Using Hashtags For Your Business

HashtagHashtags are everywhere…you see them for TV shows, movies, restaurants, major events, etc. We are surrounded by hashtags and the prediction is it’s only going to grow!

If you’re not familiar with hashtags, they are an easy way to group updates on social media. You can search for things and people with a common interest and follow specific topics such as #smallbiz or #socialmedia. Hashtags have been around for a while on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and now Facebook has started using them. Are you using them in your social media? They can increase the visibility of your business and connect you with potential customers!

Hashtags can play an important role in your online marketing strategy. The key is to use them correctly, and not to overuse them. Social Caffeine recently published a great guide that will help you learn more about them and how to use them for your business.  It’s called The Only Hashtag Guide You’ll Ever Need and I highly recommend clicking the link and reading it.

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The Web’s Biggest Social Media Event

Have you heard the buzz about Social Media Success Summit 2011—the web’s largest online social media marketing conference?

Before I tell you how this virtual summit will help your business attract great customers and prospects, gain a unique competitive advantage, and measure your social media results, let me share a story with you.

PROOF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING WORKS…

In October 2009, Michael Stelzner started Social Media Examiner, a blog for marketers and small business owners. Almost overnight, his site became one of the top business blogs in the world.

He didn’t advertise, didn’t rely on the press and almost none of his traffic came from search engines.

Slightly more than a year later, his site has more than 57,000 email subscribers, over 31,000 Facebook fans, a half-million page views a month, and has generated nearly $2 million in sales.

Everything he does focuses on delivering high-quality content coupled with intelligent social media marketing.

Michael’s story is not unique. A significant 73% of business owners and marketers plan to increase their use of social media in 2011 (2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report).

What’s the connection? Your customers (and prospects) are using social media every day. Social media is a new marketing frontier because it bypasses all the costly middlemen and allows you to engage directly with your customers and prospects! AND this presents an enormous opportunity for you.

SO WHAT’S THIS ABOUT?

Michael (and his team) have been working for months to bring the best minds in social media together in a fully online event called Social Media Success Summit 2011.

A significant 2,500 marketers and business owners from around the world attended his last Social Media Success Summit. Businesses were transformed. In fact, 96% of attendees said they’d attend again.

This summit’s focus is to empower you to implement successful social media marketing tactics, track and measure your social media ROI, and see how successful social media campaigns were executed. Twenty-two of the world’s leading social media superstars will be summit instructors.

Presenters include Jeremiah Owyang (Altimeter Group), Brian Solis (author, Engage), Frank Eliason (Citigroup), Mari Smith (co-author, Facebook Marketing), Erik Qualman (author, Socialnomics), Michael Stelzner (founder, Social Media Examiner), Dan Zarrella (author, The Social Media Marketing Book), and experts from Boeing, Intel, Verizon, Cisco and LinkedIn.

Plus join Andy Sernovitz (author, Word of Mouth Marketing), David Meerman Scott (author, Real-Time Marketing & PR), Jay Baer (co-author, The Now Revolution), Hollis Thomases (author, Twitter Marketing), Steve Garfield (author, Get Seen), and Ann Handley (MarketingProfs)–just to name a few.

Attendees at our two last summits included well-known organizations such as General Electric, American Express, Staples, General Mills, Microsoft, Harvard, San Francisco Giants, MetLife, Kraft Foods, Hyatt Hotels, Stanford, Ben & Jerry’s, IDG and Disney. But you don’t need to be a big business to benefit!

This is the world’s largest online social media event designed to empower marketers and business owners to master social media marketing. And the great news is it’s a live online conference you can attend from your home or office.

Go here now to learn more:  Social Media Success Summit 2011

Here’s to your success!

Social Media Revolution 2011

New social media statistics for 2011 by Socialnomics.

Google Improves Social Search

Google recently made improvements to their Social Search, and you will now see more information from your social media connections in search results.  This video explains how it works.

Please share your thoughts on the Social Search update!

How MerchantCircle Benefits Local Businesses

MerchantCircle for Local Business

Social media is definitely a great marketing medium for businesses today.  While most of the buzz is about Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and YouTube, there is another great social networking site that you may not have heard about.

MerchantCircle is a social networking site specifically for local businesses.  Their focus is connecting local businesses to help build real relationships.  In addition to increasing your business’s online presence, here’s a few of MerchantCircle’s other benefits:

1. Free Listing

MerchantCircle offers local businesses a generous free listing that includes a detailed business description, story, products and/or services, map, offers, and pictures.  That is a lot of information for free!

