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10 Ways To Build Your Online Reputation

This post is updated from December, 2010.

Social media presents a unique opportunity for anyone to develop a personal or business reputation to build their careers, boost sales and increase relationships. The key is to leverage the tools of the Social Media to effectively build your online reputation. You need to understand what your goals and intentions are in order to be successful.

Here are 10 ways you can be successful in this journey, so you can achieve your short and long term goals rather than waste time:

1. Be aware.Continually listen to conversations happening across the Web related to your career or business and learn from the content you read, listen to, or view online. Social media success depends as much on listening as it does on publishing.

2. Be focused.Define your niche and focus the majority of your social media participation on conversations and content related to that area of focus. A focused brand is more powerful than a broad brand. Always lead with your strengths on the social media and be consistent in your content and conversations in order to successfully build your online reputation.

3. Be authentic.Your social media participation is useless if your content and conversations read like corporate rhetoric or a promotional brochure. Instead, be real and be human. Imagine you’re speaking with your audience in person rather than online and adjust your content and tone to match your target audience’s needs and expectations for you based on your brand promise. This is where videos can be a great tool for people to really know who you are.

4. Be trustworthy.Honesty is an essential part of building your online reputation using the tools of the social media. Transparency isn’t just a buzz word, it’s a strategic imperative, which should apply to your social media participation as well as all other aspects of your career or business.

5. Be meaningful.The content you publish on social media must be useful and meaningful to your target audience or there is no reason for them to read it or start a dialogue with you about it. Furthermore, if your content doesn’t add value to your audience’s lives, they won’t talk about it and share it with their own audiences.

6. Be “non-self-promotional.”No one will want to read your content or interact with you on the social media if your content and conversations read like a marketing pitch. Follow the 90-10 rule of marketing and spend 90% or more of your time in social media activities that are not self-promotional and only 10% or less on activities that are self-promotional. When you do want to directly try to get more exposure to build your online reputation, you can do so without annoying other people.

7. Be accessible and responsive.An important part of building your online reputation via social media participation is understanding that it’s not all about you. Instead, you need to spend a great deal of time acknowledging other people on the social media in order to build a relationship with them. In other words, they need to understand that you care about them, too. You need to respond to questions, comments on your blog, tweets, and so on.

8. Be reciprocating.You can’t expect people to reach out to you and share your content on the social media and not return the favor. If someone engages with you on your blog, Twitter, Facebook or another social media destination, then you can’t ignore that person — just as you wouldn’t ignore someone in a face-to-face situation. For example, you also need to leave comments on other people’s blogs, share their content on Twitter and Facebook, and more. You can’t operate in a silo on the social media and expect to be successful.

9. Be uncontrolling.The thought of giving up control and letting your content, conversations and name spread across the Web can be frightening. However, without the sharing of content and interactive dialogue that happens on social media, your online reputation cannot develop. You have to be willing to give up control and let people share and talk about you and your content in order for your online reputation to grow. Don’t worry about negative buzz about you, your brand, or your business. There is always a way to react to negativity on the social media.

10. Be involved.Don’t spend all of your time in one place. While quality is more important than quantity when it comes to building an authentic reputation online, you do need to spread your wings and be social. Focus on other avenues such as a blog, YouTube, Google Buzz, Backlinks, and much more. You need to use all aspects of Internet Marketing in order to see return.

10 ways to build your online reputation: 10 ways you can be successful in this journey, so you can achieve your short and long term goals rather than waste time.

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Putting Together a Social Media Schedule

This is updated from a post on Oct 26, 2010.

One of the most important parts of being active in the social media world is taking responsibility for your Facebook, Twitter, and any other internet marketing outlets you have. When we put our posts out and we like other peoples posts that is a good start to taking responsibility. When we send out Newsletters or email marketing campaigns we want other people to read them right?

Well it is a two sided road; I mean we all have to put in our efforts to read other peoples stuff as well. My tip for that is picking your inner circle of people and people you have made a power partner and start by reading their newsletters and/or emails. The same thing goes with our social media posts. We want people reading our post, tweets, events, questions etc. also emailing us wanting to work with us or learn more about what we do. We have to do that with others. The one thing I always say about social media is it brings people, communities, and companies together all over the world.

