Thursday, June 2, 2016

Social Media...Are you sold on it?

June 2nd, 2016
I recently had a conversation with a friend where I asked him about the "pain points" around his real estate business.
You know...what keeps you up at night.
What does your day look like. How do you feel about social media.
He said, and I'm quoting, "I can take it or leave it".

 I was a bit taken back. Sure, I'd hoped that he would be somewhat thrilled when I told him that "was what I was up to lately." Or, "it's great, so and so does mine!"
But I didn't quite expect an attitude that pretty much felt like...who needs it.
I had started visiting websites for his particular  industry before initiating the conversation to get a feel for what realtors thought. There were loads of advice as to how agents in his business might use social media with great success. 
 In fact, according to "HubSpot's 2015 Social Media Benchmark Report" the real estate industry is out-posting nearly everyone else 2-to-1.
So, where was this attitude coming from?
I suspect it's because he used social media as another way of posting his listings. And guess what...boring.
Do you go to Facebook to look up listings? ONLY if you're in the house-hunting market, otherwise you want to know about, family, friends, food, life in general!
In fact, CoSchedule and Buffer state in their research that "Food, home, and lifestyle topics account for 85% of the most shared topics."

So when I meet up with my friend again what will I talk about in regard to the real estate business and social media?
That fact that he should be researching what their needs are. How he might interact with them in a meaningful way (without selling).
He needs to keep himself on "their radar" so when the time comes they'll be able to find him...on social media.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Be a Social Robin Hood by Paying it Forward

Be a Social Robin Hood by Paying it Forward

April 6th, 2016
Have you had this experience? 
You've ordered your coffee (and treat) at the local donut shop, drive up to the window and the server says...
"You're all set, the party ahead of you bought your coffee".

Wow you say, surprised and delighted when handed your free coffee...and business card.

Throughout your morning you relate your story to your friends and co-workers, and while doing so show the business card of the person who was so generous to you on your way to work.
Now suppose you have a business presence on Facebook and you're monitoring your account (this is where I come in) and a conversation between fans of your business reveals a need in the community.
And suppose that was a need your business could meet...with just a little effort.
Guess what.
If you take the initiative you'll be creating goodwill and  influence in your community (and on your social business page) that's hard to match.

But a word of caution, by all means be "genuine" in intent and purpose.
You don't want to come off as having done the right thing merely for the press you gain.
It's not hard to see a need when you're on social media can even make a contest up among your employees.
The possibilities for creating brand awareness, community, and goodwill is endless.

Return on investment (ROI) for social media?
You won't find a better example.

-John Keyser
"Social Media Management for Small Business"

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why Your Business Needs A Social Media Presence

You know you should be using social media to reach your prospects (customers), but where do you start?

Web searches bring up so much information on the subject it's not long before you're feeling an overload and decide to shelve it for another time...

After all, you've got to get back to work!

This is not what you want to do because you know your competition is using it to their advantage.

They're engaging their customers. Responding to inquiries...

They are even taking orders on Facebook!

But guess can be too.
It's true. There's a lot of advice and info out there and knowing where to start can be daunting.

And, the kind of "social media" help with your business you're looking for is more than a little bit different than posting funny animal videos and pictures of the grandchildren, (though they can be part of the picture as well if it relates to your business offering in some form).

That's where I come in.

I'm a social media manager for small businesses. I study the profession daily.

And believe me, it's an ever-changing landscape.

I've been in your shoes as a small business owner, so I know many of the problems that keep you up at 4:00 a.m. in the morning.

The good news is that you don't have spend large amounts of your time or hire a new employee.

You can hire me to manage your accounts remotely.

Get your FREE social media assessment!

If you're ready to start a meaningful dialog with your customers (and create a community around your offerings) I urge you to contact me now for a free social media assessment.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

EBay and PayPal to Split into Separate Entities

What does the eBay PayPal split mean to small sellers on eBay?

Well, that depends who you’d ask.
Ina Steiner of asked sellers on the “auction bytes blog” how the break is likely to affect their business. Many were wary of price increases by eBay and policy changes from PayPal that would further erode their profits.
This opinion stems partly from the fact that on September 30th Moody's Investors Service, Inc. ("Moody's") placed the ratings of eBay under review following the disclosure that eBay will carry all the debt and PayPal will emerge debt-free. Further, it is assumed (by some) that a loss of revenue previously generated by PayPal will “have to be made up somewhere”.
Small sellers have been grumbling about PayPal’s policies (like freezing funds in a dispute) for some time and proclaim they’re only one move away from leaving eBay.
A problem exists for some sellers because they do not understand that though they have a “store on eBay” they do not own the platform and ultimately must implement whatever policies eBay insists on, whether they agree with it or not.

It’s a small price to pay to play on eBay.

