What I learned being a one-armed paper hanger

Growing up, my family often used the expression, “I’m busier than a one-armed paper hanger. ” Maybe that’s because I come from a family oKaren & Castf wallpaper hangers. I’m not sure. I  never truly understood that expression until I broke my left arm a couple ofmonths ago. Being a lefty and having a broken arm has taught me many lessons that I was just too stubborn to learn any other way.

As a self-professed control freak, I’ve had relinquish control of many things and ask for assistance with even the simplest of tasks. For example, one day I was in my house and I couldn’t get a pickle jar open. It may sound ridiculous, but not being able to do these minor tasks has been very frustrating.

But I have learned several lessons that I think will serve me well, even after I get my cast off.

1) Where there’s a will there’s a way — Although I was never able to fully figure out how to open a pickle jar by myself, I have learned how to do many other every day tasks in unique ways that I never would have thought of otherwise. For example, I’ve learned how to use dictation on my laptop so I can write blogs, Facebook posts etc.

2) Sometimes you need to ask for help —  After a number of mishaps including a broken bottle of wine, I learned that it’s ok to ask for help. In fact, sometimes it necessary. I try to do as much as I can, but I’ve learned it’s ok to ask for help. However, if you do, you have to do #3.

3) Sometimes you can’t be in charge — I have a had to allow other people to drive me while I calmly sit in the passenger seat trying not to tell them how to drive. This might sound easy for some of you, but for me this has been a challenging tasks that has taught me to relinquish control and to be patient. AI have also learned that other people have ways of doing things that are not necessarily wrong, they’re just different from your way.

4) Slow down — Putting on my shoes and tying the laces can take upwards of 20 minutes. Getting dressed and brushing my hair, 45 minutes to an hour. Everything takes so much longer than I want it to. I have had to become a student in the art of patience. This lesson has been the most difficult.

My cast is coming off in a few weeks and I know there will be many months of physical therapy. I can’t say I have enjoyed the experience; however, the lessons I learned have been invaluable and will make a difference in my life moving forward.

5 Reasons to Keep Up Your Social Media

The other day I got a referral for a local business. Like many others, I googled the business and found its web page. Of course, I always like to check out a business’ Facebook page, so I clicked on the icon. The last time there had been a post was 2012.

Many businesses make this mistake. They start a page and then abandon it. Unfortunately, it’s linked to their Website. When was the last time you posted?

So why should you keep your Facebook and other social media current?

1. People notice. When people are looking for a business. The first thing they do is google it. Then they check out your website and social media. If you’re not keeping it up to date, it looks as though you don’t care about your professional reputation..

2. The old saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” It’s true. What kind of impression are you making if your social media is not up-to-date? It looks like you can’t manage your own workload.

3. Social media is a great place to keep your customers up-to-date in real time. It’s much more flexible than a website. Not using it is really causing you to lose business.

4. Maybe one of your social media sites is up-to-date, but not all of them. Make a decision to only keep the ones that work for you and that you’re willing to keep up-to-date. Otherwise it looks as if you have difficulty balancing your priorities.

5. Everyone is on social media today. If you’re not, you’re losing an opportunity to connect with the community and your customers.

I always say, “Social media is like having a pet.” It needs to be attended to every day. If you make the decision to have a social media site or multiple sites, make sure you have the time to take care of them.

If you need help keeping up with your social media sites, contact me: Kparis@itsallgeektome.org or call 410-746-5801.

Business Inspiration from an Unlikely Source

Being a small business owner definitely can have it’s ups and downs. Those who speak of being your own boss have probably never owned a business. True, you make your own decisions, but every customer is your boss and every decision has consequences.

It’s easy to doubt yourself and worry as to whether or not your making the right decisions. So when I was working out at the YMCA I was surprised at how a trainer’s words rang true for me.

A young man was working with the trainer. The trainer loaded the barbells and the boy said. “I can’t lift that.”

The trainer looked at him and said, “You haven’t even tried. How do you know you can’t do it?”

The boy began to complain that the trainer had loaded too much weight on the barbell and he could never lift it.

The trainer said, “Trust me. Just try.”

Reluctantly, the boy laid down on the bench and with the trainer spotting him, lifted the weight 12 times.

“I told you you could do it,”the trainer said. The boy still looked amazed.

I’ve been in that same place. Wondering if I should go after a contract. Could I really fulfill the terms of a particular project? And I didn’t have any spotter helping me.

But every time I accomplish another goal or finish another project, I flex my muscle and say, I did it.

Being a small business owner is about doing the heavy lifting and whenever I have doubts, I just hear the trainer’s words. “How do you know you can’t do it if a

What Is Your Second Site?

You’ve always had a Facebook page and perhaps that’s all you ever needed. But times are changing and many businesses are reluctant to rely solely on Facebook. It may be

time to look at adding an additional platform. But which one is best for your business? Check out this quick list:

Instagram — Do you have great visuals? Are you looking to appeal to the under 35 demographic? Then Instagram is right for you. In a few clicks, you can show off your products or the lifestyle that your products will give your customer. But Instagram is the most needy of all the platforms. You need to post at minimum 5 times a week and you can only post and interact from a mobile device.

