Three years ago, in my college dorm room, I decided to start a design firm. Since then, we’ve grown to become boogie, a design-driven social media agency with a team of eight working out of two offices in Albany NY and Brooklyn NY.As with any business, we’ve had our ups and downs, but one of the most memorable moments of my career was when I had to fire my company’s best designer.He was our lead designer and he did some really amazing work. He led most of our design projects and is the type of employee who seems irreplaceable – he was personable when interacting with clients, he was obsessive about design details, and he dedicated so much time to his work for the company. But my lead designer was stubborn, he was a perfectionist and spent obsessive amounts of time on most projects which wound up costing the company tons. He was well aware that his work was better than most because clients asked for him by name to work on their projects.But, his work was ALWAYS late. And in our industry no matter how amazing the work is - lateness is unacceptable!So although he was a great designer, he wasn’t the best person to lead our design team. I spent a few days thinking about this and I decided to take him out one evening and have a chat. We spoke about the growth of the business and talked about his role. After what seemed like hours of back and forth conversation, we agreed that he could and would do better at his job by prioritizing and managing his time better.I took his word and moved on from the situation because I did not want to even think about firing my best designer.A few weeks later I found that we were losing clients because work was still being submitted late.I lost sleep for a few nights wracking my brain to figure out what to do with my designer. I had a real dilemma on my hands. Having him here was hurting us more than it was benefiting us.A few days later, after consulting a few people that I trust, my wife and the other members on our team, I decided to fire my best designer…Over the next few weeks, I saw an increase in our delivery time, and project completion rate – the quality wasn’t 110% as it was when he was with us but it was still up there. Best of all? I was finally able to get some sleep at night.So why did firing my best designer help grow boogie’s revenue by almost 50%?Because that personable, obsessive, dedicated, stubborn, perfectionist was ME.When I started boogie, I was your typical one-man-band. I had to learn and then take care everything from business development, accounting, project management, design, and coding. Over the years, I’ve been able to relieve these other responsibilities by hiring employees but it was most difficult for me to let go of being a designer.And our team suffered because of it.While the hardest working, I was arguably the worst employee that my company has had. I was so busy being a designer that I forgot about the most important job-being the CEO. From business development, developing relationships, overseeing projects, etc. Firing myself as a designer allowed me to really focus on Boogie’s bottom-line and continue working towards our goals.The outcome? We hired a few other people to take over the design position. I’ve been able to focus on bringing our team exciting and high quality projects that we all play a major part in.So if you’re like me, think about letting go of the technician that’s inside you. He or she may be a great writer, a web developer, a video producer, or a designer, but that person won’t be able to balance the technical work while focusing on growing the business. Failing to hire someone to replace you may be the one thing hindering your growth and success.Have you had to fire yourself before? Do you think you need to fire yourself? I’d love to hear all about it.
Affluent consumers know the unbridled joy of receiving a W-2 with earnings worth $100K or more at the end of the year. They may not be a particularly large group, but what they don’t have in size, they more than make up for in cash flow. With 15.6MM moneyed fans on Facebook, brands who look to engage this group may be interested to learn the following things about them*:1. Their average age is 41.7 years oldIn fact, they are 61.0% more likely to be Baby Boomers.Tip: In your targeting criteria, consider including the 45+ age group. Also, unlike the post-millennial generation, this group has no idea what ratchet means, so keep messaging more traditional.2. 56.1% are femaleThey are also 82.6% more likely to be working women.Tip: Content should be female-friendly, and brands may want to think about experimenting with campaigns designed to entice working women.3. They are less interested in reality television.They are 37.2% less likely to be interested in reality television.Tip: When incorporating entertainment, consider going with comedy or thriller genres as opposed to reality. Also be sure to keep on top of audience retention by utilizing Facebook’s new video enhancements.4. They are in the education and healthcare industries.They are 50.6% more likely to work in education, and 35.2% more likely to work in healthcare.Tip: Remember to leverage professional targeting. Utilize high profile title (VPs and C Level) and industry targeting (Education and Healthcare) to maximize reach among this group.5. They are equally as likely to have children as they are to not have children.33.3% report having children at home, while 32.1% say they do not.Tip: Don’t assume that this consumer has children in the household. If you are looking to target affluent parents, target them by using partner categories or behaviors that pre-qualify them as users with children.6. They are avid alcohol buyers, and purchase more groceries than the general Facebook population, whether it’s fresh, frozen or packaged.They are 143.6% more likely to be top spenders in the grocery store. These consumers are also 90.2% more likely to buy beer, 119.7% more likely to buy spirits, and 168.4% more likely to buy wine.Tip: Alcohol brands should create custom messaging around premium lines that this group would find more appealing. Grocery brands and retailers shouldn’t count this consumer out— in fact, they may be the “lowest hanging fruit” among audience segments.Of course, there are many aspects of this consumer’s interests and behavior that can lead to better results for brands, which may vary depending on what social network you are using. However for those looking to target the upper crust on Facebook, try these tips to increase overall ROI for your campaigns.*All figures that state that they are more likely to fit a category should be read as “affluent Facebook users are more likely to xyz than the general Facebook population."
