It was a weird Social Media Year. When you advertise as a small business, at least for me, nothing is off the table. I’ve done some incredibly stupid things and some incredibly great things to get noticed. 2015 was a bit of a social media reboot so to speak.
I started a second twitter account. I needed some separation from work and myself. If personally I think Political Candidate A is insane, I will say it on my rjhale account probably. Is that great separation of personal and business? No. People will still look at my personal account and make a judgement on the southern bearded guy who is likely to say anything. I did tone it down on all fronts though – I have tried to ‘not offend’ as much as I have in the past. People can’t handle it anymore. Social Media is serious business these days so I’ve decided to reel it in some. I got into with a guy the other day on twitter over QGIS. We ended up both simultaneously being jackasses and I ended up blocking him. That was a rarity. Hopefully. I think it was in 2015. Do I have opinions? Oh yes. Are you going to know what they are? Maybe.
I did start an instagram account. I actually started it in 2014 but didn’t ‘get it’ until 2015. I have it linked from my business page but it rarely has anything to do with business. It’s been more of a travelling photo log of places I’ve been and people I see. I’ll keep doing it for a while. I have no great number of followers nor do I care to – it’s just pics of things I find interesting from the “House of Prayer” to a rainy wine tasting event.
…and back to twitter…I did meet more twitter peeps this year. You talk to people over this 140 character communication medium and it’s nice to actually share more than 140 characters of conversation with them. It’s people I would have never met if it weren’t for twitter. My greatest outreach is here – and 99% of my customer base doesn’t have an account. It’s communication. It’s rabble rousing. It’s talking.
Google Plus? I really liked Google Plus. I really Liked Google Wave. I really liked <fill in the blank Google Application>. Watching that platform start to tank…or morph…or whatever….it’s really annoying. It’s so annoying I’ve feared for my email (run through google services). Google is huge – but providing a stable bank of software outside of Google Docs/Maps is becoming rare. Yes I’m looking at you Google Maps for Enterprise or whatever and I’m waiting for them to kill Google Earth. I’ve almost dropped off that social platform. I’m debating whether to kill my business page or keep it. Whether I keep interacting with the service or just stop has yet to be seen. It is free though….
Facebook. My nemesis. My foil. I took a year off Facebook. Actually more like a year and a half. I would get notes from people going “WE MISS YOU COME BACK” and the longer I stayed off it the fewer instances of people missing me. Not posting to Facebook but having an account is fascinating. It does everything possibly to pull you back. I finally just deleted my account. I went back. Yeah – I’m one of those guys. I HATE FACEBOOK and then go back. My participation is small. I interact with a few and I mostly post music from youtube. I restarted my business page. I’ll use it for more outreach because of Google Plus doing what it’s doing. Even posting personal information on Facebook is unappealing these days. I dunno – I am more wary of putting my life out there on the facebooks.
I wrestled again with a newsletter. To be honest my customer base is going to see this before anything else. I started analyzing it and removing dead accounts. I found that out of 1000 subscriptions maybe 250 or so were dead addresses. Addresses that were still accepting email but the person had left that place. If you haven’t opened an email for a while and you’ve been on there for two years or more – removed. If you contacted me about a class or something else – I subscribed you. If you don’t like it remove yourself and sorry for the extra emails.
Linkedin. Facebook for Business users. If I see one more motivational leadership pic…..GAH. If you contact me in general I will add you. My contact list grew to close to 1100 people. If I had a dollar for everyone I didn’t know I’d be doing great. Linkedin called me this year and asked me how I used the service and then offered a free professional account for a few months. They were horrified on how I was using it. They expected me to use it to grow/foster original content. I said No – it was secondary. I blog. My blog pushes out information to linkedin, etc. DON’T YOU USE IT TO MEET CLIENTS? No – actually 90% of my customers don’t actively use it and the best thing it does is get me cold called from head hunters or called from out sourcing mapping firms. It’s sort of annoying to be honest but I’m up there. It is free outreach of sorts.
Still the best thing I do: Blog and The website. On average I get 400 visits a day from something. Depending on how I measure it I should say – Google says 200ish and WordPress says 500ish. The most visited pages are the Tutorials. I’m wrestling a bit to keep them up to date – but I’m getting the hang of it. I blog -> Blog Tweets -> Posts to Linkedin -> Posts to Facebook. I do one thing which is post here and that is most of my advertising. This year the website has generated one phone call a month on average. I’ve had it up and running since 2006. So 9 years for 12 phone calls. If I look at the number of people linking back to my website – reddit, various facebook things, foreign blogs……it’s fascinating. Profitable? Well…….
THE ABSOLUTE BEST THING – Word of mouth. Clients recommending my services to other potential clients. I can’t beat that. I wished a few of my clients were noisier but so be it – they are clients and I will do anything for them. Training fills that need because I can show someone new ways of doing things and sometimes it leads to a new client.
So….two posts in one day? More are coming – I hadn’t got to the personal. That will horrify many and hopefully make you think a bit.