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How to Utilize Pinterest and LinkedIn Alongside Facebook and Twitter

Social NetworksFacebook and Twitter may be the best-known social media sites, but they’re not the only ones that can benefit small businesses. Among English-speaking social sites, LinkedIn sits at the number five spot, trailing behind Twitter, Trendstream’s GlobalWebIndex reports. Meanwhile, Pinterest ranks number seven. Both sites are growing quickly, with LinkedIn growing at 30 percent, and Pinterest at 20 percent, Jeff Bullas reports. For small businesses seeking cost-effective marketing methods, both these platforms represent untapped opportunities.

Pinterest

Socialbakers has found Facebook posts with photos generate more “Like”s, comments, and shares than any other type of post, constituting 93 percent of the most interactive posts. Pinterest leverages this visual appeal by enabling users to upload images and other media content as “Pins” and organize them on “boards” where others can see them.

Pins create a way to visually build your brand. You can pin images associated with your company logo. You can also post graphics that position your expertise or support your sales theme, such as quotes or infographics with statistics.

Pinterest can help generate leads. Your Pins can attract followers from within Pinterest. You can also link your Pinterest account to other sites to attract followers from there.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn boasts 200 million users, including 74 million from the United States, according to its site. It provides the business-oriented equivalent of Facebook, which can boost your brand in several ways.

Customizing your URL will distinguish your page from competitors and from others with similar names. Ideally, choose a URL consistent with a domain name representing your brand. Use a service such as WebHostingBlueBook.com to locate a good URL domain name.

Your profile’s headline field lets you describe what makes you and your products or services unique. Other fields establish credibility by citing your professional credentials and displaying references.

LinkedIn also provides promotional opportunities. You can network with other professionals in your field or your target market by using the site’s private messaging and groups features. Participating in group discussions and sharing content gives you a way to establish your expertise and build business relationships.

The above methods can also serve to drive traffic to your other social media platforms. For instance, you can include links in your profile. You can also share content of interest to groups you participate in, where appropriate.

Integrating Your Social Toolkit

Pinterest and LinkedIn work best when used in conjunction with your other social media tools as part of a single toolkit, rather than viewing them in competition with Facebook and Twitter. You can integrate your Pinterest account with your Facebook and Twitter accounts for cross-platform sharing. Likewise, you can use your LinkedIn profile to link to your Facebook or Twitter pages, and vice versa. You can also share content from these social media hubs with your LinkedIn networks.

You will get the most leverage out of using these social media tools if you track your results. Sprout Social provides one way to do this by integrating management of your LinkedIn page with your Facebook and Twitter activity and providing you with analytic feedback on the results of your campaigns.

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Social Media Monday: 7 Tips to Improve Your Facebook Results

Set-up Facebook Business PageWhat’s the key to improving your Facebook results? Develop a real strategy for goals and audience.

The first step when you begin working with Facebook or any social media site, should be to decide how it fits in with your overall social media marketing strategy. You may decide to use Facebook to attract a new target prospect or to increase penetration in an existing market, but be sure you know the target audience you want to reach, and make sure you set measurable goals along with creating a plan for attaining them. Follow these tips from PowerSites, and you should be well on your way to better Facebook results.

Nurture and engage customers with content, games

Ensure that your Facebook page is about more than just selling your product. Of course, you’ll provide information about your products, but don’t make the page all about hard selling. Try to provide a variety of useful information that’s fun to read too. Add a downloadable app, run a simple contest, or offer coupons and deals so the customer has a reason to visit your site often.

Add photos, apps, link only updates

Make sure your page is as visually interesting as your content by including pictures or graphics. Use the occasional link only update to direct people to your primary website while still keeping your Facebook page fresh.

Analyze the value of your Facebook fans

Now that you have a following on Facebook, use analytics to uncover what each fan is worth. There should be incremental revenue or more frequent sales associated with fans. If there isn’t, go back to step one and rework your strategy. Offer coupons, prizes or giveaways that help you to measure the impact on sales from your Facebook page by directing people to your store or website to redeem the offer.

Use customer feedback to help build your brand

Even negative feedback can have a positive impact if you take the time to respond in a thoughtful way. Don’t lash out at the poster, but do make sure you get your side of the story out there. Offer to make good on the problem if you can, and you may even turn the unhappy customer into a happy one. Refer to our previous Social Media Monday blog post for more tips on how you can turn social media negativity into customer loyalty.

