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5 Social Media Must Haves

Here are the 5 things every business must do to build a community online and bring in clients via social media.

1. Website

It’s your web basecamp, start here.
Work in Progressphoto © 2006 Grant Kwok | more info (via: Wylio)

2. Blog, forum, or some way of delivering active audience-focused content.

I have a few clients that really do not want to blog. They know they should to get the best online results, but they do not have time to create a post daily, weekly or sometimes even monthly. Hmmm, what to do? Well, number one, you can try NOT calling it a blog. Call it News and Events, or Random Thoughts. It gives you the ability to post when YOU want to without hearing the tapping of your audience’s foot waiting for a post sent out at strictly timed intervals. Sure, you might not get astronomical SEO, but you will get the liberty of posting at a time that is right for you and your business while still building your SEO. Forums, yes, forums. Great audience-generated content. Sit back and engage with your audience in a forum on your site. Glean that great content for use in blogs, I mean a ‘Random Thoughts’ column, new product ideas or your next promotion. Downside? Monitoring the forum for the wayword spammer or opinionated [expletive here] that maybe has ulterior motives or just wants to cause trouble. Other ideas? I’ve seen everything from ‘a quote of the day’ snippet to contests that involve the audience on a daily basis. I liked the later much more than the former. The key here is knowing your audience, using some imagination and creating something that entices people to involve themselves with your site regularly.

3. Social Media Networks

Facebook, Google, My Space, Google+, and Twitter are just a few of the networks where you may want to create a presence. Deciding which ones to join and how many you can be active with is a choice you will need to make, but usually the more the better.

4. Review Sites

Review sites like Trip Advisor, Yelp!, etc. are often overlooked, but surefire ways of getting great objective feedback. It’s always best when someone says something nice behind your back. They make it easy to ‘nudge’ those comments along with widgets that you can put on your website to show off your reviews. This is a free and easy way to make a big impact with your social network.

5. Visit the folks –other folks that is.

Find a forum or comment on someone’s blog (not your own) where your audience or fringe audience hangs out. You might learn what you should be doing and be able to offer some advice or help out. A couple of useful places to engage with an audience, whether niche or broad, is Quora and Alltop.

Integration

As you build this infrastructure, you’ll need to integrate as much as possible. From adding a Facebook ‘Like’ button to adding your website in your signature as often as possible there are countless possibilities for integration. The person that does this best wins.

At this point, someone usually says –“That’s it! That’s all you have to do.” Or “You can do this all yourself practically for free.” Yes, you can. But if you decide to do all this on your own when will you have time to produce your product or deliver your actual service? Now, might be the time that you realize that there are some things you do and some things you get help for. Give us a call today! We’ll set up a social media system that fits your talents, what you need and what you can afford.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Top Three Trends Likely to Upset Your Social Media World

Start OverWhat’s going on?! Lately, it seems like the whole world is in a state of flux. First, countries like Eqypt and Libya are deciding to start over -or die trying. Then Wisconsin decides to do much the same thing… start over -or die trying. With this much upheaval in the world, it leads one to reflect on what’s happening and attempt to look into the future.

I can’t do much about these events, but they made me consider what will most likely impact the world ‘you and I’ live in, a world that increasingly depends on, and is driven by, the Internet, social media, and new media. What trends will arise, perhaps even merge, and continue to change and then further impact our lives?

Trend One

The first trend isn’t much of a departure from my lede. It’s the speed that news is bombarding us. Our ability to grasp and understand it before it has again evolved into a new story is creating an information-overloaded society. NPR recently published an insightful article on this topic called “Media Black Hole: So Much News That We’ll Implode?

Trend Two

Just as we’ve started to understand our communities, I find that they’ve moved and changed! Chris Brogan presents a nice update on how social media communities are evolving, and why, in “The Future of Community“.

Trend Three

Over half of all Americans will have smart phones by the end of 2011. Do you think this might impact marketing in America, just a little bit? Seriously, if there is so much news that we might implode, don’t you suppose that the same could be said of technology trends? Our marketing systems that just recently aligned to embrace Internet technologies must now evolve and align with mobile technology. Lucky for us, the B2C Marketing Insider has some tips in their article “Data-Driven Marketing: Mobile by the Numbers“.

Undoubtedly, right this minute, there is another new technology or trend on its way. What do you think will be the next mainstream trend? And how will we dodge, embrace or benefit from it?

