Maximizing Twitter: 5 Key Ways for Small Businesses to Engage Through Conversations

Maximizing Twitter: 5 Key Ways for Small Businesses to Engage Through Conversations

One thing I have always liked best about Twitter is the conversations. Some people may think it’s nearly impossible to carry on a meaningful conversation when you’re limited to 140 characters per tweet, but that is really not the case. It’s less of a limitation and more of a creativity booster. Even better? The conversations can go on as long as the parties involved care to participate.

Brands of all sizes report a variety of benefits from having conversations on Twitter, such as: brand exposure, client acquisition, and everything in between. Twitter offers a more level playing field for small businesses – as well as larger corporations – to have meaningful conversations with other brands and individuals.

This article will show you some ways in which you can make Twitter work for your small business by engaging with your followers through conversations. And, just to state the obvious, the tweets and conversations from a small business will significantly differ from those of celebrities (either real or self-perceived), or even regular individuals.

Twitter for small business requires strategy and perseverance to accomplish the following:

  • Gain followers who are interested in your company and its solutions and/or products
  • Build relationships and brand awareness through conversations with your followers
  • Earn the trust of your followers through conversations
  • Generate leads and acquire new clients through Twitter while maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction with current clients
  • Provide relevant and valuable content which educates and entertains your audience – and which hopefully serves as conversation-starters with them

The following are five things a small business can do to effectively maximize Twitter and start having more (and better) conversations:

1)  One of the most important things a small business that is new to Twitter should do first is to learn the “rules” of the road…or the “stream.”

Observe how often others in your industry tweet, and what type of content they share. Learn to use relevant hashtags, but not too many. When you learn the basics about tweeting prior to starting conversations, you decrease the chances of making your small business look like it’s trying too hard to fit in.

2)  When initiating conversations or replying to someone, always remember to “@mention” the other user or users to specifically include them in your tweets.

Back in my day, you had to dial a 7-digit number on your (rotary) phone to specifically reach another caller. Oh wait, you still have to do that…although the number of digits you have to dial…I mean press…varies.

Twitter works in a similar way as the telephone. If you want to get someone’s attention in the stream, you’re going to need to use the “@” symbol in order to connect. Otherwise, your well-intended comment(s) for a specific someone or someone’s is going to get lost in the stream.

3)  Determine a strategy for having conversations on Twitter as a small business

Many people remain hesitant to have conversations with “logos,” so it means you may have to work a little harder to prove you’re really a human at first. Part of building a Twitter conversation strategy will involve deciding how you’re going to be “human” in your interactions. You’ll want to give people reasons to follow and engage with you.

Charlene Kingston says this about creating a Twitter conversation strategy in her article for Social Media Examiner:

People will follow you if you talk about things that interest them. Of course, you can talk about your business, offer discounts and exclusive specials, share practical tips and announce your business products and services. Be mindful that you need to talk about things that others find interesting if you want to build a community.

Choose your conversation topics carefully because it’s important that you really care about these topics. People can tell if you really have passion for a subject, or if you’re just showing up to sell them something.

4)  Be polite and professional in your Twitter conversations

I like to think of Twitter as a virtual cocktail party. The conversations flow constantly, and the topics cover anything and everything. As a small business, you can also participate in virtual cocktail party conversations. However, just like in a real-life cocktail party, you should always be polite. For example, make sure you’re not interrupting a private conversation. As well, if you’re joining a conversation, make sure you’re being relevant and adding value to it. Remember that you’re representing your business, so being professional is always a good idea.

5)  Avoid using Twitter conversations for showing off or promoting yourself or your small business’ agenda

It’s highly unlikely that someone is impatiently waiting for a business to sell them something while they’re hanging out on Twitter. If you’re thinking about doing so, just don’t.

