Today concludes the most contentious election in the history of the Republic. Safe to say most people have an opinion, whether it’s left-leaning or right. That is certainly fine in your private life, but in terms of your business pages, here is some sage advice: stay away from sharing those views! Especially today when many people will have anger at the results.
The reason is simple, in business you cannot afford to turn away business from anyone, no matter what their political views are. Your business social media pages and website should be politics neutral. You should be posting things that build you up as a subject matter expert. The problem is that in today’s election, people’s views are so strong and there’s so much hatred for the opposite side that people sometimes feel the need to weigh in on everything and unfortunately everywhere.
If you truly can’t live without commenting on the elections, then do it on your personal social media accounts. I would recommend where possible to only have your account visible to your friends. Otherwise, there is some crossover between our business and personal lives. I have several clients that I am friends with on social media as well as having them like and follow my pages. I am very mindful of this when I post even to my personal accounts. I take a long view and realize that potential clients could be turned off by my views, as neutral as I try to be, I take great care not to jump into the fray.
Exceptions: There are certainly exceptions to every single rule. Of course, if you are a political strategist, then by all means let your opinions fly. Chances are one side or the other hires you, so this blog post really doesn’t apply to you. However, I do advise to try to keep it as civil as possible, as the one thing to remember is that people can’t see your tone in your writing. Sometimes you maybe mean something as a joke or as a cute little barb. But somebody reads it differently and loses respect for your position, even if you are on their side. When you’re standing in front of someone, they can tell by your tone that you mean it mainly as a joke, not necessarily as a plank in a campaign.
Bottom line: You’re in business to make money, take care of your family and employees. To do so, you must maximize the amount of new clients you have to work with. So stay out of politics, and focus your energy on showing the value proposition you and your company adds. In the long run you’ll be far more successful then the guy with the crazy opinions leaning to one side or the other.
But I realize other people have other priorities, and running a business doesn’t allow you the free time in order to always check out your web and social media platforms.
So what I try to do is get my clients to review their sites at least a few times a year, taking a good hard look at everything they own. I look at the change of seasons as a perfect time to review everything you are doing. The leaves are falling down, schedule some time with yourself and review everything you’re doing. Make a list of what’s working, what’s not working and where you’d like to improve. Do the same at the start of each season.
Here is a handy chart to use. Put these dates on your calendar and have a meeting with your staff.
Next, schedule some time with your website management company. And if you don’t have a website management company, then you aren’t doing justice to your business. Contact us, we are happy to help you come up with a management plan that will work for you and your enterprise. Have a meeting to go over your findings, and also ask them what are they seeing, where do they think you can improve? They may have a different take on things, but between the two of you, you’ll be able to formulate a plan that will set you up for the next quarter or so. This is especially good time to review any advertising you are doing. Are your Google adwords working well for you? Are you using social media ads, how are they doing? You have to review these things from time to time and change up what you’re doing. What’s working today, may not work tomorrow. For instance, I have seen more success lately from my social media ads versus my adwords expenditures. This of course may change, so I review what I’m doing all the time. Now this doesn’t mean to panic, because you have to give your ads some time to percolate.
It is really easy, to let your website & social media properties go. The sad part is they will grow stale and people who visit your website or social media pages will not do business with you. Think of yourself as if you are a brick-and-mortar store. If someone came in and your inventory never changed, what do you think would happen? I can tell you what will happen, you will close. You will fail. So think of your website the same way, it needs to be up-to-date, it needs to have a pleasing design, it needs to be responsively designed so it looks good on mobile, and it needs to have current news & information. This will give your customers an opinion that your company is successful, that it is moving forward and they will be more likely to do business with your company.
When you are in a service business like managing websites, it is inevitable that once in a while you will lose a client. We understand this, and are proud at our retention rate which is in the very high 90% range. The thing people should remember is to be very careful when starting with a new provider, as the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But then you get there and the grass is burned out and looks like crap.
I recently had this happen. I had a client for a while and built them a custom site which was built 100% to the specifications of their designer. Fast forward a couple years and they left, unhappy with of all things the design (which came from them). Their other complaint had to do with the content. Funny, the content came directly from their marketing people. So the two reasons they left had nothing whatsoever to do with us.
