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Monday November 24th 2014

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Posts Tagged ‘Valuable Marketing’

The Fundamentals: 5 More Do’s And Don’ts For Social Media Success

 

Sometimes all it takes is a simple reminder. After all, it’s easy to forget the basics and fundamentals of anything once you get going. So being reminded of the seemingly small details can often make the difference between success and failure. When it comes to social media, the ever-expanding list of apps, plugins, widgets, websites, and platforms can confound even the savviest online observer. But, at its root, social media is about communication and community. In other words, before you get overwhelmed by the bells and whistles, spend some time getting back to basics.

With that in mind, we collected another list of simple do’s and don’ts for social-media success …

Don’t Be Too Self-Promotional: There will be a temptation to overload your pages with flattering facts about your business and services. But social media isn’t for advertising. It’s for socializing. Your social-media profiles should be a place where you share info and updates that are professionally relevant and of interest to clients and potential clients. Don’t overdo the self-promotional posts.

Do Join Groups: Sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, offer the ability to join groups formed around interests, industries, communities, etc. In other words, joining a group means meeting like minded individuals and sharing thoughts, views, and ideas. It’s a good way of finding your target audience, making new connections, and learning something along the way.

Don’t Confuse The Personal and The Professional: This one seems easy enough. After all, if you’ve registered a social-media account under the name of your business, you already know that isn’t the place for posting vacation pictures. Right? Well, if not, consider your social-media profiles and blogs an extension of your business website. Keep it professional and save the personal tidbits for a profile your clients can’t see.

Do Like, Recommend, Follow, And Fan: If you want to make connections quickly, initiate. Take some time and leave positive feedback on the pages of people and businesses you’ve interacted with in the past. Chances are, if you make the effort to say something nice about someone, they’ll return the favor.

Don’t Ignore Your Contacts: When you’ve made an effort to get people to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else, you have to follow through. If you don’t, you’ll lose the connections you have. This means, you have to be responsive when someone comments on a post or sends you a message. It means you have to log in regularly and share interesting info with your contacts. It means, you have to be social, interactive, and available.

Do Think It Through: Most importantly, you have to give some thought to anything you post online. It’s easy to forget that you’re publishing something on the Internet under your business name and, once it’s up, there’s no telling who will find it or where it’ll appear. Make sure whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it in a way that properly represents your business and enhances your professional presentation.

 

 

Twitter for Business: Tweeting Your Way To Success

 

There’s a good reason many social-media articles compare a successful online strategy to working the room at a cocktail party. It’s because, much like a cocktail party, social-media sites offer opportunities to meet new people, learn new things, and network among people from your community, industry, and region.

Here are some ways to reap business benefits from Twitter …

The Eavesdropper: Let’s say you’re someone who isn’t enthusiastic about opening a Twitter account and regularly thinking of something to tweet so you’ve ignored Twitter altogether. Well there’s even something in for you. Searching keywords related to your town or industry gives you a live-time look at what’s being said about your community and business. It’s a great learning tool and may even change your mind about the usefulness of Twitter. Much like eavesdropping, it allows you to listen in without having to engage. Look for trends among the tweets and use anything you can. Search keywords related to your industry and get a feel for how much enthusiasm or demand there is for your particular product or services. If your leery or uncertain how things work, it’s a convenient way to get a feel for the powerful potential of Twitter. Use it to research your market and better your business without ever having to log in.

 

The Networker: Now that you’ve done some eavesdropping on Twitter, you may be more interested in trying it out for yourself. Start by setting up a profile using your real name and business info. Then follow a few of the Twitter users you found in your earlier search. Choose people or business that had something insightful to offer or lent a useful link or tip. It’s a great way to painlessly introduce yourself to people without them having to feel any obligation to reciprocate. They don’t even have to approve or accept you. And not only will you begin receiving their tweets in your feed, which will provide you – if you’ve done a good job – with a steady stream of interesting info every time you log in, it’ll also lead to a few people following you back and receiving your tweets. That’s when the social part of the social media kicks in.

 

The Conversationalist: This is the hard part. It’s not always easy to come up with something to say that’s relevant, interesting, and short enough to meet Twitter’s 140 character limit. One way to start is by sharing interesting links to news or relevant articles you’ve seen online. Another is to re-tweet something someone else posted. Another is to reply to something you’ve seen on someone’s page or to ask a question that will solicit a bit of back-and-forth. Keep it professional, consistent, and mostly non-promotional. Sure, it’s a good idea to offer a deal or discount to your followers here and there. But you shouldn’t overdo the directly promotional tweeting. For one thing, it’s not going to be too interesting to anyone stumbling on your page. It’s called social media for a reason. And much like going to a party and trying to sell everyone you meet, you aren’t likely to have much success if you approach it as an advertising opportunity.

