Social media is all around us, and if you're using it for business (and you should be), there is one simple word to remember: listen. Pay attention to what customers are saying about you and your company. Social channels allow you to gain insight into what people really want and expect from your business. It's the place to curb your sales pitch and exercise your rapport-building skills, so you can eventually take your interactions out of the virtual world and into the real one. (Article courtesy of Manta)
Get the Fix: Social Media Mistakes
By The Manta Team
You’re likely quite proficient using social media in your personal life, but deploying it effectively for business purposes is an entirely different prospect. Appreciating this reality is one of the first steps when it comes to avoiding the kinds of social media mistakes that can undermine your brand.
Of course you know not to post controversial or questionable content that could offend, insult or otherwise drive people away. And you also know to keep emotions in check, responding with professionalism to any critical comments about your products or services. But when it comes to social media, there are other, less apparent, missteps that small business owners commonly make that can weaken efforts to truly connect; errors that you might unknowingly be committing.
According to social marketing strategist and author Ted Rubin, one of the most common gaffes is thinking about social media as a way to advertise, rather than as a tool for connecting with people. “Using social media to broadcast a campaign or initiative isn’t social media,” said Rubin. “Businesses need to stop tweeting so much and listen to what their followers are saying about their brands on social media. Too many businesses put emphasis on how many Facebook or Twitter followers they have or how many impressions they can get from a social media campaign. They’re skipping the most important step … connection, which leads to trust, loyalty and relationships.”
Common social media mistakes:
In order to make intelligent decisions around social media and what platforms to use, small-business owners should make a concerted effort to understand these platforms, their differences and the purposes they serve. Although it’s tempting to assign this task to just any employee, Rubin cautions against this, as well as giving interns free rein to devise the strategy. “Just because your interns understand social media platforms, it doesn’t mean they understand your marketing and brand. It’s fine to let them execute your campaigns, especially in a small business that may not be able to afford a lot of employees, but don’t let the intern build your social media strategy.”
Small-business owners should also appreciate the differences between a public relations agency and one that specializes in social media. Social media is about building connections and this involves a fair amount of thoughtful and well-planned sharing—which, according to Rubin, is in direct contrast to the mindset of most agencies. “The DNA of public relations firms is ‘less is more and control the message.’ The DNA of social media that you want to embrace is to give out as much information as possible, see where it leads, and then join in and guide the conversation.”
If there’s money in the budget for outsourced help, agencies specializing in social media are typically a better option, he added, but it’s vital to confirm that the team understands your brand and voice, and that they have sufficient personnel to handle the task. “And remember. It’s not about numbers; it’s about connections. Focus on engagement, sharing and connection metrics.”
We are days away from saying farewell to 2014, which means it's time to start doing a little fiscal wrap-up. Now's the time to get those graphic design services and printing products you need and shoot for a nice tax deduction. Prepare to start anew in 2015.
Check out this valuable article from Barbara Weltman
5 Financial and Tax Planning Things to Do Right Now
By Barbara Weltman
The clock is ticking and the year is winding down. Don’t let December 31 take you by surprise. Act now to solidify your position for the year.
1. Meet with your CPA
Work your tax advisor to map out some year-end tax planning strategies so you’ll minimize your tax bill for 2014. This may require you to spend more money to reap tax savings, so make sure you have the cash flow to support the strategies. The sooner you schedule an appointment, the more time you’ll have to take action.
2. Review your balance sheet
If you may need commercial financing next year, your year-end balance sheet may be a key factor in securing a loan. Review what’s on the balance sheet so you can make favorable changes. It could mean, for example, paying an outstanding loan.
3. Finalize year-end bonuses
Decide who will get bonuses and how much. If your calendar-year business is on the accrual basis for accounting purposes, then bonuses paid to rank-and-file employees within the first 2-1/2 months of 2015 are deductible on your 2014 return. The bonuses must be reflected in the minutes of your company’s annual meeting. Bonuses to a S corporation owner are not deductible until actually paid.
4. Face your inventory challenges
Have you been sitting on inventory that just hasn’t moved despite your best marketing efforts? In order to make adjustments to closing inventory by writing off obsolete items, you must offer them for sale at least 30 days prior to the end of the year (the date you take the write-off).
5. Fix benefit plans for the coming year
Are you offering health care coverage? A retirement plan? Now’s the time to act. If you plan to offer employees health care coverage in 2015, you must give them 30-days notice of the coverage so they can decide what to do (e.g., opt out if a spouse’s coverage is better). Also, if you don’t yet have a qualified retirement plan, you must sign the paperwork by December 31 if you want to make 2015 contributions. So talk to an insurance broker for health coverage information and to a financial advisor for retirement plans so you can get started immediately.
Don’t wait until you’re thick in the midst of the holiday season to attend to your tax and financial matters. Do this now!
Article Source: http://www.barbaraweltman.com/blog/index.php/2014/11/5-financial-and-tax-planning-things-to-do-right-now/
Don't turn a blind eye to disengaged, disgruntled and altogether cranky employees. These Grinch-like folk have the capacity to wreak havoc on a business, and their unhappiness and poor attitude can quickly spread to others. Keep lines of communication open and take the time to get to know your employees. Once you've established trust, you'll be able to learn from the honest feedback as they share thoughts, opinions and challenges.
If I can help a business owner create the brand they're looking for, my job is done.