Why Your Business Needs Instagram

Instagram for Business

Instagram for Business

Instagram isn’t just for selfies anymore: companies that incorporate it into their social media plan are increasingly finding a use in posting daily pictures with descriptive captions and original hashtags. Visuals capture the attention like nothing else, and when you can easily promote your brand with an app that many smartphone users have at their fingertips, why not try it out?

One of the huge benefits of Instagram is the ability to develop and share your specific brand identity with an audience of millions. Snap a picture of your employees at work, a new product coming soon, or even of the view from an especially scenic office window—customers want to see the everyday workings of a business they support, and it’s a good way to draw in new business as well. It brings the business closer to the customer, and the customer gets to know the business better by seeing daily or weekly visuals relevant to the brand. Teasers of new products or daily pictures leading up to a reveal inside the business are intriguing to the everyday Instagram user and will get them talking about the brand. Feeling a personal connection to the business is important for the customer and makes them more likely to recommend your services to others.

Using hashtags is a big part of Instagram as well. Mixing it up and using hashtags specific to your brand as well as general hashtags that people may search is a simple way to keep it balanced. Hashtags are how people find what they’re searching for—don’t use one that’s too complicated or unrelated to the picture. You can track your customers this way as well by searching the original hashtags you create specifically for your brand.

If customers write comments on your pictures, comment back! It’s thrilling to get a comment back from a brand that seems faceless, and it adds a personal touch that is hard to achieve in some cases. If someone compliments the picture or asks a question, it’s a nice touch to send a quick note back that shows you’re not disconnected from your audience. This is also an easy way to post a picture asking for opinions or questions (ex: “What’s your favorite color for this product?”) and to get people to engage and talk about your business. You can respond to your favorites or insert a quick comment to stimulate conversation.

Instagram photo contests are an easy way to get your followers talking to their friends about your product. Start a contest where the best photo relating to your business in some way wins a coupon or something similar—use hashtags to track the entries and promote the contest daily. Customers are always looking for a way to save, and this gets them involved in promoting your business with your specific hashtag.

Choosing Instagram as a social media site for your business is a smart decision, especially if you’re lacking a personal touch with your customers. Take a few pictures every day, apply a creative filter and attach a few thoughtful hashtags and your Instagram will start to take off. Communication with your audience is key to maintaining and building new contacts, and it’s as easy to begin as downloading a free app available on the App Store.

 

by Blair Callahan on LinkedIN at: www.linkedin.com/in/blaircallahan

Why Your Pharmacy Needs a Blog

Independent Pharmacy Business Blog

Independent Pharmacy Business Blog

Independent Pharmacy Business Blog give a competitive advantage over the big box Pharmacy locations

Chances are you’ve heard marketing experts sing the praises of business blogging.  But if you’re like most independent pharmacy owners, you haven’t given serious thought to incorporating a blog into your online marketing strategy.

In fact, you may have rolled your eyes at the suggestion of blogging thinking “Blog, schmlog. We’re already posting to Facebook and Twitter every day. Surely that’s enough!”

A Bitter Pill to Swallow

If your pharmacy is posting regularly to Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels but you’re not using a blog as a search engine magnet and customer relationship enhancer, you are building castles in the sand.    

A strategic business blog should be the backbone of your social media marketing efforts – the mother ship.  Over time, it becomes an invaluable online asset. You own and control it.

Compare that to other social media platforms where you’ve invested time and money. There, you’re working as a digital “sharecropper,” subject to the constant flux and changing rules handed down by cyber landlords looking to monetize their assets.

True — a business blog isn’t one of those cool, sexy apps that captivates media buzz. It’s more like a nuclear powered locomotive — one that must be fueled. Effective blog posts require forethought and more effort than a quickie posted to Facebook.

But done right, your pharmacy’s blog becomes an efficient, strapping engine that builds true momentum for the other “cars” on the marketing train. And together, they symbiotically expand, attract and anchor more of what you really want.


The Best 10 Reasons To Start Blogging for More Business

 

1. Get found online when prospects are searching for answers, especially from their mobile devices

2. Drive online traffic to your website/blog and foot traffic to your brick and mortar location(s)

3. Stimulate incremental sales from existing customers

4. Nurture a steady stream of positive reviews and testimonials

5. Boost referrals and opportunities for content sharing

6. Establish yourself and staff as trusted, knowledgeable experts

7. Magnetize local media folks and freelance writers looking for story ideas and experts to interview

8. Build a quality opt-in email list for updates and “Subscriber Only” special offers

9. Intertwine your internet marketing and “offline” marketing strategy and tactics

10. Look good on mobile devices even when your website does not

 

 

Business Blogging Basics

Google devours fresh content like homemade Mac  & Cheese. Your business blog is a dynamic, content- centric repository that feeds hungry search engines looking for substance, not junk food.

The platform upon which blogs are built makes it easy to publish keyword-rich articles, videos and other content to the web that look great without knowing any HTML. Your blog features easy-to-update content, displayed chronologically and organized automatically into searchable topic categories.

If you or a reliable employee who has a way with words can send an email, you can blog. You write
in a professional, but informal tone – just as you would when crafting a friendly, informative and grammatically correct email to a customer, prospect or professional in your referral network.

For the best results, always include at least one eye-catching image and apply a few stealthy tweaks to make your post more search engine and Pinterest friendly. Proofread carefully and click “Publish.” Your post is instantly live, available for anyone to find, including prospects near you searching for information and tips that relate to your industry.

Because a typical company website doesn’t get updated very often, it can be tough to compete for top rankings in local searches, especially those done from mobile devices. Managed strategically, your blog levels the playing field, giving you a competitive edge to “get found” by online searchers and the media looking for stories and experts to interview.

Your customers read your blog and share links with family and co-workers via email and by posting to the social networks they prefer. All the while, your business gains favor with Google and your articles (and sometimes, even your photo once you’ve set up Google Authorship) begin appearing on the first page of the organic (free) results, driving traffic back to your blog and website.

Publish fresh content once a week

Ideally, your articles are 400-600+ words long, but you can mix it up. The key is consistency! The best articles answer the same questions you field on a daily basis from customers and prospects. Don’t make this harder than it needs to be. Listen and ask. Answer questions. Then listen and ask some more.

If you don’t want to handle the content production and follow up in-house, hire it out. Find an expert to
write, optimize and cross-promote in social media and email. Be sure they are skilled at extracting your expertise and consistently reflect your voice and personality in the posts they produce for you.

Whether you hire me or a different blog content manager – don’t let the challenge of finding time and talent to create and leverage educational marketing content sabotage your best intentions for reaching revenue goals. It’s more like a marathon than a sprint, but you need to get into the race to preserve a competitive advantage.

Ready to learn more? Get in touch and I’ll help you figure out the smartest way to get off to a running head start.

by Jody Murphy  interplaymkt.com 

 

Facebook Engagement: The Best Measure of Social Media Success

We all love the social side of Facebook: that warm fuzzy feeling when a client or customer posts a glowing comment on your page, or when hundreds of fans “like” a photo. As businesses, when we look at the bottom line for participating in social media we have to evaluate our return on investment (ROI). Evaluating the ROI for social media platforms can be a fuzzy area, and so here are a few Facebook Insights data you should examine.

Page Likes

The number of likes a particular page has will vary with the industry, and you should watch several other pages within your industry to compare how your page likes stack up against others. Resist the temptation to believe that the number of Page Likes is the best measure of your social media performance; it is simply one variable!

pages to watch photo for Facebook

To evaluate Page Likes data, click on View Insights and then Likes. Examine your Net Likes to measure your overall success in gaining and keeping followers. Do you have frequent, high numbers of Unlikes? Evaluate your posts to see what may be driving people away. Inspect your Organic Likes vs Paid Likes to determine if the content you are providing or the ads you are producing are driving fans to your page.

Facebook likes graph

Facebook graph showing likes and unlikes

Engagement

Engagement is a much better measure of how your social media efforts are paying off. When customers interact with your page, either by liking, commenting, or sharing posts, they are giving you mini-endorsements to all of their friends and family. The “reach” (or number of total people who saw the post) of these actions will be far greater than your base Page Likes number.

post reach on Facebook

How do you measure engagement? On the wall of your business page look for the “talking about this” number. This is the number of “stories” created by people who liked, commented, or shared your posts. These stories show up in the news feed of friends of the person interacting with you; thus showing your name to many people. The Talking About This number compiles those interactions for a week with a 48 hour lag time; you won’t see this number increasing for today’s posts until two days later. Bonus: you can see the Talking About This for your competitors pages too and compare your engagement with theirs!

