Category Archives: Small business

Blog posts that will interest small businesses.

Where does social media fit in your business?

Good evening, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

The blog today is about understanding that social media does not operate in a vacuum.  The high tech (not!) diagram below shows where social media fits into business.

FIRST – Set Business objectives, eg to grow the business by 10% in 2010

JOINT SECOND – Set Sales objectives, eg $1million in sales in 2010

JOINT SECOND – Set Marketing objectives, eg to grow market share to 15% in 2010

THIRD – Set Social media objectives, eg increase the number of likers on the Facebook page to 1000 by June 30th

Social media is an activity in a business that needs to be treated as a business activity, not a fluffy add on to make the business/brand look trendy and down with the cool kids.

Before you get into too deep into your social media look at your business objectives and where social media fits into them – is it helping you achieve your business goals?  If not why are you doing it?

Love to hear your comments…  Tell me below or on the Social Rabbit Facebook Page.

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Filed under Small business, social media

Additional benefits of social media

Good Afternoon, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

There are many good reasons why businesses should be using social media, these are the standard…

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Engage customers
  • Build relationships
  • Increase sales
  • Build trust
  • Get ideas
  • Listen to customers

However there are also some others that are not mentioned quite as much….

Brand Protection

People are chatting about your brand/business/service saying OMG I had the most awful experience and would never go again etc.  You can listen to this and help change their perceptions (and others with it).  By listening to customers via sites such as Social Mention or Addict-o-matic or even just using Google/Bing or Yahoo you can find out what is being said,  is it good, bad or indifferent?  You can jump in and nip complaints in the bud before they get out of hand, and therefore protect your brand.

Market Intelligence

Use the tools I mentioned above to see what your competitors are doing, what is working for them?  When are they doing it?  How are they doing it?  What are they using?  How often are they using it?  Try to find out where the gap in the market is that you can jump into.

Customer Service

There are already a number of companies using Twitter (mostly) for customer service, eg Best Buy, Telstra and Cisco to name a few.  There are also many Facebook pages using it as a customer service tool with people monitoring the pages continually.

Barrier to Entry

By building up a following for your business/brand/service/product you can create an effective barrier to entry that money can’t buy.  Companies cannot buy trust and loyalty very easily, so for small businesses this can set you apart from larger competitors and effectively prevent others from entering your space.

Retention and cross-sell

This is similar to the selling angle that often gets discussed, but instead of selling products to new customers try to sell different products to existing customers.  They already trust you, have a relationship with you, so it should be easier….

Recruitment

IBM used a gaming video to teach people about business process management, they made it fun, and by doing so changed the perception of IBM with uni graduates, so that they now want to join IBM.  Here IBM changed the company perception and educated customers in a fun way.  People who love what the company is doing will want to join, so they find you rather than you finding them!

Younger generation appeal

Similar in the way that social media  repositions a business’ reputation as a fun, innovative place to work it can also widen the appeal of the businesses products and services.  Coach bags in the USA crowdsourced bag designs because they wanted to appeal to the 14- 24 age group.  Through social media they did this and so repositioned the brand in consumers eyes as appealing to them rather than something my grandma uses!

Staff Engagement

This is something I have experienced in my business where the team pull together to represent the business to customers.  They like to be involved, particularly those who are not usually on the front line because a) they feel valued and b) they feel that they are making a difference.

All of these reasons are even more reason for your business to get involved.  No longer is promoting your business about who shouts the loudest, instead it is about who is creative, innovative, up with the times and are playing where their audience are.

What do you think?  Are there any other benefits that you are experiencing that I haven’t mentioned?  Let me know in the comments below or on the Social Rabbit Facebook Page.

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Filed under Small business, social media, twitter

Facebook Friday: Active Management

Good morning, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

Today’s Facebook Friday reviews a service business – Active Management, a business consultancy firm.

