Awesome Branding For Your Social Media Properties

Awesome Branding For Your Social Media PropertiesToday we are going talk about the look and feel for the branding of your social media graphics.

This might be sorta long, but I think if you are redoing your site or having a designer working on it, it is worth taking the time to understand all the bits and thoughts that go into redoing your look and feel to make it branded and cohesive across platforms.

Rebranding My Website

So part of this has been a long time coming. I have spent over 8 years tinkering around and trying to figure out a look and feel I would like for my “stuff”. I have had the site be predominantly acid green which I use for my logo and promotional items, I have gone “corporate” like the last iteration and everything in between.

What I did differently this time that I think was extremely effective was to start with the colors and pictures that I like in mind and work backward from there. I picked the palette of the really bright pink, blue, yellow and green and then selected photos that we still colorful and lively but didn’t compete with the colored dots and other things going on on the page.

Marketing Artfully Website Redesign

If you would like to read more about the website redesign check out my post 4 Things To Focus On When You Are Updating Your WordPress Website

Additionally I made sure to “brand” each area of my website. Because I publish for a variety of different channels (like Realtors, Authors, Entrepreneurs, and Speakers) I had to make sure that each of these genres was easily identifiable when checking out its section of the website.

Marketing Artfully Multicasting Banners

Branding For Social Media

So now we are moving over to social media. I do want there to be a clear correlation between my website and the graphics they see on the social so that when they come over it is very plain that they have reached the right place. Now, this can be much harder when you are managing multiple brands or websites in your company and we will be talking about this in a future post. For now, lets just consider that I have different areas for each of my target markets.

The key to making this work is to have some consistent elements so that people know they are in the right place, but not make it so vanilla that I get bored and want to change everything again in two months (which is always a possibility). Instead I would rather get something set in stone for at least the first six months of the coming year so that I can put a pin in this part of my marketing and do other, funner stuff!

Twitter Social Media Branding

So I am starting with Twitter because it is a little kerfuffly. The banner is really short and wide and cuts off on phones so I need to make sure I know the right dimensions to use.

an amazing post and description of the dynamic properties of the twitter header – click here

Here is my Twitter banner and the overlay from the referenced post to show how it will cut off. Now, I think it does a good job, but short of a plain gray box, there is nothing that will show up perfectly on every device and you will make yourself insane trying to get it to work. This is definitely a case of “good enough is good enough”.

Marketing Artfully Twitter Banner With Overlay

Here are my old banner and my new one.

Marketing Artfully - New banner in place

Facebook Social Media Branding

Okay, Facebook is a little different. They have maintained about the same size for a while but they go back and forth on whether you can use calls to actions to get people to do things (and you definitely can’t say anything about “liking” your page)

With that in mind you need to make sure that you have a strong call to action offer that they can receive when they “click through” your banner. Here is my new banner and below it the template that I used to make sure there was no overlap on the areas where the avatar and buttons were…

Facebook Banner With Clickable Link

here are some fun post examples about how to make “clickable banners”

Google Plus

Google Plus is a behemoth banner and you can also do the “click here” link on it. One thing to remember is that there is A LOT of real estate to cover and if you try to do too much it can get cluttered.

Google Plus Page Banners

Peg Fitzpatrick is my absolute favorite Google Plus guru…read her take on Google Plus profiles here

LinkedIn Banner

Not as sexy but still important to hit is the LinkedIn Banner. While LinkedIn may never be your favorite network, having all the “bits” filled out will assure that you get more response on your connection requests.

Marketing Artfully LinkedIn Banner

Special Bonus

All of this is well and good because I already have my creative done, but what if you are trying to figure out what to have for your look and feel. Here is a video that I did showing the process of developing creative for a client.

Well hopefully all that helped to see how to have Awesome Branding For Your Social Media Properties! Following are some of my favorite tools for accomplishing all this creative lovelyness.

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead


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

The Super Advanced, No Bullshit Twitter Marketing Plan For Dave (and You!)

Super Advanced Twitter Marketing Plan for DaveYes that is right, this post is a comprehensive answer about doing Twitter marketing that I wrote for Dave. Luckily for you I like Dave and am willing to tell him all my best Twitter secrets! In it I tell you what I do, why I do it and how it helps my marketing efforts.

– – –

Our client Dave was watching our web show #4, the one where we talk about building big social media networks and he got a little feisty. He said,

I love your podcast but you know when you talk about networks my head hurts. Then you say to grow the network that you like the most…what you do if you don’t like any of them????

Sincerely
Dave Negri

Now, Dave one of the nicest guys we know, but he is also sort of a marketing guy. He runs an awesome podcast about how contractors can increase their business using marketing (ContractorsSecretWeapon.com) and is not afraid to try new things but social media just makes him grumpy. I figure if Dave is disgruntled with social, you might be too!

My Twitter Empire

If you are a Twitter kid, this post is going to make your little heart sing, but you have to remember that you can’t focus exclusively on Twitter. I am fortunate to have “elves” who can do the manual posting for me on the other social networks, but I can’t just ignore big dogs like Pinterest (which I love but do poorly), Google+ (which is a great SEO tool) and Facebook (let’s not talk about Facebook…sigh). That said, Twitter is the only one that I am in every day.

For those of us with multiple interests, Twitter is really cool. They do not object to having multiple accounts for the same person, you just have to have different email addresses for each. I set up forwarding addresses in my hosting to cover this.

Years ago having a generic Twitter account like my @Taradactyl twitter handle was cool. You could talk about a general topic like “marketing” and people would follow your account. That account has over 18,000 followers and is really a huge asset for my company. That said, it is harder now to grow a generic account unless people are actually following you (more about that later).

@tweetinghomes – This one is for realtors. Another old one, it got most of its followers when it was a little easier. In actualality I had set it up years ago and just let it churn, posting cool stuff and ignoring it. I also had set up TwitterFeeds to share other people’s stuff so there was a little boost for that too. Every time realtors I had set up posted on their blogs, twitterfeed would post that link automatically. It has about 5,500 followers at this point and is a nice one to have, but not really on my radar much.

Today it is much easier to grow an account if you have a specific target market. Some of my more recent accounts are:

@Ebooknerds – We are writing a book a week for a year so I am pretty interested in book marketing. This account is where I share all the cool stuff that I am learning and writing about in regards to self publishing. It is the fastest growing of all of our accounts, with about 600 followers at this point.

@Searchynerds – I love figuring out how to do keyword marketing and seo so having this one is really just a great way to share all the research that I do about SEO and search. It has about 750 followers and has been growing slowly.

@smmnerds – I have to read about all of social media for my business and I didn’t want to mess up my other Twitter accounts with stupid Facebook shares so I started this one. No one likes it. There are only a handful of followers (maybe because I don’t love it either!)

@emailnerds – about email marketing, I think you can see the theme here! 574 followers

@mandmmonsters – the account for our Marketing and Media Monsters personal brand. We need to do a little work on this one because it is stuck at 2001 followings and we only have 1,715 followers so we need to either get more followers or stop following as many people so the ratio is better. (Twitter has a 2,000 follow limit until you get this even and then there is a ratio thingy, don’t worry about it, just try to get over 2,000 followers fast). Screwing around with this is a good thing to do on a Sunday afternoon watching the World Cup, unfollowing all the icky people and following key people who are going to help your account grow.

I also just started @PodcastNerds and @VideoMkgNerds because we are doing a podcast show and a web show so I know I will be researching these topics and have fun stuff to share.

>> @TweetyNerds – if you are reading this post you HAVE to follow my Tweetynerds account! I post lots of great info about how to use Twitter. I do so love the Twitter.

