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Off Hours and Online Reputation

Social-Media-from-Off-Hours-Activities-and-Your-Online-ReputationI’m a big proponent of Social Media. After all, that’s part of my business offerings. However, there’s a fine line between what I share personally, socially and from a business sense. Did you ever follow people on social media that had to share absolutely everything? I’m all for sharing, but sometimes sharing too much can be a detriment. Airing dirty laundry on social media for all to see is not the way to handle a situation.

You may think…well that’s what social media is all about – being social. As a business owner when a company contacts me, one of the first things I do is check out their web presence I look at their website and any social media channels the company may have. If they haven’t posted anything on their Facebook page for 8 months, and I can’t find a solid LinkedIn profile – they may be a good target for me.

But Social Media is also plays a role in finding the right employee. These two situations are true stories. One business was looking for multiple employees in the service industry and the other business was looking for someone in the professional field.

  • Let’s start with the service industry. The business owner posted an opening on the website and various social media channels. She had an individual reach out to her for a potential job. Upon a search in social media, the business owner found the applicant and reviewed her online profile and postings. Not everyone has their settings set that only allow their friends to see what they post. What happens if that friend shares something in their feed about you – or you’re tagged in someone else’s photo? What the owner found was that a potential candidate’s posts were filled with cuss words and inappropriate images. That candidate never made it to the interview phase due to everything she shared online.
  • The second candidate interviewed for a professional position with a prestigious company. The candidate had gone through multiple interviews and felt he would be selected for the position. He thought he had nailed his next job opportunity. However, another individual was selected. The candidate reached back to the person who interviewed him and asked if he could buy him a cup of coffee. Since the candidate was relatively young in his career, he wanted to know where he missed the mark on securing the position. The interviewer met with the young candidate and told him that he actually was the top candidate, however when they checked his social media presence he was always partying, had a drink in his hand and was living the life. That wasn’t the type of individual the company was looking for. The interviewer said to the candidate, that he should clean up his online image. It’s one thing to party, but another to always have photos out there validating what you’re doing on your own time. The majority of his images were that of his activities in party mode.

So…is there a balance? I believe so. For companies – social media is about engagement, sharing ideas, stories and educating their consumers on the latest trends and product developments. For individuals, show diversity – family, friends and thoughts. What you say and how you act online may pop up when you least expect it and could cost you that coveted job! Companies will check your online personality before hiring you so do yourself proud in what you post!

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

Are Your Ear Muffs On?

setting-goalsHow well do you hear when your ears are covered? As we endure these cold winter days – are you listening or are you intent in trudging along with status quo? Perhaps you wear hearing aids and realize how much conversation you miss when you don’t have them in. The same is true with your customers. Are you really listening to what makes them buy from you? Do they have wants or needs that you could adjust your business services to meet? It is less costly to nurture your existing customer base rather than go out and find new customers.

With January marking the start of a new business year, there is never a better time to set goals for you and/or your company during the upcoming year. With new goals in mind, talk to your customers. Every business owner should have goals set in order to achieve success.

Setting goals can follow any number of different processes, however it is important to have short term and long-term goals, along with a path of how you plan on getting there. Not only is it important to look at your processes and internal operations, but also forecast sales, how to grow your current customer base and develop new business. Remember that the biggest part of arriving at your destination is knowing which roads to travel to take you there.

Identify your goals. These should be long term, as well as short term goals. Create a project timeline and assign tasks with outcomes and responsible staff. You may have a new service to offer current customers, but don’t have a way to reach out. Create a plan to accomplish that process and forecast sales expectations to go with the plan.

Write down your goals. Putting pen to paper, or marker to the white board makes it real for all to see. If employees are part of the vision for growth, they have more of a buy in to help you achieve the goal. Regular progress updates allow everyone to share in the success of the group effort. Be sure to include both short-term and long-term goals and by all means, cross them off when you accomplish them!

This process demonstrates success and will help the team to feel the sense of accomplishment with the overall company direction. Ultimately the workplace success and team buy in helps to make for a pleasant work environment.

Track your success. As you reach your goals don’t be afraid to celebrate. It can be something as simple as a free lunch, a hand written thank you, a gift card or maybe an extra bonus in the next month’s check. It is important for your employees to see that not only is what they are doing making a difference in the company, but that they will be rewarded when the company succeeds as a whole. By tracking the goal, it becomes more exciting to see that goals are being met.

So TAKE the earmuffs off and put your hearing aids in. LISTEN to your customers and your employees. HEAR what they are telling you. ACT when possible to adjust services to meet their needs. MAKE your company a place where employees want to come to work. ACHIEVE sales success through expanding your offerings to current customers and REACH new markets. BE REALISTIC in setting goals and CELEBRATE success.

We offer a business evaluation and recommendation package. To learn more, email us or call 724-612-0755. Wishing you the best in 2018!

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

Network In The New Year

As another year has come and gone it is time reflect and improve upon what you did as a business person this past year and set new goals for 2018. These goals should include steps to learning new things to improve services or personal skills. Networking is an area that is easy to overlook. There are so many events out there – you can network till the cows come home, but are you being effective? Are you involved in groups or events where your referral sources or potential clients may also be? Your sales reach expands by having a well-established network of referral sources both professionally and personally.

Have you ever needed a plumber, electrician, or even a carpenter? When you are in a pinch and don’t know a service provider yourself, who do you ask or what do you do? For most people, the answer is your friends, family, colleagues or more often I see this on social media. How often do you look at Google Reviews or Yelp before buying? Having a solid network of referral sources will help to ensure that you are the person they recommend for the job when the time arises.

Let’s be honest: networking isn’t always at the top of our priority list. Networking is WORK and at times can be awkward, time consuming and usually the last thing you may want to do after you finish up work for the week. In today’s world, third party validation is more valuable than you telling others what you do. When someone else shouts your praises buyers listen.

Millennials have grown up with the internet being just a click away and a cell phone in their hand. Socialization, whether online or in person is more common and easier than ever before. You need to take the time to connect with others, be outspoken about your interests and career goals and build relationships with people you might not otherwise have even met.

There are several things you can do to help make your next networking event a success.

  • Break the ice. It can often be stressful and overwhelming to walk up to stranger and introduce yourself. Have a line ready such as, “What brings you to this event” or “What do you do?” Can help to break the ice and make conversation easier. Truly listen to what they are saying. The initial introduction isn’t the time to “Sell Your Services.” Get to know a bit more about the person and if you think you might be a fit – set up a time to get together for coffee or lunch.
  • Have a purpose. You want to avoid simply collecting business cards. Set a goal for yourself and find a networking event that meets that goal. Perhaps an association or nonprofit event will put you in touch with potential clients or business contacts.
  • Share your goals. This allows you to connect with others who share the same ideas or thoughts as you. Working together with those who share the same goals allows you to benefit from each other, expand your network and reach. I’m certain a colleague will know people you don’t. I belong to a networking group and when someone posts a LinkedIn article, they ask others in the group to share their post. This expands the reach and views of the post.
  • Follow through. If you find that you have clicked with someone at a social networking event be sure to get their contact information and follow up. It never hurts to mention something specific you enjoyed about your encounter with them. I have a process with my digital marketing program that adds these new contacts to my newsletter list. I then touch them once a month with our newsletter.

As you take time to set new goals for the New Year, be sure to set a goal to network in the right venues. Be where potential clients hang out. Gain new referral partners. People do business with those they know, like and trust. Let that person be you!

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

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