Pinning- everyone’s new hobby!

If you read this blog often then you know all about Pinterest and how fast it is growing.

And let me tell you it is also addicting. Anyhow, I thought I might share some fun ways to use Pinterest for business.

Basically, users create “boards” then “pin” interesting photos or videos to them. It is a very interesting and different type of social network- and I really am enjoying it. It can also be a major distraction. I spent over two hours trolling the Internet for pictures representing “Crafts I want to do”. As a marketer, I had to figure out how I could use Pinterest as a marketing tool for my clients. Turns out, there are great uses for Pinterest for business.

Here are a couple of things I discovered:                      

Drive traffic to your blog or videos by pinning images in your posts or the videos themselves. Once a user clicks on a “pin,” the image is a link to your post or video. Note: be sure to have a license to use images if they are not yours. No one needs a copyright infringement lawsuit.

Searchengineland.com did a great post on “How to Use Pinterest for Local SEO“  and suggested that users create keyword-rich “about me” areas and board titles.

Make sure to use attractive images; Pinterest users are all about the visual.

You can set up a Pinterest page in the name of a business.

Overall, I think it’s a fun, innovative network that companies can definitely benefit from using.

As Always, have fun and be social!

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Social Media Simplified

Are you overwhelmed with your social media activities?  Many businesses feel overwhelmed when trying to  implement  their social media marketing routine..

Sometimes the solution is to focus on the right social media tools for your business, instead of trying to keep up with 50 different ones!

Here are a few programs you might want to check out to help you feel less stressed.

1-  Crowdbooster

Amy Porterfield @amyporterfield says, “Crowdbooster is my tool of choice to manage social media activities on Facebook and Twitter.  This tool does many things to help me save time and streamline activities.  For example, it auto-posts on both my Facebook page and Twitter, tracks my new fans and followers, and gives me stats on how many times my content has been shared and retweeted.  It also tells me who my most engaged fans are, which allows me to reach out to fans individually if I choose.”

#2: Buffer

For small businesses, I think Buffer is one of the easiest ways to save time and improve your social media strategy.  Buffer is a scheduling tool for Facebook and Twitter, which lets you pre-program times for your  updates to be posted. With the bookmarklet installed and your scheduled times already set, it can be as simple as two clicks to add an update to your Buffer account.

Although the debate continues over the authenticity of pre-scheduling your updates, Justin Flitter explains that scheduling is not necessarily the same as automation, and can be a great time-saver for your social media strategy.

#3: WordPress

WordPress is without question my favorite tool for small business. With WordPress, small businesses can build very powerful dynamic websites that can form the hub of all other social media marketing.

WordPress-based blogs are easy to update and change, can directly incorporate other social media platforms  and take full advantage of the benefits of blogging for business.

#4: HootSuite Publisher

Almost every savvy social media manager I know uses HootSuite for some aspect of his or her social posting activities. It’s hands-down one of my favorite tools for posting to Twitter, Facebook (personal profile, business  pages and groups) and LinkedIn.

HootSuite also allows connections to Foursquare, ping.fm, a wordpress.com site, and MySpace (really?). The “Publisher” feature is an extremely handy scheduling interface that is awesome!

#5: Evernote

Use Evernote to plan blog posts.  If you blog often, you may find it helpful to have a well-defined and methodical  approach to your writing. With Evernote you can create a standard blog template to use for all future articles and create relevant components within the blog template to organize your writing

Good Luck! And as always, have fun and be social!

Comment! Reply! Say Thanks!

Have you ever left a comment on a blog or facebook page?  How do you feel when the author replies?

As we’re all ushered into this age of social media, each and every one of us is looking for ways to strengthen our relationships with our clients and potential customers.

Here are some examples of how to cultivate relationships with comments:

#1: Write in a personal voice.

You can probably tell from just the first few sentences of this post that I like to write in my own personal tone.  If you’re looking to truly create relationships with the stuff you write, a personal feel will make a HUGE difference.

#2: Invite reader response by asking questions.

Studies have shown that less than 1% of readers will leave comments on a blog or facebook page, but I can assure you this number would be better  if writers would simply guide the reader in terms of questions and small “calls to action”.  I do this often on my facebook pages.

https://www.facebook.com/AKUSAWR (This is a link to an example )

#3: Don’t be a know-it-all.

Although it’s a good idea to be an authority in your industry, be careful not to be over-the-top or arrogant in your efforts to establish your voice, as this will greatly hinder anyone’s desire to continue the conversation with you.

#5: Say a Simple “Hello!”

 I know this may sound too simple, but it makes a lot of sense and makes your reader feel good.

TIP: Always remember that a facebook friend, twitter fan, or follower percieves a relationship. If you want to do well, encourage this feeling. Say Hello!

#6: Thank readers for their support.

Out of the 10,000+ replies I’ve made to individuals, I’d venture to say I’ve included some type of thank-you in at least 9000 of them. The reason for this is simple—you want people to feel appreciated.  Although this does add a little bit of time to each reply, it’s well worth it.

#7: Respond!

And nicely- don’t be a jerk! Although I probably should have made this the first item on the list, I wanted to finish off with it because everything we’ve talked about in this article starts and stops with a company’s willingness to take the time to respond to commenters.

I know you are sighing… but responding to every, and i mean EVERY comment or post is very important. Make your readers feel special. Like a friend, you would not ignore a true friends comment on your own wall, would you?

As always, have fun and be social!

Social Media: Mistakes We All Make

Social media marketing is constantly changing and growing, making it sometimes hard to keep up. Here are a few mistakes I have made and have seen others make. I would love to hear from you about mistakes you have made and how you fixed or changed things by responding below.

#1-“I find most expect social media  to be easy. Then they get really into it, and then let it fall by the wayside by not posting regularly and not engaging with others. Also they don’t use the ability to advertise on Facebook and LinkedIn.

You must give it time, as you are building relationships. I tell people that they have to commit to 12-24 months of engaging and posting with advertising.”

#2-“They need to talk less and listen more. Social media is all about making connections and, just like in the real world, people will be more drawn to you if you actually listen to what they’re saying rather than try and force your message upon them.”

#3-“I think the biggest mistake is airing bad feelings / arguments over sites for your competitors.”

#4- “One big mistake small business leaders make in social media is to spend a lot of time trying to promote themselves. They also forget to keep an eye on their brand.”

#5- “I don’t want to get ten tweets a day hearing about YOU. I want to hear things that are valuable for me and my life … and they need to be easy & simple.”

“And not too frequent: I don’t want to incessantly hear about your business. It won’t make me think of you more, it’ll just make me annoyed with you.

“So: short, sweet, pertinent, and valuable to me.”

We all make these sorts of mistakes. But we live and learn,right?

Have Fun and Be Social!

 

Pinterest: What the buzz is about…

To say there’s been a lot of buzz about Pinterest in recent months would be putting it mildly!

Pinterest’s ease of use for visually bookmarking and sharing things you love has made it a hit among individuals and businesses alike.

Here are some yips for using Pinterest for business:

#1: Add a Pinterest “Follow” and/or “Pin It” Button

#2: Brands and Pinterest:
While Pinterest hasn’t yet created a distinction between a personal profile and brand pages (like Facebook), early adopting brands are making good use of their Pinterest presences, the pins and boards they’re sharing.

#3: Crowdsource:
Lauren Drell’s tip about crowd-sourcing can be very effective for brands. She suggests you ask fans of your brand to pin pictures of themselves with their favorite product of yours and tag you, then you can repin those photos onto a VIP board. “It’ll give a shout-out to these fans and show potential customers that your current users really like using your product.”

#4: Etiquette:
Be mindful of pin etiquette as outlined by Pinterest: be nice, credit your sources, avoid self-promotion, report objectionable content, and tell them how they’re doing.

#5: Link Back to Your Own Sites:
Want to make sure that people can find you online? Be sure to add links to your company website and Twitter page on your Pinterest profile. You can also bring users to specific web pages by adding the URL in the pin description.

So have fun and Pin AWAY!

 

Ripples for Google+

Google+ is a relatively new platform for businesses and marketers.  While the concept of circles is a great way to keep in touch and interact directly with a specific group, there is one feature that doesn’t seem to get that much press, and is actually quite beneficial to businesses.

It’s called “Ripples”.

Ripples is a feature that shows you interactive graphs of everyone who has shared a specific post.

TIP: Ripples is only available on posts that are sent out to “Public” and only displays those who shared the post publicly.

It is very important to have a visual representation of how well your content is performing on social media platforms. Not only does it give you a clear picture, but it also helps when conveying that data to those higher up in your company.

Ripples is built directly into Google+ and requires absolutely zero configuration. 🙂

How to Use Ripples:
First, find a post that has been shared with “Public” and has at least a few shares.

In the top right-hand corner of every public post, you’ll see a little arrow.  Click that and if a post has had some shares, “View Ripples” will show. Clicking that will open up a detailed graph of all the people who shared.  Now, while this is a great way of visualizing who shared a post, the real gold is in the fact that people who helped contribute more shares by their circlers sharing are  displayed as a larger bubble.  This makes it easy to identify who has some potentially extra clout and is helping get your posts out there to even more people.

