Nominations and Invitations
Did you know that a properly executed social media strategy can drive more traffic to your website and enhance lead generation? There is an overabundance
The holidays are approaching and many of us struggle to take a break during this festive season. Delivering a smooth experience that meets a client’s
Hashtags are an essential part of social media marketing that decide the fate of your posts on social media platforms. If used correctly, hashtags help
Congratulations and hats off to Virtual Ingenuity, LLC for being the recipient of the 2022 Best of Trussville Award in the Business Management Consultant category.
Virtual Ingenuity, LLC receives 2022 Best of Trussville Award
Trussville Award Program Honors the Achievement
TRUSSVILLE October 3, 2022 — Virtual Ingenuity, LLC has been selected for the 2022 Best of Trussville Award in the Business Management Consultant category by the Trussville Award Program.
Each year, the Trussville Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Trussville area a great place to live, work and play.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2022 Trussville Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Trussville Award Program and data provided by third parties.
About Trussville Award Program
The Trussville Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Trussville area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The Trussville Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.
SOURCE: Trussville Award Program
Did you know that a properly executed social media strategy can drive more traffic to your website and enhance lead generation? There is an overabundance of social media channels, from LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and TikTok, to name a few. With all of these options, it can be overwhelming to determine what platform to choose to build an online presence. Here are several factors to consider:
- What are your social media strategy objectives?
- Which channels is your target audience using?
- Which channels is your competitor using?
- What kind of content do you want to create?
- Do you have the manpower to manage multiple channels?
Let’s dive deeper:
Determine your social media strategy objectives
It’s important to determine your social media strategy objectives. Once identified, you should align those objectives with well-established platforms that have a large following. It is a best practice to research the social media advertising platforms that suit your budget. You will want to choose the most effective platform that will raise awareness and extend your business services reach. If lead generation is most important, then LinkedIn might be a good fit since that platform is the renowned B2B champion in lead generation through group participation and advanced search filters. Facebook and Twitter can also be very effective.
Research your target audience
Research the specific channels that your target audience is using based on social media demographics. You may want to consider Sprout Social to help you to conduct an analysis of your current followers and to outline the key demographics of various social media platforms. The research will ensure that your chosen channels facilitate the most relevant approach of your target audience based on demographic data.
Research your competitor’s social media channels
Research the social media channels that your competitors use. Know the type of content they post, what gets the most likes and shares, and the frequency to which they post. You may even want to “follow” them on social media. This will help you gain valuable insight that you can replicate for your social media strategy. Consider using a specific tool to analyze your competitor’s top-performing social content based on the most shares and engagement. Facebook and Twitter will enable you to track any mention of them across the internet. Here are several strategies that will help you to work smarter.
Know the type of content to suit your target audience
Know the kind of content that you want to create. Whether it’s company news, industry updates, or video content. B2B audiences tend to gravitate to LinkedIn or Twitter. This, of course, depends on the industry. Keep in mind that video content generally appeals to a younger audience. In which case, YouTube, with over 3 billion searches per month or even TikTok, would be ideal. If image-based content is preferred then you may want to consider Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook. Again, make sure that you use a platform that will appeal to your target audience. If you want to share editorial content, then consider Medium, 95% of its readers are college graduates, and a little over 40% earn six figures or more. LinkedIn is a great industry trusted leader for editorial content and it can expose you to over 300 million users.
Determine if you have the manpower to manage multiple channels
If you decide that you want to use multiple social media channels, there are tools to help you maximize time and allow you to schedule multiple posts in advance across several social media accounts. ContentCal, Mailerlite, and Lightful are some that come to mind. Do your research on the most popular, effective, and budget-friendly tools for you.
In the past few years, social media usage has increased across all generations. Stay up-to-date with the latest social media strategies for your business.
Let’s impact together!
The holidays are approaching and many of us struggle to take a break during this festive season. Delivering a smooth experience that meets a client’s expectations is essential for your business to grow. From my experience, this is my fail-safe system for defining the rules of engagement and taking a real break from business:
- No client work
- No work emails
- No meetings
- No checking the email app on my phone
When my holiday break begins, I turn off my computer, close my office door, and do not open it until the new year. That’s my yearly no cheating holiday break strategy! Here’s what you can do to set and manage client expectations for the holidays:
Plan your holiday
I set my non-negotiable time off, just as I schedule my client meetings and projects. Select the dates you want to be out of the office. Make it official and add them to your calendar. For me, seeing those dates help to solidify those plans.
