Getting the most out of Canva – yes even the free version, with Thea Newcomb

Getting the most out of Canva – yes even the free version, with Thea Newcomb

This week Katie talks to Thea Newcomb, founder of Thea Newcomb Training & Consulting. This week’s guest is one of only 2 Canva ambassadors in Scotland. They talked a lot about Canva where Thea shared her incredible tips for getting the most out of Canva and using it to create amazing images and videos for your online blogs and social media content. They also talk about the bare minimum of digital marketing planning, raising your prices and designing and publishing your own books on Amazon.

This is another jam packed Whin Big Podcast, so be sure to tune into the episode itself to get all the insight and details – and information on Thea’s special offer on Canva training especially for Whin Big Podcast listeners.

Finding joy in radio and podcasting

Thea moved to Scotland in 1992 and started working in radio. She moved away from that industry as a career, but still dips in and out hosting shows on a station called Radio 6 International. For Thea, radio is a complete joy so it was an easy decision to get into podcasting. A subject close to Katie’s heart!

The podcast Thea hosts has a strong positivity message around ageing and female empowerment and it’s a passion project that she enjoys so much. In fact, her love of podcasting and hosting radio is so strong she wishes she’d gone into it years ago, but didn’t because she didn’t have the skills or confidence to give it a shot.

Life after radio

Leaving radio behind for passion projects only, Thea moved into website design, where she was encouraged to run training workshops for Business Gateway. Despite having reservations, she’s never looked back!  

Making the Covid pivot 

Similarly, Thea had no desire to make the leap to online training and webinars – despite being encouraged to by her clients through her Business Gateway training. She’d been encouraged by clients to run her Canva training courses online, but felt there was enough online training already available and was happy to keep up the face to face sessions.

Until of course, March 2020. When Covid changed everything. In almost no time she’d gone from never running a webinar in her life to running all of her sessions online.

“Lockdown has pressed everything forward for us and pushed us out of our comfort zones.” – Thea

Recognising your limits as an employee

Thea loves the flexibility and diversity of being her own boss. She can pick and choose the projects and activities on a daily basis, based on what she loves to do. For Thea, being self-employed isn’t the easiest way to make a living – it can be feast or famine, but it’s certainly interesting. 

“Being self employed is not for the faint hearted. I’ve always run my own businesses because I’m a terrible employee. I couldn’t work for someone else, I made my own career.” – Thea

Marketing on social media – the Thea way

Despite giving training on digital marketing, Thea’s not a huge fan of marketing on social media. In a dream world, she would either outsource all forms of social media, or be in a place where her business doesn’t need it.

In reality, a lot of her clients are referred to her through Business Gateway so there’s less pressure to take part in digital marketing activities, but she understands the need for social proof and will post tips and links to her workshops. Albeit in a sporadic way!

“On social media: I am not as consistent as I would recommend to people I work with. It’s a case of do as I say, not as I do.” – Thea

Thea’s recommendations for online marketing: 

Whilst her social media marketing might not be as watertight as she’d like, Thea does stick to a few rules around online marketing and always recommends these activities to her own clients:

  • Consistency across all channels
    • The same two or three fonts, colours, templates so there’s branding consistency all the time.
  • Experimenting about what marketing works for your business rather than generic businesses
    • “I’ve noticed if I post too late, I get very few likes. You have to figure out when your audience is online, look at the insights and figure out how it fits together”.

“In everything I do I say there’s no cookie cutter solution. I tell people – try a few things, check the insights. It might not work for your business just because it’s worked for another.” – Thea

Thea’s Things own marketing activities 

Thea tends to work her digital marketing on an adhoc basis, rather than plan or schedule her content. When she does plan out her social media she uses Hootsuite and Twitter directly.

  •  Twitter
    • Daily tweets & retweets, sharing something people will enjoy.
  • Facebook groups & pages
    • Canva group for previous training clients – 3 posts per week
    • Thea’s Things business page – weekly posts
  • Instagram
    • Thea has a few personal profiles on Instagram – a business page for Canva related posts and one for her website building business
  • Blogging
    • Posts an article every Monday

Get the most out of Canva (yes, even the free version)

Katie asked Thea to share her essential tips for using Canva as a marketing tool.

