular videos.  All this continues to build on the know-like-trust relationship with your audience.

I have just helped one of my clients, who are a UK registered charity, to broadcast live from their annual Ball and Fundraiser.  Some people were unable to attend the evening but were still able to get involved by watching live.  We also broadcast our silent auction so that those watching from home could take part at the same time online. Our followers enjoyed interacting, popping on and saying hello in the comments even asking what was on the menu that night and who the live band were! Not only did people feel involved but from a PR point of view for the charity this was a great awareness exercise as we also encouraged everyone watching to share the live link to all their friends on their personal feed.

As Facebook live is becoming more popular clients are asking me for tips and advice on how they can use it to help their business, so in this blog I give you some guidance on how to actually broadcast, how to get your audience involved and some ideas on what subject to go live with.

Tips and advice

  1. How to actually broadcast live
    To start a live broadcast simply click the ‘live broadcast’ button which you will see at the top of your business page. Those that follow your page will get a notification that you are ‘live’ but ensure you give your video an interesting headline so that people will want to watch you.

    Click the go live button

                   How to broadcast on Facebook live

    2.  Plan ahead
    Plan your live broadcast in advance so that you know what you’re going to talk about and make sure you promote the fact that you’re going live to all your followers on Facebook but also across your other platforms and to your email list. If you would like to test a video and practice first then you can set the privacy to ‘only me’

    3. You’ll need a good internet connection
    Make sure that your wi-fi or 4g connection is strong so that the video doesn’t cut out and make you look unprofessional

    4. Background noise
    Be aware of any background noise and try where possible to keep this to a minimum.  Of course sometimes the background noise will add to that ‘live’ feeling so judge for yourself when it’s appropriate.

    5. Get your viewers to subscribe
    During your broadcast get those watching to subscribe to live notifications by tapping the follow button so that each time you go live they will be notified and can tune in

    6. Interact
    Going live is a fantastic opportunity to interact with your fans in real time so make sure you do so.  If you’re talking during a broadcast don’t worry if you pause for a second to read the comments and respond this will be expected and is all part of engaging

    7. How long to broadcast
    The longer you broadcast the more likely people are to discover and share the video so try and aim for around ten minutes if you can.  The maximum time is currently 90 minutes

    8. Be consistent
    When you start to use the Facebook live feature continue to do so to keep fans engaged, it might be good to broadcast every week at a certain time for example but this will of course be dependent on your type of business

    9. Close the broadcast
    At the end of your video don’t forget to ‘close’ it by thanking your fans for watching, letting them know what you’d like them to do next (call to action) such as visit your website, email you etc. You can also remind them when you’ll next be live

    10. Content ideas
    If you’re wondering what on earth to talk about during a live video think of how you can help your fans, here are a few of my suggestions: teach people how to do something such as cook a certain meal; give advice on your area of expertise; interview someone; offer a Q and A session; give your opinion on some current news; review a product or book; perform a song or type of sport; go live from an event you’re hosting or attending.  If you use images or music in your video just be careful of the copyright laws.

If you’ve never ‘gone live’ on Facebook before you are now armed with lots of tips and advice so there’s no excuse not to give it a go – good luck!  You might also find my blog about using video in general for your business useful so check it out.  If you feel you could benefit form a one-to-one social media tutorial then pop me over an email, I offer a free consultation so we can discuss how I can help.

 

Tips to get more Instagram followers

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a great way to tell your story through photographs and is becoming hugely popular with over 500 million people (14 million in the UK) now taking to the social media platform to share their life in pictures.

Instagram users tend to be mainly women (68%) under the age of 35, although more and more men are signing up, and come from a diverse community with equally diverse interests.

Instagram users are growing rapidly

Instagram users are growing rapidly

Why use Instagram for my business?

As the platform is growing quickly and offers a unique way of sharing a photographic story then Instagram is great for small businesses and even better if your target audience is women under the 35. It’s also wonderful if your products or services are easy to photograph such as cakes, jewellery or dog walking for example.  I love the way you can use hashtags to highlight the topics you’re discussing and you’re not limited to a certain number of words.

