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Happy Holidays

2015-holiday-card

are you listening to your audience?
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Social Listening to Boost Your Business

Do you monitor what people are saying about your industry online? Do you use that information to your benefit?

are you listening to your audience?

Social listening (also called media monitoring) is about spending time online and on social platforms to see what’s being said about areas that have to do with your industry.

Follow other businesses that are similar to yours. Keep up with industry-specific hashtags, as well as trending topics to see what people are talking about. Listen to what your own contacts are talking about. Offer helpful advice to challenges they are facing. Then, work these topics in to your marketing strategies.

Here’s an example of someone who mastered social listening:

Read more

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Workshop: Get Found – Increase Your Online Presence

online presence

This workshop is designed with you in mind. Just when it seems that we’ve figured out things to know about building the online presence of our businesses, there’s something else to learn.

Erin Sweeney Design will be on hand to explain why it is important to not only have a website that will impress your target audience, but one that is functional and allows for easy navigation. It also needs to be optimized so you get the most exposure.

The presentation portion of the workshop will give an easy-to-understand overview of search engine optimization (seo) and how your online activities affect how easy it is for your audience to find you.

We will touch upon website content, social media platforms, online search sites (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc) and email newsletters – all the many tools that a small business owner can use to “Get Found”.

You may know, I describe myself as a “connector”. I think that I’ve found that sweet spot where I can patiently partner with small business owners to claim and build their online presence.

Bring your questions – Bring your ideas – Bring your curious mind.

Thursday, October 22
9:30-11:30
HarborOne U, Mansfield

There is no charge for this workshop.

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Reserve your seat or send questions to: susan@susanfinnonline.com

make the most of your networking groups
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Make the Most of your Local Business Networking Group.

make the most of your networking groupsOne of the most common pieces of wisdom more experienced business people will share is that business networking is the quickest and most effective way to successfully growing your business. It is commonly stated and widely accepted that “people will do business with other people they know long before they’ll do business with people they find through an advertisement”.  It’s the Know ~ Like ~ Trust concept.

Your local networking efforts probably should not be centered around trying to making direct sales. (Although, clearly, direct sales would logically occur as a result.)  Through local business networking you will build your professional connections. The networking activities will help to establish trust. New business through new opportunities is inevitable.  You will increase your own personal knowledge while learning about others.  And, do not forget about that golden nugget: word-of-mouth advertising.

Read more

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Who We Were, Are and Becoming

Wikipedia tell us that Job Satisfaction has been defined in many different ways. Some believe it is simply how content an individual is with his or her job, in other words, whether or not they like the job or individual aspects or facets of jobs, such as nature of work or supervision.

job satisfaction

Here is a follow-up to a blog I posted last month, Our Many Incarnations, which had been written  in response to an article that reported that the majority of baby boomers have held 10 or more jobs by the time they reach the age 46. I asked folks to take a survey to let us all know about their jobs journey.  I asked about past and present jobs, favorites and least favorites, and job satisfaction.  Here was my response to the participants’ involvement in this survey.

Fascinated! I am incredibly fascinated by the many paths we take in our journeys.

Grateful! I am incredibly grateful that folks were so very generous in sharing their experiences, comments, thoughts and feelings.

Overwhelmed!  I was overwhelmed as to how to make sense of the information in any way as a coherent blog, so I decided to present it in this bulleted list form.

Here is a brief summary of what I learned about our jobs journeys. Read more

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Learning to Grow

So, I am two weeks into a six-week committment I have made for myself.  One hour a week, I am meeting with Kemi Sorinmade of the Growth Studio.  We are reviewing “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” as presented by John C. Maxwell.

write it down - make it happen

One thing that Kemi mentions over and over; “If you write it down, it is more likely to become a reality.  Just by writing it down, it seems to be internalized.” So, I have decided to blog about this experience. This is a tool to help me review and internalize the content I am ingesting at these meetings. Read more

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Our Many Incarnations

I had a lovely chat with Gina over coffee this morning. Gina and I are of similar mindset. We both have a passion for helping small businesses grow by providing those administrative services around their websites and social media presence that most small business owners do not have the time to do. Each of us has come to our area of expertise via varied paths and a number of incarnations.

