About Me

So, where to start…

Creative  minded. Spiritually inclined. 30 Something…

I was born and brought up in the city of London but I relocated to Leicester (for love) back in 2016. 

A Psychology graduate who in my early career worked predominantly in schools and in the community to empower and offer support to people with disabilities, Digital Marketing found me back in 2009, when I least expected it, and I have been creating content (See my Blog Post ‘5 Things you didn’t know about me) and marketing it online ever since.

In London, my Digital Marketing role involved working for large retail brands in the luxury industry with extensive funds, so when I moved to Leicester, my attention moved to those with smaller budgets.

Spending time with a variety of businesses and hearing about the challenges that they face and then encouraging and motivating them to find creative solutions to their Marketing blocks is what drives me. My passion for Digital Marketing is based on the theory that ‘You don’t need to be a big brand to succeed in business, you just need to be a little creative and think outside the box’ and thats where I come in! 

Since setting up my business, I have conducted a number of 1:1 Coaching sessions with small businesses (See my Blog Post ‘1:1 Coaching, Aura by Sidhi’) and small group workshops (Here is the latest Instagram Business Growth Workshop)

Ok enough about me…

But if you are itching to learn more, you can find out about my background (It’s pretty interesting) via LinkedIn here. And if you want to understand about every aspect I do including speaking & collaborations,  follow me on Instagram @iamrenuravalia

For questions or enquiries, email me on info@renuravalia.com for more information.

The power of routines and tips around creating one when you work for yourself

You have had a routine your whole life, you might not realise it but we have all been to school, some of us college and university and then we have worked, these routines are embedded in us, we have been conditioned to follow them but when you work for yourself it is easy to forget about routine, the freedom of doing what you want and when and having no one to answer to (but yourself) can be confusing and once we fall out of routine, we can feel lost so routine is very important.

Here I share some of my routine tips and how I manage them:

  1. PLANNING YOUR DAY: I am an early riser, I still like getting up early so I haven’t changed this. Starting work at 9am works for me, I usually start with Social Media and emails, my mornings aren’t always most productive but I know I feel good when I start my day early. Are you an early riser? When are you most productive? If you don’t know, document your day and figure out when you work the best and plan your day around this.
  2. MAKING LIST: I have always made lists, it helps me to plan my days and figure out my priorities. I have tried lots of journals but found most of them overwhelming, so I created my own, this works on a week by week basis and includes positive references to keep my mind in right place. It also has a section dedicated to things which aren’t urgent but are swimming around my head. Want to learn more about my journal, drop me a message and I will send you an image of it.
  3. HUMAN INTERACTION: I miss having people around, like many people who are self employed, I work from home most of the time but I also know I am motivated when I am in other peoples presence so once in a while I head to a cafe to work, I still do this alone but leaving the house and having some human interaction really helps. Do you need human interaction? Get yourself out of the house at least once a week to help and see how it helps your creativity.

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The 80/20 rule explained

If you want to create a Social Media profile that get’s engagement, you need to think about the content you share and this is where the 80/20 rules comes in.

If you put yourself in your customers position, would you want to see posts that constantly sell a product? Unless you are a brand who has 500k followers, the answer is probably no.

The 80/20 rules says only 20% of your posts should sell and help drive sales, the remaining 80% should be valuable content that is informative/educational/personable/creative.

Remember, it has to be about your customer and not about you. Still don’t get it? This infographic should help and if you still need more help, get in touch here and we can discuss how to create a content plan for your business.

80% Vs 20%

NEW for 2020 – Business Mentoring Programmes

I have been coaching businesses for 18 months now and it is so great to see businesses adopt the strategies I teach them but a lot of the time, businesses struggle with staying ahead and seem to loose motivation when they are doing it on their own.

For this reason, next year I will be launching a Mentoring Programme, this will be a virtual programme. The programme is aimed at getting businesses in the right place and giving them the confidence to create a strategy that will bring in the results they need. The support will be tailored around individual business needs.

Two packages:

There will be 2 package options. One will be based around Instagram and the other will cover alternative channels.

The Instagram Bespoke package – This is focussed solely on Instagram and will teach you everything you need to know from writing engageable posts to hashtags, video content, social media mindset work, growing following and anything else you struggle with. Priorities will be identified in advance.

