Archive for December, 2010

5 Reasons You Need A Social Media Manager

Posted on 21. Dec, 2010 by Julia Mitchell.

Business owners around the globe are asking themselves whether or not they need a social media manager. However, more and more of them are noticing the popularity of social media, but don’t know how, where, when, or why they should jump on the bandwagon themselves.

They notice their colleagues, peers, friends, children & family have jumped on board, on a more personal level. But, what so many of them fail to see, is that their present and future customers have jumped on for a ride too!

Right now, as you read this, your customers are flying down the road going mach 5 with no end in sight. They’re enjoying themselves too while reading/writing reviews, articles, comments & opinions on your business. They’re chatting amongst themselves (and to the rest of the internet world) about their latest visit, what their experience was, and even how it bugs them that Sally the cashier always seems “nice”, but never says thank you when they are leaving.

Wouldn’t you love the opportunity to be in that cart flying down the road too? Do you want to know what your customers are saying about you? Do you want to be able to effectively converse back with them? Wouldn’t you love to hear, first hand, about their experiences? Wouldn’t it be great to know how they felt about Sally so you could enforce stronger cashier policies?

There is no excuse for you not being in that bandwagon yourself. If you want to continually grow your business every year with the goal of higher profits and better ROI’s, then you need to be in that cart. Most importantly, you need to be sitting in the cart as strategically as possible so your customers don’t mistake you for luggage!

If the last four paragraphs didn’t provide you with enough reasons as to why you need a social media manager…don’t fret!

Here are five more:

Contrary to popular belief, just because your 14 year old niece has a Facebook account, that doesn’t mean she could (or should) create your own businesses fan page. Hire a professional. Your goal should be to have a better social presence than all your competitors. Better website, Facebook, Twitter etc. Hiring someone who has extensive knowledge on the platforms best suited for your business will benefit you enormously. Social media is so constantly evolving, that you want a professional handling yours that you know is up to speed with the latest tools, platforms, & strategies.

You must have a well thought out social media strategy if you want to succeed. You must have a plan. One that will provide a road map for you so you don’t get lost. You need to be consistent with your content and most importantly, you need to make sure your content is *valuable*.

Just because you already have social media platforms in place, that doesn’t mean you are using them correctly. If you have a Facebook business fan page or Twitter account that gets updated once “every now and then” (when you find the time) … you’re in trouble. It actually looks worse for your business to have inactive pages than not having any at all. Also, you want them all integrated together so they are working for you, and not the other way around.

You need someone to remind you -not- to be a broadcaster! It is extremely easy for someone to “hide” you on Facebook and “unfollow” you on Twitter. So easy, it can be done with one click of the mouse! You need someone helping you develop content strategies that are focused on providing engaging valuable content that people enjoy reading and make them feel comfortable enough to join in on the conversation. One of the most successful companies at doing social media is Zappos.com. Check out their Facebook site to see what I mean about engaging content.

Having a social media manager saves you, the business owner, time (our most valuable asset). Even though an effective social media campaign requires an “all hands on deck” approach to be effective, having a social media manager undoubtedly saves you time. They can provide you with a road map and content strategy that should make it easy for you to distinguish what is considered good and bad content. They also could take away the burden of having to log onto your computer and manage comments and updating content regularly on all platforms. They do all that for you leaving you more time to concentrate on your livelihood … your business!

Now it’s your turn. Have you jumped on the social media bandwagon yet? What has been your experience thus far? What have you had difficulty with? What seemed surprisingly easy? If you haven’t jumped on yet, what’s stopping you & what are you waiting for?

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10 Things I Learned About Facebook in 2010

Posted on 13. Dec, 2010 by Julia Mitchell.

Tia Peterson

Facebook logo

1. Not using Facebook is now a political statement.

More than ever before, my friends and relatives have categorically decided not to be Facebook users in protest against the social networking giant’s security policies, fears of being found by prospective (or current) employers, and in the name of reclaiming lost time spent perusing questionable photos of estranged acquaintances. However…

2. The majority of people who leave Facebook come back.

Of my friends who’ve deactivated their accounts, most end up unable to live without it and return within a few months, as the connections made through Facebook and the information available proves useful for personal or professional networking.

3. Most companies can benefit from creating Facebook Pages and recruiting Fans.

It’s become an expected part of any business model for companies to create pages for their products and use their Facebook sites to run giveaways and other sorts of promotional events, while advertising daily to thousands of users via Facebook News feed.

