I love all social media sites but at present, I am having the most fun on Instagram. One thing that is popular on Instagram is photo a day challenges. March has a very popular and successful challenge hashtag, #marchmeetthemaker This challenge helps small business owners, who make things to tell the story around their brand and products by having a daily prompt. So I thought I would try to run my own challenge, not around Social Media but one of my other passions the beautiful county that I live in, Lincolnshire.
In April I am running the #LoveLincsChallenge to help Lincolnshire people and businesses show off the different aspects of our county. This challenge will be good for local tourism businesses like B & B’s, hotels, self-catering properties, local attractions, and cafes. I am really looking forward to finding out about new places that I haven’t been to in Lincolnshire.
April seemed a good time to do this challenge as it is a time when local attractions either re-open their doors for the season or extend their opening hours. In April, we also hope that there is sunny Spring weather, ideal for taking pictures of our great county.
Share what you love about Lincolnshire on Instagram
Each day there is a prompt or theme which you can see in the image below and I will also share it on my Instagram. I hope the themes are general enough, for as many people as possible to join in. I will run a prize draw for everyone that shares a post every day with the #LoveLincsChallenge hashtag to win a 2-hour online social media session with me worth £100.
I advise you to also use the #Lincolnshire and #VisitLincolnshire hashtags in your posts to get as many people as possible to see your images. If you are a business you could also use #Lincolnshirebusiness. In the description write about the image, as it will help people get to know you. Is it a place you pass every day on the way to work? Or somewhere you used to take your children or grandchildren? Please use your own images rather than reposting other people’s pictures, they can be photos you have taken in the past if that makes it easier.
I will be checking out #LoveLincsChallenge daily to see who has been posting and like some of the posts. Having a look at who else is using the hashtag is a great way to find new local people to follow. If you like the sound of this challenge I would love for you to get involved and please comment on my Instagram post to tell me you are taking part and tag your friends and other businesses who you think might enjoy the challenge. I can’t wait to see what you post.
The Challenge starts on the 1st of April and runs for the whole month.
If you would like to work with me to learn how to use social media to more effectively and efficiently promote your business, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message me on Instagram.
Video is everywhere, there is Facebook Live, Periscope and of course, the main place for video is YouTube.
YouTube is the second largest search engine and it is owned by the largest search engine Google. It is the place people go to search for How to videos, funny cat videos, and videos about their favourite topic. So it makes sense if you feel comfortable talking to camera, to use video as part of your marketing strategy. However, many people spend their precious time creating videos for YouTube but then they don’t get many views, because they don’t optimise their videos for search on YouTube.
The thing is Google and YouTube can only read words, not video or audio so you need to add words to enable Google and YouTube to know what your video is about and then put the words in the right places.
Watch my video below to find out how to get more views on YouTube.
A summary of the tips I share in the video are below:
Use descriptive titles for your videos use keywords that your clients are searching for.
Use the same keywords in the description box below the title, giving more information about what you cover in the video.
Wait until the end of your video for the call to action, as you want people to watch as much of your video as possible.
Make sure your channel has all the links to you on Social Media and your website, you can also add this information to the description box under each video.
There are lots of other things that you can do to help get your videos seen by more people like adding an attention-grabbing custom thumbnail to your videos. Or editing your Facebook Live videos on YouTube to get rid of the talkie bits, where you are saying Hi to people as they join so that your YouTube video just has the quality content that you shared in the Facebook Live. I have also written an article about my 3 top tips for getting more views on YouTube.
If you are serious about getting more people to see your YouTube videos you can work with me for an hour or maybe 2, depending on where you are with YouTube.
What you get from your 1 to 1 session with me
you will have have a YouTube channel to be proud of
you will understand how YouTube works
you will have a strategy & checklist to use for each video you upload
you will be able to go and edit existing videos to get more views on those too
you will get a recording of your session to refer back to
and your videos will be getting more views
I charge £50 per hour and we work 1 to 1 together via Zoom so that I can screen share to show you live how to do things, we will choose one video to optimise during the session. If you are interested in working with me please email me at email@example.com
Instagram is a popular social media site, where people share photos and 1 minute long videos. It is becoming more popular with businesses, as it has more interaction and engagement than other social media sites. However, you need to get people to see your posts for them to interact. Using the right hashtags on Instagram is crucial to getting your pictures seen by the right people.
