Learn “Blogging for Business: Content Marketing 101” at this Seminar in September 2015

Fotolia_38223665_Subscription_Monthly_XL-1024x709With organic reach numbers free falling on Facebook, the importance of owning your media vs. renting it, is becoming more and more evident. Blogging is becoming the go-to avenue for “expertise” information on endless topics and enables you to reach a vast target audience. This seminar will teach all attendees the basics of blogging for your business and how you can get started right away!

Attending this seminar, you will learn:

  • What is content marketing and why is it important?
  • Where content ideas come from
  • WordPress basics, favorite plugins, and more
  • How to build your readership and sustain engagement

Join us on Thursday, September 17th for networking at 8:30am and then promptly at 9:00am for our business seminar titled, Blogging for Business: Content Marketing 101, presented by Deborah Smith, owner of Foxtrot Media, LLC. Cost to attend this seminar is $10. The seminar will be held at First Financial’s Corporate Office located at 1800, Rt. 34 North, Building 3, Suite 302, Wall NJ. Space is limited – Register today!

Deborah Smith is the owner of Foxtrot Media, LLC a Social Media Consulting and Management company. Deborah got her start in social media over 12 years ago when she launched an E-Commerce business which operated a network of websites serving the Nanny Industry. She began employing email groups, chat rooms and online message boards as marketing and networking tools well before the term “Social Media” was ever conceived. When the new tools like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn emerged, Deborah was an early adopter and soon mastered these tools for her own business. In 2007, she launched her first blog, JerseyBites.com, a collaborative food blog with over 35 contributors throughout the state. JerseyBites now welcomes over 25,000 visitors per month and was recently named content partner to NJ.com for food news in New Jersey. Deborah was also recently named one of 100 Constant Contact local experts in the country. She is an experienced corporate trainer and social media consultant for businesses throughout the tri-state area.

Social Media Strategy for Business Seminar Summary

social%20media-resized-600Social Media Consultant Deborah Smith recently helped our attendees strategize a social media plan for their businesses. By using social media tools like FacebookTwitterLinkedIn Pinterest, any company can market themselves for little to no cost; but in order to make these social platforms successful for your company, you must dedicate the time. They aren’t going to work and market all by themselves.

If you are curious to know which social media sites you should use, Deborah Smith suggests the following:

  • If your company is business to business = LinkedIn & Twitter
  • If your company is business to consumer = Facebook & Twitter
  • If your company provides visual products/services = Pinterest & Twitter

Twitter:

It’s important to do your research first to get to know your audience and who you want to specifically target. Using sites like Hootsuite and Google Alerts helps make your “tweeting” a lot easier. Hootsuite allows you to organize streams of search queries, schedule tweets, research hashtags and much more. Google Alerts will send you e-mails if any keyword you specifically want Google to search for comes up. Be creative and play around with keywords and research hashtags on Symplur for you to use on your own Twitter account.

Other tips:
  • Find targert markets through keyword research.
  • Follow prospective people with low follow counts, they will be more likely to notice you just for following.
  • For influencers with large follow counts, retweet their tweets to get noticed.

LinkedIn:

“The first thing you need to do is make a good impression,” says Deborah Smith about starting a LinkedIn profile. Make sure to include a professional headshot, post your city and state, and create a company page. It’s important to periodically post status updates (new hires, new certifications, etc.) on both your personal and company pages but be sure not to overload your connections with unnecessary updates. To get yourself noticed, make sure you complete and optimize your profile, build your network, ask for recommendations, become visible and be sure to include your LinkedIn URL in your e-mail signature and on all promotional/marketing materials.

Other tips:

  • Utilize the advanced search feature to find very specific people to connect with.
  • To rapidly grow your connection base on LinkedIn, join an “Open Networking” group like LION (LinkedIn Open Networkers).
  • Become a paid member and designate yourself as an open networker (one who accepts all invitations) with a mutli-colored wreath next to your name.
  • Only invite people who are already on LinkedIn and craft a unique message, don’t use the generic message.

Pinterest:

You want to develop a Pinterest business page with eye catching boards that appeal to your target market and create relationships with your audience by interacting with users who pin images from your website or board. Why? Early research indicates that Pinterest is more effective at driving traffic compared to other social media sites, even Facebook.

