Nonprofits and Social Media

Should Social Media Play a Part in your Nonprofit?

With the proliferation of social media platforms, and their growing importance as marketing and communication tools for businesses and professionals, this question is being asked by the leadership of most nonprofits today.

So, what is the answer?

Let’s begin with the short answer: [perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”#049931″ class=”” size=””]Yes! Social media should be part of the working strategy of every nonprofit.[/perfectpullquote]

Now that the question has been answered, let’s talk a bit about why social media is important, and how some of these platforms can help your nonprofit succeed in its mission—whatever that mission might be. Below is a list of Ten Reasons that Social Media marketing platforms might be important to your non-profit. The list is not all-inclusive, and it’s entirely possible that some of the reasons might not align with the goals of your particular organization.

Some Reasons that Apply to Most Nonprofits

  1. Community building
  2. Stakeholder communication
  3. Public outreach
  4. Transparency
  5. Mission marketing
  6. Fundraising campaigns
  7. Membership drives
  8. Member retention
  9. Demonstrate leadership
  10. Distinguish your organization among its peers

Nonprofits are special. Social media strategy for nonprofits is special too.

In coming posts I’ll talk about social media for some specific kinds of nonprofit organizations. For example the most appropriate social media platforms and strategies will be different for a membership driven nonprofit than for a charitable organization. And some specialized organizations, such as condo boards, will have mandates that may preclude public outreach altogether, But even these organizations will find social media platforms that will significantly enhance their effectiveness.

Some nonprofits require the same type of marketing efforts as for-profit entities. Others may view traditional marketing efforts and strategies as anathema to their fundamental philosophy. Buzzyness.com understands that. As a specialist in the not for profit sector, Allan Revich works hard to tailor an appropriate strategy for each client. A strategy that first and foremost aligns perfectly with the mission of their organization.

 

 

Instagram Marketing for Organizations

instagram logo

Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world today. It has hundreds of millions of users, and its acquisition by Facebook, makes it doubly attractive as a marketing platform. But is it the right platform for your nonprofit organization?

Is it the right platform for your organization?

Instagram should be included, or prioritized, in your social media marketing campaign, if the answer to these two questions is “yes”:

  1. Are your members, volunteers, clients, and stakeholders there?
    This is a bit of “trick question”, because the answer is also “yes” if they are on Facebook. More on that later.
  2. Does your organization generate visual appeal?
    This question isn’t as obvious as it first appears, for example, a condominium corporation needs to spend money on gardens, lobby furnishings, and gyms. Common areas may include gorgeous views—very visually appealing!

Instagram is a Mobile Platform Application

A quick visit to the Instagram Website from your desktop computer will be very revealing; mostly because of what you won’t find! Even after logging in with Facebook (or creating an Instagram account) there isn’t a lot to see. Visit from your mobile phone though, and it’s a whole other story. Lots of activity. Lots of opportunity for interaction.

So, if there isn’t a lot to see on my desktop computer, why should a busy organization bother with this? Here’s why!

  1. Instagram is HUGE on mobile. Many your stakeholders have Instagram accounts, and use it to share photos on their mobile devices.
  2. Facebook is even “HUGER”, and most, if not all, of your customers and prospects are on Facebook.

I thought we were talking about Instagram, not Facebook?

Facebook owns Instagram. That fact is important for reasons that go well beyond shareholder value. Instagram is tightly integrated with Facebook. It is very easy to set up so that all of your photographs are also instantly shared on your Facebook business “fan page”. This means that your  marketing reach will not only cover the Instagram universe, with its younger, visually oriented user base, but by using it, you also automatically build your brand presence on Facebook too!

What Kinds of Organizations Should Use Instagram?

Any organization with a bricks and mortar presence, or a visually appealing service should be using Instagram. Whether it’s a bicycle club, , condominium community, or a charity providing housing— you gotta let the world see it. Basically, every organization that wants to showcase its achievements should have an account and post to it regularly.

Is Instagram a necessary time investment for every non-profit?

This is an important question for any organization—and the short answer is “no”.

