How to procrastinate productively

We all procrastinate.  You know those moments where you just check facebook quickly and then get sucked into the facebook black hole for an hour (or 2) and suddenly you are wondering where your time went and what happened and whether its still Tuesday or not.  Or you go to do a search for something relevant to what you are working on and suddenly notice the interesting addition that Google has helpfully put on to your search query and can’t help but see where it goes – like this search

google search Capture

 

So how do you procrastinate productively?

Granted while it is difficult to not click on ‘what do hedgehogs eat’ because… well Hedgehogs! It is also not particularly relevant to your business – unless of course your business is saving hedgehogs and you’d need to know what they eat, which would probably be a good thing to know before you start the business of saving hedgehogs.  So is your head on the hedgehogs now?  Yes of course it is, because they are cute and your brain says ‘ooh just one quick look at the hedgehog pictures’ but stop right there.  Hedgehogs will not, now or ever, help you bring clients and therefore money into your business, this is the sort of procrastination you can spend all weekend (or whenever your day off might be) doing but it won’t pay your bills.

How do you achieve the sort of procrastination that is productive to your business and won’t leave you feeling guilty, and then having to work longer because you’ve spent all day looking at hedgehogs?  One thing I love doing is reading articles, now these articles can be useless pieces of information such as hedgehogs and the gross, but strangely fascinating fact that butterflies will feed on dead bodies, or they can be from websites that help my business.  It depends on your business sector as to which business websites will help you but some such as entrepreneur.com can be a valuable source of information from some of the most successful business people in the world, regardless of what sector your business is in.  I have about 5 websites that I regularly check in on when I’m in a procrastinating mood and they are all sites that will have articles which can help me run my business or learn something that will help me with my business in some way – even if it’s merely to get my creativity flowing.  Not all procrastination is bad, sometimes we need to procrastinate and read that article so our brain gets enough of a break to solve a particular problem that’s been bugging us all day or get fired up about a new idea for a business or a blog post.  I have felt utterly brain dead at times, until I’ve read a particularly good post on a blog that has got my brain cells fired up enough that suddenly the ideas and/or problem solving are flowing so much easier.  So go ahead and give yourself permission to procrastinate – just try to make sure it’s the type of procrastination that will help rather than hinder your business.  One more helpful hint before I go – if you think the hedgehogs will suck you in to procrastination land, then stay well away from the goats, you will likely never make it out before the weekend!

Social Media: One size does not fit all

We work with individuals and small businesses, rather than national companies and larger businesses and we’ve realised that not all social media channels fit all clients.  For example twitter isn’t necessarily as effective for some smaller businesses but facebook , pinterest and google+ can allow easy engagement with clients and contractors.  Using these platforms a small company can have good success with sharing a mixed bag of media from information on staff and charity events to recent projects and especially photo’s.  Geographical location plays a part in this as well.  Social media channels that work for some business sectors in a large city, do not always work as well in more rural location

After a discussion with a potential client regarding her social media requirements, we were reminded that not all clients should be on all social media platforms and that what works well for one will not work at all for another.  During the meeting I was trying to persuade the client that twitter is a fantastic social media platform for all businesses. It didn’t matter how I explained twitter the clients question was consistently the same.

‘but why? I don’t see why I should bother with twitter when what I want is to build our customer base and increase revenue – how is twitter going to help me with that?’

The more resistant the client was to twitter the more I felt I needed to let her know she had to be on twitter. After the meeting I realised I had tried to force something on a potential client that she really didn’t want.  There is a difference in using your knowledge to help clients find the best marketing tools for their specific business and trying to force a client into doing something they really don’t want.

As in all business there are always learning curves and this one was one of mine.  After researching the particular business sector that this potential client is in, I realised that she was right, twitter will possibly not work as well as other platforms for her sector and more than that, because she is not interested in it, there is no way that it will grow her business (as she is likely to be managing the social media for her business herself).   I forgot what I was doing for a moment and the core of my business, which is not only listening to the clients, but actually hearing what they are telling me, and trying to implement helpful marketing tools in their business – that will give them  a wider audience and ROI.

Its not me forcing a client to be involved in social media that they don’t want to – they know their business a lot more intimately than I do.  There are of course times where it is my job to help a client understand that a particular service/social media platform/etc really is the best addition for the marketing of their company – but I can only really do that if I hear what the client is saying in the first place.  It’s very clear to me, though, that when it comes to social media and business – one size does not fit all.