“Baby It’s Cold Outside”, so doing a little work inside!!

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Lazy Sunday..(Not!)

On days like this, it is just a good idea to make some hot chocolate, chocolate chip cookies ( I prefer to use the NestleToll-Housecookie recipe) and curl up with a good book!

Now that would be the ideal Sunday – but, for me, well..more optimizing web pages, checking inventory and rechecking! Tracking packages and the like. Why? It’s because on-line sales have really picked up for the owner of the small business that I do all the social media for! And I just love it!! (you can check out the selection of merchandise at www.shoe-maze.com)

Branching Out

I am enjoying it so much, that in the last week, I have actually thought about branching out. Been thinking about building a web page and letting interested parties know that I am available to assist them in getting their small business online. Helping them set-up and maintain a blog here on WordPress or whatever platform they are familiar with. And helping them navigate the somewhat confusing world of “social media”. Which at some times, can be most frustrating. It is my belief that a large number of small business owners would be more inclined to utilize social media to advertise and promote their business, if there were clear cut guidelines to show how to go about actually doing it!

Mostly, and quite honestly, through trail and error, I have found out which social media sites work best for what type of social media!

FacebookArguably the number one place to put your business on. But, also if not done the right way, can be a major headache. Short list on Facebook: Make sure to sit it up as a “Business Page” (this option is at the bottom of the page as you create your Facebook page for the first time.) If you are going to have someone else manage the page for you, remember – they must also be on Facebook, and you must be sure to give them the ability to manage the page by going into the “administrator” setting and making the necessary changes. When you do this, please make sure that your Facebook “content manager” knows that when posting to the company page all contents including text, music, pictures, and video, needs to always be “customer and family-friendly”. Facebook can work great for your business basically because a large portion of your customer base will already have an account.

Google+ (Google Plus) – Some people say that for social media, Google+ is a ghost town. I have found that it is not a ghost town, but more of an international gathering of people on social media. The important aspect to remember about Google+ is that it has very active groups called “communities”. Now setting up a business page here can seem a little backwards, but can be “boiled down” really to just a few easy steps!

  1. Get yourself a personal Gmail account (its easy and its free)
  2. Make a Google+ page for yourself (again, quick and free, and you will see why in just a few more steps)
  3. Once you have a Gmail account, you can join “Google For Business”
  4. Once you have joined, fill out all the information about your business and they (Google) will create a Google+ Page for your business!
  5. From your personal Google+ page you can add other pages that you wish to manage, and then you can switch from one page to the other!
  6. Google will send you a postcard with numerical code on it to “verify” that this is your business. Get the card, enter the code and you are done!

The advantage with having Google itself create your business page is that both your business information and business Google+ page will end up being listed in their search  engine very quickly. And, once your business has been verified and you have enough “+1”, Google will email you to see if your would like a verified “Google+ business name. Trust me, take it. It is a nice touch. (if you google search “shoe-maze on google plus, you will see that business name listed by a unique verified name) Advantage with Google+ – you can include hashtags in your business posts (example: #kidsfashion) and the posts will show up in that group when someone does a search on hashtags. As you type in Google+, any word that is typed after the pound or hashtag symbol (#), will automatically bring up a list of trending hashtags. This is such a cool way to target new customers. Note: If you have an android phone, and put the “Google+” app on your phone, all photos will be automatically saved to your personal Google+ account unless you disable this feature!.

Twitter – Twitter is quickly becoming the new Facebook. If you are looking for a platform to target a younger audience (that all elusive 18-29 year old buying crowd) then this is the place for you! All you have to is to be able to get your message across is 120 characters or less..lol!! Now, the Twitter platform is where hashtags live at. And there is a hashtag for almost everything! (For a wonderful and funny skit on just how hashtags have taken over the English language and conversation, check out this YouTube video from Jimmy Fallon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57dzaMaouXA)

Instagram – If a picture is worth a thousand words, than the social platform known as Instagram can be a small business goldmine! Once you have set up your account on the platform, all you need do is:

  • Install the free app on your phone (Available for android and iOS, not sure it the official app is available on the Windows phone yet)
  • Take a picture (this is done by tapping on the Instagram icon to start the app, and then tapping twice on the “camera” icon at the bottom of the screen. Tap on the green “checkmark” after you take the photo to move to the next screen)
  • Type in a description for the picture and include hashtags in the description (example: Great red ensemble for the holidays! #holidays2013 #shopping #clothes #shoes #fashion #womensfashion)
  • Tap the green checkmark when you are satisfied with the description and the hashtags and you are done!

Remember that in utilizing social media for your small business the key is to market, market, market!! Try to keep prices out of the description of the item on Facebook and Google+. Instead use phrase like – “Available in-store of online at….” On Twitter, make it short, snappy, and funny! and for Instagram, just let the photo do most of the talking. If you wish to see the ways that I am using social media to help out small business here are the links:

Now there are far more social media accounts out there than the ones that I have written about today. Just hope that taking a look at the ways these few can be used for small business, will give you the courage and inspiration to try them out for your own small business adventures!

Take care, be safe and if there is inclement weather were you are, please leave out a little extra early, take your time, and travel carefully both to and from your daily destinations!

Now, have to make a quick snack for myself because “The Thin Man” is on Turner Classic Movies network in just a few minutes!

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