As a business owner, you know the importance of sharing consistent content on your social media accounts and company website. You also know how much of your time this consistency can end up taking.
A big part of what makes it so time consuming is that many of us go in without a real plan and end up scrambling to come up with things to post daily. This causes us to feel stressed, confused, overwhelmed, and discouraged. In turn, we often end up not even completing what we initially set out to do—but, what if I told you that there's a solution to this problem and it’s a pretty simple one?
Well, there is, and it's called batching.
What is Batching?
Batching is composing and organizing content for your social media accounts and website in bulk instead of doing it day by day. It's something that many of your favorite entrepreneurs have been doing for years. One such example is one of my favorite lady bosses ever, Jenna Kutcher, who has a whole podcast episode and blog post dedicated to batching content and how it's literally changed her life.
Batching requires that you research photos and topics that you want to share for the week, month, or however long you are looking to schedule your posts. You'll then need to make sure that the images are cohesive with your overall brand and give a clear representation of who you are and what you bring to the table for your ideal client. The next step is making sure that your captions are grammatically correct, written in a way that is easily absorbed by your audience, and reflective of your brand personality.
Why You Should Batch
As an entrepreneur, I know how jam packed your schedule can be on a daily basis. You’re face to face with clients. You handle the finances. You plan the activities. You attend the networking events. Then when all is said and done, you are the brains behind all the content that your online audience sees.
The first thing I would recommend in this scenario would be to hire a social media manager to take that area of your business off your plate due to the high level of time and commitment that it takes. However, if that’s not a viable option for you at the moment, batching your content is the next best thing.
Let’s say that you decide to batch create your weekly content on Sundays. That would mean that this is the only area of your business that you give focus to on that day. Everything else can be managed on one of the other six days of the week, but Sunday is strictly for content creation, curation, and scheduling.
It might be a little challenging at first to not respond to that email or to send that call straight to voicemail, but once you shift into that mindset and designate Sunday as content day, you’ll find that it gets easier and almost feels like you’re running on autopilot.
I have been doing this in my business as a social media manager for several months now and I honestly don’t know how I ever survived without this process. The time that I save allows me to stay up to date on the latest trends in my industry. It also gives me the opportunity to engage more with my audience online as well as attend more networking events and find new clients to work with.
Batch or Lose
Before I used to batch my content, my mind would be all over the place and I would be working on several different projects at once. That was such a struggle because as we all know, multitasking has been proven to do more harm than good. I would be working constantly with what seemed like nothing to show for it at the end of the day because even though I got to do a little bit of everything, nothing was actually completed.
If you’ve ever experienced anything like what I just described, batching your content is the solution that you need. Be intentional about setting a day aside to get it done and use the extra time during the week to either focus on other aspects of your business or just relax. Once you transition into this way of content creation, you’ll never go back.
As a social media manager, I spend a lot of time making things look pretty. There is no way around it and thankfully it's something that the creative side of me truly enjoys.
If the words that I compose and the images that I share are not appealing to my target audience, I will have little to no success in the growth and visibility of my brand. For this reason, I make it a priority to optimize my photos and graphics prior to sharing them on the world wide web and I encourage you to do the same.
Through my research of a number of blogs, articles, and posts, I have discovered which photo editing apps people believe are the best. However, through my own trial and error, I have found a solid five applications that I rely on and use most frequently for both myself and my clients. Today, I will be sharing these tools with you.
My Top 5 Photo Editing Applications
1. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC
Adobe Lightroom is definitely one of my favorite photo editing apps all time! It has an array of features and options for tweaking, and perfecting your images. One thing to keep in mind is that it isn't free. There is also a learning curve, so be prepared to play around with it for a while before you feel like a pro. However, if you are serious about your photography and want to take your images to the next level, it is definitely worth the investment.
VSCO app is another great resource for enhancing and editing images. There is a free version and a paid one, but I honestly think that the free one does the job. Like Adobe Lightroom, there are a lot of editing options, which makes it just as complicated to understand. Even so, once you figure it out, your photos will go from zero to hero almost instantly!
