Why I [Heart] Twitter

Social Media is constantly growing and evolving into an amazing tool to build a strong personal and business network. There are lots of platforms to choose from. It seems as though almost everybody under the age of 40? 50? is on Facebook these days. Many small businesses have got themselves a Facebook page, and started networking with their customers that way. Many professionals use LinkedIn to connect with people in their industry. I would argue that for Business to Business networking Twitter is the best of both worlds, and is the better fit for B2B marketing.

I am so sure of this, that my own social networking advisory business only has a presence on Twitter. I feel no need for a Facebook page for it, and I don’t think Pinterest or LinkedIn are a good fir for what this business does. It is so important to consider how all the platforms work and who their audiences are.

To put it briefly, here are eight reasons why Twitter is so wonderful:

Twitter opens a much wider world. You can follow anyone at all. You do not have to know that person or be approved by that person to follow their tweets.

Anyone can get involved. Create and account and put your views out there, and start influencing the community.

It’s so easy to use. Even my not-technically minded dad can do it.

You have to be short and sweet. The 140 character maximum forces people to send very short messages. No endless rants for Twitter. People have to work harder to write engaging and interesting short Tweets.

It is real-time. Because the vast majority of Tweets are set to public, whatever is happening, and being Tweeted about, you will get to read it there first. Hashtags are an excellent way of discussing what interests you right now with a vast range of people all over the globe.

It allows a company to show their brand and personality without being invasive.

Communities of like-minded people from across the globe can easily form and exchange ideas without needing to have met face-to-face.

Twitter allows greater flexibility. Maybe you want to follow your personal guru, but they do not need to follow you, or your clients and you can follow each other, or someone can follow you without you having to follow what they are saying

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Small Business Social Media Basics

Small Business Social Media Basics

I write out a checklist for many of my clients, for them to refer back to after our sessions. Not all of these platforms are suited to all types of business. One of the major things we discuss is which platforms they ought to be using. Also, different businesses will use these platforms in different ways. You should always consider what you want to get out of social media before you spend time setting up any of these pages and profiles. Below is a very generalized checklist for the major platforms that I hope will be of use to small businesses.

Facebook:

Set up a page, add a profile and cover photo, add some info.

Ask your clients, customers, suppliers, friends and colleagues to like your page.

Post something about your business, a new product, a photo of your location, an interesting thing you did today.

Do that every day.

Ask people what they think, encourage comments.

Find pages that are relevant to your business, like them, and comment on them.

Consider some targeted advertising.

Twitter:

Set up a profile, add a profile photo, and a short bio, use keywords.

Tweet something about your business, promote something, tell us something fun.

Find people to follow; clients, competitors, industry experts, even your neighbors.

Follow a few new people every few days, it’s OK if you don’t know them.

Tweet at least twice a day.

Retweet and reply to people.

Linked In:

Set up a profile, for yourself personally, or your business, or even better; both.

Find some companies to follow, your clients, or those who you would like to be clients.

Connect with people you know.

Join industry groups, ask questions.

Ask for recommendations.

Connect with a few new people each week.

Google +:

Set up a profile, for yourself personally, and your business, have Google + verify your business address.

Post comments and links that interested you and pertain to your business.

Set your posts to “public” so that new people might find you.

Add some people to your circles, those you know, and follow some people you do not know.

Start a hangout for people with an interest you share.

Pinterest:

Set up a profile, and begin with a few boards.

Pin some pictures to the boards, from your own website or blog, or from others that interest you.

Find some people to follow.

Repin the pictures that might interest your audience.

Always Pin any new pictures that go on your website.

Tweet your Pins.

YouTube:

Set up a channel, and add any videos that are relevant to your business.

Subscribe to some channels related to your industry.

Share interesting or fun videos that you find on Facebook or Twitter.

Make new videos and post them on your channel.

Are you interested in learning more than the basics?  Would you like some help in figuring out which of these platforms is best suited to your business?  Do you need some ideas of what to talk to your followers about, and how to encourage them to talk back?  Contact us by email and we would be happy to help.

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Promoting a Hairdresser with Social Media

I met with Charlie, who owns and runs a hairdressing salon in Las Vegas. Her website is designed by a professional web designer, and the majority of SEO has been done through reviews on Google. The salon has a Facebook page, and she regularly posts on it, but is finding engagement is low. By that I mean that few people comment on or “like” their posts, and the ratio of people who “like” the page and the “number of people talking about this” is poor.

Firstly, we talked about search engine optimization. I always like to begin with this, because it’s so important to get this right from the beginning and to keep it up once you’re in business. The reviews online help her a great deal, but we also chatted about blogging. Charlie has been a hairdresser for many years, and she often gives hints and tips to her clients on hair care and beauty. I told her about how she could become considered an online industry expert through blogging. She enjoys talking about her field, so she was quite interested in starting to write about it.

If she links her blog to Facebook, that’s more content she can put up there for her clients to read. I also suggested she get a Twitter account, and to find and follow other hairdressers, both the famous ones, and other local ones, to pick up ideas, swap tips, network, and inspired on subjects to blog about. I told her about the amount of internet traffic that is directed by StumbleUpon, and I explained how to use that tool.

Hair and beauty is one of the most popular themes on Pinterest, so we chatted through how to use that to promote her skills. Charlie already posts plenty of photos on to Facebook, which I think is a good way to get people to click “like”, but in her case, I suggested asking simple hair and beauty related questions, such as whether they were considering changing their color this month, if they liked a celebrity’s new style or what products people recommend. These subjects get people talking, and that’s how their friends will see your page, and how Facebook algorithms know to show them your news again.
I told Charlie about “check-ins” on Facebook in particular, and how that helps to get your clients to do some of your marketing for you.  We also talked about FourSquare, and whether she might like to use it for promotions.

Charlie has the PC right there at reception, so she is in an ideal situation to make the most of social media, she can spend her spare minutes between clients online searching out new trends and commenting on them using the various internet platforms at her disposal.

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Better Time Management on Social Media

My clients are usually either new to social media, or feeling a bit unenthusiastic about it due to having tried it without having a strategy or too much understanding of what they want to do with it. I usually ask people to spend 10 or 15 minutes a day on Social Media. That only works if you use your time sensibly. The more organized you are, the better. Here are five ways to manage your time on social media better.

Make it a habit. Develop a strategy and then make it your routine. Maybe five minutes first thing in the morning, five at lunchtime and five before you finish your working day. It also helps if you’re in tune with your audience. You can adapt the routine over time to find what works best for you, but make sure it gets as habitual as email checking.

Make a record of what works. You’re only spending 15 minutes a day, so try not to waste any time. Make a note of popular posts and topics, record your successes and failures. Get to know your followers and be sure to find out what you need to do to engage them.

Use the tools available to you. There a so many analytical and monitoring tools out there, and many of them are free. The Facebook analytics page is a must, but there are many other tools on the internet to help you schedule posts and use your time more efficiently.

Use other’s content. Part of your routing should be to see what other people in your industry are saying out there. It is OK to reuse and redistribute other comments, pictures and posts. But don’t overdo it.

Get your ideas out there. Don’t spend too much time thinking about a post. As a rule, I find that people like questions, positivity and pictures. Just put things out there and see what people think.

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The High Sharers of Social Media

The High Sharers of Social Media

Many of the small organizations and businesses I get to talk to in my social media consultancy in Las Vegas, feel that they ought to be using social media to back up their marketing and advertising. They have often created one or two social media profiles. I often meet people who have become unenthusiastic about social media though, because they don’t see their actions yielding any financial, measurable returns.

An important part of my meeting with clients, is the discussion on which social media platforms will suit them and their business. We talk about which type of people prefer which platform and why, how to get the right message to those people.

20% of online users are considered High Sharers. They tend to be younger people, and more active on the internet, with more devices to access it. When I was at business school, we called this type of person a Maven – a trusted expert in their particular field, who want to pass knowledge on to others. An economist writer I particularly enjoy, Malcolm Gladwell, used the term in his excellent book The Tipping Point to describe those who are intense gatherers of information and impressions, and so are often the first to pick up on new or nascent trends. You certainly want these people in your corner.

Within this group, there are several types of High Sharers, with different styles of sharing. Understanding them will help you to more effectively voice your social media marketing and engage your customers.

The Giver/Donor

I have been closely working with a local charity on their social media and these are worth their weight in gold to charities and non-profit organizations. These social sharers are motivated by a pure desire to help others. The best way to communicate with the Givers is by Facebook and email – and wherever you can – use photos to engage them.

The Selective Friend

These people will spot a piece of information that they think will interest of benefit and specific friend. They will usually do it by email, either straight from the website or by sending a mail.

The Reviewer

People who like to review things they are passionate about, such as restaurants or movies, will share about something because they love and they think the other person will love it too. They might do it on Facebook, and often people with similar passions are drawn together on Twitter, following people they have never met, but share the same interest with. They are the ones you can rely on to review your organization on a customer review site, so be sure to point them that way.

The Business Person

These people aren’t in it for the fun of it, they’re using social netwroks to further their career. They will certainly be on LinkedIn, but will seek out fellow experts on Twitter and sometimes use Facebook.

The Influencer

These are the ones who are somehow aware of the latest fashions first. They usually have a specialist area, but sometimes that can be a wide area, such as technology or culture. They’re using all the methods available to keep up with new developments and trends.

The Uniter

They will use as many of the social media platforms at their disposal as they can to share information with friends and strangers. They will use Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to connect and socialize with a wide group of people.

The Attention-Grabber

They share information for the attention and reaction of their followers. They will often have a blog, probably have a Pinterest account, and use Twitter to promote them.

Consider which of these High Sharers you want to target and make a plan of how to engage them to encourage them to share information about your organization. You need to consider how to produce content tailored to your chosen audience’s tastes and needs and use the right platform to get the information to them. Tests on human psychology show that we are quite likely to act on recommendation from an impartial party, you need to find lots of them to back up whatever you may say yourself about your business. This will directly lead to increased brand loyalty and sales.

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Getting started with Social Media

Many small businesses and organizations just don’t know how to start becoming involved with social media. They may also be wondering quite what value it can add, although some can clearly see the value, it depends on the type of business.
My suggestion to my clients, is not to jump in feet first, dip your toes in slowly, sit back and watch a little, see how others do it and learn the protocols. I suggest a four-step introduction to social media;

Step one: Find your online community. Open an account, or page, and find the other users with similar interests and watch how they behave. What do they post about? How often do they post? How do people respond?
Step two: Take part in your online community. Start to share some links to pages or articles that you have found interesting or useful, or post pages of your website that people may like to see. Comment on the current issues in your industry and share your views.
Step three: Strengthen your relationships. Once you feel you know your social media community quite well, and understand what it’s issues and interests are, consider blogging to share your thoughts more deeply and in more detail.
Step four: Become a trusted member of your online community. Combine all the above, continue to comment and share other peoples’ interesting points, along with delivering a reliable product from your business, you can become a valuable member of your online community. Reaching this stage strengthens your credibility with anyone you deal with online – clients, customers, competitors and suppliers.

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Using Social Media to Promote Children’s Equipment Rental Business

Last week I met with Sneha, who is launching a facility for people to rent children’s equipment and toys for short- or long- term. She is currently designing the website, and is considering ways to market her online business. She has a warehouse but doesn’t want the expense of a physical store at first, so she’ll be doing the majority of her marketing online.

We started off, as almost all my consultation meetings do, with the basics of Search Engine Optimization. Many new moms are also turning to blogging to exercise their brains whilst at home with baby, and to exchange ideas with other moms in the same situation. So, I suggested that Sneha make connections with these blogging moms and ask them if they would write about her business, and feature a link to it. Only a small percentage of those she asks will say yes, so contacting them all is a laborious process, but it’s well worth it to get the links in to a new website.

We did a brief introduction to Twitter, and I think she should have a presence there, but Facebook is much better-suited to this business. I did suggest that she could use it to find blogs that may feature her story, though.

I am child free, but I have many friends with children, and new parents have told me in the past that Facebook is a great way to reduce the feeling of isolation when they are at home with only a small baby for company. This study backs up my anecdotal evidence.

She is not keen to pay too much for advertising, but we discussed the pros and cons of things like Google Adwords vs Facebook. Her prospective clients may not be purposefully searching for her service of equipment rental using a search engine, so Facebook may be the ideal medium for her. She can target her advertising at a very specific market of people in her city, and alert them to the new service.

Because she will have a stock of children’s things she is in a great position to use giveaways as promotions. She can offer gifts to those to refer friends. She could offer money off her rentals for each Facebook “share” of her posts.

I showed her Pinterest and we talked about it’s market, she thinks she would use it to support her main online advertising on Facebook. I think I may even have persuaded her to start blogging herself. There is a great demand for blogs from moms and she enjoys writing, and she could use this as a medium to promote some of her products. I look forward to reading her posts!

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