Facebook or LinkedIn – Getting Started on Social Media

Start with either Facebook or LinkedIn. My previous post discussed why social media presence should no longer be considered an optional activity for organizations of any size; including solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, professional services, and nonprofits. But for people whose expertise is embedded into their profession and the services that they offer, getting started can seem complicated — and maybe even a bit intimidating.

So, how do you get started?

Ideally, even the smallest business or organization should be active on several social media platforms. And ideally, one day, maybe you will be!. But getting started can be pretty easy if you choose just one platform to begin your social media marketing journey. There are two primary social media platforms that have tremendous reach. Facebook and LinkedIn. Which one is right for you depends not so much on what your business offers, but on who your main customers are.

Facebook

FacebookFacebook has over 2 billion users logging on to it every day. That’s nearly everybody in the developed world, outside of China. But that doesn’t mean that Facebook is the right platform for you. Let’s consider who those users are… And why they are on Facebook…

Typically people use Facebook for personal social connections. They are not typically using it for business purposes. So why use Facebook as business marketing tool? Well, if your business or organization is oriented towards individual consumers, there is literally no better place in the known universe to connect with them.

LinkedIn

LinkedInLinkedIn continues to grow, but will probably never have as many users as Facebook does. LinkedIn currently claims to have over 500 million users, but third party sources but the number of users per month at about 106 million. So why use LinkedIn if it has only around 10% as many daily users as Facebook? Once again the key consideration is who those users are.

Typically LinkedIn users are using it strictly for business purposes. Cat videos and YouTube “fails” are strongly discouraged, and seldom seen there. LinkedIn is the online leader for business to business networking, and for individuals looking to build their personal network connections for business or career building opportunities. If your business or organization is primarily business to business (b2b), there is literally no better place in the known universe to connect with them.

Using Facebook Professionally

You probably already have a Facebook page that you use to stay connected with friends and family. Good, you are going to need that. What you are NOT going to do, is use that personal Facebook page for your business!

Set up a Facebook business page, also called a “fan page” by Facebook. Once you are logged in to Facebook, simply visit this page and follow the instructions to set up your page. We’ll talk again in a few minutes once you’ve done that…

Great! That was easy right?

Now we need to get down to business. Hopefully you had some images available, at least your logo, or a professional looking head shot. It’s no disaster if you don’t yet, but you are definitely going to want some images to take advantage of such a visual medium. You’ve also already gone through the setup wizard and entered plenty of relevant information about you and your organization and what it does. Now what?

Once you have created your Facebook Business Page, there are two things that need to happen in order to be successful.

  1. You need people to see your page
  2. You need something for them to see when they get there.

 

Getting People to See Your Page

The Achilles’ Heel of Facebook is visibility. Business pages only show up regularly in the Facebook feeds of people who have “Liked” the page. This creates a kind of “Catch 22” for new pages. You don’t get seen unless you;re liked, and you don’t get liked until you are seen. Ouch.

So what can you do about this? First, you will be able to ask all of your personal Facebook friends to “Like” your new business page. Click on the link that says “Invite your friends to like this page”. That should get your personal friends  connected to your business.

Of course that’s not why you created a business page, but it helps lend credibility to your page if it already has some “Likes”. Getting “Likes” is almost certainly going to require some paid advertising on Facebook. This is neither as difficult, or expensive as it may sound though.

Facebook offers what is probably the most detailed and granular advertising tools for small organizations available anywhere. You can set your daily budget to be any size you want, even just a few dollars at first to test the waters. You can also set your campaign to run for a day or two, or for as long as you want. Facebook also allows you to target your ad to extremely precise demographics. Want to target only women between the ages of 35 and 49 who have expressed an interest in natural health products? You can do that.

Remember, your goal here is not to “sell, sell, sell”. It’s simply to get the right people to visit and “Like” your Facebook page.

Posting to Facebook

Once people begin visiting your page, there needs to be something there for them to read and see. Once again, a quick reminder that Facebook is communications, and networking tool. If you post nothing but “hard sell” messages, it won’t be long before people start clicking on the “Unlike” button.

The key to all social media posting is to provide something of value to visitors. People are visiting your page because they want to, not because they have to. Whatever you post should give them something of value. What that is will depend on what you offer. Occasionally you can offer something with financial value, like a discount coupon or code, but more often than not, people will appreciate valuable information. For example if you sell hand made handbags, an article about how they are made might be nice, Maybe even a video showing all the steps involved in creating a quality handmade handbag. If your product is high end furniture, articles and picture that show what to look for when shopping for high quality furniture might offer value. Show people how a $3000 dollar coffee table is vastly superior to a $150 coffee table.

Using LinkedIn Professionally

Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is set up from the get-go to be business oriented. But there are several ways to use it well. The first, easiest, and most important, is to get an account on LinkedIn. Once you have an account (or if you have one already) it is very important to make sure you set it up completely, and keep it up to date. I cannot stress this highly enough. You MUST have a complete profile, relevant titles, headlines and taglines, a decent professional picture, and up to date info. 

You have complete and up to date profile, now what?

LinkedIn is a social networking tool. So the next step is to start networking. Connect with all of your business connections. They will probably all be on LinkedIn already, so find them, and connect with them. LinkedIn can also be connected to your address book on Outlook or Windows or MacOS. If you have a lot of business contacts there, you should consider clicking on “Allow” when asked if you want to link your account.

What About Connecting with People you don’t Know?

Generally speaking, this practice is discouraged, and considered to be “bad form”, or worse – “spammy”. But there are exceptions. If the person is a friend of a friend, you can either ask your friend for an introduction, or send a note with your invitation. There may also be circumstances where you feel that mutual interests are so strong, that a nice introduction note will almost certainly be well received. Hopefully, you have succeeded so far by having good judgement and people skills. Use those skills on LinkedIn just as you would in “real life”.

Other Best Practices on LinkedIn

 

Posting
Just like on Facebook, you are going to want people to find something interesting to read when the visit your profile. Post updates frequently (one or twice a week is plenty). Post articles occasionally, if you enjoy writing. Every time you post an update, a little note will appear in the LinkedIn feed of your contacts. So it’s a nice, easy way to stay connected. Well written, full articles, are occasionally picked up by LinkedIn Pulse. When this happens (if it happens) literally thousands of professionals and business people will see your article, and learn about you.

Endorsements & Recommendations
LinkedIn has a skills section that you should have completed when you set up your profile. All of your contacts also have skills listed. The value of these skills has become somewhat questionable, as there is no verification scheme in place. However, I recommend that you occasionally endorse your contacts for the skills that you know they have, and send them a quick thank you note when they endorse you. It’s just another nice way to stay connected, active, and keep your name in front of your contacts.

Recommendations are a bit more work, but also have significant value. Essentially, a LinkedIn recommendation is a “Testimonial”. Be generous with yours when appropriate. Ask for them when you believe they are deserved AND will be forthcoming.

Groups
Like Facebook, LinkedIn has groups. It’s a very good idea to join a few that are relevant to your business. Posting to a group guarantees that many people with shared interests will see what you have to offer. They can also be a great way to build your personal LinkedIn contact network. Even if you don’t post new articles to your group, an occasional comment or “like” — will keep your name in front of the right people.

LinkedIn Business Pages

Like Facebook, LinkedIn offers business pages. Unlike Facebook, there is not much need for a separate business page unless your organization has many members and employees. Remember, LinkedIn is a business oriented platform already. That means that your “personal” LinkedIn account is already a “business” account. If your organization does merit a separate business page, you can set it up here.

Hopefully, I have provided enough information here for you to get started, and keep using social media for your business or organization. If you’d like some more help, or for someone to go through the process with you, contact me. I’ll be happy to help you.

Think You Don’t Need Social Media? Your Excuse Does Not Add Up.

3 reasons that your business needs to use social media marketing

If I had a dollar for every entrepreneur that told me they didn’t need to do social media marketing… I’d be rich. And since I’d like to be rich, here is why the excuses don’t add up.

Excuses, Excuses, and More Excuses

  1. I have enough business already

    This is my favorite excuse. It’s my favorite because it is hard to rebuke while remaining respectful. That’s because it reveals an inadequate understanding not only of social media, but more importantly of marketing.

    Marketing is NOT the same as sales, and social media marketing is not the same as online selling. Social media marketing is a way to remain engaged with your existing clients and customers, as much (or more) as it is about “advertising” your business to the world. Social media give you an opportunity to keep providing your clients with valuable information and insights, even when they are not actively seeking your services.

    Rather than look at social media marketing strictly as a way to drum up new business, think of it as a way to give added service and benefits to your customers. Let them know that you are thinking about their well-being, and they are far more likely to think of you as more than “just the guy that services their widget-whatever every year or two.

  2. I’m too busy to deal with Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and LinkedIn and Instagram etc.

    I get it. You are busy. That’s good. In the scheme of dangerous assumptions that have sunk innumerable small businesses, “I’m too busy with existing customers to worry about new ones” probably ranks at number one.