Why They Help

So overall I have about 30,000-ish followers over a wide range of marketing channels. This is not an earth shattering number in the Twitter world, but the cool thing is that when I have something I want to talk about people are there to listen. Here are the reasons why I like having them…

Archive of cool stuff to read

One of the reasons that I think my accounts do so well is that I actually read almost all that I post. OR if I haven’t read it, I would be interested in reading it. I sorta-kinda use my Twitter feeds to save stuff I might want to reference later.

Promoting our content

I generate A LOT of content and if I posted all of it on one account, it would seem very spammy. With this in mind I schedule the promotion of our stuff over time over all the accounts, mixing it in with the other relevant posts.

People know the Taradactyl

When you love Twitter and have an active Twitter account, people will remember your Twitter handle. Being the Taradactyl is now part of my soul and it makes me smile. It makes other people smile too.

Getting Twitter Followers

Posting great stuff. Let’s start with the bullshit answer that really does work. Posting great, highly targeted stuff will make people follow your accounts. They will set up auto-tweets that share your bits every time you post because they can feel confident that you will not be a douche bag spammer.

Following other people. People who like Twitter are actually looking for people to follow who are cool. If you follow other people, some of them will follow you back.

Your signature line of your emails. I don’t want people to “Like my Facebook page” or “Connect on LinkedIn”, I want them to follow me on Twitter. People will do the thing they like best first so I don’t give them an option. On my email signature they can connect with me on Pinterest, Twitter and Google+ (things I care about) but NOT Facebook or LinkedIn.

On your website. You should have a link to your social media properties on your website. I have not gotten militant enough to take the Facebook and LinkedIn ones off there yet, but there may come a day.

NOT on your website. One thing I think is dorky is when people put a widget with their Twitter feed on their websites. You have done all that work to get someone to actually visit your site and now you are going to send them off down the Twitter rabbit hole. I don’t think so!

Following YOU This one is for Dave! If you are an author, speaker, podcaster, web show host or other celebrity (no matter how minor), people will want to stay in touch. Make sure you have the link to your Twitter account in all your books and posts and show notes. People will be following YOU not your account.

How To Post

Having all those accounts is great but how the heck do I get cool stuff on them all the time? I use a paid Bufferapp.com account. It is $10 a month to have multiple social media accounts and all I have on mine is my Twitter. (I do have another account for my other social properties, but this one is just Twitter).

What happens is you set up Buffer on your browser with a little button and any time you find something good you hit the button and pick which account to share it to. Because I am already surfing the web for this kind of content, it is easy to fill up the scheduled slots.

Bufferapp

I don’t spend any time thinking about what, when or how to post, I just find things that I find interesting and post them. Interesting things ALWAYS include my content, I just make sure that is not the only thing I am sharing.

I stick to the genre specific accounts (email, twitter, etc.) except for occasional posting of my stuff that gets broadcast across all the channels!

What you post matters

So if you just hit Buffer and post the title of the post, that is better than nothing. BUT I find that having a real call to action makes the retweets and shares more likely. Consider these recent posts, which would you rather retweet? I have to guess the ones with some oomph and personality!

The last one is not very sexy. It doesn’t have my personality in it. There are no special characters to make it stand out from the crowd. If your whole Twitter feed is just a series of shares, you are going to be one sad panda.

>> Get the Twitter Cheat Sheet and make your Twitter marketing better!

No better way to connect with fancy people

Joel Comm is a pretty big deal in the marketing world. I have met him in person and he is a cool cat who I might want to interview on our web show. But there is no reason in hell that Joel Comm will want to be on a show as little as ours is right now…unless…hmmm…maybe he knows me a little as a friend because I do nice things for him!

I share his blog posts on my Twitter, making sure to tag him with his @joelcomm handle

I give him Klout and share that on Twitter

Notice that the favorite on this post is from the man himself!

I also have him on a Twitter list so that I can check and see if there is anything he posted that I can retweet. He will be notified or notice on his posts that I did that.

Now, this does seem a little stalker-ish when put all together like that, but really, I just share his stuff occasionally. He has great content that my people would like anyways, is funny and clever and a genuinely nice person that I am happy to promote.

I am also stalking @seanplatt, @chrisbrogan and other cool people that I follow.

It is really amazing to me the level of access you can get to “real” famous people today.

Hashtags

Hashtags are one of the main ways people find neat stuff on Twitter. You will want to figure out what hashtags other people use that you might be able to include in your posts. My favorite hashtags are #marketing, #socialmedia, #twitter, #amwriting and more.

This is a wicked cool tool to use to find out what hashtags match your industry >> Hashtagify.me

Advertising on Twitter

We have gotten the very best results of any of our paid marketing on the Twitter! The neat thing is that the ads are about the length of Adwords ads without all the management hassles. You just put up two posts, give it a couple of days, see which one is better, take the bad one down, put another one up and keep going. It is SO much easier than any of the other paid social media or search marketing channels.

ads.twitter.com

We target accounts that we find in our Analytics which match our regular followers. So for TARAdactyl, there are 10 other accounts that seem similar when checked by Twitter. We start with those as our target ad reach and then add extra accounts depending on what we are selling. For example, if we are promoting a sales book we might add @Gitomer who is a sales guy and who has a relatively large following.

What we do not do is add anyone with millions of followers like Gary Vaynerchuk or Tony Robbins. People with accounts that large are no longer talking to a particular audience, they are now just broadcast personalities and not good for us to use in our marketing efforts.

What To Do Next

If you are down here you must REALLY like Twitter (or Dave!) Here are some next steps in case you want more:

  1. Check out our ebook about social media marketing on amazon, it has good stuff mainard
  2. Follow the tweetynerds twitter account to stay current on twitter
  3. Get the Twitter cheat sheet

Thanks for reading…

XOXOX

Tara

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!

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!)

Which RSS Feed To Twitter Accounts Is Best | Social Media Marketing

Today I am taking care of my Twitter accounts, making sure that my blogs “feed” the right posts to the right accounts. Now, I don’t have a million of them, BUT I do have enough that getting all of them hooked up to the right RSS feeds for my websites is important!

This post is an honest opionion of all the services I could find out there and how they work. Some I have used extensively and some I have tried for 15 minutes (and abandoned because they were too hard!) If you have a favorite, please leave a comment and I will check it out and add it if appropriate!

TWITTERFEED.COM

Twitter Feed - RSS To TwitterTwitterfeed has made sad over the years. I want to love them because their service is free and they do perform the function of posting to Twitter effectively. My problem with them is twofold (and my besty has a problem too!)

  • First and most importantly, the site is PAINFULLY slow. If you are adding a feed, it could take up to 15 minutes to get to the right page, load it in, set the parameters and then move onto the next one.
  • Secondly, they have used Twitter to login, AuthId, emails and about a million other different login systems. Half the time I have to spend a good chunk of time just figuring out how to get into the darn thing!
  • Bonus, my Besty the Colorado Connector uses it to post her RSS feeds to her Facebook and she says it unhooks itself often. Now, we KNOW that is a combination of problems between Twitterfeed and Facebook, but for her it means having to constantly check and see if her connections are working!

Cost: FREE

For right now I have taken MarketingArtfully.com off of there and moved it to another service. I have a Twitter account that publishes a bunch of Realtor blogs and for now I am leaving that there (mostly because the time to get all those unhooked would be prohibitive!)

DLVR.IT

Dlvrit RSS To Twitter ServiceI have moved my important sites over to this service. For now, the 15 social profiles for ten bucks a month should take care of what I need to do…:) I am sad that I have to pay BUT thinking of the old saw that we get what we pay for!

  • I am EXTREMELY pleased with how easy it is to set up accounts and and move around which feeds publish to which Twitter accounts. I will be doing the $9.95 per month for now and checking to see if I want to move up in the future.
  • It appears that they have post to Google Plus on paid versions which I will be checking out today too!

