If you’re looking to beat the competition, common sense will tell you to stay ahead of the game.  Study new strategies, implement to your ability (or hire out) and see what works. If you’re a perfectionist and want everything just right, get over it.  Join the ever-growing club of marketing professionals who try, test and tweak. Learn what works and make promoting without a PR budget fun.

Want to Learn about Beating the Competition?  Read These Articles:

11 Facebook Marketing Tips That Will Leave Competitors in the Dust by SproutSocial.com

How Storytelling Can Elevate You Above the Competition by Inc.com

5 Steps to Kickstart Your Marketing Plan by Shade Wilson

You’ve heard and seen influencers, like Kim Kardashian, and know they’re paid oodles to send Instagram posts or tweet about brands. That’s because, at last look, Kim had about 105 million followers on Instagram and about 57.4 million followers on Twitter. That’s a lot of people to influence.

But what about micro influencers? Think of micro-influencers like your BFF telling you to buy a product. You like, know and trust them – and because of that, you’re probably going to buy what they recommend. Micro-influencers have a close relationship with their audience and respect them. And, the feeling is mutual.

You can find micro-influencers on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter – even Google.  They have a steady following, are active on social media and have a voice in their niche. For this reason, micro-influencers may be an affordable option to promote your brand.  But before you jump in and buy, make sure you know what your marketing objectives are, how you’ll measure success and how you’ll promote this partnership to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Interested in knowing more? Read these articles about Micro-Influencers:

How Your Business Can Benefit from Micro-Influencer Marketing from Entrepreneur.com

The Rise of Micro-Influencers: How to Run a Micro-Influencer Campaign from the Buffer Blog

Speaking Sponsorship and Micro-Influencers from SpeakerSponsor.com

You don’t have to be a micro-influencer to influence people. It’s been done for thousands of years before you, just in a different wa.y

Who’s a micro-influencer in your niche? Heck, you might be one!

Happy to share a resource from Constant Contact about  125 Links to Make You a Better Marketer. It’s all about email marketing best practices and worth a look.

Every week, I’m setting up new clients with marketing campaigns and helping them with their design, because email marketing works – and design does make an impact – if you use it right! And, staying in touch with customers brings in business.

If you’d like me to look at any of your email campaigns or take a test drive with a free trial of Constant Contact for 60 days, please reach out. I’m happy to schedule a complimentary session to see what your goals are.

In full transparency, I also get a small commission depending on the size of your list, but you can also use a free service which won’t have all the bells and whistles – and so much more.

All in all, email marketing works.

If you’re a small business today, chances are you’re on social media, in one way or another. If you’re not, prospects and customers may wonder why. An active online presence is even better – and shows not just that you’re in the digital age, but you want to connect with your audience. And, that’s important to them!

9 No-Brainer Social Media Tips to Grow a Brand

  1. Find Your Audience and Stick with it. You will never be Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful who everyone loves. Find your buyers online and grow that list into a base of raving fans who always want to know more and buy.
  2. Lose Perfection. Get content out there. Nothing is ever perfect, and that’s especially true when you start out. Experiment with posting and see what’s popular with your audience. Tweak and adjust from there.
  3. Go with Your Gut. One of the first mistakes I made as a copywriter was asking for the opinion of a handful of people. Was I on target? Was my message clear? Bottom line, pick one person who you trust as an editor and trust the process.
  4. Do What You Can Do. Stop trying to be Superman® or Wonder Woman®. I used to think I had to be the be-all end-all, especially when I was starting out. Pick and choose your copy, platforms, schedule and go with it. Build from there.
  5. Forget About Being on the Cutting Edge. I hope you are, but don’t be disappointed if you’re not. I’m thinking you’re working on and in your business, so if you’re on pace with your industry or ahead of your own time that’s probably good enough. See #2. Lose perfection.
  6. See what’s trending and go with it. PR pros call it newsjacking. I call it smart marketing. Check out one of my favorite tools, Buzzsumo.com and punch in your keywords. What are people writing, talking about and sharing?
  7. Figure Out Your Call-to-Action. What do you want your followers to do? Click through, ask a question, take a survey? Just be you, the expert, and make sure you’re always engaging in your brand’s tone and voice.
  8. Automate to Save Time. Using tools like Buffer, HootSuite and Edgar, you can plan ahead, save time and money. After all, you should be in your genius time as much as possible, not copy and pasting.
  9. Be Patient and Test. We’re not in life-saving mode. We’re discovering our voice and connecting with our audience and other influencers. Don’t stress, mistakes make us better marketers!

Social media is just one piece of the PR and marketing pie. You’ve got dozens of other promotional tactics to promote your brand and grow your business. The key is that all should be working together towards a common goal.

Tweak, Test and Try. 3 T’s to Ta Da!

If you’re an author just starting out, you probably have another source of income and are always looking for free ways to promote your book.  But published or not, you should know about Goodreads, a social media platform for authors and readers with over 20 million members.  It’s free to join and you’ll find a wealth of information there – plus a marketing program that you’ll definitely want to check out to get the max from your PR budget.

Just like any social media platform, you don’t want to just dive in and ask people to promote your book – even though you want the PR and marketing help.  You have to establish a connection first and get people to like, know and trust you.  Then, they may be willing to help you – especially if they like what you have to say! But remember the all-important rule – You Have to Give to Get.

Goodreads is a PR and marketing gold mine for authors who want help promoting their books and don’t want to break the bank. Here’s how you start:

First, sign up for Goodreads. Explore the website and see what it’s all about.

Next, after you feel comfortable with the format and what members are doing, go to the author marketing program.  There you’ll see a number of ways to promote your book including:

  • Setting up an Author page
  • Connecting your blog
  • Asking for reviews
  • Giving away books
  • And so much more

When you’re a part of the Goodreads community and engaging as an active member, you’ll see the power of PR and marketing at its best.  All of the members have a serious interest in reading – and many are authors so you’ll have a chance to not only ask, but get feedback.  You’ll also have a chance to ask for book reviews, which is important for every author. Note:  Develop a thick skin. Everyone’s not as kind as your mother.

As a small business marketing expert and PR mentor, I can’t stress enough the importance of getting free PR and visibility – as well as advice from marketers in the trenches.  Although most books may be in different genres than yours, the same marketing philosophies and tactics are applicable.

Let go of being perfect and get your message out there. See what works and what doesn’t and change it up according to the results.

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!

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.

Potsquatch caught Meteorologist Jennifer Pagliei of WWLP Springfield, MA off guard when he video bombed her live blizzard report about 10 days ago.  Here’s the video in case you missed it. It was a publicity stunt that went viral.

So far, it looks like the video has been viewed 2,244,874 times and counting. The clip made Mashable, and I hear the Jimmy Kimmel Show, as well as countless other blogs.

Who is Potsquatch?

The pot-looking monster is actually a mascot from the Springfield, MA gardening store, Potco which is well on its way to becoming a store for all things cannabis.

But there’s more to Potsquatch than meets the eye. “He’s a super hero,” says David Mech owner of Potco. “With all the bad things happening in the world, Potsquatch brings some comic relief and is a symbol of absurdity when everyone is massively stressed out.”

What’s his mission?

Potsquatch wants to get people and especially veterans off dangerous opiates and help the terminally ill find natural alternative remedies. He was created to make people laugh and get their mind off problems.

As we all know, pot isn’t a shh shh subject any more. In fact, Business Insider reports that 1 in 5 Americans live in a state where it’s legal to smoke weed without a doctor’s letter.

Where will #Potsquatch show up next?  Your guess is as good as mine. Could he be our next pop-up or T-shirt star?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Phill Naylor who produced my YouTube channel.  In addition to being a YouTube expert, he also owns a digital marketing agency, Xtralarge Media.  What’s his insight about Facebook Marketing? In short, explore the possibilities creating look alike audiences to expand your reach.

10 Ways to Attract New Business with Facebook Marketing (and Creating Look Alike Audiences) 

  1. Set up a Facebook Business page to connect with your audience. It allows you to gain the like, know trust factor, build a community and show a behind the scenes look at what you’re doing on a day to day basis.
  2. Use Facebook groups as a way to showcase multiple products and services — if your brand has different branches and audiences. With one business page, you can speak to all of your customers and fans without them scrolling through every post.
  3. Learn Business Manager/Power Editor. You can download the application for free if you have a Facebook Account. This allows you to explore far more marketing options than inside the traditional Ads Manager.
  4. Upload your email list to Facebook and create an ad targeted to just them. This allows you to market to people who are already receiving your information.
  5. Create a look alike audience of your email list to market to. This expands your own email list powerfully.
  6. Install a Facebook pixel on your website. With this pixel or line of code, Facebook will track everyone who visits your website and you can extend your reach.
  7. Create a look alike audience of people who visit your website. Keep testing to monitor results.
  8. Ask Facebook to track anybody who visits or likes your Fan Page and advertise to them.
  9. Create a look alike audience of your Facebook Fan page traffic. See what that delivers.
  10. Lastly, ask Facebook to create an audience of anyone that has viewed your videos (and then create a look alike video audience). You can track multiple analytics, like how long they’re watching, where they stop and so on.

Although I understand Facebook as an important marketing and PR tool, I wasn’t aware of all the look alike marketing possibilities and the power of email marketing, taken to a whole new level. And, we haven’t even discussed retargeting!

Phill has a new Facebook group, Local Ads Academy where he’s hosting free classes. If you want to learn more, email him at Phill@Xtralargemedia.com and ask to join.

About Phill:

Phill Naylor is Founder of XtraLarge Media | 10 Ways to Attract New Business with Facebook Marketing Phill Naylor is Founder of XtraLarge Media, a digital marketing firm that focuses on helping clients get the biggest bang for their buck with video and social media advertising. He is an expert in Facebook marketing and works with small business owners to power up their brand, rank high on YouTube and influence prospects to buy. He believes video and Facebook will reach more customers than any other platform combined.