Top Tips: Hints and Help For Your LinkedIn Profile

 

Think of LinkedIn as the most well-attended networking event the world has ever seen. Then congratulate yourself on finding a way to meet and greet with more than 70 million professionals without having to endure the awkward conversations and business-card exchanges that go along with your regular, run-of-the-mill business gathering.

When used correctly, LinkedIn provides a platform for online networking, maintaining contacts, receiving referrals and participating in the community at large. And so, we’ve compiled the following tips and tools from past posts in order to help you take better advantage of your profile …

Your Profile: Since LinkedIn began as a vehicle for job hunters, many people are still under the impression that some form of copy-and-pasted resume is all you need to attract potential business to your page. Truth is, this is a representation of you and, hopefully, one that will be seen by potential clients and partners. That means, you’ll want to offer up a bit more than your work history. If you have a Twitter page, add it. Add your website as well. Get connected by importing your email address book and sending out an invite to your business contacts. Add a bio and job experience. The more information you offer, the more likely your profile will be found.

Get Active: So you’ve filled out your profile and imported your business contacts to LinkedIn. The next step is getting active on the site. LinkedIn offers the ability to join as many industry-related groups and discussions as you wish. So do it. Search groups by category or keyword and focus on your region or industry. Once you’ve joined, ask a question or answer an existing query. If nothing else, you may learn something from someone. At best, you’ll make new contacts within your industry and region that could lead to business down the road.

Make Recommendations: On LinkedIn, recommendations bolster your credibility. After all, if you’ve got a lot of recommendations, you’re most likely trustworthy and not out to scam, spam, or swindle anyone. But how do you get them? Well, start by recommending people you’ve had positive business experiences with. Once you’ve made some recommendations, it’ll be a lot easier to get some in return.

WordPress: If you have a business blog and haven’t added it to your LinkedIn page, you should. The WordPress application on LinkedIn allows you to easily update your profile with your most recent blog posts, provided you’re using WordPress. And, if embedding your blog on your LinkedIn profile sounds like it may be beyond your technological abilities, it’s as easy as entering your domain name into the application. Everything else is automatic.

Polls: You may think polls are only for research centers and presidential campaigns but they’re also a handy and convenient way of gathering information that will boost your business. Use the poll application on LinkedIn to pose a question to your connections and millions of other professionals, then use their answers to better your services. In addition, the poll application allows you to embed the voting module on your website or blog.

Be Strategic: Once you’ve set up a page and joined some groups, developed some content, discussion topics, or questions to share, it’s time to think strategically about how, where, and when to post it. You don’t, for example, want to post your content on Christmas morning or the 4th of July or even 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 found among millions of members.

Last Year’s News: The Top Three Social-Media Trends Of 2011

In years past, if you wanted to be on top of the newest and latest in social media, you had to be registered on the newest and latest social-media site. Each year brought with it a potato sack stuffed with new sites and platforms that made whatever you’d signed up for last year obsolete. If you were still using MySpace once Facebook came around, you may as well have been sending your status updates via telegram. Which is to say, social media moves quickly and leaves most of us playing catch up. Fortunately, 2011 was not that kind of year.

Here are the top three social-media trends of the past year …

The Leaders of the Pack: Though there will likely always be new social-media sites popping up and begging for your time and attention, this year’s social-media news seemed to focus more on the continued dominance of Facebook and Twitter. If you still think there’s no reason to start a Facebook fan page for your business, ask yourself why companies now include Facebook and Twitter logos on their print and television ads. It’s not that they’re under the impression you can click on the pages of a magazine, it’s that the top social-media sites are increasingly becoming an Internet of their own and businesses want you to know they’re available there too. Everyone from your grandmother to the mom-and-pop shop on the corner has a presence on Facebook and it’s mostly because, when people check in online, that’s where they start. In other words, there are a lot of people on Twitter tweeting about their breakfast but you can also find just about any other information or entertainment that interests you.

