Advantages of Using Social Media for Your Small Business

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If you own a small business then hopefully you have a presence on social media, because your competitor most likely does. Businesses, big and small, are hitching their marketing wagons to the social media star for a reason. They are getting results. Small businesses are reporting an increase in customer engagement, repeat business, brand awareness, improved targeting of local customers, and a lot more. The trick, of course, is you need to know how to get your audience to move beyond liking and sharing your content to becoming a loyal customer.

In case you haven’t quite made up your mind yet on whether you should invest time and money on social media then this quick lowdown on the benefits of social media will enable you to make an informed decision.

Social media drives traffic and when nurtured properly, your social media networks can drive a steady stream of visitors to your website. And every now and then, a really cool post that does well is going to result in a spike in traffic. And this is traffic that converts. Depending upon your content marketing strategy, you can benefit from visits to your lead generation page, home page, or your product sales page. Traffic from social media reduces your dependence on search engine traffic and serves as a backup should your site suffer adversely from a Google algorithm update.

Connect with Social Media

Social media makes it easy to reach out to people who are interested in your industry, products or services. You can easy build relationships with virtually anyone around the world via social media and it gives a face and a personality to your business. You can present benefits that your customers can relate to and gain insights into customer preferences. You can also tweak business offerings and processes for efficient operations and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Social Media is Cost Effective

Social media marketing is an effective and inexpensive marketing channel. If you’re ready to implement a thoughtfully prepared social media marketing plan, your small business can show a healthier bottom-line even without spending a dollar on traditional advertising. Build a targeted audience, engage with it, and it will spread the word on your behalf. That’s the definition of cost effective marketing that works.
Social media also provides a great ROI on ad spend. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allow advertisers to target their ads based on a number of parameters such as the age, gender, education, likes, interests, and location of the viewer. You can deliver your message to a highly targeted audience and enjoy improved click through rates and conversions.

Social Media Can Create Buzz Quickly

Looking to generate interest in your upcoming product launch? Want more walk-in traffic to your store on a sluggish Wednesday afternoon? Turn to social media. Offer a discount, freebie, special experience, or social media only offer and you will have set things in motion. Helpful how-to videos, product demos, and positive user reviews are also ideas that can be implemented to help build customer loyalty and create buzz.

Social Media Helps with SEO

Social media can provide positive SEO signals to Google and other search engines. Search engines use social signals as ranking factors for both your branded and non-branded keywords. Optimized social media pages appear on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and your Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook pages and other social networks can rank for targeted keywords.

Don’t forget to keep tabs on the competition as well. With social media you can track competitors’ performance in real time, study their techniques and adopt practices that are working for them.

Small businesses have a lot to gain from creating a presence on social media. There’s no rocket science involved and once you start achieving results it becomes a fun activity that repays your efforts over and over.

How To Use Webinars To Benefit Your Business

Webinars are a great tool that businesses can use to build trust with potential clients or customers. Whether it is a business making use of a work at home office or not, this revenue-generating tool can be a valuable component to any business’s marketing plan. The webinars can be hosted for free, and this will save money that business owners will be able to spend elsewhere.


Lead Generation Is an Important Attribute

Creating a webinar is one of the most effective ways to generate leads for a business. The webinars should be relevant to the target market. For example, a business that specializes in selling honey may choose to host a webinar about the ways that bees produce honey. This can help the business to become more credible as an established leader in its field. By educating the public about the various components of the business, they will begin to trust the company, and look to it for purchases.

Launching New Products Becomes Easy

When a business is ready to launch a new product, a webinar can be one of the most efficient ways to ensure that the product is being introduced to the public in the best possible way. This includes ensuring that the product is described in a positive light. When the public is educated about the product in a way that is a little more personal (such as a webinar), they will be far more likely to make a purchase. Furthermore, this marketing campaign is one of the most affordable ways to introduce the product to the public. This is a great option for a business offering products, but is also a good choice for a business launching a new service.

