Tag Archives: lighthouse virtual assistant

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.


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.

My new role with the Ladies Who Latte networking group

I am very privileged to have been asked to become the Leader of the Ladies Who Latte networking group for Folkestone and Hythe, Kent.

We all know how important networking is to your business and if done correctly you will see a significant growth in your business (read my networking tips). It can be quite daunting when you first start out and that’s why I have always loved these meetings as they are so supportive and friendly and I come away from each one feeling completely motivated and like I can achieve anything in my business! 

Ladies Who Latte because there's no point being fabulous on your own!

Because there’s no point being fabulous on your own!

Ladies Who Latte is a national network with over 50 free meetings a month all over the country and the concept is simple, you turn up grab yourself a coffee and network. I have been attending my local group for just over three years and have learnt so much from the other inspirational business women as well as making some wonderful friends along the way.  As a leader, my role is to support women who would like to start their own business or grow an existing one offering friendship, advice, contacts and business leads.

In 2007 Sharon Connolly set up Ladies Who Latte after a career change and seeing a gap in the market for ladies networking at a ‘mum’ friendly time.  The meetings are therefore child-friendly and during the school holidays, Latte groups can still run with children welcome.

One year after setting up Sharon asked “Networking Queen” Mary Flavelle to hop on board and assist with the running and promoting of the organization which continues to thrive and grow. Sharon has since relocated to Singapore where she has also introduced LWL.

Sharon says: “We have amazing success stories of women making connections and being given opportunities that they could never have dreamed of finding on their own. We are women with imagination, drive, enthusiasm and hope and we are enjoying sharing out success because It’s no good being fabulous on your own.”

I’m very much looking forward to helping the women in my area grow their businesses.  If you’re interested in Ladies Who Latte you can find a group in your area or join Folkestone and Hythe

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. 

The Reverse the Tide team

Exciting new project – Reverse the Tide

A new venture

I’m really excited to tell you about a new project that I’m involved with, along with some other fabulous business owners, called Reverse the Tide.

Reverse the Tide is aimed at business owners from all over the world who want to develop their skills and collaborate with others in order to grow their own business.

We are currently building a website which will become a complete hub for advice, resources and support.  It will include some free resources as well as a members’ section and will be available on a smart phone, tablet and laptop making it accessible globally. 
To accompany the site there will be a Facebook group to enable the members to network and support each other.

Meet the team:
The founder of Reverse the Tide is Sally Marshall from Marshall’s Consulting. The rest of the team comprises:  
Mark Smallcorn – IVQ Designs
Dom Bradbury – The Love Social Co.
Pete Bresser (credit for above photo to Pete) – Bresser Photography and Digital Media
Mike Hacker – Hax Media
Gavin Munnings – Stonk Creative
Jon Pankhurst – Splat Web Works
Rachel Wall – Lighthouse Virtual Assistant

More details about the launch date and future plans will be published on here as things progress.  In the meantime you can get involved as I’m looking for bloggers to contribute to the website, a great way to help other businesses and promote your own at the same time. If you are interested then please email me: rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk and I will send you more details.

How to promote your business locally

Marketing is not just about social media so your marketing plan should also include both on and offline promotions. If you need to attract clients that are close to where you are based then here are a few of my top tips for promoting your business locally and the good news is they are not expensive! Of course, not all of these may apply to you but will hopefully steer you in the right direction.

  • Have a Facebook business page
    It’s important that you have a business page and not a personal one as they have different tools (for example on a business page you receive insights about your customers and when they are online) and it just looks more professional. Make sure you fill in all the details (contact details, who you are etc.) and include your location so that a map can be used and people can find you easily. Doing all of the above will also help your prominence on Google.

       A business, rather than a personal, Facebook page will help                                promote your business locally

  • Write a blog and make sure it has great content
    Use keywords that your target audience will type in when searching for you so you are more likely to pop up in their search engine. Keep your blogs regular as Google likes fresh content and will rank your website higher in searches.
  • Leaflets/postcards
    Depending on the type of business you run, leaflets may be a great way of getting your message directly to your ideal client either via their letterbox, an event, networking, local shop etc. Postcards are a great alternative and a bit more unusual so may grab people’s attention.

  • Use e-marketing
    Once you have subscribers on your email list (GDPR compliant of course!) then you can send them
     information on your latest offers and give them advice and tips. This all helps to build relationships and trust with your current and potential customers.

        A press release will help raise awareness in the local media

  • Writing a press release is a great way to promote your business
    For content, you could highlight your new website, a new employee, product or service or give tips on how to do something that you specialise in.  You could also contact your local radio station and offer to give an interview in your area of expertise.
  • Offer to give a speech about your area of expertise at an event
    This is a great way to make new contacts and promote your business. It also gives you an authority in your industry.
  • Add yourself to some of the business directory sites
    Make sure you fill in all the details and include a link to your website. Examples of these sites include FreeIndex and Working Bees. These sites will also help with your Google ranking

        Networking allows you to meet other local businesses

  • Attend networking events
    Nothing beats connecting with someone regularly face-to-face. Networking helps you to build trust and relationships with potential new clients and also find businesses that can help you. Read more of my networking tips. 

If you need help with any of the ideas suggested above then contact me for your free consultation. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for more marketing tips or sign up for my monthly newsletter to get great advice straight to your inbox.

Can I pick your marketing brain package

The LVA ‘can I pick your marketing brain?’ package

Pick my marketing brain…

The LVA ‘can I pick your marketing brain?’ package came to fruition as many customers asked if they could just ‘pick my brain’ to get some advice on their marketing and PR for their business.  They wanted a few hours of my time to point them in the right direction and give them my expertise to kick start their marketing.

I offer a block of three different set prices and times as follows:

  • Two hours for £140 (We’ll discuss your business and I will explain some basic marketing concepts and give you tips to start your promotion, good for start-ups or for people new to marketing)
  • Three hours for £210 (We’ll discuss marketing ideas, I’ll look at your current marketing,suggest ways you can improve and which tools from the marketing mix will work specifically for business)
  • Four hours for £280 (We’ll look look at all the above and I’ll also provide a written document for you to refer to with written suggestions on how to take your marketing forward).

The sessions can take place either face-to-face if you’re within 5 miles of Folkestone (or are happy to travel to Folkestone) or via Skype or telephone.  (Please note mileage and call costs will be additional to the package price and the 10% first time client discount does not apply. Payment must be made in full before the mentoring session(s) takes place and payment is non-refundable).

If you would like to ‘pick my brain’ please leave your details below and I will send you some further details about each package and contact you to book you in.

Yes please book my LVA ‘can I pick your marketing brain?’ package!

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Seven reasons to network

Why network?

Networking is essential to building your business and I have gained the majority of my clients using this method.  There are lots of free groups out there and I suggest you attend a few and then stick with the ones you feel most appropriate and where your target audience can be found. Attend them regularly so that you can get to know people, this all helps with building trust and gaining a great reputation for your business (Read my blog for tips on how to master networking).

Here are my seven top reasons for networking:

1.  Networking will help you to build relationships. You will start to build up trust with each of the members and this will help you to gain new business. You will also gain knowledge from others and probably make new friends!

2.  You will learn new skills. Other members may provide training that you can sign up to and learn from. Exchanging skills with others will not only help you make new contacts but also add value to your business.

Practice your pitch

                              Practice your pitch

3.  Some groups will allow their members to provide a short talk on their area of expertise. If you can do this it’s a great opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and promote your business.

4.  You may find businesses that compliment your own work by offering a service that you don’t but that will be useful to your clients. Referrals and collaboration can be used here to help each other out.

You'll even make new friends

You’ll even make new friends

5.  You will have the opportunity to practice your pitch (elevator speech). Try and create a 1-minute speech to tell people what you do and how your business can help those in the room. Sticking to a minute makes you look professional and keeps people’s interest.  Doing this over and over gives you the chance fine-tune your words and grow your confidence.

6.  If you’re looking to expand your business then networking can be a great way of recruiting. You’ll have built up relationships within your networking group so it’s a good place to start when looking for new team members.

7.  The final reason to network is so you get the chance to socialise. Being in the company of other like-minded business people will motivate and inspire you. It’s also a great opportunity to bounce ideas off each other.