Tag Archives: Big Dreams and Hard Work

Online Marketing: Simple Twitter Strategies to Turn Followers into Paying Customers

By Gail Z. Martin

If you’re a person of few words, you’ll admire the elegance of the idea behind Twitter; each post is just 140 characters.  That’s about two sentences to get your idea across.  What can you do in two sentences?  You’d be surprised.

Twitter is a great place to share links to valuable content (you can shorten them to preserve more of your character limit by using a problem like Bitly.com or TinyURL.com): videos, interesting articles on other sites, blog posts, audio, or downloads.  Find an article of interest to your audience?  Share the link, and then tweet a few thoughts and ask a question to get a conversation going.

What else can you talk about in 140 characters?  Recommend a business book and say how it influenced you.  If you were at an event and saw a speaker who talked about something useful for your readers, Tweet about it!  You could even include a link to the event Web site, speaker’s home page, or to a video or blog post related to the event.  Or, share a motivational quote, comment on a business-related topic that is in the news, or let readers know if you have an upcoming promotion or special event.

As with Facebook, you can reward the people who follow your page with periodic links to free downloadable material of value to their business, or give them sneak previews of special prices before you post the specials on your Web site.  People who follow you can ask you questions, either publically or privately, so you’ll want to monitor these so you can answer promptly. (Several of the dashboards make this easier.)

Twitter is also a great way to give live updates from the business-related events you attend.  If you’re at a conference, either as a speaker or an attendee, send periodic tweets about what you’ve liked, what insights you’ve gained, what well-known experts you’ve heard or met, and other information that gives your followers a you-were-there feeling.

Whenever you use a keyword in your tweets (such as the name of an event, a book, a celebrity/authority or product), make it searchable by putting # in front of it.  For example, if you are talking about the book Think And Grow Rich, you would tweet #ThinkAndGrowRich.  That way your tweet will show up if anyone searches on the name of the book.  You can also see what topics are popular by searching Twitters Trending Topics.  Chiming in on a hot topic (if it relates to your business) can draw attention to your Twitter page, and help you gain more readers.

Promote your Twitter page, and make sure you let people know what’s in it for them to follow you.  Tell them what kind of helpful content you post, and if you provide discounts or coupons, let them know.  You can also have your Twitter feed automatically update your other online pages, such as your LinkedIn page or Web site, by using the RSS (Really Simple Syndication).  LinkedIn has a free RSS application, and your Web designer can add it easily to your home page.

Excerpted from 30 Days to Virtual Productivity Success by Gail Z. Martin

 

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Filed under Coaching, Gail Z. Martin

Content Marketing: 6 Easy Ways to Get More Customers With Facebook

By Gail Z. Martin

#1 Content is essential for attracting and keeping readers.  Ask questions that are business-related, provide tips and post links to interesting and helpful videos, articles and blogs, even to content that you didn’t create but that your audience would appreciate.  Repurpose articles and answers into Frequently Asked Questions and use other information you’ve written into short, helpful one-paragraph snippets of content.

#2 Try to keep a conversational tone.  Don’t use a hard sell, and don’t constantly promote.  Instead, draw your readers in with open-ended questions and try to get them into a dialog.  Facebook users want to connect with the person behind the business, so keep the conversation “business casual”, as you would at a networking luncheon.  That means that it’s OK to talk a little bit about superficial personal subjects, such as your pets, vacation highlights, sports teams, etc.  Always make sure that the information you share shows you in an ethical, trustworthy light.  Be human, but also be professional!  You can also reward those who “like” your page with occasional special discounts and coupons.

# 3 Promote your Facebook Business Page at every opportunity.  Put a “badge” (Facebook can generate this for free) showing your Business Page icon on your business Web page.  Add the address for your Business Page to your business cards, signage, invoices, handouts and all marketing material (Facebook makes it easy to create a short, readable page address).  Where your Web site is a one-way conversation (you speaking to your customers), view your Facebook page as the opportunity to learn from having a two-way conversation with your prospects and buyers.

#4 Facebook also offers the ability to place ads that show up on the profiles of other Facebook users who fit the demographic description you provide.  You set the budget and the duration for the ads, and a campaign costing just a few hundred dollars can lead to hundreds of thousands of impressions and hundreds of clicks.  This is a great way to drive traffic to your Business Page or to your company’s Web page.

