(Been to the Hamilton about a dozen times in the last couple of years – had no idea they had this classy night spot downstairs.)
Because of the people who were on the panel, I was really interested in going – not just because I know some of them, but because having that much combined knowledge on this topic in one room is a rarity. I’ll prove it to you with this video from Tara Lewis, of Yelp.
Panelists: Lisa Byrne, Social Strategist for Pappas Group, Founder of DCeventjunkie & DC Wine Week Tara Lewis, Regional Director of Marketing for Yelp Laura Wilson, Social Media Manager for Hilton Hotels & Resorts Katy Adams, Marketing Manager for Clyde’s Restaurant Group Monica Bhide, Food, Culture and Lifestyle Writer Luigi Diotaiuti, Chef/Owner of Al Tiramisu
This was definitely a “had to be there” event, and not just because
we were in a sold-out room packed full of great people who were fun to network with
the panel was outstanding
there was both a free photo booth
instead of just one free drink, Pappas Group unexpectedly kept the bar open.
(Yeah. Next time I say an event is unmissable, maybe be there? Just kidding. It was really great though. I work with some of the people involved from time to time, but you’ll be able to see by the pictures, video and tweets that this was a worthwhile event, and not just my bias.)
You will have one advantage you’ll have over us as you view the featured tweets and photos below – you’ll have the panelists and moderator Twitter handles handy.
(In fairness to the event coordinators, it’s not like there was anywhere to post them – and the announcement has BOTH the Twitter handles and LinkedIn pages, unlike some other listings.)
Ah, Social Media Week. Each year I both anticipate and dread it, as I do all DC conferences.
I love the idea of being able to do a lot of networking, meet brilliant start-up geniuses, and learn all types of new things.
But unlike the conferences that involve major travel, the major local tech and business gatherings often seem to be ill-timed. Thank goodness for Metro and Uber or I’d just stay at work/home half the time!
But I digress. This year, Social Media week had some exciting sessions. My intention was to go through the list of things that sound most interesting, particularly those that compete with sessions I must attend, only to find that some of the best sessions filled rather quickly. I almost missed out on going to the session I told you about earlier this month.
So instead, I’m only choosing from sessions that have tickets available as of this writing, or that you can watch via live stream. To keep this short and sweet, given that I get rather rambly, we’ll highlight these three items:
The Social Media week session and its hashtag
Why you want to Go
Livestream or Attendance link
Top Available Social Media Week Sessions for Tuesday
#SocialGov Summit 2013: Forwarding Citizen Experience With Social Data - #SmwGov
Presenters from NASA, NIH, Department of Defense and more, gathering to talk about social media and government. To me this represents the beginning of real-time citizen participation in government, which is what I believe our forefathers intended when the world was small enough for this to be feasible.
Social Media & Smart Autos: The Car IS the Latest in Technology - #SmwAuto Hi-tech cars. I don’t really have to say more than that do I? Also, it’s moderated by someone from Beekeeper Group – you always hear great things about sessions they’re involved in and wish you’d have gone.
Feed Your Enthusiasm: Sharing with Podcasts and Blogs - #SMWFeed Connection and content are the top two things people come to the internet for, so it’s worth learning how to get it into the hands of the people who want it the most.
In the Know: Twitter for Public Health - #SM4PH
A CDC project is putting this on,the intersection of health and social media will fascinate you even if you’re jaded, and who knows, there may be some Zombie Preparedness information shared. Come on, how can you not support an event put on by an organization that has a special zombie section on their website?
DC Tweet-Up Happy Hour & Discussion: Build Relationships, Followers Will Come - #SmwEdgarSocial
The great thing about the global pervasiveness of the web, particularly through mobile and social media, is that it enables you to build leads, contact peers and even conduct business with people you might never otherwise meet face to face.
The great thing about living in a metropolitan area where it’s possible to do so, is that meeting people in the flesh, even just once in a while, can accelerate your mission.
Plus I met one of the organizers, Ann Tran, about 18 months ago and she was a warm, fun person.
From December 2012 to January 2013, NAWBO, in conjunction with web.com, surveyed 552 women business owners about their businesses. Some of the results were not what I expected. One thing that startled me was how much the state of the economy was a concern, though a distant second to acquiring new customers, it also came in ahead of generating revenue.