Watch my Facebook Live below where I talk about using Hashtags on Instagram, how to do hashtag research and how to decide which hashtags to use.
If you do a search for most popular hashtags on Google, the list will include some of these hashtags:
#love is the top hashtag being used on 1,022,244,759 public posts (4/3/17), however the problem with using popular hashtags is that there are so many pictures with that hashtag and it is a mixture of pictures. It is actually better to use hashtags that are specific for your image and your business, they may be used on less posts but the people searching those hashtags are more likely to be your ideal clients.
When you are using hashtags don’t just think of words that are relevant to your image and business, do some hashtag research.
The best way to do hashtag research is within Instagram.
choose a word
click the magnifying glass (search button)
type in your word into the search bar at the top
click on TAGS between People and Places
click on the suggested hashtag
Underneath the search bar there will be a related hashtags, which you might want to check out to see if they would be useful to use.
Then there will be 9 of the Top posts on Instagram that use that Hashtag, below those will be Most recent post and it will also tell you the number of public posts that have used this hashtag.
Always check what images are showing up for the hashtag before you start using it. For example if you had a business in Lincoln, you might automatically think of using #Lincoln. However, there are lots of posts relating to the American president, Abraham Lincoln and cars. It would be better to use #LincolnUK, although it is used on a lot less public posts, the pictures are relevant to Lincoln in Lincolnshire. Also if you search for #Lincolnshire versus #Lincs you will see more people use #Lincolnshire than #Lincs so if you want more people to see your posts it is better to use #Lincolnshire.
When you have done some hashtag research make sure you save a list of hashtags in a note on your phone, so they are easy to copy and paste into the description for your pictures on Instagram in the future.
How many hashtags should you use?
You can use 30 hashtags per picture on Instagram, however research into engagement and hashtags says that the optimum number of hashtags to use is between 5 to 11. See how many relevant hashtags you have found for your business and test which ones gain the best interaction. Then use those top hashtags in future posts. You should have a list of hashtags that are relevant to your business that you use on most of your posts and then some lists that relevant to different areas of your business, which are only relevant to certain posts.
I hope this blog post and Facebook Live video have helped you understand the basics of how to use Hashtags on Instagram. If you would like to learn more about how to use Instagram for your business then book me for a bespoke power hour or 2, where we can look at your business and products in more detail and develop a Instagram content strategy for your business. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a chat about working with me.
I have written various posts about Twitter on this blog, therefore I thought it might be useful to link to them all in one post, so that you can find them easily.
My Twitter Basics include:
How to edit your Profile
How to Tweet
How to use lists
How to use Hashtags
How to grow your following
Twitter has significantly less monthly active users than Facebook, 313 million on Twitter versus 1.71 billion on Facebook. However it is still a brilliant tool for business, if you know how it works and how to use it intelligently, to connect with the right people. Twitter can be a very powerful tool in your Social Media Marketing.
Why it is important to complete your Twitter Profile
My first post about Twitter was back in October 2012 and was about why it is important to complete your profile, I have updated this with a YouTube video I did about how to edit your profile, which is the same video below.
How to Tweet
Here is video about How to Tweet
An underused function of Twitter is Lists, so here is my article about how to set up and use Twitter lists Lists are great for organising who you follow and finding interesting content, it is never to soon to start using Twitter lists.
Hashtags on Twitter
Hashtags are important and useful to use on Twitter, however it is important that you know how to use them on Twitter, as it isn’t the same way as they are used on Instagram. In my article on Hashtags I explain what hashtags are and how to use them correctly on Twitter. Read my post about how to use hashtags on Twitter here.
How to build an engaged Following
If you are tweeting great informative and entertaining Tweets you need them to be seen by people and for those people to share your tweets, so you it is important to follow people who are active on tweet and that are chatting and retweeting other people’s tweets. In this article I explain how to build your following but not just by increasing your numbers but by increasing the number of followers that are more likely to interact with you and your tweets. My five top tips for building a following that interact with you
If you want to learn more strategies on how to use Twitter to promote your business then take a look at my 30 days to Twitter Success course or sign up for my newsletter to keep up to date with new developments in Social Media.