#5 Facebook has tightened up its rules for allowing contests, but that doesn’t mean that contests are out of reach for small businesses.  PinpointSocial.com specializes in template-driven, do-it-yourself Facebook campaigns that comply with Facebook’s rules but are easy and affordable for small businesses to run.  Used in conjunction with Facebook ads, this is a great way to increase the “likes” for your page, essentially increasing your Facebook opt-in.  Constant Contact has also added a social media tool that creates Facebook landing pages using templates, with the advantage that the tool also integrates with Constant Contact’s impressive email marketing capabilities.

#6 You can also add value to your Facebook Business Page through extra add-on applications within Facebook.  For example, one app allows your blog to automatically post to your Facebook page (RSS), increasing your productivity by getting additional exposure for each blog post.  The same is also possible for your Twitter or podcast feed.  For companies that sell on eBay, Facebook has an app that interfaces with your eBay site.  Apps change frequently, so be sure to look for the ones that would be right for your business.

Excerpted from 30 Days to Virtual Productivity Success by Gail Z. Martin

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Filed under Coaching, Gail Z. Martin

PROMOTIONAL TOOLS ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

By Gail Z. Martin

Growing your business productively means understanding all of the tools available to you.  Just as smart phones and tablet PCs have redefined productivity on the go, social media has redefined how people communicate, and more specifically, how consumers want to communicate with businesses.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the three major social media platforms.  It’s worth taking some time to look at how Facebook and Twitter can help promote your company while boosting your productivity.

Facebook basics for business

Facebook now has over one billion users.  While Facebook was originally designed as a recreational place to connect with friends, businesses were quick to see the potential.  In fact, businesses have embraced Facebook faster than the Facebook architecture has adapted, leaving Facebook often scrambling to catch up to how its subscribers want to use the site.

Being present on social media for a company today is much like being present on the Web: you are judged negatively if you’re not there.  Just as many consumers would not consider a company to be a “real” business without a Web site, so many purchasers look for a Facebook presence to see if you are “real.”  What matters is that consumers have decided that they want to have a two-way conversation with the companies they patronize, and firms that abstain from being part of the dialog do so at their peril.

At the very least, you need to have a Facebook Business Page.  As Facebook has adapted to the needs of business users, these Business Pages have become easier to create and use.  Facebook wants businesses to promote from a Business Page and not from a personal profile.  Ignoring this rule can get your page deleted from Facebook.

A Business Page works a little differently from a personal profile page in that a Business Page can’t “friend” individual users.  Instead, users are invited to “like” the page and thereby opt-in to receive automatic updates whenever the page adds new information.

Today’s consumers value a connection through Facebook because they want to be able to express their opinions, ask questions, and feel as though they are being heard.  They want to do business with people, not faceless corporations.  Companies that learn to listen can reap valuable benefits, from uncovering (and being able to fix) customer service issues to discovering competitive advantages when a rival firm has dropped the ball, to new product ideas from the suggestions of loyal purchasers.

When you create your Business Page, make sure both your logo and your photo are prominently displayed.  People need to find you as a business, but they want to connect with you as the person behind the business.  Fill in the Information section, making sure your content is all about the benefit you provide to your customers and what you do for them (not just a laundry list of products and services).  Include your other Web sites, links to blogs and podcasts and business contact information so your Facebook fans can find you on the Internet.

If you already have a profile page, Facebook wants you to use it primarily for personal/recreational content.  However, it’s OK to talk about business some of the time, just as you would in real life.  Also, with a profile you can invite people to “like” your Business Page, and suggest that your “friends” also visit your Business Page.  Just keep your profile mostly personal, to remain compliant with Facebook’s Terms of Service.

Excerpted from 30 Days to Virtual Productivity Success by Gail Z. Martin

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Filed under Coaching, Gail Z. Martin

THE POWER OF “LOCAL” ONLINE MEDIA

By Gail Z. Martin

Many people resist integrating online PR and marketing into their promotional mix because they see themselves as “local” businesses. Yet online PR and marketing can be intensely local, depending on how the strategy is focused.

True, your company may not be interested in wooing customers that are thousands of miles away, or perhaps you’re unable to provide your service or product long-distance due to licensing restrictions or the tangible nature of what you’re selling. But don’t forget—the people in your local area go online every day to get information, and when your business is absent, you’ve taken yourself out of their decision-making process.

