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Facebook Best Practices and Posting Tips

When using Facebook for business it’s important to know the best practices that will help you connect with your customers. Here are 3 to keep in mind:

1.) Provide Value – Are you providing value to your audience and customers? Are you making the lives of your audience better when sharing content? Are you educating or entertaining? Would you want to see your content every day in your News Feed?

2.) Use a Consistent and Frequent Publishing Schedule – Implement a content plan. Use FB’s scheduling option.

3.) Involve Your Audience – When customers, partners or businesses comment on a post, respond. When they ask you a question, give them a thoughtful reply.

Here are some helpful tips when posting to your business Facebook page:

Keep it short – Facebook posts under 40 characters receive 86% higher engagement than other posts.

Incorporate Images and video into your posts – Photos are the most engaging type of content on Facebook..video and links are next.

Ask Simple Questions – What’s your favorite thing about summer?

Sharing {Content} is Caring – Sharing content from other FB pages is a great way to connect with other businesses or partners.

Change it up – Variety on your FB page is key.

Bonus Tip! Check your insights! They might be telling you something about what and when to post for your business to maximize your marketing efforts.

Best Business Books of 2014

There are so many great reads out there,  it’s hard to find time to read or explore them all.  So here’s an infogrpahic of some of the best business books published in 2014.  It’s always a good idea to strive for continuous improvement in your business lives and these books can keep you on that path.  Happy reading!

The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Marketing

Every business owner gets advice and needs advice once in a while.  It’s great to seek out other successful business owners or friends and get their opinions and bounce ideas around.  However, we’ve heard some interesting advice that doesn’t make sense for every business.  Here are some of the worst that marketing professionals cringe at:

1.)   Why aren’t you on {insert random social media network here}? You need to be on there!

Yes, there are some real benefits to using social media to market your product or service.  It gives you the ability to interact with your customers, it can be cost effective and you can see what the competition is up to.  But do you need to be on every one?  Absolutely not.  You need to evaluate what social media networks your customer are using and what makes sense for your business…and concentrate your efforts there. If you’re a B2B brand, for instance, you may find that you have limited success using Facebook. Also, remember that if you have niche audiences, other appropriate platforms may prove more fruitful than the mainstream. To try and be everywhere at one time might not be the best strategy for your business, not to mention time consuming.

2.)   Want more exposure on Twitter? Add as many hashtags as you can!

#Hashtags are everywhere these days. You see them not only on Twitter, but also on Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and now Facebook. As a marketer, you can’t ignore them. You need to know how to strategically use these tagged topics because hashtags can expand your content reach, amplify your brand, target your market, get your content found, improve your SEO, and more. However, the best strategy is if your hashtags are brand/campaign specific, […]

10 Productivity + Time Management Tips for Entrepreneurs

All of us want to do more in less time, right?  How do we do that?  There is no magic app or pill, but there are things you can do with your day to be more productive.  I’m a big list maker.  At the beginning of my business week, I start with a list of things I need to get done. At the start of my business day, before I check email or social media, I create a task list for the day so I know what I need to accomplish in the short-term.
Here are 10 more tips that will help you and your business be as productive and prosperous as you can be in 2014!
Tip #1 Prioritize and do the most difficult thing on your to-do list first. Once you get the hard stuff out of the way, other tasks will feel much easier.  What task is it that is nagging at you that isn’t going to be fun?  This is the one to start first.  Getting that difficult thing out of the way lifts a weight and you get to breeze through the rest of your to-do list.  No procrastination!
Tip #2 Increase your effectiveness through technology. There are a ton of programs and apps to make a small-business owner more effective in increasing productivity. A few popular tools—some of which are free—include Dropbox to store files online; Any Meeting to host a webinar; Basecamp for project management; Trello for keeping track of projects and deadlines, and Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule your social media postings.
Tip #3 Delegate, delegate, delegate!  It may be helpful to make a list of all the things in your business that can be done by somebody else.  Administrative, […]

5 Critical Brand Image Questions

It can happen, sometimes we get so focused on working IN our business, we forget to work ON our business.  It’s important to take a step back and take an objective look at one of the most important aspects of your business – your marketing. Without well-planned marketing especially relating to your image, sales may suffer and you just might be opening the door for the competition.  If you haven’t spent some time on your marketing lately, gather a group of outsiders, clients can work really well, and have them help do an assessment.

Here are 5 critical questions to ask yourself about your Business/Brand Image:

Image

Take a look at your “presence”.  This includes logo, website, colors, fonts, marketing materials and everything else that signifies your brand.

Is your look fresh and current or a bit outdated?  Did you create your logo and marketing materials over 5 years ago?  Maybe it’s time to make some updates or completely rebrand your image.

Does your presence accurately reflect your business and speak to your clients?  Do your clients view your business the same way you do?

Take a look at your marketing materials. This includes ads, collateral materials, business cards, stationary, website, trade show booth, social media networks, etc.

Do your materials all look and feel the same?  Have they been created over time and lost their sense of continuity?

Do your materials and images have a consistent and current look?  Were they created so long ago that they just don’t feel like they represent your brand or accurately reflect your product offerings?

How do your materials compare to what your competition is putting out in the market?  It is always good to take a look at what the competition is doing so you […]

5 Signs You Need a New Website

A website is an incredible tool to communicate information or market to your target customer.  Maintaining a website, however, can be a challenge. Depending on the nature of your business, your website is critical to success. The functionality, presentation, and how well it can be updated are all things that are prompting website redesigns on the daily basis. If you’re finding it difficult to update and customize your site, maybe it’s time to upgrade.  Here’s a list of 5 things that may signify it’s time to invest in a new site:

 

You or your staff are not be able to easily update website. When was the last time you actually updated your site?  If it because you don’t have the time or the knowledge?  If it’s because you don’t have the knowledge, it’s time to revamp.
Your site isn’t search engine optimized. Does your competition continually rank higher than you in search engine results?  Perhaps they’ve implemented search engine optimization (SEO) best practices.  Search engines can provide a great source of referrals and traffic to your site.  You may need to relaunch your website in a SEO-savvy way.
Your site isn’t mobile friendly. With millions accessing site via mobile devices (smart phones, tablets, etc.) it’s no longer good enough for the site to work on laptops and desktops.
Your site has features and functions you don’t use. As sites mature and grow, certain things may not be necessary anymore. If this sounds like your site, then it may be time to either remove it, or if it is a major part of your site, restructure or redesign your site so that the underperforming feature is removed.
Your site’s copyright year is something other than 2013. If the copyright statement […]

Social Media for Small Business: 3 Steps to get Started

5 Business Reads for 2013

How many of you have set some New Year Resolutions either in your business or personal life?  Most do…I personally like to call them goals for the year.  I like to focus on achieving these goals and not just trying to resolve to do something more, less or better.   One of my 2013 goals is to read at least 3 business related books.  Maybe one of your goals or resolutions is too, so here’s a list of some of the recommended business reads from last year that I’ll choose from:

By David Novak “Taking People With You”

is the result of a program that Novak teaches up to eight times a year within the company; a step-by-step guidebook and workbook. Think of this book as your own personal MBA course with one of the most successful executives on the planet. And like any MBA course, it takes time, diligence and patience, or as Novak says, “To do this right, you need to take your time, reflecting on each step and on your own leadership style.”

By Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think,” the authors offer a boldly contrarian and optimistic book for today’s cynical times. They make the case that we are indeed on the cusp of a new era, an era when the lives of millions are improved.

Think of this book as the ultimate “Yes, we can.”

In “For Better or for Work: A Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and their Families,”Meg Cadoux Hirshberg, a columnist and the wife of the founder of Stonyfield Yogurt, offers her account of what life in a startup really looks like — from the inside.

“Breakthrough Branding: How Smart Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs Transform a […]

Holiday Cards: Another Touch Point to Customers

It’s already November and the holidays are upon us.  Before you get “wrapped up” in the hustle and bustle of the season, have you thought about holiday cards for your small business?  It’s another way to reach out to customers, new and old, to say thanks for their business.  It’s also a way to nurture the relationship and reconnect –a touch point that signifies the sentiment of the season.  Here are some things to think about:

Get going! Don’t wait. You should pick out your cards and have them in the mail well before the actual holidays. You don’t want your customers to think the cards were an afterthought OR to miss out on any of the goodwill (and business) that could result from the gesture.
Personalize. If you’re going to strengthen your relationships with your customers, you’ve got to make it personal. Address your cards to a specific individual(s) and, whenever possible, include a personalized note. It doesn’t have to be a novel—a sentence or two will almost always do…or have the whole office sign to add that personal touch.
Keep it professional. Every touch point you have with your customers reflects your small business and your brand. This includes not only the messaging you share, but also the quality of the communications you’re sending out. You don’t have to spend an arm and a couple legs at your local stationary store—upload your own artwork or choose a style that fits your business personality.  Many sites including www.vistaprint.com have reasonable pricing and many styles to choose from.
Neutral is best. Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving or Christmas.  You wouldn’t want to offend anyone with something that was meant to be a positive. To avoid putting anybody off, look […]

How Much Time Does Your Business Spend on Social Media?

A new survey from email marketing software firm VerticalResponse found that 43% of small businesses (100 employees or less) spend at least six hours a week on social media, with seven percent spending over 21 hours a week on Facebook, Twitter, and such! Wow, with hectic schedules and the many hats they wear, small business owners are spending more time on-line, suggesting that more businesses are either realizing or actually seeing the benefits of social media marketing.  “Our survey confirms that small businesses are understanding the value of social media,” said Janine Popick, VerticalResponse CEO/founder. “They’re spending more time doing it, and investing more money into it at a faster rate. But the extra work will likely lead to time management issues, especially for the small business owner who’s handling social media on top of all the other responsibilities of running a company. This implies that small businesses are in need of tactics and tools now to help them save time.”

It’s interesting to note that small businesses are realizing the value of content – but, again, time is an issue.  More than half (55 percent) of small businesses surveyed have a blog.  (Of those, 43 percent publish a blog post at least once a week. Nearly half (45 percent) spend one to three hours to create one post, while 16 percent spend more than three hours.  (I can relate as it often takes time to come up with content, write the blog and then post it).  So, nearly half of those who blog spend up to three hours per blog post on at least a weekly basis – time that, prior to having a blog, would have been used on other business activities. This […]