How Social Media Delivers Real Value

businessman likes social media

Facebook “likes” are great, but at some point there has to be a return on investment (ROI)*

What’s the return on investment (ROI) of social media? This question comes up quite often and usually as part of a conversation over how little someone can invest and how quickly they can pull the plug if they’re not seeing results. It’s a fair question to ask, but only if you understand how social media works before leaping to the bottom line of what it might deliver in dollars and cents. It would be better for you to ask: What’s the value of maintaining client relationships and how can social media help?

When teaching or coaching clients, we always stress the principle of avoiding the hard sell in using social media. Instead, we advise business owners to think of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ as the place where relationships can be nurtured. By providing soft touch points with clients (both current or potential), you can gently maintain visibility and top of mind awareness. Through social media, you can encourage conversation, answer questions, offer support, and become a useful resource or entertaining feature for your clients. In essence, you can become someone worth following.

Why is that important? Because the people who have connected with you through social media might not be at the point in the buying cycle where they are your customers, but if they follow you, they’re at least interested. If you can maintain a favourable place in their thoughts, you stand a good chance of being the one they’ll turn to when they are ready to buy.

We’ve had this pointed out to us recently as we were ending a discovery meeting with a potential website client. We had provided a proposal for the same person two years earlier, however she wasn’t ready to invest in her project at the time and she chose to use a free website service. Over the past two years we had kept in touch through Facebook, by being social, liking, commenting and sharing her posts. Our prospective client said she appreciated our approach and that the periodic touch points with us kept her interested in our company. When the time was right and she was ready to invest in taking her online presence to the next level, she knew who to contact and she did so through a Facebook direct message. Taking the conversation offline, we met with her, discussed her project, put together a new proposal and won the contract to do her next website.

In the end, we probably could point to her investment in a new website as the ROI of social media. But we only got that return because we understand the value of social media as a client relationship tool that develops leads over time. That’s the principle you should focus on if you’re going to “do” social media.

If you’d like help managing your own social media platforms to deliver real value, then please get in touch, we’re just a phone call or email away.

*Photo Credit: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Posted in Communication, Social Media, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Google has changed the rules…again!

panda and penguin

Google’s latest update shines the light on content

On May 23, Google turned our world upside down.

Over the past couple of years, the world’s biggest search engine has slowly overhauled it’s algorithm, the complex and secret system they use to rank websites and deliver search results. Through a series of adjustments beginning with an update called Panda in February 2011 and followed by Penguin in April 2012, they have introduced new ranking factors and downgraded others. These changes have resulted in the demoting of entire sites that Google considered to be of ‘low quality’ and improving the rankings of sites that met its criteria for a high quality site.

And now, they’ve changed the search landscape again, with a new update to Penguin that targets poor-quality links such as those from link farms, an increased focus on ‘social authority’ and relevancy, and over-optimized anchor text on links. The latter targets companies who have paid for SEO services that include setting up perfectly optimized links simply to increase site rankings. You’ve seen their ads: “We’ll get you to the top of Google!” The Google update may even look at how quickly links are added to a site, where spikes in link acquisition signal an effort to acquire links to improve rankings rather than a focus on quality content.

Why does Google make these changes? Money, of course. Advertisers want to be where their customers are. To remain the most reliable search engine and keep people using it, Google has to continue providing relevant results. When overly-optimized sites with information of questionable value land at the top of the rankings, people begin to look elsewhere to find the information they seek. Google’s aim is to allow those sites whose content best answers a searcher’s query to naturally rise to the surface.

If your site is built well, your content is relevant and people link to your website from social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest, you will likely sail through this latest update without any problem. If you’re not sure how well your site is working for you, contact us at sales@polodesign.ca for a current assessment of your website.

Posted in Search Engine Optimization, SEO, Small Business, Social Media, Strategy | Comments Off

Why Should Businesses Use Social Media?

Town Crier and shopkeeper engage in social media

Social media isn’t so new… we’ve always had word of mouth referrals. How we spread the word is the only thing that’s changed.

We’ve come a long way from the days when a local merchant (a pub owner, let’s say) would pay the Town Crier to walk the streets ringing his bell and urging folk to visit the Bull and Thistle for a “tankard of ale most fine”. Now there are so many methods for getting your message out that the question isn’t whether you SHOULD market your business, but HOW you should do it.

In times past, the pub owner may easily have been able to stand on his front step offering that tankard of ale to passersby, but he didn’t have the same reach as the Town Crier. And while increased reach is an important goal for marketing your business it’s not the only consideration. Beyond reach, your messages should be created with distinct purposes in mind. These could be helping you in developing your brand, generating awareness, introducing new products or services, making offers, connecting with new customers or encouraging repeat business. All of these goals can be achieved with varying degrees of success using traditional media such as print, radio or television, but since social media is becoming the medium of choice for more of your audience, it would be foolish to ignore these new tools.

Social Media Users, Use it a LOT

More people are using social media platforms like blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to keep in touch, to record and share their own experiences and interests, as well as to seek information and be entertained. The total number of Facebook users in Canada is over 18M or approximately 54% of Canada’s population. This number is equivalent to over 70% of the number of Canadian internet users. A recent Nielsen survey revealed that the average user spends 7 hours, 9 minutes on Facebook each month and visits the site nearly every day. This represents 18% of total time spent online by the average user. With so many people spending so much time on platforms like Facebook, it would seem then, that regular and consistent use of social media would improve your chances of effectively reaching your customers over any other medium.

The distinct advantage online tools such as social media have over traditional media is the potential for two-way communication. Your customers can leave comments and reviews, ask questions, or make referrals and recommendations about your product or service. In other words – and this is the social part – your customers can have a conversation with you in direct response to your online communications. This gives you better opportunities to develop stronger relationships with your clients. Stronger relationships lead to better awareness, greater trust and ultimately, a higher potential for sales.

Social Media is GOOD for SEO

There are additional reasons for using social media for your business as well. You can use it to demonstrate your expertise and offer proof that choosing your business is the best decision your customers can make. Plus, it can improve your online rankings. Links back to your website from social media posts now carry more weight with search engines such as Google than other types of links. This increases your likelihood of being found on the internet by people who are searching for the products or services you provide. Once again, if done properly and with regular frequency, this can lead to more sales.

While these tools are effective, they don’t all work the same, nor do they reach the same audiences, so jumping right in and starting a Facebook page or setting up a Twitter account might not be the wisest decision. Instead, you should start by developing a social media strategy to guide your efforts.

If all of this is beginning to sound like a lot of additional work that you don’t have the time or skills to execute properly, don’t despair. Just as the Town Crier was available to promote the busy pub owner, there are agencies capable of helping you with your marketing, either through traditional media or using online social tools. So whether you choose to investigate the various tools and develop a social media strategy for yourself or work with an agency to help you reach more customers, your business will benefit from using social media.

If you’d like help developing and implementing your own social media strategy, then please get in touch, we’re just a phone call or email away.

Posted in Small Business, Social Media, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Location, Location, Location: Getting Found Online

Getting Found Online

The internet is a BIG place. Getting found online requires a proactive strategy which should include SEO.*

If you’re a retail business owner, one of the key factors contributing to your success is location. A prime spot in a busy mall or on a thriving downtown city street can be as important as your product, price or promotions. If you’re not blessed with the best location, or don’t have a storefront kind of business, you’ll have to work harder at attracting customers. There are many ways of marketing your business and in today’s wired world, many businesses turn to the internet. If you have a website or are planning one, you might wonder what will make your online space a prime location that’s easily found by potential customers?

Since there are no avenues or sidewalks, “window-shopping” happens differently on the internet and getting found online requires more than simply creating an attractive website. Claiming a domain name (your web address) that either includes your company name (joetheplumber.com) or describes the product or service you sell (drainsunclogged.ca) certainly helps. But if potential customers don’t know you by name or are searching for different terms than the ones you use in your domain name, they won’t be finding your website.

Getting Found Online Begins with SEO

Most of us use search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing to find the products and services we’re seeking on the web. There is no shortage of studies revealing the advantages of having links to your website appear on the first page of search engine results. Of course, the closer to the top of page one you show up, the better. It makes sense then, to consider search engines as a key component to being found online. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a much-discussed but often under-utilized practice employed to help improve a website’s “natural” or unpaid search engine results. And while many SEO “specialists” may make claims guaranteeing you page one rankings, there is no magic, quick-fix solution that will put you at the top of search results and, more importantly, keep you there.

Social Proof delivers SEO

Many search engines rank websites higher if they have links from social media sites.*

The goal of search engines like Google is to display websites that have the most relevance to search terms; they do this by ranking sites on a variety of factors. Websites with useful, keyword-rich content that is current and consistently updated are given more weight than pretty, image-heavy sites with little to say. Other influencing factors are referral links from other websites, links from online advertising, and, more recently, social media links. You thought all that chatter on Facebook and Twitter was about what people had for lunch? Recent changes to ranking criteria now place greater value on links and traffic from social media sites. Shares and ‘likes’ on social networks are considered personal recommendations and thought to be more reliable as a gauge of usefulness and relevance than paid advertising or traditional linking strategies. The more traffic your website receives from social media sites, the better its chance to rank higher with Google and other search engines.

Keyword Research and Regularly Updated Content Help

Achieving top rankings takes patience, effort and time, and not simply the time required to optimize a site in the first place. Search engines may not send their “bots” to visit your business website immediately after you submit it for indexing, but they will return to your site again and again to review and adjust rankings if you regularly update it with fresh content. This too, takes time. Writing rich content which connects with customers and search engines alike is no easy task. Keyword research – the process of understanding which terms are being used in searches – is time-consuming and keeping your site ranking well requires continuous monitoring. What’s more, there are plenty of other websites competing for attention that will also be using many of the same keywords. If these competitors have been there well ahead of you, it may take a while to unseat them. Do you have the time, knowledge or ability to do all this SEO work yourself? If not, you might want to consider hiring website professionals to assist you in this ongoing process.

If you decide to engage a web or SEO agency, ignore any inflated claims about “guaranteed page one rankings” and take a look at the work they’re doing for themselves and others. Do the web professionals and their clients rank well for a variety of the search terms you would expect them to? Do they do well at updating their own site, blog or social media channels? If yes, then take the next step and speak to them about optimizing your business website to make it a prime piece of online real estate that attracts and retains customers.

If you’d like help developing and implementing your own SEO strategy, then please get in touch, we’re just a phone call or email away.

*Photo Credit: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Posted in Content Creation, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, Social Media | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Aligning your social media strategy with SEO

With the widespread adoption of social media by everyone from your kids to your grandmother, a business that isn’t using a platform such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+ is now at a disadvantage. A great place to connect with consumers and clients who want to be communicated with not advertised to, a social network gives you an opportunity to gain referrals and demonstrate your expertise to a wider audience than your website can reach.

The major search engines like Google now place more emphasis on links coming from social media sites than they have in the past, reasoning that if real people find your content relevant or useful, they will share it with their friends. A recent study of 7,000 New York Times articles by Jonah Berger of the Wharton School at UPenn and author of ‘Contagious‘ showed that usefulness was important in the decision to share. “One reason people share is they want to pass along that useful content.”

Top Google search result for 'how to rank in google'

Everyone is looking for better results in the search engines

Just like Google, your customers are looking for relevant, useful content and rely on recommendations and impartial reviews to help them evaluate the companies they choose to deal with. People tend to tune out advertising, preferring to do their own research and looking to friends for referrals. A lot of those referrals happen through social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Actively establishing and maintaining a social presence is the best way to stay ‘top of mind’ with current and potential customers in today’s marketplace. However, while many of the social media tools are available at no cost, learning to use them well to improve search rankings can take precious time away from your business.

But you don’t have to do it alone – that’s where poloDesign comes in. We can get you up and running on social media by setting up your business profiles and adding social sharing links to your website. We offer one-on-one and small group training, seminars, coaching and content creation. No time in your schedule to keep up with social media? We even offer full social media management services so you can focus on running your business. Let poloDesign take care of improving your search rankings by building or boosting your social media presence.

If you need help with your social media strategy, get in touch with us at sales@polodesign.ca.

Posted in Communication, Content Creation, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, Small Business, Social Media, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

How does your website rank in Google?

Google logo

Getting found in Google is an evolving art.

We all know that when you run a website, Google is your friend. The first question many people ask a web designer is “Will my website be on page one of Google?”

That elusive first-page ranking is the coveted prize of all business owners but it doesn’t just happen. With billions of pages on the internet, there are a lot of elements that go into getting a site to the top of Google, some of which are out of our control but many of which are affected by the way a website is built, optimized and maintained.

Naturally, being at the top in a small market is easier than trying to rank nationally or internationally, yet we regularly see sites that cater to a local area languish several pages down the list. Often, these sites appear long after listings sites such as Yellow Pages or Goldbook whereas they should be sitting at the top. But, they weren’t built well or the design agency didn’t understand the ins and outs of search engine optimization (SEO). And it’s not just old sites that rank poorly; we’ve tracked sites recently built by other well-known agencies that barely register in Google six months after launch.

A pretty website doesn’t do you any good if it doesn’t rank well in Google. Your website needs to come up for the terms your clients are using to search the web that are relevant to your business. At poloDesign, we’ve been pleased to see our clients’ sites climb in the search rankings steadily after launch because we understand what is involved in building a site that delivers. We know where to place keywords within the website code and how to optimize content to tell search engines exactly what a site is about to ensure it will be indexed properly by search ‘bots’.

But search engine optimization is an evolving art, not an exact science and top rankings don’t happen immediately. Once we launch a site, we must track results and make adjustments to text and code in response to those results. And search results can be fleeting; once your competitors figure out how to rank in Google, it’s important to keep a site up-to-date with fresh content, regular maintenance and SEO adjustments. That’s why we offer maintenance packages that include regular search engine updates.

Have you searched for your website in Google lately? If your site hasn’t been updated in a while, it’s probably time for a tune-up. Drop us a line at sales@polodesign.ca

Posted in Search Engine Optimization, SEO, Small Business | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

Don’t just say Happy New Year, PLAN it!

Welcome to 2013. As always, the beginning of a new year offers us, both in our personal and business lives, a time for reflection. Many of us take time to review our goals and discuss opportunities for growth and renewal while planning how to make the coming year as big a success as possible.

Eric jots a few notes onto the whiteboard during our planning session.

Eric jots a few notes onto the whiteboard during our planning session.

At poloDesign, we managed to take some much needed time off over the holidays. And while the break was appreciated, work was never far from our minds. As 2012 was in its final days, we turned to our whiteboard and began to map out some of the areas of our business we wanted to focus on for the new year. These included setting sales goals for the different services we provide, discussing expenses, reviewing our business processes and the tools we use, as well as examining our use of various social media platforms. We then made decisions about how to move forward in accomplishing our goals.

We’ve found these whiteboard brainstorming sessions to be useful in the planning process and have begun incorporating them into our work with clients. Penny recently took the whiteboard to a client meeting to assist in mapping out the beginning stages of a website project. All parties involved found the session to be of great value as it allowed stakeholders to contribute their ideas for the project and to see how the different pieces might fit together. This resulted in a clear understanding of how the project would proceed and a series of next steps for those involved.

As much we all seem to resist it, the beauty of planning is that you can bring targets into focus, make decisions about how to accomplish goals and assign tasks as needed. While reviewing the state of our own business for 2013, it was encouraging for us to identify 28 clients whom we are currently actively involved with. These are either clients whose projects are in process or those which we are quoting on.

As you can imagine, with such a large number of clients it’s important to be able to assess where we’re at with each individual project so we can make certain we’re on top of things. Regular reviews and discussion of next steps is essential. This means that the planning process is not a one-time exercise done only at the beginning of the year. No matter how formally or informally you do it, it’s important to make regular periodic assessments of your business to ensure you’re on track to reach your goals.

The main thing, as is so often said in business, is to have a plan and work it. We’re looking forward to what 2013 has to offer as we begin to put our plans into play. How about you? Have you made plans for your business?

If you’d like to discuss how poloDesign’s online web services can help you accomplish your business goals for 2013, then please get in touch, we’re just a phone call or email away.

Posted in Goal-setting, Small Business | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Email? That’s Right, Still One of the Best Ways to Connect.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is far from dead. The Direct Marketing Association estimates the ROI for email in 2012 at $39.40 earned for every $1 spent.*

With so many business people jumping on the social media bandwagon these days you could be forgiven for thinking that email marketing is on the way out. After all, that’s what everyone keeps saying. But you shouldn’t believe everything you hear. Email is still alive and strong. What’s more, it still delivers positive results when used effectively.

In an online survey from earlier this year 66% of respondents revealed that they had made a purchase as a direct result of email marketing. As always, it’s important to consider your target audience when using any form of marketing. The same survey showed that adults aged 45 and up were less likely to be influenced by social media ads than those under 45. It should come as no surprise then, that 87% of social media marketers also reported using email to reach their customers as well.

Keep it Personal

With a good email marketing system you can personalize how you’re connecting with your clients. You can segment your mailing lists based on client criteria such as gender, age, geography, interests, previous purchases, etc. If you sell a mixed line of products you could announce new arrivals of flashy bling to your jewellery clients and send your 20% off all summer sandals clearance sale teaser to your footwear customers. You could reward your best-spending clients with offers of exclusive discounts or invitations to intimate VIP events as an added incentive to signing up for your email list. Want to offer clients a discount with a Birthday Greeting? Try doing that with Facebook. With segmented mailing lists the possibilities are endless once you get started.

Track Your Effectiveness

If you’re using a good email marketing system which utilizes white-listed servers and offers tracking and reporting statistics, you’ll learn far more about the effectiveness of your campaigns than if you send out through your own email address. The statistics available can tell you how many clients on your list you’re reaching, how many times they’re opening your email, how many of them are clicking on links, and how many are sharing your email with others. Plus, you’ll minimize the risk of being flagged as a spammer and avoid problems with your email provider.

Promote Seasonal Events and Other Opportunities

Gift Giving

You can develop customer attention and awareness by promoting your business through email during important sales cycles such as seasonal holidays and events.*

Of course, email marketing only works when you send to your permission-based subscriber list regularly. Be honest; you’re likely not using email as often or as well as you could. That’s not to say you should bombard people with mailings, just that there are opportunities to use email that you may not be taking advantage of. If you use print or radio advertising you should also send out an email that complements those campaigns. If there are holidays or seasonal events that factor in your business, don’t assume your clients are thinking of you automatically. Create an email campaign to drive awareness and remind your customers about your special offers and seasonal events.

Remember though, sales and special events aren’t the only content you can share via email. You can also use it to demonstrate expertise by going into greater detail about products or services. People take more time to read a well-written email than they would a lengthy post on Facebook. What’s more, when your email marketing messages are planned strategically to share your blog posts or links to your website you’ll increas traffic to your web site. This helps to improve your rankings in search engine results which helps others find your business when they go looking on Google.

Connect Email to Social Platforms

You should understand as well that marketing through email doesn’t mean ignoring social channels either. Effective email marketing systems include options for adding social sharing links. This means that, in addition to being able to forward your email on to their friends, your recipients can also share your email to their social networks too. The value of social sharing is that your message can reach far beyond the limits of your subscriber list.

So don’t delete that old email subscriber list you’ve been nurturing all these years. You worked hard to win the trust of your clients and, in turn, they’ve given you their email addresses with permission to send them occasional mailings. The tools available are robust and effective. As with any form of marketing, the stumbling block usually lies in whether or not you use tools like email marketing (or social media) with consistency and regular frequency. So what are you waiting for? A little time spent with email can generate positive results.

If you’d like help developing your own email marketing campaigns, then please get in touch, we’re just a phone call or email away.

*Photo Credit: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Posted in Communication, Email Marketing, Small Business, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Effective Business Communication Happens by Design

During a tight economy it’s more important than ever for businesses to be able to communicate with their existing customers and to reach new ones. This can be a difficult proposition when the natural tendency is to look for places to trim spending. Even if you resist cutting your marketing budget there’s the added challenge of capturing customer attention. Between the internet and a 500-station television multiverse, consumers have so many channels of communication available to them that it’s hard for small businesses to break through.

It’s not about luck!

Message in a Bottle

Your creation and delivery of effective business communications shouldn’t rely on luck to find an audience.

Effective business communications don’t just happen. To get a customer’s attention you have to earn it; to do so you need to rise above all the other competing interests. Once attention is earned, you won’t want to waste your opportunity with a hastily-conceived strategy or unclear message. This can easily happen if your marketing efforts are only carried out in response to factors such as a competitor’s event or an advertising salesperson’s call. Reaching the right customer at the right time with the right message takes careful planning and co-ordination.

Successful businesses consider many factors when creating their communications plan including: their reason for marketing (building awareness, driving sales, etc.), the customers they want to reach, the media to be used and the available budget. This is a good start in the planning process, but where does communication by design come in? If you’ve identified what you want to market and to whom, the next question is how?

Tie it all together

creating a marketing strategy

When properly planned, your marketing messages can be extended across a variety of communication platforms.

With all the available ways to reach customers it’s unlikely that any single one will be enough. Not all of your customers read the newspaper, listen to same radio station or participate in social media. Your chance of reaching distracted consumers increases when you use different media together. For maximum results, you’ll need to design your communications to complement each other. A print advertisement or even a business card could include a QR (quick response) code or web address which directs customers to your website for more detailed info, product demo videos and opportunities to make inquiries or a purchase. A brochure or flyer can point customers to a Facebook page to receive regular offers and develop brand loyalty. An email newsletter can offer useful knowledge and exclusive deals urging customers to pick up the phone or walk through your doors.

