Twitter Quick Starter for Small Business

Twitter is not just for the “kids”. Small businesses are growing their businesses by using Twitter and other social networking platforms to connect with their customers, grow leads and increase the awareness of their brand. Social media marketing is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to market to your target audience of current and prospective customers. That’s why small businesses are doing big business on Twitter.

Twitter Small Business StatWhat is Twitter? (In case you didn’t know)

If you don’t know about Twitter here is the short version of the long story: It’s a short message multi-media communication platform (or a microblog) that lets you publish messages (tweets) of up to 140 characters and people who follow your profile are sent those tweets. The content of these tweets can be text and links to web sites, images, video and even podcast. You can follow other Twitter users and their tweets will show up on your page like a newsfeed. Additionally, people can search for information in a variety of ways making it possible for people who do not follow you to see your tweets as well. If they like what you are tweeting, they will follow you to get more good tweets.

Twitter Small Business Stats2

Set Up Your Twitter Account

Here is where you tell the story of your business and present your brand. That is why it is important to be as detailed as possible and fill out your Twitter profile completely. You want to be found off of Twitter, so it’s very important to remember to fill in your location and website. Stay consistent with your images, logos, and other marketing material to reinforce your other online platforms such as websites, ads and social network profiles. Everywhere people see your company online there should be no second guessing if they are in the right place, and there won’t be if everything is always the same.

As part of your branding you will also want to stay consistent with your username and profile images. When choosing your username, try to stick as close as possible to your company name if it is not available. Also avoid odd punctuation that would make it difficult to type on a mobile device. You get two images to support your brand so use them well. There is the Twitter profile photo that you see next to every tweet where you will want to use a headshot of a real person at the company (recommended as it adds a human touch) or company logo that will show up next to every tweet as well as on your profile page. Then there is the twitter profile header which is the large background photo you can customize to further support your branding.

Your bio is the one or two line text space in your header where you have to tell people what it is you do. As a business owner or marketing professional you need to be able to tell your story in 160 characters. Think of it as the elevator pitch of your elevator pitches. It’s a very short story. Approach it as either an intriguing teaser or a succinct benefits package description. But either way whatever you write is going to encourage people to either look for more information or go to the next thing on their internet path.

Learn How Twitter Works

Each social network has its own way of doing all the same things, so take a little time to familiarize yourself with the way Twitter does things. For messaging Twitter gives you several options:

You can Tweet… this is the message that goes out to all your follower’s feeds and stays on your timeline.

SayMore_Twitter_TweetYou can Direct Message (DM)… a private message you send to another Twitter user and only available if that user follows you. Works like other messaging except you still can only use 160 characters.

You can Reply… use @OtherUsersName at the beginning of your tweet to reply to a message in a tweet that will be seen in both the feed of both your followers and that profiles followers. Example: @CKadala Thanks for giving me the link to local marketing tips.

You can Retweet (RT)… click on retweet button of any tweet you see someone has posted to send it out to your followers.

Twitter Quick TipYou can designate Keywords… by using the hashtag (#) symbol in front of a word with no space between the two in your tweets you can let the Twitter search engines know what your tweet is specifically about so when people search those keywords or topics your tweet will show up in the results. Example Tweet: Get all of your #copywriting needs fulfilled in one place. www.buffer.com/5i2k43. Now if someone searches copywriting this tweet will show up in the search results. It may be in line with 30,000 other tweets about copywriting but it will be there.

Second Become a Follower

What is happening on your Twitter profile is two things: You are posting tweets and receiving tweets from people you follow. You will create an un-readable mess of randomness in your feed if you indiscriminately follow any and everybody on Twitter hoping some will follow you back. If they are not potential customers, what is the point of following them anyway? To get the most out of Twitter make strategic decisions on who you follow.

SayMore_Twitter_Follows

If you are using your twitter for business, then follow people in your professional network, suppliers, vendors, partners, related groups and professional organizations. Follow your customers, competitors and neighborhood businesses to stay up to date on what’s going on with them. Twitter has a “Find Friends” feature on the “Discover” page that will go through your email address books from Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and so forth to find the profiles of people you know. Also use the “Discover” page to find industry influencers to follow to populate your Twitter feed with useful information on things directly affecting your business such as marketing, sales, and services.

