Why Social Media?

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When it comes to social media, I’ve noticed that some professional organizers avoid it like the plague, others embrace it wholeheartedly, and most fall somewhere in between. Helena Alkhas views social media as an important tool for her organizing business, and I’ve invited her here today to explain why.

home-based businesswoman

I have truly fallen in love with social media. I enjoy the learning, the understanding of how society has changed, the relationships that develop from it, and the connections I’ve created with fans that follow my posts on the channels I use.

When many of my colleagues approach me, two of their biggest concerns in regards to social media relate to time and if I get clients from it. They fear that using social media is very time- consuming and doesn’t bring them any tangible return in the form of clients/work.

Our society has undergone a major transformation and there are some impressive numbers to prove how social media permeates society’s daily life.

One area that has been greatly affected by the use of the web and social media was marketing and how companies communicate their message to the public, hoping to convert them into consumers.

In the past, Marketing would be something only larger companies would be able to afford, and they would use a model where a need was created and they’d make us aware of the product (new need) where we buy/consume it.

Entire campaigns would be developed and we would be “bombarded” by it in several forms:

  • printed in our monthly magazine subscriptions
  • aired during the commercial breaks of our favorite TV shows and radio programs
  • placed in the supermarket aisles
  • samples in stores

However, with the growth of social media, among other things, consumers started publicly sharing their likes and dislikes and this develops two-fold:

  1. A testimonial from a friend/real person is much more powerful than a paid message brought out by the company itself, and
  2. As we tend to hang out with like-minded people, our friends will see what we like and be more inclined to try it and hopefully like it. Just as we often make friends through friends, the same applies to brands we like.

This may seem like a new scenario, but in fact is just a replication of how we build our relationships: through time and in several forms of contact. And this is exactly what social media is all about: relationships being built through time. So, when we think of social media, we should in reality think about relationships with those that like our services.

This brings me to a very important part of relationship-building, which is authenticity. Like in all relationships, in social media channels where you represent your service, the more authentic you are, the more successful you’ll be, because you will be attracting the “perfect match” to your service and it will resonate with those following you. Using your authentic voice will create a genuine relationship with your public and this can lead to conversion from fans into customers down the road.

With this new perspective we can see that investing the time on creating relationships with the public through social media is actually a way of marketing yourself, and truth be said, marketing yourself and your company has never been as accessible as it is now, because all you need is the investment of your (precious) time and your social media and blogging accounts! And I believe this is wonderful news for small business owners like us; don’t you agree?

By now, I hope I’ve been able to briefly show you the changes in the scenario and how it favors you as a small business owner, but you may still be asking yourself “What’s in it for me? Why should I bother spending time, giving my best tips away if this doesn’t bring me paying clients?”

Well, the use of social media channels brings exposure to your company, to you and your products – this is free advertising. Secondly, by sharing your knowledge, you are in fact educating the public about it and, most importantly, you are establishing yourself as an authority in your area to a much broader audience than just your clients and your local community.

So, how can you make use of these tools to create exposure for your business, to promote your expertise and establish yourself as an authority in your area without spending hours a day on it?

  1. By selecting which one(s) best apply to you, or you feel most comfortable with
  2. By learning to use each of them
  3. By planning a social media calendar that is relevant to your type of organizing business – and of course,
  4. By scheduling time in your working hours to do it

It’s also important to keep in mind is that social media is not a magic potion; it does not happen overnight and, like anything we do successfully in life, requires lots of TLC. You didn’t build your friendships, relationships and business overnight, and the same applies here, because on the other end of the blog post there is a human being, just like us!

In my next posts we can see how each channel works and how to organize to make the best of each of them!

Helena AlkhasHelena Alkhas is a San Diego based Professional Organizer and she specializes in residential organizing. She offers hands on organizing as well as virtual organizing services to clients across the globe. Helena is a lifelong learner and is a member of NAPO and a subscriber to the ICD. Here is how you can contact her: www.apersonalorganizer.com, helena@apersonalorganizer.com or 858.564.8500.

16 Comments

  1. Avatar Juan Felix on April 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Hi Janet and Helena, ~ what a great article! I can completely relate to this. It describes exactly what I have experienced since I entered the social web 2 years ago. For me, as solo-preneur, the social web has also another big advantage: it allows me to combine my responsibilities as a father with my business. I couldn’t imagine how to combine those if it weren’t for social media. I chose to work from home, so I could spend more time with my 2 kids. Fortunately, it worked out fine! Partly, because Mari Smith offered me a chance to work for her as Chief Page Moderator. Thanks again for this great post 🙂 ~ Juan

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on April 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Wow, working with Mari Smith must have been an amazing experience – she’s brilliant!

      I also work from home, and because of social media I’ve been able to stay in touch and reconnect with people I haven’t seen in many years, which has opened up many business opportunities for me. It really has changed the way we network and market our businesses!

  2. Avatar Linda Samuels on April 19, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Hi Helena,

    This is a great post about how to consider using social media in business, especially if you are a bit hesitant about it. Here’s a great example for you. We met initially through social media. And then got to meet in person at the 2012 NAPO conference in Baltimore. I remember sitting down next to you in the hotel lobby, not knowing it was you. I was waiting for Krista Colvin (another person I only knew through social media). The three of us ended up spending a nice afternoon together, sharing some coffee, good conversation and interacting face to face. It all began with Facebook, Twiiter and our blogs. Social media doesn’t replace marketing or relationship building, it merely enhances the avenues for doing those things.

    I’m grateful to meet amazing people, like you and Janet from all over the world that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on April 20, 2012 at 6:52 am

      It is always exciting to meet someone in real life after you’ve known each other online for a while, and if I ever make it to a NAPO Conference, I look forward to meeting you, Helena, and many of the others in my network.

      On the other side of the coin, it also provides a way to stay connected with the new people you meet at various events, without having to spend a lot of time writing individual emails to everyone.

  3. Avatar Geralin Thomas on April 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Janet, thank you for this post!

    Helena has such a generous, kind spirit. She has wowed me [and several others] with her depth of information on Google+, Linked In, Pinterest and a few other SoMe topics.

    She is someone who not only knows how, but knows why, to do specific things online; she’s able to ‘connects the dots’ for experienced SoMe users as well as newbies experiencing challenges.

    And, after finally meeting her face-to-face, I have to say she is absolutely DELIGHTFUL! I love every minute of hanging out with her at NAPO events.

    Helena, keep the wisdom coming!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on April 20, 2012 at 6:44 am

      I’d like to add that Helena not only knows the how’s and the why’s, she is actually doing them! I’ve mentioned her (and you) to others as great examples of people using social media effectively.

  4. Avatar Denise Sonnenberg on April 19, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    You are so right Helena. In the past smaller companies couldn’t afford this kind of advertising and public relations. It’s still difficult since you either need to have the time to devote to it or be able to afford someone to do it for you. But that is such a much better option than was available before.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on April 20, 2012 at 7:07 am

      I think most business owners should have time or money. If they’ve not busy, they’ve got time. If they are busy, they’ve got money. If they’re busy but still don’t have money, they probably need to increase their rates!

  5. Avatar Pamela on April 20, 2012 at 3:27 am

    After reading everything in this post, I came to best statement in the second to the last paragraph. It is “It’s also important to keep in mind is that social media is not a magic potion; it does not happen overnight and, like anything we do successfully in life, requires lots of TLC”.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on April 20, 2012 at 7:10 am

      Absolutely! It’s really not that different than going to networking events. After attending her first event, a new business owner was disappointed, because she didn’t get any clients out of it, and I had to explain to her that it’s NOT about getting a quick sale, but about building relationships. Too many people using social media don’t seem to understand that.

  6. Avatar Helena Alkhas on April 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Juan, thank you so much for your comment! I have been learning so much from you and your wonderful posts on Facebook.

    I completely relate to the benefits of balancing family life with work from home and like you I am also so grateful that the choices I made support my wish to be with the boys and my passion for learning and working with people.

    In this last year I also learned how much of our own education and learning is on our hands and how much is available out there!

    Looking forward for more learning and fun with great people!

    Helena

  7. Avatar Helena Alkhas on April 20, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Linda, thank you for your comment!

    I so agree with you on how Social Media is bringing people together and after we met at NAPO and had coffee with Krista (Colvin) and Cris (Sgrott-Whedleton) I was also in awe thinking: the tools we have today to meet new people, to connect and find out the interests we have! I so enjoyed our outing!

    I also enjoyed this whole year of learning and all is to “blame” on Rich Brooks’ session on the convention last year. I felt the importance and power of the information and felt fascinated by it! Since then I joined classes, groups and have met wonderful people!

    Looking forward to your wonderful blog posts and a year of fun on Twitter! See you in New Orleans!

  8. Avatar Helena Alkhas on April 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Geralin,

    thank you so much for your kind words!
    I also had a great time at NAPO2012 and going through the ins and outs of Social Media with our fellow colleagues!

    I have this new found love for social media and I truly enjoy sharing what I learn.

    Looking forward to see you in New Orleans!

    Helena

  9. Avatar Helena Alkhas on April 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Denise,

    I so relate to the challenge of time/money and I know how much work is involved and what a steep learning curve it can be. I dedicated so many hours to it, but once things are in place it works as a well-oiled machine.

    I have also to agree with Janet. If a small business owner is overwhelmed, he/she needs help! A skilled and reliable VA can change the world to us and free up time to create, learn and generate more income! PS: Janet is great for that! 😉

  10. Avatar Jennifer on April 25, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Excellent article Helena ~ you make so many great points. Social media allows small companies and individuals to get the same kind of exposure in their market as big brands without spending millions in advertising. I think the reason small businesses hesitate to jump into social media is because it seems so time consuming with no return. The key is to have a social media strategy ~ really, you need help from a professional here! And, like you said, to realize that it doesn’t produce returns overnight. If you are patient and do it right, social media will bring your business to a higher profit level than you’ve ever imagined!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on April 26, 2012 at 11:56 am

      You’re so right about needing a strategy! as John Haydon said, “Without specific goals, social media will become a complete time-suck.”

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