Sharing is Caring: The key to social-media success is getting people to share what you’ve posted with their network. Social media is a 21st century word-of-mouth machine and, in order to benefit from an online presence, people have to see it. Having content people want to pass on to their friends and family will boost your reach and your brand. But where are they doing the sharing? Well, Facebook and Twitter, of course. Facebook is responsible for 52.1 percent of all the sharing happening online. That’s a lot, considering the vastness of the Internet. Twitter, on the other hand, makes up only 13.5 percent but grew 576.9 percent this year. Email, print, and favorites came in with 14.4 percent of the sharing taking place over the past year.

Quality Over Quantity: The number of fans or followers you have would seem to be a pretty good indicator of how popular you are online. But consider how many of your online devotees are either inactive or not even a real person. Particularly in business, having thousands of fans and followers but no potential clients may make your ego feel better but won’t do anything for your bottom line. In other words, it’s not the numbers that equal success it’s the number of real-life connections you’ve produced. Sometimes it’s hard to measure whether or not your efforts are being noticed but it only takes one phone call from someone that found you on Facebook to strike up some business. Which, after all, is the point of all this.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

 

Future Forecast: Social-Media, Email Marketing Trends For 2012

Predictions are a dangerous business. After all, if they’re wrong, it’s only a matter of time before everyone knows it. Nevertheless, the end of each year brings with it a flood of forecasts, predictions, and crystal-ball gazing gurus who claim to know what will happen in the year ahead. For your convenience, we’ve scoured the web in an effort to collect the experts’ most frequently forecast trends in social-media and email marketing for 2012 …

Email and Social-Media Marketing: A recent survey found that among the marketing programs businesses planned to invest in during the coming year, email and social-media marketing topped the list. And though the edge of the cutting edge will tell you that email is obsolete, everyone uses it – which explains its continued presence on trend lists. More than two-thirds of companies surveyed said they plan on integrating their social-media and email campaigns in 2012 and 47 percent said they would focus on using email to grow their social-media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter pages.

Content Curation: If you have a friend that’s particularly good at finding adorable puppy videos and insists on sending every one of them to everyone in their email address book, you’re already familiar with the concept behind content curation. Which is to say, it’s nothing more than sharing. For business, that means sharing good, relevant content with your fans and followers. When you come across something that would be informative or interesting to your customer base, post a link with an explanatory note. Make it your goal to become a trusted source of quality content. Sure, anyone can do a Google search and find what they want on their own but collecting the best bits and presenting them in one place will save them time and keep ‘em coming back.

Facebook: Facebook is hardly new but the number one social-media site on the web continues to evolve. And that evolution means Facebook will continue to weave itself into the everyday life of their members through new platforms, apps, and smart phone functionality. Once upon a time, merely having a Facebook presence for your business was the trend but now it’s time to take it seriously. Just based on the staggering membership numbers or the fact that it’s the website Americans spend most of their time using, Facebook has become an essential part of any social-media campaign.

Content Marketing: The difference between content marketing and content curation is simply who’s writing the blog posts, composing tweets, and creating videos. So while it’s a good idea to share interesting industry-relevant news with your online network, you’ll also have to create some content on your own. And no, this doesn’t mean you need an audio/video department and a team of former newspaper editors. It means you need to communicate. How and when are up to you.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

By The Numbers: 8 Reasons Your Business Needs Social Media

 

It’s hard to argue with numbers, unless you’re a mathematician or Pythagoras. And so, we’ve provided a list of social-media stats, numbers, and raw data to help convert the skeptics and offer encouragement to those who seek it.

There are more than 800 million active Facebook users. That’s right, 800 million. And Americans spend more time on Facebook than on any other website. That means, they aren’t on your website. Which means, you should probably have a Facebook page. Setting up a Facebook fan page for your business is an excellent way of making sure that you have a presence on the website most of us are presently perusing.

Social media apps are the third most downloaded apps among smartphone users. That means, the increasing number of people who access the Internet from their cell phone are, increasingly, using it to access their social-media pages. If people are that invested in their social-media pages that they want to be able to access them wherever they are, that’s a pretty good indication that having a social-media plan for your business isn’t likely to be time wasted on a passing fad.

78% of small businesses are using Twitter. Now we understand this comes dangerously close to the everybody-else-is-doing-it line of thinking but everybody else is doing it. And they can’t all be wrong.

41% of people using LinkedIn for marketing have generated business with it. LinkedIn is often confused for a job-hunting website but it’s also a great place to connect with other professionals, referral partners, and potential clients.

There are 3.5 billion things shared on Facebook each week. That means, blog posts, links, news, etc. That also means social-media is a high-tech word-of-mouth machine. Having your info shared is the quickest way to meet potential business online.

