TECH TUESDAY: GET ORGANIZED! Why Project Management Software is Answer!

Busy business owners and non-profit associations juggle many projects, but cannot necessarily track all the information going into those projects in their brilliant minds.  Enter in, project management software.  That, is what we’re talking about this week in impact Virtual Service’s “Tech Tuesday!”


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The Big Dance and Social Media

I thought for this blog topic, I’d try to appeal to my followers that are sports fanatics!  Even if you’re not a sports fan, it is hard not to turn on the television in late March/early April and get suckered into watching the final few seconds of a neck in neck basketball game in the craziness of March Madness. As you have probably noticed, there are endless rules associated with the tournament, designed to cover even the most miniscule infractions.  Surprisingly enough, even though you would think these rules extend into social media, they are still yet to do be defined when it comes down to how to deal with the issue of student-athletes and social media.

I guess the biggest issue that comes up is how to control what your favorite student-athlete says via Facebook, Twitter, etc., without violating the individual’s freedom of speech rights.  This topic continues to be an on-going challenge, and neither the NCAA, nor its member institutions, have quite figured out exactly what the solution should be.

There have been many instances of public tweets where student-athletes have vocalized their opinions and traumatized their teams.  Author Jordan Parker ( march madnessrecently wrote an article stating a mishap where Ohio State University recently responded to a student-athlete’s obnoxious tweet with the following:

We allow our student-athletes the opportunity to express themselves via the social mediums.  What we do ask of them and communicate to them is the importance of being respectful, appropriate and aware that their communications can impact many people. We remind that others may have different views and opinions on what may and may not be appropriate, so always remember not to post or tweet anything that could embarrass themselves, their team, teammates, the university, their family or other groups, organizations or people.”

Seems pretty simple, right?  These “values” aren’t new, they are worldly views of respect.  It’s not rocket science that what you say publically is not going to disappear.  Not even the best lawyers can erase something that is documented publically.  Once it’s said, it’s said, and there is always someone out there waiting for the opportunity to get famous by recognizing someone else’s foolish mistakes.

Since this behavior can be very debilitating to a college team of any sport, there are companies that are looking out for the outspoken student-athletes.  UDiligence, Varsity Monitor, and Jump Forward are just a few of the companies that have products designed to help athletic departments monitor social media feeds, potentially stopping troublesome issues before they occur.

As social media is continues to be a trending topic, the issue isn’t going to go away anytime soon.  This year has been filled with headlines from the college sports world, most, if not all of, which have been documented over every social media site out there.  Specifically, the NCAA and colleges and universities alike cannot hide from the trend. They have to work together to develop a set of rules and regulations that protect and regulate without stepping on student-athlete rights.  It’s strange they haven’t yet, since the NFL, NBA and NHL already have social media policies in place.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you agree that the best discipline will be the consequences of the players’ own actions or do you feel players should not be allowed to vocalize their thoughts, no matter how positive or negative?  Personally, I think freedom of speech allows the impact to be a personal one.  If you think it may harm someone, maybe you should think twice about publicizing your viewpoint, student-athlete or otherwise.  Either way, it’s an exciting time for college sports, so be sure to tune in and enjoy some of the craziness!

How Important Is It To Become Your Client’s Favorite Website?

What is the first thing that we do when we need to buy a product or service?  Well, for most of us that can’t conveniently run to a myriad of stores at a moment’s notice, we research or shop online.  Guess what…. so do our customers.  This is why you need a good reason for your customer to choose your website.  As this is kind of an obvious statement, just how are you going to accomplish that? Follow these simple guidelines on how to focus your customer’s needs to your website.

  • Begin with a blog.  A blog?  How does this help focus the attention on products and services?  Well, blogs open direct lines of communication.  Blogs are a way to build trust and to speak intelligently about your product (uses/values/benefits).  Blogs can also provide feedback regarding products, directly from the consumer.  Blogs also tend to lead to higher search engine ratings.  The key to success is to publish often and publish material of value.
  • Encourage contact on your website.  With this said, it’s very important that if you make yourself look available to your customers, that you are available.  Make sure that when customers communicate with you through a “Contact Us” link, that you have a back-up plan to follow up with the client.
  • Show that you have personality.  Does your website look and feel like everyone else that sells in the same market as you?  Well, if so… expect them to keep looking.  Display something that will stand out.  Be creative, be interactive, be different, be you!
  • Become an essential resource.  This doesn’t mean you have to give all pertinent content away at a glance, but you can give valuable information that will keep your customers coming back for more.  We all love samples, and samples are what leads us to buy a larger product, right?  I can give one example of this success.  I recently attended a free LinkedIn seminar given by speaker Wayne Breitbarth.  I found that by adding him as a friend on LinkedIn, he sends out a Sunday “snip-it” every week with an interesting fact about LinkedIn social media tools.  Does he give away all of his secrets?  No, of course not, but he does tell you how you can learn more about these tools by attending one of his advanced seminars.  Smart, if you ask me, as he’s become very successful because of those seminars.
  • Be user friendly.  Your website should be easy to navigate.  Have your main menu options at a glance.  Have a spotlight on feature products.  Customer testimonials should be very visible.  Market your website in an organized fashion that keeps the client satisfied.

With these five simple strategies, you can become a first and only point of contact to drive the success of your products and business.  Do you have a blog?  Do you return your consumer’s questions?  Is your site easy to navigate?  If you said no to any of these, by making a few simple changes, you may be bringing in the New Year with a blast!

How To Blog for Your Business

Using a blog for your business is certainly not a new thing, but it is one that has seen tremendous growth in the recent years. Businesses that provide a service can stand to benefit the most by keeping a blog. It is a tool to expand the social media footprint, highlight your brand, or establish and build your credibility and position yourself in your area of expertise. Social media can be an invaluable tool to drive traffic to your site but a blog will be most useful in building a platform for your business. Here are some tips to get you started and keep you going.

Introduce Yourself Potential customers want to know about you and your business. Take some time to share a few things about yourself and talk about how you started and built your business. This accomplishes two very important things – it gives the reader a glimpse into who you are and what your business is about and it provides credibility and paves the road to start building a level of trust.

Share Some, Not All, of Your Knowledge and Expertise Create a section, or a weekly post that shares some of your knowledge or expertise in your field. Yes, this will be free information, but it provides clients and prospective clients a chance to gauge your command of your specialty. This is also a key component in trust and relationship building. Be mindful not to give away tips, tricks, or secrets you would normally charge for.

Respond to Questions You’re the expert in your field, so show it! Allow for clients and guests of your website and blog to ask questions and make sure you respond to them in a timely fashion. This will boost your credibility and generate more content for your blog.

Tutorials Similar to answering questions, providing tutorials can only add value to you and your business. If you’re an electrician offer a quick demo on how to change a fuse or what tool someone might need to use in order to change a recessed light bulb. These would seem small and insignificant to you, but to the average homeowner these could be huge timesavers. Again, be mindful you aren’t demonstrating anything you would normally charge for.

Blogging can be a huge help in expanding your online presence, but it is often quite time consuming. Before you create and launch your blog make sure you have the time to nurture and develop it. Pay attention to your spelling and grammar, or hire a copywriter to browse your content if you’re worried about it. Finally, you’ll have to be willing to give away your best content for free and engage with your audience for it to pay off for your business. Keep at it long enough and it most certainly will.