Tag Archives: Social media

How To Adopt A Social Media Lifestyle

While most small business owners are starting to realize that social media is a necessary part of any marketing strategy, as a social media coach, the question I get most often is how to add social media to a day that is already way too full.   For those of us working as solopreneurs or small business owners, it may, at times, feel like we are working virtually around the clock so when are we really supposed to tweet, post or blog?

I’ll admit, creating a social media plan that will stick is like starting an exercise program.  You just have to take that leap and do it. You need to look at it, not as a series of social media tasks that need to be done during the day, but more of a lifestyle change that you need to incorporate into your entire way of thinking. Here are 5 tips to make the social media lifestyle change:

  • Coffee and Twitter: For most of us, a morning cup of coffee is sacred. Without one, our day cannot get off to a good start.  Try to incorporate tweeting with your morning coffee, Instead of reading the newspaper, read your stream to find interesting articles to share with your followers.  If you still need to read the paper, know that most publications these days are online and make sharing with your networks very easy. In addition to coffee first thing in the morning, take a moment or two to tweet during your mid-morning or mid-afternoon coffee break as well.
  • Change the way you look at the world: Instead of walking through your day with blinders on, as most of us do, focused on the tasks we need to get done, try looking at the world with a different set of eyes.  Examine everything — images, articles, conversations you have with co-workers — and use it as fodder for posts, blogs and tweets.  This doesn’t mean that you need to be online all day, it just means changing the way you think to include a social media aspect to your day. Taking mental notes to save for your social media coffee breaks.
  • Blog on the weekend: We all know that blogging for business is one of the most important factors to getting found online. It improves our SEO, increasesour professional credibility and lets our audience know who we are and how we interact.  Blogging can also be the most time consuming part of any social media plan.  During your busy workday, as your taking in everything that is going on around you, take mental notes and save the blogging for the weekend when our schedule is more open. Most social dashboards will allow you to schedule posts to go live at a later time.
  • Set an alarm: In adopting a social media lifestyle, it works to break your social media plan into bite-sized chunks, making it more manageable during the course of a busy day.  At first, it may take some time to incorporate the social media lifestyle into your work day so setting alarms to remind you to take social media breaks – which are just as necessary as a coffee or bathroom break, can help at the beginning.
  • Be mobile: I can’t stress enough how being mobile – whether it’s with an iPad, smartphone or laptop, can help integrate social media into your lifestyle. Whether it’s waiting in line at the bank, riding the bus or taking a 5 minute water cooler break, being mobile help you to stay connected, with the ability to tweet or post right at your fingertips.

When you decide to include social media into your business and marketing strategy, it is important to be consistent and be present in order to truly engage your audience and increase your online visibility.  By adopting social media into your lifestyle, by taking short social media breaks to tweet or post, by leaving your blogging to the weekend and by looking at the world with a “social media eye,” it prevents you from feeling spread too thin – a feeling that most small business owners know all to well. 

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My Top 6 Social Media Pet Peeves

Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve made a commitment to myself to post at least three times a week.  I’ve been pretty good at sticking to my goal but I’ll admit, on some days, it’s hard to think of something to write about. Not today.  Today, the topic hit me while I was sitting down at the computer first thing this morning to check on some accounts.  As part of my routine, I took a look at my Twitter account and saw that I had several new followers.  Not wanting to alienate anyone by forgetting to acknowledge them, I checked out who the new followers were.  Eggs.  Eggs with no bios.  I knew right then that my topic for today was Social Media Pet Peeves.

We all have things in life that bug us. Nails on a blackboard, people who are late or people who crack their gum.  The social media arena is no different.  While most of us try to follow the simple rules of common courtesy and etiquette, there will always be those who, like in the offline world, are loutish, annoying and just not fun to be around.  Here are the top 6 things that drive me nuts online:

