Social Media Marketing and Customer Service


How does your company use its social media platforms? A new survey from JD Powers & Associates suggests that companies should use a two-pronged strategy, marketing their products and addressing customer concerns. If a company neglects half of the equation, it may alienate a large chunk of its customer base.

The study found that while younger consumers, that is, those under 30, use social media primarily to engage with a company’s customer  service representative, older consumers want companies to focus on providing coupons and notices about new projects. Some companies, like Southwest Airlines, have achieved a good balance of service and advertising in the social media sphere. However, most fail to emphasize both aspects of online interactions.

When you’re developing your social media marketing strategy, create goals for both customer service and product awareness. With careful planning and daily attention, you can craft a social media persona that will connect with consumers of all ages.

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Melbourne StudyWorking From Home Results in Productivity Gains

A new study from Melbourne University in Australia analyzed the habits of people who work from home. While some managers have feared the loss of control and oversight that results from a scattered workforce, the researchers found that working from home is more efficient than working from an office. People who work from home put in more hours, face fewer distractions, and complete more work than people in an office setting. They’re also less stressed and more motivated.

Hiring contractors who telecommute can also benefit a company’s bottom line. A work-from-home contractor provides her own office space and electronics, reducing overhead. Since a company only pays a contractor when there is work for her to do, her employers save money on salaries and benefits. As technology improves and companies look for ways to reduce expenditures on staff and benefits, a large portion of the American labor force may shift to contract work from home.

How to Homeschool and Work as a Copywriter

Homeschooled child

Last week, career blogger Penelope Trunk posted 4 tips for working and homeschooling. I didn’t find her tips particularly helpful, and I know many homeschooling moms who would be put off by her writing style, which tends towards ‘oversharing.’ For the last two years, I’ve been homeschooling, working at least 12 hours a week, and making a decent income while being a full-time mother to my five kids. How do I do it?

1. I work at odd hours.  I get up at 6:30 and do a bit of work before the kids wake up and want food. I work in the evening, after my husband comes home from work. If I get unexpected quiet time in the middle of the day, I fix myself a cup of coffee, sit down at the computer, and work.

2. I remain interruptible. One of the wonderful things about my business is that clients pay me based on my results, not based on the time I spend in a chair. That means I can interweave kids and work throughout the day. One minute,I can be immersed in a press release about a factory’s new client, the next I can break up a fight about sharing the red legos. I can also take my work with me as I complete mindless chores. I’m not just sorting laundry, I’m also composing a blog post.

3. I avoid business calls. Occasionally, I have to take a call with a client. These calls are fraught with peril, as I try to find a quiet place in the house. My kids aren’t badly behaved, but their games are often very loud. As a result, I use email for most of my business communications. I enjoy writing more than I enjoy talking, and when you’re typing no one can hear the screams of the aliens who’ve just been slaughtered by the space pirates.

4. We all write together. My first grader and my third grader have to write every day. They also have worksheets and quiet reading time. I’ve set up my laptop in the school room. When they’re working quietly, I work quietly too. It’s almost like being in a traditional office, but with more questions about fractions.

I’ve discovered that copywriting is one of those careers that lends itself to homeschooling and working from home. That, at least, is one point on which Penelope Trunk and I can agree.

SEO for Beginners – Three Simple Rules


If your business has a web presence, you need to understand SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine OptSEO Bloggingimization. Search engines crawl the web, looking for certain keywords to determine whether a page meets a user’s needs. Without appropriate SEO, your business won’t show up near the top of a Google or Bing search. Since most people only look at the first page of web results, you need to put yourself where they can find you.

Even if most of your clients are local, they still use your website to find your hours, your phone number, and your latest news.  Good SEO strategies help you connect with your customers when they’re at home, at work, or running errands. The following three simple rules of SEO will help you build relationships with your local customers through the internet.


1.       Keep it Fresh. Search engines judge web pages on many factors. One of the most important is ‘freshness.’ People get annoyed if the search engine directs them to a long-abandoned, out of date page. The engines check the date of your last update to ensure that your business is still actively maintaining a web presence.  In order to remain at the top of the rankings, you should update your page at least once a week.  Common updates include news, special prices, or a blog. You can either take the time to update your site every week, or you can hire someone else to write the updates. (Obviously, as a copywriter, I’d prefer that you hire me, but if you’re a decent writer and enjoy blogging, you can write your own posts.)

 

2.       State Your Location Clearly. Google also gives precedence to local results. If someone in Southern Indiana is looking for a plumber, he doesn’t want a search result from Fresno, California. It’s easy to optimize your site for local search. Just make sure you have contact information on the front page, and include your address, zip code, and phone number with area code. You should also create a tagline, for instance, “Serving Dubois, Spencer, Perry, and Crawford counties.” If you make your location clear, you’ll receive a privileged place in local searches.

3.       Remember the Obvious. Are you a plumber or an electrician? Don’t try to be cute. State the obvious so that the search engines understand what you are. Make sure your site includes the words “plumbers, plumbing, toilets, sinks,” and anything else relevant to your business. Do you respond to emergencies? Put that somewhere on your home page. Think about what a panicked homeowner might type into Google, and try to address those questions.


Excellent Advice at Forbes.com

Over at Forbes, Susannah Breslin has a five-part series on how to succeed at freelancing. Breslin’s advice on self employment tends to be concise, witty, and spot-on. If you landed on this page because you’re looking for information on how to start a freelance career, you should head over to Forbes.com and read her series. After that, read everything she’s written on the topic over the last couple of years.

I could dispense freelancing advice over here, but, honestly, hers is better.

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