Generally speaking, non-profit organizations that are primarily associations of providers of professional services, will probably gain very little marketing advantage. This type of organization will generally have answered, “no”, to the first two questions in this blog post. Their service is not especially visual, and many of their members won’t be using Instagram. In fact, those who have checked out the social media presence of Buzzyness.com, have already seen that we ourselves don’t have an account! Our main service is social media and blogging education, so even though we have a blog—you’re reading it now—and substantial investment on Twitter and Facebook, we have opted out of Instagram.

Need help getting your business started on Instagram?

Contact Us Now

 

Choosing (Social Media) Channels

Social media channels

Choosing the social media channels that will work best for your business is a tough choice. For the largest of businesses, the choice is actually easier than it is for smaller, entrepreneurial enterprises. The big boys have only once choice – participate in everything! But for those of us with more limited resources, it can be a bit more complicated; and confusing.

Choice number one is a “no-brainer”, but let’s get it out of the way right now. Every business, of every type, and of every size, needs to have some social media presence today. I’ve provided several reasons in other posts, and the research is pretty conclusive elsewhere too. In a nutshell though, choosing to opt out of social media is like walking away from a poker game with your money still on the table. Why would you even consider it?

Social media channels

But what channel(s) will provide you and your business with the best return on your investment of precious time and money. In a previous post I covered many of the nuts-and-bolts basics. Here’s a summary:

Which Social Media Channels Make Most Sense?

The answer to this question depends a lot on the nature of your business. I’ll provide a few suggestions.

  • Retail Business (B2C) The key to choosing the right platforms is in selecting the channels on which your clients are most likely to be found. For a typical B2C (business to consumer) retail store that should start with Facebook, and probably include Instagram too.
  • Professional Practice (B2C) For professionals that serve consumers a Facebook business page is also the best place to start. Since virtually all your customers are on Facebook, it makes sense for your consumer focused professional presence to be there too. [Also] all professionals, whether B2C or B2B (business to business) should also have an up to date LinkedIn page.
  • Professional Practice (B2B) B2B professionals need to be on LinkedIn, and more than that – to actually use LinkedIn. It’s also a good idea, even for a self-employed professional to have a blog—either on their existing website, or as a stand alone, that links to and from the website.
  • Other Business to Business  B2B businesses should concentrate their online marketing efforts where their business clients are most likely to be found online during business hours. And that’s going to be on the Web (as they search for products, services, and solutions to problems) and on Twitter, where many business people have their own Twitter feeds open on their desktops all day. Web-based social media marketing basically means blogging.

The take-away about social media channels is this:

  1. Your business should concentrate its social media presence in the channels that are most relevant to your customers and clients.
  2. Your business should further concentrate its resources to producing the kind of content that your stakeholders are most likely to respond to.

What kind of content do people respond most strongly to? The basic answer to this is surprisingly simple, the richer the media, the stronger the response. So, the biggest impact will be from video and audio—and that generally means YouTube, Facebook, and Podcasts. This is great if you happen to be naturally inclined to presenting in front of a camera, or speaking into a microphone. It that’s the case, your all set! Get in front of your camera (always look professional), record your video, and post it on your Facebook Business Page, your YouTube channel, and wherever else your customers will see it.

Unfortunately, not everybody is blessed with stage presence and a radio voice. For medium sized businesses that doesn’t have to be a barrier. You can hire professionals to produce your videos, and even use actors to “star” in them. For smaller businesses and solopreneurs, the challenge of using video might be insurmountable. That’s OK! Your customers are still online, and there are numerous ways to reach them.

In Why Inbound Must Change,  Meghan Keaney Anderson talks about some of the many ways available to reach people on social media. Her overall message of the article is a bit intimidating for smaller businesses, but that’s why I wrote the article you are reading right now. Rather than being intimidated into inaction, just review the options, and choose ONLY the channels that you think will work best for you and your business.

As entrepreneurs, we all eventually learn that we can’t do it all. But we also learn that, by concentrating our efforts where they are most likely to yield results, success is always within reach. Go forth and get social.

 

The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma

entrepreneurs meeting

entrepreneurs meeting

Social Media and the Entrepreneur

For the entrepreneur, solopreneur, or sole practitioner, it often seems that business life is divided into two phases. Either we have a lot of work (and sometimes money) but zero time – or – we don’t have enough work or money to invest in marketing initiatives (like social media) that will bring in more money. This “money but no time” vs. “time but no money” is at the heart of the Entrepreneur’s Dilemma.

In my work, helping entrepreneurs get the most impact from their online presence, I come across variations of this theme nearly every day. It seems that nearly all business people have come to recognize the importance of social media and blogging to their online marketing efforts, but too many of them excuse a lack of execution with some version of the entrepreneur’s dilemma.

It’s either,

I’d like to do more online but I can’t afford to hire someone right now, and I don’t understand it well enough myself

or

I don’t have time to do my own social media marketing. I’d hire someone today to do our social media, but I also don’t have time to teach them about my business

The end result of either of these scenarios is that opportunities to build the business and cement relationships with clients are lost. Lost opportunities represent lost money, and at worst, the result of weak customer relationships can mean business failure during the inevitable downturns in the business cycle.

So What’s an Entrepreneur to do?

The good news is that it takes only a little bit of effort to overcome the entrepreneur’s dilemma when it comes to social media marketing and blogging. Let’s start with the first scenario. “I can’t afford to hire someone, and I don’t understand it well enough myself“.

Money may be tight, but the good news is that you have time. So basically all you need is a little bit of knowledge, and the discipline to apply it, for a few minutes every day. The first thing that needs to be done is to decide what social media platforms make the most sense for your business. It’s easy to either get overwhelmed into paralysis by all of the possible options, or just as bad, to join every network out there and the do a half-assed job of maintaining them all. I’m guessing that you didn’t get to where you are in life doing things half-assed.

Which Social Media Platform Makes Most Sense?

The answer to this question depends a lot on the nature of your business. I’ll provide a few suggestions.

  1. Retail Business (B2C)
    The key to choosing the right platforms is in selecting the ones on which your clients are most likely to be found. For a typical B2C (business to consumer) retail store that should start with Facebook, and probably include Instagram too. It’s not difficult to do both, because Instagram photos can be configured to show up automatically on your Facebook page. Just remember, that you want to set up a Facebook “fan page” for your business, that is separate from the page you use to communicate with your friends and family.
  2. Professional Practice (B2C)
    For professionals that serve consumers a Facebook business page is also the best place to start. Since virtually all your customers are on Facebook, it makes sense for your consumer focused professional presence to be there too. The biggest issue with Facebook is that business pages can be difficult to find, especially in the early days. Facebook offers the opportunity to pay for page ads to show up on targeted Facebook feeds. This can cost a few dollars, but can be done fairly inexpensively, and Facebook offers amazingly granular targeting, so you’re going to get huge bang for your buck there. All professionals, whether B2C or B2B (business to business) should also have an up to date LinkedIn page.
  3. Professional Practice (B2B)
    Here’s where Facebook becomes pretty much irrelevant! While every consumer is on Facebook, business users are on Facebook mostly for outreach to consumers. Trying to reach the right people at a business of any size, using Facebook, is probably going to be extremely unfruitful. Make sure you have Facebook page anyway – but don’t spend much time or energy there once you do. Just a quick check to respond to any comments or questions. B2B professionals need to be on LinkedIn, and more than that – to actually use LinkedIn. What do I mean by, “actually use”? Log on every day. Comment on interesting posts by other people. Post updates and ideas of your own using the Share an Update link, and better still, write the occasional article using the (what else!) Write an Article link. It’s also a good idea, even for a self-employed professional to have a blog—either on their existing website, or as a stand alone, that links to and from the website.
  4. Other Business to Business
    For any B2B business that goes beyond the solopreneur level, IE/there is more than one employee, the suggestions for best platform change. Having an up to date Facebook business page is still a good idea, but as with my suggestion (above) to B2B professional, it doesn’t make sense to do more than keep it current and monitor it – unless it becomes very busy. B2B businesses should concentrate their online marketing efforts where their business clients are most likely to be found online during business hours. And that’s going to be on the Web (as they search for products, services, and solutions to problems) and on Twitter, where many business people have their own Twitter feeds open on their desktops all day. Web-based social media marketing basically means blogging. Blogging requires the most input, in both time and money, but a good blog is by far the most effective tool for inbound marketing. Unlike the ephemeral nature of Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram (etc.), you blog posts are permanent. Blogging means that every new post adds more content to your online presence, and makes you increasingly important to search engines like Google and Bing. Using Twitter, in combination with your Blog, is like putting Batman and Robin to work for your business! Set up your blog to display your Twitter feed, and use Twitter to promote your blog posts.

