Buffer Versus Hootsuite – Which One Wins?

There is a big social media marketing tools controversy in my world, Buffer versus Hootsuite. My marketing besty swears by Hootsuite and is a true power user who has been a fan for years. I on the other hand love the Buffer and have a few other friends who swear by it. But who is right?

Here is a video showing the “back ends of each and why I like/hate them!”

So for the skinny, here is my take on each of these social media marketing tools!

Buffer Versus Hootsuite | Social Media Posting Tools ReviewedBoth are very affordable (about $10 a month-ish for the paid versions). Both are very stable platforms that have been around a long time and are rarely down or mess up posting. That said, there are some real differences in how easy they are to use day-to-day for my work.

For the purposes of this post I am going to break down 4 areas, Scheduling, Reporting, RSS Feeds and Interactions.


Bufferapp is the one that I use for my own personal posting. I have used it off and on for about 2 years and am super happy with it!


  • Pro: I can schedule easily using my browser. The photo interface is not the greatest and sometimes it is hard to get the pictures to pull in, but in that case I just upload the photo directly from my desktop.
  • Pro: I can “shuffle” the posts after I have loaded them so I don’t look like a giant spammer when I have 20 of my past blog articles going out all at once.
  • Pro: I can “scoot” each post around, up or down on a post by post level (I LOVE THIS ONE!)
  • Pro: I can set each different social network to post a different amount (so I can have Twitter post 3X a day and LinkedIn post 2X a day).

Overall, this is where Buffer cleans Hootsuite’s clock!


  • Pro: I don’t have to set anything up, there is a tab for each of my social networks built right in.
  • Pro: It is pretty easy to scroll down and see what has been going on.
  • Con: They have a really lame-ish way of showing me what has been doing well, not a way to sort the posts from the most popular to the least popular.

RSS Feeds

  • Pro: SO easy to get feeds into the system, just post the website and they pull it in.
  • Pro: I love that I can pull in feeds for each different account (this matches Gary Vaynerchuk’s thoughts that each platform has a different type of need! Fun stuff for Facebook, serious for LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Pro: It is easy to post and modify them with my special characters, hashtags, etc.


  • Con: Buffer is the huge loser here, they don’t have any way to see who has commented on the posts. You will have to log into each social network to check and see if anyone is talking to you.



  • Pro: Super nice photo review and change feature.
  • Con: Cannot “shuffle” posts at all (a huge downer for me).
  • Con: Cannot pick each network for how many times to post a day. The choice is global so I went with 2.


  • Pro: Have a great sorting function so that you can see the most popular posts that you have shared.
  • Con: You have to request every single report that you want to track and would have to keep going back and forth to see each.

RSS Feeds

  • Con: You have to have a different tab for each feed/kind of feed instead of being able to associate them with the various social media networks.
  • Con: It is really kerfuffly to get the feeds in, you have to load them from the websites and frequently I am not able to accomplish it (like in the video)
  • Con: To have all the feeds I use in Buffer I would have a HUGE tab that would be really hard to review and manage.


  • Pro: Well Hootsuite wins this one by default, Buffer doesn’t have this functionality.
  • Pro: It works really well! It is easy to see who is talking to you and follow along with the conversations.


Based on all of this, you may wonder why I don’t just use Bufferapp.com for all my work. Well, they have a very strange pricing structure. To accomplish what I need for my clients would cost almost $100 a month instead of the $10 that I pay for Hootsuite. One of the reasons I did not include this in my comparisons is that for most of you the 12 social networks you can add to Buffer will be more than enough. For me, the 12 is leaving out a bunch that I would like to add to my personal account but which are actually in my overflow for Hootsuite.

For most of you, I would recommend that you try Buffer and if you are super sad that you can’t do it all in one place then move over to Hootsuite.

– – – –

Disclaimer, I have a paid account with both Bufferapp.com and Hootsuite.com. I use the Buffer account for my personal internet empire and the Hootsuite for my client work. The Hootsuite link is an affiliate link and I will get paid a little bit if decide to buy. Buffer does not have an affiliate program but I love them anyways.

– – – –

Marketing Strategy Workbook

The Last Marketing Strategy Workbook - Marketing ArtfullyIf you like this kind of thing and are looking for a comprehensive marketing solution written for smart business people, check out the Last Marketing Strategy Guide You Will Ever Need!

In it I break down all the aspects of having a fabulous business and an amazing marketing plan…but wait, that is not all, it doesn’t end there! I will update you about the latest marketing tools and strategies you need to make more sales! find out more

Should You Write Your Blog Posts For Google or Social Media?

Content Marketing - Should You Write Blog Posts for Google or Social Media?The question of whether to write for Google or social has been banging around in my head a lot lately when thinking about content marketing. The happy, friendly answer of course is that you can write great content that does BOTH…big smiley face. But I am not really sure it is possible to do Google and social well.

This question came to mind a couple of different ways:

First: I did a really neat search on Similar Web for this blog, Marketingartfully.com. They had some good “stuff” that was presented in a pretty manner but what came glaring out at me was that 75% of all of my visitors come from Google search traffic.

75% Google Search Traffic

Now that amounts to a fair bit of traffic so YAY! But my numbers from Social were deplorable…

6% from social

and that is with me and my business partner sharing these posts on our HUGE social networks. So I started thinking…what the hell is going on here?!?!?!

Second: We set up a fair amount of blogs for our clients and they always want to get to the first page of Google for words like “Tampa Real Estate” or “Best Restaurant Denver”.

In the first case, they would have to build a giant site, garner a ton of real backlinks and take a relatively long time to get there. There are already other sites who have done that work for years and there is no way to jump to the front of the line.

The other kind of client is thinking about ranking well for a search term that doesn’t come up all that often in search. Currently Google is showing NO traffic for the keyword “best restaurant denver”. Now, that doesn’t mean there is no traffic at all, just not consistent traffic. Mostly when I want to find a great restaurant I will check Yelp first (they have a real scoring system, not just who is best at SEO) or ask my friends on Google+ or Facebook.

Lastly: My biz partner and I have talked for years about how we get traffic to our respective websites. She always used PLR (Private Label Rights) or duplicate content which is not Google-cool. She is a much better social media marketer than I am, sharing and building interesting networks of real people (I talk about marketing all the time so my real friends tend to try to be supportive but sometimes roll their eyes a lot!).

Long story short, in today’s world there is no one “right” way to do it and there are things that crossover, but I am a staking a claim – your one little blog post can’t be great for search and social at the same time! You have to pick a side!!!

Let’s start at the top – Headline

Google search results for entrepreneur marketingGoogle likes factually correct headlines with words to match search. As you can see here, all the results for the search “entrepreneur marketing” have those exact words somewhere in the title. Now I have heard like everyone else that Google killed SEO and now it understands words so you can just write about any old thing and it will figure out you mean “entrepreneur marketing”, but a couple of minutes on the search engine will show you these kinds of results for your industry!

Social. That is all well and good but knowing that most people who are going to find and share your post to social media will not take the time to rewrite your headline to make it more interesting does not bode well for our factually correct headline words. I like the fact that Vala added a personal endorsement on his post, but none of those headlines would really jump out at me in a buzzfeed kind of way. You can see that there are many hashtags (#entrepreneur) and @mentions but are those enough to counteract the bland dryness of the good for Google headlines?

Twitter headline listings

Buzzfeed-style sharable headlines are more along the lines of scandal, intrigue or mystery…

Buzzfeed headlines

Now, maybe I could write scandalous marketing headlines that would be intriguing AND search friendly, but would serious business people who are actually looking for marketing help really respond to that? I don’t really think so.

– – – A break for blatant social media link baiting – – –
Click To Tweet >>
SCANDALOUS Blog Post Reveals The Secret Behind The #SocialMedia versus #Google Controversy [JK] http://ctt.ec/sf3dq+

– – – Now back to our regularly scheduled programming – – –

Next comes content

Google generally adds up all the content in the blog post and figures out if what you say you are talking about in your headline is what you are actually talking about in your post. They also check to see if the user “bounces” meaning that they see the search result, click the link to the post and then come right back to check another search out.

While it is true that you could do a super fun headline like “Funny Realtor Postcards that will make you laugh so hard you pee your pants“, at the end of the day it is up to your content to support that title. The funny realtor postcards blog post is actually about how to have cute headlines for your print marketing, but I am not sure they are THAT funny.

I can only assume that someone seeing that title in social would expect pictures of postcards and not be thinking about reading a 1,000 word blog post on how to do direct mail marketing.

Pictures matter

There are at least 5 different sizes of pictures that you need to satisfy social. (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+). Pinterest likes a really tall photo that spans a couple of rows of listings (like the one at the top of this post!) and Google Plus likes a really wide post that they will make huge in the feeds like this.

Google wide photo

If you are primarily considering sharing your picture to social, you want to give enough information in the picture that someone could get the idea of what you are talking about just by looking at it THEN you want to make sure the words on the picture match the content of the blog post.

Plain jane social media pictureIf you are just writing a blog and not sharing it socially, then any old picture will work (or you could even skip the photo entirely). This is good enough to give you an idea that we are talking about social media and that is about all we are trying to accomplish.

Should You Write Blog Posts For Social Media or GoogleThis one though is great for sharing. It is 1200X800 so it will be big enough to show up well if shared on the social sites and anyone seeing it will know that it is about social and that it is a blog post about content marketing.

That is just the tip of the iceburg about pictures for social (it is such a big topic we wrote a whole book about it!)

Can you do both?

I really do try to make my blog posts Google friendly, fore-going social stuff. That said, it is pretty easy to make the graphics “social friendly” too. At the end of the day I am much more concerned with making Google happy than making social happy which shows up in my deplorable social numbers!

Do you try to do social or Google in your content marketing? Please leave a comment below to let me know!!

Buy The Book!

Graphic Design For Social Media Marketing EbookGraphic Design for Social Media Marketing

If you are checking this book out, you have probably figured out that pictures and good design matter to marketing, that your marketing efforts are becoming more and more image based, and that you HAVE to get with the program and start doing better, prettier, more compelling pictures in order to keep up.

The cool thing is that with just a few “tweaks” you can take your graphics from amateur to brilliant and this book will show you exactly how! We talk extensively about how images can capture a mood or evoke a feeling immediately, how to position text on an image to create impact, and generally how to make your marketing marvelous with pictures and graphics.

>> Get it on Amazon!!!


Email Marketing For Small Business – What To Do, What To Do

Small Business Email Marketing - What To DoYou have heard for years that “the money is in the list”, that you have to have a list and that you need to send email newsletters or give away free offers…and you ignored (or half-assed) all of that.