What does this include:

  • 6 hours of 1:1 virtual support calls
  • Audit of your Instagram and feedback
  • A programme to cover all areas of Instagram
  • Mindset support & confidence building
  • Accountability for the whole period
  • Access to extra help
  • Homework and tasks to aid growth


The VIP Full Package – 
This is for businesses who need help with Instagram, Facebook and other areas of their online strategy, this might include advice on website, LinkedIn or writing blogs, events or influencer marketing. Priorities will be identified in advance.

What does this include:

  • 8 hours of 1:1 virtual support calls
  • Audit of all the channels we will be working on
  • Mindset support & confidence building
  • A programme to cover every aspect of your online requirements
  • Accountability for the whole period
  • Unlimited access to help and guidance
  • Homework and tasks to aid growth
  • 1 hour virtual after care call

Who are these packages for?

  1. Small – medium sized businesses who are managing their digital marketing in-house but need help with strategy
  2. Small – medium sized businesses who are serious about growth but don’t know how to use social media/online marketing to grow their business
  3. Small – medium sized businesses who need clarity and support to build their digital marketing or Instagram strategy
  4. Small – medium sized businesses who know Instagram is their main channel but have no idea how to use it for their business
  5. Small – medium sized businesses who just want to learn more about the basics or Instagram or digital marketing

I want to learn more

If you think you want to grow your business and need some extra support and accountability, get in touch to learn more about these packages.

4 things to remember when working with influencers

In November I hosted my first influencer event for a restaurant in London, I have been managing their Social Media since their October launch and working with influencers has been a big part of my growth strategy for the brand. Being a new business, getting access to content and exposure is pivotal for growth but what do you need to know when working with influencers? Here are a few tips.

  1. Find people who sit with your brand. If you are a luxury business, it is no point working with someone who doesn’t have a luxury lifestyle because you can almost guarantee their audience will be completely wrong for you and won’t result in adequate results.
  2. Be clear on what you want from them in advance, are you looking for story content or a Instagram Post or would you like a whole blog post written on them? If you want some of their imagery, make sure you get their permission before you work together
  3. Do you have a budget? Or are you looking for free exposure? If you are willing to spend some money, speak to the influencer and try to negotiate a price that suits you. If you want free exposure, micro influencers will usually work for you are a freebie.
  4. It is not all about following and likes – it’s important to see who and how many people are commenting on posts. Also don’t be afraid to ask for a media pack to understand their audience, stats and even how many people view their stories.Influencer marketing has become a really lucrative business so make sure you do your research and understand what you want and what you are getting so you don’t need to be disappointed, also try different types of influencers within your industry in different niches to see what works best for you.Looking for more advice around working with influencers or just help with how to approach them? Get in touch by sending me an email on info@renuravalia.com

 

Tips to encourage engagement on Social Media

I have recently been doing lots of Content Plans for businesses, some businesses don’t know where to start with this and just need some support and a plan to help them build on. Realising the lack of knowledge when it comes to creating posts for social media, here are some tips for getting yourself noticed.

Instagram – Don’t be too salsely, the worst thing I see if people saying LINK IN BIO in every post.

Facebook – Include a link if you want people to learn more. Facebook is not like Instagram so don’t be scared to doing the harder sell.

Instagram – Give details, your audience don’t know what you do so don’t be shy to give lots of detail of what it is you are promoting.

Facebook – Hashtags don’t work on Facebook like they do on Instagram, the only time they are acceptable is if something is trending, for example #mentalhealthawarenessweek

Instagram – Use good images and be creative, Instagram is an image led channel so image is what will help you get noticed.

Facebook & Instagram – Ask questions, if you want people to talk to you, be specific and ask them questions.

Facebook & Instagram – Mix up your content, don’t just put one product, after another, sit down and think about everything you have to offer and mix it up.

I want more help please…

If you want more tips on using Social Media, head over to my IGTV channel for inspiration and advice – I am Renu Ravalia IGTV Channel or just send me an email on info@renuravalia.com to learn more about how I can help you.

