Social Media Platforms: The Pros and Cons

If you follow our previous blogs, then I think I’ve made it pretty clear during this time that you’re unlikely to just randomly stumble on the perfect mix of social media channels and content – it is something that takes time and will require your attention.

That said, in true Time Saving Heroes style, I have pulled together some quick fire bits of information about various platforms to help you make your decision.

Facebook

Started in 2004 Facebook has the benefit of being a real powerhouse in the digital world. As a result they are a real leader when it comes to innovation and listening to their users. Incidentally, reports indicate there are 1.65 billion active users of Facebook per month, so there’s a good chance your audience will be logging on at some point.

Thanks to how long it’s been operating it’s likely that most people will have a personal account, which means it can be a great place for someone to launch their business presence from. Business pages operate in much the same way as personal pages, and are all pretty intuitive. New features and options are always being added, and you can now include live video and information on particular products and services.

However, over the years Facebook has become more of a pay-to-play space, with businesses being subjected to an increasingly complicated algorithm for generating reach. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on targeted ad’s or don’t want to constantly test out best posting times etc then Facebook may not be for you.

Equally, if your primary audience are teens or millennials, then you may find that they are starting to head elsewhere these days. Younger audience appear to be preferring to use Instagram and Snapchat instead.

Twitter

Slightly younger than Facebook, Twitter still has a wealth of experience and lots to offer. However, while it is growing as an ad platform, the algorithm timeline means you are likely to end up experiencing the same drop in reach as counterparts do on Facebook.

That said, it is a fantastic platform to use if you want to provide instant updates and keep people involved and up to speed with a particular event or product launch. The one drawback may be that user numbers are stalling compared to other networks, and those who are new to the platform don’t necessarily hang around.

Instagram

When you think of Instagram, you immediately think of photos – which makes it a fantastic place to go if you have a visually appealing product to sell. Great content can gain almost instant traction and huge levels of engagement, helping you to reach your audience.

However, as with other networks, algorithms are likely to have an impact on future performance, and increased advertising is sure to see organic posts falling when it comes to reach.

LinkedIn

The oldest social network site of the bunch, LinkedIn is the go to place for professionals, and entirely dominates this space. It is a fantastic place to make genuine business connections and seek out thought leaders in your industry.

However, low numbers of users are actually active (in comparison to other platforms), and as such you often need to post content multiple times to ensure it is seen. The down side is that LinkedIn can become very time consuming, though the rewards for genuine interaction and relationship building are undoubtedly worth it.

 

Pinterest

My personal problem with Pinterest is how addictive it is, but then, that is kind of the point. From a marketing perspective it is a great place to target women, even though it is starting to gain more traction with male audiences.

The ability to add a Buy Now button is fantastic for direct commerce, however, it is essential you have quality photographs of products, and may need to spend money on a commercial photographer. The site can also be a bit confusing at first, and does not lend itself well to those who want a quick-fire way of reaching people.

 

Snapchat

As mentioned previously, Snapchat is becoming increasingly popular with younger audiences, so if this is your target, you’d be daft not to consider this platform. However, it can take some getting used to and the downside is that it can be very hard to track the actual performance of snaps, so you’re never quite sure whether what you’re doing is working.

While content curators are moving in to this space, and will continue to do so, it’s fair to say that Snapchat does still have quite the reputation for being a sexting app.

How much is your time worth?

Here at Time Saving Heroes we provide a variety of different services, but they all boil down to one end goal – to save you, our client, time.

As a business owner you will be only too well aware that time is money, but precisely how much is your time worth?

£25 per hour? £50 per hour? £100 per hour?

Everyone is different, and much will depend on the nature of the work you do and the expertise you bring to the table – but we should all know how much we’re worth on an individual basis to our business.

No matter what you are worth in monetary terms, are you the only person that can bring in that revenue? If you are a sole trader, then clearly, the answer is “yes”. Even if there are other members of your team, perhaps you are the only one that secure the high-end fees. Perhaps you are the only person that generates new income and revenue streams because no one understands the business the way you do – it is, after all, your baby.

It begs the question then why you would waste your time doing tasks that other people could do. Perhaps you don’t see it as wasted, they are no doubt tasks that need to be completed to ensure the proper running of your business – but do you need to be the one who does it?

Have you stopped to consider that for some tasks it would be far more beneficial, financially, to pay someone to do them instead?

Consider the case of Bob (a real client, but not his real name).

Bob is a tiler and, on average, earns £250 per day. He’s very good at what he does, in fact, many regard him as an “artist”. Only Bob can do the physical work that his clients pay him for. Bob’s average day is no longer than six hours. He therefore earns £41.67 per hour.

However, Bob also does all the admin for his business. He dedicates every Monday to answering emails, writing up quotes, sending invoices and doing his bookkeeping. Bob has no real admin experience, is not confident with computers and spends 10 hours every Monday just trying to run his “office”. He admits himself it’s not his forte, and because things are completely ignored Tuesday-Sunday, by the time Monday comes around again it’s a bit of a mess.

Within a week of working with Bob we were able to streamline a lot of his processes and we now only bill him for one hour a week to complete all his admin needs. Yes, this costs him £100pm but in exchange he has now saved himself 10 hours per week – which he has turned in to time he can complete more work. As a result, he can now charge an additional £250 per week, which is a whopping £1,000 per month of extra income (or £900pm if you deduct our fee).

By using Time Saving Heroes he has earnt an additional £900pm! Now, that’s what we call return on investment.

Of course, not everyone is in that position, and we are not suggesting for one second we can produce the same results for all our clients; however, the principal remains the same. By reducing the time you are wasting on things that you can outsource, that we can probably do more efficiently than you because this is our area of expertise, you can dedicate more time to your area of expertise.

Why not give us a call today on 0161 883 2024 to find out how we can help you be more efficient, and make more money?

Your call is important to us – or is it?

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of calling a large company or call centre, you are likely to have been exposed to the joys of the automated system.  The pre-recorded voice asking you to select the correct option (many of which never really make sense) and assuring you, every 30 seconds, that your call is important to them.

 

In an ideal world you might hope that your call would be answered immediately, by a cheerful and helpful real live human being. However, with a large organisation experiencing a high volume of calls, that’s not realistic and most of us accept that.

 

Which is why the small business has an advantage.  Your phones aren’t going to be ringing off the hook, you’re not going to have an automated system, or a queue of frustrated people waiting to speak to you.  You should be able to deliver immediate customer service, answers and resolutions the second your customer needs it.

 

Yet, so many small businesses fail to do that, because they don’t have an effective call answering system.

 

Yes, it should be simple; you have a phone, doesn’t matter if it’s landline or mobile, someone calls, you answer.  Job done.

 

Why then, when we phone sole traders and SMEs do so many calls go unanswered?  You ring, no one’s there. If you’re lucky, maybe there’s a voicemail facility – but do you leave a message?  The reality is few people do.  When they do, statistics (and our own personal experiences) show that very few of these are ever returned.

 

The problem is that if you’re a sole trader, you’re having to wear many hats.  You’ve got to answer the calls, do the customer service, chase down leads, do the marketing, balance the books, keep an eye on stock levels, and do the actual work your customers need.

 

Sometimes you’re so busy you don’t have time to make phone calls – even though doing so will help ensure the next lot of revenue for your business.  Really, when you think about it, it’s daft; however, it happens, and it’s perfectly understandable.

 

It even makes sense.

 

What doesn’t make sense though is recognising it’s an issue, and then doing nothing about it.  Why would you continue to miss calls, and risk missing out on customers and income, when all you have to do is get in touch with us?

 

A quick call to Time Saving Heroes and we can have your calls diverted to one of our receptionists, who will answer them as though they work in your business.  Never miss another call again, provide your customers with a fantastic experience, and increase satisfaction and profits.

 

Call us today on 0161 883 2024 or email lu@timesavingheroes.co.uk for more information.

Sections you might not have thought about including on your CV

There are many sections in a CV that most people would expect to see as standard.  For example, the personal statement, skills, career history and education/qualifications.

 

However, the reality is your CV is your opportunity to shine, and demonstrate why you are the best fit for the job you are applying for.  What you include is therefore entirely your choice.  The only thing that really matters is that it’s relevant, and demonstrates why you, at the very least, deserve to be invited for an interview.

 

What other headings could you include if you wanted to?

 

Languages

 

If you speak more than one language, you might want to include a separate section dedicated to outlining your skills in this area, rather than merely listing it under a skill.

 

You could explain, in a few sentenced, what level your knowledge and understanding is at, whether you have used it during your previous employment, and how you think it might benefit your potential employer.

 

Awards

 

Many people think that awards won during previous employment, certainly those that are awarded to whole teams, are irrelevant.  Whilst it’s true they’re not a full reflection on your ability alone, they do demonstrate that a team you worked in has achieved great things.

 

Explain what was awarded, when and by which organisation/body.  If you have space explain, briefly, how you contributed to the winning team.

 

IT Skills

 

Depending on your experience and the position you’re applying for, you might want to include a separate section on IT skills alone.  Are you a whizz at PowerPoint, know everything there is to know about Excel and Pivot Tables?

 

Try to only list things that would be relevant in the role you are applying for, so don’t list a host of web developing software you can use if this is never going to come up.

 

Professional development

 

Many people choose to study in their own time, and with the likes of online courses from Udemy, many of these aren’t necessary accredited, or result in a specific qualification.

 

However, it does all count.  Demonstrating that you are essentially self-taught in a particular field that will add benefit to your future employer, is never a bad thing.  Showing that you take in an interest in life-long learning, and have specific areas you are passionate about will stand you in good stead.

 

Voluntary work

 

Many people don’t think voluntary work should go on CV because it doesn’t form part of the “career”. However, it all comes under experience, and you are bound to have learnt something in every position you have undertaken, whether it is paid or not.

 

Talk about what you have done, what skills you developed or gained, and why you felt passionately about that particular cause to want to volunteer your time to support them.

 

 

Don’t forget, Time Saving Heroes offer CV reviews to help you get on the right track with your CV, as well a full CV writing and Cover Letter service.

 

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you make the best possible first impression, give us a call on 0161 883 2024, contact us via Facebook or Twitter, or drop us an email at hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk

What is the Twitter banner, and why is the landing page important?

Your Twitter banner, or header photo, is the first thing visitors will notice when they first click on your profile. When you send a Tweet other users will only see your profile image, but if they want to find out more about you, they’re likely to visit your profile – and they will see your header photo before anything else.

As a result, it’s important you give this aspect of your profile some careful consideration and don’t just leave it blank, or whack anything in there in the hopes that it will do.

When trying to decide what your header should look like, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How do I want to be perceived? What are my values?
  2. What do I want to communicate through my design? Am I trying to sell or attract?
  3. What are my key visual elements? What are your brand colours, logos or iconic products people should associate with you?

Your Twitter header needs to represent you or your brand, but it also needs to be striking to catch people’s attention.

Let’s have a look at this header photo by Starbucks.

image-4-starbucks-header

When you land on their profile you clearly see their logo as their profile photo, but the cover image also shows precisely what they’re selling, and is branded again with their logo on the cups. It does everything you need it to, and they update it on a regular basis – which is even better as it doesn’t get boring.

Here at Time Saving Heroes we offer cover image designs for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, so if you aren’t making the right first impression just yet, we’re on hand to help you.

Give us a call on 0161 883 2024 or email hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk to find out more.

 

Where are your customers?

When I start working with a new client on their social media one of the things I ask during my fact find is “what platforms do your customers use”. Usually I’m given one of two answers:

1.      I don’t know

2.      All of them

Depending on the mood I’m in I might start asking how many of their customers use QQ, We Chat, Baidu Tieba, Viber, Kiwibox or Skyrock. If I’ve had coffee and am therefore slightly less sarcastic, I may just explain that “all of them” does not simply mean Facebook or Twitter.

In fact, there are so many social networking sites it’s impossible to really keep a handle on a comprehensive list of what’s available. “All of them” is never a realistic answer.

With that in mind then, I ask again, where are your customers when are they online? Chances are you won’t know the actual answer (unless you are stalking them) but you can take an educated guess.

Facebook remains the most popular platform, closely followed by YouTube, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Some people may have accounts on a variety of different networks, but most will favour just one or two. Personally I live on Facebook (to keep in touch with friends and share sarcastic posts) and Pinterest (great for Home Ed ideas and knitting projects). Professionally I prefer Twitter and LinkedIn because it allows me to share information quickly, and interact with others who have similar interests.

When it comes to deciding where you should focus your attention you need to think about what you have to offer, and what interactions you are looking for. If you’re a handyman is it worth posting videos showcasing your skills or offering top tips for simple DIY? If so, YouTube could be a great channel for you, followed by Facebook so you can share your videos.

I used to do a lot of work with a wool shop in Devon who started posting simple video tutorials on YouTube for basic knitting patterns. Knitting newbies would see the video, get inspiration and then be directed to their online shop to purchase the materials they needed. Sales went through the roof.

If you sell products that are visually pleasing then Pinterest may seem like the most logical choice; however, the audience for this site still has a huge US bias, which is great, as long as you can ship there. It might well be that Instagram is a better option instead.

Do you want people to like and share your content, or do you want them to interact? Do you want to start conversations and debates, sharing information and knowledge, or do you want people to passively digest your message? Again, a lot of this will come back to how much time you have.

These are all things to think about before just jumping in to a particular platform because everyone else is there.

Why you should outsource your Inbox

We all know that a VA is thereto hep you become more productive, and will stop you from feeling overwhelmed.  But how exactly do they do that?  What tasks can they perform to make your business life run more smoothly?

Of course the answer to that isn’t entirely simple. A lot will depend on what you do, how good you are at delegating and letting go of control, and what your VA specialises in. Some VA’s have a varied skill set as many will be time served PA’s, others may focus on specific areas.

However, one thing your VA should be able to do is handle your emails.

Now, hear me out. I know there’s a huge part of you (if not the whole part of you) that is visibly recoiling at the thought of handing your inbox over to someone else, someone who may, in all reality, be a perfect stranger, but ssssh my pretty.

Take a deep breath and carry on reading.

According to an O2 Business report published in 2015 the average worker sends 4,000 emails per year. Working on the basis there’s 365 days in a year, 105 of which fall on weekends, eight of which are public holidays and 28 are owed as personal holidays, that average worker only actually works 224 days a year. That is assuming they are never ill or have to take a personal day.

That means, on average, they are sending 17 emails a day. It might not seem like a lot, but assuming each email takes a minimum of five minutes to compose and send (which, in all honesty, is unlikely), that’s one hour and 29 minutes per day just sending emails.

Or, to put it another way 19,936 minutes per year, which is also known as 332 hours or 13 days.

That’s 13 days a year lost in email responses alone. And that’s assuming they’re quick and easy responses in the first place, or you’re a fast typer.

Apparently we receive even more than we send – 6,000 on average per year. You can do the math on that one.

The point is emails can be hugely time consuming, and a lot of them are utterly pointless. There is no legitimate reason that the task of dealing with them can’t be outsourced to a VA. Other than you perhaps find it a little alien and difficult to relinquish control.

Think about the emails you receive on a day to day basis. How many of them ask for the same sort of information? Could you set up template responses to send back a quick-fire response, or direct enquirers to a particular page on your website? How many are junk, forwarded from mailing lists you subscribed to years ago? If you’re not getting the benefit from them or the information you once thought you were, cut the clutter and unsubscribe immediately. How many group emails are you included in, that keep you tied up in a long thread that really has little or nothing to do with you?

These are just some examples, but it’s very easy for a VA to sift through the rubbish, reply to the standard requests and leave you only with the actual things that require your attention specifically.

Why not spend the rest of this week keeping a note of how much time you’re spending on your work emails? What could you achieve if you were a bit more precious with your time than you were with your inbox?

Find out how Time Saving Heroes can help – call 0161 883 2024, email lu@timesavingheroes.co.uk or get in touch with Lu via LinkedIn.