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How to Make #SocialMedia Work For You – Part 2 of 3 @mombizcoach #motownmom

Lara Galloway, @MomBizCoach

@MomBizCoach

I’ll bet that your to-do list is looking more like an entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica these days than a few bullet points on a Post-It note. Catching up after the holidays and a tough economic environment mean we’re all probably working harder and longer. Here are the top five ways I think using Social Media can save you time and take tasks off your plate.

 

  1. Networking.  You already know that business networking is a marketing method by which business opportunities are created through networks of like-minded business people. When you participate in a business network, you’re able to build new business relationships and generate business opportunities at the same time. Save time and expand your reach by networking online with twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, by writing and commenting on blogs, and by joining affiliate groups. Spend as little as 15 minutes a day updating your profiles with relevant posts or comments, and you are marketing yourself to a self-selecting group of like-minded people who will be more inclined to buy what you offer.
  2. Collaborating.  Tired of trying to do it all yourself? Then use your network of friends/followers/connections to brainstorm, get some new ideas or get much-needed feedback on your own ideas. Who in your network is doing something (workshop, sale, community service event, etc.) that you could be a part of? Wouldn’t you both benefit by supporting each other? In the Social Media world, it is both acceptable and expected that you “butt in” to a discussion you find interesting and offer your advice or ask for support. How much faster could you accomplish one of your goals if you got some help from your huge Social Network?
  3. Learning. I used to Google something when I needed to know more. Now, I twitter. While Google gives me gazillions (my four-year-old’s word) of websites that match my search criteria, I still have to sift through a bunch of them in hopes of finding an answer to my problem or question. With twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, I can ask a question like: “What criteria should I consider when hiring a VA (Virtual Assistant)?” In a few minutes (or even seconds), I get several replies from my networks that directly answer my question. The answers come to me, rather than my having to sniff them out. This saves me a ton of time!
  4. Finding new clients. We’re all in business to make money, so we’ve got to find new clients/customers who are willing to give us their money in return for our valuable products and services. If you have a new product, class, service or huge sale going on, why not invite a gazillion of your network buddies to come buy something from you? With a quick tweet like: “Check out our holiday sale: 25% off and free shipping @ http://www.yourwebsite.com,” you’ve just given a bunch of new people the chance to become your adoring new customers. How fast can you type?
  5. Getting support. Like I mentioned above, I was stuck for a couple of weeks and couldn’t make myself get this newsletter done. Well, I’m almost finished with 45 minutes to spare before my self-imposed deadline of 2:30pm. I reached out to my network and asked for help, and I got it. Sometimes I need to vent, or I want to find out if anyone else has ever experienced a situation that I have, etc. I use my network to get the inspiration, encouragement, “atta-girl’s” and “me too’s” when I need them. Sometimes this is the exact thing I need to get back on track and do what must be done.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2000427

 

If you need help getting started using Social Media, or if you’d like to follow a mom entrepreneur who is finding all kinds of ways to leverage her time so she spends less of it on her business, you can follow Lara Galloway, The Mom Biz Coach, on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mombizcoach. Details about how she supports other Work at Home Moms through life and business coaching programs can be found at http://www.mombizcoach.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lara_Galloway

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2000427

 

Why #SocialMedia is Critical 4Mom Entrepreneur Businesses – Part 1 via @mombizcoach #motownmom

Expert Author Lara Galloway www.mombizcoach.com

@mombizcoach

Those of you who have spent any time around me, or on the phone with me, or reading my blog have heard me get a little preachy when it comes to Social Media and its marketing capabilities. Especially now, when the economy is giving us “the gift” of more time to plan, organize and market our businesses, I’d like to help you get some great exposure for the hard work that you do. For FREE!

As I mentioned above, I’ve been busy. Yahoo! In fact, I’m thrilled to have just received another invitation to be interviewed by a talk show hostess this morning.

How did all this happen?

