Business Basics: Using social media to drive innovation

Business Basics: Using social media to drive innovation

Hi everybody and thanks to John for the introduction. I’m really excited to be talking to you this
afternoon about using social media to drive innovation. Innovation is a real buzz word at the moment
and I think that’s rightly so. The world’s changing and automation and robotics
are really going to change the jobs that we have in the future and I think creativity
and innovation is going to be a big part of how we make sure our businesses thrive and
our opportunities for our kids and careers continue to be there. I just wanted to open with this first quote
that I really love. Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things. I really think that’s important to keep in
mind as we’re talking through this webinar today that it’s great to come up with new
ideas and being creative is heaps of fun, but to be innovative we actually have to take
action. We have to actually act on those things. I think it’s really important that we keep
that in mind as we move through. A little bit about me, John’s already sort
of filled you in on most of it, I guess. This is my gang here. I’ve got four kids and a husband and I’m a
farm wife at Blue Sky Produce which is a mango, avocado and lime farm up here in far north
Queensland in a little town called Mareeba. I’m a chartered accountant by trade and I’m
really passionate about regional Australia and making sure that our regional businesses
thrive. I think there’s heaps of opportunities for
them to do so with technology evolving the way it has and I think that it’s really important
that business owners in rural areas continue to learn and to take use of the technology
that’s available. I’m sure I’m already preaching to the converted
because you guys are here and listening online. That’s terrific. What I wanted to mention as well is that I’m
not a creative person. I’m a chartered accountant. I like data. I like facts and figures, but being creative
and drawing and all of that sort of stuff doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m the person in my family that no one wants
to partner with for Pictionary because I’m just hopeless. I’m a stick figure drawer. I just wanted to debunk a couple of things,
I guess, about innovation and being creative and that’s that you’re born creative. I’ve got some quotes up here on the screen,
I hope you can all see them, but people often say, “I’m just not a creative person.” I say that myself and I don’t know where to
start, everything’s already been thought of. What I want to say to that is that creativity
isn’t something you’re born with, it’s actually a skill that can be learned. A couple of years back now I got involved
with our local start up group called Start Up Tablelands and did some courses around
start up philosophy and the real theory, I guess, behind innovation. It’s been really valuable for me to see that
there’s a real process there and if you’re a person like myself that’s a real facts and
figures and likes a real list and a step process, then rest assured that you can take that into
being innovative in your business. It’s like any other skill, the more that you
do, the better at it that you get. Your creative juices are a muscle just like
anything else so that the more that you make them work and apply them, the easier it gets
and the better you get at being creative. Something that we really need to keep in mind,
too, as we talk about innovation is that failure is a big part of innovation and it’s probably
the most important part because we have to be willing to take risks and to have a go
at things if we’re ever going to try new things and be innovative in our business. The fastest way to succeed is to double your
failure rate. I know that sounds terrible, but it’s the
truth. The fastest way to do better at something
or to come up with a new idea is to come up with 10 of them and try them all and use the
best one. When we’re talking about being innovative
in our business, perfectionism is our enemy. It will really hold us back if we’re not willing
to try anything or do anything new because we’re scared of failing or we’re scared of
not doing it perfectly. I think that, as I mentioned before, you have
to develop your idea muscle. You have to use it. You have to make it work and that means that
you’ll have to be disciplined. You’ll have to have a go at new ideas regularly. You’ll have to make them a part of your business
routine to write down 10 new ideas every morning and pick one of them out of that list every
single day to give a try. It’s really tricky because our brains naturally
try to protect us. They don’t want us to do silly things. They don’t want us to feel embarrassed if
an idea doesn’t work, but we have to really try to override that brain and make it realize
that it’s okay to fail forward, is what, I guess this terminology is in the start-up
world. It’s okay to not do well at something as long
as you’re moving forward and you’re trying something different. You don’t have to be great, you just need
to do something. That comes back to that creativity being the
fun part and innovation being the doing part of it. It doesn’t have to be great, just give it
a go. If you wait for innovation to come along,
unfortunately it just doesn’t strike like lightning. I think a lot of us think that it’s just going
to come to us one day in a dream or as we’re driving along we’ll have this light bulb moment
and 90% of the time that’s not how innovation works. It’s all about doing the work, having the
discipline, having the courage to have a go at something and doing it regularly. You have to go through the motions of trying
new things. I like to say that if you get good at coming
up with heaps of terrible ideas, eventually you’ll have to get good at one eventually. Terrible ones are in there, but you’ll get
good at a new one eventually. Where does social media play a part in this? What I say to that is that for good ideas
and true innovation you need human interaction, conflict, argument, and debate. What do I mean by that? You have to test your ideas. You have to go and ask people, “What do you
think of this?” And be willing to justify why you think it’s
a good idea for your business. You have to be able to talk to your customers,
get out there and ask them, “What do you want? Is this a great idea or not?” I think that’s where social media really comes
into its own especially for our regional businesses in that we can reach people all over the world. We can reach customers globally, internationally,
within Australia, within the next town just by getting online and developing our community
via social media. I think it’s a really important part of business
and coming up with ideas is being able to test them cheaply and ask people and connect
with people in a really timely fashion and that’s where social media is really useful. I just want to share a little bit of my story
and how our innovation journey has evolved and why I got involved with social media. I grew up in a little county town called Malanda
and I grew up on a dairy farm there. My parents were dairy farmers my whole life
and it was terrific. It was a great way to grow up, but really
hard work. It’s milking twice a day, every morning, every
afternoon, 365 days a year and I’m one of three girls and so like most farms, you don’t
have a choice as a kid whether you’re involved or not. You’re just required, you’re an essential
part of the work force and being a girl my dad would never let us say that we couldn’t
do something. If we went out fencing with him and we found
that the fence post was too heavy he would always say twice, “It’s not I can’t, it’s
how can I?” You can never say, “I can’t.” You have to think about, okay, how can I do
this? In the fencing situation it was, “Well, how
can I lift this fence post? It’s too heavy for me. How can I lift it? I can’t say I can’t. Can I use a log that can help me lever it
to get it up?” I guess that’s been my mentality all along
with innovation is that it’s not about saying, “I can’t do this.” It’s always about how can I? How many ideas can I come up with that help
me say, “How can I? How can I solve this problem?” Yeah, thanks dad, that’s all back to the dairy
farm days. Fast forward about 20 or so years and I’m
a qualified chartered accountant and my hubby and I are living in Brisbane and we have what
our families like to say is a midlife crisis and we decided to pack up our jobs and our
kids and head off around Australia in a camper van. This is where I really, I guess, got involved
and fell in love with social media and really saw the power of what social media can do. We started a blog to document our travels
around Australia and we had a Facebook page and Twitter and Instagram to document our
travels. Within the first week of being on the road
we had really great following of people and we were really surprised at how terrific it
was to pull into to a new town as we were traveling along and I could put a post out
on social media and say, “Hey, we’re in Katherine, where should be camp? What should we do? Is there anything great that we should see
here?” It was terrific to be able to have that instant
response from people that lived in the area and that could give us that real feedback
and really helped us out with having some great experiences as we were traveling. It was amazing to me that I could be in a
shop in the middle of Katherine in Woolworth’s and have some other travellers come up to
us and say, “Hey, aren’t you guys the family from Are We There Yet?” That was the name of our blog. We were like, “Yeah, we are.” And they were from western Australia and we’d
come from Brisbane and you just happen to be shopping in a Woolworth’s and people could
recognize you and say, “G’day.” I think that really demonstrated to me the
power of connectivity and the far reaching ability of social media to connect people. To cut a long story short, we got a couple
months into that trip and my hubby’s uncle called and said to us, we were on the beach
in Broome, he said, “Get off the beach you bums. Come and have a go at managing a mango farm
here in Mareeba.” We thought, “You know what, we’ll give it
a go.” My hubby was a travel agent and I was a chartered
accountant. Yes we’d both sort of grown up with farming
and thought that that was something that we’d like to get back to but we really had no idea
what we were doing. As we were driving back from Broome to the
Atherton Tablelands my hubby was Googling how to drive a tractor on YouTube. He zoomed in on the real estate photo of the
tractor that we’d been emailed from the farm that we were going to and got the model number
and he plugged that into Google and said, “Tell me how to drive this thing.” So that he didn’t turn up to the farm totally
not knowing what to do at all. That’s another way that we were able to use
social media and YouTube to really gather information to set us up for our journey. This photo that I’ve got up is a slide of
Blue Sky Produce. You can see why it’s called Blue Sky Produce. We have 300 sunny days a year up here. What happened when we got here was that my
hubby got stuck into the farming side of things, out driving tractors and digging holes and
learning the ropes that way and I really struggled to find my feet. It’s a family farming business. There’s not a lot of money to pay everybody. There’s only so many paid roles in a family
farming operation and there just wasn’t really a role for me. I was getting really frustrated. I was saying to my hubby, “There’s nothing,
I can’t be involved. I want to be a part of this, but there’s not
really any room for me here.” I was getting cranky and I was saying those
I can’ts and I had to really think to myself, “I can’t keep saying I can’t. It has to be how can I? How can I get involved in our business? What can I do to add value? How can I help?” The other problem that we were having is that
we were a new farming family and we’d arrived in September and our mango season was due
to start in December. We really needed to make some connections
and we needed to let people know that our business was up and running, that we had mangoes
for sale, that we had a packing shed with facilities that people could come and pack
with us. It was really expensive for us to put advertisements
in the local paper. As most of you probably know, print and newspaper
advertising it quite expensive so even for us up here in a regional town, it’s about
$600 for a quarter page ad. We put one of those in, but then once we’d
done that we had no idea how many people had seen it, if anybody had seen it so we really
had to … I had to think how can I get the word out about our farm? I can’t say we can’t afford to. It was, how can I? How can I spread the word that Blue Sky Produce
is here and we need people to know about us? That was where I thought, “Well, social media,
I love it. I can get involved with social media on the
farm.” That’s something that I know how to do. It’s something that I can be a part of so
that’s what we did. This is Blue Sky Produce, the Instagram, Facebook,
Twitter handles are there. We’ve got a website so check it out. That’s what I started a couple of years ago
to keep myself busy and out of trouble and stop whinging at the husband, I guess. Our family has laughed at us. They thought, “What are you doing? Why would you have social media for a farm? You’re not in the city anymore. You’re crazy. Farms don’t use social media. Why are you worrying about that?” I felt a bit silly to start with, but I thought,
“No, I really think that this will be valuable for our business to help connect us into the
industry, but also to help market our produce.” We were posting on Facebook. We were on Instagram. My hubby does most of our Instagram out in
the paddock. He’s got the mobile phone in his pocket, it’s
really simple to take a photo and flick it up in a few minutes and it’s a bit of fun
for him in his farm day. I guess the first success story that we had
with social media for our business was that we popped this photo up on Twitter and Instagram
and you can see that we found a big mango out in the paddock in our second season here
and we thought, “Oh, there’s this big mango. It’s a bit interesting.” We popped it on the scales there with another
normal size mango and just popped it on Twitter. It was amazing to see the response that we
got to that. Within minutes we had the local radio stations
calling. The local papers calling saying, “Hey, we
want to come and do a story.” I don’t know, it might have been a slow news
week, but I really think that the fact was that we put it out there. We used the hashtag for our local region. We were hashtagging Far North Queensland,
mangoes. It was mango season so people know that Twitter
is used quite heavily by journalists as a tool to help them source stories. We were aware that was a platform that they
regularly check so that was somewhere that we regularly posted. It was a big mango for us, but lots of other
farmers jumped on and said, “You know, it’s not that big. What’s all the fuss about?” I guess people were interested. This slide here shows, that’s a picture of
my hubby and my son and that was the front page of the Cairns Post which is our local
paper up here, sort of our regional paper. Now we didn’t pay for that, that was free
advertising I guess for us. That was just a result of that tweet, that
Instagram being picked up by the reporters and so then we had national nine news come
up and do a story. That went nationally all over Australia. It was a two minute clip of my hubby and kids
talking about our mango. We called it mangozilla. It was really a stack of free advertising
and promotion for us in the beginning when we were a new business and it was just a fun
kind of story. Yes, it wasn’t a huge mango that other farms
didn’t have big mangoes, too. Of course they, I guess, but we were able
to be found. That’s the tricky thing in business and in
regional business particularly, if you don’t tell your story, how can people find you? How can they know about you? Social media was really useful for us from
that perspective. Now we had this big mango and we had all this
interest in our mangozilla and we thought, “What are we going to do with it now?” We decided that we would auction it for the
Buy a Bale of Hay charity. All proceeds from our auction of this big
mango would go to the Buy a Bale of Hay charity. Again, it was a well, it’s not I can’t. It’s not I can’t. I don’t know what we’re going to do with this
mango. It was, okay, how can we use this mango to
