The Ibis Network's Social-Media Marketing Tips
Tuesday July 29th 2014

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Posts Tagged ‘Free Loan Officer Training’

Ideas, Inspiration, And Where To Go When Your Blog Is Blank

Face it. You’re no Hemingway. And frankly, you don’t need to be. Keeping a business blog doesn’t require you to be a literary giant but it will require you to come up with some topics to write about.

In the end, knowing what to write is more important than knowing how to write. Which means, you can stop worrying over whether or not you can wow an audience of online onlookers and start worrying about having some ideas to start with. Here’s a quick list of places to go for topics when your blog is blank …

Your Clients: We’re not talking testimonials here. We’re talking about turning your customers’ problems and successes into the basis for blog posts. Take a particular client and address their issues and the solutions you came up with to solve their problem. Try to illustrate a larger point using their specific example. Chances are there are other people out there facing some of the same troubles and would benefit from reading the story of someone’s positive experience. You’ll have to be careful not to sound too self-serving but writing about what you know is easier than crafting content out of nothing. And what do you know better than your own business?

The News: Scanning news headlines for hot topics and relevant industry info can provide inspiration for blog posts that benefit your business. Relaying important news and information in a way that’s easily read and understood can be a perfect way of educating your clients and boosting your reputation as an expert in your field. Also, have a look at competitor’s blogs. Having an idea of what others in your industry write about can be a great way to drum up some ideas. Of course, you can’t steal their material but you can see what works and what doesn’t and take it from there.

The Rest: The Internet is a treasure trove of material and ideas are never further than your next Google search. There are plenty of sites with never-ending lists of blog topics and starter ideas. Polls, lists, trends, industry surveys, frequently asked questions, how-to articles, glossaries of common terms, beginner’s guides, statistics, mistakes, dos and don’ts are all among the usual suggestions. And they’re good ones. Mix ‘em up, keep it fresh, and don’t get easily discouraged.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Content Marketing: Fishing For Business With Social Media

Say you’re a fisherman. Selling the fish on what an excellent chef you are and how delicious they’d be if they’d just get in the boat wouldn’t catch you many fish. However, lure them in with bait and, with a little patience, you’ll have them hooked. Content marketing through social media works in much the same way. But without the use of actual hooks, which are terrible for repeat business.

The content you post on your profiles, pages, and blogs should act as a lure and, once you’ve got their attention, your elevated reputation and professional online presence will be the hook. In other words, attract the type of clients you’re targeting with informative, relevant, and interesting information and then, after gaining their trust and esteem, you’ll have an easier time converting those online contacts into real-life business.

Here are some tips on creating content that grabs attention and builds your business …

Have A Plan: You’re already busy. Now start writing daily blog posts, tweets, and Facebook updates without any direction or idea of what to write or who to send it to. That’s a recipe for frustration. Having a plan means figuring out who you’re trying to attract and building some ideas from there. Whatever business you’re in, you likely see the same problems and hear the same questions over and over again. Think of those things and use them as the basis for blog posts. Explain something about your job. Offer them industry info that informs and educates. Give them a reason to return and remember your name.

Be Subtle: Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of content marketing is how indirect and hard to track it can be. It’s tempting to want to set up a blog and post every hour about how great you are and how much people need your services. But online attention is fickle. And the likelihood that anyone sat down in front of their computer hoping to read about how much better at your job you are than anyone else is slim. Having interesting and entertaining content, even if it’s not directly related to your profession or business, will attract attention and build brand recognition. But it’ll take patience and the realization that you’re not going to close business every time you post an update.

Be Creative, Not Self-Serving: Now for some ideas … Create a checklist or planning worksheet. Create “thank you” posts for subscribers and followers and send it on holidays or as a small gift to your readers. Address common objections you face when selling your product or services. Create a “Best Of” or “Top 10” List. Write up some do’s and don’ts, common mistakes, or things to avoid. Comment on other people’s blogs or use their blogs as inspiration for your own posts. In general, put yourself in your clients’ shoes and think of things they should know or would be interested in reading and then distribute and syndicate your content through your social-media sites. More ideas here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

How To Become A Successful Email Marketer Without Annoying Your Mailing List

 

From time to time, articles are written in newspapers and magazines declaring the death of email. And while it may be true among tech-savvy, 15-year-old iPhone users with Facebook and Twitter apps, for the rest of us, email remains an effective and popular way to stay in contact with clients, promote services, discount offers, and any other info useful to building relationships and business.

