Like Forrest Gump says, “I’m not a smart man.”
But I know what good advice is.
I credit good folks like Lynsay Caylor Russell, Bill Seaver, Martha Hanlon and Chris Williams who share their social media knowledge with entrepreneurs and small business owners, like me, who are trying to find our way through an ever-changing marketplace.
The result of following the advice of these and other experts, listening through social media, and transparently interacting with people sometimes leads to good things…like, your name in a headline.
Friday, November 15th, 2013 | Buzz | No Comments
As one who usually sleeps or reads through the safety instructions, this will probably get my attention. How about you?
How long before sales on Cyber Monday top the retail numbers of Black Friday? Hey, it could happen!
Before you break out your magic 16 digits and go shopping on line, read this.
Rule number 1 –
Never, ever use a debit card for on-line transactions! If there is a security breach and someone steals your identity, they can instantly and immediately drain your checking account. And if your checking account transfers money from your savings account (or HELOC) for overdraft protection, they can tap into your other monies, too!
Always use a credit card when shopping on-line.
If you are the victim of identity theft or fraudulent charges on your card, call one of the credit bureaus. One call is all it takes…they share fraud alerts with each other as they are reported by consumers.
Rule number 2 –
Use a password that is difficult to crack, yet easy to remember. How? – you may ask. I’ll share a tip my I.T. guy showed me. He’s a whole lot smarter with this than I am, so I trust his judgment. I’ll also share his web site with you, in case you ever need help with your business computers and networks.
Mashable recently shared the Top 20 Stolen Passwords from Adobe’s October 2103 security breach. The top 3? 123456, 123456789, and password
Most web sites require a password that is at least 8 characters long; has a capital letter, a numeral and a special character. That’s the “difficult to crack” part of the equation. But how do you make it memorable?
Start with a bit of personal trivia that very few people know.
As an example, my mother was known to all as “Lois.” Very few people knew her real first name was Emmalean. (With a name like that, I’d prefer Lois, too.)
Change the lowercase ‘L’ to a number 1…and the ‘a’ to an @, and voila! Emma1e@n (This is not one of my passwords, by the way. Do you think I’m that foolish?)
If your secret word is not 8 characters long, you can add an underscore and a number or two. That satisfies both the special character and numeral requirements. ie: Itsme_99
Choosing a password that’s easy to remember will prevent you from locking up your profile by too many failed log-in attempts. But, if you do find yourself on the wrong side of I.T. karma, I recommend you contact my friend Pat at PC Enterprises. He works remotely via LogMeIn
When your work is your life, balance becomes elusive.
Is it simply a Quixotic crusade for entrepreneurs to pursue work/life balance? Some say yes; some say no.
The Experts weigh in at the Wall Street Journal.
What do you think?
“Choosing the right folder into which to drop an email becomes an extended exercise in thumb-sucking taxonomy, and finding it again becomes impossible.”
- Tim Hartford
Financial Times Magazine
Ways to manage your in-box before it manages you. Read and apply these tips for greater productivity.
Are you working 24/7 x 365? Many entrepreneurs do…out of fear that anything left unattended will lead to failure.
This blog from Entrepreneur.com states it might be wise to schedule yourself time for activities outside of work. It’s important not only for your life, but for your business as well.
Here’s why: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228012#ixzz2eP7Wfw2i
50 Small Business Blogs to Watch by Infusionsoft
Chicago – the City with Broad Shoulders?
Nope. #32 on this list
Vegas – the City that Never Sleeps?
You’re #44. Try again.
Here’s a list, calculated by David Cross and published by Movoto.com, that ranks the Top 50 U.S. Cities for good old American work ethic.
The 50 Hardest Working Cities in America By Movoto Real Estate
To celebrate Entrepreneur’s Do It Yourself Marketing Month in June, 2013 – we published one DIY marketing tip or recommendation every day for 30 days. If you’re a small business owner, virtual assistant or entrepreneur, try these techniques any day of the year to promote your company. It doesn’t have to wait ‘til the next DIY Marketing Month!
- 1. Get a clear picture of your ideal customer. All marketing efforts fail if you misunderstand your target audience! (See #16)
- 2. People trust user reviews. Ask your customers to submit success stories about your product or service, and use them liberally in social media or on your web site.
- 3. Register your business on Google+ to boost your search returns on Google.
- 4. Check your business card. Do you offer a compelling reason for someone to keep it and to contact you? Put an offer and Call To Action (CTA) on the back.
- 5. Partner with another business owner to cross-promote your companies to each others’ database of customers. This can double your reach immediately.
- 6. Comment on blogs that appeal to your customers’ interests. Be sure to include a link to your blog or web site.
- 7. Get marked. Put your logo on your vehicle, apparel or at least a name badge.
- 8. Appreciate your customers with a note, gift card or freebies.
- 9. Establish your expertise by publishing a book and selling it on Amazon.
- 10. Network with colleagues through professional organizations to find potential referral partners or independent contractors.
- 11. Pimp your e-mail signature. Include links to your social media profiles, web site, blog or shopping cart.
- 12. Start blogging, if you aren’t already.
- 13. Join on-line communities for support and inspiration.
- 14. Call all of your current customers and ask, “How else may we help you?”
- 15. Compile a list of the 100 people or businesses you want to have as a customer. Include all of the contact information you have for each.
- 16. Buy and read Customers are the Answer to Everything
- 17. Become an affiliate partner for other products and services, and add their links to your blog or newsletters.
- 18. Get featured in news content by responding to HARO – Help A Reporter Out
- 19. Make calls to the people on your Power 100 list today.
- 20. Keep in touch with your customers through e-mail…be helpful, not spammy!
- 21. Take advantage of Take Your Dog to Work Day. What customer can resist a loveable pooch? More smiles and more talking will lead to more “yeses” when you ask for the sale.
- 22. Partner with a complementary business who already serves your ideal customer.
- 23. Volunteer for community causes and events.
- 24. Write a press release and send it to your local newsrooms.
- 25. Broadcast yourself on Youtube.
- 26. Join a networking group like Referral Exchange Organization (REO) or BNI
- 27. Trade free samples or free services for contact information, and follow up with the prospect for future sales opportunities.
- 28. Review your web site copy for SEO. Add missing search terms to your content to help customers find you on Google.
- 29. Put a “call to action” (CTA) box on your home page with a sign up form that add contacts to your CRM (customer relationship management) system.
- 30. Set up a series of replies (autoresponders) through your CRM system to warm up prospects auto-magically.
Our ROI for June 2013 resulted in about 50 more Twitter followers, a 30% increase in unique visitors to our web, three new customers, and one huge upsell.
Total time invested: 4 hours on HootSuite. Total dollars invested: $16.95
If you like any of these ideas and aren’t sure how to execute them, contact us! We’ll be happy to help in any way.
For 50 years, the U.S. Small Business Administration has promoted Small Business Week in June.
Recently, others have expanded the concept and declared June to be “Entrepreneur’s Do It Yourself Marketing Month.”
Our passion at BST Concierge is to support our clients’ professional success and personal enjoyment. We decided the best way to market our team of virtual assistants was to provide ideas other business owners could use to market themselves.
Thirty days. Thirty techniques. And a few bonus tips thrown in for good measure.
What did we get in return? Analytics! (Plus a few more prospects, Facebook likes, and Twitter followers.)
First disclaimer: we are by no stretch of the imagination statisticians or researchers. Any data or interpretation of data should be considered anecdotal at best. Regardless, we have more insights into the effectiveness of our month-long marketing efforts on July 1 than we did on June 1.
Comparing analytics from June, 2013 with May, 2013 (month to month) and with June, 2012 (year to year), we’ve uncovered a few tidbits. First, let’s describe a thumbnail or our marketing messages in each of those months:
- JUNE ’12: mostly original content about DIY marketing month plus a photo gallery from a community event we attended
- MAY ’13: a mixture of status updates and shares of content from other sources (blogs, news articles, Facebook pages)
- JUNE ’13: exclusively marketing related, mostly original content with some links to sources
vs MAY 2013
vs JUNE 2012
|Total daily impressions
|Daily viral reach
|Total daily consumers
|Negative feedback (hides)
WHAT WE LEARNED: Content, Frequency, Timing
The hottest content of all is the album of photos we posted after a community event in June, 2012. The pictures got a lot of views from a small concentration of visitors. This reinforces the thought that Facebook users want to see images.
May 2013 had the greatest viral reach. The top posts were shares and reposts of articles with information that was valuable to our followers. Good content attracts attention, and there’s nothing wrong with sharing someone else’s good content.
There was a gradual decline in daily impressions as June 2013 wore on…as if people were sending the message,“Enough about #DIY #marketing already!” Ironically, as analytics from established Facebook fans began to wane, Twitter followers and Facebook likes began to pick up. This reminds me of a saying we have in TV promotions departments: “When you’re sick and tired of the message, the audience is just beginning to pay attention.”
Some days, the timing was all wrong. I posted some marketing tips and thought, “people are going to love this!” Those were the ones that seemed to go ignored because they were posted at a time when fewer people who liked our Facebook page were on line. Our experience in June 2013 revealed that our friends are on Facebook between 6:30am and 7:40am on weekdays. The best time to be seen on weekends are 8:00am Saturdays and noon on Sundays.
In 50 words or less…
- People love to see images…especially of themselves and/or friends.
- Interest wanes when a topic or thread no longer offers as much value as when it began.
- Good content attracts attention, and you can borrow good content through shares.
- Poor timing is good content’s kryptonite.