Social Media Marketing Tip For A Small Business

Some of you may remember that this summer I held some live presentations on social media marketing locally. I’ve been to a lot of presentations, and I’ve conducted a lot of presentations, and I want to talk about this for a quick minute.

One thing I have against some presentations is that when they’re over you’re sitting there wondering if you actually learned something you can use. This seems to happen often, unfortunately. I remember going to a sales presentation in the spring where I knew the guy who was giving the presentation. I had heard him present for 30 minutes one time and I loved hearing him talk. So I had high hopes, since this presentation was going to be for about 4 hours or so, including breaks.

What a major disappointment. The headlines said we were going to learn sales techniques we could use in our business; as a matter of fact, 5 of them. Instead, it was a presentation on sales motivation and 5 reasons why we needed to get over our reticence to sell. Now, if that had been the topic, or what the description of the program was, then I wouldn’t have minded so much. But that’s not what I was expecting, nor was anyone else. So, it fell flat, even though I still enjoyed hearing the guy talk at times.

Forward to me. When I gave my social media presentation this summer, I gave tips on how small businesses could actually use some of the social media things I was talking about. Sure, I spent some time on building up what social media was, and talking about success stories. I had to do that because I knew some people had no real clue what social media was all about and were hoping to learn something about it. So, I had the presentation scripted, and you can see my description of the outline of my presentation if you’re up for it.

Anyway, forward to the main topic of this post. This is a legitimate tip that a small business can use as it applies to social media. Here’s the caveat; it’s mainly for brick and mortar businesses. For instance, if you owned a pizza or coffee shop, this is a great tip. However, there might be some online businesses who can think of a way to use this tip to their advantage also.

Whether you’re a new or existing business, you can start generating some business by starting with two things; creating an account on Twitter and creating an account on Four Square. For those who don’t know, Four Square is a location-based site where people get to tell their friends where they are via an online service. It’s where Facebook and Twitter got the idea from. The people who created Four Square actually studied locally at Syracuse University, so it’s very popular here, and it’s actually a test market for lots of things.

Back to the tip. You register your business on Four Square because it gives you the opportunity to set up specials through the site so that if people come to your location and go online to indicate to others they’re at your location, they can earn prizes or specials that you’re going to offer them. You can have small prizes for first time visitors, such as 50% off a drink, and bigger prizes for people who become “mayors” of your location, which means you’re a frequent flyer. The thing is, people would only earn these things if they went onto Four Square and mentioned you, and they’d see the offers through the site.

Now, you have a Twitter account for many reasons. One, as a business you can mention that you’re registered on Four Square and offer special deals for visitors. If you get followers, you might have your messages retweeted multiple times, which is a great way to gain both customers and publicity. And young people especially are drawn to businesses that show they’re somewhat tech savvy.

This works very well, by the way. It was actually proven by a local small vegan restaurant/coffee shop. They did exactly these steps, and within 3 weeks or so they started seeing a higher influx of customers than most new businesses would. I mean, a vegan restaurant yet; not my cup or tea. Yet they do a thriving business, and their name is always being tweeted and retweeted locally. One thing they do that’s slightly different now is they give a discount to everyone who mentions them on Four Square while at the restaurant and proves it. They have enough business to cover that discount whenever they get it.

And there you go; a legitimate tip on how to get new customers to your business and keep them coming. Can you figure out a way to use this tip for your business if it’s not a brick and mortar? Maybe; if you do, please feel free to share with us. And don’t say I never tried to teach you anything! 😉


Kodak DC3200 Digital Camera
 

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Sunday Question – How Are You Handling The Holidays?

December might as well be nicknamed “holiday month” because most religions have something going on during this time. Not to just single out Christmas, but we have Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Al Hijra, Ashura, Boxing Day, Gita Jayanti, and Día de los Muertos. I’m sure there are others, but we’ll go with these for now.

Holidays bring both joy and stress. Truthfully, most of the time the Christmas season stresses me out because, as an independent businessman, I know that my normal businesses are going to dry up during this time, and the slow down of course takes money out of my pocket.

The lucky thing for my wife and I is that we don’t buy many Christmas presents. We don’t often buy anything for each other; instead, we’ll usually plan something special for after the holidays. A couple of years ago we went for an overnight in a hotel with a Jacuzzi in the room and watched comedy DVD’s; that was really nice. There are a few people we get something for, but we don’t spend a lot of money.

How do most of you feel about the holidays in general? How are you handling the crowds, the over-commercialization of it all? Is your religion primary during this time of year or are you just enjoying the general holiday feel? I hope this is an easy question for you, but of course one never knows.

3 Glass Blown Hanukkah Chanukah Menorah, Dreidel & Star of David Ornaments






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Google Chrome Revisited

In September 2008, I wrote a review on this blog concerning Google Chrome. It wasn’t the most positive review, but it was brand new and I said I’d check it out again at some point. That point is now.

First, let me tell you why I’m doing it. I’m a Firefox guy, but as you may remember, I wrote in August about some of the problems I’d been having with it. The sucker was constantly freezing up on my computer and I couldn’t shut it down via the Task Manager, so I’d have to reboot to use it. Also, this problem started with CommentLuv in the past month where I’m visiting blogs and having to refresh a few times to leave a comment so the program will pull up any of my posts. My hope and test was that Chrome would alleviate those issues.

Installation is still goofier than anything else I’ve seen. You still get this super long EULA before you can download it, and I decided to read the entire thing to see if there were any traps in it. If there were I missed it, but I made sure not to allow it to add anything else to it when I downloaded the loaded it up.

It says it installs fast; trust me, Firefox loads at least 10 times faster. And when the browser finally showed up I have to admit that it looked a lot more like Opera than what I was expecting. There were two tabs at the top, with a plus sign where I could add more tabs, and a menu bar; that’s pretty much it. I pulled up the Help link so I could figure out how to use a few more things, such as wondering where toolbars were. Seems they don’t use toolbars because they say it slows things down; I’d never heard that before, but I did some reading and they’re not the only ones saying it, so I’ll leave that for now.

To set things up, everything starts by clicking on this little wrench at the top right. I did change a few settings, nothing overly brash, but one thing I set that didn’t seem to change anything was making the default fonts bigger. When I closed and reopened the browser, that setting didn’t take hold, so I found myself having to enlarge every page I went to later on.

I’ll say this; pages do load pretty fast. I turned off pre-fetching, which can slow things down, and I’m sure that helped. I also changed the theme, which is under one of the default tabs when the browser opens for the first time, so that was pretty cool. I learned how to import bookmarks from Firefox, and one of those was my bookmarks toolbar, so that’s one toolbar I got back, and all the other bookmarks are aligned under this button to the far right that says “other bookmarks”; that makes sense.

As for plugins or extensions, there seems to be a lot of them but not the one I’m looking to use, unfortunately. I like being able to see PR or Alexa rank when I visit new sites, and the closest I could find that works with Chrome was SEO Quake, and I don’t like running that all the time. But that’s a personal preference thing; I’m sure you could find something to use.

The important stuff now. I can’t tell you if the browser will lock up and shut down like Firefox had been doing, but I have to admit that Firefox hasn’t messed up in this way for me in the last month or so. There’s no way to test for that, I’m afraid, except to leave it open for a month or so; that’s probably not going to happen. I did check resources and it’s using about 2/3rds less than what Firefox consumes, so that’s a benefit.

But when it came to CommentLuv, it seems I have the same problems with what’s going on with them on Chrome as I have on Firefox. So, at least this tells me it’s not a browser issue; heck!

So, once again, I don’t think it’s bad, but it doesn’t fix the main issues I have with Firefox and thus don’t warrant my changing just yet. But it will be another browser I’ll use to look at new webpages as I create them.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Home

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Home






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My 2010 Goals – A Review

Let’s just get this out of the way; my 2010 goal process stunk. Well, that’s not quite accurate; I didn’t have a full process to reach my goals, so I stunk. As a matter of fact, I stunk so much that in August I even tried to change a couple of things. I think I trapped myself into a corner; what would Admiral Ackbar say? Well, no matter; let’s take a look back to see what I was hoping to accomplish this year.

Here were the goals:

1. Earn at least $15,000 online.

2. Reach those 500 subscribers.

3. Increase real visitors to this site to 3,000 a month on average.

4. Get even more publicity this year by guest posting.

5. Get my Alexa rank for two of my blogs into the top 100,000.

How’d I do?

1. Hah! Next!

2. I hit 175 one day.

3. Wait a minute; I hit this one. Google Analytics says I’m averaging 4,400 visitors a month, while Count Per Day says I’m averaging 17,000+. Hmmm… either way, I actually attained one of my goals.

4. I started the year strong with some guest posts, got a couple more in the middle of the year and that’s it. I think I wrote 6 guest posts this year, but wait… that was actually higher than last year. So I guess I hit this one as well.

5. Hmmm… I guess I broke this one as well, sitting in the 90,000’s as I write this.

That means I actually hit 3 of my 5 goals; I guess I didn’t fail so much after all, did I? And now that I think about it, I really can’t gripe all that much about #1 either. Sure, $15,000 was definitely audacious, but in the end I’m averaging nearly $200 a month with all the things I do, way higher than in 2009. So maybe I’m on the way up in some fashion.

So, I actually only failed on #2; I’m still wondering about that one, but you know, it increased for the year, actually doubling.

This is why one sets goals. Yeah, a couple of those were crazy, and yet in a way it pushed me to be better, and I was better even if I couldn’t hit the actual goal for 2 of them. Guess I should be proud of myself instead, right?

So, how did you do with your goals for the year? A few of you commented on this post about the last 3rd of the year, so it would be interesting to hear if you at least finished strong.

Maximum Achievement Goal Planner

Maximum Achievement Goal Planner






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The New Adsense Interface

I’ve been using Google Adsense for years, and of course I’ve talked about the problem I recently had when they killed it from this blog. Still, I’m earning an average of $150 a month from it for my other sites, so I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.

First, let me own up to this; the image is for Sire, who loves the ladies. He hasn’t been as active lately, off doing other stuff, but this will bring him back for sure. 🙂

Anyway, lately when I’d been going to check my daily earnings I’d seen this thing talking about the new Adsense interface, which would give me more information on my Adsense accounts than before. I’ve hesitated for about six weeks, but I figured it was probably time to go for it, especially after checking out the videos that I’m going to post below. What they’ll show is that if you’re already using Analytics that it’s in a weird way an extension of that, only for Adsense instead. Actually, I have to admit that, as I was looking through some of the things it can show you that I was shocked when one of the reports I was looking at showed me that the 728×90 ads that I run mainly on my medical billing site bring in the most money overall. Here’s a 7-day look; click on the image to see it enlarged:

That’s quite illuminating for sure. It tells me that I need to rethink my ad strategy on some other things as well; bigger just might be better.

Anyway, there’s nothing I could tell you that would be better than these 3 videos that the Adsense folks put out themselves, so here you go:


 

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