SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS – GETTING STARTED!

So you have read and followed my advice from my first post 4 Steps to Social Media Success BEFORE you start on Social Media:

1) Know what you want to accomplish
2) How much time can you spend on your social media
3) Narrow down the networks you will participate in
4) Plan your content

And now you are ready to get going with the next steps.
I know you are eager to get moving and to start seeing results, but don’t jump over these steps they are very important to reaching that success you so want and deserve. They are the foundation to everything in the future and believe me, it’s easier to do it right the first time than to have to go back and fix it later.

Am I suggesting you will never change these things once you have set them up? Not at all… in fact I recommend you review the previous 4 steps regularly as a way to evaluate the success of what you are doing and to review the upcoming steps often as well.

As your goals grow and change, as the social media world changes and as your business changes, you need to review these items regularly. That’s not the same as skipping steps now to get going and having to go back later to do them because skipping them shorted you on some success. So invest in yourself and go through the steps now!

So what do you do next?

1) Know and follow the rules of the networks you are joining: Most of these social networks are free so it’s their sandbox and you are getting to promote your business for free… the rules are there to make it fair for everyone so take the time to follow those rules so you aren’t penalized for breaking them. This could mean losing access to your accounts to having them shut down completely. It would be a shame to lose all your hard work because of a rule being overlooked.

2) Fill out your account info completely: This is a great opportunity to tell people who you are and what you do and it’s where people will make a judgement about you and your business. So take the time, fill it out completely and then review it at least quarterly to ensure all your details stay accurate.

3) Find the right people to follow to build your network: Use the search option on the network you using, try a variety of terms. Find a leader in your industry and follow them, then follow the people following them as well, these people are looking for your info, you just need to connect. Add your numbers, be selective about who you connect to, send a hello to them, start the conversation and connect.

4) Listen: Spend time on your social networks listening to other people’s conversations, contribute when you have something useful to say (not just “me too”). Use the search field to find conversations relevant to your industry to participate in.

5) Give before you receive: Start sharing and responding to other people’s posts. People notice this and usually then make an effort to do the same back for you. We all want people to engage with us, be the first to go and engage with them. It will be noticed.

6) Add value, be the go-to resource for information in your field to the people in your niche: Find useful information that the people in your niche need to hear and be the one to share it. Don’t worry about being the one to create the content; sharing content is a powerful way to position yourself as the go-to expert.

7) Ask for the action you want: When you post a thoughtful, useful or just fun item and you want people to engage with… don’t be shy to ask for what you want, sometimes people need to be guided. They are sitting at home nodding their head in agreement, but the thumbs up or retweet is the virtual head nod… ask them to do it!

These steps are the basics of any successful social media campaign on any channel. They will guide your interaction with the goal of growing your network, engaging with people in a caring way and building relationships. Don’t short change yourself or your business by not doing these steps; the results won’t be the same without them.

I’d love to hear how you are doing on your social journey!


About Author

Sherri-Lee Pressman is Your Social Media Minder, helping business owners use Facebook and Twitter to grow their businesses. She is a Social Media strategist, educator, speaker and coach. She lives near Vancouver BC, Canada with her two kids, one crazy cat and an even crazier puppy. You can visit Sherri’s site here.

5 Easy Tips for Maintaining Your Website

top 5 tips for website's good health

Building a website can be very time consuming and financially draining. So, you want to be sure that you have carefully thought out both what you are trying to convey on your site and that it is user friendly!

 

Top 5 Tips for Maintaining Your Website

1. No clear message as to who or what you are from visiting your home page. I cannot even tell you how many sites that I have visited where there is no visible clue as to what a company offers. You have perhaps 5-10 seconds to gain someone’s attention. You might have an amazing company, but if there is no visible benefit for the viewer, your opportunity will be missed!

2. There is no homepage link or it is broken. Be sure that you have a visible homepage link. The best advice is that it says “home.” If someone begins browsing through your site and wants to go back to your homepage, it must be easily accessible for them to return. Also, make sure that it works!!

