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Mastering Holiday Business in B2C (business to consumer)

Black Friday is over. Now, what do you do with the rest of December? B2B and B2C have dramatically different Decembers, but planning for both is crucial for business success and sanity in December.

Hopefully, you were ready for the holiday rush in November and put it all on the line Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now that the major shopping weekend of the year is in the background, it’s time to automate as much of your December as possible while maintaining your relevancy so you can recharge your creativity and get ready for 2018.

Major dates to highlight in December

  • last day to ship at flat rate
  • last day to order for Christmas delivery
  • Seasonal closures
  • Dec. 26th sales
This is the month to communicate with your customers via email or Facebook posts–let them know the best way and when to order your products for Christmas delivery, and make sure any sales or specials are advertised. Competition is fierce for each dollar this month–make the most of your brand loyal customers and advocates. 
Once you’ve got these dates in place and a marry Christmas and Happy New Year social media post done and planned in Hootsuite, it’s time to focus on you.

Recharge and plan for 2018

Your goals for 2018–have you set them? Are they written down? If not, this is your moment. This month, your marketing and social media team should be playing out an overview for 2018 that aligns with your goals. While no one can anticipate every conversation, goals and metrics can and should be drafted for the year. 
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”–Zig Ziglar
Once your agencies or team members have set out your calendar, you’ve approved it, and you’ve got your December and your early January posts and plans in the queue, relax. Take some time with your family, enjoy the Christmas lights, and recharge your creativity for the next year. 

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Four Social Media Marketer Must-Haves

When you’re ready to hire your next social media professional, scrutinize him or her with the same diligence you would your tax preparer, your accountant or your HR team. Social media marketers need business acumen and diligence. Social media, done well, can make a real difference in your business. It’s time to expect more, regardless of your business size. 

The Four Social Media Marketer Must-Haves

Analysis

What are you getting for your hard-earned marketing dollars? Your social media marketer should send you monthly or quarterly reports analyzing your growth and progress on all fronts. Is growth showing? If not, why not? And, what is the solution?
Hootsuite recently released an update with fantastic analytics and dashboards for free in the free service, and every platform has available analytics. There is no excuse for a lack of meaningful metrics and intelligence in your social media marketing. 
Caveat: Not every post will be viral, or even successful, but the end of the month should see growth from the collection of posts, follows and comments. 

Marketing Mind

Is your social media marketer posting iPhone pics and calling it a day? He or she can do better. 
There are many tools available to make your posts look better and more professional, from PicMonkey and Canva to Adobe Spark. (Peg Fitzpatrick has amazing tutorials on how to make every image and video better.) In days past, Illustrator used to be a requirement for photo art, and it required an expensive tool kit and training. Those days are past. Most design tools are free, and most are set up to be WYSIWYG. 
Your logo should be on most posts, along with your brand colors. The collection of images should build your brand, because social media marketing is marketing. 

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Calendaring

What’s the plan? While some social media should be spontaneous, there should also be a calendar for the next 30 days that promote your business. Less stress, more business: calendaring is crucial. 
The calendar doesn’t need to be complicated–an Excel calendar with a post and the social media channels that post will go to is a great start. If you’re more advanced or coordinating more people, a tool like Basecamp or Asana will help you keep everything organized and makes editing and approval simple. 
Ideally, businesses should have a overarching plan for the year, but sometimes that’s a lot to ask in the beginning, or even the first year. (Facebook Armageddon change anyone else’s plans?) However, monthly is a reasonable expectation and crucial to making social media an ongoing project that consistently promotes your business. 

Open Hands

You, as the business owner, should have access to every tool your social media marketer is using, and he or she should set up brand specific accounts for you to use in Canva, Pic Monkey, Hootsuite, etc. A pro knows how to deliver value, and he or she should make your life easier. However, if you choose to take over the social media, you should know how and have access to every single thing used for your business. 
Do not hire a social media marketer who won’t take you behind the scenes. You’re likely dealing with the Great Oz–all smoke and mirrors and no substance. 

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We are all storytellers

Companies with boring stories do not succeed.

But, then again, I have never encountered a company with a boring story. I have, however, encountered many businesses who haven’t figured out how to tell their story. CEOs, salespeople and marketers need to remember that we are all storytellers.

Last night, I had the pleasure of reading a business’ story that was so compelling from Inc. that I almost bought GT’s Kombucha this morning. And, this business’ growth, IMHO, was due not only to the passion of the son but also to the storytelling skill of his mother who nurtured the business in its infancy.

Executives have a story about their business–why it exists and why they have worked endless hours to nurture it and watch it grow. No one will dump endless hours into something they don’t believe in–that kind of dedication requires passion. I’ve seen passion in HR, in software development, in legal services and in colleges.

But, what happens to that passion? Where does it go?

At some point, we begin to believe that the product is so compelling it will sell itself. We forget the importance of the story. Narrative links us together as humans–it’s a gift we began cultivating as children in song (remember “I’m bringin’ home a baby bumblebee”?), in monologue and later as part of a dialogue. A good storyteller can make even the most mundane seem extraordinary, but a novice storyteller can do the same when passionate.

