Come get these Black stock image jewels!

  • mannette
  • June 16th, 2020
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Representation matters.

It just does. It matters in how you view yourself. It matters in how the world perceives you. It matters in how your audience views your product, service, and your company. 

When I was coming up in the 70s and 80s, it was a normal occurrence in many Black households to be pleasantly surprised – okay, shocked – to see African-Americans in mainstream tv commercials or magazine ads. Imagine that it’s so rare to see yourself in media spaces that you almost can’t believe it when it happens.

Seriously…there would be whole conversations about it. 

How many of you remember…

…counting the number of Black people you saw in a Coke commercial or the number of times you saw a Black family on an episode of Richard Dawson’s Family Feud? How about counting the number of Black people you saw on a Saturday morning episode of American Bandstand because after watching Soul Train, you were still in a dancing mood, so you headed over to that other network to see what musical group was on and to see if you recog…wait…no…who are these people? Never mind.

Me and my Black doll…somewhere around 1976 or ’77?

Anyway, in 2020, we still live in a world where White is the default in marketing and advertising imagery. This is clearly evident for small to mid-sized marketers attempting, on small budgets, to find images that help communicate and represent their brand. Many stock image sites either lack relevant images of Black people or the ones they offer are so cheesy or aged that it’s just painful to search through. There have been a few times I’ve decided to go without an image because the pickings were laughable.

Thank goodness Black photographers and creatives took this issue into their own hands and created spaces to house real, elegant, relevant, every day, ‘make me wanna’ buy some of your stuff’ images of us. Cause yeah, Black folk pose in the street, drink tea, dig our feet in the sand, hug our Daddies, eat ice cream, walk our dogs, smoke cigarettes (I mean really…stop that), hang out with our friends, type on our laptops, open Christmas presents, and look gazingly into the sun, too.

These sites feature images that honor the way we see ourselves, through our own gaze, instead of relying on the perspective of ‘other’.

Larger, more popular sites finally caught a clue and expanded their offerings, giving us even more options to choose from. Some of their images are still questionable, but hey…baby steps, I guess.

Take a look at the top 5 list I’ve compiled and get what you need! If you need more, download this stock image resource guide.

Oh! None of these sites have paid me to feature them, soooo…

nappy

www.nappy.co – This site offers lots of images in shades of brown from folk all over the African diaspora. It’s a beautiful thing! Everything on this site is free. Find an image and download it.

Images courtesy of nappy.co

CreateHER Stock

https://createherstock.com/ – Founded by creative Neosha Gardner, this site is loaded with images perfect for your product, service, blog, or website. There’s a collection of over 3000+ free images (after offering your email) called The Stockpile. If you need more extensive offerings, you can pay to play for as little as $10 per month. 

You can also get unlimited access and unlimited downloads for $99 annually. That’s a pretty darn good deal!

Images courtesy of createherstock.com

eye for ebony

www.eyeforebony.com – This is another site offered up by a group of creatives that saw a need and decided to act. Led by LaShonda Brown, EFE provides $25 bundles of 25 lifestyle photos, including “Yoga”, “T-Shirt Mockups”, “In Love”, “Blogger”, and more. You can try a few images for free by signing up for their newsletter with your email address.

Father’s Day is coming up…check out the “Father & Son” bundle!

Images courtesy of eyeforebony.com

Pexels

https://www.pexels.com/ – I’ve used this site for several years, but sometimes was less than impressed with their offerings for people of color. But lately, they’ve upped their game and it’s lovely!

About a week ago, I posted content thanking online design and publishing platform, Canva, for increasing the number of African American images available. After digging a little deeper, I’ve discovered that Canva acquired Pexels and Pixabay, which would explain the sudden onslaught of beautiful, brown images. They also offer stock videos, so please take a look!

Images courtesy of Pexels/Canva

Black illustrations

https://www.blackillustrations.com/ – Sometimes an image just won’t do the trick. There are times you need an illustration, customized or not, to adequately portray brand, product, or service. There are a few free packages for download, but others come with a nominal fee and are well worth it.