Now, in their defense they were probably told by some quick talking salesman that he could achieve everything they didn’t like about their old website. Sure enough, I checked it out and not only did they not fulfill any of the things they thought were missing from our site, the site was built with a cheap e-commerce product and lousy looking theme. They basically went from the e-commerce pinnacle used by Nike and other world-class companies to the cheapo e-commerce platform chosen by Joe’s Hemp Jewelry Stand. No one in the world could possibly look at this website and say “wow that’s much better”.
So they went from a custom designed very cool site to quite frankly something that makes you want to quickly go elsewhere.
Now, I am a big enough developer to realize that there are times where somebody builds a better site than I may have. It has happened once or twice. LOL. I also have to say, there are times where personality wise you just don’t click with someone. And they will find any excuse to go elsewhere. My approach is to just wish them the best, and send them on their way. Nine out of 10 times they will come back as they realize not only is the site inferior, the service they are receiving doesn’t come close to matching what we gave them. We answer every support ticket on the same day. No one else in the industry comes close. This people find out very quickly when they’re waiting two weeks on a minor text change.
Bottom line: When you are thinking of leaving, make sure the company you are going to provide you with an ARL. This is an approved requirements list that they need to approve and deliver on. So they don’t come back and say “oh we can’t do that”. “Oh, that’s extra”. “Sorry that will take another three months”. Etc. etc.
Your Thoughts? Let me know your thoughts on the subject. Either fill out the comment form below, or contact us.
Most companies are successful because of a specific product line or service that their customers need and enjoy. But then companies want to be bigger, better and more profitable. This is fine as long as they stick to what they do well and which enabled them to be successful in the first place.
As an example, in a former life I was a racehorse trainer. One of my favorite tracks growing up was Rockingham Park, located in southern New Hampshire. Nicknamed the Saratoga of New England, it was a beautiful little track and in its heyday featured some of racing’s great horses, jockeys and trainers. Seabiscuit even graced the once proud track.
Sadly the track burned down in 1980. A group bought the track and re-built it. They actually did a nice job and the track re-opened in 1984 with a nice clubhouse and facilities. Sadly the ownership was not satisfied with racing and thought that slot machines and/or a casino would be the key to big money. So they let the product go down hill. The nice clubhouse became a smokey, smelly mess. They failed to reach an agreement with horsemen and the track ended racing. They had charity gambling and simulcasting as the plant got more and more disgusting. The casino legislation the owners sought for so long would not pass and finally the facility will close this month.
The moral of the story? As the title says: Dance with the one that brought you. Had Rockingham’s owners stuck to racing and trying to develop and improve the product, rather than seeking bigger and better things they would have been successful and still operating. Ironically, their competition, Suffolk Downs in Boston closed so there would’ve has zero competition today. The shame is the area around the track was a big vacation spot, one of the biggest in New Hampshire. Now all that’s there is the remnants of a once great track which soon will be torn down and developed. Just what the world needs, more retail…
Bottom line: although it’s fine to grow and change and add to your core offerings, remember what got you there to begin with. Never lose sight of that and you will be successful.
Thinking of content is not an easy job, especially if you do not have a dedicated team to work on your website and social media. Most small businesses do not have the available staff to work on these items. Small businesses are just trying to stay afloat and do what they do best. That is the driving force behind opening up their own businesses to begin with. But in 2016, that is not enough. You must have a quality web presence and a social media identity. Now, I bet I know what you’re thinking: I have to hire a social media consultant, a content person (not to mention a pay per click consultant, a security expert, etc, etc.). As a small business you’re thinking I cannot afford a team of experts.
Well, as a small business, I know where you’re coming from. I founded RooSites before social media even existed. So we were on the cutting edge when social media arrived on scene. The benefit of this is I have had much time to contemplate and formulate the best possible plan on how to deal with all the web tasks that a company faces in 2016.
So here is my two cents. In order to do all of the things you want to, you need to look for a solution that is both economical and which covers all the bases. A one stop solution.
We have come up with maintenance plans that allow you to achieve all you are looking to accomplish, but not break the bank. In fact we work with mainly small businesses like yours. We will sit down and discuss what you’re trying to do. Some companies want to get involved in social media but don’t need pay per click. Some want to get involved in advertising but not so much into social media. Then others need to better utilize their blogs. Depending on your business, you don’t have to do every single thing that comes around. We will advise you on where best to spend your valuable resources.
Your next move should be to contact my office and I will talk through what you need to do and create a roadmap for success for your small business. With team members in Boston, Charlotte and Tampa we are equipped to help companies all over the United States.