A Financial Advisors’ Guide to Protection When Using Social Media!

Because of the economic downfall that America faced during the previous years, consumers have felt the need to consult financial advisors to help them recover from their deteriorating finances. Some financial advisors have offered their professional services using the “old way” or on a case-to-case basis. However, because of the advancements in communication technology, a lot of ways and means have been developed to connect with people. With all these advancements, where are the financial advisors placed?

Social media is the newest “it” and undoubtedly will remain being “it” for a long, long time. Some financial advisors have seen the potential of social networking sites and created their own accounts. Then aFinancial Advisors' Guide to Social Media Protectiongain, it appears that after creating their accounts they suddenly encounter a big question mark in terms of how to use social media effectively without bringing themselves closer to the threat of identity theft and online credit scams.

With the frequency of data breach rising, the question remains: How can financial advisors protect themselves when using social media? Fortunately, here are some tips that may help out in answering that question.

Share Unique but Relevant Content Using Trusted Third-Party Sources

It is always advisable to share one’s own content in social networking sites in order to reel in potential clients. However, it is not a good idea to share personal information for everyone to see. That is why some of the best financial advisers share their content through personal blogs and landing pages from trusted third-party sources.

By blogging, you can share your ideas and apply your knowledge to attract clients without having to share too much personal data. However, make sure that you put in educational or insightful data. Such will not be viewed as overly promotional as consumers are looking for more personalized content.

You can also use social networking sites by sharing your unique value messages. Sharing your values and belief systems through tweets or status messages is a good way of developing your own set of guiding principles for your potential clients to know. On the plus side, these messages save you time and add more personal touches to your content without having to risk your personal information.

Choose the Right Social Networking Sites

There are a lot of social networking sites out there. You may use them to your advantage but be careful as not all of them share a particularly safe way of securing their database. Before creating your accounts, look for the best social networking sites first. Choose the ones with the best security features in order to minimize the possibility of a stolen identity online. This is aside from considering other factors such as population of members and target populations.

Use Complicated Passwords

When it’s time to create your account, use a complicated password. Do not use your name, birthdate, or parents’ names for passwords because these are terribly risky and can easily be figured out by hackers and identity thieves. It is best to be creative and use a mixture of alphanumeric characters and symbols that are hard to crack.

Monitor Your Credit

Unfortunately, there is no foolproof social media id theft prevention measure. When things come to its worst, the best thing to do is to know whether you are a victim as soon as possible to avoid further damage. Regularly monitoring your credit is a good idea to detect identity theft. Also, considering professional services such as credit monitoring can provide you with real-time information regarding your credit and bank accounts. Being informed at once can give you the opportunity to seek immediate action.

It is important to take note that social media has now become one of the most useful tools for financial advisors. Not only does a social medium enable them to express themselves freely but it also helps them reach out to their target market. On the other hand, it is also important to take note that the threat of identity theft is always there.

There is no foolproof measure to prevent identity theft. However, these tips will surely help financial advisors minimize the threat for them to be able to enjoy the benefits of social media. Aside from learning the tips on how to effectively use social media, financial advisors should consider protection from identity theft not only for themselves but for their clients as well.

Facebook, Linkedin, Google Plus, Twitter: Which Is Helping To Drive More Traffic To Your Blog?

Driving traffic using social media sitesIn the past couple of weeks I’ve read different reports from researches by different marketing groups on how small businesses are using social media. As expected, there is a slight difference in the different reports depending on indices used by the groups.

While one thing was common among the reports – that is, more and more small businesses are increasing their budget and use of social media for marketing – two are clearly at variance on the social media platforms these businesses are using.

One of the groups reported that while 90% of small businesses are on Facebook and 70% are on Twitter the report says, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest are being ignored by these businesses.

The other group, on the other hand, reported that this year (2012) has witnessed more and more small businesses turning to LinkedIn!

Now, that is something I couldn’t reconcile!

However, these reports have made me to once again re-evaluate what impact social media is playing on my blogging career.

I must say my use of social media had been for one purpose, to drive traffic. I rarely do much socializing on the social media sites. Most of my engagements are on my blog. Platforms like twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn are simply used for pulling in traffic from the social media sites while the engagement is on the blog.

Now, from my own statistics, I know that LinkedIn has proved more useful in driving traffic than any other of the social media sites.

I’ve been on Facebook for over two years now but I must say, for me it is the worst traffic source. May be, it is simply because I spent less time on the platform while the users of Facebook kind of love it more socializing on the site.

When Google+ launched, I jumped at it knowing the SEO value of the site; and I must say it has also proved useful as I have witnessed a good number of traffic flow from the platform.

The worst so far is twitter. I’ve tried various tactics but all just seem as useless as doing nothing! For over 3 years now that I’ve been on the platform I cannot really point to any significant stat showing that the site has pulled any traffic to my blogs. For me, the noise on twitter is simply drowning. I’ve read various blog posts and ebooks on how to drive traffic using twitter and have tried a few of them but the result has remained the same. Though, I’ve not in any way abandoned the platform but I really spend any time on it other than tweeting every new blog post whenever I publish one.

Now, from my experiences and what these groups are reporting about small businesses using Facebook and Twitter more than the other social media sites for their business marketing, I’ve been wondering. I’m beginning to think that there is something wrong with my strategy.

And so, I’m bringing this issue before the community today for further discussion.

