So 2019 has arrived and no doubt you are back on deck after a well deserved Christmas break.
I find that after we all collapse in a food coma from Christmas and then have some time to actually unwind in the early new year, that this is often our first ( and maybe only ) chance to have some time to think a little more creatively.
Yes it is the time of resolutions.
Of new ideas and new plans.
So for business, what are the plans that you are going to be focussing on this year?
No doubt you have wider business goals than just digital marketing ones, but I want to highlight 3 things your business must be doing in 2019 in the online space to secure your future growth.
All 3 of them focus on visibility - of you, your business and your offers.
Well, this is how your business is selected by clients - they see you, online. When searching for the answer to a question, they find you, online. When asking for referrals, people share your business to their networks, online.
If people aren’t talking about you in this way, they are talking about your competitors.
So how do you get them to become more aware of you?
1. Grow your personal brand.
Gone are the days when it was appropriate to just promote the name of your business. Lots of people use to say, "but what if I want to sell my business in the future" and this is why they focussed on the business name in the first instance. But in the online space, the onslaught of digital marketing, social media and just doing business in 2019 has turned all that on its head.
In reality it is always about the people behind the business name. People really do business with people. Whether it is your favourite hairdresser at the salon, your preferred barista at your local coffee shop or even the checkout operator at woolies - we know who we prefer to transact with.
Right now, this is increasingly true for ALL business, but especially in the professional service space.
If you want people to connect to you and with you, you must build up your personal brand. You need to be more visible with who you are, what you do, your values, your thoughts, your position. It is not enough to be a lurker online, to connect with other people and not share what you are about and your knowledge.
Think of it like this, when you go to a traditional networking function (yes, remember them, we hate them, but I digress), you don’t go and then not speak to anyone. You mingle, you listen and you contribute in some way or other. You don’t go with the hard sell (unless you want to be remembered as the douche-bag no one likes) but over time you build rapport with the crowd.
Building your online personal brand is a similar process. It takes time, it takes effort and it takes planning.
And it must be done.
Have a chat to my friend Nathan Shooter about ways to do exactly this.
2. Tell more Stories
Story-telling in a business context will become more and more critical for business success. There is a reason that video and visual tools like Instagram and stories within social media apps ( think Snapchat, Instagram Stories and now Facebook stories ) are the big growth areas for social media.
Feeds are full, organic reach throttled, so cut through and engagement is happening in the story space, therefore you need to start planning how you can use these spaces on a regular basis, as well as what information you are going to share.
Humans have a long history of using stories to teach, explain and build community. This is how you are going to get customers, not just lurkers or vanity metric numbers, but actual customers. You want people to be connected to you as these people will end up buying from you.
Stories will be how you build these connections, so you need to start telling them. You need to spend time thinking about what your business is all about. Think back to why you started your business in the first place, then you need to think about why your customers buy from you, what are their real issues. This will be the fodder for your storytelling. People need to see themselves as the protagonist of your business storytelling - they need to see themselves in the picture.
This is not some wanky woo-woo thing I am talking about here.
I am talking about simply explaining what it is you do, or how you help solve people's problems, in the same way you might over a cup of coffee.
When you start to think like that, then you need to be be posting this content into the stories area of your social feeds, as well as via Facebook live and LinkedIn video. Whilst stories may look unscripted and spontaneous - the pros know that they are actually not. People have sat down and planned out story arcs like chapters in a book or like paragraphs in an essay. Once that is done - then they record the video or social post and just do it.
Being prepped like this helps to settle the nerves. Building up your confidence in this way then allows you to on occasion just share information off the cuff.
3. Video & Photos of you
I need to see your face. I love your face and your clients need to see more of it. Stop using these excuses below as a reason to not do video.
I can’t do that
I am too old
I am too fat
I have nothing to say
I am not interesting
None of the above is actually true.
If you are in business, you are already talking to people face to face and you are already talking to them on the phone.
For some reason, those of us who are not part of the selfie generation think we can’t do video and dislike having our photo taken. We forget that we have been meeting and greeting and talking in public to clients for years - and we have never had a bag over our head whilst we do it.
When you are in your zone, you don’t think about what you look like - because you are 100% focussed on delivering value for that one person you are talking to. And this is the trick to video. Treat it like you are talking to just one person. Not a room full of strangers on a podium, but that one customer or client who has your undivided attention.
They are not thinking about what you look like - they are listening to what you are saying and what you are saying is gold - so please, say it.
I also want you to stop hiding your face from your social feeds. I know, we’re not the selfie generation, but they can teach us a lot about personal branding. If we cycle back up to point 1, if I want to feel connected to you, to know you, like you, trust you ( and hence buy and refer you) I really need to see your face.
So again - all of the points above are simply not true. You are a perfectly acceptable human to be visible online.
In fact more than acceptable, just right for your target customer. Let them find out more about you.
If you want your business to thrive in 2019, I need to see you, hear you and connect to you.
Stop using excuses and start building brand you. Don’t be that business that continued to be an ostrich and then just disappeared because you didn’t grasp the importance of online visibility.
if you are looking for help structure a content plan so that you can start sharing your story, talk to me today about how you get started.
Your future business needs you to do this right now.