This surprised me for two reasons, though I’m well aware the first reason is that I was indoctrinated with the idea that there are ways to survive, even thrive in any economy. I also find, personally, that things are much better than they were in 2008.
The other reason I wasn’t expecting these results, was that I’d think that access to capital would be a much greater concern, considering the fact that it’s statistically harder for women. I wonder if we have different ideas about accessing capital from outside sources, or if most of us just assume that we’re meant to bootstrap our entire entrepreneurial journey- I know I did.
Another thing that intrigued me, though it was not as surprising: 29.4% of women business owners that responded to the survey believed that having a social media presence was somewhat or very unimportant, or weren’t sure, and 31.3% didn’t think search engine optimization was important.
Social media i can sort of understand – it’s still sort of new to most people.. It makes me wonder whether it’s getting through that social media and search engine optimization are two things that in the short and long term respectively, can make your site “findable” or that the two are increasingly related.
You can download The State of Women Owned Businesses for yourself for free. It’s a really interesting survey – there’s no email capture to fill out, just be aware that when you click the link, it takes you directly to the PDF file.
Even what I’ve touched on here doesn’t cover half of the survey, and the data collected is presented in a clear, straightforward manner. It’s 26 pages though, so if you don’t have time to go over the entire thing now, here’s the infographic.
A gift shop’s success is based on the visual aspect of what they do. People need to see the items to buy them. So how do you get them interested in your gifts when they’re not in the store, but without spending a lot of money on advertising?
There are three social media tools every gift shop owner can use to build interest and traffic to their stores.
Start a Facebook page for your store, and invite your customers to like it. Then, communicate with them on a regular basis, but for more than just promoting your store’s items. Ask questions, like “what was the best gift you ever received?” or “what’s the funniest gift you ever gave?” to keep people coming back and interacting with your page. It will teach them to check out what you have to say on a regular basis.
Instagram is a mobile app that lets you take photos, apply creative filters, and share them with your Instagram network, as well as Facebook. Take photos of some of the cool stuff in your store, especially as it comes in, and share it via Instagram.
Pinterest is another app that works on your laptop or your mobile phone. See a picture of something you like, and pin it to your “board.” While most people use it to pin pictures of things they find on the Internet, you can also use it to pin the Instagram photos you shared on Facebook. Pinterest is also a good way to take photos of stock items you’re thinking about bringing in to the store and asking your customers for their opinion.
A few days ago, we talked about using Tumblr as a way to promote your blog to your potential clientele. We wanted to delve into the new growth of Tumble-blogging, and how you can use it more fully.
Tumblr (no ‘E’) has been embraced especially by Generation Y who wanted something more informal and easier to use than a regular blog. While a regular blog is just as effective — if you have one, don’t abandon it — there’s something hipper and funner about a Tumblr blog.
The first thing to do is claim your Tumblr blog. Go to Tumblr.com, and set it up using your gallery name — StevesGallery.tumblr.com — and set the background theme the way you want it.
Next, download the Tumblr app to your mobile phone. Take a few minutes and familiarize yourself with how it works. It’s pretty easy. Just take a photo on your phone (or choose one from the gallery), type in some text, and upload it to your Tumblr blog. Unfortunately, you cannot send more than one photo at a time this way.
You can also email several photos and copy at once to your Tumblr blog. Each account is given its own special, secret email address. Put that in your phone’s address book. Then, when you take a series of photos, attach them all to an email to your Tumblr account, add in the text, and then send it off.
And of course, you can also upload a series of photos to your Picasa or Flickr account, and then copy the embed code for a slide show into your email and send that off, or just go to Tumblr.com on your laptop, and write the post like you would any other blog post.
Then promote the posts via your social network and use it to build both search engine traffic and foot traffic to your gallery.
Are you familiar with the term “mastermind group?” You may hear it called other things, but basically, it’s a group of people who are closely aligned to your business’ success and growth. These are people you meet with on a regular basis, so you can contribute to each others’ success.
A mastermind group can be built around a certain industry or niche, like residential real estate, which includes a Realtor, a mortgage broker, an attorney, a handyman, and anyone else who might be related to that specific niche.
The group could be built around a certain type of people, like small business owners or marketing directors. People who want to share new information and ideas with each other, so that they can take it back to their own jobs and do them better.
Or it can even be based on geography, like all the retail businesses in a particular neighborhood. While some of them may compete, they instead focus on the general health and prosperity of the neighborhood, and share ideas on how to run their businesses better.