Demonstrating the Product Is Vital to Earning New Customers

A video is often the only way to ensure that a product is being introduced to the public in a very informative way. Often, a video is needed to introduce a product, because a less intimate marketing technique could leave the public uninformed about the product that is being launched. For example, a simple print ad of the new product does not do a lot to grab the attention of potential customers. However, a video displaying the various attributes of the new product can quickly convert potential customers into lifelong customers.

It’s Not Just About Selling

Training is another major feature of webinars that can improve the quality of a business. By showing training videos via webinars, new staff are better able to identify the goals of the company. This can result in a vast improvement to the overall business outcomes.

Whether your business is web-based or not, webinars can produce the type of results that many businesses aim for. By understanding the benefits, people are able to help the public understand the business, and this adds a friendly face to the company. The technique contains various attributes that will help put businesses into the driver’s seat, while securing new customers or clients at an extremely low cost.

10 Real Estate Blog Topic Ideas

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Does the mention of a real estate blog leave you scratching your head for topic ideas? Chris Brogan once said, “No matter what, the very first piece of Social Media Real Estate I’d start with is a blog.” In response to reading his advice, I have to agree as a blog can be used as a marketing tool to help increase and drive sales. Real Estate blogging is one of the best ways to provide engaging and resourceful content resulting in rich and valuable information for an individual in the market for a new home. A real estate blog provides the opportunity to give potential clients a proof point and you, the agent, the opportunity to create content related to your niche. 10 real estate blog topic ideas are:

  • Discuss real estate market trends
  • Create detailed listings
  • Provide details about the neighborhood such as crime stats, schools, shopping, local events and festivals
  • Buying and selling a foreclosure
  • How to stage a home and the impact it has on a sale
  • Discuss the different neighborhoods your firm handles
  • Home decor and building tips
  • Real Estate laws and terms
  • Types of mortgages
  • Write what it’s like to be a realtor and why you chose the career

Real Estate blogs do not have to be wordy or a certain length. They do have to be consistent, current, concise, to the point and valuable for your readers and potential clients. As a realtor, if you haven’t already started a blog, it is not too late as there is almost no competition in most markets and plenty of business to go around. There are many other topics you can cover on the blog so feel free to use an editorial calendar for any ideas that may pop into your mind.

What are your ideas for a real estate blog topic? Good Luck!

Passion: 10 Ways To Find Yours

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What is “Passion”? 

I am often asked, “How do people find their passion?”

In order to discuss a thing intelligently, we must all be working from the same, or a similar definition. Passion is defined as an “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling of conviction.”

That is how the dictionary defines it, but in reality, it is much harder to define “passion” because it is a feeling that no words can fully encompass or adequately describe.

The history of the word passion gives it a better understanding that makes anyone who has ever found their passion smile and nod in agreement, like it is a secret acknowledgement of what it truly means to live for something.

The word passion comes from the Latin word passio, which means “suffering.” Yes! People certainly suffer for their passions! Some suffer a great deal, and this is part of the reason why finding your passion, and pursuing it, is so important to your life. After all, almost anything that is worthwhile has some pain attached to it.

But the pain and suffering that may stem from a passion is nothing compared with the stress and emptiness caused by leading a passion-less life. Without that creative release, life can become stagnant, unfulfilling and seem futile, or even meaningless.

Other people may find it difficult to understand your passion, and this is often because their focus is on things like safety, stability, security, status, and the opinions of others because their decisions tend to be ruled by fear. Their primary goal in life is to avoid pain, bypass failure and simply stick to what they know. So, to these people, it appears that your passions are pulling  you away from “sensible” life decisions.

Everyone knows that good growth and success can only happen when we make short-term sacrifices to overcome the life’s obstacles and beat the odds. And once you make the choice to step out of your protective shell and work with intensity, then you are ready to discover and pursue your deepest passion.