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi BerraTime management has always been a hot topic. It’s so easy to get lost down the rabbit hole and realize two hours later you did not get anything accomplished.If you work in social media, then you get what I’m talking about. There are distractions thrown at us daily via new blog posts to read, Facebook updates from friends, new pins on Pinterest and so on. Staying on task is something that has come down to a fine art. Either you’re good at managing your time and get things done or you’re not and stay stressed all the time.I’d like to think I’m good at managing my time overall. There are those days that I just get off track. What’s important is to get back on that track the next day.Here are 4 ways that I’ve found to help manage my time on social media:AUTOMATE! The more you can automate content, the better. Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer are three popular platforms.  All of these allow you to schedule posts for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  A good personal Google+ scheduling tool is the Do Share extension for the Google Chrome browser.What I suggest is take about 1 hour, once a week, to schedule your content for the next week.  You can then spend the rest of your time responding and interacting. Keep in mind, and I want to stress this, you cannot automate engagement. It’s fine to have some standard content and questions scheduled, but never automate your responses. Automating the standard content allows you time to engage in real-time.“The most efficient way to produce anything is to bring together under one management as many as possible of the activities needed to turn out the product.” – Peter DruckerPLAN AHEAD!If you have a goal to blog 1-2 times per week, dedicate time each week to spend writing and scheduling those posts.  This will save you from the “oh crud” moment you have when you realize you are suppose to have a post up in 12 hours!  WordPress sites have scheduling functions within them to schedule a post for the future.  For example, I am writing this post on Sunday afternoon and it will be published Tuesday morning.The plan ahead suggestion applies to more than just blogging – plan ahead as much as you can for everything.  This will keep your organized and in a routine.“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – Alan LakeinDO NOT DO IT ALL.Yes, I did just say you do not have to do everything.  Many businesses think they need to have a presence on every.single.platform when in reality, they don’t.  If you know your target market posts on Facebook more than any other, then concentrate on that one.  There is no sense in wasting your time updating 5 or 6 social media platforms when your customers are only on Facebook or Twitter.Concentrating on those platforms that your target market is on and forgetting about the rest will free up a lot of time.  Trust me, it easy to lose time on these platforms – just stick with what works!“You cannot run at full throttle when applying your mindset to all of the different things running through your head. Focusing is the key to manifesting your desires.” – Stephen RichardsTIME YOURSELF.Decide how much time you want to spend on each platform and then set a kitchen timer or an alarm on your smartphone to buzz when your time is up.  For example, if you want to set aside 30 minutes per day on Facebook, set the timer to start when you do and then it will let you know when your 30 minutes is up.  At that time, close it out of your browser and move on to something else.  I know of several who do this and swear by it. Placing a time limit can force you to concentrate on what you need to do and get it done.“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce LeeEffectively managing your time is the key to being productive. The more productive you are, the more and better results you’ll get.What time management tips do you swear by?