Then, thank heavens, you heard that email marketing is dying and you got away from even thinking about, except when that little voice in the back of your head said, “but I read emails still”.

The Dead Email Marketing Myth

Seriously, you can try and get around the fact that you need an email list, you can gnash your teeth and complain about the time and expense, but can you really say that email marketing is dead? How many emails will you get in your inbox today that you requested from someone selling something?

Email marketing is still the most powerful way to connect with people who actually want to hear from you! Stop whining and get your email marketing started today. (Right after you finish reading this post!)

The Dreaded Newsletter

When was the last time you thought to yourself, “damn I hope I get to join five or ten new newsletter lists today?”, said nobody ever! You have to have interesting reasons for someone to join your list. Things that they want to have that you can provide. We give away a number of free marketing courses, marketing tools and other bits that people would actually want to have in exchange for giving us their email address.

You don’t have to a big production either! One of our “best selling” give-ways is the 100 Free Marketing Ideas handout that we use for our speaking events. No additional effort AND we get to add them to our list.

Subject Lines

Today ends your lame subject lines. Stop sending out messages that say Sally’s Newsletter and start using powerful subject lines that will get your emails opened and read.

There are only a couple of rules here. Write them to one person (only one person will be reading them at a time) and make them compelling. Think to yourself, “if I got this message in my email would I stop everything else that I was doing to read it?”

If you need some ideas, check out our post, 100 Great Email Subject Line Examples

Make Sure You Are Selling Something

We are bad at this, producing content at a furious pace without ever getting to the “ask”. Well that all changes this week. We printed out and reviewed every one of our email campaigns and will be including a call to action to buy a book, join another course, check out a blog post or any number of other awesome things that they can do which will result in sales for us.

No one expects something for nothing and few people will offended if you provide great content AND the ability to extend the conversation beyond with a course, book or other item.

What Email Service Should You Use?

If you read this post and just decided to start an email list, we recommend you go with MailChimp. They offer free service up to a thousand or so list members and will do some of what you need to do if you are going to have a strong marketing campaign.

If you are all fired up and know that you are going to fix your current systems or really start rolling, we recommend Infusionsoft (that is what we use). Infusionsoft is a huge database system that will let you do things like email data capture, list fulfillment, ecommerce, events, video marketing and more.

Great Stuff

One day I was all excited telling a client how cool a new marketing strategy was and that I would forward her the article. Well I got a shock when she said she didn’t want to read the article, she just wanted to know what I thought about the article and if it was something she should look into.

Dang. That was so powerful and has driven everything I have produced from there on out. Your list people have signed up because you have some kind of expertise and they are looking to you for direction. Make sure you are giving them great content AND the input from you that they need to be able to use it.

Stop Thinking About Email Marketing and Start DOING Email!

Email marketing strategy sessionIf you took the time to read all the way down here on this post, you are probably aware that you need to do email marketing. You have probably tried a couple of times with various degrees of success and are ready to really DO it this time. Get off your hands and get your email marketing set up right this time  with a small business marketing strategy session TODAY!

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Your customers are looking for you! CAN THEY FIND YOU?

Social Media Setup For Small BusinessThere’s no question that in today’s noisy marketing climate, you simply are not truly in business unless you can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, or even Google+! Creating new profiles and business pages on all the relevant platforms can be confusing and time consuming, and may not even reach the people who want what you have.

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Great Free Tools We Use For Analyzing Your SEO Data (For Non Nerds)

Great Free Tools We Use For Analyzing SEO DataSometimes knowing how your SEO (search engine optimization) or keyword targeted marketing is working is hard.

In the old days (like 2001) it was easy, all that was available were paid services that you had to use to check which keywords people had used to find your website. There were also significantly fewer site and it still mattered if you ranked on Yahoo…fun that this might be coming back around again, but that is a post for another day.

Then came along Google Analytics and like crack I was hooked! I love looking over my reports and checking what is working and what is not…until…dum dum dum…I noticed some weird data when I compared my reported great keywords and content compared to what was actually happening on my website.

Google Analytics and Keywords

I read a great article about this this week, Post-PRISM, Google Confirms Quietly Moving To Make All Searches Secure, Except For Ad Clicks which basically means that you will never get info from google on the keyword page of analytics.

So is that the worst thing that ever happened…um no…stinky but as of right now I mostly don’t know anyways! Here is a screenshot of my Google Analytics Keyword Report for the “keywords not provided” part…

SEO Keyword Not Provided

Hmmm…out of about 8,000 searches 6,000 were not provided. So my marketing besty and I sat down the other day and set out to figure out what that means. Here is the data for my top 10 search terms according to the google analytics report…

SEO top 10 keywords

Now I am not math-y but this was a best case scenario for me! If 6,000 of 8,000 keywords were not shown, I could extrapolate that the numbers should work out to be about a fourth of the amounts were listed and then I could just times 4…right? So if there were 25 showing and I was only seeing 1/4 of the results, the actual number should be 100…YAY! Then we worked the numbers compared to what was actually going on and there was very little correlation between the two!

Top Landing Pages

This can be a little hard to see so let me list them:

Follow along with me here…if my keywords were ACTUALLY just 4 times more likely to have been the right numbers it would have looked like this…

  • Labor Day Quotes – 168
  • Customer Demographics – 132
  • Hard Work Quotes – 75
  • How To Farm Real Estate – 54
  • Wise Agent Versus Top Producer – 51

Which looks NOTHING like I got over 3,000 hits to my one email marketing post. In fact, there are only two keywords even related to that post in the top 50 keywords for my whole website!

So what does that mean for my keyword research…

First off, I am the kind of gal that does A LOT stuff and is happy when some of it works. What this tells me is that I need to make sure to continue my social media marketing efforts and consider dipping a toe back into paid search so I can get some data from Google.

Secondly, I have to use tools that will help me see what is going on. I have two favorites that I have been using for a while I can recommend. Both are WordPress plugins.

SEO Search Terms Tagging Plugin

SEO Search Term Tagging is BRILLIANT

Functionally what it does is take each post and let you know the keywords that were used recently to find that post and puts them at the bottom. I have found some really great keywords to write ADDITIONAL articles about from the keywords at the bottom of my best posts.

Now, I think that this is supposed to be there so that you can get SEO help…not sure it does that, I use it for keyword research!!!

Post Views Stats

Post Views Stats

This one gives you a cumulative running total of the posts that have been visited the most on your website. I find it is much easier to pop in here when I am blogging and take a peek than it is to pull up my Analytics.

And DANG, just found out I have a widget that I can list my popular posts…cool!!! (see it pays to write blog posts!)

What Is The ROI On Social Media Marketing – Probably Not What You Think!

What Is The ROI On Social Media Marketing - Probably Not What You Think!So a couple of years ago, selling social media marketing was an uphill slog. Our business owners were amazed that anyone would consider messing around on Facebook or Twitter as actual marketing. Luckily today we have a better handle on the fact that social media marketing is similar to having a yellow page age in years past. If you don’t have it, then you aren’t in business.

That said, one question that keeps coming up over and over is….what is the ROI (Return On Investment) for social media marketing?

This term, bandied about by everyone from marketing “experts” to grandmothers, actually comes from the manufacturing industry and accountants who want a direct outgoing cost to match with a direct incoming profit.

With businesses that have been drilled in cost accounting principles almost 100 years old, this is their paradigm: the view that any amount of money that goes out the door other than taxes can have a return, and those returns can be compared across any investments….problem with Social Media is that it generates multiple returns, and only some of those are sales. Awareness, assists, advocacy and avoided costs are just some of the extra benefits a business can receive through participation in social media, and not all of those can be turned into a dollar figure.

great story about SMM and ROI here! go ahead and read it, I will wait here until you come back…:)

The Indirect Benefit of Social Media Marketing

So now we know that the expectation is that you will spend one dollar on social media market and you will directly receive one dollar (or more) back. Okay, there are ways to do that including driving traffic to a specific page, having an amazing offer on that page, getting someone new’s contact information, then sending them an offer and having a percentage of the people accepting it. I do believe this is best accomplished with pay-per-click marketing like Adwords, but people with big networks can do the same thing without paying. (BONUS…grow big networks)

The problem with this type of marketing is that as soon as you stop paying, the faucet shuts off and you were right where you started (with a few more leads hopefully).

The brilliance of social media marketing is that you are growing a huge network of people who WANT to hear your industry information and who, when ready and also looking for a marketing message. They will NOT go away the first time you stop paying (but they will if you stop posting consistently). So what can honestly expect from social media marketing?

check-out-our-social-media-marketing-servicesBranding – Years ago I was NOT a huge proponent of branding, the reason being that sending 10,000 postcards or paying for multiple full page ads in magazines is cost prohibitive (according to Quirks Marketing Research, the average cost of a full page, full color ad is $3,500, which would pay for basic social media marketing for 7 MONTHS, not just targeting readers of a magazine, but everyone on the internet! As the cost of branding yourself has gone down, so have the channels available (Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.)

Multiple Platforms – One of the reasons it used to be easier to do your marketing was a matter of scale. One neighborhood newspaper, three TV stations, one yellow pages. Now there are hundreds (if not thousands) of places for people to consume media. They are looking at social media sites, their tables, Netflix, their phones, and there are no longer 5 places but 5,000 places to be! Having a strong social media plan means being on as many of the sites that people are visiting because it is all about them and how they conduct their content consumption!

Crooked Line – The hardest part of social media marketing is the not knowing where and when being out there will make a difference. One of our peeps just told us about this opportunity:

Just received another FB Realtor referral! When I asked the obvious question why me? the Realtor said that I’m active on FB and friends with her OP and she looked at my profile and picked me! Ya gotta love the power of social media:)

Now, there is no way that we could know she would get a referral in this agent’s geographic area, nor could we know that that the OP was important to target. What we did know was that the broader and more prolific her contacts on the social media were, the more chances she would have for getting this kind of message.

So, what is the ROI of social media? About the same as attending your local Rotary or Chamber of Commerce meetings consistently, just on a global scale! Making those connections and “being out there” is the same online and off, just the opportunities grow as your networks grow!

The Best Dentist In Denver – A Customer Service Love Story

Who is the best dentist in Denver? I have to say, I know without a doubt that it is Dr. James Makowski…but probably NOT for the reasons you think!

So, I am a marketing kind of gal and it galls me to no end when people say, “oh I don’t do any marketing, I rely on word of mouth.” The reason I get so twisted about this is that most people are not good at selling their own business, let alone someone else’s! So these relationship marketers sit back waiting for clients to come streaming through the door from all their unpaid salesmen out there in the field and then wonder why business is down in a recession.

First off, let me say that I DO know some rockstar networkers who live and breathe the referral and who CAN count on armies of referrals, just they are few and far between. Secondly, to rely on referral business only, you have to kick some major customer service tail, all day, every day to make it work! Here is the story of one little office doing just that…

The Best Dentist In Denver

The Best Dentist In DenverNot many people like to go to the dentist, but three or four of my husband’s friends here in Denver do! When we put a call out on the Facebook for who was a great dentist to go to in our new city, both Jill and Fred waxed eloquent about this one all the way down in South Denver (a 45 minute drive for us, over an hour drive for them). Seriously, if they were that excited about this guy, guess I could hike my butt down there…sigh.

Now, a confession. I am dentist phobic. Seeing one makes me think of Pennywise the Clown from IT, maybe just showing me a nice front so they can get me to think they are okay before bludgeoning me to death! My blood pressure goes up, I forget to breathe and I generally turn from my fun loving, public speaker self into a sullen, unresponsive mess. This is because my teeth are bad, they get holes, my gums get the gingivitis and I fell down as child and lost a front one, so for most of my youth I tried to avoid doing things which might knock it off again, necessitating a trip to the dum, dum, dum…dentist!

So the first trip in, no poking no prodding, just talky talk about my teeth and my past dental experiences….grumble, grumble….so didn’t want to talk with a dentist, let’s get this over with.

Next trip, dreaded xrays which hurt A LOT because I have a tiny mouth. Johnnie Ann was nice about it and tried to do her best not to hurt…grumble, grumble…need the teeth scrapey thing again and have cavities…what a surprise.

Back for cavity filling (doing a ton all at once so I don’t have to come back as often), got the gas, they seemed nice enough again, but I am not falling for it.

Back for a 4 hour long scrapey thing…got the gas…lady was nice.

Back for regular cleanings, holding my own until, dum dum dum, the tattletail showed up (also the lady in the picture!) Jo was doing a set of xrays a year after my scrapey thing (ouch) and started sneaking around, talking to Dr. Makowski behind my back. Well, come to find out, the girl who had done the four hour scrapey thing had missed some tartar….ack….had to come back…another two hour scrapey thing.

Now here is the good part. One, they didn’t charge me for it because it was thier mistake. Two, the Jo doll had to do two hours of scrapey scrape with me…who volunteers for that kind of duty? I am a mess. Three, she did a great job (I can tell by how soar my mouth is) with a smile on her face (underneath the truly scary light and goggles contraption).

Damn, they are making it really hard to hate the dentist! PLUS there is a super nice lady named Christine who mans the front desk. She gives me a tiny water and a smile every time I am there!

Customer Service Note

Seriously, as a small business owners, if you are going to have a customer based work force, it has to start from the owner down. You cannot just talk about giving great customer service, YOU have to give great customer service to your customers AND your staff!

So, long story short (too late I know), while I am never going to go tripping into the dentist with a basket of flowers and a giggle, these guys are okay in my book. If you are looking for the best dentist in Denver, be sure to give them a call!

Dr. James Makowski

since I am a marketing pro and you may be wondering, this is a totally unsolicited and uncompensated customer service love note…:)

Friday Fun – Growing Big Lists Some Practical and FUN Tips

Growing big lists is not hard…it just takes some time and effort (sorry, I know that is not as fun as the title sounded BUT might as well get it out of the way at the start!)

So here are my tips for growing big lists, in no particular order:

It Is Just Like Kindergarten Valentines – Everybody Gets One

I talk to lots of people who are proud that they know everybody on their Facebook list. They have real connections with them and feel like they are “real” friends. Growing big lists means suspending that model and feeling like everyone is a friend, whether you know them or not.

Here is my plea for considering this! I have “friends” on Facebook who I have never met, who came to my Christmas party at my house because I invited them. Now you might not want the general population dropping by, but I have tens of thousands of connections across the internet and have NEVER had someone take advantage of the fact that you could find me in person if you wanted to. (one note – I have a house full of people and animals PLUS a six foot six bear of a husband, if you are a single gal, you might want to be a little more careful than I am about publishing your info)

Also, it is not an all or nothing thing…you could keep your Facebook sacred, but grow big lists on Twitter or LinkedIn. Just because you decided to use one for “real” communication does not mean that you have to do that over all your social media platforms.

Also, stop worrying that you will “friend” or “circle” unsavory people. I have unfriended people who spam me, taken porn people off of my Twitter and blocked people who do not add to my general well being. I just take the stance that you are a “friend” until you prove otherwise!

Get Curious

How To Grow Big Lists - Dinking AroundThis picture is of me dinking around on the Google Plus this morning. I thought, huh, wonder if I could find an easy way to get some media contacts. I searched and found two neat sites (Circle Count and G Plus Search). From there I searched and found a place that had some media contacts and then another place with some more. BINGO! I made a circle of newspapers.

So what am going to do with a circle of newspapers. I really don’t know right this minute but here is what is going to happen (I guarantee it, I have done this before and the best predictor of future results is past results).

  • Some of those newspapers will follow me back! I have 72 and will get at least 10 percent of them that will check their followers and find my cute taradactyl picture and follow me back after seeing I am a real person (note, you can’t just put up a profile and leave it at that).
  • Then, people who circle them will check and more people will circle me because I follow a newspaper they like.
  • Eventually google plus will open up their interface and someone will make an auto follow tool that will check who people follow and suggest me because I am on a list.
  • Rinse and repeat.

Seriously, that is my plan? Yep. It would be GREAT if I could just get everyone in the universe to follow me like they do Ashton Kutcher or that dark haired girl who got married and divorced really fast, but that is not going to happen. I am just a schmoe who likes marketing and small business so the universe is not anxiously waiting to hear my every word. I have to get out there and hustle to find them first so that they can find out how cool and rocking I am!

Again Kindergarten Rears Its Head – Share Your Toys

This is a biggie – you have to stop worrying that people will steal your stuff or use what you have before you do! So what did I do with my circle of newspapers? Did I:

  • A – Hoard it, wringing my hands together and chuckling that I have something and no one else can have it?
  • B – Send it to one friend who like a lot and who I know will get a kick out it (this happens sometimes)
  • C – Post it on the interwebs so anyone in the world could copy it and use it – DING DING DING – we have a winner!

When I was realtor (for about 10 minutes), I got to a lot of sales doing a community newsletter. Because of that, real estate offices asked me to come in and teach THEIR agents how to use a community newsletter to get more listings (these were offices in my marketplace). I did, going so far as to give them a copy to take home and use at will. To this day, one agent has used that same format and gotten great results. SERIOUSLY, I gave out about 600 copies and one person used it.

If you share you things, people will like you. If people like you, they will share their things with you (I have a 100 Free Marketing Ideas handout I have made 1,000’s of dollars from and I never have to look for new free things, people email them to me!)

The Wrap Up

So, when you want to grow big lists, be nice, share your things and like other people. Pretty easy peasy!

DISC Personality Types and Your Sales Message

The DISC personality types and how it affects everything we do fascinates me! When you are setting up a marketing campaign it is VITAL that you take your target’s market personality type into consideration and have something for everyone.

DISC Personality Types Sales MessageWhat Are The DISC Personality Types

The DISC actually represents 4 kinds of people, D for dominance, I for intuitive or social, S for steady and stable, and C for compliance or structure and organization.

We are all one or more of these personality types and that determines how we receive marketing messages and react to the world! So how does this effect the small business owner with their marketing?

Selling to each type requires that you talk in a language that they will respond to. The words that you use matter A LOT and will determine how your message will compel them to buy or work with you.

Here are some real life examples…

Selling Fitness Services

Let’s start with how to sell an exercise class. Each personality type has a need for different kinds of motivation and you better have something for everyone in there.

  • D Marketing Message – D’s are concerned with winning and are very goal motivated. Talk to them about meeting their fitness goals, challenging yourself and being better.
  • I Marketing Message – I’s are social creatures and want to be with their friends and other people. Talk about how you are all in it together and how fun it will be to this together.
  • S Marketing Messages – S’s are stable and steady so you can pull on their heartstrings. Explain that exercise can help you be there for your kids or your family. You can even say that they can bring a friend to help HER!
  • C Marketing Messages – C’s need to know that you have a plan and structure. They want to know all the details of what you are going to be doing. Tell them that they will get a handout to take home.

Selling Real Estate

Selling real estate seems to be pretty straight forward, but each type of personality will “hear” something different in what you say.

  • D Marketing Message – D’s will want to know that they can sell or buy fast. Your sales message can include REALLY strong words like winning, making the most money, taking less time. Simple, fast and easy and great sales words for D’s.
  • I Marketing Message – Because I’s are people, people, they will want to know that you will talk with them throughout the process. If you are a buyers agent, you can tell them how fun it will be to look for houses and that you will be going to lunch during the search – I’s like to do social things!
  • S Marketing Messages – When talking to an S about real estate, focus on family (people, furry or friends). You can talk to them about how fun it will be make a home and have their loved ones around them.
  • C Marketing Messages – C’s will want to know that you know your stuff and have the experience to help them. Oh those C’s! If you are listing a house for a C you better have all your ducks in a row with figures and data explaining why you recommend a price or repairs. If you are looking for houses with a C, it pays to ask them if they are considering BUYING that house before getting all of the data about it. You can spend A LOT of time researching homes they don’t even like.

Retail Store Sales

Dealing with the public everyday can make you less aware of how you act when you have customers in your store or business. I have gone into retail establishments more often than I can say where I felt like no one even cared if I was there!

  • D Marketing Message – Getting D’s in the door will be simple if you tell them that you have what they need and that you are efficient about selling to them. For D’s actually in your store, restaurant or building, make sure you acknowledge them and ask if they need something right away. Many times D’s will know what they want before they get to your store and will appreciate getting in and out.
  • I Marketing Message – In your message make sure to talk about fun, meeting other people, getting together and other people-friendly activities. In your establishment, make sure you say hi and ask how they are doing today. You will know that they are I’s if they tell you that and then engage you in a longer conversation. They like to have someone to shop or talk with, so you can spend time with them, knowing that your efforts will probably help increase sales.
  • S Marketing Messages – Be aware that S’s are going to want to have family and friends around also, AND that they want to know that they are buying from a reputable company. They may also want to know that you have strong social and ethical practices in your business. S’s spend a lot of time doing things for other people and do not want to put you out. If you do not engage them, they are likely to come and go without asking questions that could help you make the sale.
  • C Marketing Messages – C’s are going to want to know the details about what they are buying. In your marketing materials, make sure you list all of the details of your product or service.

As you can see, it is pretty easy to figure out personality type when you know how people interact with you. Make sure to have a little bit of something for every one of the DISC personality types in your sales message.

Social Media Marketing – Should Facebook Be Your Main Site

In our social media marketing world, the option of using Facebook as your main site is coming up more and more frequently! I cannot tell you how opposed I am about this being a viable option.

Social Media Marketing Should Facebook Be Your Only SiteI KNOW, Facebook is one huge party and there is nothing that cannot be done with it! If you listen to the current wisdom, you should tank ALL of your other marketing activities and spend all of your time marketing on Facebook.

If you are in the FB is the only option camp, you may be surprised to know that the other half of the people email me and ask me if they should do anything on it because it is not effective at all.

Seriously, Facebook and social media marketing in general is not the second coming, nor is it the devil incarnate. It is simply a marketing channel that most companies can use effectively as long as they have a clear vision of what they are trying to accomplish.

Why Facebook As Your Primary Site Is A Terrible Idea

I do not know if I am saying this strongly enough, but having Facebook as your only marketing focus is a TERRIBLE idea. Here are just a few of the reasons:

NUMBER ONE reason it is a bad idea – You DO NOT own anything on Facebook. Per the terms of service, Facebook has the right to cancel your account for any number of reasons that you have no control over. Our number one suggestion is to have a blog or website as your main hub as you have absolute control over it, can back it up and re-launch it if you need to. We have seen MANY people grow a large following, only to have to start over if their account is canceled.

Facebook changes A LOT – Because Facebook is the boss of you, they can change anything at the drop of a hat. Just recently they changed the entire platform that Facebook custom business pages are built on. They also changed how we can interact as humans and as our businesses (this time was a good change, next time maybe not so much).

Facebook is not Google – Consider your searching habits. If you are looking for something do you do a search on Facebook or do you go to Google? This is not to say there is not a lot of referral business going on on Facebook, just that it is not great at showing up on the Google.

So, am I saying that marketing on Facebook is a wasted effort – NOT AT ALL. What I am saying is that you should have a primary hub website or blog that is the focus of your marketing efforts and that Facebook should be one of the important things that helps drive traffic to that site!!! No social media marketing efforts are wasted, they just are not the only thing you should be doing!

Click here if you would like to find out more about outsourcing your social media marketing.

Facebook Groups, Friend Lists and Business Pages

Facebook Groups, Friend Lists and Business Pages are hot questions for small business owners in my inbox right now. Since Facebook launched Groups Version 2.0 last week my peeps have all wanted to know what the difference are between the three.

Facebook Groups Business Pages ListsHere is a screen capture of your groups, you find them on the left hand side under your name (if they are not there, click the “see more” to find them). Once there you can see your groups, your friends groups and the groups other people have invited you to.

From reading about where why FB may have implemented these new groups, I get the impression that the 5% of people using the Friend Lists was not enough of a adoption rate for the gang over at Facebook so they decided to make it easier for normal humans to categorize people. Also, the privacy settings that could accomplish this same thing are REALLY onerous to use. In a bit I will break down what seems to be the best uses of the different types of Facebook applications for business.

Making A New Facebook Group

New Facebook GroupsTo add a Facebook Group go to www.Facebook.com/Groups (while you are logged in) and then click “create group”. Once there you get a dropdown with the choices of Open, Closed or Secret. I cannot begin to tell you how much I do not believe ANYTHING on Facebook is ultimately secret so I highly recommend you do not pick secret. To add people, click in the big white box and start typing their name. Once you have added people, the normal Facebook box comes up and you have the option to post a link, photo, video, event or document. You can also add a picture to your group or chat with them all at the same time through the group interface.

Added you to a facebook groupAdding a message to my group (which I set as open) did not post that message on MY profile but my buddy Deb Ward DID get this message the next time she logged in, “Tara Jacbosen added you to a group”. This is one of the big grouchy things that I have heard A LOT online, ANYONE who is your “friend” can add you to a group – it is more of an opt out than an opt in kind of gig.

Here is a Facebook Groups overview video from the FB gang.

Facebook Groups, Friend Lists and Business Pages

Because my readership is comprised of small business owners, if you are a mega business and have tens of thousands of “fans” or “likes” on your business page, this is not the post for you, nothing to see here, move along. If you are a small business person, I will reiterate what I tell everyone – FRIENDS are the lifeblood of Facebook. Friends are necessary for the new groups AND for making lists of people. I have about 3,000 friends and have added them this pretty aggressively so worrying that you will run out friends fast is an unwarranted fear for most small business owners.

If you watched the FB video, you will see that you can also make an email address to contact all the members of your group offline. I STRONGLY recommend that you use your email database (like Constant Contact or Ace Of Sales) for this instead of Facebook.

Uses for Facebook Groups

Here are some suggestions that I have heard for using groups. As my primary use for FB is business related, most of them have no real draw for me, BUT they could be useful for you!

  • Contact your family – if you are hesitant to post pictures of your children that everyone on your friends list has access to, this may be a GREAT way to avoid unwanted viewing of your family.
  • MLMers or businesses with a sales team – you may want to share certain things with your team only. I have to say for this function I use GoToMeeting ($50 a month) or Webex (Free) instead as I can do real time screen captures and also save them for future viewing.
  • Have a “special” group that you send messages to – I made a marketing peeps group and invited people who were REALLY interested in marketing. Within an hour I had someone request to join the group!
  • Here is an article from Duct Tape Marketing with some more good uses!

Uses for Facebook Business Pages

As far as I can tell, Facebook business pages are still the only area that FB has designated a “sell” zone. It violates the terms of service to sell aggressively on your profile and I can’t imagine that people on your groups are going to love getting daily sales message emails either. We are seeing great results from our clients who have gotten a custom Facebook page and recommend this for any small business owner.

  • Online Events – We always make our events attached to the business pages. For online events like webinars and teleseminars, you can notify the people who like your page AND your friends.
  • In Person Events – We also add our events to the business page as we generally charge for admission. This way I do not even put a toe over the line to violate those terms of service.
  • Videos – We have handy dandy videos on the pages that help people AND make them more likely to “like” our page.
  • Notes – Notes are a BRILLIANT way to get some SEO love from Google – they index fast and stay up about a month or so before dropping down in the rankings.
  • Paid Advertising – It is REALLY easy to advertise with Facebooks paid advertising using your business page.

Overall, I can say that we are still going to be focusing on business pages for our clients. There is no sense in building up a great group when that functionality is so easy already in the business page.

Uses for Facebook Friend Lists

Okay, here is my pitch for why friends are so important to small business owners. I KNOW you can get THOUSANDS of likes for your business page, but have yet to see anyone but celebrities, big companies, hard-core internet marketers or silly things gain that kind of following. For business building, I find that having “just” 5,000 raving fan friends will trump having gagillions of people liking something that is inane and not at all related to generating actual sales.

  • Friend lists allow you to laser target geographic areas – there is a dropdown box at the top of the Friends page where you can select cities. Because I speak in Colorado AND Florida, I have a Tampa Friends list and a Denver Friends list. Just do a search and then add your friends who live in proximity to that list.
  • Likes on my business page are stuck there – when I do a new business page I can invite my friends by suggesting it. I have yet to find a way to cross promote my business pages to each other.
  • Events – adding an event to any of my pages allows me to “suggest to friends”!
  • New Facebook Groups – even your new groups rely on having friends to invite.

All in all, I use a business page to conduct business, I use my friend lists to laser target messages about events and sales opportunities and I am not sure that I am going to jump on the groups bandwagon just yet. If you have some great ideas about how you are using any of these Facebook features, please leave a comment and I will add it to the post with a rocking keyword linkback!

Small Business Marketing Burnout and Failure

Small business marketing burnout and failure is not EXACTLY the most uplifting topic ever, but I think it is important to talk about the fact that NO ONE gets everything done and what steps we can take to do better.

WSmall Business Failurehen I get frustrated with MY small business marketing I feel like a 10 year old kid who just wants to put her head under the covers and just MAKE IT ALL GO AWAY! Very mature I know, but it is what it is.

So let us talk about small business marketing failure first

I have failed miserably and gloriously at some of my marketing efforts (the mid 2000’s spammy email list debacle comes to mind first). The thing to remember though is that I have TRIED lots of marketing things too and some of them have succeeded.

I know that there are some things I do better at than others marketing-wise. I am TERRIBLE phone caller, sigh. I wish that was not so, but making a marketing plan that drives people to pick up the phone and call me is money flushed down the drain.

I know that I like doing online marketing and that I can measure the results with google analytics SOOO I do more online marketing and plump up the places that send me traffic.

Take a look at your marketing that is failing and either fix it OR ditch it. DO NOT spend one more dime on marketing that is not working without a plan!

Small business marketing burnout

I have a list of HUNDREDS of things I should be doing right now that I am not, which also makes me feel like a failure. When I get to this point, two things HAVE to happen:

  1. I have to make my list smaller. I do not know anyone who has ever gotten through their whole list of things to do, it is just not possible SOOOO I need to make a smaller list. There is not enough time in the day to do everything so there have to be fewer things.
  2. I have to focus my list. Take out your list of things to do or if they are in your head write them down now. Now look at them realistically (I HATE this part). How much can you actually do today…next week…this year. Which ones will drive money to your bank account soon? Do those first, even if they are the hardest or the ones that you do not know how to do!

What if you fall off the wagon?

So you are cruising along doing your marketing and then work happens. You do not post to your blog for two weeks, you do not email your list for a month, you do not send your quarterly newsletter, you stop calling your customers. ARGGGG

First off, they probably did not notice since work is happening to them too! And Second off, just start doing it again today. No apologies, no long winded explanations, just get back out there and start all over again. One day at a time baby, one day at a time.

I am going to be doing my two hour small business marketing consults for $100 until June first when the price will be going up to $250. If you would like to get on calendar to talk, email me soon (tara@marketingartfully.com) to save your place.

Google Local Business Listings – Great for small business owners!

Want another way to get more clicks to your website? For FREE? Google local business search is free, easy and sent 22 people to my website last month. Is that a lot? Not compared to the regular search, but considering that I set it up a couple of years ago and never touched it again, I am pleasantly sureprised.

Google sent me a message today that I can now get reports on my local search clicks so I popped back in, added my new Colorado location, uploaded some video testimonials and bang I am live!

Make sure you verify your business with a phone call or email. If you use the phone option, they call you within seconds and give you a pin number to enter to verify your given phone number is active.