07Mar

Ep#31: Lean Methodologies for your Startup or Small Business

The basics of lean principles, how to apply them to your business and some mistakes to avoid – interview with Trevor Glen

In this episode I interview Trevor Glen, an Adelaide based software consultant from Sarugo about his experiences with lean principles and methodologies and how they can be applied to new businesses and new marketing initiatives.

We cover;

  • The ‘Lean Startup’ book and approach
  • Who can benefit from the approach
  • Some not-so-lean mistakes to avoid
  • The concept of ‘minimum viable product’?
  • How can the MVP concept be used to improve product development processes?

Mentions / Links;

Video from this interview;

 

Transcript

[spoiler title=”Click to reveal/hide the transcription”]

Nick: Welcome back to the Web marketing Adelaide Podcast. I’m your host Nick Morris and today, we are talking about Lean Start-up Methodologies. We have a special guest Trevor Glen, he’s an Adelaide based software consultant from Sorugo. Good day Trevor how you doing?

Trevor: Yeah, good day Nick, yourself.

Nick: Pretty good! It’s good to have you along for this video interview for my Podcast listeners to listen to the audio. I am now doing a lot of video interviews, so if you head to our website at www.webmarketingadelaide.com.au, you can actually see the video version of this interview, which would also be up on YouTube and I can see Trevor there ready to go so, I think we’ll just launch into this by – I’ll get you Trevor to just explain to us a little bit about yourself, what you have done to get you up to this point and what are you working on right now?

Trevor: Yeah sure, thanks, thanks for having me on today! My background has always been a software engineer at Motorola for a number of years and when they decided to shut down the software center, we had a team there that worked pretty well together, so we thought we’d start a software business. Along the way, we found a number of things that we could do well together as a team, some failings that we had as a team as well but most importantly what we’ve come across over the past few years, and specifically the outcome of the process of this lean start-up idea, and how a lot of the things that we did along the path that, perhaps at the time seemed like the right idea would have if I’d known about the lean start-up back then would have been a lot better.

Basically, we started a software company, from that, we decided to try and develop a product, and that product that we developed is an online backup solution that is distributed backup solution. So, rather than have a single server towards the back-up, they distributed around the network. So, utilizing spare how dispersed to a community of users. We made it, as a simply, made a lot of – we did a lot of great stuff, software that we made is fantastic software, then in terms of marketing tree strategy is where the lean start-up really, in my opinion, hasn’t nailed, the process that Eric Reese describes in his book as fantastic and I think a lot of it applies to what we could have done perhaps a little bit better as well.

Nick: Great! That was pretty good, just to expand on that, so the lean start-up sort of, lean start-up is a book by Eric Reese – I haven’t actually read it yet. It’s sitting over there on my dresser, that I need to read but it is a set of methodologies. Did he sort of invent them or did they exist before and he sort of popularized it? How did that fit in?

Trevor: From my understanding of the background and certainly, I’m not an expert on lean start up, it’s just my own reading of the book and my own understanding of the lean principles where I believed developed at Toyota in Japan and in relation to manufacturing. So, really what it is about it is cutting out a lot in the fat in the manufacturing process to ensure that there is minimum amount of waste and minimum amount of processing that occurs prior to them actually doing the manufacturing. So, in that regard, I think what Eric saw and what he’s applied and what others have applied even before him and didn’t perhaps give it that name, was a way of applying that to a start-up of a business and that can apply. I think it applies really, really well to software businesses and especially web start-ups. They can apply across the board as well.

Nick: Great! Let’s move on and start off the topic with, why don’t you explain a little bit about what the lean start-up approach is and what it is about?

Trevor: The way that I look at it, I guess my interpretation of the book and certainly, you say you haven’t read it and I’m sure most people haven’t to date but I definitely recommend you read it. It’s a great, it’s not a long book but it’s very well written and you can get the concepts pretty quickly. Lean start-up is really about developing what your minimum viable product is. What’s the thing that you can get out to the market as quickly as possible to start either making money ideally, but at the very least, learning what it is that your market needs before you can get to the point of selling it. So, a minimum viable product I was reminded – actually just this morning, I was watching the dropbox story, which is a great example of lean start-up, of an application of the lean start-up.

They’re actually talking in there, the founder was talking in the video about the fact that a lot of the lean start-up stuff that they did, some of it was delivered and some of it they actually just accidentally come across as well but in there, his minimum viable product was actually a video that he posted on Hacker News site, where he basically did a screen grab of him using the technology, using his product and invited comments from people and straight away he was interacting with the market and finding out from the market what it is that they would willing to buy.

So, what they bought [Inaudible 00:06:15] is getting a product out there as soon as you can and then from that, following the process of building something, measuring what you’re doing and learning from it. So, upfront you want to ask yourself some key questions. What is it that people gonna buy? What is it that people might buy that are in my space and start investigating that, and that’s not desk work, that’s actually putting something out there and getting people to, either put their email address online – another thing is having a landing page where people can actually go in and say yes, I am interested in this product when you launch it.

By doing that, you can actually see that there is an appetite for your product out there in the market. Having a landing page is where you are actually having different types of wording and finding out what it is that your market, the type of language they use as well. But at every step along the way, you want to be building something, measuring what it is that you’re building, measuring that and learning from it and in the book they talk about that, that in the early stages of a company, it’s not actually about the number of dollars that you have in but those sort of learning points that you have.

So, what is it that you have learnt along the way, obviously it all needs to turn into a business eventually where you are making money but along the way, it is actually you can be showing progress, not by how much you have sold but by how much you have learned and how closely do you rely to having something that is of interest to the market and what they are willing to pay for.

Nick: That makes good sense. Seems to be concepts that every business should follow but is it, specifically for technologies type businesses, start-up businesses? I mean, you mentioned that it can apply to other businesses too, can it apply to every business, in your opinion?

Trevor: Look, I think there are facets that can apply to every business. I think the build measure learn, sort of idea can definitely apply to probably every business in some way. The value of it to a technology start up of course is that you can get a web page up in 5 minutes. You can change the content of that web page in 30 seconds, so your time to market for and time to be able to react is a lot quicker than say, a manufacturing business, where if you were trying to get out and a build a widget and find out if people are interested in that widget, even just the idea of getting to a prototype stage where you might deliver a prototype to 20 different people and get their opinion on it.

That’s a lot costlier than getting the next Instagram created website for example. It’s a lot easier to do than software and technology. So, specifically software in the world, so our industry in that regard could be a better place to make the most of the ideas of lean start up but also – I think what they talk about in the book is that start-up doesn’t necessarily mean someone working out of their garage. The idea of this, it is really about a being a lean entrepreneur, an entrepreneur can exist within larger companies too you know.

The term entrepreneur is usually given to those sorts of people and those entrepreneurs can actually, given the right structure go out and do this process within a large company as well so if you think about start-up not necessarily in terms of a business but in terms of an idea and it’s about innovation and about applying those principles to taking that innovation to market in a way that actually gets the most customers quicker, quickest is really the end go.

Nick: That would make quite a bit of sense there as well. I guess the other thing with the web is that makes the measurement path easier.

Trevor: Exactly! That is exactly right, again going back to manufacturing example and giving someone a widget measuring that is hard. They play with it for an hour or 2 hours, they give it to their son and they play with it for 3 hours and measuring that is a lot harder with a physical device that as a whole industry around that process whereas you are exactly right on the web with tools like Google analytics and even tools like un-bounce is I’ve come across recently as a landing page tool, and there is a lot of them out just Google on the front but you can find that information.

Nick: Yep, definitely it is one of the advantages of the web. When I sort of first heard about this lean start-up approach, lean start-up methodologies, I was actually hearing about it from Podcast and things, whether talking about more from an established business who is launching a new product. I just want to get your thoughts on that, that its not just for starting a new business but it can also be used for an established business who’s launching a new product or perhaps some other new aspect.

Trevor: Definitely I think, to be honest the way that I see this and it’s sort of an innovation can be simply even a new process of how you do what you do. Following the lean start-up methodologies is a great way to do that, and it really is just about testing in a hypothesis in the market to see if it is actually gonna stick, if you want to put it another way and that can apply to any new business, to any new product, to any new process, to any new service. Any of those can take some of that lean start-up ideas and apply it to their business.

There’s probably going to be eco-system of support around that. In the book, they talk about , I think it’s Intuit is the name of the company. I might be wrong on that but basically, I think they’re pretty large software vendor in the U.S. I think it counts as a top software and they actually, they might be as big as 15,000 people. Whenever they bring a new product to market, follow this lean start-up idea or methodology because it’s a great way to bring a product to market.

So, around that, their management structure support and understand that there has got to be some give and take around dollars. It can’t be just all about next quarter’s results, excuse me because what you’re trying to do is get something out of the market and get some feedback around what it should be doing before delving too deep into product development.

