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Social Media and Personal Branding

Where to begin?  You have started your own business.  You’ve invested in a website to highlight your product or service.  You may have even begun to add content to your website to help visitors learn more about your product or service. How will you develop a social media online presence for your personal brand?

As I mentioned in the previous blog, Personal Branding for the Small Business Owner, personal branding is about identifying and then communicating what makes you unique and relevant and allows you to differentiate yourself to your target audience. Your online relationships will grow through the sharing, liking, and commenting on posts from people you have identified as influencers and/or evangelists. But what will you bring to the party?

Be the source!

personal-branding-resource

Be constantly on the lookout for great pieces to share that relate to your area of expertise.  Find websites that relate to your industry and bookmark them, or follow them on social media, or sign up to receive their newsletter.  When experts in your industry, or related industries, share their great content and you think that folks who follow you on your platforms might be interested in it as well, share it with an insightful comment of your own. Let your audience know what you liked (or disliked) about the article.  Let them know where in the article they might find the information that will help them with whatever challenge they may be faced with.

Schedule your posts out. Read more

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Personal Branding for the Small Business Owner

Most of the people in my networking circles are solo-preneurs, small business owners. Realizing that a strong online presence will benefit their business, they often ask which social media and networking platforms would be the most benefit to their goals. Although they have just used those exact words, “Social Media Networking”, many remain hesitant, almost adverse, to actually putting themselves out there to be “Social” in order to “Network” on the “Media”. Often I hear these words: “I don’t want any of my personal stuff out there” or “I don’t think what I have to say matters online”. As a small business owner, your personal brand and business brand overlap on social media, whether you want them to or not.

personal branding

For a small business owner, the single most important part of building a personal brand is to be exactly who you are. Be authentic. Be genuine. (But Better!)
I say “But Better” because the online persona that you will build for your professional self gets to benefit from planning. It gives you time to edit your thoughts and offerings. Read more

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Social Media Roundtable

On Wednesday, August 27, 2014, Tricia White, VP of Creative Marketing for Fun Enterprises , facilitated a roundtable discussion on Social Media Marketing at HarborOneU, 131 Copeland Drive in Mansfield. This panel was a great opportunity for small business owners to gather their questions about social media marketing and ask some amazing experts to weigh in.

Her panel guests:

1. Erin SweeneyOwner of Erin Sweeney Design. She is a graphic and WordPress website designer. She is experienced in website design and implementation, visual design, business branding, search engine optimization and social networking.
2. Lucille FisherOwner of Sage and Savvy Marketing. Lucille is a marketing strategist who helps businesses improve their social media footprint. She also helps companies work through software programs that can better integrate business processes with marketing.
3. Susan Barron Finn Owner of Susan Finn Online and Founder/Director of the Women’s Business Network. Susan is a social media specialist who works with small businesses to better improve their social media reach as well as data base systems and e-mail marketing. She helps companies improve their brand online.
4. Tammi JacobsenOwner of Tammi Jacobsen. She is a seasoned social media expert who teaches businesses strategies for social media marketing. She is a passionate blogger who works with companies on strategies as well as time management.

Topics covered ranged from branding and web design to social media networks, strategies, tools and search. Small businesses examined their marketing strategies and began to identify pain points. Attendees left the workshop with questions answered and with viable strategies for improvement. Read more

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Social Media “Tribes”

social media divasI spent this morning in the Kensington Real Estate conference room, (Thanks, Sheryle) Happy to be at the opposite end of the table from the donuts, cruellers and candy,  I sat back in appreciation, once again, of the unique learning, networking and sharing methods of a group of women who are life-long learners.  Jumping from subject to subject, we covered topics that ranged from cooking apps for our phones (BigOven.com )  to admiration for ‘paperless’ office techniques (Evernote, Cloud Computing, iPad, DotLoop) to planning Google+ Hangouts.

The Social Media Divas are an amazing group of women that decided, three years ago, to work together as a marketing team to help grow each other’s business using social media. Working as a team means knowing. liking and commenting, sharing.

Today’s questions and conversation.

How do I keep up on my blog?  

  • Use your recording feature on your cell phone to record text while you are driving home from work
  • Schedule a block of time each week and use it solely for this purpose (suggested 2 hours)
  • Ask for guest bloggers to send you some content on their specialty

Naked Brand

Getting the corporate structure to get the concept of social media.  Bolocco CEO tweets – if its too cold in one of the branches, he responds immediately.  Pepsi, UnderArnour, Zappos are other companies who have an active and responsive social media program. The culture in business  has changed.  The consumer wants to connect with the Brand.

