Podcast artwork for the episode 2 of season 2 - Be Intentionally You with Gus Bhandal

What does 'Be Intentionally You' have to do with marketing? 

After all, you're marketing a product or service, *you* don't really come into it.

Marketing doesn't really work like that. As the old adage says: 'people buy from people' and being intentionally you has everything to do with it.

In this episode I interview marketing guru, Gus Bhandal. With 20 + years of marketing experience in his repertoire Gus and I talk about the transition from print to digital marketing. How to merge the two, and how to choose the best Social Media platforms to suit your business and your audience.

We also look at branding and how to really get your brand noticed, as well as delivering what people expect when you meet them in person. What language to include and when it's best to keep those sweary comments to yourself.

Are you ready to improve your marketing and get noticed by your ideal clients? 

Episode Transcript

I'm Holly Christie, your host. I'm a website designer, mentor, and marketing strategist. I have two companies, This Demanding Life for small businesses who want to grow with flow, which means not running themselves ragged, and Simply Sites for startups and micro businesses who want a stellar website and experience. I'm here to help you to fall in love with your small business, to show you how to implement business practices and how to turn those challenging moments into defining moments where you find your strength. And today I am so excited to bring the marketing guru Gus Bhandal to our podcast to share his experience with you.

Gus has been in marketing for his entire career and we're going to kick off straight with saying how he got into marketing, why, how brilliant he is at it and we to kind of mix it up across print media and digital marketing, which social media platforms are best for you, where you're going to show your best self. And as you can see from the title of this episode, I just couldn't resist when I talked to Gus a few times it came up, he said about be intentionally you. And we talk in this episode about finding your tone of voice, finding out how with who your client wants you to be and how to get that right so that you get that real magical relationship with your clients, with your audience and yeah, how to make the most out of your small business. So do grab a cup of coffee. It's going to be worth sticking with us right until the end and enjoy.

Welcome to the podcast Gus. Thank you so much for joining us today.

The absolute pleasure is mine. Thank you for asking me on.

Oh, thank you. And it was so lovely to meet you in person at uplift live, which was last month, we had John on the podcast before talking about it and it was amazing. So I think that was your MC and it was amazing.

Oh, yeah, I thought you meant john's podcast was amazing, which I know it was because obviously I listened to that. But the yeah, my MC was. Yeah, I prepared quite a lot for that. And I really enjoyed it, to be honest. It was real fun. I'm available for weddings, bar mitzvahs, anything, ribbon cutting, I'm there. If you need an MC, somebody with a mic, I can turn up.

And the great thing is actually being a marketer as well. You could market that ribbon cutting and those weddings and all those events.

So we're all good, right? I can write posts about it, yeah. Some of my audience may see it, yes, absolutely.

Tell me, how did you get into marketing?

Um, the short answer to how I got into marketing is that I failed at everything else, basically. So, uh, it goes back to a very early story of when I was doing my, when I was choosing my GCSEs, I was really good at French. So I thought, okay, I'll do French as a GCSE because I wanted to be like a French football commentator. It was the time when Italian football was on TV. And I thought, I could do that, but I could do it for the French league. Um, cause obviously France isn't too far But to do French as an A level, I had to get a B at GCSE and unfortunately I got a C. So I failed at that bit. So then when I went to do my A levels, I thought, okay, I'll become a lawyer. It looks pretty good and it seems to pay lots of money. So then they said to me, well, you should do history as an A level if you want to do a law degree. And I said, okay, cool. So I did history as an A level and then I failed that. So one of my other A-levels was psychology. So I thought, okay, let's go into psychology. I'll become an occupational psychologist or a psychotherapist or something like that. So then I chose psychology as a degree. And when I went to university, I failed psychology. So, and there wasn't many things left actually. So flicking through the prospectus, I got to M and then it was marketing. I'm not sure what, there wasn't much after marketing. So I thought, ah, let's give marketing a go. And actually I started passing the exams and actually it almost became second nature. I almost fell into marketing because I failed at everything else. But it's, to be honest, the one thing that I can do. So it's, and I made a career out of it. So I love it. Yeah.

Maybe you failed at everything else, because it was absolutely what you should be doing. And, you know, life didn't want to put any of those building blocks away for you. So that's pretty cool. So without, you know, kind of implying how old you are, people can see that from the photos. How long have you been doing marketing?

Thanks, people can see that from the photos. Yeah, I appreciate that. Thanks. So I've So I started my marketing degree in 96. I got my first proper job in 2001 So, you know and if we include my degree like as in when did I start marketing? Yeah, it was Essentially from the mid 90s. I've been marketing. So I'll be here Well almost 30 years, but really like in a career. It's 20 20 years, years there or thereabouts. But I've always, yeah, I've always worked in marketing, always worked for kind of big organisations and retail and local government and lots of other things. Oh, and I run a pub for a little while as well.

