Tag Archives: kent virtual assistant

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.

 

Become a networking Ninja

8 tips to make you a networking ninja!

In this blog, I look at ways to help you get the most out of attending networking events. Not everyone enjoys going to networking meetings but for the majority of businesses, it is a vital part of building their client base.  The key thing to remember is this is not an opportunity to just ‘chuck’ business cards at people, attend one event and expect the business to come rolling in! Networking is all about getting to know people, building trust and relationships so that people will want to work with you.  Also, keep in mind that not everyone in the room will need your service/product but that doesn’t mean they don’t know someone else that will so continue to build a relationship with them so they feel confident enough to refer you to their wider network.

1. Business cards
It sounds obvious but
take along your business cards, I’ve met quite a few people that have forgotten them. They don’t have to be expensive if you’re on a small budget.  If you have tangible products some networking groups are happy for you to also take these for people to see.

2. Elevator pitch
Have your elevator pitch ready and make sure you’ve practised it over and over. Keep it concise telling others what you can offer them, where you work, who your ideal clients are and your goals. Change it about a bit as well so if you’re coming across the same people at events they won’t get bored hearing the same thing every time. Ideally, this should be a one minute pitch, many drag their pitch out and people switch off. In the networking group I run everyone gets a minute to pitch, this way it is fair on all attendees.  We then break for informal networking so people can connect further with those they’d like to know more about. 

Relax, you won't be the only nervous one in the room

Relax, you won’t be the only nervous one in the room

3. Icebreaker
Have an icebreaker question ready for when you first meet someone. Perhaps ask ‘what’s your story?’ The important part is to listen to the answer. Think about what you are able to offer this person and if you can’t help them do you know someone who you can refer them to?

4. Diversity 
Try and keep a diverse network. It’s good to network with like-minded business people but also try and get along to events for your chosen professional body.

5. Don’t panic
If the thought of networking leaves you in a panic it’s a good idea to turn up at the event early. There will be fewer people there leaving you to start a one-to-one conversation which will help you relax a bit before everyone else arrives.

6. Be consistent
It’s important that you keep attending the same networking groups so that you build up trust with others. People are more likely to buy from someone they know. 

7. Stay in touch
If you connect with certain people and feel you could work with them then arrange to meet them separately for a coffee so you can learn more about them and their business. I’ve also met some great friends, as well as clients, this way.

 

Follow up any leads the next day

Follow up any leads the next day

8. Follow up
Once you have been to a networking event make sure you allocate some time in your diary the next day to follow up any leads and connect with new contacts online.

If you have any networking tips then please post them in the comments below.

For more business tips read more from my blog.

Jennifer has joined the LVA team

Meet our new team member Jennifer

Lighthouse Virtual Assistant is four years old this year and is growing rapidly with lots of lovely clients. The time has therefore come to expand the team and I’m very pleased to be able to introduce you to my new colleague Jennifer Roording.

As an example of how wonderful networking can be, I met Jennifer at a local Ladies Who Latte group and when I said I was looking for someone to help with the growing workload Jennifer got in touch.

Jennifer, originally from Pennsylvania, USA, moved here to the UK in 1999 and completed a degree in business administration. Over the next 15 years she held various sales, marketing and business development positions in Kent and London based companies within the technology, publishing, newspaper and education sectors.

Jennifer is now enjoying spending time with her young family and running a small business of her own, and is very much looking forward to joining a team again. I have no doubt that she will be a great asset to the LVA team and I’m very much looking forward to working with her. Welcome to the team Jennifer.

Find out more about Jennifer. 

Newsletter ideas for your small business

7 ideas for your business newsletter

Why use newsletters?

Newsletters are a great way to connect directly with your target audience. This type of e-marketing builds relationships and trust with both your current and potential clients and is a great way to keep you at the forefront of their minds should they need your service or product. Building an email list is crucial to building your small business so have a sign up link on your website and share this across your social media platforms.

There is some great software about to help you make your newsletters look professional, I personally use Mailchimp as I find it very easy to use.  It gives you templates to work with, statsistics once you’ve sent your campaign and is free up to a certain number of subscribers. It also makes sure your emails comply with the spam regulations and gives people the option to unsubscribe should they wish.

So now you undertsand why you should be sending newsletters (see my more detailed blog about this) and how certain software can help you make them look fabulous, what on earth do you write about?! This seems to be a real problem for people and they feel that people just won’t be interested in what they have to say.  If people weren’t interested they wouldn’t sign up, so don’t disappoint!  Here are just a few of my ideas to get you started writing and remember: don’t get carried away and send people a daily email as people will unsubscribe.  I only send my newsletters once a month but it will depend on the industry you work in as to how often you need to pop into people’s inboxes.

7 ideas for your newsletter topic:

  1. A how to
    Show your audience how to do something so that they gain value from your advice.  Could you tell them how to write a policy or share a video on how to make that perfect flower arrangement?
  2. Case study
    Give an example of a certain problem or task that you have solved for your client and how doing so has helped their business – have you helped them reduce their costs or brought them new customers?
  3. Employee profile
    Tell your clients about your staff members, this makes you look human and helps your customers get to know you and your team better.
  4. Business news
    A newsletter is a great way to share news about your business such as new staff, an award you have won or your new office location.
  5. Questions and Answers
    Have a Q & A newsletter. If you get asked the same questions often then chances are lots of people are wondering the same thing, address these in your E-Marketing.
  6. Giveaways
    These don’t need to break the bank but can be a great way to increase engagement and give those that have taken the time to sign up to your newsletter an exclusive little something back to say thank you.  Ideas could include a promotional discount, free product, or entry to a raffle.
  7. Testimonials
    You can’t beat a recommendation from someone else so when you get these make sure you share them via your newsletter.  If you can, use a video as there’s nothing better than actually seeing the ‘real’ person behind that testimonial.

