Overview of Social Media Marketing

This is your social media marketing plan guide for any small business, home business and web business owners who are watching social media waves rock their business marketplace – but have been afraid to jump in. If that’s you, be sure to read this very carefully, and then act on the information.

Who Needs a Social Media Marketing Plan?

Marketing on social networks is the hottest online trend to impact business owners in the last two years.

There’s a lot of buzz about it, but less ‘noise’, and far less ‘sound’ meaningful noise) though. Some business owners still doubt if they need to do it. Most know they do, but are far from sure about the best way to begin. If that’s you, this book will guide you to effectively and profitably evolving a strategy and implementing a social media marketing plan in your business.

So What Is Social Media?

In case you’ve never heard about a social media marketing plan before, online social networks are the Web’s equivalent of a club, or coffee house, or bar, or sea-side, or rest-room – a place where people meet.

A place where they informally chat, share stories and interact with each other in different ways. Where they access tools to streamline this sharing, make it easy and fun.

It’s difficult to explain, and easy if you just hop on and test out the networks for yourself. You’ll figure it out faster that way. While there are thousands of social networks to choose from, the top ones today are Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and of course a multitude of blogs, forums and wikis.

Why Have a Social Media Marketing Plan?

Social networks are businesses. Facebook has a multi-BILLION dollar valuation. When you engage on social networks without your own business strategy, you tend to default to that of the network’s owner(s) – and everything you do benefits their bottom-line, but maybe not yours.

That’s why so much of social networking by business owners is ineffective. So hold off on your choice of tools and technologies, and let’s focus instead on the social media marketing plan of your business first.

Who Is Your Audience on Social Media Channels?

Why are you trying out social media marketing in your business? Whom are you trying to reach?

  • CUSTOMERS – Are your customers already using social media? Do you want to develop your social media marketing plan and use social networking as a channel to engage with them and strengthen your ties?
  • PROSPECTS – Is your target market active on social networks? Are you going to reach out to them through the network with your marketing or selling message?
  • AFFILIATES & PARTNERS – Are other businesses in your niche using a social media marketing plan, and have a presence on social networks? Will you be using the networking to set up joint ventures, find partners and explore synergies?
  • EMPLOYEES – If your business employs people from diverse and scattered sources, will social networking be a way to connect and communicate with them?
  • COLLABORATORS – When you work on joint projects with people across industry, geographic or language borders, social networks and an integrated social media strategy could help co-ordinate and manage them more effectively. Is that your goal?

Some Quick Facts About Online Video Marketing

Not sure if online marketing can be effective when it comes to driving customers to your LOCAL business?  Or to help you get more calls and appointments?

Here are a few statistics based on online VIDEO marketing, which is just one small aspect that’s becoming more and more popular as a marketing strategy – especially in the past couple of years (with no signs of slowing!!  get in this game before your competitors do!!!)

Anyway, here you go …

  • 46% of all daily online searches lead to information on (local) products and services
  • 92% of all consumers now go online for information before making a buying decision
  • YouTube is the #2 search engine and gets over 300 million visits per month (google is #1 and also owns YouTube)
  • A really good web page typically gets only 5% conversion, but pages offering free info in exchange for their contact info get 35-40%
  • Having videos makes you 50x more likely to rank on the first page of Google compared to text only web pages
  • 75% of C-level executives watch work related videos and 50% watch YouTube videos at least once a week

Why Online Video Matters (+ How To Do It)

Executive Summary:

  1. The Facts – how many people are watching?
  2. The Psychology – where things are heading …
  3. The Action Plan – how to (really) get in the game

The facts – just how many people are watching video online?

To give you a sense of just how many, Nielsen reports that Americans streamed 15 billion videos back in May 2011. Specifically, YouTube, is now getting 3 BILLION views a day! That’s 3 BILLION a day! To puts that into perspective, remember that the US population is only about 300 million.

And, there’s over 48 hours of new content uploaded every MINUTE!

While traditional TV viewing was up only 0.2% over last year, internet video viewing was up 35% and mobile video went up 20%

Now it’s not all business video, I assure you. But places like YouTube are clearly becoming “the destination” where your customers are consuming their content.

And content is king, right? More than half (58%) of local businesses plan to increase their content marketing budgets in 2013. Videos (61%) will be the fastest-growing content format, followed by white papers and ebooks, case studies and webcasts.

Did You See It? Videos (61%) will be the fastest-growing content format!

The psychology – where things are heading

Times … they are a-changing.
Here is the way things are trending, and we’re only at the very beginning of the curve ….

