Tint-Network

Where business & the Internet meet and have tea

Posts tagged time

Why any business can afford a business blog

business-blog There are three main reasons why businesses do not have a blog. I am sure there are few more but the top reasons will always include money, time and a financial return on the effort.

There is the belief that a blog added to an existing site will cost more. It takes too much time to keep updated and it’s difficult to measure the financial return. So why bother?

Lets take each argument in turn…

Adding a blog to an existing site will cost you money!

My favourite and the worlds favourite is WordPress. It is a free download, yes free. To install it, choose a suitable directory on your existing site and copy the software to it. All you need is a few details about the Database but even then, it will most likely work with out any changes to the default settings. If it doesn’t then a quick call to your web host should do the trick. I have made this sound rather trivial but then, it is really.

I don’t have the time

For me, having the time to blog is tied closely to why you need to blog. Are you using it to communicate with clients and customers? Is it for PR work? Depending on it’s use you can blog daily, weekly or even monthly. However, ensure that each blog post has a purpose. For instance, an estate agent can write about a new property in much more detail than they could on there main site. That might equate to posting weekly. Are you selling products and getting new items in each month? That would equate to monthly blog posts.

Treat blogging as a business activity and set time aside. In one hour you could write a blog post for a week or for a the month. That one hour could make the difference between business as usual or more sales then you would normally get.

In fact, blogging could save you time, write a few FAQ pages to answer common questions.

How can I measure the return?

First, stop thinking of it as a major project. Is it really comparable to major leaflet distribution or arranging advertising? So if you consider it as an addon to your existing marketing efforts then any return is going to be good. How do we measure it? There is the technical side with Google Analytic’s. To complicated for the beginner so take a look at general sales. Has it gone up? Is there an increase in enquires? Best of all, with each sale or enquiry, ask if they saw the blog. If they did, great it must be working. If not, then tell them where to find it.

Remember, blogging may not generate sales in itself, what it can do is create a feeling of trust between you, your company and the prospective customer. If you were to try and do the same with traditional marketing then blogging is ultimately the cheapest method.

However, despite what you read about how ‘this software’ and ‘that technique’ will get you an instant return, in reality you have to wait. Be patient, blogging will pay off but only in the long term.

Finding time to blog

When you are running a business you may think you don’t have time to update your blog.  A recent post on Problogger (10 Fresh Tips for Finding Time to Blog) give some great advice as the title suggests.

One extra thing I would like to add is using your mobile phones voice recorder. During the day, you may have a great idea for a post. Perhaps an inspiring conversation with a supplier or customer. Grab your phone, record yourself explaining the idea and play it back later on in the day when you have time to blog.

Do you have any extra tips? Please leave yours below in the comments

Should you be ‘On Twitter and tweeting 6 times a day’?

use caution when choosing social networks I was speaking to a business owner friend a few days ago who had recently employed a PR agent to help her with social networking. One of the things she was told by this expert was that, “you need to be on Twitter and tweeting 6 times a day“. Is that right? Is this small nugget of advice correct?

No, it’s crap…

For starters, you business should only use the appropriate network that will work the best. Just because a network is out there, brand new or not, doesn’t mean you have to use it. If your business and the network don’t match well then don’t use it. Spend the time with the social networks that are working for you now.

And on to that golden rule, ‘at least 6 times a day‘. I wonder where that came from? I would think that even big brands would find it difficult to tweet interesting things that often. Also, for a small business (my friend runs it on her own), when can you find time to tweet when you have goods to make, wrap and ship!

Besides, as far as I am aware, there is no set rate at which you should tweet. Every one is different, as are businesses.

Only use a social network that you can commit to. Don’t start to use one and then quit. Many can interpret that as the business is suffering or stopped trading. Abrupt quitting happens when a business realises that the amount of time spent on sites increases to a point that you are not doing much else!

And for those who wish to say, “why don’t you automate it?”, again many business owners don’t have time to tweet in the first place. Will they have time to reply? If they ignore replies or just don’t see them, you are going to upset potential clients.

When you want to use a social network, take a good look and see which one is right for your business. Most importantly, make sure you have time for it.

Infographic: Best time and days to update social networks

I found this via my friend Keith at PlannerWire. Handy to know so you can maximise exposure…

best-and-worst-times-to-post-on-social-networks

 

 

How much Facebook time are you giving to your business?

 

time spent on Facebook There are a lot of facts and figures about how much time we give to social networking. It does seem like social media sites are taking more and more of our day. I tried to find some figures for 2012 but they don’t seem to be around or at least I failed to find them. However I did find this video from Mashable, How Much Time Do We Really Spend on Facebook?

