Our Monthly Local Business Spotlight
This month I talked to Annie from Rayleigh Marketing about how she started her social media marketing agency. We covered the highs, lows and she shared some great tips we can all put into practice!
Meet Annie Jones..
Annie Jones is a mother of two who runs her own social media marketing agency Rayleigh Marketing in the town of Rayleigh, Essex and yes, the location was the inspiration for her business name! She has a background & qualifications in marketing but her big entrance into the world of social media started once her children were older when she began volunteering for their school’s parents association. It was that experience that changed her perception of social media marketing completely. Although she wasn’t a big fan of social media before, she found out not only was she was good at it but it was also something she really enjoyed. After seeing great results for the school and a lot of positive feedback she decided to make this her new career & started her own agency managing the social media for local businesses in Essex.
Her first client was a plumber starting out which was the perfect 1st customer for her as she started her own agency – and she charged very little, only £25 per month, which is significantly less than her starting rate of £300+ per month today. Getting seen by businesses so she could find new customers took time, commitment and marketing. Annie asked her friends and family to like her Facebook business page, which helped spread the word, and she also got exposure from the Rayleigh Essex Facebook page, a relationship she values dearly, which has 19k followers. Slowly but surely her business grew from there, demonstrating how powerful it is to build relationships and connect with other local business owners.
From 1-to-1 Clients to 1-to-Many
Annie started with one-to-one clients, but as her business grew, she ran out of time to cater to all of them. She had also noticed that some clients could manage their social media channels themselves with just a little guidance and knew that a community based FB group could be a better fit for them. This prompted her to start Annie’s Social Circle a Facebook group for small businesses full of tips, tricks & news to help them manage & grow their social media presence that costs just £2.99 per month. Whenever she sees something interesting/useful while doing client work, she notes it for the group and finds ways to make to make the (sometimes complex) content digestible – by creating posts, notes, videos, webinars and “snippets.”
Challenges & Rewards of Running Her Business
Annie loves her job and finds it fun and rewarding. One of the best things about running her own business is the flexibility it provides. She can schedule her work around her family, especially during school holidays when she can pre-plan a few weeks ahead and organise accordingly – which means she can work from anywhere. Annie splits her time between running her agency and taking care of her family so her days are busy & her organisational skills are top notch!
As with every business, running the agency comes with it’s challenges. Social media is a fast-moving industry and keeping on top of what works, what’s coming up and what’s changed means lots of research and experimentation is required. Annie advises anyone thinking of starting a social media agency not to underestimate the time it takes to create content, especially in different markets and targeting different customers. It’s a whole different ball game compared with running your own social media pages. Understanding and effectively communicating with each customer’s audience takes a lot of research, planning and creative thinking.
Social Media Tips for small businesses
Annie’s advice is that it’s essential to focus on what’s relevant to your business and not worry about trends, instead find a way to connect with your audience. She tells me that “Meta wants us all to be content creators because that’s their business. But we’re not content creators; we have businesses to run.” Her suggestion about posting is that you don’t overdo it with content and focus on quality over quantity, it’s better to put in the effort to create a great post than to create many average ones. From her experience she has seen that people prefer natural content that sits within their feed like regular content, rather than over-produced content – put aside that pro video team & get out your iPhone!
How Annie Advertises Her Business
It won’t be a surprise to hear that Annie advertises her business on social media, she tells me that she boosts some posts but focuses on her current followers and advises people to do the same. This is because quite often your followers simply won’t see your content if the algorithms don’t include it in their feeds. This means there is value in boosting posts to your existing audience if you have something important to share or a post that is already popular. If you’re in the process building an audience then she suggests starting with an awareness campaign by boosting posts to people within your local area and then, once you have a good following, future advertising can focus on sending your content to those people to boost visibility.
Goals 2023 & Beyond
The Social Circle is still very new but growth this year has been strong and Annie has set herself a target of 100 subscribers for her group by the end of 2023. At the beginning of the year, she had 20 subscribers, right now she has 66 so she is well on her way to hitting the target by year-end. One of the main drivers for new subscriber seems to be a “health check your social media” checklist that Annie created & publicised at the start of the year. Putting out that well designed content that created value for potential customers has helped her triple her subscribers. Her future goals include turning every follower into a subscriber (that makes it a target of nearly 2000) and she is also looking at branching out into consultancy, by offering in-house training to local businesses. With Annie’s dedication to her clients & her social circle, hitting those targets could be just around the corner..
If you’d like to find out more about Annie or Rayleigh Marketing you can visit:
Annie’s Social Circle:
Thank you for reading this month’s Local Business Spotlight, if you run a small business in Essex and you’d like to be featured in a future article please get in touch and let’s have a chat!