The idea is to find people who share a common business goal and can work together without competing. They come together once a week or once a month to share knowledge, share ideas, and even share leads with each other.
The Realtor can refer new clients to the mortgage broker. The marketing directors can bounce ideas off each other, and give advice. A small theater and a restaurant can team up to sell special dinner-and-a-show packages.
Whatever you do with your mastermind group, leave yourself open to the possibility that some very creative and beneficial ideas can grow out of it.
We’ve talked about the importance of online social networking for the last several months, but we don’t want to ignore the importance of meeting people in person. This kind of networking is just as important to growing your business as online networking is.
Here are three benefits of doing real-world networking:
1. Networking events lets you meet more than one person at a time.
We like networking events where you get to meet a lot of people at once. Not only does it increase your odds of meeting people who can have a positive influence on your life, it lets you be more visible within your community. Your Chamber of Commerce, business networking groups, and even local industry groups are all places to network.
2. Read nonverbal cues, and learn about a person’s passions.
Sitting down and speaking with someone face-to-face lets you hear the excitement in their voice when they tell you about the things that excite them. It’s a bonus when that passion is their work. It helps you understand why they love what they do, and helps you make connections for them later on.
3. Create deeper relationships than you can online.
It doesn’t matter how well you get to know someone online, you will never have as deep a relationship as you can by talking to them in person. You need to see their face, hear their voice, and see their nonverbal communication to get to know them. You’re creating, in a loose sense of the word, a friendship, and you just can’t do that through a keyboa
Let’s say you own an ice cream parlor, along with three other parlors within a five mile radius. You can win a search any time someone looks for “ice cream shop” or “ice cream parlor” when they do a search while they’re in your city, or do a mobile search on their phone.
The biggest trick that will help you win this mobile search is registering your business on Google Places.
Claiming your Google Places spot does one very important thing for you: it tells other people how to find you on Google and on the maps. And if you’re the first ice cream parlor in your neighborhood to do it before your competitors, you appear higher in the search than the other ice cream shops.
Log in to your Google account with your Gmail address and password (register for one if you don’t have one yet), and then enter in the necessary information. You’ll enter your business address, hours of operation, methods of payment you accept, any photos and videos, and anything else you want customers to know (free parking, specialty flavors you offer, etc.).
While Google typically wants you to list a mailing address, home-based and mobile businesses can also participate. Just put in your home address, and when you get to the section on Service Areas, select “this business serves customers at their locations.” Google will hide your address from the map, which means you can maintain your home’s privacy, and/or avoid any confusion with customers who may want to find you in person.
Your web content is the thing that’s going to make or break your search engine optimization efforts.
In yesterday’s post, we started talking about how important content is, but we didn’t want to include it in the list of three blogging SEO tips. Not because it’s not important, but because it’s very important.
One thing Google wants now is high-quality content, and they ignore content that was poorly written.
In the past, content writers did everything they could to cram as many keywords into their copy, often at the expense of the writing quality. Now, bloggers need to focus on making their content the best it can be. The keywords should almost be an afterthought — not something you ignore completely, but don’t spend any more than five minutes on them.
Since Google looks at things like time on site (they assume people spend more time on a page reading well-written content), it makes more sense for you to focus on making each blog post or web page the very best it can be.
If that means hiring a professional, consider it money well-spent. If it means writing and rewriting until it’s just right, then take the time. And if it means having a couple of friends tell you what they really think of the writing, then steel yourself and ask them to look it over.
As long as the end result is well-written and interesting, people will read it. If it’s not, your web traffic and search rankings will suffer.
One online guerilla marketing tactic is to write blog posts and other content that capitalize on the hottest trends going on that day. But how do you practice this real-time communication and real-time marketing, and find out what’s going on locally, nationally, or even internationally as it’s happening, rather than after the fact?
Start with Hashtags.org, which keeps track of the different Twitter #hashtags. If people are talking about it, it’s on Hashtags.org. To see how popular a topic is, visit the site, and either look at the most popular topics on the front page, or do a specific search for a topic of your choice to see what kind of traffic it’s generating.
We also like TweetLevel, a Twitter monitoring and ranking tool. You can find people who are influential about a certain topic (which you found on Hashtags.org), and start interacting with them, or place them in a Twitter list so you can follow them more easily.
