Understanding the @Reply

The @ symbol used to be a casual way to leave notes on post-its:

Dinner @ 7! Meet me there.

In addition to being the symbol that connects your email address to your mail server, the @ symbol is now used as the ultimate tool to connect users online on various social media platforms. But it is used differently on Twitter than on Facebook.

On Twitter    

When you want to write a Tweet to someone, or about someone, you would use the @ symbol as a way to address them. Find out what their Twitter username is and then proceed:

@marianbanker Business is great, thanks for your help!

You’ll notice that the text immediately following the @ symbol has become a link which sends you directly to the user’s page.  Additionally, the person you’ve written to (or about) will get a notification that you’ve done so, thus opening up the potential for conversation.

On Facebook    

Facebook uses the @ symbol slightly differently. It also links a person’s name within your post but you can only tag people you’re “friends” with or public pages that you’ve “liked”. Additionally, Facebook changes the format of the text while you’re typing so the final result excludes the @ symbol. Here’s what I mean.

I’m writing a Facebook status on my personal profile about something I love and I want to share it so that more people can find out about, so I begin typing my status. When I get to the part where I want to link to a Facebook page, I start typing @PrimeStrategies. But the @ symbol prompts Facebook to start generating suggestions for me.

Once I select the appropriate page, it will post the page name without the @ symbol with a blue box around it to indicate it has been linked.

Then, once I post it, this is the final result.

Now my status update will allow those interested to click on the link and be directed to the Prime Strategies Facebook page. Additionally, depending on the settings of the company page, my post will be included on their page as well.

Don’t get too hung up on symbols. They may seem silly or even overwhelming but they’re simply useful tools to improve social media interaction. Take it slow and remember to try it all, you can always delete it if it doesn’t work out.

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If you’re a late-life entrepreneur seeking help with marketing strategies and management techniques, Prime Strategies can offer the necessary guidance and expertise to help you reach your goals.

8 Steps to Set Your Business on Fire

All too often I hear comments like “I’m tired of putting out business fires on a regular basis. There must be a better way.”

Well, of course, there is, and we want to convert the energy that’s being spent on putting out fires to a more constructive use. Let’s talk about setting your business on fire – on purpose – by being smart. Set those fires yourself and plan in advance how you will leverage the energy that’s released.

If the energy is organized and has a mission or target, the chances of hitting the target (goal) will be a lot greater. (Consider a bullet in the cylinder, awaiting the trigger to release its energy). We want to get you and your business organized and focused so the energy you release will propel your business forward in the direction you choose.

Following are the steps that seem to work best if done sequentially, all with the specific purpose of setting your business on fire. Literally translated that means bringing in more revenue, more customers, more brand recognition.

1 – Get your foundation in place
Without a sound business structure, you won’t be prepared to handle the surge in activity when your business takes off. Start by being really clear about what value you bring to the marketplace and making sure you are clearly communicating it in a variety of ways that put you in contact with your target market. Set measurable, realistic goals and create a strategy and plan to achieve them.

2 – Focus on Sales
What’s the most important part of your business? Sales, of course. How much of your time are you spending on Revenue Generating Activities? I find I need to spend at least 50% of my time on staying in touch with my market and interacting with clients and potential clients. A specific marketing plan with timeframes will keep you focused and allow you to assess the results of your actions.

3 – Commit to being responsible for and accountable for your business results
Set goals based on research and strategic decisions. Commit not only to yourself, but to a coach or a colleague. This adds fuel to your commitment. Communicate your goals and make sure your team and staff know their role and responsibility in achieving desired results. Get their commitment as well so everyone will be adding to the focused energy.

4 – Develop Strategic Alliances
You know you can’t build a business without help from others. Strategic alliances are how smart business people are leveraging their connections to reach beyond what can be done alone. I use my connections to add expertise beyond my own for many of my programs. This helps both of us reach new targeted connections where we can share our expertise. I also use marketing and technology alliances to open new networks. Every time you add an alliance you are expanding your network exponentially.

5 – Showcase Your Expertise
Every entrepreneur has expertise in something. The key is to identify and showcase yours. Your combination of training, experience, knowledge and resources makes you unique. Who cares about that expertise and how can you best share what you have to offer? Some people look for speaking opportunities in front of their target market; some who like to write will create articles, newsletters, books, CDs. Give freely of your knowledge; share your unique perspective, focus on helping others accomplish their goals. You will attract those who relate to what you say and do.

6 – Use the Web strategically
Most businesses today can benefit from using the web. This may or may not include a web site, but e-mail is definitely a prime means of communication for most businesses. It’s important to learn e-mail etiquette and to stay current on use of e-mail for marketing. Search Engine Optimization has become a key strategy for web sites. Changes happen so rapidly for anything that’s web related you’ll want to consult with a web marketing professional before undertaking any campaign.

7 – Support Yourself
You want to focus the majority of your time and energy doing what you do best in your business. That may mean product development, marketing and sales or overall management. Enlist the support of others whose expertise complements yours. Consider whether you’re better off doing that by adding to staff or through a strategic alliance. Sometimes bartering services can be a great way to get what you need and generate a client/customer at the same time. Keep adding to your team until you’ve covered all the gaps.

8. – Begin to act “as if” your goal (target) is already achieved
Thinking and acting “as if” magnetically pulls you to your goal. Success becomes easier when you’re operating in success mode. And success begets more success. Jill Ammon-Wexler’s article offers more on why acting “as if” is so powerful.

Focus, like a laser, can set your business on fire. Follow through with these steps and watch your business heat up.

The One Page Marketing Plan

I’m so excited about this new One Page Marketing Plan I want to share the first part with you now. If you begin to see what it can do for you, I hope you’ll get it for yourself.

The purpose of the One Page Marketing Plan is to simplify the steps of creating a practical plan you can put to use immediately. It can be used to support a marketing campaign or to carry out your overall business plan.

We start by gathering pertinent information and answering specific questions. We give you explanations and examples to direct your thinking plus simple tools that provide a structure you can use over and over again. You are both learning and doing at the same time.

When you actually put the Plan to use, you’ll not only see positive Results, you’ll have started a new habit that will prepare you to reach the next level in your business. [Read more…]

Cash Flow Planning: Understanding the Basics

Are you afraid to look at your cash flow situation? Or maybe you don’t know what to do about it, but you already know there is a problem. I’m going to make a “wild” suggestion. Maybe you do want to know what’s contributing to the results you’re currently observing. Your c^sh flow picture is a report card on how you’re managing your business.

I take a very strategic approach to cash management. Since Actions produce Results, http://primestrategies.com/prime_strategies, it makes sense to look back at what the Actions were that produced current Results. If cash flow is an issue now, by knowing what Actions (or lack of Action) led to the current Results, you’ll be in a better position to plan Future Actions.

One of the Key Operating Systems in any business is Cash Flow. When looking at the cash history of a business it’s always helpful to review the decisions and actions that had an effect on cash along the way. [Read more…]

Visibility & Credibility: What Works Now

You know there is a market for what you offer. One of your primary challenges is to increase the number of qualified prospects to whom your product or service is visible.

There have always been ways to get visibility and credibility. When the circus came to town at the beginning of the last century it paraded down Main Street to gain visibility. It worked. Today there are a lot more sophisticated ways to gain visibility. And they are evolving at a fairly rapid pace. Blogs have come on the scene and are growing in popularity for visibility and credibility. I haven’t actually used one yet myself, but am seriously considering it.

If increasing visibility and credibility is part of your overall strategy, let’s take a systematic look at how we might approach planning for it. Determining who you are trying to reach and where you will reach them is a good place to start.

Who are you trying to reach?

[Read more…]

Negative Relationships: Yes or No?

Like you, I’m a small business owner, blessed (or cursed) by the entrepreneurial spirit. Relationships are the backbone of my business.

I like positive relationships because they benefit me. I don’t like negative relationships because they steal my precious resources. Recently I’ve had more than my share of the negative. As a result, I’ve had to look more carefully at all my relationships. One thing for sure: I will no longer put up with long term negative relationships.

We all face having to manage relationships. Relationships are what keep our business moving. They are the energy and life force of our business. Relationships are based on communication, of course. All kinds of communication: verbal, written, telephone, e-mail, web, operating systems, etc. I consider Relationships to be one of the key operating systems of a business. We need a way to deal with them so this important system doesn’t become disrupted. [Read more…]