Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Sinking In Social Media

As the owner of a business it is extremely hard to be able to keep on top of all the changes that happen – tax, employment, law, marketing, accounting. For me I stick to what I understand and call on the help of others who are expert in their field.

Social media is very overwhelming once you start wanting to use it for business and to drive traffic to your website and ultimately sales. Changes happen almost on a daily basis; what worked yesterday to get your post seen – no longer works today.

It is part of my ‘job’ to stay on top of all of these changes – and I find it exciting. I also realise how easy it is to start sinking into the depths of the crazy world that is social media. You think it is complicated so you ignore it. Should you be ignoring a great promotional opportunity for your business?

You can’t ignore it...there is absolutely no denying it that Social Media is here to stay, look at the growth of Facebook and the continual changes it is making to encourage businesses on to the site; Pinterest has just launched business pages; Twitter is launching video; Linked In has recently upgraded the way businesses can interact on the site. Other sites come and go but the strong social media outlets are continuing to evolve and change. This is the future. Businesses need to get on board.

A quick guide to help you not sink

You don’t need to be across all social media – you only need to be present and active on the sites that your target market is on. There are plenty of resources and statistics that will help you to determine which medium will help you reach your target.

Create a schedule for your posts – what will you post and when? If you have it planned you do not need to think about it and it will be heaps easier for you. Include which site you are going to post what message. There is third party programs that can help with this.

Content is king – we have said it before – it is all about quality content – content that is engaging and encourages your likers/followers to like, share and comment.

Create call to actions to have people flow back to your website or onto your newsletter. This way you can actually measure the success of posts and also particular social media. Many sites have terrific insight data that give you a snapshot (and sometimes very detailed) look at your followers and how you are interacting with them. Make sure you review this regularly.

Be regular and consistent – the latest reports are saying that for Facebook you need to be posting at least twice daily and for Twitter the best performing accounts are tweeting up to 30 times a day. Off course it varies for other social media and at the end of the day this could possibly be somewhat extravagant, it depends on your business and the importance you place on being seen on social media. There is nothing worse than not hearing anything from a business for weeks and then suddenly being bombarded before silence again.

If you are really confused learn more – attend workshops, webinars, read blogs. Social media is not going away, can you afford to let the possibility of talking direct to your target market disappear because you feel overwhelmed.

We are continually learning about changes and participating in webinars and workshops also, it doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or more experienced with so many changes happening in this space there is always something to learn!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Valuing Yourself

I was recently reading an industry journal that said that event producers are earning on average about $88,000 pa, this figure made me stop and think about all of the clients and proposals that we have managed in the past – and the way that the service that we provided was highly undervalued by the organisation that we were either working with or planning to work with.

It also made me realise that my recent decision in regards to the events and expos that we manage has been correct – for so many different reasons – but also because of the time I spent on the events and the little return we have had in regards to paying myself. We certainly were not earning a ‘salary’ close to $88,000 which is the industry standard (plus super and bonuses. Workcover, insurances and business overheads also paid for).

In the past we have been asked to work for nothing (oh yes this is a good one – we will give you a budget to deliver the event including infrastructure and entertainment with no component for ‘management fees’); we have been asked to work for commission (which is great if we are sales people) with commissions not even close to meeting our time commitment. But that is what is expected – because there is no value put on the expertise that I can bring to an event in both the areas of logistics and marketing.

So, I have a low value of what my time is worth – at least with managing events (with marketing I happily charge and quote my hourly billable rate!) and yet events is so much more time consuming, takes more of my head space in regards to thinking and it is also the most resource intensive on our business as a whole.

Events are seen as glamorous and people forget about the hard work and detail that is required to make the event work successfully. We had 3 work experience students through our business last year – 2 decided that events were not as simple as organising a birthday party or trivia night and decided it wasn't a career for them!

So, with my new outlook on how we manage events I will be thinking of that industry standard salary of $88,000 a year when I quote next time. Also that experienced event managers are in demand and that my time is worth paying for!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Being Innovative

We posted this saying on our business Facebook page a couple of weeks ago...I love it! I am such an ideas person, I always have something going through my head that I think will be great. When that idea is ready to pop I write it down and start my action to make it happen. I have to action my ideas.

Here are some thoughts and comments on why I have to action my ideas – they are not original – hey just because you had the idea doesn’t mean it was yours first, and I am sure you have all experienced that feeling when you come up with an idea and you spend so much time thinking about it that one day you realise another person has made your idea happen!

If you don’t make the idea happen it is not yours to own, the only way to own an idea is to be innovative and turn the idea into something real. Once you have made that idea into a product or service – then it is yours – you need to drive it and make it a success or otherwise.

Sometimes ideas fail – and that is OK. I bet you will learn heaps from the experience. What is more important is that you have put into action your idea, you have tried, it is not failure it is a learning a life lesson. My hope is that you don’t have a significant financial loss at the same time.

Often ideas work – we all get hung up on the ‘what-if it doesn’t work’ well here you go – what if it does work. What if you turn your idea into a GREAT product, service or business? What if your idea becomes the next big thing, the something that everyone must have or do? What if this idea that you have, with a little effort and action, is the thing that sets you and your family up in life – forever! Wouldn’t all of that be terrific....

A wonderful idea is only as great as the action that you take to make it happen in closing here a checklist of how I make an idea happen:
• Have the idea – think it through – write it down
• Create the ‘project concept’
• Create an action list – who do I need to create partnerships with to make my idea happen?
• What resources do I need – time, money? How am I going to make that happen
• What is my target market – how do I sell to them – what messaging will work?
• Action, Action, Action.....just do it!

Finally I give myself a timeframe to get an idea flying and then I review it – I always have a way of being able to step away from an idea and I have learn’t to never financially over-commit – test the waters and see what happens!