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8 Misconceptions About Remote Working That Are Holding Back Your Business

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8 Misconceptions About Remote Working That Are Holding Back Your Business

I’ve been associated with enough startups and small or medium-sized enterprises in my lifetime to know what they want. What they want in terms of their employees, in terms of future growth, and in terms of the kind of capital they are willing to invest.

Through personal experience, and through talking to similar and like-minded people, I have come to understand and appreciate the unique challenges all SMEs face and must deal with. Limited resources, big ambitions. I think that’s how one can safely put it.

One of the ways most SMEs cut costs (or rather, save capital) is by allowing employees to work remotely. Maybe from home. Maybe from a cafe. Maybe even another country. Why do they do that? Mostly to avoid renting or investing in an office space. Cheap? I don’t think so. 

Given the state of the internet and given how seamlessly interconnected everything and everyone is to each other, working remotely (and thus diverting this saved capital to other, more useful resources, like acquiring top talent) just makes a whole lot of sense. 

A nifty analogy can be drawn between the driving principle behind this, and how lost cost carriers function—strip away what is extraneous and just focus on the bare minimum, ensuring that that is adequately covered.

8 Misconceptions About Remote Working That Are Holding Back Your Business

The flipside of this cost efficient way of working, however, are the various issues and insecurities which come in to play as soon as the words “remote” and “working” are put together. The presence of these fears and insecurities not only hamper the freedom with which people work, but can also lead to a toxic work environment. 

In short, not really ideal for that little dynamite of an enterprise your business can be. Keeping all this in mind, I decided to draw up a list of 8 of the top work from home misconceptions I have come across in my lifetime. I have tried to cover the problem from all angles, and also give workable solutions you can put in place to ensure that your enterprise doesn’t suffer the way some of the startups I have been associated with suffered.

1. Remote Workers Will Have No Fixed Timings

Whenever I tell my friends that I can’t go on that pub crawl with them because I have to wake up early the next day to work, they give me an extremely bemused, judgmental look. They know that I work from home. Even their look knows that. To me, that look seems to be saying, “You work from home. How does it matter what time you wake up to work?”

Shockingly enough, this is a very common question all remote workers get asked. Maybe, their friends/families might be more explicit with this question. But trust me, as soon as someone hears “work from home”, it is all but implied that the person doing the working from home doesn’t really have any fixed hours. 

Wake up whenever, work whenever. Maybe even pop out for a three-hour long movie in between. Why? Because you aren’t really in an office space. You don’t really have any HR manager to be answerable to.

8 Misconceptions About Remote Working That Are Holding Back Your Business

I can safely say from my experience that all this is complete and utter rot. Working from home doesn’t really imply flexible work hours. After all, as a team, I must ensure that I am online and working when the rest of my team members are online. My team members, my work, and especially my clients, all have fixed deadlines and time slots. This means that even though I’m not answerable to an HR manager, I am answerable to all these stakeholders in my work, and I have to respect their time.

This problem becomes amplified if the manager or team lead has this very same flexible work hours misgiving stuck in his/her head. Some managers, when faced with such a misgiving, can enforce suffocating and unrealistic restrictions and conditions to the remote working team. Maybe even force the top management to rent an office space just so that they can keep an eye on their respective team and ensure no one is taking liberties. Needless to say, such misgivings defeat the entire intent behind having remote workers.

8 Misconceptions About Remote Working That Are Holding Back Your Business

Another way in which the flexible working hours philosophy can backfire is if the workers themselves start to take liberties and work begins to suffer. Fortunately, the solution to both these facets is the same—hire like minded, self motivated people. Be it managers, or remote workers, till the time everyone is not completely on board with the idea of working from home, and till the time everyone doesn’t respect this arrangement, no good can come out of it. No amount of monitoring of coercing from the part of top management can stem the rot once it sets in.

2. Remote Workers Will Be on Facebook All Day

I really don’t need to remind everyone about just how big a resource drain Facebook really is. I mean, there’s a reason why most big companies and multinational corporations have internet firewalls, right? Facebook, the productivity killer. Facebook, the black hole. And so on, and so forth. 

So it just makes sense to be scared about your workers just whiling away their time on social media when they’re working from home (and without Big Brother’s eye on them). Right? Right?

