Utilising Facebook for Small Businesses

Guest Post

I’ve asked my good friend Paula to write this guest post about using Facebook for business, whatever your niche you can utilise it in the same ways the big brands do and get the same benefits.

Remember to check out Paula’s Facebook page to see how she does it!

What begins with F and ends with book? Seriously you’d have to be from a different planet if you didn’t say Facebook, even if you are one of the very few who doesn’t have a Facebook Account these days you would certainly know someone who does and pretty much understand what it’s all about.

But how many of you really know how to use this FREE tool for your Small Business? Or even have a Business Page? Do you even know the difference between a Profile and a Page? If like me (a few months ago) you felt a little daunted by this prospect but now is the time to really get that Facebook Page up and running, before you are left behind!

Do I have a Facebook Profile or a Facebook Page?

Ok so a Facebook Profile is where you add friends, use it on a personal basis and Facebook only allows you to have one of these. Whereas a Facebook Page where designed for businesses which means you can create as many of these as you like! And you’ll know if you have set this up as you will have a ‘like’ button!

Benefits of the Facebook Page

I love using a Facebook Page for my business because it can be used as a virtual shop front, displaying within seconds what you do with the added bonus of making it that little bit personal. 

The thing with your Facebook Page you have a willing audience who are already paying attention to you whether they know it or not.  It’s not like you are paying hundreds of pounds for an advertisement in a magazine, your ‘likers’ have already told you they are interested so it’s up to you to keep them tuned in.

You can also have as many ‘likers’ as you want too, there is no limit to this if that’s not an incentive to get one set up I don’t know what is! Everyone is on Facebook so your business should be there too!

What’s your Facebook Marketing Strategy?

Now this does sound very rigid, which I am not but you got to use and abuse your page (in a good way of course!) which means you’ve got to have some kind of strategy, it won’t promote you all by itself!

  1. Invite people to your page, use your Hotmail account to search for contacts, LinkedIn and send emails to your friends on your profile inviting people to like your page.
  2. Schedule posts, pictures, links about what you do or what you like to get people interested and engaged. Use programs like Hootsuite to schedule them or just use the schedule facility on Facebook! You don’t always have to be there to promote your page.
  3. Interact! Talk to your ‘likers’, ask questions and really find out who they are. And above all don’t be afraid to show your personality and have fun!

And the Piece de resistance you can have the best of both worlds and have your Facebook Profile and Page using the same log in details so you can switch in-between them as often as you can!

Really work your page and above all listen to what your audience loves about your page and use it!

Enjoy my fellow Facebook users!

Author Bio:

I’m Paula and this is my dog Tommy. I run my own small business designing and making accessories from recycled materials, check out my Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/SewReVamped

You can also follow Paula on twitter @SewReVamped.

Repurpose Your Content Using Slideshare

Last weekend I decided to finally get round to looking at Slideshare to see how I could attract some new followers to my blogs and websites. It had been on my list of things to do for some time. I created a presentation entitled ‘Do’s & Dont’s of eBook Formatting‘, I repurposed the blog post of the same name and the presentation ended up receiving quite a bit of traffic. So far I’ve had close to 300 views, and I received emails from Slideshare saying the presentation was ranking high on Facebook and LinkedIn.

So what is Slideshare?

“SlideShare is the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. With 60 million monthly visitors and 130 million pageviews, it is amongst the most visited 200 websites in the world. Besides presentations, SlideShare also supports documents, PDFs, videos and webinars.”


Some things that you can do on SlideShare

  • Upload presentations publicly or privately
  • Download presentations on any topic and reuse or remix
  • Embed on blogs, websites, company intranets
  • Share on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
  • Zipcast: free, no download, 1 click web meetings
  • Leadshare: generate business leads with your presentations, documents, pdfs, videos
  • Slidecast: sync mp3 audio with slides to create a webinar
  • Embed YouTube videos inside SlideShare presentations
  • Use SlideShare PRO for premium features like branded channels, analytics, ad free pages etc
Not only can you do the above, but you can also upload documents, PDF’s in particular. I decided that it would be a good place to upload my free eBook ‘3 Key Benefits of Using a Virtual Assistant’, see below. This particular upload hasn’t attracted the number of views that my other presentation received, but I feel that testing the waters with this has been worthwhile. I think presentations with clear points is the best way of getting views, and this is what I’ll be concentrating on for future presentations.

Slideshare: 3 Key Benefits of Using a Virtual Assistant

 

Do you have any presentations gathering dust on your computer? Why not have a look and see if any can be updated and improved upon, and then upload them to Slideshare. If you’re an expert in your field, uploading your best presentations to something like Slideshare can only increase your following and who knows get you more leads and ultimately more sales.
 
