Category Archives: A Guide to Promoting Your Business

45 ways to build your Facebook following for your business

Have a Facebook page, it’s a great way to promote your business! That can feel like it is easier said than done, however. In this article, Antonia Chitty, co-author of Making Money Online and Blogging: the Essential Guide, outlines 45 steps to make sure that you don’t just create a Facebook page, but you create one that really works for your business.

    • When setting up your page, choose a good username, something memorable that is easy to spell.
    • Start with a clear ‘about’ and links to your business website.
    • Add in your business telephone number and address as appropriate – the easier it is for people to see that you really exist, the easier it is for them to trust your business and click ‘like’.
    • Use the milestones feature to build in your business’s history, awards, etc – this can all build trust and encourage people to like your page.
    • Build trust with good content – and add content regularly. Carol Smith, social media consultant for EyecareFAQ, says, “Create content that engages your fans, the more they like posts and comments the more their friends will see in their feeds.” Social media consultant Liz Weston says, “For The Baby & Toddler Show we have consistently found and curated content that has truly connected with our audience. It sounds so simple, but the “job description” of a parent, was shared more than 180 times and brought us more than 400 new, organic likes in under 24 hours. At that point the page was 4K ish of fans, so this felt like a big number!”
    • Focus on the problems that your potential customers or clients need to solve. Which issues cause them most ‘pain’ – physical, emotional or psychological? How can you help them address these?
    • Ask your friends to like your page. We all do it, but it has its limitations. Are your friends really your target market? And don’t you need your business to extend beyond friends and family? What asking friends for like is good for, however, is getting the page started, finding the first 25 of 100 followers. Having a number followers already can take away one of the barriers to people clicking like: the more people who like your page, the more people want to say ‘me too!’ and follow the crowd.
  • Another way to build your initial ‘likes’ is to invite email subscribers to go and like your Facebook page. People who are on your list already will be warm to your business and more likely to take action. Remember to go back every so often and remind them about the page again as not everyone takes action first time.
  • Use Facebook resources: https://www.facebook.com/business/overview. Facebook wants your page to succeed and their tips will help. Something simple to start with, as suggested by Facebook, is to ask yourself, “What do your ideal customers have in common? How old are they, and where do they live? How can your business help them? Would one group be more interested in specific messages, products or services? A sale or a timely offer?
  • Once your Facebook page is set up, add the link to your email signature block (and that of all staff members if appropriate).
  • Put your Facebook page on all your print media
  • Add the link or a QR Code to business cards.
  • Now, make a plan for promotion. Planning now, rather than simply wandering round Facebook every day, can save you time and effort and make sure you ae getting the results you want.
  • Be clear about the overall aim for your business and how Facebook fits in
  • Set some goals and targets: this makes it much easier to focus your efforts and see if they are working.
  • Be clear about your target audience – and refine this as you see what type of person likes your page, and how this compares to people who buy from you.  Consider where your audience already gathers online? What would incentivise them to like you – what’s in it for them? Who are their leaders, who would be a great ambassador?
  • Allocate time each day where you or your staff will work on your Facebook page. Regular interaction is vital – people expect Facebook to be a place where conversations happen. Try different times too – do people check in first thing, at lunchtime, in the evenings?
  • Advertising does work to help you boost the number of people who like your business page. See the ad create tool at https://www.facebook.com/advertising. It really is simple to use, and also to adjust as you use it. Try different adverts for different target groups. Try something for a week then adjust, and assess your results.
  • Ask questions – open ended questions encourage discussion and give you insights you’re your audience.
  • Include the link to your Facebook page in your own blog posts and in guest posts on other blogs.
  • Hold a ‘chat’. Liz Weston says, “For SnoozeShade, the most successful thing we have done is brought high profile and truly valuable people to their Facebook page, to have a FB chat. We don’t need a giveaway – it’s just the value of the conversation. As well as bringing FB followers, because people want to be part of the conversation, it’s ended up carrying on well after it should finish – like an online lock in, in the pub!”
  • Comment, thoughtfully, on other pages as your own pages. Focus on those with overlapping target audiences.
  • Competitions bring people in to your page, though as I write this regulations are changing about ‘liking’ as a requirement for entry. Check the regulations before running your own competition at https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php. Facebook Business News, https://www.facebook.com/business/news, will keep you up to date with future changes.