So how do we do that? It is easy . . . we put together a weekly schedule and then we implement it into our routine just like checking emails, and making calls.

Monday- Using www.Hootsuite.com schedule your posts to go out onto your Facebook personal page, Facebook business page, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Ping.fm. Using my post before this one to help first create your strategy so you know what you need to post on your social media profiles and when. (Schedule an hour and a half to start)

Tuesday- Login to Facebook and add 10 people into your business list, research these people. Find people that have common interest or maybe looking for your services and put them into the business list you created. Then get onto Twitter or Twellow and search for your Keywords or location. You can search for people using keywords or type in keywords people would use to find YOU and add 50 people. (Schedule about 45 min to start, once you get the hang of it you can probably get it done in 30 min)

Wednesday– Spend some time on LinkedIn checking emails and finding people you may know and ask them to connect with you. (Schedule 45 min)

Thursday- Login to Facebook and add 10 people into your business list, research these people. Find people that have common interest or maybe looking for your services and put them into the business list you created. Then get onto Twitter or Twellow and search for your Keywords or location. You can search for people using keywords or type in keywords people would use to find YOU and add 50 people. (Schedule about 45 min to start, once you get the hang of it you can probably get it done in 30 min)

Friday – Repeat what you have done Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We are going to add another step into today, Once you are done adding people on Facebook and Twitter you want to go back to Facebook and go to your page, under your logo you will find a tab that says “Suggest to Friends” Click on that and then click the drop down tab to your list you made once that list pulls up on the top right hand side it will say “Select All” hit that and then send invitations. What this is doing is asking all the people you have been adding as friends to become a fan of your page!

Now this is what I do and share with people you are more than welcome to move it around however it works for you. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions of things that have helped you. I look forward to hearing from you.

Putting together a weekly social media schedule: ne of the most important parts of being active in the social media world is taking responsibility for your Facebook, Twitter, and any other internet marketing outlets you have. When we put our posts out and we like other peoples posts that is a good start to taking responsibility. When we send out Newsletters or email marketing campaigns we want other people to read them right?

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Internet Marketing: Power of the “Wall”

The other day I was speaking with a new client and she brought up an interesting point . . . have you ever thought of this? Years and years ago we used a “wall” to communicate with the world.

People would write on walls and rocks telling their stories, telling about their journey, what to expect and educating each other. Now millions of years later we have started to use a “wall” on Facebook and Twitter to communicate; sharing our stories now, what we have learned, how we can educate and help people across the world. Obviously our way now is a lot faster and e bit easier. Interesting how things come around.

What’s that saying, “don’t reinvent the wheel”?  Thinking of how a “Wall” has always been a way to communicate across the world to others, back then it took a lot longer and was much more artistic in a way.   Now we have the world at our finger tips and we are only a “wall” post away from communicating with people all over the world.

When I entered the Internet Marketing world it seemed so surreal to me, being able to send emails, instant messaging, pictures, documents, etc so fast and being able to do business with people all over the world.  They did not even have to be in the same city as me as the internet it allows us to do business everywhere! That is the beauty of Internet Marketing, we are able to now grow our businesses nationwide and build those relationships in order to do that.

Internet Marketing can work wonders for your business if you provide a service that you can do from anywhere or have an online store that people can order from anywhere. Have you ever read the book “The 4 hour work week” or “Beach Money”? These books talk about being able to have an online business where you can work from wherever you are and all you need is a computer and internet access.  They talk about setting your business up in such a way where you are earning residual income so you do not have to be sitting in front of the computer 24/7 working. If you set up your Internet Marketing plan correctly,  you can do this with your business as well!

I challenge you this week to take a look at your Internet Marketing strategy and see if it includes the following things:

  • Social Media Plan (Facebook, Facebook Page, Twitter, and LinkedIn)
  • Have a real blog (wordpress or blogger)
  • YouTube Channel
  • Posting Blogs and video blogs at least once a week
  • Using other online tools like; Google Maps, Yelp, Four Square, Plaxo etc.
  • Making sure you have your backlinks set up to your blog ( You can use Squidoo for this)
  • Educating people via your blog posts and social media posts

If you need help figuring out an Internet Marketing plan I would love to assist you. I look forward to seeing more of you online.

Power of the wall

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Signs You Need to Outsource Your Digital Marketing

Online Marketing

As a founder of a growing company, you may feel that you need to do everything yourself to ensure that it is done right. We understand the buzz of excitement that keeps you going, even when you’re exhausted. We understand the passion you feel for what you do. But sometimes, outsourcing certain parts of your business is the way to go, especially if you have too much on your plate.

Here are some strong indicators that you need to outsource your digital marketing.

You don’t have the right skills

Many of you are probably familiar with social media marketing and search engine optimization. But the question is, do you know how to use them to grow your business? If not, consider getting professional help to harness the power of the internet and grow your business. Yes, you may have to spend money, but hiring an experienced marketer will help maximize the potential and profitability of your business.

You’re overexerted

As a small business owner, you have grown accustomed to doing everything on your own. As your business grows, you try to put in more hours hoping to tackle everything on your to-do list. After a few weeks, you show up to work feeling defeated because you know there is no way you you’ll be able to get all of those tasks done. You’re overexerted. It’s time to find someone who can help you manage your digital marketing.

You get a lot of traffic, but your sales are not increasing

If you’re not witnessing any growth in your sales, it isn’t always due to a poor sales force. In most cases, this is due to ineffective marketing. Maybe you should look into hiring an outside agency to help increase your sales and revenue.

An experienced marketer can help by looking at your current strategy, letting you know what you’re doing wrong and providing some suggestions on how to get your sales back on track.

 

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How to Use Pinterest to Attract Customers

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With over 70 million users, Pinterest is considered as one of the fastest growing social networking sites. Armed with that information, it is safe to say that Pinterest is just as important as Twitter and Facebook when using social media to reach your target market.

Since Pinterest is all about graphic images, your goal is to create visual images that your customers would enjoy. The more appealing an image is, the more likely it is to generate attention.

So, how can you use Pinterest to attract and engage customers? Here are some tips to get you started.

Build boards around your products

If you own a restaurant, there’s no better way to attract new customers by showing off your dishes. Be sure to create a collection of boards for each of your specialties. After all, food is the main attraction of your restaurant. So, focus on your menu.

Become an information curator

As an online curator, your job is to gather and organize all the best images related to your topic and present them to your virtual audience. When done the right way, people will see you as an industry expert and will eventually consider you as a go-to source for cool images and content.

Add compelling descriptions

If your goal is to capture the attention of customers, you shouldn’t stop at creating visually compelling content. Adding a description is just as important.

Since you’re using SEO to promote your site, why not use it as well to promote your Pinterest page. Use keywords in your titles, tags and pin boards. This is important as it makes it easier for people to find your content.

Engage with other users

The whole point of social networking is socializing. So, engage with customers, strategic partners and industry vendors by tagging them in your descriptions. Another way to interact with other users is to like their pins. This can be a way of telling them that you appreciate their content. Plus, it can help you build a following and convert fans into buyers.

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Your LinkedIn Group Guide

LinkedIn is becoming a vital marketing resource for businesses. Make sure that as a small business owner you are taking in all the opportunities LinkedIn has to offer you.

The beauty of LinkedIn is that it is full of resources. You can join groups that are full of professionals in your industry. Then you can use these groups to get product or service feedback, network, and even connect with future business partners or employees. In addition to creating a personal LinkedIn account, you should also establish a company page on LinkedIn for your business.

If you are considering starting a group on LinkedIn, here are some tips that will help you take full advantage of all of LinkedIn’s opportunities as a group leader.

If you choose to begin your own LinkedIn group, you have the option of creating a closed or open group. An open group allows any member to contribute and is visible to the public. A closed group is private and requires a user to be accepted to the group before contributing. When making your choice, consider that an open group will clearly grow faster, but it is also likely the group could be prone to spam.   Alternatively, a closed group will grow more gradually. Yet, the members will be much more targeted. Consider how you want your group to be seen and used when making this decision.

