Wednesday, August 9, 2017

How to Build Your Social Media Following

Oftentimes when I meet with clients and review their Social Media sites I discover they don’t have very many followers. In order to get your message out to your target market, you have to build a following. So how do you do that given the constraints and algorithms of social media, particularly Facebook and Facebook business pages.

First, we must understand why people are on Facebook. Why are you on Facebook? To connect with your friends, to be entertained, look for recommendations, sell stuff, get information? It’s different for everyone. So, if you have a business fan page, you need people to ‘Like’ your page, so that when you post on your business page, some percentage of those who ‘Like' your page will see your posts. And you also have to realize that not everyone who ‘Likes’ your page will see your posts. With that in mind, is it worth your time?  The answer is yes, if you’re willing to do the work to get a following.

Here’s some recommendations to help to build your following:
-        First make sure you have a complete
Facebook business page. Complete your about section and describe your business. There is a place for a short description and a place for a long description. Hours of operation. Complete all the sections.
-        Brand your business. Invest in a logo and corporate colors. Ensure your branding is consistent across all social media sites. When someone goes looking for you on their favorite social media site, you want to be easily recognizable.
-        Have a custom professional banner. If you want people to call you, make sure your phone # is in the banner. If you’re a plumber, no one wants to scroll down the page to find your phone # if their toilet is running over.
-        Set up a custom URL, i.e. www.facebook.com/nameofyourbusiness - not something that ends in a bunch of #s and funny characters.
-        Make sure your Facebook page is verified.
-        Start with your family, friends, employees, clients, and prospects. Invite them all to like and share your page.
-        Send an email or snail mail to all your clients and prospects and ask them to 'Like' your page.
-        If you have a brick and mortar place of business, post a sign in the window, at the counter, and print it on the client’s receipt - Like us on Facebook - Follow us on Twitter.
-        Make sure all your marketing material, website, business card, email signature line, etc. has your social media links on them.
-        As you start posting content on your page, ask your closest family, friends, and employees (if you have them) to ‘Like,’ Share, and Comment. The more ‘Likes’, Shares, and comments you get, the more Facebook with show your posts to others. It’s called engagement. The more interesting and engaging your material is, the more Facebook will show it.
-        Post images. Original interesting images. Original engaging content. Yes, you can find material on the internet to share, but Facebook likes originality best.
-        Videos are great. Again, original material. No more than 3 to 5 minutes. Also, go back and edit and caption your videos. Sometimes people are in places where they do not want to turn up the sound on videos, so if it isn’t captioned, they won’t watch.
-       For your content, don’t just post about your business, but post about yourself, your community involvement, a day in the life of, your story, your passion, demonstrations, before and after, etc. Think in terms of reality shows. Your Facebook Business page is your business reality show. People want to know about you, so don’t make it all about your business. Think ‘Infotainment.’
-        Feature some of you clients on your page.  Tag people in your posts.  People love recognition.
-        Post about current events, holidays - especially the ones that have something to do with your business. If you’re into healthy eating, Aug. 8th was ‘NATIONAL SNEAK SOME ZUCCHINI INTO YOUR NEIGHBOR’S PORCH DAY.’
-        Hashtag your posts, i.e. #hashtagyourposts #socialmedia
#morelikesandshares. Why? This makes your content searchable especially if it relates to some current event or trend.
-        Be consistent in your posting. A Facebook business page is not like a website. If there are no consistent posts, then Facebook, after a period of time, has the right to shut down the page. So be active. At least post a couple of times a week. You can schedule posts to a Facebook business page.
-        Link pages together when possible, i.e. link your Facebook business page to a Twitter business page, so that when you post on one site, it will appear on the other.
-        On LinkedIn you can post links to all your social media sites. 
-        Set up a YouTube channel. Link your Facebook page to your YouTube channel.
-        If you have a visual product like a florist, set up an Instagram account and a Pinterest Account.
-        Use an application like Hootsuite to manage your social media and to only have to post in one place. 
-        Study your ‘Insights,’ and your stats. See what gets more ‘Likes’, comments, and shares? Post more material like that. For instance, I have a travel agent that I post for, but when she posts about some of her personal travels, those posts get more ‘Likes,’ shares, and comments.
-        Follow those in the same industry as you to see what they do. Don’t copy them, but use it to learn better what to post for you.
-        Be social as your page - ‘Like,’ comment, and share other’s pages posts especially if it’s in the same general field as yours. This helps with your following because it’s not always about you. You have to give to get.  Hopefully they will return the favor. 
-        Join groups that relate to your business, local sites, Women In Business’ allows you to post links to your Facebook page, website, post specials, etc.
-        From time to time, boost a post. Spend $20 bucks from time to time (not all the time) and boost a post in order to gain a larger following.
-       Get Reviews.  Those clients that praise and rave about your product or service, ask them to write a review on your Facebook business page.  Be sure and thank them when they do.  The more positive reviews you have the more creditable you will appear to your followers.