With this information, you can now create your own content — blog posts, tweets, videos, podcasts, you name it — and capitalize on the popularity of the subject. Write your post, then tweet out the URL, using the same hashtag.
Next, find the influential people who are talking about a particular topic, and respond to their comments and questions. Share your own content with them. They may share your stuff with their own networks, where it can be seen by tens of thousands of people. Do this often enough, and you can be recognized as a voice of authority within that field or topic as well, and become your own influencer.
In a previous blog post, I talked about how to use a blog to drive traffic to your ecommerce store where you sell
specialty sandwich cutters. But how do you know if it’s paying off?
With Google Analytics, the free analytical package that shows you your web traffic performance, you
can see what’s working and what’s not.
For example, let’s say you published your post on “Five Fun Sandwiches for Kids” on a Monday. By
Friday, you’ve sold 100 of your sandwich cutters. How can we find how many of those sales came as
a direct result of the blog post?
First, we check out the Google Analytics page, and see that the post has generated 1,000 visits this
week. We can see how long everyone spent on the page, where they came from, and even where
In our hypothetical case, of the 1,000 visitors, we can see:
600 of them came from Facebook, 300 came from Twitter, and the other 100 came from a
variety of other sources.
80% of them spent 1 – 2 minutes on the page, 10% spent 5 minutes on the page, and 10% spent
less than 1 minute.
100 of them clicked a link that took them to another page on the website (we can even find out
which page), 800 of them left as soon as they read the page, and 100 of them went straight to the
sandwich cutter catalog page.
By switching over to the Google Analytics for the sandwich cutter page, we can see that 50 of our
visitors actually bought the $15 sandwich cutter.
Based on all this, we can determine that 1) our blog post resulted in 50 sales this week; 2) it
generated $750 in gross revenue; 3) it has a 5% sales rate.
Without Google Analytics, we would never know what a particular blog post, or even a week of
traffic, has done for our business.
There are several social media review networks and apps where people leave reviews about their favorite (and not-so-favorite) restaurants, businesses, doctors’ offices, and retail clothing stores. Sites like Yelp, Foursquare, UrbanSpoon, FoodSpotting, and OpenTable all encourage users to leave comments and reviews of the restaurants.
Back before we had social media, people would frequently complain when they were unhappy, but rarely give public compliments. These days, people are more willing to share when they’re pleased, and are more likely to leave positive reviews.
Restaurant owners can help encourage these reviews, and using them to their marketing advantage, by trying these quick tips:
Remind people to check in on Foursquare, and ask them to leave a tip about
their favorite appetizer. If you have a free wifi network, name it [RESTAURANT NAME]
Hold a weekly or monthly contest where people send their Foursquare checkin as a tweet with a
#hashtag with your restaurant name.
Leave a tablet tent that says “Love us? Hate us? Leave a Yelp comment” and a QR code that
takes people right to your Yelp page.
That last tactic is a bit of a calculated risk, because you’re showing people the exact path they need to take to complain too. But if your staff is on their game, this won’t be a problem. And if people do complain, we’ll tell you how to fix the problem tomorrow.
Restaurants need to keep track of what’s being said about them, but it’s not enough to watch each
and every review site — at one count, we saw over 10 of them, and that didn’t include networks like
Twitter, Facebook, or anyone and everyone’s personal blogs.
You could spend all day online looking for mentions of you and your restaurant, and you’d still miss
That’s why we like Google Alerts as our brand watchdog.
The search giant indexes millions of websites a day, looking for any and all important keywords,
including yours. So why not put that to work for you?
Go to Google.com/alerts, and enter your
restaurant name. “Use quotes” around the name if it has more than one word; that tells Google to
find exactly that phrase. Otherwise, it returns all instances of all the words, regardless of where they
appear on the page.
Set the Result Types to Everything, How Often to Daily,
and How Many to All Results.
This way, you will receive a once-a-day email of any and every time someone mentions your
restaurant name in a blog post, news article, or restaurant review. Then you can respond accordingly,
either thanking the person for the compliment, or offering to fix any problems.
There are other tools to help keep track of your restaurant brand and name (i.e. setting up a search
column on your favorite Twitter client), but Google Alerts will save you time while still keeping a
watchful eye on your brand.
The interesting thing about social media is that consumers are paying close attention to what other people are saying about brands, not the marketers. They believe other people, not paid professionals. But what if the other people aren’t saying nice things about you on places like Yelp?
