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June 30 is Social Media Day. Join the digital revolution.

June 30 is Social Media Day. Join the digital revolution.

Today, June 30 is being celebrated as Social Media Day in cities across the world.

Social Media Day recognizes and celebrates the digital revolution and the way it has changed our lives for the better.

Started in 2010 by Mashable, a leading website covering topics on Social Media , business, technology, entertainment, and more, Social Media Day events and Meetups are taking place right across the world today.

Since the launch of Social Media Day in 2010, vibrant social media platforms like Vine, Instagram and Google+ has taken the connected generation ‘by storm’.

If you are still not a Social Media convert, I am almost certain you will find yourself on the wrong side of history. The stats are staggering, as nearly one (1) in four (4) people use Social Media with Asia-Pacific having the largest social network user base of seven hundred and seventy-seven (777) million people. (Stats: eMarketer report).

Now that you know, how will you celebrate Social Media Day today? Hashtag #smday

Connect and let me know.

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Five (5) Things I Didn’t Learn At Social Media Marketing World Conference

Five (5) Things I Didn’t Learn At Social Media Marketing World Conference

You know how sometimes we learn more from what’s not said than what is.

Well, at the recent Social Media Marketing World conference in the beautiful San Diego here are five (5) things I did not learn.

Click video to hear and see:

http://www.viewbix.com/frame/004b30a6-f02b-45aa-be4e-adaa58ac2e61?w=398&h=300

What are some things about Social Media you would like to learn?  Comment in the box below or email purplecowmkt@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com or call 647 449 6760.

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How To Market Your Small Business With Twitter

How To Market Your Small Business With Twitter

Twitter, the micro-blogging site is an effective ‘no cost’ marketing tool. Fifty-five million (55M) tweets take place daily; eight thousand, nine hundred (8, 900) per second.  That’s staggering.

Consider this: Tony goes to ABC computer store in Toronto. While browsing, he spots a great computer bag. The price is right. He is ecstatic. He hurriedly completes the transaction at the cashier.

In a moment of showboating, Tony snaps his ‘steal –of-a-deal’ computer bag with his sleek smartphone uploads to his five thousand (5000) Twitter account and hits ‘share’.

Unexpectedly and at no cost to ABC computer store, Tony has just connected thousands of his followers to the store and created an unsolicited promotional opportunity. The power of Twitter and your business.

Twitter, used effectively, can increase sales and create promotional opportunities like nobody’s business.  Here’s how

  • Through Twitter, you can immediately interact with a huge audience.  Twitter is fast.  It communicates succinct messages to millions of people across the globe within seconds.
  • Twitter is highly interactive.  Twitter is used by millions of people every second, and companies who take advantage of this are saving billions in advertising revenue.  Twitter allows your business to engage fans, bloggers, and colleagues at no cost.
  •  You can build a new customer base by engaging followers with news stories, trends, and valuable information.  You will automatically build a legion of followers who would consider you a trusted ‘friend’.  These followers will someday become loyal clients.
  •  Twitter gives your business visibility. The more people know your brand, is the more trusted your brand becomes.
  •  Twitter gives you an opportunity to build relationships. You are able to meet people in Twitterverse that you would not normally meet on a ‘day to day’ basis.  This diversifies your target group, and increase sales opportunity for further revenue.
  •  You build your brand.  If you tweet often, your followers will begin associating you with a particular area of expertise.  Twitter is an immediate, effective and interactive marketing tool. When you tweet, ensure to include a link so that people will be directed to your website. This will drive traffic and leads, which would contribute to the overall success of your business.

Here’s How To Start:

  1. Establish your Twitter account and handle at www.twitter.com. It literally takes under five (5) minutes.  Be sure to upload a professional profile image – it could be a photo of you, your company logo or an icon that represents you or your company.  Also, include your profile description.  This should indicate who you are and why you are interesting to follow. Be authentic.
  2.  Listen before you leap.  Before you send your first tweet, listen for a while. Study the pros – thought leaders, people in your industry, the competitors, your target audience, etc.  Observe what they are saying, how they are interacting and what’s creating the most engagement.
  3.  Be useful.  Telling us that you had ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ for breakfast is pointless.  Nobody  cares. Providing us with helpful hints, best practices, deals, awesome videos, inspiring quotes, and so on is useful.
  4.  Converse and engage. Think of Twitter and other Social Media platforms as a giant networking universe.  Lots of conversations are happening – people are in different corners chit-chatting, making nice and building relationships. Don’t be afraid to jump in and share your thoughts, comments or insights. No need to wait until you are invited. Engage and contribute.

