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Safety Practices for Small Business Social Media Use

Safety Practices for Small Business Social Media Use


No longer the “New Kid in Town.” Social Media and its marketing resources have gone from a compulsive form of recreation for many to a fundamental piece of any business plan, large or small.

What is still not readily known by many business owners and managers is that use of social media by companies and their employees can seriously compromise a businesses’ security.  Very often, when it comes to maintaining safety and security via social media, employees can end up being the biggest issue.

Whether it’s from posting on their personal page about things happening at work, or clicking on things they shouldn’t while using an office computer, employees can accidentally leak information or download mal-ware into your network without even realize they are doing it.

To help avoid the issues that can result in these seemingly small actions, here are some tips to assist you in keeping your business and your employees safe from social-media troubles, both at work and at home.

Advise Employees to Avoid Posting Info About Where They Work

Even though you can’t stop an employee from telling people where they work, explain that like giving out their home address and phone number online, revealing where they work can make it easy for people to find them and collect more info on their daily routine.

Employees should also be informed that associating the company with a personal account on questionable social networks could hurt the company and, by default, hurt the employee as well.

Keep Privacy Settings Updated

This is important on two fronts.  First, train your employees how to maintain their own accounts’ privacy settings, this will lessen the possibility of unauthorized info getting leaked.

On your businesses’ accounts, it’s likely you don’t know most of the followers you’ve cultivated.  Taking steps to secure those accounts as much as possible, with privacy settings that will work best for your company, will significantly add to your online security

Establish Work Place Use of Social Media

Most of us have done it, checked our Facebook page during lunch or a break.  Instead of trying to ban the use of social media on work computers, it may be better to create some policies on how to use it instead.

For instance, stating that visitation of these sites may only be made during breaks and that the use of apps like games, quizzes, or anything else that requires clicking on links, are prohibited on company computers. Putting these policies in place will assist you in avoiding issues that can affect your network.

Make Sure Your IT Specialists Are Trained to Handle Social Media Specific Issues

Once you’ve established an office policy for Social Media use, it will need to be enforced.  This means ongoing surveillance of online activities.  To accomplish this, invest in consulting, and antivirus protection via software and hardware.

Additionally, the company’s technical staff will need to be updated about current social-media security risks.

A Word on Hacking

All businesses and their social media accounts are potential targets. Any compromise of these tools could result in irreparable damage.  Fortunately, the items we’ve already discussed can help prevent a hacker from successfully breaking into your account.

Additionally, use strong passwords with unique alpha-numeric combinations.  These days to create the best possible login security, you need to use upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and accepted punctuation as allowed.

Once you have one password, don’t use it for multiple logins.  If a hacker manages to figure one account out, you’ll have given up the keys to the entire kingdom.

A Little Prevention Can Go A Long Way

The most important way to prevent harmful issues from social media use is to educated and even provide training for your employees.

Whether this is via a workshop, meeting or included in a section of the employee handbook, be sure your employees have the knowledge that can save your business’ social media accounts and their own from unnecessary attention and use.

Monitoring the social media marketing landscape is vital to your success.

Improve Your Email Marketing with a Marketing Funnel

Improve Your Email Marketing with a Marketing Funnel

What is a Marketing Funnel?

The idea of a funnel is used to illustrate the process a potential client goes through as they become familiar with your products or services.

Visually, clients enter the funnel at the widest part, the top, then proceed to descend, stage by stage, leaving at the level they lose interest.  What you end up with at the bottom are the final few who have purchased and love your product or service.  These are the clients that will keep coming back

Your goal is to raise the number of potential clients that enter the top and lower the number that loses interest at each stage.

To accomplish this, you will need to have a conversion tactic for each stage.

There are a few different Funnel maps out there that vary in their vocabulary but each basically means the same thing, for the sake of this article, we’ll go with the following terms:

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Conversion
  • Loyalty
  • Advocacy

Using Email Marketing to Get a Client All the Way to the Bottom

Now that you understand how a marketing funnel works, let’s discuss email marketing plans for each.

Awareness

The top of your marketing funnel is awareness.  This is when the potential client finds out you exist but doesn’t know anything about your product yet. At this level, you should start showing them the value of your product or service.  This can be done with free informative content, such as a free eBook on product related subjects.

Interest

At this level, potential clients are starting to show an interest in your company and products and want to know more.

You also know more about the client, which allows you to send them more targeted content that can relate how your product or services can help them.  This email could include specific items that you believe will be beneficial to them and even include an invitation to a free consultation or demonstration.

Conversion

Now you potential client is aware of the value of your product or service and it’s time for them to decide if they are ready to purchase.

Here, you start communicating to the client why your product and service is better than your competitors’ and perfect for them.

Loyalty

OK, you’ve made the sale, your potential client has graduated to the title of actual client.  Your work is not over, however, not even close.

Now you need to implement your plans to keep them.

Repeat and long term clients are a wonderful asset for any business. Help keep these valuable assets by continually engaging them with fun and useful content such as educational emails related to upcoming products or surveys asking them their opinions on potential changes coming. Make them feel like their opinion really matters to you.

Advocacy

Advocacy happens when your clients turn into your biggest fans.

They’ve probably purchased or used your services several times because they adore you. The best part?  They start telling everyone about your and how great your products or services are!

Word of mouth, still the best way to gain more potential clients that will stick.

Now, as you start to recognise these special clients, you can start sending them special requests like emails asking them to refer you to their friends. You could even create a version of your initial email sent to the Awareness level that they can forward to friends and family they think would most benefit from your products or services.

Now you have the information you need to plan your own email campaign and begin to channel your potential clients all the way to being actual clients.

By developing your email strategy with the marketing funnel in mind, you’ll convert more prospects into customers and more customers into fans, which means more money for your business. Yay!

Monitoring the social media marketing landscape is vital to your success. If you’d like to have access

to even more powerful marketing tips, as well as a way to generate conversion-ready Internet marketing prospects each month, click here to learn about my done-for-you system.

Knowing the How’s and Why’s of Your Blog Posting Options

Knowing the How’s and Why’s of Your Blog Posting Options

These days it seems like everyone has a blog.  whether it’s an outlet to type out our inner musings of the world today or to let people into a part of our lives we would have difficulty discussing out loud, there a never-ending number of reasons to start one.

If you own a small business, there are even more reasons to have one.  While there are a few that would argue as to whether blogs are still applicable with the surge of social media marketing platforms that have taken the world by storm, it’s believed by most that blogging can be an integral piece of your marketing plan.

In case you are still waiting to take the plunge into the web log world, some reasons to consider moving forward with your own blog are:

  • They are a great way to develop better relationships with your current customers
  • They will increase your SEO on sites like Google and Yelp.
  • They can position your brand as a perceived industry leader, even if you are just starting out.

Types of blog posts: Articles on your own blog, mini articles on a microblog, and articles on other peoples’ blogs.

What is a Microblog?

Microblogging is a combination of blogging and instant messaging. It allows users to create short messages to share with an audience online.  Two common microblogging platforms are Twitter and Tumblr.

Benefits of Microblogging to consider:

  • Your content will take less time to create.
  • It’s easier to post more frequently.
  • It’s perfect for disseminating urgent information to a large audience.
  • Ease of access through mobile apps.

How and Why You Should Consider Guest Blogging

Guest Blogging is basically creating an article for a blog that is not your own.  It’s a way to share your knowledge with others while simultaneously increasing traffic to your blog.  This also means you will need to plan on featuring posts from other bloggers in the future. Featuring guest posts will give your audience a new perspective on your industry as well as help freshen your content if you’ve gotten stuck in a rut.

To get started, first decide what benefits you are looking to get from the process of guest blogging. This will assist you in finding businesses you may be interested in creating content for and give you an idea of which guest bloggers would be good to invite to post on your site later.

Research is essential to guest blogging, begin by asking yourself some questions:

  • Do the businesses you are looking at have a large number of active followers?
  • Do these followers regularly participate by posting comments or sharing?
  • Do these businesses also have a Facebook page and Twitter account where they share their blog posts?

Focus on finding bloggers within your niche and market industry. You should agree with what they have to say, their opinions should match your own. If they don’t this could lead to content issues later if their content doesn’t line up with your business, personality, or tone.

Be sure to promote your guest blog posts on your own social media accounts and on your own blog. This will bring more traffic back to your guest’s blog and their business.  It should become a habit to share your content, plus it’s a good way to say thank you to your host for publishing your guest post.

Overall, blogging in each form is a good way to widen your reach and bring more traffic to your own web presence.

Monitoring the social media marketing landscape is vital to your success. If you’d like to have access

to even more powerful marketing tips, as well as a way to generate conversion-ready Internet marketing prospects each month, click here to learn about my done-for-you system.

Business Funnels–Marketing and Sales–What’s the Difference?

Business Funnels–Marketing and Sales–What’s the Difference?

Marketing Funnel–A system that assists in tracking the steps potential clients move through to before ultimately making a decision on the purchase of goods, or use of services.  Marketing funnels let you see at each step what you need to do to influence potential clients toward the end goal, turning them into actual clients.

Sales Funnel–Refers to the buying process that businesses direct a client through when purchasing products or obtaining services. Like a Marketing funnel, it is divided into several steps.  These steps will differ according to your particular sales model.

Or to put it more simply, marketing funnel is about capturing a lead and taking people to the point of a sale where a sales funnel captures and then leads people through the sales process via a series of pitches, etc.

In businesses where the marketing and sales departments/people are separate roles from one another, the two different concepts are implemented separately with Marketing Funnels working to create interest at the top and acquire clients at the bottom, these acquisitions becoming the top of the Sales Funnel.

In smaller businesses, this distinction may become a little muddled as employees may need to wear multiple hats, but for the sake of this article, we’ll go with the simplest viewpoint.

Your marketing is responsible for compelling an individual to become a potential client by creating awareness. It will typically focus on a broad area through a variety of methods, with the idea of attracting as much interest as possible.  These days this of commonly done via social media, paid advertising, blog posts, and PR.  Thanks to the internet, the possibilities are almost endless when looking for a target audience.

This initial scouting is the TOP of the marketing funnel.  The goal of these endeavors is to provide enough information to interest the general masses in taking action and becoming potential clients.

The final goal is to end up getting the potential client to provide contact information and hopefully specific product interest.  This can be accomplished in a number of ways including a free eBook download, providing a contact form with the promise of more info, calling a toll-free number, or any other process you can collect their details.  This result makes up the BOTTOM of the marketing funnel.

By acquiring this info from a potential client, you will then be able to move them into the procedures outlined on the sales side and bring them to the TOP of the Sales Funnel.

Different businesses will show a variety of ways that this transition from Marketing to Sales may happen, but the overall desired result will be the same, gaining a loyal and long term client that will refer others to a business’s products and services.

So essentially, sales have the power to change condition through the skills of the sales team. A sales funnel dictates the actual steps used to lead your customer towards the final goal, the actual purchase or use of services that you are offering.

Marketing, however, generally does not possess this same power. It needs to work with conditions as they come.  The use of a marketing funnel is to create some anticipation about what is being offered or sold.

Both Marketing Funnels and Sales Funnels can become very complex systems with numerous sub-steps within each primary step, depending on who your client is compared to what you are offering.

Monitoring the social media marketing landscape is vital to your success. If you’d like to have access

to even more powerful marketing tips, as well as a way to generate conversion-ready Internet marketing prospects each month, click here to learn about my done-for-you system.

Virtual Assistants-Taking Your Online Marketing to the Next Level

Virtual Assistants-Taking Your Online Marketing to the Next Level

 

In this era of the Digital Age, more and more people are turning to the Internet to increase their marketing exposure.  The problem?  Every day the ways to use online marketing seem to grow exponentially.

 In one blog post at Wordstream.com, they offer a guide to the top 99 Online Marketing Tools.  You read that right, 99!  And, they are only listing the TOP 99.

From Clothing Boutiques to Real Estate Agents, Social Media Marketing has become a necessity to keep up in today’s marketplace.  So, as an entrepreneur or small business owner, how do you find the time to run your business, increase your productivity, have a personal life, and keep up with the ever-evolving online marketing field?

The short answer?  You don’t.  You hire someone to do it for you.  Enter the Virtual Assistant (VA).

Who are Virtual Assistants?

Virtual assistants are home-based, skilled professionals, offering businesses, and entrepreneurs support remotely instead of within the traditional office setting.  Communication is usually done via email, phone, or even face to face services like Skype.  This alleviates the need to provide additional work space at your office or other business location.

Don’t Virtual Assistants Just Provide Basic Admin Support?

Back when remote assistants first came on the scene, the majority of their services focused on administrative tasks that were similar to those of an executive assistant or secretary.  They were just done from home.  However, with the growing number of VAs available, their offerings now run the gamut, and thanks to the incredible increase in popularity of Social Media Marketing and other Online Marketing, specialists in that area have become easier to find, and are extremely beneficial to have working with you.

In fact, just a few years ago, the University of Florida created the first Bachelor and Masters degree programs to provide accredited education in Social Media Marketing and other schools followed quickly after that.

A Few Things to Consider When Hiring a Virtual Assistant

When you choose to hire a virtual assistant the first thing you’ll want to determine is whether you want them to be an employee or a self-employed contractor.  There are pros and cons with each arrangement.

When you hire an employee, even a remote one, you’ll need to provide any benefits your other employees receive, based on their employee status, ie: Full-time, Part-time, or hourly, as well as add them to the regular payroll.  A real estate agent in the northern California area reported he has a full-time person who’s only job entails maintaining all Social Media postings for active

If you choose to work with independent contractors or a freelancer you will have none of those responsibilities.  But, you will have little control over what hours they work or be able to demand when they can be available.

To be designated as an independent contractor, an individual must be free to determine how the work will be done to completion, free from the client/company’s control.  The contractor is responsible for the final product only as far as the terms of their contract requires.

Where Can I find a Virtual Assistant?

Just as the internet provides the opportunity for the concept of a VA to work, it also provides locations, and even platforms to easily find, hire and pay your VA.  Here’s a short list of websites that provide freelancers and businesses a way to find each

  • 24/7 Virtual Assistant
  • Assistant Match
  • eaHelp
  • Fancy Hands
  • Freelancer
  • FlexJobs
  • People Per Hour
  • Red Butler
  • Time Etc.
  • Me
  • Upwork
  • Virtual Assistant USA
  • Virtual Staff Finder
  • Worldwide 101
  • Ziptask
  • Zirtual

Hiring a virtual assistant will leave you with more time and energy on your hands to focus on the other aspects of your business.

For more information on finding the best Virtual Assistant for your needs, check out here for reviews of the best virtual assistant companies.