I’ve set out some tips below of how to attract more Instagram followers and build the ideal audience for your small business:

  1. Use great photos and ideally ones that are square in size as this is the layout Instagram prefers and will therefore save you time on cropping 
  2. Include a great intro bio with a link to your website or landing page where you can collect leads

    Include a great Instagram bio with a link to your website

    Include a great Instagram bio with a link to your website

  3. Support your business network by sharing and tagging your client and supplier posts
  4. Don’t forget to include hashtags – take a look at what’s trending at the time and if appropriate use these
  5. Currently you can’t use links within your posts so instead use a Call To Action telling your followers to go to the link in your bio
  6. Combine the use of video and photos as videos are very easy to upload but try and keep them short
  7. If you offer a service that doesn’t have tangible products don’t let this put you off.  You will always find a photo to link in with what you’re talking about.  Uploading photos of your team or what’s happening in the office is great content 

    Share Instagram posts from your clients and suppliers

    Share Instagram posts from your clients and suppliers

  8. You can get carried away snapping great pictures so be careful not to bombard people with your updates, once a day is enough
  9. Instagram needs updating from your moblie so to save yourself time scedhule your content in advance
  10. Finally don’t forget to include a link to your Instagram account across all your other forms of marketing such as Facebook, Twitter, your website and in your email signature and newsletter

Need help setting up your Instagram account or managing it?

If you’re not sure how to set up an account or simply don’t have the time to research and post your content then I offer this service to my clients, so for a free half an hour consultation to find out more drop me an email rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk or call 01303 647101

You can also sign up for my free newsletter for great marketing, time and money saving tips straight to your inbox.

 

 

 

 

Are you making these social media mistakes?

Social media is a great way to promote your small business, it allows you to build relationships with current and potential clients and you can easily interact and show the ‘person’ behind the brand.

It’s important to remain professional but also to be friendly. However, if you get it wrong on social media this can be disastrous for your business especially as once the content is out there it can be shared so quickly and easily.

Here are my tips for how to avoid social media mistakes:

  1. Have a separate business account
    Don’t use your personal account as your business page, it looks so unprofessional. People who are friends with you might not appreciate seeing you constantly promote your business and actually quite a few of them won’t be in your target audience anyway, so you’re wasting your time. If you have a personal page as your business this means you have to become friends with someone to connect and not everyone will do this with someone they don’t know. Some platforms such as Facebook will actually shut your account down if you continue to do this.  Make sure your business page is full of fabulous content so people want to like your page and hear what you have to say.
  2. Don’t share your business posts constantly to your personal page
    Sharing your social media business pages to your personal account is okay to do when you first set up your business or as a little reminder now and again of what you do, but not constantly.  Again, make your business page good enough that people want to like it and follow you there.  A little tip is to make sure that your personal page states where you work with a link as this will then be obvious to your friends and if they are interested they will follow you.
     
  3. Don’t push sales
    Don’t post sales, after sales posts.  This is a sure way to annoy people and lose followers.  Instead, think about what you can ‘give’ your audience.  Give them advice and some free products or downloads so that you can build those all important relationships that will help people get to know you and trust you.  As a guide, only one in four posts should be sales related.
     
  4. Be consistent 
    We’re all busy but if you want to build your brand and get your business known you need to post consistently to your social media accounts.  This is why I advise that you only use two or three platforms, to begin with, so you can keep up with them

    Constant sales posts is a sure way to make people leave your social media page

    and provide great and regular content. There’s nothing worse than viewing a page that was posted to a year ago.

  5. Don’t like your own posts!
    I don’t think I need to say how desperate this looks!
  6. Engage with people
    A sure way to lose followers is if you ignore people that are interacting with you.  It’s called social media for a reason so if someone comments on your posts, retweets your tweet etc. make sure you reply/say thank you.
  7. Don’t hide behind your brand
    Inject some personality into your posts.  I don’t mean post pictures of your children or you out with friends having a few too many (another reason to keep your business and personal pages separate!) but show your followers that there is a real person behind your business.
     