  1. Set up your brand kit for consistency
    • If you use the free version, you can choose up to 3 colours from your logo or site to use in everything you design. This keeps your branding consistent across all platforms and is a great way to access your brand elements quickly
    • Canva Pro users can choose more colours, and upload fonts (although there are so many fonts in Canva, it’s hard to see why you would need to!)
  2. Blog post headers
    • If you’re blogging, create header graphics with the title of your blog post designed in the header. This makes it easier to see the title (and who wrote it) if people share it
    • Create a pinterest sized post with a link to the blog and post on Pinterest
  3. Create the right sized templates for each platform you use
    • Instagram will have Stories & Post stories
    • Facebook templates should be kept in the middle as Canva doesn’t always get the sizing right
    • Linked in – use 1200 x 628 for text based posts
      • Keep in mind this template isn’t available for Canva
  4. Canva Video
    • Thea recommends posting video on all channels as this format gets the most engagement
    • She recommends spending time making sure there’s value in your video, rather than posting it just for the ‘likes’
    • For anyone struggling with the Reels function on Instagram, Katie highly recommends using the video function on Canva. Recently she created a slideshow video to advertise her Instagram course. She made a slide for each video clip and added text and effects to it. She added music and photos and Canva laced it together to create a short video.

Become a publishing success – a special offer for Whin Big Podcast listeners

Using Canva, Thea has designed hundreds of planners and journals and sells them on the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing platform.

Now Thea wants to teach you how to design and publish your own paperback book.
In just one 90 minute 1:1 session, with Thea you’ll design the cover of your book, design the interior and then upload the whole manuscript to Amazon to sell.

By the end of the session you’ll know how to publish your own books on Amazon. With this option you could design and sell:

  • Line journals
  • Workbooks for clients
  • Social media planners and so many more options!

Once you know how to do one, you can make many.

Normally this (amazing) workshop is £150, but Whin Big Podcast listeners get a 20% discount! Just mention the podcast when you get in touch with Thea.

Thea’s book recommendations

Get Rich, Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield Thomas
Contagious: Why things catch on by Jonah Berger

Your Instagram questions – answered

Your Instagram questions – answered

Ever wondered how to build your brand identity on Instagram? Or how to find Instagram success when you’re technically challenged? When it comes to Instagram, you’ve got the questions – and we’ve got the answers!

Welcome to this week’s Whin Big Podcast, episode 54 and this week Katie answers listener questions around the mighty Instagram. Grab a notebook because this week’s episode is packed with useful info on getting Instagram right for your marketing.


Missed your chance to ask a question? 

If you missed sending in a question for this Q&A episode, join Katie over on Instagram or sign up to the mailing list so you can get involved next time.

Joining the mailing list comes with an added bonus as you’ll get instant access to The Whin’s Instagram MOT, a 20 point checklist to get you back on track with your Instagram Marketing. What’s not to love?

Show notes for the Whin-win!

Before kicking off today – you do not want to miss the resources section at the bottom of the show notes. They are jam-packed (more so than usual) with every possible resource, link, freebie and insight on moving you along the Instagram for business road.

Onto your questions!

Q1: How do I choose a colour scheme for my instagram page?

Chloe told us her last Instagram page was messy and had no consistency. She wants to know how to organise your grid into something with order and balance to reflect branding.

A: A balanced, on-brand grid is easy to create – but there are a few things worth thinking about before you go all in…

As with most things on Instagram, there’s a bit of pre-posting thinking you should do before adding more posts to your grid. If you want to design your grid so it has more branding personality and style.

If you already have a main colour that runs through your business (The Whin’s is yellow, you may have noticed!), then look for ways you can bring that colour through to your grid. Try:

  • Using images that have objects, people or details that contain the same colour, to create a consistent colour theme.
  • Use Instagram filters that have a similar tone or feel to your colour so every image you post takes on the theme, even if the image itself doesn’t.
  • Buy some presets on Adobe lightroom or other photo editing software, to create your own filters. This makes them slightly less ‘off-the-peg’ than Instagram filters, which personalises your look
  • Create Canva templates for a consistent, on-brand look.

Finding the right colour if you don’t have one

If budget allows, Katie recommends hiring a brand expert or branding graphic designer to help with colours, fonts and logo.

For something a little more DIY’d look into colour theory so you can choose a colour based on the feelings it evokes. E.g:

Blue – is associated with trust, dependable or reliable.
Yellow – makes you think of the warmth of summer, daffodils in the Spring. It’s a positive colour that inspires open-ness
Purple – is often linked with serenity, balance and calm so you might use this if you’re healing or guiding people, or want them to feel relaxed and grounded when they interact with you.

Whatever colour you choose, make sure the feelings you want to evoke run through more than your logo and instagram grid.

What if you don’t want to commit to just one colour? 

You can be very clever with your grid and change colours, but it looks better if it looks intentional so planning is a great way to make sure it looks thought through rather than chaotic and unorganised. 

Q2: Do you have tips on using Instagram when you’re technically challenged?

Kelly and Debbie asked for steer on beginner-level Instagram tactics and strategy. Debbie actually asked for an ‘idiot’s guide’ but as Katie points out – there’s no idiots round these parts! 

A: Start small and avoid overwhelm

Beginner or learner Instagram guides are usually full of great ideas, but so many of them it’s overwhelming.

Katie recommends her simplified strategy for busy business owners which she featured in episode 42 of The Whin Big Podcast. It’s worth a listen as it gives you all the insight you need for the 3 step starter plan: :

  • Choosing great pictures
  • Captions that add value to your posts
  • Learning how to use hashtags so more people see your posts

Of course, there’s so much more when it comes to Instagram, so we’ve linked below, extra Whin Big Podcast episodes (in the best order to approach them) to give you more support if you’re ready for more help with:

Even more support for marketing on Instagram

Wherever you are in the Instagram journey, we’ve got additional support to help you and it’s all right here and easy for you to access. 

Absolute Beginner

If the idea of getting started bamboozles you, and you live in Scotland, resources are available through Business Gateway. They run a specific Instagram webinar especially for you and is an amazing entry level training course that covers all the basics to get set up and started. 

All set up & ready to go (or looking to get back on track) 

You know you want to use Instagram to grow your business, and it feels overwhelming. Or you have started to use it, but haven’t worked out the best way for you and your business.

Sound familiar? The Instagram MOT is right for you.

“The Whin’s Instagram MOT has been designed especially for you if you’re looking to get started, or need a refresh on your Instagram business account.” – Katie

Download your FREE Instagram MOT today and work your way easily through the checklist. It has everything you need to get moving.

Ready for growth level 

You know the basics, you’ve got a small following, and you know there’s more you can do to grow your audience and make more sales. 

If this is you, congratulations! You’re ready for the next level and our Instagram Masterclass is for you.

4 weeks of straight forward, no nonsense training across 4 fundamentals pillars of Instagram. By the time you’ve completed this you’ll have learned everything you need to build a solid Instagram strategy that’s perfect for you and your business.

2020 price freeze on The Whin’s Instagram Masterclass  

As 2020 has been such a crazy year for everyone, Katie knows budgets aren’t as flexible as they might have once been. So for the rest of the year, you can tap into Katie’s brilliant training for just £97. 

Q3: How do I grow my followers on Instagram?

Asked by Zoe and Fiona.

Episode 52 looks into growth strategies for 2020 and it looks at all the ways to take advantage of the tools built into Instagram right now, designed to grow your audience.

To summaries:

  • Hashtags are important
  • Reels are new and the algorithms love them
  • Create shareable content that people love

“It doesn’t matter if you have 300 followers or 300,000 followers. What matters is getting enough customers from Instagram to pay for the time you’re spending marketing there.” – Katie

Katie recommends asking a different question. So instead of ‘how do I get more followers’, for better results it’s better to think in a more strategic way and ask:

  • How do I get more sales from Instagram?
  • How do I get more engagement from followers on Instagram?

The answers to those questions will inform a different way of marketing to get the answers you really want. And Katie goes over all of that (and so much more) in episode 52. As always, all links included in the episode are in the resources section below.

Get YOUR questions answered

Don’t forget, you’ve got lots of time to get your own questions in ahead of the next Q&A episode, so if you don’t already – join Katie over on Instagram or sign up to the mailing list so you don’t miss out! 

Resources and links

The Whin’s Instagram MOT

The Whin Instagram Masterclass (£97 price freeze till December 2020)

Episode 42: A simplified Instagram Strategy (for busy business owners)

Episode 52 – 3 essential strategies for Instagram

After you’ve mastered pictures, captions and hashtags, you can then start to tackle the following list (with links to podcasts)

Find Business Gateway webinars on Instagram

Facebook Lives, good habits and keeping going through the tough times, with Zoe Longford

Facebook Lives, good habits and keeping going through the tough times, with Zoe Longford

How great would it be if you could build some healthy – and productive – habits into your weekly marketing? Meet Zoe – owner and founder of Zoe Rose Fitness who has done just that. This week she chats to Katie about introducing new habits to her marketing plans, and the importance of growing a loyal following by adding value (for free). 

Today’s episode is sponsored by our Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist will take you through all the most important things you need to get right in your Instagram marketing. Click below to sign up for the free training and download the checklist.

After trying out lots of ideas for a career, Zoe moved into strength and fitness to help with a back injury. Now, she works with women online and supports them to navigate the frantic and often-confusing fitness industry to find the techniques that work best for them.

The ultimate goal for Zoe is that clients finish their coaching block with her feeling strong and confident – not just in their bodies but in the way they move through their day and lives as a result.

“I like to remove all the stuff you don’t need to worry about, so you can zone in and focus on all the fitness and exercise that will make you feel amazing.” – Zoe

When Zoe started the business, she saw the vision of changing lives and making a difference with her service purely on an individual basis. One client at a time. As time has moved on, she’s tapped into a bigger vision. Now, she wants to serve thousands of women, and make a positive change in the fitness industry. So watch this space!

The best things about running Zoe Rose Fitness

As someone easily bored, Zoe’s thrilled that running her own business keeps her occupied and out of boredom’s reach. She works on her own right now, so she takes on every challenge as it comes to her. 

“You have to have a marketing hat on, coaching hat on, I have to think about accounting – it just keeps it really exciting for me.” – Zoe

Transitioning an in-person service to the online space

Zoe moved into a more online position since the Covid restrictions and spends 50% of her time working with clients and supporting them. The rest is divided up between the other supporting activities like marketing and admin.

Having a bigger vision to reach more women meant Zoe had plans to shift online in the future. 2 years ago she started to shape out the idea, and with Coronavirus lockdown and restriction, she had to make the changes quickly! She puts the success of this down to good old fashioned trial-and-error and experimentation!

Digital Marketing – what’s working? 

Zoe started marketing through Facebook because she was most familiar with the platform. As interest in her services grew, she added an instagram account to the mix.

Whilst she enjoys Instagram as a user, she gets more clients through Facebook. She enjoys more engagement on Facebook so drives most of her energy in that direction. She posts to 3 different locations:

Zoe Rose Fitness is her main business page where she shares regular content about the business.

Zoe Rose Movement is her free Facebook group. Zoe shares content each week-day, using a mix of inspiration and motivation. This has been a useful sales tool for her as most of her clients join the group and then get to know Zoe more before signing up for her 1:1 services.

Zoe’s personal page Initially she was reluctant to use her personal page for fear of being judged by friends and family. She’s had a mix of feedback on this approach and recognises it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to see business posts regularly. Losing some friends on Facebook has been worth it as she also gets great feedback on her content.

The value in free content

With so much value and free content on Facebook, Katie wondered why people would pay for her services if they could access her work without paying. For Zoe, the content she shares is more generic, something for everyone – but not designed for the individual. If you’re a beginner, if you have lots of questions you need more support for success. 

“There are so many different marketing tools and platforms and individual elements to consider. It’s physically impossible as a solo business owner to do everything. But most of the tools will do the job for you and you just have to pick one.” – Katie


 Zoe’s always used YouTube for videos for her clients to use, but over lockdown added more to her library for people who were struggling with motivation and fitness.
The benefits of blogging for the web.

The benefits of blogging for the web

Zoe started to blog for her site, for search engine purposes and to showcase her expertise to potential clients. With the busy day-to-day, blogging has slipped recently, although she does plan to pick it up again. Katie shared her own experiences with blogging and how The Whin Big Podcast was easier for her to create than written blogs and suggested Zoe uses her YouTube videos on her site as an alternative to written blogs.

