Tag Archives: virtual assistant

Meet our new team member Nicky

As Lighthouse Virtual Assistant continues to grow we are very pleased to introduce our new team member, and graphic designer, Nicky Grant.

Nicky will be on board to help you develop your business marketing resources such as leaflets, banners and logos.

Nicky completed an HND in Computer Graphics & Design at The London College of Printing in 1998.  She started work at Cosmos Holidays in-house Graphics Department where she worked with the Marketing Department on various brochures, corporate identity, banners, posters and flyers. Here she also worked on campaigns for Avro Flights.

Nicky now works as a freelance Graphic Designer and has gained 20 years experience. Some of her clients have included Odeon Cinemas, Bank of America, The International Federation of Aromatherapists, KPMG, Hotel Organic, Churchill Insurance, Bullfrogs Clothing and Bexley Heritage Trust.

She enjoys working on a wide range of projects from business stationery, exhibition panels and flyers to signage, packaging and magazines, one of which she produces quarterly in 4 different languages.

Nicky is a creative, versatile and enthusiastic professional with a good eye for detail and a wealth of knowledge in design, print and colour management.

Meet the rest of the team.

Contact:
rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk
07794 358497

 

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

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.

 

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.

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 make your website wonderful!

Regardless of the type of business you run you need to have a website to showcase your products or services.  I don’t think it is possible to do this effectively on just social media so would recommend that you look at WordPress.

What is WordPress?

WordPress launched in 2003 with a single bit of code to enhance the typography of everyday writing and with very few users. Since then it has grown to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, used on millions of sites and seen by tens of millions of people every day.

 

WordPress is simple to use and free

WordPress is simple to use and free

You are free to use it for anything from your hypnotherapy business to a shop selling the latest fashion and all without paying anyone a license fee.  It is extremely easy to use and I love the fact that the blog tool means you can always have fresh content on your site which is great for those Google rankings!

Get my tips to make your website look wonderful and your customers wanting more:

  1. Keep it simple
    Don’t over complicate it.  Make it easy for the user to find what they need.  I’m not a huge fan of all the pop-up banners that ask you to sign up for this and that as it annoys me when I’m trying to read an article and then I end up just closing the site but this is of course up to you.
  2. Stay true to your branding
    Make sure that your branding is obvious, it should link up with how your business looks everywhere else: social media, business cards, vehicle graphics etc.
  3. Talk to your ideal client
    You should have a straight forward home page that is aimed at your ideal customer. Make it clear what you do, how you do it and how your ideal customer will benefit from it.
  4. Show some of your personality
    Have an ‘About Page’ that allows the potential customer to get to know you and let your personality shine through.

    Keep your content fresh to help with your Goggle ranking

         Keep your content fresh to help with your                                      Google ranking

  5. Give clear contact details
    Make a contact page so that it’s easy for people to get in touch, include your phone number and email address.
  6. Build your list
    I’ve talked before about building your list so that you can send emails to current and potential clients.  It’s a great idea to build this list through your website and you can do this by including a newsletter sign-up, free download or to get a copy of your new e-book.
  7. Have a FAQ page
    If appropriate have a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ page so that people get an idea if you can help them before they contact you directly.
  8. Use a call-to-action
    Include a call-to-action on each of your pages – this is what you want the user to do next, do you want them to call you, go to your shop, email you?
  9. Include videos
    Include videos where you can as this will really help with your Google ranking.  For example, I have a video testimonial from a client on my homepage.
  10. Display testimonials
    Don’t forget to have a testimonial page from all your lovely clients, people like to know what others say about you.

    Check your site regularly to make sure your links work

      Check your site regularly to make sure your links work

  11. Track your statistics for your marketing
    Install Google Analytics so you can track how people are finding your site and what they do when they get there.  Use this information when planning your marketing.
  12. Keep your site updated
    Lastly and most importantly keep your website up-to-date.  WordPress is fantastic for blogging so do it regularly to keep your content fresh and remember to share your blog on all your other marketing platforms (Facebook, Twitter).  Check monthly that all your links still work.

Have a look around my site and feel free to leave me your feedback, it’s always great to know what you think.

If you need help with your WordPress site then drop me an email for a free consultation 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