What else have you found that helps to build your following? Your comments and feedback are welcomed and appreciated.
Here are some other articles I have written in the past. They have some of the same information, but also have additional tips not mentioned in this article.

- 'Social Media - It's about being social'
- 'How are you building your following on Social Media'
- 'Tips for Growing Your Business with Social Media'
Building a following is not rocket science, it just takes time, work, and a little creativity.

If you need a little help, let us know, that is what we do.  
We appreciate your comments and feedback.  Send us an email, or you can provide feedback on our Facebook page as well as our blog.
 
Oh and BTW - We would appreciate it if you would 'Like' our  Facebook page.

Happy Posting,
Annette
'Helping You and Your Business Look Good'

Monday, July 17, 2017

Are You a Hostage?

Do You Own Your Website and Domain Name?  Or are you a hostage?
   

This month's topic comes from conversations I have frequently with business owners wanting to get a new website or get their current website updated. 
  
Have you trusted all the aspects of your website to someone else?

In working with one of my clients recently, they wanted me to make some updates to their current website.  They provided me with the log in information, however it did not work.  They tried numerous times to get in touch with the company that built their site, but to no avail.  Now my client has learned the dreadful truth, they do not own their hosting or domain name, and they cannot get access to their site to make changes or updates.  This is a dilemma that many businesses have after having shelled out big bucks for a website, etc.

So what should a person/business do?

Here are my suggestions:

- Buy your own Hosting. So you own it and have access
- Buy your own Domain/URL names so that you own them
- Get all your log in/pass codes for all your accounts
- Keep up with your accounts to ensure they are up to date and renewed in a timely manner
- Make sure you deal with someone reputable and ethical
- Check their references
- Research their reviews on the internet
- Ask for references


If you do the above, you will protect yourself from an unethical Webmaster and/or one that goes out of business or retires. 

I work with many clients and I know they trust me, however every account that I set up, I provide all the log in credentials.  I jokingly tell them, that when I win the lottery and disappear, they will have access to all their accounts.  As a small business owner myself, I would be very upset if someone held me hostage.

We want to help the small business owner have a web presence for an affordable cost.  We provide  website services, domain names, hosting, etc.  So whether you want to learn to do it yourself or want someone to do it for you, we are here to help and we will provide you with ALL your account credentials. 

Here is a short video about choosing and purchasing Domain names - Click Here to watch
To purchase hosting and domain names we recommended - www.DomainsMadeEZ.com (Yes this is an affiliate link).
We appreciate your comments and feedback.   We would also appreciate it if you would 'Like' our  Facebook page.
Happy Connecting,
Annette
'Help You and Your Business Look Good'


 
  

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Are You Easy To Do Business With?



My question comes from my recent two encounters with sales reps from almost opposite ends of the spectrum.  One that I couldn’t get enough information to make a purchase, to one I finally had to block their phone number to keep from getting their calls. 
So, comes my question of follow up and where is it not enough or too much.  I’ve used this graphic  
many times in regards to follow up, which many sales reps will admit they don’t follow up nearly enough.  But I believe with most prospects if we ask a few questions we can determine when and how often to follow up.