I really like the way Toby Rosenbloom explains it in his article, “How to use Twitter to talk with followers and engage influencers”:

Twitter is the place that people go to let off steam and engage with each other – and certainly not to read your self-promotional content. The only way your followers will truly engage with you – and spread the word about your brand – is if you use your corporate Twitter account to strike up real conversation that offers genuine value; show love to your followers.

In other words, be authentic and genuine – and be yourself – when having conversations with your followers on Twitter. The sales will fall into place.

Over to you

How does your small business use Twitter? Are you having meaningful conversations with your followers, or simply advertising your brand? I’d love to hear your thoughts…please feel free to leave comments below.

How to use SnapChat for Your Business

Ask Mandy Q&A: How to Use Snapchat for Your Business

Ask Mandy is a weekly Q&A blog series. To ask your question about social media, please click here.

Mediated marketing is all about being ahead of the curve, and allowing companies to flourish when their campaign is strategically thought out. This may mean taking on a newer, smaller but very popular platform. With over 150 million photos snapped every day, Snapchat is on the fast track to changing the way teens through college-age kids communicate. This image-capturing application is a must for effectively establishing a marketing tactic to reach that audience that gratifies them by providing a different kind of thrill.

The basic premise of the app is to send a quick image or short video along with a quick caption to friends. The whole message has a very short life and recipients are only able to view the message for a designated time of 1 to 10 seconds before it disappears (or unless someone screenshots it). The creators said they designed this application with the focus on “sharing authentic but fleeting moments in life.”

A question that has been churning in business owners’ heads has been –

How can I use Snapchat for my business?

Snapchat allows businesses to promote themselves on a more personal level with this short-term visual message format. Snapchat may be more useful for targeting the younger generation but when it is done right, it can fit perfectly into your mobile marketing strategy. Here are four ways to create a great social media strategy.

Make it Personal

One of the many ways that makes Snapchat unique is the personal feel it can give customers. Your brand can pick specific individuals to snap and provide them with an exciting link to the business and the people who work there. Taco Bell was one of the first major companies to take this bull by the horns and released the marketing statement saying “its all about treating them [their fans] like personal friends and not customers.”

The Funnier the Better

Professionally designed images are great for Pinterest and Instagram but Snapchat isn’t that type of forum. On this platform you should go beyond what you would normally do for marketing. Snapchat is about using the “fleeting moments” to really show some humor in your office or about your business. This takes a special skill and you might have to call on a expert snapper to make some very original “Snapasterpieces” that will give your customers a good laugh.

Leave Them Wanting More

Offer special promotions that are exclusively for your Snapchat followers. Businesses that take advantage of this new way to provide coupons and other deals are taking advantage of this cost-effective platform to entice consumers. You can even hold contest or challenges to get customers to snap you back for a special “prize.”

Advertise an Upcoming Product

Consider using Snapchat in your upcoming launches or events to see if you can grab attention with it. Create a Snapchat campaign to reveal a new product and you will have customers on the edge of their seats and excited for the arrival. Show a piece of the new product or leave a message vague to intrigue them about whats coming soon. This will be a sure way to start engagement among your customers.

As social media continues to grow, it is crucial for companies to stay up to date with their customers on all platforms. By adding Snapchat to your mobile marketing campaign it will help your business to maintain a consistent and engaging social media presence.

What other ways have you used Snapchat for you social media marketing campaign?


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Confessions of a LinkedIn Slacker

Confessions of a LinkedIn Slacker

Everyone has social media platforms they prefer or are the strongest one. For many, LinkedIn falls to the wayside, mostly as an afterthought to Facebook and Twitter.

Yes, I am one of the ‘many’. Like yourself, I am surrounded by posts and people telling me LinkedIn is a gold mine and that should be my #1 platform. There are only 24 hours in a day. Simply said, something has to give. We cannot try to do them all, all of the time. It’s unrealistic to do all platforms 100%.

So why LinkedIn?

