How a Virtual Assistant can turn you in to a social media butterly

If you’ve been following our blog for any amount of time, or if you ever see our other posts, you might have noticed that we think social media is an essential part of the marketing mix for any business.  Even more so for smaller businesses as it offers a fantastic cost-effective way of getting word out about the services/products you provide.

As a result, we’re always banging on about how vital it is you get involved with social media marketing.

The problem is though that social media can actually work against you if you don’t offer consistency.  Posting as and when you remember to, or when you can finally find the time at the end of a busy week is not good enough.

You need to think about what you want to achieve, decide how you’re going to do it, make a plan, and then stick to it.  All of which takes a lot of time, which you might not have if you’re busy doing everything else your business needs.

Hiring a virtual assistant with social media management experience is a great way to outsource these time consuming tasks, and take your social networking and marketing to the next level.

Here at Time Saving Heroes we can:

  1. Create social media accounts, profiles and company pages
  2. Create groups on LinkedIn and fan pages on Facebook etc
  3. Manage and generate followers on Twitter
  4. Manage activity on Pinterest (creating, identifying and pinning images)
  5. Scheduling and posting Tweets, tracking hashtags and mentions
  6. Uploading videos to YouTube
  7. Moderating and responding to comments on social media sites
  8. Answering messages and queries via social media channels
  9. Create lists on YouTube and Twitter to better manage your accounts
  10. Share important updates, news and content

 

One of the biggest problems with social media is how distracting it can be.  You log on to respond to a message, and three hours later you’re caught in a loop looking at videos of cats.

Don’t get us wrong, we love cats (Lu even has a Maine Coon cross called Kit Kat) but we’ve probably seen all the videos so tend to just get on with work now. With over 7 years’ experience of posting on various sites and managing a wide variety of business pages, there’s not a lot we’ve not come across.

 

To find out how you can benefit from our experience to help your business give us a call on 0161 883 2024 or email hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

 

 

 

How to Build Trust Online

For the last two weeks we’ve been talking about the importance of building the “know, like and trust” factor online.  So far we’ve given tips on how get known for your content, and how to build likeability through all your online activities.

 

This week it’s the turn of trust.

 

Everything we’ve suggested so far has been leading up to this bit.  It’s all well and good being known, and people being aware of you, and it’s great if they like you and want to interact with you – but if they can’t trust you?  Well, they’re not going to buy from you or recommend you further down the line.

 

We all know that trust is earnt, and there’s no reason why you can’t build that online.  Here are our top tips for precisely how to do that.

 

#1 – Give stuff away

We’ve already touched on this previously, but giving stuff away is a great way to tackle all three building blocks of successful networking.  Sharing your best content (there’s so much free stuff on the web, please don’t give people rubbish) will show that you’re authentic, but equally it will show you value your audience.

 

Giving stuff away means you’re generous, and not just in it for the sales.

 

#2 – Don’t disappoint

We can debate all day about how often you should post on social media or update your blog, but the reality is an arbitrary number means nothing if you’re not going to stick to it.  If you say you’re going to post a video every day – do it.  Going to produce a weekly blog?  Do it!

 

If you put it out there and then start breaking your promises, you’re already showing that you can’t be relied on to deliver.

 

#3 – Be consistently good

Following on from consisting posting, your posts also need to be consistent.  People need to know what they’re going to get from you – your content has to be of the same standard throughout.  Don’t just throw something together because it’s got to be done, take your time to craft a specific message, and keep it inline with what you’ve offered before.

 

If people know what to expect from you then they’re more likely to come to you before going anywhere else.

 

#4 – Share testimonials

It’s easy for any of us to say wonderful things about ourselves, so occasionally let a third party vouch for you.  Share testimonials, and let other people use their own words to demonstrate how you add value, or provide great customer service.

 

Try to mix it up a bit – is there any way you can use a case study to really make an impact?  How about getting someone on video talking about why they love working with you or using your products?

 

#5 – Avoid jargon

 

We can all be guilty of it at times, using industry jargon, and forgetting that other people might now know what the Hell we’re talking about. People can smell BS a mile off, even online so it’s vital you don’t try to hide behind complicated and technical language.  Make sure you are approachable, clear, concise and easy to understand.  Never talk down to your audience, and always be happy to answer their questions and explain yourself when needed.

 

#6 – Apologise when you’re wrong

 

No one is perfect, and there are times you’re going to make a mistake.  It might be a faulty product, a poor service, whatever; when you make a mistake put your hands up and admit to it.  We are all human, so the error is never really the problem, it’s always the way you handle it that matters.

