Stop and Read This Before You Start Your Small Business

Guest Post from Amy Collett, BizWell

Image via Pexels

As a budding business owner in New York City, you can set yourself up for success if you follow a few rules and avoid making the same mistakes many startups make. Instead of cutting corners, prepare thoroughly for this new venture. Here are a few pitfalls to avoid. 

Not Having a Business and Marketing Plan

Your small business will have a better chance of thriving if you develop a business plan that provides a clear vision of what you hope to accomplish, how you will achieve it, and when it will happen. By doing so, investors and partners will be more likely to be interested in your idea, whether it’s based around products or services.

With approximately 220,000 businesses located in NYC, it’s important to make yours stand out. Create a go-to-marketing strategy template that can help keep everything on track for a product release. Using a pre-made go-to-market strategy template can help you streamline the entire process instead of creating your own from scratch. Expecting your product or service to speak for itself as a new business owner is a pipe dream. 

Not Taking Advantage of Technology

Small businesses have a lot to gain from technology since it can make things run smoothly and boost profits. The use of inventory management software, project management platforms, cybersecurity protection, and cost savings can benefit your business. Other benefits of technology for your business include: 

  • Communication with customers:  Your customers can get information about your business online 24/7 through FAQs on your website. In turn, this facilitates smooth communication between your business and the public.
  • The efficiency of operations: Technology can help you better understand cash flow needs and save you time and space. Meetings can be held online with tools like Zoom and Skype rather than renting a physical space.
  • Security: Data protection and client security are vital in any industry. Make sure you invest in solutions that increase security and improve operations.

Choosing the Wrong Type of Business Entity

The wrong business entity can have a significant impact on your business as you could end up with additional taxes or be liable for issues with your business. Consider the following:

  • Business creation and ongoing costs: Partnerships are typically the simplest to set up, but LLCs come a close second. Corporations require more paperwork and filings.   
  • Indemnification: Consider your assets when choosing a business structure. LLPs and LLCs are better options for securing your private assets than sole proprietorships because they separate your business from you. 
  • Taxes: Corporations are often the most tax-efficient, depending on how you structure them, but LLCs are close behind. 

Underpricing

One of the biggest mistakes new entrepreneurs make when launching a new product is underpricing. If you underprice, you won’t make money no matter how hard you work. Research your target market to determine a suitable price.

Setting Up a Business

Running a business requires a lot of groundwork and needs careful thought, from creating a business plan to choosing the right structure.  

If you have any questions consider contacting Marissa Pick for digital marketing help from the social media evangelist herself.

Amy Collett is creator of Biz Well, a website that helps professionals and entrepreneurs build and strengthen their personal brand.

The Future of Content Marketing Appears Bright Moving Into 2022

The pandemic put content center stage, reminding many marketers that they must develop content that includes purpose, context, creativity, and integrity. To do so, content must add value and enhance the conversation with brands’ target audiences to facilitate engagement. It’s clear that people are looking for ways to be inspired and entertained, making it even more important for content marketers to find creative ways to connect with their audiences. 

Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs released their 12th annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report last month which portrays an encouraging and optimistic future ahead for content marketing. The research within the report confirmed what many of us already knew: content marketers are some of the fiercest business pros around. In the most difficult of times, they get the job done– and many come through more creative and stronger than before.

I wanted to break down some of the key themes highlighted in this report.

Video and Events Present Prime Opportunities for Engagement

Ninety percent of content marketers say that short articles and posts (such as blogs) have been within the mix this past year. That is followed by videos (66%), virtual events/webinars/online courses (64%) and case studies (61%). But which tactics produce the best results? Virtual events, webinars, and online courses were named by 58% of respondents as a top performer (including 66% of those categorized as “most successful”) and research reports and short articles/posts were tied for second at 48%.

B2B marketers remain at a critical inflection point as we prepare for the future of events. The pandemic rapidly accelerated the digitization of events, profoundly changing the live events industry as we knew it. I maintain that most events and conferences will remain virtual until the end of 2022, but agree that the opportunity for virtual events, webinars and online courses showcases the importance of virtual and hybrid events as a MUST next year.