  • Offer coupons and discount codes exclusively on your Facebook page. Regular offers will keep people checking back, so flag up when your offers will occur, whether it is every week or month.
  • Embed the ‘like my page’ widget on your website
  • Build follower involvement. Social media consultant Donna Pinnell says, “For Love Boo Shop it has been all about getting people involved, so we do a Sunday night quiz. There are small prizes involved but the engagement is great and we have fabulous feedback from it.”
  • Business consultant Helen Lindop says, “I’m part of a big, carefully moderated Facebook group, one that is on-topic and spam free, where people know and like each other. Very occasionally the owner allows a thread where we all like each other’s pages, which gave us all lots of relevant page likes. ,
  • Link your Twitter to your Facebook fan page and automatically post your Facebook content to Twitter. This isn’t a rule that you always have to follow, sometimes it can become annoying, so test out the response.
  • Another way to cross pollinate your social media is to share what’s happening on your Facebook page with your Linked in contacts. Make sure you select people who are in your target audience, and approach them with email letters that appear to address their particular interests.
  • Network by making connections with other page admins – business owners or social media consultants – who have a similar demographic to yours and cross-promote each other.
  • Make it personal. Facebook gives people who like your page a chance to get the inside take on your business. Consider what might push their buttons and make them feel part of the family. It could be sharing pics of staff, your customers own cake designs, your pets or theirs? Think about what will appeal to your target audience.
  • Photos are key to Facebook. We’ve already mentioned photos of the behind the scenes part of your business. If you have products, can you ask customers to share pics of them in use, perhaps with incentives to share? If you offer a service, get consent from those using the service to allow you post photos. Tag people in the photos once you have their consent and you may find they share the pics too.
  • Polls can make people feel part of your business. If you are selecting new designs or products or considering offering a different service, ask for views. It gives you a good reason to promote your page and get people involved.
  • Promote your posts. This one is straight from the Facebook guide and it makes perfect sense: “Make successful posts into successful promotions: When you notice that a post is getting a lot of engagement, promote it to reach even more people. When people like, comment on or share your posts, their friends are also eligible to see those posts in News Feed.”
  • Use scheduling apps like Hootsuite to ensure that content is coming up regularly. Nothing beats real-person interaction when running a page, but if your busy times are in t evenings you don’t always want to work then. Scheduling can ensure new material appears when it is needed, whether you are online, working on something else, or on holiday. It is also time-effective to plan content for the week or month ahead.
  • There’s nothing wrong with asking others to share. You could simple add ‘please share’ to a significant post, or build relationships with opinion formers within your target audience and drop them a message to ask them to help spread the word about a particular post or event on your Facebook page.
  • Share other relevant page content via your page. It always helps to gather good information on regular topics and disseminate it to people who like your page – they will know where to come for news on their interests.
  • Create custom tabs to use as landing pages for specific campaigns – this could include a sign up box, a coupon, a video, some of your most popular posts, calls to action or other marketing ideas.
  • Take photos at live events and encourage people to tag themselves in them.
  • Add testimonials, customer letters, comments etc, but always make sure that you have permission to do so. This builds trust and also interaction as it can encourage others to share their views.
  • Respond to complaints promptly. Sometimes customers will complain via Facebook and this isn’t always bad for business. Show that you are addressing the complaint and sorting the problem and it can, in fact, help people trust your business.
  • Video is just as important as photos and written updates. Add in videos of your products, your services, your customers. Upload video direct to Facebook rather than embedding and it will display a like button for everyone … and that even includes people who aren’t fans. You can load video content to your Facebook fan page, then take the source code and embed on your blog/website.
  • Tweak your content and check results. Try posting photo posts and those without photos, try posting at different times of day, compare posts where you share other people’s contents with posts that link to your own site. Count the reach for different types of posts and adjust your mix accordingly.
  • Measure and adjust: Find out what’s working well, so you can maximise the impact of every post and ad. Facebook has a lot of different tools to help you measure how you’re doing. Visit Page Insights regularly and look for trends so you can develop more of the best-performing content. It will help you understand more about the people who respond to your updates. You’ll learn more about their gender, age and location, and who is most engaged.
  • Ask how people heard about you—at the end of a call, in a survey, or at the point of sale—and keep track of what they say. This will help you know if your Facebook page is working for your business.

