Ten Tips to Help You Succeed with Social Media

by Jill Hart and Diane Ennen, Virtual Word Publishing

It’s official. Social media is here to stay.  It’s not a fad like so many initially thought and it isn’t going anywhere soon. Businesses have realized that not only is it a great way to connect with current clients, but a great way to land potential clients as well.  And that’s only the beginning. Social media also allows you to promote all your upcoming events and products, and even gives you front row access to editors and reporters who might write on your area of expertise.  The possibilities are truly endless.  But the big question now is, how can entrepreneurs best use the current social media opportunities to help increase business?  Here are some tips we feel will help.

Ten tips to incorporate social media into your marketing plan:

Determine What Social Media Sites Are Best For You. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the top three, but that’s only the beginning.  Determine who your target market is and then meet them where they are.  It’s okay to ask by taking a survey by email or on your website asking which social media avenue your clients prefer.  Once you determine that, be consistent and realize that you can’t be everywhere all the time.  Pick the ones that are best for your business and really engage.

Team Up With Other Entrepreneurs. By teaming up, you allow easy access to retweets, Facebook posts, etc.  Plus, it’s a great way to provide your audience with more valuable information on topics that would interest them by sharing information that is provided by the business(es) you team up with. Just make sure that your choose teammates with information that is a good fit for your audience.

Don’t Just Advertise, Build Relationships. – We’ve all seen them.  The tweets and Facebook postings that we know are scheduled and we know are only trying to sell us something.  We aren’t saying that you can’t promote your services or products.  In fact, we encourage you to do that.  But do it right.  Don’t just be about landing the deal.  Truly connect with your audience and show them why they would want to work with you. We know you’ve heard it a million times already, but it speaks for itself and bears repeating:  Social media is meant to be “social.”

Make It a Two-Way Street. You post and you post and you post on Facebook. You’ve tweeted away on Twitter & you’ve updated your status on Linkedin. Finally you’re done. Social marketing is ready to be checked off the list.  Not so fast!  Realize that just like you are posting there are others out there posting and building relationships as well.  Get out there and respond to others, too.  When you think about it, how do you feel when someone posts on your Facebook posting or blog entry?  It feels good, doesn’t it?  When you see a Facebook posting that you like leave a comment – always making sure you add value and are not just promoting your business.

Make It Exciting. We see this often: business owners on Twitter who get on for 20-minute increments and during that time we are inundated with retweets.  They will throw in an occasional tip or two, but basically it’s just 20 minutes of nonsense.  Now we love a good retweet, but we don’t enjoy this at all.  When you are marketing your business via social media, make sure that you engage with others and make it exciting.  Give some good information and tips – don’t just retweet to be seen.  Provide great value and your followers will not only enjoy your messages, but when they are looking to refer someone who needs your services, you will be on the top of the list.

Learn From Others. One of the best things about being in business these days is that you have the opportunity to follow the pros and see what they are doing right. They eagerly give out tips, videos, etc.  Make it a point to follow those who you respect and can learn from.  Sit back and take notes.  But more importantly, take the action steps necessary to make these points work.  It’s more than learning from them, you need to actually do what they recommend as well.
Contribute to Other Networks.  Another great aspect of social media is getting your message out to more than just your audience. Offer to guest post for other networks in your area of  expertise. You never know who may see your posts and become a client.

Create An Expert Status. Why do people follow you?  Many times it is because they see you as the best at what you do and they want to learn from you.  Therefore it’s important to always give solid tips and advice to really show your expertise. Create high quality blog postings, tips lists and posts to share with your audience. It may take extra time to create high quality work, but the effort will be well worth it in the end.

Spruce Up Your Page. Social media has come a long way in a short time. No more are you limited to a tiny avatar of your logo. Most of the social networking sites today allow you to fully customize your page with images, backgrounds and more. Spend the time to create a page that will draw in your audience and make them want to come back daily.

Be respectful. One of the things that most business owners value most is time. It’s important when you are on Facebook, Twitter and the other networks, that you be respectful of others’ time.  A few ways you can do that:  Don’t Expect An Instant Response.  Sending an Instant Message (IM) to a colleague or respected leader is fine, but recognize that they may not be able to chat with you immediately. Often times that person has allocated a certain amount of time to be on the site. If they are constantly on an IM, they can’t get what they need done. We’re not saying you can’t IM, but be respectful when you do.

Don’t Take Advantage. Social media is a relationship builder and gives us instant access to industry leaders. However, be careful not to take advantage of someone’s goodwill by asking a zillion questions.  Most business owners enjoy helping others, however, to provide personalized coaching is a different story.  Always respect the person you are communicating with and we bet you’ll find you get way more back than you ever imagined.

See how easy social media is.  When done right it can bring amazing results for your business.  Not only will you establish yourself as an expert, but you will be promoting your products and services regularly. Make it a commitment to master social media marketing and we promise you next year at this time, you’ll be so glad you did.

Jill Hart, Founder of Christian Work-at-Home Moms http://www.cwahm.com/ and Diana Ennen, President of Virtual Word Publishing, http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com/ have teamed up to write So You Want to Be a Work at Home Mom: A Christian’s Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business http://www.soyouwanttobeawahm.com/.  Start or expand your business today with their help.  Article is free to be reprinted as long as bio remains.

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Hello out there – Thanks for stopping by…

Here's a question I came across today, When Did Hiring Independent Contractors Become Illegal? Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends discusses the current Congressional hearings (April 2008) that appear to criminalize small business owners for using Independent Contractors (1099) rather than employees, making the assumption that the only reason for this relationship is to avoid or reduce tax responsibilities, thus operating in a "shadowy" Underground economy.

Anita reports: According to the statement by Senator John Kerry, Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business, the definition of underground economy that the Committee is looking at includes small businesses that may misclassify independent contractors instead of employees. Senator Kerry’s statement notes: “Too many workers are being misclassified as independent contractors — an arrangement in which the employer is not responsible for withholding of income or paying employment taxes. Employers who erroneously misclassify their workers stand to save as much as 30 percent of their payroll costs. This puts law abiding employers at a disadvantage.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m troubled by this expansion of the definition of underground economy to include misclassification of independent contractors/employees.

What do you think?

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Evidence is mounting that the U.S. economy is in the most difficult type of slowdown for a business to weather. Companies are likely to face inflation–caused by the weakness of the dollar and rising commodity prices–in addition to slowing sales.
In the article, "Guiding Your Business Through the Recession", Ridgely Evers of NetBooks (www.NetBooks.com) offers six tactics to put your firm in the position to navigate hard circumstances and emerge stronger.
1. Focus on your existing customers. Remember, they are under the same pressures you are. Make sure that you are the company they choose to work with when times are difficult.
2. Make sure you keep your best employees.
They will be pressured by inflation and may be tempted to switch to higher-paying positions, if they are available.
3. Invest in systems and technology. While this may seem like a strange time to be making investments, there are two good reasons to do it now. First, in this less-hectic time for your business, you and your staff may be more available to assess options and make changes. Second, improved systems will enable you to provide better service to your clients while at the same time enhancing your employees’ productivity.

Read more


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Do you have a daily plan to control the success of your small business? Most small business owners have short and long term goals, but they lack the daily control systems necessary to advance toward those goals. On his blog The Small Business Guru, Andrew Brown lays out the steps necessary to ensure that you remain in control of your business, and that your business doesn't take control of you. Read more


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An attendee at the Disney Entrepreneur Center in Orlando, Florida, shares some business tips for entrepreneurs and owners, including those offered by the center's director, Jerry Ross. The center is a partnership dedicated to the success, growth and advancement of small business, sponsored by the masters of , the people of Disney. The 35 quick tips are:

  1. Reducing expenses is the quickest way to increase cash flow.
  2. Effective networking requires planning and targeting the right contacts.
  3. Good recordkeeping will save you time and money at tax time!
  4. Use your business contacts and business counselors for perspective and advice.
  5. Always be prospecting for new clients!
  6. Qualify a client before you do a sales presentation.
  7. Can you clearly convey why a client would WANT to do business with you?
  8. Objections are an opportunity to educate your client on your product or service.
  9. People are led, things are managed.
  10. Business education needs to be an ongoing process! Attend a seminar this week!
  11. Ask for referrals from everyone! Even those who don’t buy…yet.
  12. Tradeshow expenses are wasted if you do not follow up on the leads.
  13. Take the time to do it right the first time!
  14. Customer service is not an expense, it is a competitive advantage.
  15. Build your team of advisors and use them!
  16. It is cheaper to keep a good customer than to find a new one!
  17. Don’t make a rule that you do not intend to enforce!
  18. Think globally and creatively…at least once a week.
  19. A goal without a time frame is a wish.
  20. Hold yourself and your employees accountable.

For the remainder of the tips, read the article on the blog "startupstudents.com" Here.


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Every time you meet someone new, whether personally or in business situation, you are presented with an opportunity to market yourself and your small business. The phrase "elevator pitch" refers to the 15 seconds in an elevator that you might spend with a stranger, conveying exactly what product or service you're in the business of selling. Stefan Topfer, Chairman and CEO of WinWeb and The Small Business Blog, suggests that to take advantage of every introduction and opportunity, every small business owner should have an "elevator pitch." Read more


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