Is it Time to Re-think Social Media?

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Picture by Kimba Howard via Flickr

Fellow blogger Brad McCarty has a very interesting and useful post on social media, sparked by TWiT’s Leo Laporte anti-social media rant. It’s worth a read, especially if you are a fan of social media, as Brad defends its corner in a tight way.

But I think his last sentence is the key: “It’s your time, so spend it how you choose.”

Social media will work for the right people in the right circumstances, but there’s no denying that it can take time. Not just in terms of learning as much as possible about how to use each social media outlet, but also taking the time to ‘know’ your audience and give them what they want as well as work out how best to deliver it via social networking.

Moreover, I think it’s worth asking yourself what you want to get out of social media. Far too often, people jump on the bandwagon that’s carrying the latest craze without stopping to work out WHY they’re joining up in the first place.

So, if someone were to ask you what you want to get out of social media, would you know instantly?

Once you are clean on your objectives, then surely you are better placed to come up with a strategy for a better return on your investment … of time.

What do you think — is it time to re-think your own approach to social media?

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Are You Easy to Understand?

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Here’s a question I received from reader Latoya Pennant, which, along with my answer, I though you might find helpful:

Question: “How can I write clearly and concisely?”

Answer: I cover this in detail in my TeleClass Better Writing Skills 101 – Write Your Way to Blockbuster Results and BOOST Business to Boot. Basically, it’s about using simple language (not using ‘utilise’ or ‘employ’ when ‘use’ will do, for example), writing short sentences and paragraphs, and sticking to one main point in your communication.

For example, compare this sentence: “High-quality, high-yield learning environments are a necessary precondition for facilitation and enhancement of the ongoing learning process.”

With this: “Students need good schools if they are to learn properly.”

The latter is much clearer and to the point. As a result, it’s also a LOT easier to understand than the gobbledygook in the first sentence.

Almost anything or anyone can be written about using plain English. That doesn’t mean you have to ‘dumb down’ your writing. Rather, just make sure you really think about the message you wish to impart and keep things simple. Don’t just write words willy-nilly. You have to make every single word count.

Also, make sure you write in logical sentences and paragraphs that can be easily understood. That way, your writing will be much better received … and more effective.

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7 Ways to Boost Your Business Cash Flow

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Picture by ‘Alan Cleaver” via Flickr

Now that the initial dust has settled on the budget it is time to take a serious look at your cash flow. Yes, granted some of the measures introduced –– higher rates of tax, reductions in relief, increased employer NICs –– raise the anxiety barometer, but there are specific tactics that can help keep your business afloat (and help reduce your blood pressure):

  1. Cut Debt via Efficient Invoicing. Most companies have a monthly bill cycle, but if you were to invoice as soon as projects are completed, then you could effectively improve your cash flow by 30 days. Better still, offer an incentive to bill a client at the beginning of the project. Try to better manage late-payers, too. Invoices should be re-issued a limited number of times, and if payment still isn’t forthcoming then consider a more serious course of action.
  2. Attract More Customers. If you rely heavily on just one or two major clients and you suddenly lose them, then your income may well go below zero overnight. Your business will be much safer if you have a large client base. That way, if a client goes bankrupt and can’t (or won’t) pay and  that represents 10 per cent of your income, you still have a heart-relieving 90 per cent of left.
  3. Encourage Long-Term Retainers. Not every job need be a one-off. Charging a retainer fee for a regular type of work –– such as blog ghost-writing, SEO or website maintenance –- can give your business security when it comes to cash flow. Clients may be encouraged to work on a retainer basis with you if you offer them a discount on your usual fees on account of the fact that the work will be consistent. Most people charge up front for retainer work (ie, in advance at the beginning of each month).
  4. Prioritise Your Workload. Organisation and time management is a challenge for any freelancer or small-business-owner, but to keep your cash flow healthy you need to keep focused AND prioritise the ‘high-yield’ income earners. This means doing the work that will bring you the most cash in the least amount of time first BEFORE you check your blog or Facebook page. Completing billable work is always your cash-flow’s best friend.
  5. Outsource. Taking on someone with the skills and experience of a good copywriter, say, as an employee is prohibitively expensive. This is especially true as copywriting isn’t your typical day-to-day, full-year activity for most organisations. Which is why outsourcing to a freelance or self-employed professional makes sound financial sense. By varying the type and amount of services you buy in, you’re paying only for the actual skills needed. Additional benefits include no overtime, sick or holiday leave to pay, no PAYEE or national insurance to fork out for, no recruitment or training costs and no paying for people sitting at their desk twiddling their thumbs when there’s a shortage of projects.

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RSS feed to your reader now so you never have to miss a post.
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