Given the results of the survey it’s no surprise that the top two planned areas of investment for next year are video and events. It’s clear that content marketers are looking for ways to more immersive engagement with their audience within a fundamentally altered environment. The good news for content marketers is that there are several opportunities to keep virtual events as an integral part of fostering connection and engagement. 

Earlier this year I wrote an article for InEvent about the 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Virtual Event which discussed the importance of developing great content. When you begin planning your virtual event, it’s important to remember that content is often viewed hand in hand within the overall program. That is why it’s so important to take the time to put together a cohesive look and feel and ensure you’ve outlined branding for your online event. Make sure that the content you develop promotes your speakers, sponsors, and every aspect of your program. Eye-catching and captivating promotional materials are key.

LinkedIn Remains King for Organic and Paid Social Media  

It’s no surprise that LinkedIn is the top social media platform to distribute both organic and paid B2B content. It’s a viable content marketing platforms and when content is relevant for the proper audience and complimentary to the features of LinkedIn it can really pay off in the end. 

B2B content marketers in this survey rated it as the most effective for both organic and paid social media. When it comes to producing results with paid social media, LinkedIn was ahead of the next-highest rated platform by 25 percentage points. For organic results, the chasm is even wider.

Overall, more than three-quarters of practitioners said their paid distribution spending has either increased or remained steady. Social media advertising and promoted posts were the most common paid distribution tactic (77%), beating out search engine marketing and pay-per-click (65%).

Content Marketing Budgets Are Rising

Although the pandemic brought a lot of businesses uncertainty, many haven’t pulled back their content marketing investments, which was at one point considered “discretionary” spending. Forty-three percent of respondents familiar with their organization’s spending said their content marketing budget increased in 2021 compared to 2020. Meanwhile, 66% say they expect their content marketing budget to grow in 2022. Very few saw decreases in budget this year or expect them next year.

The Top Marketing Challenge Ahead

Creating content which appeals to multi-level roles within the target audience and accessing subject matter experts to create content are still a major challenge. It may be because more marketers are leveraging content collaboration tools, or because so many people have been changing jobs over the last 18 months. 

This challenge can be compounded if content marketers only focus on creating content that appeals to those in the C-suite, as research from Netline Corporation shows that the vast majority of content consumption happens within roles outside the C-suite. Marketers must find relevant subject matter experts in 2022 to develop relatable content appealing to numerous roles within their target audience. 

I discussed the future of content generation on my blog and just like any other content marketing strategy, repackaging content is all about consistency. I recommend brands create 2-3 additional content assets whenever they publish a new article, such as developing a piece of audio content, adding a voice over, or turning a presentation into a video. Through videos, user generated content, and a variety of content types they can begin to home in on what content resonates most.

Despite the challenges of the recent past, it’s an exciting time to be a content marketer. With new approaches and channels to develop content and engage with audiences, refreshed budgets and agreement that content is king, it’s clear that there is a world of opportunity for B2B content marketers in 2022. 

28 Effective Ideas to Improve Your Sales Strategy in 2020 (Guest Post)

Guest Post from David Coen. The Full Post can be found here

Do you want to add a personal touch to your sales strategy?

Does reaching out and building relationships with important businesses and customers make you happy and increase the number of sales your business makes?

It’s true that strong communication between a business and a potential customer is crucial to enhancing sales.

Just think about it; let’s say you build a good daily relationship with your local newsagent. You become familiar with the people that work there and the value of the deals in the shop. This encourages you to return and buy more from that newsagent.

Today, you can bring this relationship to the next level by personalizing your sales. By capturing information such as buyer data, online purchases and social media activity, businesses can tailor sales to the customer in the most personal way possible.

Moving leads through your pipeline needs a clear plan and strategy. If you try to sell without a defined strategy, you are likely to miss out on potential sales.

A good place to start is determining how the sale will affect the customer’s business. You are likely to capture attention by making the customer aware of the positive changes that your sale will bring.

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This post shows you the best ways that you can improve your sales strategy in 2020, including keeping your first email short and sweet, creating buyer personas and using storytelling.

