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5 ways to use Instagram challenges

Did you take part in Sophie Callahan’s #jan19ruralbusiness challenge? I dipped in and out (sorry Sophie!), but I did do most of the days and really enjoyed in. At the end of December, I ran a short five day #5thingsimproudof Insta challenge too, so I have experience from both sides of the coin! With this in mind, I thought I would use the opportunity of two recent Instagram challenges to chat about their value and how you can use Instagram challenges for your own gain.

How to use Instagram challenges – five ways…

  1. They inspire you. If you’re feeling a bit ‘meh’ about Instagram, an Instagram challenge can really help. With specific prompts for as long as the challenge lasts, you can use the ideas listed to create your content. Saving you from having to worry about the idea behind the content.
  2. For blogs. Yep – you read that correctly. I launched my Instagram challenge with a blog about five things I was proud of. I did this as a way to explain the challenge. However, a number of people also wrote their own blogs around the theme, which was great. If you can use the prompts or ideas to create additional content, then get on that case!
  3. They can organise you. If you know you need to get images for your challenge, you can look ahead and see which images you have/source the props you need for when you get time to take the images. This can be really useful if you’re a busy bee.
  4. You can use it on other social media platforms too. You might be taking part in an Instagram challenge, but there’s nothing to say you can’t use the prompts on other platforms too.
  5. To connect. Most Instagram challenges are connected by a hashtag. Search that hashtag and you can find others who are also taking part. You might find new people to follow in your field, or new brands to love, And you might get found by these people too.
Rhea Freeman Newsletter
What rocks and sucks about running facebook groups

Do you run a Facebook group? Have you thought about it? I run the free Small & Supercharged Facebook group and the Small & Supercharged Mastermind group too. The free group started life a few years ago and, since it launched, I have been on a very steep learning curve when it comes to running Facebook groups. So in this episode of the Small & Supercharged Podcast, I talk about what rocks… and what sucks… enjoy!

What rocks and sucks about running Facebook groups?

Here are the show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast episode 20 – what rocks and sucks about running Facebook groups. In this episode you’ll hear…

  • Why I started the Small & Supercharged Facebook group and the kind of people you’ll find there (as in, people connected to the equestrian and rural industry).
  • The differences between Small & Supercharged and the Small & Supercharged Mastermind group.
  • What rocks- you get to know people really well when running Facebook groups. You get to see the people who support others and understand what makes people tick too.
  • What sucks – it is hard work. The vast majority of the Small & Supercharged group members are very good, follow the rules and work together. One thing that takes a lot of time is the questions and the requests – particularly when people don’t fill in the questions.
  • What rocks – the engagement. In a group you get much better engagement than on a page. This can work whether you’re the admin or if you’re an active member of the group.
  • What sucks – people breaking the rules. I have really simple rules for the Small & Supercharged group, but these do still get broken. If you are involved with running Facebook groups, rules are really important as they allows everyone to work in the same way. When rules get broken, it does make you feel like the bad guy when you delete posts. That’s not fun.
  • What rocks- groups can be real forces for good. I give a few examples of how Facebook groups can do great things together. Being able to achieve lovely things, as a group, is such a great feeling. Without groups it would a lot more fragmented.
  • What sucks – copycats. I know I’m not the first person to ever have a Facebook group, but copycats in the same area are a bit of a kick (often using very similar wording and sometimes even promoting their groups in yours).
  • What rocks- the support of a community. This can be so, so lovely when people are having a challenging time or having issues. A good group means that you have somewhere to go and share and get support as needed. It can help to break a cycle of frustration and sadness and allow people to kick on.
  • What sucks – not answering the questions. Even if you set questions for your Facebook group, be aware that a LOT of people won’t answer them. I have just under 200 requests at the moment from people who haven’t answered the three simple questions that allow me to make sure they’re a good fit for the group.
  • What rocks – collaborations. I know that because of the Small & Supercharged Facebook group, a lot of collaborations have happened. Without the Facebook group they may not have found each other. And being able to facilitate this is so, so lovely.
  • What sucks- things can escalate really quickly. It can be a little stressful if something gets out of hand and it can get out of hand very quickly.
  • What rocks – people have got to know me. I really like the fact that people have got to know me better. It means that when I meet people at events and shows, we don’t have to go through the awkward first stages of a connection and friendship. It makes networking so much easier and it feels like I’m meeting up with friends at these gatherings, rather than strangers. I might not have met them in person all that much, if at all, but I know them.
  • what sucks – people not using the group properly. This is more disappointing I guess. It’s all about give and take, and some people tend to take a lot and give very little. This isn’t so much against the rules but it doesn’t feel great.
  • What rocks – it allows real life activities to happen. Things like the Small & Supercharged meet ups at Badminton. It’s nice to see people in real life, of course it is, but without the group I wouldn’t necessarily know these people. With the Hiho & Co event, a lot of people from S&S are coming, and I think letting people make these connections before an event is a real biggy.