Reply button

Use the reply button to respond to feedback and to make sure that the poster sees your response. People feel a very real sense of connection with social media contacts, and that feeling is exactly what you want to nurture. Show your posters that you value and respect them by responding to their posts.

Mobile layout and update

With mobile device web traffic nearing 50 percent, you want to make sure that your page reacts correctly to devices. Using Facebook Mobile Layout not only helps you ensure that your site looks great, but it allows you to update from your own mobile device.

Integrate with Salesforce Social

Salesforce’s recently introduced Social.com, which allows you to create and manage campaigns with just a few clicks. Where it really sets itself apart is with its integration to Salesforce’s CRM and listening tools, where you can analyze and target prospects based on demographics or behavior in near real time.

Just follow these tips, and you will find that they lead you down a path to effective use of Facebook, and ultimately, better Facebook management.

How to turn your negative customer feedback into customer loyalty.

Social Media Monday: How to Convert Social Media Negativity into Customer Loyalty

How to turn your negative customer feedback into customer loyalty. Eventually, almost every business or company will find a negative review or a post from a disgruntled customer in social media. Whether a retweet takes on a life of its own, or somebody leaves bitter post on your own Facebook page, it feels like a personal attack on your small business. For this blog in our Social Media Monday series, PowerSites is giving you the steps to help you convert any social media negativity into customer lotalty.

Monitor your brand

Negative comments can appear anywhere, not just on your Facebook page, Yelp page, or in a Tweet. Monitor the internet for any negativity so you can take action as soon as it appears. If you’re too busy to do the monitoring yourself, designate someone reliable. This is too important to ignore.

Post a reply

If you do see a post or comment on any of your social media pages, resist the temptation to ignore the post. Statements and opinions posted on the internet have the potential to be magnified and spread quickly, and the impact of a negative post that goes un-addressed can be substantial. People expect to see a response from the business owner, so if there isn’t one, it makes it seem as though the negative comment is the whole truth.

You may need to take a deep breath before you write it, but always reply to a negative post as quickly as you can. If the poster has a valid gripe, apologize and offer to make it right. If the post is just bizarre, make sure that customers hear your side of the story by creating a careful and factual reply. Don’t rush through writing your initial response. You want a well thought out response and you need to make sure it addresses all the points in the original message.

Watch for the poster’s response to your reply

If the negativity resulted from a legitimate problem, your sincere apology and offered fix may be enough to turn the poster into a happy customer. The internet is full of messages from once-angry people who amended the original post when the business resolved the issue. If you’re lucky, your poster will be one of these people. Now, when people come across the negativity, they also see your response and the poster’s amended comments. They realize that your business cares about its customer satisfaction, and that helps them to trust your products and business.

However, not everybody is so lucky, at least, not every time. If the poster responds negatively to your overture, repeat your reasoned response. Don’t get in to a flame war no matter how many unreasonable or outrageous comments the poster makes. Your responses must always be reasonable and professional.

In any case, it’s important that you make your side of the story available to potential customers. The most loyal customers may even make defensive comments or tweets of their own that highlight excellent service or superior products. By coming to your online defense, their original feelings of loyalty intensify, and they will become a more satisfied customer.

Remember, don’t let negative comments sour you on social media, because they are a terrific opportunity to enhance customer loyalty if you follow a few important steps.

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.

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.

STEP 1: CLAIM YOUR LISTING

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.

STEP 2: UPDATE YOUR INFORMATION

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, YP.com 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 YP.com; 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: 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.

How to Manage Your Reputation on Facebook

How to Manage Your Reputation on FacebookWhen it comes to branding, you can’t ignore the importance of Facebook and social media. It’s important to build relationships with other small business owners just as it is to build with customers. The more active your Facebook page is, the more networking you can benefit from. This includes when you have an upcoming trade show, event, product launch or anything else.

There are a lot of opportunities for businesses on Facebook – and this doesn’t have to cost you any money at all. You will be able to get your name out there in the community and engage with your customer base in a way that was never possible.

Here are some small business tips that you can follow when it comes to managing your reputation on your Facebook page properly.

  • Your Facebook Page

    If you don’t already have a Facebook page for your small business, create one now. Take the time to fill out the About section of your business’s Facebook page. Many businesses skip this and then miss out on telling customers about who they are and what they do. This About section should be a brief description of what your business does as well as the core values. Be sure it is written in the proper voice so that it helps with your branding. Be sure to include links back to your website and other social media accounts.

  • Stay Vigilant with Posting

    Once you get started on social media, you have to maintain it. If customers see your Facebook posts taper off, it can lead to your sales tapering off as well because you aren’t communicating as much as you need to be. You can handle the posts yourself or hire an additional employee or marketing firm to do it for you.

  • Engage Your Customers

    Don’t just make posts that are read and ignored. Ask questions about what products people like, what they would like to see and what they thought about something that just recently appeared in the news that applies to your industry. When you get more people involved in the comments field, it can make it easier for you to attract new customers and stay on the minds of those you already have. When a customer interacts with your Facebook page, that activity can then be seen in the News Feed of their friends, and the cycle continues.

  • Maintain Your Business Page

    If a customer leaves a complaint on your Facebook page, you have to be sure that you comment back. Try to resolve the entire problem via the comments section. This will show other customers that you are committed to making everything right. If you ignore the comment or don’t post a response, it can send the wrong message to other customers. If it’s a complaint that you’d rather not resolve in a public manner, then politely reply to the customer that you would like the resolve the situation, and ask that they contact you directly via email or by phone.

Facebook is a great tool for you to manage your reputation. Best of all, it’s a free tool that you are able to use in order to leverage more customers and more appeal within the community.

Four Social Customer Segments to Watch

Social Media Icons
One of the challenges for small businesses is staying on top of the latest and greatest social media avenues for marketing. It seems like there’s new sites being launched every day, and many of them don’t make it very far. For the ones that do blow up, however, there are many marketing angles you can take depending on the demographic that settles in there. It’s important small business tips to match your message to the social customer segment that makes its home at a particular site. To help you out with this task, learn about the four social customer segments you should be watching (and targeting!)

Fashionista Professionals

  • 26% of social media users are Fashionista Professionals, who range in age from 25 to 34. The highlights of this particular demographic is that they tend to have a large portion of disposable income, they do not have children to reduce this income, they want to be able to connect to the brands that they’re purchasing from, and they have a population of 47.2 million. They are active on social media sites such as Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter and value responsive customer service.

Knights with Shiny Macs

  • The next demographic, known as Knights with Shiny Macs, make up 9% of the population with 16.5 million people. They are very tech orientated, with high salaries, very active on social media networks, and generally very helpful. If you’re looking to augment your own customer service online, promoting this demographic in your community means they’ll probably help your customer out before you even need to. They command high salaries so their income gives them plenty of leeway for purchasing.

Web-Building Techies

  • Web-Building Techies number 29 million, and are men ranging from 21 to 24 years old. If you’re a tech orientated small business and you want to bring in early adopters, these are the guys for you. They like connecting with other technologically minded people, and exclusive free trials are a good way to bring them in. They spend a lot of time on social media networks, so if you get in good with them, they’ll sing your praises across the Internet.

Bargain Hunting Mamas

  • The Bargain-Hunting Mamas are women aged 35 to 44, with a 24.6 million population. They have control over bill paying and household finances, which means they’re making most of the financial decisions for the home. While they might not have the highest salary themselves, they are a very important demographic in the social media world. They are savvy shoppers, so their first stop when looking at products is to check out whether they are the best value, if there are coupons available, and what reviews are saying. They also tend to get involved in online communities such as forums.

Not all social customer segments might apply to your particular product lines, but it’s well worth knowing the types of people who spend a lot of time on social media sites. You can gear your incentives, information, and online communities to attracting the demographic that best fits your brand and products.

Building Facebook Buzz for Your Small Business

Social media, especially Facebook, is a great way to potentially reach millions of customers. It’s important to make sure your page is setup with all of the necessary information. Here are some key components your small business’s Facebook page should include:
Create buzz around your small business Facebook page

  • contact information
  • info about your business and its story
  • links to products and checkout
  • photos
  • testimonials
  • daily updates

Below are some marketing tips to keep your page relevant and at the top of the News Feed.

Stretch Your Budget

Get more Likes to your Faebook page
One of the best things about Facebook is that you can build a page for free. In order to get people to your page, meet the customers where they are. Many businesses offers deals where if a customer whips out a smart phone and “Likes” your business at checkout, they can receive an immediate discount. Once you’ve connected with your customers, you can reach out daily with deals, specials, and information.

