Friday, June 17, 2016

How To Build Long-Term Business Relationships

Many view networking as something you do as you go, or take advantage of when the opportunity stands right in front of you. Although both of these things can be true, building long lasting relationships in the business world takes a little more work and proactive thinking than simply signing up for a local networking breakfast the night before.

Squirrels prepare for the winter months by collecting nuts, and like our little furry friends, we should also consider working ahead so that the relationships are already there if we need a little help in the future. It’s never too early to start gathering your workplace acorns.

A wise relationship marketer is always thinking about what comes next. So in the networking world, you may be going out to gather a few acorns every week. Whether you make new relationships or reconnect with old contacts, remember these tips for successfully building long-term relationships:

  • It’s important to make initial contacts, but don’t forget about your pre-existing relationships. Renew and revisit important friendships to make sure that your bond is still strong.
  • Use relevant and valuable social media. Show what you have to offer in the form of tweets, videos, and blog posts. You can become a reliable resource for advice and helpful content.
  • Know that in the business world, you have to make a sale in order to stay running. You may need to use your judgment, without being pushy, on which relationships will help your business the most.
  • Ignore criticism from others who don’t understand the necessity of preparation. By reaching out to your contacts and planning out events on your calendar ahead of time, you are working to help out your future self.
  • Lay out strategies for immediate, intermediate, and long-term relationship building tactics. Focus on what others need and work to be a resource for them!
  • Remember that no one owes you anything. Create value for them so that you are their best interest.

It’s always beneficial to put yourself out there and meet new people. Investing in new and old relationships and being a resource for others are some of the best ways to guarantee long lasting connections that you can count on!

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This post was written by your BBB Serving Central Ohio's Content & Communications Coordinator, Jordan Abbruzzese.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

10 Ways To Use Social Media To Build Your Business

According to a customer engagement report produced by Microsoft, 97% of small and medium sized businesses see social media engagement as a top priority. Out of that 97%, 41% admit they don’t fully optimize their social media presence.

Social media allows businesses to receive feedback from their customers, advertise new products and ideas, and show consumers a little bit of personality.

If you’re not sure where to start, or are looking for some different options to boost your online presence, your BBB has 10 ways to build up your social media platforms!

  1. Make it easy for consumers to find you! Social media icons should be present on your website. You can cross promote your accounts with one another in your “About Me” sections on various platforms. Each account should have a link that goes back to your website.
  2. Be yourself. What is your aesthetic? Find your vibe and embrace it in your messaging and social media content. For example, customize your social media pages to showcase your business’ color scheme. Being sincere will help consumers stay engaged.
  3. Think twice. Before publishing or posting a thought, make sure your messaging is professional. Double check your work and get a second opinion if necessary. Something small, like incorrect grammar, could turn someone off from your business. Thoughtful posts will push customers closer to your brand!
  4. Mix it up. Many experts recommend the 20/80 rule, meaning 20% of the things you post to social media should be about your business and 80% should be from other respected sources. Sharing content from trustworthy accounts shows that you, too, are a reliable source. When using another’s content, they’ll notice the shout out and may even return the favor.
  5. Keep things interesting. Images, emojis, hashtags, videos, and gifs in your posts could create more interest from your followers (and are honestly really fun to use). Also, according to Hubspot, tweets with images see a 55% increase in leads. TrackMaven also shares that posts with hashtags see 60% more interaction (clicks).
  6. Criss-cross your content. You can share a video from your YouTube channel in a Facebook status or tweet. Photos from Instagram can also be shared on Facebook and Twitter. This will let your followers know that you have other active accounts, and can get more eyes on your posts in general.
  7. Pay attention. One of the best ways to learn to use your accounts is by seeing what is trending in your social media feeds. Do you follow an account that gets a lot of love? See what they’re doing that works. Keep an eye on popular hashtags and see if you can incorporate the hashtag into a post from your account.
  8. Participate! Are there threads in your social media feeds involving community events? There is nothing wrong with commenting on an event saying your business or employees are excited about being there! Be true to your brand and comment appropriately to help gain followers and attention.
  9. Don’t be afraid to say “hey”! People are following you for a reason. Avoid going long periods of time without posting on a certain account, at the risk of losing followers. Respond to comments on your posts, even if they’re negative. Make it personal, but keep it professional!
  10. Get your followers involved. Ask them to share your content, or comment with their input. You could post a silly picture from your business and ask your followers to come up with a caption. Create a poll on Twitter (it can be for getting serious feedback, or just for fun) and see how your followers respond.

Which ways have you engaged with your social media followers? What works for you? Share in the comments below!

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This post was written by your BBB Serving Central Ohio's Content & Communications Coordinator, Jordan Abbruzzese.