Social Media, Profitability, Planning

How to Get People to Follow, Like & Buy from You

Sounds pretty dreamy right? Someone finds you online. They are interested in what you have to offer and learn to more about you. They like what you do, say, and sell and eventually buy. Well folks, to make this happen you really have to focus on a couple of key things.

Sounds pretty dreamy right? Someone finds you online. They are interested in what you have to offer and learn to more about you. They like what you do, say, and sell and eventually buy. Well folks, to make this happen you really have to focus on a couple of key things.  |  Think Creative Collective

Plan

Do you think any Fortune 500 company started growing without a plan in place? Seems totally obvious, but also extremely easy to skip. Here are a few of my best suggestions to help you put a plan in place:

Post

Next you must generate content both on and off your website that showcases your expert abilities, knowledge and crazy awesome skills. 

Authenticate

No one likes buying from any ordinary “company.” They like buying a story. They would much rather purchase a “persons” goods or services, instead of some mythical 3rd person. Make your brand personal. Use an authentic voice. 

Sell

I know what you are thinking. I am not a sales person. I just want to be creative. Can someone just pay me without me having to give them that icky sales pitch? You can skip all the slimy steps if you focus on getting your audience to know, like and trust you.

The Hard Lesson

What I learned the hard way was if I want my dreamiest of clients to find me, follow me, like me and later buy, I need to know who they are just as much as they need to know me. This meant I have to turn on the hyper focus switch to grow my email list! In 2 months, I quadrupled by list by implementing some simple strategies.

 


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Facebook Groups, Social Media

How to Use Facebook Live to Grow Your Small Business

As a small business owner, Facebook is definitely not the hot place to be. With less than 5.5% referring traffic for our own site, Facebook was never the platform that made sense for us to invest our time on. Until they changed the live streaming landscape in August 2015.

FBLive-postgraphic.jpg

Now, it wasn’t until February of 2016 that all accounts were able to use the streaming capabilities on their own pages. From August to February the only type of accounts able to use live streaming were celebrities and journalists. But it’s interesting to note that these two (very different types of people) were using Facebook Live in the exact ways that would be helpful for small business owners (see, our obsession with Amy Schumer was for research!).

So, before we can get into the amazing impacts that Facebook Live can have for your small business, let’s squash some myths, and give you some tips.

  1. Periscope is practically dead. Although there are still some diehard ‘scopers out there who refuse to leave the platform most everyone else has jumped ship. The idea for the two are the same: you open the app and go live. The ease of going live is tremendously easier inside Facebook (one app for the win), there are next to 0 spammers and creepers (especially if you are Live in a group vs. a page), it’s easier to go back to type responses to comments (once the video has ended), and it can live forever if you so wish.

  2. Speaking of going live in a Facebook group...this is the only way we use the Live features. Facebook gives you the ability to go live on your personal page, your business page, or within any group you’ve created. Way back when we started our business we created a Facebook group so we could easily converse with our audience, let them know about new things coming, and provide support. It’s now grown to almost 4k members (and growing on average by about 431 members per month). It makes the most sense for us to converse here because these are the people who are truly invested (not only in their business, but in learning). If we’ve already got an eager audience why wouldn’t we cater to them?

  3. If you’ve been thinking about going Live, but don’t know where to start, it’s okay. Our first couple of Live streams didn’t have much of a plan or an audience. Until your audience starts to see that you aren’t just going Live for the heck of it they will tune in. Our views and engagement go up every time we go Live. We recommend having some talking points ready so you’re not a blubbering fish on live stream. Even if no one shows up, remember that your audience can watch it later, and you’re getting good practice!

  4. Just like any other platform if you aren’t being consistently present it won’t work. One Facebook Live won’t make you 6-figures on your next launch, but you can build the relationships with your audience to build on the goal.

Okay, so now that we’ve got that out of the way and we’re all on the same page, let’s move forward with The Super Duper Facebook Live Strategy for Growth Plan (did you read that like a gameshow host?).

At the end of the day what anyone’s audience wants is a closer connection, and more scoop. It’s why we follow celebrities on social media platforms and it’s why we’re addicted to their Live streams. We feel like we’re taking a peek behind the curtain and we love it. Now, don’t confuse this comparison with the idea that we want you to celebritize your business. We’re not asking you to chase that status at all, but what we do want you to mimic is the purpose. So how can we make that happen?

Get Real

This is one of the biggest benefits of going Live, hand’s down. Right now (depending on your other social media efforts) you might just be digital biz with no real human-ness to you. Going Live solidifies that you are in fact a real person, with real feelings, opinions, and personality traits. Showing these off gives your audience brand new ways to connect with you.

