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Is anyone else still trying to get their head around the fact it’s nearly 2022? It doesn’t seem that long since we were all worried about the Millennium Bug!

Hopefully, with this blog, we can help you with some excellent business goal setting and get you where you want to be to start the year strong.

If you feel you’ve been in firefighting mode for the last few years, take a deep breath, grab a cuppa and check out my top seven essential tasks to do at the beginning of the year.

I hope you find the business goal setting we go through below helpful!

Business goal setting and tasks to start the year strong
Have you looked at business goal setting yet for the new year?

1. Look at trends

Nobody has a crystal ball to predict the future, but some apparent trends and patterns can be used to gauge what will be popular for the foreseeable future. And this should be taken into account when business goal setting. So do your research to find what shat’s fashionable in your industry, niche or within your communities. This is a fantastic way to inform your product or service design, shape your marketing strategy, or help you decide where to concentrate your efforts so you can start the year strong.

For example, if you sell on Etsy, you can use E-rank for trends. Or, if you are in a particular niche, you can set up Google Alerts to keep up with important news and trends in your field.

If you write a blog, check out keyword rankings on Ubersuggest

It’s not just about looking externally, though. What trends have you noticed WITHIN your business over the last few years? For example, are your customers getting younger? Are you getting more word-of-mouth recommendations? Whatever trends you pick up on, it’s worth spending some time on this exercise because once you notice patterns, it’s easier to capitalise on them going forward and business goal setting is much easier.

2. Define success

Close your eyes for a few minutes and imayou’reou’re sitting with a glass of Champagne onYear’sear’s Eve 2022. If the year’s been amazing, what’s happened in your business and your personal life for it to feel like such a successful 12 months?

Once you can visualise where you want to end, it’s much easier to put tangible steps in place to achieve your business goals and take others along for the ride.

Then think about the key performance indicators (KPI) you’ll need to measure, so you can decide if you have been successful at the end of the year. It could be turnover, customer complaints, the number of new clients, or even your working hours! Who doesn’t want to carve out a better work/life balance, hey?!

Defining your vision of success will help you start the year strong and take aligned action when business goal setting.

3. Set realistic goals

After visualising your super fantastic 2022, start working back in 3-month increments to assess what you need to be doing in each quarter and define some SMART targets.

Remember, SMART targets stands for:

  • Specific – keep your goals clear and narrow, so you can plan effectively.

  • Measurable – define the metrics that will show if you’re making progress towards your goal or not.

  • Achievable – make sure your goals can be achieved with the resources you have available (money, time, manpower etc.).

  • Relevant – your goals should align with your purpose, values and long-term aims.

  • Time-based – make sure your goals have a definite deadline to avoid procrastination creeping in!

If you want a chat about this to help with your business goal setting, I’m happy to be someone you can bounce your ideas off and get clear on your goals so you can start the year strong. You’re more than welcome to book a 15 min chat with me on the button below.

4. Improve your systems

Are you still doing tasks on spreadsheets that could be done on an app? Do you have systems in place, but they’re so convoluted you work around them? The systems you use in your business should make life simpler… not harder!

The start of the year is a great time to look at the processes and systems you use and decide whether they’re working for you. If not, spend some time looking at what’s out there. The digital world is constantly evolving, so there may be lots of new apps that you’ve been completely oblivious to! For instance, check out Airtable for a new way to use spreadsheets for yourself or with your team

5. Review your networks

Sometimes we’re so focused on building the number of contacts in our networks that we forget to look at the effectiveness of our relationships. Some working relationships are super easy and require little effort, but the people who can help us the most are often harder to reach out to or work with.

Now is a great time to sit down and take stock of how effective your networks are. Which groups, events or people are you spending time with, but aren’t really adding any value to your business? Where are like-minded people hanging out? Who can really help to shape your business this year?

It can be tricky turning down invitations or stepping back from obligations. Believe me, I know the feeling of this! But if you’re not getting any return on your (time) investment, perhaps it’s time to be a bit more selective.

Obviously, Gossip Gals has a fantastic women’s business network, which is great for business contacts, collaborations, business support for women and learning online business and social media skills.

6. Get your finances in order

Hands up, who still hasn’t got around to completing their Self-Assessment tax return?! The deadline is fast approaching, so don’t put it off any longer. It’s time to sit down and get those finances in order.

If you find you’re always scrambling around at this time of year trying to find missing receipts or chase outstanding invoices, remember task number 4? Maybe you need a better system for your financial management! I can recommend a good accountant if you need one.

With this out of the way, you can start the year strong. It’s also really good to reflect on your accounts ready for the start of the new year as it helps you get your business goal setting strengthened based on the past income you can boost your business to the next level in a realistic and achievable way.