1. Keep your first email to the point: You need to truly engage your prospect in the first email. They will likely have hundreds of emails to get through, so yours really needs to stand out from the crowd. Keeping things simple and showing that you have done your research is a good place to start. You don’t need to pitch your solution immediately. Establishing trust with the lead is the important first step you need to take.  The first email is better off being short, possibly bullet pointed and as clear as possible. It should be clear why your solution is relevant to the prospect. You should arrange a meeting with the prospect in the first email. This is then followed by a simple summary of what you like to discuss.

2. Understand the company’s challenges.  Following the first call, you are likely to have a better understanding of the company’s challenges. This can be used for greater personalization in the next phase. For example if the business told you they had an issue with their CRM and you were selling this service, you can use this to your advantage. Sharing valuable content that provides solutions to the company is a good next step. By reaching out to them and sharing an article about alternative CRMs, you will show that you listened to your first conversation and care about helping them. Building a relationship with the prospect is always important to improving your sales strategy.

3. Add that personal touch to your sales strategy.  We all want to feel valued in a business relationship. This is no different when it comes to sales. Adding that personal touch when discussing a potential sale will set you apart from the crowd. This can be anything from finding out more about the prospect’s hobbies and interests, or the sports team that they follow. This is usually best achieved after an in-person meeting, where you can give them a handwritten note about something they are interested in. You can establish trust with them quickly as this is a physical connection that will help create a bond.

4. Become trusted.  Becoming trusted in sales is hugely important. Once you build a strong relationship with a customer, this can then snowball into further relationships such as becoming partners. A sale does not have to be the end of the relationship! Once you become trusted you will become a partner of the client. This can lead to upselling and more renewals, which will increase revenue for your business. You will also get more referrals from being trusted. It’s common sense that customers will refer to someone that they know and trust. Whether it’s a sales strategy for startups or a sales strategy for real estate, building relationships is key for improving your sales strategy.

5.  Don’t get it wrong! Making sure that you don’t get it wrong when it comes to personalization seems obvious. However it’s surprising how many people do get it wrong! You need to promote products that are relevant to the prospect. It’s also important to get the name, gender and other personal information right. You need to be sincere when reaching out for the potential sale, otherwise no one will take you seriously

6.  Be relevant. Always try and provide value to the person you are talking to. With this at the back of your mind, you will keep the prospect genuinely interested in what you are saying to them.  Your content needs to be tailored to the person you are talking to, so watch out for spam like emails or badly personalized content.

7.  Honor your commitment.  It’s important to deliver what you promised once you have built a relationship with the prospect. Let’s say you tell them you will provide a discount on the product. You need to honor this. If you forget to give them the discount or take too long in giving it to them, then the prospect might feel that the relationship is not being respected. This comes back to nurturing the prospect in the sales funnel and keeping them satisfied with the business relationship.

8. Be careful with personal information. It’s no secret that businesses are collecting more personal information about customers than ever before. This doesn’t make everyone feel comfortable though!  Be careful with the amount of personal information that you show to potential customers. They won’t want to feel as though you are stalking them!

9.  Create Buyer Personas.  It’s essential to develop clear buyer personas for your brand. With these in mind, you can target your product to the type of person that will be interested in your product. Having precise data about your customers is a must have, so make sure you have the best resources available to you. Let’s say you are developing a sales strategy for hotels. If you own a hotel that also features a golf resort, you can target your hotel to people who play golf. Similarly if there is a state of the art leisure centre you can focus on people who are interested in fitness.

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10. Provide the solution to the problem.  When you start your sales outreach, remember to relate to the problems that the business is facing. The potential customer likely won’t be interested in your pricing plans or product features at this early stage. That’s why it’s important to do your research to try to understand what issues the prospect is facing and how you can solve them with your product. This level of personalization will capture the prospect’s attention immediately. It shows that you have put work in to helping them. You understand what they are aiming to do and which obstacles they will face. Instead of talking about how great your product is, show how your product provides the solution to their problems. They are also much more likely to become loyal customers if you take this approach

11.  Showcase end results of your sales strategy.  Another thing you need to highlight when you are selling your product is the end results it will provide. They need to know exactly what will happen as soon as they start using the product. People want to know how their problems will be solved quickly and easily by using your solution.  If it’s the first time they are using your type of product, you need to show them how to get set up, how much time it will take and the amount of support they will have available to them. It would also be good to show them the expected results short-term and long-term from using the product. This will motivate them to stay with the product as they will also want to succeed

12.  Be flexible.  It’s important to remain open minded when trying to close a sale. Different businesses will have different objectives and issues, so you need to change your approach depending on who you are talking to.  Again, solving the problem of the person is key to being successful in sales. And everyone will have different issues! Make sure to always be open to solving the problem. Don’t say that you can’t or it’s not possible to provide a solution. If you are unsure of how to help the prospect, tell them that you would love to assist them and go away to research the issue. Even if this means offering a minimum order quantity you will come closer to closing the sale and remaining flexible to the situation.

