Barn at Enchanted Acres

How To Keep Your Seasonal Business Active On Social Media 365 Days Of The Year

Seasonal businesses are seasonal. This does not mean that your business goes to sleep in regards to social media during your offseason. Here are some tips on how you can keep the conversation going, all year long.

BE PRESENT

Many of you have heard me say this over and over. It does matter! If you are not present, your customers will move on to your competition. Customers want to know that you are serious about your business and they want to know that you care. If you own a Christmas tree business, you are more than likely ramping up your social media game by the time October rolls around. For example, a Christmas tree farm waters their trees, they may have to mow around the trees, and they may even offer seasonal merchandise. A great way to drum up some conversation in the offseason is to ask questions that relate to your business. You, the business owner, can take that information and apply that to your marketing and products for the next season

ENCOURAGE REVIEWS

Encourage your past customers to leave you reviews during the offseason. You can incorporate this into your email signature. Incorporate your asking for a review in a blog post and share it through all of your social media channels. You may need to lead the conversion by asking, “What is your favorite memory of your day with us?” or “Share your pictures of your day with us!”

PROVIDE HELPFUL CONTENT

During the offseason, you can gain a lot of traction by sharing helpful information. For example, if you own a boating business, you could write blog posts about tips for storing your boat, tips for taking your boat our of storage, tips for keeping things nice in your boat while it’s in storage, or even offering stories about the best lakes and streams for boating in your area. If you own a pumpkin patch, such as Enchanted Acres, you may want to talk about how to choose the ultimate pumpkin during the offseason.

Enchanted Acres Iowa

Most importantly, make the time to grow your business during the offseason. The people that you meet along the way, will quite often turn into your biggest fans.

 

Blogging

Tips For Working From Home Without Feeling Isolated

Working from home can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences. If you are someone who enjoys a challenge and the opportunity to set your own schedule, working from home is a good solution for you. I have worked from home for the past decade and I have some tips that can help you enjoy your work from home experience.

ONLINE NETWORKING

Working from home gives you an opportunity to meet many new people online. Use this opportunity to grow your business and make real online connections. Twitter is where I have made more business connections than any other social media platform. Facebook groups, as well as LinkedIn groups, give you more opportunity to make more online connections than ever before. Use your online networking time wisely and you will reap the rewards. The best tip I can give you in regards to online networking is to take those online relationships offline and let the magic happen.

GET DRESSED DAILY

Many would argue that they work fine in pajamas all day, not this entrepreneur. When I get up and get dressed, I am ready to conquer the world. When I sit around in pajamas, not so. There’s something about feeling confident about being dressed and “meeting” a new client from my home, would you agree?

EXERCISE

Make exercise a part of your day. If I find myself dragging throughout the day, I go for a walk, hop in the car to run an errand or tackle a room in my home that needs some attention. An hour of moving around will often reset my mind set, which will increase my daily productivity.

LOCAL NETWORKING GROUPS

Find a local networking group where you can have face to face conversations with like minded people. This could be through your local social media breakfast club or even hanging out in your local coffee shop.

Social Media Thrivent

The best thing about these two things, they are usually a free activity. Face to face conversations do matter and it’s up to you to make them happen. When you sit at home, buried in your office, those face to face, real life conversations will not happen. Skype is a great tool, but those face to face conversations still come out ahead in the long run.

INVEST IN YOUR BUSINESS

Invest in your business, it’s as simple as that. Conferences, training sessions and anything you can do to help you be a better business leader in your arena, go for it. The real life meetups have always helped me and reminded me of how important people are in my life.

Working from home is a great opportunity for many of us, so use your time wisely. Network online and then build upon those relationships offline. There is no reason to feel isolated when you work from home in our ever-connected world of today.

So, tell me! Do you feel isolated working from home or have you found ways to avoid this awkward feeling?

 

Tips For Networking At The Women In Travel Summit

The Women In Travel Summit is a conference where travelers and connectors unite. If you have not purchased your ticket to attend this year, I’d encourage you to do so here. I attended last year, and it’s fair to say that I made some connections that literally changed my career in the space of a travel blogger.

I would also like to invite 2017 Women In Travel Summit attendees to the Wanderful Happy Hour that Midwest Travel Bloggers is excited to be sponsoring!

Lisa and Sara

Join us for a drink and pizza on April 20th from 6-8 p.m.. Lisa, of The Walking Tourists, and I will be introducing you to six amazing midwest destinations that helped bring this event to fruition.

Here are some networking tips to help you get the biggest return on your investment.

ATTEND SESSIONS

There are several opportunities for you to hone in on your skills. From taking stellar photos to pitching magazines, there’s a lot to be learned while attending the Women In Travel Summit. The other neat thing about attending sessions is that you will meet someone new. Last year, I reconnected with Suzanne of Adventures of Empty Nesters, met Tam of Travels With Tam and Melody of WhereverImayroamblog. Guess what? We all four had something in common. We were all midlife travel bloggers. Fast forward to 2017, Suzanne and myself, along with Anne Parris of Mildlife Boulevard, are on a panel at the summit talking about how you can soar while writing travel in midlife.

Suzanee, Anne, Sara

Again, attend the sessions, that is where the magic can happen. The four of us now have a private Facebook group where we encourage each other and plan events together.

MENTOR SESSIONS OFFER 1:1 MEETINGS

I attended a mentor session last year at the Women In Travel Summit and again, it helped me grow my blog. This year, I am honored to be offering mentor sessions to attendees.

Sara WITS Speaker Badge

Local is very important to me. If you are wanting to step up your game on the local front, I have tips and some secrets to help you be the rock star blogger in your hometown. Want to start your own social media breakfast club, I’ve shared how to do it and now it’s up to you to start!

You can register here to sign up for one or two of these sessions. Again, by stepping out of my comfort zone while attending WITS and booking a 1:1 session, I was able to take things up a couple notches.

SMILE AND OFFER A HANDSHAKE

A smile and an occasional handshake go miles when it comes to meeting new people. The last time you met someone were you smiling or hanging your head low? Raise your head, smile, and offer your hand. It’s simple, yet very easy to do.

These are three very simple things that you can do while attending the Women In Travel Summit in Milwaukee. I hope to see you there and I’ll be ready to shake your hand!

 

 

 

 

 

Five Tips For Meeting New Friends At A Conference

I’m personally attending a couple conferences in the next month and I’m also hosting an afternoon one in my hometown, Creating The “Buzz” In Social Media.

Creating Buzz Logo

 

I hope to make new friends and help others make some connections that they have not been able to make. It’s no secret that many folks that are involved in social media are introverts, so when the opportunity is placed out there to interact in person, it’s easy to freeze up. Here are five tips to help you meet new friends when attending a conference.

And if you don’t think you can meet new friends at a conference, think again! It’s been through networking events in North Iowa that Jeni of JeniEats , Beth Ann of It’s Just Life, Finding The Extraordinary In The Ordinary, myself and Donna of Donnahup.com have became good friends!

 

Bloggers North Iowa

#1: Be Yourself

You are probably saying, “Of course I will be myself.” Seriously, don’t spend hours trying to change who you are. Wear clothes that you know fit and are comfortable. Chances are you have a beautiful profile picture on your social media platforms, so it’s also not the time to get a fancy new haircut. Be yourself and who you are! If you can do that, things will fall into place.

#2: Shake Hands

When you meet someone new, provided you don’t have a cold, reach out to shake their hand. A personal connection, with a hand shake and eye contact goes a long way.

#3: Introduce yourself to a stranger

A conference is one place you don’t want to think about stranger danger. The attendees have spent money and taken the time to come to this event and are probably there for the same reasons you are. If you need to practice your Elevator Pitch, do it before you leave home! BTW- An elevator pitch is a short introduction of who you are and what you do.

#4: Invent Your Own Schedule

You should stick to a schedule for an event that is only a few hours. If the event is a couple days or more, it may benefit you to step away from the conference schedule to meet face to face with someone you’ve been wanting to get to know better. Keep in mind, most conferences don’t allow the participation of passing out swag or attending off site parties- understand the rules of the conference you are attending, before you make plans. I have found some of the best networking I have done is through conversations in a hallway that have lasted a couple hours.

#5: Ask for Business Cards And/Or Social Media Connections

Hand someone your business card and ask for theirs. I personally appreciate it when someone says, “Hey, can we follow each other right now?” Both attendees take out their smart phones and connect with each other on the spot- makes the connection super easy! Business cards work, but it’s no secret that they do get misplaced.

Most importantly go to a conference with an open mind and be prepared to meet new people. If you feel like you have had to step out of your comfort zone, that means your money and time have been well invested!

So, tell me! What’s the last conference you attended and did you meet new friends?

Thank you to Bill Schickel of KCMR Studios for the picture!

Social Media Is Not A Dumping Ground

Over the course of the past couple weeks I have been approached by a few people to help them grow their businesses. Bloggers specifically need to realize that social media is all about interacting.  If your goal is to grow a business, it is never ok to dump blog posts onto a social media platform and never engage. Social media is sharing, interacting and engaging; it is not a dumping ground!

It’s no secret that bloggers have posts and they are excited to share them. Hey, I get that, as I am also excited to share my work through social media. Did you know that if you never engage through your social media platforms, your chances of growing a business are very, very hard?

Bloggers are gearing up for Fall Conference season and several are looking for blog conference sponsorship. The ideal partnership in any business is through someone you have worked with in the past, present, or future (someone you really want to work with). If you have been using social media as a dumping ground for your blog posts, it’s going to be extremely hard to find a company that will want to partner with you for blog conference sponsorship. This applies to all businesses and anyone using social media, definitely something to think about.

Social Connections Connecting

 

The easiest way to grow a business using social media is to stop using social media as a dumping ground. Remember the 80/20 rule and stick to it! 80% needs to be sharing, interacting, and engaging with others. And that 20% that often includes the “dumped posts” is showcasing you! Share your pictures, blog posts, life happenings and dreams in that 20%, as this is how you can grow your business. You will never grow by never engaging and interacting, period.When you share the work of others, it will all come full circle. Others will begin to share your work and that’s how social media should work.

I want to see people grow businesses, as I don’t like seeing people spend hours writing blog posts and wondering why they never get anywhere. It’s also important to remember how important those real life relationships are. Technology is wonderful, as it does allow us to connect with new people on line. I can tell you that from experience, if you take the time and invest some money in a conference related to your business; your business will grow. It’s through the interaction and new people you meet that your business will start growing at lightning speed.

When you return home from a conference, continue to engage, interact and share things through social media. Do not return to your old ways of using social media as a dumping ground. Once you learn how to apply the 80/20 rule, your business will grow!

Social Media Connections at Breakfast

 

Oh yeah and then there’s that local social media breakfast club that I started, talk about amazing! Our June meeting was sponsored by UdderlySmooth and Everalbum, two companies that are growing and appreciate the work that we are doing to expand on social media in North Iowa. And I can tell you this,  it’s through social media that my relationships with these two companies has grown and been a positive experience for all of us involved. Engage, interact, and share- make things happen- social media can rock your business today!

Tell me- Have you fell into the trap of using social media as a dumping ground? If so, how did you turn things around?