Small business owners are constantly making choices in their journey. It’s inevitable along the way you will make some mistakes. I’ve made plenty and I see other people making preventable mistakes on a regular basis. As we roll out KRose Small Business Accelerator, I wanted to talk about three of the mistakes I see small business owners make so you can avoid them.
I hear and see this a lot in my journey. I’m guilty of it all the time. It’s so easy with social media to compare our start with someone who has been in business for a long time. The real you is not an accident. Where you’re at, what you’re doing is on purpose and there is a plan for you in your journey. If you get caught up in the comparison game, you’re never going to be satisfied. You’ll always be disappointed. I want to let you know it’s completely OK to unfollow someone on Instagram, unfriend someone on Facebook or unsubscribe from an email list if it is causing you internal doubt. I struggle with this too. I’ll see people on social media and ask myself why am I not at that point? Why is my business not making that kind of money? Why do I not have the same time freedom as them? But then I’ll find out they started their business 12 years ago and I have to remember I’m only 3 years in, I shouldn’t be at the same level they’re at. They’ve been hustling for 12 years. I want to remind you comparison is the thief of joy. If you struggle with comparison it will really hinder your business. If you find yourself comparing I give you permission to unfriend, unfollow, unsubscribe.
They use bad social media practices
Cold messaging. I don’t know why this is still a common practice. If you send someone a message and you haven’t talked to them in years, they’re not going to want to purchase from you. It is so important to stay up-to-date on social media practices. If you feel slimy doing it, don’t do it. People will purchase from you because they like you and want to do business with you. I’m not sure if you’re overwhelmed with social media, but it can be very overwhelming. I’m blessed with an incredible, expanding team. (You will see in June we are getting some new team members!) But I still spend 10-15 hours a week learning social media practices. The Instagram game just changed. If you’re on Instagram and haven’t joined Acceleration Nation, I highly recommend it. I’ve been studying Instagram’s evolvement this week and we’re going to completely change our plan for June.
They stop educating themselves
I listen to about 3-4 hours of podcasts 7 days a week and watch probably 2 webinars a week. If you’re going to be a small business owner in this changing world you either have to do what I do and spend hours watching webinars, listening to podcasts, and reading books. Or you can find someone you trust to listen to their research of the changes. You need to be up to date. Find someone who is teaching and can educate you. If you don’t have time because you are working a 9-5 and hustling your business in your free time, it’s OK! If you’re thinking, “3-4 podcasts a day? I don’t have time for that.” That’s OK! But find somebody who is doing those things and listen to them.
It is my mission to help small business owners succeed. Part of reaching success is overcoming avoiding the pitfalls that might slow you down along the way. Remember to sign up for our brand new membership website KRose Small Business Accelerator and become part of the Acceleration Nation!
Organization is both the key to success and one of the biggest obstacles to overcome in regard to content management. There are many different ways to organize ideas, but there are a few we have found most useful here at KRose Marketing & Consulting. We have talked about repurposing content in the past, but in order to correctly and thoroughly utilize our content, we first have to get organized.
Here are 5 Steps to Successfully Organize Your Content:
Use a Google Spreadsheet with Your Team
For all of our content & ideas, we have the year plan detailed in a Google Spreadsheet. This year we gathered our goals, monthly & weekly themes, and more specific daily/weekly tasks. This is a great way for the team to stay on the same page — literally and figuratively.
Keep a Brain Dump Google Doc
“Brain Dump” is one of our favorite terms and our most useful method of developing content for the month. Since we have each month separated into themes, each Brain Dump is focused on the theme for that upcoming month. We can develop our blogs, Facebook and Instagram posts, Live Video content and more all in one spot. Here, we can just ramble away, and eventually cut the information down into understandable segments.
Use Asana – Personally and with your Team
Asana is another great space to layout content, keep track of dates, and stay organized. If your team has less than 15 people, you can utilize Asana for free, which is just plain awesome. There are several different ways to view the information, so each team member can stay on top of their tasks in the way that makes the most sense to them. Ideas and projects are organized and you can view the entire month as a whole. Using Asana has transformed our organization and productivity as individual team members and the team as a whole.
Gather Your Best Content Ideas Monthly
This ties into the brain dump and can be stored in the same Google Doc or can be in a separate doc of its own. An idea that isn’t written down is virtually useless. Even if you think the idea is silly or won’t pan out, it’s still worth writing down and hashing out. By writing ideas out, we can develop them further or decide to toss them out for now. We can always return to old ideas if they become more useful in the future.
Keep Track of Target Audience and Keywords in a Spreadsheet
Remember who you are talking to and how you should talk to them. Your ideal customer should be able to read your content without your name attached and know that it is you. This can only be achieved by using consistent language and similar keywords. Use a Google Spreadsheet to track who your target audience is and the keywords you commonly use to speak to them.
