The best 75 tips and hacks to build your online audience in 2020 | The Big Bang Partnership

The best 75 tips and hacks to build your online audience in 2020

#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, freebies, goody bag, conference gifts

A review of Janet Murray’s Build Your Audience Live event

This article will help you grow your business!

I got so much value from attending Janet Murray’s event, Build Your Audience Live 2019, that I wanted to share the insights, tips and learning with you so that you can think about them for your business too. You might also want to check out the experts I mention here for more detailed information and advice on their individual subject matter.

#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, Dr Jo North, May King Tea, #FOMO
Photo: Selfie with May King Tea

Writing this post for you also helps me because it’s always very useful to step back and intentionally reflect on what we’ve learned and what we commit to integrating within our own businesses. I think many of us will have experienced going on a course, conference or event, getting excited about it and then not taking the time to make sure we implement the most useful takeaways. I know I have! Taking two days out for two people (me and my hubby and co-director, John), plus the travel, accommodation and ticket costs is a significant investment in time and money. The potential return on investment based on what we learned is very, very high – but only if we take action on it!

#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences
Photo: Agenda for #BYALive 2019
Shoreditch, London
Photo: Shoreditch – the location for #BYALive

And one final point before we dive into the specific insights and takeaways is that I am not a subject matter specialist on social media marketing or content marketing. I help ambitious businesses and entrepreneurs to achieve the next level of growth through innovation and competitive advantage. For the last 8 years, I have been helping businesses to grow by delivering outstanding business coaching and consultancy support, executive development and growth toolkits that deliver exceptional returns.

Customers say that the advice, tools and techniques that I have put in place for them have had a massive impact. They have seen impressive numbers and ROI in terms of their sales, profitability and customer retention.

I am an expert in entrepreneurship and business growth, and whatever business you’re in, if you want to grow your business, make the most of business opportunities and accelerate delivery of your business plan, these audience-growth insights from the marketing pros at the event will help you for sure.

#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, Dr. Jo North, Tim Lewis, Stoneham Press
Photo: Thank you to Tim Lewis of Stoneham Press & Ian Anderson Gray for the selfie.

Who is Janet Murray and why did I choose her event?

I want to be super-clear that I am not receiving any payment, financial or otherwise, for writing this article and making these recommendations. What I’m sharing here is entirely because I’ve found it helpful, and because you might find some of it useful too.

I discovered Janet via her podcast. I then moved on to joining her membership and buying her media diary. This lady definitely knows how to do marketing, as I was well and truly in her “funnel”, so much so that I booked me and John onto her event in London in June.

The world of social media just feels like a lot, doesn’t it? A lot of channels, a lot of activity, personalities and voices, a lot of time… and with it a lot of opportunity, much of it free if you can create the time and space to make the most of it.

Photo: Day one speaker introductions

For businesses today not embracing and using social media and email marketing in a smart way to grow is an opportunity missed. I wanted to cut through the noise and get tips and advice from the best in industry, which is exactly what Janet’s event promised and delivered in spades.

This is quite a big article about the event because there is so much fantastic stuff to share!  And I still didn’t have space for everything, so apologies in advance if any of the speakers or attendees feel I missed anything important. I’ve done my best to represent what stood out the most for me.

#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, The Trampery, Old Street, London, Shoreditch
Photo: Loved the venue, which was The Trampery, Old Street, London
#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, freebies, goody bag, conference gifts
Photo: Fab goody bag and event workbook

And now on with main points from the event…

Do you attend or run your own events? Create #FOMO!

May King Tea – The #Fomo Creator

May King is an awesome wave of positive, infectious energy. She is the “#fomocreator” for events. If you’re at an event or running an event (I do both) here are the key takeaways from her sessions:

  1. Create a hashtag for your event or use the one shared by the organiser. Don’t wait until the event has started to use it. Get cracking before, during and after the event to make contacts and develop relationships with other attendees and speakers. If you’re running an event, make delegates aware of the hashtag before they come.

Janet Murray had a private Facebook group for attendees of Build Your Audience Live and promoted it in there.

Get your hashtag trending!

