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Social Media

What the hell is a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?

By Coaching Entrepreneur Social Media Strategy

An SOP is a procedure specific to your operation that describes the activities necessary to complete tasks in accordance with industry regulations, provincial laws or even just your own standards for running your business.

 

Any document that is a “how to” falls into the category of procedures. In a manufacturing environment, the most obvious example of an SOP is the step-by-step production line procedures used to make products as well train staff. An SOP, in fact, defines expected practices in all businesses where quality standards exist.

 

SOPs play an important role in your small business. SOPs are policies, procedures and standards you need in the operations, marketing and administration disciplines within your business to ensure success.

 

These can create:

  • Efficiencies, and therefore profitability
  • Consistency and reliability in production and service
  • Fewer errors in all areas
  • A way to resolve conflicts between partners and staff
  • A healthy and safe environment
  • Protection of employers in areas of potential liability and personnel matters
  • A roadmap for how to resolve issues – and the removal of emotion from troubleshooting – allowing needed focus on solving the problem
  • A first line of defence in any inspection, whether it be by a regulatory body, a partner or potential partner, a client, or a firm conducting due diligence for a possible purchase
  • Value added to your business should you ever wish to sell it

 

Developing an SOP is about systemizing all of your processes and documenting them. Every business has a unique market, every entrepreneur has his/her own leadership style, and every industry has its own best practices. No two businesses will have an identical collection of SOPs.

 

Below is a listing of just a few typical SOPs, which you will want to consider writing for your own small business.

 

  • Production/Operations
  • Production line steps
  • Equipment maintenance, inspection procedures
  • New employee training
  • Finance and Administration
  • Accounts receivable – billing and collections process
  • Accounts payable process – maximizing cash flow while meeting all payment deadlines
  • Marketing, Sales and Customer Service
  • Approval of external communications: press releases, social media, advert, etc.
  • Preparation of sales quotes
  • Service delivery process, including response times
  • Warranty, guarantee, refund/exchange policies
  • Acknowledgment/resolution of complaints, customer comments and suggestions • Employing Staff
  • Job descriptions
  • Employee orientation and training
  • Corrective action and discipline
  • Performance reviews
  • Use of Internet and social media for business purposes Legal
  • Privacy

 

 

Tips

  • Establish prior to opening; review at least annually
  • Develop procedures in the language style and format best for the establishment (your industry/operations knowledge is crucial here)
  • Write SOPs in clear, concise language so that processes and activities occur as they are suppose to
  • The level of detail in SOPs should provide adequate information to keep performance consistent while keeping the procedures from becoming impractical
  • Keep written SOPs on-site and in the cloud so that supervisors and employees can use them
  • Drafts should be made and tested before an SOP is released for implementation
  • The more decision makers, employees and complexity in the business, the more SOPs are required
  • SOP’s should be developed in existing businesses by all the stakeholders in each process.

 

In my experience, companies with well built, managed and maintained SOP’s are far less likely to make the same mistake twice and are often more resilient internally. An SOP can often be the difference between getting new work and not as clients can see the value of a well-run organisation.

The real cost of Influencer Marketing

By Coaching Entrepreneur Social Media Twitter

Having received more than my fair share of branded disposable pens and matching lanyards over the years, I feel its my duty to inform brands and agencies to stop trying to buy my loyalty with cheap plastic gifts and branded promo-gear.

My loyalty should be curated, nurtured and rewarded.

Let’s be honest, you are looking to use me as another marketing channel and hoping that my mid level influence can help grow your brand or deliver your campaign objectives. It can, but only as long as I already believe in your purpose and buy into your marketing message and most importantly, love your product.

Influencer marketing is a very smart way of using a third parties voice to authentically portray your brand in a way that would only seems paid for and fake, if it were coming directly from the brand. Influencer marketing has been around before the dawn of social media, before the web and before traditional marketing was even dreamt up. Storekeepers would ask patrons to spread the word, and if the customer had a good experience, would do just that. Nothing has changed except the medium on which we spread the word.