3. Make sure that your site works on multiple browsers and MOBILE!!! Your site must be easily viewed on mobile networks as a significant percentage of your viewers will be checking your site from their cell phones.

4. Too much flash is not your friend! Flash can be an exciting feature to add to your website but, it is not seo friendly, can slow down your website and can actually detract from people viewing your website. A little is okay but don’t make your homepage all flash and no content!

5. Don’t allow your website go stale. This can happen when businesses are not web savvy or have very little interest in their website maintenance. Sometimes, products no longer exist, contact information changes, links are not working or worse yet, a website can go down! Even if your website does not require constant updating, it is important to check in frequently to make sure everything is up to date and working properly.

I hope that these tips will help you to keep your website running smoothly!!

4 Steps to Social Media Success BEFORE You Begin

4 tips to social media

You know you have to be using social media to achieve success, but you may not have a clue how to get started! It’s can be confusing to get started, but if you remember that it is just networking on steroids and follow these few simple steps you will be off to a great start!

Before you start on any social networks, you need to know a few things to do it properly, so answer these questions before getting started:

 

1)    What do you hope to accomplish from your social media efforts?

Let’s face it, we all want to make more money, but with social media you have to be very patient to get to the money making part. It takes time and energy to get to that point. Until then, what do you want to accomplish? Do you want to build brand awareness? Connect with existing customers in a new way? Offer better customer service? Grow your network through meeting new people? Really take the time to figure out what else you can get from your time on social media while working on the money part.

 

2)    How much time do you have to spend on your social media efforts in a week?

Are you prepared to make the commitment required to see this work for you? The more time you are able to put in, the quicker your results will come. You can accomplish a lot in 15 – 30 minutes a day. Do you have the time in your schedule to do this, or do you have a staff member who will take this over for you? And be really honest here, there is no point in saying you will work on it for an hour a day if you really can’t do that. Pick a reasonable amount of time and stick with it.

 

3)    Figure out what networks you are going to focus on.

There are so many networks you could not possibly run all of them very well. And what’s the point if you aren’t going to do it well? So pick one to get started with and focus on building your connections and relationships there. You can’t just randomly pick a network though; you have to know where your current clients are spending their time so you can focus on the network that will get you the most traction quickly. How do you find out where your current clients are? Poll them, email them, send out a newsletter to ask them, have a questionnaire at your cash register for them to complete. There are lots of ways to find out  Just do it. Once you know where your current clients are you’ll likely find new clients there as well.

 

4)   Plan what content you want to share with your readers.

Know what you are going to say, at least roughly, before you start up your account. Get a sense of what information your clients – new and old – want to hear from you. Aim for sharing great content that expands their thoughts of you. So, if you are a printing company wanting to connect with clients on Facebook, don’t just post about your printing specials or your equipment or even just industry news, share tips on how to get the most out of the new batch of cards they just got, how to network effectively, how to write great copy for newsletters and more. You get the idea; really brainstorm all possible avenues you can access to offer a wide range of valuable information to your clients. This will make you very memorable in their minds and position you as a source of reliable, important information.

Now you might be expecting my #5 here to be, get out there and start your accounts and start posting! But hold your horses, it’s not quite that simple… yet! Bear with me. Watch for my second post here on your next steps to Social Media Success – Starting out!


About Author

Sherri-Lee Pressman is Your Social Media Minder, helping business owners use Facebook and Twitter to grow their businesses. She is a Social Media strategist, educator, speaker and coach. She lives near Vancouver BC, Canada with her two kids, one crazy cat and an even  crazier puppy. You can visit Sherri’s site here.

 

 

5 Tips to Help You Avoid Your Website Becoming a Money Pit!

Starting a blog or website has many learning curves. Unless you are extremely web savvy, the lessons can become very costly.

