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4 Tips to Organize your Social Media

As your business grows you will likely find that the processes you meticulously created and maintained in the beginning of your of your business is likely getting cluttered, messy and generally disorganized as your business grows. This is true in regular business as it is in social media.  So as you go through your emails and stick them in folders, update your calendars and finally make that list of all your passwords, take a moment to organize your social media.

How to organize your social media

1. Create lists in Twitter– This is one of the easiest ways to streamline your social media experience as well as increase productivity and your effectiveness. By adding people to lists you are making it much easier for you to consume the information they are tweeting. Your lists can be organized by topic, friends, business or trends.

2. Start using Tweetdeck or Hootsuite– These are both third party apps that help you manage your Twitter(s). You can have columns that show you your mentions, DMs, timeline and yes even your lists. This makes browsing your Twitter activity quick and easy.

3. Set a schedule– This is one of the hardest parts of managing your social media, which is managing your time. Set thirty minutes in the morning and afternoon to check on your Twitter and Facebook. You have all night to watch all those funny Youtube videos that your friends are posting. But during the day you need to focus. So give yourself time limits and create a schedule for what you do. For instance, in the morning I get the link for my most recent blog and I put it on LinkedIn and share it on Facebook. Once I am done with sharing, I go about checking my messages and mentions/DMs, then I look for some engagement. But I have a set routine so I can make sure I get everything done, and do it efficiently.

4. Syndicate your Blog– Through tools like socialoomp you can easily set your blog to automatically tweet out your link for you a few times a day. This will save you the time of scheduling or going onto Twitter to post. If you are not using your blog as the primary source for posting, and you do engagement on Facebook, you can also syndicate your blog post on Facebook. Tools like networked blogs will post your blog link to your page or your profile.

Tips to Create Effective eCommerce

Opening an eCommerce site is not the extensive hoop-jumping experience it used to be. Online payment sites like Paypal, Google Checkout and advances in the online commerce environment have standardized web shopping. Now anyone with a dollar and a dream can set up an eCommerce business and be competitive. If you’re looking for your slice of the pie, here are a few items every web vendor should know about the business.

Clean web design

Make sure your site has a good look to it. Not only is good web design a good idea for any site, but it usually makes the user experience better. If anyone is having a hard time navigating your store, you can’t expect him or her to want to stay there. A clean, accessible easy-to-navigate site is more likely to increase conversion and reflect highly on your brand. If you need to contract a web design company to achieve this, spare no expense. A slapdash effort will yield poor results. There are many places for people to shop on the web; your store doesn’t have to be the one they choose.

Business Partnerships

Building relationships with other businesses is paramount to developing your online store. More often than not, you will need to hire in another company to handle at least one aspect of your business, whether it’s partnering with an order fulfillment company, or interfacing with a server manager to ensure usability of the website. Look at it like being part of a team; you all help each other out. They can’t do it alone either.

Planning your Catalog

The best eStores look like they were effortlessly put together, however, that is usually an indicator that countless hours were put into the design and execution. Before you launch your store, plan your catalog, separating items out into categories and subcategories. This entails knowing what you’ll be selling in the first place. The success of your store depends heavily on the quality of your product catalog. Creative and logical linking from one item to others is also important (i.e. “Other suggestions” or “People who looked at this also bought…”)

Ensure that the title tags of each item to match up with terms that people search for. If you sell black boots and the title tag reads “Black Boots,”it is more likely your item will show up in a search for (you guessed it) “black boots” than if you titled the tag, “combat footwear”, though you may receive a whole different demographic of web searchers who are into combat footwear.

Opt for Off the Shelf Rather than Custom Development

It’s easy to get really excited about opening your first eStore and it’s only natural to want to do it right. Oftentimes, in order to stand out, vendors will want to contract custom development of the store, adding commodity functions (shopping cart management tools, product merchandising, etc.), but unless you are a huge retailer (Amazon, eBay, etc.) these tools will cost you lots of money and add very little to the user experience. There are a number of ecommerce applications you can purchase on the web. Many are open source, which allows you to have a element of control over the final product rather than submitting completely to a template.

Keeping up with the Joneses..Tips to keep up on Twitter

black and white image of a 1930's woman on 2 telephones

How many conversations can you keep track of? I bet it is more than you realize

One of the biggest struggles for people when they start using Twitter is keeping up with the conversations.

Many people when they start using Twitter will follow everyone and monitor their entire Twitter experience from the newsfeed. This is a sure fire way to overwhelm yourself. There are tricks you can use to follow conversations and keep track of what is being talked about.

I follow nearly 3000 people on my primary Twitter account. Yes, I said primary. Between all of my Twitter accounts I follow roughly 13,000 people.  There is no way I could read everything being tweeted.