8 Misconceptions About Remote Working That Are Holding Back Your Business

Wrong. Irrespective of where people are working, they are still going to spend the same time on Facebook and other social media. I first came across this neat little statement somewhere on the internet (I was just trying to reassure myself that I wasn’t being a bad employee when I logged on to Facebook while working from home). But honestly, that really couldn’t be right, could it? Not everything found in the vast expanses of the interwebs is right, right?

Yeah…even I had those doubts. So I decided to run a little test. I downloaded this app called RescueTime. You can also download it from rescuetime.com. Just sign up, download a tiny program for all your laptops/desktops and mobile devices, et voila! 

You can figure out exactly where your time is going. Be it your browsing history, or a history of what programs you used while on your laptop/mobile device, this nifty program captures everything. Captures everything, and organizes it into neat little reports. A very convenient dashboard lets your configure what websites/programs you find “productive” and what are a “distraction”. Thankfully, it automatically takes social media sites like Facebook, Twitter et all under a separate “Social Networking” category. Which it rates as “very distracting”.

8 Misconceptions About Remote Working That Are Holding Back Your Business

So anyway. I installed this on all my devices and tracked my data. I think I began doing this way back in December 2013. The first couple of weeks, I was conscious enough to look at my reports each day, and try and correct certain behaviors (like spending too much time in front of the laptop). 

From perhaps mid-January or early February, I just started working on auto-pilot, not even looking at the weekly report summary mail I get from RescueTime. Basically, not really bothering about where my time was going or how productive I was being. What I found out was pretty much consistent with what I had read online. Through the entire spread of data, irrespective of where I was working from, on a typical work day, I was spending around 11%-15% of my time on various social networking sites. 

And funnily enough, this number was closer to 15% when I was working from office. What this neat little test proved to me was that whether working from home, or working from office, I needed me some social media entertainment as a break from mundane ole work.

8 Misconceptions About Remote Working That Are Holding Back Your Business

But what about artificial restrictions one might come across in office. Like a firewall blocking all social media and video streaming websites? Well in that case, your workers are bound to take a break by doing some other things. 

Frankly, there is only so much productivity even the best managers can squeeze out from their employees. Everyone needs a break, or a distraction. If not social media, that distraction might be gossiping with a fellow worker in the office. So really, the argument that work from home employees spend more time on social media is misguided, at best.

3. Remote Workers Will Get Less Work Done

This is another of those time management arguments most micromanagers employ. Again, the belief stems from the lack of trust they display towards their coworkers. Just because they can’t see them working, means that they aren’t working

8 Misconceptions About Remote Working That Are Holding Back Your Business

Terms like “productivity” are brought into the mix, without actually recognizing that such arguments might, just might, be outdated. And really, when it is productivity which is being questioned, no organization is ever going to say anything to the contrary.

Except. Except that the good people over at RSA Animate have a pretty neat video detailing, and disagreeing with this very sentiment (if you aren’t already following them, you really need to head over to YouTube and follow them right away. Their animated videos, ranging on topics as varied as economics and organizational behavior are a treat). 

Based on a talk by Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft, the video details what might be possible if organizations—no matter whether SMEs, or MNCs—embrace the full and empowering potential of today’s technology to really inculcate an open, innovative and flexible work culture within their organizations.

I will really let the beautiful and insightful video do that talking for this one.

4. Remote Workers Are Never Going to Come to Office

Ok so maybe you started out from somebody’s garage. Maybe, in those days of thrift and limited space, you let people work from home or work remotely. Maybe, everything went well for you, and today you’re an organization of some scale, and many of your original employees have still stuck around with you. 

Maybe now liberated of the past resource crunch, your new HR policy makes it mandatory for employees to come to the office. But the trouble now is that your original employees don’t want to ever come to office because they’re too used to, and too comfortable in, working from home. What do you do now?

8 Misconceptions About Remote Working That Are Holding Back Your Business

Firstly, the very notion that employees will never come to office is a very misleading one. Business is built around face-to-face interaction. If not all day, every single day, then at least for internal and external meetings, reviews, or a myriad of other tasks. It could be even for something as random as, perhaps, looking at, and interacting with, another human being. 

For all its supposed perks, working from home (at least in my experience) can be a pretty lonely task. And, frankly, most of your founding employees will recognize this better than most.

While crafting a new HR policy, it should also be examined what the need for change in remote working policy is. Is it so that your managers can micromanage easily? Is it because tasks are not being done and deadlines aren’t being met? If it’s these two, then the problem might be more serious. 

As detailed above, no change in work from home policy is going to squeeze out more “productivity” from an underperforming employee/team. Rather than changing the HR policy, it might be worth the effort to reprimand the team, or to replace it entirely.

If the change stems more from the joy of actually sharing the organization’s “own” space, and thus boosting morale, and trust in the company, then maybe a gradual change in policy might work better. 

Most employees, upon seeing the company grow into its own office space, would be pretty pumped to maybe explore the space. And just like that, like caged animals being released into the wild, after a period of acclimatization, they are bound to adopt the new office space as their very own. In the world of HR, ultimately, intentionality counts for a whole lot more than the rule.

5. Remote Workers Can Never Communicate and Collaborate

8 Misconceptions About Remote Working That Are Holding Back Your Business

So wait. All your employees are scattered. Maybe in the same city, maybe in different cities, maybe even in different continents. How do you set about communicating with such a team? How do you ensure that everyone is on the same page, and working all guns blazing? 

In a regular brick and mortar office, it is very easy to talk to employees and see what they’re up to. It is very easy to get paperwork done. Any meeting can be scheduled at a moment’s notice, provided the conference room is free. How do you accomplish all this when your team is scattered all over the place?

Wake up, honey. You live in the digital age. Yep, it might take some extra effort, but working as a virtual team isn’t impossible anymore. All you need is a decent internet connection, and a properly defined workflow. After that, the likes of Skype, Google Drive et all can very much take care of various collaboration tasks. 

8 Misconceptions About Remote Working That Are Holding Back Your Business

A project, no matter its size, can easily be managed via Basecamp. Files can be accessed off a common Google Drive. A shared Google Calendar makes it easy to schedule meetings. Virtual meetings can be had over Skype, or over Cisco’s WebEx service (for the more sophisticated).

Increasingly, software giants are recognizing the need for software tuned towards online collaboration. Hence, you have Google’s array of trendsetting online presentation, spreadsheet and word processor software. Microsoft has followed suit with its Office 365 initiative. Even Apple is making a major push towards cloud storage and cloud software. The intention behind this is the same—to make virtual collaborations easier.

6. Remote Workers Destroy (or Hamper) Company Culture

Most people tell you that an office is more than just a workplace. It is also a place where fun is had, where insightful and/or delightful chatter is heard. And, it is these interpersonal interactions which set up a company’s culture as much as the top management’s efforts, and various HR policies and initiatives. 

While it is true that culture stems from camaraderie and understanding between employees too, it is somewhat naïve to assume that such bonds can only be forged within the confines of an office space. 

8 Misconceptions About Remote Working That Are Holding Back Your Business

For what it is worth, it should be noted that real bonds are formed outside of the office, over that after-work beer, while watching a game on the pub telly. Which is why company outings are considered so important. More than a means to break the monotony, they are an attempt to get employees to forge informal bonds, which can be carried into the workspace, thus enriching the company culture and enlivening the office space.

In today’s world, where Facebook friends are just as close as physical friends, concerns over company culture being eroded because of remote workers seem archaic. Smart phones exist, and people are readily reachable. Throw in some alcohol, and employees are more than willing to make a reasonable trek to chill with their office buddies. 

8 Misconceptions About Remote Working That Are Holding Back Your Business

In fact, by taking away the pressure cooker situation created by having a cramped office space, where tempers run high, and people are easily rubbed the wrong way, employees have a better chance of forming strong bonds with each other, and thus enriching company culture.

7. Remote Workers Can’t Brainstorm

Again, the supposition is that the best brainstorming sessions are had while sitting on the office beanbag, in the office conference room, with all your other co-workers also present there. There’s something about the setting which is supposed to fire the neurons into thinking, and come up with some worthy ideas. Surely, replicating such a setting with remote workers would be nigh on impossible, right?

