Time and billing social media value

I recently read the e-book Breaking the Time Barrier by Mike McDerment, the co-founder and CEO of Freshbooks expecting to further my time management skill set. Instead I stumbled into being wowed by what Mike wrote. It was his story not the topic that inspired me to write this post.

What this e-book did was put in perspective a value based pricing model. Maybe that’s why some of my pricing is per hour per task and some is a flat monthly fee based on value. It didn’t focus on time management, but on billing for the value received for the price.

Time management as I mentioned wasn’t my problem. A concern over price was.

 

value, not control Will Lion via Compfight

 

Pricing is a common business concern. Are you charging too much or not enough? Are there too many options? I’ve struggled with it myself which is what inspired this honest blog post.

How valuable is your business presence, or impression, or customer memory? If the answer isn’t known, maybe you need to hold off on starting your business to figure it out.

As a volunteer educator at a prestigious community college, I strongly advocate that social media be one important component to their business plan. Social media opportunity offers business an avenue to engage their customer audience using social media.  Pricing based on any viable business requires a value based approach.

Why value you ask? Because of you don’t assign a value to how much money you need to take in to pay the utility bill then your business may not make enough money to continue operating.

I recently looked at my pricing very closely. When I first set it up I looked at my competitors but didn’t mirror their pricing. Instead I figured out how valuable my services were and asked more than a few different companies verbally how much they thought it was worth. Using those numbers and factoring in time, my pricing emerged. Many competitors continue to show a bronze, silver or gold pricing tier, or they show none at all. A gasp is my response.  How would any customer know how much to budget when they hire these competing businesses?

Many business services are unique. Past customers have hired me to do everything top to bottom. Others want very specific tasks taken care of or for service as an advisor at an hourly rate. That metallic pricing tier did not fit my customers needs. However, my current pricing model does.

Customer satisfaction is what matters most. For me it is intrinsic in my social media value.

 

The 5 Best Practices For Social Media Revealed

 

This social media narrative is for inspiration to seek your target audience.

1. Consistency matters, use scheduling

Failure will be achieved with lack of consistency. Updating consistently with fresh content scheduled on a recurring basis is easy. We are creatures of habit; help your audience create a habit of finding your posts.

2. Be responsive

Respond to everything, the good and the bad. Your audience will know you are there with them appreciating their praise or addressing any concern. Questions that are resolved are the best kind.

3. Listen to your audience

Give your audience what they want. Often they’re telling you exactly what they need. A lot is learned from just listening. Your audience will appreciate you. Pushing your own agenda is selfish and ignored.

4. Place value in everything

Make posts appealing. Know what the audience wants and tailor content accordingly. When your audience finds value in what you say, they respond, share and appreciate.

5. Pictures and photos

Connect with pictures and photos. Pictures say a thousand words. Using photos often triggers sharing. Cute animal photos, flowers, food and sunny landscapes can easily be captured with a digital camera or cell phone. Absolutely honor creative content licensing for all pictures used.

6. Over delivery is remembered

When you receive more than you expect, it’s awesome. Strive to over deliver what you promise satisfying your audience in an unexpected way. The happier your audience is, the happier you’ll be.

As always comments are appreciated, add yours below.

Mobile Marketing Scores Big for Small Businesses

According to Web.com, 84 percent of companies that adapt to mobile see an immediate or near-immediate upswing in performance. With the rise of no-contract phones, relatively inexpensive technology, and lots of options from brands such as T-Mobiles new cell phones like the iPhone 5, it’s no wonder that mobile is no longer an option, but a must if you hope to stay relevant and profitable in the coming years.

Mobile Marketing for small business

We’re not talking about the future, a coming revolution, or the next great device. We’re talking about a change that has already taken place, and you can either adjust to it or you can be left behind. It’s too late to get in at the start if you haven’t adapted yet, but it’s never too late to start moving in the right direction. Catch the mobile wave and take advantage of a fresh marketing platform with these tips.

Optimize Your Website

Just a few years ago, you could take or leave mobile websites. The web browsers we had for phones were pretty much for emergencies only, like checking your mail at the airport. Today, a website often sees as much traffic via mobile as they do via laptop and PC, sometimes more.

Mobile design and design for a nice 18-inch LCD is two different disciplines with their own rules. Making sure that your website has a mobile version as well as a desktop version will help to ensure that all of your viewers are getting what they want from the experience.

Don’t Be Dazzled by Flashy Tech Gimmicks

When Flash first came out, everyone thought the next big thing was interactive banner ads. In truth, the interactivity of these ads was merely distracting and annoying. Focus on one thing that always matters, regardless of the technology: delivering great, high-quality content.

When it comes to marketing, that’s all that really matters. Even if, you can create advertising that takes advantage of an all-new animation software if it doesn’t provide something of real value to the viewer, then the viewer is going to ignore it. Treat the technology like it’s been there forever, take it for granted, because that’s the only way that you can be certain that you’ll use it in the right way.

Make Sure Content is Branded

According to Social Media Examiner, its important to make sure that your mobile and PC versions of the site are similarly branded. If your sites don’t match, then they won’t promote your bran equally.

Utilize the Social Aspect of Mobile

Mobile is even more social than the desktop experience, and large companies have caught on to the shift. For example, Progressive is paying for the trending hashtag of #ratesuckers on Twitter. When users search for trending content, they’ll see #ratesuckers at the top. Not a bad way to attract attention. You might not be able to buy a sponsored hashtag, but you can use social media to your advantage as a small business owner.

Awareness is an operative word. Observe what others are doing, and try it out for your business.  A small slice of your budget can go a long with mobile marketing being still relatively inexpensive and sometimes even free!

Guest post by Andrea Chambers
A Web designer and project manager, Andrea shares tips for management with readers from her home office in Virginia.

What the social media manager satisfies

Comfort knowing social postings are relevant.

Is that all? No it is not.

Many have asked what a social media manager does, what role do they satisfy?

It’s an easy explanation and depends on the context of the question.

Business social media marketing puts products and services in front of your target customer audience. Social media methods, keywords and content reach your customer where they engage on the social web. Opportunities to reach and engage customers in one on one conversations is priceless.

Individual social media management is for reputation, professional image and impressions on profile networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. They say it’s all in the settings because they matter. Separation or inclusion of business identities comes with pros and cons. Children, especially teens need guidance including monitoring on social media.

Like I said, it depends on the context of the question.

What thoughts does a social media manager have?

It’s all about clarifying and building your identity while actively engaging with someone else in a fun and relevant way.

Social media management by a professional is frequently neglected.

Here is just a partial list of what the social media manager satisfies:

  • Opportunity to be known/remembered
  • Relevancy
  • Presence
  • Social etiquette
  • Open communication and dialogue
  • Community management
  • In depth understanding of business/individual goals
  • Monitoring
  • Analysis of data
  • Coordination with other marketing initiatives
  • Up to date social topics, tends and tools
  • Interactive growth management and maintenance
  • Development of online strategy
  • Spam filtering
  • Google juice, yes social postings are indexed
  • That social media will be taken care of

Social media is a strategy worthy of a five to six digit salary varying throughout the USA.

How much time do you think the above tasks take?

Social media consulting is a service where a commitment to quality is actively promoted. It’s not competing with your core brand identity, nor seeking to change it in any way. It’s seeking to build with your audience what they should already know and love about you.

A social media manager (strategist) task list goes far beyond the updating of Twitter, Google Plus and other networks for clients. While they are part of the overall result, the extension of responsibility to collecting data, interpreting analytics results and figuring out the best means to increase the return on investment is more important.

Return on investment is key, business still needs money.

Individual social media impressions are remembered.  Maybe you shouldn’t be at a bar or drinking in every Facebook post, especially if posts go to LinkedIn?

If social media isn’t returning value or being measured to do something, then do it!

P.S. Consider hiring someone [click here to hire me] to take care of social media. Free the business owner to run the business.  Free the individual of worry about impressions made.

P.P.S.S. Read my blog [click here] for more insight into what I can do for you and then [click here to hire me].

Please share and comment below.

 

LinkedIn reputation 7 must use tips

LinkedIn. The neglected but very important social network.

Yes LinkedIn is used by job seekers. Move on if that’s why you landed here. I’m focusing on reputation and why it matters.

Reputation

LinkedIn is for showing off your reputation, curating reputation and yes marketing reputation with lead generation.

No it is not the slimy salesman lead generation you are presuming.

A quality reputation is developed from:

  • participating in LinkedIn discussions
  •  utilizing LinkedIn Applications
  •  joining LinkedIn Groups
  • engaging your connections through sharing and liking content.

Executive profiles that are stagnant, incomplete or just stuck in basic mode have no reputation.  No value. No leads.

LinkedIn

 

Why build reputation?

Credibility follows reputation.

Next steps (must haves):

  1. Complete your profile! Above all include a headshot professional image. So many users have set up profiles and have left them blank still set on the default image. What does that say about who you are and where you’ve worked?
  2. Set up a customized LinkedIn url such as mine: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mariahsnyder
  3. Grow your network. Waiting for users to find you, especially if you have an incomplete profile is futile. Join groups, search for alumni and business connections. Don’t be shy and especially don’t be spammy. Reaching out to group members will connect you to others with common interests. Instead of using the cookie cutter message provided by LinkedIn insert a personal message in your request to connect.
  4. Use the summary profile section to speak in the first person to viewers about yourself.  This summary section is like an about me page. It’s great web real estate that’s free to use. Use it to your advantage.
  5. Rearrange content modules using drag and drop sorting in a logical way.
  6. Include achievements along with your profile information such as awards, certifications and volunteer work.
  7. If you are a business owner, get your phone number on there. How else are potential customers going to reach you?
  8. Participate in group discussions, share content, like content, comment if you can.
  9. Ask someone else to proofread your profile then ask what their impression is.
  10. Consider including a video related to you or your business. People who view your video are more likely to agree with your reputation.

Viewers who arrive on a professional LinkedIn profile are more likely to give referrals and remember you and your company. Your reputation matters.

Recently my profile was professionally evaluated by someone else. I found the experience refreshing. I saw my profile from someone elses point of view.

Look at your profile from the other person’s point of view.

What reputation do they see?

Please share this post and leave me a comment or two.

Social media landing pages

Social media is used by business for selling, building reputation, increasing awareness and providing value to the community.

And it should be.

Because it’s proven to be successful at driving web traffic.

Many businesses use social media to drive traffic to other websites.

I recommend a Facebook e-commerce application named Ecwid, or another hosted online presence.

What happens when the customer clicks through?

  • Does the customer know what to do?
  • What information do they see to contact you?
  • Is it possible to buy it now?
  • Is your other site confusing, cluttered and unclear?

Improve your landing pages before social media, I implore you.

How can you use social media and sell if your landing page is terrible?

You won’t.

268/365 - Default StateCreative Commons License Helga Weber via Compfight

 

Improve your message.

Is it clear, concise and obvious?

Not sure.

Ask for feedback from someone unrelated to the business.

Do they know what to do? If they don’t, revisit and revise.

Make your call to action clear (buy me).

Next.

Push into social media, start strong on one network.

Which network?

How often?

That depends.

Please Tweet my post, click it:  

Social media pain prevention plan

Social media without a plan is painful.

Some have spent a decade managing social media, learning, and engaging audiences. After feeling awkward, an aaah – ha moment occurs when they simply start writing ideas down. With those ideas a plan evolves then success is evident because it’s in your plan.

So where do you start with social media?

Let’s start with an idea that builds your plan.

Focus the idea on next week’s business at hand.

Make the idea a task.

Create three more tasks related to the first one.

End each with the word success.

Did you write them down?

These tasks are your plans for social media.

Form tasked ideas as conversational sentences.  Ask a related questions or evolve them into a multiple choice selection quizzes. These are your posts.

Locate simple images that relate to your ideas.

 

Simple.

Get started on one network and one only to begin, my best advice is Google Plus.

Log in to your account and post at 12:25pm Monday, 8:15pm Thursday and 4:30pm Friday.

Respond, react and enjoy the knowledge that it’s easier to perform under a plan.

Going forward, focus on 2-3 posts per week spread out like the example above.

Rinse, recycle and repeat!

Planning is not complicated it’s directional. Follow the plan. Your destination will be achieved.

 

Kennedy Bridge Ville Miettinen via Compfight

Your Business Needs a Content Marketing Plan

Your business has a free, powerful marketing tool – your industry expertise. By disseminating quality content related to your field, you expose your brand to potential customers and reinforce yourself as an authority to existing clientele, all while increasing sales.

