What is the most used Social Media Platform and how can it benefit your business?

There are many different social media platforms out there, with the common function of connecting you with your friends, family and people with the same interests, but how is this relevant to your company?

Recently, social media platforms have been created for the use of business, such as LinkedIn, however, this may not be the most effective way to create awareness for your company and get the word out there. Ebizmba have found that Facebook is, in fact, the most used site with more than 1.55 billion monthly active users! In the 12 years that Facebook has been running, it has grown massively, from starting with just a few college students to having celebrity fan pages, businesses, charitable organisations – just to name a few!

1-55-billion-active-monthly-usersHow can this help your business?

This can be great to promote your business because it’s not specified to just one age group, the users range from all ages, backgrounds, levels of education, jobs and interests meaning that you have a large base to put your message and products out to. Facebook allows you to write status’, post photos, videos, create pages and more importantly, engage with your audience. Within a successful company, engagement is key!

What is Facebook Live?

A new feature that Facebook released earlier this year – Facebook live – can be a great tool if you use it to your advantage. Facebook live is a feature that allows you to record in real time and keep your followers updated on your latest promotions, features and changes to your company.

Secondly, this can be useful to collect feedback from your customers if you find it hard to keep up with engagements on other social network sites. You can also use it to hold question and answer sessions; to connect with your audience when you get a spare moment. This shows that you don’t mind going that extra mile to connect, also that you care about your service users. It also helps you build that personal relationship with them, which is very important.

Another way that you can use this to your advantage is to show your audience real time footage of launch events for your latest products or for promotion events to keep your audience connected and feel that they are there too.

(Content by ZC Social Media)

Social Media to some of you may feel very daunting, but its very easy and straightforward when approached in a step by step process and explanation on how to use it effectively for your business. ZC Social Media can provide Social Media Management packages to look after your social media activities for you!

Email: info@zcsocialmedia.com
Phone: 0330 102 5535
Mobile: 07940 060112

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The me:now app

The me:now app advertises your favourite local businesses and their time. Let people know what you do and when you can do it. Reach customers who want to take those appointments off your hands.

me:now is for everyone, everywhere, on every device.

Whether it’s your hairdresser, your physio or even your dog groomer, the app only shows businesses that say they’re available.

Customers can follow a favourite business and receive a phone notification when the business says it has a free slot.

Businesses list when they have a diary gap or cancellation. They can share this with anyone looking for their type of business and with their existing customers on Facebook or Twitter.

Find Out More

How Successful People Stay Productive and In Control

A recent study has been conducted, showing that successful people are also those who have high emotional intelligence. On the other hand, the core of emotional intelligence is self-control, which is a skill that releases massive productivity and allows you to keep your focus and on track.

The thing though is that self-control is a skill that is challenging to attain. It is fleeting for some people, which is why they end up asking for the assistance of a business coach to guide them out. This is because some people find it easy to divert their attention to failures than on success.

Here are some ways in which successful people stay productive and in control.

Self Forgiveness

At times, failure to control oneself can lead to the feeling of disappointment .This can, in turn, affect your productivity. If you happen to experience this slip, it is very important to put an effort in forgiving yourself. This is the only way in which you can move on easily. However, this also calls the need to acknowledge the way that the mistake makes you feel, but make sure that you do not get overindulged in it. Put an effort in shifting your attention to what you can actually do to improve next time, thus giving yourself a chance to achieve professional success at the same time.

Say Yes Only When You Mean It

A study that was done at the University of California shows that the more difficult it is to say no, the more likely you will feel stress, depression and burnout. All of these can result to a decrease in self-control and productivity. A ‘no’, after all, is a very powerful word, which we should not hesitate to wield, especially when we really cannot give a ‘yes’. An emotionally intelligent person does not use the phrases ‘I’m not sure’, or ‘I don’t think I can’. This is just one of the lessons that you can get through the help of a business consultant.

Do Not Seek Perfection

A business success coach can also help you in understanding that perfection should not be your target. That target just doesn’t exist. If you are a business man and you consider perfection as your goal, you just end up wasting your time in lamenting over your failures. On the other hand, if you focus on the realistic side, you bring in advantage in your business.

Seek Assistance

For sure, you know by yourself that you want to focus on solutions. However, you may not know where to start. The best way to do so is to get assistance such as a Business Improvement Specialist from Pro Actions.  They will help you to be guided accordingly, as you are still taking baby steps towards achieving your goals. With such guidance, you will be provided with business productivity tips, which you can eventually turn into your secret to success.

About the Author: Scott Whitehead is a Business Improvement Specialist with Pro-actions, serving Braintree and the surrounding areas. For a free chat about what Scott can do for you and your business, including business productivity tips, contact us today.

Pro-actions has a network of results-focused Business Coaches helping business owners address their issues, improve their results, and kick start growth. We help businesses achieve their potential so they provide their owners with the lifestyles they want. Visit Pro-actions.com.

How to keep your business consistent on Instagram

Beth Henry tells us about the secrets to promoting your business on Instagram!

Instagram is a great social media platform to get you and your business out there, with its visual elements you need to ensure you are posting the right content in order for it to succeed. I’m going to share a few top tips for using Instagram for business and how to stay consistent with it.

Firstly, you need to think about the content you are going to post. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, your posts can’t just include text and links, they need to be based on imagery or videos.

So, how can you come up with imagery to post regularly on Instagram? 

It’s simple, you need to plan. Planning content in advance is a great way to ensure you are keeping on top of it and it ensures you aren’t spending too much time each day coming up with ideas on what to post. Create your posts in bulk and add them to a word document so you can plan each day and see how well the posts look when they are all together.

So, what should you be posting on Instagram?

Your posts should reflect you and your brand and should be interesting to others, the key to Instagram is to always upload good quality images that look professional, don’t upload blurry, dull images as this doesn’t look good for your brand.

Take a look at a few ideas below that you could include in your Instagram posts:

  • Event images: If you’re running an event or attending an event, create a graphic before the event to let people know about it. Use your branded colours and include key information on it
  • Event images on the day: Take photos when you are at the event and share themon Instagram including the
    relevant hashtags
  • Tips: Create branded graphics sharing your top tips. People love free advice!
  • Behind the scenes: Make your social media personal, share images of behind the scenes at your business. This could be images of your office, your staff etc
  • National awareness days: Celebrating national pizza say? Share an image of your favourite pizza!
  • Video: Video content is becoming more and more popular. Create a 30-second video, this could be tips, your products, and your team

(by ZC Social Media)

Social Media to some of you may feel very daunting, but its very easy and straightforward when approached in a step by step process and explanation on how to use it effectively for your business. ZC Social Media can provide Social Media Management packages to look after your social media activities for you!

Email: info@zcsocialmedia.com
Phone: 0330 102 5535
Mobile: 07940 060112


Overcoming Barriers to Growth

Building your own business is about more than just survival. You need tools and training just to get by out there, but you’re not here just to struggle from day to day. You got into this to plant your flag, make your mark and create something wonderful. That means committing yourself to growth – and like everything else on the business battlefield, it’s about knocking down walls and climbing mountains. You’ll face challenges every step of the way, some from the most unexpected places. With the right approach, though, there’s no barrier you can’t break through – overcoming barriers and breakthroughs are what RIFT Accounting’s all about.

Know your limitations

Running a business means understanding what you’re good at, and what you’re not. It’s tough to be an expert in everything, and knowing when someone else is in a better position to make a decision is the key to good leadership. Build strong teams and don’t let pride talk you into shouldering loads you aren’t built for. Know where to get advice and how to put it to use. Sometimes you have to take a step back to see the full picture.

Be careful with your star players

Another point about team-building is knowing where your strongest links are. Just don’t rely too heavily on any one of them. If you’ve got one or two people who are pulling more than their share of the weight, your team’s unbalanced. Worse yet, when star players leave they take their magic with them. Try shifting your business focus away from over-reliance on key people. Instead, learn from them and work on training to raise everybody’s game.

Manage your money

We talk a lot about cash flow at RIFT Accounting. It’s one of the most important prediction, production and protection tools you have. Knowing your overheads, your break-even points and your cash gaps are essential to growth. Cash flow forecasts are more than just hopeful guesses about tomorrow. They’ll help you stay fast on your feet, so you can pounce on easily missed opportunities and turn them into a real chance for growth.

Explore the RIFT

If you’re a veteran of the Business Battlefield then you already know how much RIFT Accounting does to help you grow safely and quickly. With cloud accounting software and any-time access to your information, we’re here for you whenever and wherever you need us. Our quarterly reports give you the full picture of your business, and our hand-picked experts will show you how to reach goals and hit targets. If you need financing, we’ll show you the best hunting grounds. We’re making business personal, so you know you’ll never be just another number to us.

Ambition is a great thing in business, but it’s not enough. Real growth takes planning, persistence and a sharp eye on the mountain top. Call or email to see how we can help you get where you’re going, and listen out for more Voices from the RIFT

Can Instagram take your business to the next level?

Visual expression – Instagram, being a photography app will benefit some businesses more than others. If you know you can show off your business visually, then you are missing out by not being on Instagram. When you upload a photo to Instagram it can be seen by millions using hashtags, which is something I will explain later. If a user see’s your Instagram post which shows off your venue, they may like it and want to come and visit you. Simple! You are pulling in business simply by uploading a photo of your venue. The venue is doing the work for you, you are simply uploading a photo to a social network.