1. People can get what they want when they want it – on demand. They search (Google) for the answers they need, they don’t wait for it so show up when the network or radio station decides to broadcast it, or when you get around to running a direct mail piece.

2. Social media is factored in to everything we do, whether we like it or not. Because Facebook and Twitter exist, and have become so pervasive, this stuff is altering how we do business. People are making buying decisions based on what other people, especially their friends, are saying. And the search engines (Google) are skewed by these social signals.  (That’s right – when your customer googles something, the results he sees are “adjusted” based on what his friends are up to)

The action plan – how to get in the game

Ok, so what’s next?
Well, typically the businesses I talk to are in one of two categories.  Category A is already making videos and putting them on YouTube, but aren’t seeing all that much return for their efforts.  (I strongly believe if you spend the time and money to produce a video, even if it’s low quality, that an equal amount of effort should be put into making sure people actually find and watch the video!)  Category B has never made a video, very often because they are not sure if it’s a worthy use of their time or they don’t know what to do.  If this is you then I suggest you just get started with something simple like a customer testimonial.  Use your iphone … it doesn’t have to be a hollywood production.

Ok – so now let’s assume you have your video and are ready to put it out there, the next step is to decide what keyword phrase you want it to show up for.  Think about it like broadcasting your commercial on a channel where only interested buyers are watching. And the “channel” is really the Google results page your customers see after they type in these keywords.  So you need to know what keywords your prospects are “tuning in to”.  (Clarification for all of you online marketing gurus: ideally you want to start with the keyword phrase and create your video with this in mind – make sure to say these keywords in the video a couple times for maximum benefit)

The goal now is to get your video to show up on Google on page 1, preferably all the way at the top – for your targeted keywords.  And here’s why:

When you look at a typical Google search results page, you have organic results on the left and paid results (pay per click) on the very top and the right column.  On average, the #1 organic spot gets 42% of the clicks. The #2 spot gets about 11% and #3 gets about 9%. Even the very top paid ad only gets about 5% (and you’re paying for that!) All the other organic spots, #4-10 only get about 5% or less each. And if you’re on page 2 you don’t even exist.

So we’re not talking about just getting found IN YouTube – but having the YouTube video show up IN Google, among all the “regular” website listings.  Plus YouTube videos really stand out in the search results because there’s typically a little picture thumbnail next to the listing.

To make this happen does require some work.  Especially if you want it to stay there for the long haul.  We have a proprietary 35 step process that has a proven track record for over 600 videos.  Here’s an example of some of the steps we take for a typical client video.

  • keyword research to find the absolute best version of your target keyword
  • craft a compelling title and optimize the video for online
  • upload video to over 50 other video hosting and social media sites
  • create thousands of links from other sites back to your video
  • a team of video marketing experts around the world will view, like, and comment on the video within the first couple days to create momentum
  • the video is transcribed and various press releases, blog posts, and articles are submitted online driving traffic to the video (check it out for example, the last part of this article is to add info to the video!)
  • a paid YouTube advertising campaign is created to promote the video
  • a paid Facebook advertising campaign is created to promote the video
  • more links are submitted from different blogging networks to your video
  • your video is prepared to email out to your customer list, so they can share it via facebook, twitter, and linkedin, etc

NOTE: This is all separate from any website search engine optimization (SEO) or adwords (pay per click / SEM) campaigns you may already be running.

This is all about THE VIDEO.

While getting your website to rank high is still very important, very often a video will get clicked on over a standard web page. If you have both, and dominate the page with many listings, your chances have gone up exponentially.  And – if you put out a new video on a regular basis, like once a month, you’ll practically have an “unfair advantage” over your competition.

Plus, remember that online video is unique because it combines social media and search engine ranking. It’s about getting found by keywords AND also by way of social sharing (possibly going “viral”). It’s very difficult to get this momentum with just a website.

Making Money with Articles: Finding a Writer

It’s grueling to find the perfect freelance writer to develop your income generating articles, but the hunt and fuss can be worth the time,  if you find one that can easily take on another regular client and the two of you work well together, then that one difficult search will turn into a lot of profitable articles.

When you begin your search, you may wish to start with a very tiny group of articles, in case you happen too hook up with a writer that you’re less than thrilled with. It is important to keep in mind that there are several different types of writing and each writer might be highly skilled in one area, yet lack in another.

For instance, there is creative/fiction writing, biographical writing, news writing, general informational article writing, critical writing, copy-writing, poem/verse writing, technical writing, medical writing, essay/report writing, and sports writing. Though a writer may be extremely skilled in one area, many freelance writers spread themselves out into others areas also. So, it is vital that the writer you select can produce the type of content that you need.

