January Social Media Health Check

It isn’t just people who relax their healthy habits over the Christmas break; businesses can slump too, and January is often a time when we’re playing catch-up to get back into our good routines. But taking a bit of time off over Christmas can also be good for us: many of our best ideas come when we’re socialising and thinking about what we want out of the year ahead. Social media can be a great tool to use to promote new ideas and to do some of the heavy marketing lifting for us. With a strong social media presence, you’ve got a ready-built audience for new products and services, who will be happy to spread the word for you among their own networks. The more we build our online communities, the wider our reach, and the more targeted we can be with our marketing – we know who we are talking to and what they are interested in. If you don’t feel your social media presence is working as well as it should be, or if you’re putting a lot of effort in without seeing much in the way of results, maybe you need a New Year tune-up. You might … Continue reading

SMB productivity for 2014: Outsourcing

As we plod our way to the end of December it’s time to take stock of the year we’re closing the door on and look ahead to 2014. What are we proud of? What will we do differently? Here’s how outsourcing can revolutionise your business and your own personal energy levels into 2014. Not a dirty word There’s something a bit nasty-sounding about the word ‘outsource’. It has connotations of loyal employees facing job cuts as services are moved abroad. It sounds like you are placing the bottom line above employee and customer interests. Let’s face it, it’s a word for mean people. But I’d like to reclaim ‘outsource’ as a word that empowers people, that lets professionals focus on what’s important, that provides jobs and opportunities, and that is one of the most important decisions you can take if you run your own business to improve your productivity. Outsourcing gives you focus Business owners spend their lives trying to cram everything into just 24 hours of the day. There’s just never enough time and it is possible to lose sight of what’s important. That’s why we outsource: to clear away the tasks we don’t want to do or that … Continue reading

My top tip for 2013: say Thank You

Gratitude is a valuable asset, both for you and your company. It is something that you can give freely and does not run out. Gratitude is its own reward: it can increase customer loyalty, take your marketing further, and boost your productivity. Plus, it feels good. Saying Thank You to your customers It’s easy to say Thank You. Simply adding a personalised message to your automated sales receipts can make your customers feel valued. Companies such as Zappos will throw in a surprise free gift to loyal customers – it doesn’t have to be anything big, but a Christmas card or small token of your gratitude for their loyalty shows how much you appreciate their time and custom. Valued customers come back time and again, so just this simple gesture can pay off many times over and forge meaningful relationships into the future. Using social media to say Thank You There are hundreds of blog posts out there giving advice about how to improve engagement rates. One very simple method is to thank people when they share your posts. Your networks are just that: networks. They are nothing without the people who comprise them, so show how much you appreciate … Continue reading

Waterstones wins the battle of the ridiculous press release

Yesterday (2nd December) was Cyber Monday. This is not a reference to the date Terminators will triumph over humanity, Google publishes the world’s entire search history online or NSA sends everyone a party bag, but the biggest online shopping day of the year. It’s nearly Christmas, the November pay has arrived, and the American nation has collectively digested enough turkey to reach their keyboards. It was also the date Amazon released the news they were trialling unmanned drones to deliver parcels direct to your door. You can expect this 30-minute Prime Air service within 5 years, once the FAA have sorted out the necessary red tape complications. Now, it may not be April 1st, but I do have a healthy year-round cynicism. The video has already had over 6.5 million views, every major news organization has reported the story and the BBC coverage alone has generated over 1,000 comments. Apparently, my suspicions that the timing of the news-grabbing press release was not a coincidence are shared by beloved British bookshop Waterstones, who today announced the introduction of their Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service, or OWLS. According to their blog, “O.W.L.S. consists of a fleet of specially trained owls that, either working … Continue reading

Wednesday Tip: Linking to your website on your Facebook page

Just a quickie today: when you set up your business’ Facebook page, you’ll see a section called ‘Short description’. This is the tagline that shows up just under your photo and business description. Once you’ve typed in a short description, be sure to add your website link to this box. (No need for the https:// part). Why do this? I’ve added my website to the ‘website’ box already? Because when someone looks at your Facebook page, you want them to be able to find your website without searching for it. The ‘Short description’ section is always visible on the front page and your web address will automatically turn into a link, allowing people to click through to your website without having to go looking for it.