Social media | Why use it?

Social media marketing for small businesses.

Using social media to spread the word.

Social media marketing is one of the most important type of internet promotion in which small business owners are generally promoting their particular products/services and brand names social media sites such as Zynga, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and so on.

Social media marketing has grown to be a crucial portion of internet promotion among small business owners because of its cost-effectiveness, capability to get to qualified people speedily and create more leads/sales. It is important for small business owners because of its inexpensiveness and capability to get to a large number of qualified people within a lesser amount of time and extremely little work. 

Social media marketing is the greatest instrument for small business owners to personalize their business. Socialmediatoday, 83% of buyers would prefer to get information from your business by using Zynga and 53% with Tweets. 

Together with more than half of the globe’s human population signed up having various social media platforms, the chances of finding buyers are generally pretty high when using social media. Just in 2013, 36% of those who involved marketing experts with their marketing plan found buyers by using Tweets, 52% by using Facebook and 43% by using LinkedIn.

Soon after knowing the main advantages of utilizing social media as a marketing tool, quite a few small business owners have got increased time and investment allocated to marketing via social media platforms. Social media marketing is a superb solution to assemble the little business’ manufacturer and increase the consumer bottom. For those who have not really commenced marketing with social media platforms for your corporation, get going and reap the benefits of it – coming from a organization view.

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Navigating A Pivot Point

Pivot Points In Small Business

Making the choice to change direction

That critical time in every business has come for me. Do I stay on the path that I have been going or make a change in direction? This decision is always a very important one that should not be made on a whim. My old mantra holds true here: DO YOUR RESEARCH.

With my business, I started out just providing virtual assistant services which then expanded into customer service which expanded into marketing which expanded into social media management. All this expansion was done without really looking at whether or not it would benefit my business cause I was just happy to have work coming through the door. But, I have realized I have lost focus of what my business stands for. Is this where I want my business to go?

Than answer was a loud and resonating “NO”. This was not the direction I wanted my business to go when I started it, nor is it where I want to continue on going. So time for a major pivot point. The question then became “Which way?”. This was a bit more difficult to answer and took some major consideration.

I have decided to keep to the basis of the name RI Business Solutions. I’m changing my target market to a more local geographic region and plan on working with very small businesses (less than 25 employees). I understand their needs and have the experience to help them.

The services will be internet marketing including website development (including mobile sites), social media management, search engine optimization, and content development. This is the direction that the world is moving and it can be an overwhelming experience for the typical small business owner to undertake on their own.

The major difference this time for me, I am doing my due diligence in creating a business plan for this pivot change. I’m doing the research to make sure I understand exactly where I want to go, how to get there, and what I will need for the trip.  I have even contacted the local SCORE chapter for some guidance and input.

So hopefully this new plan will work out.

 

Where I am at…..

So past couple of weeks have been hectic. Business has really been picking up (to where I even hired someone part-time), so apparently I am doing things right. I am now involved with marketing, call center support, and general assistant work. Most of my work comes through on Elance, which has gotten me thinking that I need to get more aggressive with my own personal marketing.

Which, to me, means really getting active with my social networking and starting to attend some local networking events. I’ve begun laying the plans for my growth going into the new year. Mostly setting goals of where I hope to be by the end of next year. From there I can develop plans to reach those goals (or even surpass them!).

So my question to everyone out there in the blog world….. where do you see yourself at the end of next year and how do YOU plan on reaching those goals? And of course…. do you need help with reaching those goals?

Email Campaign Results

Email

As those that follow me, I had been working on an email campaign for a client for the past few months (See Email1 & Email2). It took so long due to a time difference between Israel and I, but it has finally been sent out. We did a small campaign through InfoUSA of just 300 emails to see what kind of open and click through rates we would get. The results were on the lower end of what is average (6.42% open and 0.38% click through).

Looking over the results versus what I have learned I see a few errors I made, specifically with my subject line. It was too long and could have had a better catch. Going to redesign the email itself also. I need to add more social media content to it.

Overall, I am satisfied with the results. I know I can take what I have learned and apply it to the next round of emails. Looking to send 1000 this next round with the new changes applied. Hoping to reach a 10% open with a 1.5% click through rate this next time around.

It is a very time consuming process though. You really need to do your research about what works and what doesn’t. Pay attention to that subject line, as that is the big key to getting people to actually open the email. Also, most people view their email on their smartphones. So be sure to make sure your email will look good on a small screen (another lesson learned).

I’ll let you all know the results of round 2 in a few weeks.

Learning new skills…..quickly

 

I have a client that needed a video edited for posting on YouTube. Now, I have never edited or created a video in my life. So not only did I have to learn a new skill……but had to learn it quickly. Was not an easy task at all.

I went through several programs trying to find the right one to edit the audio….then several more to edit the video…..then several more to add text to the video. Google was a good friend of mine throughout all this.

Luckily it came out pretty good and the client is happy. But I’m thinking the next time I run into this sort of problem I may just call in an expert….lol.

Differences in business culture…how does it affect you?

Sending an email campaign

Bombs Away!

As most of my followers should know, I have talked about putting together an email campaign for the company that I sell mobile marketing solutions for (see Launching An Email Campaign & Launching An Email Campaign 2). Well…after much debate and research it should finally go out this week.

Part of the problem with getting this email campaign off the ground was the differences between the main companies business culture and our culture here in the United States. When I first started offering virtual assistance services, I did not take into account how different cultures conduct business.

Especially when it comes to marketing a product or service. What may work here in the U.S. does not necessarily work in the U.K. Or in Asia. And not knowing that coming into this project made it that much more difficult to get this campaign off the ground. Neither of us understood the business culture of the other.

Now that we are on the same page, I think future marketing endeavors will go much smoother. But for those of you who are planning to move your product service to the global market, do your research. Cause the differences can be staggering.

Falling into a new start-up….

Not sure if this has ever happened to anybody else… but I sort of fell into a new start-up this past week. A friend of mine was having problems with his PC and I offered to help him out. Then he called and said a friend that needed help with his laptop, which in turn he had some friends that needed help. Next thing I know I am opening up a computer repair business called Artic Computer Repair, hence the lack of a post for a few days.

I can not really complain cause my original company (RI Business Solutions) is staying afloat, but that is about it. Past couple of weeks I haven’t been able to gain any traction on getting new clients. So having this new source of income is a welcome addition.

Now though comes the hard part. Do I keep both companies running and split my time 50/50? Do I focus more on doing the computer repair and let the virtual assisting business just stay afloat the way it is? Or do I just put RI Business Solutions on hold for now?

I’m going to try and run both for a little while cause I do have some up with the Artic Computer Repair, but if it gets too busy I will have to make some tough decisions. I put a lot of hard work into RI Business Solution over these past 6 months and I would hate to have to let it go. But, in a sense, I guess I am at a pivot point in my life. I’ll have to choose a direction to focus on and go with it.

5 Tips On Determining Your Target Market

Whether your planning on starting a small business or have already started, a crucial item is knowing who your target market is. Most likely you have already spent a lot of time planning your business (hopefully). A big part of that planning should include deciding who will be focus of your marketing efforts. Everybody wants as many people as possible to know about their product or service. But the more customers you want to reach, the more time and money it will take in order to reach them. Defining a target market might feel overwhelming to you, but just remember that it is a crucial part of your overall business plan. Selecting a target market will also help save you time and money in the long run. By focusing on a certain demographic of people who might be interested in your products or services will allow you to communicate with that segment more effectively.

Here’s how to get started:

1.) Review Your Business Plan –  Think about the needs that your products or services fulfill. Think about what makes your business different other companies providing similar products or services.  Now think about who might be interested and have a need for what you are offering. As you consult your business plan and decide who you want your audience to be, remember that it is ultimately about the customer. Don’t think about who you would like to sell to, think about who is looking for the products and services you offer.

2.) Conduct Research – You can begin by using secondary market research. Some sources you can use are:

US Economic Census

Encyclopedia Of Associations

ASAE

The best part of using secondary research is that someone has already done the work. Plus, most of the information is free. A shortfall of this information is that it may not be 100% useful for your business. No matter what, it is always a good idea to do some research. Trying to do marketing without the proper research is like throwing money out the window.

3.) Develop A Customer Profile –  This is an in-depth description of who your typical customer may be and includes demographic information that include age, gender, location, ethnic background, marital status, income, and more. It should also include psychographic information. Psychographic information goes beyond basic demographics and identifies more about a customer’s interests, hobbies, values, attitudes behaviors, lifestyle, buying patterns and more. Both of these types of information are crucial for developing your customer profile. Demographic information is used to identify who will buy your product or service and pychographic information will explain why they may buy your product or service.

4.) Find Out How To Connect – After you have identified who your target market is, you will need to find out how to connect to them. You will need to find out what kind of websites they visit and which social networks they use most often. Are they constantly on their mobile device? Do they use a lot of apps?  Do they read papers or magazines? If so, what papers or magazine do they read? By knowing this information and putting it into your customer profile will help you know how best to spend your marketing dollars.

5.) Monitor Your Marketing Efforts – The work doesn’t stop after you have determined your target market and have a plan in place to reach them. Marketing is a continuing evolving system that requires constant monitoring. You will want to know how your current marketing is working, what you can do to improve it, and how you plan to market into the future. Part of this is being aware of how your customers are evolving as people. Have ways of tracking your sales, quality assurance, requests for more information, and more.This is the information that will help you stay on top of trends, patterns, and areas that need improvement. All of which will change as your business grows.

10 Tips To Deal With Stress

We all have stress. Especially if we are a small business owner. Some days I feel like I am being pulled into a million different directions at once. By the end of the day my nerves are completely shot. So I went on the hunt for some ways to help deal with all this stress and here are some tips I found.

1. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. (Hmmm….I have to give up my pot of coffee???)

2. Indulge in physical activity. (OK…I guess I could start walking everyday.)

3. Get more sleep. (I am suppose to do this when???)

4. Try relaxation techniques. (Personally, I always feel like a dweeb doing this.)

5. Talk to someone. (This actually does work. I vent to friends often about my frustrations.)

6. Keep a stress diary. (Hmm…not too sure about this one.)

7. Take control. (Easier said then done.)

8. Manage your time. (I can help you do that….hint hint.)

9. Learn to say NO. (Sometimes you just can’t take on that extra work. Hard lesson to learn even for me.)

10. Rest if you are ill. (But who will get the work done???)

I know I put some smart ass comments after each point, but they are actually very useful tips. I found them on Skills You Need. All joking aside, dealing with stress is important for your mental & physical health. Stress has been tied directly to high blood pressure and strokes. It can actually make decisions harder to make due to a lack of focus (happens to me sometimes). Overall, stress is just a very bad thing to have in ones life.

So if your feeling stressed all the time, I urge you to visit the Skills You Need website to read the full article for yourself. Try some or all of the tips listed and talk to your doctor about how your stress is affecting you. All of us think we can do it all ourselves, but in reality, everybody needs some help some of the time.

5 reasons to use a Virtual Assistant

Hire A Virtual Assistant Today!

Hire A Virtual Assistant Today!

I have been providing virtual assistant services for about 6 months now. I primarily use Elance to gather new clients. It provides a secure way to transfer money and gives users a way to resolve conflicts if they are unsatisfied with the services provided. But why use a virtual assistant?

1. Bookkeeping – By letting a VA manage your bookkeeping allows you to focus on more important tasks.

2. Online Reasearch – A VA can provide a detailed report on just about any topic you choose.

3. Manage Email – Why spend an hour on email when a qualified VA can answer the simple questions and forward important requests to you?

4. Data Entry – A VA can maintain your database of contacts, inventory, and more.

5. Social Tasks – Keeping you social networks up to date can be a time consuming task. A VA can complete this for you.

And there are many more tasks a VA can complete. From marketing to answering phone calls, a qualified VA can be the extra hand you need. For tips on hiring a VA read my article Choosing A Virtual Assistant.

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