Monthly Archives: May 2012

the Zen of Facebook

By Gail Z. Martin

Does Facebook stress you or help you relax?

Facebook favors selective attention.  I enjoy looking at (and forwarding) blissful pictures, motivational quotes, and funny sayings.  While I often read without commenting, I also enjoy being able to take a short break and get caught up with what friends and acquaintances are doing.

I have a strict “no haters” rule on my page.  I consider my profile page to be part of my public persona as an author and a business person, so I will accept friend requests from anybody who asks (so long as they post in English).  But…posting something hateful will get a person de-friended and their posts removed.  I don’t need to look at that kind of stuff, and I certainly don’t need to be party to sharing it.

Likewise, I stay out of contentious debates.  I have plenty of opinions on topics, but the world really doesn’t care what I think (and if you do, you can read my books).  Too many comments devolve into useless quibbles.  Don’t harsh my mellow!  If it’s an occasional debate I’ll overlook it, but if someone frequently posts contentious items, it’s a guaranteed way to get de-friended, or at least, hidden.

When I participate on Facebook, I try to share information that will educate, empower or inspire, and occasionally, make you laugh.  That’s my tiny contribution in a world that needs a whole lot more knowledge, empowerment, inspiration and laughter.  I am grateful for the amazing ability to use technology that enables me to touch a global audience, and I have set my intentions to

I limit my time on Facebook to first thing in the morning (to post those success thoughts), and occasionally during the day when I need a 5 minute mental vacation.  If you know you can’t go out to Facebook for just 5 minutes, then wait until evening.  If you have difficulty staying focused on business at the beginning of the workday, make a to-do list with one or two action items related to business, go out on Facebook and do them, and then log off.  And if it’s too distracting to get email updates when people post on your page, disable the emails so you have to go out and look.

Facebook can be a good business tool and a fun part of your social life, but it shouldn’t add to your stress.  Try these ideas to help you get into Facebook’s more relaxing qualities, and have fun!

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Savvy, Successful or Scared of Social Media?

By Gail Z. Martin

Where are you on the social media scale?  Savvy?  Successful?  Or scared?

If you put yourself in the third category, you’re in good company.  So many of the business owners and solo professionals I meet confide that they are afraid of social media.  That fear is holding them back from using a valuable tool that could help them grow their business.  And here’s the good news:  you don’t have to be afraid.

Fear #1: Social Media is Unfamiliar. One way to look at social media that takes some of the fear away is to think of it as a tool like your telephone, mailbox or email.  None of those are very scary, right?  They’re all tools we use to connect with other people, and to have other people connect with us.  Used improperly, we get telemarketer phone calls, junk mail and spam.  But used correctly, we hear from friends, family and clients, receive valuable materials, and reach people around the world.

Social media is one more way to make that connection, to deliver or receive valuable information, and to reach people around the block and around the world.

Fear #2: Social Media Will Take Up All My Time.  Not if you plan your work and work your plan.  Think of it this way: if you walk into a store to browse, you could wander around for an hour.  But if you go in knowing exactly what you want to buy, you can be in and out in 15 minutes.  It’s the same with social media.  Before you log on, have one or two strategic actions you want to accomplish, go do them, and log off.  If there are things that catch your eye that aren’t business-related, save them for your lunch hour or evening.

 

Fear #3: I Might Meet Weird Strangers on Social Media.  Well, you might meet weird strangers at the supermarket, too.  However, on social media, you can choose whose invitations to accept, and if someone you’ve followed or friended turns out not be someone you want to associate with, you can easily unfriend them.  Imagine social media as a huge conference.  You go to meet new people, but if you meet someone you don’t like, you can throw out their business card.  Social media is a big, global conference where you can meet amazing new people, and if you don’t like someone, you don’t have to remain in contact with them.

Fear #4: I Don’t Know What to Say on Social Media.  Social media is a fantastic way to encourage, educate, motivate, inspire, inform and support other people.  If you focus on sharing helpful information, suggesting resources, sharing inspiring or motivating quotes/photos, and throwing in the occasional link to an interesting article, or funny G-rated video or book title, you’ve gone a long way toward offering useful, helpful, and connection-building content.

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Facing your Facebook Fears – Fear of Facebook: Three Steps to Fear-Free Social Media

By Gail Z. Martin

I’ll never forget the time a lady came up to me at a luncheon and said, “I’ve gotten on Facebook for business and someone I don’t know wants to be my friend.  What do I do?”

