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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 June 2, 2020

    How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter (With Examples)

    How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter (With Examples)

    Think of your cover letter for a job application as an in-person introduction. Your resume outlines the facts—where you worked and for how long, along with your major accomplishments. But your cover letter also shows off your personality.

    Your cover letter should outline the case for why you deserve the job without being “salesy.” How do you do that? Follow these 12 important guidelines.

    1. There Is No Cookie-Cutter Cover Letter for a Job

    Targeting your resume to a particular job may mean changing up your “Objective” section a bit or adding to your “Executive Summary” section. Cover letters, though, really need to focus on the particular person you’re writing to, the particular job, and the particular company. It needs to prove, with an economy of words, that your job experience fits the requirements of the position for which you’re applying.

    Your letter should show that you have amassed the skills you need to succeed in that workplace. And, your cover letter should clinch your prospects by making the case that you are very excited about working at that particular company.

    2. Always Opt-in to the Optional Cover Letter

    Some job postings will give applicants the option of opting out of providing a cover letter for a job[1]. Don’t take the bait! Use the opportunity to further sell yourself in a personalized, well-crafted cover letter that creatively shares who you are and why your skills and personality align with the position and the company. Think of your cover letter for a job as an opportunity to describe your value proposition.

    3. A Reference Goes a Long Way

    Did someone recommend you for the job? Put that in the subject line of your cover letter if possible. If an online listing dictates what your subject line must be, cite the personal recommendation in the first sentence of your letter:

    Dear Ms. Sanders,

    Steve Smith recommended me for your Assistant Planner position. I worked with Steve at the XYZ company for four years as his assistant until he moved on, and I feel as though I learned from the best.  His high praise for you is the primary reason I am applying for this position, as I consider him an excellent judge of character. 

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    You may want to bolster Steve’s recommendation with a short anecdote about working with Steve. Don’t be shy. Steve’s high opinion of you will likely mean that your resume gets a serious look.

    4. Outline the Key Points You Want to Make

    Company by company, your cover letter for a job application needs to be specific and bulletproof. Unless you have a great deal of practice in writing cover letters, it’s hard to just bang them out. So don’t even try. Instead, start with a list of points you intend to make. Generally, these would be a “grabby” introduction, a story or two about a particular accomplishment that is relevant to the job to which you are applying, a reason why you are the ideal candidate for the position, and a conclusion with a suggested next step.

    1. Intro – Have been familiar with the company since my father worked there in the 1980s.
    2. College Major – Majored in industrial engineering so I could get a job at CYY Building, Inc.
    3. Captain of Soccer Team – Prepared me to solve problems, promote morale, and coach a team.
    4. Ask for Informational Interview – 15 minutes to meet in person and learn more about opportunities.
    5. Compelling Close – Ask Hiring Manager to call me. Say I will call her in a week if I don’t hear from her first.

    5. Moderating the Tone of Your Cover Letter

    Some companies are buttoned-up. The workers wear three-piece suits to the office each day plus loafers. Other companies are more casual. The employees wear shorts in the summertime and skateboard through the hallways. In an in-person interview, you would never wear shorts to a company whose employees are sporting three-piece suits.

    Similarly, your cover letter needs to strike the right note. The letter you write to a start-up should sound markedly different than the letter you would write to a white-shoe law firm.

    For example, even using something as informal as “Greetings” for the salutation may not be appropriate at a more formal firm. And definitely don’t use the default “To Whom It May Concern.” Instead, try to find the name of the hiring manager with an online search. If that’s not possible, you will want to begin with “Dear XYZ Hiring Manager.” The tone of your cover letter for a job starts at the very beginning.

    6. Create an Attention-Grabbing Opening Line

    Think of going to hear a presentation by a motivational speaker, only to have her open with, “I’m here today to present (fill in with title of the presentation).” What a let down! What if instead, she started with, “I just ran a half marathon. Now doesn’t that sound better than if I told you, ‘I tried to run a marathon but quit half-way through?’” See the difference? You want to hear more.

    Craft the first line of your cover letter with the utmost care. It doesn’t need to be clever, but it needs to show your personality and your fit for the position.

    Dear Mr. Stevens,

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    I am committed to making the customer service experience better for people like my grandmother. At 87 years old, my Gram is lost in the digital world and reliant on customer service representatives she can reach by telephone to answer her questions and solve her problems. She regularly shares stories of frustrating dead-ends she experiences with people wanting her to “go online and make your selection.”  Yet, whenever she reaches someone willing to take the extra time to resolve her issue, she sings the company’s praises to everyone she knows. Based on Gram’s frustrations, I want to be that person who won’t give up or pass the buck with bewildered customers.  