 

Photo Credit: William Iven via Unspalsh

Do’s & Don’ts – How to use Instagram Hashtags

Hashtags always cause confusion and are one of the areas that people always need extra support on, so I thought it would be helpful to share some do’s and dont’s around using hashtags for business.

 

DO your research – I always recommend doing some research around hashtags that your customer might be using to find you.

DON’T keep using the same hashtags again and again – the whole idea of hashtags is to help grow following, by using the same hashtags over and over your limiting your awareness, you are also more likely to be marked as spam if Instagram sees you using the same # on each post, so be creative.

DO understand your audience – in order to sit in the right places and succeed in your research, you need to be clear on who your audience is, so put yourself in their position – think like you customer.

DON’T use hashtags with millions and thousands of posts – people often make this mistake but if you think about it logically, what is the likelihood yours will ever been seen if that many other people are using it?

DO use # in your stories – A lot of people are not aware that # can also be using in stories. Although there is only one sticker, you can use up to 10 # in your stories.

 

Want to learn more about #, you can head over to my IGTV Channel where I share lots of videos including one around Hashtags – Using Hashtags on Instagram

Instagram hides likes -Everything you need to know – why, implications & strategy

Earlier this year, it was announced that Instagram would be hiding likes, although it hasn’t reached England yet, it has been rolled out in various other countries starting in Canada.

Why you ask? 

There has been a lot of negative press around Social Media and the effects it has on mental health, the world is already very fickle and being judged by the amount of likes a post gets forces people to feel under pressure which results in less posting and less engagement which isn’t great for the app or for those using it.

Although Instagram says the reason for doing this is due to trying to stop it being a popularity contest, I personally believe, this change could also be a result of them wanting people to spend more time on the app. If people don’t feel the pressure of likes, they will post more often and spend more time on Instagram. At the end of the day, Instagram is still a business, so if the amount of users decrease, this will impact how people advertise with the app.

How does this effect influencers? 

The second reason for this change is due to influencer marketing, Influencer sponsored content is still the best-performing stuff on Instagram, I personally find this really interesting, over the years, there has been a rise in influencers, having worked with some as a client, a lot of the time, when negotiating a fee, one of the KPI’s is the ability to attract likes to a post. This change means the content shared by influencers will need to result in more tangible results, using an influencer and building a fan base is great but what about conversion rate? The removal of likes will help filter out the real influencers from those who’s influence doesn’t necessary lead to results, because if the collaboration doesn’t result in sales, how justifiable is the money spent on influencer marketing?

What does this change actually mean?

In a recent article by Mobile Marketing, the following was cited:

Under the test, people will still be able to see all photos and videos in their feeds as usual. However, only the person who posted content will be able to see their likes and view counts.

“We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get,” said Instagram on Twitter. “You can still see your own likes by tapping on the list of people who’ve liked it, but your friends will not be able to see how many likes your post has received.”

What should you be doing now? 
  1. Videos

The introduction of IGTV was a massive hint as to where IG wanted the app to go to. Instagram have claimed that now popularity will be based on quality content and using video is one way you can ensure your message is heard.

2. Stories

You would have noticed engagement on stories improve over the last few months, this is because Instagram want you to be making more use of stories. You may not have even consciously noticed the urge to scroll right instead of down, I personally believe the popularity of stories is massively to do with our short attention span – another interesting observation.

3. Collaborations

Want to grow a genuine following? Find the right people to collaborate with, tap into people who share your audience and work out new and creative ways you can collaborate with them online and offline. Your strategy should never just be online, connecting with people offline is just as important for growth and helps you to get some great content.

More help please

Got any more questions about this or need some virtual support with your Instagram Strategy, send me an email on info@renuravalia.com or head over to my Instagram here for more FREE advice – @iamrenuravalia

If you are East Midlands based, the next Instagram Workshop takes place on 5th September, you can learn more here.

Blogging tips for the non creative

I have been writing blogs for the last 10 years, for myself personally and also for businesses, it’s one of my specialities alongside Social Media. I recently had a session with a law firm (Learn more here) who really made me value the importance of sharing the difference between blog posts and traditional articles. It is not something I had thought of but there is definitely a notable difference. Bearing this in mind and realising that others may face the same problem as the firm I worked with, here are a few tips to help you improve your blog post writing.