On Twitter, interesting content is the number one reason people retweet. In other words, if your content is interesting you’re more likely to have your content shared. Humor and personal connection were the second and third most common reasons for retweeting. Which means, if you’re not funny, you’d better be interesting.

79% of companies are using or planning on using social media. And that’s according to Harvard Business Review. Their survey found 58 percent of companies were already engaged on social-media sites, while an additional 21 percent had plans to launch a social-networking campaign.

57% of companies using blogs reported that they’d acquired customers from leads they generated through their blogs. And don’t believe it when you hear someone say that blogs are no longer relevant. In fact, between 2009 and 2011, the percentage of businesses that blog increased from 48 percent to 65 percent.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

 

Tweet Suite: The Top 11 Tools For Twitter Success

So you signed up for a Twitter account, tweeted around a little, and think you know everything there is to know about the Twitterverse. Well there’s 1,000 ways to use Twitter and an ever-expanding list of tools available to help you figure one or two of those ways that’ll make it work for you and your business.

Here’s a list of some of tools, apps, and ideas to help you maximize your tweets …

Contaxio: A tool to help manage, track, and interconnect your Twitter account. With Contaxio, you’ll be able to find contacts with similar interests, review your activity, scan stats about the people you follow and those who follow you, and even keep up with new contacts from your Facebook page.

Twaitter: Twaitter is another all-in-one Twitter tool aimed at increasing your efficiency, managing your accounts, and organizing your Twitter output. Schedule a tweet for later or even set it up to send recurring tweets on a daily, monthly, or even yearly basis. You’ll also be able to manage your activity with an interactive calendar, link a RSS feed to your Twitter account, and invite co-workers to join your account.

Twictionary: If you’re new to social media, the lingo alone can be intimidating. Luckily, there’s a Twictionary, which is exactly what it sounds like it might be. A dictionary of Twitter-related terms you’ll learn everything from the meaning of the hashtag to what it means to be an Atwistocrat.

Twitter Counter: Twitter Counter claims to be the number one Twitter stat site, tracking more than 14 million Twitter users and providing stats, widgets, and buttons for its users. For a price, they even offer a featured spot on their website for people looking to gain some attention and followers.

Twitter-Search: The quickest way to find who and what you’re looking for on Twitter. Filter real-time tweets to find people and businesses in your region and industry, then follow the results.

Nearby Tweets: See who’s tweeting what in your area. The simple set-up delivers search results based on a keyword and a location. Search for anything anywhere and see who’s tweeting what near you.

TwitPic: Feeling limited by Twitter’s 140 character maximum? Use TwitPic to share photos with your Twitter followers. If you have a Twitter account, then you’re already signed up for TwitPic. Log in using your Twitter username and password and get started.

TweetScan: Another easy-to-use search tool for keeping on top of what’s happening on Twitter.

CoTweet: A popular site for managing your Twitter accounts. Handy for tracking multiple accounts and keeping you on top of all your online activity.

Twibs: A Twitter-based business directory, Twibs aims to help businesses reach their customers. It’s as simple as registering your business, choosing some keywords, and adding links to your email and blog.

Twitdom: A directory of nearly 2,000 available applications and sites offering Twitter-related services.

The Top 4 LinkedIn Applications For Business

Everyone likes a bonus. Whether it’s an extra check before the holidays or the surprise in a box of Cracker Jacks, getting something for nothing is always a welcomed development. When it comes to social media, most sites offer bonuses in the form of applications, or apps. Apps provide extra function and are, in most cases, free.

Here are four free apps available on LinkedIn that will add function to your professional profile …

SlideShare: Any application that counts The White House, IBM, and the United Nations among their users must have something to offer. SlideShare is the world’s largest community for sharing documents, PDFs, videos, and webinars. Using the free application on LinkedIn, you can upload presentations and documents to your profile and make them available to anyone visiting your page. You can also upload YouTube videos. And, if that wasn’t enough, SlideShare also allows you to sync your LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, so anything you share will instantly appear on both pages.

Polls: You may think polls are only for research centers and presidential campaigns but they’re also a handy and convenient way to gather information that will boost your business. Use the poll application on LinkedIn to pose a question to your connections and the millions of other professionals on LinkedIn, then use their answers to better your services. In addition, the poll application allows you to embed that voting module on your website or blog.

WordPress: If you have a business blog and haven’t added it to your LinkedIn page, you should. The WordPress application on LinkedIn allows you to easily update your profile with your most recent blog posts, provided you’re using WordPress. And, if embedding your blog on your LinkedIn profile sounds like it may be beyond your technological abilities, it’s as easy as entering your domain name into the application. Everything else is automatic.