  • No picture or bio on Twitter: Social media, by nature, is about connecting with other people, for friendship, business or to pass time.  If you’re going to set up an account and actively tweet and follow people, why on earth would you not put up a picture and bio to let others know who they’re interacting with. It still completely baffles me when I see a bio-less egg with 1000’s of followers. I mean, Really??
  • Auto DM: Whoever thought up this marketing tactic should be seriously examined.  I don’t know about you but I hate getting those automatic messages in my inbox telling me I can make millions by following this link.   These messages are completely impersonal (thanking me for following you with an auto DM? Not cool). I’d rather not receive anything than a promotional message or a canned message telling me how excited you are that I’m following you.
  • Spammy @ or #FF tweets: I’m a firm believer in Social Media Karma.  I always thank people (personally) for following and for mentioning me online. I think #FollowFriday is a great idea to thank people you’ve interacted with during the week and to let others know about really interesting and helpful people to follow.  However, I do find it annoying (and puzzling) when people I’ve had no contact with at all — ever, include my name in a @ list that keeps going around and around. Especially when the instigator isn’t even following me in the first place.
  • No contact information: Last week, I retweeted one of Chris Brogan’s tweets that read: “Just didn’t give someone business because their G+ page didn’t have contact information.” I do find it very frustrating when someone doesn’t include at least an e-mail address on their website. One of the main reason we are all online is to connect. How are we supposed to do that if I can’t get in touch with you?  No info, no new business. It’s as simple as that.
  • Links with great titles that don’t take you where you want to go: How often have you read a really catchy blog or link title, whether on twitter, G+ or Facebook and when you click through, it isn’t to the article that you really wanted to read but it’s to a web or promotional page?  While I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt, I will unfollow for repeat offenses.
  • Virtual Chain letters: How many times did you freak out as a kid when you got a chain letter in the mail? Nowadays, the online versions are all too commonplace. I’m here to tell you now: You will not be cursed forever, you will not have 99 years of bad luck, you did not win the Ugandan lottery, your mom will not die in 4 hours and there is NO WAY that sending an e-mail to 10 people will make an image or video appear. So before you consider whether or not to pass a chain e-mail on to me, take this advice and please don’t!

Now that I have that out of my system, I’m open to hearing what your pet peeves are so come on and share your favourites!

How the Small Retailer Can Use Social Media

Using Social Media for the Small RetailerAs a social media coach, it always baffles me when I hear the small business owner question how and why they need a social media strategy.  And I do hear it a lot.  Especially from retail owners.  As I was getting ready today, I picked up a bottle of Sephora lotion.  Holding it in my had, I looked at the name Happy Birthday Beautiful Vanilla Birthday Cake Lotion.  As I stared at the bottle, it hit me.  Sephora had it right.

The reason I had the body lotion was because my birthday is next week and I received my yearly, happy birthday e-mail from Sephora letting me know that I could come in and pick up my free birthday gift (the lotion).   I’m always excited to get a free (no purchase necessary) gift so this past weekend I braved the Christmas crowds, went down to the mall and walked into Sephora.  I’m not sure if you have ever been to Sephora but (for me, anyway) it’s impossible to walk in without taking way too much time to look at tall the new beauty products, creams, lotions, nail polishes and stuff.  So, before I went to the register to get my free (no purchase necessary) gift, I had a look around.  Needless to say I left the store with my free birthday gift, along with a big bag of other (not so free) goodies.  I had done well. But so had Sephora.

Retail use of social mediaThe Gap has it right, too.  I get weekly e-mail coupons from them ranging from 15-60% off products storewide. I use these coupons religiously when I shop. By incorporating social media as part of their marketing strategies, these large retail owners have made sure, through accumulating large e-mail lists and offering low and no cost incentives to those who frequent their store, that they are always on their customers minds.

But how, as a small business owner, can you compete with these retail giants? One of the benefits of creating and maintaining an effective social media strategy is that, with a bit of hard work and perseverance, it doesn’t need to cost a lot.  Whenever I go downtown, I make a stop at my favorite ice cream shop.  By using Foursquare to check in, I get 10% of my order.  By liking the Facebook page of an independent gas station in my area, I receive updates of when the gas is going to be offered at a lower price. I can print out online coupons from a pretty good (not the best – but the best offers no incentives) Chinese restaurant that range from 5-15% of my order.  QR codes can go a long way in getting your online and offline marketing strategies in synch. These are all concrete ways that the local small business can use social media to reach, engage, and capture potential customers.  Using tools like Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter and Yelp can increase your visibility both online and offline.  It seems silly NOT to use social media.

Now I’m not going to lie to you. Using social media, until you can find your footing, is time consuming and a bit scary.  Most business owners don’t really know where to start or think that if they put up a Facebook page, thousands of Fans will flock to their page and their business will increase overnight.  This will probably not happen.  Just having a Twitter account but not having anyone to tweet regularly and effectively will likely not benefit your business at all. However, with a well thought our strategy with a clear goal of why you want to be online, will definitely help propel your business in the right direction.

So today, as I use my free Happy Birthday Beautiful Birthday Lotion from Sephora, I am reassured again of the power of social media.  The lotion, to me, is proof of how well it can work.