The one where I have a natter with Jane Hickman and we share ALL the knowledge bombs
Martine Ellis: Hello, it's Martine here and welcome to episode 51 of the Light bulb Podcast.
I'm really chuffed to be accompanied in today's episode by Jane Hickman.
Rather than tell you all about her, I am going to get her to tell you about herself. So Jane, welcome to the show.
Jane Hickman: Hi Martine. Thanks for inviting me on your podcast. I'm very honoured to be here.
My name is Jane and I'm the owner of a business called Gardening Witch Designs.
I make and sell handmade items for the yarn enthusiast, including project bags, stitch markers and shawl pins.
I live in a very small village in rural Bedfordshire, in the UK with my hubby, my dog, two hens and a large garden.
Martine Ellis: Lovely. And I should point out, one of the reasons that we have come into contact with each other is because, I indeed, am a yarn enthusiast. So I'm probably your ideal customer in some respects.
Jane Hickman: Absolutely. I always have you in mind when I'm making.
So as to my background. I trained as a bio-chemist back in the day and worked in the labs for a few years. And then moved into IT as an analyst/programmer then, a business analyst.
But throughout all that time spent in the techy scientific environment, I'd turn to crafting as my way of unwinding. And I just love making things. And I think my mum gave me the makers' habit. She taught me to sew and knit when I was little. And she was also a great gardener and instilled in me a lifelong love of gardening, although I think her flower arranging gene passed me by somewhat.
And then when I left paid employment some years ago, I took up knitting again with a vengeance. And that led to spinning and crochet and weaving. And obviously, I needed project bags to put my stuff in, and stitch markers, and shawl pins. But there's a limit to the number that you can use, really.
So I'd been toying with the idea of selling stuff for a while, maybe at a local craft fair or online. And then alone came Festiwool in Hitchin in 2014, which was a fibre festival organised by a member of one of my knitting groups that I go to.
So I decided to take the plunge. And I took a stall there in 2014 and sold my wares. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Went back the next year and the next year. And I'll be back there again in November this year too.
I also teach spinning on a drop spindle at a local place called the Makers' Cabin in Letchworth in Hartfordshire. And I'll be teaching some knitting classes there later this year as well.
I really love that aspect of being able to pass on my skills to others like my mum did to me. So I'm starting small, but I'm enjoying the challenge of turning my much loved hobby into a business.
Martine Ellis: That's a cracking example of a multi-faceted business already, because you've got the selling of the physical goods, and you've got the teaching element as well. And I just think that's such a great business model particularly in the creative realm. So I'm really glad to hear you're enjoying it and it's going well for you, Jane.
So we are going to talk today about information overwhelm and advice overload, because I think it is something that people listening to this podcast will be very familiar with. Because the internet, quite frankly, when you're starting a business is a really overwhelming place.
Jane, tell me a bit about your experience of that.
Jane Hickman: Gosh, yes. When I first started out, I looked to see what advice was available for starting in business. And there's just so much of it. And the tricky thing was knowing where to start.
I was lucky enough to get on a free small business startup course at a local enterprise centre. And they provided a lot of free seminars and workshops for things like tax advice and social media management and ins and outs of being legal and all that sort of thing. And the free thing was important, because I don't have a heap of money. I certainly didn't when I was first starting out.
So I'm quite a cautious person, I think. I like to thoroughly research something before I jump right in. So I searched the internet and I listened to podcasts. And I sought out business books. And I read blogs.
And there's so much advice out there, but it can all be rather overwhelming.
It's like, who do I listen to? Do I need to read it all? Sometimes the advice is conflicting. And the tone I've found can be very different according to things like, I don't know, the nationality of the content provider or what size of business they're aiming their advice at.
So it was really a question of finding the right style that worked for me. I'm British, so I don't feel comfortable shouting my success from the rooftops. So trumpet blowing kind of approach didn't sit right with me. so I ended up, at times feeling quite despondent and do I need all this stuff really? All at once? Will my business be doomed without it?
Martine Ellis: You're so right there. And actually, I think something that you said about the tone of the content is really important to anyone listening to the show who is actually a content creator, because when you create content for people, one size doesn't fit all. You're not going to appeal to everybody and that's totally and utterly fine.
