Archive for August, 2012

#6: Take a Quick Break – 10 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Social Media to Save Time

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

In this latest installment of 10 Ways Small Business can use Social Media to Save Time, we will discuss how social media can help stimulate your small business.

Fatigue in the office is nothing new, and learning how Social Media can help alleviate that fatigue can make your employees and you more efficient.

Whether you’re working in an office or at home, taking regular breaks is essential for your mental and physical well-being. In a traditional office, you could head to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee or down to the proverbial water cooler. But when you work for yourself, taking a break to join humanity is a little more involved. You can get in the car and drive to Starbucks for a quick latte, but that takes time and money.

You could call up a friend to check in, but who really has the time?  Instead, here are a handful of things you can do to take a much-needed mental break, all from the comfort of your own home, all via your Social Media networks:

  • Head over to Facebook and see whose birthday it is using the notification feature. Then leave them a birthday message on their wall (5 minutes).
  • Catch up on your favorite non-work-related blogs. Or read a few of the industry movers and shakers and leave them a thoughtful comment, linking back to your own site (10 minutes).
  • Post a question of the day (hashtag #QOTD) related to your niche, but in a “just for fun” sense. For instance, “What’s the last ___ you purchased for your ___?” This is a fun way to engage your Twitter followers, as well as gather some informal intelligence (5 minutes).
  • Yes, go ahead and succumb to playing games like Farmville or Plants vs. Zombies, just log in and play for a limited time. Set an egg timer next to your computer and stop when time’s up (15 minutes).
  • Check out the latest videos in your niche (did you know you can subscribe to other video creators’ YouTube channels?). Leave a comment or even create your own video response (15 minutes).
  • Log into LinkedIn and update your status. Then check in on some of your groups and see what the hot topics are. Offer your expertise if appropriate (15 minutes).
  • Do the same with Facebook. Visit some of the groups you belong to and leave questions, comments or other posts on the wall; make sure to leave links where possible (15 minutes)
  • See who’s commented on your blog lately and visit their websites, leaving comments and thanking them for visiting you. Reciprocity goes a long way to establishing strong relationships (10 minutes).
  • Go to the iTunes store and see who hosts the leading podcasts in your industry. Visit their blogs and start establishing a relationship with these movers and shakers (5 minutes).

Any one of these suggestions takes less time than a trip to the local Starbucks counter – or a trip to the water cooler, for that matter! Use your break time wisely and you’ll receive the double benefits of refreshment and audience engagement.

In our next installment of our series 10 Ways Small Business can use Social Media to Save Time, learn how social media can broaden the scope of your company and help share important information with your customers.

#5 Finding Resources – 10 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Social Media to Save Time

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

In this next installment of the 10 Ways Small Business can use Social Media to Save Time, readers will learn how Social Media can be used to find essential resources for your company.

If you’re in search of a great printer, you may just want to skip Elance and go directly to Twitter? Finding recommended vendors and freelancers for your business can 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. 1. 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 easily 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.

 

    1. 2. Twitter. While you’re missing out on the depth of information available on LinkedIn, you can get instantaneous responses from other users. For instance, tweet “Looking for a great online bookkeeper” and you will get dozens of responses within minutes. Give more weight to those that come from inside your network, though, as often a request for referrals will generate automated responses from spammers as well.

 

    1. 3. Facebook. You can post requests for referrals, just like on Twitter, and you can also search for people with those keywords in their profiles. Beware, though; just because someone is listed as “Penelope Bookkeeper” doesn’t mean they’re an expert. You could also post your request in groups that are associated with the topic (post a request for a logo designer on a graphic artists’ Facebook group wall, for example).

 

    1. 4. YouTube. It might seem a little strange to put out a call for resources via video, but why not? Especially if you have a significant following, you could get a tremendous response. Added benefit: If the project you have in mind has a visual aspect, you can demonstrate it right on the video (think office organization, website overhaul, kitchenette remodel).

 

Remember through, even if 14 people recommend the same marketing guru, make sure to do your due diligence. Get a written quote and scope of work, ask for a list of projects completed, and confirm that the person will be doing your project personally, not outsourcing to someone else. With these tips in mind, you should be able to find great resources at the click of a mouse.

In the next installment of the 10 Ways Small Business can use Social Media to Save Time series, readers will learn how social media can stimulate your employees and yourself so that your small business can run effectively.