Instagram for Business – Beginners

Instagram – it’s where your customers spend their time! 

I had the opportunity to sit in on the ‘Instagram Reels’ workshop facilitated by Denise Horan of The Entrepreneurs Academy and what an amazing three hours it was. This workshop was based for beginner Instagram users who aren’t quite familiar with the app yet.

To begin the seminar Denise took us through the basics:

My Wall – Your wall on Instagram is your ‘Home Page’, it’s where you find your display name, Instagram handle, category, bio and where notifications are listed.

My Timeline- Instagram timeline is where the user can view stories of those they follow and posts that followers create. It allows them to interact with them leaving a like or comment.

When a user is getting to know Instagram for the first time it is important that they understand the five symbols that are available on your timeline.

Starting with the first symbol from the left, the ‘Home’ button which is shaped like a house. This allows users to access their timeline and view followers posts and stories. This is also where you access your activity and view all your post and story interactions.

Moving onto the second function, the ‘Search’ button that looks like a magnifying glass. The search button is fairly straight forward and it’s where you can look for other users you may or may or may not follow. It can also be used to search for other business’s.

I like to think of the third button as the ‘Creator’ it’s the box with a + sign in it. This tab allows you to choose one of four functions to create a Story, Post, Reel or go Live on Instagram.

The fourth function will look like a love heart and allows you to see all of your activity such as post likes, story likes and reviews and shares. This is the tab that shows whatever type of content you have created, how it’s doing and what your followers think about it.

The final function, ‘My Profile’ is shaped like a person. This is where you access everything on your own profile such as Settings, Bio, Tagged Posts, Edit Profile and much more.

Why Instagram??

Millions of people use Instagram on a daily basis for many different reasons, to get your message out there or show what you are up to. When using Instagram, it allows the user to be authentic and engage with multiple users and it’s an amazing way to connect with people from all over the world and explore new opportunities. Remember, ‘’You are your own brand’’ sell yourself.

Instagram Insights – Another very useful tip would be getting to know the ins and outs of Instagram Insights. I can’t stress enough how important and valuable this function is especially if you are a business owner and are looking for feedback on a post / story. The Insights button can only be accessed if you have a Business / Creator account on Instagram and is a native analytics tool that provides data on follower demographics and actions, as well as your content. This information makes it easy to compare content. Measure campaigns and see how individual posts are performing. The insights include information on how many followers you have lost / gained, top locations of your followers, age range and times they’re most active on Instagram.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog on how to use Instagram and that you have gained a few pointers that may help you and your business when it comes to using Instagram.

Check out the Local Enterprise Office for upcoming workshops like this one.

Facebook for Small Business

I had the privilege to sit in on the ‘Facebook for Small Business’ workshop facilitated by Michael Keogh of The Entrepreneurs Academy and what a fantastic three hours it was. This course helps people who have small business’s and are looking to maximise Facebook to promote their companies while being unfamiliar with the social media platform. Below is an overview of all content discussed.

      • Set up your Facebook page for Business
      • Administer the page with multiple users
      • Understand patterns of usage to maximise the potential of Facebook
      • How to create and schedule content
      • Understanding Facebook insights for your business page
      • Introduction to Facebook advertising
      • Benefits of using Facebook events

Did you know that 92% of all consumers report that a word-of-mouth recommendation is the ‘Leading reason they buy a product or service’? So, if social media is word-of-mouth then having a strong Facebook page for your company is absolutely vital to help you and your business grow to the next level. If you are looking to optimize your Facebook page, why not try joining groups that would attract your customer base,  and liking other pages on Facebook targeting customers similar to yours, this helps build a community.

When learning your way around Facebook it is very important that you understand how the ‘Insights’ work. Insights are information about your page’s performance, like demographic data about your audience and how people are responding to your posts. You can use insights to understand how people are engaging with your page. From getting to understand Insights, I learned that photo posts see much higher engagement than text posts. An eye-catching photo/illustration is a great way to catch the attention of a potential customer. It was reported that video posts see even higher engagement rates. If pre-recorded videos aren’t your thing, try dabbling with live videos. Facebook Live video is a live streamed broadcast right on your Facebook page, live video is an intimate, authentic way to connect with followers and potential customers or clients.