Events: Social media is great for networking, but even better when you integrate your online efforts with old-fashioned, face-to-face functionality. The events app allows you to see what industry events and regional functions your connections are attending, in addition to providing you with recommend events based on your profession. Learn more about the conferences and industry seminars that are coming to town and let your network know where you’ll be and when.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Three Keys To Building A Business Brand Online

There aren’t a lot of self-described idiots out there. Which is to say, people like to believe they’re smart. And that’s the reason branding your business online is so important. After all, your customers and clients want to feel like they’re making an informed decision before spending their money. So the more information you share, the more they feel like they’re making a smart choice by choosing to do business with you.

Here are some tips to building a better business brand through social media …

The Foundation: In order to properly brand your business, you’ll need a foundation. That means, having a business blog. Having a blog provides your social network with a focal point. It also offers a convenient way to share content that can then be posted on any additional social-media sites you’ve set up. Make sure, though, that your blog represents your business professionally and consistently. Pay attention to the theme, layout, and widgets you’re using. Though it’s tempting to use all the bells and whistles available to you, a cluttered blog means a cluttered brand. Make sure it’s easy to read and, most importantly, easy to identify who’s in charge. You’ll want visitors to read what you’ve posted on your blog but you’ll also want them to know who you are and what you do.

The Goal: It’s easy enough to get yourself a blog and/or a Facebook page, Twitter account, or LinkedIn profile but you’ll also need a goal. The idea behind social-media marketing is to brand yourself as an expert and a resource. You want people to do business with you and you’re online to give them better access to you, your knowledge, and your business. In other words, your goal is to offer valuable information about your services, industry, and business and to share it with potential clients and customers. If you’re seen as knowledgeable, experienced, and willing to spend the time to make sure your clients are informed, you’ll increase the visibility and reputation of your business.

The Benefits: A properly branded social-media campaign can provide many benefits to your business. Most of all, it increases customer loyalty and referrals as it creates a stronger bond between you and your clients. If you’re communicating with your customers, sharing content, and responding to comments and questions online, you’re boosting the likelihood that those customers will remember you next time they’re in the market for your services or know someone that is. Social media also offers a platform for you to research your region and industry to help you better your business. Most of all, though, it serves as a word-of-mouth generator. The more you participate, the better the success rate.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Business of Blogging: Why You Need A Blog And How To Get Started

The Internet doesn’t stand still. It’s constantly evolving and ever changing. And for that reason alone you need a business blog. Unlike your business website, a blog can – and should – be updated regularly. So, while your website may have all the most pertinent and relevant information about you and your business, it’s the same info anytime anyone visits. A blog gives you the ability to provide potential clients and customers with fresh content and a reason to return to your site in the future. It also gives you a platform to further impress, explain, and inform, in addition to driving page views and traffic to your website.

Here are the basics …

The What: A blog isn’t a replacement for your business website. It is a supplement to your other online destinations. Which means, you’ll benefit most if your blog and website are linked and driving traffic to one another. Promote your blog on your site and your website on your blog. The same goes for any other social-media sites you’ve set up. Creating a network of online properties that are professional, well maintained, and regularly updated gives potential customers the ability to investigate you and your business and become more comfortable with your expertise, experience, and services. It’ll also provide increased customer interaction and loyalty, as well as helping your business appear higher in search-engine results. And, let’s face it, not many people are using the phone book anymore. People search online when looking for goods and services. It’s best that you’re there when they get there.

The How: It’s always easier said than done. It’s one thing to say you’d like to start a business blog and another altogether to actually maintain and update one on a somewhat regular basis. And the number one reason for that is the writing. You’ll have to have some content to share. And you’ll have to have a fair amount too. The good news is content is easier to generate if you think in terms of types and not topics. In other words, come up with a few types of posts that seem easier to craft and then alter the topics each time. Lists, for example, are an always popular choice for blog posts. Others include, how-to posts, insider info and expert opinions, predictions, polls, and surveys. Eventually, you’ll develop a rhythm and schedule that works for you. Don’t give up too quickly.