7. Audit your website and social media accounts

When was the last time you had a good look through your website? If it’s been a while, then it’s time to check for broken links, inaccurate information and out-of-date blogs! Our website is often the first interaction our prospective customers have with us. They may have found you through your Facebook group or social media, but when they hop over to your website, they are really stepping up to investigate buying from you. So we need to make sure it's up to scratch. Just think what first impression an average website gives versus a polished, stunning one!

The same goes for your social media accounts. What first impression do they give to people? Is it obvious what you do/sell? Make sure you don't forget about your personal profile too. If you're networking in Facebook groups, your profile is the first place people will check before connecting with you. I've done a masterclass on this here. Do your social media accounts paint a coherent message about your values, goals and passions? Are you even hanging out in the right places? If you want a friendly support women's business network, come and join us in Gossip Gals Networking for Women in Business group on Facebook.

It’s time to review that marketing strategy to help keep everything on point this year and ensure you get the greatest return on investment (ROI) for your hard-earned pennies and your all-important time.

Need some extra help?

If you need some extra help running your online business, definitely check out our membership - Social Savvy School and together, we’ll make plans to start the year strong!

Much love,

Emma x

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“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn

Do you feel like social media is a time suck, but you know you need it to promote your business?

Do you plan to get the most out of your social media channels but get stuck in a scroll hole when you get on there?

Do you look at others on social media and think, ‘how can they be everywhere online AND they’re successfully booked for their business too’?

If the answer to any of these is yes, I’m here to help! I'm sure you'd like some more social media tips for small businesses, so here's the blog for you!

As you know, I absolutely adore social media for the results it can bring to your business! I think it’s such a fantastic way to build a community around your brand that can inspire, educate, support and, of course, generate business opportunities.

But, if not managed correctly, it can seriously zap our precious time and seeing others smashing it out there can put a great big dent in our self-esteem!

In this blog, I’ve pulled together my top 5 time-saving social media tips for small businesses to help your social media accounts flourish. I hope you find them helpful.

Social media tips for small businesses

1. Concentrate your efforts

My first tip is to avoid spreading yourself too thin!

Instead of trying to market EVERYWHERE and speak to EVERYONE, select three or four main groups you want to build your relationships with. This way, you can really focus your attention and begin to learn more about your followers, your networks and your prospective customers. What issues do they encounter? What products or services would they benefit from? How can you offer solutions?

For more information and helpful hints on understanding the power of Facebook groups and getting the most out of them, head on over to my previous blog!

2. Be selective

It can be exciting to see those notifications pinging on our phones all day and it’s tempting to find out what each one is about. BUT that can soon add up to a lot of wasted time and energy. Neither of which we’re abundant in, right?!

Instead of clicking on ALL notifications, get into the habit of only clicking on the comment ones and responding. The others are pretty pointless when you think about it! Instead, use your time wisely to engage with your audience and show them you’re there to help them.

3. Set time aside

Having a set time of the day to catch up on your social media engagement is a worthwhile routine to adopt. For example, every day at 8pm, I spend 20 minutes checking and replying to comments on my social media accounts. I find that’s the best use of my time, and it prevents me from constantly checking my notifications throughout the day, which can be seriously distracting!

4. Get organised

A few simple processes can make all the difference when it comes to time management for social media! So, I recommend:

  • Creating and scheduling content for your groups or social media accounts in bulk. For example, you could pick one day a week or a month to sit down and review your key messages, research relevant awareness days (the Days of the Year website can be a brilliant resource for a list of awareness days), create your eye-catching content and then schedule it using a content calendar like Radaar (available on AppSumo) or Meta Business Suite.

  • Finding a tool to record your social media ideas. For example, Trello is a great way to capture ideas when you’re on the go or see inspirational ideas. Save screenshots and pop them on a Trello board or record simple ideas to work up later.

Adding a little structure to your social media management, and more importantly, sticking to it, will make a massive difference to your outlook and hopefully your engagement levels.

5. Repurposing social media content

Do you feel like you have to create brand-new content all the time? Lean in closer; you don’t need to! With a bit of planning, it’s possible to repurpose content, therefore, reducing the amount of time you spend on your social media marketing and potentially increasing your reach.

Say you create an educational piece explaining several benefits of a product or service. Later, you could break this up into smaller chunks and share each benefit on a branded graphic. Voila! New content, with hardly any input.

Want more social media tips for small businesses?

Hope you've found these social media tips for small businesses useful, if you’re interested in learning more about repurposing social media content, I teach a great system for it in my Social Savvy School - showing you how you could reuse content from the previous three months.

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Anyone who knows me well or has been part of my networking group can tell you how much of an advocate I am for marketing your business on social media!