Everyone is on Facebook, so we are there too. Twitter is my biggest traffic director, so I spend a lot of time there. Google Plus provides me with great content and more quality connections. Pinterest is my personal outlet. Same of Instagram. That leaves LinkedIn, sweet promising LinkedIn. I know I could prioritize and move this platform on up. I do really try but usually it just gets stuff piled on top of it.

So why do I not prioritize LinkedIn enough?

  1. Time.

Time is a precious commodity. We have to fill each day to the fullest and not everything is going to get gone or used. For me, this is what happens with LinkedIn. When I do use it, it’s to publish a post or see who’s looked at my profile. Rarely do I ever spend time in my LinkedIn news feed.

  1. LinkedIn News Feed

So the news feed. What do I see? Person A has a new job. Person B is now connected to 10 new people. Person C shares a bit.ly link with no description. Not to mention the posts that are obviously from Twitter because they include “@soandso”. There’s just nothing of value for me in the news feed when that is all I see. Occasionally I will see a great post from someone, but it’s not that often.

  1. Groups

I’ve tried. I really have. Most LinkedIn groups I’ve attempted to take part in turn into a spam-fest. The owner of the group doing nothing but promoting themselves or people doing nothing but self-promotion all day long. Finding a quality group with quality discussion is rare. If you find one, please let me know.

  1. Spam

Ugh. The inbox. What really grates me is when I accept a connection and within 12 hours I get a self-promotional message. I can’t find the disconnect button quick enough. Or even if we’ve been connections for a while, PLEASE don’t send me a sales pitch. Maybe it’s par for the social media/digital marketing industry, but getting multiple sales pitches a week just turns me off from the whole platform.

  1. Very little interaction

With the exception of published posts (articles), most updates in the LinkedIn news feed go unnoticed. By unnoticed, I mean no likes, comments or shares. I will see some interaction and engagement on some posts, but mostly none. And I’m not alone. I see other peers I know post stuff with zero response or engagement.

What I can do to improve my LinkedIn experience?

  1. Set aside time.

I know I could be more successful on LinkedIn if I actually used it like I was supposed to. I’m sure I can find 10 minutes each day (or every other) to really work this platform for my advantage.

  1.  Find a few quality groups and get active.

If I ever found those rare quality groups with quality conversation, I would do my best to become active in that group and take part. Finding them is the key.

  1. Really work my news feed.

Congratulate people. Like posts. Really take a look at what is being published and posted.

 

So there you go – true confessions of a LinkedIn slacker. I’m going to try hard to rework being that platform slacker. How about you? Are you a LinkedIn slacker as well?? Please do share why.

 

Why Should I Use Promoted Tweets

Ask Mandy Q&A: Why Should I Use Promoted Tweets?

I love Twitter, though the fast-paced short conversations are not for everyone. Whether you’re jazzed about marketing in 140 characters or not, if your market includes active Twitter users, you might want to check out Twitter’s promoted tweets.

This week’s Q&A question is,

What are and why should I use Promoted Tweets?

Promoted tweets are simply tweets that have been purchased by businesses who want to reach a wider group of users or to spark extra engagement from existing followers. Promoted tweets are labeled as “promoted” when they are activated. Even with the label, the promoted tweet acts just like a regular tweet and can be retweeted, replied to, favorited and more.

I love the possibilities available with promoted tweets. Here are six reasons you should use them –

1. You have four different routes to choose from:

  • Promote Tweet using keywords – Reach people based on keywords they interact with.
  • Promote Tweet based on interests and followers – Reach people with specific interests or who follow a certain person or brand.
  • Promote Tweet based on Television programming – Reach people who engage with specific TV shows.
  • Promote Tweet based on tailored audience – Reach people based on your own data

2. Promote a Tweet to show up in the feeds of people watching a certain TV show.

This option is only available in the US and the UK right now. There are plans to add other countries. If your target audience loves Dr. Sheldon Cooper and watches Big Bang Theory, you can select “Big Bang Theory” and your tweet would only show up for those who tweet about or interact with the show. This option has SO much potential.

3. Your promoted tweet is always near the top of the person’s Twitter Feed.

According to Twitter, “Any promoted tweet people see in their timeline will appear just once, at or near the top of their timeline. Then, the Promoted Tweet will scroll through the timeline like any other tweet.”

4. You can promote a tweet to your email list.

With the “Tailored Audience” option, you can upload your email list and the promoted tweet will show up for those on your list.

5. You can put a promoted tweet in front of those users who follow your competitor(s).

With the “Interests & Followers” option, you can target Twitter users who follow your competitor(s). This is a great option if you are just starting out or know people have been unhappy with that business and you want to let them you are in business.

6. There are TONS of targeting options.

Not only can you go with one of the four routes above, you can also target your tweet to:

  • Show up in the user’s Twitter feed and/or in search results
  • Show up only on iOS devices or Android
  • Desktop and/or mobile users
  • Blackberrys (yes, that is an option!)
  • Geographic location

As with any other social advertising, you get a full analytics report showing how many people saw, clicked, retweeted, etc., so you know how the promoted tweet performed.

Have you tried promoted Tweets ? If so, how did it go?

Why I Won't Follow You Back

Why I Won’t Follow You Back

Two years ago I wrote two articles that became very popular on my blog – 8 Reasons I Won’t Follow You on Twitter and 8 More Reasons I Won’t Follow You on Twitter.

Since it’s been two years, I thought it was appropriate to back and revisit those 16 original reasons and see if anything has changed.

Before we get into the reasons, let me state, I love Twitter. It is the platform I’ve gotten the most clients from and that I spend the most time on. I tweet for business and personal and get followed by a lot of people. I do not, however, follow everyone back. Some commit the Twitter sins below, some just aren’t people I would not normally follow. If you are doing any of the below, please stop. Now.

     1. You do not have a profile picture.

This is still my #1 rule. People want to connect with people, not eggheads. If you have a business account and use your logo instead of a person picture, that’s fine, at least there’s something there.

     2. You have #teamfollowback or “I follow back” in your bio.

Ugh. Yes, this still holds true. I run far and fast from bios with these in them. You should be connecting with intent, not to get your followers numbers up as high as you can.

     3. #You #use #hashtags #way #too #much.

As a general rule of thumb, use no more than 3 hashtags. Two would be the sweet spot. Also, make sure your hashtag isn’t something like this – #ijustlovegeorgiafootballicantstandit. No one is going to read something that long.

     4. All you tweet is your affiliate links, a product you are selling or tweets guaranteeing me thousands of Twitter followers for $10.

I don’t see tweets with this as much. Unfortunately it’s all moved to the Twitter DMs. If you are still tweeting your DM-ing this type of stuff, STOP. Your first interaction with someone should NOT be a sales pitch.

     5. You tweet in a foreign language.

I’ve given some leeway here over the years. I used to not follow anyone who tweeted anything in a foreign language, but I’ve meet some cool people on Twitter who tweet in both English and their native tongue. I could remove this one from the list.

     6. You’re not a real account.

Yep – spam accounts are still out there. Want to know how I know you’re not real?  http://fakers.statuspeople.com.

     7. You post derogatory or offensive content.

No one should ever post content like this. For one, social media is not the place and two, we just don’t have time for that. This is a permanent rule.

     8. You’re in middle school or high school.

All social media platforms have an age minimum for a reason. I know parents who lie about their children’s age so they can be “like all their friends.” This momma won’t. If I know you personally AND you’re social media legal, I’ll follow you. If I have no clue who you are…well, sorry.

     9. You use True Twit Validation.

OMG this drives me crazy. I can understand wanting to prevent spambots, but I shouldn’t have to prove I’m a real person to follow you. If I get a Twitter DM asking for True Twit validation, you’re getting unfollowed or blocked.

   10. Your auto-dm is nothing but a shameless plug for me to download or buy your latest product.

This relates to #4 above. What grinds me the most is when I get a DM from someone offering me services I already provide. There is a bio for a reason, READ IT FIRST.

    11. You tweet me telling me you can buy me followers.

Fortunately, I do not get these anymore. However, I do get followed by people who now have it posted in their Twitter bio. At that point, I go to Settings> Report/Block and report their sorry you-know-what. I’m a rules person and doing something like buying followers will get my account deleted.

    12. You tweet every.single.minute.

Okay, so if you’re involved in a Tweet Chat you’ll have period where you are tweeting every minute. This really depends on what they are tweeting. If it’s from a chat and it’s great information, that’s fine! If it’s nonsense, then well, buh-bye.

    13. You haven’t tweeted in over a week.

This is my rule #2, except I now look at the past 2 weeks. If you’re not actively using Twitter you’re not going to see my tweets or anyone elses. I prefer to follow only active tweeters.

    14. Your profile picture is vulgar or inappropriate.

Enough said. Still.

    15. Your tweets are all posts from Facebook.

I still see this – accounts where 100% of their tweets are Facebook posts. I know it’s cutting out a step and making it a little bit easier, but rarely are your Facebook posts less than 140 characters. Plus only auto-posting from Facebook shows you aren’t actually using Twitter.

    16. I take the time to personally tweet you a thank you for following me and you ignore it.

Okay, so this is a bit of the pot calling the kettle black here. I get people thanking me for following all the time and because of time, I cannot respond to each and every one. I do, however, favorite the tweet so they know I’ve seen it and appreciate it.
Not much has changed in the past couple years. There are a few I would remove and some I would modify, but these pretty much still remain true. People on Twitter are supposed to be vocal and active, not passive and non-existent. If you are doing any of these, I urge you to please stop. You may be hindering your own account’s growth, and if it’s a business account, you could be losing business.

 

Did I leave anything out? Is there a reason you’d like to add or challenge? Let me know in the comments below!

Ask Mandy Q&A: All About Social Advertising

Ask Mandy Q&A: All About Social Advertising

Ask Mandy is a weekly Q&A blog series. To ask your question about social media, please click here.

I love advertising. It was the one Maymester class I took in college, partly because if I was going to sit in a class for 3 hours everyday for one month, it had to be a fun, interesting one. I spent 5 years in print advertising before moving into more full-service marketing duties. I learned A LOT in those 5 years and to think, it was all before social media!

Now that I work with clients on their social accounts, I’ve dived into social advertising on every platform it’s available. I’ve found it’s not that much different than print advertising, other than the fact it’s online and you can actually measure it.

Recently, my friend Sara Nickelberry with Social with Sara interviewed me about social advertising. In this week’s Q&A post, I wanted to share some excerpts from that interview and hopefully answer some of the questions you’ve had.

Should social media advertising be part of your social media marketing strategy? Why?

Mandy:
Social advertising should definitely be a part of your strategy – in fact, it’s a ‘requirement’, more like extremely strongly suggested, for my clients. No other advertising option out there can tell you how many people clicked on your ad or how many conversions you received. Social advertising is the only form of advertising that can give you a true measurement of ROI. Broadcast media and print can guesstimate how many people saw it based on subscribers or Nielsen ratings. Social advertising can get you a specific number. Try asking your TV or newspaper sales rep for that on your traditional ad :)

How effective are ads on Facebook and Twitter?

Mandy:
If used and targeted correctly, they can be effective. If you do a Facebook ad for the heck of it and target all 1 billion+ users, it’s like throwing darts blindly at a target. If you put in your exact targeting and use the right message, you’ll be effective in your efforts. Crafting the right message is key – you want something that is going to hook them when they read it.

For example, “Sign up for our emails!” is not going to get as many clicks as “Want a FREE iPad? Sign Up and You Could Win!” It’s all about getting their attention. Another example would be instead of using “Social Media Help” as your headline or tweet, use “Can’t figure out why Facebook isn’t working?” or “Did you really just tweet that?” You get the idea…

Do you think promoted posts/boost posts are effective?

Mandy:
If used correctly, yes. The promoted posts cause the post to show up more in your fans’ newsfeeds. Promote posts too often and you’ll get unliked or hidden. I once saw a social media “expert” promote a post asking how everyone’s day was. Seriously. In my opinion, that was a waste of money and I unliked the page. As a rule of thumb I only use promoted posts for specials, events, important news or epic sales. I save these for something really special. If it’s the right message, they will be effective. Just don’t promote a post asking how someone’s day was. That post didn’t do so hot.

What are some best practices for ad creation?

Mandy:
I’ve mentioned a lot of them already – know who you want to target, have a catchy headline and use promoted posts on Facebook sparingly. Another best practice is to use multiple photos with your Facebook ads. Use this as a test to see what images get the best response. For example, an author client of mine ran the same ad in Canada and the US with the same 2 images – one of the book and the other of him talking with an elderly woman. In Canada, the book cover image was our winner… in the US it was the picture with the elderly woman. The targeting was the same for countries. Use this option to see what really resonates with the ones viewing your ad. A new option (and best practice) for Twitter is to use a Twitter card with your ad. They now allow you to attach a lead generation card to a tweet and people can click and enter their name and email and Twitter will send it to you. Talk about gold! This is an awesome new option that I’m seeing good results with.

To read the entire interview, please click here.


Do YOU have a question about social media for businesses? Simply click here to ask!

Don’t miss out on our weekly Q&A! You can subscribe to receive these via email here.

The Consequences of Social Media Faux Pas for Athletes

The Consequences of Social Media Faux Pas for Athletes

It is that precious and most treasured time of the year—no, not Christmas—football season.

During this time of the year, weekends are not the time to relax, they are a time to strap on your colors and cheer on your team to victory come rain or shine, hell or high water. Fans explode with play-by-plays on Twitter and Facebook, they voice their anger and frustration, they celebrate their victories and mourn their losses, and they practically worship their players.

Now more than ever, athletes are being followed on social media. Every post they make, every hashtag they use is received by tens of thousands (in some cases millions) of followers all over the world. This kind of influence over the web can be extremely beneficial and extremely harmful. Many athletes have not perfected the proper use of their social media accounts and are unaware of the impact they can have on their audience.

Example… 3rd string QB for Ohio State. His account has since been deactivated.

cardale-jones-tweet2

The new social media tactic of marketing for the individual has inspired many athletes and celebrities to broaden their fan-base and influence the public. In just a short amount of time it has sky rocketed the popularity and reputations of many athletes, even pushing them a step ahead professionally. ESPN has began to investigate the influence social media will have (or already has) on the NFL draft in the coming years. For some players like Tim Tebow and Chad Johnson, their positive presence on social media will prove to have a helping hand in catapulting their career.

However some athletes are victims to their own social media faux pas.

The “catfishing” scandal of Manti Teo that exploded all over the news and multiple social platforms, is just an example of how one wrong move can create an unbelievably negative reputation over social media.

College recruits are being monitored on Twitter by teams who are interested in them. Just this past year, there have been recruits who had their scholarship offers revoked because of what they posted on social media.

The power social media has on sports does not stop at football and the draft. Athletes like the soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, basketball player Kobe Bryant, and tennis celebrity Rafael Nadal have proven to use social media to dominate in their field and promote their brand.

Example…

Despite an athlete’s reputation, the pure talent of the player will remain the deciding factor of their success. Seeing how athletes portray themselves over social media is a great indicator of how well they will handle their future fame and disputes.

Who do you think are some athletes who are doing it right?

Article Sources:

How to Find Success Using Social Media

Ask Mandy Q&A: How to Find Success Using Social Media

In the somewhat modified words of Forrest Gump…

Using social media for your business is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.

Contrary to what some may say, social media success does not happen overnight. Yes, something may go viral, but that doesn’t mean you are going to be successful for more than 15 minutes. Having success using social media for your business is hard. With platforms’ ever-changing algorithms, it can be a lot to take in.

So that leads me to this week’s question…

How can I find success using social media for my business?

Success will come to anyone who works hard enough for it. This is not something that you can go into blindly. I am convinced there are eight major attributes to having success on social media.

Find your voice.

This is one of the important keys to success. You have to know who you are what you stand for. Crafting your own voice among the chorus of millions will help set you apart. What are your strong points? What makes you different?

Blog and do so consistently.

You will build your authority through your writing. The more you write (for your site and others), the more visible you will be online. As long as you are publishing quality content, you will see your following grow. Start small – one post each week and build from there. Don’t bite off more than you can handle.

Network on and offline.

You would think with social media, there would be no need for any offline interaction. Wrong. I networked offline for the first year of my business. Almost all of my clients were local, but as time went on the non-local stuff came in. Especially if your business can service non-local clients, you need to have a good balance of online and offline activities. Which leads me to…

Start local.

Start where you live and branch out from there. Yes, the clients may be smaller and not pay as much, but everyone has to start somewhere. Seek out those within 50 miles of you that may need your product or service. Start local. Start small. Then grow.

Make your business your first client.

I cannot stress how important this is. I see so many social media pros with hardly any following and activity on their accounts who make the excuse that they are “too busy with their clients to manage their own accounts.”  COP OUT. When someone is looking to hire you, they want to see what you are doing. If they don’t take care of themselves, how are they going to take care of you?? Think on that.

Continue to learn.

Social media is always changing. It’s important to attend webinars, read articles and continue to educate yourself. If you don’t keep up, your competitor will and you’ll see the migration of your clients to them. This is like any other job. Things change and update and so must you. Being on top of all of the latest happenings will show your clients you know what you’re doing.

Follow influencers.

I’ve been told to mimic the actions of those I admire and respect – my influencers. You can learn so much from watching what these guys are doing. Subscribe to their blogs, become active in their community – doors can and will open.

Suggestions: Mark Schaefer, Brian Fanzo, Neal Schaffer, Peg Fitzpatrick to name a few.

Have faith and believe in yourself.

Success doesn’t come easy. You will fail at times. I’m not going to lie. Just have faith in yourself that you can do this – believe that you have the ability and you will see success happen right before your eyes.

Success can be measured in a wide array of terms – clients, money, retweets, impressions. Only you know what defines success to you. If you do just a few of the things I mentioned above, you’ll see the success. It may be small at first, but everyone starts somewhere.

Did I leave anything out? What advice would you give?

Searching For Blog Post Ideas Can Be Frustrating. These May Be Useful...

Searching For Blog Post Ideas Can Be Frustrating. These May Be Useful…

I have yet to talk to a single business blogger who always has the perfect topic every time they sit down to write a blog post. And, as for those who claim they never have this challenge, I have a hard time believing them. As for me, I will be honest in saying I have blog post ideas all the time, and I’m sure you do as well. So let me step back and say it’s not necessarily having a “lack” of good blog post ideas that’s the issue at hand. Rather, it’s more about being unable to come up with blog post ideas that are timely, relevant, and valuable to your audience.

I’m personally a firm believer in keeping business blogs professional. When most people start searching online for a company with which they want to conduct business, it’s the company’s website and blog that often provide these potential clients with their first impressions. And you know what they say about first impressions, right?

We often hear about the importance of being ourselves when blogging. We want to attract people who want to do business with us, just as we are. We want to be authoritative in our niche, but we also want to engage and have conversations with others through our blog posts. Sometimes it might seem impossible for businesses to maintain a professional tone with their blog posts while still being themselves. I can attest to the fact that it’s no easy feat. Luckily, it’s not impossible either.

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How to Be More YOU in Your Business

Ask Mandy Q&A – How to Be More YOU in Your Business

Ask Mandy is a weekly Q&A blog series. To ask your question about social media, please click here.

When thinking about how to be more myself, I am reminded of a scene from my favorite Disney movie, Aladdin, where the Genie (voiced by the late Robin Williams) is giving Aladdin advice about Jasmine and morphs into a bumblebee and says, “just beeee yourself.”

Many times we can get caught up being someone we’re not to put on a certain facade for business-sake. We all want to appear to be that smart, innovative executive who can handle anything. It’s not about faking who you are, it’s more like being scared to be who you are.

This week’s question was one I’ve been asking myself and have fielded more questions about in recent months –

How can I be more ‘me’, who I am, in my business?

Businesses are built on relationships and personal touches. With the evolution of digital and social media marketing, businesses are more vulnerable than ever. There’s an air of transparency that hasn’t been seen since the Middle Ages. Mark Schaefer recently put together a Slideshare that makes 5 points about that exact topic.

He points out that…

  1. Business was person to person.
  2. There was transparency.
  3. There was immediacy.
  4. Success depended on word of mouth.
  5. There was a primal need to connect.

Before the first radio advertisement aired in 1920, that is how business was done. There were no ads yelling at you on the side of a bus, during your favorite TV program or after your favorite song. I am seeing a trend that goes back to what Mark wrote about – being yourself in your business.

So why should you be yourself in your business?

  • You allow your community to get to know you.

    By being ‘real’ and letting the community in on yourself, you’ll find more personal & meaningful connections will be made.

  • It shows your true personality.

    Show your funny, entertaining side. If you’re a sports fanatic, like me, share it! No one wants to follow a boring robot. Showing your true personality will show the world you are a real person.

  • Being yourself in your business allows you to relate and be empathetic.

    When you can relate to someone, a common bond is made fostering a relationship that could lead to a new client or a new business partner.

The reasons aren’t that complicated. Being yourself in your business should be second nature. Depending on the industry you’re in, you may feel a little constrained in doing so but it’s still okay to be yourself.

So now, how??

You can be more of yourself in your business by –

  • Writing from the heart.

    If you blog, write like you are talking to your best friend (just exclude the gossip!). Write what’s on your mind and heart – you’re wanting to form that bond while being yourself and there’s no better way to do it that to just write from your heart.

  • Interact with your community.

    This should be a no-brainer, but you wouldn’t believe how many people who claim to be social media “experts” simply do not respond and interact!! Respond to comments, make funny jokes where it’s appropriate, even make fun of yourself! In business, communication is a two-way street.

  • Be honest.

    Like interacting, this should be a no-brainer, but there are many people who hide behind their computer screen and portray a persona that is not them. Being honest also applies to plagurism. Do not EVER pass off work (no matter the industry) that you did not do. Honesty is part of your character.

  • Show your failures…and successes.

    Nothing shows how real a person is is when they admit their failure. Every person has them (including me) in their professional lives. CEOs, CFOs, the mail clerk – everyone has failed at something at sometime. It’s okay to admit them. I did – it was hard, but I found a great support system by doing so. On the flip side, it’s okay to show your successes as well. Just don’t become a braggart and alienate everyone.

  • Give away free advice – to an extent.

    Yes, I did just tell you to give away free advice. Nothing is a bigger turn-off than going to someone you respect to ask a question and being told that you have to pay a certain amount of money for them to answer it. Giving away free advice shows your community you value them and want to help them. The more complicated stuff? That’s what you would need to charge for. Being very aware of your time.

  • Share parts of your personal, non-work life.

    I love it when people share bits of their life outside work. You really get to know a person when they let you in on what’s going on outside of the professional world. For example, here’s a few pictures from my life!

how to be yourself in business

My daughters cooking with my 91 year old grandmother.

how to be yourself in business

Heading back home to Missouri for a week.

how to be yourself in business

My 3 favorite people 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See? It’s not that hard to be yourself in your business.

What are some ways that you be yourself in your business? Share with me below!

 

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