What’s Happening on the Page now

  • 325 people like the page
  • The page has been going since August 11th 2009

What’s working:

  • Great landing tab using video
  • Good regular posting
  • Great that they have the URL www.Facebook.com/activemanagement
  • The slideshare tab has a number of great presentations on it, however I am a little confused as to why presentations by people other than Active Management are on there

Recommendations

  • The info tab basically contains nothing!  This is a huge missed opportunity, it needs to be rich with keywords explaining what the service is and about the company.  Even though there is not that much space in which to write text there is currently nothing about the business.
  • Look at increasing the size of the profile pic (there is 180 wide by 540 pixels high to play with) to include an image/s as well to make it stand out more
  • Use the thumbnail tool for the thumbnail pic, so that you are not just getting “ctiv” but something more interesting, baring in mind that this needs to standout in likers newsfeeds
  • The welcome tab, although it is interesting I didn’t get the same message as the info box “We are Australia’s only fitness consultancy who has been a personal trainer, sales person, manager and owner! We understand your challenges.  We provide you the tools to make your business profitable.”  As a result I am left feeling rather confused I got the impression it was about business coaching….
  • Although the posting is regular it isn’t engaging people, there is one guy who comments every now and again, but that is more or less it.  The posts need to be more interesting and engaging, instead of just stating facts/articles.  Ask questions, check out the blog post on Power Posting.  Make it easy for people to respond to posts, give them either or options, ask easy questions.
  • There are a lot of tabs on this page, and I suspect that many aren’t being viewed, it would be a good idea to check these out at www.facebook.com/insights and see where people are going and then tidy it up
  • The discussion tab hasn’t been used for 6 months, so I would suggest use it or lose it
  • The reviews tab – there are no reviews, so either get someone to write one or two or get rid of the tab, it makes it look like there is nothing good to say!
  • There is nothing on the notes tab, again use it or lose it
  • The “we read” tab has obviously been added and the page admin has thought I’ll come back later and modify this and hasn’t.  This is not a good reflection on the business, it adds to the slight feeling of confusion
  • There is a tab called Active Mgmt which has EVENTS, BLOG and MEET JUSTIN TAMSETT.  There is nothing in the events section, so there is not much point of having that if it isn’t used.  The blog is good, but you can’t subscribe to it there and then, you need to go to the box on the wall to subscribe – Facebook are getting rid of boxes, so it would be better if people could subscribe where the blog is.  The meet Justin section could easily be included in the info tab.  This tab is I am guessing created by Thinktank Media, because they have branded it, I would think about this, it gives the impression that Active Management and Thinktank Media are related, I don’t know if they are or not.  But this tab is doing nothing for me, and should be ditched and replaced with a blog tab using an app such as Networkedblogs.  Plus this tab is recommended viewing on the welcome tab, but I think it is disappointing in content
  • Check typos when posting
  • On the wall 30 minute sales training events are mentioned, these should be added to the events tab if that is going to be used
  • There are a number of favourite pages mentioned, so what about using the notes tab to show how Active Management have helped these fitness club, in a kind of mini case study on each one
  • How about including interviews with clients and having client testimonials on the Youtube tab
  • There are tips on the website, but these could be incorporated into the Facebook page as well, even having something like a tip a day for 7 days, this will keep people coming back to the page, and encourage new people to like the page
  • Encourage visitors to tell their story of what they have experienced in their club
  • Perhaps have a q&a section on the page once a week for visitors to ask Justin questions
  • Invite celebrity posts, eg someone who has been running a club for 10 years to give a top tip and then someone who has been running one for year.
  • There are a few call outs for more fans/likers, but give people a reason to join – there are free ebooks on the website offer them these, don’t assume that people are going to spend time finding them

Summary

The Active Management page has all the info in there, but there needs more consistency in terms of message.  Having poked around on the page for about 30 minutes I know think that it is all about business consultancy to the fitness industry, I knew nothing of Active Management before.  However when I first arrived on the page this was not the impression I got, and to be honest I am still a little confused.  I think that there is too much reliance on the visitor clicking onto the website for more info, which if they don’t get it from the Facebook Page they just won’t do.

The page needs to position Active Management as an expert in their field with useful tips, comments and articles.  At the moment it isn’t doing this effectively, as it isn’t clear enough.

Did you love this review? You can get your page reviewed by the Chief Rabbit for only $49.95, just email info@SocialRabbit.net

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Filed under Facebook fan pages, facebook page, Small business, social media

Mental Monday: If you don’t have big breasts put ribbons on your pigtails by Barbara Corcoran

Good Morning, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

It’s Mental Monday again, today’s book is “If you don’t have big breasts, put ribbons on your pigtails & other lessons I learned from my mom” by Barbara Corcoran with Bruce Littlefield.  This book is not just for women, so guys don’t switch off yet.

This book is written by a New York Real Estate Queen in 2004, so yes it is a few years old, but it was just given to me recently, so it shot to the top of the reading pile.  You may wonder what this has to do with social media or with your business, but believe me there are a lot of great ideas in here that you can use.  The book is a super easy read, with each chapter covering a slightly different topic, but it is full of ideas from Barbara’s experiences.  The idea behind the title is that you have to make the best of what you’ve got, not worry about what you don’t have –  however it may be a little fluffy for some people.  Here are my favourites (all direct quotes):

  • Perception creates reality: What you decide to put out there is what others will believe.  With social media you can give the perception of being a massive company while operating from your spare room, it’s all about what you say and how you say it.  Yes, be honest and transparent, but you don’t need to say you are writing from your bed!
  • Good salesmanship is nothing more than maximising the positive and minimizing the negative.  Although your competition might offer something you can’t match, that doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you identify and play up what you’ve got:  Look at why someone should become a liker of your page, or why they should follow you on Twitter, instead of why they shouldn’t.  What have you got to offer readers/viewers?  How can you differentiate your business?  Is it the personal service?  The quick turnaround time? Your knowledge?  What are you doing differently?  If you value it others will.
  • Finding opportunity is a matter of believing it’s there: This of course is true, but you first need to do your homework.  But this is all about passion, be passionate about your product/service/business and others will get infected with that passion and excited.
  • Good systems make plans happen: Make sure you know how new leads are coming to you so you can measure the effectiveness of your social networking.  Before you start a campaign plan it, so that you make the most of all the opportunities it is going to present.
  • It’s your game, make up your own rules: So true, who says that  you can’t be called The Chief Rabbit and wear rabbit ears in your online videos?  You decide what is going to work for you, you don’t need to be the same as everyone else, often it is that quirky thing that makes you stand out
  • If you want to be a better Cheerleader, you better know the cheers:  Whatever business you are in, you need to understand what is required in that industry, so if you are trying to pitch for business you are ready with the answers to what they want to know.  In social media this is the same, if you are trying to position your cafe as the best for homemade food on Facebook but have no pics of the food you are missing out.
  • fretting about what the other guy thinks often stops you from trying in the first place: Don’t worry that Starbucks UK has 342k likers on Facebook, instead worry about what you are doing to attract people to your page to interact with your business
  • I find that every big success happens after I think I’ve exhausted 100% of my options.  For me, success only happened after I gave another 10%: Don’t give up, there are always options, ask friends in a different industry what they are doing to get so many followers on Twitter, search on the net for articles to give you inspiration, ask Social Rabbit or ask your followers what interests you?  If it interests them it will probably interest others.
  • When there are 10 buyers and 3 puppies, every dog is the pick of the litter:  The more people who want what you have and the fewer you have the higher demand will be for your business/product/service.  Entice people with offers to follow you/like your page by making it the place to be… run offers for likers only, or entice new followers in with free ebooks but only to the first x number or today only, or before the end of the month.

Yes this book, was rather fluffy and generic, but it also had some good reminders about what you should be doing, which often I find we forget in the day to day rush to post, comment, like pages and tweet.

Next week I will be reviewing a harder hitting book – The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott, which will probably have so many ideas that I better start the blog now!

If there is a book you’d like The Chief Rabbit to read (to see if it’s worth a read) let me know in the comments or on our Facebook Page.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Small business, social media

9 Tips to Improve your LinkedIn Profile

Good Morning, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

Today in Sydney it is a wet rainy day, so perfect for getting your social networks firing!  Below are a list of things you should do RIGHT NOW to improve your LinkedIn profile, but first if you are a newbie to LinkedIn a few stats:

  • LI is a professional social network
  • There are 66 million people using it globally (in Australia 1.2 million)
  • The average income of users is $109,000
  • The average age of users is 37

If you are a professional looking to connect with other professionals this is the network for you, use it to grow your business, increase brand awareness (for you and/or your business) and position yourself as an expert.

