Pre-selling new ideas on Facebook and LinkedIn, with Alan Martin

Pre-selling new ideas on Facebook and LinkedIn, with Alan Martin

This week on The Whin Big Podcast, Katie speaks with Alan Martin from Chat Marketing.

In this week’s episode, you’ll hear Katie and Alan talk about Facebook groups, LinkedIn, and Alan shares his tips on keeping on top of a hectic content calendar. As always, Katie grills her guests on their favourite business books, and there are plenty of resources featured from today’s episode at the end of the show notes.

Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.

Alan’s business journey

Alan is a social media coach, and he helps people make sense of the different platforms to reach their business goals.

Before going self-employed, Alan was a marketing manager for Dundee Science Centre, where he had hands-on experience growing the business through social media. He knew he wanted to help other people find the same marketing success using digital marketing rather than traditional activities.

Chat Marketing

Alan helps small to medium-sized businesses work out where their audience spends time on social media and then create marketing strategies that fit their existing sales pipelines.

“I believe that social media needs to drive business results for your customers, rather than being good at social media for the sake of it. It’s about being good at business because of social media, rather than the other way around.” – Alan

Alan’s preferred social platforms

If Alan had to pick just one social platform, it would be LinkedIn. For Alan, the biggest draw to LinkedIn is that there’s less pressure to post several times a day to be visible. You can be much more strategic, and it’s more predictable, which means he can coach clients in a more structured way.

He’s also found Facebook groups as a great way to build your audience and get better engagement.

Marketing strategies for Chat Marketing

Chat Marketing is ten years old. During that time, Alan’s offering has moved from standard social media coaching into lots of other niche areas, such as Facebook and Google advertising, content marketing and creating online courses.

With such a diverse range of services, it can be challenging for him to know which part of his business new followers are interested in – so Facebook Groups allows him to build niche communities to serve his audience better.

Email marketing

One of the main attractions of having two Facebook groups is being able to segment his audience. Despite having an extensive email list, Alan has steered away from email marketing over the last few years purely because he could not assess what subscribers were interested in. He’s since created two niche newsletters – one for LinkedIn and one for course creators, and he’s much happier and more active, now he’s segmented his list this way.

“I realised I wasn’t sending out as many emails as I should because I wasn’t clear on my audience. These were the growth areas I wanted to focus on with my business, and I’m much happier to create content and send it out now.” – Alan

Keeping on top of content planning

With two Facebook groups, two to three segmented email newsletters, a Linkedin and Twitter profile and blog articles to produce, Katie wants to know how Alan keeps on top of everything.

For Alan, it all comes down to planning. He runs two bootcamps a year, so he themes his content around what he’s promoting at any given time. This month he’s planning a LinkedIn Bootcamp, so all content fits around that – everything he produces, including blog posts, are on this one theme, so it works more cohesively.

Working with a VA

Alan gets support from a virtual colleague – Shay – who began working for him as a student intern and has moved into an essential part of the business. Katie also has experience working as a virtual assistant and is frequently asked by listeners how to set up and manage a working relationship with a VA.

Shay tends to focus on the additional content that comes with the boot camps Alan mentioned earlier. Among other more traditional VA tasks, Shay will:

  • Design graphics on Canva
  • Create landing and sales pages through ClickFunnels
  • Engage and support group members

Repurposing content for regular launches

Due to the repeated cycle of Alan’s Bootcamp, he works with Shay to repurpose content for each launch rather than starting the process from scratch. Often this means adjusting minor details like dates and links rather than writing brand new sales pages.

Katie agrees wholeheartedly and takes on a similar approach for her course launches.

“People are hesitant to reuse stuff because they worry their audience has already seen it. But when you go and talk to your community, they struggle to remember what you were talking about yesterday, so it’s not a problem at all.” – Katie

Best performing posts in Facebook Groups

Katie has little experience running a Facebook Group and was curious to learn more about what posts get the most traction for Alan in his groups.

He reminds us that his mission is to help business owners get better at business through social media – and not the other way round – so he regularly talks in his groups about this concept.

