Use Your Business Cards and Get LinkedIn

Use your business cards and get LinkedIn . . . A fish bowl, full of business cards, is sitting in my room.  The business cards are wading idly, yet they are working for me every day.

Business Cards from the 2011 Business Growth Expo in Tempe, AZ

My sister and I attended the 2011 Business Growth Expo in Tempe, Arizona at the beginning of the month. We met a lot of amazing people.  The expo was our first attempt at renting a booth to interact with local business owners and we had a fantastic time.

At the show, everyone handed everyone else their business cards.  Business cards are essential when establishing business relationships and have been used effectively to garner business for millions of people around the world.  Just as business cards are essential in interacting with new people to promote and grow your business in person, LinkedIn has become the online equivalent of a business card . . . only more effective.

Upon returning from the Expo, my sister and I went through our business cards and uploaded all of our contacts to our Gmail accounts and then sent LinkedIn requests to all the people we received business cards from at the show.  Now, when I go to my LinkedIn profile, it is full of the friendly faces I remember meeting at the beginning of the month.  Not only that, but I now get to interact with those individuals on a regular basis. It’s also easy to find more information about their business and their job experience, which is very helpful when you have questions about a product or service or even business advice.

I remember receiving business cards in the past.  I had every intention of using them when my need for their service arose, but when the time came to make a purchase, I simply forgot my friend who had given me their business card months ago. I missed out on a beneficial relationship with someone I had the opportunity to meet.

If you want your business cards to work for you, be sure to add every business card contact you get on LinkedIn, stay connected and develop meaningful relationships.

Use your business cards and get LinkedIn.

A Facebook Thanksgiving

Social media is an absolutely wonderful thing. It allows you to connect with people from across the country or around the world instantly. Sometimes I forget how great social media is. Today I remembered as I celebrated my first Facebook Thanksgiving.

I’m more than 1,600 miles away from the place that I’ve been every Thanksgiving since I was born. This year I ended up going to my boyfriend’s family’s Thanksgiving feast. It is the first time I can remember not having a BBQed turkey on Thanksgiving day. While I was getting ready to eat I wondered what my family was doing.

When I popped open my smart phone and checked Facebook there was an brand new photo album on my dad’s profile called How to BBQ a Turkey. He updated the album throughout the day. A few times when I had a free moment to check Facebook there were new pictures. It was really awesome. I felt like I didn’t completely miss out on my family’s Thanksgiving. The pictures felt familiar. They made me miss being at home, but they also made me happy. One of the many things I’m Thankful for is Social Media. Today it allowed me to be connected to my family even though I was so far away.

A Facebook Thanksgiving - Welborn Media

A Facebook Thanksgiving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Facebook Thanksgiving!

Today is a day to give thanks. We have plenty to be thankful for. This has been a truly amazing year for Welborn Social Media. This is the year Welborn Social Media got it’s start and this year has forever changed my and my brother’s life.

We’re thankful for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube for making it so easy to connect with more and more people who have such varied interests and passions from around the world. We’re thankful for our wonderful clients and their hard work and dedication that make our work so rewarding. Most importantly we’re thankful for all our friends and family who have shown us such tremendous support.

And from just me, I’m thankful for my brother, who helped rescue me from unemployment by showing me that we could just start our own business. It’s hard work but it’s infinitely more rewarding than any job I might have found by applying for open positions at other companies.

It’s a wonderful day to spend with your family, but if you can’t remember that you can still connect with them digitally.

How Will Blogging Help My Business? | 5 Key Benefits Blogging Brings to Any Company

Last week, I had a phone conversation with Mary McPadden, owner of Balanced Billing in Phoenix, Arizona.  I met Mary at the 2011 Business Growth Expo (Tempe, AZ). At the event, she said she knew she needed to start blogging, but did not understand how devel0ping a blog could help her company.  Many business owners I have encountered feel the same way.  Everyone tells them they need to start blogging, but many do not understand the benefits a blog can bring to their business.

When I started The Tutoring Solution in 2010, I needed to find new ways to make people aware of my business.  I made the commitment to build a website, once it was online I found that people were not visiting my site like I had hoped.  I began looking for new ways to promote my business, but didn’t have a lot of money to do so.  This is when I discovered blogging.

Blogging has had an immense impact on my business . . . not only in attracting more customers, but also by helping me develop a better understanding of the needs of my customers.

  • Google (Search Engine) Results

A blog is the most efficient way to drive new traffic to your website using Search Engine (Google) results.  When a person uses Google, they are looking for something specific that they want.  If you are offering the product or service they want, it’s extremely important to be ranked highly on the Google Search Engine.

Google Search Results are separated into two different categories, paid results and organic results.  Organic results are more effective than paid results in attracting visitors to your website.  When a person looks up something on Google, the organic search results that Google comes up with are the websites Google feels are the closest match for what the person is looking for.  Being ranked #1 on Google is a sure-fire way to bring new business to your website.

Blogging also allow users to find your website through a variety of different keyword searches.  I started The Tutoring Solution website in June, 2010.  Since that time, people have found my website using 2,111 different keyword searches on Google.  Every blog article written generates new keywords people can type in to find your business and increases the chances your business will reach the first page of Google Search Results.

  • Content for Social Media Websites

Another question we are frequently asked is, “What should I post on my Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Google+ Pages?”  A blog should be the backbone of any Social Media campaign because it is an excellent way to generate content for your Social Media pages.  The more engaging your blog posts, the more likely people will interact with your Social Media pages. It makes it easier to increase followers on each one of your Social Media websites.

  •   Strengthens Your Website

When we began working for System 1 in Chino Hills, they had a fairly nice website setup which provided the basics for its customers including the types of services they provide and relevant contact information.  Though they are an amazing company with a rich tradition here in Southern California, the lack of information on their website has hindered their success.  The implementation of a blog has enhanced their online presence. Customers visiting their website have more information at their fingertips when making a purchasing decision.

Countless customers have decided to get their tutoring with The Tutoring Solution as a result of our blog.  I can’t tell you how many times a parent has chosen us because they related to the information we were putting out on our blog.  Providing useful tips and information to your current and potential customers is a great way to establish a relationship and increase sales.

In today’s world, customers want to know the company they are doing business with.  The more information you have available on your website, the more likely your messages will resonate with your potential customers.

  • Helping Instead of Selling

Before I started the blog for The Tutoring Solution, I received quite a few calls from customers who were interested in the product, who wanted more information and were trying to feel me and my company out.  My website suffered from not providing enough information to my customers.  As a result, I had to try to “Sell” my tutoring services to potential customers over the phone.  Almost every one of these conversations ended the same way . . . “Let me talk it over with so and so . . .”  I never heard from these people again.

The implementation of a blog had a drastic impact on the type of phone calls I received.  Instead of feeling the need to “Sell” my products, the callers were already sold and the only real question I received was how soon they could start and how I could help them.

When I first started The Tutoring Solution I charged $15 to $20 per hour, highly undervaluing my services and still parents asked for lower rates.  I decided to create my blog to establish myself as the tutoring expert. I now charge between $35 to $50 per hour and no longer receive any questions regarding my pricing.  My blog helped solidify me as the tutoring expert to customers who chose The Tutoring Solution over other companies in my area.

Every business sets out with the goal to help others, but many times we feel like we have to “Sell” our products to unwilling participants.  Developing a blog allowed me to stop ‘selling’ my services, and instead, let me enjoy providing a helpful service to my community.  Many parents have told me that because of my blog, they were are already sold before they picked up the phone.

  • Increases Your Understanding of the Needs of Your Customers

Mary McFadden from Balanced Billing is a potential customer for Welborn Social Media who expressed a legitimate concern . . .  How will blogging help my business?  For me, it’s obvious, but when she asked me that question I found it hard to articulate my answer.  By blogging, I am able to solidify, in my mind, the value and benefits I am providing to my customers.  By answering real questions from customers and potential customers and using blogs to answer those questions I develop a stronger understanding of the needs of my customer.  And my customers realize Welborn Social Media cares about their concerns and knows we will put forth the work to make sure their needs are met.

Every customer has needs. They have their own concerns regarding any service or product they purchase.  Blogging gives a company the opportunity to relate to their customers, to address any issues that arise, and alter their products and services to better meet the needs of their customers.  When a company puts the needs of the customer first, they will see financial benefits as a result.

*If you have questions regarding implementing a blog for your website, please contact Zeb Welborn at (909) 973 – 9089 or Zeb@WelbornSocialMedia.com.

Working From Home: The Good, The Bad, and 6 Rules to Make it Work

One of my favorite things about my job is that I can work from home.

Here’s the good and bad about working from home.

It’s GOOD because…
you have a flexible schedule.
you can sleep in.
it’s easier and often healthier to eat at home.
procrastination often leads to doing the dishes, cleaning the house, or doing laundry.

It’s BAD because…
there’s no one to keep you accountable.
it can be hard to get work started.
it’s easy to procrastinate.
there’s no interruptions to provide needed breaks.
you don’t spend time around other people.

There are definitely good and bad things to working from home. The important thing is to find solutions to the bad side of things. Here’s how I have found the balance to get all my Social Media work done on any given day.

#1 Create a Schedule
I decided this was necessary when I began postponing my start time for work every day. I tend to be more of a night owl. The main problem was that I would stay up later and later every night, then I’d sleep in more and more every morning. A big problem! I have set a schedule for myself. Even though I work from home and I could wake up whenever I want, I set my alarm clock. From the time my alarm goes off till I start working I have one hour to eat breakfast, check my personal email and social media accounts, anything that I want to do before I get to work. For me, an hour is a good amount of time to get everything sorted out before my work day begins so that I don’t feel stressed throughout the work day. Then I start my work schedule which lists each of my tasks.

#2 Follow the Schedule
You must follow your schedule. One of the benefits of working from home is having a flexible schedule. However, it is way more important to get everything done that needs to get done on any given day. For me I have written a schedule that includes how long each daily task takes. If I have a meeting to go to I can push some tasks back, but I still have a very clear idea of how long everything takes and how much time I will be working on any given day.

#3 Take Breaks
I mean short breaks. They really don’t need to more than 5 minutes long, but you should take a good amount of them (this is not including a longer lunch break). Preferably, you will use these short breaks to get up out of your chair and give your body and eyes a break from staring at a computer screen. This might be a good time to grab a glass of water. Or to quickly tidy up your room. Or perhaps to take a shower. If you work from home I highly recommend working a shower into your schedule.

Working from a coffee shop.

#4 Work Outside Your Home
Another great thing about working from home, is that often you don’t actually need to work from home. If you have tasks you can do on your laptop make yourself mobile and work from a coffee house or some other establishment with WiFi. For me, it can sometimes be helpful to work when there are other people around, even if I don’t know them. Also, ordering a drink from the Barista or striking up a conversation with a stranger in the coffee shop is a good way to make up for human interaction that you may have been missing out on.  Also, there is the chance that it will be a good networking opportunity.

#5 Know When To Stop
This rule is very important, but it also is the one most likely to be broken. The truth is, you need to get all the necessary tasks done every day. If you’re not going to be able to finish before your self imposed ‘quitin time’ then you need to work after hours to get it done. There are two key things to understand when it comes to following rule number 5. One: you must know what counts as a necessary task and what doesn’t. Two: You need to make sure necessary tasks don’t flood your schedule. Leave room in your schedule for things like self education (reading blogs, talking to colleagues, doing research in your field), random work related tasks, making new contacts; things that will help your business, things you maybe could do daily, but are not absolutely necessary. These tasks are what make your schedule flexible, if you have to cut back on them one day it won’t set you back for the next day.

#6 Love That You Work From Home
Working from home provides so much freedom and convenience. While the freedom could let you start work at 8am, or 12pm, or 2pm, or even 5pm; and the convenience makes it easy to eat a snack every fifteen minutes, or to watch just this one tv show, or to do your laundry and then iron everything and then sort everything so you know what you’re wearing for the next two weeks; freedom and convenience also let you meet up with friends at any given time, they let you travel and work from your laptop, they can make it easier to be healthier and they save you from sitting in traffic.

Embrace the good! Find solutions for the bad! And, be glad that you can do whatever you want so long as you do awesome work and make all your clients happy!

-Lacey Welborn

Allie Nosek Wins our $50 Gift Card at the 2011 Business Growth Expo

“At TOCA our mission is Serving our Patients through innovative and comprehensive Orthopedic care. This mission is the foundation for ensuring the highest quality of care for our patients. By employing the most innovative procedures and true state-of-the-art technology, our staff of general orthopedists and subspecialities have earned a reputation for providing consistent specialized orthopedic care. TOCA’s reputation is built on treating each person’s specific need and one of many reasons we are the team physicians and surgeons for The Phoenix Suns, The Phoenix Mercury and ASU.”

Congratulations Allie Nosek on winning our contest and receiving a $50 Gift Card to The Thirsty Lion, located in Tempe, Arizona.  Allie entered the contest by dropping in one of her business cards at our booth at the 2011 Business Growth Expo.

Allie does Marketing and Graphic Design for The Orthopedic Clinic Association(TOCA).

At the Expo, Allie mentioned she understood the importance of social media, but also expressed her concerns about effectively demonstrating the return on investment (ROI) social media can bring to her company.  We are in the process of scheduling a phone interview with her to discuss how we can evaluate the impact social media can make for The Orthopedic Clinic Association.

Many companies express the same concern with ROI. It becomes difficult to justify the use of social media when thought of in those terms.  However, there are many tools companies can use to evaluate how people are connecting with their business using social media.  If you or your company would like to understand how to better manage or understand how to use the data that is available through social media outlets – ask us.

The 2011 Business Growth Expo was an eye-opening experience for us.  It was our first business expo and we had no idea what to expect.  We were thrilled to meet so many helpful and friendly people.  And we look forward to keeping in touch with them for years to come.

We chose a $50 Gift Card to The Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill  for our contest. It is a new establishment located in the Tempe Marketplace at 2000 East Rio Salado Suite 1041, Tempe, AZ.  They have a large selection of food and more than 50 beers on tap.

After the Expo, my sister and I made our way to The Thirsty Lion. We were hungry and ready to relax, we were not disappointed.  The food, service and atmosphere was phenomenal . . . exactly what we needed on a long, productive day.

Cisco Recognizes WireSpeed Systems (Our Client) as Their SuperFan!

WireSpeed Systems chosen as Cisco's SuperFan on Facebook

Cisco’s Facebook Photo

Our client, WireSpeed Systems, is a small hardworking business that sells new and refurbished networking equipment.

Cisco is a multinational corporation and the world’s largest manufacturer of networking equipment.

When we began implementing our Facebook strategy for WireSpeed Systems we followed Cisco closely because our clients work with their products often. With well over 225,000 fans, Cisco has a terrific Facebook presence. Last year they began featuring SuperFans on their Facebook profile. SuperFans are their most active and engaged followers.

On Tuesday Cisco changed their profile image to the one seen here and they posted, “We changed it up this month for the Cisco SuperFan! Instead of an individual, we are highlighting WireSpeed Systems, a company who has been extremely active on our page and has even been sharing our content on their Facebook page as well. Thanks for being such a fabulous Cisco SuperFan, WireSpeed Systems!!”

Obviously our clients are thrilled. We are very excited and proud to get one of our small businesses noticed by the biggest company in their industry. Having the WireSpeed Systems logo alongside the Cisco logo on Cisco’s own Facebook page adds a great deal of credibility and instills trust in WireSpeed Systems.

We’re very fortunate to have such wonderful clients. It makes the job of getting their name out there and recognized by new people so rewarding.

A big Thank You! to Cisco and their Social Media team. Highlighting smaller businesses is such a wonderful thing for a huge corporation to do. Thank you!

Preparing for Our First Business Expo

After driving for six hours, I finally reached Tempe, Arizona.

Tomorrow, my sister and I will be participating in the 2011 Business Growth Expo, our first Business Expo and we’re excited.  We signed up to be an exhibitor last month and have no idea what to expect.  We have spent countless hours preparing for the experience and are excited to meet with other small businesses in the Phoenix area.

2011 Business Growth Expo

For those of you interested in attending, the show takes place Tuesday, November 8 from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Fiesta Resort & Conference Center, 2100 S. Priest Dr., Tempe AZ 85282.

We received a packet with information about the show which provided tips on how to get the most out of the expo.  The tips seemed very helpful and we plan on implementing a lot of them at the event.  If you stop by our booth you can expect to see a visual presentation of the services we provide, an opportunity to win prizes, and free consultations on ways to increase your online presence.

Stop by and say “hello” if you plan on attending.  We’d love to help you or your company connect with people using Social Media.