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Why You Need a Social Media Manager

blog manager, social media marketing,Do you find your business spending too much time working on social media? Or maybe you’re not spending enough time on it because you’re not really sure what you should be doing. Either way, a social media manager can help.

What is a social media manager? It is someone who will take over your social media marketing; following your marketing strategy if you have one, or coming up with an effective strategy for you if you don’t. Still not convinced? Here are just some reasons to hire a social media manager.

  • Awesome experience. A social media manager will bring experience with them. She will know what to do to build your online audience, or how to help you increase your presence and online influence.
  • Saves you time. This is perhaps the greatest benefit of hiring a social media manager. Handing over the reins to your social media campaign will free you up to do other things. You could have more time to work on content, product development, customer service, etc. Imagine what else you could get done if you didn’t have to worry about interacting as much online.
  • Gives you one voice. Having one person take care of all your social media profiles will give you a distinct voice across the board. Also, all your different channels will work toward one goal. Whether that is boosting traffic or increasing sales, your social media manager will have an idea of what to post and share to help you reach that goal.
  • Increases your traffic. An experience social media manager will be able to help you increase your SEO campaign, your followers and site traffic overall. She will be know what to post, how to engage and when to interact to drive even more traffic back to your site.
  • Creates and manages your accounts. Is your social media campaign as effective as it can be? If you’re not sure, a manager can help you set up accounts for the most effective platforms for your business, and manage them accordingly. He can also set up outside social media tools that can help you automate your posting and online presence for the most exposure.
  • Monitors social trends. Keeping up-to-date on what is hot and what others are sharing is a great way to stay relative. But with so many other things to do, it can be difficult to keep up. A social media manager can be your eyes and ears, looking out for new trends that can help your business.

Conclusion

A social media manager can be a great asset for any business. By hiring an expert to take care of your marketing, you will have that peace of mind that your social media strategy will be efficient, and it will give you more time to work on other things.

Want to learn more? Check out Vertical Linq for excellent social media management and blog management services.

 

Can You Really Make Money Blogging?

make money online, bloggingIf you’ve ever looked into making money online, you’ve definitely heard about blogging. And really, anyone can start a blog. There are many platforms that allow you to sign up and get started for free. But can you really make money just by blogging?

The honest answer is yes and no. Yes, you can make money blogging. In fact, there are many, many people doing it. But no, not everyone will succeed. It’s not going to be easy and you will have to work at it. Here are some important things to know before jumping into blogging for money.

  1. It won’t happen overnight. I know. It would be awesome if you could set up a blog and instantly bring in tons of cash. But the reality of blogging is it actually takes hard work and time. Also, to make real money you want to make sure there is an interested audience for your topic. This takes some preliminary research.
  2. It takes hard work. Besides time, running a profitable blog takes work. I already mentioned that it is important to do some preliminary research on your topic and your audience. But once your blog get up and running, you going to have to work even harder. You will need to come up with engaging and entertaining content and find ways to connect with your readers.
  3. There are many ways to make money off of blog. You may have heard of Google AdSense and affiliate ads. But putting up ads on your blog is just a small way that you can earn money. There are sponsored posts, promoting affiliate products, and of course, selling your own products. Not every method will be right for you, and not every method will work.
  4. You will need to experiment. Like I said not every method will work for you. The best way to figure out what works for your blog and your audience is to experiment. Place Google ads in your sidebar and in your content. Promote other products in your blog post. Write and sell your own eBooks. There is no limit to how you can monetize a blog, but there may be a limit on what your audience wants to spend money on.

Conclusion

Blogging is a profitable way to make money online. There, I said it. But it’s not an easy way. If you love to write and interact with people online, than you could be great at making money through blogging.

If you have been looking for that one specific resource that will show you exactly what you need to know to turn your blog into a money making machine, check out my newest Kindle book: “Blogging From Start to Profit: Everything You Need to Know to Make Money Blogging.” You can get it here: http://amzn.to/WZyKEM

 

What Makes a Good Online Marketer Become Great?

marketing, online marketingYou’ve worked very hard to become a good marketer, but it’s time to really take your work to the next level and become great. Being great requires effort, commitment and an understanding of what it takes to move beyond average to above average. Let’s assume you know your audience, have a well-defined niche and you’re a good marketer now. To move from good to great, you’ll need to have the following qualities.