4. It’s really easy to annoy people on Facebook.

Oversharing often leads to a deluge of unwanted spam in your fans’ News feeds. Users will quickly opt to hide your posts or “defriend” you, especially if it’s obvious that you’re only using Facebook for advertising purposes.

5. Famous people, even those who are famous for doing nothing, use Facebook.

No matter who you’re thinking of, they probably have an account. Many celebrities do (under their real names, in fact). As a consequence, many people have gotten very tight about their security settings so as to make sure no one but their friends can see them.

6. People like the idea of Facebook as a narrative.

David Fincher’s The Social Network, which tells the story of Facebook from its infancy, was met with great success at the box office. Many Facebook users enjoy a love/hate relationship with creator Mark Zuckerberg, villifying him as a privacy-stealing maniac, all the while relying on his media network for personal and professional success.

7. Don’t believe everything you read on Facebook.

Can you imagine how much more pervasive the “Paul is Dead” rumor would be if it happened nowadays instead of 1969? The “Share via” function of Facebook makes it all too easy for users to copy and paste other users’ statuses with one click, which is the online equivalent of lighter fluid for hot celebrity gossip.

8. Facebook is the new MySpace Music.

Many musicians are moving over from MySpace, which was unpopularly redesigned and made essentially unusable, to Facebook Pages, as a more efficient way to promote music and events.

9. Facebook applications cannot always be trusted.

You’ve heard of that application that supposedly lets you see who views your profile. Shockingly, it does not work. It just produces spam and may or may not compromise your account.

Facebook’s notions of “privacy” are already questionable; avoid seeking out applications that appeal to serial stalkers.

10. Facebook profiles can be deleted, but never erased.

Even if you immediately delete embarrassing posts to your Wall, all it takes is one of your friends to take a screen shot of your information before it’s forever immoralized. Don’t put anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t want on the front page of the New York Times.

Image: The Facebook logo is a registered trademark of Facebook.

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5 Ways to Effectively Manage Your Online Reputation

Posted on 09. Dec, 2010 by Julia Mitchell.

Are you a Sketchy Sam or a Likeable Laura? When it comes down to doing business with someone, there’s no doubt that reputation is a major factor in making a decision.

After all, would YOU do business (knowingly) with a sketchy person?

But with the rise of social media comes new challenges for businesses of all shapes and sizes, especially when it comes to reputation: Who knows you and what do they know you for?

Are you helpful? Are you a great person to do business with? Are you a trusted resource or a product pusher?

More importantly, in the transparent business world we now live in, are you AWARE of your reputation… and are you doing something about it?

Which One Are You?
There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is if you ARE Sketchy Sam and don’t want to change, there’s nowhere to hide and social media might end up being a big nightmare. The good news is you have the power to control your reputation through taking action, and this is how you do it.

Imagine that you’re interested in buying an exotic car but know very little about the industry. You decide to go online, Google around, kick out questions about exotic cars on social media sites and two names pop up:

Sketchy Sam

Sam says he’s the best in the world at what he does on his website—which is basically a brochure trying to get you to buy or go away. Sam is always selling and doesn’t see the point in delivering value. There are no interesting articles, advice or videos on his site—unless you pay him first! He’s always wearing a neat suit and acting “nice” in public.

But when you Google him, the only thing that comes up is “Sam’s blog” which was last updated on January 9, 2007 with the title “Buy A Car!!! Now!” and recent information on a lawsuit where he sued his mom for the family cat.

When you search social networking sites, you see that all he’s doing is shouting at people about how awesome and amazing his products are. Anytime someone mentions Sam or his products (positively or negatively), Sam is nowhere to be found. He isn’t a part of the conversation. Plus, when asking around, you quickly find out that not only is he a jerk but he doesn’t follow through on promises.

OR

Likable Laura

Laura doesn’t need to brag about how amazing she is. Others are doing it for her. When you Google her, you find a smattering of interesting information. Links to her web show where she offers tips, interviews she has done with major media sources on- and offline on the car industry, guest articles she has written for other blogs about exotic cars and other great stuff.

On her site, you find all kinds of free amazing content, including the “exotic car race off” with videos of cars racing and “pimp my car” articles on customizing exotic cars. On social networking sites you find her to be helpful, sharing interesting links and content, interacting and (ahem) being a human. Anytime she’s mentioned online (either herself or her products), she jumps into the conversation. If you ask around about Laura, you’ll hear about how she’s “great to work with,” “very authentic” and “recommended.”

