9 Tips for Navigating Web 2.0 Social Networking Sites

web2.0Web 2.0 is the terminology that is given to this social phenomenon on the internet, in particular Facebook, Twitter, UTube, My Space and it applies to many more social sites.  Everyone seems to have their favorites for various reasons.

One thing is for sure though, is the fact that any serious internet marketer needs to learn the skills to use these social sites to their best advantage.  When you first go on these sites you may think that they are a waste of time because you will see a lot of comments like: “Had a chicken salad for dinner”.

When you are going onto these sites for business purposes the approach needs to be quite different and the way you use the sites needs to be quick and efficient.  You do not have time to spend an hour on these sites just for interest sake.   It is a matter of getting in, networking your business and getting out and moving on to the next one.  The idea of social marketing for business is to create a broad presence around the internet sites.  As you learn the skills you will be able to link one to the other which will save time as well.

9 Tips to help you move around these sites are:facebook

  • Keep your comments relative to your business
  • Keep your comments positive
  • Look for friends that could be potential clients
  • Look for groups that could help grow your business
  • Have basic comments in word and copy and paste when adding friends or confirming friendships – have several as these sites like variety
  • Be on the sites consistently – 10 to 20 mins a day
  • Have a system so that you don’t waste time
  • Don’t go joining 10 sites then only work one – join one and make it work then go on to another
  • Make sure your profile is complete on each site

How Have Business Networking and Communications Changed?

Business NetworkingOh, the good old days of doing business!  And I am not talking 20-30 years ago I am only talking 6-7 years ago.  There was always an expectation that business people would join business groups like Lions or Rotary to network with other business owners, but that necessity is changing rapidly.

In fact if you are relying on those networks for your business in 2009 you are almost considered ‘out of the loop’.  Business these days is conducted on the internet via social sites and emails.   Interesting that they call them social sites because people who join these sites for business are not  in many of cases, very social.  Often it is a matter of targeting specific clients or groups and building relationships for business purposes only.

It is a fact that even company meetings have changed.  More and more companies are changing to having meetings on the internet with attendees being anywhere from down the hallway to half way across the globe.

How is this affecting your business?  Are you losing that personal contact with staff or with your customers?  Obviously virtual business is infiltrating our systems more and more, but business owners need to be extremely careful that they do not lose touch with their clients.

One step that major companies have taken because of this factor is to improve their customer service divisions.  Even in only the last 2 years there has been a noticeable difference in customer service.

Champion Assistants NEW International Division

Champion Assistants globalteamChampion Assistants is proud to announce its new International division dedicated to international clients expanding their businesses to the US.  We’ve always enjoyed working with our overseas clients in the UK, Poland and New Zealand, so we are very pleased to be expanding and offering our services globally.

Our International division is dedicated to “Connecting Businesses with Opportunities”.  To us, this means building relationships, offering executive support and representing our international clients here in the US as their satelite office.  Our service offerings include:

  • Executive Office Support – Virtual US headquarters for foreign companies, trade mission assistance, trade show follow-up, correspondence, scheduling, lead and inquiry management.
  • Business Analysis – Business process analysis, process optimization, change management.
  • Sales Strategy – Sales strategy definition and implementation, prospect identifying and targeting, CRM software management, affiliate management.
  • Marketing Strategy – Direct mailings, press releases, newsletters, online networking, blogs, customer forum maintenance and moderation.
  • Web Design – Web design based on strategic business requirements, online shopping carts , website localization, Web 2.0, SEO Search Engine Optimization.
  • Business Translations – Spanish, Chinese, Japanese (manuals, websites, documents, meetings, interviews, correspondence, proposals).

Champion Assistants has the aim of supporting international business efforts to ensure long-term success in the American market.  From our strategic sales and marketing to our executive support, we work with our customers to customize services to their needs.  Please visit our website or contact us today to find out more specific information.

Best,

Heather

Seattle Businesses – Don’t miss this brand and marketing workshop!

Maria Ross - Marketing and Brand Expert

Maria Ross - Marketing and Brand Expert

Defining a brand strategy is essential for all businesses and a task that many small business owners find daunting.  To be successful in any economy or market, businesses need to have a defined niche and a sound strategy for how they are going to position themselves in the market place.  Regardless of how good a product or service may be, positioning and perception make all the difference.

Taking the time to define a marketing and brand strategy are a wise time and money investment that will pay off quickly.  Two of Seattle’s big brand and marketing dynamos, Maria Ross, Marketing Director for Red-Slice and Whitney Keyes of Whitney Keyes Productions, are holding a workshop to guide you through the marketing maze and help you find practical and creative ways to attract new customers  – and keep the ones you have loyal to you.  The workshop is being held February 11th, 2009, and is an excellent opportunity to get practical strategies from Seattle marketing dynamos.  For more information about the workshop, just visit: Branding Workshop.

Best,

Heather

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Microsoft cuts jobs – time for entrepreneurs to flourish!

lightbulbsglobeThe news that Microsoft is making its first mass layoffs in its 34-year history (according to the The Associated Press) is big news here in the Seattle-area as all of us are directly or indirectly impacted by the job cuts.  Microsoft is one of the Northwest’s largest employers and everyone in Seattle either works for Microsoft or has a family member, friend or neighbor working at Microsoft.  Whether or not someone we know loses their job, we know how difficult it can be working for a company undergoing an unprecedented internal transition. Champion Assistants is headquarted in Kirkland, just a 15-minute drive from Microsoft’s Redmond campus and we greatly value the impact the company has had in our region – providing jobs to so many and boosting the level of technological-savvy and development in the region.  Champion Assistants is a registered partner with Microsoft and we’re always keeping an eye out for what Microsoft is innovating.

In addition to Microsoft, the Puget Sound region is also known as being a region where entrepreneurs flourish – especially for minority-owned businesses according to Prosperity Partnership.org.  According to Washington State, women are considered minorities in business and therefore 51% majority women-owned businesses qualify for special loan rates as well as business counseling services from organizations such as the Community Capital Development Washington Business Center.  There are a number of free resources available to small business owners and entrepreneurs both nationally through the SBA and in Washington State.  I always recommend starting with free resources and exhausting them before paying for advice.

With layoffs being announced across various industries and company sizes, I think this economy will present innovators with an excellent opportunity to develop their ideas and go into business for themselves.  Being layed off can be discouraging, but realizing creative talent and ambition while working from home is tremendously rewarding.  I strongly believe that home offices will become micro-power centers of innovation over the next couple years.  Good talent rarely sits idle.

With the convenience of the home office and low barrier to entry for online sales, there is tremendous opportunity for small business to capture niche market share and sell online with extremely low overhead costs.  It isn’t all doom and gloom with layoffs.  Now is the time to fulfill dreams and stay productive at what we all do best and are passionate about.  Carpe diem!  If you are one of the many being affected by restructuring and layoffs, now is the time to develop your ideas and sell online.

Best,

Heather

Are you sitting on the sidelines or are you an innovator?

Champion Assistants supports innovators

Champion Assistants supports innovators

According to Wikipedia, “An innovator or pioneer (pronounced /ˌpаɪəˈnɪər/) in a general sense is a person or an organisation who is one of the first to do something and often opens up a new area for others and achieves an innovation“.  Not sure what an innovation is?  Check out Wikipedia’s Timeline of Historic Inventions for examples from pigment to PageRank.

You don’t need to invent a wheel to be an innovator.  In fact, just creating a useful product or service makes you an innovator in my book! Innovators are those special people who are able to take an idea, test it, tweak it and put it out there for others to consume and criticize.  Being an innovator is not for the faint or heart, but it is for the determined.

Successful small business are run by innovators – people who think and act ahead of the curve and able to create and adapt.  They are people who aren’t afraid of feedback because they know they can use it to their advantage to tweak improve and leap ahead of their competition.  Most people are stagnant in their own self-doubt.  I don’t know how many times I’ve left a networking event or luncheon remembering complaints and criticisms such as “anybody could have thought of that”, “My boss keeps me so busy I don’t have any time to pursue my real dreams”, “nobody would ever buy that”, and other criticisms and self-defeating thoughts.  I usually navigate away feeling bewildered, but the truth is these people just aren’t innovators.  Innovators take action!

I know business owners who sit around for months just considering whether or not to update content on their website, and exactly what content to use, etc.  How can people get consumed by such trivial matters – after all updating website content is a couple hours with provided content! – why waste so much energy when there are much bigger issues to face?  The bottom line is these people aren’t innovators.  Innovators don’t get tripped up in the small stuff.   They see the big picture, a larger goal, and put whatever they need to in place in order to achieve it.

Innovators are exciting people to be around.  They don’t sit still, stew or cluck at how things could/would/should be – they do!  Opportunities abound even in this economic climate and innovators prove this to be the case.  Nearly all of our clients sell online whether they work from a commercial office or at home after the rest of their family is asleep.  They have products they believe strongly in.  They challenge themselves to live their business dreams, take consistent action towards their goals and seize opportunities that help them along the way.  They are exciting people to be around!

I started Holiday Assistants in October 2007 after mulling it over on the side since June.  That June I was in a group of women and one of them holiday-assistants-making-your-holidays-sparkle1complained how next thing you know the holidays will be around the corner and it’s going to get stressful all over again.  A huge holiday fan myself, at first I was shocked at how she could dread what should be a festive and joyous time 5-ish months in advance, and then the opportunity lighbulb went off.  I spent the next few months doing a little research on the side and after developing basic business plans kicked myself to launching the company in the beginning of October even though I didn’t have everything planned out to the finest details.  I reassured myself by approaching the season as 1st year research and see how it goes.  As it turned out the 1st year just turned a profit (and the 2nd year was up 600%).  Why did this happen?  Yes, sound business planning and being in tune with the local community needs, but the real answer is because I took action.  I could still be thinking of this today and not getting anything off the ground.  Instead, I have a successful second company that has even been recognized as Best of the City by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine.

Now is as good a time as any to step out self-doubt or other limiting beliefs and step into innovating.  It’s much easier to sit on the sidelines, but a whole lot more rewarding to take risk and reap the rewards of great ideas, persistence and passion!

Best,

Heather