Mar03 Why You Need a Social Media Strategy Plan

Why You Need a Social Media Strategy Plan

Jumping into social media without a strategy is like plunging into 10-foot waves without a life jacket. You can do it, but you’ll get pretty beat up in the process and could abandon the adventure as being too much trouble than it’s worth. Ah, but it IS worth it – and with just a little advance planning to create a social media strategy, it can help you get your business where you want it to be.  Back in the old days, our customers came from our neighborhoods, from people we saw in our shops, at church, while grabbing a quick bite to eat at our favorite restaurants and while hanging out at community events. These days, our “community” is so much larger. Consider this: More than 2.4 billion people have Internet access throughout the world. More than 85% of Americans use the Internet today. Approximately 90% use the Internet to research buying decisions. Fully 72% of Americans use social media – more than double since 2008, and most of them are women (74%). At last count, there were more than 300 social media sites in use around the world. These are all pretty good reasons to make social media a big piece of our business plan – and why we need a solid social media strategy to take advantage of them. How to do you figure out your strategy? The first thing is to fully understand your ideal client and where they hang out. If you sell mostly to women,… Read More

Dec09 Working On Your Business vs. Working In It

Working On Your Business vs. Working In It

  As business owners, so many of us play multiple roles within our companies. We open shop, close shop, answer the phones, meet with potential clients, put together proposals, manage existing clients, send and track invoices, manage the accounting, and the list goes on and on. And before we forget, let’s also note that there’s a little thing call social media marketing that many people try and fit in!  In between all of that work and MORE, we try and find time to “do the work” while we’re not running around half the time like chicken’s with our heads off. With social media playing an increasing role in how we do things on a daily basis, one of the age old questions that business owners always ask me is “how to keep up” and find time to manage everything. By “manage everything”, what am I referring to? Well, there’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, and oh yeah, let’s not forget about managing your website and blogs correct? With all the activities involved in each one of these social media platforms, how is a person to find time to work “on” their business vs. strictly “in” the business? This is a traditional question that I get all the time from entrepreneurs. They constantly wonder how to manage their social media while still finding a balance between managing the day to day operations AND growing the business strategically. For many, this can be a difficult ball to juggle as there… Read More

Sep30 Do You Make These Email Marketing Mistakes?

Do You Make These Email Marketing Mistakes?

Do You Make these 7 E-Mail Marketing Mistakes?    Have you heard the latest news about LinkedIn? Normally I love sharing everything that’s new about social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc., but I have to say, this is the kind of news that really gets under my skin. It might not be true. But if it is, I think there’s a lot of people with the right to be pretty angry. What I’m talking about is last week’s announcement of a class action lawsuit against LinkedIn. There’s a growing group of people who believe that the business-themed social network might have harvested email addresses from their contacts in order to send out marketing e-mails without their consent. LinkedIn denies this of course. But I think this brings up something important about your e-mail marketing. There are some pretty specific rules for what you can and can’t do with your e-mail marketing. And a surprising number of people don’t realize that those rules are actually in the form of laws (the CAN-SPAM act)!  As in, if you break the laws, not only will you anger the people on your e-mail list, but you could set yourself up for fines and lawsuits! Thanks but no thanks! So – in a nutshell, here are the 7 things you must know about how you do your email marketing. #1 – You can’t use misleading information in the header of the e-mail. You’ve got to be honest with the people receiving your… Read More

Sep09 How to Brand Yourself (Even if You Don’t Have a Million Bucks)

How to Brand Yourself (Even if You Don’t Have a Million Bucks)

  Are you avoiding branding yourself because you think it’s just for the big businesses?  Think again – with some simple tips, you can harness the power of visual branding for less than you might think.  Here’s how. 1.       Know your brand It sounds silly, doesn’t it? I mean, if you’re reading this, you probably have an idea of your brand – your name, maybe an idea for a logo, and what it is that you do or sell. But when it comes to branding yourself, that’s just barely scratching the surface!  In fact – one of the items on the list that I just mentioned really needs to come after you truly know your brand, inside and out. Branding yourself effectively means that you know inside and out what your brand stands for. You know its history – both the highlights and the struggles.  You know what kinds of values are important to your brand and the people who work for you, whether contractor or employee. These days, the best branding comes from people who can tell the story of their brand most effectively and consistently.  Stories have beginnings and middles – but in this case, hopefully not an end just yet!  There are chapters and themes. And anything you do that visually represents your brand (like the design of your web page or Twitter background or the actual verbal content on your page) needs to come from an understanding of those pieces of your brand’s story. 2.       Work… Read More

Aug26 Is Your Brand Acting Social or Being Social?

Is Your Brand Acting Social or Being Social?

  Is your brand acting social or are you being social? You might think this is just a matter of semantics. It might sound like I’m nitpicking, and you might think that this is a distinction that really doesn’t matter to anyone except people like me who do branding and marketing for a living. If that’s how you’re approaching using social media marketing to build your brand, chances are good that you’d also tell me that social media just isn’t working. That you’re doing all the things you’re supposed to be doing to “do social media,” but that your audience just isn’t responding and you’re not seeing enough of a return on your investment to make it worth your time. The problem is this:  Social media isn’t something you can “act as if.”  You can’t just decide to do the things you’re supposed to do on social media just like a checklist, do the minimum necessary, and then expect to see a result. As a side note – don’t get me wrong – I think checklists can be a very useful tool to help you develop efficient systems to manage your social media marketing. But if you use this approach to rigidly define how you should interact with people, you could seriously end up coming off like a fake. Have you ever gone to a party and met someone who just seemed fake? Maybe they seemed interested in you only enough to start telling you about what they do or… Read More

Jul01 Instagram Video: Your Brand’s 15 Seconds of Fame

Instagram Video: Your Brand’s 15 Seconds of Fame

Once upon a time, Andy Warhol declared that in the future, everyone would have 15 minutes of fame.  Well, I'm not sure about 15 minutes, but Instagram seems to have figured out a way for anyone to increase their brand's exposure, 15 seconds at a time. In case you missed it, Instagram has added videos to its offerings (called Video, perfectly enough).  And in true Instagram style, once you've taken your video, you can then apply one of their filters to give it an artistic, professional appearance.  You can also splice several segments and use a stabilizer to smooth out any shakiness.  And in a pretty cool move, you even get control over which frame from your video becomes its cover image on Instagram. This is fantastic news for brands of all sizes.  Without adding a whole new platform to master and schedule(*whew* and thank you, Instagram!), it adds some pretty impressive new marketing tools to the toolboxes of social media marketers.  How can you use Instagram to leverage your brand's 15 seconds of fame most effectively? #1 – Use a hashtag A hashtag is a way to tag your content so people looking for that kind of content can find it more easily. For example, a keyword that is only a word long could be a great hashtag.  You could ask your followers to post images related to your product or service and to mark them with a hashtag to keep them all together.  You might even make a… Read More