Tag Archives: Linkedin

3 Reasons Self-Reflection Matters In Business

Reflection_1

In a life of business, it can become tempting to look forward and outward. You’re always striving for success, dealing with competition, and looking to better yourself, your company, or both. There are external forces at work, and there’s always someplace higher to climb. This is good. It’s a spirit of pursuit that drives some of the most successful people in business! But I’d also argue that it’s important for anyone who hopes to be successful in this kind of environment to learn the value of self-reflection. With so much focus outward and upward, here are three reasons I’d argue looking inward matters, too.

1. You Can Understand Yourself Better

The clearest benefit of self-reflection is that it can help you to gain a better understanding of your own personality or tendencies. This is true both in general and with regard to your performance in business. Self-reflection is the process of asking yourself questions to develop a deeper level of understanding about yourself, as stated in a blog post at a tech communications site. It’s actually one of the more effective definitions out there. You simply get to know yourself better, and you do so in a way that can allow you to better shape yourself as an business owner, employee, or entrepreneur.

2. You Can View Your Own Development

In addition to gaining a better understanding of yourself in a given moment or situation, self-reflection can also help you to better view how you’ve developed over time, and what that development might say about you. At an online coaching platform for MBA applicants, one student discusses the benefit of making sense of previous experiences while writing about himself. This in essence is another way of saying that through self-reflection, this student gained a more thorough understanding of what had driven him to a given point, including successes and failures. Feeling out your own history this way can help you to understand what works and what doesn’t work for you, and it can influence your actions moving forward in a very real way.

3. You Can Increase Your Leadership Capacity

It falls in line with the idea of understanding yourself and your own tendencies. However, an article at LinkedIn pointed out that self-reflection in a business environment can also help you to gain an increased awareness of problematic performance traits, the same way you might look to recognize them in employees or co-workers. With this in mind, you can actually approach self-reflection almost as a kind of performance review for yourself, particularly if you happen to be in a position of leadership. You can recognize problematic traits and address them so as to become a more effective leader and co-worker.

It’s always a good idea to look inside, perhaps particularly so when you’re in the middle of a fast-paced, competitive work environment. With too much focus on external forces and the drive forward, you can easily lose sight of what it is that makes you effective in your job, or what it is you might need to work on. Taking regular time for self-reflection can work wonders.

Patti Conner

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15 free or low cost marketing ideas for small businesses

FB Pic

1)  Communication: start up as many social media sites appropriate for your business; LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, blog site, live chat through your business website and a toll-free phone number.

2)  Business cards: leave them everywhere and hand them out to everyone!

3)  E-mail newsletters: collect e-mails and send out weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly newsletters informing customers about upcoming promotions or events.

4)  Business webpage: keep your website and social media pages up to date and fresh. Your customers need to see that you are active within your business.

5)  YouTube: create a video of your product or service, post the YouTube link of your video on all your social media accounts and on both your blog and business site.

6)  Stay connected: keep in touch with your clients by sending them a hand written thank you card and attach a coupon.

7)  Loyalty: reward your loyal customers with, for example, a 20 per cent off discount for their next purchase. Do not assume customers will keep coming back, acknowledge them and show them that you value their commitment to your business.

8)  Go old school: print out pamphlets, brochures or flyers and go door to door in your community and hand them out. You could also leave them on the windshield of cars in a full parking lot at a local mall.

9)  Get listed on directories: both Google and Bing offer free listings for local businesses.

10) Vendors: speak with the vendors from whom you buy products or services from and ask them if they know of any other businesses that could use your products or services. Also, check to see if they have a bulletin board where you can display your business card and ask to place yours up!

11) Offer to be a speaker: often volunteer organizations, industry conferences and local business groups are looking for guest speakers for their meetings. This will help you and your business gain contacts, name recognition and publicity.

12) Product or services: it does not matter what you are trying to sell, get out there, hand out sample size products and show off your work. This will help potential customers get a feel for your company and give them a chance to see what you have to offer.

13) On the go marketing: if you use a car or truck for your business ensure that your business name, logo and contact information are painted on the vehicle. For a less costly alternative use magnetic signs and place them on the vehicle.

14) Contest: run a contents through your business website or on Facebook. Ensure that the prize is desirable and that it relates to your business. Example: a coupon offering 40 per cent off a service from your business or a gift bag full of sample size products. *Note: this will also create traffic on your business website and social media sites, along with helping you gain more followers*

15) Community events: a fund raiser, festival or even a family day event, ensure you get out there and offer or donate your services/products to events within your community. This is a great way to get your brand out there and help you better connect with potential clients/customers in your area.

 

Dwania is the Founder and Executive Director of Canadian Small Business Women Contact Canadian Small Business Women:

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Doing What Matters – because……..

Sheralyn

It’s time for a little reality check.  This is a business blog but it’s really about the business of life.  Haven’t we all occasionally spent just a little too much time trolling the internet, facebook and LinkedIn for advice on how to live our lives, succeed in business and be happy, healthy and well- adjusted? We are locked in an inevitable search for meaning in life, for how to “add value” and how the understanding of these will provide meaning to our existence and therefore also, presumably, business success.  What we may not have done however is really figured out how to do what matters, when it matters and for whom it matters because we haven’t figured out our “because.”  The “because” is UP TO YOU and the “because” is the only thing that matters.  Whether you do what you do because you want to be successful, make money, be a great provider for your family or be recognized in your industry as a leader is, in the end, all that counts.

Doing what matters means embracing your destiny, career, business or even (if this is your choice) your decision to be a stay at home parent. Embrace this decision with full force, with no doubts, no questions, no reservations and no limitations. Let it settle in and become a part of every fibre of your being because if you don’t – it won’t. You will question your decisions, your abilities, your commitment and your competence and then your business will suffer. Quite possibly you will suffer.

It doesn’t matter what you are doing right now as long as you enjoy the doing and that you are confidant. This isn’t just a blanket suggestion to “be happy” as if life really was that simple.  No, it’s not a Law of Attraction kind of thing either.  It’s just common sense. It doesn’t need to be labeled anything other than what it is. I don’t know about you but I am tired of all the current buzzwords around being “authentic.” Buzzwords set us up for failure as we fall short of these often false and pretentious expectations.  We judge both ourselves and others by the standards of these new (and constantly changing) “realities.” The reality of our daily existence is simply that each of us has to do what we do for reasons that matter only to us. For the most part these coalesce nicely with an overall “raison d’être” that makes the world go round. In other words, by each of us doing what matters to us, enough people do enough good things to help others and to offset the people who do bad things (because unfortunately, there are people who by doing what matters to them, do bad things.)

So stop worrying about the labeling and naval gazing.  Stop reading every site you can find that will help you determine your “brand.” I don’t care what your brand is. Are you a brand? Are you a box of cereal? Seriously? We are human beings not brands and who you are as a person, as an individual, this is what matters – not who you are as a “brand.”  A simple search on Google will tell you that a “brand” is “a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name” or, even better, that a brand is “an identifying mark burned on livestock or…former criminals or slaves…”* Is this what you aspire to be?

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that we are PEOPLE not an inanimate object manufactured for the express purpose of a corporation. While we may occasionally feel like a “slave” to the corporate machine, we are not.  We are reimbursed for our efforts and if you go back to my earlier point – hopefully you are doing something you love and that has meaning and purpose to you, thus negating the feeling of enslavement. This is ever more true if you have chosen the path of an entrepreneur. Be who you want to be and do what you want to do and your sincerity, drive and passion will naturally flow because it is founded in confidence and in being true to yourself. So do what matters. Do it because it’s what matters to you.

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

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Blogging for Business   

Sheralyn

As a writer, I’m often asked “What should I blog about and how often should I blog?”  This question is sometimes followed by the offhand comment “by the way, HOW do I blog?” The easy answer is that by asking these types of questions you are already well on the way to creating your blog.  Yes, blogging can be as simple as this: answer the “5 W’s” and you’ve got yourself a blog.  The “5 W’s” are: Who, What, Where, Why and How. Answer these and you can build a blog fairly quickly and easily.  Throw in something seasonally related or currently in the news and voila, you have yourself a blog. (Answering why “how,” which doesn’t start with “w” is even considered a “w” word is one of life’s little mysteries and the topic of an entirely different blog!)