Oh, you have the same Ikea rug in your living room as me? TWINS

Oh, you talk really fast and use your hands to make a point? ME TOO

Oh, you sit in the Target parking lot to catch a quiet moment before browsing the dollar spot? I DO THAT ALL THE TIME

See now how we can begin to feel like we relate, and know each other on a different level? Yeah, this is business gold. This is the turning point where people will buy because they either kind of like or need your products or services to the point where they will buy just because you are kinda their internet BFF.

Give Sneak Peeks

Creating a new product? About to launch your new website? Have new packaging to show off? Let’s see it on Live! These are all great opportunities to give your audience on Facebook Live the VIP treatment. We all love to see something or find out something before “everyone else” so consider teasing whatever new thing is happening in your business as a Live stream.

Tell them how excited you are, ask for feedback, as for beta testers, show the new thing off even if it isn’t finalized. Guess what this will create? An eager line of people ready to buy whatever new thing you just teased. Boom.

Show Behind-the-Scenes

We’d all like to believe that we live in these Pinterest-worthy offices, in our HGTV ready house, and we’re always wearing pants. That just isn’t the case and that’s okay. Don’t let perfectionism hold you back from showing some behind-the-scenes action.

Maybe your audience wants a tour of your office or workspace? Maybe your studio is a hot mess with a huge custom order that is about to go out? Maybe you’ve got a wild set up for those new course videos that need recorded?

These are perfect opportunities to show your audience what it takes to create and make in your business. Once we get the big picture (you mean those watercolor tumblers don’t just make themselves??) we begin to understand and appreciate the hard work it takes to make the final product. This leads to a better understanding of your time frame, price or quantity. Customers who “get it” are the best customers.

Give, Give, Give

When all else fails (as in you don’t think any of the above examples will work for you) then you can focus on giving. Educating, inspiring, helping, strategizing, whatever works for you, do that. In our business model we’ve found that the more we give the more that comes back to us in outstanding ways. The better experience we can provide our audience the happier and more fulfilled they’ll be.

If we can establish our expertise enough in some Facebook Live videos that you go buy #AllTheCourses, great. If we show off what we know and it helps you right then and there, great. It’s a total win, win.

Consider taking the topic of an old blog post and dive deeper in a Facebook Live. Or maybe you learned something in biz/life this week that your audience could benefit from? Maybe you came across a quote that you just needed to hear so you talk about it on Live?


Now for your homework (homework in a blog post is kind of how we roll). We want you to pull out a calendar right now. Pick some dates that you could go Live on your page or in your group. Set it in stone. Then go through this post and brainstorm what you could chat about and provide on camera. Assign topics and a few bullet points to your dates then tell your audience that you will be there LIVE! Build up hype around your videos so your people know that you’re even doing them. Then just do it, hit live, take a deep breath and go for it.

P.S. We like to use this iPhone tripod while Live streaming to avoid shakiness.


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Squarespace, Social Media

7 Reasons Why We Chose Squarespace (Over Wordpress, Muse, Wix, Godaddy, etc.)

We have been around the block once or twice online and have tried our hand in many platforms, hosting services, and domain providers, but when it came time to rebrand we were stuck. We pondered for months over who or what we should choose, but once we finally made the decision we never looked back! Squarespace is by far the easiest platform to use, with the cleanest interface. Choosing them is hands down the best decision we’ve made for our business and blog. Here’s why…

We have been around the block once or twice online and have tried our hand in many platforms, hosting services, and domain providers, but when it came time to rebrand we were stuck. We pondered for months over who or what we should choose, but once we finally made the decision we never looked back! Squarespace is by far the easiest platform to use, with the cleanest interface. Choosing them is hands down the best decision we’ve made for our business and blog. Here’s why…  |  Think Creative Collective

Modern Design (With Esc Key)

Having an updated look was absolutely crucial to us when it came time for the switch. We have previously dealt with having our own custom coded website (DIY), large custom content management systems (in the corporate world), and WordPress, using various themes. Squarespace offers the cleanest selection of themes. Sure, there aren’t 100,000 options, but the 40+ they offer have extreme flexibility and can quickly become personalized. We spent hours combing through WordPress templates, only to be left disappointed. There are some awesome ones out there that offer great flexibility, but I have found them to be time intensive to set up and not always that user friendly (as they are built by many different people).

Don’t like the theme you picked on Squarespace? Press the Esc key and you are flown directly into editing mode. Press save and your site is back in action. Also, you can even try it totally free for 14 days – any theme, and can even switch to a new one halfway through!  