Other tips:

  • Invest in a good camera that produces high quality images if you have products that you want to market.
  • It’s important to learn about your followers, so take some time to go and see what your followers are pinning.
  • People are on Pinterest to have fun, not to be sold to. So it’s a good idea to post things from other sites and online stores rather than just your own.

Facebook:

Facebook timelines are like mini-websites where you can highlight specific employees, news in your surrounding community and mix in information about your products and services. Your company isn’t going to boom overnight, “you need to do your song and dance to get noticed on Facebook,” as stated by Deborah Smith. Provide questions that get your audience to respond and get talking. Nothing is better than receiving personal testimonials about your products and/or services than from a customer.

Other tips:

  • Design custom tabs at Shortstack.com (contact forms, surveys, sweepstakes, etc.).
  • Your cover photo should not be a marketing tool or contain any call-to-action (i.e. “Get it now!”, “Tell your friends!”, “Like this page for 10% off”).
  • Utilize paid advertisements to target specific audiences by state, town, sex, age, education, etc.
  • Pay to promote posts by the number of people you want to reach out to.

Cool tools for Social Media:

  • Use StumbleUpon to get even more noticed by targeting by interest, location and demographic.
  • Constant Contact for their social campaigns.
  • e-Grabber extracts all members of LinkedIn Groups into spreadsheet with phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

For the full presentation, click here for the PDF version.

In 2007, Deborah founded a highly successful food blog which focusses on great eats in New Jersey. Check out JerseyBites.com for delicious tips and inspiration! To learn more about Deborah’s Social Media and E-mail Marketing services, visit DeborahLSmith.com.

Follow Deborah @DeborahLSmith@JerseyBites and Facebook.com/SocialMedia4Business.

 

LinkedIn for Business Seminar Summary

New-LinkedIn-Updates-resized-600LinkedIn is the “Trade Show” of all social media platforms…

Social media expert, Deborah Smith, recently joined us for an informative and educational presentation on LinkedIn tips to optimize your profile. With the dozens of ways to improve your profile, Deborah reveals the “hidden secrets” to fully complete that desired page to really market yourself and your business.

Did you know that LinkedIn enables you to…

  • Customize your interests and news content on your LinkedIn homepage.
  • Add additional applications to your profile (i.e. events, polls, books you may be reading, presentations, etc.).
  • Turn on/off activity broadcasts when you update or edit your profile.
  • Connect with people that your connections are connected with (kind of like 2nd and 3rd cousins in relation to 2nd and 3rd tier connections).
  • Upload your resume to your LinkedIn profile for potential employers and clients to view.
  • Opt in or out of an “Open Network” where anyone can connect with you.
  • Ask for recommendations (and publish them on your profile) from colleagues, clients, and/or people you have worked with and you can also endorse them in return.
  • Send out 3,000 invitations (per account) to connect with other users.
  • Post statuses (similar to Facebook) where you can share with your network and link to your Twitter account as well.
  • Get “Introduced” to someone you would like to get to know in order to possibly connect with them through a mutual connection.
  • Group your connections based on customized Tags (i.e. Business Partners, Colleagues, Clients, etc.).
  • Create your own Group to publish on LinkedIn.
  • Utilize the “Advanced Search” option to narrow down specific professionals.
  • Save 3 job searches that you may be interested in that you might want to refer back to at a later time.
  • Register and customize your LinkedIn profile URL.
  • Update your LinkedIn title summary with keywords (not too broad) in order to appear more frequently when people search for those certain keywords.
  • Make your profile anonymous or public when you view other people’s LinkedIn profiles.
  • Convert profile to .pdf format, print profile or download vCard into Outlook (1st connections only).
  • Create a personal company page for others to follow and receive updates.

LinkedIn provides numerous options to help you market yourself and your company. Remember, when you’re sending an invitation to a potential employer or client, you want to stand out and build a relationship. Try to only send out invitations to people who are already on LinkedIn and utlitize your network of connections. When you are looking to connect with someone, take the time to craft a personal message to each person and not just use the generated message that LinkedIn provides you. You can reference something special you liked in particular on their profile or something you have in common like a group or connection.