Office based business? No worry – If your business is based in an office, you can still make the most out of your business with the app. I have learnt this first hand, we are based in an office. Visually pleasing? No. Is Instagram still benefiting ZC Social Media? Yes. There are many things you can still upload to Instagram without leaving your office. For example, every Monday we post a Social Media tip of the week. Other than that, we aim for variety to keep our audience engaged. There are so many fun things you can do with Instagram from within an office and it’s still worth looking in to at least.

Location, location location – If you’re out and about, why not take a photo and upload it to Instagram? Personal updates about your business are a big plus to your business as people will see your personal side and are more likely to engage with you. Whether you’re attending an event or are attending a meeting, why not share a photo at some point during your journey there/back or even whilst you are there. #selfie is the 14th most used hashtag on Instagram, having been used over 185 million times, a selfie is also a fun photo that is easy for engagement with other users. It’s also worth using Instagram’s ‘Add location’ feature, adding a location increases the chance of engagement by 79%. If you’ve uploaded a photo with a location, tap on the location when you see your post on your feed and all the other photos that have been uploaded with that location are visible to you.

Hashtag heaven – Hashtags are a huge part of Instagram, in fact 83% of posts on Instagram contain hashtags. Hashtags are certainly something worth using, but make sure they are relative to your business. There is no point using irrelevant hashtags. It may get you more likes but one thing it will not get you is more business. Click here for a list of the 25 most used hashtags but I will tell you the top three: #love (used over 696 million times), #instagood (over 314 million times) and #me (over 297 million times). These hashtags will all get you likes and potentially followers but there is no guarantee that they will be relative to your business. You can use a maximum of 30 hashtags per Instagram post so use them wisely. A  little trick I do with the ZC Social Media account is to remove the hashtags out of the caption of each image a few days after it’s been uploaded so the whole look of the page is a lot neater if someone is scrolling through photos. It also looks like we have got 40/50 likes without using any hashtags!

Age isn’t just a number – Not all businesses can fully benefit from Instagram. 90% of users on Instagram are under the age of 35 so if your business is targeted at people of an older age, say 50+, Instagram is highly unlikely to benefit your business. It’s about being realistic, if you feel that it can help your business, then go for it!

I hope this article has helped you decide whether Instagram can benefit your business. If you have any questions regarding the social network feel free to tweet me – @samzcsocial.

(Content by ZC Social Media)

Social Media to some of you may feel very daunting, but its very easy and straightforward when approached in a step by step process and explanation on how to use it effectively for your business. ZC Social Media can provide Social Media Management packages to look after your social media activities for you!

Email: info@zcsocialmedia.com
Phone: 0330 102 5535
Mobile: 07940 060112

Prepping a successful Board Meeting

Organising a board meeting would seem to be a routine task; prepare an agenda, assemble minutes and reports from management, identify the decisions the Board must make, assemble all the pre-reading and get it to the Directors at least 5 days in advance.

How hard can it be? Easier said than done but by no means impossible…

Here are our 8 top tips for prepping an effective Board meeting:

  1. Appoint a Chairman whose role it is to own the agenda and process surrounding the meeting, and guide the meeting through the agenda ensuring that items are properly discussed and agreed upon and that the meeting keeps to time and purpose.
  1. Appoint a Secretary whose role it is to assemble and distribute all of the reports to the Board at least one week before the meeting and take the minutes at the meeting.
  1. Establish the schedule of Board Meetings months in advance and the supporting calendar of events (see our previous article “What should be on my board agenda” and download our complimentary “Board agenda planner” which will help plan this). This will help ensure meetings happen and that the right people are able to attend.
  1. Specify the form and content of supporting papers required for the meeting. For example, your financial results, operational KPIs and papers requiring Board decisions.  This way, your staff will know what is expected and by when each month in order to support the meetings.  We’re very happy to help with this – if you would like some pointers, just book a free business help session below.
  1. Pre-circulate all the relevant information at least five days ahead of the meeting. A ‘Board pack’ will almost always include:
  • The agenda for the meeting
  • Minutes of the previous meeting for approval
  • Draft financial statements and key performance metrics
  • Draft resolutions for matters to be discussed at the meeting. Resolutions circulated in advance will clarify the precise subject matter, facilitate discussion and simplify the preparation of minutes.
  1. Focus on the information that you have and use it to make decisions. Avoid the ‘paralysis by analysis’ trap where Boards use information just to ask for more and more of it rather than make decisions.  There is obviously a fine balance to be struck here, but being aware of the potential danger of avoiding decisions is half the battle.
  1. Determine clear actions with owners and due dates – and make sure that they are adequately captured in the minutes (see our next article on meeting follow up and its free download).
  1. Distribute the minutes within seven days of the board meeting whilst the meeting is still fresh in attendees’ minds. This also enables people who didn’t take their own notes in the meeting (naughty!) to be reminded of their actions and get on with them in a timely manner.