For more information on Twitter marketing write me at purplecowmkt@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com or 647 449 6760.

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Market Your Small Business With Pinterest

Market Your Small Business With Pinterest

Unless you have just emerged from the Dark Ages, by now you would have heard about Pinterest.  Call it the ‘hot’, young darling of Social Media.  

Pinterest is a virtual pin board. Think of it like a scrapbook with lots of your favourite photos and mementos, only, its digital. 

With Pinterest, you “pin” or “like” images of items that you’re interested in or really like.  This could be images and/or videos of ‘stuff’ you like, you, your work, your colleagues, your clients – just about anyone or anything in your world.

Considered another way, Pinterest is a great way to tell your company’s story and spotlight it’s personality with photos and videos.

Here’s why Pinterest should not be ignored:

  • Pinterest has more than 26 million unique visitors per month.  Once you have a Pinterest profile, it is easy for clients and vendors to find you by conducting searches within your industry.  You may also network with other businesses in an easier format than Linkedin.
  •  Pinterest  is fun.  The site allows you to organize images, maybe beautiful flowers, invitations , delightful dishes,  funnies, into boards for specific categories.  Some popular categories include food, clothes, jewellery,  crafts, interior decorating, etc.  When you “pin” something new, your followers automatically see it. They can like, comment or re-pin it to their boards, And like ‘Facebook’, your Pinterest pins can go viral. With Pinterest you can also add videos.
  • Pinterest allows you to tell your brand’s story visually.   You are able to create a virtual catalogue of distinct images that speak to your particular brand.  This will keep customers and prospects visiting your page, and naturally increase the amount of followers. Approximately 80% of Pinterest users are women within the 25 – 34 age bracket.  Is this your demographic?
  • Pinterest visitors are more likely to buy your product.    According to AllFacebook.com, 69% of online consumers who visit Pinterest have found an item they’ve bought or wanted to buy, compared with 40% of Facebook users.
  •  Small businesses such as graphic artists, photographers, designers (just to name a few) are now able to showcase their work for free, and you can too.  Displaying your creativity and personal style on Pinterest, will give prospective clients the opportunity to view your work before making that purchasing decision.

        Here are a few ways to use Pinterest effectively

  • Outline your company history with images. E.g show the iterations of your logo, share past and present ad campaigns (the good and bad), retired products and/or retired employees.  Showcase awards and recognition.
  •  Pin ‘behind-the-scenes’ images of employees and other internal stakeholders.  How about clients experiencing your products and services.  Consider ‘a day-in-the-life of’ series of photos.  Powerful images like these would really help to tell your story.
  • Showcase the charity involvement or causes that matter to you.  Your customers and prospects would be thrilled to see how you are giving back to your community.

Pinterest  can become a great marketing tool for your small business. Lean in. 

Having great success with your Pinterest marketing? Please share with us in the comments below.

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Videos:  The Best Kept Secret of Social Media

Videos: The Best Kept Secret of Social Media

  I believe videos are the best kept secret of Social Media marketing, yet many small businesses ignore its importance as a marketing tool and feel it’s not for them. Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

With videos, you sell more, improve your search engine ranking, provide better product exposure and provide your audience with another engaging way to interact with you.

Over the last few years, there has been an exponential increase in the use of videos for business purposes.

If you are still sitting on the sideline and wondering how it will help your business, the next five reasons should give you valuable insights.

