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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.

Twitter Tuesday: Follow Tweets to Manage Your Online Reputation

The great thing about social media is that fans of your business will use it to let others know about their experience, but this can be a double-edged sword. At the same time, the worst thing about social media sites, like Twitter, is that folks who do not like your business can nearly instantly let others know about it, which can spread like wildfire.

Twitter Tuesday: Follow Tweets to Manage Your Online ReputationThat about sums up Twitter, a social media platform where users can say anything, as long it is no more than 140 characters in length.

Praising a place, checking in by tweeting their location, commenting on a restaurant’s menu or ambiance, or letting friends and followers know about a store they’ll never step foot into again – these are just some of the common tweet scenarios you’ll come across while perusing Twitter.

It doesn’t matter whether Twitter is part of your local social media campaign, you definitely need to stay alert, and monitor what is being said about your small business. Fortunately, you do not have to assign an employee to monitor the Internet for tweets about your small business. There is a free service called Twilert that will do it for you.

You simply sign in using Facebook or Twitter and then schedule Twilert to email you at set interval – from every time someone tweets about you to once a day. There are different pricing plans, but there is a free plan that sends you one Twilert per day.

The beauty is that you will learn what your customers are saying about you even if you don’t always use Twitter for marketing your small business.

It’s important that you be ready to respond to any complaint in a positive manner that will reinforce your good customer service. If you see something negative being said about your small business, don’t tweet back irrationally, defensively, or in a retaliating manner. Just simply tweet them that you are sorry, and apologize that they were not fully satisfied with their visit to your establishment, and instruct them to contact you privately via email so that you can resolve the issue, and potentially have another opportunity to give them a better customer experience.

If they do contact you, make every effort to satisfy them and they will most likely tweet about your customer service and what a great business you are! Social media platforms like Twitter can be one of your best marketing tools. Smart small business owners make every effort to manage their online reputations, and Twitter can serve as an open ended way of improving customer service.

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: 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.

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.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Twitter Marketing Campaigns

The Do's and Don'ts of Twitter Marketing CampaignsIf your small business is looking to test the social media marketing waters, Twitter can be a great place to start.

The platform offers potential access to innumerable users whose interests span every conceivable niche and industry. Establishing a Twitter presence is a phenomenal opportunity to make new contacts, win new customers, and maybe even learn a thing or two.

To kickoff your Twitter marketing campaign successfully, remember the following “do’s”:

Do Tweet Regularly

Twitter moves fast. If you want to your business or brand to be visible, you will have to commit to tweeting regularly. Before you start, ask yourself if you will be able to send out 3-4 quality tweets spread throughout the day on a consistent basis. If the answer is yes, consider yourself ready.

Do Add Value

Remember, your followers have allowed you to be a part of their Twitter stream because they believe you can make their lives better. Fulfill that expectation. Use your tweets to offer tips, give great advice, or to link to amazing content relevant to your niche. There’s simply no better way to build authority and goodwill.

Do Offer Great Customer Service

Use a Twitter client to monitor the Twitterverse for mentions of your brand or company. If you see a customer expressing frustration or asking for help with your products and services, reply to him right away and offer to solve the problem. Not only will you impress him, but you may gain a great testimonial in the bargain.

Do Make Judicious Use of Hashtags

Savvy users will often add a “#” in front a keyword within their tweets. This is called a hashtag, and it’s a handy way to help other users find and follow relevant conversations. It’s a great strategy for connecting with potential customers, and one your business should consider adopting. For example, a graphic designer might tweet “The secret to great #design is…” and finish with some sage advice.

Do Make Offers and Promote Your Brand

If you’ve built goodwill by providing followers with plenty of information they can use, feel free to make the occasional direct offer or say something self-promotional. The gurus all suggest different ratios, but generally speaking, offering one pitch for every nine informational tweets you post is considered good form.


Unfortunately, Twitter marketing also comes with its own set of pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. To help you steer clear of these traps, here are a few of the most common Twitter “don’ts.”

Don’t Be Spammy

Remember that rule about one pitch per nine informational tweets mentioned above? Don’t break it. If your tweets are a constant stream of self-promotion that offers no real value to your followers, they will unfollow you without a second thought.

Don’t Stray Off-Topic

You are on Twitter to establish yourself as the “go to” resource in your niche, so stay on task. Tweets about random topics unrelated to your brand will dilute your authority and cause you to lose followers.

Don’t Clutter Your Followers’ Timelines

While you want to offer enough tweets to make yourself visible, you do not want to tweet so often that followers start to view you as obnoxious. Treat Twitter like a cocktail party—have something to say, but don’t dominate the conversation.

Don’t Send Automatic Direct Messages

Some brands and businesses send an automated thank you message to anyone who follows them. While this may seem polite and be done with the best of intentions, most Twitter users dislike the practice and see it as insincere. Don’t try to fight the prevailing culture on this one; you’ll lose.

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.

Marked Down Marketing: Promoting Your Business Without Hurting Your Bottom Line

We’ve heard it all before: “You’ve got to spend money to make money.” With a bit of planning, research and ingenuity, however, that saying no longer has to apply to promoting your small business. If your business necessitates an emphasis on hyper local marketing, you’ll also need to employ quite a bit of creativity, but that just makes things all the more fun. Utilize these simple tips to market your business for little or no cost and then use the earned income to fund more ambitious marketing ventures. Lining up these strategies with a large event such as an open house or a large sale will make an even bigger bang.

Participate in Community Events

Most community events are free or low cost. Be aware that sincerity about local positive endeavors is a crucial prerequisite to successful networking and marketing. If you really want to permeate your local radius, keep the goals and purposes of community events in mind when you distribute your business cards and artfully promote your business. You are a key representative of your company and should conduct yourself as such.

Take Advantage of Free Advertisement

Promote Your Business Without Hurting Your Bottom LinePositive word of mouth is one of the most economical forms of advertisement available. Standing out from the crowd, providing a quality service or product, and having outstanding customer service are all things that any business owner striving for success should be doing. Coincidentally, if these things are well accomplished, most customers will find it difficult not to at least give your company a passing mention to an interested friend or acquaintance.

Develop an Online Presence

A professional website is highly recommended for any business and it is nothing you should skimp on. If you don’t already have a website, and aren’t sure where to start, it’s best to pay and have one created for you. PowerSites can help you get started with your online presence.

After launching your website, it’s important to start blogging, explore the internet for other blogs that relate to your business and utilize the available audience. Do this by making relative contributions to the conversation and unobtrusively providing links to your blog. Many businesses also use social media networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in similar ways. In the event that time or creative writing skills are an issue, consider outsourcing these tasks by hiring a freelance copywriter or content writer.

Implement a Customer Followup Strategy

Email marketing is a great way to promote your business at a low cost. Don’t be a nuisance, but when customers frequent your business, have a contact sheet available or signup form on your website, so that your customers have the option of registering and receiving important news and discounts. Be responsible with their contact information. Avoid flooding their inboxes with spam, but thank them for their business, inquire about their satisfaction with your product or service, and provide a convenient discount for the next time they return.

Creating a Twitter Presence For Your Small Business

It’s hard to read an article about online marketing these days and not see a mention of Facebook and Twitter, as well as seeing Twitter handle names on business letterhead, business cards, email signatures and many other instances where people list this as an additional way to contact them. Twitter has become a standard for businesses world wide and can be used in multiple different ways to market your business.

First off, let’s do a quick background on Twitter. Twitter is site that allows you to post messages in 140 characters or less to people that choose to follow your stream.  You follow them, and their stream appears in yours, and the numbers of followers you can get can grow very, very quickly.  It’s extremely accessible with wireless devices and is on millions of phones all over the world.  It is currently estimated to have 190 Million users worldwide and has existed only a few years. Almost every  athlete, movie or music star, politician or any form of celebrity now look at Twitter as a necessary marketing tool for their brand.

Twitter is also used by many large and small business to connect with their customers in a new and fresh way. You can post info about your business, daily specials, coupons, helpful articles you come across and just interact with your followers. You can search for Tweets in your area at the top of the page, and you can start by searching for Tweets containing the name of your town, names of other local businesses, local landmarks or anything that people in your area might be talking about. Follow a few people and in all likelihood, they will follow you back. Just play with it and see what works for you. You don’t want to overload people with your business info at first, and the same goes for the frequency of your posts. Try Tweeting 2 times a day to start,  and see if you receive any @ Mentions, and go from there.

Twitter is not going anywhere, any time soon, so getting your foot in that door for your business is a wise decision. Go to www.Twitter.com and create an account. It’s worth it!

The Power of Social Media For Small Business

You may ask yourself from time to time: Why does my business need a Facebook page or a Twitter account? How can that help me? The answer is simple: Using Social Media to help your business to grow is no longer encouraged; it’s expected.

Social Media has become a buzz phrase in the business world for quite a while now, and for good reason. Twitter and Facebook are revolutionizing the way in which businesses function on the Internet. These sites put a face and a name to the customer as well as the business. Social Media platforms are exactly what they sound like they should be; They are places where people can interact with one another without being in the same room…and the same goes for businesses. If you can  define the correct voice for your company on Social Media outlets, you can give people incentive to use your services when they need them.

Think of it in this scenario: Your washer and dryer stop working and you need to get w0rking ones asap. You know two people in your neighborhood that are selling their washing machines and they are both the exact same brand and model. One of the people always says hello to you in the grocery when you pass them and the other just looks down and acts as though they don’t see you. If you are going to be forced to purchase one of the washing machines from person 1 or person 2, which person would you go to? Probably the really nice person, we believe.

Creating a friendly atmosphere online  is just as important as making your brick and mortar store look presentable and friendly. When people are put into a situation where they have to choose a business for their needs, the company that has the very friendly and open Facebook page that allows comments and reviews will usually stick out in there mind. It’s free advertising and you need to take advantage of it.

Next week, we will discuss the multiple ways that you can utilize Social Media outlets for your business. In the mean time, start yourself a Facebook account if you haven’t already. It just takes an email address and a password. You’ll need to do this before you can begin creating a page for your business.

You’ll thank us later.