Illustrations courtesy of BlackIllustrations.com

When you begin checking out these options, you’ll undoubtedly find some of the photos across multiple sites, and that’s okay! However, each site has its own dynamic and multidimensional flavor, just like Black people. So, get yourself a cup of coffee or tea, pick up your laptop or smartphone, or tablet and get to work curating fantastic images of color for your creative projects!

There are just a few sites I’ve come across and used over the years. If you’d like the full list, download it here.

Women’s History Month is a great time to not only review our fabulous past, but to also take a look at where we’re headed.

Podcasts are the perfect place to start focusing on what’s happening NOW!

They’ve taken over as the digital media resource ‘du jour’. And why not? Podcasts let you hear great perspectives on a myriad of topics while staying focused on those things you need to get done. That could be working out, driving to work, grocery shopping, or writing this blog…you get what I’m saying.

Whether you’re looking for business advice, need help destressing, or maybe just want to hear a great conversation between friends, there’s something for you!

That being said, here’s my contribution to Women’s History Month! 

I’ve compiled a small list of Black women-created podcasts covering the gamut of topics from entrepreneurial encouragement to recognizing the importance of self-care in your mental health.

So, scan the list. Check out a few episodes of each one and see if you find one that makes you giggle a little or think more deeply.

Enjoy!

Carol Sankar – The Confidence Factor

I first became aware of Carol Sankar a couple of years ago when I ran across an article she’d written for Forbes Magazine, “Why Don’t More Women Negotiate?”

The Confidence Factor podcast
The Confidence Factor

Well, that title got my attention, ‘cause honey give me my money! 

I started searching out more information and began following her on a couple of platforms.

Turns out, she has a podcast called The Confidence Factor. It’s appropriately named after her company, The Confidence Factor for Women in Leadership, built to educate, influence, and empower women in the c-suite. 

Why this podcast? What makes Carol Sankar’s podcasts interesting are the lessons she weaves throughout her personal anecdotes. They’re loaded with thoughtful and sometimes funny stories shared of the journey building her business. In the midst of this Women’s History Month, her perspective is needed. Listen up! 

I personally love episodes entitled, ”You’ll Always Be Broke if You Do This” and “You Are Never Too Old to Dream”.

Speak Easy with She` Jones

If you’re like me, you’ve received social media notifications from a family member, friend or acquaintance announcing their new podcast. Some of them are great…and this is one of them!

Speak Easy with She` Jones podcast
Speak Easy with She` Jones

She`, her husband Carlos, and other guests discuss some of the same topics on her “SpeakEasy with She` Jones” podcast that you’d talk about with your own family and friends. Is social media ruining relationships? Are PWIs better than HBCUs? Why did Snoop Dogg handle the whole ‘Gayle’ thing the way he did (and why is Bill Cosby speaking on anything…from jail)? 

I love the informal tone of the interactions. It makes you feel like you’re hanging out with friends or family you haven’t talked to in a while. There are truly some laugh out loud moments!

Why this podcast? It’s just a good, easy conversation that you might have with friends, sitting around and sipping wine on a Friday night. After dealing with all the things you do within a week, it’s cool to just kick back and shoot the sh** for a little while. 

Sit back and have a chill conversation with She`.

Elayne Fluker – Support Is Sexy

I’m always on the search for women who make a habit of uplifting other women in business. The entrepreneurship journey is NOT easy and sometimes you just need to know that someone understands. So it’s no surprise that it was the name of her podcast that really caught my eye. Not the “sexy”, but the “support”.

Support is Sexy podcast image
Support is Sexy

If you’ve ever gone down the road of small-business ownership, no further explanation is needed.

In her Support Is Sexy podcast, Elayne interviews women whose stories cover a wide range. There’s one guest whose life experiences led her to open an international hotel, though that just didn’t seem to be her original path. She interviews another who used hard-knock life experiences to support the forward movement of other women. Then there’s a very personal episode of Elayne sitting in a room of other successful women…and that doggone self-doubt of her own value began to creep in. Ouch! Been there, done that!

UPDATE: Since I published this blog, I saw a LinkedIn post from Elayne commenting on her…UPCOMING TELEVISION SHOW! She is SHINING! Connect with her to get further details on this venture!

Why this podcast? No matter how successful your business, every female entrepreneur needs to know someone feels her pain and Elayne gets that. Sometimes, hearing incredible stories of success or insight can give you just the right amount of motivation to keep you on your own path of discovery.

Discovering Strength with Erin Myers

Self-care. It’s the buzz phrase of the day, and with good reason. We are a nation of overworked, under-rested, and just overall stressed out and ever-chasing-happy folk. Did I cover it all? Probably not, but hang with me for a moment.

Discovering Strength with Erin Myers podcast
Discovering Strength with Erin Myers

Erin Myers tackles these challenges through the prism of her faith. With her Discovering Strength podcast, she uses her faith and experience with personal challenges as an inspiration to those others. She specifically talks about how her battles with abuse, divorce, childhood trauma, and “motherwounds” have taken their toll. But she uses those same battles to help others overcome and prosper.

One of my favorite episodes is part of her Reset and Refresh Series entitled, “What’s that prayer life look like?”

Why this podcast? When I need a pick-me-up, a word of encouragement, or a word from the Most High as encouragement, I can depend on Erin to shine a light in that direction.

Now, if you’re like me, you won’t have time to check them all out or listen to your favorite podcaster more than once a week. But, do yourself a favor and reap the personal benefits of taking in the light of at least one.

Check out Monica’s recent blog on getting better results on the LinkedIn platform! You can also connect with or follow her on LinkedIn or Facebook.

LinkedIn: Your More Than Capable Digital Business Partner

  • mannette
  • August 6th, 2019
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There’s so much more to this app than showcasing your past work experience!

“I’ve never really looked at LinkedIn.” 

“I’ve been told my business needs to be there, but…I just don’t know how it works.”

“Isn’t it just an online resume?”

I often hear these and similar refrains from business owners, potential clients, networking attendees, and…well, the list goes on and on.

LinkedIn seems to be this distant social media cousin that no one’s quite sure what to do with. Most people I talk to get into a good marketing groove with other applications like Instagram or Facebook and LinkedIn just isn’t a part of their conversations.

I’m here to open your eyes.

LinkedIn may not be the most popular social media tool, but don’t be fooled! This application has teeth and can help your business get noticed, generate leads, and build partnerships that take you to the next level!

There are more people are on LinkedIn than you think

At least 500 million people use LinkedIn, and 260 million of them log in every month.

If those numbers aren’t impressive enough, here’s another – 45% of those people are in upper management. 

LinkedIn is also the most used social media platform amongst Fortune 500 companies. 

This means that creating a profile and/or a business page on this application offers a great opportunity to market yourself, your product or service to the right people. 

These ‘right’ people are the all-important decisions that sign service agreements and get you paid.

They are CEOs, Directors, Vice-Presidents, District or General Managers, and Principals of small to large businesses or corporations. They are the people that make major decisions about money allocation and spending. 

Let’s say I told you about a great networking space, less than a 1 mile from your home, where the top 5 CEOs in your industry stopped by every single day to mingle, meet new people, find new business solutions, and maybe, make purchases. 

Would you make it your business to be there E-V-E-R-Y D-A-Y? 

Well, that’s LinkedIn.

While they aren’t online every day, out of the 260 million business people logging in every month, there’s SOMEONE available for you to connect with.

So, here’s the take away from your last 2 minutes of reading. 

If you’re a business owner, especially in the business-to-business market, you NEED to have a presence on this app. If you’re not there, you’re missing a huge opportunity to grow your brand and your profit.

Take advantage of a space that’s not content-saturated

Only 1% of LinkedIn users log in and do more than make connections and like someone else’s posts in their feed.

Translation: users are missing huge business-building opportunities!

LinkedIn is similar to other social media applications in its ability to help you present yourself as an industry expert. There may be 120 similar businesses on LinkedIn, but if you’re the only one actively providing valuable information and resources to a network, you stand out. 

If you’re in the hospitality industry, conventional wisdom tells you to connect with all of the general managers, directors of sales, revenue managers, and management company executives you can find. 

Most people would take just enough time to request or accept a few connections, then like, comment “Great post”,  or share an industry article they found once a month. 

There’s so much more to do! 

To make more of an impact, you might also consider sharing:

  • Tips on how to increase revenue during a slow season
  • Data on customer meetings expectations
  • Video of behind-the-scenes preparation for an upcoming event
  • Any of this information in an industry group

Simply having a login and profile isn’t making the most out of the application. Offering content gives you the opportunity to market your company and ideas alongside Fortune 500 companies sharing this space.

Use the application as an industry monitoring tool

LinkedIn also offers you the capability of keeping an eye on influencers and industry changes. By connecting with or following industry leaders, you can maintain a grasp on hot topics and trends that can inform your content, in-person conversations, and business decisions. 

Let’s go back to the hospitality example above. If you’re interested in doing business with Marriott International, you might decide to follow the company page, as well as its CEO, Arne Sorenson.

This allows you to see what the company deems important and what the CEO is involved in. Has he been honored in any way? Did he give his own views on the future of the industry 20 years down the road?

In addition, LinkedIn has now fully vested in using hashtags to index content. So, you can also search and follow hashtags like #HotelTrends, #HotelRevenue, or even #ArneSorenson. Likewise, if…no, no…when you produce content and include hashtags, others can use them to find your posts or articles.

The tags are placed to the left of your desktop homepage and under your profile pic with smartphones. You can simply click a hashtag to view the types of content posted under that topic.

Linkedin can open your business to so many growth opportunities. But in order to take advantage, you’ve got to be there and be active.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great, but LinkedIn, if utilized correctly, can work as your long-term business partner!




Your layoff can produce life!

  • mannette
  • July 22nd, 2019
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Your layoff can produce life!

“I’m here to tell you that your position has been eliminated…”

“Wait…what?!”

I really don’t remember much of what he said after that.

Termination was the last thing on my mind that Monday in March several years ago. I NEVER imagined that the area manager, unexpectedly zipping through the property early that morning, was THERE – FOR – ME. ??

If you’ve ever been laid off, you know how surreal it can be in those first few moments immediately after. Somehow, you’ve got to gather yourself, get up from the chair, and walk through your now-former place of employment without falling on your face.

Good luck with that.

One week before the layoffs. Ignorance is bliss!
Notice my work badge hanging in the background.

So, now what? My recently, but happily-divorced, brand-new mother-self wasn’t quite sure what to do. That job gave me stability after divorce and, until that moment, I hadn’t worried about money. In the blink of an eye, it all changed. To make matters worse, I hadn’t seen it coming. 

I had a child to care for and bills to pay! I had a mortgage to maintain! How was this supposed to work?

image of the author and her child.
Her first Halloween a few months after she was born.
I’d rushed from work to spend it with her.

After the sting wore off, a realization set in. A self-assessment was long overdue. Big decisions were looming and I had to be honest about who my ‘work self’ was.

Here’s what I came to terms with. 

I’m easily restless. Doing the same job over and over again aggravates me. It sucks the life and joy out of my day. Running on a schedule and punching a clock for someone else is just painful. So, while the layoff was a shock to the system, it wasn’t completely unwelcome.

I was ready for something new and I saw a HUGE opportunity. 

Options, Options, Options

I’d wanted to work for myself for a very long time. I dreamed and daydreamed about it and the itch just wouldn’t go away.

I’ve tried several ventures over the years, but I remember at one point trying to sell Mary Kay Coooos-metics. Imagine trying to sell makeup when you just really don’t care about makeup. ???

That doesn’t work too well and it most definitely didn’t work for me.

It did, however, give me a taste of working by my own rules, in my own time, and striving to reach my own goals! 

BEST – FEELING – EVER!

So, a few weeks later, while sitting in the kitchen feeding my then two-year-old and contemplating next steps, I made a decision to change my focus.

Why not help people just like me?

I pivoted into a totally different industry and began helping business owners build their online presence. I started by designing small business websites and quickly moved to teach entrepreneurs how social media integrated with their sites to increase business. 

That led to my love of social media. This new digital phenomenon was great from a personal perspective, and I also saw how it could help small business owners thrive in ways they couldn’t before. It opened doors for entrepreneurs who didn’t have a budget for magazine, newspaper, and television ads.

Now, small business owners can get their product or service in front of thousands of potential customers…for $10! Before social media, even an ad in the local city or county newspaper could run you $500!

As for me, it allowed me to thrive in a space and place I’d created for myself. It felt wonderful, crazy, scary, overwhelming, and peaceful all at the same time.

I found purpose in helping other small business owners build their own online space in the social mediasphere.

Author at various networking events.
I’m not where I want to be, but the journey
getting there has been incredible!
The people I’ve met and the
opportunities I’ve been offered – AWESOME!

Entrepreneurship can be tough, euphoric, and tear-inducing.

Calling it overwhelming is an understatement.

We’ve got 20 things to do in one day… every day, and sometimes we need help.

Allowing someone else to manage the pieces we aren’t so good at or just don’t have time for allows us to thrive.

So, if you need help finding your social media ‘space’, connect with me.

I can help you create and implement a strategy and free up your time to focus on other parts of your business.

Send me a message or schedule a time to talk

Let’s get this done!

4 Ways to Improve Your Small Business Communications

  • mannette
  • October 18th, 2018
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While most people don’t recognize it, taking shortcuts with your small business communications can be detrimental to the success and growth of your business.

We’ve all done it, whether typing an email or responding to a text.

Well, here’s my story.

I recently created content for my social media consulting business. As part of the strategy to increase my exposure and awareness, I reached out to a few of my connections via LinkedIn Messaging in hopes they would click the link, like the content, and forward to their own connections.

Two days later, I hadn’t received any new page traffic, let alone likes. What happened? Why didn’t they click the link? Did they even see the message?

Of course, I went back to review the message and confirmed that quite a few of them saw it. So, what was the problem?

*Scanned message, scanned message, sca…GASP!!!*

A BIG OLE, FAT, FUNKY TYPO!

A few colorful words flew out of my mouth – words that I won’t type here. I sat there for a few moments with my head in my hand thinking, “Really, Monica…really?!” It wasn’t the typo itself that upset me, more than the immediate awareness that I hadn’t taken the time to review and edit the message before sending. I had to be honest with myself. This wasn’t the first time I’d communicated with someone on LinkedIn without first reviewing the message.

My next thought – “I have GOT to do better”.

It’s so easy to get caught up, distracted, or just way too busy to review the communications we send out to the world.  But, here’s the reality – passing up the 5-minute review on a piece of content that’s supposed to represent you and your small business can have serious consequences. It can mean the difference between a potential customer clicking a link to review your story, or deciding to move on. I mean hey, if you can’t be bothered to double check your own stuff well, you know the rest.

So, I’m being transparent in hopes that we can do better together! Take a look at four ways to help you purposely slow down, review what we’ve written, and make better impressions to your digital network.

Don’t Use Your Smartphone to Produce Important External Communications

Listen, I get it. It’s 2018 and technology’s convenient. Why wait to get to a desktop, laptop, or even your tablet when you can just whip out your phone, download an app, and thumb that note or response from wherever you are?

The problem with using our phones is that they provide a huge opportunity for mistakes. Small screens, smaller keyboards, and fat fingers can be a recipe for disaster! Okay, your fingers don’t even have to be fat! But, how many times have you sent a note from your phone and it went to the wrong recipient, you forwarded the wrong document, or auto-correct just went completely off the rails?

I know these things could also happen on your computer, but my experience has been that smaller devices increase the error probability. And while I haven’t found any science to back this up, handling business on my phone seems to project a false sense of urgency – a need to type faster and get the task done with super-shero speed. My advice? Wait until you can get to a device with a larger screen so errors are easier to spot.

Use a Word Processor to Create and Review the Content

And this leads to my next suggestion. Whether you’re responding to a social media comment, completing an online job application, or sending a note to potential customers, typing your masterpiece into a word processing application first can be a simple, yet extremely useful step in making the best impression possible. We all know Microsoft Word, but the online or smart phone versions, along with other free options such as Google Docs and Zoho Writer, is just as effective in correcting spelling and grammatical errors.

Now, I know some of you are already saying, “Just download a grammar checking app like Grammarly or Ginger to give it a once over”. True, but for me and my GenX brain, there’s nothing like reviewing my email or message right there in all of its full screen, black and white glory before sending it into “can never take back” oblivion.

Use a Talk – To – Text App

Talk-to-text apps are not a new thing but can be really helpful in making sure you communicate your best…to a point. I love my Google Text-to-Talk app, but, do I trust it completely? Absolutely not!

You’ve still got to take time and review what you’ve created before sending anything of importance to anyone. I typically use the app to create a short message, then make manual adjustments and corrections.

Have Someone You Trust Review for Errors and Flow

It’s a simple and old school concept with no fancy-schmancy technology needed.

Ask someone you trust to review your content for accuracy, grammar, spelling, and flow. Is everything spelled right? Should it be “access” or “assess”? Does your message make sense, or are you rambling a bit? A second set of eyes can be a lifesaver from the pain and embarrassment of an unnecessary typo or misguided thought forwarded to the masses.

Don’t have any wordsmiths in your life that you trust with your business communications? Hire someone. You can hire a freelancer from Upwork, Freelancer, or Guru for a few bucks to review and edit your work. Rates can vary depending on the work and freelancer experience, so buyers beware, but it’s definitely a viable option.

Now, say it with me, “We’ve GOT to do better!” Building a small business is a huge, complicated, and game-changing experience. However, we can alleviate a bit of the challenge by simply committing to better communication.

How do you keep your small business communications errors to a minimum?

The Best Social Media Target Audience You Never Noticed

  • mannette
  • April 27th, 2017
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Social media marketers are constantly trying to find the best way to reach potential customers. If you listen to the plethora of online ‘experts’, you’d think millennials were the target market of the century. They’re the tech savvy generation born and raised in the digital world. Surely they understand and navigate online activity more easily than everyone else, right? But, are they really the group that’ll whip out their wallet…or Apple/Android Pay and spend money with you?

NEWS FLASH! That honor belongs to Generation X.

Generation who?

I belong to Generation X. We are the smallest generation, born between the mid 60’s and early 80’s, and only number about 65 million to millennials’ 83 million. I was born in an age when TVs didn’t have remotes, cell phones didn’t exist, and wearing a seatbelt was only a suggestion. As far as technology is concerned, my college years were spent walking to the campus computer lab to sign up for a time to use the word processor. Rarely did anyone have personal computers in the early 90’s. Well, that one girl down the hall did, but she got tired of everybody knocking on her door during finals’ week.

Fast forward 25 years. Gen Xers have adapted to and embraced the world of technology! On any given day, our eyes are glued to laptops and tablets and smartphones – just like everyone else. And boy do we love our technology! According to a Nielson Social Media Report published this year, Gen Xers spend more time on social media than any other generation! They spend almost 7 hours on social media per week, as compared to Millennials’ 6 hours and Boomers’ four.

Hello! Can anybody hear us?!

Why, then, do marketers ignore Gen Xers and leapfrog their marketing efforts from Baby Boomers to Millennials? Some marketers claim its simple math. According to a 2016 Adweek piece, boomers and millennials get the most attention because they have the largest demographic. Again, while Gen X is 65 million strong, that’s small change compared to boomers’ and millennials’ 74.9 and 75.4 million, respectively. Others think it’s the middle child syndrome. Gen X’ers are bookended by two significant ‘revolutions’. Most Xers don’t remember the Civil Rights Movement or Vietnam from their boomer parents’ generation, and they aren’t the poster children for the digital age, either. For many marketers, these factors make it more difficult to define who they are, since there’s the accepted perception that there is nothing to make them unique. Instead of trying to figure out how to market to this multi-dimensional generation, they’ve been largely ignored by most.

Generation X spends money!

While they aren’t the largest generation, 65 million wallets are nothing to sneeze at. But, outside of just their demographic number, there are a few things that should make marketers sit up and take notice.

