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It’s been a while since my last blog, like many small business owners, I’ve been juggling the difficulties of lockdown, balancing homeschooling and work, a gradual return to some sort of normality, a lovely holiday last week, and now a new lockdown. For my clients
A lovely story in this weekend’s Scotsman newspaper, Sir Chris Hoy and his wife Sarra celebrating their baby son coming home from hospital. It had all the right elements a nice photo, gratitude from both parents for the care received from hospital staff, and thanks to
It’s been a while since my last blog, like many small business owners, I’ve been juggling the difficulties of lockdown, balancing homeschooling and work, a gradual return to some sort of normality, a lovely holiday last week, and now a new lockdown.
For my clients and many other businesses, it’s been a real mixed picture over the last few months. Some are busier than ever because they are able to carry on with their work whatever the level of restrictions are. For others though, much of what they do is dependent on people being able to get out and interact with them. Those businesses may wonder what to post on social media and if it’s worth bothering at the moment.
My advice is that it is definitely worth the effort. While many of us are confined to our homes and certainly going out less than we’re used to, we’re spending more time on social media than ever before . Businesses that do a good job of keeping in touch, offering advice and support, and generally reminding us they are there – should be in a good position as customers can return.
Build loyalty now even if you can’t turn that into sales just yet.
Here are five things you could post about:
1. Your services
What services can you offer while people are at home? Can they contact you for advice or ask to be added to a waiting list for when we do have more freedom? Do you offer gift vouchers that people could buy as presents?
Are there any tips and advice you can offer that relate to your area of work?
Ask for feedback. Use your social media channels to gauge opinions on what customers and potential customers would be interested in. Make changes if you have the time.
4. Your story
One of the reasons people support local businesses is because they are dealing with real people. Let your customers know your story. Why did you start your business and how did it get to the point its at now?
5. Outside of work
What are you up to outside of business? As far as you are comfortable, tell people a bit about how you have adjusted to the current circumstances and some of the things you have been doing away from your business.
And here are three ways you can support local businesses via social media:
Facebook and Google both offer you the chance to share reviews of businesses that you’ve used in the past. Take the time to write one for a local business you’ve been a customer of. Or why not take a photo of something you’ve bought, share it on social media, and tag the business in your post. It’s guaranteed to make them smile!
Did you know that the more interaction a social media post gets, the more people get to see it? Simply liking or commenting on a social media post from a local business gives it a boost and means more people are aware of what the business does.
Facebook groups and other online chats are full of people asking for recommendations. Spend a few minutes suggesting the names of local businesses that you know and trust – it makes a real difference to them
I’m based in Balsall Common and many of our local businesses use #BalsallBusiness on social media, in nearby Knowle #VisitKnowle is popular. Why not search for these hashtags and support local businesses or search for the equivalent in your local area
Thinking of small business owners everywhere as they navigate yet more difficult times.
I was delighted to receive this card from Marie Curie as a thank you during Volunteers Week. I love the work that I do to help them communicate their local fundraising activities through social media, particularly our local Facebook page. Along with the Balsall Common and Berkswell Marie Curie group I also help Balsall Common Lions Club, Berkswell Cricket Club, Balsall Hornets, and also our local community website balsallcom.com and the linked social media channels.
So why do I do it? It definitely isn’t because I’ve got oodles of free time! I help Marie Curie because they looked after my mum when she was very ill. I help the Lions Club because my Dad’s been a member for over 30 years and they’ve been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
It is incredibly rewarding and using social media at local and community level can have fantastic results. I love sharing my knowledge, helping local clubs and groups to develop their own skills and see the results. We publicise Marie Curie events largely through social media but also use a local magazine, posters and other methods. It generates bookings for fundraising fairs, volunteers to help out with collections, and participants for our annual Weekend Wind Down walk.
Balsall Common Lions Club have noticed an increase in visitors to their annual bonfire since promoting it on Facebook and I’m particularly pleased that some Lions I’ve trained up have really made the Facebook account their own, particularly at Christmas when they send messages from Santa letting people know about his local sleigh route around the village – great for raising awareness and helping their fundraising efforts.
I also helped our local cricket club create a keen cohort of young players in their successful All Stars programme.
From a professional point of view, I recommend volunteering to anyone who wants to hone their skills and try out new things. I first got involved with balsallcom.com when I was on maternity leave and keen to maintain my web updating and social media skills while I was off work.
For anyone working in large organisation your skills will be really valued by local community groups and it’s also an opportunity to test out some of the things that aren’t always possible in a big organisation.
So why not look at starting a volunteering opportunity? I’m sure there’s a local group in your area that could benefit from your time and skills.
