Using Twitter and LinkedIn for Business

One session down and two more to go. I’m a very happy business owner.

Last Thursday’s session on Social Media Basics was well received. We covered a lot of information and people had some solid tips to use as they went out the door.

Tuesday, Oct 19th, we’ll focus completely on Twitter.

Thursday, Oct 21st, LinkedIn is under the microscope.

For details and registration go to SNBCS Social Media Basics.

Social Media tip # 23, use MeetUp.com for hosting events. They have a built in promotion platform that is very advantageous to the small business owner.

Eventbrite is another of my favourites. I’ve listed both SNBCS Social Media basics sessions there too for anyone interested in affiliate marketing.

See you there!

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Update on SNBCS Seminars

Our inaugural SNBCS Social Media Basics – Introduction to Social Media Seminar is October 14th, the day after tomorrow at Douglas College in New Westminster, BC.

We’ve been busy tweaking our notes and doing extra research just for you.

This will be an informal session with lots of information on how to decide what Social Media platforms are right for you and tips to use them effectively.

Next week, we’re conducting two more sessions. October 19th is devoted entirely to Twitter and on October 21st, we’ll focus exclusively on LinkedIn. These two sessions will be hands on, so bring your laptop. We’ll walk you through the screens, show you how to create a complete profile suited to your needs and join groups/discussions relevant to you.

There are two ways to register:

Via Eventbrite: You can sign up through EventBrite. If you’re part of their affiliate program, you can use the custom URL to earn a commission for your referrals who register for the event.

Or through MeetUp: Join our MeetUp group and network with others consultants, authors and small business owners.

Have you visited the SNB Consulting Services website lately? If you register for our e-newsletter, you’ll receive the SNBCS ebook “Quick Tips for Using Social Media to market your business”

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Back from the Brink

It has been a while.

The summer was filled with boosting PaperBox Books, doing a soft launch for Fiction Therapy (both of which I’m partner) and maintaining SNB Consulting’s current clients. Unfortunately there were a few family tragedies (it’s been a bad year for Dads) that served to sideline business ventures for a while, as family tragedies are known to do.

PaperBox Books is booming. We have more submissions that we can easily handle which thrills us down to our tippy toes. Its sister company, Fiction Therapy is building steam and I suddenly find myself in the final planning stages of those seminars I’ve been promising.

Registration and price details still to come, but for now here’s a taste of what will be happening so you can mark your calendars:

Introduction to Social Media
Oct 14th, 2010 – Douglas College (New West Campus)

We’ll cover:

  • What is Social Media
  • What it isn’t
  • Why are there so many and how are they different
  • How they can help/harm your business (examples)

We’ll review of some of the big Social Media Players, their audiences and how to effectively participate.

Who should attend?
This seminar is for those folks who have been told that they need social media but can’t figure out how, why or even IF it’s worth their time and effort.

How to Use Twitter
Oct 19th, 2010 – Douglas College (New West Campus)

We’ll Cover:

  • What is Twitter
  • What it isn’t
  • How it can help/harm your business (examples)
  • How you use Twitter to do market and industry research
  • Managing the influx of white noise of useless information
  • How to get quality ‘followers’ and keep their attention
  • Etiquette to build a positive, professional reputation and keep yourself from being ‘unfollowed’ and blocked

Hands On: Bring your laptop – wireless internet will be available so you can create your profile and set up basic customizations for it to match the rest of your marketing materials.

Who Should Attend:
Anyone who is curious about how Twitter can be used effectively for business.

How to Use LinkedIn
Oct 21th, 2010 – Douglas College (New West Campus)

We’ll Cover:

  • What is LinkedIn
  • What it Isn’t
  • How it can help/harm your business (examples)
  • How to find and add your business contacts and see who they know
  • How to use LinkedIn to do market and industry research
  • Etiquette to build a positive, professional reputation and keep yourself from being banned

Hands On: Bring your laptop – wireless internet will be available so you can create your profile, attach your company, your blog, find contacts, join groups and promote your expertise in your industry.

