How To Brand Your Social Media For The Holidays

 

How to brand your social media for the holidaysIt is time to plan your social media branding for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Seeing as how the holidays are creeping up on us, you need to make sure that you have a rock solid plan for what to do to get your sales on over the coming months.

Branding Your Social Media For The Holidays

The first thing that you want to start with is doing a custom header for your social media properties. These pictures are a great opportunity if you are actually selling something that is appropriate for Christmas buying!

In this one we just added fun Christmas lights to the regular banner we use for our EbookNerds Twitter account.

Tips:

If you are just having Christmas lights added to to your normal design, head over to Fiverr.com and pay just $5 to get them added!

Cute Christmas Lights For Twitter

Marketing Branding Christmas Social Media

Tips:

Make sure to click the photos and make a call to action with a link

See some in action: Cleans Green Facebook Page & Tara Jacobsen Google Plus (click the pictures to see the links)

Take Advantage Of Native Social Media Properties

Some of the sites like Twitter and Facebook allow you to “Pin” a picture to the top. Make sure that you are taking advantage of this opportunity by keeping one of your Christmas sales messages at the top!

Social media for christmas - pin it where you can

Formatting Your Ads

Make sure you have both versions of each picture to share on sites that like horizontal pictures and also vertical pictures.

You need to have both horizontal and vertical versions of pictures

Get LOTS of Ads

It is nice to have a good mix of different ads that you can share over the course of November and December.

Have a nice mix of all kinds of different marketing banners

* * *

How to brand your social media for the holidays

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.com

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!

Scheduling

  • 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!

Reporting

  • 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.

Interactions

  • 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.

Hootsuite.com

Scheduling

  • 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.

Reporting

  • 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.

Interactions

  • 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.

Overview

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

B2B Business Development Using Social Media

B2B Business Development Using Social MediaMarketing for B2B Business Development became confused in 2008-2009 when social media took off. Before that marketing was relatively easy to do, just put your ad in the yellow pages and maybe a couple of trade publications, clap your hands and call it done for the year. Maybe if you were really hard-core you had a drive-to-web campaign using direct mail, but basically, it was pretty contained and involved just paying and then waiting for leads to roll in.

This style of marketing is called direct response and it is really the straightest line from paying for a marketing item (like having an email blast go out to a targeted list), to generating leads directly because of that action, following up on them and then making a sale. The really nice thing about this is you can say you spent X amount of dollars to have the piece produced, sent it using your database which costs X amount per month, got X amount of leads and converted X number of those leads into closed business.

The old days were great!

Excessive Clutter

Now, you might be asking if I am saying that you shouldn’t do direct selling…well no! There are still numerous ways to direct response that are effective. But we are talking about Social Media and Business Development today and that is a totally different animal.

When the social sites exploded onto the scene (and by these we are saying sites like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest) they stretched out marketing an almost unbearable amount. Add to that blogs, TV and movies on demand, email, texting and all the other ways that we are bombarded with marketing messages each day and it is no wonder that doing marketing started to feel like a three ring circus instead of a business play.

Getting your marketing message to the right people is more important now than ever.

Pure Business Development

Let’s look again at what marketing is and has always been. A way to put a message about your company in front of people who might be interested in what you are selling and then having them call for a quotation, learn more by visiting your site or do some other action that puts them into your “pipeline” where you can followup and convert them into a buyer.

That is business development. Somehow social media as a marketing channel got put on a different level from other marketing. It was held to a standard that no marketing could attain…every post you make, every video you shoot, everything should lead directly to a sale. A fun thing to banter around is “what is the ROI of social media”.

I think this is because of the effort that has to be expended to succeed at social media. It is not enough to just throw up a Twitter page, you have to get followers, find content, post frequently and then respond when someone actually talks to you. You have to track on the back-end and see how many website hits your Twitter efforts are generating, follow that through to confirmed leads and then closed business.

Oh and that person who “found” you on Twitter might have visited your website first, checked out your YouTube videos and finally looked at your Twitter account before deciding to actually contact you. Jay Baer, author of Youtility states, “customers will contact a sales rep only after independently completing 60 percent of the purchasing decision process”.

The marketing process has turned around, now your customer is researching you and your offerings BEFORE ever reaching out to talk with you.

Targeting The Right Customers

The very first thing that you need to do when starting your business development efforts on social media is to figure out who your customers are. Are they large multinational corporations where you have to get to a decision maker who is closely guarded, or are they a young startup where the founder is on the social circuit and you can reach her directly? Are they small companies who use social media themselves or are they larger and you really need provide content that the person who is looking for your products or services will be searching for.

Some of types of customers we target for our social media clients include:

Parent Companies – There are often some really big opportunities behind the closed doors of multinational companies. Viewing their social media, you have to know that it is being handled by minions and that the marketing department is sanitizing all the messages you may be sending to reach out to their executives or purchasing departments. For this type of mission, you may have to work hard, doing targeted paid advertising to reach these decision makers. You can also check LinkedIn and Twitter to see if your decision maker is using either of those.

Distributors – One of the most fun B2B targets is when you want to find companies who would think that your product would be a good fit for their product line. The conversation about representing you is much nicer when they have seen all your great social media and come to you asking about your product or service. This is easily accomplished by following and liking their content, targeting industry resources and joining industry groups. Once you have established your authority in those places, being considered becomes a no brainer.

Complimentary Companies – Another way to increase your social engagement is to find companies that provide similar but not competing products or services. Sharing their information, industry accolades and posts is a great way to start a conversation about how you can work together.

End Users – Sometimes is can seem like all you should do is target your actual business-to-business contacts, but that is truly missing an opportunity. As a manufacturer, corporation or company, you need to present your product or service in the marketplace so that end users can see it in action and be enthused about. Think of a company like CSX which does freight shipping. They do a lot of video and commercial advertising on political and business programs, trying to be top of mind when busy executives are making decisions about how to move their freight around the country. Due to the size of the contracts, they can get their “ROI” easily if those spots secure just one multi-year contract. All the rest would be gravy.

Your Sales Channels – Promoting businesses that are representing your product is a great way to cement the relationship and increase sales up the supply chain. Oftentimes as the producer of a product or service, you need to the one that is promoting the companies that represent you and providing them with social content that they can share with their networks. Nothing that you do to help a dealer or distributor will hurt sales and could actually increase your ROI as their orders increase.

Going Where Your B2B Customers Are

Common wisdom says if you are doing B2B Social Media marketing you should use LinkedIn and nothing else…sigh. Nothing could be further from the truth than that! For every business we have ever worked with, there have been multiple social media platforms that they could use with a targeted plan and message. Just because you are doing business-to-business marketing, don’t rule out Pinterest or Facebook, depending on which level of customer you are trying to reach.

Sometimes your “business” customers can look more like consumers and sometimes your ideal prospect will be in love with Instagram and not use anything else socially. Ruling out all other social platforms to focus exclusively on any one channel is a recipe for disaster and may be why there are so many questions about the ROI of social. If you have spent thousands of hours “working” LinkedIn and not gotten anything out of it, maybe there are other social sites that could be more effective for your business.

If you would like to find out more about our manufacturer marketing, click here, all others check out our marketing services page!

Social Media Marketing Systems For Success!

Social Media Marketing Systems For SuccessSocial media marketing is supposed to be all loosey goosey, just surfing around the internet, having fun and finding great “stuff” to share. But if you are doing social media marketing for your business, it stops being fun and starts to be work.

Do you have enough posts to go out? Have you gotten the right mix of sales messages to industry posts? For goodness sakes, how much time are you really supposed to be spending each week on this?

Social Media Systems

If you are like most entrepreneurs, systems is not your favorite word. Wasn’t working for yourself supposed to mean that you could be free? That you would be master of your time and that no one (not even you) was going to be looking over your shoulder to see if you getting everything done?

That said, systems are what is going to make your social media marketing bearable! Here are some things to do to make all that effort worthwhile:

1. Write down what your goals are for social media.

Are you trying to get people to your website? Do you want them to fill out your email form? Are you trying to get in conversation with targeted sales prospects? Knowing this will help you plan out your strategy.

2. Set up a weekly posting schedule that includes having those goals met.

For example, if you want to get people on your email list, you need to post your free offers at least a couple of times a week (every week). We see too many business owners posting their free offer one time and thinking that it is going to hang around and generate leads. Unfortunately, you have to post every piece of content multiple time to have a chance of reaching even a fraction of your followers.

If you are trying to connect with key influencers or sales prospects, set up some lists in your accounts so you can be sure to see their postings. Comment, like and share on the stuff that they post. Engage with them by having two or three times a week on your to-do list that you deliberately seek them out.

3. Make content that fulfills your needs.

We are setting up a local Denver business directory website and have some pages that we want to share frequently. This means that we cannot have just one picture on that page to post to Pinterest or share to social sites, we need to have multiple images that we can rotate through, mixing up the graphics so people don’t lose interest. Additionally, someone might respond to the picture of the young businessman and someone else might be attracted by the fun older woman. You have to know your demographic and figure out what the best ways to reach them are!

You also have to have some kind of written content or a HUB where you can send people to. This site has over 300 different articles that I can share on my social media websites. Too often we find that a company will have a static website with 4-5 pages. There is just not enough there to provide a range of different posting opportunities for social. We recommend using a blog website and posting content at least once a week. Done for a year, that would be 52 articles that could be added to the social sharing mix.

4. You have to have an easy way to find and share other people’s stuff.

We recommend having at least two posts a day to most social media websites like LinkedIn, Facebook pages and Google+ Pages. This will show anyone coming to your social properties that you are active PLUS it will allow you to post your marketing content more because it will be less spammy when woven into all those other posts. We use a combination platter to accomplish this.

Finding other people’s content.

First off, we use BlogLovin.com to store all kinds of RSS feeds that are in the same industry or have fun, sharable content. We can fly through those and schedule out a bunch of different types of postings for a whole week relatively easily (I would schedule at least an hour a week for just this part)

Second, we get email newsletters from trusted sources and pop some of that content into the mix to keep things fresh. We also keep our eyes open when we are surfing around and sometimes find bits that would make sense for our feeds.

5. Scheduling your own content.

In amongst all this sharing should be targeted posts about your offers, sales messages and calls to action. You should have an editorial calendar of what you are writing and posting so that you can accurately gauge if your results are working. For example, we are launching that Colorado site and selling social media services. This post is part of our lead generating since many business owners will read all this stuff and say, “but can’t you do all this for us?”

We will be spending the next month crafting graphics, writing posts and generally making sure that all our efforts are focused towards those two ends.

We have recently switched back to Hootsuite.com for most of our social scheduling. For less than $10 a month we can have everything in one place for ourselves and our clients. We had been using Bufferapp.com but the cost for their business accounts was just prohibitive for how much we do.

It is a marathon

After hearing all that, you might want to tear your hairs out. How can you get all that content done, all those pictures made and all those posts scheduled?

One thing that makes us sad is when people come to us and want to have social media success in a month. They say things like, “if I don’t see a return within a couple of weeks, I am going to try something else.” Social media marketing doesn’t work like that. You have to get started and build up your efforts over time, growing your followings and interacting with people and brands.

This is not a quick fix to your sales efforts, it is impossible to make enough content or pictures BEFORE you get going. You have to build these things over time, with focused energy and a social media marketing system in place.

Call me!

If all this seems like too much work, give me a call today! We can help you get a plan and implement it for you so you can do actual work instead of spending all your time on social media. Tara (727) 415-9165

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!!!

 

The Best SEO and Social Media Tools

The Best SEO and Social Media ToolsWe find all kinds of great social media tools and SEO analysis sites, but I am not sure we have ever shared them with you!

There are literally thousands of tools that can show you all different aspects of what is working and not working with your internet marketing efforts. We have broken them down into different sites with various functions.

If you have one that I missed, please feel free to send me a message or leave a comment below. I am happy to find new tools myself and would definitely consider adding it if it really helps!!

Quick Sprout – SEO and Social Shares

four-stars

Quick Sprout - Social Media and SEO ToolsSprout social is a free SEO and Social Media analysis tool. Functionally, you put in your website and up to three competing websites. They return three kinds of data.

Website Analyzer: Speed, SEO warnings including that my descriptions are too long (they all say that, I am fine with it), backlink counter, social media shares (this seems pretty neat but the numbers for Facebook and LinkedIn seem low and the Pinterest number (0) is factually incorrect), top keywords and SEO recommendations.

Social Media Analysis: This is pretty cool! You can see each of your posts, pages and category pages, seeing where you might want to share more socially or find out which of your content has the best social reach.

Competitor Analysis: A general overview of how your SEO and other bits stack up against your competition. Not that helpful BUT you could do the main search for each of your competitors and then compare to see where they have chinks in their armor that you could exploit.

Neatest Feature: You can download your report in PDF or Excel format.

>> Check out Quick Sprout

Buzzsumo – Social Media Sharing

five-stars

Buzzsumo Social Media Monitoring ToolsBuzzsumo allows you to put a keyword or domain in to find out what has been shared the most in the category you have selected. I started with “Marketing” and that was absolutely too broad a term to produce any sort of actionable results.

“Social Media Marketing” returned more targeted results BUT they were all from the top players in the industry (Social Media Examiner, Entrepreneur, Mashable) but there were 63 pages of results and by going to further down pages I was able to find some new places to get content to share and find out what the social communities where interested in.

It is really interesting to note which are popular on LinkedIn (10 ways to generate media buzz for your startup) and which are Twitter darlings (A social media myth debunked). Depending on your main social site target, you would want to title your posts in very different ways to attract the attention of the various networks.

You can search both by keyword and find the top influencers in that category.

Neatest Feature: There are some really neat filtering tools. Sort by date, type of post and even see “regular people” instead of just the usual suspects.

>> Check out Buzzsumo

Hashtagify.me – Twitter Tool

five-stars

Hashtagify Twitter ToolsThis is one of my all time favorite Twitter tools. It has a similar technology to what google used to have with showing the connections to various keywords, just this time with hashtags.

Functionally you put in a Hashtag and it shows the most related hashtags. For “marketing” we got leadership, branding, advertising, SEO, socialmedia, social, sales, and business. Clicking socialmedia I got SM, SMM, infographic, facebook, seo, twitter. It is a really great way to find out which hashtags are related!

The top influencers section shows the top 6 people ranking for the hashtag and has a great little flyover that shows how many followers each has. This is great for finding out who to follow on Twitter and to have rock solid data for who to use in your targeted Twitter paid marketing efforts.

>> Check out Hashtagify.me

Ritetag – Twitter Tool

Three Stars

Rite Tag - Social Media ToolsTo log in you use the open auth login through Twitter. They then rate each of your posts as to how likely they are to be shared.

X – if you don’t have a hashtag. This is why they got three stars. If you have no hashtags it is always an X, even if you are mentioning someone with authority. I get it, it is important to have hashtags but not helping with any data if there is no hashtag it doesn’t actually mean that “this tweet has no chance of being discovered”.

! – are infrequent or overused tags. The nice thing is they give you a drop down recommendation of other related hashtags that would be better to use next time. I used “podcasting” and they recommended that I use “podcast” instead.

✓ – is the best one! This is a post that is using a good hashtag that is not overused or under represented.

>> Check out Rite Tag

Click To Tweet – Twitter Tool

five-stars

Click to tweet social media toolsAlright, I gave Click To Tweet a five star BEFORE I looked around and found out that they have a wordpress plugin. Now I am sort of wishing that I had a six star graphic.

Functionally what happens is that you pick a phrase that you want people to tweet out and the super snazzy plugin builds the tweet automatically. You can include hashtags and encourage the sharing of your content.

If your content is good and you have a good community that likes to share your stuff you can get some good reach by using Click To Tweet. This is the code that you use to insert your tweet into the “text” tab of your wordpress site.

[Tweet “AWESOME READING :: The Best SEO and Social Media Tools #SEO #SMM”]

BEST “do one thing” plugin or website ever!

>> Check out Click To Tweet

Retweet Lab – Twitter Tool

four-stars

retweet lab - social media and twitter toolsRetweet Lab, provided by Hubspot, has A LOT of data to help analyze your tweets to see what is working and what is not. You can see:

  • Which day of the week is best
  • Which hour of the day is best
  • Tweet length
  • Reading grade level
  • Sentiment
  • Capitalization percentage (how many words have capital letters)
  • Most retweetable words
  • Hashtags
  • Quotations
  • Links
  • Calls to action (asking for “please retweet” “please RT” or “retweet if”)
  • Questions

Neatest Feature: There is a graph that shows which of your words are retweeted the most. Mine are #1, conversions, wrong, #smallbiz, resource, and practices. This is powerful data to find out how to generate even more retweets to your content!

>> Check out Retweet Lab

Trending Sites

There is a value to know what is trending now on search and the social sites. You may be able to jump into something that is happening right now. That said, avoid adding to conversations about disasters, deaths or other bad things. More so, think about when the lights when out for the Superbowl a couple of years ago and Oreo jumped into the conversation.

  • Google Trends – This is great for finding out what is trending across the Google-verse.
  • Trendsmap – Pretty cool tool for seeing what is trending on Twitter geographically.
  • Twitter.com – You can modify your Twitter trends a bit changing your location to get more geographically targeted trends. Simply click “change” on the left hand side box.
  • Google Plus Explore – A really good look into what hashtags are trending on Google+.
  • Popular on Pinterest – See the movers and shakers among the Pinterest pins.

Social Sharing Sites

  • Bufferapp.com – We cannot recommend any site more highly for sharing to your social networks. There is a free version but we do pay the $10 per month to have 12 accounts.
  • Hootsuite – When we have to have date control of our posts we use Hootsuite.
  • Social Oomph – Schedule tweets and other social posts.

MISC Sites We Like For Data Analysis

  • Uber Suggest – Super tool for figuring out related keywords. Could possibly use Google search for this but they do a nice job of grouping them together by category.
  • Google+ Ripples – Great for seeing how content is shared across Google+.
  • Pinterest Web Analytics – We haven’t used this one yet (because we are using Pinterest as personal accounts) but looks like it could have some amazing data.
  • Social Searcher – Kind of a fun search engine that returns results from Facebook, Twitter and Google+ side by side.

New Media Marketing

New media marketing ebook

New Media Marketing Strategies: Oh The Tangled Web We Weave

There is a lot of information out there about how to set up your social and websites, but very little about how to actually work them to increase your brand reach and sales funnel. This book is an in-depth guide on how to dominate your niche.

Throughout we cover the background for each topic so you know what worked before and what you should avoid now, tips for using the sites including universal best practices and in-depth marketing strategies.

get-it-now-amazon

Social Media Marketing Success – Using Lists To Stop Driving Yourself Nuts!

Social Media Marketing Success - Using ListsI have to say that the amount of content that I am exposed to daily is overwhelming. My day starts with checking the news on my USA Today app, going through email (not much news there, mostly spam I have to delete) and then I head over to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Klout and Pinterest. If I spent just 15 minutes doing each one, I would  have wasted 2 hours out of my day right off the bat (and 15 minutes would be a low estimate for some of them!)

So how do I make sure that my time is spent productively? Using lists makes it MUCH easier to fly through my day! On each of the social sites, I add people and companies to lists of things that I want to see and interact with, cutting my social time down to about half an hour and providing ONLY the content I want….

…which leads me to a question that you MUST ask yourself. Are you producing content that someone would add to a list? This is different across social media and here are a couple of things to think about:

Facebook – FB, being inherently social requires that you share a bit of yourself, your hobbies, funny bits and maybe some good quotes. FB is NOT the place to go on a rant, post provocative info or blast the other political party. You HAVE to remember that half of the county is Republican so sending out a snarky Sarah Palin post will make about half of your friends unhappy. Thinking of posting a “funny” gay bashing cartoon, most people have a friend or family member that is gay and while they may chuckle along with you, it doesn’t do anything for either of yours’ social standing. Something to remember…they may not unfriend you for doing this and you may have the feeling that everyone agrees with you. This can be because the people who have grown tired of your rantings have hidden you from their wall and now only people who agree with you entirely are seeing your posts.

Twitter – Twitter is simple. People are not necessarily wanting to see your whole breadth as a person, more-so they are looking for great information about single topics like marketing (YAY!), weight loss, business, camping, goal setting and the like. We have found that having a TIGHT Twitter timeline can be a very powerful thing. One of our Twitter accounts has gained over 500 followers in a little less than 2 months by focusing exclusively on the topic of Search and Search Engine Optimization. Having such a tight account makes it easy for someone to feel good about following us, they KNOW that they will get only information that they would be interested in.

LinkedIn – This one is a enigma to me. Generally all I see is recruiting, nationally recognized figures and large corporation content. So roll with it! Figure out how to post things that they might find interesting AND share the great national content that they produce. ALL posts on LinkedIn should be business related in some fashion.

Google Plus – Google Plus is for search! You can be a little more free wheeling with Google Plus because mostly people are not interacting with you on the level that Facebook requires. The main benefit of Google Plus is to grow large networks and then share content from your website or blog with keywords attached in the comments. This will make your posts show up in the “regular” Google search and is a super powerful tool!!!

Pinterest – The blessing of Pinterest is that you can have as many boards with varied interests that you like. The only thing that I make sure is that I have business related boards at the top and bottom of my profile. I feel like personal people (say people who follow my scrapbooking board will be more likely to “dig” for relevant info while business people are looking to look at the top and scroll to the bottom to see if they “like” me enough to follow my profile.

This is all great, but how can using lists for your social media marketing increase your effectiveness? I told you about all these social sites because I think it is important to know the FOCUS of the social media property before developing lists! Having a great list on Facebook will not automatically translate to a great list on Twitter!

Lists On Social Media Sites

Facebook – Let’s start with 800 lb. gorilla in the room! Facebook is nice and can be a really good site to build relationships and get referrals from. That said, I think that there is a really strategic way to increase your influence on Facebook with lists…

  • Profile lists – Your friends and family. If you are using FB for business, it can be VERY had to find the posts that you “really” want to see (like those from your Daddy and husband). With this in mind, you need to make a list of Friends and Family that you can check at will without waiting for Facebook to show them in your timeline.
  • Profile lists – Business friends. Now this is still a list of real people, not businesses. These would include key influencers you are targeting, clients, referral partners and basically anyone who you want to connect with business-wise.
  • Profile lists – Pages. Now this is where it gets powerful. Facebook thinks that comments from humans are more important than comments from pages so you can really help boost and make an impression on the page owner if you have a targeted list of business pages. Just remember, A LOT of these pages are managed by social media managers so you may not get as big a bang for your bucks as you might on say, Twitter. But still worth-while!
  • Profile lists – Groups. Same as pages, just groups.
  • Page lists – Pages. As your page, you can make lists of complimentary businesses, other local businesses and industry leaders who are using a page instead of a profile (pages can only interact with other pages – they can’t talk or comment to people although they could share a post). It is really powerful to interact as the page as this is one of the primary ways you can get likes now-a-days.

Because Facebook limits what you see on your wall, it is extremely important to have these kinds of interactions available through your pages and posts lists.

Twitter – AMAZING! Okay, I am biased because I like the Twitter so much, but Twitter lists are GREAT for finding and sharing (retweeting) information from your key influencers (again, industry peeps, clients, prospects and referral partners). Here are some reasons to do Twitter lists…

  • Filtering – There is SOOOO much information flying around on Twitter that without making lists, you cannot possibly find the great needles in the haystacks.
  • Retweeting – This is the highest compliment that you can give on Twitter. Sharing someone’s post is a great way to attract their notice.
  • Real People – Many Twitter accounts are actually the real person! This is a way to get access to people that you might never have a chance to talk with in “real life”.
  • Finding Content – There is A LOT of great stuff on Twitter that you can save to share for later on your social networks. That said, without having lists of types of content you will have a hard time finding anything good.

Pinterest – The cool thing about Pinterest is that lists are kinda-sorta built right in. By following boards instead of people, you will get only the “stuff” they post that is of interest to you. That said, there are no lists on Pinterest yet which is a real bummer. Moving right along…

Google Plus – You can easily make lists in Google Plus – they are called Circles and Google has made this easier than any of the other social networks. One thing to note about Google Plus circles is that you should try to limit them to 99 people or pages so that you retain the ability to email out your posts when you have something important. Sharing content works much the same as on Facebook with some notable exceptions:

  • Profile lists – You can mix up pages and people in these lists although I try to make Biz Page lists and people lists to keep my lists cleaner. I definitely look at people stuff before I look at business page stuff.
  • Biz lists – One superior thing here is that pages CAN like and circle people.
  • Engagement – Like and share from both lists to your profile and business pages!

LinkedIn – The most disappointing lists. Sigh. So on LinkedIn you can make lists in your contact book to email out to your contacts but you cannot make true lists of real people that you are connected to. What you can do is use Interests > Pulse to get easy access to industry leaders and people who LinkedIn as deemed as “Influencers”.  These can include journalists, best selling authors or industry titans. You can also add “channels” like marketing or innovation and companies that are big enough to attract LinkedIn’s notice. It is a good way to get content to share, but honestly, I doubt that many of these are real people, more likely they are being managed by Social Media Managers and are not a great way to reach key people.

There you have it! Lists for the top social media sites (I also have lists for my feed reader and Klout but seriously, how long can this post get?) If you have any great info about making lists on social, please make sure to leave me a comment below!

The Biggest Social Media Marketing Mistake, Bar None

So today we are going to talk about the biggest social media marketing mistake companies are making, bar none. If you are one of those that wants to know the answer and move on, it is not including pictures in your blog and social posts.

For those of you who want more, I think this post is going to be a big eye opener today. I am going to show how people are using photos well and how some are crashing and burning.

No photos in Facebook intended posts:

MIT Facebook pageMost of you know about MIT (the technology school) and they have GREAT info, but according to this article, Sharing fast and slow: The psychological connection between how we think and how we spread news on social media by www.niemanlab.org, this is how their Facebook page ALWAYS looks. Full of the MIT Magazing logo. Sigh.

No matter how brilliant your “stuff” is, if you don’t have a picture in it for sharing purposes, you are going to be fighting the inertia of most people’s overwhelm. You need to have something snazzy to grab their attention.

How you post to Facebook

I was talking to a gal the other day who did not want to have to use the native platform (logging into Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and preferred to use a service like Bufferapp.com or Hootsuite.com to schedule ALL of her posts. The problem with that is that the photos pull in differently depending on HOW you post them and the size of the image in the post. Here are four different posts, which I tried valiantly to maintain in their actual size comparison.

the size of photos in facebook

The first one was posted the same way that the second one was (with Bufferapp.com) the only difference being that the photo in the post was SO tiny that it could not be pulled in as a large photo (it would have pixilated).

The second post is actually not all that bad, it is big enough to attract notice in the news feed and the photo in the post was large enough that Facebook could pull it in easily!

The third one is a good example of how Facebook crops photos. I would have been better off to move the words to the middle instead of having them at the top so that they would be more centered when FB pulled it in.

Lastly (and obviously the best), I hand posted this, uploading the photo and then adding the link and words. Using the native format (logging into Facebook to post) makes a huge difference and should be used when possible!

The mother of all photo sites, Pinterest

Before Pinterest, we all had sorta-kinda okay pictures in our our posts that matched what we were talking about. Smart marketers today though, know that having a call to action when a photo is shared will make a BIG difference in how much traffic you get through Pinterest.

How to make interesting pinterest photos

As you can see, photo one was from the old days and was marginally close to the topic of the article, Is Honest Affiliate Marketing An Oxymoron. That said, because Pinterest is a visual and sharing site, NO ONE has bothered to read the words below it. They do not know that this is a blog post and really the only sharing opportunity I have is if someone likes spiders – which will NOT help to get traffic to my marketing blog!

Both the other photos have a strong call to action and let the reader know what the accompanying site and photo are about. These get shared very well and currently Pinterest is the fourth largest source of traffic on my website.

Google Plus Photos and Posting

Last but not least photo-wise is Google Plus. The same holds true that uploading a photo directly to Google+ makes it big and beautiful (good for people). That having been said, I have heard around that if you post a picture and put a link in the comments it will not show up in Google search as this is a tactic they recognized that the spammers would use to game the system.

With that in mind, it is good to post your important posts a couple of times to Google Plus, once with the link pulling the photo and once with the photo loaded separately so that you can take advantage of both types of benefits.

Videos In Blog Posts

You may follow some of the big names in marketing like I do and one thing that I notice is that they have a screen capture of the video they are including AND the video. The reason for this is that they can then post and pin the photo, pulling directly from the post. If all they have is a video, that will not pull in when posting to Facebook and the like.

Pictures and videos in blog posts

thanks to MarieForleo.com for doing such a good job at this!

Why Photos Matter

The Biggest Social Media Marketing Mistake - It's All About The PicturesIf you are a pinner (using Pinterest) please click the “pin it” link. If I had just used the photos in this post, you would have been able to “pin” them BUT would not have had the option to pin the picture that tells what the post is actually about! That would have greatly decreased the number of shares I would get on Pinterest and would have hurt my efforts across all the social media sites.

Never have pictures been so important to marketing as they are today and I fully believe that the biggest social media marketing mistake people are making is to not take advantage of the power of photos or pictures in their posts.

>> If you are a small business owner and would like some help with your marketing, please check out our social media marketing services page!

Social Media Marketing For Small Biz FREE Email Course

Free Social Media Marketing CourseHave you ever scratched your head and wondered how the heck everyone else knows about social media marketing when you are just struggling to keep up with the latest trends. And forget marketing, you are just flailing around hoping that one of your posts will “go viral” and make all this hard work worth it.

Stop right now! Social media marketing involves strategy and you CAN learn how to make the social sites work for your business.

We have put together a course that will help you to understand HOW social works, WHY it is so important to your business and WHAT you should do to make the most of your time.

What this social media marketing FREE email course is not:

  • A how to set up your sites…you can get that on YouTube
  • A lame-o fluff piece…it is pure content that will help you figure out Social Media once and for all
  • This is not for using social media, well, socially…all emails and videos will show you how to use social to market your business

When you take this course you will get advanced marketing marketing concepts that marketing pros usually charge between three hundred and three THOUSAND dollars for!

How it works

Every other day you will get an email with another aspect of social media marketing. We stagger them so that you will have time to do a little work on each property before going to the next one!

What the course covers:

  • Why Social Media Is Important
  • B2B or B2C
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Website Integration
  • Drive To Email List

Sign Up Now!

we respect your privacy and never sell our list…please don’t forget to confirm your email address so you can start the course! (it can take a few minutes to come in and you might need to check your spam folder!)

How Does Social Media Work [VIDEO]

How Does Social Media Work?Ever wonder how social media actually works? What you have to do to get someone to add your link to their site or share your stuff…see how the process really works!

So I was minding my own business yesterday and a guy named Rohan Ayyar emailed me a really nice letter about wanting to guest post on my blog. I said no (I always say no!) but we did get into a nice back and forth and come to find out he had a really good link to share with me. That sparked a bunch of link clicking that led me to finding the King of Link Building and now I will be sharing his posts out to my social networks…see how it all went down:

So this is how social media works:

  1. Rohan (who has a really cool list of free seo tools) sent me an email asking to guest post which led to…
  2. a rejection, but he sent me a really great link back to the post “Throw Away Your Form Letters (or Five Principles to Better Outreach Link Building)” which led to..
  3. a link to the King of Link Building, Justin Briggs so I…
  4. added him to feed reader which I share with my 50,000 plus direct connections!

Now, what are our takeaways?

I DO think that reaching out to people via email with some forethought and consideration is effective. Rohan was great about the fact that I wouldn’t publish a post that would get him a link from my (pretty high ranking) blog. BUT because he sent me someone else’s link, and was nice, I gave him a keyword targeted backlink for no work, just because!

You DO have to produce great content that other people will like and share. It is very funny to me that this is such a key point in marketing. Before marketing was about telling people about you and then they bought. Now it is about helping them first before they want to hear anything about you.

Some of our clients and peeps want to know the ONE THING that they can do to gain social media success. That one post or video that will “go viral” and get all the hard work done at one time. That is just not how it works. You need to have LOTS of stuff out there that people can find, like, share and spread. Going for one big thing is a recipe for failure. Do LOTS! Start now!

SEO Tips…Taking Over A Long Tail Keyword On Google And Social Media

SEO tips abound AND I have heard recently that “SEO IS DEAD” – I put those caps in on purpose so you can understand how adamant the discussion is! That having been said, I think that there is definitely a place for SEO in social media as well as on your website or blog.

So first off, let’s see what term we are going to attack…there are a couple of places that I go to find this but first we need to know what we are trying to accomplish. You can do this two ways…if you have a product to sell, then you want to get a keyword (or keyword phrase actually) that will help you sell more of those. If you want to get more traffic to your website, then it behooves you to piggy back on a popular phrase you already have on your website!

While I target small business and entrepreneur marketing primarily, I do have a little niche in Realtor Marketing that I like to keep healthy. I started up this site when I was just getting out of real estate in 2008 and so initially the Google ranked me for that term and I have been successful at keeping that connection, even while building up more authority as an entrepreneur or small business marketer.

In this video we are going to look at the difference between picking low hanging fruit keywords (ones that compliment what you already rank for) or how to find new keyword phrases to be able to rank for and sell stuff.

So now we have a keyword we are going to look trying to rank for (pinterest marketing tips)…what can we practically do?

  • Should I send all the pinterest marketing tips traffic to plain jane marketingartfully.com or should I send them to my sales page for my pinterest marketing course (this is the one that I chose – Pinterest Marketing – Video Training Course)
  • Next I went to my Google+ account and plus-oned the page (I can do some of these things from the post with the likey-likey plugin thingy (YES that is the technical term!) I made sure to use the search term while plussing it… see the google post
  • Next on my SEO list is Pinterest. Now, Pinterest does show up in google searches BUT if you SEO your pin right it will show up in pinterst searches too so over to the pinterest I go! link to pinterest pin
  • Shoop, shoop, shoop on over to the Twitter to tweet with a #Pinterest #Marketing Tips – throw in those hashtags on twitter when possible!!! see the twitter tweet
  • Over to the Stumble Upon to link it up! see the stumble upon link
  • Ahhh the facebook….Facebook is closed system so I am going to try and do a note and see if that gets us anywhere with our pinterest marketing tips keyword! so lame…can’t make links but…here is the Facebook note link

SEO Tips - Taking over a long term keyword on google and social mediaNow, there are about a million other places that I could make a link….like YouTube (see the youtube video with the link back and the keywords here), Tumblr, Squidoo, etc…but as a start I think I have a good chance of something somewhere winding up ranking on this keyword on Google’s universal search! find out more about google’s universal search for small business.

So, hopefully I have made a good case for why you would want to use these SEO tips to go about taking over a long term keyword that could help you grow a certain aspect of your business! Google is important but so are the social media sites and even offline marketing and sales.

PS – If you got all the way down here I wanted to give you something a little more (more advanced and more technical!) If you noticed the link to the Google Universal Search post has keywords and is linking INTERNALLY back to post on my website…this is great for making google know what your site is about because YOU control the keywords!

PSS – If you knew that, maybe you don’t know yet that while naming your Pinterest boards is important, maybe more so is filling out the descriptions so you turn up in search well! Just sayin…:)

Pinterest Marketing – Video Training Course

Pinterest Marketing is on the lips of every small business owner these days. You hear about it, you know you are missing something, but do you REALLY need ANOTHER social network. Besides that, you don’t know how to make money using it and darn it, you aren’t spending any more time friending and liking and what-all without making some scratch on the other end!

This Pinterest Marketing video training course is designed for the small business owner in mind. It is NOT techy talk but real world marketing information that will make getting your marketing efforts off the ground with Pinterest and get you out WAY ahead of your competition!

What it is…

  • Over 20 videos walking you through what and how to post…even if you don’t have a website…even if you don’t have Photoshop.
  • Real world examples of WHAT will work for your business
  • How to sell on Pinterest without looking like a spammer
  • How to build connections and grow a following that wants to hear from you
  • Ongoing updates if something new comes along (okay we all know something new will come along – I will keep you in the loop!)

What it is not…

Please do not buy this if you are trying to figure out how to set up your account. My suggestion is that you go to the YouTube and Google “setting up Pinterest” and you can find LOTS of that kind of information there. This is a medium to advanced strategy guide that will help you get beyond “I have a Pinterest page” and into ACCOMPLISHING SOMETHING!

Oh, it is also not pretty. I could have built a huge membership site around it and charged five times as much, BUT that was not appealing to me and hopefully you will appreciate the price…just $19 for all of this Pinterest goodness! As I am always super honest, I assume that when people get in there and ask questions I will be making more videos to answer them…when that happens the price WILL go up and you will get even more great info for the same low price today!!!

There is close to three hours of training and over 20 videos all separated out into 5-10 minute segments so you can pop in and get EXACTLY what you need. Should you want to do them in one sitting, it is doable BUT mostly I figure you want to get it, find out what to do and get out!

But what is it REALLY like? Well here is the first overview so you can see what all the hype about Pinterest is…

yeah nice…but what does the REAL meat look like…what can you expect to learn…thought it would be fun to show you the surfing through the seasons video to give you an idea of the types of things we address in the course…marketing not hype!!!

Just a head’s up, in real life these are BIG files that allow you to go full screen and see LOTS of details!

Glyn said…”Tara Jacobson is the best! Helping us all to understand this strange new world of social media. Pinterest is my favorite now!”

Okay, still not sure…well here is the list of videos you will get…PLUS this is not one of those coming soons where I still have to make them or you get one every couple of weeks, pay and you get access to them all immediately!

  • Pinterest Overview
  • How To Follow People – General Friend Finding
  • How To Follow People – Using Email Notifications
  • How To Follow People – Strategic Friending
  • Setting Up Boards – Variety of Interests
  • Setting Up Boards – Naming Conventions
  • Setting Up Boards – Don’t Spam / Spotting Spammers
  • How To Pin – Easy Peasy Repins
  • How To Pin – From The Web
  • How To Pin – Advanced Using Your Content
  • What To Post – Popular On Pinterest
  • What To Post – Surfing The Seasons
  • Design – Using Filters
  • Design – Using Filters Dark
  • Easy Design – Free Photo Tree Quote
  • Easy Design – Free Photo H&B Quote
  • How To Make Quotes – Paid / Free Picture
  • Medium Design – Hard Luck
  • Medium Design – Boats
  • Advanced Design – Photoshop
  • Advanced Design – Photoshop Sales Banner

BONUS PINTEREST MARKETING VIDEOS

  • Gut Checks – What To Post and Finding Things Out
  • Finding Out What Is Hot From Your Email
  • Pinterest Success Without Photo Shop
  • Pinterest Marketing Even If You Have No Site!
  • SEO for Pinterest – Just The Facts

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam – How To Spot A Spammer On Pinterest!

How to spot a spammer on pinterestSpotting a spammer is pretty easy. Most of them do not even try to hide their nefarious activities, screaming at us to BUY, BUY, BUY and generally making marketing hard for the rest of us marketing pros.

With a new social media platform coming on scene with a lot of fanfare like Pinterest has, OF course the slimey spammers are going to be out in full force to make things icky for everyone.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest for social mediaSo, for those of my small biz peeps who have been too busy working to follow all of the social media trends, Pinterest is a new, free, photo and video based social media site. It allows you to save picture from around the internet, organize them into “boards” and then share them with your friends (less socially and more visually based marketing).

There are some really neat things you can do to capitalize on the power of the visual BUT there are also creepy spider people around who are looking for ways to corrupt this wonderful, amazing tool (can you tell I am over the moon for the Pinterest?)

Here is a really quick video to show you how to spot spammers!

So basically look for:

  • Too many boards
  • Lots of boards with only one pin
  • Incongruent pins and board names
  • Too many following and not enough followers
  • No description at the top
  • No likes
  • Bogus twitter account

Is Google Plus A Facebook Killer?

Google Plus is setting out to be a Facebook Killer. Thanks to my friend Cyndee Haydon, Clearwater Realtor, I am IN and messing around with the new system!

Is google plus a facebook killer?So, what does this new social media platform mean for real small business owners RIGHT NOW? Not so much. Like all social media thingy-ma-bobbies, if you are not going to participate, you will get no results. That having been said, if someone invites you, make sure to sign up! (Check out my post on Social Networking First Responder Advantages).

So after an extensive 10 minute mess around with Google Plus, what are my feelings?

  • I like google – all of my google stuff is hooked together and they pulled my contact list in, set up my profile for me and generally it works like the other google stuff so I am happy!
  • HUGE PRO – It seems to have WAY more control of who sees what you post. You set up circles and can then share things with just people in those circles or publicly.
  • It has a place to upload videos – not sure yet if these will then be on YouTube – more on that to come when I have more time to mess around.
  • Cons – there aren’t many people on it yet so it is not so interesting.
  • Cons – you have to be invited by someone already using it, a la the start of gmail when you had to get an invite.
  • The interface is truly lovely, plain and easy to use!
  • Did not see a business page section yet – have to see how this plays out!

So, does this mean that Google Plus is going to be a Facebook Killer? Who knows? Facebook has a gagillion people using their service BUT they have lost sight of WHY some people use it.

Google Plus CirclesIn my social media workers world, we all have noticed that getting a business page “liked” is almost impossible at this point. You can no longer “suggest to friends” as they don’t send an email to notify someone that you suggested that page. You can’t upload your database, well you can, BUT they do not tell anyone you did that so no one responds. The general consensus is that Facebook wants us to pay for ads to get pages “liked”. Well, not sure of the great value of having lots of likes AND if they are going to spend hard earned money elsewhere, we would rather have our peeps pay to have their website or blog visited than to have their Facebook page liked.

At every social media class I give I remind them of AOL. I was in internet hosting and website development in 2001 and AOL was HUGE. When they merged with Time Warner, it was AOL who did merging. Well, today they are no longer a player and popular culture things do come and go! The best way to use Social Media for your small business is to stay agnostic. Do a little of FB, a little Twitter, some LinkedIn, LOTS of YouTubes (had to throw that one in) and now a bit of Google Plus.

I KNOW, we all wish there was just one thing we had to like the Yellow Pages in the old days, but those days are gone. We don’t know if Google Plus will be a Facebook killer but we do know that something will be. Worth the time to set up your Google plus if you get an invite and then wait and see!!!

Do Bad Social Media Marketing “Tricks” Actually Work

I am a honest to goodness marketer, in the trenches every day and working hard to do the best for our professional clients. But every now and then I think about putting a black hat on and seeing if any of these social media marketing tricks actually work!

Bad social media marketing tricksDisclaimer: These are actually “black hat” techniques, and I DO NOT recommend you do any of these things if you are a professional business person growing an internet empire. Just nice to look at some bad social media marketing tricks from time to time so you know what NOT to do! Black hat means that spammers do them, with no regard for “burning accounts” which is why we do not recommend them for business people.

Frequently I get emails from readers or someone who has seen me speak with a great new idea that they learned in a class. Some are WONDERFUL (keep them coming) and some are downright guaranteed to get you banned from whatever social media platform you are using at the time!

Twitter Trending Hashtags Twitter Trending Hashtags

If you have spent any time at all on Twitter, you have probably noticed that there are trends that show up on the bottom right hand side. These are the ten or so topics that people are talking about the most on Twitter currently. They change frequently and you can find out what is happening in different areas of the world based on those words. Hashtags are user generated keywords that start with the pound sign (#) so for today, the term #towelday is trending which is a reference to the author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, an obscure book loved by a small-ish group of rabid fans.

So if you were black hatty, what would you do? Send out a tweet that looked something like this:

All you #towelday fans, get your bed and bath supplies at http://spammersareus.com

Do marketing tricks actually work?Basically, you are hijacking everyone’s joy at a book reference and trying to game it for personal gain. Which leads me to this joker! This morning #askjustin (as in the Beiber boy) was trending. Young girls world wide were asking why Justin wouldn’t love, talk, follow them. In the midst of all this Bieber fever was a tweet that read:

Got any tips for other kids marketing online? What about their parents?

So what was that person trying to accomplish? They were trying to push into a conversation that really was not about them but that was trending highly for that day. I checked and they commented on the #towelday hashtag also. At the end of the day, who would they get to follow them and would those people actually be interested in what they had to say when it was all garbage? (note: their twitter account has 97 followers at this time so I have to say that I think this tactic is a FAIL)

Twitter @ Tricks

On twitter you can talk directly to someone by using the @ symbol right before their user name (so to talk to me you would say @Taradactyl). These posts will show up on that person’s feed and the thought is that someone who likes that person will see the post and then follow your name and you will get a new follower or two.

This happens A LOT to a fellow that I follow @garyvee who writes about social media. Gary Vaynerchuk is a best selling author with a huge following (880,000 plus today). People will post something that has NOTHING to do with him but add the @garyvee hashtag, hoping that he or his following will notice them. Lame!

Fake Facebook Likes

This is an ongoing battle for us! We want to get as many “likes” for our clients business pages as we can BUT we want them to be real people so the numbers tend to be lower than we would like. That having been said, having a thousand “Fake Likes” doesn’t seem to be a benefit to real business.

So what are fake likes? When a marketing company offers to get you 5,000 fans to your page, most (if not all) of the ones that they generate are feople (fake people) that they have set up accounts for. These feople are nothing more than a free email address with a photo and accomplish nothing other than helping them to sell more fake like programs. Feople have no friends, they are not going to share your information, they are not going to comment or build a community around your page. Stupid Feople.

Posting A Link To Your Business Page When You Make A New Friend

This is a biggie right now! Say you ask someone to be your friend on Facebook and they say yes, nice! Then you go to their wall and say “hi” thanks for being my friend, you are still on the side of the good guys. Then say you post a link to your Facebook Fan page with a paragraph about why it is so great – DOH, just stepped over the line to icky and could get a “spam comment” which could lead to your account being disabled.

Posting on someone’s wall without their permission is VERY invasive. That is where they post things that THEY like, it is not a marketing platform for YOUR business. We take these off of our clients walls as soon as they arrive and generally might unfriend that person.

Note: The “rules” are a little different for pages, oftentimes you can post a link to your page on another business page if you see that this is acceptable to them and you are not a direct competitor!

To me, this one is just common sense. If you owned a roofing company, you would not go stick a sign in the yard of a new friend advertising your roofing company without their permission. They would feel REALLY weird if you did that without asking, same thing on the social media!

Tagging On Facebook

Tagging on FacebookI am hoping this fad has come and gone, but it was HOT, HOT, HOT for a while! The plan was to post a picture with a link to the product that you were selling and then “tag” someone with a lot of friends in the photo when you don’t even know them!

So in this example, I have a picture from my website posted in my Facebook Photos for my Small Business Marketing Facebook page. I then say “tag this photo” and add someone to it that has NO connection, they are not in it, they are not sponsoring my product, nothing. The hope is that this will show up on their wall and someone will see it and either like my page or buy my product – REALLY?!?!?! This goes back to the creepy, doing things that don’t feel right to sell your product. I KNOW the spammers were getting banned right and left for doing this, but their goal is to get in and get out, not build a business.

My take on all these bad social media marketing tricks is that providing great content and information, over time will win for small business owners! It is truly the old turtle and the hare, slow and steady wins the race.

What Social Media Marketing Is Not!

Social media has become the buzz word for small business marketing. Everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon and get a piece of this new media channel, without realizing that there is a huge amount of time that needs to go into their efforts.

What Social Media Marketing Is NotAt first, when small biz owners decide to use the Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to grow their customers and prospects, they are all shiney and happy. They are going to get a piece of those 600 million people, all ready to buy their product or service TODAY and all it takes is a little tweeting, right?

They set up their profiles, but don’t want to give TOO much personal information because, really, what does it matter, they are just here to SELL, SELL, SELL! Then they wait for the orders to roll in. Tick, tock, tick, tock. No orders.

What happened? Social media marketing is the promise that all you have to do is show up and great things will happen, right?

The Real World of Social Media Marketing

I liked when social media marketing was originally called social networking. That is truly a more descriptive term for what happens on the different internet properties. I KNOW, you have heard that it is like a real-life networking event and you get it, BUT…

There are no buts about social networking, it is JUST like real world networking. You “meet” someone through Twitter or Facebook, say something nice about what they are doing, talk back and forth with them and establish a connection that will hopefully lead to a sale or referral somewhere down the line.

You would not attend your first networking event with new people and start by handing out credit card signup forms, would you? Not if you want to be invited back! When you are getting started with social media marketing, dip a toe into the waters and offer something of value to the people who are considering increasing your relationship.

Setting Up A Social Media Strategy

So what exactly SHOULD you do to increase your likability on social media? Here are some of the things that small biz owners can do:

  1. Post relevant industry information that would be interesting to readers (for a painter, this could mean posting the new colors for the season with a comment about how that translates to their geographic location)
  2. Make Friends, Likes, Followers and Connections in your geographic area and share interesting events and information (for Realtors, this could mean posting area happenings, links to attractions and only then, open house events and new listings)
  3. Find complementary links (for an exercise guru, posting healthy recipes makes sense)
  4. Share your clients and prospects triumphs (if someone has something great that they post, share it or retweet it to your following!)

What Is A Good Sales To Information Ratio

We get this question A LOT! A good sales to information ratio on social media is at least 5 to 1. Five non-sales, non-selfish posts to one salesy, or self serving posts. Again, this goes back to real-world networking! If you are at an event and introducing a friend around to everyone, talking her up to the crowd and generally helping her business, when you do slide in a request to sit down and talk business, she is more receptive to hearing what you have to say.

Some Final Tips

First, don’t try to be fake on social media. If you are a nerdy, engineer type in person, your online friends will like you for that on Social Media. Outgoing and crazy in real-life, you have much more latitude to cut it up online. Remember, at the end of the day, if you are successful at getting a sale, you are still the one that will show up to work with them!

Second, unless you are truly passionate about politics or religion, keep it off your Social Media radar. Talking too much about left or right wing politics can turn off roughly 50% of the people who might have wanted to work with you. Having EVERY post reference your religious preference can be off-putting to the online people you connect with. That having been said, if you live and breathe these topics, it will show up when you do anyways and being fake won’t change that!

Third, get ready for changes. It used to be that we could buy a yellow page ad once a year and be done with marketing. Now-a-days, you have to be willing to roll with the changes that happen, sometimes on a daily basis. Something that works great for you on Facebook may change overnight and you must be willing to adapt. Accounts get frozen or canceled, groups come and go, but once you have the ability to build big networks, you just move on and start building again. The one company that I always think of when I start to get complacent is AOL. If I had told you in 2001 that AOL would out of the picture by the middle of the decade, you would have been astounded. Networks change, sites change and it is the bold marketer who takes those changes and makes a great impact!

Do Not Get Taken By Social Media Snake Oil

It is easy to get taken by social media snake oil. We all want to find the “easy button” for getting our Facebook and Twitter done and out the door, but sadly I have found that most things I or my clients try tends to be little more than pouring money down the drain.

Social Media Snake OilSo what IS social media snake oil? It is the promise that if you add your name to a list you will get 1,000 followers or pay $49.95 you will get more business page fans. It is the promise that setting up a million accounts will get you a million customers.

I have the unhappy prospect of telling you that there is no real easy solution to social media success. The best things that I have found to work are just plain boring and involve working every day towards a focused goal. Sorry to be the one to have to tell you this!

Some of the recent Social Media Scams that we have seen:

  • Pay just $49.95 and we will get you 500 Facebook Business Page Followers in two weeks – We had a client who decided that slow and steady was not so fulfilling and he decided to try this out and see if he could get a “jump start” on his “likes” by buying them. Well, he has about 100 new people over the two week period so they SURELY didn’t hit the mark they promised. AND when we look at who they are, every one of them is a made up person. There is no information at all about them except for a stock photography picture and their sex. I am VERY sad that this one didn’t work as I would have liked to have more people on my business page too!
  • Set up 1,000 Facebook Accounts with the push of a button – You may see where this one is going, I am sure that the people selling the “get 500 fans” service have done something like this. From a small business point of view there is ABSOLUTELY no benefit to you to have 1,000 dummy Facebook accounts. You cannot possibly post on them and people are not fooled by seeing these hooked to your business.
  • Join this list and get 10,000 Twitter Followers in a week – Twitter has very strict rules about the ratios you must maintain to increase your followers. The chances that you could get 10,000 followers in a week are slim. Additionally, what they typically do is put you on a list that then gets sent out to other schmucks who are supposed to send it out to….well you get the picture. Ponzi schemes only work for the people at the top, never the people who buy them.
  • Join this list and get 10,000 Twitter Followers in a week PART 2 – Another way that you get scammed by Twitter meanies is that they get you followers by autoposting to your account frequently. Anyone who has been on Twitter lately has seen the “I got 10,000 Twitter Followers by using… I was horrified when I signed up for one of these and they started spamming my account. We always check out these things BEFORE we sign up our clients for them!!!!
  • Find out who has been searching for you on Facebook Apps - There are A LOT of apps on Facebook that do nothing more than propagate themselves and some are even spreading viruses. Be very careful about using an app that requires you to sign up or give authorization before seeing what you are doing. I have seen numerous friends fall for this one recently and then feel bad because they are spamming their Facebook friends.

In general you can look at online hype with the same jaundiced eye you would use if someone walked up to you in the street and said they could get you 1,000 business cards to put in your rolodex. Do you think that there would be any benefit to having those cards? Especially if you had to pay for them!

From our work with our accounts and client accounts, the best way to use social media for business is to be honest and thoughtful, doing things the way that the terms of service require and staying inside the lines. By doing this we are growing our client accounts daily and have had great success from ALL sorts of places.

How To Find Stuff To Post On Social Media

Finding “stuff” to post on social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can seem like an overwhelming task. Here is a GREAT way to find things that you can use to add interesting items to your social media properties.

Finding Stuff To Post On Social MediaWe have lots of clients and I can tell you that finding interesting items to post on their Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can sometimes seem overwhelming. Mostly we do a search on Google for the industry that they are in, find some relevant news item and then post it, starting from scratch everyday.

Well my favorite computer pal, Twitter, has come to my rescue! I have been telling my social media classes for the last 6 months that Twitter is gold for getting your content picked up and distributed on services like FlipBoard for the iPad and now my new darling paper.li. Paper.li will allow you to set up a newspaper that lists the best posts posts from the day on three different criteria:

  • A twitter user and all his or her followers – this one is not great for me because I have thousands of followers and they may not be in the correct categories to help me develop my marketing content.
  • A specific twitter hashtag – for example the marketing hashtag looks like this #marketing – I am not sure that this will get you the most content as we often do not use a hashtag when posting blog posts or articles. You could wind up with a lot of sales and affiliate links.
  • A specific twitter list – okay, here is the MONEY idea! Just make a list of the best twitter-ers in the marketplace talking about your subject and then every day the paper.li people will aggregate the posts from twitter on that subject and spit you out a newspaper that you can use for content ideas!

Here is my “newspaper” on Marketing, The Marketing Junkies Daily if you would like to see how this works!

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If you would like to find out more about using hashtags and how to set up your newspaper and incorporate it into your social media empire, I recommend getting our DIY Social Media Marketing Videos! They are only $47 for a lifetime membership!

Social Media – Facebook Changes Business Pages

Social media marketing is a moving target. Just when you get something done, they change the rules. This time Facebook has changed the size of the area you have to use on your custom business pages!

Social Media Marketing Facebook Changes Fan PagesThis update is not news to those of us who follow this kind of thing. Facebook has been talking about this since the spring and now it is officially going to launch as of August 23.

By using an HTML-like website code, FBML (Facebook Markup Language), you can make a website-like page that you can direct new viewers to on the first visit to your business page (like the Marketing Artfully page to the left). After they “Like” your page they see the Wall instead of your custom page. You set this page by going to “edit page” and then selecting your custom page tab.

Social Media Marketing Changes Business PageHaving a custom landing page allows you put links on your Welcome Page, or to have a great graphic looking page that drives people right to your main website hub like Largo Home Staging Pro, Kelly McFrederick’s landing page. If you are already her Fan, check out the “Welcome!” tab.

Here is the official word from Facebook, “To make your Page easier to browse, we’re simplifying a couple things: 1. Boxes are going away (including the Boxes tab); 2. All custom tabs will be narrower (520 pixels). Read full announcement from Facebook.

Facebook Marketing Making Lists

Facebook marketing becomes MUCH easier for small business owners when you have lists of your friends segregated. These are all practical working suggestions for what to do on Facebook!

Facebook Marketing Making ListsSuper basic Facebook Friend Management Overview

Once you have added your friends to Facebook, getting them sorted out can be an overwhelming task. I can tell you that it takes about 2 hours when you have a couple of thousand as I did last night. To get started, log into Facebook and on the top right hand side select account and then “edit friends”. There you can see your current lists of Friends, which ones you have recently added, who in what list and more general information.

How to make lists of Facebook friends and sort them the easy way

This to me is one of the most powerful pieces of having Facebook friend lists. At the top you will click on “create new list”. Then you will want to add people. You will only have to do this one time for your current friends, then after that you will be able to add new friends to the lists a few at a time.

To find people by city or job, select browse and then use the second dropdown to narrow them down.

Some types of friend lists you might use are:

  • City (plus) friends – I have Tampa Friends and Denver Friends
  • Job type – I work with small business owners, MLM (multi-level marketers) and Realtors…I have a list for each of these types of business owners
  • Groups and Associations – if you belong to a leads group, networking group or even your alumni association, you might want to have them in separate list
  • Mega Networkers – I have a super special list of mega-networkers who have big networks like I do…occasionally I send things out to them to get out their groups

Do not make too many or they will be hard to maintain.

How and why to make an everyone list on Facebook

The most counter-intuitive thing I heard was to make an “everyone” list. It seems like you ALREADY have everyone on a big list BUT it is neat to have so that you can suggest pages or invite people to events all at one time with the “select all” feature.

How to invite people to your Facebook Event

Once you have your lists, inviting people to your events is easy-peasy! If it is a local event just pick your “City Friends” list, if it is a national event you can use your everyone gang.

If you have extra questions about how to any of these things, we have a GREAT social media training videos for just $47 lifetime membership!

This post is a work in progress, please feel free to add your suggestions to the comments.

Arbitrary Small Business Marketing Goals Part Two

These arbitrary small business marketing goals are part of continuing series about how Small Business Marketing Goals Make A Huge Difference. Read at your own risk, they coud make you do something!

Small Business Marketing Arbitrary GoalsSocial Networking or Social Media

If I get one more email that tells me that they can get 10,000 in 15 minutes I am going to scream! The best way to grow a marketing channel that will respond to your offers and listen to what you say is to grow it slowly and patiently.

Having a gagillion person list when you sell weight loss is silly. Most of the people will disregard what you are sending or unfriend or unfollow you. Having built a list of ladies primarily, who are concerned about their weight or appearance and who are looking for help…that is priceless to the marketer who is focused on the weight loss niche.

If you want numbers to shoot for…follow 50 people a day on Twitter (some will follow you back), friend 10 a day on Facebook and get as many connections as you can on LinkedIn. Hit Plaxo just for fun and then establish a presence only on the hundreds (or maybe thousands) of other sites out there.

Then, this is the hardest. Post every day. I post every weekday which says that I am interested in my account, providing great info to my friends and followers and are not using it as purely a spam-engine to sell them something.

Blogging for Business

Having a blog is harder work than having a website. A website takes a little time once and then fades into obscurity. A blog wants to be fed which in turn calls the search engines and also can help populate a bunch of your social networking.

If you do not have a blog start one today. WordPress.com has free ones and we sell business blogs that work. Start writing. If you are new, one post a week is a great way to start. It will take you what feels like forever but soon it will become a habit and will seem less hard. Also you will get in the groove of finding out what your readers like which takes me to part two of blogging…

If you have a blog, look at your stats and see what is generating traffic and write more about that. You KNOW google is sending people to your blog for that keyword phrase and will be reinforcing their faith in your site to provide great content on that topic!

If you have a blog, and you get more hits on the day you post, what would happen if yoiu committed to posting one more day a week? I get up to 10 times more traffic on the days that I post than on just normal days.

Last but not least, bookmark your posts. Get the little button at the bottom that says share and share on StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicios, Google, Yahoo and more. Set up your accounts once and then you can just fly through posting easily!

Local Marketing

This is a new field that is growing because of the capabilities of the GPS Phones and the growth of online marketing for local businesses. If you are not on there yet make sure you hit gowalla.com, foursquare.com, google and yahoo local.

Even if you are a work from homer or online business, set up your stuff!

There you have it! If you do a couple of these things your business will grow, if you do them all you should be able to count on getting more leads and increasing your revenue much faster!

Realtor Marketing Is Social Media Necessary

Realtor marketing has come a long way from carrying around a huge listing book on your buyer appointments. BUT is all of the new realtor marketing hype important and is social media REALLY necessary.

Realtor marketing social mediaIf you listen to the hype, every agent must now spend as much time marketing as I do (and I am a full time marketer!) They must be blogging, tweeting, friending, getting on foursquare, emailing and more every day. Well, in the interest of letting you guys off the hook, that is not true!

Let’s take a reality check and talk about what you really must do to accomplish your profession…write contracts, show houses, attend listing appointments, attend closings. That sound about right? I have been a Realtor so I know what it takes to make money and not one of those things involve learning new technologies.

The sound of silence I am hearing from my fellow Realtor Marketing experts is overwhelming and if you are a realtor who wants to convince yourself that you are okay with not ever marketing again, stop here and you can feel vindicated.

The wonderful San Diego Realtor, Kris Berg, wrote an article today about whether social media marketing is bad business for Realtors. I agree with most of what she said BUT have a different viewpoint of the success.

I have talked to Realtors this month who have gotten listings through postcards, had come list me’s because of a blog post and one who does about 98 percent of her lead generating through blogging. I DO think that marketing works and that any agent who wants to stick their head in the sand and rely solely on prospecting or calling their sphere is a little naive.

That having been said, if you are a Realtor I think you fall into 3 different categories…let me know what you guys think!

  • New Realtors or Realtors in transition in this new market – If you do not have a bunch of listings or buyers in the car, your ONLY full time job as a Realtor is to get more of one or the other. I have seen agents who do not currently have a buyer and only have a couple of listings tell me they are working full time – doing what? If you have more time than money it is SO worth your time to learn how to use all of the social networks, set up your blog, mack out your company site, set up your emails, and generally get your house in order. I suggest doing this at open houses where you COULD get a client but that is up to you.
  • Seasoned agents or Technophobes with no clients or computer skills – In this day and age, if you refuse to learn the computer, you are falling further behind every day. It is not cute to see an agent who cannot even check her email or send a pdf for signatures. Today’s savvy buyers and sellers generally expect an agent to be proficient at the basics at least, so get out there and try some new stuff. If you don’t know how to do anything, hire the front desk person to teach you an hour a week. If you are truly that clueless though, the time it would take you to set up everything is lost time. Hire someone to set up your empire and then focus on learning to use it and grow your social networks until…
  • If you are a successful Realtor with buyers and sellers then your time should be spent with buyers in the car, on listing appointments (well you get the drift). If you like doing techy things, do them when you have time. My buddy Deb Ward loves tinkering BUT has people to load her listings and do her marketing tasks so that she can be doing Realtor work. I work with two other successful agents who know where their time is best spent so I take care of getting their “stuff” set up and updated, with anything they do as just gravy. We have made blogs for a bunch of Realtors, since learning to set them up has no value to them, while producing content is fun for them.

Today’s agent can feel like they are failing all of the time. If they are busy, the stress of dragging those properties, kicking and screaming, to the closing table is huge. If they are not busy, they feel like they should be doing more realtor marketing, most times they just don’t know what or how. Guys, give yourself a break! Whatever you are doing is fine, just remember to keep adding to that everyday and you will get there!!!

If you would like to find out more about our DIY Realtor Marketing or our Marketing Maintenance for Realtors plan, please give me a call!

Social Media Marketing Do Not Be THAT GUY

Social media marketing may be free BUT it takes up all your time. To combat that I see people doing things that are spammy and which do not compliment their business model like this…

Social Media MarketingVince is probably a great guy and he is billing himself as a “Sincere Online Marketer” BUT he is not considering his audience and how things are perceived on the other end of the interwebs! He did things when it was convenient for him all at one time NOT when it would have the highest impact or results.

He obviously had the time to sit down and ask a bunch of people to join the pages he is promoting without considering that it would show up as a series of ever increasing spam. Sooooo what is Vince to do?

  • He could use some of the free online scheduling tools like hootsuite.com or socialoomph.com to schedule his posts (but that would not have helped in this case)
  • He could have segmented his friends into lists (anytime someone mentioned dogs he could have added them to his doggie people list)
  • He could have scheduled time to do this every morning, sending one a day for 5 days (now you may say that would have limited the amount he could do – YES! I can guarantee you if Vince sends me 5 of these EVERY day I will just unfriend him, no harm no foul BUT he loses the chance to connect with me and the network of people I have AND I am categorically refusing to Fan any of the pages he sent today!)

Another thing I see small business owners do is mix their message! They have a huge twitter following so they decide to sell affiliate products to that list, not considering who the audience is!!! Taradactyl on twitter is actually ME, Tara Jacobsen so I have mostly marketing but some doggie stuff, charities I support and some affiliate links that co-incide with my audience. When I want to talk about lampshades and cool rusty car parts I do that over on WestDecorating where the audience is interested, even though it is a small group of people!!!

So make sure you are not being “that guy”. Take the time to consider your audience and schedule your “stuff” so that there is the highest most targeted impact!

If you would like to find out how we can take all this Social Media Marketing off of your hands visit our Small Business Marketing Services page today!

What is the difference between social media marketing and social networking

Social Media Marketing and Social Networking ARE different and how you approach them are going to determine your success or failure.

social media social marketingWhen I started talking about the new marketing tools like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn a while ago, everyone was calling it Social Networking. Just recently I have noticed a shift to Social Media and could not understand the change. After much research into semantics, I think I have the answer, at least enough for me to sleep at night!

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is deliberately promoting a product or service that your company or business sells. It is a sales platform much like using the yellow pages or having an ecommerce website.

Some of the ways to use social media marketing:

  • Twitter – having keyword targeted twitter accounts which are geared towards gaining followers who are interested in your product or service and may want to buy from you.
  • Facebook Fan Pages – having a company focused page that is somewhat salesy, while still providing great information and value to your Fans.
  • You Tube Videos – designed to “feed” your blog or website with targeted content that could lead to a sale.

This is definitely my area! While I am not an ABC kind of gal (always be closing), I am definitely focused on my business and driving traffic to my web properties and sales.

Social Networking

Social networking is more like “real world” networking. You gather a group of people with like interests and talk among yourselves for the good of the common whole. Sales and marketing are generally done offline or via private message and are not telegraphed as your goal for connecting.

Some of the ways to use social networking:

  • LinkedIn – LinkedIn is ALL about social networking rather than social media! It is about making connections with people and getting opportunities by asking a friend of a friend to introduce you to someone of influence.
  • Twitter Personal – This kind of twitter account is more friendly and tells more about you as a person, sort of chronicling your daily life and interests. Not to say that you can never sell on this kind of account BUT you are going to be WAY less salesy.
  • Facebook Profile – Facebook says that there is one human, one profile. You should not have multiple profiles for yourself as I can assure people will inevitably find the wrong one to friend…:) Your profile is a way for people to talk with you about what you are doing. You can still talk about your work BUT hard-core sales info will fall flat here. Make sure to put some personality in there!

While I like Facebook and talk with my friends, sharing pictures and a bit about my life, Social Networking is SO not for me. I think this is why LinkedIn seems so difficult for me since I AM interested in people’s companies and what they are doing work wise and the setup is to slide into that sideways rather than asking outright.

So what is your approach? Make sure to leave a comment about how you are using Social Media and Social Networking WITH links to your pages or profile…:)

Marketing Artfully Fan Page – http://facebook.com/marketingartfully
Taradactyl on Twitter – http://twitter.com/taradactyl

10 Reasons To Use Social Media For Small Business Marketing

Here are my Top 10 reasons to use social media specifically for your small business marketing efforts. Small business owners and entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to take advantage of social media when it is just becoming mainstream.

Happy Social Media MarketingWhy should I use social media like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for my small business is ABSOLUTELY the question that I get the most! Many small business owners feel that social media is a big time waster that does not have a great way of tracking results. They also think social media is a fad that will fade out over time.

For those of you who ARE using social media, this list might help you to move it up on your lead generating to-dos. For those of you who are considering using it (and if you have read this far you are at least CONSIDERING it), this may help tip you over to giving it a try!

Small Business Marketing and Social Media

  1. Social media is on google – Ranking well on google is the goal for many small business websites. Your page rank and placement is vital and talk for another day BUT you do not have the power that sites like Twitter and Facebook have. They rank well all by themselves so hooking yourself to them can only help increase your website traffic on your main site.
  2. You can be the top 10 results for your business – When someone does a search for your business or business name, it would be nice if you controlled the message. If you have done something as simple as fill out the profiles on social media sites, you will come up as separate results. There will be a Facebook result, a Twitter result, a LinkedIn result…well you ge the picture!
  3. It is free – I am not sure that any of us have gotten used to this. All you have to do is trade time for marketing. Dang. If you told me 10 years ago that I could have as much free small business marketing as I wanted FOR FREE I would have laughed in your face. Websites cost in the tens of thousands, yellow pages were exorbitant and print advertising was the only other option for local marketing.
  4. It is easy – There is a low barrier to entry for small business owners who may not be technology geniuses – if grandmas can learn to use Facebook, surely with a little help you can too! I work with lots of small business owners who are doing it themselves on the social networking front and succeeding. If you would like to learn how please check out my social media videos. If you would like to skip learning all about social media for your small business and get help at a VERY affordable cost, I recommend Stacy Hansen at Personalized Marketing and Amber Montel at Your Marketing Voice.
  5. You can schedule your social media – this is a biggie for me! I take some time each week to schedule tweets and postings on my Facebook pages. Because I am doing this all at once, I am not distracted by the shiney things I see over on those sites and can more properly manage my time!
  6. You can use it to drive traffic to your website or blog – I touched on this earlier but this is a REAL BIGGIE! Each and every communication you do on social media can be used to send traffic back to your website or blog. With a structured plan in place, you can make sure that all of your efforts are geared to capturing email addresses or selling your products or getting new readers.
  7. You CAN measure it – Back in the day when we were doing print or mailings, it was harder to measure what the results were for the money you spent. Yes, you could set up a separate phone line to answer calls but did you REALLY track that? With social media efforts, you can see exactly how many of your website hits came from Twitter, you can check and see if Facebook sends more than LinkedIn and MEASURE your results!
  8. You can reach people who you would never have access to – I talk to some REALLY neat people who would have been too far up the foodchain before for me to have access to before like best selling authors and marketing geniuses. Instead of having to figure out how to “get around the gatekeeper”, you can “friend” or “fan” that person and most times they will answer you. With LinkedIn you can see EXACTLY how many degrees of separation there are and ask your business colleagues to “introduce you” to that hot prospect.
  9. The law of large numbers – I have about 2,000 people in Facebook who I am connected to, and about 6,000 each on Twitter and LinkedIn. That is almost 15,000 people who have raised their hand and said that they are at least a little interested in what I have to say. If I tried I could probably have a whole lot more. Those are crazy numbers of free marketing prospects to talk with every day. I also have about 100 people who get this blog every time I post. That is really neat that they are interested enough in what I have to say that they will give up time to read it!
  10. You will still have an early adopter advantage – I talked about this before in another post (Social Networking First Responder Advantage) but it bears repeating. If you get in early (and we are still early here), you can stake out your place on the Social Networks and gain early adopter status!

BONUS – This is not really a reason, just something to think about. Big companies have morons working for them. They do crazy stupid things like the mean guy at Nestle who got into a “pissing contest” with someone who was visiting the Nestle Fan Page, probably based on a mandate that he got from “corporate”. Nestle stock prices dropped and a worldwide boycott could ensue over some really stupid comments by an employee with too few brains and too much power.

Because most small business owners are closer to the message, this will not happen to your company. You will probably sit down with someone who will be monitoring your social media and say, “we LOVE our customers, make them happy”. When someone blesses you by talking about your product or service, jump in there and talk back to them. Every communication with a human is a possible win for your small business so wade on in and give it a try!

Denver Area Upcoming Marketing Training Events

Just a quick reminder of some upcoming events I will be speaking at that could help you achieve your small business marketing goals. For those of you who are not in the Denver or Boulder areas, we are considering doing more online events and would appreciate any feedback that you could give regarding pricing and and topics that would be of interest to you!!! Thanks! Tara


Take Your Blog to the Next Level: A Hands-On Workshop – Denver
I am doing this event in conjunction with the Denver Internet Mastermind group and the fabulous Anita Edge. She talked me into adding a free membership to the social media videos to go along with the attendance!

Here are the details:

March 22 – 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Blake Street Tavern, Denver
Dinner served, Bring your laptop

find out more….


Social Networking for Business: A Hands-On Workshop – Boulder
If you are a small business owner wondering how to get started (or get better) at using social media to grow your business, this is the class for you!

Here are the details:

Intelligent Office
4450 Arapahoe Ave. No. 100
Boulder, CO 80303

Dates & Times – March 23, 1PM – 5PM
Class Sponsored By Your Marketing Voice
Call Amber Montel of Your Marketing Voice with any questions (720) 338-6996

find out more….


Grand Connect Networking
I am speaking at my pal Debby Hall’s Grand Connect in Arvada. It should be a really neat intro to social media and a great chance to meet new business people!

find out more…

Social Media Marketing Is Facebook Beating Google

Social media marketing and especially Facebook is taking over Google for driving traffic to my website. More traffic is great but social media marketing success is less predictable. So is Facebook beating Google on my site.

Social Media MarketingI attended a workshop a couple of YEARS ago where the speaker said that Facebook would take over Google as the search engine of choice for most people. I do not think that Twitter was even on the radar at that point yet. According to Facebook, they have more than 400 million active users today.

As a search engine, Facebook is a very subjective, easy to use tool. I have to say that when I want a good local place to eat lunch I Facebook my Denver friends rather than searching in google.

So how does Social Media Marketing matter to your website or blog?

Over the last 30 days I have been obsessing about getting more traffic to my website. I have increased the last rolling month by over 200 visitors and my bounce rate has gone up a couple of percent because of the new traffic. So where has that traffic come from?

  • Stumble upon (642 Visitors) – now this is not your typical social media outlet BUT I have to say that there ARE people who have signed up to “follow” me on it so I am counting it! There are other sites like Digg and Technorati that also send me traffic but they are not counted in that number.
  • Google organic (302 Visitors) – that covers 254 different keywords with between one and ten hits per keyword.
  • Direct (272 Visitors) – I think that this is from people who are just typing in my url from marketing pieces or coming from a link in an email. This is the hardest to track.
  • Social Media Combined, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (107 Visitors) – I do not try on the social media front enough. Sigh. April will have to be “see how many hits I can get with social media” month! That having been said, for the same month long timeframe last year I got 13 hits from social media. Almost 10 times as many! And I think I was trying harder then…:)

So is Google irrelevant. Not to me. I LIKE keyword marketing and the challenge of ranking well for targeted keywords. I like being able to have empirical data that tells me what is working and what does not.

That having been said, I like using Hootsuite.com because I can get stats from there about clickthroughs to my tweets. I like being able to target tremendously tight niches using Facebook advertising and I like the challenge of getting ever larger numbers of fans and followers.

So, long story short (too late I know), I do not think Google is going to go away anytime soon and I am not throwing all of my eggs into the Twitter, Facebook OR Google basket. I am spreading the joy that is my website all around the internet so that when the next big thing comes along (which it will) I am positioned well with my content at the ready to capitalize on it!

If you would like to find out about how to effectively implement Social Media Marketing, please click the link!

Facebook Marketing How To Get More Referrals

Facebook marketing is all about keeping in touch with people in a very friendly kind of way. Getting and giving referrals becomes SO much easier because of the low technology barrier and connections that you have within Facebook itself.

There are three kind of business owners I find out there in regards to Facebook Marketing:

Facebook Marketing Social Media

  • The ones that think it is stupid and a time waster – If you read my blog with any consistency I doubt you are one of THOSE people but if you are, leave now!
  • The ones that do not get it but understand that it is a marketing channel and who at least take a little time to chat there, play games or even have a business page.
  • The last group is people who are dedicated to using every marketing trick in the book and who understand that any good marketing program takes time. I LOVE these people!

So my buddy and client Brian P. Forrester of Tri County Mortgage sent me an email today from Facebook. A client he had not spoken with for over 8 months said her nephew needed to be pre-qualified for a loan and could he give her a call. Digging deeper, Brian said that, “She knew me from before, but I am not sure I would have been top of mind if not for FB.”

Click the link if you would like to keep up with Clearwater Mortgage man Brian P. Forrester on Facebook…:) Make sure to “friend” him!

Now I KNOW all your clients and past customers are referring machines for you and that you tell them at the end of every phone call that “you are never too busy for their referrals” BUT, and this may come as a shock to you, most people are not great at recommending ANYONE. They do not want to seem pushy or recommend someone that is a bad choice for their friend.

When you are doing Facebook Marketing and are out there with a bunch of friends or fans, there is a good chance that people will be more willing to refer to you. You may already be friends with that person through a contact or they can suggest you as a friend so the new person can see you are a normal business person dedicated to providing great service.

Additionally, they are already using Facebook so they do not have to search for your phone number or email, they can just type in your name and then message you.

SO, if you are not on Facebook, at least check it out today. If you ARE on Facebook, find some new ways to get your message out so that you can get more leads!

If you would like to learn to use Social Media Marketing like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to grow your business check out our social media videos. I am going to be adding a video today on some practical Social Media Marketing tips! The cost is just $47 for a lifetime membership but as I add more it could go up so get in early!!!

Internet and Keyword Marketing Are Constantly Changing

Internet marketing and especially keyword marketing is fun, challenging AND changing! It used to be so easy to define your business and then run with that for years or even decades. A barber was a barber and didn’t try to be a stylist or add things to his business. An accountant did books for small businesses and knew that tax time would bring a huge windfall to her business.

We do a keyword marketing analysis for each of our blog customers and I consider this to the MOST important phase of the project. I have often been floored when I find that there is little or no competition for keywords that I expect to be huge and also have been surprised that obscure keywords have such a high competition in the marketplace.

That having been said, it also pays to listen to what humans are talking about. Lately I have noticed a trend that when people call and ask me to speak they keep asking about “social media” instead of “social networking”. Now when I started out speaking and working with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter a while ago, it was all social networking BUT times they are a changing and I am always curious to see what the numbers have to say.

DOH – Social Media gets 135 THOUSAND searches a month and Social Networking gets only 12 thousand. Sigh. That means that I had to go back in and change my graphics on my social media how to videos, on my buttons and re-write my sales pages. I have to re-think my adwords campaigns and even how I present myself as a speaker. I have to change my vernacular and even go in and add new tags to my old social networking posts. Darnit. I wish everything would just stay the same, but it does not and that is just how our new world is!

If you are a small business owner, make sure you are listening to your customers. Have their words or needs changed. Do they want you to provide something that you aren’t currently doing. DO NOT get stuck in a rut or resist change because it is hard. I was reminded of a book that I read years ago (Who Moved My Cheese) which basically said that if you are not willing to listen and make changes your business will wither and die.

SOOOO get out there and call your best customers TODAY. Find out what they are talking about and what their needs are that your company can provide. Check your keywords to make sure they are helping your marketing efforts and product lines. If you have not checked them in 6 months, today is the time to do so. Look at all this change as an opportunity to fix what was not working and improve your bottom line while you are at it!

If you would like to have a keyword marketing analysis done, we are honoring our $100 price point through this month only, then the price jumps to $250. Also, the book reference contains an affiliate link, if you click that I will get a little bit of money. If you would like to avoid giving me a little bit of money just do a search for that title on Amazon..:)

Social Networking Will Replace Google?

So why do I think social networking will replace google and how does that make this post a followup to telling the truth? (I wrote a post a couple of days ago about why I think that telling the truth is the best way to conduct business!)

Firstly, I attended a Jeffery Gitomer training session and he said that “truth” is going to be the new standard for business and he cited the Enron bunch as people who scammed the system and got caught, much to the detriment of their businesses. Well that training was BEFORE the huge financial meltdown that has occurred because of what is perceived as Wall Street defrauding the public.

Secondly, I then attended a training session (I get A LOT of training!) where a tech guy said that google will be irrelevant in 5 years. GOOGLE and IRRELEVANT in the same sentence? How can that be?!?!?! Well it just so happens I agree with him to a point. I DO think people will still “Google” you to see if you are who you say you are, BUT I also think that social networking will become so large that if you need a referral you will just ask someone you know – online!

Many of my online “friends” I have never met in person but I trust them and their judgement. If I needed a plumber here in Colorado (I am new), I would NOT go to the yellow pages OR google, I would ask my online realtor friends if they had a good referral! If I needed a dentist, doctor, printer, good travel agent, ANYTHING, I would ask my “friends” first. And as more and more people join these networks it will become more apparent that goole will be less attractive and referrals more-so.

So have you googled yourself lately in relation to your business? Does it show you? Check out “Tara Jacobsen Marketing” and you will see LOTS of entries that show that I am who I say I am on google – that is a very good thing!