Here’s what to focus on:

1. Do you agree with the report that shows small businesses are ignoring Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn?

2. What is your own experience in using social media for your marketing efforts?

3. Which of these platforms is helping you to drive more traffic to your blog?

Feel free to share with us. If you can offer a few tips that are helping you, we will be grateful.

So, let the discussion begin!

How Can Pinterest Help Your Business? – You Need To Read This!

Are you on Pinterest?

An insipid question right? I know with the entire buzz about Pinterest being the latest and hottest new social network in town, who wouldn’t be!

Would you be surprised that despite the buzz, I only created a Pinterest account  just a few weeks ago?

Wondering why? It’s because I am not really keen about jumping into every opportunity that comes along. I always want to be sure that adding another social network to the ones I’m already using will help further my business objectives and not just be another time waster!

And that was the reason why I had to do some research to know how Pinterest can truly help an online business. So, in this article I want to share with you some very interesting facts and ways pinterest can help your business which I have been able to uncover.

So, let’s begin.

But first,

Pinterest.com images

What Is Pinterest?

According to Wikipedia,

“Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies, and more. Users can browse other pinboards for inspiration,’re-pin’ images to their own collections or ‘like’ photos. Pinterest’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting” via a global platform of inspiration and idea sharing. “

It is founded by Ben Silbermann, of West Des Moines, Iowa and it is funded by a small group of entrepreneurs and inventors.

Why is Pinterest Creating Such Waves?

It does appear the social media bug has infected just about everyone online these days. Coming from now where, Pinterest suddenly appeared on the social media landscape like a storm!

In December of 2011, Experian Hotwise placed Pinterest as one of the top ten social networks at an enviable #5, beating big names like LinkedIn and Google plus!

From my own calculations, this is definitely the reason for all the attention that Pinterest is enjoying today because Compete.com later reported that between December 2011 (when the Hotwise report came out) and January 2012, unique visitors to Pinterest increased by 155%!

Yes, 155% within a period of one month!

Do you think online marketers who are always looking for easy ways of generating quick traffic ignore such potentials?

Not in your life!

A Few Pinterest Lexicon

A Pin: This is an image added to pinterest. In all indication, this is Pinterest’s content.

Pinning: This is an act of visually sharing content on Pinterest. As tweeting is to twitter!

Pinboard: This is a set of theme-based pins. You can create different pinboards on different topics or titles. If you’re using WordPress as a blogger you could equate this with categories!

Repin: This is when you repost somebody else’s pin. Again you can think of retweeting in twitter!

Pin it button: This is the pinterest button which you can place on your website or blog to facilitate the sharing of your content on pinterest. Any pin that is added using the “Pin It Button,” links back to the site they came from. This is very important for businesses who want to use Pinterest for business dealings.

Pinner: This is a person who does the pinning.

Now,

How Can Pinterest Help Your Business?

1.    Generate More Traffic to Your Website/Blog

Your business definitely needs more traffic for increased sales. From all indication Pinterest can greatly help you with this. Reports already show that pinterest drives more traffic to websites than facebook and Google plus! Well, this is not really a surprise to me because these two sites have not really proven to be traffic generators in my experience.

So, if these statistics are correct then for one, it is something every business person should consider. I don’t know if you are still dilly-dallying or you already have a pinterest account. If you don’t, consider requesting your invite now to get a slice of that traffic!

2.    Build Back Links

Every online marketer knows the value of back links to their business website or blog. From my research this is another area pinterest can greatly help you. If you are using the pinterest “Pin It” button on your site, every pin using the button has a link back to the source. Though these links are ‘nofollow’ links and may not directly affect your search rankings, yet they are nonetheless valuable. Also those links can help in more people visiting your site.

3.    Generate Leads

This is another area that many businesses have reported good results. With the volume of traffic that you can get from Pinterest, implementing a good lead capture system is sure to produce outstanding results. If you have a social media selling strategy that takes Pinterest seriously, you will definitely want to make some good business from this.

4.    Social Integration/Sharing

The ability to integrate your social networks to ease sharing between your different social media profiles is a great way businesses can boost brand visibility. Pinterest has made this really easy as it gives members the option of sharing posts/pins through facebook, twitter and email. This means that with a single pin you can reach these other networks without visiting them.

Conclusion

Pinterest is indeed offering online marketers a new way of increasing business through communicating visually with potential clients/customers. This article has shown a few ways you can greatly use pinterest to your business advantage. However, you must take note that Pinterest states clearly in their Acceptable Use Policy that you are not allowed to use your account for commercial purposes. Nevertheless, under the Terms of Use there is a mention of individual accounts and accounts for companies and I’m sure no company will open an account if not for commercial purposes.

The trick in using Pinterest for business therefore, (just as in every other social media marketing) is not to blatantly showing off your products or services. It’s about finding creative ways to show your target audience how your product or service fits their lifestyle.

Indeed, this is a primer on using Pinterest for business but I hope it is helpful in some way!

As usual, I’ll be glad to read your comments and respond to them. Are you using Pinterest for business? What is your experience so far? share your thought with in your comment below.

Social Media Marketing – Is Being Self-Taught Really A Problem?

Social Media Marketing - Go Pro or Go Home!

Social media marketing is presently the buzz word for online marketers. And this is not a surprise because; businesses have discovered that with social media you can reach a wider market at a minimal cost.

The simplicity and ease of entry has made many small and medium sized businesses to take to social media marketing as an option of reaching the vast online market.