It’s essentially free, widely used and pretty simple to use. Don’t get me wrong; you can’t just throw anything up there, hoping it will do the trick. It requires some careful management, and if you’re not strict with yourself, it can become an inefficient use of your limited time. (Speaking of which, if you need tips on working smarter on social media, I have a blog for that too!)

In this blog though, I’d love to show you six simple ways to supercharge your business social media accounts to help you optimise sales opportunities, build YOUR tribe, and raise brand awareness. Let’s go!

1. Use hashtags for visibility

If they’re not already, hashtags should become an essential part of your social media content strategy. Commonplace on platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, hashtags are an easy way for your audience to find or share your curated content, for you to join like-minded conversations, or to piggyback onto current popular trends.

Different platforms suit varying use of hashtags. For example, on Facebook and Twitter, it’s much more effective to be specific and use just one or two hashtags that are super relevant to your post. Too many hashtags can actually DECREASE engagement with your content!

When it comes to LinkedIn, hashtags are a relatively new concept. While there’s no limit on how many hashtags you can include, I think up to three is enough to help people discover your content.

Until recently, Instagram used to be all about using as many hashtags as possible. But now the current advice is only to use between three and five. The social media world is constantly changing, isn’t it?!

2. Find your ideal clients

It can be tempting to dial down elements of your personality or product features, hoping that everyone on social media will ‘get’ or like you. In the real world, you’re going to come across people who you don’t gel with or who aren’t your cup of tea. But do you know what? That’s fine. In fact, it’s better than fine. It’s great! Instead of trying to talk to everyone and not speaking to anyone, speak directly to YOUR ideal clients and customers.

What kind of people do you love working with? You know, the ones who get the real YOU! That’s who you need to market to. Your authentic, amazing self needs to shine through in everything you share on social media.

3. Network, network, network

What’s that age-old saying? It’s not what you know; it’s who you know! If you aren’t leveraging your networks to raise brand awareness, demonstrate how you or your products offer solutions or gain word-of-mouth recommendations, then it’s time to start!

These days, so many brands are opting to come away from the typical ‘sell, sell, sell’ approach on social media and are instead focussing on refining spaces for their tribe to hang out and get to know each other through channels such as Facebook groups. If you create the right environment, it’s a fantastic opportunity to attract YOUR people into YOUR world and create a community that everyone can benefit from.

4. Brand awareness

When most people think of brand awareness, they think of things such as a logo or colour scheme. But brand awareness is about so much more than that. It’s an opportunity to talk about your passions, values, journey, inspirations, and everything else that motivates you to do what you do.

Creating eye-catching content is at the heart of raising brand awareness, and building engagement and loyalty with your audience. This doesn’t have to take up lots of your valuable time though. Here are a few ideas to make your content creation as straightforward as possible:

  • Create branded templates in tools like Canva

  • When you see ideas, jot them down or add them to Trello

  • Reshare content and add your take on it

  • Use simple questions or gifs to start a conversation and interact with your audience.

  • Use different types of content to keep things fresh. For example, photos, videos, Lives etc.

  • Re-purpose your content to use across multiple platforms.

And don’t forget to inject as much of your personality and a little humour along the way. Let people see the personal side of your brand.

5. Share your reviews

People buy from people, even if they don’t actually know them! How many times have you researched reviews before making a purchase? I do it all the time. With so many products and services on the market (not always the best quality), it’s important to choose wisely. Previous customer experiences can help us make the right choice.

If you’ve received fantastic feedback or testimonials from your clients, share them. You could also actively ask for reviews or comments to share. Reviews are such a powerful way of demonstrating your competency or shouting about your product’s benefits.

Try to respond to reviews (good AND bad) to show your audience that you care and can deal with constructive criticism to make continual improvements. I’m always impressed when I see a business owner has taken the time to interact in this way.

6. Engage on LinkedIn

Do you automatically think of LinkedIn as the platform for networking, researching or career planning? If so, it’s time to think about what else it has to offer and how it can boost your social media strategy!

With over five hundred million users, who are in professional mode and primed to connect with brands, consume updates and learn about current business content, it’s the perfect space for starting conversations, building your network and improving engagement with your brand.

Just because it’s the ‘professional’ social media platform, it doesn’t mean your content has to be stuffy or boring. It can still be personal!

Are you ready to supercharge your social media success?!

If you found these top tips helpful, you’ll be pleased to know that with our popular Gossip Gals Gold subscription we are not including monthly Social Media Planning Sessions for all members! Check out GOLD here.

Come and join a fantastic group of small business owners for more planning, inspiration and scheduling advice

Hopefully see you there!

Emma x

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