Pixlr is a free app that I discovered fairly recently and have been using ever since. Its much simpler than the previous two recommendations and offers fewer editing options. This is great because you have less options to consider therefore it's not as confusing—but that also means that you are more limited creatively with how unique your photo can be. I have actually been using Pixlr this month for my Instagram feed, because there's a simplified look that I wanted it to have and I have been very satisfied with my results!
You know those photos that you see on IG with the blurry backgrounds that look super cool? That is probably the work of InShOt app. I like this one because it's simple to use, but the features stand up to the competition. This free tool allows you to add text and stickers to your photos and change your background. There are also crop and frame features as well.
This one is a little different from the previous apps because it is not a tool that can be used to adjust or enhance the look of your photo. Phonto is an application that was created with the specific purpose of allowing you to add text to your images. There is a wide array of various font types to choose from and you can adjust the color and size of the text to your satisfaction.
Also—to be fair—the other apps mentioned above can be used to add text to photos too, but Phonto works just as well and is much easier to maneuver since that's what it was made for. This comes in handy when you need to quickly add a watermark or description of some sort to your picture. Also, free.
There are hundreds of amazing tools out there that you can use for photo editing—so many, in fact, that finding one that suits you and your brand can become overwhelming. The five apps that I have included in this post offer ease and variety and that's what I love most about them.
Do you use any editing tools for your photos? If so, I am always doing research to stay up to date on products and would love to know what they are!
Whether you are a service or product based business, it is extremely important that the representation of your brand is clear. If this is not the case, you are missing out opportunities for growth, loyalty, and profits.
What is a Brand?
This is a question that is tricky to answer because a brand is not just something that can be explained in one sentence. It's your logo. It's your website, color scheme, and letterhead. It's what people think about when they visualize or hear the name of your product or service. It's what makes you different from your competition. The goal of a brand is to leave a lasting impression in the minds of customers.
How Can I Develop a Solid Brand?
There are several steps that go into developing a brand that is an accurate representation of you and your business. You may not get it right on the first try and that's okay! Even multi million dollar organizations go through periods of restructuring their brands.
To get started on building your brand you will need to first do some heavy research. What is your overall business strategy? Who is your competition and what is their branding looking like? Who is the audience that you are trying to appeal to? What is the message that you are trying to send? What is the voice of your brand? Is it playful? Serious?
Once you have solid answers to all of these questions, you can begin working on the visual aspects of your brand such as the name, tagline, logo, website, mission statement, etc.
After you have created a brand that you are proud of, the next step is to make sure it is visible. Your website should be unique and captivating with the ability to draw people in. Your social media and blog posts should have compelling copy that accurately paint a clear picture of what your brand represents. Finally, your brand images should be clear and appealing to the audience you are targeting.
If you follow all of these steps, you are well on your way to having a brand positioned for success.
To be successful in your business, you will need to set concrete goals. I'm not talking about those random ideas floating around in your head that you've never shared or taken to paper. I'm talking about specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, timed, goals.
Write Your Goals Down
Here's a fun fact: You are 42% more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down. This is because it forces you to be really specific and think about exactly what it is you are trying to achieve. It also helps you to remember the goal when you are able to see it in front of you daily as opposed to it being a fleeting idea that pops into your head occasionally.
I used to be guilty of setting goals in my mind, but then I wouldn't follow through. I think that subconsciously, not being able to see them made it hurt less if I gave up. Writing them down has made them more real, in a sense, and has helped me tremendously. The saying, "out of sight, out of mind" truly applies when it comes to this situation. When you don't see the goal in front of you, it's hard to see yourself achieving it.
I urge you to grab a pen and paper—the old fashioned way—today, and write down your goals—no matter how big or small you think they might be. You can write them however you want, whether cursive, print, bubble letters, as long as your writing utensil is meeting with your piece of paper. When you are done, put it somewhere that you visit often in your home and would have a clear view of it. I keep one copy in my bedroom and one in my planner, because I always have that with me.
I guarantee you that after a few days or weeks, you will be so much closer to reaching the goals you've written down than you would have been otherwise. Don't believe me? Just try it for yourself.