do good or to help further the business? We thought, why don’t we auction it? There’s been a lot of interest. We just did an online auction on Facebook,
you can see. I’ve put a slide up there with one of the
posts that we had it going, the online auction, happening for a day and it was crazy, the
interest that we got from wholesalers in Sydney, in Melbourne, in Brisbane who all sort of
started bidding on this mango. It was a bit of fun and it was a really simple
thing that we could do online on Facebook. We had people watching and commenting. I was able to put a post up there saying,
“Hey, I’ve just got to go bath the kids, back in a minute to update you on the auction.” People really got a good understanding that
we were just a family business, just a regular family doing our thing and having a go at
doing something different. This is one of those times where you had to
embrace failure and understand the potentially this could flop and it was a bit of a worry. I thought if we put this auction out there
and nobody gets involved, it’ll be a bit embarrassing, but it was worth the risk. The risk was minimal. It might be a bit embarrassing but it wasn’t
going to cost us anything. It wasn’t going to be a huge investment of
our time or money and the potential there was to do something different and fun a bit
more promotion. In the end that mangozilla mango sold for
$550 to a Brisbane retailer. The other terrific thing that happened from
that was that we had about another six pallets of these oversize mangoes that we couldn’t
sell because they were out of spec for the Cole’s and Woolie’s and those sort of places. We were going to have to dump them. My hubby’s like, “I can’t sell these. I’m going to have to dump them. No one’s going to take them.” Again, it comes back to that saying, it’s
not I can’t, it how can I? I thought, “What? We’ve got this buyer in Brisbane who has bought
our mangozilla mango, why don’t we ask and see if he’d like to buy the extra oversize
mangoes and he could have a display in his store.” That’s exactly what he did. He bought all six pallets of those oversized
mangoes, which was about, I don’t know, $6,000 or $7,000 in sales figures for us of fruit
that we thought we were going to have to dump. I’m an accountant, it comes back to having
a real dollar value at the end of it. It wasn’t just having fun on Facebook, there
was a real business return for us. The other story I’d just like to quickly share
with you was the following season with our avocado season. Again, we’re still new farmers, we’re still
learning the ropes and our orchard was in a bit of disrepair. We had a lot of reject avocados in that year
and you can see on the slide that there’s some real wind damage to our avocados. We had about six ton, which was six bins of
these reject avocados and my hubby is saying, “I’m going to have to dump these. I can’t sell them.” Again, it’s that can’t. I thought to myself, “We can’t dump these. How can we sell them?” I thought, “Why not? Let’s just put a post on Facebook and see
if anyone wants to buy some reject avocados?” And you can see that that post went crazy. That post asking for sales of our reject avocados
reached over 104,000 people. It was shared 874 times and we had over 400
orders. My hubby was saying to me, “Quick, unplug
the internet, stop it. This is crazy.” It was, it was a bit of chaos really because
it got to the point that we were just getting orders coming through and we had no idea by
this stage if we’d already sold everything that we had, but thankfully, we were able
to work through it and we managed to sell every single one of those reject avocados
and that was six ton and close to $15,000 in sales. Again, it was using social media to have a
real business return for us. As I said to you, I’m a chartered accountant
by trade and I like my statistics and numbers. I wanted to throw these statistics in there
which are the social media stats for Australia as at the end of September 2017. I think they’re really powerful numbers that
really, if I haven’t convinced you with sharing a little bit of our story and how we’ve used
social media already, then I think that these stats speak for themselves. There’s 17 million active users on Facebook
in Australia and now our population’s about 24 million. That’s roughly 70% of our population is using
Facebook. That says to me if you’re not using Facebook
as a tool in your business, then potentially you’re missing a large portion of where your
market is. Where they’re shopping, where they’re researching,
where they’re doing their talking. I also really like this list because it gives
you a really useful idea of where to spend your energy. We’re in business. We’ve all got limited time and limited resources
so if you’re looking at, okay, where should I direct my social media energy? I say to everybody, “Start where the users
are.” Facebook is where most Australian active users
sit currently, so start there. Get a handle on that and then move to YouTube
or move to Instagram. Work your way through the list until you’re
comfortable and have a presence in each of those different categories and get your head
around what you’d like to do on Twitter and what you’d like to do on Instagram. I don’t think that you have to do them all
at once. I definitely think it’s valuable to grab yourself
the handles on every account when you’re setting up your social media, that you grab the Facebook
handle for Blue Sky Produce. You grab the Instagram one. You grab the Twitter one so that you know