Let’s Talk a Bit More About Scenario Number Two

You’ve read the section appropriate to your business type, and you’ve decided where to concentrate your social media marketing efforts. But you still don’t have time!

OK. My first and smart-ass, thought is just, “make time!” But since I’d never say anything as smart-assy as that, let’s talk about other options. The best option is to hire a person or an agency to manage your social media for you. If your business is big enough, with the human and financial capital to justify $4000 to $12,000 per month, you can probably stop reading, and start shopping now. There are a lot of good agencies that can fill all of your social media marketing needs, including post writing, account management, metrics measurement, etc.

Here’s where my own self-promotion kicks in!

I, and people like myself, offer social media services specifically intended to help busy professionals, solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs, get maximum benefit from social media presence. In a nutshell, I offer the same services as I suggest that entrepreneurs should use themselves. I set up, manage, and maintain ONLY the social media platforms that make will bring the biggest return for the smallest possible investment. Typically that means, I can charge only $500 to $1000 per month instead of the $4000 to $12,000 per month typical of the bigger agencies.

Want to learn more? CONTACT ME

Social Media Marketing: DIY or Paid Professionals?

Facebook Twitter Blogging

Do it yourself, or pay a professional? The question comes up every day for self-employed professionals and entrepreneurs. For most people, most of the time, the answer is relatively straightforward. Unless you have expertise in the task that needs to be accomplished, it’s better to pay a professional. But when it comes to social media marketing, the answer can be less straightforward.

Self-employed people, unlike bigger organizations, are selling more than just a package of generic products or services. We are selling OURSELVES. We know that the factor most important to our clients is the personal service and expertise that we offer. Our advantage is ourselves. We are the value-add, the differentiation, the x-factor, that sets us apart from the competition. It follows then, that the best person to put that differentiation out there on social media is you.

AND THERE LIES THE DILEMMA

How do we leverage the strategic advantage that is ours alone, with the fact that most of us are not professional marketers and writers?

Realistically, there are only two options available to the typical entrepreneur:

  1. Do it yourself, and turn your weaknesses into strengths, by letting your personality shine through your writing and marketing quirks. This is actually not nearly as hard as it seems. Big companies pay professionals thousands upon thousands of dollars to “sound” authentic on social media. By definition, everything that you post on your own is already authentic! That in fact is the biggest reason that social media marketing succeeds. IMHO (in my humble opinion), the only reason NOT to do it yourself, is lack of time. An as an entrepreneur, time is always hard to find.
  2. Pay a professional to help you stay on top of your social media marketing. This can be accomplished in a few different ways. The easiest, most expensive, and IMHO, least effective way, is to outsource the entire process to an online marketing agency. I posted an example in a previous article, but in a nutshell, you end up paying a lot of money, getting much more than you really need, and losing the one thing that you sets you apart more than anything else – your individual voice – your authenticity.The better way forward is to hire an entrepreneur, just like you. Someone capable of speaking with same kind of authentic voice as you have AND who knows how to leave room for you to take part in the conversation. The service that I offer other entrepreneurs is specifically designed to be very affordable, and to offer enough to make sure that the social media presence of your business is consistent, ongoing, and professional. I post to your blog, to your Facebook page, and to your Twitter account. And I make myself available to help you post too, and help you choose any other platforms (like LinkedIn or Instagram or YouTube) that you might consider using in order to boost your presence.