 Be Authentic and Real

To be truly authentic you need to know who you are and what you stand for. Do not try to mimic other industry leaders; focus on what makes you, you. You’re unique as a marketer so once you find your voice, don’t change it – just do more of it. It is what will set you and your business apart.

Demonstrate Honesty

Stick to what you say you’ll do portrays honesty. If you send a customer a headline that is deceiving, word gets around, and you won’t be seen as honest or trustworthy. Show how honest you are by not misleading your customers and potential customers, and stand by your word.

Be Ethical

Ensure that any product, service, or content that you promote is ethical. Remember that just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s ethical. Ethics go far beyond legality. While most of the time something that is not ethical will also be illegal, the reverse is not true. Ethics for each business person and business entity will vary depending on their values and beliefs. What’s important is that you walk the talk and practice what you preach.

Stay Informed about Your Industry

A great marketer will also stay highly informed about their industry. Staying up-to-date on the news, hot topics, trends, laws and information regarding your industry at all times. The more informed you are, the more you can stay ahead of coming trends and killer technologies, creating a situation where you are a major thought leader within your industry.

Always Be Empathetic to Your Clients

A great marketer cares about their customers. A great marketer has passion about their products and/or services because of what they do for their customer. They strive to understand the audience more every day and to demonstrate the care they have for them in their actions, products and services.

Be a Savvy Business Person

A great marketer is able to look at things from different angles to come up with useful products and services as well as interesting and compelling campaigns. Someone who is savvy knows how to listen to their customer and create a product based on what they learn, as well as turn it on its ear to create something amazing and new.

A Great Marketer Is Always Prepared

A great marketer is always prepared for changes in the industry and knowledgeable about what their customers want and need to solve their problems. A great marketer is ready for the traffic from a new campaign or publicity in order to avoid crashes and other technical problems.

Conclusion

There are good online marketers, and there are great ones. Great marketers know their audience and take the time relate to them. Great marketers are also always improving. They check their metrics, study the numbers, and run A/B testing on every new campaign, seeking to always improve and become even greater.

Why Marketing Your Business is Like Raising a Baby

marketing, internet marketing,If you’re a parent, you know how demanding a newborn can be. If you’re not a parent, make no mistake; those small bundles of joy can easily turn into demanding life-suckers.

Funnily enough, marketing a business is quite like having a newborn. They both require hard work and lots of attention. Here are 5 reasons why marketing your business is like raising a baby.

There are no real instructions. Fortunately, there are numerous books, articles and blog posts devoted to both. You can have a plethora of information at your fingertips at any given time. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean much compared to real life experience, and no two babies (and businesses!) are alike. With both parenting and marketing, you have to get down and dirty and figure what works best for you.

You need to feed it. Constantly. Yes, this goes for both topics. A newborn demands food at practically all hours of the day. Especially in the first few months. That’s pretty much all they do; eat, sleep and well, you know. Similarly, a marketing plan needs to be constantly fed as well. It’s not a set and forget type of thing. It needs to continuously be fed; with written content, social media posts and other advertising material.

You need to change it. With both marketing ideas and babies, there are times you’re going to get some stinkers. That is why a marketing plan needs to constantly be evolving, changing. If at first you don’t succeed, change things, and try something else.

You need to nurture it. Babies need to be held and coddled. A marketing plan does too. I already mentioned you can’t just set and forget. You need to work at it, interact with customers and get involved.

You need to entertain it. Like babies, your followers need interaction and attention. With social media especially, followers want to be entertained. Simply linking to your blog posts or your products is not going to engage your followers and turn them into paying customers. Post other interesting articles you find on the web, share memes and videos and start conversations.

Conclusion

Like raising a newborn, marketing a business takes work. There may some sleepless nights, there may be some tears. It isn’t always easy to raise a newborn, nor is it easy to cultivate and market a business. But in both situations, the rewards are tremendous.

Is Your Business Pinteresting?

unnamedIt’s one of the biggest names in online marketing right now. No, it’s not Twitter or even Facebook. It’s Pinterest. It may not have as many users as the social media biggies yet, but make no mistake; Pinterest is gaining users and making waves in the social world.

