Monday, 6 October 2014

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR TIME WISELY ON SOCIAL MEDIA

A very commonly asked question about using social media for business is:  “How much time does it take?”  Lots of people mistakenly believe that a good social media strategy for their business is a total time suck and not worth the effort.  Not so!  If you are one of the people living under that misconception and not taking advantage of what social media has to offer, you are missing out on important conversations and networking opportunities that can greatly benefit your business’ bottom line!            
                                                        
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that it takes no time at all to implement, develop and maintain a viable social networking strategy, but I can tell you that it’s not as daunting an undertaking as you might think - the risk of missed opportunities far outweighs the risk of time lost.  And, you are in complete control of how much time you put into it.  Here are some tips to help you manage your time wisely on social media activities for your business:
First, focus on why you want to use social media.  Depending on industry and company mission, business owners use social media for different business purposes.  Do you want to use it for research? Networking? Sales?  Or, a combination of all of the aforementioned?

If research is your aim, you’ll want to source out blogs and relevant news sites that provide you with the quality information you require.  You can subscribe to their RSS feeds (news feeds) so that you can keep up with any updates posted that are of importance to you.  Imagine having all of that information literally at your fingertips?  If you ask me, it sounds like this will actually save you some time!!

If you want to use social media for networking, it’s imperative that you build a community or audience.  This is easy to do on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Once you have created your accounts (a snap), it’s just a matter of building your communities by posting on a regular basis (again, this does not take a whole lot of time) and interacting with your audience.  Depending on how much engagement you’re interested in, this can take anywhere from only minutes a day to a couple of hours – not necessarily any more than that, unless you so choose.

If your motivation is sales and marketing, it’s important that you get your brand name out there.  You’ll want to let people know what your brand is all about – what services and/or products you offer – how these services and products can benefit people.  Again, engagement with your audience via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogging will be key here.  Social media sites are currently the most innovative methods of marketing your brand’s products and services.  They provide an unprecedented means of getting the word out.

Secondly, it’s important to develop a strategy to manage your time wisely.  Once you gain perspective on your purpose for using social media for your business, it won’t be difficult to determine how much time per day or per week you’ll require.  Here are a few ideas that can help:                                          
-          Create a schedule.  Set some time aside each day (at least at first) to check your Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn accounts.  Take a few moments on each account to post something relevant and especially to respond to any inquiries or concerns that people in your communities may have.  Make it a point to join in on conversations/dialogue wherever you can contribute something meaningful.  (Remember, it’ll take a bit of time to build an audience.)   If you decide to blog, ensure that you post something at least once every other week or so.  Blog posts take on average anywhere between an hour to a few hours to research and compose, but unless you’re a very ambitious, avid blogger, a post a week or every other week should suffice.
-          Focus on activities that will have the most impact.  A crucial thing to remember here is that you have to be where your customers/clients are.  If you have identified that they are mostly on Facebook, then by all means, concentrate a good chunk of your social networking time there.   But, you don’t want to neglect the other networks, as they are all beneficial.
-          Although you want to garner a wide audience, it’s not necessary to overdo it. You don’t have to be friends with or follow each and every person with whom you come into contact.  If a relationship will be mutually beneficial, you want to be connected to that person, if not, then don’t be afraid to be selective.  If you’re connected to absolutely everyone, you will be spending more time than you have to on social media.
-          By the same token, it’s imperative to stick to your purpose.  It’s easy to get sidetracked with irrelevant activity on social media (do you really have to watch that YouTube video right now??).  Stay focused on your business purpose and you will spend your time much more efficiently on social media.                       
                                                                 
If you use your time wisely and keep your focus in mind, you will find that you social media endeavors significantly pay off and that you actually enjoy your time spent with your connections. 
Need help putting together a social media strategy for your business?  We’d like to see you at our Social Media for Business workshop.  We can show you how to use your time wisely and effectively to make social media work for your business’ bottom line.  Please click on the link below for a schedule of workshops in your area.
https://escomputertraining.com/socialmedia