  1. May King’s tips for people who are more introvert to use social media at events include:
  • Do a little bit more to jump out of comfort zone and help yourself.
  • Talk about your journey to the event and why you’re excited about going
  • Post about the other attendees and the great conversations you’ve had. Say thank you for those great conversations.
  • Like and share other people’s posts.
  • Comment on other people’s posts.
  • Take selfies, and especially selfie with other delegates and speakers.
  • Engage with the host, sponsors and attendees – post what’s coming up next, inspiring quotes and thank yous.
  • You could do vox pops videos on your phone with other attendees and speakers and post those.
  • Repurpose your posts and use the same post across different social media channels to save time.
#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, May King, #FOMO
Photo: May King getting us all started on the first morning of the event

May King Tea loves Twitter and also gave these top tips:

  • On Twitter we have about 7 seconds to impress someone. Your Twitter cover page needs to be vibrant and clear about what you do, with a call to action (CTA). Use it as a billboard to promote what’s coming up.
  • Make sure we use a well thought out Pinned Tweet. Potential customers need to see us between 7 and 30 times before they buy from us, so this well help.
  • Use Twitter Chat – which May King describes as being like a TV programme – to build relationships and profile.
  • Build relationships via DM (direct messaging). This is also great for customer service because we use up to 10,000 characters and share personal info such as email address and phone number.






Want to do great live videos?

Ian Anderson Gray – how not to look and feel like an idiot on live video

#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, Ian Anderson Gray
Photo: Ian Anderson Gray at Build Your Audience Live

Ian is just awesome. He’s very knowledgeable and was incredibly generous with his expertise on how to do live video, both during his speaker slot and throughout the two days. My key takeaways from Ian are:

  • Use adrenaline positively and channel it. See fear as a way for you to do your best, it is not an enemy.
  • Live video is an excellent way of building audience size and engagement. Research shows that Facebook lives get more interactions per post than standard images plus text. Agora Pulse has found that live videos receive 75% more shares than uploaded ones.
  • There’s no need to spend a fortune to go live. A good smart phone is more than good enough to get started.
  • Live video means that we need to abandon the idea of perfectionism. It’s live, things can go wrong and that’s fine. It’s actually a big part of the appeal to, because it reinforces authenticity. Your audience wants to see the real you.
  • Instagram stories and Facebook live are great ways of getting started. Being consistent is important. On Facebook live it’s possible to change the privacy settings to only post your video to yourself – a great way to practice and build confidence before the real thing.
  • Ian’s great advice is to watch yourself back and write down 3 things that you did well and 3 things to improve. He wisely recommends that we treat ourselves in the same way that we would treat a client.
  • Do a confidence warm up before you go live – move, open up the body, correct posture, warm up the voice and breathing. We all sang the tongue twister “Daddy’s got a head like a ping pong ball” to the tune of the William Tell overture J .
  • Create “heightened authenticity” to up the energy levels and impact.






Build an amazing audience on Instagram

Kirsty Merrett – Creative Instagram @labelsforlunch

Kirsty works across all social media channels and is especially well-known on Instagram where she has over 39k followers.

#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, Instagram, influencer, influencer culture, Kirsty Merrett
Photo: top Instagram influencer Kirsty Merrett

Takeaways from Kirsty are:

  • Instagram ads are great for business because you can target the people you want, and they are very affordable.
  • Golden rules are to post only your best content, edit images in an external app, write great captions, research relevant hashtag, post at “good” times, be consistent and communicate.
  • If photography isn’t your thing, create graphics, and get people to talk back.
  • Kirsty says good times for her to post are 7-8am or 7-8pm – the initial engagement that comes at these times helps her images to fly.
  • Make sure your grid has a cohesive look, colour palette and caption style. If you want to post personal content, open a second account.
  • Nail grid content first, then stories, then IGTV.
  • Give away your best content for free.
  • To make a great caption start a conversation, show personality, include relevant hashtags, credit your source and be positive! Use no more than three hashtags in the top caption than put the rest of your hashtags in the comments to keep the main caption clean.
  • To direct people to a link, use the link in bio. Also use Linktree to create a landing page which will turn your ‘link in bio’ into a landing page which will send traffic to multiple useful links; website, shopping, pages, YouTube channel and more. Linktree is a free tool for optimising your Instagram traffic. When you sign up you will get one bio link to house all the content you’re driving followers to. I didn’t know about this before Kirsty’s session and I have just signed up and it took me seconds to set up, so you will see it now on the @ideatimestudio Insta account.
  • Kirsty says that the Instagram algorithm loves motion, so videos and gifs will be helpful.
  • Using local hashtags can be really powerful to connect with potential customers nearby.
  • A lot of people just follow on Instagram and that’s ok, just keep going. Don’t think they are not watching or following.