  8. Personal pages don’t give you insights
    Business pages give you statistics to show when your fans/followers will be online and how they are engaging.  Personal pages don’t give you this information which is so important for your marketing.Remember with your social media posts that if you wouldn’t want it published on the front page of a newspaper then don’t post it!For more tips on social media and ideas for content have a look at my other blogs. You can also follow Lighthouse Virtual Assistant on Facebook for more marketing tips.If you need help managing your social media accounts then this is a service I offer my clients.  Find out more or contact me, Rachel, on 01303 647101 or email rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk

9 LinkedIn tips for small businesses

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is an online business networking tool which allows you to connect with others that can help your business or with people that may need your services.  It’s a great way to promote your business and educate others about who you are and what you can do for them. On the site you can build relationships with your connections so that learn more about you and trust you, as once you gain trust people are more likely to buy from you. The site now has 433 million members in 200 countries.*  Below I give you some tips on how to get the most out of LinkedIn by building a great profile.

LinkedIn’s background:linkedin-689760__180

LinkedIn’s founders are Reid HoffmanAllen BlueKonstantin GuerickeEric Ly and Jean-Luc Vaillant with the company first starting out in the living room of co-founder Reid Hoffman in 2002. The site officially launched on May 5, 2003 and at the end of the first month in operation, had a total of 4,500 members in the network.  It’s Headquarters are now based in Mountain View, California with offices based all over the world.

9 LinkedIn tips for your small business:

  1. Fill out your profile completely.  This will ensure that you get more profile views.  It may take a while to get this right but is crucial so that you and your business look professional. This information is a showcase to your brand and is what people will see first before that may get chatting with you.
  2. Include a professional profile photo, you will be 14 times more likely to be found if you have this in place.
  3. When it comes to your business description don’t just write ‘business owner’ this means nothing to anyone else. When you post a status, comment or like someone else’s post your name and business details pop up for everyone to see.  Use this as opportunity to ‘pitch’ to demonstrate how you can help someone, so my details say ‘Lighthouse Virtual Assistant provides ad-hoc marketing, PR and admin services to businesses, individuals and charities.’
  4. Connect with lots of people and accept invites for those wishing to connect with you. You may think you should only connect with those you know but people will only learn you’re out there if you tell them, so find lots of new contacts as well as those you know well.

    A client recommendation on my profile

    A client recommendation on my profile

  5. Recommend others.  It’s great to endorse people for skills that you know they have.  This helps them out and improves their profile and they may return the favour.  You can also recommend people which is a way of writing a testimonial for someone you’ve worked that will show up on their profile.
  6. Use the publishing tool ‘publish a post’ icon so that you can pop a blog straight into LinkedIn.  This will showcase your knowledge and give you authority in your industry as well as increase your profile views.
  7. Engage with other people’s posts – give your thoughts on their comments, like and share
    The URL next the blue arrow

    The URL next the blue arrow

    them.

  8. Add a video to your profile and this will make it stand out – you’ll see that I have a video testimonial on my profile from one of my lovely clients.
  9. Don’t forget to get your LinkedIn url so that you can share a link to your profile across your other social media platforms and on your website.

If you would like help with writing your profile or a one-to-one tutorial to show you how to get the best out of LinkedIn then give me a call on 01303 647101 or drop me an email rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk

See my full LinkedIn profile here.

*Source LinkedIn

Tips for Twitter

Why there’s no need to be terrified of Twitter!

Twitter has approximately 313 million users with 500 million tweets a day and 78% of people view this platform via their mobile phone. Pop star Katy Perry has the biggest number of followers at more than 94 million!  With these figures, it’s understandable that quite a few clients I speak to seem very confident with Facebook but shy of Twitter. Once you get started, however, it’s very easy to use and with the huge statistics I mention you can see why it will be an advantage for you as a business to use Twitter. When you get started you will see that you have a profile of your business just as you would on other platforms.  Twitter is limited to 140 characters per post so you need to keep your tweets short and sweet.  Here are a few of my top tips to get you started:

1. Pick a suitable profile picture
Fill out all your contact details on your profile so it’s easy for others to see what you do and so they can get in touch. Set up a profile picture, this might sound obvious but I see lots of people who leave the standard avatar which looks unprofessional.  As I provide a service I use a picture of myself as this makes my profile look personal and shows there is a real person behind the brand. Your business may lend itself to a logo so choose a picture that works best for you.

                 Personalise your Twitter profile picture

2. What on earth is a hashtag?
Hashtags are used to flag up a particular topic and allow people to find you. So if you’re tweeting about weddings you would use the hashtag ‪#‎Wedding They are also a great way to help you find people to connect with, so search using the hashtag for your ideal client, for example, #smallbusiness

3. Engage to build relationships
Search for topics you’re interested in (i.e. marketing) and then follow these people, most will follow you back.  You can then engage by tweeting, quoting, liking and re-tweeting their posts to build a relationship.

4.  Use photos  
The Twitter feed moves quickly so use photos with your tweets where appropriate as your audience is more likely to see them and engage with you.

5. Be consistent 
Tweet frequently to keep your followers engaged. Try for at the very least once a day, three or four if you have the time. People won’t be online all the time so tweeting often will ensure more reach for your posts. Scheduling tweets in advance can help cut down the time it takes to post.  

6. How to create lists 
As your profile grows with more followers it can be tricky to keep up with your favourite connections.  This is where creating lists can be very useful.  You can create a list around a certain topic such as marketing.  You then add all the profiles related to that area to the list and it makes it easy to find them and their tweets. To create a list pop to your profile, click the ‘list’ button and click ‘add’.

Engage with your followers to build relationships

   Engage with your followers to build                        relationships

7. Share your Twitter handle across all your marketing platforms
Include your Twitter handle in as many places as possible such as your email signature, blog, other social media accounts and website to make it easy for people to connect with you.  You can find me here: www.twitter.com/RachelLHVA

If you need help setting up your Twitter account I offer one to one tutorials to show you how and give you some tips to get you started. I can also write, schedule and manage your Twitter feed so it’s one less job to worry about. Contact me for your free half an hour consultation:  rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk or 01303 647101

Seven killer tips for Facebook marketing

Facebook marketing is a great way to promote your business.  The platform has approximately 1.3billion users and if you use their adverts correctly you can be very specific when targeting your audience.  For example, if you work in the wedding industry you can ask the adverts to be to shown to women only, in a certain age range, in your local area and who are engaged.  Approximately 70% of consumers will look at a business Facebook page before they visit your website or shop so it is key to have a page to stand alongside all your other marketing tools.

Below I share some of my tips on how to get the best out of Facebook marketing for your business page:

1. Have a full profile
Make sure your profile is fully completed so that it looks professional and your followers know how to contact you easily.

2. Change of your cover picture
Change your cover photo now and then.  It could be used to reflect a special promotion or particular time of the year and will help to make your offer and brand more prominent.

3.  Freebies
Everyone loves a free giveaway so try and think what you could give your followers for free to help them with their business.  The freebie doesn’t need to break the bank – it could be a template business document (you can gain email addresses when you ask people to download),  or show how to use a certain piece of software.  This all helps in building relationships and your followers will then be more likely to buy from you.

4.  Use your call to action button
Are you making use of your call to action button? The button can be set to ‘contact us’ ‘book now’ or ‘sign up’ and can direct people to your website. Here is a video tutorial on how to change your button:

5.  Be mindful of your target audience
You may be penalised if you post the same message across all your social media platforms using scheduling software.  Your audience will be different on each so remember to tweak it appropriately.

6.  Post at the right time for your audience
Make sure you post your content at the right time for your audience. The ‘insights’ button shows you a whole range of useful information about your fans from when they are most likely to be online to how much they are engaging with you.

FB screen shot of times to post

7. Be patient
Any form of marketing can take 6-12 months before you see it start to take effect. So you can’t expect to post for a week on Facebook and then get lots of sales.  Social media is about building your reputation, brand and profile as well as trust and relationships with your followers.

Follow Lighthouse Virtual Assistant on Facebook

I offer one-to-one Facebook marketing tutorials as well as social media management, if I can help your business please contact Rachel:  rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk or 07794 358497