I’m on a Facebook kick lately – to add to the mix of free and low-budget ideas to promote your small business. And, the reason is pretty clear.

If you’re a small business owner, consider a Facebook business page. It’s another forum to showcase your brand, expertise and personality. Just sitting there, your Facebook page is a missed opportunity for visibility and new business.  Work Facebook so it will work for you!

Here Ares 15 Ways to Get More Facebook Likes:

  1. We’re wired to look at pictures, so use images. Take your own, buy interesting stock photos or use free ones. Look at these links for image ideas. Facebook loves video like Facebook Live, but it’s not so crazy about YouTube links.  Guess why?
  2. Have a personal profile?  Consider linking your Facebook page as ‘where you work’. Chances are, you’ll get added traffic.
  3. Cross promote with other pages that are complementary. You’ll find out very quickly who is reliable. Choose partners that are partners.
  4. Create a Facebook Group as a way to build prospects and trust. This can be a no-selling zone, but you could have a Promo-Monday. Remember, people don’t come to Facebook to be sold.
  5. Tag other pages in your posts. That creates a potentially bigger audience for you.
  6. Make a welcome video that’s compelling and include it on your fan page. That allows prospects to get to know you better and see how you can improve their life or business.
  7. Craft and email to your list and ask them to like your page. You can also add a call to action in your email signature.
  8. Collect your prospects and client’s questions and use that content to answer posts. It’s relevant to your audience.
  9. Point followers from different platforms to your page, especially if there’s a good discussion going on. There are no rules here. Experiment.
  10. Keep your posts short, sweet and personal. Fans like to know there’s a person behind the brand. Don’t confess your deepest darkest secrets of course, but engage to gain the LKT factor. (Like, know, trust).
  11. Discounts? Yup. Flash freebies (first 20 people to…) Yup. Shareable images like infographics also work to build engagement.
  12. Have employees? Going to a trade show? Build your likes. Ask and you will receive.
  13. Speaking? Ask your fans to tag themselves when they upload pictures. Then their friends and followers will also see you.
  14. Customize your Facebook background banner on Canva or other design sites. Make sure you’re consistently branded, but don’t forget to also include a call to action. Ask people to Like My Page!
  15. Lastly, every once in a while, include a PS at the end of your email like, Connect with us on Facebook. PS is a powerful Promotional tool!

We all know the power of video and it’s no secret that in 3 years, 75% of content on mobile phones (and Facebook) will probably be mostly video.

It took some time to get on bandwagon and I’m not sure if I was just being my perfectionist self or wondering how it was going to happen.  But, it did. At the end of last year, I wrote down my goals and in less than two weeks, my YouTube channel was born.

With expert help and strategy, we got to #1 in Google for small business marketing expert, at least for a short while. If that can happen for me, it can happen for you.

So, what’s important for small businesses to know this year about video?

  • You don’t have to have a big budget to grow your brand, create awareness and set yourself apart as a leader or expert in your industry. While many businesses are just blogging, video content often makes a bigger impression – especially when you’re producing and uploading on a consistent basis.
  • Since Google owns YouTube, you have a greater chance of being ranked higher on that search engine. Viewers also typically think: top position = more qualified. Fact is, you can get there by earned status or paid.  My favorite is promoting without a PR budget.
  • Now, you can’t put out video that stinks or that’s not geared for your target audience. Research is a must and your content has to be valuable. Also remember, you don’t have to produce an epic video — it can be simple. An intro video about who you are, testimonials, behind the scenes. See where I’m going?
  • Also keep in mind the length of your video. Keep them short, about 60 – 90 seconds. You can give a tip, an insight, create a montage.  Inform, educate or entertain, but most importantly have fun. Brand personality shows in your eyes, actions and energy – on camera and off.
  • Lastly, you’ll want to upload your content to YouTube, but, don’t forget about Facebook or using Facebook Live so that you’re upfront and personal with your fans and followers. Check these sites too: Vimeo, Daily Motion and Metacafe. And, Instagram and Snapchat? Recent studies show Instagram has 500 million monthly users and Snapchat with a mere 5 billion videos watched in a day.

Time to get into the video game for digital marketing growth?

I hear that as a yes. Start small.  Think big.