you’ve got those user names saved when you do get to them, but you certainly don’t have
to do them all at once. The other thing is that the statistics show
that one in two users are on Facebook globally. It’s not only in Australia that this is where
our market is existing, it’s globally the demographic are using social media and I think
that if we ignore it as a business tool then we’re really doing a disservice to ourselves. I just want to run through a few tips that
I think are really important to keep in mind with social media and actually one thing I
should have said right at the beginning is that although I love social media and think
it’s a really valuable business tool, I really think that you have to make sure that you
have a website or have a mailing list or a blog or something like that that is a platform
that you own. I say that because if Mark Zuckerberg decides
tomorrow that he’s had enough of Facebook and he wants to shut it down and that’s where
you spent all your energy building your customer base, then that’s gone. You’re setting yourself up to be subject to
risk, I guess, if you haven’t established a mailing list or a website where you can
send your customers and your community to find you directly. You want to send them to your website or your
blog or your mailing list so that they really get to have a good look around and don’t get
lost in the social media world of checking out funny cat memes or you know, as they do
as they scroll through, you really want to keep them interested in what you’ve got to
say and what you’re all about. That’s the other really powerful part of social
media is that I think today the way people are spending their money is changing. They’re really wanting to connect with the
businesses that they buy things from or that they want to work with and they want to understand
what those businesses are about. That can potentially mean that they’re willing
to pay a little bit more if they know your story, if they feel connected to you, if they
feel like they’re a part of your community. Social media is a really powerful way to connect
with them and tell your story on a daily basis. Social media definitely video is king these
days so you know, your Facebook lives, your little short video clips are the way to go
with your posting on all of your platforms, really. I definitely recommend doing a short video
course or doing some research online to work out how you can best up skill yourself in
taking videos and being comfortable in talking in videos yourself. Emojis, I’ve got a picture there. That’s from the Queensland, Australia Facebook
page, but you can see that they’ve used emojis and most people do pop a few emojis in their
posts these days because you want to stand out. We’ve all got really short attention spans
and as we’re scrolling through our social media feeds, you need something to catch your
eye. Emojis are a really easy way to put a bit
of colour and a bit of variety into your post and catch your customer’s eyes. Most of your new smartphones have the 360
degree photos so they give the element of immersing a person in whatever you’re demonstrating,
whether it’s a product or a view out your window of the office today or out in the paddock
letting people have an insight into what it actually looks like to see the mangoes on
the trees. Those photos just give that extra element
of connection and interest on your social media feeds. Polls and surveys are a really powerful way
when we’re talking about testing new ideas. If you’ve got an idea, if you’ve been testing
that idea muscle daily and you’re writing your 10 ideas list every day for different
things that you can try in your business, then it’s a really useful way to just throw
out a survey or a poll on Facebook or in a group and just ask your customers, “Hey, what
do you think of this? Would you be interested? Do you like the green or the blue of our new
logo?” They’re really simple, cheap ways to test
your new ideas in your business and get that market feedback and that validation coming
back to you straight away without spending hours on it or engaging a web designer or
doing all of that sort of stuff only to realize, no, my customers aren’t actually interested
in that. By then, you’ve spent so much energy and time
and I think we all are guilty of it. We get tied up in the creative and the fun
side of doing a new website or new business cards or a new product, but we forget to actually
test the market to ask our customers, “Do you like this?” That’s a really important part that people
forget with social media is that you can use it to be social, to chat to people, to engage
with people. It’s not just all about promoting your new
product. It’s not just all about saying, “Look at this.” Or “Buy this.” It’s about having those conversations. That’s why social media’s called social media,
you know? It’s to chat. It’s to get involved with people. Some more tips. The general rule is to post twice a day if
you can. I know that seems a lot so if you’re just
starting out in social media then I’d recommend that even if you only post once a week, that
you be consistent with it. If you’re only going to post once a week,
you say, “I’m only posting on Sundays at 7:00 PM.” You do that every Sunday at 7:00 PM so your
customers know Back Paddock Business will do a new post every week on Sunday at 7:00
PM so I can jump over there and check out what Jess has got to say and then build it
up from there. Then go to twice a week, same days of the
week. Three times a week and just make sure that