Twitter — If you are your brand then Twitter is the right platform for you. Twitter can help leverage you as an expert in your chosen field. It is a great way to get information out. It is also a great way to communicate quickly and get a pulse on your followers.

LinkedIn — If you do B2B, then LinkedIn is where you should spend your time. LinkedIn is where America does business. You should not only have a personal page, but also a company page. Even if you don’t decide to be active on LinkedIn right now, you should reserve you company page name.

Pinterest — Pinterest is the most under appreciated social media platform. It is the Rodney Dangerfield of social media. It get’s no respect. But for any business geared towards women under 35, it’s perfect. Weddings, fashion, decorating, etc.

Snapchat — Not sure it’s worth your time if you are a small business, but if your target is the under 25 crowd, give it a try.

Hope these quick tips help you decide on a second platform. Need more advice, contact me at kparis@itsallgeek2me.org.

Is it Really Time to Deactivate Your Facebook Account?

Today’s the day that Facebook comes clean about the 87 million people whose information was compromised by Cambridge Analytica. It was a lead story on the Today Show this morning.

The current Facebook controversy reminds me of my daughter’s favorite Disney flick, “Beauty and the Beast.” The villagers storm the castle with torches and pitchforks screaming, “Kill the Beast.”

Everyday I read articles about people deactivating their Facebook accounts. The trending hashtag is #deactivatefacebook. But are we really ready to kill this beast?

According to Social Media Today, the average person spends two hours a day on social media, 35 of those minutes on Facebook. Without Facebook, we might just have to talk to each other.

But maybe it’s not about deactivating accounts. Maybe it’s more about using social media responsibly and being more cautious.

Most people have never checked their privacy settings and don’t know the policies surrounding privacy and how information is shared.

I don’t believe it’s time to abandon social media. It’s about using it more responsibly. It’s important to remember why you like it: keeping in touch with friends far away, sharing photos and celebrating with friends.

The more you know, the more you can protect yourself and your information. Take the time to review Facebook’s data policy. Find out the types of information collected, how that information is shared and how you can manage and delete that information.

This breach will have serious implications for individuals as well as Facebook. But it’s been a wake up call for everyone that we need to pay attention to what we do online and hold platforms accountable when they put profit over customer service.

Being an informed user can allow you to continue using social media while protecting yourself and your information. Maybe it’s not time to kill the Beast, but rather tame it.

7 Need-to-Knows for Social Media Marketing

I spent this weekend creating my new syllabus for my next class. A couple of years ago, I began teaching health professionals social media marketing. These individuals, mostly women, will be small business owners responsible for attracting clients in an already crowded marketplace. Most of them start with little money, major debt from school and a desire to build a business quickly. My job is to show them how to use social media to grow their business’ online presence and hopefully grow their business.

We fit a lot into this class, there are a few take aways I want the students to leave with.

1. Business social media is totally different from personal social media. Even people who have personal experience with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter don’t always know what to do when it comes to their business. It’s very different.

2. Master one platform rather than trying to post on all platforms. Each social media platform has a purpose and an audience. We examine who is their target audience and which is the right platform for that audience. Too many businesses make the mistake of trying to be on every platform and then end up not posting at all.

3. Invite your friends and family to like and share your social media marketing sites. Although they may not ultimately be your customer, they have friends who may be. It’s a quick way to grow your page.

4. You have to spend money. Although social media marketing is less expense than traditional marketing, you have to be willing to commit some funds to advertising. Advertising will raise your profile more quickly and help people learn more about what you are offering.

5. Social media advertising is more targeted. Good or bad, social media knows a lot about its users. You can put parameters around your advertising so the right people see your message. You can even download an email list into Facebook so you can target those individuals Facebook pages.

6. Social media does not necessarily lead to business, it leads to exposure. Social media is part of an overall marketing plan. There is still a place for direct mail, networking and sponsoring events.

7. Consistency is key. Having a social media platform like Facebook is a responsibility. You have to attend to it like a plant or a pet. If you choose to market through social media, then you have to post, respond to comments and review the insights so  you keep getting better.

The syllabus is complete and I am excited to be starting another in June. I love helping small business owners and future small business owners. If you have more questions, contact me kparis@itsallgeek2me.org.

7 Things You Need to Know About LinkedIn Advertising

LinkedIn is still the number one site for B2B commerce.  Although many companies encourage their employees to have up-to-date profiles or have company pages, many have not ventures into LinkedIn advertising. How do you know whether LinkedIn is the right advertising vehicle for you? Here are 7 facts that may help you decide.

  1. You need to have a company page before you can advertise on LinkedIn. Even if you are not sure you will need it, claim your company page today just in case.
  2. You will need to set up a Campaign Manager account on Facebook. It’s free to set up and LinkedIn has instructions on creating ads.
  3. Compared to Facebook or Instagram advertising, LinkedIn advertising expensive.  According to A J Wilcox, LinkedIn expert, LinkedIn advertising costs approximately $6 a click, which is more than three times that of Facebook. However a customer on LinkedIn could be with hundreds even thousands of dollars in business. Be ready to to spend big.
  4. With LinkedIn advertising you can specifically target the type of company you want to do business with. You can target size, industry, location and the level of the employee.
  5. You can upload an email list into LinkedIn so that your advertisement will show up on those individuals pages. Again, if your company has a list of work email addresses, LinkedIn in the place to advertise. People rarely use their work email to sign up for Facebook.
  6. You can create lead forms for your LinkedIn advertising campaign. This can help you determine individuals who are really interested in your services.
  7. According to A J Wilcox, LinkedIn is a great way to reach the real decision makers in a company. While high level executives may delegate their email to their assistants, most manage their own LinkedIn profile. It’s a place to get noticed by the right people.

If you need help with LinkedIn or want to set up a workshop for your company, contact me. I can help you and your employees make sure you are using LinkedIn to its true potential. kparis@itsallgeek2me.org.

 

What I learned at Social Media Marketing World 2018?

It’s my second year at Social Media Marketing World and the most important thing I learned is that it won’t be my last.

Social Media Is no longer the domain of Millennials posting cat videos or individuals ranting about politics, it’s big business and the changes coming will be fast and furious.

Facebook, still the grand daddy of social media, was the main topic of conversation as individuals battled over whether or not Mark Zuckerberg had declared war on marketers and businesses. With Zuckerberg’s announcement about changing the Feed to produce more engagement, marketers believed their posts would be buried and their online presence diminished. But marketers who produce content that their customers want to see and who produce real engagement, will still see their posts appearing regularly. Others will have to step up their game. By producing better quality posts and increasing ad spend, businesses will still be able to leverage the power of Facebook.

Facebook is still a viable marketing tool and according to Mari Smith, Facebook guru, it will soon be expanding. Facebook owns Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and What’s App. Marketing is going to be moving from mass markets to creating an individual user experience.

In order to do this, these platforms will be making the most of the emerging technology, bots. The topic of using bots to market was front and center, Messenger will become more and more important in the United States and What’s App throughout the World.

And what about Facebook Watch, Facebook’s answer to NetFlix and Amazon Prime. Mari Smith said marketers, particularly content generators should get ready for this to be the next big thing. This is what the next generation will be watching.

Essentially Mass Marketing is over and we have gone back to what marketing was originally, person to person. Social media can allow marketers to create an experience that speaks directly to their customers and helps them achieve their goals.

Facebook probably knows more about its users than their mothers do and uses this information for effective ad placement. The upside to this is it allows marketers to create a personalized experience, which allows a business to best maximize its time and money.

As a business, if you can solve a person’s problem or fulfill a need, they will be your customer. They will not only be your customer, they will be happy. And a happy customer is your best marketing tool.

This year bots or automatic response systems will be a marketers best friend. However, overuse of any platform can ruin a good thing. As Mari Smith said, “When marketers move in, members move out.”

If you have questions or any other blog, drop me a line at kparis@itsallgeek2me.org.

LinkedIn Leverage

LinkedIn may sometimes feel like the middle child of social media — living in the shadow of the older, more established Facebook and not as dazzling or exciting as Instagram. However if you are building your professional brand or are doing a business to business promotion, then it’s the platform for you.

Why LinkedIn? LinkedIn is where everyone goes to check you out. After you meet someone at a networking event or you’re recommended to fill a position, most business people will look at your LinkedIn profile.

Look at your profile and compare it against this checklist to make sure that you have a profile that will further your career..

1) How old is your picture? Does it reflect the way you actually look? If you met someone face-to-face, would be able to recognize you by your photo. Also, no selfies. Spend a little extra money and have a professional picture taken or have a friend take the picture. If you take your own photo, pay special attention to lighting and photo composition. Make sure the remains of your lunch are not in the background.

2) What does your headline say about you? Many people simply put their current job title under their profile picture. However does that title really say anything about you? Simply putting that you are the owner of a store may not convey the message that you specialize in corporate gifts.

3) Is your profile complete? Does your profile have a complete list of your employment, education, community activities, etc.? If not, make sure you go through and complete any missing information. You never know if a piece of information may be the one that leads you to your next job or partnership.

4) Check you grammar, spelling and overall language use. It’s not only what you say, but also how you say it.

5) Is there any outdated information? If an institution has changed it’s name, make sure to identify it by its current name. Also check dates, is a prior position marked as current? All of these details make a difference.

6) Ask a friend or mentor to review your profile with a critical eye. Evaluate their suggestions and see if you should incorporate them.

LinkedIn can be a great tool to enhance your career if you take the time to update and maintain it. If you need help with your profile, contact me at kparis@itsallgeek2me.org.

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