Archive Monthly Archives: September 2015

LinkedIn’s Lana Khavinson about Small Business Social Media Tips

Lana Khavinson - LinkedIn - small business social media tipsLooking for small business social media tips to grow your visibility? Then checkout this interview that Kim Beasley conducted with LinkedIn’s Lana Khavinson as she shared several social media tips for small businesses to grow their visibility and engagement online. Using these vital tips, growth with your visibility, engagement, and network can be experienced from the small business social media tips.

Getting started by growing your visibility

Lana offered three major social media tips for small businesses who are getting started with social media.

  • Every Small Business must have a presence on the key social media platforms, like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.
  • When you build your presence, think about the different reasons people use different social media platforms
  • Important for you to not only represent your company, but also yourself. By have a presence as an individual and company, people can find and engage with you.

Small business social media tips lead to engagement

According to Lana, engagement is just as important as having a personal and company presence on all the major social media platforms.

  • Post updates off your personal profiles. You don’t need unique content; it may be something your followers find interesting
  • Another thing that’s important is to standout as an industry expert, a person that’s on top of the trends. But don’t forget to post those same types of updates to your company page, because as you build out your followers through both pages you start to build a conversation and engagement with the audience your trying to reach.
  • Use Groups: Don’t just post something there and walk away. You want to be apart of the conversation. It’s important to remember that it’s not about who you know, but about their network

About Lana Khavinson:

Lana Khavinson is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at LinkedIn where she is responsible for driving growth and engagement for LinkedIn Company Pages. She joined LinkedIn with more than a decade of experience working in a variety of 
marketing roles at such marquee companies as American Express, Yahoo, and Intuit. In her current role, she is deeply engaged in increasing the adoption and engagement of LinkedIn Company Pages, with a special interest in helping small/medium businesses accelerate their marketing efforts by providing guidance and support to business owners.

Segment Description:

Kim Beasley will be interviewing Lana Khavinson, who is part of the LinkedIn – Small & Medium Businesses group, regarding to social media. Want to learn additional social media tips that small businesses can use to connect with their target markets? Then this is the #Google + Hangouts on Air show for you. Lana will be sharing about “The Year of the Social Small Business”. For more details about LinkedIn, how social media affects small business owners, and additional social media tips for small businesses check out this link: http://blog.linkedin.com/2014/02/25/the-year-of-the-social-small-business-infographic/

Watch the video to learn small business social media tips for the interview below:

Interview: Toni Morrison & Virtual Book Tour via Google+ Hangout

Toni Morrison - HomeIn an interview with Toni Morrison, I had the opportunity to ask her a question that propelled me into action regarding my personal writings. The interview was hosted by Google Play and they invited me along with a few of my peers into a special Google+ hangout on air with Ms. Morrison.

We had the opportunity to ask her questions related to her writings and her latest book, Home. My question to her was simple yet, her answer impacted me dramatically because it made me come out of my writers closet. Highlights from the interview with Toni Morrison

Below are some of the key points that she stated during the interview:

  • She thinks about her characters for months before she even starts writing.
  • When inspiration arrives she begins writing the book.
  • Toni writes for people like her.
  • Toni feels you should write and then revise a lot. Don’t worry in the beginning that your writing isn’t perfect.
  • She encourages writers to write what you don’t know about to extend your imagination.

After viewing the video, you see why I said Ms. Morrison’s answer impacted my life. It was simple yet, it helped me to get past my “perfectionist” hangup about authoring my book. Notice I saying “authoring” now! It’s because I now consider myself an author and not just a writer.

Why do I make a distinction? Let’s checkout what Webster has to say about the definition for writer and author:

  • Writer – one that writes
  • Author – one that originates or creates

Now that I have created an original work that will be published in my favorite genre, Inspirational Romance, I feel more like an author. I’m not just writing and staying in my old writer’s closet. I’m bursting out and authoring my work and will soon publish it. The title of my book is Love’s TriLoJee, and I’m very excited!

Now a little bit about Toni Morrison

For those who may not be familiar with Toni Morrison, let me share a little bit about her. She was the first black woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature. She was actually born with the name Chloe Anthony Wofford in Lorain, Ohio. From an early age I believe that she felt that she was going to be an author because she had a passion for reading and writing. She was the only child who could read in her early classes and I believe that this gave birth to her love for reading.

During her formative years at home, she heard many songs and tales of black folklore which helped to build her foundation for literature. Being proud of her heritage is key to her staying true to her writings and overcoming obstacles that life has thrown her way. While attending college, many people couldn’t pronounce her first name correctly, so she changed it to Toni, which is a shortened version of her middle name. After graduating with her master’s degree, she began teaching English, got married, and joined a writers’ group.

Now here is an interesting tidbit about how she started sharing her writings publicly. One week, having nothing written to discuss with her writers’ group, she quickly wrote a story loosely based on a girl she knew from childhood that had prayed to God for blue eyes. This quickly written story was the basis for her critically acclaim book, The Bluest Eyes.

After traveling to Europe, she started a job as a text book editor. During the evenings, after her children had fallen asleep, she started authoring. She decided to take the story from the writers’ group and make it into a novel. She continued in her editing career and her first book, The Bluest Eyes, was published in 1970.

Watch the video below for my unique question (my question starts around minute 3:45).

Resources:

Stu McLaren: Connecting with a Membership Website

connecting with a membership website - stu mclarinIn 2008, McLaren was frustrated at the difficulty of creating a membership marketing site. According to McLaren, the options available at the time were very technical. so he and a friend decided to do something about it. He co-created the WishList plugin, which is used to connect your membership website to your target market.

He recalls his friend asking “what would you do if you could create your own membership site solution?” McLaren had simple needs. He wanted it to work with WordPress and he wanted it to be a simple PlugIn. Five years later, WishList powers over 40,000 membership websites.

His story servers as a great example of what can happen if you listen and act on your frustration with the status quo. He believes that it is likely that if you are frustrated, others are too, which could be the foundation for a new product or service. McLaren has found the same success with his new product RhinoSupport.

Lesson Learned – Simplify When Connecting with a Membership Website

McLaren learned a lot of lessons along the way as he created and marketed his products. He feels the number one lesson is, the customer experience rules. You really have to create products and services so that it is easy to use. Customers should not need to refer to any support materials or videos to get started.

When he first created WishList he quickly learned that there were a lot of different things people wanted to use it for that were far more creative than what he had thought. It started getting more complex. Recently, McLaren and his team worked to scale back in terms of the complexities and simplify the user experience as much as possible. They also designed RhinoSupport with customers in mind. They wanted a product that customers could use right away. Simplification can cut down on customer support and get people consuming your content or product much faster.

He also learned that you need to simplify success. There are so many ways to make money online and we are often inundated with too many options. McLaren reminds us that success can be boiled down to two or three important elements. He feels success online means traffic, plus conversion, plus on-going relationships.

  • Traffic – Every week you should ask yourself what are you doing to drive traffic to your websites.
  • Conversion – Converting someone who is interested into a paying customer is conversion. What are you doing to increase this?
  • On going relationships – Sell more things to your existing customers by getting into their hearts and minds; and serving their needs.

Ask yourself what your main goal is and simplify it down. It helps you, your customers, and your team manage their time and energy.

Overcoming difficulty

Things were going great for McLaren and his team were doing wonderful business, but only one person in the group was technical. That person started becoming overwhelmed by all the work he had to do. He decided to leave the company and create his own business. McLaren was happy for him, but concerned for WishList, so he hired some other developers and the business was only treading water for months. He realized that he needed his tech team member back and offered him a partnership. They then worked to build a team of developers. This taught him that you have to be sure you have overlap in your company with all the positions you have. If one person leaves, you do not want to it to be critical.

He also learned that the customer is not always right. Customers are self motivated. They don’t think about the ramifications of the ideas and suggestions they have for your company. They are only thinking of themselves. When it comes to WishList, McLaren always gets feature requests. If he tried to add everything everyone wanted, it wouldn’t serve his product well. He realized this and now asks himself if the majority of people using  this will benefit. If not, he tries to give the customer a way to do what they want to do without putting it into the core of the product. Listen to the feedback of your customers, but don’t let your customers run your business.

Tips to growing your business

You not only have create a great product, but you also have to use it. If you don’t use your product then why should your customers? A great marketing technique is showing your customers how you use your product.

McLaren also focuses on helping customers use the product. If your customers gain value from your product then they will share that with others. Be intentional about designing a program that helps your customers use your product by educating them.

He also feels you need to be conscious of doing promotions that add and not subtract. WishList never discounts their product. He  feels that discounting your product is devaluing your product. What he does instead is add to the product itself. He will add extra bonuses if someone purchases during a promotional period. You can add components to give to your existing customers too. This develops the relationship with current customer also.