Today, on our community discussion, I want us to discuss an issue raised in a survey by the Social Media Marketing University that has to do with small businesses using social media.

The Social Media Marketing University, a social media training firm, recently surveyed entrepreneurs, executives, marketing pros, and social media practitioners, and discovered that 65% of those presently using social media campaigns are self-taught.

Now, to me, this is not a surprise because we all know that social media is still in its infancy and social media marketing had not really been an academic subject until of recent when a few business schools are adding it to their curriculum.

In fact, the 65% result is truly a conservative figure by me!

So, my grouse is not really with that 65% but a blog post on their company website titled, “For Social Media Marketing, Go Pro or Go Home,” which suggest that, except you have some academic training and certified as such, you would be doing more harm than good with your social media marketing.

Of course, I understand the need of  becoming an expert in what you do but most times, as seen in most online successes, becoming an expert do not really come from some academic training. Expertise could come from “from the trenches” experiences rather than a classroom.

Understandably, the Social Media Marketing University, as a training institute, desires to see more social media marketers taking up their training courses, but that does not mean self-taught social media marketers do not have a chance succeeding with social media marketing. In fact, many are already achieving outstanding success.

Indeed, this might just be my own views.

And so, I’m bringing this before the community for us to discuss it further.

      1. Do you agree that being self-taught is a problem to succeeding with social media marketing?
      2. Do you really agree that with Social Media Marketing, you either go Pro or Go Home?

As usual, feel free to air your thoughts. Post your views in your comments below.

(NOTE: Besides this issue, the blog post has some very salient points and tips for small businesses using social media and so you may want to read it. Check it out here. For those who are new to our community time-out, it is a weekly – usually on Mondays – discussion time when we take up crucial topics we consider pertinent to our online success. You can suggest topics for discussion by using this form.)

Image: Flickr user Extra Medium

The 3 Scientific Steps to Using Social Media for Online Selling!

Selling on demands tact and wisdom. Not just because no one likes to be sold to, but because media has an established culture of “no-selling allowed.”

It’s unfortunate that because of this “red flag” on social media selling, many persons find it really difficult to make any good returns from their social media efforts. This account for the frustration that many have with social media because no business person wants to devote any time and effort to anything that will not bring any returns.

Now, selling on social media may be difficult but not impossible. It simply requires you finding some ways to make your social media connections to buy. In this article I want to present you with a simple 3-step-tactic which, if strategically followed will result in outstanding success.

The simple strategy is built on providing valuable, education-based web on your main site or and then using social media to create awareness of this content. Once you are able to build a level of trust through your valuable content, selling to this engaged connections become much easier.

So, let’s get on with the 3 proven Steps To Using Social Media For Selling

1. Create A Content Based Primary Site Or Blog

This is where many small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) are getting social media selling wrong. They simply concentrate their social media marketing efforts in creating and building a following around a social media profile.

But this is wrong. It will only frustrate you. Remember, pushing sales messages to your connections right on social media sites is seriously frowned at by many. In fact, this may lead to many cutting off their connections with you.

However, building your own blog or site, filled with informative and educative content, gives you a platform to showcase your expertise and to further strengthen your relationship with your social connections. Once they are motivated to click on your links and visit your blog or site, they will be more open to a deeper connection with you which will lead to building the trust that is necessary for converting both suspects and prospects into paying customers/clients.

So, if you do not have your own primary site or blog for your business, it’s time to get one. This will also give you a way to take control of your intellectual properties on social media since most of your generated content will be housed in your own site and not the social media site.

Social media selling graphic

2. Create Content That Redirects To Your Primary Site Or Blog

So, you have thousands of followers on and thousand likes on , right? But how many of these are truly connected to you as a business? Remember, social media is simply about socializing while your business is about creating customers to help you make a profit!

Your business getting involved with social media is not a social affair. That is simply a way to a means! Your goal is to turn your social activities into creating a profit for your business.

No matter how this may sound, it is the truth all the same!

So, as you socialize on the social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, , Google plus, etc. intersperse your interactions with content that is aimed at funneling part of your social media friends to your primary site or blog. This is actually the basis for social media marketing in the first place.

No matter how much they rave about your offerings on the social media sites, the number of these friends and followers who would click on your links and visit your site is the true indication of how much you’re engaged with them. It’s also an indication of how successful you can be with social media selling.

3. Capture Leads And Strengthen The Relationship

This is actually a step that will lead to other steps. But for the purpose of this article I want to present it as the final step. One thing that is sure is that pushing sales messages at your social media connections on their first visit to your site or blog may produce some sales, especially if they are already passionately engaged and sold on your offers. However, in most cases they will simply turn away and never come back again.

The best thing to do therefore, is to have in place a system to further build on the relationship. This is where capturing their contact details is important. Have something valuable to give away free. This could be your valuable content whereby you ask them to subscribe to your exclusive newsletter for future updates. You can also offer a free downloadable report that requires their providing their contact information.

A good lead capture system is an important aspect of your primary blog or site. If you don’t have a way of capturing your visitors leads, you should get one right away. This will become one of your most valued online asset – a database of prospective clients and customers which could determine your success or otherwise.

BONUS TACTIC:

Provide More Education-Based Content While Promoting Your Products And Services

Ok, as stated above your site visitors may not buy on their first visit. Besides, today’s internet savvy buyers desire that you provide them with much information that will help them in making a buying decision. Capturing their contact information as stated in 3 gives you the opportunity to both make them come back again and also to ensure you provide that needed information that will help their buying decision.

This is where your business wisdom and expertise comes in. But unfortunately, many business persons get it wrong here. Your email list is not a platform to blast off marketing messages all the time. The purpose is to entertain, educate and then sell. Where every email you sent out is basically for promotion and selling, your list will be unresponsive and many will quickly unsubscribe.

Instead of sending only marketing messages, create a series that is aimed at educating and informing your prospects. This will warm them up to your products/services when you introduce them in your emails. Selling at this level is much easier as they have a certain level of trust in you and your product/service.

Marketing takeaway

Social media marketing and social media selling must be strategically infused if you want to successfully sell on social media. Positioning yourself as a leader and authority in your target market through your web content is very important. It is therefore imperative that if you’re not very good at creating web content or you’re simply lack the time to create a constant flow of content to update your social media accounts or your personal blog or site, you should hire a professional web content writer to do this for you. Never overlook your own primary blog or site. You success or otherwise actually depend on them.

I’ll appreciate it if you will help promote this post by sharing it with your friends and social connections. Your friends and social connections will love you for sharing with them! 🙂

Facebook Fan Page Timelines: Are You Ready To Tell Your Story?

When Facebook announced some revolutionary changes to be implemented on business pages a few weeks ago, I made a post where I was more concerned with the negative effects of the removal of the default tab! If you’ve read that post you’d understand that I’m one of those who is not really happy with the introduction of timelines in Facebook fan pages.

Of course, I’m not still happy with the changes but, as the old saying goes, the only thing that is constant in life is change!

And so, for the past few weeks I’ve been taking a critical look at what others are doing with these new changes. So far, I must say that as usual the business community is living up to expectation in this wise as many have really come up with creative ways of using the page timelines to their benefit.

I hope to write about some of these creative ideas sometime very soon but for now I want to remind you that Facebook will officially implement timelines on all fan pages on March 30, 2012 which is just a few hours from now! So, if you have not implemented timelines on your Facebook fan page, there is no better time than NOW!

I personally don’t know how your fan page will look like once it is “defaulted” to the new changes by Facebook. But definitely, your page is going to look bland without some input from you.

Like I said, I’ve been studying the situation for the past weeks and it will interest you to know that many businesses are already taking advantage of the new changes. I’m really surprised that many, unlike me, believe that the introduction of timelines is the best thing that has ever happened to Facebook pages – different strokes for different people you’d say! 🙂

Anyway, it is clear that Facebook now want you to tell your stories (your updates are now called stories!) on your business pages. You know social media has given businesses a voice with which to communicate with their clients and prospects so it is not a mistake that Facebook is giving you timelines to tell your story!

I do hope that make some sense, does it?

So, not minding on what divide you stand, whether you are not in agreement with the new changes or you hail it as the best thing to happen to social media this 2012, learning to use your fan page to tell your story is one thing that will make a difference in your online business in the months to come.

A Few Ways You Can Use Timelines in Tell Your Business Story

1. The Cover Photo

This is where many businesses are really being creative with their page timelines. The cover photo which is definitely the first thing anyone coming to the business page will first see is a place where you can actually paint a picture of what your business is all about. You have about 810px X 315px of space to work with.

Some of the things you could do with the cover photo is sticking up a photograph of your office work area, photographs of your product or if you’re offering a service a virtual representation of that service.

You’ll need to be careful however, since Facebook has placed very strong restrictions on what you can include on the cover photo.  For example, you’re not expected to include things like coupons to encourage first time visitors to like your page, no calls-to-action, no discounts or special offers, no website addresses, no contact information, etc. the full details of what not to include can be found here.

I’ve expressed my anger enough on this in my previous post and like I’ve said some businesses are already being creative with this. So take a look around and grab some ideas of what you can do with your own page. I implemented the timelines a couple of weeks ago. Here is what my fan page cover photo look like:

Web Income Journal Fan Page Cover Photo!
Web Income Journal Fan Page Cover Photo!

Click here to visit the page.

2. The About Area:

As you do know, the fan page About Section used to be on the sidebar but now it has been moved to a very prominent position just below the profile picture. This means anyone coming to the page will be able to quickly know what your page, and by extension your business, is all about.

Since there is no restriction of what to include here, you can actually use your mission statement, your website URL, a tagline or a call to action asking the visitor to like your page. You simply need to be creative, direct and concise with what you put in this section. You can see what I have on my page in the graphic above.

3. Tabs and Apps:

This is one area I’m really working on as far as the WebIncomeJournal’s fan page is concerned. I’ve a couple of ideas which I hope to implement in the coming days. Of course, I see more businesses using this section more creatively in the days to come.

Like the about section, the apps are now moved from the sidebar to the top of the page and will be shown in thumbnails underneath the cover photo as tabs. You’re allowed 12 tabs in total but only 3 can be featured in addition to your photos. These all appear on the same line with the about section.

You can use the apps thumbnails to link to a few things like photos, number of fans, a custom welcome, your blog, etc. To maximize the apps section you should be creative with the thumbnails you use and the apps you feature. Since you can only feature 3 at a time (photos remain constant) it means you should put the apps you want to draw attention to here. The good thing is that swapping the apps is as easy as ABC.

