Archive for the ‘tips’ Category

Overwhelmed by Social Media? – Start by Blogging

July 9th, 2011 by Dan

We often get the question of where to start as a small business owner looking to address the elephant in the office, social media. Without a doubt, without a plan, social media management as a small business owner can be overwhelming. Although having a plan is a good idea there is no reason to overwhelm yourself with anything elaborate.

Our opinion is to pick a platform that works and that you are familiar with whether it be Twitter, blogging, Facebook or any of the other platforms out there. Regardless of what it is, make sure you are comfortable with the way it works, who is seeing your posts and how they are responding to them. When it comes to the plan, like I said, don’t make it too elaborate. One thing that you will probably read a lot is that you should post at least once a week etc. etc. It is a good idea to keep a regular readership and post on somewhat of a schedule but don’t just post to post; post content that people are going to want to read and will value.

What I like to suggest is to start blogging and to start blogging “in private” first. Blogging in private will allow you to find your voice and get into the “flow of things” before going public with your brilliant prose. Now, why start with blogging? The reason why I like to suggest blogging first is because offers the ultimate flexibility and allows for you to post content while at the same time broadcasting it via links to many of the other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook (through use of plugins or settings in most popular blog platforms). Once you think you are in the flow of things, understand how blogging works and what it is you are going to be talking about, go public and don’t abandon your blog. A blog can be a valuable place for you to share information about your industry, interact with clients and showcase your knowledge as a professional in your industry. Don’t pass up the opportunity to blog.

Recap: Take on blogging in private and see how it goes. If you think you got something, go public. If you are still feeling a bit overwhelmed with blogging jump into Twitter, learn how to use it right and start posting interesting content and interacting with you clients/customers.

Note: Although I wouldn’t consider it the most robust platform, check out Posterous as a blog platform. Anything you post (via e-mail no-less) gets sent to most other popular social media platform. You can see a post about Posterous here.

Your website = you | Give the right first-impression

June 15th, 2010 by Dan

For those who remain unaware, your website is a representation of you and your business. Just as with any other form of marketing collateral, your website should demonstrate the same professionalism, personality and attitude of your business. Although it seems like business owners are finally getting this through their heads, there is still a ways to go in many industries.

In our opinion (and experience), some of the most out-dated websites come from the restaurant, real estate and local shop industries. For years we’ve noticed this and have heard a tremendous list of excuses from business owners. Our general rule of thumb is that if your website fits any of the following criteria, it is time for an updated look!

1) My website has photos/images that are stretched or skewed in width/height.

2) There is an animated mailbox character jumping around asking people to “E-mail Us” on the bottom of my homepage.

3) There is a marquee scrolling across the top of my homepage explaining the services and specials my business offers.

4) There is a counter for how many people have visited my website at the bottom of my pages.

5) The bottom of my website has a horizontal scroll bar for no reason whatsoever.

6) My site has soothing background music that begins immediately upon page-load.

7) My site has remnants of Clip Art and Word Art strewed about.

8) There is a guestbook available for all visitors of my website to sign.

9) Blinking text effects are featured.

10) My website doesn’t link to any social sites (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc.)

So, take a look at your website and decide whether or not it needs an update. Does your site represent you and your business? Are your latest services and products featured? Do you feel that potential customers visiting your site will have the right first-impression of your business?

If your site does fit one or all of the criteria above, it isn’t too late! An investment in a website is one of the greatest investments you can make in your business. More and more businesses are seeing customers at their website before a phone call or visit to their office or store. Make a decision today to impress your potential customers and give your website the attention it deserves and have it drive business for you.

Taxes: COMPLETE! – Time to evaluate your site analytics

April 16th, 2010 by Dan

Now that your taxes are done (except for those who are the real procrastinators and filed for extension), it is time to focus on bigger and better things. Spring is in the air and it is time for some spring cleaning. Cleaning and shining up your website that is!

When was the last time you looked at your website and evaluated it as if in your customer’s shoes? Have you reviewed your website analytics lately to see who is visiting your website, what they are clicking and how effective your site is at delivering them the information you need them to see?

Evaluating your site analytics is one of the most important ways to better understand your customers and deliver them the information they are looking for. One of our favorites is Google Analytics which does an incredible job of delivering you the most pertinent information about your site and its performance.

Often when taking on new design projects we will install Google Analytics on a customer’s existing site for a few weeks or a month to help us determine what visitors are looking for, how they are navigating the site and how we can ultimately redesign the site to make that visitor’s experience more enjoyable.

So, do you have Google Analytics installed? Do you think knowing more about how your customers are using your site can help you better understand why your website is important to your business?

Now is the time to evaluate where your website fits in your business, how your brand and professionalism is portrayed on the internet and what you can do to make your website more effective which effectively translates into more leads and more sales.

Starbucks teams up with Foursquare, should you?

March 11th, 2010 by Dan


foursquare_logo_boyFor those who haven’t already heard, there has been some exciting news from Starbucks and Foursquare today. As quoted from The New York Times Blog, Bits

Beginning Thursday, latte addicts who visit Starbucks outlets can get more than just a caffeine fix. They will also be rewarded on Foursquare with a barista badge.

For the location-based social network service, Foursquare, this is huge news but this can also prove to be an extremely successful strategy for Starbucks. Smaller brands than Starbucks have incorporated Foursquare into their marketing strategy before, especially in New York City where the service was born. However, with a large brand like Starbucks involved in what has become an addictive social network for many, it isn’t unlikely that we will start seeing many large brands take advantage of Starbuck’s innovative thinking.

On the other hand, this is also a great opportunity to incorporate your small business into the Foursquare craze. The decision by Foursquare founders to expand the service drastically beyond New York City has put even small towns into the Foursquare mix. If you own a retail location, a restaurant or even a dentist’s office, Foursquare is worth exploring and incorporating into your marketing strategy.

Take a restaurant for example. Can a restaurant owner afford to offer 10% off a check on Tuesdays while in return have patrons notify all of their friends when they visit that restaurant while at the same time raving about the great service and superb food on Foursquare? The answer needs to be yes!

Even in the social media driven world we live in, we continue to see businesses fail to take advantage of great marketing opportunities through services like Twitter and Facebook. We understand there are a lot of services on the web and that it can become overwhelming but what works just works and Twitter, Facebook and now Foursquare are dead winners in our book!

The best part about Foursquare is that your restaurant, store, etc. is probably already on Foursquare as added by your own patrons. All you have to do now is put a sign in your window that offers promotions to Foursquare users. Give Foursquare a peak and let us know what you think.

A New Channel for Marketing Your Brand – Google Buzz

February 11th, 2010 by Dan

Google Buzz

It is probably still too early to tell how big of a splash Google Buzz is going to make in regards to social media effectiveness. However, it is fair to say that it does create a new marketing channel for your business while expanding your brand’s web footprint.

Time and time again we hear of people overwhelmed by everything that is “out there” on the web and we completely understand. If you feel this way, but you are still interested in leveraging Google Buzz for your business, you can choose to simply link Buzz to your existing accounts. As with many new social media tools, Google Buzz allows you to connect to six of your already existing and managed accounts. Accounts include (to date) Twitter, Google Chat, Picasa, YouTube, Flickr and Google Reader. If you feel that managing Google Buzz is too much to manage then simply activate your Buzz account and connect the services and tools you already manage. This will save you time but at the same time open you up to additional marketing potential for your business via Google Buzz.

Although it is hard to say what tools will be effective when they first launch, it will always remain important to find new channels of marketing your brand, services and product. Never hesitate to use what you already manage to take advantage of these new channels without any additional time invested.

Blogging (in private)

February 11th, 2010 by Dan

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Quite often we hear about people who know about blogging but haven’t started doing it. Most of the time people are afraid that they don’t have enough to write about or simply can’t think of anything to write about. Even worse, people who get started blogging and then stop because they lose their “flow” or can’t work blogging into their daily schedule and routine.

For this we have a suggestion. Most (if not all) popular blogging software/platforms allow for “private posting” or “drafts”. Use these features as you get started and enter into a blogging routine! Many people make the mistake of jumping directly into blogging and immediately lose momentum. Instead of jumping right into it, take a few weeks to blog “behind closed doors” through the use of the “private posting” or “draft” features. This will give you time to review your posts and find the topics that best suit you and your brand.

Post via E-mail (WordPress)

December 23rd, 2009 by Dan

As a followup to my post from the other day regarding managing your life online from anywhere, I thought I would take a minute to explain how you can create blog posts for WordPress as easily as you would write an e-mail.

Some might find it annoying (as I do) to login to your WordPress control panel just to write a blog post. Additionally, those posting on the run via a mobile device will find posting via e-mail is much easier than logging into the control panel.

In order to post to your WordPress blog via e-mail, do the following:

1. Login to you WordPress control panel (just this once)
2. Click “Settings”
3. Click “Writing”
3. Look for the section that says “Post via e-mail”
4. Use this section to create a customized e-mail address that only you know and begin sending your posts (just as you would an e-mail) to that e-mail address.

As you may have imagined, the Subject of the e-mail you write will be the Title of your post, the Body will be your actual posted content and any attached pictures will be the pictures that get included with your post.

Pretty much as simple as that. If you have any questions…shoot us a comment!