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It is a known fact that Social Media helps build communities. And one of the most beneficial tools for small businesses to use is Facebook.  But there are so many social media tools to choose from, and many entrepreneurs and small business owners do not know how to use the tools to their advantage.

Well, since I have been learning a lot as I work together with my clients to improve their business, I thought I would share 4 quick tips on how to avoid the top social media mistakes.

The Top 4 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid (especially when using Facebook) are:

1. Self Promotion - Yes, I know this may seem a little backwards to some. But do you believe that your customers and prospects really want to hear about how great you are every day? They are not interested in how you are living the fabulous life in the fab lane.

So what do most site visitors really want, you ask? They want to know how we can help them solve their problems. That is what they are really interested in. So if you focus on how your products and services will help put out a fire that your site visitor is having, you will be on your way to obtaining paying customers and repeat clients very soon, if you haven't already.

To tell you the truth, that is exactly how my design and consulting business really took off a few years ago. A potential client asked a blog design question on some forum that I was visiting that day. I knew the answer to her question, so I decided to reply to her post.  She thanked me for helping her solve her problem that day. Then later that same evening, I received an email from her asking if I was for hire. I said sure, and the rest, as they say, was history. She is still a client of mine today and constantly refers new clients my way. She just happens to be one of my favorite people in the entire world to work with. :)

2. Seeking Popularity instead of Targeted Leads - My point here is that the number of Facebook Fans is not necessarily indicative of entrepreneurial success. Some entrepreneurs believe that getting 5,000 or more FB fans or "Likes" is the key to making a nice profit. What they may not know is, it is far better to have maybe 150 targeted fans that are truly interested in your products and services than to have 5,000 friends on your Facebook Fan Page who could care less about your brand or what you have to offer.

I have observed on my own blog, that the number of visitors and clients who request my design and consulting services this year have increased 4-fold. It happened when I started focusing more on how I can deliver real value to help entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed. I also re-launched my brand at the beginning of this year and applied SEO techniques to improve the chances of someone finding my blog design and consulting services when they need it. I am getting more hits on my blog and a signifcant increase on people visiting my Facebook Fan page. The number of project inquiries and targeted leads that turn into clients are increasing, but not necessarily in proportion with the number of FB fans that I have. 

On the flip side, I speak to entrepreneurs often who are looking for guidance in setting better goals for their social media campaigns. Some of them are frustrated because they have over 5,000 fans, but the fans are not being converted into customers. I see it happen all too often. Once you decide what is important to you (popularity vs targeted leads), it is a practical approach to realign your goals to turn your Facebook Fans and "Likes" into paying customers.

3. Using the Wrong Social Media Tools - It is important to know that there are many social media tools that you can use to build a community around your brand. However, it does not mean that you should use every one of the tools to promote your business. As an entrepreneur or small business, you need to spend some time up front to determine which tools will provide you the most benefit. Determine what your goals are and decide what will be the most effective tool to achieve your objectives. It may take some trial and error to determine which methods are connecting with your targeted audience. It is better to use a few Social Media tools that work to your advantage, than to use too many tools and not achieve your objectives. Remember that the goal of your Social Media activity is to engage and interact with your audience, not to just talk "at them" or to just always listen. It is a two-way street.

4. Not having a customized Facebook page – It is a great start to have a facebook business page. But I recommend that you go to the next step and make sure you have  a customized, professional fan page. You should also have a custom landing page that tells your visitors what to do once they land on your page. Also you need to make sure your Facebook page is consistent with your website. For example, your colors, logo and brand message should be the same throughout your social media platforms. Consistenency is key…it will keep your brand memorable and make it easier for your customers to recognize your business.

I hope you found this post helpful.  In closing, I would say to focus your efforts on things that drive a positive return on your investment. If it doesn't work, then stop doing it. My goal for going into the New Year is to work smarter, not harder! 

What about you? What other social media mistakes would you add to this list? I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave your comments below…

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Every week (probably on Mondays), I will post a new Blog Design Question of the week. This is a great opportunity to ask any questions that you may have. It doesn’t have to be just on blogs though. The topics can range from Blogging, Entrepreneurship, Web Design, SEO, Social Media and Branding.