MIT Sloan grads are among the smartest in the world, and I’m fortunate to be friends with one who’s promoting an app for a European company. He describes it as a fascinating project, but he’s also encountered challenges with a super niche audience. Does that help or hinder his efforts? Although I could recommend at least 50 ways to get free publicity and online mention, there are also best practices recommended from the app world.

App Happy?  Get insight from these articles:

Simple Tips to Get Your App Indexed, Ranked and Installed by SearchEngineLand.com

25 Creative Ways to Promote Your App for Free by Entrepreneur.com

How to Market Your Mobile App by Kissmetrics.com

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me “you have to be on social media,” I wouldn’t just be rich, I’d be retired and island hopping in the South Pacific – that’s one place I’ve wanted to go ever since my 20’s.

If you’re a business or brand you probably should be on social media. But make sure you’re on social media the right way – and not wasting time, resources and money.

5 Must-Haves for Effective Social Media Marketing [On a Budget]    

  1. Do you know what you’re doing? Many business owners are brilliant in their field but don’t have the time or desire to be experts at social media. And that’s OK. You don’t have to be a digital marketing guru, but you should understand what you’re doing and why. Get all the information you need from social media marketers who make it their goal to share 70% original content, 20% (OPC) other people’s content and 10% self-promotion.
  2. Social media is a public forum to talk, rant and rave. So, listen. Listen to what your customers are saying – not just on your own platform, but on like-minded channels.  What’s the buzz? What’s trending with influencers?  One way to find out is with Buzzsumo. It’s a web-based research tool to see what’s popular in your topic, how often a post has been shared, and who the active influencers are. Check out who’s starting conversations and what’s being said, so you can be in the know. There’s a free and paid version – try before you buy.
  3. Are you using technology to make social marketing easier? When I discovered automation tools like Buffer and Hootsuite, it made my workload so much lighter. I liked planning ahead and working on my business not always in my business.  Automation tools saved me hours of manually posting online, and like any business owner will tell you, time is money. Free worked for a while, but $10 a month works too.
  4. Engaging or just posting? Post and forget is one strategy many business owners subscribe too, and as much as you hope it will work, it really won’t. Take advantage of every opportunity to engage with your followers and answer their questions, even if it’s just adding a comment or two. Keep an open attitude as you build your like, know and trust factor, in a way that’s authentic!
  5. We know you’re busy. You can’t be everywhere all at once and be there 100%. I know that and so do you. Choose 2 or 3 social media platforms that resonate with your brand and put your energy into them. Look where your competitors are and if it looks like they’re making a splash, make a dash.  It’s fine to test the waters but be sure to target platforms that target your prospects and customers. They’re the ones who are going to buy.

Check out this Graphic from Constant Contact on where people are spending their time on social media.

Interesting to think about – considering we only have x amount of time in a day! It’s not a math problem, it’s a way of life!

Want to be a LinkedIn superstar? Why not, who wouldn’t? 

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking platform with 467+ million members, so you ought to look good whether you’re promoting your personal or professional brand, or building a sales funnel, online and offline.

The basic version of LinkedIn is a no-cost marketing and PR tool that you can create, modify and save 24/7, 365 days a year. That is, for now. I’m not sure what Microsoft will do in the future.

You know the LinkedIn basics, but I’ll reiterate them.

Complete the entire profile, first. Post a professional high res picture that looks like you, today, not 50 pounds ago. Create a profile title using strategic keywords and add the bar key – that’s shift forward slash – to get the biggest bang for your space. Create a LinkedIn cover photo for free on  Canva.com. Customize your URL with your name; ie, www.LinkedIn.com/in/RobinSamora.  Use all 2000 characters in the description, attach your blog, a book chapter or special report. And don’t forget to include your accomplishments. It’s not bragging, it’s promoting.

Now for more advanced LinkedIn tips.

  1. Include your city in your profile title which helps your profile stand out 20+ times more.
  2. Consider using a colorful background for your photo. Your image will pop and not be boring.
  3. Structure your company page to convert customers. Include an image with a call to action.
  4. If you’re prospecting, save your searches. After all, why re-create the wheel?
  5. Download your LinkedIn contact’s email addresses to build or mirror a potential Facebook Ads list.
  6. Start a LinkedIn group to gain authority and build your networking capability. This puts you in control.
  7. Publish lengthier content (around 2000 characters) on LinkedIn Publisher (formerly Pulse) on a consistent basis. Create titles 40 – 49 characters long. Include images to attract attention.
Thinking about sponsored ads on LinkedIn? Check out their lead gen form to easily collect info from 500+ million professionals, without clunky forms. Sales just got easier.  So did ROI. On mobile phones, for now. Take a look.

 

  1. Use How-to and list style headlines, but not questions. They typically perform poorly.
  2. Don’t embed YouTube videos. They also lack performance.
  3. Test publishing long content on Thursdays. It seems to be a high-traffic day.
  4. Write so that an 11-year-old can read your content. Make it easy to get through, not a thesis.

Have you heard that you are your brand wherever you go? 

It’s a fact, especially if you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur looking to market your business, increase visibility and make more money!

Your brand story tells it all.  So, be sure you know it inside and out. What makes you different? How did you get to where you are now? Why should someone want to do business with you?

Create a compelling brand story and share it wherever you go online and offline.

  • Make your story compelling.  Moving. And, include your why to make it personal and meaningful.
  • Be sure it’s clear, consistent and that you’re constantly improving your story.  As you share more often, watch that your brand personality and values are always aligned.
  • Practice sharing your story with feeling – and whether you pretend to or not, tell it with meaning.  A phony can be spotted a mile away!
  • Use your brand story as part of a daily PR and marketing practice to grow your small business, build a base of raving fans so you can sell more products and services. You’re in business to make money, right?

The core of your brand story will always be the same, because it’s who you are.

Include your brand story as an important part of your elevator pitch, in person at networking events, in an author resource box at the bottom of articles, on Amazon Author Central when you upload your blog. And always, when you write copy for your website, sales page, speaker page or any material where you want to let people know who you are and why you rock.

If you’re a small business marketer learning the best practices of PR — or even if you’re a marketing expert, be sure of this:

Make your brand story right on, brand on – and always on 24/7. Be sure that it’s compelling and in your voice.  Remember, you are your brand wherever you go, so make it the best brand you possibly can!

Want to hear from other experts on building a brand story?  Check out these articles:

The Secret of Story Telling from Entrepreneur.com

Richard Branson on Storytelling that Sparks Ideas and Builds Brands via Forbes.com

Set an intention to market your small business – even without a PR budget. Learn the tricks, tools and promotional know-how to tell your story.

There’s a certain ring to the ka-ching.

Take a look at Boston University’s #BUGiving Day and their social toolkit. I’m not sharing this just because it’s my alma mater. I like how it’s put together.  It’s a content-rich example on how to develop your own communication tool to share news, special events and promotions.

I signed up to help support their event and received an email follow up asking me to be a social brand ambassador for the cause.  “Sure,” I thought.  “Why not.”

First, here’s the email that I received:

Hi Robin:

Thanks so much for signing up to receive email reminders about BU Giving Day 2017.  The big day is now just two days away, and we couldn’t be more excited!

I’m reaching out today to remind you to save the date for Wednesday, and to spread the word to your fellow Terriers that #BUGivingDay is coming.  We’ve put together this social toolkit to help get you started.

We’d also love it if you joined us as a social ambassador.  When you sign up, you can link your favorite social accounts and receive emails with easy one-click sharing when we have new content.  You also have the chance to win some great prizes just by signing up.

Thank you for your support of Giving Day – you help us make a huge difference in the lives of BU students today, and for years to come!

Thanks,
Phil

When I saw their social toolkit, I was intrigued. When I opened it up, I loved how it was organized with easy to read headlines and sections.  Giving Day Basics. Examples of Facebook posts and Tweets. Facebook Cover Photos. Instagram Pictures.

Great job BU.  Not just cause I’m from COM. It’s good work.

If you think that email marketing is dead, you’re dead wrong.

Email marketing is alive and well and growing every year.  As a marketer, you can use email 24/7 for distributing a variety of content – offers, photos, coupons, links to where you have been published and so much more.  In fact, you can share personal stories, testimonials from clients, blogs, articles, surveys, press releases and almost anything you think of that will be of interest to your subscribers.

But, to build a viable email list, and turn prospects and customers into raving fans, you must get their permission before you hit send. You definitely don’t want to be known as a spammer! Whether you use Constant Contact, where I’m a brand ambassador or another email provider, you’ll want to learn best practices on how to grow an audience who like, know and trust you.  Why?  So your target market will eventually buy from you.  You have to attract, convert, close and then delight your customers.

Marketing is a process, not a race. Prospects consider buying your products and services, they don’t have to.  They first have to gain your trust. Creating and distributing valuable educational content via email marketing is a fantastic way for people to see what you’re all about. Email marketing attracts strangers through content, keywords and social sharing.

What can you do with email marketing to grow your business?  Check out my YouTube video to find out.

Engage your target market, create a lasting bond, get feedback, inform, entertain, share news and accomplishments. Let them see you as a human, after all humans do business with humans.  Again, just be sure you have your reader’s permission and offer an opportunity to opt-out or unsubscribe at any time. No questions asked!

The power of marketing is greater than you probably ever thought. Here are some stats from HubSpot where I’ve recently been accredited as an Inbound Specialist.

  • 3 billion+ email accounts send 196 billion emails every day
  • 91% of consumers check their email every day
  • You own your email channel; (I call it your ‘owned’ media)
  • 77% of consumers prefer email for marketing communications
  • Email has a marketing ROI of 4,300% — Wowza!

Want more info? Check out these links on email marketing:

A Quick Guide (and Infographic) on Email Etiquette from Entrepreneur.com

The One Word You’ll Want to End Your Emails with to Ensure They’re Read from Inc.com

How to Add 128 New Subscribers to Your List Every Day from Neil Patel.com

Promethus, best known in Greek mythology as the Creator of Mankind said this:

“Big things have small beginnings.”

Thousands of years later, a Greek marketer from Boston concurred. “Start small, think big,” she said.

We’re both right.

 

Facebook is the rage – and why not?  You can target niche audiences, spend as little or as much money as you want for advertising and create look alike audiences with your email lists. Another option is to download your LinkedIn contacts onto an Excel file and import the data. I wrote about a few of these ideas in a recent Facebook marketing article.

But how can you use Facebook events to grow your business?

Think about creating and promoting events like these to connect with your target audience:

  • Trade Shows
  • Demonstrations
  • Pop up Events
  • Webinars
  • New Classes
  • Speaking Gigs
  • Book signings
  • Ticket Sales
  • Grand Openings
  • Unboxing your product

Sure, you can offer discount offers to your community, invite people to your sporting events, job fairs and auctions too. Think of what’s coming up on your calendar and create a Facebook event to share the news!

If you’re looking to promote your business and keep pitching, content and social media organized and on topic, consider using editorial calendars.

Editorial calendars can be used in several ways.  One way to use them as part of your PR and marketing plan is when you’re looking to pitch a publication a story.  You’ll want to see what topics the media covers over the course of a year, and that’s usually outlined month by month.

Let’s say you were pitching an article about brides, you typically wouldn’t pitch a story in June at the height of the season, you’d approach editors up to six months in advance when they were featuring brides. Editorial calendars can also be used to make sure your pitch topic is in synch with the publication’s calendar and hasn’t been covered recently.

Another way editorial calendars work is when you create them for your own PR and marketing planning.  You can keep track of your own content, blogs, articles and social media and know when everything is running and have the option to move content around.

As a small business marketing expert and PR Mentor, I like editorial calendars because you can create your own, use a digital form or any variation of the two. You can also create them with an excel spreadsheet or use popular templates, a few of which are below.

Want to know more about editorial calendars?  Take a look at the articles below:   

Here’s a Sample of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Calendar for 2017

And, one for InStyle Magazine Editorial Calendar 

Lastly, Forbes Media 2017 Editorial Calendar

Want to see a few editorial templates?  Check these out for ideas:

Editorial Templates for Blogs, Social Media and Content by HubSpot

105 Types of Content to Fill Up Your Editorial Calendar by Convince and Covert

Editorial Tips, Tools and Templates by the Content Marketing Institute

By using editorial calendars to get press and organize your content, you can be more organized, see what’s popular on social media platforms – and keep your audience engaged!