Zoe’s tips for planning content 

Business owners seem to get ideas from the strangest places. For Zoe – luxuriating in the bath and going for long walks produce the best ideas. She’ll come up with ideas on her walks then plan out each day and write every post when she’s back at her desk. For Zoe, organising and scheduling keep things fresh and easy. Something Katie, a self-confessed anti-planner, is rather envious of! 

“Take messy action. I was such a perfectionist, I was spending so much time getting things done, I just wasn’t doing it because it was never going to be perfect enough. Now when I get uncomfortable about it being perfect, I remind myself to take messy action. At least I’m doing it. And it means you will always get better.” – Zoe

Zoe’s book recommendations

For Zoe, mindset was a big area that had to change so she could reach her goals. Her favourite books on the topic are:

Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
Which is all about understanding how the mind works and how you can use that knowledge to visualise success and achieving your goals. Zoe doesn’t recommend the audio book format of this book!

Atomic Habits by James Clear
Zoe enjoyed this book because she loves habit building. She has used a few of the tips to boost her productivity and her sales.

Three essential tools for Instagram growth in 2020

Three essential tools for Instagram growth in 2020

Has your Instagram growth slowed over the last few months? If this sounds like you, don’t panic! In this episode of The Whin Big Podcast, Katie shares the 3 essential strategies you need to keep growing your audience.

This is Katie’s favourite topic, so pen and paper at the ready and jump into episode 52 of The Whin Big Podcast where you can grab lots of insight and actionable tips. If you’re looking to grow your reach on Instagram – don’t miss this. Relevant links to resources discussed in this week’s podcast are included at the end of the show notes.

This episode is sponsored by our Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist will take you through all the most important things you need to get right in your Instagram marketing. Hit the big yellow button below to sign up for the free training and download the checklist.

2020 has been the year of extreme uncertainty, but one thing we can be sure of in 2020 is that nothing stays the same for long in the world of Instagram!

A few things have changed over on Instagram since our last Whin Big Podcast on Instagram growth. You can thank the introduction of Reels and an algorithm shift for that. We thought it was time to revisit your strategy, and who better to guide you through it than Katie?

The secret formula to Instagram growth

Meaningful growth is all about getting new, relevant content in front of a new and relevant audience while continuing to add value and quality to your target audience. 

New Audience ÷ Targeted Content = Meaningful Growth

3 of the best tools in 2020 to help you get in front of your target audience 

Tool #1 – Hashtags

These are the easiest of the tools to use. We’ve listed the Whin’s resources for all things Hashtags in the resources section below. As a guide, you are aiming to:

  • Find relevant hashtags for what you do
  • Make sure they’re the right size
  • Put lots of them on all posts
    • Grid posts
    • Stories
    • Reels
    • Instagram TV

How do hashtags help your growth on Instagram? 

They signal to Instagram what your story is about and who should see it. 

They define which hashtag galleries and stories you appear in.

But they also:

  • influence who sees you in their explore feed
  • who sees your reels and IGTV 

Will you increase Instagram growth with hashtags alone? 

The algorithm changes mean hashtag use as a single strategy is no longer as powerful as it once was. You have to use them to show up in the right places, but they’re just one small part of your growth strategy. 

Tool #2 – Reels

Reels are the new kids on the block, and they can be challenging – more so if your comfort zone sits in the traditional pictures format on the grid. Katie has a whole episode on Reels planned soon (thank goodness), so don’t forget to hit subscribe so you don’t miss it.

If you’re an eager beaver and want to get started on growing your reach on Instagram through Reels then here’s a few pointers to get you started.

  • Brainstorm topics, information, products you want to tell your audience about – like you would for any type of content.
  • Go to the Reels section on the explore page of Instagram. Scroll through the videos and take note of videos that feel aligned with you and your skills. Pay attention to how:
    • Others use the format
    • How they use speech and text
    • How they’ve used music and movement.
  • Pick a format, and a content idea from your lists and have a go

Don’t worry about getting it perfect the first time – nobody gets it right at first!

How Reels can help your growth on Instagram

Reels are a lot more work than hashtags, but the algorithm loves them right now and will reward you for your effort. Experiment with different types of content, and you’ll soon see an increase in traffic on your page. 

Tool #3 – Create shareable content

The best and fastest way to grow your audience is for other people to share your content on their Instagram Story.

It’s not the easiest of the three tools, but it’s the most effective because it happens when someone likes your content enough that they share it with their own audience. It’s a valuable recommendation.

To get this right, you need to experiment till you find something people want to share. Usually, it’s something that feels personal to them, such as quotes, memes and posts that get them thinking.

They won’t share selfies – so if the caption on a selfie does well, take a section and turn it into a shareable graphic and post again a few days later.

If you’re serious about sharing as a growth tactic – share other people’s content and make sure it fits the content your audience wants to say. Listen into the episode for some examples and key steps to make sure you’re getting the most out of sharing posts from others.

Don’t forget to tag the account you’re sharing so they can see you’ve shared their content

How shareable content can help your growth on Instagram

Creating shareable content might take more work and effort, but it’s really valuable for building strong relationships on Instagram.

If you’re actively sharing other people’s content, your audience will start to notice and are so much more likely to share yours and tag you in the process. It’s a positive cycle that the algorithm loves. 

There’s no quick fix, but there is always something you can do

If you’ve noticed a drop in your Instagram growth in 2020, it’s essential to take note – and then take action.

Set time aside to really focus on the three tools in this week’s episode and you’ll start to see steady growth coming your way. 

How serious are you about business growth on Instagram in 2020? 

If you’ve committed to making Instagram the place to grow your business, then listening to the podcast is a great way to get started.

But what if you want to go deeper, to get even more insight and value on all things Instagram so you can start growing your business in just 4 short weeks?
If this sounds like you, then The Whin’s Instagram Masterclass is exactly what you need. 

  • Get more followers
  • Get more comments and messages
  • Make more sales
  • Make a plan that you want to stick to

Whin Big Podcast listeners can access the 4 part Masterclass for just £97. AND if you sign up fast, you could snag a 1:1 Instagram marketing session with Katie (worth £97).

Tailored, expert support for you and your business

What if you need something more personal and strategic to support your business growth and marketing on Instagram?

Katie has launched coaching sessions to help you do just that. She covers everything from audits, planning, coaching and strategy.
Find out more about The Whin’s 1:1 in-depth marketing support.

How to build brand loyalty, and knowing your audience, with John ‘Hedge’ Hall

How to build brand loyalty, and knowing your audience, with John ‘Hedge’ Hall

If your business relies on face to face experiences, is it possible to grow a strong, loyal community online during the global pandemic? And how easy is it to navigate new services and audiences when you’ve never marketed to them before?

John Hall (better known as Hedge), founder of Access Parkour believes it’s entirely possible to do both. He talks with Katie about how he’s pivoting the business into new directions, taking on new challenges around growing his community base online and asks the question we’ve all been wondering lately…is Katie Goudie a real person?

This is episode 51 of The Whin Big Podcast. We’re delighted to have you here. Let’s jump into this week’s episode.

Today’s episode is sponsored by our Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist will take you through all the most important things you need to get right in your Instagram marketing. Click below to sign up for the free training and download the checklist.

As always, the show notes are a guide to what’s in this week’s podcast episode, so click on the link to make sure you don’t miss out on the extra resources and tips inside. 

Access Parkour – on a mission to help people move better

Hedge and Katie discuss the early days of Access Parkour – a company that delivers accessible moving classes in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Dundee.

When it started, the idea was to bring parkour to as many people as possible. This idea has expanded into a company that supports people from all backgrounds to enjoy parkour. This includes teaching children in schools and after school clubs, running outdoor classes for people looking for adventures and even reaching out to people who have been turned off by exercise and movement and helping them find joy in it.

Taking the leap to start a business

At the age of 25, Hedge was half way through a science related PhD when he realised he was on the wrong path. With over 40 hours a week in the lab, his studies took up so much of his time, but he still found time to teach climbing and parkour to young people. He loved it and knew he had a tough decision to make.

7 years on, he’s never looked back.

