Squidoo

Squidoo is an evolving community that started in 2005. It’s a brain child of Seth Godin, an absolutely brilliant marketer. The founders used their saavy skills to connect a pool of writers with a desire to earn money through modules that earn commissions such as Amazon and Ebay.

Squidoo leaks engagement and is addicting if you are a writer. It fills a need to write about non social media topics.

When you write articles on Squidoo, they must be unique, useful and updated. The articles are lenses, and are focused on one topic.

My Squidoo lens page http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/mariasconsulting

Search engines are smart, they know unique quality content and so does the amazing editorial team at Squidoo.  My posts there are quazi-experimental and a lot more personal. I strive to update them as each topic evolves. It has a social component with it’s own liking system. Give Squidoo a try.

Here are a few of my posts, please stop by and give them a Squid-like.

http://www.squidoo.com/asthma-is-not-controlling-me-i-control-it

http://www.squidoo.com/coffee-and-money

http://www.squidoo.com/lens-titles

http://www.squidoo.com/mom-the-certified-public-accountant

http://www.squidoo.com/cheer-mom

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Who’s the fairest of them all? It was a huge question and it came with big answers didn’t it? Mirror customer relationships on your targeted audience and you hit the mark.

Are your business customers on social media? Are they searching for your business online? If you answer yes to either of these, you need a social media plan and goals because it will help your customer find you.

Here is where you begin with social media, we don’t get online for quite a while [after the photo]:

Your audience is on social media. Figure out where they are. If you are seeking college students, they’re on Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare. Seeking professionals employed or otherwise, look seriously at Linked In. Seeking the Mom crowd, look at Facebook and Pinterest.  If you sell pretty stuff, look at Pinterest and Instagram. If you’re something in between or don’t know, Google Plus fits everybody. Why? Because it’s Google and I get into that later.

You now need to listen, watch and observe your customer audience. Your observations occur in face to face conversations, in phone consultations or simply watching customers in your place of business. Ask questions of your customers, do they use social networks? What is their favorite network?  Are they using smart phones? Customers using smart phones probably are actively engaged on one or more social network. What networks are your employees on? Simple and easy to figure out, do an anonymous survey of customers and employees.

Have an executive brainstorming meeting. The brainstorm can happen in fifteen minutes or longer. Decide where you found your customer online and what your customer needs [hopefully they need you].  You need to develop a perspective of fulfilling your customers need. Think in terms of YOU not I because if you start talking in the first person, you will be selling, slimy and loose the attention of your customer. Your customer matters and needs you and your product or service. This social thing is about them not I. Clear? The conceptual idea should be evolving, a plan is emerging.

Where are we so far? We found our audience, we’ve studied them, listened and asked questions. We’ve brainstormed and focused on the audience who needs you. A considerable amount of time has passed. You still haven’t actually activated your social account yet, with me?

Here is the actionable part of a plan. I call this phase the three D’s.  Dedicate time to post, share, link, comment and engage customers. Designate the people, owner or person to take care of it for you. Demonstrate your willingness to respond to criticism  and accept suggestion because you will get it. There are many scheduling applications such as online calendars that can text, beep or alert you to the timing of posts, shares, links, comments and engaging activities. Encourage the use of Google alerts to monitor when your business name or product/service appears online.

Find your competitors social profiles and lurk, listen and see what they’re doing. It’s ok to take notes. Once you go live, yes we will follow them, circle them and even like their page (as a clicking process). We may even say hello in a comment. [Ninja trick that will get some awareness out there] We still have a lot to do before going live.

During the brainstorming sessions, many ideas evolved. You developed a conceptual idea about who you will be online didn’t you? In any new event with a business, there needs to be a build up of excitement. This is where you start telling your customers about your new [secret] without telling them about the [secret]. Name the [secret] your big secret, the big shh, the new and exciting [secret] don’t tell anyone about a Google Plus page or social media page, keep it secret. They already have the idea because you planted a seed during your observation phase when you asked questions. Mystery sparks curiosity and curiosity sparks desire. You need and want curiosity and desire.

Seth Godin’s blog post titled Long-term Manipulation Is Extremely Difficult makes a great point about easy and difficult. It applies to our strategic social media process:

In the short run, it’s easy.

It’s easy to fool someone or lie to them or give them what they think they want. It’s easy to write a great block of copy, to sell on credit, to grab the attention of the mob.