you’re staying in people’s newsfeeds because the Facebook algorithm will drop you out pretty
fast if you have a big gap between your last post and your next one. Then that’s really hard work to make sure
that you’re visible again for people. I always say change your cover photo regularly. That’s the big photo at the top of your Facebook
page or your Twitter account just to keep it interesting, just to add something new. Triple check your posts. That means no spelling mistakes, no grammatical
errors. There’s nothing worse than that so it’s a
good idea if you’ve got someone else in your business to get them to run their eyes over
it or if you’ve got a junior person perhaps doing your social media for you, that you
get them to schedule the posts and then you run your eyes over them as a triple check
just to make sure that you’ve got those spelling and grammatical errors taken out because people
love to point them out to you and that loses the impact of what you wanted your post to
be about. We’ve already talked about making sure that
they’re visual. Video is best, but images are always a must. No Facebook post with just text only, you’ve
got to put an image in there. Use scheduling so that you don’t have to waste
hours and hours on Facebook. You can sit down for two hours on a Monday
morning and schedule your posts out for the week. Post when your community is online so you
can jump in your publishing tools on your Facebook page and check out via your insights
what times are my customers online? When are they there? When is the best time to post? That’s a great little website for getting
emojis when you’re doing all your posting on your desktop computer, so check that out. I always advise trying to come up with content
pillars which means for us at Blue Sky Produce, we’ll have a content pillar that’s mangoes. Then we’ll have one that’s avocados. Then we’ll have one that’s limes. Then we’ll have one that’s just farm life. Then we’ll have one that’s just farming funny
stuff. That just gives you that variety in your posts
so that it keeps it interesting for people and also helps you come up with ideas for
your posts. I have an Excel spreadsheet that has those
headings at the top, avocados, limes, mangoes, farm funnies and I’ll pop links in there and
different ideas as I think of them so that when I come to sit down at the start of the
week and schedule my posts out, I’ve got my content ideas already created there. Paid post really works so you can invest for
as little as $5 and they are really powerful tools for getting your advertising out on
social media. Don’t forget to tag people in your posts. Tag your customers, tag other businesses that
you’d like to work with, be social. Have a bit of fun with it and let people know
that you’re there. These are some helpful social media tools. I’m running through these really quickly,
but happy to ask questions when we get to our question time at the end. The Pages app, if you’re not already using
that for Facebook for your Facebook page, make sure you are on your devices. It’s a much easier way to manage your Facebook
pages. Make sure you’re using hashtags. That’s how people find you, particularly on
Instagram and Twitter and I always recommend to people, check out other pages that you
like that maybe are in a similar business to yours and see what hashtags they’re using. Do a bit of research. Click on those hashtags, see what other people
are using and then create a note so that you can copy and paste those into all of your
posts there. Photogrid is a great one for collages. Canva and Easil are terrific, definitely check
out Canva, it’s made my life much easier for those of you that are like me and not really
artistic. Canva gives you some great templates to make
your posts look really professional and really give them that graphic design kind of look. Word Swag, Typorama, A Beautiful Mess, they’re
all really cheap apps that are great for posting some great headings and titles over images. Quick is a great app for doing your video
editing on your smartphones. iTalk if you’d like to record audio and Hootsuite
is really terrific for scheduling and keeping an eye on pages that you like to watch and
to see if your business is being mentioned by other pages. Definitely worth having a play around with
all of those and most of them are free or low cost, so easy for you to have a play with
without having to outlay too much money. Something that I really like to draw people’s
attention to is that I love this quote from Henry Ford, he says, “If I had asked people
what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” What’s so powerful about this quote is that
when you’re thinking about ways to innovate in your business or do things differently,
it’s not always asking your customers what they want, because they won’t necessarily
know what they want. The won’t necessarily be able to tell you. It’s just trying to think outside the box
and come up with a whole heap of different ideas to see which direction your business
could head in. We’re just about through. I wanted to finish with some tips for coming
up with ideas and being creative and the ways that I guess you can use social media when
we’re talking about these things. I’ve said to you, creativity is a muscle and
we have to use it. If you can free write and brainstorm 10 ideas
every single morning in a notebook or on a white board, it’s a terrific way just to keep
those ideas coming and it’s the rule of numbers that if you’ve got 50 new ideas every week,
then surely one of them will be a reasonable one. That has a great app that you
