Social Media By the Numbers at Enterprise Center

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One of the major problems that Social Media Managers have when dealing with their clients is the distorted levels of expectations about ROI (return on investment… of time and money) by the clients. Social Media is not an over night wonder pill. If only the merchants of Main Street USA could understand the statistics, or as we call them the analytics, by which SMM gauge progress, engagement, results, and forecast “their next move.”

We on the North Shore are fortunate to have an organization such as the Enterprise Center at Salem State University which plays a pivotal role in helping foster the growth of small business by offering an interactive speaker series, not by teachers but by individuals who are in the trenches living the subject matter everyday. Case in point, this Tuesday I attended a session driven by Justin Miller on Understanding Social Media Analytics.

Miller, the guiding force behind the dynamic InnoNorth community start up, brought his expertise to a packed room of the curious and functioning business owners who want to understand social media from the numbers angle.

Miller was ready from the start to give everyone pause:

“Understanding your social media analytics is essential for businesses today, but it isn’t easy when no two platforms are measured in the same way.

There’s a difference between knowing what metrics mean and knowing which metrics are meaningful.”

I won’t go into the class particulars; Miller did it a lot better than I could explaining where to find data and how to understand it before applying it. Another class will be given in the fall. You can sign up for it then.

My point is whether you handle the social media campaign for your small biz or you hand it over to a “big” firm or local boutique social media manager (those are the ones I write blogs, posts and tweets for), it’s in your best interests to understand that the numbers by themselves don’t represent the picture of your business.

You may not have the time or skill to do A/B testing, or know the difference between impressions and likes, but taking a class or two at an educational presence such as the Enterprise Center which brings in top notch lecturers like Justin Miller is a way to understand and be able to work with the SMM to help your small business better engage with your target market community.

(And a personal P.S.to Abby Grant at the Enterprise Center, thanks for the excellent customer service in squeezing me into the class at the last minute!)

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Why Your Small Business Needs Blogs— And Me

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BlogsB2C companies which feature blogs on their websites generate 88% more leads per month than those that do not. This is according to HubSpot, the world’s leading inbound marketing and sales platform. Let that settle in. Businesses which generate blogs about interesting things (along with their services or products) generate 88% more leads per month than competitors that don’t.

Well-thought-out, well-written blogs work because storytelling is a powerful way to attract readers, share information, open the lines of communication to foster engagement, build understanding of potential customer needs and convert these followers into loyal brand ambassadors.

More people looking at your store shelves. More people walking into your restaurant or bar. More potential income.

When I saw that 88% statistic I had a flashback to this line from Independence Day:

10 Years Social(Copyright © 1996 by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

Over the years, I’ve worked in print & broadcast media. People do not buy newspapers for the ads. They buy for the news. People do not listen to radio for the ads. They listen for the music.

In other words, people seek out something that will emotionally engage them.

And I have been saying for years that people are not on social media for the ads. They are there to share and engage, because they want to be emotionally connected. Repeatedly telling them what special you have for today is a disconnect— they may come in, but they are just as likely not to come back. You may have made a sale, but you didn’t convert them into loyal customers and certainly not created an emotional connection to recruit them as ambassadors for your business.

Granted, you want to keep using Twitter as a way of driving people to your website and Facebook pages. Equally so, you need to keep pace with competitors in the Facebook auction space for ads.

But, once you have funneled prospects to your website, then what? A few seconds of looking at ads or a contest. Maybe you hook them, maybe you don’t.

Consider generating two or three blogs a week to balance out your Facebook and Twitter self promotions. Give followers a reason to check back to your website several times a week. Provide some insight on how you do something. Recall a funny incident. Promote a survey. Give some free tips. Comment about something going on in the community.

Convinced, but you don’t have the time to write blogs? You don’t have the editorial skills to cultivate content? That’s where writers (such as myself— full disclosure) can assist you. Prices being charged on various websites range from as little as $5 for a simple blog up to and beyond $1000 for a complex blog.