Top 3 tips for getting more views on YouTube videos
I see many people spending their precious time creating great video content with valuable and useful information in but they are only getting a handful of views on YouTube. This is usually due to them not understanding how YouTube works.
YouTube is the second largest search engine and it is owned by the biggest search engine, Google. Google generates income from the adverts shown on YouTube, this means Google will prioritise YouTube videos over other video content. However, Google search bots can only read words, they cannot read pictures or audio on video, what they do read is the words in titles and descriptions.
Top tip 1 is make sure you give your videos descriptive titles
Uploading a video without a good descriptive title will mean the people looking for a video that covers what you are talking about won’t find you easily and will find a competitor that has described their video well, and the chances are your video has the better content but it won’t get watched.
An example of a bad title Social Media Lincs Twitter Training Video 1, a better title would be How to tweet – Twitter Tutorial 2015, with the second video people know what they are going to get and it has longtail keywords in that people are likely to be searching for. In this example I am also wanting to reach new people that don’t already know about my business, therefore there is no point putting the name of my business in the title.
Top tip 2 make your videos short and concise
In today’s fast paced world most people want to get the information they want quickly and they don’t want to wait for 2 minutes of waffle to get to the juicy information. Therefore at the start of your video tell your audience what they will get, then go into the information, try to keep your videos between 3 -5 minutes long and finish with a call to action. For example subscribe to my channel or click the link in the description below to get my new freebie.
Another reason to keep videos short is that YouTube rank videos on the amount of the video that people watch, most people can give up 3 to 5 minutes of their time to learn what they want to know, so the more people that watch your video to the end the higher it will rank in search.
Top tip 3 share your videos on Social Media
Once you have created your video share it on social media and ask people to share it if they like it. If you have a blog embed the video in a blog post, pin it on to one of your boards if you are on Pinterest and tweet about it. Sharing the link on your Facebook page is a good idea but might not get you as many click throughs, as Facebook prefer to show people Facebook Live videos or native video (video that is uploaded directly to Facebook).
Try tips 1 and 3 on your existing YouTube videos and all 3 tips on any new videos you create and see the number of views increase.
There is a lot more that you can do to increase the visibility of your YouTube videos, which I haven’t covered here and YouTube doesn’t have the most obvious navigation for finding how to do things, so if you would like an expert to help you then please do get in touch for one to one training with me.
I have lived in Lincolnshire most of my life, I had 3 years in Liverpool studying Zoology, which I loved and then returned to Lincolnshire. I know the county well having spent most of my late teens and early twenties as a YFC member travelling around the county to sporting events, discos, meetings, public speaking competitions and balls. From Brigg and Market Rasen in the North, to Spalding in the South, across to Wainfleet in the East and Caythorpe in the West, if there was an event on, members from Coningsby YFC would be there.
Lincolnshire is a large county and there is something for everyone. I live on the edge of the Lincolnshire Fens, which are flat and consist of miles of fields of leeks, wheat, oilseed rape, cabbages and potatoes. To some people the Fens aren’t as beautiful, as the undulating fields and country lanes of the Wolds, but I love the Fens, you can see for miles and you can’t beat a misty autumnal morning sunrise or a late summer sunset. When I went to Uni many people didn’t know where Lincolnshire was, until I mentioned Skegness and then people knew where I was from. Lincolnshire has beautiful long sandy beaches on the East coast, including the busy traditional seaside resorts like Cleethorpes, Mablethorpe & Skegness, however I prefer the quieter places like Sutton on Sea and Huttoft. I also love Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve I spent a week doing some volunteering there when I left Uni, it is a great place to go for a walk and has a new modern cafe and visitor centre.
Cafe at Gibraltar Point
View from Cafe at Gibraltar Point, with stormy skies
I also love Hubbard’s Hills near Louth and Snipe Dales near Spilsby both are great places to go for a walk and I have many happy memories of taking my children for walks there.
