Category Archives for "Instagram"

Socialmediaonlineclasses certificate seal
May 19

Socialmediaonlineclasses.com Announces Online Social Media Certificate Training

By Maria Peagler

Socialmediaonlineclasses certificate seal

Socialmediaonlineclasses.com is now offering a full, online social media certificate training program.

I’ve waited quite a while to debut this, as I wanted it to be the best social media certificate available anywhere — university, private, online, offline — at an affordable cost.

So here are the details:

What is the Online Social Media Certificate?

It’s an online certificate program designed for people who want to be professional social media managers, for agencies who need training for their new hires, for consultants who want to add social media marketing to their services, and anyone who wants proof they are on the leading-edge of what works in social media marketing today.

The certificate program includes 56 hours of classes, webinars, articles, and a final exam.  The entire curriculum is shown below (click to download the PDF):

Socialmediaonlineclasses online social media certificate program

 

The all-inclusive program includes classes on EVERY major social network, webinars on strategy & management, case studies, mobile marketing, visual content, and more.

Plus, you get 1:1 coaching with founder Maria Peagler, who will mentor you in your studies and in landing your dream job and/or clients.

Finally, once you pass your final exam, you can be listed in our social media certified consultants directory.

How Long Does the Program Take to Complete?

Our certificate program contains 56 hours of instruction in multimedia classes, video webinars, articles, and infographics.  However, it’s completely self-paced. How long it takes you to complete depends on your skill level and experience.  Some people take two hours to complete a class, others need two months.  You go at your own pace.  You have one full year from your date of enrollment to complete the program.

How Much Does the Program Cost?

The online social media certificate program at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com costs $897, which is all-inclusive: the entire curriculum, coaching with founder Maria Peagler, and your final exam.  I’m proud to offer a superior training program at an affordable cost that doesn’t place an undue burden of student loan debt on our members.

What is Required to Earn My Certificate?

To earn your certificate, you must take a final exam which is approximately 100 questions, and score at least 75%. You have only one opportunity to take the exam and pass it.  You can purchase additional opportunities to take the exam for $150 each.

How is Your Certificate Program Different Than Those Offered Elsewhere?

Excellent question, and I’m glad you asked! Our program is unique in these ways:

  • entire curriculum is up-to-date with what works NOW in social media marketing, not six months ago or last year
  • you get 1:1 coaching every month with founder Maria Peagler
  • you learn how to get ROI on every major social network for your clients
  • you learn from a teacher who DOES social media marketing every day to earn her full-time living
  • you learn search engine optimization, mobile marketing, visual content, and other topics not covered by other programs
  • all this at a cost not requiring you to take out student loans

Why Do I Need to Renew My Certificate?

Because social media marketing changes so quickly, it’s imperative that your skills reflect the latest tactics, techniques, and strategies that work for social networks as they operate now, not as they did last year.  And employers and clients need to know that your skills are up-to-date.

Most major certifications require retraining, including CPR, lifeguarding, and other critical skills.

When you renew your certification for $150 each year, you get access to the entire curriculum for an additional three months so you can update your skill set.

When Can I Start?

Right now. Our program is live, and you can proudly earn & display your certificate within 30 days when you enroll today.

Apr 29

How to Get Sales Using Instagram & Pinterest [WEBINAR EXCERPT]

By Janice Deleon

Watch this webinar excerpt to see how one tiny brand sells out of their inventory in less than 24 hours. Every. Day.  You can get the full webinar FREE here.

Get Webinar FREE with SMOC Membership

Video Transcript

Maria Peagler: Let’s sum up what it takes to sell on Instagram. The easiest thing for you to do is just post to your website or your blog or wherever it is on social media and just say, “Hey, on the blog today here’s what I’m doing. On Facebook today, here’s what I’m doing.” Just remind people, “Hey, there’s something new going on here. Here’s where you can find this.” Something that’s not quite as easy but it’s still pretty easy is something called micro content. This is what I do. I do a lot of info graphics but those are really too big to post on Instagram.

I do a very small version with one fact on it and I do a shortened link that people can remember to type in their URL in their browser. Because you cannot link to anything on Instagram on your post unless it is in your profile. That’s the only thing you can do, so I do it this way. Then, finally it’s more involved but do like Fox and Fawn and give people an EZ Button. They came up with a really really smart way for people to buy directly from them on Instagram by having their credit card on file and just saying, “Ring me up.” I just think it’s genius. They are doing really well.

The key to getting Instagram sales is having a clear photo. Here’s Elise’s journal photos and she’s got details about when and where to buy. They sell out within a day. Be very detailed in your description. Fox and Fawn in their profile gave you everything that you needed to know. They don’t put holds on items, no returns. Call their telephone number to purchase, where they are. They’re very detailed in their descriptions. Things sell out within an hour. This sweatshirt sold within an hour. Give people an easy way to do it. Theirs was a comment with, “Ring me up.” That is Instagram.

Now we’re going to move on to Pinterest which works completely differently. Pinterest works on both the mobile and desktop so there are no limitations there. The one thing that you really need to understand is Pinterest drives traffic and it drives a lot of it. If you are looking to get traffic to your website, Pinterest will do it for you. It is the number one driver of traffic of any social network. More than Twitter, more than YouTube, certainly more than Instagram. It is a huge driver of traffic to your website.

There are a couple things that you need to do on Pinterest. One is to have a really good image. Again, it doesn’t need to be professional but there are some things that you can do to get a really good image that gets a lot of likes, re-pins and traffic. Here’s what it is. You are actually going to get this template that you can use or give to your graphic designer. This is one of the goodies you’re going to get.

The original blog post appears here.

small business Socialmediaonlineclasses.com featured image
Apr 14

Small Business Tactics You Can Use to Compete Against Big Box Competitors

By Maria Peagler

Small Business Tactics You Can Use to Compete Against Big Box Competitors

small business Socialmediaonlineclasses.com featured image

I got a call from a floral shop owner in a small town, and she was scared . . .

One of the HUGE online floral brands was running Google ads that made them “appear” to be local.

They had a big budget, an ad agency . . .

And they were taking away her business.

What could she do?

We developed a strategy in her personal coaching sessions with me (included with her membership), she took classes here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com to learn search engine optimization and tactics only local businesses can use.  She developed a unique strategy based on her shop and her location, enabling her to compete against those bigger brands and take away THEIR business.

How? That’s what this post is all about —

1. Don’t Try to Win Shoppers on Price

If you’re s small brand who is competing against an online retailer or big box store, the price battle is one you’ll lose.

Ultimately, however, you’ll come out the winner.

Why?

Because shoppers who buy based on the lowest price are NEVER loyal: they go with whomever has the lowest price at the time. They’re also demanding, difficult to please, and rarely satisfied.

Let someone else have those clients — you don’t need the headache.

So first, realize you won’t win over everyone, nor do you want to.

 

2. Offer Specialized Products the Big Brands Can’t

Every floral shop offers wedding and funeral bouquets. But what don’t they offer?

  • Floral arrangements based on the colors of local high school and college teams
  • Themed arrangements for the local festival and celebrations
  • Participation in local cultural events
  • Specialized same-day delivery to local hospitals

Last year a family friend was in a horrific accident and recovering in an Atlanta hospital.  I wanted to send a special floral bouquet, but because I’m over an hour away, I didn’t know which florists specialized in delivering to that hospital or even if she could receive flowers.

I made one phone call to the hospital, and found out that yes, this patient could receive flowers, and they even recommended a local florist who specialized in same-day deliveries:  Peachtree Petals.

small business compete big box peachtree petals

Peachtree Petals has a dedicated page on their website telling you which local hospitals they deliver to. They even have a same-day count-down timer to let you know how long you have to place an order.

They offered a dedicated website page for local hospital floral deliveries, reassuring me that they did deliver to the hospital I needed, and could do so within the SAME day.

Later in this post I’ll share related resources you can use for powerful tactics available only to local businesses.

Here’s another incredible small business: a local Alpharetta, Georgia bakery called Mama Bakes Safe Cakes.  While that may sound like an odd name, any mother whose child has food allergies can immediately identify with what this unique bakery has to offer: allergen-free baked goods.

small business big box competitors mama bakes safe cakes alpharetta ga

You can find cupcakes in any grocery store, Wal-Mart and Target across the country.  What you can’t find is a bakery that can assure you that their baked goods were prepared in an allergen-free environment and are safe for your child to eat.

Specialized bakeries can charge prices for one cupcake that would buy six cupcakes at a grocery store, because it’s challenging to find bakeries that specialize in allergen-free products.  Peace-of-mind for parents comes with a higher price tag they are more than happy to pay.

Score one for the little guys!

3. Show the People Behind Your Small Business

Who’s the face of Home Depot, Starbucks, or Target?

No one.

Here’s where small businesses can win BIG: let your customers get to know the people behind your business.

The secret to capturing the hearts of your customers is your PEOPLE. They are the ones who greet us as we come through the door, who ask us how our families are doing, who know what we want for dinner before we even order.  All of these special touches make your store feel like HOME when we walk through the door.

No big box retailer can come close to that.

The Woodbridge Inn is a small restaurant in Jasper, Georgia, located in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. Owner Hans Rueffert is carrying on the tradition his father Joe started in running the business:

woodbridge inn small business compete against big retailers

Hans competed in the Food Network Star reality competition, does local cooking shows, and has fought a fierce battle with stomach cancer.  Locals know Hans, his family, and his story because he freely shares them:

hans rueffert gluten free woodbridge inn small business

One evening this winter my husband and I were enjoying dinner at the the Woodbridge Inn when Hans came out with his new baby Heidi, and introduced her to every single table. We talked food, family, and connected over a great meal prepared by great people:

baby heidi woodbridge inn small business jasper ga

 

 

 

4. Participate in Local Events

Peachtree Petal’s Facebook page shows their talented designers participating in at the High Museum of Art’s “Art in Bloom” event.  No online retailer can show this kind of local support!

small business compete big box Socialmediaonlineclasses.com

Peachtree Petals participates in local cultural events. You get to know the people behind the brand.

On Mama Bakes Safe Cake’s Facebook page is a “thank you” from a runner delighted to be greeted with allergen-free cupcakes after finishing a local road race:

mama bakes safe cakes local participation small business

 

Ultimately, big box retailers don’t know your town’s people, their stories, nor will they win their loyalties with low prices.  Connection, incredible service, and specialized products will set your small business apart and allow it to thrive, even when you hear the FEE-FI-FO-FUM of giant big-box retailers approaching.

No worries. You’ve got this.

Small Business vs Big Business Checklist

Use this handy checklist as your guide to offering a specialized experience no big brand retailer can match:

beat big box competitors infographic Socialmediaonlineclasses.com

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Related Resources

The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Local Business

Social Media for Local Business Webinar

Search Engine Optimization 101 Class

 

Apr 06

65 Social Media Marketing Resources from 1st Quarter of 2015

By Janice Deleon

65-sm-resources-2015-post

Every week here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com we give you a list of our most recent resources with our Weekly Top 5: your lessons, infographics, webinars, and articles. We’ve gathered all those resources from 1st quarter of the year into one GINORMOUS list for you, making it uber-easy to find what you need to grow your business using social media marketing.

Enjoy!

Social Media Strategy

  1. 1:1 Coaching Each Month for Members  *
  2. 4 Easy Ways to Make Money with Social Media Marketing
  3. Be More Efficient in 2015 by Identifying Your Top 20%
  4. CHEAT SHEET: 4 Social Media Engagement Hacks *
  5. Emailing Leads from a Trade Show – is that SPAM? *
  6. How to Crowdfund Your Business
  7. How to Get More Traffic to Your Website Using Social Media
  8. How to Repurpose Your Content  *
  9. How to Run a Profitable Flash Sale *
  10. Member Question Re: Dark Social Media *
  11. My Favorite 15+ Books for Small Business Owners 
  12. Need More Traffic to Your Website? Think Again! 
  13. New Private Mastermind Group for Members    *
  14. NEW! Social Media Strategy Template & Spreadsheet *
  15. One-on-One Coaching for Members     *
  16. SMOC is #1 on Alltop with This Article  *
  17. Social Media Certification for Each Class *
  18. Social Media Hacks You Can Use for More Engagement on ANY Network
  19. Social Media Strategy Template *
  20. Social Media Strategy Template & Spreadsheet *
  21. Start 2015 with an Updated Social Media Action Plan
  22. SWIPE FILE: How to WOW Potential Customers with Testimonials *
  23. The Oscars Use of Hashtags in 2015
  24. The State of Social Media for Small Business [CLASSIC]
  25. The Ultimate Guide to Hashtags
  26. This Surprising Social Network Outperforms All Others
  27. Use Your Website Assets in Your Online Marketing *
  28. VIDEO – How to Find Your Target Market *
  29. What’s the #1 Thing You Wished You Understood Better About Marketing?
  30. Why Your Social Media Marketing Isn’t Generating Revenue
  31. Best Books for Small Business Owners [INFOGRAPHIC]
  32. Content Generation Infographic  *
  33. Vote for Your Favorite Version of Our Classic Infographic *

 

Facebook

  1. 64 Tactics to Use on Facebook in 2015
  2. Brand New for 2015: Facebook Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]
  3. Facebook Changes Post Scheduling Options   *
  4. Great Example of a Simple Business Video *
  5. How to Do Business-to-Business Networking on Facebook *
  6. How to Find a Facebook Post in a Group *
  7. How to Transition Friends to Your Facebook Business Page *
  8. How to Use a Facebook Ad to Market Vacation Rentals *
  9. How to Use Hashtags on Your Hangtags *
  10. NEW CLASS! Facebook Advertising on a Budget  *
  11. New Facebook Advertising Lessons in Facebook 103  *
  12. New Facebook Private Group for Members *
  13. The One Simple Step that Increases Facebook Reach Exponentially!  *
  14. Website Images Won’t Appear on Facebook Post Links *
  15. What Gets the Highest Engagement on Facebook in 2015?
  16. What’s the Proper Recognition for a Facebook Like? *

Webinar

  1. [WEBINAR EXCERPT] 3 Must-Have Google Analytics Reports for Small Business *
  2. Can Mobile Users Find Your Business? Webinar, Slide Deck, Audio & Infographic *
  3. Can Mobile Users Find Your Website [WEBINAR EXCERPT] *
  4. Can Mobile Users Find Your Website? Webinar Replay & Resources *
  5. How to Automate Your Social Media Marketing: [Webinar EXCERPT] *
  6. How to Protect Your Business from Hackers: [Webinar Excerpt] *
  7. How to Protect Your Business from Hackers: Webinar Replay *
  8. THURSDAY: How to Protect Your Business from Hackers – Webinar, Slide Deck, Audio & Infographic

Pinterest

  1. Your Post Repinned Over 100 Times on Pinterest? 

Twitter

  1. [INTERVIEW] How an Entrepreneur Gets Over 70% of Her Business from Twitter

Google Plus

  1. 3 Must-Have Google Analytics Reports for Small Business
  2. Google Analytics Made Simple: Live Webinar + Recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic *

LinkedIn

  1. LinkedIn Fixes Their BIG Mistake of 2014

YouTube

  1. Help! I Have Multiple YouTube Channels and Don’t Know How to Fix It! *

SEO

  1. Do Local Directories Help a Local Business’ SEO? *

* Indicates Members-Only Content

hacks for more engagement across any platorm
Mar 17

Engagement Hacks to Use on Any Social Network

By Maria Peagler

hacks for more engagement across any platorm

 

“I need more engagement!”

Sound familiar?

Today I’m coming to the rescue with four no-fail hacks you can use on ANY social network to increase your engagement.

Let’s get started —

1. Use Video to Get Higher Engagement on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter

In 2015, video has the highest reach of any post type on Facebook. To be clear, that’s video uploaded to Facebook, not linked to from YouTube. Reach is the gateway to higher engagement, so you’re guaranteed to increase both using video.

Video is still unique on Instagram and Twitter: we’re used to images on Instagram and text-only tweets, so video is unique and attention-grabbing.  Use it and you’ll see your engagement skyrocket. On Jimmy Fallon’s Instagram page, he has only one video, but it gets more engagement than any of his photos:

video gets more engagement

The sole video on Jimmy Fallon’s Instagram page has more Likes & Comments than his photos

 

 

2. Use Visual Content to Get 180% More Engagement

visual storytelling maria peagler

In my interview with Visual Storytelling co-author Ekaterina Walter, she says “posts with visuals drive up to 180% more engagement than those without.”

Daniel Pink, in his book A Whole New Mind, discusses the importance of design in business, and visual content is a major part of that.

Simply put, text-only content is “old school.”  You need to engage your audience with compelling visuals to initiate a conversation and a reaction.

If you’re not a designer, don’t worry, you don’t need to be.  Check out my resources for doing it easily yourself:

Create a DIY Stock Photo Library

Use Canva to Repurpose One Photo into an Entire Library [VIDEO TUTORIAL]

3. Use Micro-Content to Engage Short Attention Spans

Yes, the human attention span is now less than that of a goldfish.

Don’t fight it.

Instead, repurpose your content into smaller pieces, called micro-content.

Here’s an example: for 2014, we gathered all of the resources we published (in addition to our classes) and created one long resource post that included over 100 links:

100 marketing resources from 2014

While that list is highly actionable, I knew that not everyone who read the post would get through the entire thing. So I was determined to get more mileage out of it than just one blog post.

I repurposed that list into an infographic, allowing me to post the list on Pinterest in a visual way. Instead of listing every resource, I pulled out several and highlighted them in this infographic:

100 marketing resources infographic

100 marketing resources from 2014

Repurposing the text-only list allows me to share it on visual social networks like Pinterest

That long list of links would never have made it onto Pinterest, but the infographic turned those resources into highly shareable and engaging content perfect for this visual social network.

Finally, I took one resource from that list and created micro-content to share on Instagram and Twitter:

micro content created for instagram

I took one tactic from the list of 100 and created a small visual for it

Creating micro-content from that list engaged part of my audience who would never have read that long list of resources. I repurposed that content into different forms, eliciting more engagement from my followers.

4. Share Other People’s Content

This is a tactic often referred to as a best practice in relationship marketing, but it also pays off in terms of engagement.

Last week, the most shared post on the Socialmediaonlineclasses.com Facebook page wasn’t my own content. It was an article I shared from Entrepreneur on what makes someone “likeable” —

share others content for higher engagement

This post got more organic reach, likes, and shares than any other post on my page last week. The cute photo Entrepreneur used also made it highly “shareable” and reinforces #2 on this list — visual content.

Engagement Hacks Checklist

Use this handy checklist as your guide to getting higher engagement no matter which social network you use:

engagement hacks checklist Socialmediaonlineclasses.com

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Which Hack Will You Use?

None of these hacks are difficult: you don’t need to be a coder, graphic designer, or videographer to do them. Each of them is within reach of small business owners who want more engagement from their audience.

Pick the hack that seems most natural to you or that will appeal to your audience the most and start there.

Your engagement thank you for it.

my favorite business books
Jan 06

My Favorite 15+ Books for Small Business Owners

By Maria Peagler

my favorite business books

What’s the one thing profitable business owners have in common?

They’re lifelong learners.

After all, if you generate profits in your business year after year, you need to stay up-to-date on your industry, how business practices change, and how to stay current.

As an author, I’m a voracious reader, not only of fiction, but non-fiction business books. Today I’m sharing with you those business books that helped the bottom line of my business.