I didn’t cold call anyone. I didn’t take out a large print ad in the local magazines and newspapers. I didn’t pay for specialized SEO for my websites. I didn’t pay for a booth at a networking event. I didn’t send out a press release to anyone. In fact, I didn’t pay for anything and I was probably wearing my pajamas in the comfort of my own home when my marketing was working for me. And rather than “pushing” my marketing message out to the world, I’m “attracting” an audience who is interested in what I do.

So what is Social Media? The easiest way for me to think about it is to compare it to a Chamber of Commerce or a small business networking group (like BNI). All of us entrepreneurs know that marketing is important, but we seldom choose to allocate large portions of our budget to it. Instead, we often choose the “free” marketing route of appearing at various business networking events, introducing ourselves to other small business owners, exchanging business cards, and giving and asking for referrals.

I did this for the first two or three years of my business. But then, when I moved across the border to Windsor, and had no babysitters for these morning Chamber/BNI meetings, I started seeing just how much these “free marketing” opportunities were costing me in time and headaches. As a mom of three kids aged six and under, attending a weekly 7am coffee at the local chapter of BNI simply doesn’t work. So how can we mom business owners effectively network, give and get referrals, and in general get the world “buzzing” about our businesses?
Enter Social Media! You may also have heard some other terms associated with it, like Social Networking, Social Marketing, Viral Marketing, etc.

Here’s the skinny:

Social Media is a fast, professional, easy and effective way to market your business. And in my own humble opinion, it beats using the traditional methods (print ads, radio ads, tv ads, booths at tradeshows, etc.) since it is 1) free and 2) working for you when you’re not even awake!

Some examples of Social Media I’m using are LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter and my WordPress.com blog. There are countless others out there, but I’m going to focus on the ones I use. Each of these sites allows me to set up an account for free. I create a profile of my business (including my bio/resume sometimes, or my background and interests, or my expertise on a certain topic), upload a professional photo of myself, and include links to all my other sites (websites, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter accounts).

All of these media allow me to build my online network by making connections (LinkedIn), inviting more friends (Facebook), increasing my followers and the people I follow (twitter), and offering an RSS/subscription service (blogs). Just as you would build your professional network via business card exchanges, referrals, attending networking events, etc., you build your community of people you are interested in and who are interested in you. Unlike traditional networking and marketing, you don’t have to hire a babysitter, dry clean your suit, and spend time commuting to and from your home or office. In fact, I do most of my social networking just two or three minutes at a time with at least one child on my lap.

As a coach, I’m in the services business. I don’t have a product (other than myself) to sell (yet!). My intention when I market my business is to get people to know, like and trust me. People like to buy from people they know, like and trust. Of course, you can use Social Media platforms to socialize with friends and family, but the reason I use it for business is because I find the online business community to be extremely approachable. I am able to introduce myself and be introduced to others by typing a quick message like, “Hi! I love your work. Look forward to learning from you!”

In very little time, I usually get a message back. There: a virtual handshake that’s informal, yet powerful. And if this new contact is interested in learning more about me, s/he can do so via my profile, which in turn links them to my websites, blogs and other Social Media platforms. After reading about me in these platforms, a potential client is pre-qualified to do business with me since I explain how I work, what I offer and what I charge on my website. So you see, I can end up with a pre-qualified sales lead as a result of typing 11 words and hitting send. How easy is that?

And it can be even easier. Since most Social Networking platforms (like LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter) allow all of my friends/connections to see who I’m connected to and to read my posts, I often get messages from people who are “friends of my friends” who I never contacted directly. This passing of information continues to spread, like a virus (hence the term “viral marketing”) to all of my friends, then to their friends, and so on. And it travels fast!

So this is where I’ll end my first installation about Social Media and why you should be using it to promote your business. I hope you’ll take a peak at some of the options out there. I’ll go into greater depth about how it works (including some examples) and offer some resources for more information in the next two installments of this article. If you have questions, please ask. I’m excited to help you grow your business!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lara_Galloway