I understand what you, the marketer, want to use me for and feel that I should be fairly rewarded for my part in your process. It is paid-for media and the reward should be cash.

My voice to my followers is far more powerful than any other medium you have in your vast arsenal of marketing channels. The consumer of today no longer believes your polished message and scripted values. The consumer of today wants to hear an honest message, one that is unique to the influencer but the truth no less. Consumers want someone that will answer the questions asked, with deep insight into the product and will kill for the brand if he is truly an ambassador.

Would you rather have a message being broadcast to thousands of people that don’t necessarily care or a conversation between an ambassador and a few real potential clients of the brand, who will most likely spend money with you? Influencers who believe in the brand will not only drive awareness but will drive an action that is valuable to the brand.

Involved affiliate marketing has proven to be hugely successful in industries like travel, fashion and restaurants. This is because people will trust the voice of a virtual stranger over the “your call is important to us” tone of taglines. Influencers have taken the time, often over years, to build credibility with their audience and have their own authentic voice and tone, which resonates with their own audience.

Influencer’s audiences are often incredibly niche. Understanding whom their audience is absolutely key to using an influencer to sell the right product to their niche audience. My personal online audience has evolved drastically from a comedic one to an entrepreneurial business base in the creative and tech industries. You can’t expect me to promote food brands or fashion, as my listeners know that this is not what I talk about and it won’t appear credible. I have taken years to have the right followers for my brand, my business and my messages, and if you want to gain access to this market and put my own credibility at risk, then you should pay for the privilege. If you are financially compensating someone then you also get the right to guide the conversation towards your own goals and expect certain clear deliverables to be executed by the influencer, in the influencers own unique tone and fashion. Giving the influencer the freedom to express your message intheir incomparable voice will deliver the greatest results for your business.

You want your influencer to feel rewarded, acknowledged, loved, important, or any combination of those and ensure that they are partners in your communication strategy.

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Relationships are reality for Influencers

By Business Coaching Mentoring Social Media Twitter No Comments

spillly influencer marketing

Before web 2.0 and the rise of social media, influence was exclusive to a privileged few who held unrivalled sway over public opinion. Today, individuals on social media get to pick and choose who and what they listen to and those who once had little chance of being heard can now broadcast their messages across the world.

Influencers are now niche promoters and brand advocates that are active on social media sites and blogs and brands are now naturally hungry to take advantage of this phenomenon. Brands will seek to turn that influence into a marketing opportunity but aren’t always sure how best to go about this.

An influencer is the mutual friend connecting your brand with your target consumers. For influence to take place, the influencer needs to behave authentically and when communicating about or on behalf of a brand. The balance between being seen as an online billboard and someone that is being paid to recommend a product in a credible way is often misunderstood and the value in using influence marketing lost.

There are five key understandings that allow you to define what the right influencer looks like for your brand:

  1. Context:

An influencer differs for every brand because, first and foremost, they are a contextual fit. This is the most important characteristic when targeting the right influencers for your brand. The example I always use is that Justin Bieber can’t sell insurance without looking like a fraud to his followers because they are teenager girls who aren’t interested in that.

  1. Reach:

Defined as the size of the audience or the number of followers the influencer has on a particular platform. Influence describes the ability to affect action from within that audience. When Reach and Context work together, you have success.

  1. Actionability:

This is the influencer’s ability to cause action by their audience. This characteristic comes naturally when you target individuals that are in contextual alignment with your brand and have a far enough reach.

  1. An “opt-in” network:

Influencers don’t force themselves upon an audience as their followers choose to follow them on particular channels like Twitter or a blog. Thus, their audience is engaged and is there to hear about the topic being discussed. This is why the need for a contextual fit is so important.

  1. Engagement:

Positive engagement is a great indicator that the content is interesting to their audience. This means that something about their content is evoking a reaction and that there is the potential for an action to occur.

