Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Social Media Fitness: Learn to Weigh the Progress of Your Social Platform

I finally went out and bought myself a bathroom scale. For years I had avoided weighing myself, saying things like “I go by the fit of my clothes. If they get too tight I know it’s time to lose some weight.” But the reality was, by the time my clothes were too tight, I had already put on 5-10 pounds and bought a new wardrobe.

Some fitness experts recommend you weigh yourself daily so you catch the weight creeping up at 1-pound gain not at 10 pounds. The same applies to measuring your social engagement activities. Are you making positive progress or just putting on the weight of more to do?

Now instead of a bathroom scale, I recommend you go out and buy yourself a fabulous spiral notebook. This will be used daily to track and measure your “Fitness Level.” Here are 5 simple things you can do without even breaking a sweat.

Plan your menu and set your weekly goals:

1. Plan your menu. Write down your content strategy each week. What events or promotions do you have coming up? What are 5-10 tips you can share with your on-line community? What ideas do you have for your blog? Having this content strategy is like having a bowl of fresh fruit out on the counter. You will avoid those mornings when you don’t know what to post so you go for the junk food…or unfocused content.

2. How many new “FANS” do you want to attract this week? Growing your fan base takes consistency. By posting great content you will get fans to STAY and ENGAGE with you, but you also have to let new people know that you have this community and that you want them to join in. If you use Facebook for personal and professional networking, share a post or two each week from your PAGE with your personal profile friends and ask them to join you. (Use the SHARE option on the bottom left of your PAGE, instead of SUGGEST TO FRIENDS so you can add a personal message.) Be sure you schedule a couple tweets telling people to join in, and if you send out an e-zine or newsletter, tell people how they can find you on Facebook.

3. How many new connections do you want to make on Twitter this week? We all know that it is not just about the numbers on Twitter. You must be strategic and target the audience you are trying to attract. Use search tools like http://Search.Twitter.com or go to http://Twellow.com to target specific industries or keywords.

4. How many posts will you commit to this week? Blogging drives traffic to your site and shows your expertise. Commit to posting at least once a week, but if you enjoy writing and can put out several short posts each week…even better!

5. Now at the end of each day take out your measurement notebook and track the following:

• How many new Facebook connections or new people who have LIKED your page do you have?
• What is the level of engagement? How many people commented, shared your content or LIKED your posts? This will help you determine whether you are meeting the needs of your community. Don’t worry if your numbers are low at first or on occasion. Catch the 1-pound weight gain and make adjustments.
• How many people clicked through from your PAGE to your website? (If you use http://Bit.ly to shorten your links you can track how many have clicked through. Using Google analytics on your site will do this as well.)
• On Twitter, how many FOLLOWERS do you have at the end of the day?
• How many people ReTweeted your content? ReTweets are the sign of great content being shared. When your community is not passing on your content, it is time to make adjustments to your posts. Keep track of what type of content DOES get passed along.
• How many comments did you get on your blog posts? This will help you keep your focus on providing great content, inviting comments at the end of your post with questions or even a bit of controversy.

So let’s get out that scale and start tracking our progress. You will learn a lot about what is working and what is not. Obviously, increased sales is the ultimate goal and should also be tracked (Where did this new client hear of you?), but don’t let your daily activities go unmeasured.

How are you tracking your progress? What works best for you? Share your wisdom with us!

Gina Schreck
President & Co-Founder of Synapse 3Di, LLC

Gina writes and speaks about technology and how we can use it to connect and engage with our communities. She is the author of “Getting’ Geeky with Twitter: Build Your Business and Manage Your Brand with Today’s Hottest Social Media Tool”, and she is also the host of GETTIN’ GEEKY, a popular web show that makes learning about tech tools a little less scary. You can find Gina on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Marketing on a Budget Part 4: Business to Business.... New Media

So what do you need to do differently if you are a business to business marketer.

In most cases, you will still want to focus heavily onyour website, SEO, and e-mail marketing. You will also want to consider Social Media for B2B. This is still very new, but the internet rewards first movers in many ways, and there are some clear opportunities for those who can navigate the unchartered territory.

Ask Questions and Listen

Where are your customers "hanging out" on-line?
Which media are influencing their purchasing decisions?
Depending on industry firewalls and security may rule out some media.

Establish Implement Your Strategy

Set yourself up to succeed. Choose a reasonable plan that is consistent with your resources. Even though social media is "free" it really isn't and for this reason alone, many plans fail.

Use Social Media to drive leads through e-mail subscriptions.

Mix Free content with paid content, and increase your revenue streams and opportunities.

Use Social Media to promote your events, meetings your attending, and tradeshows... this is a great way to connect..... and start the conversation.

Turn cold calls into warm connections. Use the search features within Linked In, Facebook, etc. to find people at specific companies or with specific job titles. Get introduced to these people, and then set up sales calls.

Amanda Wodzenski is a regular blogger for the WSBA, and the owner of CRMastermind, a consulting company that specializes in CRM and e-mail marketing for Small Business. Visit her blog Your Small Biz Technocoach.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

5 Tasks You Should Outsource Today

Virtual Assistants are talented, on-call independent contractors who work with successful small business owners to help them generate more revenue, gain more free time and do the tasks they do best in their business, while outsourcing the rest!

Some Virtual Assistants are one-person shows, but Virtual Assist USA (owned by WSBA Member, Danielle Cuomo) is a multi Virtual Assistant firm that offers Virtual Assistants in every area a business owner could possibly need assistance with.

Below are 5 tasks that a Virtual Assistant can do for you:

1) Manage social media campaigns: A Virtual Assistant can create an entire social media campaign for you, or simply maintain the one you already have.
2) Build and maintain a website: A Virtual Assistant can be more cost-effective than hiring a marketing firm, which charge upwards of $5,000 per site.
3) Bookkeeping: Virtual Assistants, like the ones at Virtual Assist USA, often have many certifications in this specialized area
4) Create a public relations campaign: Public relations is something that so many small business owners often overlook, but shouldn't - because PR is free buzz!
5) Search engine optimization: Virtual Assistants will formulate an entire SEO plan for your website and ensure that you are visible on the search engines!

Virtual Assist USA is a Virtual Assistant Firm whose clients range from CEOs to mom-entrepreneurs… internet millionaires to start-up businesses. Learn more here: www.virtualassistusa.com