“My Staff Doesn’t DO Social Media” is Killing Your Social Media Potential

But my staff doesn't DO Social Media!

When I discuss how important in-house contribution is for social media marketing with (TOO MANY) small business owners, I hear:

“But, my staff doesn’t DO Social Media.”

First of all, statistics tell us that’s not true.

Not only does your staff own a smartphone, but have likely downloaded at least 2(00) social media apps to talk to friends and family, and play games. And during breaks, lunches, WHEN YOU AREN’T LOOKING, and at quitting time, they are ON social media. 

Oh, sure…, they’ll TELL you they aren’t on social media, but what that translates to is THEY ARE AFRAID you will put them in charge of your business page.

SOLUTION

At their next review, explain that in this age of digital marketing, social media marketing contribution is now a job requirement for all new hires. And for existing employees, reviews will include evaluations of their individual contribution to your social media efforts.

GUILT IS A TERRIBLE MOTIVATOR

Yeah, yeah, I know the guilt seeps in… You tell me you are a lousy example of social media business participation so you figure you can’t ask them to do what you don’t do. Wrong!

  • Since when do you know how to do everything your staff knows how to do?

Their contribution is IMAGES, anecdotes, and testimonials

They won’t use their data, add an app, or use their SmartPhone.

Starting on the most basic level, they will take candid photos of your business in action, customer testimonials, anything that reflects your business success. You should also provide a store notebook to jot down anecdotal material for your social media content.

BUY a digital camera for the store or business, and leave it readily accessible to staff.  They can virtually begin contributing to your social media marketing as soon as you brief them on camera use and care.

  • Yes, you need protocols for what is/isn’t appropriate to photograph and how often.
  • Yes, you need to set up a Dropbox, Google Photos (which is cool because of enhancement features), or other cloud account folder for your photos.
  • Yes, you will be responsible for transferring those images from the camera to your computer via the included USB cable to the Dropbox or whatever folder.
  • Yes, you or your trusty admin whom you have given shared access to your cloud folder will then have to share them to your Social Media page(s).

But, other than that, that’s IT! Any and every person on the staff should be allowed to have some fun with the camera catching some on-the-floor moments which can lead to bigger and better participation. YouTube is your next goal.

Just one candid photo per week can mean a boost to your Social Media stats.

Here’s hoping you aim higher.

Fans are more likely to follow

…if they get the feeling they know you and your business. That’s what the photos provide – an inside look.

Now go buy a darn digital camera.

You can get them for less than $200. Or, spend a little more and it will come with wi-fi for easy transfer. It’s a business deduction – a marketing expense!

Now I hope you are saying to yourself, “Why didn’t I think of all this?”

Has Success Stopped You from Growing Your Business?

Twenty Years From Now You Will Be More Disappointed By The Things You Didn’t Do Than By The Ones You Did Do -- Mark Twain

An evergreen quote

…yet one we should heed as entrepreneurs.

Time slips away and our dreams will, too, if we don’t continuously reach beyond the daily routines of small business…

You became an entrepreneur for the challenge of freedom and exploration.

Don’t settle just because you have pride of accomplishment. Keep reaching to the next level.

Or, 20 years from now… 

SMBs: An Unhappy Staff Will Kill Your Marketing Efforts

UN HAPPYAs Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that working for ya?”

You spent a fortune on marketing, but you have a disgruntled staff. Yes, the hiring pool is high, but do you really want to sabotage your marketing efforts and business stability with an unhappy staff?

  • A simple thank you goes a long way.
  • An occasional perk (like a reward of free product or a healthy employee discount) never hurt in lieu of better wages you can’t pay.
  • Incentive programs boost morale, and therefore, productivity.
  • Birthday and holiday recognitions may seem trivial, but they provide a loyalty ROI.

If you are not recognizing and appreciating your employees, you are placing the health of your business at risk. Unhappy employees are less productive, more prone to error, and may begin to pilfer.

A pat on the back, a thank you for extra effort, an occasional free lunch, recognition at a staff meeting and on your social media for a job well done…these simple efforts can mean the difference for your continued success as a business.

Why is this so important for Marketing?

Your awesome marketing may bring those new customers in the door, but what if your employees don’t shower those new customers with love and loyalty for the biz?