Here are a few tips on how to become a more successful email marketer …

Keep it Small: The best thing about being a small business and not a giant corporation is the ability to form personal relationships with your customers. And, because you’ve established that relationship, you can be assured your emails are being received by people that want to do with business with you. Which is to say, don’t be shy about asking for email addresses. After all, the first step toward better email marketing is building a mailing list. Tell people you’re starting an exclusive email program for your best customers and, if they sign up, they’ll receive promotions, relevant info, and members-only discounts and incentives.

Offer Options and Incentives: And speaking of incentives, the simplest way to avoid offending your list and receiving more unsubscribes than subscriptions, is to give them something they want. If you’re mailing out the same promotional flyer week after week, you’re likely to become a nuisance with fewer and fewer subscribers. Offer them something attractive that they can’t get anywhere else. And, if you’re still losing subscribers, suggest instead that they follow you on Twitter or your Facebook fan page or anywhere else you’re communicating with potential partners and clients.

Address the Subject: As anyone with an email inbox already knows, without an effective subject line, your email – regardless of how good the deal or irresistible the offer – will end up deleted before ever having the chance to interest anyone. If you want more people to open the emails you’re sending out, address the subject line first. Keep them as short as you can, if possible fewer than six words. The longer the subject, the more likely it’ll be cut off or ignored. Also, feel free to be creative. Try to imagine what would grab your attention and test it out. And then keep testing. Once you’ve found a subject line that drives up your open rate, stick with it and keep on it.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Three Things To Know Before Starting A Social-Media Campaign

 

The biggest mistake most businesses make when beginning a social-media campaign is believing they know how to begin a social-media campaign. Knowing nothing more than it’s easy and takes no more than 10 minutes to get started may get your page up and your phone number in the right spot, but then what?

Unfortunately, like anything else, to be successful requires a little advance planning, research, and know how. No, you don’t need a degree in computer science. But it helps to familiarize yourself with the terminology, the concept, and what has worked for others.

Here’s a quick three-step guide to what it is, what works, and what it takes to succeed …

Know What: You’ve heard that Facebook is hugely popular, so that’s a good place to start, right? Well do you want to set up a page or a profile? There’s a difference and knowing it is the difference between building your business and building a collection of your most embarrassing photos. Know the terms, the capabilities, and the purpose of each. Take a look at the definition of a blog and how that’s different from micro-blogging or what an RSS feed is and how it can help fill out your social-media profiles. You don’t need to become an expert but familiarizing yourself a bit more with what things are and how they’re used can help you build a plan that fits with your plan and works for your business.

Know Why: Which brings us to the next step … Building success online means keeping up communications and giving people a reason to visit your pages. Having a lot of empty space on the Internet won’t build your business. One of the biggest misconceptions people have about social media is that having your links spread across the web is the ultimate goal and you’re done once you’ve got your pages set up. A Twitter page isn’t an advertisement and, if it were, it wouldn’t be a good one without the tweets. Don’t bother setting up the pages if you aren’t going to use them. Or start with something you can handle, or that fits your business, and build from there. Start smart and small.

Know How: The key to social-media marketing success is understanding that it isn’t advertising. Think of it as a magazine that you’re publishing. You wouldn’t attract any readers if your magazine had no articles and, instead, was only advertisements for the same business, page after page. In other words, you have to produce content that people will want enough to return to your page for updates. The content is bait. You have to have something to offer before you can expect your social-media campaign to show measurable benefits. Empty profiles and links to your other web pages won’t bring you business. Having an interactive, informative, and entertaining presence online will.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Do’s and Don’ts of Email Marketing, Social Media, and Blogs

When doing anything for the first time, it’s important to know where to begin. You wouldn’t, for example, start a race three feet from the finish line. And, if you did, you’d likely be disqualified. Online marketing is no different. Following some basic do’s and don’ts can be the difference between a successful social-media campaign and giving up before you even begin.

Here are some tips and hints for kick-starting your online efforts …

Your Blog: In a lot of ways, the blog gave rise to what we now know as “social media.” Without blogs, and the communities that arose around them, there may never have been a Facebook or LinkedIn. But now that you’ve got one, what do you do with it? First off, keep it updated, easy to read, clear, and informal. Make sure visitors can scan your content quickly by breaking your posts into shorter paragraphs. Use plain English and avoid jargon and industry lingo. Don’t fill your blog with PR or try too hard to sell your services. Make your content useful and informative. And don’t make it difficult for your readers to navigate your blog or, more importantly, figure out who you are and what you do.

