August 2014 - Coaching Blueprint - marketing for life coaches
Top tools for scheduling social media so you can save time online

Top tools for scheduling social media so you can save time online

 

One guideline that I teach in my free webinars and in my online social media course is that you shouldn’t spend more than 5-10% of your working day or week on social media. Whenever I say this on a webinar, I get a lot of surprise from the participants. Most people spend much more than that online.
 

HOW TO REDUCE THE TIME YOU SPEND ONLINE

One of the top complaints I hear from people is that social media is a big time suck, like a black hole that they disappear into for hours on end. It’s my goal to help coaches and solopreneurs create a clear social media plan so they can avoid that black hole.

One way to reduce the time you spend on social media is to schedule your posts to go out in advance. You can either program the time in your calendar to get this done once a week (or once a month) in bulk, or you can hire a VA to do it for you. Either way, it’s a huge time saver to plan your posts in advance.

Now, before I go on, it’s important to point out one thing: there are two sides to social media marketing: posting a mix of content (which you can schedule) and actively engaging and conversing with other people online (which you can’t schedule). You also can’t outsource the engagement…it’s just not authentic to have someone pretending to be you and replying to tweets and Facebook comments.
 

TOP TOOLS FOR SCHEDULING SOCIAL MEDIA

The top three tools I recommend over and over for scheduling posts on social media are: Hootsuite, Buffer, and IFTTT. These are fantastic tools available for your computer, and also as mobile apps for both Apple and Android. I’m also recommending a brand new piece of scheduling software, Edgar, that’s really fascinating. It’s going to be a huge game changer for social media.

If you find new tools and apps overwhelming, try picking the one that sounds most interesting or useful to you, and give it a try. You can always add the others at a later date. As with all tools, I recommend that you start with the free version, and only upgrade once you’re convinced that you love the tool and could benefit from features only offered on the paid version.
 

HOOTSUITE

Hootsuite helps you manage a number of social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. You create streams of information to help you manage each profile more easily.

For example, for Twitter, you could set up the following streams: home feed, @ mentions, direct messages, scheduled tweets, and sent tweets. This helps you easily manage all the information that’s available on each social network.

One very useful feature of the paid version of Hootsuite is that you can bulk upload posts. For example, you can create a spreadsheet with tweets to go out on a regular basis throughout the month.
 

BUFFER

Buffer also helps you manage several different social sites: Twitter, Facebook profiles, pages, and groups, LinkedIn profiles, pages, and groups, and Google+ pages. The way it works is that you set up a fixed schedule of posts to go out, and then you upload content to Buffer, which updates all of your social networks with the same posts.

I only use Buffer for Twitter, because I don’t like sharing the same content and posts across every single social network at the same time. The way I use Buffer is to schedule out tweets of other people’s content…namely blog posts. I use the Feedly RSS feed reader to read other people’s blogs, and when I come across something that’s interesting and useful, I’ll tweet it out. The thing is, it can be overwhelming to tweet 10-15 things at once, so I use Buffer to spread the blog recommendations out over a period of hours.

You can also use it to schedule retweets, so you’re not bombarding your followers with a massive number of retweets all at once.
 

IFTTT

IFTTT stands for If This Then That. It helps you create simple recipes that trigger certain actions. The options are truly unlimited, and there is a massive list of examples on the IFTTT website. Recipes can be turned on and off by a simple click, and most recipes are triggered every 15 minutes.

Here’s are some ideas of how you could set up a recipe on IFTTT:

If [you take a new photo on Instagram], then [it’s automatically saved to your Dropbox].

If [you tweet something], then [save it to a Google spreadsheet]. Yes, you can automatically add all your tweets to a spreadsheet!

If [you mark a YouTube video as a favorite], then [share it on Facebook].

IFTTT also integrates with non-social media things. For example, you can create a recipe to turn on the air conditioning in your house automatically if the temperature rises above a certain point (this particular recipe connects with Aros, a “smart” A/C).
 

EDGAR

One last tool: Edgar. This is a new one, created by Laura Roeder, founder of LKR Social Media. It’s a bit like Buffer in that you set up a schedule for posting, with the huge difference that Edgar keeps a file of all the posts you upload to the system and recycles the posts to go out on a regular basis.

This means that you can upload links to all of your blog posts, YouTube videos, podcast episodes, and other content to be recycled on a regular basis. It makes it easier to breathe new life into old content, getting it in front of new eyes.
 

TAKE ACTION TODAY

Did any of these three tools sound useful to you? Choose one and give it a try. They’re all very different, and they can all save you a lot of time online.

Good luck with these tools! I hope that they help you plan ahead with your social media and reduce the time you spend online.
 

Holly Worton helps coaches and women in heart-centered businesses go from confusion to confidence with social media, so they can use it to build relationships online and get more clients. As a heart-centered business owner, you do amazing work, and Holly wants to help you help more people. The way to do that is through Connection, and social media is one of the best ways to connect with others and build your tribe. Sign up for her free 90-minute social media training at SociallyHolistic to start building connections online. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, or Instagram.

Tips for coaches when Writing your first E-Course

Tips for coaches when Writing your first E-Course

 
Over the past two years, I’ve happily made a huge discovery in my business, one that has led to my increased professional satisfaction, deeper client progress, expanding my reach, and a multiple times increase in revenues. My discovery? I adore creating and teaching online courses. As a former high school educator with a Masters degree in Teaching, the craving to teach wasn’t new to me, but it didn’t occur to me until year three of my business that teaching my clients could be not only profitable but hugely emotionally rewarding.

For many coaches, moving beyond 1-to-1 coaching is one key to sustainable income. And as many coaches find, teaching or facilitating an online course, a group e-workshop, or an email challenge brings a new way to enjoy relationships with your clients and a refreshed appreciation for the work you love.

But not every coach has a background in teaching or facilitation. And not every coach considers herself a highly proficient writer or content creator.

That’s okay. You don’t need to have majored in English or been a classroom instructor to be a great teacher.

But you do need to wrap your mind around several truths about writing an e-course. No worries — I’ve got you covered.
 

Here are some tips for the coach who is writing content for his or her first e-course:

  • Write content in the same voice as you would converse and aim to set the same tone you’d set were you coaching in a small group or 1-to-1. No need to sound erudite or lofty just because this is a course. Think more small group, less podium in a cavernous lecture hall.
  • Understand how people learn — one concept at a time. Think of how we’re taught math in school. We aren’t presented with the full scope from counting to calculus in kindergarten. Rather, we start with counting, move on to basic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, then on to geometry, pre-algebra, algebra, pre-calculus, and (if we’re really mathematically inclined) calculus. When a student is learning calculus, chapters one and two are not about counting and basic math operations. The same should be true of your e-course content. What “level of math” do your people, the people for this particular offer, need? Geometry? Great! Do geometry, or even just one part of geometry, in this e-course. Also keep in mind that your client arc may not span the distance from counting to calculus. Maybe your people are pre-algebra and algebra people only, and so your brand conversation focuses only on pre-algebra and algebra. When your clients are ready for pre-calc, they move on to a different coach or provider. And you get a whole new batch of clients who are perfectly primed for pre-algebra and algebra. Find your point of entry respective to what your Right People want and need to learn TODAY and teach from that place.
  • Keep your scope of content small, tight, lean, honed. Coaches tend to love big, juicy, holistic conversations. This is a gorgeous frame for your client’s entire journey, but in the context of an e-course, you’ve got to segment the conversation. The smaller the slice, the more profound the teaching. Instead of teaching skillsets A through J inside one course, how about skillsets A and B?
  • When it comes to writing style, err on the side of being brief and clear in how you express yourself. Instead of saying something in 50 words of flowery poetics, can you say it in 10? As with so many things in life, in teaching, less is more.
  • If you teach something theoretical or conceptual, be sure to back it up with real life examples. We all need to understand how ideas translate into action in order to really grasp them and see the possibilities for real life application.
  • Be mindful of multiple learning styles. People not only learn by reading, but also by listening, watching, doing, using sounds or music, and interacting. How you can build in components of each learning style to your content? I love teaching for people who share my dominant learning styles, which are Verbal-Linguistic and Intrapersonal. However, many of my clients are strong Interpersonal, Logical-Mathematical, and Visual-Spatial learners. So I build in elements to my course materials that address these learning styles. The bonus is, creating more visual elements for my material than I normally would usually helps me understand what I’m teaching even better. With a visual, I am much quicker to see gaps, notice interesting connections I might have missed, and find elements I can expand upon in this or future courses.

Overall, the gist of this advice is to keep it simple and clear, always aim to hone down scope while providing lots of real-life applications and examples, and pay attention to how other people learn (i.e. people who are not necessarily wired like you). Take these tips into writing content for your first e-course and you’ll be well on your way to a teaching-and-learning experience that’s as great for you as it is for your participants.

What are your best tips for writing content for a coaching e-course? Share them with us via Facebook.
 

Abby Kerr is Creative Director of The Voice Bureau, a boutique brand voice development and copywriting agency serving solo-owned and small businesses. She is creator of The Voice Values paradigm for branding. Subscribe to her e-letter, Insider Stuff, for your complimentary brand voice self-assessment. Then tweet her to share your Top 3 Voice Values.

Abby lives in the PNW and is a home cook, a dog mom, and a fiction writer.

How to measure the success of your Facebook Page

How to measure the success of your Facebook Page

How do you actually measure the success of your Facebook Page (hint: it’s not about the number of people reached with any one post!)

Do you use your Facebook Insights? Or do you just look at that ‘people reached’ number on the bottom of each post on your Page and consider quitting Facebook altogether?

One of the best things about a Facebook Business Page, as opposed to just a personal Facebook Profile, is the wealth of data Facebook gives you about your audience and your Page’s performance.

These Insights can give you important information about WHO your people are, WHEN they are online, WHAT kind of content they like the most and HOW successful your Facebook efforts are as a whole.

Insights_intro
As soon as you have 35 Likes on your Facebook Page you can access the wealth of information in your Insights

WHO are your Fans?

Take a look at your Facebook audience’s gender and age breakdowns (including how it compares to all of Facebook) in the ‘People’ tab of your Insights. You can also see where your audience is from, including the most popular cities, which could be helpful for planning live events.

Insights_WHO

My fans are overwhelmingly women with the biggest chunk in the 35-44 age range (although the 25-34s aren’t far behind.) This is perfect since this lines up very nicely with my ideal clients.

Ask yourself: Does this match up with who your ideal clients are? Are you surprised by any of these demographics? If you’ve been trading likes or padding your page with lots of friends and family who aren’t ideal clients, you may see that reflected here. (I know it’s tempting to want to increase Likes quickly but it’s much more valuable in the long term if you stay focused on attracting your ideal clients.)

WHEN are they online?

The ‘Posts’ tab has all kinds of goodies, but the first thing you’ll see is ‘When Your Fans are Online’. This is SUPER valuable for deciding when to schedule your posts and share important status updates.

Insights_WHEN

As you can see, my fans are online most between 3 pm and 3 am in my local time, which is makes sense because I live in France but the majority of my audience and clients are in North America. While for me the days of the week are fairly even, this data tells me I shouldn’t neglect Friday and Saturday since those are the days when the highest number of my fans are online.

Ask yourself: Do you usually post when the biggest chunk of your audience will be online to see it? Are there times of the day when you rarely post but might consider trying? (For me, that’s midnight to 3am, for example.) Does your audience use Facebook a lot on the weekends? How about the day you usually publish your blog post?

WHAT content do your Fans like best?

Also in the ‘Posts’ tab you can look at ‘Post Types’ to see which type of content gets the most interaction from your audience. (Note: Photos and Videos are almost always going to get more ‘post clicks’ because they are more interactive, eg. clicking to pop the photo up in the FB lightbox viewer.)

Insights_WHAT

On my Page I don’t post a lot of videos, but they have best Reach by far so I should keep that in mind going forward. Also, even though Photo posts have less Reach than Video posts, Photos have more Likes/Comments/Shares and almost as many clicks so they are the most engaging type of post for my audience.

Ask yourself: Are you surprised by the type of content that gets the most interaction from your audience? Do you consciously share more of what your audience likes best? When you are promoting your own stuff, do you create the content with your audience’s preferences in mind? (For example, if photos do best, do you share your blog posts as images as opposed to links?)

HOW successful are you at engaging them?

The way people complain about their Reach on Facebook, you think that was the only metric that mattered for Facebook success. But honestly, it’s only a very small piece of the puzzle and should NOT be your most important goal.

Because what does it matter how many people you reach if they aren’t interacting with your content? How does having your posts shown to your entire fan base help if only 2 click through to your website? What value is there to your business to have an audience of non-ideal clients who don’t engage (and will probably never buy from you) seeing your posts in their newsfeeds?

The Facebook algorithm is not something to be afraid of: it is there to give your audience the best experience possible and you have to earn your way into their newsfeeds. Sure, you need to be able to reach your audience for them to interact with your stuff but consistent, quality content delivered to a Page audience of ideal clients does work (check out the link to the free training in my bio below for a system that will help you create a month’s worth of great content in just a few hours).

So what metrics do matter? Engagement. Likes, comments, shares and post clicks tell you how well your content is resonating with your audience. (Of course, when Facebook sees a post getting a lot of engagement, the algorithm will boost that post’s reach organically as well, so looking at your Post Reach across an entire week will give you an idea how well your content is doing as a whole.)

Insights_overview

The ‘Overview’ tab of your Insights has a great focus on Engagement that will let you see how your previous week’s posts are doing for interaction.

When you scroll down to the ‘All Posts’ section in the ‘Posts’ tab of your Insight you can see the interactions for each piece of content you’ve published in the last 3 months.

Insights_HOW_1

In my recent posts I can see there is one that went a bit ‘viral’ and got a TON of reach and clicks through shares.

Highlighted in purple on the screenshot above, you can see 3 important types of engagement information that you have access to here:

  1. The number of post clicks and likes/comments/shares on each post,
  2. The negative feedback any of the posts have received (hides, unlikes, etc.) — this is important to see what kinds of posts your audience really dislike, and
  3. The engagement rate of a post — this is a new-ish metric and I LOVE it because it shows you the percentage of people you REACHED who interacted in some way. This will truly show you how successful a post is independent of how many people it was shown to.

Insights_HOW_2

When you look at the engagement rate of posts, it’s not always the ones with the biggest reach that have the most interaction.

Ask yourself: What are your goals on Facebook? Are you creating an audience that interacts with your content or are you fixated on reaching the biggest number of people possible? What has gotten the most engagement in the past? What has gotten the most complaints (negative feedback) in the past?

Take Action Now

Take a look at the WHO, WHEN, WHAT and HOW in your Facebook Insights and notice if there is anything surprising there. Consider setting some goals for your Page (other than Reach!) and schedule some time each week to take a peek and do a more in-depth look once a month (you can download the data to .csv if you like tracking metrics in excel as much as I do!).

If you want some help setting goals or interpreting your Insights, feel free to come on over to The Coaching Blueprint Facebook Page in the next two weeks and ask any questions you have! I’ll do my very best to answer them.
Jackie Johnstone is a social media consultant for passionate entrepreneurs with an important message to share. She’s on a mission to help you banish tech headaches, reach more people, make real connections and change more lives.

Get your social media brimming with brilliant posts your audience will love! Grab Jackie’s free training here and get everything you need to start using the 4 Pillars of Great Social Media Content in your business.

You can find Jackie all over the social web but she’d love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

 

How to find a workflow that works and feels right

How to find a workflow that works and feels right

 

We’ve all got our personal bugbears.

One of mine is the assumption that there is one right way to do things.

You know, ‘this is the only process you’ll need’ or ‘follow my system’ or even the ’12 things that successful people do differently’ posts (c’mon – correlation is not the same as causation! – sorry, research geek moment!)

There isn’t an exact workflow out there that will work for everyone. What’s important is that you find a methodology that works for you. By all means, if what you’re doing isn’t working then try something different, but don’t feel you have to follow someone else’s system just because it’s worked for them.

They aren’t you.

Your business is your own beautiful baby and it’s within your power to create every single aspect of it – and yep, that includes the processes, systems and workflows you use.

I’m a believer in discovering as much about yourself as possible so that you can work with your natural abilities and style and you can stop fighting against yourself and get on with the business of changing the world in your own small, sweet way.

I’m a big fan of MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) as a way of understanding your preferences and what you’re likely to find energising, what’s going to suck the life out of you and how you can use this knowledge to take your business from good to great.

One of the aspects that MBTI looks at is whether you naturally lean towards structure and planning or towards a more go with the flow approach to life. Knowing just this one aspect of yourself can save you a whole load of pain, wasted energy and self-recrimination.

Planners are those who, in MBTI terms, have a ‘judging’ preference (it’s really important to note that this doesn’t mean judgemental.) These folks like lists, structure, plans, systems and making decisions that they can then plan around.

The Go With The Flows tend to feel a bit restricted by too much structure and planning. They like to build in opportunities for changing course, leaving things open ended as much as possible and reacting rather than planning.

Both groups make excellent coaches, entrepreneurs, and business owners – they just thrive with slightly different approaches to one another.

The thing is, our preferences have nothing to do with our ability. Planners need to have the ability to change and amend their plans else they wouldn’t be able to function very well in the real world. Go With The Flow types (known as having a ‘perceiving’ preference in MBTI) need to be able to plan and stick to a schedule otherwise they wouldn’t be able to keep client appointments or make any money!

Your preferences don’t have anything to do with your abilities. But they have everything to do with how much energy you will use doing a task.

If you’re not sure whether you’re a planner or a go with the flow type, here are some pointers.

If you’re a Planner you have a tendency to:

 
• Prefer to have things decided.
• Enjoy making lists of things to do.
• Like to get your work done before playing.
• Plan your work to avoid rushing just before a deadline.
• Sometime become so focused on a goal or task that you miss new information.
 

If you’re a Go With The Flow type you have a tendency to:

 
• Enjoy keeping things open so that you can respond to whatever comes up.
• Appear to be loose and casual, keeping plans to a minimum.
• See work as play or at the very least a mix of work and play.
• Work in bursts of energy.
• Get quite energized by approaching deadlines.
• Sometimes stay open to new information so long you struggle to make a decision.
 
Of course, we all do both some of the time, so think about what your most comfortable, natural and preferred way to be is. There’s no judgement here – neither is better, more competent or likely to be more successful than the other.

Got it? Cool!
Here are some tips to help you out and start making your workflows easier, smoother and more energizing:

Planners

Give yourself permission to really go to town on your plans and structures.
Play about with how long into the future you want to go and build in review points every week to check on progress and see whether you need to adjust your timescales and tasks accordingly. Nothing stresses a planner more than unexpected hiccups and anything going awry close to a deadline. Make sure you’re building yourself contingency time, so that you won’t go into panic mode if things go wrong (as they inevitably will from time to time.)

Longer term planning is going to light you up – go ahead, plan out your year, get a 5 year plan – whatever rocks your world. Just don’t hold onto it too tightly – allow space for new opportunities to come into your life and business.

Go With The Flows

You’re going to benefit from having a plan and some structure in place – but only to give you some direction and parameters (and to make sure shit gets done.) Think of them as a direction of travel – you know your destination (and the day you want to get there) but you have the option to take your own route.

Give yourself space to play and be creative, and permission to get tasks done in whatever order you choose so that you don’t feel tied down.

You’re naturally going to want to leave yourself open to grabbing opportunities when they arise and can do short term projects with great energy and verve – but longer term ones will seem like a grind and you’ll likely get bored. A good way around this is deliberately breaking your time down into short term projects . Try a 30-day challenge on your blog, or a 4 week group coaching program – anything that you can throw yourself into and then move onto something else.

Collaboration

Go with the flows and planners can be great collaborators – with both parties complimenting one another’s’ style.

It does require a bit of flexing on both parts however – planners may have to loosen up on their deadlines a little. For example, instead of:

“I need A for Monday, B for Tuesday, and C by 4pm on Wednesday.”
Try:
“We’ll need to have a, b, c completed by 3pm Wednesday” and trust that your Go With The Flow partner will get it done – (probably right at the wire on Wednesday!)

Go With The Flows will have to be mindful about deadlines. Do not miss an agreed deadline! Planners tend to get majorly stressed out if they’re missed – or even looking like they might be missed!

Understanding your own natural style will feel like a big weight is taken off you. If you’re a planner you will no longer feel like you’re a ‘control freak’ and embrace your natural tendency to plan, organise and think long term. Go With The Flows can stop beating yourselves up for your lack of structure and instead embrace your flexibility and ability to take quick action when something excites you.

With a bit of tweaking you can develop a workflow that works for you, your find energizing and is efficient – saving you time and energy you can pass onto you clients.
 

Jo Casey is a trainer, coach and the creator of The Work Happy Podcast. She works with aspiring and emerging coaches to help them find more joy, confidence and impact in their work. She’s written for MindBodyGreen, Tiny Buddha, Brazen Life, Dumb Little Man and Finer Minds. You can find her at www.jocasey.com and sign up for signature programme The Map Of You where you’ll discover the meeting point between your unique strengths, passions and talents, and how you really make a difference in the world. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+