Evaluate individual post engagement regularly to ensure you are posting quality content with which your fans will engage. Click on your Insights Tab and then Posts. First you’ll notice the days of the week and times when your fans are online. Pay attention to this data! If your fans are online more on Fridays at 8pm then time your posts for that time frame. Another option is to post at different times of the day and monitor what posts get the most engagement. It may be that your engaged fans are online at different times than overall fans.

Facebook graph of when your fans are online

Next examine the All Posts Published area. Click the drop-down arrow beside the Reach and check Fans/ Non Fans. A post with higher engagement will have more non-fans seeing it, which means more potential clients are seeing your name. Next click on the drop down arrow beside Post Clicks, Likes, Comments & Shares, and click on Engagement Rate. This is taking the number of people who engaged with your post and comparing it to the number of people who actually saw the post. High engagement on posts will help you determine if you are posting content relevant to your fans. Just remember this is a ratio of the number of likes, comments, and shares divided by the number of people who actually saw the post, and so a post with high reach is going to need a high number of interactions to have a high engagement rate.
Another handy data point within this tab is the Post Hides, Hides of All Posts, Reports of Spam, and Unlikes of Page in the drop-down menu of Post Clicks. If you have a post or posts with more than 1 or 2 of these negative indicators you need to reevaluate what you’re posting!

Facebook posts published and engagement on posts

By evaluating Page Likes and engagement, we can be sure our content is relevant to our fans which will drive business to our doors as well as solicit new customers.

People Who Should Not Try to Market in Pinterest

Who Should Not Use Pinterest

Marketing on Pinterest can drive direct buying or lead-generating traffic to a commercial website. A Pinterest business account can function as a branding and image-building site to improve customers’ ideas about a particular company and what it does.

Don't Pin

People who shouldn’t use Pinterest

I can help almost any business owner or marketing manager figure out how to use Pinterest for their business. Sometimes, though, I’ll hear someone in business say something that makes me back away from suggesting Pinterest as a marketing channel. I stay busy enough preaching to (that is, educating and assisting) the converted that I don’t need to drag anyone into the Pinterest fold who isn’t already curious about what Pinterest can do for their business.

Comments from people who are not good candidates for Pinterest Marketing:

Social media is a waste of time

On one hand, you are completely right. Most social media draws you in to a time sucking black hole that spits you out the other side, full of gossip and irritation or resentment at what your so-called friends have been doing.

On the other hand, everybody shops, scans, and looks for new ideas, content, and concepts, even the most productive and schedule-driven executive. (Bet me? Are you still using the first golf clubs you ever owned?) In part because Pinterest limits direct contact between users (except for comments), the site provides more “exposure to new” than “gossip.”

If you get all the “exposure to new” you need in some other way, then you’re right, you don’t need Pinterest.

Facebook (or Twitter) works better

It is interesting that sometimes the same people who say, “Social media is a waste of time” will then say, “Twitter works better than Pinterest.” See the “Logic” paragraph below.

If you are marketing successfully on FB or Twitter, keep doing it.

  • If you haven’t been successful on LI, FB, or Twitter, you might want to give Pinterest a shot before you bail on all social media marketing.
  • If your marketing includes before and after photos, you may want to look at Pinterest, because images don’t “disappear” as a timeline scrolls away.
  • It’s quite possible that the bulk of the challenges you’ve experienced with Facebook marketing are as much a fault of the platform as they are of your ability to use that platform.

Women don’t buy my products, or, Pinterest only works for clothes and recipes and wedding stuff

In other words—Pinterest’s users are women, and women don’t care about anything other than retail shopping.

If that doesn’t send off warning bells, then you are right, Pinterest will not work for you. Go directly to Jail; do not pass Go.

An exercise: list five elements of your products of service, as far away from babies and clothes and weddings as you can think of. Search for them in Pinterest (box in upper left). See what you find. Consider your stance.

Google’s analytics are better

Yes, they are. Pinterest’s analytics aren’t as good as Google’s.

Q: Did you buy a thumb drive before they could hold as much data as a removable hard drive?

A1: “No, I always want all my data with me.” Skip Pinterest.

A2: “Yes, sometimes I want to give away just a few files.” In other words, a thumb drive offers you features (portability, low cost) you can’t get in a removable hard drive. Similarly, Pinterest offers features Google doesn’t have.

A2.1 If analytics are critical to your business, so much so that you can’t afford to spend time on any system not measured by tools as robust as Google’s, Pinterest is not for your business and you should wait. (Of course, you might want to make sure your competition places the same weight on analytics.)(And understand, new tools are showing up all the time.)

A2.2 If you place such a high value on analytics, why is your business buying brand advertising?

You can’t search in Pinterest

You can. You simply can’t duplicate a search from day to day, you can’t figure out what gets the highest ranking, and you never quite know what you’re going to get on the P-SERP.

  1. This will change. Search has been solved. Just like the 4-minute mile, once any one person proved it was possible, lots of people could run a mile in less than 4 minutes.
  2. Who cares? Because Google ranks answers in a linear fashion, they can only provide one best answer. What if the question your business answers doesn’t have “one best answer?”

Google “mother’s day gift ideas.” Then check Pinterest for the same term.

Mother's Day Gift Idea Boards in Pinterest

Mother’s Day Gift Idea Boards in Pinterest

Information marketers who have built an entire business funnel around answering targeted questions will have trouble marketing in Pinterest. Businesses selling tangible goods and delivered services will find it easier.

Pinterest isn’t logical

No, it’s not. Isn’t that glorious?

Isn’t it funny that marketers spend so much money and time learning about passion and story, and lizard brain, and neural and interpersonal networks, and multi-dimensional systems, and behavioral economics, and neurosocience, and then we take everything we’ve learned and stuff it back to a text-based SERP, organized in linear fashion?

Thirty minutes in Pinterest can tell you more about what your real-people clients and customers think and follow and how they organize information than your favorite keyword tool.

That said, if alogical processes drive you crazy, Pinterest is not a good place for you to be.

Need to talk?

If you find yourself questioning your certainty that Pinterest won’t work for your business, give me a call.

3 Ways to Support Buying Local for the Holidays Using Social Media

Checking-in on Social MediaIf you have a business or just enjoy supporting your community by buying from local-owned businesses, you keep money in your community and help your neighbors feed their families. When you share that you bought local on social media, you let your friends know it is important to you, and it inspires them to do the same.

I invite you to join me and others in sharing more on social media that you are buying local.  Now I don’t expect you to stop shopping at Target or never get another cup of coffee from Starbucks. But I do want to encourage you to make an extra effort to see if you can spend a few holiday dollars at a locally-owned business and share it online. For those who already do this, thank you!

 Here are a few ideas for buying local for the holidays and sharing it via social media:

1)     When at a local-owned business, please just make sure to check-in on Facebook, Foursquare, Yelp or Google Local, to name a few.  When checking in on Foursquare you can post to Facebook and Twitter. I also add the hashtag #BuyLocal when checking in just to get it to stand out, and on Twitter it can then be searched.
.
Here is a search link to see who is using the #BuyLocal hashtag from among the people that you are following right now on Twitter. Maybe you will be the first to use the #BuyLocal hashtag! https://twitter.com/search/timeline?q=%23BuyLocal&src=typd Also, here is the search link to see who is using the #BuyLocal hashtag on Pintrest:
http://pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=%23buylocal

2)     Post pictures on your social media page when shopping or eating out, highlighting specific things of interest while adding that it is a local-owned business and/or #BuyLocal to get the post to stand out. This could be on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest,

3)     Appreciate businesses that have given you good service this year or, if you are a business, appreciate other business allies. Like a random act of kindness to a business, as Pat Howlett suggested, on-line. You can do this as an individual or as a business posting on their Facebook page. You can also just “mention them” on your own business page (or personal profile) and/or link to their business page.

On Twitter you may re-tweet a post of someone talking about buying local or someone at a local-owned business that you like. On Pinterest you can even have a “local-owned’ or “buy local’ board and pin pictures that support local businesses.

I know there are many other ideas –I would love to hear yours in the comment area below.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and thanks for all the caring you have done for others this year.