But from a content consumption perspective, finding the type of content that really speaks to you is pretty hard work. But once you've found it, suddenly lightbulbs start going off, don't they? If you'll pardon the pun.
Jane Hickman: Lightbulbs really do start going off don't they?
Martine Ellis: Absolutely. So you were searching and searching for information. Interesting to hear about the free course, I take it, it was like a government provided type thing that you went to about startups?
Jane Hickman: Yes, it was. It was something that our local council provided.
Martine Ellis: That's so good.
Jane Hickman: Yeah, it was excellent.
Martine Ellis: I'm just thinking if we have equivalents over here in Guernsey. Actually, we have an organisation called Startup Guernsey. So if you're listening to this and thinking, "Oh, I wonder if my government do that." You can only ask. Hopefully, they will.
Jane Hickman: Yes, I would urge people to go and look for that sort of thing. Someone pointed me in that direction. And it was really, really useful.
Martine Ellis: That's good to know. So you're in this situation where you're seeking out information, books, websites, podcasts, all that sort of thing. And there's a lot of it. What do you do next?
Jane Hickman: Well, as I say, I got completely overwhelmed by it, because there's just so many people telling me, possibly the same thing in different ways and the advice was conflicting.
So in terms of the online stuff, eventually, I just dig myself out of the heap of online resources. And I found that I needed to limit myself to a very few key individuals whose style I liked and whose advice made sense. And that said, I'm not just one to follow blindly. It's in my nature, probably from my business analyst days to question everything. So why do you do that? What's the benefit?
I do keep an eye out for what's out there, but I try not to get sucked in to the latest, greatest business strategy.
So what I ended up doing was unsubscribing from a heap of stuff and stopped seeking out all the podcasts and blogs. And I fell back to those that felt right. Just going back to what we said about the style of delivery. The ones that felt right for me. And as you'll guess, the Lightbulb Podcast is a favorite.
Martine Ellis: Yay. Yay.
Jane Hickman: I listened to you when you were the iMake podcast and I've followed you ever since. And it's like you're in my brain sometimes.
Whenever I think I need help with X, Y, Z, up pops a podcast or a blog post on that very topic. It's all a bit spooky sometimes.
Martine Ellis: My work here is done. I'm officially a mind reader. Hurrah. You are clearly my ideal customer avatar as well by the sound of things. Well, that's good to hear.
Jane Hickman: It's all delivered in such a clear, concise way as well without pompoms and cheerleaders and high fives. And it's short and full of knowledge bombs.
Martine Ellis: No unicorns here either, definitely.
Jane Hickman: And The Lightbulb Club Facebook group that you've got is so incredibly supportive and informative. So that's been great. And of course right up there too is Jo Milmine's group. I've listened to and thoroughly enjoyed the Shinybees Podcast for years. And her sense of humor and style is right up my street. So joining her business Facebook group was a no-brainer.
But I must admit I did feel very daunted when I first joined there and saw who was in there. It was quite scary seeing some of the people who were in there, because I am a very small business.
Martine Ellis: And Jo's a friend of the show, so people listening to this podcast, I'm sure, have heard me talk about her before. But she also has a thriving group. And like you say, a wicked sense of humor. And it clearly speaks to you, which is brilliant.
Jane Hickman: Oh it does. And the support's so genuine. It sometimes can be tough love, but I'd rather have that then patronizing, fluffy stuff.
Martine Ellis: Definitely. I agree with that.
Jane Hickman: So it was all about finding trusted resources really and following these, but applying a common sense filter.
Like does the advice fit with what I need or want to do for my business now? If yes, then find out more.
If not, then park it for later. I'm a big fan of lists. I need to write stuff down to get it out of my brain.
Martine Ellis: Definitely. I think that's a great strategy.
So just to recap some of the things that you're saying in terms of advice for listeners then, you're saying, seek out the voices, the advice that speaks to you in a tone and a language that works for you where you are with your business right now. And focus on those.
And then always apply a common sense filter to what you're hearing as well.
That's pretty much what you're saying, isn't it?
Jane Hickman: Absolutely. Yes.
Martine Ellis: Brilliant. Okay, what else have you been doing in terms of streamlining the flow of information that's coming through to you?
Jane Hickman: Well the other thing that I've found really useful was, in real life, finding a local small business owner that I can talk to, bounce ideas off. And it absolutely had to be someone that I trusted.
And I think I came up trumps with my friend Helen, who owns Woolly Chic and has her own line of British yarn from her family's flock.
She lives locally. And every time I meet with her, I just get a real boost. And it's led to some great joint ventures as well. For example, I made fabric bag linings for one of her crochet kits. And I've designed patterns to support her yarn line. And she was the one that introduced me to the owner of the Makers' Cabin where I'm teaching at the moment.
So it just really works out well, the two of us talking together. And I've also got a wonderful accountability partner, which I know you've talked about a lot.
We meet up via Skype and talk through issues with our respective businesses and celebrate and congratulate each other over successes. So that's great.
I think above all, my main strategy, like you say, was to find a small number of trusted resources, to question what I'm hearing and always ask how this latest new thing fits with the aim of my business and the pace at which I can realistically grow. So it's good to step back every now and then and ask, is this what I want to be doing? Is it sustainable for me and those around me?
Martine Ellis: That's an amazing knowledge bomb just there, quite frankly. Going back to your accountability buddies. Just clarify. You've got one that you meet face to face in real life, I like to call it. And you've got one that you speak to on Skype. Is that right? So you've got two.
Jane Hickman: That's right. Yes. Yes.
Martine Ellis: Excellent. I can't emphasize enough the value of surrounding yourself with just a couple of really great accountability partners. One or two, it's a brilliant strategy.
And I have written a blog post. Maybe it was a podcast episode. I can't recall, but I've definitely talked about accountability partners before. And I'll make sure there's a link in the show notes, so you can check out those links as well as links to everything else we're talking about.
I second that recommendation of accountability. I think it's essential.
Jane Hickman: It also gives me support when I'm feeling a little bit overwhelmed, because sometimes I find, I compare myself to other people in a similar area to me. And I never come off well in my own mind. It's just so difficult, because I compare myself to people that are probably not in the same stage of their business. Or they don't have the same aim for their business.
Martine Ellis: I'm sure there's a motivational quote somewhere, which I would probably hate to utter about comparing your start to someone else's middle type thing there.
But I think what you're talking about is very natural. And I think we all do it. And because there are so many people fighting for attention online, you can't help but have your competitor's stuff in your face. So I think that's easy to do. And I'm sure everyone listening has done it at some point, compared themselves to someone else.
Jane Hickman: Yeah. Well my business is small. It's just me. And the financial gain is not make or break in terms of keeping a roof over my head or food on the table. But it has to be sustainable for me and those around me. So I've still got a lot of other things in my life that I want to do. So finding that balance is tricky.
Martine Ellis: Yeah. I think it is. And I think something, that if you are running a small business, that's a really fantastic, amazing thing. And just because it's a small business, doesn't mean that you have to grow it to be an enormous business tomorrow.
You're right. It has to fit into where you are with your life and your interests and your other commitments. And why don't we just take a moment to celebrate the fact that that's an amazing thing.
I think that there are a lot of people online saying, "How to take a small business to a massive business in three easy steps. How to get 10 million subscribers to your email list in about 35 minutes." For starters, that's all nonsense. I just think, whoa, reality check myself. Is this, like you were saying earlier, does this suit where I am in my business now? No it doesn't.
Jane Hickman: Yeah, sometimes it's hard to do that. So I mean, I still take my business very seriously. And I want other people to take it seriously too, because there are some people that knew me before I started out as Gardening Witch Designs and they think I'm just doing this for fun and it's not a proper business.
But I want to run it to the best of my ability. And being as professional as I can.
And I'm proud of what I do and the products I make, but I'm determined that it shouldn't become a source of unsustainable stress as well, because I gave up paid employment when my mental health was suffering badly. So I don't want that to transfer into my own business as well.
Martine Ellis: Oh, that's so true. And I guess there's also a danger. And I'd be interested in your take on this, in terms of taking something which you are passionate about as a creative outlet. So knitting related, yarn related stuff. And then making that into a business.
Is there a danger that that might suck the joy out of the creative stuff. That wasn't very eloquently asked, but do you know what I mean?
Jane Hickman: I know exactly what you mean. And yes, sometimes, I think, "Oh, I've got to sew this thing." Or, "I've got to make that thing." And it's not really sucked the joy out of it yet, but what I have to be careful about is the balance between doing the fun stuff and the making, which is what I set my business up for in the first place, doesn't get overwhelmed by all the behind the scenes stuff, because it's not all just about sitting at the sewing machine and having fun.
There's all the social media, that marketing, the accounting, the tax returns, the keeping it legal. And sometimes I find the balance is slipping a little bit too far to there and away from the making stuff.
So that's when the reality check comes back in again. Is this what I want to do?
Martine Ellis: And I think possibly the balancing the making stuff with the teaching is a win/win situations, because the teaching, probably, I imagine involved totally different skills, emotions all that sort of thing.
So do you find the balance of teaching and making works well for you?
Jane Hickman: It does, actually. And it's always something that I've wanted to do is to pass on skills to others.
And I'm not an extrovert. I'm an introvert. So it frightens the life out of me when I have to deliver a class, but I really enjoy it. And you get such a buzz from teaching other people to do things.
And also, once you've got a class at something, there's an awful lot of work up front getting it sorted out. But then, you can deliver it time and time again. And it gets easier each time if that makes sense.
Martine Ellis: It really does. And I think there's a huge amount of value in pushing yourself outside your comfort zone in that area.
I think that anybody who is passionate about their subject and who is able to communicate clearly what they want from people in their sessions, is able to teach.
I don't think it's something that's reserved for extroverts. In fact, an extroverted teacher really doesn't suit that many people. If you're in a learning environment, you are in a slightly vulnerable situation, because there's something you don't know. And if you've got a teacher who's coming in and bouncing off the walls, that's probably not going to set you up for the best learning experience it is?
Jane Hickman: No, that's true. And it's also, it provides a good counterpoint to sitting at home on your own with your sewing machine or your whatever it is, to actually going out and meeting people.
So that is quite a good balance. It stops you being quite such the creative hermit at home. And it means you actually have to get dressed sometimes as well.
Martine Ellis: Oh, tell me about it. Working from home is a very confusing thing sometimes. What's night wear? What's day wear? Who knows? Excellent.
There's some really valuable stuff in there, Jane. Is there anything that we haven't talked about? I'm conscious we kind of drifted into teaching, but it's such a relevant and important subject to me personally, as well that is great to get that out there.
What else do we need to talk about in terms of managing advice overload and information overwhelm.
Jane Hickman: I think the key things we covered about a small number of trusted resources, question what you hear and match it up against what your aims and goals are.
Martine Ellis: Fantastic. I think that's a great takeaway for the listeners. So Jane, where can we find you online?
Jane Hickman: Okay, well I'm on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Although I must admit, I very rarely use Twitter. It's mostly to complain about things really.
The best place to get all the links in one place is to go and look at my website, which is www.gardeningwitch-designs.co.uk.
Jane Hickman: Also, there's a sign up form for my email newsletter if you want to find to more and receive updates about what's going on at Gardening Witch Designs HQ.
Martine Ellis: Jane, it's been an absolute pleasure talking to you today. Thank you very much for coming on the show. I hope it hasn't been too traumatic for you.
Jane Hickman: No. Actually, I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I was very nervous to start with and thank you so much for having me on the podcast.
Martine Ellis: Oh, you're very welcome.
The one where I practice what I preach.
Hello, hello, and welcome to episode 50, yes, 50, of the podcast. Are you confused yet? I've changed the podcast's name.
The Creative Me Podcast is now called The Lightbulb Podcast.
The reason for the name change is well, I fancied a bit of a change, but also I wanted to bring the podcast under my Lightbulb branding.
You're probably aware by now that I have a free Facebook group called The Lightbulb Club and I offer a couple of online courses under the banner of The Lightbulb Academy. It really seemed to make lots of sense to rename the show The Lightbulb Podcast.
Because of the name change, and because we got to episode 50, I thought I'd try a little bit of new intro music as well, and I rather like this one. What do you think?
If this is your first time listening to the podcast, then I just want to let you know that this episode isn't going to be a traditional, typical episode, because I have a few things I want to catch you up on that are going on behind the scenes. That's not normally what I would do with the show.
If you are a newbie, I really recommend you listen to perhaps a few of the episodes prior to this one.
Also, I should let you know if you subscribe to the show, the RSS feed hasn't changed, so that means you don't have to resubscribe, unsubscribe, anything like that. Everything should just run seamlessly.
