As we stand on the threshold of a new year we often take time to review the past year and plan our goals for the upcoming year. 2014 was an interesting year for me personally. I made two major decisions this year. First was to move back to my hometown of San Diego from Seattle. The second was to step out onto the exhilarating and frightening ledge of self-employment. After several months trying to find my footing I feel like I’m finally getting my equilibrium back. I am hoping that leads to a fulfilling and prosperous 2015.
Here are a few of the areas I am going to focus on this coming year.
1. Facing my fears
As an introvert with some social anxiety, things like standing in front of a crowd, talking on the phone, and of course having the dreaded money discussions with clients, are just experiences that will never come easy to me. And that’s okay. However, I do want to continue to push myself out of my comfort zone to achieve the success that I envision and know I am capable of.
Personally I think there is a lot of power in acknowledging the fear and then finding ways to work with it. For me that means knowing that I need to set aside time before and after I speak in front of groups to mentally charge. If I don’t I am a basket case and ultimately my productivity and general happiness suffers. So whatever you need to do to address your specific challenges is okay, and everyone is different. The important thing is to keep trying.
2. My Blog
This is a big one. I encourage my clients to have a blog and post regularly but often find that doing my own blog is always the very bottom of my personal to-do list. My goal for this year is to put aside time on my calendar specifically for writing my blog and to commit to at least one post a week.
On a more personal note I want to make sure that travel is a priority this year. I want my business to work for me and help me live the life I want. I’ve also found that I am not very motivated by money but setting goals where something like a trip to Disney World is the end reward is very effective. In my sights for 2015, Italy & England.
What have been your successes in 2014? What are you looking forward to in 2015?
Sometimes the world of web marketing and social media can seem overwhelming and for some who may just be entering the space it can be downright intimidating. I often get asked “What should I be doing on the Internet to promote my business?” or “Where do I get started with social media?” To help I’ve put together a list of my top tips for your web marketing and social media strategy.
Web & Social Media Tips
- Use LinkedIn as an outreach tool. A truly valuable tool within LinkedIn is the user to user messages. This can be used for many purposes, from introductions, to event invites, to publicizing the release of your new book. For new connections there should be a basis for the connection and if possible some benefit to them for connecting with you. Look for common organizations, LinkedIn groups, and synergistic fields.
- Update and complete your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn values users with what they call “complete profiles.” Users with completed profiles show up higher within LinkedIn’s search results. All sections should be up to date including a recent, professional photo and contact information.
- Create a short video for YouTube. Video is rapidly gaining in popularity, especially with the younger generations in the workforce who would much rather watch a video on a subject than read. In addition YouTube videos are important to the Google search algorithm and videos will raise you up in the search rankings. For an author try a book trailer. For a speaker use clips from your speeches. Video length should be under two minutes.
- Blog regularly. To position yourself as an expert it is best to blog about your area of expertise. Additional benefits of a blog include increased traffic to your website, brand awareness and lead generation. Try to be consistent in posting, with at least one post a week.
- Promote blog with LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Most blog sites have the option to connect your social profiles and automatically send an update to your social channels when a new blog post goes live.
- Give valuable information. This is really the crux of social media. It’s about what you can do for them and not what they do for you. Share how-to articles, tips, stories, a funny picture, etc.
- Save time by prescheduling your posts. There are several services such as HootSuite and Buffer that allow you to preschedule tweets and posts. This is a good time saver but you should still plan to have a mix of scheduled vs. in the moment participation.
- Post just before and after the top of the hour. If you’re trying to reach business people like marketers, office workers or managers, this is especially handy. Schedule your posts just before or just after the hour to catch people who are checking social media just before or just after a meeting.
- You don’t have to be everywhere. The number of social media sites continues to grow and you will often visit sites with six or seven different follow buttons. It can be overwhelming to you and to your clients. Better to choose one or two sites and use them well than to spread yourself too thin and not provide a quality experience.
- Engage with clients/customers. The real power in social media is the direct feedback component. This allows you to see what is on the minds of your prospects and address any issues they may have with you. Make sure you participate in conversations and reply to messages directed at you or your company.
- Use Google AdWords Keyword Planner. It is important to know how your clients describe themselves and their interests. The way to find this for free is through the ultimate free crowdsourcing tool: Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Your purpose for using it is to gauge the popularity of certain descriptions and phrases, based on the number of monthly searches on Google and then incorporate into your posts.
- Websites are living things. They need to be updated regularly. You never want to appear out of date on the Internet.
Have you had success with these strategies? Any other web marketing strategies you’ve found to be helpful to your business?