Not so easy: to build mutually profitable long-term relationships that lead to satisfaction, trust and work worth doing.

Lincoln was right about fooling people, but along the way we often forget that while trickery is easy, the longer path of keeping your promises is far more satisfying and stable.

[END]

We’re working on the not so easy part. To build mutually profitable long-term relationships that lead to satisfaction, trust and work worth doing. That build takes time. How much time and effort depends on you.
There ain't no mountain high enough Fernando Rodríguez via Compfight

Our profile isn’t live yet. The plans are evolving and we’re getting closer. Continue on to the next page for further reading.

Pages: 1 2

Genesis Framework Because You Need It My Top 10 List

Because it was time for a website redesign, I contacted a friend. You must like the website update because my traffic increased and bounce rate decreased.

My friend Chris at Modo Media Group does amazing website design, internet advertising and print. He gave me 8 great suggestions.

  • A professional WordPress template [theme]. √ done
  • Promote my portfolio / testimonials / blog /press releases more √ done
  • Contact, place my number in the header not just on the contact page √ done
  • Less is more, reduce the amount of text √ done
  • Use a conversion script for my newsletter – in debate
  • Offer an eBook as incentive to sign up for my newsletter – in progress
  • Simplify package and pricing [remove pricing] – debatable
  • SECRET TIP that’s best between friends

Who do you ask for advice? Because you need to know and because you don’t want to be sold let’s hope you know a Chris [and a Maria].

I chose the Genesis framework and a Studiopress Premium theme for my site.  Why choose Genesis? The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. My top 10 list was satisfied:

  • The Genesis Framework is search optimized
  • Automatic updates
  • The Genesis turn-key designs give you an array of beautiful frames for your content.
  • The design settings give you unprecedented control of the framework.
  • Child theme support and functionality
  • Unlimited support.
  • Unlimited updates.
  • Unlimited websites.
  • There’s no “Developer Option” here.
  • One low price entitles you to support, updates, and domains
  • I chose the StudioPress theme named Prose with Genesis as a framework

Genesis Framework for WordPress

Because my portfolio was neglected for updates, you rarely saw it. I added some tweets and new things. Want to be on my portfolio “click here” [a little selling]

Because we all think differently I presumed you would figure out to click my contact page to see my phone number [tip- take your own and Chris's advice Maria]

Because I write a lot there is a bit less text on my website pages, I deleted tons of stuff that was irrelevant. [tip- take your own and Chris's advice Maria]

There were a few other updates such as simple graphics, simple social icons and refreshed text.

I recently read Safelite Autoglass’s customer policy during a visit. It said: A delighted customer will recommend four times as many customers as a satisfied customer. Remember satisfaction isn’t good enough. Make every customer contact count.

Sometimes your customer is delighted.  Thank you Chris.

 

 

15 Must Haves Why Business Social Media Is A Yes For You

Business social media opens up your opportunity.

You can’t just set up social media profiles and expect a booming business, that is crazy. Social media set it and forget it is even crazier!

Business plans, decisive action and web marketing take time. First you need to understand the behind the scene mechanics and the ultimate goal of social media. Not everyone’s goal is the same, each is unique. Remember the core goal is to better the business, right? If you are asking yourself why social media, here is the reason. Customers use social media, both young and old. You need to target customers using effective social media messages, pictures and promotional outreach to increase your business value in the eye of the customer.

What do your customers do if they believe something is valuable? They buy it. If you aren’t telling your customer your business services or products are valuable, customers will find value somewhere else. You’ve lost a customer.

Empires of marketing gibberish and sales slime has impressed that social media is a magical process that generates instant success. Business social media profiles are your key element on the path to social media success. The paths beyond social media setup are strategies made better by informed decisions. It’s really up to you.

Here are some must haves to consider.

Business social media profiles must contain:

  • Business name
  • Business phone number
  • Business location address
  • Photo of the business lobby and a smiling owner
  • Descriptions of what your business does including keywords associated in an easy to read narrative

Business social media posts best practices:

  • A posting schedule including when, where and what to post two to four times per week
  • A target audience and social media network to focus on
  • Consistent tone with posts in line with business objectives
  • Posts including pictures, tips and how to guides
  • Calls to action during occasional promotional posts [for every 10 posts, one is promotional]
freedigitalphoto dot net
Image credit freedigitalphoto.net

Engaging customer methods and techniques:

  • Ask questions, give prompt answers
  • Reply to all comments promptly
  • Post photos of your business and it’s employees at work
  • Respond to concerned customer comments or trouble notifications with a simple ‘call me so we can resolve your problem as soon as possible’ responses
  • Have a contest, ask for responses [the third comment gets 15 percent off their next order]
  • Use humor in a practical way even making fun of yourself [y'all missed my awesome banana shaped tie yesterday]

Social media options

  • Links to your main website and other social media profiles
  • Calls to action to friend, follow, like and share posts
  • Blog integration to expose outreach opportunities
  • Graphic buttons to draw the consumers eye
  • Memes to ironically make someone laugh
  • Reputation monitoring and Google alerts

I promised you fifteen, I hope you are delighted there were more!

Here is my offer, hire me then checkout with PayPal in the cart above.

Call 315.706.4123 to arrange other terms of payment.

Two things you need are setup and a starter maintenance package.

The first five people to order receive a free one hour coaching call consultation.

Basic Set-up Package – $209


The Basic Set-up Package includes two social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Google Plus) with basic linking of social media profiles to each other and to your blog or website. Basic set-up includes suggestions to improve your social media presence. I will also show you how to update each social network. You only need provide images and content, the ideas flow from there.

Starter Maintenance Package – $100 set up & $1,350 (3 mos) or $450/ month


The Starter Maintenance Monthly Maintenance social media package is an entry–level package geared to individuals and businesses. This starter package provides you with 1-2 status updates/week on up to two social networks, deleting of unwanted spam, accepting friend requests/following back and basic profile management. Content creation is your responsibility. Weekly contact and followup with you is always my priority, so is your social media.

If you are one of the lucky five, I will contact you within 48 hours to set up our appointment.

Let’s create more success with business social media TODAY!

11 Business Social Media Mistakes

Businesses flock to social media and fill advertising gaps. It’s free, easy to post and available to most.

Business owners are taking care of social media tasks themselves, their reputation is at stake after all. Many businesses are making mistakes and don’t even know it.

 

Are you making some of these common business social media mistakes?

 

1. Ignoring criticism or customer complaints. [Customers can easily be made happy with a simple response such as: I see you are unhappy with my service/product, please call me at xxx-xxxx and I'll make sure your expectations are met.]

 

2. Setting up a social network profile and posting the first couple of days then forgetting about the social network, your profile is now stagnant. [Business who neglect social network activities appear stale, neglectful or worse – closed! Once a social network profile is set up, weekly postings can be automated in advance or triggered by a phone alarm or other type of reminder.]

business social media

Business can close as a result of social media mistakes

slimmer_jimmer via Compfight

3. Setting up a profile on too many social profiles that take up too much of your time adding to your already overloaded to do list. [Target the specific social platform where your customer is most likely to be, start with one and grow to additional networks slowly, avoid too many profiles at first.]

 

4. The big sale is here and you forget to post on the social network. You print flyers, arrange radio and newspaper advertising and neglect the social network. [Social networks can be vital in promoting business sales, ask your customers to like the "BIG SALE" post, share information about the sale and post pictures of themselves at your business.]

 

5. Your social network profile is incomplete; it just has the business name. [What’s the phone number, what are your hours, where are you located, how long have you been in business, who is the owner?  These are just a few questions that will turn a ready to purchase customer into a missed sale opportunity.  Make sure your business social network profile is complete with customer relevant information.]

 

6.  No photos are placed on the social network profile. [Photos are proven to result in a higher level of engagement on most social networks.  Consider posting one photo per week of customers smiling in your business location. Post interesting but business relevant photos to increase customer interaction.]

 

7. The owner’s nephew with a social media addiction updates the business posts and they’re not business related or are inappropriate. [Fire the nephew, create a simple social media policy and consider delegating social media responsibilities to a person who has a vested interest in the overall success of the business or consider hiring a social media professional (Hire Maria).]

 

8. The business sells sells sells with constant calls to action to buy buy buy [Ask questions, give tips and offer quality free advice. Interaction with customers should be your goal.  Don’t cause the customer to think you just want them for the sale.  Relationships are important, curate them with congratulatory posts on their birthdays, peek curiosity say why your stuff is better once and a while.  Avoid the sell sell sell message.]

