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Small Business – A Local & Collaborative Approach to Social Media

“Stop waiting for interactions, become the initiator!”

A-collaborative-approach-to-Social-Media

Small business owners know the importance of social media. You’ve attended seminars, read numerous articles and have been approached by multiple professionals convincing you to get on board. Whether you like it or not, you’re signing up and attempting to follow the rules as passed down by social media gurus everywhere.

You take technical lessons on how to use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to feel more comfortable with their platforms. You research similar businesses to see what your competition is posting online. You do everything in your power to understand what all the fuss is about, but in the end, you realize you’ve really only found a new outlet to waste a ton of time without fully understanding the benefits and without having a sound and logical strategy to help you use these new tools.

Before you give up completely and leave all your new social media pages stagnant or hire a company to push post after post out to the world, take a new logical and strategic approach to your efforts.

You already know the importance and benefits of networking, word-of-mouth advertising, and forming relationships with other local businesses. It’s time to apply these tried and true marketing strategies to your own social media.

The big three, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, all have systems in place to notify page administrators when someone follows, likes, comments, and shares information. Usually, you sit back and wait for a user to interact with you via one of these methods. You rely on this to measure the success of your efforts. Most people fail to see that these are not measurement tools but rather communication, networking and relationship building tools.

Stop waiting for interactions, become the initiator!

Follow other businesses, share their information, support their efforts, and spread the word both personally and through your business. Take it a step further and connect with your community via non-profit, charity and community pages. You will quickly find that as you support others, they will support you online too.

Our clients that have embraced this strategy, and I hate to call it a strategy as it’s truly just being a good locally involved business, continually come back to us with testimonials of success. They describe how rewarding it is to form relationships with other local businesses that they have never met face-to-face. They describe the great feeling when they can actually see word-of-mouth advertising as other local businesses suggest their service offerings. And, they describe how fulfilling it is to now feel part of an online community.

You know how to network, it’s probably the foundation of your business’ marketing success; start embracing it online and your social media efforts will begin to feel worthwhile.

Nicole French is a Marketing Consultant focused on helping small businesses succeed online.

Collaborative Haus Marketing is a full-service marketing company in Ontario serving Midland, Penetanguishene, Barrie, Orillia, Parry Sound, Toronto, and surrounding areas. We’re a group of committed, honest, creative and knowledgeable professionals determined to build solutions that help your business succeed. We believe small, medium and big businesses deserve the same caliber of professionalism, quality of service and exceptional results.
Contact us today! Our first meeting is always free!

Small Business – A Local & Collaborative Approach to Social Media
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Facebook for Business

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In this presentation we discuss using Facebook to Gain Attention, Improve Customer Service, Increase Sales and Create Customer Loyalty.

Using Facebook to: Gain Attention

  • Don’t be self serving!
  • Engage your audience
  • Polls
  • Contests
  • Simple questions
  • Use graphics
  • Support local businesses, charities & events
  • Relevant, timely or humorous posts
  • Facebook Advertising

Examples:

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Using Facebook to: Improve Customer Service

  • Go to Facebook first!
  • Keep customers in the loop
  • New products
  • Changes in staff
  • Product & packaging changes
  • Production problems
  • Answer message and comment inquiries quickly
  • Encourage staff to interact with clients on Facebook
  • Own up to your mistakes

Examples:

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Using Facebook to: Increase Sales

  • Partner with complimentary brands
  • Educate your followers
  • Tell product or service success stories
  • Take orders via Facebook comments
  • Launch new products on Facebook first

Examples:

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Using Facebook to: Create Customer Loyalty

  • Reward your Facebook followers
  • Post new information to Facebook first
  • Create dedicated contests or deals that are reliable and continued
  • Show your community involvement
  • Highlight and celebrate fans

Examples:

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To download the presentation in PDF, click here.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Nicole.

Collaborative Haus Marketing is a full-service marketing company in Ontario serving Midland, Penetanguishene, Barrie, Orillia, Parry Sound, Toronto, and surrounding areas. We’re a group of committed, honest, creative and knowledgeable professionals determined to build solutions that help your business succeed. We believe small, medium and big businesses deserve the same caliber of professionalism, quality of service and exceptional results.
Contact us today! Our first meeting is always free!

Facebook for Business
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LinkedIn for Small Business & Professionals

LinkedIn for Business

In this presentation I discuss how to Build your Personal Brand and Reputation, Become a Recognized and Trusted Leader in your industry and Initiate Relationships to Gain Business.

LinkedIn is an online social network for business professionals. It allows professionals to create and maintain career-oriented business connections and promote their services or professional skills.

On LinkedIn, it’s not about your business, it’s about you!