I found this workshop extremely valuable for anyone who has difficulty finding their way around Facebook whether that be insights, scheduling content, understanding the main factors of Facebook or for anyone wanting to maximize their Facebook skills. I would highly recommend this online course run by The Entrepreneurs Academy for entrepreneurs wanting to grow their social media strengths and promote their business on a new scale.

If you and your business could benefit from a course like this, be sure to check out what is on offer from your Local Enterprise Office, their supports are wide and varied. This is only one of many workshops available. Keep learning, keep growing your business!

Smartphone Video for Business

I had the pleasure of sitting in on one of The Entrepreneur’s Academy’s courses on how to use your Smartphone to create Video for Business. The instructor utilized the app ‘InShot’ – Video Editor. For those who aren’t familiar with this app it’s an all-in-one visual content editing app that allows you to create videos that you can trim, change the speed of your footage, add music and text and much more. This app is brilliant for all users from beginners to experienced video creators, InShot has everything you need to create quality videos.

Link for further details: https://inshot.com/

This 3 hour workshop was led by Michael Keogh over Zoom . From the very start of the class, we were told to create our own little clip while watching Michael create his video. We would follow what he did on the app giving advice along the way and every 15 minutes we would get the chance to add to our video. By the end of the workshop, everyone taking part had a 3–5-minute video with amazing content and brilliant features throughout. I found the InShot app very user friendly and creating your personal video couldn’t be any easier, but with the help of Michael Keogh it was outstanding, as he gave us an insider’s view of how everything works. It was just brilliant.

The knowledge and understanding I took away from this workshop was great, especially the tips Michael provided. Below are 8 useful pointers from the class that you might find very beneficial.

    • Set-up your camera on a tripod or a steady surface, this will eliminate camera shake in footage.
    • Position the camera at eye level if possible.
    • Leave enough space around the subject so the video can easily be cropped.
    • Leave some distance between the subject and the backdrop.
    • When shooting at home, look for cozy corners in your home that are intimate but not cluttered.
    • Use plants, desks, ornaments, chairs, books and cushions to add character to videos.
    • Record in a quiet location. Make sure all doors and windows are closed to avoid unwanted noise.
    • Record in a carpeted space, or somewhere with plenty of soft furnishings to get the best sound possible.

All in all, I thought this was a very practical class and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their video editing skills or wants to learn how to create a professional video. The instructor, Michael Keogh was amazing, super helpful and kind. I would rate this workshop 5/5 stars.

Taking the First Steps into the Digital Marketplace

Limerick Post – Digital Edition – 28 November 2020 

Taking the first steps into the digital marketplace

Noel Davidson Limerick Post

For small businesses looking to get their products online fast, a monthly subscription to sell on marketplaces such as Shopify or Etsy is a good option.

That’s according to Noel Davidson, lead trainer with the Entrepreneurs Academy, which delivers training for Local Enterprise Offices across the country.

A level up from that comes off-the-shelf website builders such as Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace, he says. By paying a monthly subscription, small businesses can use these tools to quickly and easily build a website, choosing from a selection of templates.

“The downside is once you stop paying the subscription, you lose your website. The free version of these tools will give you a generic “@squarespace.com” website address, for example. That may not look as professional,” says Davidson.

“You can buy a personalised website address option from these providers, but you will have to sort out a personalised email address yourself, he says.

“A website that looks great but doesn’t do a lot is really just a brochure and it won’t drive much business.

The next level up is website builder WordPress, and paying for hosting with a separate provider. This gives businesses a branded email address.

“It also provides the best option of future-proofing an online presence, with the ability to add downloadable plug-ins as a business’s needs grow. One such is the free WooCommerce plug-in from WordPress. You can bolt it on to your website and you are up and running in minutes with a full ecommerce platform,” says Davidson.

All the platforms have easy ways to install a payment gateway such as Paypal, Stripe or Elavon. However, Squarespace, Wix and Weebly charge a fee for this to be switched on. With all payment options, when something is sold on your website, you pay a small percentage to the provider when the payment is processed.

“A lot of website designers build for WordPress so if, at some stage, you want to link your accounting package to it, you can.”

Features such as livechat or a booking engine are among other plug-ins.

“Our advice is to give the business as much flexibility as possible, so a self-hosted WordPress website on one of the local Irish hosting companies is probably preferable. Hosting costs are about €70-€80 a year.

An SSL certificate, another plug-in that protects sensitive information such as credit card information, usernames and passwords, will cost about the same annually.

“Google Ads is where Google displays your ad when people search for products and services like yours. You pay for results, like when someone clicks your ad to call your business or visit your website.

If you don’t have budget for that, you can help yourself in other ways. It’s about putting yourself in customers’ shoes. A chiropractor may have the word ‘chiropractor’ all over their website, but if potential customers use the search phrase ‘back pain’, local chiropractors may miss out.

“Ask your customers how they found you – that’s the easiest way to source search terms. Update your website regularly with the search terms customers are using, perhaps through a value-add blog or company updates. Glowing reviews and testimonials from customers also cut through”. he explained.

www.limerickpost.ie/digital-edition

Web Presence Key for Businesses

Irish Times – Business Technology – 5 November 2020 

Web presence key for businesses to cash in on ‘shop local’ mood

Irish Times - Getting Online

By using simple Google tools and website grants, small businesses can take steps to move online fast
Joanne Hunt
Lobster, langoustine, crab and hake – “I’ll see you at the harbour in the morning”, fishmonger Alison Bates tells a local Greystones Facebook group. The small business owner doesn’t have a bricks-and-mortar shop or a website, but her friendly social media banter along with pictures of the latest catch has customers queuing around the block.
For many small businesses not already online, their shuttering by the coronavirus pandemic for the second time this year has left them bewildered. Their customers are still there and still need their products but, with doors closed, hard-fought custom can seep away.
People still need books, gifts, sandwiches, office supplies and everything else. We may need them now more than ever, as the constant zip of delivery vans attests. So how can small businesses get in on the online act, keeping relationships with customers alive and positioning themselves to survive and thrive in this pandemic and beyond?
Seven in 10 Irish adults have made a conscious effort to support local businesses due to the impact of Covid-19, a survey by iReach has found. “Shop local” is a sentiment small businesses can tap into. If someone googles “bookshops near me”, there are simple steps you can take to make sure your shop is found. And it doesn’t even require a website.
“If you are a small local business, you can go to ‘Google my business’ and create your free business profile there,” says Google’s director of small business in Ireland, Alice Mansergh. Add your address, opening hours, phone number and photos of your business and you can even specify whether you offer click and collect or kerb-side pick-up during lockdown.
This first dipping of your toe into online takes about 15 minutes. “This is going to ensure that if your local customers are searching for you, your details are compelling and accurate and up to date on Google Search and Google Maps,” says Mansergh.
Google has also launched Grow with Google, a package of free training, advertising credits and grants to help Irish small businesses to recover from the effects of the pandemic. On the grow.google/intl/ie website, small businesses will find video tutorials on how to set up a business profile, or create a website that sells.
And if you don’t already have a website, it’s now easier than ever to get one. If you have one and it’s effectively just a brochure, it’s time to up your game.
Your Local Enterprise Office is a good place to start. Its Trading Online Vouchers assist businesses with up to 10 employees to make online trading easier and more profitable. Businesses can claim up to €2,500, with co-funding of 10 per cent from themselves, towards developing an online presence.
They must participate in training first, however, with courses on everything from developing a website to digital marketing, social media and search engine optimisation.
The Government says the grant will cut the cost for a small business to develop online trading by up to 90 per cent. And, with Covid-19, Irish small businesses appear to be receptive. Local Enterprise Offices have approved some 9,920 such vouchers already this year. That’s 8,790 more than last year.
For small businesses looking to get their products online fast, a monthly subscription to sell on marketplaces such as Shopify or Etsy is a good option, says Noel Davidson, lead trainer with the Entrepreneurs Academy, which delivers the training for Local Enterprise Offices.
A level up from that comes off-the-shelf website builders such as Wix, Weebly and Squarespace, he says. By paying a monthly subscription, small business can use these tools to quickly and easily build a website, choosing from a selection of templates.
The downside is once you stop paying the subscription, you lose your website. The free version of these tools will give you a generic “@squarespace.com” website address, for example. “That may not look as professional,” says Davidson. You can buy a personalised website address option from these providers, but you will have to sort out a personalised email address yourself, he says.
Branded email
The next level up is website builder WordPress, and paying for hosting with a separate provider, says Davidson. This gives businesses a branded email address.
It also provides the best option of future-proofing an online presence, with the ability to add downloadable plug-ins as a business’s needs grow, he says. One such is the free WooCommerce plug-in from WordPress. “You can bolt it on to your website and you are up and running in minutes with a full ecommerce platform,” says Davidson.
All the platforms have easy ways to install a payment gateway such as Paypal, Stripe or Elavon, says Davidson. However, Squarespace, Wix and Weebly charge a fee for this to be switched on.