So you've really seen this all then you've seen it go from like, print marketing through to digital. And what's your feeling around that? Because I know for lots of people, there was this real, oh, another magazine's folded, or there's another you know, all the brochures or prospectuses or whatever are going online. For me, who is just a fully digital person. I love that. I don't even like paper books. I like things on my Kindle in my hands and stuff. How did you feel when the landscape changed around you?

One of the things about the marketing industry that is the ultimately the theory never changes, regardless of the medium, whether it's print or whether it's TV or whether it's a digital, et cetera. the theory of marketing never changes. Ultimately, you want to be able to promote your products and services to the right audience using the right medium and all that kind of stuff. And ultimately, promote your products and services to make money. So in terms of my marketing education, my marketing experience, it would never let me down because I understood all the theory behind it. And technically, I could probably market anything anywhere. What was interesting was the age that I am. you know, mid 40s there or thereabouts. It has, I've seen that transition from the, you know, email was invented, the internet was invented, you know, and then we started using computers and all this other kind of stuff. And then, you know, the advent of the smartphone, et cetera, to the point now where we have everything on our smartphone in our pocket and we can learn anything. And now, you know, the next steps would be like AI and all that kind of stuff. But throughout all that time, the theory has never changed. So it's just that adaptation of where we need to go from the print and the TV advertising and the radio advertising to social media and websites and all that kind of stuff. I think it's fascinating to see and it's fascinating to think about where this is all going. But ultimately for businesses. It's what they have to learn. It's the, it's the bit like you have to get into the early adopters to start making the most of whatever marketing medium is coming up next.

And that's something I often talk about in this podcast. So the podcast is aimed really at people who are starting up, but also people who have small businesses, they're growing. And one of the big differences in business in these days, this day in age, particularly since websites became, you know, the UK government said that every small business should have a website from 2017 onwards. At the same time, the GDPR came into play, you know, there was a lot that all came at one time. And so businesses, you know, there are a lot of businesses out there who had survived quite well with just an email address, they didn't need a website or anything like that. And now People in business have to be all things to all people. They have to be the accounts department. They have to be the marketing department. They have to wear all of the hats. And whilst we can outsource a lot of it, marketing is something that I always believe we should work with an expert on and work with someone who's more experienced than us, but also really learn to get to grips with. You can't kind of be a passenger on the marketing of your business, can you?

No, I absolutely agree. So I run a, so twice a year I run a marketing event. Um, it literally just as a networking event. And one of the straplines is that everybody is a marketer because people always ask me, Oh, can I come, you know, I'm a business coach or I'm a copywriter or, you know, I do graphic design, et cetera, and all that kind of stuff. And I said, technically, if you run a business, then you're a marketer. You run your business. Plus you're a marketer. Like you can't say I run a business and I'm an accountant. If you know what I mean, like you have to, you know, there are some things that you should definitely outsource if you're on, you know, if you're not the person that can market your business the best is you because you understand your business, you understand your product, you understand your idea of market, et cetera. Working with an expert, like particularly a marketing expert is where somebody holds your hand through the process rather than just handing everything over because ultimately you're always going to be the face of your business, but you're also going to be the person who knows your business best. And I think that's the, I think working with an expert is often better.

Absolutely. And And which actually brings me into your tone of voice Gus, because I'm not gonna pretend I don't love it. You are LinkedIn's funniest person. Not sure the current Mrs. Bandel would agree. I love how it's always the current Mrs. Bhandall. How did you get there in a world where people can veer towards the kind of uber professional and that kind of very vanilla, and this is the company voice? How did we get to, you know, you're the best marketer on LinkedIn, according to your mom and current Mrs. Bhandall, may or may not agree. Did you establish that tone of voice?

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure. However, the I've always like throughout my whole life, I've always hung around people who are funny or are sarcastic and all that kind of stuff. And, you know, even at school, a couple of our teachers, kind of like when I was, you know, talking to the boys, they were kind of over. overhearing us not as old as I am, you know, people like Ramesh Ranganathan, etc. or even to a certain extent, Michael McIntyre. They tell stories through their comedy, you know. But it's stories of their life and they find the funny elements. And I think particularly when it comes to LinkedIn and kind of like the... Yes, it is a professional platform and yes, we have to say kind of professional things and all that kind of stuff. But actually, there's a certain tone of voice which marks you out as different. And if people say, oh, he's good at LinkedIn, by the way, he's also really funny, then that's great. That's what I'd rather that than somebody says, He's a LinkedIn trainer and so is all these other people kind of thing. There are certain LinkedIn trainers that are known for sending. But John Espirian, he's, you know, trademarked, it's a registered trademark, but he is the relentlessly helpful LinkedIn nerd kind of thing. And he is like some of the things that John teaches me. Cause he goes through all the background and the coding and the development and all this kind of stuff. And I think that's not stuff that I would teach my clients because that's just way too technical, but I learn a lot from John and that's his tone of voice. Cause that's the just a whole, you know, lab coat and all that kind of stuff.

