5 Social Media Trends to “Hop on Top” of in 2018

Note:  This post contains affiliate links.  This means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided.  You will never see me post a link to a product or service that I don’t use myself or truly love!

Now is the time to start building your social media strategy for 2018, or at least keep in mind that these trends will be the main focus that you should “hop on top” of for 2018.  The number one marketing tip is to promote your business where your target audience spends the most time.  Knowing your target demographic (or Avatar) on social media is a powerful marketing tool.

I have created a numbered list of the strategies I feel will be most important in incorporating these into your 2018 social media plans.

Here are the 5 Social Media Trends to know for 2018:

1.  Increasing popularity of Instagram Stories.

This is brand new and businesses haven’t jumped on the IG (Instagram) stories advertising yet.  Entrepreneur.com states that 200 million use Instagram stories each month and it’s only one year old.  IG stories was introduced in August, 2016 and is catching on quick.  I have outlined some basic tools you will need in order to perfect your Instagram game below in #4.

2.  Increasing brand participation in messaging platforms.

Chatbots will enable brands to personalize shopping experiences on messaging platforms like Messenger, WhatsApp and KiK.

Using chatbots to provide customer service, receipts, and special offers to customers has really gained momentum in 2017. Customers want (and expect) immediate answers to their questions, chatbots are an ideal solution – especially when they’re used through Facebook Messenger. Chatbots allow brands to interact quickly with customers in a way that feels personal and they get immediate gratification with quick answers.

3.  Re-thinking Twitter.

Twitter just changed their 140 character limit to 280 characters.  How does that affect your social media strategy in 2018?  Think about how much more you can describe your products and use more hashtags for promotion.  Don’t forget though, that a longer tweet takes up room on a feed and the population isn’t quite on board yet with bigger real estate taking up their feeds.  You have to do this strategically and test out a few 280 character tweets and see how well they are received.  Let me know in the comments how this works out for your business!

4.  Live streaming videos on Instagram Live and Facebook Live should be in your monthly content plan.

In 2018, more brands will begin to realize the power of live streaming and will incorporate it into their social media strategies.  Please think about adding a monthly or weekly live video to your strategy.  Use a nice background and purchase stabilizing equipment for your phone and you might need to purchase extra lighting equipment that is not too expensive.  I have checked these products out and here is what I recommend:

  1. Emart Photo Video Studio (for backdrop)
  2. Movo PM10 Deluxe Lavalier Lapel Clip-on Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone for Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android Smartphones (for better sound during a live feed)
  3. Demetory Ring Fill Light Rechargable for iPhone 6s Plus/6s, iPad, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge/S6, Galaxy Note 5, Blackberry, Sony Xperia, Motorola and All the Smart Phones (Pearl White) (for on-the-go live broadcasts)
  4. Acuvar 50″ Inch Aluminum Camera Tripod and Universal Smartphone Mount This is to keep your smartphone stabilized during a Facebook Live or a Webinar

All of the previous products are what I will be using in my studio for live feeds.  They are inexpensive and under $50.00.  You don’t have to break the bank!!

In addition, back in March of 2017, we were given the ability to record live video on Instagram to be repurposed for future posts.  This is a valuable time saver when it comes to saving a live post for future reference.  Videos have been shown to elicit higher engagement, including more likes, retweets, comments and shares – especially on Facebook. And with new live streaming formats cropping up every day on most social channels, there are many options for integrating video into your existing social media marketing strategy.

5.  Influencer marketing is still going strong

This idea was found at business2community.com and authored by Vivian Michaels.  I really liked the statistics and it helped me understand how important influencer marketing will be in 2018.

It’s about time to do social media outreach, find a suitable influencer for your business, and step into the future of marketing. In 2018, influencers are set to take over social media as more companies, both big and small, are realizing the importance of this marketing strategy as a form of noninvasive product/service promotion.

Not sure whether you should try influencer marketing? A few key statistics will help you make the right decision:

  • 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencer opinions more than “regular” celebrities
  • 86% of women turn to social media before making a purchase
  • 32% of US-based influencers say Facebook is the best platform while 24% think Instagram is the best
  • 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a reference from social media

In 2018, it won’t be enough to establish a collaboration with some random influencer especially now when this marketing strategy has become mainstream. Instead, the focus will be on building meaningful relationships with influencers, setting clear objectives, and choosing a person who meets your requirements.

Conclusion

2018 is almost here, and it’s time to reconsider our social media approach to maximize marketing results. Next year, we can expect to see major changes on many platforms to enhance user experience and appeal to the younger population.

Leave a comment with any other ideas you may have below!

Avoiding Overwhelm And Maximizing Efficiency In Your Business

Avoiding Overwhelm And Maximizing Efficiency In Your Business

Avoid Overwhelm and Maximizing efficiency in your business

As an entrepreneur, you probably find yourself juggling all sorts of tasks, often with shifting priorities. You may get to the end of your working day and question whether you've made any progress, or achieved anything! This can feel frustrating and sometimes overwhelming, to say the least. Here are some tips to help beat overwhelm and achieve efficiency...

#1 Know How You Spend Your Time

Wasted time is the crux of inefficiency, and this often occurs due to procrastination, succumbing to distractions or inefficient working practices. The first step to becoming more efficient is to understand how you spend your time. This can be analysed quite easily, by tracking the time you spend on tasks and between tasks, either by hand or with a time-tracking app such as Toggl or RescueTime. This simple exercise can also be performed by your team and will help you discover where time is wasted in your business and where improvements need to be made.

#2 Processes

Documented processes across many areas of your business will help increase efficiency, as this saves you and your team 're-inventing the wheel' each time you complete a task. For example, ensuring customer-facing processes are in place, such as customer on-boarding and after-sales care, will vastly improve efficiency as you're able to follow procedure, and use defined templates rather than spend time thinking through and implementing your actions and responses each time, so all that's necessary is to quickly customize, where necessary.

#3 Tools

Readily available online software will massively improve the day-to-day operational efficiency of key areas of your business. There are tools that streamline many business areas, for example customer support, project management, accounts, payments and team communication.

#4 Prioritize Your To-Dos

Focus is in, and multitasking is out! Trying to do too much will just cause you to get stressed out and feel overwhelmed and in an overall sense, lead you to achieve very little. You need to work with your priorities and focus on the most important tasks. Take a look at your to-do list and pick three main tasks to achieve each day. You're likely to get more done in this manner, as it's less overwhelming and it's then a bonus if you manage to complete more.

Another very simple yet effective habit is to plan your to-do's for the next day, as the last task you do each working day. This means you set your intention and awake with a firm plan for the day ahead.

#5 Break It Down

People often reach overwhelm and become inefficient when faced with a large task. However, breaking the task down into smaller achievable steps makes everything more manageable and helps you strategize and see your direction clearly, which can increase your motivation in a big way 🙂

#6 Embrace Change

If the method chosen to complete a task continues to achieve the required outcome, oftentimes people resist changing it. However, if the same outcome can be achieved with considerably less effort, in a fraction of the time, therefore making you much more efficient... change should be encouraged!

#7 Delegate to Your Virtual Assistant

Many entrepreneurs find delegation challenging, because at some point they've carried out all the roles. But, you need to let go - for the sake of your business, for team retention and to allow you and your business to grow!

As a proactive resource dedicated to supporting your business with the exact level of service you require, you can be ultra-confident that your VA will take on individual tasks, projects or entire roles as necessary to improve your business operations, increase efficiency and help you grow your business.  I know a few great Virtual Assistants and would be happy to recommend one to you!

#8 Hire a Professional Social Media Manager

There is a difference between a VA and a Social Media Manager (#smm).  A Social Media Manager evaluates your current online presence and then creates a strategy for your business to gain more outreach on all your social media platforms.  She/He curates pictures, posts, news, and how-to tips directly related to your business service or product and posts them for your business at high traffic times which are different for each platform.

Contact The Coffee Break Executive today to improve the efficiency in your business, dramatically.

Social Media Tips

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FREE Social Media Cheat Sheet

FREE Social Media Cheat Sheet

To do list

With one in three small businesses using social media, it’s no longer enough to just have a website. A small business MUST have a social media presence too!

Don’t know where to start? This Social Media Cheat Sheet will help you navigate the major social media sites on the web.

 

Social Media Cheat Sheet

 

There are a lot of ways to get noticed using Social Media for your business! Here is a cheat sheet with all the information in one place for you!

These are PROS to each of these major sites:

Twitter – has the ability to quickly respond to customers and clients
Facebook – great for brand exposure and customer relations
YouTube – one of the best venues to build your brand through video blogs and tutorials
Google + – easy way to interact with clients and customers. Can be integrated with other Google applications.
Tumblr – great platform to share content and links with a younger demographic of bloggers
Digg – gives brands the opportunity to gain a large amount of exposure.

Reading this may seem daunting and overwhelming at first, but The Coffee Break Executive can help you post and manage your blogs and social media!

A Social Media Manager can manage your business social media and update blog posts for your company. There are many other services to help free up your time so that you can manage your business and make more money! See Prices page.

Your business needs to be seen on at least these two social media sites right away!

6 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Strive For Efficiency

6 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Strive For Efficiency

Efficiency is often talked about in the business world, at all levels of commerce from large to small. It's even seen as one of the most important factors in business - as the more efficient you are, the more productive you are... and this directly influences profits.

Focusing your efforts allows you to achieve as much as possible, in the shortest amount of time and with the least amount of exertion. Yet, oftentimes entrepreneurs find they're not operating efficiently and need to revise their approach to key business areas. Here are six reasons why entrepreneurs should strive for efficiency in every facet of their business operations:

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#1 Remain Competitive

If you're efficient then you're capable of completing more work than your competitors in the same timeframe. Subsequently, you increase your immediate income, but also gain a greater number of customers - who then become repeat business and also refer potential customers to you, rather than your competitors.

#2 Improve Customer Experience

An efficient business creates a smooth customer experience, where all contact with the customer follows a pre-defined process, adheres to standards in company communication, and meets expected response times. This leads to a marked improvement in each customer's experience of dealing with your company, and encourages them to remain loyal customers and refer your business to others.

#3 Reduce Costs

Efficiency reduces costs by ensuring each team member is organised with all the tools and information at hand, so they can complete their tasks properly and minimise any time wasted or unnecessary costs, such as overtime on staff wages, ineffective systems, petrol, unproductive meetings and so on.

#4 Increase Income

The reasons already outlined of completing more work through remaining competitive, securing loyal customers through improved customer experience and reducing costs through efficiency savings all lead to an increase in income. However, the ability to increase income escalates when efficiencies free up more of your time, which can then be spent focussing on income generating tasks.

#5 Achieve Goals

Efficiency will help you achieve more of your goals (and provide you with more time to clarify your goals to start with), not only because you have more time available to devote to progressing them, but because you'll be more focussed in your actions. Further to this, as you reach your goals you'll feel a greater sense of achievement and this additional motivation will spur you on to achieve ever more.

#6 Business Growth

All of the reasons mentioned ultimately add to the growth of your business, which nicely demonstrates the wide-reaching effect and overarching importance of striving for efficiency in your business.

business meeting

Delegation Is Essential

Successful entrepreneurs accept that efficiency is crucial in business and know they cannot work in isolation or complete everything themselves. They know that if they're going to generate momentum in their business and achieve their required outcomes they absolutely must ensure they can delegate efficiently to an experienced, trusted and professional team.

Your Perfect Strategic Partner

A virtual assistant is the perfect strategic partner for the ambitious entrepreneur. VAs are naturally efficient people... being drawn to organize, they're professional business support specialists who have an extremely positive effect on efficiency, and therefore the ultimate growth and profitability of your business too.

Virtual assistants are able to streamline a multitude of tasks and processes across your business. Some are even able to take on entire roles such as social media manager, or whole departments, for example your marketing department. This frees up a colossal amount of your time, allowing you to focus intensively on generating more income and growing your business.

Are you ready to realize the awesome effects of delegation and the 'efficiency power' your virtual assistant and/or social media manager brings to the table?

Fill out your name and email and SIGNUP for my Newsletter to keep up to date with social media business tips!  Newsletter signup is below!

 

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This Paralegal enjoys helping people.  I really do!

This Paralegal enjoys helping people. I really do!

Meeting with clients and hearing their stories.

Why this paralegal enjoys seeing you flourish

It happens to me all the time. I care about my clients. When I interact with clients and future clients, I seem to have such a friendly, yet business-like manner that projects back to them in a positive way. I build trust by just genuinely listening to what they have to say.  This is so important with business relationships and potential clients. Treat others as you would like to be treated has been my mantra all of my life.  I have had many positive interactions and have observed what my positive influence can do for them.  This paralegal really does care!

I’ve noticed this response happen within the last 10 years. My personality shines through with every new person I meet.  When I am hired for a project and work hand in hand with the business owner or non-profits, that’s where a wonderful business friendship begins. 

How we both win

I’m thankful I have this type of personality and I can attribute this to working with many paralegals over the past 30 years. Paralegals are more than helpful when it comes to assisting another paralegal when asked for help or advice. Even if the paralegal works for the adversary?? Yes! Did you ever hear of “the gatekeeper”? Well, if you are pleasant, polite and helpful during your phone call to another paralegal, trust me, that will get you past the “gatekeeper” who has refused your call or help in the past. In my opinion, it seems like paralegals have their own unwritten rule to help each other out whenever asked. It’s like an elite society! Lol

Build Trust and Create Friendships

Why caring about your clients is useful.  Don’t treat them like a number.

I never believed in cranking out multiple Complaints, Answers and Motions as if they were cookie cutter forms and the client is just a number. I’ve managed to stay away from these types of firms that only care about the numbers and not the people they serve. (i.e., the so-called “ambulance chasers”)

When I am assigned a case or specific project, I digest the content and get involved in the facts and dig deep into the case during summarizations and drafting answers to interrogatories. It is during this phase that I study the case and more importantly, the client. It puts a face to a name and as a paralegal, I’m able to provide educated answers, should the client call and ask for me. During phone calls, which can be unpleasant news to deliver at times, is when I hear their voice and personally interact with a human being and get to know the client. I start to care more about who I’m working for and what I can do to help their cause. Does this happen to you, my fellow paralegals?

In addition, my sunshine seems to run off on my attorney colleagues also, both past and present. I have many attorneys and Judges that I’ve worked with in the past that still keep in touch with me and cheer my successes. I still receive holiday cards in the mail from attorneys I’ve worked with 25 years ago! Not to mention, I still have a lot of them on speed dial! (thank goodness)

Future client meetings

What does that mean to you, my future clients?

This means that there has been a progression of a variety of education and personal business relationships that, as a paralegal, have accumulated over 30 years. I felt the need to share this common courtesy to be honest about myself. You will see up front who you are hiring to promote your business. I provide one on one attention to each project and the results are amazing!!

Time and time again, I connect with business owners who later become my personal friends. Why? I care.  I really do!

It is so important to me not to treat people as a number. The outcomes prove to be very fruitful if you show your sincerity and your clients respond with enthusiasm. The clients are thankful that you took such good care of them!  What happens after that?? Referrals like you’ve never seen before!

I hope you can think about this advice and apply it to your marketing strategy, work ethic, and your own personal life as I have done.  Reap the rewards!

If you’d like to learn more, please see the About Me page.

If you have any questions or comments to add, please feel free to post in the comments!

Paralegals: Strategies for Finding People Online

Paralegals: Strategies for Finding People Online

One of the first places a paralegal can turn to start a search for a person is the website Accurint. This is a subscription service that is provided by LexisNexis, and is widely regarded as the database leader in the legal industry for finding people. If you know the person's name, last known address and some identifier (such as date of birth or social security number),  Accurint is most likely going to be able to find the person you are looking for quickly and easily.

Another subscription service many law firms use is Westlaw.  Using Westlaw's public records searches and People Map service, a paralegal can find past and current addresses, phone numbers, property information and more.

Check all of the social media sites for the person you wish to find as well. You could get lucky and find someone's work information on LinkedIn or Facebook. This will obviously save you from having to hire a private investigator and adding those additional costs to the case. Even if this data does not appear to be obvious at first glance, you might be able to find out where the person lives by reviewing the friend and comment activity. LinkedIn is a very good place for locating both people and companies and the states they reside in.

I have had great results just Googling the person's name.  I then branched off depending on the search results and found quite a bit of information on the subject person.  I printed out the Facebook page and twitter pages of the subject person and provided it to my attorney in charge and they were delighted to find this information to quickly!

Another good, and free,  online people search tools can typically be found on your state's Secretary of State website. You can data mine these sites to pull voter's records, Registered Agent and Company Officer information, and even see if someone maintains any sort of professional license. All of these categories will typically list the person's name and an associated address.

I have found some success using whitepages.com also.  If you have their last phone number, you could do a reverse search for the phone number and see what pops up in your search.  Whitepages.com can also be used as the first try in obtaining an address of the person you are looking for and any of their relatives and neighbors.  This is good for collection agencies and skip tracers to serve outstanding warrants and new law suits.

Lastly, if the person has a website or blog, do not forget to run the IP address through a free website such as: http://whatismyipaddress.com/. This will tell you immediately what city the person is in.

If you have any additional great resources you have found in your investigation, PLEASE feel free to post a comment below and I will update my post.

Source: My Paralegal Place: Paralegals: Strategies for Finding People Online