What exactly is Pinterest? It is your virtual pinboard. You can use it to bookmark, or “pin,” webpages you like and share them with others. Like Twitter, you can amass followers and share your pins with them.

Pinterest works best for businesses that are visually appealing. Products and websites that look good tend to get pinned and re-pinned the most. If this sounds like your business, you can use Pinterest to drive people to your website and gain customers. Here are some tips to make sure your business is Pinteresting.

  1. Use vibrant images. Think about it, what would you rather click on? An eye-catching image or a plain text? When people pin things, an image is shown on their pinboard. Make it easy for people to pin your page but adding images that are viewable.
  2. Add a “Pin It” button to your website. Make it easy for people to pin your business; go ahead and add the button right there on your site. You can also add a follow button next to your other social sharing buttons.
  3. Create boards. Find out what your customers are interested in and create boards that will fit. Add lots of images, not only of your products but also of things that will fit your customer’s interests.
  4. Categorize your pin boards under relevant topics. If you place your pins, you will increase your chances of other people seeing them, and the more followers you will get.
  5. Create Pinterest-specific content. This tip is especially good if you also have followers on Facebook and Twitter. Creating new content just for Pinterest will give your viewers a reason to follow you on another channel.
  6. Be involved in the community. If you want people to follow you, you need to be just as involved in the community yourself. Follow others, like their sites and re-pin content. Just like other social sites, the more active you are the more followers you will get.

Conclusion

More and more people are joining Pinterest and sharing their favorite things. Take advantage of this move to visual based marketing, and optimize your business website for Pinterest.

Want more Pinterest tips? Grab your free report “7 Steps to Get Massive Traffic Using Pinterest” on my freebie page.

 

 

Advantages to Creating an Editorial Calendar

blogging helpAs you develop a content strategy, it’s important to start thinking of yourself as a publisher. Publishers have everything planned out in advance based on the yearly cycle as well as their product cycle. They know in advance exactly what type of content they need to create and produce for the month of February and why. If you think more like a publisher, you’re going to be much more successful in your content strategy implementation.

Ability to Create a Theme

By creating an editorial calendar, you can develop an overall theme for the year or the quarter based on the products and/or services that you’re promoting, as well as the time of year. Planning it all in advance makes it easier to be prepared and come up with the ideas, content, and images that you want to use to promote.

Makes It Simpler to Find Your Voice

By planning out your marketing year in advance, it means you’ll also be planning your product creation. If you provide services, you’ll already know in advance which services you’ll be focused on. This will make it so much easier to know what kind of content to create and in what tone you need it to be, because you’ll understand in advance when you need it, and what it’s for. When you have a plan, finding your voice comes a lot easier.

Makes It Easier to Diversify Content

If you know in advance what the topic of your content needs to be, it’ll be easier to create different forms of content for your needs. You can plan in advance to create blog posts, vlogs, videos, reports, and more, based off a particular subject or theme designed to market a particular product or service. By not doing it “on the fly,” your content will be more cohesive and diversified.

Keeps the Content Ideas Flowing

By making an editorial calendar, you actually create a situation where you make it easier to keep content ideas flowing. Some people think planning makes content boring, but the truth is, planning makes content effective, appropriate and enjoyable for your target audience. It gives you time to create appropriate titles and outlines, to ensure that you get the message out that you want out.

Enables You to Create Quality Content

By planning your content in advance, you have more time to make the content true quality content that speaks to your audience. Whether you’ll be writing it and editing yourself, or hiring others to do it for you, it’s important to plan in advance what type of content will be needed in order to produce the highest quality content that you can.

Keeps Your Website on Topic

It’s easy to get off topic sometimes if you haven’t planned your content in advance. By writing down what content you’ll be creating before you create it, you’ll have time to nix ideas that go off topic, or move them to the right time and place. If you try to produce content at the last moment, you may end up with irrelevant content that has no purpose.

Acts as a Map to Help You Reach Your Goals

Your editorial calendar is just like GPS or a map. You can look at it in one glance and see where you’ll be in the future, and you can look more deeply into it and find out what you’re supposed to be doing right now. You won’t go into each day without a clue of where you’ve been or where you’re going.

Helps Increase Collaboration

Having a publication calendar that you make visible to the public can also help increase collaboration. If you allow for guest writers and bloggers, they can look at your publication calendar and it will be easier for them to decide what to write about within your guidelines. In addition, it will help your outsourcers and people who work with you understand the direction you’re taking the business.

Attracts More Visitors

Having a set calendar will make your content appear more regularly, thus increasing the rate of visitors to your website. Your audience will learn to expect certain content from you at certain times and will appreciate knowing when, what and where to go to see it and view it.

Sets Expectations and Deadlines

Even if you are just setting deadlines for yourself, it’s important to do so. If you have no expectations of yourself or others it will be difficult to build a truly profitable business. For instance, if you are building a furniture business, but you cannot ever tell anyone when the furniture will be finished, you won’t ever be able to sell anything. Set expectations and deadlines for yourself and anyone you outsource to; this will help you meet your goals.

Conclusion

Finally, by having a publication calendar you’ll ultimately have a more organized and planned business that will make more money in the long run. Content that is distributed and marketed according to your editorial and/or publication calendar will see a lot more success than content that is haphazardly put out without any notion of a goal or a plan.

 

Get More Out of Your Social Media Marketing

online marketing, social mediaSocial media marketing is an effective means of getting the word out about your products or services. But, many times it’s clear that a small business is not doing all that it can do when it comes to using social media as a marketing tool. You might think social media marketing ends at sharing a few posts each day, but nothing could be further from the truth. Here is how to get even more out of your social media marketing.

Create Consistent and Complete Profiles

No matter which social media you’ve determined is important to use for your niche, it’s imperative that you create consistent and complete social media profiles. Include a professional headshot, and keep the text of your profiles very similar in nature ensuring that one doesn’t contradict the other. You want visitors to one to realize who you are immediately without having to guess.

Host Live Events

With services like Google Hangouts you can host live events such as a round table that is open to the public (open air) to watch, while your group discusses a hot topic within your niche. Another way to have a “live” event is to host a Twitter party, or a Facebook party where everyone is allowed to post links to their own business or blogs for a specific amount of time. One way to do this is ask everyone to write a blog post about a specific topic and link to it within 24 hours, share and use a specific hashtag to promote the event.

Congratulate People

If you notice anyone having a special day on any of your social media accounts, be sure to congratulate them and wish them well. It’s a good chance to make a connection with someone whom you’re friends with or connected with that you don’t necessarily know well.

While a lot of people may be doing the same thing, people still like to be noticed for their achievements, accomplishments and special days. If you know their address, it’s a good idea to also drop a card in the mail to make it even more special.

Use More Images

People who use social media prefer sharing and engaging with images over text. You should always include text with the images, though (for the sake of keywords), but creating images and memes using software like Pixlr.com is simple, fun and easy. You can do something as simple as a quote on a nice peaceful background and see a huge difference in the amount of engagement from your connections.

Use Social Media to Survey Your Audience

A great way to use social media to help get more engagement is to use it as a way to survey your audience to find out what they really need and want. But, don’t give them too many choices. It should be more like when you get your child ready for school – give them two choices: this or that? Give your audience a choice between two different videos you can create or webinars that you will host. Then, ask them to vote or decide.

Capture Influencers’ Attention

This can be tricky, but you want to find a way to call out influencers within your niche. If you can get a popular “guru” or authority within your niche to like, share, and connect with you, it’s possible to quickly expand your audience. There are many different ways to do this, but one is to comment on their posts intelligently and share with your audience what the influencer is doing.

Conclusion

Finally, to get more out of social media marketing it’s important to be truly engaged. Don’t put everything on automatic. Make intelligent and purposeful comments, share freely, and you’ll get more out of your social media marketing than ever before.

 

Finding a Writer on a Bidding Site?

freelancer site, hiring a writerOne of the most common places people go to outsource work are freelance websites like eLance or oDesk.

But should you?

These places have thousands of freelancers ready and waiting to do exactly the kinds of projects you’re looking to outsource. That said however, there are some major benefits and some major drawbacks to using eLance and/or oDesk.

Here are some of the main pros and cons of using a bidding site.

Con: Most True A Players Aren’t On There

You won’t find the world’s best writers or the world’s best programmers on these sites.

Instead, you’ll tend to get people who’re at the beginning of their careers or are doing projects as their side job. You may also find a lot of outsourcers from developing countries.

If you’re looking to hire the best, these sites may not be the best place to look.

Pro: Escrow & Security Systems

These sites all have feedback systems so you can figure out which freelancers have a strong reputation.

They also all have escrow systems, which allow you to protect your money from fraud.

Con: Lower Commitment to Professionalism

If you’re dealing with someone you met from a business networking event, you may very well (correctly) expect a certain level of professional conduct.

On the other hand, on freelancer websites it’s not uncommon for freelancers to be late on projects, to miss milestones or to take a long time to get back to you.

Pro: Easy to Use Systems

If you had to go out into the world to find freelancers without these kinds of boards, you’d probably have to do quite a lot of work.

Perhaps you’d meet them in person. Perhaps you’d do it through your network. Perhaps you’d do it through websites you find on Google.

Whatever the case is, you’ll simply have to put in a lot more work. With freelancer marketplaces, they’re all in one place.

Con: Communication Gaps

Freelancer websites don’t allow you to trade phone numbers, Skype contacts or any other means of contact. They want to make sure freelancers don’t make private payment agreements offline.

As a result, it can sometimes be quite difficult to co-ordinate complex projects on these kinds of sites.

Note that eLance does have their own video / voice chat system on their system now.

Pro: Inexpensive

Hiring a freelancer on eLance or oDesk is usually quite affordable. The primary reason is competition.

In order to win a job on these sites, freelancers have to bid against other freelancers. Therefore, they try to put in the most competitive bid they possibly can.

Conclusion

These are some of the main pros and cons to using freelancer marketplaces. If you’re willing to put in more work and want to hire the best, you’re better off seeking them out on your own. On the other hand, if you want ease and affordability, then a bidding site can be a great resource.

How To Create a Winning Marketing Plan

winning plan, successful business marketingHaving a specific marketing plan can mean the difference between your business making it or breaking it. A clear plan will help you zone in on your ideal customer and focus your marketing efforts, making you more productive and increasing your profits. But how do you create a marketing plan that actually gets results? Here are 3 steps to creating a winning marketing plan.

  1. Identify your ideal customer. There are millions of consumers out there, but only a portion of them may be interested in your product or service. Because of this, you will have much better results if you spending time identifying your target customer. Come up with as much detail as you can: your customer’s age, gender, race, income, marital status, children, how they shop, where they shop, anything and everything that can help you identify who they are and what they are looking for in a product or service.
  2. List your competitors. Besides determining your customers, you should also identify your direct competitors. Understanding who your main competition is and how they do their business can help you determine your position in the marketplace. Pay attention to pricing, marketing tactics and anything else that sets your competition apart and makes them shine in your industry.
  3. Determine your brand position. Your brand and what it means to customers is what can set you apart from your competition. Write down a statement about how you will meet your customers’ needs and how you will beat the completion. Think of what makes you better than the rest and stand out from the crowd. Make it simple, and focus on your target customer’s needs.

Conclusion

A marketing plan is essential to the success of your small business. By figuring out your ideal customer, determining your main competition and then establishing your branding position, you can hone your marketing strategy to help give your business a push closer to success.

Marketing vs Advertising – Is There a Difference?

advertising, online marketingMarketing and advertising seemingly go hand and hand. But make no mistake; they are not the same thing. Think not too far back, when companies advertised all the time. Shoppers were engulfed in messages of “buy this!” and “buy that!” Not very subtle. Today, companies are leaning more toward marketing than advertising.

So what exactly is the difference? Advertising is more akin to shouting out “buy now!” to customers, without a care as to what those customers really want. Sure this works sometimes, but marketing in becoming the more effective method.

Marketing involves more subtle cues. It uses channels like social media, blogging and articles. It gets the customers engaged by offering information and advice, essentially for free.

Why is this effective? People want to feel as like the businesses they use value them as a customer. They are not likely to return to a company that just takes their money and runs, with no customer service or connection whatsoever.

Customers like it when you are engaging and responsive. This interaction is the difference between marketing and advertising.

Marketing is about knowing your customers, and honestly wanting to know what they want. It is taking the time to find out what they like and don’t like about your business, and working to change the ones that your customer base does not like.

Conclusion

Straight advertising is become more and more nonexistent. Today, customers are looking for more. They want to be a company they can trust. Be that company and you will gain their business. Market, rather than advertise, and you will gain more customers that will stick with you for the long run.