Also, John came out of being a technical copywriter. So for him, that was always going to be that kind of edge. And when you say he did answer in his podcast interview about the being relentlessly helpful where that came from. And he totally is. If I have a LinkedIn question or something like that, and I just want that black and white answer, I'm like, hi, John, you know, what's the answer to this? And yeah, he's. is brilliant at that. But I see both of you in my feed a lot. And you kind of have that very different kind of vibe on your posts and your responses because of this as well.

Yeah, of course. I think so, for me, and it kind of started quite early on, like, so I, when I started my business, I did a lot of workshops, and I did a lot of social media workshops and marketing workshops, as in sitting in other people's workshops. And I'm going to use I shouldn't really publicly say this, but I will. Um, cause I don't think any of them will listen, but I joined my local chamber of commerce and I did a lot of their social media courses and at the end, they give you an evaluation form and said, what did you think of the course? And I said, oh, I thought it was rubbish. Like the instructor might have been really boring or not very knowledgeable or something like that. And essentially they said, do you reckon you could do a better job? And I said, yeah, I reckon I could. And they said, good, that's what we're going to do. And they gave me a contract so that I've been doing that for the last four or five years, basically. Um, and I run workshops. And they told me recently that I get the best feedback because not only are people learning, but they're having fun while they're learning. And I'm not, don't get me wrong, I'm not a standup comedian. I don't tell a joke a minute, but the point is I know from experience that the way I don't like learning is by just people just talking at me or, you know, et cetera. I want people to be interactive. I want them to be funny. I want them to be personable, et cetera. And I believe that for me, that the humorous tone of voice it helps my audience to learn more about what I do for a living and learn and take more value from what I do. Because as we know, when we're having fun, we learn more, right? We intake more and all that kind of stuff. We listen more. It opens up those receptors in the brain that makes us awake and all that kind of stuff. So there is a psychology, there's a method behind the madness. There is a psychology to it. But ultimately, I like being funny. I just don't want anybody to call me boring, basically.

I don't think that anyone could call you that. And if they did, you can just dazzle them with your fluorescent orange trainers.

Oh, I have a lot of orange outfits. And to be honest, it's it takes it takes all that brain power away. I open up my wardrobe and I think, right, what orange or black item and am I going to wear today? Nice and simple. I don't have to ever worry about what I'm wearing or what color it should be. Everything is black and orange on a work set. It's great because the color absolutely works for you.

And people who can't see this because we're not on video, Gus is wearing an orange hoodie. He's got an orange bandana on. We're right on brand here as well.

Yes, it's very on brand. And again, the whole orange aspect is started because it was a color that stood out. It spoke to our branding specialist. And we kind of when I was setting up my business and setting up my logo and my brand guidelines and all that kind of stuff, we eventually settled on orange. And it was it was the one that I was the most happy with. kind of thing, if you know what I mean, it's kind of I had lots of favorite colors, like I love red, and I love purple, and I love silver and all that kind of stuff. My logo didn't work in any of those colors. And as soon as I saw it orange on black, I was like, right, that's, that's the one I'm going for. Because yeah, I loved it. And then everything kind of emanates from there.

Totally works for you. And like I say, it is a really strong brand. So just coming back to tone of voice as well, because I think that's something that can People take the longest to establish, you know, people can feel very vulnerable online, especially with a new business or a new startup. What would you say to someone who they're trying to get their marketing to stand out, but they don't have the confidence to pitch in at that full on humor?

The the most trite information or the most trite kind of. kind of strategy is to always be yourself. And I know that sounds, you know, like all marketers say that, like always be yourself or, you know, no one else can be you and all that kind of rubbish. Thing is, is that it's about being intentionally you. And I think particularly when it comes to LinkedIn content, website content, web pages, blogs, you know, as far as your content page, your contact page and all that kind of stuff, everything should speak how you speak to people, you know, in person kind of thinking, you know, Unless you are speaking on behalf of a brand, then obviously you use the brand tone of voice for most people who are starting a business or sole traders, small businesses, freelancers, solopreneurs, all that kind of stuff. You want to talk as you. When I write content on LinkedIn, when I write my web pages, I write it as if I would talk, so I would talk it out loud, if that makes sense. Um, because so when people meet me, they think, Oh, this guy is the same. It's not like I don't use any fancy or flowery language online. And then suddenly you meet me and I'm all like F and M blinding and talking like I'm from Coventry. But it's not, it's not slight on Coventry. It is the center of the universe. Of course. And it's, it's that, it's that element of when you learn to just be intentionally you, it's not just about being you, it's about being intentionally you and you leaning into. what you like, what you're into, the way you talk, whether you swear, whether you don't swear, whether you, you know, do you say your T's and your H's and all that kind of stuff. A lot of that can come across in your, in the written word and in your tone of voice. And sometimes your tone of voice isn't just what you write. It's the way you carry yourself, the colors that you wear, your brand, your, you know, and all that kind of stuff, the way things look, et cetera, whether you have selfies or whether you, you know, whatever it may be, your brand photography and all that kind of stuff. There is so much more to brand than just this is the way I write. It's so much more than that. And obviously, as you are well aware, Holly, when you, when somebody creates a website, the whole website has to be, this is me. Your website has to be almost like an embodiment of the person that you are from your pictures, your colors, the way you write, the way the website flows, how people can contact you, etc, etc. There's so much to it.

Really a website needs to be two things. It needs to be an embodiment of who you are, but it also, it has to be the embodiment of who your ideal client also wants you to be. So I think with our websites, we never fully show our true selves. And you know, we shouldn't, because everyone needs to hold something back for them anyway. My website before, so before I rebuilt my website last year, I had 18 mini-mes, which are the cartoon version of me that Amy had created for me. And it brought a real playful element to the website. And I have quite a playful side to my personality. But when it comes to business, I'm serious because I want to get that best result. You know, it's about attention to detail and things like that. And when we did the new brand photoshoot, Amy looked at the photos and said, right, we ditched the mini means, you know, we're growing up with stepping up, we're doing that. And I, I want all of my clients to really, really get to success. And so when we get their website copy and content, and we're planning the website, I comb through it, absolutely coming through it, and I will take out any anything that I think brings them down a little bit, like one of my clients had on her. testimonials instead of it just saying, you know, testimonials, it's a, some people think I'm quite good at this malarkey, you know, here's what they say. And I'm like, no, you're undervaluing yourself. You, you, you want your client to be at this level and you need to meet them where they are. So I think, websites are always like two versions put into one. It's who the ideal client wants and it's who you want to be for them.

Yeah. Yeah, I absolutely agree. And I, but I think the, like, the two elements of a website in terms of this is who I am, but this is who my ideal clients want to be. There should be an amplification of the former kind of thing. Because it is, for example, like I know you and we obviously as for Uplift Live, we have worked with you and we know that obviously, you know, you created our website and all that kind of stuff. We chose you because you're very professional and you're very knowledgeable and obviously working with you was like ridiculously easy the knowledge of knowing that you're very good at what you do almost amplifies your personality, if that makes sense. So I think they work hand in hand together and I think they dovetail really well.

I will absolutely take that. Thank you very much. I'll just end there and then we'll get nice things about my website, if skill, thank you. Yeah, of course we can end there. What we should end with is like, in between all that, you obviously have your Bon Jovi tattoos and all that. Do we mention that? No? Okay.

I haven't told anyone on the podcast about my Bon Jovi tattoos. So thanks for getting that in fact. We'll move on. Sorry. We'll move on. Yeah. I mean, everybody but me has seen them. So, you know. That is absolutely not true. We'll take a short break. Where do you actually stand as we talk about this tone of voice and as we talk about, you know, showing up as you. Where do you stand on? swearing on line in posts. So I will see on my LinkedIn feed. I am a coach for some for people who are not D star CK heads or whatever else where do you I will be out there and say, I think whilst there's room for humor and there's room for playfulness and stuff like that and Yeah, the odd effort post where you know, everything's gone wrong today. I'm not really here for you won't see me swearing online in my posts. You won't see that on my website. It just doesn't feel aligned with who I am, whether I might drop the accidental thing and say an accidental swear word at home, you won't see it in my professional presence. Where do you stand on that?

