Social Media Tips for Small Businesses

October 23rd, 2015

Your small business is finally up and running, and it’s a proud day! You’ve been working toward this goal for a long time, and you finally have your infrastructure, financing, tax plan, and business model in place. You’re learning how to manage your budget, and you’re doing everything you can to keep your new clients happy and your micro-team of employees busy and content. But if you’re like most small business owners, your thoughts are already turning toward sustainable growth. You have a trickle of customers that can keep you moving, but how can you expand your reach and gain more traffic? How can you tell the world about your product or service and start bringing the crowds to your door? You can start by leveraging the power of social media. Here’s how.

Take care of the basics.

Before you make another move, set up the basic foundations of your social media footprint. These first steps will cost almost nothing and won’t take more than a few hours. Establish a page for your business on Facebook. Start a website by purchasing a domain name and getting design and management help from any number of site hosts and providers.

Make it easy for your customers to find you.

The most important page on your nascent website isn’t your home page; it’s your contact page. Make sure anyone with any interest in your business knows exactly how to find you by email, by phone, or on a map.

Build outward from the core.

Once the basics are covered and curious clients can reach you within a few clicks, you’ll be on your way. The next step will involve targeting a passive, rather than active audience. At this point, your marketing game will need a boost, and it may be time to reach out for serious help. Turn to a professional social media marketing firm and learn more about the simple moves and applications that can help you track the flow of traffic to your site, raise your position in a list of search results, and get your ads in front of the people who are most likely to show interest in your product.

Cultivate relationships.

While you try to expand your footprint and build name recognition, protect your relationships with the customers you already have. Develop a friendly and responsive online “voice”, a blog with content that’s always relevant and fresh, a customer-focused return/complaint procedure, and an easy, appealing way for current customers to learn more about your product offerings.

For more on how to attract a growing audience of loyal followers, site visitors, blog readers, and—most important—paying customers, turn to the small business management experts at Personnel Services Unlimited.

Contact us today

How Productive People Tackle the Workday

October 18th, 2013

We all know what productive people look like. There’s the woman in the cubicle next to you who’s respected by everyone and on track to a promotion, who somehow manages to head out the door by five each day while you’re still only halfway through your to-do list. Or the neighbor down the street who has a beautiful lawn, a stable job, and three kids he’s always bicycling around with, while you’re leaving for work at dawn and getting home after dark. How do these people get so much done in a twenty four hour day? Here’s a secret: They’re not doing more, they’re actually doing less. And you can too. Consider the following moves.

1. Remember the 80/20 rule. For most of us, about 20 percent of what we do each day produces 80 percent of our results. This means most of what we’re doing throughout the day is just retreading, wheel spinning, protecting ourselves from very unlikely risks, and busy work. Go back over your to-do list and set a goal: remove item after item until you’re left with only the most valuable 20 percent.

2. Stop the glorification of “busy.” Doing things for the sake of doing things is unhealthy and out of style. Don’t humblebrag to your friends about how busy you are, and don’t encourage this behavior from others. Frantic, wasted energy is undignified. Calm, control, confidence, and a sense of priorities win the day.

3. Use the morning wisely. Go to sleep by ten, then get up early and give yourself the attention and care you need to stay focused throughout the day. Stretch, and then eat a breakfast of whole grain carbs and lean protein. Spend some time in quiet reflection before the challenges of the day begin. And when they do begin, tackle your most difficult projects first. If you aren’t a morning person, that’s okay—it doesn’t take long to become one.

4. Stop overcommitting and multitasking. Doing too many things at once doesn’t increase your productivity—it only means you’re doing each thing at a lower level of performance. Learn to say no when you need to, and focus on one project at a time.

5. Take breaks. The brain isn’t designed to fixate relentlessly on external demands for hours at a time. Every 60 minutes or so, stand up, stretch, and move around. Take breaks and think about other things on a regular schedule throughout the day.

For more on how to use your energy and time as wisely and efficiently as possible during the workday, consult with the NC staffing and career development experts at PSU.

Use Personal Branding To Land Your Dream Job

October 19th, 2012

Small acts of branding can have a powerful impact on a potential consumer’s emotional reaction to a product. This is just as true when the marketer is a job seeker and the product she’s selling is herself.

As they hire, interview, and screen candidates, most potential employer decisions are conscious, and represent a logical response to available data. For example, does the candidate have a four year degree or not? Can she or can she not perform the duties of the position, from drafting department budgets to speaking fluent French? The culture surrounding the position is extroverted and highly competitive—will the candidate be able to adapt? Most of these questions come with black and white answers, and the candidate can and should control how she’s directly perceived. But subconscious decisions are also part of the process, and a savvy candidate can control the outcome on both levels—or at least try. Consider color, for example. As a job seeker, are you working a signature color into your branding strategy?

Color and Your Personal Brand

Every time your potential employer sees you in person, consider wearing an item of clothing or carrying a portfolio that displays one chosen color. This will be your signature color. You don’t need an entire outfit in this hue—just a scarf, tie, or shirt will do.  But be consistent. And choose carefully.

Green will suggest innovation, flexibility and ingenuity. Yellow will project a sunny and positive disposition. Blue will suggest that you’re focused and studious. And red is the color of passion, which can translate in a workplace setting into determination, aggression and personal dedication. It might seem smart to present all of these qualities to a potential employer, but if you want to be remembered, choose just one.

Now, as you scan postings for a new position with an employer you have yet to contact for the first time, make sure you consider your signature color before every single interaction you have with this employer. Every time a potential hiring manager encounters your brand, she should experience the impact of your chosen color.

Type the text of your resume, cover letter, and all of your emails in basic black only. But before you write, pause and think for a minute about your signature color, and let that color influence the tone of your message and the words you choose. Your thoughts about your color will have an impact on the consistency of your brand, your message, and the story you’re attempting to tell. Will you carefully gather all the facts before making a decision (blue)? Will you be a pleasure to work with every day (yellow)? Will you make any sacrifice for the company, no matter the cost (red)?

This all may sound like magic, and it is. But it’s also marketing. Put these principals to work for you and see what happens. Meanwhile, reach out to the NC job search experts at PSU for additional help and guidance.

Combating Turnover: Don’t Let Talented Employees Slip Away

June 5th, 2012

It’s a frustrating fact that the most valuable candidates—those who are talented and those who are ambitious—are also the ones most likely to be drawn away after an expensive hiring and training process. Human capital is exchanged in an open marketplace, just like most other products and services, and to attract and the retain the best employees, you need to be willing to compete. You also need to be willing to keep a close eye on your company culture.

Here are five of the top reasons for high turnover and a few ways to create a counterforce that can keep valuable employees on your team.

1.    The lure of higher paying offers

First, make sure your pay rates are competitive. This may seem like a no-brainer, but a surprisingly large number of inexperienced small firms simply review their own budgets and set salaries based on what they can afford (or what they choose) to pay. Don’t do this. Investigate your competitor’s rates and the rates for similar jobs in other industries. If you underpay, your savings will be reduced by the constant need to hire and train new staff. If budget restrictions prevent you from paying competitive rates, try to expand your perks and benefits, like health insurance and flex time.

2.    Boredom or stagnation

If a talented employee wants to learn new skills or take on increasing responsibilities, find a way to make this happen or prepare to lose her. If you can’t promote her because there’s simply no higher position available, change her job title and expand her role in any way you can. Be creative. Many surveys show that employees will sometimes forego higher pay in exchange for non-monetary recognition, novel experiences, or the chance to learn new things.

3.    A frustrating company culture

At the end of the day, high turnover is a management responsibility. Your turnover is likely to stabilize if you invest in high quality human resource staff and excellent managers and directors. A depressing workplace, an unpleasant culture, or confusion about responsibilities and expectations can all drive excellent employees away. Some toxic cultural aspects (For example, out-of-control competition, bullying, or weak leadership) can actually attract terrible, underperforming employees while simultaneously driving good ones away. Keep an eye on this, and make sure you hire managers who take workplace culture seriously.

4.    Life changes and a corresponding need for flexibility

As employees move from their twenties into their thirties and forties, their lives change in often-predictable ways. They have children, their children grow up, and they begin to care for aging parents. Managers should not be caught off guard by these relatively common events. Inflexible or unsympathetic policies may alienate excellent employees, and since most people put family loyalty above company loyalty, employees with limited options will start looking for work elsewhere. A five year investment in a talented employee should not be lost over an unwillingness to make reasonable accommodations.

5.    The lure of the unknown  

Sometimes young workers leave a company to travel, enter graduate programs, or pursue unique experiences. Combat this by keeping the lines of communication open between managers and employees. If an employee wants to travel, you may be able to offer her position on an overseas account. If she wants to get her master’s degree, maybe you can fund her program in exchange for a three-year commitment to the firm. Listen to your employees and stay in touch. If you can, use annual performance reviews as a way to check in with employees about their long term plans and life goals.

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