The Social Media Puzzle

Puzzle on my kitchen table

At most times during the month, my kitchen table is covered in a puzzle. My husband and daughter just completed a 5,000 piece Renaissance-themed monstrosity that took them several months. Now they’re doing a simple 1,000 piece puzzle of a teapot that is smaller and (in my opinion) less ugly.

I hate doing jigsaw puzzles. I don’t have the visual-spatial skills to fit the pieces together and just get frustrated. As a result, I find doing puzzles irritating and have given up on them entirely. But that’s just me. The rest of the family finds them calming and enjoyable.

I think that jigsaw puzzles are a good metaphor for what it takes to promote your business. There’s so many choices in the realm of social media — Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, newsletters — that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated. I’m increasingly meeting people who just choose to do nothing and avoid social media entirely. While the avoidance mindset works for jigsaw puzzles, it’s not something that’s good for business.

My husband and daughter have this elaborate system for doing puzzles that involves sorting pieces by color and shape, so they’re only focused on one area of the puzzle at a time. That’s the way you need to approach social media. Figure out the pieces that work for your business and focus on them. Doing Facebook — even if you’re not posting as much as you feel you should — still beats doing nothing!

In my business, I focus on creating a weekly newsletter and on blogging. That is manageable and works for me. If you hate writing, you’ll want to check out YouTube. If you’ve got a very visual business, Tumblr and Instagram are great choices. If you love posting every action you take, you’ll enjoy Facebook. Just make sure you choose the social media channels that you like doing. Even though YouTube may be awesome for your business, it’s not going to happen if you’re afraid to be on camera.

Today, think about a social media channel that will work for your business. If you haven’t posted recently, take a few minutes and tell your followers what you’ve been up to.

Gone to Pot

This expression started in the 1500’s and referred to old or week animals that couldn’t breed, give milk or pull wagons. So these animals were slaughtered and cooked in a pot. We now use “gone to pot” to refer to someone (or something) that is worn out and can’t do their job properly. (Source: Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms by Marvin Terban)

Working Naked Day

February 1st is “Working Naked Day.” It was created in 2010 by home office expert Lisa Kanarek, based on her book with the same name. “Naked” can refer to working without office attire, as well as the idea of working without the traditional support you’d receive in a corporate environment.

For anyone whose interested, this is not a holiday I will be celebrating. I’m sure the teens in my family are particularly grateful for this. However, if you want to celebrate, here are some ideas that don’t involve nudity.

Business Lessons from Lasagne

LasagnaMy family has been gluten-free since 2001. (You can read more about our adventures with celiac disease if you’re interested.) So we don’t eat pasta unless we make it ourselves. As a result, I was thrilled when my son’s Italian girlfriend offered to make us traditional lasagna (even though she had to substitute rice noodles). It was the best lasagna I’ve had in over a decade.

So I’d pictured her making home-made sauce that began with lovingly picked tomatoes from her family’s garden, followed by a lengthy cooking process that involved many fresh Italian herbs and a delicate balance of fresh cheeses. And, in my head, there was some Opera music playing in the background.

The reality was totally different. She used Prego pasta sauce with meat (from a jar), layered with gluten-free noodles, ricotta cheese and then mozzarella cheese. It was simple, uncomplicated and delicious. It was also a lot less work than the way I make lasagna.

This lasagna story reminds me of business. Sometimes I do things the hard way, just because that’s how I learned to do it. Yet there are many tools at my disposal – such as technology, seminars, or coaching – that can help me get a better result with less effort. I just don’t know these shortcuts are available. This is why I work with a coach, read voraciously, and attend all of the seminars (in-person and online) that I can. It’s always a joy to get a better result from less effort.

Today, blog about a way that you’ve simplified your business (or your life) to get a better result.