Friday, 13 December 2013
Ready or not, the holiday season is once again upon us. And with that, comes the festive (or dreaded, depending on your take) holiday office party. You wouldn’t think that a “Dos & Don’ts” list would be necessary, would you? But given some of the antics that I’ve seen at holiday office parties, I thought, why the heck not? – it’ll make for a fun blog post. So here goes…
Do attend. This is an absolute must. The holiday office party is all about team spirit, team building and morale. It’s also the boss’ way of thanking his (or her) employees for their hard work throughout the year. To not show up might be construed as an insult and it won’t look good on you. So, unless you have a valid reason (an absolutely can’t-be-missed prior engagement – and I mean something like a wedding or your parents’ 50th anniversary party – or you’re violently ill) you simply have to make an appearance.
Don’t get drunk. Really? Do I really have to spell this one out? You bet your vodka martinis I do! I once worked for a company whose office party became so out of control due to the excessive alcohol consumption, that they actually cancelled the event for the following year and just made it an in-office luncheon that lasted all of an hour and a half. So, I reiterate, don’t get drunk. It can lead to belligerent, unseemly behavior that could embarrass you till the cows come home – or worse yet – get you fired!
Do be social. The idea behind the holiday office party is to bring co-workers together socially, outside of the workplace setting. Whether you really want to be there or not, you’ll look like an anti-social moron if you just sit in a corner, texting your buddies. You’re there; you might as well make the best of it. Get to know people you don’t normally interact with. Have a word with your superiors – the ones with whom you don’t speak on a daily basis (you know, here’s your chance to do a little subtle ass-kissing if you’re looking for a raise or a promotion). Have some social fun!
Don’t be overly friendly – especially with superiors with whom you’re not that familiar. While the office party is a great setting within which to make connections and get to know people better, you don’t want to be the guy who throws his arms around people he barely knows and acts like everyone is his best friend (this “Don’t” can be accomplished a lot easier if you follow the “Don’t get drunk” advice). Keep things professional, but at the same time, a little “looser” than the 9 to 5 interaction. As a side note to this: The office party is NOT the time or place to ask the boss for a raise or talk “intense” shop.
Do dance, if there’s a D.J. and dancing.
Don’t dance if there’s no D.J. and dancing. (And if there is, keep your moves within the ‘General Audience’ rating category. The office party is not the place to get all funky and start taking off your clothes to the music. Oh, and do I have to say it? NO TWERKING!!)
Do dress for the occasion. And by ‘dress’, I mean appropriately. Wear something tasteful and in keeping with the venue at which the party is being held. And with that said…
Don’t over or under dress for the occasion. I’m not saying that you have to be your button down self that you are from 9 to 5, but you don’t want to be showing up in thigh high boots (as hot as they are) and a dress that would make Heidi Fleiss blush. And jeans & a t-shirt ain’t gonna’ cut it either.
Do bring a token gift for the boss (or whoever is hosting the party). Or at the very least, say "thank you" before you leave.
Don’t hook up. Again, this one is easier if you follow the “Don’t get drunk” rule. But even if you’re as sober as a judge, it’s never a good idea to hook up with a coworker during or after the office Christmas party (unless there’s some history there, and even so, you’d better check out your company’s policy on inter-office dating).
So go, have fun! Eat, drink (but only 2 or 3) and be merry!! Enjoy, but just remember, you have to face all of these people again on Monday morning…
Thursday, 28 November 2013
The idea behind Twitter Ads is to “Get your Tweets and your account in front of more people who are interested in your business” -business.twitter.com.
The Twitter ad platform magnifies your presence on Twitter while allowing you to maintain control of your messages.
Here’s a quick explanation of the elements of Twitter Ads from business.twitter.com:
Friday, 25 October 2013
Who doesn’t love Halloween? I mean, besides the one guy who complained when I used an image of a jack-o-lantern in my Halloween Savings email marketing campaign. True story! Can you say “Stick in the Mud”?? Good thing I didn’t go with my original (albeit in jest) idea of using an image of Michael Myers (you know, the psychopathic killer star of the Halloween movie franchise) menacingly holding a bloody knife!
