Honest Work & Your Integrity

Be Honest I recently stumbled upon a website of a company offering similar services. They ‘liked’ a picture on my company’s instagram account, my curiosity set in and I clicked the link to their website. Their site was well designed and professional. I selected the services/solutions button on their menu and what happened next was not only a complete fluke, it left me speechless…

They had copy & pasted my ENTIRE website. Every word. Every definition. Everything- word for word. Even the organization of information… everything. It was like I was reading MY site on theirs and I instantly felt sick to my stomach. A few phone calls later and the issue was resolved with apology and I know that I am very lucky. Things could have taken a turn for the worst. I can honestly say that the feeling of having your hard work duplicated without your consent is one that I don’t wish on anyone. You feel helpless, angry, empty and numb. It’s a whirlwind of emotion.

This event really got me thinking and a friend suggested that I write about the importance of having an honest work ethic. That plagiarism in any form is nothing to be proud of and that in the end you are only disgracing yourself and your work if you decide it’s better to get credit for someone else’s labour. You embarked on your professional journey because you feel like you have what it takes to succeed. That you are an expert in your field or that you have created a unique product/service that people can benefit from… so shouldn’t you be able to use your own words and communicate your vision? OF COURSE YOU SHOULD.

Maybe you lack the confidence because you are just starting out and you are inspired by someone or a company? That’s normal! We all have people/places/things that inspire us- but you should never pass someone else’s hard work off as your own. It isn’t fair and at the end of the day? It isn’t going to help you either. You will never memorize someone else’s work enough to pass it off as your own for long and people will quickly discredit you and BOOM there goes your reputation.

If you had what it takes to embark on the entrepreneurial journey- you have what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. Have faith in yourself. Give credit where it’s due, ask for permissions and remember that (at the end of the day) copyright infringement IS against the law.

Honesty and integrity play a huge part in success. We can never forget that.

”Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”

 –Oprah Winfrey

Volunteer Etiquette

Last Friday I spoke at a local volunteer fair. The ‘My Time to Give’ fair was created to help students find a suitable placement- which is great!

Both profit and not-for-profit companies set up tables and had information readily available for the taking.  I spoke on the importance of personal branding and how proper volunteer etiquette on the job would help the students get the most out of their experience.

I have hired MANY volunteers and I have to say that there is a certain level of uncertainty when it comes to “working for free” which is why I felt the need to address rules of etiquette. Some of you may utilize volunteers so I wanted to share the handout I created to coincide with my topic!

 

Volunteer Etiquette Top 10

 

 

If you want to print it out- feel free to use it as a handout!  You can download it here for free: BROCCOLI Consulting- Volunteer Etiquette Handout

 

Social Media Management Tips for the Small Business Owner

Social Media Management Tips

It’s not often a small business can afford a social media management team off the hop. In the beginning owners wear multiple hats- CEO, CFO, HR, IT and now SMM (that is an acronym for social media manager…  I just made that up)

Maybe you think it’s best that you don’t use social media in your marketing plan… and to that? I say too bad- because you are missing out! You are missing out on the SEO advantages, the branding, the communication with your audience and the low cost options for spreading the word about who you are and what you offer. If you don’t want to reap any of those benefits? Then I say that is just too bad.

If you DO want to benefit from social media? Then I have some tips to help you stay focused, on top of things and actively present:

1)      Pick one or two social media sites for now. If you try and manage too many yourself? You may get overwhelmed and quit or fall behind and look lazy and lackluster.

Figure out what platforms work best for your company- if you have no idea? Look at your competition. What are they using? What are your customers using?

2)      The golden rule is ‘Once a Day’ I ask that all of my clients post onto their social media outlets at least once a day. It can be a picture, an article that your audience will find helpful, a link to a blog (preferably yours but it doesn’t always have to be), a retweet on twitter, a repost on Instagram or a pin to a board on Pinterest. Asking questions is a great way to engage! It’s important because you want to show you were there and active when a potential client looks you up. If they see that your last post was a week ago? You could look sluggish. If it was A MONTH ago? They may think you aren’t open anymore. Telling yourself once a day will help keep you from forgetting.

If you are really hip to social media, I recommend taking a look at your analytics and figuring out the best time to post to maximize engagement. If you aren’t too savvy just yet? Just post once a day for now- and make sure the content IS RELEVANT, positive and on brand.

You may benefit from having a posting schedule. Feel free to use this one: CLICK HERE

3)      Time yourself. Once a day on one or two social media sites shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes a day. It is very easy to get lost in link-land and before you know it you are an hour and a half in and looking at what Jimmy is eating for lunch. Set a timer if you have to! You can get an egg timer for a buck at the dollar store.

4)      Don’t be afraid to store updates/drafts. Keep a file of links, images, and quotes- whatever and keep that as your go-to when posting. If you find that Sunday evenings work best for researching information to share? Spend some time and think about your weeks’ worth of posting! If you want to get fancy, you can try out HootSuite and schedule your updates automatically- click HERE for more information. Just be sure to still sign in to your social media account and make sure your status’ are posting properly and your links are working.

5)      Turn off your notifications. In an ideal world you want to respond to your audience right away. In small business world? That will throw you off and will absorb too much of your time. Turning off your notifications will keep you focused on your task at hand. It’s ok to reply within 24 hours! (Just make sure you do… but you ARE posting once a day so you shouldn’t have a problem)  It’s ok to not know how many retweets you get, or who followed you. Think of it as a social media present. Once a day you get to open it and see what happened!

One day you will have a sea of employees who will be able to do things for you or the budget to outsource- but until then? You can handle it. It is intimidating at first, but practice makes perfect and before you know it you will be able to push out your social media duties in ten minutes or less! You’ll see.

Do you have any social media management tips to share? Please do in the comment section below!