You know that saying that you were taught as a child—"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me"? What do you think of it now? Hopefully, now that you're a bit older and wiser, you realize that words actually can hurt, but they also can be used in positive and encouraging ways. Power words are a great example of the latter.
What are Power Words?
Power words are words that are powerful enough to solicit some type of action in the favor of the person or organization using them. These are the terms that copywriters use to generate leads for clients, bloggers use to make captivating headlines to draw in readers, and hackers use in subject lines to get us to open emails, steal our info, and scam us. That last one isn't great, but it's still an accurate example of how impactful the use of these words can be!
Some examples are words like, "free", "giveaway", "powerful", "strong", "first", "limited", "special", and the list goes on and on. These terms draw people in and make them want to know more. We become intrigued and want to know what's so special about that blog post or get us thinking that maybe we should jump on this business' limited time offer.
Where and When should I use Power Words?
The awesome thing about power words is that there is no shortage of ways that they can be used. Most of the time, they are linked to copywriters, but marketers and your average salesperson in any field can use them as well. And by salesperson, I mean anyone who is in the business of selling a product, service, or pitching their personal brand.
Power words can be found in website copy, resumes, blog posts, newsletters, advertisements, signage, social media posts, and many more places. There are used when trying to solicit the attention of an audience in order to nudge them toward a particular action. That action could be to purchase an item, read an article, or even just follow the person or business on Twitter. Whatever the reason, adding these words can be the difference between a click and an ignore—a sale and a not interested.
After reading this article, whether you were familiar with the term "power word", or not, you hopefully came to the pleasant realization that you have been no stranger to their use in your content all along. If this is not the case, you should now see why it is crucial to include these words in as many areas of your business' content creation as you can.
What are your favorite power words to use in your content?
If you are a small business owner in the year 2018 and don’t have an active blog on your website, you are losing in so many ways.
Contrary to popular belief, blogging is not just for the travel, fashion, or food enthusiast to share stories and photos of their encounters. It’s a tool, that when used wisely, can do some pretty amazing things for your company and your brand.
The benefits are nearly countless but here are nine things that having an active blog for your business can do for you as a business owner.
1. Distinguish your brand as an industry leader
Writing about and addressing challenges that your target audience is facing makes you a reliable source of information. This is a powerful way of showing that you are knowledgeable and confident, which are two characteristics that people are naturally drawn to.
2. Search Engine Optimization
Blogging is a great way to increase your SEO. Relevant, keyword optimized content is still one of the best ways to leave your competitors behind in the search engine results page.
A blog is another channel of communication and engagement between you and your audience. They are able to see more of the personality behind the brand, which makes them feel connected to you on a different level. Blogging also allows you to strengthen existing relationships and cultivate new ones. According to an article written in Forbes, one of the most important types of engagement is shares—and well written blog articles are likely to be shared frequently.
4. Low Cost Advertising
Since there isn’t normally an additional cost associated with adding a blog to your website, it is the perfect place to slide in some shameless plugs about your business. You can push your services, discuss any promotions you might be having, or talk about any products, speaking events, or anything else which may be of value to your clients that might be coming up in the near future. It’s your page, so you can focus on whatever you choose to, but don’t overdo it. No one wants to feel like the only reason that you want to build a relationship with them is so you can sell to them.
5. Increase Sales
With more website traffic, comes more leads, and if those leads are cultivated correctly—more sales. People will buy from who they feel a connection with and your blog is a great way to elaborate on your unique selling proposition. What sets you apart from your competition? Why should people subscribe to your e-mail list and support your business? Finding a way to articulate the answers to these questions on your blog is a solid way to gain brand loyalty and in turn generate and increase sales.
6. Brand Awareness
If you want to make yourself and your brand known to your target audience, your business needs a blog. Your blog allows you to speak freely about the experience that you have in your niche. It also lets you show a side of your personality that your subscribers may not be able to see otherwise. As I mentioned earlier—connection leads to loyalty. Showing that you are a real person with a real personality lets your audience see the face behind the business, which speaking from experience, makes a big difference.
