Why Digital Marketing is more than just Social Media

You’re building a business, not a social media platform.

 

I have been wanting to write this blog post ever since I did my webinar last year on this very topic and after the glitches in Instagram yesterday it felt like the right time to put fingers to keyboard. I saw so many accounts talk about the loss of followers overnight from their profiles, some a few hundred, some thousands – the panic had begun.

“What have I done?”

“What did I do wrong?”

The answer, nothing. As it turns out, rather than an Insta clear of all the bots and fake followers we were hoping it might be, there was a glitch in the system and Instagram was working hard to fix it. Now, this makes me think about a few things.

1. that still so many people are fixated on follower number as an attribute to business success and

2. if it was a clear out of fake followers and bots, why isn’t anyone more concerned about their accounts being filled with those in the first place?

3. How reliant businesses are on social media to grow their business.

I saw plenty of comments when it spread through the airwaves after reading or hearing that it might be a clear out “Well if that’s true that’s good because I don’t want fake followers anyway” – but did you think this when it boosted your numbers to X amount? We can all see who follows our accounts, we get the notifications. You can see what accounts are coming on board. When I had been in business 6 months I went through a cull of my followers and blocked every account that wasn’t aligned with who I wanted to attract – you know the spammers, the weird entrepreneurs who make things sound so seedy (Million Dollar Baller springs to mind), oh and cardboard box companies, they seem to love a follow bot or two. I took my business from 654 followers down to 346 and I felt good about it. Since then I have been conscious to keep an eye on my followers and who followers and make sure that the spams and bots stay away. My aim with this platform is to build genuine, authentic connections amongst fellow business owners and my ideal clients.

 

Follower number is not the metric you should be following

The problems with Instagram yesterday highlighted once again how business owners are focusing on follower number. The real metrics you should be looking are these:

  • Impressions
  • Website visits from Social Media
  • Time people spend on your website
  • Sales on your website
  • And engagement

You should be looking at how much traffic social media is pushing to your site each week, each month, how many sales are coming through and the time people are actually spending on your website because the longer the better. Obviously, engagement is an important metric to look at for creating brand awareness you want to know you are creating engaging content for your audience to draw them into you, to help them get to know you and you them, but it’s not everything.

 

Quality over Quantity every.single.time

As I said before it doesn’t matter if you’ve got thousands or hundreds of followers if they are not your ideal customer and your target audience it doesn’t matter what the number is. You want to focus on attracting the right followers to your business and also following the right people as well. I’ve seen plenty of people follow totally obscure people back just to get the following. Follow & Unfollow action is not cool – don’t do it.

Putting so much reliance on one thing means that when this does have glitches when the platform does fail you it not only creates panic but you become a slave to it. I’ve had countless conversations with business owners who feel they are a slave to their Instagram account and how they feel if they don’t post on there every day their business will fail or the algorithm won’t like them anymore.

 

Your business does not fail if you are not on Social Media 24/7

Let’s clear that up right now.

What will suffer is your mental health with the stress you are putting on yourself and these platforms. I’ll share some insight with you.

I’ve worked very hard growing my audience since I launched my business. I knew that Instagram would be my main platform for reaching my ideal clients and when I started I put in the work…

Not always posting, but building an audience.

I was commenting, I was sourcing like-minded fellows, I searched for ideal clients, followed their accounts and commented on the posts that I found fun, interesting, valuable, sent messages and connected with them – even resulting in some virtual teas and cakes. I kept my feed steady and built my community. That’s why Christmas last year I decided to take 3 weeks off from my business, I wanted the break from it all and to enjoy some proper undistracted family time. The out of office was on and my social media accounts were off. In the end, I actually had 4 weeks away from Instagram and guess what happened when I came back? Nothing – it was all the same. The community that I had lovely built was still there, waiting. They hadn’t all unfollowed me, they hadn’t abandoned ship and suddenly I wasn’t attracting clients – nope they were all still there.

You can generate some proper Insta fatigue if you only focus on this platform. Yes as marketers we say about showing up and being consistent but focus on the consistency that works for you above all. Show up when it feels right for you.

 

Why Social isn’t everything

 

 

When I saw this tweet yesterday from Emma Jane Palin I had to retweet it straight away.  In business, you cannot put such a high dependency on a social media platform. Marketing your business online includes so much more than that. Social Media is merely a piece of the puzzle and unfortunately, it’s being given way too much of your attention.

