We’re a society that’s definitely on the move. There’s no denying that!

But, what do you do when you’re busy and on the go? I hope that you hire people to help and outsource as many tasks as you can.

There are times though, that you’ll need to address business in the now — and the only available resource might be your Smartphone.

When you normally have access to your computer and a desktop full of programs, and you only have a phone – where do you turn?

To mobile apps for sure!

The world of apps can be confusing, but here’s a tip that might change your perspective and save you hours of time…

Ask a fellow entrepreneur (or fellowpreneur as I call them) what apps they have on their phone and more importantly, ask them which apps they use every week!

Filling up a ‘toolbox’ is a great way to be more productive on the go! Unfortunately, not every app or program will be for free. I suggest you try out the free version of an app first (usually there is one) and if you like it and use it, pay an extra few dollars for the upgraded version.

Now, here are my three must-have apps for the Business Owner on-the-go!

For photo enhancements, check out the app Over. I like Over because with just a few clicks, I can add a logo and/or text to my images before I post the picture to social media. The spinning wheel is easy to use and once you’ve edited your image the way you like it, you can save it to your photo gallery.

What do you do when someone hands you their business card? I used to put the card in my purse and I know many men who put them in their wallet or suit jacket, where they’ll remain until they are forgotten – or washed till there are no remains! You can download one of many business card scanners and upload the business cards directly (and immediately) to your phone where you can store the info and start the process of connecting!  (You know it’s a process, right?)

Another great tool I love is having a voice recorder app. This article by The Social Media Hat aka Mike Allton talks about using your driving time wisely to record blog ideas. Consider taking this app to the next level and record to-do lists, marketing copy or comments from your last sales meeting – while ideas are flowing.

Here’s to making life easier, more productive and applying these tools to save you time!

Have a burning small business marketing, PR or promotions question?  Email me at Robin@RobinSamoraInc.com or take 15 minutes out of your busy day and call me at 617-921-3448.

As a busy entrepreneur and bon vivant, I know about scheduling and prioritizing in all aspects of my life and business. I’ve learned how to shave valuable time through trial and error so I can concentrate on what’s important to me.

Marketing is no different. There are definite ways to save time – valuable time, while marketing.

Plan – Create a business plan and a marketing plan! Your marketing plan should be based on your marketing budget and include traditional marketing as well as online marketing line items.  Without a plan, you plan to fail. Without a plan, you can’t outsource (see below). Use these 5 steps to create a marketing plan.

Outsource – As a small business owner, it’s not always feasible to hire a full-time marketing manager. Often, we rely on our own ‘wits’ to do what seems like endless tasks — from social media to blogging to graphic design to web management. But, if these tasks take too much time, it’s time to reevaluate. How do you know it’s time? Read this article from Forbes; ‘7 signs it’s time to outsource your marketing’. You’ll find your options to outsource marketing are plentiful.

You can outsource:

  • Marketing tasks to a virtual assistant (who may save your life too  — xo )
  • Management of social media distribution
  • Graphic and web design
  • Additional training for your staff
  • Research and platform building to an intern

Tools – There are plenty of tools that will help you streamline your marketing. If you aren’t sure what I mean with ‘tools’, read this article ‘Top 5 Small Business Marketing Tools’. I’m sure several on the list you may be familiar with.  If you don’t have the time or want to learn about them, hire someone who’s an expert.  The point is, save yourself time!

Are you are ready to save time and get direction on what you should be doing with your small business marketing and PR? Let me show you the way!

Ostersund, Sweden -August 3, 2014:  Linkedin website under a magI’m sure every small business owner, consultant and market savvy professional wants to get noticed as an expert or leader in their field.

It doesn’t just happen overnight, as we all know. It’s more like a “drip process.” Day by day, week by week.  You post, tweet, network and do your best to show up at the right place at the right time to connect with your target audience – or a qualified lead.

That’s all fine and good, and everything listed above does work.  But, I’d like to take a quantum leap with you to help promote your business and build your expert status.

Want to leap with me on LinkedIn?

9 Tried and True Ways to Build Your Expert Status on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is for the most part, tremendously underutilized for small business marketing. Rules are determined by the platform, but there’s so much wiggle room to promote your brand and stand out as an expert if you understand the ins and outs of the site and practice simple strategies.

Here are 9 Marketing Tips you can use today:

  1. Write your profile with heavy keywords so LinkedIn’s advanced search can pick you up, pronto.
  2. Vary status updates with articles, infographics, quotes, video, podcasts and your own comments by showing you’re an expert who shares valuable content. Use the 80/20 rule – and be respected as someone who is not always self-promoting.
  3. Link relevant articles you’ve written to targeted landing pages where potential customers can sign up for your freebies, get on your email list and hear what you’re up to, so they can buy.
  4. Use the publications area of your profile to promote your newsletter, blog or tips and (again) give readers a link to sign up on your landing page – where you’ll tell them exactly why they should sign up.
  5. Publish a longer article you’ve written at least twice a month and repost others mindfully. Use pictures and graphics to get attention and at the bottom of those articles, include links to other content you’ve written in similar categories.
  6. Reply to people who are checking YOU out on LinkedIn with a well-crafted note leading them to your landing page (again) to sign up. Use a macro key for easy copying.
  7. Include a similar message to people who want to be connected with you. Follow the same procedure.
  8. Join up to 40 groups on LinkedIn where you’ll find your ideal clients or professional colleagues.  Be active in at least 5 groups. Comment as an expert would and be helpful. Don’t sell. The advantage with groups is that most often, you can send emails within the group and cut the red tape. Mine for gold.
  9. OK, Here’s one. And Shhhhhhh. Snoop anonymously by changing your privacy setting to — anonymous — and see what groups your competitors, customers and clients are in.  Take your time and browse around.  Just remember to change your setting back to public, Dick Tracy, when you’re done.

It goes without saying that having a professional and up to date photo is key to your personal and professional brand.  Please don’t upload a photo of yourself with a cut off arm around your shoulder or a plant sticking out of your head.

Being an expert is an earned right.

Use these marketing and PR strategies to gain credibility, increase your leadership position and get noticed as an expert in your field.

And, build your email list, for free.

If you’re in sales, marketing or a public speaker interested in maximizing their brand and image, think about hiring a stylist.

Your initial reaction may be similar to my first thoughts. “That’s way out of my league and too expensive.”

The truth is, a talented stylist is worth their weight in gold – especially if you want to look and feel your best and command the room with confidence and style.

If (and when) you hire a stylist, be willing to be vulnerable and open to suggestions. Your wardrobe advisor and image consultant has been trained, not just in the fashion sense, but in what flatters your body type. What you see as faults, have been seen thousands of times by other stylists and studied.

And yes, there are solutions.Beautiful young stylist near rack with hangers

Your flaws can be minimized and your most attractive features accentuated with a stylist’s recommendations and guidelines.

Here are 5 Reasons to Hire a Stylist: 

  1. After you’re over the initial, OMG, I can’t believe I’m hiring a stylist, you’ll realize that a stylist is a spot coach — just like I’m a spot coach for PR, small business marketing and free publicity. A stylist helps their clients look their best and improve their image with wardrobe essentials. You are your brand wherever you go. So, look fantastic!
  2. A stylist looks at you with different eyes than you look at yourself.  A trained professional sees your assets, not the negative parts of yourself you want to blink away. Stylists have your image, lifestyle and brand in mind for how you want to show up. They have a strategy in mind and a plan. Follow it to get noticed.
  3. Love the fact that your stylist is connected.  They’ll hook you up with their A-list of resources, tailors and beauty folk. They’ll share their favorite store contacts and will call ahead to make sure you’re treated like a VIP. Guys, listen up. This includes you too. The secrets of stylists could save you thousands of dollars and time that you don’t have.
  4. Shopping can be as easy as you like. It’s possible that you’ll fall in love with your UPS or Fed Ex driver every day when they show up with new outfits. Feel weird about all the attention? Love yourself more and more as you look in the mirror and experiment with new styles. Imagine yourself in front of your audience with only two thoughts; how great you look and how much they want to buy from you. (Think positive, right)?
  5. A paid speaker or professional should look like the price they’re charging. Say you’re charging $2500 for a workshop. Shouldn’t your outfit reflect your expertise and the richness of your work? Heck, yeah. Step into your power and awesomeness!  Upgrade your look to be consistent with your talent, skill and offer.

I’m a fan of virtual styling and like to look at clothes on line because it’s relaxing.  Others like meeting their stylists at their favorite stores, or wherever they’re told to go. Every person and situation is unique.

If you invest in your education and mentoring, why not invest in your wardrobe and image.

Tie everything together for maximum impact.

After all, it’s your PR and marketing brand we’re talking about.

I’ll be the first to agree that event planning is a tough job.

Social media and online marketing can really push your event in front of your target audience, but there’s an enormous marketing opportunity that’s missing.

The number one mistake is that event organizers and speakers stop talking as soon as the event is over!

How’s that a mistake you ask?

It’s all in the follow up.

Thinking back about several recent events, I know it’s overwhelming to stay focused on what you did ‘last week’. Whether you’re a speaker like I am, or an attendee, following up and continuing the conversation is important to building relationships and opening doors of opportunity.

Let’s talk about the ‘why’ first.

[ctt title=”The Importance of a Follow Up Meeting after Events’ you’ll find three key reasons to follow up if you’re event organizer. They’re to collect feedback from attendees, evaluate your budget as well as the overall event strategy. ” tweet=”The Importance of a Follow Up Meeting after Events’ you’ll find three key reasons to follow up if you’re event organizer. They’re to collect feedback from attendees, evaluate your budget as well as the overall event strategy.” coverup=”Zvoub”]

But you’ll learn more…

Steve Randazzo, on Spin Sucks, talks about different ways to keep the conversation going – after the event, if you’re the event organizer. You can read that here; ‘The Most Important Post-Event Engagement Tool’.

He says it’s easy to get so caught up in the pre-event social component that most of us forget about riding the social media train into the future.

[ctt title=”A little more than half of marketers use social media to connect with attendees after events versus three quarters using social media before events. ” tweet=”A little more than half of marketers use social media to connect with attendees after events versus three quarters using social media before events. ” coverup=”d72Jj”]

He suggests a best practice of continuing to use social media long after the event to increase engagement with customers and maximize ROI.

Here’s one more resource I’d like to share with you, ‘The Most Critical 50% of Event Marketing: 4 Tips to Maximize Event Impact’.

[ctt title=”Besides a detailed outline of all your marketing activities, pre-show promotion and your on-site presence should make up only about 50% of your event strategy. The other 50%, which is often overlooked and most critical, should be in the post-show follow up.” tweet=”Besides a detailed outline of all your marketing activities, pre-show promotion and your on-site presence should make up only about 50% of your event strategy. The other 50%, which is often overlooked and most critical, should be in the post-show follow up.” coverup=”eD7kh”]

If you’ve neglected this post event follow up, now’s your chance to plan for your next event.

Make sure you add all of these suggestions to your to-do list and I’m sure you’ll see a huge return on investment on time spend strategizing beforehand.

 

Want to know more about events?  Check out these other articles I’ve written; How to Work a Room without Being There8 Great Way to Promote an Event and Grow Your Business and 5 Ways Businesses Can Use Promotional Products to Boost Profits

A couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to go firewalking.  I was half excited and half scared to death and questioned myself every step of the way. Would I take the walk or chicken out?

When we arrived at the field, I found out we weren’t just walking on fire. We were also challenged to break an arrow at the soft spot of our necks, and asked to bend a piece of rebar (steel used for reinforcing concrete) at the same spot — neck to neck , with a partner.

I’ve broken an arrow at my neck before and it was both frightening and exhilarating, knowing the point of the exercise was to break through the fear. The rebar was another story. When two people push together to bend steel that you can’t bend by hand — at the neck, and actually do it, it’s an amazing experience. I was scared beyond words but broke through the barrier of that one word that holds us all back, fear.

Now, about firewalking.

firewalkingWe were told that walking on burning coals feels like walking on really hot pavement or scorching beach sand.  Intellectually, I got that. But to have the courage to walk on the flames was a decision.

And, that is the point.

If you can walk on fire, you can do anything.

What do you need to do in your business or in your personal relationships? What changes do you have to make?

If you can walk on fire, you can do anything.

After the longest winter I can remember, I’m thrilled to say summer is here! And, school is (almost) out.  Many business owners and entrepreneurs take time to relax and slow down a bit in June, July and August, but there are other smart and savvy pros who do the same, plus step up their game and create their own summer school to beef up on news, update their skills or take a class.

If you’d like to expand your horizon, here are several ideas to get you started – but as you know, the sky’s the limit!

1. Learn how to write

Yes, really!

In The Art of the Handwritten Note we’re reminded of how important a personal written note is in business. You might have grown up writing ‘thank you’ notes, but there’s a whole generation of younger people who feel challenged with this kind of writing. There’s no better time than now to get (re)started! What’s stopping you? If your handwriting is terrible, take a calligraphy class or better yet – slow down and write ‘like you mean it’. Your message will be heard loud and clear!

2. Learn video marketing/editing

You don’t have to become an expert and I’m certainly not suggesting that you have to edit your own videos. But, understanding the process of editing and learning about video marketing will help you plan better shoots and b-roll to create the best possible content to share with  your audience. It’s fun too, if the first subjects of your video class are your own family members!

Check out workshops in your local area to see if there’s a summer program you can attend or take classes or workshops online.

3. Learn how get the most out of your Smartphone

You think you know it all? You may be pretty app-savvy, but there’s so much more in the Smartphone world to learn!  I’ve read that most people use only 5% of their phone’s ability and just 10% of our brain! Ask a teenager in your life or neighbor to sit with you and show you the tricks they’ve learned on their phone. You can also take a class in most stores (Verizon, Sprint, AT&T) depending on what carrier you have. And of course, online learning about Smartphone is great, too.

Whatever new skill you decide to learn this summer, have fun!

I always like to see what small business owners are doing to create a buzz and promote their services. The more unique, the more I remember – and hopefully that’s the case with attracting your target audience. The #1 objective is to stand out and get noticed. If you get a buying reaction that sticks, you’ve hit a home run!

Taglines aren’t a necessity for every business, but they can help to explain your product or service, or give a valuable reminder of why your prospects should pick YOU!

Here are 5 tips for creating memorable taglines:

  1. Make your tagline clear. Don’t confuse your customers with off-subject phrases which aren’t in sync with your product or brand. Complement your company name, url and what you’re selling.
  2. Describe who you are or what you do. Words are a tool to use to communicate, but you’ve only got a few seconds here. Make your tagline simple so everyone can understand. You’ve got some freedom if you want to describe a feature, benefit or make a strong claim.
  3. Paint a picture of your services. Your tagline can create a vision in your customer’s eye. What is it that you’d like them to know about buying your products and services? You don’t have to be literal in creating a vision. And, you don’t have to be bland!
  4. Create a feeling or hit one of the five senses. Is there a certain button you can push to create a sense of urgency or make you the ‘go to’ provider? You don’t always have to be serious, fun is allowed.  Test your tagline on your circle of influence, even if it’s at your kitchen table!
  5. Write copy that resonates with your customers and your brand. You don’t have to imitate anyone. Just be you. Does your tagline tell your story?  Does it say who you are? How does it make you feel?

Here’s an example of a tagline and mobile ad I saw in South Carolina. I liked it for a few reasons. The graphic was very clear and the tagline clever.

Tagline photo

 

If I lived in the area and saw this van on the road, I would definitely want to go to this restaurant for a BBQ!

You know what happens when news becomes NEWS. People talk about it. Then they share. “Watch this” they quickly post and soon, everyone has an opinion. It’s pretty powerful when news goes viral or when a news story gets picked up – almost as if it takes a life of its own. Web traffic spikes and someone, somewhere is getting their 15 minutes of fame.

Big and little brands would do just about anything for the opportunity to be in front of so many viewers/eyeballs/prospects. Who wouldn’t want traffic like that to their website? Not to inform of course, but to promote their products or services (aka sell).

So, what’s a business — small or large — to do?

Why, Newsjack!

I’m sure you’ve seen it and bet you have your own thoughts.  You either hate it or love it. Opinions are divided, and often it’s about the subject material.

Here’s a recent article on newsjacking that’s more positive than negative, which is a nice change from what I’ve been reading lately.

In How To Boost Your Content Creation Strategy With Newsjacking, author Amanda Webb of Agora Pulse describes one major benefit of newsjacking:

“Newsjacking is a gift to content marketers. Events and news can give us the trigger we need to create good interesting, on topic content.”

She goes on to list 10 examples of recent newsjacking that you’ll definitely want to check out.

Next up is ‘Newsjacking Gone Wrong’ by SpinSucks. It’s a ‘caution up ahead’ article by Gina Dietrich and provides links to newsjacking which in fact, has gone wrong. Gina quotes the ‘daddy of newsjacking’, Meerman Scott by going over his four rules.

Meerman Scott’s four simple rules (of newsjacking):

  1. Be dignified and statesmanlike.
  2. Be upbeat and positive, never mean or vindictive.
  3. Write articulate text in full sentences, without chatty slang, industry jargon, corporate gobbledgook or social media shorthand.
  4. Don’t get too cute or clever—especially where human suffering is involved.

Last but not least, here’s one more direct link to an article with three additional (not so well thought out) examples. 3 Newsjacking Fails That’ll Make You Facepalm

Use these to understand what went wrong and why audiences became so upset. Use this to set your own standard and ‘rules’ for newsjacking if you decide to use this technique for content creation.

Just remember to be ‘tasteful, on time, different and relevant’.

Today, I’ll be the keynote speaker at Fresno State in California to kick off #GoBrandYourself week. I’m excited to teach personal branding tips and strategies to a college audience who are eager to jump in, get experience and find a job in the communications industry.

With unemployment in Fresno hovering near 9%, my goal is to help these students stand out from a crowd, define their personal brand, use social media platforms powerfully and expand their networks. So they can ROCK IT!

At some point after the keynote, I’ll share my talk. But, before that happens, I wanted to give you a few personal branding tips you can implement right now.

Before you do anything else, I encourage you to create a personal brand statement. This article by Jörgen Sundberg explains that first, you need to know the answers to these three questions:

• What value you provide (what problem do you solve)
• How you do it uniquely (your USPs – unique selling points)
• Whom you do it for (your target audience)

In our second article, Jim Joseph states for Entrepreneur magazine that “each of our personal brands began at birth. When Mom and Dad gave us a name, they unknowingly launched a new brand, the first of a lifetime of personal decisions that makes us each uniquely our own being — or brand. From that day forward, we spend our lives living up to our given name.” I’ve really never thought of it this way – but it is so true!

Jim says (and I couldn’t agree more): “A personal brand, like any good brand, needs to be consciously managed and controlled throughout our lives.

Once you know what it means to have and create a personal brand, and you know what you stand for, take a look at our third article from Inc Magazine that walks you through 7 steps to build an awesome personal brand. By looking at each of these steps, you can take the appropriate action to #GoBrandYourself.

I hope you will #GoBrandYourself by being who you really are, not who you think you should be.

Believe me, it’s a work in progress! Tweak, Tweet and Retweet!