best practices

17 Great Ideas for Facebook Marketing

facebook-iconFrom Kim Garst & Boom Social

1. Pose a problem and ask for advice

can-you-help-signPeople LOVE to answer questions and to help solve problems.
Also, if you ask a question that may also help THEM with a problem, they will be grateful for the help!

2. A contest post

Everyone loves a good contest! And there are a ton of great contest apps out there that you can use to run your contest AND grab emails to add to your list as well!

3. Run a poll

Polls are great not only for generating discussion but for gaining valuable insights from your audience.
Here is a link that will take you directly to Facebook’s poll app.

4. Share the results of your poll!

If your poll collected data that would be interesting to your audience, share the results in a separate Facebook post. One strategy I have seen some business owners using is offering the results in a free downloadable report (in exchange for an email address, of course!).

5. Share inspirational images

If you follow me on Facebook, you know this is a strategy I use every single day! There is so much negativity in the world (and on Facebook).

6. Fill in the blank

I am not exactly sure what it is about fill in the blank posts, but people just love them! You can rephrase just about any question as a fill in the blank, and they often receive more engagement than basic questions. Test this out for yourself!

7. Follow Friday

Give your fans the opportunity to share a link to their website or Facebook Page; not only do they get the chance to showcase their business or products, but they can meet new people and make new connections.

8. A seasonal post

Share a holiday picture, quote or greeting centered around an upcoming holiday. Try to add a personal touch, if possible. This reminds your fans that you are a real person!

9. Blog post excerpts

I see many business owners posting links to their blog posts, without including any additional context. When sharing a blog post, be sure to include a backstory or short excerpt from the post so your fans know what to expect when they click on the link.

10. Fan-only discount

Offer your Facebook fans an exclusive discount, just for being a fan!
Use an image to promote the discount, if possible. These are better for grabbing the attention of your fans and for getting more shares.

11. Cross-promote with someone else in your niche

Team up with a business that offers a complimentary product or service, and help cross-promote each other. Tag each other in Facebook status posts, recommend that your fans ‘like’ each other’s Pages, or simply share each other’s content.

12. Fan challenge

Post a group challenge for your fans…sometimes doing something as a group can feel less overwhelming than doing it alone! Some examples include:

  • 30-days to a more organized house (post a daily organization tip)
  • Gain 1,000 fans/likes/comments/followers – give actionable tips for increasing followers and comments

13. Link to a tutorial

Give your fans a step-by-step guide or tutorial for how to do something.
These types of posts are GREAT for getting engagement, especially click-throughs and shares!

14. An expert tip

Share a tip from an industry expert for solving a common problem or overcoming a challenge.
The expert could even be YOU!

15. A personal post

This is where you, as a small business owner, have an inherent advantage.
Don’t be afraid to post a personal photo or story from time to time to differentiate yourself from the big brands your fans also follow.

16. Be imperfect

Who ever said we need to perfect in order for people to like us?
Don’t be afraid to share struggles or vulnerabilities from time to time to show you are a real person.
This is a great way to make your brand more personable and more relatable!

17. Share a picture of your business, employees
or office…

…makes your business so much more relatable!
Knowing there are real people behind your brand will go a long way to building trust and relationships.

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5 Tips for Driving Traffic to Your Blog

woman-relaxed-reading-tablet-happy-female-model-ipad-bed-relaxing-410169591.    Consistently publish interesting content

  • Plan your posts to appear at regular intervals
  • Create an editorial calendar and pre-schedule topics and themes
  • Use images, videos, quizzes & questions, and judicious reblogging to keep your reader interested

2.    Make sure you have a SUBSCRIBE feature

  • Display it prominently on your blog, sidebar or footer
  • Collect emails and add them to your master list
  • Understand the difference between “subscribe” and “Follow”
  • Explore the WordPress Reader and Follow other WP blogs, ask them to follow you.

autosharing

3.    Automate your blog to post to your Social Media accounts

Use the Publicize settings found under SETTINGS/SHARING/PUBLICIZE
Also encourage your readers to use Social sharing with available buttons
found under SETTINGS/SHARING

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • And more

4.    Promote your blog in your email marketingconstant-contact-stacked

5.    Maximize Social Media impact

    • Post to relevant pages & groups on Facebook et.al.
    • Use an automated scheduling tool like Tweetdeck, HootSuite, Buffer to repeat social media mentions
    • Take advantage of reblogging offers and special #hashtags and events on Twitter

Is your website mobile-friendly?  

Can you read it? Do you have to rotate and expand to see even a tiny part of the page? As annoying as it is to enlarge a tiny page on your phone, what’s much worse is that your site may not show up in a Google Search. Oh, eventually, maybe page 5 or later, but Google’s search process will prioritize it behind websites that are optimized for mobile.

Why? one reason is that up to 60% of site views are made from a mobile device.

This is an older (non-responsive) website That website on mobile
bs_lcd_monitor bg-iphone-sidebar

Here’s an example of a ‘responsive’ design, optimized for multiple devices.

This is my website My website on mobile
bs_lcd_monitorcw bg-iphone-sidebarcw

It might help to think of it this way:

contentlikewater9

This is quite a feat of skillful programming. But fortunately, well designed WordPress themes can handle the job. It’s another reason I love WordPress: it gives you the building blocks for a fabulous site, even if you’re not a techie!

I specialize in helping creatives, small biz, non-profits and others make a spectacular site that serves their cause. I provide education and support so that you can actively use your site to build connections, build sales, build a business. And contribute to the Conversation!

499offeradlinked

 

A Pesky Problem that Prevents Progress!!

What would that be, you ask? If you had to guess, would you conclude:

Passwords? #!%&*@*!?

In my work with brilliant clients from many fields there is no more aggravating, yet no more predictable headache than that lost, forgotten, or mis-remembered password.

Before you explain why it happened last time, let me assure you:

It’s Not Your Fault


preventableRead that again.
Passwords are hard. Security is tricky. It’s annoying, and it’s always changing. Yesterdays password is not okay today. Last February I posted this helpful comic by xkcd, and although there is now some dispute about how secure the method really is, it’s still the best way to create your own strong yet memorable password.
Remember, we’re not preventing a person from guessing our passwords. Humans aren’t the threat. Machines are able to guess zillions of  word and number combinations in seconds, and your passwords need to stand up against that.

For the ultimate in secure passwords, AND if you’re a math geek or into puzzles, go read about Diceware Passphrase Handbook. It’s a fascinating discourse and tutorial about creating the strongest possible passwords. But, as interesting as this all is it’s not workable for most users. So what to do?

You Need a System

Which is why I am now going to pitch an actual product, something I seldom do. I use 1Password from AgileBits. It’s installed on my desktop, laptop, tablet and phone, it communicates through DropBox, so every device gets up-to-date information. With the hundreds of pwords I wrangle it’s saved my hair a lot of wear & tear.

It works by generating hard-to-crack pwords under one master password. I strongly recommend this for all my clients, and I will set it up for you for a small fee.

Why? because I see in my daily work how we lose so much time when we are stymied by our own passwords!! This is a very preventable form of suffering. Set yourself up with one master password that can unlock every account you need security for, which is all of them. Then finding that code is a few seconds instead of long minute getting off track.

Choosing a System

Please check out the available products and see what works for you, and/or call me to set up your password system on multiple devices. This is the trickiest part. If you expect to take an hour or so tinkering to get your master and devices all linked, and you utilize the online help available, you can certainly do it yourself.

Lifehacker has a good list HERE.  PC Magazine’s more extensive comparison is HERE

Or, go purchase 1Password, and tell ’em I sent you.


As usual please share your experience and opinion in a comment! And share this blog with anyone who would find it useful.

Who is it You’re Talking to?

Customers come in different flavors.

And each customer type has their own specific culture. Think of your favorite hardware store. Imagine a few customers who come in the door one afternoon. The Gardener sees your business from a different perspective than the Young Family, The Contractor has different needs than Dad who takes care of house and yard.

CUSTOMER LIFESTAGE NEIGHBORHOOD PURCHASE
 urbanhomeowners New Homeowners  20-something couple  urban rowhouse latex low-VOC trim & wall paint, rollers & tray, baby-proofing latches,
 contractor Contractors 40 yr old business owner  close-in suburb  5-gallon paint, drop cloths, pro brushes, solvent
 FixitDad Home Fix-it Dad  48 yo homeowner  small city/town  toilet parts, faucet washers, screen repair, 2 cycle oil, weed whip refill
 emptyNester Serial Re-Decorator female empty nester   midscale burbs new vanity, decorator paint, faux finish supplies, garden center items

Target Marketing Power

When I worked for a company that invented Market Segmentation I learned how distinct Target Markets help you aim your marketing campaigns. There is a great deal of subtlety to be found in consumer data. Because you scan your loyalty card at the grocery to get discounts, we know you prefer roast beef to pastrami, Perrier to Pepsi. There is data about what we buy, read, watch, and do,, making full scale Segmentation incredibly predictive.

“But…” you protest “I don’t have 75k to license to those tools! How does this apply to a small business person like me?” Excellent question.

To Get More from Social Media, Think like an Anthropologist

This article in Harvard Business Review encourages us to think like an anthropololgist, (def. one who studies the norms and values of societies.)  The author points out the shortcomings of a strictly big-data approach to studying customers on social media, pointing out that: “the internet was made for people, not for companies and brands.” And, that by only studying data, one could miss the meaning.

As a small business person, your ability to Listen is incredibly powerful, since your customers are talking via social media. You can invite them into conversation with a poll or survey. You also have the Insight to understand how your particular customers fall into clusters based on their lifestage and interests. Which is essentially their culture.