My goal is to share knowledge and solutions to help you with any challenges you may be facing as you grow your business online. And I’m hoping to learn new things via this process as well. :)

Please join in on the discussion and get involved. And feel free to answer any of the questions by leaving a comment.

So let’s begin…..this week’s question….What is a Facebook Landing Page? This question was actually asked a few weeks ago by one of my fans on my own business FB Fan page.

If you have created a Facebook page for your business, then you are off to a good start. The next step in really engaging your visitors would be to create a landing page. This would be mainly for your 1st-time visitors that come to view your page. This landing page is your opportunity to welcome new visitors and tell them what you would like for them to do now that they are on your page.

On my custom landing page, I basically tell my new visitors who I am and what to expect on my page. And then I invite them to “like” my page and stay connected with me. For some of my clients, I have recommended that they make a special offer or discount that will help convert their visitors into “fans”.

Without a landing page, the visitors will just land on your wall. They may be confused as to what you offer as they browse through the most recent status or posts on your page. So why not make the best use of your time and your visitors’ time, by telling them up front about your brand. This is also a good time to clearly tell them what you would like for them to do. I have found that when people are clear on what you are asking them to do, they are usually more responsive.

Here are a few examples of FB landing page designs that can give you some inspiration for your page. I design landing pages, so feel free to check out my design portfolio and contact me if I can be of any assistance.

  1. Starbucks – One of their landing pages is for Gift Cards. They currently have over 23 million fans. Here’s the url: https://www.facebook.com/Starbucks?sk=app_338375791266
  2.  

  3. Coca-Cola - http://www.facebook.com/cocacola?v=app_10442206389
  4.  

  5. Honda - http://www.facebook.com/Honda?sk=app_151110348284973
  6.  

  7. Burts Bees - http://www.facebook.com/burtsbees?sk=app_162758917099774
  8.  

Feel free to share a link in the comments section to your landing page.

 

 

 

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Ever wondered how you can get more Twitter followers? If so, you need to stay tuned to a new blog that I just created for a client in Texas called getfollowersontwitternow.com. Check it out by clicking here.

www.getfollowersontwitternow.com

GetFollowersOnTwitterNow.com [Blog Design

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4 Tips for Marketing With Social Media

There is so much information on the web today about marketing with Social Media. But there seems to be some confusion on how to actually use social media to successfully grow your small business or organization – especially in this economy.

So I want to share a few tips and strategies that is sure to benefit your business in this new year.

What is Marketing and Social Media?

First let me begin by defining what is Social Media. It is basically a set of online tools that allow communities and individuals to stay connected on the internet. These social networking sites are usually free and fairly simple to use. Just about everyone I know is using some type of Social Networking site today.

There are many Social Media types. Here are a few:

  • Blogs,
  • Social Networks
  • Video sites, and
  • Podcasts

Some of the top Social Networking sites right now are:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook and
  • YouTube.

Here are the four tips to market your online business successfully with Social Media:

  1. Create Your Personal Brand. This is a very important step (especially as an entrepreneur) as you are growing your business. Your brand is not what you think about your products and services, but it is your customers view of your business. You need to make sure that you create a personal brand that makes you totally unique from your competition. You also need to stand out and be noticed as the expert in your field. One way to do this is by launching a blog or by creating a Facebook Fan page for your company. See Steps #2 and #3 for more details.

  2. Create a Blog and make it the central hub for your social networking sites. You can launch a blog and give your views about things that pertain to your line of business. You could answer questions that your website visitors leave on your blog. This is how you can begin to get noticed as the authoritative voice in your field. In addition, be sure to make your blog the central hub for integrating all of your social network sites and information in one place.

  3. Devise An Online Marketing Plan / Developing Marketing Campaigns. Do you know what the latest trends are in your industry? What type of things are happening currently in your niche area? You need to have a clear understanding of these type of things in order to develop an effective marketing plan to grow your business. Start researching your competition and find out the type of activities they participate in online. Once you gather this type of information, create a written plan for how your blog and social sites will be used to market your business. Create an outline of the marketing strategies and tactics that you will use to achieve your objectives. After you implement your plan, be sure to go back and assess how well it is working. Tweak any areas that need adjusting and reiterate this process from time to time until you have a solid plan that repeatedly works well for you and your business.