That's a great question. Cause I, so I'm on the fence. And the reason is, so one of the things is I don't use swearing in my posts unless it's a jovial post. Like if I'm talking about something about marketing or LinkedIn or social media or something about what I do for a living, it's very unlikely I'm going to use a swear word. If it's something ridiculous like, you know, oh, I hate LinkedIn trainers that do this, this and this. And it's kind of it's almost like a jovial post or kind of like, you know, etc. Then I might add the odd kind of... F asterisks kind of following letters and all that kind of stuff. Um, from a, so particularly on LinkedIn, from a technical point of view, I never use full swear words on LinkedIn because I don't want to get banned off LinkedIn. And I don't want the kind of the language kind of whatever you call them, the, you know, the algorithm bits to kind of pick that up and think, actually we're going to ban Gus cause he's swearing. Um, and sometimes it does get picked up. Like if I, even if I use words like idiot or fool or stuff like that, like even in a jovial way. I made a joke about BA yesterday as in BA the flight, but then it was like BA Baracus. And then I said, he kept saying, I ain't getting on no plane, you crazy fool. And because I wrote fool, LinkedIn, they picked it up and they said, are you sure you want to post this? It's got a derogatory word in it and all that kind of stuff. So from a technical point of view, I don't swear on LinkedIn, but also I find that when people swear in their marketing, if it's the odd post here and there, I'm, I have absolutely no problem with it. If it's every other post and I think, well, that's not. That's not really how you would, how I'd want to work with, like, I wouldn't want to work with those people that conduct themselves in that manner kind of thing. And I know when I deliver workshops, or when I deliver training, there's an occasional time when I end up swearing and I swear when I'm really passionate about something, when I'm like, you know, definitely do not do this or something like that kind of thing. And I end up swearing and I always apologize and I always kind of say, look, I apologize for the profanity. I know it's not for everybody. So. because it Basically, and the I mean while we're here and while we're ranting the other oh while I'm The other word I don't like the other word. I don't like it's disruptive It really bothers me when people use the word disruptive and particularly when they say I'm a disruptive marketer what you're trying to say May is you're not very good at marketing like there's a reason that there's lots of marketing cliches It's because they exist their tried and trusted rules and it's all very well saying well I'm gonna I'm gonna zag when everybody else is zigs and it's like well Everybody else is zigging because that's the right way to do things you know, all you've done is just demonstrated that you're an idiot and you don't know what you're talking about, you know, and it's just, yeah, I'm not a fan. So try not to swear. disruptive. Yeah.

From a website point of view, my one that always gets me is the when we have acronyms. I use the impact method. I stands for this and stands for that piece. You're gonna tell me you do this, don't you? I didn't check out your website before we came in.

Well, I do have the orange marketing system and the O stands for organic and then no, I don't. I did think of that. I thought, no, to be honest, I got to end and I thought, I don't know anything that stands with n. I forget it.

I can tell you as well as a website designer, they are absolutely a pain in the you know what to try and build because everyone wants like each letter into a little different tile and then they want the descriptor underneath but the descriptors are never the same length so everything looks really unbalanced. Then they want to lift it up the screen and bounce up and that and it's like, please just say I offer these services choose which one works for you. Yeah, that is all. rant over although I did have one more ranty question for you.

Oh yeah please. Are there any marketing practices that you really disagree with?

Well yeah lots but the uh.

Can you say a favourite and run with that one?

If we if we talk about social media or as such I think one of the things is um obviously we can talk about LinkedIn pods and lots of people talk about LinkedIn pods about how they hate kind of you know, like and comment on each other's content for the sake of it. Obviously that's something that I hate, but what bothers me even more than that is those people then try to be authentic. And it's the, the people who feign authenticity or having integrity or having honesty and all that kind of stuff. And actually I'm surrounded by marketers that basically say, oh, we don't provide any BS and we don't do this. And when actually you look into their marketing practices, that's exactly what they do, they're full of BS. They're just wanting people's money. They're not very good at what they do. Uh, you know, so I'm very, um, in a jovial way, I'm very vocal about the fact that I have a marketing degree. I have two post-graduate qualifications. I've got loads of letters after my name. I've worked for some of the world's largest organizations. I've always worked in marketing and I've delivered marketing in two of my own businesses. One was a pub and restaurant and one is my own digital marketing agency. And I've helped thousands of businesses and I've got all these reviews and all that kind of stuff. None of that stuff happens. if you're not good at what you do. So what bothers me is when people try to feign success or try to feign that they're very good at things. And I think particularly for business owners, they should really do their due diligence into the people that they're willing to work with. Don't take everything at face value. Excuse me. And this is where one of my headlines, so my headline, you know, the UK's number one LinkedIn trainer, according to my mum, where that came from was that so many people, so many people were calling themselves the LinkedIn queen or the LinkedIn king or like the, you know, the head honcho of marketing and all this other kind of stuff. And you just look at that content and you think, no, you have no idea what you're talking about. I saw the other day, there was a lady who calls herself the social media queen and she was looking for a job. She said, no, nobody would employ me. And it's like, you're not really much of a queen with all due respect. And I don't mean that in a kind of derogatory way, but it's kind of like this, you have to know your limits and you have to know where you are kind of thing. And so, and I know I call my business the marketing guru, but it's, it's a, it's a nod to my background or where I've been, but also I kind of I did a lot of reading of Philip Kotler, who's the original marketing guru. And he's like the more like a marketer from the states. And he's been he's like, I think about 3000 years old right now. And he's, he's still alive. And, you know, he's written loads of books. And he's like the godfather of marketing, basically. And I take a lot of learning from him. So everything has a meaning and everything has a reason. But what I don't like is when people feign authenticity, or kind of pretend to be something that they're not. basically. And it's, and it's really prevalent in the marketing industry, particularly in social media, people, you know, people get 25 likes of their cat on Facebook, and all of a sudden, they're a social media marketer, you know, and it's kind of like, it's, yeah, you know,

I agree. And having used social media for marketing pretty much since the beginning, back in the day, you see it or do you remember about 10 years ago when people call them the ninja? I'm a social media ninja or I'm a website ninja and I'm like, so glad that one died out as well.