Once you understand these, the next step is giving your influencer an image you can best match real influnecers to. Decide on what type of personality you require and if you need an activist, an informer or an authority to best promote your campaign or product. Next pick a genre. Examples include technology, fashion, travel and marketing. Niche this genre further into LSM, geographical position and age group.

Pick a topic that your ideal influencer sometimes talks about on social media or their blog and decide what type of reach and actions you will require from the influencer. Do you want likes, follows, engagement or visual content creation? Always ensure that the influencer is aware of your primary audience and your campaign objectives from the start, giving you the best chance of success.

Always remember that reach is vanity, engagement is sanity and relationships are reality.

 

<This post was originally written for Digitlab and can be viewed here>

What is ‘Influence for Sale’ and Influencer Marketing?

By Business Mentoring Motivation Social Media No Comments

 

27 dinner

I was fortunate enough to be invited by Cerebra to speak on a panel this week at 27Dinners.

 

Influencer marketing is a new hot topic in the online marketing space and having presented a few times, to brands and agencies, on the subject and having been the target of brands as an influencer, I have a strong viewpoint on this new marketing “channel.”

 

It was an honour to sit on a panel with such smart marketing thought leaders and business people.

 

Should you wish to learn more about influencer marketing, please contact me here.

 

@Spillly

A late bloomer digital native with a passion for education. | Ryan Sauer #Proudprofile

By Business Coaching Motivation Social Media Twitter No Comments

ryan sauer

Ryan Sauer loves to be the center of attention, its half the reason he loves lecturing so much. Ryan is called “Sourz” by his close friends from the late 90’s and “Ryan” by everyone else that met him post Y2K.

The strange thing is Ryan grew up with little to no technology in his life, his parents were so slow on the digital revolution that Ryan went from Betamax to DVD, never knowing the true joy of VHS.

So how does a boy born technologically challenged, grown into a man worthy of lecturing Marketing masters students at Wits Business School? Beats us.

Ryan loves digital marketing like fat kids like candy.

In 2009 he decided at the age of 22 with his vast expanse of wisdom in industrial psychology and HR management to open a digital consulting agency in JHB (bright idea) and has grown his operation from 2 clients barely spending enough to buy a bag of chappies, to over 74 clients spending just enough to buy 2 bags of chappies.

Ryan’s agency specializes in customized digital solutions that generate results for their clients with a measurable ROI.

Some of the services Ryan offers include:

  • Website design and development (baai Mooi!)
  • Search Engine optimisation
  • Paid advertising
  • Social media management and campaigns
  • Email marketing
  • Customer retention management software
  • Powerful reporting tools

We also specialize in:

  • Audits
  • Research studies
  • Consulting
  • Training
  • Pure reporting

 

So if you need an agency that is small, agile and has moderately attractive people you don’t mind meeting with, give us a shout.

 

CONTACT

082-788-2249

Email : ryan@searchoc.co.za

www.searchoc.co.za

3rd floor 5 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg.

Twitter @searchoc

Facebook SOC

 

SOC

Developing a marketing communications plan using the SOSTAC model

By Business Coaching Mentoring Motivation Social Media No Comments

Ask any consultant, business adviser or successful business owner what you need when starting or developing a business? The answer will invariably include “A Good Marketing Plan”.

It is certainly the case that if you want to successfully build a business, a plan of where you are going is essential.

But it can be little help if this plan is simply an overview of objectives and strategy. It is important that the plan is a practical document, actively used in the ongoing management of the business, rather than a nice report that sits on a shelf gathering dust. Over many years working with clients in developing effective Marketing Plans, I have found that the SOSTAC Model developed in the 1990’s by PR Smith is difficult to beat.

It is a straightforward model that goes systematically through the steps to build a marketing plan, and helps to ensure that all relevant factors are considered, without the need to go into excessive and expensive detail. The model then continues to look at the practical issues of putting the plan into practice.

DOWNLOAD this working tool below: