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.

Have the Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media changed about sharing your political views? I guess it depends on how you heated up you are personally (or not) over the current state of affairs—and if you want to share that publicly as a business or brand.

Brands have a core message and stand tall for what they believe in. They can also influence, motivate, alienate or outrage prospects, customers and audiences. We see that in a big way today with swings to the left and to the right in Washington, and all over the country.

As a PR Mentor, I suggest to my clients that they keep their brand or company comments on target to their core message and core values. If your brand is a political one, that’s a completely different story.

In the past, there were 5 Subjects we never talked about on Social Media:

  1. Sex
  2. Politics
  3. Money
  4. Sports
  5. Religion

Today, each of us is the media.

We can share our opinions openly and for free. I honor that and am grateful for that right. But, how will your message affect your brand if you are the spokesperson – or you are the brand?

  • Do comments about sex, partying and boozing it up online affect a job search?
  • In a divided society with emotions high, do political comments help or hinder your ability to be a leader, get a promotion or win a prize client?
  • Does talking about having lots of money alienate you in a world where many are struggling?
  • Are you infuriating fans of one sports team (and possible customers) when you are obnoxious about a recent win of your rival?
  • In a world of many religions, faiths and beliefs are we helping or hurting our brand with off the cuff or insensitive comments?

Ultimately, it’s up to you how to position your brand, and what to say or not say on social media.

Before you post ask yourself two questions. What’s my intention? What’s my end goal?

Whatever message you share, be sensitive to how it will be perceived.

It does matter.

This morning there was zero time to prepare for a Facebook Live interview, but isn’t that the point? Ana, my client from the Spanish Immersion School in Rincon, texted me that she was coming over in 10 minutes because she told her class she was going live in 30 minutes.

She not only told her class, she also posted it on one of the biggest Facebook groups in Rincon, PR. And live we went, despite landscaper noise, a dose of unstable internet and accompanying pixels, and the time crunch of having to produce!

The interview on Facebook Live accomplished 5 things:

1) It showcased Ana’s brand in the moment, savvy, on-the-go, with interesting content

2) She translated the interview in Spanish, or at least parts of it to make it relevant to her audience

3) Ana featured me, and the four (4) events I will be having at her school in February, in great detail

4) Viewers I hadn’t met yet got to see the video, like it, comment and, most importantly, share

5) Whether I liked it or not, it featured me up close and personal for my new community to meet; plus, it started the LKT (like, know, trust) process

No surprise that this wasn’t a video where you prepped, and staged for makeup and wardrobe — at least where I am. The sun wasn’t out much yesterday, so I had a cool shower and didn’t wash my hair. But it really didn’t matter. Taking advantage of the moment did.

I was impressed with Ana’s knowledge of Facebook Live – but more importantly what she wants to do with it, and what we are envisioning together. I wish you could see her smiling ear to ear.

Here’s the Facebook Live video we posted.

Carpe Diem.

What’s the difference between being spontaneous and impromptu? Both are valuable skills when you’re at a conference – and especially shooting video.

Impromptu: Done without being planned, organized or rehearsed

Spontaneous: Having an open, natural and uninhibited manner

Sylvia Clare, Author of Trusting Your Intuition: Rediscover Your True Self to Achieve a Richer, More Rewarding Life says: “Being spontaneous is being able to respond with confidence; calmly trusting that, whatever the outcome, you will have a positive if challenging experience that will lead to greater self-awareness and success.”

I say, yup. I’m on board with that, especially if you’re trying to capture real time content at a conference and have an amazing videographer like Ellen Lacey from NewTV for only two hours!

It must have been my lucky day, because the booth in front of ours was empty. We didn’t have the nerve to take it over for the entire day, but we did manage to make it HQ for Robin’s Rainmakers videotaping.

The question to all attendees on the hot seat: What’s your biggest marketing challenge?

  • How can I get more engagement with my cause on a local level?
  • What do I have to do to grow my expert status as a scientist?
  • How do I become the go-to person at work?  (Hint: Candy works, but getting the job done rates higher)
  • What do I have to do to get my boss to notice me so I can get a raise?

The questions and answers were on the spot. Live on camera. I’ve never interviewed in this style before, but I liked that is was natural and almost the same as mentoring a client on the phone or in person. Ideas flow whether you catch them on paper in the middle of the night, in a conversation, get an intuitive hit or remember a fact or figure from years of study or experience. Being open to answers and trying new approaches is vital in video – being impromptu and spontaneous just like real engagement, live.

When you really think about it, what’s the big deal? You wave your hand in front of the camera when you make a mistake. You go with the flow. You have fun and stop being so serious.

Remember, we’re human and people are comfortable with like-minded souls who aren’t afraid of getting out there and learning from experts willing to share. Plus, when it comes down to it, we’re all really experts in training.

My hot seat advice as I write this? Let’s all learn from each other and have a good time doing it.

I haven’t met a smarty pants in years.