Cost: FREE (5 Feeds, 3 Social Profiles), $9.95 month (50 Feeds, 15 Social Profiles), $19.95 month (Unlimited Feeds, Unlimited Social Profiles)

IFTTT.COM

If this then that rss tweet feederHoly heck is this one hard to use! The concept is that like some database functions you can say If This Then That. So for my purposes I was trying to say “If marketingartfully.com publishes a post, then post a link to my TARAdactyl Twitter”. So far, so good. Next one I tried to make “If marketingartfully.com publishes a post, then post a link to my MarketingArtful Twitter”. DOH, it so only wants to post to TARAdactyl. Delete, try again, no dice.

This site seems like it might have a really cool function but my normal little marketing brain (not super mathy or logical) cannot get wrapped around how to write “recipes” or even use current recipes and modify them to work for my stuff. Sigh. Seemed like neat site but do not have the time or inclination to learn how to do all those bits.

Cost: FREE

SocialOomph

I have used SocialOomph in the past for scheduling posts and I thought, I bet they have some kind of RSS feed generator, lets go check them out! DOH, they charge $17.97 bi-weekly (which is $35.94 a month!). Now, I am sure they have many other services for that price, but for my needs, thirty-five bucks a month is astronomically expensive!

Cost: $35.00/month

Feedburner By Google

Seems like a good idea! Hustled on over and I CAN hook my feed to Twitter…SCORE! And I can hook it to another Twitter…Double Score…DAMN…you can hook up as many accounts as you want, but you have to pick which one will be the primary one and actually post!

Hootsuite

Hootsuite does this with an owly link. I don’t especially like those because I know they are pre-posted and sometimes ignore them. For this reason I am not using Hootsuite to publish my RSS feeds…although they do have a sweet deal…

Cost: Free (2 Feeds), $8.99 month (Unlimited Feeds)

PLEASE let me know if you know of any other good RSS Feed to Twitter accounts… I am open to hearing about any good ones!

Photo Sharing Sites and Apps – Small Business Internet Marketing

Photo sharing sites and apps are a big deal in small business internet marketing! These are the wave of the future so grab your board and let’s get going!

My prediction is that within 2 years and 9 months (used to say 3 years but gotta move the bar!) ALL initial contact with your company will be through a video or a photo first. Now, I am not one of those who say that tablets and phones will take over laptops and computers BECAUSE I am WORKING on a computer. Love to surf on my tablet, dabble on my phone, the portability of my laptop, but for hard-core, bang it out and get it done, I have to sit my happy ass in a chair and WORK. Not on teeny tiny screen but on a dual monitor, giant processor computer.

So what does this mean for me and using photo sharing apps on my phone? TODAY I draw the line in the sand and figure out which photo sharing app I will use! Here are the criteria:

  • Is it easy? This is my NUMBER ONE criteria. EVERYONE thinks I am a techy doll but I can’t even hook my mouse to my laptop so I need ease of use!
  • Can I get it from the phone to the other social sites I need (for this experiment I am considering primarily facebook, pinterest and google+ – just to let you cats know, NONE of them shared to either Pinterest or Google+ at this point so focused instead on facebook, twitter, flickr and email)
  • Can I take pictures on my phone and NOT have to email them to myself to access them online for other uses like blogging or posting later?
  • Who has recently been bought by whom? Instagram has recently been brought into the Facebook fold so this is where I will start BUT want to consider other options because I am not only interested in how it works with Facebook!

As with all of my experiments, this one will be highly unscientific and biased! I will be taking pictures in relatively bad lighting of a duck. SOOOO sorry to my actual social media friends who have to see this on my various walls! Let’s get started!

Instagram Photo Sharing App ReviewPhoto Sharing Sites and Apps – Instagram

I did not have to research to check this one out. Instagram was bought by Facebook and so will obviously be a good choice for them, BUT are they a good choice for my other needs?

First off, I downloaded the app to my phone. Rats, had it but forgot my login, heading to the website to see if I can reset it…yup! Easy peasy, they gave me my password AND username…score! No picture…I’m sure they want a picture picture but really, just use an avatar (clients could use a logo), not digging this so much but moving on (later was able to pull in my Facebook picture so it worked out okay after all).

Leaving the website and heading to my phone to take a picture of a duck! Push the camera button, bunches of style options come up,picked one, check mark, heads to screen to enable caption, twitter, facebook, email, flickr, tumbler, foursquare. Hooked up twitter, facebook, email and flickr for now. A note, facebook’s authorizer was in french (ack), I did NOT hook up foursquare because it hooks to my Facebook already.

DOH – forgot a caption so it said “just posted a photo” instead of what it is…trying again! Perfect.

Instagram Review – Okay, I like that I can tooggle on an off the the different services and there is an email with the picture as well as being able to pull it down from Flickr. BONUS – the instagram put the picture into my photos on my iPhone so I can upload it Pinterest from there if I wanted to! Seriously two thumbs up.

SUPER BONUS – if you are playing the Empire Avenue game, then one picture adds like a gagillion points (not sure how the points work so my numbers may be inflated).

TruHDR

Okay, this is an artsy fartsy one. It makes pictures look dimensional and I like to think that it makes me look like a brilliant photographer (I have ACTUALLY brilliant photographers all around me so I am a little touchy about this!).

So I took a picture of the duck, then went looking for the sharing bit, NOTHING! Hmmm maybe get creative? WOW!!! I could upload my artsy fartsy photo TO the Instagram and then share it on the ones that I had set up. Holy Buckets batman, have to see if I can find a good competitor to make this a fair race!

Photo Sharing Sites and Apps – Photoshop Express

Okay, take a picture of a duck…:) I am getting good at this! There are MANY more editing tools that I am used to from Photoshop like hue, saturation, cropping, etc. Have to say that I am not good at using a little tiny phone to edit pictures, if I was going to be manipulating them a lot, would probably take them down off the internet and do it on my computer.

Okay, BIG downer here!! I set it up so that I could share to facebook, email and flickr (no foursquare or twitter available like there is on Instagram although you could send it to TwitPix but damn, how many sites do I need?!?!!?) So all happy, hit the share button and I have to do them one at a time. Share to email, share to flickr, share to facebook, are you kidding me?!?!?!

For an editing software, I think this one is hand’s down, the winner. BUT for a click and go photo sharing app? Two thumbs down on this one.

Photo Sharing Sites and Apps – Wrapup

Okay, I am in. Instagram it is. Took a little over an hour to write this post and check out ALL of the different photo sharing app places and take pictures so if you budget an hour to learn it, you should get out the door super easy! The ONLY thing I can see ruining this commitment is if Facebook shuts off the other sharing features and turns Instagram into a Facebook only photo sharing site, but will keep the faith for now!

Social Media Marketing – What You Should Be Doing Now

Social media marketing is HARD! I have never worked with a marketing platform that changes more than this giant kerfuffle of sites and places that you need to have a presence on, oh and they change it constantly so that you have to be on top of what you should be doing now!

A little bit of social media marketing background. I just checked the “when did you join Twitter” website and it says I started my Taradactyl twitter account on November 30,2007. WOW, That is going on 5 years now and over that time I gathered well over 10,000 followers. The reason I start there is that this was my first foray into using social media as a marketing platform. According to facebook, I started over there July 21, 2008 after talking with a friend who said it might have some further marketing implications than posting pictures of kitties and puppies.

Upon discovering that social media marketing would work for me, we decided that we would take our mad marketing skills and start doing social media for clients. At the start, this was relatively easy as it was just a dorky LinkedIn profile, a Facebook Profile and a Twitter account that was fed by a blog. BOY did we think we were cutting edge, and dang, looking back was it easy-peasy compared to today. Basic graphics and post some stuff, and BANG you are done.

