Are You Doing Social Wrong?

No matter where you look online, there are experts that are saying that, if you want to win online, you must win in social.  And the truth of it all is that they are right.  You must win at social if you want to win online.  More and more content is being digested there.  More and more people are using social as the only source of information.  Unfortunately, many of you are doing social very wrong, and risk losing what foothold you have.

How you’re doing social wrong.

The single biggest thing that most of you can’t seem to figure out is that social is, well, social.  Mostly, those of you that are playing the game as if it were traditional marketing.  It’s not. Social WrongThis isn’t newspaper, or television, or even radio.  You don’t get to just develop your marketing plan, and push your marketing out and wait for the customers to roll in.  It won’t happen.  Not only will it not work for you, but it’s very likely to convince many of the users to disengage from you altogether.

Too many of you are performing the equivalent of hit-and-run social media.  You sign in long enough to drop your promotional tweet, facebook post, or other self-serving post, then running off to go about your business.  And yet, you can’t seem to garner any real growth or conversation.

Maybe you have even gone beyond that and are trying to return some value to your customers by posting coupons and giveaways.  I’m sure that your level of interaction really jumps when you do that too.  But, if it’s dropping back down to normal levels on your other posts, you’re still doing it wrong.

How you can start doing social right.

For the love of all that is digital, start being social on social.  If you really want results, you must start the conversation.  Interact with the people you would have as consumers.  They aren’t just wallets walking around, but actual humans with human thoughts and emotions.  And, for the most part, humans are social beings.

If you’ve ever been to a large social event, you’ll have noticed that the people at the event usually fall into immediate groups.  Maybe it’s the person they met right away in the hotel lobby, or someone they know from another event.  What you won’t notice are people just walking up and introducing themselves to each other.  Sure, there’ll be one or two people that do this, but for the most part, they’ll be sitting in their small groups, or alone at their tables, not really interacting with anyone at all.

If you want to grow your network at an event like this, those are the low hanging fruit.  You can walk right over to the table, introduce yourself and ask if you can sit down.  It’s not so much different on social.  The majority of the people are not going to “walk” up to your social account and interact on a regular basis.  Instead, they’ll wait until they have a problem with your product or service and you’ll know when they start blasting you.

Truly taking advantage of social means being proactive, and reaching out to customers.  Not when they have a problem with your company (although that’s also important), but when they don’t have a problem.  When they’re the ones sitting alone at a table in social, maybe they’ve mentioned your company or a product that’s similar to yours, introduce yourself, and start a conversation.

Which doesn’t mean you immediately start blasting them with promotional talk.  An actual conversation.

Consider; You have two people who want to sell you something.  One of them is a friend, and the other is not.  Which of them is more likely to get your business?  The friend.  Why?  Because you have an existing relationship with the friend.  To some degree, you trust the friend to not sell you up the creek and to treat you right in the transaction.

I doubt that you’ll ever reach the point where a social customer is going to consider you a true friend.  But, you can build relationships that will build trust in your company and your brand that give the customer the same trust.  If that relationship exists and the customer truly can believe that you aren’t going to disappear as soon as the sale is made, you’ll earn a lot more business through social.

Building those relationships doesn’t have to take all of your time.  Unless you’re rolling out a social team for a major corporation, you maybe don’t even need a full-time employee to manage the accounts.  With the right tools, you can set up alerts to notify your social media manager of mentions of your brand, mentions of similar products, and even certain activities.  When those alerts roll in, it can mean a quick 5-10 minute run through to respond, to open up the conversation, or answer the questions.

With the right social media strategy, you can be building up relationships with customers by reaching out and having real interactions with them.  Those interactions will grow the number of people listening and can help you grow the loyalty of your customer base.  It’s only a part of the overall business equation, but as more and more people migrate to the social platforms, it’s becoming an ever increasingly important part of an overall business marketing plan.

What are you doing right on social?

Entreleadership


Entreleadership

By: Dave Ramsey

I’ve made no effort in hiding the fact that I’m a fan of Dave Ramsey.  His book “Total Money Makeover” made a huge difference in the way that I handle my personal finances.  So, when I heard that he was coming out with a book on leadership, I added it to my wish list.  I’ve finally gotten far enough along in my reading to have made it through the book and was really impressed.

Dave has been running his company for something slightly longer than 20 years.  In Entreleadership, he give us the rundown on how he runs the company. It’s far from your typical book on leadership in that he isn’t talking about theory, but actual practice.  He covers pretty much everything about running a company, and not just one that is a multi-million dollar company like his, but has several bits that look at the topic from a start-up perspective too.

As is typical with Dave’s writing, it’s easy to read, and easy to understand.  I’m sure he’s got plenty of editors to keep the typos and grammatical errors to a minimum, so that’s not really a problem either.

One of the things that bothers me about books like this one is that many of the practices are a hard sell for companies.  Too few companies buy into the culture movement and are only in it for the profits.  I hope that many leaders start seeing that light though.  Dave’s book should go a long way towards that.

I’ve seldom read a book that covers such a broad spectrum of the business leadership world.  Even when I do find one that encompasses as much, it’s pretty rare to find one that gives examples and lays out a strategy for employing the practices in your own company.  Dave does both in Entreleadership.  I found chapters on time management, hiring, firing, asset management, expanding, salary, and overall compensation.

If you’re a leader of your company or aspire to be, I think Entreleadership is a must read.  It’s one that will be staying in my library for quite some time and is pretty likely to get a re-read or two.

 

5 Money-Management Tips for Entrepreneurs

How to stay above water while your business is growing

Being an entrepreneur means being excited about the prospects of new ideas, products, and businesses. Entrepreneurs spend a lot of time finding and securing funding for new ventures, and then dive right into infrastructure, marketing and selling; but too often, good money management practices are neglected or outright forgotten. Many a failed venture need only look back on cash flow issues that were evident from the onset of operations. Here are some ideas to make sure you are properly managing your money.

1.Have a grown-up in charge of your budget

If you’ve been in the game for a while, you know the importance of having a solid business plan, and you know how much weight rests on the financial planning portions of that plan. Before they start their business, most people have a general idea of what your finances will be, but you might not realize all of the expenses that you or your business will need to stay afloat. Brand-new startups should have weekly budget assessments, that can gradually stretch into monthly and quarterly meetings—but if you know that you’re not detail-oriented enough to make it happen, find someone who is. There must be at least one person in your organization whose primary focus is asking “Where’s the money coming from?”

2. Size matters

You’re not an entrepreneur because you think small; but not every startup company will be bought up in the first year by a giant software company, so you might not be a multi-millionaire as soon as you anticipated. Be smart, and use your company’s small size to your advantage. A small company is better able to adapt to shifting market trends, and if you’ve got your ear to the tracks you’ll be able to see those changes coming, and plan quickly to take advantage. Growing large quickly simply to get noticed won’t benefit you, your investors, or your clients. Keep operations tight and efficient and in time everyone will be thanking you for your smart business planning.

3. Accountable accounting

One of the biggest mistakes small businesses can make is outsourcing too much, too quickly. Some things are better kept in-house, and accounting is one of them. Even if funds are tight, and you can only hire an accountant part time or on a contract basis, do this instead of farming that service to an outside company. Having someone that is intimately aware of your business, who you can talk to any time you need to, will be invaluable. Utilize free money management services and applications from Mint, Google, your bank and others to keep you on top of your finances.

4. Tech Savvy

Being tech-savvy can not only help you save money in operation expenses, but keep you aware of your money-management issues as well. Small businesses can easily operate with small and efficient computer, network, and other telecommunication solutions. The more educated you are on the availability of money management tools, online financial services, and free or low-cost communication devices and plans, the more you can do yourselves, and the better you’ll be positioned to keep a positive cash flow.

5. Money-minded

While you should be devoted to creating the best product, service, or model possible for your business you should always have your finances in the back of your mind guiding every decision you make. A great way to make sure you’re making your decisions on accurate numbers is by loading up your smart phone or tablet with some free financial apps that can be linked to your credit cards and bank accounts. Use them to stay on top of bills and to coordinate with your accountant in your weekly planning meetings.

Aimee Watts is a staff writer for Mobile Moo. She has spent ten years telecommuting full-time, and loves spreading tips and advice for fellow work-at-home parents. She loves gadgets, new ideas, and skiing with her two favorite people: her husband and teenage son. They live in Evergreen, Colorado.

Taking Your Small Business to the Next Level

If you’re a small business owner, one of the biggest challenges you face is getting the business past the tipping point; that point where you are doing everything yourself, and you begin to use the services of employees and other small businesses to complete some of the tasks.  If you’re at that point in you business, I congratulate you.  But, I don’t have to tell you about the challenges that you now face.

If you’ve been doing most of the business tasks yourself, it can sometimes be hard to let go of the level of control that you have, and hand some of it over to employees and services.  Finding quality employees can sometimes be difficult.  and, once you have employees, there are a whole number of things that you have to take care of, that you didn’t before.  Obviously, employees will want to be paid.  But, it’s not as simple as just calculating their paychecks and writing a check to them.  You’ve got to worry about all the payroll taxes like medicare, social security, unemployment, and tax withholding as well.

Maybe you already have employees, and have been doing a lot of those things already.  But, maybe those tasks are taking up too much of your time.  While you may consider having a local firm perform you payroll tasks, there are also a myriad of online payroll services that can manage the tasks as well.  In many cases, it can be as simple as forwarding the payroll information on to the local firm, or the online service, and letting them cut the checks and calculate all of the payroll taxes and paperwork.

As your business grows, learning to delegate the tasks to employees and services so that you can dedicate yourself to continuing to grow the business.  Finding the tasks that you need to delegate can sometimes be just as challenging.  Some tasks within your business don’t require your full attention to detail, and can easily be done by employees and services.  Perhaps you run a sales oriented business.  The more sales you do, the less likely you are going to be able to continue to do all of the sales and will need employees to perform some of the sales calls.

Delegating tasks within your company can free your time to focus on growing the business you built.