Okay, so I want to get you caught up on a few things. First things first, I want to ask you if you managed to catch my most recent blog post called "How To Validate Your Online Course, eBook, Or Educational Product Idea".
This blog post was quite meaty and dealt with something that anybody who is thinking about creating a new product or service really should be considering.
If you've got an idea in your mind for a new product or service, you need to validate your idea. That's what I explain in the blog post.
Validating an idea means you are checking there is a market for your idea, that there's demand, that your idea solves an existing problem or deals with someone's pain points.
This validation process should happen way before you start building your product or designing your service.
I bring this up because I am going to practice what I preach. That's why this episode is called "A Case Study In Validating Your Product Idea."
I'm working on something behind the scenes which I think you will find really interesting, but in order to validate the idea, I need to get some feedback. What I'm working on is this:
I am looking at putting together a membership site for people who have a creative hobby and they'd like to transform it into a business. Not necessarily a full-time business, but they want to make it more than a hobby.
My membership site would have a very low-cost entry point because I'm very realistic that if you are starting from scratch with a business, your budget is minimal, so I would keep the costs low.
The membership site would include live training from me and coaching, online courses, downloadable resources, and probably a forum as well. I'd really like to try and create a real sense of community in there.
Now, obviously, I think it's a great idea. I would pull it all under the banner of The Lightbulb Academy, and any existing courses that I have and any that I'm working on would go straight into the membership site.
Before I start making this site, though, I need to validate my product idea. See, I really am practising what I preach.
One way I'm doing this is by asking for feedback and the way I'm going to capture this feedback is in the form of a questionnaire. I'd love it if you would take a moment to complete this questionnaire. Here's the link, or click the button below.
As a little incentive, if you complete the questionnaire, you will be entered into a prize draw, and the prizes are rather nice, even if I do say so myself.
The prizes are a book called "Read This If You Want To Be Instagram Famous" and another book called "Blog, Inc."
I have my own personal copies of both of these books and I highly recommend them.
I'm also going to give away a place on my Create A Facebook Group For Your Business course.
The deadline for completing the questionnaire and entering the giveaway will be Friday the 30th of June, 2017.
That's me seriously practising what I preach.
There are, of course, other ways to validate your idea.
If you write a post that relates to your topic and include a content upgrade, those who download the content upgrade are demonstrating an interest in what your subject is about. You could tag them in your email service provider and then contact them at a later date with information about your idea.
You could research sites like Quora or perhaps in Facebook groups to see what people in your niche are asking questions about, what they need help with. Does your idea relate to those questions?
Perhaps run a webinar or a Facebook Live and see how the interest is there.
You could also, if you have your own community, run some sort of challenge related to your idea. Again, to see who joins.
You could create an email course or a minimum viable product related to your topic to gauge interest, or finally, you could survey your people, which is what I am doing!
If you are thinking about creating a new product or service, please, please, please, please make sure you validate your idea. I'm doing it, I really recommend that you do exactly the same.
Okey dokey, I am keeping it short and sweet today, because you know what? I want to go celebrate the fact that we got to episode 50. I'm so excited about the next 50 episodes and the 50 after that. Thanks for being with me on this podcast journey, thanks for listening, and I hope you'll tune in next time.
Click the button below to download a workbook that will help you validate your idea.
Access freebie here: martineellis.com/50
The one where I interview email marketing expert, Meera Kothand, about the buyer's journey.
You can find the interview transcript at martineellis.com/49.
The one where I answer a question with nine more questions (and still manage to be helpful!) Honest.
Hello and welcome to episode 48 of the Creative Me podcast.
Today we are answering the question, why isn't anyone reading my blog?
In order to answer this question for you, I'm going to throw nine questions back at you. Yes, I'm answering a question with nine other questions, but please bear with me.
I think these nine questions will really help you work out why your readership isn't growing.
Do answer them as honestly as you can. Treat this as an audit of your blog.
Establishing a niche for your blog is absolutely essential, because if it's not clear what you're blogging about, then people just simply don't know what to expect from you.
They don't know what they're going to get when they turn up on your website.
Think about your blog purpose, in other words, the topics that you blog about. Make sure you are super clear on exactly what that is. Make sure that your reader is really clear on what that is too.
To be honest I tend to think of 'niche' as covering what you're writing about and who you are writing for. But we're splitting the two up in this explanation.
Think about your ideal customer avatar. Here's a blog post all about how to find your ICA (includes a downloadable worksheet).
When you go through the ideal customer avatar exercise, go into lots of detail and imagine one person who embodies your ideal reader or your ideal customer.
When I'm thinking about my ideal blog reader, I simply treat them as a customer because it just seems to make more sense to me.
Check out these blog posts:
So many of your readers are going to be looking at your blog on a teeny tiny mobile device.
You need to ensure the user experience is as pleasant as possible. You can test this yourself by just looking at your blog on your own mobile.
If your theme that you've chosen for your blog isn't mobile responsive, you need to research other options that are.
Are you helping your reader?
Most people these days read blogs to find the answer to a question or to get inspiration.
With the content that you're creating, are you being really useful or inspirational? If you aren't, you perhaps need to reconsider the types of blog posts and the content that you're creating.
When I say consistently, I'm not saying you have to be posting once a week. You could post once a month, you could post once every fortnight, but the key is that consistent pattern of posting.
Whatever posting frequency you choose - stick to it.
The one thing that I can suggest that will really help you keep to a consistent posting schedule is setting up a content calendar. You'll find a template here.
Consistency is really important because again, you want your reader to know what to expect from you.
Also, there is so much content out there, that if you disappear for a few months, you're as good as forgotten about.
I know it's harsh, but it's true. Consistent posting is essential and it will keep people coming back to your blog for more.
Are you effectively distributing your content via social media channels?
Are you letting people on your email list know that you've posted something new on your blog?
If you aren't, it's not surprising people aren't reading your blog. You can't just build it and expect people to flock. You need to tell people it's there.
Everyone is in such a hurry these days, particularly when browsing online.
When someone visits your blog, it's absolutely essential that the site loads quickly. If it doesn't, people will get bored and they will leave, it's just a fact, unfortunately.
It's very easy to test the speed of your website using Google's PageSpeed Tools.
Now, I don't want to come across as pedantic here, and I absolutely guarantee it, there will be a typo in my show notes, I know there will be.
However, just stop for a moment and think about why we use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.
The reason we do it is to ensure that what we're writing is easily understood. Therefore, if you litter your blog posts with spelling, grammar and punctuation errors, it's going to be hard to read.
Our job as bloggers is to get our message across as clearly as we possibly can.
You might be listening to this, thinking, Martine, I know what you're saying, but I'm just not great with spelling, punctuation and grammar.
I hear you and I would highly recommend you focus on this as an area for development for yourself, and you work on improving your skills. Personally, I really don't remember being taught a great deal about spelling, punctuation and grammar at school. Spelling maybe, but certainly not punctuation. My punctuation, up until the age of 30 was absolutely appalling. That doesn't mean you can't correct the situation now, that doesn't mean you can't develop your skills further.
Before you publish a blog post, I highly recommend leaving it to rest for 24 hours and then going back to proofread it. Because if you've not looked at the blog post for 24 hours and you read it again, you are more likely to spot any errors.
You could also ask somebody else to proofread your work. That is another really good strategy.
Finally, I recommend investing in Grammarly, it's a fantastic spellchecking tool and it's far superior to standard spell checkers.
Those are my nine questions to help you establish why you aren't growing your blog readership. I really hope that it helped you think about what you can do to improve your blogging.
Of course, if you have any questions, please hop over to my private Facebook group, The Lightbulb Club. There are loads of bloggers in there who would be very happy to help you. I spend perhaps a little bit too much time in there too, so I would love to see you in there.
Before I go, I just wanted to let you know that I'm attending a blogging event in the UK this weekend, I'm going to Blogtacular.
Do keep an eye out for me on social media, because I will be reporting back on what I'm learning, as often as I can.
Okay, that's it from me today. I really hope you enjoyed the episode and I hope you'll join me next week.
The one where I explain the difference between a Facebook Page and Group (while accidentally sharing my love for 90's boy bands).
Hello and welcome to episode 47 of the Creative Me podcast.
Today, we're talking about Facebook, specifically the difference between Facebook pages and Facebook groups.
This question cropped up in my own Facebook group, The Lightbulb Club. If you'd like to join us in The Lightbulb Club, then just go to thelightbulb.club and ask to join and I will ensure you're accepted within 48 hours.
