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5 Time Saving Social Media Tips for Small Business Owners

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Startups and small business owners often tell us, time is one of the biggest limits they have; they simply don’t have time to devote to everything. Focusing on social media adds another layer to your already business days. Here are five simple tips to help you manage the social media best.

1. Follow your social media plan.

Each year you spend precious time creating your social media plan based on our goals for the year. Are you using it? Keep your plan visible as a reminder of the topics and campaigns you want to cover. This reminder helps you focus on the things that will make the most impact for your business.

2. Schedule your social media posts.

Instead of trying to remember to post to your social media profiles daily, schedule your posts ahead of time. This tip saves you time and assures your stay active on social media. Set aside an hour or less each week to do it.

Facebook pages have a function to schedule multiple posts. There are also other tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social with scheduling features.

3. Focus on two social media platforms.

Just because there are many social media platforms out there, you don’t have to use them all. Find out which social media forms your customers are using and focus on those. Consider what kind of social media will best showcase your products or services. By limiting your attention to precise social media, you will make better use of the profiles you use.

4. Curate content that your customers will find useful.

Each post you make does not have to include content you created especially for your business. There is a variety of content that you can curate. Just make sure you select quality material that your customers will like or find useful.

5. Know when to hire help.

Entrepreneurs often prefer to focus on their expertise and work in running the business. Why not hire someone to focus on social media for you? There are may be instances when your social media needs increase such as during a major campaign and using an expert makes sense.

Don’t be afraid to hire a specialist; it is more affordable than you think. Many times consultants have monthly fees for a set amount of tasks.

After using these simple tips for a while, you will tame the social media beast in now time at all.

 

Merry Christmas

# themelovin.com

Think Email is Dead?

Vector email marketing concept

With Facebook, Twitter, and the latest social media platforms, email marketing is old school, right? Think again. People read more email than ever and they continue to scan inboxes for offers or deals specific to what they need.

A recent study conducted by McKinsey & Company, a global consulting firm, indicates that email is 40 times more effective at getting new customers than Facebook or Twitter. Read on to see our top five tips for email.

Trim Your List

Set aside some time to update and clean up your email list. If you receive email that has bounced back, make sure you find the correct information or remove the offending email address from your list. Some automated email marketing programs do this for you. Make sure your email message contains an unsubscribed option because this will help you avoid being flagged as a spam offender by honoring unsubscribed requests.

Think Mobile

People don’t really read email on their phones, do they? The truth is that lots of people read email on their phone. One statistic indicates that 41–45% of people regularly read email on their phones. Ensure your email gets read by designing it for mobile use. Focus on a responsive design that adjusts widths based on the device you are using, but also consider how fonts, images, and colors will appear on a smaller screen.

Target Segment

Sending everyone on your email list the exact same messages is not a best practice. Segment your lists and send applicable offers or messages to the appropriate clients. Track your previous interactions with your clients so that you know what they care about. Focus on creating messages that are useful and interesting.

Turn General to Personalized

A personalized email experience goes beyond, “Hello buyer” to, “Hello, Jessica Jones,” and is used very closely with targeting segmenting. Your clients want to know that you are actually connecting to them at a personal level. Include personalization both in the body of the message and in the subject line when possible. This again is accomplished by tracking their previous behavior with your company or business.

Try Visuals

People prefer interesting visuals. Have your message include images that trigger a pause-and-view effect with your clients. You want them to continue reading your message. Videos are also a growing trend in email marketing.

Most businesses are using email at some level, but making sure your email reaches your clients’ mailbox instead of ending up in the spam folder requires some work. Keep in mind that everything does not necessarily come down to just one click of the mouse. It’s about continuing the relationship with your clients.

What tips would you add or remove from this list as a best practice?

Happy Halloween!

Top 2 Tips to Help You Take the Twitter Plunge

 

Take the plunge

Twitter is a vast and ever-changing social media landscape.

It moves quickly and frequently.

 

All types of people use it, and more importantly, all types of people use it differently. Businesses and corporations don’t use Twitter the same way that the average person does which can make running a Twitter account seem confusing and complicated, especially for those who don’t already have a personal account.

Here are some simple points to remember that can make a Twitter account much easier and less daunting.