The When: One would assume, if you’re in business, you’re in business to make money. So you’re likely thinking, “When will I see actual business after writing all these lists, posts, and updates?” Well, your blog is not a sales tool. It’s a marketing vehicle for your brand and an opportunity to attract a new audience for your services. In other words, think of it as added value. It sets you apart from your competition by offering extra information and expertise that benefits your customer. It makes you more accessible online and more easily found. In short, it provides a lot of value to your business and your clients while building your brand, online presence, and reputation. But it may take time and it’s success all depends on your goals and expectations. If you expect to put up a blog and be ringing up sales after your first post, you’ll likely be disappointed. Give it time. The more content you share on your blog, the higher you’ll rank in search-engine results. It adds up. And again, when’s the last time you used a phone book?

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Email Marketing: Crafting Content That Your Mailing List Will Read

For all its high-tech bells and whistles, the Internet is really all about the written word. After all – whether you’re posting to your blog, tweeting, or updating your Facebook page – what you’re really doing is writing. Which means, spending a little time thinking about your writing could make a big difference in the success, or failure, of your online activities. And nowhere more so than when launching an email marketing campaign.

Here are some tips …

Headlines: Okay, start with the subject line. It is, arguably, the most important part of your email. It will determine whether or not the recipient even opens your mail, let alone reads any of it. That means, you’ll have to start thinking of your email subject line as though it was a headline in a newspaper. In other words, you’ll have to give ‘em enough info to know what to expect but also spur enough interest to get your mail opened and read. Subjects left blank, vague, or suspiciously urgent will get you deleted on the spot. For examples, pay attention to the emails in your own inbox. Which subject lines sparked your interest and which didn’t? Mimic and repeat.

The Body: The trick to a successful email-marketing campaign is making the people on your mailing list feel like they’re not on an email-marketing list. That means, keeping it light and easily digested. It also means adding a little personality to your emails. If you’re sending out dry sales pieces, you’ll be treated accordingly. Add a little of your own voice to the emails and include all the pertinent info right there in the body of your email. Don’t fill up on attachments. Instead, copy-and-paste any relevant info, so your recipients won’t have to do any extra work. Sure, it’s only an attachment. But the less you ask, the more you’ll receive. After all, we’re all inherently lazy.

The Content Farm: So now you’re wondering where email marketing fits into your social-media marketing campaign. Right? Well that’s to be expected. Here’s the thing … Integrating your social-media pages and your email marketing campaign is not only the most effective strategy, it’s the least labor intensive. In other words, use your mailing list to promote your social-media sites and your social-media sites to add to your mailing list. Use each to boost the other. And share content, while you’re at it. Say you’ve just posted something to your business blog and wanted to ensure someone, other than you, reads it. Send out an email announcing the post with a link, a few highlights, and a short note to your clients and partners. Make it personal, easy-to-read, and top it with an enticing subject line.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Simple Steps To Help Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile For Business

 

If it helps, think of social media the same way you would your refrigerator or kitchen pantry. There are some things you should always have on hand since you’d be hard pressed to cook anything edible without them. And if you don’t cook, we’re talking eggs and butter, sugar or salt. The essentials.

In the same way, there are certain social-media sites that are more essential than others. Due to its popularity and functionality, LinkedIn is one of those sites. Niche sites devoted to your profession or preferences have their benefits but can’t compete with the sheer number of users and applications LinkedIn offers.

Here are some tips to optimizing your presence …

Your Profile: Since LinkedIn began as a vehicle for job hunters, many people are still under the impression that some form of copy-and-pasted resume is all you need to attract potential business to your LinkedIn page. Truth is, this is a representation of you and, hopefully, one that will be seen by potential clients and partners. Which means, you’ll want to offer up a bit more than your work history. If you have a Twitter page, add it. Add your websites as well. Also, try recommending some professionals you’ve done business with to get things started. Get connected through your address book and join some industry groups. The more information you offer, the more likely your profile will be found.

Your Summary: It’s easy to think once you’ve added your work history that there’s no point of also writing a summary. Or maybe you’re just not a natural writer so you prefer the fill-in-the-blanks portion of setting up your LinkedIn profile. Either way, you’ll have to get over it. Think of the summary as your pitch to potential business. Sure, you can start with a little background but try to express what you can do just as much as what you’ve done. And keep it short and conversational. It can be difficult to write about yourself. Make it easier by writing the way you speak rather than using corporate lingo only your colleagues can comprehend.