Ninja, Jedi, all that kind of stuff. What you market across now I have, I used to market on Facebook first, then Instagram and LinkedIn. I this year moved into a LinkedIn first strategy with kind of Facebook and Instagram being the kind of lower pegs. Now you're on quite a few places, aren't you? What's your favorite place to do your marketing?

So I'm on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Snapchat, pubhouse, Hive, Spill, Pebble, T2.

Threads? Threads. Oh, of course threads. Yeah. How can I forget threads? And etc, And Twitter used to be my secondary platform, but now it's kind of moved to Instagram. Twitter is kind of like it's a, it's a bin fire basically. So it's, it's not, I'm not a fan of what Twitter has become. It still has the best features and I still love it as a platform in terms of, I wish somebody else would copy this platform like for like, but the people that are on it are, are borrowed. Whereas Instagram is my, it's my secondary platform now. And that's because I love stories. I love Instagram story shows. I share quite a lot of stories on there.

I love stories too.

And it's very behind the scenes, right? So I use my Instagram as a behind the scenes, like this is what I'm up to this week and this is what I'm doing. Whereas now my LinkedIn is kind of almost my, you know, my outlet, my kind of my client facing my forward facing, uh, kind of content marketing strategy. So they're the, they're the places where you would find me, but ultimately. In terms of a marketing force for you. And I've also got a Facebook group. So where I give kind of people social media advice and things like that, but then I've also got email marketing. So I get people to obviously subscribe to my email. And again, my advice on that is don't try to be everywhere. I think the danger is for most businesses is they try to be on every platform because everybody else is. And then ultimately what you do is you give your audience choice paralysis. So it's all very well saying, oh, you'll find me here. But ultimately, if you are found in too many places, your audience don't understand where you do your best work. So I'm very clear, connect with me on LinkedIn. That's where I do my best work. And everything else is kind of periphery stuff. Yeah. And I think also, if you, like, I will create content. And then this is, I was watching something Louise Brogan, who was one of the Uplift Live speakers. She was saying about the cope method, like create once, post everywhere. And I do that as well. So I will create, you know, let's say I create a blog, and then I want to advertise the blog, I will then create a carousel of the main points of the blog. And I'll put that onto LinkedIn, and I'll have some header text, I will then make I might change the header text slightly, I might change ratio, and then it goes on to Instagram and Facebook. And then the other thing you get is people just get fatigued, because they see the same thing everywhere you go. Yeah, there's a When I talk about the code method, I normally talk about the fact that it should be, um, it should be kind of spaced out as it were kind of thing. If you have an evergreen blog, that blog can be shared at any point. So I would normally kind of share a blog to start with, and then maybe a month later, share it somewhere else. And then a month after that, share it somewhere else. If it, if it's kind of evergreen, um, evergreen content related to a blog, I would probably, and I recommend to clients that they record a video about it as well. in terms of they record a video, they stick it on YouTube and then get the video to embed into the blog. So therefore people can either watch the video or read the blog, or both if they really want to. And it's that element of, you know, what you don't want to do is get that choice paralysis in your audience where they are reading, sorry, it's the opposite of choice paralysis. Actually, it's that it's reading the same content over and over again. And I think that's why it should be spaced out in terms of Yes, you want to post it everywhere, but over, you know, over a period of time, rather than the less just bombard every channel today with everything.

I don't know what you mean, Gus, I never do that. N

No, definitely not you. I am but I do know that actually I have quite different audiences across LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. So I've got different people viewing the content. Apart from You have my lovely clients who follow me everywhere and must think oh my god And then they get it on my weekly newsletter on the Friday as well.

Yeah of course exactly yeah, yeah the The real like if I could give a reason like the algorithm So what happens is if you if you create a piece of content and they're sharing everywhere if you put it on LinkedIn and Facebook and Instagram and all the rest of it all at the same time what happens is Let's say I follow you in multiple places. I'll go onto LinkedIn, I'll see your post. I'm like, oh, Holly, this is a fantastic post. It's a great, I'll comment on it and all that kind of stuff. When I go to Instagram and I see exactly the same post, I will scroll past it because I think, well, actually I've already seen this. I'll read the first line. I think, oh, actually I've never seen this. And I'll scroll past. The Instagram algorithm isn't clever enough to know that I've already engaged with it on LinkedIn. So even though I love the content, I've shown my love elsewhere. Whereas as far as Instagram is concerned, I've scrolled past and therefore, it won't show me your next piece of content because Instagram will assume that I'm not interested in you. It's not clever enough to know that I've engaged elsewhere. Hence why if you spread it out, then I'm more likely to see the content the second time. Cause I think, Oh, I haven't seen this before. And then when I read it, I'm like, Oh, actually, yes, I did. I saw this two weeks ago when I saw this last month, et cetera. Um, but then you're still in my feed because I see you on a regular basis. Just, I mean, that's the reason for it as opposed to. Yeah, I'm not just giving kind of trite advice for the sake of it. There is a, again, a method to the madness.

