“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?”

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.

2012: Email Marketing is Dead; Now Email Marketing is King – HUH?

Keep Calm and Keep Emailing

All through 2012, the buzz was “E-Mail Marketing is Dead!”

Now, most articles are about why Email Marketing is Supreme for Small Business!

HUH?

Actually, Email marketing is perfect for small business.

But let’s discuss the why of the mixed messaging and why you, as a small business owner, need to pay attention.

1. Social Media platforms grew exponentially over the last few years.

Soooo, “they” assumed, that because the growth was so rapid, social media platforms would soon replace email and all other traditional forms of marketing and communications.

While that might be true in major metropolitan areas and college campuses, there is still a huge population out there that doesn’t own a SmartPhone or that  only accesses internet through a desktop.

But, email is universal.

Everyone sits down at home and work and checks their email…

Another assumption was that because Social Media platforms are “Free,” that it would be nonsense for anyone to ignore it as a marketing avenue. Again, you can pick up a hammer, but that ain’t gonna make ya a carpenter!

Sure you can create an account for free, but time is money, and it takes time to maintain a social media business page, not to mention at least basic marketing skills. Nothing wrong with that, – all marketing comes with a cost – but that has to be considered.

Then, when it comes to attracting fans, many of those fans are laggers in social media who only use it for sharing funny cat pictures and playing application games. So, getting fans to pursue your page is another form of investment – a good offer to like a page, the giveaway, someone to manage the comments and likes, someone to engage to grow fans… And don’t believe those hucksters claiming to bring you from 0 to 40,000 fans! Fake profiles = fake fans = no rise in insights or revenue.

Now, why was email getting badmouthed:

2. “Free” Email services were springing up all over the place.

Why pay for email service when you can get it for free? Again, because FREE is never really free! You pay a price eventually – think of the hidden cost to you when your email goes to a spam folder and never reaches your intended recipient?

So, if you were judging the effectiveness of free email vs free social media… neither one will bring results so that comparison is probably moot.

They are both an investment in Time and time costs money.

OK, so now what should you invest your time in? Social Media or Email Marketing?

If you are asking this question, it tells me you don’t know your customers or clients. Face it, most of you small business owners have poo-poo-ed SoMe and Email.

Why don’t you let your customers tell you where you should invest your time?

  • Have you noted whether your customer is tapping away on a mobile while they are waiting in line?
  • Have you asked them what platforms they use?
  • Have you invited them to join your email subscriber list?

Stop being an employee of your own business and market your business. How?

  • Find out which Social Media platforms are appropriate for your business and demographic – Start with one and do well, then move on to others.
  • Invest in an email service that fulfills your needs for marketing and has integrated social media tools for efficiency and broader distribution that will attract new subscribers. (want to play around with one for free for 60 days? Click here!
  • And pay Freaking attention to where your customers live online! ASK THEM. SURVEY THEM. TALK TO THEM.

Why SMBs Should Consider a Marketing Consultant

Apparently a lot of people don’t understand consulting services. When many prospects shop for a marketing consultant, they often expect some sort of price and package menu. A prix fixe is a double-edged sword for consultants and prospects.

Why hire a consultant?

You hire a consultant because they customize their services to your needs. They should have specialized experience and know-how of what you require to succeed. Moreover, a consultant is not an employee – no overhead, no insurance, no commitment to keep them, easy to hire and fire, and many more benefits of a non-employee status. You have total control.

However, you as a business owner typically don’t know what you don’t know outside of your areas of expertise, so package pricing is really of little to no use to you. Some work on a sliding scale based on the size of the job, length of time, customized preparation involved, and so on.

Every small business is different in their marketing needs, and every small business is at a different stage and level of marketing. There are thousands of self-help websites, books, tools, and more out there – and many of them free. But, it’s not just knowledge of using the tools you need, but the strategies and applications that fit your particular business that are far more important for implementation.

Food for thought:

The overall impact of a consultant is that clients have access to deeper levels of expertise than would be feasible for them to retain in-house, and may purchase only as much service from the outside consultant as desired.

You have total control. That’s the beauty of hiring a consultant. You need not employ another person to get a specific job done. You can retain a consultant for as long as you like or as an as-needed go-to resource for your business.

It’s a win-win for both client and consultant.

3 Small Business Technology Resolutions for 2013 (pt.2)

In my previous post, I tried to drive home the notion that if you didn’t collaborate in your business in 2012, then you didn’t see growth. And 2013 isn’t going to be any better if you don’t change something.

Labor of Sisyphus
Labor of Sisyphus

I also promised a list of tools to help you make real world productive changes that are also HUGE time savers…

So without further ado…

1.  USE a Shared Calendar:

Having an item posted on a calendar makes it REAL for all involved. It also eliminates the need to send out notices, reminders, make calls, etc.

Google calendar, Microsoft Outlook, and others can create a separate or existing calendar for shared use. You can also configure them to send a notice and reminders to all invitees.

It’s a one time task of entering meetings/events with all accessory tasks automated – notes, additional information, agenda, etc. can be included in details and everyone has all the information instantly accessible in one location without having to print or search the inbox. Even telecommuters, out-of-state hires, … anyone can have access without a separate function to be performed.

2. Save Everyone’s Time via Teleconferencing:

You don’t have to have an on-site meeting every time to be productive (although I would suggest an occasional face to face helps with bonding). Giving your people the freedom to call in to the meeting from the comfort of their home or office is a huge win-win. And this may sound crazy but, record, but do not share the option for your attendees to listen later. If people know they can listen to a recorded version, they will have an excuse not to attend and therefore won’t be participating or providing valuable input. Furthermore, they may never get the time to listen to it later or they will get time sensitive material too late. Have well-planned mandatory monthly meetings with an agenda that include anyone who “touches” a customer.

Options: These are just a few that have both free and priced options:

freeconferencecall.com/

join.me

skype.com

webex.com

3. VIDEO onsite meetings:

Yes, make a video of your meetings. Give a friend or family member a perk to do the job – or hire a college intern or fix a mount or tripod.  If attendees desire, you can conveniently post the video to a DropBox or SugarSync shared account for all who attend these meetings (too large a file to email). All can use it to self-critique performance, review feedback, and monitor success.

Keep your meetings short – 30-45 minutes max – and stick to that time frame for every meeting. You’ll have better attendance and better attention. (Videos will help you see why meetings run amuck!)

Options:

For file sharing – yes, Virginia, this is the cloud…:

dropbox.com

sugarsync.com

For Video:

Your SmartPhone

Countless new inexpensive palm-size video devices (that can be placed on a tripod).

YouTube Capture

Vimeo

YouTube Channel

OBVIOUSLY, there are many other options out there and many more to come. But those above and many like them have the benefit of being accessible with most any device you (and anyone else) may already own – and often free!

Now go hit some of these links and make 2013 better!

How to avoid email overload – reblog

I ran across this post on Twitter and felt compelled to share it with you. I, too, am inundated with emails and am frustrated with the amount of time they consume. The tips in this article are spot on for managing your emails and your day!

Enjoy!

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