facebook for business

Finding Your Voice – A Social Media Crash Course

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Find The Click - Stand Out in Social Media
Stand Out in Social Media

I’m working with a few clients who have gone to my 2-day retreat, The Click and we’re doing the second of 12 follow-up sessions.  Every one of them wants to rush right to the social media piece.  The conversations all start the same:

“Sarah, when will we talk about Facebook?”

“We can talk about it right now.  Why do you want to be there?”

“My daughter says I HAVE to be there.”  She sighs, resigned to the fact that technology has robbed her of the human touch – the face-to-face communication she relished in her 27 years in the corporate sector.  A handshake and a contract were her symbols of success.

“Maybe you don’t need to be on Facebook at all.” I reply.

“I don’t??”  I hear her voice brighten.  It happens with each of my clients over 50 – most have been in corporate jobs and social media belongs in the realm of their teenage sons and daughters.  Or, of those who have wa-ay too much time on their hands.

“It’s just so much drivel.  I don’t like everyone knowing my business – it’s so intrusive.”

“Yes, it can be.  So can a diner.”

“A diner?  What does a diner have to do with Facebook?”

When I was a kid, after we worked the horses on the track, we headed over to the local Dunkin Donuts for our reward – a donut and steaming mug of hot chocolate.  Walt, the owner of the racehorses, always had the newspaper open and he’d read our horoscopes aloud.  The banter would begin – “Oh so THAT’S why you’re in a mood this morning.”  We’d all laugh and poke fun at each other.  We’d find other stories about the horses, the track, the cold, the heat.  Year-round, it was our ritual.  I don’t hit the track anymore, or even a newspaper.  But I do hit Facebook for pretty much the same thing – engagement.

Just like when you walk into Barnes and Noble for the first time – it’s OVERWHELMING.  Yet, when you see the sections that interest you, you can easily get lost for hours perusing books and magazines that pique your interest.  Not a bookstore fan?  How about a hardware store?  Send me over to the paint chips and I can easily amuse myself.  Once you learn the tools you can use on social media to hone in on your interests, then it starts to make sense.  You can find all kinds of people who share your interests and that’s where it can become not only beneficial to your business, but it can be (gasp…) FUN!

So no, don’t force yourself to endure social media, find the reason why you WANT to be there, not why you HAVE to be there.  Find someone who can show you the ropes.  Follow (or “like”) people who you resonate with, who have something interesting to share.  Most importantly, don’t make it all about promoting your business – the secret to social media success is sharing other people’s success.  On my Got Clicks Facebook page, most of the posts you’ll see on there are about what my clients are up to. They have so many fascinating stories, I love to share what they’re up to.

So how do you sort through the drivel to enjoy the divine?  Here are some tips to navigate Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook (it’s long, but useful.)

Twitter: 

  • What is it for? Best used for headlines or short news.  Only 160 characters, so short and sweet is key.
  • # (hashtag) is used to search for conversations like #babyboomers, #loa, #abrahamhicks.
  • @ sign is used to include people in a conversation so they can be “tagged” in your post and see your comment.  It’s also used to search for people @gotclicksbiz for example, finds Got Clicks and Sarah Spencer.
  • bit.ly or goo.gl – Use these tools to abbreviate long urls so they fit inside Twitter’s parameters
  • Lists – Great for organizing people you have in common (ie I have a list of “Marketing Gurus.”)  You can find List in the upper right corner where the gear is.  Click on the gear and you’ll see how to create your list.

How do I communicate on Twitter?

  • Reply – If someone makes a comment, you can click “reply” to engage in a conversation.
  • Retweet – This is the same as “sharing” a post.
  • Favorite – Similar to the “Like” button on FB if you don’t have anything else to say.
Why would I use Twitter for Business?
 
  • When you want to test a specific market to see how active it is (ie #babyboomers, #tires, etc.)
  • When you want to tweet about a time-sensitive event, such as a conference, you can find others who are experiencing the same conference by using #nameofyourconference, and meet them for coffee, lunch, etc.  Great for impromptu connecting at an event.
  • When you have writer’s block for your blog, website, presentation, etc. and you need inspiration.  Just pull up your list of gurus you enjoy and become inspired from their posts all in one place.
LinkedIn:
 
  • What is it for?  Business networking, finding a job and finding customers if you are in the b-to-b sector.
  • @ sign is used to include people in a conversation that may be relevant or for searching.
  • Posts – Found on the left-hand drop down next to the search box.  This is AWESOME for finding articles relevant to your industry (ie “55+ entrepreneurs, babyboomers,)
  • Groups – Great way to connect to people you need in your circle of influence.  Find a contact you’d like to know better, scroll down on their profile.  Search for groups you may have in common and join the group. Then, when you click “Connect,” when asked how you know them, in the drop down, you can say you have a group in common to get the conversation rolling.
How do I communicate on LinkedIn?
 
  • Post links to blogs relevant to your industry.
  • Participate in groups with thoughtful questions to encourage participation.
  • Service, service, service.  Always be looking for how you can serve OTHERS, not necessarily yourself.
  • Formal – business only.  This is NOT where you post what you had for breakfast or how you partied hearty.
Why would I use LinkedIn for Business?
 
It makes connection on a business level very easy.  It shows you as the expert in your industry.  Definitely the place to show and tell what you know for the benefit of other peers in your industry or in industries you wish to sell into.
Facebook:
 
  • What is it for?  Think of Facebook as your local diner.  All characters from all walks of life enter in with the good, the bad and the ugly.  Real Estate agents, car salespeople, generally anyone who sold used to swear by visiting the local diner on a daily basis to get the heartbeat of the neighborhood. Now?  It’s Facebook.
  • @sign is used to include people in a conversation that may be relevant or for searching.
  • # (hashtag) is used to search for conversations like #babyboomers, #loa, #abrahamhicks.
  • Personal Page – You must have a personal page first before having a business page.
  • Business Page – Can be accessed either in the drop-down on the upper right or the left side of your page.

How do I communicate on Facebook?

  • Comment with links back to your blog or website.
  • Comment on posts relevant to you.
  • Like comments you agree with.
  • Ignore idiocy.
  • Remember your mother – don’t say or post anything you wouldn’t say in front of your mother.
  • It’s always better to be kind than clever.
  • 80/20 rule:  80% interesting, relevant articles.  20% selling your stuff.
Why would I use Facebook for Business?
  • People buy people.  Facebook shows you have depth as a person and not necessarily always pushing your business.
  • ALWAYS make certain you’re clear on who you’re posting as, your business or personal before posting.
  • If you find you’re not getting a lot of views on your business page, you can always share it using your personal page.
  • Facebook is VERY social (which can make an introvert run for the hills.)  The key to the Magic Facebook Kingdom is the power of numbers.  The more likes, the better your chances are of being heard.  The more interaction?  The more likely your post will be seen in others’ news feeds.
  • If you’re new to the game, “like” some pages who have 500 or more “likes” and see how they play the game first.  See if they’ll share a link you’ve offered to their audience to grow your own.
  • Contests- Great way to build your fan base.  Rafflecopter offers a platform and it’s free.  Make sure your prize in RELEVANT to what you sell.  Otherwise, you’ll just get “junk” posts.
Hootsuite
 
  • What is it for?  Use it to write for all your social media under one umbrella.  You can easily put all your posts for the week on a Sunday night while watching TV.
  • You can post across all platforms or select one or two depending upon relevance.
  • Short stuff – Twitter Feeds.  Business oriented:  LinkedIn & FB Biz Page  Interesting Pics:  FB Personal.
  • Abbreviated Links – Hootsuite  automatically shortens long urls for you.
  • Scheduling – VERY important.  Know when your audience is on.  I find 7:10 am for some reason is a great time for me to post.  Experiment and watch your stats to see when you have the most engagement and make it a habit to connect with your audience on a regular basis.
  • RESPOND – For goodness sake, respond if someone’s kind enough to like or comment on your post.  See what they’re up to and share their stuff if it’s relevant and important.  The worst you can do is let a whole week go by and not check your inbox.  Respond just as if these were customers calling you on the phone.  Because one day, if you play your cards right, they will be.

