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‘Tis The Season For Holiday Networking


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It’s that festive time of year, where we are all attending both personal and professional holiday events. If you are like most people, you may be faced with keeping a conversation going with someone you don’t know very well. In addition to watching the alcohol consumption, I have a few tricks up my sleeve for these events, including some strategies to engage with folks and even enjoy these events.

In general, it is important to look the part at these events. A close second is to be comfortable. And, a good rule of thumb is to be a little bit over-dressed if you are not sure. In general, a suit is a great idea, with or without a tie, or a dress is a flexible choice.

Most of all, look to be inclusive. Try to keep your body language open and welcome newcomers into your conversation. Once you make eye contact, a simple “Hi, I’m Harper!” will break the ice. Then you can introduce the newcomer to the group you are in.

Have a few conversation starters up your sleeve. I always try to have an interesting (non-political) current event to discuss, as well as a tidbit about a home sports team or two. You may find that you don’t end up discussing either topic directly, but it can elicit where someone went to college or perhaps an experience they had related to the area or current event topic.

Also, there are several perennial icebreaker questions that work well in any networking or social situation, and all are predicated on the notion that people always like to talk about themselves. Here are some to keep handy:

  1. How do you know the host? / What is your connection to the sponsor?
  2. How are you spending your time these days? (This is a good one, because it doesn’t put someone on the spot if they are between jobs, ill, et cetera.)
  3. Do you have any plans for the upcoming weekend/holiday?
  4. Any favorite podcasts or social accounts?

These are tried and true and should get you through a good 10 minutes or more of a 1:1 conversation – more if you are in a group. Remember to keep the phrasing of the questions open ended, so that you don’t get a one word, dead end answer.

Last, but not least, remember your manners. Hold doors, use table manners, don’t interrupt, and be sure to thank your host or the person who brought you to the event. No one wants to be that “rude person.”

A little thought and preparation going into an event can make the entire experience much more relaxing, and even enjoyable. Plus, you never know when you are going to make that next great connection.

 

 

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Social Media Doesn’t Need to be Complicated to be Effective


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Social media can be for all businesses – whether they have dabbled before or are just thinking about establishing a presence. Many worry their following isn’t large enough or they aren’t posting frequently enough to garner effective results. This is not necessarily the case. With a narrow, yet consistent, approach businesses can see significant results.

One of our clients, a franchised beauty service company, focuses on two social platforms: Facebook and Instagram. Choosing two channels as opposed to several allows them to be more focused with their resources and deeply analyze their audiences, leveraging our social insights platform. Some questions we have helped them answer are:

  • When are your followers most active?
  • Is there a specific type of person that follows you?
  • What motivates your client (promotion, availability, seasonality, engagement)?

With a sense of their audience, we can then cater content that will be most appealing to the target audience, driving consistent engagement and performance on the bottom line. For example, if there is a specific day and time their audience is active, then consistently post at that time. Also, we help them keep the content fresh, as followers like to see a diverse array of posts on their feeds.

Many clients ask about promoted social posts. Our advice is always to be targeted and efficient. There should be no wasted resources with the ability to target so effectively. This client promotes on Facebook and Instagram, which not only raises brand awareness, but drives nearly immediate conversion. We frequently use targeted promoted posts, and within hours of the boosted post being live, their appointment books fill!

In order for a boosted post to be successful, it’s crucial that you have a focused objective. Ask yourself: What is my business trying to accomplish?

  • Promoting new content
  • Boosting website traffic
  • Simply trying to increase brand awareness

Once you have a clear objective, it’s time to choose your targeted audience. Facebook offers the following targeting options: location, age, gender, and interests. Most businesses find it better to target a specific demographic in order to get the best results – it is not necessary to use every targeting option. Also, test a few different approaches to optimize what works best.

When used correctly, social media is one of the most effective and cost-effective ways of gaining brand awareness and traffic. As long as you have a focused objective and a clear picture of your target audience, you will see results!

-Bailey Rayment