Social Media Monday: How to Use Facebook to Gain Email Subscribers

For this installment of our Social Media Monday series, PowerSites is providing you with some tips on using Facebook to grow your email list.

Facebook is regarded as something brand new and different in marketing, but the truth is that it’s really just one more way to ask for permission, and one of the most effective means we have of doing so. These seven tips will help you to make the most of Facebook as a way to enhance, improve and reach out with your email marketing campaign:

A Permanent Home for Email Content

A lot of people read through an email once and then delete it. By using Facebook as a permanent home for email content, you have a place where people can rediscover the old pieces they liked, and new users can check out examples of what they’ll be getting.

Your email service provider probably has some great Facebook apps that you can put to work for you. Check it out and see if they have anything that makes it easier for people to sign up through your Facebook page, and automatically integrate into your email database. You never know until you take a look at what they have for you to use.

Improve Your “About” Page

Improve and optimize your 150 word “about” description so that readers really know what it is that you’re all about. A lot of people click here first before reading more than one or two of your posts and updates, so this will be a tremendous help in winning over new readers.

Create Updates About Your Newsletter

Make sure to give your readers an update where they can use the comments as a thread to discuss the newest newsletter. When you send out a newsletter, create a post about it on your Facebook page, and pose a question that will engage your followers. It’s a good idea to figure out when most of your followers are online so that you can update them then and make sure that you’re reaching them while they’re actually up and about.

Promote Posts

Promoting posts isn’t always helpful, but at times it can earn you a lot of new readers. Promoting a post costs a little money but reaches out to a wider audience. This means more people, including people that may not already ‘Like’ your page, will be seeing what you’re sharing. Make sure that you’re promoting something special, not just another update, but a story that really resonates, and will catch the attention of someone scrolling through their News Feed.

Make it Better

Finally, make your email marketing content, and your Facebook content, better. Your content may even be good enough, but it can always be better, and every time you make it better, you stand a chance at gaining new followers. Don’t rest on your laurels. Improve your content so that when you share it with a wider audience. It actually matters.

Remember that Facebook is not magic, it’s just one more tool that you can use to grow your subscriber base and social media reach. When used appropriately, the results are endless.

Social Media Monday: 10 Questions You Need to Consider About Pinterest

Social Media Monday: 10 Questions You Need to Consider About PinterestGoing on Pinterest to expand your small business seems like an obvious thing to do, but it’s not always the right choice for everyone. If you’re thinking of covering Pinterest in your business’s marketing campaign, here are a few questions you’re going to want to ask beforehand:

1. What Are We Doing On Pinterest?

In other words: why are you on the site in the first place? There are a lot of social media outlets out there, so why Pinterest? Ideally, you should have a clear concept in mind before you so much as register your name on the site. It essentially comes down to this: what are you trying to convince people of with the pictures you post on Pinterest?

2. What Will Resonate With Your Ideal Customer?

Who are you trying to reach and how will you reach them without seeming pushy or spammy? This question may be trickier than you think.

3. Where Are Our Images Coming From?

Are you posting original content, artwork, comics, memes and macros, stock imagery Photoshopped up to suit your purpose? Consider how you’re going to get your content.

4. How Often Will We Post New Content?

Several new pictures a day can get very spammy very quickly, but if you update irregularly, people will lose interest. Figure out what sort of time-frame works for you and your best followers.

5. Can Others Contribute Content?

Some corporate Pinterest pages let others pin to their page. Is this for you, or do you want stricter control over your page?

6. How Will We Moderate?

How will you moderate, and who will moderate? You can’t let just anyone post whatever they like on your page, so how will you police your users?

7. Who Will We Follow?

Some corporate pinterest accounts follow a lot of other accounts, knowing that their attention can really pay off for both parties. Others strictly post their own original content. This is something to consider.

8. What Are The Most Common Mistakes?

The biggest blunder that people make on pinterest is posting exclusively corporate product images and the like. Social media is not about the “Sell sell sell!” mentality, social media is about sharing, giving and taking. Give your followers content they actually want to follow, not just a sales pitch every five minutes.