 

Don’t try to hide from the fact you got something wrong, use it as an opportunity to review your processes, and work out how you can avoid that issue arising again in the future.  Those who have been impacted are likely to forgive you a lot quicker if you embrace the situation, and use it as a catalyst for change.

 

 

Remember, Time Saving Heroes offer a wide variety of content writing services as well as social media management. We’re happy to have a chat and give you tips on what you can do to improve your offering for your audience, so pick up the phone and give us a call on 0161 883 2024.

5 signs you’re using LinkedIn like Facebook

LinkedIn is, without doubt a fantastic business development, networking, educational and profile raising platform. Last time I checked, over 17m UK business professionals have a profile on the site. That’s a Hell of a lot of people for you to reach out to, engage with and maybe do business with.

Personally, the vast majority of our referrals come through LinkedIn, as we work with businesses and individuals up and down the country. We head here first thing for business news, to check up on contacts’ news and to see how we can help fellow group members.

Our Lu offers LinkedIn training, and as such knows a thing or two about using LinkedIn.  Like it or not, she gets to see the good and the bad of LinkedIn activities, and she’s decided she can’t keep her mouth shut any longer.

Caveat: Though we do offer LinkedIn training via Time Saving Heroes we are NOT trying to sell anything here.  Our sole purpose for writing and sharing this blog is to help people get the most from this potentially amazing platform, and ideally not look like they’ve just come from Facebook.  In the long run, it will hopefully make everyone else’s days just that little but happier when they are on LinkedIn!

#1 – A profile picture that won’t get you hired

When it comes to online interaction, what’s the most important and memorable brand asset you have at your disposal?  That’s right, your face!

If the image you’re using is a grainy selfie, holiday pic, a photo from a drunken night out or something from a family photo shoot you’re really not going to be making the best of impressions.

The same applies for avatars and pictures with someone else other than you in them. And let’s not get started on pets!

Get a profile picture of just your face, and nothing but the face.  OK, shoulders are allowed.

#2 – A professional headline that is anything but

Chief fixer? Director of customer love? Marketing extraordinaire? Social media guru? You are probably none of these things. Think about how it looks and how people search on LinkedIn.

When writing your headline, make sure you use a description that is both accurate and related to either the benefit you provide or your title within your company. Either way, this is guaranteed to return your profile in some searches.

Head of Beverage Operations, will not!

#3 – Shameless friend collecting

This is without doubt one of the biggest crimes on LinkedIn. You use one-click connect which sends generic messages rather than connecting through a person’s profile and personalising the message specifically for them.

Trust us, it’s a bad first impression. It says you can’t be bothered to take the time to genuinely reach out and connect.  It’s even worse if you’ve not been on their profile at all (and seriously, they’ll notice). Give people a reason to connect with you and start off on the right foot.

#4 – Not even really wanting to be friends

Once you’ve collected all these random connections, what do you actually do with them? Do you actively keep in touch? What do you do when you get a message from a contact about business? Do you tut, sigh and ignore them? Fly into a rant about people contacting you on LinkedIn to talk business opportunities?

How very dare they, indeed!

The whole point of networking is to make connections, NOT collect names. So change things around and start building relationships by having actual conversations with the people you asked to connect with.

#5 – Going all “selly sell” from the outset

If you send a message to someone the second they connect with you trying to sell something, then you’re spamming.  You might think it’s a warmer way to do it than cold calling, but it is absolutely no different.

It is far better to create rapport by asking questions, sharing content, joining the same group and showing your expertise. Once you’ve made contact via those methods, get in touch and start a discussion – it’s not all about you. In fact, in sales, it’s not about you at all!

How to Build Likability Online

Last week we wrote about networking, and the importance of building the “know, like and trust” factor, and how that translates to online relationships.  We gave seven tips on how to build awareness via your content, whether that be your website, blog or social media activities.

 

This week we thought we’d look at building your likability online.

 

How likable you are really does matter when it comes to the buying process.  If you’re faced with two identical products, offered at an identical price who you purchase from will come down to personal preference. If one person is boring, difficult to communicate with and leaves you feeling uninspired and the other is open, friendly and engaging – who are you going to go with?

 

Some people are great in face to face situations, but often struggle to translate that in to online personality, which is a problem when it comes to relying on social media marketing.  Here are our top tips on demonstrating your likeability factor in a virtual world.

 

#1 – Be authentic

So many people think they can hide behind corporate personas and behave in ways they think they should behave in.  Nobody actually buys that, because what people are actually looking for is authenticity.

 

Your business is a brand, and as such it has a personality.  Let that shine through in every single piece of content you put out.  Be you, be real and be proud of what you stand for.  Create all your content in your own unique voice – just because a competitor is stale and dull and hides behind anonymity, doesn’t mean you have to.  Break your industry standard!

#2 – Be nice

Really this should be obvious, but so many people fall in to the trap of letting this one slip.  Don’t badmouth other people, no matter how tempting it might be.  A competitor might have made an error, but don’t ridicule them for it – maybe offer a viewpoint as to how the error could have happened, and what could be done to avoid it in future.  Don’t criticise.

 

Equally, be generous with your time, responsive and helpful to those who get in touch with you.

 

#3 – Initiate conversation

Ask your audience to get involved when you put out content.  Invite comments on blog posts, ask questions, look for opinions.  Remember, if you get feedback, in any form, make sure you respond to it.  Conversation really is two-way!

 

#4 – Be visible

Words are brilliant, and a great way to share information but make sure you are visible in every format.  Make the most of checkins, and Google+ hangouts, add video (both pre-packaged and live streaming), consider including podcasts and photos.  Mix it up a bit so you can appeal to everyone, and then you’ve got a better chance to analyse what is, and isn’t working.

 

Variety does make you far more interesting, and helps build likeability.

 

#5 – Put a face to the brand

It’s really hard to like a logo, people like people, so make sure your face is out there.  If you’re a larger business and have a team behind you, get some group shots, showcase your individual employees and make sure you tell your story in all About Us sections.

 

Let people in, show them what happens behind the scenes, give them sneaky peaks of your daily work life, what makes you tick, the things you love, the things you don’t, your annoyances, your highlights … let them in.

 

#6 – Get the mix right

Your marketing strategy should be 80% relationship building and 20% selling.  Some argue the ratio should be as high as 95% to 5%.  A lot will depend on you, your brand and your audience; however, it should never be less than 80% focussed on your audience. NEVER!

 

#7 – Be generous

Your content strategy shouldn’t just be about your content.  Make sure you share other people’s ideas and content too.  It really annoys me when people complain no one is sharing their content, when they don’t do it either.  Honestly, what do you expect?!

 

Think about the things your audience would find useful, and share third party information, offers etc surrounding that.  It really does make a huge difference, and the law of reciprocation means people will catch on and return the favour, eventually.

 

 

Remember, Time Saving Heroes offer a wide variety of content writing services as well as social media management. We’re happy to have a chat and give you tips on what you can do to improve your offering for your audience, so pick up the phone and give us a call on 0161 883 2024.

Now you can Tweet-Tweet with double the characters

If you’re not a huge Twitter fan, then you might not be aware that this week there’s been a major shakeup in the world of the Tweet.  The strict 140 character limit has now been replaced by a new one – you now have 280 characters in which to share your thoughts.

Twitter announced their plans to increase this limit some time ago, and a select group of users have been trialling it for the last month or so.  The logic being that people will now be able to express more of their thoughts, without running out of room.  I admit, given what some people think about and deem worthy of sharing, I remain to be convinced whether this is a good thing.

Many have taken the news quite badly, suggesting the whole point of Twitter, and its great appeal, is the brevity with which points have to be made.  Increasing the character limit will, they argue, make Tweets harder to read as there is more to get through. Not only that, but in our experience, if you give people the option to say more, they will – just because they can, not because it adds anything to the discussion.

Of course, one of the biggest complaints about the increase is that it detracts from some of the more fundamental problems with the platform.  Twitter has long been associated with rampant abuse, harassment and bullying – hooray, now people can abuse people using more words!

The limited data that has been made available from the trial sessions indicate that, once the novelty had worn off, those with access to Tweet 280 characters, tended not to go much above the original limits.  Equally, those who could Tweet slightly longer thoughts received more engagement, and spent longer on the network than other members.

It is worth noting, however, that it was a single figure percentage of overall users that were able to trial this option before today’s launch.  So I guess time will tell on this one.

Twitter’s logic appears to be with the aim of making the platform easier for newcomers to use, and I definitely think it will help.  In my experience, many businesses seem to avoid using Twitter in their social marketing mix for fear of the Tweet limitations.  With the option to say slightly more, hopefully people will find a renewed interest in engaging.

Let’s watch this space.

 

 

How to Get Known Online

Our Lu is the current Chair of Bury Business Group, the oldest and largely networking group in the Bury (Greater Manchester) area.  One thing that is key to successful networking is establishing the “know, like and trust” factor.  If people get to know you, they get to like you (hopefully) and ultimately they can trust you to do a good job.  All of that means they’re likely to use your services themselves, but even more importantly, will recommend you to their friends and family.

 

Most people understand that when it comes to physical face-to-face networking, but move that online, and all logic seems to go out the window.  Social media marketing, content marketing – whatever you want to call it, is absolutely no different.  You have to put the work in to be consistent, and show that people can know, like and trust you.

 

How do you do that when it comes to content?  If you’ve started a blog, or are thinking about creating one for your business, how do you build those relationships in a virtual world?  Here’s our top tips for getting a good online reputation.

 

#1 – Know who you’re talking to

Too many people think that because they’re content is going out online they’re talking to everyone.  In theory, your content has that potential, anyone can stumble across something you share; however, you’re not trying to appeal to everyone.  You cannot sell to everyone.

 

Here you need to be very clear about your buyer persona’s. Who is your target audience, what do they want to hear and read about, what interests them, and what products or services are they likely to want from you?  Make sure your content is tightly centred around them. Be completely specific!

 

#2 – Be an expert

One of the best things about blogs is that it allows you to express an opinion within a chosen field or topic, and as such you can exert yourself as an expert. However, giving your opinion isn’t enough. Give your ideas names and labels, really come up with something unique, rather than just spouting industry givens and common knowledge. Do something to really make YOU stand out, so you can become a thought leader.

 

#3 – Create the right content

No matter how tight your buyer persona is, and how on point you believe you are, the best thing you can do is actually ask your audience what it is they want to get from you.  Do your research, ask questions, dig that little big deeper to really understand your actual audience.  You may even find that you’re attracting a completely different market, and that’s one you can work with.

 

#4 – Create a free product

Yes, we know you want to make sales off the back of your blog, and you can, but one of the best ways to do that is to create a free product that you can distribute easily.  What problems do your target audience have, and how can you help them with that?  Create eBooks, newsletters, courses, top tips, podcasts, how-to videos and so on that your loyal followers have access to. Ask them to sign up, and from there you can create a database of people to reach out to (just make sure you are compliant under the new GDPR regulations).

 

#5 – Build relationships

It goes without saying that you should be building relationships with your audience, taking the time to actually connect with them rather than simply throwing content out there, but that’s not the only thing you should do.  Make sure you’re following key influencers in your market and industry, connect with them, comment on their content, share their content, interact and build relationships with them, too.

 

That doesn’t mean you have to be a suck-up and start virtually stalking these people, but get involved in genuine conversations.  Ask questions, and encourage interaction.  This is a great way to get noticed, and could lead to some interesting debates and further content to put out.

 

#6 – Interview the experts

Following on from the above point, if you can build relationships with key influencers, you may be able to interview them as part of your content.  That way you can tap in to their audience in a big to increase your own.  Everyone benefits from increased exposure, and your audience will enjoy seeing something different and having an alternative perspective.

 

#7 – Guest blog

Guest blogging on other sites is a great way to further expand your own audience and reach.  Showing that you’re not the only one who values your opinion, but being invited to share content on someone else’s platform is a further example of social proof, and will definitely do you and your brand no harm.

 

 

Remember, Time Saving Heroes offer a wide variety of content writing services as well as social media management. We’re happy to have a chat and give you tips on what you can do to improve your offering for your audience, so pick up the phone and give us a call on 0161 883 2024.

Top 10 tips for Twitter content

A lot of our clients are brilliant on social media. In fact, some of them are killing it on Facebook. However, when it comes to Twitter, they tend not to do as well.  There’s something about that strict character limit, the inability to write longwinded paragraphs of explanation that put a lot of people off.

Whilst we get asked it of every platform, people seem particularly concerned by what they should be posting on Twitter.

So here are our top 10 tips for what you can share via your business Twitter page:

#1 – Your products

It goes without saying, we’d think, that you should be advertising your products on Twitter.  You can maximise exposure by using hashtags to link to relevant industries, or audiences you want to target.

Always try to use photos where you can to make a better impression and reach more people.