Who is your audience? Who are you trying to reach out to? You’ve chosen your business because of your particular expertise or because you know and love a product and want to offer it to the public. Blogging to reach that market should be easy – you knew whom your audience was before you even started your business so now you just need to write a message that is tailored to this target market.  Blogging for a product that appeals to seniors should look significantly different from a blog tailored for youth. Choose words that are appropriate and geared to your audience.

The “What” to blog about is simple. What is the core of your business? If you’re a Dentist and it’s the summertime, talk about ice cream, popsicles and sugary treats and the possible detrimental effects that these summer treats could have on teeth.  Real Estate agents might discuss why summer is the best time to sell a home and perhaps blog about how to stage homes in the summer. If your product or service is a little more esoteric (say, writing for example) you could blog about grammar and in a friendly manner take your clients to “summer school” providing tips and tools on sentence structure.

Where to blog? Should you blog on your website, your facebook page or try to publish a post on LinkedIn? Should you be using one of the many web based blogging platforms? In determining the answer that best suits your business you may want to defer to the opinion of a social media specialist in your area. There are advantages to each option and whether you are trying to drive traffic to your website or to your physical location will have an impact on which option you choose. Additionally, knowing your target market should also influence where you blog. If you’ve identified most of your customers are on facebook for example, clearly that is where you should be blogging.

Why should you blog? I might be a lone wolf on this one and certainly as a business that offers blogging services I am doing myself no favours but when it comes to blogging and the “why factor” I urge you to ensure you are blogging relevant content for a reason.  You should blog because you have something of value to offer your customer. Blogging because someone said you should, or posting random content of no significance, will simply drive customers away. For most, the quick answer to “why blog” is to attract customers. That is the “why.” So ensure your content is relevant and will attract not repel.

Now for the “How.”  Call a writer! Just kidding. Use the “5 W’s” as your guiding principle, make a series of bullet points under each heading, determine your overall theme and then start building sentences around these bullet points. As the movie “Field of Dreams” once told us, “If you build it, they will come.” In this case, the structure is your blog and if you build your foundation using the “5 W” bullet points, a fully realized blog will be the end result. The beautiful thing about blogging is that you can schedule your posts to occur at anytime but write them whenever and wherever you want – even sitting on the back deck, in the sunshine, while sipping a cool beverage! See what I did there? I just tied a seasonally related theme to a blog about blogging. Happy writing!

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

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MY CLIENTS NEEDS MUST COME BEFORE MY OWN

Amina

Yesterday I was contacted by an investor, who found me on Linkedin and had been reading some of my blog posts. He and his brother were investing in a smaller market about two hours east of Toronto.  This would be their first purchase in this area and it was a multiple bidding situation.

As first time investors they made some errors, which are common, such as putting in the offer before being pre-approved for financing.  Especially in a multiple offer situation you want to make sure that your bid for the property has no conditions of financing.  The only condition you want is the inspection.   This way if the seller is presented with all of the offers, they will most likely accept the one with no condition of financing as that is a sure thing vs. somebody who still needs to be assessed for financing and does not really know whether they can afford the property.

This investor had put in the offer, ordered the inspection and was now contacting me for financing – however the clock was ticking.  I  immediately asked for an extenstion as I was not certain that I could fulfill financing in such a short time (3 days left).

He went back to the realtor and asked for the extension but it was denied simply because it was a multiple offer situation. The realtor suggested her broker, who lived and worked in that market and could get the appraisal the next day – which would ultimately save the client time and possibly losing the deal.

It was great that they were both organized and could get me the paperwork but I still had to find the lender, who would do the deal.  To further complicate things, the investors were incorporated, which would mean further validation of income.

He kindly called me and said he would stick with me if I could do the deal.  Now, if I was looking out for my own interests, I would have said,  “Yes of course I can do the deal”.  Instead, I was looking out for what is best for my client and suggested he use the other broker with the connections in the marketplace.  If I could not get the deal done, I would not only lose the trust of this client but more importantly I would not be putting my clients needs before my own!

It is hard to give away business but I believe strongly in Karma – what goes around comes around.  The client thanked me for looking out for his interests and said that he would be using me for the next deal.