So, that’s my what rocks and sucks about running Facebook groups podcast. I hope it shed a bit of light on the subject of groups for you, whether you want to run one or just want to get the most out of the ones you’re in!

If you’d like to join the Small & Supercharged Facebook group, you’d be very welcome – just join the Facebook group here.

Are you Small & Supercharged (find out more about the Facebook group)

Behind the Small & Supercharged group

This is more a DON’T DO THIS post, but I think it’s a good thing to draw attention to. See, we all invest so much time in growing our social media followers, nurturing them, creating engaging content, trying to take lovely pics… the last thing you want to do it pee them off. But it’s actually amazing how many people upset their social media followers. Some are minor infringements and some are a lot more significant. And there are way more than five ways to upset your social media followers, but it’s a starter for 10, isn’t it? I’d urge you though, when you notice someone doing something on social media that seems a bit out there or wrong, note it. Then think about it. Is it going to upset their followers? Why is this? It’s interesting if you’re a bit geeky… yeah… I’m that person. Hopefully the five below will provide a little food for thought and get the grey matter whirling… it’s something I am thinking about way too much…

5 ways to upset your followers…

  1. Inconsistency – you don’t have to post three times a day, but I see so many people who post in an almost scatty fashion. I know that sometimes it’s unavoidable but most of the time, it isn’t. Consistency matters. Being inconsistent is a really easy way to upset your social media followers. People like to see things they expect. And you ‘going dark’ doesn’t help. Also, the way we present ourselves on social media does reflect in us as a brand or a business. Does sporadic posting give off a solid, reliable vibe? Or not?
  2. Demanding things from interested people. Private accounts, blocking people for no reason/because they won’t do what you want… just don’t. If you want people to learn about you, let them see you. Whether they follow you or not, let them have the chance to get to know you. Of course, it would be nice if these people followed you but for whatever reason, they haven’t. Don’t stress. Nothing says ‘you’re here for my ego and nothing else’ more than making demands on people interested in your account.
  3. Never comment. Have you ever commented on someone’s post and they haven’t so much as bothered to tap the tiny heart? Or like your comment? And I’m not talking about people like Taylor Swift who have millions of followers, I’m talking about ‘normal’ people, and normal accounts. If you never so much as tap the heart on anyone’s comments, don’t expect people to keep coming back for more. It’s a bit like trying to start a chat with someone in a room and they just keep blanking you. How long do you try for?
  4. ‘You know I’m great, don’t you?’. Please stop. I like to see what people I follow are up to, I like to smile at their stunning images and stories. But what I don’t like is someone continually telling me they’re great. You don’t need to say ‘Wow, I’m great, did you know’, just share in a way that others might enjoy it. I share when I’ve done idiotic things (quite often!), I share content I produce, I share testimonials, I share lots of things, but I personally despise arrogance… and I’m not alone in that.
  5. Have someone who doesn’t get your audience run your account. How many times have you followed a brand, noticed a weird change in style and then felt really disconnected to the brand. I have. I’m not against working with people to help you run your social media (I do this for a number of businesses), but an understanding of the audience and industry is key. Otherwise you just leave your audience scratching their heads, wondering what’s happened. This is such an easy way to upset your social media followers.

What tips would you add to this list? Pop over over to my Instagram and comment on the graphic – I’d love to hear some of your top ‘don’t’ tips!

Rhea Freeman Newsletter

5 things I'm proud of5 things I’m proud of, hey? This might be one of the most self indulgent posts I’ve ever written, so please don’t discount me as an egotistical so and so. If you know me at all, you know I’m not. However, as we look ahead to 2019, I think it’s also important to look at how far we’ve come in our businesses. Do you ever do that?

See, I am a devil for pushing on with things. I’m always looking ahead and onto the next thing. I’ll work my backside off to get it and I’m pleased when I have, but I’ll then assess what’s happened, improve, and move on. Sometimes without so much as ‘yeah- good job’ to myself.

Can you relate to this?

I meet so many business owners who are the same. And that got me thinking. So for the next five days (please join me!), I’ll be sharing five things I’m proud of over on Instagram… and I really would love to know five things you’re proud of. As I said, I’m going to run this over on Instagram (#5thingsimproudof) where I’ll be giving more detail on each of these each day… and I would love you to join me…

5 things I’m proud of…

1 – Two TEDx talks. Being the ‘special’ person I am, I decided getting the first, and not combusting/being heckled or booed, must have been a fluke, so I went again and secured a second at TEDxTelford. I’ve talked about my TEDx talks on my blog before, but I’m really proud of both of these achievements. I know many people have this as a life goal and I would urge you, if you do, to follow it. It did take work to land both, but I think it was a lot easier than many people would have you believe…

2- The Small & Supercharged Podcast. You know when something has been bouncing around your skull for a while and then, even though you’ve spent AGES convincing yourself it’s too difficult, you give yourself a slap? Yep, that’s what happened to me. The Small & Supercharged Podcast is alive and kicking and I’m SO proud of it. I love it.

3- I had a flipping photoshoot. I tell all my clients that they need good quality pics. Because it’s true. But I do not like having my photo taken. And I don’t HAVE to take my own advice now, do I? Well, when Sophie Callahan gifted me a shoot I was kind of screwed as it would be rather rude not to take her up on such an amazing opportunity, wouldn’t it? Well, I had the shoot, and it was incredible, I’ve written all about why having a photoshoot is important and… wait for it… I loved it. I know. I was surprised too.

4- The Small & Supercharged Mastermind Group. This only launched a few months ago but the results that the amazing people inside the group have seen warms my heart. And makes me smile. And I’m so so proud of them all. I can not wait to see the Small & Supercharged Mastermind group grow and develop more during 2019!

5- Getting out of my own way. This year I’ve told my negative self talk to pipe down a bit more… and I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve given a seminar at the Farm Business Innovation Show (which was packed out and people were waiting outside), chaired the PR and marketing panel at the event, worked with the Hiho team on the really successful Style, Skills & Silver event at The Fish Hotel in September and more. If I’d listened to the voice in my head that said ‘I’m not sure you can do this’ I wouldn’t have done any of these things…

I wanted these five points to be specific, rather than ‘grew my business’ or ‘helped other businesses grow’. It does, however, go without saying that I am so, so proud of all the businesses I work with. Working with some of the best businesses in the industry and seeing how hard these people work and the results they achieve is a constant source of inspiration. I know that sounds a bit slushy but it’s true. When you’ve seen people making faux grass boards for selfies, going above and beyond on a customer service level, taking some of the most amazing images you’ve ever seen, designing jaw droppingly beautiful stands and products. Well, it just spurs you on, doesn’t it?

Will you join me and celebrate 5 things you’re proud of?

OK, not me, YOU! Using the #5thingsimproudof hashtag  on Instagram I’d love you to join me in celebrating five things you’re proud of between now (27th December) and the end of the year (31st December, inclusive). Each day, I’d like you to post something you’re proud of, using this hashtag. I’d also love you to search the hashtag and support other people using it… who’s with me?

You can find me on Instagram @rheafreemanpr – come and join me and see 2018 out with a bang!

Five ways to promote your equestrian business on social media this ChristmasAre you getting in the festive spirit? Have you got your Christmas stock in and raring to go? Have you planned your social media for the next few weeks on the lead up to Christmas? The thing is, now is most definitely the time to be harnessing social media for your equestrian business… and it’s definitely worth a bit of thought. From the really obvious posts that drive a sale to something a little more thoughtful, here are five ways to promote your equestrian business on social media at Christmas. And, spoiler alert, none of them are advertising…

Five ways to promote your equestrian business on social media at Christmas

  1. Collaborate – I love a collaboration, and there’s no better time than Christmas. Collaborating with businesses that complement yours can be a great way to get in front of potential customers who might not know about you. One of the key points to remember when you’re plotting your collaboration is that a collaboration should benefit all parties. Your equestrian business, the other equestrian business… and your customers too. It shouldn’t be all ‘me, me, me’, quite the opposite actually!
  2. Shoppable links – have you seen that Instagram has now added shoppable links to Stories? I let out a little squeal when this happened a few months ago. If you have a Facebook shop connected and working, this means you can now add shoppable links to Facebook, Instagram and Instagram Stories. It might be simple, but we need to do all we can to make it easy for people to shop. If they need to remember a complicated website address and type that in to their computer/phone before they get anywhere near your business. Well, it’s just not good, is it?
  3. Behind the scenes – and if you’re so inclined you could have some fun with this too. There’s no better time to show what goes in behind the scenes of your business. How are you making sure that people get their orders on time? How are you harnessing the Christmas spirit in what you do? Has the office dog also donned his antlers to get involved? SHOW US!
  4. Competition – competitions can be a great way to raise the profile of your equestrian business. You can either do this on your own or as part of a collaboration with a sponsored rider or maybe another business. Please, PLEASE make sure you competition is easy to enter, complies with all relevant Ts and Cs depending on the platform you are promoting/hosting it on though. Please. For me. And sharing or tagging on Facebook don’t comply. See the Pages Promotion Guidelines.
  5. New products – tell the world about the new equestrian products you have in store ready to delight and excite them. Maybe you can help to show how these new products work together (and even how they work)? What about who they would be good for? Help people. We all need some help at Christmas time and your equestrian business, if promoted well, could be that beacon of fairy lights for all those tired horsey shoppers.

These are five easy ways to promote your equestrian business through social media at Christmas, but there are plenty more too. What’s more, these ideas aren’t JUST for Christmas, oh no, they’ll work all the time. So yes, they might help you promote your equestrian business this Christmas, but take them into the New Year too!

5 ways to hide hashtags on Instagram StoriesDid you know that you can use hashtags on Instagram Stories too? Actually, you can hide hashtags on Instagram Stories too!

If you use Instagram at all, you’ll know that hashtags are really important. These nifty little words and phrases prefixed by  a # allow your content to be categorised and searched by these terms making it a lot more discoverable.

But what about Instagram Stories?  You might not realise, might think that not that many people use them, or might thing they would look ugly. Thing is, you can hide a hashtag on an Instagram Story, which means that more people might be using them than you think… and that they won’t mess up any aesthetic either. So, without further ado, here are five ways to hide hashtags on Instagram Stories.

5 ways to hide hashtags on Instagram Stories…

1 – Colour match. This is particularly good for still images or text based posts on a coloured background. You can type your hashtags in and then just use the colour match option to make the hashtags the same colour as the background. This hides your hashtags. Simples.

2. Make them REALLY small. You can make your list of hashtags really, really small by just pinching them and making them tiny. This doesn’t mean they’re completely hidden from view but depending on the image or video, it’ll make them hard to spot.

3. Put them behind a sticker. For this one, just put your list of hashtags onto your Story and then use a Sticker (like Location, Mention or Hashtag) over the top. Shrink the list down and it’s a lot easier to hide!

4. Put them behind a gif or Emoji. The same as the above applies really – get the hashtags added, decrease their size and pop them under a gif or an Emoji as relevant – and then you’ve hidden them on Instagram Stories.

5. Put them behind a shared story. When people tag you in Stories you usually have the option to share on yours (depending on their settings). When this is the case, you can share at full size, but you can also shrink and rotate the shared image and, if you like, you can pop your hashtags behind it. Good eh?!

These are five easy ways to hide your hashtags on your Instagram Stories. Of course, if you want to use them and not hide them, all power to you! You can even use the hashtag sticker if you like (although this will only allow you to post one). But do give it a spin and have a look and your insights to see if it helps the reach of your Stories, you might be surprised.

 

Pssst – Episode 8 of the Small & Supercharged Podcast was all about Instagram Stories… you can listen here

5 easy ways to use Instagram Stories

You’re in for a treat today! On this episode of the Small & Supercharged podcast we catch up with Ruth Chappell, the lady behind Dressage Anywhere. In addition to being a huge part of Dressage Anywhere, Ruth has a lot of strings to her bow. She’s an absolute superstar and is also a ‘tech wizard’. In this episode, we chat about how Ruth got to this point, the difficulties with running a digital, online equestrian business and more.

Let’s talk about online equestrian businesses and how to create a digital business, with Ruth Chappell – Dressage Anywhere

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 8 – online only equestrian businesses, how to deal with competition, cyber security and making a connection with customers…

  • Ruth talks about how she came to Dressage Anywhere, the online dressage platform
  • We talk about competition and how to deal with being the only online dressage company to how it is now.
  • We spoke about where the idea for Dressage Anywhere came from.
  • The benefits of an online business, the international appeal and global reach the business has.
  • How Dressage Anywhere actually works.
  • The limitations of being an online/digital business and how this can be quite challenging.
  • The opportunities that social media has presented for digital businesses.
  • Particular highlights including the Riding for the Disabled Association.
  • Some of the tools that Ruth uses to help run Dressage Anywhere effectively.
  • Social media content for digital businesses and how this can be used to help promote connection and business.
  • Finding friends and amazing connections through social media.
  • We talk about cyber security and data protection, and how that even a small business needs to be aware of this and understand the responsibilities connected to it.
  • And we talk about user experience, customer journey, automation, and balancing tech with usability… because they have to work together.

It was an absolute joy chatting to Ruth – not only do I love Dressage Anywhere, but I am a huge Ruth fan. She is a fountain of knowledge on ‘techy’ things and has helped me out on more than one occasion when I’ve had a tech based ‘why does everything hate me’ meltdown. OK. That happens quite a lot!

To find Ruth and Dressage Anywhere online, follow the links below…

Dressage Anywhere website

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Beautiful image provided by Karen Bennett Photography

Subscribe to the Small & Supercharged podcast on iTunes

Well hello there- and welcome to this Small & Supercharged podcast… well, the show notes. To listen to the Small & Supercharged Podcast, you can listen below or you can follow the iTunes link here. Today it is all about Instagram Stories. I adore these. I add to mine every single day and I love the engagement, the comments, the responses and more I get from it. In this Podcast, all about Instagram Stories, I share why I love them, five ways to use them… and there’s a freebie you can download too. I know, I spoil you. Enjoy…

Let’s talk about Instagram Stories…

 

Let’s talk about Instagram Stories and how you can use them for your small business

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 8 – Instagram Stories. What you’ll hear in this episode..

  • The difference between Stories and the grid… and the difference in the kind of content you’d post on the two
  • How Instagram Stories can be used to show the behind the scenes of images you post on the grid
  • How to access Instagram Stories (sorry if you feel I’m teaching you how to suck eggs. I just think it’s good to make sure everyone can get involved).
  • We talk through the different kinds of Stories.
  • Why I usually do Stories when walking the dog (and why you might like to do something similar).
  • We talk through ‘behind the scenes’ ideas.
  • How you can use them to share a thought, talk about something you’ve seen and loved… or just #firstworldproblems. Such as when you have a hole in your sock… yeah… I’ve added that to notes too. I’ve not got over that…
  • We talk about how you can use Instagram Stories to show a process – taking ‘behind the scenes’ to an extra level.
  • How you can use stickers and how these can encourage engagement and can also create additional content.
  • Using Stories to show what’s new. You should never use social media as a hard sell, but you should use it to tell your customers, fans and followers about you and what’s new.
  • I touch on shoppable links and how these can be integrated.
  • How to hide hashtags in your Stories, and why hashtags are good on Instagram Stories.
  • And for the freebie – download the pdf here about Five Ways To Use Instagram Stories.
  • Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram.

If I’ve whet your appetite, I have a few blog posts about them too. To get some tips, tricks and hacks to take your Instagram Stories to the next level, they’re all on this website!

Do you use social media in your equestrian business? If you’ve answered this question with anything but ‘yes’ (and ‘meh’ and ‘kind of’ counts as no!), you’re missing out. Social media can be game changing for your equestrian business in lots of ways. I don’t want to overwhelm you and leave you tutting/shaking your head or throwing your computer across the room… so here are just five reasons to use social media in your equestrian business…

5 reasons to use social media for your equestrian business

Reason 1- Equestrians are on social media!
It’s so, so important to be where your customers are. And the good news is for you, you equestrian business owner you, THEY’RE ON SOCIAL MEDIA! With over 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook and 1 billion on Instagram, there’s a LOT of people to go at… and a number of these are equestrian!

Reason 2 – Your equestrian business can reach new people if you use social media

social media for equestrian businessYour social media won’t just reach your current customer pool – depending on how well you use the platforms, you have the opportunity to reach new people interested in your brand/products and services all over the world… or just a few miles away.

Reason 3 – You can use your social media to show behind the scenes of your equestrian business

Customers and people who might be future customers love this. This might be you receiving a new delivery, opening corporate clothing, visiting a sponsored rider at home… you name it. This allows your customers to see what really makes your equestrian business tick. And you can utilise this ‘behind the scenes’ story telling in so many different ways with video, Lives, filters and effects… the social media world is your oyster.

Reason 4 – It’s free to get started

How many ways to market your equestrian business start at zero cost? Completely free? You can get yourself set up on all the places your customers are NOW and start promoting your equestrian business through social media. Within the next hour you could have fans and followers on all these platforms for nothing. How good is that?!

Reason 5 – People buy from people

Don’t just use your social media as a way to tell people to ‘buy stuff’. No. It’s social media for a reason. And a good reason. It’s the perfect place to be sociable. The internet is the most amazing tool but the screen and a lack of face to face contact can make customers feel distant. And they feel the same distance too. So how can you address that? But using your platforms to communicate directly to them. Become the face of your equestrian business, like you would if someone walked in your shop. This is a great way to bridge this gap in the digital world we live in.

I’m hoping this ‘take five’ blog series will inspire you, make you smile… maybe it’ll just get your head nodding as you enjoy a well earned cuppa and a biscuit. Either way, I’d love you to carry on the chat over on Instagram or Facebook. Hope to see you there.

In this episode, we’re talking about Kylie Jenner, augmented reality… and how all this matters to your business! This is a solo show, so we’ll be hanging out for the next few minutes. I hope you enjoy it. So, without further ado… shall we have a chat about Kylie Jenner’s Face Filter, augmented reality… and why I’m very excited about both!

Have a listen here…

 

Let’s talk about Kylie Jenner, augmented reality and why Face Filters could rock your business

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 4 – augmented reality, Face Filters and Kylie Jenner… what you’ll hear in this podcast episode…

  • What augmented reality is and how you’ve (probably) already used it.
  • How Kylie Jenner’s Face Filter didn’t just make me look a whole lot more polished, it also signalled the start of new applications for this function inside an app.
  • How powerful Instagram really is and how many users it has.
  • How the Face Filter and its application connects to real life sales.
  • How filters could help to bridge the gap between the online and in store shopping experience.
  • How augmented reality could make shopping from home even more realistic and useful than going to a shop.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Small & Supercharged Podcast so you don’t miss an episode! You can find it on iTunes, Spotify and Podcast Player – just search ‘Small & Supercharged Podcast’ or my name. Another perk of having a weird name!!