Third Become Someone to Follow

Here is the trickiest part of Twitter – figuring out what to tweet and how often. There is no one size fits all formula for the best way to do this but in general you should assume that people are not following you just to see pictures of your cats or links to your coupon page. Try to get a good handle on the fact that your post should be either educational (helpfully informative) or entertaining, and only then lightly sprinkled with tweets that market and promote your business. Something in the 80/20 rule will keep you from over-promoting yourself. So if you post 21 post a week, then 16-17 of those should be useful tweets and four or five promoting your business, product or service.

Twitter Small Business Stat3

Business to business enterprises will approach this differently than business to consumer. Some will remain strictly professional while others will benefit from showing the human side of their business. The magic formula changes but the ideas is to give the people what they want so they follow you to get more of it. And do that without turning them off with over-marketing of your business. A good way to promote yourself on Twitter is to provide useful content on your blog that you can link on Twitter which sends people to your website. If it’s really good content you can expect that person to click around your website and see what else you have to offer. If you are stumped on what to write on your blog remember that people are searching the internet a billion times every day looking for answers to their questions. Answer the most asked questions in your industry to become the go to website for industry information. And link back to those post in your Twitter account to drive more traffic.

Now What?

There are dozens of tricks and tips for advance Twitter users but this gives you the information you need to get started. The best way to learn the ropes is by trying and learning a little more everyday. It may seem overwhelming or simply silly at first, but once you get everything from the “why” to the “how” to stick in your head (and take advantage of all the automated applications that allow you to quickly run your Twitter account) you will be pleased by how little it takes to get more traffic, more leads and more customers with your Twitter presence.

Follow me on Twitter @Ckadala for daily insight on managing, marketing and growing your small business.

SayMore_Twitter_ckadala_Chantelle_KadalaCheck out our SERVICES to see how we can help your business.

Content Marketing with SlideShare

Content Marketing with SlideShare

As a business owner you have a million things to do and, regardless of your New Year’s Resolutions, learning new skills and marketing techniques hasn’t made it to the top of the list yet. Assuming you haven’t brushed up on your Social Media Marketing options, here is a short primer on how you can market your company with SlideShare.

First… what’s so great about SlideShare?

  • SlideShare isn’t just a presentation tool – it’s also a social platform.
  • LinkedIn acquired SlideShare a little while ago and that means that it’s super-charged with the power of the world’s top professional social networking site.
  • SlideShare PRO features are free as of late 2014 and you can now upload not only slides, but also video which means you can share company videos and webinars.
  • Public and private uploads mean you can privately share specific presentations links with VIP customers to make them feel special and protect trade secrets.
  • SlideShare analytics help you know what is hot and what is not to better target your marketing efforts.

Second… how to create kick-ass presentations?

Guess what! SlideShare has an awesome presentation for that and it is both fun and informational, giving you simple tips for creating highly-sharable slides. Click here for “How to create Great Slides for presentations” or check out the nifty embedding below. See how easy it is to create a presentation and add SlideShare to your blog or website as part of your content marketing platform.

And Most Importantly… how do you market with SlideShare?

Use Leadshare (part of SlideShare campaigns) to collect the email of people who downloaded your presentation (or pdf file) by inserting lead capture forms in your documents, videos and presentations. You also have the power to set up a campaign where the contact form shows at the end of the deck, after the tenth slide, or as a permanent button on the slide player. See and track your leads in the LeadShare section of your dashboard, or as some of us lazier marketers do, just have this information emailed to you.

Link to your most powerful content inside your presentations. Embedded links let you transition people from the slides to your website and landing pages. Once your pass the fourth slide you can start adding live links throughout the rest of your presentation. Just add the link before you upload the slides and give viewers an easy path to where you want them to go.

Create irresistible Calls to Action that are bold, bright and clear. Use crisp and simple graphics and copy (scripting) to tell readers what you want them to do next and why it is to their benefit to click this button or link, or fill out this form. Think of why are you spending precious time creating presentations and loading them onto SlideShare (and then embedding them on your website).  What’s your objective here?  Have them sign up for your newsletter, view your new product, check out your services, buy your book, or read your blog. Whatever it is you want, sometimes you just have to ask.

SEO the hell out of your description so people looking for what you are selling find youBut also remember to make it reader friendly for humans. Search engines use this information so your presentations show up in relevant search engine results, but real people also read these to decide whether or not your presentation is going to give them the information they are looking for. Be clear on what someone will learn in your presentation and make sure to include links to your website, email opt-in forms, blogs or where ever it is you would want a viewer to go.

slidesharelogo

Tips from SlideShare on getting your presentation viewed:

  1. Be a thought leader and show your expertise
  2. Have catchy headlines and title slides
  3. Optimize your content for SEO
  4. Make it visual
  5. Share your content across multiple channels
  6. Use analytics to measure and improve
  7. Add SlideShare to your LinkedIn Profile
  8. Use last slide for Calls to Action for viewers

Your business, big or small, can benefit from content marketing like blogging, whitepapers, and presentations.  Give real consideration to adding SlideShare to your content marketing plan.

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365 Special Days for Your Marketing Calendar

List of Special Days to Help You

Plan Your Content and Promotions

I have been looking all over for a resource to give small business and microbusiness owners to use with your FREE Marketing Calendar Template (click for free download).  The template includes a handful of holidays, special days, and observances but it would take some time to do an in depth search for “special” days that were relevant to your business.  This list below is so comprehensive I just had to share it!

Special days for your content and marketing calendarYes… there are A LOT of super silly days on here. But I bet there are some you can use no matter what industry you are in. For example National Drink Wine Day is so official it has its own website. It’s not too early to get ready for Feb 18th and think of all the reasons to drink… I mean promotions you can make that involve wine.

HOW TO USE THE LIST

Scan through this list and mark on your calendar the days you can use in your blogging and marketing efforts. Do an internet search for information on the “special” day and make notes on how you can incorporate them into your content marketing plan or business promotions. I know it’s a long list but the time you are going to save not having to search for this information is ten-fold the time it will take you to go through this list.

If you need any suggestions on developing content, just reach out and let me know. –Chantelle

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This was originally posted by a savvy intern named Cristina over at The DSM Group – a full-service marketing, advertising and public relations agency over in New Jersey.  Click to view their website (which is pretty impressive) or the original post.

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Marketing Calendar 2015    

Posted by Cristina on 1:27 PM on October 1, 2014

Having trouble coming up with marketing content for the upcoming year? Need a little help making a marketing calendar that fits with your company’s vision? Check out our 2015 Marketing Calendar to get a head’s up on all upcoming holidays and events.

While everyone is making their New Year’s resolutions to get back into the gym or finally quit that nasty habit, think about what you can do to improve your business. Just like any successful resolution, planning is key. Maybe offer a spring kickoff promotion or simply wish your customers a Happy Independence Day.

There are events for every day of the year, and you’re likely to find great ways to connect with your customers!

January Marketing Ideas

January 1st, Thursday: New Years Day – When to start marketing: Monday, December 1st

Ring in the New Year and roll out your brand spankin’ new marketing plan. If you’re not excited about 2015 yet, you should get excited!

Think of all the marketing opportunities this year has to bring. If you can’t think of any, you’re in luck because we’ve thought of some for you! Don’t wait for January 1st to start thinking of strategies. Getting an early start is crucial for a successful business year.

January 19th, Monday: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – When to start marketing: Monday, January 5th

“I Have a Dream” that your business can strive to be successful this year. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought hard against racism and was a key figure of the civil rights movement.

Channel the passion that King had to bring your business the best marketing strategies you can think of. Afterward, thank him with an in-store or online display. Martin Luther King, Jr. left behind a strong legacy, and your business can too.

Other Marketing Ideas in January

January 1st, Thursday – Commitment day January 17th, Saturday – Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day
January 2nd, Friday – Buffett Day January 18th, Sunday – Thesaurus Day
January 3rd, Saturday – Drinking Straw Day January 19th, Monday – Popcorn Day
January 4th, Sunday – Spaghetti Day January 20th, Tuesday – Cheese Lovers Day
January 5th, Monday – Bird Day January 21st, Wednesday – Hugging Day
January 6th, Tuesday – Cuddle Up Day January 22nd, Thursday – Celebration of Life Day
January 7th, Wednesday – Tempura Day January 23rd, Friday – Measure Your Feet Day
January 8th, Thursday – Show and Tell at Work Day January 24th, Saturday – Peanut Butter Day
January 9th, Friday – Apricot Day January 25th, Sunday – Opposite Day
January 10th, Saturday – Cut Your Energy Costs Day January 26th, Monday – Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day
January 11th, Sunday – Step In a Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day January 27th, Tuesday – Chocolate Cake Day
January 12th, Monday – Clean Off Your Desk Day January 28th, Wednesday – International Fun at Work Day
January 13th, Tuesday – Rubber Duckie Day January 29th, Thursday – Puzzle Day
January 14th, Wednesday – Dress Up Your Pet Day January 30th, Friday – Insane Answering Message Day
January 15th, Thursday – Hat Day January 31st, Saturday – Backward Day
January 16th, Friday – Nothing Day  

 

See the other 11 months in this easy-to-read and easy-to-print word document: Special Days Marketing Calendar 2015 or the original post.

 

FREE Marketing Calendar Template for 2015

The free download of the 2015 Marketing Calendar Template in Excel is so 4 years ago!

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Responding to Negative Online Reviews – Small Business Tips PART 4

THIS IS A 4-PART SMALL BUSINESS SERIES

How to Respond to Negative Reviews Online

Receiving a negative review on a site like Yelp or Local.com means that people who utilize your services or products are active on that site. So you need to be active as well and not ignore the issue because that bad review will be there as long as the site is there.

Take Control of Your Online Reputation
Take Control of Your Online Reputation

Almost all local review sites give the owner a space to publicly respond to reviews. Google Places, Yahoo Local, Trip Advisor, Yelp, Insider Pages, Merchant Circle, and SuperPages all allow responses and most of these will allow owners to edit and delete reviews (except for Yelp which seems to stay in litigation about this very issue) so reach out to customer service on these sites and see what exactly they can do to help you with a negative review.

Previously in “Responding to Negative Reviews Online – Small Business Tips Part 1” we spoke about the reactionary steps your business can take to combat negative reviews on local review and rating sites. Now we will address what you can do to set your business up for success and avoid negative reviews when dealing with customer review websites.

 

PART 1 – Do This and Not That

PART 2 – Composing – Number 1 – 3

PART 3 – Posting – Number 4 – 6

PART 4 – COMBATTING NEGATIVE REVIEWS ONLINE

 7.  Register or Claim Your Businesses: Take ownership of your business pages if they have already been created on sites. This allows you to have quick notification of comments as well as advertise your services ensuring your page has the correct hours, physical address, website and phone numbers. A previous blog, “Real Estate Agents Pay Attention – Yelp Tips for Gaining New Clients” has information on setting up a business for marketing success on Yelp.

If someone goes to the Local.com, Merchant Circle, or Insider Pages websites in your city, looking for what your business provides, do you pop up in the listing? Even with no reviews, this is free advertising for your business. Additionally many of these sites let you offer coupons or purchase sponsored placement where your business pops up first no matter your ranking in customer satisfaction.

8. Review Other Pages: There is a real good chance there is at least one other company out there that is providing the same services and products that you provide (even if yours are infinitely better). Search for these companies the same way a customer would search for your type of business on a review site. Make note of what customers feel your competitors are doing right and doing wrong. Try implementing winning components into your products or services. And also study how your business is set up to avoid the mistakes that other business have made.

9. Avoid Complaints: This no-brainer isn’t the number one tactic to combatting negative reviews but it should be. Know the experience your prospects and customers are getting from your employees at every stage of your businesses sales cycle. Do you have an employee handbook that details your businesses expectations and guidelines? Can you provide your managers, customer service agents and client-facing employees with written instructions and scripts to utilize when dealing with dissatisfied customers directly?

Customer Service Management is just one part of Reputation Management but it is the part business owners have the most control over.  Use online and in-store reviews to find areas of improvement and areas of celebration in your customer service.

10. Consider Getting Help: There are many Reputation Management solutions out there and they range in price and services, and sometimes you just want to call in the experts.  Search for a company that analyzes your current reputation and develops a plan to improve it.  They should also monitor where your name shows up online, and use SEO, positive reviews and other marketing tactics to improve your ranking in search engines.  I’ve seen plans from $100 a month to $1500 a month so you really can find a plan to fit your budget when considering the money saved by freeing your time from monitoring your online reputation and the avoid loss of revenue from a bad online reputation.

What else would you like to know about Reputation Management? Leave a comment.