You’re budget is tight, but your wallet will be tighter if you lose your best assets – faithful and loyal employees.

SMB Owners: Don’t Get Bogged Down in Your Bookkeeping

You Can't Afford NOTto Delegate

Franchisees and small business owners of all kinds:

Business suffering because you’re bogged down with administrative mess? You say you didn’t sign up for bookkeeping when you dreamed of your new business?

Not focusing on what you love is a BIG mistake.  And guess what? There are people out there who LOVE bookkeeping. Yes, it’s true! And, thankfully, they are ready for hire.

EVEN IF YOU KNOW HOW

You choose a business because you are following your bliss, your passion, your venue to champion your skills. My guess is you never gave a damn about bookkeeping, ordering, payroll, maintenance, or many of the duties that are so necessary to run a successful business. Just because you know how doesn’t always mean you should.

I bet you’re still mowing your own lawn, too.

Time for a wake-up call

So why aren’t you hiring people to do those tasks? Or at the very least, delegating it to the person on your staff who does enjoy and excel at that kind of work?
The excuse I hear over and over is that you can’t afford to hire another person to handle those chores. You can’t afford NOT to!

Start with part-time help

There are many people who are taking on clients like you on a part-time basis:

  • Virtual Assistants
  • College Interns
  • Stay-at-home Moms/Dads who are dying to talk to adults and keep their fingers in the work  world part-time
  • consultants who want to make their own hours, and more.

Yes, you will have to monitor their work, but do hire someone to do what you hate or is eating up quality time in your business. Get back to your business at hand. You will be less stressed without those duties hanging over your head and they will do a better job with the full focus you need. That is what THEY love to do.

Boomer SMB Owners Tell Me S/He Can’t Do Social Media…

MS-DOS Command line
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS-DOS

Nothing, and I mean nothing, including social media, is as hard to master as MS-DOS was. . .

Since my business demographic is primarily boomers, I know better. I’m a boomer, too. And I know full well that we boomers had to conquer and endure the pioneering stages of modern technology. Nothing, and I mean nothing, today is as hard to master as MS-DOS was. Gen X, Gen Y and Millennials don’t have a clue what a nightmare it was to work on a black screen with green letters and no graphics, no mouse. They never had to learn commands or have ever seen “A:” , or had to save content on multiple floppy disks, and most never sat in front of a v e r y  s l o w CRT that emitted unhealthy rays!

So, Back to the Boomers

So when these boomers who cut their computer teeth on difficult, dinosaur technology are telling me that social media is just too hard to take the time to learn  – –  sorry, but I’m not biting!

What I think happened to these otherwise savvy entrepreneurs, is when they began their businesses, technology was in an ever-changing mode. Obsolescence was the norm, and many were hesitant to invest in expensive technology that would most likely be outdated before it collected dust. Starting a new business means watching every nickel; technology avoidance and frugality became almost a badge of honor.

Culture Shock

Then, before these entrepreneurs knew what hit them, all of a sudden they were far, far behind others who had the time to keep up. In addition, any technology to be learned had to center around POS and bookkeeping. The learning curve on those was a bit time-consuming for owners, not to mention the time required to train staff. Who had time to jump into the social media craze while trying to run a business?

But now – da-da-DUM – there is no escaping social media for small business marketing. While it, too, experienced its versions of continuous obsolescence, social media has settled in as the most viable and affordable marketing vehicle for SMBs.

What I am finding is the biggest obstacle to success in social media, is that most successful entrepreneurs are classic introverts, even hermits. They live, eat, drink, and breathe their business to the point of no social life, but they like that! So of course they feel awkward trying to enter a SOCIAL medium that expects casual interaction.

So, yes, it is good to hire help, but it is also good to use that help to learn social media. WHY? Because social media is not successful unless the fans get to see what goes on behind the front doors. And if you don’t provide behind the scenes material (content, images, customer testimonials, etc.), then you are simply keeping a social media account alive with memes, quotes, product images – yawn……..

My best social media analogy?

Think of how many times you have driven by a small business and felt a tinge of apprehension about pulling in and checking it out. Why?

Because we don’t like to explore the unknown, especially when it has potential to waste our valuable time or money. Your social media fans are no different. They want some behind the scenes peeks at who you are, what you do, why you sell what you sell, what makes you different, and how will it FEEL to shop or do business with you!

Damn, you don’t have to marry these fans! Just like your customers, people just need to get to know each other! And that’s why social media works for those who do make the effort to put themselves out there for fans! Does that make sense?!

3 Reasons NOT to DIY Market Your Small Business

Did you losePiggy bank upside down money doing it yourself?

You tried to DIY market again, didn’t you?

My husband and I are both entrepreneurs, and when we need help on anything outside our frame of expertise, here are 3 considerations we recount when we get the DIY itch and are dying to scratch.

1.  The expert you hire EARNED that status.

For your own small business, you earned expert status how? Right, by working hard to learn and produce the best possible results. It took time and practice, but there you are. Therefore, the person you should hire achieved his/her expert status the same way.

But, because a tool is free, you believe you should DIY. How much of your valuable time do you have to learn to use the “free” tool? Oh, Really? How many unopened emails are in your inbox right now? Riiiighttt…

The person you hire has the right tools, education, experience and FOCUS to complete the job properly, efficiently and with expected results – usually all in a very short time and all at once.

2. When you DIY, YOU WASTE VALUABLE TIME AWAY from YOUR business.

If you are a highly qualified and experienced person in your field, why waste $$$ earning time on work someone else could complete far more quickly and correctly with better strategy considerations for you. In other words, why are you trying to save a few bucks on labor when you could be generating new business that has a far better ROI for time spent?

3. When you DIY everything, you risk jeopardizing your professional reputation and your potential to earn business. 

What message are you sending anyone who witnesses your DIY projects? Bet you never thought about that. Oh, sure, you get to be proud of saying “I did it myself.” But how do you justify anyone needing to hire YOU for your expertise if you don’t respect other professionals for their expertise?

AND when your clients and customers see you taking the time away from your business to DIY, are you giving them the impression that a) you have the extra time to kill, and/or b) you don’t use your free time to learn and grow your business?

BOTTOM LINE:

YOU HIRE AN EXPERT FOR THE OVERALL VALUE THEY PROVIDE YOU.

Go clear the cobwebs off those DIY projects you started (outside of your expertise). How many times have you run across, or into, those unfinished projects over the last few days, weeks or even months? They are just THERE. . .WAITING to be completed. YouTube DIY videos are not the right answer for speed and efficiency, not to mention no substitute for experience.

Now go back to work and let an expert do it, do it right, and do it now.

Really? How often have you “learned” this lesson?

A Comedy of Customer Service Errors – a Marketing vs Sales story

Ruby Tuesday on North Carolina Highway 54 in D...
Image via Wikipedia

It is so important for Marketing and Sales to communicate. Ruby Tuesday and other chains must spend a fortune on their marketing; from print to broadcast, decor, menus, layout, everything. But if the on-the-floor experience doesn’t match the marketing, whose fault is it? Marketing or Operations – or both?

A true story. The little things really DO matter.

I was telling colleagues this story of a customer experience I had, and they all said I positively must blog about it. It’s true and not exaggerated, so I hope you enjoy this crazy little adventure of mine… To me, it is a great example of how operations and marketing must work together or both sides suffer.

Turn on the Wayback Machine

Waaaay back in 2004, I was a troubleshooting store manager at a (then) new outlet mall in a (then) fairly unsophisticated and remote location in North Georgia. Thankfully, the area has come a long way since then.

It was a tough adjustment for me, spoiled from working in major metropolitan areas with a wealth of hiring potential… “Dueling Banjos” from the movie “Deliverance” was playing in the back of my mind…

We just wanted to eat

It was time for the annual inventory, so, in anticipation of a long worknight, I planned to treat my staff to dinner and some great coffee. Simple enough – or so I thought. I forgot that this area was satisfied withcoffee that came in jars of brown powder. But I held hope for dinner… a new Ruby Tuesday had opened in the far end of the mall’s parking lot. Hooray – we can avoid Food Court heartburn!

An actual coffee bar had opened in the food court, too! I was so happy we had the option of real food and real coffee to ease the dreaded task of counting every item in the store – accurately.

Even better, Ruby’s had curb side pickup. I called ahead and ordered for everyone. They gave me my total, asked for the description of my car, and told me the order would be ready to pick up in 20 minutes. Perfect! I thought to myself, I’ll head on over while the staff closes the day’s business. How much easier could it get?

Wanted: Revolving Doors

I headed over to the Ruby Tuesday restaurant and parked in the pick-up spot in front of the curbside door near the backside of the restaurant. While watching every other waiting car get orders filled, I noticed something odd… The server did not go back in to the restaurant through the same door he exited. Instead, he walked to the front entrance… huh? He did this 4 more times, each time moving a little faster to get to that front door. Not surprisingly, my curiosity was peaking. Why didn’t he go back in the way he came out?

I was kept waiting and waiting for my order. The next time the server popped out, I waved him over and he assured me my order was on the way. Hmmmmm….  I waited a little longer and still no order. I decided I had to investigate. I left my car and now I’m annoyed for keeping my staff waiting. I walked to the curb side pick-up door and surprise! Locked. Now we all know why the server kept returning by way of the front door, but still don’t know why he couldn’t do anything about it.

We can’t make that item for ya – or anything else either

I walked to the front door and the hostess directed me to the service bar which handled curbside orders. I walked over and inquired. Someone went to check and returned apologetic. They were out of lettuce!!! They said they were waiting to know what I wanted to substitute. And they were going to ask me when?!? And what restaurant runs out of lettuce? Seriously? (only back then we weren’t saying “Seriously” so I probably said, “Really?”).

I asked about 3 other items – nope, nada, don’t have the items to make it. Finally I settled for something I hoped the staff would like and they went back into the kitchen after some more mumblings of apologies.

I didn’t trust them anymore

I decided to wait at the bar since it was hot outside, not to mention I also now had a trust issue emerging. Boy, good thing Twitter was still 2 years away… what a stream of bad customer service tweets were waiting here.

I’m still sitting there waiting… I was the only customer in the area, so I became privy to some staff chatter I probably wasn’t supposed to hear:

Why aren’t you using the curb door to come back in?

It’s locked.

Well, go get the key! 

Steve has it.

Well where’s Steve?

Nobody’s seen him for the last 20 minutes.

Ba-dum-tss….

If there had been Twitter, my feed would have been smoking! You couldn’t have scripted this better.

Then, finally, my order came out. Whew! But I was running out of time and still had to go to the “gourmet” coffee shop in the food court…

Again, what was I thinking?

So I get to the coffee place in the food court. They were still open for a few hours, so I should have no trouble here.  hahahahahahahahahaha :D

We only have regular?

I ordered a few flavored coffees. The young lady said, “We’re out of the flavored coffees, we just have regular.” I stepped back to look at the sign to make sure I was actually standing at the “Coffee bar.” Yup.  I was at the right place – at least according to the sign…

I asked her when some flavored coffee might be ready.

She said they weren’t going to make anymore.

I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt by asking if she were closing early or some such story that would make some kind of sense of her statement. She said no, that they just only make so much flavored coffee per day and so she wasn’t going to make anymore.

Wait, there’s more.

No stir sticks?

I was running out of time, so I just gave up and ordered regular coffee all around. Then I asked for cream and sugar. She wanted a specific number of creams and sugars before she would give me any.

And lastly – she was out of spoons and stir sticks! Unbelievably, I had to walk down to each of the next 3 food court stores before I could find spoons. The first one actually had some, but told me I couldn’t have any of his because I didn’t buy anything from him.

I was beginning to feel like this was some kind of customer service Twilight Zone and that surely I would wake up soon! First the food fiasco and now the food court and coffee stand fail.

Nope. It was real.

As I was walking out with my coffee and spoons, I spotted a familiar face at the courtesy desk and recounted my horrors of customer service. We agreed the hiring pool was just too dry. We wrapped up our conversation on the trials of hiring in an arena of folks that thought getting a Wal-Mart was their route to becoming akin to a big city.

Then, up walks an unshaven young guy in overalls and flip-flops asking for an application for a job. The courtesy desk host asked for which store was he applying? He said he didn’t know – what stores did they have? We all laughed and told him to turn around as he was in the middle of over 40 different stores in the food court alone.

He shrugged, we wanted to laugh.

I walked back to my store to share our regular coffee and non-lettuce bearing adjusted menu items… and went to work on our inventory.

So, corporate, listen up. What happens on the floor is what determines your ROI in marketing. You can spend all you want on marketing, but if operations aren’t up to par, your money is wasted.