Category Archives for "Strategy"

social media case studies small business
Dec 01

15 All New Social Media Case Studies for Small Business

By Maria Peagler

social media case studies small business

Who doesn't love a good case study?

There's no better way to learn than from someone who's been successful achieving what you need to do.

In 2013, we published a comprehensive list of 13 social media marketing case studies exclusively for small business (all featured SMOC members).

As we close out 2015, I wanted to share even more, all-new case studies: 15 for 2015.​

Each of the case studies below features tactics that work exclusively for small business. Each is unique: some offer infographics, other video, others checklists. But all of them offer lessons you can immediately take away and use today:

30-Day Action Plan to Grow Your Business with Social Media Marketing

Need more customers? Increased visibility? Additional sales? Learn how to grow your business in 30 days using social media marketing

Here are the same case studies, in list format:

  1. [PDF DOWNLOAD] The ultimate guide to social media tagging
  2. Social media sales secrets - vlog & transcript
  3. How a New York-city based solopreneur pivoted for greater revenue
  4. How three small businesses are beating their big-box competitors
  5. The ultimate guide to hashtags [INFOGRAPHIC]
  6. How to raise 200% of your crowdfunding goal in 7 days
  7. How to use social media marketing as your ONLY means of promotion
  8. 7 surprising secrets I've learned from beauty vloggers
  9. How a local candy store capitalized on television coverage using social media marketing
  10. How a local meat market uses Facebook for marketing
  11. Instagram for small business: three case studies of master marketers
  12. How a local hair salon uses social media marketing to fill their chairs every day
  13. How to turn one piece of content into 30 days worth of marketing
  14. Easy Facebook ads on a budget [WEBINAR EXCERPT]
  15. How a solopreneur generated 1,200% ROI on a $50 Facebook ad
Nov 30

Weekly Top 5 for Nov 30, 2015

By Janice Deleon

Our classes are just the start of the learning you get here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com.  Here are the additional resources available this week..

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#1. Your Most Profitable 20% [WEBINAR EXCERPT]

Watch this brief webinar excerpt to learn where the most profitable 20% of your marketing is . . . http://bit.ly/1Hh3Y06

#2. How to Give Thanks for Your Audience on Social Media [CLASSIC]

You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to show your audience how thankful you are for them! This infographic offers several ways to make your fans/followers/subscribers feel appreciated . . . http://bit.ly/1pnCBbF

#3. Holiday Marketing Kit – Member Exclusive!

SMOC members get an exclusive holiday marketing pack with 10 cut-and-paste social media holiday posts, three holiday photo collections, and a Christmas FB Timeline Cover (designed for SMOC members!). Get your kit here  . . . http://bit.ly/holidaymarketingkit

#4. How to Customize Your Content to the Season

How do you help your customers when they’re stressed & rushed due the holidays? Give them holiday “hacks” to help them out . . .http://on.fb.me/1PVcYed

#5. WordPress Website Learning Track

Need to build a website for your business (or a client’s)? Then check out our new WordPress website learning track . . . http://bit.ly/wpwebsitetips

 

weekly top 5 - puppy edition
Nov 22

Weekly Top 5 for Nov 23, 2015

By Janice Deleon

Our classes are just the start of the learning you get here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com.  Here are the additional resources available this week..

weekly top 5 - puppy edition

#1. Our Best Social Media Training Videos of 2015

Every week we release a new video on our YouTube channel, and these five videos were the most popular of 2015.  They range from 2 minutes to 45 minutes . . . http://bit.ly/bestvideo2015

#2. Your Most Profitable 20% [WEBINAR REPLAY & RESOURCES]

What is the most profitable 20% of your marketing? Learn how to easily identify what promotions are generating the most revenue, and how you can do more of them in 2016 . . . http://bit.ly/bonuswebinar

#3. Facebook Rolls Out New Ads for Local Businesses in Time for the Holidays

Local businesses now have exclusive new ad types from Facebook, enabling them to reach more customers during the holidays. Find out more here . . . http://bit.ly/fblocaladtypes

#4. SMOC Member Featured on WGN News

This SMOC member was featured on Chicago’s WGN news for her work and expertise.  See the video clip here . . . http://on.fb.me/1Yoxcyq

#5. This SMOC Article Featured on Alltop’s Most Popular

Honored to be featured on Alltop Social Media Marketing’s “Most Popular Articles” yet again. Which article made the list? See it here:  http://on.fb.me/1YoxLbo

 

Nov 16

Weekly Top 5 for Nov 16, 2015

By Janice Deleon

Our classes are just the start of the learning you get here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com.  Here are the additional resources available this week..

