Tip of the Month
Welcome to the Nutrition Entrepreneurs Tip of the Month
Building an online social media community takes time. But the payoff is priceless. Having an online presence can elevate your nutrition business and brand.
My journey in nutrition and social media started in graduate school, when fellow dietitian-to-be, Wendy Lopez, MS, RD, and I decided to create a healthy cooking and nutrition series on Brooklyn Public Access Television (BCAT). Creating a local television show was fun, but we soon realized there was a limit to the amount of people we could reach with our message. We discovered that if we transitioned our show to an online platform (YouTube), our reach would be worldwide. Flash forward five years and our brand has grown beyond our wildest dreams.
Here are three tips for using social media to build your nutrition business:
You need a niche
As black dietitians, we noticed that there wasn't a huge online presence geared directly toward nutrition for our community. Tailoring our message to the black community was one of the best things we could have done for our business. Social media helped us connect (and build) our followers - mainly because our target audience was specific. What is your niche?
Content is king
Seriously. This is maybe the most important thing you can do to grow your social media presence. If you are creating original nutritional content and recipes (with high quality photos), always post them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. People share great content! This will ultimately help to grow your social media presence, as shares = more followers.
Cultivate a voice
The most successful people on social media are good at being themselves. Figure out your voice / tone / brand and make sure that anything you post falls in line. Some of the most popular Instagram accounts post pictures that all have a similar color scheme and filter, so that people recognize the brand instantly when it appears in their feed. Consider working with a graphic designer to help you create a “look book” for your online presence. Pinterest is great for inspiration, too.
Do you consider yourself a writer? Do you write a blog, or contribute articles to magazines, journals, or newsletters? I always joke that I’m more of an author than a writer. Words don’t flow onto the computer as freely as I would like. Honestly though, more than anything else, writing a book has advanced my career.
I didn’t always plan on writing a book. Ten years ago, I thought I would create a detailed handout, entailing information I seemed to be repeating for each client. What began as a handout became a packet, and before long, I know I had enough material to write an entire book. I announced to family and friends, “I’m writing a book.”
As the years went by, I had more children, my life got busier, and my book was pushed to the back burner. The year my youngest went to all-day kindergarten, I suddenly had more time on my hands. Seven years after deciding to write a book, it was finally complete and ready for purchase. (By the way, writing a book very much feels like birthing another child.)
Do you have a glimmer of a book idea in your head? Look up other books in your market niche; do you have another angle or new idea? Share your idea with a friend or colleague and ask their opinion.
If you have already decided to write a book, here are 5 tips for getting started:
1. Decide whether you want to self-publish or use a traditional publishing house. These are completely different routes, so make this decision first.
2. If you decide to self-publish, purchase You Can Write a Book, by our very own NE dietitian Julie Beyer. This will be the best $9.95 you spend in the process. Another great reference is Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book. If you plan to use a traditional publisher, become familiar with Writer’s Market.
3. Sign up for the NE Webinar: March 16, 2016, 1 PM EST “Putting Last Things First: Why 90% of Marketing Happens Before Your Book is Launched”, presented by Julie Beyer, MA, RDN and Electra Ford (1.5 CEUs). Or listen to the recording in NE Webinar Library after logging in to members only content. Non-members register by clicking on Store at the top of the screen.
4. Find a quiet spot and start writing. This is truly the hardest part for me. I love researching, talking about my book, marketing, and deciding on book covers. Actually typing the words are the most challenging for me!
5. Use the NE electronic mailing list to elicit the help of your NE colleagues. When you are stuck, ask for advice. When your book is complete, use your NE quarterly advertising to share your new “child”, I mean book, with us!
NE Director of Member Services
“If you aren’t being treated with love and respect, check your price tag. Maybe you’ve marked yourself down. It’s you who tells people what you are worth. Get off the clearance rack and get behind the glass where they keep the valuables.”
I spotted this oft-quoted line on the web the other day and it made me pause. While the author may have been speaking to the personal side of one’s worth, it certainly applies to our worth as entrepreneurs as well.
Are you stuck when it comes to naming your price? We all read posts on the NE electronic mailing list (EML) pertaining to fees – we want to ensure we’re charging a fair yet profitable rate for the work that we do. Here are a few tips if you’re unsure of where to begin:
- Ask your peers! Post your question to the NE EML. We can’t discuss dollar amounts on the EML itself, however, so be sure to ask NE members to email you with their responses privately.
- If you’re unsure of what to charge, do some research. Check out your competition. What are they charging? What do dietitians in your market charge?
- Determine your hourly base rate. One consulting company provides a handy spreadsheet for determining your hourly rate based upon your annual salary goal (see bottom of post for link to spreadsheet).
- Aim high. Clients can either say “Yes, you’re hired,” or “Actually, I was thinking about x instead.” You never know unless you toss out a fair yet aggressive price and see what sticks. A family member and I were talking about my rates just the other day. Before I even shared my rates, he suggested: “Don’t you undersell yourself. People won’t think you’re any good.” My family member was blunt - but how true. We equate rate with clout, don’t we? If a doctor were to charge me $5 for a visit, I’d turn and run away. I exaggerate, but you get the point.
- When proposing your fee to a client, consider whether an hourly fee, a project fee, a retainer fee, etc. best suits your (and the client’s) purpose.
Lastly, don’t apologize for your rate. You are worth it. You have the years of experience under your belt; you have credentials behind your name. Wear them proudly and inform your clients what you are worth. They’re fortunate to work with such a talented dietitian!
For more on this topic, see Tip of the Month from Barb Andresen, RDN, LDN: “Work Only for Your Worth.”
Krista Ulatowski, MPH, RDN
NE Incoming Director of PR & Marketing
Many of us wear multiple hats, spread ourselves thin, and say “yes” to almost everything. This results in feeling overwhelmed and not completing what we told ourselves and others we would do. With all the over-committing, how do we expect to be able to do it all in just 24-hours? Setting ourselves up for unrealistic endeavors, time frames, and projects is unproductive, demoralizing, and unrealistic.
Time to set yourself straight and realize you can do it all in 3 easy steps.
- Organize. Make a weekly and daily “to do” list of tasks, appointments, and commitments you have to do. Include everything from scheduling social media to picking up your kid at school.
- Prioritize. For each day, prioritize 2-3 items you really want to complete that day. The rest can be done later.
- Realize. Give yourself realistic time frames to complete each important item. Be honest with your schedule and commitments. If a project needs 3 hours, give yourself the correct time to complete it.
Now, you can do it all and feel GOOD about yourself and your achievements. Empowerment is everything when it comes to our self-efficacy. Take control with actions and beliefs in your ability to do and complete. Enjoy your schedule!
Founder of Family. Food. Fiesta., Author & Blogger, Family and Sports Nutrition Expert
NE Chair Elect 2015-2016
No matter what your specialty, having a voice, using it wisely, preserving its clarity and continuity are vital.
If you’re a numbers person, being analytical is YOU. Your voice may be logical or methodical. Your world of influence may require dissecting hard-to-understand concepts and communicating clear-cut actions. Let your rational voice be heard!
If you’re creative with original ideas, being inspired or imaginative is YOU. Your influential voice may be eye opening or mind expanding. Your world of influence depends upon quirky and spontaneous abilities to merge divergent ideas and craft solutions. Let your creative voice sing!
If you’re a multi-tasker, your forte is handling myriad responsibilities with finesse. Grasping the parts of a whole and how the whole affects the greater picture is YOU. Your world of influence affects how little guys influence big guys who champion little guys. Let your multi-task voice resound!
Listen to those you admire who are “vocally” successful. Chances are they design platforms for what they do and stick with it. The Wall Street Journal may be your go-to voice for all things statistical. WSJ doesn’t waver its numbers reporting.
Who owns the most creative voices in your respective fields? I like to hear creative, articulate chefs talk their trade. It helps if they pen their own words and shoot their own compositions. Their inventive voices inspire my culinary nutrition writing and photo styling.
And who are the multi-taskers that bombard your sound waves? They may simultaneously juggle numerous ventures, but their focus is loud and clear. Consider Nancy Clark, the sports nutritionist and NE member with her rock steady voice and feet in many sports arenas.
Years ago I sought help finding my voice. I joined writing seminars, took photography courses and heeded savvy career coaches. As you pursue your voice, do some fine-tuning. You’ll soon be singing.
Jacqueline B. Marcus, MS, RDN, LDN, CNS, FADA, FAND
Food and Nutrition Consultant, Speaker and International Award Winning Author
NE Treasurer 2015-2017