Blogging – the “fresh goods” of your business

Posted on April 6, 2009. Filed under: Small business communications | Tags: , , |

eyesOne of my clients (a very worthy organization) has me blogging for them… and you can’t actually get to the page.  I have been blogging in the dark vacuum of space now for a couple of days.

I fully expect the problem to be fixed by the end of today because the right people have been alerted – but this isn’t the first time I’ve seen blogs buried in the clutter of a website.  Another client currently hides the company blog deep in the sub-menus of their website, and updates it very rarely, even though this client is bubbling over daily with great ideas.  What a waste of a wonderful resource!

The way I see it, when you are blogging for a business, or to gain support for a cause, or just to share your ideas, why would you hide it where no one can see it?  Why not have a section on the home page that gives visitors one-click access to your latest helpful hint?  How about putting it right on the navigation bar throughout the site?

Because a blog is designed to be updated on a regular basis,  it can add ongoing freshness to your online presence.  It brings the aroma of fresh-baked goods right onto your site.  That’s attractive – people will go there to see what is new, and they will stay longer if they find news, thoughts, ideas or interactions when they get there.  Hiding your blog in the depths of your site is like having a storefront, and hiding in the back room with a “ring bell for service” sign out front.

Go stand in the middle of your shop, and interact with the people who come in.  Serve them your fresh goods with pride.

On that same note,  I am currently in domain-hosting purgatory, waiting for my blog to be united with the rest of my website.  Once everything transfers over, you – dear reader – will be the first to know.

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Social Media – as important to business as a telephone?

Posted on March 24, 2009. Filed under: Small business communications, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Which tools is more important to your business – social networking sites or a telephone?

retro telephone

Does it seem like a ridiculous question?

Up until this past year, I’m sure the standard answer would have been, “My telephone is an essential business tool.  Social networking – you mean Facebook? MySpace?  They’re a total waste of time, and I don’t let my employees use them at work.”

How things change, and yet remain the same. Think back to the tv series of old, where the boss says “Miss Smith, take a letter.”  That directive comes from a time when telephones were seen as a less-than-concrete way to do business.  If the order wasn’t in writing, then how could you be sure it happened?  Right through the 50s and 60s, telephones weren’t an obvious feature of every employee’s desk.  If everyone had access to a phone, then how could an employer be sure that Fred in accounting wasn’t spending precious working hours talking to his girlfriend?

Eventually, the business case for telephones trumped any fears, grounded or not, about their potential for misuse at work.  And this is the stage we are at with the adoption of social media tools for business right now.

Business owners know that people are spending less time in front of the TV, or at least being captive to the ads, and more time in front of the computer screen.  And that screen time is, more often than not, tied in some way to the Internet and the many interactive ways that we use it.   It’s where we go when it’s time to get a movie or a restaurant recommendation.  We log on increasingly to file our tax returns, to look up information on our children’s schooling and our parents’ aging.   The internet is the place where we spend our social time and do a ton of shopping.  And increasingly, we are sharing that information with friends, followers and connections on social networking sites.   If social networking sites are where customers are hanging out, then you can bet that business people looking to build relationships with their current and potential clients are going to want to meet them at those hangouts.

Put that way, it seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?  As important to business as a telephone? That day may well be here.  But using social networking sites efficiently for business is an art, much like the business use of a phone.  More on that in my next post.

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Twitter for Business? 5 Ways to Tweet

Posted on January 8, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

So you want to use Twitter in your business?  It’s easier than you think!  Here are five ways to use just a sentence or two to generate interest and add value to your followers:

  1. Let your followers see a bit about your life.  What is important to you? What are you reading?  Who inspires you?
  2. Share a quick fact about the work that you do.  Did your longest-standing customer just give you a phone call for another order?  Did you make a new relationship?  Let your people know.
  3. If you don’t have something personal, you can always give an industry statistic that will be useful to your followers.  eg: The number of Twitter users grew an amazing 26% last month.
  4. Along that same line, if someone you follow tweets about a good business-related news item, or an event that they are involved in that could be useful to your target market, “retweet” them by forwarding the message on to your followers. Good news travels fast, and spreads good karma too.
  5. Feel free to dish out your daily “trivia”, but make it meaningful. If you are going to share what you had for breakfast, see that you have a good reason to share it – for instance, you may be an athlete sharing what powers you through the day.  Or maybe that breakfast contained your first home-grown grapefruit, which lets people know that you have a green thumb and healthy habits. 

Here’s the bottom line:

Before pressing send, ask, “Is this going to help people know, like and trust me?”  Remember that Twitter is a very interactive, fast-paced medium.  People want to feel that they know you, and you want to put forth an attractive but authentic version of yourself.

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