I’m not a Social Media hater, I’m a Digital Marketer. I know the other elements involved to grow your business online. I love Social Media, I love how it’s developed over the years, what its brought us, how it’s helped me in business and yes I am focusing solely on the positive aspects here, we all know the darker side, but in terms of marketing and reaching people it has been a wonder – but this isn’t all there is.

If you’re using a platform, like Instagram, as your only way to connect with your audience and grow your business then we have a lot to talk about.

 

The important marketing elements you’re neglecting

 

Did you know that consumers generally have to see something 7 times before they take it in before they make a decision. In the marketing world it’s called the Rule of 7 and because of the digital age we are in we have even more ways to reach our customers and clients than ever before. But if you’re only trying to reach them on one platform, a platform you don’t control, a platform where algorithm plays a part – then this is going to be harder.

What you shouldn’t be neglecting is having a highly functional website, that works well on devices, loads quickly, a website that speaks to your ideal customer at every single piece of content that you produce on it. You shouldn’t be neglecting your SEO and how people can find you in search engines. Did you know that an average of 63,000 search queries happen per second on Google? That’s 5.5 billion a day – A DAY! Who’s going to find you if you’re not looking after your SEO?

Let’s talk about email marketing and growing a list.

I’ve spoken to countless businesses recently who have an email list, mainly because they think they need one or know that other people in their industry do, yet don’t have a clue what their email strategy is. Or they have over 500 people on their list and not once emailed them. Five hundred people who have willingly given over their email address (precious data in this GDPR age) and are actually a hot lead – have not been contacted by the brand or business they want to hear from.

What about content generation outside of a social media post? What about an amazing guide or workbook or gift to give to your customers that could be used as an opt-in for your email marketing? What about blogging and sharing content with your audience, sharing your voice?

You are neglecting valuable elements of marketing your business and most importantly growing your business, I’m sorry but it’s fact.

I’m going to outline an example. 

Say you have a blog and you write an amazing piece of content that you know your audience will love.
Scenario One:

  • You share a post about it on Instagram

TouchPoints to your audience: 1

Scenario Two:

  • Do SEO for your blog post making sure you have a snappy engaging keyword Title tag to be shown in Google when someone searches for the content your writing about, you create an amazing Meta Description that completely draws them in and is picked up for the keywords you want to be found for.
  • Highlight the blog as part of a recent posts collection on your website choosing specific pages that are popular and often checked (which you can find out in Google Analytics).
  • Include the blog on your newsletter to your email list.
  • Share the blog on your social media channels – let’s say Instagram and Facebook in this instance, as a post in the feed.
  • Highlight the blog on your stories.

Touchpoints to your audience: 5

and that’s without the mention of video, or going live, Ad’s or even re-sharing the content.

 

So let’s recap

 

Knowing and understanding all the elements of marketing your business online is really important.

Neglecting those elements will cost you business #FACT.

Putting all your effort into only Social Media will cost you business and potentially affect your mental health too.

You need to open up your marketing and start reaching your audience using the other ways.

Stop neglecting your warm leads that are sitting right there in a list, waiting to hear from you.

By putting all the pieces of the digital marketing puzzle together and using them your business will get more exposure, more traffic and more sales.

Who doesn’t want that?

 

 

GDPR and your Email Marketing

GDPR and your email marketing

For this final instalment I am going to be focusing on how GDPR affects your email marketing. I know many of you use email marketing to reach your audience and GDPR is going to make you look at how you are currently doing this as there will be changes afoot. The big one is consent. As I said, many of you will be doing email marketing and most likely use Mailchimp – who by the way also have some blog posts and advice on GDPR. Looking at your email lists ask yourself this question – how did you obtain this data? Was it by them signing up to your newsletter via your website? Did you meet them at an exhibition and took their business card? Are they people who expressed interest in your collection/product/service?

Mixing Paint Colours

What? We can’t just mix it all up – oh no

Signing up via the website

If you have a sign up form on your site you need to express clearly in easy to understand plain language what a person is signing up for. So just having “Sign Up Here” Will not be enough, you need to start thinking about adding in: Sign up to join our newsletter We will be contacting you once a month with details of our new product launches, tips and ideas for wearing our range and exclusive offers just for you. If you no longer wish to receive our emails you can opt-out at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link which features on the bottom of all our emails. Your emails should always feature an Unsubscribe link – Mailchimp does put this in automatically on its email so never remove this feature.

Meeting them at an exhibition

You did an event and had a lovely chat, took their card and thought you’d add them to your mailing list – this now needs to change. You need to ask them and have recorded proof that they want to be added to your mailing list. This is why in the great days of tech being in our finger-tips it’s worth having a form, similar to your sign up form, on a tablet where the person can complete their details and “tick” if they want to sign up to your mailing list. If they don’t tick you don’t add them. You can follow up their interest by contacting them personally after the event via your business email but do not add them to your mailing list if they didn’t ask to be added.

Customers

Now, Customers are people who have done business with you, but again they might not want to be part of your mailing list, don’t think you can automatically email them because they bought from you, again you need to ask, you need to get consent. This could be a tick box to your mailing list in the e-receipt or e-invoice that then links to your list. Also, more and more consumers are expressing their “right to be forgotten”. Now, what’s this you might be thinking. This is where any individual has the right to ask for their data to be removed where there is no reason for it to be continually used. The ICO have more information on this and how you customers might exercise this right, but also you may want to with companies you deal with as well. A email sign up may not use the unsubscribe link but email you directly and ask to be taken off the list – keep a record of this request and then remove them from your list immediately. Do not add it to the to-do list because if you forget and an email goes out and that person is still on your list they could raise a complaint against you. I would strongly advise if you use a site like Shopify or Squarespace, Wix or WordPress with any data collection functions, be it email sign ups or ecommerce records that you contact these sites and check what their own compliance will be with GDPR. You need to know you are using websites that are following the new rules. The same with Mailchimp and any other email service provider. Mailchimp do go into detail about how they will be doing their own compliance in this document.

baby on the computer sorting out his email marketing lists for GDPR

“Hang on, I’ve got some business admin to do. Put my milk on hold for a minute.”

Current Email Lists

You are going to need to do some email list admin, especially if you have lists which you’ve created using some of those methods I said above i.e. the adding them to the list with no proof of consent from the individual. Look at your current lists, make a note of where you got the data from,  if you do not have written or logged proof anywhere from that individual that they wanted to be on your mailing list and receive your emails you can do 1 of 2 things:

  1. Re-consent
  2. Delete this data and do not contact these people.

Robin Adams, who runs email consultancy Perfect Blend and Chimp Answers has brilliant advice. He also runs a Facebook Group and have been doing lots of webinars on GDPR and has great advice for businesses so I definitely recommend having a look at this page and group. He has also done a lot on Re-consent as well which is worth looking at. If any individual in your lists gave consent and you have record of it and it abides by the current rules you are fine with those individuals, if it doesn’t then this is where you need to make one of those two choices with this data.

AND FINALLY…The Disclaimer once again.

I really want to add again that I am in no way an “expert” on this, there are people in this field that have trained in GDPR specifically because it is that HUGE. In these posts I have just tried to collate together what I have seen, read and heard over the last two years and my understanding of all this. So please, do read up on this yourselves, consult a legal profession or the ICO directly – they will be able to help you as remember every business will be affected by the changes in GDPR so you are not alone. Saying that, don’t think that the ICO will have their hands full and so you can go under the radar “no one will know about my little business” – do not take the risk. As a business you do have a responsibility – this isn’t just something you can pay someone to come in and magically sort out all your GDPR needs, they can help you understand and help with some preparation perhaps but you need to know as a business how to be compliant going forward and stand by that compliance. I hope these three posts have helped. It does seem rather scary and a bit intimidating I know but try to think logically about it, follow the steps in the guides you find, take the time out to get ready and do the admin because it will be better further down the line when this all comes into affect. You want to be prepared, you want to be compliant, you want to still have your business, don’t let GDPR trip you up.

baby hiding under really snazzy hat

“So if I just hide under my really snazzy hat, GDPR won’t find me right?”

Getting prepared for GDPR

Well it works for the Boy Scouts so it can work for GDPR. This post is covering how you can prepare for GDPR.

Again, get a tea, grab a notebook and let’s get comfy.

 

Get organised for GDPR

Okay, I’ve got my notebook I’m ready!

Get organised

Now is the time to look at all the data you hold and where it is. Make a data audit for your business – use Excel, Word, whatever works but make sure it’s something you can access easily and add to when needed – also password protect this shizzle because this is vital information and you want to keep it safe. Go through all the areas where you collect data, what data you have, how you store it, how you got it and who you share it with.

Centralise

Once you have this audit think about centralising all your vital data, so anything that is super important to the running of your business. Excel is good for this as again, you need to start introducing Password Protection into your life. I have read that they are making people think carefully about choosing any cloud based platforms to do this because they can be hacked.

Create a Privacy Policy & Terms and Conditions pages for your website

If you don’t have these already you NEED to get them on your website. The ICO have some great tips on writing a brilliant Privacy Policy page and you can find a number of resources online for Terms and Conditions too. If you are a member of any fab Facebook groups you may even find a legal super whizz that can give your pages a look to make sure you’re covering everything you need too.

Everyone has rights

Every person that interacts with your business has rights. Think about their rights and how you ensure these are protected. This can be included in the Privacy Policy where you say how you will use their data. Another example is on a sign up form on a website, make it clear how you will store their data and how you will contact them when they “opt in” – I am going to be delving more into Email marketing specifically in the third instalment.

They might want to know stuff

All businesses will be affected by GDPR

Alright, if everyone is taking this GDPR business seriously then I better follow them.

 

Anyone has the right to ask you what information you hold on them, so think about how you would handle this, what would you provide and how long would it take for you to supply the information they need. You need to have a procedure in place to handle this type of request.

Age is just a number

It’s really important to think about the user behind the screen and you should make sure you have systems in place to verify people’s ages and if it requires for you to get parental or guardian consent for any data. I bet CBeebies will be looking at this very strongely because of the apps that they have.

There’s been a breach

Plan in advance how you would handle a data breach i.e. maybe you email someone accidentally who had “opted out” of your list, or maybe they didn’t actually give you consent for you to sign them up in the first place, you just met at an exhibition one day, took their business card and added them on (naughty).  Maybe you data list wasn’t password protected and you’ve been hacked at home and their data could be at risk – think about how you would handle this IF it happened.

It is really important that you read up on the ICO’s code of practice and become familiar with their guidelines and advice.

Don't get fined with GDPR

“There’s been a breach? Where’s my legal department”

 

 

The next post is all about GDPR, email marketing and the changes to “consent”.

What is GDPR?

what is gdpr

Some big changes are coming on the 28th May and it’s called GDPR.

Now you may be thinking “What on earth is that?” and “that doesn’t affect me” but if you collect data in anyway from your customers you need to know what this is and how it will affect your business.

Before we start I am going to say that I am by no means a GDPR expert, I have been reading about it for the last two years in my old job and since launching DBB and there is a lot of information out there about it. So my posts will be a culmination of what I have read and understood, but it is developing all the time as they get closer to it coming into force so if you are unsure in anyway about GDPR and how to be compliant, please do contact the ICO directly for guidance.

Now, in the first of a series of blog posts I am going to be talking about what is it. Maybe grab a tea, some biscuits and a notebook because this is going to be heavy.

What is GDPR

Hang on someone just said the words “GDPR” – I’m phoning people in the know now. They said it’s going to be HUGE….

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and it’s the result of four years work by the EU to bring data protection legislation into line with the new ways that data is now used.

Think about it, when Data Protection Laws were created in 1998 we collected and used data very differently to how we do now. The revolution of the internet alone has changed how we interact massively and now we need to look at this and get in line with the times. So the EU have been working to do just that.

What does it actually mean though?

It means A LOT and brings a whole new world of things for you to know as a business owner. Let’s take a look.

GDPR will apply to what they call “Controllers” and “Processors” of data, for example as a business if you have a sign up form on your website and you are collecting data from other people whether it’s name, email address, interests etc. You are a controller. A processor is someone doing the actual data processing – which in a small business will also be you and also if you are using a system to send your emails like Mailchimp, this can also be classed as a processor. Both roles are required to follow the legislation as you will be held accountable for any breaches.

By breaches I mean fines and they can be BIG. The ICO can fine up to £500,000 alone but GDPR will allow fines of up to £20 million or four percent of your annual turnover – whichever they feel is higher.

Okay, you’re probably thinking “Yikes” right now, but please don’t worry, there are plenty of steps you can take to be compliant for GDPR and if in any doubt at anytime there is a whole host of resources online with the ICO and their support.

Little Girl thinking about GDPR

“Hmmmm, I don’t think I do anything with data. Maybe if I just ignore it it will go away.”

So what do I mean by “data”?

GDPR applies to “personal data” to any of those examples I gave above. If you collect any information that relates to an individual that can be used to directly or indirectly identify them, this is personal data – think of your customers and what data you collect from them when they make a purchase or sign up to receive your newsletter.

Here’s a little list of just some of the data.

– Name

– Address

-Email Address

– Date of Birth

-Bank Details

– Their IP address – this is numbers that are used to identify your computer when you access the internet.

Also think about the suppliers you use in your business and the data you hold on them.

I know this can seem very overwhelming and somewhat scary, but every business in the world is in the same boat so take comfort that every one will need to be compliant, you are not alone.

Join me for the next post on Weds where I will be covering how you can prepare for GDPR.