Read my other article

or

Contact Me Now

 

 

Social Media Account Management

social media icons

What is “Social Media Account Management”?

Essentially, a social media account manager, or management service, looks after the social media needs of an organization. That service comes at a cost to the organization, and will nearly always include at least Twitter and Facebook. Larger organizations will have greater needs, and specialized organizations will have special needs.

The following quote offers some insight into what organizations in the private sector typically pay for social media account management services.

Creating a comprehensive strategy for social media marketing and outsourcing all work for all channels (with a minimum of two social networks) costs anywhere from $3,000-$20,000 per month, with the industry average settling between $4,000-$7,000 per month. If you want the social media agency to start the accounts from scratch and consult on a 4- to 12-month contract, you’ll pay between $3,000-$15,000 per month. What do they mean by channels, minimum of two? That’s just a fancy way of saying that the cost includes both Facebook and Twitter…I’m betting there’s probably an upcharge if your company wants Google+, too.

The Content Factory

Social media account management services are included in the social media marketing packages of agencies like The Content Factory. They provide great service, but their services often come at a cost that the typical self-employed professional entrepreneur can’t afford.

What about Buziness.com?

We offer a set of services designed to be a perfect fit with the needs of nonprofits, charities, and NGOs.

The goal of Buzzyness.com is to enable nonprofit organizations to manage their own social media accounts. To make that process as cost effective and simple as possible, we work with organizations to determine which social media platforms offer the most value to their unique requirements.

How do my prices and service compare with other agencies?

I’ll be blunt. My prices are significantly lower than the agencies and companies set up to service for profit organizations in the private sector.

The following example is not meant to show how for profit companies get “ripped off”, or how a big social media agency will “rip off” your nonprofit. It’s actually easy to see that by paying a lot of money, an organization can expect a lot of very good service. The issue, of course, is that the typical small to mid-sized non profit organization is being run on a budget that makes this level of service unaffordable. (My prices)

Example:

The Content Factory ($8000/month)

*The Content Factory positions itself as a lower cost alternative to the big agencies.

For $8,000 per month, here’s a rough outline of the social media marketing, digital PR, web content writing and content marketing you can get with The Content Factory – and we’re also able to negotiate a smaller package for a smaller price tag:

  • 3 blog posts a week. We’ll develop a keyword strategy that targets all of the search phrases you want to rank for. From there, we’ll build out an editorial calendar that systematically targets your keywords, while also offering informative, actionable and interesting content to your readers.
  • Monitoring of Twitter for related keywords, then pushing links/tweets to those talking about relevant topics. If people are tweeting about it, I’ll get an alert and can tell ’em all about your company
  • Getting relevant Twitterers to follow you – We hunt you down several hundreds of followers a week, targeting users by location, number of followers, number of updates, bio keywords and tweet keywords.
  • Daily Twitter updates (an average of 7-10 per day, focusing on interacting with thought leaders, journalists, existing and potential customers, etc.)
  • Managing the Facebook page – 2-3 updates per day, with a focus on sharing content from thought leaders and complimentary, non-competing businesses.
  • Facebook ads – Facebook ad campaign management with a $250 monthly budget built into the rates (you get ads, without being paid extra for them).
  • Google+ and LinkedIn management – With daily updates
  • Reddit Advertising – A mixture of posting, commenting, and generally being active in the community (or specific communities of your choosing). Reddit marketing is flexible, and heavily dependent on what your business does.
  • Custom social media graphics – At least 2 per week
  • Consistent PR – Our clients have been featured on the Today show, CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, TechCrunch, Fox Business…the list goes on and on. Not a month goes by that one of our clients doesn’t get major national press coverage, and it’s a huge addition to social media work.
  • One press release per quarter – We’ll help you make news to make the news.
  • Helping you write articles, then pitching to major publications – One per month. Our clients have written articles that have been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, The Huffington Post and a variety of other influential publications.
  • Contest creation/management as needed. We’re big fans of contests, because they can draw all kinds of people to the site who would’ve never found it otherwise. Plus, they’re great for website traffic.
  • Social bookmarking submissions like woah. We submit to sites that nobody thinks of, but they certainly drive traffic. We also submit links to Quora, StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc.

