Happy 2022 friends! You are in for a treat today. Britt Lanza from New Altitudes graciously volunteered to write a guest blog for our readers. She is a business coach and an incredible wealth of knowledge. She has five dares for YOU, the MILSO entrepreneur, to tackle this year. Grab a snack and drink, this is a great read!
In a day and age where small business owners are being pressured to become social media influencers, we feel a huge sense of pressure to do ALL THE THINGS. It wouldn’t shock me at all if this title made you shiver in anxiety or roll your eyes and mutter a “what now?!” before reluctantly clicking on the link.
While it’s so important to track metrics, get noticed, and get the sale (duh; that’s why you’re in business, is it not?) it’s just as important to stand OUT. A concept so many seem to have forgotten in a world of 10 second lip sync videos and follower counts. As someone who started out in the “Instagram coach” realm, there’s a reason I pulled back HARD on the reigns of that idea as the pressure to just be like everyone else started being an even bigger “trend” in the online spaces.
None of this sits well with me. Quite frankly, it discourages unique shops from standing out, and can swallow brilliant ideas in the muddied down dance moves that swamp our feeds. So, I have an adverse paradigm I want to invite you all into. I want to dare you to do these 5 things this year, to not only project your business forward, but also ease your heart on these pressures and give you the permission you don’t need to do it your way.
Dare #1: Collaborate with others
One big projected trend for 2022 marketing, which we’ve seen a little bit of in 2021, is collaboration. Collaboration is an easy way to market to others’ communities without doing a lot of work to gain their trust. You don’t have to start at square one, resulting in higher conversions and more community members coming to the shared spaces. It’s an easy win-win for both you and whoever you’re collaborating with.
Take this blog post for example. You came here from one of two communities; either you came here from the Spouse Serve community, or you came here from New Altitudes. Either way, you trust this article because you trust the community you came from, right? (You should; both communities are awesome!)
The beautiful thing is that no matter which community you originally came from, you now trust both and will likely follow or read further from us both. That’s the power of collaboration. A collide and mixture of communities.
With that, I am going to dare you to do a collaboration each month of 2022.
This could be:
A blog collab (either share your space or pitch yourself to be a guest writer)
A podcast interview (either share your space or pitch yourself to be a guest)
Swap Instagram stories, craft a reel together, or swap posts on your feed with someone who shares either 1. The same niche, but different topics or 2. Different niche but same topic areas and offer a unique perspective.
Work on a product or service with someone (if monetized, please have a contract and work out payment before you put ANY work into this).
Something else (I double dog dare you to get creative and be BOLD).
Dare #2: Don’t be scared to niche down
Another huge projection is the idea that “one stop shops” just aren’t going to cut it anymore. I believe this projection is accurate. There will be less and less a desire for someone who does it “all” and a stronger emphasis on helping the client with your particular Zone of Genius. What does that mean for you?
You need to understand your ideal client now more than ever. You can’t service just any “mom”. You won’t resonate strongly with just any “woman”. So remove these vague words from your bio. It’s time to really discover who you want to serve and serve them strongly.
A few good reasons to tighten your niche:
Instagram is switching to a chronological feed, so you need to know when your IDEAL follower is online (not just who’s following you now, unless your DMs are blowing up with sales calls and $$ is falling out from your home screen).
Instagram is also utilizing key words and moving away from hashtags; which means the same old #momsofig won’t work to find your clients for you. Key words like “Postpartum friendly” will though. Understanding who you are talking to will help you with this.
Understanding who you are selling to will help you figure out what products to make/sell. If you understand where they are in life or their objections, you’re more likely to have a response ready or even discuss objections in your content.
Lastly, remember that follower count on ANY platform doesn’t mean sales. I had a client who sold over $250,000 in 2021, her first year of business, and she has under 400 followers. I also work with clients who struggle to sell $200 a month and have more followers than I do. They don’t convert the same, especially if your ideal client/customer isn’t following you.
Dare #3: I dare you to stop the comparison and see the gap
Does this sound familiar?
“Well, I just found an account that is doing what I was kind of thinking about doing so now I don’t think I should do it,”.
Or how about…
“Well, I was going to do this reel but I see someone else did it already and they did it way better,”.
“I did this post/video someone posted and it blew up so I tried doing something similar but it flopped. Maybe they are just better than me?”
I have gotten all of these in a DM from clients or community members multiple times. It happens to us all; we decide to start a business, or maybe just take our business to the next level (aka take it seriously), and the first thing we do is check to see who else is doing what we are doing.
It’s important to realize the algorithm tries to promote accounts that it thinks you’ll enjoy; so when you post about your small business, it’s going to try to find more like it for you. When you engage with them, you’ll get more too. So even though you see 100x the same type of business as you on your feed, you’re probably one of few that your followers actually know about in your field.
The funny thing about that “market research” is that few people do it correctly and thus the majority just get sucked up in this comparison trap. But the comparisons don’t end with another business or account; it goes far beyond that. You start comparing every story, every post, every product and even her website to your own. You even get so sucked up in this trap that you compare your own posts to each other – does this sound familiar?
“I had a post blow up last night, so now I need to create all my content to be identical, so I get more/the same level of engagement,” … and then it probably flops, right?
This comparison game is common. Just because it is common doesn’t mean it isn’t toxic.