What I would really be interested in is the time spent on Facebook and other social media sites promoting business.

I know that big companies and those with a decent budget can have their own teams working full time on social media. They may also employ agencies to do it for them.

My big questions is, how much time do small to medium size businesses dedicate to promotion?

I have a feeling that many don’t spend enough time or rely on automated services to keep things looking busy. If that is all you do then you will be disappointed with the results.

For a quick and un-scientific survey, how much time do you spend on Facebook for your business? Are you doing it yourself or paying someone else? Please share in the comments below how much time you spend and weather you do it yourself…

Not all that glitters will produce gold

Not all that glitters produces gold

There seems to be a new social network making itself know every so often. The most recent being Pinterest. We have Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and many others (see 15+ Social Networks You Wish You Knew About!). Can your business be on all of them?

To cut a long story short, no. Pick the networks that suit you best and concentrate on them. In my humble opinion, choose a max of 3. The reason for this is time, namely your time spent updating them. Why put the effort in on sites that won’t work well for you?

To make a social network really work for you, you have to commit to it. Regular updates and interacting with your fans or followers, automated services help but are no replacement.

Don’t let let them get bored or feel you don’t care anymore. There is nothing worse than walking in to a shop where the staff avoid you. Do you want to give that feeling on your chosen social networks?

 

Why FAQ’s are useful to you and your readers

Frequently asked questions

FAQ’s or ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ is basically a big list of questions and answers relevant to a topic, product, person or…well anything really. Lets look at it from a business point of view and see why it can help you and your readers.

Why it’s good for you

If you have been business for a while then you most likely already know the top 5 or 10 questions your potential clients ask. If you run a shop then questions can be answered by yourself or by giving the potential client suitable leaflets. Not so much of a problem.

It can be really annoying however, when you get heaps of emails all with the same range of questions. That is why you should create a dedicated page with top questions and their answers. An easy resource you can point people to.

That sorts out the general FAQ but you can go one further, be product specific. You can create a FAQ for some or all of your products, again the top range of questions.

By having these FAQ’s, site visitors will be able to find the answer to their questions and you will have less email!

Why it’s good for your site visitors

It saves them time, they can get an immediate answer to their questions with out having to email you. They can check out a product FAQ and see that it does do what they want, it does solve their problem. It shows you understand their needs and have lots of experience with that product.

If they are looking to buy and see that your products do what they want, they will be likely to buy from you.

Are you a slave to email?

 

I was chatting with a client the other day and she was telling me how busy she was. One of the things that she found to be a problem was email. Each time a new message came in she would read it, see if she could do anything about and then come back to it much later. The one thing that was not being done was responding and taking relevant action. Too much time spent on reading each message as it comes in and she gets a lot of emails.

At the moment her day is controlled by email. So what can be done?

Set time aside for email

When you are not using your email, close it down. Decide the times when you will access your messages, perhaps once in the morning and once later in afternoon or evening. Don’t leave it running because each time a new message comes in you will read it and disturb what you are already doing. Don’t get side tracked.

Respond and move on

Go through your emails and decide which ones you can deal with now. Write responses and then move the message in to a folder. I have separate email folders for clients, contacts, friends and newsletters. Not only do I keep track of what’s been sent to me but it also clears the Inbox.

Respond and act

Some of the emails will require you to do something. Find information or create something. Collect these together in a folder. Set time aside to work through them and get each one done as much as possible. Respond as you see fit and then move on to the next one. You could have folders marked as ‘urgent’ or ‘do soon’.

Get organised

You should see a common theme in the above, get organised! Organise your time and your email. Work out what is urgent and what isn’t. It is too easy to spend time on non urgent messages when urgent ones really need your time.

 

When your business website stops being a business tool

I had the pleasure of meeting many business owners this week. One of the common topics in our conversations was that of time. July and August keeps many business owners extremely busy. Most of the year, they are busy anyway but the summer season tends to make for fun times.

For them, the last thing they need is business tools that take time to use. If a tool is difficult to use, takes time to setup and is inflexible, it stops being a tool and doesn’t get used.

Two of the businesses I visited have websites which are attractive and doing well with regard to visitor counts. However, updating them takes too much time so they don’t bother. If they do get the time to do add new content, it happens when it’s too late.

The business owners do recognise that not updating their sites is a problem. But they have already spent money on their online presence and can’t afford (or unwilling to) spend any further money to sort it out.

Are website creators too keen to build sites based on custom solutions without thinking about non-technical business owners trying to use it?

Business owners seem unaware of the options available to them. They need to research the tools that are out there, at least become familiar with the latest solutions. It could save them time and money in the long run.