There came a time in our business when we feared we may have outgrown Squarespace. We were running a multiple six-figure business and needed more customization than the typical templates allowed for. But to our surprise and delight, we found out that if you can find the right team to support you, Squarespace has a robust backend system that can be manipulated with custom code, allowing for almost endless possibilities.

We’ve been nothing but pleased with our transformation – and because we didn’t budge and only improved usability, our SEO rankings continue to soar!

Easiest User Interface…. Ever

Being in design but having coding knowledge makes this a bit of a catch 22. Sure, I know how to manipulate code to move something to a different column, but I am visual, so having the flexibility to just drag it over to create a new column was genius.

We love the user interface. It is easy to understand – sure, there may be limited options, but each choice leads you to a new set of choices to fine tune the end result. An hour of coding to create a custom slider turns into seconds with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Even after paying for a very custom website, we still needed the flexibility to add pages, adjust the ones we had and continue to make changes into the future without the need to bring in the big guns. Having this interface allows ANYONE on our team to make changes on the fly with no background and it looks great, every time.

Compatible Across All Platforms and Devices

I am going to date myself here, but the first custom website I built…. was before EVERYONE had a smartphone, tablet or some sort of crazy mobile device. I wasn’t worried about making it responsive or easy to view on a phone, it just needed to be functional.

With today’s society, having your site be fully responsive is crucial. On an average day, nearly 50% of our site traffic is from mobile devices. Many WordPress templates are responsive, but no matter what, with Squarespace you always have that flexibility built-in. We could absolutely create a custom site on Muse without knowing code, but all of a sudden we are responsible for making the tablet and phone friendly versions separately on our own time and must update them independently.

Goofy things that you might overlook, like increasing the font size for phones or rearranging photos so the page flows, are automatically taken care of for you right inside Squarespace!

Social Integration

Many sites offer functionality to link to social sites, but we love the customized widgets that make the social streaming feel like it is apart of the original design. We have easily linked Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. P.S. You really ought to just follow us across the board!

But the even cooler thing, is that it isn’t just for the typical social stuff anymore. Are you a restaurant who takes reservations? What if you could integrate with an app like Opentable and have people reserve seats online without bogging down your phones? Yeah, you can do that too!

Security

Now many people don’t think about this, but having a secure place to host is extremely important. In the past we have had issues with WordPress allowing loopholes in some of their widgets that offer opportunities for the not so great people to sneak their way in.

I even ended up in a situation where a site I was managing was hacked and someone was selling black market drugs utilizing the back end of our high traffic site. Sure, this may be an extreme situation, but we like that all apps/widgets, etc. are Squarespace controlled. Of course that means less variety, but they are backed up by the Squarespace team so we have complete comfort in knowing they have taken care of these loopholes we may or may not be privy to.

Support

Real support offered by real people. Unlike many other service providers, there is chat and email functionality to channel questions through. In many other platforms, especially if you are utilizing home grown tools, i.e. custom themes or widgets, you must rely on user forums if you run into a problem or have questions.

Granted, it is so simple to use, we haven’t even needed support! Whereas in the case of other service providers we have used we were stuck after 15 minutes when something wasn’t rendering correctly, we needed custom code to overwrite something, or, even more frustrating, we had no idea where to even look to make the change we needed.

Integrated E-Commerce

Super simple integration with Stripe and PayPal makes it a breeze to list and sell products online using Squarespace. It is perfect for delivering digital downloads (for free or paid), selling physical products, managing shipping and more.

Did we mention that Squarespace didn’t ask us to write this? We just genuinely love their product and we think you are going to think it is pretty great too.

Bonus Resources!

Squarespace Pricing
Why It Is Worth It
Squarespace 101: Website Block Basics
Squarespace 101: Adding Your Instagram Feed to Your Website [Video]
Squarespace 101: Setting up a Free Opt-in Inside Your Shop [VIDEO]
Can I do that with Squarespace? + a FREE Video Ecourse
Wix vs Squarespace vs Virb vs Weebly vs WordPress Theme Builders

What other questions do you have about Squarespace vs. other service providers?



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Launching, Entrepreneur

The Quick Start Guide to Launching Your Next Big Thing

For someone with an extensive marketing background, launching something, anything, may feel like a walk in the park. But for others, regardless of what it is you want to put out into the world, you become frozen. You have awesome ideas, and perhaps have even developed an amazing product, and yet you are still sitting on it, scared it won’t go well. 

