Tag Archives: media platforms

For Your Small Biz: the Best Times NOT to Tweet [Infographic]

Twitter is apparently still the most misunderstood of the social media platforms.

While I was cruising Pinterest, I ran across just one too many Infographics declaring the best times to tweet. Chicken Little was everywhere! If you aren’t posting at those times, you’ll fail!

Not hardly. And has it occurred to anyone that if EVERYONE is posting during those “prime time” spots, then those times will become flooded and then you’ll be just as anonymous as they initially warned.

The most important times to tweet are when your demographic is there. Period. If you aren’t searching relevant keywords to determine where and when your preferred listeners are, then you are shooting at random.

Well, I took a stab at creating my own infographic. Hope it helps put some perspective on Twitter for you!

For Your Small Biz... the Best times NOT to Tweet

2012: Email Marketing is Dead; Now Email Marketing is King – HUH?

Keep Calm and Keep Emailing

All through 2012, the buzz was “E-Mail Marketing is Dead!”

Now, most articles are about why Email Marketing is Supreme for Small Business!

HUH?

Actually, Email marketing is perfect for small business.

But let’s discuss the why of the mixed messaging and why you, as a small business owner, need to pay attention.

1. Social Media platforms grew exponentially over the last few years.

Soooo, “they” assumed, that because the growth was so rapid, social media platforms would soon replace email and all other traditional forms of marketing and communications.

While that might be true in major metropolitan areas and college campuses, there is still a huge population out there that doesn’t own a SmartPhone or that  only accesses internet through a desktop.

But, email is universal.

Everyone sits down at home and work and checks their email…

Another assumption was that because Social Media platforms are “Free,” that it would be nonsense for anyone to ignore it as a marketing avenue. Again, you can pick up a hammer, but that ain’t gonna make ya a carpenter!

Sure you can create an account for free, but time is money, and it takes time to maintain a social media business page, not to mention at least basic marketing skills. Nothing wrong with that, – all marketing comes with a cost – but that has to be considered.

Then, when it comes to attracting fans, many of those fans are laggers in social media who only use it for sharing funny cat pictures and playing application games. So, getting fans to pursue your page is another form of investment – a good offer to like a page, the giveaway, someone to manage the comments and likes, someone to engage to grow fans… And don’t believe those hucksters claiming to bring you from 0 to 40,000 fans! Fake profiles = fake fans = no rise in insights or revenue.

Now, why was email getting badmouthed:

2. “Free” Email services were springing up all over the place.

Why pay for email service when you can get it for free? Again, because FREE is never really free! You pay a price eventually – think of the hidden cost to you when your email goes to a spam folder and never reaches your intended recipient?

So, if you were judging the effectiveness of free email vs free social media… neither one will bring results so that comparison is probably moot.

They are both an investment in Time and time costs money.

OK, so now what should you invest your time in? Social Media or Email Marketing?

If you are asking this question, it tells me you don’t know your customers or clients. Face it, most of you small business owners have poo-poo-ed SoMe and Email.

Why don’t you let your customers tell you where you should invest your time?

  • Have you noted whether your customer is tapping away on a mobile while they are waiting in line?
  • Have you asked them what platforms they use?
  • Have you invited them to join your email subscriber list?

Stop being an employee of your own business and market your business. How?

  • Find out which Social Media platforms are appropriate for your business and demographic – Start with one and do well, then move on to others.
  • Invest in an email service that fulfills your needs for marketing and has integrated social media tools for efficiency and broader distribution that will attract new subscribers. (want to play around with one for free for 60 days? Click here!
  • And pay Freaking attention to where your customers live online! ASK THEM. SURVEY THEM. TALK TO THEM.

Shedding some light on Social Media business marketing relationships – some real examples of clients who get it!

Anyone can post “Stuff” on your social media platforms. BUT, can anyone can make your platforms engaging and successful with just “Stuff?”

“I want to have you do it all!”

That works – up to a certain point. Here are some tips for Business owners who need their social media managed by someone else…

Keep them in the know!

Stay in touch with whom you have hired to manage your social media. Once a week or so you can call, email, IM, send pictures, whatever, but let them know what is going on with your business. Why? Because that is what your fans want! If your Social Media manager is not engaged with your business happenings, then your fans aren’t either!

Examples:

Client A – busy regional rep who usually says no more than 3 words in his emails to me, but he does have a weekly newsletter he sends to his reps that gives plenty of content in what is happening with his company. Occasionally he sends a snapshot by his phone of a presentation or event. No message with the picture – he knows I know what to do with it. They aren’t the best quality, but who cares?! Picasa and Gimp are my best friends and can make anything look better! Crop a little, brighten a little, whatever! The important thing is showing fans what’s up! He’s also told me which Facebook pages he follows and the kind of information there I can share on his page. I keep him informed of ideas or changes and any fan comments he should address. His pages are growing steadily in fan base!

