Using Social Media to build a community for your business

Do you get overwhelmed every time you look at your social media? I don’t know about you but I have chunked through so many online courses now that my Facebook suggested Feed is packed with online courses, get rich quick schemes, and 10 reasons why I have to buy a thing.  

For most part I have learned to drown out the noise, and curate it back to what makes my Facebook most beneficial… a steady supply of funny memes.

However, if you are a business, and you are trying to compete above the throng of sales, the experience can be a little daunting. Trying to figure out what exactly you need to do in order to get the attention of your customers is like politely raising your hand  in a room full of raging baboons. If the constant vying for attention seems a little overwhelming to compete with, I offer a different tactic.

I come from a music background. When you are starting a band, trying to get people to pay attention to you to come to your concert, can be a desperate affair at times.  One thing you have to be really good at is social media marketing. If there is any industry that has been doing it for a good long time it’s the music industry. Building a fanbase is a long game, and there is really one way of doing it…

Connect with people one person at a time. 

How do you do that? Well for a musician or an artist it’s fairly straight forward; play music and create content people want to watch. It is the grass roots process of slowly building your empire till it reaches that point where enough people talk about you that it will just take off. 

First you must rely on friends and family, then you claw tooth and nail grabbing those stragglers on the periphery of the music culture, till you have friendship groups, then trendsetters, and then suddenly it just blows up and you seem to have this community of people who are all engaged with you. 

It's a slow process but for the band or artist that’s willing to stick with it, there comes a point where they start to solidify their personality, they get attuned to what their fans want, and they start catering to it. It is a process that while technology and those points of contact have changed over the years, the process of building a fanbase stays pretty much the same. 

For every influencer you see on Instagram, TikTok or YouTube, the reason people are watching them is because they have something to give. They offer value to their audience. They don’t ask for money, they ask for attention, and in return they give something valuable to the audience. 

It could be humour, entertainment, it could be education, or just their review or opinions on things. People watch because they gain something from watching, even if it is a few fleeting seconds of entertainment.

So… how does that relate to your business?

Don’t look to get more customers, look to build a community

That’s a grand call, but how do you build a community on Instagram or Facebook? Well, first you have to figure out what your community looks like; what they relate to and what kind of problems they have. If you own a business, being wired to what your customers need, and the type of people your business is attracting, well it’s simply essential.

Social media can be quite overwhelming, but if you can figure out where your customers are, and what resonates with them, it offers a profound platform to build a customer-base that will continue engaging and buying from you. 

Plus, not only do you have a network, but every node in your network has a network of its own! Post something "incredible, relevant, and of value" to your audience then it can allow you to break free of the limitations of your network and spread your word around to a more massive audience! The real million-dollar question is; how do I engage my audience in such a way that they give me their attention and then give me their dollars?

If you are having a hard time finding a starting point, here is one…

Besides selling your product or service, how can your knowledge, personality and abilities help people lead more enjoyable lives? 

Think of what happens in your business, what problems you have solved, what obstacles you have faced that could help other people in their day to day life. If you can help people in ways that will build trust and build your authority in your area of expertise, they are far more likely to buy from you

It seems like you are giving away advice for free, but you are trading it for attention and loyalty. I’m not saying you give away all your secrets, but helpful tips and tricks around the problems that would lead them to buying your product or service, or how to make best use of your product or service, can be a good way to persuade, or as marketers call it ‘nurture’ them into the sale when they are ready.

When someone gives us something for free that helps us or makes our life better in some way, we become more loyal to that person, and are more likely to reciprocate that value back. Not only does this grow your authority as an expert in your service or business but it also creates loyalty amongst your followers.

Now the knock-on effect of you delivering value is that you start to attract that reciprocation from not only your own network but their networks as well. It could be that one post that intrigues a person, and then they jump onto your social media and see other helpful things. Then they might jump onto your landing page. It’s how sales funnels work, but it's that helpful hint or that entertaining behind the scenes video that caught their attention to begin with.

Consistency is key

There is no right or wrong with how often you should upload content, if you can only commit once a week that is still better than social media silence. Creating habits is the important part. People just need to see that you are active. Sometimes it might just be a photo, a short behind-the-scenes, a quick tip or a short video of what you are doing.

 A lot of business owners make the mistake of uploading a whole bunch of stuff then they just burn out and give up on it. All the major social media platforms have the ability to schedule posts. 

Software like Hootsuite, Loomly, HubSpot allow you to schedule posts on multiple platforms from the one place. First find out where your audience is, and then focus on the platforms that give you the most engagement. A younger audience will be mostly TikTok, whereas an older demographic might be hovering on Facebook and Instagram.

Scheduling posts means you put aside some time every week or two to just upload a couple things and not worry about it again for a bit.

Document your business life

It's hard to think of all the possible things you must do to have a constant flow of new content, week in and week out. So just to ease the pain of having to come up with new content every week, try to get into the habit of documenting the things you do. 

You don’t need some fancy video camera for it, your phone will do. Record those human moments, the people you meet, the work you are proud of, the obstacles you overcome. What engages people are stories; it could be a new task you created for better workflow, it could be a thing you learnt. 

Share things that align with your business values and interests.

Now you don’t have to upload EVERYTHING you do, but at least it gives you content to go through and see if it could be of interest to the people around you. Remember, you can always upload it again later with ‘Remember when we did this?’

Experiment with what you post and see what engages people

Part of finding out what engages your audience is playing around with different things to see what works, and paying attention to your analytics (views, likes, shares etc). Finding out when your audience is most active and what posts they are engaging with most, should inform what kind of things you should be posting more often. 

There is a lot of trial and error here, just try to stay away from things that might offend people or having polarising views on things. It’s a slow game, it really is, but give yourself a minimum of three months to just post lots of different things and see what is working and what isn’t. After a while you will still start to clue in to what your audience likes and dislikes. 

When you are posting ask yourself this question…

What value am I delivering with this post?

It could be educating your audience on a topic, it could be sharing a behind the scenes of how your business operates, it could be a short entertaining thing or a meme or video that you think is worth it to your audience.  