Remember that you started this group, so you must be a part of it. Be active and let your presence be known to your members  – it will help you network rapidly.

As the leader of the group, remember that you can make rules – this is a power that should be taken seriously. If there is an unruly member of the group, you can remove them. On the flip side, if there is a member that is a great contributor to your group, be sure to acknowledge them!

One huge advantage to creating a group is that you can send weekly announcements out to your members! This is an opportunity for you to contact your members directly. Just be careful to fill those messages with useful information – you want to ensure that your followers actually engage with the message (not just overlook it as spam).

There are countless opportunities on LinkedIn that may be of benefit to your company – capitalize on it!

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10 Ways to Use Google Plus for Marketing

This is an awesome article I wanted to share:

It was just a matter of time before Google created some real competition for Facebook. My prediction for Google Plus is that the technically more savvy and early adopters will flock to it, while the majority of people will continue with Facebook. However, there is much to be said about an early mover advantage yet! And, since Google rules the search engines, it may well be in your interest to setup a home on Google Plus. Here are 10 ways you can market using Google Plus. Keep in mind that Google Plus profiles do NOT yet exist for brands and businesses. They will add this in time, but for now, you, as an individual, can make the most of it.

1. Setup a solid profile. Your entire Google Plus experience starts with the profile. Just like on Facebook, your profile is key, so spend some time building it correctly. Start with a good headshot. And, if you think the advice is commonplace, just look at some of the pictures on Google Plus now. When you show up in people’s steams, all they will see is a thumbnail. So, choose something where you really stand out. Craft your introduction well. Make it so that people would want to add you to their circles. And, Google Plus allows for live links in the introduction itself, so make the most of it. Add links to your website, blog, LinkedIn profile, etc.

2. Add relevant and remarkable images. My hunch is that Google will index the pictures you share (unless you’ve kept them private). So, use images you want found in the search engines. If you are a speaker, add pictures of you speaking. An author? Add pictures of you at your book signing. The idea is to convey the right brand image.

3. Make sure your profile is OPEN to search. This is key, since Google reigns supreme in the search world, the chances are that your profiles will be indexed VERY quickly. When you hit edit profile, the very last item on your profile is “Search Visibility.” Make sure you have checked the box that says “Help others find my profile in Search Results.”

4. Optimize the links to the right of the profile using keywords. Again, a great SEO feature. What are the chances that Google will value these links highly? Pretty good, I’d say. If only to encourage people to use Google plus. On the right hand side of your profile, you can add links and the text that goes with it. Make sure you use the RIGHT keywords to connect to your website. For example, our link to the Marketing Zen homepage uses the phrase “online marketing.”

5. Use “Circles” to communicate with clients, prospects, media, etc. This is perhaps Google Plus’ greatest selling point. Most people’s lives have layers – professional, personal, acquaintances, etc. And, Google Circles allow you to make the most of the layers. For example, you can create a circle for prospective clients. And, then cater specifically to them with industry news, a solid case study, etc. (Tip: While Google will inform a person that you have added them to a circle, it won’t tell them which circle.)

6. Use +, Comments, and Share to boost relationships. At the heart of all good social media marketing and networking lies the power of relationships. As you interact with others, show support for their ideas. The +1 on Google is akin to “Like” on Facebook. You can also +1 and comment when you see fit, and you can also SHARE within your own stream.

7. Add videos to your profile. If only from an SEO perspective, the chances of your videos being indexed into Google’s search is higher. So, if you have online video, share it. If you are still missing the online video boat, go to Dave for some amazing web video help.

8. Add your industry or business name as a “Spark.” Sparks is a new Google Plus feature, and still in development. But, something tells me that this will also tie into search results or effect them in some way. For now, use it like you would a Google alert, and setup SPARKS for your name, company name, and industry terms. You can also always follow industry news using SPARKS. For example, I have technology and business as my SPARKS, and I follow the top articles in those areas.

9. Market research –ask questions and use Hangouts as needed. Google Plus is a hot bed for market research right now. People are a LOT more engaged there right now because it is a new playground. It reminds me of Twitter in the early days. Google hangouts incorporates video chat with circles. Want to invite all your sales people for a quick Monday morning meeting? How about a Hangout?

10. Get a custom URL to share your Google Plus profile. Just like the early days of all social networks, there will be a huge rise initially as people try to fill up their circles. And, as time goes on, this will slow. Make it easy for people to follow you, get a custom URL. You can do so at http://www.gplus.to.

Bonus Tip: Follow me on Google Plus at http://www.gplus.com/Shama for more Google Plus tips to come!

Article Source http://www.marketingzen.com/10-ways-to-use-google-plus-for-marketing/

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How Does Search Engine Optimization Apply To Internet Marketing?

If you have stepped into the world of internet marketing even slightly, you have probably heard the term search engine optimization before. This is an essential process that you will need to take on throughout your journey as an online marketer. A question you may ask yourself is why this process is so important. There really are a few reasons that this process is both important and beneficial for your business both short term and long term. Once you understand these benefits you will be eager to get started.

1. Once you have a website set up for your business, your next step will be to complete the SEO for it. Before you can carry out this important step of your plan you need to fully understand it. SEO is a process by which you design the internal structure of your site appropriately so that it can be found easier by search engines and site visitors.

2. Some things to pay attention to when you are designing the internal structure of your site are keywords and phrases. This is how sites are ranked among search results so when you structure your keywords and phrases appropriately, you raise your likelihood of being found by search engine spiders much higher. Also, when you are creating your site you need to be sure your content is both relevant and of high quality. This is important because it sets you apart from the competition and builds credibility with site visitors.

3. A part of your plan will always be niche marketing. When focusing on your search engine optimization you must be targeting your specified niche market. This will become relevant because the people that want your goods and services will find you much quicker when you are focused on a specific part of the market.

If you have ever wondered about search engine optimization, it is a good thing that you took some time to read up about it. The more you understand about SEO the better off you will be with your business goals. In the long term, your financial success will soar like it never has before.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5575421

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Suggest to Friends Button on Facebook BROKEN

Facebook use to have an awesome tool where people can suggest fan pages to their friends, it was easy, fun, and it worked! Well back around November the button was missing, then a few weeks later it was back but only the admin of that page could suggest it to their friends. This became a little difficult and I feel it broke some of the online communities that were being created. It was very simple to use, you would click onto suggest to friends, and then choose the list of people you wanted to send it to, click select all and hit send! What a great concept. Once a page was suggested to you then you would get an alert once you logged into Facebook on the right hand side and you could choose to like or fan at that point the pages that were suggested to you. It was such a great tool and really helped the small businesses increase their fans. Now the button is still there on the pages and you can click it and still select all the people you want to invite to like your page but now there is a catch . . . IT DOESN’T WORK! Once you hit send it says a message was sent out but nowhere to be found is a message in your email or on Facebook that a page was suggested to you. Now where is the building community in that?

Us as small business owners need to increase our fans so we can build that relationship through our businesses. Here are a few ways to still grow your fans:

1)    Talk about your page on your personal profile using @ (then type your page name) this way people that are your friends can see your post and go directly to your page and “Like” it.

2)    Create list of friends up to 200 and send a message to them asking for their support to grow your online community and give the link to your business page.

3)    Put your Facebook business page link in all email signatures, newsletters, marketing materials, voicemails, videos, blog, and website.

4)    Post to your Twitter account to “like” your page

This can seem a little irritating and frustrating, trust me I am right there with you, but until Facebook figures out how to manage themselves and page we have to follow their rules. Because so many companies were and still are creating fake people on there, Facebook is trying to control the SPAM. One person can ruin it for all of us. With that being said stay away from buying “Likes” they are mostly fake people! I hope this information is useful, if you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

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Small Business Lead Generating Sales Funnel

Small business lead generating is a big deal over here in our marketing world! We are really good at helping you fill your sales funnel, but if these leads never follow through to a conversion and a sale then it is a wasted effort.

While working with  small business clients, we often hear that they have gotten “no leads”. Huh, that is weird since I see leads coming across the email, in blog comments and as requests for info on Social Media. I think what they are saying is that they have gotten no “sales” or new clients. This can happen because of a breakdown between leads and sales.

Today we are going to look at all the pieces that go in making a successful lead to sales transaction.

What is a sales funnel?

A sales funnel (also known as the sales pipeline) is the term for the process by which we add A LOT of leads into the top of the funnel and sales come out of the bottom, losing some along the way. The parts of the sales funnel can be called a lot of different things including prospects, suspects, and customers; leads, visitors and pre-qualifications.

We are going to look at some of the normal sales-funnelly things, but then we are going to talk specifically about where your process may be failing your conversions. It can be VERY easy to get caught up in the labeling and not look a the practical aspects of going from propects to sales.

The Practical Sales Funnel

Leads – Opportunity

Leads can look like many things. They can be a message sent through Facebook asking about your services, an email info request, a response back to your email newsletter, basically any time someone talks to you about the goods or services that you sell. THE FIRST THING you should do after getting one of these messages is to add this person to your database, CRM (customer relationship management software), or spreadsheet of prospects. Make sure to note what kind of service or product they were interested in.

This is the first step of your sales funnel and just consists of collecting their contact information so that you can communicate with them on an ongoing basis.

Sales Call – Connection

The first time that you contact this prospect (whether it be by email or phone), your goal should be to set an appointment. An appointment for a formal phone call or in-person meeting where you can talk over your offerings at a time that is convenient and when the prospect will be receptive to listening to you.

I think that this should be over the phone as you have not pre-qualified this person enough to know if they are a good fit. Can they afford your product or service? Are they ready to buy within the next 30 days? Have they researched any of your competitors?

These are all vital things to know and you are just wasting time meeting with someone who is not ready, willing and able to buy your product or service.

Follow Up – Timing

I am going to tell you something that you may find shocking. Most prospects do not buy right away, gasp. Honestly, I have asked some of our clients how many times they followed up on a sales lead and they say that they never followed up because the person did not buy after the first contact. This is what we in the business call BURNING LEADS. The prospect raised their hand and said they were interested, but probably did not have enough information to take out their credit card and buy.

You should follow up a phone call with an immediate personal note or email, thanking them for their time. You should then reach out with offers of additional info at least two or three times more over the next couple of weeks (put it in your calendar). After that, make sure they are on your newsletter list so they receive ongoing communications from you, which could remind them why they called you in the first place!

If you are a typical small business owner, you are probably a TERRIBLE salesperson. If this is the case (as it is with me) you are going to need to hire someone to follow up for you. You can pay this person a fixed rate or “spiff” them an amount for each appointment they set for you. DO NOT skimp on this, a good salesman can make you more money than you ever imagined possible!

Conversion – Obstacles

Okay, you have a lead and they want to buy BUT they have not pulled the trigger (ie paid you yet). This is the most frustrating part of the sales process and one you need to look at very closely because it is probably your fault that the sale is not moving forward!

First off, make sure it is VERY easy for your prospect to pay. Just this week we had a lady call and say she had been waiting for us to send her a link for payment. Now I KNOW that we sent that link over a week or so ago, BUT what matters is that we re-send it to her right away while she is paying attention to us.

Another great example about how a process can fall apart is one of my bookkeeping clients. She takes her prospects, sends them to her salesperson to follow up, gets them excited about her services, they say they want to buy and then…NOTHING. In my opinion, the sale is falling apart because she expects them to gather their receipts, bank statements and other financial documents together themselves. To me it feels like, if they could do all that themselves, what would they need her for?!?!?! We suggested that she make a part of her services a two hour, holding-your-hand and getting your documents together startup meeting. This way, she will get the client on board AND she will be losing less of them due to the fact that they are terrible at accounting tasks.

Sale – Persistence

Overall, sales takes persistence and can be absolutely, soul-killingly hard if you are not geared to enjoying being a salesperson. BUT, if you make it a game to see how many people you can move down your small business lead generating sales funnel, removing speed bumps along the way, you WILL make more sales. This in turn will make it much more likely that you will want to do it again and and again! www.marketingartfully.com