Keys to success

McLaren advises you to go narrow and deep. Entrepreneurs are idea people. It is very attempting to launch a product and move on to the next thing. You need to be disciplined in what you focus on. In the past he would start on an idea and get a new one, and have to pause the first one. This causes stalled progress.Now he catalogs his idea for the future and work on one idea at a time.

You should also celebrate your customers. Listen and share your customers stories. Find out how you can truly impact their lives for the better and make their work more cost effective. Your product can affect many people and as business owners we often forget about the ripple effect our products have. Share these stories and potential customers will see themselves in those stories.

McLaren wants you to be consistent. When we are in our businesses we tend to get sporadic. The key to success is being consistent and marketing your business every month. He suggests taking out a twelve month calendar and asking yourself questions like what promotions will we offer this month to generate interest in our product. Look at what is happening that month. An easy way to promote is around holidays. Do something new. If you are doing the same thing every month it will fall on deaf ears. You need to come up with creative and new promotions. Being consistent with your marketing is important to your business success.

He advises you to create targeted training and content to sell what you have. Use your knowledge to help sell your product. Share this knowledge with your customers and potential customers to help educate them. The key is to create content that adds value.

He offers free content that teaches people what to do. He offers paid content to teach people how to do it. For example, your free content is steps to prepare. Paid content would have details to make it easy for people to learn how.

Tips for your membership website

A membership site is a centralized area for providing premium quality content. It is like an old school newspaper subscription. Customer are paying for access to digital content. There are three types of paid membership sites.

  • Protected Download area – People pay a one time fee to access a variety of resources in a protected area.
  • Modular course – It is also a one time fee. Content is delivered by module with one module being added at a time
  • Publisher Model – You create new content regularly and customers pay a monthly fee to access that information.

If you are going to be producing content then McLaren encourages you to create three different types of content.

  • Core – Content that customer get immediate access to when joining. You want to give them something to get started.
  • Primary – Leading featured content on a very specific subject within your area. He also expands into three different types of primary content:
  1. Back Stage Passes – Show how you implement what you teach.
  2. Live question and answer – This is great for engagement.
  3. Member makeover –  Do a full member critique to share with others.
  • Secondary – Announcements, or highlighted discussions. These are not things people would sign up for, but it does add value.

Tara Reed – Draw In Traffic From Your Target Customers Through Social Media

Target Customers Through Social MediaTara Reed  loves sharing about drawing in traffic from your target customers through social media. She is an artist who has been licensing her art for commercial use for over 10 years. She works from home and creates art collections to put on products. Tara stumbled into niche websites when she attended a social media marketing seminar and began to focus her business on teaching, sharing, and writing.She has found great success in the niche market and is here to share why a niche market can be more valuable and make a bigger impact than a global topic.

Tara Reed: Build strong foundation to reach target customers through social media

Tara originally had a different vision for her business, but when she attended that social media marketing seminar she learned what she really needed to offer. She needed to teach other artists. Tara started out by teaching artists what she does. She wrote an eBook, joined social media networks, started blogging, and started down the path of niche marketing.

Documenting her processes has helped her stay focused on her niche marketing plan and building a strong foundation. Tara did a Group Mastery program where they talked about the entrepreneurial myth of America. We are more like self employed technicians that should work to have a businesses that we can walk away from because there are systems in place to run our businesses in our absence. Two things that have really increased her efficiency and allowed her to do more are:

  • Systematizing – Every little process is written down. This not only gives someone else instructions to do the task, it frees your mind from having to remember every task. If you are trying to build a niche market and you are doing everything yourself you are limiting what can be done.
  • Documenting – Screenshots can help you document the processes. You can then write the steps down. She includes graphics and screenshots in documents, so it is easy for her or anyone else that might assist with carrying out the needs of her business.

Tara Reed: The niche marketing process

The benefit of a very specific niche is that you are easier to find and your website is more likely to rank higher in search engines. The very fact that your website is a niche allows it to be virtually on auto pilot and generate an income.

Tara has a niche market website called Print Your Own Bunco. The website offers a gift to her visitors in return for signing up for an enews letter. Customers get a taste of what she does from the free kit and then she is able to sell other kits. She also is able to market to customers directly through the enews letters. Tara advises communication to customers be concise and targeted to reach your audience. Keep in mind that your market can not read your mind, so ensure communication is getting your point across.

She also advises business owners to be in tune with your market. Know your target market, what will drive customers in and what will create a buzz about your website. Tara Reed also says to be sure you don’t design your website for you. Design your site for your visitors.

Tara’s best advice on niche marketing is to own your center, then integrate other things that allow you to connect and interconnect. Some of the ways Tara suggests to target customers through social media and drive traffic to your niche website are:

  • Blogs
  • Social Media
  • Google+
  • Video

Visibility and networking have allowed Tara to expand her exposure and it has brought her new opportunities.

The key is to do what is fun for you. One of Tara’s rules is she has to enjoy who she works with and she has to enjoy what she does. She does what she loves.

Tara Reed: Steps to developing your niche

To grow your business, Tara advises niche marketers to regularly analyze their niche. You should figure out whose attention you already have and think about who is buying your product. You can then find out what else they need. Think about who is doing things with your products and target them. By finding out what your customers are missing you can then give that to them.

She has very good advice about developing a solid business too. When you build your niche, build it. Don’t keep picking new ones. Focus, so it is easy to manage. She also feels that before moving on to a new project you should make sure the first project is secure and up and running. Don’t take on too many new projects at a time. Make sure your business is solid before moving on. Tara Reed feels you have to be solid so customers feel it and know exactly who you are.

You can find Tara’s products on garden flags in Lowes home improvement stores nationwide. She also has some products in Hobby Lobby, ShopCo, Mejiers, and HomeGoods. You can look for Tara’s logo, signature, or copyright. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Google+. You can visit Tara’s website at TaraReedDesigns.com,ArtLicesningInfo.com, and LetsPersonalizeIt.com

Marty M. Fahncke: The Biggest Mistake That Business Owners Make

Marty M. Fahncke is an online marketing strategy expert. He connects business owners to the resources, information, and people they need to make them more money.  Marty specialize in direct to consumer businesses that are generating at least $1 million in revenue per year. Marty has a true track record of success.

Business Owners-Marty-FahnckeMarty M. Fahncke: The Biggest mistake in social media that business owners can make

This mistake can literally wipe out your business after years of effort, time, success, and money. Marty started hearing from clients who were having their social media accounts deactivated. Most clients could not figure out why they were shut down and in addition there is nothing you can do about it. Did you know that social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube can shut you down anytime for any reason?

Using a third party website like Facebook as your primary online presence is one of the biggest mistakes Marty sees businesses making. Having a social media presence is needed, but you must have your own presence that only you own.

In Marty’s research, he finds that people complain that they are guaranteed by their 1st amendment right to have a social media account. You must remember that these are businesses and they have the right to shut you down at any time. Some social media networks have been known to have a bias towards certain types of products or groups and have shut them down on this basis.

Marty is shocked to find that many businesses rely on social media completely for their online presence and have no website of their own. Social media sites are run by terms and conditions you have likely never read. Do you want to trust your business completely to a third party?

Marty M. Fahncke: The solution

The type of marketing strategy that Marty recommends to avoid the number one marketing mistake is the hub and spoke model of online presence. You put your website in the middle of the hub and use all the different spokes to drive traffic to it. Some of the spokes in your wheel could be:

  • Email marketing
  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Content Marketing
  • Press releases

All of your spokes should drive traffic to your website. If one spoke should crack or experience a problem, your wheel will still turn. Eventually, you will have to fix the wheel, but you do not have to come to a complete stop. This way you are not out of business if a third party website shuts you down.

The goal is to have balance and multiple spokes of traffic bringing business to your website. For payment processing you should also have more than one payment processor. Payment processors are also third parties and can shut you down. Studies also show that your conversion rates go up when you offer more than one payment method. Always have back up payment processors in place. When designing your business plan think of ways to have back up if something should fail.

Marty M. Fahncke: The purpose of social media

The purpose of social media is to create relationships with prospects and to reinforce those relationships to eventually turn them into customers, then to solidify those relationships to encourage them to tell others. This allows your business to go viral and get traction from word of mouth. Social media should be used to drive people to your business website and not to drive traffic to social media, away from your website.

