10 Ways Social Media Can Benefit Your Business

10 ways social media can benefit your small businessSocial media is more than just a buzzword. There are opportunities and measurable results that it offers that can be extremely beneficial to companies of all sizes. While Facebook and Twitter may be included it’s more than that.

Many times people get so caught up in tools that little time is collaborating and strategizing about what Social Media can actually do for them and their business, successfully. Tools are great if you know how to use them, but at some point the tools need to have a purpose.

I often hear small to mid-size companies ask to help implement Social Media strategies into their overall marketing plan with a skewed outlook of what Social Media is and what its benefits are. However, if you know what Social Media isn’t, then it’s a lot easier to grasp what it can do.

If you have a good product, a detailed business plan, and customer service policies in place and willing to invest time, there are ten ways Social Media can benefit your business.

  • Gives you the opportunity to begin listening to what others are saying about your company online.
  • Allow you to have one-on-one communication with your consumers.
  • It can be used to gather feedback about new products.
  • It personalizes your corporation/brand
  • Provides channels to produce and distribute exclusive content that can be shared which in return extends the voice of your brand.
  • Can be used to share exclusive information and offers to your loyalists.
  • It’s an extension to your public relations strategies
  • Provides platforms to build communities for your brand enthusiasts around your product and company.
  • Offers opportunities that will bring exposure to your company.
  • Provides potential opportunities for word-of-mouth buzz about your company and products.

While the above are not the only benefits, it is a good place to begin thinking about the benefits that Social Media provides. Once you know what it can do, building a strategy and developing a plan is your next course of action.

I want to hear from you. How has Social Media helped you or your business grow? What would you add to the list?.

 

 

Content Marketing And How It Helps Your Small Business

Content marketing is becoming more and more popular as a tool for attracting customers resulting in awareness for your brand and information an individual is looking for. Here’s a look at content marketing and how it helps your small business.

Content Marketing And How It Helps Your Small Business

 

Content Marketing Is Educational

Content marketing is a tool used by businesses. The basic idea behind content marketing is that valuable content is posted with the intention of attracting customers. This type of marketing concentrates on giving possible customers new information that they can use in their life. Hence, it teaches them something, and the most important part is that it is free.

Content Marketing Is Not the Same as Copywriting

The purpose of copywriting is to get the customer to do something. More often than not, copywriting tries to convince a potential customer to purchase a product. On the other hand, content marketing’s aim is to give information that is valuable, but create that information in a manner in which it serves a marketing purpose. Underlining these distinct purposes, however, there is a common goal: to get possible customers acquainted with the product offered, and make them purchase it.

Customers Are the Focus of Content Marketing

Content marketing isn’t all about you or your business (though it does help point the readers towards your business). Instead, it’s all about your customers; it gives them valuable information that they can use in their lives. The reason it works so well is that people are generally not interested in hearing you talk for hours on end about how great you are. That bores them, which is one of the reasons copywriting can only do so much for your business. To go the extra mile, you have to keep in mind that people are much more likely to purchase from a business that has given them valuable and interesting information in the past. Additionally, content marketing tends to be ranked higher by Google, which means that it is easier for people to find you and your small business.

How Content Marketing Helps Your Business Grow

Content marketing creates awareness of your brand and can increase your business’s credibility and trustworthiness. The reason is that most often, people find themselves looking online for answers to their questions. Simply put, they search for information that is valuable. If they find it on your business’s site, a connection will be created between your business and the potential customer. When a connection is established, trust is more likely to follow, particularly if the content they found was really useful. Another reason why content marketing is such a useful tool for growing a business is that it is more likely to be shared on social media sites. People rarely (if ever) share copywriting they found online. However, if they find good content that really teaches them something, they might want to spread the word.

Content marketing can be a powerful marketing tool when used wisely. Its secret lies in helping both the business that created it and the individual who is in need of information, allowing for trust to build and making it more likely for that individual to make use of the business’s products if they need them.

 

7 Tips to Gain Your Reader’s Empathy

readers empathy

Most successful blogs have one thing in common. They offer information, ideas, and tips that readers can implement. Bloggers who have been there and done that and who can put themselves in the reader’s shoes win over the confidence of their audience. Establish empathy, be a problem solver and you’ll acquire not just traffic but dedicated readers.