According to the same Nielson report, medium social media users are defined as anyone who spends 1-2 hours on social media per day. Remember, Generation X spends almost 7 hours on social media per week. Here are a few stats to get you thinking:

  1. 80% of online purchases are completed by medium social media users. Looking at the data, these users are a pretty even combination of millennials…and GENERATION X.
  2. In the past 12 months, 48% of medium social media users who made online purchases spent money for clothing, 33% purchased books, and 27% purchased airline tickets.
  3. With Generation X spending more time on social media than any others, marketers have more of an opportunity to reach  and sell to them.

Do your homework to understand!

Even with all of this data, you’ve got to understand more than just the numbers. Gen Xers have more disposable income to spread around. Millennials are generally focused on growing income and trying to determine their next career move. Boomers are in or contemplating retirement, so they may pull back the reigns a bit on spending. Gen Xers, in general, are in a stage of life where work is stable, salaries are stable, retirement accounts are stable, and they can afford to spend and splurge a little.

While Xers adapted to the digital world, they are more than comfortable with online shopping. They’ll still pack up the family and head to the mall or outlet to shop, but they are just as likely to put their feet up and search online for that leather jacket they can finally afford.

BONUS: Gen Xers tend to be more loyal than other generations. Translation:If they like your product, they’ll come back again and make additional purchases. Sales 101: current customers typically spend more money than new ones. Make sense?

So, don’t overlook the generation with money to spend by following the crowd or trends! Gen Xers may not be the ‘it’ generation, but have the dollars you’re trying to get.

Man with Laptop and Bag

Small business owners have consistently full plates. Aside from selling our products and services, marketing to potential customers is critical. For many of us, researching, writing, and implementing the all-important marketing plan is also a huge undertaking. It takes time, energy, and lots of creative juices to determine where, when, and to whom you’re marketing.

Now, enter “social media”.  Many Millennial entrepreneurs start out of the gate with both feet firmly set in social media marketing concepts and ideas. With Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, not so much. For those of us not born into, but rather adjusted to the world of social media, creating an online business space can be daunting and downright scary.

But, it’s gotta’ get done!

How many of you created a Facebook business page because that’s what everyone else was doing? Come on…raise those hands! It doesn’t take long to realize that setting up the profile is the easy part. The hard part is figuring out what to do next. How can you get traction and attract potential customers to your page when, other than your website, you have no online currency?

Let’s look at two critical, but simple and often overlooked, initial steps to help you get social media traction, attract relevant followers, and hopefully, get more eyes on the product or service you offer.

Determine Your Target Audience

Sounds familiar, right? Remember all the research you did to identify your target audience when writing that small business plan or preparing your traditional marketing strategy? That very information is extremely important now that you’re venturing into social media territory. As with traditional media, determining your niche audience can help you tweak your product offering, confidently determine your pricing, and decide how to effectively market to customers online.

Determine Your Audience’s Preferred Platform

Knowing specifics of who your customers are leads to the next step of finding them online. Your specific audience spends most of their time on one social media platform or another. They don’t have the time in a day to spend hours on Facebook, and then hours on Twitter, and then even more hours on Instagram. Think about how you interact on social media. More than likely, you have one platform that appeals to you more than the others. The same goes for your target audience.  Instagram may simply appeal more to your audience than Twitter, or Facebook more than Pinterest. Do your research! For example, according to a recent Hootsuite blog, 82% of adults online, ages 30 – 49 use Facebook , but if your audience is between 18 – 29 years old, Instagram may be the better option for your product. And here’s a consideration – brace yourself…is your target audience even on social media?! Again, DO THE RESEARCH!

After you’ve thoroughly researched your target audience, you may be inclined to create a Facebook business page or Pinterest account. Your research will help you make smart decisions about where best to focus your energies. Even if you create more than one platform profile, you must still decide where you will focus most of your attention.

While there are a million thoughts running through your head as you prepare to enter the social media business world, you must make these two priorities. The last thing you want is to have put 6 months into a social media campaign, only to realize that the people you’re targeting aren’t interested in your product or service. Worse yet, you realize you’ve been ignoring your true customers the entire time.

Master the basics, first!