Colorful cupcakes with flowers

 

#1. Your Most Profitable 20%: Live Webinar,  + Recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic

Join me for this free members-only webinar where you’ll learn how to identify the most profitable 20% of your marketing, so you can do more of it in 2016 . . . http://bit.ly/1Pz9Q6b

#2. How to Delegate Social Media to Staff in Retail Stores

An SMOC member with multiple retail stores wants to let her staff post to social media, but is hesitant about the best way to go about it.  See Maria’s advice here . . . http://bit.ly/delegatesm

#3. Mark Zuckerberg Announces “Safety Check” Feature for Facebook

In the wake of the Paris terrorist attack, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook enabled their “safety check” feature, allowing people to let their family & friends know they are safe.  FB will be enabling this feature more often in the wake of disasters . . . http://on.fb.me/1Nywzuz

#4. “I’m Good! I’ve Got All the Content I Need”

Said no one. Ever! 🙂  Need an EZ Button for creating content for social media, your blog and website? Here’s how I create impressive content fast . . . http://bit.ly/10mincontent

#5. PR Daily Featured Our Instagram Marketing Infographic on Their Front Page!

We’re honored to have our Instagram marketing infographic featured on the front page of PR Daily.  You can see the full infographic & download your copy here . . .http://bit.ly/1z5stbj

 

8020 bonus webinar green socialmediaonlineclasses 300px
Nov 10

Your Most Profitable 20%: Live Webinar + Recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic

By Maria Peagler

8020 bonus webinar green socialmediaonlineclasses 300px

 

Join Maria Peagler for this 30-minute live webinar: Your Most Profitable 20% —

  • 30-Minute Webinar + On-Demand recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic
  • $297.00 value FREE for Members (Membership is $57 per month, cancel easily anytime.)
  • Thurs, November 19, 1pm EDT, 6pm GMT

Get Webinar FREE with SMOC Membership
Already a member? Your webinar access codes will arrive in your Inbox a few days before the webinar.

Where is the Most Profitable 20% of Your Marketing?

Applying the 80/20 rule to your business is one of the smartest ways to become more profitable —

— but do you know where your most profitable 20% is?

You will after your November webinar.

Wading through traffic reports, financial spreadsheets and complex editorial calendars is challenging for many business owners, but you’ll learn the simplest, most effective ways of identifying the marketing making you the most money.

It will likely surprise you.

And the best part? You don’t need expensive or complicated tools with a huge learning curve. You’ll learn secrets to mining the data you already have to discover the marketing generating your highest revenue.

Plus, plenty of time for Q&A, so come with questions, so sign up today!

Get Your $297.00 Webinar ticket FREE When You Join SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com Today

Purchase your Webinar ticket for $297.00 now, or get it free when you join as a Member today for $57 per month. Cancel easily anytime.

SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com is a continuous service, including instant access to over 200 online lessons valued at $1,997.00 plus $397.00 worth of new Bonus Webinars & infographics each month, billed to your payment card every 30 days at the lowest rate then in effect, currently just $57.

In total, you’ll get instant access to $2,297.00 (and growing!) worth of practical Members-Only training to grow your business using social media. SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com Membership helps you:

#1. Get Access to One Billion Customers in 10 Minutes

Learn how to identify the social networks best for your unique business, then build a profile that turns more visitors into paying customers. SMOC brings you ‘what works’ training that cuts through the noise & crushes social media overwhelm.

Members instantly access how-to videos, screen shots, checklists, infographics, and case studies — tools which can be put to work on your website & social networking right away.

#2. Get More Fans in Less Time

Discover how to get fans & connections without spending all day in social media. You really can post to all of your social networks in as little as 15 minutes a day, and you’ll learn how to generate content & posts that get your business noticed, attract fans, and turn them into paying customers.

Members immediately get their hands on how-to checklists (like 13 Ways to Get More Facebook Fans), videos that teach you how to do search engine optimization yourself, and real-life examples of successful small businesses who’ve achieved great success.