  Top 5 reasons to consider video marketing:

  1. 85%  A visitor who watched a product video is 85% more likely to make a purchase than if they hadn’t.   Internet Retailer, April 2010
  2. 200-300%  click-thru rate. A recent study by Forrester showed that video increased email click-through rates by 200-300%. Forrester, 2010
  3. 30% higher conversion rates    In a recent study, it was found that eCommerce sites that display video increased conversion by 30% and increased average ticket sales by 13%. L2 Specialty Retail Report, September 2010
  4. 6-30%  more sales. Zappos achieved a 6-30% increase in sales after implementing product videos onto their website. ReelSEO, December 2009
  5. 53x with proper optimization , video increases the chance of a front page Google result by 53x. Forrester, January 2010

 (Stats by Animoto)

Here’s how I say it with video http://video214.com/play/Tk1gg81Ec1HKZIr78XJULg/s/dark

If you are still not convinced and need help understanding the benefits of video marketing contact me @   purplecowmkt@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com or  647 449 6760

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Bite Size Your Social Media in 60 Seconds: Your Facebook Fan Page

Bite Size Your Social Media in 60 Seconds: Your Facebook Fan Page

You’ve set up your Facebook Fan Page, the Timeline cover image looks perfect – now what?

Since I promised to make this bite-size, I won’t get into the deep intellectual musings of a Facebook strategy, an editorial calendar or any such thing. Just the quick and dirty, so here goes:

Your Goal

Your key goal with your Facebook Page is to increase engagement and quality of followers i.e fans. Engagement definitely equals growth. Leads will come in time.

Your Page

First and foremost make your Facebook Page HUMAN. Yes, human. Make it real, make it believable and above all make it authentic as you and your company are. Remember, it’s a place for real conversation, fun, company or industry news, a space to share interesting photos and videos, to get feedback on a product or service and so on. Resist the temptation of becoming a ‘pushy salesman or woman’.  Too much sales pitch is a complete turn off.

Your Facebook Interaction

When you post on your Facebook Page you really are looking for any of these four main interactions/engagements:

  1. Likes
  2. Comments
  3. Shares
  4. Clicks

Why You Should Care

It’s simple. The higher the level of interaction/engagement with your Page the more likely you are to show up in your fan’s newsfeed. It also makes for a healthy page. It’s a mistake to believe that all your fans will see every single post. According to Facebook, only sixteen (16%) of your fans see your posts and that is dependent on the size of your company – so in some cases it’s lower.  Sixteen percent is not a whole lot if you have a few hundred and hence the need to have a healthy fan base.

Specific Content

In Social Fresh’s recent eBook publication Facebook Idea Vault they contend (and I agree) that you should “use different content types to reach more fans and drive all four types of Facebook interactions: likes, comments, shares and clicks”.

They further reveal that Facebook gives these specifics:

For Likes, just ask for the like “Like this if….”

For Comments ask a question in the post

For Shares Facebook suggest photos, albums, video

 

There you have it folks, straight from the horse’s mouth and probably in 60 seconds.

Please share content that has worked best for your Facebook Page.

Still want more bite size social media content? Email info@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com

 

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All About LinkedIn

All About LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the most popular social media sites out there right now. But what is it? Do you just post your resume and find people you’ve worked with in the past? That can’t be it and it isn’t. When used correctly, LinkedIn is an effective way to network with other professionals in your industry and to grow your corporate awareness. There are currently over 175 million users of this popular site, but not everyone is using it correctly or effectively.

You need to approach LinkedIn with a strategy. Merely posting your resume or business goals will not get you very far.

Treat LinkedIn as a conversation. Use your page to talk to the people in your network, new business prospects and current clients. Use that conversation to engage viewers, talk to them about what you can do for them, how you can make them better and how this relationship can work. Share everything with your viewers that you would when you meet a new client.

Here are five ways to make LinkedIn work for you – helping you target communities, network with potential business partners and promote your business.

  1. Make your personal profile enticing. You want people to want to review your page, so make it appealing. Include a call to action and show people why they should be interested in you. Whether you decide to make your job descriptions more appealing, add apps to help your page stand out, or change your personal headline, there are choices you can make to make your page unique and enticing.
  2. Build a strong company page. Write in the third person voice, tell your audience about your business and the benefits that it will offer them. If you are currently using other social media sites, include links to those pages as well. Including other forms of media is a great draw too – upload a video and pictures to make the page visually appealing.
  3. Join groups. By joining various groups – local business associations, industry groups, alumni associations – it makes your page easier to find. Join groups that your customers may be in. Then be engaging – post comments, contribute to conversations and get engaged. Make yourself stand out.
  4. Answer questions. Under the more section, click on answers, and you will see a list of questions posed by people in your network. Answer some of them. Demonstrate your knowledge in the industry and increase your visibility. It will help to position you as an expert and a leader.
  5. Prospect for new business. Follow companies that you hope to do business with, keep up with industry news and change. You may notice a post or update in their profile that gives you the opportunity to reach out.