For anyone living in the Balsall Common area please get in touch and I can match you up to a fantastic local organisation that would benefit from your support. Equally, if you’re a local charity or group looking for a bit of help with your social media I run one-off sessions, usually in Balsall Common, to offer training and upskilling. Get in touch for more details.
Wow! Signal Communications is sponsoring the Gin Bar at the Balsall Beerfest, organised by two local groups I help – Balsall Common Lions and Balsall Hornets. It’s on Saturday 29th June so you can catch me there.
As well as small businesses, we help voluntary and community organisations to use social media to support their work.
Last year we helped Berkswell Cricket Club achieve the second highest number of sign-ups for All Stars in the whole of Warwickshire. As a mum of three keen young cricketers, it was great to be able to support the club and the wider initiative to encourage children aged 5-8 into the game. Such was the success, the club extended the sessions beyond the eight official dates and created an enthusiastic cohort of boys and girls who are now making their way through the junior ranks at the club. It also helped recruit volunteer coaches and team managers – a vital element of running a successful junior cricket section.
As the registration process for this year’s All Stars programme opens – my youngest already has his name down – I’m thinking about what made it such a success last year, and what advice I can pass on to other clubs who are aiming for a similar level of involvement.
Why did it work?
It worked because of a range of activities including social media.
The ECB did a really good job of marketing the programme, using a variety of channels including national cinema ads as well as a widespread Facebook advertising campaign.
Warwickshire Cricket Board ran a taster session at our local primary school. Kids arrived home with wristbands and information, having tried a fun session of cricket. Mums and dads were told how fantastic it was and to sign them up straight away!
Facebook – public and private
We’d published a Facebook post on the Berkswell Cricket Club Juniors page with all the sign-up details to make it quick and easy for parents to find the information they needed and register for local sessions. This post was then shared into a private local Facebook group of school moms and also in WhatsApp groups. It was this combination of public information and private sharing that really helped to convert interest into sign ups.
My tips for local All Stars success
- Keep an eye out on national social media posts and share them to your club page and retweet them from your Twitter account. Your local cricket Board is likely to have a social media presence, so remember to tag them in to improve your reach.
- Make it easy for people to find your information, here’s our post for this year. Include all the details and a direct link to the sign-up page. Share it to as many relevant Facebook groups as you can, these are a key way that local people find out what’s going on.
- Use a ‘call to action’ – ask parents to share posts and tweets. Ask online, ask in person, ask by email if you have a list. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
- Make it as exciting as possible and involve parents and kids. Ask parents to share pictures to your club page of children enjoying the All Stars Cricket experience – maybe when their personalised kit arrives.
- Speak to your local school – most primaries issue regular newsletters. Ask them to share your information via their online and paper communications. Schools are always keen to promote exercise and health, particularly if it is happening in their local community.
In the first week of activity to promote All Stars 2019, Berkswell have already filled 40 of their 80 places for this year! Here’s looking forward to the summer!
I was delighted to be the guest speaker for the Balsall Business Club last week in their new venue, the Jubilee Centre. I spoke about Small Business Saturday and how to make the most of it, for anyone who couldn’t make it, here’s what I covered:
What is Small Business Saturday?
The aim of Small Business Saturday is to highlight the success of small businesses and encourage consumers to shop local, supporting independent businesses in their community. It was started by American Express, covers any business with a turnover of under £10million and is now in its 5th year. This year Small Business Saturday is 2 December.
How can it help you?
- Publicity – Sign up for the free directory so if people are looking for a business like yours, they’ll find you.
- Logos – Download the marketing materials so you can show your support for the day.
- Advice – There’s tons of useful advice and information on the website about all aspects of running your business
How to use Small Business Saturday?
Essentially it is an opportunity to tell your story. Remember, people like to buy from people, so show them who you are. Tell the about why you started your business, how your business is different from your competitors or big names. Show your passion, what do you love about your business, why do you do what you do? This post about our first year as a limited company was really popular.
You can write up your story as a blog on your website just like this, if you haven’t got your own is there someone else who could host it for you? If you have a Facebook Page you can add it as a Note (it could look like this). On LinkedIn? Add it as an article. Share the links on your social media accounts.
Connect and engage with the Small Business Saturday social media accounts, they use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Use the hashtag #SmallBizSatUK. Tag their accounts and those of partners, supporters and anyone else you want to notice your story in your social media posts. Help others too; if you share their story it might prompt them to share yours too.
If you write up your story for Small Business Saturday or have other plans let me know, I’d be happy to support you.
Visit the Small Business Saturday website for all the information and downloads you need to make it a success for your business.
To find out more about the Balsall Business Club visit their website.