TIPS:

  1. Set up a LinkedIn profile if you don’t have one, if you do skip straight to no. 2!
  2. Make sure that your profile is 100% complete, yes even the hard boxes people.
  3. Keywords are really important in your profile because they help people find you when they want someone with your expertise by searching in people eg accountant.  You need to decide what you want your expertise/specialty to be – ideally 1 or 2 words and use that.  There are 5 places you should include your keywords…
    a) Your headline – the line of text under your name is your headline, it should not say “Director at x” but instead what you do and how you can help people
    b) In your current work experience
    c) In your past work experience
    d) In your summary
    e) In your specialties
    TIP: To edit your profile click on PROFILE and then edit

4. Website – rather than use the defaults that LinkedIn gives you, eg My website or My blog, choose the OTHER category then you can customise what they are called, as I have done in my profile above, this gives your audience a much clearer idea of what they are going to be looking at
5.  Recommendations – The more recommendations you have the higher you will appear in searches within LinkedIn (however, it is not this alone that ranks you).  Plus if people are looking for people to do business with they are going to prefer to work with someone who has been recommended than someone who hasn’t.  There are two ways to get recommendations – give them (people will usually give back) and ask people who you have worked with – do not ask randoms.  When someone gives you a recommendation it is the same as in the offline world, by recommending you are putting your reputation out there saying this person is good.
6.  Summary – Don’t use this to say I’ve got x sales, but instead use it to tell people what you are all about and how you can help them.  Make it easy to read, so that does NOT mean one massive paragraph!
7.  Specialties – Make sure you fill this in, this looks best if it is a list, rather than word, word etc.  Put in here what you offer people and how you help them, eg Growing Facebook Pages
8.  If you have a blog add it in using the applications on your profile, so that when people look at your profile they see it – it gives you more credibility, however don’t add it if you only have 2 posts and they were from 2008!
9.  Your public profile URL – please customise it… you can have it looking like this:   http://au.linkedin.com/in/larasolomon rather than like this: http://au.linkedin.com/pub/lara-solomon/7/a97/275, it makes it easier for people to find you, and if you use it in your email signature it looks good!

These 9 tips will take you 30 minutes max to do (depending on how many recommendations you write), but will make your profile look much more professional, and more importantly will tell people who visit you much more about you and how you can help them.  If you want to connect with me on LinkedIn I’d love to, so please send me a request.

There is lots lots more you can do with LinkedIn, more posts to follow 🙂  But tell me below if you are stuck on something.  Until them this Rabbit is off to bounce in puddles…

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Filed under linkedin, Small business, social media

Before your start on Social Media

Good Evening, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

Today’s blog will be filled with furry words of advice to help you have a fantastic social media campaign.  It’s all very much common sense, but often (this Bunny included) we get carried away with the excitement and addictiveness of Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Foursquare etc that we forget to start at the beginning.  DON”T WORRY!  It’s not to late.

You want to use a social network for business, your business, it might be a hair salon, real estate office, coffee shop, accounting firm, clothes store, product or whatever, the rules are the same for EVERYONE.  So you have decided which social networking tool or tools you want to use, now follow these steps;

  1. What is the purpose of what you are doing? For your Facebook page what is the purpose?  Why are you setting it up (because it’s fun doesn’t count), I want real reasons, eg to build a relationship with my audience, to use it to find out more about them, to get my product awareness out to a wider audience etc – get the picture?  This is the same if you are choosing Twitter or LinkedIn you NEED a purpose, if you don’t have one, well it just won’t work as well, and you will find it harder to maintain.
  2. What are your goals? Eg for your Facebook page you want to get 500 likers in the first month and increase the click throughs to your website by x%.  For Twitter it maybe that you want to be retweeted x number of times and gain x number of followers in the first month.  Whatever you decide that your goals are these are something that you can go back to and see how you are tracking and decide if it’s working.
  3. What have you got to offer?  OR What value are you adding?  OR Why should people follow you/connect with you or like you? This is the old “what’s in it for me”.  This should interlink with your purpose, so if your purpose is to “be seen as an expert in social media” the value you add could be in unravelling the mysteries behind social media, helping people to understand it and use it to grow their business.
  4. What are you going to promise? I have said this before that your followers etc have memories like elephants – they never forget.  So if you entice them to your Facebook page with the offer of free ebooks or the chance to win prizes or a daily tip, when they don’t get it they WILL rebel.  Rebelling in the social networking world means de-friending/unfollowing/disconnecting, which when you have worked SO hard to get them is not what you want.