I'm just over here, you know, changing my entire posting strategy.

Yeah, great. No, that is fantastic. Thank you.

What is your favourite type of content to either to post yourself or to engage with on other people's posts? What do you like the most?

You know, ironically, my favourite piece of content, delivery and kind of readability are two different things. So I love writing long form content on LinkedIn. I love writing posts on LinkedIn. And actually I love my audience. When I post long form text content, it does the best, um, in terms of kind of engagement and likes and all that kind of stuff. So I know that people are reading my content when I consume other people's content, I particularly, for example, I love Instagram stories. I will scroll Instagram stories all day, every day. I love looking at images or short videos or all that kind of stuff, et cetera. So. Although I create a lot of stories, I like to see other people's stories because it gives me an insight into their life, if that makes sense. So to deliver, I look from content. Yeah, because they're so fleeting. And this is where TikTok is kind of blown up as well, because TikTok is just kind of like elongated version of stories kind of thing. But it feels, whereas when TikTok first came out, it's very much behind the scenes content. I feel like it's a little bit. It's a little bit try hard now. I think people are almost paying more money to create behind the scenes content, which isn't actually behind the scenes content. Whereas I think Instagram stories are still- Yeah, you're actually behind the scenes. Yeah, exactly, exactly. Whereas I think Instagram stories are very much, they are still behind the scenes. Like I'll post a picture of this or a picture of my cup of tea or the picture of Greg's that I had at lunchtime and all that kind of stuff. Don't tell anyone. And it's all those kinds of things. Just everyone. Yeah, exactly. But it's just, you know, it's that sharing of real life. And I love watching other people's stories because it gives me an insight into their life, basically.

Yeah, for me, I love stories. And I love Instagram for stories as a post. You know, they've absolutely got the best tools compared to Facebook. And, you know, once upon a time when LinkedIn did their stories as well. But yeah, if I'm like taking a break from something, you will see. And I've got my work, I've got my This Demanding Life Insta account. my Simply Sites one and my personal one. And so I can sit there on stories all day long. It's yeah, it absolutely does it for me. I'm definitely learning to mix up my content and change some of my content since Uplift Live. And you'll see that I've been posting more carousels and I've been doing some storytelling using sketch notes, which I absolutely love. I never had the confidence and then of course Tina at Uplift did her whole presentation with sketch notes and I was like I am on this. So yeah, I think there's a lot more to come still with mixing it all up.

Yeah, I think, you know, that's the thing, you know, my advice would always be to mix it up. My advice would always be to see what works. You know, I know that carousel posts for me work really well. But I also know the video posts from me kind of die a death, whether I'm in the video or not. They normally die a death on my personal... kind of profile, particularly on LinkedIn. So it's all good. Again, it's finding that sweet spot of the right kind of content that we wish to create, but also the right kind of content that our audience wants to wants to consume, basically. So yeah, it's finding that balance between the two.

I hear you on that. And you know, for video has been the fastest growing medium for social media for what last five, six, seven, eight years now. Video content just bores me. Yeah, I don't mind making videos, they can be a little bit time consuming, don't mind putting them on. But ultimately, I just get a bit bored with it. I like flicking through carousels, I like, you know, kind of reading more of a storytelling sort of thing. And that's why on Fridays, I always put a story in my newsletter, and it would just be something completely random. And, you know, I'll bring it back to kind of the point and then I put it on social media. And that usually does quite well. People like, they like stories.

Yeah, yeah, I'm not just saying this because obviously we're here, but I love your emails. I'm a I'm a I'm a fairly recent subscriber, but it's kind of it's one of the few emails that I read to the end of if you know what I mean, because it's just

I do work hard on the emails. I am they do take a couple of hours to kind of get done. And of course, I'm such a visual person, they've got to look just right as well. So I can sit there. fiddling around with a long time, but I get a lot of good feedback from them. And ultimately for everyone, your email list out there is part of your marketing plan. People should be receiving your emails and you know, when they think to work with them, you'll see in my emails that I always have a book call with me button. It's a free chat and people do book calls off the back of the emails. So yeah, something's going right with it.

