Facebook

Let’s Take the Mystery out of Facebook So It Can Help Your Business

There are countless ways Facebook can help your business, but even the most intelligent entrepreneurs struggle to crack its code.

While it’s simple to use, it can feel like you’re shouting to no one, pushing out post after post to little fanfare. You may even find yourself questioning your own skills.

This can’t be that difficult … can it?

The answer is yes and no. Facebook is a powerful tool you can leverage for your business, but it can easily become a nuisance if you don’t understand how it works.

Here’s the key: give Facebook what it wants, and you’ll see a return.

1. Facebook Wants Your Money

It’s harsh, but it’s true.

Facebook is a robust advertising asset because it collects everything. Do you need to promote your content to women who recently had a baby? Someone who just changed jobs? A person afflicted with Lyme disease?

You can target all of that within the ad manager and that’s the route the platform wants you to take. Organic content — or content left to perform without paying to promote it — can work, but it has become increasingly difficult for businesses just starting out.

Facebook has made it tough for businesses to build an engaged audience without paid advertising, so it should be expected when you’re earning your first 1,000 followers.

2. Facebook Wants You to Engage its Users

Speaking of an engaged audience, that’s what Facebook wants you to have. The user experience is extremely important to the brand, which is why shares, comments, and likes will increase exposure of your content to your followers.

Have you ever logged onto the platform and seen a post with “Jane and Joe recently liked this post …” at the top? That’s a post receiving a lot of likes, comments, and shares, so Facebook believes you’ll want to see it, too.

It’s how it weights published content: when a post gets a lot of attention right away, it jumps to the top of the news feed. Create content your followers want to engage with and you’ll generate more exposure for your brand.

3. Facebook Wants You to Record Videos

That’s right, Facebook wants to be the No. 1 source for online video, and it’s well on its way. In fact, it predicts that the news feed will contain only video within the next five years.

If Facebook wants it’s platform to be video-focused, it means it’s going to help things along by favoring video posts. This past March, Facebook changed it’s algorithm to give preference to live video vs. on demand. It’s why you will get a notification if a page you follow is going live.

Here’s what this means for you: get on the video train, or it’s going to leave without you. Whether you’re talking to your audience, conducting a Q&A, or posting live from an event you’re attending, you will increase your traction by dabbling in video.

Additional tips

  • If you have a large following on YouTube, you may be posting YouTube links to your Facebook page. What you may not know is that YouTube links won’t do well within the news feed because Facebook wants you to natively upload them to their platform.
  • Are you open to putting a bit of money into Facebook ads? Make sure you have a clear focus when you do. Boosting random posts for additional clicks may be fun, but it’s wasting money if you don’t have a specific objective.
  • When you’re earning those first 1,000 followers, cross-promote your page as much as possible. Since Facebook allows you to embed its content, you can upload a video and then include it in a blog post. It’s a win-win: you give Facebook what it wants (video) and you promote your page to your blog audience!

I could dig so much deeper into each of these areas! Do you find these tips are too simple or too complex? Let me know which of these is most helpful to you by commenting below!

market your business

The Fortune is in the Focus: How to Properly Market Your Business

Why do some marketing campaigns succeed while others fail? The fortune is in the focus.

Throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if it will stick may ultimately get you to your goal, but it will be a painful process. Having a clear idea of what you are looking to achieve so you can map your route from Point A to Point B is significantly more efficient.

To get started, we’ll map out three necessary elements of a marketing campaign. Let’s take a look at a fictional business — a brick-and-mortar candy shop — as a way to illustrate each point.

Know Your Goal

What is the goal of this candy shop? Don’t jump the gun! Yes, the goal is entice individuals to purchase candy, but let’s get even more specific than that.

As a content marketing effort, the company writes a blog post about their love for Halloween. The title and social media messaging are critical to converting passive readers of that blog post into attentive, potential customers.

For example, a generic title or social media post may read, “Candy Corner’s Love of Halloween Has Lasted A Decade.” That line is accurate, but it doesn’t speak to the business focus, which is to draw people to the store.

A more focused title or post may read, “Candy Corner is a Must-Stop Shop on Halloween.”

The story itself is the same in both examples, but the messaging in the focused post is specifically targeted toward the business goal.

Know Your Worth

What is it you are offering your customers or clients? Be careful with this one because it isn’t always what you believe to be the obvious answer.

In our candy store example, your knee-jerk response may be that this particular business is offering customers candy. Easy enough, right?

While that may be true, promoting “candy” as the reason customers should purchase won’t set this business apart from others. The key is to look at the differentiating factors between this business and the competition.

