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The Power of Requests and Questions: Using Social Media to Ask the Right Questions Makes You a Successful Entrepreneur

The Power of Requests and Questions: Using Social Media to Ask the Right Questions Makes You a Successful Entrepreneur

Here’s a question for you: Do you use social media for your business? You probably said yes, right? But here’s another question for you: Do you use social media to connect with your customers or your peers? You said yes again, right? But this next question might get you to start thinking: Do you ever use social media to ask your peers or your customers what they actually want from you? If you have said yes to the question above then well done. You won’t need to read the rest of this article. But if the above question has made you question your usage of social media, then you will find this article of good use.

The Common Mistake

A common mistake amongst many fresh faced entrepreneurs is that they only use social media to gain exposure for themselves. They hardly ever interact with their customers or with their peers. If you are only using social media to gain exposure for your business, then you are using social media the wrong way.

But before you get to learn how you can use social media to ask the right questions, here’s an interesting statistic that was written by Iris Vermeren in her article “Marketing: How to Provide Great Customer Service Via Social Media”:

“Research shows that nearly half of all US consumers use social media to ask questions, to complain or to report satisfaction and a third of social media users prefer social media customer service to a phone call.”

In other words, social media has become a very powerful medium for people to express their opinions.

And here’s another statistic which shows that more people are checking their Facebook profile very regularly on a daily basis. A report published in the Daily Mail said Facebook’s smartphone app was visited, on average, 14 times a day.

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Many businesses have become aware of this statistic and they have started adding their own e-commerce page on their Facebook business page thanks to Shopify’s Facebook Store App. This gave people the convenience of shopping without ever having to leave Facebook.

But the best way to get the most out of social media is to harness the power of asking. As mentioned in my previous article here on Lifehack called “The Power of Requests and Questions: How Asking Makes You A Successful Entrepreneur”, successful entrepreneurs have the ability to ask. And this skill can easily be transferred to social media.

How to Ask on Social Media

Ask Your Customers for Feedback on Your Product or Service

Andrew Pressault’s article entitled “How to Use Social Media to Engage Your Customers and Build Your Brand” mentions that by asking the right questions, you build strong customer engagement.

One way to engage your customers is by asking your customers for feedback on your product and service. The feedback you receive can help you understand your customer’s needs and wants. Plus, by giving your customer a chance to give feedback shows you value their opinion.

If your customer feedback is not very positive, don’t be too disheartened. Getting critical feedback can help you to try and improve your product or service. There are many ways you can gain feedback. You can ask for feedback through posting either online polls or surveys on your social media business page.

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Ask Your Customers What They Want

Besides asking for feedback, taking the time to know your customers will help you understand what they really want. Asking for this valuable information can help you meet new customer demands by either improving your product or creating a entirely new one.

You can find out about your customers wants and needs by giving them the opportunity to express their opinion via free text in your social media surveys. Free text boxes gives your customers the freedom to write what they want and in great detail too.

Ask Questions About Current Trends

Thanks to social media, you can find out what your customers are talking about by keeping up-to-date with the latest trending topics. So, if you have seen a trending topic that is of interest to your target market, you can ask your customers (or followers) for their opinion on the topic. This helps you build strong customer relations and raise brand awareness.

And with Twitter recently announcing a partnership with Google, commenting on the latest trending topics can help you raise your profile. It is a great way to gain exposure to any potential customer who is googling to know more about the latest trend.

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Ask Unhappy Customers Why They Are Not Happy About Your Product/Service 

As mentioned earlier in this article, almost half of US customers go to social media to complain about a product or service. When you become aware of a customer who is expressing their dissatisfaction, you need to be able to handle these situations with care.

The best way to do this is to ask your customers why they had a bad experience. Asking the right set of questions will help you resolve the issue. Here’s an example of a mobile network company dealing with a complaint on social media:

virgin mobile complaint handling

    (The above example was taken from the article: “Marketing: How to Provide Great Customer Service Via Social Media”).

    Ask Your Peers For Advice

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    Just like you, your peers use social media to raise their online profile. The best way for your peers to raise their profile is to be helpful. So use this knowledge to your advantage. If you have reached a road block in your entrepreneurial venture, then you can ask your peers for advice. Thanks to social media, you can contact your peers more easily.

    In most cases, your peers, whether they are your colleague or well-renowned industry expert, will be happy to help you with your request.  But before you start making your request, there’s something you have to keep in mind. Your peers will be bombarded with loads of different requests, all at the same time, so they may not be able to respond to your query. But don’t let this deter you because there is no harm to asking them for advice in the first place. When you make your request, be polite and respectful to them.

    You can make your request by sending your peer a private personal message to their social media profile. In your message, don’t go straight in with your request. Give them a positive comment on their recent work which relates to your request. This shows that you acknowledge and respect them and helps you build rapport.

