Getting Personal

For every business one of their key assets is the staff that they employ.  It’s important to know your team, their strengths, and weaknesses, and how you work best together.  Letting people’s strengths flourish while making sure their weaknesses won’t hold them back is just all round good for business.  The right personality in the right position can make a huge contribution to your success.  Sometimes we can mistake a missed opportunity for a failing in a team member, poor performance as a result of laziness or incompetence, when potentially that individual could perform much better if they had a more suited role.  There many surveys and questionnaires designed to help employers assess their staff and measure how that affects their business.

At Scruffy Dug we have all taken the Myers Briggs test, which determines personality types and offers insight into how each type works (there are many sites where you can take the test for free, we used www.16personalitytypes.com ).  From how different personalities approach certain tasks to what type of activity they are likely to excel in to how they are likely to interact, the results cover a wide range of areas, personal and professional – often with unnerving accuracy.  Although there were a few points in each of our results that didn’t quit hit the mark, and many points that weren’t anything we didn’t already know…or at least suspect, the test was nonetheless useful.  In many cases it confirmed what we already knew about the areas we perform best in, and sometimes it’s just nice to know you’re on the right track.  It also allowed us to get a glimpse inside each other’s heads, helping us establish how to interact with each other effectively.

Although I wouldn’t advise basing all personnel decisions on a survey it’s always a worthwhile exercise. It’s good to take a step back and look at the skills you have available, it gives you a basis for structuring your business and it’s a good jumping off point for getting the most from your team.  It can also be a fun exercise and a good ice-breaker when team building or performing quarterly reviews.

With the results being just as candid on negative as they are on positive character traits there’s always the chance of a chuckle…and possibly the odd awkward moment if a colleague claims, “what? I’m nothing like that!”

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Shedding the shell: confidence is essential when starting out in social media

It’s taken as read that everyone has confidence in their new product or service when starting up; it’s a given that you’ll need to be confident whenever you meet someone and tell them about your business.  What often comes as a bit more of a surprise though is finding that you need confidence on your social media platforms and that it can sometimes feel, well, a little unnatural and alien.  First of all managing your online business presence can be an altogether different ball game from running personal social media accounts. The responsibility of getting a message across clearly, creating the right impression and showing the personality of a business can make us retreat into our shells.  As a generally outgoing person and regular twitter user I was surprised to find myself struck by bouts of shyness when it came to putting our business out there.  But effective social media can be pivotal to a new business so you can’t fall into this trap.  You need to feel at ease in order to come out of your shell.

First of all remind yourself why social media platforms are so pivotal.  When networking and social media are used effectively, you are utilising free sources of promotion.  In a previous blog post we pointed out how one tweet can ruin a business and in turn one good tweet can make a business but what’s more likely is that 100 good tweets or Facebook posts will be able to create a continued success.  What a business starting out needs to know is how to use those platforms correctly.

To effectively communicate in social media environments it’s important to be relaxed.  These are spaces to open up conversations about your business, so engage with people.  It’s important to do this in the right way, keep the tone friendly and informal and don’t be afraid to show off the personalities that make your business unique.  You don’t want to have to explain your company over and over, so have a clear profile.  It’s also important to work ahead of time to be able to put across what your business is succinctly so that you are free to engage enthusiastically without bogging yourself down in long-winded speeches.

We will go on to look at customer service in more detail in future posts, but in social media you have a direct, frontline platform to show your customer service skills.  Look at how other people use the platform and mimic the style.  You can and should be conversational in spaces like Facebook, but your company’s Likedin profile would seem strange if full of emojis.  Work with the limitations you’re presented with too, not against them.  Twitter restricts you to 120 characters, which breeds a temptation to link to external sources.  This is fine, but use links sparingly.  Instead find a way to make your message more concise.  They’ve just given you a chance to work on a great elevator pitch and make your message clearer.

Social Media provides a great place for you to build confidence in talking about your business.  It helps you with your customer service, networking and building business communities, which we will talk about at a later date.  Don’t hide from your customer base, let them get to know you. Shed the shell and get out there.

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