Starting next week I will be publishing a series of specific articles on how a virtual assistant can help you save time, money and help you accomplish more. These articles will be on a specific task which a virtual assistant can help you with. I would like your help, please answer this question…

What would be your number one task that you’d love a virtual assistant
to do for you if money were no object?

Please let me know in the comments so I can align my articles to those who would benefit from them most. Thank you in advance!

 
LinkedIn: Getting Started

LinkedIn: Getting Started

LinkedIn is the Social Media Network for professionals and businesses. Facebook is for keeping up to date with your friends and family, but LinkedIn is to keep up to date with your colleagues (past, present and future!).

I signed up to LinkedIn while in my previous job, but didn’t have a profile. I often received invitations to connect but I didn’t have a clue what I should use LinkedIn for. That is until I started my own business and found that LinkedIn was a great way of showcasing your CV online and connecting with people you wouldn’t necessarily meet in real life.

LinkedIn for me is one of the ways I network with potential clients. Being based in France and not speaking the language means I don’t get out and network in a traditional sense. For me in particular I can work with people all over the world, why limit myself to network with just those in the UK (or France if I could speak French well enough)?

To understand LinkedIn you need to get involved… the same rules of interaction for other social networks apply for LinkedIn. Here are a few ways you can get involved and connect with people:

  • Join groups you’re interested in, as a business or personally
  • Connect with your colleagues, past and present
  • Ask for recommendations and endorsements
  • Create a company page for your business and include your services
  • Share articles in the same way you share on other networks, but more business related
  • Sign-up to LinkedIn Ads and run an advert (I have had great success with these)

With any social network you need to get involved, LinkedIn has evolved a lot since I first started my profile nearly two years ago. I find I interact more on there now than I did in the past. I have connection requests on a regular basis and enquiries about my business.

One of the most important things you need to do on LinkedIn is have a super profile, it’s your online CV/Resume. You need to ensure your profile is SEO optimised with the correct keywords, put the effort in as much as you would you’re own website. Above this though is to make sure you have the perfect headline so people can easily search for you, make sure the skills you are selling are included, for example my headline reads:

☆ Professional Virtual Assistant ☆ eBook Formatting ☆ Social Media ☆ WordPress Web Design ☆

Why not connect with me on LinkedIn?

I have chosen some great articles about LinkedIn, check some of these out for some more tips:

Go Beyond: 3 Features You Didn’t Know Existed on LinkedIn

Audience & Traffic Generation for Bloggers: Blogs on Quora

GUEST BLOG

My best definition of ‘a pain in the neck’ is sitting down for hours to eventually craft great informative content, and ultimately get no one to read them. It sucks to see my ‘intellectual property’ go down the trenches of my blog without success – in terms of views and comments.

Anyone would readily agree that the most important thing to any expert is building an audience. Unfortunately, building an audience has also been identified as the major problem of ALL bloggers; even veterans still seek ways to get more traffic. I strongly believe that anyone that can come up with a solution to this general problem, even if only to an extent, will be worth the attention and respect.

The hairs behind my neck still rise when I remember the blogging.org infographic that says “An unbelievable upwards of 81% never makes $100 from blogging” out of “an estimated thirty-one million bloggers in the United States alone”. How much more third-world bloggers! The major reason for this failure is not far-fetched; they fail to get (and keep) sufficient traffic enough to be tagged ‘a successful blogger’.

Newbies in the blogosphere, like me, still see getting the deserved audience for our products as a myth, and a thing to yet be dreamt of. We try everything possible, from SEO to content marketing, and so on, still we seem not to get any traction in trying to push away from the ’81 percent’. If I get anyone to make the ‘traffic myth’ a reality for me, I’d take my hats off to such person – permanently.

Now let’s imagine the situations of internet marketers that have no blog to showcase their expertise or promote their products, or great writers that have no blog to exhibit their prolificacy or readers to enjoy and benefit from their resourcefulness.

The good news is that, with the advancement in internet technology and information distribution, all these problems are gradually coming to an end.

Introducing Blogs on Quora

Before going deep into ‘Blogs on Quora’, I think it would be a great idea to first do an introduction to Quora and dispel the feeling that almost anyone would know so much about Quora.

Quora is a questions and answers site (Q&A Site) – just as Yahoo! Answers – in which members can ask or answer any question which anyone visiting the site can also benefit from. The best answers get voted up or down as readers deem fit.

Quora can safely be regarded as the revolution of Q&A sites, as it makes things a lot easier for answer seekers and writers or professionals, who love to share their knowledge and show their expertise, alike.

Quora is being used by millions and has a reputation for ranking high on search engines for many keywords. Smart internet marketers take good advantage of this platform for exposure and traction-gaining purposes. A lot of traffic can be driven to a site through giving highly informative and resourceful answers on Quora, and it makes you easily perceived an expert in your niche. If you yet don’t have this great invention in your marketing arsenal, then you should consider it sooner.

Now let’s talk about blogging on Quora.

On 22nd January, in a good attempt to realize its mission of ….., Quora launched its latest invention; ‘Blogs on Quora‘, a platform on which Quora users can create as many blogs and posts, with rich text editors and images, either from the web or mobile.

This serves as a replacement for Quora boards on which non-Q&A posts were being posted.

Blogs on Quora serves to allow writers share their knowledge with the world where they do not have an established blog, and also great for bloggers who do not have an audience, or who have an audience but want to reach more people.

While, introducing Blogs on Quora, Kah Keng Tay writes that “Blogs on Quora are great for people who (1) don’t have a big, established online presence already and (2) don’t want to do the time-intensive, heavy lifting of marketing their blog and slowly building an audience. If you are a good writer but don’t have thousands of Twitter followers or a big audience for your blog, Quora is an ideal place to write. Your blog will be discovered quickly without you having to do any work besides writing. Writing one great post on Quora will attract a big audience, no matter how many people already know or follow you.

She goes further to state that…

Personally, I use my Quora blog as a replica of my original blog, and I repost my best posts and guest posts on the Quora blog. To know what a Quora blog looks like, you can check out mine; it is called LucrativeWriter.

Quora’s distribution method is a great advantage of Blogs on Quora; it expands your readership beyond those who follow you personally. The power of Quora distribution is driven by the relationship between topics and feed.

Just as in questions and answers, each blog post on Quora is categorized by relevant topics. These topics are in form of people’s interests, and each topic is followed by thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people. This ultimately means that anyone who shares your topic interest may see your post, whether they follow you personally or not.

This is the most interesting part of it all as Quora knows who wants to read what via the topics people follow, and this goes a long way to help in getting targeted traffic.

I re-published one of my guest posts titled ‘How to Best Use Writing to Boost Your Traffic and Sales’ on my Quora blog as a test-run of the features of the blog, choosing related interests, but without a picture and any serious optimization – even with an incomplete Quora profile, and the post got about 40 views in less than a day.

I later added to the selected interests of the post and the views increased to 40+ in few hours. The views further increased to 85+ in just few minutes after wasting all my credits in promoting the post to 100 people. The post was published 4:19 pm on Friday, 25th January, and on Monday, 28th January, it had 170 views. This is just a minuscule sample of what blogging on the Quora platform can do for a blogger. Just one up-vote indicates my subsequent posts must far exceed the present one in quality and resourcefulness. And this also indicates that even if you write trash, you will still get the audience, though this might destroy your reputation fast.

More so, Blogs on Quora gives the prolific writer the chance to target different markets on one blog. A freelance writer in the writing/blogging niche like me can post about travelling and have it read by travelling fans, or use my Quora blog as a collection of writing samples on various unrelated topics to show that I can perform well in any niche I get hired.

Another advantage is that unlike in traditional blogs or other social media platforms where an old post might be gone forever, old Quora Blog posts that get up-votes (just as in Q&As) can suddenly appear back in the feed making them “evergreen and re-discoverable” – TechCrunch.

Quora Blogs Optimization

Even when Quora claims that you need not do anything other than the writing to enjoy the benefits of the blog, it’s still important to look for ways to enhance the effectiveness of the features of Blogs on Quora.

Best optimizing your Quora blog is mostly within the ambit of the features available to users of this platform; very few things can be done from outside the blog.

Within the Blog;

  • When opening your Blogs on Quora account, make sure you are conscious of the details you enter, having your keywords in mind. Your brand name should be your URL followed by your target keyword or brand tag (65 characters max) – mistakenly engaged my original brand name, LucrativePen, in another way. Can’t even say how.
  • Your ‘About’ message should be very compelling and keyword-rich.
  • When selecting your topics of interest, do not forget your market targets. These are the people that ordinarily get to see your posts. Don’t worry; the interests of your individual posts can differ from that of the blog. One other good thing is that you can edit your posts and edit your interests long after publishing.
  • Always write quality posts with on-page optimization in mind. Your keyword should be used as title (can be changed after publishing, but your permalink will remain the same), and your first 160 characters should contain your target keyword. Maintain a decent Keyword density throughout your post though.

Your description on search engines will be pulled from your latest post as Quora doesn’t use Meta description tag.

  • Change your image name to your keyword before uploading it.
  • Always share your posts to your social networks.
  • Improve the authority of your blog by linking out to authority sites.
  • You can invite people to follow your blog and you can also promote your blog to people with your Quora credits. When you promote your blog, it gets more attention, and possibly more followership or up-votes. *In a bid to understand how Quora credits work, I wasted my default 500 credits which I would have loved to keep for better purposes. Don’t waste yours!

Outside the Blog;

  • Backlink to your Quora blog from an active blog, either through posts or commenting on do-follow blogs with your Quora blog URL;
  • Get your Quora blog indexed on Google. Ping it with Ping-O-Matic or any other tools.

As earlier said, much optimization can only be done within the blog. The most important factor is writing great content; that’s what gets you the views and the follows – and upvotes.

Blogs on Quora is a relatively new concept, but a lot of people are already reaping the benefits, in form of audience and traffic. It’s the next big thing in the blogosphere. You should get on board now and improve your online presence via Quora blogs; you don’t wanna lose that URL you love.

Author Bio:

Yomi-Alliyu Oludami is a professional freelance writer and the founder of www.lucrativepen.com, a blog that teaches how to write for money and traffic. You can visit his website to learn more or hire him for your writing projects.

You can also follow him on twitter @oludami_LP.

Are your Social Media Networks Safe?

Resource Review: SocialSafe

What you post on your social media networks like Facebook and Twitter is not legally yours. At anytime these huge social media networks could close down and take everything with them, your photo’s, your interactions with your friends, messages etc…

Last year I came across SocialSafe and was really happy to be able to start backing up my social media networks. I started out small and just added my Facebook and Twitter profiles, but recently I have added my Google+, Pinterest, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn and my blog RSS feeds to SocialSafe. Each morning when I switch on my Mac it pops up and starts syncing with all the content I posted since the previous back-up.

From the SocialSafe website:

What does SocialSafe do?

SocialSafe provides an incredibly simple way to back up and archive your Facebook timeline, Facebook Pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and Viadeo profiles. Everything is stored locally on the user’s PC or Mac for super quick access via SocialSafe’s powerful search and browse functions.

Here are some of the features available when using SocialSafe:

Your Private Backup – All back-ups are saved on your computer and are 100% private, so not shared with anyone else. You can view them at any time.

Travel back in time – There is a great calendar which means you can easily check out previous dates on your networks.

Find anything in an instant – You can search all your social media networks in one place, and it’s super fast.

View all your yesterdays – The journal style shows you all your activity over your networks.

Export everything – You can export and view individual elements of your networks easily.

Always growing – By using SocialSafe you’ll never lose posts from way back when, you’ll have them backed-up forever.

I certainly don’t utilise SocialSafe enough, I want to spend some time searching and checking out all the features – but I know that all the content is there waiting for me when I have the time. 

Here is a snapshot of my journal entry for today, it shows who has followed and unfollowed me on Twitter, it shows totals of mentions, tweets and similar info for LinkedIn. 

 

I don’t think I could ask for any other information, everything I need is here. In fact there are a couple of things I wasn’t even aware of when I started writing this review, and it’s made me think about using this on a daily basis, especially to look at my unfollows on Twitter.

SocialSafe can be downloaded on a 60 day free trial and I definitely suggest you do this and check it out for yourself. Even when you start paying, the rates are so reasonable I’d be surprised if you stop using it once you’ve seen all these benefits.

I particularly like the Photo’s section, it shows me all the photo’s on my various networks and all of these are backed-up for offline viewing and you can export them. In the Calendar section, you can hover over the days and it gives you a quick overview of all your posts on various networks.

These are all the social networks you can use with SocialSafe.

Now, why not pop over to SocialSafe and download your 60 day free trial, even if you don’t continue using it afterwards you can export your back-ups to your computer and keep them. Be sure to follow SocialSafe on Facebook too, they are great at updating you and their customer service is great!

Social Media Top Tips

Last week I asked you to complete my very short survey Getting to Know You! I’ve had a great response and decided today I would cover a topic many of you asked for in the survey, Social Media help.

It’s a huge topic, Social Media encompasses the entire Internet, not just networks such as Facebook and Twitter. So where do I start? Well I thought I would provide you with my top 5 social media tips, what works for me and how you can incorporate these into your working day.

Choose your Social Media Networks Carefully

You don’t need to be on every single social media network ever invented, you’ll give yourself a heart attack trying to keep up with them all. You need to think carefully what networks your customers/clients are likely to be using, and if you don’t know, then ask them. It’s very easy to email your current customers/clients and find out where they hang out, it will give you a good starting point at least.

You can’t give 100% to more than 2 or 3 networks on a daily basis, well I certainly can’t. So choose 2 or 3 to begin with and see how it works for you, if you’re not having much luck with one of them, swap to another and see if it works better for you. It’s all about testing the water!

If you’re interested, I currently only use 2 social media networks on a daily basis and give them 100%, Facebook and Twitter. I have accounts on other networks which I update from time to time, but it’s impossible to be in all these places at once.

Social Media Management Tools

If you follow my blog on a regular basis you will know that I have tried and tested many different management tools for social media. These tools help you manage your networks in one place, as I only use two networks on a daily basis I can get by using a free service. In fact I only use tools for my Twitter account, and even though I always seem to be testing different tools, I always come back to Pluggio and Buffer to manage my tweets. They do everything I need them to do, I can drip-feed tweets throughout the day, I can schedule tweets and I can keep track of other variables.

You don’t want to choose a complicated tool to manage your social media, I have come across a few which I didn’t even understand. Keep it simple, some of the other tools I have mentioned before are Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, SocialOomph (I still use this too occasionally) and Bottlenose, to name just a few.

Don’t Sell your Products & Services on Social Media

This sounds like a stupid thing to say, but maybe I said it wrong. What I wanted to convey is, don’t barrage your fans/followers with sales messages all the time. It might get you the odd sale, but I bet it will lose you sales in the long run. I hate it when I see someone constantly flogging their stuff on their Facebook page or tweets. A nice mix of updates should have a better effect. I don’t tend to sell my services on Facebook at all, occasionally if I have a new product or service I’ll mention it, but that’s it. On Twitter I have some sales tweets that go out maybe once or twice a day, but most of my content comes from my own blogs or articles I think my fans/followers will appreciate.

By all means update your audience when you have a great deal to offer them, but be careful not to overdo the sales side of things.

Subscribe to Other Blogs

I get most of the content I share from other blogs. I want you to share my posts, so I need to go out and share others. I add many blog feeds to my Google Reader account and then most evenings I will go through the new posts of the day and either add them to Buffer, add them to Pocket for later reading or tweet them out immediately or post them to Facebook.

Reading a good amount of blogs on a regular basis will also give you good ideas, what you could be doing on social media, and more often then not if you start sharing all this great content from someone else, people will be interested to see what you’re all about.

Schedule your Social Media Time

It’s very easy to get carried away online and end up surfing for hours and hours and not actually getting anything done. I still have days like this occasionally, it’s not productive and you feel as if you’ve not achieved anything. So my advice would be to schedule in the time you spend on social media, it doesn’t have to be a long time, and you can schedule it in a couple of times a day. Using the management tools I mentioned above makes things a lot easier. Having a queue of updates in Buffer and SocialOomph for me is a life saver. Even if I don’t manage to get on Facebook all day I know that the scheduled posts will, without me having to be there to press the send button.

You have to be present on social media, you can’t just send out a load of content and expect anything back. You still need to interact with people, network online. This is the work you need to schedule into your day.

As an example, this is how I schedule my day – first thing in the morning I check my Twitter account and respond to any RT’s, messages, mentions since I switched off the night before. It doesn’t take long, sometimes if someone is online I continue a conversation or two, but usually it’s a case of reply and move on to the next. I also like to post on my Facebook page in the mornings, I call it free posting (ie. not using a tool to schedule) – I do sometimes set-up one or two scheduled posts for later that morning (actually in Facebook rather than a tool), but I only ever do these a couple of hours in advance. Throughout the day I have  notifications for Facebook and Twitter on my iMac and iPhone, so if something needs an immediate response I can deal with it there and then. If not, then I leave it until later in the day. I usually spend some more time on social media at lunchtime, and then again just before I switch off my computer.

I use a time tracking application on my iMac, it basically tracks everything I do (I am writing this part before I have even looked at my social media usage today, I hope it’s not horrendous), this gives you an idea of how much time I spend:

Phew not too bad!

So as you can see, hopefully I am pretty present on my social media networks of choice, but on a typical day I will only spend about an hour. Sometimes it might be more, sometimes less, I guess it really depends how much time you have to put into it.

I wish I could have come up with some more tips for you, if you sign up to my mailing list (box on the right) you’ll receive my monthly Social Media Clinic emails where I can answer more specific questions. I don’t post these articles anywhere else, so they are exclusive to my mailing list. 

I hope you will go away and implement some of my suggestions, feel free to comment below on what works best for you.