Here are seven ideas to strike a chord with your readers:

  1. Back your assertions with facts and figures. Numbers speak louder than words. Figures are objective and can be corroborated. Elements of education and trust are introduced into content that carry verifiable figures.

  2. Link to respectable content. This is another activity that helps foster trust with the reader. Articles with links to established sources get shared and bookmarked more. There’s also a subconscious benefit to being associated, even loosely, to big names and brands. Relevant external links give search engines a clearer picture about the nature of your content as well.

  3. Write about what you know. Or in other words, choose the subject of your blog after considering your knowledge and interest in the topic. Words flow that much more easily when you know what you’re writing about and especially if you enjoy doing it. Most importantly, you can provide insightful content and not just information that is already floating around on the internet in one form or the other. You build on ideas and processes that add value with your content.

  4. Keep learning. There is no end to the learning process. And if you wish to acquire and maintain a reputation of being a subject matter authority, you have to endeavor to stay at the leading edge of your chosen subject. Keep aside time to interact with other opinion influencers and participate in forums. It will allow you to understand the readers’ needs and also the stakes involved. Higher the stakes, more valuable is an informational article and greater the incentive for you to create researched content.

  5. Know what your readers are looking for by studying analytics data. Does your blog provide answers to subject-related questions floating around on the internet? Does your content attract comments and inputs from interested readers? Search for breaking news, events, and questions about your niche. Forums, Google News, Social Media, Quora and keyword tools that use Google Autocomplete can help with ideas.

  6. Communicate in a tone that your reader can relate to. Remember, it’s about empathy. Reach out through your choice of words. Use a conversational tone and be one of them. Ask questions, it will get your readers to think and encourage them to share their perspective with you.

  7. Share your learnings. Clearly written posts on how you acquired a skill, how steep was the learning curve, how long did it take, did you have any moments of epiphanies, etc always make for great reading and present you as a knowledgeable well-wisher to the readers. How-to videos, descriptive podcasts are options to consider as well. Let them know that you have gone through similar challenges and come out the other side successfully. Inspire them to do the same.

Creating reader empathy is more than a technique to be implemented. Every blogger is expected to do this. In return, empathy leads to trust and stronger relationships with those you aim to serve. What experiences have you had with empathy? Do you find it natural or difficult to convey? I want to hear your stories and learn from your experiences as well. Please share them below.

 

Reasons Your Small Business Should Invest Time in Twitter

????????????????????????????????????????Till a few decades ago, an ad in the local business directory was regarded an adequate business promotion strategy, but the same cannot be said of today. The explosion of the internet has made newspaper and television advertisements a thing of the past. Media marketing solutions such as social networking, surveys, online videos, email marketing and mobile phone marketing are the new trends in business promotion. They are used by mammoth corporations and small businesses alike.

Of all the solutions listed above, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn are the most widely used. While Facebook is the indisputable leader, Twitter is not far behind. It has an equal potential to drive your business however; the main problem is a vast majority of business owners are not aware of how they can use this network to their advantage. Below, learn why your small business should invest time in Twitter.

  1. The Micro-Blogging Feature: Twitter is a blogging site with a difference. The distinguishing feature, also its plus point, is its 140-character limit. The word limit pushes one to create short yet straightforward, informative and creative content. Readers, mainly customers looking for product information, appreciate such a format. To add, it proves a successful communication strategy given our declining attention spans.

  2. The Ability To Target A Wider Audience: With over 200 million active users, “Twitterverse” is an incredible network of connections. Besides, it is expanding rapidly as large numbers subscribe to the service daily. As a result, it helps you reach out to a wider audience. You can also sync your email account or phone book and import contacts.

  3. An Opportunity to Collect Quality Leads: Twitter enables a firm or corporation to build quality leads as it doesn’t involve a search of random people but leads who are genuinely interested in a particular industry. It enables a small business to get quality followers, those who influence their target market.

  4. Adjust Security Settings: You can adjust Privacy settings on Twitter. Tweets are made visible to all members on your friend’s list. However, the direct message option allows to you send a private message without making it visible to all.

  5. Build Credibility and Brand Loyalty: In the online marketplace, it is difficult to trust because most of the time we are dealing with preprogrammed systems. Bigger business houses have capital to invest in trust-building measures, but small businesses are deprived of these privileges.

Twitter is a great platform to help build relationships with your customers. Though the space is restricted, you can share links to videos, presentations, articles and blog posts that showcase your business to the world. Responses and re-tweets open lines of communication for real time conversation and customer service such as customer queries and resolving issues in a timely manner. Also, It gives your business a human feel. When a follower re-tweets a post, it is as though he or she is endorsing your product or service creating word of mouth marketing. One can also use it as a medium to update customers and to disseminate important news about your small business. Is your small business investing time in Twitter?

 

 

Benefits of Using Social Media To Communicate With Your Customers

social-media-communicatinoAs the social media trend continues to grow, it has become apparent that social media presents a unique opportunity for small businesses to connect with their client base on a grassroots level and in a cost-effective manner. Though it may be difficult to justify taking time out of running a business to communicate with customers over various social media outlets, in reality this time expenditure shouldn’t feel trivial. Purposeful social media in business allows for a community to be built around a business’ concept or product, which is something marketers always strive for.

How Social Media Builds a Community

Social media is an excellent tool for a small business because it allows the business to actually connect with the audience and inspire a conversation. When social media is done right, it is engaging. It creates a dialogue among owners and potential clients, and it can stir interest in a product. Through back and forth dialogue between a business and their clients, a community is fostered where you can get a feel for the types of people that are interested in what your business offers. Basically, social media allows your target demographic to be friends with you and converse with you at the same time.

Social Media As A Tool For Customer Service

The social media platform also has the very immediate possibility of being an extension of your customer service offerings. In addition to having a customer service hotline or inbox, social media is a way to monitor the conversation about your product or service online and be a part of it. Using social media, it is possible for a business to offer solutions and tips in real time and in public. In effect, social media gives a small business the chance to host the conversation about themselves, which gives a business the power to interject at any moment and correct problems as they occur.

Social Media is Worth Your Time

Though small businesses often have a hard time justifying the time expenditure that social media requires it has nonetheless become an extremely important tool for business and should be used to its full potential. It helps small companies build a community that previously would have taken the resources of professional marketers and plenty of money to build. Companies can now build a community with the same power almost organically. Furthermore, it has the potential to enhance your business by giving you the opportunity to address customer service issues in real time and in public.

Social media is still growing and there is no sign that the trend is coming to an end any time soon. Small businesses should decide how they want to engage with customers on different social media sites and begin to do so. At this point, the drawbacks of not joining social media sites are too hefty to ignore, and the potential involved with a well-run social media presence is too great an opportunity to pass up for your small business.

Savvy Social Tip: Social Media Bloopers – Smile and Move On by @ElizabethTraub

Savvy Social TipSometimes it’s a mis-hit of a key, a pinky out of control on your smart phone, or you simply do not get or understand the grammatical context of what you are about to tweet, so you implement your 3rd grade rules of reason.

Major brands get center stream when their brand managers tweet something that does not resonate well with the tweeting public. A ‘typo” gets sneers and geers. How do we handle this? How do we carry forward when this happens?

“We all have bloopers in Social Media. Just smile and move on.”

There use to be a well esteemed career called “writer”. The “writer” was well versed, and knew all the grammatical placement of written language. Creative and engaging their readers on their way to being a best seller. Those fortunate enough to be published had editors. Today, we are all called to be writers in our own right. Big companies hire writers and small companies struggle to get their writing refined. That interior designer, business consultant in me now has to take what I want to communicate in this social space and become a writer.

Sometimes I say bloopers and sometimes I tweet bloopers. For the most part, I can catch my words before I push send. Sometimes that thought runs faster than my fingers can keep up and it comes out all wrong. I am not going to stress over the occasional blooper.

How can we help others? I have privately messaged those whom I know when I see something I know they did not intend. I have also received those messages and could go back and correct my mistakes. We are human, subject to human error, and as we all continue to learn and grow, we can extend grace to the bloopers we see streaming. And if you do see one, be sure to share this Savvy Social Tip.
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elizabeth-300x200

Elizabeth Traub: Chatty, wife, mom of 5, Brand Strategist, Social Producer, Marketing Direction. #SavvySocialTip

Elizabeth partners with your company as a brand and marketing strategist.  She will help direct  your project through to the next stages of development specializing in Social Marketing Producing. Elizabeth can help build, train and teach your marketing team in everything New & Social in Media platforms. Taking your offline marketing efforts and moving them online. Elizabeth can work with your existing Marketing team, or help you build your team. Elizabeth is a fantastic, engaging, and teaching public speaker. Having spoken to crowds in the 100?s down to an audience of 10. She deliveries her story of success, failures, and hardships. Her story of being a full time present mom, while working full-time. She is inspirational and encouraging with her measures of success starting with right where a person is at and where they want to go. “Your Dreams & Passions, My Experience & Help. FOUNDER of #SavvySocialTip

Stay In Touch with Elizabeth:

Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @ElizabethTraub Three things she does in real time now doing online: Hung Out To Buy www.hungouttobuy.com Elizabeth Traub Consulting & Design www.elizabethtraub.com Girlfriends Hub www.girlfriendshub.com

Social Media: Lost at Sea by @AceConcierge

fishAs you wade through the waters of your online universe, kicking a few stones and jumping the waves, you may find yourself wondering what the heck are you doing and how should you do “it.” Flopping like a fish out of water is not what you imagined when you began this digital journey to help build your business and establish a piece of the market share. Oh it all sounded so easy!

Your entrepreneurial spirit got you this far so it’s not time to throw in the towel but instead grab a life vest and paddle like hell; with a plan of course.

“Beginners at social media don’t have an editorial calendar, and they don’t measure results—they simply post when they have time. You have to keep feeding the beast. Otherwise, it’s worse than doing nothing.”  Beth Kanter

Social media success is developed on a solid foundation comprised of several components which help to build your credibility, following, loyalty and thought leadership. Each piece is a vital element toward growing your audience and facilitating a return on your investment. While no two accounts are alike, the features below help to shape your position in the digital environment.

cycle

Keep in mind that results come from fostering and enriching your online connections within your community via relevant content and conversations. Put down the megaphone and stop broadcasting. Social media is a two-way dialog just like any other relationship.

“Curating and sharing something meaningful, driving participation — that’s where we need to go. Once we stopped shouting and started creating targeted, meaningful communication, we saw a 400% increase in engagement.” Andrew Bowins

Branding: Creating a cohesive brand image is an important powerful starting point. Make sure your profiles, bios and logo are consistent and clearly represent you and your brand. You don’t want to confuse your audience with mixed messages.

Engagement: Don’t set it and forget it. Automate what you must, some of the routine tasks but MAKE time to personally engage with your network. People love people – meet and greet your community. Show genuine interest and respond to all comments and messages.

Content: Content marketing is still the mainstay. Your posts should be speaking to your audience, solving pain points, educating, inspiring and supporting your mission/vision (but not soapbox selling). If you are dull and boring, the same old blah, blah, people won’t stick around. Know and understand your followers and their needs. Provide value! Spice it up.

Relationship building: All business starts with a relationship marketing. I don’t care who you are or what you sell, if you aren’t nurturing your relationships, you won’t have the opportunity to build trust, credibility and authority; which all come into play for the buying decision. Authenticity wins.

Consistency: If you build it they will come. Not! Just because you have a few profiles and post sporadically does not mean you entice people to knock down your doors, hoping to establish a working partnership of some kind. Post consistently. Have a strategy that is functional, practical and feasible. Don’t start out with 4 posts one week, skip a few weeks and then publish just 2. You won’t gain a loyal audience if you are all over the calendar with your content schedule.

Frequency: Decide on how many times per day you are going to post and stick with it. You need to strike a balance between being informative and being annoying. Too many posts can be overkill. There are plenty of articles suggesting times/frequency. They can be used as helpful guidelines but it really comes down to what is transpiring on your social networks. Post. Measure. Tweak.

Relevancy: Is your content relevant to your industry, brand and buyer personas? If you are just publishing content that has nothing to do with your brand or isn’t applicable to the needs of your target market then why are you posting it? Think about the most pressing questions you’ve been asked and write a post about each one. What problems do you solve? How do you or your services makes someone’s life better? Easier?

Sharing: It really is caring. Share the content of your colleagues, industry influencers, clients; anyone who has an impact on your life or business and you deem their posts as valuable to your network. You are able to give back and “share the love” as well as distribute educational/informative content. Your own posts should take a backseat to your community.

Is there more to social media marketing than this? Hell yes!  This is just the bare bones to chart your course toward greater visibility, community ties and building your online reputation.

Educate yourself: Read. Research. Test. Measure.

Remember the adage: Be social. Don’t do social. While this may seem like a gagging overused cliché, it holds merit. When working with people, whether online or off, it is always comes back to one simple premise: the human touch.

Consider your current strategy and what changes you can implement today for better results and stronger relationships. What changes are you ready to make?

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ace

Suzie Kummins-Poirier, a.k.a @aceconcierge, is a virtual assistant working
with entrepreneurs and business people who care to focus on their core
genius by delegating the much-needed but time-consuming everyday tasks in
managing their business.  With 30 years of experience as a key support for
her clients, her top priority has always been to facilitate the most
effective strategies for time management, delegation and business processes,
creating the realization that even though her clients CAN do it all, it
doesn’t mean they should. She builds a continually up-to-date tool-set that
eliminates typical routine obstacles for the entrepreneurs who contract her.
This growing tool-set is about aiding the client in growing their business
and removing the straps that bind them to everyday tasks/projects and
tugging them away from emphasis on their daily business operations.



Twitter: https://twitter.com/aceconcierge

Ace Concierge: http://aceconcierge.net/blog/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AceConcierge

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/aceconcierge/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SuzieKumminsPoirier/posts

 

 

Savvy Social Tip: Embrace, Forgive and Improve by @ElizabethTraub

Savvy Social TipLong before there was Social Media, my job required me to be very social. Etiquette at cocktail parties, etiquette around the boardroom, etiquette walking the halls of companies I worked with, even etiquette when grabbing a cup of coffee on the run. It’s important to be keeping myself in check as a professional at all times, always representing myself well and those companies I work with in the same manner. I require that of myself and have since learned that what I have done in real time is parallel to who I am online.

It’s important to understand how to navigate Social Media, especially if you are brand new and your offline job never required you to face the public daily.  As I began navigating myself in Social Media, I learned quickly that it came naturally for me. Others began asking me questions, simple questions, and I soon learned what seemed simple to me was quite complex for one just stepping into Social Media. Thus, I developed Savvy Social Tips in an effort to offer a bit of direction for those looking in.

Here is this week’s tip to help direct you in your social experience.

“Embracing yourself, forgiving yourself, improving yourself all works together.” #SavvySocialTip

Being social requires a bit of confidence. If you do not come from this place of confidence naturally, it’s important to grow into this space. I speak publically at conferences, I lead teams and direct. I have this innate confidence that had me singing in a school talent show at the age of 10. Not everyone is wired this way, yet being present in Social Media requires that. Thus I say, that as you embrace who you are in this space, know you are not going to get it right every time and must forgive yourself. In less than 140 characters, I submit that you forgive yourself and keep moving forward, because if you embrace, forgive and move forward, you will improve.

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elizabethElizabeth Traub has spent the past 20 years working as a consultant with business start ups, existing businesses as well as mentoring & coaching both men & women to live in the design of their dreams and passions. She is strategic with ideas that are off the charts. Elizabeth has worked with those who have their dreams and passions scribbled on a napkin through the steps of getting started. This happens with strategics, goal planning, marketing, and training, product design and development, and working to develop Social Media presence and strategies. Elizabeth loves working in platforms in the entertainment industry as well as investor, relations, business development, branding, strategic, retail, website design and development. She continues to work with industry leaders in building of products and services.

Stay In Touch with Elizabeth:

Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @ElizabethTraub
Three things she does in real time now doing online:
Hung Out To Buy www.hungouttobuy.com
Elizabeth Traub Consulting & Design www.elizabethtraub.com
Girlfriends Hub www.girlfriendshub.com

5 Ways To Grow A Brand’s Presence with Video on Social Media

twitter-video

As a brand, it is important we encompass a positive image and unique presence on Social Media to grow and be of value to others. If your brand is new or having issues with doing so, I am here to share information on how your brand can make that happen.

When promoting a positive image and unique presence, a brand needs to keep in mind it’s about connecting with the audience and customers. By doing so, the brand creates a path for customers to build relationships, spread the word and keeps them coming back for more.  One way this is done is to put a face behind who your customers and audience speak and do service with on Social Media. As a consumer on Social Media , this is something I and many others look for to get a better feel and understanding of who we are conversing with but what some look for doesn’t stop there.

The key to keeping the positive image and presence is to be authentic, original and unique in doing so. This is done by enhancing it through the use of video which takes it above and beyond the profile face pictures you find on other brands websites, blogs and Social Media networks. By using video, a brand is giving their audience and consumers a look from the outside in and further deepening the connection. There are several ways to make this happen.

  • Create a short video with enthusiasm from each team member within the brand. No one likes, “Just another boring video” so it’s important to create it with zazz and make it interesting and fun. In this video, state your name, what your position is, and what makes your position fun and enjoyable.
  • Give your audience and consumers a look into the daily life by showing them around your companies work environment in a different video. Put them in your shoes. After all, they are your brand and fuel your success and growth.
  • Create an additional personal video of the person responsible for managing the Twitter account. Basically, the person tweeting and engaging. If more than one individual tweets from the account, make sure each one has a personal video. Tweet the video link at the start of each day or when the account is changing users. Include in the video the person’s name, a relevant greeting and the question, “Is there anything that I can help you with today?”
  • Thank your consumers and audience weekly in a video. Give a shout out to people on Twitter that follow you, people that have liked your brand page on Facebook. Make it personal, show gratitude and let them know they are never forgotten.
  • Post all videos on the brands YouTube account, landing page on Facebook  and Twitter as I discussed above. As far as the team video, post it on the brand’s website as a welcome.

By using video, the brand is raising their profile, promoting a positive image and enhancing brand value for others. This connects the brand with their customers and audience in a unique way and shows them the brand has took the time to create it for them. Basically saying, we care about and value our audience and consumers. I understand this might be time consuming but by investing in this time it is sure to create a remarkable ROI as many customers are looking for this type of aspect in a brand and sharing what the brand is doing.

So is your brand ready to enhance their image and presence by being unique, authentic and make a lasting impression through the use of video?

 

A Small Budget for Social Media Marketing

social media marketing budgetYou’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: your business needs to be actively engaged on social media if you want to thrive in today’s marketplace. That’s great for major corporations with big budgets and plenty of resources, but what do you do if you’re a small business with limited resources and limited time? The good news about social media marketing is that you can achieve a lot without spending too much. But there are also many pitfalls you can fall into that will end up costing you valuable time and money if you’re not careful.

Tools You Can Use For Free

One of the major advantages of social media marketing is that most of the tools are free to use. Anyone can have a Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Google+ account provided they have an email address. There are also social media management tools like HootSuite that provide a basic package for free or a premium package for a low monthly fee. This means that anyone can get into the social media game for next to nothing.

Don’t Waste Your Time

The main problem with social media, however, is not the cost of the tools, but the time it takes to use them. This is where your business will have to seriously consider if certain social networks are worth being a part of or not. Take Twitter, for example. If you don’t have the time to tweet multiple times a day, then Twitter might not be for you. Social media users expect to see a fresh flow of content that is being continually updated, and failing to provide them with that can have a negative impact on your brand.

Can You Afford to Hire a Contractor?

Many businesses with limited resources will hire independent contractors to handle all of their social media for them. This is a great way to ensure that you have an effective social media presence even if you don’t have the resources to handle it yourself. But when hiring contractors, you can easily end up spending upwards of $10,000 a month to keep up a blog, a Twitter account, a YouTube account, a Facebook account, and more. Is this really something that your business can afford?

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

Instead of trying to keep up a dozen different social media accounts when you don’t really have the time or the budget to do so, it may be best to figure out which areas you want to focus on and do those well. Consider which demographics you want to reach. Find out which social media tools they use most and do an awesome job of representing your brand across those platforms.

Social media marketing can be fun and it can be effective, but if you’re doing it wrong it can also be a colossal waste of time. And as with many other areas of marketing, going after a niche market means that you can often see a higher return coming from a smaller investment.