Pop the Champagne! We’re 6 Years Old!

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If you would have asked my 23-year-old self if I thought I would be 29 and running a business, I would have laughed. If you had asked if I thought I would be 29 and celebrating 6 years in business, I would have thought you were lying.

I was 23 in 2011 and found myself laid off from a failing company and wondering what I would do. I knew I didn’t want to collect unemployment, and that I wanted to go back to school for my masters. My dad suggested that I start my own company and work for a few people on the side while I go to school, and that idea stuck with me.

I got laid off on Friday, and filed On-Word Marketing with the MN Secretary of State on Monday. I began working for a few companies I already had connections with, and started studying for the GRE. Over the next few months I took the GRE and was accepted to Bethel University’s Masters of Communication program.

The next year and half were a haze of highlighter ink, thesis research, and social media seminars, until finally, in October of 2013, I graduated from Bethel with a Master’s Degree in Communication. While all of my classmates were wondering what they would do with their new degree, I turned my attention to my company and began devoting all of my time to growing my business.

What I started in April 2011 as a way to earn a little bit of income while going to school, was now a full-time job. I never set out to be a business owner, but 6 years later that’s exactly where I find myself.

I am very fortunate to have found success in this venture. I’ve learned more than I ever thought possible, grown as a person, and met some incredibly talented people. I have had the opportunity to help some truly wonderful companies, and I am looking forward to helping even more companies with their social media presence.

So today I pop the champagne and celebrate all the clients, family, and friends, because without you, none of this would be possible. Thank you.

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Why I Won’t Be Responding

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I’ve been working from home for 5 years and it seems as though it’s becoming increasingly more common to have work e-mails pour in around 7,8, or 9:00 at night. I used to spend my evenings checking those e-mails, and responding as soon as possible. That meant that between responding to e-mails, and monitoring social media sites, I was working 100% of the time, and to be honest I was exhausted. I was sick of not having a boundary between my home life and work life, so recently I decided not to look at or respond to e-mails or work phone calls until the morning.

Now I know what some of you are thinking; It doesn’t take a ton of time to check your e-mail to see if something important happened and needs responding to. And to you I say, “But why? 99.9% of those e-mails are not time sensitive and can wait until the morning for a response.”

In the past, I’ve had clients who don’t respect my personal time and instead of contacting me during normal business hours, they chose to contact me on nights and weekends. Because of this, I made the decision to treat my e-mail and business phone like an office. After 5 and on the weekends, I am unavailable. Sure if I get a phone call and a voicemail I’ll listen to it, but if it’s not important I’m not going to call back until the next day. I truly don’t believe that just because we have the technology to work from wherever that we should be expecting an immediate response from an e-mail sent at 9:00 p.m.

As a person who works from home and already has trouble distinguishing home life from work life, this is the line I’ve drawn. I know not everyone may agree with this, but it’s the decision I made in order to allow myself to completely relax and enjoy my nights and weekends.

So to all those work from home-ers, I say, “After 5:00 go relax, and have a glass of wine. That e-mail or phone call will be there in the morning.”

 

What do you think? Am I living in the past or is this something more people should be doing? Let me know in the comment section below!

Business New Year’s Resolutions

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New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for personal use. Companies always take the time to look over their marketing strategy and then ask themselves, “Am I doing everything to help my customers?” as well as, “Are my marketing strategies working?”

This year we at On-Word Marketing have 2 resolutions that will be put into play for 2016!

1. Revamp social media networks

  • Use it to better understand clients
  • Add more content from other blogs
  • Ask readers some questions
  • Showcase a little more about our company On-Word Marketing
  • Actually use them. All too often we get wrapped up in doing social media for clients that we forget to work on our own.

**Join us in the discussions!

On-Word Marketing’s Facebook

On-Word Marketing’s Twitter

On-Word Marketing’s Pinterest

2. Experiment with theblognextdoor.com

This year On-Word Marketing is deciding to focus on this blog and how it is helping the readers. We’ve recently heard from a few people that they would like to maybe hear a podcast or two.

We also want to have a few guest writers on here from other industries to get their opinion about using social media and how they have seen success. (If you’re interested in writing a guest piece send us an e-mail at shannon@on-wordmarketing.com )

There will be a few more changes but we hope that you’ll stay tuned to see what they are. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact us!

We’d also love to hear what your business resolutions for 2016 are. Leave them in the comment section below or any of our social media sites!

Happy 2016!

Using SEO to Improve Your Rankings

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Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a tool that helps search engines such as Google or Bing find your site and bring it to people who are trying to find your site. The steps below should help you start to improve your search engine ranking while allowing you to understand how your customers are attempting to find your business.

  1. Do your research– Use sites such as Google Keywords (http://bit.ly/116mpfn) to research what words people are using to find your product
  2. Seamlessly integrate keywords into your web copy– No one wants to read a post that has the same 5 words repeated over and over again. When you’re writing your copy, make sure it flows while still using your keywords
  3. Include search terms in the title of your post– When Google spiders the web it will read the title first. If you add the terms into the title as well as the body of the post Google will pick up on your website faster and you will see more targeted results.
  4. Link your keywords to other postings on your website– Google puts a substantial amount of importance on linking. If your website uses relevant keywords, Google will notice. (Just don’t go too overboard. Over linking will not only make your human viewers slightly aggravated because they could potentially keep clicking off your post, but Google will penalize you for over linking.)
  5. Use SEO in your social postings– Google shows Twitter updates in its search results. Including keywords in your updates will gain exposure even when users aren’t searching social media sites.

SEO is constantly changing and improving. It’s a tool that is so important for any business owner or copy writer to know. With this foundation, you’ll be able to improve your search engine rankings and bring more traffic to your site.

image courtesy of searchengineland.com

What Is This 9-5 You Speak Of?

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The funny thing about working in social media is that you can try to set all the hours you want but just because you’ve finished all your work doesn’t mean a question or comment won’t show up that will need an immediate response. Social networks don’t operate on a 9-5 and if you aren’t around answering questions on a Friday night, your customer base might get a little frustrated.

Clients are no different. It could be 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning and a client could call and want something posted. Clients and social media fans don’t care that you have decided to take the day off; they will call you or post on your site if they need something and you have to be there to answer it no matter what time of the day it is.

What this all means is that if you’re working in social media, you can say goodbye to the 9-5.

The plus side of not working 9-5 is that if on a Tuesday and you have finished your work by 2, you can be done… well at least until the next comment comes in.

One of the Guys

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This week I’ve had the pleasure of working with a few different sports teams. The only problem is that when working with their representatives, the topic of sports tends to come up. While this would be fine for an athletics aficionado, being the occasional spectator that I am, I often end up lost in the chatter. When terms like “spring training,” “ERA,” and “all-star voting”  start floating around, a distinctive glaze forms over my eyes.

I have noticed this happening in several meetings over the last week. The topic isn’t always sports – conversations about deck building, car repair, and other traditionally masculine subjects have a similar effect–and when I have little to contribute, my attentiveness wanes.

Knowing about this possibility, I usually prep for meetings by brushing up on my manly topics, drinking a beer and grunting… Ok the last two are made up, but sometimes it feels that way.

I have found that if I am able to contribute to the small talk that occurs before a meeting, it increases my credibility. I think this is a part of working in any male-heavy workplace; being able to act like one of the guys can help you improve the comfort level of a meeting, and can show that you have the knowledge and style to effectively promote their company. Plus it never hurts to learn a little bit about something you had never thought about before.

This is also part of being young in the business world, where youth isn’t always fully accepted. You have to take some time to prove that you can roll with the best of them. After doing so, you can introduce new marketing techniques to an audience that has already accepted you. After all, half of selling a product is selling yourself. If that means brushing up on sports terms, count me in.

Do you find yourself needing to learn about topics not directly related to the company you are talking to before having a meeting?

Is LinkedIn the Facebook for Business’?

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Lately I’ve been noticing that the types of postings people are putting on LinkedIn seem to be more personal and include parts of their work life. What initially made me realize this was because I saw people checking in to their work or work functions on Foursquare and posting the check in on their LinkedIn page.

LinkedIn is a place where businesses can communicate in the same way two friends can communicate with each other on Facebook. They can search for employees just as a person can search for friends on Facebook, companies can let followers know about awards they have recently received, and post company blogs.

It’s postings like this that make me wonder; is LinkedIn is the Facebook of businesses? Let’s examine some similarities:

Searching For a Person

Let’s say, for instance, that a person is going on a blind date but they want to know what the person looks like before meeting up with them. What might they do? Look the person up on Facebook. The same is true if an employer wants to know more about a person coming in to interview with the company. The employer can look up the potential employee on LinkedIn in order to get a better idea of their work history or to know what the person looks like so they can recognize them once the person arrives.

Boasting About Achievements

On Facebook people post about a lottery ticket they won, the amazing day they are having or a new running time. Facebook gives people a chance to write about their personal accomplishments.  LinkedIn allows businesses to write about an award their company just won, what magazine they were just featured in or the review a well-known person made about their company. Both spaces allow for a little bit of boastfulness.

Blogging

Facebook statuses are littered with people writing about their day or posting a link to their blog to let their followers know what’s going on in their world. LinkedIn allows businesses to do the same thing. A company can post a status about what their company has been up to, upload photos from a recent work outing, or post a link to their blog to show that they are knowledgeable in their field.

Endorsing a person is even similar to liking someone’s post on Facebook.

 

These are just some of the similarities I’ve been noticing. So what do you think? Is LinkedIn slowly becoming the Businesses Facebook Page? Is that a bad thing or was it just a matter of time?