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Friday Small Business Roundup: Social Media Marketing and More

September 27th, 2013 ::

Should You Dump Your Brand’s Facebook Page For Google+? Get Monika Jansen’s take on the question.

Social media can do more than create fans–it can boost sales. Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post Study Shows Social Does Drive Sales to learn more.

Technology is powering today’s small business, but is your tech up-to-date? Read Maria Valdez Haubrich’s post Small Business Tech Spending: Do You Measure Up? to see if you’re keeping pace.

Marketing today requires keeping in touch with customers in real-time–not easy. Read Monika Jansen’s Real-Time Marketing: 5 Ways to Do It Right to get help.

Then read Rieva Lesonsky’s How to Attract New Customers With Public Speaking for a simple way to get more clients.

Are you marketing to Millennials, Baby Boomers or both? Get tips in Karen Axelton’s post How to Target 2 of Today’s Hottest Markets.

Friday Small Business Roundup: Inbound Marketing and More

September 6th, 2013 ::

Is Your Small Business Profiting From Inbound Marketing Yet? Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post to learn what inbound marketing can do for you.

Blogging is one of the best tools in the inbound marketer’s arsenal. Read Monika Jansen’s post How to Build a Personal Brand With a Blog to boost your blogging skills.

Social media is a great inbound marketing tactic, too. Check out Monika Jansen’s 5 Tips for Using Instagram for B2B Marketing.

If your website isn’t optimized for mobile use, you could be missing out. Read Maria Valdez Haubrich’s post Mobile Shopping Surpasses Desktop for First Time to find out why.

Hurricane season is in full effect. Is Your Small Business Prepared for Disaster? Read Karen Axelton’s post to learn how to protect your business.

Small business owners have an optimistic outlook about the year ahead. Read Karen Axelton’s post How Are You Feeling? to see if you’re in tune with your peers.

6 Top Myths of Social Media

May 6th, 2013 ::

mythsDespite the incredible amount of information out there on how to use social media for marketing, a few bad practices still linger. At best, following them makes you look like you’re new to social media, but at worst, you could get flagged for spam.

Here are the top 6 worst practices, or myths, in social media:

1 – You MUST be active on every social media network.

Well, sure, if you want to waste your time, go for it! But it’s highly doubtful your customers are active on every social network. Beyond Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you really have to do your research to see if your audience uses Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, etc. Some popular social media listening tools include Google Alerts and Social Mention.

2 – Automate all updates to save time.

The first rule of thumb when it comes to social media is to be social. Do you automate texts, emails, and phone calls to your friends? Of course not! You can’t have a conversation that way. You can automate certain things, like blog posts and major news releases to go out, but otherwise, treat social media like a cocktail party and be present.

3 – Auto-DM new Twitter followers.

Automatically sending your new Twitter followers a direct message (DM) is such an impersonal, spammy practice that it will leave a negative impression on your followers and make you look like you have no clue what you’re doing. Instead, send them a short, public note around your area of interest: “@newfollower Thanks for the follow! What aspect of social media are you most frustrated by?”

4 – Auto-publish the same content on every social network.

Again, this will make you look like you don’t know what you’re doing, because every social network is different. It’s OK to tweet and pin a few times a day, but it’s not OK to post on Facebook or LinkedIn a few times a day.

5 – Respond to all negative comments.

While it is generally a good idea to respond to negative comments in order to fix a situation, remember that some people are just mean. Instead of getting into a virtual shouting match, do what you can to address the complaint, and then leave it. That person will only look worse, while you’ll look better for taking the high ground.

6 – Just wing it.

If you want to actually generate results, you can’t “wing” social media. You need to have a plan. For starters, you need to know what content you will post where and how often. If you want to learn more, check out one of my recent blog posts, The Online Marketing Project, Part 2.

What other social media practices make businesses look like they don’t know what they’re doing?

Image courtesy of lifehappens.org

Who Is Using Social Media, and Where Are They?

May 2nd, 2013 ::

Social media based on demographicsPew Internet released a short but incredibly useful report earlier this year called The Demographics of Social Media Users – 2012. While it’s imperative to do your own research to uncover where your customers are, use these stats as a general guideline as you plan and refine your social media marketing strategy.

Who is using social media?

By gender, race, and geography

Women tend to use social media a bit more than men – 71% vs. 62% – and Hispanics use social media slightly more than blacks and whites, clocking in at 72% (68% of blacks and 65% of whites use social media). Urbanites and suburbanites are on social media in almost equal numbers (70% vs. 67%), while 61% of those who reside in rural areas use social media.

By age

It comes as absolutely no surprise that the younger you are, the more likely you are to use social media. A full 83% of those between 18 and 29 use social media, while only 32% of those over 65 use it.

By education and income

When you look at social media usage based on education and household income, there is very little difference in usage rates. In fact, the biggest users had some college and the lowest household incomes. I am curious: Do those two stats taken together represent college and university students? Are they the biggest social media users overall? Unfortunately, the study doesn’t say.

What social media sites do they use?

In sum, this study confirms what we already pretty much know: Facebook is king, and young adults are on social media a lot.

  • Facebook: 67% use Facebook; the biggest users are young women, ages 18-29.
  • Twitter: 16% use Twitter; the biggest users are also ages 18-29, live in an urban area and tend to be African-American.
  • Pinterest: 15% use Pinterest; users tend to be white adult women under 50 with some college education.
  • Instagram: 13% use Instagram; again, it’s popular with young adults ages 18-29, but Instagram tends to be used the most by African-Americans, Latinos, and women who live in an urban area.
  • Tumblr: The smallest user base (with 6%) is used mostly by those ages 18-29.

Will these statistics change the way you use social media?

Image courtesy of 123rf.com

How to Get Fans to Engage With Your Content on Facebook

April 10th, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

For most small business owners, Facebook is a huge part of their content marketing strategy. But constant changes to Facebook’s newsfeed, timeline and algorithms mean it’s important to keep up-to-date with the best ways to engage fans and followers on Facebook.

ClickZ recently shared the results of research it conducted on the top 50 brands on Facebook.  One primary way companies interact with consumers on Facebook is by using social engagement apps to build engagement. But ClickZ found that many top brands were missing out on potential interactions because they weren’t using engagement apps to their fullest extent.

If you use apps on your business’s Facebook page, ClickZ suggests these 10 best practices for encouraging engagement, based on its research:

  1. Get the fans involved. Ask fans to create their own content and share it on your social media account. Content made by fans is seen as more authentic than that created by a business, which increases the chances it will get shared.
  2. Connect emotionally. Whether you are creating your own content or sharing others’, think about whether it reflects your brand on an emotional level and how it will connect with customers emotionally.
  3. Get them invested. Fans will care more about the outcome if you ask them to take action, whether it’s voting on the winners of a contest or contributing to a charity to reach a certain level of funds.
  4. Keep it fresh. Ideally, your social engagement apps will bring something new to your page every day, whether it’s a new contest, a new quiz or a new survey. This keeps consumers coming back.
  5. Encourage fans to share their own experiences and opinions. Sharing is key to content marketing success, and everyone wants to talk about themselves.
  6. Take advantage of current events that relate to your business. When you piggy-back on something that fans are already talking about, they’ll naturally want to share what you’re saying.
  7. Know what types of content are most likely to get shared. Funny, interesting or cute content works best.
  8. Promote. If you have a social app on your Facebook page, promote it with a mobile-friendly link so customers can access it wherever they are.
  9. Multiply results. If you have more than one Facebook page for different product lines or divisions of your business, put your social app on each page.
  10. Get partner businesses to promote the app, too. The more sponsors, partners or affiliates who promote your social app, the more attention it will attract.

Image by Flickr user Sean MacEntee (Creative Commons)

Editor’s Note: Network Solutions’ Facebook Boost can help your Facebook page get results.

Your Advanced Facebook Page Checklist: 14 Things You Might Not Be Doing

March 26th, 2013 ::

advanced Facebook Page checklistJust when I think I know all there is to know about Facebook, guess what? I learn something new – a new tip, trick, idea – that I then turn around and share with you.

Here are 14 new tidbits for you, only a few of which I already knew about, but all of which will improve your Facebook page:


  • Pick a vanity URL: If your Facebook page does not yet contain your company name in the URL, it’s easy to change that. Just go to your admin panel, click on edit page, click on update info, and change your username.
  • Use the tabs: Under your cover photo are tabs – photos, likes, about, etc. Create new ones (you can use Shortstack).
  • Create milestones: Use milestones to tell your company’s story – when you were founded, got your first customer, hired your first employee, etc. (you can add milestones from the top menu bar).


  • Link to website – In your About writeup, provide a link to your website right at the beginning.
  • Link to other social media accounts – Just because you’re on Facebook doesn’t mean you can’t add links to other social media channels you use.
  • Add a call-to-action – Include a call-to-action – give them a reason to interact on your page or visit your website.
  • Use keywords – Google and other search engines crawl Facebook during searches, so be sure you are using all relevant keywords in your description.


  • Focus on sharing photos – In case you missed it, Facebook is updating timelines to showcase visual content over text. Get in the habit of sharing photos and videos over words.
  • Relate your cover photo to your brand – Your cover photo can be anything, but for the biggest impact, make sure it’s somehow related to your brand.
  • Describe your cover photo – Because people can click on your cover photo, be sure to include a description, call to action, and link to your website.
  • Use your logo as profile photo – Use your logo as your profile photo, or get creative an use your logo on something – a bag, hat, etc. – instead.


  • Share unique content – Be sure some of the content you share on Facebook is only available there, and not on your blog, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, or Pinterest.
  • Allow fans to message you – Yes, fans can comment on your updates, but let them also send you direct messages. Just go to your admin panel, click on edit page, and click on manage permissions. Scroll down to “Messages” and check the box.

Did I miss anything that’s a little more advanced but also very important to do with your Facebook page?

Image courtesy of kgi.org

Web.com Small Business Toolkit: Facebook Boost (Customer Relationship Manager)

February 22nd, 2013 ::

Facebook Boost

Just getting your Facebook page published isn’t going to help you build fans and market your business—unless you do it right. Facebook Boost gives you a dedicated social media analyst to help you build buzz for your business on Facebook, plus create customized Facebook advertising to help you increase “likes” to your page. Thanks to its detailed reporting on your social media accounts’ activity, you’ll never be in the dark as to whether your efforts are working. With Facebook Boost, you’ll get help in managing all areas of your page, including posts, how many people are talking about your page and fan interactions.


5 Ways Facebook’s Graph Search Could Help Your Social Media Marketing

February 11th, 2013 ::

Facebook Graph SearchBy now you’ve heard about Facebook’s new Graph Search feature, which is still in beta (you can add your name to their wait list if you want to give it a try before it goes public).

Graph Search basically puts your social graph – your connections – to use by making it easy to find people, photos, places, and interests that are relevant to you. Your search results will be unique to you, as everyone’s social graph is different.

Since Facebook tends to get the beatdown pretty often about privacy, it’s worth noting that your results will only include what you could already view elsewhere on Facebook.

Let’s take a look at how Facebook Graph Search could help your social media marketing (I say “could” because we don’t know yet how people will use it):

1. Learn More About Your Fans

This, for me, is the most obvious benefit. Facebook brand’s Facebook fans which will then help them create more relevant content. This will benefit Facebook users by giving them content they want to see, which will then in turn benefit brands by boosting the levels of Facebook engagement.

2. Find New Customers

Because of its detailed search capabilities, you could use Graph Search to find potential new customers. Just use the same demographic and interest criteria you would use for an ad, and ask for introductions from your shared connections. (Yes, this is a lot like LinkedIn.)

3. Likes = Visibility

Likes will become even more important for your page – the more likes you have, the more visibility you will get. Let’s say you are a photographer. When the friend of one of your fans conducts a search for “wedding photographers,” you will pop up.

4. Ad Opportunities

Since Facebook depends on ads for revenue, it only makes sense that they would extend advertising opportunities to Graph Search.  Your targeted ads would reach people looking for your product or service – a really great lead generation opportunity.

5. Location Will Matter

Besides encouraging likes, local businesses should encourage check-ins. If Graph Search uses EdgeRank, the more activity you have on your page, the more you could potentially show up in search results.

One small caveat: If Graph Search is to work for your business, you will have to actively use Facebook, share engaging and relevant content, and encourage likes and shares.

How else do you think this new search capability will affect your social media marketing?

Image courtesy of techcrunch.com

Web.com Small Business Toolkit: Heyo (Social Marketing Tool)

January 24th, 2013 ::


Want a better Facebook page? How about a mobile app for your business? Heyo is a social marketing tool that lets businesses do all that and more–all with easy drag-and-drop steps that don’t take a lot of time. If you’ve ever run across a Facebook fan page you admire and wish you could create one, too, Heyo can help with attractive templates or custom design tools. You can choose from over 30 widgets ranging from coupons and “Buy” buttons to contest and email opt-ins. Then Heyo takes your fan page and creates a mobile app based on your social data complete with photos and fan page tabs so your customers can see your page on their smartphones or mobile devices.

Fan Engagement Lessons From the Top 5 Brands on Facebook

December 19th, 2012 ::

cheering audienceAccording to the Track Social blog, the most successful brands on Facebook have a mix of 4 critical elements: presence, audience, engagement and buzz. So what are the global brands of Facebook, Disney, YouTube, Coca-Cola and MTV doing to engage with their audience and create buzz?

I visited their pages, and here’s what I learned:

Facebook: Clever

Talk about engaging content! The first post I saw was the story of how Jay Jabonet began a campaign on Facebook to buy a group of children in the Philippines a boat so they didn’t have to swim to school anymore – the post included a video. Facebook also has a really fun “X is like Facebook” series (Halloween and pools, for starters), which I think is very clever.

Disney: Visual with a purpose

Their timeline is full of visual content with purpose: photos of the newly opened Fantasyland at Walt Disney World – with a link to buy tickets. A happy family decked out in Disney gear to promote a sale at the Disney Store online – with a promo code and link to the site.  There are also lots of fun stills of characters from movies, along with their more famous quotes.

YouTube: Funny

It’s hard to go wrong sharing funny videos on your Facebook page – like Mariah Carey singing “All I Want For Christmas Is You” backed up by Jimmy Fallon and The Roots playing toy instruments.  They also share company news you can use – like Virgin America will be offering selected YouTube series as part of their in-flight entertainment.

Coca-Cola: Brilliant branding

From Coke’s adorable polar bears promoting My Coke Rewards to an endless sea of Coca-Coca bottles (“like friends … the more the merrier”) to promoting the (RED) album in support of World AIDS Day, Coke really mixes it up while not losing sight of what their brand stands for.

MTV: Celebs

If MTV’s timeline is any gauge, pop culture is extremely engaging. Right now, MTV’s cover photo is the Jersey Shore cast – with a reminder of what day and time it airs.  Their timeline includes a “Last Fans Standing” contest, a picture of Mike’s abs, photos of One Direction and Justin Bieber, and a promotion for their “Big and Best of 2012” livestream performance on December 12.

What brands (big or small) do you find most engaging on Facebook, and why?

Image courtesy of visualphotos.com