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  • Larry Alton 4:50 am on December 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    7 Social Media Tips for Franchises 

    Today, social media is ruling the marketing scene. Even B2B businesses are finding that social media can be an excellent source for lead generation and value offering. Franchises can also use social media – however, it will require a unique spin. Though franchises are past the startup phase where social media can be very tricky, they can still run into some hurdles along the way. If you own a franchise, a huge hurdle can be the effectiveness of your strategy. If you’re working on improving your social media game, here are some suggestions:

    1. Define the Voice and Purpose

    What’s the purpose of your social efforts? Are you trying to generate more customers? Draw attention to the brand? Reach more customers? Your primary purpose will greatly influence your strategies and their effectiveness.

    Defining your voice will be a large part of achieving that purpose. When marketing a franchise, aim to stand out from your major competitors. If you’re a McDonald’s franchise, for example, you’ll be up against Wendy’s, Burger King, and other fast food restaurants in the area. Your voice will set you apart from your biggest competitors.

    2. Rely on the Brand Name’s Popularity

    Most franchises are well-known, and you can use that popularity to your advantage with your social strategy. People love Starbucks, for example, so if you own a Starbucks franchise, you can focus on what the company stands for, their signature products, and their imagery in order to make the most of your social efforts.

    3. Use the Best Platforms

    Some social media platforms will be more effective for you than others. For most franchises, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are essential for sharing viral content. Original blog posts, videos, memes, vines, and other content that has the potential to spread are best handled through these platforms. Google Plus is also useful for connecting on the professional level and increasing search engine rankings.

    4. Be Present on Each Platform

    After you’ve figured out the tenets above, focus on building a ubiquitous presence on social media. This is essential to making your specific franchise visible and standing out against competitors.

    The most important part of developing a presence is filling out your profile. Make sure contact information, your website, and details about the business are easy to find. Your cover image and profile picture should also be engaging and encourage likes. Use this opportunity to share your voice and make it stand out.

    After you’ve defined the profile, be present. Pop onto social pages often to interact with customers, make comments, and respond to messages. Customers respond much better to companies that are readily available.

    5. Stick with Timely and Relevant Content

    Timely content is essential for attracting attention. Loyal customers enjoy entertainment regarding pop culture, current news events, and trending stories. Scanning local and world newsfeeds can be a gold mine of useful topics that can raise sales and create loyal customers.

    The content must also be relevant. If you’re trying to get people to eat at your restaurant, the content you share should make customers want to eat at your restaurant. It shouldn’t gross them out, convince them to go on a diet, or persuade them to do anything else that goes against the purpose of your social efforts.

    6. Be Local

    Local social engagement is everything for franchises. You are a local business, after all.  It’s your job to stand out from the other franchises in your area, and drawing more attention from locals is essential.

    Social media can also extend to your physical activities. For example, attend or sponsor local events. This shows that you’re invested in the community and important causes. After you’ve attended, you can share your experience on your social pages.

    7. Create a Vision for Your Marketing Efforts

    Ultimately, every move you make on social media boils down to your primary vision. You’ll step back and look at the big picture, tweaking your strategy in order to send you in the right direction. It creates a road map that both you and your customers can follow with ease.

     
  • Larry Alton 5:43 pm on December 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    You Can Promote Environmental Responsibility Through Social Media 

    Social media enables businesses to gain marketing traction that isn’t possible through many other mediums. It can also be used for social good, such as promoting a worthy cause. The two can be combined to excellent effect: You can use social media to teach consumers about environmental responsibility while simultaneously promoting your products.

    Environmental consciousness is a growing trend. Showing that you support a better environment can be great for customer attraction and retention. A report from CarbonNeutral.com shows that 67 percent of citizens use social networks regularly, so a significant portion of that population can be leveraged to spread the word about the needs of the environment.

    If you’d like to make a difference with your social media marketing campaign, you have to devise a solid strategy. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your social engagement.

