Fight Social Media Time Drain with Focus

ToolsSocial media can be an effective marketing tool, and by viewing it as one of the tools in your marketing toolbox this will help small businesses and entrepreneurs fight social media time drain.

Why Social Media?

  • Social media offers high-level, far-reaching advertising at free and lower costs than just about any other type of advertising.
  • You can use social media to establish your credibility and expert status more quickly.
  • You can provide customer support and deliver real-time customer care while allowing your customers to connect with you directly.
  • Build long-term customer relationships.

The Importance of Engagement

A key element of becoming successful with social media marketing is to engage with your customers, clients, prospects, readers, and followers.  At the same time, the challenge is that in order to build momentum and keep the momentum in the level of engagement you need to spend time on the various social media channels where you have a presence.

While a high level of engagement is becoming even more important, not just from the building the relationships with your customers and followers, but on some social media platforms, like Facebook, the level of engagement on your page has a bearing on to whom and how they share your status updates.

So the challenge is: How do I balance the time I spend on social media effectively without allowing the time on social media to be a time-drain?

How to Fight Social Media Time Drain with Focus

The only way to fight social media time-drain is with focus. Here are five tips:

  1. Know what your goals are for each day and stay focused on that goal. You can watch funny videos or chat with friends and family in non-work time but not during the time you’ve scheduled for business social media activities.
  2. Decide beforehand what your limits will be. It could be a time limit where you will spend only 15 minutes on Facebook or 15 minutes on LinkedIn.  That’s it!  Set a timer and when that goes off, you stop; you’re done!  You could decide instead to set an activity limit, say, 3 posts, 3 likes, and replies.
  3. Have specific times that you go on social media. Just as some persons allocate one or two time slots each day to return phone calls, you could identify your ‘social media’ time. This could perhaps coincide with the result of your research that tells you when your customers are on social media as well.
  4. Automate: There are many tools available that allow you to set your status updates and posts to go out at predetermined times.  However, you must actually go on to these channels at least once per day to reply to comments and questions.
  5. Finally, you do not have to do it all yourself. You may have to learn to let go.  Train a trusted person whether in your business or an outside resource to speak in your voice and schedule your posts for you.

For the next 3 days, create a spreadsheet or just pen and paper to track and monitor how you are spending your time on social media so that you can fight social media time drain with focus.

LinkedIn Endorsements and Recommendations: Valuable Tools to Boost Credibility

LinkedIn logo


LinkedIn pen by Sheila Scarborough
Flickr.com/creative-commons

How valuable are LinkedIn endorsements? How do they differ from LinkedIn recommendations, and should you even care?

Since LinkedIn introduced endorsements in September 2012 many articles and blog posts have been written about the pros and cons or the merits and demerits of this feature.

The question becomes even more complex as LinkedIn account holders try to determine whether having endorsements or receiving recommendations is more important. According to LinkedIn, both are important. “Including endorsements and recommendations in your Profile is a great way to complement and confirm the skills and experiences you’ve listed while catching the eye of potentially interested professional parties.”

Not unlike the other major social media platforms, LinkedIn continues to make changes and just rolled out the Recommendations Management Page. This page will add an enhanced dynamic to your Profile. It also is a great reminder of requests for recommendations that you may have overlooked as I found.

According to LinkedIn, the bottomline is, “Together, endorsements and recommendations give a better idea of what you’re like to work with, where your true skills and passions are and what some of your strongest soft skills just might be. They also make it easier for opportunities to find you.” And what’s more, you can now change the order of the skills you’d like to be endorsed for.

Are you on LinkedIn? Are you using LinkedIn to make connections and get more leads and customers for your business? If you’re not, I invite you to contact me at http://YvonneAJones.com /contact-me to schedule a complimentary strategy session to discuss how you can make LinkedIn work for you and your business.

 

 

How to Build Social Media Influence with Good Content

How to Build Social Media InfluenceBuilding your social media influence does not have to be hard, but it does take a number of steps, including:

  • Make sure you have a great profile starting with a good headshot. Keep your profile consistent across platforms.
  • For you to be an Influencer, you must exert that influence over someone, and the persons you want to have an impact on include your prospects, clients, and customers. It means that you must do research to find out where they hang out and make sure that you are hanging out on those social media platforms.
  • Nurture relationships that you initiate on social media, and take them off and into the physical world as soon as you can.
  • Be active on your social media platforms on a regular basis.
  • Provide value and minimize self-promotion.

One way you can provide value and build social media influence is to provide good quality content on your social media sites. An important point to keep in mind as you post content is that everything you do on social media affects your personal brand. It will also affect your online reputation, since your readers, friends, and followers are getting to know you and what you stand for by the type of content that you post on social media.

It is not enough to be posting regularly on your chosen sites. You want to have good content that educate, make people smile or even laugh, and share other people’s content. This means sharing text, images, including Infographics, and videos that people may also want to share. It is always important to keep in mind that social media is all about sharing and building relationships. People share their thoughts, their feedback on products, and they love to share images and anything that is fun. The following is a fairly good guideline to follow regarding the content you share on your social media sites:

It is that you use the 50/30/20 rule, with 50% of your content coming from news, 30% of your content should be about you, your personality and what you do online. The last 20% should contain information about your business. You do not want to confuse these last two as they are quite different.

When posting content, it’s best to post content that is positive. Combine this with a friendly personality and you are well on your way to build your social media influence. This is much better than being known for always posting negative content and being a whiner. Most people do not want to follow someone who is always negative and posting negative thoughts and comments. Share with your followers and readers what you’re doing in your business and allow some of your personality to shine through.