Who Should Attend:
Anyone who is curious about how LinkedIn can be used effectively for business.

More details to come once I hammer out the payment details.

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Be a Social ‘Us’ Monkey

I had a weird scenario play out this week that befuddled my brain.

I’ve been mowing my lawn with a mower that is perilously close to death. It sputters and quits. If I let it rest it will give a valiant effort and finish the job. One of my neighbours is a mechanic and has been out working in his yard while I’ve struggled.

He didn’t offer to help.

At first, I was a little ticked off because my neighbour often helped out my brother when he was living here. I expected a continuation of ‘neighbourliness’. I was disappointed. A few days later my neighbour was out in his yard again when I sold my brother’s old truck. We talked a few minutes about the sale.

The next time I started to mow my lawn, that same neighbour came over to offer me one of his spare lawnmowers. He even checked to make sure it would work for me since it hadn’t been used in a while.

Let’s just say I was very confused.

I was telling this story to a friend and she said the explanation was simple.

I wasn’t an ‘us’ monkey.

Yeah – I gave her that look too.

Apparently, monkeys function in groups. They look after each other and ignore the other groups. Outsider monkeys who want to join the group or just be allowed to interact have to be the ones to make the social contact. Close proximity just isn’t enough.

Back to my neighbour, even though there was a friendly relationship between my brother/housemate, it didn’t extend to me just because we were neighbours.

How this translates into business.

We’re all cliquey, whether we intend to be or not. We are creatures of habit and few of us like to step too far outside of our comfort zone.

Ever notice when you attend a networking event, most of us gravitate toward the people we know rather than initiate a conversation with new people (there are some who do, but honestly the thought makes me break out in hives).

It’s time to break out and buck the trend. Still be an ‘us’ monkey and protect the network you already have in place. But be a social ‘us’ monkey and interact with the ‘them’ monkeys to build your network even larger.

Caution:

These relationships aren’t inheritable. As with my neighbour, I had to initiate the conversation even though my brother already had a well-established line of communication.

Even though your company or predecessor had an established relationship, don’t assume you’re entitled to the same privilege. As the newcomer, it’s up to you to establish your own connection.

Benefit:

Relationships you build and maintain stay with you no matter whether you switch jobs, earn a promotion or strike out on your own.

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Research Rots the Brain

This has been a week of planning meetings and research and I have come to the conclusion that everyone’s brain has a saturation point and once you’ve reached it, anything else acts like a toxin.

I say this is all seriousness.

Like most entrepreneurs, I have several projects on the go at any given time. Most of mine are quite brain intensive. Meaning I need to concentrate in order to complete the task at hand.

Because I’m fascinated by social media and the way small businesses like myself can use it. I’m always reading and coming up with great ideas. Unfortunately, this means I often become overwhelmed with the possibilities and end up slowing down, or even stopping, to ponder them.

Toxic!

My advice:

Research enough to stay at the top of your game, but stop yourself from chasing every bright new shiny play-toy that comes along. Believe me, I know how hard that is. You don’t want to miss out on something that might help your business, yet chasing rainbows takes time and attention away from your goal.

Helpful Hint:

Have a solid business and marketing plan. Use them to quickly judge whether the newest craze will help. If not, ignore it. If you’re unsure, check back in three months to see if it’s still around. If it is, look to see if there have been any improvements made to give it a clear benefit.

Having a solid game plan saves time, energy and rescues you from brain rot!

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Business Cards

When I was at Freelance Camp last weekend, there was a lot of buzz about business cards. Are they useful? What information should you put on them? What do you do with them?

The Consensus:

Business Cards still work. They are convenient and definitely give a professional impression. After all shouting out your contact information during a networking event is awkward and inefficient, one missed number or letter and you’ve lost the contact.

What information to put on your card depends on your business. Not everyone needs a phone number and if your customers aren’t on Twitter, maybe there is other information more relevant than your @name.

There is a lot of thought given to the designing of business cards and as most of us know, good quality business cards are not cheap.