Set clear client boundaries
Increasing trust is one of the best ways to manage expectations. Communicate clearly with your clients how your team works. Give them a heads up that you will be off on the specified days that you’ve chosen. Give them a call and reassure them that you will finish any open projects before your time off. Set mutually agreed-upon marketing goals and strategies that align with your client’s business and project goals. Be transparent about what you can and can’t accomplish. It’s okay to work longer hours to get everything wrapped up, just make sure that this process is communicated to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Let your clients know that you will limit the start of new projects before the holidays as it pertains to your client’s needs.
Follow-up with a reminder email of your planned time off. Be sure to include the following information:
- Dates when your holiday break will begin and when they can expect to hear from you afterward.
- Your process of how you will take care of them leading up to your break.
- A request for all materials you need from them to complete the current project and deadlines for when you need them.
- What will happen project-wise if they don’t provide you with the requested materials in time. For instance, you may have to push back the project submission date.
- If you’re providing products that ship out, be sure to give yourself enough time to prep each shipment and factor in time in case of shipping delays.
Create a detailed plan for all projects
It’s time to put systems in place to ensure that everything runs smoothly while you’re away. Create a detailed plan of action with timelines for each project. Under-promise and over-deliver. Give your team some cushion for the unexpected, and then deliver ahead of time. When you give clients a better understanding of your promises as a business partner, it will help them manage their expectations and allow you to always meet them.
Your client should be clear about the status: the strategy, the plan, the goals, the accomplishments, and the next steps of the project at all times. Be upfront about what happens if plans change.
Set an email auto-responder
It’s important to set an “out of office” email auto-responder or website banner. In case you receive emails in your inbox while away, your well-crafted “out of office” message should include the following:
- A genuine and friendly greeting for their inquiry
- Dates of your absence
- How often, if any, you’ll respond to emails during your break
- Reassurance that their message is important and they will receive a response
- BONUS: Call to action with links to your most popular blog posts or videos
Keep your word and enjoy our holiday
You’ve planned it out and scheduled your holiday break on the calendar, sent an email to give your clients a heads-up, and set clear boundaries, now it’s time to keep your word and reward yourself with being fully present during your planned holiday.
You can always get more clients but you can’t get more time, so have a fabulous holiday – you deserve it!
Let’s impact together!
Many business owners are unsure of what the term “fractional executive” means and the benefits of hiring one. A fractional executive is a business leader that has a part-time position and experience working in C-level roles and senior level management such as director, VP, CFOs, COOS – the list goes on. Businesses that don’t have the financial resources to hire a full-time in-house executive can work with an experienced professional without hiring them at a full-time salary with benefits. A fractional executive can be the perfect way to bridge the gap between a critical business need for support and its resource readiness.
To read more about how your business can benefit from a fractional executive, please read more here:
A huge shout out and congratulations to Claudine Land, founder of Virtual Ingenuity, LLC. She is our June winner of the Business Specific Grant in the category of Business Support Services.
Here is what Claudine shared with us:
“I am the founder of Virtual Ingenuity, LLC, a business support organization focused on helping businesses improve efficiency, effectiveness, and profits. There are many ways to change the world for the better. My talent and skill are working with organizations to improve their operations and marketing in order to reduce inequities in health-outcomes.
From my early beginnings in Jamaica to my transition to the Unites States, I’ve been told most of my life that I have the incredible ability to recognize and decipher the professional needs of people around me… My clients are very important to me. That’s the reason I move forward boldly, even audaciously. This work needs to get done. Healthcare patients cannot wait for efficiencies, they are already suffering. I take an intentional, even surgical approach to my clients by incorporate customized plans, workflow systems and innovative solutions for their success. My dedication rests solely in building genuine results-driven strategies and optimized strategic planning to boost productivity and growth. I strongly believe that making an impact – one business at a time – will make the world better. As a woman, minority lead business, the challenges are steep. The struggle to get noticed, taken seriously, and given an opportunity to make that impact is a very real up-hill battle.”
Congratulations to Claudine on her grant.
