Social Media: Build Your Community- Then Promote

Social Media Community We have said it before… We will say it again. You should be using social media for business. It is an information hub and a method of open communication with your audience. It is a conversation platform and very important for not only your online presence, but your credibility, branding, SEO and marketing efforts.

So what now? Do you open the accounts and start blasting off all of the great in-store specials? All the special promotions and fantastic things you are offering? Do you start pushing events and upcoming sales?

NO. No you do not. That will most likely turn followers away.

As mentioned earlier- social media is a conversation. When you have a real-life conversation, do you immediately start with why you are so wonderful and why people should like you? Probably not. You want to provide mutually beneficial conversation first- THEN- once you are comfortable with that person, you can start sharing more intimate details of all the great things happening in your life. Take that same model and apply it to your social media conversation.

We always tell our clients to first build your community. Work on sharing on-brand and relevant information. It doesn’t have to be created by you! You can share industry leader links as well as your blog. Work on accumulating fans by using trending hashtags so that your message gets filtered into larger audience pools. Build your fans/followers first and foremost. It may seem like you are treading water for a month or so but it will work in the end. DO NOT buy followers- you want quality not quantity and not for nothing? Social media platforms are hip to these scammers and if they find out you bought your fans? They could limit your pages. Not good.

One you have a decent following THEN you can start to promote! Now you have people who will see your efforts- who know that you are knowledgeable in your field and trust that what you are sharing can be valuable to them. Make sure that your efforts fall into am 80/20 percentile though… 80% helpful links, tips and tricks, quotes, pictures- and 20% promotion. We’ve found that to be a positive balance as long as you are keeping track of your social media insights and are posting the right information at the right times.

You can do social media! But if you need help? We are here to help!

(Did that fall into the 80/20 promotion? We think so!) 

Why I Welcome the New Anti-Spam Law

BYE SPAM!

As most of you know- there is a new anti- spam legislation coming into effect on July 1st. This law is set to protect people from unwanted electronic messages (spam).

For those of you who are unfamiliar- I quote the Government of Canada’s website:

“Once the law is in force, it will help to protect Canadians while ensuring that businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace.

When the new law is in force, it will generally prohibit the:

  •  sending of commercial electronic messages without the recipient’s consent (permission), including messages to email addresses and social networking accounts, and text messages sent to a cell phone;
  •  alteration of transmission data in an electronic message which results in the message being delivered to a different destination without express consent;
  •  installation of computer programs without the express consent of the owner of the computer system or its agent, such as an authorized employee;
  •  use of false or misleading representations online in the promotion of products or services;
  •  collection of personal information through accessing a computer system in violation of federal law (e.g. the Criminal Code of Canada); and
  •  collection of electronic addresses by the use of computer programs or the use of such addresses, without permission (address harvesting).”

 

Pretty scary, right? After all- we have become so reliant on digital communication! Which is why I am OK with this law. Not because I get spammed a lot- because I actually don’t- but because I think this marks a tipping point for business communication.

People hide behind computers, email, text- no one calls anymore and frankly, I am starting to think that people are forgetting what it means to be involved in HUMAN interaction. People aren’t being forced to think and use their brains in one-on-one situations/conversations- they are able to mull over what they will say and how they will respond. I think this generation of communicators will thank this law for forcing them to lift their eyes from their Smartphone long enough to personally/face-to-face network and make a sale.

Rather than mass electronic communications- we will receive tailored packages that we actually WANT to receive. Mail in our inbox, direct messages, and social media- wherever- will have meaning again! We won’t just assume that it’s junk… maybe…? I think that this will add a personal touch to digital, if that makes sense.

I am also excited about print making a comeback. I love printed material! I love physical marketing pieces I love the process of designing them. The feeling of the box of flyers being delivered and opening it up like “YES, they are here!” and holding them in your hand and feeling the real sense of pride for your creation. Of course you are proud of your e-blast… but do me a favor, print it out and hold it. Does your pride go up a notch? Or am I crazy…

People are saying that this will hit small businesses the hardest- and I agree when it comes to updating (expensive) technology that will assist with consent of digital communication, but I also think that this could help knock businesses down to a fair(er) playing field. Start-ups don’t have the resources to design out of this world digital pieces to stand out in the sea of email marketing and social media buzz. Start ups don’t have a team of researchers to search for and collect contact information all day, and they can’t afford to buy the email lists that are circulating- yep, that happens, folks. Small businesses are known for their guerilla marketing, their personal touches and their one-on-one, so I think overall they are used to relying on themselves more than computers!

I honestly think that although this law will require us to make an adjustment, that it should be a welcomed change. If you can’t welcome it? At least pretend to- because it’s coming!

What are your thoughts? Share them below. I want your take on this!

To learn about this new and upcoming legislation, visit: http://fightspam.gc.ca/

 

How to Be a Better Networker

networking

Love it or hate it? You should do it.

Networking events are a great opportunity to mingle with likeminded people and industry professionals. Everyone is there for the same reason which takes that pressure off but you need to understand that the little details matter and don’t go unnoticed.

Here are my top ten networking tips:

1) Attend the right networking events

You can’t expect to meet the right people in the wrong places. Make sure that the networking event that you choose to attend meshes with your product/service/goals in some way. You don’t want to waste your time and other people’s time.

2) Have business cards on you

Simple. Always carry cards! (Or keep them in your car)

Also- When you are given a card, make a note on the back to help you remember the connection and conversation. I even write personal details such as family mentions or an upcoming move. Why? So that when I follow up with the connection they will appreciate my memory (they don’t have to know about my notes- it’s the thought that counts).

