Friday, 27 January 2012


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.

Friday, 20 January 2012


Who knew?  Get this:  Tweeting at certain times is more conducive to your tweets being read than is tweeting at other, specific times.  Apparently, yes, you can definitely be too structured when it comes to using Twitter. 
Let me explain:  This week on The, an article cited the writings of Ethan Klapper, a social media focused online editor at National Journal.  Klapper maintains that when you use apps to schedule your tweets, they can become obscured in the torrent of tweets that are scheduled to appear on the feed simultaneously.  The article reiterates that “Timelines explode on the hour on TweetDeck and at five-minute intervals on HootSuite. So your tweets are more likely to be seen at 8:51 than 8:50…”
It stands to reason then, that if people are all tweeting at the same time, your tweets will get lost in the shuffle and not be seen by as many people as you would like. 
Klapper writes:   “This is why you should never tweet at the: 00, :15, :30 or :45 of the hour. And, if possible, avoid tweeting at :05, :10, :20, :25, :35, :40, :50 and :55 as well.
“Silly as it may sound, your message will more likely be seen if you tweet at 8:51 instead of 8:50.”
Well, whatever works – good to know!  Klapper maintains that “he almost always gets a better response when he tweets at an off-time.”  He furthermore advises that it’s best to not try to tweet anything you really want read while any major news stories are breaking – “…unless you’re the one breaking the news.” 
That makes good sense.  I’ll certainly be taking this info under advisement.  Happy tweeting!

Friday, 13 January 2012


With social media altering the way we do business and how we interact with clients/customers, the customer service aspect of business has become emphasized like never before.  Social media have brought customer   relationship management and customer service to the forefront and have rendered customer service a form of marketing unto itself.  Here’s how:
Social media have enhanced the customer experience by giving the customer a profound voice.  And, for most businesses, this has translated into having a favorable impact on overall sales and growth.  Social media are interactive and customers can communicate directly with businesses; whether it be to ask questions about products or services, file complaints or offer praise with respect to products & services. 
Direct dialogue is now possible via most mainstream social media platforms.  Within a business’ “online community”, the brand benefits via engagement with customers.  This is true both in terms of insight and ideas that can be garnered from customers as well as how brand loyalty is being constructed and promoted via word-of-mouth.  Listening to what customers are saying and responding promptly & directly to them is key.  Customer service becomes an effective form of marketing!
To implement customer service as a form of marketing for your business, ensure that you:
A)     Focus on conversation/engagement as being the core of your business – concentrate on the exchange of information and ideas with your customers – interact, listen and respond.
B)      Strive to excel at a more refined range of things – you can’t be “great” at everything and solve all of the world’s problems, but you can focus on the things that are most meaningful to your customers (things that you will come to identify through real dialogue with them).
C)       Break down the barriers that have traditionally segregated business and customer – make use of social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Blogging to get conversations started and to maintain & manage ongoing, solid relationships with your customers.
Need some help navigating these social networking sites?  Then our Social Networking for Business workshop is for you.  Please check out our schedule at:

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


Most businesses are by now using social media as means of branding and driving sales.  When leveraged correctly, social media can make a substantial difference in your bottom line.  With 2012 all shiney and new, it’s the perfect time for you to consider amping up the social media strategy for your brand.  Here are some tips to help you do just that:  
1.       Define & Focus on your End Game – For anything to work well, it’s imperative to have a vision. Develop a plan that begins with your end game in mind.  Exactly what do you want to get out of your social media endeavors?  Increased sales?  Lead generation?  Lots of buzz?  Social media can be used in so many aspects of your marketing initiatives- i.e. product & service launches, customer engagement, reputation management and much more.  It’s essential to establish your vision prior to embarking on a social media strategy.  Coming up with a solid plan takes time and some research.  If you have already been using social media for your business, evaluate how you’re doing with the plan that you originally had in mind.  Are you achieving your goals?  If not, it’s time to re-focus and streamline your vision.
2.       Maintain your Voice – If you are using social media as a means of branding and getting your business’ message out there, make sure that you speak from the voice of that business.  If, for example, you’re posting Facebook and Twitter updates as a means of promoting your real estate business, it’s crucial that you post information relevant to real estate (i.e. new listings; before & after staging photos of homes; changes to mortgage rates, etc.) that your clients and prospects are going to be interested in reading. 
3.       Be Social – The above being said, it’s important to remember that social media is just that – a social platform within which to engage and interact with people.  Keep it business-minded, but keep it social.  Statistically, 78% of customers trust peer recommendations.  What does that say to you about being social?  You want to be accessible to clients and prospects – you want to keep them entertained and engaged.  Ensure that your social media platforms allow for dialogue, conversation and interactiveness.   Above all else, cater to your clients and prospects via social media – if they have questions, answer them; if they have complaints or concerns, address them - promptly.   Focus on their needs.
4.       Make a Name for your Business – The more you put your business out there on social media, the more relevant your business’ name becomes in its industry.  It’s essential to be as active as possible on social media – and social media by its very nature make it easy for you to do that.  Post regularly on Facebook and Twitter; create a Facebook business/fan page; start a blog and post on a regular basis; ensure that you have a fully complete LinkedIn account; conduct promotions that require online viral interaction, etc.  Your business needs to be out there in order to be found.  Also, ensure that your Facebook and Twitter names are easy for people to remember and relevant to the purpose of your business.
5.       Work your Social Media Profiles – It’s imperative that your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles accurately represent and accentuate your business.  Again, ensure that what you post is relevant, and also make sure that your profile photos are just as relevant.  You want your business to be highly identifiable on social media.  You can’t go wrong using your business logo as your profile photo – it’s what people will always identify with your business.
6.       Keep it Entertaining and Fun – This is what social media fosters.  This is one fundamental way that social media differs from traditional marketing strategies.  They allow for fun engagement.  You want clients and prospects becoming fans and liking your pages.  You don’t want to be boring them to tears.
With the New Year now upon us, it’s the perfect time to take a good look at your social media initiatives.  Whether you’re new to the social media game or want to give your strategy an overhaul, we can help.  Click on the following link to find to see our schedule of upcoming Social Networking for business workshops.  A great way to start off a prosperous New Year!