Tips for Following Conversations

Make Lists: Lists are a great way to manage your twitter following. This is a free tool on Twitter. You can create a list for anything and you can create as many as you like. I have lists for friends, topics, interests and even a random list that is my catch-all for interesting tweeties.

Go to Twitter, create a list and then add the people you follow to these lists.

Why is this easier?  Because you can then view your list like your newsfeed. You can see all the tweets from the people on this list, and only the people on this list. This makes reading your Twitter feed much more manageable. Plus the lists help you view your tweeties by topic.

Follow Hashtags: Following hashtags are a great way to follow what is being said about a specific topic or trend.  It is super easy to follow any hashtag. All you have to do is click the tag in a tweet and it will pull up every person who is tweeting and using that tag.

You can also run a search for hashtags or keyword and it will pull up search results that show people using those tags and keyword.

Show Conversation: When you really start talking to a lot of people and tweeting frequently, it is easy to get lost in conversations. Especially if a fair amount of time (like an hour) since you tweeted and they commented.  Twitter allows you to see the conversation between people. If you click on the tweet, Twitter will open up the conversation surrounding that tweet. This will let you see what they were commenting on or responding too. Essentially allowing you to view your conversation and get a reminder of what was being said.

Using lists, hashtags and show conversation will make it much easier to manage your Twitter conversations. But the old adage, “practice makes perfect”, definitely applies. The more you tweet the easier keeping track of the conversations will be.

Ultimately we keep track of many conversations in our head all the time, we just don’t think about it.  We talk to friends and family on the phone. We talk to people in person. When we see someone it is not uncommon to resume a conversation from months ago.  Socially we have trained ourselves to compartmentalize these conversations in our head and hold them for indefinite periods of time.

Conversations in social media are much the same. Now it is a matter of socializing your brain for another set of conversations.

5 Tips for Boosting Facebook SEO

Facebook Search

Is your Facebook Fan Page helping your SEO?

SEO (search engine optimization) is not just for websites. You can also optimize your Facebook Fan Page for better search results. Not only will this help your searches inside Facebook, but it will also help with traditional search engines like Google and Bing. Plus, you’ll increase brand visibility for your Facebook Fan Page and the total visibility of your brand.

70% of brands have not optimized their Fan Pages and are missing out on some great search engine ranking opportunities.

How to boost your Facebook SEO

  1. Get a vanity URL
    The number one thing you need to do is get a vanity URL. This means that your URL is www.facebook.com/brand instead of, for instance,  www.facebook.com/page/brand=87465249. >Tech Tip: If you can’t get your actual brand name, get a vanity URL with your most used search term.
  2. Link to your Facebook Fan Page
    Linking to your Fan Page from your website will let you capitalize on the SEO done on your website. It gives you an inbound link which will help boost your FB SEO. In fact, link from all your pages. The more links, the better the SEO boost. >Tech Tip: Make sure your anchor text is something like “Brand Name on Facebook” and link it to your vanity URL, e.g. www.facebook.com/brandname – not www.facebook.com/brandname=sk?872635
  3. Use your brand name in your post
    Search engines scan the content of your page. If you use your brand name it will help boost the SEO for name recognition. >Tech Tip: Now you can tag the text in your posts for added SEO boost.
  4. Get links to your posts
    Get people to Like your posts. The more people share and Like your posts, the better the SEO value – Likes count as links! >Tech Tip: Post things that ask for social engagement; comments, sharing and Likes. This will drive up your engagement and thus your FB SEO
  5. Use Fan Boxes
    Facebook lets you put Fan Boxes on your website that can show your fans and feature your recent posts. This is a good way to build engagement and drive more fans to your site. >Tech Tip: If you don’t have many fans yet, set your fan box to show recent posts until you get more than 25 fans.

5 Tips for Live Tweeting

I am totally tweeting thisEvents and conferences are the perfect places to tweet live. It is a great way to share your experiences with your followers and get people more involved with what you are doing. Live tweeting also shows that you are relevant and active in current events, and not someone who only tweets in retrospect. Additionally, it is good way to network with others at the conference.

  1. Hashtags– Most events will have hashtags associated with them. Use that tag on all your tweets from the event. This will let people know what you are tweeting about, and where you are tweeting from. Plus, other people from the conference will be able to see your tweets and you might be able to set up some networking opportunities.
  2. Tell People– Let people know that you will be live tweeting. Anyone who is interested in the show, but not there, will be likely to follow your tweets to get a first hand account of what is happening.
  3. Share your pics!– Remember, a picture is worth 1000 words and Twitter is limited to 140 characters. Pics are a great way to share your experiences, and tools like TwitPic are great for posting your pics on Twitter.
  4. Archive your tweets– Keep a copy of all your tweets from the event by archiving the hashtag. A great app for this is Twapper Keeper – they will track a hashtag for you and create an archive you can access later. This is great for blogging or reviewing all the convos happening from the show when you have more time to look at what other people were saying.
  5. Live in the now– Don’t get so caught up in tweeting that you take yourself away from what is happening. Use tools like speech to text to help you type. But mainly, make sure that you are enjoying what is happening right now, because as great as live tweeting is, you can always write about it later!

5 Ways to Breathe Life into your Facebook Fan Page

Tip Jar

  1. Show off your Peeps!
    A great way to get people interested in your page and in what you are doing is to include them. Pictures of abstract things, pretty landscapes or funny cats are great, but to get people involved with your page, post things that are relevant to them.  And what is more relevant to them than, well, them? Post pictures of your fans at events and in your store. Post pictures of your staff or of people using your product. People love to see pics they can relate to.
  2. Be funny!
    Everyone loves humor – it shows off your less serious side. It shows that you are not all about business and sometimes you like to cut loose. Social media is powerful because it allows people to get past the company front. It allows businesses the opportunity to become more human to their customers. Humor is the perfect way to break through that 4th wall. Of course, be sure to keep it light and within appropriate boundaries.
  3. Be interesting
    Are your posts thought-provoking, do they spark debate or are they fun? Etsy does a great job on their fan page by sharing some of their quirkier items. Their fans have a high likelihood of commenting on the product and sharing it on their fan page. Ultimately you want to share things that will engage your audience.
  4. Ask questions
    Asking for your fans’ thoughts or opinions is a great way to engage them. It encourages their involvement, which means they will be more invested in the issue. They will be interested in what other people say in response, and more likely to interact further. Once you get someone commenting on and participating with your page, they will be more likely to do it again. So ask your fans what they think; you might get some interesting and valuable feedback.
  5. Behind the Scenes
    We all want to see the man behind the curtain, just ask the Wizard of Oz. Show pictures and share stories about things that happen behind the scenes. Social media shares the personality of your business, and people like to see what happens behind the public front – it makes them feel more involved and in the know!

16 Tips to Rock Any Conference

Conference season is starting up, and a lot of us are planning trips.  Here is a list to help you get the most out of your conference experiences:

  1. Woman with a lot of business cardsCollect Business Cards.  Get as many as you can. Do not try to remember who they are, and who they are with, and think that you’ll just look it up later. If someone does not offer their card, request one.  If they don’t have one, give them one of yours, or ask them to write their information on a scrap of paper or the back of another card.
  2. Give your card to everyone you meet.  You never know who might be a great connection for you.  Bring more cards than think you will need, and hand them out like candy!
  3. E – me! If someone wants you to send them information, or wishes to talk to you more in depth about something, ask them to email you later. Request that they mention what you are discussing in the subject line. It might feel awkward to do this, but they won’t mind, and it gives them an easy intro to connect with you via email.
  4. Take Notes. When someone gives you their card, make notes of the conversation as soon as you’ve finished it. If the conversation is generic, then make a note of what the person looks like. This will refresh your memory when you follow up with them later.
  5. Know your purpose. Are you there to meet people to help your business? Meet people who can help your career? Grow your network of connections? Get people familiar with you? Work on personal branding? Or generally be at the right place at the right time? Make sure you know why you are there, because that will affect how you meet people.  Put your agenda first, otherwise you will not get full value out of the venue.
  6. Work your angle. Now that you have established why you are there, make sure that you are featuring your agenda in all conversations.  If you want to grow your social networking, get people’s Twitters and tweet them from your phone. If you are pushing a product, start a conversation and make a segue to talk about the product.  Make sure that despite all the glitz and glam you always have your agenda at the forefront.
  7. Know your pitch. Many times, when you are networking with people, they will ask you why you are there and what you do.  Make sure you have a succinct response that answers their question and opens up the topic for conversation. End your pitch with a question that ropes them into further conversation.
  8. Have a plan. Know in advance whom you want to meet (directly or the type of people), which speakers you want to hear, and what trade show booths you want to visit.
  9. Set appointments in advance. If you know there will be people you would like to see, call or email a week or so in advance to schedule a time to meet up. Do not just plan to “run into them” because it might not happen. And then if it does, you might not actually be able to talk.
  10. Do not focus on meeting the celebrity speakers. Meeting famous authors, speakers and other gurus is fun, but you will be one of hundreds who will come up to them and shove a card in their hands. Better to meet the other people going to their talks. You can make some great connections that way.
  11. Talk to the people sitting next to you. When you walk into a seminar, take the time before the presentation begins to say hello to the people seated around you. You are there to network and meet people, so just start off with a simple greeting.
  12. Ask questions of people you meet. Never lead with your “elevator pitch”. People are more interested in themselves than they are in you, so ask them questions to get them talking.
  13. Put your technology away. Do not run to your phone, BlackBerry, or laptop at every break. When you are working on electronics you send the message that you are unapproachable because you are busy. Utilize the time on breaks to converse with others. If you need to get on your tech, plan some time away from everyone to do what you need to do.
  14. Do not automatically send a LinkedIn or Facebook request. So often people immediately send social networking link requests to people they’ve just met. However, people have different policies about whom they link with. If they only connect with others with whom they have established relationships, it will be awkward if you send them a link too early (which they then ignore). Instead, when you send them a follow up email, offer your LinkedIn or Facebook and give them the option to follow you. Immediately following them on Twitter is okay, as Twitter does not require a mutual connection acceptance.
  15. Read their stuff. Many people are active bloggers, tweeters, authors, etc. If people are posting online, take a second to read their work, look at their tweets or check out their website. It is a great ice breaker when you send your follow up email.
  16. Introduce others. When you meet great people, introduce them to other great people. Be generous with your connections. Don’t worry about what you will get out of it. Your generosity might lead to some business deals.