3) Dress the part

Dress for the event but always lean towards a professional appearance. Use your common sense and feel out the venue and invitation. Some networking hosts will write the dress code on the invite/ in the events details. Wear something that you feel comfortable in and reflects who you are- just look put together a.k.a professional.

4) Have your elevator speech ready

An elevator speech is a two minute breakdown of what it is you do/ can offer. You want to be able to sum it up quickly so you don’t miss any important points and you keep the persons attention long enough to finish what you want to say.

5) Don’t be afraid to go alone

It’s not a party at a stranger’s house where everyone knows each other and you’re the outsider- everyone in the networking room is the outsider. Most of the people that you will be interacting with throughout the event will be attending solo as well. If you are shy, I assure you that with practice and proper preparation you will gain confidence.

6) CONFIDENCE

Some people can smell fear a mile away and aren’t attracted to it. So lift up your head, have good posture a firm handshake, practice good eye contact and welcoming body language. Introduce yourself using your first and last name and be sure to ask theirs. Remember that you are just as deserving as everyone else in that room! You need to believe that because it will shine through.

7) Smile

This could have been placed under confidence but I believe it needs its own heading. Research has reported that smiling releases endorphins, which are natural pain relievers, along with serotonin, which is also associated with feel good properties.

All in all- Smiles are contagious and welcoming!

Practice right now- BIG SMILE…………………………………………….feels good, right?

8) You don’t have to have all of the answers

You can say “I am not sure; let me follow up with you on that”. It is a lot better than BS’ing your way through the conversation (most times, the person you are feeding the lies to? Knows you are lying.) Keep in mind that arrogance is not an attractive characteristic. Be an expert not a know-it-all and remember to LISTEN twice as much as you talk.

9) Be positive

No bad mouthing. No gossip. No swear words and no bullying. Keep everything on the up and up. When people ask how your day was? Say “GREAT!” because they don’t need to hear otherwise… They were only asking to be polite. They are strangers and don’t need to hear about all the bad things that happened to you before you showed up. Call a friend for that.

10) Follow Up

Send a short note to the individuals that you connected with at the event. If you said that you would send information- then send it. Use the notes that you wrote on the back of your cards to keep track of who and what.

Not every networking event is going to run smoothly. You aren’t always going to connect with the nicest people and not everyone will believe in you or your ideas AND THAT IS OK. Please don’t take it to heart. Even the most genius of entrepreneurs will tell you countless stories of being shunned and it will happen to you too… but you can’t let it stop you.

You pick up, dust off and you take their criticism in one of two ways. One being constructive- can you learn something from it? And the second being of a malicious nature- that you can disregard.

If someone simply said “No” they have no need for your service/product? That isn’t a reflection of you as a person, don’t look too much into it. It is most times THAT straight forward- they just don’t need your service/product.

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

-Crystal Lengua-

Email Etiquette 101- Writing for Business

How to write a professional email.

Not everyone can articulate themselves well through written work- I know this mainly because of email communication. I’ve read some emails that led me to believe that the person behind the computer was either extremely upset (when they weren’t), uninterested in our conversation or that their account had been hacked by a five year old playing a mean joke on me… Yes, they were that difficult to read.

Email communication is a conversation through writing. When used for business it should be polite, easy to understand and to the point. There are certain rules to obey to avoid your email being sent unprofessionally and received in the wrong way.

Here are my top email etiquette ‘rules’:

1.  Include a formal salutation in the initial email

Hello, hi, or even just the recipient’s name will do. Sending an email without saying hello to the person you are sending it to may come across as lazy and/or indifferent. The following emails in the conversation thread don’t have to have a salutation (I always include one but it isn’t a must). You wouldn’t just walk up to someone without them seeing you coming and start talking without saying hi, would you? Maybe you would… but try not to in email.

2.  Include an appropriate subject line

This will help the recipient prioritize their incoming emails and also help them search for your email thread in the future.

3.  Don’t type in all caps

This is read as though you are YELLING. No one likes to be yelled at so your message won’t be received well.

4.  Keep your email short and to the point

This is to benefit both the sender and receiver. The sender isn’t stuck writing for an hour and the reader isn’t stuck reading for an hour. If you feel that your email is getting lengthy- take that as a sign that you should set up a meeting or conference call.

5.  Font

Please use an easy to read font in a dark colour and please don’t use a size 8 or 20. Reading a bright red email in Chopin Script sized 18 is not the way anyone wants to start their day.

6.  Remember your audience

 Write your emails for the person receiving them. Maybe you write “ur” instead of your or use abbreviations such as “LOL” or “BRB” when you write with friends but keep your emails as professional as you can when you’re representing your business. I would even avoid the famous smiley face emoticon until you have established a relationship with the receiver and you are on friendly terms. 🙂

7.  Say please and thank you

Pretty basic stuff, but it can be lost in verbal to written translation.

8.  Proofread your email

I have a trick when it comes to writing emails. I write them in Word and then I copy and paste it into an email. I do this for a couple reasons:

  • My spelling is correct (note that your grammar still may not be so proofread anyway)
  • If I am upset or irritated this allows me to re-read and re-word the email without accidentally pressing send and throwing all of my email etiquette rules out the window

Email communication is an important part of your daily business interactions- treat it as such and your impression on the receiver should be a pleasant one.

Do you have an email pet peeve? Please share it in the comment section below!

Thanks,

Crystal Lengua