The county is full of history too. In Lincoln there is the Cathedral and Castle, Museum of Lincolnshire life and the Collection, in the south near the beautiful Georgian town of Stamford, there is Burghley, a great Elizabethan house and to the west there is Belton House near Grantham. Boston, although it tends to be known for negative things now, is a historic town with the beautiful and iconic Boston Stump. In medieval times it was a busy port second only to London, but it is most well known for its connections with the Puritans in the early 1600’s who tried to leave England to go to America.
Another one of my favourite places is Woodhall Spa an Edwardian Spa resort, there is the Petwood Hotel, Jubilee Park with its outdoor swimming pool and the Kinema in the Woods, a unique cinema. I love going to the Kinema and have been going there to see films since I was a child.
I enjoy working with Lincolnshire businesses because they are so diverse and I get to travel around the beautiful county to work with them. I work with charities that are working to make Lincolnshire a better place to live and who are supporting families in the county. Then I work with food and drink producers to help them promote their produce in Lincolnshire and beyond, as well as working with tourism businesses, who are promoting all the fun and interesting things there are to do in the county. I also work with other business women like myself that are building flexible businesses that fit around their children or other commitments that they have. So if you are a Lincolnshire business and want to learn how to use Social Media to market and promote your business, please get in touch to discuss how I can work with you.
What do you love about Lincolnshire? Have you ever been to Lincolnshire for a holiday? Please leave a comment below.
Creating your own images for social media helps you stand out from the crowd, yes it takes more time and thought than just searching for a stock image to use, however I guarantee the images you create will get better results than using a stock image, that lots of other businesses may have used.
With so much information being shared on social media using images to catch people’s eye and tell them what they are going to get if they stop to read your post or click to read more is essential.
Here are my top 5 tips for creating images that get you and your business noticed:
1) Make sure the image is relevant to your post
Using an image that doesn’t relate to your post will get the wrong person clicking through, while you ideal clients scroll past because they don’t slow down long enough to read the text.
In the image above, which picture is going to get the right people to read the article? Having the wrong people click through to your website causes a higher bounce rate on your site, as someone clicks the link and then leaves your site quickly because the article isn’t relevant to them.
In the first image I might be trying to stand out by being different and quirky, using the picture of my son’s Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon, hoping that people will get the build connection. However being obvious gets the right people to click through or stop to read your post.
2) Add text to your image
Adding the blog title to an image will tell people what they are going to get if they stop to read your article.
Now with the title text added to these 2 images the Lego Star Wars one is telling people what they get, so the click through rate and bounce rate will both improve.
3) Always add your website and business logo to images
Adding your website address and business logo to images is very important, as it builds brand awareness and if someone shares your image using a screenshot, people that see it will still be able to see your logo and website.
4) Optimise the sizes of your images for different social media sites
A square image will work on Facebook and Instagram, but it won’t look very good on Twitter and for Pinterest you want to create images that are portrait rather than landscape and for a blog post landscape works better than portrait. This is why I use Canva.com to create images, as there are perfectly sized templates for different social media posts and headers.
The above image has been designed to share on Instagram and Facebook.
5) Be consistent with colours and fonts
Being consistent with the colours and fonts you use in your images, will help people relate the image to your business. I use the colours of blue, red and white in my images as these are the colours in my logo. Using lots of different fonts in one image doesn’t look as good as only using 2 or 3 fonts. If you aren’t sure about this have a look at images you like and count how many fonts they use.
There are lots of other details you can go into when creating images but these basics should help you create your own images for social media, quickly and easily. I am not a graphic designer but these 5 tips have helped me create images for social media that people interact with. I create all my own images for social media using a combination of stock images and my own photos taken using my mobile.
Do you create your own images for social media?
If you have found this useful then please share it with your colleagues and friends.
In 2015 52.7% of the global mobile phone population accessed the internet from their mobile phone. This figure is expected to grow to 61.2% in 2018. Statistic from Statista.
On 21st April 2015 Google added whether a website is mobile friendly as a ranking signal, the reason for this is that Google wants to help its users to access quality websites and based on the statistic above accessing websites via a mobile is a significant demographic of its users.
If someone finds your website while accessing the internet on their smartphone, you want that person to be able to read and use the navigation of your website because if they can’t they will find a website that is easy to read and use on their mobile, and you will have lost a prospective customer.
Here is what it will look like if your site is mobile friendly.
This is what my site looks like on mobile.
However, here is what Google will tell you if your site isn’t mobile friendly.
As you can see from the image above some of the problems with viewing a non mobile friendly website on your mobile are as follows:
Text being too small to read easily
Content wider than the screen so you have to scroll across
Navigation around the site can be difficult, if the menus don’t work well on mobile
These things affect the user experience on your site when it is being viewed on a mobile, so this may mean there is a great bounce rate when people are viewing via mobile than when they are viewing via a laptop.
A third of UK internet users see their smartphone as the most important device for going online, from a 2015 article on the Ofcom website
Checking whether your website is mobile friendly and make the changes it needs if it isn’t, could help your site be found on Google and for your clients and prospective clients to have a better experience when visiting your site via their mobile.
Do non-mobile friendly sites annoy you when you are using your smartphone?
In America April is National Autism Awareness month, International Autism Awareness week is the first week of April and World Autism Awareness Day was the 2nd of April this year, however for me and other people like me every day is autism awareness day and has been for the last 11 years. You see I am a very proud mum of an autistic child, I am immensely proud of both my children.
When I first tell people that I have an autistic child I usually see a look of pity cross their face and they often say something like “oh I am sorry” or “that must be hard.” However, I am incredibly lucky, my son is 13 and has a diagnosis of High Functioning Autism and Dyslexia, and he is funny, clever, caring and considerate. He goes to a local mainstream secondary school and has support there, which he has had all the time he has been at school. He even has a best mate and a group of friends, if you are a parent of an autistic child you will know how brilliant it is that he has friends.
Our autism journey hasn’t always been easy, at 18 months my son didn’t say any words at 2 and half he still didn’t say any words, the assessment process through to his diagnosis of High functioning autism with an associated language disorder took a year, by which time he still didn’t speak. However, I knew from when we started the assessment process what the diagnosis would be, as the lady that started the process off used the phrase “He is in a world of his own!” as soon as I heard that phrase I thought it is autism. When we got the diagnosis a year later it was a relief. It was also a huge blow because it meant that our son would not have a “normal life” there were now more questions.
Would he ever speak? He was still non verbal and we were using Makaton sign language to communicate, but no one could tell us whether he would start to talk or when that might be. He actually started talking around 5 years old
Would he be able to cope at mainstream school?
Would he be able to make friends?
How would we cope?
How could we help our son to have the best life possible?
And so many more.
Fast forward 11 years and there are days when I forget about the autism, yes my son is incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about Star Wars and knows way more about history and historic events than I do. Yes, sometimes he talks at you about Star Wars or Top Gear. Then there are days when I am reminded that he is autistic and will always experience the world differently and he will always face challenges that other neurotypical children and adults won’t face, from T-shirts that itch one day and not another, to sausages at restaurants that have some seasoning in that means he can’t eat them. He will always find socialising difficult and confusing and so many other things. But he is brilliant and doing so well, far better than we could have hoped 11 years ago and with love and support he will continue to do well.
Autism is often called a spectrum disorder, with classic autism at one end and high functioning autism at the other, this over simplifies autism, which is very complex. Rather than thinking of autism as linear, think of a triangle, each point of the triangle represents one of the triad of impairments
Social & Emotional issues
Language & communication
Flexibility of thought
Triangles can be different shapes depending on where the points of the triangle are, so for example some autistic people are non verbal, while others can speak a lot but have issues understanding the social aspects of communication. Some find social interaction easier than others but might have very strict routines and ways of doing things.
This is a great Ted Talk by Rosie King talking about autism and her experiences, oh yes girls can be autistic too.
There are lots of great books about autism and I have read quite a few of them. Basically the autistic brain processes information differently to a neurotypical brain, autistic people see the world differently to other people. Temple Grandin is an American autistic women, who is a scientist, a university professor and author. As a scientist she has had numerous brain scans to find out why her brain processes information differently and she talks about this in her book The Autistic Brain.
There is huge variation in children and adults with autism, some of the main issues they have in common are as follows:
Social and Emotional issues
They do not automatically understand how society works
They find it hard to socialise and work in groups
Because the world is a confusing place they have high levels of anxiety and suffer from depression
Routines can be important to help an autistic child or adult stay calm
Language and Communication
Language delay in children
The need to have things explained to them in a very literal and clear way
They don’t tend to filter what they say, unless you explain what is ok to say and what isn’t
There may be issues with understanding how conversations work, they may talk at you
Flexibility of thought and imagination
This can cause problems for children when it comes to creative writing at school or role playing
If routines or plans are changed without warning
Their way is the only way to do something
Sensory sensitivities can affect any or all the senses and are unpredictable, think of what you smell, hear, taste, see or feel being turned up. So that T-shirt you wore the other day now itches and you can’t think of anything else apart from how it itches. One of the reason why autistic children tend to have meltdowns in Supermarkets is because of the sensory sensitivities, think of the bright lights, the smells from the bakery and the fish counter and the laundry aisle, then add in the noise from the fridges, the echoes of the large building and all those people and multiply this by 10 or 100. Then add on that, that child might also not be able to tell you what the problem is because by now they are at such a high level of anxiety.
Below is a video by the National Autistic Society about how an autistic child might experience a shopping trip.
Sensory sensitivities also cause problems with children having a very limited number of foods that they eat and no sticker chart or reward system will get them to try those unfamiliar foods, that taste or look different or have a different texture. As an autistic mum the worst thing you can read on food packaging is “new improved recipe” because your child will be able to taste the difference and to them it will not be a new improved recipe, it will be different and different is not good.
This article is quite basic and based on my experience of autism and I know there are people out there that have found it difficult to get a diagnosis and therefore the help and support they need for their child, below are some websites that you might find useful for finding out more information.
Are you using Social Media Marketing to promote your local business?
Do you have an independent shop or business on a high street of a town or village in the UK?
Do you want more people to come through the door of your shop or restaurant?
Do you have a business that serves local businesses?
Do you want an affordable way to market your business?
Lots of bricks and mortar businesses don’t have a good presence on social media and are missing a great way to get people to know about their business and to buy from them. Whether it is because they think social media is only worth doing if you have a website or maybe they are too busy in their business to get the proper training.
There are many benefits of using social media marketing to promote your business, which I cover in another blog post What is Social Media Marketing? However, here are my top 5 reasons why your local business should be using social media marketing as part of your marketing strategy:
1) Social media helps you get found online
If you haven’t got a website then having good profiles on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter will help people find your business, when they search for businesses similar to yours online. If you have a website you can use social media sites to direct traffic back to your website. Also when people search for your business online your social media profiles will appear as well as your website.
2) Use a business Facebook Page as your main online presence
Following on from my first point, if you don’t have a website you can use a Facebook business page to provide information you might have on a website such as contact details, opening times, special events that you are hosting etc. Although I would always advise people to have their own website as that is where you have control of what you want to achieve online.
3) Tell people what products you stock
A well thought out Facebook page with good quality images of the products you sell or services you provide will communicate to prospective clients what you do.
Recently I was going into local businesses doing a leaflet drop and telling business owners about my business. In the village that I was doing the leaflet drop there was a small health food shop, that I often walked past thinking I must pop in there one day, when I have time. When I popped into this health food shop to tell them about my business, I found out that they stocked products I usually bought online, because I hadn’t found any other local Health Food shops that stocked them. If this shop had a Facebook page and had a logo in the window saying they were on Facebook, I would have followed their page and found this out a lot sooner.
4) Keep loyal customers up to date
Facebook and Twitter are great tools for keeping your business in the mind of loyal customers, as long as your content is high quality and relevant to your customers they will love seeing your updates appear in their timeline.
5) Allow loyal customers to recommend you to their friends
One of the biggest advantages of social media is that happy loyal customers can easily tell their friends and family about your great business and products.
Another bonus to using social media marketing for your business is that it is highly likely that your competitors might not be using social media yet.
However, before you set up a Facebook page and Twitter profile for your business, I would advice you to get some quality training from a social media consultant like myself, as training from an expert will help you get quicker results from your social media marketing. Also working with a social media consultant to formulate a social media marketing strategy for your business will help you save time, enable you to measure how well your social media is performing and whether it is getting the results you want for your business.
I also help my clients to think how their clients might search for what their business provides and give ideas on what content those clients might find useful and engage with.