While it might seem like you are going nowhere fast, as you refine and define your online personality, you will learn what content your customers resonate with, and you will slowly develop that bond with them.  Give it time and you will reap the rewards; a fan base, and a bottom line of customers who you know will buy from you for that new product launch, or will come to you first when they have that problem your service solves. 

Keep at it. Build your community. However, we do understand that running a business and social media full-time is not always doable, so why not give us a buzz, and we can kickstart your social media journey for your business.

How your brain crunches visual data

How your brain crunches visual data 

and why product advertising is a sneaky little ninja

As humans we are mentally and biologically conditioned towards favouring familiarity. It’s not a bad thing, there is a lot happening around us at any given time that our brain has to make sense of. 

Our brain provides context and understanding of the world around us in some weird and wonderful ways. It has been a guiding factor in how humans have evolved, and how we see the world around us. 

It is worthwhile delving into how our brain works though, because advertising spends large amounts of money every year, capitalising on our brain behaviour to get our attention, and to influence us to make choices subconsciously. 

We learn visual cues based on the context we see them in. 

Let’s take a square plank of wood. This flat, square piece of word happens to have 4 legs protruding out of it. Our brain immediately goes ‘this is a table’. Then put another plank rising vertically from one of the sides, and we immediately think ‘ok, this is now a chair’.  

The objects around us are defined by several key distinct features that define those objects. Once our brain identifies those key features, it just fills the gaps. It also relates to the context you see it in, too.

If you are driving in your car and you stop at the traffic lights, red means stop and green means go, but we can assign other meanings to the same colour, based on context.

If you are in the supermarket green usually means environmentally friendly, or the healthy option. If you’re in the dairy section light blue usually denotes the light fat option, it is the ‘healthier’ option. 

Our brain takes all the visual information that assails our eyes at any given moment, and looks for those visual cues that define the thought process. 

It’s just a quicker way to do business in our head, so we aren’t constantly overwhelmed by everything our eyes see. It allows us to interact with the world around us easily and most importantly; quickly.

Our brain is constantly making super quick judgement calls before we are even aware of what we are looking at. 

Let’s talk about what our brain is doing the moment it sees something. Our eyes create images in a blurry and very imperfect way. 

It is the brain that gives the visual stimulus the high definition. If the stimulus is new, it requires greater computing power because the brain does not have a previous point of reference for this new information. 

When you travel and you see new and wondrous things, it always seems so much more vivid, and you spend a lot more time observing the world around you. 

Once the brain has contextualised and compartmentalised its new surroundings, it assigns less computing power to it, thus pays less attention to it. 

The brain can draw on its previous experience of the environment, and being the little efficiency monster it is, allocates less brainpower to deciphering it.

New things require more attention and thus more brain power.

It is not an easy feat to crunch all that visual data in your brain every waking moment of your life.  Familiarity in your surroundings and how you interact with them is something you rely on quite considerably. We have our routines that we get stuck in, and unless you live a lifestyle that is constantly changing (like if you travel a lot), your brain will naturally favour efficiency. 

As wonderful as the brain is, it is very subjective in how it contextualises and categorises information.

Now you probably aren’t aware of all the calculations going on inside your head. We can assign a lot of justifications, reasons and confirmations to our decisions that in all honesty, aren’t always even remotely on the button. 

The truth is, this quick thinking can actually give us conclusions with very varied reliability. It works really well in our day to day with physical non-changing objects and surrounding environments. 

Where it starts to go a bit sideways is when our experiences, our knowledge, and what we may have been taught to think are being used to guide our impressions of what and how things are.

It is why we can make irrational judgements about people, be scared of mice, or get anxiety in certain situations. We may have a bad experience with a theme park, thus we don't want to go back to one. 

Our emotional reactions, and experiences absolutely impact how the brain contextualises things we see. So what does this have to do with advertising?

Branding, design, the use of words and media all have an impact on how we see a product. Let’s go back to the supermarket. Literally everything in that supermarket is crafted to catch your eye and make you compartmentalise it in a certain way. 

When you have so many options in front of you, what makes you choose one thing over another? Is it the words that stand out on the packaging? Is it the colours or the design that makes it seem healthier?  More luxurious? Tastier?

Just like the autopilot with the car, our brain tends to favour the things that we know. It works, it does what was intended, we will just choose that again. So if we got pasta that one time, and it did its job, we will probably grab that same pasta again despite there being other options there that aren’t that different. 

With certain foods there is a general autopilot of ‘well I ate this last time and it was good so I will get it again’ but at some point you made that choice to grab that particular item over other competitors. Then you just stuck with it. Did you go for the cheaper product? Or the slightly more expensive product because it looked like it was a more premium product?

You can see why as a business, how your customers perceive you and how they connect to your product is super important.

Have you tried all the types of soy sauce on the shelf, or the cereals, or the muesli bars? Or did you just pick one and that’s what you use now? Did you try another type of toothpaste, didn’t like it then just go back to the one you tried the first time? 

When you go shopping what makes you choose the items you do? 

You may not know the answer to that, you just grabbed some cheese because you needed cheese. You saw it, you picked it up and then took it home and ate it. 

Here is another revelation. You most likely made that decision about what cheese you were going to get before you even noticed that you had

(Alternatively, if you are a slow thinker like me, where you tend to be pragmatic and deliberate in your decision-making, you stand there staring at the cheese section trying to make sense of it all).

The brain is on constant lookout for the solution to our problems. It knows that if you are looking for something it’s on the scan for that item. It also remembers all the contextual information you may have picked up along the way. 

Need margarine? Trying to watch your diet? Oh that light blue one catches the eye. ‘Low fat’ is written in bold letters across the top. That item just received an entry into your shopping bag. Those visual cues just got that company a sale.

Visual cues can also go wrong. If your brain is trained to find the soy sauce with the red label and the company you usually buy from changed their bottle colour, then it could cost them dearly.

The bottle was right in front of you the whole time and you didn’t even notice.  The brain was looking for a visual cue that was no longer available. You grab another soy bottle instead.