#3. Customize Your Learning Track

Online training is often a one-sized fits all plan, but not for SMOC Members. You’ll get a customized social media assessment that details the optimum social networks for your unique career path & industry, and you can use it as your guide for what classes you’ll need (Members are often surprised at the results). Plus, Members can instantly access:

  • hands-on video tutorials
  • monthly social media makeovers (for your website or any social network)
  • bonus webinars that dive deep into profitable tactics
  • infographics to print as your cheat sheets
  • a private community forum
  • 1:1 private coaching

#4. Get 1:1 Coaching Plus Networking with Other Business Owners

Members get instant access to a private online community of peers eager to connect and discuss what’s worked and what hasn’t for them.

Each month, members also get 1:1 coaching time with Maria where you can get feedback on your website, advice on your business plan, help with your social media marketing, you name it — it’s your time!

Plus, your Membership includes a complimentary pass to SMOC’s monthly Bonus Webinar or virtual workshop focused on a hot social media business topic — ranging from one & done posting to getting listed on search results — with plenty of time for extended Q&As . The webinar alone is a value of $297.00 per month.

As a member you’ll get immediate access to all the materials on the site plus that month’s Bonus Webinar. After that, you’ll be billed the lowest available monthly fee (currently just $57) via convenient automated billing. It’s risk-free and guaranteed, you can easily cancel at any time.

So why not join today and see how SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com can help your business grow!

Get Webinar FREE with SMOC Membership

Nov 09

Weekly Top 5 for Nov 9, 2015

By Janice Deleon

Our classes are just the start of the learning you get here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com.  Here are the additional resources available this week..

 

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#1. 31 Marketing Resources from 3rd Quarter 2015

Need the latest in social media marketing tactics (not what worked 6 months ago)? Get ’em right here . . . http://bit.ly/1Ol8ZqR

#2. Facebook 103 Enables SMOC Member to Get 300% ROI on a $12 Facebook Ad

This SMOC member ran a $12 ad for her online store and got an ROI of over 300%. How’d she do it? With her lessons from Facebook 103… http://bit.ly/1NlnWDE

#3. What Type of FB Ad Generates the Best Return on Ecommerce?

Have an ecommerce store and need to generate holiday sales? Find out which FB ad generates the most sales here . . . http://on.fb.me/1NlcXKk

#4. This Page on Our Website is on Google’s First Page after only 60 Days

60 days and we’re on the first page of search results not just once, but twice. Learn how we did it here . . . http://bit.ly/firstpage60days

#5. Our Favorite Website Analytics Tool (for non-geeks)

While Google Analytics offers tons of data, sometimes you just want the most important stats to jump out at you, rather than having to hunt for them. We’ve shared out favorite, easy, analytics tool here: . . . http://on.fb.me/1Nldrjx

 

Nov 03

31 Social Media Marketing Resources from 3rd Quarter of 2015

By Janice Deleon

3rd quarter smoc

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 3rd 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. Grow Your Business in 30 Days Using Social Media Marketing
  2. How to Use Social Media Tagging – the Ultimate Guide & INFOGRAPHIC
  3. Two-Minute Video: Create Your Own Stock Photo Library Using Canva
  4. How to Run Your Business on a Chromebook for Less Than $300
  5. Tips for Entrepreneurs from a Top UpWork VA
  6. [QUIZ] What’s the Best Social Network for Your Business?
  7. Are You Wasting Money on Marketing?
  8. CHEAT SHEET: 4 Social Media Engagement Hacks [CLASSIC]
  9. Most Popular Articles from the First Half of 2015
  10. Marketing Challenging Brands — Vlog and Transcript
  11. Six-Figure Working Moms Keep One-Week Time Diary: What They Do Differently
  12. [VIDEO] Secrets to Getting Sales for Small Business Using Social Media

Facebook

  1. [INFOGRAPHIC} A Baker’s Dozen Tactics to Monetize Your Facebook Fans *
  2. Who Sees My Stuff on Facebook? Business Page vs Personal Profile [INFOGRAPHIC]
  3. How to Get Leads from Your Facebook Business Page *
  4. Updated Facebook 102: Customizing Your Facebook Page *

Webinar

  1. How to Reach Your Goals EVERY Time [WEBINAR EXCERPT]
  2. [WEBINAR EXCERPT] Broadcasting with Periscope & Blab for Small Business
  3. Periscope & Blab for Your Small Business [WEBINAR REPLAY & RESOURCES] *
  4. BONUS Videos in Twitter Success System Webinar *
  5. [WEBINAR EXCERPT] How I Got to Google’s First Page in 90 Days

Instagram

  1. [NEW] Instagram 101 Class Updated for New User Interface *
  2. What’s New in Instagram for 2015? *

Twitter

  1. How to Get Your Video Content Retweeted on Twitter *
  2. Our Most Popular How-To Interviews: 70% of Your Business from Twitter, 200% of Crowdfunding Goal in 7 Days & More
  3. Twitter Image Sizes Cheat Sheet

Google

  1. [VIDEO] How to Create a Hyperlinked Infographic Using Google Slides

YOUTUBE

  1. Watch Socialmediaonlineclasses.com Videos on YouTube

SLIDESHARE

  1. Download Socialmediaonlineclasses.com Presentations from Slideshare
  2. How a New York City Based Small Business Pivoted for Greater Revenue [SLIDESHARE]

SWIPE FILE

  1. Get More Enagement with Your Social Media Swipe File

* Indicates Members-Only Content

weekly top 5 - puppy edition
Oct 26

Weekly Top 5 for Oct 26, 2015

By Janice Deleon

Our classes are just the start of the learning you get here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com.  Here are the additional resources available this week..

weekly top 5 - puppy edition

 

#1. [WEBINAR EXCERPT] Broadcasting with Periscope & Blab for Small Business

Watch this brief webinar excerpt to learn what exactly these two new apps are and how they are game-changers for small business . . . http://bit.ly/1RTQqZ9

#2. Grow Your Business in 30 Days Using Social Media Marketing

Stop social media overwhelm and get a week-by-week plan for an entire 30 days. At the end, you’ll have grown your business using these resources . . . http://bit.ly/1RTRdte

#3. SMOC Member Generates Her First Sale from a Facebook Ad!

Join me in congratulating this SMOC member who created her first FB ad and is already getting sales from it . . . http://on.fb.me/1GBN3ot

#4. Lessons Learned from My First Blab Broadcast

Last week I broadcasted my first ever Blab episode. I learned some valuable lessons to help members avoid a few awkward situations . . . http://bit.ly/firstblab

#5. How to Block a User on Periscope

Want to block a user on Periscope from leaving creepy comments during your broadcast? Here’s how . . . http://bit.ly/scopepervs

 

Oct 19

Weekly Top 5 for Oct 19, 2015

By Janice Deleon

Our classes are just the start of the learning you get here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com.  Here are the additional resources available this week..

Colorful cupcakes with flowers

 

#1. How to Use Social Media Tagging – the Ultimate Guide & INFOGRAPHIC

Learn how to use social media tags to give people & brands direct notification you’ve mentioned them. Includes 64 tactics, 17+ examples, screenshots and much, much more . . . http://bit.ly/1WZ4qUv

#2. Periscope & Blab for Your Small Business [WEBINAR REPLAY & RESOURCES]

What are Periscope & Blab and how can they help your business? They’re super-easy broadcasting tools allowing you to broadcast live from anywhere, using your mobile phone or computer.  Learn more here  . . . http://bit.ly/1wE3Uxs

#3. People Who Like My Organization on Facebook: Friends or Fans?

An SMOC member wants to know if people who like the organization pages she manages on Facebook are fans or friends. She’s seeing friend requests from them and needs to know why . . . http://on.fb.me/1W1hNXc

#4. Two-Minute Video: Create Your Own Stock Photo Library Using Canva

We’ve taken one of our most popular how-to videos and sped it up so you can watch how to create your own stock photo library in just a few minutes using Canva . . . http://bit.ly/canvastocklibrary

#5. [VIDEO] How to Create a Hyperlinked Infographic Using Google Slides

Yes, you really can create a robust infographic (with hyperlinks) using a simple, free tool:  Google Slides. Watch this in-depth video to learn how . . . http://bit.ly/easyinfographic

 

Oct 12

Weekly Top 5 for Oct 12, 2015

By Janice Deleon

Our classes are just the start of the learning you get here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com.  Here are the additional resources available this week..

People talk in speech bubbles, isolated with clipping paths. Soc

 

#1. Periscope (and Blab) for Your Small Business: Live Webinar,  + Recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic

Heard about Periscope but wonder if it’s right for your business? Join us for this free members webinar to learn more about Periscope, Blab, and what they can do for your small business . . . http://bit.ly/1Z7loC4

#2. How an SMOC Member Turned Her Business Around

We’re so proud of this SMOC member, who has completely transformed her business using our classes, coaching, and Facebook group . . . http://on.fb.me/1hyKVlm

#3. Maria’s Take on the Prison Debate Team Who Beat Harvard

Maria was on the UGA debate team and saw the Harvard debaters, in action. See what she has to say about the prison team that beat Harvard (and you can use it as inspiration in your business) . . . http://on.fb.me/1hyKYh7

#4. Download Socialmediaonlineclasses.com Presentations from Slideshare

Have you checked out our presentations on Slideshare? They offer proven tactics for growing your business using social, SEO, and email . . . http://www.slideshare.net/mariapeagler

#5. Watch Socialmediaonlineclasses.com Videos on YouTube

Over 75 videos for you to watch, review, and learn on topics like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, mobile marketing, selling with social and much more . . . http://bit.ly/smocyoutube

 

periscope for your small business webinar
Oct 06

Periscope for Your Small Business: Live Webinar + Recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic

By Maria Peagler

 

periscope for your small business webinar

Join Maria Peagler for this 30-minute live webinar: Periscope for Your Small Business —

  • 30-Minute Webinar + On-Demand recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic
  • $297.00 value FREE for Members (Membership is $57 per month, cancel easily anytime.)
  • Thurs, October 15, 1pm EDT, 6pm GMT

Get Webinar FREE with SMOC Membership
Already a member? Your webinar access codes will arrive in your Inbox a few days before the webinar.

What is Periscope and What Will It Do for My Business?

Periscope is one of the hottest new apps from the team at Twitter —

— but what is it?

How will it benefit your small business?

That’s what you’ll learn in the October webinar: actual case studies of small businesses using Periscope to engage their audience in a way never before possible.

Here’s a “secret” most marketers won’t tell you: a huge segment of the people using Periscope are marketers . . . marketing to other marketers.

That’s NOT what you’ll be learning in this webinar.

I’ll be sharing with you how real small businesses are using Periscope everyday, including:

  • local farms
  • beauty bloggers
  • local tours
  • event planners
  • wineries
  • restaurants
  • and many more!

Plus, plenty of time for Q&A, so come with questions, so sign up today!

Get Your $297.00 Webinar ticket FREE When You Join SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com Today

Purchase your Webinar ticket for $297.00 now, or get it free when you join as a Member today for $57 per month. Cancel easily anytime.

SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com is a continuous service, including instant access to over 200 online lessons valued at $1,997.00 plus $397.00 worth of new Bonus Webinars & infographics each month, billed to your payment card every 30 days at the lowest rate then in effect, currently just $57.

In total, you’ll get instant access to $2,297.00 (and growing!) worth of practical Members-Only training to grow your business using social media. SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com Membership helps you:

#1. Get Access to One Billion Customers in 10 Minutes

Learn how to identify the social networks best for your unique business, then build a profile that turns more visitors into paying customers. SMOC brings you ‘what works’ training that cuts through the noise & crushes social media overwhelm.

Members instantly access how-to videos, screen shots, checklists, infographics, and case studies — tools which can be put to work on your website & social networking right away.

#2. Get More Fans in Less Time

Discover how to get fans & connections without spending all day in social media. You really can post to all of your social networks in as little as 15 minutes a day, and you’ll learn how to generate content & posts that get your business noticed, attract fans, and turn them into paying customers.

Members immediately get their hands on how-to checklists (like 13 Ways to Get More Facebook Fans), videos that teach you how to do search engine optimization yourself, and real-life examples of successful small businesses who’ve achieved great success.

#3. Customize Your Learning Track

Online training is often a one-sized fits all plan, but not for SMOC Members. You’ll get a customized social media assessment that details the optimum social networks for your unique career path & industry, and you can use it as your guide for what classes you’ll need (Members are often surprised at the results). Plus, Members can instantly access:

  • hands-on video tutorials
  • monthly social media makeovers (for your website or any social network)
  • bonus webinars that dive deep into profitable tactics
  • infographics to print as your cheat sheets
  • a private community forum
  • 1:1 private coaching

#4. Get 1:1 Coaching Plus Networking with Other Business Owners

Members get instant access to a private online community of peers eager to connect and discuss what’s worked and what hasn’t for them.

Each month, members also get 1:1 coaching time with Maria where you can get feedback on your website, advice on your business plan, help with your social media marketing, you name it — it’s your time!

Plus, your Membership includes a complimentary pass to SMOC’s monthly Bonus Webinar or virtual workshop focused on a hot social media business topic — ranging from one & done posting to getting listed on search results — with plenty of time for extended Q&As . The webinar alone is a value of $297.00 per month.

As a member you’ll get immediate access to all the materials on the site plus that month’s Bonus Webinar. After that, you’ll be billed the lowest available monthly fee (currently just $57) via convenient automated billing. It’s risk-free and guaranteed, you can easily cancel at any time.

So why not join today and see how SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com can help your business grow!

Get Webinar FREE with SMOC Membership

weekly top 5 - puppy edition
Oct 05

Weekly Top 5 for Oct 05, 2015

By Janice Deleon

Our classes are just the start of the learning you get here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com.  Here are the additional resources available this week..

 

weekly top 5 - puppy edition

#1. How to Run Your Business on a Chromebook for Less Than $300

One of the most popular posts we’ve evern published.  Maria reveals how she can run Socialmediaonlineclasses.com from her Chromebook laptop (even without wi-fi).  A must-read . . . http://bit.ly/1ODA1Jt

#2. How to Drive Traffic from Twitter

New members-only infographic: what does it take to get traffic from just 140 characters? Learn the t + rt = T method for driving traffic here . . . http://bit.ly/traffictwitter

#3. [HACK] How to Post an Image to Instagram from your Computer

“How can I get a photo from my computer onto Instagram?” SMOC members want to know, and Maria shares her easy “hack” in Lesson 5 of Instagram 101 . . . http://bit.ly/instagramonlineclass

#4. Make It Easy for Clients to Share their Special Moments

The last place you’d expect to be innovative on Instagram? The Georgia Department of Drivers’ Services; but they have a fun and creative way for new drivers to show off their new license . . . http://on.fb.me/1LrGiru

#5. Changes Coming to Facebook Mobile

Facebook is improving your mobile experience, and here’s what changes are coming to your device in the coming months . . . http://bit.ly/fbmobile2015

 

how to run your business on a chromebook
Sep 29

How to Run Your Business on a Chromebook for Less Than $300

By Maria Peagler

how to run your business on a chromebook

 

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

I was skeptical myself, until I took my Chromebook to Austin for a conference.

That’s when I fell in love with it.

In this post I’m sharing why . . .

. . . and why you should consider a Chromebook for your work, studies, or personal life.

Two Laptops Destroyed in Two Months

It was heartbreaking —

My husband and I were on vacation celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in the Florida Keys.  It was gorgeous, warm, and magical . . .

. . . until he dropped his laptop (while it was in the padded case) on a tile floor. He took out his Dell laptop, tried to boot it up, and nothing happened.  We removed the hard drive, sent it to a data recovery specialist, and the verdict was the data was unrecoverable.

All of my husband’s business data on that laptop was gone.

Yes, he had backups.  But he also was missing three months of critical data from his business.

Two weeks previous to the death of the Dell, my son’s laptop (my old MacBook Pro) had water spilled on it.

Another laptop gone — two laptops destroyed in two months.

I was determined this was not going to happen to me.

I wanted a backup laptop I could take on vacation, to conferences, and have just in case my current MacBook Pro died.

I was not, however, willing to shell out the $2,000+ a MacBook Pro costs.

Enter the Chromebook

I had read about Chromebook laptops, which run the Chrome operating system and are manufactured by multiple companies, including Google, Toshiba, Hewlett Packard and more.  The only downside is any application you run on it must be a web application, as Chromebooks are meant to run only on wi-fi and have a minimal hard drive.

Basically, they’re meant for cloud computing only.

When I analyzed the applications I use in my business, almost every single one was a web application:  WordPress, Google Docs, Canva, and social networks.

I researched Chromebooks and found they top out around $300 (unless you’re considering the Google Pixel version which costs over $1,000).  The Toshiba Chromebook 2 received glowing reviews, had a high-resolution display and was recommended by BusinessInsider.

I was sold. I could theoretically have a backup computer for less than $300.

I ordered my Toshiba Chromebook 2 from Amazon, and because I’m a Prime member, had it in two days.

Now the real test would begin.

Running on Wi-Fi Only is a Myth

Initially I used my new Chromebook in my home office only, where I have a good internet connection via DSL.  I wrote blog posts on the Chromebook, posted on social media, watched YouTube videos, and was pleased with how well it performed.  The only downside was I couldn’t create infographics since Pixelmator (my favorite graphics app) was Mac-only.  I could use Canva.com instead, but my infographics were too complex for Canva to handle.

My love affair with it really began this month when I attended a conference in Austin.  In a large hotel conference room (with no wi-fi nor enough power strips for the 300+ laptops in the room).

My Chromebook prevailed!

How?

First, you can use Google Docs without wi-fi on a Chromebook. So it didn’t matter that we were stuck in a windowless conference room without an internet connection.  I was able to take notes using Google Docs (and those notes were beautiful— tables, bullets, emojis — I took full advantage of everything Docs offers).  I also updated the notes on the flight home (without wi-fi).

Second, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 has a whopping eight-hour battery life.  And it’s really eight hours. I took conference notes from 9am to 5pm without ever being plugged in to a power strip.  Comparatively, my MacBook Pro battery lasts only about three hours, tops.

Third, my Chromebook is small enough that it fit easily in my leather handbag.  I didn’t need a separate laptop case, simplifying  travel, and needing one less carry-on bag.

Fourth, in the evening at my Airb&b guest house with wi-fi, I was able to record a webinar and upload it to Vimeo, extract the audio, covert the media files, and create an infographic, all using the Chromebook.  I was able to accomplish far more than I originally ever thought I could with a Chromebook.

What follows is a list of the apps I used to do accomplish all those projects, along with my other favorites:

Record a Webinar with Snagit

Snagit is a much-loved desktop screen capture tool from TechSmith, that also records video.  They debuted a bare-bones Chrome version last year, but I was unsure if I could record a webinar 40 minutes long using it.

I needed to record my screen, with multiple browser tabs open, and demonstrate to SMOC members how I was able to reach Google’s first page in 90 days (the topic of my webinar).

I recorded the entire 40 minute-webinar using Snagit.

While the sound quality wasn’t nearly as good as it would have been on my MacBook Pro, it worked well enough in a pinch.

Awesome! I had my 40-minute long Snagit file.

Now what? How was I going to get Snagit’s .avi file converted to .mp4 format so I could upload it to Vimeo?

Convert Almost Any File with CloudConvert

Snagit automatically saved my webinar recording on Google Drive.  When I went to open it, Drive asked me if I wanted to convert the file using CloudConvert.

I was game: I needed to convert the file, and had no idea how to do it using a web application.  My favorite desktop conversion tool, Handbrake, wasn’t available for Chromebook.

So I tried CloudConvert and was thrilled: it converted the webinar file from an .avi to an .mp4 successfully, and reduced it significantly in size, from 272MB to 104MB (tiny for a video file).

Success!

Then I realized I needed to convert the audio from the webinar to an .mp3 audio file: could CloudConvert do that too?

No problem: it took the .avi file and extracted the audio, saving it to an .mp3 file. Brilliant!  Again, the size was considerably smaller than .mp3 files I save using TechSmith’s Camtasia (my regular webinar recording tool).  Those .wav files are usually over 100MB; CloudConvert’s .mp3 was only 30 MB.

Create Lessons & Webinar Pages in WordPress

Since WordPress is a web application, I didn’t anticipate any issues using it on my Chromebook. I was able to create lessons, create the webinar page and embed the webinar video and audio files on it.  Smooth!

But, WordPress won’t accept a media upload larger than 2MB, so how could I upload my audio file that was 30MB?

Upload Files to My Server Using sFTP Client

I normally use FileZilla to upload files to my server (I even donated to the application’s author I was so pleased with it), but again, no Chromebook version of it.

So I searched the Chrome Store for the most popular FTP application and downloaded it: sFTP Client.

One FTP application is pretty similar to the next: either they work or they don’t.

It worked. The first time.

And it choose between regular FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or sFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol).

Score!

Create an Infographic Using Google Slides

My last major test for the Chromebook was creating an infographic.  While I had read about graphic web applications like Pixlr, it was vastly different from Pixelmator, and I didn’t want to invest the learning curve in a tool I would use so infrequently.

Then it hit me:  HubSpot offers free templates for creating infographics using PowerPoint.  While I had never downloaded the templates, I wondered if it would be possible to create my own branded infographic using Google Slides?

I created a new slide deck with only one slide, modified the size to what I needed, and created an infographic consistent with the others I share in my members-only webinars. It had the same look & feel, and I was able to create it entirely on the Chromebook:

infographic created in Google Presentations

I was able to create this infographic entirely in Google Presentations

Manage Projects Using Trello

As a visual person, I enjoy using Trello for project management, as I can easily see the progress on each task as it happens.  I can also organize my projects and teams the way I choose.

Like other web applications, Trello worked seamlessly from my Chromebook.  It was the same experience as using it on my Mac, so I was able to communicate with my VA and developer without a hitch.

Projects continued while I was gone, and I managed them all from my Chromebook.

Creating Simple Graphics Using Canva

I already used Canva to create simple images for some of my blog posts and social media, so using it from the Chromebook wasn’t much different.  While the screen on my Toshiba was smaller than my MacBook Pro, I could easily zoom in to see the areas I needed in Canva.

Documenting Everything in Evernote

I use the basic free version of Evernote, so I wasn’t able to use it to take notes during the conference (no wi-fi during the day).  But at night, I had wi-fi and was able to access my travel itinerary, conference details, update my To-Do List and more.  I experienced no difference in using Evernote’s web application and the Mac desktop version.

Accounting for Non-Math Majors Using LessAccounting

As a writer, trainer, and artist, I love being creative and helping others to learn new things.

I have rarely loved math: I can do it, but it takes me longer than those for whom it’s a strength.

So I outsource my accounting. Not to a bookkeeper, not to QuickBooks (tried it, hated it), but to LessAccounting: a web-based accounting application designed for people who hate accounting.

I connect my bank accounts and PayPal, and it does the rest. It imports all of my transactions, including expenses, income, and I can create invoices from it as well.

It costs $39 a month, and it saves me hours of time every month.

I can log in from Chromebook, review and categorize my expenses (if necessary), and analyze my Profit & Loss statements, just as I could from my MacBook Pro.

A Chromebook for My Virtual Assistant

My experience with the Chromebook was so positive, that I purchased one for my VA when her old laptop began to have problems.  Because I already had experience successfully using the applications core to my business from the Chromebook, I knew she would be able to do the same.  I sent her an advance on PayPal, and she purchased the Chromebook in her country.

She’s thrilled with it.

As I am with mine.

I still love my MacBook Pro and use it as my primary business computer. But, if a new Chromebook debuts with a larger screen, I may make the switch permanently.

How Are You Using Your Chromebook?

It would be so great to hear how you’re using your own Chromebook (or questions about its potential).  Share your tips in the comments below so others can learn what’s possible using a Chromebook.

Projects I want to try from my Toshiba Chromebook 2 are:

  • Recording a live webinar with attendees
  • Reading a Kindle book (I’ve downloaded the app but haven’t used it much yet)
  • Exploring its abilities I have yet to discover

I’ll keep this post updated as I learn and experience more!

Sep 28

Weekly Top 5 for Sep 28, 2015

By Janice Deleon

Our classes are just the start of the learning you get here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com.  Here are the additional resources available this week..

Colorful cupcakes with flowers

 

#1. Tips for Entrepreneurs from a Top UpWork VA

Ever considered delegating projects to a virtual assistant but weren’t sure where to start? Read this article from a top 1% Upwork freelancer on what U.S. entrepreneurs need to know about working with a VA . . . http://bit.ly/1WfmPMe

#2. [WEBINAR EXCERPT] How I Got to Google’s First Page in 90 Days

Watch this brief excerpt of the full webinar where I explain how I got to the first page of search for a highly competitive market . . . http://bit.ly/1Vab8nD

#3. How to Focus on Days You Feel Brain Dead

Not feeling productive? Day full of crises? Here’s how to get back on track when it’s tough to focus . . . http://bit.ly/brainfocus

#4. [NEW] Instagram 101 Class Updated for New User Interface

Instagram debuted a new interface, and our Instagram is updated with the new details and awesome tactics you won’t learn any where else! Check out the new class here . . . http://bit.ly/instagramonlineclass

#5. [CLASSIC WEBINAR EXCERPT] How to Get More Sales from Your Website

Get a sneak peek into this month’s webinar! Best member takeaways were “where visitors look on my website,” “how to make my site look good on mobile” and “now I know why people don’t trust my store!”  Watch the 5-min excerpt here . . . . . http://bit.ly/1saBkFT

 

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