For Example:

  • Ensure we have answered all the prospects questions and provided them with all the information they need to make a buying decision. 
  • Ask when are they thinking of making a decision/purchase.    
  • Ask if there is anything else you can provide to help them with their buying decision.   
  • Also ask when would they like for you to follow up with them again. 

These questions give us an idea of when and how to follow up.
An effective way to keep in touch with clients is with email marketing and social media.  Email marketing and social media can be used to provide industry information and helpful hints to the client.  Most prospects and clients appreciate this type of marketing.  What most do not like is the daily bombardment of filling up their inbox with Buy, Buy, Buy – Now!  That type of tactics will have prospects and clients unsubscribing, un-liking, unfollowing, and disgruntled very quickly.  But good email marketing consists of providing helpful information about your industry with a sprinkling of special offers and sales, but the sales and offers should not be the main focus.  For most businesses, sending a monthly newsletter is a good way to remind your clients and prospects that you are there to service them when they are ready.
Here is my list of how to make yourself Easy to do business with:

  1. Answer questions and be honest with the prospect
  2. Provide the information they need to make a buying decision
  3. Ask questions to determine parameters for them making a buying decision
  4. Respect their time to do their due diligent
  5. Keep in touch with periodic newsletters, social media, etc. with helpful information
  6. Follow up depending on #3 and #4
  7. Don’t hit and run – A No may mean, no for now or I’m not ready to buy yet.  Refer back to #5
  8. Don’t be a pest with phone calls and emails especially if the prospect tells you they aren’t going to make a buying decision for 6 months to a year. 
  9. Make sure they have all your contact information.  It’s part of every email signature, newsletter, etc.  Giving or sending a promotional product with your contact info is also a clever way to ensure they have your contact info nearby
  10. And lastly – be truthful, reliable, and consistent in all your interactions.
What other advice would you add to this list?  Your comments and feedback are welcomed and appreciated.


Sincerely,
Annette
Painted Lady Enterprises
‘Helping My Clients and Their Business Look Good’

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Websites – The Key Ingredients and Other Things to Consider



This article is about the key ingredients for a website.  I’m going to cover the basic things I discuss  with my clients about setting up a website.

Let’s first talk about why do you need a website?  The number one reason is, it adds credibility to your business.  Where do people look for a product or service these days?  The internet.  If someone recommends a product, service, or business, where do people go to check them out?  The internet.  They do a search to see if your business comes up in the search.  They read about your business and they read the reviews.  Most of the time, this is what they base their decision on as to whether or not to do business with a company, is by what they find online.
When you set up a website there are certain things that need to be a part of a basic website.  Many people think they want a flashy website with lots of graphics, showy photos, videos, etc.  But before you invest in all of that, think first about what will get results.  Sometimes for a small business simple and basic is better, if everything the prospect needs to know is there and easy to find.
For example:
-        Home Page - Description of business – Simple and to the point and easy to understand.
-        About – This is about you the owner.  Who you are.  Why you started this business.  How long have you been in business.  Your passion, your mission, and your goals for satisfying your clients and customer’s needs.
-        Services – Again, simple and to the point. Prices if appropriate.
-        Hours of operation – On the front/first page
-        How to contact you.  I always suggest for most businesses if you want the prospect to call, put your phone number in plain sight in the header at the top of the page.  Also have a contact page.  In case, they just want to ask a question or two.
-        Every website these days needs to be mobile compatible because 60% of searches these days are done via a mobile device.   A couple of years ago Google said they would not index websites that were not mobile compatible.  That’s why I like WordPress.  Most all WordPress themes are mobile compatible.
-        Social Media links.  The more places they can find you the more it legitimizes your business.
-        A way to build your list.  A way to collect names and emails for your database of prospects.  Not everyone may need your service today, but they want to keep in touch for when they do and you want to be able to keep in touch with them.
The above list is for what is visible to your website visitors.  Now let’s cover what a website needs to make it work for you.
-        Your Website needs to be found – When I set up a website for a client I suggest that they need to have at least 5 different URLs/domain names for their website.  Even though you may have your business name as your main URL, it may or may not include the words that will help you get found in a local search.  Think of alternate domain names as directional road signs on the internet that can be pointed to your website.  Think in terms of how people will search for your business and then purchase those domain names.  They can be forwarded/pointed to your main website. 

o   For example:  My business is Painted Lady Enterprises.  The domain names that I have for my website include:
§  PaintedLadyEnterprises.com
§  AtlantaVirtualAssistantServices.com
§  NorthGeorgiaVirtualAssistant.com
§  NorthGAVirtualAssistant.com
§  AnnetteWaldenMason.com
§  AnnetteWMason.com
§  WorkFromHomeSuccessLady.com
All of these domain names go to the same place – My website.  To search for possibilities for your site, go to DomainsMadeEZ.com.  Sometimes you have to get a little creative.  If you are a local business in a certain geographical area, (i.e. city, state, county) then you want to include that in your domain name.  If you offer an array of services/products, then also consider a domain name for each.  You can have as many domain names as you want.  Just point them all to your website.  Remember, if what the person is searching for is part of the domain name, you will come up higher in their search.
-        Security – Everyone wants simple and easy, but when it comes to security, simple and easy is not the best route.  So, in choosing a username and password, make it difficult.  Don’t use things like admin for a username or password for your password.  Especially for your password, use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.  Make it difficult for someone to hack your site.
-        Backup – You want to back up your site often.  The more often you make changes to your site the more often you want to back it up.  There are a couple of ways to do this.  Depending on your hosting service, you may be able to set up an option to back up the site through them.  I also use a service call Updraft that works with WordPress that you can set how often to back up a site and it sends the backup to Dropbox.  So, if for whatever reason, you must revert back to a former version, you have the latest version and don’t have to start from scratch.
-        SEO/optimization – These are you keywords and meta tags.  There are some good WordPress applications that help with this.  All the keywords/meta tags can be set up as you build the site and as additions are made so that it gets your site indexed and ranked higher a whole lot faster.
-        Engagement – Used to be, you built a website and unless you had to change something, products/prices, etc., you never did anything else to it.  That is not recommended these days.  Again, Google wants to see active websites.  They send out the bots/spiders (whatever you want to call then) to check websites and if they don’t appear to be active, the website will fall in their rankings.  So how do you stay active?  One way is to add a blog to the site and post on a consistent basis, i.e. once a week, once a month, etc.  Post about your industry, interesting news about your business, specials, promotions, etc. 
-        Maintenance -  Just like with anything else, you’ve got to check to make sure things are working.  Sometimes for whatever reason things just stop working.  Log in and make sure your backups are being done.  Your social media links are working.  Make sure all the plugins are updated to the latest version.  Most of the time the reason things stop working, is because something has been updated and you don’t have the latest version.  However, before updating anything, make sure your site is backed up.  Sometimes an update won’t work and may cause problems with the site.
One last and very important thing to consider before getting your website is to make sure your hosting account and your domain names are in your name.  So many times, I see a business get a website set up by someone or a company only to discover later that if they are unhappy with their service, they are held hostage because the

person/or company holds the account for their hosting and domain names and won’t release them.  So, the business owner either must stay with them or start from scratch.  When I set up a website I always have the hosting and domain name account set up in the client’s name.  I tell them that when I win the lottery and disappear, they have all they need to have someone else to edit/manage their website.

That covers most of the basic ingredients for a good functional website.  I hope you found this information helpful.  If you would like more information about setting up a website please let me know.  Your feedback and comments are welcomed and appreciated.
Happy Connecting,
Annette
'Helping My Clients and Their Business Look Good'

 

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