Friday, 29 August 2014

Why We Hate “Back-To-School”

Unless you’re a kid, I guess the title of this post is a bit misleading. As adults, and especially as parents, I don’t suppose we can honestly say that we hate back-to-school (I mean, seriously, how many parents do you know who are complaining right now that their little darlings are actually going to be out of their hair and back
to a semblance of structure next week??).  What we really hate, is what back-to-school represents: The end of the summer.  What we really hate, is the fact that we become inundated with back-to-school advertising in the middle of July when autumn still seems a million years away, bringing to the forefronts of our minds the imminent threat of cold weather, no more lakeside vacations and less time enjoying the carefree lifestyle that summer invokes. What we really hate, is that we’re forced to get back into a strict routine, that sunlit hours become limited and, well, that there’s just an overall feeling of “melancholy” in the air as we come to realize that that’s it until next June.

We really hate the idea of back-to-school because the question on everybody’s mind these days is, “Where the hell did the summer go?”.  Remember when we were complaining about all the snow and cold – that never-ending, horrific winter we experienced? Is it just me, or does it feel like no time at all has passed since?  I guess it doesn’t help that this summer ranks right up there with some of the coolest on record (was that summer, or was it just a slightly warm break from the hostile Canadian winter that’s on its way back?!).  Think that's just me complaining? Well, guess what the Farmer’s Almanac has in store for us in the coming months? Yep, you got it – a brutally cold and snowy winter.

And THAT’S why we really hate back-to-school. 
       
Have a safe and happy long Labor Day weekend, Everyone!  And enjoy what’s left…

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Social Networking Sites: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Okay, maybe not so much bad and ugly – but there are so many social networking sites in existence right now that it’s sometimes tough to navigate and know which ones are worth your time and which ones aren’t going to be of any benefit to you at all! You’ve got your Google+, Facebook and Twitter, but have you ever heard of Plaxo or Xanga (with a healthy 50 million and 30 million registered users respectively)? There’s a social platform for almost anything you need today, and to know which ones are going to be of interest to you is to know what your purpose is. If you’re going to be using social media for business networking, you’re going to benefit immensely from Facebook and LinkedIn, but VampireFreaks.com, probably not so much.


Just for interest’s sake, below is a list of a plethora of social sites arranged by the number of registered users – from the most to the fewest- and each includes a brief description.  Which ones are you going to try?

