give me a reason to beleive Passion Squared blog hd

Give Me A Reason To Believe

Stories are attempts to share our values and beliefs. Story telling is only worthwhile when it tells what we stand for, not what we do. Simon Sinek

(This post was originally published on April 8, 2013. Over three years later, it remains as relevant as the day I wrote it.)

When you hear the word “marketing”, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? For some, it may be fuzzy, for some, you may think about the services and products you sell, maybe some of you are thinking about promotions, brochures or advertising. Or maybe some of you are saying, I have no clue, but it’s not my job. I am here to tell you if you are trying to sell something, it is your job. Your job as a brand owner is to give me a reason to believe.

I Feel Stories
When I hear the word marketing, I see, hear and feel a story. I always have. And now more than ever, both online and off, people want stories. They are looking for meaningful relationships with businesses. They are looking for your why. Your purpose, promise, and passion.

You see, there are so many products and programs and so many platforms to scream about them, about how awesome they are, and how they are so much better than everyone else’s. But guess what, the consumer is smarter than ever, and with all the noise in the marketplace, products get lost, but compelling stories stand out.

I Know You Cut Hair, But Why Should I Care
I never received a formal education in marketing. Yet I was responsible for marketing one of the biggest global brands of professional hair care in the world. And I was good at it. Why?

Because I did not see products as products, I saw them as solutions, as part of a bigger story and worked tirelessly to bring meaning and value to each and every thing I marketed. The same idea goes for your biz. Why should I come to you to get my haircut? There are a gazillion other options I have. Why you?

Creating A Relevant Story
When it comes to marketing something and creating a compelling story, I ask myself these simple questions:

1. Why am I creating this program, product or service?

2. What problem am I solving?

3. What is the brand purpose WHY) and promise (HOW)?

4. Who am I creating this for?

5. Why will they want my product, service, program or business?

Give Me A Reason To Believe, Please
So what’s your story? Your why? Your purpose, promise and passion? I want to know before I choose to engage with your business. And here is a hint. If it’s hype and BS, I will see right through it. If you promise me the world, I will doubt you. I want the truth. And I want you to give me a reason to believe.

Are You Ready to Create Awesome?
Are you an owner or independent entrepreneur and want to learn more about marketing your biz and creating compelling stories that connect with the ideal client you would love to serve? My A School for Owners online coaching program may be a good fit for you.

Check it out and as always, if you have any questions or just want to say hi, I’m listening.

Love + Awesomeness- Nina

PS: Our stories now live on multiples platforms, both online and off. To learn how to get your story onto your social pages, you may like this weeks Passionista Biz Tip About The About Section. Enjoy.

Passion Squared Blog- Why Would I Follow You-

Why Would I Follow You?

“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”  Henry David Thoreau

I mean really, why? This is the question I ask myself daily, and one I believe we all must ask ourselves, online and off.

Why would I follow you?
Why would I book with you?
Why would I review you?
Why would I refer you?
Why would I talk about you?
Why would I work for you?
Why would I pay you?
Why would I come back to you?

If you cannot answer these questions with clarity and intention, its time to take a step back and look at your brand. This is your story. Your purpose. Your promise. Without those, you are not a brand. You are simply a business. One that can be easily replaced with the next “best” thing. The next “shiny object”. The next “lowest price”. The next “contest”.

Brands add value.
Brands make me feel something.
Brands speak to me on an emotional level.
Brands create revenue.
Brands have life.
Brands inspire me to take an action.

Why did you choose to follow Passion Squared?

Love + Awesomeness-



#QandAwesome blog header

What Do I Post On Social Platforms?

“Your content is your marketing.”

In this episode of #QandAwesome I answer a question I get every single day. What the heck do I post on my social platforms? It begins and ends with getting clear on your brand and your audience.

The Art of The Question hd

The Art of The Question

In school, we’re rewarded for having the answer, not for asking a good question.  -Richard Saul Wurman

Questions… Our brain is triggered by questions. We move towards what we focus on. Awesome questions create awesome learning… In my life, with years of education, sales and marketing experiences, I have learned so much about asking good questions. #questionwisdom

Last night as I was getting ready for “sweet dreams”, and yes, if you didn’t know, when I post my sweet dreams message, I am in fact, getting ready to turn in for the night. I just happen to sit on #teamearlybird but will never ever tell you which team to sit on. Do you. Do awesome. So I digress… Let’s continue…

Last night, my awesome buddy and super smart human @andrewdoeshair posted a question he gets so very often, as do I, which is… “How do I get more followers?” You can see his post here. It’s awesome. He is awesome. He creates value. He is interested. He engages. It’s no wonder he has such a passionate group of followers and has managed to create wildly successful businesses and a rad life.

While I have blogged on the topic of engagement, relationships, and social, you can find just a few posts here, and here, and here… I will break it down one more time, well not really, I will blog on this topic til it no longer needs to be blogged on. Why? There still seems to be so much confusion about the word “social”.

Let’s look at the formal definition…

Social adjective (aka action word)
: relating to or involving activities in which people spend time talking to each other or doing enjoyable things with each other
: liking to be with and talk to people
: happy to be with people
: of or relating to people or society in general

Wow, it’s an action word. Who knew, right? Lol.

So now let’s try flipping the script, shall we?
1. Instead of asking how to get more followers, ask how can I be of value?

2. Instead of asking how to get more followers… ask how can I create more valuable content that followers want to follow.

3. Instead of asking how to get more followers, ask how can I create awesome work, consistently, and share it.

4. Instead of asking how to get more followers, ask how can I spend way more time listening than talking? Engaging, two way conversations, relationship building, you know, the stuff that matters.

5. Instead of asking how to get more followers, engage. And by engage I mean follow others who are of value to you, like, comment and share, authentically. Authentically. I mean authentically. There are some Insta experts out there that tell you to randomly search hashtags and make a super inauthentic comment on random peoples pages. #lame

6. Instead of asking how to get more followers, ask how can I become an awesome storyteller. Find out what’s important to your target audience and share. Consistently.

It’s not that we don’t know how to get more followers, and by followers, I mean create something of value for people to follow, it’s just that many of us are looking for a magic bullet, a secret sauce, and a short cut. And I am here to tell you, just as Andrew did so well in his post, there is no magic bullet or secret sauce.

Oh wait. There is a short cut… You can buy followers. I know, crazy huh? And good luck with that.

Love + Awesomeness-

Nina @passionsquared

PS: A big shout out of thanks to Andrew for inspiring this post! Love your face buddy.

5 Steps To Creating #InstaAwesome

5 Steps To Creating #InstaAwesome

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Dale Carnegie

Ok, so I am pretty sure you do not need convincing that Instagram is the platform of the moment for so many people and businesses. And by that I mean, the impact of relationship and biz building for creative small businesses and the humans who lead them and work in them. #fact

But there are still so many myths and misconceptions on how to create awesome with the platform so I thought I would share what I know to be true and where to begin… And yes, I have written about this many times, and yes, I believe it cannot be repeated enough. So here we go…

First and foremost, as with any platform, we always start with why, as the great Simon Sinek says. The objective. As in, why are we engaging on Instagram and why does anyone care? Instead of focusing on followers, focus on creating value, consistently. Yes, consistently. Let me say that one more time, consistently.

1. What is your story?
People respond to stories. Brands and businesses tell stories. What is yours? And while we are on that topic, what is in your about section? It matters. Why are you, who are you, and how do I connect with you?

2. What value will you bring to the conversation?
Listen more than you talk. But when you do talk, what value are you bringing to the table? This is not about self-promotion, it is about creating value.

3. What will your theme be?
All the best Insta’s have a theme. A look. A feel. A vibe. They exude energy. And your theme needs to be consistent with your brand identity. Your overall brand look and feel.

4. What hashtags will you use to connect, engage and become more discoverable?
Yes use hashtags, even more important, use them consistently. Unless you are Beyoncé, then clearly there is no need, we will seek you out. But if you are not Beyoncé, here are the general guidelines for local businesses…

a. Use popular hashtags that are consistent with your content and story. i.e. #ombre #braids #bridalhair #fitspo #athlete
b. Use branded hashtag, always. In my case, its #passionsquared
c. Use your local hashtags. In Portland, its #PDX, in Downtown LA, its #DTLA, find yours by searching hashtags on Insta or Google it.

5. How much time are you willing to invest in building relationships, engaging, and content creation?
Ok, this is where the pro’s and amateurs divide. If you are serious about building relationships, engaging, and listening, then you will invest the time. Period. How much? It depends on your content and engagement plan. I spend 2+ hours a day on Instagram. It is my primary social platform. And yes, a majority of my referrals come from Instagram. Is there a secret? Nope.

When capturing, creating and posting content, please keep these things in mind…
Take a gazillion photos so you can choose the best one. One photo is not enough. How many are enough? You will know when you get the money shot.

Only post quality stuff. Really, did Nina just say that? Duh. Yes, I did, cause it needs to be said.

What do I mean by quality stuff? Lighting, Background, Detail, Clarity

Want to see how some others are doing it? Follow these passionate and talented humans. And look for themes, quality, consistency, storytelling, backgrounds, lighting, clarity, and detail. And educated eye and is an awesome eye. And why do I share these? Because I know for a fact Instagram has helped empower their biz + their lives. And I only work with facts. Not hype. Not theory. Simply facts.


And of course, @passionsquared

Love + Awesomeness-