Make sure you always treat business cards as an extension of the person giving you their card. Even if you don’t see how your two businesses can collaborate or work together, you have no idea who else that person knows. So treat them as you would a prized customer.

Thank them for their card. Look at their card. If there is something that catches your eye about the card comment on it.

The jury is still out on writing on the back of the business card. In some cultures it’s considered rude. When I decide to write on a card, I says something to the giver about wanting to remember a particular part of our conversation or how I thought our businesses could work together or so I’d remember to tell a friend of mine about them. I feel better letting them know why I’m defacing their card.

Extra Tip:

People like being remembered.

Although, personally I’m not fond of the form “it was great meeting you’ emails cluttering up my inbox, especially if the person was pillaging for cards, “Hihere’smycardcanIhaveyoursthanksbye-next!”

When I get home, I send emails to anyone I promised to follow up with then I put the information from the business cards I’ve collected into my database. Along with where I met them, who else was in the group, items that came up in conversation like family, pets, hobbies & interests etc.

The next time I see them on an attendee list, I’ll review my information before the event and add any new relevant info bits for the future.

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Freelance Camp Vancouver 2010

I attended Freelance Camp today in Vancouver. It’s the first unconference I’ve ever attended and I have to admit I was intrigued. The format seems chaotic but it worked out incredibly well.

What’s an unconference you ask?

It’s a series of seminars around a topic without a list of speakers. We arrived this morning at 9am with the instruction that if you had a subject you wanted to present, tell the organizer when you arrived.

At 9:10 people started pitching their topics to the audience, if there was interest in the topic offered, the seminar was added to the board in a timeslot that was jointly decided on by the speaker and the audience (and what timeslots were left).

By 9:30am we had a full day scheduled and had already started the first sessions. There were easily 80 people in attendance. I couldn’t believe how easily and smoothly the process went. A huge shout out to @hummingbird604, his band of volunteers and @thenetworkhub for providing the space.

I went old school with pen and paper. Half way through the day, I was worried I’d run out of ink. My pen flew across the page. Not only from the information given by the speakers, but also from the crowd. The sessions were very interactive and the different perspectives really enabled us to see we’re not alone.

I’ve added so many people to my Twitter tonight. Folks I heard speak, folks who spoke up from the audience and even folks I heard talking in the halls. They all had interesting stuff to say and I want to keep listening.

It was a long day and my head is close to exploding, but it was well worth every moment… even the getting up early on a Saturday morning to head downtown.

Added Bonus: I have a lot more tidbits of information to pass on to you… stay tuned

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Everyone likes free stuff

Free samples, 25% more, buy one get one free the list goes on and on.

Freebies are a marketers favourite tool as evidenced by the huge bag of swag (free branded stuff from tradeshows) I have in my office.

If you go to a trade show, most likely you’ll have the option of a free pen at almost every booth you visit. Why? Because people use pens and even thought they aren’t consciously reading the words or logo imprinted, it’s there in front of them.

But when you’re online, it’s harder to get swag like pens in your potential customer’s hands. So you’ll have to be creative about finding ways to offer incentive for people to sample your product or use your services.

I’m currently in the process of writing branded e-book for potential clients to download.

This is a good idea for most consultants. It gives a sample of your knowledge and is more easily delivered online. Better yet, potential clients can share your e-book so even if they don’t need your services, they can share it with friends and colleagues. It’s branded, so your website URL and contact information are there for anyone to see.

The trick is to balance the amount of information you include. You don’t want to tell it all but you want to explain enough to validate your knowledge and experience. You want to make sure there is enough juice inside to engage the client. If they read your e-book and find it too basic, and view it as a waste of time and effort, it’s worse than not having a freebie at all.

Once you decide which freebie is right for your business, you’ll have to decide how to distribute it.

Will you make people sign up to receive it by giving you their email address? Will you distribute through a 3rd party to give you increased exposure besides appearing on your website? Will you send it out as a bonus when customers purchase a product or service from you?

The options are endless.

Helpful Hint:

Whatever you decide to use as a freebie make sure you have it clearly and permanently branded. Include your logo, website URL and contact information where it can be clearly seen on the cover and as a footer on every page.