    Conclusion

    Social media can help you raise your profile if used the right way. Rather than using social media to gain exposure for your business, you can harness the power of asking.

    This article has shown you how you can use the power of asking on social media to gain customer feedback, to find out what your customers want, to ask your target market for their opinions on current trending topics and to resolve any issues. You can also use social media to ask your peers for advice so you can further progress with your entrepreneurial venture.

    So use the power of asking on social media. You will be surprised at how far you can get.

    Featured photo credit: Universidad de Montemorelos via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2019

    11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

    11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

    Are you looking to move up the career ladder? Or maybe you’re tired of having a “job” and want to start looking for a more permanent career?

    Whatever your motivation, you are going to have to learn some new and different hard skills to broaden your opportunities. After all, there’s a very famous quote that says:

    “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

    While the insanity part doesn’t really fit here, the overall message is a good one. If you are looking for a different result (career advancement, more money or even a career instead of a job), it’s up to you to make it happen. This is both the good news and bad news!

    The good news is that because it’s up to you, you have complete control over it happening. The bad news is that change is hard. Humans are creatures of habit, that’s why we develop routines, and anything that disrupts that routine causes us anxiety. And we will do almost anything to get rid of that anxiety. The overweight person will calm their anxiety by eating that doughnut, the smoker will light up a cigarette to avoid anxiety.

    What we want to do with this article is to give you the hard skills you’ll need to reduce that anxiety so you can move up that corporate ladder, make more money or have career instead of just a “job.”

    The following hard skills are essential to learn if you want to advance your career. They may not be easy to take up, but definitely worth your effort of learning:

    1. Cloud Computing

    “Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence and more—over the Internet “the cloud” to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for cloud services you use, helping lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.” Microsoft[1]

    There are many different jobs available in the cloud computing world today. They range from architects and developers to data scientists, security pros. Each job is its own specialty and requires a high level of specification for advancement.

    This is definitely a hard skill that requires education. But if the tech world and computers are your thing you can make cloud computing a lucrative career.

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    2. Data Mining and Statistical Analysis

    Again, these are highly specialized fields. Data mining is defined as using large sets of data to look for anomalies and other patterns that can be used to predict future behavior.

    Amazon is probably the best known company to use data mining. Have you ever noticed that when you buy something at Amazon, you’ll see a little ad at the bottom that says “customers who bought this also bought…”and it lists 2-3 other items? All of that information comes from data mining, by examining the millions of sales amazon makes they can predict that if you buy item #1 there is a high likelihood that you will buy one of the other items too. T

    his not only increases sales for Amazon, but it also serves as a reminder for you that you may need these additional items for your project. This is very valuable information and has a wide range of uses. Although it has a bad reputation and evil sounding name, it is a very useful tool for maximizing productivity and sales.

    3. Data Management

    All companies today deal with a ton of data! Being able to manage that data in an efficient manor is not only highly prized, but a necessity.

    We all have these things on our desks called computers. Unless there is a need for a paper copy, almost all of our data is computerized. Meaning that, in theory it is all at our fingertips. Being able to organize that data so that it’s easily and quickly retrievable is why computers are replacing filing cabinets!

    However, just like the old fashion filing cabinet, data management on a computer is only good if it’s well organized. You want to make sure that you are keeping your data well organized so that it’s easy to find when needed. This is a skill that comes easily to some people (are you a person that makes lists? Good!) but with others it will be a skill that needs to be practices. Make sure that this is a discipline you master.

    4. Scheduling

    Being able to make and keep to a schedule is a very useful tool in both business and life. Effective scheduling means that you can prioritize projects, understand the tools needed to get the job done on time and that you are organized enough to lead people.

    An important point here is to write things down! Whether it’s in an old fashion daily or weekly organizer or in a PDA. Have a copy of your schedule available at your fingertips at all times.

    5. Financial Skills

    These are especially important when looking for that promotion. The higher up the ladder you go, the more you’ll have to deal with things like accounting, budgeting, financial planning and cash flow management.

    While you may not need to be an expert at all of these, you should have a good grasp of all of them. This is where taking a few night classes at your local community college is a good idea. You don’t need to become an expert, but brushing up on these skills will help you tremendously.

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    6. Research Skills

    These are important in all aspects of life, but especially in your work-life.

    Are you looking for that first job out of school? Nothing impresses a boss or hiring manager more than someone who has researched the company. Trust me, they deal with people walking in off the street everyday looking for a job, but managers and owners need to see the value in hiring (or promoting) you.

    So do your research and have some company specific questions ready to ask. Show that you are interested in working for that company or that position and not just “a” job or the “promotion” because you have seniority or need the money.

    If it’s a promotion that you are after, never bad mouth the previous occupant. Instead pick out an example that he/she was good at and explain how you would like to use or expand that policy and how it would enhance the policy changes you’d like to make.

    If it’s a new job you’re going for, then make sure to have some company specific questions ready to show that you have done your homework for the new position.

    7. Marketing Skills

    While marketing a companies products or services has always been a highly sought after skill. In today’s world, it can take on several different forms.

    Some of the marketing skills that are highly sought after today include, SEO, Search Engine Optimization, SEM, Search Engine Marketing and marketing campaign management. Familiarity with Google Analytics as well as Word Press are also valuable.

    While traditional marketing and branding were focused on advertising and selling. Almost all marketing efforts now a days are focused on the internet.

    8. Network Security Specialist

    Again, this is a highly skilled position that requires specialized training. But the amount of data that all companies store is significant, and if that data is leaked or stolen, it can costs them millions of dollars in both lost revenue and lawsuits.

    So, if you have an interest in network security you will find the field both lucrative and stable.

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    9. Communication Skills

    At first glance, communication skills may not look like it fits into the category of “Hard Skills” that can help you succeed. But in this ever shrinking world where companies can do business from almost anywhere, communication is more and more important.

    Are you bilingual? It really doesn’t matter what language you speak, there’s a company out there looking for someone who speaks that language.

    10. Computer Programming

    I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that computers are going to be around for a while! As both the hardware and software get more advanced, the need for computer programming is only going to increase.

    11. Graphic Design

    As of 2018, there were 4.37 million new websites launched.[2] A good number of them will fail because they just aren’t interesting enough visually. The use of templates and replicated websites is only making the problem worse.

    Part of the way Google ranks sites is through originality, this almost ensures that replicated sites will never get ranked through Google. So the more original your site is, the more likely people will visit and actually spend time there.

    That is what a good graphic designer does. Takes your basic idea and turns it into a website that people actually want to visit.

    Embrace the Anxiety That Comes with Change

    You know it’s going to be there, you know that you’ll want to give up as you’re learning these new skills but, you’ll also know that the end result is worth the journey.

    Here’s a little trick when you’re feeling overwhelmed:

    Have you ever met an ex-smoker who was sorry they quit? An ex-drinker or drug user that said life was much better before they quit? These people have gone through some of the most difficult challenges humans can go through including weeks, if not, months of intense physical withdrawal symptoms. They did it because they knew that the pain and anxiety they would experience would ultimately get them to a much better life.

    Now what was that complaint you had about attending night-school?

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    This is the part everyone hates, everyone thinks night-school, adult education and just generally giving up family and/or spare time. While those are certainly possible ways to develop the necessary skills, they aren’t the only way.

    You’ll want to check with your human resources department because depending on the company, a certain degree maybe required in order to even be considered for a position. In those cases, night-school, on-line or some other form of adult education maybe your best route.

    But as long as a degree isn’t required, then your options are wide open.

    Let’s just say that you’re a sales person interested in becoming the sales manager but, the territory you’ve been given will never produce the sales figures that would make you stand out as a good candidate for sales manager. So how about you start your own side business (don’t compete with your company), but let’s say you enjoy golf.

    In this day and age, there are plenty of places that will teach you how to sell products on-line and even set you up with your own website. So you start a site selling golf equipment and accessories (don’t worry, you won’t even have to carry inventory or worry about shipping).

    Now, when that sales manager spot opens up, you can explain that even though other salespeople had better numbers than you, it had nothing to do with your sales ability, it was more of a consequence of the territory your were given.

    And to prove it, you brought in some information about a side business, you started showing that you’re on target for a sales growth rate of 30% this year. And because you had to do all of the marketing for the business, you came up with some marketing strategies that you can bring to the new job (built-in experience).

    The Bottom Line

    We’ve put together these 11 hard skills as a way to give yourself a “leg up” on the competition. We’ve tried to make this a mixture of both skills that require a great deal of training, and also ones that you can work on and develop by yourself.

    We know that not everyone is cut out to be a cloud computing expert, but we also know that working on and having good scheduling skills will make you a much more desirable candidate for the position!

    We also don’t want you to discount the idea of a “side hustle“. Especially for people new to the workforce, having a business that you have started and run successfully shows potential employers that you have initiative, scheduling skills and ambition which can put you well ahead of your competition!

    As usual, we hope you found this article both enjoyable and informative. If you did, may we ask that you share it with your family and friends through social media. It really does help us and is greatly appreciated!

    More Skill to Help Advance Your Career

    Featured photo credit: Kyle Sterk via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Microsoft Azure: Cloud Computing
    [2] Netcraft: December 2018 Web Server Survey

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