Over time, youíll get an idea of who shares your content the most and who helps contribute beyond in that aspect. With Facebook pages, you unfortunately canít use the Lists feature, which is only available to those who have a personal profile.  With Google+ however, both individuals and brands have the ability to create circles.  This is great because now you can group your influencers into their very own circle and make sure to nurture the relationship with them. Send out exclusive content, interact directly, start a hangout with just that circle; you name it!

Exciting huh?

As Always, Have fun and be social!

Feeling too busy?

Many small businesses face the daunting task of trying to market a business, despite having limited time and an even more limited marketing budget. With all of the demands of running a small business, many owners overlook the need to effectively market their brand.

It takes some creativity and planning to reach constomers successfully. Remember that no single marketing effort works 100 percent of the time. It is crucial to rotate several marketing strategies and vary the approach. This helps keep marketing materials fresh and interesting. It is important to keep in mind that consumers tune out marketing that is stale and no longer worthwhile.

Stay in contact with customers.  Whether through texting programs, social media, or email marketing. It is essential for small businesses to stay in contact with consumers.  Maintaining contact keeps the business on task and keeps loyal customers coming back for more.  To be successful, one must be able to clear through the marketing clutter of other businesses and create a powerful message consumers want to hear, allowing the company to reap maximum rewards.

With new social media sites popping up every day it is important to look at each and decide if it is right for your business.  What you can fit in your schedule and what your clients enjoy. When i talk with small business owners, the biggest issue is time.  So choose your marketing carefully and realize there are lots of new programs and social media sites that are simple time savers.  Consider a texting program, they are very time efficient and you are giving the client what they want.  Make it fun for you and the client.

As always, have fun and be social!

What Facebook DOESN’T Want You to Do With Your Business’ Cover Photo

In case you didn’t know, Facebook has strict guidelines about the cover photo for business pages.  Follow these rules to make sure your company’s page will stay intact and open for business!

-No promotions, coupons or advertisements.

-It shouldn’t be primarily text-based or infringe on anyone else’s copyright.

-No price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”.

-No contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your pages “About Section”.

-No references to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features.

-No calls to action, such as “Get it now!” or “Tell your friends!”

I strongly advise you to adhere to the above guidelines. Facebook doesn’t state what it will do if your cover photo doesn’t follow the rules, but I wouldn’t want to risk finding out!

I share this information so you are all aware of the importance of this. Pages are getting taken down daily for violations such as these.

Remember this important fact:

“People are on facebook to have a good time, to socialize, to network. Your fans tend to not come to Facebook to do business with you. They’re there, and you capture their attention and use great content to get them to do business with you, but that is not the first reason they’re on Facebook.  So keep things fun, casual, friendly and you will be able to create even better relationships with your fans.”

-Amy Porterfield

As always, have fun and be social!

Why Blog?

A blog is a personal diary.  A place to share your passion.  A collaborative space.  A political soapbox.  A breaking-news outlet.  A collection of links.  Your own private thoughts.  Memos to the world.

Your blog is whatever you want it to be. There are millions of them- in all shapes and sizes- and there are no real rules.

In simple terms, a blog is a web site, where you write stuff on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top, so your visitors can read what’s new. Then they comment on it, or link to it, or email you. Or not.
Blogs became very popular  in 1999.  Blogs have reshaped the web; impacted politics, shaken up journalism, and enabled millions of people to have a voice and connect with others.

And we’re pretty sure the whole deal is just getting started. Once you get started it is a fun, informative outlet to share what you are passionate about with the world.

There are a few free blog sites that are easy to navigate. Word Press and Blogger are the most user friendly.
So tell the world; share your passion!

Don’t forget to share your blog post’s with your Facebook, twitter, and pinterest fans.

Have fun and be social!

 

Branch out for Business on Facebook

A Facebook app called “Branch Out” is growing fast. In the last few weeks it has grown from 30,000 to over 80,000*, although Linked In is still the social networking champion when it comes to business networking.

The idea behind Branch Out is simple: it is all about networking and job searches. You can create networks, search for job openings in a job search, or even narrow it down to search for a specific person at a certain company.

It is very easy and potentially worth it. Who knows?   You could end up meeting someone who could enhance your business, inspire you, lead you to a new position, or just maybe make a friend connection. Some people are getting great results.  Don’t forget the old saying, “It’s now what you know, but WHO you know”!

This week you should consider Branch Out and be adventurous. You never know what can happen!

Have Fun and Be social!
*Numbers from Branchout.com