Social Media to Grow Your Business

Recently American Express Open Forum had a post about Social Media which included some great quotes from Guy Kawasaki, a recognized leader in small business marketing.  Some of the quotes in the article probably came from Guy’s book “The Art of Social Media:  Power Tips for Power Users.”

One of the things that Guy said that struck a high note with me were that “the start of effective social media is to provide a great product or service. Then social media is easy. Social media isn’t lipstick you can put on a pig to make the pig beautiful. A pig is still a pig. Small-business owners should run from an author who says he can help you sell crap.”

The post continues by saying that the “startup” stage of a business never really ends.  Once you have the basics, such as the name, legal structure, etc, you have new challenges.

We all know this as we’ve built our gift basket businesses.  To take our business beyond the basic startup phase, we have to get the word out.  We have to market.  Advertise.  All the while, continuing to maintain quality products and service.  As Guy said, “If your small business doesn’t need to do these things, it’s probably comatose or dead.”

He gives these tips for small business owners to make better use of social media:

“All of your posts cannot be promotional. Most of them should provide value, not sell what you do. Before you share anything, ask yourself if it’s so good that people will re-share it to their followers.”

“Always include a graphic or video with your posts.”

“Repeat your posts—you should not assume that everyone you want to reach is viewing your social media at the same time of day. I’m all about tactics, not high-level strategies. Now go and implement.”

These are basic, but very important tips from an expert who knows how to use social media as an important tool to grow your business.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

I spend a lot of the day at the computer.  Between processing and shipping orders, I work on the magazine, comment on the forum and facebook groups, and write articles for other niches that I am involved in.  I’m even working on a series of ebooks and a new novel.
Although I have a desktop computer in my office upstairs, I haven’t touched it in years.  I use my laptop which is set up in a mini-office corner in my family room.  This way, I can work at night while hubby is watching TV and he doesn’t feel deserted.
About a year ago, I developed severe pain in my right leg and lower hip area.  After x-rays, an MRI, extensive chiropractic and physical therapy sessions, I finally got relief.  The diagnosis had been stenosis of the spine.  Sitting at the computer for hours was part of the cause.
Pain that severe is a good learning experience.  I bought a better desk chair and now never sit at the computer for more than 1/2 hour at a time now.  And the pain hasn’t returned.
Why am I sharing this with you?  Many of you say that you are overwhelmed trying to grow your business.  I see many in our facebook group, who are facebook junkies, members of as many as a 100 or more groups and constantly posting online.  In my pre-stenosis life, I, too was overwhelmed by multitasking on many different things at once.  The top of my computer screen would be covered with rows of browser tabs open and the several projects that I was working on at the time.
No more.
Pain taught me that there was so much going on, things calling out to me on the computer, that I was jumping from one to the other, doing a bit here and a bit there, while accomplishing less than I should have been able to.
Pain was a good incentive to create a new schedule for myself which includes a little personal reboot.  When I first turn on the computer in the morning, I print out all the orders that came in overnight, quickly scan my several email accounts for anything important, and scan the new posts on our gift basket facebook group to see if there is anything that needs immediate attention from me.  All other facebook groups and my personal thread are saved until later.
Then I leave the computer, go into my studio and fill any orders that need to be delivered or shipped today.  Once that is done, I know that I can spend several hours doing the computer work that is such an important part of my business.
But those several hours are broken up about every half-hour when I walk away from the computer, grab a drink or snack, perhaps put a load of laundry in to wash or do some prep work for dinner or even vacuum the floor.  I usually go out for lunch in the middle of the day.  My three dogs get attention and even a short walk on days I’m really busy or a longer one on less busy days.
After a break, I then get back to work on the computer.  And you know what?  I’m far more focused and productive and even my three dogs no longer feel deserted.
If you find yourself doing the same thing for long periods of time or even multi-tasking trying to do dozens of things at once, feeling out-of-focus, take a break.  Go for a walk.  Brew yourself a cup of tea. Even read a chapter of that novel you’ve been neglecting.
Anything that is different and takes your mind off work for a few minutes can make a big difference in how focused and productive you are.  And if your work involves a lot of sitting, that break may even save you from the pain that I experienced as a result of it.
Give it a try the next time you feel your focus fading as overwhelm descends on you.  And let me know the results in the comments below.