Deborah Smith has had a very successful food blog for the past couple of years which focuses on great eats in New Jersey. Check out her blog JerseyBites.com for great tips and inspiration! For more social media tips and tricks, subscribe to DeborahLSmith.com.

 

Blogging for Business Seminar Summary

The 3 “P’s” of Blogging: Passion, Persistence & Patience…

Recently, Deborah Smith gave another information packed seminar at First Financial to talk about how to build and operate a successful blog for your company. Her seminar was a success, as she covered the whole spectrum of what there is to know about blogging for your business.

Keep%20visitors%20coming%20to%20your%20blogA “blog” is an internet page where you control the content that gets published through individual articles known as “posts.” Make sure you do your research before creating your own blog. See what you like in regard to color schemes, themes, layout and design. Most importantly, see what other blogs are doing right and what they’re doing wrong, so you don’t make the same mistakes.

Deborah told our attendees, “Your blog is like real estate on the internet. Search engines love new content and blogs give you that content.”

Just to recap, Deborah made several other important points that are helpful to remember when operating your business’ blog:

  • Purchase a dot com for your blog (if you plan to have a stand-alone blog. One that is not part of an existing website). It lets your readers know that you are established and serious about your blogging. This can be purchased at WordPress.com where you can pay as low as $17 per year.
  • Learn to write! Blogging at its core is a writing intensive process and the better your writing is, the better your blog will be. People want the facts, so be a conscious self-editor and remember that less is more!
  • Try to be consistent in your schedule when publishing blog posts. Pick a set day or several days of the week to post. If you remain consistent with posting, you will see a stonger following.
  • Capture a larger audience by getting people to subscribe to your blog so they receive posts automatically without having to check your site everyday for a new post.
  • Title your blog posts carefully. Although it can be fun to give your post a clever name, it’s important that your title contains keywords so the post appears in search engines.
  • You want to keep your content fresh, so try to mix it up a bit and keep your posts between 500-800 words. Depending on your business, you might want to do some seasonal suggestions, reviews or interviews. “Top 10” lists seem to be very popular in the blogging world, but don’t over do it.
  • Tagging is a key element to your blogging process. Tags help your blog show up in search engines when users are looking for something particular.
  • Connect with other blogs on the web. There are tons of special interest blogs out there that you can either guest post with or trade links. Link trading is helpful because the amount of links to your site increases your blog’s page rank, and of course the higher the better!
  • Always remember to follow the formula for successful blogging: Great Content + Other People – Marketing Messages = Growth.  The formula is from Michael Stelzner’s book “Launch,” which Deborah strongly recommends for those running their own blog.

Some common blogging platforms include: WordPressBlogspotJoomla,TumblrSquarespaceTypepad and Drupal.

Deborah has had a very successful food blog for the past couple of years which focuses on great eats in New Jersey. Check out her blog JerseyBites.com for great tips and inspiration! For more social media tips and tricks, subscribe to DeborahLSmith.com.

Advanced Facebook for Business Seminar Summary

_mg_1381-resized-600Recently, social media consultant Deborah Smith returned to First Financial for another spectacular social media seminar – Facebook for Business, Advanced Techniques. In this seminar, she discussed Facebook’s timeline, her favorite Facebook applications, Facebook advertising, and more.

For those who missed the seminar or those who attended and need a refresher, here are several important Facebook tips provided by Deborah:

  • The cover image is not a place to advertise. Refrain from using contact information and ‘calls to action’ on it.
  • Next to the ‘About’ section, you’ll notice images that may link to photos, likes, videos, and so on. You can and should, create your own custom images in this section to get your fans’ attention.
  • The ‘milestones’ feature allows users to feature notable company events. Some ideas for milestones include: launching a new product or service, company awards, and new staff hires.
  • Using applications is another great way to call attention to your fans. Some applications allow the design of custom tabs. One of Deborah’s favorites is ShortStack.
  • Within Facebook Advertising, you can create sponsored stories to generate interactions from fans.
  • Also within Facebook Advertising, it’s best not to use photos that look too polished.

To be notified of the next social media seminars at First Financial with Deborah Smith join First Financial’s email list, or subscribe to this blog (enter your email address in the upper right hand corner) for seminar previews and other articles from First Financial.