Yeah. When, when I talk about marketing, I always talk about the, you know, the, the trifecta of output, which is basically your website, your email marketing and your social media. And it's the three, it's, you know, it's the triangle of, you want people to be stuck in the middle, like big to fall into that force field so they can never escape. You know, they have to read your website. They have to find you on Google. They have to kind of, you know, read your emails and then they have to kind of see you on social media and connect on there and read the stories, et cetera. And ultimately it's a way of putting people into that force field. So at the moment they're ready to buy. They, they have this wealth of information of where to kind of where to find you. without going overboard. Yeah, absolutely. So yeah.

Yeah, it's getting that balance. Top tip for our listeners. This is a last question before I'm going to ask everyone where we can find you, but top tip for small businesses and startups who might be struggling with their market.

So, man, I would have so many. And obviously, we can talk about, oh, well, you've got to know your ideal client and you've got to know where they hang out on social media and all that kind of stuff. But really, My top tip, like something we said earlier, is be intentionally you, like create content that create content where people when they meet you would think this is exactly the person I have met online already kind of thing. So many people meet me that I've never met before. They say, oh, you're you know, you're exactly the same. Or I thought we already met before. Or I, you know, I've known you, I know you so well and all that kind of stuff. And it's because, you know, it's because I am myself online. So my advice would be. not just to be yourself, but be intentionally yourself. Like really lean into the stuff that you're into, the way that you talk, the way that, you know, you interact with people, your brand, your tone of voice, your colors, everything, all that kind of stuff should kind of stick. So I would say be intentionally you online. That would be my top tip.

I love it. Well, thank you so, so much. If you could. Tell everybody where they can find you and I will add the links in the show notes. But where can we find you?

Awesome. So the best place where I do my best work is LinkedIn. So you can search for me as Gus Bhandal. Or indeed, if you go to Google and type in my hashtag, which is M Guru UK. So if you go to Google and just type in the hashtag M Guru UK, the first 10 pages are all about me. You can see my Facebook group, my Instagram, my... my Twitter, my TikTok, my Pinterest, Snapchat, etc. But generally, I do my best work on LinkedIn. That's where you want to find me.

I love it. Well, thank you so, so much for coming on and yeah, say goodbye and thank you.

Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

And that's all for us this week. Thank you so much for joining us and thank you to Gus. You brought so much fun to the podcast and so much experience and it's absolutely lovely to have him on the show. And I'm going to put in the show notes where you can find Gus as well. and there'll be the show notes on my website as well. So do come along and find him. If you're in the Coventry area, come and find him there. He does lots of events, lots of workshops, and you're gonna learn so much from him. But thank you to you, the listeners, for listening. And if you haven't already done so, please do pop over and rate and review the podcast. It makes such a difference in Apple and the other podcast providers showing people the podcast. you know this could be a really good thing for you and I am all about small business success as you know and really would love to share this resource with everyone that I absolutely possibly can. So that's it for me this week have a great week and I look forward to catching you next Monday.

Small Business Growth

I’m so excited to have your podcast alongside me as I grow my business. Looking forward to taking action on your steps and learn from someone who knows what they are talking about. Thanks Holly – you’re a star!


Small Business Growth

I love listening to each new episode of Holly’s podcast. It feels like she has read my mind and understands the challenges I find myself up against when running my business. Her advice and insights are fantastic and I’m looking forward to hearing her future episodes. This is a great resource for any small business owner trying to establish a successful business in the online (and/or offline) world.

Fay Wallis

Just listened to your first podcast episode and it’s absolutely brilliant! Good work Holly!

Mike Cottam

Brilliant first episode!!

The first episode of “Your Business, Your Way” is a refreshing take on the entrepreneurial journey I needed to hear this morning . I felt reassured hearing Holly emphasise a crucial point: you don’t need to know everything to get started. This approach is a game-changer, especially for those new to the business world, breaking down the barriers of perfection and complete readiness that often hold us back.

What I loved about this first episode of the podcast is its blend of practical advice with an undercurrent of motivation. It reassured me that starting with what I know and learning as I go is not just okay, but a smart way to grow. The podcast feels like a supportive friend, nudging you to take those first steps while keeping the mood light and approachable.

For anyone at the crossroads of starting or scaling a business, this podcast could be the push you need. It’s a promising mix of insights, stories, and encouragement. I’m eager for the next episodes and recommend it to anyone looking to embark on a business venture in a way that’s true to them. It’s an exciting start, and I’m genuinely looking forward to where this podcast will take its listeners next.


Feeling inspired

Would definitely recommend this podcast. Aimed at those small business owners, but for someone who has recently started a new role in my company, this definitely motivated me on this cold wet Monday morning to not be afraid of being vulnerable in the workplace and putting myself out there!

Can’t wait for the next episode


Really Refreshing

Looking forward to the next episode, I’m hooked already. Really easy to listen to and definitely strikes a chord with me.