Mastering Social Media to Grow Your Small Business in Terrace and Kitimat

Next week, Mhairi will be heading up to Northern BC to present ‘Mastering Social Media to Grow Your Small Business” at the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce on February 27th then on to the Kitimat Chamber the next night.  The Terrace event is full but there are still a few spots in Kitimat. Click on the link to register below.

Just because you know what social media is, does not mean that you necessarily understand how to use it to grow and develop your business. This workshop focuses on understanding social media, what is it and how it’s connecting people.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how/if social media should be an important part of your marketing strategy.
  • Understand what opportunities are available for you to leverage social media for business growth and prospecting.

Tickets: FREE
Light dinner included


Terrace and Kitimat businesses welcome!

LinkedIn Tip – #GETREAL

Here’s a wee tip for you: Don’t connect with people on LinkedIn for the sole purpose of harvesting email addresses. It does nothing for your personal brand. Who wants to do business with a spammer? Not only that but Canada’s anti spam legislation is about to make this practice illegal (Bill C28) so it’s not only your reputation at stake – you could also face fines of $1m+. LinkedIn - Get Real

Making the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile – 10 Quick Tips

linkedinAre you using LinkedIn for business: to integrate real world relationships and add value for your connections online? If you aren’t you are missing out on a big opportunity but you are not alone. There are 7m LinkedIn users in Canada and 11m in the UK and only 44% of them have complete profiles. What does that say about the other 66%?

66% had incomplete profiles and 41% had no recommendations. – See more at:
66% had incomplete profiles and 41% had no recommendations. – See more at:
66% had incomplete profiles and 41% had no recommendations. – See more at:

LinkedIn is often perceived as a tool for job seekers and recruiters when in truth it is a valuable professional social network that allows you to build mind share by staying in touch with clients and contacts, adding value for them and showcasing what you do best.  LinkedIn can be the tipping point that encourages people to do business with you, if your profile is incomplete or you don’t even have one then there’s a good chance you are missing out on opportunities.

LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile is just the start.  At a minimum it should include:

1. An up to date and professional headshot

2. A summary and highlights that showcase what you do and why you are great at it, using keywords that your target audience are likely to use to find you

3. Past work experience

4. Professional designations

5. Information about your education both at school and on the job

6. What you are passionate about and how you contribute to your community

7. Links to your website and blog as well as a unique URL

8. Participation in industry and community groups

9. Recommendations from people you have done business with

10. Apps that showcase your work such as Slideshare to share presentations.

Your LinkedIn profile is organic and fluid and should be updated often but if that is all you are doing, you are missing out on opportunities.  In our next post we will discuss what you should be doing on LinkedIn to take your real world connections online.

Remember to tell us your goals for 2014 (on LinkedIn and beyond) to be entered to win a 21 point website and social media review report.

More Out-Smarts Blog posts about LinkedIn:

Why You Should Use LinkedIn for your Small Business

Portrait of a LinkedIn User

Using Social Media-for-Recruitment – LinkedIn





Why You Should Use LinkedIn for Your Small Business

With over 200m users worldwide, LinkedIn is not only one of the most popular networks but also one of the oldest (launched in 2003), and it is by far the most used network in the business community.

These days, if you are a professional and you’re not on LinkedIn you risk being perceived as old-fashioned, out of touch, or worse, lazy. If you have been procrastinating about using LinkedIn for business and are not sure where to start, this blog post is for you.

LinkedIn 101

LinkedIn is a social network that centres around your career and your connections. You post your resume, in as much or as little detail as you feel comfortable with, and start connecting with people you work with or have worked with in the past. You also connect with people you went to school with or people you know through your existing business connections.

Why use LinkedIn?

People use LinkedIn for a multitude of reasons. Your goals and usage will depend on your career, your ambitions, your role and, ultimately, your business goals.

If you don’t have any other social media presence, and you’ve avoided it like the plague, then LinkedIn is the place you should start. Given that, with the current economic times, no job is a job for life; building a LinkedIn presence can help you stay current – just in case. Not only that, LinkedIn can also save you a lot of time and effort in your current role. Those are just a couple of reasons why LinkedIn is a must for business people. Here are ten more reasons why every business person should be on LinkedIn:

1. LinkedIn for Research – LinkedIn’s questions and answers is a great place to crowdsource. If you are working on a project and need to do some research, why not consider asking the LinkedIn community. People are often keen to show their knowledge, and you will find that if you word your question correctly you will get valuable feedback, links and information that will save you time.

2. Looking for work? Find out if the person who is hiring, or prominent people from the company that you want to do business with, are in your extended network and ask for a connection from the person you have in common. It’s always easier to get an interview or a first meeting if you are referred by someone trusted. Also if you are on the job market, make sure that you post your resume to LinkedIn and update it as your experience grows. LinkedIn is often the first place recruiters look when considering hiring someone.

3. Share an Update – Use your status updates on LinkedIn wisely. You can use them to inform your networks of what you do, or what you are looking to do. For example, if you are conducting a strategy session with a client, tell your network that – many of them might not know that you provide this service. Or you can entrench yourself as an expert in your field by posting valuable links to articles or news pertinent to your field that will educate or add value for your connections.

4. Company Profiles – LinkedIn isn’t just for individuals, businesses can have profiles too, and yours should. Doing so will help build your organisation’s web presence, will allow interested parties to learn more about your business, give you valuable referrals and will improve your web ranking. Make sure that employees know about your page and link to it, and that your services are prominently displayed.

5. Save Time and Maintain Relationships – In the old day’s people had a Rolodex and had to lift a phone on a regular basis in order to keep in touch with their connections, and only managed to keep in touch with the main ones because it took so much time. These days you can use tools like LinkedIn to stay at the forefront of people’s minds (even those on the periphery of your network). I am not saying that you shouldn’t lift a phone – you should, but by using LinkedIn you can more easily keep in touch with more people and augment your relationships.

6. Build Your Network – Not only is it important to keep in touch with people but it is also important in business to connect with new people. When you do so, follow up with a LinkedIn connect request and take advantage of your in-person networking in the virtual world too. Get in the habit of doing this and your LinkedIn network will quickly grow. Connect with people you meet, work with, people you connect with online and use this as a way to stay in touch with your connections as in point five above.

7. Reach the Powers that Be – LinkedIn is the social network used most by top level executives so it can be a really valuable tool in connecting you with decision makers. This is especially powerful for strategic selling.

9. Hiring – with over 100m potential candidates online, have you thought of using LinkedIn to facilitate in your hiring process? People use LinkedIn for recruitment and for finding jobs and, given the professional nature of the tool, it can help you find just the right person for the job. You can easily set this up – it costs about $195 for a 30-day job posting.

10. Advertise – LinkedIn recently started allowing members to use sponsored ads to advertise on its network in a highly targeted way. You can advertise to specific people by company, geography, title, gender and age. You only pay for click-throughs (each time someone clicks on the ad) and the cost is quite affordable (minimum $10 per day), but one downside is that you are limited by characters in the text.

If LinkedIn is on your to-do list please remember that we provide LinkedIn set up, maintenance, education and coaching services. Contact us and let us know how we can assist.

Please connect with Out-Smarts on LinkedIn.


Spice up your Status Updates

UpdatesGreat status updates help you to get more likes, comments and shares and this in turn helps you reach new audiences and build your brand.  This infographic from ShortStack encapsulates ten quick and easy ways to make your updates more juicy. We’ve added our own slant too:

1. Make it interesting – post a great fact that most people don’t know or a quote to inspire – but always make sure its relevent to your audience and brand.

2. Got a great idea or tip to share with people? Do so.

3. Share, comment and endorse content from others in your industry. If you scratch their back they’ll likely return the favour.

4. Questions encourage your audience to respond but make sure that every update isn’t a question as this gets a bit boring.

5. Encourage followers to act on your update. Spell it out to them so they know what it is they’re supposed to do!

6. Don’t just post a link with no description – tell people a little about it so that they can decide to click through or not.  People avoid clicking on links as they seem spammy.

7. Make your P.S. in email newsletters short and sweet.  I saw one lately that was almost as long as the email itself!

8. Use short links – especially on Twitter – as this encourages people to share and gives them the space to do so.

9. Followers are more likely to click like on photos and images (especially on Facebook) so post images often and use an app like Over to enhance images with text.

10. Ask for comments and get people to share.  There are lots of ways to do this and what works best will depend on your audience.  When people do comment, always respond.


Top 10 Tips to Boost Social Media Productivity

Social Media ProductivitySocial media has become an important marketing tool for small business. If you use it effectively, you can build brand awareness, generate leads, boost customer loyalty, drive traffic to your website not to mention enhancing mind share.  What’s more, a social presence is becoming an expected norm if your prospective customers are below 45.  For younger audiences, if they don’t find you on social media, they simply don’t do business with you.

The challenge for small business looking to implement effective social media campaigns is that we all have limited time and resources, not to mention the fact that we don’t have bottomless pockets. So how can we take advantage of social media in a way that makes sense given these potential barriers?  Here are 10 tips that will boost your social media marketing productivity.

1. Don’t spread yourself too thin – there are thousands of social media tools.  You can’t use all of them effectively, so choose up to 3 (no more) and make those the tools that your customers are most likely to use and that you will enjoy using. For example, if your target audience is the professional business type, build your presence on LinkedIn and focus on that network rather than trying to have a presence on Facebook, Pinterest et al.

2. Schedule social media time into your day just like you would for any other business activity. Stick to your schedule and don’t get distracted.  Social media can be a big time suck, don’t let it.

3. Use productivity tools like Hootsuite to schedule posts and to manage your networks effectively (Hootsuite supports LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, WordPress and more). If you have different team members managing your social presence, Hootsuite let’s you see at a glance who is responding so that you are all on the same page.

4. Install and use apps on your phone so that you can check in on your social feeds and respond accordingly on the fly.  All of the major social networks as well as third party tools like Hootsuite have iPhone and Android apps although some are better than others when it comes to functionality.

5. Your social presence is an extension of day to day business.  You don’t need to come up with a whole new story for your social media updates and you shouldn’t.  Think about your to do list for the day and how you can reflect your daily activities online. Hosting an open house or event? Make sure attendees can interact with each other in the appropriate channels.

6. Reuse your existing content – to find great content to post on your social networks, use content that you already have (white papers, marketing materials, case studies etc) and adapt it to your needs.

7. Find new content use content tools: my favourite us Zyte which is an app I use on the iPad that allows me to subscribe to fresh new content based on topics and categories I’m  are interested and I can then easily share it on the networks as required.

8. Be an editor – blogging is often a central component to a company’s social strategy but blogging takes time. Build a blog editorial schedule so that you know what to blog about and when, and remember that quality beats  quantity when it comes to blogging.  If you hate to write then consider other options like video or photo blogs that make it easier for you.

9. Consider outsourcing part of your social media to a firm like Out-Smarts that specialises in social media, but be very careful if you do do this.  Make sure that the company you work with takes time to understand your organisation inside out so that they can represent you in an authentic way online.  And never outsource your social media then forget about it.  The best partnerships are those where your social media partner firm manages your day to day and general posts whilst you or your staff augment and humanize your presence when time permits.

10. Get lean – quality is much more important that quantity when it comes to building your following.  Save yourself some time and don’t follow everybody and anybody.  Instead take time to determine your connection startegy i.e. who you will most benefit from connecting with.  This will likely be different for each social network (if you are doing it right) you use and might include industry visionaries, your ideal clients/prospect, partners and related pages.

At Out-Smarts we provide professional, dedicated and timely social media marketing services managing Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube pages for our clients.  Why not focus on what you do best and let us focus on what we do best.  Call us today to find out  about our services