Today we are debunking the process by hand holding you through your first or next launch and cause we super love you am throwing in a launch guide freebie that you can find more about at the end of the post.

For someone with an extensive marketing background, launching something, anything, may feel like a walk in the park. But for others, regardless of what it is you want to put out into the world, you become frozen. You have awesome ideas, and perhaps have even developed an amazing product, and yet you are still sitting on it, scared it won’t go well.   Today I am debunking the process by hand holding you through your first or next launch and cause I super love you am throwing in a launch guide freebie that you can find more about at the end of the post.  |  Think Creative Collective

Decide on Your BLANK

So I could have said product instead of “BLANK”, but I feel like that could be misleading. See launching isn’t just for things you put up for sale. Launching is the process you should go through for every part of your business that is public facing. Some launches may be miniature - like every time you write a new blog post. And others may last for months - like when your high-end product hits the virtual shelves. Either way, the steps are the same. The speed you execute and the amount of time you prep for the launch may be different.

Now that we’ve debunked that crazy nothing, let’s picture this together. What do you want to launch next? A social media channel, a new product in your shop, a blog post, a book, the best thing you’ve ever done ever? 

Got it in your head? Awesome. Hold onto that picture as you keep reading. 

Who’s It For?

Who needs what you got to offer? Who do you want to be singing your praises when this hits the airwaves? Who would die to have this waiting for them under the Christmas tree? Got them in your mind?

Perfect. Now for the rest of the launch, whether this is your normal audience or a subset super specific niche of your normal audience, every time you go to write, talk, yell, whatever, picture this person (or group of people). Talk to them like they're your BFF. Touch on their pain points. Show them why your s*** is the best thing ever.

No more excuses, you know who you need to chat it up with. 

Visualize Your Success

You need to leave doubt at the door, babe. You got this. No matter how scared, nervous, or vomit-worthy you may feel, you have got to leave it behind. Confidence sells. You have to walk in the room (literally or otherwise) like you just got your hair done, your makeup is one point and those shoes, man they make you look boss. 

You have to go into this launch knowing you are going to do awesomely. Set expectations. Write down your actual goals - sales, views, engagement, whatever.

What do you want as a result of this launch? Where do you want to be because of it? What other opportunities would you like to have because you put in the work?

If confidence isn’t your strong suit, then let’s practice. Walk away from your computer for a minute. Stand in front of mirror and stand like Superwoman with your eyes to the sky for 2 whole minutes - yes, I’m counting! Psychologists have done numerous studies around open postures - babe this works - still don’t believe me, read this

Generate EPIC Buzz

It’s time. You know what you are launching, who it’s for and you’ve seen the chocolate-covered donuts falling from the sky. It’s time to put this thing that you’ve worked so hard to create out into the world. 

The number #1 reason we see launches fail is because people don’t tell anyone else that they’re launching. 

If you are launching - anything - you need to tell someone about it at least 7 times before they remember. So no, you aren’t a broken record. No, you aren’t being annoying. No, you won’t lose all your people.

Everyday people are served hundreds if not thousands of ads (the jury is still out on exactly how many, but you can read about it here). This all just adds to the confusion, and the sea of messaging. People do not remember how many times you told them something. And they definitely don’t see EVERYTHING you put out there. Even your mom does not see everything you do online.

So stop worrying about it. Put yourself out there again and again.

And then ask for help! I cannot express enough the power of asking for cheerleaders. Tell people to spread the word. Email your friends and ask them to share. Ask people to tag their besties. This alone will do amazing things for you, but if you read more on the freebie below we got even more BUZZ ideas. 

Analyze Your Results - Tweak & Repeat

You just launched!! How awesome was that? Now before you hang up your coat and pour yourself a glass of wine, I want you to do a little reflecting. What part of your launch went off like sriracha sauce and what fell a little flat?

Can you pull up actual numbers? Can you analyze analytics? Did a certain part of your campaign work better than another part? Whatever your results may be, you need to reflect. 

See what needs tweaking and keep track of all the things worth repeating.

Ok, now, we both need a glass of wine. I’ll take a Moscato. Thanks, boss! 


Still need more help? We feel ya. We’ve put together a handy dandy launch checklist and it’s waiting right here for you. You’re going to figure out how to generate some hefty buzz so you can freaking launch baby!


We're happy to chat strategy over on instagram!


Website Traffic, Blog

10 Ways to Maximize Your Blog Posts and Increase Your Traffic

How many times have you heard that you need to blog regularly? All the time, right?

And whether you are a natural or reluctant blogger, you need to ensure that you are optimizing your blog to maximize the visibility of each post, your blog, and business.

How many times have you heard you need to blog regularly? All the time, right?    And whether you are a natural or reluctant blogger you need to ensure that you are optimizing your blog to maximize the visibility of each post, your blog, and business. | Think Creative Collective

Does this scenario sound familiar?

⏳ You finally write an awesome blog post that you are so so pleased with.

💻 You lovingly publish it on your website.

📲 Then you share on your social media profiles once…and then you stop.

🚫 You wonder why no one is reading it, no one is leaving comments, and you’re not getting traffic to your site. Zero…zilch…nada.

“Why?” We hear you cry,  “What am I doing wrong? Is it the content? Is no one interested? Do I need to change what I am writing about?”

Well, maybe.

But no, what you really need is a social sharing strategy. Ok, we know it’s another thing to worry about but trust us, this works. Basically, you need to have a systematic approach to sharing all your new content multiple times and re-sharing your old content again, too.

Again, imagine if the one time you shared your blog post someone missed it or they were too busy to take a look. And let's face it, not all of us have necessarily got the type of blog (yet) that someone will just log into every day on the off chance that you have written some awesome words (besides, this kind of blog reading behavior is soooooo 2007).

Or, you shared it to Facebook and only 1% of your audience saw it anyway.

What you need is your own sharing strategy, as well as a method to get others to share your content more easily.

So let's get started on a social sharing strategy. Follow these simple suggestions and you’ll be doubling your blog traffic in no time:

1. THINK ABOUT SHARING YOUR NEW CONTENT MULTIPLE TIMES ON ALL OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS.

Set up a schedule that makes sense for you. For instance, you can share more frequently on Twitter than on Facebook and your audience won’t switch off. Think about what works best on each platform. We personally use Post Planner, and love their feature of recycling old posts to repeat forever.

2. CONTINUE TO SHARE OLD CONTENT.

You should continue to share old content – some of our most popular posts were written over a year ago. There’s no reason we can’t shout that from the rooftops from time to time. You’re constantly gaining new readers and growing your audience and you need to remember that they haven’t seen everything you’ve ever put out so it’s okay to remind them.

3. ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE INTERNAL LINKS IN BLOG POSTS THAT LINK TO OTHER CONTENT YOU HAVE DEVELOPED – IT SPARKS THE INTEREST OF READERS TO GO CHECK THAT OUT TOO.

Remember that you’re adding value and creating an experience for every reader. If there’s another post you’ve written, a post someone else has written, a great news article or resource that might add value, be sure to link it up. If your readers know that you are a source for valuable content, they’ll keep coming back for more.

4. MAKE SURE YOU POST COMPELLING HEADLINES.

When you post to social media channels, mix your headlines up across platforms. As you begin to share multiple times, you'll begin to figure out what works best.

5. REPURPOSE YOUR CONTENT IN VARIOUS WAYS.

This could be as an infographic or a podcast, an intense course or a quick email series. Different things work for different places, so remember that when you are repurposing.

6. BE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR BRANDING AND MAKE IT LOOK VISUALLY APPEALING AND INTERESTING.

We know how enticing it is to want to change up your blog layout, the header, the graphic or even your logo. But every time you do this, you’re potentially taking a reader who recognizes you and confusing them. Create consistency across the board by trying not to change anything for 6 months (at least).

7. MAKE IT EASY FOR OTHERS TO SHARE YOUR CONTENT WITH TOOLS SUCH AS:

  • Clicktotweet: Clicktotweet is the easiest and simplest way to promote and advertise your blog, website, and business on Twitter. Highlight a message you want to promote, generate a Clicktotweet, and you have an instant way for others to easily share your content.

  • Sumome: Sumome share toolbar is a tool that makes it easier for your readers to share your blog posts on their own social profiles. Sumome also has an email capture tool, so you can build your email list at the same time. Bonus!

8. ADD GRAPHICS TO ALL YOUR SOCIAL UPDATES.

Tweets with images are, on average, shared 180% more than those without.

9. USE A SCHEDULING TOOL TO SET UP YOUR POSTS SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT.

Again, we use Post Planner to share out content across Twitter and Facebook. We utilize Later to schedule our content on Instagram.

10. DEVELOP YOUR OWN CHECKLIST OF THE MULTIPLE TYPES OF CONTENT AND PLACES TO SHARE (SO YOU DON’T FORGET ANYTHING).

Something like this might work initially (it's in Trello, of course!) and once you get going you can add more steps.

Try implementing these simple steps and sharing your content multiple times and see what effect it has on your blog traffic. Spoiler alert: it’s going to help it a ton.



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