How Do I Find My Passion? 

Almost everything I teach as a writer, coach or teacher involves writing and list-making. Find a quiet space without distractions, and let your imagination run loose. Do not make any editorial corrections during the exercise. Do not make any judgments, like “that will be too hard.” Just start writing.

1. Make a list of your favorite hobbies. Write down your favorite activities and pastimes, even if it is something from your childhood. You may already be spending time on your passion without even realizing it.

2. Explore a new hobby. Stop limiting yourself to what you know. If you cannot think of one, try getting involved with hobbies that your friends and family enjoy. This will lead you to discover new joys you may have never considered.

Several years ago, I was seized by the notion that I wanted to learn to throw pottery. I had no previous experience, and had long been discouraged by others that my artistic talents were sorely lacking. I did some research, found a coupon for a beginner’s class, and excelled. I even became a member of the local art guild.

3. Make a list of your talents. These do not have to be related to a specific job. Just allow the pen to flow freely on the paper. You may discover a passion hidden in one of your talents.

4. Ask people who care about you. Sometimes other people can see what makes you happy better than you can.

5. Look at the long-term interests in your life. Are there themes or events in your life that always seem to pop up?  Examine those and see if you can uncover your life’s passion.

For me, this is writing. I have always written, but have only recently discovered that it is both a talent (a work-in-progress) and a passion.

6. Be honest with yourself. Sometimes people mistake their passion for something they are already talented at doing instead of something they really want to be doing. Do something you love, not just the things you already know that you are adept at.

Step out of the safety zone. You will amaze yourself!

7. Make a list of things that always seem to come up in your conversations. If you constantly turn your talk toward a particular subject, this may be something you should actively be pursuing.

8. Get involved. Find ways to get involved in your community. Playing recreational sports and engaging in activities at the local community center can be a great way to meet new and interesting people. We can learn a lot from others through conversation and circumstance.

9. Help others. Forget about yourself a bit and try serving others in your community. Kindness and charity can unlock your real passions in life.

I have had several opportunities to do medical mission work in Haiti. Going on the first was an unusual thing for me, but it is something I hope to do many more times. It was a thrill to be of service to people who needed what little I had to offer.

10. Find a mentor. If you can find someone willing to show you the ropes, you will have a unique insider’s perspective and a confidant. Plus, you will have help circumventing a lot of the initial learning curve.

What is your passion? How did you find yours?

For more information see

Submitted by, Martina McGowan, M.D.









How To Ensure Your Business Stays Busy During The Holidays

The holidays can be a slow time for some businesses and a busy rush for others. What makes the difference, and how can a business ensure they stay busy over the holiday season? Read further to find out.

How To Ensure Your Business Stays Busy During The Holidays

Keep Moving Even When There’s a Lull

Instant gratification tastes good, but realizing there’s more to receive in the future is a skill that business owners must master. Customers may be doing more relaxing than purchasing during the holidays, but what does this mean for a business that relies on cash flow? This is where the saying, “patience is a virtue” can really come into play. A business owner who recognizes that with consistent effort comes reward, will come out on top every time. No customers? Keep on moving, keep on promoting and keep on offering better-than-average service!

Let People Know that Business is Booming

People will assume that because it’s the holidays most businesses are closed for an extended break. It’s important for business people to make it known that their companies are not only still around, but are thriving and excited to provide service to their customers during the holiday season. Customers will be pleased to be in-the-know regarding the business’ holiday hours, and sales can happen more organically than perhaps planned.

Prepare Social Media in Advance of the Holidays

Social media is a great way to make potential customers aware of holiday business hours, closures, and special holiday promotions. One method of preparing updates in advance is to use a program called HootSuite, or another one called TweetDeck. Both programs make it possible for business owners to prepare tweets or Facebook updates and schedule them so that they are posted during the busy holiday times. This way, even if a business owner is busy eating turkey dinner, Facebook page updates will be updated and tweets will be made. Social media is an excellent way to keep customers on the cutting edge of what’s going on during the holidays.