    1. Promote Eco-Friendly Products

    This is the most obvious use of social media for this purpose. A product that has eco-friendly elements is instantly more desirable to many consumers who seek increased awareness of green living.

    Posting information about your products and a list of what makes them eco-friendly can play a big role in your marketing. It attracts customers and proves you’re as invested in the environment as your nature-loving customer base.

    1. Share Eco-Friendly Fact Pages

    People like statistics, charts, and other easy-to-read data that supports their interests, and folks who love the environment are especially that way. They are drawn to useful information that supports the causes they like, and they’re more likely to share your posts as a result.

    By sharing fact pages about your company, products, or just general environmental news, you provide valuable content to your customer base, which can keep them on your side and hold their interest.

    1. Share News Stories about the Environment

    It’s a smart move to go with what’s trending. Keep up with current news and trends on the environment for your social posts. Try to make this news fit in with your business without cheapening the cause.

    For example, over several recent months, the pipeline in North Dakota that’s encroached on Native American land has been big news for the environmental lobby. You might highlight that your company supports the protests, and post about oil-based materials you use if they come from a non-disruptive source.

    1. Use Hashtags

    These Twitter tools are ideal for grouping your conversations. For example, #EarthDay helps you find any relevant information on this subject, and you can piggyback off its popularity for your own purposes. You’ll learn a great deal about your customers while digging up content that matches their interests.

    Hashtags are also a great way to draw business to your firm. According to research from BrandWatch, posts with hashtags receive 12.6 percent more engagement than those without them, and 70 percent of the most-used hashtags are branded.

    This can be a powerful tool for generating followers and promoting your business.

    1. Run Analytics

    Social-savvy companies steadily run analytics to follow the performance of each post, comment, and share. You can usually find information about these social interactions on the social site’s platform.

    For example, Facebook offers detailed analytic reports to companies which show brand mentions, conversations about the brand, total reach of content, the number of organic and viral impressions, and page subscribers.

    Other tools such as AgoraPulse, BrandWatch, Buffer, and Hootsuite also offer details that will help you identify the effectiveness of your content and make improvements based on what you learn.

    1. Listen and Respond

    The information you gather and the steps you take to make your eco support more visible will go nowhere if you don’t listen to your customers. This shouldn’t be a one-way communication tool for you to broadcast your ideas and hope people are listening.

    To build any form of relationship, real or virtual, you have to be a good listener, and that goes for businesses.  To prove that you’re listening actively, respond to comments and other interactions.

    Also, put your customers’ feedback into practice. If their interactions (or lack thereof) suggest you need to make changes to your strategy, then do it. That’s how to spread the environmental good word while fostering a supportive following.

     
  • Larry Alton 4:33 pm on December 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Listen In: Introducing Customer Voices On Enterprise Social Media 

    In the business world, we focus on two main forms of social media: general social media, where we engage with our customers and enterprise social media, where we manage that mainstream presence and exchange information in-house. Sometimes, though, we need to bridge the gap between the two, and this is particularly the case when it comes to valuable customer feedback as collected through general social media.

    How do we make the jump between these two formats in a way that helps social media managers learn from customer feedback? It comes down to shifting both data and vital examples from our public pages to our internal data banks. To get started, focus on these four factors.

    Get Organized

    One of the first things you need to do, before you can even begin transferring key feedback from social media to your enterprise system, is to make sure you’re using a system that can handle the different types of data and will allow you to share and create customer engagement metrics. If everyone can’t access and manipulate data, it won’t help you very much and will be a barrier to collaboration. You need your social media team members to work together on campaigns and learn from each other.

    Break It Down

    As you enter customer feedback data, make sure you break it down by different customer groups. Data from new users, frequent users, and generally inactive users all have different bearings on your strategy. You also should note whether customer feedback comes prompted or unprompted – anything users care enough to tell you about without being asked should weigh especially heavily in your considerations.

    Show Strong Samples

    For some team members, numbers won’t stand out as strongly as actual examples of customer feedback, so give them real examples of what your customers are saying. Just like you would put customer testimony on your website, create a section in your enterprise social media system where team members can reference customer quotes, surveys, and interviews. This information can help them build a real connection with customers and better understand what they want from your brand.