Yelp lets people give their own reviews and ratings of restaurants, home services, hotels, churches, stores, and salons and spas. That means that if enough people say good things about a business, customers are more likely to visit it based on those recommendations. And avoid it if there are enough bad things about it.
Since Yelp is both a website and a mobile app, that means that people can leave compliments — and complaints — while they’re still in the parking lot. What do you do if you get a complaint on Yelp?
Before you start, just know that fighting back will only make the problem worse. The complaint is already out there, and if the complainer is well-connected, it has reached their Facebook friends. If you fight back, the entire incident will be magnified and shared, and could even go viral.
Instead apologize, then fix the problem. By responding positively, you can allay the person’s negative feelings, and even convert them to a loyal fan.
By fixing the problem, future visitors who see the complaint will also see how responsive and helpful you are, and understand that you’re very committed to good customer service and making everything right.
But never let a Yelp complaint go without a response. Even a quick apology and an invitation to come again so you can do better next time goes a long way.
If you’ve got a Facebook Page for your business (which is different from your personal profile), you’ll want to know how it’s performing, to make sure you’re getting the most out of it.
That’s where Facebook Insights comes in handy. It gives you some basic analytics to see how your page is doing in terms of visits and interactions. According to the Mashable.com’s Beginners Guide to Facebook Insights, there are two basic insights you want to look at:
User Insights: Total page Likes, or a number of fans, daily active users, new Likes/Unlikes, Like sources, demographics, page views and unique page views, tab views, external referrers, media consumption.
Interactions Insights: Daily story feedback (post Likes, post comments, per post impressions), daily page activity (mentions, discussions, reviews, wall posts, video posts).
This tells you how your page is doing, whether people are visiting, which pieces of content they like the most, which ones they don’t like, and even what they share and tell other people about. And with things like external referrers and media consumption insights, you get to see what brought people to your page — was it a Google search or tweet? — as well as what they looked at, read, watched, or listened to.
Keep in mind that these insights are all anonymous. You can’t see who came to your page, but you can see how many did. By seeing this kind of data, you can get a good idea of which parts of your content and conversation are doing well, and which parts aren’t. That lets you choose what to focus on and what to drop.
When you’re trying to find people worth following on Twitter, you don’t want to just follow everyone when you’re first starting out. I mean, you can, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But if you’re trying to save some time or reach the most number of people in the shortest time, you need to reach the most influential people in your city.
We like two tools in particular that can help you find those people, the people who can motivate people to new actions, to read or visit certain websites, and even to try your restaurant.
Twitter Grader is a tool that shows a person’s Twitter rank out of a possible 100%. Anyone who is above an 80 is pretty influential, and you’ll even see a lot of 99.7s and 99.8s. While this isn’t everyone in the city, it’s at least a good indicator of who’s doing Twitter right, and has the followers to show for it.
TwellowHood.com is a Twitter locator that groups people by looking at the location they put in their Twitter bio. To find influential people in your city, visit Twellowhood, drill down to it in the map, and then follow everyone who has more than 100 Twitter followers, but not over 20,000. We’re setting the bar very low, because the people with a few followers may be fairly influential, and the people with more than 20,000 may not pay much attention to you.
While there are other tools to do the same thing, we like these because they’re easy to use and fairly accurate.
If you’re new to social media marketing and you’re trying to promote your business, there are a number of books you can choose from to get you started. One book we’re partial to is Shama Kabani’s The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue.
The book is written for the social media marketing newbie, giving readers some basic insights into the different tools you can use — blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, group coupon sites like Groupon, and video — and some of the best practices that will get you the traction you need for growing your own business.
We’ve found that a lot of small business people just don’t have the time or patience to sit down and learn how to start using social media at a high level. But the thing Shama’s book does very well is explain why it has to be done, and then finds the easiest ways to get you up and running as soon as possible.
Shama uses simple language and simple ideas to explain what may be seen as a complex and unwieldy marketing channel. If you’ve been letting social media marketing’s overwhelming size be a reason to stay out of it, what will happen when that becomes the biggest game in town and the only efficient way to reach your customers?
Hint: That day is already here. You’d better get started.
If you’ve been on the fence about whether social media marketing is right for your company, The Zen of Social Media Marketing may be one of the best books you can get.