9. Will We Pin Videos?

Will you bother pinning videos, or will you keep it image-only? Images tend to get repinned more often, but videos can offer a different kind of content that you won’t get with still photos.

10. How Will I Engage Fellow Pinners?

Finally, this is the big one, how will you engage other pinners? You can’t simply post content and hope for the best, you have to fine-tune your content around what people like to repin and what you think will pay off. Focus on making your followers happy and it shouldn’t be hard to get repinned more often than not.

As long as you keep these questions in mind at all major points in the brainstorming process, you should have no trouble finding the audience you deserve on Pinterest.

Small Business Tips: Don’t Get Caught with Wrong Information

This blog post was written by PowerSites staffer, Michael, who wanted to provide some insight on the Internet Data Problem.

Here is a common scenario. A customer comes into your business and asks for the Apple Strudel.

“Apple Strudel?” You say, “We don’t serve that, in fact, it hasn’t even been on the menu for a few years”

The customer looks annoyed, “I drove twenty minutes to get here, because I heard online you had the best apple strudel, what do you mean you don’t serve it?”

What’s going on here? Why is this happening? Why would your information be online, when you don’t even have time to browse the internet? How did it get there?

Welcome to the Internet Data Problem.

As the saying goes “No man is an island” or, updated for the information age, “No THING is an island”. To understand why your data online is wrong, it would help to understand what is meant by “the Internet Data Problem”.

Solving the Internet Data Problem? When it comes to data, there are three different types of websites: Sources, Aggregators, and Combination. Sources generate the data, and make it available for other websites to use, either freely, or by charge. Aggregators take data from various sources and try to compile it in a way that makes sense to the end user (think Google). Combination sites do both. To make these more complicated, sites may choose to make some, all, or none of its data available to other sites. And just for fun, the data can either be User-Generated Content, or Merchant-Generated Content.

An unfortunate side effect of having so much information freely available, with so many sources and aggregators, is that the information isn’t updated correctly. It may be wrong, or just plain out of date.

Is your head spinning yet? It’s okay, don’t panic. There are steps you can take, to not only fix this problem, but take advantage of it. With so much misinformation floating around, internet users tend to gravitate towards sources they can trust, and are skeptical of limited content.


Yelp, Google+ and Facebook–Find out if your small business is listed there, if it is, claim your listing. If it’s not there, create one. Most of these sites make it possible for the business owner to claim their listing on their websites through an easy verification process.


Go through each profile page and update all the information on there. Verify Email addresses, phone numbers, store locations, website addresses. While you’re there, add some more information about your business, and a few pictures. Include a brief description about your business, and remember to tell your company’s story, in an effort to better connect with your customers.

That’s it. There are many other social media sites out there, but these are the big ones. By updating these you can ensure your content is correct, also, by adding more information you add to the legitimacy of these postings. You have just taken your first step towards optimizing your information on the Internet.

Solving the Internet Data ProblemWhy is this important? In a recent webinar, reported that they had over 18 million business listings, and only 1.5 million of them were claimed by the business themselves. This issue is not unique to; in fact it’s an issue many websites face. By taking a few minutes to complete the above steps, you’re already ahead of the 15 million plus businesses out there that may have incorrect information on the web.

As world culture moves more and more towards web as their primary source of information, it becomes more important to ensure that your information on the web is correct. This not only makes it easy for your customer to find you, but also so they don’t end up driving 20 minutes for an apple strudel that doesn’t exist.

Social Media Monday: Take Advantage of Google+ For Your Small Business

Powersites-blog-Google+Google+ recently climbed the social network ranks so that it’s number two in users, which means if you haven’t gotten on the Google+ train already, you need to. It represents a valuable social media marketing opportunity that you can’t afford to pass up. Since this social network might not be one that you’ve used on a personal basis before, there’s a bit of a learning curve as you learn how you can market yourself and your business. Discover how to use Google’s social network with these marketing tips.

One of the main concepts that you need to learn with Google+ are circles. You add people to specific circles, such as Friends, Co-workers, and other circles you create. When you follow someone on this social media network, they do not automatically follow you back. Instead they get a notification that you have added them to your circle, and they may decide to add you back. A few ways to increase the chances that your potential customers and clients will add you back include:

  • Create compelling content

    You need to give them a reason to want to add you to their circles. The last thing that someone wants to do is add a person or business to one of their circles, and be inundated with spam posts and other things that don’t pique their interest.

  • Use Circles to your advantage

    You restrict your posted content to specific circles, or you can make it publicly available. While it is in your best interest to make most of your content public for a wide range of marketing opportunities, you may wish to provide special incentives to those who add you to their circles, or your highest volume customers. Circles make it easy to target your advertising across all of your followers.

  • Create posts that are widely shared

    Like other social networks, viral content gets you plenty of eyes looking at your page. While this isn’t the most targeted traffic, it does give you the potential for very large dividends.

  • Share posts.

    Share posts that are related to your niche that you find interesting. Your Google+ page can get quite boring if you’re only focused on your products. Featuring a wide range of posts, such as showing off the latest news in your industry, behind the scenes moments at your business, and other relevant but not entirely promotional content will go a long way towards humanizing you to your customers. Social network goers want to be able to relate to the companies that they follow, and it’s easier for them to do that if they can see that you’re more than just a marketing mouth.

It’s not too late to create a Google+ page for your small business! It might take some time to get traction, but as you find your way around the network you’ll be able to leverage its great features for marketing and connecting with your customers. It also ties in with other Google services, making it a snap to sign up for.

Forget the Phone Book: How to Generate Leads for Small Businesses

How to Generate Leads for Local BusinessesA small business that depends on the Yellow Pages is using best practices to generate leads — for the last century! Today, if you are a bricks and mortar retailer without an Internet presence you might as well not exist.

Knowledgeable marketing people know that “Local Search” results are the most important, and most efficient means of marketing a small business.

Business today is rabidly competitive. Having a major presence on the Internet is not an idea to be “tested”. It is proven to be a necessity to compete on the local level.

Small businesses can achieve a generous amount of effective presence on the Internet leading to solid placement in local searches. Following are some marketing tips so that your small business can more easily generate leads from the Internet. They relate to:

  • Web site
  • Google Place Page
  • Facebook Page

The concept of local search is for your business to show up in the first page of a search when a potential customer is looking for your services or products in a specific geographic location. To show up in the top tier of a local search on the Internet is sort of like calling your company “AA Able Stationary” so that, were it about 30 years ago your business would be one of the first found in the Yellow Pages under stationary.

Web site

Every business competes for high ranking in local search in their specific business indsutry. Companies employing marketing best practices know that for a laser-like marketing campaign, nothing is more efficient than the Internet for finding potential customers at the local level. Savvy marketing people know that print, radio and even TV cannot target customers as efficiently as the Internet. Where finding a business was once relegated to using only classifieds, paging through a phone book or looking through the Sunday paper ads, consumers now also use their mobile devices or home computers to find businesses in their community. The first important thing is to be sure that your website has been optimized for local search.

Have your address on every page. If you are near a landmark–say so: 123 Main Street, opposite the Anytown Post Office; is much better than the business address alone. Include a link to a map and directions.

Contrary to common wisdom, use of keywords frequently does not increase your chances of achieving a high search engine result (SER). In fact, it may harm your site’s ranking. Google, Bing and other search engines use sophisticated search engine algorithms when carrying out a user’s search. Where once key words were king for reaching high SER, that is no longer true. Today these secret algorithms look for a sprinkling of relevant key words, and large doses of descriptive, original content, as well as Meta tags. Key word stuffing is no longer rewarded and can even be penalized.

Google Places Page

Google helps local merchants with a free service called Google Places (formally Google Pages). At no charge merchants may register their business, upload some text about the business, link to your website, link to a map and directions and read ratings from patrons who have visited your business. Customers will rate and review your business through Google+ Local. You can promote and link to your Google+ page on your website, and any other online marketing collateral.

Facebook Fan Page

Social media is the most contemporary marketing technique available. To participate you need to post a business page on Facebook to reach your geographic market. Provide fans and “likes” with a reason to keep coming back such as exclusive “flash sales” or fan page only specials and deal coupons only available on the fan page with a short shelf life. It’s important to promote your Facebook page on your website, and you can even run ads on Facebook to target a specific demographic or geographic location.

Having and maintaining an Internet presence is hard work, but it will definitely pay off when done correctly.

Social Media Monday: Using Social Media Daily to Help Your Small Business

Today, there is no other single source that can help, or hurt, your company more than social media. In this digital age, social media really is the ultimate “word of mouth” advertising and it needs to be treated as such. You want your customers to say good things about you, and you obviously want an opportunity to address dissatisfied ones. Social media gives you that chance, all you have to do is take advantage of it.

Social media, as a form of marketing, and needs to be taken seriously. Here are some small business tips for social media marketing that should be practiced on a daily basis.

Small Business Tips: Use social media to your advantage!

  • Check in daily.

    Common sense? Probably, but you may be surprised at the amount of businesses who took the initial time to create their Google+, Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook page only to have it sit static for weeks or months on end. Make it a daily routine to log in and review what is being said. You open your mail, email and check your phone often so your social media status deserves at least similar attention. People will notice.

  • Grow your base of followers.

    Growing your followers is like growing your market share. It takes diligent work. Consider online only discounts, contests, and promotions. Ask for referrals. In the case of Facebook, friend other small businesses in your area. Set weekly or monthly goals for increasing your followers. Get your employees and customers involved. Make sure your business cards and other marketing materials include your social media information.

  • Make sure questions are answered.

    This may seem like a simple enough task but it is amazing how many business pages leave followers questions unanswered. Not answering a direct question online is social media’s version of not answering the phone or ignoring an in-store customer. Many businesses make the mistake of treating online inquiries with a lower level of respect. The trouble is, in the case of say Facebook, every other follower KNOWS the question is dangling. If you do not want to address the question in front of all the other followers, then respond with a polite “Thank you for your question. Please contact us directly so I may better answer your question. ”or similar verbiage.

  • Update.

    Updates don’t have to be long, complicated, or pearls of wisdom. Updates can be as easy as a question you may ask at lunch. Open ended questions can stir conversations, so avoid asking “yes” or “no” questions. Questions like “How do you think this weather is affecting people’s attitudes?” can cause people to think and respond. Obviously, just like lunch, you want to avoid politics and religion. Don’t always make your posts about your business. If you are a jeweler, rather than promoting heart shaped jewelry, you may simply ask “How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day?” You can get your message across without direct selling.

  • Play detective.

    Try to take time on a daily basis to research like-minded businesses. Type in search terms you would love to be at the top of and note who is at the top. Take a look at what they are doing. See what local competitors are showing up well in search engines, and again, make note of what they are doing to get there. Decide on what keywords are important for your business and begin implementing them into your website, blog and social media.

Social Media Monday: Five Steps for Social Media Marketing Magic

Running a small business is a never-ending job. There’s always one more thing to do and one more thing to learn, and never enough time or resources for anything, especially marketing. What if you had a magic tool that amplified all your marketing efforts, hundreds of times beyond your current results? That would be a tool worth the time spent learning to use it.

Surprise! That magic tool is here, and it’s social media marketing. Social media is so much more than collecting likes and sharing pictures. It can be a powerful tool to guide your new product plans, to shape your brand and to draw highly targeted prospects to your website. If you’re just starting with social media, here are five essential social media marketing tips to get you started.

Step One
Start by identifying your target market. Every small business thinks they know their target but usually they don’t identify detailed characteristics. For example, if you sell sheet music, you might assume your target is simply musicians. You could be surprised if you analyzed your customer base. If you knew that your two biggest demographics were college freshmen into country music and computers, and music teachers in inner city grammar schools, would it change your messaging or product mix?

Step Two
Next, spend time listening to your key targets. Find out which websites they frequent, and what search terms they look for. Read their posts and discussions and really get to know them. Stay in the background during this step. Your job here is to listen and learn. When you feel like you know your target well, you’re ready to put your social media strategy in place.

Step Three
Develop unique content. It’s essential to include some of the SEO keywords you identified in step two to drive traffic to your posts or website, but don’t go overboard. Search engines don’t buy your products, people do. Make sure you design your content for people to read and enjoy. It’s important that your content is fresh, engaging and readable to keep people coming back, or to get them to repost, retweet or send links to their friends. The value of your content is what counts for social media marketing.

Step Four
Give a little to get a little. Identify key influencers, and retweet something of theirs. Like them on Facebook or join in on the discussions on Twitter. Ask questions if you don’t have anything new to add, but it’s better to offer positive commentary. The influencers will notice you and reciprocate. Once that happens, your results will start to snowball.

Step Five
Keep up the good work. Refresh your content frequently so that people keep coming back. Continue to join in online discussions with intelligent thoughtful commentary. Share interesting content with others, just as you hope that others will share yours. Make sure you respond to messages and posts promptly. This isn’t “Field of Dreams.” If you build it, they may come, but they won’t stick around if there’s no game on the field.

Now that you’ve used your magic social media marketing tools, watch your traffic and sales increase exponentially.

Location-Based Social Networks Are a Game-Changer for Small Businesses

There are many new sites and apps that are integrating location-based services and mobile services to provide an all new type of social media tool. Such examples of this are Foursquare and Yelp. They change the way that customers interact within the physical location of the business. There’s more information being given to consumers, thus making it easy for them to make better decisions as to where the shop, eat, sleep and enjoy life.

New location-based social startups have gone, and continue to go above and beyond the other social media networks. They are building up and expanding on the customer experience.

One company collates social information about neighborhoods and another uses indoor GPS services. There are three new trends that can be seen to change the way that small businesses can interact with consumers.

Indoor GPS Services

You may think of GPS as for outdoors only, but Bytelight is a Boston startup company that had the great idea of taking GPS and bringing it indoors to analyze customer movements. The startup integrates with LED lighting that’s already inside the building to track how customers are moving within your business based upon their mobile device. A customer can then use an app that the startup has in order to engage and navigate with the business by receiving coupons and other promotions based upon their location.

Location-based marketing brings online and offline content together. This makes it possible for customers to interact differently with businesses. If a coupon or deal is delivered only when a customer is in a specific area of the store, it can lead to higher ROI. Bytelight is licensing their products to LED manufacturers, thus prices of services vary based on the scope of installation.

Socially Collating Demographics of Neighborhoods

Livehoods is a research project being conducted at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. This project is tracking data from 18 million public tweets and check-ins as a way to collect demographic and geographic data about locations and people visiting the location. This will tell the story of the different neighborhoods in a city. With such snapshots, businesses can target products and promotions more effectively.

So far, there have been seven cities mapped throughout the United States and Canada. These maps can be used for free to learn more about the regions as well as their customer base.

The Mobile Wallet

There are many unique products on the market that allow consumers to hold gift certificates, gift cards, tickets, coupons and other items on their mobile device. Such platforms include Google Wallet, Gyft, and Passbook. This allows businesses to interact with their customers without facing much competition. Customers can be engaged with discounts and offers only available in their mobile wallet and that can only be redeemed in stores.

By using the mobile wallet, there’s a new way to provide local content that leads to more relevant and effective marketing.

Your small business needs the help where it can find it. With more effective marketing campaigns using social media, you have an ideal way to reach your target demographic.

Social Media Monday: Building Your Brand with Social Media

Social media provides an opportunity for any large or small business to build a company brand. It’s all done through relationships. By building strong relationships with new and existing customers in this way, businesses build brand awareness (people know who you are) and loyalty. Social media is also by far the best option for marketing, since it relies heavily on the most trusted form of advertising – word-of-mouth.

How to Make It Happen

As a business owner, you need to reach out and slowly, often step by step, build a presence on social media websites. To do this, take it one step at a time by following a few key small business tips.

Establish an Online Presence for Your Brand

Creating online experiences or destinations on the web where customers can reach out to you, learn about you and interact with you, is the cornerstone of success. It’s easy (and most of the time free) to do. Create a blog. Sign up with a business page at Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Establish a destination that allows you the best reach to your customer base.

How Will They Get To You?