A few things to consider:

  • How many stores are there specifically dedicated to candy nowadays? Perhaps this business is providing an experience to customers beyond walking into a chain store to purchase candy.
  • What kind of variety exists within this candy store? More than likely, a candy store will have a much wider selection than a grocery store.
  • Is the product of higher quality than packaged candy? Maybe this store makes their own candy or chocolate without preservatives.

Understanding what sets your business apart from the competition is critical to an effective marketing campaign.

Know Your Audience

You must get inside the heads of your target customers to know why they are the right people to buy from you. Making this a bit more tricky, you may have multiple audiences you are targeting at any given time.

For our fictional candy store, there would be multiple audiences:

  • Grandparents may come to the store because they want to have a fun day out with grandchildren and provide them something special. Messaging may speak to “spoiling” them.
  • Parents may appreciate the higher quality of candy. Messaging may speak to ingredients, fewer preservatives, or better taste.
  • Older individuals may have a sense of nostalgia going to a candy store as they did when they were younger. Messaging can speak to re-living their youth.
  • Children are an obvious target audience, but this is a great example a need for a different marketing strategy. How much money will children have and how will they get to your store? While they will consume your product, they may not be one of your primary targets.

The audience you speak to will depend on which is the most likely to convert. You may start with one group and then add another once you’ve found success with the first.

It’s important that you don’t try to speak to everyone at once. The more specific you are with your targeting, the better the results. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s true that when you try to speak to everyone, you ultimately speak to no one.

How do you focus your marketing campaigns? Where do you start and how do you come up with your messaging?

new clients

A Client Being the Wrong Fit Doesn’t Make YOU Wrong

As I have immersed myself into a world of female entrepreneurs, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to have a woman-centered business – especially when it comes to look for new clients.

Many female businesses have a strong why attached to them — women want to start a business to change or influence the world. The result? It puts their hearts smack dab in the middle of their businesses.

It reminds me of Meg Ryan’s character in You’ve Got Mail. Her independent bookstore, which had been in her family for generations, is purchased by Tom Hanks’ character (the owner of the movie’s version of Barnes and Noble).

He tells her the buyout “wasn’t personal.”

What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s personal to a lot of people. And what’s so wrong with being personal, anyway?

Many female entrepreneurs operate their businesses personally, because they have a genuine cause behind them. So when a client relationship doesn’t work out, it’s easy to take it personally and believe it’s because there’s something wrong with the business.

If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve had a client relationship that didn’t work out. Let me ask you this: did you find your mind drifting toward self- or business-doubt?

If this client doesn’t want my services, are my services wrong?

Am I not as good as I thought I was?

Even the most confident business owners may have fleeting moments of doubt.

Here are a few things I ask myself when a business relationship or partnership turns out to be the wrong fit:

1. Was I Looking in the Right Place for New Clients?

Let’s say you’re a fitness consultant who specializes in quick, 5-10 minute workouts for busy moms. If you’re marketing your services to a group of hardcore gym rats, you’re going to fail and — quickly — lose your business confidence. Hardcore gym rats want to spend hours working out in the gym. You’ll hear no after no after no.

Does that mean you have a horrible service? Of course not! It just means you’re looking in the wrong place for new clients. A hardcore gym rat doesn’t bring the right set of qualifications to the table to make the relationship a good fit.

It’s up to you to make the proper adjustments to find people with the right set of qualifications: busy moms with little-to-no time to exercise.

2. Why Did This Seemingly-Ideal Client Become Not-so Ideal?

Sometimes a prospect seems to be exactly what you’re looking for, only to reveal itself as the wrong fit. Let’s go back to the fitness consultant example. You’re out for coffee with a friend when you strike up a conversation with a woman wearing workout gear. She’s just come from her spinning class.

What a coincidence! you say, I have a set of workouts I’ve developed that you may be interested in! This woman is, in fact, a busy mom and she clearly likes to exercise. You schedule a discovery call. You call her the following day, excited to add new business. At the end of the call, however, she tells you she’s not interested.

What went wrong?

It turns out that this woman really enjoys going to her spinning classes so she can be social with her friends. The idea of exercising alone in her living room just doesn’t appeal to her.

You’re totally bummed, but the first thing you shouldn’t do is internalize it and tell yourself you have a bad product. What you should do is refine your search process and stop prospecting women who attend classes at the gym.

3. Was There A Point I Should Have Said No?

It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new client, especially when you are in the business of impacting lives for the better! When a potential business relationship doesn’t work out, though, it’s important to ask yourself if there were any points along the way that you should have said no.

Maybe in our last example, the fact that the woman had just come from a spinning class should have been a red flag. Have you ever found yourself qualifying the red flags because you’re so eager for a little extra money, a new client to help, or the rush of a “win?”

