Find Resources

This entry is part 5 of 10 in the seriesIs Social Media a Time-Suck?

If you’re in search of a great graphic designer, you may want to skip Elance and go directly to Twitter, do not pass go. Finding recommended vendors and freelancers for your business may be as easy as asking the hundreds of folks in your social media network who they recommend. Here’s a breakdown of ways to find trusted contractors, by social media outlet:

  1. Google Plus Local. With the recent merging of Google Plus and Google Maps you can now find nearly any type of service imaginable, along with critical contact information and most importantly – online reviews.  Depending on your settings, you’ll find “personalized results” which will give more “weight” to reviews from friends in your “circles”.
  2. LinkedIn. One of the most powerful elements of LinkedIn is the “recommendations” feature. You can write, read, and request recommendations from others in your network. It may take a little legwork, but you can use this feature to find a great copywriter, and read what others have to say about him or her. Think of it as a Yelp for people. Continue reading Find Resources

See What People Are Talking About

This entry is part 4 of 10 in the seriesIs Social Media a Time-Suck?

Large corporations spend millions of dollars, prowling the streets, seeing what the trends in fashion, music, and culture are. They rely on feedback from companies like Gallup, the Nielsen Ratings, and American Consumer Opinion to see what’s hot and what’s not. In a small business, you don’t have the same level of resources. But that’s okay – you can get your own “feet on the street” feedback, quickly and easily, using your social media networks. Here are some of the tools you can use to see what’s hot, right now:

Twitter Trends. Go to http://search.twitter.com/ and right below the search box, you’ll see a list of trending topics (as of this writing, the trending topics include #ImSickOf, #YammouniFollow, Windows Live Messenger, Happy Election Day, and TVA ). If there’s a topic you want to track, you can click on the name and subscribe to the RSS feed to keep constantly updated on a trending topic.  Continue reading See What People Are Talking About

Get Fast Feedback

This entry is part 3 of 10 in the seriesIs Social Media a Time-Suck?

Everything online happens at the speed of light. Decisions that used to take weeks or months to make are now a matter of mere minutes or seconds. There is no time for a group consensus or “sleeping on it.” But with your social media network, you can still get input from a number of people, quickly. There are literally millions of people on-hand, ready and able to give you feedback in the moment.

For instance, want to know if the font on your homepage is too small? Send a tweet with the page link and ask what the general public thinks. Wondering which header graphic better conveys your business? Post them both on your Facebook page and ask for input. Continue reading Get Fast Feedback

Get Answers to Your Burning Questions

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the seriesIs Social Media a Time-Suck?

It used to be that all the answers to your questions could be found in online article directories. Then, when they became overrun with junk and advertisements, Wikipedia became the guru of choice. But even Wikipedia won’t give you the answer to every question you have. Sometimes the information is too arcane, or sometimes you don’t want the facts; you want an opinion. So what better place to turn to than social media?

Social media is great for the following types of questions: Continue reading Get Answers to Your Burning Questions

Is Social Media a Time Suck?

This entry is part 1 of 10 in the seriesIs Social Media a Time-Suck?

When many people think “social media,” the automatic response is “waste of time.” Facebook is the place you go to play Farmville while your boss isn’t looking. YouTube is where you head when you have five minutes to spare and you need a good laugh so you watch the “Jackass” video a few more times. Twitter is where you end up when you want to commiserate about the Titans latest trade decisions, or to catch up on Real Housewives of New Jersey gossip.

Is it possible that these sinkholes of productivity could actually save you time? Yes, and in this article series I’m going to show you ten ways to leverage social media to make your life better, complete your tasks more quickly, and have more time for the things that matter (like a Plants vs. Zombies marathon – just kidding!). Continue reading Is Social Media a Time Suck?

New Google Plus Local – What Local Businesses Should Know

Google Plus Local

It is now pretty obvious that a Google Places listing is critical to a strong web presence.  What you may not know is that Google completely changed the face of Google Places.  As a matter of fact, it is no longer Google Places.  It is now Google Plus Local – a drastic overhaul of the previous Google Places platform.  It’s only natural for businesses to stress over sudden changes that force a very swift response (and an even faster learning curve).  But the good news is that Google Plus Local has the power to completely revolutionize the way you interact with customers via Google Places.  You might be surprised to find that the more you learn about Google Plus Local, the more excited you are to use it, and this is your perfect starting point for learning more.  Here is what local businesses should know about the new Google Plus Local: Continue reading New Google Plus Local – What Local Businesses Should Know

How the New Google+ Local Changes will Affect your Business

New Google+ Local Page

Google has finally announced and implemented its highly anticipated switch from Google Places to Google+ Local and the implications for what this means for your business has dire consequences.  It is vital that you understand the changes and begin to take advantage of Google+ Local to boost your business before your competition does so.  Luckily, I have a few innovative strategies for you lined up here in this article.

