The importance of Social Media to business…

Let’s start by saying that your business needs a social media presence!

Social media helps you to connect with your prospective customers, existing clients and increase your brand awareness, hence increasing leads and sales.

It doesn’t matter what your business is, from a small one-person operation to a big national organisation. You should be using social media as an essential piece of your marketing.

And let’s face it, with over 3 billion people worldwide using social media every month, it’s a great market place!

Let’s look at a few reasons why investing in social media as part of your marketing strategy is a worthwhile move for your business:

Build Brand Awareness

If people don’t know about your business, they won’t become your customers!

Social media helps with increasing visibility of your brand among potential customers, letting you reach a wide audience. You have nothing to lose really, as the major social media platforms are free to sign up to, so you’re only investing your time.

It’s usually preferable to define what you want to get out of social media – so a strategy is useful. For example, do you want to publicise the services you offer, or do you hope to bring more local shoppers into your stores?

By developing a targeted strategy, you can determine which social media channels are best fit for your customer base.

Positive Brand Communication

Customers are increasingly savvy about which businesses they use. Generally, people will complete a quick search of websites and social media.

But what will they find? Hopefully, you will be presenting your business in a positive manner and providing a rich source of information on your products and services.

Making sure that you update social media frequently with the latest content will build your brand’s awareness and positivity ensuring you’re making a positive first impression.

And as we’ve blogged before, don’t forget to always look for ways to demonstrate your expertise in your industry. Being the go-to person in your field goes a long way to establishing confidence in potential customers.

Don’t Be Bland!

As a customer, would you be interested in a business that publishes dry, corporate-style social media? Probably not.

It’s important to let your brand’s identity and personality to shine in everything that you share on social media. Let your brand represent who you are.

Whether it’s casual and funny or formal and friendly, practice getting it right. Show followers the real you behind that social media profile.

Providing Support 

If you’re in a business that needs to provide support to your customers, why not offer a support channel via social media. It can provide a less formal contact with your customers and even help to resolve simple issues, plus you’ll be developing your reputation as a responsive and caring brand.

Encourage Interaction

Social media is meant to be social, so play with new ways to connect with your audience. Encourage comments; get a debate going; and you’ll be widening your audience as you go.

What about posting a behind-the-scenes tour of your business. Once you’re more confident, host a Q&A session via e.g. Facebook Live video streaming. You’ll start to understand more about your followers and their preferences.

Social media platforms are developing interaction options all of the time, so get on board.

Affordable Growth

But you can get a lot of value for your pound with social media advertising. Your business, regardless of size or budget, has the opportunity to grow your audience through ads on social platforms – and they don’t have to cost a fortune.

When building an ad campaign, be focussed on the objective your trying to achieve so you don’t waste budget on unhelpful advertising. Try to avoid ads that are too salesy, rather go for content that is informative and even entertains!

Social Media is a crucial tool in your business marketing and Glow Virtual Assistants could help to steer you in the right direction. Get in touch to discuss your requirements.

About Glow Virtual Assistants

We’re a forward-thinking agency of skilled and qualified Virtual Assistants, specialising in supporting entrepreneurs and businesses to succeed, grow and shine!

We offer a range of services and tailor packages to suit the needs of you and your business.

Why not read what our clients say about us so you know that your business will be in safe hands.

Want a chat or got a question? Drop us a message and we’ll get back to you!

If you have enjoyed reading about why planning is super important, sign up for future blogs on our website.

10 most common tasks to outsource to a VA

Using a Virtual Assistant (VA) can help to shave hours from your working week, but knowing which tasks to delegate can be tricky, whether you’re starting your business or aiming to grow.

VA’s are generally contract or freelance workers who (mainly) work from home and tend to focus on administrative tasks. However, that’s not true of all, as some (including Glow Virtual Assistants) can also provide event and project management, property management and even business advice.

Typically, entrepreneurs can use VA’s for everything from making customer service calls to sending out thank you messages to prospective clients.

The VA quickly becomes a team member who just happens to work remotely.

Not sure where to start? Here are 10 of the most common ways you can use a VA to improve your business:

1 Bookkeeping

Keeping tabs on bills and other bookkeeping matters can be one of the easiest things to assign to a VA. Many small businesses choose to share their bookkeeping systems with their VA who can then follow up on tasks such as outstanding invoices or unpaid bills.

2 Data entry

Whether it’s a list of prospective clients or updated information for existing contacts, keeping databases current is a suitable task for VA’s.

3 Presentations

Turning data into a presentation or summarising research findings can be a huge timesaver when preparing for meetings, so why not outsource it if you can.

4 Managing email

To keep you from wasting time in your inbox, ask a VA to filter your most important emails and even respond to the rest on your behalf. Such email management is easy to do remotely and you can even ask to be copied in before sending out any responses to reduce the risk of errors.

5 Social media tasks

VA’s are be a good bet to handle tasks such as writing social media posts or even sending thank you notes. Such tasks can consume a lot of your time, but a good VA can take care of all of it allowing you to concentrate on what’s more important.