Sure, she’s just come from spinning class, you may think, but just because she enjoys going to the gym doesn’t mean she won’t like doing my workouts, too! After all, she likes to work out and she’s a busy mom. I’ll make this exception and she just might work out!

When we act like the client is doing us a favor, we set ourselves up for disappointment. It’s important to enter into a prospecting situation looking for mutual benefit. Don’t make concessions so the client will say yes. Stay true to you, whether it’s in regards to business philosophy, money, or communication style.

As a female entrepreneur with an eye toward making a difference, it’s easy to get caught up in wanting to help everyone and growing discouraged when it doesn’t work out. Know that these things happen and that you shouldn’t want to be all things to all people!

Keep your eye on the right clients for you and keep on keeping on — it will all work out!

female entrepreneurs

Why I Believe Female Entrepreneurs are the Best to Work With

I spent the first decade of my career in a male-focused field where women were the exception, not the rule. I equated stereotypical masculinity with power and pushed down my feminine qualities in the hopes of getting ahead.

Fast forward three years and I recognize feminine toughness and the power it wields. So many women are getting business right because they have their priorities straight and are secure with who they are.

See if you relate to these four ways of conducting business:

1. There is no such thing as work-life balance.

For successful female entrepreneurs, work-life balance is a myth. There is no special formula that will allow one to reach harmonious rhythm.

Work is life and life is work.

Female entrepreneurs make a living doing what they love while remaining flexible for self and family. There is no juggling necessary because owning a business allows for making it to gymnastics by 4:15 or soccer practice by 4:45. And if it doesn’t? Arrangements can be made.

The idea that there has to be clear separation of work and family has gone by the wayside. When work needs attention, work gets attention. When family needs attention, family comes first.

2. Priorities are in line.

Just as the definition of work-life balance has changed for female entrepreneurs, so has the idea that life happens. These ladies won’t bat an eyelash when you can’t speak over the phone until after your kids go to bed because they’ve been there or they are there.

When one of my clients hurriedly got off the phone because her kids came home from school, I was pleasantly surprised. This was a far cry from the “don’t ask don’t tell” culture of: “we won’t ask what you’re doing when you have ‘an appointment’ and we don’t want you to tell us because you’ll be judged.”

In that moment, she put work second because it was time for the kids. Later, she may squeeze in some work or get up early the next morning. It ebbs and flows.

3. Emotions are completely okay.

I don’t know who came up with the idea that emotions aren’t allowed in business, but it’s ridiculous. Expressing healthy feelings within the working world is 100-percent okay and can be a huge asset to the success of a business.

When employees know they are appreciated and cared for, they do better work. Have you ever had a job where your boss treated you like expendable garbage? Your morale was undoubtedly low and you were probably at your professional worst.

Emotions also contribute to empathy and compassion toward clients or customers, which will only improve business. Operating within the parameters of healthy emotions will breed happiness and loyalty among both customers and employees.

4. Business is centered around trust and respect.

Trust and respect are not exclusive to female entrepreneurs since I know men who build their businesses this way and plenty of women who don’t.

In my handful of years as an entrepreneur, though, I’ve found more women than men willing to accept what they don’t know before trusting areas of their businesses to experts.

When it comes to content and social media, for example, I give a lot of credit to those who recognize it isn’t their wheelhouse while respecting my expertise. That allows me to build upon their strengths with mine, taking their businesses up another level.

Take it from me: pure-hearted, female entrepreneurs are without a doubt the best allies to have because they are driven, grounded, and supportive. If you aren’t already in a community to female entrepreneurs find one now!

Two of my favorites are Natalie Eckdahl at BizChix.com and Adria DeCorte at adriadecorte.com.

finding clients

A Dollar Earned in Misery Isn’t Worth It

finding clients

The stress of working with the wrong clients isn’t worth it. Photo: Huffington Post

You want to work with everyone when you’re just starting out, but finding clients who value what you offer is critical to your success.

Still, you want to say yes to everyone. After all, you need the money! Even in this early stage, though, it’s important to weed out clients you have to convince to hire you or who clearly don’t see the value in what you provide.

As a content and social media strategist, my services don’t always deliver a direct monetary return. The majority of my clients are looking to establish trust, brand recognition, and warm up cold audiences.

Many businesses see that as an add-on rather than a necessity. I recognize that I must seek out the first group and avoid the second, even when the latter is well-intentioned.

As an entrepreneur, it’s vital that you to gravitate toward clients who see your services as critical to their businesses.

If you don’t, your business will suffer. Here’s why:

You Will Feel Undervalued

If you are providing a service your client sees as a “bonus,” you will feel like you’re on the outside looking in.

When you jump in to talk strategy, your advice will be (politely) ignored or brushed aside. This is because the client doesn’t really believe what you have to offer is a necessity to his or her bottom line.