Creating a local-intensive online PR and marketing presence requires focus. It also requires understanding how to use online PR and marketing tools to reach a geographically defined audience. In addition, it requires that your content and online activities all underscore the local nature of your business in a way that converts the people in your geographic target area into customers.

(Excerpted from the brand new book 30 Days to Online PR and Marketing Success: The 30 Day Results Guide to Making the Most of Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and Blogging to Grab Headlines and Get Clients by Gail Z. Martin)

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing

Got Your Big Girl Panties Game On?

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

Put on your Big Girl panties and go for the gold. Women often do business “politics” with pull-up diapers and wonder why they aren’t achieving the goals they set out.
I’ve been wondering what the difference is between how men operate in the workplace and how women operate. In my corporate career, the most challenging job I had was managing a group of data entry employees, which were all women. [Of course, they were all women, it was one of the lowest paying jobs at the company!! – but that’s entirely an different discussion.]  The cat fighting for status was brutal and for years I’ve been trying to perceive what makes a team of men different than a team of women. Yes, it can be partly that we’re from Venus and we’ve been trained to listen to our emotions more than those Martians.

One thing I’ve understood from Games your Mother never Taught You, a book I read in the ‘70’s is that men, more often than women have been able to play team sports – football, basketball, soccer, although that that is gradually changing. They learn from that experience to rely on team-mates, that the team wins or the whole team loses and there is praise for the individual that made a game point for the team. They also learn that a single skirmish is just a single skirmish. It is an opportunity to learn more about how this specific game is played – about the opponents strengths and weaknesses. Without that bedrock perspective, a skirmish takes on an entirely new meaning.

For many women, losing a skirmish is devastating, shameful and cause for revenge or escape. When you lose a bid for a position, especially to another woman, or lose a contract to another firm, even one that played “dirty”, or are assigned to work under an incompetent, annoying boss, what do you do? It seems to be a girl’s response to attempt to sabotage the person who got the job you wanted, post nasty stories about the dirty company on your facebook page or blog, and mean gossip talk your new boss. All those responses are responses of a victim acting from a place of powerlessness. Yes, we live in a male dominated society where the male way of doing things and being in the world is the standard, but what is the female standard that we want to create – that acknowledges our access to feelings and visions and proceeds from knowing that we are powerful business women?

What skirmishes in your life have you allowed to derail you and take you out of the game? If those skirmishes were a long time ago, you might be able to see a bigger picture by now. That’s what those Martian boys have that helps them get a different perspective on each skirmish – they are in the game to win, and losing a skirmish can, if you let it, teach you how to play with more skill, more resources, and more power —if we can remember not to sweat the small stuff, and on the journey to our vision, it’s all small stuff, just minor course corrections as we stay on track toward our life passion to those Big Dreams of yours.  (Check out www.onpurposeliving.com for more ideas on how women do and can play the business game.)

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Filed under Business Planning, Image & Identity, Inner Coach, Motivation, Sheryl Eldene, Uncategorized

Amnesia, anyone?

By Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

I’ve been fascinated with movies about people who wake up, usually in the hospital and don’t know their name, and don’t remember their roles (wife, husband, employee) or their habits (happy guy, quiet person, music lover).  While on the one hand, that seems like a nightmare that you’d want to wake up from, my fantasy is that it would be the most freeing day of the year.  As we talk about being your own coach this month, what if you could start tomorrow on an absolutely clean slate – what would you create for your life?

An important part of Big Dreams is the ability to dream them.  So often yesterday’s definitions about who you are, what you can do, and how you act keep yanking you out of your dream.  If tomorrow were actually the first day of your life, and you’re starting with the advantage of you can already walk, talk your language, and you know some social mores like shaking hands, smiling when spoken to, remaining clothed in public – you can go forward into this brand new day anyway you like.

We’re suggesting this month that you exercise your inner-coach-muscle.  How about beginning with as blank a slate as you can and moving forward into your day with new Big Dreams.  If you catch yourself making the month’s plans by rote, just because it’s how you’ve always done it, see if that inner-coach-muscle might flex in a different way.

I’m doing a big break-out from the mold this week.  I’m taking a vacation by myself to a health spa, just because.  I’m sure that if I woke up some day in a hospital and couldn’t remember my name, as soon as I remembered how to travel, and discovered that I had enough money in my accounts to cover a few days at a spa – I would jump on the chance.  So I’m doing it – and I even remember my name and my husband and children’s names (although maybe for just a few days out there on the ranch I won’t even care what my name is).

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Filed under Dreams, Motivation, Passion & Potential, Sheryl Eldene

The Golden Rule

by Tish Times

I have lots of meetings. I meet with prospective Corporate Members, I meet with job seekers, I engage with vendors, I talk to entrepreneurs. I make it a point to learn something from each interaction that I have.

Recently I met with a company who was trying to sell me on their product. I had some additional appointments in the vicinity of their location, so I asked to meet at their office. The meeting was scheduled for 8:00 a.m., I arrived about ten minutes early. The lobby was open so I took a seat to await the arrival of the prospective vendor. Around 8:10 the gentleman that I was anticipating rushed through the door, papers spilling out of his briefcase, tie untied, obviously very discombobulated. I understand that things happen, and people run late occasionally, so I didn’t comment. He greeted me and we proceeded into his office and sat down. He began shuffling papers around on his desk, attempting to make room for us to conduct our business. As he continued his housekeeping, I examined the surroundings. I noticed that the man’s suit was wrinkled, as though he had grabbed it from a hamper on his way out of the door. There were piles and stacks of “stuff” surrounding the small office sitting on the floor or atop file cabinets that were either unused or overfull. When we began our conversation, it was evident that he hadn’t prepared for our meeting. I found myself answering questions that had been asked at our last encounter; in addition, it was as though he hadn’t acted on any of the information that I had previously provided. Quite obviously I had wasted my morning and there was a horrible impression left from that interaction.

My first inclination was to make a quick judgment based on my experience, however I decided to make this a learning opportunity instead. I pondered how I felt when I was early, but my prospective vendor did not respect my time. It caused me to consider the importance of making my clients feel valued. I then thought about the negative sensation that I had in the office. Instead of having a sense of calm, I felt very uncomfortable. Had this person known me at all, he would have been aware of the great appreciation I have for a neat office! My thoughts immediately went to the type of atmosphere I want to create for my customers. If I felt uneasy in those surroundings, I am sure others have had the same experience. I wonder how much business is lost because of the experience we provide (or fail to provide) for our potential clients. What are you doing to create an environment conducive for great experiences in your business? Even in a virtual environment, you create the ambiance that may inspire your prospective clients to buy, your potential employees to accept your offer, or your interviewer to select you. The time you take to prepare for a meeting and obtain knowledge of the person you will be connecting with will speak volumes to them concerning your desire to meet their needs.

I may not do business with the individual to met with last week, but I will never forget the experience. I gained a whole new appreciation for the Golden Rule. I will create the environment for my clients that I hope companies will create for me. Find out what your clients, want and need then give it to them; otherwise be willing to refer them to a company who will. They will respect you more and will come back when they have a need you are able to meet. Although I may not do business with my “teacher” from last week, I will provide feedback (to them – not to the world) as to why I made a decision to go elsewhere. When you receive criticism, don’t take it personally, but use it as an opportunity for growth and to repair areas of your business or life that might need attention. Use each encounter as an opportunity to get better; and don’t let the negative feedback that might come periodically make you bitter. As my mentor says, ‘When you know better, you can do better”. Make a decision today to be a lifelong learner.

Tish Times is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of HireTimes Career Group. Tish is an expert on career and business redesign. To receive her articles on Working Your Passion, confidence building for career and business strategies, and mindset change, visit www.hiretimescg.com and join the mailing list. For coaching or speaking engagements; contact 877-546-7408 or tishtimes@hiretimescg.com.

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Filed under Guest Blogger, Image & Identity

Are you ready for the spring thaw?

By Gail Z. Martin

This has been the l-o-n-g winter.  No one seems to have been safe from weird weather.  (When the Dallas airport is closed by snow right before the Super Bowl, things are definitely weird.)  We’ve been hit by so many cold days and snow that we wouldn’t blame that famous ground hog for packing his bags and moving south (although here in the south, it hasn’t been too cozy this year).

The last couple of years have been like nuclear winter for business.  There’s been one fallout after another, from the housing markets to the banks to specific regions and industries that have been hit hard.  Many business owners are feeling a lot like Punxuatawney Phil, the famous ground hog, afraid to see their shadow.  And yet….we know that sooner or later, the spring thaw will happen.

