Tag: entrepreneur

#SocialIsntScary – Fear of the Camera

Are You Afraid of Using Photo or Video in Your Social Media?

There are a variety of different ways to generate marketing content but do you really need to be on video? Is it truly necessary to get some professional headshots done? The truth of the matter is audiences are becoming more and more visual. Social media effectiveness is greatly enhanced when visuals are involved. What is more visual than having a video conversation with your target audience? Don’t you feel more comfortable when you can get a feel for the person you are interacting with? Video also opens up what you offer to a segment of the population that doesn’t enjoying reading. It makes you appear more personable and really adds to that Know, Like, Trust relationship building that great companies can establish.
Knowing that you need to get in front of the camera is one thing. How do you get past all the fears associated with getting started? Worried about how you will appear in video or look in pictures? Don’t know where to start? Here are some basic tips to getting started with visual marketing.
Photographs
Visual marketing involves utilizing images, graphics and other visuals to make your content more powerful. Images grab and keep attention much longer than basic text. When putting together a marketing or social media plan, it’s essential to incorporate visuals into your content management strategy.
Do they have to be pictures of you? No, they don’t. However, the added benefit to using professionally done photographs of you and various aspects of your business are worth the investment. Photos of you establish a connection with the audience. It makes them more comfortable. The more conversations you have and visuals you put out there, the more your clients feel like they are getting to know you.
If you are concerned about how you will look, shop around for a trusted photographer or portrait artist. Express your objections or fears and have them suggest ways to create stunning images that even you will be pleased with. Then come up with creative ways to use those images with your social media and website content.
Don’t let fear hold you back from making an impact with your marketing!
Video & Vlogs
Tip #1: Practice
Do some rehearsals. Record yourself. Work on developing a connection with the camera lens. Talk to the camera and don’t get distracted or look away. As with any new skill, the more you practice the better you’ll become.
Tip #2: Review Visuals
Watch your rehearsals. Turn the volume down. This will give you a chance, without sound, to really examine all the elements of your video. That’s what video is all about. It’s a visual platform.
Examine these elements:
       Aesthetics
       Lighting
       Environment
       Facial Expressions
       Positioning
Tip #3: Review Sounds
This time look away from the camera and just listen. By listening, you will hear how you sound on video. Listen for dramatic pauses or overused phrases. Does the sound flow? What can you do to make transitions sound better?
Tip #4: Be Realistic
No one expects you to be a filmmaker. Your videos don’t have to be perfect. Focus on the art of conversation. Have a conversation with your camera, which is really your audience. Vlogging isn’t about fancy special effects or understanding every element of YouTube.

#SocialIsntScary and neither is putting together visual marketing elements that can be a true asset to your brand. If you’d like some examples on how you can #BeAwesome using this techniques, give us a call!
Be sure to Follow us and Let’s Engage!
Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+,YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.

#SocialIsntScary – Scared to Curate Content?

When it comes time to tackle social media, the vast majority of options can be pretty overwhelming. All the different platforms, including their strengths and weaknesses, means there needs to be a varied strategic approach. This also applies to curating content for all of these outlets. If the pressure of needing to sit down and curate your own social media content gives you the shakes, don’t worry. Here is a breakdown of how to gather content like the professionals do – without the spinal shivers.
First, it’s important to understand what curation means. Curating content means gathering content of the highest caliber that is targeted to your audience and then sharing it via social media. The ideal way to curate is to create or collect information, graphics, and other content, adapt it to your specific brand and demographics, and then use it to start a conversation. What are some techniques you can use to curate your own content?
Pay Attention
First, pay attention to what the industry experts in your niche are up to. Watch their content stream to get an idea for what inspires the most engagement. Be careful. No one likes a copycat. However, the work of others can be an excellent source of inspiration. Also, their trial and error will help you leap ahead when it’s time to post your own content.
Gather Resources
Do some research on statistics in your industry and then come up with a creative way to use them. Design an infographic. Create visuals with photographs or renderings. Make a video. Add your own spin to the numbers to get the information out there in a fun or more interesting way.
Don’t Ignore Commentary
Use your current audience to curate content. Did someone say something motivational? Share it! Did a comment make a valid point? Use that as a jumping off point to create a new post. Was there some engagement that got a particularly high response rate? How can you spin that into something you can use?
Collaborate
Work with others in your industry or field. Collaborate to create something amazing and then share the content. This not only benefits both parties in terms of saving time but also introduces each of them to the other’s current network and audience. Find influencers with an already established audience and work on something together.
Inspiration
Use the work of others to inspire you to curate content. Attend a fascinating workshop or local event? Use that to create content! Read a great ebook? Summarize the points that really hit home for you and share it with your readers. Enjoy that last Powerpoint Presentation? Take notes and use those as inspiration to share great snippets. There is inspiration everywhere. The key is to keep your eyes open and ask yourself how you can use it to create something interesting.
Tools
Worried about needing to be in constant creation mode? Don’t be. Set aside time to do the work and then schedule out the posts in a tool like Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows users to gather text, images, links in one place and then schedule them out for a future date. No need to be in curation mode every day.
These are just some of the ways you can approach curating content for your social media. The sky is the limit so there is nothing to really be scared of. Practice using some of these techniques this week and see if that doesn’t make curation a bit less painful.
If you are still frightened to take that first leap into content curation, contact us and let us show you the way! Don’t forget to #BeAwesome and remember that #SocialIsntScary.
 Be sure to Follow us and Let’s Engage!
Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+,YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.

