The Secret to Market Research-How to Find Your Killer Niche!

thinkingThis is where it all starts! The idea, the thought of going into business of your own. What are you going to promote or sell? Well if you already have an idea, that’s good. But if not-that’s okay too. Because with market research or niche marketing, I’m going to show you the secret of finding a unique brand or niche-to promote online with enormous success. Here’s how it works:
What Is A Niche?
A niche is define as a situation in which a business’s products or services can succeed by being sold to a particular kind or group of people. In other words it zero’s in to a specific group, making them special or exclusive. Weight Loss is a broad category for example, tremendous competition to compete with others. But if you can narrow it down to a special group or situation maybe like weight loss for post-pregnant women or overweight children under 12, then that becomes a niche under that broad category. And that idea will be your keyword and part of your website URL.
A killer niche is something really unique, something nobody has thought of-but you!
Market Research
Market research, or niche marketing, is simply a process of collection and analysis of data to find what people are looking for. What do everyday people want? How to create a new market, something different.
Where Do I Start?
Start by asking yourself: What is something you know about well? Something that you are passionate about? This is where you are going to start searching for keywords.
Yes the one key is keywords. The other is the competition. You don’t want to have to compete with a million other websites of your niche, and you certainly don’t want to have to compete with the “big dogs” either! So what are you going to do? Here are 4 methods that will aid you in an effective market research, to where you can find that one unique niche.
Google Ad-words
It use to be that one way of doing market research was just starting an Google Ad-word campaign with pay-per-click(PPC), and you would be able to determine what keywords is getting you good traffic, providing of course that your campaign was a successful one. With Google Ad-word you’re having to pay every time someone clicks on your ad. But the Internet is always changing and things isn’t what it use to be years ago. Now there’s a way to perform market research that is free!
Keyword Search
Once you have an idea of what your potential niche is going to be, then just do a simple keyword search. One tool you can use is Google Keyword Tool, which is a free tool. Just sign-in enter a keyword and it will show you a list of other keywords you can use depending on two things: The number of search, and the competition. You want the search volume to be high, but the competition to be very low. Once you locate a keyword with more than 1,000 searches per month or more, and at the same time the competition is at its lowest-then you may have discovered what I call a “potential website keyword.” In other words, a potential niche that you center an entire website around! But more on that later.
Amazon Bestsellers
Another market research strategy is the use of Amazon.com. Amazon has emerge to one of the biggest places online where you can find what people are looking for when it comes to information. So just go to the books section in Amazon, select a category, then select at the top the word “Bestseller.” Now you have an idea of what people are interested in. Take notice of something that you can use as a niche to promote as a product, service, or information to sell online. Now your potential niche becomes a keyword to do a keyword search as described above.
Trends.
What are the current trends? What are people talking or asking questions about? Trends can be an effective market researching strategy as well, if you can get an idea on what’s the next hot thing that people are going to want to get their hands on. Just remember, the Xbox, the iPod, and the Mac-book, as an example, were all just a trend at one time. Once you get an idea, again, do your keyword search. The best way to keep up with trends are websites like http://blogpulse.com/trend or http://google.com/trends. At http://boardtracker.com you can follow what people are talking about and  http://technorati.com keeps up with the latest technology in electronics.

Building A Site
Before you launch your site though, it’s important that you make your keyword part of your domain name. In other words you are going to build your whole brand around that one “killer” keyword, due to good research marketing. You can use your site to either sell a product, services, or information? Whatever you decide, I would suggest that you create a blog with your site and off-the-bat, write 3-5 articles on your niche-using your main keyword and start driving traffic to your new site.

Even though market research takes time and effort, it is all well-spent, because sometimes you may be surprise as to what you will decide on a niche. So get busy and go find your “killer” niche now, and be sure to leave a comment below please!