So, what's the difference between a Facebook page and a Facebook group? That's what I'm going to answer in today's episode.
There are two ways you can establish a presence for your business or business persona on Facebook through a page or a group. We'll talk about pages first.
The best way to understand pages is to think about them as a profile page like your own but for a company, brand or public figure. A page is an official presence for an entity.
Whoever is running the page, that's the page administrator, can act as the entity in all ways, so they can post on the page, like other posts, all that sort of thing.
Fans who have liked the page will see the page's post in their newsfeed. Anyone can like a page.
There isn't an approval process required on the part of the administrator so it's very low maintenance.
That being said, administrators can assert a level of control over the type of content that's shared and, if necessary, they can ban followers.
Pages also offer detailed insights into page activity and growth.
Groups, on the other hand, tend to be smaller communities interested in a company, brand, public figure or topic whereas a page is an official presence.
Anyone can start a group. Let's use the example of a band. I'm going to go old school and choose New Kids on the Block (showing my age much?)
Fans would like their official page to get regular updates on the band's activities and, just so you know, they are still touring!
However, you might find a local fan has set up a group specifically for fans of NKOTB located in a specific geographic area who want to chat about their music. So, you might have Guernsey NKOTB Fans, for example.
You have more control over the privacy settings with a group. A group can be public, closed or secret.
Group members receive notifications by default when any member posts in the group. They can participate in chats, upload photos to shared albums, collaborate on group documents and they can invite members who are friends to group events.
Facebook groups are all about community.
The big question is this: what do you need?
There's an easy answer.
I would recommend you have both a page and a group (or groups).
Set up your page as your official business presence. You're probably going to end up using it as a broadcast or announcement channel.
For example, if you have a blog, I recommend you share all of your new blog posts there as they go live.
You will also need a Facebook page for advertising purposes.
Set up a group or groups for community purposes.
Like me, you might just have one group but equally, you could choose to set up groups for training programs you offer, or events, or other aspects of your business. Just be mindful of your workload.
Don't forget though, with Facebook, you are building your house on someone else's land so you should absolutely aim to get everyone from your group and your page onto your email list. That's essential.
A few people have asked me recently:
"Is it still worth being on Facebook given all the various algorithm changes they've made and how difficult it can be to get your content in front of eyeballs?"
My answer to this is yes, absolutely but do keep abreast of changes that are going on with Facebook so you can react accordingly.
Lately, I've picked up on the fact that quality over quantity seems to be a good approach, and also Facebook is prioritising live video over other different types of content.
If you've not yet had a go with live streaming on Facebook, I highly recommend it. As I've mentioned in previous episodes, I challenged myself to live stream every day for a week. It was a fantastic learning experience.
It's time to set up your Facebook page and your Facebook group.
Here's how you set up your Facebook page: how to set up a Facebook page.
Setting up a group is a little more nuanced so I've created a freebie for you: a downloadable PDF walking you through every step of setting up a Facebook group.
If you're still not convinced, I can honestly say that setting up a Facebook group, in particular, has been one of the best things I've done for my business.
The people in my group are my ideal customer avatar, so I get a direct line of communication with prospective customers.
Don't get me wrong. When I'm in my group, I'm not selling all the time because that's just going to turn people off and that's not what my group is for.
But, I do get to observe their pain points and their struggles and support them in a variety of different ways. To get yourself in front of prospective customers and the type of people you want to have in your community, a Facebook group is exactly the right way to go.
What about you? Have you got a Facebook page and/or a Facebook group? Are you finding things are changing with Facebook at the moment? Are you struggling in any way?
Do let me know. I'd love to hear from you. One of the best ways to talk to me is to join my Facebook group. Bizarrely, you weren't expecting that, were you?
Hop over to thelightbulb.club and that will direct you to the proper Facebook URL. If you ask to join, I will make sure you are approved as soon as possible. Then you'll get to introduce yourself and have a chat in the group.
One of the other great things about being in my Facebook group is you have a direct influence over what I blog and podcast about.
As I mentioned at the start of this episode, it was a direct response to a question that was asked in The Lightbulb Club so that's kind of cool.
Right. That's all from me today. I hope you've enjoyed today's short and sweet episode and I hope you'll tune in next week. Thanks for listening.