Why I have found myself working with start-up and small businesses over the years

My first big freelance project was with a start-up, and I went on to work with the same team for a second project later that year. For both projects, I was able to take the creative lead when it came to content, social strategy and outreach programs. This often meant I’d be given a very basic brief along with the freedom to make key decisions without too much discussion.

After going full-time freelance in September last year, I picked up a lot more projects; it didn’t take me too long to realise that I wasn’t really cut out for following specific briefs and at times, strategies. I work best when I am able to create and implement strategies, question decisions, make suggestions and avoid all the red tape/back and forth you have to go through with some clients.

Of course, I’ve worked with clients that already have a strategy in place, and I’ve written content following super specific briefs, and I didn’t hate it. However, I definitely prefer it when I’m given an opportunity to play a more active role when it comes to a brands overall strategy. Sometimes these ideas are welcomed, other times they are shut down, but in my opinion, it’s always good to share them. My brutal honesty is both a blessing and a curse in every aspect of my life.

I’ve worked with start-ups that have failed and many that have flourished, each and every project has taught me invaluable lessons and skills that I am able to carry forward. With new brands and small businesses, you often find the team are more open to change, and with a shorter chain of authority, these changes can be implemented quickly and efficiently to keep up with the ever-changing world of digital marketing.

When it comes to marketing, every business should be more receptible to change, and that’s usually the beauty of the start-up/SME industry. For me, marketing is about pushing the boundaries, trying new things, taking risks and having opinions that actually count. I can be a little impatient, and I don’t really like to be micromanaged. That being said, I’m a team player and will happily go above and beyond for a brand I genuinely believe in. So, that’s why I’ve quickly found that start-ups and SME’s are the perfect fit for me.

Why you should be utilising paid advertising on social media

According to The Manifest, 92% of small business will increase their investment on social media for 2018/19. If you’re unsure as to why you should consider paid advertising for your brand, read on to find out just some of the reasons why…

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to grow across social media organically, thanks to algorithms and fierce competition, organic reach has seen a significant decline in recent years.

In case you didn’t already know, more than two billion people use social media every single day, with studies finding that the average user spends around 135 minutes on social media platforms each and every day. So, if you think that social media, both organic and paid won’t add value to your business, you might be missing a trick.

Contrary to popular belief paid social media advertising is a cost-effective method to promote your business. With a relatively small budget, you can reach thousands of users across social media.

With post from friends and family taking priority on user’s feeds, social media presence for brands has seen a slow decline. That being said, you don’t need a huge budget to make your presence known on the feeds of your target audience.

Through Facebook advertising you can:

  • Amplify your reach through targeted ads to your desired market
  • Gain instant visibility, ensuring your posts will be showing up on news feeds
  • Set, monitor and adjust budgets
  • Enhance your targeting (Facebook also offer a retargeting feature)
  • Build your brand awareness through paid and organic interaction
  • Utilise your content marketing, what’s the point in putting out great content if no one sees it?
  • Collect market insights using the analytics for each specific platform you are running ads on

When paid advertising across social media is done right, it can be a rewarding investment. Of course, social media is a challenge in itself, so before you consider paid ads, you want to nail your content. Check out my post on common mistakes to avoid on social media or get in touch to discuss a bespoke package for your brand.

 

Common mistakes brands make when it comes to social media marketing

Social media can be a valuable tool for your business when it is utilised effectively, from creating a digital footprint to generating leads or sales and everything in between. But that’s the problem, so many brands forget about the ‘everything in between’. They forget about connecting with their audience,  discussing relevant topics, and in some cases, they forget the entire ‘social’ aspect of social media.

One of the stand out mistakes for me is posting for the sake of posting, I used to work a number of clients that had been promised x amount of posts each and every day, it’s lucky this was remote work because my eyes roll every time I see that on a brief.  There is absolutely no point in posting at 9am, 1pm, and 7pm every day like clockwork if you’re posting irrelevant or repetitive content. By all means, post as much as like if you’re posting content that is actually valuable. Just take a moment to ask yourself will this actually resonate with my audience or is it a load of crap before you get carried away.

Next up is not using platform-specific content. It might seem like a great idea to set up a Hootsuite account and create a page on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google+ (does anyone actually use that anymore?), because you think that’s what your competitors are doing, but it’s also completely pointless if you’re posting the same content to each. First and foremost, choose the platforms you actually really need to be on, create specific content for each and worry about the rest later. It’s all about understanding your audience through trial and error, but you can’t do this effectively if you’re just piggybacking content across all social media.

Avoiding topics and content that isn’t directly related to your brand, product or service is another one. It’s the equivalent to someone that only ever talks about themselves, never good is it? A lot of brands seem to think that the sole interest of their audience is them. Mix it up a bit, post relevant news articles, produce content that isn’t just about your brand, share opinions on trending topics.

Last but definitely not least, hard selling. This is for those brands that totally overlook the social aspect of social media. This one really simple, just don’t do it. Not on LinkedIn, not on Facebook and don’t even bother on Instagram.

If it sounds like a little too much hard work to avoid these common mistakes, hire me to do it for you.

Four famous faces that have nailed social media

Celebrities on Social Media usually means one of two things, a PR dream, or a PR nightmare, finding the right balance on oversharing, voicing opinions and self-promotion can be more difficult for certain famous faces than others! Social media has become one of marketing’s most powerful tools over the years… For those in the public spotlight, it gives them the opportunity to share updates in real time, give behind the scenes access into their lives and interact with fans on a daily basis, and when it’s done right, it can be great!

For me, it’s always great to see public figures using their profiles to raise awareness of important issues, breach difficult subjects and support causes that need it. BUT it’s also important that the content rolled out is entertaining or informative, to ensure followers are interacting. Below are four celebrities that (in my opinion) have nailed social media recently…

Maya Jama 

Maya Jama is the QUEEN of keeping it real on social media.  A huge advocate of realistic beauty standards and supporting other players in the industry, a lot of influencers could take a leaf out of Maya’s book. Her Instagram is the perfect combination of funny, endearing content, giving an insight into her daily life, from the glam room to the finale of her biggest projects. Maya uses her social media to openly discuss her anxiety body positivity. She really does come across as the person that EVERYONE wants to be best friends with.

Professor Green 

Rapper, responsible dog owner, documentary presenter AND social media kingpin. Not only does Pro Green give fans an insight into his daily life, from chilling at home with the dogs to the hitting the road on the tour, but he also produces some really valuable content. He actually made a new account called ‘I Used To Rave But Now I‘ dedicated to food, homeware, and doggy care recommendations. But for me, what sets Professor Green aka Stephen Manderson apart from the rest is his consistency in breaching difficult subjects, mirrored in his documentaries, from dangerous dogs to mental health and homelessness, he offers an honest insight into sensitive subjects encouraging others to talk about it. It’s no exaggeration to say I share or receive a post from Professor Green almost daily. 

Check out The Book of Man for more on mental health from PG.

Chrissy Teigen 

Similarly to Maya Jama, Chrissy is a big advocate of realistic beauty standards and keeping it real for her fans. The mum of two unapologetically documents the true realities of motherhood. Chrissy is particularly good at making light of headlines, especially those concerning her, her husband John Legend or her arch enemy Donald Trump. Chrissy constantly hits the headlines for her activity on social media, and more often than not, this is a good thing for her! From sharing recipes from her cookbook, cute videos of her children, or trolling her husband, Chrissy has nailed the perfect combination!

50 Cent

Now, 50 Cent is one of those that is definitely on the cusp of PR nightmare, but he is HILARIOUS. His posts get huge responses, although not always glowing responses, people are definitely talking about and sharing his content a lot! You can usually find him on Instagram trolling celebs or leaking information about his own show Power…

For me, there are a few things all four of these celebrities have in common… and that is that they are raw, unfiltered (it may be debatable whether that is good or bad in some cases), honest and relatable. If followers can resonate with the message an individual or brand is putting out there, it can have a really positive impact. Whether it’s intentional or not, these guys have really got it right!

In marketing it’s not always just about looking at what competitors are doing, it’s about finding what appeals to your target audience and using that for your brand and important topics surrounding it, social media is a marketing powerhouse when used correctly!

Thanks for reading! xo

Social Influencers: The good, the bad and the ugly

Firstly, let’s start with the basics. For those of you who don’t know, social influencers are individuals or groups that have established a credibility within a specific industry, giving them access to a large audience in order to promote brands or products. By virtue of their reach and fan base, social influencers are able to persuade others to buy certain products or services.

The cost of using a social influencer to promote your brand or product can vary massively, depending on the industry and their following. Low-level influencers with around 10,000 followers may charge around £100 per post, on the opposite end of the spectrum the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner can rake in around £750,000 per post!

Brands may opt to use an influencer for a one-off post, or establish a long-term relationship, in this instance, the influencers are often referred to as ‘brand ambassadors’.

You may have noticed hashtags such as #ad on #spon across your social media feeds recently, this is because Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have recently released new guidelines to ensure followers are aware that these types of posts are in fact, paid adverts.

Although the ASA has stepped in to make this kind of advertising more transparent, there are still a number of serious flaws, particularly for businesses when it comes to using social influencers to promote their brand. Research that has taken place since the rise of social influence has found that many individuals and brands purchase fake followers, therefore meaning their engagement rates don’t reflect their follower statistics.

According to a study carried out by Points North Group, culprits of buying fake followers included Ritz-Carlton with an estimated 78% and Pampers with 32%. In an industry where social influence is on the rise, it is likely thousands of brands have fallen victim to this scam, and as a result have lost of millions of pounds.

From my personal point of view, so many ‘influencers’ in the industry are in it to make a quick buck, promoting products that capitalise on the insecurities of impressionable followers to sell the latest ‘detox’ tea or teeth whitening product, over the years I have grown savvy to this, and as a digital marketer can usually spot it a mile off, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case with unknowing consumers.

That being said, when a reputable social influencer is hired to promote a brand in an ethical way, following ASA standards, it can be a fruitful endeavor for both parties, and I’m all for it.

But as a brand, if you are considering using an influencer, do your research first, be sure to check their engagement rates reflect their following stats. If you are hoping to be a social influencer, or even build your brand across social media, buying fake followers could potentially have a long-lasting damaging effect, and although it can take a long time, it is 100% more worthy of your time to build your brand through genuine followers and genuine engagement within your industry.

If you would like more advice on finding a reputable social influencer, feel free to get in touch! Over the years I have built up a database of trusted UK bloggers and influencers with proven results.

Thanks for reading! xo