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How do customers get in touch?

How do customers get in touch?

How do your customers get in touch with you? What should you do to help them get in contact? Where should you be visible and how are people likely to message you? You might be surprised …

Be where your customers are

There’s a good general rule that you should be where your customers are. That means physically as well as virtually.

  • If people buy your type of thing at craft fairs and in shops, go to craft fairs and establish a presence in a few shops (many crafty shops will rent shelf space and/or take a commission. Take advice from other crafters on tips for choosing fairs – I have no idea about this myself)
  • If your clients hang out in Pinterest or Instagram, make sure you have an account there, you use it on-brand and wisely, and you put your contact details on your profile
  • Most people will do a web search when they’re looking for what you sell or provide – make sure you have a website, even if it’s just a landing page with contact, product and service details.
  • I strongly suggest you add a contact form to your website. Most blogging platforms and website services like WordPress will have contact form templates for you to use.
  • Many people will look on Facebook so make sure you have a Facebook page even if you don’t interact with it very much.
  • If you have a Twitter profile, again, get those contact details on it.
  • If you can’t help someone, try to pass them to someone who can.

How do customers contact me?

I’ve been observing how people have contacted me about genuine paid work opportunities over the past few months. Here are the ways they’ve done it:

  • Contact form on my website – this is the main way in which people contact me. It comes straight through to my email, with the person’s email, so I can reply straight back to them
  • Email – my email address is on my website, so I assume people pick it up from there, if they’re not a recommendation who has been given my email address by someone else
  • Twitter – a public @ message – so make sure your Twitter account is open and allows messages
  • Facebook – a question on my business page – make sure you enable alerts so you can see when these come through to you!
  • Facebook – a Facebook Messenger request – these can get lost in “Other” messages – check that folder regularly
  • Twitter – a direct message. This can only be sent by someone you mutually follow on Twitter but they still happen – watch out for alerts
  • Phone – I have a dedicated mobile phone with its number on my website. I receive very few phone calls and because I leave my phone on voicemail most of the time (because I do a lot of work where I really have to concentrate), people who leave messages tend to email me as well anyway.

Other ways people might contact you:

  • At networking events
  • Through any messaging facilities on other social media sites
  • By text message

The golden rules of social media contact

I’ve covered this in depth in an article about reciprocity but in general:

  • Always respond to people who contact you – it’s only polite
  • Take the conversation out of the public eye if it’s about prices and services
  • Always be super-polite, even if it seems like someone is trying to get at you
  • Do set expectations – if you’re not going to work weekends / late nights, maybe don’t reply to messages so quickly at the weekend or late at night, to set an expectation of office hours only (be prepared to make exceptions for a real jewel of a prospect, however!)

Summary: make yourself as available as you can; you never know where that lead will come from

Create yourself a website with a contact form as well as a list of contact details

Establish a presence on the very popular social media sites

Establish a presence on any social media sites that are relevant to your area of work

Always answer queries, taking them privately as soon as you can

Set expectations

If you can’t do a job for someone, try to recommend someone who can


In this article I’ve reminded you to keep as many avenues open as possible for people to contact you, and to follow that up by being responsive.

Other relevant articles on this blog

Reciprocity and social media

Coopetition versus competition

 

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2017 in Business, Social media

 

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Small business chat questions – over to you!

Small business chat questions – over to you!

For a while now, I’ve been adding a special bonus question to my small business chat update posts: what would you like to ask other business owners? There have been some great questions and some lovely answers, too. Here I pull together some of the good ones and I bet a good few of my readers have some answers to them, whether you currently run a business, have been a freelancer or hang out with the self-employed crew – why not click on the link, go to the comments and add your answer?

Managing, growing and maintaining your business

How do we make more money … without diluting the principles that drove us to start this business in the way we did in the first place?

I’d like to know how many people use contracts with their clients and why they see them as a good idea

I’m a procrastinator. What do you do to motivate yourself and achieve things that you’d otherwise happily let slip down your to do list?

What’s the hardest part about running your business?

How are you staying up to date with changes taking place in your industry?

How do you keep the momentum going? Where do you get inspiration from to keep things fresh?

What’s the one thing you’ve done that has had the biggest impact on your everyday workday – whether it’s a strategy you employ or a piece of software you use?

Time management and work-life balance

How do you manage to maintain a healthy work/life balance? Do you have any secret tips, or links to articles or videos you can recommend?

How do you find time to do your work and also keep up with social media or other marketing tasks?

When you started out in business when did you start to take time off for holidays?

What are your tips for balancing work and family time?