#2 – Motivational quotes

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so don’t take this as a given, but depending what you do, motivational and inspirational quotes can be great to share.  This is especially true if you work in a holistic, well-being, or coaching type of industry.

#3 – Company achievements

Entered a competition, won an award, just been given a new contract?  If something amazing has happened in the office, then talk about it and share it via Twitter.  Again, use photos where possible.

#4 – Industry news

Share things that are happening in your industry.  It’s a great way to showcase the fact that you have your finger on the pulse.

#5 – Share your opinion

Whilst sharing industry news, why not add your own opinion too?  Not only does this show you know what’s going on, but that you’re knowledgeable enough about it all to discuss it.  This helps place you as an expert in your area, and will increase your social proof and credibility.

#6 – Cross advertise

Just because you’re on Twitter doesn’t mean you can’t advertise your other social media accounts.  Why not share something from Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram?  It’s a great way to let people know they can follow you elsewhere if they want to – but try to keep your posts different for each platform so you don’t come across as spamming.

#7 – Tweet greets

Personally we love a Tweet greet, for example, “Good morning”, or “Happy Friday”.  There’s no reason why everything has to have a purpose other than being friendly.

#8 – Fun facts

Share information, stats, facts and fun tidbits of information that your audience might find useful.  Ideally these should relate to your services, products, business or industry.

#9 – Retweet

Not everything you share has to come directly from you.  If a customer mentions you, why not retweet their post?  Equally, why not RT things that other people are saying that might be useful to your audience?  Not everything is about competition.

#10 – Have a laugh

The whole point of social media is to make connections, and showcase your brand’s personality.  You can’t do that if all you’re sharing is the same sort of information about your products.  Why not spice things up a bit by adding in some jokes, funny pictures or anecdotes?  Brilliant if they can relate to your industry, but not the end of the world if they don’t.

 

 

If you want any help with getting to grips with Twitter, or coming up with a marketing strategy, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Time Saving Heroes. You can call us on 0161 883 2024, email hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk or just message us below.

How many LinkedIn connections do you need?

If you have 501 or more connections on LinkedIn, you become one of the 46% of users who have an “unknown” number of contacts.  On the face of it, this means you’re officially a “serious networker”.

 

Or does it?

 

Far too many people see the number of connections as a sign of something relevant.  Someone with over 501 must be well connected. They must be influential.  They must be able to help you.  Their business must be doing well.  They must be using LinkedIn correctly.

 

For all any of us know, they might well be using LinkedIn correctly, but the chances are you’re not going to see what goes on behind the scenes.  You see that elusive number, and want to emulate it, desperate to have people think those wonderful things of you – simply because you have the required number of connections.

 

The reality is, it’s rubbish, utterly distracting and a complete waste of everyone’s time.

 

When I say this to people during their LinkedIn 121 training, they usually come back and ask “how many connections should I have, then?”, hopeful that there really is a magic number that’s going to make all the difference.

 

They get quite disappointed when I say there isn’t.  No number is going to change anything, and suddenly ensure it starts raining referrals.

 

Forget LinkedIn for a moment, imagine you’re at a real, live networking event.  There are 501 people in the room.  The place is buzzing, and people are busy talking animatedly in groups.  You know there are some really influential people in the room, some of whom might be interested in your products or services.  You spend an hour collecting their business cards, and then leave.

 

You never had a single conversation – but at least you’ve got their email addresses.

 

You go back to your office, and for the next few weeks you wait for the phone to ring.  You were there, you were one of them, why aren’t they calling?

 

Not a single person in that room knows who you are, or what you do.  Why on earth should they call you?

 

LinkedIn is no different.  If you simply collect connections, either accepting every request that comes your way, or sending them out like confetti, then you’ll get the exact same results.  No one will get in touch.  No one will remember you, and very few will even know you!

 

It’s easy to say such networking events don’t work, but they do, if you approach them correctly.  And the same is true of LinkedIn.

 

When I get a request from someone with 501+ connections, I’m not impressed.  I know that I’m going to disappear into the crowd, another unknown that clicked “connect”.  I’m not important, and they’re not going to be important to me.

 

I always advise people to think smaller, when it comes to LinkedIn connections.  Don’t aim for 300, 500, or 1,000 connections.  Remember that the fewer connections you have, the more you can engage with them and the better results you’ll see.  Those you do connect with, respond to, build a relationship with and reach out to will know you, and they will be willing to help you, recommend you and engage with what you’re saying.

 

It really is that simple.  Please, stop trying to over complicate it.