Tag Archives: hootsuite

How to Take a Vacation From Your Marketing

CHuntly

As a business owner, the most important thing you can do for yourself is take a break. It also happens to be the hardest thing to do if you are trying to run your business because the moment you go silent on the marketing front you will lose audience interest.

With the holidays right around the corner, it is the perfect time to take a breather from 24/7 entrepreneur brain. Taking both a physical and a mental break from your business (even if it’s a staycation) will help you avoid burn out.

If you’re looking to take some time off this holiday season, don’t let your marketing efforts suffer. Here are a few things to consider to keep that momentum going throughout your time away.

  1. Blog early: You should have a regular posting schedule for your blogs so your audience can come to expect content at a certain time. Keep that schedule going while you are away by writing your blogs ahead of time. Most blogging platforms will allow you to schedule each blog to go live at a specific day or time.
  2. Automation is your best friend: This requires a bit of planning, but if you work ahead of time, you can schedule content to go out while you are away. Work with a program like Hootsuite, Buffer, Mailchimp, etc. Try to stay away from the bots that automatically like and comment on posts as those can seem too contrived.
  3. Delegate tasks: If you already have a team in place, make sure you put someone in charge while you are away. Empower them to make decisions without you, but let them know that you are available for emergencies. If you are a solopreneur, hire someone you trust to look after things while you are gone. Start working with them at least a few weeks in advance so they are fully comfortable while you are away.
  4. Prioritize tasks: Not everything has to be done right now. Have a look through your to do list and rank everything by due dates. If there are things that need to get done before you leave, then get them done. If you have tasks with no due date or ones with later due dates, leave those to get done when you get back.

After taking some time for yourself, you will find that you return more refreshed, which usually leads to more energy to put into your business. Taking time away from your business will allow you to approach your business from a new perspective. It will make you a better business owner – and your marketing strategy doesn’t have to suffer.

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.

Connect with Candace

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Don’t Feel Overwhelmed By Your Social Media Networks

Aviary Photo_130605261112039905

As a business owner, engaging on social media can often feel quite overwhelming. With continuously changing newsfeeds, tweets and posts, and so little time to go through everything, it is very easy to feel frustrated with real-time online content.

Quite honestly, we’d rather forget about this part of online marketing too. I mean, there’s nothing better than looking out a window, instead of having your eyes glued to a (small) electronic screen. Unfortunately, our ideal job as a professional window gazer will have to wait for now.

Seeing as this is no longer the 20th century, social media networks have significantly changed how we as people communicate and do business. Whether we like it or not, social media is here to stay. No matter how uncomfortable or overwhelming it might make us feel, we have to use it to further maximize our business potential.

So, here are three easy steps to lower your social media anxiety:

  1. Master One Social Media Platform At a Time

Each platform is going to have its challenges, limitations and advantages. It is important to take the time to understand each platform’s functions, as well as the company’s ability to integrate new features to better suit market demands. For instance, did you know that because Facebook is currently gaining ground on Youtube video posts it is ready to promote your video posts over you picture posts? Or did you know that Instagram users are 58 times more likely to like, comment, or share a brand’s post than Facebook users, and 120 times more likely than Twitter users?

Really mastering how to use a social media platform, and understanding its significant tech changes, is important to the well-being of you, your business and your clients. Don’t rush into it, take your time and learn through observation and research.

  1. Scheduling is Your Best Friend

Quality content is Queen when it comes to social media. Have thousands of followers doesn’t guarantee engagement, especially if your content is not relevant, hard to read or outdated. This is why you should take a time or day a week to sit down and research trends, events or news related to your sector or field of business. Combine this with your company’s latest product events and promotions, and you should more than enough material to start scheduling posts for the following week.

By using tools such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social or Buffer, your life will be a whole lot easier. Schedule the time and day for your posts (and in some cases even the perfect target market), and forget about the days  when you wondered if you have the time to post online.