If you bring someone to your website, you want to keep them there. Your business model should be to drive traffic to your website. Some great tips to include in your marketing strategy are:

  • Be everywhere – Grow your presence on a variety of social media sites and use all avenues available to get your business out there.
  • Get customers email address – Offer your customers an ethical bribe to encourage them to give you their email address.
  • Watch new trends – Asking for mobile numbers and sending text blasts is fast becoming the new way to market your business. Response rates to text blasts are great and customers are willing to give out their mobile numbers.
  • Content – Make sure you own your content and get it syndicated.
  • Own your site – When building a website or hiring someone to build a site for you, be sure you own the content and have access to it.
  • Use Google+ Hangouts – You can have individual or group sessions where a panel asks questions. Panel members you invite will also cross promote you. Be sure you invite people you can trust to give good advice to your audience.
  • Grow your team – If you want your business to grow, train people to do the tasks you do and grow a team that can manage your social media, content and other marketing areas.

Marty M. Fahncke: Streamline your message

Think about your intention and what you are trying to accomplish. The objective of social media is to create awareness, build trust, and to take relationships to the next level. The progression of an online business relationship goes from stranger, who may be checking you out and finding out if they like you, to a customer. You want to give prospective customers a call to action to follow.

Think about your end goal. You are trying to get a customer. Ask yourself if everything you are doing is moving you closer to that goal of deepening your relationship with your customers and prospects so your prospects become customers and your customers rave about you.

You can get in touch with Marty M. Fahncke at his website.  You can also connect with Marty on Twitter and Facebook,

Marty currently has two eBooks available. He has a free ebook that will teach you how to start a Mastermind group. If you are not Masterminding you should be. It is a free ebook and available here. Marty will provide you with step by step instructions

He also just released “The Kick Ass Online Music Marketing Guide”. On its third day, this book was the number one kindle book on Amazon for music marketing. The book elaborates on the hub and spoke strategy in great detail. Although it is specifically designed for artist or musicians you will still get great value out of it.

Interview with Aliza Sherman – Social Media Engagement for Dummies, co-author

Aliza Sherman - Social Media EngagementKey to being successful with social media engagement in your business is to believe in yourself and fuel your engine. In the interview with Aliza (pronounced Uh-lee-za) Sherman, she shared this exact quote and it was very profound because many business owners don’t believe in the products, their services, or themselves. When you believe in yourself, you can fuel the engine of your business, which just happens to be you.

 Just get started with your social media engagement

Regardless of what’s being said about you or what’s happening around you, don’t let it stop you from getting started with your social media engagement efforts. According to Aliza, “don’t worry what others say, just keep going.” When you allow your efforts to be hindered by others, your forward momentum can be halted. Yet, when you have a support system around you like a mentor, peers, or enthusiast clients, they can encourage you past the negativity others may send your way.

Some of the ways that you can encourage yourself to keep going and get started with your social media engagement is to:

  • Don’t worry what others say, just keep going
  • Get back to the matter of the heart
  • Promote your business and yourself

When you apply these to your business it can help increase your social media engagement to reach your target customers. You can find out more in the recent book that Aliza wrote that is entitled Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

Tip for applying social media engagement for your business

As the interview progressed, Aliza shared more information about truly engaging on social media and how you can apply social media engagement tips to your business. Below are some of those tips:

  • Ask what you can do for others, offer your help: this can encourage engagement with others on social media and draw in your target customers.
  • Seek out others who have similar skillsets: when you connect with like-minded people, you can help each other grow your knowledge and your business, normally you can do this in mastermind groups.
  • Don’t shy away from or be defeated by hard lessons: when you deal honestly with others on social media, it can increase your engagement factor, so be an open book. Sometimes hard lessons may mean that you have to be an open book about something that’s personal and hard to share.
  • Own who you are, what you believe in: keep believing in yourself even if you face self doubt. Make sure to surround yourself with others on social media who will encourage you to believe in yourself and not put yourself down.

About Aliza Sherman

Aliza Sherman is the leading authority on women and the Internet. She is a Web pioneer, award-winning author, and international speaker with a mission to empower women through technology. She has been online since 1987, consulting clients about the Internet since 1992, and her early work on the Internet helped establish the online marketing industry. Newsweek named her “One of the Top People Who Matter Most on the Internet.” Fast Company named her one of the “Most Powerful Women in Technology.” Her 10 books include Social Media Engagement for Dummies and Mom, Incorporated

Segment Description:

Aliza Sherman will share tips about her e-book “Social Media Engagement for Dummies” (Wiley, 2013) this e-book is part of the Dummies series and is a savvy guide to getting more out of social media marketing. Social media engagement can help you turn prospects into customers and customers into evangelists for your business. This book shows you how to build those relationships, maintain a viable presence on social networks, and give customers a reason to interact with you.

Watch the video below for the entire interview: