How a Corporate Fitness Provider Can Utilise Social Media: A Complete Guide

The good news is that as more and more companies place employee health and well-being among their top priorities, established corporate fitness providers will always have a keen target audience. Employee health affects more than just home life, it affects work and productivity and that’s why nowadays companies are highly conscious of their employee well-being and are actively encouraging healthy initiatives such as healthy lunch deliveries and hiring businesses to manage and improve their employees’ health. With a corporate fitness centre considered an ideal way for businesses to demonstrate the high value they put on the well-being of their employees.

From this, with all the options out there for a business to invest in its staff well-being, it is up to your business to attract nationwide reach and awareness, demonstrating that you are the best option for employers to help their employees live healthier lifestyles and lead them toward optimal health and performance.

Social Media is a fantastic way to help build yourself a reputation as an industry- leading, top level service provider and knowledgeable source of useful and practical information that can help businesses achieve their goals. With the explosion of social media networks, you have easy access to a variety of free tools that you can use to advertise your services, showcase your skillset and knowledge and the people and businesses that you have helped, allowing you to connect with current and potential customers on a personal level.

Being a successful business online is essentially about generating conversations, creating and nurturing relationships and being trusted as an industry authority, with social media allowing you to achieve all these things in a timely and very cost effective manner. Ultimately, you need to demonstrate to a potential client that their business must invest in their employee well-being and must use the services of your business to do it because you have the expertise, the bespoke services and you have the social proof (recommendations from others) that convinces them you are the right choice over your competitors.

A corporate fitness provider therefore will be best served by channeling into using social media as a platform to promote their business services, news and activities and become an industry thought leader by sharing valuable, informative industry contributions and insights that will engage, evoke interest and provide advice to their audience.
Many corporate fitness providers already embrace social media and use it as a means to communicate and promote their business offerings and activities, post news and events, share interesting industry content and also to interact and engage with their customers. Moreover, a corporate fitness providers’ presence on social media platforms comes not only from its own online activity, but also from everyday visitors who share content, express their opinions and experiences, and post photos on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Facebook

Suggested 1+ Daily Post
Where Facebook can really be leveraged for corporate fitness providers is within the use of its extensive potential for user engagement. With over one billion active users, it is likely that many of your clients and competitors may already be there. It is compatible with any type of multimedia content meaning you can post videos, photos, and links to external content, allowing it to enhance and support your other online marketing efforts e.g. blog posts.

Purpose

  • Generate Engagement
  • Increase Brand Awareness
  • Generate Leads and Sales
  • Strengthen Customer Service

Key Metrics

  • Likes
  • Reach
  • Conversion
  • Engagement

Example Facebook Posts

  • The NHS has released new guidelines on the recommended daily Physical Activity level for adults. Are your employees reaching their recommended level to stay healthy? [Insert NHS Link]
  • FIT TIP: Did you know, listening to music with between 120-140 BPM can help increase your workouts efficiency without feeling the extra effort.
    Some suggestions;
    “Eye Of The Tiger” (109 BPM), Survivor
    “Don’t Stop Me Now” (154 BPM), Queen
    “Beat It” (139 BPM), Michael Jackson
    “Push It” (130 BPM), Salt-N-Pepa
    What’s your ultimate workout song?

Twitter

Suggested Minimum 5+ Daily Tweets
Where Twitter can really be leveraged for corporate fitness providers is within its use as a real-time public information network that gives your business greater exposure in web search results and makes it easy to build a community of potential customers who are there to discover and share interesting content. Twitter can also benefit your business through the use of both creating and joining in with existing Hashtags and Twitter Hours. Twitter Hashtags categorize topics and discussions so users can quickly and easily connect with businesses and individuals with a common interest. In addition they can also be used as keywords to help easily find and connect with your target audience. Example Twitter hashtags/ Hours to utilize are #BizHour, #FitnessHour, #MondayMotivation #FitnessTip #MotivationalQuote.

Purpose

  • Increase Engagement
  • Establish Network
  • Increase Brand Awareness
  • Strengthen Customer Service

Key Metrics

  • Follower Quality and Growth
  • Brand Mentions
  • Retweets, Replies and Lists
  • Reach
  • Conversion Rate

Example Tweets

From Gym Inductions to Personal Training and Physiotherapy, [INSERT YOUR BUSINESS NAME] can provide the full range of Health and Fitness Services to benefit your staff. Find out more: [Insert link to fitness services on website]
Great Article via @Freeletics! Sit Safe: How to Correct Your Posture Whilst at Your Desk [Insert Link https://www.freeletics.com/en/blog/correcting-your-sitting-posture/%5D

Good Afternoon #BizHour! Need to boost the health, wellbeing or motivation of your employees? We specialise in setting up and managing corporate fitness and wellbeing centres. Head over to our website to find out more: [link to website]

Did you know Sick days are costing UK employers about £29 billion a year as British workers take up to four times as many days off than rival economies, according to research from PwC.

Kick-start your #MondayMotivation with our workout of the week! [insert picture of branded Exercise picture]


Blog

Suggested 1x Weekly Post
Where Blogging can be really utilized for corporate fitness providers is its use in improving search engine rankings and boosting industry perception placing you as an authority in your sector. By regularly updating your corporate Blog with valuable, interesting and relevant industry analysis and comment, it shows that you have a deep interest in your sector and are more informed than the average participant; giving potential clients a compelling reason to choose you over competitors.

Purpose

  • Increase Engagement
  • Increase SEO
  • Establish Authority
  • Generate Brand Awareness

Key Metrics

  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • Authority Share – Cites and References
  • Audience Growth
  • Conversion Rate
  • Subscribers
  • SEO Improvements

Example Blog Posts

  • 10 of the Best Business and Motivational Quotes
  • Report: The latest UK Stats and Figures on Employee Well-Being Revealed
  • Gluten-­‐free or gluten-­‐fad? Should Your Business Cafeteria be Joining in with the Latest Trend to go Gluten-­‐Free?
  • Ten Tips for Keeping Your Employees Motivated
  • Staff Well-being Transformation Case Study: How One Business increased its profit by 275% with [INSERT YOUR BUSINESS NAME]
  • A-Z of Fitness Jargon: 26 terms you need to know

LinkedIn

Suggested 1+ Daily Post
Where LinkedIn can really be leveraged for corporate fitness providers is within the ability to demonstrate expertise and show yourself as an authority within your sector. Furthermore, it can be utilised as an avenue to promote career opportunities, general business news and updates, raise brand awareness and as a resourceful knowledge base where you can learn, discuss and stay on top of industry news as well as connect with other professionals in your industry.

Purpose

  • Increase Brand Awareness
  • Generate Leads and Sales
  • Connections and Networking
  • Increase Authority

Key Metrics

  • Number of Business Leads
  • Performance of Updates
  • Engagement Rate
  • Follower Demographics

Example Posts

Case Study: Since a University employed [INSERT YOUR BUSINESS NAME] to deliver a number of solutions, income improved by 96% and profit increased by 275%. Could your University be next to see the benefits? Get in Touch [Insert Link to Case Study on Website]
May is National Walking Month. Why not encourage and incentivise your employees to take part in walking challenges throughout the month? For inspiration check out our latest blog post giving you ten top tips and ideas for your National Walking Month promotion to get your employees moving and motivated!
Our latest fitness development in a large Cheshire business is well under way! [Insert Picture of gym equipment being put together in room or a sneak peek of the plans]


Hopefully, this quick guide has given you a good idea of a plan of action on how to make a success of social media. The platforms covered are a great place to start when it comes to driving traffic to your website, increasing authority and brand awareness. Instagram can also be a prime platform for your social media marketing. It’s a highly visual platform, giving you the perfect opportunity to show off high-quality images of your facilities, clients, transformation photos, fitness tips etc. Don’t forget to use hashtags to reach other users in your target market!

Ultimately, by ensuring you consistently put your time into developing your presence on each of them, you’ll be rewarded with a strong, powerful presence that will help generate leads and grow your business!

How to Create a Great LinkedIn Personal Profile

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional online network, with over 500 million active users spanning more than 200 countries. The network is primarily centred on careers and network building and is highly popular with business-to-business users. It enables users to connect and share content with other professionals, including colleagues as well as potential employers, business partners, and new employees. It is also beneficial for those looking to share and discover industry news and knowledge and for those looking for jobs.


The Profile Summary

The summary area of your LinkedIn Profile constitutes the most important part of the entire page because it is the first thing readers’ scan after reading your name and tagline. For this reason your summary must be compelling. Here are some suggestions that will improve your summary:

  • Write it in the first person ‘I am’ etc. as it shows an authenticity that you miss out on when writing in the third person.
  • Write your Summary in the Who / What / Goals format. Clearly stating who you are, what you do with the final section providing information about your professional goals and aspirations.
  • Read your summary and keep asking yourself ‘so what?’ as this will help you to pin point areas for improvement.

Optimise your Profile for SEO Benefit

Suggestions for optimising your LinkedIn Profile for SEO benefit include:

  • Customise the URL for your public profile
  • Embed keywords strategically throughout your profile
  • Try to list up to the maximum of three links in the billboard area (e.g., your business website, your personal website, your blog). When entering the anchor text for the hyperlink, embed as many of your keywords as possible.

Fill Out Every Section Fully

  • Emphasize Your Professional Skills LinkedIn showcases your top 10 skills based on endorsements so people know where you excel. Make sure you fully optimize and fill out as many specific keywords you can to help you get quick endorsements from your connections for those skills.
  • Promote Your Projects Promote and highlight your products, services and projects in the Projects section. Directly link each project to your website and include team members when applicable.
  • Link to Your Publications The Publications section is perfect if you’re an author, regular contributor to top publications, have eBooks, white papers and other company content that you want to promote. You can directly link each publication to where visitors can buy your books, link to author profile pages and also to landing pages for your content.
  • Share Your Honours and Awards This section is where you can highlight notable lists and mentions you’ve received from recognized authorities and publications in your industry.
  • Showcase Specialized Certifications The Certifications section allows you to showcase your specialised educational achievements within your industry. If your business has received a certification for your industry, promote and showcase it here so people can learn more about it.
  • Highlight Industry-Related Coursework If you’ve taken any courses that are relevant and apply to your business, you can list them in the Courses section. This can include coursework you completed at university, on-the-job training course and those offered by recognised organizations in your industry.
  • Feature Your Professional Memberships If you belong to professional organizations in your industry, use the Organizations section to highlight your membership and the position you hold/have held.
  • Demonstrate Language Proficiency Demand for people who speak several languages is on the rise. Therefore, if you are fluent in multiple languages, include that information in the Languages section.
  • Highlight Your LinkedIn Groups When you join LinkedIn groups, you have the option of listing them on your profile, as shown in the Groups section below.  You should utilise this opportunity as this can benefit you three-fold:
  • People who want to get to know you can do so by joining the groups you’re in and engaging with you there.
  • If you run groups for your business, you can display them on your profile to help increase membership.
  • Joining groups related to your industry means you can add more keywords to your profile

  • Publicise Your Interests When you follow businesses, news channels, publishers and influencers found on LinkedIn Pulse, they will appear in the Following section of your profile. Use this section to optimise your profile for specific keywords, highlight publications that you may contribute to and showcase your customers.
  • Support Your Causes One in five hiring managers has chosen a candidate based on his or her volunteer experience so add the Volunteer section to your profile to show others that you also care about helping others. For non-profits, this is also a great way to promote your organization and cause.

Keep Your Network Posted with Status Updates

Keeping your network posted with status updates should be a routine procedure. It gives you the opportunity to share valuable information with your network about what you’re doing. Done right, status updates can engage your followers, create leads, and facilitate customer conversion. Here are some tips on how to optimise your status updates:

  • Leverage the power of status updates by embedding special keywords when posting
  • Focus on sharing informative and useful updates as that is the information members expect from connections they follow on LinkedIn
  • Post status updates encouraging your followers to interact with you and this includes using a clear call to action within your post
  • Post regularly and consistently and you will reach more of your audience and extend your reach.

Use Your Profile as a Central Hub

When searching for someone on Google in most cases their LinkedIn profile is seen on the first page with the vast majority appearing in the first five results. This means that you need keep your profile current and up to date to highlight your experience and expertise and in addition requires that your profile needs to become a central source for connecting all of your other social media platforms. LinkedIn has many available tools for you to utilise that can link your profile with your Blog and Twitter feed among others so is a great way to support and drive attention to your other sites.


Add Rich Visual Content to Your LinkedIn Profile

Throughout your profile LinkedIn provides you with the opportunity to visually enhance your profile so you need to leverage this opportunity. Add some oomph to your profile by adding some up to date, rich, visual content and you will help yourself and your profile to stand out from the rest and get noticed. Embracing the visual in social media marketing is highly important so utilise this and share with your audience creative, informative and engaging visual elements such as pictures, SlideShare presentations and videos. A key thing is to also remember not to just create and then forget your newly visual profile, rather, actively update and refresh your profile with current, fresh and valuable content such as examples of new work, recent articles and features in the press.


Connect with New Contacts in Groups and Answers

Joining and contributing to LinkedIn Groups helps to locate people with shared interests and establish valuable new connections. In addition to the benefit of increased traffic to your profile page, participating within a Group has the added benefit of learning from others and participation in a group or within the LinkedIn Answers section allows you to highlight your ideas and insight. The more you participate, the more you’ll build credibility and trust within your industry. If you’re contributing valuable content, you will soon improve your own reputation as an invaluable resource on select topics by other industry connections.


Give and Get Recommendations

Recommendations from colleagues, business partners and satisfied clients go a long way in establishing your value and credibility. As either an employee or a business, a recommendation can carry a great deal of weight in the eyes of future customers or employers as they essentially act as solid examples of a good experience with you in a personal manner. If you want to get recommendations, use LinkedIn to give them to people you’ve worked with and who have done a great job for you and they will likely reciprocate. Similarly with the new Endorsement feature, if you endorse someone, they’ll be notified and you’re likely to get a reciprocal endorsement in return.


Add, Remove, and Rearrange Entire Sections of Your Profile

LinkedIn enables you to reorder entire sections of your profile in any way that you prefer. This is a great feature to help you optimise your profile as you can place your most important sections in prominent places and delete any that are not relevant to you for example. Simply go into edit mode, hover your mouse over the double-sided arrow in each section. Your mouse will turn into a four-arrowed icon, at which point you can click, then drag and drop to another position on your profile.


Edit Your Public Profile Settings

You want to ensure that people can find your profile when they do a public search. You ideally want to show public viewers as much as possible to convince them to click to view your full profile and make a connection. Locate the Privacy & Settings option on your LinkedIn homepage and click Manage. To access your public profile settings, click your profile image and select the Privacy & Settings option. On the next page, click Edit Your Public Profile to see what items are displayed on your public profile. The right side of the page shows a list of items that are displayed on your private profile and you can choose which items to show on your public profile. You can choose to share only a few sections of your profile with public viewers or be fully transparent and show all sections. Just ensure that you enable the setting that allows anyone to see your public profile. You may feel uneasy about showing your entire profile but it is important to do so as your public profile will never display rich-text media like videos or full-text recommendations, therefore, your description of your job experience is the most important part of your profile.


Consider Upgrading Your LinkedIn Account

The goal of improving your public image on LinkedIn is to get high-quality connections. With a premium plan, you gain access to additional features such as seeing people who viewed your profile, requesting and making introductions and mailing other users from within LinkedIn. These are features that could greatly benefit your business so consider upgrading your account if you are in a position to do so.


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How to Make Sure You’re Successful on Social Media

Want to ensure your social media presence is ultimately going to be a successful addition to your marketing strategy? Take note of these 24 best practices!


Have Goals and Objectives

Like every other marketing and business initiative, you need to have a goal or objective that you what your social media presence to achieve. Whether you want to use it to improve brand awareness or as a new outlet to interact with customers, having clear objectives for your platforms helps to optimise their reach and impact. In addition, having well-defined objectives also makes it clearer for you in what to measure for your return on investment. It is also worth noting that return on investment with social media marketing cannot always be measured in money. Whilst it can drive sales, the real power of social media marketing is in building relationships with customers. Whatever your objectives, make them achievable and relevant for your business and remember as you progress these objectives may change.


Portray Yourself Consistently

It is important that before you engage in social media that you are clear on what kind of image you want to portray of yourself and make sure to keep it consistent across all platforms. This consistency equally applies not just to the ‘voice’ you portray but also to the creative aspects, that is the overall presentation including the colour scheme and typography. If your brand or company uses certain colours then be sure to apply these consistently across the presentation of all your social media platforms. This also extends to a company logo or picture, make sure they are up to date and reflective of the image you want to portray. Having a social media platform is a great way to show a ‘human’ side to your business that customers appreciate and prefer. From this, it is important to have an idea of what voice you want for your page that can be consistently applied across all your posts, especially if your company page is going to be managed by several different contributors. In general, avoid generic corporate speak and replace it with your own unique voice and customers will be more drawn to and engage with you. By setting consistent guidelines over the presentation and integration of your branding into your page it ensures that all these factors support and are in line with your overall branding and help reinforce your message and brand across all social media platforms.


Be Where Your Customers Are

It’s important to have a presence where your customers are looking to interact with you. To find out where you should be there are two easy ways; research the demographics of your intended social media platforms and also ask your customers yourself. When you start researching what platforms you think are best for your business, be sure that their main audience are the ones you want to target. The other option is for you to ask your existing customers where they are active online; this will then help guide your platform choices.


Get In The Habit Of Checking The News

If you’re not already doing this at least once a day, you need to start. Get in the habit of checking both industry news and the news in the world. You don’t need to read an entire newspaper and several journals, just look to bookmark a few key sites and blogs and at the very least, skim the headlines. Social media covers all aspects of people’s lives and the more you understand about them in a wider context, the more you can understand where your brand will fit into your followers’ newsfeed. The added benefit of scanning the news daily means it will also help you to find real time opportunities that you can utilise for your social media content.


Learn To Manage Your Time Effectively

On average, 64% of marketers spend at least 6 hours a week on social media. As more social media platforms, tools and features are added into your marketing mix regularly, it can become overwhelming to keep on top of your timing and not to have your social media management impact your other duties. Timekeeping is one of the most vital skills for an efficient social media marketer, so make sure you’re getting everything done by creating checklists for regular tasks and using social media tools that help you work smarter.


Focus on Building a Community Rather Than a Number of Followers

The number of people following you can only take you so far. Having 10,000+ followers is noteworthy, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how many followers you have if they’re not interacting and paying attention to your content. So what can be done to build a community and increase engagement with your current and potential followers? Simple, always insert some personality, humor, and life into your brand and always converse directly with your followers: which is as simple as having a conversation with them, retweet them, like and comment on their posts, and directly ask them to interact with your content.


Create a Powerful Presence Across all Social Channels

If you want your audience to stay engaged, you need to be engaging. One of the great ways to do this by creating powerful social campaigns that run consistent across all your social platforms. How do you do this? Start by…

  • Telling a powerful story: Think of ways you can use your social channels to tell powerful, motivational and therefore compelling stories to your viewers. For example, you can share a story rooted in charity work that you do or support. Alternatively, you could share stories from your happiest clients on your blog and then create a social campaign with a unique slogan and hashtag to promote and create a movement around their stories. Team this strategy with…
  • Brand your movement with a unique name and hashtags: Branding your movement will make it memorable and stick out in the mind of your followers. Take time to brainstorm actionable ideas that will get followers involved, whether that is done by posting photos and using your hashtag to group them, running a contest, or throwing events run by your business. For example, you could use the inspirational aspect of getting fit, or New Year’s resolutions, or whichever angle you believe your customers would gravitate towards. Test out a few hashtags, find the one that resonates best, and brand your movement by announcing it on your blog and social platforms.

Suck Up to Influencers

The goal is to get these influential people to like you and like your brand. Once you get in with the people that matter, your business will exponentially grow because you are exposed to their audience and authority. Make a thorough list of key industry influencers and actively take the following steps to socially connect with them:

  • Favorite, like, comment, and re-share their content: Don’t favorite/like everything they post however, that is too obvious. Try to like and favourite a few times per week and comment when you genuinely have something educational and valuable to say.
  • Tweet at them: Whether it’s asking their feedback on your content or asking industry related questions, this strategy works very well as they will be flattered that you thought of them and consider them to be a valuable resource/influencer.
  • Use the same hashtags: This way when they’re reviewing their hashtag feeds they’ll see your content, and perhaps spark their interest.

Share Trending Content

Your platforms don’t exist to be solely self-promotional, this strategy will only make you be seen as boring and obnoxious. Rather, you need to strike a balance between sharing promotional content that markets your brand, interacting with your followers and influencers, and sharing other useful and entertaining content and news from other valuable resources. To help you become an industry influencer and produce content that is share-worthy, follow these four tips:

  • Look for viral videos on YouTube of hilarious children, adorable animals, and inspirational moments and re-share with your own unique spin.
  • Scan the news for the highest covered media stories and add a unique perspective keeping relevant to your brand.
  • Follow and use relevant trending hashtags to add your voice to the larger conversations happening on social media. For example on Twitter you can see “Trends.”
  • Use a popular tool like Buzzsumo to find content that resonates. It’s the easiest way to search related industry news sites and blogs, keywords, influencers, etc. to find the content with the highest number of social shares. Study the headlines that were shared and re-share those articles/headlines with your followers. This will continue the train of sharing, but also show your followers that your social posts are intriguing and follow-worthy.

Focus On Creating Content That People Care About and Inspires Conversation

On social media, you can’t depend on passive followers to convert themselves. You need to create as many opportunities to engage people as possible, and it all begins with your content. As people spend longer on social networks, their community expands and with every person followed, page liked, or friend added, they have a whole new set of posts and stories vying for their attention. Brands who have little respect for what people want in their newsfeed will find themselves further fenced off than before, therefore it is vital that the content you share is what your prospects and former customers generally respond well too. This may be a video about how your products work, interesting insights about the culture of your company or shocking stats about inefficiency in your industry for example. Whatever the case may be, build social content that gets your prospects talking to you.


Utilise Every Opportunity to Make Social Media Content

Every piece of content that you post is part of your story that you share with your audience. Everything from your ups and downs, your proudest achievements, to your charity work and the people behind your business are all prime areas in which you can create content that you can share with your viewers. So whenever you launch a new product, attend a conference or find a new way to use one of your products for example, look at the ways in which you can squeeze content out of it for use on your social media platforms.


Promote your Platforms

Anywhere your customers interact with your brand is an opportunity to encourage them to engage with you online. Once you begin, remember to promote all your social media platforms and that includes mentioning them on your e-newsletter, your email signature, business card, product packaging and anywhere else your customers will see it. Your customers and fans need to be told where they can connect with you through social media, so make it clear where you are.


Make Providing Value a Top Priority

Social media is centred on having conversations and engaging with people. That being said, unless the aim of your platforms is to be akin to a personal journal, the content you post should not be simply an update of what you are thinking or doing no with no real substance or value in what you are writing. To avoid to making this mistake every post and tweet should have a clearly defined topic as well as delivering something valuable to the reader, whether that be entertainment or information. You must also write your content with your target audience in mind so rather than trying to appeal to a generic wider audience, write content that contains specialised information and analysis that those interested in your services or in your sector would read. By openly giving out valued advice and information you will become an online repository of specialist knowledge and this will attract the attention of your target audience. Central to being effective is also realising that conversation is a two-way process so you also need to listen to what people are saying to you and about you and respond to them accordingly.


Be Active and Consistent

In order to get the most out of using social media as a marketing tool, you need to post content often. It is therefore vital that in the very beginning you figure out a comfortable writing routine that works with your editorial calendar, be it posting daily or several times a week, and stick to it in order to maintain consistency and maximise your impact. Although it takes some experimentation to find the best publishing schedule for you, there are two things that should always be considered and will dictate your posting schedule; your business goals and what your audience wants.


Respond Quickly

The fact that customer service through social media is quickly becoming an expectation of consumers means you’re publicly open to both criticism and praise online. From this, it is vital that you watch for any negative things that are being said about you and respond quickly and accordingly. Rather than simply deleting any negative comments you receive, as even the most universally loved businesses receive negative comments, view them as an opportunity to win over a customer offering help, guidance or even acknowledging where something went wrong. By dealing with negativity in an open and authentic way you can help build rapport and trust with your customers. Also remember that often you will get praise online in the form of a great review or comment, do not forget to say thank you.


Coordinate Your Social Channels

Your success will be limited If you treat each social media platform as a stand-alone effort. Your networks should work together to help you achieve your goals, with your website acting as your brand’s home base. Coordinate and cross-promote your social media efforts to reach new audiences, boost your following and to push people to your website where they can buy your product or service.


Boost Results With Social Advertising

If you want to accelerate your social media performance, it’s worth your time to explore paid advertising options. Facebook offers a number of advertising options to help boost sales, brand exposure, audience engagement and website traffic. Twitter has two advertising solutions: promoted content that helps you cut through the noise and serve your content to tailored audiences and promoted accounts which help increase the size of your Twitter following. Likewise LinkedIn also offers opportunities to reach specific audiences by advertising or by the use of the sponsored updates feature to increase your brand’s visibility. Even if your budget is limited, don’t dismiss social advertising. Used strategically it can produce great results to boost your visibility and success on social media.


Find Leads Using Social Media Monitoring Tools

Tracking and monitoring conversations happening around your brand and products is a time consuming but vital task that can be made manageable using social media monitoring tools. Ensure you actively make the effort to monitor mentions of your name, your business name, your products and any other keywords related to your business to find conversations already happening in your industry. Jump into those conversations and provide answers, guidance or helpful information where needed. Being useful is one way to start to build relationships with your target market.


Participate in Other People’s Communities (OPC’s)

Actively join and engage the discussions in the communities populated by people likely to use your services and share some of your expertise when it’s relevant. Make it your aim to become and trusted member of these communities. You never want to be promotional in social groups, but if you’re consistently helpful and engaged, prospects will likely be interested and click through to your profile where they’ll find your posts and marketing collateral.


Send Regular Emails with Valuable Content, Deals and Promotions

As your social media connections move into your email list, you can and should continue to provide valuable information, notify them of upcoming deals and promotions and provide general interesting business news and updates. At this point in the funnel you have likely already become a trusted source of information, meaning your subscribers are warmed up to buying from you. Social media is all about building connections with your target market, and making yourself the first name that comes to mind when they’re ready to buy. Take this opportunity to craft perfect email campaigns, using segmentation whenever possible to be sure your content and offers are targeted to specific groups of subscribers and by the strategic use of strong calls to action in your emails to make sure your subscribers know what you want them to do, and what to expect when they click on your offer/content. By continuing to cultivate them with engaging, valuable and entertaining information in your emails, you will help to build connections that will result in long-term, profitable relationships.


Create Customer Advocacy Opportunities

Customer advocacy is where your marketing ROI can take off. You’ll be putting in less effort to reach your marketing goals because your customers will effectively sell for you.

  • Continue to engage qualified leads and customers

There’s no reason why people should stop learning from you after they become customers. If they’re on an email list or subscribed to your blog, actively send out informational reminders for them to connect with your company on social networks.

  • Offer occasional incentives for customers to review your services or share certain posts

Depending on your business and market, offering vouchers or bargains such as free consultations can work well. The benefits for you are twofold: You’ll increase brand exposure and subtly help customers become your advocates.

  • Engage customers specifically about your products and services

If your company offers a complex product, it might be a good idea to create a forum on your website or an entirely hub that’s purely for continued customer support, just for you and your customers to interact around your products.  Externally, LinkedIn showcase pages and Facebook groups might be possible hubs for product-based conversations that build increased trust for your brand and position your company as worth advocating for.

  • Provide substantial advocacy opportunities for repeat customers

Over time, you might form mutually beneficial partnerships with repeat customers. Consider rewarding these relationships with more substantial opportunities such as inviting them to networking events.


Monitor Social for Un-Tagged Brand Mentions

Not every person who mentions your brand or products on social media will tag you in the post. In fact, many social posters may assume that you’ll never even see the posts they create mentioning you. Actively scan your social media networks for these types of mentions and join the conversation by provide pleasantly surprising customer engagement. You should look to actively monitor;

Your Own Brand Terms—make sure to monitor for all variations of your company’s name, including nicknames and common misspellings.

Your Own Product Terms—A less frequently used strategy involves monitoring social for some of your popular products, as well as the common nicknames and misspellings.


Create an Internal FAQ Document

Consult with everyone who manages your social pages and build a document that houses all of these questions and some solid answers. Whilst you should never simply copy-paste those responses over to your customers, you can use this document to quickly guide your response.


Do What Is Right for You

As you become a regular participant on social media platforms, you will find unique ways in which they can be used to the best advantage for your business. Nobody knows your customers and what they expect from you better than you yourself so delivering the content they want and engaging with them is the most important thing and will dictate your decisions surrounding your social media marketing efforts. As with any other marketing efforts, you will learn in time what works and what don’t, the important thing is to learn by doing.


This is an excerpt from my new book “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses” out now in Paperback on Amazon! Head over there now for more of a Free preview! http://amzn.eu/2uuslrD


What is Social Media and Why is it Important?

Social media is the means by which people interact with others in virtual communities and networks allowing them to create, share and exchange information and ideas. With the rapid popularity growth of these new technologies, social media has had a profound impact on the way people discover, read and share news, information and content. Social media encompasses all forms of ‘user generated’ content, from communication platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to multimedia services such as YouTube and virtual gaming platforms like World of Warcraft. It has become extremely popular as it allows people to connect and form relationships in the online world for personal and business use.


How is Social Media Being Used by Businesses?

Social media puts you out there and brings your solutions to your prospects’ doors. As such, the benefits of creating a social presence on the web have been felt by every type of business and industry. Whether you have a restaurant, retail outlet or provide professional services, social media enables you to build your online reputation, increase credibility and help generate business and drive sales. By taking advantage of social media, you can make your business gain more exposure, be more personable and generate and maintain long term connections as well as benefit from rich insights into your customers and industry. All of which can greatly benefit your business in the future.


Why Should You Join In?

With the surge in popularity in having a presence on social media, the chances are that your customers and competitors are already involved. On the web your customers will be talking, forming their opinions and its’s where they’re making their own recommendations to their friends and connections. Likewise your competitors may be already channelling in on those customers and reaping the rewards from engaging with, joining and listening to those conversations. People all around the world may be already talking about your business, so it’s important that you get involved in the conversation and present yourself how you want to be presented on the web. Still not convinced? Here are 5 more reasons why you need social media for your business;

Social Media is Everywhere and Very Popular

Social media has become a central part of most people’s lives, whether they are at home or on the go, people are actively engaging online. These users aren’t just sharing updates from their own lives; they are searching for businesses, products, and services, and connecting with brands through their social channels. People of all ages and genders are actively using social media so no matter how old or young, or what gender your target audience may be, chances are most of them are already logging on and waiting for you to get started.

Social Media Sites are Free

Getting started on most social media platforms is completely free. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, WordPress and LinkedIn all offer free accounts to users and businesses and in most cases signing up won’t require anything more than an email address.  There are features within some platforms that you need to pay for such as a Facebook Ad or a profile upgrade in LinkedIn, but for the purposes of getting started there’s no upfront cost for most of the social networks.

Join an Existing Conversation

Social media provides you with an opportunity to listen to the conversations about your business and industry being openly discussed online. Not only does joining this conversation mean you can hear what is being said about you, it also means you can easily develop a richer understanding of your customers and benefit from insights into your target audiences. Moreover, it can also be used to create dedicated communities where you can host discussions about the products and services you offer or use your followers as an outlet for helping build new ones.

Social Media is Great for Customer Service

Customer service through social media is quickly becoming an expectation of consumers. Businesses have quickly come to realise that it offers a unique opportunity to showcase your customer service skills, promote more intimate business relationships with your customers and enables you to cater to your customer’s needs instantly. In a world where everything is fast-paced, a quick response that showcases how much you care about providing a memorable experience can create a lifelong customer.  Social media allows you to continually strengthen relationships with these customers through social engagement and because this engagement is publicly visible to others, it can introduce your business to a whole new audience and enable you to reach your next customer.

It Helps People Learn More About Your Business

Social media sites are becoming the go-to place for consumers who want to learn more about a business. People are online actively searching for information about anything from product reviews to informative articles and general entertainment so it is up to you to utilise this and use your social media presence to provide valuable, informative and entertaining news and updates to existing and potential audiences.  If customers are already searching for you on Facebook or Twitter and not finding your business, you are missing opportunities to win new customers and inform and engage your existing ones so it is vital that you join in with social media and have your brand heard and seen online.


This is an excerpt from my new book “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses” out now in Paperback on Amazon! Head over there now for more of a Free preview! http://amzn.eu/2uuslrD


Special Offer for Lancashire Businesses

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Not Enjoying Self-Employment? Here’s How to Fall Back in Love With Your Business!

From winning new projects, a diary full of promising meetings, to even decorating your new office and picking out all your fresh new folders and stationary… those first few development years of business ownership are exhilarating and full of adventure! No two days are ever the same and with every day comes a new experience and learning curve… and you loved every minute of it. But now? All of a sudden, those long hours you love to put in, are now a chore. Your focus is gone. Maybe your personal and home life are suffering as a result of the constant stress. Like everyone else unhappy with their job, you sit there with a sense of despair on Sunday night at the thought of another Monday back at your desk. Ultimately, everything about your business has become a burden. A burden that you undertake with zero passion.

You’re not sure how or when you started to feel this way. You just know something doesn’t feel right anymore. You’ve suddenly become one of those people who dreams of escaping your mundane unhappy work life in the quest for something more exciting. Starting your own small business is a bit like falling in love: it’s exciting, exhilarating, and new. You don’t mind putting in the hours and effort during the beginning because you feel like your building something good. But just like in the affairs of the heart, when it comes to business it’s all too easy to let the passion slide. Take off the rose-tinted glasses and after the adrenaline rush subsides the reality sets in and you may discover that not everything about running a business is so wonderful. There are tasks you absolutely hate to do, activities you find stale, technical difficulties to test your patience and clients and vendors who you may not get on with at all.

Before you make the huge decision to dump something you’ve worked so hard to make a success, consider how you can rekindle that lost spark. All people from all walks of life have those moments and periods of wanting to pack it all in, its completely natural. However, you owe it to yourself and your business to decide whether this is just a wobbly period (99% of the time is!) or your mind is made and that’s it you’re done!

Does this all sound familiar to you? Let’s highlight some of the danger signs and if you find yourself nodding along and saying ‘yep, that’s me’ then read on for top tips to get you feeling the love!

  • You’ve taken on too much, you’re wearing so many ‘job hats’ that it’s overwhelming
  • You no longer have the time to ensure you are keeping your clients/customers happy.
  • Business plan? Haha what is that… I haven’t looked at in ages/ever!
  • Your cash flow is a serious problem
  • You’re working long hours and hate every second of it
  • You’re putting things off and finding everything else to do but solve your problems.

Thankfully, you can rekindle the flames of passion for your business by making a few subtle (tried and tested!) changes in how you work and think. Here are seven tips to help you love your business again!

  1. Take a holiday! Most business owners rarely take a break, and if they do, they are still not fully switched off… they still answer emails, have the laptop available etc. Repeat after me … ‘YOUR CLIENTS CAN LIVE WITHOUT YOU FOR TWO WEEKS, THE WORLD IS NOT GOING TO END!’ Get a holiday booked that’s purely for you, designed for lots of rest and relaxation. No worrying about answering emails, listening to answerphone messages and dare I say it… no social media! You might find a holiday to escape from it all, and one that gives you (and your brain!) a chance to relax and slow down, is just what you needed to fall back in love with your business. Don’t feel guilty either – everyone needs a break and your clients will understand. Just give them plenty of notice and away you go.
  1. With your newly refreshed state of mind… start again! After a holiday you always feel relaxed, rested and re-motivated. Before you go back straight into work and catching up – take a day to spring clean your business. Use this new-found positivity to clear out the garbage (ineffective procedures, bad clients and maybe even literally clear out the garbage if you have a messy office!). Simply ask yourself questions such as; what can I get rid of that’s not working/making me unhappy? What’s something that’s costing me lots of money? Can I get rid completely or find a cheaper alternative? What can I do to make my business more efficient? What ideas can I implement to make my clients happier? What skills can I learn that will benefit my business? By examining your life and reviewing your typical work day/week/month you can work out all the areas that are good/bad and act on that to help you solve many of your business issues and set yourself up for success!
  1. Streamline processes to relive overwhelm! If the main problem within your business is that you feel overwhelmed, running around doing 1001 jobs, then you will really benefit from looking objectively at your business to identify the areas in which your time is being taken up unnecessarily. You can majorly improve your productivity and free up a lot of your time by implementing software, delegating tasks, hiring a freelancer and other tactics designed to be utilized by business owners like yourself to improve workflow and yield better results! Constantly chasing up invoices? Implement a software to do it for you. Absolutely hate answering the business calls? Hire a company who’s job it is to do that. You can easily free up your time by streamlining your current processes and delegating the ones you hate to someone else, leaving you happier, less overwhelmed and of course your business becomes more productive and professional as a result.
  1. Remind yourself why you started your business! If you’re unhappy with your life and business, it’s easy to forget why you launched your own venture in the first place and the huge benefits you receive from it. When it comes down to it, you‘re the boss. You can take time off when you want, work the hours that suit you, pick and choose your clients and have control over your future. Ok so you are thinking of quitting self-employment, for what? To go back to the ratrace working for someone else, 9-5, a condescending boss, traffic and working all the hours under the sun to make someone else rich! That’s crazy to want to go back into! If you need to fall back in love with your business, take a few minutes to be humble and grateful. You are living the life that most people only dream they had to guts to do! Yes it may be stressful at times, but surely all the massive positives outweigh the negatives you experience sometimes.
  1. Have good support around you! Running your own business can be a very lonely affair, especially if no one in your inner circle runs their own business so can’t relate to how you are feeling. It needn’t be, however as there are so many business support networks around in the form of monthly groups, networking opportunities, online communities etc. where you can meet up, get out the office and talk to like-minded people who can offer advice, support and a new way of thinking about things. Don’t underestimate a simple coffee with a friend or family member too! A nice chat to whinge and whine to get things off your chest can do the world of good – as they say a problem shared is a problem halved! – so make sure you have a lot of people around you who you can talk you when things are getting too much as this support can make the difference to help you succeed.
  1. Work out your plan! If you are on a weight loss plan, for example, how great does it feel when you hit your weekly/monthly target and keep knocking those targets out the park! How motivating it is to see yourself working hard to achieve this positive life changing goal. The same logic can be applied to building and making a success of your own business. Take the time to work “on” your business by setting time aside to plan your goals and create a bigger picture of what you want to achieve. Identify realistic goals and objectives and create a roadmap that guides you towards that success! Make sure you regularly review your master plan and check your progress toward achieving your goals. When you see yourself hitting those goals you will feel a sense of motivation and fulfilment knowing you are one step towards where you want to be. Importantly, don’t feel sad if you don’t hit your goal, simply assess what you missed and learn what you need to do to make sure you hit it next month… you’re only human remember!
  1. Book your next holiday! The logic here is that you will always have something to look forward to. Taking a break, even if its just a few days away is so important for a business owner. A holiday refreshes you, gets you a change of scenery, reminds you how good you really have it (after all, you didn’t have to ask anyone else’s permission to go on holiday – you just did it because you could as you’re the boss!) and that time away even gives you a chance to miss your business! All of which gear you up for an ultra-positive stint for when you get back to your desk!

What are your top tips for staying motivated as a business owner?

20 Useful Things You Can Do When Business is Slow

Starting a business and making it work takes you on a difficult but rewarding roller coaster ride full of ups and downs. During the ‘ups’ when business is booming it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day with a busy schedule and feeling like there’s a million things on your mind becoming the norm. For many businesses however facing the ‘downs’ can hit you hard especially if you not prepared for or expecting it. Whether it’s a slow intake of new customers, a flurry of bad news and let downs or your sales have come to a grinding halt, when you suddenly realize your businesses is in the midst of a slow period it is crucial that you don’t panic and become disheartened or worried. Rather, take it as a learning curve for you to build your character and your business by capitalizing on those slow times and use the extra time you now suddenly have to help boost your business for the better.

Touch Base with Old Clients

Whether it’s an email, a card or a meeting in person, taking the time to touch base with people you have dealt with in the past can be very rewarding. A simple email giving them some tips/advice/articles you think may be useful to them or even a greetings card thanking them for something they did, by getting in touch you show that you genuinely care about the relationship you had. This in the clients mind could make them remember how much they liked you, which could encourage them to hire you for something new or recommend you to others.

Write or Update your Business Plan

If you already have a business plan, then take the time to go through and do an audit. Go through, assess and update important areas such as whether your business goals are still the same? Has your market changed in some big way? And whether your circumstances have changed dramatically. If you didn’t create a business plan in the beginning (shame on you if you didn’t! 🙂 ) then take the time you now have to do one. They needn’t be a daunting document and there are many useful templates out there to help you and make it straight forward. StartUp Donut is a great place to start.

Take an Online Class or Join a Peer Group to Learn Something new to Expand Your Knowledge/Skill Set

Whether it’s joining an online class, seminar or signing up to a local peer group with fellow business owners, actively learning something new and gaining valuable life lessons and advice from others is a great way to boost your skillset and help you develop valuable knowledge and contacts that you can apply to your future efforts to help boost your business. If you want to know more about utilizing social media then sign up to an industry influencer seminar, or if you want to learn a new business skill then sign up for a course online. You will be thankful you did when you find yourself busy again and utilizing the newly learnt skill!

Audit and Refresh Your Website

Your website should portray you in the best light by looking professional, having up to date information, well placed calls to action and good quality SEO friendly content amongst a whole host of other important factors. Your website ultimately needs to work as hard as you do in terms of attracting future clients so it’s vital that you take the time to do a website audit and overhaul your website if it’s not portraying your business in the way you want it to.

