facebook-collage1Facebook is a playground of fun connections, amazing photos, entertaining videos, and fascinating links. It offers a ton of interesting and useful information, a multitude of content sharing and networking opportunities where both personal and business relationships are formed. Several friends play on this playground which makes it that much more amusing!

For the most part the people on Facebook play nice, but we do run across those that like to add a little drama to the mix, especially in the political arena. Then there are those that like to ‘poke’ us, saturate us with game invitations, like Candy Crush Saga, and other senseless applications, and of course there are the posts that ask us to copy and paste a message on our status update and if we don’t, we feel guilty that we may not be playing nice.

Yes, it is fun to connect with family, friends and acquaintances on the Facebook playground and intermingle with them but sometimes it does get a little uncomfortable when a ‘friend’ shares ‘too much info’. Yup, we all have them, ‘friends’ who post about their latest personal escapade, share inappropriate photos and videos and keep us up to date about every activity of their life from where they are each second of the day to all the calamity they surround themselves with. These people are ‘oversharing’ just a little ‘TMI’ and not only can they be annoying, they are opening themselves up to a mess of risks.facebook-playground

Once pictures and statuses are put up on Facebook, or any other social site, they have the possibility of being copied or even altered plus shared out on the Internet where they cannot be removed. With the addition of the Facebook Timeline it is easier now to go back and see what someone said years ago. Oversharing today may cause someone to regret it five years from now. Some precautions that are recommended when posting on Facebook whether for personal or business use:

  • Never say something online you wouldn’t say offline
  • Be selective about instant sharing from apps that track your activity
  • Check your profile privacy settings on a regular basis to ensure you don’t share information you don’t mean to.

What is your favorite Facebook activity? Connecting with family and old acquaintances? Meeting new friends on ‘Mafia Wars’? Building relationships with clients and prospects? However you are using Facebook, you do have to stop and consider how you are using it to represent yourself. Social media does not define who you are, but it does reflect a certain side of you that you want the world to see. So remember – what happens on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – stays on the Internet forever!! “Happy Facebooking”!

There was recently a lot of chatter about LinkedIn all over the social channels regarding their ‘most viewed profiles’ email campaign. No matter what your thoughts are about the campaign, it worked! It brought attention to LinkedIn and it also brought attention to the individual users to take a look at their account to see what they could do to improve it so they could get a better ranking or rank in the top 10% on LinkedIn.

If you want to expand your reach on LinkedIn, the key is to ‘Stand Out’ so you can easily be found by those people looking to do business with you! It begins by setting up a strong profile which will bring you more attention on LinkedIn – an added bonus of an optimized LinkedIn profile is that it will also get you a higher ranking in Google when someone calls up your name – in this sense it is more important than your website.stand-out

Let’s get started harnessing the power of LinkedIn! The very first thing you must do is add a professional head-shot, do not add a logo, research suggests that profiles without photos are rarely viewed. Then take time to fill out all areas of your profile. The 3 main areas on your LinkedIn profile you need to really focus on so you will be found in broader searches and by your ideal client are your Headline, Current and Past Work Experience, and Summary.

The most critical area is your Professional Headline which is located directly underneath your name. Most people normally place their title in this area, such as President or Sales Director. Instead, use compelling keywords that reflect your industry and the value you bring to your clients – all in 120 characters! These words are how people find and define you.

Next you want to add your Current position and past Job Experience, fill out the complete information for your current and past jobs, only need to list years, no need to include months. Your Current Title is very important for search as this is how people will find you on LinkedIn. Be sure to include the keywords and phrases you believe others would be searching for when looking for someone who provides what it is you offer. You have 100 characters in the job title and 2,000 in the description. For past Job Experience include only relevant experience, both paid and volunteer positions since college, this creates more connection opportunities. Your Current position(s) should have the following – What your company does, Who you customers are, Where you are located, What you do in the company and Any accomplishments you have had.

And lastly, you must fill out your Summary in great detail, you have a total of 2,000 characters to use here, do your best to use them all; sharing who you are and what you do. Be sure to write in the first person. You don’t want to just upload your resume and be boring, show your personality; talk about who you are and what you are an expert in, who should connect with you and how you can help them. End with a good ‘Call to Action’. Also in the summary area you should add your Specialties, list keywords that are designed to capture attention of the people reading your profile as well as the search engines.

To determine which keywords are being called up in search an essential tool to use is Wordtracker, an awesome keyword research tool which will help you better understand what your ideal client is looking for. There is a free trial period at www.wordtracker.com.

LinkedIn is a great way to find perfect clients for your business, position yourself as an authority on your topic, locate new opportunities and attract more leads, clients and referral partners. What have you done to ‘Stand Out’ and boost your LinkedIn results?

I know that summer is not yet over and the kids have just started back to school, however, NOW is the time to set things in motion for a successful holiday season! Ecommerce sales are anticipated to be strong as price-conscious consumers shop online to save money. It is expected that social media will play a big role in holiday sales as the social networks make it simpler for brands to connect with their audience. Since 2008 online sales have increased each year and the economic situation has caused retailers to be more innovative with their marketing efforts. The successful retailers will be those that focus on attracting shoppers this season with special deals, messages and product information. With all the numerous choices of online and social platforms available how do you, the retailer, determine where you should spend the most time and effort – do you put money into your website, do you build out Facebook, should you set up customer service on Twitter?

Yes, Yes and Yes!

Today if you want to increase your sales it is necessary to have an ecommerce website in place, you must have a Facebook presence, you need to be monitoring your customer service via Twitter and this year the sites Pinterest, a virtual pinboard that allows you to organize, pin and share all your products and Polyvore, the web’s largest fashion community site, will play a big role for retailers. Last holiday season both Facebook and Twitter consistently proved their promotional value to businesses. According to an ‘Opinion Research Corporation and Yesmail’ survey, 45% of online shoppers will use social networks to help them make purchase decisions or search for deals and free shipping.

 Will you be there to greet them?

As in all endeavors you must have a plan of action to achieve results, how will you know if you accomplished your mission if you don’t have a real objective in mind? To ensure you get your share of holiday spending this season here are 7 strategic action steps that you may want to implement, these are only ideas, what you put into motion will be determined by your product, who your customer is and your budget. 

  1. Promotional eMail Campaign with clear call to action;
  2. Social Media Plan for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Polyvore on how best to engage/connect with your customer, what special deals to offer, what product tips to share and how all social networks will be monitored;
  3. Online Ad Campaign on Facebook or Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC);
  4. Mobile Marketing Campaign offering coupons or daily deals when ‘checking in’;
  5. QR (quick response bar codes) to integrate marketing collateral such as direct mail, print advertisement, flyers, brochures and catalogs;
  6. Drive traffic to your ecommerce site via all campaigns and social networks, offer online only discount coupons, provide gift guides and wish lists, work out some free shipping offers and be proactive for last minute shoppers;
  7. Maximize the full Thanksgiving weekend/Cyber Monday shopping spree by announcing promotions on all social networks, ecommerce website, marketing collateral and campaigns.

Keep in mind, online marketing is all about connecting, engaging and building relationships with consumers that want to do business with you; but do recognize they are looking for the best deals for their holiday gift giving. How are you positioning yourself for success this holiday season?

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April 2014
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