3 Simple Ways to Support Black Businesses

Do you talk the talk and walk the walk?

Everyone is speaking up during this time and that is fine and dandy. However, I like to consider myself a woman of ACTION. It’s time to put your words in motion.

I have decided to stop focusing on the world at large and instead, focus on my community which ideally, would impact the globe if every person I touch, shares these thoughts and ideas with someone else, and so forth.

For starters, as a black-woman and business owner, I have faced microagression and implicit bias since the day I stepped foot into my professional career. My goal is to now begin to educate my peers when I witness them displaying acts of microagression and implicit bias to others.

What does microagression mean?
A microagresion is a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.⠀

For example: If someone says, “Wow you’re so articulate!” OR “I never would have expected that from a woman with your background!” ⠀

What is implicit bias?
This refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.

While I believe that some people truly do not understand they are being offensive at times, it is 2020. So…..excuses are running out and patience is running thin.

If you want to support the black community but you’re not sure where to start, here are 3 simple ways you can support black businesses today.

1. Use your platform to amplify black voices and businesses.
If you’re hosting a conference, a podcast, or special event, consider putting black people in the speaker line up.

2. Choose black-owned venues and spaces for your events.
There are PLENTY of amazing ones. Do your research and at best, consider these spaces for your next event.

3. Pay full price for products and services.
Do not expect discounts! Pay full price like you would any other business.

Also, let’s stop the narrative that black businesses lack in customer service. That is not true. I’ve had great and terrible service from all types of businesses. General statements like this put a negative connotation on black businesses and is harmful to the community.

We all have to be willing and open to learn and grow. Try these 3 very simple ways to support today!

3 Things to Do Before Outsourcing Marketing

TJE Communications has officially turn 6 years old and as a company, we have experienced some ups and downs when it comes to business and clients. I say “we” because I’ve had my fair share of interns and strategic partnerships who have helped me move the needle along the way.

I took another look at my target customer as I was preparing to step into full-time entrepreneurship, and I realized some of the clients I had worked with were truly not ready to outsource their marketing services. Which ultimately contributed to some of those partnerships ending; on a good note for the most part.

Before you decide to outsource your marketing efforts, here are three things you should try first:

1. Try to DIY One (of the many) mistakes I have made in business is not asking a prospective client if they’ve tried to handle their digital marketing on their own or with another marketer in the past. If I were to ask you this question, would you say “yes” – or would you say something like, “I would, but I don’t know how.” If the answer is the latter, you should not outsource marketing. What you should do instead is invest in gaining marketing knowledge through webinars, conferences, seminars, and trainings. Then, try to do it yourself. Once you’ve done this for a minimum of 6-12 months, if you still feel like you need help….check out steps 2 & 3.

I’m sure you’re thinking…”why does it matter if I’ve tried it myself?” What I’ve learned over the last 6 years is that until you have tried it yourself, or had someone else before me, you truly will not understand or value having a marketing consultant on your team.

Digital marketing is more than just posting aesthetically pleasing photos to Instagram. It takes consistency, strategy, and advertising dollars to build real campaigns to drive revenue for your business. On top of that, digital marketing does not equal social media marketing. Digital marketing also encompasses email, content, vlogging, and so much more.

2. Ensure you can pay for marketing services for at least 3 months — If you’re planning to outsource marketing services, make sure you can pay for them even when business is down. Most marketers require a retainer and a contract where you are committing to pay for their services for an agreed upon time. Just because business is down for you, doesn’t mean you get to forgo your contracts.

I get it, if business is down, you can’t take care of your family. But guess what…marketing professionals have a family to take care of, too! When you pay your invoices late, or not at all (both have happen to me), it is a poor reflection of business.

To avoid this issue, make sure your money is in order so that you can be certain you can fulfill your contract before signing on the dotted line.

**Also keep in mind if you do have issues paying your invoices, just communicate! Most people are willing to be somewhat flexible when life happens. 

3. Have a clear understanding of your business goals — You can’t bring someone in to help you promote your business if you don’t understand your business either. When you bring in a marketing professional, we’re there to help you take your brand to the next level. But if you don’t have the foundational pieces in place, then we don’t have a solid ground to stand on.

Yes, the marketing consultant you hire can help you with the foundational aspects of your business. However, you must keep in mind that by doing this, you are taking time away from them doing actual digital marketing strategy. So you can’t fault them if you’re “seeing no results.”

If you’re unsure if you have your business goals and messaging in place, instead of hiring someone to help you with digital marketing, hire someone to help you with business strategy and then try implementing some DIY digital marketing strategies. Or, if you can get your business strategist and marketing professional to work hand-in-hand, that’s even better! Both of these people are equally important and need each other to produce great work!

Now that you’ve read through this, do you still think you’re ready to outsource your marketing efforts? If yes, then go for it! Having a skilled digital marketing professional on your team can help grow your brand tremendously – especially if you’re willing to spend a few dollars on ads.

If you read this and realized you’re not quite ready, that is awesome! It is better to know now than to get yourself caught up.

Need help deciding either way? Schedule a FREE 15-minute call with me today. Click here to schedule.

How to Make the Most of Your Day When Working from Home

If you’ve never worked from home before, it is probably more difficult than you can imagine. Our homes are supposed to be our sanctuary, not a place to stress about work!

With the recent circumstances, many of us don’t have a choice but to ditch the office and create a productive work environment in the comfort of our homes.

Why is working from home difficult?

Many people have this false idea that people who work from home are just sitting in their pajamas all day and binging their favorite series. That is far from the truth.

Those us who have the privilege to work from home on a daily basis are aware of the distractions your home causes when work needs to be done. It’s hard to see the laundry that needs doing, or the dishes in the sink, and the dog giving you the sweetest eyes begging for a belly rub and NOT want to give all of these things your time. This is why I choose to pay a membership to a co-working space so I can set some of those boundaries.

Here’s how you can maximize your productivity while working from home…

Whether it’s your first time working from home, or if you’ve tried to in the past and felt like a failure, here are 5 tips to help you maximize your productivity while working from home.

  1. Do not work in bed! Sounds like a good time, but you’ll end up napping/scrolling IG.⠀
  2. Create a designated work space. If you don’t have an office, your kitchen table may work. ⠀
  3. Find a good podcast to tune into. This is much better than watching tv because it’s hard to NOT look at the screen while working. Podcasts are great and all you have to do is tune in!⠀
  4. Set work hours! Whether it’s 9-5 or 10-6, find a time that works for you but stick to it!⠀
  5. Create a to-do list. This will help you stay on task and be mindful of your productivity. ⠀

If you follow the above five steps, I promise you will be able to successfully make it through these next few weeks. If you’re a mompreneur, check out one of my recent #TonnishasTuesdayTip that discusses how to work from home with toddlers.

Do you have any other tips for working from home? Comment below and share!

3 Ways to Turn Your Passion into Content

I’ve posed the question many times and still can’t find the answer….why is content marketing so hard? 

What makes content so important?

  • Content is the QUEEN of digital marketing
  • It helps to build credibility
  • Gives customers another entry point to your website or store front

We know the landscape of social media is changing so we can no longer just rely on these platforms to attract new customers. We have to leverage our experience and expertise in other ways to take our brands and businesses to the next level.

So again, why is content marketing so hard? It is because you are overthinking it. Content marketing sounds like something that is more intricate than it really is.

If we break it down…

Content = your knowledge.

Marketing = the place you decide to distribute your content (social media, email marketing, whitepapers, videos, blogging, etc.).

Here are 3 ways to turn your passion into content:

  1. Keep it basic. The first thing you have to understand is that you have knowledge about your industry that the average person does not. This means that there is no need to go into too much detail over things your audience may never understand. Think about the surface level knowledge you can share with your audience and find ways to translate that information in layman’s terms.
  2. PLAN. You know how I feel about planning. That doesn’t change here. Pull your calendar out and begin thinking about the content pieces you want to put out into the world.
  3. Distribute in a way that makes you feel comfortable. If you enjoy writing, distribute your content through writing. If you’re not scared of video, press record on your phone and get your content out to the world that way. Where people fail at content marketing, is being afraid to just do it – this is partially because they are scared of how they will distribute. Yes, it is important to evolve and push your limits. However, in the beginning, I encourage you to do what makes you feel comfortable.

Ready to turn your passion into content? It’s time to get started!

Need help? Schedule a FREE 15-minute call – let’s connect!

 

How to Determine KPIs

There’s no cookie cutter plan or strategy for your business. Every company model relies on a major key element to keep the brand moving forward.

For social influencers, it may be followers and engagement. For someone who makes candles, it may be conversions and sales. As a business owner, it is up to you to determine what KPIs matter for your business.

What are KPIs?

KPIs = key performance indicators.

According to KPI.org, “Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the critical (key) indicators of progress toward an intended result. KPIs help provide a focus for strategic and operational improvement, create an analytical basis for decision making and help focus attention on what matters most.”

Why do KPIs matter?

When you have a clear understanding of your goals, you’re able to create a real strategy to reach them. You’re also able to better articulate your message to potential partners and customers.

How do I determine KPIs?

First, you need to have a clear intended result. If you’re running a sale and your goal is to make X amount of dollars, there should be an expected revenue or sales goal in place as you’re building your campaign.

Secondly, you need to consider what drives the bottom line for your business. If sales and revenue move the needle for your brand, then focusing on followers and engagement is a waste of time and resources.

Lastly, you need to be realistic with your KPIs. If you’re unsure about what your goals should be, consider performing an audit on your business to understand the trends of your business before putting KPIs in place. Check out out audits here!

What are some common KPIs?

Here are some common KPIs to help you get started:

Likes/Reactions – The amount of times people have interacted with your post on social media. On Facebook, people are able to react with your post with a ‘Like’, ‘Love’, ‘Wow’, ‘Sad’, or ‘Angry’.

Followers/Page Likes – These are the people who  have decided to stay in the know about your brand or business by agreeing to receive updates on their timeline about you.

Reach – The amount of people who have seen your social post or advertisement.

Impressions – The amount of times your post or advertisement has been seen. This is very similar to ‘Reach’. Here’s how it is different: if three people have seen your post, but you have ten impressions, that means between those three people (reach), your post has been seen ten times (impression).

Engagement – This combines the amount of likes/reactions and comments on a social post. Do you know your engagement score? Find out here.

Conversions – Typically this is when someone takes a desired action such as making a purchase or providing you with their email address or contact information.

Need help setting KPIs for your business? Schedule a 15-minute discovery call to walk us through your concerns. We would be happy to help! Click here to schedule today.

Here’s Why You Need Content Calendars

By now, you should know that I firmly believe content is the QUEEN and the key to all businesses.

Think about it…

  • Netflix has ENDLESS original content you can consume any time of day
  • If you have cable, you are probably super involved in the lives of more reality tv personalities than you can count
  • Close this browser and head over to YouTube and you will find multiple shows, movies, tutorials, and music than your brain can even handle
  • Social media is full of influencers giving us laughs, cries, and advice about life and business

Everyone is searching for the secret sauce when it’s been right in front of us this whole time. CONTENT!

Here’s why you need a content calendar:

  • Allows for strategic planning
  • Helps track past content
  • Can be used later to understand what’s working, and what is not in your strategy

When I’m talking content, I am NOT only talking about social media. This includes:

  • Social media
  • Email campaigns
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies

And seriously so much more…

The best part about planning content, is that it removes the anxiety that comes with knowing you have to put content out there. By having a plan, you can focus on other aspects of your business. 

If you never had a content calendar or don’t even know what it entails, it only takes 3 major steps.

1. Know the type of content you want to produce and how long it will take to produce.

2. Pick days/time that work best for your audience.

3. Find a scheduling platform that supports your needs.

Simple enough, right?

My goal for 2020 is to create more content! Join me by grabbing your $5 content calendar today. Click here.

Happy content calendar making!

Navigating Instagram without ‘Likes’

There has been so much chatter about Instagram removing likes from the platform and here are some things you should know.

1. You will still be able to see your likes AND the likes of others. You just have to take an extra step to get to them.

2. The way you navigate Instagram shouldn’t change.

This change comes from Instagram wanting to create “…a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves.” 

While this change hasn’t been rolled out for all users, majority of us are slowly seeing the removal of likes. Here are 3 tips to navigate Instagram with this update (hint: you should already be doing this on every platform).

Utilize IGTV

Instagram TV is a great way to share BTS of your brand or business, and share your expertise in your field.

For example: every Tuesday I post a tip on Facebook Live, I then take that live and add it to my Instagram TV channel. This gives me the opportunity to share my insight into happenings within the industry, and give my advice on how to navigate your digital channels. This is called “content marketing” and IGTV is the perfect place to do this!

Create Instagram Stories

I personally receive more engagement on Instagram stories than actual posts. People are enjoying the story feature on Instagram so you should be using it!