Pro-actions has a network of results-focused Business Coaches helping business owners address their issues, improve their results, and kick start growth. We help businesses achieve their potential so they provide their owners with the lifestyles they want. Visit Pro-actions.com.

The marketing mix… have you got it right?

Do you often wonder how you can raise the profile of your company? Are there products and events you would like others to know about but struggle getting interest or numbers? Do you use one marketing method to get your message across but feel like you are getting nowhere?

When I first started out in marketing many years ago, I used to be in this same position but back then the marketing method was so different to what it is today. No longer is it about sending out one message in the hope that this will work, it’s all about combining marketing techniques to reach different people and to get the message across on several occasions in different ways.

Below I have listed what I believe is a good marketing mix.


This is now a very common way of talking to your audience. If you get the message right you can get a great response but just remember not to sell all the time! When creating your message, think of the audience you are targeting.

Would you go straight into a room with other businesses and sell to others before finding out who you are talking too? Perhaps look at ways of giving free content away? Look at useful information that people would like to know about. Build up this trust first. Once you have designed your eCampaign and added your marketing message, think carefully of your subject line as this could be a barrier before anyone opens your email.

Once you have sent out your message, do you follow-up afterwards?

  • Have you looked at the open rate?
  • Where you have added links from your campaign to your website or landing pages, do you see who has clicked on what?
  • Is there further information you could help with or send to people? (All these clicks become warm leads and the return can be very successful).

Social mediaSocial Media

Done correctly this is a very powerful tool.

Similar to your eCampaigns you need to think about your target audience. What content are you going to add to your networks? Depending on what your message is, do you find that one social media channel is better than others? Perhaps concentrate on one platform first and get this right before moving on.

Think about the time of day that your customers will be online? In some cases, this could even be over the weekend. When posting out, are you adding a picture? Is there a back-link to your website? If using Twitter are you using the correct @ names and hashtags?

When people comment, like or share your message, remember to engage with them, after all this should be a two-way communication and not just one.

Direct MailDirect Mail

This method was very popular several years ago, but with the age of digital and social media, this method has almost been forgotten about.
To produce something like this today you need to consider your design cost, then you have printing added and that’s before the cost of envelopes and stamps! However, to disregard this method completely, you could be missing a trick.

Since we no longer receive anything through the post, more people are inclined to read things that now land up on their desks. If it is an event or product you are trying to sell, this could be a great personal touch to get people engaged.

Personal Touch

As well as these three methods mentioned above just remember you can always pick up the phone!

Do you also have influencers that can endorse your brand or product? These people have their own customers which will open a new target audience. Try sending a personal email, make your customers feel valued.

Marketing Plan

In summary, I have found that by combining all of this can be eCampaignextremely successful but where do you start?
Try thinking of putting a marketing plan together:

  • Grab a calendar
  • Write down what you marketing message is
  • Add these messages against certain days
  • Write down what marketing channels you will be using
  • Finally, put it all to practise

(Content by ZC Social Media)

Social Media to some of you may feel very daunting, but its very easy and straightforward when approached in a step by step process and explanation on how to use it effectively for your business. ZC Social Media can provide Social Media Management packages to look after your social media activities for you!

Email: info@zcsocialmedia.com
Phone: 0330 102 5535
Mobile: 07940 060112

Start & Grow business support platform

Last week saw the soft launch of the Start & Grow platform as it went ‘live’ to the general public across the UK!

Not only is the platform unique in the services and resources it provides but it also shows the strength of the Nwes Group as we are now able to deliver business support across the whole of the country, not just within our 3 regions.

Start & Grow is listed within the government’s Business Finance and Support directory on gov.uk and is being promoted by their Business Support Helpline. All at Nwes can also promote the service, particularly Business Advisors, as you meet with new, existing and potential clients.

The benefits to be promoted are:

  • FREE business support to registered users
  • Business support and resources accessible at the click of a button
  • Professional business advisors available through the online chat service supporting businesses to start, grow, and develop
  • A complete online service for comprehensive business planning using the unique ‘Start & Grow’ business plan template
  • Workshop and training videos, and resource materials to support the development of your business
  • A forum for like-minded entrepreneurs to share knowledge and create networks
  • Relevant blogs and news articles
  • Signposting to relevant and valuable professional bodies, services, and products

And, of course, registration is via the website www.startandgrow.uk

Ask Phil for Business Advice

The Kent & Medway Growth Hub offers free advice, information and guidance to help you to start, grow or improve your business. If you are in need of guidance they know just the man with the answer, Phil!

Phil is the sort of chap you might meet socially. He’s married, with children, lives locally and has successfully run his own business. He knows a lot about the help that’s out there and can put you in touch with the right people, without all the jargon.

To get started either fill in a Call Back request form, use the ‘Ask Phil’ Live Chat functionality on the website, or give them a call on 0300 456 3565.