Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘social networking’


It is that time of year again when, depending on your industry, business either speeds up or slows down and many business owners prepare to spend special time with family and friends.

For those of you who are experiencing a slowdown –  you may be forgiven for wanting to go into hiding.

Indeed, a client asked me the other day whether it’s worth going to networking events in the festive season especially as nobody makes decisions at this time of year.

For me – whether it’s quiet or busy- this is the season to have some fun and meet people!  My diary has filled nicely with leisurely one-to-ones and seasonal events that replace the formal networking events.

Christmas Lunch

I tend to spend more time and money on networking at this time of year than at any other – why, you may ask?

I find that this is the one month where people seem more relaxed and happy to get to know each other in a less work-oriented atmosphere.  This represents a great opportunity to join in, particularly for those who don’t usually enjoy networking.

I have learnt over the years that networking in a social way at this festive time will pay real dividends in a few months (maybe even as soon as January!)

So if you’re considering slowing down your networking this month – especially if your diary is also crammed full of family commitments – please think again.

Don’t write this time off just because you are too busy – try to think of new and imaginative ways to put yourself out there.

And another myth I’d like to dispel for those of you who are wondering, please don’t write off this month for social networking either.

Not everything stops and not every decision maker takes a digital break over Christmas, even if it may seem that way to you.

If you want to connect or stay in touch, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and all the other platforms will be there to serve you, as usual.

Some of my best leads and referrals often come from being visible and eager to connect with people during traditional, and supposedly quiet, holiday periods.

If you would like to keep a step ahead of your competitors, always try to be flexible, and open to new ideas and new ways of doing business. You never know, this could be your mantra not just for the festive season, but for the whole of next year!

Ute Wieczorek-King | Success Coach, Trainer, Mentor, Blogger & Owner of Success Network. Ute helps busy women to be visible, focused and profitable in business. Connect with Ute via Twitter, or Success Network Recipes on Facebook. Or sign up to her monthly newsletter on the Success Network website.

Copyright 2011-16, Ute Wieczorek-King

Read Full Post »

In recent years we have seen an explosive rise in social media use by freelancers and micro-businesses in the service industry. It seems that many small business owners are now casting their net wider and further afield in an attempt to make new connections and, thus, attract new business opportunities.

It probably goes without saying that to win new business you need to be known and trusted, and be ‘seen’ regularly in different places.

However with the lure of so many online opportunities, I think many people don’t realise that looking closer to home can actually be much easier, quicker and potentially more rewarding too!

People often forget about their existing network, both virtual and real, especially when it hasn’t yet delivered new business.

The thing is, the people you know may already trust you — a real bonus when you would dearly love to receive more leads, referrals and new business. But sometimes we expect contacts to provide us with leads, when they are not quite ready to do so.

Perhaps our relationships aren’t quite as strong as we think they are. Or they are too busy and you are not the first person they think of when a business opportunity presents itself.

Here is what you can do. Start by asking yourself some important questions:

  • How can I help my existing contacts to get to know me better as a person as well as the ‘expert’ in my field?
  • Do I share my knowledge and expertise fairly regularly and am I generous enough?
  • Do I really understand their needs and desires so I can help them accordingly? How can I get to know them better?

Enhancing existing relationships can be quite simple:

  • IMG_0971Arrange regular informal 1-to-1 meetings over a coffee or lunch.  You’ll find out about your contacts’ latest developments and how you can add value to their business
  • Always follow up after each meeting — it will help them to remember you!
  • Stay in touch by forwarding articles or blog posts (not just your own!) that they will find useful
  • Invite them to events that you think they’ll be interested in
  • Refer them when you know that they would benefit from meeting one of your other contacts

Keeping in touch with people you already know on a regular basis (without selling to them) really does pay off!

If, reading this, you think that all this may be too time-consuming for you, then my guess is you haven’t yet enlisted the help of online social networks for networking purposes.

If you treat social networking as your personal assistant and use it to stay in touch with your existing network, you simply can’t go wrong!

  • Status updates help you to give people bite-sized updates on what you’re up to
  • Wall posts or brief private messages on sites such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter or Linked-In allow you to communicate much quicker and more efficiently than via email (and there is no danger of your message disappearing in someone’s junk mail folder either!)
  • A blog or newsletter may be less personal but they will remind your contacts of your expertise and your ability to help them

Building strong relationships, both offline and online, always takes time but ultimately, it is generally much harder and more time-consuming to start relationships from scratch than to re-connect with people who already know you.

