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“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”  
-Henry Ford
Last week we discussed goal setting and deciding how to figure out what you really want.  Now in order to achieve your amazing goals you have to believe in yourself and your ability to achieve it.

When most people think about faith they tend to associate it with a religious believe. However, we neglect to think about faith as a belief in ourselves that is crucial for us to achieve our goals. 

Faith is the confident belief, loyalty, and trust in the truth or trustworthiness of a person, concept or thing with strong conviction. 
Sometimes our goals seem improbable at best, if not impossible, because you just can’t wrap your mind around the idea that you can make this big thing happen.

If you’ve had a history that includes failure or disappointment, it is understandable that you may have doubts; however your past does not define your future. An important factor we must always keep in mind about faith in ourselves is that you don’t have to be 100% certain, you only have to have your faith overshadow your doubt. 

What if you could have a successful mindset even when you really don’t believe you can do what you want to do?

There is a series of worksheet exercises and activities to help you overcome doubt and have faith in yourself that will be sent to you if you sign up for this blog at www.agri-marketingsolutions.com/thoughts.html.

Many people that have gone from rags to riches will tell you that they had no idea how they would reach ultimate success, but they knew that if they just worked on their goal every day the right doors would open. In other words, you don’t need to see the other end of the tunnel; you just need to see the light that will guide you to the end. However, first you need to start building the tunnel! 

It is no secret that the things that we tell ourselves tend to create our reality. This self-talk is both internal and external. What we tell our self about our past, present, and future impacts our motivation because our beliefs can affect how we view our capabilities, what’s possible for us, and whether we feel we are worthy to have what we want. If we monitor our self-talk, as well as how we talk about ourselves to others, we can become aware of the beliefs that can be limiting. 

The trick is to be able to catch yourself in conversation (with yourself or others) and turn it around. A belief is just a thought you keep thinking, and so if we replace it with another, more empowering and motivating thought, every time we catch ourselves, eventually our belief will change as well. 

Think of it like a game and watch for opportunities to replace any negative belief with this new idea. What language is empowering to you? Find it and use it. Decide to choose attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, opinions, judgments, and feelings that serve what you want to create. Research across the board has demonstrated that your viewpoint will affect your decisions and actions. Your attitude will determine what the outcome will be in your life. 

The power of belief can also be seen in one of my favorite books A Man’s Search for Meaning By Victor Frankle. This book described the experience of a psychologist who was in a concentration camp and his observation of the fact that a person's belief system about being in that camp determined how long the person could survive. He noticed that when a person lost hope they would quickly decay, but that a person with a great attitude could survive and thrive in these horrid conditions.

The content of your thoughts and beliefs exists mostly in our unconscious mind, beneath the awareness of your conscious mind. Think about your conscious mind as the captain of your ship and your unconscious mind as the crew. Even if the captain is not actively directing the crew, the crew is busy working. And what are they doing? Without the captain’s attention and focus, they’re on autopilot. They’re reacting to the world around them, listening to what the outside world tells them to do, and operating old, habituated thoughts and beliefs that direct your actions and ultimately create your life. It is important to take the helm of your ship and make sure your captain is directing its crew. 

A psychological term you may have heard is the “self fulfilling prophecy,” which tells us that we will end up creating exactly what we believe about ourselves because of our expectations. For example, if you continuously worry about an upcoming test in your life and imagine you will do poorly, you will do poorly because of the anxiety you produce and its interference with your cognitive functioning. At a scientific level, the command center of your brain, called the reticular activation system, ensures you’ll fulfill your prophecy by directing your focus toward what you expect. 

We are constantly surrounded by millions of stimuli at every moment. The reticular activation system limits your range of focus to a small number of stimuli—about 2,000 bits of information—to keep you from going crazy. By directing your reticular activation system to seek a solution by choosing to focus on something, you are directing your brain to focus those 2,000 bits on that specific request. What we think about, expect and focus on is what the reticular activation system will narrow our awareness onto. For example: Have you ever had a name of something you wanted to say, right there on the tip of your tongue, but could not remember, and then several hours later you are doing something else and the name suddenly comes to your mind? That happens because you had given a command, and your mind continued to look for the answer even though you were not aware of it, consciously. Or have you ever wanted or purchased a new tractor (for example) and then suddenly see that tractor everywhere? 