A couple days ago, we talked about how you can promote your store with Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Pinterest is a great way for people to share cool photos of things they have done, things they want, and even ideas for things they would like to do. We wanted to talk a little more about how you can use Pinterest successfully for your own gift shop.
We’ve seen food recipes, things to build, and things to buy. Pinterest is a good way for people to communicate simply and easily, and even use it to manage special events, like a wedding registry.
1. Start by growing your network.
Add people to your Pinterest network by following them. Since social media is based on reciprocity, people will follow you back. And as you re-pin and comment on their items, they’ll do the same for you (plus you may find some great stuff to bring into your store). If you already have a big Twitter or Facebook following, import those users into your network for a quick network boost.
2. Post photos of your best inventory online.
You can either use Instagram and share photos to your Facebook page or upload the photos to your Flickr or Picasa account, and then pin those. Create a board of “Cool Stuff In Our Store,” and let people know what you’re sharing.
3. Pin photos directly from your ecommerce store.
We talked about building an ecommerce store yesterday. If you actually have one, pin photos of your inventory. If someone clicks the photo to be taken back to the original source, which many people do, they will be taken right to your store’s page and that particular item. If they’re impulse buyers, you may get a sale out of it.
Twitter can be an invaluable tool for restaurants. They can use Twitter to communicate with fans and regulars, which will keep them coming back. Fans become regulars, regulars become evangelists. You need more of these people, and you can use Twitter to do it.
1. Get a Twitter handle for your restaurant’s name so that people know it’s you. @JaxBurgers is too generic, but your own name — @SteveSanderson — is too unknown. Pick the shortest possible name that people will still recognize: @PunchPizza, @Thr3eWiseMen, @BoogieBurger are all good examples.
2. Respond to people immediately. Whether they’re asking for directions, asking about the specials, or complaining about the service, respond immediately and publicly. Twitter is a great way to reach a lot of people easily, so even if you’re answering the same questions over and over, keep doing it. People will see it. And when people complain, if you can solve their problem, they’ll tell their friends you did, and people will see that too.
3. Ask fans to share photos, answer questions, or even help decide your next menu item. There are a couple of restaurants where I live that have asked their Twitter fans to vote between two different food items for their menu. It increases fan engagement, and their friends see that communication, which boosts word-of-mouth marketing.
One hint: When @replying to tweets, if your tweet starts with the @ symbol, only people who follow both of you will see it. But if you drop a space in front of the @, then everyone who follows you can see it.
One of the least expensive and most effective advertising tools you can use is Facebook. Unlike your other advertising options, Facebook advertising lets you reach exactly the people you want to reach for pennies per ad.
The great thing about Facebook advertising is you can specify exactly who sees your ad on their Facebook page. Unlike radio and TV advertising, Facebook lets you target a specific group of people, and is only seen by that group.
Facebook advertising lets you specify how much you want to pay per ad, and even lets you put a daily cap limit so you can stretch your budget further.
You get to choose who sees your ad, based on their demographics and their likes. For example, if most of your customers tend to be 20-somethings who live inside the city limits, you can target the ads specifically to them.
When you buy your ads, choose their age, gender, city, how much you’ll pay per click, and the daily cap limit — say, women between the ages of 25 – 35 who live in Miami, FL, with a click rate of $.50, and a cap rate of $30. Write the web copy, drop in an image, and launch it. Make changes every few days, and see which versions got more traffic.
Send ad viewers to your home page, or to a specal offer page of your choice.
Facebook advertising lets you reach potential visitors in a way no other medium can. Use it wisely and it can be one of the biggest traffic builders you’ve ever used.
This week, we’ve been talking about salons and spas, and how they can use social media to promote themselves. During our research, we found an interesting story about one particular salon that, with the help of a digital marketing agency, saw some impressive social media success.
First, Robert Andrew had a reputation management issue to solve, namely a few negative online reviews, plus a former employee running their own personal smear campaign. Robert Andrew also needed to overcome a lack of awareness by most potential clients.
So Jocelyn’s agency created an Ambassador Program that asked long-time, loyal clients to share their love for Robert Andrew with their own social networks. By using Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, Robert Andrew received some excellent traffic, and more than 40 positive reviews to counter the negative ones.