10 tips to help entrepreneurs implement effectively

WB_332-300x212 Ideas mean nothing unless they are made real. Entrepreneurial ideas get turned into products and services and are sold to customers to make a difference. Yet, entrepreneurs are often not implementers, nor project managers. They’re often distracted by the next idea, the next development, and the new opportunity. William Buist, CEO of Abelard and Founder of xTEN Club offers 10 tips to implementing effectively as an entrepreneur:

 

  1. Crystal clear clarity of where you’re going.
    Firstly, have really clear goals. If you can’t tell everyone what you are doing, quickly and with passion, why would they care about it? If the picture you paint is of a future that makes the effort worthwhile then people will yearn for it and fight for it, with you.
  2. Slow down to go faster.
    There is the work that directly creates our idea and makes it real, and then there is the planning and administrative work. That indirect work is an ‘overhead’. Many entrepreneurs treat overhead tasks as something to do as you go. However, by doing do them early you’ll save a lot of time later.
  3. Set a realistic timescale.

You’ll need some time to adapt and change on the journey. Work expands to fit the time available too, so be sensibly realistic, when you set the goal.
If there are critical dates you need to hit then those should be clear at this point, so expectations are properly set.

  1. Find the big chunks.
    Look at the work one quarter at a time. Identify what would have had to have been delivered three months before the end date, six months before the end date and so on.  By doing that your team can see what they’ll be building.

 

  1. Identify the building blocks.
    Now create monthly goals for the next two quarters and weekly goals for the first month or so.

    But do not go further. Great teams rely on the ability of everyone to plan their own work within the framework.

  2. Identify “Now Win”s.

It’s now useful to plan forward and look at what could be done this week, this month and this quarter. This can show you where there are opportunities to win now and get ahead of the game.

  1. Don’t be a slave to the plan; the plan is your slave.
    If necessary take a step back, do some work on the project, deliver some elements of it and then look at where that takes you and how to plan further from there.  Project planning should be no more than a few minutes each week once the original plan is put in place.
  2. Remember resources and materials.
    In any project there will be times when you need specific essential materials or resources, so each week and month take a look ahead, check what resources you’re expecting to need and make sure that they’re on track for delivery.
  3. Reward success.
    It’s important to recognise and reward incremental successes within the team; let them know that it’s on track and going well.  It will help ensure that this and every implementation easier.
  4. Document along the way.
    In reality every task in a project has probably been done before in a different context. The mistakes have been forgotten, and so will be easy to repeat, and the shortcuts forgotten too. This step is not for this time; it’s for next time. You’ll get quicker and can move on to the next idea ever faster.

Implementation is the work that brings your ideas to the world, and when it’s done brilliantly it’s because of attention to detail and great planning.  It builds on past experience and creates the foundations for future success too. Brilliant products, and remarkable companies, implement brilliantly.