For years, Customer Service was the only department responsible for customer relations. However, when customers ask more complex questions related to sales, marketing, or product development, the customer service team isn’t properly equipped to provide smooth replies and inquiries. In these instances, feedback or sales opportunities are left unattended. Therefore, brands need to step away from traditional customer service models and introduce a Customer Experience Team that is able to address any type of issue or question in real-time.72% of consumers expects brands to respond within an hour to complaints on Twitter.Customers demand fast and accurate responses. To build trust and loyalty, brands need to step it up a notch and create Customer Experience teams to streamline their efforts and properly address any issue in a personalized, consistent manner. Take a look at the visual below that explains each department and its role in the Customer Experience team.Have a look at the infographic we have compiled that describes the past and present problems of customer relations and the solution for delivering a positive, well-rounded experience to customers. The graphic maps out what a Customer Experience Team entails and which role each department plays.Source:
So, you want to put together a social media plan that: doesn't break the bank or take all day, every day, for the rest of your life; expresses your brand messages; and hey, how about this? Converts internet surfers into loyal customers and raving fans.Good luck with that!I can’t promise you a social media plan that is: cheap or free; low-effort; AND ultra-effective at creating new fans and customers.What I can promise is a modest social media plan that will:Deliver results over timeTeach you a ton about expressing your brand and services onlineBoost your networkingYield insights regarding your target market andHelp you feel like the well-organized, contemporary business person you are!Before we get going with a social media plan that works for you, the time-stressed but intelligent solopreneur, I’m going to tell you a (don’t worry, very short) story about the two kinds of social media success.I went to the Giants’ NLCP game a couple of Thursdays ago and I posted about it on Instagram. So did my-14 year-old. Within seconds, he had 30 favorites. Me, not so many. Why? Because my son uses social media for its true purpose: being social with a small group of people he can truly call friends and the organic connections they make. Not to mention the fact that they aren’t busy making a living so they can spend their time making social media work.I’m not jealous or bitter. When you make your social media plan (something my son would never do!), you’ll have an agenda. You social media plan, by its nature, is not “natural.” You are trying to “get” something, be it followers, customers, or cold, hard cash. That’s cool. The take home, though, is that your job is much, much harder than my son’s.The other kind of social media success has lots of time, money, and planning behind it. Think: Coca-Cola spends millions of dollars on marketing annually using teams of experienced people.Unless you are a social media natural or part of a team of well-paid social media marketers, the more humble, receptive, and truly interested you can be in your social networks, the more successful you will be. That’s the truth, Ruth!11 Tips for a Social Media Plan that Rocks & RulesAhoy, tips away!Make a decision: are you willing to spend more time, or more money?Consider who you want to reach. Is it single moms and solopreneurs or gay CEOs?Determine your message. Now that you know who you want to say it to, what do you want to say? Hint: You want to tell your target about your products, services, and special offers.Create an editorial calendar (posts planned out 6 months to a year ahead).Create a content warehouse, which is a place you can store URLs so that, in a pinch, you have interesting content to share.Make or outsource branded graphics, with calls to action (something you want them to do, such as sign up for your newsletter, give you a call, or set up a consultation). When in doubt, use a pro.Set up your profiles using the graphics and messaging you have put together (see above).Set up time each week schedule posts (check out HootSuite, Pocket, Feedly, Nimble, and Buffer — free and pro they help make your social media plan a go!).Publish your posts, tweets, etc. and take the time to double check them — how do they look? Especially if you are automating, posts can look less beautiful than you had hoped.Cross promote. You can, for example, tweet your Instagrams or post them on Facebook.Engage. This is the most important thing you can do. After all, engagement is the point of social media!Your other choice is to scratch this whole thing and pay someone to do it all for you. This returns us to tip #1, but it’s an important point. Social media is an art, science, and paid profession. The closest you can get to having it all free or easy is a simple social media plan that will give you a simple social media presence that, over time, will poise you for success.Whatever you decide, good luck!