As a veteran community writer, I’m on the more affordable side of that price bar. If you’re interested let’s talk. Let me help you SHARE information, so you can ENGAGE your readers, UNDERSTAND their needs and CONVERT them into customers.

It’s not about you anymore. It’s about them.

(Anthony M. Scialis is a social media strategist focusing on blogging & tweeting as a two-step customer service effort in bridging the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow https://twitter.com/amssvs)

Business Plan Competition & Intro Session

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Planning to start a small business? Take every bit of advice you can get — you don’t have to use it — just have it all standing by as resource material. And a great place for resource material is an Enterprise Center. Does your community have one? We do in Essex County, MA at Salem State University.

Biz PlanNot only does an Enterprise Center offer seminars and inform you of useful business programs, it brings in guest speakers — and ours even “puts its money where its mouth is” by way of a North of Boston Business Plan Competition.

Doesn’t matter whether it is just a business idea, or your company is already up & running  (less than three years old or an established business with a new strategic direction). As long as you are located on the North Shore, consider entering this annual competition.

  • Cash prizes – $10,000 for first place! Second place, $5,000. Third place, $3,000
  • Advice – Valuable feedback and suggestions. Judges are experienced entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders and capital investors.
  • Focus – Entering the BPC can provide the discipline and focus you need to develop and fine-tune a winning business strategy.

Participants submit a 5-part application that is reviewed by an expert judging panel and evaluated according to established criteria. Six semi-finalists are selected to present their plan in person to the judges. Three finalists go on to present their plan publicly at a grand finale at which the judges determine the first, second and third place winners.

All participants receive written comments on their submission; the semi-finalists and finalists have the option of working with a presentation coach to fine-tune their plan for the judges.

Competition deadline is 2/24/16.

But — and this is an excellent helping hand by the Enterprise Center — on Dec. 4th from 8-10am there will be a FREE How to Write a Competition-Level Business Plan introduction session. You are not just floating in the wind for this competition. Sponsored by the MA Small Business Development Center and co-sponsored by the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development, there will be tips on what’s involved in preparing the components of your application.

Bring your questions too because — yes this gets better — the Enterprise Center will provide a real pro for individual coaching: Margaret Somer, Former Regional Director, MA Small Business Development Center Network.

Need more incentive to sign up right now? Read her bio. She’s been in economic & development, a fund manager, operated home-based businesses, been a consultant and has exhibited a strong record of participation in the development of new business products and programs, community development initiatives, and public affairs and government relations.

You can’t put a price on the guidance you will receive at the How to Write a Competition-Level Business Plan introduction session. To register click here.

The Enterprise Center at Salem State University is located at 121 Loring Ave in Salem, MA. For more info call 978-542-7528 or email Lorie Skolski at lskolski@enterprisectr.org

( Photo courtesy of KROMKRATHOG from FreeDigitalPhotos.net )

Reporter’s Notebook: Taking A Break to Say Thank You

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Graphic by Bukisa.com

If it works on Twitter, why not here. After all, good manners are universal. While I have thanked people who follow, RT, MT and favorite my twitter account, I have been negligent in thanking those who do the same for this blog. So….. Thank you:

  • Geraldine liked post “Reporter’s Notebook: Can You Spell Misspell?”
  • doncharisma is now following blog
  • bribruceproductions is now following blog
  • Venezia liked post “Reporter’s Notebook: Intro Paragraph, Set Your Hook”
  • Venezia is now following blog
  • Judy liked post “Reporter’s Notebook: Can You Spell Misspell?”
  • Eli Glasman – is now following blog
  • Geraldine liked your post “Reporter’s Notebook: Can You Spell Misspell?”
  • Eli Glasman liked post “Reporter’s Notebook: Intro Paragraph, Set Your Hook”
  • robertclinsdell is now following blog
  • jmsabbagh liked post “Reporter’s Notebook: Why Men Watch Football”
  • andelman liked post “Reporter’s Notebook: Why Men Watch Football”
  • tylor oceans is now following blog
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  • poetreecreations is now following blog
  • Margaux liked post “Reporter’s Notebook: Why Men Watch Football”
  • neasha1 is now following blog
  • neasha1 liked post “Reporter’s Notebook: So You Want To Write? Here’s Your Chance!”
  • Charlotte Hoather is now following blog
  • hovercraftdoggy liked post “Reporter’s Notebook: Picture This, Social Media Sizing Tips”
  • artgland is now following blog
  • Judy liked post “Reporter’s Notebook: Picture This, Social Media Sizing Tips”
  • Russell Deasley is now following blog
  • MesAyah is now following blog