Oops!

The point is that the brain’s bias towards familiarity trains us to remember a brand and categorise it as something we need or use in a certain situation. If you own a business or a product this becomes hugely relevant.

Your brand is training people to identify it.

Your brand is training people to remember it.

Your brand is training people to associate visual cues, brand reputation, company values, services with that design or product.

There is a tremendous amount of money invested into creating visual brands and packaging products to create a certain look and feel. 

We need only see it in passing, and it may be at a time when we actually don’t need that product or service. The brain may mark it as irrelevant at the time and we may not even consciously notice it, but it is not necessarily forgotten.

Let’s say one morning you wake up and find your toaster doesn’t work. You start thinking about how Sunbeam is a good brand for toasters

Why?

Maybe you passed some Sunbeam toasters at a few different stores and your brain made the connection that they were popular. 

Maybe you saw an ad for them somewhere and the picture looked cool. They do seem stylish.

Maybe you have spent the last 4 years going round to a friends’ place and they have had the same Sunbeam toaster the whole time.

There are a million ways that toaster awareness seeped into your mind and you probably didn’t notice most of it. 

What this means is that brand design, brand trust, brand association and brand reputation are all very important. We are exposed to it all day, every day creeping around our peripheral, seeping into our subconscious. 

Brand names are like a million little ninjas infiltrating our psyche, whispering their biases into our mind, impelling us to develop trust in their brands and products.

When has advertising already worked its magic before you have even wanted to buy from a specific brand? Let us know in the comments the times you know a brand has influenced your decision even before you went searching for a product or service.

5 tips for talking in front of a camera

If you have a business, and want to get your product out there, at some point you are probably going to find yourself in front of a camera (or a camera phone) talking about your business.

We are all so used to seeing people in front of the camera talking to us every day on social media, that no one mentions the fact that being in front of a camera can be a nerve-racking experience. 

It’s harder than it looks, and if you aren’t chatting away to that invisible audience every other day, then when you do have to do it, it can be kinda awkward.

Before we get started, I might add that most of my skills are in film sound and voice overs. I have been in front of the camera many, many times, and I have recorded a lot of people in front of cameras.

Disclaimer: Yet, I’m still awkward the first time I jump in front of the camera.

Nine times out of ten, if the person in front of the camera isn’t trained to be in front of the camera, then that first take is going to be like a deer in headlights, stuttering over themselves or forgetting what they are supposed to be saying.

Hot tip, that first take is very rarely the one you use. I’ve watched it time and time again as a videographer and sound recordist. I’ve also had the pleasure of recording plenty of totally cringeworthy moments of myself that were promptly deleted.

So, here are a couple quick tips if you find yourself in front of a camera and you are little anxious about the whole situation:

1.  Before you press the record button take a moment to breathe.

Recording yourself talking to some imaginary audience is more nerve-wracking than most people appreciate, especially if you aren’t used to it. If your brain is running off some inner monologue you probably won’t make it to the end of whatever you are meant to say.  

Freezing up once that camera starts rolling is pretty common, even to those who are used to it. Often people will get flustered and start talking too fast, forget to breathe, stutter, and sometimes stare blankly at the camera as their brain shuts down.

So, before you make that customer-attracting performance, give yourself a moment.

Take a breath.

Relax.

Then begin.

I have seen that simple action work countless times. Someone who was flustered and all over the place suddenly just nails whatever they needed to say.

It gets you focused and in the moment, and it calms those nerves. Anxiety and nerves are the biggest enemies you have to slay first.

One thing that can be said for spending a good amount of time in front of a camera, it teaches you to be present and ‘in the moment’. Not being completely focused will result in a lesser performance.

Stop thinking so much.

Relax. Take a breath. Do the thing.

2.  If you make a mistake you can always edit it out, or do it again.

This is film, it isn’t theatre. If you make a mistake, you are allowed to stop and start again. Don’t put pressure on yourself to nail it the first time. People forget that. The moment that camera starts rolling it is as if the person in front of it is onstage in front of a million people, and if you blunder or forget what you are saying EVERYONE WILL SEE IT.

One of the most repeated lines I will say as a videographer ‘ Don’t stress, we can do it again’. I want the best performance out of you, too. I am there to make you look good. If you start talking nonsense and stuttering every word I promise I won’t show it to the world.

Don’t be hard on yourself, don’t get angry for not getting it right or forgetting what you wanted to say. Just because you recorded it doesn’t mean you have to show it. If you feel embarrassed or stupid or awkward, it's alright. Work through it till you get what you want.

It’s always a little awkward in front of the camera at the start, but as you warm into it, as you calm your nerves you will get more comfortable having that lens pointed at you. Once you get into the rhythm of it, the words will flow more, I promise.

Guaranteed the moment you start to get stressed or angry or frustrated it will make it harder. Remember the first tip; be calm. If it doesn’t work out, 9 times out of 10 you can probably just do it again. No biggie.

3.  Learning something word for word will generally sound pretty robotic

Most of the time if you know your product and are passionate about it, you can generally talk about it in an engaging way. Having a general idea of what you are saying is great, learning it word for word and trying to stay to exactly what is written will generally make you sound less sincere (unless your acting skills are on point). 

You want to sound as organic as possible, and the audience can see you thinking about what you need to say next. Your thoughts will always betray you on camera.

Write out what you are going to say then throw it to the wind. Be fluid like water, do a couple takes, try a couple different things. Keep it fresh. The good takes will always be the ones that you deviate from what you originally planned slightly. 

You want to know enough about what you want to say to keep it concise and to the point, but not enough that it is delivered the same way every time.

If you happen to be lucky enough to read a teleprompter while you talk, still remember this rule. While you don’t have to worry about that mental power trying to remember what to say next, you will have to keep the energy high so it seems like you are talking to the viewer and not… well… reading off a teleprompter.

4.  Have a water bottle handy

Being nervous while talking generally leads to a dry mouth and you need that saliva to speak comfortably. Have a sip every couple takes.  Keep your mouth,  throat and that larynx lubricated with the power of hydrogen dioxide.