This is not a place to be private.

You must be active.

Build your Personal Brand

Complete your Profile

Instead of using titles only, Owner, President, Sales Manager, etc. Say what you do. Client Relations Specialist, Digital Marketing Specialist, Certified Accountant, Technology Coach

Use all the new visual features to stand out. Post a cover image, add graphic files to your summary and include a professional profile photo

Post completed projects and link them to those who worked on it with you.

Completely fill all fields available to you, education, organizations, etc.

 

Build your Reputation

Build Your ReputationRecommendations

The best way to receive recommendations is to give them! Also, don’t be afraid to request them from your best customers.

Endorsements

The best way to receive endorsements is to give them!

Business Page

To bring reputability to your business, create a LinkedIn business page for yourself and your employees.

 


Become a Recognized and Trusted Leader in your Industry

Become a Trusted LeaderJoin Groups

Join groups related to what you do. Comment on posts, share your knowledge, post tips and answer questions.

Create a Group

Start and moderate a group that aims to help your specific clientele, competitors or similar industry leaders but don’t necessarily limit it’s location.

Post Articles

LinkedIn is now a Content Platform. Post your own authored content to gain a following.

 


Initiate Relationships

Initiate RelationshipsSearch for target clientele via connections

Filter through your contacts’ connections to find perfect candidates for your business

Reach out to your contacts

Ask your contacts for introductions to their connections

Send a personal message

Send a personalized and professional message to potential clients

 

Gain Business

 

Download the full presentation (PDF)

Collaborative Haus Marketing is a full-service marketing company in Ontario serving Midland, Penetanguishene, Barrie, Orillia, Parry Sound, Toronto, and surrounding areas. We’re a group of committed, honest, creative and knowledgeable professionals determined to build solutions that help your business succeed. We believe small, medium and big businesses deserve the same caliber of professionalism, quality of service and exceptional results.
Contact us today! Our first meeting is always free!

 
LinkedIn for Small Business & Professionals
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CASL, MailChimp & Constant Contact

If you currently use or plan to use email communications such as E-Blasts and E-Newsletters to market your products and services to past, current and future clients, you should take the time now to conform to the new CASL spam legislation.  Over the next three years you must gain Expressed Consent, instead of Implied Consent, from all the contacts on your email list.  To do this properly we highly recommend using an email push service like MailChimp or Constant Contact.

Here’s a great article by Metric Marketing on how to manage your lists on MailChimp and Constant Contact to properly gain Expressed Consent. http://metricmarketing.ca/blog/step-by-step-guide-to-getting-express-consent-for-mailchimp-users

 

Need Help? Call us Today.

Collaborative Haus Marketing is a full-service marketing company in Ontario serving Midland, Penetanguishene, Barrie, Orillia, Parry Sound, Toronto, and surrounding areas. We’re a group of committed, honest, creative and knowledgeable professionals determined to build solutions that help your business succeed. We believe small, medium and big businesses deserve the same caliber of professionalism, quality of service and exceptional results.
Contact us today! Our first meeting is always free!

 
CASL, MailChimp & Constant Contact
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The Right Program for the Right Job

When professional designers get together they can argue for hours about which design program is the best.  Each designer has their favourite and it will quickly become their go-to program for almost everything. A designer may find one easiest to use only because they are most familiar with it.

Adobe ImageWhen it comes down to it though, every program is built for a reason and no one program can do it all.  A designer that offers a variety of services should be proficient with numerous programs. This article explains well which Adobe products are best suited for certain jobs. If you tend to always use one design program, it’s probably worth a read. It may open your eyes to why it’s worth keeping up with even your most hated design programs. Read Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign.

At Collaborative Haus we most often use Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Fireworks. Each is important to create the right solutions for our clients.

Collaborative Haus Marketing is a full-service marketing company in Ontario serving Midland, Penetanguishene, Barrie, Orillia, Parry Sound, Toronto, and surrounding areas. We’re a group of committed, honest, creative and knowledgeable professionals determined to build solutions that help your business succeed. We believe small, medium and big businesses deserve the same caliber of professionalism, quality of service and exceptional results.
Contact us today! Our first meeting is always free!

 
The Right Program for the Right Job
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B4B

We have never been able to create such a truly simple explanation of the Vision we had for our business when we opened our doors in 2008. This is a simple explanation of the way we look at business, the projects we do, the relationships we form and the volunteer work we do in the community. We are a B4B! And we have some amazing ideas for expanding on this in the future!

Take a look at this article Moving from B2B to B4B – a new code for B2B brands

Collaborative Haus Marketing is a full-service marketing company in Ontario serving Midland, Penetanguishene, Barrie, Orillia, Parry Sound, Toronto, and surrounding areas. We’re a group of committed, honest, creative and knowledgeable professionals determined to build solutions that help your business succeed. We believe small, medium and big businesses deserve the same caliber of professionalism, quality of service and exceptional results.
Contact us today! Our first meeting is always free!

 
B4B
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SEO How to make it into the top 10 and stay there!

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Follow these great tips to improve your website’s search engine rankings. The key is time. You cannot expect instant results. Stick to it, don’t give up and as your search rankings improve, adjust your SEO strategy appropriately. You will need just as strong a strategy in the beginning as you will to maintain your dominance in the number one position later.

Have a professional website developer with SEO experience build your website.

There are right ways and wrong ways to build websites. Having your website built by a reputable and knowledgeable developer can mean the difference between an effective sales tool and a lost phone book listing. It’s important to have the basics of SEO built into your site.

The front-end of websites are programmed in a language called HTML. Search engines can read HTML. Experienced developers will know that there should be additional HTML tags written to tell search engines important information.

 

Content, content, content!

Good, informative and relevant content is the most important factor of SEO. Search engines work hard at finding the best results for their users. They fundamentally do this by matching their users’ search phrases with a website’s content – word for word.

To create the best possible content for SEO, first think of what your potential clients will be searching for on the Internet. Keywords are the words and phrases that your potential customer types into their search engine. You must think like your customers and understand the terminology that they may use when looking for your products or services. Google Adwords KeyWord Suggestion Tool is a free online tool that can be very beneficial in this process. When determining your best keywords and phrases, look for the ones with the highest searches per month and the lowest competition.

Create a list of these keywords and phrases. Now, be sure that the content in your website contains these words multiple times. While rewriting and beefing up your website’s content to include these words and phrases, make sure that your website is still readable and that all content is relevant!

Be warned, Google will penalize you if you hide words or overload your content with keywords to the point that your website is not easily readable. This may be a fast way to reach the top, but it’s also a fast way to hit the bottom once Google catches you. Use your keywords as naturally as possible.

 

Use and placement of keyword optimized content.

Search engines weigh specific content more highly than general website body content. Your page address, page titles, page descriptions, headings, topmost content, bottommost content and bolded text are given more dominance than other content. It’s very important to include your keywords and phrases in these locations.

Think of it like this: you should give search engines a good road map to each of your website’s pages. Each page address should properly describe the page. Then, to not confuse search engines; your page title, page description, headings and content should all reasonably match. In other words, the same page’s keywords should be present in all locations.

 

Images & Videos

Search engines don’t have eyes. They rely completely on words to describe what they’re looking at. Make sure to properly name your images and image tags to best describe them to search engines. Try to include your keywords to help optimize your site.

Videos have become very popular over the past few years. Search engines have noticed this trend and now give them more weight when providing search results. Including relevant videos on your website is currently a good SEO strategy.

Make sure to add a title rich with keywords to your video and add a description that clearly illustrates what the video is about. If posting on other sites such as YouTube or Vimeo include your website link within the description.

 

Fresh Content

Search engines know when you’ve last updated your content. They give more weight to websites that have fresh content than those with old, stale content. Search engines record the frequency of your updates. If your website does not get updated often, search engines will crawl your website less frequently. This gives opportunity to your competition to surpass you in the rankings.

To stay a step ahead of your competitors, create a way to add fresh content to your website on an ongoing basis. Consider adding a blog, news feed, article section, image gallery or question forum.

 

Page Rank

Every website is given a Page Rank between 0 and 10, it could be described as a reputability rating. It is almost impossible to achieve a top rating of 10. Facebook is currently rated a 9, cbc.ca an 8, YouTube a 9, google.com a 9, and Oprah.com a 7. There is a mathematical algorithm that determines a website’s Page Rank. The equation measures reputable links. A page that is linked to by many pages with a high Page Rank is given a high Page Rank itself.

Google will give more weight to a website that has a slightly higher Page Rank compared to the same site with a lesser Page Rank. Improving your Page Rank will in turn improve your search rank. Small businesses should be proud of achieving a Page Rank of 3 or higher.

 

Links

Linking to other sites has very little importance, but when reputable and relevant websites link to your site, it tells search engines that the information your website contains is important and valid.

For example, if you run a dog grooming business and a well ranked website about caring for your pets links to your website in an article about best grooming practices, the information on your website has just been validated. Search engines will rank your site higher. If a website about home renovations links to the dog grooming website, search engines will not see proper relevance in the content and the link will hold little weight.

Try writing articles about your business offerings and send them out to relevant websites requesting that they publish or share your articles. Write press releases when new and exciting things happen within your business and share them with local media. Come up with creative ways to make others in similar and complimentary industries want to link to your website.