To help make sure we’re always on the same page, every month we send our clients a monthly update with the following information:

  • New Twitter followers and interesting interactions
  • New FB fans and interesting interactions
  • Google Analytics traffic reports
  • Number of blogs/articles written (with stats to match)
  • Feedback quotes from social networking sites
  • Links to media coverage we’ve gotten you/your company, social shares
  • Whatever other info/stats you want us to keep track of
  • Goals/milestones achieved
  • Tasks slated for the following month

So, that’s what we do and how much we do it for – you can click here for a much more thorough rundown of everything that’s included in our packages. In the interest of full disclosure: our rates are significantly less than the industry average, and it’s entirely possible that larger online PR agencies have more contacts and resources than we currently have access to.

Unfortunately, for a typical small or localized nonprofit a budget of $8000 a month exists only in the realm of fantasy. However, if your organization can justify and afford that amount, the Content Factory actually offers a heck of a lot of service for that amount of money.

So What Can a Nonprofit do?

There are a couple of options open to organizations on tighter budgets.

  • Look for volunteers
  • Hire a student
  • Hire a recent graduate
  • Hire a professional social media manager
  • or…

CONTACT ME

We can talk about an affordable solution that offers the best of both worlds. Professional guidance, informed decision making, appropriate account setup, initial training, and customized ongoing support options to fit every budget.

What is Inbound Marketing? What is Content Marketing?

Inbound marketing. Content Marketing. Everybody’s doing it, right? But what exactly is it that they’re doing? These terms are everywhere we look now. But what do they mean? Are they the same thing?

Inbound marketing and content marketing are not the same thing, even though the terms are often used interchangeably. Oddly enough though, even though they are not the same thing, they can still be used interchangeably, because they are both accomplished the same way.

The whole idea of “content marketing” and “inbound marketing” is to provide useful and interesting content to your customers and potential clients.

Content Marketing

This refers to the information, data, ideas, etc., that you produce and publish, for the benefit of your audience. The most common platform for content publishing is a Blog. Blogging allows us to easily publish the kinds of things that our customers are likely to appreciate.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. ~ Content Marketing Institute

Inbound Marketing

This refers to the idea that by publishing our content, our desired audience will come to us, because they find value in our content. Our sales funnel is being filled by people dropping into it because they’ve chosen to, not because we’ve gone out and chased them into it. And how do we accomplish this amazing feat? By blogging of course!

Inbound marketing is about using marketing to bring potential customers to you, rather than having your marketing efforts fight for their attention. Sharing is caring and inbound marketing is about creating and sharing content with the world. ~ Hubspot

Blogging

Publishing a blog, and publishing new content on it as frequently as we can, is the best way to effectively promote our business benefits to the people who we want to reach. Blog articles are actively sought out by millions of people every day. Some of them are our customers and potential customers. It makes a lot of sense for our business, to put content on the web that our audience wants to explore. Our blog can either be part of our website, or stand on its own, with its own URL (web address). Having a separate blog is perfect for sales professionals whose main website presence is managed by their employer, for example real estate agents, mortgage brokers, investment advisors, manufacturers reps, etc.

Is Blogging Enough?

Blogging is where we begin. Once we have a blog, we are faced with a new challenge though. Getting noticed.

A blog is far and away the best home for our great content, and it is important that we help our customers find all the great content we’ve just provided for them. The most effective way to promote our blog is by using social media, like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Social Media Marketing is an important aspect of our Content Marketing strategy. More on that later.

Just so’s ya know… I include Twitter account setup, and Twitter blog integration to all of my blogging clients. Contact me to learn more.

Twitter Tips

This article focuses on “micro-blogging”, specifically the 140 character limited, microblog platform, Twitter.

Most of what I write in this blog has to do with what I’ll call “Blog Blogging”—that is, writing about posting articles on a traditional blog, like those that I build for my clients.

