Seattle Shrimp Tank pros and Me (Social Sapiens)
I was asked recently to be interviewed on a podcast (of and for entrepreneurs and business owners…) of which I have been aware and have listened to a few times. Most of my familiarity with the content and tone of it, however, derived from my relationship with one of the co-hosts, Dan Weedin. Dan is a colleague, friend and fellow Rotarian, so familiarity bred a bit of lowered attention on my part, I admit.
Dan called recently and asked me if I would like to be interviewed for the Seattle Shrimp Tank podcast
. It sounded like a load of fun, so I agreed.
Some of the things we talked about include:
Where did social media start, what’s going on with it today, and where is it going? (the short version!)
What is the importance of thinking about business goals, plans and strategies when considering digital marketing and hiring an expert to help?
How important is it to learn how to express yourself well online? What is the balance of listening, asking powerful questions, and understanding in developing an authentic and powerful online presence?
What else is there other than the “usual suspects” of social media (like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Yelp, Instagram, Pinterest and the like)? Is there more there?
What’s the right frequency to post online?
If this interview brought up other questions for you about your business and professional presence online, please reach out to me
and also look for some other information that’s relevant to you on my site here
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 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.
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!
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.
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:
Early problems sour the relationship.
You have no formal servicing system.
There is communication breakdown with the decisions makers.
It is easy for your customer to return to your competitor.
So your 2018 has blown through the first month…how are things going? Out of breath yet?
There are constantly evolving things happening in digital and social media marketing (you HAVE
heard of the big announcement by Mark Zuckerberg
, right?!). This month’s round-up of the best-of-the-best includes a couple of terrific articles about the Facebook news, as well as thoughts on the importance of reviews, some thoughts upon analyzing a TON
of LinkedIn profiles, and several others.
Many analysts and marketing gurus agree that the folks getting hit the most by this update are small businesses. While most also agree that we JUST DON’T KNOW how this is actually going to roll out, this article from Entrepreneur.com has 4 recommendations on what you can do now to help mitigate the impact of this.
Surveys are notorious, from both sides of the subject…
As someone who gets at least a survey per week in my mail, I respond to very few of them. Sometimes it’s because I’m just plain busy when I first see it, and it feels like a drag on my time (the DELETE key is so very tempting…). Other times it comes from a source I almost never hear from, so I wonder why (s)he wants me to give them input now, when I’ve gotten so little from them of value to date. However, when I do respond, it is usually to a person or organization from whom I’ve gotten some kind of value over time, it is tightly proscribed (that is, won’t take longer than a couple of minutes to complete….), and concerns topics that I care about.
As a business owner and blogger, I take these motivations and concerns into account when creating surveys. During the month of November I ran a survey for those who subscribe to my newsletter and regularly read my blog. The single question was:
What are the topics you wish to learn more about to help you in your business?
Make the Leap to 2018
The end of 2017 brings a focus to planning, strategy and change in the marketing teams of every business, whether you have an actual team or it’s just you, the solopreneur. This collection of the best of December articles reflects this focus and gives you the thoughts and processes for consideration as you launch into the new year.
This article about sincerity and dialogue in business is my most popular for 2017. The value of sincerity in business cannot be overstated, especially as building solid, long-term relationships with your customers is easily one of the most profitable things you can do.
BOOKS: Ideas Bound
I have long had the habit of reading more than a book at a time…
Since the advent of the Amazon Kindle, however, this has become something that is second nature. I don’t think it odd, and, with the ready access to who-knows-how-many books and samples I carry around, it just “is”! Much lighter, and a bit easier to keep track of where I am in each one….
This has allowed an enhanced creative journey for me. I read several kinds of books, according to my mood and focus…right now I am in the midst of:
…along with a couple of physical books (I have an enormous number of them that I either haven’t read yet, or return to regularly…):
Loyalty, Strategy, and Connection
I’ve written a lot about loyalty, strategy, connection and relationship-building. My recent post about loyalty
went into some of the reasons that customer and audience loyalty is critical to your business. Another recent article about lining up your strategy with your actual problems
perhaps deals with a bit more about problem-solving and identifying where your strategy, such as it is, might not be a fair representation or plan that works within the realm of the daily reality you face. Another article concerned connections
, both real and perceived.
These are all related. Strategy is generally defined as some kind of innovation or reinvention process. If it doesn’t reflect the constant change the market and your business is experiencing, it isn’t strategy. It may be a corporate wish-list, a reason to have a kind of high-faluting retreat every year, or some kind of box-checking activity….although there are generally a lot of nervous, but well-meaning efforts aimed at it. However, if it doesn’t actually help your company break from old habits that are keeping you from at the very least repeating the same things every year, it’s not doing for you what it might.
Is loyalty a key component of your strategy? You realize that there is more to it than crafting good offers and making sure your customer service is stellar (both good things in the right priority….). It need not be itemized, but, since strategy with, hopefully, drive goals and action within your company (including what your employees are given as part of their roles and how they are incentivized…). Strategy that drives real change in a company is difficult, businesses rarely achieve extra-ordinary results unless they do something very strategic.