Content marketing also improves SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social sharing and targeted traffic. The practice is growing, with 86 percent of B2C (business-to-consumer) companies planning to keep or increase their existing content marketing budget in 2013, the Content Marketing Institute reports. Before you jump into filming YouTube videos or writing white papers you think everyone will love, create a content marketing strategy that will ensure measurable results. Here are the basics:

Flickr image by buddawiggi

Content Hosting

Choose your website platform, such as one by WordPress, and decide whether it will be on-brand or its own entity. Decide which type of content hosting system you’ll use, from iPage hosting to an in-house server. Decide how the new site will relate to your business site — it could get its own vanity URL, it could be a blog section on your main site, or a combination. Set goals for visitors, page views and direct traffic percentage, and install an analytics system, such as Google Analytics, to monitor content performance.

Types of Content

Decide who your target audience is. It may be existing customers, who you hope will share content with potential customers. It might be people who have never heard of your brand, who you’ll target on niche social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon.com. Stephanie Chang, SEO consultant at Distilled, also recommends conducting a competitor analysis and keyword research related to your brand, along with existing user surveys. Determine which parts of your sales funnel need strengthening, and consider targeting content to those areas.

Choose which types of content and media are most appropriate, and create a content schedule that ensures delivery of original, innovative and shareable content. Avoid keyword stuffing (using a search term over and over again) your content as search engines could actually penalize you. Instead, aim for content that your target audience will find useful and informative and will want to share. Decide if the content will be created in-house, by freelancers, by guest bloggers, or a combination.

Be mindful of key dates that might influence content, like holidays, product launches and selling cycles. You may already have engaging content to convert for the web, such as interviews by your CEO or articles you can repurpose. Internet marketing firm Vertical Measures, which has a downloadable free content calendar, suggests including target audience, distribution channels and keywords to optimize distribution. Stan Smith, managing director of Pushing Social, recommends publishing new content at least once a week to ensure your site stays relevant to search engines and keeps readers engaged.

Promote Your Content

Now that you’re producing solid content on a regular basis, share it with followers and industry influencers. Use social media algorithm sites like Klout to find top influencers and pitch them to share your content with their audiences. Offer to return the favor, and build content sharing relationships with social media marketers. Use your own social networks to post your content and encourage discussion. Respond to comments on your content for increased engagement, and revise content strategies based on successful channels and content types.

Guest post by:

Ken Porter
A programmer and web designer, Ken has developed multiple programs to help site owners improve their SEO and page rank.

Savvy social media marketing

Intimidating is what marketing is, right? There is a balance that must be achieved using social media where you aren’t selling but are creating interest in an informational way that is remembered by your audience. There is no one right way, or is there?

 

Balance, that is one solution answer we all want the answer to

Most common social media platforms have a balance of selling and sharing of information. Each one is unique, there is no one size fits all approach. I’d like to share with you some common guidelines to help you find the solution of balance on social media.

First and foremost, keep your business and personal profiles distinct and separate. This way the photos and information shared of your day to day personal life are not intermixed with your business postings. Business postings should be professional, engaging and encouraging to engage customers in conversations around your business brand and products or services.

Most if not all business are selling something on social media and we need to first be honest, that’s why you are here. For every ten posts on social media, one can be a direct sell including a call to action to buy. Customers above all deserve and respect honesty, so take the one in ten opportunity to sell.

 

Marketing, do it with photos

The story they say is in the picture and that pictures tell one thousand words. Use visuals in your company social media posts, ensure likes and shares or plus ones by choosing photos that are awesome and can capture the attention of your current and future customers.  Be cognizant of the impression all images will have with your customer, make them memorable and stand out in their mind.

Know the best image sizes for each social network, they’re easy to find, just Google it and seek current parameters.

Studies show images are more memorable than text so use them more. You have my permission to be awesome.

 

 

Humor and the curious nature of us all

Yes I could quote someone funny, instead I’ll quote Seth Godin in his brilliance.

“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
—Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

 

Faking it, no just don’t

As businesses we can buy just about anything.

  • You can buy fans and friends on Facebook
  • You can buy followers on Twitter
  • You can acquire testimonials for $5 on Fiverr
  • You can buy reviews for your products

Get the picture?

We are blinded by it all. Being a faker has costs and benefits. Gain your fans, followers, testimonials and reviews the real way, by earning them.