    With a strong, anecdotal opening such as this, you show purpose and passion behind your application to be a customer service representative.

    7. Recognize the Value of Cover Letter Real Estate

    Spare writing is key in the cover letter for a job. It is always best if your letter doesn’t exceed a page. Those reviewing applications appreciate a letter that is terse, yet provides useful information to evaluate an applicant. This means you have five to six paragraphs in which to work.

    Repeating anything from your resume is a waste of real estate. Think in terms of describing why you are applying for the position and why you are the best candidate.

    To best show your personality, avoid stale phrases such as, “I believe my experience would be a good fit in your organization.” Add punch to your statements that show off your accomplishments and your attitude.

    I thrive in start-up environments where I’ve learned to expect the unexpected and to make changes on the fly. In one such instance, I uncovered better results from a pilot project and in under 30 minutes had updated the CEO’s presentation in time for his meeting with a venture capitalist.

    8. Getting Creative

    On the surface, a requirement is a requirement. Many online ads specify the number of years, and you might think they are ironclad. But if you count the number of years you amassed a particular skill at the job and add any volunteer work where you also used that skill, you might surpass the requirement.

    Say that you are applying for a position in fund development. If your career experience in putting on charity fundraisers falls a little short, it’s certainly appropriate to add in time spent organizing fundraising events as a volunteer—as long as you indicate it as such in your cover letter for the job.

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    I recently passed my two and a half year mark of employment as a fund development associate with Notable Events. Concurrently, I oversaw all aspects of two annual fundraising galas as a volunteer board member of Reach for the Stars Foundation, offering scholarships to first-generation college-bound students. These involved finding sponsors for more than 70 silent auction items, renting event space, working with caterers, recruiting volunteers and MC-ing both events, which each drew more than 200 attendees and, together, raised more than $250,000. I believe this intensive hands-on experience helps supplement my years of employment.

    Showcasing your community ethos through volunteering could make up for the deficit in actual on-the-job experience.

    9. Making the Case that You Fit

    How will you fit in at the company? With some research, you can easily figure out the corporate culture of an organization. Many companies share their core values in job recruitment ads. But even if you can’t discern a company’s mission or beliefs from its advertising, you can learn it from articles you read about the company.

    Is it employer-centric or employee-centric? Is the culture more traditional or more fun? And what are you looking for? When you find a company where your needs align with theirs, that’s an indication that you would fit in well. Take care to make sure that your cover letter reflects how you fit.

    If you are a recent military veteran[2], consider which civilian positions lend themselves to the regimented culture of which you’ve become accustomed. For example, your occupational specialty while in the military could dovetail well with a company’s job requirements—and you have the added benefit of discipline, following instructions, and teamwork that you can apply to any future position.

    10. Always Ask for What You’re Worth

    If the employer asks applicants to share their salary requirements in the cover letter for a job, disregard what you made in your former position and look into the salary ranges[3] of the advertised position. You will want to adjust up or down within the salary range depending on your prior experience in the industry or in a similar role.

    The key is to not undercut yourself by asking below the minimum amount, or to overinflate your worth by asking for an amount higher than the maximum pay in the salary range.

    11. Show Your Cover Letter to Three People Whose Opinion You Trust

    Once your letter is out in the world, it’s too late to tweak it for that particular job. You will dramatically improve your chances of having your cover letter “land” correctly if you’re proactive. Find a few people in the field, and ask them if you can show them your cover letter before you send it out.

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    If you are starting out and don’t know anyone in the field, you may want to consider paying for a professional career consultant or coach to review your cover letter and resume. Remember that the care you demonstrate in your cover letter is that employer’s first impression of you.

    12. End With Enthusiasm

    You want to stay upbeat all the way to the end of the letter. Let the reviewer know that you appreciate the opportunity to apply and that you look forward to hearing from (or having a chance to meet with) them in person.

    It would be an honor to be part of your team, and I hope to have an opportunity to discuss this role and how I could contribute to it in person.

    This acknowledges that the organization gets to make the next move, but that you anticipate it will be in your favor.

    Sign off formally (“Sincerely” or “Best regards”) or informally (“Best” or “Thank you”) depending on the tone of the letter. Also, be sure to include your email address and phone number under your name. This ensures that, should the reviewer wish to contact you, the contact information is easily accessible.

    Final Thoughts

    The best cover letters for a job are lively, authentic, and provide a memorable result, anecdote or example of your approach to work. By tying your approach to the requirements of the job description and revealing your personality as a fit for the organization, you will give yourself a winning chance for making the cut and landing that coveted job interview.

    More Tips on Writing a Great Cover Letter

    Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

    Reference

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