2. Promotional Tools

MerchantCircle features many tools to use in promoting your business online. Your free account includes a blog, newsletter, a coupon, sale, promotion creator, and customer reviews.  When you create a blog post, coupon, sale or promotion, your network is notified and it is also included in the weekly MerchantCircle newsletter for your city, “Neighborhood Times”.  Additionally, this information will continue to be included in the newsletter week after week, keeping your business in front of potential customers.  I highly recommend utilizing the free blog within your account for additional search engine exposure.

3. Local Search Visibility

Did you know that 84% of people search for businesses based on their location? By creating a listing with MerchantCircle, your business will appear in more location-based search engine results. MerchantCircle is extremely search engine friendly and every feature added to your listing increases your local search visibility.

4.  Networking Opportunities

Within MerchantCircle, you have the ability to network with other business owners both in your city and other cities.  Creating an online referral network benefits your business by increased visitors and potential customers to your website.  The best way to find other members is to use the search function, then invite them to your network.  MerchantCircle also suggests members to add to your network. You’ll be surprised at how many people in your city are already members!

5. MerchantCircle is Growing!

MerchantCircle has over 1 million members, and they’ve only been around for less than 4 years. They are the largest social network for local business owners and have begun establishing partnerships with other companies to help spread the word.

I encourage you to read more about them at www.merchantcircle.com.  Then, sign up, create your free listing, utilize the promotion tools, and enjoy the benefits!  Don’t forget to add me to your network 😉

Small Businesses: Just Get Started With Social Media

Small businesses have an incredible opportunity with social media, yet many are still not taking advantage of it.  Some of the things I hear from small business owners about social media are:  they’re unsure what it is and how to use it, they don’t understand why they need to be involved, and they’re intimidated by it.  All understandable, but today’s business world has changed and social media is a big part of that change.  If you own a business, it is no longer an option to be involved with social media.  Here’s just a few reasons why:

  • Consumers have embraced social media and are using it to find products and services, and asking for recommendations from their social media friends/followers/networks
  • If consumers don’t find you on social media, they will find your competitors
  • You need to know what is being said about your business and monitor its reputation
  • Consumers want to be engaged with and marketed to through social media

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with social media, where to start, which networks to be involved in, what to post, etc.  Small business owners need to think of social media as a marketing medium. What do you consider first with other types of marketing?  The cost…social media is free.  What do you want to accomplish, more visitors to your website, more visitors to your business?  Determine your objectives and goals.  Then plan a strategy, just as you would with any other type of marketing.  Where is your target market, and what social media networks are they using?  That is where you want to start.  Just start with one social media network and get familiar with how it works, how to interact, how to promote your business.  Then add another one and do the same thing. Yes, there will be a learning curve with each social media network, so allow yourself the time….it is an investment in your business.  Just remember that the key to social media success is to be active and build relationships with people.

Don’t let being overwhelmed and confused about social media stop you from getting involved…and missing opportunities.  Just get started  🙂

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Is Social Media A Fad?

Have questions about social media being just a fad?  This video by Socialnomics highlights some amazing information about social media and using it for your business.  Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Is Your Local Business Using Social Media?

If not, why not?  Chances are you’re already on Facebook and maybe have a Fan Page for your business.  You may have a listing on MerchantCircle and maybe you’ve even checked out Twitter.  All of that is great!  But are you using these social media sites to market your business?  A lot of local business owners still don’t understand social media; they just know they should be there and really only have a presence.

When I speak to local business owners about using social media, there are two key points I stress:  1) social media is consumer-driven, and 2) social media is viral.  These key points can have a tremendous impact on your local business. Social media is more than keeping up with friends and family, it’s an incredible marketing medium where consumers can promote your business.  It is instant and limitless “word of mouth” advertising.  And, consumers are looking for their local businesses on social media sites.  Did you know that Gen-Y is on track to out-number Baby Boomers this year, which means that online activity (especially social media), is only going to increase!

Social media is free marketing for your local business and allows you to interact with your customers.  So why not invest some time in using it?   Joe Sorge, Owner of AJ Bombers, a restaurant in Milwaukee is an excellent example of how local businesses can benefit from social media.  Joe says, “We (local businesses) have the ability to engage our clients at the point of experience.”  That is powerful!  You can check them out on Twitter @ajbombers and Facebook AJ Bombers Page.

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