415-zyGlFSL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_1.  Less Doing More Living

Author: Ari Miesel

This book was one of my favorites of 2014. Written by a Ari Miesel, a business owner who has a debilitating disease and is the father of twins, who found a way to automate much of his business. I’m usually not a big fan of automation tactics, as they remove any personal touch your clients need from you. But Ari developed an online productivity system to automate much of the behind-the-scenes, freeing you up for the customer touchpoint tasks. I was able to save hundreds of hours and literally thousands of dollars by using his methods.  He has perfected the art of automating his business and his life so he can focus on the priorities needing most of his attention.

Favorite Highlight

“According to the 80/20 rule, I should be focusing on only the things that only I can do, like creating original content for the blog.  Everything else should be handled by someone else.”

41Qn40zaexL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_2.  The Checklist Manifesto

Author:  Atul Gawande

One of my favorite business books of all time.  I’ve recommended this book often and cannot emphasize enough how the process of creating a checklist helps me to document lengthy and complex processes and train my staff how to do them as well. Gwande shares examples of critical professions relying on checklists to avoid loss of life, such as architects, engineers and World Health Organization surgeons.

Favorite Highlight

“But finding a good idea is apparently not that hard.  Finding an entrepreneur who can execute a good idea is another matter entirely.  One needs a person who can take an idea from proposal to reality, work the long hours, build a team, handle the pressures and setbacks, manage technical and people problems alike, and stick with the effort for years on end without getting distracted or going insane.  Such people are rare and extremely hard to spot.”

download3.  Anything You Want

Author: Derek Sivers

A slim, yet invaluable book from Derek Sivers on his journey from being a music lover who coded a simple program to founder of CD Baby, selling it for over 21 million dollars.  What I love about this book is Derek’s candid story of ups and downs in his journey, and his advice on enjoying your own and not getting swallowed by sharks.  Derek has done multiple TED talks and is generous with his time, answering questions via email from readers on his website.  I asked him a question for my son about going into the music business, and we was kind and open with his advice.

Favorite Highlights

“Never forget absolutely everything you do is for your customers.  Make every decision – even decisions about whether to expand the business, raise money, or promote someone – according to what’s best for your customers.”

“It’s counterintuitive, but the best way to grow your business is to focus entirely on your existing customers: just thrill them, and they’ll tell everyone.”

51HtHc4sTvL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_4.  12 Week Year

Author: Brian Moran

I almost didn’t include this book in this year-end list because the author, Brian Moran, was decidedly curt when I reached out to him about an issue on his website.  However, I have gotten such tremendous results using this method I would be remiss in not mentioning it. Brian’s method recommends intense focus on a few goals over a 12-week period, even scoring yourself on your efforts and results.  I’ve been using his method for an entire year, and I can report I’ve gotten better results working with his method on my own than in hiring “experts” to tackle the same problem.

Favorite Highlight

“In 12 week planning, you identify the top one to three things that will have the greatest impact, and pursue those with intensity.”

515vWYjaFzL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_5.  The First 20 Hours

Author:  Josh Kaufman

A similar book to the 12 Week Year, but Josh Kaufman’s (The Personal MBA) focus is on mastering a skill in a short period of time – 20 hours to be exact.  What I loved about this book is similar to what Tim Ferriss does in his 4 Hour Chef: Josh recommends breaking down the skill set you need to learn and identifying the critical elements you need to master.

Favorite Highlight

“What feels like the long way is the shortest way. Zero-practice shortcuts don’t exist. No practice, no skill acquisition. It’s as simple as that.”

41Jl9XR0HqL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_6.  4 Hour Chef

Author: Tim Ferriss

As a gourmet cook, I didn’t read Tim Ferriss’ book to learn how to master cooking. Instead, I read it to learn how to “hack” learning, which is what Tim is REALLY teaching in this book, using cooking as the vehicle.  Tim figured out the key to quick learning early on working for Berlitz — the foreign language company — and applied those same tactics to other learning disciplines.  He distills the quick-learning principles to acronyms easy to remember like CAFE and DSSS, and these tactics help me learn quickly in an industry that changes daily.

Favorite Highlight

“The lowest volume, the lowest frequency, the fewest changes that get us our desired results is what I label minimum effective dose (MED). It’s a broad concept that applies to almost any field.”

41O9Zptxu7L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_7.  168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

Author: Laura Vanderkam

I interviewed Laura Vanderkahm on the blog here after reading her book about time management. I hesitate to call it a time management book, because I’ve decidedly eschewed those in favor of smarter approaches to life and how I choose to spend my time.  Laura’s book is an eye-opener into how much time we all REALLY have, how we spend it, and how there truly is enough time in the day to do everything you need and want.

Favorite Highlight

“Once you know what you want to do in the next year, you can break this down into what you want to do in the next month (120 – 240 hours) or week (24 – 26 hours). On Sunday nights, or before the start of your workweek, sit down and list the actionable tasks you need to do to advance you toward these goals. Then, this is the key part: schedule them in, knowing exactly how long they will take.”

download (1)8.  Delivering Happiness

Author: Tony Hsei

Tony claims this book is all about how Zappos delivers an over-the-top customer service experience.  I view it as the bible for anyone who wants to turn a boring business into a global brand that never competes on price. The shoe business was about as exciting as watching paint dry, until Tony turned it upside down with fun, great teamwork and amazing customer service.  A must read.

Favorite Highlight

“I realized that, whatever the vision was for any business, there was always a bigger vision that could make the table bigger. When Southwest Airlines first started, they didn’t see their target market as just limited to existing air travelers, which was what all other airlines did. Instead, they imaged their service as something that could potentially serve all the people who traveled by Greyhound bus or train, and they designed their business around that.”

51gn6AuFkNL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_9.  The Lean Startup

Author: Eric Ries

If you’ve heard the terms minimum viable product, pivot and lean, then you’ll understand the impact Eric Ries has had on the startup industry over the past five years.  Eric tells the story of how his failing tech business learned to stop guessing at what customers wanted and actually interacted with them and making tiny improvements along the way.

Favorite Highlight

“Success is not delivering a feature; success is learning how to solve the customer’s problem.”

10. Mastering Evernote

Author: Brandon Collins

I finally got on the Evernote bandwagon in 2012 and this small Kindle book helped me figure out how to customize my experience in Evernote.  As great a product as Evernote is, I never found it intuitive to use, which is why it took me so long to adopt it into my business toolkit.  This book finally got me using it like a pro.

Favorite Tip

Add most-used notes to the the shortcut bar so you don’t have to search for them repeatedly.

download (2)11.  Moonwalking with Einstein

Author: Joshua Foer

Summary

Not a business book per se, but a fascinating read at how regular people can develop super-memories. I’ve been able to pump up my own memory with these techniques, and help my son do so for college exams.  Not a how-to book, but a telling of one reporter’s story of covering the world memory championships, to challenging a participant to coach him in memory techniques, to winning the championship the next year. Truly a fun book to read.

Favorite Highlight

“The more we pack our lives with memories, the slower time seems to fly.”

51GWfhjxetL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_12.  The Stupidly Simple Way to Backup

Author: Christian O. Schilling

An inexpensive Amazon Kindle book that has a smart strategy for backing up your life and business (and what you don’t need to backup): personal photos, application purchases, etc.  I’ve been days away from a book deadline when my home was struck by lightning, killing all the electronic equipment in the house.  My backup saved me!

Favorite Highlight

“I save all my application serial codes within my password application. If I ever need to install an application again, I just download it from the web and look up my password in 1Password (or LastPass).”

download (3)13. The Power of Visual Storytelling

Authors: Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio

2014 was the year of the image in marketing, and has forever raised the bar for our expectations of visual communication online. It’s no longer enough to have great content: it needs stunning visuals to accompany it, and Ekaterina Walter’s book talks about this phenomenon, how it has impacted business, and her favorite tools for creating images (even if you’re not a photographer or graphic designer).  Listen to my interview with Ekaterina here, then see case studies of small brands using visual storytelling here.

Favorite Highlight

 “. . . usage of visuals has resulted in a social media era that rewards creativity.”

download (4)14. Thinkertoys

Author: Michael Michalko

Michael is a genius at structuring creative exercises that get you thinking beyond the everyday. I’ve used his techniques to develop formats for my infographics, identify new features for my products and far more.

Favorite Technique

Lotus Blossom Diagramming

download (5)15.  The Ultimate Sales Machine

Author: Chet Holmes

Chet breaks down the sales process for people who don’t think they’re salespeople.  My favorite parts of his process are “pig-headed persistence,” identify your six to do’s everyday, and discovering the common characteristics among your perfect customers.

Favorite Highlight

“The key to being productive is to stick to the six most important things you need get done that day. “

illust-ebook16. Virtual Freedom

Author Chris Ducker

Chris owns a VA placement service, and often exaggerates what a VA can do in this book.  However, I appreciated much of his management and bonus strategies for VAs and have used them myself.

Favorite Highlight

“Request a list of the VA’s personal recommendations for your business. This could include potential products, ways to better serve your customers, or any tools or training that would help your VA do her job better.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of my favorite books for small business owners.  What are your favorites? Add to this list in the comments below!

100 social media resources 2014 post
Dec 16

100+ Social Media Marketing Resources from 2014

By Admin Tester

100 social media resources 2014 post

Every week here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com we give you a list of our most recent resources with our Weekly Top 5: your lessons, infographics, webinars, and articles. For the first time ever, we’ve gathered all those resources from this year into one GINORMOUS list for you, making it uber-easy to find what you need to grow your business using social media marketing.

Enjoy!

Social Media Strategy

  1. My Social Media Presentations, Templates and Videos
  2. First 100 Days of 2013 Challenge: Creating a Social Media Action Plan
  3. Marketing Infographics on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Social Media Strategy & More
  4. The Ultimate Guide to Productivity Tools for Small Business
  5. How to Automate Your Social Media Marketing: Webinar, Slide Deck, Audio & Infographic*
  6. Content Generation Infographic
  7. How to Give Thanks to Your Audience Using Social Media
  8. Where is Your Most Profitable Network Hiding?
  9. Social Media Engagement Swipe File
  10. How a Local Business Uses Social Media as Their ONLY Marketing
  11. How to Avoid Freebie Seekers in the Sharing Economy
  12. 7 Surprising Secrets I Learned from Beauty Vloggers
  13. What Millennials Need to Know About Social Media for Business
  14. Which Tool is Best for Scheduling Social Media Posts for Multiple Clients?*
  15. How to Write a Press Release That Doesn’t Get Ignored*
  16. How to Find Your Most Profitable Marketing
  17. How to Use Hashtags Across Social Networks*
  18. What You Need to Know BEFORE You Do Social Media Marketing in Europe
  19. How to Go on Vacation without Abandoning Your Business
  20. What’s New in Social Media: 3rd Quarter Round-Up
  21. How We Wecome You at SMOC (or How to Onboard Your Clients)
  22. Beyond Strategy: How’s Your Social Media Execution?
  23. Why Your Social Media Marketing Isn’t Generating Revenue
  24. How to Rebrand Yourself and Launch a New Career
  25. The One Thing You Should Do on Social Media Every Day
  26. Online Training for Different Learning Styles: Social Media Training
  27. The Learn Startup Approach to Education in America: Minimum Viable Education
  28. New Cheat Sheets in Your Swipe File
  29. Learn How to Build Your Own Stock Photo Library Using Your iPhone
  30. Most Popular Articles from the First Half of 2014
  31. Our Top Presentations — Get ‘Em Here!
  32. This Surprising Social Network Outperforms All Others*
  33. Want Us to Do Your Social Media?  We Do That!
  34. The State of Social Media for Small Business
  35. Great Hashtag Contest by YesToCarrots
  36. The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Local Business
  37. How Can I Rebrand My Business?*
  38. What’s a Good Click-Through Percentage?*
  39. Small Business Websites Live or Die by These Reviews*
  40. How to Get Your Business in Front of 10,000 Visitors Every Month*
  41. Advice on Starting a Local Social Media Marketing Business**
  42. Unified Social Media Strategy: Content+Website+Social+SEO+Email
  43. Help! How Do I Market a Painful Business (Literally!)?*
  44. Redesigned Social Media Strategy Class: 2014 Edition
  45. Download Your Online Marketing Multi-Tool Bonus
  46. Have You Updated Your Marketing Strategy Yet?
  47. How to Use Infographics to Increase Your Search Engine Rank*
  48. Online Marketing Multi-Tool*
  49. Never Again Be at a Loss for Your Next Blog Post*
  50. Create Your Own Branded Images*
  51. Your First Online Store: Webinar, Audio, Slide Deck & Infographic
  52. 2014′s Best Social Media Marketing Infographics
  53. New Cheat Sheets in Your Swipe File
  54. What to Look for in Online Social Media Training
  55. How to Write a Blog Post in 10 Minutes Flat
  56. Press Release Template*
  57. How to Allow Visitors to Submit Blog Posts & Images to your Blog*
  58. How a #1 Local Business Monetizes Social Media Marketing
  59. Most Effective Way to Pitch a Guest Post to Top Bloggers*

Facebook

  1. Facebook Marketing Infographic
  2. How to Reach More of Your Facebook Fans and Get Higher Engagement
  3. How Facebook Just Made Your Life Easier*
  4. How Often Should I Post to Facebook in 2014?*
  5. How to Get Double Duty from Every Facebook Post*
  6. What Facebook ISN’T Telling You About Its Latest Business Page Redesign
  7. HUGE Facebook News: Google Search Now Links to FB Posts Using Hashtags
  8. How to EASILY Increase Your Facebook Post Reach*
  9. How to Create a Facebook Timeline with a Clickable Button*
  10. New Timeline Design Goes LIVE this Week — Are You Ready?*
  11. Facebook 2014 Changes — What You Need to Know*
  12. Website Images Won’t Appear on Facebook Post Links*
  13. How to Find Which Apps You Have Installed on Facebook*
  14. Facebook Like Box *
  15. How to Boost a Post, Create an Ad Using FB Ad Manager*
  16. The Most Successful Small Business Advertiser on FB*
  17. Facebook’s Changes to Business Page Timelines & NewsFeeds*
  18. How to Stay on Top of Facebook’s Latest Changes*
  19. Facebook Changes 2014 Checklist *
  20. Five New Videos in Facebook 101*
  21. How Can I Ensure My Facebook Posts Are Seen by the Public?*
  22. How Do I Ask My FB Friends to Like My Page?*
  23. New Videos in Facebook 101*
  24. Contests & Fundraising on Facebook*
  25. Facebook Doesn’t Offer a Category for My Business?  What to Do?*
  26. Facebook 103 is Entirely New for 2014*
  27. How to Generate 1,200% ROI on a $50 Facebook Ad
  28. Easy Facebook Ads on a Budget
  29. Facebook Primer for Small Business*
  30.  Facebook Marketing Infographic*
  31. SMOC Forum Focus-Facebook

Webinar

  1. How to Do a Blog Tour*
  2. How you can use Visual Content to Make your Marketing “Sticky” with your Audience
  3. Three Brands and How they use Visual Content in their Marketing
  4. Social Media Manager Learning Track
  5. Your First Online Store
  6. How to Find Your Target Market*
  7. Visual Storytelling: Video Case Studies
  8. Free Hootsuite How-To Video*
  9. How to Get More Sales from Your Website 1
  10. How to Create a Stock Photo Library
  11. How to Get More Sales from Your Website 2
  12. How to Get More Sales from Your Website 3
  13. Outsourcing Your Social Media Marketing*
  14. How to Brand & Watermark Your Images*
  15. How to Outsource Your Social Media*
  16. Social Media for Local Business*
  17. Content Marketing Made Simple*
  18. Member Website & Social Media Critique*
  19. Easy Facebook Ads on a Budget *
  20. 1:1 Coaching with Maria for SMOC Members*
  21. How to Get More Sales from Your Website 4

Pinterest

  1. What’s the Perfect Size for a Pinterest Pin?*
  2. Pinterest 101 – Updated to Newest User Interface Design*
  3. Profitable Pinterest Marketing
  4. Pinterest Contest Swipe File*
  5. How to Make a Pinterest Pin Go Viral Even before Your Website Launches*

Twitter

  1. How a Brand Differentiates Themselves on Twitter
  2. How to Differentiate Your Brand on Twitter in Just 10 Seconds*
  3. The Difference Between Twitter’s Retweet Button and @RT*
  4. Twitter Image Size Cheat Sheet*

Google Plus

  1. Should I Use a Google+ Business or Personal Account for My Marketing?*
  2. Google+ Circles Impact on SEO*
  3. Should You Use Google+ for Business, Personal, or Both?*

LinkedIn

  1. LinkedIn Sales Checklist Infographic: 5 Ways to Rock Your Profile & Generate Leads
  2. LinkedIn Master Tactic: Search a Colleague’s Contact List*
  3. LinkedIn Quietly Removes Activity Feed from Profiles*

 Instagram

  1. Instagram Marketing Infographic
  2. How to Make Photos from Followers are Visible on Instagram*
  3. Instagram 101 Debuts This Month!*

 YouTube

  1. How to Customize Your YouTube Channel with a Welcome Trailer*
  2. Multiple Businesses Need Multiple YouTube Channels?*

WordPress

  1. WordPress 101 is all new for 2014*
  2. In Between Jobs & Learning WordPress?*

SEO

  1. How to Identify Your Most Profitable Keywords for SEO*
  2. SMOC Forum Focus-SEO

Slideshare

  1. Slideshare 101 is All New in Our “Chunked” 10-Minute-a-Day Format!*

* Indicates Members-Only Content

Your Ultimate Guide to Productivity Tools
Dec 02

The Ultimate Guide to Productivity Tools for Small Business

By Maria Peagler


Your Ultimate Guide to Productivity Tools

Ever wish you could clone yourself to get more done?

We’re all striving to accomplish more with less resources in the 21st century, and that’s especially true if you’re a solopreneur or small brand. I’ve made it my mission to keep my business (and my training) as simple and elegant as possible. That makes it easier for me to develop and advance a thriving business while also being a wife to an entrepreneur and involved mom to two teenage sons.

My secret?

Awesome tools. And a hack I’ll show you in a moment (saving me HOURS of time each week and thousands of dollars I don’t have to spend on labor that I can invest in my business).

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a tool junkie (you know — those people who are ALWAYS touting the latest app they’ve downloaded and can’t wait to tell you about it). I don’t have time for that.

Instead, I invest in the best tools that make it possible to run an agile business I love and allow me to enjoy a full life outside of work.

So today I’m sharing with you my favorite tools I use on a DAILY basis and WHY I think they’re the best at what they offer.

Google Apps for Business

The paid version of Gmail, Google Drive, Docs and more. This is a huge switch for me, as I made a lucrative career from being a technical writer of books on Microsoft and other Windows’ products. Five years ago I purchased a Mac (because it just works, period) and didn’t want to pay for the Office Suite, so I started using Google Docs instead.

Google’s suite of products is nowhere near as robust as the Office suite, so if you need deep features like long documents and tables of contents in your word processor, stick with Word. But for what I do, which is mostly tables, presentations, and simple PDFs, Google Docs works great.

I’ve become an enormous fan of using Google Sheets for applications far beyond financials — planning, dashboards, and libraries of data I keep in a spreadsheet. It’s so simple to create a worksheet with multiple sheets and keep track of goals, reports, and content libraries within one file.

But why the paid version?

In May of this year, my email address was blacklisted as a spammer due to my hosting company sharing my virtual private server (VPS) with another company that was identified as sending SPAM email. The only way to fix the situation was to enroll in Google Apps for Business and use the paid version of their Gmail. That way, I would never again have to worry about my email being listed as SPAM.

The best part of using Google Apps for Business? Google support. Yes, really! Once you are a paying client, Google provides the BEST support I’ve ever encountered.

Related resources: How to Combine Social Media and Email Marketing to Capture Leads You’re Missing

WordPress.org

Not surprising, since I teach a class on how to create your website using WordPress, but my love of this platform goes far beyond just being able to create a simple website with it.

When I started Socialmediaonlineclasses.com, I researched the most popular learning management systems (LMS) at the time, which were Moodle and Blackboard. I found them to be bloated, cumbersome, and better suited for enterprise organizations and institutions.

I also tried BuddyPress, which has a social network feature built into it, but found it to be unstable and not as well-supported as WordPress.

So why do I love WordPress so much? It allows me to:

  • create a simple website I can modify without being a developer
  • add a blog to my website that has the same look and feel as my website
  • create an online training site by adapting WordPress posts, pages, categories and shortcodes into an agile learning system I can change as my needs evolve
  • find answers to common WordPress problems because it has a global network of users who have encountered the same issues
  • easily hire developers and designers who have worked on WordPress and have deep experience with it
  • easily train interns and new hires on how we use WordPress because they likely already have experience with it
WordPress 101 Learn how to build your own blog/website — no coding required
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Wishlist Member WordPress Plugin

Wishlist Member (WLM) is a WordPress plugin allowing me to make my paid classes private. It’s categorized as a membership site plugin, but you can do much more with it than that.

WLM was not the first solution I tried (BuddyPress, S2Member, WPDev Member), but it’s the ONLY one that worked consistently, was stable, and well-supported.

They also have a companion membership program called Wishlist Insider I belonged to for a year to learn how others used it, network with WLM users, and get up-to-speed quickly to get the type of online training site I wanted.

Newer membership site plugins are available now, but I plan to stick with WLM. They offer a one-time price (vs. monthly for the newer plugins) and I don’t want to have to learn a new system and transition my members to it. I’ve found a solution that works for me and allows me to stay agile and robust in my offering.

Trello Project Management

Trello is an online project management system I absolutely love (and its cute dog mascot Taco).

I’ve tried BaseCamp, Asana, and even developed a class on Harvard Project Manager years ago. Most project management tools are needlessly complex and dull to use. The beauty of Trello is in its simplicity: it has a Pinterest-like interface, using cards, and you can organize your projects in any way that suits your business and working style.

It has few restrictions on how you setup your projects: that freedom allows you to make your Trello system truly your own.  You use Organizations, Boards, Lists, and Cards to create your projects and invite team members. You can add links, images, video, and text formatting to your projects to make them multimedia-rich.

We use Trello for our in-house training and orientation, our editorial calendar, ongoing projects, social media services clients, and website development projects. I can assign dates to projects, communicate with and tag team members about projects and see a calendar view of our editorial calendar to see what’s coming up next.

Aweber Email Marketing

The first thing I did in my business, before I ever had a website, was invest in email marketing software. I started out using iContact, but have since transitioned to Aweber for the segmentation features (I can send automatic emails to my audience depending upon what their interests are).

I had used ConstantContact for clients and didn’t like its user interface, and wasn’t interested in free so never tried MailChimp. I wanted a tool I could use immediately and start seeing ROI.  I loved iContact’s simplicity and great support, and appreciate Aweber’s terrific support as well.

Aweber has a steeper learning curve than other email marketing applications, but that’s the trade-off for more features, and I’m happy to pay it.

I use Aweber for sending out our weekly newsletter and sending automatic follow-up emails to people taking our free social media strategy class. I love the reporting I get: I can immediately identify what topics are most popular, what people are clicking on and what they open.

Snagit and Voila Screen Capture Tools

I use screen capture tools daily in developing and updating our training classes, building our Swipe File to show members examples of brands doing social media well, providing customer support, communicating with my team members, when we have technical challenges and are communicating with support teams, and far more.

When it comes to training, a picture really is worth a thousand words, and members love seeing an informative image rather than have to sit through a video.

I used TechSmith’s Snagit for years and found it to be the best screen capture tool available. However, when I upgraded to Mavericks operating system and to the latest version of Snagit, it slowed my computer to a crawl. So I transitioned to Voila, a Mac-based screen capture tool. It doesn’t have as many annotation and editing features as Snagit, but it takes advantage of the Mac operating system, allowing me to drag and drop images into almost any application.

 

Swipe File "Steal" these tactics from successful brands for your own business
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Evernote

For a long time I just didn’t get why so many people were fanatical about Evernote. Sure, it was a great note-taking app and you could do a lot more with it, but I hadn’t really investigated all of its features.

I became hooked for personal reasons: I was researching a family trip we were taking to Washington D.C., and saved our hotel, tour reservations, itineraries and more to Evernote, and it was available on my smartphone while we were traveling. I could research a museum and capture a screen listing its hours/directions, and that screen capture would be available on my phone.

I now use Evernote for my business: writing my daily To-Do list, saving articles I want to refer to later, outlining large projects, and so much more.

The Productivity Hack That Saves Me Hours Each Week

The best part of using these applications? They can work together in automating much of my business. I can set up tasks to be automated, saving me time, and my virtual assistant can work on far more productive projects.

This hack allows me to practically clone myself for far greater productivity.

Some of the tasks I automate:

  • Dictating the foundation for a blog post into my smartphone and saving it to Evernote
  • Creating a content library by building a list of our blog posts and their URLs in a Google spreadsheet
  • Automatically uploading a video to YouTube, which in turn creates a blog post draft in WordPress
  • Creating a spreadsheet of my latest Twitter followers, their bios and follower counts
  • and much, much more

I set up these tasks just once, and they run automatically as necessary. My virtual assistant doesn’t have to spend her time on these items, so I can have her generating important reports and focusing on customer service (tasks that require the human touch to really do well).

How do I automate these tasks? Stay tuned: tomorrow’s post will give you the details!

 

Nov 20

How to Avoid Freebie Seekers in the Sharing Economy

By Maria Peagler

How to Avoid Freebie Seekers in the

I’ve got some tough love for you today . . .

Do you give away too much in your business?

We’re in a “sharing economy” aren’t we? You’re supposed to give away content to get traffic to your website, to get engagement on your posts, and to ultimately generate revenue, right?

After all, Seth Godin says that’s what creates a “tribe.”

Here’s the tough love part: are you Seth Godin?

Didn’t think so.  Neither am I.

So for the rest of us, how do you turn the expectation of “free” into a sale without turning people off? That’s what you’re going to learn in this post, plus a terrific example of how one of the major car brands does this better than all the rest.

Identify Free vs. Paid in Your Business

In my own business, I give away a free social media strategy class: it’s shorter than my paid classes, doesn’t have as much multi-media content, but it gives people a “taste” of the quality and scope of what being a Socialmediaonlineclasses.com member is like.

how to avoid freebie seekers

Visitors see Pricing right away, plus they can optin for a free class, both on Home Page

For some people though, that’s not enough.

They want to see more video — “I want to see what your videos are like.”

I point them to my YouTube channel. I DON’T give them access to paid content.

Period.

Did they complain?

Yes, some did.

Did I add more video to my free class?

No, I didn’t. I don’t want members who are constantly complaining and never satisfied, so those who don’t like the free class have weeded themselves out of the potential member pool.

They did me a HUGE favor by self-identifying themselves as NOT potential members.

Set Expectations Early That You’ll Be Selling

Every visitor touchpoint I offer includes marketing to set the expectation that Socialmediaonlineclasses.com is a paid service.

I make it abundantly clear by displaying Pricing & Plans prominently in the website main menu. From their first visit, people realize I offer a premium training experience they need to purchase to receive.

When visitors opt-in to the free Social Media Strategy class, the first screen they see is a one-time offer for 25% discount off of Annual Membership.  I make it clear they’re still getting the free class and details are on their way to their Inbox. In the meantime, they get an exclusive offer no other visitors see.

how to avoid freebie seekers

Free class subscribers get a special offer after they optin

In an autoresponder series using Aweber, those same subscribers get a daily email from me for six days, telling them how to get the most out of their free class. At the end of each email, is a reminder that they have X number of days to take advantage of the discount for Annual Membership.

how to avoid freebie seekers3

I train my visitors to expect a marketing pitch from me in almost every email

Our blog posts offer deep content on social media marketing that get shared globally, and in each post are links to recommended classes, webinars, and infographics readers can receive as a member to learn even more about that particular topic.

how to avoid freebie seekers4

In this blog post, I have five recommended resource pitches embedded in my educational content

I’m not overly-aggressive, but almost every message visitors get from me will have some sort of an offer included it.

The first priority here is the best-quality social media training, whether in paid classes or on our public blog. However, included in that training is our marketing pitch.

 

Make It Clear Why People Should Pay for What You Offer

There’s so much available for free on the web that you need to make it stupidly simple WHY your brand is better than the free content available elsewhere.

Sure, you can find free social media articles all over the web. But how easy is it to find the training you need, on the topic you need, from a source you trust, that’s up-to-date?

Profitable business owners don’t waste time spending hours searching for a free solution on the web.  They’re willing to pay for the right solution, right now.

I share my class outlines so people know exactly what they’ll be learning; I show the infographics they’ll get; I list the member webinars available; and I reassure visitors that we update our content continuously, so they learn what works NOW, not what worked six months ago.

Your most loyal customers will become your brand advocates, telling others why they shouldn’t waste their time on “free,” but choose your brand instead, as SMOC member Pat Roa Perez did here on a blog post she penned for Shewrites:

How to avoid freebie seekers

Member Pat Roa Perez became a brand advocate and shared why she paid for Socialmediaonlineclasses.com

Are you making it clear to your potential clients WHY they should pay for your offering? How is yours better than free?

Over-Deliver Once Visitors Become a Client

Have you ever felt like once you made a purchase, the honeymoon was over?

Before you bought, the brand was chasing after you like a puppy, showering you with sloppy kisses.

Once you purchased, however, that puppy started chasing someone else and totally forgot about you.

What you experience is called “buyer’s remorse,” and it’s the brand’s fault for not welcoming you with a positive experience.

Once your visitors become a client, you need to WOW them with an awesome customer service culture.

  • Reassure them they’ve made the right purchase.
  • Communicate exactly what will happen now, how they can use your brand’s offering, and how they can get get help if they need it.
  • If you offer a guarantee, explain to them how it works and how they can use it.

This process is called onboarding, and it’s critical to reduce refunds. Read more about how we onboard new members in this blog post.

I purchased a Subaru this year, and they offer roadside assistance as a courtesy to their car owners. “Great,” I thought, “I’ll need to add that telephone number to my smartphone so I have it handy.”

Guess what? Subaru put the roadside assistance number directly on the driver’s side window, where you can see it WHEN you need it:

Subaru reassures car owners with their roadside assistance # right on the window

I’ve had roadside assistance with the last three cars I’ve owned, but never did the auto brand make it so EASY to actually use their service. In fact, most of them made it downright difficult to find that number.

Subaru makes tiny gestures that win over their customer’s hearts. Yes, their cars are reliable. But they also offer a culture reinforcing their tagline “Love. It What Makes a Subaru.”

Summary

You are competing with FREE everyday when you have an online business (or low-cost competitors with a brick-and-mortar presence). Ensure you’re educating your potential clients as to WHY your offering is better than free or low-cost.  Don’t be afraid to include marketing messages when you deliver your best stuff.

What has been your experience with offering free content in your social media marketing? Share your experience in the comments below:

Nov 19

How a Boston Bike Frame Brand Uses Social Media as Their Sole Means of Marketing [CASE STUDY]

By Maria Peagler

In this exclusive case study, you’ll learn how a local handmade bike shop uses social media exclusively to market their business. You’ll discover how they invest just an eighth of their time to make personal connections with their audience.

Case Study: Firefly Bicycles

Founded in 2011, Firefly Bicycles is based in Boston, Mass., a city known nationwide for its handmade bikes, and is one of the most well-respected small businesses in the bike frame building industry. Jamie Medeiros, Tyler Evans and Kevin Wolfson make up the Firefly team and have over 38 years of combined experience designing, crafting and fitting bikes.

Firefly Bicycles recognized that, like any audience, the cycling community was hungry for content, and that’s exactly what they deliver. They developed a plan to generate lots of high-quality content and, as a result, they’ve not only succeeded at building a deep connection with their audience, they’ve gone on to influence the cycling industry and bike culture worldwide.

firefly_logo

 

Firefly Bicycles By the Numbers

  • Facebook Fans:  6,460+
  • Instagram Followers:  9,700+
  • Twitter Followers:  3,280+
  • Time Spent Weekly on Social Media:  5-7 hours

Visual Storytelling Makes for Strong Social Media Marketing

 firefly_01

 

The most unique thing about the Firefly Bicycles marketing campaign is that it is executed exclusively via social media. The Firefly team is comprised of creative people, and art and design has a strong impact on their work. Since their work and process are extremely visual, Firefly uses this to their advantage when producing content to share.

Here’s how Firefly Bicycles connects with their audience and makes their mark in the cycling industry:

  • Making use of several social networks to build a strong, widespread online presence
  • Sharing photos of their process and products keep people engaged
  • Producing lots of high-quality visual content
  • Sharing relevant stories that matter to their audience

By building a presence across multiple social networks, Firefly Bicycles keeps all their bases covered and is able to continuously generate sales. Their audience gets the inside scoop on what they’re doing and their frame-building process, and they can reach far beyond the local Boston community.

firefly_02

They also share highlights from the past and recognize others in the industry, showing the relationships they’ve established throughout the Boston and cycling communities:

firefly_03

firefly_04

How You Can Adapt This Case Study for Your Own Small Business

Any local business or e-commerce company can learn from Firefly Bicycles’ social media strategy to build relationships with their target audience and drive sales:

  • Produce high-quality content and share it widely
  • Identify which social networks are most successful over time and focus on them
  • If your product has visual appeal, use that to your advantage
  • Use social media to communicate with your audience directly and transparently
  • Establish your reputation and become a recognized voice in your industry

Firefly Bicycles’ Engaging Social Media Strategy

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Nov 11

7 Surprising Secrets I’ve Learned from Beauty Vloggers

By Maria Peagler

7 Surprising Secrets I’ve Learned from Beauty Vloggers.

Beauty vloggers are not professional marketers, but they are CRUSHING traditional branding & promotion with their own style. Find out how they do it.

7 surprising secrets i learned from beauty bloggers

I have a confession to make  . . .

I LOVE watching YouTube beauty and hair videos.

In fact, over the past year I’ve been consuming a lot of beauty vlogger content: I drastically changed my hairstyle from blow-drying everyday to going naturally curly, and I needed a lot of help in maintaining my new hairstyle.

So where did I turn?

YouTube, of course.

And after watching hundreds of hair videos, following beauty vloggers on multiple social networks, and seeing how they work individually and together — I WAS BLOWN AWAY.

Most of these ladies (and gentlemen) don’t have traditional marketing or technology backgrounds, but they are ROCKING their social media presence. I’ve observed them carefully, identified their secrets, and am sharing them so you can adapt them for your own marketing.

1. Beauty Vloggers are Prolific Content Generators

The YouTube beauty vloggers I watch are all generating new videos at least once per week, sometimes more often. Their #1 secret to their success is creating a generous amount of content.  Here are some examples:

Goss Makeup Artist is a UK-based vlogger who records videos from his home makeup studio. Nothing fancy, but look at the number of videos he has on his channel — over 700, and he’s earned 1.8 million subscribers:

what i learned from beauty vloggers

Sarah Stevens (married now, not sure of her married name) started making videos as a high school student, continued on through college (filming from her dorm room), and now continues as she’s married, living and teaching English in Qatar. Again, she has a huge amount of content: over 200 videos and 14K subscribers:

what i learned from beauty vloggers

Angie (doesn’t give her last name) has a beauty channel for menopausal women, and again, has over 200 videos and 46K subscribers. She crushes the idea that you have to be young to be beauty vlogger:

what i learned from beauty vloggers

Louise Glitter, another UK-based vlogger, offers a plus-sized beauty channel that draws a loyal audience of 1.7 million subscribers! Notice she also has a video collection over 250+:

what i learned from beauty vloggersJenell Stewart is a black vlogger who focuses on natural hair styles and products for women with curly hair. She has over 500 videos and 105K subscribers:

what i learned from beauty vloggers

Notice how diverse these channels are? They come from men, women, young, middle-aged, all colors, sizes and nationalities. The one secret they all have in common is creating A LOT OF CONTENT.

 

2. Beauty Vloggers Share Their Editorial Schedule

What day is your favorite television show on?

You knew immediately, didn’t you?

The second secret of these beauty vloggers is they adhere to a publishing schedule and share it with their audience. They schedule their own “shows,” just as network and cable television do.

Goss Makeup Artist displays his schedule directly on his YouTube banner:

scrn_2014-11-10_12-54-21_PM copy

Are you letting your audience know when they can expect new content from you? Are you consistent enough to publish a schedule at all?

3. Beauty Vloggers Follow Content Themes

One of the trends I noticed early on in my video watching phase is that vloggers often follow established themes in their videos:

  • Reviews – reviews of products both provided by brands asking for the review and those they’ve purchased on their own.  Most vloggers were 100% transparent when they had been approached by a beauty brand and gave their candid review, sometimes being “I wouldn’t use this again.”
  • Empties – reviews of multiple products they’ve used up and saved for this video.
  • Hauls – sharing products purchased during a shopping trip. Not a review video, but a highlight of products they’ll be using and probably reviewing in the future.
  • Get Ready with Me – a how-to video of the vlogger showing their beauty or hair routine. Normally the video shows the vlogger getting ready and they add the narration afterward, so they’re not talking directly to you in the video.
  • Collabs – collaboration videos with a vlogger colleague.  These usually take two forms: either both appear in the video together, or they each do their own version of the video and link to the other person’s in the video description.
  • How-to’s – the tried and true how-to video, done in the vlogger’s own style.

Beauty vloggers’ third secret is they follow similar content trends, making it easier for them to pick up viewers from other beauty channels.  Their videos are similar, but still different enough, to interest viewers who want to learn and watch other vloggers in the same space.

What content themes appear in your industry? Have you watched enough video to know these trends? If not, take some time to watch channels with large viewerships and identify their content themes.

4. Beauty Vloggers Optimize Their Social Media Profiles

The fourth secret of these savvy vloggers is the one I was the most impressed with: they take advantage of every opportunity to share their other social networks and their most popular content. They use their popularity on one channel to build their audience for their others.

Sarah Stevens has Facebook, twitter, Instagram and blog accounts in addition to her YouTube channel, and she points to them not just once, but twice on her banner area: once with hyperlinks, and once with icons under her title:

scrn_2014-11-10_12-55-20_PM

 

Sarah also optimizes each of her videos with links to her other social networks, how to subscribe to her YouTube channel, and her most popular videos. Shown below are the links she shares from the video people see first — her channel introduction video:

scrn_2014-11-10_01-51-13_PM

 

You can do the same whether you have a YouTube channel or not. Almost every social network offers the ability to link to your other social networks. You can do this in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Slideshare, and Google+.  You can also point to your most popular content in multiple ways on your blog.

Give people the EZ button so they can follow you, consume your content, and find your best stuff.

 

5. Beauty Vloggers Understand the Power of Images

Their fifth secret is one that showcases the power of images.  Yes, their main content is a video, but vloggers know the first glimpse anyone will ever see of their video is the thumbnail.

Here, Sprinkle of Glitter showcases her videos with thumbnails that usually have her looking directly at you and display a clear title:

sprinkles of glitter optimizes her video thumbnails

 

 

6. Beauty Vloggers Collaborate to Increase Their Visibility

I found it surprising how small the beauty vlogging world was. Each vlogger specializes in their own niche and often collaborates (called a “collab” video) with someone else in their niche to increase their visibility.

Rather than seeing each other as competition, they help one another reach a larger audience. That’s their sixth secret: they rely on colleagues to build their audience.

Here, Louise collaborates with another vlogger Karen, and links to Karen’s video and channels from her own:

sprinkle of glitter collab video

 

7. Beauty Bloggers Have True Relationships with Their Audience

Many of the beauty vloggers I’ve profiled here get their video ideas from their viewers — and give them credit for it, naming them in the video.

They often receive hundreds of comments, and respond to them individually. They have true conversations with their fans, answering questions, responding to suggestions, and even asking their audience for feedback and their own experiences.

Of course, being so visible means you’ll open yourself up to some “haters,” but these vloggers didn’t let that stop them.  In fact, they didn’t respond to haters at all.  And often their audience defended them against snarky commenters.

That’s the seventh and final secret: while many social media experts tout “relationship marketing,” these vloggers establish deep and loyal fan bases that buy the products they recommend, watch every video they share, and anxiously await their next one.

Summary

I must admit I completely underestimated beauty vloggers: I started out simply wanting to learn how to style a new haircut. What I ultimately observed, however, was much more than that.

Beauty vloggers demonstrate you don’t need to be a professional marketer to grow your brand. What it does take is passion, consistency, honesty with your audience, listening to them, talking to them, and making it easy for them to find you.

What beauty vloggers do you follow? What have you learned from them about beauty and marketing? Share in the comments below:

visual storytelling infographic
Oct 29

Visual Storytelling for Brands

By Maria Peagler

 visual storytelling maria peagler

Editor’s note: We’re continuing our Visual Storytelling theme this week with a look at how brands can market using visual content, along with examples of those doing this well.  You can listen to my interview (or read the transcript) of my interview with Ekaterina Walter, co-author of The Power of Visual Storytelling here.

The human attention span has dwindled to eight seconds — less than that of a goldfish — according to a 2002 BBC article. With so many competing websites, social networks and entertainment on the internet, how can brands make their message stand out, be remembered and generate results?

Visual content: our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text. Done well, your story told in a visual way, sticks with readers far better than just words on a page or screen.

What is Visual Storytelling and How Does it Benefit My Business?

Visual storytelling encompasses far more than just using visuals in your marketing: it’s about telling your brand’s story — what your purpose is & what you stand for — in a visual way.  I like to think of it as Start With Why meets The Back of the Napkin meets Made to Stick.

Marketing your brand visually makes your message sticky: your audience remembers it, engages with it, and is far more likely to actually consume it.  Here are visual content statistics:

  • Web posts with visuals are 180% more likely to get engagement
  • Visitors spend 100% more time on web pages with video
  • Press releases incorporating video get 45% more traffic
  • Web posts including infographics get 12% more traffic

If you’d like more traffic from highly engaged visitors who are more likely to buy from you, visual content is a highly effective approach.

What Visual Content is Best for Your Brand?

The type of visual content you should use depends on several factors, including what’s easiest for your team (or you) to create, as well as your audience demographics and where they hang out online.  While Vine is a great place to find 18-20 year-olds, it won’t be effective for reaching baby boomers. Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest are better suited for that audience.

Identify your audience, discover where they are online (and offline), and target them according to your business goals.

Tell Your Story Using Simple Images

A brand who does this well is is Northern Valley Auto Body in Englewood, NJ, as shown here on their Facebook page.  They take before & after photos of the cars they repair, as well as in-process pics.  Not only is it fascinating to see how they work, the story their images tell is one of trust and transparency: the usually off-limits to clients body shop has completely opened their doors and invited you to watch their process:

visual storytelling case study

Photos of in-process restorations instills a sense of trust in their brand.

Notice the simplicity of this visual story: photos taken in the garage with a smartphone and uploaded to a Facebook album. No filters, no captions, nothing but photos of their work. This didn’t take a graphic design team, but one person who stopped long enough to document the brand’s work.

Educate & Entertain Using Video Tutorials

Missouri Star Quilt Company opened their doors during the height of the U.S. recession, and their odds were so slim of making it they were covered by Wall Street Journal reporter Meg Cox (a quilter herself). How founder, Jenny Doan, not only survived the recession but became the largest employer in her small town is all due to her free quilting tutorials on YouTube.

missouri star quilt company tutorials

Missouri Star Quilt Company grew their brand to the largest employer in their town using YouTube video tutorials

Jenny’s videos are simple, brief, but show her personality and simple ways to make a quilt from pre-cuts: fabric pieces already cut into shapes ready for quilters to sew together. Not only do her videos market the shop’s inventory of pre-cut fabrics, they also help reduce her labor costs, as pre-cuts don’t require an employee to cut a piece of fabric for every customer, as do bolts of fabric.

Jenny’s early videos were rough, with poor lighting and showing her sitting at a sewing machine. But, viewers weren’t concerned with the production quality: they loved Missouri Quilt Company’s videos, and some of their most popular videos are their oldest, garnering over a million views.

Reach Business Clients Using Presentations

Marketing Experiments is a well-known brand in the marketing industry that uses presentations and videos to reach their target audience. They offer hour-long “clinics” where they share the results of their case studies, research, and do live optimizations of brands who need their advice. They offer the clinics live, but also upload the replay to YouTube, and the shorter slide deck to Slideshare:

visual storytelling case study

Marketing Experiments offers their “marketing clinics” on video as well as slide deck presentations

visual storytelling case study

Marketing Experiments uploads their presentations to Slideshare for those who don’t want to watch the entire video

 

Speak Your Audience’s Language with Infographics, GIFs, Memes

Here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com we use infographics to offer quick guides to social networks:

2014 Edition of Facebook Marketing Infographic

2014 Edition of Facebook Marketing Infographic

Dr. Pepper uses GIFs, Hubspot has an entire Pinterest board dedicated to marketing memes, the White House creates Vine videos, and brands aplenty are on Instagram. So no matter who your audience is, you can reach them using some form of visual content.

Create Your Visual Roadmap

To get the most from your visual content marketing, establish your roadmap: your brand’s strategy and execution plan, by answering these questions:

  • what does your brand stand for (and how does it differ from your competition)?
  • what is your brand’s purpose?
  • what are your business goals for your marketing?
  • what are your customer’s pain points?
  • what marketing efforts are working now?

Your answers shape your business’ unique visual roadmap, making your brand unforgettable to your audience, and resonating with them in a way no plain text ever will.

What type of visual storytelling is your business doing and what have been your results? Share your story in the comments below.

Related Resources

Visual Social Media Webinar*

Your First Business Video Webinar*

Facebook Image Sizes Cheat Sheet

Google+ Image Sizes Cheat Sheet*

Instagram Marketing Infographic

Instagram for Business Case Studies

How to Build a DIY Stock Photo Library for Social Media

VIDEO TUTORIAL: How to Build a Stock Photo Library Using Canva

Your First Business Video Checklist

Our Most Popular Infographics from 2014

Our Most Popular Infographics from 2012

* denotes members-only content

Oct 28

Ekaterina Walter Interview – Author of Visual Storytelling

By Maria Peagler

Interview with Ekaterina Walter - co-author of Visual Storytelling

I just finished reading The Power of Visual Storytelling:  How to Use Visuals, Video, and Social Media to Market Your Brand, and was impressed with how co-authors Ekaterina Walter & Jessica Gioglio recommend brands incorporate visuals into their marketing.  I chatted with Ekaterina Walters, by telephone, and I’m sharing the audio and the transcript of that interview today.

Definitely listen to how small brands can create visual content easily, share it across the web, and use visuals to communicate what they stand for.

Ekaterina Walter Interview Audio

Here is the full 30-minute interview, followed by short clips of it below:

Listen to the Full Interview with Ekaterina Walter

What is Visual Storytelling and How Does It Create a Movement Around Your Brand?

“the human attention span officially dropped below the attention span of a goldfish”Click to Tweet

“the most successful brands continue to drive back to the same message: what they stand for, what their purpose is”Click to Tweet

How Visual Content Increases Both Reach & Engagement

“web posts with visuals drive up to 180% more engagement than those without”Click to Tweet

How to Create Your Brand’s Visual Roadmap

“tactics without strategy is worse than doing nothing at all”Click to Tweet

RELATED RESOURCES FOR CREATING VISUAL CONTENT HERE AT Socialmediaonlineclasses.com

Ekaterina Walter

Ekaterina Walter, co-author of The Power of Visual Storytelling

Full Interview Transcript with Timestamps

0:00:00 MARIA: Welcome, everyone. This is Maria Peagler with Socialmediaonlineclasses.com. And today I have with me Ekaterina Walter. She is an innovator, a business and marketing innovator, international speaker and author of two books. The first one is the Wall Street Journal Bestseller, Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg. And she is co-author of her latest book, The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos and Social Media to Market Your Brand. Welcome, Ekaterina.

00:00:41 EKATERINA: Great to be here. Thanks for inviting me, Maria.

00:00:44 MARIA: Absolutely. Ekaterina, I read your book over the weekend and I was fascinated with the whole process that you describe. And I just think that the timing is perfect for all the visual content that we are seeing across the web. Tell me how you came to co-author this book.

00:01:04 EKATERINA: *laughs* Well, it all began several years ago when I published an article in Fast Company in my column, and the title was The Rise of Visual Social Media. And it talked about sort of the importance and the tactics and the strategy. And several publishers actually came up to me or contacted me and said we would love to actually see the book of that. And I said I am actually in the process of writing my first one, so let’s talk later. So it was really quite fascinating.

And my first book is more around business innovation and sort of business culture and business principals. But I’m a marketer at heart, so I’m very passionate about making sure you build a relationship with your customers in the right way. Because a lot of things we do we don’t necessarily do it right. And so I always wanted to talk about how do we tell our story, our brand story. And the visual topic just started to rise. A lot of people started to talk about it. And the reason for that was just the fact that we were living in the age of infobesity. Brands are not used to the fact that there is so much information, not only produced but consumed every single day, every single hour online. And it’s now suddenly a two way conversation and it’s customer-centric versus brand-centric.

And so in this whole age of sort of overwhelming, drowning in information, the question became how does a brand stand out. So for us marketers, no matter what you do, whatever marketing strategies you talk about, brand strategies, community-building strategies, et cetera, et cetera, one of the questions that we need to ask is how to target the hearts of consumers in the right way. And to be able to do that they have to discover you. They have to discover and consume your information, your content. They’ll have to connect with you, start conversations with you. And one of the ways to really stand down besides advocacy, right, besides the peer recommendations which is, well, I’m looking for a new car, which one should I buy, what music do you recommend, et cetera, et cetera, sort of your immediate niche community, one of the ways to stand out is visual. Just because we humans are wired like this.

We’re wired to process visuals better than text. As a matter of fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster. 60,000 times faster than text! And language only existed for 5,000 years-ish. But we drew for millennia. So the question becomes with that, how do you tap into that natural human element of drawing attention and standing out from the noise, especially now that the human attention span officially dropped below the attention span of a goldfish.

00:04:14 MARIA: *laughs*: Yeah.

 00:04:15 EKATERINA: A goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds, us humans now, scientists say this year we’re between three and eight seconds. And that’s the reason why all the visual networks like Vine and six second videos, 15 second videos and Instagram, all these networks like that are popping up is because that’s what we’re vying for as marketers, is that attention span.

So I just wanted to talk about things I learned on the job when I worked in Fortune 500 companies and what I see in the market. And Jess has also done a lot of stuff, Jessica Gioglio, my co-author, with Dunkin’ Donuts. Because people are passionate about that brand and they also do a lot of cool stuff with visuals. So I just wanted to put out a book that talks about not just road maps and how to build that, but tips, tools, tricks, case studies.

00:05:14 MARIA: Fantastic. And I loved that term that you used, infobesity. Because there is just so much out there now that it really is hard to capture people’s attention when you’re competing with so many other brands and that diminishing attention span. I’m wondering, Ekaterina, how did you find that visual content affected the visibility or the reach and engagement for a brand’s blogs and social media marketing.

00:05:52 EKATERINA: The data is actually quite staggering, Maria, so I’ll give you just a couple of data points. So, for example, did you know that web posts with visuals drive up to 180% more engagement than those without.

00:06:06 MARIA: Wow.

00:06:07 EKATERINA: Viewers spend 100% more time on web pages with videos. If you use infographics the traffic to your site will probably increase an average of 12%. If you’re putting out a press release, if you add video, the traffic on average will go up 45, 48%.

And I can literally keep going, because what started to happen is people—and it’s not just images, right, we’re talking about visual storytelling, not just for images, but for different formats like video, which is highly consumable. Cartoons, memes, infographics, animated GIF files. The list goes on and on. So the business case, not just psychologically why people prefer images or videos over other formats, but also the business case for using this very snackable, very visual content is there.

And you notice now, we’re living in this age of the news feed, and everywhere we go there’s always a news feed blinking at us and always going, passing by so fast. And you notice, even you as a person, that the content that you need to pick out is the content that’s actually accompanied by a visual piece, right? A quote, an image, something that draws back to the whole point of, for example, an article that you posted, et cetera.

00:07:40 MARIA: Right, right. Ekaterina, I’m curious about the title of your book, Visual Storytelling. How do you differentiate that versus just using a visual on social media. How are those two different?

00:07:57 EKATERINA: Actually, I think the question becomes how does that drive back to a story about who you are, what you do, what you believe in. So the way I sort of define visual storytelling—or Jess and I define it in the book—is use of images, videos, infographics, presentations and, basically, other visuals on social media platforms to craft a graphical story around key brand values and offerings.

So there’s definitely some, what I call, micro-content that you’re going to create maybe that’s more of a one-off. But I think the most successful brands, they continue to drive back the same message around what they stand for, what their purpose is. Because as a marketer, your goal is to create a movement around your brand. Around your brand and product, around people who work with you and for you. You are more than just your product. So the question that comes, what does encompass that brand and how do you really tell a story around it? So, to me, when you create it in those one-off pieces, the question you need to ask yourself is how does that tie back to the bigger story you want to tell, to that movement you want to create, to that purpose that you share with your customers and employees and vendors and partners that work with and for you, right. So how do you build that community in the right way? And the only way you do that is for continuity.

00:09:35 MARIA: And that really leads into what you call in the book your visual road map, which I absolutely just could not, I could not get enough of that. Could you explain what your visual road map is?

00:09:52 EKATERINA: Yes. So the road map is your course. What is it that you’re trying to build and what is it that you’re trying to do. And I think a lot of times, again, people go into oh, well I have to have presence here, I have to do this and that. But I think a lot of it, the tactics without strategy, is worse than doing nothing at all is something that Lee even said and we’re quoting him in the book.

I think you always start with sort of setting your goals and figuring out what is it that you are here to do. And then you move into auditing and analyzing. So what are your current efforts? How are you tracking the data? And how are you really analyzing that data to glean the right insights? Are you listening to customer conversations and getting their insights? Then you summarize that order, then you start figuring out what things really work for you.

And then from there you shape your visual story. What’s the company goals and what are the supporting themes around the visual story? What’s the company voice and personality? What’s the company-customer conversational themes? And then from there you determine your visual content mix and you talk about things like formats and frequency and how you allocate content themes and pair it up with different types of media.

And then there’s always an element of planning for the unexpected around brand and product marketing, public relations, customer service. You want to make sure that you sort of leave wiggle room in your road map and strategy.

And then from there you go into distribution and engage them in strategy and then, also crafting and sourcing your different types of visuals. So this is definitely something that, as you start thinking about it and looking at it, those are the key, critical elements of your road map. And then, obviously, at the end you never forget to make sure that you measure. So the measurement is the last piece that’s definitely critical. And the reason is because unless you actually know what works for you, what doesn’t, what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong, it’s hard for you to then take that, those insights and then translate it into something that makes sense and allows you to reshape and maybe re-evaluate that strategy and road map as you move along.

00:12:27 MARIA: And one of the things that I really liked about the concept of your visual road map was that you tied it to business goals. What are the goals for your brand and how can you do that with a visual story. And I find a lot of times our clients here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com, when they’re doing their social media marketing, like I said, they feel like they need to be somewhere, but they don’t really know what to expect or how to really tie that back to their business goals. So I thought that was a particularly strong point of the visual road map.

00:13:04 EKATERINA: You’re absolutely right, Maria. But thank you, I appreciate your kind words. But yes, you’re absolutely right. Unless you know where you’ve been, where you’re going and why you’re going there it’s hard to actually shape a meaningful strategy.

Exclusive Members-Only Lessons

Members — login to learn how small brands can do a BETTER job than large brands in using visual content, plus her favorite tools for creating visuals.

Click here to login!

Not a member? Start learning today by becoming a Socialmediaonlineclasses member. Get started below:


Related Resources

Visual Social Media Webinar*

Your First Business Video Webinar*

Facebook Image Sizes Cheat Sheet

Google+ Image Sizes Cheat Sheet*

Instagram Marketing Infographic

Instagram for Business Case Studies

How to Build a DIY Stock Photo Library for Social Media

VIDEO TUTORIAL: How to Build a Stock Photo Library Using Canva

Your First Business Video Checklist

Our Most Popular Infographics from 2014

Our Most Popular Infographics from 2012

 

* denotes members-only content

 

Oct 21

New! Social Media Manager Learning Track

By Maria Peagler

  New! Social Media Manager Learning Track 

Social media training to help you get a new career as a social media manager, start your own agency, or update your marketing skills. Fast, easy, online.

social media manager learning track 2

I’m excited to debut an exclusive training curriculum here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com – our Social Media Manager marketing track.

What is it?

A curriculum designed to provide a managerial skill set for social media: not just tactics & social platforms, but how to develop, execute and measure social media marketing campaigns.

This track is perfect for anyone who wants a career in digital marketing, who needs to update their marketing skills, or needs to learn how to manage social media in their business.

The social media manager track covers:

  • how to tie marketing to revenue generation
  • how to measure a social media marketing campaign’s ROI
  • how to outsource social media marketing
  • how to develop multimedia for your campaigns
  • and much more

The learning is included when you become a member of Socialmediaonlineclasses.com at the Annual or 3-Month Levels. And the learning track is in addition to your classes, infographics, swipe file, 1:1 coaching and bonus webinars.  You can learn more about our membership levels here.

social media manager learning track 2

https://socialmediaonlineclasses.com/?p=15048

Social Media Strategy, Execution and Measurement

A digital manager needs to know how to create campaigns for multiple audiences, platforms and outcomes.  That all starts with the strategy, overseeing the execution, and ultimately measuring the success of the campaign.

Managing a Social Media Team

Sometimes you’ll create your brand’s campaign in-house, while other times you’ll be outsourcing those campaigns.  You may even be interested in starting your own agency (it’s important to set expectations up front about what’s realistic). You’ll learn who makes a good candidate for outsourcing, what clients should look for in your agency, and much more.

Developing Multimedia Content

As a social media manager, you’ll be expected to be a multi-tool of content creation: blog posts, images, video, podcasts, social media posts, and more.  You’ll learn how to create each type of content, no matter what your budget, using simple tools and the latest apps. You won’t need to be a graphic designer, videographer or professional voiceover talent.

Got Website? Get Revenue!

No matter what terrific social media marketing campaigns you execute, it all comes down to the website.  You’ll learn what a website needs to get sales (whether it’s your own, a client’s, or a colleague’s), and how to have the “conversation” about updating it to increase revenue.

You can learn more about our membership levels here.

Here’s a look at the modules currently in the Social Media Manager Learning Track (we’re adding more every month)

smm learning track page