You’ve heard the term –work smarter, not harder. Yet many business owners struggle with being successful at it. How do you work smarter, instead of harder? Here are some useful tips that might help you out:
1. Develop great time management skills
Focus on your top priority task, switch off the phone and close your office door to avoid distractions until that task is completed. If you have to respond to an urgent inquiry, opt to email instead while you accomplish that task.
2. Set doable deadlines and do everything in your power to meet them
Write down your deadline somewhere that you will see and remember them. Always allow yourself some wiggle room. For instance, if you tell yourself to finish something by Thursday that’s actually due on Friday, you’ll be ahead of the game and you’ll have an extra day to refine your work.
3. Learn how to use productivity tools well
With extensive research, you can find tools that will make your work life much easier and free up your time. To have a tool without the knowledge or expertise to use it is futile. It is important to know the type of tools that are needed for your specific purpose, whether it’s to prioritize tasks, communicate efficiently within teams, or monitor work activity to measure profitability. The right tool can be a lifesaver.
4. Use your phone wisely
Instead of writing an email, sometimes it’s just better to pick up the phone and call to discuss an important or urgent dialogue. You can actually run your business from your phone. Smartphones have become increasingly popular in business and a more adept enterprise tool. When utilized correctly, mobile phones can help professionals knock out work, especially smaller tasks, which could potentially boost productivity.
5. Be concise
If you want to sell a product that your company has featured, practice and sharpen your “elevator speech” to 30 seconds or less. You need to be persuasive, so make sure that you know your audience and speak directly to them. Don’t forget to ask for the sale and make sure that you have your business card handy.
6. Ask the right questions at the right time
This is a great way to get feedback and to gather the information that you need to help in decision-making for your business and team. How do you know when is the right time? Be a good listener. This is key to knowing the right time to ask a question. Be sure to follow up with follow-up questions.
7. Learn as much as you can
Look at your skills and determine where you need to fill in the gap and talk to important connections in your niche. Customer engagement can make or break a deal so speak directly to businesses that are in a well-defined niche in which you are comfortable.
8. Keep up to date on trends and development.
There are several ways to do so such as an industry magazine, trade papers, or blogs. You can also sign up for emails, take advantage of training opportunities, and speak to customers. Find a way to keep tabs on your competitors.
It’s important not to lose sleep. Hire a company to do the work for you. Virtual Ingenuity, LLC can do the research for you and help you put individualized processes and effective tools in place for increased productivity and business success.
Let’s impact together!
Featured on the International Virtual Assistant Association’s (IVAA) blog page
Many of us struggle with the increasing cost and day-to-day operations of running a business. So, how do you save both money and time for your business? By outsourcing tasks. There are ways to do this effectively.
Define your goals
Before you bring another company on board, map out your long-term and financial goals in order to make the best outsourcing plan. Doing so will help you choose the most beneficial outsourcing partners to fill your company’s needs.
Involve your management team and board of directors in the decision-making process
Getting them involved will help to create a healthy relationship with your partners and ensure proper documentation to increase accountability and responsibility.
Factor in the costs involved in outsourcing
A key advantage of outsourcing is to save money and reduce costs. Regardless of what you outsource, you are likely to save money compared to having that department in your own business. Remember that you won’t have to pay full-time salaries, benefits, or invest in expensive software and equipment. When you outsource, you only pay for what you need.
Never skimp on quality
Do your research before choosing a service provider to ensure that they have the experience in the tasks that you are looking to outsource. For example, evaluate their experience, qualifications, reputation, track record, and performance.
Look out for red flags
Make sure that the company you choose is able to share work references. Be aware if the company wants a large percentage of payment upfront.
With the right outsourcing partner, you can be assured that your business processes will be handled effectively. Feeling overwhelmed? Our team would love to help you with a customized strategy that works for your business.
Let’s impact together!
When you hire a consultant, you are looking for someone to support you, keep an eye on your business processes, and offer recommendations for increased productivity.
How do you know who to hire for the role? Here are some key things to consider. Make sure that the consultant is
It is important to find a consultant who will help you find additional ways to get the job done efficiently and who is consistent at it. Find a consultant who will think ahead of what needs to be done and do it without being asked. Have a warm-up period to allow yourself time to find this out.
A consultant should be your superhero. Your consultant should find out what your weaknesses are and be aware of what you are struggling to accomplish and is not afraid to suggest ways in which to help get things off your “to do” or procrastination list without judgment or shame.