Instead of comparing post for post and reel for reel, let’s really look at what you SHOULD be doing. I dare you to stop comparing and see the gap instead.
When doing market research, ask yourself:
Who are they talking to? Is it the same market/niche I have?
How do they serve their community? What topics/approaches/materials do they utilize?
What’s the gap – what are they missing? Who are they forgetting about? What important topic do they skip over? What point are they NOT making?
Who is actually building community, and who is just building a private bulletin board of sales ads?
What do you like about what they do, and what don’t you enjoy so much? What would you change?
These questions, coupled with your business mission statement and business values, will help guide you towards YOUR truth, and what sets your business apart from others.
In a world where an estimated 75% of the workforce will be entrepreneurs in the next few years, it’s imperative that you find what makes your business unique and lean in hard.
Dare #4: I dare you to repurpose your content
It’s no secret that IG posts last a maximum of a week, Facebook group posts last about two, and LinkedIn posts can last up to a month. Don’t let your hard work go to waste! To be honest; your followers aren’t going to remember what you posted a year ago. Post it again.
How often do you reuse past content? How often do you reference a post from 6 months ago? How often do you have a CTA (call to action; what you are telling your audience to do now that they’ve seen your content) that goes to an older interview, podcast, or topic? Probably not as often as you should!
You can even craft one piece of content and spread it out over a week on 4 different platforms. Let’s look at a few examples:
Write a blog post (like this one, for instance). This blog has 5 dares. I can easily turn each dare into an Instagram post of their own. I can then create templates for Pinterest and post all 5 on Pinterest throughout the week. I can do a training in my stories or go live on Facebook explaining each one too. Lastly, go to Clubhouse and deliver all 5 dares to an audience and gather their questions for a follow up to the content later.
This is equal to: 1 blog post, 5 IG posts, 5 pins, 5 FB lives and IG stories/reels, a clubhouse room, and don’t forget the email I am going to write to let my audience know about it there too.
Don’t have a blog? Swap it out for “email”, “podcast”, “course”, etc. The best part? Repost this content and reference your old blog post in about 3-4 months.
How does that trending audio go? “No one’s gonna know…”. 😉
Dare #5: I dare you to dance to your own rhythm
What truly stinks right now, though I believe it will eventually dissipate, is this unrealistic pressure for the small business owner to be a social media Influencer. Remember; social media is just part of your business. It’s the part that acts as marketing and a huge piece of your sales funnel and client/customer journey. However, it’s not everything.
The reason I love repurposing content is that it’s easy to do, doesn’t require more time from you to craft content for all these different platforms, can usually be automized if you want them to be, and shows your authority across all platforms.
This pressure to gain all the followers, to be present on every app, and to spend 26 hours a day on social media is bogus. In fact, a projection for 2022 online marketing shows that people don’t trust social media platforms quite like they used to. For the business owner, we’re being told it’s time to be on multiple platforms. Yes, they recommend you don’t “just” have an Instagram anymore. I KNOW.
After I was done groaning, I put on my MEO mindset cap and thought, “Okay Britt; what next?”. Honestly; it’s all just part of the business.
The good news is you don’t have to be an expert in any one platform. You just need to show up. If you’re a perfectionist or someone who likes to do it right the first time (hello Enneagram 1s and 3s LOL) it’s time to let go of that and lean into imperfect action. Just show up. Because having a presence is better than not showing up at all. Worry about learning more as you go, slowly, without burning yourself out trying to learn a new algorithm.
BONUS DARE: I dare you to release anything that doesn’t feel right.
That’s right. If you read one of these dares and thought “UHG; I do NOT want to do that,” let it go now.
Don’t want to collaborate? That’s fine. I didn’t like group projects in school either.
Enjoy comparison games? That’s fine. Sometimes competitive spirits like the challenge.
Don’t want to show up? Okay. I get it. Social media will still be here if you change your mind.
Because here’s the ultimate truth; it’s your freaking business. Do it the way you want to. You aren’t doing a traditional 9-5 for a reason and no one can tell you how to run your business. I tell my clients all the time that I won’t be offended if something I say in a 1:1 call doesn’t fit their business needs or desires. That’s for you and you only to know and decipher.
So if something doesn’t feel good to you; release it and don’t let it sit in your mind taking up valuable space. Release it and move on to better ideas.
I hope you learn to lean into what sets your soul on fire, what makes you whistle while you work, and what truly means the most to you. Yes, parts of the online business space suck. It’s possible to learn to love those parts though. It’s also totally possible to be on multiple platforms and spend LESS time on any platform than ever before too.
To summarize this lengthy blog post;
Lean into your community, and the communities of others, to organically grow and show up as an authoritative figure in your space.
Be specific on who you serve and serve them with your whole heart.
Do the market research so you can show up as genuine and unique as you are, and without the self-doubt and negative mindsets.
Repurpose your content so you spend less time on any one platform, while still delivering high quality content.
As much expectation as society has on us entrepreneurs, we are just that; one person with a big dream. Ultimately, lean in where it makes you happy, and just show up. If something isn’t sitting right with you; ditch it. You can live without it, no matter who tells you what to do – even me.
Britt, MEO of New Altitudes
Did you learn something? I would love to know! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram at @new_altitudes. You can also check out my website at www.newaltitudesllc.com for information on ways to work together.
As always, if you're interested in being a guest blogger or having your business featured on our blog, please send us an email at email@example.com.