Name
Registered users
Description
Google+
1,600,000,000
General Business promotion
Facebook
1,280,000,000
General: Photos, Videos, Blogs, Apps.
Youtube
1,000,000,000
video sharing
Qzone
480,000,000
General. In Simplified Chinese; caters for mainland China users
Sina Weibo
300,000,000
Social microblogging site in Mainland China.
Habbo
268,000,000
General for teens. Over 31 communities worldwide. Chat room and user profiles.
Vkontakte
249,409,900
General, including music upload, listening and search. Popular in Russia and former Soviet republics.
LinkedIn
200,000,000
Business and professional networking
Renren
160,000,000
Significant site in China. Was known as 校内 (Xiaonei) until August 2009.
Instagram
150,000,000
A photo and video sharing site
Bebo
117,000,000
General
Orkut
100,000,000
General. Owned by Google Inc. Popular in India and Brazil.[225]
Tagged
100,000,000
General.
Netlog
95,000,000
General. Popular in Europe, Turkey, the Arab World and Canada's Québec province. Formerly known as Facebox and Redbox.[212]
Twitter
93,800,000
General. Micro-blogging, RSS, updates
Friendster
90,000,000
General. Popular in Southeast Asia. No longer popular in the western world
hi5
80,000,000
General. Popular in Nepal, Mongolia, Thailand, Romania, Jamaica, Central Africa, Portugal andLatin America. Not very popular in the USA.
Pinterest
70,000,000
photo sharing
Flixster
63,000,000
Movies
MyLife
51,000,000
Locating friends and family, keeping in touch (formerly Reunion.com)
Classmates.com
50,000,000
School, college, work and the military
Plaxo
50,000,000
Aggregator
Sonico.com
50,000,000
General. Popular in Latin America and Spanish and Portuguese speaking regions.
douban
46,850,000
Chinese Web 2.0 website providing user review and recommendation services for movies, books, and music.
Odnoklassniki
45,000,000
Connect with old classmates. Popular in Russia and former Soviet republics
Viadeo
35,000,000
Global Social Networking and Campus Networking available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
Flickr
32,000,000
Photo sharing, commenting, photography related networking, worldwide
Last.fm
30,000,000
Music
MyHeritage
30,000,000
family-oriented social network service
Myspace
30,000,000
General
WeeWorld
30,000,000
Teenagers - 9 to 17
Xanga
27,000,000
Blogs and "metro" areas
mixi
24,323,160
Japan
Cyworld
24,000,000
General. Popular in South Korea.
Gaia Online
23,523,663
Anime and games. Popular in USA, Canada and Europe. Moderately popular around Asia.
deviantART
22,000,000
Art community
Skyrock
22,000,000
Social Network in French-speaking world
BlackPlanet
20,000,000
Black Americans
Fotolog
20,000,000
Photoblogging. Popular in South America and Spain
Foursquare
20,000,000
Location based mobile social network
StumbleUpon
20,000,000
Stumble through websites that match users' selected interests
We Heart It
20,000,000
Image-based social network focused on inspiration, expression and creativity
Friends Reunited
19,000,000
UK based. School, college, work, sport and streets
Reddit
17,500,000
submit content, such as text posts or direct links
LiveJournal
17,564,977
Blogging. Popular in Russia and among the Russian-speaking diaspora abroad.
StudiVZ
17,000,000
University students, mostly in the German-speaking countries. School students and those out of education sign up via its partner sites schülerVZ and meinVZ.
Geni.com
15,000,000
Families, genealogy
Goodreads
13,000,000
Library cataloging, book lovers
Busuu
12,000,000
Language learning community (headquartered in Madrid, Spain)
Tuenti
12,000,000
Spanish-based university and High School social network.
XING
11,100,000
Business (primarily Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland))
Nasza-klasa.pl
11,000,000
School, college and friends. Popular in Poland
Taringa!
11,000,000
General (primarily Argentina)
Hyves
10,097,000
General, mostly popular in the Netherlands.
Buzznet
10,000,000
Music and pop-culture
SoundCloud
10,000,000
Repository of original music pieces and networking.
WAYN
10,000,000
Travel and lifestyle
Care2
9,961,947
Green living and social activism
CaringBridge
9,500,000
Not for profit providing free websites that connect family and friends during a serious health event, care and recovery.[34]
Stickam
9,000,000
Live video streaming and chat.
delicious
8,822,921
Social bookmarking allowing users to locate and save websites that match their own interests
My Opera
7,300,000
Blogging, mobile blogging, photo sharing, connecting with friends, Opera Link and Opera Unite. Global
About.me
5,000,000
Social networking site
Livemocha
5,000,000
Online language learning
Open Diary
5,000,000
First online blogging community, founded in 1998
Trombi.com
4,400,000
French subsidiary of Classmates.com
iWiW
4,000,000
Hungary
weRead
4,000,000
Books
Ibibo
3,500,000
Talent based social networking site that allows to promote one's self and also discover new talent. Most popular in India.
43 Things
3,000,000
Goal setting and achievement
Jiepang
3,000,000
Location based mobile social network. In Chinese language
MocoSpace
3,000,000
mobile community, worldwide
Ravelry
3,000,000
Knitting and crochet
Tylted
3,000,000
Mobile social game network[303]
CouchSurfing
2,967,421
Worldwide network for making connections between travelers and the communities they visit.
Fetlife
2,701,715
People who are into BDSM
Draugiem.lv
2,600,466
General (primarily LV, LT, HU)
eToro
2,500,000
Social Investing, Finance
Itsmy
2,500,000
Mobile community worldwide, blogging, friends, personal TV-shows
Kiwibox
2,400,000
General.
DXY.cn
2,000,000
Chinese online community for physicians, health care professionals, pharmacies and facilities
GetGlue
2,000,000
Social network for entertainment
Grono.net
2,000,000
Poland
Vampirefreaks.com
1,931,049
Gothic and industrial subculture
Fotki
1,632,565
Photo sharing, video hosting, photo contests, journals, forums, flexible privacy protection, friend's feed, audio comments and unlimited custom design integration.
English, baby!
1,600,000
Students and teachers of English as a second language
TravBuddy.com
1,588,000
Travel
Nexopia
1,400,000
Canada
LibraryThing
1,300,000
Book lovers
CafeMom
1,250,000
Mothers
Zoo.gr
890,000
Greek Web Meeting point
Focus.com
850,000
Business to Business, worldwide
aSmallWorld
550,000
European jet set and social elite world-wide
IRC-Galleria
505,000
Finland
italki.com
500,000
Language learning social network. 100+ languages.
ReverbNation.com
500,000
Social network for musician and bands
Ryze
500,000
Business
Gather.com
465,000
Article, picture, and video sharing, as well as group discussions
MillatFacebook
461,200
General, Created in Response to Facebook [192]
Cross.tv
450,000
Faith Based social network for Christian believers from around the world
SocialVibe
435,000
Social Network for Charity
Biip.no
430,000
Norwegian community
Skoob
420,000
Collaborative social network for Brazilian readers
Identi.ca
395,695
Twitter-like service popular with hackers and software freedom advocates.
Diaspora*
370,000
Decentralized, privacy aware, general (open source)
Indaba Music
350,000
Online collaboration for musicians, remix contests, and networking.
Hospitality Club
328,629
Hospitality
Partyflock
321,125
Dutch virtual community for people interested in house music and other electronic dance music
GamerDNA
310,000
Computer and video games
Travellerspoint
310,000
Travel
FilmAffinity
250,000
Movies and TV Series
LaiBhaari
250,000
Marathi social networking
Academia.edu
211,000
Social networking site for academics/researchers
didlr
204,515
Drawing service
Faceparty
200,000
General. Popular UK.
Mubi
200,000
Auteur cinema
HR.com
194,000
Social networking site for Human Resources professionals
Elftown
185,000
Community and wiki around Fantasy and sci-fi.
Stage 32
175,000
US-based social network and educational site for creative professionals in film, television and theater
CozyCot
150,000
East Asian and Southeast Asian women
Athlinks
139,458
Running, Swimming
Goodwizz
110,000
Social network with matchmaking and personality games to find new contacts. Global, based in France.
PatientsLikeMe
109,587
Online community for patients with life-changing illnesses to find other patients like them, share their data with others, and learn more about their condition to improve their outcome.
Gays.com
100,000
Social network for LGBT community, Guide for LGBT bars, restaurants, clubs, shopping
Blogster
85,579
Blogging community
Elixio
80,000
Business executives jet set and global elite.
Hotlist
80,000
Geo-Social Aggregator rooted in the concept of knowing where users' friends are, were, and will be.
Wiser.org
71,600
Online community space for the social justice and environmental movement[326]
WriteAPrisoner.com
66,000
Site networking inmates, friends, family
Zooppa
60,000
Online Community for Creative Talent (host of brand sponsored advertising contests)
Fuelmyblog
50,000
Blogging community
Dol2day
40,200
Politic community, Social network, Internet radio (German-speaking countries)
Hub Culture
20,000
Global influencers focused on worth creation
NGO Post
15,000
Non-Profit news sharing and networking, mainly in India
Frühstückstreff
14,800
General
Advogato
13,575
Free and open source software developers
Poolwo
12,350
Social networking site from India
The Sphere
1,300
A Private Online Social Luxury Network with Exclusive Personalized Services