The holidays are approaching
It’s that time of year when the holiday commercials start running. It’s non-stop. Buy this, buy that, make this recipe for your holiday dinners and if you don’t get what you want, come shop here for your own gifts.
Depending on your small business, your marketing plans may have jumped right in there with running Facebook ads or you’re flooding your Pinterest feed with images of all your cool stuff that you have on sale. For some of us, this may be one of the best times of the year where we make most of our sales to people looking for that unique gift for their loved ones.
I get that. And I’m not here to take anything away from your marketing plans.
Seriously, if you were one of my coaching clients who is looking to create sales over the holidays, I’d be the first in line to help you design your Pinterest images and work out a social media marketing spreadsheet. I’d even help you brainstorm some ideas to extend your sales past the big shopping days.
So let me just throw this one out at you …
Whatever happened to ‘Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards Men (and Women)’?
I’m of the personal opinion that taking the time to help others can always help you grow as a small business owner. I can find a 100 quotes to show you what happens when you pay it forward but you’ve probably already read them, tweeted it to your followers and repinned them on Pinterest.
But what if you actually did more than sharing a ‘Do something for others’ post on Facebook? What if you took a month, any month in 2015, and supported a social cause in your marketing plans?
What if you could do it without your customers asking, “And what does this have to do with your business?” Could you tell them, “It has everything to do with my business.”
Because it does.
That small business you’re scheduling every hour of the day to grow does more than just add to your annual sales. Your small business is helping you to grow. Your business is more than just the stuff you’re selling.
It’s your heart, your soul and all those cool things that make you … well, you.
When you share what you’re passionate about outside of your usual business posts, it makes you more of an authentic person. It’s about becoming more than just a human doing. You’re a human being.
Be a part of the conversation
Sharing the charity or social cause you support allows you to become more involved in the conversation. Your posts become less about adding to the online noise.
Your goal shouldn’t just be about seeing how many people you can get to donate. Sometimes that comes across a little pushy and may turn some folks off from your message.
The idea here should more about showing your fans how they can take action online. Here’s just a few suggestions to get you started:
- Educate your followers by posting educational links about your cause. Is there something that most people misunderstand about the organization? Give them the information so they can understand why you’re so passionate about this cause.
- Mix into your weekly Facebook posts and tweets the latest news for your cause. Show us the good work the organization is doing and how they’re helping others.
- Show us the cool stuff your organization is doing with Instagram posts and videos. Did your local cause just raise enough money to build a new community center? Bring us along on Instagram and show us pictures of the opening day of the center.
Share your story
We all have our reasons for why we support a certain organization or cause. Did you lose a loved one to cancer and you walk in the Breast Cancer Walk in your town every October? Or maybe you felt a strong connection to a community organization when you saw them help out your neighbor?
We all have a story. And when you’re ready, you’ll be able to share yours.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll see me sharing some tweets from a social cause that I support called Moms Demand Action. I don’t do this to make a political statement or to start a debate.
I do this because of how the Sandy Hook tragedy has affected my relationship with my son Jake. I was asked to write a guest post for one of my Dad blogger friends to tell this side of who I am. I agreed but it was harder to share my story than I realized it would be.
Then came the writing … it took me awhile to get this out on paper. It was so close to my heart that I found myself crying several times while I was typing it all out. It was one of those posts where you hesitate before you hit the publish button because you’re just not sure if others will like this or even get your message.
So I thank you, my readers, for letting me share my story with you.
It seems that enough time has passed since the tragedy of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings that the feelings wouldn’t still be so raw. However my emotions remain frayed.
For me, the emotions feel like it happened yesterday.
Maybe it’s because there’s this huge gun control debate going on. It feels like I’m constantly hearing about about another shooting at another school. Or I hear a story about a parent speaking at a hearing to tell the story of his son.
Maybe it’s because I can’t seem to get past this tragic event. I still continue to feel the aftermath of what happened in that tiny town.
Before the shootings occurred, there were some days when I felt like Bill Bixby from the old TV show The Hulk when I was around my 10 year-old son. He wouldn’t listen so I would repeat myself to the point where I would end up screaming to get his attention. There were many days when I could hear myself say under my breath, “Don’t make me mad. You wouldn’t like me when I’m mad.”
Every year I promised myself that I would work on my behavior. But within days, something would set me off again and I would yell. And my son would yell back.
In the end, I always got what I asked for but at what cost? Was it worth it to feel this guilt to make sure he stopped messing around in the shower or finished his homework?
But then came the Sandy Hook Tragedy
I cried for days after it happened. I had to stop listening to the news. I couldn’t look at the pictures of those sweet innocent children who were just a few years younger than my own son. What a horrible awful thing to happen to these children, those parents and everyone living in Newtown. The whole country was heart broken.
I was shaken to my core. I felt the pain for the loss of children I didn’t know. And when I looked at my son, I could feel the tears starting to swell up in my eyes. My nose would start to twitch with that familiar feeling of a big cry coming on.
About two weeks after the incident, something inside of me snapped. I really took a good look at my behavior and how I was reacting to my son’s actions.
We were spending a Saturday together at a busy park and my son was trying to get my attention. I can’t even remember what I trying to do but my son was trying to grab my arm to hold my hand. I kept swatting him away while I was doing whatever it was that so important at the time.
And then came the Aftermath.
I thought about those Sandy Hook parents. How many of those parents acted like this before they dropped their kids off to school that day? How many of those parents wish they had their kids trying to get their attention?
I could feel my nose twitch and the tears coming up. I stopped whatever it was I was doing and I reached for his hand. That was the day things changed in our house.
I’m not going to say that moment turned me into a perfect parent. I still get mad and feel like The Hulk but now I have found new ways to control my anger. We’ve come up with other options to work towards some kind of resolution that doesn’t end in a yellingfest.
I now understand the effects the Sandy Hook tragedy had on me. It’s like the father from the Expedia travel commercial said “… and in that moment I realized … that’s my boy … this is my life and I’ve only got one of each.”
Photo credit: A Place in the Sun
PS What if you could find a way to grow your presence in your social sites? And what if it didn’t add hours to your already crazy day? What if it took just 30 minutes a few times a week?
Click here to download my 30 Minute Social Sessions workbook and I’ll give you steps you can do once or twice a week for 30 minutes to help you get your message heard by the people who want to buy your stuff.