These are just a few ideas to get you started, I’d love to hear your own suggestions so please do leave me comment below.

If you don’t have time to write your own newsletters then get in touch and I can do it for you!

Contact Rachel:
Phone: 01303 647101
Email: rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk

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.

 

 

 

 

Tips to create a fab video for your business

Why use videos?

A video is such a great way to inject your personality into your brand.  It shows the real you, the way you talk, smile, explain things. People buy from those they like and trust and a business video will help establish these traits enabling you to connect with your audience. Once someone gets a ‘feel for you’ they are more likely to buy from you. Here’s an example of one of my videos:

Videos on your business website will help you achieve all of the above but will also push your site up the Google ranking making it easier for potential customers to find you. Remember your video doesn’t need to be a Steven Spielberg production so you need to get over that fear of talking to the camera and what you look like and get yourself out there!

To give you confidence here are my tips to get you started:

1.   Work out what you’re going to say and pop a few bullet points on a post-it-note

You can buy an external mic like this online

You can buy an external mic like this online

2.  Make sure the location you are recording in has good lighting and is quiet.  I find it best to have my laptop slighter higher as well so you’re not looking down (this can be quite unflattering!)  You may also need to buy an external microphone (like the one I have in the picture, which I think costs around £10 online)

3.  Look presentable.  I’m not suggesting you go and have a make over but it’s important to look professional

4. Use your video  software on your computer or I also use screenomatic which is great for screen sharing. Place your post-it-note with your bullet points just under the camera to prompt you so you don’t forget what you’re saying

Use a post-it-note with bullet points on to prompt you

Use a post-it-note with bullet points on to prompt you

5.  Speak slowly and relax, remember not to use industry jargon – if you’re not happy you can re-record!

6.  Watch the video back to make sure the sound and lighting is okay and that the background behind you looks professional (no snoring dogs or an untidy desk!)

7.  Include a call to action – what do you want your viewers to do after watching your video

8.  Get sharing!  Pop your video on your social media sites, website and YouTube Channel.

9.  Most of my clients look at me in horror when I suggest they create a video and say they wouldn’t know what to talk about.  So a few ideas include: a tutorial on how to do something, showing how a product works, introducing a member of staff or a virtual tour of your shop.

Pop over and subscribe to my YouTube Channel to get some more ideas and free marketing tips.

 

7 fab tips for business blogging

Blogging is a fabulous way of building relationships with people.  It is also a great way of getting fresh content onto your website which helps with your Google ranking and you can direct people to your blog via your social media platforms.  If you’re stuck with what to write about, imagine your ideal customer and then give them advice so that they think of you in the future when they need to use your service or buy your product.  Have a look at more of my blog posts to get a few ideas. Below are seven of my top tips to help get you started:

  1. Be patient
    When you first start blogging it will take time for people to find your material so don’t be disheartened if no one comments for a while.

    Be patient, allow time for people to find your blog

    Be patient

  2. Make time to blog
    Schedule slots in your weekly calendar and include blogging in your marketing strategy.  Be consistent with your posts and write at least once a week.
  3. Interview a guest
    Interview someone relevant to your industry and use this as your blog.  The person you interview will hopefully be kind enough to also then share your blog.
  4.  Guest blog
    Blog for other people – this is called guest blogging. Also, comment on other blogs that interest you. This is a great way of building business relationships.
  5. Call to action
    Use a call to action in your blog.  Let people know where they can find you such as Facebook or Twitter.

    Blog often

    Create content that is of value to your                           ideal customer

  6. Record a video blog
    Video blogs (vlogs) are great and they don’t need to be a Steven Spielberg production! They are a fantastic way of showing the real you and getting your audience to connect with you.  Check out some of my vlogs.
  7. Measure your goals
    Make sure you measure the success of your blog.  Is it closing sales or pushing people to your website?

If you would like copy written for your own blog then please email me. For more marketing tips pop over and find me on Facebook

PR tips for small businesses

The reputation of your business is key to your success and ultimately its longevity.  If your company is seen as reputable it will make you stand out amongst your competitors.  If you’re not sure what PR actually is, then have a read of my other blog first.

Below I give you some tips on how to use Public Relations (PR) to help you increase the brand, profile and reputation of your business:

  1. Know your target audience
    Know your target audience so that your PR campaign is directed at the right people. For example, if you’re launching a new product who is most likely to buy it and where will you find them:  TV, radio, magazines?
  2. Send pictures with your press release
    A press release is a great way to let the public know, via the media, about your business, product or launch.  A press release is written in a certain format with a journalistic tone.  Send pictures with your release to make it more appealing.  Read my blog about writing a press release for more tips.

    Use an interesting angle

                   Use an interesting angle

  3. Send the PR to correct contact
    Send any information to the correct media for your service, if you don’t you’re wasting your time and money.  A little tip, if you are promoting a new product, is to send it to the journalist for free so they can test it (obviously only do this if the product doesn’t cost a fortune!)
  4. Meet deadlines
    Make sure you work to media deadlines.  Most have a cut off point for when they will run your story so make sure you don’t miss it.
  5. Stand out from others
    Have an angle to your story that makes you stand out and connects with your audience as well as the journalist.  Don’t make a sales pitch as the media will be unlikely to run your story.
  6. Being a small business can be an advantage
    Just because you’re a small business it doesn’t mean the media won’t use your story. Local media love a local angle and being smaller makes your story more personal so don’t be afraid to get out there and promote yourself!

    Know the correct media to contact for your business

       Know the correct media to      contact for your business

    Good luck if you’re launching a PR campaign soon. I offer PR services to help promote your business so if you need advice and support then please contact me 

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