All of these marketing efforts should be designed to maintain a consistent look by utilizing a repetition of common elements such as images, colours, layout and style. Tone of voice is also important and can be created through content and messaging along with your look to establish strong brand recognition for your business. If you advertise in more than one publication to reach different markets, your efforts are diminished if your ads don’t adhere to an identifiable look or express a clearly defined message. It gets worse still if your ads change radically in appearance from issue to issue. This isn’t to say you must run the same ad week in and week out, but the repeated use of strong common elements will help create a memorable identity for your business so you don’t get lost in the crowd. This can be achieved on even a modest budget, but not if you leave it to chance.

There’s no need to go it alone

If you’re not certain how to plan your marketing, or if communications design isn’t your strong suit, you might consider working with an agency. You’ll benefit from their knowledge and experience and find that it’s easier to maintain consistency in appearance, messaging and tone of voice if one agency handles all of your creative and design work. Best of all, working with an agency frees you up to do what you do best while they focus on ensuring proper execution of your marketing plan. When this happens you’ll have a strong, recognizable brand employing effective business communications that are designed to deliver you the most value.

If you’d like help developing your marketing communications plan, then get in touch, we’re just a phone call or email away.

*Photo Credit: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Posted in Branding, Communication, Content Creation, Goal-setting, Small Business | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

6 Ways to Forget about Work and have a Fabulous Vacation

Let’s face it, everyone needs a little R & R. Whether you’re going away for a full week of travel to some far away exotic destination or taking an extended long weekend at the cottage, it’s likely you’ll take some time for yourself or for friends and family this summer. When you do, you’ll want to be certain that your business will function as smoothly as possible without you. But, how can that be? For the small business owner getting away can often be a challenge. You’re a very important person and your co-workers and staff can’t possibly manage without you, can they? Most likely they can or they wouldn’t be working with/for you. For your own peace of mind, here’s six items which should be on your checklist at work as you prepare to get away from it all.

1. Plan your absence

sandy beach

You can leave the office behind more easily by planning for how things are handled during your absence.

This seems obvious but, make certain your co-workers or staff are aware of your schedule and availability (if any) for responding to emergencies. Be sure to brief them on any specific clients, projects or situations that might require their attention and empower them to contact you if necessary.

If you’re going someplace where you can’t be easily reached you could schedule some times when you can check in with a phone call. In many cases, such calls would likely only last a few minutes at most leaving you plenty of time to hit the beach or the shade of a tree.

2. Keep clients informed

If your business is project-based you might want to notify clients you’re currently working with about your scheduled absence and let them know who they may contact during that time. In some cases you might be responding to emergency requests, in which case you should reassure your clients that their needs will be met.

3. Change your voicemail

Let those who try to reach you by phone during your vacation know that you’re away by changing your voicemail greeting. Once again, make certain they know when you’ll return and who they can contact in case of an emergency.

4. Set email auto responders

It’s easy to want to forget about email, but can you really? It’s easier still to tell yourself you’ll only check it once a day but limit yourself so as not to get sucked into work while you’re away. The best of both worlds would be to briefly check email, but set up out of office replies so your clients aren’t expecting your usually rapid response. You can choose whether an immediate response is necessary, but if you don’t need to no one will be feeling un-loved.

5. Schedule your marketing/communication releases

summer scheduling

Schedule your communications to go out while you're away and your absence might not be so apparent.

There’s no reason for social media posts to fall by the wayside simply because you’re swinging in a hammock somewhere. If you don’t have someone to delegate your social media management to, there are still plenty of ways to schedule your posts so they appear magically as if fashioned by elves at night. Most blogging software and email newsletter services include a scheduling feature.

We’ve also mentioned in a previous post on vacationing that there are social media dashboards such as Hootsuite which allow you to aggregate all your social media feeds in one place for ease of use. These dashboards allow you to schedule posts so that you can do a lot of the work of creating messages in advance. And now that Facebook have added the ability to schedule posts onto business timelines you really have no excuse for going AWOL from your business page.

6. Finally… Relax!

This last one should really go without saying, but too many of us forget the purpose of a vacation. Don’t waste precious moments. If you’re taking time away from work, then make the most of it. Spend quality time with friends and family and give yourself a little “me” time too so that you come back refreshed and revived.

Remember, if you need help scheduling or managing your marketing or social media needs, then get in touch, we’re just a phone call or email away.

*Photo Credit: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Posted in Communication, Content Creation, Goal-setting, Small Business, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment
qrcode