7. Stay Up to Date on Market Trends
Blogging forces you to stay on top of things. Depending on what your industry is, things in the marketplace can change rather frequently. Because of this, what you wrote about two months ago might now be completely irrelevant and outdated. People want new and fresh information. So, if you want your blog to be one of the ones that people bookmark, subscribe to, and mention in conversations with others, you have to do your homework and stay closely connected to the interests of your audience!
8. Organic Traffic
Many organizations use paid advertising to generate traffic to their websites and this is definitely a great option for those with a budget to do so. However, not every small business owner or solo entrepreneur is in a position to utilize that option. Blogging offers a low cost way to position your content in such a way that it is optimized for search engines therefore bringing in an organic audience. These are people who have found your blog through searching for content that your blog offers, as opposed to searching for your company or business name directly. It won’t happen overnight though, so be prepared to write about 24–50 articles before seeing your website traffic begin to pick up.
9. Address Frequently Asked Questions and Concerns
Having a blog gives you a streamlined way to directly address the questions and concerns that your customers approach you with time and time again. On social media, the amount of information that you are able to provide in a post is limited to a particular character count, whereas in a blog, you can go into as much detail as you feel necessary. This is a benefit that a lot of businesses don’t take advantage of, but should.
Blog It Out
As a content writer and social media manager for small businesses, I make it extremely clear to my clients just how important and necessary blogging is. It’s such an easy way to connect and share in depth information about your brand, products, and services with your audience. If you don’t have an active blog for your business, you are missing out on opportunities, free feedback, business connections, and financial gain. Don’t waste another day. Blog. Blog. BLOG.
For many years, people have viewed introverts as shy, selfish people who are concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than the things and people that surround them. It was a personality trait that was looked down upon from elementary school all the way up into adulthood and extroverts were the ones who were always in the spotlight. They were popular and their outgoing personalities caused people to flock to them. For these reasons and more, it was very surprising to me, a fellow introvert, to discover that some of the most successful people in business are actually introverts as well.
Did you know that Rosa Parks, Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and JK Rowling are all introverts? Can you imagine the year 2018 without the impact of these four people?
There are many factors that go into being a strong and adept leader — and introverts possess a great deal of these qualities. In the area of digital marketing, more specifically social media management, a majority of the tasks are completed by one employee or a very small team. Therefore, even though this position has the word “social” in it, it’s not necessarily designed for a person who is outgoing and needs to spend a majority of their time surrounded by people.
Introverts have proven to be some of the best managers in the world.
Here are 5 qualities of introverts that would make them perfect for your company’s social media manager (SMM) position.
Introverts are usually very independent people by default. Due to their lack of interest in constantly being surrounded by groups of people, they spend a good amount of time alone. They tend to do their best work in a calmer type of environment and don’t require constant supervision or instruction in order to be productive. This is an excellent characteristic to have in an SMM because eighty percent of the time, they work alone and seeing as how this position is usually outsourced or remote, an introvert would be the perfect fit.
There’s an interesting quote that I stumbled upon recently — and although it was pretty funny, it also proved to be a solid word to the wise.
“Think once before you act, twice before you speak, and three times before you post on Facebook.”Sometimes, in business, tough decisions will have to be made and tough situations will have to be faced. In SMM, one common challenge that many businesses face is figuring out how to increase their reach and make their content interesting enough that it is constantly being shared on different social media platforms. You will need someone on your team who is able to sit down and brainstorm on the best ways to achieve this and other short and long-term goals — not one who will just run with the first thought that comes to mind.
Introverts tend to be extremely pensive and take time out to think carefully before reacting to a problem or making important decisions. They weigh the pros and cons of what their actions could lead to and, in turn, react in a more thoughtful and professional manner than extroverts when faced with figuring out solutions.
3. Great Listeners
Being a good listener is a quality that one needs to succeed in a majority of life’s areas. Whether it’s at school, in a relationship, or in the workplace, chances are that if you aren’t good at listening, you will eventually miss something important or fall short. Thankfully, introverts are exceptional listeners. This is in part due to the fact that they prefer to keep their business to themselves and feel uneasy when asked to get too personal.
As someone who would be involved in the day to day social media conversations, comments, likes and dislikes, an introvert would be able to listen and make sense of what customers and followers are really saying and help the business form a game plan or tweak the current one based on their analysis. Consumers know when you are really listening to them and if they feel that their opinions are valued, you will have loyal, repeat customers who are happy to tell others about their positive experiences with your business or brand.