To swap the position of each app, hover over the app you want to swap and then click on the pencil icon that pops up. A drop down menu will appear from where you can now choose the app you’d want to swap into that space.

4. Highlight or Star Posts

I’m really impressed with what many businesses are doing with fan page posts. If you have a page you will agree that the times really do not have much in design. However, with the use of the highlighting or “starring” of posts, a component of the timeline, you can actually draw attention to some of your very important posts.

Without any post highlighted or starred, your business page timeline will only show a range of stories published by your business, friends, and other users. But you can turn this around by starring or highlighting a post so that it expands to the entire width of your timeline. This is another simple way of putting some creativity into your fan page.

Besides, you can also pin a post to the top of your page to emphasize that post. A post pinned to the top will remain at the top of your Timeline for seven days. This is another way of your deciding on what visitors can see when they first visit your fan page.

Facebook Timelines Takeaway

For now Facebook Timelines for business pages is still very new but as more and more people get to understand it more innovative ways to use it for social media marketing will also be discovered. But for now, if you have not implemented timelines on your Facebook page then take some time off whatever you’re doing today and make sure you do it right away after reading this post.

Your Turn: I’m eager to hear your story. Post your comments below and if you have a Facebook business page, feel free to include the link in your comments. Visit the Web Income Journal’s Fan Page here and make sure you like the page. If you do let me know in your comment and I’ll definitelly reciprocate the gesture!

Online Coupon Codes & Social Media Marketing Success Principles!

Do you really desire business success this year marketing with online coupon codes?

Then hear this:

The right application of social media and coupon discount offers can increase profitability in business.

In this informative post, I want to share the 5 top marketing principles to help realize your business goals this year. It’s a wonderful year and only the purpose-driven entrepreneurs will share success stories.

In doing business online, you’ve to know the essence. Making profit is secondary; the ultimate and primary reason why you registered a domain name and now a blog is to touch lives around the world.

Has someone ever told you that the world is desperate for solutions? Then he was not far from the truth.

Effective social media marketing principles

What makes Amazon and Wal-Mart famous and successful in the shopping niche isn’t their fancy and quality content. They are simply meeting a need. If you must succeed in your online business this year therefore you must pay attention to these 5 online coupon codes marketing principles:

1.    Study Your Market In and Out

A market is a group of people you’re targeting. Never overlap market with some building or office space. It deals with people, what they want and the willingness to pay for it at any fair price.

The best way to study your market is to begin with you. If you’re targeting a market, then you should have some passion or interest in it.

When you think like a customer, you’ll ask yourself certain questions. Naturally, the right questions will always produce the right answers. Whatever problem you’re facing and need answers to, is likely to be viable and is what other prospects are seeking answers to also.

External research is simple. Just hang out in places where your target audience are and participate in the discussion segments. Online discussion boards, social media portals and Yahoo answers are cute places to be.

2.    Package Your Products Beautifully

Nothing is new on the face of the earth. Virtually every topic or subject has been treated and there is a product for it. So, what’s left for beginners and those who want to make money with social media and coupon discount offers?

Packaging is the loftiest ingredient that’s left. The efficiency of your product in terms of packaging would ensure the conversion you get.

Gone are the days when people do not care about beautiful e-covers and fancy websites. These days, if your e-book is informative but lacks a catchy e-cover and sales copy, you won’t sell.

Even a crappy product will sell like hot cake as a result of a powerful copy and top notch e-cover design. Before you share any viable coupon discounts with your prospects, make sure your landing page is ready to convert sales.

3.    Don’t Use Force Or Hype

One good thing about coupon discount offers and social media marketing is the simplicity of it. If you’re careful and observant, your daily activities on Twitter and Facebook would reveal vital marketing principles.

Don’t use force or marketing hype to persuade buyers. Do you know that those who search on Google with product names, for example, vista print discount coupon, psprint discount codes etc are already pre-sold and eager to buy?

Yes, you didn’t ask them to type the product name on Google search, but they did. How on earth did they know about that product and that it exist online? TV commercials, internet advertising, word of mouth etc are marketing channels buyers go through every single day.

Therefore, what these prospects need is a little nudge to move ahead, not a push or hype. I’m glad you know better now

4.    Discipline Yourself to Focus

Focus is the price for productivity. If you want to achieve tremendous results in this age, you need to stay and stick around in ‘that’ project without looking sideways. Focus will take you to the top and keep you there.

These social media and coupon discount marketing principles should be applied to everything you do online.

Your Facebook fans and Twitter followers should know you for consistency. You shouldn’t introduce one product today and change your mind tomorrow. If the product isn’t suitable for your followers, please don’t offer it at all.

That is why proper market research matters – it would eliminate all the guess work and give you an open check to cash in.

Discipline yourself this day. Social media users are not money-geeks nor do they love to squander money. They are fathers, mothers and teens with blood running through their veins. Stay focus to win the ultimate prize.

5.    Offer a Viable Coupon Discount

Using coupon codes can grow your business from within. It will enhance your credibility and trust. If you’re a blogger, every affiliate product you recommend should be useful and helpful to your readers. Does the product have questionable features? Then don’t link to it.

It’s the same thing with coupon discount offers. I’ve tried some hostgator discount codes which I got from others but it didn’t work. I felt so unsatisfied and vowed never to trust the person who recommended such buying codes. Little things matter in your business dealings with prospects, joint networks and media practitioners. Take this advice to heart.