There are a lot of different tips and tricks to running Twitter accounts, for both personal and professional use, because everyone handles (no pun intended) their own Twitter experience differently. Some people tweet hourly while others are perfectly content to tweet just once a day or even less.

Which is why the first point on this list, for business and personal use, is to JUST DO IT. Spending hours agonizing over the perfect tweet really just means that those hours are spent not tweeting anything at all. Does that mean it’s silly to check tweets for typos or mistakes before hitting that Tweet button? Of course not. (Especially those hashtags #whichcanjustgetsolongandhardtoread!) But don’t let the fear of tweeting something silly or dumb prevent you from tweeting at all.

The second point on this list is geared specifically toward businesses, but can be helpful for anyone, which is check your hashtag BEFORE you use it. This is really just a simple search on Twitter of the hashtag you want to start using. Why? Because if it’s a hashtag that you want your followers to use to be able to connect with you or a hashtag that you want your followers to use so that you can connect with them, you want to be sure that no one or nothing else that you don’t want to be associated with has used the same hashtag.

Share your aha or oh-no Twitter moments.

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Is Your Hashtag Showing?

Is Your Hashtag Showing?Is it an octothorpe, a pound sign, or a hashtag? No matter what you call the # symbol, using hashtags in social media is a widespread practice. Some people love using them, but it seems that they have forgotten the point of using them. There are also plenty of haters. Linguistics experts, such as UC Berkeley’s Geoffrey Nunberg, say that the use of “hashtags is lazy and reduces the irony in communication.”

Whether you love them or hate them, it has become clear that tags are here to stay. Here’s a rundown on avoiding epic fails and some no-nonsense tips for using tags in social media.

In the Beginning

The word “hashtag” officially became a word according the Oxford English Dictionary in June of this year. Microsoft Word, on the other hand, does not believe it. I’ve read a couple of versions about the birth of the hashtag, but the generally accepted version, is that an Google employee, Chris Messina, invented the use of hashtags in 2007 as a way to organize messages into groups. If you knew the hashtag, you were in the know: an insider.

Today, hashtag use is an evolving practice and no longer limited to just Twitter. Most of the major social media platforms support some use of hashtags. Facebook came late to the game and finally added hashtag functionality in 2013 to capture marketing dollars tied to hashtags.

Hashtags allow people to share ideas, sentiments, or to promote something specific.

Avoid Epic Fails

Sometimes companies and marketers completely miss the mark and hashtag fails occur. One epic “fail” occured when Susan Boyle released an album in 2012. Her PR folks created the infamous #susanalbumparty tag to promote the album; it released a media frenzy and a slew of crude and unflattering posts.

To avoid fails when using hashtags do your homework first. Research the tag (hashtags.org is a good source) to identify any potential damage to your message. Share it with others just for a sanity check.

Mind Your Manners

Sometimes hashtags don’t fail but how they are used is just plain ugly. Some people love them so much every word in a post includes a hashtag. Excessive use of hashtags in social media is a newbie mistake. Tagging every word does not add to the social media conversation. Use them to call out your carefully thought-out keywords, specific ideas, or to promote campaigns and events.

Another ugly use of hashtags (a personal pet peeve) is making them extremely long. Tags should be easy to read; nothing is better than when they are short and sweet. Besides, no one is going to remember that drawn-out sentence and in Twitter they take up too much real estate.

No-nonsense Tips

1.   Research your tags.

2.   Stay within the one to three range in a single post.

3.   Make them short and sweet.

4.   Be specific and authentic.

5.   Add to the conversation.

Whether you are a small business owner or social media maverick, using hashtags is a pivotal part of your communication work. Don’t feel intimated by hashtag critics; take a look at their Twitter feeds. They too are tagging just as much as the rest of us. Yes, even Geoffrey Nunberg’s feed is littered with hashtags.

Share your hashtag pet peeve or your favorite tip.

What You Should Know about Posting Photos


What you should know about Media Law.

 

Bloggers do regular postings on social media tend to use photographs that are copied and downloaded straight from the Internet. Now its fair to say what is on the Internet is fair game when it comes to posting photos, right? Well not so.

As the explosion of bloggers continues there is one-thing journalists do know that most bloggers don’t, and that’s Media Law. There are more and more lawsuits these days to define what is fair use and what is copyright infringement.

One of the largest and most public cases was the Associated Press vs. Shepard Fairey lawsuit of 2012. The infamous Obama-Hope poster created during the 2008 Presidential campaign went viral, contributing to stickers, t-shirts, banners, and posters all over the nation. It was determined that the photograph used was copyrighted by an Associated Press photographer taken during a press conference where he was sitting right next to actor George Clooney.

Obama Hope

Both sides sued and counter-sued citing copyright infringement and the fair use act. The case was eventually settled out-of-court.

17 USC Section 107 of the Copyright Act states:

“The fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; the nature of the copyrighted work; the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.”

Now if you can understand that, you may have grounds for winning if ever taken to court. But if you don’t, stick to either giving the photo an attribute (photo credit) shoot it yourself, or invest in stock photography site. There are many sites out there that can give you great images with good resolution.

Better be safe than sorry.

4 Things Travel Can Teach Us About Social Media


shutterstock_94463977 [Converted]

Summer travel – you can’t beat it. Crowded airports, screaming children, walking through gate after gate looking for the iconic green sign that tells you caffeine is near. As I sat through a long layover in a tiny airport in Florida, I consoled myself by browsing through the trip images I had captured on my phone and smiled.

Cancun turned out to be a hub of activity and fun. Lo and behold, social media played a big part in organizing much of my activity without actively setting out to manage it. As I waited for my flight and thought about it longer, I realized my travel provided pointers about social media.

Here’s four of my favorite, travel inspired tips about social media.

1. Know What Your Client’s Care About

In Cancun, I stayed at a boutique resort where the staff was eerily aware of when to engage and when to blend into the scene. They seem to know when I wanted to be left alone to ponder my thoughts while sipping a margarita and when I was interested in hearing about a trip recommendation. If I asked about a restaurant, the concierge told me all about the restaurant and offered to make the reservation for me. Then, she gave me a card to present to the restaurant and as a result the staff treated me well and provided extra perks.

Before you create your next awesome piece of content, make sure you know the type of information that your clients care about and find useful. For instance, an owner at an independent pet supplies store noticed that its customers often engaged with stories about rescue pets. The owner added to her plan weekly stories about rescues and pets still waiting for their forever homes.

2. Make it Easy to Share

For me a vacation is rarely complete without a massage. Having never been to Cancun before, I quickly scoured my social media favorites to find a day spa that turned out to be a gem. I certainly appreciate reviews before I visit a place for the first time, but why is it sometimes so hard to share information about a specific place?

Make the content on your website or in social media easy to share. Add a button that allows people to easily post without having to worry about links and images. Make it easy for them to add their perspective on your content.

3. Customize Your Images

One of my favorite dinners occurred on the last night of the trip at a seafood fusion restaurant. I had read a recommendation of the restaurant in a travel magazine. I don’t remember the magazine, but the images featured both in the article and the restaurant’s website sold me. They were beautiful and memorable. As the taxi pulled up to the eatery, I recognized the location immediately.

If there’s no money in your budget for professional photography or one-of-a-kind images be your own photographer. Images of your actual products and business connect better than run-of-the-mill stock images. However, if you must use stock images, customize them with your brand colors or with text that conveys your ideas. There are creative ways to make images your own.

4. Be a Surprise

A highlight of the Cancun trip was an all-day trek to see Mayan ruins and a stop for swimming at one of the numerous “cenotes” in the area. The trip was not a surprise since it’s a common type of trip for the area and I knew the itinerary. The trip experience and how we were treated on the trip left me smiling.

Our guide and driver delivered a fun and unique experience. He gave us great tips at each of our stops and timed our stops to be either ahead of or behind the crowds. At one meeting place, I had just started enjoying a much needed drink on a humid, hot day when our driver arrived announcing the van was ready. The server was getting ready to pour my drink into a to-go cup, but our driver convinced the server to let me keep the glass. They did.

People like to see regular rotations of stories and information. For example, a cupcake artist, who is a friend, regularly posts info about interesting cupcake flavors and pictures of her latest creations. Every once in a while, she shares events considered off the beaten path. The event posts seem to generate more engagement. Posting something unusual or out of the ordinary is unexpected and noticed. Work to develop your brand, but keep your audience waiting to see what happens next.

Has travel inspired any tips for you? Share your favorites; they don’t have to be about social media.

The Fail Trail: Understanding the Impact of a Social Media PR Crisis