Employees as an extension of the social media team

Engaging on Google+, LinkedIn, Vine – as each employee wants to be involved in social media – give them a new avenue.  The beauty of Google+ is its easier to use the circles so that you can control the group that sees each post.

“People will support that which they help to create” – Aileen McDonough, 3am Writers

Every time the “Divas” meet, we jump from subject to subject with incredible speed.  Each of us brings to the table a new question, a new tool, or a new observation to share with the others.

As a solo entrepreneur, it is extremely helpful to set up systems to make certain that we have an opportunity to share ideas, frustrations and new knowledge with like-minded people.  I feel incredibly fortunate to be included in this group of electric women.

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People Believe

people believe“People don’t believe what you tell them.

They rarely believe what you show them.

They often believe what their friends tell them.

They always believe what they tell themselves.”

– Seth Godin

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Organize Files into Folders- Constant Contact

file folderI couldn’t be more excited  today.   Many of my followers know how much I enjoy working on the Constant Contact platform for third-party emails.   I enjoy many things about their tools, but today I want to shout out to everyone how excited I am about a brand new feature they just announced:

Creating Folders  – Yippeee!

Physical vs. Virtual Organization:   One thing you can know about me is that in my physical life, I am not very neat and tidy.  Projects, files, books, mementos surround me.   (note: no photo posted here !)   However – on the computer, I am a stickler for organization.  I insist that every file go in to the proper folder.  Loose, lonely documents make me uneasy.  I think this is a direct result of my physical surroundings……Often, in “real” life, I spend way too much time looking for something. ( keys, for instance – wallet, for another)  However, in my work life, I want to know exactly where something is immediately.  I enjoy categorizing my work into nice neat folder icons.

So, although I have enjoyed using Constant Contact for over 8 years, and although I had developed my own system of naming email campaigns for easier sorting, it still made me a bit uneasy to open up the “My Emails” folder and just view one long list which could date back 8 years!

Ta Dahhhh –    Today, Constant Contact announced the Folder Feature for My Emails.

Not only do now have the capability of arranging emails any way that works best for my client, we can also toggle between list views for a quick visual take on open rate as well as a thumbnail preview of the campaign.

All I can say about that is….. Yippppeeeee     I just can’t wait to get in to all of the Constant Contact accounts I administer and start foldering!

If you are a Constant Contact user – Read this recent announcement: Email Marketing Product Update:

 This is Great Stuff !

making online connectionsView past issues of “Making Connections”

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Other related articles:
When Email Marketing is Like a Plate of Spaghetti

Know, Like, Trust

Consider Outsourcing

More on Email Marketing

constant contact email marketing  Let Me Help You Build Your Email Marketing

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Promises – The Big Stuff

The Big Promise
A post this morning by marketing maven, Seth Godin, gave me a double take – at first, I thought that his piece on small promises was meant for us to take note of all the little things we say that we are going to do and make sure to DO THEM. But, then, when I read it again, the following line struck me.

“The big promises of transparency and care, of design and passion, of commitment and stewardship–we ought to be demanding more of this. “

Well of course….. That makes so much sense. This is my goal for all of my clients. My clients are hard-working, honest, giving people who provide meaningful services. They care deeply not only about their clients and customers, but I have found them to care deeply about their employees, as well. We work together, through their online platforms to create a strategy of transparency and care – to publicize their passion for their business and their commitment to their employees. This their big promise to their customers. This is my big promise to my clients.

Thank you for the post, Seth.

Read Seth’s full post.

This is Great Stuff!

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No Holiday Blah-Blah Content

no blahHere’s some very helpful advice from Constant Contact:

 How do you create share-worthy content? 

1. REMIND YOUR AUDIENCE OF YOUR SHARED VALUES   ~~  People like to support and spend money with businesses that share the same values and support the same causes. They also like to share information regarding those values and causes. If there’s a particular cause your business supports or values you stand behind, the holidays are a great time to remind your audience.

2. PROVIDE ADDED VALUE ~~  Content that people find valuable will get more use and more shares.   ~~~   According to a recent study: Nearly 75% of those polled said they prefer information from companies in the form of articles over ads.

3. ENGAGE YOUR AUDIENCE WITH SOCIAL CAMPAIGNS AND SPECIAL OFFERS ~ As you might imagine, people still love to get a great deal. And they love to share those savings with their friends. Especially when email and social media are used together

  • An offer of a free item increased open rates by 47.3%
  • Coupons increased click rates by 52.7%
  • A percent off increased revenue per email by 95.4%

BE SMART WITH YOUR HOLIDAY CONTENT —  As you put together your plans for the holiday season, look for ways you can create share-worthy content in the form of shared values, added value, and social campaigns and special offers to make this your most successful holiday yet.

This is Great Stuff.

Read more from Constant Contact.

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40 Ways to Get Banned From the Top 5 Social Networks

banned

This is from a recent article on Hubspot :

Did you know, there are actually some rules and regulations that go along with participating in social media?

It’s not a perfect system the social networks have worked out, but it’s important for marketers to know — because believe it or not, lots of marketers are breaking these rules and don’t even know it.

This post in Hubspot’s blog reviews the policies the most popular social networks have set up that  you should be aware of. Hubspot has put them in plain English, too, devoid of confusing and boring legal babble. If you’re accidentally breaking any of these rules, at least now you can put the kibosh on your illicit activities before it’s too late!

Read more: Hubspot’s 40 Ways to Get Banned.

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Establish Trust

trustIt’s so exciting to find an online resource where I can just keep learning more and more each time I visit their website.  It’s funny, I follow the Social Media Examiner with Michael Stelzner.  It’s a great website/blog/resource for folks in business, but at first, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to  take the site seriously.  It has a cutesy cartoon safari-guy logo, lots of info-graphics and just a bunch of busy-ness happening on the site.  But all of that aside, it really does have content that I find I am consistently referring to.

Today, I stumbled upon the entry entitled, “Establishing Trust: How to Build Relationships with Social Media“.  This is a very comprehensive entry on just that – establishing trust with in your cyber-reach.

Topics include:

  • How social media has changed over time
  • Good email marketing vs bad email marketing
  • It’s not the platforms that fail, it’s the community – and thus, how to make your social media audiences count
  • How to establish your cyber-reach
  • How to gain trust online –  That’s the nugget I liked the most.  They say that the formula for gaining trust is:
    • Be helpful
    • Do something for the other person
    • Ask for nothing in return
Michael Stelzner’s conversation with the ever-compelling Chris Brogan is very informative and easy to listen to.   I guess that’s the point of it all, isn’t it.

To learn more, visit the Social Media Examiner Website, and by all means, check out Chris Brogan’s website, as well.

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5 Habits You Need to Adopt to be Effective on Social Media

5 habits

An article recently published by Anton Koekemoer on Memeburn.com outlines his views on the 5 habits one should adopt to be effective on social media.

He lists these habits as:

1: Start the day with a cup of social media –
 What are you reading with your morning cup o’ ?  Consider reading digital content to find good stuff to share with your audience.  Having another cup o’ later in the morning?  Share more info.

2: How do you look at the information that passes by you each day? – Filter your input and consider what would make good content in your social media avenues.  Keep notes and refer back to them, or better yet – Tweet, Post or update right away.

3. Blogging on weekends – or whenever you have free blocks of time. (pre-schedule blogs out in to the future)  Blogging is one of the best ways of getting found online.
.” A blog can increase your credibility, build awareness, improve your organic SEO rankings, and it’s a powerful communication channel that you can use to engage with your target audience.”  However, it can be time-consuming. Refer to  Koekemoer‘s article for a few good tips on getting it done!

4: Small updates – when it suits you…..

5: Take it with you –  With smartphones and tablets you might use your social media platforms where you are, when you are thinking of it.  Engage, respond, share.

Koekemoer summarizes with this: to have “…..social media in your everyday life it’s important that you stay consistent with your updates and connect with your target audience to increase your visibility on the social web. By using social media on a daily basis, posting updates when you have a break, blogging over the weekend, and by looking at the world from a different perspective, it will help you get your business on the social web.”

This is Good Stuff!

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Inspire Donors to Give More

This content just could not be said more simply or clearly than in the article I read today in The Network for Good.

donate

  1. Make it clear. Don’t make supporters guess what you want them to do –make it crystal clear with a short and specific call to action. Honor your audience and respect their time by getting straight to the point and addressing what they care about.
  2.  Make it easy. Remove obstacles like too many steps or seemingly huge commitments. It’s easy to say no to something hard, but it’s hard to say no to something easy!
  3.  Make it matter. Show what specific and tangible result will come from a donation — for the donor and for your programs. People give because they want to do something good, so give assurances that good things will happen due to their donations.

There are more great points on this, and other issues for non-profits on The Network for Good website.