(Graphic from Bukisa.com)

Reporter’s Notebook: To Grow As A Writer, You Must Write

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If I don’t dance one day, I notice it. If I don’t dance two days in a row, my audience notices it. If I don’t dance three days in a row, I should get another job.” – Fred Astaire.

Writing

(Photo courtesy tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Replace the word “dance” with the word “write” and you uncover a driving force in my life, and something you might consider applying to yourself, if you want to grow as a writer.

(As for who is Fred Astaire… he was a famous dancer. You can replace Astaire/dance with Eric Clapton/practice guitar, or Tom Brady/practice football or Beyonce/sing…)

The point is if you want— not just wish— to become a writer who gets paid, you must write. Blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, or even articles for your local newspaper should be on your “to do” list. And if you need to write without pay at first, so be it.

Modesty aside, if I were in a room with any 10 of you, I could compose a newspaper article faster and better at the first draft stage than 9 of you. That’s not because I am better than you. I just have more practice at it, having been writing for more than 40 years. I made my first dollar as a writer while in high school.

I’ve written for media outlets that paid and for community organizations that couldn’t afford to pay. Yet, I kept writing,— over the years—be it sports, music, theatre, television or just a club’s press release.

And now I write four different theme blogs, plus tweets for each account.

Look around your home town, there are writing opportunities. Whether they are for pay or not, take advantage to continue your growth as a writer.

Reporter’s Notebook: 27,500 Is The Average- Where Do You Fit In?

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“Words! Words! Words! I’m so sick of words! I get words all day through” sung by Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady

If only she had an accounting of how many words she knew. Do you have any idea as to the extent of your vocabulary? As writers we should be aware of our resources, with words rising to the top of that list.

Now there is an on-line test which, according to its website, functions by means of a quick three-part test: the first part with a handful of words to determine the general vocabulary level, a second part with a larger but narrower selection of words to determine the vocabulary level with greater precision, and a final (optional) survey to collect statistical information.

As of 5/2013 they had tabulated two million completions of their survey:

  • Most adult native test-takers range from 20,000–35,000 words

  • Average native test-takers of age 8 already know 10,000 words

  • Adult native test-takers learn almost 1 new word a day until middle age

  • Adult test-taker vocabulary growth basically stops at middle age

I learned about this test from a blog by Maeve Maddox on the Daily Writing Tips website. Maeve “discovered the site by way of an article in the Economist.” Words lead us to other words. So, how many words do you know?

Reporter’s Notebook: Nothing is Absolutely Essential

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Writing is a chore for some people; for others it is a diversion. And for still others, such as reporters, bloggers, scriptwriters and such, it is our life. We are sad when there’s nothing to write about, but then sit at the keyboard cursing when we get the words out and the story doesn’t flow.

English: So many words to keep track of!.

Words. Words. Words! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then we have to edit the copy. And most writers don’t like to edit. That job belongs to someone else.

Laura Hale Brockway wrote a short post about the job that writers so dislike. Her advice to writers is to “eliminate redundant expressions.”

41 Redundancies You Should Ditch from PR Daily

Mix together. How else do you mix things?

Introduced for the first time. Obviously it is the first time, that’s why you are being introduced.

Absolutely essential. If it is essential, then you must absolutely need it.

Take note of joined words that really shouldn’t be paired.  Eliminate these word groupings, then you can devote less time to editing and more energy to writing.