When willpower is trumped by a marketing strategy

This Christmas I’ve fallen for a penguin, drowned in festive punch (yes, Heston, I’m looking at you) and devoured more wheels of Camembert than the Eurostar would actually need to transport me to the Normandy region.

What’s to blame – apart from my lack of willpower? Truth is, although I design marketing strategy…I’m still a sucker for a brilliantly creative vaguely persuasive marketing campaign. This year, I got well and truly owned by the power of Christmas marketing. My willpower got trumped by insatiable, raw desire…for festive food, sheepskin throws, and the ‘need’ for yet another new winter coat.

With the new year beckoning, I topped off my seasonal spending with the ultimate in clichéd sales purchases: workout wear.

I’ve been needing a new pair training shoes for a while. Online sales have given me the perfect opportunity; I managed a bargain buy of just £38.49 over on sportshoes.com. The Nike Air Sculpt TR Women’s Training Shoes are a low profile running shoe, giving natural comfort with a one-piece upper that gives the wearer a seamless feel. This pair ticks every box: they’re lightweight, have excellent grip and come in a less-than-discreet colour (their enhanced visibility will hopefully keep them firmly on the treadmill, rather than lurking in the depths of my wardrobe…)

The other thing I’m banking on helping me fight (significant) festive flab this January? I present to you: fashion. It takes quite a lot to prise me away from my trusty (black) workout gear. But…I spotted a snazzy pattern, fell in love with the concept of change (the impending new year often does that to me) and decided to bite the bullet on a new body shaper legging.

When willpower is trumped by a marketing strategy - Lucy LettersmithSo, what’s the big deal with Fabletics? Simply, again I’ve been seduced by their marketing strategy. Well, kind of. To be honest, the jury’s out with me at the moment; I’ve heard many contrasting reports on this company. I am really hoping to be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Fabletics products. As far as I can see, negative reviews of Fabletics largely centre around the company’s lack of transparency in the sign-up process to its ongoing monthly ‘VIP’ membership fee. All over the web, Fabletics pull new customers in with potential offers of complete gym outfits from £22. In reality, unless you’re going to commit to the ‘VIP’ route (a £44 per month membership), a new pair of leggings in Heather Grey Taos Print, cost £54. For this price, I am hoping that Fabletics create Carling-standard leggings. The promise is of smooth, chafe-resistant design, a convenient hidden pocket, moisture wicking, plus four-way stretch (for which my thighs will be eternally grateful). I’ll report back on my new leggings as soon as they arrive when I look passable enough in them to be photographed for the blog. Until then, anyone else keen to share their +/- experiences as a Fabletics customer?

Breaking free: is it time to outsource your social media?

As a small business owner, how do you know when it’s time to outsource your social media?

Let’s take a look at some undeniable signs…

  • You’re spending hours on social media every day, leaving money-making tasks undone.
  • You don’t have time to create social media tasks.
  • You are already diligently maintaining a social media presence, but you’re just not connecting with (a) many people or (b) the right people.
  • You’re unsure which social media platforms to concentrate on, and which types of content to post.
  • You absolutely hate interacting on social media (you’re just not social!)

If sign number one is your only reason (or your strongest reason), you most likely need to hire a social media VA (virtual assistant). If you “checked the boxes” for any of the other reasons, however, it’s time to hire a social media manager.

Er, hang on a minute. There are two options?!

What’s the difference in outsourcing to a social media manager or a social media VA (virtual assistant)? What do each of them actually do?!

  • A social media manager takes care of the big picture with minimal input from you, other than the goals and end results you want to achieve (overall and for your campaigns).
  • A social media VA performs social-media related tasks delegated by you.

Since VAs vary widely in depth of experience, sometimes there can be real crossover between the two, especially after you and your social media VA have worked together for some time.

Know which type of social media assistant you require, before you look for one. It will help you hire exactly the type of help you need.

A social media manager is responsible for:

  • Suggesting and brainstorming the most effective social media strategy.
  • Developing awareness of your brand on social media.
  • Suggesting goals and objectives.
  • Creating a targeted strategy for your social media content.
  • Increasing your social media reach.
  • Ensuring your social media communications reach the most targeted audience possible.
  • Increasing leads from your social media appearances.

And, of course, let’s not forget the most obvious difference: A social media manager actually manages social media VAs—both yours and (maybe) his/hers.

(For instance, she might have three VAs in his/her company: One who specialises in social media advertising development and upload, someone who specialises in Twitter, plus another member of the team who writes content for various social media outlets.)

A social media VA is typically responsible for:

  • Checking and monitoring your social media accounts.
  • Scheduling and uploading posts created by you.
  • Responding to generic, designated post types and answering common questions on your behalf.
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER vs SOCIAL MEDIA VA by Lucy Lettersmith

Got a clearer idea of the type of outsourced help you’re looking for? Great stuff.

Look out for my next ‘social media’ categorised blog post; I’ll be telling you how to outsource help that’s the perfect fit for your business.

 

A productive rant about Lego

A productive rant about Lego

I was barefoot when I stood on Lego. The culprit? A lone blue brick which had bedded down for the night, concealed from view amongst the silvery, oversized tassels of the rug that sprawls across my lounge floor. My scream (which awakened both the dog and the toddler) was a result of creeping around in the dark, having continued a copywriting project just a slither over to the wrong side of midnight. Work-life balance karma indeed.

Stepping on Lego in the dark can be a bit like blogging for your business. It’s potentially the same shock you’ll experience if you’re not engaging in it properly. Darkness represents the initial uncertainty (possibly lack of confidence – even fear) of the unknown: will blogging actually work?

Top questions people ask me are: What positive impacts could blogging offer my brand? How would I even begin to raise my business profile using it? Will it actually get me more customers?

Fact is, it’s businesses that blog that have far better marketing results. Not getting involved can seriously hinder the development of your brand’s digital profile. Specifically, the average company that blogs has:

Perhaps you’ve never started the process of blogging for your business and have no idea how to begin.

Maybe you’re scared about taking the plunge. What if you pitch it incorrectly, communicate your brand all wrongly and do lasting damage to your reputation that you’ll spend ages trying to repair?

It could be that you’ve got things underway with business blogging but have now reached a crossroads. Perhaps you’re time-strapped, in need of inspiration and/or seeking fresh writing ideas and an approach that will really move your brand’s engagement up a level.

All the reasons above are pretty much why I get hired as a blog writer for businesses.

Which is why, alongside my new ‘shop window’ website launch, I am thrilled to bring you Lucy Lettersmith: a brand new lifestyle blog.

I was originally going to devote my time to blogging about the Oxford comma, good grammar tips and gifting you guides to content marketing. I’m still going to include all those things over time – but, in-between them I shall be featuring posts on culture, beauty, fashion, travel, interiors, parenthood, plus fine (and not so fine if I’m cooking) dining…all the things that I balance alongside my working life and which represent the real ‘Lucy’. Fancy the journey? I hope it won’t be as painful as stepping on Lego. But please don’t tread on any upturned plug sockets whilst reading. They definitely take the top prize.