 

9. Ignoring the business competition social posts. [Friend/like/follow your competitors pages to be included in the social loop they have. Information is important.  Give referrals to other local business, it is often reciprocated.]

 

10. Misspelling, incorrect grammar and misuse of punctuation on posts. [The red squiggle under that word meant something.  Take a few moments to re-read posts, say them out loud before you hit enter or update the post.  Many social network posts once posted are not removable or edit ready.]

 

11. Plagiarism and copy cats are annoying. Don’t fall victim to the easy trap and copy that awesome post you just read. [Originality builds credibility and reputation. Your personality is intrinsic to the business; let it shine through social media posts. You can come up with your own brilliant idea for a post.  Knock knock jokes always make me smile, even the goofy ones.]

 

Knock knock.

 

Who’s there?

 

Opportunity.

 

Opportunity who?

 

The business opportunity you missed by making business social media mistakes.

Video results are in


Video is powerful for business social media. The quick answer, feedback and visual are immediately personal. YouTube provides free analytic data to measure views, engagement and demographics.

 

My children inspired me to make my first social media video.  They create aewsome videos of mermaid scenes, dramatic acting and just silly parodies. They wanted me to be funnier, I chose to be more professional.

 

 

The opportunity to incorporate video in your business social media campaign is at your fingertips.  YouTube is flexible and even has videos available showing how to best use YouTube.  Opportunity is yours, it’s out there, you need to reach your audience on a personal level.

 

Here are steps to incorporate video into your business social media:

  • Find an interesting topic about your business such as business history, location information, sales or promotions
  • Develop a simple two minute dialogue, make it simple and conversational
  • Consider your audience and speak to them
  • Sign up for a YouTube account “click here”
  • Comb your hair, dress well and check your teeth
  • Record your video and watch it before you publish
  • On the description field place your web address starting with http:// so that the link is clickable
  • Fill out relevant information
  • Make the video public
  • Post the video using the YouTube url to your website and other social platforms
  • Ask for comments and feedback

The video process was easy, the courage to hear your own voice and see your face was harder.

Please leave your comment below, [does my voice really sound like that]?

20 Social media tips for business

Businesses that miss opportunity miss business!

 

Here are social media tips to give you ideas and inspire you.  Many businesses are missing out on the opportunity of social media. Trust me, these work. Put these social media tips to work in your business now.

 

Start by reading and using many if not all of the following social media tips:

  1. Get immediate feedback on your product

  2. Be interesting

  3. Think quality content not quantity

  4. Work towards a targeted audience

  5. Build relationships

  6. Take criticism with response for remedy

  7. Find the right platform where your audience will be

  8. Post on a consistent basis

  9. Be real and accessible

  10. Give more than you receive, offer your own tips and practical advice

  11. Dive in carefully, start small don’t over expose

  12. Stick to your basic business model based on good business methodology

  13. Help others, expect a smile in return

  14. Interaction is necessary, be social and engage customers

  15. Have value for your customer, be there when needed on and off line

  16. Don’t just broadcast broadcast broadcast, ask questions participate in discussions

  17. Secure your custom url on each social platform

  18. Keep customer dialogue open, drive conversation with calls to action

  19. Rally key players and customers to participate in social media outreach with a social media policy and guidelines

  20. Stay social, be positive and don’t be afraid to share tips

Here is what I want you to next:

Go to my Packages and Pricing page.  arrow-single_151The button is easy to find, click it and let’s get started, its easy!

Dialogues matter

Dialog is important to a business.  Succesful business do business in the form of a dialogue, not a monologue which is a one sided conversation.  Agree…?

 

Are you guilty of spewing monologue? Often it’s a dictatorial position. Monologues are not highly recommended as a convincing method to conduct business in today’s market place – we are a globally connected world.



There are many forms of dialogue. I prefer the verb form of dialogue for purpose of this post.  Dialogue in verb form is defined: Take part in a conversation or discussion to resolve a problem.


Dialogue should encourage engagement and conversation. The conversations long or short do exist.  Social networks have an ingenious lazy way of encouraging the dialogue [endorsement]. The like button, a re-tweet and the newer Google Plus +1 button are sprouting up everywhere.  Social networks are tuned into the dialogue! That simple like button, re-tweet and Google Plus +1 button are the easy way to engage, got it? The dialogue is your business foundation.


Gosh I think back with a smile to the days I bartended at a small family owned Italian restaurant in Amsterdam, NY.  My nod, my smile and often my laugh was part of the dialogue. It encouraged continued conversation – the customer stayed longer.

Social media tips and insight



The following sites are valuable for tips and insight for managing social media. I hope you enjoy them.


Mashable is where Social Media News and Web Tips are at there forefront. Mashable is one of the best resources to gain insight and knowledge about anything to do with Social Media.
http://mashable.com/


There is a jungle out there and we are all in it. This website is an easy to use guide to the social media jungle. I’ve used it quite a bit to tweak one website or another, check it out.
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/


Facebook is huge on the social media playing field. This site has it all, pun intended.
http://www.allfacebook.com/


I’m saying it, I love Foursquare! I once posted an update with the word “bed” just to earn a badge! Confessions aside, it is one of the most popular location based everything you ever wanted to know about your favorite, er, mobile + social + friend finder + social city guide + nightlife game thing. Check out the blog.
http://blog.foursquare.com/


Brand-Yourself is a reputable company founded in Syracuse, NY. “Brand-Yourself was born out of the need to proactively grow your reputation, just like you would in the real world, but in the connected world of search engines and social media.” It’s their statement right from their website. I check in with their blog often. Take notice, many others have.
http://brand-yourself.com/about


This site conglomerates the Wiki of Social Media Monitoring links by Ken Burbary. If you can’t find it here, it’s nowhere! His blog is a nice read.
http://wiki.kenburbary.com/

Here is Ken’s blog.  http://www.kenburbary.com/


Who doesn’t know Chris Voss? In my early days of researching social media I luckily bumped into the Chris Voss Show website. And what a show it is, The Chris Voss Show dot com is video, it’s a blog really! I’ve learned a lot from what Mr. Voss has to say and appreciate what he does immensely. He’s now an app on my iPhone.
http://thechrisvossshow.com/




Now let’s get creative.


Before your heart is set on a specific name, I suggest checking if it’s available, here is a good resource.
http://www.namechecklist.com/


This site lets you create word clouds, it’s neat! What you create you keep.
http://www.wordle.net/


HTML is a vast coding language, I don’t know it all. For reference specifically I like this site because I can easily see, copy and paste many examples. I use it to help out once in a while too.
http://www.quackit.com/html/html_help.cfm


Your posts should, weather they’re blogs or websites, appear professional. I am not a graphic designer but sometimes need an icon or two. Icons are the billboard of social media and for my icon buttons I rely on icon finder’s free sets.
http://www.iconfinder.com/free_icons


If you are in any way associated with a Fan page on Facebook check out The Fan Page Factory and learn from Nathan as I have.
http://www.facebook.com/thefanpagefactory




Now that your knowledged up, and ready to use something you learned, here are some resources I rely on to monitor my on-line presences.


Google analytics is very powerful and free. The information is not real-time but it’s great to know who, what and when. Sign up now!
http://www.google.com/analytics/


Clicky is for web analytics in real time. I can see real time statistics for interaction with my site for free and sometimes you just gotta know now! Look a fancy button to click too! (It’s an affiliate link, FYI) Clicky Web Analytics




If you want to be active often, or at least appear like your everywhere on Facebook and Twitter, check out LaterBro. It offers free status and tweet scheduling.
http://laterbro.com/


Here is another powerful Social Media management tool, both free and professional versions are good.
http://socialoomph.com/


There are many dashboard products out there and Hootsuite is one I prefer, it can handle Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Myspace with ease. There are so many benefits, see it for yourself.
http://hootsuite.com/




I have interacted and thanked the following innovators and friends of Social Media that I can’t help but post a link to their sites.

Mari Smith, a relationship marketing specialist http://www.marismith.com/
Brian Solis, a leading business and marketing online resource http://www.briansolis.com/
Chris Gmyr, a Syracuse, NY friend whose company SyracuseCS offers services you need to keep your business on top of the modern age of e-commerce and advertising through web design, development, hosting and SEO services. http://www.syracusecs.com/

My blog offers social media information too: http://mariasconsulting.com/blog/



And here on Facebook with my newly integrated Facebook Shop Now tab with a secret bonus if you are my fan. Don’t let the shiny blue button prevent you from clicking it!