Getting your company’s content organized doesn’t need to be a headache. Yes, it takes time and dedication to catalogue content and develop a productive plan. But once you figure out these tackleable concepts, you will become a content organization master in no time! Once you have things organized, check out 7 Ways to Write Content that Leads to Engagement. You will be able to take your organized content, maximize it, and produce high quality information to share with your followers.
Check out these useful Hashtags, which will also help you keep track of your keywords and organize social media content simultaneously.
A lot of small business owners use too broad of strokes when they are defining their audience. In order to understand your audience as a whole, you need to find out who your ideal customer is. This is not who you want to work with, but who will most benefit from your products and/or services.
Create an ideal customer avatar
If you define your customer similar to:
Anyone who markets online
Anybody who wants to lose weight
Someone who likes food
It’s time to go back to the drawing board.
To create an ideal customer avatar, imagine one specific person walking through the door.
What are they wearing?
What did they do today?
What matters most to them?
What problems of theirs can you solve?
What keeps them up at night?
What is their education level?
What is their career and income?
What worries them?
What are their hobbies?
What social media platforms do they use?
What do they do for a living?
When you have a defined ideal customer, you can then start making broader generalizations.
Get to know your clients personally
Once you have actual customers, the next step is to get to know them one-on-one. Taking the time to get to know each client at a personal level is incredibly rewarding in many ways. Not only will you understand more what your audience needs, but you will understand at a deeper level how much each customer benefits from your products and services. If you’re passionate about what you do (which we know you are), getting to know your customers personally will validate your purpose and improve future client relationships.
Monitor comments and engagement
If you have a social media strategy, you should be closely following how people respond to your work and how often they do so. Your strategy’s success rate is represented in the comments, shares and other engagement. You can learn a lot based on what your audience tells you. You just have to ask the right questions and listen to the answers. Comments and engagements are particularly important if you’re running a content marketing or social media strategy (as you should be). Your goal here is to pay close attention to how many people are responding to your work, how they’re responding, and how often they’re responding.
Generally, the more “engagements” you receive (things like comments, likes and shares), the better your campaign is faring. You can use this information to discover what content topics your audience values or what types of messages don’t appeal to them. Gauge these metrics over time to establish patterns and learn more about your audience.
A great way to reach your ideal customer is through Hashtags on Instagram. We gathered the Best Hashtags for small business owners, MLM hustlers, agriculturists, and more to make it easier for you to reach more paying customers.
We’ve talked this month about how Instagram is such a valuable social media platform for most businesses and how to properly utilize it. It’s important to be followed, but it’s also important to know who to follow. We like to follow aesthetically appealing profiles who offer valuable information and insights that help us become better people.
Here are some of our favorite Instagramers to follow:
Christy B Wright
Christy created the Business Boutique to help women do what they love and make money doing it. She is an author, a certified business coach and a personality on the Dave Ramsey Show. She is also a married mom of two and shares posts about friendship, meal preparation, exercise and religion. She says enthusiasm is her love language and she is pursuing her passion by helping other women do the same.
Follow Your Arrow
Follow Your Arrow offers a wide range of affordable fashion with great quality and design. The small online store is based out of Montana. They use their Instagram to showcase their beautiful clothing designs and we can’t help but double tap for them.
Julie (Live Every Day Better)
Julie was a pro athlete who has become a lifestyle mentor, empowering women to love themselves for who they are. She struggled with a disordered relationship to food and negative body image for more than a decade. She is now passionate about spreading hope and positivity daily. Her mission is to Live Every Day Better.
Living with Landyn
Landyn married her 8th grade sweetheart (who later became an NFL player), is a mother of two and loves lifestyle, fashion and food. Over the years her friends kept suggesting she become a resource for women and to create a space where women ask questions and get the answers they need. She has made that a reality with almost 90 thousand followers.
She Works His Way
She Works His Way is a community for working Christian women who are dedicated to Chirst, their family, and their business (in that order). Being a member of swHw offers classes, community, academies and consulting. swHw also offers a business tracker, a daily Bible reading plan, a discipline workbook, and much more. We love following She Works His Way for the limitless inspiration they offer.
Five Mary Farms
Five Mary Farms is a great Instagram profile to follow if you love agriculture. Mary is a 6th generation Californian, with family roots in Watsonville/Santa Cruz county. Her ancestors came from Ireland to the Pajaro Valley in 1859. They grew strawberries, apples, lettuce and sugar beets at the time. Five Mary Farms is proud to be back in agriculture like their ancestors.
Instagram is a wonderful platform to showcase your company’s brand. It’s important to create a feed and story consistency so that all your content flows together well. If you were to take a photo out of your feed and remove the logo, it should still be clear the image was from you because it has a distinct style exclusive to your company. You should be using similar editing tools, filters, and styles on every single post and story. Think about each post before sharing and make sure your captions are written in the same style. It’s valuable to know who your audience is and how you should talk to them.