Your Social Media Profiles: Social media can be a great tool for building your business and your brand. However, an empty Facebook fan page with four fans isn’t a great motivator to keep going. Start by adding some content to your pages and profiles. If you have a blog, import your posts to your social media pages. Giving visitors something more than a one-sentence status update, gives them reason to linger and return in the future. It’s also good to look for smaller, industry-specific social-media sites. Sure, Twitter is wildly popular but you may find a better audience for your online efforts in a smaller community. For example, if you’re a Realtor or mortgage pro, try setting up a page on real-estate focused social-media sites, such as Active Rain and Trulia. But don’t set up a profile, fill in half of your information, connect with your friends and family, then wait for the business to come rolling in. It won’t.

Your Email List: Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your contacts, clients, and customers. But, like the telephone, you have to follow etiquette. People are as annoyed by spam and sales pitches in their inbox as they are with telemarketers calling during the dinner hour. Don’t abuse your list. And don’t get long-winded. Be specific and to the point. Make it easy for the recipient to quickly figure out what you’ve sent. Sending announcements, blog posts, or special offers to your list is encouraged. Try a monthly or weekly newsletter, as a way of staying in touch with your contacts. But be careful, sending too many emails can be as harmful as sending too few. Like anything, striking a balance is important.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Writing For Readers: How To Craft Blog Content That Attracts A Crowd

Unless your business is writing, keeping a business blog doesn’t mean you have to be a wordsmith. It doesn’t require that you have a flair for sentence structure, a stockpile of four-syllable words, or unparalleled wit and wisdom either.

In fact, successful online content is less about your way with the written word and more about offering easy-to-read, useful and unique posts that can be digested quickly. After all, people visiting your site have the entire Internet to search through. They aren’t likely to want to wade through a 10,000 word thesis. You have to catch their attention quickly. That means writing in a conversational tone and less like you’re trying to get an “A” on your 8th grade English paper.

Here are some tips to creating successful blog content …

Keep it Short: The Internet has trained us to move quickly as we search and scan for the information we’re looking for. In other words, visitors to your Facebook page or blog aren’t going to give you a lot of their time. Keep your paragraphs short and your posts concise. If you have a lot of information, break it up in a list or over a series of posts. In general, the easier it is for your readers to quickly understand your point, the more readers you’ll have.

Keep it Simple: Think of the last thing you enjoyed reading online. Was it because it was challenging and sent you running to the dictionary to look up words every other paragraph? Or was it because it was incredibly involved, filled with technical jargon, and kept you glued to your screen for the better part of a Tuesday afternoon? Probably not. Conversational tone means writing as though you were talking to someone. Chances are you have an easier time expressing yourself in conversation than you do when you sit down to write. Get the idea down, leave it alone, then read it again in an hour. Fill in the gaps and take out anything unnecessary. Now post.

Keep it Interesting: Thing is, no matter how well you craft your blog posts, a screen full of text is going to turn-off a lot of visitors to your site. Sure, you have to give them something to read but it helps if you include some visuals as well. Adding photos, diagrams, charts, and video to your posts will make your site more visually interesting and increase the chances that someone lingers long enough to get interested in what you’ve written.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Three Common Social Media Mistakes To Avoid

Doing something well requires practice. And practice requires patience. After all, it’s going to take a while to get good at whatever it is and, in the meantime, you’ll have to grow accustomed to the feeling of failure. The same goes for starting a social-media campaign. There’s no reason to expect you’ll have more fans than Oprah within a week of setting up your first account. Take your time and don’t get discouraged.

To help you get started, here are a few common mistakes to avoid …

Keeping Quiet: It’s easy to fall into the trap of only promoting your social network while you’re online. But driving traffic to your sites means getting the word out. Even offline. If you’re keeping a blog, talk about it as much as possible. Ask clients to visit. Ask your friends to visit. Mention it in meetings and at industry events and anywhere else you’re in contact with potential readers that fit your target audience.

Doing Too Much: Once you’ve got yourself registered on your social network of choice, it’s tempting to start following and friending every page, profile, and person you come across. And, while it is a good idea to connect with industry and community contacts, clients, and potential referral partners, building your network requires some focus. If you find yourself following 500 people on Twitter and the majority of them are your favorite actors, actresses, singers, and athletes, you’re likely not going to see any benefit to your business. You’re also never going to be able to locate your actual contacts through the mess of tweets filling your inbox.