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Using Social Media to Find Local Customers for Your Small Business

Buy LocalHow would you like to target potential customers for your small business-but only in your local area? Targeting local traffic is an important website marketing strategy for small businesses. According to a variety of studies that have been done regarding website traffic, approximately 80% of people doing an online business search are searching for local businesses. But what if you want prospective customers to know that you are here locally? Here is where Social Media can help!
Promoting through social media sites is a new way that offers a lot to your business, mostly for free. Utilizing social networking sites is an effective way to draw local customers to your website. Here are a few social media tools to use:

FREE TOOLS

Twitter

In Twitter you can literally find tweets that mention your topic of expertise, from people who are geographically close to you. The way to do this is by using Twitter search. But instead of using the basic Twitter search box, you would want to use the Twitter Advanced Search page, which will allow you search locally.
To access the Twitter Advanced Search page type the keywords you want to search for in the usual Twitter search box and press Enter. You’ll see a results page that gives you a list of tweets that include those keywords. Click the down arrow next to the ‘cog’ in the corner of the page, then click Advanced Search. This reveals the Twitter Advanced Search page where you can really narrow your search. Type in your keywords then go to the Places box. Enter the geographical area you work in and then click Search. You’ll get a list of tweets that include your keywords, from people who are in the location you searched on. To save this search for future use click the drop down arrow on the search results page next to the ‘cog’ and click Save Search. The next time you want to look at this search click in the basic search box and a list of your saved searches will appear.
Using Twitter search in this way helps you find opportunities and people to add to your network.

Twellow

Twellow is a Twitter related tools that permit you to specifically target users who are among a certain area of interest and those who yield the most influence on the site. Once you’ve identified these people, you should follow them and hope that they return the favor.
You simply open up a Twellow account. At the top of the page you will see “Find Twellow users anywhere.” Just enter your city or location and start clicking on users you would like to target. Once they follow you back then start engaging with them.

Facebook

If you want to build brand awareness and connect with your customers, there is no beating Facebook. To claim and set up the Facebook Places page for your business. The first step is to create your Facebook Page by going to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php. When you click on Local Business or Place, you will be taken to a page that will require you to fill in the required details of your business. After this you can use your admin panel to edit your page, build your audience, and fill your page with the requisite content. Once you have created your official local business page on Facebook, it’s time to claim your Facebook Places page.
Go to your Facebook Business Page and click on the arrow on the box next to “edit” and select ‘Is this your Business?’ When you click on it you will be taken through a series of steps that will ask for information about your business. You will now need to verify your connection to the business by either choosing an email verification process or by uploading the necessary documentation. Choose the email option only if you have an email address linked to your Facebook account and which also serves as your business email address. In terms of documentation, you will need to scan or click a picture of an official business document, like business license, tax file, phone bill, etc., and upload it.
Now you are done claiming and setting up a Facebook profile for your local business. All you need to do now is start managing it.

Foursquare

Foursquare is a location-based social networking site for mobile devices that gives your business a mobile footprint. With more people using mobile devices to search for businesses, a presence on Foursquare is one of the most popular social media tool for local businesses. Create a Foursquare Page and connect it with your Twitter account. When you create your page make sure you complete your Page Profile. Now you want to add your listing to Foursquare’s searchable database. If you don’t have a business listing, you can create it on https://foursquare.com/login?continue=%2Fadd_venue. The business listing will ask for your phone number, your website’s URL, links to your Twitter and Facebook profiles, hours of operation, and description of your business. Make sure you leave no information out.
Once your business listing has been added to Foursquare, claim it. When you claim your location, you are telling Foursquare you are the manager of that venue. You can claim multiple locations of Foursquare; all you need to do is to provide verifiable contact information. Once you are done listing and claiming your location on Foursquare, you can begin adding specials, checking your analytics, and a whole lot more. But the most important way to use Foursquare is to take the time to build up a network of just local followers and interact with them.

Google + Local

The local pages on Google+ Local closely resemble company Facebook Pages —they interact with Google Maps, Zagat reviews, and Google+. But the big thing is that your local pages will be indexed by search engines. Just click here to read my article on how to put your small business on the map!

PAID TOOLS

Yelp

This is another directory that is scaling the popularity charts, though for a small monthly fee. The 3-step process to be followed for claiming a Yelp listing for your business is similar to the processes on other sites. First go to https://biz.yelp.com/claiming. Type in the name of your business. If it shows up and is unlocked, somebody has already claimed it. If it turns up locked, click on the ‘Unlock’ button.
Another scenario is that your business listing doesn’t turn up in search. Don’t worry, just click on the ‘Add your business to Yelp’ link, which will take you to a page that will allow you to do just that. Once you click on ‘Add’, you are done. Now wait for the confirmation email from Yelp. You are done claiming your listing. Now you need to optimize the page by adding as much business information as you can. This could mean including more business information, photos, responding to reviews, and a whole lot more.

“The Bottom Line”

In using these social media tools, it’s very important that all your profiles contain complete and up to date information. Also, your contact addresses and phone numbers must be the same across all your profiles. Maintaining profile consistency across different online directories will boost your local SEO efforts and allow you to target market local customers for your business.

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The Best Days and Times to Post to Your Favorite Social Media [Infographic]

best times to postWhen is the best day and time to post to the most popular social networking sites in order to reach the most people that happens to be online? Whether you are posting just for fun or involve in a marketing campaign, knowing the best days or time may prove to be helpful.
Timing means everything in social media marketing, or even if you’ll wanting to share some information you think others would enjoy. The fact that you are working in different social platforms, you have to be wary about the peak time. One social media site’s climax is different from the other due to demographic reasons and the description of a particular platform. Here are a few examples.

Daytime Posting

Social activity tends to happen more often during the daytime— clicks and sharing. The two entities are different and peak times are different, but happens at the same span. During this period, you can interact with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. According to addthis.com, sharing happens in the morning while clicking reign in the afternoon hours. In addition to this, the site tipped that company should post in the afternoon to gain more clicks.

• Facebook Regardless of the day you want to interact on Facebook, daytime is best as work tends to slow down. However, if you really want to receive more engagement, then post your content on Thursdays and Fridays.Best Times Infographic-3
• Google+ Posting in Google+ is also best done in the morning. People usually visit G+ between 9 AM and 10 AM according to Hubspot. However, if you want more engagement to happen, update on Wednesdays.
• LinkedIn This social platform is inclined to professionals and businesses. If you want to receive more views, then post before the start of work according to Entrepreneur.com. Otherwise, you will not be able to make that impression. Nonetheless, the best days in posting are Tuesdays and Thursdays.best times to post
• Twitter For more views on your Twitter, then tweet around 1 to 3 PM from Mondays to Thursdays. If your tweet comes with a photo, the more it will incur clicks. A good tool to use for Twitter for best times to post is Tweriod.com.

Evening Posting

Pinterest is yet another social media site where you can share your work and other rich media. The users are more active during night time as they tend to wind down from their work.best times to post

Conclusion

People do not go online at the same time. This only makes sense that your social media marketing strategy should be geared towards the time where people interact the most. If you do, then engagement and brand impression can be maximized.

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Your Business and Social Media Advertising

In this modern competitive world of marketing, there are many ways to reach and engage customers. The “organic” way businesses advertise their products or services is the traditional methods that’s been used for centuries. Then there’s the method of targeting potential customers online with the help of social media and social networking tools. There are several reasons why to use social media to increase your business and improve your client base. Here are 5 ways in which your business can join the modern world of social media advertising.

Method Of Advertising has Changed
Businesses who use to depend much on the Yellow Page and newspaper classified ads are now finding that it doesn’t seem to be as effective as it did once before. The reason for this is because people read much of the news online and if they are in need for anything to purchase, they’ll just “google” it. Now even large industries are focusing on budgeting a large amount of their marketing expense to make their presence on social media.

Using Social Media to Find Potential Customers
A good fisherman knows where to look in order find the fish, as well as what bait to use. He goes where the fish is! Your business needs to know where to find their potential customers or client. Since millions of people now spends a lot of time on the net-on social media, you need to be where the people are- and that’s online. For example, 1.4 billion people are on Facebook and that’s just one social media channel. So learning how to leverage social media to reach potential customers is like finding that spot where all the fish are. It can certainly prove to be advertising that works.

Being More Sociable
Businesses, corporations, and industries are now learning that just throwing a good sales pitch in front of people may not be enough. The rules are different now on the net. With social media is all about engagement and mastering the art of interaction. Companies are even hiring or outsourcing social media managers to do just that-engage with potential clients. So because of social media, businesses are learning how to be more sociable, more conversational, in retrospect to “cold advertising,” and to many that’s a good thing.

Keep Up With the Competition
There’s no doubt that your competitors have already leverage the use of social media for their own advertising campaign. So to keep one step ahead of the competition is a good reason why a business would want to seriously consider using social media to promote their goods or services. There are so many tools, free and paid, that helps any business keep tabs on what the other guy is doing and how to adjust their advertising campaign accordingly.

Having a Social Networking Presence 
With millions of people searching online everyday using search engines-Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others, it’s not only a matter of how to find people online, but how they can find you. A strong social networking presence can include the following tools:

• A website (Learn how to optimize to drive traffic to your site)
• A blog (A good blog shares content that can draw traffic)
• Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+,Youtube, Linkedin, Foursquare, etc)
• Google Maps (Put your business on the map)

Advertising That Works!
Getting your small business one stage further, demands a new influx of promoting attempts you may not previously experimented with before. Social media marketing could very easily be this new wave that you are looking for. Whether you learn for yourself or hire a Social Media Manager-either way you will find accomplishment within your new advertising and marketing endeavors. You will  discover that it truly is advertising that works!

 

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How to Leverage Pinterest to Increase Business Sales

PinterestIt has become one of the fastest growing social media platform and one of the most popular in usage online to promote personal ideas or products to sale. Since E-commerce has been around for years and the number of online businesses is still growing rampantly, businesses or store owners tend to influence the social media idea as an avenue to grow their sales. Inclusion to these are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Among these social media platforms, it is Pinterest that raises virtual interest the most among online users, making it the “new kid on the block.”
Whether you want to increase your daily, special, or holiday sales, Pinterest can help you attain the upper hand. Depending on your marketing scheme, your sales can skyrocket from its baseline. This is made possible because Pinterest is inclined towards company’s products that combines both the ideas of vivid images of magazines and best deals of catalogs of some sort.
Before you promote your business or store, you need to probe a bit deeper on Pinterest. Nevertheless, there are ways that business owners need to undertake to jump-start their way to success.

Run a Test
One of the best things that you can do for your business is to invest time and resources in Pinterest. Simply open up an account and start building a following by following others-especially those similar to your niche. Then observe how others use Pinterest to promote. You will notice “Boards” and “Pins.” Boards are like your category and the pins are your post. Some have multiple categories, but you can be very effective with just one.
Here are some interesting facts about Pinterest.
• Pinterest users: 70 million

• Page views: with an average of 2.5 billion views per month

• Frequency of use: ranks 4th for most-used social media platform

• Average time spent by Pinterest users: 98 minutes/month

• Average amount per order: $140 and $180

The digits appear to be favorable, but letting the platform work in your favor is a formidable challenge. Just for a fact, you have to conceptualize your plans efficiently and competitively because your competitors are doing the same thing. Include in your strategy the identification of popular pins. You can do this by using a Pinterest analytic program like tailwindapp.com -a paid site that can help you track popular pins, followers, likes, and many more.

Work on Striking Visual Content
If you are geared towards marketing, you can make use of stunning images in Pinterest. Just for a fact, people love wonderful pictures as it can express a lot more than words can tell. When people get enthusiastic about your pin, users can re-pin it resulting to spread of your content.
You might be in an enigma of what kind of images can capture the hearts of the users. Of course, the bottom line here is that it should appear pleasing and worth the time. Earthy colors and reds can mesmerize your audience while a full background can give them a whole picture of what you want to portray.

Rich Product Pins
Pinterest Screen-shotDo not forget to change your pins into rich product pins. It comes in six types: app, article, movie, place, product, and recipe. It adds extra information and help the pin itself stands out from the others. With the rich product pins around, Pinterest had also came up with a rich pin validator. It is made for e-commerce sites to safeguard against fraudster. At this point, information is always updated because it is link to site.

Good Advertiser
Just like any other ads, Pinterest is also keen towards high standards. If you want your advertisement to get noticed and appreciated, you just have to follow the basic advertising principles. According to Pinterest, these include being authentic, promoting your best pins, and obeying applicable laws and regulations. When these are met and with some homework, everything else will fall as you want it to be.

Coupons
Take your daily sales an extra mile by giving coupons to your valuable consumers. Remember, people want to spend their hard-earned money wisely, so it is up to you to give them a hand by virtue of your promos and great deals. Your coupons pinned in Pinterest may contain discount, free product or service, or anything that will greatly benefit your customer.

Fiery Competition, New Approach!
Marketing scheme is not just all about the ideas. With the rise of Internet and other social networks like Pinterest, there now comes a need to employ a photographic approach to reach the desired sales of every company despite the heated competition.

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10 Ways to Measure Social Media for Business

Is your business a social business? Companies that are making good use of social media should take the next step and measure the progress of their social media programs and campaigns. How do you know if you’re succeeding if you don’t have the numbers?

Today we’ll look at 10 ways that metrics can offer visibility into your business’s performance. You won’t want to chart all of these, but tracking a few well-chosen metrics — and incorporating the learning’s into your business processes — can contribute to the bottom line.

Customer Engagement

1. Engagement can take place offline and online, on your site, on your social networks and in real-world face-to-face events. By letting customers participate in conversations about your brand, you can improve your business, your products and your levels of service. Ultimately, customer engagement is key to improving satisfaction and loyalty rates and revenue.

Metrics to track could include:

  • Number of followers on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Number of retweets on Twitter
  • Number of comments per blog post
  • Number of external widgets embedded
  • Invaluable assets as re-distributors of content
  • Customer reviews and ratings

Note: Such customer interaction can be invaluable in fostering a culture of community and in guiding product development. In addition, endorsements can be used as testimonials in marketing materials (with permission).

Sales & Profits

2. In the end, you business’s social media efforts need to not just generate customer goodwill — it should contribute to your company’s bottom line.

Metrics to keep an eye on include:

  • Track sales from Google referrals
  • Sales from paid search
  • Sales as a result of social network mentions

Dell said it made $3 million selling products to its Twitter followers on the strength of coupons and discounts that other Twitterers gladly passed along vi-rally as tipsters. And Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?” blender’s campaign on YouTube helped to drive a 500 percent increase in sales in 2010.  Just don’t expect the needle to move right away!

Search Marketing & Rankings

3. The importance of search engine optimization to your brand cannot be overstated: SEO & social media efforts should significantly increase your site’s visibility & performance in search results. It should also help you rank prominently for targeted items and increase your long-tail traffic. Identify and incorporate targeted keywords on major landing pages on your site. Strategically use keywords on social networks as well, such as Facebook. You can use links from Twitter or YouTube to claim valuable search rankings on your brand search terms. Tweets that rank for targeted keyword can lead to traffic from keywords that the site does not rank for.

Whenever someone shares content from your site on a social site, you get a link back and a submission history. Try to convert one-time visitors from Digg, StumbleUpon and other social news sites into long-term members of your community.

Traffic & Conversation Reach

4. Your business can produce the most gorgeous, well-manicured press releases in the world. But unless you get customers talking about your product or service and generating traffic to your website, micro-site or social networks, you’re missing the boat. Raw traffic is important, but you’ll want to measure traffic from segmented audiences that you’re targeting-people who are likely to follow you or more so, buy from you. Also chart the number of visitors to your social networks.

Brand Sentiment

5. The nature and purpose of public relations and external communications is changing from an industrial-era paradigm to one of facilitation and curation. Go with it — help create evangelists for your products or services among your most ardent fans. Word of mouth and the viral nature of sites like Twitter, Facebook and Digg can help shift your company’s key brand metrics.

You’ll need a more sophisticated set of metrics tools to gauge the following: Brand awareness, brand favor-ability, brand recall, propensity to buy, etc. (TV ads are measured in this way.) A positive brand associations via social media efforts can help drive clicks on paid search ads. Use a social media service to measure brand sentiment.

Public Outreach

6. The worlds of public relations, customer service and marketing are merging. Social media enables customers to interact with all channels within a company. Traditional metrics, such as column inches in newspapers and magazines, are becoming less relevant over time. Outreach to blogosphere & Twitterverse is becoming as important as outreach to media organizations. Consider creating a social media newsroom that offers bloggers and news organizations a rich set of multimedia, bullet-ed takeaways and quotes from key participants. Then track the number of mentions on social sites by using the bit.ly url shortener.

Lead Generation

7. Social media is becoming a funnel for lead generation. A number of tools now let you track business prospects through sophisticated filtering mechanisms. Use LinkedIn to connect with potential business partners and clients, and chart the rate of invitations accepted and follow-up communications acted upon. See which kinds of messaging are resonating.

Here’s an opportunity for your internal teams to work together to optimize your site for keywords and key phrases. It’s always better when potential customers come to you.

Customer Retention

8. We’re moving into an age of optimization and retention. Watch your retention rates as you start participating in social media. Over time, if your team uses social media intelligently, they should rise. Zappos, which uses Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube for its social media efforts, has exceeded $1 billion in sales. Some 75 percent of its orders are repeat customers. Make sure you monitor your repeat customers and shower them with love.

Cost Savings

9. In this age of cost-cutting, companies are looking to apply savings wherever they can. Cisco saved $250,000 by using social media rather than traditional PR and marketing to roll out its Data Center project.

Crowd sourcing has become an increasingly popular way for businesses to leverage customers and outside parties for savings. Consider how cost reductions can be applied in a way that benefits the bottom line while not infringing on worker rights or jeopardizing health and environmental standards. Then measure how each initiative contributes to cost containment.

Employee Recruitment

10. The brightest young minds coming into the workplace today live, breathe and understand social media. Show them that you’re a genuine social business and not just another company hunkering down in the wake of the social media revolution. Measure incoming employees’ sentiment about your company. What are they saying? What attracted them?

Measure exiting employees’ sentiment. Assign someone from human relations, with no stake in the matter, to conduct exit interviews. Assess their feedback — and take it to heart.

By JD Lasica of Socialmedia.biz

These are 10 ideas, but it’s not a complete list. List your ideas in the comments below.

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Social Media Marketing: Can You Make Money Blogging?

The answer to this question is ‘of course you can!’ You just need to know how.

In this post I am going to explain the answer to the question ‘Can you make money blogging’ and show you how.

The first thing you need to do before setting up your new blog is to decide what niche you want to write about. Try and stick to something you know about, that way it makes it easier when your writing your posts. Also bear in mind that if the niche is too competitive then you will struggle to rank in Google and earn an income. If the niche is too narrow and un-competitive, there won’t be enough traffic or income potential you can tap into to make it worth the effort.

Once you have a niche you want to start blogging with, you will need to narrow that niche down a bit more and find keywords relating to that niche. Let’s take blogging for example, this can be narrowed down to ‘make money blogging’, ‘how to blog’, ‘can you make money blogging’ and so on. These keywords will be a lot easier to rank for than just ‘blogging.

Now you have your niche and keywords, how do you make money with your blog?

There are a few popular methods to monetize your blog, and the most popular is contextual advertising, where contextual ads are displayed along side your blog content on different areas of your page. The favorite being Google Adsense but there are many others available online.

Another popular choice is affiliate marketing, especially physical products from places like Amazon and eBay. All you have to do is search Amazon and Ebay for your chosen keyword and write about it and leave a link to that product. When someone buys that product you earn a commission.

If no physical products exist for your chosen keyword then you can try Clickbank, and write a review about an eBook instead and earn commissions on every sale you make.

Aside from contextual ads and affiliate marketing, you can look into selling advertising space on your blog (usually through banners). Where someone pays you a set fee to place a banner on your blog.

I hope I have answered this social media marketing question, ‘can you make money blogging’, as you can see there are many ways to make money from your blog.

By Lee Griffiths Of Working Online Blog

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6 Ways to Determine If Need a VA to Manage Social Media?

Virtual AssistantThis is a follow-up to an earlier post entitled “What Is A Social Media Virtual Assistant?”

 

 

A good question that I am frequently asked-but before I answer, as a business owner, you will need to determine a few things to set a solid foundation for your social media plan.

1) Solid Marketing Plan? Do you have a solid marketing plan?  NOT just social media,which is still the foundation and fabric of your outreach. Remember, social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Comeoninside.com are all TOOLS). Just like in a tool box, some tools are more effective for some projects than others.
My biggest heartbreak is to see an overwhelmed business owner who thinks they “have” to be on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and YouTube all at the same time. The dirty little secret is, not all social media platforms are good for all businesses. Truthfully, if you are promoting a message to the wrong  Twitter followers for example, how much valuable time would you be wasting?

2) Social Media Platforms List. Make a list of the social media platforms you currently have a profile on (i.e. Facebook Fan Page, Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube, Come on inside, etc.) This will help you determine if you want to continue on these platforms.

3) Social Media Time. How much time are you or your team spending ENGAGING on these platforms? Not just pre-posting or “pushing” your info, but genuinely interacting with your Facebook fans, Linkedin connections, Twitter followers, etc?

4) Social Media Presence. How much time do you WANT to spend on any given platform? What type of engagement do your client desire? What type of relationship are your clients asking from you?

5) Determine Time Needed. Once you have a determination of the amount of TIME needed, then you will know if a social media  assistant is a good fit.
Your time has to be worth something. Just like you are an expert in your field, your Social Media VA would be the same managing your online campaigns for you.

Based on approved guidelines the Social Media VA would be responsible for:
•Connecting with various types of professionals
•Updating content and making sure the content is linked with appropriate keywords, seo, etc.
•Distributing blogs and events to various locations. A lot of work.
•A good social media assistant or manager will give you statistics on what your social media plan is achieving. Platforms include but not limited to: Facebook Fan Pages, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, etc.

I would recommend that a Social Media VA only answers or responds to people on your behalf, with the business owner’s consent. Some business owners will want to reply to negative conversations themselves, let’s say on Facebook or Twitter for example, or some will  leave that entirely up to you. So it’s good to have an experience or trained Social Media Manager to help you, if that being the case.

6) Your Time’s Value in Dollars. Once you know the amount of time your company is spending on relating in social media, you figure out the cost to your business for those hours. If your team used those hours in a different area of your business – how much more successful will you be? That dollar figure is your new “marketing” budget for a Social Media Virtual Assistant. Their hourly rates will vary depending on location or specialty, from about $40 to $70/ hour. If you want expert results, then you will welcome an expert on your team as well.

By Angel Lebak of Virtual Assistant Social Media.com

Regardless if you hire a Social Media VA now or wait until your budget allows, social media management is quickly becoming a part of many companies marketing plans. So to be sure you have the accurate tools on hand to get the desired results, just click here for Contact information for RTJ Online-Social Media Assistant.

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How to Craft a Killer “Elevator Pitch” For Your Business

This article will explain the elements of a powerful elevator pitch and then walk you through how to craft your own.

What is an Elevator Pitch?

This is the 30-60 second business description of what you do and why someone should work with you. It’s called an “Elevator Pitch” because it describes the challenge: “How would you explain your business and make a sale if fate placed you in an elevator with your dream prospect and you only had the time it takes to get from the top of the building to the bottom?”

Why Is Having an Elevator Pitch So Important?
You only have 30-60 seconds to make a powerful first impression. The attention span of the average person is just 30 seconds before their mind starts wandering. The other reason is people have less time today. You need to grab them quickly or lose them forever.

Essential Elements of a Powerful Elevator Pitch
1. Concise. Your pitch should take no longer than 30-60 seconds.

2. Clear. Use language that everyone understands. Don’t use fancy words thinking it will make you sound smarter. Your listener won’t understand you and you’ll have lost your opportunity to hook them.

3. Powerful. Use words that are powerful and strong. Deliver the “Sis-Boom-Bang” to grab their attention!

4. Visual. Use words that create a visual image in your listeners mind. This will make your message memorable.

5. Tell a Story. A short story, that is. A good story is essentially this: someone with a problem either finds a solution or faces tragedy. Either type of story can be used to illuminate what you do.

6. Targeted. A good elevator pitch is aimed for a specific audience. If you have target audiences that are vastly different, you might want to have a unique pitch for each.

7. Goal Oriented. A great elevator pitch is designed with a specific outcome in mind. What is your desired outcome? You may have different pitches depending on different objectives. For instance do you want to: make a sale , gain a prospect, enlist support for an idea, or earn a referral.

8. Has a Hook. This is the element that literally snags your listener’s interest and makes them want to know more. This is the phrase or words that strike a chord in your listener.
How to Craft Your Killer Elevator Pitch

  • Write down what you do. Write it several different ways. Try writing it at least 10-20 different ways. Don’t edit yourself at all. You will edit later. This first step is for generating ideas. Don’t hold back. Ideas can be goofy, serious, wild, funny, or conservative. It doesn’t matter. The goal is to get at many ideas as possible down on paper.
  • Write a very short story that illustrates what you do for people. If necessary, the story can be long. You will boil it down later. Paint a picture with words.
  • Write down your objective or goal. Do you want to make a sale, gain a prospect, enlist support for an idea, earn a referral, or something else?
  • Write 10-20 action statements. This is a statement or question designed to spur the action associated with your goal.
  • Record yourself. You can use Dragon Dictation if you don’t have a recording device. Dragon Dictation is a free phone based service that translates your messages into text as well as providing an online link to the original audio.
  • Let it sit. Come back to what you’ve written with fresh eyes and ears the next day or later on in the same day.
  • Highlight the good stuff. Listen and read through what you’ve recorded and written. Then either highlight or circle the phrases that hook you with clear, powerful, and visual words. Obviously not all the words will fall into these categories. You still need connector words, but you want them to be as few as possible.
  • Put the best pieces together. Again you’ll want to write down several versions of this much tighter pitch. Tell us what you do and why people should want to do business with you. Include elements from your story if you can fit it in.
  • Do a final edit cutting as many unnecessary words as possible. Rearrange words and phrases until it sounds just right. Again, the goal is 30-60 seconds maximum.
  • Dress Rehearsal. Run it by as many people as you can get to listen to you. Get feedback from colleagues, clients you trust, friends and family.
  • Done for now. Take your final elevator pitch and write it down. Memorize and practice it until it just slides off your tongue naturally.
  • Continue to improve. Over time, always be on the listen for phrases that you think could make your elevator pitch more clear and impactful. And then test it out. Every once in a while you will probably benefit by starting from scratch because things always change: you, your business , your goals, and your clients’ needs.

By K Stone of Life Learning Today

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