    Develop Niche Values

    Another thing you should factor in when taking in customer feedback and processing it for general use is where that feedback comes from – Facebook, Twitter, or surveys, for example – and whether different customer values are expressed in different places. Different social media sites fill different niches and it’s important to know who you’re reaching with your content. What’s successful in one place may not be successful in another.

    Customer voices should be at the core of your social media strategy and understanding them will help you provide better service. By using your enterprise social media system to manage all of the many types of derivative feedback you can get from this data, you empower your team to respond to customer needs in consistent, well-informed ways. Your customers feel heard and your brand is successful – it’s a win-win.

     
  • Larry Alton 11:19 am on December 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    7 Social Media Marketing Tactics That Travel Agents Swear By 

    The travel industry is worth billions; it promises excellent returns for anyone who can penetrate the market. But becoming a successful travel agent is no picnic.

    There are so many travel agencies and websites online that standing out enough to gain a solid array of clients is a considerable challenge. You stand a better chance if you employ the right marketing tools to your advantage.

    According to research, social media is currently one of the best avenues for converting curious consumers into paying travelers. Furthermore, social word-of-mouth has a major impact on potential clients’ travel decisions.

    About 92 percent say they trust word-of-mouth and online recommendations from friends and family beyond all other types of marketing. In addition, 52 percent affirmed that they changed holiday travel plans based on travel-related posts they encountered on Facebook.

    These numbers clearly indicate the advantages of using social media for travel marketing. If you want to see the benefits of social networks first-hand in your business, here are some tips you might try.

    1. Post content that potential clients actually want to see

    People won’t follow a link to your blog or website if you haven’t caught their attention immediately with something that speaks to their plans or desires. Travel tips, budgeting suggestions, top travel destinations, current trending keywords, and other travel-related content are always of significant interest to travelers and can be used to spread the word about your services.

    For a great example of this, consider this review site that has a strong emphasis on travel. The owners have published several blog posts on finance tips and credit card ideas for travelers. That kind of content can be incredibly appealing to wanderers who are hoping to save a little on the side.

    1. Engage as often as possible with followers and fans

    This tip follows naturally from the preceding one. Maintaining social media accounts and posting a little content now and then isn’t going to be enough to gather a strong social following that will convert.

    You’ll also need someone to monitor engagement on a fairly continual basis. You might even reach out to customers with special offers and FAQs through messaging apps.

    To do this, you might have to outsource your social media management to a freelancer who can post regularly on your behalf and make certain that consumers who reach out are answered in a timely manner.

    1. Manage your accounts proficiently

    Management will require constant attention and a few tools. Buffer, Hootsuite, SproutSocial, and IFTTT are a few of the many tools that will enable you to control all your social accounts in one place with a variety of analytics tools. The goal is to make your engagement with current and potential clients more meaningful.

    1. Make your posts irresistible to scrollers

    If you don’t do this, people who are accustomed to the daily exercise of Facebook scrolling, when many news and commercial posts flash by, won’t stop for yours. Irresistible travel posts can be achieved first and foremost through the use of excellent images or a video of a hot travel destination.

    A cleverly worded caption for each of your chosen images will help to attract leads. As a great example of this, look at Expedia’s Facebook page. The social content there sparkles with images and enticing captions that make the company’s posts almost irresistible for people who surf the Web.

    1. Use current events and hot spots to fill your content

    You can never go wrong with trending content. Every year, sites such as Travelocity publish pieces about the hottest destinations of the year. You’ll also want to create and promote your own list of hot travel destinations, based on the experiences of past clients.

    Use this information and other analytics to create blog posts, videos, and other intriguing content with which to fill your social sites. This is a solid way to attract organic search traffic.

    1. Host tempting social media contests

    You’ve seen these on social media because they work. Travel agents constantly offer free trips or discounted airline tickets in an effort to spread brand awareness and attract more customers.