Your Homework: There are no shortage of ways you can use your LinkedIn profile to connect with potential clients and communicate within your industry and region. Nothing will happen unless you make it happen, though. That means, you’ll have to login and participate. For starters, use LinkedIn to research prospects and competition, ask and answer questions, join groups, link your updates with your other social-media accounts, add your blog, setup a vanity URL rather than using the random address provided, and promote your page wherever and whenever you can. Don’t hide behind the Internet. Interact, communicate, and connect.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Social-Media Management Or How To Take The Work Out Of Your Network

Whether you’re managing the Chicago Cubs or your local Radio Shack, you’re going to need some organizational skills. Organization is the key to reducing the stress – and amount of work – necessary to manage whatever it is you’re overseeing. And that goes for your social-media accounts too. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with maintaining all the email addresses, Facebook pages, blogs, and assorted Internet properties you’ve setup for your business. Hell, it’s hard enough to remember your passwords without worrying about updating your sites regularly, maintaining a professional presentation, and responding to comments and questions that come in from your friends, fans, and followers. The good news is there’s a better way.

Here are a few tips to help organize your social-media accounts …

Centralize to Minimize: Start by creating a separate email address for your entire social network. Having one email address reserved for your online efforts means, rather than logging in and out of multiple pages and accounts, you receive all of your comments and contacts in one place. It also means you won’t have to remember to update your sites if you change jobs or email providers. Keeping your contacts connected to a single account will reduce the amount of time and effort it takes to keep up with your pages and profiles, if only because it’ll reduce the need for remembering which of your email accounts you used to set up your Twitter page and which you used to set up your blog.

Be Nice: Okay, now that you’ve got all of your correspondence in one easy-to-locate location, you’ll have no excuse for not responding to any messages or comments you receive. That’s right. Just like in the real world, Internet communication requires you to be responsive and polite. It may seem like a lot of work to scroll through your inbox and respond to any questions or criticisms you find along the way but a timely response shows visitors that you haven’t abandoned your site and also helps create a sense of community, availability, and professionalism. After all, if social-media is about communication than communicating has to be the key to a successful social-media marketing campaign.

Work Smart, Work Less: For one, you don’t have to create unique content for each of your sites. Share your updates, link your pages, and syndicate your output. There are more and more opportunities and applications aimed at helping you share your messages across your entire social network. Reduce your workload by sharing content and updates between sites. It may boost traffic from one site to another and it’ll certainly reduce the stress that follows feeling like you’ve got to come up with a tweet, a Facebook update, and a blog post every few minutes.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Three Keys To Building A Successful Facebook Fan Page

 

 

Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has more than proven itself to be an effective way to embarrass yourself, friends, and family online. But as the popular social network has grown, so have the opportunities for businesses hoping to capitalize on the millions of members logging in each day. No longer is social media only for college kids and online voyeurs, creative brands, businesses, and major corporations have found marketing success using social media, and no network is bigger than Facebook’s.

Below we offer a few helpful hints and tips to building and benefiting from your Facebook fan page …

Online/Offline: The anonymity of the Internet offers people an excuse to do things they wouldn’t in everyday life. Scroll through the comment section of an average news story online and you’ll see how eager people are to engage their most obnoxious instincts. But having a successful social-media marketing campaign means treating people with the same respect you would if you ran into them at an industry or community function. In other words, slow down your sales pitch and develop a relationship with your Facebook fans before pushing your services.

Use Apps: Though you may think your job is done once you’ve got your contact and business info up, you’re not. Facebook offers a multitude of resources and applications that can make your page, not only more dynamic, but more functional and interesting to visitors. Have a glance through the available applications and choose those that seem to fit your business and audience. For example, there are many options to link your fan page to your other social-media sites and blog. If you’re keeping a business blog, kill two birds with one update and have your blog post automatically sent to your Facebook page.

Encourage Participation: Try to view your fan page the way a potential client or curious web browser would. Having a page that is interactive, updated regularly, and offers interesting info and ideas, will keep people visiting and, once they are, more accepting of any directly sales-oriented materials you post. If you set up a fan page and only update it with messages urging visitors to buy, buy, buy, you’ll likely have, not only bored them, but assured that they won’t return. As always, communication and relationships are the key to a successful social-media campaign. Restrain your urge to advertise and, in time, you’ll reap the benefits your efforts.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

How To Drive Traffic To Your Website And Be Found On Search Engines

On the freeway, traffic is something to be avoided at all costs. On the Internet, traffic is the only way to generate leads and grow your business. Driving traffic to your website, whether through pay-per-click advertising or keeping a blog, means more potential customers visiting your website, learning what you do, and paying you for your services. So how’s it done? The easy answer is by making your business more readily found by search engines. How you do that, though, is up to you.

