A Guide to Social Media Etiquette for Business and more...




A Guide to Social Media Etiquette for Business

Social Media Etiquette Infographic HeaderWritten by Dave Landry, Jr.

If your business is interested in expanding its reach to a wider audience, social media provides great opportunities for both marketing and CRM, but professional social media etiquette and usage comes with a different set of rules than personal usage.

It’s important, before embarking on your social media campaign, that you understand what is and isn’t allowed, as well as what strategies and methods have been proven most effective for boosting conversions and ROI.

A modern business would be wise to have 6 social media outlet on its radar: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. You should only activate accounts on as many platforms as you’re willing and able to regularly update. An abandoned or incomplete social profile offers no benefit to you or your customers.

I will now go through each platform one by one, pointing out the tips and tricks to optimizing your social presence.

Facebook

Respond to as many comments as possible – this show’s your company’s investment in customers and fans.

Don’t over-promote yourself. Business pages should keep the majority of their interaction to the page itself. If you do post elsewhere on facebook with the business account, you should make an effort to avoid self-promotion.

Twitter

Re-Tweets are the currency of this platform. You don’t want to exhaust your 140 characters on the original post.

Follow strategically, not indiscriminately. When brands start following too many people, it raises a red flag.

Customize your Twitter age so that your brand is recognizably front and center. Avatars and backgrounds images should include your company logo whenever possible.

Google Plus

This is the best platform for B2B marketing, so work hard to establish trust in the community. If you share content, be sure to hat tip (H/T) the person that posted it before you. This way, you both get more traffic, and they’ll be more likely to hat tip you back in the future.

Just as it’s important to credit the origins, you should bring your own spice to every content piece you share. It’s a good idea to add your own commentary, and in some cases, even reformat the post to be easier for casual viewers to take in. Captivating images with large, central text works the best.

Take full advantage of the Circles and Communities to categorize your target audiences for specialized branding strategies.

LinkedIn

Quality over quantity is the golden rule here, more than anyplace else. If you make an effort to connect with someone, take the time to write a personalized message, explaining clearly why you are trying to connect with them.

Unlike the other platforms, LinkedIn should be reserved for industry-related content alone. You’re promoting your individual job experience and expertise.

Instagram

Despite the temptation to fill your profile with selfies, dinners, and cute animals, you should still uphold a certain level of professionalism.

Hashtags are one of the most effective method for funneling relevant traffic toward your content on Instagram.

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, it’s not uncommon for brands to actively engage personal accounts by liking or sharing content.

Pinterest

Pinterest is all about curated content. Do your best to find the original poster for each pin and include links to credit that source.

High-quality images have the best traction. Build your brand’s ethos by avoiding poor photoshop renderings and sloppy pins.

Make sure, if you use pins for clickthroughs, that those pins are somehow relevant to what’s waiting on the other side. Pinterest users will see right through deceptive tactics and your brand will lose credibility fast.

The Final Rule

The last general guideline to keep in mind is the 80/20 rule, which applies to every platform except for LinkedIn. The 80/20 rule pertains to the ratio of shared content that is meant for entertainment to shared content that is meant to boost sales. While 20% may seem like a low number for content that’s actually pushing for a sale, customers are more likely to take notice of those posts if your profile has a reputation for fun and engaging content. So, let yourself have some fun with this. It’s been proven to yield results.

Social Media Etiquete Infographic

 

About the AuthorDave Landry Jr. is a personal finance manager and debt relief counselor located in Southern California. He enjoys writing and creating infographics about the impact social media has on today’s business climate.

Note: Occasionally, this site will publish a post by a guest author if the content, links, and purpose is to assist small businesses in building a better presence online or offline. If you are interested in participating with your own guest post, here are the ConverStations Guest Post Guidelines.

A Guide to Social Media Etiquette for Business is a post from: ConverStations


The Steps From Business Owner to Franchise Owner

Franchise. Business Concept.In a report for the International Franchise Association (IFA) by IHS Global Insights, franchises outpaced the growth of other business sectors in 2012. They estimate that there will be more than 750 thousand franchise locations by the end of 2013, a 1.4 percent increase.

If you’re considering moving away from small business ownership and buying a franchise, this might be the time to capitalize on the franchise growth trend. Make sure this is a good move for you by doing your homework and understanding the inner workings of owning a franchise.

The Franchise/Small Business Differences

There are a number of areas where operating a franchise differs from your small business experience. If you are buying a new franchise, the IFA says:

  • There is less risk of failure
  • The products are stable and proven
  • You have help during the set up period
  • Training and support is available
  • Marketing is defined for you

If you are purchasing an existing franchise operation:

  • Risks are reduced with an operational business
  • The location, policies and procedures are in place
  • Employees and suppliers are in place
  • There is an existing customer base
  • Cash flow is already apparent

Business decisions have already been made and the direction set. As a small business owner, you had to make many of these decisions from scratch, hoping they would prove profitable.

The Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)

In 1979, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) required franchises to give each prospective buyer all of the information they need to make a sound business decision regarding their investment. The Uniform Franchise Circular Offering (UFOC), now called the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), was developed to present information detailing the history and operations of a franchise. FranchiseSolutions.com stresses that you must understand this document thoroughly to get the full picture of the franchise.

This document can be full of legalese, so it is recommended that you review it with an attorney who specializes in franchise contracts. This document defines your obligations as a franchisee and once you sign, you’ll be legally bound to the terms and conditions.

The complete FDD is made up of three sections:

  • A copy of the franchisor’s financial statements from the last audit
  • A section containing 23 items that encompass all of the information presented about the company
  • A contract for you to sign if you decide to buy this franchise

Some of the items in the section of 23 items include:

  • The origin and history of the franchise
  • Any history of lawsuits and bankruptcy actions
  • A detail of the franchise fee and the initial investment
  • Vendor and supplier restrictions
  • Franchisee’s obligations
  • Financing options
  • Franchisor’s obligations
  • Territory information
  • Earnings information

This document should give you enough information to evaluate the soundness of the franchisor and the franchise itself. It should be specific as to your obligations. All fees and expenses should be spelled out. While one benefit of a franchise is that the major business decisions have been made, there may be some areas where you prefer to do things differently. In that situation, it’s time to negotiate.

Changing the FDD

Franchisors don’t like to negotiate because they have a proven model they prefer to work with, and they don’t want other franchisees asking for the same changes. Some franchises will just say no to negotiating, as Franchising USA Magazine explains, but others may be open to it.

For example, you may have used Intuit’s bookkeeping tools for your small business accounting and taxes. You’d like to use some of their other products such as mobile payments and the Intuit labor law posters in your franchise. This needs to be negotiated and the FDD amended before you sign the contract. You’ll also want to decide what show-stopper requirements you have that would make you walk away from a franchise opportunity.

A Note About Fees

Another good reason to have an attorney look at the FDD is to fully understand the fees. Take for example the Subway franchise. Their website indicates an initial franchise fee of $15,000 with an initial investment of $78,600. But Franchise.com, a listing of franchises for sale, indicates that the total investment could run to more than $300,000. The fees are required to be spelled out in detail and having an attorney interpret them for you is a good investment before you sign any contract.

This guest post submitted by SocialMonsters, a place to get great content for your business site as their team collaborates with you to provide content relative to your industry and important to your customers and readership.

Note: Occasionally, this site will publish a post by a guest author if the content, links, and purpose is to assist small businesses in building a better presence online or offline. If you are interested in participating with your own guest post, here are the ConverStations Guest Post Guidelines.

The Steps From Business Owner to Franchise Owner is a post from: ConverStations


Is Guest Posting a Good Business Practice?

Man Writing with Pen, Paper, LaptopThere has been some debate over whether guest posting is a beneficial practice or a spammy practice, a positive or a negative. I’m not a fan of blanket statements. It’s probably why “It Depends” is so often at the tip of my tongue.

When it comes to a small business owner publishing or writing a guest post, the reader (potential customer) is still the most important role in the process.

Here are three ways to look at guest posting as a business practice.

Guest Posting and the Publisher

Publishing relevant guest posts can give you, as a publisher, a broader reach as the writer will likley help promote the post and possibly bring new visitors to your site. It also gives you as the main writer, and opportunity to share different viewpoints with your audience and take a bit of a creative break yourself. It’s important to have clear guidelines and be able to say “no” when a post or timing of a post is not going to be of value to your audience or your business goals.

Always be sure to point to the guest author’s site and social profile(s) so your reading audience can connect with those authors. By providing a link to the guest author, it gives you an opportunity to do due diligence and make sure the author is legit.

Your site should be offering your readers and customers high value. A guest author should add value to the people you serve. If they can’t do that, don’t publish their piece.

Guest Posting and the Writer or Business Owner

Guest posting can be a strong way to extend your network and build a broader customer base. A small business owner who is just beginning to build an online presence should embrace opportunities to guest post on other sites that would be relevant to all concerned (publisher, writer, reader). In some ways, guest posting is a small or starter version of a joint venture.

Try to find sites that share similar customer bases (i.e., Interior Designer and Landscape Contractor; Auto Body and Tire Retailer) or the same type of customer in a different geographic region. While a guest post should help both the publisher and the writer/business owner – the highest value should be what the reader receives.

Guest Posting and the Reader

As a reader of hundreds of blogs myself, I enjoy reading guest posts on some sites because I’m often introduced to authors I’ve not discovered yet. If I like the article, I will share it and sometimes connect with the guest author’s social media work and subscribe to their site feed. I also like it when a guest author has a bit of variance to the opinion of the publisher (and when the publisher adds an addenda stating so at the bottom of the post).

The main thing is bring value to the reading audience. If you’re publishing or writing guest posts for the purpose of benefitting human beings in a manner relevant to the site’s promise – everyone wins. If you’re publishing or writing for the main objective being better search results – I think you’re looking through a foggy lens.

I recently did a podcast on this topic, SmallBiz Tracks Daily Podcast No. 27:

Photo on Pixabay by Unsplash

Is Guest Posting a Good Business Practice? is a post from: ConverStations


Father, Brother, Pastor, Leader

In most cases, I wouldn’t post such a personal item on these pages. This is different.

I lost a friend yesterday. More than a friend. A father. A brother. A pastor. A leader. Bo Thye was all of these things to me.

The first time I met him was a 7 1/2 hour conversation. A three-mealer. I was asking him if I could marry his daughter, Angela. Thankfully, he said yes.

He and I were different in many ways, but alike in the important ones. He didn’t really understand everything about my business, but he was a big supporter in word and deed. He was a tinkerer and lifelong learner. His questions were motivating explorations of curiosity and imagination.

He was the father of my two best friends, my wife and her sister. He was my brother in Christ and an encouragement always. He was my pastor and teacher in his words and deeds. He was my leader with his exemplary lifestyle and active pursuit of clearing a path for others.

He was my friend. He’s been gone only a day. I miss his personal presence greatly. His lessons will always be with me.

I love you, Bo Thye.

BoAcronym

Father, Brother, Pastor, Leader is a post from: ConverStations


Can Cold Calls Still Build Business?

man talking on headset phoneWhile inbound marketing, networking and referrals, and content marketing are all fantastic practices in today’s business climate, cold calls are still a great way to increase business relationships and continue building a better business presence.

If you’re going to keep your funnel filled with new prospects and customers, and I think that’s how most of us stay in business, cold calling is still an important form of outreach.

By doing a few of each of the following types of cold calls each week, you’ll avoid overwhelm and burnout – and you’ll build your business and your presence.

Email Cold Calls

A short email specific to the recipient (not spam) can be a great way to build a business relationship. How many times do we see websites or phone numbers on company vehicles or advertisements? Try sending a few emails (2 – 5) each day and watch your business grow.

Telephone Cold Calls

If I have noticed something about a business or a potential customer of that business, I’ll give them a call. I once noticed a company truck that had something about to come loose. The phone number was on the panel so I called. The owner answered – and he was driving the truck. We pulled over and got his load secure. He became a customer. Always deliver value.

Walk-In Cold Calls

When meeting with business owners at their place of business, I always try to enlarge my field by visiting neighboring businesses simply by walking in and introducing myself. I let them know I’ve been working with their neighbor and if I can ever give them a boost (I call it a L.I.F.T.) to let me know. One or two, here and there.

Cold Calling today may have different names and may be a bit warmer in nature than years ago. Depending on your purpose and how you go about it, cold calling can still be an effective way to build your business and your business presence.

Photo on Pixabay by seografika

Can Cold Calls Still Build Business? is a post from: ConverStations



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