Nick: Yeah, great! We will move on now. You actually recently gave a talk, I think it was at the lean start-up meet up in Adelaide and you wrote a blog post about some of the not so much mistakes you made but your business in which we want to perhaps talk about a few of them. The two I’ve sort of singled out, that I thought would be interesting were, one, listen to your market and two, expect failure. So, could you just talk to us a little a little about the listen to your market aspect.

Trevor: It comes back to the build measure learn thing. One of the things that I think the mistakes we made is that we thought we knew what our market wanted and went out and developed a fantastic piece of software that sold for that imagined market and as we got it out we realized that, there was a market for that, maybe they weren’t willing to pay as much as we needed to charge or they weren’t willing to use it in the way we thought they would use it, so, listen to your market. In my mind, it’s really about the fact that you actually need to be out there talking to the market every step along the way.

Don’t invest too much time in building this wonderful software or wonderful system that nobody’s ever gonna use. If you don’t know what the market wants and what the market’s willing to pay for, then it’s absolutely irrelevant how good your software is and really, that is the key part of that listen to your market, is to not only listen to them but actually explicitly go out there and solicit at their feedback as early as you possibly can. We did do some of this through you know betas and sure enough, but we weren’t asking the right questions.

The questions we are asking them about the market was, does this product work for you? Are there any bugs, when really what we should have been asking was would you be willing to pay money for this? And at that point what’s missing from it that would make you want to fork over your cash? That’s really, at the end of the day, for business, that’s what matters, is people paying for it not how many users that you have.

Nick: Yeah, absolutely and I don’t know if that thing relates to it is often described that people can say that they will buy a product but actually buying a product is a different sort of thing. So, if you can, I don’t know, are there any strategies that you are aware of where you can kind of bridge that gap between what people will say and what they will actually do?

Trevor: A great way to do it, obviously, it depends on your product, is to ask for a credit card number, so even if you don’t have a product to say or that your you know you’ve got a product that you don’t think it’s exactly 100% there, is to actually ask for a credit card, is to get people to pay for it now. What they are paying for and know that is something you can test, so are they paying for 2 years subscription or are they paying to get into the beta program? That’s one way around it. It is a tough one, it’s one that I don’t think there’s a catch or a solution for but it really, I think if you are solving their problems along the way, one would hope that the money comes with that.

So, if you are actually solving a market need, yeah you’d hope that eventually, that would relate into dollars, and so if you’ve got that right and you listened to your market and you know what is that they want, then you can find that out and then you can do some testing around that as well. So, even if you get the point to the product, the product will point where you are, yes, we are happy with this as a product in the market. You can then see a different product points and so okay, let’s try it at $300 a month and see what sort of results you get and using that information, we’ll be able to determine what the sweet spot for that particular market.

Nick: Yeah, that seems to work out for businesses when they’re not, before that when they are trying to speak to the market. What’s a good way to get out there and do that? I’ve heard mentioned before that you should do lots of cold calling to your target market and to get them on the phone and talk to them about their problem so you can really understand it. Is that a good strategy do you think or are there any others?

Trevor: I think it is. I think, certainly like occasionally like Adelaide is quite good in some look outs because getting access to some of the people is key decision makers in companies can be relatively simple because of the size of the network here in Adelaide. So, everybody knows everybody as you would know, so eventually, it doesn’t take you too long if you want to talk to the head of XYZ or the head of this branch. Obviously, that’s important the market you are trying to enter into, so, having those conversations is really, really important and especially if you want to try and find someone who can help you to develop the product to help you be your channel to the market.

Having early conversations with those sorts of people, and people who are actually talking to the market you are selling to day in and day out. So, they might be selling a product that’s similar to what you are proposing, maybe not a competitor but something that is complimentary. If you go out there and talk to them and find out because they will know you would hope, what their customers paying points are and be able to cover off a large set of customers with potentially one conversation. Look, other ways you can do it as well are surveys, again come back to the dropbox example with the video .

If your audience saw you know that you need to get earlier doctors on board, find the areas on the web where those people are having conversations. If you are selling, you’re selling something that relates to over clocking your motherboard well, there is an over-clockers website, a forum there, so go talk to those people there. So, being smart about it and using the internet to do, and social media is another great example of that and might get informed coming to social media in that regard as well just a bit different flavor of it, but going out there and using and finding out what your customers are talking, even if you are just watching the conversations that they are having there, you will find out a lot about what their talking points are by linking groups, now Google Plus communities, these sorts of environments now, utilize those to find out what it is that your market is saying so… It does depend on what your market is if you obviously if you sell consumer product, versus say an enterprise product will be different communication style. So, is and they would communicate in different ways and will have to ensure that you use the language of those different communities but generally find out what is your market talks and get involved in those conversations.

Nick: That makes sense, obviously. Another thing I’ve seen and I think you sort of briefly touched on it earlier on in the interview, was you can get these sort of email, captcha things that you put up on a website and then you just drive traffic to it perhaps by adwords or some other paid mechanism and it might be like a simple question related to some sort of product that you’re thinking of developing and then the idea is, what kind of conversion can you get to people putting in their email, address which is you know it’s not a payment but an email address is something that’s semi-valuable. So, people don’t just give it out. Yeah so at least you’ve got some sort of investment there. I guess that’s another thing that you can do. Have you had any experience, any ideas on using paid traffic?

Trevor: Another book that I would recommend that is along the same lines of the lean start-ups in terms of thinking about your business in a different ways is The Four Hour Work Week. I definitely recommend that as another book to read, it talks a lot about paid search and setting up a niche and I think really paid search is best search for a niche. Without product at one stage there, we had online back-up. As it turned, you’re looking at business, probably a couple years ago now, you are looking at $6 a click. So, if you are selling a product that is $60 a year and at $60 a click, you’re gonna need more than 1 in 10 people to sign up from clicking on your ads.

So, that might be an expensive way for you to get more traffic, however if you’ve got a niche product that people still search for but it’s not highly auctioned or what’s the term, bid on in the Google adwords infrastructure, then you’ve got a better chances of getting some conversions happening there and that’s but obviously, it has to make sense and that’s where you’ve got to make sure that you marry up your adwords content with the content on your website as well so, so definitely it can work. I haven’t personally been involved in [Inaudible 00:23:19] that have done it successfully but again, if you could read Four Hour Work Week, there’s some great examples in there of people who had just done that.

Nick: Yeah I just thought reach back and pull out the book of The Four Hour Work Week, which I do have, so yeah glad to say that I’ve actually started this one and like the lean start-up and sort of so good, it’s really quite well written and interesting. Let’s move on to the second point here, expect failure, can you elaborate on this little bit?

Trevor: In some ways, that’s the, our background as software engineers working for a large software organization quality was of the outmost and releasing anything that had a bug in it was a big no no, for a various reasons especially at that point in time. Once you got a mobile phone or a base station out in the wall, having to do patches on those to fix bugs isn’t that easy and could be quite costly if you can imagine a phone recall for an organization to bring back a mobile phone to be able to re-flash it and to fix a bug, is just not gonna happen. So, I get it, for an organization like that makes sense, but we probably took some of that, took too much of that methodology, applied it to our business where a back-up product has to work, absolutely no doubt about it but it has to work. But, it has to work for the things that people will need it to work for, so, getting it out there it doesn’t have to be perfect.

If people expect that things that gonna be wrong with software, sadly enough, it says if that is the case but what’s more important is that you put something out there knowing that something’s gonna fail because you wouldn’t have thought of every single moment that somebody’s gonna use your software. Again, if you’re doing a consumer sort of solution, I guarantee it will get it out there and someone will use it in some way that you never even thought of you know. They are still running Windows 95 or they’re trying to install it on their laptop, that’s only got 1 megabyte of space left, you know.

So, things like that that you’ve, you can’t even, you probably wouldn’t even think of before you released your software but what’s so important is knowing that’s gonna fail and being prepared for dealing with various failures. So, being responsive to people’s concern and one probably important thing from my personal perspective is owning up to them, not trying to hide the fact that this software has failures, and then once you’ve found those problems, releasing often and that is another important part of, I guess, the lean start-up is that you are always releasing new versions of your software, getting it out there, so that people can experience the new version and fixing bugs in that time.

Nick: Yeah, that makes sense. Well, I think that last point about owning up to them is something probably certain business owners, me included struggle with sometimes because you’re sort of so invested in it and you feel like it’s you know part of you so almost saying that it’s failing is almost a thing against you personally and it’s difficult to own up sometimes, having that at front of mine you should always be owning up and getting onto it quickly and making sure you give them good customer service.

Trevor: I think an important, there’s some cultural things that exist in Australia to around value. Australians generally whether be two puppy or whatever is it we’re not great on trying things and expecting something of it to fail. So, culturally, you have to deal with that as well and you have to battle your own internal feelings about this as well as others in the community or why are you doing this? It probably gonna fail anyway and that relates not only just to lean start-up and entrepreneurship, generally in Australia and it’s get them a soap box over here. In my opinion in Australia, this we are well placed, pretty better than many other places in the world to be entrepreneurs. The way that our system works where you can lose all of your money on a venture and still be able to feed the kids, have a house over here, have a roof over your head and still be able get health care, is better than 99% of the world. I think it’s a fact that we need to embrace that failure, embrace the fact that we are going to fail in certain things and recognize that when that happens you are actually in the best place in the world for failure to occur and not be end up living up in a car as we’ve seen happen for people who are not even entrepreneurs in the States and all around the world over the last few years with the financial issues.