I believe that if we all focus on putting our clients needs before our own in every situation, it will come to serve us all well.

To your Wealth!

Amina

Please “like” my facebook page here Please follow me on twitter here

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It’s Time to “TALK” about Social Media

Sheralyn

As the saying goes “unless you’ve been hiding under a rock” there is a very good chance that you’ve not only heard of facebook and LinkedIn but are an active and engaged participant on both. We are reminded constantly of the need to be on social media, to maintain a social media presence and to interact with our customers by employing this type of technology. How much is too much however? At what point does your message become de-valued, meaningless white noise amongst the clamor for customer attention? At the same time, how much is too much for you, as a person trying to conduct business? Social media has a huge role to play in terms of its ability to distract and consume your time voraciously in a non-productive way. Let’s talk about how much we “talk.”

The word “talk” was very deliberately placed in quotes. Why? Because today, due primarily to the influence of social media, we don’t do nearly enough actual talking.  Our interactions with others on a human scale are some days, literally non-existent while our “interactions” on social media are exhaustive!  Social Media has created a “doors wide-open” philosophy where we are encouraged to post, post, post, often times with little regard for the quality of the posting.  There are entire blogs related to how often you should post and the rule of three has become the norm:  post three times sharing information, tips, tools, techniques or free giveaways, before posting any targeted and specific attempt at soliciting business. The problem is we are often left searching for content of value, re-circulating posts that have already made the internet rounds several times over and which are, at best, tenuously related to our business. Currently, “curated content” is the new buzzword. Let’s look at what that really is. Curated content is regurgitated. It’s a nice word for taking someone’s work, cobbling it together with other similar posts and offering them up under your banner for public consumption. Often, I find an attention-grabbing headline has been shared to a page but when you click on the link, the content has nothing to do with the business sharing it. Clearly this is an example of someone not vetting content or sharing information of value but rather, a person simply caught up in the rush to post, post, post.

Original content is king and making sure that it’s laser-focused and related to your business is paramount. Self-employed entrepreneurs must fight for attention amongst big business so it is particularly incumbent upon them to ensure content is relevant. More so, it is critical that you don’t get caught up in the minutiae yourself, trawling through LinkedIn in search of content but getting sidetracked along the way looking at what all your old high school friends are doing now. The same is true with facebook. As entrepreneurs, with no IT department to block your access, and no one to answer to other than yourself, it’s far too easy to flip through facebook laughing at the antics of your nephew as he plays with that cute new puppy. Social Media for business requires both social responsibility and effective time management.  Set aside just 15 minutes twice a day to touch base with your followers. Be very regimented about that time (use the alarm on your Smartphone) and before you hit the share button employ the “pause and reflect” philosophy. Ask yourself “is this of value, relevant or potentially helpful to my clients?” If the answer is no, don’t share. If you haven’t even read the content, definitely don’t share it and if you really don’t have anything to say – that’s fine too. Just as in life, don’t “talk” for the sake of talk, but rather, talk when you have something meaningful to say. After all, you don’t want to be the person “blocked” by your customers because they were fed up with a continuous and largely irrelevant barrage of “curated content.”

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

LinkedIn / Facebook / www.writingrightforyou.weebly.com

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Social Strategy SOS

SocialStrategy

In the third post in this series, I discussed why you need to consider your customers as “users” and how you go about creating a User Persona to help you target your Content Strategy to your ideal users. Over the next 3 weeks of this series, we’ll finish fleshing out the remaining pieces of the content strategy puzzle, and this week we’ll tackle what is possibly the most perplexing and time consuming part of your digital business: your Social Media Strategy.

Do I really HAVE to have a social media strategy?

Social strategy is complex: there are so many social networks, and sometimes it feels like there is a new one every day.  How does a business owner know which ones to pay attention to, and which ones to ignore?  Engaging in Social Media can be extremely time consuming with little visible return on investment: It can be difficult to clearly see how a social media strategy can help your business.

But social media can also be a virtual goldmine of new customers.  It can be a way that you can develop a relationship of trust with your customers, engage in customer service activities, and even recruit new employees. Social media is here to stay and it is an essential part of every business owner’s sales, marketing, and business development toolkit.   A smart, targeted social strategy can deliver brand awareness, new customers, and even conversions, but it is important to understand why you’re doing it and what exactly you should do, and this is unique to each and every business.

Conversion has changed – forever.

Think about how your customers convert nowadays.  It used to be that customers would become aware of your brand or product through a limited number of expensive and highly controlled channels: perhaps through a television, radio, or newspaper ad, or perhaps through word of mouth.  Their decision to buy was made primarily at point of purchase, that is, when they saw your product on the shelf in the store: the “first moment of truth”, as it was called in the traditional marketing model.

Google has recently described a new model that very accurately captures the new way consumers become aware of, and make decisions to purchase, products and services today, and they call it the Zero Moment of Truth.  The Zero Moment of Truth is all about digital discovery: the extensive searching, recommendation reading, and consulting with Facebook friends that we now engage in before making a purchasing decision.  For products and services big and small, we rarely convert until we have had at least 7 and sometimes as many as 17 digital “impressions” or touch points with a brand.

ZMOTequation

This Zero Moment of Truth is perhaps the most compelling reason that each and every brand, every business selling every product or service, needs to ensure that when the consumer is engaging in this foraging behaviour, that they are there, building trust and clocking impressions that may lead to conversion.  These impressions come from your business website and your social media activities, especially what people are saying with you and about you in social media.

There may be a small segment of the population that doesn’t use social media, but this is a rapidly shrinking segment.  The fastest growing segment of social users is adults 45-54, and more and more seniors come online every day.  In many ways, Social Media IS the Internet, and the Internet IS Social Media.  It’s difficult today to grow your business without a strategy that covers how, for whom, and how often you will engage your customers in the two-way conversation that Social media has to offer as a marketing tool.

So Many Platforms, So Little Time.

Scheduling tools like Hootsuite make it easy to track and control the frequency of your social media communications, and they make it easy to post the same content simultaneously to multiple social platforms.  But while it may be tempting to try and broadcast your messages to multiple platforms at once, it is rarely a good idea.  In his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”, Gary Vaynerchuck makes a strong argument that business owners should heed: not all social platforms are created equal.  The kind of storytelling that works really well on Facebook for a particular user will not work on Twitter, or Linked, In, or Pinterest, or….

Knowing which platforms to prioritise is perhaps the most difficult part of your social strategy but also the most critical.  You stand to lose a lot of precious time if you prioritise a platform that really doesn’t work for your business, and you can even erode or undermine your brand if you post something clearly inappropriate for that platform: so how does a savvy business owner choose?

There are three factors to consider:

1) What are the various social platforms “good at”?

2) Which of the social platforms do your users tend towards?

2) What is the nature of your business conversion funnel?

1) A Brief Primer on Social Media

There is much crossover between the various major social media platforms: all of them are, of course, social, meaning they are about engaging in a dialogue with others.  But because each one operates in a slightly different way with different rules of engagement, they require different kinds of Storytelling.

Twitter

  • Has over 230 million monthly active users
  • Twitter followers are 60% more likely to recommend you than a Facebook Liker
  • The average age of a Twitter user is much higher than Facebook, at 39 years
  • 70% of Twitter users expect to hear back from a brand, and 53% want that response within the hour
  • Twitter is good for establishing thought leadership, expertise, for sharing news, and for customer service and customer relationship management

Facebook

  • Facebook is the largest social platform in the world: if it were a country it would the third most populated, after only China and India
  • Facebook does have an influence on purchasing behaviour, even if not a direct one. Your Facebook fans are more likely to convert than non-fans.
  • Facebook is great for visibility in social search
  • Facebook is getting into the retail game with Facebook shops if you are selling a product
  • The new killer app on Facebook is the short video

YouTube

  • Has moved from being primarily a video search engine to a powerful social platform where many brands have been born and built. Khan academy, for example, and Justin Bieber.
  • Web videos are a great way to reach out to new and current customers and generate inbound links to your website
  • Because it is owned by Google, embedding YouTube videos on your website gives those pages a double-boost in Search Engine Optimisation

Google Plus

  • Great for local businesses, reviews, and Google search “juice”
  • Ties your business address into a Google Map and ties into other Google services

Linked In

  • The largest professional network, you must have a personal page on LinkedIn; it is far more common to connect with business contacts on LinkedIn than to keep a Rolodex or stack of business cards or emails.
  • Linked in generates 200% more leads than the other social networks

Pinterest

  • The fastest growing as of December 2012
  • Pinterest is very visual, about ‘things’, items they find interesting, but it works even for small businesses that aren’t visually stimulating.
  • Pinterest is good for referral traffic because the source of the pin is a link to your site, especially images you might be posting in your blogs. Even if you don’t maintain a page or presence on Pinterest, installing a “pin it” button on your website pages is a good idea

2) Where Are Your Users Hanging Out?

The short answer is, everywhere.  But you have to narrow that down a little to come up with a feasible strategy.  It’s important to note here that there are multiple social platforms not listed above, many of them attracting niche audiences where you might find a treasure trove of users interested in exactly what you have to offer.  This article outlines 60 niche social networks and it is worth doing a bit of digging to see if any of them resonate with your business goals.  Another tool that you can use is socialmention.com; social mention searches blogs and social networks for topics or brand mentions and can be a good way of finding out where conversations are taking place that align with the kinds of conversations you want to be having with your customers.  And social crawlytics at socialcrawlytics.com can be very insightful, generating a report that will tell you which pages of your website have been shared in social media, where they have been shared, and even by who.

3) What is the Nature of Your Conversion Funnel?

Typically, the more expensive the product or service, the more touch points the consumer will require before purchasing.  What are you selling, and how many touch point’s do you think your customers need before they buy?

Is your product or service more suited to an active discovery process or a passive discovery process?  For example, if I need an emergency plumbing repair I tend to engage in some very active discovery to find one.  I search Google and will probably call the first few service providers I see.  Social Media is better at passive discovery, at marketing products, services, and ideas that consumers don’t need right away or in an emergency.

Do you have a lot of competitors, so will need more touch points or more visibility in the market, or very few competitors?  Are you in the B2B or B2C market?

How much customer service does your product or service require?  And how much brand awareness do you already have in the market?
SocialStrategySOSWorksheetImage

Document the answers to these questions on this worksheet; by indicating on the sliders in the worksheet where your business lands on these various conversion factors will give you some pointers towards which platforms you might want to prioritise as well as the frequency of posting you might want to consider.  Note that the worksheet is more art than science and is intended only as a starting point: they only way to really get good at social media is by doing it, so start small, perhaps with your LinkedIn page, and build slowly using the worksheet as a guide.

The biggest question the Content Strategist has to answer is “Do I need a website AND a Social Strategy”?  The answer is yes, for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is the findability of your content in Search.  Next month, we’ll cover Search Engine Optimisation and Influencer Marketing, the two biggest ways you can make your website work for your business.

For more resources and information on Content Strategy and to download a detailed description of what content strategy entails, go to analyticalengine.ca/resources or download a Content Strategy Info graphic at http://bit.ly/1qY9tYp.

Christine McGlade is a Business Analyst, Content Strategist, and Usability Consultant.  With over 25 years experience in the media business, Christine helps small business, social enterprise, and Not for Profits how to leverage the power of the Internet to grow their business.  Learn more about Christine at analyticalengine.ca

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To Blog or Not To Blog: Musings on Blogging

Martina New

 

Blogging, as many business coaches and other savvy individuals tell us, is one of the many social media outlets we entrepreneurs are told to embrace. It is an opportunity to go beyond the brief and restrictive 140 Twitter characters, offer more detail than our Facebook posts should contain, and can be more personal and creative than our professional LinkedIn profile.

Writing a blog, then, should be an enjoyable task that has us running to our notepads or iPads with gleeful excitement. And yet, I still haven’t gone beyond two places where I write just once a month (this blog) and once every six weeks or less for my local community newspaper. I could be doing this once a week or biweekly! Still, I’m not alone, as I keep hearing from my business friends and fellow networkers.

We know “we should” write more often and start a blog, and we do want to, honest, yet somehow so many reasons keep holding us back.

To bolster my enthusiasm, I attended a recent workshop by an avid blogger and writer who shared some of her wisdom. Here is some of what I learned.

 

  • Blogs are a good way to establish a connection with your reader (a.k.a. potential prospects and maybe future clients). It gives them the opportunity to learn a little bit about you, your style, and to know and like you.
  • The reason a more personal tone in a blog is appropriate and more fun to read is that, “people don’t want presentations, they want conversations”. ̴ Suzan St. Maur
  • Suitable topics are things that keep people awake at night, challenges that we face as business owners or simply as human beings. Chances are that if you have things that keep you awake at night, others will be worrying about the same or similar issues. So if you write about those, your readers can relate. Write from your heart to their
  • You can be either a guest blogger on somebody else’s blog site or set up your own. I don’t think the “where” is the real block for any of us!
  • Once you do start writing regularly, be sure to always post your blog on your own website/blog site first, and only then post on other sites, like LinkedIn etc. You want to make sure the Google ranking and any Internet searches direct readers to your own website first.

 

The common sentiment by the workshop leader, as well as other regular writers and ghost bloggers, who were present at the session, was that getting good at writing is much like exercising: you have to do it often to improve it. It is like working a muscle. So think about something you are well versed on, or have been wondering and musing about and think that others would have as well, and start writing it down; there’s no time like the present!

Happy writing.

Source: Workshop by Suzan St. Maur, “How to write better business blogs”. www.howtowritebetter.net

 

Martina Rowley is the founder and operator of Beach Business Hub – THE co-working space east of the Don Valley. She combined her passion and experience in the environmental sector with her community engagement side to create a local work environment where space and resources are shared. She fosters and facilitates collaboration, networking, and learning for and with small business owners and new start-ups. Contact her at:http://www.beachbusinesshub.ca, on Facebook and on Twitter

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Twitter Tips for Small Business

Kelly headshot (2)

It’s one thing to have a Twitter account, it’s another thing to ‘Tweet’. The world of networking on Twitter can seem like a new way of thinking about marketing your business and connecting with clients and colleagues in addition to learning a new language. As such, it’s important to take your time to get to know Twitter before taking the plunge into the world of Tweeting.

 

Maximize your profile

Use a profile picture and header picture consistent with your branding across other platforms, including your website, business cards, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Choose a generic background that enhances your header, or design your own background for your Twitter homepage.

Your bio line on Twitter also needs to comply with the 140 character rule, so choose your words carefully! Use keywords that make it easier for people to find you and include a link to your website.

 

Micro-Blogging at its best

Twitter is part of an emerging type of media called Micro-Blogging, and it’s important to keep your Tweets short and sweet! But, remember you can say a lot in 140 characters and a picture is worth a thousand words! Use link-shortening tools like bit.ly and HootSuite to save space in your tweets when you want to link to content outside of Twitter. Use #Hashtags like keywords to link to trending content on Twitter, or to #KeepItShortAndSweet.

 

Tweet with Karma

Nobody wants to be sold to online. We live in a world where creative marketing can take you further than direct advertising. Share content rather than soliciting business – if people like what they share, they will come back for more; use Twitter to build brand loyalty. Twitter is a great way to connect with your clients and other members of your industry. Build networks of like-minded Tweeters and remember the Karma of Twitter – retweet to be retweeted! Share others’ links and photos as much as you share your own. Twitter is an active network, and you won’t gain the business you’re looking for if your activity on Twitter is one-sided.

Twitter can be a lot of fun, and is an excellent way to get your message out there quickly and effectively. It is the fastest growing social network, so it pays to have a presence there. For more tips and Twitter advice, check out Teach Me Social individual tutorials and group workshops and connect with @TeachMeSocial on Twitter!

 

Kelly Farrell is the Founder and Chief Facilitator of Teach Me Social, a visionary company that has a mission to empower small business entrepreneurs to take control of their own online presence and manage it in-house to maintain an authentic voice for their brand. Teach Me Social has been providing valuable Social Media and online marketing support to small business owners for 2 years, while Kelly’s personal experience in the marketing and Social Media realm extends over 15 years.  Connect with Kelly via her WEBSITE,TWITTER, or FACEBOOK page. You can also email her at info@teachmesocial.ca

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