  • Keep sentences and paragraphs short
    Short Sentences will make the post easier to read. Paragraphs should also be short and sweet. The shorter the paragraph, the more likely you are to keep your readers attention. 
  • Use Imagery
    Using images to break up your content will keep your reader engaged and interested. Another tip is to number or add bullet points and subheadings – a bit like I have done here
  • Watch your word count
    A blog post is supposed to be shorter than a traditional article, try to limit your word count to 700-1000 words but make sure you include an introduction paragraph and a conclusion, so even if your audience don’t read the main body, they will get the gist of what you are trying to say.

Blog writing is supposed to be fun which means you can add a little personality to your writing. You don’t have to be an expert blogger to write blog posts, you just need to learn the basics and go for it!

3 stats that explain why every business needs to be on Instagram

I can’t lie, I am pretty much always on Instagram but if I wasn’t you would worry right? I have been coaching businesses for 9 months now and as I research brands, I still see so many businesses not using the channel to its top potential, if this sounds like you, here are 3 statistics that explain why you need to improve your relationship with Instagram.

  1. Instagram keeps growing and growing…

    In June 2018, Instagram reported to have over 1 billion monthly active users. This grew from 800 million in September, 2017 – Business.instagram.com

  2. Consumers are buying…

    72% of Instagram users say they have purchased a product they saw on the app – Jan 2019 – Website hosting rating

  3. It’s influencers preferred channel..

    78% of  Influencers prefer Instagram for Brand Collaboration – Emarketer

Got some questions about your business and how you can use Instagram to grow it? Get in touch on info@renuravalia.com

1:1 Coaching, House to Home by Leena

Leena first came to me back in November wanting help marketing her Interior Design Blog, her second session was focussed more on getting the hang of WordPress, a platform I have been managing for 9 years.

Every 1:1 session is written based on the goals and Leena’s were very specific:

1) Advice & suggestions for website layout
2) Linking Social Media Channels
3) How to market blogs and advice on WordPress features such as tags, categories and SEO
4) Other advice and guidance on how to manage her blog

The session included ways she could improve the blog including suggestions of how to make it more user friendly. We looked at inspiration for topics of blog posts including advice on her writing style and best practice. We finished with a clearer idea of what she needs to do to grow the blog and how to do it.

Leena said the following about the session:

‘Renu has offered a wealth of information and experience when we’ve had our social media sessions. As I am new to maximising the potential of social media, Renu has provided useful tips and tricks on how I can make the most of what I am doing to make it count for me and also my followers. Being a mum and still working full time, I need to be able to do things that are efficient as well as work for me rather than against me and my business. By having Renu’s expertise I’ve made small changes which have been so useful in moving my business forward in the social media space. I hope to implement more of Renu’s tips in the year to come so that I can take my business to where I’d like it to be.’

About 1:1 Coaching

Each session and content is tailored around the individuals needs giving a really bespoke service. I cover a number of Digital Marketing services including Social Media, Blog Inspiration, Content Planning, SEO and Marketing Strategy. All content is received by the business so they can refer back to it at anytime and they are sent a clear action plan to help them prioritise. The sessions have been created to be affordable with maximum value. Whether its a skype call you need or face to face interaction, why not get in touch. Contact me on info@renuravalia.com to find out more.

 

 

3 Questions you should be asking yourself when creating content

The days have gone on Instagram when you can post a photo, put a short description, a few hashtags and see your engagement flurry, well unless you are a big brand with thousands of followers.

Apart from things like timing which is of course an important thing to think about and using certain # to help target your audience.  You need to be thinking about what you are posting and ways in which you can be adding value to your audience if you want to see positive growth.

There are 3 questions I believe you should be asking yourself when you are about to post an image but firstly, I think the process of sharing an image should start by putting yourself in your customers position, would you like this post?

– Are your posts adding value 

– Are your posts sharing your personal opinion 

– Are you solving problems for your customer 

Still need some help with content creation? Need some inspiration and yo understand how to create a clear strategy with some good exmaples? Get in touch on info@renuravalia.com and let’s have a chat!

 

 

 

1:1 Coaching, Aura By Sidhi

Sidhi from ethnic jewellery brand Aura by Sidhi came to me with a desire to improve her Social Media Marketing knowledge. Launching her business in mid 2018, she knew there was more she could be doing to market herself better but was confused about creating a good strategy and also ensuring she was targeting the right client profiles.

Her main goals for the session were based around growing following on Facebook & Instagram and grow her brand awareness. After an audit of her channels, we did some brainstorming and looked at ways techniques for growing following, content inspiration and did some extensive work on Hashtags. She left with a clear strategy and a plan for immediate action.

Sidhi expressed how much she enjoyed the session and you can find her feedback below:

‘Thank you so much for the wonderful session yesterday. Before have a 1:1 session with you, I was really confused about my jewellery brand and the effort I have been putting into building my brand name, if it was right for the business or not. Before our session, you had done some good research about my brand and what I needed to improve to build brand awareness and reach my ideal clients, you guided me in the best way. The words like strategy and ideal clients always confused me and you me me understand them really well. Whatever confusion I had related to social media you made all my queries easy to understand. I am very happy I took this session with you and am really excited to work with you on my brand. Thanks for you help. You are really good at your job. PS. I should have come for a 1:1 session before starting my brand.’

About 1:1 Coaching

Each session and content is tailored around the individuals needs giving a really bespoke service. I cover a number of Digital Marketing services including Social Media, Blog Inspiration, Content Planning, SEO and Marketing Strategy. All content is received by the business so they can refer back to it at anytime and they are sent a clear action plan to help them prioritise. The sessions have been created to be affordable with maximum value. Whether its a skype call you need or face to face interaction, why not get in touch. Contact me on info@renuravalia.com to find out more.

Free Social Media Apps I love!

There are a few apps I absolutely love to use on a regular basis, these really help me to create my Social Media posts and also help me to organise my feed, below are three of them that I believe are 100% worth downloading and playing around with.

  1. Planoly Absolutely love Planoly, this app allows you to plan, manage and schedule your Instagram posts. I use the free version which allows you a limited amount of uploads each month and 1 user but as I grow, I would 100% pay for this app. It is brilliant! Alternative app: Later
  2. Adobe Spark – My second favourite app and great if you are in the service industry like me. I use this to create my own image content which allows me to keep my content unique and fun. Alternative app: Canva
  3. Moldiv – Moldiv is another firm fav! For my business, I choose not to do collages but if you are a brand that sells multi products, moldiv is really handy photo editor app and something I used when I worked for my last employer.

4 Business Tips every entrepreneur should learn

A few weeks ago, I took to the road to attend an event in Loughborough hosted by the Leicestershire & Rutland Property & Lifestyle magazine The Whistle. The talk was centred around ‘Building a brand in a Social World’ and featured three entrepreneurs talking about their brands: Made in Chelsea celebrity Jamie Laing & his business partner Ed Williams discussing their confectionary brand Candy Kittens. Owner of local Leicester based clothing brand Just Hype Liam Green & Peter Watson, public speaker & owner of Digital Marketing Agency Distract.

When I lived in London, I rarely attended events like this but since working for myself, they drive me and inspire me, so I am always excited to see what advice I can get from other entrepreneurs. The event was brilliant and very insightful (it also included free Pizza & drinks) and left me with quite a bit of food for thought (Literally). Although I can’t recreate every aspect of the fantastic event, I did want to share a few business tips from the evening with you all. So here goes…

‘Keep lots of lists’ – Liam Green

When Just Hype owner was asked how he manages his time, his advice was to keep lots of lists. It sounds pretty simple but when you are running your own business, everything becomes a priority so its important to keep lists to avoid getting overwhelmed.

Follow Just Hype on Instagram here
Follow entrepreneur Liam Green here

‘Talk about what you are going to do because people will slowly understand your brand’ – Jamie Laing

Before Candy Kittens launched, Jamie had already visualised where the brand would go and was talking about it like it already existed. The more you talk about your brand, the more people will be able to connect to it and understand it. I have realised this through personal experience too, it’s ultimately about believing in the brand.

Follow Candy Kittens on Instagram here 
Follow entrepreneur Jamie Laing here

 

‘If you help someone, they will buy from you. If you sell to them, they will ignore you’ – Peter Watson

It was Peter Watson from Distract that said this and what this really comes down to is adding value. If you can include helping in your business strategy, the likelihood is, you will remembered, appreciated and are more likely to be recommended which in the long run will lead to sales and of course positive business growth.