6 Travel research

VA’s are a great resource for finding hotels, booking airfares and mapping out trip itineraries for business and pleasure. Let a VA take the hassle out of navigating the large number of travel research tools and review sites on the Web.

7 Online research

You can easily ask your VA to complete Internet research on your behalf. Make sure the requirement is well defined so that the research can home in directly to what you want.

 8 Chasing business leads

Prioritising potential business opportunities can be challenging, but VA’s can help with the process. Whether it’s as simple as recording sales chase activity, or performing the chase, the VA can perform the task so that you concentrate on any sales that are generated.

9 Scheduling

Because many scheduling tools are available online, VA’s are managing the calendars of many clients. Scheduling appointments with clients and helping to plan events are just a couple of the scheduling tasks that can be outsourced.

 10 Industry knowledge prep

With limited time to keep up with industry news, some small businesses have turned to VA’s to keep tabs on the most important happenings in their market place. The information could be used on social media feeds or for bring up interesting developments in conversation with customers and sales prospects. It helps to have timely news.

About Glow Virtual Assistants

We’re a forward-thinking agency of skilled and qualified Virtual Assistants, specialising in supporting entrepreneurs and businesses to succeed, grow and shine!

We offer a range of services and tailor packages to suit the needs of you and your business.

Why not read what our clients say about us so you know that your business will be in safe hands.

Want a chat or got a question? Drop us a message and we’ll get back to you!

If you have enjoyed reading about why planning is super important, sign up for future blogs on our website.

How to put on a KICK ARSE event!

As an entrepreneur, being taken seriously can be a challenge, therefore it’s important to build up your credibility.

That’s why holding a KICK ARSE business event is an increasingly viable way of doing this!

When you plan and sponsor an event, you’re transformed into a business leader.

You’re responsible for bringing like-minded entrepreneurs together to talk business, and only a leader does that!

Add to that, pulling off a really great event, and you’ll be seen as a leader and an authority in your community and field, regardless of your experience or age.

Plus, you can’t beat the exposure – people often talk about great events they’ve attended, and that means the benefits extend well beyond the event itself!

Here’s a few tips on how to pull off a successful event:

  • Be clear about your WHY! Try to be clear on your objectives for the event. To build a community? For people to network? To generate leads and sales? To have fun? Generate PR? Build-up your reputation? Start with putting your thinking cap on and brainstorm on the above questions.

Don’t have all the answers yet? Don’t let that hold you back.  Start experimenting. You will have a much clearer idea about your WHY after the first event – just in case you struggle with this.

  • There’s not much point putting in the effort to organise your event if it’s not well publicised. Get the word out there using all available means; your current business network, social media, perhaps even targeted marketing. If you can, build a community of attendees that already know each other; this should ensure more interaction and discussion between the sessions.
  • Make it easy. Make it simple for attendees to register for the event. Depending upon the size of the event, consider using a pre-made registration application. Having people register in advance helps you estimate the attendance ahead of time, and it gets a commitment from attendees.
  • Attract awesome speakers. Your attendees are there for the speakers (and the networking!), so it’s important to attract speakers who offer relevant experience and passion. The choice of speakers will vary greatly depending upon your event type and scale, but it’s worth investing time in getting this right!
  • Make it inspirational rather than educational. Ask the speakers to focus on inspiring attendees rather than teaching them something. Instead of coming away with a technique or two to implement when they get back to the office, attendees came away fired up and inspired to go home, kick ass and build better products.
  • Choose the venue wisely. A good choice of venue is very important. Make sure the venue is up-scale, is appropriate to your event’s needs (for example, audio / visual set up, space for break-out sessions, access to food / drink), is easy to find and has plenty of parking. Nowadays, many hotels will allow you to hold a networking event in their lobby or patio area, and often you can get the space for free if the hotel bar is connected to the space.

And don’t forget, if your attendees are coming from far and wide, it’s better that the venue is geographically centrally located.

  • Spend money on branding the event.  If you have the budget, branding the event can build an ambience and get everyone psyched up and engaged on the day.
  • Make event check-in super smooth. It’s a great idea to have attendees check in, even if you aren’t charging for an event, that way you can track attendance, and if you ask for their email address, you can follow up and announce future events. But don’t draw out the registration process.
  • Meet everyoneMake sure you introduce yourself to ever person who attends. Welcome them, and focus on talking about what they do, not what you do. Be a great listener, and take a genuine interest in them and their business. They’ll remember you for it.
  • Be a connector. As you meet and greet, constantly look for opportunities to connect people who would benefit from meeting each other. Keep track of these connections, and follow up next time you see them. Find out if they benefited from the introduction.
  • Recruit anchors. There are always a few people at any event who are off in a corner, not talking to anyone. Get volunteers to be anchors for your event. Their job is to make sure everyone is talking with someone.
  • Provide space and fuel for networking. Attendees will probably derive just as much value from the networking and discussions between sessions. So, you have to make room and time for that.
  • Follow up, and do it again. Follow up with your attendees. Ask how they liked the event, and get ideas from them about how it could be better. Then plan the next one. If you follow this formula, you’ll see your events grow and grow.

