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Conquering Mount ‘Social Media’ 101

Conquering Mount ‘Social Media’ 101:Starting at Base Camp: 7 Strategies to Post You’re Way to the Top

Starting at Base Camp: 7 Strategies to Post Your Way to the Top

No matter what size or stage your business is in you know social media is a biggie in today’s world… you might also know that it can feel like an impossible task.

Like anything else, there are some strategies to accomplishing the impossible.

If you have a plan in place and understand what it is that you want to accomplish Mount Social Media can be conquered with ease.

Whether you are jumping with excitement to get started, or a bit weary of the whole thing (like I was not long ago) social media is an important reality for any business.

It can help you to increase your search rankings, brand identity and most importantly it allows your business to have a personality and voice that potential customers can start a conversation with easily.

Social Media is an important reality for any business for SEO, brand identity and reach purposesClick To Tweet

If you need some motivation, here it is: EVERYONE can be good, great, amazing at social media!

But it isn’t a random thing, there is strategy involved so you’re not wasting your time and efforts.

Below are seven strategies to get you on your way to the top:

Strategy #1 – Develop a Goal

  • Understand why you want to embark on social media to begin with. What is your ultimate goal? Is it to get new clients, build your brand exposure, provide customer support, or gain a loyal following?
  • It is imperative to understand that social media is not going to get you an immediate return on your time investment. No matter what your goal is, your efforts should all be geared towards building relationships with your followers.
  • Determine how many times a day/week you will post, and block off this time in your calendar. To start, make a commitment to post at least once a day on each of your main channels. Ideally, you will want to post more than that, but this is an achievable goal to get you started.

Strategy #2 – Create a Clear Target Market

  • Who is your ideal target market? The more clear you are on the specific persona of the new client or purchaser of your product that you would like to attract, the easier it will be to fulfill your goal outlined in Strategy #1.
  • Avoid making social media a means to advertise – this is NOT where you want to “push” your wares on people. Social media is all about pulling people in and allowing them to get to know, like and trust you.

Strategy #3 – Start Small

  • Feeling a bit confused as to what networks to be on? Fear not. Start small and build.
  • The best thing to do is to start with one network that you feel your ideal target market hangs out at and focus there.
  • Build your followers and get comfortable with the one platform. Once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s time to add on another channel to continue to build your online brand presence.

Strategy #4 – Slap Those Social Media Icons Everywhere

  • Include social media icons/links to all of your marketing materials, such as your email signature, your website, your newsletter/eZine and even your business card if there’s room (But only if you can include the whole URL. It does no good to just have the Facebook icon without telling people where to find you!)
  • Cross reference between channels as much as possible. If there is no specific field to add in your other social media channel links, add the full URLs into your description field, accompanied by a call to action such as: “Follow me on these other social media channels as well!”

Strategy #5 – Be Recognizable

  • Optimize your profile description so that it is clear and concise, and uses keywords that your ideal client would be searching for if they were wanting to connect with someone that offers solutions to their problems.
  • Have consistent visual branding across all social media channels. The most prominent brand representation you have is your website and so let this serve as the central theme to all of the visual designs allowed in each of your social media channels.

Strategy #6 – Stay Dedicated and Consistent

  • Don’t bother getting started if you’re not prepared to stay consistent in your efforts. People will forget about you faster than you’d ever want to admit, so consistency is the key to make this work. (If this strategy is stopping you from starting at all, you might want to consider participating in a group social media membership program.)
  • Schedule your posts to save time and ensure posting frequency. There are many tools to do this, one of them being largest – Hootsuite.

Strategy #7 – Hash With a Purpose

  • Hashtags (#) have become very popular on many social media platforms. When planning it is important to make sure they are targeted for your industry and offering.
  • Each industry may have unique hashtags that you can study by being active and engaged in your social media community.
  • Using targeted hashtags will allow you to make more valuable connections and reach your target market.

If you think you are alone in the social media fog, you are not. I often have clients come to me feeling like they are lost when it comes to social media, not knowing where to start or what to do.

I too felt this way not too long ago… but I am here to tell you that there is blue sky ahead! Mastering social media is possible and by following these seven strategies you will be soaring to the top in no time!

What is your biggest social media challenge that’s preventing you from starting that “Mount Social Media” climb? Share in the comments below!

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Why You Should Consider Google Hangouts to Help Build Your Business

Google Hangouts Icons

In a previous article, I talked about getting started with Google Plus for business and why it’s so important to have a Google+ profile for SEO purposes.

Of course, SEO is not the only reason why you want to be involved in Google+, and one of those reasons is its ability to host Google Hangouts.

After reading this article, you’ll learn about how you can take advantage of Google Hangouts for many aspects of your business and why it’s a very important component of your overall marketing strategies.

