How to Build Trust Online

For the last two weeks we’ve been talking about the importance of building the “know, like and trust” factor online.  So far we’ve given tips on how get known for your content, and how to build likeability through all your online activities.

 

This week it’s the turn of trust.

 

Everything we’ve suggested so far has been leading up to this bit.  It’s all well and good being known, and people being aware of you, and it’s great if they like you and want to interact with you – but if they can’t trust you?  Well, they’re not going to buy from you or recommend you further down the line.

 

We all know that trust is earnt, and there’s no reason why you can’t build that online.  Here are our top tips for precisely how to do that.

 

#1 – Give stuff away

We’ve already touched on this previously, but giving stuff away is a great way to tackle all three building blocks of successful networking.  Sharing your best content (there’s so much free stuff on the web, please don’t give people rubbish) will show that you’re authentic, but equally it will show you value your audience.

 

Giving stuff away means you’re generous, and not just in it for the sales.

 

#2 – Don’t disappoint

We can debate all day about how often you should post on social media or update your blog, but the reality is an arbitrary number means nothing if you’re not going to stick to it.  If you say you’re going to post a video every day – do it.  Going to produce a weekly blog?  Do it!

 

If you put it out there and then start breaking your promises, you’re already showing that you can’t be relied on to deliver.

 

#3 – Be consistently good

Following on from consisting posting, your posts also need to be consistent.  People need to know what they’re going to get from you – your content has to be of the same standard throughout.  Don’t just throw something together because it’s got to be done, take your time to craft a specific message, and keep it inline with what you’ve offered before.

 

If people know what to expect from you then they’re more likely to come to you before going anywhere else.

 

#4 – Share testimonials

It’s easy for any of us to say wonderful things about ourselves, so occasionally let a third party vouch for you.  Share testimonials, and let other people use their own words to demonstrate how you add value, or provide great customer service.

 

Try to mix it up a bit – is there any way you can use a case study to really make an impact?  How about getting someone on video talking about why they love working with you or using your products?

 

#5 – Avoid jargon

 

We can all be guilty of it at times, using industry jargon, and forgetting that other people might now know what the Hell we’re talking about. People can smell BS a mile off, even online so it’s vital you don’t try to hide behind complicated and technical language.  Make sure you are approachable, clear, concise and easy to understand.  Never talk down to your audience, and always be happy to answer their questions and explain yourself when needed.

 

#6 – Apologise when you’re wrong

 

No one is perfect, and there are times you’re going to make a mistake.  It might be a faulty product, a poor service, whatever; when you make a mistake put your hands up and admit to it.  We are all human, so the error is never really the problem, it’s always the way you handle it that matters.

 

Don’t try to hide from the fact you got something wrong, use it as an opportunity to review your processes, and work out how you can avoid that issue arising again in the future.  Those who have been impacted are likely to forgive you a lot quicker if you embrace the situation, and use it as a catalyst for change.

 

 

Remember, Time Saving Heroes offer a wide variety of content writing services as well as social media management. We’re happy to have a chat and give you tips on what you can do to improve your offering for your audience, so pick up the phone and give us a call on 0161 883 2024.

5 signs you’re using LinkedIn like Facebook

LinkedIn is, without doubt a fantastic business development, networking, educational and profile raising platform. Last time I checked, over 17m UK business professionals have a profile on the site. That’s a Hell of a lot of people for you to reach out to, engage with and maybe do business with.

Personally, the vast majority of our referrals come through LinkedIn, as we work with businesses and individuals up and down the country. We head here first thing for business news, to check up on contacts’ news and to see how we can help fellow group members.

Our Lu offers LinkedIn training, and as such knows a thing or two about using LinkedIn.  Like it or not, she gets to see the good and the bad of LinkedIn activities, and she’s decided she can’t keep her mouth shut any longer.

Caveat: Though we do offer LinkedIn training via Time Saving Heroes we are NOT trying to sell anything here.  Our sole purpose for writing and sharing this blog is to help people get the most from this potentially amazing platform, and ideally not look like they’ve just come from Facebook.  In the long run, it will hopefully make everyone else’s days just that little but happier when they are on LinkedIn!

#1 – A profile picture that won’t get you hired

When it comes to online interaction, what’s the most important and memorable brand asset you have at your disposal?  That’s right, your face!

If the image you’re using is a grainy selfie, holiday pic, a photo from a drunken night out or something from a family photo shoot you’re really not going to be making the best of impressions.

The same applies for avatars and pictures with someone else other than you in them. And let’s not get started on pets!

Get a profile picture of just your face, and nothing but the face.  OK, shoulders are allowed.

#2 – A professional headline that is anything but

Chief fixer? Director of customer love? Marketing extraordinaire? Social media guru? You are probably none of these things. Think about how it looks and how people search on LinkedIn.

When writing your headline, make sure you use a description that is both accurate and related to either the benefit you provide or your title within your company. Either way, this is guaranteed to return your profile in some searches.

Head of Beverage Operations, will not!

#3 – Shameless friend collecting

This is without doubt one of the biggest crimes on LinkedIn. You use one-click connect which sends generic messages rather than connecting through a person’s profile and personalising the message specifically for them.

Trust us, it’s a bad first impression. It says you can’t be bothered to take the time to genuinely reach out and connect.  It’s even worse if you’ve not been on their profile at all (and seriously, they’ll notice). Give people a reason to connect with you and start off on the right foot.

#4 – Not even really wanting to be friends

Once you’ve collected all these random connections, what do you actually do with them? Do you actively keep in touch? What do you do when you get a message from a contact about business? Do you tut, sigh and ignore them? Fly into a rant about people contacting you on LinkedIn to talk business opportunities?

How very dare they, indeed!

The whole point of networking is to make connections, NOT collect names. So change things around and start building relationships by having actual conversations with the people you asked to connect with.

#5 – Going all “selly sell” from the outset

If you send a message to someone the second they connect with you trying to sell something, then you’re spamming.  You might think it’s a warmer way to do it than cold calling, but it is absolutely no different.

It is far better to create rapport by asking questions, sharing content, joining the same group and showing your expertise. Once you’ve made contact via those methods, get in touch and start a discussion – it’s not all about you. In fact, in sales, it’s not about you at all!

Top 10 tips for Twitter content

A lot of our clients are brilliant on social media. In fact, some of them are killing it on Facebook. However, when it comes to Twitter, they tend not to do as well.  There’s something about that strict character limit, the inability to write longwinded paragraphs of explanation that put a lot of people off.

Whilst we get asked it of every platform, people seem particularly concerned by what they should be posting on Twitter.

So here are our top 10 tips for what you can share via your business Twitter page:

#1 – Your products

It goes without saying, we’d think, that you should be advertising your products on Twitter.  You can maximise exposure by using hashtags to link to relevant industries, or audiences you want to target.

Always try to use photos where you can to make a better impression and reach more people.

#2 – Motivational quotes

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so don’t take this as a given, but depending what you do, motivational and inspirational quotes can be great to share.  This is especially true if you work in a holistic, well-being, or coaching type of industry.

#3 – Company achievements

Entered a competition, won an award, just been given a new contract?  If something amazing has happened in the office, then talk about it and share it via Twitter.  Again, use photos where possible.

#4 – Industry news

Share things that are happening in your industry.  It’s a great way to showcase the fact that you have your finger on the pulse.

#5 – Share your opinion

Whilst sharing industry news, why not add your own opinion too?  Not only does this show you know what’s going on, but that you’re knowledgeable enough about it all to discuss it.  This helps place you as an expert in your area, and will increase your social proof and credibility.

#6 – Cross advertise

Just because you’re on Twitter doesn’t mean you can’t advertise your other social media accounts.  Why not share something from Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram?  It’s a great way to let people know they can follow you elsewhere if they want to – but try to keep your posts different for each platform so you don’t come across as spamming.

#7 – Tweet greets

Personally we love a Tweet greet, for example, “Good morning”, or “Happy Friday”.  There’s no reason why everything has to have a purpose other than being friendly.

#8 – Fun facts

Share information, stats, facts and fun tidbits of information that your audience might find useful.  Ideally these should relate to your services, products, business or industry.

#9 – Retweet

Not everything you share has to come directly from you.  If a customer mentions you, why not retweet their post?  Equally, why not RT things that other people are saying that might be useful to your audience?  Not everything is about competition.

#10 – Have a laugh

The whole point of social media is to make connections, and showcase your brand’s personality.  You can’t do that if all you’re sharing is the same sort of information about your products.  Why not spice things up a bit by adding in some jokes, funny pictures or anecdotes?  Brilliant if they can relate to your industry, but not the end of the world if they don’t.

 

 

If you want any help with getting to grips with Twitter, or coming up with a marketing strategy, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Time Saving Heroes. You can call us on 0161 883 2024, email hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk or just message us below.

Is Facebook going to be the new LinkedIn?

In case you’ve not heard, Facebook is reportedly testing out a brand new Resume/CV feature, suggesting that the social networking platform could soon be in direct competition with LinkedIn.

As things stand, you can already add your professional experience with your friends in the “Work and Education section”. However, the update which is currently being rolled out to select members, will see a revamped version of this.

Screenshots of the update suggest you will be able to include detailed summaries of your previous roles, as well as what you’re currently doing – and potentially what you’re looking for.

The good news is that this section will be separate from your personal profile, meaning only recruiters will be able to see it.  Equally, it means recruiters won’t have to sift through photos of your nights out, children or culinary masterpieces to ascertain if you’re right for the job.

We can’t help but wonder if it’s just another attempt to squeeze revenue from existing members – will you have to pay to access this function, and will recruiters have to have a separate membership to be able to access your CV’s?

There is no doubt that social recruiting is becoming a big thing, with more and more savvy recruiters thinking outside the box and talking to potential candidates away from traditional online forums.  However, the job is already hard enough without adding more potential pools to look through.

Personally, we’re more concerned that rather than differentiating, all platforms are becoming a little too same-old.  LinkedIn has already added SnapChat-style geofilters for events and conferences, and now Facebook is potentially breaking down further barriers.

As users, are we looking for a one-size fits all platform that can perform every function, or is it better to have specific channels to meet our specific needs?

 

Head over to our Facebook page and let us know what your thoughts are.

 

What to consider before you post that photo

Generally speaking I’m a pretty mild mannered individual; however, there are some things that really bug me. For example, the other day a Facebook friend I knew from my days as a playground Mum posted a photo of her daughter online. It was a great photo, and to be honest there was nothing wrong with it – apart from the comment she attached to it.

Essentially, she had asked her daughter for a photo, despite the fact said 8 year-old child wasn’t comfortable with it because of the outfit she was wearing. The daughter had agreed, apparently reluctantly, as long as the Mum didn’t share it on social media.

And yet, here I was, looking at the photo of an uncomfortable young girl, whose privacy had clearly been violated.

I won’t lie, it made me feel physically sick and really, really angry.

Then of course I calmed down, and realised it was an opportunity to blog – and that made me happy because I like feeling inspired (and getting on my soap box).

Everyone knows that when it comes to marketing, visual content sells. As social media marketing has taken an ever stronger hold more and more businesses are finding ways to reach out to their audiences and make a bigger impact.

If you sell a product, no matter what that is, there’s plenty of opportunity for you to take photos and create content around that. To make things more personable though, you may want to showcase images of your customers or clients using your products, or even pursuing your retail store.

However, there are legal ramifications involved in doing this, and it’s really important you think about the images you are taking, who they are of and what those peoples’ rights are, before you start sharing them as part of your online marketing strategy.

Admittedly there are laws that allow you to take photographs of people in public, but it’s important to realise these laws change when the person taking the photographs represents a business. Taking a photograph of a large crowd is one thing, but that’s unlikely to be an option for smaller businesses. This means that any photographs you take are going to be of people who are easily identifiable, and people may take exception to that.

I’ve said it before, and I will no doubt say it again, but what happens on social media stays on Google forever. You might post a picture of someone once, and whilst it will temporarily be on your timeline or appear in someone’s newsfeed, it will remain online forever. If you don’t have someone’s express permission, you could be in trouble.

What you need to think about it:

If you are taking photographs of people, and you want to use these as part of any marketing efforts, then you are using them for commercial purposes.

  • Reasonable expectations of privacy – even if someone is in public, if they are having what they believe is a private moment when you unexpectedly take their picture, you may not be able to use the generic public laws when it comes to photographs.
  • Consent – to avoid any confusion, it is always best to get people’s permission before you either take, or certainly use, photographs of them for any reason. In an ideal world, ask people to sign a consent form which you can keep as part of your ongoing records.

If you want to avoid any potential snags with customer photographs, there are some other options you can consider:

  • Why not set up a selfie board in store, and encourage your customers to come and have their photographs taken? You could enter them in to a prize draw so they could win something if they do.
  • Ask customers to send in photographs of them using your products on specific social media channels. Make sure they tag your account, and identify a specific # for them to use. This will help increase exposure as well.
  • If you want to avoid all legal pitfalls, why not just hire a photographer to take images of your products? You could even use images of your staff at work, and having a great time (as long as you have their permission first, of course).

 

Using #Hashtags for your business

Last week we took you on a whistle stop tour of the humble #hashtag and what it’s all about.  Hopefully it helped you realise why Twitter is a great way to promote your business, and this week we thought we’d go through the many different ways you can use #Hashtags to increase your reach.

Find and use relevant #hashtags for your industry

For example #FlightDeals #VirtualAssistant #ITGeek.  That way when users search those #hashtags your Tweets will come up.

Keep on top of trending #hashtags and use them where possible

This doesn’t mean just jumping on something because it’s hot, including an irrelevant but popular #hashtag in a Tweet about cheap flights is going to make you look like a spammer.  And NEVER jump on a tragedy to make a point, or promote a product.  Just don’t. Seriously.

Create your own

Remember, you can create your own #hashtags, which is a great way to promote a specific event, campaign or product.  For example, we created #TSHTips for when we share hints to make your life easier.

Create competition

Twitter users are more likely to retweet (RT) your #hashtags if they’re in with the chance of winning something, so why not set up a competition, raffle or contest?

Create some Twitter buzz by asking followers to mention a specific #Hashtag in their Tweets and reward them when they do.

Check your settings

Your hashtag’s visibility will depend on your privacy settings. If your Twitter account is private, only those you allow to see your Tweets will have access to your hashtags. If you are using hashtags to increase your brand’s exposure, make sure your Tweets are set to Public otherwise you’ll be missing out.

Be clear

If you’re using a hashtag to join a conversation, make sure the hashtag is specific and relevant to your topic. For example, if you’re talking about Obama’s health care plan, use #Obamacare instead of simply #Obama. A vague or generic hashtag like #health or #opinion isn’t effective either.

Keep it simple

Hashtags, like links, look like spam if they are used too often. While there’s no maximum limit to the number of hashtags you can use in a post, three really should be your lot on Facebook or Twitter.  Anything more and it can be difficult to read, and doesn’t give you much chance to add anything else to the conversation.

Don’t repeat yourself

Personally, there’s nothing worse than seeing someone use the same #hashtage more than once in the same Tweet.  Really, what on earth are you trying to achieve?

We love #Hashtags, #Hashtags are great.

No, just no.

 

Give context

So many people think a Tweet which just contains #Hashtags is enough to get a point across. It’s not.  Not only is it confusing, but it’s also really boring.

Why would you simply Tweet #happy?  What on earth does that mean?

Add context.

Equally, don’t just Tweet for the sake of Tweeting.  Make sure you are actually adding to the conversation, and not just appearing in search results.  For example, don’t just say Love #TheApprentice – no one cares.

Say something worth reading, or keep your mouth shut.

What’s the deal with #Hashtags?

When we talk to people about Twitter, one thing that comes up time and time again is the fact it’s just so damn confusing.

“All those hashtags – why can’t people just speak English?”

For many, the humble # makes text seem confusing; but the reality is it’s an integral part of how we communicate online these days.  As such, if you’re going to use Twitter on any meaningful level, you need to find out how to use them.

The basics

The purpose of a #hashtag is to turn any word (or string of words) into a searchable link.  Why’s that important, you may well ask (and again, many do).

Essentially it means you can organise your own content, and track specific topics of discussion based on those particular keywords.

Like cake?  Who doesn’t?  Type #cake in to the Twitter search bar and BOOM – everyone else’s Tweets about #cake will immediately appear in chronological order.

What can you include in a #hashtag?

The reality is you there is no pre-determined list of #hashtags.  Of course there are many that are popular, either trending temporarily, or sticking it out for the longhaul.  But if what you want doesn’t exist, you can simply create your own.

The key thing to remember is you can’t use spaces. If you do add a space, then the next character will form outside of the linkable #hashtag.  Even if you are using multiple words in the same #hashtag you MUST NOT use a space.

If you want to make your #hashtag easier to read, then consider using uppercase letters for the start of each word, for example #LuLovesShoes.

The good news is this won’t change your search results – #lulovesshoes would appear, regardless of capitalisation.

Numbers are supported, so tweet about #50ShadesOfGrey to your heart’s content. However, punctuation marks are not, so commas, fullstops, exclamation points, question marks and apostrophes are out. Forget about asterisks, ampersands or any other special characters.

Make yourself heard

How and why you use #hashtags will depend largely on what you’re trying to achieve, and also your style, tone and voice.

Lu likes to use her #hashtags as an aside, or to convey personality, humour (or more likely, sarcasm). Her current favourites include #SendCoffee #ShoeLove #ShoeGoals #MumOf5 #WhyGodWhy

 

The key to Twitter is getting involved.  Why not spend some time looking around, searching existing #hashtags and seeing what other people are doing?

 

Remember, we’re here to help – so if you need a crash course, or just have a quick question, don’t be afraid to get in touch. Drop us an email: hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk, call 0161 883 2024 or leave a comment.