3 Reasons Facebook is for Playground Friends and Google Plus is for Grownups

I know, I know, the title is a bit of an insult … bear with me.

As I migrate to Google+, and as I learn that my Facebook friends don’t care to follow suit, I am beginning to understand why.

  1. Facebook has been in use for 10 years, Google+ for 3 years. Facebook has a huge learning curve lead over G+. This is a world of busy people and the saturation point of learning yet another app or program is nigh. Ergo, popular reluctance to venture into Google Plus, i.e., “Please don’t give me any more homework!”
  2. Google+ requires a Google Account. Although most Facebook users may have acquired a Gmail account and address, they may rarely use it. The majority of my own contact list reveals most of my contacts use company email addresses since many log on during their workday. Therefore, the less contact one has with their Google account in general, the less likely one may be to even notice Google Plus. Facebook users may also assume all their social needs are met on Facebook.
  3. Perhaps the strongest point relates to whether or not one is actively participating in social media for business. If one uses social media exclusively for personal use, there is little interest for another platform. Despite the fact that social media users deserve a better User Experience (UX) than Facebook (such as IS provided on Google Plus), most users commonly prefer a bird in the hand rather than two in the bush. But, SMB owners who ARE active on Social Media for their small businesses are far more likely to seek the superior benefits of Google+; especially for the SEO benefits to their search rankings.

But, alas, many SMB owners are often laggards in social media. And if they do participate, it is mostly via hire. Google Plus asks for genuine content from source. Fluff is not effective. Google Pus provides a superior platform for sincere engagement. Facebook falls shy.

Ergo, the analogy – Friends vs Grownups

Business Users desiring a respectful ROI from a social media platform search for maturity in a platform (both personally and professionally). Business growth does not occur randomly.

  • Facebook is a growing disappointment for brand awareness potential.
  • Facebook is exponentially squashing organic business post visibility.
  • Facebook users generally prefer comic relief from their stressful days, i.e., silly pet pictures and funny videos. (“Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”*)

As a result, a business owner now thinks twice about investing valuable ad dollars for increased visibility on a platform (Facebook) which primarily attracts fans seeking pedestrian relief rather than thoughtful content.

Google Plus, on the other hand, has historically attracted those who seek more from their social media platform. Hobbyists, business owners, IT “geeks,” sports enthusiasts, amateur philosophers, science fans, photographers (G+ has amazing image quality), and more.

This means, a Google Plus audience seeks useful and thought-provoking content, or, valuable information that enhances interests and activities. One does not have to be cute or funny to get attention from G+ users. G+ users are actually embarrassed to comment with only a “great post” comment. On Google Plus, complete sentences and finished thoughts are the rule. Sure, G+ users love humor, too, but it is not required as it often is on Facebook. Google Plus has no character limit and images will show exactly as intended.

So what does this mean for the SMB owner who is considering G+ for business?

Users visit their G+ account less frequently than Facebook users because Google Plus content is more about quality, not quantity. You aren’t expected to post daily or multiple times daily as on Facebook. No one forgets you if you only post once a week or once a month. Scarcity is acceptable – as long as your posts are worth a user’s time. This means if you can keep the topic on interest on Google Plus, there is no need to entertain. Lack of frequency will not discount impact.

So, what is the future of social media platforms?

Personally, I believe Facebook is sounding its own death knell through its recent “Monkey See, Monkey Do” approach for monetization. They are more worried about their stockholders than their users (and in a bass-ackwards way). Google+ will surely surpass expectations as its growth is currently exponential. People tire of sameness and don’t appreciate Facebook’s disregard for personal and business UX.

How else is Monkey See Monkey Do Screwing up Facebook?

  • They see Twitter as a popular go-to news source, so decide to add top news stories in feeds.
  • They see the attractiveness of Google+ YouTube videos auto-play, so they are promoting a “post your video straight to Facebook” campaign.
  • They see the growth of Instant Video and Messaging and create Facebook Messenger. And, of course, Messenger will soon have its own avenues for monetization.

Messenger is a lame attempt at best (imho) to duplicate the many uses of G+ Hangouts and HOAs (G+ hangouts on air) as Android use becomes more dominant. Facebook should have stuck to promoting Instagram.

The familiarity and convenience factor for which users hang on to Facebook is being slowly diluted by Facebook itself.

Stupid.

Yes, Facebook, alienate your brand and personal users by screwing with everything users like about Facebook because you have lost sight of your mission and are scrambling for profits. A shortsighted method for continued success to be sure.

If you are already on Google Plus, we invite you to join Small Business Smart Marketing Talk Google Community.

*Seinfeld: “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” http://youtu.be/Oj3VphK9AMk

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.

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?

Shopping Small is Shopping Wise for Busy Entrepreneurs

Shopping Small is Shopping Wise for Busy Entrepreneurs

Are you guilty of lost time picking through discount racks to NOT find what you need?

It is a far more enjoyable shopping experience to “Shop Small.” Since Entrepreneurs are always short on time, small business shops and services can be a huge time saver once you establish a relationship with the staff. And since you entrepreneurs are always watching every dime,  shopping small keeps you out of hot water when you need your needs met. For example, your small business will educate you on extending the life of your purchases, and proper use. In addition, with your sales history, they can make suggestions for wiser future purchases to supplement what you already own.

You will get additional value if you ASK your small business:

  • Do you keep my purchases on file?
  • Will I be notified of sales or specials?
  • Will you let me know if something I expressed an interest in goes on sale or is running out?
  • Can I work with the same salesperson each time if I find a good match for me?
  • Do you have a loyalty program?
  • Is there a maintenance alert program (for home and office machines, appliances, landscapers, etc) perhaps via email or texting?

ASK, ASK, ASK! You’d be surprised what they might offer for your customer service experience if you only ask.

I know our clients are very happy when we notice items of concern or mistakes FOR them before a consumer does. And by the same token, we are very happy to have small businesses who help US with their specific goods or services so we can keep our minds focused on our clients.

Generally, small business owners LOVE what they do. Give them a chance to treat you special and you’ll save a lot of time and money – and stress!

:) Take 5 minutes to post a good review on social media or review sites (like Yelp or Google Places for Business) for the small businesses who make your daily life easier! They work hard to keep you coming back.

No One Ever Said Learning Social Media Was Intuitive

Maybe I don't engage enough on Facebook, but when I do, everyone should know about it.

Here is yet another conversation with my husband over how-to-use his Facebook business page…!

Note: I’m the spouse here . . . so, of course, what do I know!? But, believe me, I can and do coach clients very successfully on these same issues – Really! :)

Hubby: Why can’t I get my blog post to show up on my business page? I clicked SHARE!

Me: You clicked on the share link at the bottom of the post again, didn’t you?

Hubby: Well, YEEEAH. I wanted to SHARE my post.

Me: Try to think like your blog followers… They read your post, get to the bottom and want to share, so conveniently the share button FOR THEM is at the bottom of the post so they can share your post to their page.

Hubby: But, I AM SHARING.

Me: No, you want to post an update. It’s different.

Hubby: Facebook is B—S—! There’s nothing intuitive about it!

Me: I never said there was.

Hubby: (clicking over to home page) Why is the post I shared from George Takei showing up twice in the feed?

Me: Because you follow George Takei. That is the post you shared to your page, so you see his post and your post.

Hubby: But I don’t want my followers to think I’m an idiot with this showing up twice on my page.

Me: Your follower feeds differ from yours. They see the posts of those pages they follow. Let’s go over the difference between “Home” and your “Timeline.” AGAIN!

Hubby: (clicking back to his business page timeline) It’s only on this page once. What happened to the other one?

Me: (deep SIGH – remember this is my spouse I am helping)

Hubby: So I’m on my home page.

Me: No, this is your timeline. Click “Home” to go to your home page.

Hubby: (he clicks home) This is my news feed.

Me: Technically, yes, but Facebook changed the name to HOME a long while back. Think of it as your “Home Dashboard.”

Hubby: Dashboard? But that’s not where I post my stuff!

Me: You actually can post on either page. “HOME” is where you should be living when you visit Facebook.

Hubby: I don’t care about all that stuff. I just want to make sure my followers are seeing my stuff.

Me: So much for the “SOCIAL” aspect of social media . . .

Hubby: (he gives me “the look”)

Me: Let’s go back to the cocktail party analogy. Do you want to be the person everyone is running away from or the one with whom they like to ENGAGE? ENGAGEMENT is social. ENGAGEMENT is how people will notice you – not so much your posts! Yes, you need to post your updates, too, but ENGAGEMENT is SOCIAL. It’s how people get to know you. Then they can go visit your page and learn more.

Hubby: All I want to know is how to make sure that what I post shows up right!

Me: I think I’ll go find a cocktail party.

Note: I do give him credit for actually trying to learn – FINALLY :-)

Productivity Tips: How Do You Get Busy Doing Nothing?

I'm busy doing nothing
everydaypeoplecartoons.com

LinkedIn just sent me an email with this subject line:

“Hania, see 60+ productivity tips from LinkedIn Influencers”

First thought I had: If I stop and read these 60+ ways, productivity will not be a stongpoint today…

That said, of course they had my attention a little, so, I had to sample one or two. I won’t mention names, but one of the Productivity EXPERTS suggested we spend much more time in good old-fashioned conversation because talking generates ideas. I’m betting the good old-fashioned conversation is a way to escape confessing: “I’m a lousy typist and not too tech savvy and can’t keep up online.” For the rest of us – don’t you talk more with people via various social media platforms and IM tools then ever before?

Another productivity EXPERT to remain nameless (lest I get sued for embarrassing s/he), suggested you should work while others sleep. Getting up at 4 am was the miracle cure given for lack of productivity.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! (I’m obviously NOT a morning person)

Oh, wait, they were serious?

Yes, they admit you are zonked by 8 pm, but the point in the article is that work is less productive in the evening anyway, so might as well relax a little, then go to bed.

Guess dinner and a movie is never an option.

There seem to be a rash of articles and posts on “what the successful people do in the morning,” and other such content fillers. Here’s my TIP: Stop reading these! You’ll be more productive.

Or – you could always watch some TED talks on YouTube. . .

;-)