Giving Up: There as many cliches about practice making perfect as there are reasons to keep with it. Sure, at first, it’s a struggle to find the time or the content or the purpose behind your social-media efforts. But with a bit of focus, and a commitment to engaging and interacting with your online network, the benefits will come. Don’t fill out your profile, let it sit for a month, and then proclaim the Internet a waste of your marketing efforts. If at first you don’t succeed …

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Content Creation or How To Put The Media in Your Social-Media Campaign

Fortunately, all you need to know about social media is contained right in its name. It’s social, meaning you’ll have to participate and engage your community. And it’s media, meaning it’s a form of communication no different than a radio or television station. The difference is it’s your radio or television station. And that’s where it gets confusing. Content creation is the key to a successful social-media campaign. It’s also what leaves the Internet littered with abandoned Facebook pages and tweet-free Twitter accounts.

Here are some tips for creating content that will attract an audience and build your business …

Know Your Audience: Whether you’ve setup a blog, a Facebook fan page, or a Twitter account, you’ll need content. But before you post anything, think of your audience. Consumers use the Internet to educate themselves before making a decision. Therefore, if your content educates and informs, you’re likely to gain trust and build an audience. Use what you know to your advantage. Think of questions your clients frequently ask and use the answers to form blog posts. Use industry news and events to explain and entertain. Ask a question or offer an opinion. Take a poll and turn the results into an additional post.

Know Your Keywords: You can find plenty of advice online about including keywords in headlines, posts, tags, and categories. And it’s true that search engines will catalog your content based on the words it finds in your posts. But there’s an easier way to think of it. After all, if you concentrate your efforts on including a list of keywords, your content will read like poorly executed Mad Libs. In the end, if you’re posting content that is relevant to your industry or community, your keywords will occur naturally. In other words, if you’re in the mortgage business, post content about the mortgage industry and you’re more likely to end up in front of someone looking to refinance their home. If you write about your family picnic, you’ll end up more popular with family-picnic aficionados than potential business connections.

Know Where To Broadcast: After you’ve got a plan and created some content, you have to promote it. After all, even NBC still promotes its product and you likely don’t have the same name recognition. So once you’ve got something to share, think of where you’d like to post it. A Facebook fan page, for example, is a more appropriate vehicle for business-related content than your personal account. Syndicate your content to all of your appropriate profiles and/or blogs and then post it in relevant groups and forums within your social network. The more you share your content, the more likely you’ll grow an audience, generate leads, and meet potential clients.

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Top Business Benefits of Social Media Marketing

If your idea of social networking involves a handshake and a business card, it’s time to upgrade your marketing efforts. The surging popularity of social-media sites has changed the way businesses interact with their customer base and market their services. Increasingly, businesses turn to blogs and sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to generate leads, gain exposure, and brand their business. And recent surveys show social media’s use is expanding, along with its effectiveness.

Here are the top three business benefits of social-media marketing …

Exposure: According to the 2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 85 percent of surveyed businesses said their social-media efforts had generated additional exposure for their business and led to improved web traffic. In a separate survey, companies that blog reported 55 percent more website visitors and 97 percent more inbound links than companies that didn’t.

Relationships and Referrals: Social media makes forming one-on-one relationships with your customers and clients easier than ever. Keeping a blog and regularly updated social-media sites creates exposure for you and your business, but it also forms an existing community of people you’ve done business with. And staying in touch and participating with your online community can lead to an increase in referrals. After all, if a potential client visits your Facebook or Twitter page and its filled with glowing reviews from satisfied customers, it will likely have a positive influence when deciding whether or not to do business with you.

Lead Generation: Among 752 recently surveyed small-business owners, 57 percent said lead generation was the top benefit of social-media marketing. And that number is growing. Small-business owners that said Facebook was somewhat or very beneficial to their business rose to 55 percent from 33.2 percent the year before, while Twitter and LinkedIn also saw significant gains. In other words, the popularity and effectiveness of social-media marketing continues to grow, as does the power to generate real-life leads from your online efforts.

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Twitter for Business: Learning To Listen Before You Tweet

Nobody ever mistook a bird watcher for an athlete. Which is a way of saying, observation doesn’t take any physical effort and can, if you’re a bird watcher, teach you a lot about birds. Twitter is no different. Taking some time to find, follow, and observe people in your industry and community, can better your business while building it.

Here are some tips for using Twitter when you have nothing to tweet …

Research: Search out other professionals in your industry using Twitter’s search function. Have a look at how they’re using their account. If nothing else, you may stumble upon an idea that you can use to make your tweets more effective. Follow the most successful Twitter pages you find, then watch and observe. Repeat as necessary.

Organize: Twitter tools, such as TweetDeck, allow users to set search terms and receive updates in real-time. In other words, if you sell houses in Santa Fe, you can monitor any activity on Twitter that has to do with real estate in Santa Fe. Then join the discussion. You can also use Twitter Lists to organize the accounts you’d like to follow based on any criteria you’d like. Create separate lists for community contacts and industry leaders and you’ll be able to quickly check what’s being said about your town and your industry without having to sift through hundreds of tweets.

Engage: Once you’ve made some contacts and developed a strategy, it’s time to participate. You can learn a lot from observation but you won’t generate any leads unless you engage. Twitter provides an informal way to communicate with just about anyone. Ask questions, leave comments, and re-tweet any interesting information you find along the way. You may find a Twitter-based conversation leads to a real-world referral partner or potential client.

More Twitter tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Basics: A Beginner’s Guide To Social-Media Strategy

Think of setting up social-media profiles the same way you would buying a phone. Sure, finding the phone that best fits your needs is important. But after that, you wouldn’t, for example, expect to get any calls without giving out the number. And you wouldn’t return the phone if it didn’t make calls for you. And you certainly wouldn’t expect that, when you did call someone, the phone would do the talking for you.

In other words, too many businesses sign up for a Facebook page or Twitter account and expect the wonders of the Internet to do the rest. Social-media is nothing more than a form of communication, no different than your telephone. And, like a telephone, having something to say is ultimately more important than the fact that you have a phone. Your content, ultimately, will determine whether your pages will be productive or passed over.

After that, here are a few other things to consider …

Where And How: Choosing where to concentrate your social-media efforts can be confusing. Ultimately, though, choosing an online community that fits your business needs is more important than signing up for the most popular site or the one with the most name recognition. In other words, the channel you use to broadcast your message isn’t as important as the message you broadcast. Once you’ve found a site to join, spend some time learning how its users interact. Learn “best practices” and abide by them. It is a community, after all. Don’t be the obnoxious new neighbor.

Plan With Perspective: Once you’ve registered and set up a profile, think about how you’ll use it and what to expect. An online profile is not an advertisement and you shouldn’t expect to promote your services and be able to sit back while tracking your success. It’s about communication. Shameless promotion is about as welcome online as a telemarketer’s phone call is during the dinner hour. Produce informative, educational, or entertaining content and chances are you’ll attract an audience.

Publish And Distribute: Now that you’ve got some profiles online, a plan for how you’d like to use them, and some content to share, it’s time to syndicate. Say you have a blog, a Facebook fan page, and a Twitter account but don’t have the time to log in to each every time you have something to post. Most of the major social-media sites now offer applications that interlink your network and automatically share your content. Which means, any time you post to your blog, your social-media sites will also be updated, increasing your chances of building an audience for your information across your social network.

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, and here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Three Strategies For Getting Your Facebook Fan Page Found

By now, if you haven’t heard of Facebook, it’s likely because you’re still busy trying to program your VCR or you have a Victrola that needs cranking. Which is to say, it’s everywhere. But how does a professional use Facebook to build their business, generate leads, and meet potential clients? First, you have to set up a fan page for your businesses or brand. After that, you have to get the word out. The page won’t do the work for you. So here are some tips on finding an audience and keeping their interest …

Give it a Proper Name: Sure, it seems easy enough but choosing a smart name might mean something entirely different to you than it does to a search engine. The best name to use, if you’d like to be found more often in searches, is the exact name of your business. Using clever phrases or your web domain may seem like a good way to separate yourself from Facebook’s 500 million active users, but more often than not it’ll make you less likely to be found by the very people you’re trying to attract.

Promote Your Page: Like anything else, if you want people to know about something, you have to tell them. So take advantage of Facebook’s widgets and badges and add links to your page on your business website, your blog, and anywhere else you can think of. The more opportunities you create to promote your page, the more likely you’ll have a burgeoning fan base before long.

Advertise: Facebook offers an advertising platform that allows you to buy a simple ad that you can target by location, age, or interests. That means, your ad appears before exactly the audience you want to attract. It’s not free, but if you’re serious about building your fan page, it’s a good way to start adding fans that aren’t in your family or social circle.