13.  Start with smaller markets. Having clear segmentation for your product is crucial. You need to define small groups of people who share a common problem that you can solve. By doing this, your sales strategy will feel more personal and be much more effective.  Think about it –  your pitch will be so much better if you have a similar and smaller group of people to target. This will allow you to improve on certain areas of your sales pitch and help to keep the prospect engaged.

14.  Reach out to the decision maker. You don’t want to waste time talking to someone who doesn’t make the decisions in the company. Reaching out to someone who makes crucial decisions for the company’s future will always improve your chances of making a sale.  Finding the right person is an important skill to master. Platforms such as LinkedIn are probably best used for connecting and messaging the people in control. It also allows you to identify the CEO/Marketing Manager of the company by job title. You need to provide value upfront to the decision maker and initially not expect anything in return. By building the business relationship in this way, you can provide immediate value and get that value back as the relationship develops.

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15. Use storytelling. It’s true that storytelling is important to capturing your lead’s attention. Telling an effective human story that involves your products is sure to keep the prospect engaged. People have always been interested in great stories, and it’s no different when it comes to sales. Storytelling is also a great way of building trust with potential customers. You can tell stories of how previous customers overcome their challenges by using your product. This will make them trust you enough to go to the next stage and use your product.

16. Stay attentive during sales calls. This should be an obvious one, but you need to concentrate during your sales calls! The person on the line needs to feel that you are giving them your undivided attention. If you are calling from a busy and loud office space, try and move somewhere quieter where you can 100% concentrate on the lead.  Constant communication during the call is a must, as well as being an active listener. This will allow you to respond to anything the person asks you during the call. Keeping engaged really is an essential part of making that sale!

17.  Listen carefully to your prospects. Similar to the last point, but you really need to listen to what your prospects are saying. You will get valuable feedback on the quality of your product from these calls. This can be shared with your team to gradually improve your product and also to keep your prospects happy.  It’s also important to determine whether the feedback is valuable or not. Try not to share feedback or implement changes that don’t fit into your roadmap or from people who are not in your target market.

18.  Using the BANT framework.  It’s important to use the BANT framework when qualifying leads. This stands for budget, authority, need and timeline. Does the prospect have the funds to allow them to buy? Are you talking to the key decision maker in the business? Is it possible to solve their problems? Over what time period are they planning to invest in a solution? By asking these questions, you can quickly determine if the prospect has a need. If they have short answers then it could mean they are not interested.

19.  Knowing when to automate.  Streamlining your sales process with great automation tools will save you time. Automating steps of the follow up process is always a good idea.  Any task that doesn’t need you there should be automated with great software! Ask yourself the following questions; Can it be eliminated? Can it be automated? Can it be delegated?

20.  Getting the timing right.  Creating effective and timely follow-up emails is an important strategy. If someone doesn’t respond to your first email, don’t worry! You need to think about how you will capture attention in your follow up emails.  A simple message, asking for an opinion on the first email usually works well. You can also provide interesting results that have helped customers, or share valuable content. If you plan this email sequence over time, you are likely to get results!

21.  Use internal growth strategies.  Keeping an open mindset and trying everything with your sales strategy is always a good idea. If you are in any way unsure of your sales strategy, trying things like email marketing, video marketing or setting up appointments with people is a good idea. This will allow you to understand what’s working in your sales strategy and what isn’t. After implementing these ideas, make sure to follow analytics and decide which idea is working best.

