Monday, September 28, 2020

Do You Know How to Measure YOUR Social Media ROI

Chances are strong that you were told early in your freelancing career to just do it.  Just sign up for a social media account.  Just join.  Just send and accept invites. And repeat the process until you burn out or eventually stop caring.  There's also a good chance that the people who gave you this insightful approach know very little about marketing...AND they probably use the terms marketing/advertising/promotion interchangeably.  And guess what, when your social media accounts become a chore or you're stuck, they've got nothing. Not a cheat sheet or a true word of encouragement.

Well, there are some ways to filter your process because if you do what the bots tell you (eg their 'friend' suggestion), you will end up with a bunch of contacts who really don't care.  Take that back, a small percentage may have a genuine interest but maybe not enough to consider for engagement. 

So, the process for configuring ROI (return on investment) is really simple for small businesses.  While everyone has a different goal for social media, here are the fundamentals:

1. Focus on one goal at a time.  If you're using social media to engage and promote or sell, make sure your campaigns are set up for such.  For instance, urging someone to buy that just signed up for emails may not work for your niche.

2.  Look at the numbers every month.  Google Analytics makes this pretty easy or you can just look at your social media account stats and calculate manually.  This can take a while but at least you know the true numbers.

3. Keep content consistent.  Many bloggers/vloggers turned influencers tend to get lost in the glory of residual income.  Or worse, the content may become too abstract or personal as we tend to go with our gut or have something on our brain.  Think of what your audience is expecting and go from there.

If you find that you enjoy the details and making progress charts, this may be something you can add to your current list of freelancing services.  I'd go for the full digital marketing certificate instead of limiting yourself to social media marketing.  Google also offers free and low-cost resources that can help you understand the basics better as well

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Freelancers...Watch Out For the Scammers in These Scary Times

No, seriously, it's worse than before.  People of the worst kind are taking unfair advantage of people affected by the pandemic.  Some are even getting scammy in the wake of our current social culture...but that's a different discussion.  Freelancers, especially newbies, should be aware of predators looking to exploit you because of your need to work.

How did I come to this conclusion?  Suddenly, there are more "experts" that can help you do the following:

  • Earn money today
  • Earn money with no experience
  • Earn $1000s this week

While this may be a slight exaggeration, I think you get what I'm saying here...especially on Facebook.  I've seen more ads claiming that people can make fast cash with little to no effort.  All I can say is do your homework and take note of some suggestive phrases scammers use when they're trying to sell you something.  Courtesy of Lipstick Alley

  • They want you to pre-order a product they haven't created yet.
  • Sell e-books and YouTube courses with regurgitated or plagiarized info.
  • "I have 20 copies left available and they're going fast"... followed by a fake countdown to induce scarcity, "15 copies left, 10 copies left..."

Monday, September 21, 2020

Having a Plan B For Hosting Virtual Events

 You may be like many freelancers who've decided to teach others your specialty or one of the many things you do exceptionally well.  This is a great idea for most who enjoy public speaking and have the patience to deal with a variety of personalities.  However, I'm finding a lot of novice hosts lack execution or what to do when plans fall through.

Since the pandemic, I've sat in on a lot of online teaching experiences outside of a college or university setting.  And you may have observed the following among those who call themselves "experts" - 

  • They fail to check the audio
  • They fail to include the link that allows participants to check their connection before class
  • The presentations look sloppy (and this was for a proofreading class...that costs me 100 bucks and was NON-REFUNDABLE)
  • Failure to tell participants to turn off all background noise or sit in a quiet space, if possible

One incident that particularly hurt my heart recently was a writing class that was originally live but once I got around to enrolling, it was canceled because not enough people signed on.  So I wait for months and was elated when I was notified it would be available online.  However, my first disappointment was that the price wasn't reduced (I mean you're not renting physical space, right?).

Then came the day of the event.  The host was disorganized and chose to have private convos with select participants while others waited.  Not everyone was introduced into the group and dialogue was all over the place.  Although the ignored participants got an apology a week later, his first impression made me mad that again, I couldn't freaking get my money back.

Now, I'm no one  Many of us are seeing life beyond the hustle and really want to shine on name recognition alone.  But it's just like that receptionist at any given corporate gig.  The person answering phones today and can be THE BOSS of everything tomorrow.  Don't believe me? Then check out the hard luck stories of these forever bosses.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Why You Need to Perfect Your Pitch

The freelancing world is definitely getting more competitive as many former workers are now joining the ever-growing pool.  There may even be a select number which is ineligible for COVID-19 unemployment benefits or a severance package so tactics like underpricing may be more rampant than normal.  While we know the joke may be on them, it can't hurt to prepare oneself to lay down the perfect pitch at the right time.

According to the Business Collective, common business pitching mistakes include - 

  • Being too pushy
  • Not getting a second opinion
  • Using too much industry jargon or buzzwords
However, I'd like to add that not listening to the receiver and using an irrelevant pitch can be just as dangerous.  What's the difference, you ask?  Let's say you meet a big name client at a virtual networking forum and you go for what you know using the tiny bit of character space available - your services and contact information in a single small paragraph.

While you may know their title and industry, do you know why they decided to attend the networking session?  Is there an opening in a specific department or a project they're overseeing?  Maybe an expansion that will call for permanent staff (which may be your ultimate goal)?  Find out their intentions before opening yourself up.

Even if the information isn't readily available, don't be afraid to ask. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Do You Need a Business Card Makeover?

Although COVID-19 makes public gatherings a little difficult these days, there's nothing wrong with being prepared when an opportunity comes a-knockin'.  If you've been a freelancer for a minute, then you know this happens when least expected.  If you keep your business cards in a purse or carrier that you switch up to match your outfit, then you know this happens when you've got the wrong bag in your possession.

If your business card game isn't bringing many returns...or your find people still ask 'Are you on social media?', 'Do you have a direct email address', then it may be time to address some often-overlooked factors.  For those of us who chose the simplest design at the stationery store or did the DIY thing, there's a lot that can be left out.  It happens to the best of us.
Many years ago, mine was using my cool mononym against a psychedelic background.  While I managed to squeeze in contact information and this was before social media, I got hit with questions.  Back then, my problem was not knowing what an elevator pitch was.  Although I knew how to fake it, prospects were still less than impressed.

Be Different or Practical?
As you can tell, I wasn't practical but I knew the downfalls of adding too much information.  You know the ones...they contain a scripture (and it's not a religious fact, they may have cursed you for making a slow payment) or a "witty" quote.  Then they must share EVERY social media logo they belong to (even if they seldom post or share).

Now, below are some pretty awesome business card designs. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

A Freelance Gig to Consider: Micro Wedding Planner

While there's so much going on in the world today, people want to celebrate life more than ever!  Career changes, school graduation, and bringing little ones into the world continue for many facing an uncertain future.  Couples planning for that Big Day now have options they might not have considered when they became engaged. One of those options is a micro wedding in any venue that will accommodate the maximum number of guests in accordance with state laws.

At one time, these were restricted to backyards or courthouses that made for ceremonies that were festive than civil.  These days, using Zoom, streaming video at a remote location, or outdoor private space are becoming choices for those looking to tie the knot.  Even though there may be less space to work with, sometimes having someone on the outside to plan is needed.

Great for New Graduates

If you've taken an event planning, marketing, or wedding planner course recently, this may be the best way to flex your party mentality.  While most planners consider the budget, a fitting theme, and scheduling, the priority here will most likely be social distancing for guests.  One idea for selling services would be to look at different venues in the area and get the event requirements in place.

Depending on where you live, this service alone may not be an easy sell for some prospects.  However, when you emphasize what a positive impact a festive event can have on everyone's mood, this may be enough to get them to consider your services.  Then there's the matter of convenience, as planning any wedding can be a stressful event for any bridal party.

Types of Microweddings to Promote