People who thought they had a stable job, lose the job, can’t find any more work and end up out on the streets. So, in Australia [Inaudible 00:28:46] we’ve avoided most of that at a micro level. At a micro level, I think that people would just accept that they can and will fail at something and just have to go because it is so much more satisfying than just doing the 9 to 5.

Nick: Yeah absolutely, and a concept that I think relates well to this I’ve heard described, this fail forward, so trying to make sure when you do fail, you actually learning something from it, so you can re-apply that to your business or change something or fix something.

Trevor: Yeah definitely and I think it’s one of the things that, one of the reasons that I did the blog post and why I’m more than happy to spend the time with you today is because, there are some of those things, the mistakes that we made, I don’t want others to make those mistakes. So, I think, we’ve, a lot of what is happening in Adelaide in the last few years you know Silicon Beach, these co-working groups that they are setting up, there is a real vibe around entrepreneurship and start-ups now in Adelaide that didn’t exist in the past. So, I think it’s important that we all do work together to pool our learnings, so that we can all collectively grow this opportunity of Australia being, in Adelaide, be a great place to have a start-up.

Nick: Yeah, it really is interesting. I’ve been going to various events lately and through another project, I’ve just started what I’m gonna be interviewing various entrepreneurs in Adelaide. It’s really interesting thing that the community grow and concepts like, what we’re talking about today, like the lean start-up methodologies I think are really gonna be important for people who have that energy and have that desire to start something but want to make sure that you’re doing it in the right way.

So you’re not, it’s not much of a waste and so you listen to your market as you’ve said and coming up with solutions that are gonna actually solve some problems that make up, importantly pay for so you can fund your venture so that you can get some value out of it in the end. I sort of touched on briefly again the minimum viable product idea, you sort of explained, what it is to begin with and you sort of mentioned the dropbox video idea. Could you just expand on minimum viable product a little bit, maybe some examples of what a minimum viable product could be?

Trevor: It is, my experience today with minimum viable products has been its [Inaudible 00:31:24] for some people and in their industry they have their minimum viable product. It has to be quite complete before anyone would even consider using it. It’s probably in something like a – especially if you’re talking about technology where you’re traditionally working with technology where you’re working with lawyers and doctors because lawyer and doctors would be less willing to put up with bugs, less willing to put up with issues.

So, that doesn’t mean you don’t go out there and talk to them and find out what the issues are, and try to build that in but your minimum viable product that might be a lot more full featured, released, a well rounded than it might be for say something if you were targeting earlier doctors in the software industry who would know that things are gonna fail, know what the term alpha and beta means and what that would mean for this data, know that if you’re can using a service, they’re gonna have to back up their own data because it may fail at any point in time.

So, you do have to think about who your target market is what it is they might be looking to do but the way that I’ve done it recently is really just to develop a list of features or user stories that describe how the system should function and working with the market in terms of finding out what those features should be, is really just keep looking over those list of features and come back on what you think, now do we really need this for people to start using the product, for people to start buying the product and constantly checking your own assumptions about what it is that you think you’re gonna be building for people. And validating those assumptions with the market and getting it out there.

So, when it comes to a web based software, you know, obviously things like minimum viable product, someone is going to have to log in, someone is gonna have to do something with your app, whatever the key feature is of your app and be able to log out. If that’s what you need to do with your app, then that may be your minimum viable product but, in other cases, you actually may want to include in your minimum viable product, the acceptance of people’s money. If you think that you need to do that before you can launch, then that’s, again, [Inaudible 00:33:52], but again – so I think from my experience, I think, the two definitions of minimum viable product, one is sales based.

So, what’s the minimum viable product that we can release to people who are gonna start buying this solution and the other is, one in which and that was from the dropbox example, one in which people are actually just going to start providing you feed back on it. So, either of those could be determined a minimum viable product but it just really depends upon what it is that you are trying to achieve. I mean for the latter, if I could get something out there as soon as you can, that is going to extract some feedback from people and get some direct, so that you actually use your product and heading towards the goal of you buying it eventually, I think is a better approach than waiting too long until you have something that people are going to start using straight away and buy straight away.

Nick: I mean it’s probably not a perfect example but when I started, first started the Podcast, I had this idea and I had the idea for a while and then I was putting it off heaps and then, eventually I thought I would try and take a bit of a lean approach to this and I’ll just record a podcast and you know I just did it on my phone, which is probably not the best technology and then I thought I’d try to prove over time with the thinking that the main part of the product is really the content and not so much, even on a basic level of sound quality but there are sorts of bits and pieces that sort of surround that sort of extra bits which I can add later, where the minimum viable product is just the content and the sound getting out there.

Trevor: And that’s really good because see what I mean what you’ve shown there as well what you’re doing your podcast and the blog and all of that is not specifically a business, it’s about, you know, marketing sort of opportunity or marketing process that you are following to get people aware of you and to provide that content but you can still apply the lean start-up thinking to that and so, that’s where, to go back, I think to your very first question of where can it be applied? I think if you start thinking about what the methodology is teaching you or trying to achieve, you can apply in a lot of different facets of business and not just around the making of money.

Nick: Absolutely, that’s been a really great interview Trevor. Thanks a lot for coming on. I think this very useful for people who are looking to start a business but also people who are in business and they are looking to sort of improve their processes in relation to products or leaning themselves up. If anyone wants to find out more about you and sort of what you’re doing, where’s the best place to do that?

Trevor: You can obviously find me on places like Linked in, I’m on there and that’s it, sorugo.net is my company, so have a look there. I would love to help people understand more about their current idea for going into market and can help them make that happen.

Nick: Fantastic, I’ll have some links in the show notes for this episode with – to your blog post and then also to your website and your social profile where people can find you. Thanks again for coming on and have a good one.

Trevor: Thanks for having me Nick, take care mate!

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01Mar

Ep#30: Interview with Majoran Distillery Co-founder; Michael Reid

Interview with Michael Reid, cofounder of Adelaide’s tech startup coworking space: the Majoran Distillery

In Episode#30 of the podcast we have another video interview, this time with Michael Reid who is cofounder of Adelaide tech coworking space; the Majoran Distillery, as well as the popular monthly networking event; Silicon Beach. This interview is also the first episode of a new project I’m starting where I interview Adelaide entrepreneurs.

Links/mentions;

Connect with Michael;

michael reid interview image

The Majoran Distillery and Silicon Beach are sponsored by Ninefold – Cloud Computing Australia, Hosting & Storage

21Feb

Ep#29: Using Google+ for Creating Content & Building an Audience

Using Google+ for creating content, building your audience and connecting with people

In this week’s Episode I chat with Frazer Kirkman, a wellbeing coach in Adelaide, about how he has been using Google+ and Hangouts to create content, connect with his audience and build a bigger audience. Of course we had to do the interview itself on a Google+ Hangout and you can watch that below. You can also download or stream the audio only at the bottom of the post.

 

Links / mentions;

Google Plus Hangouts for Business

 

[spoiler title=”Click Here for Transcription” open=”0″ style=”1″]

Nick: Looks like we are on! Welcome back to the Web Marketing Adelaide video show. Today, I’m doing a special show, we’re doing a Google Hang Out video interview with Frazer Kirkman about how he’s been using Google Plus Hang Outs in his business. So, it’s kind an appropriate medium for discussing this subject. Good day Frazer, how you doing?

Frazer: Very well. Thanks for having me.

Nick: No probs. So, we haven’t got much of a big plan for this interview which gonna sort of go, you are actually much more familiar with how the technology works than I am, so, before this we had a little bit discussion about how things work and that. So, I’m still learning as well so I’m just gonna ask some questions which might be able to help me but also my listeners and hear a bit about your experiences with the technology and how things are going. Let’s get started with why don’t you just tell us a little bit about yourself, about your business, your projects you are working on at the moment?

Frazer: Great, thanks. So I’m the well being coach. I have a Cognitive Science degree. I’m passionate about the human mind and mental plasticity, so I help people with performance enhancement, mood enhancement. So, helping for many things from sports or business, prowess to communications and relationships to happiness and laughter and tranquility. I really like to feel as if knowing the core of transforming human behavior I can help anyone with anything. I run some different events around Adelaide and we also have a sanctuary in Aiden Hills called Aiden Sanctuary. We have events here and guests here, and I also have a wider network of people from around the world that I’ve done work with, which is why I use Google Plus, so I can do guided mental training sessions with anyone, any time, wherever they are.

Nick: Fantastic! How did you first get on to the Google Plus thing because many people probably haven’t even really heard of Google Plus, so how did you sort of first discover and get onto it?