P.S. Why not add to the above tips or share your own experiences by commenting below?

Ute2013-150x150

About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced business coach, mentor and blogger who helps passionate midlife women to stay focused, work smarter and stand out from the crowd.

If you’d like to take your small venture from good to great, why not download Ute’s free “Passion to Profit” ebook.

Please note, the above article is based on an older version first published here in October 2010. 

Read Full Post »

I suppose some things only have a finite life; even good, valuable things like blog comments.

Blogs have been plagued with spam for quite some time, and spammers have become more and more clever at getting their comments through the spam-filters. Humans have replaced robots to get past the CAPTCHA systems and spam comments now consist more than the brief ‘Nice post’ that gave them away in the past.

Good comments have become a rarity

‘Tis a pity that I very rarely get a real, publishable comment on my blog nowadays. I usually have to ask a friend to write one for me, or I leave one on another blog in the hope they might return the favour. But what I get in ever increasing quantities are smarmy, ingratiatingly nauseating responses that drip oily compliments, usually squirming around my ankles with very bad English and equally awful grammar, contributing no value whatsoever regarding the post they are attributing to.

But hang on, didn’t we receive and give more comments in the past? What’s happened to prevent our readers from expressing their point of view or continuing the conversation?

The readers aren’t declining (hopefully), but the mechanisms put in place to deter spammers are also putting them off. I’m afraid these are necessary, as moderation helps to protect our blogs not only from inappropriate spam, but prevents their detrimental links from undermining our blogs’ ranking within the search engines. We are living in an increasingly toxic world that sometimes it feels we’re losing the battle; we’re damned whichever way we turn: not enough comments makes the blog look neglected and unread, whereas too many spammy comments causes untold damage.

Where have all the readers gone?

So where are the readers, if they’re not on our blogs?

In the wonderful world of RSS (Really Simple Syndication), blog posts can be read within social media without needing to visit the blog itself, or if they do have to venture in, feedback and comments are distributed elsewhere and not in the blog comment box. This is probably another of the main reasons why the area below a post looks like a desert without so much of a camel on the horizon.

People are so much more used to interacting within social media. There is little moderation here, no restrictions to prevent spam and no commenting hurdles to jump over. Unfortunately if something unpleasant does arise, or contributions are submitted that don’t conform to best practice, even though they may be published before removal, it seems tolerance is strong within social networking circles, even with self-regulation occurring. Spammers have yet, so far, to make a proper impact here.

Conversations and discussions expand rapidly and readily within social media. Contributors can enter a ‘thread’ midway without embarrassment and with full acceptance, and people are able to express themselves freely to share their knowledge and information. There is a relaxed sense of informality that encourages comments, and makes it easier to submit them.

Nothing seems permanent any more

Of course there is the point that, unlike their blogs, writers don’t own social media so have no ‘claim’ over the comments they receive. There are plugins that ‘collect’ these comments to show them below the posts, but should the social media rules or algorithms change, there is no staying power or permanence regarding these response contributions. Whereas real blog comments written on the blog can be kept there in all perpetuity for everyone to read.

But some bloggers see comments as fluid and merely a continuation of the discussion generated by the post itself. They are an expression in real-time and don’t need to be ‘owned’ or archived. They are responding to the moment and should be enjoyed in the context of the receiver’s positioning at that time. It doesn’t matter if they fade away as the post grows older, or even require renewal should the post receive another flush of SEO activity.

Does this mean blogs will start to permanently close down their comment facilities, or even be built in the future with this feature removed or unavailable. Don’t forget this was the reason why blogs were different from websites; back in the early days of Web2.0 it was exciting to be able to comment on the post you had just read, writing a response there and then in the same platform and seeing it published almost instantaneously. ‘Tis a pity this particularly special feature is now viewed as a nuisance or a breeding ground for undesirable practices.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below – go on, be controversial and go against convention!

–oo0oo–

Alice ElliottAbout the author:
Alice Elliott is a online marketer and blogger whose website Fairy Blog Mother teaches beginners and post-beginners how to blog using ordinary, everyday words with easy to understand, highly visual workshops, e-courses, videos and e-books.

Read Full Post »

OK, so we don’t have the multi-million pound budgets the big corporates have to play with when it comes to marketing, but that doesn’t really matter. What does matter is the approach you take, using these three simple and common sense marketing techniques that shouldn’t cost the earth.