To find a freelance writer, you can consider assorted freelancing websites that will admit you to post the specification of your project and your budget.

From there, writers will make bids on your project and furnish you with writing samples so that you can get an idea of their skill level. Make certain that you choose a writer who gives you a sample of the type of article that you are searching for.

For instance, if you are seeking a copy-writer, do not employ someone who only sent you a sports writing sample. He or she may be a spectacular sports writer, but copy-writing is about selling (a product, service, or yourself) to your site visitors. (This is an example, a high quality article about Electric Log Splitters, over 3000 words and very insightful, or this buying guide, a simple list but very useful to customers, and the webmaster makes money from it!)

The more you are wishing to pay per article, the further bids you will get from quality writers who know how to entertain and inform your site visitors so that they keep returning for more. Writers know that you will in time make a ton of profit off of each article or content piece.

So although $30 or more for a 500 word article may appear like a lot, when you think about the service they are providing you and the time and effort that they put into your piece, then you will realize that it really is not a lot for that one article. If you pay for quality, and you get quality, you will not be surprised at how much you will eventually make off of your articles.

10 Home Office Money Saving Tips

Getting some cheap furniture for your home business is always a win, here are some cheap ie free tips for setting up the furniture in your home business.

1.  Build your own desk.  Check out your local home improvement store for clearance counter tops then find some cheap table legs, cut out some posts, or use filing cabinets as the base.

2. Use VOIP for an office phone.  Vonage, Magic Jack, or Google voice all provide free to low cost monthly phone service with free voice mail.  You can also forward those numbers to a cell phone when your out and about.  No reason to run a new phone line to your home office when you already have internet.

3. Use e-fax instead of a fax machine.  Paper, toner, and printers add up.  Instead of paying for these physical goods, go electronic with your faxes and just view them online.

4. Use a consumer level PC for your office computer.  Unless your going to be doing high end graphics work, or running some kind of high end CAD software (and you probably already know what kind of computer you need) then don’t waste your money on a cutting edge PC that is good enough for your teenager to game on.  If your running QB, checking email, and updating a website, then your $500 consumer grade PC will be just fine.

5.  Back up to the cloud instead of a hardware solution.  Automated backups are a must, hardware solutions that require human interaction either a) don’t get done b) are very expensive and there is still a chance that the hardware can fail.  Cloud backups are cheap, they run behind the scenes and they allow you to access your information from anywhere.  Just make sure you are careful on what directories your backing up.  You DO want your business database, you don’t need to back up images from your vacation.

6.  Buy used furniture.  While a $700 Herman Miller chair is nice, is it really necessary if your only in your office for an hour or two?  If so take a look at local used furniture stores, ask your friends on facebook, or visit a thrift store.  Often times you can find a nice two hour task chair for little to no money.

7.  Decorate with your own photos.  Nobody will spend time judging the photos or paintings on the wall.  They are back ground and they should make the room look nice but you don’t need to buy some kind of new age modern art to help generate serenity.  Just frame up some nice photos you took with your digital camera, or frame some art done by your toddler.  When in a nice frame nobody knows if it was done by a five year old finger painting or a European post modern artist.  It’s just background art, don’t think about it so much.

8. Do you really need a conference room table?  Are you planning on having big board meetings with all of your clients?  Would your desk work fine?  Would it be better to meet at their location or at a local office space rental location instead?  Conference room tables are one of the big dust collectors, don’t buy it unless you need it.

9. Outsource – Value your time.  If you spend most of your time doing busy work or running errands instead of focusing on the tasks that only you can do, then consider getting a low wage helper.  With some basic time clock software and a free payroll service you can afford to have someone work for you and make you more productive.  Just make sure that you are actually using your time to generate more income and aren’t just being lazy.

10.  Consult the experts – When it comes to the technical side of your business find someone that knows what they are doing and can take care of that for you or advise you.  You do not need to know every detail about merchant services, it’s a good idea to make sure your getting a fair rate, but don’t feel like you have to spend weeks trying to figure out if a .10 transaction fee with a 2.1% rate is better then a .11 transaction fee with a 2.0% fate.  Merchant service providers have calculators that they can use to find the rates that are preferable for your business.  They can know more about it then you and it is in their best interest to get you a good rate so you stay with them.  Same goes for point of sale software.  Consult an expert that sets up point of sale systems for a living, they’ve seen all that is out there and can advise you on what you should be using.  There is a reason that not every business has jumped on the iPad band wagon.