A year ago, when he was planning his workshops for the next six months – he posed a simple question to his Social Media Dojo group, asking them what workshops they would like to participate in. The responses gave him enough steer to create events and workshops that his audience genuinely wanted and needed.

Importance of validating your marketing ideas

Alan talks a lot about sense checking his plans and ideas with his audience. For him, seeking validation from his community forms a critical part of his business development strategy. If he has plans to run a workshop or course, he’ll find out from his followers first if it’s something they’re interested in.

“I made this mistake with my first online course. I chose the theme based on what I thought everybody wants, then created the course and recorded the videos and then didn’t sell very many spaces. Now I pre-sell places; that’s the best form of validation.” – Alan

Best piece of marketing advice

The best advice Alan’s had throughout his career is:

Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers” – which goes back to what Alan talked about around seeking validation before creating products and trying to sell them.

What’s on Alan’s business bookshelf?

Alan is a self-confessed book geek, so he found this question tough to answer!

*Building a Story Brand with Donald Miller

*Expert Secrets by Russel Brunson (part of a trilogy along with *Dotcom Secrets and *Traffic Secrets which Alan highly recommends).

*Business for Punks by James Watt – one of the co-founders of Brew Dog

He picked this book because the key message is to build a mission, not a business. Many businesses are just about profits, so the book talks about getting passionate about the category of business you’re in.

Keep the conversation going with Alan.

Chat Marketing website

Chat Marketing on Facebook

Chat Marketing on LinkedIn

* Links marked with a star are affiliate links to Bookshop.org. When you buy through these links, a small portion of the cost of the book goes to support your local bookshop, and a small amount comes to The Whin. So the books won’t cost you any extra!

More of your Instagram questions answered

Have you got questions about Instagram? Don’t worry - we’ve got the answers! Well, Katie does!

This week, Katie does a deep dive on YOUR Instagram questions. For episode 80 of The Whin Big Podcast, we’ve chosen three of the most asked listener questions to help you...

More of your Instagram questions answered

More of your Instagram questions answered

Have you got questions about Instagram? Don’t worry – we’ve got the answers! Well, Katie does!

This week, Katie does a deep dive on YOUR Instagram questions. For episode 80 of The Whin Big Podcast, we’ve chosen three of the most asked listener questions to help you with your Instagram marketing strategy. We cover a range of Instagram topics, like dealing with spammer comments, how to share other people’s content with respect, and how to keep hold of your Instagram followers.

Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.

Listener questions about Instagram – answered.

Katie loves hosting listener questions because new themes and topics always come up that she didn’t know were real-life conundrums.

Katie loves answering your questions full stop – so if you have anything at all you’d like to ask her about Instagram marketing, Instagram for business, or Instagram in general – send her a wee DM on Instagram. She’ll answer your questions straight away.

Better yet – if it’s a question that gets asked regularly, Katie will dedicate an episode of The Whin Big Podcast to answering it. Just like she has today.

Q1: John asks: How do you deal with annoying spam messages while remaining professional?

There’s no getting away from spammers on Instagram or anywhere else. Staying professional is tough when you’ve come to the end of your patience with yet another message offering you 10,000 followers.

Katie, the consummate professional, has not one but two approaches to help you deal with spam messages while maintaining a professional stance.

Spam response #1: Ignore & delete the spammers

Got a spam message that you don’t want to deal with? Ignore and delete is a great way just to wipe the slate clean and pretend it never happened. For some reason, Katie’s always being offered crypto-currency support from bots around the world. A swift ‘delete’ and all is back to normal.

Spam response #2: The polite spammer approach

Sometimes, spam comes in the shape of a slightly strange message. At first glance, it feels like spam, but at the same time, it could be someone who’s trying out sales tactics (badly), and it’s not a bot at all.

Ever had one of those?

Katie’s advice is to reply as politely as possible – as if it’s someone’s nana. Respectful, but awkward. If you’re fed up with comments along the lines of ‘hey – DM me, I have a question you might want to try commenting like this:

“Hi! My inbox is always open. If you have any questions, please do get in touch”.

A response like this is perfect because you keep a professional public face, respond to the possible spammer humanely, and show anyone who reads it that you’re always available – and most importantly, open – to the idea of people getting into your DMs and asking questions.

Q2: Calum asks: How do you convert the non-followers who like or see your post into followers?

Calum is frustrated because he gets a high percentage of engagement on his posts from non-followers, but his follower number doesn’t go up. He’s looking for tips on converting those non-followers into avid fans.

You might remember that Katie talked about Insights in this episode of The Whin Big Podcast. Katie reminds us that it’s essential to get your posts in front of non-followers to grow your audience.

So what’s going on if those non-followers don’t then go on to follow you? Katie says it boils down to two things:

Instagram hashtags

Your hashtags might not be appropriately targeted to your ideal customers, meaning the people who see your content don’t match your perfect audience profile, and you’re accidentally showing your content in the wrong places.

If hashtags are a puzzle for you, or you don’t know how to pick the right ones for your business – have a listen to the Whin Big Podcast episode 75 – how to choose good hashtags for your business. It’s a podcast that takes you on a deep dive on hashtag strategy, and episode 38, where we look at how to do hashtag strategy on Instagram.

Instagram content

Your content isn’t aligned with your ideal audience.

“Think about who you’re trying to speak to. And then create content around what they want to hear.”

When you think about the content you produce, can you see how it could be a series? Katie gives the example of having ‘Motivational Monday’ quotes. These could easily have the same style of post every Monday. It goes a long way to helping your community recognise your content and instantly connect with it.

Q2: Calum asks: How do you convert the non-followers who like or see your post into followers?

This topic has a LOT of grey areas. Sometimes it’s OK to share content from other accounts. Other times – not so much. Let’s dig a little deeper to find out more…

If you’re sharing someone’s content to your Stories by using the aeroplane symbol and sending it straight to your stories, then it’s absolutely fine.

It’s double-fine if you tag the account at the same time – that way, they’ll get a notification, which means they’ll see that you’ve shared it, and there’s no nasty surprises.

But what if I want to use someone else’s content in my own Instagram feed?

This is where it can get a little sketchy. If your account is mostly about curating and supporting other businesses – then it’s great to share someone else’s content. Katie had this experience when someone re-shared her post about a free webinar she hosted.

Katie was grateful – it was great to be included, but it was also free publicity for her free Instagram marketing webinar.

The flip side of sharing other people’s content…

If Katie discovered someone had used her own carefully designed Canva graphics to use to market their services and products – she would be (understandably) frustrated.

When you’re sharing, think about:

  • Could it look like you’re using someone else’s content for your gain?
  • Does it feel a little bit wrong? How would you feel if someone used your post like this for their purposes? If it doesn’t feel entirely correct – it’s probably not.
  • Are you worried the creator would say no if you asked permission to use it?

If you answer ‘yes’ to the above questions, then it’s probably not okay for you to go ahead and share the content. Katie recommends getting in touch with the person who created the content and starts a conversation on DM.

“Be mindful about how other people might feel to have their content reshared and make sure you’re respectful of the time and effort people put into creating it – even if they’re doing it for fun, not for business.”

Got Instagram questions of your own?

Katie LOVES answering listener (or reader) questions. If you have any of your own, then please do get in touch with Katie at The Whin on Instagram or by sending an email.

Can you do us a favour?

If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a review. We’re always looking for ways to bring more people into the Whin Big Podcast family, so please share this episode with a business friend who would make great use of everything Katie shares.

Did you find this episode useful?

If you did, we’d love it if you could share it with a friend, leave a review or send us a DM to tell us your thoughts.

You can DM Katie over on Instagram.

Resources in episode 80 of The Whin Big Podcast

How to do hashtag research on Instagram

How to pick good hashtags on Instagram

“Your sales posts might not get the highest reach, the most comments and saves, but they’ll tell interested people – those who are excited to work with you – exactly how they can buy from you.”

Keeping organised with Canva

If you have a Pro subscription, they have a scheduling tool. While Katie acknowledges that it’s handy, she doesn’t feel that it’s essential because you can schedule your posts directly into Instagram Creator Studio. If you don’t know what Instagram Creator Studio is, don’t worry, we covered that in a previous episode! 

Designing and posting effortlessly

When it comes to keeping organised and sticking to a content plan, Katie finds the link between the mobile app and desktop handy.

She will design a more complex graphic using her desktop – something she finds easy with a large screen and a mouse – and then quickly edit from her phone to post when she needs to, wherever she is, or whatever she’s doing.

Think about:

  • What are the obstacles that stop you from getting great designs on Instagram?
  • What’s making Canva feel like a ‘hassle’?
  • What can you do to take the effort and faffing out of the process?

Did you find this episode useful?

If you did, we’d love it if you could share it with a friend, leave a review or send us a DM to tell us your thoughts.

You can DM Katie over on Instagram.

Resources in episode 78 of The Whin Big Podcast

Want to know more about Instagram Creator Studio? Episode 40 of The Whin Big Podcast gives you all the information you need to get started.

Want to get even more out of Canva? Meet Thea Newcomb, one of only 2 Canva trainers in Scotland and Katie’s guest on episode 55 of The Whin Big Podcast

More of your Instagram questions answered

Have you got questions about Instagram? Don’t worry - we’ve got the answers! Well, Katie does!

This week, Katie does a deep dive on YOUR Instagram questions. For episode 80 of The Whin Big Podcast, we’ve chosen three of the most asked listener questions to help you...

Using instinct and intuition in business, with Jo Mathewson

Using instinct and intuition in business, with Jo Mathewson

This week on The Whin Big Podcast, Katie speaks with Jo Mathewson, owner of JoJo Co. Candles. Jo shares the story of how her business began by accident, and she’s grown it to support her whole family and a small team of staff.

In this week’s episode, you’ll learn first-hand that it is possible to run a business with humility and authenticity whilst avoiding strategic planning.

This is an inspiring and refreshing episode, so get ready to re-think your hobbies!

Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.

Turning a £40 fluke into a successful business

Jo runs a lovely candle business called JoJo Co. Candles, specialising in luxury soy candles and diffusers, all with beautiful scents. Despite her success, she still finds it strange to call it a business because it started in a very subtle way nearly five years ago.

Jo loves candles burning at home, and one day her husband bought a candle making kit as an activity they could try together. Let’s just say the activity didn’t go as planned – they had a difference of opinions through the making process, and Jo’s husband left her to get on with it herself.

It took 2 – 3 weeks of experimenting with the process and scent until Jo was happy with the results. From there, she was ready to make Christmas presents for her friends and family. The feedback was great, with many of her friends suggesting she could sell them.

“The feedback was amazing. I didn’t believe them at first – I thought they were just nice because they were my friends.” – Jo

Landing on the first signature scent

After mixing a few different scents, Jo landed on one that she loved and called it Pink Spice. Her friends asked for top-up candles because they loved them so much, but she didn’t think it was a business idea.

It wasn’t until other mums at the school gates asked her to make candles – because they’d smelled Pink Spice in different homes – that she realised people genuinely loved it and were happy to pay for it.

Finding the confidence to move forward

Jo’s come a long way since the candles in the playground days. She admits that being made redundant, and bringing up two young girls, played a part in her feeling out of touch with her confidence and by progressing slowly – and moving when it intuitively felt like the right thing to do – she’s built up her confidence to keep going.

“I didn’t know how much I needed this until I was about a year in. That’s when I started being the person I always wanted to be. I feel so lucky – this is my dream job…

“I’ve created the job that I always wanted to do. Having my own business and creating my journey was exactly what I needed, but I didn’t know that until it started to happen.” – Jo

Surrounding yourself with the right people when you’re under pressure

Managing the daily tasks, on top of special projects, marketing and raising her girls, has made Jo realise the importance of systems and processes. To help with this, Jo added two members of staff to the JoJo Co. family. Two friends had already given her so much support, encouragement and help in the early days of the business.

Recently, her husband has joined the team – an idea that was bubbling for around a year. Initially, they were nervous about putting the whole family’s well-being into just one business, but it felt like a natural progression in the end. The team works well together and has provided Jo with structure and support to concentrate on growing the business.

Adding to her core team, Jo outsources specific tasks to other people. She realised early on where her weak (or simply uninterested) spots are and has found other people to support her in these areas.

“Everyone that works with JoJo Co is connected to me in some way. It’s really important to me that we click. I wouldn’t just go looking for someone on the internet; it just wouldn’t work for JoJo Co.” – Jo

JoJo Co. and the global pandemic

Katie asked what impact the global pandemic had on JoJo Co. Fortunately for Jo, as an online business, she could trade as usual throughout the worst of the lockdowns and restrictions.

As we all know, very few people have come through this challenging time without being affected by the pandemic, and Jo took on a considerable amount of emotional weight through this time.

The messages on her hand-written tags became more heartfelt and emotional as the weeks and months went on, as an online business, and suddenly JoJo Co. took on a whole new meaning.

Kindness Candles

After writing hundreds of beautiful messages on gift tags, Jo felt inspired to create a unique charity candle. Kindness Candles came with special messages on the jars like ‘Miss You’ and ‘Hope’, and the money from the candles raised funds for Cash 4 Kids, a charity that supports disadvantaged families.

“Kindness Candles was incredibly emotional. I felt like I was providing a way for people to show their love and support. Sending these incredible messages worldwide and raising money made me feel like I was doing something really important. It helped me get through the pandemic.” – Jo

Jo’s (very reluctant) Marketing Strategy

Jo had mentioned she was determined not to have a website and had never used social media before starting JoJo Co., so Katie was keen to dig into this a little more (now that she has both).

When the business started to take shape, her brother suggested she started using Instagram because of the platform’s visual nature. After a whirlwind introduction to it, she began to use it. Her confidence grew, and she knew she felt ready to add Facebook into the mix.

Instagram is her main platform – she loves the visual side of it and feels it aligns more with her personality and intuition.

Jo posts every day and learns the different tools as she goes along.

Jo’s ‘don’t overthink it’ Instagram strategy.

Jo posted images of candles being made in the kitchen in the early days because that’s where she worked. Looking back, she realises she started off in a basic way – but it reflected her journey. It progressed as her business evolved. One post she remembers clearly was a picture at her first-ever market.

It was the first photo of her, so she was very nervous about it – but it got lots of great engagement and the turning point for realising people wanted to see pictures of her, and more about behind the scenes.

Finding outside support for tasks you don’t enjoy

Jo was convinced she would never need a website to sell her products. For her, selling directly from Instagram and Facebook felt enough, but without an e-commerce system, she was manually handling the sales – adding to the daily tasks.

When she decided to look into her website, she was recommended a local contact—someone who knew how to create a beautiful and simple site. Intuitively, Jo knew she was the right person to work with because she avoided any technical jargon (something Jo doesn’t enjoy) and focussed entirely on Jo’s need for the look and feel of the site to be beautiful and emotive.

Her web designer kept all technical tasks as simple as possible, so Jo didn’t need to be involved. She’d never been interested in technology and IT, and it stressed her out whenever she had to deal with it, and by outsourcing it, she recognised how easy it could be to keep the stress away by finding other people to do it for you.

Now, the idea of outsourcing areas that don’t interest Jo is vitally important.

“My web designer looked after all the stuff I don’t love. I kept the enjoyment part by shaping how the site looked and making sure it felt as luxurious as it needed to be. Now I advise everyone to get someone to look after the stuff you don’t enjoy doing because, well, why do it to yourself if you don’t enjoy it?” – Jo

Email marketing strategy

Katie and Jo have a contact in common (Katie’s copywriter Abi Sea). Abi helps Jo with website writing and marketing and worked with her to set up her email system and email marketing strategy.

Fans of JoJo Co. products can sign up to become a JoJo Co. VIP to receive special treatment. Emails usually contain VIP only discounts on candles, sneak peeks of new scents or special shopping events.

The importance of keeping it fresh and exciting

Jo mentions the need to keep things fresh and moving in the business. She doesn’t like to feel stale, and knows her customers love hearing about new fragrances and products.

To help her business flow, Jo releases regular seasonal scents; the latest one – Sundown – has been out for a few weeks. However, Jo is close to announcing a new fragrance for late summer to help those who have missed the warm scents of the summer beach holidays. You heard it here first!

Keep the conversation going with Jo.

JoJo Co. website 

Become a JoJo Co. VIP

JoJo Co. on Instagram

JoJo Co. on Facebook

Jo’s blog (The Chat)

Resources mentioned in this week’s Whin Big Podcast:

Jo’s web designer: Karen Small (email here)

Abi Sea, Jo (and Katie’s) copywriter & marketing support

Totally Locally & Fiver Fest 

Stockbridge Market, Edinburgh

More of your Instagram questions answered

Have you got questions about Instagram? Don’t worry - we’ve got the answers! Well, Katie does!

This week, Katie does a deep dive on YOUR Instagram questions. For episode 80 of The Whin Big Podcast, we’ve chosen three of the most asked listener questions to help you...

3 strategies for marketing success with Canva & Instagram

3 strategies for marketing success with Canva & Instagram

You’re probably already using Canva, but are you using it strategically? Does it support your marketing strategy and help you grow your business? If that sounds like something you could be doing more of, then you’re listening to the correct episode of the Whin Big Podcast!

This week, Katie looks at harnessing the power of Canva AND Instagram and combining them so you can support your marketing strategy and bring in new customers. This is 100% strategy, so grab your notebook and let’s get to work!

Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.

Getting strategic with Canva and Instagram

Creating graphics on Canva is hardly a new concept, and Katie loves the cool Canva tools and features as much as any of us. But this week, Katie’s taking us away from the bells, whistles, and shiny things of Canva and showing us something way cooler.

“This week, we’re going to think about being more strategic with the way we use Canva designs to support our Instagram strategy and overall business growth goals.”

In the episode, Katie will cover:

  • Brand awareness & connection
  • Using Canva to sell things
  • Improving planning, workflows, and processes

Most of the tools Katie covers are included in the free version, so you’re not going to miss out if you haven’t upgraded to Pro yet.

Brand awareness and connection with Canva

Consistency with brand colours

When you upload your pictures and graphics into Canva, key colours from the image are highlighted by Canva so that you can use the same colours elsewhere in the design. Here’s an easy way to keep the colours consistent:

  • Upload your logo or branded graphics into Canva
  • Canva will pull out the colours in the image
  • Select 2 or 3 colours you want to use consistently
  • Create squares of those colours onto a white background
  • Download the image onto your desktop
  • Re-upload into Canva
  • Add the image to the graphic you’re creating so you can pick the colours easily.
  • Don’t forget to remove the graphic with the coloured squares!

Take this same approach with fonts and visual flourishes (like shapes or lines) that you can use every time you post online.

“Using consistent colours, fonts, and visual elements mean you will be recognisable. People will know it’s you because your visual prompts reflect your branding, and it helps people connect with you.”

Create a connection with consistent designs

Another great way to create connection and recognition is to use a fairly consistent design style. To do this, Katie suggests:

  • Avoid designing posts from scratch every time
  • Pull out a copy of a post that you’ve done before
  • Change the words and images and move elements around, but keep it consistent.

“Try to think of your designs as being part of a series, rather than one-offs.”

When you think about the content you produce, can you see how it could be a series? Katie gives the example of having ‘Motivational Monday’ quotes. These could easily have the same style of post every Monday. It goes a long way to helping your community recognise your content and instantly connect with it.

Sell with confidence with Canva

Katie’s spoken before about feeling a little less confident around sales and selling than she’d like. However, she’s found that having a plan and strategy can work around her discomfort and still move through the process.

Part of that plan is around her visuals. Solid visuals and graphics will elevate your products or services and give an air of confidence (even if you’re not feeling that way yourself).

There are lots of different ways to create visuals around your product or service, but here are two that Katie’s found most effective when she promotes her masterclasses, courses and workshops:

1. Take a nice photo of you or your clients – and put text over it that includes the title of your product or service. 

2. Look for frames or images that let you upload a screenshot of your webpage or course into it, so it looks like your site is on the device in the image. 

Think about:

  • Do you want to use pictures of you and/or your clients?
  • Do you have great photos for advertising your thing?
  • Avoid using too much text – make it easy for people to see what you’re selling.

“Your sales posts might not get the highest reach, the most comments and saves, but they’ll tell interested people – those who are excited to work with you – exactly how they can buy from you.”

Keeping organised with Canva

If you have a Pro subscription, they have a scheduling tool. While Katie acknowledges that it’s handy, she doesn’t feel that it’s essential because you can schedule your posts directly into Instagram Creator Studio. If you don’t know what Instagram Creator Studio is, don’t worry, we covered that in a previous episode! 

Designing and posting effortlessly

When it comes to keeping organised and sticking to a content plan, Katie finds the link between the mobile app and desktop handy.

She will design a more complex graphic using her desktop – something she finds easy with a large screen and a mouse – and then quickly edit from her phone to post when she needs to, wherever she is, or whatever she’s doing.

Think about:

  • What are the obstacles that stop you from getting great designs on Instagram?
  • What’s making Canva feel like a ‘hassle’?
  • What can you do to take the effort and faffing out of the process?

Did you find this episode useful?

If you did, we’d love it if you could share it with a friend, leave a review or send us a DM to tell us your thoughts.

You can DM Katie over on Instagram.

Resources in episode 78 of The Whin Big Podcast

Want to know more about Instagram Creator Studio? Episode 40 of The Whin Big Podcast gives you all the information you need to get started.

Want to get even more out of Canva? Meet Thea Newcomb, one of only 2 Canva trainers in Scotland and Katie’s guest on episode 55 of The Whin Big Podcast

More of your Instagram questions answered

Have you got questions about Instagram? Don’t worry - we’ve got the answers! Well, Katie does!

This week, Katie does a deep dive on YOUR Instagram questions. For episode 80 of The Whin Big Podcast, we’ve chosen three of the most asked listener questions to help you...

A values-based approach to business, with Suse B. Bentley

A values-based approach to business, with Suse B. Bentley

This week on The Whin Big Podcast, Katie speaks with Susan B Bentley, a coach and trainer who works to improve gender equity in the workplace.

In this week’s episode, you’ll hear Katie and Susan talk about the importance of building your business around your values, and Susan shares insights from her wonderful, relationship-based approach to marketing.

It’s a busy episode, but as always, Katie finds time to chat about business books, personal development and tips for valuable resources.

Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.

Suse’s business journey

After working in jobs that didn’t always bring her joy, in January 2020, Suse set out to run her own business based firmly on the foundations of her own personal values.

She puts her values at the heart of her business, making sure her output aligns with her vision – big and small. Suse is a qualified life and personal coach and accredited team leadership coach. She focuses on 1:1 coaching with Gen X women (those in their 40s and 50s). She’s a podcaster and a Google #IAmRemarkable facilitator. She also runs Scaredycat Training – a training programme that coaches womxn of all ages on public speaking and communication skills.

Her big vision is to reduce gender inequality in the workplace, and by working with her clients, she can empower them to stand up for their rights at work – and beyond.

Leading from core values

Suse places values at the heart of everything she does. She proudly features her top 10 values on her website and sticks to them as much as possible. Her values include:

  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Collaboration
  • Curiosity
  • Intuition

For Suse, the values she builds her business around might sound simplistic, but it goes much deeper than using ‘just words’.

“Chatting and listening sound really simple, but the biggest issues companies have around leadership, teamwork or strategies is around assumptions, communication and people not actively listening to each other.” – Suse

Part of her values-based approach helps her avoid overcomplicating things. For example, she’s all-too aware of the noisy coaching world where (primarily white, male) coaches base their communications and marketing around a place of ego rather than keeping it focused on people.

Suse is very aware of the challenges and issues her Gen X female clients face. For example, peri-menopause, menopause, ageing parents, growing children, divorce all go a long way to pushing a loss of confidence, motivation or direction.