Build Your Brand with Social MediaThere are a couple of things to keep in mind here. First, you need to give people a reason to visit your website. You’ll do this through creating effective, interesting and even off the wall content. You want people to want to read it and share it with their friends. You’ll publish this on your blog and then link to it on your social media sites.

Why do this? It creates multiple ways for people to access your site and connect with you. They can do so directly through their blog. However, you now have people sharing your post and creating new links that feed into your blog. This equates to new opportunities to build your network.

What else can you do to increase your social media skills as a business owner? Consider a few more marketing tips.

  • Join forums and blogs. Write blog posts for other websites that contain a link back to your own. Answer people’s questions on these sites.
  • Never sell. Rather, give. In other words, give people information, encouragement, resources or something else. The more you give people, the more successful your marketing methods will be.
  • Know who the influencers are of your target market. Do you know where your best customers are online? They could be using one site or another. There may be someone in the industry that is well known online. You need to be in that circle to get the attention.

When you do all of these things, you build your brand one step at a time. It is not instantaneous, but this organic method is by far the most effective way to put your business sin the hands of your most likely customers. Social media and marketing is not about selling, but about creating a brand that others recognize and remember, especially when they need whatever product or service you have to offer.

Reaching Your Customers Through Social Media

Reach your customers through social mediaEver find yourself wincing as a standup comedian’s tries to recover from a one-liner that fell flat? It’s painful to watch because you know that the comic can tap his microphone and ask “Is this thing on?” all he wants, but the crowd won’t laugh until he starts telling better jokes. It’s also a great reminder that if you want your social media marketing campaign to generate interest and brand loyalty instead of awkward silence, you need to be tightly focused on engaging your audience.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to do that: Always think about reaching your CUSTOMER.

C – Communicate, Connect, and Care

Social media is not a one-way broadcast medium. A television commercial or a magazine ad may be all about calling buyers to action, but social media is about having a conversation. It’s an amazing opportunity. Your business gets a chance to establish a real connection, show that it values its customers as people, and express a genuine desire to serve them. The key is to be responsive. When people comment or ask questions about your posts, take an interest and get back to them quickly.

U – Unlock

Followers and friends expect your social media presence to be real and unguarded. They want to get a sense of what goes on in your business. They also want to understand what other customers think of your brand. Social media is a wonderful space to enhance your level of social proof, but always keep it authentic. If a customer posts something critical, think twice before hitting the delete key. A whiff of censorship or a sign of whitewashing can ruin a great campaign.

T – Track Conversations

Think of social media as a market research wonderland. Listen to what customers are saying about your products, your reputation, and your management. Chart it out and look for trends. Not many years ago, getting this kind of input would have meant hiring a consultant and running endless focus groups. Today, it’s yours for free, as long as you’re willing to pay attention.

O – Open Eyes, Ears, and Mouths

If your business is large enough to have several departments, make sure your social media campaigns don’t get locked away in marketing. Everyone involed in the day-to-day operations of your business should see what followers are posting. Everyone should listen and consider customers’ input, and everyone should have the chance to lend their expertise as you formulate responses.

M – Measure

Social media may seem like a soft discipline, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to run a campaign without measuring its impact. Adopt a relevant set of metrics and track your return on investment. Conversely, use the metrics you gather in other facets of your business to tweak your social media campaign. Chances are you’ve learned a lot about your customers over the years. Put that information to work strengthening your online presence.

E – Excel

Never do anything half-heartedly in a social media channel. Use questions and complaints as a chance to provide superior customer service. When you put offers in front of your audience, make sure they’re amazing. Always do the right thing. If you impress your followers, you may see one of your posts go viral. Nothing else—absolutely nothing—can get your brand if front of new prospects more quickly than doing something that inspires their friends to “share” or “like” your post.

R – Reward the Community

No one has to follow you on your social media channels; they choose to do so. Make sure you treat them well. When thanks are in order, offer them proudly and publicly. When you have a terrific deal in the works, give your followers the first chance to take advantage of it. These kinds of actions build fierce loyalty and may turn your customers into your best advertisers.

The CUSTOMER acronym is a powerful way to keep your social media marketing campaign on track, so consider keeping a copy handy. Refer to it regularly and reap the rewards.