Will you be ready when it does?  Winter (and recessions) come on a cycle.  And they leave pretty much on a regular cycle, too.  When you anticipate winter’s arrival, you prepare: weather stripping, stocking up on firewood, grabbing some ice melt at the hardware store, buying a new shovel.  Smart homeowners and gardeners also know that spring follows winter, so they make preparations of their own regardless of how gloomy the sky looks or how late spring seems to be in a given year.  They plant bulbs, prepare the ground for planting, order seeds and starter plants, clean out the greenhouse, gather their tools and get ready for planting season.  Homeowners start thinking about outdoor projects, sizing up new maintenance needs, and take the lawnmower and other tools in for repair.

How about with your business?  Maybe you saw the freeze coming, and did as much as you could to hunker down and stay warm.  Two years after the crash, are you still in your burrow with the covers pulled over your head?  That’s a short-term solution, but it won’t work forever.  There are some signs, however faint, that an economic spring is coming, but too many people are still burrowed in for the winter.  Here’s a clue—smart business owners are sharpening their tools for spring, because they know the thaw will come.

Have you used this “winter” time to prepare?  Did you revise your web site, re-think your strategy, shore up your distribution channels, get reacquainted with your vendors and customers, build your skills (and those of your team), cut costs without sacrificing investment in the future?  Most importantly, have you maintained marketing visibility so that when consumers poke their heads out of their burrows and want to spend some money, they haven’t forgotten about you?

Time to get started!  Spring is coming!

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Filed under Business Planning, Gail Z. Martin

Your Calling Card

by Jacqueline Wales

If you’re an author, why build a website? Well simply put, it’s your calling card. The place you want people to come to read your excerpts, to interact with you, and to build your credibility. But not just any website. You want it to reflect you. Your voice, your spirit, your message.

You’ve just spent months, maybe even years, to write and develop your book. Bookstores unfortunately, are turning into Dodos, and Amazon rules the waves! That means it’s up to you to drive traffic to your book. But it’s not enough just to have a website, you have to do what you can to make sure people visit. You need to start connecting to other blogs and websites to raise your visibility. Write articles, discuss your book, share the content, comment on other people’s books, blogs and build your network of other writers and readers.

Selling books is a business. Your business is to make sure you reach out to as many people as possible so they know you exist. When people come to your site, get them to opt-in and subscribe to your list, and in return give them an excerpt from your book, or some other content that is perceived as value.

There are millions of online resources and websites dedicated to writers. Seek them out and emulate the author websites you admire. Successful authors carefully and strategically build their campaign for exposure. That’s why having a website is essential to success.

Jacqueline Wales is the author of The Fearless Factor and When The Crow Sings. Both available on Amazon, and from the author at https://www.thefearlessfactor.com She invites you to visit and download an excerpt from The Fearless Factor.

You can listen to the audio from when Jacqueline was a guest of Blog Host, Gail Z. Martin’s Shared Dreams podcast here: https://www.audioacrobat.com/play/W6Yqm3yX

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Filed under Guest Blogger, Image & Identity, Marketing

Are you in the Witness Protection Program? (Your Facebook profile said so)

By Gail Z. Martin

Have you ever gone out to someone’s Facebook or LinkedIn profile only to find a gray outline instead of a photo?  That image always reminds me of the people you see on the news who are only shown in profile because they’ve ratted on organized crime and fear for their lives.  They’re anonymous because they’re in the Witness Protection Program and they don’t want to be identified.

Those people have a reason to hide, but if you’re on social media for business, you don’t have any excuse.  The truth is that people like to do business with people—not with companies, web sites or products.  Customers want to meet you out there on Facebook and other sites.  They don’t want a photo of your dog or a creative snapshot.  They want to get to know a real, live person well enough to trust that person (you) with their money.

Getting to know someone before making a purchase is one way buyers decrease decision risk. That’s why it’s so important to have your photo on your social media profile, and why it’s a great idea to use web audio and video to give even more of a sense of who you are.  Your prospect may never meet you in person, but a photo, audio and video can go a long way toward creating a sense of trust and confidence.

Make a commitment to completing your profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media pages with a current professional photo and complete business information.  You’ll be glad you did!

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Social Media