social-media-tips

It doesn’t matter if you are a nonprofit or a for-profit business, you will benefit from implementing a few simple strategies that have been proven to get results. In today’s world, it’s all about transparency. Let people know what’s going on in your business – profit or nonprofit – so they can feel like they are a part of the action.

1. Show people what you are doing. Anyone who contributes to your nonprofit probably wants to know if the dollars they are donating are having an impact. There are many opportunities for you to do this. For example, you can post a picture of a child on your Facebook page with a brief post letting people know the impact you had on this child’s life. You could create a board on Pinterest and pin pictures of people or places who have benefitted from your nonprofit. The bottom line is this – you want to use every opportunity on all your social media channels, blog posts, YouTube channel, and newsletters to let people know the impact you are having.

2. Use hashtags in Twitter to create an ongoing conversation with your donors about your cause. Check out my blog post to learn more about hashtags. Simply post something about your organization followed by a hashtag. For example, you could post – we are looking for ideas for our next fundraiser #nonprofitideas.

3. Use a tool such as HootSuite to listen more effectively. Find where people are mentioning your organization and engage in a conversation with them by retweeting their posts, following them, or just sending them a direct message to let them know you appreciate them mentioning your organization in their post.

4. Create videos and post them to YouTube. Post a video of someone who benefited from the efforts of your organization. Create a video that shows your offices and introduces your volunteers. This makes it a little more personal.

These are just a few of the ways you can engage your donors and supporters to increase donations, increase your volunteer base, and show people the difference your nonprofit is making in the community.

linkedin-company-page-image

Using LinkedIn is like having an almost unlimited number of prospects and contacts, and it’s a great tool you can use to grow your business. The average LinkedIn user has a 6-figure income and there are more than 250,000,000 users. So, as you can see, there is a huge benefit to utilizing everything you can in LinkedIn.

When you create your LinkedIn profile, it’s a good idea to also have a LinkedIn Company Page to start making full use of everything LinkedIn has to offer. The Company Page allows you to tell a little more about what you do, add employees to the profile, list your products and services, list job openings, and more. You also have Page Insights for your Company Page that will show demographics, page views, etc.

One of the requirements to create a Company Page is to have a company email address. It can’t be a yahoo, gmail, or any other generic email address.

Four simple steps to create your LinkedIn Company Page:

1.  Move your cursor over Interests at the top of your LinkedIn homepage and select Companies from the dropdown menu.

2.  Click the Add a Company link in the upper right area of the page.

3.  Enter your company’s official name along with your work email address.

4.  Click Continue and enter your company information.

Note: If the email address you provide is an unconfirmed email address on your LinkedIn account, a message will be sent to that address. Just follow the instructions in the message to confirm your address. Then use the instructions above to add your Company Page.

Once your Company Page is created, your URL will be your company name with hyphens. For example, http://linkedin.com/company/abc-company. LinkedIn will follow up with you via email with other tips and suggestions to enhance your LinkedIn Company page.

Let me know your LinkedIn Company Page URL so I can see your handiwork.

twitter hashtags, mike coleman

Successfully marketing your business online depends on creating an ongoing dialogue with your customers and prospects.

Twitter is a great social media platform to use for creating that dialogue. One way you can do this, using Twitter, is by using a hashtag. According to Twitter, here is the definition of a hashtag – “The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.”

Here is a quick example. I recently did a seminar in Morristown, Tennessee. After the event I created a short post on Twitter about the event – “Had a great group at #pinkpigpottery studio for the #constantcontact Email Marketing seminar in Morristown.” You will notice in the above post, I created a hashtag for pinkpigpottery and constantcontact. By using hashtags, you will start to create a buzz and ongoing dialogue about your product or services. In this case, it creates a buzz about Pink Pig Pottery and my business.

That is the real power of using the hashtag when you tweet something. Now someone can go into Twitter, do a search on #pinkpigpottery, and see everything being posted about that business.

If they use the hashtag – #pinkpigpottery – in their tweet, they can join the conversation, post things about their experience with Pink Pig Pottery Studio, and share ideas. And, of course, sharing and engagement are the two things that make your online marketing efforts pay off.

Here is how Pink Pig Pottery can use this. They simply ask their customers whenever they engage with their business by taking a class, making a purchase, or having an event, to tweet a comment about their experience using hashtag – #pinkpigpottery.

Over a period of time, more and more people will start to use the hashtag and create a buzz about their business Their customers will start to engage more with Pink Pig Pottery and with each other. This builds a sense of community around the business. It’s also a way for their business to get feedback from their customers.

Think about how you can use this in your business and let me know how it works for you.

mike coleman seo online marketing nashville tn

Creating quality content is a key component of your overall online marketing mix. And if that’s all it took to get people to your website, then it would be easy. Unfortunately, having quality content and keywords and all the other things that go into creating a solid SEO strategy are not enough.

And that is where off page SEO strategies come in. By “off page” SEO strategies, I mean anything you use that is outside of your website, such as video, social media, etc.

Let’s talk about a few of those now.

Video is one of the driving forces of online marketing today. YouTube, Vimeo, Metacafe, DailyMotion are just a few of the places where you can post videos. Post short 2 minute (or less) video clips of you talking about your area of expertise. You do not need a huge production studio. A simple home video camera or even your smart phone will suffice to get started.

Social media is one of the best places to share information about your industry. The key to making this work is to post shareable content, such as article links, video links, new trends in your industry, your thoughts on industry trends, etc. Just ask yourself this question before you post something – “Is this information something my followers will want to share with their friends and peers?”

Creating a newsletter is a great way to start building one of the most valuable assets in your business – your list (or database). Communicating with your list on a regular basis will help you maintain top of mind presence with your target market and drive visitors to your website if you are consistently producing quality content that your readership wants to receive and share. Constant Contact is a great place to get started.

Article sites, such as ezinearticles.com provide a valuable outlet for you to share your expertise by writing articles that are pertinent to the people you want to serve. It’s great for search engine optimization (SEO).

Press releases – both online and offline – are a great way to drive traffic to your website. Check out onlineprnews.com and helpareporterout.com (HARO). Do a search for online press release sites and you will find both free and paid versions.

Also, contact your local newspaper. For example, if you are having a seminar in your local area, contact the local newspaper to let them know. See if they would be interested in covering the event. I did this for one of my seminars and a reporter from the paper actually attended. It was local front page news.

Just remember, you need a good mix of both online and offline strategies to market effectively.

social media marketing nashville tn facebook

As you probably already know, measuring ROI on social media can be a little tricky. But on Facebook, you can use Facebook Page Insights to measure a few of the metrics that matter so you can become more effective in posting content and engaging the people who ‘Like’ your page.

And having success with Facebook (or any social media) is all about engagement. Engagement can be defined as a like, a share, or a comment.

Facebook Page Insights will help you access the size of your audience and help you understand if people are engaging with the content you post.

Here is how it works … 

Log on to your Facebook account and select the Facebook Page you want to monitor. Then, under your Admin Panel, click on Show All next to Insights.

On the next page, you will see – Overview, Likes, Reach, Talking About This – towards the top of the page. Under that you will see – Graph. Then under the graph, you will see – Individual Posts.

Here are a few key metrics you can check. There are more but this will give you a high-level introduction to the capabilities of Facebook Page Insights.

Click on Likes (next to Overview at the top of the page) to see the demographics and location of the people who Like your Page,

Click on Reach (next to Overview at the top of the page) to see Total Tab views. This will show you how many people clicked on each of the Tabs on your Page along with a few other metrics.

In the Graph section, hover your mouse over the purple dots along the bottom of the graph to see the date of the individual post. Then look in the Individual Posts section under the graph to find the individual post for that date. Next to that post you will see key metrics such as Reach, Engaged Users, Talking About This, and Virality. Hover your mouse over the question mark next to each column heading to see what each one means.

If you want to download more data into an Excel spreadsheet, click on the Export button.

This is just a basic overview of Facebook Page Insights that will give you a few ideas for how you can improve your posts and give you a better idea of how you can monitor the performance of your Facebook Page.

Periodically go into Facebook Page Insights to see how your page is performing. Think about how you can use this information to improve your posts and engage more people.

Then you will start to see more and better results from the time you are investing in Facebook.

Social bookmarking sites allow you to organize and store resources online. One of the more popular social bookmarking sites on the scene today is Pinterest.

What is Pinterest? Just think about a cork board you may have in your office where you pin specific things you want to remember or pin pictures of your vacation, favorite car, or whatever.

You can do the same thing in Pinterest, except now your cork board is online where you can share the links with your friends, see what other people are sharing, and search on specific topics of interest.  And people can follow you to see what you are pinning. You can create different boards and then pin your favorite things on the boards you create. For example, you may have a favorite music board, favorite restaurant board, amazing products board, favorite websites, or anything else related to you or your business.

Why is it important? Because people are spending more time on Pinterest than on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn combined.

Now you’re probably asking, “What does this have to do with marketing my business?”

Let’s say you are an event planner – you could post pictures of your clients’ events or of your venue. The same basic principle applies if you are a musician, photographer, or selling widgets. You are sharing your interests and providing some insight into your business.

And it helps build the know, like, and trust factor that’s so important for people to do business with you. Pinterest is just another window they can peak through to learn more about you and your business.

You can set up a personal account at pinterest.com or you can set up a business account at business.pinterest.com. And if you already have a personal account, it’s easy to convert it to a business account.

There are a couple of advantages to having a Pinterest business account vs a personal account. They are adding educational materials to help businesses market themselves, along with new features and tools designed specifically for businesses.

Go to business.pinterest.com. Check out the case study and browse the site to learn more about how this tool can help you in your business.

The one constant in business is change.

Starting this week, you will be receiving my newsletter bi-weekly rather than weekly because of a change in priorities in my business. I have spent the last year or so building a solid foundation for the consulting side of my business. This year my focus is on building the speaking side of my business, which requires more time and more focused effort.

But change is just part of any entrepreneur’s life. And the sooner you accept that and the better you become at recognizing when it’s time for a change in your business, the faster you will grow. Money likes speed.

In Napoleon Hill’s classic book, Think and Grow Rich, he discusses the importance of making decisions quickly and without delay. This same logic also applies to the ability to change.

You just have to look at the condition of a couple of the larger retail companies that will probably be out of business over the next few years to see the effects of not making decisions and not changing quickly. Their inability to make decisions quickly and adapt to change is the result of corporate bureaucrats making fear based decisions to either save their jobs or make themselves appear more desirable for the next promotion rather than making sound business decisions. And if they make a bad decision, it can usually be overlooked … for a period of time.

As a small business owner and entrepreneur, you do not have the same luxury afforded corporate bureaucrats. The stakes are much higher, and the decisions you make could have an immediate impact on your business and an immediate impact on your income.

So procrastination, inability to change quickly, and slow decision making are not an option for you because these three things will destroy your business.

Think about the times in your business (or in your life) when delaying a decision or not making one at all cost you money. If you have been in business for any length of time, you can think of a couple. Unfortunately, quick decision making skills can only be acquired from making mistakes, hard-earned experience, and being in the trenches.

The key is to learn your lessons quickly, don’t dwell on your past mistakes, and be flexible. Accept change as part of doing business.

What change do you need to make in your business? Make the decision today to implement the change and stop procrastinating.

When I find a new tool, technique, or strategy in the area of marketing that works, I like to share it with my readers. This week I am introducing you to a great marketing tool for anyone who has events, non-profit fundraisers, etc. It’s also a great tool for professional speakers, seminar leaders, and musicians.

From a business perspective, one of the best ways to reach a lot of potential clients is through an event. Speaking at an event allows you to share your expertise. Fundraising events are a great way to raise awareness for your charity or non-profit. If you are a musician, you have to get people to attend your shows before you can build your legion of loyal fans. As you know, one of the biggest challenges a speaker, seminar leader, non-profit, or any other professional or organization who has events faces is filling seats.

I recently discovered a great tool for doing this called EventSpot. It is one of the products in Constant Contact’s suite of online marketing tools. EventSpot’s easy to use interface handles three things that are crucial to having a successful event:

1. Promotion

2. Registration

3. Payments

You can promote your event through all your social media channels using EventSpot. Use it to create event invitations and webpages and to share your event with the social sharing tools. It will handle the registration process for you allowing you to create registration forms, accept online payments (or donations), and get whatever attendee information you need.

One other thing it provides is tracking and reporting. You can track RSVPs, attendee preferences, who has (or has not) paid, and even issue tickets online.

So go to the Constant Contact website, click on the products tab, and select EventSpot from the drop down menu to give it a try. And there is special pricing for non-profits.

If you want to be successful in sales, stop being a salesperson and become a businessperson.

If you can convey to someone that you are not trying to sell them something, but instead you want to partner with them to increase revenue, increase market share, reduce expenses, increase their client base, or make their life easier in some way … then you have someone eager to work with you (or at least want to have a conversation). In other words, you want to partner with them to grow their business and make their life easier. It’s that simple. This approach (and shift in mindset) makes you a businessperson rather than a salesperson.

So, number one – you want to have the mindset of a businessperson (or partner) … not a salesperson.

And number two – you want to provide solutions. How do you know if there is a need and what solution you can provide? One way is online research. Visit their website or check out their LinkedIn profile. Find the key players in their organization. Prepare what you are going to say and then rehearse it a hundred times until you are comfortable with it.

Now you are ready for your first meeting or call. You’re going into the first meeting (or cold call) thinking of yourself as a business partner with solutions to help them grow their business and increase revenues.

Think about this scenario for a moment. If you walk into a business and you are trying to sell them on how great your product is, and you have to ask who is in charge of (fill in the blank), then you are viewed as a salesperson. And worst of all, you are viewed as a poorly prepared salesperson.

Now think about this scenario. You’ve done your research, you know the key players within the organization, you have established a need, and you have come up with a couple of solutions for them that will increase revenue. How do you think they will view you now? Now you are establishing your position as a leader who cares about their business and can offer a solution to a need that you have already identified. Now you are a valued ally, a trusted advocate, and a business partner.

Everything mentioned above also applies to your online marketing. You want to convey the message that you are a businessperson who knows your target market, knows the needs of your target market, and can provide solutions.

Review the Home page of your website. Is this the message visitors to your website are getting? Are they finding the information they need quickly or do they just see a nice graphic? Do they have to click on another link to find out your business philosophy, who you work with, what you do, and the solutions you provide?

I’m not saying you can’t have a nice graphic AND great content. But if I have the choice of having a shiny new graphic on my website or giving my visitors information that is pertinent to their business, I will choose giving them the information they want as quickly as possible.  This moves the sales process forward, and isn’t that really the purpose of your website?

If you approach selling your products or services as a businessperson, find the need, offer solutions, go into meetings fully prepared, and deliver value … then your career, business, and life will move to the next level and beyond.

As most of you know, I am a voracious reader. I really believe your success in life is all about the books you read and the people you meet. There are a handful of books that I read over and over again at least once a year. One of those books is “The Greatest Salesman In The World” by Og Mandino. This simple book tells you everything you need to know in order to be successful in sales … if you study, learn, and internalize each of the principles taught in the book.

I have listed the 10 principles here. I chose not to elaborate on any of them because I want you to really think about each one and make it your own.

1. I will form good habits and become their slave.

2. I will greet this day with love in my heart.

3. I will persist until I succeed.

4. I am nature’s greatest miracle.

5. I will live this day as if it is my last.

6. Today I will be the master of my emotions.

7. I will laugh at the world.

8. Today I will multiply my value a hundredfold.

9. I will act now.

10. I will pray for guidance.

Write the ten principles listed above on an index card or put them in your smart phone. Read them each morning before you start your day. It will make a difference.