“I thought, if you don’t try now you’ll never try. So I left my PhD and started Access Parkour.” – Hedge

Becoming a small business owner

Hedge clearly loves the business he’s built and his role inside it. He thrives on challenges and in the 7 years he’s been self-employed he’s taken on new skills and adapted as his business grew. 

“Every year is different. You’re constantly learning and constantly challenged. That’s a really cool part of what I do. I’m a better business manager and leader than I was 7 years ago because I have to adapt all the time. That’s both the best bit and the most difficult bit about what I do.” – Hedge

Adapting with shifting trends on social media

Hedge is currently navigating the challenges of marketing on social media. His biggest challenge is the change in the 35 year old and under market leaving Facebook as his main communication platform.

He doesn’t feel that TikTok, SnapChat and Instagram are the best platforms for Access Parkour because his services are localised.

Strengthening their community through the pandemic

While the country went on lockdown, Hedge and his team offered free parkour sessions online. The result was a strong sense of community and a stronger bond between the coaches and the people taking the classes.

To strengthen that relationship further, the team moved all communications to Slack for everybody to communicate with each other and feel connected during this time.

Why Slack wasn’t the best platform for community building 

Initially the team wanted to foster a sense of community through a closed group. They wanted people to join the group and commit to growing the relationships together, rather than simply ‘drop in’ but the platform didn’t allow for the deep connection that Hedge wanted to create. 

Community building on the Discord platform

The team is now looking at Discord which allows for a deeper connection between users, as building relationships between the Access Parkour team and their clients.

Discord is similar to Facebook groups, closed environments where people sign up to be part of the community as opposed to being posted ‘at’ on open pages. The difference is that Discord is chat based with video and voice functions, so it’s a great place to foster relationships and grow a loyal community.

The power of word of mouth

 The biggest marketing challenge for Hedge and the team is balancing the reputation of Parkour as a dangerous, thrill seeker sport versus the reality of it being a fun, safe and enjoyable exercise with qualified instructors. Parents have to trust that it’s safe to send their children and can find that difficult when they see parkour stunts on Youtube.

Word of mouth between parents and other users is the best way to foster that trust – backed up by a solid website and strong testimonials.

Adapting content for the right audience 

The content journey for Access Parkour has shifted to move with the way their audience consumes content.

The sport is very visual – people want to see it in action, rather than read about it in blogs – so Hedge posts videos to YouTube. Facebook and Instagram. They’re considering moving into Instagram Reels too.

“On Instagram it’s not a perfectly targeted audience for you, but you can use location tags and hashtags to reach your targeted community” – Katie

The real advantage for Access Parkour is that the coaches and customers already ‘get’ the visual aspect of Parkour, so they create content as an add-on to the activity. This means there’s a constant bank of content for Hedge to tap into and share on their platforms.

Pivoting services and utilising LinkedIn

Hedge has reignited an old LinkedIn account to support Access Parkour’s latest pivot plans.
The pandemic has opened some issues for people working from home, that Hedge feels parkour can solve. There are three key areas that he’s identified as pandemic problems:

  • Breakdown of teams: they’re not as connected or working together as well because they’re now individuals working in their own settings
  • Mental health: with people stuck at home, they’re not accessing the benefits of engaging with other people
  • Fitness: there’s less movement for people as they work from home

This means businesses have to think more about employees wellbeing as a whole. Access Parkour can solve this is offering online or outdoor movement classes for teams and organisations to do together as part of their routines.

This concept meant adapting to Business to Business marketing – and for Access Parkour, that’s where LinkedIn steps in. The team is transitioning with the change in tone of voice and adapting messages for business sales, so it’s a work in progress.

Katie and Hedge discuss identifying customer personas, business types and sizes to target on LinkedIn in the episode. Don’t forget to listen to this Whin Big Podcast episode to learn more about how you can apply similar methods for your own business marketing.

Looking to the future for Access Parkour

Hedge looks for the upsides in times of crisis or challenge. Access Parkour is a business that thrives when their community is strong, he believes that getting smarter with strengthening relationships with that community is the key to driving Access Parkour into continued success.

Business books inspiring Hedge on his business journey

The Lean Start-up by Eric Ries

“It’s one of those books you should definitely read, but definitely not follow blindly.” – Hedge