Follow Distract on Instagram here
Follow Entrepreneur Peter Watson on Instagram here

 

‘Attention to detail. Make the brand stand out’ – Ed Williams

‘Think big. Persistency is key’ – Edward Williams

Candy Kittens was created to challenge the big brands in the confectionary world. Gourmet sweets made with quality ingredients in beautiful packaging. Neither Jamie nor Edward were put off by the competition.

The above two business tips were mentioned by Edward Williams and having my own business, I think they are essential to remember. If you can do something better than the others and you are confident in your abilities, then there is no competition and success is inevitable, just make sure you pay attention to detail and think big!

Follow Candy Kittens on Instagram here 
Follow entrepreneur Edward Williams  here

3 ways with Hashtags on Instagram

Social Media Marketing

One of the best ways to increase your following on Instagram is to be savvy with your Hashtags but what’s the most effective way to use them? Here are 3 ways to help you create a successful hashtag strategy for Instagram and see a positive increase in your following:

1. In your post description

A 2014 Instagram study by Simply Measured reported: Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement.

Instagram allows you to use 30 hashtags, although I wouldn’t advise using all 30, making sure you utilise hashtags is massively important if you want to grow your following on Instagram, just remember to strategic about the hashtags you use to ensure you are attracting the right audience!

2. In your stories

I love stories, a place where I can post everything about myself as a brand. Unless you make them an Instagram Highlight, stories only last 24 hours so to make sure these are seen, don’t forget to add hashtags. You will be surprised how many more views you can get if you remember to always hashtag your stories.

3. To find like minded people

Part of your strategy should always be to connect with like minded brands but where to start? If you search for hashtags relevant to your industry and the follow them (another new addition for 2018), you’ll be surprised what you might find, not only inspiration but also an easy way to see what others within your space are doing.

 

 

 

SEO: The Basics

I have spent a lot of my time working on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). With a small budget, it can really be the driving force for bringing traffic to your website, so it is 100% worth spending a little time working on SEO. If this is something you are not familiar with, here is a very brief explanation of SEO.

SEO is the process of optimizing your website to ‘rank’ higher in search engine results pages, therefore increasing the amount of organic (or free) traffic that your website receives. 

There are two types of SEO: On page/Onsite SEO and Off Page/Offsite SEO.

ON PAGE SEO

On page refers to your page copy i.e. Meta Description. Page Title. Alt Text. Heading Texts. Before looking at working on this type of SEO think about what key words you want to be optimised for. This should always be the first step to creating your SEO Strategy.

To win on page, make sure your pages are well structured (Making sure you use Headings H1 and subheadings H2) and use specific keywords (to avoid google getting confused about where to send traffic to). Also ensure every single page has:

  • Alt text
  • H1 & H2 (heading texts)
  • Page title
  • Meta description
  • Keyword within the content

OFF PAGE SEO

Off page refers to creating an online and offline footprint away from your website. This is done through creating back links to your website from Social Media, Articles, Blog Posts, Discussion Boards etc. If you have valuable back links, google will know that you have great content that will add value to your audience, so you’ll rank higher.

To win off page you want  to link internal pages using the keyword that best defines that page and remember, the more relevant or legitimate the website your back links come from, the better you are likely to be ranked. If your ready to take the next step and build a strategy around your SEO, then Moz have a great article with lots more detail. You can read it here.

To Summarise

SEO is an ongoing process and requires time, so remember to be patient. And a few final words…

1. The first part of your SEO strategy is to decide which keywords to rank for, be specific, start with a broad list, and then whittle it down using Google Keyword Planner.

2. Once you have your list, keep a record of the keywords you are optimising for and where you rank and keep visiting these keywords so you have visibility of your position.

2. To remain at the top of the page, make sure your also use these keywords within the content on your website including in your blog.

3. Also work on getting quality inbound links. For example: By Guest Blogging for a website or working with trusted digital influencers.

4. Analyse and monitor. Monthly analysing will help you to change your strategy if things aren’t working, so stay open to change.