can check out for dumping your ideas into. The other important thing is to let your mind
wander and to have some down time. Lots of people love meditation. They love exercise for that. That’s why it’s so important to have a holiday. All the small business owners out there will
be laughing at me when I say that, but it is really important to have some weekends,
to have some down time because you really need to free your mind up to be able to come
up with those ideas. There’s heaps of great meditation and exercise
groups that have Facebook groups that you can join to give you some guidance in that
area. You really need to expose yourself to new
ideas too, so to read and travel, network with other people, listen to podcasts and
I think that’s where social media can be really useful. You can spend hours researching different
ideas, following other pages that are similar to yours, joining Facebook groups where you
can network. There’s stacks of business networking groups
on Facebook that you can join in. I think podcasts are terrific, too, for exposing
you to new ideas. I love How I Built This, it’s a great podcast
and the TED talks are terrific. You can get them on YouTube. Definitely worth checking out to give you
that inspiration especially if you’re regional or remote and it’s hard to get to conferences
and seminars and those sorts of things to really give you that broader perspective. Laugh, that’s another great tip for helping
you to be creative and come up with ideas. It’s just getting yourself in the mood, I
guess, relaxing your mind to allow it to do something different. You can take a creative course if you’re like
me and you like the structure and the real step-by-step process to creativity, then courses
are definitely helpful to give you that really step-by-step guide to different ways that
you can be innovative in your business. You can solve a problem, that’s back to my
it’s not I can’t, it’s how can I? What’s the problem and how can I come up with
a solution to it often drives our innovation. Finally, Uberise it. It’s okay to have a look at what another business
is doing. It can be in the same industry or different
industry and work out how you could apply that to your business. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every
time, it’s okay to see a good idea and implement it in your business and that’s innovation
in itself because it’s something that you haven’t been doing before so don’t be scared
to apply good ideas to your own business. That wraps me up. I hope that you’ve found some really valuable
stuff in there and we’ve got a few minutes now for some questions, but I just want to
leave you with the fact that it’s not just about being creative, it’s not just about
ideas, it’s actually about making those ideas happen. We have to actually act on things. We have to actually engage and talk to people
and we just have to get out there and do it. That’s it for me, thank you. Thank you so much Jess and sharing some real
insight into strategies that we can actually keep innovation alive and keep that fire burning
and to come up with new ideas to actually make our businesses work. We do have an opportunity for some asking
some new questions, so please feel free to ask questions in the question tab below. We’ll be answering them through, but we’ve
started with a few here. Jess, you talked extensively about focusing
on that list of social media platforms, I guess the first question is which social media
platform should I focus on? Should it always be the biggest first? Facebook first and then go downwards or should
we actually be focusing on where my customers are? Yeah, look, I think definitely if you, particularly
for the foodie and design businesses and most of our customers are real visual in those
businesses. Your Instagram’s are where they’re at. If you know where your customers are, if you
know that they’re on Instagram or they’re on Twitter, then yes, head there first, but
if you’re not sure where they are, I definitely would work through the list because as we
saw Facebook had 17 million regular Australian users. That’s a big customer base right there so
it’s a good place to start if you’re not sure. Wonderful. We’ve got another question here. Failure may be essential, but what if failure
costs me too much to try and fail? What if it means losing my business? Yeah. When I talk about failure, I don’t mean that
we have to go bankrupt or we have to … When I’m talking about failure, I’m talking about
just trying new ideas. I guess that’s where I bring it back to we
want to try something new for as cheaply and as quickly as we possibly can so that it’s
not going to have a big impact on our business. That’s where we talk about using our tools
like social media where we can ask the questions and do a bit of that research before we outlay
any money. That’s what I mean by failure. I don’t want everybody to go out there and
go bankrupt, that’s not what we mean, but it’s about trying different ways of doing
things as cheaply and as quickly as possible and pivoting or changing the way we do things
to make sure that we’re not wasting our energy and wasting our money and tweaking our business
in the right direction. Suzette Holden asks, “Do you only use social
media or do you capture people’s details and send out newsletters, too? How do you rate direct marketing as well?” Yeah, look, as I said, I think it’s really
important to be capturing your customer’s details because if we’re relying only on social