 

William Buist is owner of Abelard Collaborative Consultancy, and founder of the exclusive xTEN Club– an annual programme of strategic activities for small, exclusive groups of business owners. xTEN helps accelerate growth, harness opportunity, build your business and develop ideas. William is also author of two books: ‘At your fingertips’ and ‘The little book of mentoring’. See: http://Abelard-uk.com  / http://Williambuist.com  / http://Societal-Web.com

 

Finding the best location and layout for your exhibition stand

If you’re planning to book at a stand at an exhibition – what’s the best location and layout? Richard Edwards of Quatreus has booked dozens and designed 100s of stands and here are his top five tips for choosing the best location and layout for your stand:

Tip #1: Get a floor plan before you start

It is essential to get a floor plan of the exhibition centre before you start planning anything else to do with your stand. Your stand has to fit the location, not the other way around.

If possible, it is also good idea to gather any previous years’ floor plans for the exhibition. You can then identify any patterns, such as certain industries grouping together, or recurring refreshment areas that will help to guarantee heavy footfall.

Tip #2: Choosing side, corner or island

Most exhibition venues will give you an option of placing your stand at the side, on a corner or on an island in the middle part of the venue. Each of these locations has benefits and drawbacks:

–          Side – Most stands at an exhibition are at the sides, making it easy to design a reusable stand for this space. However, this position can make it more difficult to get noticed as other stands will inevitably block the view.

–          Corner – Corner spaces can help deliver a greater footfall to your exhibition stand, because people tend to walk along a side and pause when going around a corner, leading most of the visitors directly to your stand. However, once the exhibition gets busy, corner stands can get forgotten about.

–          Island – Stands that sit somewhere in the middle of an exhibition venue can prove very effective in delivering footfall. But, make sure you anticipate the main entry point so that you can angle your branding and other stand features to greet new visitors.

Tip #3: Choose your neighbours carefully

The stands featured nearby your own can have a great effect on the success of your stand.

–          Industry ‘swamp’ – If all of your neighbours are from the same industry then they might detract away from your stand and overwhelm visitors.

–          Industry leaders – Placing your stand near an industry leader will attract people to visit your stand as well – proximity has a subtle psychological effect of making the two companies seem linked.

–          Complimentary neighbours – Placing your exhibition stand near a complementary stand can also have some great benefits since you can both refer visitors to each other’s stands.

Tip #4: Spread your arms

If you have multiple arms to your business then it may be worth allocating each their own exhibition space in different areas of the exhibition. There are two benefits to this:

–          Greater brand awareness – With two or three different stands all connected to the same company, your brand awareness at the exhibition will be much higher

–          Improved targeting – By separating out the different arms of your business you can position each in locations that will attract the most relevant footfall.

Tip #5: Making the most of what you have

It is essential that prior to the design phase, you discover any exhibitor limitations on your stand, for example power supply, height and floor space. The only way to stand out is to get creative within these limitations – not to limit your creativity.

 

For example, BT needed an exhibition stand to fit within a very tight floor space with limited power supply. So Quatreus looked at the aspects it could use in the design; height, and soft light. They designed and built a canopy of stretched material, which refracted low-wattage lighting to create a spectacular result visible all the way from the exhibition entrance. 

Key Takeaway

The key is to plan your stand in advance. Don’t book a space without thinking about what you want to achieve at the exhibition and who you want to attract. Design around any limitations – don’t give in to them!. Whatever space you have to play with there are endless creative things you can do to attract attention – the key is in solid planning and great design.

About the Author

Richard Edwards, Director, Quatreus Ltd. Quatreus specialises in creating face to face experiences that strengthen relationships and improve communication – for both internal and external audiences. Activities include customer facing events and activities, exhibitions, trade-shows, road-shows and interactive experience centres, as well as conferences, AGMs, and staff and stakeholder engagement programmes. For more information see: www.quatreus.com

8 tips for Promotional Materials to promote your business

successlIf you ask most people about ideas for promoting your business, they will talk to you about flyers and other printed materials. With the ready availability of high street instant printers, there is lots of scope for even the smallest business to create great promotional materials. Here are 8 tips to make sure you get it right:

  1. First, consider the materials that are used every day within your business. Do they reinforce your current marketing campaign or back up your brand values?
  2. Do you love your promotional materials? When you and your colleagues attend networking and business meetings do you have business cards and flyers to hand out that you are proud of, or do you apologetically explain that you need to get them updated?
  3. What’s the: “Who, what, where, when, how and why” of your promotional materials? Asking yourself these questions will make sure you don’t waste your money, and help you know if you are using the right thing at the right time.
  4. What results do you get from each type of promotional material that you are using already? Keep track of these figures and tie them in to the cost of producing the materials and the time taken to distribute them.
  5. Do a quick audit of the materials you use to promote your business already. Make a list of the regular materials that are used. When and where do you use them? Does each item have a clear call to action? This could be as simple as ‘Book Now’, or if you want to encourage people to act in a timely manner ‘Book within the next 7 days to get 10% off’, or whatever offer you want to make.
  6. Are all your promotional items are clear and legible? Use larger print and fewer words to make sure that every patient can read your materials. RNIB suggests 14 point as a minimum size for easy reading.
  7. Aim to keep your promotional messages short and simple. Whether you have a banner outside your store, an A-frame stand, or a devising copy for an advert in the newspaper, cut back on long words. As you review promotional materials, wield your red pen. Score out unnecessary adjectives and stick to facts. Strike through jargon, and try to find a simpler way to say things.
  8. Finally, look at the visual aspect of your promotional materials. Do they reinforce a coherent brand for the business? Do you have consistency in colours, logos and images? Look at attractive promotions for other businesses and see how yours match up.

5 Event Ideas to Promote your Business

peopleEvents provide the perfect way to raise your business profile. You can meet your customer needs, generate some publicity and bring in money at the same time – what’s not to like? Here are 5 ideas to help you use events to meet your business goals:

  1. You could start by looking for speaking opportunities. This allows you to make the most of an event hosted and run by someone else. You can raise your profile and reach new people. Write a letter or email to event organisers outlining what you could speak about and how this will help their audience. Act well in advance of an event. Consider whether you need a fee, expenses, or are happy to speak simply for the publicity.
  2. Exhibitions and trade fairs are another good way to make the most of someone else’s event. If you offer business to business  services or products look for trade fairs, if you want to reach consumers search for relevant consumer exhibitions, fairs, festivals and fêtes  Highlight the event to your followers to support the event organiser’s publicity.
  3. Once you have taken part in other people’s events you may be inspired to run your own. Start with a seminar, workshop or other small group event. Consider what sort of training you could offer and who it could help. You’ll need to find a venue, consider catering if needed, plan your content, and get lots of publicity.
  4. Build up to running a conference. This can be a big task, and is best done with a team, but it is a great way to reach hundreds of people at once. Get more tips on making an event a success here.
  5. Whatever your event, make sure you plan promotion. An event is a great hook for a press release. Think several months in advance and work out which publications, programmes and sites might mention your event. Write a press release, and offer to do guest posts on you specialist topic, with a link to your event at the bottom.

Quick Tips for Freelancers: Working with a Young Family

If you want to work as a freelancer and have young children you will need a double dose of dedication to your work, as you will have more obstacles to deal with. Before starting out on a freelancer career, decide what you want out of life and make sure your work fits in with it. Think about how you wil balance client deadlines and sick kids or broken nights. You may find yourself working late into the night after the day has not gone as planned. Small children do not always understand when ‘mummy is working’ or ‘daddy has to get this finished right now’.

I get a big buzz out of my work: I love seeing clients’ news being covered in the media or my books in print, and really enjoy the great variety of work I do. If I didn’t have a passion for it, it would be very hard to stay motivated. In a lot of ways my work is a far more tangible thing than raising children: the visible outcomes are easier to measure, so it makes a nice balance. I found it incredibly hard having 6 months of maternity leave after the birth of my daughter: just thinking about feeds, nappies and baby groups wasn’t enough. With my third child on the way I really value the chance to balance work and family in the way I want.

