To celebrate Earth Day I'm talking to sustainability advisor, Nancy Hyne, about how to scale your sustainable business, the ethics of social media, and period pants! Whether you're just starting out and want to embed your values early on, or you're already growing your ethical business and want to ensure you're doing more good than harm, this is a really interesting episode.
Nancy is the founder of True Horizon, a sustainability advisor who specialises in helping service-based SMEs embed sustainability and ethics into their brand to balance people, planet and profit.
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- [Hawke] Hello, and welcome to social media for humans. The Podcast that empowers you to do social differently. Your host, Alexis Bushnell and her guests discuss their experience of social media as business owners, users, and ultimately humans. With insights and advice to help you find an effective and ethical strategy that works for you. Grab yourself a drink and join the conversation. - Hello, Hello. I am here with the lovely Nancy today. Do you wanna introduce yourself and tell us what you do? - Hello yep, I am Nancy as you correctly said. And my pronouns are she and her and I am the founder of True Horizon. I'm a sustainability advisor for smaller medium sized businesses. Essentially that means that I help people embed sustainability and ethics into their brand. So they kind of know it's at the core of everything they do. - Hmm, which is a really powerful thing to do I think. Because actually I saw one of your social media posts recently, was about how it needs sort of ethics and that kind of thing needs to be the core of your brand. It can't be like a bolt on it. It can't be a... and we do sustainable stuff. It has to be the centre of it and everything. It informs everything else. So can you talk then about why does it have to be at the centre of everything? - So there's a few reasons for that. One is to make sure that it's genuinely authentic. You don't wanna be forgetting sustainability or ethics in certain areas of your business. Because you will get found out and you will get called out on it. We've seen so many businesses do this. If it's not really in everything you do, it's not genuine and it's not authentic. And we really, really wanna avoid that greenwash that saying one thing and doing another. So that's really the key reason. But also, and particularly for small businesses, you wear all the hats right? You're doing everything you want to make this as low admin as possible. So one, it potentially takes a little bit longer at the beginning to embed everything in. If you do that, it just means it becomes part of your everyday activities. It's not something that you have to think about as an afterthought. So it's actually about making your life easier as well. Like if you've embedded in at a it's just you're not constantly having to revisit decisions and go "Ooh did I consider people or planet in that? You already know that you've done that. (laughs) - Well yes it makes it easier for in the long run. - Exactly, and particularly as you scale and you grow what happens a lot is, the founder has all these great ideas, but never actually gets it out so that they haven't actually shared that vision with their employees. So if it's all set up and embedded in, then you know that's always gonna be at the core of your operations and what you're doing and you won't lose sight of it. - Yeah, yeah. That's good and that is something that's really important because actually that's something that I've been thinking about is now I'm thinking about scaling. It's much easier when it's just me, because being sort of climate conscious is a part of my own value system and my own life. But when you start to scale and you're bringing in other people, and you're more out there and in different ways, and bringing in more systems and things like that. It's suddenly like how do I ensure that that filters out from me? Because it's not just me controlling everything any anymore. - Exactly, exactly. And it's just about sometimes it's as simple as having those conversations. I think we forget sometimes it's like, well how do I know? It's like well ask, speak to somebody. We do an onboarding sort of questionnaire. Don't we, for most things? Could you put in an extra thing To say, "This is how I do things "and are you happy to align with that? "Do we share the same values?" I had a client recently, who came to me and she was kind of quite a way down the line of an onboarding a new client and then found something out about them that she didn't sit right with her. And she was like, "I wish I just had a process "at the beginning, that would have kind of... "that would have come out at the beginning. "And I could have been really, sorry "I don't think we're a good fit. "And so I'm not..." So it was that kind of, how can I do that now? How can I write that into my sort of procedures? So I know that I've captured that type of thing. - Mmh mmh yeah that's a really good idea actually. But it was that sort of how to how do I figure this out? That kind of led me to join your climate action challenge which was a few weeks ago now. - Yes! - It feels like a really long time ago. And also yesterday (laughing) - That's 'cause we live in a time warp at the moment. (laughing) - So what sort of inspired you initially to run that challenge at all? - So what I've been finding and I worked for a long time in the corporate world. So I was working with a big law firms and investment banks. And that type of, (laughs) And what I