More Facebook tips from The Ibis Network here and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Basics: LinkedIn Tips for Realtors and Mortgage Professionals

LinkedIn claims to register a new member every second. Which means, in the few minutes it’ll take to set up a profile on the popular social-networking site, there will be hundreds of new prospective partners, customers, clients, and connections available to you. In other words, if you’re looking to take your business online or just looking for another opportunity to meet people and market your services, LinkedIn offers plenty of professionals and potential business to the social-media minded mortgage or real-estate professional.

Here are some tips to building a more productive profile …

Write a Summary: Writing a short professional bio will not only help visitors to your page learn more about you, your business, and your services, it’ll help visitors find your page to begin with. In other words, make sure to use the terms you’d hope people would use to find you. If you’re in the mortgage industry, say so. If you’re in Atlanta, add that. But, if you write about how much you love the outdoors, don’t be surprised when you’re contacted about fishing gear. Keep it professional and focus on your target audience.

Have a Goal: Decide what it is you want to accomplish with your LinkedIn profile and focus your efforts on that. Connecting with former co-workers and friends is fine but it won’t generate any interest in your business. If you logged on to meet other professionals in your industry or community, then search for and join relevant regional and industry-related groups to make more productive connections and generate potential business down the road. Remember, though, it’s about communication.

Use Applications: LinkedIn offers a number of applications that allow you to share everything from your Amazon.com reading list to your most recent blog posts. They’ll fill out your profile and can help drive traffic to your other pages, blogs, and websites.

Be Strategic: Once you’ve set up a page and joined some groups, develop some content, discussion topics, or questions to share. Then think strategically about how, where, and when to post it. You don’t, for example, want to post your content on Christmas morning, or on the weekends for that matter. Posting the right topic to the right group at a time when there’s likely to be more traffic and interest will make the difference between being ignored and being active in your community or industry.

For more LinkedIn tips from The Ibis Network, click here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Three Common Sense Steps To Reaching Your Audience and Building a Better Business Blog

If you’ve ever scoured the Internet for tips on how to make your business blog more effective, you’re well aware that the available information can range from the contradictory to the incomprehensible. In the end, you’re only trying to reach the right audience for your services and have little need for number-one rankings on all the major search engines, especially if they’re only delivering empty clicks and hits from half way around the world.

Here are some simple steps toward more effective blogging …

Keep a Schedule: You can find so-called experts that will advise you to post, at least, five times a day . You can find others who will advise that you should post no more than once or twice a week. Both of them are right … and wrong. Only you can determine how much time to invest in your business blog. But don’t become discouraged if you can’t generate enough content to post every 20 minutes. If you keep a consistent schedule, readers will know when to expect updates. If you only post once a week, people reading your blog will learn to expect your weekly post and return to your blog accordingly. Sporadic posting, on the other hand, will leave even interested readers confused about how often to check your site.

Don’t Get Personal: There’s a difference between a personal blog and a business blog. If you’re sending your blog out to clients and referral partners, chances are they’re going to be more interested in relevant information about your business, industry, and region than they will be about your daughter’s birthday party. Keep focused on your audience and write posts that will be interesting, entertaining, and informative.

Make It Easy To Find: There are plenty of sites that will tell you about the importance of keywords, tags, and search engine optimization. And all of those things can be an effective way of getting your site noticed. But an even easier, and more targeted, way of attracting readers to your blog is telling people about it. Put links to your blog on your website and in your email signature. Put the address anywhere you’d put your website’s, including business cards and marketing materials. Syndicating your content through social media sites is another good way of spreading the word and luring readers.

For more business blogging tips from The Ibis Network, click here, here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Fact or Fiction: The Truth Behind Four Common Social-Media Myths

There are always those that are slow to adopt new technologies. There were likely a stubborn few who insisted that the horse-and-carriage was, in fact, a much more effective means of transportation than the early automobile. Then there are those that fundamentally misunderstand the medium, like those that thought television would be a passing fad. In other words, innovation can lead to myths, mistakes, and misconceptions.

Below, we tackle some common social-media myths in an effort to better understand the benefits and best practices of any online effort.

It’s Not For Business: Social-media marketing is good for any business, despite those that say it only works for some. After all, in any business endeavor, getting word out about your services is the name of the game. Social media is yet another platform to do just that. Keeping in touch with clients, announcing new products or services, educating, communicating, and engaging your customer base are made easier with a smart strategy and some effort.

It’s For Kids: Last year, social networking was named the top emerging channel for lead generation. In addition to being an effective way of branding your business and syndicating your message, social media has been found to help build and maintain businesses by improving their relationships with their clients, customers, partners, and prospects.