REMEMBER that things will go wrong!

Don’t stress out, above all else, STAY COOL and breathe. THINGS WILL GO WRONG. Don’t worry about it. For now: just get started! Be creative! Embrace the unknown!

But most importantly of all – HAVE FUN putting on KICK ARSE events!

 

About Glow Virtual Assistants

We’re a forward-thinking agency of skilled and qualified Virtual Assistants, specialising in supporting entrepreneurs and businesses to succeed, grow and shine!

  • We offer a range of services and tailor packages to suit the needs of you and your business.
  • Why not read what our clients say about us so you know that your business will be in safe hands.
  • Want a chat or got a question? Drop us a message and we’ll get back to you!

If you have enjoyed reading about how to put on a KICK ARSE event, sign up for future blogs on our website.

Email Marketing: How to create a Mailchimp Campaign if you are stuck at square one

Are you stuck at square one when it comes to email marketing?

Don’t even have an email marketing account set up, let alone a list to send your e-shots to?

From a workshop session we ran at Her Business Brew Norwich, it became evident that many seem to be stuck at square one when it comes to email marketing.

There seems so much information about what to write in your email marketing, or how to build your mailing list, however, this can put many people off who don’t even know where to start!

So, if you are stuck at the starting blocks when it comes to email marketing, this blog will give you the basics to creating a campaign in the most used email marketing programme, MailChimp.

How to simply create a mailout campaign on MailChimp

Once you have set up a MailChimp account and imported your mailing list (which is very easy by using my MailChimp Masterclass – How to Guide) you can create a campaign using the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the campaigns page and click Create Campaign in the upper-right corner of the screen to create a Regular Campaign.  To create a Plain-Text Campaign, A/B Testing Campaign, or RSS campaign, click the drop-down menu and select that option.
  2. On the Recipients step, choose a list from the drop-down menu, and click Entire list, or pick a segmentation option. Click Next or Setup in the progress bar.
  3. On the Setup step, input your Email subject, From name, and From email address and click Next in the progress bar.
  4. On the Template step, the easiest option is to click on Themes to select from Mailchimp’s predesigned layouts.
  5. In the Design step, you then input and customize your campaign content.
  6. Once you’re satisfied with your design, click Next or Confirm in the progress bar.
  7. Review the Pre-Delivery Checklist on the Confirm step. Click Resolve to navigate directly to the step to fix any errors that may appear.  To make other changes, click the Edit button to return to a step.
  8. When you’ve finished testing your campaign, you can either send the campaign immediately or schedule it to go out at another time.
  9. If you’re ready to send the campaign to your subscribers, click the Send button. The Prepare for launch modal will appear, and when you confirm your send by clicking Send Now your campaign will be on its way to your mailing list!

Things to consider

When using Mailchimp to send your Campaign it is important to consider the following:

  • Each recipient on your MailChimp list is hidden from all the other recipients.
  • Test your campaign before you send to your entire list. You can use the preview and test function in Mailchimp to do this.
  • MailChimp automatically includes both an HTML version and a plain-text alternative version for each of your subscribers. This ensures your subscribers view your content as expected, regardless of the email client or program they use.
  • MailChimp is designed to send email campaigns that contain HTML code and plain-text content. Due to this Mailchimp advises against using other code to create campaigns.

Your campaign content

Once you have mastered ‘how to’ send a Mailchimp campaign, then it is then important to write your campaigns in a way that appeals to your audience and ensures that they actually open and read your email once it hits their inbox!

Some advice and guidance on creating amazing email campaign content can be found here…

http://savvymumsbusiness.org.uk/what-to-put-in-an-email-newsletter-when-you-dont-know-what-to-write/

 

 

Launch of An Hour or So

‘An Hour or So’ is a Norfolk-based initiative where local businesses give an hour of their services in exchange for a charitable donation.

Local entrepreneur, business owner, and Director of Glow VA, Serena Fordham, has launched the scheme to help local businesses connect, communicate and grow while donating to local worthy causes.

This is a great way for businesses to raise their profile, or for you to give back if you want to use one of the services being offered.

How it works

The Giver

– Many service businesses offer a one-hour free consultation anyway, therefore this hour will now benefit from gaining a charitable donation.  Plus, this assists the CSR of the business.

– The giver will hopefully gain more clients from this scheme (however this cannot be guaranteed).

The Receiver

– The receiver will be able to ‘try before they buy’ without a service costing its full value, which they might not otherwise be able to afford.

– The receiver can try out the service to see if it works for them before they commit.

The Charities

– The local charities benefit from a cash donation to help fund their valuable work within the local community.

The project is supporting a range of charities in Norfolk including Break, Age UK Norfolk, West Norfolk Mind, Nelson’s Journey and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

A full list of the Norfolk-based charities the scheme supports can be found on Just Giving

Take part

In order to take part please visit the new An Hour or So website