Antonia Chitty is author of Family Friendly Working(www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk), A guide to Promoting Your Business (www.prbasics.co.uk) and a number of other parenting and health books. She has a book on earning a living from writing, The Commercial Writing Guide coming out in July 2009. You can find out more about her own freelance writing career at www.antoniachitty.co.uk and her PR business at www.acpr.co.uk

If you plan to launch a New Business in the New Year, You have Just 10 Weeks Left …

A guide to Promoting Your BusinessThat’s just 10 weeks to put in place your plans and actions to create a great customer base to ensure your business’s success.

If that sounds like a tall order, don’t panic. There are lots of low cost, straightforward ways to promote your business. And I’ve brought them together for you in an easy-to-follow work book.

A Guide to Promoting Your Business is designed for the business owner who wants to reach more and more customers by promoting their business for just a few minutes each day.

It is packed with practical exercises that actually help you promote your business. And everything in the book has been tried and tested in my own business and my client’s businesses.

So, if you’d love more PR coverage in 2010 but are unsure how to get it, A Guide to Promoting Your Business will make it clear.

If you want to raise your business’s online profile in 2010, A Guide to Promoting Your Business demystifies online promotion.

And if you want to get to grips with affordable marketing ideas, A Guide to Promoting Your Business is the book you need.

At just £15 it could be the first step to business success in 2010.

Click here to Buy A Guide to Promoting Your Business: The Ultimate Workbook for Business Owners

 

Ideas for Flexible and Home Work

Over half of new mums would like to run their own business, and the number of mumpreneurs is growing daily. If you want to start your own home business, here are some pointers from Antonia Chitty, author of Family Friendly Working, to get you going:

  1. Get a great business idea. If you’re not sure where to start, sign up for the Ideas and Inspirations E-course at Family Friendly Working.
  2. List your priorities such as earning money, or finding work that lets you stay home with your children.
  3. Write down your skills, and ask others what they think you’re good at.
  4. Think about the hours you can devote to working. Be realistic if you plan to work around the kids, as they may not understand “mummy’s working”.
  5. Research the market for your business. Will people buy your product or service? Is it unique enough to be appealing?
  6. Pop into a local Enterprise Agency for advice. The Inland Revenue can also send an advisor to your house.
  7. Go to The Mumpreneur Guide for a free start up e-course to help you get your business going.
  8. Prepare a business plan. Set out aims and objectives, and the steps to take to achieve your goals. There is a free business plan guide to download at www.prbasics.co.uk
  9. Work out how you will promote and market your business. Visit www.PRBasics.co.uk for a free promotion plan and lots of PR ideas and resources.

Good luck with your new enterprise.

Win Prizes for Doing Your Own PR

Mumsclub is a great source of business advice for mumpreneurs and women who want to set up a family friendly enterprise. ACPR is joining with Mumsclub in a great competition which rewards you for doing your own PR.

Prizes include:

  • Cover feature in the next Business Mums Journal
  • One-to-one consultation with Antonia Chitty of ACPR (over phone if distance is a problem) to help you improve your own PR.
  • Profile on MumsClub
  • Profile on Family Friendly Working
  • MumsClub premium membership for 12 months
  • MumsClub t-shirt

Check out full details of the competition here.

PR for SMEs hosted by Antonia Chitty. Feb 6th @ 12.30pm on BTTradespace

On Friday 6th February, at 12.30 – 1.30pm BTTradespace is holding a live chat with Tradespace community member Antonia Chitty, from www.ACPR.co.uk

Antonia will be on hand to your answer questions about all things PR related. So, if you have any questions regarding how to do your own PR, promoting your business on a budget, finding your target media or making contacts, please do come along with your questions.

We look forward to seeing you there, and you can also set a reminder here so that you don’t miss the chat.