Following, are some of my favorite Twitter tips for maximizing your microblogging impact.
Tweet Frequency:

Aim for two tweets, twice per day. That’s fairly easy to accomplish by doing one “original” tweet plus one retweet, in the morning – and then doing the same in the afternoon or early evening. Tweeting more than this is better, with the important proviso, that overdoing it to the point that the only Tweets in your followers’ feeds are yours, will result in you being “blocked” or “muted”.

 

Retweet Other People’s Content:

Scroll through your feed, choose an interesting tweet from someone you’d like to increase your connection strength with. Then just click “retweet”.

 

Tweet Original Content:

  • Quick ‘quip’ (an idea or thought that you think your followers might find helpful)
  • A link to your most recent blog post
  • A link to a previous blog post
  • A link to a useful article posted on another site
  • It is more than OK to post links to older blog posts. It’s a great way to get more value out of work you’ve already done
  • It’s OK to post a link to a competitor’s article, not too frequently, but once in a while. Hopefully they’ll either reciprocate, or at least give you a ‘mention’ in their Twitter feed.

 

When to Tweet

I’ve read a few different articles about this, and looked at some graphs. Audiences are biggest in the workday mornings, and early afternoon. The most popular time to tweet is during the typical workday hours. Somewhat counter-intuitively, the best time to tweet for maximum engagement and click-through is actually around 1 to 2 AM!

(data here: https://blog.bufferapp.com/best-time-to-tweet-research)

 

Personally, I try to Tweet every morning, and then again every evening after dinner. My thinking being that, people open their Twitter feeds when they arrive at work, turn on computers, and start checking email etc. Then, after dinner, they’re sitting at the TV with their phones or tablets in their hands.

 

Final Thoughts
Your goals on Twitter, are similar to your goals when blogging.

  • Add Value
  • Think of marketing potential
  • Consider SEO (links to your website and blog)

Final Final Thought

Add value. Add value. Add value.

If we want people to follow us, and more importantly remember and follow through with us, we need to provide a reason for them to do so.

Remember, all of my blog building packages include FREE Twitter setup and blog integration too!

Blogging and SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Google is the king. Bing is the queen. If you don’t keep the king and queen happy you will lose your head.

You’ve had your website for 10 or 15 years. If people search for you by name, they find it. Great!. That’s a very good place to start. But wouldn’t it be nice if people searching Google also found you when they were searching for what you can offer them? I’m thinking that the answer to that question is a very resounding, “yes!”

Hopefully, you’ve already give a bit of thought to SEO – Search Engine Optimization – making sure that your website is set up in a way that makes it easy to find on Google or Bing (or other search engines) when people search for you or what you sell. Also hopefully, you’ve managed to steer clear of the many scammers and charlatans offering to guarantee that you will be positioned at “number one on Google” for an exorbitant fee. I’ll do that for free right now, if your name is Gerome B. Smithson, put it on every page of your website, and name one page, “About Gerome B. Smithson”. I guarantee you that you will be the first result of any search for Gerome B. Smithson. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this blog article show up on the first page of a Google search a few days after it’s posted! Lastly, I hope and pray that your SEO expert didn’t get your website banished from search results altogether by using “dirty tricks” that the search engine algorithms caught on to. And they will catch on.

I’ve talked a bit about optimization. I’ve talked a bit about pitfalls and dangers. Let’s talk about blogs. After all, I build blogs!

How can blogging help your business’s online presence? The answer is simple, but like every easy answer, making it happen will require a little (really, just a little) effort. Search engines all try to deliver the most relevant results to search inquiries. That’s the business that they’re in. How well they do it determines how successful they are. To do it well search companies like Google and Bing spend millions upon millions of dollars developing proprietary search algorithms. Algorithms determine which website will appear at the top of page 1 of a search result, and which websites will appear somewhere on page 27. No one visits page 27, except maybe the sad sack clicking through page after page trying to find her website. Here is an example from this very day:

I wanted to find out if I should use the word businesses, business’ or, business’s for a paragraph in this blog post. I’m writing this particular post in Microsoft Internet Explorer, so the default search engine is Microsoft Bing. I searched, business’ or business’s grammar. Bing delivered two pages of results of websites on the topic of business grammar. Not especially useful as I would then have to figure out how to find my answer in one of those sites. I switched to Google Chrome and made the same query. The first result was exactly what I was looking for, as was the second. Guess which search engine won?