 

Social Media & Sharing

Recently Google admitted that their search algorithm includes some measurement of social media sharing. It’s now important to include social media in your SEO strategy.

Social media has the power to quickly make a video, image or piece of information go viral. When a link to your website is shared on a social media site, it is now given weight. If the person sharing it is also considered to have ‘authority’, search engines will consider the share more important. A person with ‘authority’ is someone who has many followers and consistently has others sharing the information they post. Watch how one share can turn into hundreds of shares!

Make sure to link to your social media sites from your website. It tells search engines to connect the activity on your social media sites with your stored website information. If you have relevant information shared by users with authority, it will positively impact your search rankings.

 

Interaction

Make sure your website has enough interesting and helpful information to maintain a user’s attention for a lengthy period. The longer a user stays on your website and visits multiple pages, the more relevant search engines consider your information.

Adding interactive tools and posting articles to your site may help to keep visitors interested for longer. An interactive tool could be a quote generator, unit convertor, mortgage rate generator, language translator, etc. Think about what would be most beneficial to your clients.

The more interactions a user has with your site by clicking to a new page, drawing information from a database or answering a survey, the higher search engines will likely rank your site.

 

All that said – and there’s no arguing it – the most important thing to take from this list is CONTENT! Add fresh, relevant and keyword optimized content to your website on an ongoing basis and be patient! Your site will slowly but steadily move up in the rankings.

 

Collaborative Haus Marketing is a full-service marketing company in Ontario serving Midland, Penetanguishene, Barrie, Orillia, Parry Sound, Toronto, and surrounding areas. We’re a group of committed, honest, creative and knowledgeable professionals determined to build solutions that help your business succeed. We believe small, medium and big businesses deserve the same caliber of professionalism, quality of service and exceptional results.
Contact us today! Our first meeting is always free!

SEO How to make it into the top 10 and stay there!
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What is Search Engine Optimization? and why is it important to my business?

SEO-Help-Sheet

Search Engine Optimization is the process of affecting the online visibility of your website in a search engine’s (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) natural, un-paid or organic results. The higher ranked and the more frequently your site is listed in search results, the more visitors your website will likely receive from search engine users.

There are a number of factors that effect a website’s visibility and likability by search engines. It takes a long-term commitment by businesses to improve and maintain their rank and placement in search results.

A good SEO strategy can become more important than your best salesman. Search engine users trust their search engines to provide the most appropriate, reputable and popular results.

If your business manages to place within the top results for certain search phrases, you could see an increase in website visitors. Providing your business’ website is captivating and answers the needs of the visitor, you could see an increase in sales from your SEO efforts.

How does it all work?

A simple explanation is that search engines ‘crawl’ the Internet to build their search databases. Within a certain time frame, they will cover the entire Internet and start over again. Each search engine uses a unique equation to measure websites. To optimise your website, you should concentrate on optimizing each individual component that search engines use in their equation. For example, Google recently added a measurement of a website’s social media use to their equation. Working on expanding your website’s social media reach now has an additional benefit.

What can I do to improve my SEO?

There are a number of things you can do to improve your business’ search engine ranking. Take a look at our ‘How to make it into the top 10!’ article.

 

Collaborative Haus Marketing is a full-service marketing company in Ontario serving Midland, Penetanguishene, Barrie, Orillia, Parry Sound, Toronto, and surrounding areas. We’re a group of committed, honest, creative and knowledgeable professionals determined to build solutions that help your business succeed. We believe small, medium and big businesses deserve the same caliber of professionalism, quality of service and exceptional results.
Contact us today! Our first meeting is always free!

What is Search Engine Optimization? and why is it important to my business?
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It’s about time we started a blog!

After recommending and coaching a number of clients to start and maintain a blog we’ve finally done the same. Years ago we had the intention of starting an online business centre. Small businesses from our area could meet, share information, post questions, get advice and stay updated on the latest in marketing and business.

The initiative never took off as we at Collaborative Haus became overwhelmed with work and put the project on the back burner. One day we still plan to initiate this online resource. Until then, we plan to use this blog to share information, take questions and post the newest Home Cooked projects.

If there’s a specific topic you’d like us to cover? Let us know!

Collaborative Haus Marketing is a full-service marketing company in Ontario serving Midland, Penetanguishene, Barrie, Orillia, Parry Sound, Toronto, and surrounding areas. We’re a group of committed, honest, creative and knowledgeable professionals determined to build solutions that help your business succeed. We believe small, medium and big businesses deserve the same caliber of professionalism, quality of service and exceptional results.
Contact us today! Our first meeting is always free!

 
It’s about time we started a blog!
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