    Customer acquisition is always the most expensive activity of any business, especially a sole-proprietorship, or professional practice. When your primary product is your time, time spent trying to gain new business is uncompensated. It is also necessary. So the key is finding time and then using it wisely and efficiently.

    It is easier and much more efficient to retain existing clients, and to use an ongoing and simple marketing system to load the top of your sales funnel.Social media are the perfect means of keeping current clients engaged and simultaneously generating the kind of leads that can be built on when the time comes to move them down the sales funnel.

    What’s the secret? First it’s finding and using only the social media platforms that are most likely to be relevant to your clients. Second, it’s maintaining a “steady drip” of useful nuggets into those platforms, while being diligent about responding quickly to contacts and comments. It took discipline and determination to build your business.

    It’s taken hard work and discipline to keep it going. I have total confidence that with discipline, determination, and HARDLY ANY WORK AT ALL you can maintain a social media presence that will be of value to you, your business, and your clients.

  3. I Don’t Understand the Technology

    This is actually a valid excuse, but it’s only a temporary one! The technology and the social media platforms that run on the technology can be learned. Your kids learned it. I learned it. You can learn it too.

    In fact, I am pretty passionate about helping people like you learn to use social media technologies. We’ll go as slow, or as fast, as needed. And we’ll only concentrate on the one or two platforms, that we decide together, make sense for your specific situation. No wasted time, energy, or money.

    Let’s do it!

  4. Did I leave something out? Got a better excuse? Let me know!

 

Contact me today if you want some social media help, or if you just feel like challenging my assumptions!

 

Solopreneurs – Is Facebook Right for your Business?

Facebook Sign - should your nonprofit, ngo, or charitable organization be using Facebook?

If you are a solopreneur, or self-employed professional, you’ve probably considered using Facebook as a marketing tool. But is it the right tool for your business or professional practice?

Let’s start with the benefits of Facebook.

  1. Nearly everyone you know has a Facebook profile
  2. Nearly everyone you know uses Facebook daily
  3. It follows that every one that will use your services or buy your product is also on Facebook!

But does that automatically mean you should use Facebook for marketing?

Not necessarily!

Let’s dive a bit deeper. Why are people using Facebook, and what do they want and expect from this particular social media network?

  1. Communicating with family and friends
  2. Keeping up with what friends and family are doing
  3. Letting family and friends know what we are up to
  4. Managing events, inviting others to events, and responding to event invitations
  5. Entertainment; checking out interesting and/or humorous memes
  6. Watching videos
  7. Learning new things and keeping up with different kinds of news

While not completely inclusive, the above list is pretty representative. You’ll notice that only the last item on my list has any real relationship to the marketing objectives of most businesses.

We are facing a dilemma, aren’t we?

All of our potential clients are on Facebook, but most of them are not using it to learn about new products or services, or to network with business interests.

How to use Facebook to Maximum Effect

The most important aspect of using Facebook for business interests is to use the technology appropriately.

Do NOT use your personal Facebook profile for business purposes! That is a surefire way to alienate friends and family, while simultaneously over-sharing with business related contacts. Your family does not want to know more about your business than you share with them at dinner, and your business contacts and potential clients, would probably be happier if you spared them photographs of you, shirtless at the cottage with a beer in one hand and a case of empties at your feet!

Set up a Facebook Business Page!

In my humble opinion every business of every type should have a business page on Facebook. Even if we recognize that Facebook is not our ideal social media marketing platform, we should have a presence there. Essentially, Facebook has become a secondary website. Just as people expect that every serious business will have some sort of web site, people now expect that every serious business will have a Facebook business page.

A business page is strictly business. It is managed from your Facebook personal account, but is separate from it. Posts made to your business page can be set to be from you personally (which makes sense if you are your business), or from the page name, which makes sense if your business brand is not the same as your name.

It is not difficult to set up the business page, Facebook has instructions, and easy to follow prompts, for doing so. And professional help from people like me is also readily available.

You Have a Page – Now What?

Let’s start with the basic “must do” stuff. A header image, a logo image (or professional head shot). Descriptions of your products and services, and of course invitations to “Like” your page sent out to your personal Facebook contacts. Add a couple of interesting posts over the next few days, and you’re set to go.

The really big question now needs to be answered in earnest. How much effort, time, and money should you spend on an ongoing basis of your business’s Facebook presence?

This takes us back to the dilemma we talked about at the beginning of this article. And here is how we are going to resolve the dilemma. We will ask ourselves the following two questions:

  1. Who is my ideal client?
  2. Is my ideal client likely to be responsive to my business interests via Facebook?

The concept of an “ideal client” is fundamental to all marketing efforts, whether through traditional (predigital) channels, or through contemporary digital channels like social media. Once you have a profile of your ideal client, you can answer the second question.

In broad terms, if your ideal client is an individual consumer, it’s reasonable to expect that your Facebook page is going to be very important to reaching out to them. Facebook has built its social network around individual consumers. In fact, we as individuals, are Facebook’s “product”. Facebook users are the product that Facebook sells to advertisers.

On the other hand, if your ideal client is another business—you are a B2B enterprise, Facebook is less likely to be your social media platform of choice. Keep your business page active. Check in on it from time to time. Be especially responsive to any inquiries or posts made to it, but don’t spend hours of time or thousands of dollars promoting it. Your basic presence there will probably suffice.

Your “Ideal Client” is a Consumer on Facebook

Here is where things get interesting. Once you have a Facebook business page, you can hope and pray that people will find it. Fortunately, some people will. Mostly they’ll be your friends, family, and most active customers. That’s great. But it’s clearly not enough. Those are the people that you communicate regularly with in other forums.

For your Facebook business page to be really useful, you are going to need to reach out, and that is almost certainly going to involve an advertising spend. Sure, you’ve been told that social media marketing can be done for free, and that has been the case (besides your investment in time) right up to the completion of your page setup. But since your ideal client is using Facebook, you’re going to need to find a way to be seen by them.

Fortunately this is where Facebook’s business model really shines. Because Facebook users are Facebook’s product, and because Facebook knows nearly everything about every user, it becomes exceptionally easy to be extremely granular about who will see your Facebook ads. There is literally no other advertising platform that allows such precision targeting. Is your ideal client a 35 year old single woman who is looking to be a condominium in Toronto? No problem! Target your ad to female Facebook users between the ages of 32 and 39 who have interests in real estate, condos, lofts, and home decor. Is your ideal client a 21 year old who likes to listen to live music in Oshawa? No problem. Target your ad to 19 to 25 year olds, living within 20 km of Oshawa who like local bands and dance music.

Keep at it. Stay engaged. Build your like list. And, as always, offer something of value on your Facebook page. Once you’ve managed to bring someone to your page, it is vitally important to keep that person engaged. At the end of the day you want all the time, energy, and money that you’ve invested to translate into sales, and lasting, mutually beneficial business relationships.

Want to talk about this a bit more? Contact me!

Solopreneur? 4 Reasons to Manage your own Social Media

solopreneur working from home

Soloprenuers and other self-employed professionals, like real estate agents, b2b consultants, lawyers, accountants, dentists, and ADR professionals, often feel themselves to be in a bit of a bind when it comes to social media marketing management. It can be hard to find time for social media, not every entrepreneur feels like information technology is a core competency (or necessity), and on the other hand—hiring a marketing agency to manage Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc, can be quite expensive. Too often the end result is that the solopreneur simply forgoes social media completely, or dabbles lightly just to be there.

There is Another Way!

It is possible to have a successful social media marketing strategy that any solopreneur can self-manage. The key to this lies in choosing only the social media platforms that make the most sense for your particular circumstances, and then dedicating just a few minutes every day to those platforms.

Why do it Yourself?
Here are 4 good reasons that every solopreneur should manage their own social media marketing:

  1. The first and most important reason is an unquestionable truth. Only you can be you.
    Unlike larger businesses in which the brand is represented by multiple employees and multiple stakeholders, the brand of the solopreneur is represented by the individual human being behind the brand. This also holds true for people like lawyers and accountants who may be part of a partnership, and for people like real estate agents who are working on behalf of a brokerage. Social media are for social networking. People like to interact with other people when they participate in social networks. Solopreneurs have a unique advantage over even the largest brands in this regard, and working social media as a “real person” can deliver dividends that are simply unavailable to big, impersonal, brands.
  2. It is way less expensive to manage your own social media accounts than it is to hire a marketing agency.
    On the page of this site that talks about pricing, I cite an example of a smaller marketing agency and their fees, which are also compared to the fees of their competitors. Suffice to say that typical social media management fees run to several thousand dollars every month. Hiring an employee to manage social media (even part-time) is still going to cost thousands of dollars, on an ongoing basis. And, most importantly, outsourcing social media account management, effectively kills the number one advantage that the solopreneur has when it comes to social media networking. Only you can be you.
  3. Why use a fishing net when you can simply bait a hook? There is no need to waste time, money, and energy on platforms that are not likely to yield results.
    Big corporations and their big brands pretty much need to be everywhere all of the time. Solopreneurs only need to be where their customers are. There is no point to filling your sales funnel with leads to nowhere. Learn where your ideal customers spend their social media networking time, and join them there.
  4. Get closer to your clients. Building community with stakeholders is what social media is all about. Join your customers, and potential clients, and become an important part of their online communities. At the end of the day, networking through social media is not that different than networking in the “real world”. Offer helpful advice. Be ready with solutions to problems. Ask for input, or even for help. Always remember that the people at the other end of your keyboard, are real, flesh-and-blood human beings, just like you are.

self-employed woman working on a computer

Next Steps

Now that you know why you should manage your own social media marketing, what can you do next?

  1. Choose between 1 and 3 platforms, sign up, and start posting.
  2. Be interactive and responsive to comments and inquiries.
  3. Post anything that you believe your community will appreciate from you. That means that you should NOT post only advertising slogans and sales pitches. If you would not appreciate seeing something similar from someone trying to sell to you, don’t post it.
  4. Ask for help! If you are not sure how to get started, or what platforms make the most sense for you, get help from a professional like me who can get you moving in the right direction. Yes, professional services (like your own) have to be paid for. But as you know very well, the right kind of help, from the right professional, is worth every penny.

Contact Allan Revich

 

4 Secrets for Social Media Failure

How to fail at social media marketing, 4 helpful tips

Failure isn’t “rocket surgery”.

Any person or organization can handle its social media posting without a huge commitment of time or money. It is quite likely that by doing it right, you, and your organization, will achieve at least some level of measurable success. And while success is never guaranteed, there are several different ways to guarantee failure. Here are some of my favourites.

  1. Post nothing but link spam:

    This is probably the number one rookie mistake. You’ve taken the plunge into social media marketing, you’ve chose a realistic and measurable goal (driving more traffic to your website), and you begin your tweeting and posting. Three times a day, five days a week, you post something along the lines of.
    we have the prices in Toronto for silver plated widgets! Click Here to buy some.
    Ask yourself how often you’ve clicked on a link like that? Probably not too often. How much value does a post like that add? Is there anything worthwhile to be learned from it?There is a saying from the early days of the Web that’s as relevant today as it was twenty years ago, “content is king“. Every post should provide something of interest or value to your stakeholders, even the posts with links back to your blog or website.

  2. Spread yourself too thin:

    If you are a full-time social media professional working for a larger organization, this may not apply to the same extent, though it still matters. If you are a self-employed professional, or working for small volunteer-staffed organization, it is all too easy to sign up for accounts on every social media platform that you happen upon, in the hope that by being everywhere, you can get your message across to everyone. Unless you actually are a social media professional, you’re soon going to learn that if you post everything to every platform, you’re not going to have enough time to actually accomplish the core tasks of your organization. Or, you’ll spend so much time working on promoting your work, that you don’t have time to actually do any work! Or (most likely) you’ll just give up completely on social media and just walk away. Choose a couple platforms that are right for you and/or your organization, and work them consistently.

  3. Choose the wrong platform:

    Not every platform, not even all of the “big three” (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) may be right for your project, business, or organization. Eventually most organizations are going to bump up against their limits of time and monetary resources. Like any other important project, it’s important to concentrate your social media efforts where they are most likely to yield your desired results. A retail business selling gourmet chocolate products will probably get great bang for their marketing efforts by investing time and money in its Facebook Page. LinkedIn would likely be much less effective for a retail business like this. On the other hand, the exact opposite would be the case for a professional who offers business to business services. In a previous post I offered some helpful advice on choosing the best platforms.

  4. Become too busy, too lazy, or too complacent to post:

    .…And of course the absolute best way to fail at social media marketing is to not do any.Back when I was a teenager just starting to go out to restaurants and bars on my own, my buddies and I couldn’t figure out why our waiter would not return to our table after we bought our first round. I finally screwed up enough courage to go up to him and ask. This was his response:”a horse can’t do no work if you don’t give it no hay

    Simple, and to the point. If you don’t put in any effort, you will not reap any rewards. By avoiding to the three previous failure “tips”, it becomes much easier to avoid this last one too. All it takes is a few minutes, once or twice a day, and the self-discipline and task prioritization needed to make those few minutes available every day.

Now go forth and post my friends. Go forth and tweet! The world is waiting for you.

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.

 

Social Media Marketing: DIY or Paid Professionals?

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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

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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.