Aware of your long-term goals
Are there podcasts or partnerships that you’d love to have or would you like to be featured on certain publications? It is the consultant’s role to find out what your long-term goals are and help you meet them.
Virtual Ingenuity, LLC knows that growth starts with partnerships. Supporting our clients’ visions certainly sets us apart from the competition.
Let’s impact together!
Having a flexible work location is an important factor for most business professionals and business owners. Post-COVID, there’s an expectation of this. Many businesses are not going back to having a full staff in the office. The switch for some businesses may be a challenge, however, it can yield great results. Here are some important things to consider and tips that may help make the transition easier:
1. Adhere to remote guidelines and policies
It is important to have clear guidelines and policies that are tailored to your business protocol for remote employees. Make sure they are consistent, easy to follow, and make sense. Some policies may outline communication etiquette, home office setup, and device security.
2. Carve out time for regular and recurring virtual meetings
Scheduled staff or weekly update meetings are essential to staying abreast of project status. Team meetings will keep everyone in the loop, help to remain organized, and increase efficiency. This is especially important for teams that work closely together. Remember, the busier you are, the more frequent communication is required.
3. Find the right software solutions
A scheduling software should be one of the most important tools in your business. It enables teams located in various time zones to collaborate seamlessly and schedule virtual appointments with clients. Multiple staff members should be able to participate in virtual calls and webinars straight from their calendar and in several easy steps.
4. Meet people
Make sure to connect with people. There should be plenty of opportunities for social interaction such as an annual retreat or professional development workshop.
Organizing a remote team’s productive collaboration is significantly different than managing staffers that are physically present in the office. With the right knowledge and encouragement, your remote workers will be disciplined and focused on getting their work done to ensure productivity.
Let’s impact together!
We all know that it’s important to maintain a healthy work-life balance. But, how do we actually do it successfully? Here are some helpful tips:
Focus on your strengths and outsource other tasks
We can’t possibly do everything. As a business owner, it can be tempting to try to do everything yourself all the time. Instead, focus on the things in which you excel and leverage those into bigger results. It simply makes more sense and saves you money in the long run to outsource the things that someone else can do more effectively.
Prioritize your time
Categorize your tasks into four categories:
- urgent and important. Get these tasks done first no matter what.
- important but not urgent. These are secondary tasks. Schedule these tasks.
- urgent but not important. These are someone else’s problems. Outsource these tasks.
- neither urgent nor important. Some of these really aren’t tasks after all. If not, delete them.
Carve out personal time
Make time for yourself. Make this a “must-do” and not a “should-do”. Set work-free times throughout your day or work week. This may require you to log off your computer and not check your work phone for a certain time period. If you have a lot of screen time, give your eyes a break by closing them for a few minutes or looking at something non-digital. You may want to participate in exercises such as walking or yoga. Engage in an activity that really makes you happy.
Make your workspace for you
Invest in equipment that will support your work and well-being to improve productivity. A comfortable, ergonomic chair and desk may help your posture. Smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets can help you stay organized and efficient. Get a plant. Having lots of plants in your workspace creates visual stimulation, helps produce cleaner air, and it may motivate you to be more energetic and creative. Keep your workspace clean and invest in a good organizational system to stay clutter-free.
Do what you love
Make time for something you love and give it the time it deserves. Read a book that relaxes you or an article that you’ve been meaning to read. Make sure that it’s something you enjoy. Self-care, taking care of mind, body, and spirit, shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be a priority.
Your health and well-being are invaluable investments. Feeling mentally and physically well can lead to long-term business success and can be the key to taking your business to new heights.
Let’s impact together!
There are challenges that come with being a business owner or leading a workforce team. It can be stressful especially when trying to hire, manage, and motivate your team. If proper practices aren’t put in place and followed, the business or team can fall short of demonstrating the following leadership behaviors.
Coaching and Development
It’s the leader’s role to encourage team members, even when a mistake is made. Offer effective coaching and development to grow your team. This is especially important as we recover from COVID. You never want your team to develop an attitude or even worse, leave. It is your responsibility as a leader to provide an enriching environment that helps your team to be successful. This can be in the form of ongoing training for a particular program or project, or even a monthly social gathering that creates a relaxed environment where team members can get to know one another on a personal basis.
If you tend to micromanage and find yourself “doing more because I can get it done right” rather than “letting it go”, then you are not trusting your team or delegating as you should. This type of behavior can come across to your team as you having lack of trust in them, causing uncertainty in the work environment. Don’t be afraid to delegate the skillset that you lack to help your team grow in their abilities. According to the Eisenhower Matrix, delegate items that are urgent but not important. Everyone has their own strengths. Consider it an opportunity for you to find the best in your team to optimize their long-term growth. Remember, the goal of hiring is to fill a gap. Leverage your team’s expertise.
Sometimes our personal life affects our business life. There should be a good balance of both. Find time to connect on a personal level with your team. Set aside a time monthly or quarterly for team building sessions. Depending on the size of your team, find out how they are feeling on a personal level before getting down to business. A warm greeting and short conversation can be helpful and fosters a means of connecting personally with each team member. This may encourage you to better understand them and build stronger, healthier relationships. It makes them feel that you care and that they are important to you and this overall makes a stronger team. Kindness goes a long way to achieving the supportive team that makes a strong impact.
Practice the above skills to build a strong rapport and a high-quality team that will support you in your next phase of business growth and success.
Let’s impact together!
Hashtags are an essential part of social media marketing that decide the fate of your posts on social media platforms. If used correctly, hashtags help you to drive the attention of your targeted audience toward your post and also help increase your brand engagement. Hashtags are the most powerful tool that you can use to bring attention to your business on social media.
What is Hashtag?
A hashtag is a pound sign or a hash (#) followed by a simple, short key phrase or a word that allows people to quickly find a specific type of content across social media channels. In short, hashtags are used to categorize content and the type of post that you share on your social media channels. The use of hashtags allows your post to become easily visible to anyone interested in that type of content. Hashtags are used on every social media platform including Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Pinterest to create conversation, attract new customers, and increase engagement.
How Can Hashtags Be Used Effectively on Social Media?
Hashtags that are short, simple, and relevant should give an outline of the content that you are sharing on your social media handles. Hashtags can allow you to create and track conversations. Keep in mind that careless selection of hashtags can also damage the value of your brand, so choose wisely. It is important to research every hashtag relevant to your business before you use them in your social media post. Just like you do keyword research in search engine optimization (SEO), it is important to do the same for hashtags. You want to pick the ones that are relevant to the content that you are posting about. Make sure that the hashtag engages your target audience and increases your brand engagement, so be specific about the hashtag that you use to gain the desired results and stay ahead of your competitors for the latest social media marketing trends. Stay away from the ones that are likely to create controversy. After using hashtags in several social media posts, research your hashtag popularity so you know which ones work for your target audience.
What are Trending Hashtags?
A trending hashtag is a hashtag that is related to trending and intensely popular topic or event during a limited time frame and can help you to increase your brand’s visibility, reach a larger audience and boost your brand awareness in the entire social media space. Trending hashtags change every day so it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest online trends. Whenever you see a trending hashtag that is relevant to your post and target audience, use it. All of this social activity ultimately helps to give your content and your business exposure.
What are Niche Hashtags?
Niche hashtags are those hashtags that are related to your industry or field of business. This is where research comes in handy. Tools like Hastagify or Ritetag can be used to identify and gauge popular industry-related hashtags. Follow your competitors to track what hashtags they are using to attract your intended audience and increase followers. Use hashtags that are related to relevant content to ensure that your content reaches your target audience.
What are the General Rules for Using Hashtags?
There are several important rules to keep in mind when using hashtags. Be sure to:
- Use local hashtags to build community awareness
- Use specific product or brand hashtags to create conversation and build interest
- Utilize search tools to view related hashtags and their popularity
- Avoid offensive, controversial or demeaning hashtags
The use of hashtags on social media is vital to growth. Studies have shown that posts with hashtags get twice as much engagement as posts without hashtags. Instagram allows you to have over ten hashtags, however, keep your hashtags few, simple, and those that are relevant to your industry niche, content, and target audience. This keeps your post clean and is more likely to engage your audience. LinkedIn content shows up in Google searches so using hashtags can put your posts in front of a larger audience. Hashtags listed in the title of your YouTube videos help videos show up in searches. Choose the right hashtag for the content and audience that you want to reach.
Hashtags are growing in popularity and will give your posts more exposure, therefore new customers may discover your post and your business, so it may be in your best interest to use them.
Let’s impact together!
Contact us today so we can help grow your business!