What Does Your Freelance Business Need Right Now?

When you’re working in the freelance world, you’ll know that it isn’t as plain sailing as holding down a regular job. That doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing or that it’s too hard – we all know the benefits of flexibility and being your own boss – it just means that you need to approach things in a different way. You need to go into it being fully aware of what freelance life is really like, and the kind of attitude and approach that you need to take to be able to find your success. The reason for this, is that you’re no longer just the employee. You’re also the boss, the salesperson, the finance guy, the administration support and you’re the entire marketing team too. To be all of these roles at once, takes some serious skills. So, let’s take a look at some of the things that your freelance business may need from you right now. A Helping Hand If you’re struggling to juggle all the new responsibility, the first thing you might want to consider, is asking for help. It will get to the point where taking on all of these roles is arduous work. So instead of suffering or deciding to quit, don’t be afraid to reach out. There’s a wealth of companies out there, like Total Calibration, that offer services in the management and organisation of your software that can help to take the pressure off you a little. Perhaps you might feel like...

Social Media Strategies Beyond Content Plans

Content plans are the bedrock of social media strategies for many organisations. They have become the planning and execution portion of social media and, in many ways, are the aspect of social media that takes up the majority of the time for social media professionals. Content plans have driven the desire to see our content distributed through advertising channels, influencers, competition channels and just about any other medium we can find. An over prioritisation of content plans has led marketing professionals to believe that the value of a social media strategy is all about impressions, comments and likes. Single essence of online presence Content plans definitely have their place in the eco-system of a social media strategy, however, for many it’s become the single essence of their online presence and this is concerning. I recently had the opportunity to speak at The Sunday Times Next Generation Conference about this exact issue. I want to share a few ways that we can break beyond the content plan in our social media strategy and start making the most of this incredible technology that our customers use every single day. To form the foundation of these ideas I need to state these primary insights about people and social media: Social media is a crowded environment. People use brands to build their own brand. The post-truth era has degraded trust in information. More than ever, a consumer’s perception becomes their truth. The power of social media is not in likes and comments. The power in social...

Social by design: Good advice to take

Facebook believes in “social by design.” In other words something is not social unless your deigned it to be social. Social needs to be a core part of what you do and not just utilizing social websites. Understanding this concept is key to designing social media strategies. A strategy becomes social when it leverages the social aspect of life rather than uses a social network. There are three primary social elements that we should be thinking about when we develop a social strategy. 1) Personalisation A social strategy will look to customize a campaign with a personalized interface for the user that enhances their experience by highlighting what’s important to them. The users identity then defines a large part of what their experience becomes. This is easily achieved by integrating with existing social networks, and by designing space on your online platforms for personalised content. 2) The reason to share Viral campaigns become viral because they have something that people want to share. The trouble is that people don’t always share content in the same way all the time. People are more complex than that. Sharing is dependent on the content, the emotional context of consuming that content and so many other uncontrollable factors. When designing for social, we should not ‘hope’ that people share content. We should design the strategy to encourage the sharing action. I recently consulted a company who was showing me their ‘social’ application on Facebook. Yes, it was on Facebook. Well done. The app however...

Social Media principles from The Green Apron Book

I recently came across the Starbucks Green Apron book and read through their 5 principles for turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. I found it very interesting that the 5 principles can be applied directly to a social media campaign or strategy. The Green Apron Book is a booklet that Starbucks gives its baristas.  It outlines Starbucks mission: “To provide an uplifting experience that enriches people’s daily lives,” along with 5 Principles for doing exactly that: Be Welcoming: Offer everyone a sense of belonging. Be Genuine: Connect, discover, respond. Be Knowledgeable: Love what you do. Share it with others. Be Considerate: Take care of yourself, each other, and the environment. Be Involved: In the store, in the company, and in the community. The principles promote that good business and great customer experiences come out of a personal connection between people. Social media management relies on this principle as fundamental to your social media strategy. Without being personal and considerate you will struggle to build community. Community is the centerpiece of your social media strategy, everything said and done by people inside your community will shape and define how your community evolves. By applying principles like the one’s outline here you can be sure that your community online and offline will grow and evolve into a very valuable business proposition. Yes, this does mean that you need to allocate resources (mainly people) to manage the social media engagement for you business. Automation will just create a flat community with no energy...

Social media strategy is more than Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin

So often we miss the point of social media. We get caught up in the networks Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other that tickle our fancy at the time. We hear a murmur about Google’s Google+ and start to get nervous about managing yet another social media platform. The truth is that social media is not about the platform. Social media management is about the people, well at least it should be. Approaching social media strategy with a “platform mentality” is like focusing our attention on the which bike we need to ride when we should be concentrating on our fitness levels to win the race. Fitness in social media is the ability to understand our consumers. Social media allows us to engage, communicate, question and observe our customers.  This should give us a wealth of information to better understand our customers and better meet their needs. Regardless of the platform, their communication over these platforms should give us insight into their lives, their vales and their needs. Social media opens the door to understanding the new consumer, consumer 2.0. This is what a social media strategy should create, better customer understanding in order to win sales and loyalty. The path to purchase is too complicated to suggest that social media can be an isolated sales channel on its own. What people see in social media circles often impacts their purchase decisions in a point of sale environment. Consumer opinion online can overpower your offline branding objectives and a physical...

New functionality with Facebook pages

I recently posted this on www.ideate.co.za but wanted to share it on my blog as well. Facebook recently made changes that will have a big impact on the way we manage our business pages in future. Here is an excerpt of the article to explain the fundamental changes: You can now switch roles The most fundamental change is the ability to now change your role on Facebook. Now that has all changed. Facebook allows you to “switch your role” on Facebook and let your browse the Facebook network as an organisation, company, brand, product, celebrity or business. I decided to outline a few of the benefits of the new changes: What Changed? You can now act on behalf of your page on Facebook Your page can ‘like’ other pages Your page can’t become friends with a  persons profile Your page can’t comment on a persons status update Your page can comment on another page Your page now has a newsfeed that collates all the news from the pages you follow meaning you can now track business partners, sponsors, industry experts and competitors on Facebook Your profile now sports a funky looking picture banner at the top of your page. What are the benefits? You now get notifications of comments on your page via email When you “switch” your account to a page account your notifications list will house the page notifications Your new friends button will now show a list of the people who recently ‘liked’ your page Your business...

New Keynote on Social Media – Consumer 2.0

I am happy to announce that almost a years worth of ideas and concepts are neatly wrapped up in my latest keynote presentation. Consumer 2.0 The past ten years have seen the world move closer and closer to a digital existence. The boomer generation confidently lead to way by integrating our lives with electronic banking, business intranets and cellular phones while Generation X and Y have continued the journey into blogging, instant messaging and social media. This digital life has not replaced the real “person to person” lifestyle but rather enhanced life to be more convenient and dynamic. Electronic banking opened the door to convenient banking and social media made relationships easier to manage. Does this mean that everyone is moving to using these new technologies? In our experience no, instead people are adapting to those technologies that matter to them. This has lead to a more complex consumer who is using various communication tools in their own way. Making it more difficult to engage with the consumer – regardless of their generation, income level or intelligence. The level of a consumers digital savvy will depend on how and when you could connect with your consumers and whether they will appreciate your presence or not. At the end of the day you have four questions that need answering: How does this influence the way we do business? How has this changed the consumer? How does this influence your reputation or brand? What do we do now? Consumer 2.0 is a...

RANT! Why you need to invest in Social Media

It has become abundantly clear over the last week that business needs to get proactive in understanding human engagement on the Internet. It is too late to simply respond to criticism or appraisal. There is a massive need to take the initiative in creating your online presence. I specifically haven’t used the word control because that would contradict the nature of web 2.0 and the future of the Internet in web 3.0. There is much that business can do to take the initiative and encourage and create a positive online experience for their customers. The shift in the way we build reputations and brands online has meant that our customers now build our reputation and brand for us. The power of word of mouth on the internet has put the power in the consumers hand/mobile/tablet. Business needs to find ways to meet their consumers online in a very real and personal way. This will mean a fundamental change in the way our organizations are run, our marketing plans are structured, our products are developed and our departments are structured. This is a part of business that I hope to guide people through by educating staff of the values of the internet, activating campaigns to learn and challenge how value is reinforced online and researching human interaction on the internet. Although the information above is not all that new, I believe that the need to evolve business and marketing strategy online is paramount because we are running out of time. As...

GivenGain for Non Profit Organisation internet marketing

GivenGain offers you the opportunity to act, connect and communicate your passions and missions with your world. Your actions give the world the opportunity to see you, talk to you and donate money to your cause. This network is basically a network of philanthropists who would like to support worthy causes in any way they can. The network allows you to setup a profile with details of your organisation. Once the organisation is setup you are able to create projects that you need funding for. GivenGain members are able to promote your projects for you by becoming activists. Activists essentially take ownership of generating interest and funding for the project. The good news is that you can have multiple activists for a project. The biggest benefit for South African Non-Profit Organisations GivenGain opens up a credit card payment gateway for your organisation. You are then able to take donations from almost anywhere in the world through your GivenGain profile. Even non-GivenGain members can donate via credit card using the facility. I would easliy suggest that all South African non-profit organisations make use of this new social network, even if it is just for the payment facility. At just under $70 a month it almost seems a no-brainer. To find out more about how to implement GivenGain and other social media platforms into a complete Non Profit Organisation internet marketing strategy please take a look at our presentation Social Media for Social Good.

Internet Marketing for Non-Profit Organisations

Here’s the dilemma, people don’t use google to search for non-profit organisations to donate money to. The solution: Online marketing for Non-Profit Organisations needs to revolve around community. Enter social media!! Social media offers an opportunity for organisations to promote their cause to a wide variety of people on a technological platform that speeds up the process of “word of mouth.” This technology (facebook, twitter etc) has made it easier to spread your message wider and garner support from groups of people that are not in your physical network. The real power of social media comes in when your support base is no longer geographically constrained and you are able to promote your message across borders. Further to this, as your support base grows it does so with an atmosphere of excitement because it is spread organically and naturally. In other words, people love the work you do and they love to tell everyone else. So how do you market your non-profit organisation online. Build a social media platform and strategy to distribute your message to the public Invite like-minded people to the platform and encourage them to spread the message to their networks Create actionable elements to your campaigns that achieve the results you’re looking for Repeat steps 1-3 The best way I can describe what you are doing when marketing your non-profit in social media is with this analogy. It’s like giving your message to the people in your world, neatly gift-wrapped, so that they can tear it...

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