So go ahead, think like an anthropologist! Sketch out your target groups and imagine what they’re like. Let me know what you see, or ask any questions about how to take it further. I’d love to hear what you discover!

Are You Blogging for Business?

The democratization of media empowers us all to be publishers, if we choose,  of everything from top 10 lists to serious think-pieces for your industry.

Blogging has evolved to become an essential marketing tool. In fact, businesses that blog get 67% more leads than those who don’t.

Publishing valuable content on a consistent basis positions you as a source of solutions, and helps prospects understand what you do.

If you haven’t waded into the blogging stream, it’s easy to get started without a huge investment of time and money. I often recommend that you start with a free WordPress.com blog (it can be linked to your site) because of the huge universe of WordPress bloggers who read, comment and reblog each other.

There are simple ways to leverage your blog posts across social media to boost impressions and feedback. If you’d like more suggestions, leave a comment, ask a question or get in touch.

Click here for 5 types of blog posts that have proven performers: 5 Breeds of Posts to Promote Your Business 

 

Get Your Legal Ducks in a Row

What should bloggers know about copyright law?

copyright-symbolQuite a bit, it turns out.

As a blogger, content marketer, writer, designer, course creator, you are constantly generating valuable intellectual property assets as you build your business. You really want to protect your key content. Your proprietary content is found in self-published books, infographics, online courses, workshops and speeches should be protected from copyright infringement.

from copyblogger:

When you federally register your copyright, you obtain the following advantages over common law copyright:

  • You alert the world that you are the creator and owner of the work, which makes it hard for infringers to claim they didn’t know the work was yours.
  • You obtain the right to bring a federal lawsuit; registration gives you the right to file a claim of copyright infringement in federal court.
  • You get to seek statutory damages and attorney’s fees in that lawsuit — the infringer has to pay all of your lawsuit costs.
  • You have an easy and official way to sell your ownership of the work.

How to avoid this mistake
Register the copyright for all of your prized content — namely, your work that makes you the most money, like your online courses, self-published books, and award-winning copy.

Registration is fairly easy and inexpensive. You don’t even need an attorney. You can register online by submitting some basic information and uploading a copy of the content to the U.S. Copyright Office website.

The fee is either $35 or $55, depending on what you register. You can also register multiple pieces of content at once, such as all of the articles you’ve posted on your blog since 1998, or the epic writing course you launched last year.

THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE mentions other legal moves you should be aware of. Check it out and make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row!

WEB-ducks-in-a-row1

Twitter Demystified

Twitter can look like a stream of chaos or frivolous chatter to the untrained eye. But there’s gold in that chaos. Strategic use of Twitter can harness the power of Social Media like nothing else.

Hashtag2The secret is the #Hashtag, a special keyword that allows you to follow a thread conversation within all the noise.

A hashtag is simply a way for people to search for tweets that have a common topic. For example, right now if you type #CivilWar you will gather thousands of tweets about the latest Marvel movie, Captain America – Civil War, rather than the 19th century American war between the states.

Other examples

#aCreativeDC is a hashtag to promote arts, events and artists in Washington, DC. #Preakness2016 is for the upcoming Triple Crown horserace. Don’t confuse it with the ‘@‘ sign— that designates a Tweeter. Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist has his own Twitter account: @TheNyquistHorse and my Twitter handle is @ClearlyCreate

Some are just fun: go try #RemoveALetterSpoilABook for some laughs.

Twitter has some good tutorials on the basics, and here’s a bit more on marketing with Twitter.

Go experiment with hashtags and see what kind of conversations you can follow, like a favorite TV show or movie. Discover how businesses are using hashtags to promote their products by following a few B2B and B2C companies.

And feel free to ask questions and share your stories!

Listen: Did You Know?

That we listen to people at a rate of 125-250 words per minute, but think at 1,000-3,000 words per minute?

That less than 2 percent of people have had any formal education on how to listen?

That images go into your long term memory, whereas words live in your short term memory?

Take a look at this infographic from Get In Front Communications for more:

5 Ways to Reap Social Media Value

Here are five useful ways of thinking about social media and it’s potential to empower your business.

IBM’s ambitiously-titled Center for Applied Insights ran a study and produced this video that brings focus to five key areas where Social Media creates value for business.

Most of us marketers are pretty familiar with #3, but the other four concepts have loads of potential.

Many of us who are virtual workers miss the spontaneous collaborations in the hallway, elevator, water cooler. The creative power of quick collaboration opens up new ways for those sparks to travel. How can you use your social network to:

  • Collaborate with colleagues you don’t just ‘run into’ anymore?
  • Reach out to encourage and support less experienced team members?
  • Inspire customers to get more value from your products?
  • Source expertise from all your communities – users, colleagues, prospects and maybe even competitors?
  • Create new avenues of feedback and improvement?

Share an example in the comments of how your business benefits from Social Media.