So, if the thoughts you’re thinking instruct your unconscious mind and your reticular activation system to be on the lookout, you want to choose your thoughts carefully. In fact, you want to stay focused on your goals, on the things you want in your life, on things that make you feel good. Why? Because you’re going to get what you focus on, whether you want that thing or not. If you focus on your failures, the things you don’t want, and things that make you feel bad, what will your reticular activation system be looking for? 

Don’t give up faith on yourself!  Rest assured that no matter what happens, you will be okay. Everything in your life has always worked out, fallen into place… eventually. Even when something bad has happened, you have survived it (you are here now, are you not?) and it has most likely lead to something good or helped you grow into the person you are now.  The parachute always opens.

Take this opportunity to remind yourself of the times your parachute has opened and prove to yourself that you have no reason to believe that it will not continue to do so! 

“Everything will be alright in the end, so if everything is not alright, it is not the end.” 
—The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
 
 
A wise rancher once told me, “A lot of people work hard in their business, but you have to work hard on your business as well.”

Working with clients recently, I’ve found that many farms, ranches or agri-businesses don’t have clear goals when they hire me, which makes my job much harder.  So I’ve decided to write this next blog series on goal setting for your business and life.

Without goals, your life will unfold by default. Your default will be to continue to experience the same old patterns and to allow the outside world—your family, friends and society—to influence your life path. Your business goals are the same and will only be effective if you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, and how.

By not setting goals and allowing yourself to go for your vision, you give away your power. 

This blog series is designed to give you all the tools you need to set goals for yourself that inspire you and make your business fulfilling, to plan for success, and to follow through.  There is a series of worksheet exercises and activities that will be sent to you if you sign up for this blog at www.agri-marketingsolutions.com/thoughts.html.

Most of all, I hope it will help you know how to live life to the fullest and enjoy the journey. Achieving life goals isn’t about the achievement of the goal—getting there—it’s about the experience of reaching for the dream and becoming a better person along the way. 

This blog series will be organized into four sections, based on the 4 steps required for goal success, but may extend beyond four blog posts. 

4 Steps to Goal Success 
1- Decide What You Really Want 
When you ask most people what their goals are or what they want out of life, they often cannot answer. And when they do, the goals they say are often what others have influenced them to want. This course will help you determine what YOU really want out of life and for your business and how to make your goals achievable and inspirational. 

2- Believe You Can Achieve It 
Many people hold themselves back from the goals they really want because they believe they cannot have their true desires. Often people don’t reach their goals, or even try, out of fear of change or failure. Through this blog series, we will help you find evidence from your own life that you can believe in yourself and give you the confidence to know that you have everything you need to be successful. Anything you want is possible for you. 

3- Create a Concrete Plan for Success 
Even the most strongly desired goal cannot be achieved without a solid, actionable plan. Often, people get discouraged when goals are not reached or attempts lead to failure. This is most often because the goal wasn’t well thought through and an effective plan wasn’t made. This blog series will offer detailed, yet simple, strategies for planning a route toward your goal, while keeping you motivated and on track. 

4- Stay Committed and Motivated 
Even the best plan is ineffective if the person following it isn’t motivated. And, unfortunately, most people leave motivation to chance—waiting until the moment that they need to feel motivated and finding it’s not there. This blog series will help you prepare your mind state in advance so that your true desire and a big reason for reaching for your goals are strong enough to pull you through those times when doubt, discouragement or procrastination threaten to zap your motivation.

Identifying Your Goals 
Knowing what your goals are can be more challenging than you may think. Maybe this is why so many people don’t set them. You may have heard that most people don’t keep their New Years’ Resolutions, but did you know that most people don’t even make one? Less than half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. So, imagine how few people make goals the rest of the year, not many! A University of Scranton study found that, people who explicitly set goals are ten times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t. 

A Staples National Small Business Survey found that more than 80 percent of the 300 small business owners surveyed said that they don't keep track of their business goals.  It also found that 77 percent have yet to achieve their vision for their business. 

Clearly only by establishing your goals will they be more achievable and effective.

The first step to achieving your goal is knowing what it is—so, what is your goal? What do you want out of life? What are your TRUE desires? I emphasize the word “true” because very often people’s goals are not their own, meaning they think they want what they want because they have been influenced by others. (You may also be interested in reading my other blog on this subject - Riding Into Your True Self)

Get Other People Out of Your Head 
Ask yourself, who do you allow to direct your life? Do you do what your parents or friends think you should do? Do you desire things because you saw them on TV? Do you limit yourself to what others will approve of? When’s the last time you asked yourself what YOU really want? If you are going to have any chance of accomplishing the goals you set for yourself, they absolutely MUST be YOURS. If you don’t even really want it, how do you expect to follow through when times get tough or the motivation’s not there? 

How Does It Feel? 
The most important thing to determine about your goal is how it makes you feel. Do you feel empowered by it or resistant? Does it feel exciting or burdensome? 

The reason this question matters so much is because if you really think about it everything that you have or will ever want in your life, everything, is because of the way you believe it will make you feel. Any goal or desire you have, don’t you want it because you believe you’ll feel better in the having of it? It will bring fulfillment, satisfaction, relief, pride, fun, a sense of accomplishment, freedom, joy? 

So, what is it for you? How do you want to feel? Sometimes considering this question helps you clarify that perhaps your goal isn’t what you thought. Or maybe it just isn’t specific enough. Perhaps there is more than one way to get what you want, which is to feel a certain way. 

Goal Setting 
So, now that you’ve considered the important questions regarding whether your goals are truly yours and the feeling behind the desire, it’s time to get your goals down on paper.   Writing your goals on paper is absolutely key. Not only do you then have a concrete object to return to in order to remind yourself of your goals and remain focused, you’ll also be sending a message to your unconscious mind that you mean business. 

It may be that you are entering into this process with a clearly defined goal already in mind. Or perhaps you’re only certainty is that you want to have goals and you need help identifying them.  But first, you want to make sure you are totally certain why you want to achieve these goals and are fully confident that you can achieve them.

Having a Big Enough Reason 
Right away it is important to get you to start thinking about what deeper motives are behind your goals. In order to succeed in life and achieve your goals, you need to know why you want what you want. And not only that, you have to have a big enough reason. If you're not motivated or haven’t followed through in the past, it may be because you need to DREAM BIGGER! You want your goals not to be just something you'd “like” to do... it's not a preference... it's not even a dream... it's a MUST! 

Always Ask the Greater Question 
I’m asking you to dig deep and make sure you have a true understanding of the real reasons you want to reach your goals. You’re not looking for the obvious or surface level reasons; push yourself to go deep!  Ask yourself why do you really want a particular goal?

Your Greater Purpose 
Your desires or goals are what you want; your purpose is why you want it. Some people feel purpose means that they have one ultimate, specific purpose, while others believe purpose means doing things for a greater cause or simply feeling passionate about what they’re doing. In either case, having a greater purpose behind what you’re doing will infuse everything you do with meaning. You find yourself getting excited, heated, or inspired when you think or talk about it. 

So, what ads purpose to your life? Perhaps you have a certain political, social, or religious belief that you care deeply about, or maybe you have a particular pastime or hobby that you do in which you find yourself in flow. There are also areas of your life that you may place a high value on, such as family, health, leisure, adventure, stability, or any other desire or need. Any of these things can be the greater purpose, the greater motivation behind what you do.

Achieving success can be challenging. It is your purpose and passion that will keep you motivated when you encounter fear or other obstacles that may get in your way. Having a greater purpose helps you commit to what you're doing, but it can’t just be because you want it, it has to be that you cannot have it any other way. That is what will get you through those moments when you face fear of what the economy’s doing or the environment around you or when you feel like the people in your life are standing in your way. Then it won't matter what’s happening around you, one way or another you’re going to get creative and you’re going to find a way to have the life that you want. 

Creating a Vision 
After looking at the greater purpose behind your goals, take some time to see and feel yourself living your dream. In the vision worksheet there is a short activity where you can take what you've put together and write a vision statement that really captures and helps you visualize the end goal you have motivating what you are doing. 

By setting your goals, you are ten times more likely to achieve them and you are well on your way to successfully achieving them!  Next week we will discuss believing you can achieve your goals.