She was truly terrified of talking to “strangers” on social media, and yet, isn’t meeting new people at the very heart of business success?

I asked the woman, “If someone came up to you at this luncheon and smiled and introduced herself, would you dive under the table?”  “Of course not,” she replied.  “Well, Facebook is like a big networking luncheon that never stops,” I told her.  And when she thought about it that way, she was suddenly able to make sense of it and it wasn’t nearly so scary.

As I travel and speak to groups, I’m saddened and amazed at how many people are hanging back from utilizing social media because of fear.  So here are three steps you can use to get past your Fear of Facebook and start using social media fear-free.

1.  If you don’t put personal information on Facebook, no one can get it.  This one’s pretty simple.  If you don’t want to take a chance that the world might see certain photos or certain comments, don’t post them.  Period.  If it’s not there, it can’t be copied, forwarded or accidentally leaked.

2.  Give yourself credit.  “Don’t talk to strangers” is good advice for children, but in reality, if you’re in business you have to talk to people you don’t know.  If you opened a store, you wouldn’t stay in business long if the only people you allowed to enter were friends and family. It’s the same on social media.  Use common sense.  Don’t talk about upcoming vacations or times when your house will be empty (talk about your trips when you return, unless someone will be at home while you’re gone).  Never give out your password or account numbers, even if someone seems official.  Keep conversations “business casual” and you’ll be fine.

3.  Make sure you have up-to-date security software on your computer like Norton Anti-Virus or a similar program, and never click on links that look suspicious.  For example, if you’re leery of clicking on a Facebook link in your email, open Facebook in your browser and click through from there.  Don’t open attachments unless you’re sure you know the sender and you know what’s in the attachment. (Good anti-virus software will help with dangerous emails as well.)

Take simple precautious and use the same common sense that you employ going about your business in the real world, and you’ll find that Facebook and other social media sites can enrich your business and personal life.

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Doing an End-of-Day Review is Powerful – Here’s How…

by Marilyn Suttle

The end-of-day review is a powerful tool I use to improve my performance with clients, while raising the bar on my personal effectiveness. It’s a simple practice that only takes a few minutes.

Right before leaving work at the end of the day, ask yourself:

What went well? What would I do differently next time? What do I appreciate about my customers?

Here’s why:

When you ask, “What went well?” it unleashes your brain to zero in on all the wins of your day. That makes you more resourceful.

When you make a habit of noticing what’s going right, you’ll more readily apply those same tactics to future situations.

When you ask, “What would I do differently?” it gives your mind time to rehearse better ways of responding to future challenges. Those mental rehearsals can catapult your effectiveness. It also helps you to avoid self-blame, shame, and guilt.

When you ask, “What do I appreciate about my customers?” it keeps your attention on the people who are the reason you’re in business. It helps you get your mind off the one or two curmudgeonly customers that bring you down, so you can see the overall purpose and value of all those who do business with you.

It creates a sense of closure to your work day so you can be more fully present at home with family and friends.

Not all self-reflections are helpful. Some can even sabotage your success. “What went wrong?” is not a resourceful question. It makes the little problems big and big successes little.  Rather than rehearse better ways of handling workplace issues, you’re left chewing on troubles. As you leave for the day, you’ll feel frustrated, and your resilience will tank. You won’t be much fun across the dinner table with your family and it sets you up to start the next day from a less resourceful vantage point.

It also helps to do a similar end-of-year review. One thing that came from doing it yearly is I now keep a notebook to capture these reviews. Capturing these small daily reviews helps to recognize how small things done consistently leads to massive results in your business, profits, and sense of wellbeing.

What do you think? How could you build upon what’s going right and make adjustments to better serve your clients?

Marilyn Suttle is an international keynoter, and success coach for those wanting to attract and retain happy customers and expand their personal power. She specializes in creating prosperous cultures of excellence by creating “Suttle Shifts” in the way people think and act to get further faster and with less stress. Her bestselling book, “Who’s Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer Into Your Biggest Fan” is the result of decades of experience and extensive interviews with CEO’s, managers, and front line staff of service focused businesses. Visit www.MarilynSuttle.com

 

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Niche Marketing – How to Target Your Marketing Efforts and Master Your Business Niche

By Karel Murray, CSP, DREI

If you want to make more money in today’s competitive environment, then you need to master your business niche. Let me show you a perfect, prime example of niche marketing at its best:

The AARP card appeared in the mail again. This time I actually opened the envelope and reviewed the material included with the invitation to join. Offers of insurance, magazines, on-line registrations and general information related to aging spilled out across the table. Everything in the packet maintained the specific intent of enticing a middle age person to join the group dedicated to senior citizens.