If you look at the last nine pictures from your Instagram, six of those should be a picture with you introducing yourself. You should also pick five things you want to be known for and those topics should be included in at least 5 of the last 9 pictures. For example, at KRose Company we often talk about coffee, sunrises, being a team, and our fabulous clients. For my personal brand I love sharing pictures of my family. Your feed needs to have content that is relatable to your audience. You don’t have to tell them every detail of your personal life. But you should share enough that your followers can know, like and trust.
Your Instagram feed and your stories need to be in sync as well. While it’s good to be human and natural in your Instagram stories, if you never post photos without makeup on in your feed, people are going to have a hard time relating to the pictures you post. They want to see consistency and uniformity. If you switch it up regularly on both your feed and stories, that is fine. But you can’t do one look in the feed and a completely different one in your stories.
Here are the tools we use for our Instagram content:
You can mass delete posts, unfollow, block ghost or inactive followers, and unlike previously liked photos and videos using Cleaner. It is a third party app for Instagram that supports user search, filters, undo, multiple accounts, and relationship indicator.
Using CutStory users can import long video and the app will slice them, saving them into your camera roll as 15 second clips (or longer). You can add background music to your stories.
This photo-editing app allows users to enhance photos and apply digital filters. Users can edit photos using swiping gestures to select different effects and enhances. You can use automatic adjustment of color and contrast. After you’ve finished editing, you can share the images directly to your social media.
Plotagraphcreates “looping” photography, where you begin with a single image and use the program to animate it. This creates a repeating movie file that loops seamlessly. All you have to do is import the image you want to use and draw arrows using the animation tool where you want the photo animated. The resulting images are eye-catching and great content to share on your social media pages.
Using Word Swag, you can create custom text layouts quickly and easily. There are so many templates to choose from and the finished product can be used for social media posts and other promotional uses. This is a great app for beginners who don’t know much about design, but want attractive content.
With Layout you can create unique layouts, easily combining multiple photos into a single image. You can drag and drop photos to rearrange them, pinch to zoom or pull the sides of each photo to adjust its size. You can re-mix up to 9 photos at a time and use the faces tab to quickly find photos with people in them.
Hypetype is a great tool for pulling meaningful quotes and giving them context to your story. You can spruce up your photos and videos with animated text — or motion typography. First you select a photo or video from your library or take a new photo or video clip in the app. You can then choose the animated text style and color scheme for your image caption.
Chances are your business could greatly benefit from Instagram — when done right. If your target audience includes people under the age of 35, you definitely should be using it. But even if you have an older ideal customer, there still can be many benefits to utilizing Instagram for Business. There are more than 600 million monthly active users on Instagram with 33% of internet users utilizing the platform. Those who use Instagram check it very regularly – most check it daily. This image-based social media platform is currently growing more than five times as fast as any other one.
Here are 6 ways to know if Instagram is a must for your business:
1. Your ideal customer uses the internet and social media regularly
If your ideal customer is on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, they also most likely have an Instagram profile. Since ⅓ of Internet users access Instagram regularly, the odds are good that your ideal customer can be found there.
2. You have a lot of visual content to share
You’ve heard the saying, “A picture is worth 1000 words,” and that adage is more than true. Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than it does text. So really, a picture is worth 60,000 words. Any business can have a lot of visual content if they are actively taking photos and videos (which you should be doing!) Instagram is the best way to showcase that content and then later repurpose it for your other social media platforms and blog. Read more about repurposing on our blog: Repurposing and the Value of Saving Time.
3. You want to be an influencer in your industry
Instagram’s engagement with brands is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter. There are some Instagram influencers who can charge up to $100K per post! Of course that is the high end of the spectrum, but your likelihood of becoming an influencer is clearly much higher than on any of the other platforms. More than half of Instagram users report that they use the platform in part to follow their favorite brands. As Facebook returns to a more friends & family model, Instagram’s benefits are continually increasing.
4. You want to sell product
Instagram drives sales more than any other social media platform. It has a higher conversion rate for sales, which means visitors often go on to purchase items after they have visited Instagram. Current stats show people spend an average of $65 on these purchases. The visual platform helps the products speak for themselves and stand out more easily than on other mediums.
5. You love the creativity side of running a business
Instagram allows endless ways to showcase creativity. You get to tell stories and create a visual identity for your brand. You can experiment and show your personality as a business owner. If you enjoy photography even just a smidge, Instagram is a fantastic spot to display your photos. You can always bounce your creative ideas off us in the KRose Marketing Group on Facebook, which is a place to come together to share insights, tips, questions, answers and most importantly support for one another in their entrepreneurial journey.
6. You want to highlight the “Behind-the-Scenes” of your business
Who doesn’t love to take a peek behind the curtain of your favorite brands, artists, and personalities? It is always a good idea to allow your audience some behind-the-scenes imagery to help them grow to know, like & trust you.
As you can see, there are many reasons to get your business on Instagram, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Keep following us this month as we explain more about Instagram’s advantages, how to use it, what you need on your profile, and more. Download our easy-to-follow Social Media Tool Kit to become a Social Media Master on all the platforms most useful for your business.
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