Social media can be used to help you build a presence online for your business. You can build a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and many more.

Have you reached that point? Have you ever said “Who has the time to manage a Facebook or Twitter account?”  Have you said it enough times that you are finally ready to consider using a social media coach or hiring social media services.  If so, I am sure that the first question you had to ask was, “How much will social media services cost?”

Cost of Social Media Services
And of course, as always, the answer is “It depends”.  You see, social media marketing, inbound marketing and digital communications help can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  You would really need to take a look at what it is your company wants and needs.

What are your goals for your social media journey?  Are you trying to build brand awareness?  Will you be trying to engage an audience to build a community? Is your goal to generate sales or leads?  Will you be utilizing your personal brand to build your business brand?  Will others in your organization be taking ownership of any parts of the program?

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Using the Power of You.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, Social Media and Personal Branding, there are loads of folks who want to learn what you have to share. Your followers are interested in watching you follow your passion for your area of expertise. By sharing interesting articles (including your own, as much as possible) you are establishing yourself as a resource for others who want to learn more about you and your business

Content Curation – What is That All About?
Content curation is the process of making your way through the vast amounts of content available on the web to then be able sift, sort, arrange and present it in a meaningful and organized way.  You will want to be choosy to pick the best content that is important and relevant to your own community. Often, curated content may be organized around a particular theme.

personal brandingCurating great content can help you as a  small business owner establish yourself as a thought leader, a valuable resource within your spheres of online presence, thus strengthening your personal brand.  You essentially become the “go-to” authority for issues or topics related to your industry.

By curating relevant content, you develop the ability to serve up frequent content which then increases your opportunities for interaction, which can help exposure over time as you strengthen your online personal branding.

This means that you will need a number of reliable sources to turn to for access to interesting and appropriate articles.

There are many tools and personal favorite methods for collecting articles that are relevant to you and your business.

Here are my current top 6 content curation sources and tools. Read more

personal-branding-resource

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 […]

personal branding

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 […]

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

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.

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

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

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!

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.

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.

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.