Use your social media sites to have fun while building your reputation, your brand, and your social media influence.

What type of content have you found to get the most engagement on your social media channels? Please share in the comments below.

 

 

Why is Having a Marketing Plan Important to Your Business

Your Marketing Plan for your businessMarketing is one of the key components of a successful business, and without question, most entrepreneurs and small business owners are not marketing nearly enough. Marketing is often confused with Sales, but they’re really two different things. For sales to be realized, effective marketing must take place first.

What is Marketing?

The American Marketing Association defines Marketing as:

“… the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

The definition by Wikipedia is a little more complex, but really sums up, in a few short sentences, what you need to know about marketing your business, and how it can be done effectively to meet the needs of your target market and your business.

Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service.

Marketing can be looked at as an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, delivering and communicating value to customers, and customer relationship management that also benefits the organization. Marketing is the science of choosing target markets through market analysis and market segmentation, as well as understanding consumer behavior and providing superior customer value. From a societal point of view, marketing is the link between a society’s material requirements and its economic patterns of response. Marketing satisfies these needs and wants through exchange processes and building long term relationships.”

Why You Need Marketing Plan

Whether you’re just starting a business or have been in business for a while, it takes an investment in time, energy, and financial resources. These are basically your most important resources, and you would not want to squander them by approaching your business without a goal, a plan and strategies to achieve those goals.

Your marketing plan, not to be confused with a business plan, is a roadmap or path for one of the key components of your business – marketing. It helps you refine your strategies and maximize your efforts to get your products and services in front of the right people who will then want to buy what you have to offer.

Frankly, when I started my online business, I did not have a marketing plan. I only knew I wanted to get more visibility for the business I did at the time, and as a result I wasted a lot of time and money. I don’t want that to happen to you, or if it has already happened, you can put an end to it.

What are the Components of a Successful Marketing Plan?

In order to complete a successful marketing plan, there are three essential components you must get right. You have to do your research, know what’s involved in your marketing mix – the strategies and tactics you will implement, and always, always monitor your results. This is the only way you’ll know if you’re achieving the desired results; if not, where you need to make changes.

I’ll go into more details about those essential components in upcoming blog posts. In the meantime, if you have questions or need help with your marketing plan, you’re invited to send me an email through my contact form.

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Follow-Up to Build Relationships at Networking Events

follow-up to build relationshipsOne of the things I enjoy most in my business is the opportunity to build relationships while engaging in networking activities. These may be attending networking events in my local area where my target audience is, or attending live events outside of my local community. How about you? Do you enjoy attending events and meeting other professionals and business owners? While the opportunities to develop these relationships exist, they will not go beyond a ‘nice conversation’ at an event if further steps are not taken. What are these steps?

How to Use Your Resources. Be a Resource

Before we go into what is required to build relationships at networking events, you’ll agree that attending events of any kind uses two of your most valuable resources: time and money. As a small business owner, entrepreneur or solo-professional, your time is money and time spent on one thing is time away from another. Since that’s the case, you cannot afford to waste any of these resources; you must approach networking with a specific goal in mind and a plan to achieve that goal. Let me first dispel the idea that your goal should be to see how many of your business cards you can give out.  One of the goals you should have is to build relationships  with other professionals or business owners.

To those who are not accustomed to face to face networking it may seem a contradiction to say that rather than going with the idea of getting; go with the mindset of giving. Be a valuable resource to others by being others-focused; use your expertise to help others solve their problems. You do this by taking time to meet people, get to know them, find out what their concerns are and offer assistance.
Dynamic, motivational speaker and author, Bob Burg said, “The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person’s needs ahead of their own.
Does all of this happen at one event and at a one-time meeting? It could, if you had a lot of time to talk so that you build trust and rapport. The reality is that most times you do not have enough time at a single event to accomplish these goals, so what next?

Follow-Up, Follow-Up, Follow-Up

Follow-up is the most important part of the networking process. When you follow-up it shows that you are interested in building the relationship. An important part of building relationships through networking is to create a Follow-up Schedule. It can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it, but your goal should be to follow-up, preferably within 24 to 48 hours of meeting the new contact. Since not many people do this effectively, you will stand out from the crowd. Another important reason is that the other person will remember you and the conversation you had more easily.
Whether you follow-up by email or telephone, make it easy for the person you’re following up with.
• Remind the person who you are
• State your name, when and where you met
• Hopefully you made a note on the back of their card about something you spoke of. Remind the person of the conversation or of the specific point.

How to Keep the Conversation Going

Here is the part I got stuck on when I first started to attend networking events. What do I say to keep the conversation going in the follow-up call or email? Continuing the conversation may include asking for more information, sharing something you think they’d like, offering some kind of help, or arranging to meet again.
You always want to be authentic. Therefore, if during your initial conversation the other person expressed a concern and you know that you can provide the solution, be transparent and real. Remind the person of the concern they voiced, let them know you had been thinking of them and you believe you can help to solve their problem. If they really want help, they’ll agree to schedule a time to meet with you.
If you’re doing your follow-up using email, all of the foregoing will apply, but you also want to make an extra effort to be warm and friendly. Since the other person is reading only words, without the benefit of seeing your facial expressions and hearing the tone of your voice, it’s important to make a special effort to be warm and friendly.

The goal of  follow-up is to build relationships for your mutual benefit. The benefits may not always come to you immediately but don’t give up. Remember that you are being observed by others and you’re building the know, like and trust factor. As you give, you will receive.

What type of events do you like to attend and what’s your favorite method to follow-up? Please leave your comments below.