The great thing about stories is that you don’t need to put too much effort into it. Simply taking a pic of the meeting you’re in, asking questions utilizing the “polls” or the “questions” feature, and posting a fun Boomerang would suffice.

Make your stories fun, informative, and engaging!

Imagery Matters

You have to invest in great images for your Instagram. Aesthetics are vital! No one wants to see a profile full of pixelated photos and bad graphics.

If photography and design are not your strong suit, find someone who has the skills to help you out.

Your posts should be professional, clean, and should truly be a representation of your brand.

Easy enough, right?

As you begin creating your next content strategy, try incorporating these ideas into your calendar. You are guaranteed to see growth in your brand or business!

How to own your spaces, audience, and attention

Last night the hashtag #DeleteFacebook generated over 20K tweets (as of 1am – yes, I’m a night owl) following a development that Mark Zuckerberg had a “secret dinner” with Trump in October. The best part is, he refuses to share details about the dinner.

When it comes to political advertisement, Zuckerberg believes that whether the content is accurate or false, consumers should,  “…see for themselves what politicians are saying so they can make their own judgements.”

Why does this matter?

As business owners we are on these platforms for one thing: attention. We want everyone in the world to know who we are, consume our content, and buy our products or services. Society is evolving into a very conscious ecosystem. People want to consume content/products that come from an ethical place and make them feel good. As society evolves, so will the platforms we use.

Do you remember…Myspace? Xenga? Vine?

Facebook doubling down on not wanting to remove political ads regardless of content, has caused me to think…”if they don’t care about displaying political ads with false content to billions of users knowing that this has impacted political elections across the globe, then do they really care about my privacy and data and all of the other life events I share on their platform?”

The answer: probably not.

So now what?

It’s time to take a serious look at how well you own your spaces, audience, and attention.

Space: This is the place your content lives.

Audience: These are your customers and prospects.

Attention: This is how you get your audience to see what you’re selling/talking about.

If you don’t own these spaces, here’s how to get started on it:

  1. Grow your mailing list
  2. Build your website
  3. Share content daily
  4. Create your tribe/community

To answer the question “should we #DeleteFacebook?” My answer is: no. However, we should be ready to jump on the next thing as early adaptors to obtain as much organic reach as possible before it becomes saturated; like Facebook.

How do you feel about Facebook’s stance on this? Comment and share your thoughts!

 

5 Ways to Prepare for Holiday Sales

We’re in crunch mode!

Time is running out for you to put a plan together for the holidays. If you still haven’t taken time to think about this, you’re honestly super behind. However, you can still save face if you do these 5 things…

1. Decide what your offer will be.

If you plan to run sales or promotions for the holidays, make a decision TODAY on what those offers will be. You should also put together contingency plans.

I’ll explain…

Every major retail company has a plan A, B, C, D, E….you see where I’m going? These plans depend on YOU (the customer) and your buying habits.

Plan A: This is the first promotion plan that you will want to establish. It could be a percentage off or a free gift with purchase.

Plan B: This is the plan you would implement if you ran out of the gift with purchase or if you have too many sales, or not enough sales, in plan A.

Decide today on your promo plans, and don’t forget about the backup plans.

2. Start with your best offer.
You should always start the weekend with your best offer. That way, people who jump on your Black Friday deals, won’t feel bad if your Cyber Monday sales are better. Since we’re still small businesses, we want to avoid as much negative feedback from customers as possible.

3. Prep your email and social media campaigns.

If you have contingency plans, you don’t want to schedule any emails or social posts during this week to prevent accidentally posting the wrong sale. However, you should prep all emails and social media posts for this week so you’re ready to pull the trigger when it’s time!

4. Focus on your tribe.

As soon as we hit Thanksgiving week, you are going to see MULTIPLE posts about Black Friday sales, and even more emails about it. Don’t become discouraged by this. Instead, focus on your supporters and don’t worry about necessarily inquiring new customers during this time.

5. Prep your teams.

Take a look at your sales last year around this time and try to forecast what you might pull in sales and production in 2019. If you’re a one man band, think about how you handled things on your own last year and decide if it’s time to outsource some parts of business until after Christmas. If you have a team, start having real conversations about who is in charge of what aspects of business and ensure everyone is locked and loaded.

Please keep in mind your “team” is not just employees. If you have a products, this also includes your production teams! If you outsource production, give them a heads up that your order volume will double or triple during this time of year.

Feeling ready to conquer the holidays? You’ve got this! As always, if you need me, you know where to find me…