Here are 5  tips to help you avoid your website becoming a money pit:

  1. Become familiar with some basic html code. You don’t have to know much anymore as most websites and blogs have great editors. There are times that you will need it and you can simply copy and save the ones you will use most in a text file on your desktop for easy access.
  2. If you are going to be posting content on your blog on a consistent basis, hiring someone to create your graphics can become rather costly. Learn to do some of your own images. You don’t have to be a graphic designer as there are free banner maker sites such as Bannernow as well as inexpensive ones like Flashadcreator.
  3. When hiring someone to work on your site, make sure you  are clear as to the service they are providing and the quality of their work! . Don’t rely on an oratory of their workmanship, you need to visually see what they can do for you! Then, you must make sure you have the details of the service in writing. This ensures that neither of you has misunderstood the nature of the service! A simple email is sufficient to map out what you both have agreed to.
  4. Google and Youtube should be among your best friends! Most of the questions you have when working on your website can be found in one of those 2 sites. When I cannot find what I am looking for on Google, I seek out tutorials on Youtube!!
  5. Avoid a lot of flashy features that you feel are going to attract people to your website.  Although it is true that people are visual and your site must be appealing to the eye, what is going to drive repeated traffic to your website is CONTENT!! Whether you are selling products that people want or your website provides people with great information that is relevant to them, it is all about CONTENT! For bloggers, it is truly about giving your readers consistent, great content that will keep them coming back.

Are there any tips that you would add to my list to help someone’s website from becoming a money pit?

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 Tips to help you get started with Blogging

1. Start with a simple blog

When you start out blogging use one of the easier blog formats. I would suggest you use tumblr to begin with. It is easy to use and great for photographers and writers.
It is also perfect for those starting out. It is a great way to learn the format.

2. Your title

Think about this carefully. Your title is how you will be known. So decide if you want a catchy title for the blog or if you want to use your name and establish a brand for yourself.

3. What do you blog about?

Many of my clients ask me this. How do you find something to blog about? Well here are some tips to get you started. Write about good service at a shop. Write about bad service. Scan Twitter and see what most people are talking about. Write about that. Solve problems, help others. If you are an expert in a certain niche, share your expertise with your followers. Interview someone famous. Interview someone in your field of work.

4. Share your work

When you feel comfortable with your writing skills start to share your blog with people.
Share it all over on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social media networks. Share it on Blogging Networks like Triberr.

5. Add sharing buttons

Add social sharing buttons onto your blog so that your readers can share your work with their friends, family and business associates. Make sure those sharing buttons are at the top of your blog so people can see them easily enough.

6. Add widgets

Once you are blogging away look at adding some widgets. Widgets are small programs or little ways that you can add different items to your blog. So you can add such things as, pictures, lists, subscription forms, bloggers you recommend, the weather, the news and so much more. You will find many such widgets on blogs such as Blogger or WordPress or Posterous

7. Work on the design of your blog

Take a look at your blog regularly. Does it jump out at you? Would people want to read this? Look at it and make sure all the links work correctly. Does it take long to load? If so change it. Work on the design.

8. Work on the headline

Each blog post you write should have a headline that grabs your eye. So work on that headline. Make it interesting. Would someone want to read that blog?

9. Learn to guest blog

A powerful tool for a blogger is to guest blog. What that means is you write a blog post for another blogger. So find other bloggers out there. There are many that are dying for a guest blog. Also look for big bloggers and email them, ask if you can guest blog. The impact will be huge for your blog. So get out there and start writing your blog.
Happy Blogging!

Do you have any tips about Blogging?


About Author

Fred Felton is a keynote speaker, social media consultant, author business analyst and website designer. Fred is also owner of Falcon’s Cove a digital media agency based in Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa. You can also find Fred on Twitter and Facebook.

Top 5 Most Popular Pinterest Topics

Top 5 most popular pinterest topics

Pinterest is the hottest new trend in social media which begs the question— what is everyone looking at? While everyone creates their own set of “boards”, there tends to be themes that everyone can zero in on.