Design Exclusive Holiday Promotions

Make the holidays a time to generate even more business than normal. People love deals, especially deals that they can offer to people as gifts during the holidays when there may be a lot of people for whom they need to shop. A promotion that happens only during the holidays, or special store hours that start early in the morning or go late into the evening, are both fantastic ways to encourage customers. Often people who have never been interested before are intrigued due to new scheduling times.

Whatever a business owner does to make themselves known during the holidays will be a benefit to them. Customers are out there and they’re ready to spend, even when it’s the holiday season and they appear to just want to mingle and drink eggnog. If no customers are coming through the door, work anyways! Moving forward is always a “step in the right direction,” and making use of social media platforms is a most excellent way to do that. Keep on going, make customers aware of the business thriving, and see the results in more sales, leads, and customer interest.


7 Ways to Live Your Purpose With a Passion

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I began my corporate career several years ago doing work I didn’t love. I felt that I was destined to exist in a perpetual state of, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

I did well in my career and learned much about myself and life. However I wasn’t passionate about the work I was doing.

I read a study in Forbes magazine where a group of 1000 professional women were surveyed regarding their well-being. The results were disheartening as 70% of women reported they were struggling with well-being. Statistics show that the well-being concern isn’t gender specific. Men also experience the same struggle.

I understand that. I was one of them once. I’m not anymore. I left that gig and started my own gig living out my purpose with a passion, coaching people on leadership and life.

You don’t necessarily have to make a dramatic life change to live out your passion. It may be a small shift. There are some steps you can take to begin and couple things you need to remember.

7 ways to Live your purpose with a passion

1. Take some time to explore. Do you know people who never vary from their daily routine? Everyday looks exactly the same as the day before. They’re not that interesting to be around and their conversation is usually about other people or something on tv. Exploring is a necessary part of transforming into who you were created to be. Explore new topics, new places, and new ideas. You should hear yourself say on a regular basis, “I didn’t know that.” The side benefit of exploring is that it leads to discovery. Discover yourself through exploring.

2. Create your vision. What do you want your life to look like next week, 5 years, or even 10 years from now? What are you doing to solidify that vision in your mind? Create a vision of what your life to look like. Every day take at least one step in the direction of your dreams and pursue making your vision a reality. You have a choice about your life. Visualize a future you can’t wait to live.

3. Do the unexpected. When we get into the rut of routine it’s almost as if we go through life in a semi-zombie state. Our brain starts to fall asleep and even die off a little because it’s not needed. Shake things up and go do something unexpected. You’ll be amazed at the intensity at which your senses are heightened.

4. Meet new people – When you hang out with only the same people all the time you become myopic in your thinking. New people stretch you. They make you consider new options and see things differently. You don’t have to agree with them, but it’s good to be challenged by them. Meet new people and learn something new about yourself.

5. Give yourself grace. When you pursue your purpose with a passion you’re transforming, becoming more of who you were created to be. Some of us think we have to get it right immediately with no margin of error. That thinking limits your options, alternatives and opportunities. You will make mistakes and that’s good if you use them wisely. Give yourself grace.

6. Try, try again. You will have bad days. You may even have awful days. Thankfully no day lasts beyond 24 hours. Try again. Always try again. Each new day is a new chance to make a change. To make a difference.

7. Enjoy the ride. I still have children at home. Sometimes after they have left for school I lament the fact that I have to take time to clean up after them. This morning I had a moment to reflect. As I looked at shoes strewn everywhere, trash (literally trash) littered around the floor, a table that was still cluttered with breakfast dishes, and an odd assortment of other “irritations,” I remembered that they won’t live here forever. The very things that I consider an irritation now will be the things I miss the most when they venture into the world to start their own lives. This is my life. Today I choose to find purpose in it, and enjoy the ride.