How do you fit small business around a young family – especially if your baby isn’t a big day sleeper!

How do you maintain focus on your business when issues in your personal life are draining all your energy?

Have you ever thought about quitting? If so, how did you get to your ultimate decision (whether you carried on or did indeed quit) and do you feel like it was the right thing to do?

What motivated you when it seemed too difficult to continue?

Social media, advertising and lead generation

Do you feel your business gets any benefit from using Twitter?

Where do you get your leads from?

What medium of advertising to you find most useful in obtaining new customers and why?

How do you go about finding work if you’re having a quiet period?

What do you think is the most cost-effective way to get mass brand exposure to consumers?

Staff and success

What inexpensive ways are there to treat your staff?

How do you grow a team effectively and not damage the personal nature of your business?

How do you successfully delegate work? What tricks have you got for growing your business, but still retaining control?

If you were to recruit your first employee, what do you see as being the most important role you would need to recruit to move your business forward? Would it be a finance person, marketer, operations, etc.?

Miscellaneous

If you could plan the perfect week at your business what would it be like?

Are you ready to publish a book?

Seen a question that tickles your fancy, that you’re just itching to answer? Click on the link for your favourite question(s), go to the Comments and add your words of wisdom. I know the interviewee(s) you choose will be thrilled to hear from you (and I’ll display your URL by your answer, for that bit of extra exposure …)

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2016 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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How do I get back to the full dashboard on WordPress.com?

 

I’ve been asked this question a few times recently, as WordPress has sought to make it easier for users to post a quick blog post or create a page. People who are familiar with the old, more detailed dashboard want to find it again. So here’s how.

How do I find the old dashboard on WordPress?

When you log on to WordPress, you will find a button marked My Sites. Click on that and you’ll get the new, simplified dashboard:

WordPress new admin page

Now click on WP Admin, circled on the above image.

This will take you to the old familiar interface:

Old WordPress dashboard

If this doesn’t work there is another tip, which is to add /wp-admin to the end of your page’s URL.

Note: this works for WordPress.com, the free version – self-hosted WordPress.org is a little different. If you’ve found this post useful, please do share it using the sharing buttons below.

Other useful posts on this site

Is it worth having a website for my business?

WordPress 1 – the basics – joining and setting up a blog (links to all the other WordPress tutorials)

Resource guide – blogging and social media

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2015 in Blogging, Business, SEO, Social media, WordPress

 

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Six things that you can do to increase your website or blog’s SEO (search engine optimisation)

Graphic showing an increasing numberSEO or Search Engine Optimisation is one of those mysterious areas of knowledge – like setting up a website – that people like to keep to themselves. If you’ve been involved at all with a website or blog, you will know that people tend to almost prey on newbies, offering to increase their SEO if they work with this or that company.

The impetus for this post came from offering some help to a community organisation I’m helping out with. They don’t have the money to spend on expensive consultancy, so I’ve put together this guide for them – and you – to help clarify the myths and provide you with some advice to help you build good SEO.

What is SEO / search engine optimisation?

SEO means making sure that search engines like Google and Bing find your content and present it to people who are searching near the top of the results (just below the adverts).

Although they obviously work for a profit and want to make people advertise with them, the search engines do want to get reliable, decent and useful information to their users – otherwise those users will go elsewhere. They go to a lot of trouble to weed out spammy and dodgy sites that will put users off and don’t provide useful and relevant information (if every search you did on Google only gave you results on how to improve your SEO, when you wanted to know about Halloween outfits for dogs, you’d soon get bored and use a different search engine).

Therefore, we need to make sure our blogs and websites have the right information and content that will prove to Google that we’re legitimate sites full of useful content that it’s good to show their users.

There are various technical and writing related ways to do this and I’m going to cover the simple ones that you can do with, for example, a free WordPress.com website or blog and no coding skills.

I’ll note here that there are more detailed and technical things that you can do, to do with the coding of the actual site – this will however give you some simple tools that I’ve used to get good viewing figures and good SEO.

My blog post referrersWhy do I need SEO?

You want people to read your stuff, right? Well, although many people will find your content, services, products, etc. through social media, recommendations, blog readers, etc., the majority will find you through search engines.

Have a look at the statistics pictured. This was on a day when I published an article that was shared quite a lot on social media. Where did I get all my hits from? Search engines. So it’s really important to make sure that when people search for keywords to do with my blogs in the search engines, they find my blogs and find their way to me, so they can buy my services / be helped by my informative posts / buy my books.

How do I improve and maintain my SEO?