  4. Design All of Your Marketing Materials Around Your Brand. Make sure that all of your marketing materials such as your business cards, logo, websites, brochures and other marketing elements have a consistent theme and message. Keep in mind that your marketing materials make up the first impression that your potential customers will see. So be sure that you are making a great, first impression.

If you are a beginner in marketing your business with Social Media Marketing strategies, it could be a lot to handle if you try to implement everything at once. So don’t panic. I recommend that you just start slowly by building a web presence online with just the three Social Network Sites that I mentioned earlier. And then you could expand by building an online presence on some of the other sites like StumbleUpon.com, Digg.com, or Google Buzz.

Now is the time for you to get started on marketing your business successfully with Social Media marketing strategies in 2011.

I hope you found this article interesting and have a better idea on how to market your business using Social Media strategies. For more details on Social Media Marketing Strategies, be sure to sign up for my FREE guide at the top left of my blog, “Social Media Marketing Strategies for 2011: 30 Strategies That You Can Do Today to Grow Your Online Business”.

So, what other things are you doing with Social Media to grow your business in the New Year? I would love to hear your comments.

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Social Media for your Business

I attended a workshop yesterday on Social Media.  The session turned out to be really aimed for beginners using Social Networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. But I always learn something new in every situation, so I decided to stick around to see what new techniques or lessons I could learn.

Not only was I able to contribute a few tidbits during the workshop, but I also learned something new. I believe the best thing of all was the opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs who run businesses online.

So this is just a quick post to let you know that I will be sharing frequent tips on how to use Social Media more effectively in your business.

Thanks, and check back often for Social Media tips and other online marketing techniques.

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What are you doing to stand out from the Facebook crowd? Do you have a Facebook fan page for your business or organization? I wrote an article about it several weeks ago.

If so, you may be eligible to participate in a special offer that I am running. Next month (June), I’m celebrating the  official two-year anniversary of taking my company (Millennium Professional Consulting, Inc) online.

I wanted to do something special for the fans of WebDesignsByMichelle.

To celebrate, next week I am offering a Custom Facebook Landing Page for your business or organization for 60% off of my original price. That’s right, you can tell people what your business or organization is all about and stand out from the FB crowd!!

To get started, see the rules here.  If you meet the rules, this offer is good for the next 3 people that contact me via the Contact Form on this blog.

I’m taking a break for the Memorial Day Weekend. But I will be back on Tuesday…so stay tuned to the wall on my fan page for more and don’t miss out on this great offer.

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How to Change Your Facebook Fan Page Username

If you are the administrator for your Facebook Fan page, you can choose the username for your page. Just be sure to choose a name that you will be happy with forever because you cannot change the name or transfer it.

What are the requirements to secure a user name for your Fan Page?

If your page has 25 fans or more, you are eligible to claim a username. I reached 25 fans on my new blog, so I was able change my username. There used to be a limit for businesses where you needed 1000 fans in order to change your username. But this is no longer the case, 25 is the number at the date of this posting. Change yours by going to: http://www.facebook.com/username/

Here is what the ugly URL used to be:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/WebDesignsByMichelle/100280366680491?v=app

Now you can find my page with a prettier URL:

www.facebook.com/webdesignsbymichelle

Why would I want to secure a user name for my Fan Page?

A more straight-forward username will make it easier for Facebook visitors to remember your name. This is good for your branding or online marketing strategy.

If you like these tips, be sure to become a fan of my Facebook page where you will get more information like this for free.

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7 Things To Stop Doing Now on Facebook

I read an article today on Yahoo that was published in the June issue of Consumer Reports Magazine. According to Consumer Reports, there are several things that Facebook users need to stop doing immediately.