17 Tips for a Better Business Twitter Chat

Twitter chats are a great way to get to know your community. For businesses they provide an opportunity to grow Twitter Birds on a branchyour network, scope out potential clients, position yourself in the community and grow your reputation.  Basically, you are talking to a large active segment of your target market.

So how do you make sure you are getting the most out of your Twitter chat? First make sure that you are using the proper tools to participate in the chat, like Tweetchat or Tweetdeck.

Tweet Chat: Etiquette & Business

  1. Always add the hashtag to your tweets, ie. #agchat. Otherwise your tweet will not be a part of that chat.
  2. Say hello when you join the chat and give a small introduction as to who you are .
  3. Let your Twitter followers know that you are jumping into a chat.  Even in a chat, your tweets still go out to your Twitter stream. This can be annoying to people following you if you are clogging up their Twitter stream. Letting them know is just a courtesy that many people appreciate. Plus, it gives them the opportunity to join in the chat if they didn’t know about it.
  4. Many chats have a moderator and set questions. Keep your tweeting on topic. If you have a question that is totally off topic, send it to the moderator to be considered for another chat.
  5. If the chat is using a specific format, like “Q1: Then your tweet #tweetchat” try to use the format. This is to help keep the conversation orderly and to make it easier for people to read the transcripts later on.
  6. If someone tweets something you like, or a piece of valuable information, retweet it.  Retweeting is a way to let them know that you liked it. It is also a way to share the information with your followers who may not be in the chat. Remember that everything you tweet goes into your timeline, so all your followers will be able to see it.
  7. Add a comment before your re-tweet if you are trying to grow the conversation, ie. “Very Funny! @tweep Q1: That video about herding cats was great! #agchat”
  8. If your comment is too long to have paired with the retweet, then direct your comment to the person you are talking to with an @ mention. Try to use the chat format (like 5 above) so other people can join in your conversation, e.g.,”@tweep I like what you said about safety. Have you thought about teaching? Q3 #tweetchat”
  9. Share links. If you have information that would be valuable to the group, then share the links.
  10. Shorten your links. Twitter is limited to 140 characters. When you post a link, make sure to shorten it. Many programs, like Tweetdeck, will do this automatically. But if your does not, then you can use URL shorteners like Bit.ly.
  11. Do not spam. Twitter chats are not the forum for you to blatantly tell people about your business or product.  If you have something relevant to share about it, that is fine. Otherwise don’t just post links to your website.
  12. Be jovial. Twitter chats are a chat.  The best conversations and interactions often come from casual conversation. People like to see your personality, so don’t be afraid to let it come out.
  13. Laugh at jokes. If someone else is being funny, let them know by giving them a re-tweet with LOL in front of it. Just like you, they want feedback too, and they won’t know that you are laughing unless you tell them.
  14. When you leave, say goodbye and thank you. Before signing off your chat just drop a quick tweet that says goodbye and thanks for a great chat. It lets people know that you are leaving but also gives a wave to the moderators for their work.
  15. Thank your retweets and mentions. After the chat is over, go back and create a thank you tweet that lists all the people who talked to you via mentions or retweets. You can post something as simple as “Thanks for the RT’s and convo in #agchat @laurencubed @twitterperson @agchat”. This is a good way to acknowledge those who you connected with, plus gives you an opportunity to continue the conversation after the chat is over.
  16. Follow the people you talk to. If you are growing your network, make sure to follow the people in your chat, especially those you talked to.
  17. Create a chat list. Create a list for the chat and then add the people that you meet to that list. It will make it easier for you to develop future relationships by listing them, because you will be identifying how you know them.