Get a better return on your Facebook ads

Gavin Bell – How to get clients on Facebook without spending a ton on advertising

Gavin is so, so knowledgeable! I highly recommend you check out his YouTube channel.

#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, Gavin Bell
Photo: Gavin Bell kindly helping me out on the break. Thank you, Gavin!
#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, Gavin Bell
Photo: Gavin Bell speaking on Day One

So many people have tried Facebook advertising and have not had great results. Facebook ads if not done well are interruption marketing. Gavin said that research shows 85% of people have a negative opinion about a website if they have obnoxious or intrusive ads on them, and 91% of people think ads are more intrusive today than 2 years ago.

None of us want to buy from obnoxious or intrusive people, do we? We will only buy from people we feel we know, like and trust.

This means that we need to advertise in a way that adds value to people’s lives. It’s about being helpful, providing free content, asking questions, solving problems and building relationships. Gavin recommends using video and lives to help us do this.

A great case study that Gavin presented is the membership site Scott’s Bass Lessons. Scott, the founder, set it up as a hobby to communicate with other bass players. He just wanted to create something of value without expecting anything back. A fundamental part of Facebook and advertising in general is not to be annoying and to use advertising in a way that improves lives and adds value. Scott did this and created a hugely successful business which now has 27,000 paying members.

I’m sure that you’ve experienced retargeting ads. These are one of the most powerful things Gavin says that we can implement in our businesses. Here’s a training video on Facebook ad retargeting from Gavin if you’d like to know more.





Want to make more sales via your website?

Matt Eldridge – how SEO can help you drive traffic to your website

The right website traffic converts into leads, and then into sales. Melt Design founder Matt Eldridge led a great session on SEO, and I learned so much, especially about the tools available to help us do more ourselves here in the Idea Time team.

I could write a full article on what Matt shared, he gave us so much value, but I’m going to keep it to my biggest takeaways here. They are:

  • SEO is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website and brand. It doesn’t have to be to your website.
  • Google ranks sites on a combination of factors. At the top is direct website visits, then time on site, pages per session, bounce rate and others. They are all accounted for at the same time, rather than there being a single or couple of factors that matter most.
  • All content created should have a purpose. It should answer the questions that target customers are actually typing into Google. It’s also important to check that enough customers want to but what you’re selling, and that the competitiveness of ranking within Google isn’t too high. Finding keywords with tools such as and kwfinder can help with this.
#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, Matt Eldridge
Photo: Matt Eldridge from Melt helping us with SEO
  • It is important to include the target keyword in the url.
  • Adding 2-5 internal links to pages and posts that you want to rank for helps.
  • The average length for a first page Google result is now 1,890 words. This varies, though, from industry to industry.
  • Creating ‘skyscraper’ posts, which means looking at the highest ranking posts and then doing a much better job, without copying, can be a really successful way to improve your SEO performance.
  • Optimise your title tags for click through rates using words such as these:
    • Best or Top
    • Buy
    • Current Year
    • Numbers (26 Ways, 16 Best)
    • Guide
  • Make sure your website is free from technical issues.
  • Multimedia improves the user experience and keeps them on the site longer, which helps your ranking.

 Matthew Eldridge


Linkedin for business

Janet Murray – Everyone is on Linkedin – and they are on there for business

Janet is excellent at Linkedin. Check her out and follow Janet’s Linkedin account to see her in action and learn!

#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, Janet Murray, facilitator
Photo: Janet Murray in action on Day 2

Janet says that the reach on Linkedin is insane at the moment and showed us some great examples of business engagement from florist and flower designer Kate Lister, also known as ‘The Grimsby Florist off Linkydink’ !

Some Linkedin tips are:

  • Make sure your profile is not dull and is really clear about what you do. Use the space on the right hand side of your profile too, use photos of you and your business in action as well as the professional headshot.
  • Consider adding in your phone number if you want to be seen to be accessible.
  • Include what you’re selling in your profile, but not more than 3 offers.
  • There are different types of post that we can all start doing from today:
  1. Value post – things that help.
  2. Review post – when you review what you’ve been doing with a collage of c. 5 photos.
  3. Behind the scenes post.
  4. Shout out post – include mentions of other people and what you have been doing together. Tag them.
  5. Grenade post – when you want to get a debate going.
  • Janet showed us how easy it is to put captions on videos using easy tools such as Kapwing (also checkout their meme generator) and Rev.

Content Marketing

Janet Murray – Everything is a content opportunity!

Janet gave great examples of how everything – including Irish dancing and marathon running! – is a great content opportunity because the aim is to use content to provide value for your audience and build a relationship with them.

It’s also important to develop a relationship that means it is expected and ok to sell to your audience, as well as adding value and relationship building.

#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, Janet Murray, social media, roadmap to success
Photo: Janet Murray and the roadmap of social media, content and email marketing

To do this, Janet recommends that we create three types of content, based on insight from Dan Knowlton. These are awareness, consideration and purchase content. Examples of the different types are:

  • Awareness: How to build a large audience without paid advertising.
  • Consideration: How I chose the speakers for build your audience live. A case study can be a consideration piece of content as well. Focus on why your audience should buy YOUR products or services.
  • Purchase: Facebook live, including a free ticket giveaway.

These three types of content lead the customer through a journey which helps them to decide whether or not to buy. Either way, it is a good thing for your business.

Do you have a lead magnet? How is it doing?

Janet Murray – How to create a high converting lead magnet (or rescue one that bombed)

A lead magnet is something of value to your audience that you give away online in exchange for email and sometimes other contact details. Janet ran an awesome session on how to create a successful lead magnet. Here’s a quick summary of the tips that stood out for me the most.

A great lead magnet will:

  • Solve a specific problem for a specific type of customer.
  • Create a transformation.
  • Give a quick win.
  • Lead towards a specific product or service that wants to sell.

It’s often a good idea to send paid Facebook advertising towards your lead magnets. Janet has also launched some terrific paid lead magnets to bring in even hotter leads.

Ideas for lead magnets include:

  • Checklists
  • Quizzes
  • Printables
  • Webinars
  • Online challenges
  • Reports / white papers
  • Video tutorials
  • Book chapters
  • Handbooks / ebook
  • Stick images / social
  • Media graphics
  • Infographics





Podcasting productivity hacks from a world-class expert

Colin Gray – How to grow your audience through podcasting

Colin is also known as The Podcast Host and is an authority on all things podcasting. He’s also a successful blogger and app developer and knows how to get the best return on time and has some awesome productivity hacks.

#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, Colin Gray, podcast creation
Photo: Colin Gray – creating a podcast doesn’t have to be time consuming

Colin suggests that we create a ‘content stack’ of text / blogs for reach, video and images for differentiation and audio to create intimacy and trust.

With audio, Colin says that people get to know you as if you’re a friend. They listen for a long time, audio helps you show personality and create fans of your brand and all this builds engagement.

To save time, Colin recommends creating a structure around a content idea that can be repurposed:

  • An introduction, which should be a short summary of the content from start to finish (no detail).
  • Theory – the ‘meat’ of the content – about 10-15 minutes long.
  • Context – adults learn best by knowing how the theory works in real life. This section should include case studies and stories
  • Action – a short section on what the next step is.

Colin finds that this really strict structure actually makes him more creative. That’s interesting, as in my Idea Time Membership I have a webinar on how to use your creative brain in business, and research and my own experience are consistent with Colin’s view. He uses the phrase “constrain your way to freedom”.

The next steps then are to either write the plan up as a full blog or use bullet points to record the podcast. There are pros and cons of doing the blog or the podcast first. Blogging first can make the podcast sharper and tighter. Podcast recording first can provide additional ideas which can then go into the blog.

#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, Colin Gray, productivity hacks, productivity tips
Photo: Colin Gray – productivity ninja tips!

I absolutely love the next tips as they will turn all of us into productivity ninjas!