Some of the most popular categories are:

1. Recipes –Pinners tend to focus in on tried and true recipes where they can give honest reviews. I tend to see a lot of comfort food, desserts, and family friendly meals. These recipes can be great when pinners are looking for changes to their meals plans or unique treats. I for one have tried MANY of the ideas and received rave reviews at home. It’s like one big recipe swap!
2. Clothing-– need an idea of what to wear to work or a night out? Head to Pinterest. Pinners tend to be trend forward when pinning fashion ideas. Like what you see? Many pins have direct links to sites where the fashions can be purchased. Some of the best pins you will see are complete outfits, set out there for you to copy at home.
3. Holidays—Pinners love the holidays! This time of year Pinterest is filled with new ideas for Halloween and even Christmas. New decorations, new gifts, new party ideas…all you need to look like a professional interior decorator or party planner during the upcoming seasons.
4. Home Décor—Pinners love to dream. Dream wall colors, dream furniture, dream backyards, and full-fledged dream houses. If your house needs updating or you want ideas for a dream home, Pinterest is your guide. There are beautiful and amazing pictures of some of the most beautiful home décor out there. Dare to dream.
5. Kid Stuff—Pinterest is FULL of ideas for kid’s parties, activities, and family outings. Pinterest even has tons of general parenting advice. It’s like one big parenting idea pool.
While I tend to lean toward the recipe sections, I love seeing the huge mix of ideas that Pinners create—go check it out and find your favorite category!


About Author

Betsy Larson, has worked for over 15 years in many retail based Fortune 1000 companies both in a finance and legal capacity. Betsy is currently employed at a large scale retail company within the Minneapolis, Minnesota area and is the owner of Betsy Larson Law Office which focuses on helping small businesses succeed. Betsy utilizes social media both on a professional and personal level to create efficiency as she juggles life as a busy mom of 3, wife and business owner. You can reach Betsy on Pinterest, on Twitter or on her blog.

9 Tips to help you get started with Google+

Google+

Here are 9 Tips to help you get started with Google+

1. Keep it simple

When you start using it keep what you post simple. Start to see what people are posting and start using that +1 button to like people’s status updates or pics or videos.

2. Those Circles

Plenty of people ask me about those Circles, what are they? Are they crop circles? What is going on? Here is a simple definition for you. With the Circles Google has allowed you to move people you add into various circles. Those being Friends, Family, Acquaintances, Following. However here is a nice option you can also add your own circles. So if you are a business person or salesperson you could add a circle for leads. You could add a circle for inspirational people, book clubs, the list is endless. What kind of circle could you create for yourself?

3. Status Updates

Google has a somewhat different status update section to Twitter or Facebook. On the Google one you have a stream, you can update with text, photo’s, videos, links, locations and you can also direct those updates or streams to everyone or just to friends or to a select circle. The choice is yours. Do you see the opportunity for project management here, think tank work amongst work colleagues, friends etc.

4. Events

Google has just recently added an Events icon to Google+. What that means is just like with Facebook you can now market your Events whatever they may be. This gives you another marketing tool for you or your business.

5. Hangouts

Hangouts are fun and you can start a hangout with your live webcam, think of it as a meeting of your friends or business colleagues online. You can also save those hangouts on Youtube as a video. A great option.

6. Trending on Google+

Just like with Twitter you can see what is Trending on Google+ it shows you what is popular.

7. Play around with your Profile

What are you going to use Google+ for? Think it through and then adjust your profile. What does your profile picture say about you? What does your ‘’About page’’ say about you?
Here you can show any email address or websites you want to share and any other contact info you care to share.

8. Pages

Pages is similar to Facebook Pages and allows you to set up a page for your business.
A valuable marketing tool for any small business.

9. A valuable networking tool

Google+ is a valuable networking tool for friends, business people and families. The choice is yours.
As with all social networking tools, it’s a tool, it’s up to you how you want to use it and what you want to use it for.

Do you have any tips about Google+?


About Author

Fred Felton is a keynote speaker, social media consultant, author business analyst and website designer. Fred is also owner of Falcon’s Cove a digital media agency based in Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa. You can also find Fred on Twitter and Facebook.

How To Make Social Media Engagement Work For You!

engaging in social mediaBack in 2009, I enlisted a colleague to help me start up a Twitter account. At that time I viewed twitter as a silly waste of time. Fast forward to 2012 and Twitter has become one of my favorite social media platforms and a primary networking outlet for me. Additional platforms that I enjoy and use often include Facebook and LinkedIn.

Google+ is growing on me as well and with the addition of the rel=author function, I’ve begun using Google+ more often.

People often ask me, “How did you get Twitter and Facebook to work so well for your business?” Explaining this in one word is quite simple: ENGAGE

Over the years I’ve received countless emails and DM’s from others thanking me for the simple act of replying to them. I sometimes respond, “There’s no need to thank me. Why would I not reply to you?” The typical answer is, “Oh – you have no idea how many people do not. I get so frustrated by it! What am I doing wrong?”

These folks are likely not doing anything wrong at all. If they reach out to someone with a tweet or DM, email or Facebook note and hear nothing back, it’s probably not about them at all. Many business owners and social media professionals stand by the old rule that all inquiries should be replied to within 24-48 to show maximum professionalism. On the other hand, there could be a number of reasons for the lack of replies such as:

  • The company account is being run by someone in another country and they don’t know how to respond to the inquiry.
  • The company account is being auto-run and no one gets replies.
  • The company account is being run on a part time basis and replies are few and far between.
  • The person running the account is more interested in being heard than in ‘listening,’ helping or engaging.
  • The tweet, email, DM or Facebook note simply got lost under many others – we all get busy.
  • There could be other facts involved, also, from a sense of elevation to family issues and more.
  • I read a tweet recently that said, “Not everyone wants to engage here! Some of us are just here to observe and monitor the space for marketing research.”

A lack of engagement can be the result of a number of factors. That said, this is one area in social media that can quickly set you apart from your competition!  Simply replying to others (in a positive and helpful way) has brought me additional business, wonderful networking opportunities, guest post offers, new friendships, charitable giving opportunities, donations for fund-raisers I’m running and much more.

People appreciate feeling heard, listened to, replied to and engaged with. On twitter I attempt to reply to tweets and DM’s immediately. If I receive messages while I’m sleeping I reply as soon as I get back to work and see the correspondence. I respond to emails within 24 hours, any time possible. Sometimes my reply must be, “No, I can’t do that. I’m sorry!” However, I usually offer the person an alternative solution or varying idea to solve their problem. Even if I cannot help them, someone else might be able to, right?

For instance, I often receive emails asking that I advertise someone’s business for free. I reply, “We have paid ad spots if you’d like to learn more about that. If you are seeking free advertising, I’ll send you over to an article that I wrote about ways small businesses can promote for free. Hopefully that will help you.” Many times these same people come back for services later on, based on my willingness to help them even when they did not want to pay for services to begin with.

Think… Givers Gain. It really does work! In addition, what do you have to lose by being kind and helpful, right?

On Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ I generally reply to all comments and messages within 24 hours if not sooner. I’ve found that when people comment under a post of mine, they hope to either get a ‘thumb up’ or a reply comment in return. If I do this quickly they feel as though they are really a part of our community and their presence is appreciated. Soon enough they are commenting more often and engaging with our community in a deeper way.

In closing, you might like to consider the following word play for the word ENGAGE:

E= Eager to reply

N= Never ignore

G= Givers Gain

A= Always respond to legitimate inquiries (not spam)

G= Get back what you give

E= Early replies gain respect

Off you go now – engage and grow!


Shara Lawrence-Weiss is the owner of Mommy Perks, an online community for parents, grandparents, business owners and friends. Shara has a background in early childhood, education, freelance, nanny work, special needs, marketing and business ownership. She is currently serving as the secretary of her town charity group and the treasurer of the town library board. She lives in a small town near the woods with her husband and four children. Shara and her husband volunteer for town fund-raisers with the kids and mentor numerous at-risk teenagers. Shara is also active on Facebook and Twitter.

Why is Pinterest So Addictive

pinterest is addictive

As a busy professional woman you would think that I would not get so addicted to the new social media site Pinterest which users mainly use for recipe swaps, DIY projects and decorating tips, au contraire.  For me exploring Pinterest and becoming a pinner helps me identify with things in my life from the past, present and envision for the future.  It also allows me to connect with others who have the same likes or dislikes as I do, and these likes and dislikes are not the same as likes 0n Facebook.  If you want another excuse I also hail from Alabama, one of the states statistically with the most pinners.

For me Pinning allows me to gather ideas for my present everyday life and to dream about my life in the future, especially when I am thinking about my first to London I will be taking later this fall.   Pinning for me is an outlet from the stress of other social media sites and it allows me to give people insight into who I am on a personal level.    Something I have avoided in my professional life before now.

For example,  I love Autumn/Fall so I have been pinning and re-pinning for a good part of a week about things that mean fall to me.  Whether it’s fall fashion, to décor to holidays, I get to explore visually the things I like about the season.   I also love to interact with others across the Pinterest network who are pinning about Fall to see what they like and to get ideas.  I also like recipes.

Gone are the days for me that I will sit and clip interesting recipes to try, and I don’t want to put them in a book that gathers dust.  Pinning recipes is a way for me to keep up with what’s hip and new in the food world.  I don’t cook that often, but when I do and it’s usually around the holidays, I like having interesting recipes to try.

Many marketers aren’t exactly sure what the pay-off of Pinterest is just yet.  In a recent article 10 Things to People Love or Hate About Pinterest, at Mashable.com even pinners question the glitches the Pinterest website seems to have.

Mashable talks about two consumer marketing monitoring firms who have looked at the site’s glitches and user interface.  Some of the statistics are staggering at best with 60% women and 40% men using the site, and acording to the infographic report that Netbase and SAP posted, Pinterest is the fastest growing social media site on the web .  Last year the site tracked 10 million monthly visits in the United States alone over any other website.

Two of the top five things people love about the site are sharing recipes and the comments that come along with sharing them and how easy it is to help plan and organize items from decorating, to shopping to crafts to weddings.  The top least favorite thing that people like about Pinterest is that for companies and others, we’re not too sure how pinning equates to more business for our business.

I for one believe that the complaint of monetization will work itself out.  Because I believe eventually consumers will buy something they have seen on Pinterest. I know, if there is something I really like and want to know where I can get it, I click on the photo to go to the website where nine times out of 10 I can see where to purchase the item and I visit the site at least once before I decide to purchase it.

Still other statistics I have seen on Pinterest talk about sentiment to brands.   Let’s face it people pin from sites and brands they know and love, and brands are now getting into the game with their own Pinterest boards.  Consumers like me, are recognizing this and are gravitating to their boards.  Brand loyalty may be where in the end businesses and consumers see the benefits of the hours upon hours of pinning items they like.


About Author

Kara Kennedy, a native of Birmingham, has worked extensively in the areas of Public Relations, media and marketing, and is currently the Director of the External Affairs of Samford’s Brock School of Business. Shortly after joining the Brock School of Business in June of 2007, she headed the PR team that implemented the successful strategy to brand the Samford School of Business the Brock School of Business.  Kara handles all of the events marketing, media relations, public relations and online digital strategies (including social media) for the Brock School of Business.

You can reach Kara on Pinterest and Twitter or email here at kara_kennedy@kennedyresourcedevelopment.com

 

There’s a New Chat in Town- #TurnitSocial

We are entering a new phase at Turnitsocial.com and want to start sharing with our friends new things that are happening in Social Media. Thursday, August 30 at 8 pm EST we will be hosting a new Twitter Chat, #TurnitSocial .  We plan on bringing to the chat some really interesting guests, topics and latest Social Media news to help you with your business!

Randy Thio, from Ideabloke.com will be our cohost for our first #TurnitSocial Chat! We will talking about Pinterest.

Hope to see you August 30 at 8 pm EST and every Thursday thereafter! If you would like to be on a weekly email reminder, you can send me a message at dede@dedewatson.com