Digital Skills for Female Entrepreneurs – A Recap
In response to Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on November 2019, the Evening Standard joined hands with Google Digital Garage to deliver an empowering event.
Aimed to promote female entrepreneurship, the event gave its 100 female attendees tips on making it as businesswomen.
Thankfully, our UK General Manager, SJ, was amongst those attendees!
While it may seem like all we’ve been doing recently is talking about women’s equality, true equality continues to elude us. One of the remaining barriers to true gender balance is that of female entrepreneurship, which continues to lag behind that of our male counterparts.
According to the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, a recent report commissioned by HM Treasury, the British economy is currently missing out on £250 billion, which is precisely how much would be generated if women started businesses in the same numbers as men.
However, it isn’t just male entrepreneurs that women are falling behind, it’s also female entrepreneurs in other countries. Despite outperforming other European cities in terms of start-up development and tech start-up funding, only one in three UK entrepreneurs is female (5.6% of all UK women). By contrast, the numbers are 15% in Canada, 11% in the US and over 9% in Australia.
This is precisely what the Digital Skills for Female Entrepreneurs event sought to combat; empowering London’s current and aspiring female entrepreneurs to persevere in their entrepreneurial ambitions. The day-long event also covered many crucial aspects of what it takes to run a successful business in the digital age, for example, things like implementing a solid social media strategy, maximising search engine optimisation and building good websites.
The Importance of Social Media
There is no denying that in current times, social media is a powerful tool for businesses to embrace. From improved communication with customers, increased brand awareness and authority to a growth in sales and website traffic, the benefits of social media can hardly be overstated. It’s no wonder that 92% of marketers swear by the importance of social media, while another consumer survey found that 76% of people have purchased a product they saw on social media.
This is exactly the message highlighted in the event, covering the benefits of committing to a foolproof social media strategy, and letting it do its magic while the female entrepreneurs focus on developing their products. The Google Digital Garage tech expert delineated the steps making up the creation of a social media strategy – these are:
Defining your audience
Who are they? What are they into? Who/what influences them? When are they usually online? Which social media do they use?
Setting business goals
E.g. giving better customer service; growing brand awareness; generating more sales; getting more people on your site; connecting with influencers. Define what the goal is; list what you need to achieve this goal; identify any barriers and work out how to navigate them.
Selecting social platforms
Choose channels carefully and decide on the focus of your chosen platform, for example, business or lifestyle focus. Start with one platform while you learn the ropes. Different channels require different strategies.
Choosing tone of voice
Decide on your brand’s social voice made up of components such s brand guidelines, loge use, fonts and colours, tone of voice (personality), dos and don’ts and style of images.
Growth in sales, traffic, influencers? Improvement in customer service, calls answered, star ratings? Increase in brand awareness, reach and number of mentions? Decide on what ‘success’ means to you and your business.
Digital Marketing for Entrepreneurs
Going hand in hand with social media, digital marketing and the vital part it plays in every business’s success was another important element covered at the event. This section was led by Google Digital Garage’s tech trainer, who stressed how crucial a robust social media strategy was to each start-up’s success.
Successful digital marketing is made up of various components and channels, and there are various steps that go into creating a winning strategy and utilisation of said channels. The suggested steps are:
While all of the above play a uniquely important role in helping entrepreneurs make the most out of the opportunity presented by digital marketing, it’s the effective use of some of its channels that can truly make a business. Some of the key channels are:
However, it’s crucial to note that selecting channels should be determined largely by the objectives entrepreneurs set out to meet – there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all channel.
For example, if it’s increased exposure and reach that you’re after, then social media, display and content marketing are best suited to help you get there. Conversely, if sales and traffic are your top priority, then you may want to focus on SEO, SEM and email marketing.
Of course, a successful digital marketing strategy includes a combination of all, or at least most, of these channels. However, if you’re just getting started and lack experience in digital marketing, then you may want to select those that will bring you closer to achieving your initial business objectives.
The remainder of the session revolved around #IamRemarkable, a Google-backed, global initiative designed to empower women and underrepresented groups; encouraging them to openly voice their accomplishments in both their workplace and their personal lives.
While self-promotion suffers from a bad reputation in many corners, with many viewing it as arrogance, the #IamRemarkable initiative responds to a worrying trend. Multiple studies, such as the above-mentioned Alison Rose Review, have found that women are twice as likely as men to doubt their own abilities. Though self-doubt can hinder us all in a plethora of undesirable ways, research has found that those who struggle to effectively self-promote are likely to underachieve and trail behind their peers in terms of careers and other growth opportunities.
The initiative has garnered overwhelmingly positive responses from many across the globe. In 2019, its impact amounted to:
During this session, all attendees were asked about their own achievements and expressed why they, too, are ‘remarkable’. Though ineffably enriching, the experience also proved to be a startling eye-opener – all the women in the room were confronted with how unnatural this simple act of stating things they themselves have worked for and achieved seemed. This truly speaks to the significance of this initiative and, needless to say, we were proud to sit in a room with some of the UK’s most inspirational female entrepreneurs.
Once again, we’ve been lucky to attend an event that has both broadened our intellectual horizons and given us some practical ideas to ponder. At Candlefox, we’ve always gone to great lengths to ensure that all of our staff, as well as the students we serve get every opportunity to grow and succeed.
We stand firmly behind Google’s #IamRemarkable initiative and numerous other social initiatives seeking to ensure equal opportunity for all.