Google Places to Google+ Local

Chances are if you’re reading this, you already have a Google Places Page for your business (if you don’t, you really need to go set one up right now).  What this switch has done is basically place a “Local” tab on the left hand side of user’s browsers which allows them to click and instantly see any restaurants and businesses in their immediate area.  Further, these pages are ranked in order of review scores with a special weight given to your friends and family’s ratings.

Continue reading How the New Google+ Local Changes will Affect your Business

Jingle All the Way: Serendipity Happens

jingleallthewayWay back before Arnold was Governor of California, he starred in a Christmas caper called “Jingle All the Way.” As workaholic Howard Langston, Arnie races all over town on Christmas Eve, in search of the blockbuster toy “Turbo Man,” which he promised his wife he’d pick up months before. Since it’s the only present on their son’s Christmas list, the need is dire.

In his quest to find the perfect toy, Howard fends off advances from a psycho mailman, a vengeful cop, and his neighbor who’s bent on moving in on Howard’s wife, usurping his role as husband and father.

After hours of careening from store to store, Howard finds himself in the town’s annual holiday parade, dressed up as – you guessed it! – Turbo Man. All ends well when his wife and son realize his heart is in the right place. Don’t you just love happy endings?

You may think there’s no lesson here for a business owner, but there are plenty. We could talk about work-life balance, or the importance of keeping your commitments, but the main one to highlight is the role that serendipity plays in business.

Many successful business owners will tell you that the second they became crystal clear on their objectives, things just seemed to fall into place for them. Sure, they faced some obstacles along the way, but somehow the person they needed to meet or the book they needed to read or the lesson they needed to learn fell into their path.

Preparation is a great thing, and it’s necessary for day-to-day success. It’s what gets us through the tough, repetitive and sometimes boring stuff. But often the big leaps forward in our business occur because of some force stronger than us that’s at work in the universe.

Consider this quote from renowned poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” Even if you aren’t the “woo-woo” type, it can pay to be open to seemingly miraculous coincidences and occurrences.

Some people consider these types of coincidences to be signs that you’re moving on the right path. But whether you believe in the “great divine” or not, smart business owners will take advantage of any opportunities, regardless of source. And the more clear you are on your end goal, the more you’ll be able to recognize these opportunities.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: ?There’s Someone for Everyone

Dr.-Seuss-How-The-Grinch-Stole-ChristmasIf you haven’t seen the original animated Grinch movie from 1966, you’ve likely seen the Jim Carrey version from 2000. But if you missed that one, too, here’s the recap: Green Grinch hates Christmas and hates the Whos, the sweet and lovable inhabitants of Whoville, who adore the holiday – but who have lost sight of the true meaning. So Grinch, accompanied by his long-suffering canine companion, Max, steals all their presents and decorations so he can exact his revenge.

The twist: Aided by pure-of-heart and diminutive Cindy Lou Who, the Whos celebrate the Christmas spirit, even without the wrappings, and the Grinch’s frozen heart melts. And in the Carrey version, he also finds true love with the sexiest Who of all, played by Christine Baranski.

It’s the updated version that brings us our lesson for today, and the lesson is this: There’s really someone for everyone. If a grumpy, stinky, pants-less Grinch can capture the heart of the nubile Martha May Whovier, then out there, somewhere, there’s a customer base for you.

Go online and you can find plenty of proof of this belief. There are people selling gun-shaped soap, frozen yogurt for dogs, and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavor Beans. If they can make it, you can, too. Take these tips from the Grinch:

  • Be absolutely clear on who you are. Don’t waffle. If you’re strange, revel in your strangeness. The more clearly you reveal yourself, the more easily you’ll appeal to your “tribe,” as Seth Godin calls it.
  • Don’t apologize for who you are. If you’re a gun-toting survivalist, so be it. If you are a tattooed, be-ringed 60-something, go with it. Your customers don’t want someone who is embarrassed; they want to be led by someone who’s confident and embraces their different-ness.
  • Come down from the mountain. It’s not until the Grinch leaves his hermit-like cave at the top of Mt. Crumpet and emerges into the “real world” that he finds acceptance and love. You need to be where the people are.
  • File down your rough edges. “Authenticity” can be an excuse for bad behavior. There’s a difference between being transparent and honest, and being downright unpleasant and rude. Even at the end of the movie, the Grinch softens a bit – without losing his Grinch-ness.