It seemed fitting, then, after our conversation this morning, that on my way home from the coffee shop, I listened to a wonderful piece running on NPR by Kelly McEvers. Workers Should Be Prepared to Start Over in New Jobs. 

Baby boomers have held 10 to 11 jobs  by the time they reach age 46.

Baby boomers have held 10 to 11 jobs by the time they reach age 46.

Kelly had asked folks to list off some of the jobs they’ve had in their lifetime. It was evident that most of us have held many – and varied – jobs in our lifetime.  It is also evident that the folks who are willing to learn new skills, open themselves up to new experiences and make connections are the folks who will best adapt in times of economic challenges.

I am often inspired by the members and friends of the Women’s Business Network of SE MA.  So many of the amazing women in this group have re-incarnated themselves a number of times over. Many of them have left very comfortable and lucrative corporate positions in order to increase their job satisfaction. During a recent group activity, the question was posed: “Would you take a million dollars and be told you could never work in your current field again?” The woman to my left had a very strong reaction to that question. “Never”, she answered, “Aligning my passion with my business has been priceless. I can’t think of anything else I would ever want to do.”

I am reading similar stories on a blog I recently started to follow: “Career 2.0” by Amanda Orr and Lisa O’Donoghue-Lindy. Here, they share stories of women facing adversity, facing huge life changes, following their passion, helping others, and so much more.  Once again, and over and over again, I am awed by the power of women. I am awed by their ability to adapt, to support each other’s growth, to understand the value of education, networking and continuing growth.

All of this made me think about all of the jobs I have held in my lifetime (so far)

  • babysitter
  • counter help jobs (pharmacy, health-food shop)
  • visiting artists coordinator
  • dietary aide at a nursing home
  • lab tech for high pressure liquid chromatography components
  • lab tech, supervisor and quality control manager at a dairy plant
  • water testing technician – home water filtration systems
  • MOM
  • discovery toys consultant
  • nutritional analysis labeling consultant
  • personal advocate for a disabled person
  • science program coordinator at a local children’s museum
  • custom tote-bag designer
  • memory quilt designer
  • birthday party consultant
  • personal administrative assistant – realtor
  • owner – susan finn online – helping small businesses with their online presence.

I am ever so curious….  What jobs have you held in your lifetime?  Which were your favorite? Your least favorite? Which one gave you opportunity for the most growth?

Please leave your comments below or take my 8-Question Survey.  

Results will be published in a future blog.

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Content Curation and Sharing

Using the Power of You.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, Social Media and Personal Branding, there are loads of folks who want to learn what you have to share. Your followers are interested in watching you follow your passion for your area of expertise. By sharing interesting articles (including your own, as much as possible) you are establishing yourself as a resource for others who want to learn more about you and your business

Content Curation – What is That All About?
Content curation is the process of making your way through the vast amounts of content available on the web to then be able sift, sort, arrange and present it in a meaningful and organized way.  You will want to be choosy to pick the best content that is important and relevant to your own community. Often, curated content may be organized around a particular theme.

personal brandingCurating great content can help you as a  small business owner establish yourself as a thought leader, a valuable resource within your spheres of online presence, thus strengthening your personal brand.  You essentially become the “go-to” authority for issues or topics related to your industry.

By curating relevant content, you develop the ability to serve up frequent content which then increases your opportunities for interaction, which can help exposure over time as you strengthen your online personal branding.

This means that you will need a number of reliable sources to turn to for access to interesting and appropriate articles.

There are many tools and personal favorite methods for collecting articles that are relevant to you and your business.

