This week I will be sharing some case studies with you about the victories and defeats of social media management. It’s a wild world out there and knowing how to work with someone on social media is important. But, first an overview.
Many entrepreneurs seek the help of a social media manager to do their marketing for them. It’s usually someone referred to them, someone they may know from networking, or perhaps they just did a Google search for someone who has reasonable prices. As we all know, few small businesses can afford a major marketing and PR firm to handle everything. So, finding another entrepreneur who specializes in knowing the ins and outs of all that online stuff is valuable and usually way less expensive.
It’s a new world out there for baby boomers who are jumping on the social media bandwagon. Email and a website don’t cut it anymore. Having a presence online where your customers hangout is a necessity. Thus, the need to outsource this all important job to a professional. But, what sounds really great in the beginning of a working relationship with a social media manager, can quickly fall apart if the expectations of the entrepreneur are not realistic, or, if the said entrepreneur does not have a good understanding of what it takes to build a community online.
Some of the things you have to know are the following (because a good social media manager will ask):
- Who is your ideal client?
- Who is your Target Market?
- What pain or problem do you solve for your customers?
- What sets you apart from your competitors?
- What expert advise can you deliver to your customers?
- How can you educate your clients without being a pushy salesperson?
- What is your communication style?
- Will you be able to make a video about your company/product/service?
For your consideration: Have you ever considered outsourcing part or all of your social media marketing? What do you think would be the benefits or drawbacks?
09 Jun 2013
After a week of social media disappointments, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my favorite applications and tricks I use to make social media marketing simple and fun. Why focus on my Tweetchat that was a disaster or my Google Plus Community that I shut down due to lack of participation? No point in that, really, is there? So enjoy my list of cool stuff that keeps me going every day.
1)Bitstrips on Facebook – totally silly and goofy and can be a time sucker, but worth it. Create a cartoon of yourself and your friends in about three minutes. I use Bitstrips on my personal page and they are a blast. Check it out and create your own avatar.
2) Picmonkey – absolutely the easiest and quickest way to edit photos, add text, crazy backgrounds and more. Free and really intuitive.
3) TimelineCoverBanner.com - Need to change your cover banner on Facebook for your personal page or business page? This site makes it easy and fun. You can upload background images of your own, use one of theirs or do a collage. Add text and go crazy! Lots of choices and it’s real quick.
4) TimelineImageTool.com – make some great images for the application buttons on your Facebook business page. This site is free and provides images or shrinks your images to the perfect size. The nice thing is you can create a theme with color and make it consistent to your branding. Easy peasy.
5) Jing by Techsmith - I frequently make videos for my Social Networking Made Easy membership group and Techsmith allows me to record a video of five minutes or less and upload it directly to a post or email. Really comes in handy when I have something to show the group. Most folks are visual learners and this quick way of recording an instructional video adds value to what I do.
6) Sidekick – Yes, I schedule posts for myself and my clients and Sidekick makes it so easy, I have to mention it here. Yes, there are lots of scheduling platforms, but I like that this application because it even has pre-written posts that I can customize when I am having a brain fart. I can manage dozens of accounts from one platform, schedule in advance randomly or at a specific time. Give it a test run – so worth it.
7) Pixlr.com – If you are like me and do not use Photoshop, Pixlr is for you. I use it to size images, layer content, change colors and do everything I could do in Photoshop, but it’s super easy. The learning curve was about five minutes for me and trust me when I say, I am not a techie – at all.
Those are my top seven. I’m always open to new and easy things to use in my business. Do you have a favorite platform that helps you streamline your time without using too much brain power (after all, social media really needs to be easy, right?) Share it here and try some of the ones I mention above.
13 May 2013
A prospective client said to me last week, “I will pay your fee for social media management services on commission. You do all my posting and I will pay you a percentage of every sale I make from your efforts, deal?” Well, that takes chutzpah, I thought to myself. I actually tossed around his unusual offer for about four days before I said “no.” First, he wined and dined me and my husband. And told me what a terrific team we would make. Every time he closed a home loan, I’d get a nice chunk of change. However, the only loans he would count are the ones that resulted directly from my efforts on social media. Current customers and repeat customers were off limits. Referrals from networking groups also were not in the mix.
I explained to him that social media marketing, when done correctly, is part of the overall marketing plan. Even referrals frequently check out the business profile of a service provider. Quite often, the professional presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus and other social media sites seals the deal. I did not see how he could differentiate which clients came from my work creating an engaging, educational, informative platform and who called him based on other avenues. Especially since he pulled all of his direct mail and email campaigns.
When I explained this to him, he insisted I was being short-sighted. I took to Facebook to ask my social media counterparts and business associates to get their opinions. One person out of about two dozen said they might do it. The rest were emphatic that this guy was crazy and I should walk away. I did end up walking away, rather surprised that someone in this day and age would truly think this was a good deal.
A couple of interesting facts to add. I see this man every week at one of my networking meetings. I met him nine months ago at a different meeting and his last words to me were, “Call me, we can make a ton of money together.” I did call and email several times with no response. The first time he talked to me (after the nine months of ignoring me) was two weeks ago. While we were in the negotiation phase, he gave me a stunning testimonial, before even hiring me. To this day, he has not responded to me.
What would you do? What are our thoughts of payment by commission only?
28 Apr 2013
Sunday night and time to write the blog. Like everyone else, I sometimes have a major brain block. What do I write about? What has happened in the last week that people would be interested in knowing about social media? Well, I am sure lots is happening, but I don’t want to write about that.
As a coach and consultant, I tell my clients all the time – you are your brand. People want to know about you. Not the deep dark secrets – although I am sure some voyeuristic person would love to know all that stuff – but the things that make a difference to you personally. What are your values, what makes you tick, who is the real person behind the posts and videos and blog?
I’d like to share that this past week for me can be described in one word – empowering. I am treading into deep waters because I decided to makeover my website. And since one’s website is the social media funnel that all great information should be directed, I want a new, spiffy-looking site. Only this time, I decided not to hire a web designer. I am going to do it myself. Like I really have time to do a website – I don’t, but I have definite ideas of how I want it laid out, a new product suite and programs, and I am not going to pay a fortune to work with a web designer.
Enter The Online Empowerment Formula, led by entrepreneurs Marisa Goudy and Corinna Rake. Their program is a series of six coaching sessions and lots of work in between. But it’s good work – it has forced me to think deeply about my brand, my mission, my business and what I want to convey to others via my website, the hub of my business. Marisa and Corinna are a great team. I met them on Twitter – more proof that social media works!
Back to the website – it’s been challenging and sometimes frustrating because I am not a programmer or particularly technologically gifted. I have to work hard to learn left-brain stuff. I am way more creative than techy. Regardless, I committed to conquering my limiting belief about coding and have diligently dug in and embraced the work I need to do to have my finished product up and running.
What has resulted is a deep sense of pride and total ownership of my website. Not to mention, I am learning valuable new skills that will help me help my clients who often ask me questions about the back end of a Word Press site. I have been totally focused on accomplishing this task and will celebrate by having an extra glass of wine the day it is done! And that day is coming very, very soon.
What one word describes your week? What challenging project have you taken on recently that made you beam with pride? Would love to know, so please share.
21 Apr 2013
Never one to want to waste time, I attended a 3 hour mastermind group this past week (not a day-long) on the subject of saving time and money, which, in my opinion, are pretty much the same thing these days. I was taking notes and decided this is fodder for a great blog. So, read on and see if any of these tips are realistic for your social media marketing efforts.
1) Set a timer! And not your phone or computer. Go out and buy a kitchen timer and set it for 35-45 minutes once or twice a day. Set it and get to work on your social media marketing, not visiting friends on Facebook or looking at Pinterest boards. It works, really it does.
2) If you can accomplish a task in 15 minutes, do it. For example, if it will take you fifteen minutes to create a new link for a webinar, make a phone call to arrange an appointment with a prospective client, or read a blog you have been trying to get to all morning – just commit the time and go for it!
3) Before you go to bed, list six things you want to do the next day. Bullet points. Make them realistic and doable – there is no use making a list of things you have absolutely no intention of doing. See how many you can get done the next day and before you go to bed again, cross off what you accomplished and add more to equal six. This keeps your list manageable and is not overwhelming.
4) Calendar “me” time. Running, taking a yoga class, meditating, getting a massage or a manicure. Write it in your calendar and keep the appointment with yourself. Take your needs seriously because they are. Don’t cancel it – taking care of you is even more important sometimes than getting work done. If you are not feeling relaxed and in the right place, you will not be productive.
5) Set your boundaries. In addition to the 35-45 minutes once or twice a day online, decide when it’s time to stop answering the phone. Do you need until 9:00 a.m. to get in work mode? Then set that rule for yourself and don’t be tempted to break it. If you honor your time, others will. The key here is to stick to your guns or, before you know it, you may be working ten hour days every day. And that is not healthy.
6) Turn off your email notifications for a chunk of the day. Nothing is more distracting than writing a blog, or working on an important Power Point presentation and seeing that preview of an email popping into your inbox. In this case, what you don’t know, can’t hurt you! Turn them off and focus on that project that will take less time to accomplish with NO temptations to click off the screen. Email can wait.
7) Consider hiring a Virtual Assistant. Check out Odesk or Elance. Turn over repetitive, non money-making duties to someone else. Your time is valuable and for as little as $3.00 an hour you can relieve yourself of mundane tasks. (My VA is from the Philipines and is excellent at scheduling social media posts for me and my clients).
What tip do you think you could use in your business that would save you the most time? Do you have any to add to the list?
Decrease overwhelm. Raise your hand if you want to do this, because I do. Here’s the conundrum of being a social media manager – not only do you come up with content and interesting, consistent marketing tips for your clients – after all you are being paid – but you have to continue to publish great stuff about yourself at the same time. And remember, there are only 24 hours in a day.
So, I have come up with some great coping mechanisms and systems that help me stay on track and thought I would share them in the event you feel overwhelmed with social media.
1) GetPocket.com – you know all those blogs and articles you want to read but have no time? This application lets you store them in one file in your browser to read at a later date. No need to bookmark – just “pocket” them. Love it!
2) Exercise – at least 45 minutes a day. And I mean breaking a sweat and really getting the heart pumping. I find this stimulates my brain power and helps me stay on track.
3) Sign up for an online class or webinar that teaches you something about your industry. I’ve done that twice in the past month because there is always someone who knows more than me and have learned a ton of new techniques and time saving methods.
4) If you work from home – take a nap if you can. I find a 30 minute snooze is refreshing and re-energizing.
5) Use a scheduler for your posts. There are many on the market. I use Sidekick because I manage several different accounts and do not want to mistakenly cross-post to another client’s account. A huge time-saver.
6) Have a glass of wine when it’s 6:00 p.m. Enough said about that.
On a serious note, as an entrepreneur with no support staff except my Virtual Assistant, it is so easy to get overwhelmed to the point of shutting down sometimes. My Virgo work ethic kicks in and before I know it, hours have passed and I have not gotten up from my desk to have lunch or take a break.
Scheduling “me” time into my work week makes me more productive. Lightening up by chatting with my Facebook friends for a few minutes helps. Attending my in-person networking groups twice a week breaks up the monotony of being in my office – and I get some great referrals, too.
What do you when you feel your cup is overflowing and you feel like shutting down? How do you regroup and get back on track? Would love your feedback and stories. Share them here.
07 Apr 2013
Do you ever feel like you are going at top speed in your business and not getting anywhere. You know the old saying, “Going nowhere fast.” It is so easy to do when you own your own business and are working alone, without a large support staff or any staff at all. Making the choice to become an entrepreneur is a risky one, albeit one with great benefits if you have tenacity and gumption. Yes, it takes guts to go it alone. And heart and soul and passion.
But, there are limits to what one person can accomplish and knowing those limits and honoring yourself and your abilities to only do so much is of utmost importance if you are going to succeed. My guest this week on The Social Networking NewsHour was Stephanie Calahan of Calahan Solutions, Inc. She is living proof that going above and beyond one’s limits can have disastrous consequences. You can listen to the entire podcast here.
We discussed the analogy of being like a hamster in a wheel, a big wheel going, going, going all the time but never getting anything accomplished. My takeaways from our show are these:
1) Recognize you have a problem and seek some guidance in the form of a business or life coach.
2) Create marketing systems that save you time and maximize your messaging.
3) Honor your personal needs because they are paramount to being productive.
4) Take a step back and know who your customer is – target the right audience for your product or service or you will be wasting valuable time and energy.
5) After identifying your challenges, accept them and be realistic about what you can accomplish.
6) Find the balance in your life, family, self, and business. Without balance, personal freedom and enjoyment is so difficult to obtain.
Having been that hamster in a big wheel several years ago, I totally related to Stephanie and her personal story. Listen this moving podcast and please share – have you ever been on the brink of feeling you are losing control? What did you do to overcome the situation?
Laurie Hurley is a social media mentor, coach and consultant who helps small business owners deal with overwhelm in regards to their social media marketing. She believes in scheduling your marketing time, just like a networking meeting.
Back in 2007 when I first began my social media journey, I signed up for LinkedIn. And, only because someone sent me an invitation to connect. I had no clue what I was doing. It seemed like a good idea at the time, so I posted a resume-like profile and never went back to visit it – for almost a year. How many of you have done that with social media sites?
Well, we won’t get into slapping hands because I know many people do the exact same thing. Until something happens – like the downturn in the economy in 2008. Or, you get laid off and find yourself having to look for work or, you decide to begin your own business and realize that social media is basically a fabulous free way to advertise so you jump on the bandwagon and dive into places like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest and eventually LinkedIn. In my opinion, LinkedIn gets a bad rap.
Often referred to as the “blue suit” of all the social media sites, many direct sales people ignore the power of LinkedIn. Many entrepreneurs also think they belong on a more exciting site, like the above-mentioned ones. Now, I am far from an expert about LinkedIn, but I do know the power of having 80 million pairs of eyeballs on my profile page. And, every second of every day someone new is joining LinkedIn. Convinced yet that you may need to reconsider giving LinkedIn a serious once-over?
One of the benefits of being the host of my internet radio show, The Social Networking NewsHour, is the opportunity I have to interview experts in the industry. And I did just that this past week when Kristina Jaramillo joined me. Kristina is a powerhouse of information and we already decided she is coming back on the air with me this summer. Not only was she knowledgeable, but she generously shared so much information with my audience that even I was furiously taking notes!
You can listen to the entire podcast here.
Some quick pointers you can implement immediately on LinkedIn:
1. Write your profile in the first person – and tell your story. People want to know about you as a person, not just read a stiff online resume.
2. The headline under your name is not set in stone; change it frequently and use descriptive words.
3. When writing your summary, brag about your achievements, show results, cite case studies.
4. Always post clickable links in your summary. You can link to your free reports, email opt-in lists, telesummits – just about anything to gain more exposure and direct people to the interesting content on your website.
5. Start a LinkedIn Group. But be sure you are involved consistently. This is a great way to attract like-minded people and show your expertise, get to know people in your industry, and attract others who may need your product or service.
Finally, Kristina was generous enough to share a link to a fabulous free report. Pick it up here: Free14LinkedInMistakesReport.com. And if you want to grab some LinkedIn Templates, visit: InstantLinkedInMarketingTemplates.com.
What are your experiences with LinkedIn? Have they been good for your business or do you focus your attention elsewhere? Please share!
Laurie Hurley is a social media mentor, consultant, coach, speaker and radio show host. You can visit and connect with her on LinkedIn.