The Social Media CEO Spotlight: Alison Battisby of Avocado Social
Hailing from London, Social Media CEO, Alison Battisby, launched Avocado Social in 2014 to combat the confusing world of social media. She loves creating communities with her audience and connecting with like-minded people all over the world.
Being a part of the #SheMeansBusiness program has enabled her to coach female entrepreneurs in the UK on using Facebook and Instagram. This spring, she’ll be launching her first program of online courses that have been very popular in London, to continue to train others on how to use social media (and we’ll be cheering her on every step of the way!).
Alison reminds us that saying no to opportunities is totally okay, especially when it doesn’t feel right and to take digital detox breaks when it feels necessary! Read on to learn more about this Social Media CEO!
Tell us more about your social media business! What is your "elevator pitch"?
At Avocado Social, we offer expert social media strategy and training for social media marketers. We empower you to use social media effectively and provide the necessary tools to connect with your audience online whether you are an established brand marketing consultant or a small business.
How did you get started as a social media CEO? Give us a brief history, or your career trajectory --- what ultimately led you here?
After training to become a journalist in London, I turned to social media as a way to promote my freelance writing. I quickly fell in love with sites such as Twitter and Wordpress and built up a local blog with a decent following (12k). Once I had a taste of building a community, I was addicted! I joined a digital marketing agency and worked on large brand campaigns for Pringles, Nokia, and Microsoft-- then went freelance consulting brands like Estee Lauder and Brita. I set up Avocado Social in 2014 to combat the confusing world of social media and to train others on how to do it well.
What do you love about being a Social Media CEO?
I love the fast-paced, changing world of social media. There are always new strategies to try, new platforms to test and new methods to teach-- which keeps things interesting for me. I’ve always loved online communication so I enjoy building communities with my audience and connecting with like- minded people across the world!
What is your biggest challenge as a Social Media CEO?
My biggest challenge is working out what to do first. I’m full of ideas and if I could, I’d give everything a try! However, as a Social Media CEO, you need to try and prioritize the tasks that you’ll get the most return from-- that can be hard to work out!
If you could give your younger self some words of wisdom, what would they be (does not have to be business related!)?
I would say, “Don’t listen to all the advice you’re going to get.” People are going to tell you to do a lot of things when you are building your business. When I started out, people told me I needed a fancy office in London, a team, and lots of expensive equipment. I didn’t at all! For the first 4 years of my business, it was just me, my laptop and some wifi! That enabled me to grow carefully, confidently and now we’re a team of 3 people and I have a lovely home office.
What are you most looking forward to in your business this year?
We’re getting ready to launch our first suite of online courses this spring, which is really exciting. These are popular courses we have delivered in London to the likes of the BBC, Etsy and Amnesty International, so we know they are going to be well received and help social media and marketing managers stay up to date. I can’t wait to get them out online!
You are a #SheMeansBusiness Facebook trainer! Can you explain to our community what this is?
I have been working with Facebook for two years as part of the #SheMeansBusiness program, which means I deliver training workshops to female entrepreneurs in the UK on behalf of Facebook and Instagram. I love meeting new startups and female run businesses. The aim of the workshops is to answer any burning questions and to inspire groups on how to utilize the full suite of features available on Facebook, Instagram and now WhatsApp. It’s great as it means I get to know about the latest updates directly from Facebook HQ. I share these with my community in my Facebook Group and they are included in my latest training workshops.
With our theme of the month being "network", can you tell us how being a #SheMeansBusiness Facebook trainer has led to any unique opportunities?
Working on the #SheMeansBusiness program has meant I’ve met a great network of other online marketing consultants in Europe who are involved too. There are 24 trainers in the UK now and we meet up twice a year to get updates from Facebook. We check in with each other and offer support and ideas on how we can all grow our businesses. We also keep in touch via a Facebook Group which is ideal for quick questions and feedback from each other.
I’ve been invited to speak about my experiences at Facebook London offices and have visited Facebook Dublin three times to take part in and attend events, which have all been fantastic. A particular highlight was seeing Sheryl Sandberg speak at the beginning of the year.
How do you handle networking in another country? Do you mostly keep it within the UK or have you branched out to different countries?
I generally tend to network with people within the UK, however at the beginning of 2019, I took a chance and attended Stephanie’s CEO Yeah! event in Hawaii. It was absolutely amazing and completely worth the trip. To meet 9 inspirational women who were all so open about sharing experiences and lessons was truly unique. I took a lot of inspiration and energy from the trip. I look forward to keeping in touch with my new global friends!
Give us three brands you are loving on social media right now!
I am going to pick three UK brands and my first is an organic skincare brand called @NealsYardRemedies. I am also pretty obsessed with millennial London coffee shop, @Grind. Finally, I love @CanopyandStars, which is a glamping travel company where you can discover beautiful treehouses and bell tents to stay in across the UK and France - all great on Instagram!
#RealTalk | We like to keep it real + even though you’ve obviously been successful in your business, can you remember a time when shit hit the fan, or when something you tried failed miserably? How you were able to bounce back or what that incident inevitably taught you?
There have been a number of times when I’ve been quite close to burnout. Training in person can really drain you both physically and mentally, so I’ve had situations where I just have to get myself offline, and create some space. Saying no to things that aren’t quite right for you and your business is a huge game changer. Also, taking digital detox weekends can help.
I’d also say trying not to put too much pressure on yourself to do everything perfectly. Every business starts somewhere and you will be forgiven for things not looking 100% perfect all of the time (my first few training decks I put together were not masterpieces in design - but my enthusiasm and energy made up for this!).
What is your most used emoji?
Obviously, the 🥑. I’m also partial to a ✅ and a 💚-- got to keep it on brand ;)
Wanna hang out with Allison and other badass Social Media CEO’s?
Join our exclusive Clubhouse for female-identifying social media professionals! This is not your mama’s Facebook group. Join the clubhouse to get access to loads of Social Media CEO resources, a monthly book club, virtual pizza parties with Steph (yes, pizza!), and no bullshit community of awesome women. Want to know more?