Displaying articles for: November 2018
Social Media Efficiency: Getting Better Results Faster
Most businesses now use social media, but for a small business it can be overwhelming to try to get it all done – especially when you’re the one running the business. Social media can become a huge time-suck and make you feel like you’re spending lots of time without getting the results you want.
How do you avoid this?
There are numerous strategies that you can use to stay focused and improve your return on investment, or ROI. They work beyond social media as well, and you can apply them to your general productivity.
1) Prioritize Your Efforts
When it comes to social media there is no end to what you could do, the question is what you should do. Prioritizing seems obvious yet often we end up spending time on things that don’t really have a big impact.
It’s easy to get lost in social media, so be intentional about getting focused on results. Over the last few years social media has become much more competitive – businesses are now better off doing a few things well vs. many things poorly.
Once you’ve prioritized it is also helpful to think about your activities as efficiency or effectiveness. Is this something I should aim to do quickly or well?
For example, as I am figuring out best practices for Facebook ads and testing different things my goal is to aim for effectiveness – I need to put in some time to do things well.
On the other hand, posting to Twitter is something I want to be efficient at – I need to quickly post a few status updates a day that fit within my content plan.
2) Create a Time Strategy (and set a timer!)
When it comes to social media tasks they can usually take as much (or as little) time as you allow them to. In order to protect your ROI, it’s helpful to decide how much time you are willing to invest in a specific activity based on what it is worth for you.
When I have new employees I ask them to write a blog post. Many of them spend 4+ hours on their first post. For the first post that’s okay – I want them to feel comfortable with what they are writing, but on an ongoing basis a blog post isn’t high impact enough to justify that time investment. After their first post I set a limit – write a post in 45 minutes or less.
It is a little like cooking dinner – you can make a meal in 30 minutes or 30 hours. In theory, the 30-hour dinner will be much better, and there may be times that it is worth the investment (like Thanksgiving). But for the day-to-day meals 30 minutes to an hour will create a pretty good meal.
Think about ROI and decide how much time you will allow tasks to take up. Set a timer and manage your time closely.
3) Have a Plan and Workflow
In order to effectively manage your time it is important to have a plan and a workflow for every activity.
For example, if I log in to LinkedIn without a clear agenda, I can easily find myself 20 minutes in without having accomplished anything. I’ve scrolled through some news, liked a few updates, and checked in on a few friends.
Instead, if I login with a clear plan I can make those 20 minutes really work for me. I use a checklist that prioritizes what I am going to do on LinkedIn and challenge myself to spend my time efficiently adding value. My LinkedIn checklist looks something like this:
- Respond to connection requests
- Scan “people you may know” and add people
- Comment on 5 posts from high-value contacts
- Add a status update
- Create 2 posts in groups
The key to success is knowing what matters to drive value for my business and focusing on what matters most to me.
4) Use Automation and Tools
Tools, tools, tools. The most common things that people ask about in social media are which tools to use. There are tons of social media tools and different people find value in different tools based on their unique needs.
Investing in tools, processes, or systems to help you to become more efficient is a no-brainer. I once worked with an ad agency that manually created reports for their clients. They could have easily automated this for $50 - $100 a month and instead spent 10+ hours a month creating reports manually. Not only did they spend a lot of time, but the automated reports from a tool would have been better vs. what they were creating.
Determine if a tool will allow you to execute better or faster, and start by looking at the tools that have the potential to save you the most time.
Keep in mind that there are MANY tools available to achieve most tasks, and they are often fairly similar. Start evaluating a tool by thinking about what you really want to achieve. Then evaluate a handful of tools that have the features that you really need and do them well.
One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make is signing up for tools that they don’t have the capacity to really use. Make sure that you have the capacity to use the tool to really get results before you spend time researching and money signing up for it.
I’ll share some of my favorite tools on the free webinar I’m doing with Verizon Small Business. You can join in here!
5) Repurpose and Re-promote to Maximize ROI
One of the best ways to get more bang for your buck with social media is to re-promote and repurpose your content.
So many businesses create great content and then move on to the next post. If something does well for you – use it again! Some businesses on Facebook re-promote the same post 10 times a year to maximize the impact. On Twitter businesses can re-promote the same thing a number of times a week.
If the content is evergreen, meaning it isn’t tied to something time-based that would make it seem outdated, you can re-promote it even more to really maximize your ROI. Also, keep in mind that not everyone sees every post – so it is ok to repromoted your content.
You can also repurpose your content. If you have a blog post that performs well, consider turning it into a video or an infographic. You can also take the same idea and reposition it into a few different posts that will resonate with different audiences.
Being efficient in social media is extremely important if you want to drive impact and maximize your ROI.
Do you want to learn exactly how to do this? Join my Free Webinar with Verizon Small Business!
In this webinar we’ll cover how to:
- Avoid the social media time-suck
- Prioritize your efforts
- Create a strategy for how to spend your time to maximize results
- Use automation to drive your social media
- Build a workflow to manage social media effectively
- Identify top tools to use to get more out of social media
- Repurpose and re-promote content to maximize your impact
Is your business ready for Small Business Saturday?
Small businesses are a big part of America; they employ 48% of the private workforce and make up 99.7% of all businesses. That’s why we’re passionate about events that support and celebrate small businesses. The upcoming Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity to raise your business profile with local shoppers and members of your community. We spoke to two small business owners—who have been participating for over four years—to find out what the annual event means to their business.
Better publicity for local businesses
Louis Ditcher, owner of Louis Neil Watchmakers in Philadelphia, PA, participates in Small Business Saturday by offering customers special offers and discounts. He thinks it’s a great event for businesses and would encourage everyone to participate. “It doesn’t take me a lot of time—American Express sends me the free materials to use so there’s really no reason not to do it.” Plus, the free publicity helps raise the profile of his business, so if customers need their services in the future they know where to look. Louis adds, “If one person sees it and comes in that wouldn’t have come in for any other reason, then it’s already a bonus.”
And Tanya Sucic, owner of Cherry Lane Flower Shop in Southampton, PA, agrees. “It’s definitely something small businesses need to be involved in, and it’s so easy to participate.” Tanya’s store has also been celebrating Small Business Saturday each year. “We always try and promote Small Business Saturday as much as possible—we make use of all the free assets American Express supplies and add ourselves to their online map. We rely quite heavily on American Express to help promote our business during the event, as they have the scale and reach that our small budget just can’t compete with it.”
Without events like Small Business Saturday to help bring attention to them, small businesses can often feel forgotten in the shadow of larger mass-market companies. “It’s so important that people see the value of small businesses,” Tanya explains, “We are the experts in what we do. As long as we’re presenting things in new and unique ways, and always offering great service, that’s what’s going to help keep small businesses alive.”
Shopping small isn’t just a one-day thing
It’s not just about one day of publicity, events like Small Business Saturday are a great way to get people thinking about how they can support small businesses all year round. As Tanya explains, “Each year throughout this event we hope to gain more walk-ins, but it’s also about getting customers to understand the importance of supporting and shopping in their local brick and mortar stores.” She adds, “Shopping small is something that we should all be doing throughout the year, not just on November 24.”
That’s why we need to be encouraging not only consumers, but businesses too, to participate in this event. Without the participation of local businesses, the event wouldn’t be as successful as it is. And the more businesses that join in, the more of an impact it can have on consumers and local main streets. “Small businesses are important to local communities on so many levels.” Tanya says, “The more dollars you spend there, the more that stays in the community to support other local services and initiatives. It really is that simple.”
How is Verizon supporting small businesses?
Verizon is happy to partner with American Express on Small Business Saturday. We’re always looking for ways to help our small business customers; whether it’s through our Small Business Rewards program, our products and services, or supporting events like these. Louis can see the value, “it’s nice to know that some big companies are there with ideas for you when you need them.” And Tanya agrees, “I love that Verizon is able to support us with our technology, and that they promote events like this. And as a small business owner, it makes me feel better knowing that someone like Verizon has my back.”
Our Small Business Rewards program rewards small businesses every day for just doing the things they normally do. It gives businesses the chance to earn points and use them to redeem gift cards to help towards their business expenses. Both Louis and Tanya are members and actively check the site daily for new rewards and learning materials. “It’s a win-win situation. If you’re doing business with Verizon anyway, why not reap the rewards?” says Tanya. If you’re not already a member, consider joining today.
Get out there and promote your business
Small Business Saturday is fast approaching, but there’s still time to register your business and participate in the event. It’s free to join and American Express has lots of materials for you to download and use. Just like Louis and Tanya have done, this is your opportunity to get involved and support your local community—all while raising your business profile. Discover more information about the different ways you can participate here.
Get involved and promote the shop small mentality—not just on this Saturday but on all days, and help keep small businesses alive.
The content of this post is solely from Verizon, not American Express.
Let’s get serious about cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is important. You know that. We know that. But why are so many businesses not doing enough about it? It can be for a number of reasons, from lack of knowledge to lack of budget. But just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you can’t protect yourself. There are plenty of things you can do that can have a huge impact and won’t break the bank.
Each year, Verizon produces the Data Breach Investigations Report, which looks into real incidents and breaches across a variety of industries. This report helps highlight the biggest risks to businesses and can help you identify where your own security could be strengthened. But we know our report can seem daunting, and small business owners are often too busy to read it in full. That’s why we’ve pulled out the recommendations that are most practical and actionable for small businesses like yours, to help you understand how you can better protect yourself.
Are you making these 3 common mistakes?
We all make mistakes, and that’s fine. What isn’t fine is when we keep making the same ones. And when it comes to cybersecurity that’s what a lot of businesses are doing. Whether it’s using the same passwords for multiple accounts, failing to back up data, or falling for phishing—companies are still doing it, and the consequences could be severe. Now is the time to improve your defenses, train your employees and learn to stop making these same common cybersecurity mistakes. Read our guide for actionable tips your business can use right now.
Avoid these 3 common excuses.
“It’ll never happen to me,” “I’ll sort that next week” and “I can’t afford better cybersecurity.” Sound familiar? These are just some of the reasons small businesses procrastinate when it comes to cybersecurity. But tomorrow could be too late—don’t wait to be the victim of an attack before looking into your defenses. There are plenty of things that you can be doing right now to help avoid becoming a negative statistic in our next Data Breach Investigations Report. Read our guide now.
3 simple rules to improve your cybersecurity.
Protecting your business from threats can seem daunting, but effective cybersecurity doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It doesn’t matter if you already have policies in place, or if you’re a complete beginner, there are simple things you can do to improve your defenses—from correct disposal of data and devices to better management of employees and their own devices. Read our guide for real actionable tips your business can use right now.
All businesses are at risk from cyberattacks—no matter their size. And all businesses can do more to improve their cybersecurity. Give your business the protection it deserves and don’t put off till tomorrow what can be done today.
Follow our tips and get proactive about security. And for even more advice, talk to one of our security experts.
- Everyone's Tags: