Monthly Archives: October 2016

Steps to a Successful Social Media Strategy for ANY Network

149Fact: social media sites drive over 31% of all referral traffic on the Internet.

With all the new channels constantly emerging, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking about social media as a tactical plan instead of a strategic one.

The best social media plans set forth measurable goals and work with any social venue.

There are the big guns like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And other familiar names like Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine. However, these are just a drop in the bucket when it comes to all of the social media channels out there. And although they are “smaller,” they still have tens or hundreds of thousands of users. If a large percentage of these users are in your target audience, you should be strongly considering adding it to your active social media strategy.

Here’s the big benefit of smaller networks: barely any other business uses them!

Think about it. The biggest businesses need a huge audience, so they stick to the biggest social networks, they cannot survive on a couple dozen sales leads a day. But you CAN, and actually you can thrive.

Small home businesses owners typically believe that they should just try to copy the big businesses…

This is the reason you see thousands of your competitors doing the exact same thing on Facebook and Instagram.

With smaller social channels, there is zero competition! You can quickly amass followers and drive large amounts of traffic to your website in no time.

You start seeing faster responsiveness, better lead results, and more sales profit.

This article is all about a simple strategy that will work on just about every social network out there.

How to Find Small Social Networks

Expect to have to dig around for 30-60 minutes to find the best one for your business.

There are dozens of social networks that will work amazingly well for your niche audience, so you just need to spend the time finding the one that is right for your business.

Check out this list of social media channels you’re probably not using and see if they have any potential for your business.

Pheed

Pheed does more than let users share video, text, music, and photos. It also offers live broadcasts and a pay-per-view option. Users set their own price for their content.

Thumb

With Thumb, ask a question and get feedback from other users in real time. You can also share your own opinions and start conversations with peers on topics of interest.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a cross-platform mobile messaging app. Users can send photos and videos, share their location, and create groups. There are thousands of home business owners, boutique owners, and other vendors with shippable merchandise that use WhatsApp on Instagram. It is a stress free, confidential, and easy to use method for communicating with buyers around the country. By installing the app on their phone, the buyer can text you their size, address, and other information without sharing it on social media.

PicsArt

Is a photo editing app combined with a social network. Users can share their photos, discover images other users have uploaded, create a collage, co-edit, and enter contests.

hi5

Is a social entertainment site. Users can use features similar to other social media sites like sharing photos, connecting with friends, and meeting new people. But hi5’s big focus is on playable games.

Buzznet

Members can share photos, journals, videos, and other content based on their interests. Most content centers around music and popular media. Content can be tagged and found on topic pages.

About.me

Makes your personal homepage into a shareable digital business card. You can connect a resume, or “backstory,” and add a mission statement to your profile. Users also gain access to stats on who visited their site, what they clicked on, and where they are from.

Archetypes

Allows users create a customized “Story Page.” Users take a quiz to determine what their personal archetypes are and then that information is displayed on their page. Other features are included to highlight personal preferences and connect users with each other.

Tsu

Gives its members a chance to share in earned revenue for the content they create. This method motivates users to create compelling content as well as gives them ownership in what they turn out. Membership is by invite only so it’s a little exclusive.

How to Use these Smaller Sites:

Your goal is to find the few networks that are likely to have your target audience. All networks have their own purpose-their own niche(s).

For now, write down all the networks you think might have your target audience. As you work through navigating each site, you will ultimately determine if your choices are good networks to spend your time on.

Look at the Users:

Once you’ve chosen a few networks to check out, you can start learning about them.

New social media sites pop up constantly. Start to spend a bit of time on the site. When you do, you will begin to understand how the site works and how users interact with each other.

Whenever a new form of social media emerges, of course you check it out. After all, you – and your business – should always be on the forefront of trends. Plus you want to know, “Could this be a good fit for my business?”

But, after browsing all the social media sites out there, which ones should you really stick with? The plan is always to find great social media channels that allow you to connect with your target audience. Finding and connecting with the right audience makes the secondary step of getting them back to your website (or other call to action) much easier!

Understand the Basic Mechanics of the Site:

Although these smaller networks don’t often have marketing guides written about them, most of them will have some sort of tutorial you can read to help you out.

For example, if you Google:

How LinkedIn works

You will find guides and tutorials offering explanations of the main functions of the site.

At the very minimum, every successful site has some sort of help documentation where you can look up the functions of certain buttons or definitions of site’s terms.

Learn How Users Interact:

Learning what the major parts of the network are will tell you the main purpose of the network from the audience themselves.

It’s important to know: what, why, and how people interact on the site.

Pick one social media network and get extremely good at delivering what your audience expects from it.

When you have systems in place for getting new followers, generating leads, and bringing people over to your newsletter, website, or funnel, only then would you move on to the next social network.

Learn How to Drive Traffic from Your Chosen Site:

It can be hard to figure out the best way to get users of a site over to your website.

To make it easier, you can look for businesses already on the network. Study them to find out how they connect their social profiles and activities with their website.

What you want to do is pinpoint as many types of interaction on the network as possible where users can click a link. There is no magic formula for getting people to click back to your website. For this reason, vary the length and format of your content for many different kinds of readers. Intersperse shorter, news-based blog posts with long-form content as well as video, infographics and data-driven pieces for maximum impact.

Find at least one realistic path of getting users back to your website. If you start to see responsiveness, then network has potential, and you have the foundations of a strategy.

Connect With Anyone You May Already Know (or Have A Common Connection With):

  1. The best way to make new connections is to “follow,” “friend,” or use whatever connection mechanism the site has to connect with people of a certain interest.
  2. What about sending an email to your email list? Since you’ve already identified that your target audience might like this network, you could invite them to join it and connect with you.
  3. A quick email template could be:

Subject: I just discovered something amazing…

Hi (Name),

After searching for a great (your industry) community outside of the big ones (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), I have hit the jackpot!

A couple weeks ago, I started looking at this social network called (name of site). So far, I am really impressed with the quality of users in our industry on this site.

(Here is where you will insert all the great aspects of the network that your subscriber would be interested in).

I am emailing today to let you know that I think you would be interested in joining. It’s free, of course, here’s the signup link: (URL).

All you have to do is create an account, and send me a friend invite (my username is (username)).

I think you will really find this site useful too!

(Your name)

Your goal here is to start building some connections and followers. You don’t need hundreds or thousands, just try to get a few dozen for now.

How Much Time do You Have?

And now for the question every reader is screaming at their computer right now…

“How long does this process take to start seeing results”?

If you don’t think you could do it for longer than 5-6 months, you might as well not start.

This is the mentality you need to possess with any strategy you are using in your business.

Want to make the dime, got to spend the time…

Basically, Your Time Break Down Will Look Like This:

Every Monday, revisit your strategy to make sure you’re on the right track and focusing on the right areas

Time: 1 hour

Monday through Friday, implement the strategy. Schedule, create, and post updates. Engage with the community.

Time: 2 hours

Every Friday, check your metrics. See how you’re doing on your goals, and identify areas for growth.

Time: 1 hour

Total time: 12 hours per week

Depending on the scope of your business, your time could be greater or smaller than this. The above times are simply a guide and benchmark for your own social strategy. (https://blog.bufferapp.com/)

So, if you commit to a good strategy and follow it, you’ll get there a lot faster, but it will still take time.

You need to be patient and be willing to keep working for months without seeing much in the way of results. Overnight success rarely happens overnight. Your results will start slow but grow faster and faster over time (this is the process to becoming ‘sticky’).

The Key to Social Media Success:

How you execute your strategy on a consistent basis will either make you or break you.

Besides having the right mindset, you’ll also need other things, namely content.

Content is defined as articles, guides, white papers, or reports that you can share with the network community through your profile.

Decide on Content:

These five content marketing strategies have been found to drive popularity

Ideas

Buyers are doing more of their own research online. To help buyers recognize needs, you must leverage content that illuminates trends, highlights issues, and provides tangible ideas on how to solve problems. The more independent the content, the more credible it is.

  • Webinars
  • Article highlights
  • Thought-provoking blogs

Personalization

Offering exclusive contests, discounts and deals are popular ways to connect with buyers who seek a “bargain” from every purchase. Create a dialogue with your followers, fans and connections. Here are some ideas:

  • Monitoring activity
  • Actively engaging the user base
  • Answering questions
  • Providing advice

The marketers that appear most successful are leveraging the right content at the right time to connect on a personal level and move the buying cycle forward.

Entertainment

Everyone needs a laugh now and then. Entertaining and thought-provoking videos, animations and cartoons are being used to gain followers, fans and connections.

Determine your Participation Frequency:

Every network is different when it comes to posting frequency.

You don’t want to post so much that you annoy your followers, but you need to post enough to grow a bigger audience.

To figure out how often you should post, you’ll have to test different frequencies.

To start, look at the most popular users (say 10-20), and record the number of posts per week they make.

Find an average of those numbers, and start with this frequency.

If you Want Success, You Have to be Consistent. That’s it.

Come up with a system that will help keep you on track: efficiency and ease of implementation.

Having to log in and make a post every X hours is not easy or efficient. You’ll miss some posts that would be beneficial and this will slow down your results.

Use automation (but wisely!)

Some things shouldn’t be automated:

  • Curating content – don’t just share any content. Take the time to read posts so that you can share the best ones.
  • Interacting with users – you can’t automate authentic conversation. If you’re ever commenting or messaging a user, do it yourself.

What can be automated, however, is the actual posting of the content. You can do all the curating beforehand and then have it posted automatically.

Streamline manual processes: Do all of the steps in batches.

Batching is a productivity technique, where you do the same task many times in one sitting.

This reduces time spent switching between tasks and helps you get “in the zone” while working.

When it comes to your social media strategy, pick a day once every week or two to curate content. Find as many posts as you’ll need for those weeks so that you can just schedule them to be posted.

And as for interaction, don’t constantly check your account for new notifications.

Instead, set a time or two, like first thing in the morning and last part of the working day, to check your account and reply to your followers.

What Do You Know About Social Media?

148What do you know about social media? Before you answer that question, let me tell you that you know more than you may think. Social media is simply another way for us to communicate and connect with one another. If you are a smart communicator and understand the power of connections, you already know a lot about social media.

Ashton Kutcher said “One person’s voice can be as powerful as an entire media network,” once he surpassed 1 million followers on Twitter, beating CNN. He described this achievement as the “democratization” of the media. I have to wonder. Wasn’t the media democratized before? What makes it now a “democracy” because one man can reach 1 million people?

Perhaps democracy and democratization are the wrong words (even though it sounds catchy). What social media has done is unleash the power of communication and connection one person at a time. Communicating one-on-one always had a powerful effect on us because it enabled us to connect with one another. Everything you read and hear about social media requires connection and building relationships. Remember when communication consisted of three choices?

1. Face-to-Face

2. Telephone

3. Handwritten letter

When given these three choices, we selected face-to-face interactions when we knew we had to make a special connection with someone. Telephone connections happened when we did not need as much intimacy or when distance prevented us from making face-to-face contact. We resorted to the letter as the least personal form of communication.

Today, we have many more choices. Nonetheless, our decision-making process remains the same. How much connection, how much intimacy do we need in order to communicate our message? CNN does not care about intimacy; they care about getting the news broadcasted to many people at once. Amazingly, social media also broadcasts news in much the same way CNN does. But, because the source comes from a “friend”, a “follower”, or a “connection” we are more likely to believe it. In the past we could eyeball the communicator during a face-to-face interaction to determine truth. Today, we must depend upon building relationships that create trust and that create believability.

Here is what we do know about social media:

1. Our young people are connected. Today’s youth understands social media; they live and breathe it every day. They use the tools as ways to share with their friends. As kids, we used the telephone. Today’s kids use cell phones and MySpace. When you put the cell phone with MySpace, you get Twitter. To any young person, the power of Twitter is a no brainer.

2. Social media brings on two-way communication. Where email was one-way communication that was often not instantaneous, Twitter is two-way and instant. Furthermore, with Twitter you can have instant two-way communication with virtually thousands of people at once.

3. Social media enables people to deepen connections and relationships. I could correspond with you quickly through email. But, through Facebook I learn what you look like, what you like to do on Sunday afternoon, who your favorite actors are, and where you love to eat. Through Facebook, I find out that your dog has been sick or your child won a top honor at school. Through Facebook I learn who you are and what makes you tick.

4. Social media is here to stay. The way we are communicating is in a revolutionary change and that change centers on social media. Traditional advertising and broadcast media must adapt to this new step-child. In fact, Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter, said, “Journalists who embrace the new media will thrive; those that don’t won’t.”

5. Social media is forcing changes in marketing and sales. The way we discover, evaluate and purchase products and services is experiencing a major insurgency. Word of mouth purchases come not from the neighborhood pharmacist but from what our friends tell us on Facebook or what we hear on Twitter.

6. Ashton Kutcher taught us that the way we hear about news and events is also changing through the social media. The fact that CNN wants 1 million followers tells that a major network recognizes the power of a social networking tool like Twitter.

What are the things we do not know about social media?

1. Where is social media taking us? Where will we be in 5 years? No one has a clue.

2. Which media tools will survive? Is Twitter a passing fad? Will the little bird be eaten by the big cat, Google? MySpace is already on the decline. What about Facebook? My hunch is that each of these tools will find the right niche. MySpace will survive for the very young. Twitter in some form will survive for instant message type communication world-wide.

3. How will social media affect advertising, public relations, marketing, and sales? My guess is that broadcast, intrusive advertising as we know it today, will not survive. For some products (not many) it will continue in some form. Social media adds a new component to the “marketing” mix. By doing so, traditional marketing efforts must adapt. Time will show us how and who will survive.

4. What’s next? We now have Web 2.0 which means an interactive Web. It’s much more engaging to read a blog in which you can comment than to read a static website. For that reason blogs have soared in popularity. What will Web 3.0 or 2.5 or whatever look like? I’m sure there are some guru’s out there who can share what they see in their crystal balls. But, for most of us it remains a mystery. The challenge is to be ready. Two things we can count on: we are on the cusp and there’s more to come.

As a communications expert, all this excites me. Social media provides new opportunities to communicate and to connect. The fun part is joining the party. What are you waiting for? Now that you know that you do know something about the social media, and you also know that no one knows what’s next, come join us! See you on Twitter.

Dogs Connecting Us on Social Media

148Why do we share dog photos? We see so many of them everywhere. Even businesses that have nothing to do with pets show cute pictures of dogs.

What is it about dogs? What is it about them that makes us want to turn the person sitting next to us and say, “oh my gosh have you seen this? Look how cute this is.” Or,”Oh I have to send this to my Mom; she’ll die.” More to the point, what is it about dogs that are just so shareable?

Most companies that share dog images have nothing to do with dogs, but that doesn’t matter. We associate a lot of happy memories with dogs. If we like the dog, we’ll like what’s around it. That’s the basic theory any way – because everyone loves dogs. We love ’em, because they tap into the baser instinct to connect. Flat out, dog photos transcend barriers. It doesn’t matter if you’re a tennis balls on the edge of your walker octogenarian, or a teenage girl listening to punk music; everyone coos and laughs at photos of dogs being dogs.

HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO LEARN FROM SOME OF THE BEST DOG PHOTOS:

TELL A STORY.

Give the reader some context to the otherwise cute photo to take it to the next level with added interest. Tell us about how the dog was rescued. Explain what the dog was doing five minutes ago that makes it look so silly now.

The title of the post or the photo gives you a chance to set up a situation. First, you can say what’s going on, or what you were thinking, and then show what the dog did. This space gives you a chance to talk about your business’ connection to dogs, or an opportunity to show your personality and d’aww over cute photos through digital marketing.

CONNECT WITH A GOOD CAUSE.

Do good work and look good doing it. Using cute animals to support good causes works. We want to help out other members of society, especially cute and fluffy ones.

GIVE A PERSONALITY TO A FAVORITE PET.

Someone might not remember your face, but they’ll most likely remember what your dog looks like. If you’re running a small business and you own a pet, tell us all about him or her. Show us your trip to the store to buy more products. Give us lots of opportunities to connect with your dog, and find a bit of ourselves in his or her personality. They might get their own following, like famous people’s pets.

BE REALLY SILLY.

You’re looking at dogs; don’t forget. Because of the inundation of dog photos, to make one stand out from the masses it has to be really something. As part of the growing trend of love of the nonsensical and goofy, share those strange, hilarious, weird, scruffy looking dogs to draw some curious eyes.

BE HONEST.

It’s good to be honest, especially when you’re dealing with people’s emotions. The audience responds to what’s true. Sharing personal stories about your dog offers a way to relate; if it’s really heartfelt it will resonate.

ADD FEELINGS.

Photos may say it better than words. Use photos of dogs making faces as a reaction to other people’s content. Pictures of dogs looking just like us are an adorable way to say something in a different way. When dogs make faces we understand their expressions like human emotions, and we’ll hitch onto that.

SHOW AN ACTIVE DOG.

Is your dog in a hat? Is your dog in a car? Sleeping at the opera? Have you found a picture of a dog wearing a unicorn headband frolicking in the forest? That makes it more interesting! Change it up by showing us different contexts.

Social Media Web Design for Small Business

147How important is social media marketing to the small business owner?  Well it depends on what you want to achieve.

If you are looking to take your brand to a national or global marketplace then yes – invest in social media marketing.  If you are a small business whose products and services are primarily geared to servicing your local area, then the question needs to be asked:

‘How much time do you have to dedicate to raising your social media profile and what return on investment will it provide in terms of sales or market growth?

Websites versus Social Media – what to focus on?

Websites make sales, social media pages generally do not.  Establishing good search engine rankings for your website should be the first goal for new start-ups so potential customers can find you.  Great content and the ability to convert visitors into sales create a successful online campaign.

Building a list should be the prime focus of tapping into the potential of your site traffic, otherwise opportunities are lost.  You have the three time convincers, those people who need to connect with you more than once to be convinced to invest in your product or service.  List building provides the opportunity to stay in touch with customers that have yet to purchase and gives them a chance to get to know you more.

Social media can help connect at a deeper level with potential customers and used well can drive traffic to your website via promotions and competitions.  Integrated with your blog; social media pages can create a coordinated online marketing campaign with your website to build your brand.  Most people using social media are doing so for the same purposes as you – to promote themselves and for its social aspect.  That means sharing photos, videos, music, humour, inspiration, information, advice and connecting with stars, media and people of interest.

When embarking on an integrated social media campaign you will need to think about what it is that you are going to share (that’s not directly selling) with your followers?  What have you got to offer that other people and businesses will find intriguing, inspiring, entertaining or useful?

Building Your Brand – Facebook, Twitter and Blogging

One thing I know is that people want to connect with you personally, they want to see your face on your social media profile not a logo.  The exception to this is if you own a well-known magazine, trade journal or charity.  Otherwise, my advice is to post a good photo.

Social media web design provides the opportunity to build your brand through images, slogans and profile information.  Important is your by-line, if people get what you are about in an instant through the use of visual media and a one liner, the light goes on…connections can be made.  When creating your slogan or by-line ask yourself ‘What is your higher purpose’ for doing what you do. Think in terms of how your products and services create value for people, ultimately what is it you are trying to achieve for them?

Transfer that message and branding through your Facebook page, Twitter page and Tumblr blog and when integrated with your website you have created a coordinated online social marketing campaign.  Social media web design gives the ‘wow’ factor to your social media pages.

Let’s talk about Blogging

Blogging if used cleverly can boost your search engine rankings and establish you as an expert in your field.  To save time, write your blog posts all at once and queue them for release at set times each day with automated posting to your Twitter and Facebook pages.  EBusiness Courses offers an integrated social media web design package that does all of this for you, except for writing the blog content.  Writing a blog takes commitment on your part and if you are using the medium to establish yourself as an expert, no one knows your business like you do.

How To Use Social Media To Get More Out Of Your Next Speech

146Take it from me: giving a speech is hard work. When you are asked to give a speech, you’ll spend time thinking about what you want to say, you’ll go through multiple versions of creating your speech, and then you’ll actually end up delivering it. Now the reason that you did all of this was because you know about the importance of public speaking and you wanted to make an impact on your audience. Did you? What if I could show you a way that you could make sure that you could connect with your next audience both before, during and after your speech?

Say Hello To Social Media

We are all living in a very special time. In just the past few years, “social media” which is loosely defined as being online communities have sprung up all around us. There is not just one of these, but rather many of them: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumbler, etc. To make use of social networking, you first have to join one of these online social networks and then you have to build up a network of friends.

It will be your network of friends that will provide you with the boost that your next speech will need. When you agree to give your next speech, it is going to become doubly important for you to discover who is going to be in your audience. What you are going to want to do then is to reach out to these people though the person who invited you to give the speech and invite them to join your social media network. It’s often a good idea to join more than one social media network because you can never tell which network will be popular with this audience.

You’ll have to be just a little bit careful here. A lot of us get a lot of invitations to join other people’s social networks all the time. More often than not, we just end up ignoring them. When you ask members of your future audience to join your social network, you’ll need to tell them what’s in it for them. The #1 thing that I think that you have to offer to them is going to be access to yourself. Let them know that you’ll be coming to talk to them in the future and that you’d like to connect with them to find out more about what they’d like to hear from you.

How To Use Social Media To Boost Your Next Speech

One of the things that you are going to want to use social media for is to build excitement about your upcoming speech. This can be done in a number of different ways. One of the best ways is by using photos. If there is a particular topic that you’ll be talking on (teamwork, ethics, sharing, etc.) you can take pictures of people in everyday life doing these things and post them on your social media channels. Another good thing to do is to take a snapshot of you at a desk or your table as you work on your speech. It will let everyone know that you are working hard for them!

The next thing that you’re going to want to do is to make sure that everyone gets a chance to come into contact with your speech. This can mean a lot of different things. One thing that you can do is to make an audio recording of your speech as you give it and then post it on social media (if this is OK with the person who asked you to give the speech). If you’ve written out your speech, you can also post a copy of the speech online for interested parties to read. Just because someone was not able to make it to your speech does not mean that they can’t get a chance to hear what you had to say.

Once your speech is done, your work is just beginning. Now that you’ve invited your audience to join your social network, you are going to be able to easily find out what they thought about your speech. Yes, you think that certain parts of your speech were powerful and motivating. However, what did your audience really think about them? Your audience will talk about your speech in their social media postings and you are going to want to read every comment that they make. The great thing about social media is that it is a two-way street. This means that if someone didn’t like your speech and they post about it, you can reach out to them and find out more about why they didn’t like your speech. All in all, what you learn after your give your speech from social media will help to make your next speech that much better.

What All Of This Means For You

Welcome to the 21st Century where when we give a speech it is no longer just a moment in time. Instead, it has the possibility to very quickly become a part of a much larger social network. As speakers we need to understand the power of social networks and find ways to leverage this power in order to make our next speech that much more powerful and effective as we share the benefits of public speaking.

There are a lot of different ways to go about doing this. It all starts long before your give your speech. You’ll need to join some social media networks and build up a network of friends. Then you’ll have to reach out though the person who invited you to give the speech and invite the members of your audience to join your network. While you are working on your speech be sure to keep your social media networks updated with your progress and post pictures that are relevant to what you’ll be talking about. When your speech is over, you need to take a close look at your social media networks. What are people saying about your speech – did they like it? Remember, social media is a two-way street so you can reach out to members of your audience and get more information from them.

You might be thinking that you already have enough to do when you are asked to give a speech. All of this social media stuff sure seems like a lot of extra work to do! However, once you realize that by putting the time and effort into using social media, you can connect with your audience both before and after your speech. This can open an amazing new door for you where you’ll finally be able to discover what your audience really thinks about your speech!