Social Media Communications

Most of us know that used well, social media can help us get the word out ― the word about ourselves and our activities, our businesses whether they are solo operations or larger companies, whether they deliver hard goods or services.  And we know we should be using social media in addition to email, to snail mail and to newspapers.  But while we all know this, we don’t always get what we should out of social media platforms.

Facebook is actually a communications tool.  It’s a way to connect.  We all know that sometimes the connection doesn’t occur effectively.  We know that sometimes it’s misused.  But that does not mean that you can’t use it well.  And objections to some of what Facebook does should not preclude taking advantage of the ability to use it as another tool to get the word out.

The Most Important Thing

What’s the most important thing?  To get information up on your social media platform(s) on a regular basis.  What’s a regular basis?  That depends on what is being conveyed. 

  • An individual business owner with hard goods to sell such as wine or clothing will likely have new material to get out to the public at least once a week and perhaps even every few days – providing time is made to do this. 
  • That will also be true for a larger business with goods to sell – providing time is made to do this,
  • Service oriented businesses  be they individual operations, start-ups or larger organizations, will not have those specifics but must rely on ideas.  It’s harder for these groups to think of new material but it’s equally important to do so and to make the time to do so.

No matter who you are, the idea is to keep information coming to the public so that what you have to put out there gets noticed.

How Much Do You Really Need?

So you don’t have new products to show or an startling change in the services you offer?  It’s OK.  All you need is a snippet.  Something to keep people up to date.  And then when you have something longer, you can put it up or put it into a website blog and direct people there.

The Ap Changed!!!

Have they changed the ap?  Facebook just changed.  Don’t panic.  In general, the application maker will have everything that used to be there rearranged a bit as well as a few new items. Take your time, take a look ― and then give it a try.

Haven’t Done the Blog or your Social Media Pages for a While?

Have you been feeling a bit uninspired?  Perhaps you’re in the doldrums.  Perhaps you’ve only done a little or not done anything at all with your Facebook page or with a blog if you have one.  Yes, it would be nice if that hadn’t happened but all is not lost.  Take a deep breath, and dive in and do this.  And yes, you can contact me so I can help.

In-Depth Interviewing as a Compliment to Surveys

In general, survey interviewing and in-depth interviewing are thought to be approaches that are at odds with each other.  Surveys are presented as scientific because they rely on statistics and on reasonably large samples.  In-depth interviewing is said to be anecdotal, a term that implies a lack of science and suggests a reliance on information that can’t be verified.  The one is data and the other stories.

That, of course, is not the case.  The two can be used independently or, they can complement each other.  Think of the well set-up survey which produces conflicting results.  Think of the survey where participants don’t feel they can answer the questions or that the questions are not relevant to them.  Think of the times when the survey results are such that nuance is needed. 

All of these are times when talking to people matters.  They are the times when in-depth interviewing makes sense.   

  • In-depth interviewing can be used as a vehicle to explore discrepancies in results.  It can be used to find out what people think is important. 
  • It’s the tool that explores the ‘yes, but” answer and finds out what people aren’t able to express when they are completing a survey. 
  • And it is also the tool that can be used to validate survey results by making sure that people’s views are the same when they speak in person as they were when they filled out a survey. 

In-depth interviewing is a cost-effective complement to the survey itself.  Give me a call or send me an email and let’s talk about this.

Innovative Spending In Uncertain Times

Most companies – big to small – hesitate to spend money on projects that aren’t the nuts and bolts of the business even when times are good.  They hesitate to draw on their people and use their knowledge to solve problems across the company.  The hesitation can become a gap when times are uncertain and that makes operating effectively even harder.

Because of that, spending money – even if it’s a small amount on a structured but innovative project ― makes a big difference especially during something like the Covid-19 pandemic.  Keeping staff morale in good shape and using staff know-how to solve problems is even more important now than it was before the pandemic struck.

The time to see who might be willing and able to be innovative is when times are hard and money is tight.  It the time to see if a small firm can fashion an approach and do it for a reasonable price.  Most small firms will do an exploratory session to see whether this is possible.  Many – particularly in Covid-19 times – will tailor an approach that will work for you and for them – and will allow you to find ways to proceed in this strange new world in which we will have to function for the foreseeable future.

Do I want to persuade you to talk to me about this?  Yes.  These are all activities where I can help you take advantage of the knowledge your people have so that it’s used to advantage throughout your business. 

  • Will the time it takes your staff to do this take away from you being able to get going again?  No. 
  • What it will do is make things more efficient and mean that you actually do get the best out of your staff … and do the best for your business. 

Contact me via email at info@lficconsulting.com or at  781-819-0957.  Let’s talk on the phone or via Zoom. 

Moving Forward With Covid-19 As a Fact of Life

Here we are.  The spikes in Covid-19 across the country and especially in the South and West are telling us oud and clear that we’re all going to have to be careful and stay cautious.  It’s becoming more clear that where possible some people will continue to work from home and others may go in to work.  People may rotate in and out.  People may have to be at the office all the time even as they do as much as possible to stay apart. 

No matter how work is arranged, there will be a continuation of the isolation that began in March, 2020 when Covid-19 stared taking a toll on the United States and Europe.  Given the increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases will this isolation be necessary to make sure people stay well so that businesses can stay alive?  Absolutely.  Will it make any difference to business cohesion?  And does this matter?  The answer to both these questions is yes.    

Even under what used to be ordinary circumstances, communication across company lines and positions ― Horizontal Mentoring ― added to a company’s cohesion and problem solving abilities.  Under what are becoming normal circumstances when people must stay apart to stay alive and well, an investment in Horizontal Mentoring will let people connect.  It will let them share experiences across lines and regardless of expertise and seniority.  And it will make it much more possible for a business to flourish. 

Is it a bit scary to invest both time and a little money in what sounds like a side program when times are so hard?  Yes indeed.  But the payoff is time saved and a staff whose morale is good enough to let them get on with the work that needs doing efficiently. 

Horizontal Mentoring in the Post Covid-19 Office ― A Variation on the Theme

Horizontal Mentoring occurs when help is given cross company lines ― between divisions, sections, workgroups and so on.  The critical point is that experience and know-how do not need to be shared vertically between people with the same backgrounds but can be shared across lines. 

As we begin to accept that there will be  semi-permanent or even permanent work changes caused by Covid-19, the approach becomes even more relevant.  During the lock-down, to the extent possible, people worked from home – virtually.  Some companies have decided that their employees can continue to do this.  Others are considering rotating people in an out of offices so that staff can be in the office some of the time and at home the rest of it.  Whatever the format, help from people who are used to working out of the house with colleagues who are in other locations be these a few miles away or in other countries, is essential to creating a new and successful work environment. 

Working out of the house, in offices, with colleagues in different parts of the United States and in different European countries is something I’ve done for years. This variation let’s you use me and my experience as your Horizontal Mentor. Call me or email and let’s talk!

Blogging At LFIC ― Small Business Survival During and Moving Out of Covid-19

Welcome to the LFIC blog.   Its objective is to provide you with insights that stimulate your thinking and with useful information and approaches.  In fact, this is really a form of mentoring across unit lines (Horizontal Mentoring) even though it is not specific to your organization and it is written.   

As all organizations plan for a world in which sheltering at home is less restrictive, they will likely find that the way in which the business itself operates is different.  This will apply whether the business provides services or products.  It will apply whether the product is a written document, a verbal presentation, or goods that are sold or delivered.  In this blog, let’s look at the small neighborhood business.

In some cases where businesses that rely on the neighborhood  ― restaurants clothing stores, florists, wine stores –  have been innovative, they have not done as badly as they expected during this crisis.  Note that I do not say they have done well only that they have not done as badly as expected and that because of this, at least thus far, they are surviving. Some of these businesses had seen their markets and profits reduced by large internet vendors – Amazon, Walmart, Staples and the like ― even before Covid-19.  But as the big Internet dealers have failed to deliver or failed to deliver well, small  businesses that have been innovative and have delivered reliably have begun to reverse the trend towards the Amazons of this world. 

Moving forward, these and other businesses must attract a population that has more varied needs than were present before Covid-19.

  • A clothing store may be able to open its doors so people can come in, try on and purchase  clothes but may still find it necessary to select and deliver items so that customers who should not be shopping can try them on in the safety of their homes before they purchase them. 
  • A restaurant that opens with tables that are farther apart than they used to be may be able to attract some of its clientele but may not be able to attract those who are high risk and are either afraid to come out or have been instructed by their physicians not to come out.
  • A business that has had people working from home may find that it is safer to continue this way or to rotate staff so as to reduce the risk of infection.
  • A liquor store may need to continue delivering wine even as it reopens for customers.  It may need to have a tasting via Zoom.

Under any of these or other scenarios, and given that the likelihood of further virus outbreaks, capitalizing on expertise that already exists inside the organization matters.  It will be even more important, to provide people with a confidential venue in which to talk about their work experiences during the lock downs so that these experiences can be used to keep businesses viable under new conditions.  The Horizontal Mentoring model is a good one as we move forward.