key messages

Social Media Simplified: Filling up your key message buckets

There are three things you need to have a solid understanding of to find success with online marketing: goalsaudience and what you want people to know.

Today we're going to talk about the final piece - what you want people to know, otherwise known as your key messages.

What do you want people to know about your business?

When I'm working one-on-one with business owners I ask them what makes their business stand out, what makes them different, what are they proud of and what should everyone know about their business?

Think about these questions for a minute or two and then write down 3 or 4 answers. Here are a few examples:

  • I simplify social media
  • We have experts on site that can help you figure out what product is the best for you
  • Exercise will make you feel better
  • We use only the best quality local ingredients

If you're struggling to figure out what your key messages are, go back to your goals and your audience and think about both of them. What do people need to know or believe for you to reach your goals? What would convince your audience that you're a good fit for them?

Here are a few more examples of key messages:

  • Yoga during pregnancy can help during labour and delivery
  • A personal chef service can save you money
  • Kids don't need a lot of toys to be happy

What do you do with this information?

Now that you have these key messages figured out, what do you do with them? Let your key messages guide your content.

I like to think of key messages as buckets. Each bucket has a key message on the outside and every piece of content that I share, whether it be something that I wrote or something that I found, supports one of my key messages. For example:

An article that shows how much food the average family throws out in a week - I can put it in the bucket showing that a personal chef service can save you money by cutting down on waste created by those meals you meant to cook, but never got around to.

An article on how 10 minutes of walking a day can increase quality of life - I can put that in the bucket that says exercise will make you feel better.

I can share a photo of some ingredients that just got dropped off by a local farmer and tag the farm - that falls into the bucket about using the best quality local ingredients.

I can share a blog post about how to set up a Facebook page step-by-step - that falls into my I simplify social media bucket.

You now have a method for qualifying content - if something doesn't fall into one of the buckets, does it really make sense for you to share it? Maybe, but the answer more often is no.

You have buckets to fill. Challenge yourself to find 3 or 4 things that back up each of your key messages. Write some tips, take some photos, write a blog post or share some articles that prove your point. 

Leave a comment and let me know what some of your key messages are what kind of content you can put in each bucket to back those key messages up!

Beyond planning: The importance of strategic planning


The longer we run our business, the more emphasis and priority Lara and I put on planning. And I don't mean just laying out a plan for what we want to do. Every year, we take a more strategic approach to setting goals, developing products, and creating content. It's making us better at what we do, better at helping our clients, and understanding our clients' needs. 

We have started having 3-4 planning days per year to set priorities, plan timelines, discuss ideas, etc. It's time we spend away from doing any work for clients or product development. However, it's absolutely critical to the short- and long-term progress and success of our business.

So much of what we do as business owners applies to planning and using social media in a strategic way. Imagine, if you will, a person who has what they feel is a fabulous idea for a business. Remember the jump to conclusions mat from Office Space? (Warning: there's a little four-letter language in this clip.)

Starting a business without clear goals, research into marketability of products and services, or realistic view of what's involved can lead to a rude awakening. I think every business owner has experienced this to some degree - whether a product or service completely bombs or they have to rethink their entire business model. That's usually when you come to the fork in the road and you have to decide which new direction to take.

Strategy is just as important to social media success

We make every effort to simplify social media for our clients. It's not rocket science. We know this. However, between using the actual tools and crafting messages with a strategic focus and tying it all in to your business objectives, the process can get overwhelming. Small business don't need a 100-page strategy document, but they do need to start with identifying goals, audiences, and key messages. Once they know the what and the why, then they can move on to tactics (the how). The "how" is pretty easy once you've established "what" and "why".

Answer these questions for your business

  • Why do we use <insert social network>?
  • Is our presence effective?
  • Are we using it to our advantage?
  • Have we gained any customers through that channel?

They aren't easy questions, but it's worth reflecting. This is the time of year that we all start looking at a fresh start in the New Year. We all want to be more organized, focused, productive. 

You can do all of those things, but it starts with a plan. I'm personally terrible at setting goals for our business in the areas that I am responsible for - Lara is pushing me and reminding me to be better (or just do it). I know the importance. I know why I struggle with it. I'm working on a solution that works for me and our business because without setting those goals, even knowing my audience and key messages, I'm holding myself and my business back from being the best we can be.

Webinar - Get Results in 2015 using Social Media with a Plan!

Lara and I are going to talk about planning tips, advice, and resources during our December 9th webinar. Sign up here!

Do you struggle with staying focused in your day-to-day use of social channels? That can derail your plans for social media AND other areas of your business. Our Daily Social Media Checklist can help.

Just enter your email address and we'll send you this free tool to help you focus your efforts. You'll also receive weekly emails from Lara and I with valuable tips and information about how to grow your business using social media. 

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