You only go around once. Life is too short to live a luke-warm existence. Find your purpose and pursue it with a passion.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~ Howard Thurman


About Kaylene

Board Certified Coach and President of KSMLifeCoaching, Kaylene Mathews equips and empowers individuals and groups to gain the clarity they need to achieve their personal and professional best through coaching and training services. She authors a twice weekly blog, monthly newsletter and just published her first book, available on Amazon.

How To Handle Negative Feedback on Social Media

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According to eMarketer, of businesses in the United States with a minimum of 100 employees, 87 percent utilized social media marketing within the last year. While that is certainly a large number, clearly not all businesses are taking advantage of the benefits offered by social media marketing. Many businesses that are not putting social media marketing to work for them may be holding back because they do not want negative feedback or comments. Unfortunately, just because a business does not utilize social media does not mean consumers are remaining silent. With sites such as Yelp, it is incredibly easy for consumers to discuss and review your brand, even if you are not using social media marketing on your own.

Since you cannot avoid the potential for negative feedback, it is imperative that you understand how to respond to it. The social media training firm Social Media Marketing University found that less than 50 percent of marketing professionals had developed an effective plan for handling negative social media feedback.

Respond, Don’t Ignore

The first and most important rule of handling negative feedback on social media is to acknowledge and respond. Ignoring negative feedback does not make it go away. The worst action that you can take, other than to simply ignore it, is to delete it. You should only delete negative feedback in certain circumstances, such as when it involves lewd comments or inappropriate language. As tempting as it can be to handle negative feedback by deleting it, the truth of the matter is that it is already out there, and you can be certain that someone has seen it. Furthermore, the person who originally wrote the comment will see that it has been deleted, and nothing will prevent him or her from posting another, even more irate comment. Any chance that you have of rectifying the situation and preventing it from becoming exacerbated is gone forever.

What exactly is on the line by taking the time to respond to negative feedback? A study conducted by The Retail Consumer Report found that 68 percent of consumers who posted negative feedback received a response from the relevant business. Of that number, 18 percent of consumers who posted negative feedback were converted into loyal customers and 33 percent eventually posted positive feedback. Furthermore, 34 percent of consumers who had originally posted negative feedback later deleted that feedback following a response.

Clearly, when handled properly, even negative feedback can actually prove to be a beneficial tool for deriving loyalty from your customers.

Respond Within 10 Minutes

While responding to negative feedback is important, simply responding is not enough. The timeframe in which you respond is also critical to the final outcome. One study found that 25 percent of customers posting a negative review anticipate a response within 1 hour. Even more startling, 6 percent of consumers expect to receive a response within 10 minutes.

Provide Additional Information

So, what do you say when responding to a negative review or comment on social media? Above all, it is important to be sincere and human. Do not make the mistake of simply following a set protocol for every negative comment or review that you receive. A response of “We’re sorry to hear about your experience,” provides customers with no helpful information and does not resolve the problem. Responding quickly is important, but only if you provide genuine, helpful information. Be willing to be honest in your response. Rather than attempt to provide excuses for the customer’s experience, own up to it if the customer’s bad experience was your fault. Offer a genuine apology and provide a solution.

Know What Is Being Said About Your Business

The only way that you can appropriately respond to negative feedback on social media is if you actually know what is being said about your company. Even if your business is not a Fortune 500 company with the budget to hire a dedicated social media manager, you still need to know what is being said about your business. Setting up alerts through Google and even typing the name of your business into a Google search from time to time can help you to stay on top of the comments that are out there.

Don’t Take It Personally

Finally, as hard as it may be, try to avoid taking negative feedback personally. Try to view such negative feedback as constructive criticism and an opportunity to improve your operations. If you feel that the customer is wrong, do not hesitate to defend your business, but make sure that you do it in a polite way. In some instances, the truth of the matter may fall somewhere in the middle. When this is the case, it is important to apologize for any error that is on your part while also gently correcting any misinformation on the part of the customer. At this point, it is also usually best to take the conversation offline and continue it with the customer in private.

6 Bad Blogging Habits to Get Rid of Today

bad_habits Do you own a blog that you know can be successful but is depressed at the moment? And you’ve all but made up your mind to let it idle till the hosting runs out and then you’ll pull the plug on it. You will do it with more than a twinge of guilt because you’re a repeat offender. This won’t be the first blog that you will be killing off. But it surely can be the last. Here are six bad blogging habits and if you’re willing to shrug these off, your dying blog can be brought back to life.

  1. Follow a consistent posting schedule. Perhaps the single biggest bane of bloggers around the world is being inconsistent. Inconsistency in blogging alienates and disappoints readers; you may have noticed how the number of RSS readers and social media followers grows when you’re regularly posting and how readership drops off if you fail to come up with posts consistently. This doesn’t have to be the case. Set a schedule and keep to it.
  2. Keep the content focused. Focused content happens when you choose your niche and keywords wisely and then get down to creating content about it. It is not uncommon for bloggers to set up a blog for a niche and then lose focus, tempted by happening content in other niches. This sends out confusing signals to the search engines and readers. Become an expert in your niche and stay focused on solving the problems your audience faces. They will thank you for it.
  3. Give credit. Give credit for images, videos, and curated content. Cite your sources. This is not only expected blogging etiquette but also essential to avoid getting reported for plagiarism and duplicate content. It’s also a great way to start establishing relationships and make it known that you’re a “we” person rather than an “I” person.
  4. Proofread. Because if you don’t and language errors slip by going unnoticed then it will reflect poorly on you and readers may find it difficult to take your word seriously. It’s about trust and trust is essential to becoming an influential blogger in any niche.
  5. Make blogging a top priority. Having a presence on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks is desirable, even essential but don’t let social media activities eat into your blogging time. Along similar lines, do not get preoccupied with analytics. Both social media and decoding analytics are addictive activities and important ones, but avoid putting the cart before the horse.
  6. Keep your blog clean. Periodic cleaning of your blog is essential. It ensures a good reader experience, boosts blog security, and fine tunes it for optimal spidering by the search engines. Remove or edit dead and broken links, update plugins on WordPress, reassess the the page layout and determine if your social media buttons are in the most advantageous spot.

Three bonus tips

  1. Learn and grow. However good a storyteller or informed a blogger you may be; avoid stagnation or risk oblivion. Engage others in your space to stay fresh and up to date, expand your knowledge, and discover other solutions your audience would find helpful.
  2. Be relevant. Do not churn out meaningless content for the sake of posting. Quality trumps quantity and content created for readers beats dull SEO-optimized articles.
  3. Become multimedia. Don’t remain stuck with the written word. Yes, this is a bad habit bordering on being criminal. Webinars, podcasts, videos, and images can help you connect with your audience, build trust, and drive traffic to your site.

Remember, successful folks do not necessarily do different things; they do the same old things differently. And if you study successful bloggers you’ll realize that the adage works perfectly for blogging as well. So shrug off the blogger fatigue and remind yourself of the choice; the pain of discipline or the pain of lasting regret about what could have been. The former is preferable because it is the key to success, financial security, and a tremendously successful blog.

How To Survive The Early Years of a Business Startup

Entering StartupEntrepreneurs all have at least one thing in common: they see potential. Potential excites them, motivates them and drives them. The idea of potential propels them forward and compels them to commit time and resources into their start-up business ventures because they have the hope of seeing that start-up succeed. However, almost any start-up business owner can attest to the fact that the early years can be challenging. The true test of launching a start-up company is making it through these rough first years, and below are a few tips on how to survive the early years of a business startup.

Remember to Have Perseverance

The most helpful advice that anyone in business can give someone who is slugging it out with a start-up is to keep going! It may come as a surprise at first, but the majority of successful business owners have more failures than successes. The only thing separating them from failure was their refusal to stop and their inability to simply call it quits. True determination is what kept today’s heavy hitters in the game, and it is what will keep you going further than you thought you had the strength to.

Focus on Your Opportunities, Not Just Your Problems

One of the best ways to keep persevering is to remember to divide some of your time each week to working on opportunities. Often in the first few years of a start-up company’s existence, there are so many issues to troubleshoot and problems to solve that it can really pull one’s attention away from opportunities. Over time, this has a negative effect on morale. In addition to this, focusing on the problems will ultimately stifle the creativity required in a start-up.

Remember, if you want your business to stick around, you need to commit some of your time to thinking about opportunities. Focusing on the opportunities and the potential is what ultimately energizes you. Work on the problems you face, but also carve out time to commit to new advances. Spend your time working on both, and you will be better for it.

Ultimately, the difference between success and failure is that people who are successful have simply kept reinventing themselves after every failure. In the early years of a business start-up, survival hinges on constant effort. Though there may be a lot of difficulties to navigate through and it may feel like there are more failures than you bargained for, if you are able to stay committed and hang on then it is likely you will reap the rewards of this in due time.

By following in the footsteps of business leaders who came before you and by holding on to the initial potential you saw, you will be able to overcome the early years when things do not seem to flow as easily as you initially hoped they would. Keep a strong presence of mind, focus on opportunities, and keep going. All of these differentiates a successful start-up from one that falters and fades out.

5 Tips To Help Find The Right Virtual or Outsourced Employees

virtual employeesIn today’s business world, outsourcing is becoming more and more common. Virtual employees are everywhere and many prefer to work with this type of arrangement. But how do you manage and find the right virtual employees and make sure they stay engaged?

Ask Some Questions, Then Ask Some More

When you’re hiring virtual employees, be sure to interview them just as you would interview a candidate that would be working in-office. Request a resume, CV, and a portfolio if applicable. Be sure to check references and, at the very least, do a thorough telephone interview. You will need to make sure that your virtual employees can actually do the job prior to hiring them in order to avoid disappointment and wasted time in the future.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

It may seem a bit odd to not be able to walk down the hall and have a quick chat with an employee, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still have clear communication. Make sure you are available via email and whenever possible, for a quick chat via telephone or even Skype. Email is sufficient in many instances, but some virtual workers may prefer to actually speak with you. Ambiguities can be cleared up and directions can often be explained more easily over the telephone than in email.

Set Clear Deadlines and Priorities

Virtual workers are often consultants who work with multiple businesses. Having set deadlines and prioritizing their tasks will help them manage their own schedules and ensure that the work gets done on time. Make sure to build in a bit of a buffer in case you need to make some last minute changes. You don’t want to end up scrambling and potentially missing your own deadlines due to setting a schedule that’s too tight.

Have a Back-Up Plan

Even if you can manage your business and meet your deadlines with only one virtual employee, it’s always a good idea to have a back-up in case of unforeseen circumstances. Having another person to fill in part-time will give you peace of mind, ensuring you won’t end up stuck trying to finish all of your projects on your own if your other virtual employee suddenly becomes unavailable.

Establish a Relationship Based on Mutual Respect

Make sure your virtual employees feel connected and respected. Communicate with them often and recognize a job well done. If possible, organize a get-together so everyone on the team can meet. This may not be possible if your employees are all over the world, but if they’re close by it can be a great chance to connect. Try to provide feedback and support to your employees whenever possible and use a personal touch when you can. Your employees are far more likely to be content and motivated to do great work if they feel appreciated and if their efforts are being recognized.

If you have a business that you run from a small office space or a home office, outsourcing some of your workload can be a viable option. There are certainly a lot of great employees out there that will work hard and do an excellent job, but if you’re new to outsourcing and to virtual employees, expect some growing pains at the beginning. It may take a while to find the perfect fit.