Mini Blog Series – Building the Dream – Part Four

Welcome to part four of a mini series I am writing this week to tell you about an exciting new project I’m working on, using a process designed by ethical business coach Jen Gale.

I’m telling you about it because I would really love you to join in with your help and suggestions to help me create something special for you. Something that you will really enjoy, find interesting, meaningful and perhaps even helpful.

I’m telling you about it in the hopes that you will bring me your ideas to help me create really fun, informative and engaging social media posts that you will love.

I’m also telling you because you might find the methodology helpful. It can be applied to ANY big scary project that you want or need to achieve.

Day Four: Timeline

Yesterday’s task provided my mini goals or stepping-stones, but these weren’t in any particular order or sequence.

For today’s task, Jen likes to use post-it-notes and a big empty desk or wall. She, like me, is a very visual person so using post-it-notes helps enormously to see the big picture. So I found it rather odd that on this occasion I didn’t do as she suggested, but my method achieved the same result.

The idea is to think of your wall as a timeline (or as I like to imagine, it’s that huge scary river that you need to get across). On the left is your starting point, where you are now, so you place a post-it-note up with today’s date. On the far right is the other end of your timeline, the far bank of the river where your goal sits waiting for you. So on a second post-it-note you write your goal with the end date for your project and stick this at the end of your timeline.

You write each of your mini goals on further post-it’s and arrange these in logical order or sequence of events that need to happen in order to move you from the left hand side to the right. These are your metaphorical stepping-stones. (Since I had created my random bullet point, stepping-stone list on my iPad, I simply re-ordered these into a numbered list).

Have you ever noticed how even getting from one stepping-stone to the next can be challenging? Well this is where Jens process makes the journey a little easier.

For each ‘jump’, Jen encourages us to brainstorm all the ways we can get from one stepping-stone to the next, really drilling down into all the things that need to happen. Write a post-it note for every action you come up with, put these into a logical order, then add them to your wall beneath the appropriate stepping-stones.

If the jump between stepping-stones is too big, then Jen suggested breaking it down into yet smaller steps.

The end result is a logical, ordered series of little actions. Magic!

Here’s my end result:

Today’s date: 8/3/18
1. Schedule time in my diary to make my social media plans happen
• Using this list as a guide, estimate time needed for each task then double it!
• Add regular time slots to my diary
• by year-end, aim to reduce time spent to no more than 4 hours per week generating posts and maintaining my SM platforms.

2. Research my target audience (who are they, where can I find them, what language and hashtags do they use, what interests them, what they care about, what books they read etc and which social media tools they use)
• Systematically explore each of the following platforms to find them:
• Facebook
• Instagram
• Pinterest
• Twitter
• Deviantart
• YouTube
• Set up a recording mechanism to note findings

3. Research other similar subject artists, writers, mental health bloggers etc, to follow and learn from.
• Find out which platforms work for them
• Ask Birdy and Donna if they are willing to share their knowledge on which social media platforms they use, which are successful etc
• Ask my existing followers for their ideas and preferences

4. Set up appropriate social media accounts (if different from existing FB and IG)
• Learn how to use new accounts where necessary

5. Brainstorm all the topics I could create posts about that will appeal to my target audience (think fun, informative and engaging)
• Categorise them by type
• Expand any individual post ideas that come to mind
• Schedule regular monthly brainstorming sessions for fresh post ideas

6. Develop a stock of suitable photographs to use (using my brainstormed topic list as a guide)
• Create an easy to use library for these.
• Save them and back them up!
• Schedule regular photography, editing and image creation sessions to ensure a constant updated supply of photographs to use.

7. Develop a clear and consistent brand identity to use
• Create branded images, boarders to use etc (consider getting professional help?)
• From these create any regular headings, quotes, wonderful words etc
• Create an easy to use library for these.
• Save them and back them up!

8. Create a system to help support the creation of consistently good posts (ie make a folder of post ideas and info, a labelled library of photos etc)
• Consider use of following categories to keep track:
• Published
• Queued
• Drafts
• Rough ideas
• Guests/ promote other artists

9. Make creating posts fun and habitual (brainstorm how this might be achieved)

10. Learn how to use the insight tools for any of the following used:
• Facebook
• Instagram
• Pinterest
• Twitter
• DeviantArt
• YouTube

11. Investigate social media scheduling software like Hootsuite, Buffer, Recurrpost (latter used by Jen)
• Find out options, recommendations etc
• Investigate how to use it
• Put choice into action

12. Plan my social media calendar one month in advance, but allow for alternative or additional spontaneous posts.
• Create a monthly schedule of posts
• Keep the following months calendar in system to add ideas to.

13. Find out when my target audience are on-line and schedule posts accordingly
• Add posts via scheduling software
• Set myself calendar reminders of the scheduled posts to prompt engagement

14. Set up a recording mechanism to monitor post insights

15. Establish a regular quarterly schedule for updating the look, feel and written info of all my on-line presence, including:
• updating policies
• copyright
• Refreshing header images
• Etc

16. Use my insight recording mechanism to help inform and improve future posts.

Target end date: 31/12/18

So what do you think? Have I included everything I need to? Note the final bullet point on step 3 – Which social media platforms do you use? I’d love to know please?

There’s a part of me that still feels a little overwhelmed by the enormity of this list, that makes me think perhaps I’ve over complicated things? I’m well aware that some people are able to manage their social media instinctively. I’m definitely not one of those.

Personally I’m still blown away that I had this much knowledge about social media tucked away in my brain out of sight! Who knew? I certainly didn’t!

You may be thinking that this is a lot of work, I know I am. However, if it’s going to take me this amount of effort, then I’m glad I’ve chosen an end goal that is worth it! (It really is vitally important to choose a goal that you really want to achieve).

In hindsight I’ve come to realise too, just how important it is to give each of the stepping-stones a Why. After all, even moving from one step to the next might require a herculean amount of consistent effort. Having a Why for each step will be key to staying motivated, so I will be going back and adding mine.

So now I have my big, somewhat daunting list. What happens next?
Do pop back tomorrow for the final part of my mini blog series.

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