Dan Schawbel always jumps into the conversation.
Who Would You Rather Do Business With?
The better question is, of course, how do YOU become Likeable Laura? How do you manage your reputation in the transparent business world?

After all, reputation is everything (well, almost everything). When it comes to marketing, your reputation can either be your champion or your worst enemy. Why? Because it matters. It used to be someone with a big mouth could tell…

…10 people about you?
…100 people about you?

Now an individual can tell thousands of people by using social media, blogs and more simply with a click.

Reputation isn’t just ONE static thing, but a sum of many things, including:

Being likeable, friendly and kind
Being known for delivering great service and taking care of clients
Being a trusted content source; i.e., offering relevant and valuable content
Being active and engaged—joining in the conversation vs. one-way communication
Plus, when it comes to reputation, search engines have big transparent mouths.

Think about someone telling all of your dirty online secrets (hopefully you don’t have any) to ANYONE who asks. Now that’s something to think about, especially because search engines spill the beans on pretty much everything you’ve been doing online.

When you hear someone’s name for the first time, what’s your natural instinct? In many cases, we rush to our computers or phones and type that person’s name into a search engine.

Is there something you can do about your online reputation? You betcha. Here are five tips for managing your online reputation:

#1: Get Busy Creating Relevant and Valuable Content
Everywhere—on your website, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Every piece of content including photos (and even videos now) is crawled by search engines.

When you create educational or inspiring content (and mention your name or your company’s name somewhere within), you’re essentially controlling your own destiny when people search for you.

Here’s the secret (come a little closer). The content can’t be ABOUT you. Helpful content wins. Think about the interests/passions/needs of your target community as opposed to your own.

Who does this extremely well? HubSpot. To put it nicely, HubSpot isn’t in the sexiest of industries. They create lead generation software, but they’re a content machine. Their Internet marketing blog is extremely popular with millions of page views per month. They even have their own online web show where they go over marketing news and opinions each week.

Go ahead and search for HubSpot. Not only will you find a link to their website, but you’ll find delicious content, links to social media sites, upcoming webinars, YouTube videos and more.

Check out HubsSpot’s Internet Marketing Blog.
#2: Alert Yourself and Then Join the Conversation
Set up a Google Alert for your business, your name, other key people’s names, your competitors and any key phrases. I add my Google Alerts to Google Reader so I can check them out at my leisure as opposed to getting an email anytime my Alerts are mentioned.

Setting up an alert is one thing; RESPONDING is the key. If you see something, good or bad, jump in and comment on the blog or source. Become a part of the conversation.

Responding to good comments doesn’t have to be rocket science. At the very least, a simple thank you goes a long way if someone mentions you on their blog or website. Negative comments of course can be a little trickier and emotional, but don’t shy away from them. Participate. Take the higher road. Address the concerns. Don’t ignore.

Plus, every little comment you leave is a chance to do good and build your brand. It is also a chance to be a jerk and hurt your reputation.

#3: Watch and Listen From Every Angle
That’s another way of saying that Google isn’t the only answer when it comes to managing your online presence. In fact, there are many other places worth checking out, including:

Google Blogsearch: Blogs move quicker than Google (Google is trying to catch up with Real-Time Search), but to check what is going on with you, your business, competitors, etc., check out Google Blogsearch.

Search.Twitter.com: The hub of the real-time web. Nothing gets closer than up-to-the-literal-second updates. You can also take an RSS feed for keywords, your business, your name, people you want to stalk, etc., and put them into Google Reader (similar to the Google Alerts example), making even more info available to you on ONE screen.

Advanced Twitter Search: That little button on Search.Twitter.com. Allows for better geotargeting and a host of options you’d expect with the word “advanced.”

Ice Rocket: Well-designed search site to help track blogs, the web in general, Twitter, news, etc.

Backtype: Lets you track comments left on blogs and forums as well as on social sites. This is often overlooked, yet extremely important.

Video search: Videos are important and YouTube is the second-largest search engine to Google. Search there for videos about you and the competition. Other video search engines include Google’s Video Search, Yahoo’s Video Search, Blinkx and my new favorite: Truveo (very slick).

