What’s The ROI of Social Media for Consultants

The big question with Social Media is “is this worth my time?”

It’s an important question to ask each and every time you weigh the options and decide where to invest your energy and resources. I will answer this question for you, but we need to address a few issues first…

When you think of Social Media as the ability to have conversations with far greater impact than ever before and in a way that allows you to create and foster a community more efficiently

Some people say “Social Media is a fad.”

The definition of a ‘fad’, according to Dictionary.com, is “an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something…that is short-lived.”

Most fads come and go.

And if you’re looking to capitalize on them you need to catch them well before they hit their peak.

If you jump on board too late in the game you will still need to put in as much effort as the person who got involved months or years before you…and yet the return you can expect is often far less.

The Numbers May Not Add Up

When you take a look at the infographic below from Pagemodo, your first reaction about the ROI of Social Media may not be a positive one. Take for example, that only “20% say social marketing is producing a measurable ROI…”

And while this study showed that “64% of business owners investing in Social Media Marketing were confident it will deliver a return” on the same page it shows that only 25% of survey respondents can attribute an increase in sales to Social Media. Continue Reading

An Introduction to Using LinkedIn Effectively

Having spent my late teens and early 20’s growing up within the immergence of social media, I thought I would share some of my experiences in terms of using LinkedIn as part of my process for searching out and seeking career opportunities. This will be just as relevant for people looking to promote their skills and talents when looking for their first job as it is with people wanting to move on to bigger and better opportunities on the career ladder.

The recruitment process is two way, as much as they’re evaluating how well you will be able to perform a job, you also need to be asking yourself whether their company culture, or indeed the job in question is right for you.

Linked In

Linked In is usually the place I recommend people start with. Although it is caught within the umbrella terminology of “social networking”, it’s actually probably the least socially applicable network of people of all the other big social players.

A Linked In profile is not a particularly personable place, however its intentions are to allow people to cover and talk about individual’s essential business skills, experience and employment history, and is rather like a digital CV or Resume in that sense.

Get a professional profile photo

Simply because LinkedIn falls under the category of a social network, does not mean that this is a ‘casual’ network. If you’re using the same photograph that you commonly use across other profiles such as Facebook or Twitter, then you may be making the mistake of using a photograph that isn’t professional.

There’s a lot of benefit in having a corporate headshot, amongst looking the part, an experienced photographer will be able to help you communicate personality traits or characteristics that are otherwise also desirable in someone who is going to be required to fit in with a new team. A professional photograph will convey your likable qualities and allow others to connect your experience and abilities to a face.

Know your game plan and strategise accordingly

There are two core strategies you want to be adopting on LinkedIn.

Firstly communicate what drives and motivates you in terms of your professional skills and career aspirations. Complete your profile; make it clear, succinct and insightful. List your skills and expertise and prioritise the order in which you arrange and display them, as this will convey what you yourself find most interesting or challenging and what appeals most to you.

Don’t neglect or skimp on detail. Fill in your interests, if you cannot convey that you’re a likable or interesting person that will fit into a role, why would someone hire you? Technical competence or proficiency in skills and abilities alone are not enough.

Secondly use this as a tool for making yourself known with other potential employers. If you know the names of the key influential people, you can perform a search on LinkedIn that will hopefully return their profile. These people may head up human resources in public sector organisations, team managers, CEOs or business owners. You can then start to gauge what makes these people tick, and what they are in turn going to be looking for in a potential employee. Continue Reading

7 Ways Small Consulting Businesses Can Use Social Media Marketing

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter now dominate the Internet landscape. Accordingly, the way businesses have approached marketing on the Internet is changing, too. It’s no longer all about having the right web ads on the right sites, or even having the largest email mailing list. While those strategies aren’t entirely worthless, many businesses are finding larger success with social media marketing.

Yet, how exactly does a small business with limited resources tap into to the social media marketing pipeline? With tight budgets and relatively little technical knowledge, it can seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to plug into this emerging medium:

1. Start a blog. Starting a blog is one of the fastest and easiest ways to break into social media. Blogs are, arguably, one of the first and oldest forms of social media. There are several advantages to blogging, including the fact that blogs interface seamlessly with most social media sites. Not only that, the consistent content updates that blogging provide will help your website in terms of its overall search engine rankings.

2. Provide social media based customer service. When you think about social media marketing, your first thought probably isn’t dealing with customer service issues. However, this is actually one of the most effective methods for using social media, especially for a small business. When you help a social media contact with a customer service issue, you’re not only helping them. You’re helping their social media friends or followers, as well. On top of that, you’re demonstrating to everyone involved just how committed you are to customer service.

It’s no longer all about having the right web ads on the right sites, or even having the largest email mailing list.

3. Make important networking connections. Social media present an opportunity to connect with others in your field that you might otherwise not have access to. Continue Reading

How to market your business online using video

Marketing your business online is something that many business owners struggle with. It is easy to see why this is the case as the online world moves so fast that it is sometimes hard to keep up with current trends. Business owners are also constantly being bombarded with phone calls and emails that claim to be selling the latest thing in online marketing that will get them thousands of new customers.

This constant bombardment can often lead small business owners to lose faith in the internet but the fact of the matter is that the internet really does offer a wealth of opportunity when it comes to marketing your business and one of the things that is going to be huge this year is online video marketing.

Marketing your business online is something that many business owners struggle with.

You might have already heard this floating around on the internet and wondered where you should start. The good news is that it is probably more simple than you first though so here is a step by step guide to marketing your business successfully online using video.

Get a high quality video production

As a small business owner, you will need to maximise the return on your advertising investment and although getting a professional produced video might be quite costly, it is well worth it in the long run. The thing that you need to remember when it comes to having a video created is that it needs to be as high quality as possible in order to create a good impression for you and your business.

Video production will set you set a few hundred dollars at least, probably more, but the benefits are so big if you use it correctly that it will be one of the most valuable kinds of marketing that you could get involved in.

Constant bombardment can often lead small business owners to lose faith in the Internet

You should make sure that your video production highlights what is great about your business and what is unique about you. Make sure you have a story to tell and if possible, use yourself in the video. Customers always relate to business owners and a video allows you to have face to face contact with potential customers.

Upload your video to as many websites as possible

Once you have your video production, it will be time to get it out there for the world to see. The first thing that you should do is upload it to as many relevant websites as you possibly can. There are hundreds of video hosting websites out there (YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion etc) that will allow you to host videos for free.

You should upload it to as many of these websites as possible to maximise the chances of your video being found. Usually, uploading to YouTube will mean that your video will appear in a Google Video search and sometimes even in the normal search results. This is a great start to your online video marketing. Continue Reading

Google+ for Consultants: The New Social Network on the Block

Social media.  It’s becoming a more powerful tool for businesses everyday.  But with countless social networks available, which ones will benefit your business and which will just be a waste of time?  While there are many answers to this question, there is one, relatively new social network that’s putting unprecedented tools in the hands of businesses.

Google+ allows businesses to create Google+ pages, enabling your company to better communicate with the world.  Now that Google+ is available through the Google Apps suite, if your business is already taking advantage of the cloud through Google Apps for Business, creating a Google+ page is easier than ever.

The key advantages of creating a Google+ page for your business lie in the network’s ability to help you share with followers and promote your business online.

Sharing on Google+

Google+ has three main sharing features that prove especially useful for businesses with Google+ pages.  The first of these features is circles.  Through circles, you can create specific groups (circles) of people, organized however works best for you.  The advantage of circles comes into play when you’re looking to share a message, a deal, or anything, with only a specific group rather than all of your followers.  For example, your business may have a loyalty club that offers special promotions – now, with Google+, you can put all the members into a circle to make sure they, and only they, receive the proper information. Sharing through streams is yet another benefit of starting a Google+ page for your business.

The stream allows you to share videos, photos, and text on the Google+ network.  When sharing with the stream, you can choose to make the post public or just for specified circles.  While circles and the stream can improve the way your business communicates with others, the hangouts feature will not only help with communication, but will also improve your business’ collaboration efforts.  Through hangouts, your business can engage in screen sharing, real-time collaboration with Google Docs, and video chat with multiple people.  These sharing tools combined, especially when used in conjunction with the Google Apps suite, will ensure that your business has the best communication and collaboration tools available.

Continue Reading

SEO vs. PPC: Where Should You Start Your Startup?

Just about everyone in American knows how to work Google; so much so that the term Google has been made into a verb. Yesterday you may have googled a good place to eat, tomorrow you might google directions to your friend’s house, and today you may have googled the difference between PPC and SEO when starting a company. This is a distinction that confuses many startup companies, and if you do not yet have the tools to hire a marketing professional you may be on your own. In other words, it’s good that you googled such an important question.

Both SEO and PPC deal with driving traffic to a company website or blog. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and PPC stands for pay per click. Even as a startup company, I would suggest using both concepts to help drive traffic to your site; however there are certain circumstances where one may work better than the other. Consider the two different approaches and when to use each:

And In Corner One: SEO
SEO consulting deals with your friend, Google. The point of SEO is to get your website to the top of major search engines. Ideally, this is where you want your company websites to appear; however Google (and of course other search engines) does not just put any old website at the top. The relevancy of your website is a very important factor when it comes to placing your company website at the top of a search engine result page (SERP). Most major search engines rank sites based on algorithms that look to see if your website has unique content and is popular. This is the way to go when you are in a few different situations:

  • You want steady results—As I discussed earlier, it isn’t easy to get your website on the top of a major search engine. However, once you finally make it there, your success should remain steady because so many people use search engines to find the answers to their questions. It is a slower process, but worth it in the long run.
  • You want a high value website—A company should always want a high quality website—one that has consistent traffic, a high page rank, and a high search engine rating. If there is a chance you may ever want to sell your business, this will be important. Having a high quality website will also look good when it comes to potential co-marketing partners or investors.

Overall, SEO takes a lot of hard work and creativity. Keeping up with blog posts and producing quality web designs is a much longer process Continue Reading

How to Hire a Social Media Consultant?

For many, the choice to outsource a service is made because a business doesn’t have expertise or resources in a particular field. For social media, consultants have become somewhat of a controversial topic. Proponents believe that social media consultants deliver superior value in their experience building communities and their contacts. However, opponents often criticize that social media should be an internal process and requires day to day fostering internally.

Regardless, businesses are seeing a need for social media, according to a recent Hubspot Survey, “53% of executives believe they must adopt social business or (they) risk falling behind.” This isn’t necessarily surprising given the fact that some businesses are reporting ROI’s in the thousands with social media. Whether you are a new business trying to get insight in to how social can impact your startup, or a seasoned marketer looking for a bit more expertise in social, you’ve probably considered hiring a social media consultant

Only 17% of executives think their business is “ahead of the curve with their social strategy. This means 83% of businesses feel like they aren’t experiencing Continue Reading

3 Fast Ways for Consultants to Get More Twitter Followers

Are you a Twitter user desperate to learn how to get free Twitter followers? If this is you, then you’ve probably already seen all the software out there that makes big promises. It claims to teach you everything you need to know to learn how to get more Twitter followers.

The Truth:
The truth about such software, however, is that it simply doesn’t work. What’s even worse is that such software is almost always against Twitter’s terms of service. This means that if you’re caught – and you undoubtedly will be caught – you’ll likely lose your Twitter account!

Now, you’re left still wondering how to increase Twitter followers! What you need isn’t some hokey software or gimmick! Instead, you need a real, reliable way to increase your Twitter following, and I can provide you with just that!

I Was Just Like You:
Of course, I wasn’t always the Twitter expert I am today. In fact, I didn’t even start building my Twitter following until November of 2008. I have my friend, Deborah Carney, an outsourced program manager for TeamLoxly.com to thank for that.

I interviewed Deborah, and she taught me how to use Twitter right! Since that day, I’ve never looked back. Twitter really boosted my brand and business, and I don’t know how I ever lived without it. I know the same will be true for you if you follow my strategies.

It really doesn’t even matter what you’re using Twitter for. Whether you’re promoting a Continue Reading

Is Your Consulting Website This Hard to Use?

I was working on some research the other day online and somehow landed on a page that blew my mind. Mind you, not in a good way…

This has got to be one of the best examples of information overload and confusing and conflicting messages I’ve come across on the web (or anywhere else for that matter) in a long time.

Check this out…

Is your website this hard to use? I sure hope not.

This service is only $0! No, wait!! It’s actually $16 per day! What? No…wait a minute. Oh, now I get it…it is 16 cents a day.

Combine that with 3 different options that have no labelling as to why they are different. Woops…my mistake, if you look at the small gray writing under the big numbers you’ll see that the pricing varies with your choice of paying for 1 year, 3 months, or 30 days.

Plus you can pay 9 times. Download and Play! Wonder if we could do it all at once?

Key Point
On the web people have NO TIME. They’re brains aren’t working. Okay, they are, but their attention span is almost zilch, nadda, zip. Know what I mean?

So the minute you start introducing too many messages or mix them with several offerings not clearly labelled y ou can be sure you’re doing more harm than good.

If this company is making money…they’d make a boatload more if they ‘cleaned up their act’.

Have you seen any other examples like this online? Do share…

5 Reasons Consultants Should Blog

Most consultants know they should have a website. But I get asked all the time by those new to consulting whether or not they should have a blog.

My answer is yes, but with a couple of caveats.

If you’re going to start a blog make sure you have something to say. And be sure you can keep it up.

This advice goes for all companies…

There’s nothing worse than setting up a blog, connecting it to your website, posting a couple of articles…and then months go by and there’s no new content.

Certainly it’s not good for your image. Imagine a prospective client checking out your website, clicking on ‘Blog’ and then seeing that your last post was 6 months ago.

Ouch! That aint pretty.

Aight, so now we’ve explored the dark side of blogs and what you should consider before starting one.

But how about the positives, you ask? There are many:

1. Search Engine Love – Search engines such as Google love content from blogs. Especially when it comes out consistently. If you put up even a short post every couple of days or weeks your blog and therefore website traffic will climb.

2. You The Expert - You’re a pro right? Of course you are. Writing about your experience, sharing stories, consulting case studies, etc is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and become known as an authority.

3. Get Found – As you publish your posts you’ll start being found in the search engines by people looking for information on the topic you’ve written on. This is a great way to get contacted by potential consulting clients.

4. Easy to Get Started - Setting up a blog is eeeaasssy! Seriously. Even if you don’t have one technical bone in your body, you can pay someone through a service like Elance or oDesk to help you setup your blog. Continue Reading