Social Media Dilemmas: Is Anybody Out There?

One of the problems with using Social Media in your business is that some of the time, especially at first, it can feel like you’re talking to thin air.  Or, at best, yourself.  And quite frankly, you probably don’t need Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn or a Blog to do that!  So how do you know if anyone’s listening when nobody’s responding?  The simple answer is, that without using a whole load of analytics (and quite often even if you do), you don’t.  You just have to do what you can to get your message out there and trust that people are listening and benefitting.  And in an age when we’ve become so used to instant gratification, it can feel a bit uncomfortable to keep doing something when you get little or no response.  So I thought I’d share a story with you from a customer perspective.  That is, with me as a customer, using Social Media to buy something.  Just to illustrate my point about having faith. A few years ago I left a well-paid job with a large bank.  I’d had a great career but it was time to leave.  I stuck with what I knew when I set up my own business, but it never really resonated and for various different reasons I called time on the venture.  Before I closed the doors on it, I started to look around to see how I could do something different.  I wanted to play to my strengths and use all the great skills and experience I’d built up but in a different way. One day, I stumbled across...

The Square Pegs and Round Holes of Business Strategy

The other week a client told me that before we’d reviewed her business strategy, she hadn’t really been able to see how what she’d read about strategy related to her business.  You see, her business is a small, quirky, out-of-the-ordinary business.  And when you look at most business strategy books, they’re pretty much all geared towards bigger, conventional businesses. Why are you in business? They’re all about setting up a ‘business’; and some people don’t go into business to set up a business.  They go into business so that they can do something they love, or follow their dreams, or help other people achieve their dreams, or express their creativity, or to create a certain lifestyle.  The business part makes it all possible, but it’s not the reason.   Like Marianne Cantwell of Free Range Humans says in her soon-to-be-published book, ‘Be A Free Range Human: Escape the 9 to 5, Create a Life You Love and Still Pay The Bills’, “I never thought I wanted a business. I wanted to make a living on my own terms, without an office or a boss…I hadn’t gone into this because I loved the idea of being a (deep voice) ‘business owner’. Somehow, that [business-building] book (and the others on the shelves around it) forgot about us. Nothing in there was about the entire reason I wanted to make this change; what about the life that was meant to come after the job? … Most business-building products tell you how to create a business shell…[what about] the part where you learn how to do things in a smarter way than most struggling freelancers? … No wonder people think...

Warning: Using Social Media Without Purpose Is Damaging Your Business

In last week’s post I suggested that you should “Be specific about what you want to achieve from using Social Media and keep that somewhere prominent so that you can decide on specific actions…” And Sally very kindly commented, asking me to elaborate on that.  Which is great, because it means I don’t have to think what to write about this week! The reason I’m so keen on being specific, is that I think everything you do in your business should have a purpose.  And that purpose is aligning everything  you do to achieving the Vision you have for your business.  So it’s absolutely key that, just as you set Business Objectives to achieve your Vision, you also set Social Media Objectives to help you meet your Business Objectives.   Then the specific actions that fall out of those objectives will have real purpose and will get you further towards where you want your business to be. So let’s look at what that might look like.  Let’s say, for example, that one of your Business Objectives is to get 100 new customers this year.  Let’s say that you know from past experience  50% of people who make some kind of contact with you or your staff become customers.  And you’ve had some past success in packaging your product with another supplier. Let’s assume you’ve decided that Twitter is the most relevant method to reach your target audience or niche.  (If you don’t know about using the most appropriate method for your customer, then sign up to receive this blog by email, and download a copy of ‘How to Make...

The Zen of Social Media: Five Steps to Social Media Calm

Sometimes Social Media can feel a bit overwhelming.  You might have a new technology to learn. Or it’s an entirely different way of communicating than you’re used to.  And there are so many different ways to connect with people, that how can you choose or find the time?!  And that’s before you add in the pressure of finding interesting or entertaining or useful things to say.  On a regular basis!  And when you’re just starting out, there’s the despondency of talking to what seems like thin air, because you haven’t built much of a following and the ones who do follow you, don’t know you well enough to talk to you yet. But before you go letting it get on top of you, let me share my 5 Steps to Social Media Calm.  And breathe! Step One – Get Back to Basics. Make sure everything you do is relevant for your customer, authentic to your business and works for you.  That way, Social Media will become part of your business rather than being yet another thing on your ‘to-do’ list.  It takes the stress out of wondering whether you’re doing ‘the right’ thing and helps you have confidence in the relevance of what you speak about online. Step Two – Pare it Back Nobody has time to be on every Social Network, so trying to keep up to date with more than one or two is bound to lead to frazzled brains and eventually, complete inertia!  Choose one platform to start with: one where you know or can reasonably expect your customers are using.  And get really comfortable with...

Warning: ‘Hello and Welcome’ Just Killed Your Blog!

Last week Sally asked about how to start a blog so I thought I’d share my thoughts in this post.  Now, when you’re first starting a blog, you attach all sorts of importance to that first post, that, quite frankly, it doesn’t deserve.  After all, by the time people are flocking to your site, you’ll have all sorts of blog posts for them to read and that first post will be one of many.  Which is all very well, but what about now?  Well, in my humble opinion, you have two choices: you can either start with an introductory post, or write something that’ll have people, other than your mum, coming back for more. Active Procrastination Because when you start with a ‘Hello and welcome to my blog’ post, the temptation is to follow that up with a post that talks about the purpose of  your blog.  Followed by another outlining the kind of thing you’re going to talk about, followed swiftly by saying you’d love people to comment and before you know it, you’re sharing videos of kittens!  Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration but you get the picture!  And the danger of these kind of posts is that they aren’t going to have anyone coming back for more.  These are diversion posts.  It’s like active procrastination!  And if it’s the first time you’ve bared your soul or aired your opinion in public then I get it.  It feels a bit scary.  Even if you know it ‘shouldn’t’. Eliminate The Fear Factor So what can you do to break free of the fear?  Go back to the reason you’re...