A scant five years ago, I wouldn’t have acknowledged the promotional material. It would have been swept into the nearest garbage can as I briefly wondered why this organization wasted its marketing dollars on me. Now, as I scan the introductory letter, the supporting messages delivered in the envelope are beginning to make sense. I’ve discovered that the magazine is dedicated to providing me with information on medical advancements for cholesterol control, suggestions to slim the middle age bulge and tips to improve my memory. That last one caught my attention.

Startled, I realized that I aged into the targeted demographic of The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and didn’t feel it coming on. When, for god’s sake, did I stop being 35? AARP knew it would happen and patiently primed the pump for several years as it waited for me to emotionally recognize that my body and brain would change. My perspective would alter and this organization graciously waited until it was needed.

Now, that’s niche marketing!

When is Niche Marketing Most Effective?

Niche marketing is most effective when you immerse yourself in a specific topic area and then start building your reputation for being a thought leader on that specific topic. It may sound intimidating, but in reality, all it demands is focus.

Nido Qubein, a recognized business strategist and forward thinker coined the term “Intentional Congruence”. He stresses that everything you do in your business must tie into everything else you do. It’s about having intent and purpose to intimately understand what you are doing and why… Without understanding who you help and why you are doing what you do, how can you expect anyone else to know?

5 Elements to Identifying and Building Your Business Niche:

  1. Create an inventory of your strengths. Identify how you relate to people and get specific in your values. List what you already know and what you need to learn to position yourself as an expert in your field. Describe the specific abilities you possess that are unique to you. Determine where you stand in terms of current finances. And, estimate what financial requirements will be necessary to build your niche with your target market.
  2. Select the top two areas you have a passion for pursuing. Without passion or emotional engagement for the subject area, long-term success is unlikely. The ultimate goal is to do what you love, love what you do and make an acceptable living as you do it!
  3. Research the two niche areas you’ve identified. Determine: who are the top three businesses or individuals already doing what you want to do? Review their websites and gain a sense of how connected and informed your future competition is. Research the internet fully to gain a sense of topic areas, product offerings and customer/client “reach out” efforts. Identify what is already in place and focus on those areas you feel are underserved.
  4. Build a resource inventory. Contact business professionals as needed to build alliances. Create opportunities to interview people or hire whoever might be necessary to fine tune your business plan or fill in the gaps of knowledge on areas that are critical in establishing you as an expert. Offer your services to other business professionals as well. Just because you are new to a niche, doesn’t mean you are lacking expertise. They simply don’t know about you yet! Building relational capital with others who thrive in the market you wish to enter is always beneficial to everyone who participates.
  5. Put your stake in the ground and claim your position within your targeted niche. Here’s how…
  • Start offering your knowledge to the masses by using social media liberally.
  • Become a fan of expert pages and register to participate in other List Serves that focus on your area of expertise.
  • Read and post to other expert blogs on your topic.
  • Make every opportunity to interview other industry experts by teleseminar and provide those to your clients as additional resource material.
  • Build an accessible on-line library that is exploding with information for your customers and clients.
  • Create surveys for completion by your target market to gain knowledge through research and insight that is unique to you. Publish a white paper or report annually that includes this research.

Now, you have the keys to dominating your business niche. Nothing is holding you back from being the expert, knowing your target market and maintaining a gentle helping hand. You are in charge of designing and maintaining a world of comfort for your customers and customers. You can make their lives easy because they now have you – the expert to rely on.

About the Author:

Karel Murray is a Certified Speaking Professional, author of “Hitting Our Stride: Women, Work and What Matters” and business trainer who helps women entrepreneurs and executives improve their overall business effectiveness and productivity. Now, you can listen to her exciting, free interviews at https://www.JustiForaMoment.com. Each podcast interview gives you 3 takeaway ideas or concepts that you’ll be able to implement right away

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