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

My Favorite Post for Today’s Entrepreneurs

I found this article to hit the nail on the head. Take a look at where you are and what lies ahead. Introspection is always good. The right mindset is better. And I’ll add Action is vital.Cowardly Lion

The Cowardly Lion’s Guide to Conquering Your Entrepreneurial Fears

The ‘close’ to this article is worth repeating, here’s an excerpt.

But all of those tactics will fail if you don’t have the right mindset

Mindset is what lets you turn tactics into an actual thriving business. It’s what lets you pay the price, to act when you’re scared out of your pants.

And you have to proactively create it. If you hang around successful people, you’ll notice they go to a lot of seminars, listen to a lot of motivational material, and surround themselves with other successful business people trying to do the same things.

It’s not a coincidence. They understand the value of mindset, and they set aside time every day to work on that mindset, to put themselves into the proper frame of mind to stand up and fight.

Because at heart, we’re all cowardly lions. Everyday, we have to wake up and remind ourselves how to roar.”

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each businesses’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

How to Use Facebook as a Meeting Platform and Intranet

Have you ever been asked to create a large-scale sales campaign, but NOT given the budget for delivering it into everyone’s hands?

Or maybe, you own a small business and you wish there was a way to pool knowledge among other small business owners who share issues similar to yours.

Check out Facebook Groups

It is an often-overlooked tool, which businesses can readily use to bridge the gap in communicating between various audiences in many ways. It can provide an efficient, affordable and interactive means of content distribution. No more USB drives or CDs to deliver to your business’ many locations to kick off a training or launch your net sales campaign.Facebook Group Help page

Simply open a group from your personal profile. Set your visibility to “secret or closed.” Invite your members and get down to business. That’s all there is to it, and it’s FREE.

What types of things could you discuss? Well, certainly not salaries. Everyone knows that’s taboo, right? But here are a few useful ideas that almost anyone could benefit from:

  • Trends in your industry
  • Tips and tricks of the trade
  • Tutorials
  • Events that relate to specific positions and interests
  • Templates for thank you letters, apology letters, etc.
  • Common industry information
  • Who’s who in the industry
  • Lead-sharing
  • Electronic tools, like calculators that show break-even, etc.
  • Relevant fun facts and other tidbits that can warm up the coldest lead

Why not give it a try? It’s free, scalable and allows you to control whomever is invited. Content can quickly and easily be removed. And Facebook Groups allows participants to interact without the epense of meeting at a specific destination.

What do you think? Could this be the location of your annual meeting this year? Or maybe it just organizes the details for that meeting. How could using Facebook groups help your business?

Let me know if this was helpful, I’d love to hear from you.

CALL US FOR YOUR INBOUND MARKETING & MARKETING TECHNOLOGY OPTIMIZATION NEEDS!

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mi.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each businesses’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

 

Online FREE, the new Tchochtke

Dog vs Man Danceoff

To view video, click on link below

Henry Ford once said, “The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.” In today’s inbound marketing terms, this could be the new Holy Grail. Business owners successful at providing the right balance of online FREE content and services are most likely to entice and solidify their customers. This strategy is called a pull strategy and means you are pulling customers, not pushing them to buy your product or service.

Yes, I said FREE content and services. Free, as in no cost. Zip, Zilch, Nada, No dinaro. You all know where I’m going with this, don’t you? Here’s my short list:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linked In
  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • YouTube
  • WordPress.com
  • Yelp
  • Webinars
  • e-books
  • surveys
  • data charts
  • content (blogs)
  • Farmville
  • Mafia Wars

You get the idea. In 2011 terms, they’re the new tchotchke.

We spend countless hours online; checking this, reading that, playing those favorite free games and watching dog-vs-man-danceoff.htm.

It’s easy to understand why WE do this, but why are THEY, a.k.a. businesses, doing it? Why is this happening? Why would businesses give it all away for free?

It’s all in the Pull Strategy

As businesses move from Old School marketing methods like advertising to Inbound Marketing there is a change from push to pull. Instead of pushing a message, social media can pull customers to your business. The heart of this new successful strategy focuses on understanding the behaviors of today’s consumer. The online world is being developed as a “warm and fuzzy” place where businesses offer free advice, content, services, and games; and come together in a sense of community. It is where people go first for consumer information, and increasingly where they make a purchase, and begin to advocate for a product, service, business, or brand they like.

This pull strategy proves to be much more effective than the traditional push approach. Why? Because who doesn’t like free stuff?

How about you? You can continue to receive this blog FREE by clicking on ‘By Email’ in the top right corner of this page and subscribing to the Social Energizer blog. Feedburner will have you decode a scrambled word and then click on a link they send to your email. That’s all there is to it.

Know Your Customer’s Customer

customers

Attribution to Christine Jump (Flickr)

One of the basic principles of customer satisfaction is to understand and know your customer’s customer. It is something so simple, and yet sometimes, marketing professionals overlook this. Instead they create campaigns that fit the marketing person’s profile or fancy better than they do the customer or the customer’s customer.

Whether you’re selling to a company that makes and sells stuff or selling to Moms whose main customers are her three kids, you need to recognize who the customer’s customer is. If you want to create compelling programs and assess if they are on target, then knowing your customer’s customer is the most important key to successful marketing.

Clients, the ones who pay you directly, gain a new appreciation for the professionals who do their homework in this manner. It is the most generous compliment for a client to discover that you, in fact, took the time and effort to understand what they are doing and most of all, who they are doing it for: their customers.

In online marketing terms, the customer’s customer is an extension of a Buyer Persona. As social media marketing becomes more integral to the sales process, you will see this become more critical, but I wonder how many will really ‘get it’. Relating to people, even those called consumers, is not a science, but an art, backed by a strong genuine interest in helping people and truly satisfying their wishes.

As we take up the challenge of determining how to align with customers using new media, we need to reclaim the basics we learned so long ago. Learn about your customer’s customer, get to know them, spend some time talking to them or better yet, joking and laughing with them. As you build this awareness, you also build awareness of the direction your business should take to better connect with your consumer and satisfy their needs and interests for your products and/or services. Doing this well results in relationships that can last a lifetime.

10 Easy Tips for Better Blogging

Crunch time? Does it always seem like you are wondering what to write? How do you build buzz needed to pull people to your site? Here are 10 Easy Tips for Better Blogging.

Blog ideas

No doubt about it, blogging takes time and dedication. The pay-off comes when you find a good-size community that interacts with your site regularly and when you notice your website and blog are steadily gaining in the battle of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) rankings.

Here are ten tips that can help keep copy flowing smoothly.

  1. Write an article that is easy to read and over 300 words long. Find at least 2 images that fit with your topic.
  2. Pick topics that focus on things your customers often ask or are interested in. Keep a blog calendar that shows what you’ve posted and in which categories. Use it as a quick reference to keep your blog balanced
  3. Use the scheduling tool, like this wordpress example, to automate posting at consistent days and times
    blog scheduler
  4. Use an RSS feed to bring news that you can use as material for creating your blog
  5. Going to an event? Shoot a video, interview some folks, and post on your blog
  6. Interview customers for your blog
  7. Grab some company data and turn it into an interesting story
  8. Share a lesson you’ve learned
  9. Save interesting emails and use for blog fodder
  10. Use your signature line, with your blog’s link, in forums you visit to entice people to your site
  11. Use these easy tips to keep your ideas fresh and your content flowing

Still need help with your blog? Even with these tips, do you find the whole thing overwhelming? Maybe you need help getting your site up and running. Give me a call. We have affordable plans that will fit into every Social Media budget.

(updated Dec 2014)

Merry Christmas, What’s Your Social Message?

The Holidays are here! A busy time of year, full of shopping, gifting, celebrating and gathering. It is also a time of reflection. Time to ask yourself. What’s important? Am I doing the right thing? With social media impacting our lives more and more daily, it’s a good idea to dig deep to be sure you’re well grounded. To be sure that your social message is the message you can live by. A social message that you want to live with.

One of the best reads can be found by following the link below. This is a good time of year to take an accounting on your actions, including your online persona. Is it one you’re proud of? Are you doing the right things, both on and offline?

Merry Christmas, everyone. May the New Year bring peace and happiness for all. 

-Lynn

Fireplace

NADINE STAIR

An 85 year-old woman wrote this by the name of Nadine Stair. Some of you may have come across it before.

She writes:

“If I had my life to live over again, I’d dare to make more mistakes the next time.

I’d relax, I’d limber up, I’d be sillier than I had been this time, I’d take fewer things seriously, I’d take more chances and I’d take more trips.

I’d climb more mountains and I’d swim more rivers.

I’d eat more ice cream and eat less beans.

I might have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

I’m one of those people who lives sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day.

Oh, I’ve had my moments, but if I had to do over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else, just moments one after the other instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t go anywhere without a thermometer, hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute.  If I had it to do over again, I’d travel lighter than I have.

If I had to live over, I’d start barefoot earlier in the Spring, I’d stay that way later in the Fall.  I’d go to more dances, ride more merry-go-rounds and pick more daisies.”

That’s the way it was said by Nadine Stair.

Don’t wait until you’re 85 years old.

Here’s a few more things to think/ponder about:

Trust people. Trust wasn’t put in your heart to stay, trust is only trust when you give it away.

Forget injuries, but never forget kindness.

Remember that nice guys don’t finish last. Nice guys finish best.

Practice the Golden Rule (and the Golden Rule doesn’t mean that the people that have all the money, make all the rules).

The most effective relationship with any person is an honest relationship.

‘Please’ and Thank you’ are the most powerful tools you have – you don’t have to wear a skirt to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

Nobody ever failed by being decent – and you grow taller when you stretch to help the other guy.

Love life and use processes – don’t love processes and use life.

Don’t worry about failing. Failure is the fertilizer for success and success is really failure turned inside out. Even the best hitter in baseball fails seven times out of 10. Thomas Edison failed 12,000 times before he invented the light bulb. You learn more when you lose than when you win.

Don’t quit. You’re not finished when you lose, you’re only finished when you quit – you cannot fail without your consent.

Remember SW, (Sometimes you win, sometimes you won’t, so what!) A winning attitude is far more important than winning – winning is fleeting and fickle – but a winning attitude endures.

When you’ve done your level best, you’re a champion – and you really learn more when you lose than when you win.

Be enthusiastic, persevere, be passionate in task, bounce back and I’ll see you at the top.

Hang on to your dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that can’t fly.

And finally, love what you do and love what you are.

(Edited and reposted – Dec 2014)

10 Steps to a New Business

Train Tracks

Have you dreamed of owning your own business, but don’t know where to start? Have you started planning for your new business, but keep wondering if you’ve forgotten anything important? Check out the basic steps below to be sure you’re on the right track.

Evaluate and Develop Your Business Concept

1. Do you feel passionate about this idea? Will it be something you can do every day –- and night?

2. Jot out a quick break-even analysis. Can you make money at what you’re planning to do?

3. Figure out how you can pay for it, until it pays for itself and then makes money. Determine best and worst case scenarios.

Structure Your Business

4. What type of business will you form?

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • LLC
  • C Corporation
  • S Corporation

5. Who will be your key employees, partners and vendors? What value do they add that you don’t have?

Brand It

6. Determine the name of your business. Start with a brainstorm session, then research your top 5-10 names for trademark and online domain availability.

7. Register your name and trademarks.

8. Determine your brand identity. If your brand were a person, who would it be? What does it stand for? How does it speak? Your brand is more than your logo and name, by answering these questions, and more, you will begin to identify your brand and its persona.

Set Up Your Business Systems

9. Obtain Insurance. Determine what liabilities are most relevant and insure for them.

10. Set Up Your Books. Find an accountant or bookkeeper that can periodically check your business situation, methods and prepare your taxes.

There’s more, but these are the top ten things that need to happen, to give your business a sound start.  This is a basic list, but you would be surprised at how many people, and companies, skip some or all of these steps.

If you find yourself overwhelmed, give me a call. Many of these steps can be readily achieved and will build the foundation for a strong business. Your strong business.


Even Santa likes Social Media

It’s got to be good if Santa likes it. The phenomenon of social media continues into a Christmas-decorated living room near you. Social media are now part of celebrating Santa’s annual visit to children near and far.Santa

Mashable has just posted “9 Ways to Connect With Santa on the Web” so kids can get in touch with Old Saint Nick. Services range from Santa emails to tracking his sleigh in the skies as he delivers presents around the globe. It’s just one more instance of how Social Media pervades our private lives and provides businesses with ways of engaging their customers.

In the true spirit of Christmas giving, most of these services are free and can be found at http://www.emailSanta.com/.

And what do you give in exchange? Your gift is personal contact information and permission to market to you and your little ones.