realised is a couple of things. One is that there's just not as much support available for smaller businesses. The big corporates are captured by all the legislation. They've got in-house teams to do all of this stuff but as they sort of go down their supply chains they're working with smaller businesses and they're starting to ask those questions. And for a long time, I think as small businesses we kind of went, "Well my impact is not that big "So I don't really need to worry about it "and I'll leave it to the big corporates." Actually in the UK. And I don't know how this translates outside of the UK but 99.9% of business in the UK in 2019 were small and medium sized. So that is a massive amount. So we do have a huge impact. And I think the real opportunity for smaller businesses is to start to share ideas. Like, what are the things you're thinking about? What can we start to do? How can we... 'cause it has to be collective action we're all in it or we're not having a positive impact. And so, because I was starting to get a lot of questions from people I thought actually to do a challenge, connect people get them talking and thinking about things like digital footprint and it's types of businesses they work. How can they scale with all of that in mind? And even for me, like getting a better understanding of what small businesses are missing from a support perspective was really, really helpful. - Hmm, yeah. And I found the challenge really helpful too because the questions, especially sort of early on that you asked to sort of assess where you're at because I consider myself to be doing quite a lot, because it's important to me. - Hmm - And it was so shocking at the same time to be like wow, that's all this stuff that I hadn't even realised was a thing. (laughs) - Yeah, I know it's crazy, isn't it? And you just think, I'm pretty sure I'm doing everything I can but also the way we work is changing and particularly in the last year where we're all working from home. And so all this stuff and the data changes all the time. So it's not a... Everything's constantly changing. So try to keep on top and it our businesses changed. So sadly there is no silver bullet. It is about constantly looking at what you're doing and just having the information to make those better choices. And to have somebody to and go, "Has anybody found that I don't know "any email provider that's ethical or whatever." Because there's not a huge amount of choice at the moment. You've gravitate towards the big ones because that's what we know and we're comfortable with and we're confident in. But the more we can support these smaller businesses to take on the larger corporates, we as consumers are gonna have more choice as to who we work with and how we do all these better. - Hmm yeah yeah definitely. And that was another thing that came up sort of in the group that you were running for the challenge was the amount of different resources that people were sharing. There was obviously the resources that you were sharing and then it was also everybody's heard of something different. Everybody knows of a different business. And so that sort of collaboration and sharing of resources. Well have you tried these people, have you seen this news? Have you, it was really, really helpful. - I was floored. I was absolutely floored and really really encouraged to see everyone just... 'Cause everyone has a bit, an area that they know really well. And it makes it so easier if you can go, right. "I'm looking at this for my business. "Oh, I'm gonna go and chat to this person "because I know we're on the same page "and they're gonna help me out with that area, "and I can hand it over." (laughs) - So I'm I right thinking it was your first challenge you'd run. - Yeah, totally complete newbie (laughs) didn't know what I was doing at all. (laughs) - It didn't show. (laughs) - Oh good, I'm glad. (laughing) - How did you find it then? You said you were floored by the response. So how did you find sort of a set up and then the actual challenge itself. - I was really nervous to start with because I'd never done anything like that before. And you have that fear that nobody's gonna rock up or worse one person rocks up and goes, "Great, this is rubbish." (laughs) So I spent a bit of time at the beginning actually trying to delve into what people... what their biggest struggles were. So I could kind of gauge it around that. Although interestingly sometimes what people think their biggest struggles are and what they actually are two different things. So that was interesting to see. But yeah, I guess one of the big things for me was kind of drawing on my existing network. So I know you know Katie as well. I already have people and it was like, "Guys can you help me share this? "Can you help me get feedback "on how we can do this and really grow it?" So that was really... I'm useless at ask help. You have a network there, use them and also, and you know social media is amazing for that. And we forget sometimes. Sometimes I think it's this big horrible beast, but there's this other side to it that you can really use for good, which is lovely. And that community, particularly if you're sort of a micro business working on your own. - Yeah, yeah. That is a really important point 'cause I think everybody can relate to that. If it's the first time you're running that challenge or it's the first time that you've posted on a certain network or anything like that. There is that fear that there's just going to be tumbleweed. - Yeah (laughs) - It really can impact how you do the thing. Because if you are anticipating, nobody's showing up, you tend not to put as much into it. because you don't think anybody's gonna be there. And actually some of the best social media advice I have ever seen is show up for your audience as if there are millions of people there. It doesn't matter how many people are there. You have to show up in the same way. - Yeah, you're right. It's a big mindset thing as well isn't it? 