#4: Be nice: Taking the High Road vs. Negabots
I know this seems a little ridiculous, but it is so true. Negative people online are annoying—I get it. And most negative people fall into two categories:

People with legitimate concerns/opposing views (we can all respect that, right?)
Negabots. You know the type of person. It is 85° and sunny out and he’s complaining it isn’t 86°. Give him $100 and he’ll complain it isn’t $101.
Kill with kindness. Confrontational and overly sensitive are two qualities that often lose online. If you’re nice to people, people will be nice to you. Sure, it’s common, and yet it can be difficult to do.

The master of this is Gary Vaynerchuk, the outspoken creator of Wine Library TV and author of Crush It! Gary has lots of fans and friends, but of course some of those people wake up and drink a cold glass of hatred. Does Gary ignore them? Nope. On any given day, you can find him responding kindly to negative criticism on his blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts and even his Amazon book page where the occasional negative review pops up. Gary responds once nicely and then it’s done. He told me an in interview, “taking the high road is undefeated.” Very true.

Gary Vaynerchuk takes the high road when it comes to dealing with negative people.

#5: Build Relationships With the Likeable Lauras of the World
We become like the company we keep, right? Are there other people in your niche who:

Have influential blogs (or up-and-coming blogs) that allow for guest posting?
Have an interview series you can be a guest on?
Remember these delicious pieces of content will do all kinds of good for you, including:

More traffic to your site (and really… who wants less traffic?). Even if it is just a few people, it’s a win.
More content created that search engines can index with your name (especially if it’s an interview).
Association/relationship with other trusted people online.
A great marketing/promotional opportunity to share this content with your networks.
But here’s an interesting challenge: What can you do to offer them value? This isn’t just about taking. This is about giving value first. This is about building LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS.

Start digging around. Search Alltop.com, Google Blogsearch and Twitter. Ask around and start identifying media sources in your niche. Start small with perhaps a few passionate up-and-comers who are more easily accessible than the really big guys and gals.

Start helping them by tweeting about them and sharing their content on Facebook. Leave thoughtful non-promotional comments on their posts that resonate with them. Be helpful as opposed to pushy.

A perfect example is Elena Verlee, a PR specialist, entrepreneur and creator of PR In Your Pajamas. I met Elena because she relentlessly helped me without asking for anything. She offered me an interview on her blog. She consistently tweets my shows and content. She has personally introduced me to lots of great people who were guests on my show.

And guess what happened? I invited her to be a guest and we had a great interview that was seen by thousands of people. She got on my radar screen by being helpful.

Whose radar screen would you like to be on?
At the end of the day, managing your online reputation is really just being you—your best you. You can’t fake being nice to people. There are no “tricks” to make sure you’re seen as the best person/company in the history of mankind. But by working on your likeability, making an effort to engage and offering valuable content, you can certainly stack the odds in your favor.

To read this great article at the website visit HERE

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Been a while since I’ve Posted

Been a while since I’ve Posted

Posted on 03. Dec, 2010 by Julia Mitchell.

Why is this so?

Well many many reasons, the main one being that I made a decision to cut back all the different opportunities that I was involved in to consider the option of rowing my own boat.

Sometimes we get so blinded by the bright shiny lights of what could be that we lose sight of what we have.

I am the first to agree that there are many lucrative opportunities for people to become involved in and with to build a nice residual income.

However I am also the aware of the many opportunities that don’t deliver, that sell constant hope, that set you up for losing your friends and family and to some point brain wash you.  You get so desperate and have put in so much time effort and money that you don’t want to stop just in case the next best thing or person is the one.

Once I made this decision to stop rowing the boat with everyone else and begin to row my own I had to close down and shut off websites, twitter accounts etc.  It really was difficult at first, but then as I received less emails, updates, webinars links etc, it was so freeing.

I’m sure I’m not the only one out there in the big wide world who has been in a similar position.

It feels so good to unsubscribe from different email groups.  What first seemed like great information, often ended up being many links to the next new product, which then took your focus off what you were focusing on.

Since then I have been focusing on being the best mum and wife and helping my husband out as a Green Loans Assessor.  We have also started and set up a social media business and in the process of sharing with those who want to be a blessing to others with a gifting program.

So all is good and look forward to keeping this site updated with post more often.

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Why we Do what We do!.

Posted on 03. Dec, 2010 by Julia Mitchell.

Tony Robbins discusses the “invisible forces” that motivate everyone’s actions — and high-fives Al Gore in the front row.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers are invited to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes — including speakers such as Jill Bolte Taylor, Sir Ken Robinson, Hans Rosling, Al Gore and Arthur Benjamin. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, politics and the arts.

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