22.  Achieve a win-win.  Trying to achieve a win-win is a crucial strategy in any area of business. You need to provide value to the person you are communicating with. This way both parties come out benefitting from the conversation.  Think about it from their point of view. You want to get a sale across the line, but they want to receive genuine value for their buck and be satisfied with the product. If you keep this in mind you are much more likely to succeed.

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23.  Be honest about risks in your sales strategy.  Be honest about any risks related to your product. This will be appreciated by the person you are selling to. As well as highlighting the best aspects of your product, you should tell them about any possible risks from using it. This will show that you are an honest salesman/saleswoman, and are much more likely to be trusted.  For example, with a sales strategy for solar products you would need to tell the prospect of any risks from using the solar product.

24.  Have a strong mindset.  You need to have a strong mindset when it comes to sales. There is no doubt that you will receive plenty of rejections when you start off. Becoming used to this and taking rejections as a positive is a good place to start. Any great business starts by having people who are not afraid of rejection and will continue to work on if they are being told no.

25.  Give demos of your product.  Showing the prospect how your product works in person is always a great idea. This will help them to understand how the product works, and how it might solve a particular problem for them. It’s best to meet the prospect in person and show them face-to-face, as this develops trust and a clear demonstration of how the product works.

26.  Using the PAS framework.  The PAS framework is a great concept to have in mind when approaching sales. This stands for problem, agitate, solution. Again, finding the problem that your product will solve for the prospect is essential.  You need to identify what the biggest problem is. Then, you need to agitate them by reminding them of how dangerous this problem is. You then need to present your product as the number one solution to solve this.

27.  Be Helpful.  This seems like an obvious one, but it’s always important to remain helpful. During your sales call or meeting you need to assist the person in the best way possible. Make sure to answer any questions quickly and clearly. When discussing a potential sale, you need to personalize for the prospect and ensure they know you have done your research.

28.  Ask for a referral. Usually when you ask for a referral there is rarely a follow-up. You can get higher quality referrals if you take your time and identify your prospects in advance. A good way of doing this is on LinkedIn where you can browse connections and previous companies they have worked for.  Giving your connection a referral candidate and handing them the ammunition to contact them straight away makes everything easier. 

And there you have it! These are 28 simple ways that you can evolve your sales strategy and grow revenue. From providing solutions to prospect problems, using the BANT framework and having a strong mindset, these ideas allow you to bring your sales strategy to the next level and create a better selling experience for both you and the prospect.

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David Coen is a Digital Marketing Associate for Design Wizard. Having completed an MA in Journalism and Certificate in Digital Marketing, David enjoys building relationships with bloggers and social media influencers! He realizes the importance of long-lasting relationships with like-minded businesses and aims to help them with easy-to-read content.

Lessons Learned from 365 Days of Consulting

Yesterday was my birthday! Not my actual birthday, but the birth of my business. One year ago, I was hired by my first client and officially became a consultant.

It was the scariest, yet most exciting and satisfying decision I’ve ever made.  Would this work? Could I really make a living being my own boss? Luckily for me, the answer has been yes. Early on, I took a number of interviews and phone screens and drove myself crazy, but after I turned down a great job offer early into my venture and made the decision to fully commit and haven’t looked back since.

Throughout my career, I’ve led global teams, traveled the world and managed numerous agencies and consultants.  To this day, I continue to learn from my mistakes and re-calibrating for ongoing success. I’m constantly learning how to figure out what I don’t like doing or where I struggle so I’m able to get help.

Below are some takeaways from the year that was, I hope you find these helpful!

“You must learn from your past mistakes, but not lean on your past successes.” – Denis Waitley