'Cause you're so... if your heart's not in it. if you're already telling yourself nobody's showing up then that's the way you build it and it kind of yeah. Then it's likely to fall flat on its face. (laughing) - Yeah I will say you definitely did not do that. It's certainly appeared that you had thrown your entire self into that. - (laughs) - Which I think is what inspired so much discussion in the Facebook group. Because your, what is the word I'm searching for? Your passion that's the word. Your passion really showed through in the prompts and the discussions that you were sort of getting involved in. And I think it opens the door for people to then ask more questions and share their own passions and struggles and stuff. So through the actual running of the challenge how did you find that? Because it was three days. - Yeah. - It looked pretty intense just from my point of view. I was quite busy with work at the time. I was like checking in at 11 at night, like, "Oh no, I haven't done this task." (laughing) Look at all these kinds of sites. It must've been pretty wild for you. - Yes, it was definitely. I have like... You know you can set your phone to tell you how much you're on social media. And the following week it was like, "You use your phone this much more." I'm like, "Yeah I did but just this week and that was okay." (laughing) I was quite worried about that as well. "I'm like oh what if I miss something? "What if..." But actually it was actually alright. And I probably three days was a good amount of time. I see people do like 10 days and I'm like I just don't know how you can. It's a lot of time and effort that goes into it. But because everyone was so engaged and so much information was shared, it was really enjoyable. And I wasn't sure how I was gonna feel about it. I wasn't sure whether it would feel more like a chore, but yeah, I really enjoyed it, and I really enjoyed connecting, and I learned stuff as well. People posted stuff that I hadn't necessarily seen before. And I think that's the point with sort of sustainability and ethics. The goalposts are changing all the time. As communities change, as things change. So there's always gonna be more to learn, and to kind of recognise that I'm never gonna be that font of all information and to know that I need to keep learning as well and stay on top of it. - Yeah. - It was really kind of, it was good. - That kind of brings me on to a sticky question I suppose. That you run the challenge mainly in a Facebook group. - Yes. - Facebook is possibly not the most ethical of companies. (laughs) This is something that I come up against all the time, because I wanna do things ethically, but I work in the media. So when did you sort of... What was the thought process behind, I'm gonna run this sustainability challenge on Facebook. - Yeah, so the social media platforms that people are on, all of the big... Your LinkedIn, your Facebook, your Instagram. Well the difficulty is you want a platform that people recognise and know how to use. They don't want to be learning as well as doing a challenge. They don't wanna have to learn a new thing as well. And I honestly hope the algorithms don't hear this but I can't stand Facebook. I don't like Facebook at. I don't generally do a lot on it. But actually for that sort of engagement side of things, it is really good. And it's an easy way. And also as a small business it doesn't cost me anything to host on a face. And budgets do... I'd love to say I do everything with purely sustainability and ethics in mind. I do have budgets that I have to work to, and I can only have a positive impact if I build that in. And I am conscious of my budgets. Also on the flip side of that, there was a positive impact to be had out of that. And I'm not saying that you can always, scrub out what you're doing over here by doing something good over here. That that's not what I'm saying. But sometimes you have to use what's available to you. And I think for us as consumers, the more we push back the more we ask for more from the people that we buy from and work with the more availability they will be for other things. There is no silver bullet. We will have an impact and we will have a net negative impact in some ways. The thing we need to do is to educate ourselves and collaborate and share, so that we can make better choices more of the time. And that's all that anybody can do. - Yeah, yeah. And I think that's sort of where I come at it from as well, because every time I sort of see a heart centred business owner it'd be like, "I'm not using Facebook anymore." I think yeah I get it, I do. But for me my attitude is more sort of like, if the users, including business owners, have the power to change how the platform works. And you can't do it if you're not on it. And so the way a lot of the way like I teach social media is, with that in mind. - Yeah. - You don't have to do what everybody else is doing. - Hmm. - If it's unethical and you disagree with it you can do it differently and succeed anyway. And therefore shift what people believe they have to do. 