  • Record the podcast as a video at the same time. Keep it under 30 minutes at first.
  • Break the blog into items for social media.
  • Break the long video up into smaller sections, about 3 minutes long, and put onto YouTube. The theory part is likely to be longer at 15-20 minutes.
  • Hold back on sharing the story or case study on the video, though! Save that for the audio.
  • Use the Headliner app to great a graphic with sound and moving soundwave imagery to use on social media to promote your podcast. Pick a great quote or standalone takeaway as a teaser for the full episode.
  • Be time efficient. Colin’s timings for the whole process are as follows:
    • Plan 20m
    • Writing 1 hr
    • Publish 20m
    • Record 30m
    • Produce 30m
    • Total is 2hr 40 mins
  • Plan content for a full season in an hour or two, then batch record them. When you record a season people can listen to all of them, which us great for building loyalty and consistency. Create evergreen content so that it works well for you long into the future.





How to build your audience on YouTube

Jessica Dante of Love and London – from 0 to 100,000 YouTube subscribers!

Jess has built up an 100k following for her YouTube Channel Love & London – an online travel guide for visitors to London. She began from zero in 2015, and it has taken her four years to build the audience she has today.

#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, Jessica Dante, Love and London
Photo: Jessica Dante – Love and London website home page

Firstly, why should businesses be on YouTube?

  1. It is the number 2 search engine in the world, plus it’s owned by Google.
  2. It has a long content lifespan.
  3. There is less competition because video is a higher barrier to entry.
  4. It builds trust.
  5. It helps to reach new audiences easily. On Instagram and Facebook it can be difficult to get content in front of people who aren’t following you.
  6. There are other revenue opportunities – speaking, on camera presenting, advertising, tv PR opportunities.

This is how Jess said she started to build an audience on YouTube:

  1. Create videos that people actually give a shit about – it’s not about the creator, it’s about the audience.
  2. Watch time is a much more important metric than views. YouTube wants to keep you on the platform to serve more ads. Subscriber numbers are important, but people need to be watching the videos. YouTube measures top videos by Watch Time not Views. To increase watch time it is better to publish videos in series and do a deep dive series with a call to action.
  3. Make videos succinct, quick moving and not dragging on. Cut out anything that isn’t super relevant.
  4. Publish consistently for reliability and trust, ideally one video a week at the same time and day.
  5. Use YouTube to build an email list with one main lead magnet. Have a link to that lead magnet in all the videos so that it doesn’t interrupt audience watch time.







Wow – Pinterest sounds awesome for business – have you considered it?

Jeff Sieh – Manly Pinterest tips

Every single speaker was absolutely awesome, and Jeff was brilliant! He’s based in Texas, has his own Manly Pinterest podcast and is part of the Social Media Examiner team.

#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, Jeff Sieh, Pinterest, influencer
Photos: Jeff Sieh in action
#BYA2019, agenda, business growth, online audiences, Jeff Sieh, Pinterest, influencer

Some things I didn’t know about Pinterest before Jeff’s talk:

  • Pinterest has 291m monthly active users worldwide.
  • 80% of new sign ups to Pinterest come from outside the US, so there is a ground floor opportunity to get in now as the platform continues to grow.
  • 78% of users say that Pinterest content from brands is useful, and 90% of weekly users turn to Pinterest to help them make their purchasing decisions, either immediately or when planning for later purchases.
  • People go to Pinterest to get inspired and try new things. It’s a visual search engine, it’s NOT social media
  • Pinterest drives traffic and that traffic lasts a long time. The average life of a pin is 4 months, so it has a huge shelf life, in fact about 1680 times longer than a Facebook post!
  • Pinterest is actually designed to get users to click through to your website – it is the only digital platform out there for which it’s the case.
  • The Pinterest algorithm is based on consistent and valuable content.
  • Pinterest boards can rank on Google.
  • For great Pinterest audience insights get a business account.
  • Instagram stories may be repurposed for Pinterest.
  • Tailwind is a great scheduling app for Pinterest as well as Instagram.

Jeff – you’re awesome!






Grow your business!

I love to help ambitious businesses and entrepreneurs to achieve the next level of growth through innovation and competitive advantage.

For the last 8 years, I have been helping businesses to grow by delivering outstanding business coaching and consultancy support, executive development and growth toolkits that deliver exceptional returns.

Customers say that the advice, tools and techniques that I have put in place for them have had a massive impact. They have seen impressive numbers and ROI in terms of their sales, profitability and customer retention.

Do you want to take your business to the next level? Contact me direct at I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

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