Learn to offer the best services, products and coupon codes when necessarily. These are the prerequisite principles behind successful web marketing.

Social Media & Coupon Offer Recap

There you’ve it, the five essential marketing principles behind coupon discount codes and social media marketing. But these principles are life-based. It works in any country and professional field.

Will you click-away from this page and neglect to take action or will you start implementing right now? The ball is in your court – the world is watching you right now. See you at the top!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michael Chibuzor loves writing and reviewing online merchants, two of which you can read more about here and right here. Michael is a Social media examiner and helps small businesses drive targeted traffic to boost sales. His recent reviews explain how Vista Print and Psprint services work. These services offer business cards, banners, wedding invitations, signs, and labels, covering all your business’ printing needs.

11 Simple Tricks to Market Your Facebook Page More Effectively!

Facebook marketing is today one of the most targeted ways of reaching your audience online. Being the social media with the largest audience and with a well laid out marketing platform, Facebook offers you an economically viable medium for marketing your business online.

One of the ways you can use Facebook to market your business on a shoestring budget is by creating a facebook fan page to promote your business. However, when marketing via social media, especially on sites like Facebook, it’s important to remember a few key points.

The following Facebook marketing tips and tricks will help you better engage your audience in an effective way.

Simple tactics to engage your audience on Facebook!

1. Update Your  Fans Page on a Regular Basis

It is important to keep your facebook fan page active. One way of doing this is after you publish your blog posts or articles on your site, create a synopsis with links back to the original content for your Facebook page.

 2. Stay Active by Engaging With Your Audience

This strategy should include replying to comments made or an feedback. Social media is all about connecting with others. Facebook marketing will tend to produce better results through a “conversation”.

 3. Share Valuable Content with Your Audience

To gain a high level of respect as an “expert” in a given niche, it’s important to add value, no matter where that value may come from. If there is a worthwhile post on a blog that doesn’t belong to you, it may still be worth sharing. Making the posts all about you will tend to lose fans or have them unsubscribe you from their news feed.

 4. Add Your Own Personality and Human Element to the Page

People don’t want to interact with a “company” as much as they want to interact with another person. This is especially true for sites like Facebook. Your own individuality will earn you a higher level of trust.

 5. Solicit feedback and testimonials

This will not only help you serve your customers better but also create more sales. If you will manage your reputation online with care getting testimonials will give your product or service the social proof it needs to increase sales.

6. Be Tactful When Dealing With Negativity

The inherent nature of large audiences includes a decent amount of negativity no matter how good the product or service really is. Avoid the negativity by working on positive solutions for your target audience and never lowering your standards to the level of someone looking to pick a fight.

7. Target Your Fan Page Posts

Use timing strategies to get your posts to your target audience when they are online or when they’re most likely to have time to click through.  This may be trial and error, but a good analytics package combined with a series of tests will give you some good background data to test further.

 8. Don’t Post Too Often

When the news feed of your fans or followers begins to have too many unsolicited messages, it will prompt action in the negative direction. 2 or 3 solid posts per day may produce better results than 5+ posts. This may depend on your audience and the level of engagement.

 9. Provide Links to the Appropriate Places on Your “Money Site”

Having a twitter feed or giving your audience more places to connect with you will allow them to do this on their own terms. The same user that would unsubscribe from your Facebook on their “wall” would love to follow you via Twitter.

10. Avoid Excessive Automation

Just because you want to see it all doesn’t mean everyone does. Too much too quickly also will kick in Facebook’s own determination of what makes it onto the news feeds. Keep the updates manageable by personally reviewing what makes it onto your page and they’re much more likely to go through.

11. Promote Offline

Take advantage of offline promotions through the use of business cards, bumper stickers or other promotional deals. If you have a product that has any custom labeling, this can be a great way to add your Facebook page web address. Exclusive deals or coupons can be offered as a method of getting people motivated to fan you on Facebook.

Marketing Take Away: These are only a few of the tips and tricks to setting up a successful Facebook presence. Testing and tracking will allow you to customize how you do things without sacrificing time and your personality  while getting new customers for your business and making more sales.

Over to You: What social media marketing tactics are you deploying in your facebook fan page presently? Do you know of any challenges in using Facebook to angage with your customers? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.

How to Effectively Optimize Your Social Media Marketing For Success!

Optimize your social media marketing

If you have read my previous post you will understand that I’ve recently developed interest in the subject of social media optimization! This is not for no reason!

If you have been following what is happening in the search engines lately you will notice that within a few months Google announced three major updates.  First was the Caffeine update which was actually an infrastructural movement in preparation for the recent happenings.

The second was the much talked about Google Freshness update. This was a major algorithm change. The Panda update was a total overhaul of Google’s search engine algorithm affecting mostly blogs/websites that were nothing but content farms. The official announcement of the Panda update pointed out that the update affected about 12% of search results!

Now, the third update, announced a couple of weeks ago, is the Google Freshness update. This, like the Panda update, is an algorithm change. With this update Google is now officially using social media as a major parameter in ranking webpages.  Now the interesting thing is that while the panda update affected only 12% the Panda update is covering about 35%! If you were aware of the effect of the Panda update which was only 12% then you should understand what this 35% is about!

Doesn’t that ring a bell for you? If you still have not gotten it, then let me put it very clear to you. If Google’s Freshness update covers as much as 35% it is something you should take note of!

Do you now understand why I’m passionate about this? You got it, because I’m always passionate about search engine optimization (seo) and it is definite that seo is moving on a new direction!

Now, as I mentioned in the previous post, it is important that you have a social media optimization strategy if you’re going to make any good of this. In my studies and from my personal experience I have come to realize that there are some essentials if you truly want to have a workable and effective social media optimization strategy. And this will be my focus in this post.

5 Essential Elements for a Successful Social Media Optimization Strategy

1. Decide On What You Want To Achieve

I’m putting this as #1 because from my personal experience, except you know what you really want to achieve with your social media optimization your efforts will only be in vain. There should be an aim to everything you do on the social networking sites. As many have confessed, social media could be addictive. This is why you should have a purpose. Without a purpose and plan you could be sucked into a whole lot of activities and at the end of the day you’ll end up achieving nothing.

Here are some reasons you may want to optimize your social media marketing

(i)    Build your business online

(ii)    Connect with potential customers

(iii)    Connect with existing customers

(iv)    Build links back to your business website/blog

(v)    Generate traffic to your website or blog

(vi)    Build relationships with similar businesses

(vii)    Etc.

You should therefore from the beginning decide on your social media optimization purpose as this will guide you on every other thing you do.

2. Decide On Your Audience

One fact you must get into your mind from the onset is that you don’t have to reach everyone out there. Of course, this is not possible! So, the ideal thing is to decide on who your audience will be and then focus on them. It is definite that if you have been able to decide on your purpose from #1 above, deciding on your target audience will be much easier.

3. What Content Should You Share?

When it comes to marketing online, content is definitely king. This is more so when it comes to social media marketing. The content you share determines your brand and so it is important that you should be selective.  It is indeed true that the social media sites are first and foremost about social interactions but if you’re there for business promotions, then every content you put out there should be that which will help your brand. For example, twitter’s simple question is, “what are you doing?” Now, if your twitter account was set up to promote your business you should be careful the way you answer that question. In fact, it is important that instead of answering that question you should turn it around to read, what is of interest to you right now? Or, what is of interest to your audience? 🙂

In this way you would be able to put out content that will build your brand and enhance your business success. It is glad to know that most of the social media sites now recognize the importance of tailoring your content to your audience and they have introduced features to help with this. For example, twitter and Facebook now have lists and Google+ have what it calls “circles”. You can use these to segregate your audience so that you can tailor your content to each group with more effectiveness.

4. What Time Is Available To You?

This is crucial. If you are a one man (please if you’re a woman read woman!) business, you definitely don’t want to spend all of your time on the social networking sites. This is where you again need to be careful of the addictive nature of the social media sites. One way to take care of this is to determine how many hours a day or how many days a week you would devote to social media interactions. This will help you to be focused every day.   The big fortunes companies can afford to hire freelance or career social media workers to help them manage their social media updates. But since you know this is beyond you, at least for now, managing your time is necessary. Again, it is clear that there are various tools in the market today that help you to automate most of your social media activities but you should be careful about using them. Social media is not about machines. It demands the human touch. So having a workable plan based on the time available to you and sticking to it will be of great help.

5. What Social Media Platform Should You Use?

At the moment there are a plethora of social media sites online. But the truth is that you don’t have to be on every one of them.  There are some dedicated to specific niches but except these ones are directly focused on your target niche, the best option is to stay with the big ones.  These are Facebook, Facebook, LinkedIn andTwitter. Creating an account with these ones is not enough. It is important that you study these different platforms to understand the target audience of each. While there may be some overlapping in the way they operate, you will have more success if you know what each is all about and use it that way. The good thing is that there so much information about these social sites and how to use them for marketing online. A simple Google search will to do the trick. Learn as much as you can and you will definitely succeed with your social media optimization.

Conclusion

Social media is here to stay and the astronomical growth of the social media sites in recent times is a testimony to its effectiveness in promoting businesses online. As a business entrepreneur you can’t afford to ignore social media optimization. Use these tips to plan out your social media optimization strategy and you’ll have a workable and effective system in place.

Is This Asking Too Much?

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SEO and Social Media Optimization: A Powerful Combination for Winning the Online Marketing Battle!

Do you know anything about social media optimization? Are you effectively using it for your online business promotions?

Or, better still, what do you think of online social networking sites?

Do you consider them as just some great place where you could speak out against the insensitivity of those in government? Of course, if that is your idea of what social media is all about then there are various options open to you right now. You could pack your sleeping bags and join any of the protest sites. Occupy Wall Street is a good idea here!

But, how about doing something more rewarding with social media? I mean, something that could really improve your life and move your business forward? That would be interesting, right? Then you will want to read this through.

Online social networking has grown from just a platform for college kids and tech gurus to become a powerful way for us to connect with each other. Whether it’s in the area of quickly and easily accessing breaking news or it’s about galvanizing mass support for a cause, social media is today a major player.  The recent happenings in Northern Africa and other happenings like Occupy Wall Street, greatly testify to this.

However, the social media revolution is not just in our social interactions. Businesses also have been revolutionized by what is happening in the social networking sites. Today social networking and social media marketing have changed the way businesses interact with their customers/prospects. And it is indeed right to say that social media has placed the power of business branding squarely in the hands of the customers! So if you’re neglecting social media marketing as an entrepreneur, you’re only digging the grave for your business.

SEO and social media for business success

The Fusion of Social Media Optimization and SEO

With its growing popularity, social media has gradually infused itself into search engine optimization (SEO).  Before now, Search engine optimization has been known to be a powerful way for businesses to generate traffic online. Based on some on-site optimization and off-site link building tactics, seo has been the “traditional” or “conventional” way of getting targeted traffic from the search engines.

However, in recent times the search engines realizing the power of social media have incorporated it as one of the determinants for ranking a webpage in search engine result pages (SERPs). Bing appears to be the first to do this when they announced a social SEO partnership with Facebook in May 2011.

Google, the “Grand Daddy” of search, after a carefully structured adoption first by partnering with Twitter to present real-time search results then later by introducing its own social signal, the +1 button also in May 2011, has now finally launched its own social media platform, Google+ (G+).

It was not surprising when Google Plus took the social media world by storm by reporting a growth of about 10million users in just about 16 days of launch!  Industry watchers immediately recognized that Google was determined to play a major role in the social media game.

Now, the waiting game is over for Google has just announced, about 2 weeks ago, that they are officially infusing social media into their search algorithm. In an official blog post Amit Singhal of Google wrote on 11/03/2011:

“Given the incredibly fast pace at which information moves in today’s world, the most recent information can be from the last week, day or even minute, and depending on the search terms, the algorithm needs to be able to figure out if a result from a week ago about a TV show is recent, or if a result from a week ago about breaking news is too old.

We completed our Caffeine web indexing system last year, which allows us to crawl and index the web for fresh content quickly on an enormous scale. Building upon the momentum from Caffeine, today we’re making a significant improvement to our ranking algorithm that impacts roughly 35 percent of searches and better determines when to give you more up-to-date relevant results for these varying degrees of freshness.”

With this official announcement, the use of Google’s +1 button as a ranking signal in Google’s algorithm to determine how well a site ranks in the SERPs has finally been confirmed.

This Is A Big Opportunity for Businesses That Are Adept At Using Social Media Marketing

Social media and SEO for success

As the situation stand now, there is no doubt about it. Social media optimization is imperative for your online business.  The traditional ways of generating traffic online through search engines have gone beyond just optimizing your site for the search engines (SEO). You must have in place a system to infuse social media optimization to your traditional search engine optimization (SEO).  And so if you’re marketing online and you’ve not started implementing a social media optimization strategy, you’ll do yourself some great good if you start right away!

This subject is definitely in its infancy but if you get in right now you’ll stand a better chance of winning the game.  Because of my interest and enthusiasm about SEO, I’ve been studying the subject of social media optimization for some time now. Right now, the results from my studies have been enough to literally force me to renew my interest in social media marketing.

Like I mentioned in one of my posts, I’ve recently renewed my interest in using twitter. One of the first things I did was to change my twitter handle to @IncomeMC with plans to increase my use of the platform. The WebIncomeJournal Facebook fan page is also receiving more attention than before. You can take a look at our fan page here. (We’ll be glad if you can post your comments and suggestions on how we can improve the page).

Besides, I’ve recently created a profile on Google Plus and LinkedIn.  Before now, I’ve really not paid much attention to them but with these revolutionary SEO social media changes, it will be foolhardy to be an onlooker!

So, the question right now is, are you paying attention while the search engines are pointing out the direction marketing is taking online? Are you really listening? Do you have in place a system for optimizing your social media marketing right now? Or, do you want to wave it off as one of those things?

You Need a Social Media Optimization Strategy

One of my popular saying is:

“Without A Strategy You Will End Up In Tragedy!”

Now, I must say, when it comes to social media optimization, this is very true.  You need a strategy. This was something that was missing in my earlier attempts at social media marketing. The end result of that lack of a strategy was that my efforts ended in frustration.

But I’m now ready to remedy that. To this end I’ve been updating my knowledge about the subject of social media marketing and I’ll want to share some of the wisdom gleaned so far with you. This post is actually a prelude to a series of posts I will be doing on this subject in the coming days. As usual you can be assured that I’ll hold nothing back. Every detail will be presented in an understandable voice as to help you structure and implement your own social media optimization strategy.  That is, if you do not have one right now.

There are some resources that are really helping me along this line. One of them is this free ebook, “The Definitive Social Media Guidebook – Ways to Integrate Your SEO and Social Media Marketing.”  I must say that for a free ebook, this one is truly amazing. Instead of trying to convince you on why you should read it, I will simply point you to where you can download a free copy right away.  So, click here and get it. You can thank me later!

If however, you want something more in-depth and that present a step by step formula, then getting a copy of “The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success” is just the right choice. At $17.46, this is actually a giveaway. Considering the power of social media optimization and what it can do for your business in today’s economy, an investment of $17.46 is really nothing. You can easily recoup that once you begin to implement the strategies learned.  Click here to get a copy of “The Social Media Bible” at Amazon.com.

Conclusion

Ignoring social media optimization in the face of the changing trends in search engine optimization is definitely an entrepreneurial suicide. Your business, online or off-line, will be stunted without the nourishment provided by social media nutrients. You could decide that social media is all about hosting protest and speaking out against the ills of the society but remember, your competition is using social media optimization right now. If you neglect it, your competition will simply leave you in the dust!

Over to You:  As always I love to read and reply to your comments so do not hesitate to share your views on the subject of social media optimization below. Are you already implementing a social media optimization strategy or do you think it is not really necessary? Let’s have your say.