Confronting All Those Challenges – Best of June

Challenges

One of many challenges

This month’s top articles consider a number of challenging “How-To’s”. Overcoming challenges of content marketing, social media, strategy and your business website. Also considered are the opportunities hidden in business trends and becoming more productive by loosening up on your to-do lists.

Social Media Top Challenges

Social Media Top Challenges

Social media has been around long enough for there to have some settled challenges for businesses, regardless of size and scale. Read on to discover what they are, and some ideas on addressing them so you can be more successful in this central component of your digital marketing.

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Productivity and the Space Beyond the Hand

The Space Beyond the Hand

The Space Beyond the Hand

How do you stay on top of all the things you have to do?

Productivity systems and books. To-do lists / apps, daily planners and date books. I have used and tried a good number of these over the years in a effort to get a better grip on “getting stuff done”, which is the goal of almost all of us these days. We read about the “5 Things the Most Successful People Do Everyday”. We try out yet another focus / productivity tool or app, attend workshops on time management / prioritization, and make lists of lists. So much of what we do feels like busy-work, even if it isn’t.

I’ve been thinking about this topic lately, especially in the context of “wasted time” or “wasted effort”, the definition of “productivity” and the holistic truth of our lives. One of the works that came to mind is the book Slack by Tom DeMarco.  I read it a couple of times after I first got it 14 years ago, in the context of working for a large corporation, and now I return for consideration in the context of being an entrepreneur approaching, one hopes in the next several years, something that looks like retirement.

There are a lot of things to be said for getting the numerous things you need to get done for your business and you life “gotten down” someplace. The nature of our lives today is information-driven, and the resulting tsunami of stuff to get done and make headway upon is generally too much to try and hold in your head without dropping a bunch of them along the way. I know several people who have cascading lists…that is, lists of lists….YIKES!

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Not the neighbor I was expecting….

The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan

Just before Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan, he was asked “Who is my neighbor?” The reason this question arose was because that same person had asked Jesus a question about how to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” The man answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus told him that he’d answered correctly and encouraged him to “do this, and you will live.” Then came the “clarifying question” about the identity of his neighbor and the parable followed.

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Social Media Blunders and Challenges, GDPR, and Just Keeping Up – Best of May

Best of May

Best of May

The month of May provided a bumper crop of great articles, and this is a concise digest of the best ones for your business!  They touch on meeting the challenges of social media marketing, as well as the things to avoid, the impact that the GDPR might have on your business, and how to keep up with the constant changes and new information available almost every minute (without going nuts…).

Blunders

OOPS!

It’s just as important to learn and know what NOT to do as it is to pick up the best practices….in many cases these kinds of tips have been gained by, shall we say, “learning the hard way!” Take advantage of others’ hard lessons and make the right moves.

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Keeping Up With The Fire Hose

The Fire Hose

The Fire Hose

Keeping up with the “fire hose” of the things I’m interested in is enough of a challenge. Add to that the, shall we say, “Dynamic” nature of my business of consulting in digital marketing, and it’s easy to see how specialization takes place. Being a generalist in any area, while of some value, limits your effectiveness with your customers….especially if your customers have wildly divergent businesses.

Granted, there’s a lot I bring to the table for them. As a rule, the business owners and entrepreneurs I work with are totally focused on their business passions and a number ore still working on become viable. They are all aware of the need for marketing, but having constrained resources (the usual 3: time, money, and personnel….many are solo-preneurs…) they try to start by doing it by themselves. A few searches on Google for resources or tips, a Facebook page, maybe a web site, and some even have a customer list they turn into an email list. By and large, they quickly realize that it’s possible to spend a LOT of resources and not seem to make much, if any, headway…

So, a couple more Google searches, maybe try to read a book on it, and, if they are part of a decent local business network, maybe asking a couple of colleagues what they are doing. They try tweaking a few things and wait a week (most of us are pretty impatient…..). Nothing seems to happen, or, maybe they get a “blip” in business….HOORAY!!!!

“So, ummmm…..what exactly did I do that caused that blip? Can I do it again, only better? How can I grow this into something that will drive my business?”

All good questions….

However, what I want to look at in this article is the work you do to “keep up” on your business. I will share with you a few things I do regularly to make sure I can be of the highest value to my existing and future clients.

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Value, Story, Strategy and Facebook Ads – Best of April

There are Stories....

There are Stories….

Key words for your business include VALUE, STORY, and STRATEGY (and for a LOT of us, FACEBOOK, too!). This month’s Best Of collection includes some ‘must-reads’ in these areas, plus a couple of great tips articles on Instagram and little-know Facebook features.

Instagram Fail

Instagram Fail

There are probably a “whop-tillion” (the official definition is ‘a one with more zeroes behind it than you can shake a stick at….’) articles and lists on the internet with titles like “Seven Things You Must Do to Get New Customers On LinkedIn” or “The Short List to Absolute Success and Better Skin Care For Businesses on Facebook”. Much can be learned, however, from the FAIL point of view on any platform or any process, to if you are invested in Instagram as a platform, or are considering it, THIS is the article for YOU!

Hidden Facebook Goodies

Hidden Facebook Goodies

Facebook was always a platform in flux, and now that the issues about user data and privacy have hit the headlines, changes are coming fast and furious. As a result, it is REALLY EASY to miss some of the more subtle goodies for marketing on the platform. Fortunately, the folks at Social Media Examiner haven’t missed them and share their findings in this article. Want to leverage the things that your competitors are probably NOT taking advantage of? Read on….

Strategy

Strategy

From an academic point of view, it would be really easy to write an article about the components of a good social media strategy. However, in this article, Dhariana Lozano takes the approach of what makes up a SUCCESSFUL strategy….and, of course, success is what you’re going for, right?

Facebook Business - Ads

Facebook Business – Ads

Everyone starts at the same place when spinning up your advertising online, and Facebook is the place where an enormous number of entrepreneurs and small businesses get going. This Guide of Eight (8) chapters is a terrific short school on how to get started, how to use the tools, how to set up a campaign, creating images and messaging, how to manage and review performance….all the bits that can take your Facebook marketing to the next level.

Blogging

Blogging

Blogging for your Business, eh? Then you are putting a lot of quality time and work into creating solid, gold-medal content….want to learn how to leverage that great stuff over and over again? Sure you do….

Story

Tell Your Story

A story is the shortest distance between a human being and the truth. We have been enthusiasts and consumers of stories for thousands of years, and the online experience is no different than anywhere else. So, how do you build out your story on your Facebook Business page to reach your VACC (Visitors / Audience / Customers / Community)?

Measuring REAL Value....

Measuring REAL Value….

As Nietzsche said, we value things that cost us. But cost and price are not the same. Cost is more like prize, as Steve Jobs alluded to in his keynote as returning Apple CEO in 1997. Something we earn through work, participation, and what we stand for, because we act on our beliefs. What is your business’ value?

Returning Customers – Elusive, Impossible, or Normal?

Returning Customers?

Returning Customers?

There’s always an emotional rush when you acquire new customers. They’re “taking a chance on you” and you have that all-important opportunity to make that first, and hopefully lasting, impression.

So THAT happens…..

So why don’t some first-time customers come back? This is a very important nut to crack for your business, especially since it’s always cheaper and more effective to nurture current customers than it is to have to always spend the resources needed to provide a steady stream of new customers instead. While there may be any number of reasons, four stand out:

  1. Early problems sour the relationship.
  2. You have no formal servicing system.
  3. There is communication breakdown with the decisions makers.
  4. It is easy for your customer to return to your competitor.

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Video Success and the Right Metrics – Best of March

Lamb of March

Lamb of March suju / Pixabay

March is going out like something like a lamb here in the Pacific Northwest…but the turmoil online with data protection concerns, Facebook revelations, and announced data breaches (apps, sites, phones….seems to happen everywhere….) draws more and more attention. Turning from these concerns a bit, this month’s top articles put some focus back on tips and opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the digital marketing world.

The Right Metrics?

The Right Metrics?

Thankfully, a lot of companies have moved past the “vanity metrics” problem of a few years ago. Still, to move past that to the numbers that truly reflect your online goals and move the needle for you business requires some research and work with an expert. Doing so will REALLY PAY OFF, so don’t shirk this….

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Listening: Attention or Intention?

Attention Listening

Listening

“PAY ATTENTION!!!!!”

In your life, how many times have you heard that phrase, either from someone else or your internal voice? Shutting out distractions like noise, devices or the torrent of thoughts and imagination that the Buddhist tradition has termed the “monkey mind” seems nearly impossible. We slap ourselves internally in some fashion, and try to refocus on the speaker. This can be just as jarring as the distractions themselves!

Mindful Listening is really not about attention. It’s about intention. Let me explain how I understand and experience the difference.

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Listening is Hard

Listening

Listening

As an intelligent business owner and entrepreneur in the 21st century, you are already very aware of the importance of listening to your customers, prospects and audience (your Visitors / Audience / Customers / Community (VACC): you can read more about what this looks like here …..). “Listen” is, however, a word that is subject to as many interpretations as there are ears…
Going a bit deeper, what kinds of listening are there that you can leverage?
Definitions of types of listening are as varied as there are authors of articles, books and consultancies whose purpose is to guide you to a solution that works for you and your business….a solution that results in the kind of success you’re looking for: that loyalty-balance of relationship quality and profitability, with credibility overall. It’s kind of like a combination of “the right tool(s) for the right job” and a high-wire balancing act.
  • listen-to-understand
  • listen-to-reply
Since every conversation only has 100% of the time allotted for it, whether it’s 20 minutes or 2 hours or more, more listening requires less talking.
So what does more listening actually do for this relationship you’re trying to build?
It is the key to building trust.

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