4. Calm Demeanor
Not everything that will be shared on your company’s social channels will be positive. This is where a calm demeanor comes in handy. Introverts are usually calmer than extroverts when faced with an uncomfortable or stressful situation and their energy causes those around them to feel more relaxed as well. When things start to get a little crazy, it’s usually an introvert who helps to keep people grounded long enough to begin seeking solutions and perform damage control.
5. Detail Oriented
Paying close attention to detail is something that can be seen as both a positive and a negative, depending on the situation. When speaking of organizational structure, however, it is an AMAZING trait to possess! Oftentimes, in the hustle and bustle of running a business or performing our day to day duties, we can sometimes overlook important things. This can of course happen to anyone — but it’s an occurrence that happens less with an introvert.
Introverts tend to take their time when making decisions because they like to study and understand the situations that are presented to them thoroughly. They do their best to see things from different perspectives in order to make objective determinations. This is what makes them excellent problem solvers and critical thinkers who can help bring your business the solutions that you have been searching for.
You Can’t Go Wrong
Yes, introverts have qualities that lead people to believe that they may be shy or unwilling to participate at work, but as you have just read, this is not the case. Introverts are some of the hardest working people at the office and because of their excellent listening skills and ability to sort through issues on their own, they are extremely useful.
With the area social media management continuing to grow and the demands that the position involves — as far as being able to work independently a majority of the time, listening to followers and responding thoughtfully, and remaining calm when handling tough inquiries or negativity online — an introvert might just be the piece of the puzzle that you have been searching for.
It is very difficult for most people to say "no", and there are several reasons why. One of the top reasons is that we live in a time where we are used to having it our way. Gluten free? You got it! No bun? For sure! Next day delivery? On the way!
Our expectations have become so distorted that it’s gotten to the point where if someone disagrees with us or our proposition, we are in complete shock. We have tantrums like we did when we were two and can’t accept the fact that sometimes, life doesn’t work like that.
For this reason, it may seem easier for you to just say “yes” and agree to most of things that you are confronted with, but you should never feel obligated to do anything that makes you uncomfortable or unhappy.
Here are 5 ways for you to effectively decline any unwanted solicitations in the workplace.
1.) I am unable to participate in that activity at the moment, but thank you for thinking of me.
2.) This isn't really something that I'm up for right now, but you should definitely talk to so-and-so.
3.) Let them know you aren’t comfortable with the situation. For example, if someone asks to borrow your scarf and you aren’t comfortable lending it to them—you can say something like, “I’m not comfortable with lending people things like that, sorry.”
4.) Sometimes a direct "No" is good enough. It’s okay to be selfish and put your needs before others once in a while, with no apology.
5.) In the case of your manager, point out how heavy your workload currently is and let them know that you don’t want the quality of your existing projects to suffer. Whether it works out in your favor or not, I guarantee that you will feel better for at least giving it a try.
A number of people, who are considered successful today, attribute much of their success to saying "no". Think about it-if you're that person who says "yes" all the time, eventually you will get taken advantage of and barely have time to do those things that matter most to you.
Henry Cloud, who wrote an entire book on how to say "no" once said, “Our opinions and thoughts mean very little if there is nothing we disagree with.” Saying "no" is a part of life, and an extremely important part at that! Have boundaries and stick to them. Once you master this powerful ability, your quality of life and the work that you produce will reward you for it.
What other ways have you found to avoid being in any unwanted situations at work?
Chances are that if you are a millennial—or even if you’re not—you’ve heard of or seen DJ Khaled at some point in your life. It might have been by accident while watching television and seeing him pop up in a Weight Watcher’s ad. It could have been on purpose if you are one of his millions of social media followers. The point is that this producer/entertainer is not an easy person to ignore or miss--especially within the context of these last few years and the growth of social media.
Even though I knew and enjoyed a number of his songs over the last decade or so, I never considered myself a fan. I knew nothing about him other than what he was screaming about in his music—and honestly, I was cool with that. That all changed with my download of the Snapchat application. Once I hit the follow button on his page, I was hooked. DJ Khaled drew me into his universe in a way that I did not see coming—and as someone who has a genuine interest (and degree) in marketing, I was quite impressed.
With the direction that the world seems to be going, using some form of digital marketing is crucial for the success of a business or brand. DJ Khaled—whether it was obvious to him or not—used a number of digital marketing strategies to tremendously grow his brand and bring him to the level of success that he has reached today.
Let’s take a look at 3 of the approaches that worked for him.
The first—and by far the most profitable—technique that has helped DJ Khaled is social media marketing, primarily through the Snapchat app. According to Neil Patel, Social media marketing is the process of creating content that you have tailored to the context of each individual social media platform in order to drive user engagement and sharing--and Khaled has done just that.
He took Snapchat’s unique feature of sharing short videos, maximized on it and made it his own. When this app was doing it’s best a little over a year or two ago, I don’t know anyone who snapped more than him—to the point where it was like, “Okay my guy, relax.” But he didn’t relax, and it’s a good thing that he didn’t because it worked for him. He used Snapchat to not only share videos of his personal life, but to also promote any upcoming albums, concerts, books, appearances, fan meet-ups, and anything else he might have had going on.
Though I will admit that I saw way more of his life than I needed to—shirtless dancing, his wife in labor, him getting a ticket for speeding on a jet ski—it was also pretty awesome to see inside of his home life and view his personality outside of the music. These little extra things, in addition to his positive and contagious energy, kept me coming back to his stories day after day. They made him relevant to me and a real person who I could relate to in many ways. No, some of us may not have jet skis just yet, but I’m sure we do have loved ones and can appreciate someone who works hard to achieve their goals.
I know that we are normally told that we shouldn’t mix business with pleasure, but maybe this is something that we should reconsider? It seemed and still seems to be the winning formula for DJ Khaled.
Repetition. Repetition. See what I did there? Repetition is one of the easiest methods of persuasion and DJ Khaled uses it to exhaustion. Whether you are listening to a song where he is repeating his infamous lyrics or sayings--Another One! We The Best! Major Key! I like that! Don’t ever play yourself! More Wins!--or seeing his repeated posts of some upcoming event or product he is promoting, something is going to stick. Repetition ensures that if someone misses something the first time, they can get it the second or third time around. Sure, it can get quite annoying and overwhelming at times, but when used correctly, it can be an extremely useful weapon to have in your marketing arsenal.
Repetition is one of those things that just works.
I LIKE THAT
The last digital marketing approach that I’ll be sharing today is influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which the focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole.
Collaborating with the right people has taken Khaled’s career to levels that it may not have reached otherwise. He has been in commercials, movies, and as I mentioned before, is now a spokesperson for Weight Watchers. By having his products advertised on other influential celebrity social media channels, people who may not have ever heard of him, are now buying his products and essentially supporting his brand.
I have seen him collaborate with such people as Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, P. Diddy, Naomi Campbell and many more. Each of these celebrities target extremely different audiences, so by working with them, DJ Khaled was able to extend his reach to more people than he ever could have on his own. Through having them promote his products, people who trusted these celebrities decided that he could be trusted too. This is a form of “Social media listening” and is directly connected to word of mouth marketing—which is still one of the most powerful tools out there for business success.
With the growth of social media, influencer marketing is one of the best ways to make your name and your brand known. All it really takes is a retweet or a testimonial from a “reputable source” for your business to reach new levels.
MORE SUCCESS. MORE WINS!
It seems like we can all learn a thing or two from DJ Khaled’s genius digital marketing strategies. Social media, working with influencers, and repetition are all key ways to grow your business and make yourself and your products known. Have you used any of these strategies?
Kacy-Ann Valembrun is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media manager for hire. She is a newlywed, woman of faith with expert knowledge, personal experience, and particular interest in digital marketing, personal development, and women empowerment. If you are interested in having her produce engaging content for your business, you can learn more here. When Kacy's not writing, you can find her exploring her new neighborhood in the midwest, reading while sipping on a cup of oolong tea, or enjoying some fresh air at a nearby park.