First, make your messages regular, repetitive and always upbeat.

There are plenty of ways to achieve this: blogging and other social media  help us to reach our followers (or potential customers) with carefully constructed marketing messages frequently posted to gain maximum effect.

The good thing about Twitter, for example, is that is you only use 140 characters (or 120 to leave enough room for, hopefully, retweets) so you have to think about what you are going to say before submitting it. This is a very good practice all marketers should adhere to.

The same should apply when posting on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networking sites: keep it short, sharp and sweet, making it obvious what you’re talking about from the beginning, and be appropriate, relevant and newsworthy.

Second, turn your marketing around so you don’t mention the product or service directly. 

Mention instead how it will affect the customer, how they will feel, who it will change their lives for the better, what impact it will have.

This is a concept most successful businesses employ, and it works! Customers aren’t interested in your product, they only care how it will affect them: will they get their money’s worth, will they look good, feel good, be the envy of their friends, raise their social status or whatever?

Third, be consistent with your marketing messages by creating a routine.

OK, this is difficult for solopreneurs who may not have much time, but try and make it part of your weekly marketing activities; I’m sure you can slot in a few tweets and calendarise a blog post now and again? It will pay dividends, as large successful businesses promote their new products well over 20 times, in the hope that their customers will see it at least 7 times.

Frequent marketing tactics will eventually sink in: this is all part of building your relationships with your customers (which is what marketing is all about), either for immediate effect but definitely for the future. Remember, you don’t want them to forget you, or be seduced away by your competitors, do you?

Read Full Post »

The following blog post was republished on 14 November 2013 by Huffington Post – with my permission- on their Small Business Blog pages.

Most micro business owners experience periods where there is so much to do that it can be really difficult to stay in control of your time and get everything done – fileslike the first time you take on a major contract! Suddenly you find yourself juggling all your smaller clients, perhaps struggling to look after them as well as you used to. At times the pressure to keep up with the different demands on your time can be relentless!

A workload that stays consistently high may be the first sign that you can’t avoid outsourcing any longer, especially if you don’t want to risk losing any customers! But if you know your high workload is only short-term, why not try the following tips to help you stay focused and get everything done?

  1. Work with your natural biorhythm. Whether you are a morning or evening person, do your important work tasks when you know you’re feeling alert.
  2. Always do the most important thing first; this can take the pressure off you later, and also help with concentration.
  3. Stop reacting to everything that happens. Responding appropriately may not mean having to jump straight into action just because something has landed on your desk or in your inbox, or because you ‘should’ be carrying out certain tasks at specific times.
  4. When concentrating intensely during important tasks, it pays to have a break after about 90 minutes. This allows your brain to have a rest, as you continue with some less intense tasks. These may include answering e-mail or returning calls. Having a hot drink at this point may then also help you return to more intense ‘focus time’.
  5. During your ‘focus time’, avoid distraction from browser windows that don’t need to be open. Turn email reminders off, in fact why not close your inbox and even put your mobile on silent. Reducing other external noise (if possible) can help too, since your brain may thank you for not having to deal with interruptions, and you don’t lose the adjustment time your brain needs to help you switch between tasks.
  6. Set a timer for social networking tasks, or for reading articles (whether this is part of your work or not). Decide on a length of time before you start- just 15 minutes of totally focused time can be very effective.
  7. If you are stressed by having too much to do, it helps to write everything down. Particularly at night, when people often lie awake, feeling overwhelmed and anxious, taking notes of your concerns or writing a list can relieve your brain of some of the ‘weight’ and allow you to get the sleep that you need.

So, by using the old adage of ‘more haste less speed’ you will actually be improving your effectiveness, end overwhelm and find your overall work performance increasing.

What helps you to stay focused? Please share your tips with other readers below!

Ute2010About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King provides business support for passionate fempreneurs who want to take their micro-business from good to great. Get Ute’s daily business tips on Facebook or sign up on the Success Network website to receive two free ebooks to help you grow your business and make it more profitable. http://www.successnetwork.org.uk

Copyright, 2009-2013 Ute Wieczorek-KIng

Read Full Post »

Networking workshop (by Alison Crown Photography)

A Success Network workshop- by Alison Crown Photography

The other day I retweeted someone’s post on Twitter which stated that most entrepreneurs network with too many people. I simply couldn’t agree more!