  • Small successes feel absolutely incredible.When I worked for other people, achievements in the business were exciting, but they never really felt like my successes since they were part of a greater organization. Now, every time something exciting happens, I feel like an owner. Every step forward motivates me and pushes me to work harder since I know what it took to achieve.  It feels good to know that anything I’ve achieved is well earned.
  • Set Goals. If you start a business with some success, your offerings and mind may shift. It’s like a little alarm telling you that you did something you once thought impossible, and now nothing really seems very impossible. It’s exhilarating however it can open up the flood gates allowing a million ideas that you may way to do roll in. I recommend that you set a quarterly goal for your business. Make it specific and set up an action plan to help you achieve it. It’s easy to get sidetracked and over promise to clients but staying true to myself and the goals I set for this past year has worked (so far!).
  • People don’t understand what I do, and that’s okay. Friends and family may not always understand or consider my job “a real job” since it’s outside the normal “full-time” description.  I don’t work 9-5 in an office or a traditional setting. Others perception has been one of my major frustrations over the last year. My business is important to me and it makes me happy.  I try to share what I do in a way that people understand.  I’ve learned there are ways of having productive conversations and getting what you want out of an interaction.  It’s been helpful for me to be honest with my friends and family about where I’m at with my business and letting go of any frustrations I maybe holding onto.
  • Support is key. I’ve always loved having alone time, but I get a bit stir-crazy being home all day. Building a great business means you need a great network of people to help you. Getting out of the house and doing work from a coffee shop or a friend’s couch has been a lifesaver.  I’d describe myself as a creative soul and often I get ideas from my friends within other industries and outside of my house.  I encourage people to build relationships with the people who can help to get your business idea off the ground. Connect with individuals who will give expert advice and save you from making startup mistakes and take a break to network and get out!
  • If you’re thinking about it – do it! I’m a firm believer that things always work out the way they should.  It they don’t at first, you have to keep fighting through.  Too many small businesses fail because they were never started in the first place, if you have an idea then give it a shot. I’ve been able to eliminate hours of commuting, travel, busy work for others and so much more.  And what’s the best part? Having the ability to spend more quality time with my children and family.  Until this past year, I never had time to join my children’s activities at school, meet friends for coffee whenever I wanted too, visit my parents in the middle of the day, or have breakfast with my children.  My life was a state of constant rush, drop the kids, rush to make a train or an early call, work and hustle to catch another train home to grab the kids from daycare to get home in time to put them to bed. After my second son was born, I had a harder time spending 11+ hours away from my boys in daycare every day even though I was only in the city a few times a week.  I wasn’t happy and it was really taking a toll on me and my husband realized.  He pushed me to follow my dream of setting up my own business and has been my constant cheerleader over the past 365 days.  He believed in me and kept me going, and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

It’s been a wild ride this past year, but one I plan to stay on for some time! I’d love to hear any advice you may have for a small business owner or someone new to entrepreneurship.  Please leave a comment below or reach to me directly!

 

Honored to Be Named as One of the Top 19 B2B Marketers To Follow In 2019

I’m thrilled to announce that last month the team from B2B Marketing Exchange included me within their list of 19 B2B Marketers To Follow In 2019.

These influential marketing professionals specialize in areas such as ABMinfluencer marketingdigital marketing and more. I’m honored to be included alongside 18 such influential and powerful icons within this list. 

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On a personal note, this has been quite a transformative year for me.  I left my full time role last fall to dip my toes into the world of entrepreneurship and setup my own marketing consultancy, Marissa Pick Consulting.    It’s been several months since I made the change and I’m enjoying getting my hands dirty developing marketing strategies, content marketing campaigns as well as expanding my work across new fields and alongside some fabulous clients which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.

Who knows what lies ahead but i’ve learned to enjoy every day and moment including sharing honors like this! Thank you again for the team at B2B Marketing Exchange for including me within your list of 19 B2B Marketers To Follow In 2019.

 

Event Manager Blog’s Social Media for Events Guide (2018 Edition)

Thank you so much to the Event Manager Blog for including my insight and experiences within the newly launched 2018 Edition of Social Media for Events: A Complete Guide to Marketing Your Events Using Social Media.

The guide shares 42 strategies, ideas, tips and tactics on using social media to promote events.  Levering social media at live events is crucial for generating engagement before, during and after the conference. However with social media rapidly evolving it’s not something that’s always easy to develop a strategy around especially since KPI’s around live events are sometimes challenging to measure.

I’ve been fortunate to have an extensive event marketing background which has helped me to develop innovative social media campaigns to enhance a variety of live events.   It’s crucial to always take chances and push the limit.  Failure is important to enable you to measure successes over the long term.  Always think outside the box and take chances, that’s how you and you brand can excel and stand out!quote-1-768x510.jpg

So, what are you waiting for, check out the 2018 Edition of Social Media for Events: A Complete Guide to Marketing Your Events Using Social Media.