To get results with her clients, Suse knows she has to avoid any ego in her practice. And that means looking at everything from a values-based perspective.

“I hate the word ‘wrong’. Just as much as I hate the word ‘should’. For women in their 40s and 50s, it’s all about what you ‘could’ do, not what you ‘should’ be doing.” – Suse

Values-based selling & networking

Katie loves Suse’s approach to placing intuition and connectivity at the heart of her business model and finds it incredibly inspiring.

When it comes to communication online, Suse places her values at the core once more. She struggles with activities that don’t feel natural, knowing that she’ll never be able to deliver her message in a way that resonates if it’s not aligned with her values.

For this reason, she avoids using Facebook, but she does use Instagram and LinkedIn. On those platforms, her approach is from a place of honesty and integrity rather than full-on sales chat, something she finds incredibly off-putting.

Relationship-based marketing vs algorithm-based marketing

Katie pointed out that Suse’s relationship and values-based approach to making connections is the polar opposite of much of the marketing business owners do where they rely on appeasing social media algorithms.

She’s curious to find out if Suse has found any challenges or frustrations using this heart-centred approach. Other than consistency, Suse struggles with continually putting herself out there online.

“Pushing myself to be online is hard for me. I get great responses, but it’s hard going. I’m an introvert…I know I can put myself out there all the time, but I need to keep 40% of my time to rebuild my energy.” – Suse

The Shy Girl’s Guide to Kicking Ass…

Katie likes to challenge guests to choose their favourite – or best performing – post. Suse chose a blog post from years ago. “The Shy Girl’s Guide to Kicking Ass at Presentations” was written years ago and yet still features at the top of Google if you type in ‘shy girls public speaking tips’ into the search engine.

Despite writing it quickly, Suse is incredibly proud of it because it’s honest, well structured and has a great title that continually comes up high in search engine results for public speaking and confidence building.

The article has lots of tips and suggestions for improving your confidence in public speaking. We’ve included a link to the guide in the resources section below.

What’s on Suse’s business bookshelf?

Feeling frustrated by the bigger (male) named business and self-development books being at the top of the reader charts, Suse set her resource page up on her website with loads of great resources, many written by women.

* The Introvert Entrepreneur by Beth Buelow
Suse loves, loves, loves this! She’s one of the first writers to say ‘you can run your business your way’.

* How Women Rise by Sally Helgesen & Marshall Goldsmith

“Such a good book – it’s about how can you make more of the potential you already have inside you.”

* Find your Thing by Lucy Whittington

Suse read this a few years ago; it’s about finding what you enjoy doing, what resonates with you and other people – and being comfortable about doing that thing as your business—feeling confident about doing what you love. 

* Self Worth Safari by John Niland

When you’re working on yourself, it can be hard and challenging. This book addresses that and has lots of webinars on his website to inspire you. 

Keep the conversation going  with Suse

Suse B Bentley website 

Join the Scaredycat mailing list 

Suse B Bentley on Instagram

Suse B Bentley on LinkedIn

People and resources from this week’s Whin Big Podcast

W.B.E.C.S Conference for Coaches

Marsha Reynolds – coach the person, not the problem

Film: Longshot with Seth Rogan and Charlize Theron

Book: * The Squiggly Career by Helen Tupper & Sarah Ellis

Blog: What does ‘professional’ look like to you and your business?

Shy Girl’s Guide to Public Speaking

Business initiatives mentioned in the episode:

British Chamber of Commerce

Enterprise Nation

She Means Business

Holly Tucker’s Small Business Advice & Inspiration

The Business Gateway

The Princes’ Trust 

A note about affiliate links: 

* Links marked with a star are affiliate links to Bookshop.org. When you buy through these links, a small portion of the cost of the book goes to support your local bookshop, and a small amount comes to The Whin. And the books won’t cost you any extra!

More of your Instagram questions answered

Have you got questions about Instagram? Don’t worry - we’ve got the answers! Well, Katie does!

This week, Katie does a deep dive on YOUR Instagram questions. For episode 80 of The Whin Big Podcast, we’ve chosen three of the most asked listener questions to help you...