January Newsletter

My January newsletter is live!  In it, I talk about travels with my fitbit, the paradox of choice and social media done well.

Below is a simplified version.

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Hello, and let me be one of the last to wish you a happy new year!

I hope you had a good break and are merrily cracking on with 2017! One of the things that I received for Christmas was a fitbit (it’s not a real Fitbit, but I call it that, hence the lower case ‘f’), to get me up and away from my desk, and specifically to encourage me to do the recommended 10,000 steps each day. I’ll admit I was not looking forward to squeezing something else into my already busy day, giving up time when I could be doing much more useful stuff such as editing photos for clients or writing newsletters(!) so I wasn’t approaching the task with a very positive mindset and had already googled ways to cheat a fitbit (I quite liked the whisking cake batter idea)!

However, three weeks in and I’m loving it! I’ve been seduced by the little celebratory buzz on my wrist as I stride through my target. It gives me a reason to get out into the real world. It’s time to breathe deep lungfuls of fresh sea air, to see the sunrise or the stars, to strain my eyes over the darkened sea looking for the northern lights. It’s a chance to notice first-hand things that are happening in the town rather than read about them on Facebook; to bump into people I know, and connect face to face, rather than hunker down indoors and ‘like’ them remotely.

Funny, I always had a slight envy of dog walkers and their obligation to head out for long walks daily, whereas I had no such excuse to pull me outside. This then could be likened to walking a dog, but without having to pick up poo!

Sunrise on East Beach Bridge Lossiemouth, by Alison ReadMorning walks are an opportunity to capture sights like this – sunrise on the East Beach Bridge, Lossiemouth

I’m often plugged in listening to podcasts as I walk. Luckily Lossiemouth, the small town I live in on the Moray Coast in Scotland, is both beautiful and extremely safe. Not everywhere would you walk the darkened streets with headphones in!

I love a good podcast, some of my favourite business ones include Own It! by my wise and wonderful business coach, Judith Morgan and her partner Nicola Cairncross;  Amy Porterfield’s Online Marketing Made Easy’ and ‘Building a Story Brand with Donald Miller.  Switching off from work, the BBC World Service has some fascinating programmes, like The Documentary, and you can’t beat a good TED talk for some insightful learning.Recently I revisited a TED talk by Barry Schwartz, on the paradox of choice. In it, he argues that greater choice, far from being empowering, can be stressful and overwhelming.

So true! While out racking up my steps this morning, I stopped at the little white goods shop and bought a microwave. There were only three models, one of which does exactly what I need and was within my budget. Yes, I could have gone online, done the research, compared my options, probably saved a few quid, but within a few minutes and with the help of the friendly chap in the shop, I was able to make my decision and get on with the rest of my day. And of course, support a local business in the process, which is always a good choice!

Too many options can certainly be overwhelming, and I’m hearing it from my clients too. Everyone knows that they need a website for their business, and they’re told they should be on social media too, but which one? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn? They’re just the start! And if you don’t personally use any of them regularly, how do you know which one is right for you?Maybe just choose not to get involved and outsource the whole lot? That was the point that Belia Biesheuvel from the Findhorn Pottery had reached when she contacted me in November asking me if I could manage all her social media. My answer was two-fold ‘Yes I can.  But no, I won’t.’

I explained that to be done well, social media needs to be authentic. Yes, someone else can do it for you (but expect to pay hundreds of pounds per month if you want it done properly), but no-one will ever do it as well as you. If you have a specific campaign coming up, a product launch or an event, then yes, that would be when you might consider delegating, but for day to day promotion, and for the sake of your business, you need to face that fear and start to harness the unique opportunities that social media offers.

So instead, I worked with Belia to help her understand her options and decide which would be best for her business. From there I designed a strategy to help her plan her social media and over a course of monthly one-to-one sessions guided her through setting up her accounts and creating effective posts.

From our first meeting, when she was somewhat reluctant and a little fearful of the social media space, she has completely come around and I’m thrilled by how enthusiastically she’s embracing this new experience! She’s regularly posting beautiful posts, has increased the number of followers on her page and is driving traffic to her online shop. She’s even setting up her own YouTube channel!

Just as importantly, she’s loving it, as am I!  As she so kindly said on my Facebook page; “Alison is a joy to work with. I could not achieve what I have achieved without such an inspirational teacher. Not only has she managed to remove my fear, I am actually enjoying social media and marketing. I am finally getting it. If anyone out there needs or wants help with digital marketing, Alison is your woman!”

For more information about the Findhorn Pottery, go to www.FindhornPottery.com, or of course, visit the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/findhornpottery/

Until next time, keep warm out there! Embrace the winter sunshine when it appears, the days are getting longer already. Spring will be sprung before we know it!

Warmest wishes,

Alison

The header image of Buddhist prayer flags is adapted from a photo I took while in Nepal a few years back.  I also used it as a Happy New Year Facebook message.  In this blog post I explain a little more about the image and share a few others from the Swayambhunath temple in Kathmandu.

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