Archive for May, 2010

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Are You Killing Your Productivity? 6 Things to Watch Out For

It doesn’t matter if you have 100 hundred clients, or just a few, if you are a freelancer, entrepreneur or small business owner, you’ve been faced  with the task of squeezing every last of productivity out of your typical workweek.

But there are ways that even the most experienced freelance veterans can sabotage their time management, and the amount of time spent each week on constructive, productive work. Some of the worst offenders include:

1. Weak or Absent Goal Setting

2. Sacrificing Your Health

3. Freelance Style Faux Pas

4. Playing the Victim

5. Time Bombs

6. Senseless Acts of Procrastination

Read about these top productivity killers to learn ways to avoid these time traps!

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Let's Remember the Real Reason for Memorial Day This Year

We at Hat Trick Associates would like to wish you a fun-filled, and safe, Memorial Day Weekend! And let’s all take a moment to reflect on the true reason for the holiday – the brave men and women who have given their lives in sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy here in America. In light of this, please allow me to share some information about a charitable group of which I’m a part, the Joshua Chamberlain Society, which strives to give back to the Heroes who have served in our military and sacrificed so much, and now need our help more than ever. Thank you, and look for us at our regular time on Monday ~

The Joshua Chamberlain Society – The mission of the Joshua Chamberlain Society is to identify and adopt wounded or fallen military service members who have made such an extraordinary sacrifice for our country. In the same fashion that our service members have sacrificed for their country forever, the Society is dedicated to making an on-going commitment to our Heroes for the remainder of their lives (or the lives of their families, for fallen Heroes). Meet our first Hero, Sgt. Joshua Eckhoff.

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Time Pays with Social Media Marketing

Have you ever asked “Is the time I invest in social media really worth it?”

It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to social networking or an old hat, chances are you’ve wondered if the time commitment is really worth your return on investment (ROI).  And make no mistake, a true investment of time and resources is necessary to see significant social media marketing success.

So the real question then becomes, “Just HOW MUCH time is needed to see solid success?” Recent surveys and studies have attempted to answer this question, but the answer is different for differing organizations. But one thing is clear; ROI is top of mind for most marketers using social media.

Top Social Media Questions

The primary question(s) that most marketers want answered is how to track social media ROI.  A sampling includes:

  • What are the key metrics to follow for measuring ROI in terms of customer satisfaction, revenues and brand loyalty?
  • Are there any recognized industry benchmarks that track the impact of social network marketing?
  • How effective is social media versus the resources needed to maintain the effort?
  • For marketing execs, how can I tell a convincing story to management about the ROI for social marketing?

The shift of focus has gone away from specific social media tactics, which many have become more comfortable with, and on to ROI, which shows the evolution and maturity of social network marketing in general.

Time Vs. Return

When looking at ROI, you also have to look closely at just how much time you’re investing.  Unlike “traditional” forms of marketing, when it comes to social media your investment is often more time than money. But of course, time is your most valuable resource! This chart shows the overall breakdown of marketers’ time spent using social sites.

When drilling down to the hours spent using social media, the largest group is in the 1 to 5 hours per week range.  Of that group, 43% are spending 4 to 5 hours each week on social media activities. A significant 56% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours+ each week and 30% for 11 or more.  Of interesting note is that 12.5% of marketers spend more than 20 hours each week on social media.

But even more interesting than the time spent on social media marketing is the correlation between the amount of experience the user has and the total time spend using social media tools. The median weekly time commitment for beginners is 1 hour, versus 10 hours for those doing with at least a few months experience.

And because 65% of marketers are “new” to social media, one can speculate that much of their limited time spent on social sites is trial and error, rather than solid strategy.

Top Social Media Benefits

When looking at ROI on social media marketing, money in the bank can’t be your only indicator of success. Increased traffic, lead generation and happy, connected customers all are factors in deciding which social media strategies are working best for your business.

Most marketers will agree that as search engine rankings improve, so will business exposure, lead generation efforts and a reduction in overall marketing expenses. Many marketers report that social media can generate qualified leads. The following data shows how many marketers view the benefits of social media marketing:

Generated exposure for my business – 85%

Increased my traffic/subscribers, opt-in list – 63%

Resulted in new business partnerships – 56%

Helped us rise in search rankings – 54%

Generated qualified leads – 52%

Helped me sell products and services/close business – 48%

Reduced my overall marketing expenses – 48%

Outsourcing Social Media

Because ROI vs. time is such a central focus for most marketers, it shouldn’t be surprising to see them outsourcing portions (or the entirety) of their social media campaigns. But social marketing is also a fairly new field, and many business owners and marketing execs are still learning the time commitments required for successful programs, and are perhaps unaware of what can, or should, be outsourced in the future.

According to recent data, the larger the organization, the more likely outsourcing is currently taking place. Over 30% of large businesses and about 25% of mid-sized ones are currently working with outside firms or individuals on their social media campaigns, compared to about 11% of sole proprietors. But like many marketing trends, what starts with large firms tends to filter down to smaller businesses; therefore, it’s probable that we’ll see more outsourcing overall in the coming year.

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