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Archive for July, 2012

The ROI of a Tweet

That was it. 15 Words, 61 characters, 10 seconds of my time.

A simple exchange of words with a friend on Twitter.  He was asking about vehicles and I told him about mine.

I thought nothing of it.  This was no different than what I do every day on Twitter.  I chat, offer tech advice, and ask questions.  You know, using the social part of social media.

A few weeks after this tweet, I received an email from a marketing company asking if I would be willing to talk about my Ford.  My husband thought it was scam; but in my mind, I’m thinking “Why not?  I am up for some excitement.”  I chatted with someone from the Ford marketing company and told them why I bought a Ford, what I liked, all the typical questions.  Then they asked if they could send out someone to take a few pictures of me and my Escape.  Again, I was thinking, “Sure, why not?”  Meanwhile, the hubby is still thinking this is a scam.  That weekend, Sean from the Ford marketing company came out to take a few pictures.  We made small-talk as he snapped a few shots.  A few weeks later, my Ford story is up with some pictures.  Not only did I brag to my family, but I had an interesting story to tell my friends on Facebook.  End of story right?  Of course not…because where’s the fun in that!

A few weeks later, the marketing company called again.  They wanted to shoot some footage of me and my Ford later that week.  Hubby is thinking this may be legit now.  Sean comes back and brings Sara, another marketing rep from Ford.  They mic me up and off we go.  It was a long afternoon, between the crows who wouldn’t stop crowing, and why on earth did a fighter jet have to pick that exact hour to fly overhead?  And of course, the neighbors were installing hardwood floors that afternoon.  It did seem like forever at times, but Sean and Sara’s professionalism and patience kept me focused and on-task.  In the end, 2 hours of shooting became 30 seconds of video.

So what was my return on investment (ROI)?  Did it increase my business?  No.  Did I make any money?  No.

You may be thinking “What can I get out of 15 words, 61 characters and 10 seconds of my time?”  A great story of what makes Twitter such an awesome tool.  It doesn’t matter where or who you are, you just never know who may see your tweet and want to engage with you.  It can lead you to new business opportunities, friendships, or even partnerships. What is there to lose?

Why not go and chat with someone right now?  If you are not sure who to chat with, feel free to tweet me @bennettbusiness.  Or if you have an awesome social media story to share, please post it below.

And if you are interested, here’s the link to the video.

Categories: Social Media Tags: , , ,

Why Skimping On IT Will Cost You Money

ImageOne of my biggest challenges as an IT consultant is trying to convince small businesses to upgrade their hardware and software.  IT is looked at as an expense, and because we are all trying to save a few bucks, you may think that keeping your older hardware and/or software is the best cost-saving solution; but trying to hold on to old equipment or outdated software may cost you more in the long run. Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. Productivity – If users are waiting for a program to load, or can only run a specific number of applications, they are not nearly as efficient, and worse: they can become very frustrated trying to do their job because the older and limited technology is slowing them down.
  2. Security – As technology advances, so do the threats.  Old and unsupported software may not be secure and patched, therefore putting your data and company at risk.
  3. Maintenance – The cost of keeping old equipment up and running is expensive.  After a few visits from your IT Professional, you could have replaced the equipment at the same cost, and you wouldn’t have to worry about it later on. On average, desktop PCs should be replaced every 3-5 years.
  4. Support – As software ages, the “experts” who know how to manage older software become harder to find, and because of this, will charge more. It also becomes much harder to acquire older components.
  5. Functionality/Compatibility – Updated versions of applications and software are easier and faster to use.  In some cases, older versions of the same software may not be compatible with newer versions.

I am not recommending that you toss out your current IT infrastructure, but I do recommend you evaluate what you own and consider updating/replacing older equipment. Start with a plan to replace/upgrade the oldest systems in your office.  Your IT Pro can help you design a roadmap for updating your systems and software. He/she will be able to assist you in creating cost-effective solutions for your budget, customized for your current needs and workflow.

By taking the time to be proactive now, you can save yourself many future issues, including unforeseen costs, hardware failure, and other unpredictable difficulties.  You never know what could happen when you are using out-of-date equipment; and it is always better to have a plan in place than to be hit with a huge and unexpected IT bill.  Take the 5 minutes and call your IT Pro today to determine how to best protect your company’s future plans.

When the Job Goes Wrong

“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the from way I see it, you can either run from it, or…learn from it.”
-Rafiki, The Lion King

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZfGTL2PY3E


You know the ones I’m talking about: the job or project that seems so fun and almost exciting, until the first “speed bump” pops up. Then it’s like a chain reaction.  No matter which way you turn, there always seems to be another speed bump.  We have all had those jobs.  A communication failure, expectations that fall flat, or personality conflicts; there are a number of reasons why a project can go wrong. But it’s what you do after that really counts.

1. Take ownership if necessary
2. Do what you can to fix it
3. Learn from it

Recently, I have gone through a similar situation myself.  The project did not go as planned, for a variety of reasons, all starting with that first speed bump.  Now some of you may be thinking, “why are you telling people you had a bad project? That just makes you look incompetent and amateurish.” I don’t think so, I think it makes me human. Sometimes, no matter what precautions you take, a project goes a little off the rails.

This was the first project since starting my own business that did not go as planned.  And I admit, it is hard to accept.  What am I going to do about it? First, I have already taken ownership of the aspects of the project that did not go as planned.  (Sometimes there are variables no one can account for). Second, I have done what I could to rectify the situation. And lastly, the most important step has been to move forward and stop reliving it. I have learned from the mistake, so it will not be happen again.

Mistakes happen. No one likes them, but we can either dwell on it or learn from it and move on.

How do you or did you handle a job that did not go as planned?

Social Media and Georges Colliding Worlds

“It’s just common sense, anybody knows! You got to keep your worlds apart!”

-George Costanza

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPG3YMcSvzo

I used to have my “personal life” separate from my “work life”, and then social networking came along and threw a wrench into it.

Back in the day (2002), it was easy. I had a personal email account and a work email account. The two never crossed.  Now it’s not so easy. With Facebook, I am finding it more and more difficult to keep my personal life and work life separate.  Before my co-workers knew about Facebook, I could safely vent about work.  No one on my friends list knew my co-workers, and they were not on Facebook in the beginning. Then they discovered Facebook, and my two separate worlds started to collide. I got a friend request from one of my co-workers. Then another one, and another after that.  Eventually, my status updates could no longer include work, and I also had to filter out anything concerning my future employment options.  Okay, not a big problem, and when I left the company to start my own, these co-workers left my work life and joined my personal life.

End of problem right? Not at all.

Over the last year, I have had clients who have wished to become friends on Facebook. And I hope they are not offended, but I haven’t friended them, and don’t plan to.

I am very firm on keeping my Facebook page about my close friends and family.  I have a business page for my business friends, and I encourage others to have a fan/business page too for these reasons:
1. It is more professional
2. It keeps your private life private
3. It better ensures the privacy of your friends
4. Facebook has rules about using personal pages for business

I have been asked to be Facebook friends with clients, who are people I do consider to be casual friends with, but I won’t do it on Facebook.  There are several reasons for this:
1. It protects my family and their personal lives
2. It allows me to have a “safe” place to chat with friends and be myself

Right now some of you are probably thinking, “If you are who you say you are, then you should have nothing to hide, and friending someone on FB shouldn’t be a big deal”.  For me, it’s a very big deal.  I am a very private person who has very few close friends. Most of my Facebook friends are people I have known for 20+ years.

I have struggled with combining my two separate worlds into one since I started out with my own business.

The new marketing is all about being yourself and authentic, and I do agree with that, to a point.  What I don’t believe is that clients should expect to be allowed into your private world and I personally don’t think we should allow them in.  Once they are no longer clients or acquaintances and move to “true friends”, then by all means “friend” them.  Will this prevent me from developing deeper relationships with my clients?  Probably not.  If I want to get to know a client better, then a cup of coffee and a chat will replace Facebook any day.

However, if you want to fully divide your worlds, Facebook lets you filter content by creating groups, lists, and custom privacy settings.  For instructions and help on this, please see this link: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=132569486817869

Personally, I have no interest in managing groups and lists on Facebook.

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