Examples of people encouraging people to Buy Local (this will be updated so post your below in the comments and I may add it here):

 

See my other article about buying local with Christine Alexander – Transform Your Community — One Purchase at a Time by Buying Local!

http://pronetworkingonline.com/transform-your-community-one-purchase-at-a-time-by-buying-local/

 

Social Media Training Raleigh NC

Also learn about Anora McGaha and Martin Brossman’s new Social Media Training:
http://martinbrossmanandassociates.com/social-media-manager-training-in-raleigh-north-carolina/ 

 

 

 

Looking forward to your comments and please connect to me on-line as well:
Facebook: http://Facebook.com/MartinWBrossman
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/MartinBrossman
Youtube: http://Youtube.com/user/MartinBrossman
Pinterest: http://Pinterest.com/MartinBrossman
Instagram : http://instagram.com/MartinBrossman/
LinkedIn: http://LinkedIn.com/in/MartinBrossman
Google+: http://BrossmanOnGP.com
Martin’s email list: http://Bit.ly/martinsemaillist

Using Instagram for Business

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a free popular photo sharing app.  This app allows you to take pictures and share it with the world and also apply filters to your photos to spruce them up a bit.  A boring photo on a phone could be turned into a visually aesthetic photo and earn a top spot on Instagram’s “popular” page where the popular photos of the moment are listed.

Photos that are taken can be shared with different social media networks within the app so you only have to upload a photo once. The social networks that have access to share a photo from Instagram are: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr.

What is Instagram?

Instagram photo sharing app

A user also has the ability to geo-tag photos which then allows the user to share their location on Foursquare by checking in.

Instagram photo map

Instagram profile, photo sharing, and photo map.

Instagram Features

Should professionals or businesses use Instagram?

Sure! Instagram allows a professional or business to share their brand visually.

Let’s discuss Instagram’s features and how businesses can get involved.

Currently, there are 17 filters that a user can apply to their photos.  Filters are different effects that a user can apply to their photo to enhance the look of it. Here are three examples of different filters compared to the original photo:

Instagram normal filter

Instagram normal filter

 

Instagram earlybird filter

Instagram earlybird filter

Instagram sutro filter

Instagram sutro filter

Instagram kelvin filter

Instagram kelvin filter

Instagram inkwell filter

Instagram inkwell filter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instagram is fairly easy to use. You simply take a photo through the app itself or choose a photo from your phone and apply a filter to it. Once you’re happy with your photo effect, you press the share button and it is shared on your Instagram profile and any other social network mentioned above if you’ve choosen to do so.

Instagram VS Other Social Networks

This social media app it started out being available to iPhone users only. It is unlike other social networks because it’s specifically for sharing photos.

There are no status updates, messages, and games just to name a few differences.  However, you can:

  • “follow” people,
  • create hash-tags,
  • “tag” friends,
  • “like” photos,
  • view your newsfeed, and
  • display your profile to the world or make it private for your friends and family viewing pleasure only.

Later, Instagram came to Android devices as well. For now, the only way you can get an Instagram account is by having an Apple or Android device to sign up.  You must download the app from the app store on your smart phone to get started.

Many people wanted to be able to view Instagram outside of their phones, and now that’s possible.

Several sites that have been developed to do just that.  Some examples are http://web.stagram.com and http://followgram.me.

Webstagram instagram web viewer

Webstagram Instagram web viewer

Followgram instagram web viewer

Followgram Instagram web viewer

 

Using Instagram for Business

Businesses are beginning to use Instagram to their advantage.  Instagram allows a business to get their brand out  creatively and visually. It’s being used as another marketing tool just like other social networking sites.  Businesses are appealing to audiences that like images more than words.  No doubt, a photo will catch a person’s eye quicker than a bunch of text.

A business or professional can share photos of conferences or events they attend, behind-the-scene exclusive photos, customer photos, new product photos and more.  A business can share a photo without using a lot of words in the caption and draw more people to their site or product by simply catching their attention with an awesome photo.

Below is an image of  Mashable’s Instagram account.

Mashable is one of the biggest sources for all of your social media and technology news.  The iPhone 5 was recently unveiled and Mashable posted a picture to their Instagram account of it.  The iPhone 5 is big news and Mashable visually shared this with their readers.  If someone wanted to know more about the iPhone 5 they could simply visit Mashable’s website to get all of the details.

Mashable's Instagram profile

Mashable's Instagram profile

Would you like to see more? Here’s a quick video on how to use Instagram for iPhone or Android:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JETkbUfWY-4 via SmartphoneNirvana.com

So if you love to take photos of your products or display what your business has to offer to the world then you should definitely give Instagram a try!  Go to your smart phone’s app store now to get started.

Still not sure about using Instagram for your business? Get a lot more information and examples of business use via Instagram’s official website: http://help.instagram.com/customer/portal/topics/43530-instagram-for-businesses

Kia Tinsley is a software consultant with a degree in Information Systems and Operations Management from UNC Greensboro, and worked as a Social Media Intern with Martin Brossman & Associates over the summer of 2012.

Martin Brossman & Associates is a Raleigh based firm providing social media training, workshops, management, talks and advising to micro businesses, small and medium sized businesses, professionals, associations and communities. Contact info@martinbrossmanandassociates.com.

Pinterest and Copyright Law, for Pinners

Basic copyright law

The basics the parts of copyright law that affect your actions on Pinterest, from a US perspective.

  • “In the public domain” means, “the creator has been dead for 70 years.” It does NOT mean, “on the internet already.”
  • Once created, any “original work of authorship” is copyrighted. The copyright is almost always owned by the person who created the object. In some very limited and specific cases, the person who paid to have a work of authorship created owns the copyright, called “work for hire.”
  • Copyrights can be registered with the US Copyright office for $35 and when they are registered, the owner acquires additional, more powerful rights, including the ability to sue for damages.
  • If your URL doesn’t end in *.edu, assume that “fair use” does not apply to you.
  • The Digital Millenium Copyright “Safe Harbor” provision applies to the host, not the user. In other words, it protects content sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest, but not you, the pinner or poster of copyrighted content to those sites.
Copyright for Pinners

Copyright for Pinners (in the United States)

For additional information and the actual text of the law, spend some time at the US Copyright Office’s website. It’s very user-friendly and pretty clear.

Applying Copyright law to your Pinning activity

Trace the source

Whenever possible, pin from the original source, rather than repining. Tumblr is almost never going to be the original source, and neither will goggle.com. When you trace to the original source of a pin, you can often get a sense of whether the creator has allowed, tacitly or explicitly, sharing and pinning.

  • One professional photographer on Flickr publishes the links to the picture to make it easy to link and provides information about how he wants to be credited in that flickr account.
  • Because Flickr has an easy-to-use copyright and permission labeling system, you can be reasonably sure he’s happy to share with credit, the images that are on Flickr.
  • A different photographer has a separate gallery of 30 different images labeled “Pinterest share.” In this case, I’d feel comfortable pinning from that gallery, and far less comfortable pinning any of his other work.
  • When you trace the source to a websites with a “PinIt” and/or a “follow me on Pinterest” button, you can feel comfortable about pinning an image. Understand that the website owner is nonetheless the owner of the content. Do not change the URL or modify the image and give as much credit to the site in the caption as you want to type.

If you don’t have time to trace a pin, “Like” it to save it until you can come research the original source of the image (using Google Image search).
If you find a site does not appear to support pinning, consider “Liking” the image to save it without it appearing on your boards. (Not clear if this would be considered a copyright violation that would charge to you.)

Pinning your own images

You can always pin images you created (as long as you’re not taking a picture of something that is itself under copyright protection, most often “art.”) The Pinterest app for your smart phone makes it easy to pin-on-the-run

  • I found one image of a chair that was painted with a copy of a famous work of art that is not in the public domain. (Da Vinci & Michelangelo works are in the public domain; Klimt’s work is, Picasso and Pollack are NOT.) I did not pin the image. The copy of the painting ON the chair is, probably, a violation of the artist’s copyright
  • If you paid a photographer to make the image (realtors!?!, interior designers with portfolio photography, brides), make decisions about who owns what and who can pin what when you sign the contract.
  • If you are the photographer, start discussing Pinability of your images in your contracts.

Pinning with the PinIt bookmarklet

  • Use caution; consider whether the website owner is likely to benefit from the Pin / additional traffic; consider where you are pinning the image (what type of board?). Paste the URL in the caption as well as in the “Link” field. Use a helpful caption, rather than “cute” or “awesome” or the useless “.”, which gets you past Pinterest’s requirement to put something in the description field.
  • IF you have any doubts, email the website owner and ask for permission. As a group, photographers have a mixed response to Pinterest. Some feel they will lose sales; others believe that additional traffic will bring them more business. It’s their call, not yours.

In one case, I emailed a website owner and she told me she loved Pinterest, had an account under her own name which wasn’t the name of her studio, and simply hadn’t figured out how to put the PinIt button on her website yet. Now we’re following each other. (And I saved her email…)

Stock Photo, National Geographic, and other blocked websites

Pinterest helps website owners who don’t support sharing to block pins from a site. Many of the stock photo websites installed this code, as did the National Geographic website.
Pinning when you have to do something devious to get an image from a blocked, unpinnable website is the same as shoplifting.
Some clients may be more aware of this application of copyright law than you are. Like grammar, getting it right is invisible and getting it wrong offends. (That is, a client who recognizes that you pinned a protected image is more likely to put you in the “shoplifter” bucket than a “clever person!” bucket.)

Researching images

Use “save image as” to save a copy of the image to your hard drive, then drag that image to the Google Image search box. Google will tell you where that image has been used. If Pinterest is the only source, you don’t need the pin.

Review all pins occasionally

When you get more familiar with Pinterest, take 10 minutes to look at all your pins. Make sure they all have links and that those links are legitimate.

  • I missed some curse words in URLs when I first pinned, and I have since deleted those pins.
  • You’ll develop a feel for images that should be credited differently. Beautiful, well-photographed images that are “uploaded by user” on an account that is not full of user-created beautiful images are suspicious.
  • If you’re not sure about a link or a credit, delete the Pin. Something better will show up.

Non-participants

If you don’t want to play, put the “don’t pin from here” code into your website.
Search Pinterest regularly for your important images. Pinerest has a clearly defined system for removing pins that should not be on the site. Use Google image search to keep track of your own work—drag an image to the Google Image search bar, and Google will tell you what sites have used that image.)

Pinees

If you do want to play in Pinterest: add the follow me and Pinit buttons to your website.
Pin your own images to your own boards as a starter. Although Pinterest claims to not be about self-promotion, it also wants to see user-created content. Distribute your images across different boards, depending on your subject matter.
Decide whether watermarks are worth the trouble: it depends on your industry and your skill at adding watermarks to your images. (Photoshop will add watermarks, as will an app like PicMonkey.)

Summary

Pinterest is a fabulous tool for sharing images with your clients, your friends, and friends and clients you haven’t met yet. Share your own images, and images that have been clearly “permissioned,” and you’ll be fine.

*Notes:

I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
I am not a lawyer, so I have hired them, and I have learned this: Intellectual Property (IP) Lawyers have a different focus than family practice lawyers. If you need to know more about IP law in a hurry, hire a lawyer who specializes in IP law. IP Lawyers cluster around research centers and universities.

Karen Tiede is a rag rug weaver and reluctant social media marketer who discovered Pinterest for Business and lived happily ever after. Now she weaves recycled t shirts into beautiful rugs and teaches people in the portfolio professions how to use Pinterest to market their work.

Martin Brossman & Associates is a Raleigh based firm providing social media training, workshops, management, talks and advising to micro businesses, small and medium sized businesses, professionals, associations and communities. Contact info@martinbrossmanandassociates.com.

Communication Tips for Virtual Collaboration

Communication  in Virtual Collaboration

One of the most important skills to have in virtual collaboration is the ability to communicate clearly. Whether it’s through emails or over the phone, you’ll need to be able to clearly articulate questions and comments, your status on projects, and acknowledgement of new assignments. With this post, I’ll outline some communication tips for virtual collaboration.

Email

Put Urgent Information in Subject Line

In a virtual environment, chances are that most of the communication with your boss  will be conducted via email. It’s important for you to be able to write an email that managers or co-workers can understand, and to send detailed replies that are easily readable.

Sending Emails

  • Read over your email before you send it.
  • Check for spelling errors and sentence clarity.
  • If your email is urgent, it’s helpful to make that known in the subject line (e.g. “Please read this before this evening” or “Deadline has changed!”).
  • If you’ve been given a new project, it’s helpful to ask about the deadline and whether there’s any specific information concerning the assignment.

Replying to Emails

When you’re writing your reply:

  • Read over the email twice – once when you receive it, and once as you are writing your answer.
  • If it’s a lengthy email, it’s helpful to read over it in sections, and write your reply to each one as you go.
  • Respond to every question you’ve been asked, and,
  • Acknowledge that you understand any instructions given to you. Don’t assume that the recipient knows you understand.

Also make sure to use separate paragraphs for each topic you’re covering. You may even need to use numbers or bullet points to denote separate points, both in your original emails and your replies. The more organized the email is, the easier and quicker it is for someone to read and understand.

Phone Conversations

www.do.com is an easy way to list tasks and get reminders

Your time and your manager’s time are both very valuable, so make the most of phone conversations. If there are certain topics you want to cover during the call, such as a project on which you need assistance, write them down. Also write down any questions or new ideas.

If you haven’t already, create a free account on www.do.com, where you and your boss can schedule tasks for each other. I’ve found that this is a great way for you to keep track of tasks your boss needs you to finish, and for your boss to have a convenient list of items he/she needs to follow up on.

During the call itself, keep a pen and paper handy to take notes or write down new instructions. Managers can sometimes have a lot on their minds (especially if they are managing a variety of different initiatives at once), so it’s good to be prepared to take notes throughout the call. The same goes for employees; they may have a number of questions or concerns that you’ll want to follow up on, so taking a few notes will be helpful. This will ensure that the time is well-spent for both parties.

Progress Updates

Victoria Shockley writes, edits and collaborates virtually from Raleigh, NC.

Periodically you will need to write progress updates for your boss; this is especially important for those of us who are working virtually. Without progress updates, our managers have no idea what we’re working on – or even if we’ve been working at all! The report doesn’t have to be formal; sometimes just a few sentences are fine.

When you write your report, make sure to clearly state which project you’re referring to (for example, say “Bob Smith’s article titled ‘New Opportunities’” rather than “the article you sent me last week”). If you can, give your supervisor an estimate of when you expect to be finished with the project.

Communication is crucial to successful collaboration with your manager and co-workers. It’s even more important in a virtual environment because there’s limited face-to-face contact. Being clear and specific in your email and phone interactions can improve your experience and the results of your virtual endeavors.

Victoria Shockley is a sophomore at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, majoring in English (with a concentration in Scientific & Technical Communication). She is currently working as a copy editor for the university newspaper and as the Assistant Editor of Women Writers, Women Books. She is planning a career in writing or editing.

Follow Victoria on Twitter: @Victoria_Writes. Visit Victoria’s Author Page for Women Writers, Women Books. Connect with Victoria on LinkedIn.

Martin Brossman & Associates is a Raleigh based firm providing social media training, workshops, management, talks and advising to micro businesses, small and medium sized businesses, professionals, associations and communities. Contact info@martinbrossmanandassociates.com.

How Do I Set Up a Facebook Business Page?

Do you want to learn how to create a Facebook business page?  This post will teach you how to do just that!  You will also receive some tips on the best way to set up your very first Facebook page for your business.

The best set up is to build the Facebook business page off of a core person in the company then add other admins that can also update the page.

The next key thing is do not let people know about your Facebook business page until it is filled with good content.

First things first:

  • Get a personal Facebook page with your real name. Don’t worry; the people on the page will not see your personal data from your business page unless you want them to.
  • Log in on your personal profile then build the business one off it.
  • Make sure you have minimum of 5 outstanding posts and a good top photo before asking anyone to like it.
  • Invite people.

Now, let’s get started.

1. First you need to login to Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your Facebook page is not currently displaying your real name, you can change it to do so. You can edit your name under Account Settings on the right hand side, in the drop down menu under the down arrow:

See Account Settings on the drop down menu under the down arrow on the far right side

 

Click Edit on the right side
Enter in your information

After you’re logged in, you will see your newsfeed.  You will need to scroll down to the very bottom of the page and click on the ‘Create a Page’ link.

2.  Create a Page will display and list different categories that you can choose from.  You will then have to fill out some information based on the category you choose.

There are six big categories, and within each a number of sub-categories to choose from.

    1. Local Business or Place
    2. Company, Organization or Institution
    3. Brand or Product
    4. Artist, Band or Public Figure
    5. Entertainment
    6. Cause or Community

Here is what the page looks like:

We will choose Local Business or Place for this example.

You may want to click the ‘Facebook Pages Terms’ link just to ensure that you will be following all of the guidelines listed.  You wouldn’t want your page to be terminated after all of the hard work you put into it simply because you didn’t read the Facebook Pages Terms!  After you’ve read the terms you will click the box beside ‘I agree to Facebook Pages Terms’ and a checkmark will appear to signify that you agree to the terms.

Then you will click the ‘Get Started’ button.

3. Upload Picture. Next, you will be prompted to upload a profile picture for your Facebook business page.  You will have the option to upload an image from your computer or import one from your website.

If you choose to upload an image from your computer, you will select ‘Upload From Computer’.

You will then select the photo and it will display as you can see in the screenshot below.  You will then click the ‘Next’ button.

If you choose to use a picture from your website, you will select ‘Import From Website’.

You will then enter your site’s URL and click the ‘Import’ button.

You will see blue bars going across the white space as if something is loading.  This lets you know that it is searching for pictures from your website which will then be imported for you to choose from.

Once the pictures are found, you will have the option to select which picture you would like to display as your profile picture.  Simply click the one you want and then click the ‘Save Photo’ button.

 

4. The About Page.

After you’ve clicked the ‘Next’ button or the ‘Save Photo’ button, depending on which option you chose for a profile picture, the About page will display.  Here you will enter information about your business.  You can also add your websites.  You can add more than one website by clicking the ‘Add Another Site’ link.

Once you’re done entering your information you will click the ‘Save Info’ link.

You are then taken to your Facebook business page where you are asked to “Like” your page, so that when people come and visit they will see that at least one person has already liked it.

Liking your own Facebook Page

 

5. Visiting your New Facebook Page.

When you first go to your Facebook business page, a message will be displayed about taking a tour that will give you tips and basically show you around your new page.

You can take the tour or you can choose not to do so.

6. The Admin Panel

The first thing you will see is the Admin Panel.  You or whoever else has access to do things on your business page will be the only people to see this section.  Here you can do several different things to your page and see different information about what’s going on with your page.

Here’s a brief overview of the Admin Panel:

  1. When you are viewing your page you are viewing it as your Facebook Business.  You can switch back to your personal page by clicking the ‘Change to…’ link.
  2. This menu allows you to edit your page, build your audience by sharing or inviting people to your page, and get help with your page.
  3. The Notifications section will show who liked your page among other things that people do when interacting on your page.
  4. The messages you get from people will display in the Messages section.
  5. The New Likes section will display all the new people that liked your page.
  6. Once you have 30 people that like your page, you will be able to get insights about the activity on your page in the Insights section.

7. Loading the Cover Photo.

Now, let’s choose a good top photo.  The top photo is called the cover photo.

According to Facebook.com, “cover photos are 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall. If you upload an image that’s smaller than these dimensions, it will get stretched to this larger size. The image you upload must be at least 399 pixels wide.”  You can learn more about cover photos by clicking here.

8. Page Profile Pictures / Logos / Icons

Page profile pictures are square and displays at 160×160 pixels. The photo you upload must be at least 180×180 pixels. We recommend uploading a square image.

Click the ‘Add a Cover’ button to choose a photo.

Note: This message will display if it is your first time ever choosing a cover photo.  Simply read the message and click ‘Okay’ to continue.

Once you click on the ‘Add a Cover’ button, you will be given two options to choose from.  You can add a photo from the photos you might have already uploaded to your page or directly from your computer.

If you click on ‘Choose from Photos…’, you will have the option to select a photo from your recent uploads or you can click on the ‘View Albums’ link to choose a photo from an album.  You simply select the photo you want and it will display as your cover photo.

Positioning your Cover Photo. Once your photo is selected and is displayed as the cover photo, you can drag the photo around to reposition it as you see fit.  After you’re satisfied with the way that your cover looks you can click on the ‘Save Changes’ button or you can click the ‘Cancel’ button if you’re not quite happy with how the cover looks.

This is how your page will look once you have a nice cover photo!  It can really make your page POP.

9. Your First Business Page Posts

Posting to your Facebook business page is the exact same as posting to your personal Facebook page, so if you got the hang of that, posting to your business page will be a breeze!

STATUS

To post a status you would simply type it in the text box and click the ‘Post’ button.

The status will post to your page.

 

PHOTOS / VIDEOS

To post a photo/video you would click the ‘Photo/Video’ link

and browse for the image or video on your computer

After you have selected the video or photo it will display on your page.

USING THE WEBCAM

Clicking the ‘Use Webcam’ allows you to take a picture or video with your webcam.  Clicking the ‘Create Photo Album’ link will allow you to create a photo album.

10. Posting Events, Milestone+

The ‘Event, Milestone +’ link gives you three options.

You can post an event:

You can post a Milestone:

11. Questions and Polls

You can ask a question:

 

You can also ask a question with poll options:

12. Ready to Invite your Friends?

You can use any of the above options to make your first five posts to your page before you invite others to like it.  You definitely don’t want to invite someone to a page with nothing on it because they will probably not stay very long or click the Like button to show that they like your page.

If you have done these three things:

1) Get a personal Facebook page with your real name. Don’t worry; the people on the page will not see your personal data from your business page unless you want them to.

2) Log in on your personal profile then build the business one off it.
3) Make sure you have a minimum of 5 outstanding posts and a good top photo before asking anyone to like it.

You’re all set! Now, let’s do the last thing on the list above. Let’s invite people!

 

To invite people you will click on ‘Build Audience’ in the Admin Panel.

This will bring up the option to Invite Email Contacts, Invite Friends, Share Page, or Create An Ad.

Clicking on ‘Invite Email Contacts…’ allows you to invite people by email.

You can choose any option you like:

Clicking on ‘Invite Friends…’ allows you to invite your Facebook friends.

Here you can search for friends or select friends that will show up in the whitespace below if you have friends.

Clicking on ‘Share Page…’ allow you to share your page.

It defaults to sharing your page on your own timeline, but there are other ways to share your page as well.

You can share your page on your own timeline, on a friend’s timeline, in a group, on your page, and even in a private message.

 

Please let us know if this was helpful to you, and share your new Facebook Page in the comments below!

This post was written by Kia Tinsley and Martin Brossman.

Kia Tinsley is a software consultant with a degree in Information Systems and Operations Management from UNC Greensboro, working as a Social Media Intern with Martin Brossman & Associates.

Martin Brossman & Associates is a Raleigh based firm providing social media training, workshops, management, talks and advising to micro businesses, small and medium sized businesses, professionals, associations and communities. Contact info@martinbrossmanandassociates.com.

Google+

Google+ is not the house on the hill, but it’s a good start.

Imagine the social media netscape as real estate. Every structure has its own unique qualities and is currently on the market with spaces to rent, to own and to expand.

Facebook is a huge subdivision of diverse homes situated somewhere easily accessible to nearby schools, shopping and dining. The neighborhood is also relatively easy to enter with lots and homes available on every budget.  These homes have optional top of the line appliances, hardwood floors, modern yet classic design and the ability to appeal to a wide variety of homeowners with minor tweaks; these homes are built to last and be used daily.

Twitter’s homes also appeal to a variety of people as vacation homes. They are not as functional as Facebook’s homes but, they meet the immediate need for a quick getaway.

LinkedIn is an upscale, downtown office building that hosts some of the largest and most influential businesses in the world.

MySpace has been condemned and the Homeowners Association is working to have the eyesore demolished so something better can be built. MySpace is also occupied by droves of garage band squatters.

On a vacant lot in some town that doubles as a travel destination and a business hub, an apartment building has been built. It is functional enough to be used as a permanent home, but stylish and inexpensive enough to serve as a second home for vacations and business trips. This apartment building is Google+.

Google+ is formatted as a streaming news feed like Twitter, but with the added benefit of being able to target a post to a particular audience without a word count restriction. (You could say, like… Facebook.)

With many of the favorite features of the  social media powerhouses of Facebook and Twitter, Google+:

  • recommends people to follow,
  • people you know,
  • gives you the ability to group your connections into categories and,
  • to broadcast post to those particular audiences without broadcasting to other groups or the public.

Organizing connections into groups called Circles makes it easy to send out a quick message, whether it’s talking about about the company baseball game to colleagues, or sharing baby pictures of the new family member with college classmates from a decade ago.

Google+ has a lot of the great standard features of internet social media sites to tickle the fancy of the social media butterfly if approached in a smart, fresh way.

Aside from the seamlessly integrated messenger, the ability to instantly upload even large posts containing multimedia and the clean minimalistic design, Google+ integrates all of the features given you on your desktop browser with your mobile browser, the Google+ app for iOS and Android. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, Google+ on mobile allows you to search for connections, to create events and utilize all Google+ features with the same ease and speed as with your desktop so there is no need to ever log in from your desktop.

A few of my favorite features of Google+ are Local, Events, Photos, and Google Hangouts.

Google+ Local

The local section makes it easy to discover new neighborhood destinations or great restaurants near your hotel on vacation. It uses GPS technology to find only the results that are relevant to you, helping you find restaurant and club reviews and what’s hot around the city.

Google+ Events

Events on Google+  is an event planner’s best friend. It allows you to create quick and stunning invitations to organize a meeting, a reunion with friends, or a party. Google+ Events allows the guests to be the event photographer with instant live photo sharing so that you never have to worry about tracking down the best pictures from the office holiday party. All of the memories are all in one place without the need to send out the usual pleading email for pictures and no filtering through the responses. Best of all, accepted event invitations automatically sync with Google Calendar.

Google+ Photos
Google+ Photos is like that little vacuum, floor cleaning, robot that became so popular several years back. Not that it makes your photos disappear, but it keeps them from cluttering up valuable space, like your phone’s already limited drive space. Google+ allows you to automatically and instantly upload pictures and video from your phone’s hard drive directly to a private photo album online without the need for wires or synching with your pc first.  It makes it easy to upload and share your memories, or keep them for your private collection, and keeps  your phone clutter-free so that no memory is ever lost and that there is always room for new ones.

Google+ Hangouts

Google+ Hangouts succeeds where Facebook failed with its recent Skype integration into Facebook chat. Creating a Hangout on Google+ allows you to invite your friends to a traditional chat room setting with nontraditional features. In a Hangout you and friends can share text and audio as well as all of your cameras simultaneously so you can come face to face with your loved ones and coworkers from across town or across the world. Hangouts allow you to host free virtual meetings our casual conversation with friends. Google+ takes Hangouts from awesome to amazing with the ability to broadcast live to the world with just a few clicks unleash your inner artist or your inner broadcaster.

Google+? Thumbs Up

Google+ might be the next level of social media at our finger tips, eliminating the need for multiple accounts on multiple sites like uStream and Picasa. Amazingly efficient and effortlessly integrated into the family of Google products, Google+ combines the best of Facebook and Twitter with a few smart, new features for promising results.

Lomar Osbourne is a journalist, entrepreneur and publicist using traditional, social media, and unique integrated ways of bringing markets to what they love. A senior at Wake Forest University, among many activities, Lomar is a part time intern in social media management with Martin Brossman & Associates, and publicity with ClearSight Publicity. Follow on Twitter @LomarOsbourne.

Martin Brossman & Associates is a Raleigh based firm providing social media training, workshops, management, talks and advising to micro businesses, small and medium sized businesses, professionals, associations and communities. Contact info@martinbrossmanandassociates.com.

Google + Hangouts & Livestreaming

Google+ Hangouts – Live Video

Google + is one of the newest social networks with a ton of features, but we are going to focus on how your business can live stream by using a feature called Google + Hangouts.

Google + Hangouts is a feature that allows a user to have a video conference with up to 10 people.  One of the ways your business could use this tool is to have virtual meetings and share documents or share screens.

Now that you know what a Google + Hangout is and some of the things you can do with it, let’s figure out how to use it!

Getting Started with Google+

To use Google + you must have a Google + account.  Sign into Google +

Google Voice & Video

You must also have the Google voice and video plugin which you can download here if you don’t have it already: http://www.google.com/tools/dlpage/res/talkvideo/hangouts/

Starting Google+ Hangout

Once you have the plugin and you’re signed in you will be on the Google + homepage where you can start your live stream.  Click “Start a Hangout” to begin.

Editing your Hangout Settings

After clicking “Start a Hangout”, the window below displays.  This is where you invite who you want to be a part of your hangout, name your hangout, and edit the settings of your webcam and mic settings if necessary.  You can see your webcam in the bottom of the window.  If the image looks distorted or if nothing is showing you can click the gears button to edit the settings of your webcam and your mic.

After clicking the gears button, you will be brought to this page where you can change the configuration of your webcam, mic, and sound.

When everything is set up you would click the hangout button to begin.

The Hangout Begins

The following will be displayed on the screen until the people you invited accept the invitation to join you.

 

Once everyone joins, their webcams will display and the “hangout” or meeting can begin.

Hangout Tabs

There are several things you can do during your hangout session.  In the menu bar below the Google+ header. Notice the tabs for: Chat – Invite – Screenshare – Google Docs and YouTube.

Click on the Chat tab to chat (see left sidebar):

Click on the Screenshare tab to share your screen:

Click on the Google Docs tab to share and edit documents:

You know the routine by now, the YouTube tab let’s you view YouTube videos together:

That is how you set up a simple live stream with people you have invited.

But what if you want more than 10 people to be involved?

 

Google+ Hangouts Live: Hangouts on Air

Google + Hangouts added a feature called “Hangouts on Air”.  When you first setup your hangout, you would simply check the “Enable Hangouts on Air” checkbox on the left side of the screen. We highlighted it in a red square.

Checking the Visibility of Your YouTube Channel

You will also need to make sure that your YouTube channel is not marked as invisible.  If your channel is marked as invisible you’ll see the message prompt we got in the yellow box above to change your YouTube channel settings.  If you don’t know how to do so Google provides you with step by step instructions.

Verifying Your YouTube Channel

Your account must be verified with YouTube before using Hangouts On Air.  Once you verify your account you will not have to do it again.  The verification process is basically supplying YouTube with your cell phone number so that they can text you a verification code that you will input to verify it’s your account and prevent abuse.  You will simply click the Start Verification Process button to begin. See the screenshots below.

More Settings for the Hangout On Air

Once you have made the necessary changes you can continue and begin your hangout by clicking the Hang out button.  You will be prompted with Google + Hangouts On Air – additional terms to agree with before you can continue.  You must click the checkbox to agree before pressing the Continue button. You can learn more about it here http://www.google.com/+/policy/hangoutsonair.html and you need to link your YouTube account.

After you press the Continue button you will be prompted with a message about broadcasting publicly.

Embedding the Live Player for Live Public Viewing

If you click on the Embed link, you will get the code to place the live player on your site or wherever an embed code for a live player is allowed to be posted so that people can see you live once you click the Start Broadcast button.  Be sure to place the embed code on your site or wherever you want before clicking the Start Broadcast button otherwise only the people that were invited to your hangout will see your broadcast until it is posted to YouTube where anyone can view it.

Going On Air!

You will click on “Start Broadcast” to go on air once your hangout is up and running.  It will start recording once “Start Broadcast” is clicked.

To stop broadcasting you simply click the End broadcast button.

Hangouts on Air Expand Your Audience

Hangouts On Air allows a user to live stream to a bigger audience.  Google states that you can now stream or broadcast the hangout publicly not only to a Google + profile, but to YouTube as stated above or even your own website!  You can share your live stream like any other video you might share on the web by using the embed code.

What if you want to share your live stream that you’re broadcasting so many people can see it on YouTube?  No worries!  The live stream automatically saves to your YouTube account if you have one.  Google has made it quite easy to use “Hangouts on Air” don’t you think?

Hopefully, this will get you started on having your first Google + livestream with people in your circle or “On Air” to an even bigger audience!

Kia Tinsley is a software consultant with a degree in Information Systems and Operations Management from UNC Greensboro, working as a Social Media Manager Intern with Martin Brossman & Associates.

Martin Brossman & Associates is a Raleigh based firm providing social media training, workshops, management, talks and advising to micro businesses, small and medium sized businesses, professionals, associations and communities. Contact info@martinbrossmanandassociates.com.

About Social Media for Business

Social Media for Business: The Small Business Online Marketing Guide

Martin Brossman trains micro business owners (1 – 3 people) and what we call “small”  business owners, which we should probably call “very small” small business owners (4 – 20 people, we hesitate to call them employees, because they may be contractors or interns) in how to succeed in business. Since 2007, a growing part of that involves social media and Internet marketing.

Anora McGaha has started several of her own micro businesses, and has helped dozens of micro businesses and very small small businesses (taking her own advice), since she was laid off from a large corporation in 2006, the year before there started to be significant signs of economic trouble, and two years before the huge trouble.

Martin Brossman and Anora McGaha knew first hand that many many people now starting their own businesses were completely-to-moderately uninformed about the impact that social media could have on their business prospects. After working together for three years at the time, Martin brought the book idea to Anora and asked if she would take part in it. They had been managing social media programs for clients for two years together. Martin already had chapters from over a dozen contributors, and Anora proceeded to get a half dozen more. They wrote the content that they hadn't yet gathered, and in July 2011, Outer Banks Publishing Group published the book, with a standing room only launch in August.  The ebook came out later in August.

Who should get Social Media for Business?

If you're an advanced user of social media and fully aware of the Internet ecosystem, it's not for you. Though it's always fascinating to see the unique blend of perspective and insights that each author or speaker develops, this book is meant for the micro business owner and very small business owner who is not yet fully comfortable – doesn't yet have his or her “sea legs” so to speak on the vast ocean that is the Internet.

The book has three sections:

  1. Perspectives;
  2. The Building Blocks (Social Media and the Internet); and
  3. Online Marketing with Social Media (How to develop and manage a social media program to build your online presence).

Whatever business you're in, if you're just starting out in business, or if you're just starting to explore how to grow your customer base and increase your sales online, and haven't studied social media in depth – this book is for you.

It won't show you how to set up accounts, edit photos or create lists, but it will tell you how to think about social media and the Internet ocean to know where to sail and what to try to accomplish.

Social Media for Business is Still Current

Although published in 2011, because the book is not a “how-to” book, it doesn't run into the problem of Facebook's new privacy settings and options; or Twitter's new home page; or another site's new layout. The authors have also added video content in a private section of the site to supplement the book for topics such as Pinterest and Google + that took flight since the publishing of the book. (You will also see some public posts Pinterest and Google+ on this site now.)

Where to Get Social Media for Business

Social Media for Business is available:

In stores at: The Joyful Jewel in Pittsboro, North Carolina and New Horizons Coffee Shop in Raleigh, North Carolina.

On CreateSpace in paperback at a discount with a coupon.

On Amazon, at all of the national sites:

  1. Amazon US
  2. Amazon UK
  3. Amazon Germany
  4. Amazon Spain
  5. Amazon Italy
  6. Amazon France
  7. Amazon Canada
  8. Amazon Japan

The eBook is available via Kindle Select at 5 of the national sites: the US and Europe, but not Canada and Japan:

  1. Amazon US
  2. Amazon UK
  3. Amazon Germany
  4. Amazon Spain
  5. Amazon Italy
  6. Amazon France

Martin Brossman and Anora McGaha are available individually and as a team to do advising, social media plans, social media management, talks and training, in person, via webinar, Skype or Google Hangout through Martin Brossman & Associates.

Free Business & Social Media Books via Kindle Free Ebooks

Free Business & Social Media Books via Kindle Free Ebooks

You may not realize that there are tremendous resources for business and social media available from Amazon for free through Kindle Free downloads.

Take a look at the categories in the screenshot on the left:

Fiction & Non Fiction, and within Non-Fiction you'll find Business & Finance, the business category. That's where you'll find books on social media, like Social Media for Business. (Though you could also find them in Computers & Internet, Reference, and Self Help-How To.)

Amazon Kindle books sell at the following country sites internationally:  UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. We're not finding them on Amazon Japan or Canada.

The Marketing book categories seem to vary a little across country sites, but try these links, below.

The UK's Kindle Marketing EBooks

Germany's Kindle Marketing EBooks

Spain's Kindle Business EBooks – Very few free ebooks in the larger categories, and non in the sub-categories. The Kindle Direct Publishing Free promotions do not seem to be propagating onto the bestseller lists.

France's Kindle Marketing & Publicity Ebooks – No free ebooks in this section, and only French books in the general Business category. Like on Spain's site, the Kindle Direct Publishing promotions do not seem to be reaching France's bestseller lists.

Italy's Kindle Business EBooks – Very few free business ebooks, and non in the marketing strategy category. Like Spain and France's sites, the Kindle Direct Publishing promotions do not seem to be reaching Italy's bestseller lists.

Kindle Access Limited by Country

Here is the German Kindle Bestseller list, showing top paid books on the left, and top free books on the right. This is the same as Kindle Bestseller lists on the US, UK, Germany and Spain. Italy and France only show free bestsellers at the larger category level, and very few.

It seems you must be a registered user with an address within the region in order to order Kindle books. For example, as an American, I can not order books from the UK's Kindle site. But to view them, all I have to do is log out, because Amazon's cookies don't recognize me on their international sites if I'm logged out.

Add Search Kindle Bestsellers to Your To Dos

It's well worth searching the categories for topics of interest and seeing what's there. You could search once a week, but specials may last only a day, so a quick daily search would be useful.

Anora McGaha is co-author of Social Media for Business with Martin Brossman. They offer training, advising and social media marketing programs for small businesses through Martin Brossman & Associates.

Social Media for Business is available on Amazon Kindle in the US, the UK, Germany, Spain, France and Italy, and in paperback on those sites, as well as Amazon Japan and Amazon Canada.

Matrix of Social Media Related Functions

As the world’s businesses, organizations and associations commit themselves to the rich (and demanding) presence possible with social media on the Internet, work in social media is growing exponentially.

One of the challenges however is that the circle of what is included in social media is drawn in dozens of different sizes. The work could be as small as creating 140 character tweet messages in HootSuite or another scheduling site and scheduling them. Or it could be as big as managing social media as one part of the organization’s marketing department, or marketing and customer service department.

This graphic shows the inner circle of what is considered social media in red – managing content on social media sites. Natural extensions that deepen the value and effectiveness of social media efforts are in blue: Copywriting, SEO & SMO, Website Integration and Google Analytics. Further extensions can go deeper into into technical dimensions of photography and graphic design, or videography; or stretch into advertising and marketing campaigns.

The lines can be drawn in a gazillion ways, and the circle of what’s included in a social media related job can be unique to every job and every company. What functions don’t you see bundled, that you should see?

[Updated 6/7/2012 at 2pm]

Look for New Scoring on Google+ Local

On May 30th 2012, Google announced that they were rolling out Google + Local with Zagat reviews. They have since been working on changing over all the Google Places pages into Google + Local.

They look different. They are integrated with Google + with access to Google+'s features on the left sidebar, and, they have a scoring system.

Scoring for the business.

Scoring for the reviewers.

For the business, the scale is from 0 – 30, with 26 – 30 being “Extraordinary to Perfection”; Zagat uses a 0 – 30 system.

For the reviewers, “Individual users”, scores go from 0 – 3, with 3 being “Excellent”.

Martin Brossman and I have worked closely with Raleigh area caterer, Catering by Design since 2009, through Carolina Web Consultants, and so I took a look this morning at what his scores looked like.

Here you see an overall score of “27” for the business, and we've clicked on the “?” in the gray circle to see the pop-up Scoring Guide.

The Zagat Score can show a variety of dimensions, but they weren't available here.

Below the Overall Score, you see a review by Martin showing up because he is in my circles, and below that, the reviews, his showing first because he is the only reviewer in my circle.

Currently there are 14 Google reviews for Catering by Design, and you'll see that Martin Brossman's “individual user score” is “3” or Excellent.

We've always known that we could click on individual reviewers and see what other reviews they'd given if we wanted to see how much weight we could put in their review. Now, Google is actually giving reviewers a grade.

Next, take a look at this next screenshot.

A year or more ago, a short an unusual negative review was posted. When it was discovered it created some concern. We clicked on their “user name” and saw many dozens of negative reviews, including a few positive ones, but mostly negative, for all different kinds of businesses. While we felt confident this was not a legitimate customer, others might not know that. Today, this reviewer has a “0” associated with their name.
Whereas previously this reviewer had a username we could click on to see their history, today we can't access any of that.

I did also notice that my own review showed me as a shadow named “A Google User” even though I was logged in. I'll be watching to see if that changes over time.

It looks like Catering by Design's Google Places page was automatically converted to Google + Local, but I found a help page on Google about how to convert from Google Places to Google + Local,:

“If you used Google Places before, you can move your old content into Google+ Local. When you first write reviews or upload photos in Google+ Local, we’ll ask what you want to do with your old reviews and photos. You’ll have two options:

    • Move all of your content and attribute it to your Google+ name
    • Keep all or some of your content private”

Change is the constant on the Internet, and will continue to be. It sure keeps us on our toes, learning what we have to do next in response to each change. For now, it looks like if you're a local business, you'll need to be on Google +, as yourself (the owner or manager), and you'll have a chance to fill out and build on your Google + Local site.

At least at initial glance it looks like we're going to have fewer opportunities to be anonymous, and more chance to benefit from the experiences of those who are in our Google circles, our friends and acquaintances. And, also, that mobile search, while on the go, will continue to get better and better. We can continue our high speed, on-the-go lifestyle.

From “Press Kit” to “Social Media Kit”

A Social Media Kit complements your Traditional Press Kit. Add one to your website today.

Savvy media public relations pros stress the importance of having a “Press Kit” on your website:  make it as easy as possible for the media to get the information they need for a story about you.

The Social Media Age is in full force now, so we can revisit the traditional Press Kit and enhance it as a Social Media Kit, the Social Media equivalent of a Press Kit. Call it Social Media Kit, or Media Kit – you’re making sure it is easy for the media, AND, your online community to promote you.

Who might want to promote you?

  • A customer who is pleased and knows others will want to know more
  • A vendor who is proud of associating with you
  • A vendor who wants to do more business with you
  • A community that wants to show their appreciation or list resources
  • A blogger or other media person wanting to write a story

The easier you make it for people to share information about you the better. (And at the same time, you need to be monitoring your online reputation, to nip in the bud or handle any negative content.)

Traditional Press Kits were actual physical copies of photos, press releases, and other printed material that were mailed out or delivered. With the digital age, Press Kits also became known as Electronic Press Kits.

Press Kit Contents:

  • Photos. Varying sizes of photos: thumbnails, 4×6, 5×7 and high resolution photos
  • Bios. Varying lengths of bios: a one sentence summary, a one paragraph one, and a full length bio
  • Press Releases. Various formats of Press Releases: PDF and word documents for easy editing.
  • Fact Sheets. Fact sheets on different angles about you, your product or your business
  • More Bios. Bios of related parties, executives, members of the team
  • News. News articles and interviews – in print, digital copy, or by link
  • Video. Promotional videos – DVD and/or links to online videos
  • Contact Info. Contact information, including email, phone, fax and physical address
  • Request Form. Form for requesting physical collateral: post card, flyer, poster, bumper sticker, CDs, other promotional items, USB Drive, DVD

What should be in a Social Media Kit?

Of course your website will have icons and links to your Social Media sites. (Call them digital assets, online portfolio, social media accounts…) If you don’t have that visible on every page of your website, you’re missing out. And it should be on the top half, “above the fold” on your website, since that may be all of your website that a visitor sees in their high speed online searches.

The Social Media Kit is much more than just the links to your Social Media content. It needs to include images, audio-visual content, and text that can help a friendly organization or customer connect and create content about you.

Social Media Kit Content, in addition to the content listed for the Press Kit:

  • Icons of varying sizes representing you, your product of your business
  • Photos not just of you, your key products, and your business, but also related to your business, that bloggers and other online content creators can use in adding your business to a list, a blog post, a page on their website with a link back.
  • Links to each of your Social Media sites, including Facebook Page, LinkedIn Profile and Company, YouTube Channel, Twitter Accounts, Blog(s), Photo accounts, Press rooms for press releases.
  • Topic lists, current and ever green, related to you, your products and your business, with links to content they can draw from.
  • Permissions. A permission statement listing what uses of this content you’re supporting, and a request for an email with the link to any online content they create.
  • Contact information for any questions: including phone and email.

What would you include in a Social Media Kit that we haven’t listed here? Have you seen sites with good Social Media Kits, or Press Kits, with excellent Social Media content?

Updated October 22, 2011

If you  haven’t  yet read our Social Media for Business book, check out the reviews and choose from a paperback or Kindle on Amazon.

The Latest on Email Marketing Pricing for Startups

Are you starting out in business? You’re probably watching every $ you commit to spend, trying to keep your monthly expenses low while you launch your business. Keeping your expenses down prolongs the amount of time you have to get your business going.

Often people starting out in business think they don’t need to have an email marketing service. But once you start emailing for your business, there are laws you need to know about, like the CAN-SPAM Act. Read contributor Greg Hyer’s post about what to do before you start email marketing.

The email marketing options talked about in the Raleigh area among micro business owners on the micro business owner professional network inside919.com are these:

Subscribers ———– ———– ———–
Provider Notes Under 500 501 – 2501 – 5001 – 10,000
MailChimp 

(15% Non-Profit Discount)

Has a Forever Free plan up to 2000 subscribers. $10 $15 to 1000 

$30 to 2500

$50 $75
Constant Contact 

(Non-Profit Discount)

Save 10 – 20% by prepaying 6 or 12 months. $15 $30 $50 $75
iContact 

(Free accts to NC Non-Profits, discounts to other Non-Profits)

Annual prepay discounts. $10 $19 to 1000 

$29 to 2500

 

$47 $74
AWeber 

Fee to use PLUS

Fee for subscribers

(Non-Profits get 3 months free, then 25% off)

Fee to use can be paid 

Monthly -$19

Quarterly – $49

Annually – $194

Monthly Rate of  $19 

includes up to 500 subscribers

Add $10 

/month

($29)

Add $30 

/month

($39)

Add $50 

/month

($69)

Disclaimer: If you discover that something here isn’t accurate, please add a comment here.  It is our intent that this be correct, though companies frequently change their pricing and terms.

Since this post is focused on startups and micro businesses, pricing for over 10,000 subscribers was not included, but is available. Plans also have different services, features, and discounts, which could not be easily represented in this post, so please study your proposed provider thoroughly.

Getting Started on Facebook: How to Set up Your Facebook Personal Profile

Getting Started on Facebook

For those who are just getting started on Facebook, or maybe signed up but really weren’t sure what to do next, this post is for you. If you are already on Facebook, skim through anyway, you might pick up something of value.

Many people are invited to join Facebook  by their friends, so they have a link to click on in the email they got. If not, fill in your name and email address at www.facebook.com.

First a bit about Privacy on Facebook:

Check your Privacy Settings! Facebook is a place for sharing, but you want to make sure that you know who you are sharing what with! (I always suggest that you assume that everything you post is public!)

Consider this also. In addition to knowing what your privacy settings are, it is never a good idea to post that you are home alone, are going to be on vacation for a week, etc. Lots of people have lost jobs posting about hating their jobs, making negative comments about their jobs, customers, etc. If you wouldn’t want it posted in the local newspaper with your name on it, don’t post it on Facebook! (Facebook has more readers.)

Now let’s get you started on your initial profile:

  1. You will need a photo, of you! Go ahead and find one & get it on your computer if it isn’t already.
  2. Going through the sign up process is pretty self explanatory. Use the email address that you use most often as you will want to allow Facebook to search your contacts to get going.
  3. If you are married, it is a good idea to use first name, maiden name, married name.
  4. Birthday: I recommend putting your correct birthday in, but changing the year by one year (for security purposes). Put the correct day as it is fun to get birthday wishes!
  5. Hometown, past schools, etc…It is a good idea to fill these in correctly so your past friends can find you.

Explain the Facebook Personal Profile

Once you have your profile set up and you have found some friends, now what?

Read my next post, Getting Started on Facebook: Understanding What’s What.

“The more that you give, the more you will receive”

Check out my latest courses, coaching offerings and sign up for my blog at www.HeatherO.com

Find me on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RealHeatherO

Join us in our facebook group for updates, changes and info! Send me an email requesting to join at heathero@heathero.com.

Look forward to hearing how you are enjoying Facebook in the comments area below.

Heather O

Brossman and McGaha's Social Media for Business Book

Your social media book: Social Media for Business

Find down-to-earth, insightful, practical and valuable practices, tips, perspectives and explanations in Social Media for Business by Martin Brossman and Anora McGaha with chapters by 20 contributors including Heather O’Sullivan. It was written by small and micro business owners, with direct experience that can help and guide you in using the Internet and social media to grow your business, referral partners and your reputation.

Short chapters help you find what you’re looking for and get what you need to know fast.  If you haven’t read it yet, order it now. Amazon for $16.52. Or apply  Discount code: C47P9D2V when you order on CreateSpace for $16.00.

Let the tens of thousands of hours of research and experience represented in this book save you time and grow your business – for less than $23 delivered.  Read what reviewers have said on Amazon.

After you’ve read it, leave your own review. Have suggestions? Email info@thesocialmediaforbusinessbook.com. We want to hear from you.

 

What’s Easy about Social Media for Business?

QR Codes help customers get to online information fast.

As a business owner what about social media for business is easy to work with and why?

  • Interacting with the people who respond on Facebook?
  • Reaching out to follow and connect with people on Twitter?
  • Getting to share things that are going on with your business?
  • The ease of using photos and adding them to Facebook, and now Twitter?
  • The ease of finding other businesses?
  • The ease of learning what creative ways others are using social media?

 

 

 

Brossman and McGaha's Social Media for Business Book

Social Media for Business was written by small and micro business owners, with direct experience that can help and guide you in using the Internet and social media to grow your business, referral partners and your reputation. Find down-to-earth, insightful, practical and valuable practices, tips, perspectives and explanations in Social Media for Business (Martin Brossman and Anora McGaha) with chapters by 20 contributors.

Short chapters help you find what you’re looking for easily to get what you need to know fast.  If you haven’t read it yet, order it now. Amazon for $16.52. Or apply  Discount code: C47P9D2V when you order on CreateSpace for $16.00.

Let the tens of thousands of hours of research and experience represented in this book save you time and grow your business – for less than $23 delivered.  Read what reviewers have said on Amazon.

After you’ve read it, leave your own review. Have suggestions? Email info@thesocialmediaforbusinessbook.com. We want to hear from you.