    When you’re starting out, you might not be able to offer an all-expenses paid trip in your contest or sweepstakes, though that can be the quickest way to raise brand awareness. But perhaps you can offer something like a discount on airfare, a free night in a hotel, or another small perk that would make a trip more enticing for a prospective client.

    1. Encourage and use client-generated content

    If you get clients, that means they’re headed for a trip. Their testimonials and photographs can add tremendous value to your business.

    As mentioned above, word of mouth is by far the most effective form of marketing. Your clients will not only make other people yearn to travel, but they’ll also make them interested in doing business with you. It’s a potential win-win for lead generation, brand awareness, and conversions.

     
  • Larry Alton 3:10 pm on December 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    5 Types of Content That Get Shared the Most on Social Media 

    The goal of sharing content on social media should always be high one-on-one engagement with the right people, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a time and place for going viral and reaching the masses. If you want your content to generate lots of shares, then you need to focus on sharing the right formats. Start by emphasizing the following:

    1. First-Person Videos

    Everyone knows that video is great. All you have to do is scroll through your Facebook newsfeed and it’ll become quite apparent that video content is popular. With that being said, not all video is the same. One of the hottest trends right now is the first-person video.

    The perfect example of a first-person video is the Chewbacca Mom video from back in the spring. It’s the video version of a selfie, with the individual recording themselves with a front-facing camera. These videos work well because they’re highly personal and straight to the point. There’s rarely any editing and viewers feel like they’re getting a raw look into someone else’s world.

    1. Comparison Articles

    People like to compare things. That’s what we do. Naturally, this means people like to share content that compares two similar products, ideas, or people.

    The good news for marketers is that comparison articles are among the easiest content formats to produce. All you need to do is pick two topics in your realm of expertise and compare and contrast them in article format. Here’s an example comparing lines of credit vs. loans.

    1. Infographics

    Who doesn’t love a good infographic? If you’re going to be sharing data, you might as well make it interesting. According to one study, infographics are liked four-times more than presentations, and 23-times more than documents on SlideShare. Infographics are also shared twice as often as presentations, and three-times more than documents on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

    While you may feel like you don’t have the budget or design skills needed to produce an effective and shareworthy infographic, don’t worry. Thanks to an array of powerful tools, just about anyone can develop an infographic for their brand.

    1. “Caught on Camera” Moments

    Just as first-person videos perform well for their raw characteristics, so do “caught on camera” moments. People love to watch videos of other people who don’t know they’re being filmed.

    If you’re creative enough and have the adequate resources, you can create these sort of caught on camera moments for your audiences. This could be anything from public pranks to random acts of kindness. Ideally, the video should connect back to your core product or brand messaging in some form or fashion. The Dove Choose Beautiful campaign is a great example.

    1. Quizzes

    Customers increasingly desire interactive content. They don’t just want to consume content – they want to be involved in the creation and manipulation of the content. In 2014, 8 out of 10 of the most shared articles were quizzes. And, on average, quizzes receive 1,900 shares.

    Quizzes, like infographics, are now easily available to even the smallest brands with minimal marketing budgets. All you have to do is find the right subject and use the appropriate tool.

    Increase Your Chances of Going Viral

    If going viral and reaching the masses is the goal, then you’ll want to spend your energy focusing on content formats like the ones highlighted in this article. Content formats tend to go in and out of style just like anything else, though, so keep your eye on the latest trends and make sure you’re malleable enough to pivot at any given moment.

     
  • Larry Alton 10:46 am on November 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    6 Ways to Use Illustrations to Enhance Your Written Content 

    For years, content marketers have relied on written content as the backbone of their content marketing strategies, and for good reason. Written content is relatively simple to produce, it loads fast on all devices, it’s easy to optimize for search engines, and it doesn’t have any subject or topic limitations. However, visual content (like images and video) offers some unique advantages that written content just can’t match. Learning to use visuals, such as illustrations and diagrams, in unison with your written content can help you achieve the “best of both worlds” and give your readers everything that they want in an online resource.