Create a Marketing Schedule for the Weeks, Months or Year Ahead

When you have completed a clear, visual and well thought out plan for your marketing and promotional schedule (either weekly, monthly or yearly) it brings a great sense of accomplishment knowing that the crucial task of marketing your business is organized, working together and not to mention, for the most part, has already been done in advance as you will have done the hard part of creating promotions, tying them in with holidays and having your weekly content ideas etc., planned, organized and in place. You will be thankful that you have done this and had the time spare to do it well as when times start to get busy again you will inevitably not find the time to do it as you find your marketing efforts slip further down the to do list.

Create New Business Cards

In the same way that your website reflects who you are, so too does your business cards. So now is a great time to assess your cards and determine whether they simply need new updated information (inclusion of a new social media platform you have joined, or a change of phone number for example) or whether it is time to order new ones so they portray you in the best light and fit in with your business image. I highly recommend MOO.

Do Something Creative and Start an Exciting New Project

Have you ever wanting to write a short story or poem, get into painting or take that local cookery class you heard about? Whatever it is that gets you active, positive and gets those creative juices flowing, use the time you have available to you now to just do it! Not only is it great to do things you enjoy (as a starting a business can feel like it consumes your whole life) you may find the creative inspiration for something new in your business. Sometimes all it takes is a break from the everyday routine to give your mind and body a boost.

Create a Free Resource

Everyone loves a freebie, and creating a free resource that is valuable, informative and useful to your clients and target audience, is a great way to attract attention and boost engagement. Whether it’s a how to guide, a useful template or something else relevant to you, ensure you utilize it and maximize its investment by making people sign up to receive it or visit your website to download it. That way you not only help portray yourself as a valuable source of industry knowledge, but you also can help generate attention to your business.

Read a Book to Boost your Knowledge/Skill set

Whether it’s a book on business from an influential millionaire successful business owner or a straightforward book on how to utilize a particular social media channel, reading a book and empowering yourself with new knowledge is a great way to get inspired and learn a new skill or even mindset that can help you get positive and boost your business.

Host a Giveaway to Grab Attention

Hosting a giveaway is a surefire way to generate engagement and interest in your business. Whether it’s a free product, a free consultation or a gift voucher, make sure the prize is interesting, relevant and promoted well.

Organize Your Computer

The likelihood is that during your super busy times you have let things slip a bit on your desktop with documents here, there and everywhere with a distinct lack of organized structure. By completely refreshing and organizing your computer, including everything from having clear, logical and organized folders for your all documents, to only having relevant website bookmarks and removing all installed software that you no longer want or use, you will magically clear your computer and your mind allowing you to feel fresh, clear and focused.

Create Templates

Whether it’s a template showing you how to construct a powerful blog post, a written account of the workflow in the event of a new project/client, a reply email that you can personalize whenever a potential client emails you or a general report template, by creating templates that you can easily use and reference, you take the hassle out of these everyday tasks which frees up time for you to focus on other things for your business. Something you will be very thankful for when you become very busy again!

Check Your Google (and Social Media Platform) Analytics

Take the time to thoroughly assess your analytics for your website and social media platforms as you will learn a wealth of important information that can affect and dictate your marketing and general business strategy. Analytics are there to help you make your marketing more effective so make sure you thoroughly analyze your analytics and respond and adapt accordingly to what the information is showing you to ensure your website and platforms are effective as they can be moving forward.

Do a Social Media Audit

By conducting a thorough audit of your social media platforms you ensure they remain fresh, relevant and highly effective, helping maximize your ROI. From making sure your bios and descriptions are up to date, updating your logos, cover images, banners and backgrounds, to assessing what your competitors are doing on their pages and even revisiting and assessing your goals and objectives for each platforms, use your time to have a good look at your profiles to make sure they are reflective of the image you want to portray and are as effective as they can be.

Create Something Useful That You Can Sell

Similarly with creating a resource to give away for free, you can just as easily create one to sell. Whether it’s an eBook, a seminar or even a PowerPoint presentation, ensure you target your audience and fill your resource with valuable, informative and useful content and promote it well so that they can buy and benefit from it. Not only is this great in terms of helping develop yourself as an informed authority in your area, but it is also a great way to earn extra income which can be much needed when business is slow.

Research, Research, Research!

Thorough research is the foundation of a successful business. Whilst you may have undertaken some research in the very beginning of setting up your business, times changes and things develop and move forward so is it vital you stay updated to ensure you are maximizing your business and making sure you are staying competitive and effective. There are several key areas in which you need to be up to date on from what is happening in your industry, factors about your target audience, what your competitors are up to, the latest updates and techniques of the social media platforms you are on and any new upcoming news, trends and developments that could benefit your business.

Clean up your Emails

From client emails, new enquiries, to the newsletters you are subscribed to, your email inbox can quickly get out of control especially during hectic workdays. A quiet period however is the perfect time to go through and organize your mailbox, from creating organized and specific folders for important documents, certain jobs/clients etc. to unsubscribing from newsletters/mailing lists that you no longer want to read or be a part of. Clearing up your mailbox is a great way to refresh your mind and refocus. Not to mention you will feel a great relief in making sure everything in your mailbox is as organized as you can make it so you no longer have to trail through countless emails to find what you need.

Create an Email Campaign

Email campaigns, if done right, are a great way to boost attention. You will have no doubt worked hard to accumulate contacts and developed your email list so utilize and delight your contacts with a valuable and interesting email. For added affect you can use the free resource or giveaway I suggested earlier as bait.

Volunteer

Volunteering is not only a great way to help the charity or business you have chosen but keeping your mind working, busy and active is good for you too. You could have a change of scenery and volunteer in a completely different industry and line of work or if you want to volunteer your own services for free, consider giving your profile and business a bit of a boost by hosting a giveaway with your voluntary service as the prize.

Organize Your Home Life and Do That To Do List!

We all have the ever growing to-do list in our private lives. From painting the garage door, to redecorating the office and general DIY, all of these need to do tasks are always somewhere in the back of your mind. Therefore in the quiet period of your business, why not get them done? Whilst you may feel that painting the bedroom is not relevant and helping you get your business on track, you need to see the bigger picture to see the benefits. As not only is painting -or whatever task you do- allowing your mind to focus on something else other than the problems with your business, but by getting the job done and working through your to do list you clear them from your mind allowing you freely focus and dedicate time to other tasks.


What do you think? Do you have any tips or lessons you’d like to share?