#TimeManagement- What Are You Worth and When Do You Outsource?



One of the most overlooked aspects of growing your own business is the amount of time you invest in ongoing projects, day-to-day processes, and promoting your business through social media and other resources.

You can’t expect others to value your time if you won’t. #TimeManagement is about managing your energy, not filling in the white space in your daily calendar. It’s important to know where your strengths lie and then choose others to fill in the gaps via outsourcing.

This requires an honest assessment of your abilities and accurate representation of your time spent. Here’s an easy way to get started. Make a to-do list for your week. Write down what’s supposed to get done, and make sure you include the marketing side of your business. Just for fun, predict how long it’s going to take you to accomplish each task. You can round it to the nearest half hour, if you like.

Each day, keep an accurate hourly record of what you’re doing. Make sure you include when you go through email, phone conversations, when you eat, updating reports, etc. Add any emergencies that occur to your original to-do list. If you find that you forgot something important that has to be done every week, make sure you add that too with a side note that you’d overlooked it.

At the end of the week, see what was done and what drifted to the side. Look at your to-do list. Did you get it all done? If not, what is left? And of those tasks, which are the ones you really don’t want to tackle?

Look at your hourly record for the week. Did the actual amount of time spent on each task match up with your original predictions? If you’re anything like me, probably not. I tend to underestimate the time it takes me to do the tasks I enjoy or tasks I do on a regular basis. It’s rare to overestimate time, by the way.

Try this for a few weeks and see if you have any underlying patterns. The things that are constantly being swept to the side still need to get done. Consider outsourcing for better performance in those areas. Choose people who are skilled in that particular aspect of your business. You don’t have to be great at everything. As a matter of fact, the key to success is surrounding yourself with the people who can get the job done so that your vision can be realized.

Phylecia Jones, amazing Budgetologist and owner of Keeping Up with Mrs. Jones, would tell you – you have to know what your time is actually worth. What are you worth per hour? If you know that number, you will have a better sense of whether certain tasks and responsibilities are even worth the time you are spending on them. If you can find a team member that can expertly accomplish that work for less than what your time is worth – then there is no better argument for the need to outsource some of what you do. Attempting to be an “Everything CEO” keeps you from being able to focus on the aspects of your business where you excel and where growth happens.

What many small businesses and entrepreneurs discover during this process is that outsourcing time-consuming tasks tends to free them up to win new work. This is an imperative part of business growth. It’s time to let go and invest in your own profitability and success

Your time is precious and you need to realize that. Know where your strengths lie and choose team members who can fill the gaps. We have a network of fantastic power partners and would love to give you an introduction to a company that can help you #BeAwesome at what you do!

Be sure to Follow us and Let’s Engage!
Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+,YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.

#TeamBuilding – Finding the Right Web Designer



Web design is an intricate part of your growing business. Your site must adapt to the needs of your clients whether that be through shopping cart integration, a portfolio of past work, smooth mobile transitions, or a variety of other requirements.
Having a dependable and reliable designer on your team is key to a successful customer experience. You may find that you require someone else to take care of this aspect of your growing business, but how do you determine what type will fit your needs?

Much like the SEO professionals mentioned in the previous article, there are three types of web designers: Independent Contractors, Design Firms, and Salary Employees. 

Unless your site sees close to one million hits a month, it’s not cost effective to keep a web designer on the payroll. 

Whether you go with an independent contractor or design firm, there are a few things you need to consider before choosing the web design guru that’s right for you.

  • Know what you want before you begin your search. Would you tell a roofing contractor to do whatever design he wants? What about a building contractor on your new home? Do you give her license to do as she pleases and trust that she’ll see right into your mind for the perfect home? The answer to those questions are probably no, and yet many inexperienced individuals will approach a web designer with a ‘do what you want, I trust you’ type of attitude. Take some time to research the type of site you want, have examples, be prepared. Your web designer needs a place to start. Remember: a designer isn’t responsible for your vision…they’re responsible for implementing it. 
  • Know their expertise. Look at their portfolio (if they don’t have one, you should move on to another designer). How are the sites? Check on both your desktop and all mobile devices to ensure clear and concise viewing. Do they understand SEO? This is very important. A movie intro or flash-based splash page may seem really awesome, but it’s not tracked by search engines. Remember, this is for your business. Are there customer reviews? Not just on their site. Check Yelp, Angie’s List, LinkedIn, their Facebook page (or other social media), or your favorite review site to see how they actually operate.
  • Most important of all, know exactly what work you will require of your web designer. When you design a contract (or sign theirs), ensure the following items, at a minimum, are spelled out: a) The exact work you will require of the designer and what they’ll require of you, b) cost per hour of work to include off hour pay (weekend panic, holidays, etc.) and payment options such as half up front/half upon delivery, and most important of all c) a break off clause in case your visions clash.


Keeping these three things in mind will go a long way toward finding a successful web designer for your growing team. I know some great web designers if you are looking for referrals or just advice on the best direction to head in. As always, I want you to be successful and #BeAwesome at what you do!


~ Social Media is changing the way people do business.  Don’t get left behind ~ 


Be sure to Follow us and Let’s Engage!

Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.



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