I thought it was a good article, so check it out here when you get a chance. But to quickly summarize, the mains points are:

1. Do not use a weak password on Facebook

2. Do not leave Your Full Birth Date in Your Profile

3. Do not Overlook Useful Privacy Controls

4. Do not Post Your Child’s Name in a Caption

5. Do not Mention That You’ll Be Away From Home.

6. Do not Let Search Engines Find You – go to the Search section of Facebook’s privacy controls and select Only Friends for Facebook search results. This will help prevent strangers from accessing your page.

7. Do not Permit Youngsters to Use Facebook Unsupervised

Like I mentioned at the beginning, this post is just a high-level summary of the article posted on the Consumers Reports site. You can read the full article here.

So I encourage you to read the article in its entirety and quickly implement some of these social network security measures if you haven’t already. Like my mom always says, “Better safe than sorry”….

Happy Facebooking!

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Facebook: No Longer a “Fan”

I am sure that most of you have noticed that Facebook changed one of their branding strategies recently.

Our Facebook users can no longer “Become a Fan” of our business pages, and they now have to click the “like” button .

When the new strategy was implemented several weeks ago, it impacted many branding strategies of companies.

Many folks complained. But at the end of the day, you pretty much need to accept the change and make the necessary adjustments to your FB branding strategy.

So with that said, I had to change my customized landing page on Facebook.  Prior to Facebook changing their strategy, I had a call to action for people to “Become a Fan” on my WebDesignsByMichelle page. It now says click on the”Like” button to connect with me.

You can take a look at how I implemented it  here and get some ideas on ways you could do the same thing on your page. Well, custom landing pages for your business is a different topic…

Back to the topic on hand. The one thing that I think is pretty neat about having the new “Like” button on your page or blog is that once your visitors “Like” your page, it stays on your page.  As a result, others can see how many people like your page.

In addition, it seems to be much easier for your site visitors to say they “like” something on your site than on the contrary to state they  are a “Fan” of your business.

So to add the “Like” button to your site, you just need a widget that has been created by the FB developers. You can find more info on the plugin  here. You can add a Like button to any page with an iframe tag.  The code looks something like this and you just need to change your website name in the bolded section:

<iframe src="http://www.facebook.com/widgets/like.php?href=
http://www.webdesignsbymichelle.com"
        scrolling="no" frameborder="0"
        style="border:none; width:450px; height:80px"></iframe>

If you ever need web design help or would like to chat about building a custom landing page for your business, ministry or organization, just let me know. Also if you need assistance applying the “Like” button on your website, I can help. I am currently offering these social media services and more.

So what do you think about the new “Like” button vs “Become a Fan”. Do you “Like” it?  :-)

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Facebooking!

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I had a few people ask me recently about how to set up a Facebook fan page. I also had a discussion last week  with one of my clients about, “What is the difference between a Personal Profile and a Facebook fan page?”  And “when do I set up a Profile versus a Fan Page?”.

I have to admit that I had a small issue when I set up my Facebook page for my business. I only wanted a Business profile. But when Facebook asked me for my name, I didn’t know that a personal profile would be created with my information.

So what did I do, you ask?

Well, I decided to just roll with it. :-)

I now have a Business Page and a Personal Profile. It has actually worked out well, because I can have a personal relationship with my friends (talk about family and any other personal thoughts and ideas that I have).

Then on the other hand with my Business Page, I can focus on talking to my “Business Fans” about things that they are interested in hearing — like how do I market my business or organization online?”

I know that there is still some confusion around setting up a Facebook Page for your business, ministry or non-profit organization. So I decided to write a quick guide – How to Set Up a Facebook Fan Page that I hope you will find helpful. It is an 8-page document with screenshots that steps you through the setup quickly. It also illustrates the differences between a Personal Profile vs a Facebook Fan page.

For more details and to obtain your Free Guide on How to Set Up a Facebook Fan Page, be sure to sign up for our FREE e-newsletter via the form on the top right hand side of this blog. The free guide is an attachment that you can immediately download once you enter your information.

I will be sending out more tips like these in my future newsletters. So be sure to sign-up, and also if you like the information that I am sharing, be sure to subscribe to my blog’s RSS feed. You can also subscribe via email form below:

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Thanks for taking the time to read this. Have a blessed day!

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