Now it’s your turn did you find this post and the worksheets helpful?  What are your big goals?  Sharing your goals can inspire others!

You might also like to read:
“The future isn’t a far-off point, instead it arrives in daily doses that must be noticed and understood.”
~ Unknown
 
 
This week here at the ranch we started to brand some small groups of calves.  We are still planting corn in between the spring showers.  The horses made a trip to see the farrier.
 
 
Once your phone’s pound sign, hashtags are now are the most popular way to categorize content on social media networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest, allowing your content to reach a larger audience and making it easy for you to find relevant content from other people and businesses. Hashtags allow you to connect with and engage other social media users based on a common theme or interest.

Hashtags make your posts more searchable, and easier for others to find.  Anyone will be able to find what you wrote by searching for the hashtag that you’ve used in your posts. On most social networks, you can both search for a hashtag, or click on one in a post to find all of the posts that have been marked with that particular hashtag.

Knowing how to use hashtags is fundamental to your success on social media. Here are a few suggestions to help you achieve that success.

Be specific when using hashtags
Hone in on passionate communities that shares an interest in one specific theme. The more specific you can get with your hashtag, the more targeted your audience will be—and a targeted audience generally means better engagement. Find one or two existing hashtags that really fit your photo, post, or tweet. Twitter has created this helpful infographic to help you choose the right hashtag.

Cater your hashtags to the social network you’re using
While hashtags on all social networks have the same fundamental purpose, the use of them still varies by network. For example, Instagram hashtags, are focused on the description of the photo. On Twitter, hashtags tend to be more focused a topic, or a group of people that you would like to engage.

Research your hashtags
It’s always a good idea to do some research to find out about the established hashtags on the topic of your tweet, Facebook update, or Instagram post. Chances are good that a social network’s community has already created a hashtag for the topic you’re posting about, and especially if you want to use a hashtag to get more people to see your post, it’s important to make sure that you’re using a hashtag that many users know or follow already.  The extra time you invest in research will pay off in engagement down the road.  Most networks will have guides for hashtag use and selection.

If you are a business come up with relevant, unbranded hashtags for your business
They don’t have to mention your business name, but should represent what your business stands for.  For example, a cattle feedyard may use the hashtag #wellfeed, with photos of their feedlot. Encourage followers to share their own photos using the same hashtag, which can start a growing movement to promote your brand. 

Hashtags shouldn’t be too long or too clever
In general, try to keep it short and sweet. Hashtags are supposed to make things easier to find and engage with, but long, complicated hashtags can actually be more arduous. Being too clever or offbeat will make your hashtag harder to search for and you want people to naturally search for your tag. 

Don’t use too many hashtags
Many consider it a hashtag “best practice” to never use more than two hashtags in a tweet or a Facebook update, since using too many hashtags may annoy or confuse your friends or followers.  On Instagram you can use up to 30 hashtags, but still be specific so your message isn’t diluted or comes off as being desperate for likes.

Don’t hashtag everything
Hashtags serve to make your content discoverable to a wide audience. If your Tweet, post or comment isn’t adding any substance to the wider conversation, you might want to consider leaving the hashtag off. For example, if you simply share an industry news update, leave the hashtag off of it. If you write a blog post that analyzes the impact of that news, then absolutely use a hashtag when you share it.

Using hashtags will allow you to make an impression on a wide social media audience. Make sure you’re sharing the best content, and making the right impression.

Just in case you haven’t seen it, here’s how you sound if you’re using hashtags the wrong way (I apologize in advance for the rude word at the end of this video):
 
 
Busy week!  Sorry I am posting this on Monday.  Last week here at the ranch we started seeding corn, feedlot pens are drying out, pairs are out to grass, Roper has been busy chasing rabbits and gophers and me busy trying to keep him and the house clean.
I spent Friday with a new client.  Here is a preview of upcoming projects
 
 
Last week we discussed how to develop an awesome social media strategy for video.  As with all marketing it’s important for us to know if our efforts are worthwhile, or if we are beating our heads against a wall.  When it comes to video, what does "success" really mean? And what statistics should you be keeping tabs on to determine the performance of a video?

Beyond the number of views your video receives there's actually a lot more to be considered. Getting 50k views is great, but what did it really do for your business?  We will discuss several statistics that will help you find the true value of video marketing. 

Each social media platform can give you several pieces of valuable analytical information.  They can tell you how many people your video reached, how many views, and how your video rated among other types of posts.  This information is valuable in determining if your video is the right content for you audience.  You can also compare which video topics your audience likes best by looking at the engagement of your video.

Video Views
Obviously this is a pretty straight forward explanation here - video views are the number of people that click play.

Why It Matters
If you have a video on your website that contains an amazing message, but no one actually clicks play, no one will know that your business is super awesome. 

How to Improve Your Video Views on Your Website
There are several placement considerations of your video on your website including thumbnail selection, size, and where the video is placed that can affect your play rate. Experiment with different variations.  As a general rule of thumb, always use thumbnails with human beings in the picture, 400 pixels x 600 pixels is the ideal size of videos without overwhelming your web page, and placement of the video closer to the top of the page will help increase views.  You may also need to improve your video title or description.

Across all of your social media platforms, you will want to measure views over time, to help you determine the lifetime of your videos.  You may find that videos need to be refreshed every few weeks or months to stay relevant to your audience.

Audience Retention and Repeat Views
Do viewers watch all of your video, or do they leave before watching it in it’s entirety?  What percent of your video was actually watched?

Why It Matters
Research has shown that viewers who watched a video in it’s entirety are more likely to purchase the product featured in the video, and the higher the number of repeat views, the more engaged your video viewers are.  This makes audience retention and repeat views actually more important than video views.

How to Improve Audience Retention
There are several reasons why your visitors might not be watching the entirety of your video. First try making your video shorter.  Watch your video and see what’s going on in the video when most people stop watching it.

Also by paying attention to which portions of the video were re-watched, tells you which sections of the video are most interesting to potential clients.  People who re-watch your video are that much closer to being your next client.

Engagement Rate
Engagement rate tells you how interested your audience is in your company, message, as well as, how compelling your video is. To calculate take the number of views, and divide it by the total reach of your video.  Also break down your total engagement by likes, comments, and shares, to get a clear view of what works well for video content and what doesn’t.  Which will be valuable in helping you determine future video marketing strategies.

Why It Matters
Think about the last time you made a big purchase.  Did you do any research about the product before purchasing?
Did you read online reviews, or ask your friends, and co-workers.

When making a purchasing decision, 92% of consumers value recommendations from friends and family, over all other forms of advertising.  

Social media shares serve as the equivalent to a recommendation. Each time your video is shared, you've gotten a positive endorsement for your brand or product. 

How to Improve Video Social Sharing
Make sure your video is sharable by ensuring that the social share buttons are highly visible and easily accessible.  Also, don’t forget to ask your friends and fans to share your video if they find it valuable.  Use hashtags (which will be our topic of discussion next week) to reach a larger audience.  In your post or in your video, prompt viewers with a discussion question.

See Agri-Marketing Solutions previous blog post on creating engagement.

Conversion Rate
Whether it's subscribing to your video updates, liking or following your social media page, or calling your business to get more information, conversion rate refers to the percentage of people that follow through on your videos intended action. 

Why It Matters
Conversion rates are what drives real business. 

To prove the effectiveness of your video, it's important to keep track of the number of leads each video generates. With this information, you'll can tailor your future video format or content to help drive sales.

How to Improve Conversion Rate
Make sure you are including a clear and compelling call to action at the end of your video!  Make sure that your call to action is relevant to your video.  For example, if your video is about your stallion, maybe offer a discounted stud fee for those who follow the link from your video to your website.  Keep it simple, get to the point quickly, and use action verbs in your call to action like - start, stop, build, join, learn and discover.

Using video as part of your marketing strategy is not a one time, done deal.  As with all of your marketing efforts it is something to consistently measure and iterating on your ideas, formats, and promotional efforts, in order to get the most out of your campaigns.

We would love to hear how you measure your marketing efforts!  What have you found to be the most effective methods in measuring your marketing success?
 

    Author Jennifer Archibald

    Reflections of life and lessons learned in the fields of marketing and agriculture.  A place to shout from the roof tops our clients success and keep you up to date on industry trends.

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