I have the privilege of telling stories all day, and listening for that passion in the executives that I work with that makes their story a sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat tale. What’s your story?

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Why Another Social Media Consultant?

Because small business owners are being taken advantage of. Social media marketers are the modern financial planners. There are good and bad, and the bad are really, really bad for you and your assets. And, you may never know until it is too late.

What’s the difference between an amateur and a pro?

  • Analysis
  • Marketing mind
  • Calendaring
  • Open hands

Analysis

Who are you online? Do you know? More importantly, does your social media manager know? Your social media manager should report to you at least once a month with your current position in relation to your competitors and your month-over-month progress. 
  • What were the most successful posts last month? Why were they most successful? How can they be repeated?
  • Where is your audience going on your website? How can you make that page better? Where else do you need them to go? 
  • How is social contributing to your bottom line? How many people are going from social to your website? Are you being found on Google more?

Marketing Mind

If you’re seeing posts that don’t fit with your brand, that don’t promote your brand, that don’t speak to your market and that don’t (occasionally) talk about who you are and what you’re doing, you’re probably working with an amateur. 
Posts on topic for the audience are great and can serve to get reposts. But, are those post interspersed with brand-specific commentary? Do they carry your logo, color theme, brand style, or are they just free stock pics with hashtags? The ratio is 60:40; 60 percent listening and reposting and commenting and 40 percent commenting and discussion about your brand. That 40 percent has to be there or else you’re simply sending your time into the ether. 

Calendaring

How far out does your marketing calendar go? A day, a week, a month? The reality is, for social media, you can with have a set calendar (which should go out at least a month), or you can have both a set calendar and an in-the-moment posting strategy. For B2C or industries that work well with photos, both are necessary. 
The pressure should not be on you, the business owner, to produce great content every day. The social media marketer should have a plan in place to release dynamic content for your brand and comment on the marketplace regularly, and you, the business owner, should be free to add great content that catches you in the moment. You should also have the tools to make that content look as great as all the posts from your social media marketer, which brings us to our last point…

Open Hands

This, by far, is the most important part. I dealt with this in a previous post, Are You an Expert? Open Your Hands. You, as the business owner, should have access to every tool the social media marketer is using, and he or she should set up brand specific accounts for you to use. A pro knows how to deliver value, and he or she should make your life easier. However, if you choose to take over the social media, you should know how and have access to every single thing your business uses. 
Do not hire a social media marketer who won’t take you behind the scenes. You’re likely dealing with the Great Oz–all smoke and mirrors and no substance. 
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Are you an expert? Open your hands.

Are you willing to show how you do what you do? Are you willing to open your hands and show all your tools of your trade, from hootsuite to canva to allthefreestock?

Last week, a discussion ran across my stream that a boss had asked to see a social media marketer do her job. The boss actually asked to spend a day at her side, watching her work. Her response was fear, and so many others supported her, saying her job was threatened and the boss would take over the social media. One respondent actually said, once the boss knows how easy your job is, he/ she will stop paying you. What?!?

My response? Say yes. If you’re an expert, open your hands and show the experience and skill they’re getting every day.

Job security is a myth

The fear: you’ll be replaced when the boss sees how easy your job is. Let’s be honest: if you’re taking hours a day to do something the boss could do in a quarter of the time and demanding a premium salary, you should be replaced. His or her ignorance should not be the only thing that enables you to remain employed.

In social media marketing, some differentiators are

  • timing & scheduling
  • tools
  • analytics-based content
  • marketplace knowledge
  • buyer profiles
  • graphic design
  • compelling writing
Your persona is also an irreplaceable asset. Are you undervaluing your skill set, or do you need to improve post-haste? In an era of Coursera, there is no reason for you to fall behind. Check out Klout if you’re not sure where you stand. 

Integrity is a must

Do you work with integrity? If you’re a freelancer and you’re charging $100/hr, are you working every minute of that hour for your client? If you work in the office, are you actually working when you’re in the office, or are you checking your Facebook calendar to see what your daughter’s cheer team is doing this weekend?

You would be amazed at the amount you can get done for a client once you truly focus on the business for the time you have committed to.

One of the respondents to the previous discussion said they should take the boss on a ride to Target, Starbuck’s and the gas station because that’s all part of the creative process. Nope. While I agree that rumination and thought are part of the creative process, clients should not be billed for your deep thoughts while you grocery shop. Work with integrity, no matter where you are.

Teachers are masters of their craft

“If you can’t do, teach.” This adage has led to two outcomes: an underestimated teaching profession, and a education system that serves as a hideout for those who are not ready to fully engage in their careers. Teachers are both the best and worst at what they do, and you don’t know from which camp they come until you see them teach and see them work. However, the best teachers are passionate about the material they are teaching. 
Teachers are masters of their craft. 
If you can teach your boss, your friend, your intern how to do what you do, you may be training your replacement, but you are also mastering your craft and improving your skill set with every lesson. You’ll be even better if this job ends and the next rolls around. 
If you’re an expert, teach with open hands.