Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Basics for a Successful Blog

When creating a company blog, it is important to keep these 5 useful tips in mind:
1) Have original content that is focused and helpful
2) Offer lots of lists
3) Cross promote
4) Easy to navigate
5) Have prominent subscription options
When you’re ready to start your blog, make sure you pick one blog site instead of dividing your resources between many. You’re already busy, why make it harder on yourself? It can also be hard to keep track of various blog sites and what you have posted, and to establish a following.
Blogger.com is a great website when starting out as it’s easy to begin, as all you need is your name and email address. Once your account is set up (this takes a matter of seconds), you can start blogging! It is clearly laid out how to blog using only text, or to make use of pictures, links, videos and more great tools! By using pictures and videos especially you can get people sharing and talking, which increases your followers and your credibility.
Also try to blog often (at least once a week). This increases your chance of turning up in a search engine and can also increase your credibility.
More tips are given in our fantastic Social Networking class, which is offered across Ontario. For a full course description as well as course dates and locations, visit http://www.escomputertraining.com

Friday, 27 May 2011

Social Networking and Small Independent Consumer-Based Business -Part 2

We have discussed why it is important for the small-business owner to adopt social media practices, but here are some useful tips for putting this great tool to use.

ES Computer Training will work with you to develop the correct plan for you and your business, recognizing that as a small business owner, your time is limited.

1. Know what's out there.

2. Identify which customers are using social media, how they are using it and what specifically they are using.

3. What do you have to offer these customers? How will they benefit?

4. How accessible are you online to your customers? Can they have a direct conversation with you via social media?

5. Do you or could you have the resources to evaluate how effective your social networking efforts are?

6. Are competitors using these channels and if so, how? Will this affect your business?

7. What is your business strategy?

Once these questions have been answered, we can help you determine the resources and time commitment necessary for your campaign. We have worked with agents, brokers, advisors and planners, all of who have invested time in creating a social network that has grown their business exponentially.

The plan, resources, time commitment and associated costs can and will be laid out for you. This will allow much of the efforts to be taken on by support staff while leaving important personal tasks to you and still allowing you the time to maintain and grow your business' success.


Monday, 16 May 2011

Social Networking and Small Independent Consumer-Based Business -Part 1

Many independent brokers, agents, planners and advisors are reluctant to adopt Social Media.  It is not that they reject the possibilities but that, with the day to day rush of running their business and responding to client needs, they do not have time for the added burden of working on Social Networks.  Most sense the cost of entering these channels will be significant, if not in terms of $ (most vehicles are free), then in terms of time.   Time is and will continue to be the most scarce and precious resource of any Small Independent Consumer Based Businesses.

To the point, the Average-Joe Small Independent Consumer-Based Business Owner is neither stupid nor unaware of the need to constantly improve customer communication channels and methods.  Most CRM Social Media Experts preach and skim the surface of the problem with no real solution offered.  The message is the same: “you need to communicate,” “You need to improve access,” “you need to review," “ You need to mine,” “ you need to post”…  Lots of you need to, very few plans as to exactly how!

In our next blog (yes, now that we've got your attention we'll make you wait for it!) we'll tell you exactly how ES Computer Training can help you plan out the social networking strategy that will help you to establish your business as a succesful social media presence.

To help get you started, check out our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/escomputertraining for helpful social media tips and tricks.

You can also follow us on Twitter (anneleroux)

Happy networking!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Best Practices in Social Media - Part 2

In our last blog post we discussed several important practices when trying to build an effective Twitter and LinkedIn account. Today we will discuss Blogs, Forums and Facebook.

With regard to Blogs and Forums, it is best to blog once or twice a week to maintain reader interest. When first starting out, it is important to firmly establish your relevance and what your content will be centred around. After you have established yourself as an expert in a certain field then you can stray from your main topic.

In order to find readers, they have to find you! Make sure you broadcast your blog all over Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr and any other social media websites you use, as well as your personal and/or company website. The more the better!

Facebook has become one of the most important social networking website for personal and business use alike. If you use it for both, make sure that you have separate accounts for both as it can be difficult to monitor not only what posts and pictures you publish but also what your friends publish to your account.

It is important to fill in your profile as much as possible and, if using it for business purposes, to include professional headshots and office shots in a photo album.

Creating a Page and a Group can be highly effective. Make sure your friends know about their existence and are sharing with their friends!

It is important to search for contacts frequently and also to update your page often with interesting and relevant news, blogs, etc as people will often check their Facebook at least once per day.

Be sure that you're selective in what you broadcast as it can be easy to lose track of who you have "friended" on Facebook.

Good luck in your social networking endeavours and be sure to check out our Facebook page for helpful social networking tips and tricks: http://www.facebook.com/escomputertraining

Happy networking!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Best Practices in Social Media -Part 1

When trying to establish your social media presence, it can be difficult to determine just how often and how much you should be posting and/or updating your social network. Here are some basic guidelines that will help you do just that.

TWITTER: Everyone's favourite microblog
In terms of frequency, it is best to tweet once daily for recreation and a minimum of twice a week with useful information. With regard to content, it is important to establish what kind of campaign you want at the beginning (i.e. whether it will be for amusement or professional info or a balance of both -which should not be done until you are well established in the Twitter world.)

LINKEDIN: The networking haven for professionals
When beginning, make sure you fill in your profile as much as possible and be sure to include a professional picture. Continue to actively search for and add professional connections and recommend the connections you have worked with (perhaps they will return the favour!). Join professional groups relevant to you and be sure to update your profile relatively often with news, links and events important to a good portion of your connections.

Part 2, which will cover Blogs/Forums and Facebook, will be posted later this week. Until then, happy networking!


Sunday, 8 May 2011

Business Implications of Social Networking

Social networking, one of the most significant technological innovations of the last decade, has changed how we communicate with one another and has changed our social norms, the speed of communication and the access we have to information.

Since about two-thirds of Canada uses Facebook, it is clear that this website and other social media tools have become a crucial part of our day-to-day living.

Typically, approximately 5% of your clients are intimate while 20% are contacted once or twice a year and 70% are clients you would like to bring closer.

Social media will help you to create and maintain a more intimate relationship with this 70%.

When you begin to build your social network, it is important to consider Brand Development, methods of Internet Advertising and your current Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy. It is often most effective to consider what your customer's point of view would be. What they would like to read about and how often they would want to be reading this are good points to start with. You can use this information to begin a dialogue with these customers and to eventually build a successful relationship with them.

ES Computer Training has helped corporations and can help you to create your Social Media Strategy and to begin using Social Networking for your business' success.

Visit http://www.escomputertraining.com for our full course description and schedule.
Check out our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/escomputertraining and become a fan for regular updates about social media strategies for business, insurance, finance, real estate and more.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Social Media CAN Grow Your Business. Here's How.

With new technology emerging constantly and our online social network consistently growing, it is important to use social media as a valuable tool in growing your business. Here are six ways that social media helps you to grow your business in a timely and cost-effective manner.

1.      Quick to Start. You could launch a Facebook page today or get a blog going in a few days.
2.      Low Cost. You can get started in social media and blogging for very little or no money. They are among the most cost-effective methods of reaching your audience.
3.      Instant Interactivity. Both blogs and social media can give you nearly instant market feedback - good or bad. We get all kinds of feedback through the comments on our blog; people also leave reviews and other comments for us on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels.
4.      It's the Search Engines, Silly. Surveys indicate that 90% or more of people begin their purchasing process in search engines. Blogs and social media make it more likely that your prospects will find you online when they search.
5.      Inbound Marketing. If you read our blog, you know that we're big fans of inbound marketing at HubSpot. Outbound marketing is telemarketing, direct mail, cold email blasts (not lovely nurturing emails like this one to you), TV and print ads - all the things that buyers tend to block out more and more.  Social media and blogs are essential inbound marketing tools.
6.      First Mover Advantage. For blogs and social media, there is an advantage to moving first. If you don't jump into the conversation, your competitors will (if they have not already) and then you're fighting an uphill battle to become influential in these online conversations. Start now to claim that first-mover advantage.

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