Instagram is the only form of marketing I've ever used for my business, so for years I've felt at the mercy of social media for enquires and leads.
And Instagram has been great, but as it's evolved it's become harder to be as commited to it...because my energy just isn't there for Reels production like it was for the static grid.
I'll use Reels, but only in a way that feels authentic to me.
And so this has exacerbated the Insta-Enquiries cycle that I find myself in...I wonder if you resonate with any of this?
It goes something like this...
I realise it's looking a little quiet in the diary next month so I had better get some posts out there...
*Cue activity on Instagram*
I get super busy with client work
I take my eye off the ball with regards to my social media presence
I realise it's looking a little quiet in the diary so I had better get some posts out there...
And so it continues...
It's a cycle that gets you stuck.
And to be honest it can also mean that you're coming at it from a place of fear rather than joy to spread your message - which is never a good thing because that energy carries clout.
If you're creating in a place of fear, you can be assured that what you're going to invite back is more of the same.
All of which has led me to investigate...
How can I market my business with more grace and ease and that is in alignment with my strengths?
My goal for this year is to break free of the above cycle.
It probably sounds crazy that I'm still in this loop, because I know all of the theory about what I should be doing with regards to marketing techniques and tools. I've studied it...taken courses...downloaded freebies...researched.
1) I love my client work and I'd rather be doing that than taking myself away to come up with a marketing plan.
2) I love Instagram and because it's worked for me, I've been lazy. I know that I can post consistently for a week or two and create the interest I need to support my business.
But I've tired of it. I don't want to feel under pressure to post, and I don't want to worry about where my clients will be coming from in three months time.
At the point of writing, I'm in my mid 40's and I also don't want to have to jump through hoops or sing to the same hymn sheet as everyone else.
I also don't want to be part of the digital noise or of the frenetic 'look at me' energy.
3) I know all the theory about what I 'should be doing'...but there is so much noise about what we 'should be doing', that how do we actually know what the 'should be doing' things are that we actually 'should be doing'?! :)
So what am I going to do differently in my marketing?
At the risk of giving you another 'should be doing'...
At the end of the day, creating content for social media should be the end result and not the journey. It's not the be all and end all - even though it can feel like it sometimes.
I didn't start business to become a social media manager, I started my business so that I can empower other women to create their ripple effect of positive change in the world.
Maybe you have a similar story?
So rather than creating content just for social, from here on in I will be investing time in creating aligned content at source.
I'm going to document these steps for you as I go, to explain what I'm doing in case you find yourself in a similar boat!
I'm calling this my conscious marketing experiment.
So what's involved?
A conscious marketing experiment in 8 steps
1) It starts with a website refresh
This all began with a major refresh of the messaging and flow of my website. Like many small business owners, I'm busy on client work so have to grab time on my website updates here and there. Working in silos like this means that eventually you may end up with a website that feels a bit disjointed and needs some TLC and an overhaul.
Because I will be inviting more traffic to my site, I want it to be on point.
Just recently I've done a clean sweep through of all of my core pages to ensure that when visitors arrive on my page, they're invited in.
2) Breathing life into the blog
At the same time, I've been revitalising my blog - which I set up at the same time as my business but have never given any focus.
I'm going to be intentional about what I write about (I'll be sharing more on this) and using what I know about search engine optimisation to give these articles the best chance of being discovered - along with myself.
I'll be using this to help people build their brands, to share my philosophy and perspective, to debunk some of the masculine energy inherent in the website design industry, and to gently introduce my services.
And there will be no hard selling involved which feels aligned for me.
None of this sounds like rocket science so far, but here is where I find my experiment getting interesting...
3) Loving on my email list.
As my inner circle, my email subscribers will be hearing lots more from me and it's where I'm going to be practicing my storytelling (more on that in a coming post).
At the time of writing I have a small email list of circa 300 with an open rate of around 50-60%. I want to help my people build their businesses with regular actionable content so that they can create wider reaching ripples in their brand, so I'm going to be giving a lot more of myself.
4) Letting go of what doesn't feel aligned
For years I've told myself the following storyline...it's been on repeat in my head like a broken record.
If only I could start to go live on Instagram...to find the confidence to talk to camera...then I'll reach the heights that I know my business is destined for. Being visible is the key to unlocking all of this.
And for years I've beaten myself up for not being able to do it.
Every day that goes past is a day that I haven't mustered the courage to go live and it's another day that I tell myself I've failed.
I'm letting go of this negativity to lean into the things that come naturally to me and that I enjoy - such as having a voice through my writing rather than with the spoken word.
It means when I get the urge to share a message, I am no longer sticking the brakes on.
I'm letting it all out.
If I want to Go Live, talk to camera, speak on Instagram stories then I'll do it because I want to and not because I feel external pressure to share my story through that medium.
Because we're all different....which beautifully leads me to my next point!
5) Honouring my Human Design Type and Strategy
Uncovering my Human Design has been a game changer in terms of understanding myself, and I know it can be for others too. Your Human Design is totally unique to you and gives you an energetic blueprint for how you are best meant to navigate life and business with ease.
What I'm most interested in though (and what lights me up), is understanding how us small business owners can apply it to our marketing and business.
As a Human Design Generator, I am here to follow my joy, to create what lights me up, to get excited and use my sacral energy to do / make / build.
But I am not here to initiate, I am here to respond - if I go out all guns blazing with an offer that isn't in response to something that's external to me, then it's likely to flop. This is me forcing my energy onto others - people won't be open to it.
Applying this to my business then, I'll be creating blog posts around topics that I love and want to share with you (following my joy) and then taking an interest in what resonates with you so that I can react accordingly (being in response).
I'm intrigued to find out how this will unfold, and I'm letting go of all expectations about what is supposed to happen.
6) Integrating my Human Design into my brand
Next up, I'll be adjusting my brand messaging so that it reflects the themes in my Human Design chart. This is also going to require an element of niching as I zone in on the people who I am intrinsically best placed to support.
I've always been reluctant to niche, for fear of turning business away, but now is the time for more focus.
Because I'm being led by my chart themes, I'm seeing this as an exercise in internal niching rather than external niching.
As part of this, I can see a rebrand in the pipeline. I'm well overdue one! My logo was one of the first ones that I ever designed back in 2017 and needs attention.
But herein lies proof that your brand is so much more than your logo - my logo is just one element of my brand and it's performed just fine for me.
But it's time for me to reimagine it.
7) A commitment to posting and content repurposing
Ok, so I'm going to be creating all of this lovely content that fills me with joy and invites in opportunities to respond, the next thing I'm going to be doing is sending it out into the world to let people (and Google) know what I am doing.
Rather than creating content from scratch for Instagram and thinking up captions, I'm going to be repurposing my blog content into bite sized pieces so that I'm less likely to fall off of the wagon when it comes to posting.
And I'm going to be using ALL of the platforms to share my message - yes even Linked In which has filled me with dread :)
8) Utilising Paid Ads
I'm going to be dabbling with Facebook Ads so that I can connect with more of the people who I'm best placed to support.
This will be an experiment since it's been ages since I've used Facebook Ads! There will be much trial and error and I'd love to share my learnings with you.
A marketing framework, not a plan
So there we go, a quick rundown of how I'm approaching my marketing experiment.
I'm not a planner. I never have been.
And that's ok, many of us aren't - so it was no surprise when this was confirmed for me in my HD chart (hello, permission to be me!).
I don't do structured thinking very easily - so this feels more gentle as it gives me a framework in which to explore but is not prescriptive. Even though I know it will be more upfront work than my previous approach, but hopefully a lot less stressful!
Content marketing, content repurposing, blogging and Facebook ads are nothing new, but combining these with what I know about Human Design makes for a very interesting experiment.
I'd love to know if this resonates, do you feel stuck in the Instagram cycle that I have described?
If you'd like to know more about your own human design and what this means for your marketing efforts I am here to help you interpret your chart.
I'm a brand designer, photographer and Wix website designer based in the UK. I help wellness & creative businesses build their brand and online presence through photography and web, brand & human design, so that they can create positive ripples in the world.
Sign up to my email list to join my inner circle and for help on creating impact in your brand.