This is the vocalist in me coming out, and I don’t want to get into the anatomy of this, but water is going to be something your body will naturally start to want after 10-15 mins of talking in front of a camera. Talking with a dry throat is harder and makes the experience even more uncomfortable.

This doesn’t include soft drinks either. Fizzy drinks and talking equals carbonated air reflux and burps. Fighting back burps mid-take will stop your flow.

Keep with water.

5.  Don’t be a perfectionist, but don’t be lazy either.

We have two types of people here. The perfectionist will always try to do it better and pick their performance apart. If you are that person, ask yourself two questions: Did you say what you needed to say? Did your spiel achieve its purpose? Does the idea of sharing that on social media not horrify you? 

If you can answer yes to all those questions it’s good enough. As long as you feel it is 75% good, then you are probably fine.

For those who are on the other side of the tracks and want to get it done as quickly as possible, give yourself 5-6 tries then stop. Generally, you have this sweet spot after you have done a couple takes when you start to be a bit more comfortable and confident on camera. 

If you are doing it repeatedly though, there is a point when it starts to go a bit flat. If you can push yourself to do 5-6 takes of saying whatever it is you want to say to your customers, then you will probably hit that sweet spot.

When it comes to talking in front of the camera, being calm, being relaxed, and being in the moment are the three things that are going to put you in the best mental state to give a good performance. Like anything, practice makes perfect, but if it’s something you only do here and there, and it’s not something you are entirely comfortable with, then the above tips will give you a good headstart in tackling those on-camera appearances. Above all, trust yourself, trust your knowledge and trust your expertise. You got this! But if you’re still in doubt about your in-front camera qualities, give us a shout and we’ll help with your visual marketing, big or small.

How videos can help develop a rapport with your customer

In 2018, Dr. Jeffrey Hall published a paper on how long it takes to make a friend (you can read it here if you are interested). I’m going to spoil the ending here, it’s 50 hrs.

Dr. Hall also mentions that we also have only so much room for those proper friendships in our life, because well, it's hard to learn a whole person.

As Dunbar puts it in his book Grooming, gossip, and the evolution of language  ‘The volume of the neocortex constrains the cognitive ability to recognize another person as a unique individual, recall information and prior interactions with that person, and to comprehend that person’s association with others within a social network.’ 

Basically, it takes a lot of mental effort to get to know someone.

For those of us who have spent a good amount of time roaming the ghetto of good ol’ planet Earth, we have learnt to be a bit more frugal about where we place those friendship hours. It still doesn’t change the fact that we are fundamentally a community-based life-form.

We need some social time somewhere in our life. It is a hugely relevant learning mechanism we need in order to function successfully in society.

Even the modern introvert must stock up on social time, even if it is living vicariously through books, music and movies. As a long-time supporter of the arts and creative entity in my own right I am going to tout a fundamental belief here; we develop a lot of our identity, emotional knowledge, vernacular and social cues from books, music and movies. 

Movies and cinema have a profound impact on helping us simulate the thoughts and emotions of characters. It is through this make-believe experience of emotion and behaviour that many people develop a good chunk of their social persona and value system.

Art is a huge developer of empathy and human connection, even despite not directly engaging with another human being. You are just a voyeur into someone else’s world. You develop a connection with a character or artist, even despite never talking to them. 

When you finish reading a book you may feel a loss after spending so much time with the thoughts of the protagonist. Art enables us to learn the human condition and achieve social connection without that ‘face-to-face’ interaction.

There is a power here, that if you are a business owner, will allow you to spend time with your customers, create that pseudo-friendship and develop that connection with people (aka potential customers) without even being in the same room as them.

This is why Social Media personalities are called ‘influencers’. They can change hearts and minds by just looking down the barrel of a camera and stating their opinion. The number of people that will tune in just to watch some person talk to a camera can be astounding.

Admittedly, watching a video doesn’t quite have the same intimacy as the two-way, face-to-face conversation, but you can get pretty close (although with video comments in TikTok and live-streaming in Facebook and Instagram nowadays that gap is getting closer).

You might have heard of the 55/38/7 rule coined by Albert Mehrabian in 1967. The general gist is that Communication is 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and 7% words. The information you gain from talking to another person is predominantly through body language and vocal delivery.

 This makes video 93% more effective than me simply writing to you in this blog format.

If you are unsure what I mean about vocal delivery, try to make a sarcastic comment over text to someone you don’t know very well. Sarcasm relies mostly on your tone of voice and when you take that out it loses a lot of its meaning. The voice contains so many nuances in emotion that text simply can’t replicate. 

As a business person or entrepreneur getting a face (doesn’t have to be your own) out there on social media to represent your business is a valuable mechanism in growing connection and trust with your audience. The more someone sees you or the face of your business the more they are going to get to know your business and build a connection with it.

Have you ever seen some celebrity in an interview, resonated with what they said and ended up plunging down a rabbit hole of watching interview after interview with them? Why do you think that is?

Perhaps they are funny, perhaps they are knowledgeable with great nuggets of insight, or perhaps they are just such a strange personality that you become curious about. What it does do is build a stronger familiarity with that actor or artist and makes you more likely to watch them in a film.

The more someone resonates with your content, your face, your words, and your personality the more they will feel like they are getting to know you. Influencers thrive off being a personality people want to watch, but they also thrive off the volume of time people have engaged with their content.

You do not need to become this charismatic alpha human who everyone wants to look at. The important takeaway from this concept is that when people see you, they hear you, they will develop that familiarity with you.  

As they see more of you, they will inevitably feel like they know you. If you are a good communicator, have a genuine personality and have something to share, then social media really is a place you can blossom.

Now, not everybody is going to be into what you do, but here is the beauty of it; not everyone wants to watch super-attractive, charismatic, funny people all the time. If I am a quiet introverted person, it's nice to get insight into the mind of another quiet, introverted person via social platforms. You will naturally attract like-minded people just by getting your face out there.