media then we’re taking a risk because they’re third party platforms. They’re not platforms that we own, so we have
a website for our business with a sign up page so that we can send direct emails too. I don’t do, for our business, we don’t do
a lot of direct marketing. We predominately use social media, but we
do have that blog and we do have that website that we can direct people to and have our
customers be able to find us in the event that all social media disappeared from our
devices and computers tomorrow. I do think it’s really important that you
are using a mailing list or a website or a blog or some tool like that that you can capture
your customers directly. Lovely. In terms of social media, does the strategy
change depending on the platform you use? Yeah, it does, it definitely does change depending
on the platform that you use. I think that with your Twitters, you could
post up to 50 times a day, I mean that’s a bit extreme, but you could definitely post
a lot more often on say Twitter than what you would on Instagram and Facebook because
the nature of Twitter is to have those quick conversations and they can be quite lengthy,
whereas if we were to do that on Instagram or Facebook, I think our followers would get
cranky because that would be quite spammy there. Yes, definitely the strategies differ across
the platforms and you will find that as you get more involved in those platforms that
you will naturally change your strategies up for each one. Cool. Ray asks, “Is there a magic dollar value on
what we should aim at each week to get a good coverage on Facebook for paid advertising?” That’s a good question, Ray. Look, I’ve found that $25 a week in our regional
communities for the businesses that I work with in our regional communities gets a really
good return. We get really good reach with those sorts
of posts and good engagement with what we’re advertising. Obviously it depends on your budget. For smaller businesses $25 a week is a reasonable
amount that you can budget in there for regular advertising spend. All I can suggest is to play around and that’s
the great thing about social media is that you get that data, you get that feedback on
what your spend is reaching, who is engaging. It’s all about testing it and seeing what
works best. Cool. As a probably more interesting question in
regards to utilization of funds, if I donate, sorry, if I implement a certain budget to
one social media platform as opposed to another, am I cutting out a large portion of my potential
market size? I think that would come back to doing some
market research on where your customers are. Again, if most of your customers are sitting
on Facebook then I don’t think you’re cutting out your market by investing more heavily
there than say, Instagram. Another one, if I invest $50 a day into Facebook
and I get a certain amount of reach or interactions, how do I convert that into paying customers?Yeah,
look, that’s a great question because that’s really where your direct marketing comes into
play. You’re wanting to convert those interactions
into your sales so direct them to your mailing list or your blog where you can be remarketing
to them. Where you’re really engaging with them in
a bit more, I guess, personal way. If you’re not already doing that that’s the
next stage that your social media marketing needs to direct you to. I think we’ll go one last question here. You’ve talked about how you don’t need to
be creative to do social media and to come up with innovation, but how do I get my message
across that my product is good when I don’t have the right kind of communication skills? Yeah, it’s a really tricky one. I think that’s where, if you can afford to
engage a social media person or a marketing person to work with you in the first instance. What I like to do with my clients is to work
with them to teach them those communication skills, but ultimately, you want your voice
to come through on social media, that’s why it’s so powerful and why I think people really
love social media is that you get that authenticity and that connection with the business owner. It’s about just teaching you a few tips for
communication that then allow you to still have your voice and your message come through
on your social media, but to deliver it in a, I guess, more engaging and effective way. I mean, there’s stacks of online communication
tools that you can do some research on, lots of TED talks on communication and marketing. There’s lots of free ways to do your research
and up skill yourself, too, but if you can afford to work with someone and that’s just
all about checking out their individual style and if you like it and that’s something that
you would like to replicate, then definitely approach them to work with them and get them
to help you with some skills so that you’re not wasting your energy and time doing all
of your social media and not reaching the people that you need to be. Excellent. Okay, I think we’ll leave that there. Thank you so much for that, Jess. Really appreciate your time. Thank you everyone for attending the webinar. Remember to please download the handouts before
you exit. The webinar is being recorded and will be
uploaded to the Impact Innovation Group website later today. You will receive an email later on just giving
you some more information about the Office of Small Business programs and opportunities. Thank you again for tuning in. Jess thank you so much for providing your
insights and have a great day everyone. Thanks John, see you later everyone.

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