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Chicago Freelance Copywriter

Tag: Facebook

Is Today The Day You Take Action?

is-today-the-day-you-take-actionTake a moment to close your eyes and visualize your to-do list.  Is it long and overwhelming?  If so, today, you’re going to take action.

I am going to let you in on a secret. Almost every email I get requesting my writing services has this line embedded in it: “I’ve been putting this off for months now.”

I have issued a challenge before, and it actually worked out quite well for a few of you. So here I go again. Today I challenge you to pick the one line on your to-do list that you’ve been meaning to work on, and make some progress on it. Here are three steps to follow to ensure your success:

1.) Identify your project

This might be the most difficult part because you probably have many things hanging over your head. Pick the one that gives you that bad feeling in your stomach when you think about it. Or else pick the project that will yield the most positive result for your business when it’s done. This is about improving your business, so keep that in mind while deciding.

2.) Do research

Just because I am issuing a challenge and you want to improve your business that does not mean you should make hasty decisions. Most likely you’ve been putting this off because it’s is going to take some time to complete, and is more complicated than just calling a client back. So if what you want to do involves hiring somebody else to get it done, do your research. If it includes doing something technical you’re not very familiar with, learn it.

3.) Take action

Once you’ve completed all the steps you need to in order to make this happen, make it happen. I’m not really sure what else to say.

So that is my challenge. Those are the steps. I am going to get in on this challenge too. Would you like to know my shameful secret? I don’t have business cards. I own a business, I meet with clients, I promote myself, but I do not have a business card to hand out. Shame on me.

I will be taking my first step toward becoming the proud owner of some really stupendous business cards as soon as I publish this post. I am going to do my research and see if this is something I should do myself or if I should hire a professional. I have to decide what to put on these bad boys, as in my mind, my business card isn’t just about getting in touch with me, but I want it to represent who I am and all I can offer. Not exactly a small order.

Today I begin this momentous journey toward having business cards. What is your journey going to be? Please leave a comment and let me know. Perhaps I can even help you on your way.

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What You Can Accomplish In 30 Minutes

what-you-can-accomplish-in-thirty-minutesI have been very busy lately with a big project. And like any good small business owner, my clients’ needs always come before my own. Which means the hours I used to spend on Facebook, Twitter, and other blogs have shrunk down. Way down. I now give myself thirty minutes to promote my own blog everyday. I honestly feel like I could spend 3 hours a day, and some days I have, but it’s no longer in the cards. So here is what I do to maximize my thirty minutes.

1-4 minutes — Post my newest blog post to Twitter and Facebook. On Twitter I try to take a few minutes to think of a catchy phrase that will get people to click.  There are services you can go to that post everything to one site, such as Postling, (I interviewed the VP of Customers at Postling, read it here) or Ping.fm, but I like doing it myself for some reason.  It’s just part of my routine, and I like my routine.

10 minutes — I have approximately 70 blogs on my Google Reader that relate to social media, and it’s always growing. Reading all these posts is where I could spend the majority of my time, if I had it. There really is no better way to improve social media skills than reading as many other bloggers’ thoughts, advice, and stories as possible. But I do not have that luxury, so I skim the headlines and pick out the top five that I think will really be worth my time to read. They are often from the same bloggers everyday, but I try to mix it up a bit.

10 minutes — I take the time to actually read these posts. Sometimes it frustrates me that I have to spend 1/3 of the time just narrowing them down, but I am very reluctant to remove any blogs from my Google Reader. I think I’m afraid one of the blogs will post the quintessential blogger post and I will miss it and die alone and cold and hungry as a result.

6-9 minutes — Once the blogs are read, I comment on them. I really believe it helps draw traffic to my own blog, and I like that I am being a part of the community.

And that’s it. If I had more time, what would I be doing? Reading more, that’s for sure. Commenting more as well. I’d also be promoting myself more, building an email list, starting a weekly newsletter, building up my Facebook page etc. My project comes to a close in two weeks, and after that I am going to put aside the time everyday to work on the goals I just mentioned.

So what could you accomplish at 30 minutes? Do you have a routine you engage in everyday in order to promote yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Facebook vs. Twitter: A Platform Comparison

facebook-vs-twitter-a-platform-comparisonfacebook-vs-twitter-a-platform-comparisonCompanies getting into social media are often confused about the difference between Facebook and Twitter. Besides the fact that Twitter limits messages to 140 characters, is there a real difference? Do companies need both? Won’t Facebook with its 500 million users and new buzz-worthy movie cover it all?

No. Twitter users and Facebook users are different beasts. NPR just completed this fascinating survey on the difference between those who follow them on Twitter vs. those who follow them on Facebook. I really suggest you take a read through it as it does an excellent job of explaining what the difference really is.

Here is my own take on how the platforms differ:

It all comes down to the users.

Regular Twitter users are tech savvy, blogging fools who are completely in touch with the world of social media. They are likely to use Twitter to connect with brands, to engage with customer service, and to recommend companies they like. Market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies revealed that nearly 20 percent more Twitter users were likely to recommend the brands they followed than Facebook users (60 percent of Facebook users, compared to 79 percent of Twitter followers).

Facebook users are less likely to be plugged into social media. Their use of Facebook is more about friends and family and pictures than connecting with businesses. Additionally, I think people are more likely to listen to a friend’s word of mouth suggestion on Facebook than Twitter. Simply because you “know” your friends on Facebook, while most of your Twitter followers are most likely real-life strangers.

The truth is the two platforms are completely different, and are used in different ways.

Just read these two posts by Chris Brogan, one where he talks about his Twitter presence, and one where he talks about his Facebook presence. The differences are fascinating.

I’ve also found that a lot of businesses seem to prefer one over another.  Grace Bonney from Design*Sponge prefers Twitter, but in my interview with Viva La Femme owner, Stephanie Sack, she talked about her preference for Facebook.

My conclusion on this rumination over Facebook vs. Twitter? There really is a need and usage for both. You aren’t going to hit the same people by using Twitter and Facebook to market your business. You’re going to hit two different demographics that are using their social media in unique ways.

Not every company needs to be on both platforms, but you are going to be hard pressed to try to convince me why not.

What do you think? Are you on Facebook and Twitter? Do you use them in different ways? Does your business? I am extremely curious on how other people see this conversation, so please let me know.

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Photo by Normalityrelief

I mentioned in Monday’s relationship challenge post that I attended a wedding last weekend and learned two lessons I would be sharing with you. The first was a reminder on how important relationships are. Today you get the second.

This is such a simple lesson but one I think we often overlook.

Hard work pays off.

That’s basically all there is to this lesson. My friend who got married, Mary, put her heart and soul into this wedding. For ten months she worked tirelessly to make this joyful event everything she ever wanted it to be. And in the end, it was more beautiful and loving than I think even she imagined it could be.

I think this is such a potent lesson for social media because delving into using social media for your business is going to take a lot of hard work. So it’s important to remember that in the end, it will all pay off.

But you already know this, so what else is there to know? I think it’s important to understand where to put all this time and effort. It’s easy to get bogged down in social media and end up spending an hour somewhere that won’t pay you back in the end.

Here are the top five ways to spend your time in order to yield the best possible results:

1.) Blogging

I know, how many times have I come back to blogging? Here I am again. Instead of reiterating myself over and over, I’m just going to link to old posts that explain how blogging is an amazing way to connect with customers, communicate with customers, turn readers into clients, and so forth. In the end, I truly believe there isn’t a downside to starting a business blog and putting a large chunk of your efforts into this platform.

2.) Reading

Staying on top of your industry trends is a powerful tool. Knowing what is working for others in your industry can help you decide what to do with your own business. And if you’re going to be putting your time into blogging, then you need to read other blogs to get a feeling for how they are written, what sort of value they are providing, and so forth. Check their comments section, are they having conversations? Are their ideas being reflected back at them in an interesting way? What can you learn?

3.) Conversing

This is where Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn come in. Truthfully, not every platform is going to be right for every business. That is why I didn’t give them each their own number. But all three can be amazing for different types of businesses. Deciding which platform to concentrate on can take a lot of hard work in itself. But once you figure out which will help promote your business, they can be extremely beneficial.

For help deciding which platform works best for your business, shoot me an email or leave a question in comments and I’ll help you figure out what you want to use the platform to accomplish, and from there we can decide which one works best.

4.) SEO

Being found by Google is a huge goal that many companies find so overwhelming they completely ignore it. SEO is not my area of expertise. I can’t tell you how to get your site to the first page, that’s left to the real experts who are both artists and scientists. However, I can tell you that it’s not something that can be overlooked, and you would be a fool to do so.

5.) Brand recognition

When you start a social media campaign, it’s worth the time and effort to make sure your company’s brand is consistent across everything you do. Social media isn’t just about conversing and connecting, it’s about building awareness for your company. Don’t confuse potential customers by using many different logos or pictures.

What do you think? Do you agree these are good ways to spend your time and important areas to put in the hard work? Do you sometimes need to be reminded that putting in hard work will pay off in the end? I know I do.

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Good News and Bad News

I’m going to start with the good news since I like to think of myself as a glass half full kinda gal.

So here is my good news: My Social Media Writing business is thriving!  I am beyond thrilled.  When I started this business two months ago I knew there was a huge demand for well-written social media content priced with small businesses in mind.  Apparently I was right (and apparently I’m not afraid to say it out loud). I have met so many amazing small businesses who are starting out in social media and need a bit of help.  It’s been amazing working with different people, learning as much as I can, and helping small businesses move from traditional marketing into social media marketing.

How does this translate into bad news?  To quote the great Diane Keaton movie, something’s gotta give.  And unfortunately it’s going to be blog posts.  I post every single day now, but I’m going to cut back to three times a week.  This isn’t a quantity vs. quality debate (which I already had here on the blog).  It’s just a result of being too busy.  However, since I have declared myself a glass half full kinda gal, let’s hope that maybe this cut back will result in better posts that will provide you with a ridiculous amount of value.  Maybe they’ll be so good Seth Godin will quake in his boots.  Or maybe not.

Let’s put in another bit of good news though.  The more people I work with, the more I find great topics that I know small businesses need to learn about.  So the more clients I get, the better blog posts you’ll get.

I think I’ll start off posting Mon/Wed/Fri and see how that works.  And if I’m ever feeling cheeky, I’ll mix it up and not tell anyone.  But probably not.

Sorry today’s post is of no real value and you haven’t learned a thing beside the fact that I use the glass half full metaphor too much.

See you Friday.

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