What can you do to improve the odds of your business or professional website being found? How can a small business hope to compete, when even Microsoft sometimes can’t get search right?

Blog. Blogging accomplishes your SEO goals automatically. You barely even have to think about SEO once you start blogging regularly. Your blog helps you be found by keeping you relevant. Search engines prioritize new content. Every post is new content. Search engines look for outbound links. It’s easy to add a couple of high quality links to every blog post. Search engines look for inbound links (other sites that link to you). The more you post, and the better your content, the more likely it is that other people will link back to you. You can help this along by posting links to your blog posts on your Twitter and other social media accounts. Search engines try to prioritize based on how “important” they think a website is. This is a tough one to crack because perceived importance is at the heart of their algorithms, but again good content, frequent contributions, and quality links, are all going to be factors in making you and your web presence stand out in the crowd. Maybe you’ll never get your blog or website to number one on page one of a Google search for “Toronto Lawyer”. But you can might get to page one for a search of “Toronto lawyer specializing in collaborative divorce for seniors”. And if that’s what you do, get busy writing a really good blog article (or two or three), or you’re going to appear beneath this article!

But I don’t know what to write!

What will you write? You have decided that having a blog for your business or professional practice is a good idea. That’s perfect. Your considering hiring someone to build your blog and get you started. Very good. But… You are reluctant to actually get started because you have no idea what you’d post on your blog once it’s up. That’s a problem.

Don’t worry, you are not alone!
It is easier than you think it is to start blogging.

The reason that blogging is going to be easier than you might have thought is that you already have a head start. How can that be? Your head start is that you already know more than anybody else in the entire world about something. That’s your business. All you need to do is find a way to share that knowledge. And, to make that a bit easier, here are a few tips to get you started.

Blogging Idea Tips:

  1. Answer a question
    It could be a question that a customer actually asked you, or it could be a question that you’d like a customer to ask you. Either way, you have the answer. Share it in a blog post.
  2. Tell a story
    You’ve probably seen this tip before. But what everyone else seems to leave out, are actual story ideas. Here are a couple to get you started. The story of how your business started. A story about a satisfied client. A story about a problem that you solved. A story about how you overcame a hardship. A story about why you love what you do. You get the idea, right?
  3. Ask a question
    We don’t always need to know the answer. Asking a question can be a great way to get feedback from your stakeholders, it’s a great way to open a dialogue with customers, it can deepen your relationships, and hey; you might even get the answer you’re looking for!
  4. Post what you sell
    Whether you sell a product or a service, your blog provides an endless opportunity to describe what you offer, and how it can benefit for clients and customers. This tip comes with a gentle warning though. Be careful not to appear “spammy”. Remember that (just like you) your customers are being bombarded with sales pitches online. Most of those pitches are probably annoying to them. Your goal is always to offer them something of value, never to annoy or alienate them. A sales post should always offer something much more than a sales pitch. It could be a detailed description of a product feature, or a unique (really unique!) buying opportunity, like an annual clearance sale, a product clear-out, or a new product or service.
  5. Post Links and Snippets
    Even with the tips I’ve offered above, it can be difficult to come up with blogging ideas. Chances are good that your customers share some of the same interests that you do. You’re probably on the Web checking out some of those interests every day anyway. Why not post a snippet (a sentence or two, maybe a picture or a paragraph) of an interesting article that you have come across. When you do this, ALWAYS post a link back to the original article on the original website. By doing this you accomplish several things at once. You provide interesting content to your own readers. You also promote the author and website that you linked back to. Done properly this builds their credibility, enhances your own reputation, and makes you a valuable resource and a good “netizen“.

Final Notes:

Blog posting really is pretty straightforward. It can feel a bit intimidating before your fingers hit the keyboard, but once you make those first few keystrokes you’ll be on your way. And remember, don’t forget to promote those blog posts on your social media accounts. Tweet a link on Twitter. Share a link on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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