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Reorganization and a Recommendation

Over the past few weeks, I’ve complete refocused SNB Consulting Services, it’s been coming for a while. Our website had been re-written to incorporate more aspects of internet marketing and training. We’ll still create and update websites, but now we’ve become more ‘full-service’.

It’s very exciting.

I’ve been taking The Business Builder course from Kaizen Consulting.

While I’m successful, I want to pump up my game. Michael Walsh from Kaizen is an exceptionally good instructor and I highly recommend the course to anyone who wan’t to take their business to the next level.

 

If you’re interested in learning how Internet Marketing through Social Media can benefit your business, contact me at sue@snbconsultingservices.ca

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Using youtube.com

I’ve been reading a lot about how writers are using youtube.com for business promotion.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been testing out my cameras for sound quality, scouting out locations, trying to figure out how to get rid of unflattering shadows etc. Then there was the whole – what am I going to say, how am I going to say it, what image do I want to present information that I needed to have clear in my mind before I started.

It’s a complicated process.

My ‘author’ persona is much more casual than my role as a small business owner. There is a lot less ‘stuff’ to think about when filming an informal video, so it made sense to do the test run as Sue Nelson Buckley, the author.

Tips I’ve learned:

Most important. Stand still for 3-5 seconds with a calm, pleasant expression on your face before you begin to speak. Otherwise your starting frame could be you with an unflattering expression on your face. For example – look at the first of my videos below to see what I mean.

Get some good video editing software. I’m still looking – which is why the videos were done in one continuous shot. Editing software will also allow you to pause and restart if you make a mistake so you can edit it out later, instead of having to start over again. Also it will allow you to increase the voice volume and mute background noise – in one of my videos, you’ll notice I got ‘planed’, that’s what I get for living under a flight path.

Rehearse. No matter how good you are at improv speaking, it’s best to rehearse a few times to make sure you say what you want to say. Speaking to a camera is a lot different that speaking to a live audience. You can pause or look away from a live audience but doing so on video wastes precious file size and lessens the impact of what you’re saying

Look at the camera
. Just like a face to face conversation, your audience will become disengaged with what you’re saying if you don’t make eye contact.

Do not read from notes. Watch any award show and you can tell who is reading from a teleprompter and who isn’t. The ones reading are much less believable and entertaining.

Be yourself, but also be conscious of the image you’re presenting. After all, even though you love working in your garden after a long day at the office, you wouldn’t walk into a board room wearing gardening overalls. In every video I do, I will be happy and enthusiastic. That’s my personality and the way I work. But, my author videos will be more casual, my consulting and e-publishing videos will be more polished. I’ll most likely do them inside, have my hair tied back, use more moderated speech and not raise my eyebrows so much (which I think makes me look ditzy, but Mom says I look enthusiastic – thanks Mom)

Watch other videos (including mine if you’d like) and look at presentation style, content delivery, language, background etc. Make your own list of dos and don’ts. Check out your competition to see if they’re promoting via video. If they are, you should be too. If they aren’t, this could give you an edge.

Use Youtube.com. There are many reasons I suggest using youtube. 1) it’s easy and doesn’t take up your bandwidth. 2) Because youtube.com is such a huge website, having viewers link from there to your website is great for your search engine standings. 3) People go there to see videos, it gives potential customers another way to find you.

Add tags. Don’t just post your video, ad tags to categories it so that anyone searching for ‘awesome stuff you sell’ will see your video. Youtube.com has a really good ‘fill-in-the-blank’ form to make sure you don’t miss any information.

Advertise your video. If you post it and don’t let anyone know it’s there then it won’t do you much good. Add the link to your website, blog about it, tell your friends and family on FaceBook, add it to your LinkedIn profileand Twitter about it.

To that end – here are the twoauthor videos I’ve done so far. They are intended to be very casual and informative.

Fast facts about me and some writing advice (note the opening facial expression – do not let this happen to you).

Describing the Dual version of my Novel.

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