What do you think of the guide, anything you would add? Leave me a comment below or shoot me a Tweet!

The Eight Traits Successful People Have In Common

Lecturer Richard St. John met a young girl on a plane on his way to speak at a TED conference in California who asked him a simple question, are you successful? This sparked him to travel the world for years where he conducted face-to-face interviews with a wide array of people to find the common factors with success.  He met people in all fields including comedians, parents, surgeons, nobel prize winners, celebrities such as Bill Gates, Russell Crowe, Peter Max, Seth Godin, and MORE!

He analyzed his 500+ interviews and sorted them line by line mapping out and reviewing over 300+ success factors. After analyzing everything he’d learned, he came up with these eight traits:

  1. Passion: Love what you do.
  2. Work: Really hard.
  3. Focus: On one thing, not everything.
  4. Push: And keep on pushing yourself.
  5. Ideas: Come up with some good ones.
  6. Improve: Keep improving yourself and what you do.
  7. Serve: Serve others something of value.
  8. Persist: Because there is no overnight success.

Success doesn’t happen overnight and Richard St. John found that these eight traits are at the heart of success and within the foundation across any career & field.  You can add in people skills, computer skills, and a wide array of other skills to help you succeed with your specific area of interest, but regardless of what you do, the eight traits above will always be within the heart and key to success.

Meet Mike, Your Customer in 2015 (Infographic)

Meet Mike, Your Customer in 2015 (Infographic)

Always connected, opinionated and sharing it, requires immediacy, and so much more. This is Mike, and he’s your customer in 2015. With 34% of people turning to social media to air their feelings about a company, you better know what your consumers/followers are saying, and monitor and respond.

Some great stats in the infographic above. Tweet me @MarissaPick or share your comments below.

Ten Tips for Using Social Media to Further Your Career

Ten Tips for Using Social Media to Further Your Career

It’s no surprise that as we enter into 2014 we’ve seen a social media explosion.  Now there’s over 800 million people connecting with each other on social media networks including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and many more. I had the privilege of joining Sarah Lawrence, senior associate, DLA Piper; Lucy McNulty, managing editor, IFLR; and Callum Sinclair, partner, DLA Piper on a webcast run by International Financial Law Review (IFLR) and sponsored by DLA Piper on using social media to further your career. This webcast was the first in IFLR’s Women in Business Law Group’s webinar series.  We each explained our experience and insights into how the rise of social media has fundamentally changed, and how we each communicate within our professional worlds.   At the bottom of this post is the slide share of the powerpoint deck we used during our presentation, and if you would like to access and listen to the webinar broadcast please visit this link.

During the Q&A portion of the webcast, one of the questions directed to me focused on best practice for the use of social media platforms. Below are my top ten tips for utilizing social media to advance your reputation and further your career.. 