'Cause I do think a lot of the social media side of it and the click bait, and the engagement bait and the purposefully divisive posts, false information and all of this, people, it's risen because people have seen that it works. - Hmm. - They see that it increases their reach and their engagement and it drives people to their website and it gets people sharing and talking about stuff. And so people then who are smaller businesses look at that. And they're like, that is the only way I can do that. - Yeah. - And it's not true. And the more people who realise that and instead share positive stories, and just focused on sharing factual information, and encouraging people. And this is something that I'm big on as well as like encouraging people to not share and not engage with stuff that you want more of. - Yeah. - Because that's a big issue. So just constantly sort of reminding people, only engage with the stuff that you actually want to see more of. Because that's cash now basically. If you feed it (laughs) likes and comments and stuff, you are saying "give me more of that." - You're so right, you're really right yeah. - And I think that's sort of the power of, again coming back to your challenge and the stuff that you post on social media. Is that you are proving the posting about information about climate change factual information. (laughs) Helpful resources, sharing with other people, and just sharing like honest stuff, is actually a way to grow a social media presence, a successful challenge. And I think the more people we have doing that, the more people will not feel the need to... Especially smaller businesses won't feel the need to buy into the sort of click bait, yucky, awful side. (laughs) - Yeah, agreed. And I like what you talk about, within your it's about that community. And so often we think of community as local. But there is... I've been the first, I don't know, maybe six months I was on Instagram. I just thought Oh, i just it's so... And then as I started to meet the right people and actually make friends on, you kinda go, "Oh there is a different side to this." It does take a bit more time to sift through, and get out of it. If you want that positive experience it's harder to find, but it is there. Those communities are there and not set up follow whatever they call them, but are actually because people genuinely care about what you're talking about and have an opinion, a positive opinion. Because I hate social media for eco shaming. It's just, I loathe it. It's just... I can't think of anything more counterproductive than making people feel bad for what the sort of make a good decision or a positive impact. It's just awful. - Yeah now I have to agree. It is rife and it is one of the things that you I'm gonna start ranting about. (laughing) - We're not supposed to rant on these things cause it draws more attention! (laughing) - But honestly it frustrates me so much that people would rather, leave abuse on the vegan account. You said, "Oh no I bought a dairy chocolate bar, "And I'd just had a really awful week. "And it was just, I couldn't cope. "And it just made me feel a little bit better "for half a second and I needed it." The pile on on those posts, versus the company post selling the dairy chocolate, and the brands posting stuff about that. And I'm just like "really?" That's the person who [indistinct] that person? (laughs) - Yeah it's just ludicrous. And I guess there's that protection of being behind the screen, isn't it? You don't actually have to back anything up, you can just leave your comment and run. (laughs) - Yeah I think as well, some of it is that sort of, you're preaching to the converted on those accounts. - Yes. - You know that person cares. You know you can make them feel guilty. You know you can potentially stop them from doing it again. If you start talking to somebody who isn't vegan or isn't interested in climate change, it's hard. You need facts and actual stories and information and you need to come at it with some sort of compassion for meet them where they're at. And there is a lot more that goes into that conversation. And it's hard. It's just it's low hanging fruit, to go for the people who are already trying their best and slip up because we're human. It happens. (laughs) - Exactly I know. And it's horrible to watch. It is horrible to watch. - Hmm. Yeah, it is. And I think as well, it has a sort of opposite effect, because people then tend to stop posting so much. About not sharing that they're vegan or that they're doing this low waste or, zero waste sort of challenge they're doing these things. And so there is a less stuff on social media of people talking about just being socially conscious every day. And that we need to hashtag normalise it, but we do. (laughs) [indistinct] - Stuff up that's the point because we're all gonna do it. - Yeah, yeah. - You know that's what we do, just stop doing everything. Are we never gonna get on a plane again? Yeah, some people might go, that's doable for me. Others go, no, it's not. And that's okay. But it's just trying to get some sort of balance and to change where you can. And actually there's no possible way on earth that you can fix everything at once. So it's baby steps. It's okay. You know what, this month I'm doing this and then I'm gonna move towards this. And it just... I think you posted about your, was it your period pants the other day? And that one took me forever. I was like I can't do it. I can't do it. I can't move away from what I'm comfortable with. And then when I did it I was like, "Oh my God, best change ever." Like just so much easier. But it takes time. You've got to get your head around some of this stuff. Because change is hard and change is uncomfortable changes is by its very nature it is. So just give people time to get their heads around it. - Yeah, actually on that point, that post I got so many DMs from that post. Because people were like which brand are you using? Can you send me the link? Can I ask you some questions about that? And nobody wanted to post about it in the comments, they all DM'd me and I was like, "Yes! The change is happening. (laughs) - Yeah yeah. - But yeah, it really is. And actually sort of on that point I tried for so long to get menstrual cups to work for me, because every, all the advice was they work for everybody. You just need to find the right cup, find the right one. And okay they're not cheap to just keep trying. - No not exactly. - And find out they don't work for you. And eventually I came across some, I can't even remember where it was. About how actually the position of your cervix and things can make them not work. And I found that they leaked every single time. It didn't matter. [indistinct] And so eventually I had to kind of unfollow all the people who were talking about menstrual cups because the push for "they suit everybody. "If they don't work for you, you are doing it wrong. "You have bought the wrong cup." And I was just like no. My body doesn't like them. They don't work. It's not gonna work for me. I need to find an alternative, not keep buying menstrual cups that I then can't use. (laughs) [Indistinct] - Somebody else. (laughing) - So yeah what I found my period pants, I was just mind blown. This is the solution. - Yeah. - It was really heartening actually to see the response of that posts. Like I said, the DMs and stuff. I was like, yes. Other people get it. - I mean, you wouldn't say that to somebody if you were talking tampon versus sanitary towel. If somebody said "I don't get on with tampons," You'd go "oh yeah sure. "That makes sense." [indistinct] Why is as soon as it's like an eco-friendly thing that you've got to do it because it's better for the planet even if it makes you horrendously uncomfortable why? (laughing) - Don't push for alternatives. That don't make me feel comfortable [indistinct] (laughing) - 'Cause I'm never gonna stick to it if I'm uncomfortable with it. And then actually I'm gonna be so put off from trying anything else. Because it was awful experience. - Yeah. - Just not what I want. - Definitely not, definitely not. - Yeah. - How do we bring this back to social media [indistinct] (laughs). [indistinct] - You realise that, A you weren't alone and B you made people comfortable to go, "Oh great I can try something else." Positive use of social media. - Yeah, yeah. [indistinct] I'm gonna pick up on the point that you were talking about a while ago now, about sort of finding the right community if you like. Because especially when you first start on a platform you will be shown all of the popular big accounts. What I have found, is that once you find one person, suddenly there is this whole other world opens up. And I find it weird because for clients, I have to find niche specific accounts. And hashtags to follow for each of them. And it continually blows my mind, to find entire other huge communities, but totally different things on the same platform that I've been using. And I never see those things in my own feed. - Wow. - Because that's not where I hang out. Its because I use it all the time and I use it for clients and I'm doing that. I see it, and a lot of the sort of... especially with Instagram I think. A lot of this feeling that Instagram is all influencers and perfectly polished accounts and stuff like this. Comes from the fact that people are just following the big people on there. - Mhh. - And I do think if you can think of... I mean even you can search keywords on Instagram now. So even if you pop in a keyword, that is related to some weird quirky hobby that you've got or something, (laughs) you will I guarantee you find, a whole group of people who are into that thing. And posting about it and sharing each other stuff and getting involved with each other on each other's posts. And once you find that one person you then find everybody else, and you start getting shown more of that stuff because you are then engaging more on that person's content. And Instagram is like, "Oh yeah, okay they like this weird quirky thing. "We'll send them more of that." (laughs) - Yeah totally. Hashtags is still a little bit... I have limited brain span to hashtags and then I get a bit overwhelmed. So yeah even just cause yeah, you're right. You're like well I'm gonna put in the obvious stuff, sustainability ethics sort of. But of course that's gonna have multi-million, you're only gonna be able to niche into that. But yeah I think it's the time factor as well because you have to keep doing it and be present on it to kind of get past that initial, everything that I want about health and wellbeing is somebody in teeny tiny new yoga pants. Well, that's not really what I was after but thanks. (laughing) - Getting warmer [indistinct] (laughing) - Yeah there is definitely a time investment for finding that stuff. But again I think if you sort of decide that the time you're gonna spend on social media you're gonna be active. Because this is another thing problem that I think generally comes up is, the passive time spent on social media, when you are literally, like you just open the app and you're not even really looking. You're just like, like, like, like scroll, scroll, like. I'm like I get it, it is a good way to turn your brain off. - Yeah. - But if you instead sort of spent X amount of time a day or X amount of time a week, purposely actively being on social media, where you choose to open the app and you choose to search for specific hashtags, or keywords or people. And then actually leave them some comments, and get involved in discussions that are happening and stuff like that. That is A a much faster way to grow especially on Instagram. But also like it makes social media feel nicer, certainly for me. Because then you start seeing in your mindless scrolling, you start seeing posts that you are actually interested in. That are actually like heartwarming or they make you laugh or they inform you about something that you didn't know about. Rather than just a string of people in very tiny yoga pants. (laughing) - If you love people in tiny yoga pants, more power to you. (laughing) So yeah, I think it is sort of making the choice to actually be active on social media rather than always just sort of passively consuming whatever is presented to you. And that is another way to make a big difference as well on social media generally, because the more you actively seek out smaller creators and smaller businesses and people and you engage on those things. The more you tell the algorithms and the companies running them. Actually this is what we want. This is what we wanna see in the main feed. This is what we wanna be featured at the top of explore. This is what we want. Yeah that is gonna make a change. - I think that's pretty good advice 'cause you're right. I think so often when we go into the app we are ready to switch off a bit. And so you're not consciously doing anything. You are just scrolling and doing the odd line and going. "I really need to comment on something," and I'll just comment on this because it's vaguely something that's related. Yeah, yeah you're right it doesn't [indistinct] - There's nothing wrong with using it as like a time to switch off. But I think sometimes people think, I need to be on social media. - Yeah. - And so then they go on because they feel like they have to. And I think it is much more effective generally better for you in my opinion to say, "Right I'm gonna be on social media on X day of the week, or three days a week. And on those days I am gonna actively be on social media. I'll actively be part of whatever communities I wanna get involved in. And not be on social media the rest of the time. Or if you wanna choose one or two days that you're gonna be active, and then let yourself passively scroll the rest of the time. But if you sort of set aside that time and you choose to go on. Not when you've finished your workday or whatever, and you've finished homeschooling or doing whatever, you're doing and you're already exhausted and you've put the TV on and you're just like "I'm just gonna do some engagement now I swear. (laughing) And like it doesn't have to be that long either. You don't need to set yourself sort of huge goals of like, "I'm gonna engage for an hour every day." (laughs) you don't need to. You really, why? (laughs) There's a lot of content out there. You're still not gonna get through it. You could spend all day every day and you're not gonna see it all. - Yeah. - Its fine. (laughs) - Yeah It's true. Yeah, I think particularly as small businesses it feels like, "Oh, this is the easiest way "to market to as many people as possible." And so we get drawn into that. And in some ways I guess it is, but in other ways unless you're being quite targeted about what you're doing it's still just scrolling through Instagram. It's not necessarily a productive anything. - Hmm yeah yeah. It is a common misconception and something actually that comes up a lot in like social media managers circles, "Well I have an Instagram account "so I can do Instagram as a business. "I have a Facebook account so I can use Facebook business." And it is so not the same thing. I know a lot of people are like, "well you would say that 'cause you're a social media manager." But really though. (laughs) - Yeah you don't know what you don't know. (laughs) - It's true. I still think that people actually coming back to challenges on social media something that always comes up in the challenges that I run, when I do like an Instagram challenge or Facebook challenge or whatever, is like, "wow, once you start looking into it." "And actually learning about it. "There is so much more to it." (laughs) - Yeah, I can only imagine. (laughing) I'm a bit rubbish at it. But I recognise that am a bit rubbish at it. - It's frustrating to say, but it has that sort of flip side and there were people who were like, "Oh, I know how to use social media for business "because I use it for personal." And then there's also people who go, "Wow, there's just something so complicated. "I will never be able to learn it. "So I'm just not gonna try." And its like yes it's complicated, but it's also not that complicated. There's a lot to it. But also with the core it's pretty simple. So its this weird sort of balance, I guess. - I guess it must be partly just knowing where to find the information. And also as things continue to change, where can I actually understand how that impacts me personally? 'Cause all this the algorithm seems like, some techie geek and a tiny little cupboard, just out there to catch us all out. (laughs) - Honestly, the misinformation about the algorithm, especially on Instagram, drive me oooh. (laughing) It must be at the top five of my pet peeves. (laughing) It's so frustrating because it puts people off and people get stressed out and then people will post, endlessly frustrating posts about, "The algorithm is only showing me to X amount of people. "The algorithm is repressing me. "The algorithm is doing this than the other. "Please make sure you like and share and comment on this post "so that we keep getting shown to people." (laughs) No, no, no. Oh it frustrates me and it's like, "Oh no, look it's fine. "Okay the algorithm doesn't hate you." But the problem is that the alternative is that either your content isn't great, or your hashtag research maybe isn't great, or your captions are not great. And your call to actions aren't great. So the alternative is, I don't know what I'm doing. - Yeah. - And It is so much easier and less stressful to go. "It's the algorithm everybody else says is the algorithm. "So let's blame the algorithm and don't change anything." And I'm just sad that like, "Oh, but it could be so much better. Look you could just do this and this and this. And you would be doing really well. It'd be amazing. (laughs) - Do you think that people perhaps, they have a fluke 'cause I know certainly from my perspective I'll post something and get so much engagement randomly and I think, "Wow, that's not the one I expected." And then you go, "Oh I must have aligned with the algorithm on that day." Whatever it is. And then if it kind of has a dip and then people posting on their stories, "Oh is anyone getting less engagements today. " Or whatever so you just feels like that's what everyone says and that's what everyone does. So it must be true. (laughs) - I think what people forget is that they talk about the algorithm and they don't consider external factors. Like during the first lockdown, time on social media shot up so engagement and reach shot up because there were more people scrolling more, seeing things. They wanted to escape into social media. And then as that sort of died down, reach went down because people were Zoom fatigue and stressed out and trying to homeschool and totally overwhelmed. And they just wanted a break from social media. - And inundated with bad news yeah exactly. - And you see it generally like around sort of holidays, summer, reach tends to go down. Winter holidays reach tends to go up. Sales tend to go up. And it naturally fluctuates, like around the elections that will impact because people are looking at different things that either people are seeking out information on that and sharing information on that. Or whatever news is going on. If there's a big news story and they're not interested, and you trying to sell something or talking about this other thing. - Yeah. - And people forget to consider those things. And there are so many other factors that aren't the algorithm just hates you. And the other thing is when people get those sort of those successful posts, so they're like, "Yes, I did it. "I got all the engagement." (laughs) But I'm like, "Yes that's amazing. "Now please look at your stats "and see what you did differently." Like what... (woof) Yes, we know, you agree, very good. (laughing) You know you have to look at your stats and go right, "Why did that do well?" And it might have been a fluke. It might've been that it was a day that tonnes of people happen to be online. And they were all thinking about that thing that you posted about. And it just, the stars aligned. But it might've been you used a specific set of hashtags, that hit just the right group of people and the way you phrased the caption, it might've been that you used a different type of photo, a different style of image, or a video, or something like that. It might have been that you were also on stories, or you went live, or you were interviewing with somebody else. And so that people came to see you. - Yeah right. - Or it could be so many other things. And this is why I'm always like you need to check your stats. You need to check your stats. (laughs) Because then you can see what the trend is. And you can be like, Alright, If I post photos of this specific thing they generally do quite well for reach. So if I wanna reach more people, then maybe that's what I should post more of. If I use this call to action, I get more comments. So if I want comments, I should use that style of call to action. - Hmm. - And you have to pay attention to your own stats which is another thing that frustrates me about general generic social media advice , is like you need to post it this time. You need to say this as a caption, you need to use this guy. No, no, you need to post what your audience wants, and your stats will tell you that. So if you go and look at like which posts have done really well and see what's common thread like connects them. That generally is something. And this is where I say, like it's complex but it's also pretty simple. At the core you're putting out what other people want. What the people you want to work with or you want to speak to, or your community want. - Hmm. - But the how you figure that out can be complicated. (laughs) - Yes yeah definitely. Exactly what did link, it's like a puzzle. What linked these things? (laughing) - So your post that did very well. I'm gonna ask you to dredge your memory now. (laughing) What was it about do you know? - Normally, actually the ones that do well are the personal ones. Like something about me. And I think it's more. I do these really well. I think really great posts about, "Oh, people are gonna love this 'cause they're gonna get this really useful piece of information and it's crickets. And then you go, "Ah here's my dog a lot. "Here's my dog. "And we went for a walk and we got some fresh air." Loads of comments, load of likes. Just something that was just maybe even completely unrelated to the environment or whatever. You're like, "Okay alright." (laughing) - Everybody loves a dog. - I have noticed that one. And I do take advantage bless her. (laughing) - So another photo really? (laughing) - Get it out there. Photo of the dog, caption about this really important climate change. (laughing) - Exactly yeah because the animals matter too. (laughing) - My dog would like you to save the planet. (laughing) - Yeah, exactly. - So coming back to your challenge again. (laughing) What did you learn from it, from actually from doing the challenge itself? - I think that there really is a community that cares. And it was really positive. 'Cause you do start to think, God are we doomed? Are we actually doomed? Has everyone just forgotten doesn't care enough or unless David Attenborough was releasing another documentary we're all gonna forget. But that's not true. And I do get asked a lot do you think it's genuine? And yeah, I do. I think there's a lot of people and those numbers are growing. We've got to provide as much opportunity for people to feel that. 'Cause otherwise you get sucked into that yeah that depression of I can't do this alone and nobody else seems to care. So for me it was really recognising that providing a space, where people can share and feel not judged and can connect is really important. And you know it wasn't actually, a lot obviously as a business a lot of what we do is about making sales. But that wasn't really the bit that stuck with me. It was that connection and providing that space and actually the really lovely messages and things I've got from people going, I find that really useful. And all of a sudden you go, ultimately isn't that what we're trying to do every day on social media to provide something useful, to connect people, and to connect with other people. That is what where it becomes a very different platform. And yes you might get sales out of that. But ultimately, if you're looking for clients who align with you, then yeah it kind of happens naturally but it's not the primary purpose of what you were setting out to do. - Hmm yeah yeah. And I think that sort of taps into a key point of like social media is a lot about brand building and brand awareness. More so than it is about sales, you can absolutely convert to sales from that. But the core really has to be about building that community and making sure that your branding is clear, and who you are is clear. And what you do and why you do it. And what your values are and all of that kind of thing. Because its partly what people are buying into, is you and why do it. I think a lot of people forget about that and they think, "Oh, well, I'll hop on social media and post about this thing I'm selling and everyone will buy it." - Hmm. - But you need to establish yourself first and be like, This is who I am and this is what I stand for, before that's gonna happen really. (laughs) - Yeah and I think in some ways that's even more true when you're working with small businesses the big corporates perhaps do want a rap sheet of, "Oh I can see you've worked with so-and-so, "who's similar to us so you have X number of years." And so coming from the corporate world it has been a real shift for me to go, I'm not talking to those people anymore. I'm talking to... We're having a conversation here. This is what I care about. This is what I'm ultimately trying to do. And you're right. And it's taken a long time and I still creep back until I read something back and go. That sounds so corporate. And it's not what I was trying to say at all. But yeah, it is that recognition of it's not what you're selling it's you and your values and what you stand for, and whether people want to be a part of that. And also that not everybody does and that's okay. - Yeah well I think that's an excellent point to end on. (laughs) - It is absolutely okay. If not everybody wants to work with you, cause you're not for everybody. - Yeah, yeah definitely. - So do you want to tell people who would like to work with you, do you wanna tell us where they could find you and what you're offering and all that kind of thing? - Yeah so website and I'll provide. I think I'm just gonna give all of this to you. So mainly I'm on Instagram and LinkedIn. As I said I don't love Facebook unless I'm doing a challenge but then you'll probably still hear about that on Instagram and LinkedIn. But yeah I've got a website but ultimately, I work with businesses who mainly service based actually. But who just recognise that there's a better way to do business, but they just need a bit of help to get there. How can I really make this authentic and built in and where do I start? And that's the essence of what I do. Other bits come into it. Do you wanna get certified or do you want to do this? But ultimately that's it. That belief that my business can have a positive impact. How do I do that? - Hmm yeah. And on Instagram you are nancy_truehorizon. - Correct yes. - Just checked. (laughs) We will put all of your links in the show notes so people can come and find you. It has been very lovely to talk to you - Aww likewise. I can't believe an hour has gone so quick. (laughs) - [ Hawke] If you want more regular reminders to find your own way to use social media, following Alexis on your social platform of choice. All the links will be in the show notes. Until next time be a human.