Well, like it or not, Halloween has, and will continue to, come around once a year – and most of us enjoy it and have fun with it. So why not take advantage of the season and create your own Halloween-themed social media marketing campaign? Here are a few ways to do it:
1. Hold a photo contest. This will work on a number of social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etcetera. You can make it a “Cutest Costume” contest (kids, pets, etc.) or you can do a “Scariest Costume”– or even a “Best Jack-O-Lantern” contest. Offer a prize for the winning photo and let users know that you’ll be announcing the winner on your social media platforms – that’ll ensure they keep checking back in.
2. By the same token, you could hold an essay or short spooky story contest. Again, offer a prize and arrange to have the winner’s story posted on your blog, with, of course, the credit going to the winner. And be sure to link to your blog on your other social media platforms.
3. Offer Halloween savings or discount specials on your products and services. Everyone loves to get something at a discounted rate or price!
4. Play up the spirit of the season! Make most of your tweets and Facebook posts Halloween-themed – really get into the spirit and encourage your followers to do the same! You could try horror movie quotes, Halloween (historical) facts, Halloween themed jokes – and don’t forget the pictures and/or video!
5. Play a Halloween-themed “word of the day” game with your followers. You could, for example, every day, post a word or phrase from a horror movie or a Stephen King novel, and the first person to guess the movie or the book, wins a prize! You get the idea.
The more fun and engaging you make your social media marketing campaigns, the more followers you’ll attract - and that spells more potential business for you. And if you get a great response with your Halloween campaign (of course you will!!), remember, the holiday season is right around the corner. Just imagine the possibilities!
Thursday, 17 October 2013
For today's blog, I'm cheating. Rather than research and write it myself, I figured why not just plagiarize from the best? (Well, it's not really plagiarism if I tell you outright that I didn't write it, and give the credit to the person who did!) So, without further ado, here are some fascinating statistics you'll want to know about the 10 most prevalent and popular social media sites, courtesy of one of my favorite go-to social media gurus - none other than Mr. Jeff Bullas (from jeffbullas.com).
Thursday, 26 September 2013
Now more than ever before, it’s so easy to ‘have your say’. Ya’ gotta’ love Twitter. And do you know what’s really cool? The Twitter Town Hall – a forum on Twitter where you can join in the conversation, express your views & opinions, and really get into it with others on specific subjects. And the best part? You don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home to attend the ‘Town Hall Meeting’.
An example of a Twitter Town Hall is coming up this Sunday (September 29 – between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm). The B.C. liquor laws are being reviewed (for the first time, apparently, in 12 years) and you can weigh in on the following topics (from http://engage.gov.bc.ca/liquorpolicyreview/twitter-townhalls/):
1. Would you like to see restaurants and bars licensed the same?
2. Tell me a time when BC’s two license system was inconvenient for you?
3. Would you be supportive of allowing markets and festivals to sell local #bcliquor products?
4. Should drinks be consumed in separate areas at festivals & public events or should people have access to consume anywhere?
5. Do you think #BC has a good balance between accessibility and health/safety?
The British Columbia government website inviting people to join in, states:
§ Anyone with an active Twitter account can join the conversation
§ Tweet direct to @John_Yap to share an idea and have your voice heard
§ Make sure you use the hashtag #bcliquor in all tweets
§ When responding to a tweet, use the “reply” button to ensure conversations remain threaded
§ Staff will help moderate the chat through handle @GovTogetherBC
§ Feedback gathered through the Twitter Townhall will be considered as part of the final report sent to Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Suzanne Anton.
Sounds like it could be a very engaging couple of hours, doesn’t it? Think I’ll check it out!
A well-constructed website is crucial for any business, as is a solid & engaging social media campaign. These are things that can have a major impact on your business’ bottom line. But do you know what’s even more important? Yep, positive customer reviews. I know I’m not alone in saying that whenever I decide to make a purchase or use a new service, the first thing I do is some online research. I “Google” the product or service and, quite frankly, put a lot of stock in what other users or customers have to say. For everything from choosing a doctor to trying a different brand of mascara, you can find reviews from people who have already been there! And what better way to promote your business than to garner as many positive reviews as possible from satisfied customers. The key is, however, to solicit reviews in as unassuming a manner as possible. The last thing you want to do is to piss anybody off! Here are 4 tips for getting people to write rave reviews about you...
1. Be the best at what you do. I know – sounds cliché – but unless you’re just going to be soliciting reviews from your mom, best friends and people who owe you favors, you have to ensure that your products and services are great-review-worthy. Go above and beyond to satisfy – no, not just satisfy – to please your clients – to make dealing with your business a pleasurable experience. Offer the best services, top quality products and, most importantly, the ultimate in customer service. No one will be struggling to write only positive things about your business if they only have positive things to say.
2. Ensure that writing a review is a quick & simple process. People are busy, and most are not going to venture too far out of their way to write reviews. This is not to say that they’re not happy to do so, but if it’s a daunting process and they have to click through to a gazillion places, they may just opt not to do so. Be sure to include a designated area – or a link to a designated area – that people can find easily and submit a review within a few moments. Your social media sites are great and easily accessible platforms for people to leave feedback. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ & Twitter all make it easy for people to comment and leave reviews. Your job is to ensure that your social media sites are engaging and inviting for customers.
3. A ‘little incentive’ never hurts, but remember – there’s a fine line between asking people to kindly leave a review – and flat out bribery! The reviewer is, after all, doing a favor for you (your business), so while you don’t want to make it seem like you’re committing bribery or paying someone off to say something nice about you (all credibility will be lost), a little ‘thank-you gift’ (a coupon or small discount) is acceptable – just as long as you don’t discriminate. The ‘thank-you gift’ is for taking the time to write a review – for contributing some feedback – not for necessarily writing a positive review.
4. Pay close attention to the sites on which people review your business. Ensure that your business profile is visible on these sites and interact on a regular basis with people. Always acknowledge and thank them for taking the time to write their reviews. Being engaging and gracious will go a long way in enticing others to write positive reviews!
Friday, 30 August 2013
Social media is all about engagement and connecting with people. To successfully run any customer-facing business, the first rule is: Know your clientele. And, in social media speak, that means: Know your audience.
Why is this so important? Because your audience (hopefully comprised in large part of your clients and prospects) is your sole reason for being active on social media sites from a business standpoint.
Here are four definite advantages to knowing who your audience is and what they’re all about:
1. You’re Able to Better Focus – If you can focus intently on whom you are targeting, it makes it easy to create content that resonates. And that’s important because generating valuable content that allows you to engage the highest number of people is the essence of your social media business strategy.
2. The Walls Come Down – You’re able to listen to what people have to say about your business – the positive as well as the negative – and respond in kind. Social media is all about, well… being social. And interactive. Social networking affords you the opportunity to effortlessly communicate with your audience in an unprecedented manner. Make communication with clients and prospects a priority.
3. You Can More Readily Respond to Specific Needs – Imagine being able to get to know clients so intimately through social media that you come to the point where you’re able to offer them what they require prior to them asking. You can make valuable suggestions to them and can tailor your services to fit their specific needs simply because you have made the effort to communicate with them. Ask lots of questions and interact often. The ultimate in customer service.
4. You Can Position Yourself as an Industry Leader – When people in your audience have industry related queries or need to be apprised of current information, you want to be the one they turn to. Make yourself readily available to people on your social networking sites – be the expert. Blog, blog and then blog some more. Blogging is a prime way of showcasing your wealth of industry knowledge. And, don’t forget to post links to your blog posts on your other social networking sites.For more information on social media and the importance of getting to know your audience through social networking, join one of our Social Networking workshops. For a schedule of upcoming workshops in your area, please visit: http://escomputertraining.com/socialmedia
Monday, 12 August 2013
Twitter is by far one of the most popular and the “noisiest” of the social networking applications. Twitter is a microblog – a distinctive way of communicating with consumers. and consumers, by nature, like to feel that they can easily access your business and communicate effortlessly with you. Twitter functions as a broadcast medium. It is an informative newsfeed and very useful for announcements and updates. Twitter’s premise lies in its principle that,
Doesn’t Twitter sound like a most effective means by which you can reach your clients? And, what a great platform whereby to get tongues wagging aboutbusiness!
Tweet-based marketing and customer service campaigns are two fundamental ways in which Twitter can be used to promote your business. The essence of Twitter from a business perspective is consumer/client engagement. Engaging clients with content-heavy tweets positions you as an industry expert! Here are some tips to help you tweet more effectively to reach your clients:
No matter what you want to say on Twitter, you have to keep in mind that you only have 140 characters with which to say it. Your messages must be brief, but informative and engaging.
To point #1, given the 140 character limit, it’s important that you think about what you want to tweet before you tweet it and ensure that each tweet is relevant to as many people as possible. Remember, your tweets have to be engaging and newsworthy – no one is really going to care what you’re having for dinner! And, try to refrain from tweeting solely about your current listings – be more imaginative.
Your aim is to reach as many clients and prospects as you can. Yes, you want to be followed! But, you want to be followed by people that are actually interested in what you’re tweeting. Follow other leaders within your industry and get them to follow you. Follow your clients and prospects and get them to follow you. The goal here is to communicate with people you can help and those who can benefit you and your business.
– You don’t want to be posting a gazillion times a day. People are going to think you’re spamming them and that’s a terrible thing for people to think about you and your business. Each time you tweet, you want to capture people’s attention with something meaningful and thought-provoking.
Ensure that you include all of your business contact information within your Twitter profile. You are afforded the opportunity to include a short bio & a photo and from a business standpoint, it’s a good idea to provide as much detail as you can so people know with whom they are communicating and have the opportunity to take the next step and contact you.
So, now that you’re more familiar with Twitter and the concept of the Tweet, you need to get active!! Start tweeting and eventually, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without the wonderful little microblog we all know as Twitter!
If you want some more in-depth information on Twitter and how to really use it effectively to drive business, we’d love to see you at one of our Social Networking for Business workshops. Just click on the following link for a schedule of what’s going on in your area. http://escomputertraining.com/courses/list/industry/2
Friday, 21 June 2013
Your brand is your business’ very identity. Increasing your brand’s visibility, therefore, is a fundamental component to your marketing strategy. You can spend millions of dollars a year – not to mention an obscene amount of time – propelling your brand to the forefront of the minds of consumers. But are you aware that, thanks to social media, there are a few very easy and non-time consuming ways you can build your brand?
Without further ado, here, courtesy of branding guru and author, William Arruda, are 9 nine-minute things (along with my own commentary) you can do…
1. Build your Network. It doesn’t have to take hours &hours out of your schedule – even if you just connect with one person a day on Facebook or LinkedIn (it could be someone in one of your LinkedIn groups – or a connection of one of your existing connections), you’ll be amazed at how quickly your network will grow. It is, after all, called “social networking” for a reason!
2. Bolster relationships. What good is having a broad network if you do nothing to maintain and nurture it? Stay in contact with your connections. Recommend & endorse connections on LinkedIn. “Like” other brands on Facebook. Send complimentary and/or congratulatory messages to people in your network on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. You have to give to receive.
3. Get a seal of approval. In the culture of social media, it’s about give and take. As you recommend and endorse others, don’t be afraid to request recommendations, endorsements, shares and “Likes” from people in your network. Enlist these from colleagues, satisfied clients and coworkers, past and present.
4. Record it. Nothing wrong with blowin’ your own horn once in a while either! Document your outstanding accomplishments and achievements for all to see.
5. Be current. One of the many fine attributes of social media is that they make it so simple to update your profiles as often as is necessary. Unlike websites, social media platforms take only seconds to update. So take advantage of that and ensure that all contact information and status postings are up to date. And that goes for your photos as well!!
6. Expand on your thought leadership. Start your own group on Facebook or LinkedIn. If you haven’t already (and shame on you if you haven’t), start a blog and post to it often. Comment on other people’s blogs and answer questions on LinkedIn and Facebook. Post timely and relevant content to Twitter. These are all ways you can showcase your smarts and industry knowledge. Oh, and don’t forget to link your blog to your other social media platforms.
7. Be real in the virtual world. YouTube is a wonderful thing! Make use of it. Create a video – a bio of yourself or your business - or something that illustrates a facet of your business (a how-to or an informational piece). Go ahead – be a rock star in your own right!
8. Build a home on the Web. “Link the different places you reside on the Web into one place, with sites like about.me, flavors.me, or vizify.com. Using these tools, you can actually set a site up in nine minutes! Then you can use your subsequent days' nine minutes refining and enhancing it.”
9. Research. Social media make it easy-peasy! Get to know all you can about your clients, prospects, colleagues and, yes, even - or, especially – your competitors. LinkedIn and Facebook are great places to get some investigating done!
Friday, 7 June 2013
Abercrombie & Fitch recently came under fire in the media over CEO Mike Jeffries’ unapologetically audacious (and really, really stupid) comments about wanting only thin and beautiful people to wear his clothes. And even more recently, it has surfaced that the company’s “larger” (what, size 6??) female employees were forced to wear ill-fitting “men’s clothing” to work, it would seem as a mode of humiliation or punishment for being heavier than what the company viewed as an ideal weight.
Sounds callous and appalling, doesn’t it? But the kicker is, Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t appear to be the only company that’s discriminating against the average-looking. There seems to be somewhat of a trend taking place – a trend toward some businesses believing it’s okay to hire based on aesthetics. For the life of me, I can’t fathom anyone being okay with this demeaning and discriminatory policy. (Not to mention it being a potential lawsuit just waiting to happen!!) But, it is happening, thanks, in no small part, to websites like beautifulpeople.com. The way this site (which began as an online dating service) works, is that the only way one can become a member, is to be voted in, based on attractiveness, by existing members.
What does this have to do with employers hiring hotties only, you ask? Well, the site recently added a new feature for employers looking to recruit beautiful employees only. The slogan on their website reads, “An attractive face is always a great first impression for any business.”
I don’t know about you, but I think my first impression of any business that would integrate its hiring practices with such superficial frivolity, would be that I would not want to do any business at all with them.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to gander at a Johnny Depp look-alike as much as the next girl, but in a world where we’re seeing an increasing amount of discrimination and intolerance, do we really need to see it being carried over into the professional realm? Would I hire him solely based on the fact that he’s so hot? I think not.
Where do you stand? Would you hire someone simply because you like the way they look?
Friday, 17 May 2013
The very purpose of using social media for business is to garner Friends & connections, to communicate and to network. Social media have become an immeasurable tool for facilitating client relationship management as well as for your marketing initiatives. But if you’re committing any of the following 7 deadly social media sins, your efforts might just be counter-productive.
Deadly Sin #1: Promoting Yourself / Your Business Relentlessly
I’ve blogged about this before. One of the most appealing characteristics of social media is that they displace the traditional advertising/promotion model of in-your-face, unsolicited interruption. As the name predicates, they’re social – a means of connecting with people on a human, personal level. There’s no room for blatant self-promotion within the realm of the social. Unparalleled customer service is more like it. The idea is to connect and engage with clients/prospective clients so that they become interested in using your products and services. It’s inbound marketing. People are engaging with you because they want to be engaging with you. It’s interactive, two-way communication. So,:
Deadly Sin #2: Getting Into It (And Not in a Good Way)
Because social media is about two-way communication, it’s inevitable that people are going to butt heads and encounter differences of opinion, just as we would in every-day, face-to-face interaction. The worst thing you can do, however, is to engage in a knock-down, drag-out with someone over a social media platform for all to see. And you do see it all the time, especially in comments sections. But as a business professional, if this is the way you conduct yourself, your clients are going to take one look at your social media interactions and run the other way – fast! Which leads me to:
Deadly Sin #3: Not Minding Your Manners
It’s a no-brainer, but you’d be astounded at the number of people who don’t pay any attention to manners and etiquette while using social media. Just remember to use basic politeness when engaging. Would you be boorish in a face-to-face meeting with someone? Likely not. So just because you’re sitting behind your computer monitor and no one can see you, doesn’t mean that you can forget about social graces. Pleases and thank yous go a long way. If someone pays you a compliment, acknowledge it. If a less than satisfied client comments negatively, acknowledge that, too – politely. Now, off to:
Deadly Sin #4: Not Responding to Comments, Complaints and/or Criticism
By not responding to your clients’ comments, you’re essentially saying, “I don’t care!” If a comment is positive and complimentary, a great, big “thank you” is in order, along with a little response about why you’re so pleased that he’s pleased and about how much you value him as a client. If a comment is negative – in the form of a complaint or criticism – a full response is warranted just the same. Again, it’s crucial that you make the client feel important and relevant by addressing the criticism and doing whatever is in your power to rectify the situation. I recently posted an extensive blog on how to respond to criticism: http://escomputers.blogspot.ca/2013/04/your-customers-comments-on-social-media.html Damage control is critical. And remember, others will be able to see how you respond, so do it eloquently and with finesse. Snark is never a good idea!
Deadly Sin #5: Spam, Spam & More Spam
Everyone hates to be spammed. Don’t spam people! Enough said.
Deadly Sin #6: Not Steering Clear of Religion & Politics
Oh, this is a slippery slope, my friends. The basic rule to bear in mind is that your religious and political views have no place within your business networking. Remember, wars are fought over religion and politics. Everyone’s view is different and you will in no way be able to avoid ruffling a few feathers if you pontificate with respect to your views or if you comment on another’s. Just stay clear!
Deadly Sin #7: Not Fostering Your Relationships
It’s all well and good to garner plenty of connections through your social media endeavors, but what good are those connections if you do nothing to cultivate meaningful relationships with them? The beauty of social media is that they allow you a relatively intimate glimpse into the lives of the people in your network. They can provide you with invaluable information about people. Using this information to help you provide better service to your clients is what it’s all about. Take advantage of that – get to know people and let them get to know you. That’s how trust is built and maintained. If your clients don’t trust you, what’s the point?
Thursday, 9 May 2013
This Sunday marks one of the most important days of the year – a day to honor moms everywhere – Happy Mother’s Day!
Social media might be something that moms used to watch their kids use, but it’s incredible how, over the years, mothers have become so adept themselves at using social media to communicate, shop and do business. It’s also incredible how many social media campaigns are geared toward mothers and their needs & desires. Let’s face it – Mom is by and large the person in the family who does most of the grocery shopping, home décor buying and kid-related shopping. Social media have become a blessing insofar as they simplify the process of comparison shopping, of finding great deals and of learning more about specific brands.
But over and above the usefulness of social media for shopping and keeping up with brands and trends, moms use them as a primary means of communication and networking. Moms are connected on social media today more than ever before.
Here are some enlightening 2013 ‘Moms on Social Media’ statistics courtesy of Ali Salman, co-founder of Rapid Boost Marketing:
· 9% Study weblogs everyday. An extra 15% read weblogs every week, and 16% per month.
· 7% of Canadian Moms post their opinions on weblogs everyday, 8% every week and 10% per month.
· 6% of those who interviewed contributed on their own weblog every day. An extra 3% contributed on their own weblog every week, and 5% per month.
· 3% of Canadian Mom blog writers had written a post about a product or product.
· 12% of Canadian moms watch video clips published online every day. 28% watch video clips every week, and 31% click ‘Play’ per month.
· 8% of Moms in Canada post on Twitter, or reading Twitter posts everyday. Another 7% read Twitter posts every week and a further 8% examine Twitter posts per month.
· Canadian moms are socially very involved.
· 63% have ‘Liked’ a business web page on Facebook or fb and 26% have mentioned on those pages. 19% had published about a product on their personal Facebook or fb web page.
· 15% Have a look at forums or forums everyday, with 9% definitely taking part. An extra 16% examine these social networks every week (11% participating) and 21% per month (12% participating).
· 58% Have a look at sites every day, with an extra 19% signing in every week.