Here are some of their wins:
Flickr Photo Views: 47,727
YouTube Video Views: 1,389
Facebook Page Views: 3,257
Twitter Post Views: 517
Review Site Posts & Views: 300
Online Forum Posts & Views: 333
Robert Andrew Blog Views: 168
Of course, it doesn’t take a digital agency to do all this; you do need to invest time into it. But the payoffs can be stellar, making social media one of the most cost-effective (and successful) marketing channels available.
Salons and spas that want to take advantage of social media’s popularity should look at these three tools as a way to promote their business online.
This is the sharing site that lets you show your friends, “I like this!” by pinning things you find online, or photos you take. Pin something to your board, and your Pinterest (and Facebook) friends will see it and repin it. It’s become a smash hit, especially among women, who make up anywhere from 58% to 97% of their total traffic, depending on who you talk to. Take photos of new products, new techniques, and even of your best work, and pin it. Ask your clients to do the same.
Another photo sharing site, but this one is only of the photos you take; you won’t share things you find online. By applying some fun, artsy filters to the photos, you can take pictures of clients, your salon or spa’s new decor, or even after a fun day with friends. You can even encourage your clients to share photos of themselves on Instagram and Facebook, which you can then Like, or even pin to your Pinterest boards.
Yelp is a review site where people can give reviews of restaurants, clothing stores, and — you guessed it — salons and spas. While you won’t be able to write reviews about your own place, keep an eye on your own entry to see what’s being said about you. Encourage clients to leave positive reviews, and if someone leaves a negative one, respond positively and publicly. Let others see you solve customer service issues.
The best way to grow your restaurant’s Twitter network is by following people who are likely to visit you. That means local people, not people who live in other states, not celebrities, not other companies. Here are three ways you can grow your restaurant’s Twitter network quickly.
1. Put your Twitter handle on your menu. Give people a 5% discount or free soft drink for following you and then tweeting a message with your handle in it. While that may seem like a premium cost, keep in mind that you’re not only getting a new follower, you’re getting word of mouth marketing out of it too. Some marketers would pay $5 apiece for a contact like that.
2. Follow people in your city. Use Twellowhood.com to find people in your area. Also, look for #hashtags about certain local events or festivals, and follow people who live in the area. Talk with them on Twitter after the festival as well, and invite them to your restaurant.
3. Follow who your competition follows. Go to the competition’s Twitter page, see who they’re following, and then follow them. You want to follow the people they are following, rather than the ones who are following them, because they’re (hopefully) following locals. But they can have all sorts of spam accounts following them, so you don’t want to bother with that. Also, don’t worry about following celebrity accounts and national brands. They won’t be patrons, so save your energy.
Home service pros rely on word of mouth for spreading the word about their business and reputation. Thanks to social media, that part of their job has become both easier and more difficult.
How so? For one thing, if you do a good job, people will tell their friends. When someone posts on Facebook that they’re looking for a home service pro, their friends will chime in with the name of “their guy.” And the new client will call up the professional given to them by the person they trust the most. On the other hand, it means if you do a bad job, they’ll tell their social networks as well.
So how can you manage your reputation to make sure your reputation is protected and people will call you?
1. Set Up a Google Alert for Your Name.
A Google alert can tell you whenever new occurrences of your name or company name are created, which saves you from having to check every day. Go to Google.com/alerts, set up new alerts for your terms. You will receive emails on these terms on a daily basis, or as they appear — you can determine how frequently you want to be notified.
2. Respond Publicly and Positively to Any Complaints
If there are any complaints about you online, don’t argue, don’t fight back. Apologize and offer to fix it. You may have to swallow your pride, but when people see that you tried to make it better, they’ll know you’re focused on doing good work and keeping customers happy.
3. Post Testimonials to Your Website
Make sure you have a testimonials page on your website, then post any testimonials you receive. Site visitors will see how many happy customers you have and be more apt to trust you.
Pinterest is an online pin board where users share, or “pin,” photos of things they like, so their other friends can see them. You can organize your photos into different boards — things I want, organization, weight loss motivation, recipes to try, travel planning, childhood memories — and browse other people’s boards to get inspiration from them.
We’ve seen boards dedicated to fitness, home decorating, wedding planning, healthy eating, favorite desserts, skin care tips, you name it. Then, as the pinners are surfing the web, and they discover a photo of something they like, they pin it, add it to their appropriate board, and write a suitable description that explains what they liked about it.
There are a few cool things about Pinterest that make this more than just a bulletin board though. For one thing, whenever someone clicks your pinned photo, they’re taken to the original website where you found it, like, say, a book page at Amazon.com. (Idea: Create a birthday wish list board and pin the photos of items you want.)
Another possibility is to use Pinterest to promote items you sell. Pin photos to your salon or spa’s “Items We Carry” board, and put up the photos of new products. If you have an affiliate sales account (i.e. you sell someone’s product from someone else’s site, and get a commission), you can even post photos from those sites, and then sell those products.
Of course, you don’t want to post only sales photos. People come to social media to escape advertising, not be bombarded with it. Use your sales items sparingly, mixed in with your fun and interesting “pins.”
Even for doctors and dentists who don’t want to publicly join social media, we recommend that you at least give LinkedIn a try. LinkedIn is a professional network that lets people connect on a professional level, as compared to Facebook, which is all about personal connections.
Facebook lets you talk to family and friends, but LinkedIn lets you connect with colleagues, former med school classmates, and anyone else you interact with on a professional basis.
By connecting with colleagues, you also have access to their network as well. For example, if Dr. A is connected to Dr. B who is connected to Dr. C, Dr. A can ask for an introduction to, and make a connection with, Dr. C. This lets each person increase their network, which can lead to several interesting opportunities for the future.
There are even specific groups you can join, converse with other members, and exchange ideas and information with each other.
The Medical Doctor Network has over 12,000 members and is a very active discussion list, while the Doctor Jobs Portal is a place for doctors to find new positions. And the Doctor-Engineer Portal is for doctors and engineers who want to work together on new medical device projects. There’s even a Junior Doctor Forum – Australia & New Zealand, which is only for junior doctors in those two countries, or international doctors licensed to work in those two countries, and Doctor Jobs Down Under is for Aussie doctors looking for their own new jobs.
Even if you eschew all other forms of social media, try LinkedIn as a way to improve your professional development and growth, adding to your network of colleagues, and possibly taking your career in new directions you never even considered.
Instagram is a mobile app that applies different filters to photos you take on your digital phone, to make them look more artistic, more creative, or even 60 years old.
But it’s much more than that, it’s a community of photo sharers who not only want to express themselves creatively, but share the interesting things they encounter throughout their day.
As a salon or spa owner, you can harness that sharing, and increase the word-of-mouth marketing for your business by asking your clients to share their Instagram photos on your Facebook page. This will do two things for you: 1) It will get your clients to share information about your salon or spa with their friends, thus showing them some of the great benefits you offer; and, 2) It will provide content that your page members can comment on and interact with, which will bring them back on a regular basis.
So how do you get your clients to share their photos of your salon or spa? For one thing, just ask them. Make sure there’s some signage hanging that tells people you’re on Instagram (and to Like your Facebook page). Hold a photo of the week contest (winner gets a small prize). Offer to take photos while someone is getting a facial or in the middle of a cut. And take your own photos of clients and put them on your page (with their permission, of course).
Instagram is an instant content provider and conversation starter among your clients. Take advantage of its growing popularity.
Many medical practices — doctors’ offices, dental practices, emergency care, and even hospitals — are hesitant to join social media because they’re worried about what could possibly go wrong, especially around the areas of HIPAA and patient privacy. But they’re also worried about what kind of information they can share online. Here are four do’s and don’ts for medical practices to follow on social media, while steering clear of any potential problems.
1. Don’t reveal patient information.
Of course, and you already know this, but everyone in your office needs to know it. Doctors never revealed patient information when they got their first fax machine, their first email account, their first website. Social media is no different — follow the same rules and behaviors you do for the other technology.
2. Do share important health information
Sharing information from newspaper articles and health journals about the importance of exercise and good nutrition are always helpful. Articles on the importance of too much sun or not enough vitamin D are good. Anything you can do to help your patients stay well is worth sharing.
3. Don’t get too technical with your information.
Remember, you’re trying to find new patients, not impress other doctors. Your blog and Facebook page are not a suitable place to share the article you wrote for the medical journals, and it’s not really the place to engage in medical discussions with colleagues. Use a network like LinkedIn for those discussions.
4. Do limit your social media presence
A medical practice doesn’t need a wide social media footprint like, say, a digital marketing agency does. Stick with Facebook and Twitter, where most of your patients are anyway, and share the things that will be of interest to them.