With all payment options, when something is sold on your website, you pay a small percentage to the provider when the payment is processed.
“A lot of website designers build for WordPress so if, at some stage, you want to link your accounting package to it, you can.”
Features such as livechat or a booking engine are among other plug-ins. “Our advice is to give the business as much flexibility as possible, so a self-hosted WordPress website on one of the local Irish hosting companies is probably preferable,” Davidson says. Hosting costs are about €70-€80 a year.
An SSL certificate, another plug-in that protects sensitive information such as credit card information, usernames and passwords, will cost about the same annually.
Google Ads is where Google displays your ad when people search for products and services like yours. You pay for results, like when someone clicks your ad to call your business or visit your website.
If you don’t have budget for that, you can help yourself in other ways. It’s about putting yourself in customers’ shoes, says Davidson. A chiropractor may have that word all over their website, but if potential customers use the search phrase ‘back pain south Dublin’, local chiropractors may miss out.
“Ask your customers how they found you – that’s the easiest way to source search terms,” says Davidson. Update your website regularly with the search terms customers are using, perhaps through a value-add blog or company updates. Glowing reviews and testimonials from customers also cut through.
A website that looks great but doesn’t do a lot is really just a brochure and it won’t drive much business. “The example I give to clients is, ‘We’ve built your online store, but it’s as if we’ve built it in the middle of the desert. We now need to tell people about it. We need to build roads to your store,” says Eoin McKenna, managing director of Golden Spider-winning web design agency Tribe Digital.
Paid search such as Google Ads is a quick way to get traffic to your site within minutes but other, more guerrilla-like marketing methods on social media can bring the same results for free. But you have to work at it.
Knowing your customer, hanging out online where they are and using the right tone of voice will bring results.
Fishmonger Bates shares quayside pictures of her latest catch to local Facebook groups, and says she hopes everyone is doing okay in these hard times. Members respond warmly, sharing recipes and images of how they have cooked her fish. She offers free fish to householders having a tough time. Her video announcing the winner of €50 worth of fish for those who liked and shared her Facebook posts has been viewed 1,500 times.
“If you are going to be all ‘salesy’, no one is that interested. The idea with social media is that you can join conversations other people are having that are relevant to your brand, chipping in in a really relevant way that’s useful to them,” says McKenna. It’s about knowing who you are and having the confidence to be authentic. “If you are approachable, you understand your audience and can converse about the stuff they are interested in, you don’t need to spend a penny on marketing, ever.”
Instagram is another great place to cultivate a community of like-minded people. This is just what Higgins Butchers in Sutton has done, says McKenna. Within a few hours of posting pictures to Instagram of Wagyu beef it had sourced, all 40kg of it had sold out.
Tribe Digital is currently revamping Higgins’s website. “At some point next year, they expect their online sales to pass their store sales,” says McKenna.
“If someone visits your website, they are interacting with your brand; if they see a Facebook or Instagram post, that’s your brand. It’s important to maintain the same
messaging and tone of voice across all these touch points. Your posts might not be perfect, but they might be endearing and that will draw customers.”
‘Hunting and gathering’
Facebook and social media are fantastic for “hunting and gathering” advertising and customers, agrees Davidson, but nobody is going to share their credit card details there. Social media posts should direct customers to a professional-looking and secure website that they trust.
“But the power of recommendation is huge. We won’t buy something until we see someone else has bought it first. That means a review or a testimonial, somebody mentioning on social media that they bought your product or booked your service, linking to your site. That works extremely well.”
Once inquiries and orders start flying in, you need to be responsive. Retailers will be used to spending their time on the shop floor, perhaps responding to emails when there is a lull. Selling online can turn this on its head. Online customers, just like those coming through the door, expect attention.
“If they are going online, it’s not going to be this dream set-up where orders just come in and stuff gets shipped out – it needs to be manned,” says Eoin McKenna. “You need to prepare to resource that side of things.”
If online customers don’t get a timely response, they will go elsewhere. Likewise, if you are shipping products, you will need to allocate time to packaging them for dispatch and dealing with returns.
The explosion in online shopping during the pandemic means more competition among delivery companies. Small business options are available from the usual providers, including An Post, which offers tracked and untracked options for small businesses with an online shop.
So whether Covid has closed your doors or not, make sure your customers can find you online. Pandemic lockdowns will end, but online shopping is here to stay. In a world where your customers can shop anywhere, Irish small businesses must make it easy for them to shop at home.

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/small-businesses-take-your-first-step-online-in-just-15-minutes-1.4397907?mode=sample&auth-failed=1&pw-origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.irishtimes.com%2Fbusiness%2Ftechnology%2Fsmall-businesses-take-your-first-step-online-in-just-15-minutes-1.4397907

Joanne Hession Executive Director of The John Maxwell Team

As an Executive Director of The John Maxwell Team, Joanne is certified to facilitate, speak, train and coach individuals and groups in the areas of leadership development, professional skills and personal growth. Trained and mentored by John Maxwell and mentors of his world-class faculty, Joanne is equipped with the tools, resources and experience to help you and your team improve your productivity, performance and profitability. Whether you are looking for a facilitator for group workshops, corporate training in leadership, speaking, sales, or coaching skills for your leaders, or a speaker for your next event, Joanne has access to exclusive content that is only available through a certified Executive Director of the John Maxwell Team to help you reach your goals and objectives.

Click for Full details Joannes leadership and professional development programs on the John Maxwell Team Website.

About Joanne Hession : Joanne is passionate about Entrepreneurship and about helping individuals to achieve their business ambitions.  As founder and CEO of The Entrepreneurs Academy, QED Accreditation Advisors and her newest venture, The Business School GPS, Joanne is a portfolio entrepreneur.  She is also a recognised leader in training and business development in Ireland, where she also acts as a government advisor. Her business, The Entrepreneurs Academy, has trained thousands of entrepreneurs towards success over 18 years. As the leading government supplier, in 2015/16 alone The Entrepreneurs Academy trained over 400 long-term job seekers to start their own business in addition to training over 5,000 people on their start-up journey.

Global Business School Advisor

Beyond Ireland, Joanne has a reputation as a trusted advisor to University Business Schools. Her company QED The Accreditation Experts (www.QEDaa.com) works with over 100 Business Schools in over 16 countries enabling them to achieve various accreditation awards.  She sits on a number of European University Advisory Boards and has recently been appointed to the International Advisory Board of the American University in the Emirates, Dubai.

Developing Entrepreneurship across the ages

Together with her team, Joanne is leading the expansion of The Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship (www.experieneurship.com) in the UK and Ireland, unleashing the potential of Senior entrepreneurs worldwide.  At the other end of the spectrum, Joanne is on the Board of Bizworld, a non-profit organization to ignite entrepreneurship in the minds of primary school children.

Developing entrepreneurship in women

Joanne has had a long-term interest in supporting female entrepreneurs. She was selected as one of 15 Irish female mentors to assist new female entrepreneurs for the European Commission. In 2007, leveraging her knowledge and network, Joanne convened and continues to facilitate a closed peer board of successful entrepreneurial women who collectively turn over in excess of €400mn annually. Known as ‘The Board You Can’t Afford’, they continue to meet quarterly.

Providing a voice for Entrepreneurs

Hession is an elected Council Member of Dublin Chamber of Commerce, providing a voice in the Chamber for SMES and microenterprises and has recently been appointed to the Board.  She is a Board member of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce and Chairs the Chamber’s SME Committee.  She is an Advisory Board Member of the University of Hertfordshire Business School in the UK and Chairs Advisory Boards for a number of start-up and established companies.

Author, Speaker and Media commentator on Entrepreneurship

A frequent keynote speaker at international conferences, Joanne is also co-author of #1 best selling book “Don’t Get A Job, Build A Business”. She is listed as one of the top 100 All-Island Business Women by Irish Entrepreneur and You Business and was a recent finalist in the Women Mean Business Awards.  Joanne is a recognised media commentator on entrepreneurship.  For example, she joined Bobby Kerr as an expert panel member on Newstalk’s ‘Down To Business Show’ for the eight episodes of AIB’s Getting Started Series.

Joanne holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from University College Dublin, specialising in Finance, and a Master of Business Studies Degree in Management from the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, University College Dublin.  Joanne holds a certificate in Training from NUI Maynooth (1st Class Hons).

X