What type of business benefits from a social media presence?

The most obvious answer is one with customers, but that’s a bit general.  Businesses that offer lots of products and [tweetmeme source=”alisonstoodley” only_single=false]that have seasonal changes are big benefiters of social media because they can inform their customers of new arrivals immediately and without them having to come to the store first to see what’s new.  In other words, any business in the retail sector will benefit.

Companies that offer services, from web design to hair dressing, will also benefit because of the reasons mentioned above but also because they can utilize the medium for educating their customers about little known or specialty services and that can move good customers into the great customer category.

What about a service/product that has a niche market? Say for instance you have a business that caters to people who want to lose weight, or over 40 dating services, or any number of services that target a specific niche, then social media can really be an excellent tool for marketing. Not only for the education and information aspects mentioned above but to also lend a feel of exclusivity to your business. This has the added effect of making people feel like their specific needs are being met, ensuring you have a customer for life!

Social media is allowing many types of businesses to ramp up their profile. It is creating customers out of audiences and is putting that customer in the driver’s seat – all good things considering people listen much more carefully to their friends and family than to mass media advertising.

Is your business benefitting from social media?  Share in the comment section below and maybe another business owner will see themselves in your success. Oh, and if you know a business owner that should have a social media presence but doesn’t, direct them to the Hands-On Workshop link in the right column of this blog, thanks!

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How to feel successful

There is something about being surrounded by success that makes me feel successful.  There are no new insights her, in fact every self-help writer, business coach and motivational speaker says exactly the same thing – work hard, emulate successful people and you too will be successful.  So I guess one of the first things to do is seek out those successful people and last night I hit the mother lode.

The annual NLOWE Conference took place yesterday at the Sheraton, a gathering of women entrepreneurs from all over Newfoundland for networking, workshops, seminars and the gala dinner where Entrepreneur of the Year Awards were given out.

To say the whole thing was inspiring would be an understatement. Regardless of your business or industry it is both[tweetmeme source=”alisonstoodley” only_single=false] humbling and motivating to hear a fellow woman entrepreneur thank her family, staff and mentors for their support as she accepts an award distinguishing her in her field.

As I drove home I felt renewed to accomplish great things with my business, inspired to push against my limits and motivated to get working – which I did, even though it was 11:00 at night.  I realized in that moment that although my industry is still very new, the ways and means to success are not –work hard, emulate successful people; words of wisdom for someone like me who plans to be at that podium one day!

The need for authenticity…

Nothing boils my blood more than inauthentic marketing.  From the  mascara commercials where everyone is  sporting ridiculous looking false eyelashes to the NL Tourism commercials that  have the landscape so saturated it looks like a Disney theme park. [tweetmeme source=”alisonstoodley” only_single=false] Do marketers think we can’t handle the truth? Are they really fooling people?  Surely no one can believe that mascara does that to lashes or that the colours of homes in NL are that blinding. Can they?

Make no mistake, authenticity counts. Especially in social media. The very act of engagement requires it and social media marketing is all about engagement.  If we feel like we are being sold something it often leaves a bad taste in our mouths, no one wants to feel like that.  Even worse,  if we feel we might get ripped-off we will never trust the marketing, the salesperson or the campaign.

The point of social media marketing is to engage your audience and give them something of value. Never forget, the audience decides what is of value, all you can do is reach out your hand and hope they shake it. Authenticity will ensure that when you do there is something real on the table and that no matter what you are marketing your voice can be trusted.  If you accomplish that, the sales will take care of themselves.

Can social media transform business?

Recently I have noticed a number of social media seminars popping up (my own included coming in May) from private and small to large and grand, it seems social media is on everyone’s mind. [tweetmeme source=”alisonstoodley” only_single=false] This is great to see,  not only because it validates what I do but because it means that businesses both large and small are seeing the benefits (translation: bottom line $$) of maintaining open lines of communication with their customers.  Because of this, social media has the power to transform business as we know it.  I know some of you will roll your eyes at that statement but think about it, how long would it take to get a major corporations attention in the past?  How many hoops would you have to jump through to get a message on the CEO’s desk?  Today, you can comment on a Facebook fan page and the CEO might be the one reading it.  Customer feedback is gold to any company and never before have they been able to garner it quite so easily.  Have something to say?  See if the company you want to communicate with has a Facebook fan page, chances are they do.  Write on their wall, comment on their posts and have your say.  Be a part of a revolution or start your own – your social media soapbox awaits!

5 things You Need to Know About Your Social Media Presence:

  1. Patience is key.  When you are first setting out on your social media(SM) journey it will take time to garner [tweetmeme source=”alisonstoodley” only_single=false] an interested audience. Don’t give up if you don’t get comments or feedback in the first few months, just have some patience and your efforts will be rewarded.
  2. It is better to be consistent than not. If you are not willing to schedule your SM into your calendar then it is probably best you don’t bother. An inconsistent effort says something about you in SM land – and whether it is true or not will not matter. Be consistent or go home.
  3. Offer value. If you are consistently trying to sell your audience they will switch you off. And don’t tease them with “call me to get the info” posts, give them the info in the post, if they deem it of value they will call you.
  4. Let your voice come through.  If you are naturally funny let that come out, your audience will appreciate the authenticity.
  5. Negativity is an opportunity. If someone posts a negative comment take the opportunity to show your audience how you tackle complicated situations. Rise to the occasion and show your audience the excellent problem solver you are. Don’t shy away or become defensive, you will appear childish and evasive and no one wants to do business with those qualities.
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