Important messages can be “promoted” for a small fee, but if you realize you need a bigger boost, there are firms designed to help small businesses improve their marketing. Some offer sales for critical shopping periods (think Black Friday on) so you can get new customers when it counts without paying a premium year round.

Advertise with Brand Consistency

Whether or not you choose to buy advertising on the site (last year businesses spent over a thousand dollars on social media ads on average), you should think of your page as a research and advertising opportunity. Every message and image should reflect your brand. Oreo nailed it with creative, topical cookie art that earned them a lot of attention and shares.

Create a Dialogue

Facebook is not your opportunity to play used car salesman and try to out-shout the rest of the internet. Instead, it offers a unique gift for local businesses: to build personal customer relationships before anyone even sets foot in your store. Make your daily updates relevant for people interested in your field — news and humor both provide value instead of simply promotion. Pictures are the most shared updates, so even if you don’t have an easily photographed product, include pictures from events or just local scenery (An Instagram’d tree or pet never disappoints.) Users have over 100 friends on average, and for many college students that number is closer to 1000. If you respond individually to both praise and complaints, you’ll gain respect and be seen by an extended network.

Facebook users can be fickle. In order to remain “friended”, it’s important to follow the rules (less spamming, better grammar) and incorporate smoothly with the experience. Look to comparable business’s pages for inspiration. Use a cover photo to point to a button or promote a sale. Make information obvious. By learning more about the medium and working daily on your branding, you’ll continue to grow your brand and engagement with your existing and new customers.

5 Reasons Why Your Small Business Should Be on Facebook

It’s hard to believe, but Facebook is not just for posting kitten videos and pictures of last night’s dinner. In fact, Facebook can be a powerful tool to get your small business in front of a multitude of potential customers, as well as keeping the customers you already have.

But other than giving you a place to collect “Fans” and post pictures, why bother getting your small business on Facebook?

For starters, there’s the obvious:

Free Advertising

One of Facebook’s greatest advantages is that it’s free. And all it takes is a few minutes to set up your business’s profile before it’s being eyeballed by customers. But if you want to invest a bit more into your Facebook advertising, you can do that, too, because Facebook also offers…

Cheap Advertising

Those little ads on the right-hand side of the screen are not terribly pricey. Granted, the jury is still out on just how effective those ads are on drumming up business, but it’s worth a shot, considering how much you’re spending. And how much are you spending? Anywhere from around $20 to $5000 a day, depending on your budget and how frequently you want your ad to pop up. There are also other options for advertising on Facebook, such as paying to “Promote” a post. Check out the Facebook advertising information pages for more dirt on how to sell your small business.

The other advantage to putting an ad on Facebook? According to Tyler Barnett, president of Tyler Barnett PR, Facebook offers “less competition for keywords than there is on Google or other pay-per-click sites.” Furthermore, says Barnett, “when a person is logged into their Facebook page, they are comfortable. When they see your ad on their Facebook page there is a certain amount of trust that is inherent and that you don’t get when seeing a random link on a Google search.” Speaking of comfort and trust, Facebook also provides…

Instant Feedback

People feel more at ease saying things in an online forum that they would probably never say in person. And while this attribute is generally regarded as negative, you can use your customers’ comfort with communication to your advantage. Customers can see your product or offers and provide immediate feedback on what they think of it by posting on your page. And you should listen to them.

Constant Interaction with Customers

Facebook affords your small business the opportunity to build rapport with your customers. The casual “back and forth” conversation via postings can be an invaluable tool in creating discourse and trust, as well as a quick means of relaying information. You can be engaged with many customers at one time, without having to tie up the phone lines, or talk to just one person, while another person is waiting for your help.

Opportunities to Soft Sell

You want to make money. That’s why you have a business, right? With Facebook, you can curb your urge to make the hard sell, and instead, opt for a softer touch. You can offer deals only available to your followers, engage in conversation with customers, acknowledge feedback, and make yourself available. Practice the art of gentle persuasion on your Facebook profile. A more casual and friendly approach will be more effective than pushy, aggressive tactics. You can attract them and keep them enticed with exclusive discounts and coupons for Facebook fans only. Offer them freebies or host “Facebook Contests”.

Marketing tips abound when it comes to using Facebook for your business, but it’s easier than you may think. Be visible, friendly, available, conversational, and attentive to feedback, and you may discover Facebook users scrolling right past those kitten videos in favor of your business’s profile…and reaching into their wallets, while they’re at it.