Here are my current top 6 content curation sources and tools. Read more

personal-branding-resource
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Social Media and Personal Branding

Where to begin?  You have started your own business.  You’ve invested in a website to highlight your product or service.  You may have even begun to add content to your website to help visitors learn more about your product or service. How will you develop a social media online presence for your personal brand?

As I mentioned in the previous blog, Personal Branding for the Small Business Owner, personal branding is about identifying and then communicating what makes you unique and relevant and allows you to differentiate yourself to your target audience. Your online relationships will grow through the sharing, liking, and commenting on posts from people you have identified as influencers and/or evangelists. But what will you bring to the party?

Be the source!

personal-branding-resource

Be constantly on the lookout for great pieces to share that relate to your area of expertise.  Find websites that relate to your industry and bookmark them, or follow them on social media, or sign up to receive their newsletter.  When experts in your industry, or related industries, share their great content and you think that folks who follow you on your platforms might be interested in it as well, share it with an insightful comment of your own. Let your audience know what you liked (or disliked) about the article.  Let them know where in the article they might find the information that will help them with whatever challenge they may be faced with.

Schedule your posts out. Read more

personal branding
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Personal Branding for the Small Business Owner

Most of the people in my networking circles are solo-preneurs, small business owners. Realizing that a strong online presence will benefit their business, they often ask which social media and networking platforms would be the most benefit to their goals. Although they have just used those exact words, “Social Media Networking”, many remain hesitant, almost adverse, to actually putting themselves out there to be “Social” in order to “Network” on the “Media”. Often I hear these words: “I don’t want any of my personal stuff out there” or “I don’t think what I have to say matters online”. As a small business owner, your personal brand and business brand overlap on social media, whether you want them to or not.

personal branding

For a small business owner, the single most important part of building a personal brand is to be exactly who you are. Be authentic. Be genuine. (But Better!)
I say “But Better” because the online persona that you will build for your professional self gets to benefit from planning. It gives you time to edit your thoughts and offerings. Read more

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Reflections on 10 Years with the Women’s Business Network

In the 10 years that I have been with WBN I have been an artisan, a birthday party entertainer, a multi-level marketer, a quilter, a database manager, a graphic artist, a technical support staff-person, a computer files organizer, an electronic e-newsletter designer, a social media manager, an event planner, a website project manager, and a 6-foot tall monkey mascot.

Women can do that.  

Of course, men can do it, too.

But this piece focuses on women as a reflection of my 10 years of having the great honor to collaborate with an outstanding group of women.  These women work together in a variety of platforms to inspire, educate and motivate each other to be the very best they can be in their personal and professional lives. Read more

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Social Media Roundtable

On Wednesday, August 27, 2014, Tricia White, VP of Creative Marketing for Fun Enterprises , facilitated a roundtable discussion on Social Media Marketing at HarborOneU, 131 Copeland Drive in Mansfield. This panel was a great opportunity for small business owners to gather their questions about social media marketing and ask some amazing experts to weigh in.

Her panel guests:

1. Erin SweeneyOwner of Erin Sweeney Design. She is a graphic and WordPress website designer. She is experienced in website design and implementation, visual design, business branding, search engine optimization and social networking.
2. Lucille FisherOwner of Sage and Savvy Marketing. Lucille is a marketing strategist who helps businesses improve their social media footprint. She also helps companies work through software programs that can better integrate business processes with marketing.
3. Susan Barron Finn Owner of Susan Finn Online and Founder/Director of the Women’s Business Network. Susan is a social media specialist who works with small businesses to better improve their social media reach as well as data base systems and e-mail marketing. She helps companies improve their brand online.
4. Tammi JacobsenOwner of Tammi Jacobsen. She is a seasoned social media expert who teaches businesses strategies for social media marketing. She is a passionate blogger who works with companies on strategies as well as time management.

Topics covered ranged from branding and web design to social media networks, strategies, tools and search. Small businesses examined their marketing strategies and began to identify pain points. Attendees left the workshop with questions answered and with viable strategies for improvement. Read more