5 Reasons Why Social Media is Good for Business

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Social media has changed the way we do business. It has expanded the local entrepreneurial reach and is the cause for many successes in business. According to LinkedIn recent study, 9 in 10 small businesses say they are currently using or plan to use social media to expand their business.

Most people, after meeting you and/or learning the name of your company, within seconds hop on Google to see what appears. What do they see about your personal brand or business? More importantly, what do you want them to see?

According to the Social Media Examiner’s 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, the top two benefits of social media marketing are increasing exposure and increasing traffic.

86% of marketers say that social media is important for their business.

89% of marketers say that increased exposure was the number one benefit of social media marketing.

A recent LinkedIn study showed that 94% of small businesses using social media use it for marketing and 3 in 5 says social media helps to attract new customers.

With social media, you can brand your business on a wider scale, thereby connecting with consumers whom already use social media platforms personally and professionally. If they like what they see, they will connect with you and from there you can develop a stronger connection and business relationship. Here are some ways social media can help grow your business.

1. Exposure. Your reach is significantly further with social media. Social media is a global platform that allows you to connect with people all across the world. Hashtag’s are big in social media platforms such as Twitter and Google+. Create your own hashtag to put a stamp on your brand. Most companies use a hashtag vs. a slogan because it quickly identifies the company and it is easier to remember.

2. Developing Relationships. Connecting with people is essential in gaining new business. Utilizing social media will allow you to relate to your current customers and form new customer relationships. Release content that is relevant, funny, informative or controversial to start up conversation. Interact with your customer base by responding to comments and insight. Many company’s hire a social media person or team to keep the conversation going and remain engaged with their audience.

3. Access to Networks. Through social media, you and your company can develop connections with other networks and organizations. Building relationships on a higher scale by affiliating with well-known experts in your industry is a plus. More often a simple follow from a well known and recognized individual or organization can drive attention to your business and brand.

4. Remaining Relevant and Current. We know that most people check a company’s online presence before doing business with them. Not having current and relevant content and news on social media pages will create a wedge and disconnect between the company and its customers. People want to know what is currently happening and what is to come. Often they look to companies they trust and do business with to deliver this information.

5. Knowing Thy Competition! If you want to remain competitive, you have to be willing to step inside the sand box to find out what’s going on in your industry. How can you compete without knowing what you are up against? Many businesses use social media as a platform to announce new products and services, even before they publish such information with a newspaper or television network. Want to grow? Stay in the know!

To remain successful, it is important to recognize and adjust to industry changes and standards. Growing requires change and change is a necessary element of sustainability. So get out there and tweet, google, facebook and link up on LinkedIn! See you soon!

20140717-133139-48699513.jpgMary V. Davids is the Founder and Managing Member of D&M Consulting Services, LLC. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing employee motivation and workplace performance, leadership coaching and training & development. She also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of African American’s in Human Resources. Book Mary to speak at your next event or hire Mary for leadership & professional development consultation today. Follow Mary on twitter@MVDavids.

7 Ways to Make this Year a Milestone

Make 2014 Your Best Year!2014 cartoon man upward arrow

Now that 2013 is behind us, it is time to reflect on our best and worst moments last year and use those experiences to make this year one that sets the bar; here’s how:

  1. Get Involved. Volunteer at a non-profit organization of your choice, contribute to help within your community or become part of an advisory board with your college. Taking on special projects or participating in fundraising activities will help you to develop new skills and abilities which will increase your value within your current organization or allow you to seek new opportunities. Volunteering helps to interact with a diverse range of people, which can also heighten your interpersonal skills.
  2. Network, Network, Network! Find at least 2 events each month that you make a priority to attend. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out affair where you spend tons of time and money trying to piece together a new outfit, plan for the babysitter or re-arrange your entire life. Many business networking events are scheduled during the week; such as a business-breakfast, brunch, luncheon or happy hour. Find something that works for you and plan accordingly.
  3. Seize the opportunity. How many times have you let an opportunity slip away and beat yourself up over it later knowing that you could have done more? Well this year, there will be no regrets. You must see opportunity in everything you do and everywhere you go. Make it a priority to connect with someone on a more intimate level, present a new idea to management or even start your own business! Whatever you decide to do, do it with boldness and narrow focus.
  4. Read More. Stay up to date on industry trends and news by subscribing to a local or national newspaper. Read your Bible, a few new books or subscribe to magazines or newsletters related to your current work or an industry you are interested in pursuing. Reading can be beneficial when networking as well. For example, things you have read can become ice-breakers or may allow you to take part in a conversation you wouldn’t normally have contributed to.
  5. Exercise/Implement Better Eating Habits. I know some of us dread this part, and I’m beginning to question myself on why I hadn’t decided to put this at the end of the article to avoid losing readers! If you are still reading this, it means you are have sense enough to know that exercise and healthy eating increases the odds of longevity and greatly impacts your overall lifestyle in a positive way. You’ll want to live longer once you conquer 2014 so get started now!
  6. Stand Up and Stand Out. Let people know who you are and what you are about. These behaviors must be inclusive in your daily conversation and interaction with others. Exchanges containing personal values such as diversity, religious beliefs, integrity and community tend to be more genuine and memorable. Don’t be swayed by the politics of the corporate world. Remain consistent and firm while being empathetic and understanding to differences of opinion. These leadership traits create an atmosphere of admiration inside and outside the organization.
  7. Travel More. Now I know you may be thinking; when will I have time to travel when you have given me this arduous list of things to do this year? Well my dear inquiring reader, it is absolutely possible. We must make time for things that are important and there is nothing more important than spending time with those you love, rejuvenating yourself and getting the most out of life. I’ve never heard of a dying man uttering “I wish I would have worked more” as last words. Your career is not a characteristic, it is an occupation. Reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve put in and take a break. Take is the operative word here because no one can make you do what is best for you; you must make the decision to do that for yourself.

I’m certain these tips will help you to make 2014 devoid of regret and full of enrichment!

All the best,

Mary V. Davids

Profile PicMary V. Davids is the Founder and Managing Member of D&M Consulting Services, LLC. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing employee motivation and workplace performance, leadership coaching and training & development. She also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of African American’s in Human Resources. Book Mary to speak at your next event or hire Mary for leadership & professional development consultation today. Follow Mary on twitter @MVDavids.

Want to Get Ahead? Boost Your Networking Skills

There is a saying: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

While there is truth in the benefit of knowing someone to land a job, your connection does not necessarily guarantee your position at a company forever. Ultimately, it is what you know that will become the reason you continue to progress at a company and also within your career. Many networking relationships greatly influence hiring decisions and as a result employee referrals are often chosen above other applicants. Before available positions become public knowledge, management will often ask employees if they can recommend someone they may know. You could be one of 100 applicants and your networking relationship may be the very reason your application is moved to the top of the stack.

While pursuing my Master’s Degree, I conducted a study on the talent management practices of one of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work for; Balfour Beatty Construction (BBC) where I interviewed the Human Resource Manager, Mila Smith. During the interview I learned a great deal about the organization, its recruitment practices, retention efforts and its succession planning strategies. When specifically asked what the primary source of new talent was for BBC, Smith informed me most of their hires are either employee referrals or through their college recruitment internship program. Through Smith’s experience, she found that “good people generally know good people”.

Now to be clear, the value of networking surely reaches beyond job seekers. Networking is also a significant benefit for many other reasons such as; professional relationship building, new client opportunities and grant support for non-profit organizations. Networking can be intimidating to those branching out for the first time; however, I believe it is absolutely worth the investment of risking possible embarrassment or overcoming insecurities (both of which I am a victim of) because it is essential to career success. I recognize personal and professional growth is an ongoing process and in an effort to share my accumulated knowledge, here are some suggestions to get you started:

GOAL

Step 1: Form a goal. What do you expect to get out of networking? Is it a new job, a new client or maybe even a mentor or coach to help guide you towards career success? Whatever your choice may be, remember it when you are in a room full of people there for a variety of reasons.

Step 2: Put yourself out there; networking opportunities are everywhere. You can network with someone in an elevator, a grocery store, the train, subway, airplane…you get it! Take your pick, but always seize the opportunity to network with others through small conversation. Start with a compliment to help break the ice and always look directly into the eyes of the person you are speaking to. It shows you are engaged and interested in the conversation which leaves a great impression and will be helpful when you follow-up with a phone call or email later. Please remember: no cell phone checking or texting when you are at a networking function See my blog on Social Networking.

Step 3: Go to local events. Everything we need to know about the events in our neighborhood is at the tip of our fingers. I could find at least 25 networking events in my area right now simply by typing a quick Google Search or signing up for a social website specializing in connecting locals groups for events. You’d be surprised how many people in your neighborhood or within your professional or personal circle attend networking events. Show up to the next event and bring a friend if you can. It can be very intimidating to go to a new place not knowing anyone and just start mingling. Don’t worry! You can do this. Just think of it this way, your future depends on it.

Step 4: Share what you know, otherwise smile and nod. Most of these meetings are all about networking, so it’s not unusual to enter into a conversation and introduce yourself or just listen to what is being said and jump in if you have something valuable to add. Now, be sure to use wisdom when interjecting. If you are not confident about what 122613_2224_WanttoGetAh5.jpgyou are about to say, the best thing to do is stay silent! There may be follow up questions from the group and you don’t want to look clueless because you didn’t think that far ahead. Always bring a business card with you and always exchange cards before you leave the conversation.

Step 5: Be aware of your surroundings. This may go without saying to some so bear with me while I reiterate the importance of considering the environment before you engage with others about anything personal while at a professional function. People are always watching and listening. You will not know everyone that is around you when you are in a networking environment, which is all the more reason you should be careful to not speak ill of others. For example, if you are there to connect with potential employers and you are having a light conversation, there is no need to turn it into a bashing session about your current workplace. Negative comments are not memorable in positive ways. The goal is to leave a positive impression with those you connect with so they think positive thoughts when you connect with them again.

Step 6: Stay connected! After the event, be sure to go through the business cards you’ve received and connect with each person through LinkedIn, facebook or any other social media networks. If there is someone you feel you had a great connection with, send them a note via the social networking site or through email to let them know it was a pleasure meeting them and you hope to stay connected in the future. Stay in touch with them in an effort to build a professional relationship and keep in mind that just knowing someone may be all you need to get to that next level.

Now, you are ready to go! See you at the next event!!