Frazer: There’s two real motivating forces. One was, I made a lot of videos, I had my camera out, I filmed motivation talks and you know we all have busy lives, put the camera down, on to the next thing. The videos is just seen on my camera to take the time to edit it that it’s you know, it’s just one actual little step which can be something that can get in the way of publishing and producing. I got on Google Plus and I sort of hang outside the option to just like post and all of a sudden, all of the stuff that I have been wanting to do spontaneously, I could just do it, just talk to your friend, record it, publish it and that just covered hindrances out of the way, just lets you be spontaneous and creative cause that was a big motivator for me. Also I was spending a lot of time on a particular social network last year, that while I was connecting in really positive ways and inspiring people in the ways that they were into, just helping where the conversations were going, it wasn’t necessarily me really express myself in the best way.

So, I wanted to find another social network, where it was more focused on success, futurism, human potential and I find a lot of people who migrated over to Google Plus, forward thinkers, leaders, fairly adopters. So, there is an environment of more positivity and more success there, which is what has worked for me and I’ve also seen my own personal habit is that, while I’m using Google Plus, I’m thinking of building goodness, whereas other social networks have been just a social thing for me, which isn’t necessarily bringing out your best side. So, it’s been a fresh start for me to create my own online presence and new, in the way I use it.

Nick: Yeah, that actually sounds really great what you’ve said there. As a Google Plus user, of course I have to agree with you being a Google Plus user is forward thinking and positive in that way, so that’s good to hear. But certainly the stuff you’re saying about breaking down barriers and making it really easy to just put that content out I can totally relate to that and also from my experience with other business owners and clients and stuff, where it’s for things like, for example, like blog posting or something, where it’s sort of a thing where you just have to sit down and you have to think of what to write, you have to write it and dad a dad a da, there are always steps involved and videos as well you know. You have to edit it dad a dad a, but just being able to switch on a camera, get your thoughts out and then it’s there, it’s done. The ease of use, yeah that sounds like a very big positive as you said. Won’t you tell us a little bit about some other ways you’ve been using to Google Plus hangouts? What kind of videos have you been making and how you’d been using them?

Frazer: Mostly, it’s been morning well being sessions. So, people join and I got a relaxation or positive thinking training or some kind of visualization to get people in a good mood or to create a positive habit. That generally being for going about 15 mins to half an hour, still a little dose of positivity to get your day going and also, I designed it so that the positive things you cultivate stay with you. It’s not just a pump up session, it’s an idea of yourself being more pumped up or whatever ways you want to be better. I’ve always said you use that first time interviews, I don’t just use it for streaming you can also just have it as a private conference if you want to just chat with ten people or have a meeting and there’s a whole bunch of little toys on the side. You can put funny glasses on and you can put a little halo on. So, what I’m doing really, are uplifting things, I’ll put that there, makes everyone laugh.

One thing I’ve also found is really good, not only this, go up on your youtube channel straight after, but you can probably see at the top of your screen, it says, how many viewers are watching live? We are actually streaming live, which is a really nice feeling, like people join and it’s good to have them there, but to know there’s other people watching as it happens? Sure I can smile and I’ll know that in the future, people smile but somehow, like sending out something nice and inspiring and knowing that other people are getting it, right about that moment, I don’t know, it can make, this makes me extra feel good.

Nick: No, that’s a really great point actually. I mean cause it turns it’s not just a video, it’s a live event, if you’re getting people involved with you. I’m looking up now, we got zero viewers, which is not particularly surprising.

Frazer: But you didn’t promote the event…

Nick: I didn’t promote the event or anything like that, but you’ve been getting obviously been getting some viewers on your videos. Did you promote it or you just sort of find people?

Frazer: I’ve been doing it regularly, so there’s people who know to tune in each day and the only promotion so far is just been me talking about through Adelaide but as I get more established with the schedule and things I’m going to promote them as well. Another thing, Google Plus isn’t just hang outs, it’s obviously got the whole social networking side as well, so you can create an event that people would book to go to the event, which you can use just to promote your real world business meeting or your real world party but you can also create an event that’s a purely online event.

So, you can promote in events, people be there ready to join the hang out and yeah. So, that’s definitely one thing I’ve been thinking about setting up an online schedule for people to be out at joining events and book the kinds of workshops that they really want to be a part of. So yeah that’s the events up side of Google Plus and there’s also the whole world sharing, tagging and communities side of it that you see on the other social networks. So, you get to find out the communities that have things in common, post up some good videos, start interesting conversations, invite similarly minded people to work together, yeah it’s been really good. And like I’ve seen it’s potential and it’s still a matter of time where I grow and where I take it.

Nick: And this kind of a tool and you can figure out the best part of use it for yourself. Coming from that podcasting side of things and from my broadcast and listening to other people giving advice, seems that the schedule thing and thing regular can really make a difference to people who are tuning in, especially live or the people that are just coming back each week to view the new content. So, I think that’s really gonna be a good K. Have you been fairly regular by the sounds of things but not with the set schedule?

Frazer: Every morning sometimes between 7 and 7:30. At the moment, I have a lot of people here staying at the sanctuary so it’s a matter of coordinating everyone to get in at the right time. So, you’re getting in more defined schedule for the sanctuary so it matches the online events sort, that’s what I’ve been figuring out how to collaborate that with our guests. Every morning, I’ve done a session and so as long as the people watching us are sort of patient, they get something online ready to watch. Yeah, there’s been people there waiting for us, so it’s great!

Nick: Well yeah, that’s great and as I understand it there’s, you mentioned viewers, people just viewing and obviously us doing interview on this case and in your case it’s usually just you, there is also people that can join in and also interact with you? Do you have that as well? Is that right?

Frazer: I think on your youtube channel, you can have typed interactions but I haven’t played with that feature yet. We could have up to 10 people here in this conversation, so that’s the people who have joined in and there’s the viewers. That’s all I’ve been working with now but I have seen on the youtube channel, channel settings, one of the options is to be a blogger, video blogger and their it says there are discussions and interactions. I’m yet to experiment with it.

Nick: Wow yeah, but there’s more out there which is even more exciting and with the people that can come into the conversation, like up to 10 as you said. Do I have to invite them in or can I just join or can you set it to let us join or…?

Frazer: The way Google Plus works is, any time you want to post, you can post it to individuals to circles that you have created, so you might have a circle, Adelaide business colleagues or global business colleagues or relatives, and you can post to anyone of those circles which has whichever people that you’ve chosen. You can also post publicly, so for your world post or for your events or for your hangouts you can always choose who’s invited and then they’ll see their invite and click on yes. If it’s public, then it will come up on the list of public hangouts that they can come in and join.

Nick: Good stuff. Let’s talk a little bit about technology now like the different tools that you need to get started with this. I’ve put myself up on the screen now, people watching the video can see I’ve got a headset on for my sound but with your video you’ve got no headset going on there. How are you doing your sound?

Frazer: It’s just, I’m on my laptop and it’s just the laptop sound and the built in laptop microphone. It’s so easy, I’ve got nothing, it’s the only tool that I use right now.

Nick: Yup, and you mentioned before that you have an external microphone that you…?

Frazer: Yeah, one morning, someone mentioned that they felt like the sound quality wasn’t so good because I have the laptop sitting a few meters away from us. We had about six people here so I put it away to be able to see. The sound was ok but if someone’s trying to meditate to relax it maybe wasn’t as crystal clear. So, I also have a microphone I can use it if I want my computer to be further away. It has a shorter pickup range so it gets my voice a little sharper. It’s not as loud but it gets more distractions but I guess to me, also it’s got a long cord so I could put the computer away to have a wide angle shot and still be able to hear me.

That’s the only thing I found really useful at the moment. Actually, one other thing when I mentioned having lots of people is, there are some people who have been coming to our events who haven’t gotten onto Google Plus, don’t know how to do it or something and they’re in to stay and I haven’t had the time to step through the few clicks that it would take for them. So, they’ve been using other voice things so, other chat programs, so I’ve had them chatting in the background.

They happen to hear us, they can’t see us, unless they look at the youtube live stream, but they’ve been able to discuss with us, listen and be part of it, even though we can’t see them. So, it’s been really good for me, having people here, people on audio and the people in the hangout. I’ve had one or two mornings where there was enough people here at the sanctuary that we couldn’t fit in the screen so they just opened in on the Google Plus and join us from the next room. So, we had multiple inputs from the same event, which was nice because we could zoom in on the different people and instead of having to look next to each other, we could look straight at each other and then afterwards we get to hangout in real world. So, it works kind of this merging between a virtual and the actual, which was good.

Nick: Wow yeah, as you’re talking I can see all these ideas going around in my head about how you could use Google Plus to bring together events. Typical things that people say these days with the internet is that people are getting so individualized and now we’re staying home and it’s no community but something like Google Plus, it’s just you can definitely see how you can connect with it and then how you can drive offline interactions as well and yes, really an interesting medium.

I think going forward, as it gets more popular as perhaps maybe Facebook starts to piss more people off and more people start looking for a different option and you know Google Plus and maybe we might really start to see some other thing, interesting things that are people doing with Google Plus and I’m already saying, certainly with the SEO’s base there’s quite a few people pretty into it, being a Google product. The SEO’s are always getting on top the Google things there?

Frazer: I’m constantly being surprised by the little ways I’ve been seeing them integrate it into their other Google products. My calendar, Google Calendar that I’ve had for years now has embedded the options to add a Google Hangout, to any event. My Google Hangout Google Plus chats are just becoming part of my emails, it’s just totally, seamlessly integrated. It just works so well with anything I want to organize, it’s beautiful.

Nick: Yeah, it’s really interesting. I mean, anyone that go on Gmail find their own Google Plus even if they don’t even know it yet. They could just create an account, if you’ve got Gmail, you probably have a Google account. If you’ve, got a business a Google Plus, Facebook page for your business. They are really pushing it through all the different products, so I think it’s only a matter of time before more people will start using it and start seeing more interesting stuff happen with the videos and the Google Plus Hangouts can be really interesting. That’s pretty much all I have to discuss. Do you have anything you want to add Frazer before we…?

Frazer: I’d love if you could include a link to a youtube channel the, United Visionaries after its merely easy cause it is youtube to just put on a little annotation that says a link to our front page to be able to just click on it here.

Nick: Will do.

Frazer: Yes, it is so easy to do. Yeah, all the other youtube video features are there for editing like you can cut bits off the end, you can put in links and annotations. You can link people to the set 2 minutes into the interview for them to watch just a snippet. It’s just great, yeah so if anyone’s interested in some coaching in Adelaide for some live coaching or live laughter sessions, look me up frazerkirkman or if you’re interested in online sessions or some online private coaching yeah you’ll see the link to our youtube channel and join us through there. Thanks for the interview, it feels very good.

Nick: No, that wasn’t bad. Thanks for coming on, some really it’s great to pick someone’s brain. He’s already using the medium and see what’s working for them and it’s so easy I love the ease of use as you mentioned earlier on in the interview and I’ll be putting all this up as a podcast. I’ll be taking the audio and putting it as a podcast but also the video up and it will go up on our website we’ll have links to your Facebook sort of your Google Plus page and your youtube account there so and your website as well as you like and then people can go find out more about you if they want to get involved and to see what you are doing. So, yeah thanks very much for coming on this interview, it’s been fantastic having you.

Frazer: Thank you very much

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15Feb

Ep#28: How to do Regular Social Posting

How and why to post to your social profiles every day

how to do regular social postingYou should be posting on your Facebook page pretty much every day but that’s easier said than done. In this episode I discuss how to get more regular with your social posting with Nicole Jones from Market Me Marketing.

Covered in this episode;

  • Why is regular social posting important?
  • The different types of posts you can make
  • Routines and strategies to stick to your post schedule
  • Facebook’s sponsored post options
  • How to use your Facebook presence to drive leads and sales

Links & Mentions;

[spoiler title=”Click Here for Transcription” open=”0″ style=”1″]

Intro: You’re listening to the Web Marketing Adelaide Podcast. We give you the tips and strategies to help you utilize the web to get more traffic leads and sales for your business. Now, here’s your host Nick Morris.

Nick: My guest this week is Nicole Jones from Market Me Marketing. Welcome to the show Nicole.

Nicole: Thanks Nick.

Nick: The topic we’ll be talking about this week is social media posts and how to get more frequent posts, something I’ve been realizing lately with talking to Uni call and also talking to other people on social media marketing spaces, that it’s very important it seems to be getting regular posts, going on your social media and that can really make the difference by trying to do that with the Podcast, Facebook page, particularly, I find it’s actually quite difficult to do. You can sort of, maybe get a few days in a row to get some posts going but then it slips off your mind and you don’t get back to it until the next week or whatever. So, is that what this show is gonna be all about? Before we get started, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself Nicole and about your business?

Nicole: Yeah, oh no worries. So, I’ve been running Market Me now for almost 3 years and I guess I started the business at a little bit of passion to want to help other business owners, learn how to market themselves the smart way without spending hundreds of dollars on you know the more traditional forms of marketing. And I, yes so, I was doing welcome pages and things like that and then I started to move on to the management and teaching people how to actually use social media as well. So, it’s been a huge journey, I’m pretty much been full time from day one, which has been fantastic and yeah, we’ve got almost 6,000 fans or followers on the Market Me Page and really excited about the future.

Nick: Great. It’s also not just me that’s having trouble with the management side of things so…?

Nicole: No.

Nick: That’s good to know. Let’s jump right in with my first question here is, what are some of the improvements that people can see on their social media profiles when they start posting more regularly?

Nicole: Okay, so the key is to post regularly Nick, because, I guess, the more you post, the more chance you have of people actually seeing your post. So, if you just post once a week, chances are that some of your fans or your followers maybe not even be online on that day. So, you might not even get the opportunity to interact or connect with them that week in particular. The other thing is that Facebook actually has a system which is called algorithm and they sort of it, you know, different things determine what gets shown in people’s news feed. So, just because you are a fan of Market Me, doesn’t actually mean you’ll see all of my posts. It could be other posts that businesses are posting.

They could be other business could be posting images, they could have paid to get their posts promoted. So, you know, you really are competing with a lot of couple of pages, a lot about other things on Facebook, and the more that you post, the more that people are gonna see your post, the more likes that you’re gonna get on your, you know the photos or the images or the status updates that you do post, and when people actually like something or comment, a friend goes and see that. So, they see that activity on your page, so, the more change you’ve got, and I guess, the more are clicking through and seeing what your friends are commenting and liking, the more chance you are of actually growing your page.

So, I’d actually seen it you know, some of the pages we manage, we only post once a day. Some of the pages we manage we post 2 or 3 times a day and I’ve noticed there is a huge difference between you know the interaction I guess and what actually happens on that page. So, posting regularly is very important and it also means that you can post more, you can post different things so if you just post once a week you might just been posting the current special or something like that. If you are posting every day, a couple times a day obviously you can be starting to add value and things like that by posting articles or Podcast and different things like that. So, it definitely gives you a greater opportunity to communicate with people as you start posting more.

Nick: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Moving on from there, what are some of the sorts of things people can post? I mean you just mentioned articles and Podcast of course will be posted on the this page. What other things sort of, typical examples of post type.

Nicole: So, let me use Market Me as an example and Market Me offers obviously marketing services for businesses and a lot of that is our social media. So, we offer management assistance. We help people set their pages up, all of that kind of thing, so, really, when I’m posting, really, it’s important for me that the posting information that is related to marketing or business, and you know my tag lines to my business is growing business the smart way and the things that I post on there, I try to actually pull from the internet to the things that are actually gonna help boost business and do things the smart way.

So, I would post things like helpful business articles, could be entrepreneurial type things, it could be business type articles, it could simply be something about a new feature being added to Facebook or it could be, you know, something changing on Facebook. We try and keep people informed with all of that kind of information, and when I post that information I’m actually showing my fans that I kind of know what I’m about, you know, that I’m up with the latest information, that I do have the ability to actually be able to pull the important information from all the rubbish from on internet.

I also post business tips, and I do my personal interaction kind of post, like most of my fans know that I love coffee and so, over and over again I’d post who wanted coffee, just off sort of, you know, just to let people’s guard down to get a bit of fun. Because you know, why should business be all about you know serious stuff and making money and all that kind of thing. The other things I posted are motivational images, you know, images that have inspirational scenes or pictures so that people can actually feel inspired in their business to you know, keep persisting through the hard times or you know, to start thinking outside the box a little bit more and you know, we’d just post a variety of things across the week, so that we’re not always posting articles, we’re not always posting podcast, we’re not always posting links.

I think it is really important to actually have a good variety of things and you know, I guess, when I actually stand back at the end of my wake and I look at what I’ve posted, I can genuinely see that I have posted a variety of things but it’s also shown who I am as a business person. It also reflected what my company and what my business stands for and when it comes to sales kind of post, I would only recommend about 10% a month so that’s not even every week you know, that’s maybe one or two posts a month. Potentially, I mean a lot of businesses do post something salesy every week, but they are also posting all of the other things through that week as well. So, the idea is actually in, you know it is all in sort of a good format but we say don’t post all the time, you know. If you are following a page and you can post sales content all the time, so you want to buy this, buy that, sign up to this, sign up to that, you kind of get sick of it after a while. So, make sure that you do balance out everything you post on your page. And what I’ve said to people is it’s a good idea to actually open your eyes and see what other people are doing, not to copy them but to actually just see how people do run their pages especially the successful ones.

They have tens of thousands of fans, so, good variety and the things are really good. Always be professional but you need to be relational as well and so you know, have a little bit of fun. Try something, every now and then, we might put a picture up on my Facebook out, like there’s a picture going around at the moment that says Facebook will be shot for the 29th and 30th and 31st or something of February and it’s just kind of funny. You get people laughing you know, gets their guards down, get some thinking you know, this marketing thing is actually, it can be fun, we can have a bit of fun with this.

Nick: Yeah fantastic. That all make some, quite a lot of sense. Do you have any guidelines on, should you post lots of images or ways to get interaction? ‘ve heard the images are quite important on Facebook and they tend to get a lot of…?

Nicole: I quite often had this discussion with clients who say I hate all of those inspirational images, don’t post them but the bottom line is this Nick, is that people love images and when you’re flocking through your news, I’m guessing that it’s probably the images that struck you. It’s the images that grab your attention, everything else is just text. If you’re not really interested in reading text, you don’t read it but images are what stop people the most. So, if you can put images in people’s news feeds, you’re going to get a lot of likes, you know.

We had one on a particular page that I’m running at the moment, where, we’re actually, out of 150 fans, we had 25 likes on the one image, and that is actually quite good percentages when it comes through to you know having to actually stand up against so many pages and people’s news page. But you know, the more the images or the more that post gets locked and the more that things get commented on, the better chance you have of it actually showing up in people’s news page. It’s kind of like you know the business is, I guess that big. If they’ve got so many people, you know competing for that one spot of being able to being seen, of course they’re gonna show the pages that’s got the most interaction, aren’t they? They’re gonna show the pages that are giving the best contents, so I would recommend probably 35% of your post should be images and if you’ve got something you know, like quite often, I’ll post a link to a business article and I always go to that page and I save the image from that article to my computer and I upload that image with that article, so, that if people see that image, you know they’ll go, I wonder what this is about and they’ll actually read the blog and talk about the article, the more chance I have of actually getting a chance for someone to actually check it and comment on it.

So, images are huge and you know, you can get creative, you can create your own images that people can share, you might want to put your own motivational quotes, your own thoughts or your own business tips on an image. And put your website at the bottom and you know that becomes shareable content as well. The more that they get shared the more chance you have of gaining more fans and actually getting put out there more, so, images is huge.

Be very careful though you know, there are some obviously that you know, people can take the wrong way, some that could, to some people can be derogatory, and all you know politically incorrect, so, you just have to be very, very careful with what you post. But definitely, motivational images, inspirational things, all of that kind of thing, anything related to your business, anything related to your industry and then again, it’s good to throw in something that gets people laughing because they really do seriously love all those funny things that are floating around, so definitely images are huge.

Nick: Great. Moving on with the sort of the systems of actually getting these posts out. Do you have some strategies or some systems to getting the routine going, so you can actually get these posts done?

Nicole: Yeah, so it really depends on other business and how they go about it. The key thing here is that marketing always cost you something. It either cost you time to sit down and work it out for yourself and go through and actually set things up and post on your page and interact with people, or it cost you money to have someone like myself actually manage a page and do that for you, but you know I recommend businesses to spend an hour on a Monday.

Sit down and work out their marketing strategy for the week, you know. Is it gonna be part of Facebook, is part of it gonna be a press release, is part of it gonna be some fliers that might put together you know. What is their marketing strategy gonna be for the week? And that will flow from their overall marketing strategy that hopefully most businesses have this days. The one I recommend, is you know on a Monday, sit down, work it out, what is your focus going to be for the week? What are the things that you need to promote this week? What is the product on your website or the service that you really want to promote the most and sit down, and you can even, you can even go as writing at your post for the week and then on Facebook, they’ve brought in a way, you can actually schedule the post. So, if you decide you actually wanna be on Facebook everyday of this week, but I do want to really post every day, you’ve got the options to actually schedule those posts.

So, you could go in on a Monday, spend an hour just working out what are these you are going to post, find the images, find the articles, have your podcast ready and then, when you’re actually ready, go to your page on the left hand side at the bottom of the post, when you actually start typing in to your status update, there is a little clock there, and it gives you the option that you can schedule your post in. If you follow those prompts, it’s very, very simple. It takes you through, you know the day or the month, the day, the time even you know, the certain minutes and you can schedule all of your posts. So, quite often, if I got a busy week coming up, I will do that, I will schedule your post on some pages because we just, you know, you want to make sure that you do keep that interaction happening. Your whole life is busy, you know.

I work out from home around 3 kids as well, so I don’t always – I can’t always plan my week out, it does always work out the way I want them to go, but you know, scheduling is a fantastic tool. It just means you have to go in and actually just know check up on the commenting and reply to anyone who sent you a message or anything like that. The other thing you can do is actually schedule things through the different tools like Hoops Sweet, that is actually quite a big one that most businesses will use these days. I tend to try not to schedule too much because some people say that schedule posts get less weight than the post that you actually just manually go and post, and I think looking at some of the pages that I manage, I don’t actually see that happening anymore.

I think more and more scheduling is becoming something that we are looking into because it’s a time management tool. The other thing you can do is, if you want get really organized, is plan a whole month in advance. What are your posts gonna be? Sit down and work out for each day and you know, I often sit down with clients and I say okay, there’s a number of things that we actually want to make sure we cover in the month. We want to have some personal interaction for one. Two, we want to tell people about our business. So, you’re a bed and breakfast and you are pet friendly. That’s something people need to know. It’s something that separates you from your competitor. So, you know the different things about your business that people might want to know. You want to tell people about your service, so once a week you might feature a particular service. It might be that you go out and you mow people’s lawns or that you come to them and take their awning away, do it and bring it back all done. You know, people don’t always click through and view your website, and unfortunately, when someone comes to your page, they can’t always exactly work out what are the things you offer just by reading your About section.

It’s important to actually put it out that this is what we actually do. So, we’ve got you know, personal interaction, we’ve got certain things about your business, then we’ve got you know the services that you offer. There’s just a variety of things, so you might work out the different things that you want to post through the month, write those down and just start turning out your months and you’ll find that you’ll be able to look over that month and say, “Well, I covered everything. I’ve informed them about what’s coming up next month.” I’ve built trust, I’ve added value, I’ve given them some tips in there somewhere as well and it’s a good way for businesses to know that they’re just in control of their social media posts.

A number of scheduling tools, a number of different things you can do. It’s about time, you know. If you if you don’t want to schedule, you want to just go in and do it at random times, just make sure that you separately have 10 minutes a day, where you can actually go in and do that. It might be the first thing you do in the morning, it doesn’t mean that your post has to go at 9 o’clock in the morning, but it means that you go in, you prepare your page, you set the post up, you schedule it to go off at 2 o’clock or 7 o’clock or something like but you know, it’s just time. It really is just about setting aside time to do it and we know if we don’t market our businesses, chances are we’re not out there you know, in front of our competition.

Nick: Listen, that last point, is there a particular time of day best to schedule post or to post posts?

Nicole: Yes, I think the best time, I mean this varies, people have different theory Nick but personally, I think the best time is between 7 and 8 in the morning. People do just jump on and flick through and the thing is, when they first get up, they’re having their coffee, sitting down and just wasting time on Facebook. I’ve done it and so, between 7 and 8 in the morning but then after 7 at nights. Definitely, if you’ve got something important that you want people to see, I would post it at night and that’s because, people aren’t at work. They’re at home, they might be just flicking through Facebook or they could be on their computer. So, definitely between 7 and 8 in the morning, you could even go between 6 and 8 because some people are up nice and early, but then definitely night time. We post throughout the day on pages as well because there are people who are online through the day but yes, generally speaking, I would recommend if you’ve got something really important to tell people, that I would be posting that at night time.

Nick: Cool. What about the paid options specifically with Facebook. There seems to be a lot of them coming out recently and lots of different ones. It’s a bit confusing as to how you’re meant to use them. What are your recommendations on the paid options on Facebook?

Nicole: Yes, so the paid options are complicated a little bit because, look I’ve heard different people say I took the paid options and I didn’t get the results Facebook promised me and unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about that. You can kick and scream. you can send emails but it’s just a huge fight that I don’t need to say are totally in control of what happens on Facebook, but you know, you’ve got the opportunity to do a post or post a picture or an article or do a sales post and actually promote that. And so, Facebook will give you the option to promote on the right hand side bottom of that status update box and you can go through and you can select $5 that might be to promote it to 1,000 people or $10 monthly to promote it to 2000.

It just depends on your page numbers, the quote that they give you. You then go through, you promote, you pay, it get’s charged to your credit card and you’ll see in your news feed from time to time that there are posts that will be sponsored or promoted. They’ll have a little sponsored or promoted, the wording would be underneath the post and you’ll know that’s a paid post and those paid posts just happens to appear on your news feed. So, I think they are worth giving a try. I would not promote and pay to have every post promoted, but for example, if I’ve event got an event coming up, which I do, then I would tend to actually pay to promote that post. And look at that, it actually promotes it on people’s pages, all my friends, all the people who follow market me.