Today I have to say that if you are NOT a graphics artist or video maven, social media, website design and blogging are out of the reach of most small business owners. We have targeted for our clients the top social media sites that are effective for small business marketing today (I will break out what we recommend below, just remember that if you are reading this tomorrow it may have changed again by then…:)

Blogging for social media marketing

Blogging for social mediaI am a HUGE proponent of blogging for social media marketing. I have this site and get SCADS of opportunities from having a big robust site with lots of content. People find us through SEO (search engine optimization), I have a place to put my speaker stuff, talk about entrepreneur marketing and discuss small business and social media marketing. Because I take the time to write good content and have a strong opinion, people read what I write and I have become an expert in my industry.

Now let’s talk about blogging for the small biz owner. Seriously, who has the time to post 1-2 times per week, getting “pinable” pictures in there for your additional social media sharing (more about “pinability” later)? Additionally, aggregator sites like networked blogs and rss graffiti no longer have the impact of posting so you need to pop over to Facebook and the like to post your entry.

Having a blog means having graphics, the overall look and feel, marketing buttons, and blog post pictures.

Facebook for small business marketing

Social media marketing facebook page and profileOkay, I go back and forth on this one. Originally, we used the customer’s profile (human) to do marketing, then we switched when Facebook launched business pages, and now I am in a quandary. I REALLY like some of the new features of the business pages and you HAVE to have one like the old yellow page ad was mandatory, BUT…and I think this is a HUGE but for our small business people (not corporations, small biz owners) people don’t like to talk to your brand, they like to talk to YOU.

What does this mean marketing-wise? We manage lots of different types of social media, restaurants, resorts, doctors, realtors, art sites, etc. Some of them have great results talking as a page (our restaurants are especially effective this way), but the realtors, spa owners and the like bomb as pages. If you are considering hiring a new hairdresser (ladies, you KNOW what a big deal this is), you don’t care as much about the salon as the service and personality of hairdresser right?) This makes it hard. How much personal information to share while still keeping a professional demeanor.

I share mostly marketing on my Tara Jacobsen profile but do have pictures of my puppy after having tater tots. The tater tots post got a lot of likes and comments, while some of my marketing posts fall on the floor with a thud. Seriously, most people are on the Facebook for socializing and learning more about people, and not so much for buying stuff.

Does this mean you can ignore a page and only use your person, nope! It could change again and you would be WAY behind the curve AND it is just a cost of doing business today. You have to have a presence, both as a person and a business.

Twitter for small business marketing

Social media profile - taradactylEveryone who loves twitter, raise their hand. Okay, the two of you can put your hands down now. But seriously, twitter is a GREAT platform for social media marketing. It allows you to post your message, target specific geographic or cultural users and computers love twitter.

WHAT? Why would computers like Twitter? Twitter has what is called an “open API” which means developers can make programs that pull from twitter. You can hook your blog directly to Twitter and there is nothing to stop it from appearing to all your followers. You can use hashtags (#) to mark your posts as being in #denver or about #marketing.

It is also easy to connect with people on the Twitter. I have “talked” with best selling authors, my marketing heroes and even a politician (accidentally) once.

Google+ for social media marketing

google plus small business marketingGoogle+ is still in it’s infancy. The thing to know about it is that THE GOOGLE owns it. Seriously. Right now, that is all that we need to worry about. You need a business page, you need a profile and you need to post on there.

The other thing you want to do is to start circling people (same as adding friends on the Facebook). You can have 5,000 people in your circles and can target different industries.

As a business tool, right now, it is not that great, but it will be!

YouTube for small business marketing

Videos, that’s right, videos are going to be half of the backbone of the new internet within a few years. People do not have time to read anymore, they want to watch a quick 2 minute video that gets the point across. Think about it, what if I had a video right below here where I TELL you my top pics instead you reading them. I can tell you that I had to CRAM all of this into 2 minutes which was not easy BUT now I will have a place to put a backlink to my blog and you get to “hear” my picks instead of reading them!

Pinterest for small business marketing

Social Media Marketing - PinterestAgain, this is a rather new entry to social media marketing scene and I have heard from more than one person that Pinterest is for women. Not so and I will tell you this one or one like it will be a hot player in the next few years.

So what is pinterst? It is a visual photo sharing site. You can make “boards” with your interests and save things to look at later. So let’s talk about this. I have a board with marketing (of course), a board for good website buttons for future reference, a board on crafting and a board on bees. Most of my repins (sharing on Facebook) come from my success quotes, but I am building a circle of friends on here just like I did on Twitter and Facebook in the past.

WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP

Okay, I know for many of you who have reached the bottom of this page, doing this type of marketing is out of the question time-wise and ability wise (believe me, I KNOW, I was sad this morning thinking about all the changes we would have to make our clients new Facebook business page timelines next week!!!)

That having been said, if you think this is too much to handle and would like to find out how to hire a top-notch social media marketing company, give us a call today to find out more!!! 727-415-9165

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.

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 Marketing Twitter Events

Social media marketing with twitter events is an easy and FREE way to get your event message out there AND to let your attendees know about what is going on in and around your venue.

Social Media Marketing Twitter EventsWhenever I tell my clients and workshop attendees about this they always think that there is something they have to sign up for in able to be able to take advantage of twitter. Not so. All you need to do is let your sponsors and attendees know that you are going to use #eventname. That is the pound sign or hash tag plus your shortened event name.

In the case of the last big event I spoke at, the abbreviation used was #affcon. If you had done a search for that on twitter you would have found a sort of running commentary of what is going on at your venue from attendees who like to use Twitter. Please note, if you would like to find out who is tweeting you MUST do it within a couple of days as Twitter and search.twitter.com do not archive tweets for long after the event.

So, we are having a charity event called 7 Minutes in Marketing Heaven. This is a two part event, one in Colorado in July and one in Florida in August. I will use the same tag #7minutes for both events and will encourage people at the event to “tweet” about it when they are there.

This marketing opportunity is not something that will be available for years, BUT you can…

  • Get additional people to attend
  • Get more free marketing help
  • Schedule tweetups for your guests (by saying something like #7minutes tweetup at Teds 5:30)

Most small business owners are not involved in Twitter on this level so they do not think about using this marketing channel. BUT, just because you are not interested in it does not mean that it cannot help grow your event!

Boulder Social Networking Workshop – March 23

RESCHEDULED FOR APRIL!!!

Small Business Owners, Social Networking is Not A Gimmick, Hype Or A Fad … It’s Just A Smarter Way Of Generating REAL LEADS!

Boulder and Denver Small Business Owners come out and learn social networking like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter the easy way! You will leave class with all of your systems set up the right way AND with tools to use that will make managing your social networking a breeze!

Every Small Business Owner knows that social networking SHOULD be part of their marketing toolbox, but who has the time to spend weeks (or months) getting it set up? What if I told you that you could have your entire social networking empire (including facebook, linkedin and twitter) set up in just four hours, with no stress?

Marketing Expert Tara Jacobsen can show you how to make the most of your time using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

Workshop info:

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

Seating is limited to the first 15 people to respond – don’ t miss out

Social Networking Hands-On Workshops

Here are just a few of the things we will cover….

How social networking works – there is a lot of confusion out there about how to get actual business from social networking
· Why it matters to google
· How it can increase your website traffic

Twitter – simple secrets to automate Twitter entirely while still getting results!
· How to set up your account the right way!
· How to find followers (even in your town)
· Tools to increase your followers
· Hook up your blog

Facebook – pages, groups, profiles, what really works to get more customers!
· Facebook overview
· How to set up facebook the right way
· How to set up your facebook business page
· Adding events
· How to get friends

Linkedin – how to make the most of the opportunity to connect with past friends, clients and customers!
· How to set you your account
· How to get connections the right way
· Linked in groups

How To Track Your Social Networking Progress
· Numbers of followers, friends and connections
· Number of incoming hits
· Setting up a plan for social networking success

On Purpose Networking:
· Goal setting and tracking
· What to write about (hands on idea generating) So how exactly do you get all this great hands-on help?

Social Networking First Responder Advantage

It seems like everyday someone invites me to join a new social network. From Facebook to Twitter to Google and about a gagillion more. So, is it worth your time to fill out all those profiles and does filling them out obligate you to actually USE the site?

Twitter BirdThis is a purely subjective answer based on my experiences, if you find that I have not mentioned one that works great for you or that you feel is awesome, please feel free to post in the comments!

While I don’t participate in every site I sign up for, I do think that there is first responder benefit to joining social networks as early in the process as possible. If I join when there are only two thousand people and it takes off to have fifteen million people later, every person who joins after me has a chance of finding me. If I join at the fifteen million person mark, I have to go find all those people myself.

Additionally, there is a tipping point to everything. Once you have about 500 Facebook friends, suddenly people start asking you to be their friend instead of you having to go find them. The same thing happens on Twitter and LinkedIn, making building large networks easier.

That having been said, I generally only use Facebook and Twitter with any regularity. They have lots of users and are the current media darlings. BUT (and this is HUGE but), do not get complacent and think that if you grow a huge Twitter following that you are set for the next five years. These things come and go in a matter of months or years!

That is why being spread out over a number of different networks can really make a difference to your small business or entrepreneurial online marketing success!!!

Here are just a few of the places that you can post your information online:

Small Business Marketing There is no set it and forget it!

This post about small business marketing is a follow up to “There is no one marketing thing that works“. In that post I gave small business marketers the bad news that there is one marketing thing that works like the old yellow page ads used to. Well get ready for more bad news! If you would rather that the world go back to the way it used to be, then this may not be the post for you.

Loudspeaker SalesmanI LOVE the infomercial pitchmen! They are brilliant at separating you from your money with catchy taglines and REALLY strong call to actions. The best tagline I ever heard was “set it and forget it”. This was for a product that cooked an entire meal for you using one appliance and the salesman had the audience chant that over and over during the commercial.

Neato kitchen appliance notwithstanding, there is no set it and forget it for your small business marketing. Buying a website and blog, then ignoring it for a year will not get you top google rankings. Just setting up a business Fan Page will not grow your sales by thousands. BUT worse than that even, learning to use Facebook or Twitter will not carry you over then next 10 years of marketing.

If you had asked about the biggest social networking site a couple of years ago you would have been talking about MySpace, which has now fallen off the face of the earth marketing-wise in favor of Facebook and Twitter. If you built a state-of-the-art website 3 years ago, you may be surprised to find that an affordable blog may be the best way to drive traffic to your sales page.

Nothing stays still and if you are thinking that you can just “set and forget” your small business marketing, you may find yourself losing ground fast!

Social Networking Workshop February 2nd

Small Business Owners, Social Networking is Not A Gimmick, Hype Or A Fad … It’s Just A Smarter Way Of Generating REAL LEADS!

Tampa Bay Small Business Owners come out and learn social networking like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter the easy way! You will leave class with all of your systems set up the right way AND with tools to use that will make managing your social networking a breeze!

Every Small Business Owner knows that social networking SHOULD be part of their marketing toolbox, but who has the time to spend weeks (or months) getting it set up? What if I told you that you could have your entire social networking empire (including facebook, linkedin and twitter) set up in just four hours, with no stress?

Marketing Expert Tara Jacobsen can show you how to make the most of your time using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

Workshop info:

Where – Snookers – Best Restaurant Tampa Bay
606 North Pinellas Avenue
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Dates & Times – February 2, Noon – 4PM
Class Sponsored By Personalized Marketing
Call Stacy Hansen of Personalized Marketing with any questions 727-505-5384

Cost: ONLY $100

Seating is limited to the first 15 people to respond – don’ t miss out

Social Networking Hands-On Workshops

Here are just a few of the things we will cover….

How social networking works – there is a lot of confusion out there about how to get actual business from social networking
· Why it matters to google
· How it can increase your website traffic

Twitter – simple secrets to automate Twitter entirely while still getting results!
· How to set up your account the right way!
· How to find followers (even in your town)
· Tools to increase your followers
· Hook up your blog

Facebook – pages, groups, profiles, what really works to get more customers!
· Facebook overview
· How to set up facebook the right way
· How to set up your facebook business page
· Adding events
· How to get friends

Linkedin – how to make the most of the opportunity to connect with past friends, clients and customers!
· How to set you your account
· How to get connections the right way
· Linked in groups

How To Track Your Social Networking Progress
· Numbers of followers, friends and connections
· Number of incoming hits
· Setting up a plan for social networking success

On Purpose Networking:
· Goal setting and tracking
· What to write about (hands on idea generating) So how exactly do you get all this great hands-on help?

Internet Marketing – Making the most of your marketing efforts

internet marketing successWhen you start internet marketing, or real life marketing for that matter, you are all fired up. You are going to tweet, and facebook and get a blog and free websites and and and…. Then one of two things happens A) nothing works because you did one thing on each of those mediums or 2) you get lots of business so you stop doing what worked!

The other thing I hear is that small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors don’t have the time to do this kind of marketing. They are too busy running their businesses to do lead generating to get more sales. Sigh. Their ONLY business is getting more customers and prospects! If they have no customers they have no business! So what is a smart marketer to do?

First – Determine what you like to do!

If you like to sit in front of the computer, make sure you are spending your time wisely…

  • Watch TV and follow more people on twitter
  • Take the time to write thoughtful blog posts instead of watching HGTV or Spike
  • Set up multiple twitter accounts in the niches you would like to target
  • Set up multiple blogs in the niches you would like to target
  • Answer your emails
  • Stop removing yourself from lists
  • Set up google alerts to get the latest information and inspiration on what to talk about
  • Get a database like aweber or constant contact and learn how to set it up

If you hate sitting in front of the computer, take 15 minutes a day and do these things

  • Answer your emails from the night before (if it will take more than 1 minute to answer them then put them on your list of things to do and move on)
  • Follow 50 people on twitter using twellow.com
  • Go into Facebook and accept your friend requests then post your status and “talk” to a couple of people on your live feed
  • Add a link from google alerts about something interesting to your fan page

(membership site gang – watch out for a really neat video later this week that shows how to pick your best marketing opps!!!)

Second – Stop Whining

This one is going to be a little bit mean so if you are having a bad day skip it…:) I do SO many things on the internet. I do everything I have suggested and more. I have client work to do, I have articles and blog posts to write, for goodness sake I have over 20 blogs, 5 twitter accounts, 4 Facebook pages, the list goes on and on. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and think that there is too much to do – then I look at the time I am actually spending working. I mean nose down, no phone, no emails, no nothing, just work. It is about 8 hours a day.

Can you say that you are actually working 10, 12, 14 hours a day. Really? When you are honest with yourself, couldn’t you carve out an extra hour (or even 15 minutes) a day to schedule dedicated time to growing your business?

Third – Get help!

Okay, back to being nice..:) When I say help I mean whatever help YOU need. I don’t need much help with setting things up because I am good at it. I have been doing it A LONG time and some things that may seem overwhelming to you are not hard for me. That having been said, balancing my checkbook is too much for me. All those numbers, ick. So – here are some ways you can get help!

  • Hire an assistant (virtual or real) to do some stuff for you. An assistant is only as good as what you need though. I need someone who can make sure I am doing my client work in a timely manner, enter all the people I meet in my database and add people to my membership site. I cannot expect an assistant to fix my blogs when they break (I hire a programmer for that), I cannot expect my assistant to be an accounting wiz (I hire my CPA and bookkeeper for that). DO NOT give your assistant more than they can do technically and DO NOT try to farm out your internet empire to them. If you do not know what to do hire a marketing person to SET UP the systems for your assistant to manage.
  • Learn to use tools – All those twitter accounts I have, most of them update themselves automatically when I post on any of my blogs via twitterfeed.com. Updating all those Facebook pages is super easy with hootsuite.com. I use writers to help with the heavy lifting of content for my niche blogs. I use my database to talk with people all at once. I automatically follow people using socialoomph.com. All these things make it easy to manage multiple accounts BUT I had to set them up first. Get your online empire built the right way and managing it is easy for you or your assistant!
  • Schedule time – Do you see a theme here? If you do not put time in your calendar to do these tasks you will never get them done. Take the first 15 minutes or hour of your day, shut off your phone and do your online marketing (or if you are having an assistant doing it, stop bothering them with “real work” while they are doing it..:)

Anyways – if you are down here, you are probably interested in REALLY starting to do some internet marketing. Congratulations! Your business will thank you and your bottom line will thank you.

Social Networking Workshop – January 14th

Last Social Networking Workshop Until June!
JANUARY 14TH FROM NOON-4PM

Small Business Owners, Social Networking is Not A Gimmick, Hype Or A Fad … It’s Just A Smarter Way Of Generating REAL LEADS!

Marketing Expert Tara Jacobsen can show you how to make the most of your time using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

Every Small Business Owner knows that social networking SHOULD be part of their marketing toolbox, but who has the time to spend weeks (or months) getting it set up? What if I told you that you could have your entire social networking empire (including facebook, linkedin and twitter) set up in just four hours, with no stress?

Workshop info:

Where – ASK Training International
18 Garden Center
Broomfield, CO
United States
80020

Dates & Times – January 14, Noon – 4PM
Class Sponsored By Your Marketing Voice!

Cost: ONLY $100

Seating is limited to the first 12 people to respond – don’ t miss out

Social Networking Hands-On Workshops

Here are just a few of the things we will cover….

How social networking works – there is a lot of confusion out there about how to get actual business from social networking
· Why it matters to google
· How it can increase your website traffic

Twitter – simple secrets to automate Twitter entirely while still getting results!
· How to set up your account the right way!
· How to find followers (even in your town)
· Tools to increase your followers
· Hook up your blog

Facebook – pages, groups, profiles, what really works to get more customers!
· Facebook overview
· How to set up facebook the right way
· How to set up your facebook business page
· Adding events
· How to get friends

Linkedin – how to make the most of the opportunity to connect with past friends, clients and customers!
· How to set you your account
· How to get connections the right way
· Linked in groups

How To Track Your Social Networking Progress
· Numbers of followers, friends and connections
· Number of incoming hits
· Setting up a plan for social networking success

On Purpose Networking:
· Goal setting and tracking
· What to write about (hands on idea generating) So how exactly do you get all this great hands-on help?

Learn how to use Social Networking from Top 10 Internet Tools

Social Networking for Small Business

Social Networking for Small Business

This is not a “how to use social networking” post. It is more a why social networking can help your small business and how you can set up systems that will allow you to use it the right way – not as a stand alone marketing magic pill but as a stable part of your small business marketing plan.

What Kind of Effort Will You Have To Make For Your Social Networking Marketing Success

If you are looking for a get rich quick scheme to do 5 minutes of social networking a week and getting major benefits, you are going to be disappointed. That having been said, it doesn’t take much time to get your social networking set up and then minimal time a day to keep it going.

It should take you about 4 hours to set up Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter plus your other programs that make using them easy. There are some tricks that make a real difference but mostly you need to make sure you:

  • Pick a hub to drive everything to! I drive people back here to Marketing Artfully from Facebook but send people from LinkedIn and Twitter to my Facebook page sometimes instead of right to my site
  • Include a link to your website, blog or whatever you are using as your Hub to send all of your people to
  • Fill out anything they ask you to – many times they use the information in past jobs and volunteer activities to find connections for you
  • Remember to use a call to action that benefits your readers like “check out our information to help you..” or “find out more about making the most of your..”
  • DO NOT try to overtly sell on Social Networking sites, do that by driving people to your home page and then sell there

I offer a social networking how to video series that will help you get up and running fast if you like to do it yourself. NOTE: We offer lifetime updates and will be raising the price to $47 starting January 1st so if you think you are intested in it, please buy now before the price increase – you will get all the new videos too!

What Kinds of Leads Can You Expect To Get

Social networking leads are strong leads! They are from people who have some kind of relationship with you, not just people who stumbled upon your website and filled out a contact us form. Some leads that I got recently are:

  • Digital Pickle – a digital conversion for photos and vhs tapes company to set up their social networking
  • A social networking class attendee who found me through Facebook
  • Blog prospects and LOTS of website hits from twitter!

If you have any great recent social networking success stories, please make sure to leave them in the comments!

What Tools Should You Use To Make Social Networking Easy

The two primary tools that I use to make my social networking easier are Twitterfeed and Hootsuite. These two tools allow me to spend about 15 minutes a day and get great results.

  • Twitterfeed.com – sends all of my blog posts to twitter.com automatically
  • Hootsuite.com – allows me to update all of my social networks at the same time AND also allows me to schedule tweets for later

Overall, it should not take more than a couple of hours a week to keep your social networking updated regularly!

If you would like to have your social networking empire set up for you, we do a $250 social networking setup that makes getting started effortless!

How To Use Email For Marketing | Learn How To Make Hyperlinks

Realtor Marketing – FREE Social Networking Workshop

This is quicky because there are only a few seats left! Join me Friday afternoon in Largo, FL for a FREE Marketing for Realtors Social Networking (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) Workshop.

You will walk away with your social networking sites set up (the right way) and tons of information about how to use these FREE tools to get more buyers and close more deals.

Super Secret Realtor Marketing Info About The Free Workshop

Twitter Tools – How To Use Twitter Effectively!

I have been on a mission to find the ultimate twitter tools to review (and to make twitter time cost effective for my small business!) With that in mind I have researched the best the internet has to offer twitter-wise and have my findings and suggestions here. Now you may be asking yourself, why so much twitter info in one place? Well I have found that if I make a big page like this where I “remember” all I have learned about twitter I don’t have to keep re-learning the same things!

Don’t forget – we also offer a social networking video course that walks you though setting up all your social networks and how to use them to increase your business!

Ultimate FREE Twitter Tool Review

These are the things that I am using or have seen great reviews from others who use them! If you have a great tool I have missed, please feel free to leave a comment and I will check it out – that having been said, don’t try to spam my gang, I moderate your comments and will not publish spammy stuff!

Ping.FM – This is the free tool that I use to update my big three networks on my basic status updates like “writing a twitter review page”. I haven’t found it to be wonderful for sending out links but I think it has that capability.

TweetLater.com – I use this one for my heavy twitter lifting! It allows me to send out a message anytime someone follows me (I drive people to my facebook profile), it automatically follows anyone who follows me AND I could set it up to tweet stuff for me automatically (haven’t done this yet but will soon!) One word of caution – it does allow you to “unfollow” anyone who won’t follow you. I DO NOT recommend this both personally (I live in abundance and that is SO counter-intuitive) and professionally (twitter seems to dis-like this practice and could suspend your account!)

