The Social Media hype.

Is the Social Media phenomenon all hype and verbose, or are there real tangible  benefits for business?

Social Media (SM) has become the in thing on the net, especially in the United States (US) market. and as with most things the Americans hype to the point of nausea the benefits and use SM has for business and the common man.

BUT, and there  is a but, SM is a growing trend here in NZ too and it has some significant benefits to business. Put in plain simple understated Kiwi terms, it’s a good’n mate!

Social Media provides ‘the opportunity’ for NZ Businesses to network (connect) with many (millions) of other business people around the world. Now you may not want to connect to millions of people around the world, but as stated, it ‘provides the opportunity’.

Even a small backwater Kiwi business may only want to connect to their local market and surrounding towns. SM gives that business the opportunity to connect quickly to more people faster. It provides free (other than time input) marketing opportunities to many more people than you would be able to connect to using traditional methods.

Don’t get caught up in the hype, use it to your advantage. Make sure you have your own online presence such as your website, for any links from the SM websites to go back to. Choose the best SM site that you are likely to get most benefit from. Don’t feel you have to be on all and keep all going simultaneously.

If you need help, try to get hold of a ‘GOOD’ SM consultant that can help you set up your online profile. There will be plenty of so-called experts, just be sure to get someone who has the facts and is not pushing any one particular stream of online presence.

And least of all don’t be scared, it’s not that scary, but don’t be late either, you could miss the bus!

 

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Stupid is as stupid does.

A lot of noise is being made currently about the security of private information on social networking sites and on-line in general. Well all I can say is ‘stupid is as stupid does’!

If youre stupid enough to put a lot or all of your personal information on the web for all to see, then HELLO STUPID! It’s tantamount to leaving your doors and windows open in your car with the keys in the ignition and wondering why your car got stolen??

You may well put a lot of your business details on-line, primarily as you want your customers to feel comfortable that you an open business, also where you have a bricks and mortar establishment, you want people to come to your shop and do business with you.  Be sure to keep your online information relevant to your business, don’t give out unnecessary information. Also try to keep your personal profile separate from your business one. Never give out financial or personal details, don’t tell people your address and that you will be on holiday for 3 weeks? If you work from home, say as an advisor or consultant, if you’re not comfortable to have your address on-line, then it’s probably best to get your customers to call and make appointments.  If you want to have your details on-line as you want customers to come and see you, be sure you have sufficient security on your property, put signs to say that you have a monitored alarm (even if you don’t).

One thing we as a society have done of late is contract out our own accountability and responsibilities. From the over reaction to health & safety in the work place, our own personal security and health, people seem to think, someone else will take on that responsibility, your employer, your insurance company, the government (nanny state). Well wake up folks, you are all responsible for your own destiny. If your stupid enough to ignore this fact then, stupid is as stupid does!

 

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This little piggy went to market!

Marketing for small business, especially consulting or service businesses, is hard. You can waste a lot of time and money on differing approaches and still not get any results. Whatever you do, take the time to try to figure out the best avenue for you to use. I just wasted $800 on print media advertising, when I would have been better off putting that money into sign-writing my car. What gets better coverage than a mobile billboard?

Just spend a little time investigating different options, before you through away money on a no guarantee hyped up possibility.

And of course the best option is always word of mouth.

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Talk to me!

“the problem with communication, is the illusion that it has taken place” George Bernard Shaw.

Is communication actually working in your business? Do your employees actually understand what you are saying? Do they actually communicate with you or to you? Do you communicate with them or to them?

Lack of understanding of the communication, no matter what form it takes, is highly detrimental to your business productivity and growth. If you have trouble getting commitment from your staff, have the same conversation over and over again with no results, wasted meetings and your constantly having to manage problems within your business, then the communication is not working.

A few things you need to do :-

Strategy – Have a communication strategy, some set ways you want your business to communicate internally and externally.

Conventions – have some agreed conventions for communication, whether it be verbal or written. Sometimes you need to train your staff on these conventions. Such as EMAILING IN CAPITAL LETTERS IS A ‘NO NO’ AS IT IMPLIES YELLING!

Feedback – make sure all communication is two-way, allow people to feedback if they wish and encourage constructive feedback all the time.

Ensure you and your staff actually communicate; you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make to your business.

 

Look after your oldies.

I’ve been a customer with Vodafone since the begining, I’ve had the same number since the Bellsouth days, 17 years.
Yet I’ve never been offered any form of loyalty or thanks from Vodafone in that time. However they are very quick to call me and ask why my bill hasn’t been paid!
Most loyalty offers are actually to tempt new customers, therefore by definition, not really a loyalty offer but a new customer offer.
Dont forget your existing customers, they stick with you and become your bread and butter, you should look after them more than the newbies, because when times are tough they’ll still be there, the ones who flit between different companies based on the best current deals will always do that.

Eat the Elephant!

So how are you going to grow your business? If things don’t change, they’ll stay the same! That’s not to say, if your on a winner, and it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

However, there are more businesses out there trying to figure the next move. Trying to find the magic answer to growing their business in such a depressed market. One way is to break down the now and the then. Break down your business into how you are running now and what you need to do to get to where you want to be.

Then break it down some more and end up with a Top 5. The Top 5 things you can do to improve your business. It is impossible to do everything you want to do, because you know, one of the  things stopping you from making that ist, is you know it is going to be a long list, and then you won’t be able to figure out where to start and where the finish line is.

So break it into small bite size chunks, so that you can fix one thing at a time and move on. It is about quality, not quantity.

How do you eat an Elephant, one bite at a time!