I’m offering my 2-day retreat and 12-one-on-one internet marketing sessions with The Click this coming late August – September.  I would love to see you join us.  It’s designed to help you hone the messaging of your business to help you find “raging cookie fans,” people who want, need and are willing to pay you for your products and services.  Check out the 5 minute video and see if it’s a good fit for you here.

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Rebranding: It’s More Than a Pretty Logo

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Sarah Spencer Got Clicks 2013When I went from brunette to blonde about a year ago, I was scared to death.  I was excited about the new color, yet, I wasn’t sure if it would suit my personality, my style.  Would I fall victim to “dumb blonde” syndrome?  While I had fun being blonde, I did go back to my “roots” and I’m chillin’ with the brunette thing again and loving it.  When you start thinking about branding your company, it’s a much bigger commitment than changing the color of your hair, but it can sure stir up some strong emotions:

  • Fear, (will they like my new style?)
  • Excitement, (I can’t wait to ditch this old, tired persona, )
  • Confusion, (is this good for business?)

I’m starting work with a very smart client who recognizes that her shop has out-scaled her branding.  She’s known for one product,( in fact, she’s won numerous awards for it,) yet that niche has turned to a nightmare because she’s limited to one small window of opportunity for her business.  Niche marketing is great, but you need to look down the road at other products and services.  It’s healthy for businesses to reinvent themselves, just make certain you do it in a way that doesn’t confuse your existing following.

1)  Brand with Sense:  I know there’s been a lot of talk about the value (or devaluing) of keywords lately, but if you use common sense, you’ll know that if your domain name contains the keywords your customers will be typing into a search, it’s a pretty good idea to start with a solid domain name that tells what your product is in milliseconds.

2)  Brand Across Platforms:  If you’re going to change your image, go all the way.  Don’t leave your blog with the old imagery and your website branded with the new logo.   Check your content, too.  Find and replace your old tag lines with new ones that will resonate with your customers.

3)  Brand Your Social Media: Make sure your social media keeps up with the new branding.  Yes, you can change the name of your business in both Facebook and Twitter.  Here’s a GREAT youtube video on changing your name in Facebook and a very concise article on changing your name in Twitter

4)  Respond:  If you’re a brick-and-mortar entity, you know some are going to balk at change – it’s human nature.  The most important thing you can do is get clear on how you feel about your branding and then spread that vibe through every media channel you can think of – Facebook, Twitter, Yelp.  Make sure you respond promptly to your customer fan base with the reasons you made the change.  It doesn’t need to be a diatribe, something like, “Yes, we loved the success we had with ABC brand, but now that we offer so much more, we feel the new name, DEF expresses more of our products and services.  Thanks for the feedback, come back and see us and let us know in person how we can serve you in the future.”

Yes, it’s scary to rebrand, but sometimes it’s smart and necessary.  If you need help with this very big step, I’m all ears…

Facebook: It’s More Than Toast – 5 Conversation Starters for Business

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Mark Johnson Show WDEV with Sarah Spencer of Got Clicks
Sarah Spencer of Got Clicks and Mark Johnson, WDEV

Last week, I was on the Mark Johnson Show talking about internet marketing and of course, the typical questions came up: why do I care about a picture of somebody’s toast?  A lot of people don’t “get” Facebook; what does her toast have to do with me selling my stuff?  Every good sales pro knows:  people buy people.  They buy the storyteller, toast and all.  Facebook is all about storytelling.  Blogging is about elaborating on the story.  You sell when your story’s compelling enough to convince your customer that you’re The One.

So you don’t think Facebook fits in your business model?  Maybe it doesn’t – not every personality works for Facebook.  Many balk at the idea of having to set-up a personal page in order to start your Facebook business page.  For that client, LinkedIn may make more sense.  For clients who don’t have a lot to say, a Twitter account may work better.  Yes, take your comfort level into account, but more importantly, find out where your customers hang out.  When you can envision your customers, you’ll have a much better chance of reaching them and making it easy for them to buy from you.

Facebook Conversation Starters:

Here are 5 Tips to help you start a conversation on Facebook:

  • Like Your Clients – If you’re not following your clients on Facebook, why not?  If you’re a B-to-B business, “like” their business pages.  If you’re B-to-C, your business page cannot follow an individual, however, give them a reason to like your page.
  • Offer Incentives – I offer $10 off my Got Clicks Tweak consultations for clients who “like” my page.  Thank those who take advantage of it.
  • Comment on Client Pages – Facebook is not all about you – once you “like” client pages with your own page, go ahead and comment on their feeds.  Ask questions that will help them get clients.
  • Share  –  It doesn’t hurt to share your client’s page with your Facebook fans.  Chances are, they’ll appreciate it so much, they’ll be more than happy to reciprocate.
  • Contests – I created a contest landing page that I change out on my Facebook page.  Here’s a video to show you how to do it:

Is Facebook Safe? 4 Steps to Keep You Safe Online

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About a month ago, I was talking to a client about promoting her business online and she decided Facebook might be the way to go.  Now she has a very delicate situation – she works with young teenage girls 13-16 so obviously, she needed to be very careful what she posted.  I could understand her trepidation about the whole process – especially after the high school teacher who lost her job due to her posts on Facebook.  So- what do you post?  What’s appropriate?  What do you do if you get some nutcase bothering you on Facebook?  Take a look at some of these ideas to help promote your business and to keep the negativity at bay:

Remember Your Mother – I tell my clients to be EXTREMELY careful what they post on Facebook.  Great rule of thumb?  Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mother to see. (wish my own kid took that one to heart…)  Remember, these comments stay up FOREVER unless someone deletes them.  For your kids?  Colleges are now looking at Facebook postings, tweets and other social posts, so it can be a double-edged sword.  Tell them to click the “privacy” lock if they just want to keep comments to their friends.  Even then, nothing is fool-proof.  Only post comments you would not be afraid to stand up for and defend.  Now, you can click the “privacy” lock as well, however, it defeats the purpose of using Facebook for business.  It’s your call…

Delete Delete Delete – I taught a class last week asking “what do I do with a nutcase?”  Well, I pointed out that you can attract a nut with a newspaper ad that has your phone number, a radio ad that tells your store hours – the nice thing about Facebook is you can delete them.  Worried about offending them?  No problem!  You can click “hide” if you simply don’t wish to see their posts.   

How do I Get “Fans” to My Page?  Ahhh.. yes, this is a little tricky, especially for those of you who don’t wish to build a big friends list on your personal account.  I “friend” alot of people because my focus is on building online businesses sensiblyand affordably, so I am eager to connect with lots of different people.  Then, I go ahead and suggest my page to these friends I’ve made on my personal Facebook page and it just grows from there.  If you’re not comfortable with that, ask friends who have large lists to suggest your page to their friends.  You can also do joint ventures with people who compliment what you already do; a cabinet maker can partner with an appliance store, a jewelry maker can join with a bridal gown shop.  Then, it’s a win-win for all involved. 

You Get What You Give:  After I thought I had exhausted all fear on the subject of posting on Facebook, I still had people pointing to the high school teacher story like an Aesop cautionary fable and I just closed my teaching with this:  You Get What You Give.  I have made so many wonderful connections using Facebook – gone to shows and concerts I wouldn’t have known about.  I’ve even had clients contact me through Facebook because of some funny post they read on my personal page and said it would be fun to work with Got Clicks.  So yes, for every story about someone who has been “wronged” by the system, there are a thousand other stories to say what a great networking tool Facebook can be for a business that’s short on cash and long on creativity. 

Yes, soon… VERY soon… my Facebookin’ for Bucks class will return.  Stay tuned for when that launches