Tag Archive for social networking

It’s been a busy winter

There was a time not that long ago that winter meant a bit of hermit behaviour on my part, but my first winter in the NWT has changed all that around. I’m at least as active as I was in the summer, if not more so.

Besides volunteering at the Fort Smith Animal Shelter, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 239 and the Fort Smith Curling Centre, business has also picked up considerably. If you follow me on Twitter or are connected to me on Facebook or LinkedIn, you’re already well aware of my daily work for Talkin’ Cloud — an incredibly fun gig that lets me write about the cloud news of the day while adding my own opinion and analysis to it.

A new corporate client has been keeping me quite busy since the beginning of January, as well. Exactly what that is isn’t something I can speak about publicly, mind you, but do know I’m having a blast and enjoying the work.

The automotive market has called on me again. In the last few months, two articles have appeared in SSGM, and you can expect to see my byline there again shortly. Writing about the automotive industry reminds me of my days as a cub IT reporter. There’s something incredibly exciting about learning the ins and outs (and jargon) of an industry, and SSGM provides that opportunity.

Unfortunately, this busy season has kept me from living up to my Beer In Canada goals. The site has been a bit stagnant lately, but I’m hoping to find a way to blend it back into my daily workload. So stay tuned for more on Canadian beer and the brewing industry.

And finally, I’ve become inspired in my photography again and am actively looking for interesting subjects to shoot (for now, in and around Fort Smith). Linda Martin of the Click! Fort Smith Photo Club turned me on to The Grid the other day, and their humourous episodes have prompted me to work towards improving my photography (more on that in a future post — hopefully in the next week).

One more thing before I sign off: I’m going to revamp the look of this website soon. It’s dated and really doesn’t present the “brand” of Chris Talbot as I see it. I hope to get on that soon. If anyone has any WordPress recommendations that would suit a whimsical freelancer’s portfolio, shoot me an email or contact me on any number of my social media pages.

Cheers, all!

Blog well, blog often

The tricky part of keeping your company’s blog a source of interest, education and even marketing for customers is in keeping it up to date. We’re living in a cyber-world where the attention span sometimes seems to be incredibly short, and if you’re not constantly communicating (or even entertaining) your customers and potential customers, you have competitors that will.

One of the things I’ve been told on many occasions and have come to believe is that a blog should be updated regularly (preferably at least three times per week, if not every day). (As you’ll see, I tend to stumble when it comes to updating regularly — something I am always trying to fix.) Updating for the sake of updating, though, is not a good way to attract or keep the average Internet user’s attention.

People want to read and see (don’t forget pictures and video are major traffic points) interesting, informative and — most importantly — useful content. The stereotypical personal journal type of blog will attract Mom, Dad and a few close friends and family members, but in the world of business blogging, good content (not opinions) is what drives traffic.

Social networking: The importance to business

Social networking isn’t restricted to personal use. Instead, it is also a valuable business tool, and it’s becoming increasingly important for entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes to make use of the social networking tools at their disposal.

The problem is the benefits from engaging in social networking are often intangible. While I’ve spoken to a handful of people that have found net new business through LinkedIn and one person who got job interviews as a result of Twitter posts, it seems that for the most part, social networking is a place for business to sink time and money.

However, the benefits of social networking come from the exposure you can get from simply being there and being active. LinkedIn was developed to be an online business networking tool. Facebook has groups and fan pages that you can use to market your business. And Twitter offers interested people a way to get your news and views in a timely fashion.

There are two dangers I want to focus on related to social networking, though.

The dead zone
A tool that isn’t being used isn’t really much of a tool. While it’s okay for your hammer or screwdriver to sit around until they’re needed, it’s not okay to ignore your social networking initiatives. A stagnant Twitter feed is a dead Twitter feed, and a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in several months might as well not even exist.

Businesses that jump into the social networking world need to make sure they have someone who is managing it effectively.

Spewing garbage into the ether
There’s the difference between a personal touch and too much information. The former is good, and the latter will create a social networking disaster. Understand there’s a fine line between being personable and telling others too much about your personal life in a public forum.

Stay professional. Now, that may mean different things to different people, but if you find yourself tweeting from the urinal in your local bar, you’re probably going way too far.

The end result
While I use LinkedIn for keeping track of my network of professional contacts, I have not yet found its true value in generating new business (but others will surely tell you it’s there). I’ve had suggestions for developing new business, but my LinkedIn efforts have not yet generated new business.

Twitter, on the other hand, I see as a valuable marketing tool. While I can’t prove that it’s driving traffic or potential clients to me, my suspicion is that it will eventually yield results. Time will tell if it really happens.

Chris Talbot