The idea behind following these steps is that when you get stuck and think “oh no what shall I blog about, post, tweet etc.” you know what your purpose, values and goals are so it makes it easier for you to deliver.  PLUS it helps with the consistency of your message, if people know you as a social media expert, then you suddenly start rambling on about how to make apple tart, it’s kinda confusing…  They won’t know what’s happening, they will lose a bit of trust and faith, who is this flaky person that yesterday was telling us how to get more likers on Facebook and now is talking about how to get the pastry just right on an apple tart…..

If you already have your social networking set up, it is NEVER too late to go back and revisit what you are doing and why, and don’t think you have to stay with what you decide forever.  However don’t change your mind daily, but often it can take a while to find your niche that both you and your readers are comfortable with, so by all means try out a few things, but let them know.  For example, when I decided to start Mental Monday’s on this blog to review books, I said that I would see how it goes, but I am not doing it daily, only once a week.  So if say 50% of you guys don’t like it I guess you don’t tune in on Monday’s, but no one has complained yet!  But if you want to make a comment do, I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVE comments positive and negative.

Tell me below what you think or on the Social Rabbit Facebook Page.

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Filed under linkedin, Small business, social media, twitter

9 ways to Share to Grow

Good Evening, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

Firstly, an apology for all my avid daily readers, yesterday just completely ran away with me and I didn’t blog, so to make up for it, I will blog twice today 🙂

Today’s topic Share to Grow encompasses all that social media is about, the sharing of ideas, value, results, helping others without expecting a return and growing your business based on the fact that people trust you and love what you are doing.

How you can share to grow:

    1. Write a blog post in your area of interest/expertise and post it on your Facebook page, on Twitter, on LinkedIn etc.  Add it to http://www.ezinearticles.com have it on your website, share what you know with others, believe me it works!
    2. Write a whitepaper (whitepaper’s are basically pdf documents on a topic, usually a few pages long) on your area/passion and give it to people through social media, again it positions you as an expert and allows you to get your brand out there
    3. Create a short video and share it on YouTube/Facebook/Twitter, this doesn’t have to be super high tech, you can see what we do on Social Rabbit TV.  If it’s amusing and/or useful it will go viral spreading the word about your business
    4. If you have done a presentation recently, as I did today, then create yourself a free Slideshare account and upload it.  The presentation I did on using social media for B2B is now up on Slideshare.  If you look around Slideshare you will see that the presentations are sometimes a few slides and sometimes lots, so you just say what you want to and then put your branding on it, just try to make it topical
    5. Use the answers section in LinkedIn (click on the more button on the top navigation to get to it), answer questions from people in your areas of expertise, you will find that you will quickly grow your network and opportunities will start to come your way
    6. Read other people’s blogs and make comments – not just a cool thanks comment, but adding value, it could be an example of when you have seen that working, or asking for more clarification, if you add value feel free to put a link back to your site/blog at the bottom
    7. Write up a case study of your successes with social media/or other topics, tell the world, don’t be modest.  There are lots of doubters on social media out there looking for ideas and suggestions, so tell them what results you can get.  Plus it helps others when they are writing presentations.  For the B2B preso I did today I struggled to find case studies that actually gave results – a lot of people do not share well.  The case studies can be used when responding to blogs, answering questions on LinkedIn, posted on your blog, tweeted out, posted on slideshare and will get you a lot of exposure
    8. If you are using Twitter regularly search on hash-tags that are relevant to your business, and then respond to comments, eg I sent a tweet asking about venues in Brisbane for the events next week, I got a response from a conference centre asking if I needed any help – I liked that
    9. If networking groups are looking for someone to talk on an area you are an expert in volunteer (it’s highly unlikely you will get paid), but it is good exposure for your business, and again positions you as an expert and you can share your knowledge with others.  Don’t forget you can approach them as well.

    The moral to this story is put yourself out there, you are an expert (in something) so show people.  Opportunities do not very often just land in your lap, instead you have to put the work in for them to fall.

    I’d love to hear of any successes you have had sharing with others, please tell me in the comments or on the Social Rabbit Facebook Page.

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      Filed under Blogging, Facebook fan pages, facebook page, linkedin, Small business, social media, twitter