Here are a few strategies to help you start driving up your numbers …

Blogs and Social Media: The good news is this option won’t break your budget. The bad news is you’ll have to invest some time and come up with content to share on your network. Getting noticed by search engines takes time. So, if you’re looking for an overnight success, perhaps an advertising campaign is better suited to your needs. If, however, you’re able to regularly contribute, post, and interact with your social network, you’ll build word-of-mouth and traffic to your business website. The more you participate, the quicker it’ll happen. Not only will each blog post, tweet, and Facebook update boost your traffic and search-engine rankings, if done correctly, they’ll be an effective way of keeping in contact with referral partners and clients while attracting new business.

Online Advertising: The advantage of pay-per-click advertising is that you only pay per click. You set the keywords, target your region, and budget and pay only when someone visits your website as advertised on search engines, websites, or advertising networks. That means, unlike an ad in a newspaper, pay-per-click ads cost you only when they deliver traffic to your site. The disadvantage is you have to pay whether that traffic generates new business or not. Which means, it can get expensive if your ads aren’t properly targeted. And, until they are, you’ll be paying for errant clicks and aimless visitors.

Everything Else: Ultimately, the benefit of building your presence online is there are limitless tricks and tips to help you – not only get started – but effectively build your business. Blogs and social-media sites are packed with resources and tools to help you share your content across your network, easily link back to your business website, and offer added value through widgets, plug-ins, and apps. And, though it may seem daunting at first, any help you need along the way is no further than a quick Google search. Additional tips 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

Blogging For Business: How To Attract And Keep An Audience

Chances are, you’ve heard all about the benefits of keeping a business blog. You likely wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t looking to start a blog or build upon an already existing blog. So let’s get right to it. Here are a few tips, thoughts, and ideas that should help you attract readers, and potential business, to your blog …

Think of Your Blog as Your Own TV Station: Like radio and television before it, the Internet is a means of communication. But unlike TV and radio, the Internet allows for equal and inexpensive access. Which means, setting up a blog allows you to broadcast your services, knowledge, and expertise to a larger audience than you ever could through traditional advertising, and at little to no cost. Keep it interesting, though. A radio station that only ran commercials wouldn’t attract much of an audience. Write for your target audience and offer quality content on a consistent basis.

Keep It Short: Coming up with content on a regular basis can be a struggle. Luckily, online readers tend to have shorter attention spans. After all, as quickly as they clicked on your site, they can click on another. That means, you don’t have to write 10,000 words per post. Posting short, easily digested information will encourage your viewers to spend more time reading your blog.

Syndicate Your Content: Once you’ve started producing content, spread it around. One of the many benefits of using social media for business is how easy it is to multiply your views by posting your content on multiple sites. Twitter and Facebook, for example, make it very easy to automate the process and quickly expand your influence online.

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

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

If you’d like a free Real-Estate blog designed for you… no strings attached – click here: http://theibisnetwork.wordpress.com/want-your-own-real-estate-blog-for-free/

If you’d like a free Mortgage blog designed for you… no strings attached – click here: http://theibisnetwork.wordpress.com/want-your-own-mortgage-blog-for-free/

Twitter For Realtors: Who To Follow And How

Now that you’ve set up a Twitter page, you’re likely wondering how long it’ll be before a flood of followers are hanging on your every tweet. You’ve heard that businesses were using Twitter to attract clients and customers but your page hasn’t generated a single comment, let alone a legitimate lead. So what’s next?

The first thing you should do is stop thinking of your Twitter page as an advertisement. You can’t tweet into a vacuum and think somehow your information will land in front of the right people. Your Twitter page is a means of communication, which means it’s a two-way street. In other words, the quickest way to generate activity is to target and follow the people, businesses, and areas you hope to communicate with.

Do a quick search for real-estate related terms, local businesses, and anyone in your area that might be interested in buying or selling real estate. Because Twitter doesn’t require the people you follow to approve you first, there’s no need to hesitate. Follow any and all of the results.

More tips, tools, and info below …

  • 4 easy Twitter search tools for Realtors here
  • 6 Twitter tools for networking locally here
  • Who should real-estate agents follow here
  • 10 people every Realtor should follow here
  • A handy search tool for Twitter here

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

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

If you’d like a free Real-Estate blog designed for you… no strings attached – click here: http://theibisnetwork.wordpress.com/want-your-own-real-estate-blog-for-free/

If you’d like a free Mortgage blog designed for you… no strings attached – click here: http://theibisnetwork.wordpress.com/want-your-own-mortgage-blog-for-free/

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