Google Hangouts are a powerful business tool because they enable you to host live Webinar-style video chats with up to 10 people participating in the discussion. You can also have followers watch the hangout without participating, broadening your reach even further.

There are two types of Hangouts: Private Hangouts and Hangouts on Air. The private hangouts are not aired publicly, whereas Hangouts on Air are broadcast to your Google+ followers as well as on YouTube.

There are several ways you can utilize this ever-growing popular medium to help grow your business brand, here are some suggestions (if you have further suggestions, please share them in the comments section below!).

You can:

  1. Host free information seminars and webinars that showcase your knowledge and expertise;
  2. Conduct training sessions on a particular topic in your industry;
  3. Hold free “how to” demonstrations or tutorials of your product to show how it works or demonstrate different ways of using it;
  4. Have “face to face” meetings with new or potential clients;
  5. Conduct private coaching or mentoring sessions with clients;
  6. Host private team meetings with up to 10 members at a time. This is great for discussing projects or getting feedback on common issues that require a group discussion;
  7. Do quick tips in your area of expertise that can then be easily shared on YouTube to widen your reach;
  8. Do a product, service or book launch and offer free giveaways or sneak peaks to those that attend.
  9. Meet with fans who have purchased your product and offer this private session as an incentive purchase bonus.
  10. Host regular Hangout “shows” that can build your credibility, gain a loyal following and build your reach with each show you have.
  11. Host Q&A sessions about your product or service that answers common questions you encounter. This can be addressing pre-written questions or open up the discussion to the listeners and answer them as they come in.

There are many benefits to holding a Google Hangout (whether private or public). Here are a few main reasons why you should be looking into this platform more closely:

  • Builds the number of people in your circles and expands the number of circles that you have where you can add Hangout attendees to specific circles that were interested in the topic of your hangout;
  • Allows you to connect with people from all over the world – whether they are influencers that you want to get to know better, potential clients, or team members, it’s a great way to build business relationships;
  • Increases your website SEO (Search Engine Optimization) where everything that happens on Google+ ends up in Google searches and that includes the resulting video of your hangout that is automatically posted in your YouTube account;
  • Enhances your business brand by being able to set up and operate your hangout through your Google+ Business page;
  • Provides additional website content where hangouts can be embedded into your site or blog to further enhance your brand and be used for ongoing replays;
  • Grows your Google+ community, therefore positively affecting your circle of influence and reach;
  • Enhances the personal connection you have with your followers, building greatly upon the “know, like and trust” factor that you want to keep in mind in whatever you do when representing your business;
  • Allows your shows to be easily accessible on mobile devices, iPads, desktop computers and even TVs, eliminating the challenges that other screen share or live feed applications can often have;

Best of all – it’s all FREE!

One of the drawbacks to hosting Google Hangouts on Air is that it is difficult to use it as a list-building tool. However, there are a few ways of making this work:

  • Use 3rd party applications such as Webinar Jam that uses the powerful Google Hangouts technology to present your live webinars and makes it easy for you to set up and conduct. It’s well worth checking out.
  • Instead of sending people directly to the Google Hangout registration page, send them to a form on your website that is connected to your newsletter list where they can submit their name and email address. Once they register, they are then taken to another page where you can embed the hangout feed into for them to watch the live show.

    This method will not work for those who need to participate in the hangout, but works well for those who just want to watch.

As you can see, there are lots of reasons to host Google Hangouts. All you need is a web cam, a microphone, and a good Internet connection and you’re all set!

To your success,

P.S. If you want to learn more about Google+ and other Social Media platforms, consider joining our live monthly Social Blast group coaching program where I cover these topics and other eMarketing strategies to help build your business. Learn more here: www.socialblastcoaching.com/

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started With Google Plus for Business

A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started With Google+ for Business

You may be wondering about Google+ and if you should bother with it to help give your  business some extra brand exposure.

What is all the hype about anyway?  Are your customers really on Google+? If you are active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn isn’t that enough?

Like you, many business owners are curious if they should be focusing on Google+ in their marketing efforts or if it’s just a passing phase.

After reading this article, you’ll find out more about what exactly Google+ is and why you should seriously consider being active on this social media network for your business.

What is Google+?

Google+ is a social networking platform that is owned and operated by Google.  While you may think only LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are important, Google+ hosts an estimated 343  million active users. That’s a number that shouldn’t be ignored!

Why is Google+ important to my business?

Even if none of your potential customers are on Google+ right now, why would you want to spend time setting up a Google+ profile? The answer is SEO!

So if you are ignoring this social media platform, you are missing this “website lead generation” boat – big time!

Smart business owners are realizing the power of Google+ to boost SEO.  After all, Google is the most widely used search engine, so it makes sense that being active with social media on Google’s platform would improve your website rankings.

How do I get started using Google+?

Just like Facebook, Google+ has a personal profile option as well as business page option. You want to create and build upon your business page as that’s where you want the most exposure. Get started by setting up your business page here: https://plus.google.com/pages/create

Google+ business options

Or, if you already have a Google+ personal profile set up, you want to  choose the “pages” option from the sidebar on your profile page:

Google+ page creation link

Don’t have a Gmail email address yet? Click here: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp  to create a new account first:

Create Your Google Account

By creating a new Gmail account, this will act as a base access to not only Google+ but also YouTube and many other Google features. The odds are good that you probably already have a Google account created.

When setting up your profile be sure to include to following:

  1. Pick a business type: Store front, Service Area, Brand.
    • Store front: This is for businesses with an actual physical location where customers go to shop in a brick and mortar location.  This is the business type for local businesses.
    • Service Area: If your business travels to serve customers at their home or business location, you should list it as a service area business on Google+. You will be able to set service areas based on the zip codes or cities you serve.
    • Brand is for businesses that sell goods and services. This is the selection to choose if you are a service-based business or consultant that serves customers remotely.  Such as a business coach working with customers nationally.
  2. Then you’ll need to enter your business name, your website, your category (or industry)
  3. You’ll be asked to upload a profile picture and choose a tagline. Be sure to include business keywords in your tagline. I suggest using a personal and professional photo of you and not your logo unless you are a large company that doesn’t have a particular personality that represents your brand.
  4. Now it’s time to complete your Google+ Profile.
    • Upload your Google+ cover image. The recommendedsize is 1080px x 608px with a minimum size of 480px x 270px. You’ll want to make this image a professional representation of your business brand. Unlike Facebook, there are no current restrictions as to what you can put on your cover image so use this space wisely and make it compelling by expressing your brand image, showcase your products or services, advertise a special or upcoming event.
    • Introduction. Use this space to engage people and promote yourself and the work you do. Here is a great place to share your compelling story, what you do, your ideal client, why people love working with you etc. Include important business keywords here as well as a call to action.
    • Other important profile information to include:
      • Your website URL
      • Other social media URLs such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and your blog page etc
      • Contact information including work phone, mailing address and email address. (You can select who has access to this information if privacy is a concern.)
    • Get a Google+ Custom URL. After your profile is set up, and you have ten or more followers, you should be eligible to create a custom vanity URL. First you have to be a verified Google Places business,  meaning, you have set up your Google Places listing, receive the verification call or email from Google, and enter the code to activate your listing.

Using Google + for SEO

Build an audience by adding people to your Google+ circles.  Some ways to grow your following on Google+ include the following:

  • +1 your own content so your posts stand out.
  • Use hashtags so people find your posts when doing keyword searches. just like Twitter, Google+ uses hashtags. They are used to find, start and join conversations about specific topics.
  • Create content around trending topics.
  • Create juicy posts people can’t resist sharing.
  • Put a link to your Google+ profile on your website and all your marketing materials.

Plus, don’t forget to ask for your Twitter and Facebook followers, email subscribers, and current contacts to follow you on Google+.

The key to getting the most value out of Google+ is getting your posts seen by the maximum amount of readers. The more your content is “Google+” by readers (the Google equivalent to a Facebook “like”) the more weight that post carries with Google’s search engine. So building the number of people in your Google+ circles is important to ensure the biggest number of readers are viewing your posts.

Noticing others and interacting can help you grow your Google+ following too. So remember to comment and share others Google+ posts to build connections and a following.

You will also want to add a Google+ link on your website, other social media channels and your email signature, pointing your followers to your Google+ account.

Best content to share on Google+

Like other platforms, Google+ readers want to learn about you, your expertise, and how you can help them. Share valuable information while building a connection with your audience.

You can share posts that are text, videos, or images.  The best content to share are: expert tips, articles, infographics, quotes, behind the scenes insights, events, freebies, pictures and photos, deals and more. Remember to include periodic calls to action to sign up for your mailing list, get a free consultation, like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter etc.

That’s the Basics of Google+

This article was intended to be a beginners guide but should serve as a great start to set up your profile, post great content, and build your Google+ circles.  Remember, the more your posts are seen and shared, the greater the SEO benefit.

Do you have a Google+ business page set up? Share it below in the comments section and we’ll connect! Ours is: google.com/+EvisionmediaCa

To your success,

P.S. Our November Social Blast membership call covered Google+ and demonstrated, step-by-step how to set up a professional Google+ business account. If you would like this kind of hands-on training, come and join us live every month for a new social media and eMarketing topic. You’ll get instant access to the Google+ recording. Simply register here: www.socialblastcoaching.com

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".