    Why Visual Content Is More Engaging

    These are just some of the reasons why visual content is more engaging to readers:

    • Faster information processing. First, written content has to be read, considered, and interpreted, while visual content can be interpreted at a glance (in most cases). It’s a faster form of information processing, and therefore more appealing to impatient readers.
    • Attention-grabbing nature. Images also catch your attention more than words, forcing you to stop when scrolling or simply making an article “look better” from a distance.
    • Simplicity from complexity. Images also have the power to take complex ideas and reduce them to something simpler, like how a bar graph can help you easily compare and contrast numerical sets from vastly different applications.
    • Flexibility and control. Visuals also give you more flexibility for creativity and experimentation, since you have more control over the final output.

    Strategies for Using Illustrations Within Written Content

    Try using these strategies when incorporating illustrations into your articles:

    1. Use charts and graphs to show off numbers. Numbers and data sets are hard to understand when they’re presented in a written format because analyzing them requires a degree of intuition and subjective reasoning. Charts and graphs allow you to tap into this area of processing, letting you show off your numbers in a way that’s intuitively easier to grasp. For example, this article on the 2016 election results is almost purely made up of charts and graphs to show running data—some of which are interactive.
    2. Use a comparison chart to make things easier to understand. Next, you could create a comparison chart to help consumers understand the strengths and weaknesses, or pros and cons, or even just the differences between two or more related concepts. For example, the comparison chart in this article on lipotropic injections makes it clear what the advantages and disadvantages of each type of injection are.
    3. Make a doodle for pure entertainment. Not all illustrations have to serve as ways to make concepts easier to understand or approach. In fact, sometimes the best illustrations are there purely for entertainment value. You could make a doodle of stick figures acting out the story you’re telling, or create a comic strip to prove your point. Internet celebrity The Oatmeal exploded in popularity due to the uniqueness of his illustrations and drawings.
    4. Diagram out a complex idea. You could also take the time to diagram out a complex idea. For example, if you’re writing about the history of your industry, you could use a simple timeline at the top to help your users follow along with your narrative. You could also summarize your main points in a table, or use a logical flow to illustrate how you arrived at a certain conclusion. Again, it’s a way to make a complex topic simpler.
    5. Photograph steps in a how-to article. If you’re writing a how-to article or some other kind of step-by-step guide, it can be helpful to include photographs or screenshots of the steps actually taking place in a live environment. For example, this article on how to change the oil in a car demonstrates each step of the process to make the written instructions clearer and easier to understand.
    6. Give examples of your topic in action. Finally, you could use visuals to show your topic in action. For example, if you’re writing about a physical product like a bicycle, you could use drawings or photos of the bike’s special features to enhance your written descriptions of them. For more abstract topics, like how to deliver a powerful speech, you could use images of people engaged in the activity (such as famous speakers).

    With these strategies in tow and an understanding of why visuals are important in the first place, you’ll be able to take your written content to the “next level” and engage your audience in ways previously inaccessible. Like with any form of content, there are thousands of ways you can customize your approach here, and no single approach will work best for every brand; experiment until you find the angle that works best for you and your readers.

     
  • Larry Alton 6:02 pm on November 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    5 Tips for Successfully Reaching Niche Audiences on Social Media 

    Posting something on social media and trying to reach people is like yelling something into a crowd of 50,000 people and hoping that the right person hears you. Social media platforms have millions of users, which is good. However, the downside of such a large audience is that it’s challenging to identify and reach your target users.

    Tips for Being Heard by Your Niche

    Are you tired of hearing everyone else talk about the high returns they’re seeing from an investment in social media? Do you ever feel like you’re throwing time and money down the drain? You aren’t alone in your frustrations. Start doing what others have already discovered and hone in on a niche audience.

    These tips and techniques will help you get started:

    1. Use Facebook Audience Targeting

    Facebook has this really cool feature that allows businesses to produce advertisements for niche audiences. Using their audience segmenting features, you can narrow your audience based on location, gender, age, interests, purchasing habits, hobbies, etc. If you’ve yet to play around with this powerful interface, you’ll be amazed by what you’ve been missing out on.

    1. Share Localized Content

    People like to associate with things. It’s why people introduce themselves as Republicans or Democrats, Yankees or Red Sox Fans, artists or accountants, etc. We identify with the things we do. But even more than identifying with the things we do, we identify with where we live.

    As a business, you can capitalize on this human inclination to associate with geography by producing and sharing localized content on social media. This is something CreditRepair.my does really well, producing content like this that targets specific states (West Virginia in this example).

    1. Use Hashtags

    It’s not always possible to target specific users. However, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms have given you the ability to pre-sort your posts for their millions of users in the form of hashtags.

    Hashtags, while frequently misused, exist for the purpose of filtering. When you use the hashtag “#cooking,” this allows people to search for the hashtag and see your post. It’s a rudimentary way of telling people what your post is about.

    1. Use Your Audience’s Voice

    People like others who are similar to them. If you’re trying to target a specific group of people, then you need to talk like them.

    “Many niche groups use specific words, slang, or non-typical word expressions that differentiate them from others,” blogger Lesley Vos points out. “Whether you’re trying to connect with introverts, hipsters, or healthy lifestyle fans, it’s important to speak the same language they do.”

    How do you know what language they speak? You can find out a lot by browsing their profiles, reading message boards, and immersing yourself in the websites they like.

    1. Stop Posting Generic Content

    The final tip is to stop posting generic content. You can’t hone in on a niche audience if you’re simultaneously trying to appeal to a wider group. You’ll come across as inauthentic, cheap, and unfocused. While it takes more time to develop niche content, you’ll be rewarded for your investment. It’s better to engage 200 relevant readers than to engage 2,000 generic ones. Remember this and don’t sell out at the expense of convenience.

    Focus on Reaching the Right People

    Social media marketing isn’t about seeing how many likes and shares you can get. It’s about seeing how well you’re able to engage the people who matter. After all, what good is a share or a like if it comes from someone who won’t ever become a customer?

    You need to be reaching users who are within your target market. Narrow your focus and you’ll see better results.

     
  • Larry Alton 5:37 pm on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    8 Ways Social Media Affects Mental Health 

    Who doesn’t love social media? It offers a carefree escape from work and other cares of the world, promising continued entertainment at any time of the day. But social media may not be quite as mindless as you think. In fact, it has an impact on mental health, sometimes for good, other times, not so much.

    Understanding the positive and negative impacts of social media on mental health is an important part of marketing for businesses. It shows some of the dos and don’ts for marketers and calls for certain ethics in the craft. To foster a positive environment for your business and understand the impact social posts can have on your customer base, here are some of the mental health effects of social media.

    1. Regular use increases our propensity for addiction.

    Some people are more prone to addiction than others, and there have been several studies that link the use of social media and addictive tendencies. Medical News Today has run studies showing that 63 percent of Americans log into Facebook daily and 40 percent log in multiple times daily. As a result of this constant social presence, researchers have developed a scale to measure the addiction to Facebook and other social platforms called “The Berge Facebook Addiction Scale.” That addiction can be used to your advantage, but at the cost of decreased mental health for the recipient.

    2. It can glamorize drug and alcohol use.

    Addiction to social media can lead to addiction with drugs and alcohol. Teenagers are particularly susceptible since there’s a lot of peer pressure through online platforms. There’s also a lot of glamorization of drug and alcohol use in the media.

    One study shows that teenagers who interact daily with social media are five times more likely to use tobacco, three times more likely to use alcohol, and twice as likely to use marijuana. The power of suggestion through photographs and social posts has a strong and dangerous influence on adolescents and illicit substance use.

    3. It can improve social interaction.

    Even though this interaction is online rather than face to face, the use of social media can teach basic social skills. It can also encourage relationships between those near and far, while making it easier for people to communicate.

    4. It has been linked to the rise of cyber bullying.

    A major downside of social media use is cyber bullying, which is something you never want to see in your advertisements or the comments sections of your posts. Enough is Enough, a group centered on providing a safer internet experience for adolescents, revealed that 95 percent of teenagers on social media have witnessed cyber bullying. A massive 33 percent have been victims of it.

    5. It can be an education center.

    There’s a lot that can be learned on social media in regards to pop culture and news. Adolescents and adults alike can stay abreast of what’s going on this world and join conversations that are important.
    This is a particularly important benefit for businesses looking to market through social media. Because people can go to social media in search of reliable educational material, you can increase your readership of blog posts and other content through the platform.

    6. It makes us feel inadequate.

    This is due to all the comparisons that happen on social media. Looking through selfies and posts about incredible accomplishments can lead to feelings of failure or incompetence. Those feelings can often lead to feelings of hate or anger. Businesses posting on social media should take care to avoid causing this emotion through their posts.

    7. It can reduce productivity and encourage multitasking.

    Studies show that multitasking is very bad. One study from the University of London actually showed that multitasking has the potential to drop your IQ by as much as 10 points. People try to multitask all the time, keeping several unrelated tabs open on their computer as they surf social media and try to get work done in between. The result is severely decreased productivity.

    8. It leads to sleep deprivation.

    Everyone needs sleep for optimum health, but social media is a big night time activity, particularly for teenagers. It’s easy to begin chatting with friends and let the time slip away, late into the night. Sleep deprivation is bad for business, no matter what.

    Understanding the way social media impacts customers in every way is essential for good business. You’ll be surprised at the correlations between great mental health and a thriving business, making it important to understand the ups and downs in the market.

     
  • Larry Alton 2:13 pm on November 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    3 Hurdles You’ll Probably Face as You Start Your Real Estate Career 

    You’ve probably heard a lot about the success of real estate, particularly with the popularity of HGTV and similar media outlets. There’s no denying that people in real estate often bank high returns, but that’s not the case for everyone. There’s a much darker side of real estate that success stories often don’t mention, which makes prosperity more challenging.

    Like any business move, starting a career in real estate will take time, dedication, and patience. Here are a few things you’ll want to know before diving in.

    1. You need money, even if it’s not your own.

    If you’re beginning your career as a realtor, don’t expect the process to be free and easy. There are several expenses you’ll need to cover, including realty school. You must take courses and pass an exam in order to become certified in real estate, which could cost thousands depending on your location.

    There are also the costs of running your own business, which include, but aren’t limited to:

    • Office supplies
    • Business cards
    • Work phone (preferably a smart phone for texting and internet on the go)
    • Car
    • Signage and other forms of physical advertising
    • Online ads and other forms of digital advertising
    • Website creation and maintenance
    • Real estate license
    • Multiple Listing Service (MLS) access
    • Board of Realtor dues
    • Computer, printer, fax machine, copier, and similar tech
    • Professional dress
    • Travel costs
    • Taxes for the self employed

    The costs of being an agent are expensive, and they become even more costly if you become an investor. A home is considered the most expensive asset for most people, so don’t be surprised at the amount of capital you’ll need. You’ll need funds to cover the initial purchase of the home, listing services, marketing, advertising, and other costs associated with starting and running an investment venture.

    Though fronting the down payment for a home yourself will lower costs in the long run, you can invest in properties even when you’re broke. Through wholesaling, working with an investment partner, taking out a high-interest no-money-down loan, or leasing, you can invest in a property and collect the returns.

    1. Your personality needs to fit the bill.

    There are a lot of people attracted by the success of real estate, but not everyone is cut out for the job. It takes a certain personality to build clients and sell properties, particularly in regions where competition is fierce.

    Rather than focusing on the high returns, think of the job in smaller terms. It’s kind of like the decision to do summer sales to help pay for college. Some people are fantastic at sales. They get people to listen to their pitches and point out the positives of a product in such a way that people can’t refuse.

    Real estate is similar. If you’re not good at sales, you probably won’t be good at real estate. The entire process involves making sales, but these sales are a lot bigger than selling pest control or a new security system. You have to use the client’s desire for a new home to accelerate their decision and move properties. Sometimes that means removing the niceties and resorting to cutthroat salesmanship.

    1. Most of the marketing is now done digitally.

    A couple of decades ago, a real estate agent’s advertising was primarily done through signage, Thrifty Nickel ads, and cold calls. Now, thriving realtors do the majority of their marketing through a website, online listing services, digital ads, and social media. If you’re not comfortable with this, you’ll have a hard time moving properties.

    Like selling real estate, marketing takes a certain personality. You have to be willing and able to put yourself out there on social media and your advertisements. Your professional life will become very public, and you’ll need to focus on constant engagement to drive clientele.

    There are many factors that go into successful real estate businesses. Don’t be taken by surprise with things you hadn’t thought of beforehand. Be ready to handle the costs and knowledge necessary to stay competitive and strong in a difficult market.

     
  • Larry Alton 6:47 pm on October 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    5 Best Social Media Practices for B2B 

    Some analysis in the B2B industry argue that social media is entirely unnecessary and a waste of resources for professionals in their field. That position is grossly exaggerated, but it’s a fact that social media can be a tricky enterprise for B2B firms.

    If you select the wrong strategies, you can get stuck with tactics that don’t work and social media profiles that have very little utility. Social media can be great for your organization, but only if you approach it in the right manner.

    If you’re not conversant with this potentially fruitful yet risky tool, you have to learn new tactics if you want to achieve success in social media marketing for your B2B company. Here are some strategies that might be worth trying.

    1. Properly Analyze Data

    For B2B marketers, data is everything. Social users generate all sorts of information about themselves, their likes, dislikes, problems, geographic details, and more.

    With the use of social media, B2B businesses can learn a lot about their customers and how they like to interact with commercial operations. Then you can use this data to improve your social media strategy.

    If you want to know how your social media is working or identify adjustments that might be smart to make, look at your data. Closely analyzing assets and understanding the information at hand could make all the difference in how effectively your firm employs social media.

    2. Use the Right Platforms

    Your B2B customers won’t be on the same social platforms as B2C customers. The following list represents the recent effectiveness ratings for B2B social media platforms.

    • LinkedIn 63%
    • Twitter 55%
    • YouTube 48%
    • SlideShare 42%
    • Vimeo 40%
    • Facebook 32%
    • Pinterest 25%
    • Instagram 24%
    • Google+ 20%

    These results almost diametrically opposite to the ones that are most effective in B2C marketing. Facebook is widely acknowledged as the most effective for B2C, but you can see here that it’s among the least effective for B2B.

    Don’t take things at face value for B2B. Get acquainted with the statistics and use the information to share effectively on social.

    3. Post Content That’s Useful to Companies

    This is all about understanding your target audience and having your content reflect their interests. Don’t picture individual customers as the recipients of your social interactions.

    Instead, focus on businesses and how they’re apt to feel about what’s being presented. This should change the things you say and the way you convey your content so all of it matches the aims of your business better, as well as the way your content is received.

    4. Monitor Competitors through Social Channels

    You should keep a close eye on your competitors if you want to stay at the top of the pack. Social media is one of the best ways to understand the impact of your business compared to others.

    It’s an especially lucrative approach to lead generation. Your competition’s customers are your customers (at least they could be), and you can learn a lot from the other guy’s customer attraction approach.

    5. Improve Search Rankings

    Research from the Content Marketing Institute shows that when B2B marketers invest in social media marketing, as a direct result they enjoy higher search engine rankings. Google has placed an emphasis on the use of social shares to increase page rank, which means that the more shares and social signals you receive, the better off you’ll end up in search results.

    This means you need deeper engagement on your site. The more clicks, shares, and links you get on your social posts, the higher you’ll appear in search rankings.

    Don’t underestimate the power of social media marketing for your business-to-business organization, even if it might appear minuscule or even futile. As you invest in these efforts, you’re very likely to see greater engagement and retention as a result.

     
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