It’s Automatic: For as many people that will tell you social media won’t work for your business, there are those that will tell you that it’s easy, automatic, and requires little more than setting up the pages and reaping the rewards. But having a successful networking strategy, whether online or off, means work. In order to build and keep traffic coming to your profiles and pages, you’ve got to maintain your presence and offer something of value. That means, responding to comments, offering interesting content, keeping your pages fresh, and, most of all, participating.

It’s About The Numbers: Having the most Facebook fans in your region certainly can give the impression of success. But having 20,000 fans outside of your target audience only means your business isn’t doing as well as your Facebook page. Don’t get discouraged. Having five fans that bring you consistent business is better than having a million that don’t.

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, and here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Social Media: How To Find Friends, Fans, and Followers Online

 

It’s been said that it not what you know, it’s who you know. And these days, who you know includes your Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and LinkedIn connections.

So how do you meet more people online? Here are a few ideas to help you build a bigger online network of friends, followers, fans and connections …

Import Your Contacts: Increasingly, social-media sites offer their users the ability to import contacts from their other online profiles. In other words, if you’ve got 121 connections on LinkedIn but your tweets are going unnoticed, you can locate your LinkedIn contacts through Twitter’s “Who To Follow” function and boost the number of people reading your tweets in a few simple clicks. Or try this.

Promote Your Profiles: Make it easy for your contacts to find your online profiles. Most social-media sites offer badges and banners that can be added to your blog, website, and email signature. Adding a link to your profiles will provide potential clients and business partners an effortless way to find and follow you online.

Be Active: There’s a reason it’s called social media. The more you socialize and engage your network, the bigger your network will be. That means, posting regularly, offering interesting information, running contests and polls, and asking friends, family, and online fans to help you promote your pages. Keeping your profiles active and updated will keep your existing contacts coming back and lead to new connections you wouldn’t have otherwise made.

Offer Something Exclusive: Once you’ve successfully driven some traffic to your social network, you still have to convince that traffic to become a fan or follower. Deals, discounts, and freebies are a great way to build your fan base and your business.

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Basics: 41 Social-Media Terms To Learn For Realtors And Mortgage Professionals

 

An update of The Ibis Network’s previous list of social-media terms … New terms in bold.

The Internet is an incredible resource for real-estate and mortgage professionals but keeping up with an always-evolving online world can be a challenge. Sometimes the lingo alone can stand between successfully implementing a social-media strategy and being overwhelmed by widgets, avatars, and hashtags.

Active Rain – The largest social network for real-estate professionals. Launched in 2006, Active Rain has nearly 200,000 members.

Aggregator – A web-based tool or desktop application that collects syndicated content from across the Internet.

API (Application Programming Interface) – A computer system or application that allows programs and websites to communicate and exchange data.

App – An application performing a specific task able to be accessed by your computer or phone.

Archives – An index page that organizes past entries and older posts by date.

Avatar – The image, picture, or username a person uses to identify themselves on social-networking sites.

Badge – A linked image displayed on a blog that promotes a person’s profiles or participation on other social-media sites, such as Facebook or Twitter.

Blog – A regularly updated website or “web log” that allows a company or individual to post content and interact with readers through commentary, subscriptions, widgets, and syndicated RSS feeds.

Blogosphere – A term used to describe the totality of blogs on the Internet.

Blogroll – A list of sites, typically found in the sidebar of a blog, showing the sites that particular blogger recommends.

Content – Content on any website, including text, pictures, video, and audio materials.

Dashboard – The administrative area on blogs and social-media sites that allows you to edit your information, manage comments, monitor traffic, upload files, etc.

Domain Name – The identifying name or address of an Internet site.

Facebook – The largest social-networking site for individuals and businesses. Facebook has more than 500 million users.

Feeds (RSS Feed) – A program used by a website that allows the user to syndicate their content and provide subscribers with new blog posts and articles without requiring them to visit the site.

Forums – Online forums allow members of social-media sites to interact with other members by posting messages or questions on particular topics.

Geotagging – Adding location-based data to media such as photos and video to help users find businesses and services by region.

Groups – Communities within social-media sites that allow users interested in particular topics or activities to share information, posts, and messages with other members.

Hashtag – Used on Twitter, a hashtag is a keyword or phrase preceded by a “#” that helps organize posts, making them easier to find in Twitter searches.

Hits – A measurement defined as any request for a file from a web server.

Hyperlink – A navigational reference that embeds a link to a document or page on the Internet.

LinkedIn – A business-oriented social-media site for professional networking. Launched in 2002, LinkedIn now has more than 70 million registered users.

Links – Highlighted text that, when clicked, takes readers to another page containing related content or source materials.

Metadata – Information, including titles, tags, and captions, used to describe a media item or blog post in order to make it more easily found by search engines and aggregators.

Micro-Blogging – A form of blogging that limits the amount of characters or words per post, such as Twitter.

Permalinks – The permanent address or URL of a blog post or web page. A permalink is what is used when linking to another story within an email message or post.

Profiles and Pages – The pages on social-networking sites where a person or business displays their contact information, pictures, posts, and files.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – The process of improving and increasing traffic to a website from search engines.

Sidebar – A column or columns along either or both sides of a blog’s main content area that includes widgets, contact and biographical information, links to previous posts and favorite sites, archives, badges, subscription information, RSS feeds, and more.

Social Media – Websites that provide communities with common interests a means to communicate and engage with one another online.

Subscribing – Signing up for a site’s feed, which automatically sends you new content from that site.

Syndication – The process of sharing and distributing content online.

Tag Cloud – A visual representation of the most popular tags on a blog or website. More popular tags are usually shown in larger type while less popular tags appear smaller.

Tags – Keywords associated with a blog post or other content making them more easily found through searches.

Threads – Messages or posts under a single forum topic or the comments and trackbacks of a particular blog post.

Trulia – A real-estate search engine and networking site that allows professionals to create business profiles and allows consumers to find listings, blogs, and real-estate information.

Twitter – A micro-blogging site where members post “tweets” or messages of 140 characters or less.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) – A URL is the technical term for a website’s address.

Wall – The shared portion, or discussion board, displayed on a social-media profile.

Webinar – A web-based seminar, presentation, lecture, or workshop transmitted over the web.

Widget – An application offered on social-media sites and blogs that performs a specific function allowing users to customize their profiles or blog.

Source materials here, here, here, here, here, and here. Original glossary here.

Please check back with www.theibisnetwork.wordpress.com for future updates and additions to this glossary.

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Josh Millar / The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

To learn more about the Ibis Network’s Professional Networking Suite for Realtors and Mortgage Professionals which features these valuable marketing tools:

* Your own Real-Estate or Mortgage blog updated daily with original content
* Monthly e-newsletter ready to send to your contact list
* Social Media set-up on the 8 major networking sites
* Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your business website

Visit: http://www.theibisnetwork.com/networkingsuite.html

5 Ways To Grow Your Mailing List For Real-Estate and Mortgage Professionals

Finding ways to keep in touch with potential referral partners and prospective clients is one thing. That means offering interesting information that will ensure your emails don’t become unwelcome inbox clutter soon after reaching their destination. But, before you have the chance to dazzle the members of your mailing list with a monthly newsletter, new listings, or neighborhood events, you’ll need to have a mailing list in the first place.

Here are some ideas for growing a mailing list that will boost your business and your reputation …

Use a Newsletter: If you have a newsletter that you forward among colleagues, partners, and prospective clients, include some instructions on how to subscribe to your mailing list along with it. It doesn’t need to be long and involved, just add a sentence explaining how to subscribe for anyone getting your newsletter for the first time.

Use Your Emails: Any correspondence can be an opportunity to add to your list. Including subscription information in your emails along with your signature means you can build your list each and every time you send an email. Again, it need be nothing more than a quick note asking them to respond to an email address to opt in.

Use Open Houses Or Other Events: If you’ve set up an open house, or any event where you’ll have a gathering of potentially interested attendees, ask for their email addresses with an explanation of what you’ll be sending them. Chances are if they’ve showed up to an open house, they’ll be interested in receiving more information from you, as long as they’re assured you won’t be bombarding them with emails every other hour.

Use Social Media: If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, use the followers, fans, and connections you’ve already made to build your mailing list. Ask them to sign up to your mailing list and explain that you’ll be sending out information and offers exclusive to your list.

Use a Free Consultation: People love deals. Offering a free consultation for signing up to your mailing list is a great way to get people interested and comfortable giving their information to you. Giving a little something extra will grow your list and many of those freebies will soon turn into real business and loyal customers.

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Josh Millar / The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

To learn more about the Ibis Network’s Professional Networking Suite for Realtors and Mortgage Professionals which features these valuable marketing tools:

* Your own Real-Estate or Mortgage blog updated daily with original content
* Monthly e-newsletter ready to send to your contact list
* Social Media set-up on the 8 major networking sites
* Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your business website

Visit: http://www.theibisnetwork.com/networkingsuite.html

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