Hootsuite.com – I have heard good things about this service and it seems to be similar to tweetlater.com, I think it is just a matter of preference!

Twitterfeed.com – Twitter Feed sends all the blog posts that I write to twitter AUTOMATICALLY! It was a little convoluted to set up but SO worth the time!!!

TwitterGrader.com – Really neat site that shows how many twitter followers you have over time!

LocalTweeps.com – Cool way to find twitter-ers who are local to your area or your target niche!

http://sur.vey.me/ – Make surveys for twitter, it was SUPER easy. I made one and will update this post with the results!!!

Twixplode.com – Free course from Sean Malarkey on how to grow a twitter following. I am only part way through but got some good info from what he has sent so far! I did not find ANY disgruntled people talking about Sean or his product.

XavierMedia.com – I used this free twitter follower service and did see a small spike in my followers. It works like a pyramid scheme where your name goes at the bottom and more and more people follow you based on how far it gets. It did not seem malicious and worked okay although I am not sure that I got targeted followers.

Hashtags.org – Allows you to see what is trending hot on twitter in real time. It is great for targeting tweets IF that topic is in you niche market!!

Twellow.com – Yellow pages for twitter. A free service and really easy to use!

Tweetadder.com – Free to $55 – seems to be a really good service. I have not used it yet but will update the post when I get more info!

WeFollow.com – Free service, you can add yourself to, it doesn’t seem to help all that much until you have a bunch of followers.

Paid Twitter Tool Recommendations

Opennetworker.com -Top Linked’s networking arm. I used the free Top Linked in Linked In for a while and got okay results. You have to manually invite people and there is no twitter alternative. I paid about $50 for year membership to Open Networker and WOW – I have doubled my linked in and gotten about 500 new twitter followers in the first couple of days. If you are going to pay for something – this is REALLY GOOD!

TwitterPowerSystem.com – Sells for $77 and seems to be a good source of information! Will update with more info if I buy it!

Social Networking Videos By Marketing Artfully – I SO recommend these for new social networkers! (they are mine!)

Not So Impressed With Twitter Tools

Disclaimer – I have not bought or used and of these tools and so am just going by the other things that I have seen out there. Please know that being on this part of the list DOES NOT mean that these tools are evil or not worth purchasing, they are just not what I would choose to spend my money on!

TwitterTrafficMachine – only $25 and claims to be able to help you get thousands of followers AND has a great affiliate program. I found some pretty harsh criticism about it so cannot recommend it to my tribe.

Tweetergetter – this one is about $9 and claims that you will tens of thousands of followers. Again, harsh words were spoken and so not a fan favorite over here.

Twitter4Marketing – This one charges a sliding scale for how many twitter followers you want from $80 to $360. I have to stand my Open Networker recommendation above since you get twitter and linked in for one price!

Lop.net – Charges ONE THOUSAND dollars per month. Nuff said.

Twitter Day – How to use twitter for your small business!

So I am determined to get some value out of twitter and social networking for my business! With that in mind I have set out on a mission to figure out how to make twitter work for me and my tribe…:)

These are my twitter numbers right now (I did follow a bunch of people this morning so that number is a little skewed!) 963 Followers, 1060 Following

Now I have to say to start, if you are just getting into twitter this will be a little harder for you. I have been on twitter for a while and so have updates that people can see and decide to follow me. If you are new make sure you (1) set up a twitter account, (2) post some updates relevant to your business and (3) follow some other people (they will probably follow you back!).

Here are some of the things I have done to get more followers and actually make twitter work for me!

  1. Followed a bunch of people directly from Twitter – FREE
  2. Signed up for Xavier Media’s get more followers program – FREE
  3. Signed up for Tweet Later which sends a message out automatically for me to ask people to be my Facebook friend also (if you would like to learn more about this, I wrote about it on my marketing artfully facebook page, while you are there, make sure to become a fan!) – FREE
  4. Signed up for some groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that allow you to post your twitter link (it looks like this http://www.twitter.com/taradactyl) – FREE

If I do anything else I will make sure to post it here but for now I am all tweeted out!

Social Networking and Blogs – How Do They Get You More Business?

Join Twitter and get a tons of money, be a Facebook user and get a million clients, get LinkedIn and EXPLODE your business, or build your blog and get a gagillion readers!!! If that is how you think it works then this is probably not the post for you! You WILL be disappointed. Using the internet is just like real life, getting new customers and growing your business is hard work.

So how can you REALLY get new business on the internet using blogs and social networking? I am going to tell you some stories from my experience, you can then extrapolate them to your business!

GETTING AN INTERVIEW WITH WOMENOF.com

So I blew into town (Westminster, CO) with my marketing roadshow and decided to re-build my marketing business here in Colorado. To meet people I joined the Elle Group – a networking group for small business owners. I have met close to 100 small business owners face-to-face thus far. At one of those sessions I got invited to another networking session and said “yes I would go”. I met a girl named Tara there who is big on Facebook. I became her Facebook friend. 

that is the first online thing – you CANNOT grow your business sitting at home in front of a computer, sometimes you have to meet humans!

She posted a message telling us to ask about marketing opportunites with WomenOf.com. I asked. She had a fellow call me and, long story short, I am being interviewed for an online video on Monday! WHOO WHOO – how fun!!! The three pivot points in this story are “friending” Tara, being open to talking with her about opportunities and having a great blog. When they went online and checked me out to see if I should be interviewed, they found this blog and validated their decision because of the information that I have here about marketing!

GETTING BUTTS IN THE SEATS AT MY EVENTS

When I speak I like having humans there! In the past when I wanted to invite people, I would make a flyer, send some emails and wonder if anyone was showing up.

Now I use Facebook and LinkedIn to send a messages about my event to people who are my “friends” or “connections”, who have already raised their hands and said they are interested in hearing from me. The amazing thing to me is that is just the tip of the iceburg! Once a person who is in my sphere accepts, the programs tell everyone in their sphere. 

Last month I taught Social Networking in Clearwater and my buddy Brian P. Forrester, the mortgage man, said that he was going to be coming. One of his connections saw that and came too! It was amazing that on a Wednesday afternoon in Clearwater I could get about 25 people into a room to hear me speak! 

So what is the moral of the story? Social networking will not make you a galillionaire overnight. You will still have to network with humans. BUT there are tools out there that exponentially increase your message and if you are not taking advantage of them, you are leaving business on the table!

Want to save yourself time getting started? Check out our social networking how to videos!

Building A Community – How it helps your social networking, email list and life!

How can you build a community, online and offline? According to Miriam Webster a community is “the people with common interests living in a particular area”. In the past your community was limited by proximity and by who you could meet face-to-face. If you wanted to meet someone new you had to ask a friend for an invitation or hope for a chance meeting.

The internet has changed the definition of community! With social networking, blogs and email we are able to have a MUCH bigger community that is not limited by proximity. That having been said, meeting humans face to face is still a great way to build community and your online influence!

Ways to build an in-person community

  1. Your family and friends - when you are thinking of community you sometimes forget your closest connections. During the days when I was a (successful) realtor, my husband generated many of my leads through his work friends. I asked him to find out who would let me send them info about the real estate market in Clearwater and then contacted them through email, direct mail and popbys (fun treats I sent into work).
  2. Networking with humans - I recently moved to the Denver and Boulder area and had zero friends or contacts. I checked on meetup.com for local networking events that were related to business and have been able to add close to one hundred new contacts to my database and found a few really great contacts that may turn into friends. In the past this process would have taken YEARS instead of about 8 weeks. One note – don’t jump on new networking friends with your message…meet them, show them you will continue to come back and then ease into your message. No one likes to be SOLD HARD when they are networking!
  3. Teach classes - I teach social networking classes to anyone who will listen. I am setting up an internet mastermind group that will teach all kinds of online money making skills. I teach realtors how to service their listings. Basically if I can get 5 people to hold still I will start up a class…:) So how does that help? I add them to my database, I am an authority in whatever I am teaching, AND I stay in contact with them through my bi-monthly newsletters.

Ways to build an online community

  1. Join social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter! These allow you to add people from your real-life networking AND will let you connect with new people that are not geographically desirable but who are interesting and a potential client or referral source for your business.
  2. Start a blog – A blog pushes information about your business to potential clients. NO ONE will read repetitive sales ads but LOTS of people may be interested in learning more about your specialty. You are reading this post (I assume) because you are a small business owner who is interested in growing their business. If you are looking for cooking tips sign up to read updates from a cooking site, if you are selling mortgages, health care products or lawn furniture start an informative blog and find people who are interested in that!
  3. Start an email list. These are people who expect regular communication from you. Again, I cannot stress this enough, they expect information that is helpful to them or interesting NOT sales ads! It doesn’t matter how often you communicate with them, some do once a day, some do twice a month like I do. Make sure you send them relevant info AND include a call to action – sell something, grow your facebook page fans, ask for an appointment, whatever as long as you have a REASON for communicating with them in addition to the info!

Well that is it! Do that and you WILL succeed. People will be in your corner and will want to help you grow your business AND you can help grow theirs!!!

Free Marketing – Small Business Owners Best Friend

What a time we live in! Marketing is free, I am SO happy about that and so confused that more businesses are not leveraging these channels.

Some history…in 1999 I worked at Digital Chainsaw, an internet company, where we built websites for small businesses. Many of these companies had no online presence and were trying to be early adopters. The cost to do the blueprint for the site (NOTHING was built) was $1,000 and the cost of building the site was from $20,000-$40,000. Now don’t get me wrong, there are still some businesses that have to have professionally built websites with big back-end programming, but most small businesses do not. The last thing about that time to tell you, it was deep in the heart of the tech boom and small business start-up money was flowing freely!

Fast forward 10 years to a new business start-up (if you are not doing marketing you are a start-up no matter how old your company is). I talk to more and more small business owners that do not have ANY resources for marketing. And THAT IS OKAY! I can’t even believe I can say that but it is true.

Today we are going to talk about FREE MARKETING! Upcoming posts will talk about low cost marketing and then big money marketing  – which still will not come close to the $20,000 that used to be the norm!

FREE MARKETING IDEAS!

  • Blogs – today you can have a blog set up in minutes for free! I suggest starting with www.wordpress.com but www.blogger.com works and is my geeky husband’s favorite. You can add widgets, customize the blog with your logo and get your marketing message out there! The drawback, for me, on free blogs is that it is hard to put contact forms on free blogs which will be part of our moderate pricing marketing. If you want to skip the free blog and go to the medium priced blog. I recommend a self-hosted wordpress blog for as low as $500!
  • Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – These social media sites allow you to put up a profile, communicate with your customers and friends, post links to your blog posts and set up FREE event notifications. They allow you to build a community around your brand and I can’t tell you how many referrals I have businesses get while watching my “friends”. If you would like to find out more, check out our social networking video series (not free but VERY affordable!)
  • FREE Websiteswww.wetpaint.com, www.squidoo.com and other sites will allow you to put a free page on the subject of your choice. When I was a realtor in Dunedin Florida a few years ago I put up this page, years later it is still there AND if you do a search on Squidoo for Dunedin real estate, my page is the only page. Do a search for Dunedin screen printing and NOTHING comes up, same for Dunedin Lawyer, Accountant, and cleaning. Imagine if you had the Tampa Bay area sewn up for your local business? What would that do for your bottom line? AND google LOVES these sites!

So these are my three best FREE marketing ideas. They cost you nothing but time and provide BIG results! If you have some other free ideas let me know in the comments…:)

Social Networking, Blogging and Sanity

How do you keep up with all your social networking and blogging? I use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, digg, Plaxo, Thrive Contact System, Marketing Artfully and Active Rain often. It drives TONS of traffic to my websites, adding more people to my email database which means more people to talk to about my services and speaking gigs!

Here are some of the easy things I do to make all of that a little easier – commonly known as a system!

SOCIAL NETWORKING
It is VERY fun to watch what your friends and business associates are doing and finding new information on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo and Twitter and I check most of these once or twice a day. BUT if you are using these to lead generate for your business it is also important to be “on purpose” when you are using these sites. Here are some do’s and do not’s that I follow:

  • DO – Make sure to post links to your blog posts (see below)
  • DO – Update your status with new products and services that you are offering
  • DO – Make comments on your friends’ and business partners’ status
  • DON’T – Spam them with self-serving updates multiple times a day (putting links to great information is NOT spamming, posting every one of your products or listings over and over is)
  • DON’T – Put ANYTHING on there that you would not want your best customer to see – the internet never forgets!

BLOGGING
My goal is to blog on one of each of these everyday. I am not always successful BUT the goal is there and I generally get an email everyday that some kind of lead – either for a marketing consult, a referral to one of my business partners or just someone who wants more information about a service I offer. A lead a day is 365 over the course of the year and helps to feed my pipeline!

  • Marketing Artfully – My main site and the one that I spend the most time on. It has all my product offerings, my shopping cart and is where I send the most people. WHAT I DO: When I write a post here I then add it as a link on Facebook, I often write a mini-post over on Active Rain to drive people back here to read the full post, sometimes I digg it and it automatically goes to Twitter and from there to Plaxo.
  • Thrive Contact System – This is one of our products and I post info on Database Marketing, Systems and (surprisingly enough) client contacts. I am not as vigilant about this one as I should be BUT it still gets some good organic search traffic and is on the list. WHAT I DO: When I write a post there I then add it as a link on Facebook, sometimes I digg it and it automatically goes to Twitter and from there to Plaxo.
  • Taradactyl on Active Rain – This one sends LOTS of people my way. It is full of Realtors, Mortgage Pros and Title people (one of my target markets) and I should be WAY more aggressive about posting there! WHAT I DO: Because it is a feeder for my Marketing Artfully blog I don’t tend to do more than write a post BUT it does automatically feed to Twitter and from there to Plaxo.

Hopefully this will help you get your arms around all this work and you can see that it does not have to be overwhelming AND can help generate more business for your business!

Twitter and Google Great Lead Generating Tools

People ask me ALL the time how they can do the things that I recommend! Whether I am saying that they should comment on other people’s blog posts, read lots of different blogs or sign up for Twitter, frequently they say that they have NO TIME for all that “work” on the internet!

Well I can honestly say that Twitter is one of the easiest ways to add to your lead generating tool box! Just go to www.twitter.com and sign up.

Some suggestions:

  • Pick a good name that people will either recognize (I am TARAdactyl of course) or is descriptive of your business like the MeekTeam or is descriptive of your industry like REMarketer.
  • Have a good picture or avatar, I can’t tell you how many faces I see that are not recognizable but I sure knew when the bloodhound blog guys come by as they have a droopy old bloodhound as their picture.
  • Fill out your profile – if someone does come by to check you out you need to make sure you sound interesting. For the meantime, just put something, you can come back and finesse this later if you don’t have time now!

To keep track of all the blogs I like I have a secret! I use Google’s free tool to have my homepage show me things that I might find interesting. If I am super busy I just hop on the regular Google search and do whatever is needed BUT if I am looking for great posts to comment on or ideas to jump off of for a blog post – nothing is better!

I have done a video to show you how to use Twitter to lead generate and how to add a site into the Google homepage reader – enjoy!

For more great Lead Generating Tips visit Thrive Client Contact System!