While this is directed at what you offer and not at you, you will feel like you aren’t being heard or appreciated for the hard work you’re putting in.

You Will Feel Unproductive

This has happened to me even with the most well-intentioned of clients. If my services are not seen as a priority, emails and text messages go unanswered and projects remain incomplete.

Some of these clients even pay well and on time, but the work associated with them hangs in the balance. These open-ended projects clutter our minds and our planners, delivering a hit to our productivity.

As much as we want these relationships to work, they need to fall by the wayside.

You Will Feel Unfulfilled

As entrepreneurs, we love the work! So when a client doesn’t engage, it’s both frustrating and unfulfilling.

I was talking to a new client just yesterday and dug into the strategy surrounding her content plan. After a minute or so digging into the nuances of different social media platforms, my energy level skyrocketed. I was so pumped to be talking about what I love!

When you work with clients who don’t see eye-to-eye regarding your services, that fire is missing. Projects remain on the ground floor and the back-and-forth that drives and challenges you isn’t there.

It’s a huge buzz kill!

All Dollars Are Not Created Equal

A dollar earned amidst passion and energy is worth far more than a dollar earned in misery.

Learn to detect the warning signs in the early stages of prospecting and then — in the nicest way possible — run like hell when it’s not a good fit.

Trust me, it’s the greatest gift you’ll ever give to yourself and to your business.

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clarity

Gaining Clarity in Your Business Will Take it to the Next Level

As a female entrepreneur, do you ever struggle with confidence? Does it eat you up inside, knowing you need to have it all together if you’re going to succeed in business?

I totally get it.

I’ve been an entrepreneur for two-and-a-half years. I can honestly say I’ve struggled with confidence and it’s killed me, primarily because I’m a confident person in life.

I’ve seen other amazing, confident, talented women go through the same thing. They have so much to offer, yet struggle to price themselves, come up with specific services, and target clients.

What is it about business that opens us up to self-doubt?

The Real Problem

I have fantastic news for you. You don’t have a confidence problem. Confidence is a secondary emotion in this case, bubbling up to the surface because you are grasping at straws.

So, what is the real problem?

Clarity.

Think about it. You are super talented with a ton of skills. You have countless services you can offer potential clients. But when you get them on the phone and they ask the simple question — What do you do? — you aren’t quite sure what to say.

Oh, you end up saying a lot anyway. You find yourself babbling about this and that, up and down, blah, blah, blah, until the prospect on the other end of the line asks, “Okay, so what do you charge?”

Crap! You don’t have a concise answer for that either! What is wrong with you? Shouldn’t this be simple?

Yes, it should be simple and, frankly, it is simple. The key is finding the right person to pull that clarity out of you.

The 5-Day Clarity Challenge

Just last week, I participated in the 5 Day Clarity Challenge by Adria DeCorte. I went in without a ton of expectation … I was simply hoping for a bit more insight into my growing business.

Well, let me tell you. She blew my socks off.

Ever since I’ve been in business for myself, I’ve juggled the library of services I offer: content and social media strategy, writing, website management, public and media relations, and more. Since creating my website, I’ve niched and pared down the offerings to get more and more targeted.

While I’ve found success, I still felt something was missing. I’ve been more reactive than proactive in my prospect calls, asking “What do you need?” instead of stating, “Let me tell you what I offer.”

It’s a small nuance that makes a huge difference. Going through the 5-Day Clarity Challenge helped me make that shift. Through Adria’s daily activities, I (easily) pinpointed the theme around everything I offer: authenticity.

Hold up, you may be thinking, authenticity isn’t a service.

No, it’s not … and that’s why I’ve struggled to pinpoint exactly what I offer. Adria helped me recognize that authenticity is my primary skill while social media, content, PR, etc., are the tools I use to execute that skill.

Clarity Begets Confidence

The clarity provided through Adria’s challenge has been business-changing. I now recognize that everything I offer is fueled by authenticity and helping business owners and thought leaders convey their authentic messages.

What’s more, I have a crystal-clear focus of who I’m targeting and – perhaps more important – who I need to run far, far away from. I love working with passionate, authentic people, driven by a desire to help others.

Now, isn’t that statement is a far cry from, “I manage social media and write blogs?” Aren’t you way more intrigued by the first statement?

If you are struggling with clarity – especially if you are trying to get over a hump in your business – I highly recommend working with Adria. Not only is she talented at what she does, she’s genuine, sweet, and will motivate you to get the best for yourself.

Please know that she did not compensate me at all for writing this. The clarity she provided me has made such an impact, I want to help her extend her message for her Be-The-Expert Bootcamp!

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions, but believe me when I tell you that you won’t be sorry for choosing to work with her!