If TikTok has taught the social media world anything, it’s that high-production value video isn’t always what people want (although it does have its place), and that sincerity, education and weirdness can go a long way.

It does require consistency when it comes to content creation.

Making videos can be super awkward at first and yes, if you are just starting out, there is a good chance you will make some cringe worthy videos.  It does however give you a chance to showcase your product as a business and your passion for it.

Think of platforms like Instagram and TikTok as a collection of repertoire. If someone sees you and likes you, they just might dive into the back catalogue of your profile. 

Every video is an opportunity to ‘nurture’ that potential customer. It might take 5 videos, it might take 30, but eventually, they are going to start to learn you, and decide whether you are someone they want to exist on their feed, and someone they want to buy from.

If we go by Dr. Hall’s 50 hours to make a friend, that’s a lot of content, and creating that amount of content and staying interesting is a feat. The principle however, still stands.

The more people see you, the more they get accustomed to whatever content you put out and the more they are going to develop that relationship with you. This isn’t a numbers game though. If you throw a lot of content out there that doesn’t provide any value to your audience, then you are just going to come off as annoying. It may also burn you out.

Consistency is key but that can mean something different for everyone. For some it is every day, for others, it is once a week or a couple times a month. Just remember to show your face from time to time and talk to your audience.

If you haven’t grown your audience just yet, remember that the people who convert to following your social media accounts or engaging with your business will be those who see a video they like and click on through to learn more about you. As you build that back catalogue of engaging content so does the opportunity for your audience to become familiar with your brand, your product, and most importantly…

You.

Keen to take on the world of video content but not sure how? Contact us for a FREE planning session now.

THE AWARD THAT CHANGED OUR BUSINESS


THE AWARD THAT CHANGED OUR BUSINESS

Wow! We finally did it. Your Brand Crew has won the Sunshine Coast Business Awards for Creative Industries (large) 2022. It still feels quite surreal, and it’s slowly sinking in. We couldn’t have done it without the team behind YBC, so what is better than individually reflecting on what this actually means to us all.

Patricia

So, is it too early to say that applying to and winning the Awards has changed our business? Well, not really. Let us elaborate.

Looking back at 2019, Carlos and I embarked on the journey of entering our first business awards. Four years after setting up our business in Australia and three being in this outstanding community we felt we may have a chance at it. 

After many days of thinking, reflecting on the questions, and spilling the beans about our business, at 5:30 pm on submission day we realised we had lost half of our submission 😢 (the wonders of working online). Save your work people!!

We wanted to cry, kill each other and just give up. But we didn’t, we persevered and rewrote the whole application. Together, at 23:50 pm (10 minutes before closing time) we were finally able to submit it 🚀 

To our biggest surprise, we were shortlisted as Finalists and even though we didn’t win, the process was a great eye-opener. We finally saw our business with a fresh set of eyes, which resulted in so many improvements.

Fast forward three years… Phew… When we were announced as winners on Saturday night, we were so excited 😆🍾. Like every finalist, we took so much care in our application, the interview, and the whole process. So, yes, we felt amazing, like true winners.

The interesting thing is to look at what powered all of this in the background. Taking all that time to reflect, and to see our business from the outside helped us realise what we need to do to arrive at that winning moment together. 

We needed to craft an awesome team of talented, like-minded people and put further structure in place to really skyrocket our business. 

We took our learnings very seriously and refined our recruitment process looking for the right people. That brought a key member of our company to us, our super duper awesome Krissy 😍. She became a crucial brick in our building process. From then on, we kept growing and finding just the right people to grow our dream further.

Yet, after all the hard work, and another Finalist nomination in 2021 (we didn't win either that year), on Saturday night we were sitting with the team at our table, ready to have the best night, but convinced we wouldn’t win (actually, we convinced the whole table). 

When our category arrived there were barely any nerves. So, when they said our name, I wouldn’t be able to tell what anybody around did, but I can tell you what I said: “What the F*ck!!!”. My eyes opened wide 😲 and then started to fill with tears as I tried to get out of my chair.

But what I do remember is how everybody was cheering us and touching our hands on our way to the stage. We felt so LOVED.

We know that this is another turning point, not only because of the marketing opportunities that come with winning an award but also because this achievement is the reaffirmation that YOUR BRAND CREW is on the right path. 

We are determined to champion the Sunshine Coast as a CREATIVE HUB for talented individuals. Also, we have promised our employees that they will go up on stage, so now we have to apply again to go for the Hall of Fame achievement, to be able to have them there.

Sahar

First and foremost, I'd like to thank the entire team for all of their hard work. I am proud of you guys, and I was also so proud of Carlos and Pat when they stood on the winner's stage with the actual business award 🥰

I know we didn’t expect to win this year because it was so hectic at work, and we didn't have time to think about the business awards program, but I believe we absolutely deserve it.

We work hard as a family, not as an employer and employee, and not even as a business and client! The teamwork and emotional support encourage us every day to love our job and do our best.

Love you guys and believe YOUR BRAND CREW is a winner every day after finishing every project 😊

Carlos

Speechless! That was my reaction. Speechless! And for all of you who know me... you know that doesn't happen often. 😂

I was 100% certain that another business was going to win that night, 100%! So when our category was announced, I was just enjoying the moment, talking, smiling and then... I could hear on the speakers: and the winner is... YOUR BRAND CREW!

Oh man, even right now I have goosebumps when I remember that very moment!!

And then, for one of those rare occasions in my life, I was completely speechless. I didn't know what to do, what to say, how to react... Looking now at that moment I can see all the things I should have done (that I didn't of course): turn around and congratulate and kiss Patricia, congratulate all our team, take Patricia by her arm and walk with her towards the stage, smiling and nodding to everyone. Instead... f...ing speechless!!

With this face 😱😳, looking like an idiot, walking like a zombie between all those chairs and people smiling at me, forgetting that Patricia is still recovering from her knee surgery so she is walking slowly... Oh my gosh!!! What a moment!!