Client B - A specialty retail mom and pop store owner that has zero time for anything but running his business. He chose me because he knows I have history and career experience in his type of retail – in customer service, operations and marketing, so he can trust me to knowledgeably convey their expertise and niche to their fans / customers. Also, with my marketing background, I help him with marketing ideas, newsletters and event announcements. All of it can get re-purposed on Social Media. He has also provided me with the links to all his vendor information for marketing images / videos and customer testimonials. That’s a lot to work with! And despite his not really knowing anything about social media, we work great together because I don’t waste his time asking a lot of questions. I occasionally shoot a one-line email of what I would like and he replies on the spot. Done! He is getting a quick rise in likes after starting from scratch and the fans love the images and information. Some day he’ll start making videos… sigh… that will be awesome for his social media!

Client C - FAIL. I seriously think this client thought they didn’t have to supply me with any information at all and I was supposed to magically know what was going on in their business and yet still get fans excited! If I were psychic, I’d open shop! But I’m not. In addition, they had a one page website that was only a contact form for ordering. No information, no pictures, no prices, nothing. No newsletter, no marketing materials, no links for information of any kind…  When I first signed on, they said a complete website was in the works, they got a new camera for product pictures, and I would be flooded with pictures and information. Never happened. The website hasn’t changed since the way it was months ago, one set of pictures (about a dozen) showed up once. All of my inquiries for information to share on social media for the business – ignored. We went our separate ways.

Hope this is helping with perspective…

Is this shedding any light on what a marketing relationship needs? I hope so. When I watch Mad Men, I realize Madison Avenue marketing was all about creating a new image for a product or company to help spark new sales. Making stuff up based on a conjured image. That is not what Social Media is about.

Social Media is NOT about creating a NEW marketing image. It’s about REVEALING your current image. Your messaging is about sharing who you are, what you are about, what’s happening, what’s new, your plans for the future, what your customers think of you, business anecdotes, emotions exchanged, what your customers are buying, your observations, pictures, and anything and everything that would go in a scrapbook!

It’s the REAL stuff. Not made up.

 

2 Valuable Free tools to keep your long distance internet client engaged

Keep your Internet tools handy!

The beauty of the internet is that it enables professionals the ability to have clients all over the world. But communications online can diminish a personal touch – that face to face factor.

In addition, when your clients are not internet savvy, they may not have the comfort zone you do in regard to reviewing business online. Even if they are, there is real power in being able to SHOW someone what you are talking about. You know… A picture is worth…

Despite online practices, we are still in the people business.

So this post is a reminder that we need to relate to people on their level. If they are “face-to-face” style business people, don’t expect them to stay in touch with you solely via email and social media platforms. This is not their comfort zone – yet.

Not in the budget?

Ok – so maybe you are a small business consultant who just  can’t justify the expense of a webinar style account, or other desktop sharing platform. And what if you need an instant online meeting and the tool you have requires scheduling?

Try https://join.me/

Yes, it is FREE. It takes all of a few seconds to try it. Set up a shortcut on your task bar and it is ready with a click to  invite 1-250 participants!

Now, have you gone mobile yet?

Another crucial element to optimal client engagement is making your website mobile friendly. If you haven’t considered the appearance and usability of your website on your customers’ SmartPhones, then you may get left behind.

Mobile users like speed. If it takes longer than 5 seconds for your website to load, then they may click off thinking it’s going to make them wait even longer to load.

Mobile users like “clickability.” If your phone number isn’t clickable, you may miss a potential warm lead.

Mobile users have a very small screen. If they have to zoom in and move left to right to see your site, it is too frustrating to use.

Here is another free tool to optimize your customers’ experience with you on the internet:

http://www.howtogomo.com/en/d/

This will help you:

a) test your site for how it appears on a mobile phone

b) how to create a mobile friendly version for your website. This does not change your original website, just creates an additional mobile friendly site. It is also intuitive – it knows what kind of device is accessing it so it will appear properly for the device used; iPhone, Android, Tablet, iPad, etc.

Check to see if your website has the option to make your site mobile friendly as well.

There is much more FREE stuff out there! Explore! I know we think “you get what you pay for…” but in this case, it is amazing what you CAN get free. The catch? They’ll hoping you’ll upgrade. But at the free level, you often get a lot more than you would expect.

P.S. I am not paid to endorse these – I just like to share tools that work!

What’s your favorite free tool or app?