Archive for July, 2011

29
Jul

Blogging In The Shower

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon    in Marketing, Social Media Marketing

Some people sing in the shower but I do my best writing and blogging in the shower. Of course the paper does gets a little wet.

Last night while meeting with a group of social media enthusiasts, the question came up about what do you write. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this. In fact I could probably retire if I had a dollar every time I heard it. But the truth is so many “experts” write about, or speak about the importance of writing blogs, articles, or e-zines. The cold hard facts are this: most business owners aren’t writers.

If you look up business owner in the dictionary I’m pretty sure the definition says a person that works 12 hours a day, seven days a week. So the thought of creating a regular routine of writing for a blog or website doesn’t conjure up good thoughts. Where is the time going to come from? What am I going to say? And who’s going to read it?

Assuming you can block off an hour or so a week to write your blog, does that mean you’re going to have the light bulb go off with an insightful or witty idea? That’s where my shower moment comes in. Your moment might be driving to an appointment, or working out at the gym or just before going to sleep. So the key is to jot a note down that will remind you when you’re ready to write.

Here are a few other ideas to help you build your content library.
• As you read newsletters and trade journals in your industry, watch for ideas that your customers or clients would find interesting or helpful. Either save the article or jot down the main points so during your writing time you can re-spin this article with your take on it. A word of caution: don’t just reprint the article. While people might find this information helpful it’s not your information so you’re not getting credit for being the expert.
• Think about 10 frequently asked questions about your business. That’s a natural choice for articles.
• What are 10 things you wish your customers knew or would do.
• How to tips – if you’re in a service related business give your reader ideas how they can save money, save time, improve product life or any number of helpful hints.
• Be a resource – in my case, since my readers are interested in online marketing, it stands to reason they would probably be interested in tips on keeping their computer running from an expert in my network. While I am not the originator of the content, I’m the one that gets the thanks for passing that information on.
• Use a guest blogger – along the same lines as the idea above, inviting a guest expert to contribute is a good way to keep the volume of valuable information flowing through your site. Plus it’s a good way to expand your reach into your guests network.

So until they make waterproof paper that works in the shower keep a regular note pad handy or your smart phone. For smart phone users you might try Evernote. This app will let you write or voice record your ideas for you to later retrieve from your computer or phone when you’re ready.

Gary Wagnon is the master Ninja traffic generator for 800biz Online Marketing Solutions. Using a combination of action-centered web site design and the latest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, combined with efficient and effective use of social media, 800biz creates an online presence that helps it’s clients stand out above the competitors and drive more traffic through the door.

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Google Plus, the latest attempt from the Big G, to break into social media, has begun.  By invitation only at the current time, Google Plus is the buzz all over the tech and social media sites.  But will it be another flop (any one remember Google Wave)?

The structure of Google Plus revolves around circles.  As you connect with friends, you assign them to a circle.  The process is as easy as dragging them to the circle where you want to assign them.  You can then filter your updates and your news streams to the specific stream, helping to cut through the clutter that’s so prominent, especially on Twitter.

The signup is ultra easy if you already have a Google profile.  Simply sign up with your gmail or Google profile email and your in.  If you don’t have either, it’s just takes a few minutes to complete.  One confusing step, when you first sign up it asks if you want to connect your Picasa photos.  The choices are Yes and Quit Google + Setup.   If you don’t have a Picasa account, it won’t matter.  If you have a Picasa account and link it, the folders there will not be visible in Google + unless you share each folder.

As with all other social media sites, completing your profile should be your first priority.  You can add videos, links and even photos.

Other cool new features in Google + are Hangouts, Group Chat and Sparks.  Hangouts uses Google voice and video plugin.  You can create a group video or audio chat from within Google +.  It does require you download and install the Google voice application.  Once installed, you can Hangout with an entire circle, share YouTube videos

Group chat allows you to talk to members of your circles in a text chat format, much like Facebook’s chat function.  It’s a quick way to send a message while they are online and much faster than email.

Sparks is another Google Plus feature.  Sparks finds stuff you are interested in and delivers them to your Google Plus page.  It searches news feeds and blogs to find the most relevant content (in Google’s estimation.)  By entering the keywords in the search box, a stream is created for that term and is updated daily.

Google Plus also has an app for Androids.  Pictures and videos shot from an Android phone can automatically update to your private album making it easier to edit and share them.  One feature of the mobile app is group huddle.  No need to make numerous phone calls to confirm dinner plans for the evening.  A group huddle can pull all parties together in a simple chat.

Whether Google Plus will be another monumental flop, or a homerun, remains to be seen.  For my money, I’m betting Google Plus takes it’s place along side Facebook as a player in social media.  What do you think?

Gary Wagnon is the master Ninja for 800biz Online Marketing Solutions. Using a combination of action-centered web site design and the latest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, combined with efficient and effective use of social media, 800biz creates an online presence that helps it’s clients stand out above the competitors and drive more traffic through the door.

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How would you like to be on your competitor’s Christmas card list? Well if you do these really well you might even get a gift basket from them.

So here is a list of 10 things that will make your competition not only smile but be genuinely happy you’re out there.

1. Not having a web site – Let’s face it, if you don’t have a website, no one’s going to find you, so you’re not much threat to the competition. Since 75% of all purchase decisions start online, your competitor will love you for not being there.

2. Not claiming your Google places page – An unclaimed Google places page or maps page is like having a Yellow Pages with no phone number or address. But the big difference is, you’re leaving the details open for anyone else to edit. And with the new Google layout showing the listings on the map so prominently, your competition will probably be sending you birthday cards and thank you notes for all the customers you’re missing.

3. Having a “Me To” website – You have a website like everyone else with a couple pages that give a basic outline of what you do. After all, everyone knows what your business does, right? But you competitor’s site explains in great detail what they do. A prospect visits your site and doesn’t see what they’re looking for, but they find it on your competitors site, you make your competition happy once more.

4. It’s all about me – Your website extols the virtues of how great your business is. Your fantastic customer service, your low prices, your quality product, blah, blah, blah. Your competitor, on the other hand, has figured out it’s not about them; it’s about the prospect. The prospect does not care how wonderful your service is, how great your product is or anything else about you. They only care about whether you can either fix their problem or remedy their pain. Whoever does this best, wins.

5. Web site has no call to action – You go to all the effort to drive traffic to your website only to educate your prospect, then watch them go to your competitor and purchase. Businesses get so concerned about not being pushy that they don’t even create any call the action on their website. Your competitor’s site not only educates the prospect, but makes it easy for them to act, whether via online order or phone call.

6. I don’t do social media – Of the 251 million people in the US on the Internet, 203 million of them are on Facebook. What are the chances some of them are your prospects? Your competitor, on the other hand, is out there building relationships with not only your prospects, but probably even your customers.

7. I have a high school/college kid doing my social media – While it’s true that teenagers are all over Facebook, and can post photos, tag people, like, share, and do all the other things that you don’t understand, social media for business it is COMPLETELY different. You wouldn’t even consider hiring an advertising or marketing person based on the fact that they sold their Xbox on Craig’s list so they could buy the new PS3? Your competitor hired a professional to create a social media plan that they religiously follow.

8. Having an incomplete social media profile – Have you ever noticed at a seminar or tradeshow they give you nametags? Is that just because they had money left over in the budget? No. It’s so you can network and build relationships with the people that are there. So having an incomplete profile on social media sites is like not only having no name tag but wearing a paper bag over your head. There’s not going to be a lot of interaction and you’re certainly not going to build any relationships.

9. Social media is a great selling opportunity – After all, you have a captive audience of Likers/Followers/Connections, why not fire away with your sales message? You’re probably one of those that go to a family reunion, pass out business cards and make your sales pitch to everyone there. Your competitor is giving valuable information, tips and helpful hints to her Likers/Followers/Connections. Her connections are growing and you wonder why yours are.

10. Social media takes too much time besides I don’t care who had Cheerios for breakfast. – Who has time to wade through the dribble on Facebook or Twitter? You have a business to run, marketing to do, and customers to keep happy. Meanwhile, your competitor has discovered a set of tools that let him/her not only schedule and manage their social media, but also monitor what’s being said about them online. They are developing relationships and handling customer service issues in real time before they become a problem.

Do a couple of these things and you stay on your competitors Christmas card list. Do several of them and there’s a chance you will get invited to the Christmas party…as an employee.

Gary Wagnon is the master Ninja traffic generator for 800biz Online Marketing Solutions. Using a combination of action-centered web site design and the latest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, combined with efficient and effective use of social media, 800biz creates an online presence that helps it’s clients stand out above the competitors and drive more traffic through the door.

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