But then, I turned right to the stage and hugged my good friend Alister who stood up from his table to congratulate me and so did Jarrod too (thanks guys! that gave me just the right time to recover a bit and realised Patricia was there too! 😅😍😂) and then I took Patricia by her arm and together we walked up the stairs (slowly, but steady).

And then.. blackout. I don't remember much (unfortunately) but apparently, everything was fine and I was just myself again (maybe too much myself?). I can't wait to see any photos or recordings of that precious moment, so I can actually see how that went. 😎😊

This recognition means EVERYTHING to us, to me. When we moved from Spain to here, we knew it wasn't going to be easy, but it has been way more complicated than expected! Way way more!

Moral of the story: even when you are 100% certain of something, that doesn't mean it is right, or true. You can think/feel whatever you want, but then, the universe, the COMMUNITY come and change everything by telling what the truth really is.

I LOVE our community. I feel blessed and honoured to be part of this AMAZING COMMUNITY. Gracias to all of you! GRACIAS!

Josh

I am a new member of YOUR BRAND CREW. I have been with the crew mere months, so when it comes to being part of a dedicated, winning team of achievers that worked their butts off to receive such an award… well… I’m like that guy in the team who rocks up late to the party with no alcohol and is catching up by dipping into the punch (mmm… metaphorical gin and vodka).

One thing can be said though… seeing Carlos speechless on that podium was a rare moment 😉.

Another thing can be said. You don’t always have the luxury of starting a new job where your bosses welcome you with such open arms. As some of their clients will probably confirm, these people could be your spirit animal when it comes to being super-nice and accommodating. Well-deserved and well-received. Hopefully, I’ll keep growing with these guys, and live up to the expectations of the rest of these over-achievers. 

Krissy

What is there left to say? How good is it that we won???

At any awards, there is meant to be a winner, and this year it’s us. It may sound cocky to an outsider but I know how much work we all put into this business for the past few years. Except for Josh, my Aaron-replacement (but he made up for it on the dance floor).

People only see the gala night, getting dressed up and acting casual (casually confident in my case) but they tend to forget the stress 🥵 that comes with actually growing a business.

I’ve been sitting in the first row for the past three years, watching Carlos and Patricia fighting every single fight that can ever hinder and pull under a business. Yet, they stayed afloat, they persevered and they grew. This award is bloody well-deserved if you ask me. Even if you don’t ask me, I’ll tell you, we won fair and square. And I can’t wait to win again next year.

The end.

Would you like to congratulate us, ask us how we did it, or just set up a meeting, so we can get you an award, too? Book a ☕ with Carlos, and let’s start an epic journey together!

Copywriting - The backbone of your brand personality 

There was a time of my life when I was known as the girl with two broken wrists.

Yeah, that was a good time for me.

For context, I was in my early 20’s and living overseas in a small, snow town. Growing up in Australia meant the sight of snow and monstrous mountains was super exciting, I had never seen anything so beautiful. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t familiar with the downside of such beauty, and that is black ice and the danger of icy footpaths. 

Yep, tread with caution people. 

Not long after my arrival in said snow town, I found myself walking home after a night of casual drinking with my new girl pals, and before I knew it, I was on the ground with, yes, a broken wrist. 5 days passed, many tears were shed but I decided that I was ready to return to work and rock my latest accessory. My sexy, purple, plaster cast. 

Just when things were starting to look up, there was an accident. Yes, that’s right. On my walk to the staff bus, I was distracted by that stupid thing called Snapchat, and it happened again. My legs slipped out from beneath me, my head was fast approaching the cement, and my right arm was reaching for the ground as I tried to save myself. Key word being ‘tried’. What do you know, another broken wrist. 

At this point I was basically the laughing stock of the town, I would be getting served at the shops and the cashier serving me would say, ‘Oh my god, no way, my friend Chris told me about you! How did it happen?’ Acting like he didn’t already know about the event/s that led to my misfortune. Also, who on Earth is Chris? 

Obviously this is a major embarrassment, but what more could I do apart from embrace the shame? Of course, I’m going to use this to my advantage. I guess you could say, this was my brand now. 

First things first, I needed to make my story 1000 times cooler. How did it happen? Oh, I was fully sending it in the park on my snowboard and had a really bad fall. Yeah, I didn't learn from the first accident so I decided to go again and it turns out I'm still bad. 

For the six weeks that followed, the backbone of my personality was the fact I had two broken wrists. I’m not going to lie, my lack of independence came with many perks, 21 year old me certainly wasn’t complaining about the pity drinks people were buying her, and her bank account wasn’t complaining either. 

How on earth does this relate to copywriting you may ask? Well, good copywriting is all about inspiring people to take action. How? By evoking emotion and having them think, feel and respond to the words you are saying. Looking back, I can see that I was able to portray myself (my brand) through my words and actions, which in turn, was receiving a response from my friends and the people I came into contact with (my audience), even if I wasn’t intending on it to do so. 

I had a script rehearsed every time someone would ask me what happened and this enabled me to strengthen the relationships with people I was talking to, helping me build a stronger connection with my audience. Without having met me, people immediately recognised who I was. The same outcome can be achieved with good copywriting. If you maintain your brand voice, mission and express your values you will be easily recognised by your audience.

Good copywriting can be what differentiates you from competitors. I certainly wasn’t the only person in this town with a broken wrist, but I definitely was the only person in town with two at the same time! My two broken wrists immediately differentiated me from the rest of the town’s injured population. Yay for me. 

Whether you have good copy, or bad copy, it still makes an impact on your audience. So, you may as well make sure it’s the best. 

5 years later, and I certainly didn’t think I’d be working at a marketing agency telling the world about my 2 broken wrists, but hey, they do say everything happens for a reason. I guess I broke both my wrists so I could tell you about the importance of good copywriting! 

Now, please make me feel better about myself. What’s your worst travel story?

Simple small talk or something more? Reap the rewards of business networking

Professional networking… ACTIVE professional networking is paramount for any business or individual for career growth and development, right? But most of us feel awkward or even uncomfortable when we think about going to our next networking event. But why?

I’ve never found human connection as important and vital for business success as I do here in Australia, but more specifically here on the Sunshine Coast.

Networking is without a doubt, THE marketing strategy we always recommend and encourage our clients to master. In fact, it’s almost the only marketing activity we have been following since we settled on the Sunshine Coast 6 years ago, and there is no doubt about the result 😉.

A common misconception is that networking is all about selling yourself or throwing your business cards at everybody. When in fact, it’s all about building long-term relationships and a good reputation over time. It’s getting to know people who you can help and who can potentially help you in return. Networking is based on TRUST and SUPPORT.

I’ve got to admit, there isn’t more of a supportive community than ours here on the Sunshine Coast. So, what are you waiting for? Networking can be the difference between a mediocre business/career and an amazing one!

In case you’re not yet convinced, let’s look at the 3 main benefits that networking can have on your business or career.

Strengthen business connections

Networking is all about sharing, building trust, and helping each other achieve goals. Regular engagement with your peers in the business community helps you find opportunities for either yourself or your networking connections. By providing opportunities to these connections it helps strengthen the relationship by showing that you’re trustworthy and consistent. 

It also demonstrates that you’ve planted the seeds to show you’re willing to be helped by your networking community. Which is often a necessity when you’re aiming to achieve your professional goals. It’s a WIN-WIN.

Although, it's not only about the people you’re meeting with regularly at the networking events, it’s about their networks as well. If someone they know had a need that you or your business could match… what do you think is going to happen? You’re right! If you made a great impression and have proven your value, you’ll likely get that referral. WIN-WIN-WIN.

Can you see where this is going? Remember: we buy from the people we like, not from businesses (unless you are Apple 🤣).

Knowledge and Ideas

Networking is one of the best opportunities to gain knowledge and be exposed to new ideas.

When you attend a networking event you can expect to be exchanging best practices, learning about business techniques that others in the community are using, and keeping up to date with the latest news, trends, and innovations in different industries.

Do you ever feel that you’re not sure about a certain idea? Wouldn't it be great having a trusted group of peers with who you can share your questions and learn? 

You know what they say, we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. So, who are you spending your business time with? 

More often than not, those that you meet have been in your current situation, so their advice can be invaluable. 

Raise your profile

I know that not everybody loves the spotlight on them all the time, but you must agree that being visible and getting noticed is essential in business or career development.

One of the direct benefits of networking is just that. Regular attendance = face recognition = brand recognition = more business opportunities.

A few networking tips
  • Be humble.
  • Be genuinely interested in others.
  • Speak and listen in the same proportion. Remember, we have ears and a mouth, we don’t want to talk, talk, talk 🗣️.
  • Offer support and valuable information or tips.

These simple things will help you build a good reputation as a reliable, supportive and knowledgeable community member which is likely to generate more leads and referrals.

These are just three of the many benefits of business networking. I haven’t even touched on building brand reputation, developing trust and familiarity, the multitude of job opportunities, partnerships, and ventures that arise, or the constant access to advice and support, but I will save that for next time.

What are you waiting for? Here on the Sunshine Coast, we have a tonne of networking groups, from your local Chamber of Commerce to professional groups such as BNI, breakfast groups, and even industry-based groups like FAN or Manufacturing Excellence Forum.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, ‘It’s not what you know, but who you know’. A good friend told me many years ago, that here on the Sunshine Coast 'it’s not about who you know, but who knows you'. Believe me, I have never been in a place where that is more true than here. 

Now you know, if you only have time and resources to implement one marketing strategy this quarter then NETWORK MARKETING is your best bet!

I hope to see you at the next networking event. Don’t hesitate to come by and say hi, introduce yourself and let’s start the year off with a bang!!

Remember, it’s always scary to start, but once you start, your confidence grows and there’s no turning back.

Meet our friend, Social Media Strategy. We know you’ll get along well and here’s why

I won’t lie, I love to shop online. I also have commitment issues (let’s not go into that). Recently, I was doing what I do best, browsing online stores, trying to find a new dress for that Sunshine Coast Summer weather that we all know and love. Lets just say, it didn’t take long for me to find a pretty, purple dress that filled all my heart's desires. I add it to the cart and go to make the purchase when my old friend Mr Commitment Issues pops into my head. He’s just being a good friend, reminding me of all those important things I need to consider like, ‘do you really need this?’, ‘are you sure you can afford this?’, ‘the dress probably looks good online but not in person’. 

1. Obviously I do really need this

2. I will think about the bank account later

3. I must admit I was a little worried, will this actually look good? 

Being the social media obsessed millennial that I am, of course, the first thing I do is look at the brand's Instagram and start digging. I check out the brand's feed and look for any reposted content of happy customers. Success! I find my oh-so-beautiful dress in tagged pictures, and yes, it looks even better in person (rare, I know). Consider the purchase complete. 

This got me thinking about the importance of having a social media strategy and being present on social media.

First impressions can be make or break. If I went onto the brand's social media and saw outdated content, content that was irrelevant to the target audience or random memes that made no sense at all, I may have questioned if this purchase was right for me. 

If you’re on social media, you may as well do it right. Having a social media strategy can make all the difference in your business success and here’s how:

Builds a strong online presence

The key to social media success is posting consistently. There will be no ghosting around here (at least not on our watch). Businesses that have a strong online presence know this, and they are posting consistently with purpose. One of the many perks of developing a social media strategy is that you will be able to schedule your content in advance, which keeps your followers in the loop with your brand all while ensuring you are consistently showing up on socials. 

Saves you time

Implementing a social media strategy means you will be super dooper organised thanks to our friend, the content calendar. What is a content calendar you ask? Well, it may just well be your lifesaver. Put simply, it’s exactly as the name implies, your content is planned into a calendar. You can check the calendar to see what day and time to post what content. The best part about this is that it will save you scrambling around at the last minute panicking about what to post and leaves you time to focus on other aspects of your business. 

Effectively target your audience

Wouldn’t you love to post content that you know your audience will respond to? Well, you can! To effectively target your audience you first need to understand who they are, when they are most active on social media, and what content they respond to most. Once you have this knowledge you can create and schedule content that will see you having optimal results. 

Did someone say an increase in engagement, higher sales, and stronger brand awareness? You can thank me later. 

Post with intention

Having a social media strategy in place ensures that your posts are a little less ‘random meme on a Thursday afternoon’ and a little more ‘purposeful in relation to achieving your business goals’. A social media strategy is created based around your business’s social media goals, whether you’re looking to increase website traffic, see a surge in followers, or an abundance of sales, a social media strategy will have you posting content to achieve those goals. It’s a win-win for both you and your followers as you are getting your message out to the right audience, and they are receiving value from you.

There are so many more benefits of having a social media strategy, but If you take anything from my online shopping experience it should be understanding the importance of showing up on social media with purpose. A social media strategy is just one of the many marketing tools that works together to help your business thrive. Need help creating one? Get in touch and let Your Brand Crew take care of your brand.

TIME TO EMBRACE LIVE STREAMING

Time to embrace live streaming

We can’t blame everything on Covid, though some huge companies sure use it as the new ‘the dog ate my homework’ to get out of any responsibilities. On the other end of the sad-scale, the pandemic created a very serious issue for small businesses. Losing the face-to-face, personal connection to your customers is a devastating crisis to have.

Enter our good friend, live streaming. As a great knight in shining armour, live streaming can reach all of your audiences and attract some more, breaking down the barrier of missing physical location. Let me give you five smashing reasons why you should jump on connecting with your peeps through streaming, well... right about now.

  • Sky's the limit when it comes to eyeballs on you
  • Streaming live events online is effective and impactful in a wide variety of contexts because it allows professionals (that’s you), to share in-person events, service promotions, live announcements, online classes, church services, sporting events and wildlife broadcasting. 

    Live streaming means accessibility to your brand, knowledge, services and products. It is your 21st century soapbox to amaze your customers, and to create meaningful relationships. You can go hard and tap into a global audience or you can go niche and invite 10 of your ideal clients to take them on your brand journey.

  • Your wallet will thank you (less money out, more money in)
  • Even if you have the tightest of purse strings right now with a budget that needs a microscope, with live streaming you can make the most of your marketing. You can stream quality content to a big bunch of folks and make money at the same time.

    At this point, you may be wondering: how? Luckily, live streaming is equipped with a variety of tools for video monetisation. One method is to charge viewers to watch your live stream just like they’d pay for a movie or concert ticket. Viewers can pay via a pay-per-view model or a monthly subscription. Beware, your content has to be lit. If you’re like me (over 40), it means you better have content your audience WANTS to see. (We can also help with that... cough-cough).

    Live streaming also gives you the opportunity to advertise with absolute control over which ads are displayed. You can piggyback your existing sponsors or can start looking for one because now you have quality ad-space to offer.

  • Endless content use
  • Live streaming isn’t solely restricted to live video and audio streaming services. You have the flexibility to use a variety of forms of video content and multimedia, including pictures, text, and live chat. Live broadcasting provides a lot of flexibility to access different presentation methodologies. 

    Best bit: you can repurpose your live streams into on-demand content. This allows you to maximise viewership.

  • More engagement, more opportunities
  • Live streams are a great way of boosting interaction between you and your audience (who also happen to be your existing or potential clients). If your content is interesting to individuals in your niche or just a curious topic to outsiders, you will be given the opportunity to engage with a whole new bunch of new folks who previously may not have thought about contacting you.

    Want to stand out of the crowd? If you are streaming content live for a one time only event your stream becomes a rare and urgent entity. Streaming live events regularly with a variety of content will give your brand an excellent point of differentiation. Whichever way you go it’s a winner.

  • We can do it for you, with you
  • Surely, you did see this coming from a mile away, right? Your Brand Crew can save you a whole lotta headaches because we already have not just the tech stuff but the crew to make it happen. We also know a thing or two about content creation to assist you with ideas and full execution. So, all you have to do is drop a comment below or give us a shout via email, phone, a postal pigeon and we’ll work out the rest. See us at your next event.

    How to grow your network and get results for your business

    How to grow your network and get results for your business

    There’s no doubt about it, building your personal profile in your local networking groups is one sure way to progressively grow your business profile, and in turn, your business as a whole.

    Putting yourself in front of the right people over and over means that you are top of mind when someone needs the kind of product or service you provide. There are, however, scores of networking groups to choose from, so read on to make sure you’re getting the most from your local groups.

    Choose your networks

    Do your research on the local groups in your area. Whether you want to join a local Chamber of Commerce, a women’s business group, or something specific to your industry, understand the reason why you’re joining. 

    Ask yourself questions like; 

    • Is this where my customers are? 
    • Do these business owners have access to my customers?
    • How can these connections and my business mutually benefit one another? 

    Be careful not to commit to too many groups, or particularly those groups who may be created to benefit just the host business.  

    Plan and Execute

    Planning what you’re going to do at networking events is crucial, particularly if you’re an introvert. Set yourself a KPI of meeting 5 new people and getting their business cards. 

    Plan interesting questions to ask attendees which will generate thoughtful answers, such as:

    • What is the biggest challenge you face in your business right now?
    • Why did you decide to start your own business? 
    • What’s the next goal you’re trying to hit in your business?

    The day after the meeting, make contact with your new connections by email or social media to reinforce the relationship and remind them about you. 

    Be consistent

    Networking is a long game, but a powerful one. Over time, those who consistently work their groups become the most connected people in town. They reap rewards that not only come in the form of sales growth, but also in having a wealth of resources, tools and connections at your fingertips. Consistency isn’t days or weeks, but months and years, so choose groups of people you love to be around and settle in for the long haul.

    The old cliche, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” is relevant here. After all, people do business with people, not necessarily just with companies. 

    Warning: joining and working your local networking groups can have serious side effects. You may find that you strive to be a better person and lift your game. 

    You may also find that new friendships with great people form. If the law of averages is correct, and you become an average of the five people you spend the most time with, then that seems worth considering when you choose your groups. 

    Do you have any other tips about networking? Share them with us in the comment box below.