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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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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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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:


Now you can find my page with a prettier URL:


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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