If I say I want to promote it to 5000 people, then 5000 people will see, generally will see that post. So, there’s more interaction obviously, they’re gonna have more people interacting and seeing that, more people liking it, so you know their friends are gonna see it more. So, that just gives you a greater chance to connect with the fans on your page. Sometimes when I do a post, only 300 or so people will see my post of nearly 6000 fans. So, it is worth something, it is worth thinking about, especially if you’ve got something important that people need to know and it just keeps that post out in the open, in people’s news feeds for a bit longer. So, normally, when you do a post, it would start to flick down as other post as newer post start coming towards the top and the newer post obviously seem less, less and less, but if you promoted posts, it does actually stay towards the top of people’s news feeds, which is really good.

The other thing you’ve got, I guess is your Facebook ads, and different industries, you know, they work better for, sometimes, I’ve seen it not work at all and some pages and other pages will have fantastic results. So it is just a trial and error kind of thing. If it works, it’s fantastic because you want to be marketing where the people are and there’s no doubt that people are around Facebook quite regularly for quite a long period of time, but you know you just have to test different things, don’t put an ad on and run it for a month to test it. Run it for a couple of days, if you’re not actually getting the click through and the likes, maybe you need to change the wording of the ads.

You might need to have a strong code to action or something along those lines but I guess Nick, when you bring it into context of people spending thousands dollars on Google Adwords and Google advertising, when they don’t really know what they’re doing, a little bit of money spent on Facebook to promote things, that is actually quite a good use of your resource. So, definitely get educated about what’s available, give it a try. It is all about trial and error when it comes to Facebook because we don’t quite often know how things are gonna go. But you know, don’t let the fact that its gonna be a small cost and a small investment, stop you from actually giving those things a try.

Nick: Great great. Something, it kind of sounds like the Facebook ads are a way of getting more fans and the promoted post are sort of promoting to your existing fans. Is that right or…?

Nicole: Yeah, yes, you will find and Facebook is still rolling all of this out too, so, I think there have been times when I’ve actually seen pages in my news feed that I’m not a fan of yet. So, it’s kind of like Facebook is giving me different pages that I might like to try and actually promote those pages and when you set up a Facebook ad, you have the option to actually do that, to have the page promoted to people who are aren’t already fans. So, you know, you might have like suggested pages in your news feed and something like that. Typically they will be the pages that have paid to have their page promoted or their post promoted, kind of thing. I think Facebook will start rolling out more paid options and it will put a little bit of strain on the pages that don’t take up those options because obviously, if someone’s paid for something to be promoted, then you don’t want to see that above the post that haven’t been promoted. So, as time goes on, there’s gonna be more and more options available but definitely it’s about brand of winners, growing numbers on your page, not for the sake of numbers. I’m not about having pages just put 10,000 fans on it from America.

When you have a local business here in Adelaide, it’s not about the numbers but, the statistics are that one out of every 10 fan, is actually going to be a customer they actually cost the material. So, the more that you have interacting on your page, the more that you post, the more that you promote, the better chance you have of growing those numbers and finding those people who are actually gonna be your customer. And quite often I’ve come across pages that my friends have been interacting with, it’s been a little flicker that comes up, the flicker on the right hand side that keeps flicking through everything that’s happening.

My friend will like a page about comment. I’ll go through, have a look and check it out and quite often I’ve been able to find great pages that way too. So, if those pages haven’t been posting and interacting with people, then obviously I wouldn’t have found them, so, they wouldn’t have had my like. So, soon, so yeah, it is definitely something that its worth looking into but it’s gonna get stronger, I think as time goes on. Facebook is such a huge site and I would hate to be the one in charge of running that site. It’s absolutely massive, so yeah, sometimes things happen, some businesses aren’t happy with but in the long run it’s a free marketing tool that businesses should definitely be using.

Nick: Great and so once people sort of have a handle on maybe that growing their page and they are getting some interactions and stuffs, do you have some recommendations or advice about how they can start to turn some of this social interaction into sales and lead? You’ve mentioned making some commercial posts amongst your other posts, is there any way in particular you sort of do you reckon towards a landing page or to an email list or…? What is a good way to do it?

Nicole: Yes, quite a number of ways. I guess the basics are posting about something that you offer. So, if you offer a service on your, you know you might post a link to the services pages on your website or if you offer, you’re a product based business and you’ve got a website and it’s got products that you want to promote, that you want to sell or get rid of or move along, you might actually do a featured product, spotlight kind of post once a week or a couple of times a week, twice a week max and which actually show people the kinds of products that you actually offer and the big thing is images. For example, there is a jewelry company that I absolutely love, I found the in Sydney and when I was traveling last year I think and I jumped on their page and I liked them and they just post pictures, photo albums full of beautiful jewelry, and every time I see it, I always have to go through and click through them and check through all the photos.

If they didn’t actually do that and they didn’t post photos that were kind of, I guess getting my appetite wet for purchasing jewelry and it probably wouldn’t be in my mind, you know what I mean? Or if I’m getting prepared to go and actually go and attend a wedding, of which I am, in a couple of months time. I’m on the look out for jewelry to wear and so whenever their pictures come up, I’m like, yeah, that’s totally perfect from what I’m after. So, you know, if you’ve got a product based business, set up some photo album and have your products pictured in there and with all those pictures, you can actually go through them and put on a link through where they can purchase it on the website. So, that’s a couple of ways you can do it.

The other thing obviously is your promoted post, your sponsored posts, which is what we’ve just done and some businesses also choose to run files on Facebook, and I wouldn’t recommend doing this too often but they do work well if you do one or two a year. So, you might load up a photo album, a sale album that has all of your current stock in there, the pictures, the prices that you want to sell it for, what the retail price is and then you might actually run an online sale for 2 hours on a Friday night.

I know I did this with the previous business that I had a hobby, craft kind of the home decorating business online and we generated about $800 on one Friday night, just from having an online sale. People didn’t have to leave their homes to attend my sale, they didn’t have to go to my website. We did it all straight from Facebook and it’s a great way to get that interaction happening because all your fans are coming to your page at 8 o’clock on Friday night to check out what is it you’ve got on sale. People are commenting, people are liking, all of that kind of thing and that is helping with your interaction and stuff as well.

Nick: If you don’t have a product based business, perhaps a service business or something that’s not visual, is the best practise is trying to be creative and get an image element from that or are there other ways?

Nicole: For example you are a carpet cleaning business and you’ve got a client here I’ve a client here under carpet cleaning business, we put on a lot of pictures, a lot of before and after pictures. If you’re a builder, you obviously be wanting to put images up of the projects that you’re working on and the finished pictures of the finished homes and buildings that you actually build. I guess the sale kind of thing doesn’t have to work for every kind of business and it doesn’t but what you could do with the service type business is actually run a special for the week. On this particular service, we will add a bonus, add in something or you’ll get something free, or we might offer you 3 hours worth of our time at a reduced rate or something else. Do you know what I mean?

It’s in the way that you sort of package things up, if you’re a carpet cleaning business, you might say I would do 4 rooms for the price of three for this week only. You have to book this week only and it’s not something that you want to do all the time but when you’re planning it, your marketing year it’s very important for you to plan and certain times that you will really push sales and sometimes we do need to actually run specials to actually get people in. The other thing that you just mentioned before is things like opt-in pages and sales pages and things like that. One of the big things in 2013 is people building a mailing list. You know if anything ever happens to Facebook or social media or if someone’s page got shut down for some reason, they would have lost all those contacts, that they’ve spent all of this time creating and building and bringing it together.

If you can get people to opt-in to your mailing list by giving them something for free, might be an ebook, could be a free paten, could be a free tip sheet on how to decorate your home and depending on your business for me, for marketing. I could give people a free ebook on 20 things to make sure you have right on your website, to make sure that you really optimize new visitors and sales and things like that.

Mailing lists are key because if someone decides that they are sick of
Facebook, they wouldn’t be on Facebook anymore, they’ve had enough, you know, they just need a break for a month, they’re not gonna see your post, they’re not gonna know what’s going on in your business, but if you’re been creative and managed to have them join your mailing list, not so we can stand them, I think we all know the rules by now. We all know what doesn’t work, but you can get people on your mailing list and you can email them once a month with the low down of what’s happening with your business, what your current special is, what they might have missed on Facebook.

If you wrote an article on your blog or something like that or you ran a podcast or you spoke on a podcast or you’re featured in a local paper or something like that, you can still tell people about what the highlights were of your months in an email. And so, it’s just another way to connect with people that’s not on social media. So, I would recommend that you set up a tab on Facebook and try your hardest to actually get your fans and your contacts from your Facebook wall, from your page on to your mailing list. And you know, I don’t, I think social media is around for a quite a bit longer yet but there’s chances that Facebook will not always be the next best thing, that it will not always be the key platform for you to be on right now.

So, we need to make the absolute most of our time and while Facebook is working, while it is actually something that people are spending time on. But yeah, there’s a number of different ways that you can promote your business and drum up business and create sales, and you know, it takes time Nick because sometimes you need to be posting for a good couple of months or even a year before someone will even trust you or trust what you do. Sometimes people follow me for a long time and I quite regularly get emails from people saying, Nick, I’ve been following you for 12 months, I think I need your assistance and over that time I’ve built trust and added value and I’ve helped them.

