business, Marketing, Social Media

Damn, You Missed Your Exit. What Now?

Damn, You Missed Your Exit. What Now?

Who has time for delays?  Business is slow, the days are shorter and shorter, and did anyone realize that Christmas is like six months away?

Now you have that nagging feeling that everything is out of control. You got into your own business to have freedom, joy, flexibility, and the right to miss an exit once in a while and be late.  But this?  This is just too much to bear. Curse you social media I have got enough on my mind without having to worry about missing my exit to your lane to the future!

Perhaps you are the Preschool Owner who is trying to figure out how to balance the needs of communication with a younger demographic vs. the attention paid to the education of young children.  Parents want tablets, pictures, real-time communication…you get it, but all that requires skills and time, and oh yeah, training. Training costs money and time. How can you pull teachers off the floor and make this work? How can you get the word out about the importance of education at this age? Without social media, the good work fades alongside the trends.

What about the executive who is more likely to embrace the challenge of tweeting or updating profile headlines, but has an almost arrogant perspective that succumbing to the social media pressure will lessen their experience and skills?  These young kids are at your heels dreaming of your job while they are posting updates and comparing the newest apps for productivity.  When is there time to learn all this technology, and still lead a team of people who roll their eyes at you every time you pull out your mobile phone?  How do these kids afford these phone upgrades?

If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.

Small business owners have the greatest career challenge when faced with the social media “elephant in the room.”  Most act as if the “exit” sign came up without warning and yet most of these platforms have been well embedded in marketing for over ten years now.  While you were paying the Yellow Pages for their “better deals” year after year, the marketplace turned to experiences.  Your websites are outdated; your employees untrained in new customer service skills, and what about Amazon? How does one compete with the king of online sales?  When is there time?  How can staff be trained when you are learning too?  And then, all of sudden there is a fury of activity from that Facebook ad you ran but no sales. Does this Social Media Stuff Work?

There is a time when you have to stop everything you are doing. Clean off your desk.  Wipe your calendar free and just decide what to do, learn to do it, and then get it started.  Social media is a living, breathing, circulatory process of marketing–so whenever you jump in–you are on your way!

The problem is that most people of a certain age, are their own worst enemies. It’s not technology that changed, its the process of making decisions that changed.  We [the buyers of the world] needs lots and lots of information to make decisions.  And we [the buyers of all ages] want that information right now. So why do business owners think that we [all the buyers in the world] will just walk in and say, “I HAVE TO HAVE THAT!”?  Is there no dating before marriage? No dinner before dessert?  Where is the story? Where is the process? The information that captures my attention and stirs my emotions? That is where the circulatory system of social media comes into play.  It spreads information.  It gets the heart beating.  Social media is not optional, it is breath.

So think about that exit sign that you passed: THE FUTURE.  We cannot blame “the past” for the future, so why try to blame “lack of time”?  Personally, when I miss an exit, I just get off at the next one and circle back.  Or sometimes I just let my GPS recalculate—and sure, it may bring me into a few sketchy neighborhoods, or over a pothole or two, but I get there….. and isn’t that the goal?

So pull over and figure it out.  It is not the process of learning that is hard–it is accepting reality.  So stop fighting, blaming, justifying, and avoiding….Download Waze and find a new, faster route into the future.

Maria Bereket is a Social Media Consultant, LinkedIn Strategist, and a very animated Speaker. Her work focuses on bridging the gap of the digital divide by teaching people how to use social media to grow their brands through thought leadership. Her passion is working with small businesses and non-profits because she feels that it is through their work that our communities will be stronger and better for everyone. Teaching people to embrace technology and learn how to communicate in a digital world is her super-power! For a different perspective follow her @mbear88 or just email at mbear88@gmail.com  

business, customers, Marketing, Social Media

Eventually an Egg Walks!

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I still remember the first time I got behind the wheel in my driver’s ed class car. After two weeks in class, I finally got to sit in the back seat waiting for my turn to drive. When I finally got into the drivers seat, I was informed that I would be getting on the highway.

I recall feeling as if I would throw up as I approached the “on ramp.” My instructor, a retired policeman, kept telling me to put my foot down on the gas. “You have to merge at the same rate of speed,” he kept saying.

I could feel the sweat dripping down the back of my shirt, and my hands were so tight on the steering wheel that my knuckles were white. I am not sure how I got on the highway or even how long it took to get to my house. I was in some time warp with strange sounds whizzing alongside my ears and deep, muffled voices from behind me that sounded like a horror movie.

I remember not wanting to get out of the car because my legs felt like concrete–until they hit the ground–then they quickly turned to jello, unwilling and unable to move toward my house.

Eventually, I got to the front door but was unable to turn the knob because my hands were shaking so violently. I was relieved when they finally pulled away so I could slump down against the brick wall and gather myself.

This flashback came about when I was reviewing a month end posting report on a recent client’s Facebook posts.

They had paid me for my “advice” on social media and only wanted a strategy for posting with content ideas and direction. Unwilling to see the value in training or social media management, they felt confident that things would just roll off the page as simply as it was outlined. I pointed out that the person who was the “communications coordinator” already had a busy job and may need some guidance, but the owners thinking was that she already had her own Facebook page, so it would be easy to get this going, right?

I recall leaving that meeting feeling nauseous.

I had been driving in the front seat with my parents for 16 years before I took that ride on the highway. I can tell you that none of that observation and keen attention to the turn signal movements helped me at all that night–or many other nights afterward for that matter. Learning to drive, like learning how to implement a social media strategy requires training….lots and lots of training, and even more practice.

The simplicity of social media is a concept that comes from the idea that it is free.

Free is not free when you calculate the number of hours it will take someone to set things up, make a plan, write and curate content, follow up, analyze, readjust, and then post and post, and yes, post again, daily.

It must have been great to be a Yellow Pages Salesman back in 1980’s. Pay, create, and print. Done. All that what was left was for the phone to ring, again and again.

Not so simple today. But really, nothing is that simple anymore. Business is driven by a presence on social media, not a specific need, but more about people’s desire to learn more, perhaps even own the thing that caught their eye while scrolling through images on their phone.

It’s tough out there today!

Social media is advertisement/journalism/newspaper ad/business listing/inventory and billboard sign. The “small shop” is no longer products and a salesperson, but rather a whole world of experiences. Consumers today expect to log into your website and find all the answers to their questions—visually, thoughtfully, and graphically pleasing. It has to be simple enough to find what they want quickly, but detailed enough that they can go deep inside the culture of the business.

A flat, yellow paper ad from days gone by did not even scratch the surface of “experiential.” And placing an ad took maybe two hours back then with a payment plan! You had all the details done—hours, logo, address, perhaps clip art—it all came down to size and budget.

So why isn’t marketing today operating like that?

Why is it so hard to see that marketing a business today is more than a few posts and fans to “thumbs up” our information? Why isn’t there more of an effort to bring people on board who can really grow an organic program that is fun and part of the everyday culture of the business?

Oh yeah, it costs money.

I am always clear when talking to people about social media marketing. “It is an egg,” I tell them. “eventually, it walks.”

But who has ever seen an egg hatch?

Not in this grocery store nation. So, I am thinking, I may need to find a new analogy….perhaps that’s why I had my flashback this morning.

Social Media is like learning to drive a car!
You will feel unbelievably nauseated, sweaty, out-of-control, and utterly fearful of every single moment,
until one day, you just don’t.

I like that.

Maria Bereket is a Social Media Consultant, LinkedIn Strategist, and a very animated Speaker. Her work focuses on bridging the gap of the digital divide by teaching people how to use social media to grow their brands through thought leadership. Her passion is working with small businesses and non-profits because she feels that it is through their work that our communities will be stronger and better for everyone. Teaching people to embrace technology and learn how to communicate in a digital world is her super-power! For a different perspective follow her @mbear88 or just email at mbear88@gmail.com  (Originally Posted on LinkedIn)

business, customers, innovation, Leadership, Marketing, Uncategorized

Distraction or Reluctance? It’s Time To Decide.

business, Marketing, Personal Brand

“The Cost of Being Wrong is Less Than The Cost of Doing Nothing”: How To Change In Two Steps

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Whether in your business or your personal career, refusing to accept change will cost you more than the cost of changing.

It is a mouthful, but it is real.  And if anything were “more real” than ever, it would be this: When you stand on your sinking ship of denial, well you know, you sink.  And I get it, change is hard (so very hard indeed!).  Who has the time to learn all the new stuff?  And how do you know where to start?  It is an endless list of unknowns.  But doing is always better than not doing.

Step One: Decide To Change

It is that simple.  You get out the wet cloth and wipe the slate clean…and then you write out what the new is.

It doesn’t matter who you were, or what the founding principles use to be.  What is today?  Right now? The direction in which you are headed today determines not only where you are, but what you are–right now!  And right now, how are you? 

Are you on the right path? Is everything working out?

If the answer is yes, then you got this, keep going.  But if the answer is no, then what is holding you back from taking a different track?

“Where you head now determines where you soon are, where ever you are limits where you can go”

These are the wise words of James Gilmore and Joseph Pine the authors of the Experience Economy. We all know its true, but there we stand, paralyzed by our own habits and past success.You do not need permission to change. Just make different happen.

So maybe tattoos are not your “new” style, but making a decision to be yourself in a world of so much noise and choice is a good thing.  And that is the point of what Seth Godin is saying when he says the cost of doing nothing is more. Because you need to succeed.  You need a new career, more sales, a better life for your kids, happiness, and a future that takes you into a better place.  But none of that can happen without a decision to do something new.

Step Two: Pick a Destination and Go.

The single best advice I ever received was “pick a lane.”  Pick a lane?  YES, pick the lane you want to be in and then merge into it.  Forget about the other lanes.  Pick the one you want to be in.  Your lane.  Your vision of the future.  Not your competitors future, or your co-workers, or even your neighbor.  It’s your choice! And the beauty of the choosing is that once you decide to do it, everything falls into place. Because having a strategy changes everything.

So if there are more than a few nights with little sleep, know that it will be worth it.   Happiness is the cure for just about anything.  Still need permission?  Ok, Here you go, your permission slip: “I give permission to ______, to go out into the world and try something completely new.”  Have fun, and don’t forget to send me a postcard!

Maria Bereket is a  Marketing & Social Media Consultant. Her work is focused on bridging the gap in the digital divide, and her passion is working with small business and entrepreneurs because she feels that their work is going to change the world making it a better place to live. Follow @mbear88  or email
mbear88@gmail.com

business, customers, Marketing, Social Media

Are Millennials Aliens From Another Planet?

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I spent the weekend conducting a workshop for an aging group of small business owners. We were talking about the survival of the small town, the small business owner, in a world of  “me generation” customers who live online without ever lifting their nose from their phones.

I shared all the incredible facts about this amazing generation called Millennials. There was hesitation, of course. But insight is a wonderful thing. They learned what these “kids” are doing as they tap-tap on their screens and keyboard. They learned more about the world that we gave them, and what their observations about us have changed their view of work and life.

We ended the weekend with a question.  “What was that one thing that got them into the business over 20, 30 years ago?” The answers all sounded different at first but were in fact the same. We discovered that they each one of them was driven then and now, by a passion to solve the problems.

“When someone comes in with a problem, it just makes me so happy to figure out the solution and see them walk out the door smiling and carefree”

That is your passion, I told them. That is the wisdom that you must impart via social media–not sales, or product offerings–passion for problem-solving.

But what about those kids? Those Millennials and their Ipods? How can we compete with Tweets and posts? And what about all those tattoos?

Why is it that as we age, we forget our own drive for independence? We forget the crazy haircuts we had that made our fathers lecture us. We forget the long dangling earrings that our mothers swore would attract the wrong type of guy? We forget that we once wanted to do something worthwhile, in a world that seemed out of control?

This group of “young people” who make up the children and grandchildren of these 50+ business owners are driving change for all of us to embrace. Their observations of our work lives contain all the frustration that their parents lived during their lifetime:

  • Working more hours and getting paid less
  • Top level executives earning millions and millions
  • There were no bonuses, no training, no incentives
  • Creativity? Not a line item anymore
  • And how many parents were laid off, more than once in the last ten years as an expendable expense to improve the budget?
  • Banks: wasn’t it the banks that caused the crash, took houses, and drained any passion from our lives?

This is the world that they observed. So Millennials want to create a future for themselves that is truly independent. They don’t want to put flowers in guns, they want to get rid of the guns and be with their families. They want to define their careers by a passionate purpose. They want meaningful work that will drive them to change, not the world around them.

So here I was, in a room of once passionate entrepreneurs who had to face their ultimate demise or embrace this new world.They were faced with a generation of people who are attached to their phones, and talking in a language as far fetched as a Star Wars Movie. But we uncovered something very important for them and the future of their business survival: Find your passion and share it. Teach “them” what you know, in a way that “they” (the millennials) will understand–in Facebook, Pinterest, and yes, even Twitter can connect the old and the new. And please, please don’t lecture them, they just want information.

So the best part of the weekend was the realization was that a new generation was driving an older generation to recapture their youth. Looking Social Media in the eye, they were faced with an opportunity to turn back the clock and start to live that life that they once imagined. Taking their purpose and passion and offering it up on the information highway to connect us all in a way that wasn’t possible before.

I like these two pictures because they are at the core of change. Are Millennials aliens from another planet? Feels like it to these aging Baby Boomers, but in their hands are the key to their business success. A vehicle like no other–pins, posts and tweets that will offer information infused passion and knowledge. That is all they want, and exactly what they need to make decisions whether or not to come into your shop and buy what you are offering…

“Excuse me, I heard you could solve my problem….”

Maria Bereket is a Social Media and Branding Strategist. Her work with small business owners and early childhood education is going to change the world making it a better place to live. Her personal business mission is to educate every person on the importance and fun of living in a socially connected world. http://www.designbearmarketing.com @mbear88

 

business, customers, Marketing, Social Media

How Do Buyers Find You?

The Information Highway

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“What is all the fuss about with social media?” the man asked during a workshop.  “I just don’t get it and I certainly wouldn’t pay for it!”

I had to take a deep, calming breath. Not because it was in the middle of my workshop, but because I want people to understand the power of what can be the game changer in their business.

I am an “early adopter” of Social Media, I admit it.  Not everyone jumps on board with new technology, but this technology has been around long enough, and I want, somehow to help this guy see the importance of something that wasn’t clear. I realize that despite its success and charms, social media marketing has not reached its tipping point when it comes to mainstream small and medium size businesses. It is dominated by million follower tweets by Ellen Degeneres and viral videos about grandma’s dancing. How could any intelligent professional think that this form of “marketing” was marketing at all?

But I ask you to take a moment and consider a few things….

Let’s think about your buyer.  That could be an investor, a donor, a volunteer, even a potential employee for your company. What gets them to make decisions to buy?

“Buyers” make decisions based on “information.”  They use to read newspapers and books, or even scroll through the Ye Olde Yellowpages. Today, however, they scroll through newsfeeds on their smartphones, jumping from one article to the next.  They watch (and share) news videos, links from tweets, Facebook posts, and alerts that “ding” all day long.  It is the information age, right?

So what happens when your “buyer” can’t find any information on you? You know, the information on their smartphones?  They never heard of your school, your growing non-profit, or your word-of-mouth investment company…how do you expect people to find your business on the information highway when you are sitting in the parking lot?

Do you have a Brand?

Well, a very brainy MIT professor gave a lecture last year and said that

“When people don’t have information about a product or service then they turn to the Brand to make their decision.”

Makes sense, right? That recognizable Logo and tagline that you have all over your stationary and business cards. But your press release was sent out to the local news and didn’t hit any of the big newsfeeds.  If your buyer can’t find information on your business on their smartphone, why would you think they would know your brand?  Sure, it’s a very cool logo on top of that annual report, but if only your existing customers are on that mailing list, how might new buyers become familiar with that brand?

Brainy MIT professor says that buyers will then go on their experience to make that decision. So let’s look at an example: A buyer is looking to donate some money, and they cannot find your awesome cause. So, they think, “Hey, my folks always gave money to the Bla-Bla-Bla Organization I will do that too.”  Done! Experience kicks in, and you are overlooked because you are invisible.

Same goes for the school up the street.  Why do you think parents choose big chain preschools, even when they suspect that it might not be the right choice for their kid?  Well, for one thing, they do not know you exist, or if they drive by you, how can they trust you without any information about you? It is all about trust says the Brainy MIT professor. Let me repeat that…

“It is all about trust,” says the Brainy MIT professor.

Think about this:   Posts on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest are not really what you are about,  but they do serve a purpose.  That “social-media imprint” that you are making every day with articles and quotes, pictures and stories, are reaching out and offering information to a world of buyers who want to find the right places to buy, enroll, invest and donate.  But if you are not participating in the process, then you might as well turn off the engine and close the shop because people today are hungry for information. And information equals trust.

In our society today, buyers do not make decisions about where to put their money without a glimpse into the culture and values of the businesses they support.

Information is powering business.

So go ahead, make the decision to get back on the highway, but let me remind you of this—there are semi’s and mini’s and motorcycles moving fast and faster out there!  So despite what my Heckler said at the workshop,  think about hiring someone who can ease you back onto the information highway.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because social media is free that it is easy too. It might just be the best investment yet.

Source: Brainy MIT Professor, Duncan Simester

Maria Bereket is a Social Media Stress Reliever! She loves marketing strategy, and social media, especially LinkedIn; and she helps business owners and professionals feel stress-free when setting up their social media profiles and marketing programs. @mbear88

business, Marketing, Social Media

6 Ways to Model your Social Media Plan for 2015

Social Media Signpost Shows Information Support And Communication

Social media marketing is an overwhelming process of posts and images shared across Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others. Sure, it’s easy to be fun and relevant when you are Nike or Virgin Airlines, but what do you do when you are a boring business solving every day, difficult problems for consumers? How can you make your social media sound fun? Forget fun, how can you get people to read your content in the first place?

The best way to start off your new 2015 plan is to model it after someone who already makes it work. There are lots of very successful companies out there, but let’s take a look at one of the most necessary (and boring) businesses there is: Taxes. Liberty Tax is well known for its statue of liberty signs and street dancers who bounce up and down trying to get you to notice their offices around the country, but did you know that their Facebook page is just as effective?

Let’s take a look at a few of their posts and see if you can model your own posting by following their strategy.

#1 Relevant Content. This is one of their new year posts that touches everyone who spent just a tad bit more than expected over the holidays. It is not directly about taxes, but it falls under the overall services that a good tax Advisor would offer its clients: money management. There is no sales pitch, just useful, relevant information that establishes Liberty Tax as an authority.

#2 Be The Resource. It is important that every business become a resource of knowledge to help navigate the overwhelming amounts of information that come across our newsfeeds. Who do you call to get answers to questions? Well, that should be you. Affordable Care Act is not directly related to the services that Liberty Tax would provide, but why not offer the knowledge in tips to their followers and then gently offer their number for them to call?

#3 Problem Solving Tips. Using the hashtag #taxtuesday, Liberty is offering tips and solving problems while at the same time optimizing their content consistently. #TBT became a thing because enough people understood the consistent message of posting old photos on Thursdays. Find your voice for tips and problem-solving and then make it a day of the week that people begin to look forward to.

#4 Branding. Liberty Tax is all about the Statue of Liberty. That green foam statue hat on top of the white sheet is waving its arms at us from January through April on most street corners. We recognize it. It is their brand identity. In our visual world, we need to have these touch points to distract us from our overwhelmed lives, and Liberty Tax does it well. Everyone posted a Happy New Year Image, but when we use our branded image to reinforce the message, there is a purpose behind the post.

#5 Fun. I suppose that Willie Nelson wouldn’t find this post that fun, but for everyone else– who doesn’t want to feel a sigh of relief in a world of celebrity news? Here are real situations related to the business of tax that are fun because they involve someone else. Find newspaper comics or stories that make light of serious situations and people will look forward to your information.

#6 Links Back to Their Site. Most of the articles posted by Liberty are from their blog. A blog being your natural and most effective way to become the resource and go-to source that people need. Finding your voice in the world of social media is essential for success. You have views, information and a whole lot of resources that people really want to read and share. Plus, having a blog and posting the content on other sites gives you the best social strategy of all: bringing people back to your website!

So take a look at successful company pages of your competitors and see what works for them. Are they consistent in their posting? (probably yes) Are they selling all of the time? (most likely no) Are they giving us a piece of their personality? (if people are following them then you can be sure the answer is yes)

Make a plan. Post on a schedule. Create your own content and share. And remember, you must be consistent!

#2015 #socialmedia #marketing #designbear #facebook #posting

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/6-ways-model-your-social-media-2015-maria-bereket?trk=object-title

business, Design, Marketing, Personal Brand, Social Media

What is Your Profile Really Saying About You?

two-faced-12-16-10

When people take a look at your professional life there are two ways: Your resume and your LinkedIn profile.

They are one in the same.  You, your skills, your experience, your passion.  So what is the best way to figure out what your profile is saying about you?  Here are three quick tips.

  1. Word Cloud. The amazing thing about word clouds is that the computer will go through what you have written and pull out the words, count them, and then display visually the most often used words.  Once you pull out the grammatical words what you have left is what your colleagues, recruiters and potential employers see.  It is the essence of your work life.   Choose the top 20 words and this is the core of what you are telling people. I use http://tagcrowd.com/wordcloud linkedin
  2. Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words.  We all know this is true, but we fail to “see” our own image as something worthwhile.  Sure we are older, heavier, grayer, but we are who we are and if we want people to trust us then we need to show our faces so that people like and trust us.  Make sure you are showing your face.  Make sure you are smiling, even slightly.  Make sure it’s not too casual or awkward.  Artsy is for artists.  Go to https://www.photofeeler.com/ to get an idea of what people think of your profile shot. 05-misleading-first-impressions-1.w1120.h1382
  3. Your Profile Heading.  So you work at ABC company as an XYZ.  Big deal.  Unless that is some really hot stuff and you are totally happy with telling the world that, then no worries.  But, if you are like most people, is that what you tell people?  Do you get excited when you tell people that?  Then figure out what makes you excited about what you do and put that in your profile heading.  Go back to the word cloud and find the words that you are…passionate trainer, detailed engineer, creative writer, entrepreneur, visionary, strategist….what makes you different from all the other XYZ’s who do what you do?   Take some time and figure out the keywords that will make your profile POP.  Mirror that on your resume too.  Go ahead, be who you are!photo dec

 

#smallbiz #DesignBear #LinkedIn #Training #Profile

Source: Facial images http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/06/you-should-worry-more-about-your-profile-picture.html
business, customers, Marketing, Social Media

Hire More Humans and Your Revenue Will Increase!

“In the coming year, small business owners will be focusing on growth: Nearly 80% of respondents reported that their top priority would be increasing revenue. Coming in a close second at 67% was the goal of establishing new customer relationships, which can be more costly and labor-intensive than improving existing relationships (46%).” (State of Small Business report-2014)

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I received a “thank you” note from Staples today. It was in response to a long detailed note I wrote them about their color copy machines and the people they hire in the copy department.  They have wonderful color copy machines in the self-service area and in every store I have gone too (two states now) the thumb drive slot is taped over.  In order to do “self-service” color copies with a thumb drive you need to ask the people behind the counter.  The very people who are rushing around trying to finish endless copies for projects; collated and stapled, then boxed in less than an hour.  Me and my thumb drive are not that important.

Customers are the reason businesses exist.  Nothing happens until one person sells another person something.  It is at the core of our economy and the whole reason sites like LinkedIn exist and prosper: customer relationships. I have something you need and want and if I am fair, nice and convenient, you will come and buy from me. Right?

So why is the cost of promoting and growing those relationships so costly?  Is it that relationships really do need a human touch in order to make them important?  67% of the small businesses who reported in this study said that they wanted to grow these new relationships, but sadly,  it came in only second to increased revenue…is that possible?  Can a business increase revenue without also growing new customers relationships? (Of course they can as anyone knows who flies in airplanes, yes indeed, if you charge for everything—oh that they could charge for the air in the cabin– then revenue can go up while the customer relationship suffers.)

But even airline companies, the ones that are thriving, know that relationships must be developed and nurtured, with a human touch, in order for their to be true, long-term, revenue growth.

“Customer relationship management (CRM) is a system for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.”

CRM: Its a well thought out process of managers and technical geeks who work together to find new ways to make customers happy and buy more stuff, but like automated phone services, your customers don’t really like your new CRM strategy for customer growth.  In fact, we hate them. First we know you are just trying to cut labor costs to increase revenue; and second, in this increasingly tech-oriented world, we have no choice but to press 1 for english, for the possibility of being given the option to speak with another human to resolve issues with your services.  Automated phones are not increasing your customer relationships–just ask anyone of the humans at the end of the long trail of button pushing who gets to speak to us! In my opinion, they are saints and need a raise!

Humans are not easily organized, automated or synchronized with sales and marketing goals.  Humans are messy, distracted, funny, flexible, emotional, and easily exhausted by the things like automated phone systems.  Humans aka customers, just want to be a part of the process. We want to feel important to you, valued, and heard.  We want to be greeted with a smile and listened to when we ask for something, or write out a complaint.  That is what makes us loyal and true, spending our money and telling all of our friends and associates how much we love you.

Social media is not a strategy to get your customers love and attention.  It is only the vehicle that carries your true message about a customers value to your business.

The Staples person that wrote me back mentioned that the pricing issues would be brought to the attention of management.  It was an oversight that told me my email was not really listened too, because I only referenced pricing at the very end, and it was not a complaint.  My customer issue was about service.  Telling people in million dollar ads that you are the “small business guy partner and friend” and yet making it impossible to get things done, quickly and without having to deal with your lack of staffing—it is a problem.

The solution? Be human.  Hire more humans.  Act like humans.  Think like humans. Offer services that humans like.  Put away your fancy CRM plan and find people who want to help others. That is my CRM plan for growth.  Humans reaching out to other humans.

#smallbiz, #customer, #customerservice, #CRM, #Human, #relationships, #revenue, #linkedin, #staples, #designbear

Image Source: Shutterstock Images

business, customers, Marketing, Social Media

One Terrifying #Smallbiz Reality

fear

Customers who engage with companies over
social media spend on average — 30% more
with those companies than other customers.
(Hootsuite)

30% More Sales!

When I quote a number like this to #SmallBiz Owners in my networking circles, their eyes narrow a bit, eyebrows raise, and I can just see the sweat collect on their brow as they stop breathing for a second…..

Fear.

I think the reality of knowing that your customers are engaging with companies online is one reason to cause some stress and pain, but having to face the fact that these customers might be spending more money too?

It is bad enough these giant, Mega-superstores sell cheaper products and services, but we all know they also have the resources to hire a team of nerds and geeks to post and tweet too!! Wait a minute, I am getting way ahead of myself here. It is just not true!

The companies that are competing for the #SmallBiz sales are not the ones with teams of people posting, blogging and tweeting. In fact, the statistics show that most of these “big guys” have only one or two people creating the social media buzz.

The beauty of utilizing social media as a marketing strategy is that every employee in the company–from the intern to bookkeeper—can contribute to the social media growth and sales of your small business.

Think about 30% more sales this month.

Is that worth sitting down and making a plan to incorporate social media into your marketing? Of course, it is, and not just because of the 30% sales, but because social media IS marketing!

First part of the strategy is acceptance.

This is what has changed and if #smallbiz does not get on board, then we let the big guys win. And every economy in the world needs #smallbiz.

What are you doing to incorporate social media?

Stay tuned for my #smallbiz tips posts on how to get with the social media plan.

Original post from www.linkedin.com/in/mariabereket/

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