LinkedIn is a great tool to use both personally and professionally, and with these simple tips you are well on your way to improving your page and your “networkability”.

To view the complete article on LinkedIn strategies, click here.

http://www.profitguide.com/manage-grow/sales-marketing/five-ways-to-make-linkedin-work-for-your-business-38818

For assistance in putting your social media strategy together, email  info@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com

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Breaking Down Social Media Terms

Breaking Down Social Media Terms

There are over 200 well known social media sites out there today including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to name a few. But these are just the ones we seem to hear about the most. What about the rest? There are so many questions surrounding social media, it’s hard to know where to even begin:

  • What is social media?
  • What’s the difference between them?
  • Which sites work best for me?
  • Where do I even begin?

Finally, someone has helped us all and created a social media glossary. This document includes several popular terms to help you understand the ins and outs of social media. Here are some popular terms to get you started.

  • Hashtag
    • The use of a pound symbol (#) in front of a word to emphasize it and start a conversation. It’s a keyword, something that links conversations and begins a dialogue between contacts. Using a hashtag helps that word become more searchable as well.
    • For example, “@AKBpurplecow can help you plan your social media strategy, #gettingstarted”
  • Gamification
    • Applying gaming principles to non-games to get people involved. Points, trivia etc all are great ways to get an audience to return, keep playing and be engaged by your site.
    • For example, collecting product points and linking customers back to their social media channels to enter contest and engage in conversations.
  • Trending
    • A topic that a large amount of people are talking about through their social media channels, in real-time. News, information, pop culture, anything! To combine terms, hashtags are often used for trending words.
  • Tweet
    • A verb used to describe the 140 character message users post on Twitter. It’s the message you share with your readers and followers – your thoughts, inspirations, news updates, or posed questions. A tweet sparks a conversation and engages users.
    • For example, “Thanks to @AKBpurplecow, my small business marketing plan is complete!”

To view the entire glossary of social media terms, click here.

http://www.iabcanada.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/SocialMedia-Glossary-English.pdf

For help getting started with social media and developing a strategy for your small business, email me at  info@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com

 

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How The New Facebook Changes Will Impact Your Small Business Page

How The New Facebook Changes Will Impact Your Small Business Page

Like it or not, your Facebook Fan Page will change on March 30, so the countdown begins.  Think this won’t impact your Facebook presence? Think again.

The fact is, Facebook has decided to make the format for Pages very similar to personal profile. This means your old Facebook Fan Page will now have a Timeline format with a cover photo at the top of the Page.  Landing or Welcome Pages will become a thing of the past.

Instead of moaning, complaining or whining, here are a few ways your small business can take advantage of the new Timeline format.

1. Create A Compelling Cover Photo and Profile Picture

Cover photos are in; photo strips and Welcome or Landing Pages are out.  Big, big change here.

Think pictures and storytelling to communicate your company’s message and brand.  Pictures are always worth a thousand words, so it’s time to get your creative juices flowing and your strategy refocused.

The good news, is that you can take advantage of the large cover photo to make a great first impression. Maximum dimensions of the cover photo are 850 pixels by 315 pixels which is a big piece of ‘real estate’ on Facebook.

If you are creatively challenged, a good graphic artist can help or if you are a photographer why not ask your clients to submit their favorite photos and select one for your cover photo.  What about an upcoming event? That could be a cover photo. Keep in mind you can switch your cover photos as often as you like.  Compelling visuals can be very impactful.

A word of caution, you are not allowed to have a Call to Action on your cover photo.  You are also not allowed to include your website address, phone number or mailing address. Gone will be the days when you asked a visitor who landed on your Welcome or Landing page to ‘Like” it or Share it.

Before you start throwing a temper like two year old Johnny, you can include company details in your About section or you could have a ‘Like” app as one of your app buttons.  Just no call to action in your cover photo.

Profile pictures are now 180 pixels by 180 pixels.  This is good news, because you can now size your logo or picture in a bigger square.  Your profile picture is usually what appears beside every post in the news feed.

2. Tell Your Company Story With Milestones

Here’s where your storytelling can really shine. Use Milestones to tell about your company’s history, provide interesting facts and figures, firsts, launch of a new product, talk about a special award or anniversary, whatever provides a history and story about the company. The more visually engaging you can make your timeline the greater impact on your fans.

Here’s how to fill out your Milestone information. Click on the line that runs down the middle of your Timeline and select Milestone.  Fill out the company information as shown and start your story telling!


3. Feature Pinned Posts and Starred Posts

With the absence of a Welcome or Landing page, featuring a “Pinned” or ‘Starred” post is the only real way to highlight a story, a comment, a status update, a video, a promotion, a video or whatever content you want highlighted or featured.  A “Pinned” post is expanded to display the full width of the profile.

“Pinned” or “Starred” posts can be kept on the timeline for up to 7 days

To do this, click the pencil icon in the upper right of the post and select Pin to Top

Take a look at how Starbucks highlighted their Kona promotion by using the ‘Pin’ post feature.

4. Create a Call To Action With The New App Buttons

The Welcome or Landing tab will disappear. You will now have twelve applications (apps) you can showcase, however, of these twelve only four will be promoted on your page.  The rest will be hidden but still can be viewed.  This is where you need to think carefully about the apps you want front and centre.

Please note that you cannot change the position of the photo app which will be the first position in the row.  The other three you can choose and switch around however you want. If you so choose, you can maximize ALL twelve apps (but remember only four will be visible).

Some of the apps could include videos, a welcome app, a current promotion, a contest, another social media channel and so on. Consider using one of the app buttons to create a call to action.

These are just a few of the changes that are coming to a Facebook Page near you on March 30.  Change can be good, so consider how your small business can use this as a big opportunity to shine and tell your story.

Will you be ready?  How do you plan to make your Facebook Timeline stand out?

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The High Price of Social Media

The High Price of Social Media

Remember when your mom cautioned you to “watch your mouth”.  As it turns out, she was really onto something. I guess, she was desperately trying to impart to us a greater sense of restraint, diplomacy, decency, and sensitivity.

In these days of tweeting, blogging, and even ‘citizen journalism’, it might seem that anything goes: just speak your mind. Well, not quite.  As we’ve been seeing, opinions can be risky business, even costly.  Spilling your guts and saying whatever you feel might not be the wisest thing especially if you are a public figure or a big brand with a lot at stake.

Take the case of Chrysler, who decided to part ways with New Media Strategies, an agency that handled its Twitter account. An employee of the agency decided to post a comment that read, “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the Motorcity and yet no one here knows how to (bleep) drive.” Between “to” and “drive” was the F bomb.  Oops was little too late.

Yeah, you guessed it – the Chrysler machinery went in to damage control mode. Comments erased, agency apologized, Chrysler licking wounds, agency contract not renewed. As one would expect, Chrysler had to reach out to the Detroit community to win back their trust and confidence.

Then there was the Gilbert Gottfried/ Aflac blunder. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried the voice behind the squawking duck in most of the Aflac commercials posted at least 10 jokes about the earthquake and tsunami after the tragedy struck in Japan on his personal Twitter.  Suffice to say, Japan accounts for 75% of Aflac’s revenue.  Go figure Mr Gottfried!

Again, the PR machinery had to go into damage control mode and Mr. Gottfried’s contract was immediately terminated. Aflac pulled all television commercials with his voice and issued a statement decrying the insensitivity of the jokes.

So when you hear the squawking duck in the Aflac commercial, you know it’s not the voice of Mr. Gottfried.

Insensitive tweeting has had many a victim – private citizen to public personas. “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work,” tweeted “theconnor”.  Needless to say the offer was rescinded. 

You see, “theconnor” didn’t quite get it when mom chided (him/her) to ‘watch your mouth’.  In today’s warp speed world, when everything is social and public, tread carefully and watch watch you put out there. It could be costly!

What about you? Have you ever tweeted something you later regretted and had to retract?

By: Dorothy Vernon-Brown

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