We used to run regular training events with added networking opportunities and found that some delegates would always enquire prior to booking how many people we were expecting. A suitably large number would then help them to decide that attending was an efficient use of their time.

A similar thing seems to be happening online in social media where a lot of people spread themselves thin in the hope that collecting ‘followers’ and ‘friends’ will lead to more potential clients or customers.

People everywhere are falling into the trap of seeing networking success measured in numbers!

Whilst you could argue that it is important to always meet new people, most people forget that crucially you need the ‘right’ people to build the kind of relationships that provide you with more referrals or more business.

When applying the powerful Pareto principle to this context, we realise that 80 percent of  our business can come from 20% of our customers. Therefore it is not the quantity of contacts or the speedy sale that counts in networking, it’s the quality and depth of the connections!

So before you are tempted to scour new groups, events and social media platforms for new connections, try changing your networking strategy from quantity to quality. By strengthening the connections you already have (online and offline) you may well start to attract new business … faster!

Ute2010Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced trainer, mentor and business coach who runs Success Network and specialises in helping busy fempreneurs to be more visible, productive and profitable in business.

She also co-authored the networking handbook “From Contact to Advocate (TM)” – an authentic 7-step approach to developing referral relationships that generate more business.

Read Full Post »

We were all taught (hopefully) to be polite as young children. We learned how to say please and thank you, not to speak with our months full, and to ask when we wished to leave the table. I remember my grandmother painstakingly demonstrating the correct way to use a knife and fork (even though I still use them in the wrong hands) and teaching me dinner-party etiquette that is seldom seen nowadays (well, she was a British diplomat’s wife).

These are also stemmed from understanding morals, right from wrong, being nice as to being horrid, using politeness and consideration to ingratiate yourself with your associates. You don’t need to be creepy, just show the right kind of awareness of others using the same space, acknowledge their contribution and show enough enthusiasm that doesn’t undermine the situation.

So why am I writing about this? Surely this is the norm? Yes, hopefully, if you mix in the right circles, and I hope all your contacts treat you equally as nice. But awareness and consideration can be extended to web-use, social media participation and dealings with the online-public.

There is a distinct difference in the Americans and we who live on the other side of the pond. They are gushy, loud, noisy and in your face, and seldom reveal the inhibitions that plague the citizens of the European Union. This is not a criticism, but merely an observation, as this trait found in the US does lend itself to being more successful within using the internet, and most programmes and applications within social media tend to thrive better with this sort of behaviour!

For example, the world of interaction within blogs, social networking and bookmarking, and sharing of material is explosive within the US. This mindset required doesn’t lend itself to reticence and standoffishness, but welcoming, sharing, enveloping and embracing the situation, saying what you think and not minding the consequences. Unfortunately those who are not used to this way of thinking may end up in trouble, as many celebrities have found to their cost, but if they had stopped, double-checked and thought about what they were doing and saying, I’m sure the circumstances would have been different.

To thrive within the social atmosphere that is encompassing all that we do on the web, we need to start thinking about coming out of our shells. If you read or see something you like, let the author know. It can be as simple as clicking on ‘like’ in Facebook or retweeting someone’s post link, but whatever you do, don’t think you can, or should, remain anonymous. We need to stop behaving like hermit crabs tentatively poking out of our over-sized homes, but transform into an octopus that can squeeze into any shape or space it wants to, and with style!

And this is where politeness and consideration come to the fore, especially if you wish to succeed within social media. By acknowledging, with whatever method is available, someone else’s contribution, you are being polite and considerate. This can be extended further by commenting on a blog post, responding to a tweet to start a conversation, contributing to the responses within a Facebook status update, repinning a picture in Pinterest or participating within a ‘Hang Out’ in Google+. This is totally the opposite to lurking in the shadows and not responding – the practice of watching and waiting should only be reserved for newbies in social media, which will allow them to benefit from learning the correct procedures and techniques.

But perfection can only be sought by getting out there and doing! Remember the skills your parents taught you about being nice, and use them in their fullest extent on the web. Participate, collaborate, respond and enjoy yourself. It is fun to make connections and receive a comment, to share content and receive a thank you – and of course suitable acknowledgement for engagement definitely contributes to being polite and considerate!

–oo0oo–

About the author:
Alice Elliott’s alter ego is the Fairy Blog Mother, a magical educational resource for all your blogging needs. Find out about her tuition and design services at http://fairyblogmother.co.uk

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: