Monday, February 15, 2010

Using Social Media to Enhance Your Business

Thank you to Sandra van Statten for this interesting post on the importance of social media in our industries today.

Sandra van Statten is a Virtual Assistant and Certified Social Media Marketing Specialist, based in Cape Town, South Africa, but offering her services world-wide, through her company Virtually Assist. She specialises in setting-up, optimising and maintaining social networking profiles for companies or private individuals. You can network with her by clicking on any of the following links:

Virtually Assist
Linked In


Before we can begin to use Social Media to enhance our business, we need to understand exactly what it is and what we can do with it.

Social Media is the name for a collection of networking channels that you can use to engage with a targeted audience. Some examples of engaging are: talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online.

Some of the most common reasons that businesses actively participate in Social Media are:

• Building their brand visibility and authority;
• Increasing their influence with targeted (or niche) audience;
• Promotion of services or products;
• Link-building and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO);
• Increasing website/blog traffic (thereby increasing leads and list building);
• Gaining insight into community of interest (via surveys and market research)
• Education and raising awareness (e.g. Non-profit organisations).

Before a company begins with a Social Media campaign, a thorough assessment should be carried out to correctly identify their needs, goals, targeted audience etc. A Social Media strategy and action plan can then be drawn up (with specific measurable goals). These can then be monitored (e.g. 200 new subscribers, 5 new clients, 500 new fans, 300 new followers) to see if you are achieving your goals.

I would suggest that every company at the very least, has a company website/blog and also participates in the “Big Three” of Social Networking. Some interesting information and benefits are listed below:

• Facebook

According to Facebook’s stats, there are currently:

- More than 400 million active users;
- More than 50% of these log on to Facebook in any given day;
- More than 3 million active pages on Facebook with 5.3 million fans;
- More than 5 billion pieces of contents (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc) are shared each week.

Can you imagine being able to reach even a fraction of this audience? Well you can, by building a top class Facebook Fanpage where you can promote your company and services, feed fresh relevant content and become the “go to” person for your niche.

• Twitter

Twitter is a micro-blog (you can only post 140 characters at a time – known as a “Tweet”) and it is also known as a “one to many instant messenger” - similar to a big chat room, but you choose who to follow.

You will soon gain followers and connect with a network of other people in your industry or area of interest. You can Tweet about your services, your company, resources, content links, or tips focussed on your area of expertise. This usually generates a lot of website traffic as people are curious by nature and want to learn more about you and your company.

• LinkedIn

According to their website, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 60 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals.

This is the place where you can:
- Establish your professional profile;
- Find experts and ideas;
- Build a powerful network of trusted professionals;
- Explore opportunities.

It is important that you build great profiles and branded pages for all your networking sites and each site should have links to the other sites as well as your blog/website. You can even have content feeding from your blog to your Facebook Fanpage and from Twitter to your blog.

Social Media Marketing is a great way to advertise your Company, services and expertise to the world, for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.

Friday, February 12, 2010

3 Reasons you should promote your business on Public Holidays

Thank you so much to Damaria Senne, a Johannesburg based writer, for this guest post.

3 Reasons You Should Promote Your Business On Public Holidays

Valentine’s Day is almost here and as you know, many vendors are offering specials and discounts to entice their customers to buy something. As a transcriptionist /and VA, what are you offering your clients/potential clients to encourage them to do business with you? What message are you communicating to your clients about your ability and willingness to meet their needs??

As those of you who are members of the Yahoo discussion forum are aware, I have been writing articles about love, romance and Valentine’s Day for the past couple of days and will continue to do so until Sunday 14th February. And you may have assumed that it makes sense for me to make a big deal about the holiday because I write about love and sex and relationships for the OneLove Regional Campaign ( On the other hand, what does a VA and/transcriptionist have to do with Valentine’s Day, or Easter Weekend or Diwali?
Quite a bit, actually.

1. Each holiday has significance to a certain group of people and those people are your potential clients.

Which means that vendors who serve them for that holiday may become exceptionally busy. For example, during the Easter weekend, many church groups have intensive conferences, workshops, excursions and programmes. Are you targeting churches in your area right now to find out what they may need come Easter? if they’re going to have a conference, who’s developing their weekend programme brochure?

Many families with children also going on school holidays. Some of these parents may be business owners. Are you talking to them about providing tailor-made VA services so work in their business can continue to get done in their absence?

How are you going to clients that sell Easter-related products and services to be more efficient?

2. Holidays are a good excuse to promote your products and services anew.
Sure, you can have your own angle to promote your services, but why not pick up the low-hanging fruit too and use the opportunities public holidays provide?

3. You are indirectly reminding your clients to get on with their own promotions.
As I previously mentioned, Valentine’s Day is almost here, so most people have already planned and implemented whatever promotion plans they had. But there are many other holidays coming up, and if you plan early, you’ll remind your clients to also get the first worm. Which may very well make you a rock star VA/ transcriptionist in their eyes.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning for the next holiday!

Author bio

Damaria Senne is a writer based in Johannesburg. For the past year, she has been helping her clients create web site and build online communities, which include Kwanda ( ) and the OneLove Regional Campaign ( ). Learn more about her and her projects at