8 Misconceptions About Remote Working That Are Holding Back Your Business

How about, no. With the myriad virtual collaboration tools and apps I already talked about, no brainstorming session is impossible. Just.me enabled Skype session can easily replicate the face-to-face interactions of brainstorming sessions of yore. 

In fact, an argument can be made about employees being more liberated, and thus, more open, while on a virtual brainstorming session. Why? Because sitting in their own private and familiar space gives a sense of comfort no office will be able to replicate. Also, talking from personal experience, I tend to feel more liberated while talking to someone online than face-to-face. 

There is something very very liberating about the facelessness of the internet. It is only amplified in my case because of certain behavioral characteristics I have. It is not just me, however, who feels this way. Research conducted into the addictiveness of the internet also concluded that young adults tend to feel more confident online.

8. Remote Working Isn’t Safe

Let’s face it. We live in a post-cyber terrorism world. Hackers and snoopers abound. Data on the cloud isn’t really safe. The likes of Anonymous and the Syrian Electronic Army can bring you down, no matter who you are. Obama, Microsoft and BBC News have all been brought to their knees just by these two big groups. So really, how safe is working on the cloud?

No matter how hyped up these attacks are, their frequency is still pretty low. These big hacking groups only go after targets on ideological grounds. So, really, until you do something really nasty to irritate these groups (like, say, threaten Syria), they really aren’t coming after you.

8 Misconceptions About Remote Working That Are Holding Back Your Business

Also, with a couple of natty and knowing precautionary measures, you can ensure that your data is for your eyes only. Set up proper security protocols. For instance, Google requires all remote workers to go through a series of hoops, including (but not limited to) calling up an automated, centralized number for a one time password, before they are allowed to log in. 

Most likely, your SME would not require such advanced and sophisticated measures to ensure the safety of its data. In all likelihood, and speaking very practically, an in-house server to store data, and the safeguards already built into Google Drive and its ilk should be sufficient for you.

Final Thoughts

While working from home and remote working pose many challenges and risks, the benefits far outweigh the downside. All that is required for a remote working policy to succeed is a well aligned and focused management and staff. Between them, they can define enough protocols, goals and targets to ensure that the company’s two biggest objective—deadlines being honored, and bottom lines growing—are met without much hassle.

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How Influencer Marketing Helps You Put Your Business on the Map

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How Influencer Marketing Helps You Put Your Business on the Map

In today’s times, social media is a life-changing tool for small businesses. The plethora of platforms available at our disposal to use – to benefit us and our businesses in ways that didn’t seem possible earlier – offers huge opportunity to engage with a community of prospects at a fraction of cost. 

The key, however, is targetting the right audience and then coming up with resourceful ideas to pull them in. This is where influencer marketing comes in. Influencers are people who have a community of people following them with same interests. 

“Influencers are people. People (or maybe personas) with a brand and an audience. What makes them attractive to advertisers is their ability to speak to a very defined group of fans. The way the ecosystem is maturing looks a lot like the internet in the early days.”

-Mike Schmidt

You don’t have to go out there to look for individuals with same interests, you can look for influencers that work with your field and have millions of potential customers ready for you to convert into leads.

This practice has made marketing so much more lucrative and easier. You will be a fool to not use social media to its full potential when it comes to affluential marketing. The success of a good social media marketing campaign is in its ability to reach out to the audience and engage with them, rather than to sell stuff. 

Simply running your social media accounts on autopilot or pushing content only to put your products out through Twitter, Facebook or other social media accounts to a huge number of fake followers is simply not the right way to do it.

This is when you can use influencers to do the work for you. Though it’s kind of a new landscape for a substantially large number of people even in the marketing industry, influencer marketing has been around for quite a long time. What people don’t realize is that they exist and function within a nuclear testing ground of marketing strategies and yet, for the most part, is unaffected by it. 

Influencer marketing was a concept spawned out of this idea – It’s not what is being said that’s important, it’s WHO says it that makes it count.

What is an Influencer

How Influencer Marketing Helps You Put Your Business on the Map

In essence, brand marketers “inspire” or reward strategic “influencers” to get the sales pitch out to the target customer base instead of doing it themselves directly. Influencers are basically entities (people or enterprises) who have a definite large number of followers who appreciate the content put out by the influencer. 

This credibility is built over years of research, building networks, and regular engagement with authoritative figures. This is largely evidenced through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

Over time, the influencers garner a fan base. This fan base could also be supporting an idea or philosophy that the Influencer represents through his actions or body of work, such as published articles online, political/non-political campaigns, video content, podcasts, or other multimedia content.

How Influencer Marketing Helps You Put Your Business on the Map

Corporate marketing personnel utilize social media and content marketing to drive the message across to a target audience. Influencers are expected to spread these specially crafted content through their personal social media channels and blogs. 

In some scenarios, the content is created by brand marketers. But most of the time, influencers create their own customized content.

So how exactly does this all work out?

“Influencer marketing is the first real consumer-driven marketing channel. It’s real people talking to real people. If you look back, consumers have really only had a voice for about the last 10 years. As that happened, people started to talk about things they were passionate about, building audiences and providing real valuable content to people.”

-Todd Cameron

In today’s setting, an influencer can work by reaching out to your target audience and persuading them to pay attention to your business through the following techniques:

  • Writing blogs about your business, reviewing products and services.
  • Posting information or updates about your products and services through social media accounts.
  • YouTube review videos on products and services.
  • They can provide you permission to guest post on their portals, which is subscribed to by your target audience.

Influencers can do any one of the above or any combination of the above to help your business brand make an impact on your target audience. 

But how exactly do you set this in motion?

How Influencer Marketing Helps You Put Your Business on the Map

Influencing the Influencer

One thing to keep in mind is that influencers are running a business themselves. They are not going to be helping you just for the sake of it unless you have a pre-existing relationship with them. Make sure to research the market value for the niche and approach the influencer with a proposal based on their influence and work. Making use of influencers essentially translates to the two following scenarios:

Building Rapport

You will need to cultivate relationships with some of these major influencers so they end up subscribing to your blog and/or start following you on your social media channels. To make this happen, your existing content needs to be relevant to their content and needs to have solid verifiable credibility. If these influencers link to your content from their sites or share it on their social network channels, you have scored major points for your business.

Direct Approach

You get in touch with influencers directly and persuade them to publish your content on their personal social media platforms, thereby getting an audience of their followers. Of course, for that to work, again you need to have established credibility in the first place. In this scenario, you score points as soon as your content gets published on their platforms.

Your interactions with influencers need to be based on genuine rapport and common interests. You have to prove that you are happy and capable to add value to whatever enterprise or campaign your influencers may be running. You have to show that you have a genuine interest in developing a favorable network while facilitating authors of quality content to gain exposure online.

Final Thoughts

With the influx in the influencer marketing business, it is smart to invest in people who can bring you targeted leads. You have to be thorough in your research because it is a numbers game, some influencers are not above using fake followers to show a big number to you. Along with their following, be sure to check their engagement activity – the huge number of followers isn’t going to be buying your products but the people taking the time to engage probably are.

“Any influencer can get a ‘one-night stand’. Trusted social influencers leverage data and help the brand define success to get a call back the next day.”

-Brian Fanzo

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Entrepreneurs

7 Steps to Make Your Dreams See the Light of the Day

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7 Steps to Make Your Dreams See the Light of the Day

Every person who has ever thought of starting a start-up and hasn’t seen it through has started with an idea and somewhere along the line stopped at the idea. What makes a business idea work is the persistence to see that idea be converted into a sellable product.

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”

-Colin Powell

It takes time and hard work to bring an idea to fruition. Growing a business will need more work than a job ever would, which many people transitioning do not realize. You will need to sacrifice more than you bothered to consider, you will have to work more hours, you will lose sleep, but in the end, it will be all worth it.

If you plan everything properly and keep your vision set on the goal, it becomes easier. Keep moving forward and keep taking baby steps. Here are a few things you can do to finally make your dreams see the light of the day without you feeling overwhelmed and ditching your ideas before they even take their first breath.

1. Document Everything

7 Steps to Make Your Dreams See the Light of the Day

Whenever an idea strikes, putting it all on paper is the best way to go. Having everything laid out will give you a clear idea as to what is needed to make that idea become a reality. You will get to see all the pre-requisites right in front of you and it will give you a pretty good clue of the amount of effort you will need to put in.

“Documentation is like sex: when it is good, it is very, very good; and when it is bad, it is better than nothing.”

-Dick Brandon

You will not be moving forward with an unrealistic approach toward the project. Making a mission statement or writing down your vision in a document and keeping on visiting it from time to time will help you stay true to your dream. Whenever you feel like you are losing track of things, you can revisit this document to remind yourself what your goal was.

2. Research Your Idea

7 Steps to Make Your Dreams See the Light of the Day

Once you know what all you are going to need or want to get to the starting point of the action sequence, to get the ball rolling, pull all stops to gather information. Information gathering is a crucial phase of any project. 

A preliminary check on your target market, manufacturing and distribution costs, comparing the costs of similar products, studying the demand, etc. is a no-brainer. This is important to know that there is a profit to be made before you invest a great deal of time and money developing your dream into reality.

3. Find a Mentor

7 Steps to Make Your Dreams See the Light of the Day

Now you have an idea and you have spent considerable time researching the market and the product, but you don’t know where to go from there. If it is a field that is completely foreign to you then the hurdles are at every corner and even if you are quite familiar with the technicalities of the field, the experiences of someone can give you invaluable insight.

“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.”

-John C. Maxwell

Find a mentor who can help you guide through the process, someone who has been there and done that, or someone who has bright ideas as to how you can proceed and can provide you with a logical argument to whatever you have at your disposal.

4. Design a Prototype/Working Model

7 Steps to Make Your Dreams See the Light of the Day

Having a real-life example of how your product is going to work or how it is going to be received in the market makes you ready to deal with the real deal before it even becomes a reality.

It also helps you make a more informed pitch to your investors. Having everything ready to be explained and showing how much thought and research has been put into every decision is a great way to show investors how serious you are.  It also helps you discover all the flaws or kinks before your idea can be patented or the production can be started. 

5. Find the Right Investors

7 Steps to Make Your Dreams See the Light of the Day

If you do not have the capital to invest, chances are you don’t, then you will have to find an investor who believes in your vision and is willing to invest in it. This is where thorough research and having adequate documentation comes in.

Knowing the market of your product inside out will help you sell your idea to investors. Finding the right investor is important because when both the parties are on board with the idea and have the same vision, working becomes that much easier and there are fewer decision clashes. 

6. Marketing and Distribution

7 Steps to Make Your Dreams See the Light of the Day

Marketing is when you create a business plan and figure out how you would bring your product to the market. It includes decisions like whether you want to manufacture and sell the product all by yourself or you want to license another company for sale. 

Distribution channels need to be figured out. Comparisons need to be made to decide what option will help you make the most profit and what fits in with the vision of your product, of your company.

7. Marketing Channels and Advertising

7 Steps to Make Your Dreams See the Light of the Day

You might have a great product but if people don’t know it exists then there is no point of it existing. You have to put your product out there for people to discover it and try it. You have to figure out what channels are the best for the product you are planning to launch.

“Whether B2B or B2C, I believe passionately that good marketing essentials are the same. We all are emotional beings looking for relevance, context and connection.”

-Beth Comstock

Learn about the tools at your disposal. Use social media to create a brand presence and to generate leads. Social media channels are also great to track customer feedback and get suggestions. It helps you make a direct connection with the customers and reach out to potential customers.

Final Thoughts

Having an idea is just not enough if you want to see your dream turn into reality. Steps are meant to be taken not stared at. No matter how good your idea is, if you don’t do anything about it, it is as good as not existing. 

If it feels overwhelming, take one thing at a time. Go through the process one step at a time. Focus on developing your idea, then focus on researching – not everyone can multitask and manage different phases of the process together. It is okay to work a phase in isolation – as long as you don’t stop working toward your goal, it is okay to go as slow as you like.

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How to Make the Most Out of Different Social Media Channels

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How to Make the Most Out of Different Social Media Channels

Social media is a powerful tool that we have at our disposal to use it to benefit us and our businesses in ways that didn’t seem possible earlier. It has made marketing so much more lucrative and easier.

While I am an advocate of reducing the number of hours we spend on it as individuals, I strongly believe that they should be used to their full potential when it comes to businesses.

For small businesses, the social media platform offers huge opportunity to engage with a community of prospects at a fraction of cost. The key, however, is picking topics that matter the most to your target audience and then coming up with resourceful ideas to pull them in. 

Solicit opinions, ask questions, and appreciate helpful comments- everything is important. The success of a good social media marketing campaign is in its ability to reach out to the audience and engage with them, rather than to sell stuff. 

Simply running your social media accounts on autopilot or pushing flowery or sales-y content through Twitter, Facebook or other social media accounts to a huge number of fake followers is simply not the right way to do it.

1. Say Yes to Twitter Chats

How to Make the Most Out of Different Social Media Channels

Twitter chats are a great way for your marketing team to connect personally with any community. These chats allow small businesses to exhibit their human side and forge new relationships with their community. 

So, whether joining or hosting a Twitter chat, remember the possibilities to build loyalty and enhance engagement are endless as long as you contribute to conversations with helpful advice and tips. 

Keep an eye on trends related to your business, and tag your followers with unique hashtags so every tweet you post goes through their feed. It’s time to get chatty.

2. Embrace Instagram and/or Pinterest if Not Already

How to Make the Most Out of Different Social Media Channels

It is a wonderful platform for small business mainly because it allows marketing teams to visually build a brand and create awareness about the business. The beauty of Instagram is that your followers can quickly and effectively consume whatever you are publishing without having to invest time.  

If you are a small business that wants to take the time to understand the pulse of the market, you can gain huge exposure for free on Instagram or Pinterest, which is why they are both an impressive means to build your brand online. 

3. Network Online, Offline, Wherever Possible

How to Make the Most Out of Different Social Media Channels

It is a no brainer that networking is a pretty good way to build relationships that can lead to valuable partnerships, new business opportunities, fresh talent and the latest updates on almost anything that you are tracking. 

Hosting a community event or presenting ideas in a workshop is a spectacular idea to gain credibility instantly, and urge people to take a closer look at your business. 

If you are a small business owner looking to get different segments of your target audience together, look at online tools like Meetup that can drive a great number of people to your event. 

4. Give Podcasts a Whirl

How to Make the Most Out of Different Social Media Channels

Podcasts are just the right thing for small businesses looking to dig in and find an appealing niche. Even though they have been around for a very long period of time, they have become a fad just recently. 

Over the years, they have gained the approval of a number of marketing coaches and are still ripe with opportunity to enhance customer engagement and brand awareness. 

5. Host an AMA

How to Make the Most Out of Different Social Media Channels

Using Reddit as a medium to promote content or your small business can cause a sharp spike in traffic in as short a period as two hours or so – or as long as a day when done appropriately. 

One of the effective and trendy ways to gain exposure through Reddit is to host an Ask Me Anything event, also known as AMA. It is another great way to go about marketing your small business online. 

As the face of your business, there are a few things to be wary of. 

  • Make sure you are ready to spend a few hours answering the majority of questions you are asked if not all. Just so you know, some AMAs really get flooded with tons of questions.
  • Be as honest and open with your questions as possible, and your followers will appreciate it.
  • Do not go overboard promoting your small business. Drop a link to your website in the post (description), and refrain from including it in every answer you post.
  • While it may seem a little easy to post details of your AMA in the main AMA subreddit itself, it is recommended that you narrow down to the niche and find a relevant subreddit in your industry. All designers can use /r/design. Similarly, writers can try this out:/r/writing.
  • Get in touch with the moderator of the subreddit about the day and time you will be getting on with your AMA so they can plan things out and get the message through to the audience 

Final Thoughts

While I have talked about the importance of knowing ways to stay away from social media to increase your productivity, I still acknowledge the fact that it is an essential tool in building a business. We have so many amazing channels available to us to reach out to the customers and making the best use of these channels to cultivate a loyal customer base directly correlates to the success of the business moving forward.

Understanding your customer base and attracting the right customer base is important to start a business and keep it running. Social media provides valuable feedback from real users and also helps you lead your target audience back to your products. It helps your business make a one-on-one connection that has a huge impact on the overall standing a brand has in the market. 

Don’t hesitate from putting efforts into learning these channels, try to build a genuine audience and business will follow.

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