1. Publish useful, relevant, original and “natural” content

This is my number one top tip. The search engines are always looking for ways to stop people gaming the system and this is a clear example – we’ve all found websites which just have lists of keywords, etc.

I’ve got good results from the fact that the text on this site is useful, it’s relevant, as in it fits in to various categories and has information on those categories (Word, business, social media, etc.), it’s original (all written by me) and it’s written in natural language that looks like it’s been written by a human, not a robot or machine translator or spammer. This will always outweigh everything else.

2. Publish content regularly

Search engines like material that’s updated regularly, as it’s indicative that the site is still live and up to date. Try to post at least once, if not twice a week – it doesn’t have to be massive long articles, but something twice a week is better than five posts in one week then none for a month.

3. Use keywords wisely

There are some “rules” about the keywords that you want to use to attract readers. Here are the ones that have worked well for me, as far as I can tell:

  • Place the keyword / phrase in the title of the piece – so, here I have used “Increase your blog or website’s SEO” in the title.This automatically adds is to the “metadata”, in this case the URL of the piece. There is more you can do with metadata which is outside the range of this article.
  • Place it in an H1 or H2 level heading – here, I’ve used it in top-level headings.
  • Use it in the description of an image – the image above has the words “increase SEO” in the description field.
  • Use it early on in the text and in the final paragraph.
  • Scatter it throughout the text – but NATURALLY. A good aim is to have the keyword / phrase represent no more or less than 5% of the whole of the text (so if your text is 100 words long, you need the keyword to appear around five times.

4. Use questions in the title and headings

Many people search using questions these days – have a look at your statistics if you can and see how many question phrases appear.

So, use questions in your title (this one doesn’t have a question, but many of my blog posts do), and in your headings. These may well echo the exact phrases that people use to search, boosting you higher in the results.

5. Use categories and tags or whatever your blogging platform offers

Categories, tags, whatever your blogging platform calls them, will be searched by search engines, increase the validity of your site and improve your SEO. Use them wisely, using general (reading, writing) and specific (WordPress, copyediting) ones to help your visibility and to help your readers navigate around your site and stay on the site for a longer time.

6. Make judicious and careful use of backlinks

Search engines like to know that a site is reputable and well-respected by peers. Therefore, they put a high premium on the sites that link into your website or blog (i.e. they include your URL / website address on their own site). Of course, a good way to build these is to reference other well-known and well-respected blogs and websites on yours.

However, this is a tricky area that is used very heavily by spammers, too. So here are some dos and don’ts:

Do:

  • Place guest posts on other people’s blogs that are relevant and useful to both your audiences. You should be given the opportunity to include a link back to your website.
  • Offer people in your industry guest posts on your blog (or run interviews with them, etc.) and ask them to link back to the piece on their social media and website.
  • Get yourself in well-renowned and useful / appropriate listings – for example I’m in a Find a Proofreader listing and one for a professional discussion list I belong to.
  • Carefully comment on relevant articles and blog posts, with a relevant and useful comment. As an example of another blog, I comment on book bloggers’ review posts if I’ve read the book or have something to say about the book they’ve read, and include the URL of my own book review blog in the URL field. That way, a network of links builds up.
  • Use whatever reblogging facility you have on your platform (WordPress has a reblog button) to share interesting and relevant content on your blog (I don’t do this myself, but I’ve been reblogged a lot). This will publish a snippet of your blog and a link on the reblogger’s own page and direct readers to you and reassure the search engines that your content is useful.
  • Publicise your blog posts on social media (you can do this automatically) to increase the number of places your web address will appear.

Don’t:

  • Randomly ask to place guest posts on unconnected blogs – you might well get accepted but it’s not going to do you much good long-term.
  • Accept random and unconnected pieces to place on your blog, even if they say they’ll pay you – it’s not worth it long-term, as your readership will suspect it and anyone visiting your website for Dallas real estate and finding the rest of your articles are about crocheting will not stick around.
  • Put random comments full of your own links on people’s blogs that are not in any way connected with yours. Again, some might let these through (I delete any comments like this on my blogs) but it’s not going to look great, as many people will spot what you’re doing and it’s artificial, not natural, so may well harm you in the future.
  • Copy other people’s blog posts wholesale and paste them onto your site – search engines take a dim view of exactly duplicated content and will tend to push both examples right down the results screen. If you want to share something, share a snippet and a link to the rest of the content on the site where it was originally posted
  • Sign up with a company that offers to increase your SEO without checking very carefully whether they do this kind of thing – many of the rogue random comments and links I get on here obviously come from third parties unscrupulously throwing their customer’s URL all over the Internet

These dos and don’ts are to do with being decent, honourable and ethical. I’ve done it this way, and my blog is pretty successful. I will probably write about this in greater depth, but this should help as a handy guide.

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OK, that’s six things that you can do with your next blog post to help improve your website or blog’s SEO or search engine optimisation. This article itself has been optimised following my rules, and I hope you can pick out what I’ve done now. Do let me know if you have questions or comments using the comments option below, and please share using the share buttons if you’ve found this post useful.

Other useful posts on this site

Reciprocity and Social Media – how to negotiate social media kindly and politely

10 reasons to start a blog – why you should do it now!

Is it worth having a website for my business?

WordPress 1 – the basics – joining and setting up a blog (links to all the other WordPress tutorials)

Resource guide – blogging and social media

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2015 in Blogging, Business, SEO, Social media, WordPress

 

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How do I delete a Facebook group?

In this post we’re going to learn how to delete a Facebook Group. It’s the only way, and seems a bit weird to me – I spent ages looking for buttons to press and options to choose before finding out! So hopefully you will have found this article easily and I can help you do it more quickly!

For more basic information about using Facebook, see my article on Facebook for business.

Why might I want to delete a Facebook group?

The reason I wanted to do this is that I had a group based around a general election that there was no point keeping up with now. There are lots of reasons why you might want to delete a group, though – it might have got out of hand, you might not have time to run it, it might be time-dependent and out of date, like my one was.

If it’s a matter of not having enough time, consider making someone else the Admin for the group – you can see how to do that later on in this post, as well.

Note, you do have to be the owner or administrator of the group to delete it.

How do I delete a Facebook group?

To delete a Facebook group, you need to remove all of the members, then yourself. This makes the group go away.

In your group, locate its Members area:

Facebook group members area

Click on the Members link and here you are with your list of members:

remove member of facebook group

For each member, click on the cog under the member’s name and click Remove from Group. Note that this is where you can make them an Admin instead.

Facebook will ask you to confirm.

remove member from facebook group check

Do this for each member of the group.

Lastly, remove yourself from the group in the same way. You will get this confirmation message:

Facebook delete group

This is the same error message whether you’re just leaving the group or you’re the last to leave – just choose Leave Group.

The group should now disappear. If it doesn’t, your best bet is to contact Facebook. Click on the arrow marked here:

4 report a problem

… and select Report a Problem from the dropdown.

If you’ve enjoyed this post and found it useful, please share it using the buttons below! Thank you!

You can find more resources on social media in my blog resource guide (link takes you to the social media section) and read about using social media for your business in my book on growing your business.

Related posts on this blog:

Facebook for business

How to delete posts and block users from your Facebook page

How to add an administrator to your Facebook page

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2015 in Business, Facebook, Social media

 

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How do I remove a member from a Facebook group?

In this post we’re going to learn how to remove a member from a Facebook Group. For more basic information about using Facebook, see my article on Facebook for business.

Why might I want to remove someone from my Facebook group?

The most common reason is that they have been spamming your group or behaving in another way that’s not acceptable.

Sometimes, a group member might not be sure how to leave a group and might ask you to remove them.

How do I remove someone from my Facebook group?

Go into your group and look for the Members area:

Facebook group members area

Click on the Members link to get into the Members area:

remove member of facebook group

Click on the cog under the member’s name and choose Remove from Group.

Facebook will ask you to confirm. At this point, as you can see, you can also block them from joining or posting to the group again:

remove member from facebook group check

And they’ve gone!

If you’ve enjoyed this post and found it useful, please share it using the buttons below! Thank you!

You can find more resources on social media in my blog resource guide (link takes you to the social media section) and read about using social media for your business in my book on growing your business.

Related posts on this blog:

Facebook for business

How to delete posts and block users from your Facebook page

How to add an administrator to your Facebook page

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2015 in Business, Facebook, Social media

 

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My business books are now available in print editions!

In case you’re not following my books blog but are interested in the books on starting and growing a business and specific aspects of business such as networking, social media and transcription as a career (and on lowering your cholesterol, that popular outlier to my oeuvre), I’m pleased to announce that all of my books are now available in print as well as e-book editions. Look – proof:

Business books by Liz Broomfield

You can read all about what I’ve been up to in this blog post.

I’ll be sharing a how-to on creating your print book in Amazon’s CreateSpace and I’ll let followers of this blog know when that happens.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2015 in Business, Social media, Transcription

 

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