  1. Stand out within your social media profiles. On twitter you have only 140 characters to tell the world who you are, so make your profile catchy and interesting.  Although this seems basic, many profiles across social media are missing photos, contact information, and other crucial data.  Highlighting your interest, job duties, location and other keywords helps people find out more about you.  In addition, consider cross promoting your other social media platforms as well to boost your digital footprint.  If you want to be taken seriously online, including a link within your profile is encouraged; for example feature your LinkedIn profile within your twitter bio to make easy for people to connect with you. 
  2. Lock It Down. What happens online doesn’t stay online.  We live in a world within limited privacy, so as your setting up your social media profiles make sure to check your privacy settings and ensure they’re set properly. As employees we are a representation of the company which employs us, so remember to think before you post, or you can be held liable.
  3. Transparency is key in building and maintaining a strong reputation.  Be honest, respectful, and mindful across all social media platforms.  It’s important to be open and transparent, this makes people relate to you.  It’s important to align your online persona with your offline personalty to avoid trouble. 
  4. Content is King. The key to any social media strategy whether you’re trying to advance your career or increase your businesses visibility should focus around a solid content marketing plan.  What you share across social media platforms should be interesting and engaging for others to enjoy, read, and share.  All social media platforms are not a one size fits all model, it’s important to craft posts for each social networks to maximize and leverage content.   As a reminder content doesn’t always have to be original.  Test quotes, statistics, and visual content and images across social media and see what works best.
  5. Incorporate Images.  Visual social marketing is the next generation of social media.  90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visually based, and the human brains processes images 60,000 times faster than text. Utilize social media tools Instagram & Vine which let you embed posts and videos easily, and use free apps like Quoter which provide ready to go quotes, or let quickly create a visual image.  Mix it up and create content that is visually pleasing and easily shareable. 
  6. Become an authority and add value. Choose a focus, and share information relevant to your niche career area. Join LinkedIn groups, start discussions and comment on existing discussions, find and engage within Twitter chats, and most importantly always add value.  As you engage more within social media you will gain the trust of others who will follow you to find information.  As you focus and carve our a niche area, you will build trust, and people will begin to share your content and come to you for advice.
  7. Establish Yourself Offline. Establishing yourself as a brand both online and offline allows people to put a face to your name.  Nothing takes the place of face to face interaction, so ideally building a strong online presence can translate to building a stronger and larger network of offline connections.
  8. Stay up on Digital Trends: Demonstrating your proficiency with all things digital shows you’re up on digital trends, which are currently affecting every company.  Employers are increasingly looking for social media and digital proficiency in potential employees.
  9. Make time.  Social Media is easy, but it does take time, carve out an hour a week at a minimum to go in spend within social media platforms.  Setting up a social media profile is a great first step, but as with anything else it takes time and a comfort level to become successful. If you’re going to let your platforms sit and never update them, why bother even setting up a profile?
  10. Have Fun.  Social Media is a great place to have fun and let your corporate hair down.  Whether your using social media to advance your career, or build your business remember to utilize your profiles as an avenue to have fun!

Please share your feedback below in the comments section, or tweet me @MarissaPick.

2014 New Year’s Resolutions, Reflections, and Objectives.

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert wrote a great post for the Washington Post titled,Read this if you want to be happy in 2014.” Within the article he outlined a very basic principle, Happiness = Health + Freedom. Scott reminds us that there’s’es a right time and a wrong time for almost every activity from sleep, paying bills, and more.  It’s crucial to match your mood to your activity as a basic requirement to happiness, and equally important to remember that timing is controllable, especially in the long run. The article goes on to outline some of his goals and obstacles, and gives important insight into the power of your mind in making things happen.

Forbes contributor Cheryl Conner wrote a fantastic post titled, “Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid.” She included a list compiled by Amy Morin which was shared in LifeHack and reflected on her list including her thoughts on how the items were applicable to entrepreneurs. The 13 reflections touch power, change, success, and so much more with fantastic insights from Cheryl and Amy.

I’ve done a lot of thinking and reflecting upon my 2014 New Year’s Resolutions. The two fantastic articles above from the Washington Post and Forbes helped me craft my below post and insight,  I hope you enjoy!

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1) Expand upon Scott’s reflections and work on finding a better life & work balance to focus & attain the formula: Happiness =Health + Freedom.  We all struggle with finding a balance for everyday life, and we have to really prioritize and focus on what’s important, for me I know where I need to focus, and sometime unplug, so i will work to create more a life balance into 2014.

2) Become more adaptable to change: Cheryl nailed it within the Forbes article saying that mentally strong people embrace change and welcome the challenge.  The biggest “fear” if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant.  I need to become more adaptable and take more chances and accept change to further succeed within my work and personal life.

3) Make mistakes & learn: In December, my company held a offsite meeting in London to cover 2013 reflections to help plan for 2014. One of my colleagues brought up an important point, in order to learn we need to make mistakes and reflect and learn from them.  We can’t measure our successes without assessing our failures as well.

4) Dwell on the Past: We all know the saying forgive and forget, well easier said then done.  There is a positive when acknowledging the past and learning from experiences, but we must focus on living in the moment and creating the present and future.

5) Embrace alone time: I’ve really cherished the day’s in 2013 I was able to work from home and enjoy the quiet, meeting-free days.  I’ve learned to embrace the time I spend alone both within work and personal life.  I’ve been able to reflect, plan, and be productive and I find my alone time to spark some of my most creative ideas.

“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.” —Brad Paisley

What are your 2014 resolutions? Please comment below or tweet me @MarissaPick