I’ve given them tips, I’ve given them motivation and inspiration. I’ve given them articles that’s gonna help them grow their business and help them think outside the box and to the point where they’re now ready to actually take that and create a sale for Market Me. So, it’s a bit of a process, you know. Facebook is not a sales platform, it’s more about the connection and the interaction that we can have with our clients, with their customers and it’s a good way to find new people who might be interested in what we offer as well.

Nick: Great, great. Yes, so great tips to finish up on. Just before we end this interview, you’ve got a series of workshops coming up called Business Outside The Box. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Nicole: Yes sure. So, I guess we wanted to have the opportunity to share some of the knowledge that we have with people in Adelaide and a lot of people say nothing ever happens in Adelaide, all of the big events go to the other capital cities, they dont come here and we just really wanted to provide an event where we could actually share business outside the box strategy with people. You’d be surprised at what people don’t know Nick. They think they understand marketing, they think they understand advertising, but there’s just so much more, you know.

Social media is huge, the different things that, online marketing, the different opportunities available to people are actually huge. So, I’ll actually come together with Nicole Laiden from Black Coffee Communication. She does a lot of offline marketing to people like press releases and a lot of the wordy kind of writing stuff for websites and things like that and so you know she, her and I get together and we got a workshop coming up called Business Outside The Box and it’s in mid March and it’s basically a 3 hour workshop, where the other Nicole deals with the offline marketing tools and resources available and then I go to dealing with the online marketing tools and resources available.

It’s absolutely huge. We have time for networking, we have time for meeting business owners and chat, we have time for questions, but really we’ve had some fantastic feedback. We ran a workshop very similar to this but pretty much the same thing in Victor Harbor, late last year and we had 12 people at the workshop and they all walked out of the room having learnt you know just so much and also feeling inspired to know that marketing is something that they can actually do themselves. They don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to other people, so, we talked about business outside the box strategy.

We really would just encourage people to maybe think about things that they haven’t tried before and also to feel confident to know that they can actually do that. So, it’s a fantastic event, it’s being held at Tiffany’s in the Park, which is on the edge of the city, so, it’s very, very local and accessible for everybody and the spot’s just starting to book out. So, if anyone is interested in attending that event, check out the Market Me page on Facebook, which is Facebook.com/nmmarketing and I’ve got a post that’s pinned to the top of the wall there and it will stay there until the event is finished.

We’re very excited about that and we love, one of our passions, both of us is just imparting and impacting people’s lives and changing their business, giving them fresh, clean, fun, inspirational ideas to actually just get them moving from just the functioning, existing in business kind of mentality to actually really taking them their marketing to the next level and seeing their bottom line grow. So, it’s gonna be a great event, we are very excited.

Nick: That sounds really good, sounds really interesting. Some of my listeners go along and check that out, and that Facebook page, is that the best place to go and find out more about you and your business?

Nicole: Yeah, and I’ve got a website as well marketmemarketing.com and most of the information’s there too, what Market Me is about, the services we offer, the events that we have coming up. There’s definitely a lot to be seen, you know, a lot to be learned, I guess about a business by checking out their Facebook page too. So, definitely head over and connect with me on Facebook. I’d love to meet you and hear from you.

Nick: Great. I’ll have links on the show notes for this episode. Anyone want to go check those out as well. Thanks very much for coming on the show Nicole. It’s been some really great tips in there. Hopefully, I’ll be out to kick start my page a bit more now and get those posts happening regularly, using the tips from this. Thanks very much for coming on the show.

Nicole: No worries, thanks Nick.

Nick: That brings us to the end of another podcast. For more information about this episode and all others head to our website. www.webmarketingadelaide.com.au

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07Feb

Ep#27: A Few Productivity Tips

While not marketing related, productivity is an important part of running a business so these tips might help to give you the edge

In episode 27 I attempt to do a short show (more difficult than it seems) with a few productivity tips I’ve found useful for increasing the amount of stuff I can get done. They’re not strictly related to marketing but they are relevant for small businesses and are related to the web so here they are;

  • Gmail filters to file away potentially distracting emails such as newsletters
  • Getting Things Done by David Allen – organise all tasks and projects you need to do in one place to free your mind and make sure everything is accounted for
  • Evernote has become the key for my implementation of the GTD methods – I can make notes wherever I am such as out and about, at an event, at home, in the office using whichever device is easiest. The notes all go into my ‘inbox,’ then I make time each week to clear my inbox and file all the items away into their right places

Gmail Filters, Getting Things Done, Evernote

31Jan

Ep#26: How to Start a Podcast for your Business

5 reasons why starting a podcast can help your business and some tips to get started and make it a success

In this week’s episode I talk a bit about why I think businesses should consider podcasting, or just audio/video content, as a marketing channel.

Five reasons to start a podcast;

  1. Makes creating content easier if you’re not very good at writing, because you can just talk
  2. Allows people to consume your content in different ways and is also an opportunity to reach new audiences ie. through iTunes
  3. Interviews are a good way to leverage someone else’s expertise to create content
  4. Good way to network with influencers in your industry or related industries
  5. Good way to pick someone’s brain for half an hour

Links;

Feedback

Have you created any podcasts or videos for your business?

17Jan

Ep#24: Useful Tools & Software

Productivity raising and time saving tools and software I use regularly in my business and for my clients.

Websites

Podcasting

SEO

General

Social

  • Hootsuite (Socald community – keep an eye out for Hootsuite and other events)

Future

Be careful of ‘tool creep.’ Re-evaluate your tools regularly to make sure you’re not using too many that you don’t really need.
What tools do you use?

10Jan

Ep#23: 2013 Predictions & Tips

Marketing predictions and tips from FlyingSolo, Top Aussie SEOs and yours truely, plus my reading list for 2013 so far

I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Years with some time off, but importantly some time and space to make some plans for growing your business in 2013. This episode is a bit of a mixed bag where I pull some predictions and tips for 2013 from a few different sources and discus them.

Flying Solo Marketing Plans

Five most popular 2013 marketing plan items from the Flying Solo thread;

  1. Content marketing (7 votes)
  2. SEO (5)
  3. Social media (4)
  4. Direct Marketing (3)
  5. Website update (3)

Two other interesting items;

  • Video Content Marketing (2) (Check out James Schramko‘s stuff)
  • Word of Mouth Marketing (2) (Discussed with Dr Martin Russell in Episode 6)

SEO Predictions

These predictions were compiled from a great crowd sourced article by Jason Mun. Jason organised Australia’s top SEOs to come together and give there predictions and tips for 2013 and I went through and pulled out some of the common themes which I discuss in the show and list below.

The Article: 2013 SEO Predictions from Australia’s Top SEOs

Top tips/predictions;

  • Google will continue to target spammy link building techniques – webmasters will move away from these techniques (tip: stop using these techniques, question your SEO)
  • Google Authorship will become more important (Discussed in Episode 11 with Tony McCreath)
  • Quality content will become more important (Discussed in the content marketing Episodes… 17 & 18 with Steve Davis and 19 & 20 with Woj Kwasi
  • Structured data appearing more in the search results (Discussed in Episode 11 with Tony)
  • Mobile will become even more important in 2013

My Predictions

Here are some of my own predictions which I will check back on at the end of the year to see how accurate I have been.

  • The downfall of Facebook and the rise of Google+ (tip: build on your own platform rather than someone else’s)
  • The continued importance of images in social media marketing (Discussed with Scott Linklater in Episode 10)
  • Video will continue to grow as a marketing tool
  • Relationship building/networking will become an important part of online marketing. We’re lucky in Adelaide to have lots of networking opportunities so get out your calendars and start taking down dates. (Here’s a list to get your started)

Read lots of books and other info

  • Getting things done by David Allen
  • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
  • The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Terriss
  • How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp (Adelaide science based marketing – Ehrenberg bass institute)
  • The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber
  • Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne

I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned for your business in 2013. Let me know in the comments below, via the voice message widget on the right hand side of the screen or via our Feedback Page.

20Dec

Ep#22: Copywriting, PPC, Video & Social Media Marketing Tips from Adelaide Experts

Provide value, measure everything, keep it simple, edit, edit, edit

This week I’ve got a collection of excepts from interviews I did on the Internet Marketing Adelaide blog in the past. I’ve decided to move my Adelaide internet marketing blogging stuff over to this website so this episode is sort of a celebration of some of the great content that’s over on the (now old) blog.

The topics are;

  • Video Marketing where I asked James Whitrow; what are five things business owners can do to leverage online video?
  • Social Media Marketing where I asked Tom Williamson; what are your Social Media posting best practices?
  • Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) where I asked Andrew Webber about Quality Scores and Chris Schwarz about the Search vs the Display networks
  • Copywriting where I asked Anna Butler and Karen Zaskolny; what are five things business owners can do to improve their web copy?

The excerpts were taken from the following interviews;

Also mentioned;

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