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Tag: "working from home"

Fashionably Late… or Better Late Than Never?

Further adventures in Social Media world

Twitter gets ever more popular, is it too late for businesses to join in?

Twitter gets ever more popular, is it too late for businesses to join in?

A pal of mine announced this week on Facebook that the House DJ consortium KOTG (Keep Off The Grass) he heads up had ‘just discovered Twitter’.

I was stunned.

Not because I thought they shouldn’t, quite the opposite, but because he seems to be into all things online and fairly marketing savvy. He uses Facebook a lot, especially for promoting the KOTG events, so to confess to having ‘only just discovered Twitter’ seemed amazing
especially considering I joined it in 2006, a few months after it launched, and have been known to *ehem* bang on about it a fair bit.

So I asked him – like you do – what had taken him so long? His reply? “The cool kids are always late”, to which I have to confess I laughed out loud, which perhaps wasn’t kind, but while being late might equal cool in the music world (I’m still not convinced, actually), it’s completely untrue when applied to media and technology, which is why over the last decade all the geeks and techno bods have become the coolest kids in the world, let alone town!

In fact, in light of the current social media privacy uproars, that’s actually like claiming that you are being ‘fashionably late’ to a party, when you in truth you spent ages pretending you didn’t really want to go, got lost en route and only manage to turn up when the bouncers have been sent in to straighten the place out and some of the peeps are thinking about calling a taxi.

On the plus side it did get me thinking.

While there is no arguing with the fact that sites go in and out of fashion – just look at ecademy, which was the place to network online in the early noughties and is now somewhere the savviest online networkers and most brilliant techies and businesspeople I know can’t mention without shuddering – at what point in business terms does being ‘fashionable late’ (lol…sorry, still making me chuckle) become ‘don’t even bother’.

Forresters’ report of B2B marketing last year highlighted the way corporations and businesses are using social media in all areas of business from making purchasing decisions, keeping tabs on trends and competitors to promoting their brand and recruiting staff.

And they concluded that if you were B2B business and you weren’t in social media already in 2009 then, as they put it so succinctly, “You’re Late!”

B2B is a way behind B2C social media marketing, and KOTG is definitely B2C, albeit on a small but perfectly formed scale, so where does that leave them in the grand scheme of things? Wasting their time or is it just simply a case of better late than never? We are all aware of how much the sheer ‘noise’ level has increased on Twitter, especially over the last 18 months, and as a digital strategist who uses Twitter as part of marketing cycles for my clients I know it can be an uphill struggle at times, depending on the product and brand. And obviously changes are in the air, as already noted about the privacy uproar.

However, despite everything that’s written about it and all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, and yes the snotty attitudes from some of the ‘latecomers’ and dismissal by others, it can be extremely effective as a marketing tool as long as it is used properly, with proper analysis, reporting and monitoring…

And fun and addictive if it isn’t 🙂

As a girl who has been early in to just about every digital trend there’s ever been, with daughters who use it all as naturally as breathing, I definitely think it’s not going away any time soon and here are my top 5 reasons why I think so:

  1. People’s lifestyles are more fragmented and busier than they have ever been and they can end up feeling disconnected – social media makes it easier to keep up with friends and family and trends, plus it makes it easier to make decisions (what’s everyone else doing?), and makes them feel connected to the wider community. Don’t ever underestimate the power of feeling ‘one of the gang’.
  2. People are used to looking at screens and getting information at the press of a button. It is in our nature to find the short cuts and to want it NOW, so this is our perfect medium, so it really isn’t going to stop any time soon.
  3. The digital revolution has driven a whole new way of working, especially for parents, and in their turn they are raising a generation for whom it is normal for parents to work from home, even if only part time, using a computer, and a huge number do it as a career, marketing themselves, networking online and running their businesses, all using the internet and while they still often ending up looking like something out of The Matrix. It’s becoming the norm, not distinctly odd as it was when I started way back in 1995!
  4. The computers that run the web love anything that is frequently updated and fresh and if that isn’t social media I don’t know what is! Social media = SEO = being visible online = comment/purchases/sales/influence/decisions…etc etc
  5. It’s fun. We are a species who likes to play. We learn when we play and we play as often as we can wherever we can. This is just the latest way we do it and until we get bored it’s here to stay.

So… glad you decided to join Twitter, @ KOTG_DJs, welcome to the party, look forward to reading your tweets! 🙂

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Top Tips for Business Mums

Tips for business womenYou need the extra money and want to work, but you can’t find a ‘proper’ job in this economic climate and anyway, you really want to be at home for the kids. You have the skills and the contacts. You even have the technical know how to set up an website and do your own marketing and sales.

But still the question remains, is working from home really workable?

The answer is yes, as the huge amounts of work at home mums and home businesses in the UK at the moment testify. Yet many people still worry that they won’t be able to work at the same time as raising or caring for the children. And to be sure, some people can’t manage it, and much prefer to leave the house and escape to the relative calmness and structure of a 9-5 office.

For others, however, being the Director of Everything is perfect. And it is especially perfect for the ones who love taking responsibility and being in charge, whose families are all on side, who are dab hands at drawing boundaries, being flexible, going with the flow, and that dreaded word, multitasking.

Being flexible
If you want to start work at 9, have an hour for lunch at 12.30 and finish at 5.30, this is not the job for you. Working from home means you need to be be prepared to catch the moment and do a shedload of work when you get a chance and then be able to back pedal and take some time out when the family need you or there are other demands.

Drawing boundaries
Be assertive and firm about applying the boundaries – see our companion article Your Family and Other Animals for more on this.

Be organsied
Being on top of the home and work admin is a real bonus when you work from home – it can be like having an extra pair of hands for the amount of time and energy it saves when you need to find something.

Key points here are to keep it simple, file promptly and be consistent. No point looking for the dog insurance renewal in the pet file if you’ve gone and filed it in the insurance file, for example.

Back up all your contact numbers and business files, especially invoices. Keep a big family calender where everyone can see it and be religious about filling it in – back it up with a portable diary that has time slots marked in it. This is especially important as the children hit those tweenie years and start to get a social life that involves you being the taxi service that is bound to clash with that phone call you have to make or take.

Keep on top of the admin, especially your accounts, and if you need extra support, then look at hiring a part time virtual assistant – see our section on Virtual Assistants.

Be realistic
Once upon a time it was just you, a job and perhaps your own flat or a shared house. Now it’s you, the entourage (kids, pets, partner), the house, the car, the job, the business (some people have both), school (almost as demanding as a second job sometimes), the list of life laundry can be exhausting and seemingly endless. So being realistic about what you can achieve and by when is crucial. Case in point – it took me five months longer than I originally planned to relaunch the revamped Funky Angel site in 2008 because of illness, house repairs, school holidays, and work commitments. I used to beat myself up about things like this; now I just accept it  takes as long as it takes. That doesn’t mean I don’t set myself goals, it’s just they are now realistic goals!

Going with the flow
If you have children your hours are likely to follow their schedule – around naps in the early years, then playgroup and then school times. Evenings become work time instead of afternoons, and Sunday morning is often the favourite time for home business networking – online of course!

Have good support
Family support is essential in the success of your work-at-home venture and you need to get them onside and keep them there. See www.funkyangel.co.uk for further information.

© Claire Burdett. Please only reproduce this article with permission, in its entirety and with a hyperlink to www.claireburdett.com. Thank you.

First published on www.funkyangel.co.uk, the ultimate lifestyle website for WAHMs and Home Businesses.

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