  1. Make Time to Engage with Your Followers

Social media is called ‘social’ for a reason. That’s why I like to recommend clients to set time aside to engage with their followers. Retweet, share or repost followers’ interesting, relevant posts. Interact, connect, follow-back and ask for feedback whenever possible. By doing so, you’re actively building brand-recognition and working towards customer loyalty and trust.

Most importantly, be respectful and have fun while engaging with others online. Give your business that unique voice that only you can give it.

Written by Marisol and Silvia Fornoni, Founders of JDC.

JDC supports socially conscious organizations with finding sustainable ways to tell their stories using visual design, engaging content and non-traditional media. We help you with anything from organizing fundraising campaigns to web design and social media management.

http://www.joint-development.com

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How to unplug from social media for the holidays

Evelyn

The holidays are just around the corner and hopefully you’re planning some well deserved time off. Yet if you’re a small business owner it can be difficult to take the time you need to rest and rejuvenate for the New Year. Emails, phone calls and the ping of social media notifications can be hard to ignore. You also worry that your online presence might suffer from your absence. But it’s important to know how and when to unplug, without losing your spot on the social media hierarchy.

Schedule content ahead of time

If you’re not already using a social media dashboard such as Hootsuite or Buffer, now is the time to look into one. Dashboards make scheduling content easy and can act as an inbox for all those notifications. Schedule a tweet or post a day. That’s enough to stay alive online, but not so much that the responses become unmanageable.

Set a time limit

Set aside ten minutes a day to check the accounts; then shut it down and walk away. By setting a time limit you can reassure yourself that all is well, without taking up too much of your personal time. Check to make sure there are no emergencies but then shut off the notifications. If you use Hootsuite you can actually create “quiet time” where your notifications go silent. Better yet, turn off the phone.

Only answer urgent inquiries

Be smart about what you respond to. Is that question urgent? Is that issue an emergency? It’s easy to want to answer everything right away, but many of the queries you receive can wait a few days until you’re back at work. Only answer those questions that are truly urgent.

Allow yourself to let go

Too often we get caught up in the details. While one negative tweet might seem catastrophic at the time, in the overall big picture it’s not worth much worry. The same goes for checking the Facebook page and sending out that tweet. If you go silent for a few days, nothing terrible will happen. Your business will not fail and your customers will not desert you. In fact they’re probably not online either.

My past experience as a social media manager for a large charity taught me the importance of work-life balance when it comes to managing your online communications. While being online and listening is important, having the courage to turn it off and take time for yourself and your family is just as, if not more, important.

So this holiday, turn off the phone and enjoy the season. I promise your followers will still be there in January.

Happy Holidays.

 

Evelyn Senyi is the owner and chief marketer for Recurve Marketing, a Toronto-based digital marketing agency that offers creative, effective and affordable marketing strategies for Canadian small businesses and non-profit organizations. Follow Recurve on Twitter @recurve_ca and on Facebook www.facebook.com/recurvemarketing.ca.

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Twitter Tips for Small Business

Kelly headshot (2)

It’s one thing to have a Twitter account, it’s another thing to ‘Tweet’. The world of networking on Twitter can seem like a new way of thinking about marketing your business and connecting with clients and colleagues in addition to learning a new language. As such, it’s important to take your time to get to know Twitter before taking the plunge into the world of Tweeting.

 

Maximize your profile

Use a profile picture and header picture consistent with your branding across other platforms, including your website, business cards, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Choose a generic background that enhances your header, or design your own background for your Twitter homepage.

Your bio line on Twitter also needs to comply with the 140 character rule, so choose your words carefully! Use keywords that make it easier for people to find you and include a link to your website.

 

Micro-Blogging at its best

Twitter is part of an emerging type of media called Micro-Blogging, and it’s important to keep your Tweets short and sweet! But, remember you can say a lot in 140 characters and a picture is worth a thousand words! Use link-shortening tools like bit.ly and HootSuite to save space in your tweets when you want to link to content outside of Twitter. Use #Hashtags like keywords to link to trending content on Twitter, or to #KeepItShortAndSweet.

 

Tweet with Karma

Nobody wants to be sold to online. We live in a world where creative marketing can take you further than direct advertising. Share content rather than soliciting business – if people like what they share, they will come back for more; use Twitter to build brand loyalty. Twitter is a great way to connect with your clients and other members of your industry. Build networks of like-minded Tweeters and remember the Karma of Twitter – retweet to be retweeted! Share others’ links and photos as much as you share your own. Twitter is an active network, and you won’t gain the business you’re looking for if your activity on Twitter is one-sided.

Twitter can be a lot of fun, and is an excellent way to get your message out there quickly and effectively. It is the fastest growing social network, so it pays to have a presence there. For more tips and Twitter advice, check out Teach Me Social individual tutorials and group workshops and connect with @TeachMeSocial on Twitter!

 

Kelly Farrell is the Founder and Chief Facilitator of Teach Me Social, a visionary company that has a mission to empower small business entrepreneurs to take control of their own online presence and manage it in-house to maintain an authentic voice for their brand. Teach Me Social has been providing valuable Social Media and online marketing support to small business owners for 2 years, while Kelly’s personal experience in the marketing and Social Media realm extends over 15 years.  Connect with Kelly via her WEBSITE,TWITTER, or FACEBOOK page. You can also email her at info@teachmesocial.ca

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Four tips for Entrepreneurs

Praveeni

Being an entrepreneur is a dream job for many people, you get to be your own boss, work your own hours and pursue your passion. But those of you who have taken the plunge and started your own business know that with being your own boss comes great responsibility, countless hours of overtime and a lot of worrying and obsessing over every detail. It’s a stressful yet rewarding life but we could all use some guidance and perspective along the way.

Here are a few tips for current or future entrepreneurs 

1. Work ON your business not IN your business

As entrepreneurs it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture and get caught up in the little things. Attention to detail is important but many entrepreneurs make the mistake of sweating the small stuff instead of looking at how to grow and increase their business. A great example of this is what I like to call Social Media Madness- so many “branding experts” out there recommend that entrepreneurs use social media to grow their business, but just how much trust can you establish on the internet?  Face to face interaction is key in establishing mutual trust and building a successful business relationship. Instead of worrying about how many social media updates to schedule in Hootsuite or BufferApp entrepreneurs should be focusing on how to increase their reach, retain existing and loyal customers and expand their business.

2. Know your brand

Before you can grow your business and attract customers you need to know what you’re selling. Entrepreneurs need to take time to examine and reexamine the product they are trying to sell. What is it? And what is your brand? What are you all about?  These are all questions entrepreneurs should ask themselves. You need to know your brand inside out because as an entrepreneur you are a living breathing 24/7 advertisement and endorsement of your brand. If you don’t know what you’re trying to represent you won’t be successful in attracting and retaining customers and clients.

3. Create original material and put your name ON it

Being original is one of the perks of being an entrepreneur. Although it’s tempting to “copy” thoughts, ideas and even pictures, plagiarism is a crime and is punishable by law. It’s always best to have your own ideas. When you create something be it an image, blog post or any type of promotional material put your name on it and own it! Make sure everyone knows you made it and that it is your property. A great way to do this is by inserting your logo in to your self made images and graphics and setting your logo as a watermark for any handouts or material you give out. Your logo will generally deter any would be plagiarizers from using your work and setting your logo as a watermark for any written material makes it difficult to photocopy.

4. Don’t be afraid of DIY

Most entrepreneurs have to grow their business on a budget  andthat usually doesn’t leave much in the way of funding for expert advice and outsourcing, But doing things yourself is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s a very rewarding experience to be able to claim full ownership of projects. For example instead of outsourcing your flyer or promotional material design try playing around with PowerPoint, Photoshop or whichever design program you’re comfortable with, you’ll be surprised at what you end up with. No one knows your business better than you do so it’s always better to try doing things yourself before you break the bank on “marketing and branding experts” or “graphic designers”.  You know your vision for your brand, logo and promotional material better than anyone so why not take a stab at it before you outsource.

Praveeni Perera is the CEO and co-founder of Professional Edge Consulting a corporate training company based in Ottawa offering training and coaching services to clients around the world.  She can be reached via WebsiteTwitterFacebook or her Blog.

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How To Succeed At Internet Marketing

Kerry George (1)

Internet marketing is no longer brand new. Many companies are having success with internet marketing. Some are using Google Ad Words, others are advertising on Facebook, many are creating YouTube videos. Each of these strategies can help, but here are five other simple techniques that you may not have thought of.

1. Use all of the free stuff.

You can have a Facebook business page, a Twitter page, a Google+ profile and a LinkedIn profile for free. YouTube, blogs, and Hootsuite are also free. When people look up your company they will usually look you up next. Give them something to see under your name by filling out your complete profile. When we look up your name the first page on Google should have a lot of current information that is all about you.

2. Use your photos.

Brand your face to your company and to your product by using your photo. Use your picture on your social media platforms. Use it at the end of your blogs with a bio and with contact information. In your computer store your photos with your name in the name of the photo. When you use your picture online add your name into the alt tag on the photo and also use a #yourname as a keyword when posting an article. When we look you up online we should find current and professional photos of you that dominate your name search. A few short months of dedicated photo posting can change your online persona.

3. Put your phone number on everything.

The purpose of using internet marketing is to get more clients and to write more business. The bottom line is the bottom line. In order to converts hits to a website into paying customers the website needs your phone number to be prevalent. However, there is a lot more that can be done with a phone number. Be sure that your phone number is on your LinkedIn profile right in the summary, not just in the contact information. Not everyone can see your contact info. If they have no LinkedIn profile themselves but instead found you on the first page of Google while searching your name, they can’t see your contact info. They can see your profile info. Also put your phone number right into your automated postings on Twitter and LinkedIn at least a quarter of the time. Phone numbers now show up on smart phones as something that can be immediately dialed. Why make anyone hunt for it?

4. Blog, blog, blog…

There are so many reasons to blog. Articles establish you as an industry leader. Google loves fresh content and ranks your website higher by your consistent blogging. Blogs can be posted on LinkedIn and Twitter and other social media channels drawing your following from those places to your website blog. You can have an engaged audience that regularly follows you and even establish raving fans that give you credibility and they repost your material spreading your marketing for you. Blogging should be posted at least once a week to build a loyal following, however it can be written once a month and programmed to post each week.

5. Post consistently.

You have them following you like the Pied Piper. Now give them something to follow. Twitter and LinkedIn should have postings every day of at least 4 times. Facebook needs different postings with pictures, positive statements and visual stimulus a few times a week minimum. If you have no time, use Hootsuite or another aggregator. Write your posts in one afternoon and program them all at once during the month. Then you can be living your busy life going from meeting to meeting and still be posting on an ongoing basis.

Hope these 5 tips help you to become more successful at your internet marketing!

Kerry George is the owner of the Canadian Imperial Business Network which is currently the largest business network in Alberta and rapidly expanding across the country. She is a serial entrepreneur/author and speaker with a zest for life and a passion to help others succeed in increasing their potential and their bottom line. Kerry has several publications and blogs that you can follow and welcomes most interaction online.

Twitter

@createloyalty2U

@CIBNtweets

@yycbiznetwork

Blogs

http://loyal2u.blogspot.ca/

http://calgarybiz.net/blog-3/

http://kidsincowtown.wordpress.com/

http://loyal2u.ca/category/social-media-2/linkedin/

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5 Steps to A Successful Blog in 2014

5STSB

Happy New Year! It’s 2014 and I’m sure you have already set your business objectives for the year. Have you set your blog objectives?

What do you plan to achieve with your blog this year? Many people forget that blogging is a marketing tool. As with any marketing tool you want to be able to see and measure results. You can do this by setting blog objectives.

Here are 5 tips to get you started.

 

1. How often do you want to blog?

If you have been blogging for a while now you have probably set a blogging schedule – daily (very ambitions), weekly, bi-weekly or monthly – or you blog whenever the mood strikes. A way to help with scheduling and planning blog post is to create an editorial calendar.  Your editorial calendar can be as basic or as complex as your business or personality. My editorial calendar is a spreadsheet that includes columns for topic, title, meta title, meta description, keywords, categories, call to action, and date posted.

Once you create your editorial calendar stick with it. It helps to keep you on track and makes you more aware that you have to set time aside on a regular basis to actually sit down and create a blog post. So your first objective is to create and stick to a blog schedule.

 

2.  Increase traffic

Search Engine Optimize each post to drive traffic. You can see from above that meta title, and description are a part of my blogging process and that is because I use my blog to increase traffic to my website. Every week I review analytics to monitor traffic, traffic source and keywords used. This helps me determine which blog posts are effective and helps me plan future posts. It also shows me keywords people use to find my site that I also use in planning. And finally it enables me to set targets based on similar posts.

Your second objective is to drive organic traffic using blog posts, which leads to the third objective driving social media traffic.

 

3. Increase Interaction

Social Media is a big part of marketing today and you want to use it to the fullest. After publishing a blog post the next step would be to post it on social media. Post to all social media accounts and use images to help it go viral. Not only do you want to increase traffic from social media you also want to increase interaction. To see a big jump on interaction you can add social media sharing buttons to your blog posts.

I use analytics with such tools as Hootsuite to see what blog posts are being shared, tweeted, commented on etc. I also look at which social media is driving the most traffic and interaction. These numbers help me to plan future blog posts as well tweaking my reposting to social media. I may repost a blog post with a different title, or image and measure the reaction.

Your third objective is to increase traffic and interaction through social media.

 

4. Drive Sales

Use your blog posts to increase sales. If you noticed above in my blog process I include a call to action because at the end of the day when blogging for your business you want to be able to increase business. Each blog post has an objective that I include in my call to action. The objective may be as simple to comment, share on social media, or a bit more specific such as download a free report or to buy something etc. Even if the call to action is as simple as to comment my ultimate goal is to gather leads and prospect to increase sales.

Not only should you use a call to action in your blog post, you should also be linking to your products and services when applicable.

Your fourth objective is to increase sales by having a blog post objective, a call to action and internal links to your products and services.

 

5. Measure Success

Based on the 4 main objectives above (feel free to add more to align with your business objectives), the next step is to measure success.

Take a look at last years numbers. What were your weekly, monthly, and quarterly organic traffic, what were the traffic sources, what was social media interaction and blog interaction like? For example one week of traffic I had 400 unique visits, 20% from Facebook, 20% from Twitter, 20% from other social media and the rest was organic. That week resulted in # of shares and retweets as well as # of comments on the social media and # of comments on the site. You also want to look at per post as well. So my best blog post had 400 unique visits, 20% from Facebook, etc and my worst blog post (in terms of numbers) had 100 unique visits, 0% from Facebook, etc.

Based on these numbers I will now set targets for 2014. I also look at my call to action, internal links and what sales I can attribute to each blog posts. I use tracking such as URL shortners in blog posts as well as just asking customers where did you hear about us? and why did you buy from us? to help attribute sales. I will also set leads, prospects and sales targets for my blog posts. I also try to figure what made my best post so successful and what I can do better based on my “worst” blog post.

Your fifth and final objective is to set goals and achieve them.

Start planning your 2014 blogging today and I hope you have a successful 2014.

 

Dwainia Grey is an online marketer at Awesome Biz Online. She creates
awesome websites and blogs for businesses as well as working with
companies to optimize their websites with Search Engine Optimization and
Social Media. She can be reached at Awesome Biz Online or by phone at 647-799-1090 x 104. You a can also follow her on Facebook to get the latest on online marketing.

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