Don’t believe me?
Try setting up a website with a payment cart, database, SEO, Marketing, and security. You’ll quickly realize that doing business on eBay relieves you of worries like site hacking, theft of customer information and the additional costs of doing business.
If you sense that a particular sale is going to be a major headache immediately “take the high road”.
Accept the return. Give them their money back.
There will always be a percentage of customers that will be unhappy. Those of you who have “brick-and-mortar” experience know what I’m saying.
Forward thinking sellers (and I include myself in this category), are of the opinion that things will continue on eBay pretty much the same if you maintain the following:
·         100% positive feedback (or as high as possible)
·         Power seller status
·         Follow eBay policies to the letter
I base that on the fact that eBay values the efforts of sellers who maintain these standards. The following is also true. EBay and PayPal have announced an “at-arms-length” agreement that will minimize any disruption for buyers and sellers alike.

With that said, my eyes are on Alibaba.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

“How empowering your employees creates cheerful customers”

Have you been called down to the sales floor only to be confronted by an angry customer over a seemingly simple problem?  Sure you have!  And more times than you care to remember, I’d wager.  You can’t be in retail without having experienced this on a frequent basis. You arrive, only to find an upset customer with an employee who seems disconnected, perhaps even disinterested in what’s going on. You solve the problem, your customer leaves (hopefully to return) and your employee goes back to whatever mundane tasks he (or she) is assigned. What just happened?
Certainly you solved the issue, satisfied the customer, and now off you go back to your office. But several other things happened as well. Your relationship with that customer might be in jeopardy, your focus was disrupted from whatever you were engaged in and you reinforced a negative habit with a staff member. From now on, you’ll be called to deal with whatever issue arises. Notice I said whatever issue, not manager grade, decision making, reserved only for owners decisions.
Why not empower your employees to make decisions? Here’s a quick list of benefits.
·         Customers won’t have to repeat their concerns multiple times.
·          You’ll have fewer distractions in your day.
·         Your employees will have more respect for the position they hold.
Let’s address these potential benefits.
A customer arrives in your store with a legitimate issue. They convey their “story” to the employee and when finished told “I don’t have an answer; I’ll have to get the owner”.

 It’s at this point they are likely to get upset. This “wait time” for the customer may even contribute to their apprehensive as to how you’ll perceive their concern. Once you get there, they’re forced to repeat the story again (possibly with more emotion) and you’d better have a response that is acceptable. Anything less and they could be walking…for good.
Many of the lesser decisions can, and should be made by your employees. Of course they should be fully trained, knowledgeable with the company manual. But take time to have meetings with “role playing” scenarios for the type of issues that come up in your business. This can also be a fun night after hours with prizes and recognition that will bond your staff to the company and their jobs. They’ll feel good about their work and it will show with everyone they deal with.
 A word of caution here regarding decisions your employees make with customers.
 Back them up! 
If they’ve made a sound decision and the customer still wants to “talk to the owner”, don’t cave and throw your employee under the bus just to get out of a sticky situation. It will only cause resentment and ruin employee attitude. In time your staff will be so good at problem solving you’ll find yourself wondering why the office phone has stopped ringing. This is a good thing, because you’re busy with your expansion plans, website development and holiday event promotions, right?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Would you give it all up, if you could get what you want?

I was settled into my chair with the first cup of coffee of the day and the remote firmly planted in my other hand. I have a morning habit of switching back and forth between TV channels hoping to outwit the advertisers when a story on a local channel caught my eye. It was about a local woodworking school and a recent student. He talked about his success as a professional in business and how he's was going to give it all up to work with wood! Stories like these are certainly not unusual but it resonated with me because I'm struggling to find my way in the current "work" environment.

I took the job I have now because, like you, I need money. I told myself "I can do mindlessly for the company. Save my money. Be secure". But as I sat listening to his story of how "he's going to give it all up to work with his hands and do something he loves" I felt the same insistent nagging at the back of my mind.  I'm a creative person and I know it. I've been trying to fit into the normal world but it does nothing for me....spiritually. This gentleman said what all creative people feel...the need to create demands that it be recognized. Knowing that, there's only one thing to do. Confront the fear that's holding me back. You know it as well. The fear of failure, of not having enough funds to finance your ideas, or even the doubt and worries of family and significant others that will try to convince you of the "right thing to do". The interesting thing is that fear is projecting into the future an outcome that most likely won't happen. It (fear) has the uncanny ability to halt us in our tracks. So what is it that separates all the successful, great, and celebrated people in our world from the rest of us? You got it, they overcame their fear.

So it turns out the only thing you truly have to give up is your fear and boldly face each day without worry of tomorrow. In return, you'll gain not only success but satisfaction. The satisfaction of creating, writing, building, or what ever else that would cause you to pause and smile over a "work" well done.