Small Business Tips

Using Pinterest to sell products

Pinterest is a useful and convenient way of promoting your company’s services and products. It recently introduced new-look business pages and terms of service that allow users to make commercial use of the services on offer. This includes product promotion, sales and leads generation and numerous other commercial uses. Read More »

What marketing have you been doing lately?

I am feeling the pain of not doing what I tell others to do. To find and win customers, businesses need to be doing some type of marketing activity daily. I have not been doing this since October due to illness and boy am I feeling it. Thank goodness that I have the support of the franchise which keeps the web page up to date, the newsletters happening, feeding me leads and keeping my spirits high (I have a wonderful coach in Carl).

Now that I am back on deck – so to speak - I am reviewing what has worked over the last year and have kicked it off again.

I am “doing the right things”.

My marketing activity consists of:
• Direct Mailing
• Telemarketing
• Networking (and more networking)
• Blog Posts
• Facebook
• LinkedIn
• Twitter
• Doing seminars
• Speaking at business events
• The web page
• Car signage
• Soon to be Office signage
• Local advertising
• Sponsorship of a Sports team
• Referral Marketing

What are the things you are doing to find leads for your business? When did you last review what is working and what isn’t? If you need help with ideas check out the 123 Marketing ideas.

Believe me, I know that falling behind on this will leave a big hole in your profit.

Mariejan Bigby
Small Fish Business Coaching Toowoomba
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Facebook Scheduling Tool

There is no doubt that social media is a valuable tool for growing most businesses. I personally will admit to being a bit of an addict. I like sharing my witty (or so I think) business snippets and musings. I also encourage my clients to use Facebook to communicate with their target market. Occasionally I do need to reel a couple of clients in from spending so much time that they forget why they are actually in business (to sell stuff!).

How are you at Facebook marketing? How much time do you spend? Do you find that you sign in to post a quick daily status update only to get sucked in to the deep dark depths? I don’t know how many times I have logged into update my status only to find myself reading some random blog on “African mutant bees” or “circus tricks you can perform at your desk” hours later. A five-minute job becomes a three-hour crap-read-a-thon that steals your day.

I was excited to see some good news from Facebook this week that will seriously limit my crap-a-thon time! You can now schedule your status updates. This means logging in a couple of times per week to schedule in your witty updates and to answer any questions, no need to log in every single day! It is also great for those who already know they don’t have enough time to update – now you can!

Natalie Alaimo’s video explaining how to use the new schedule function is right here!

Melanie Miller
Small Fish Business Coaching Gold Coast
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Google+ What's The Fuss?

On 28th June 2011 Internet giant Google launched their very own social networking site, Google +. Google+ is Google’s latest attempt to get on the social bandwagon after failed services such as Wave, Buzz and Orkut. This time around they may just have a stayer.

Originally launched as an “invite only” service, the platform has grown from 10 millions users (it’s initial user base after two weeks) to 40 millions users (current at October 2011). It’s only early days for Google+ however at the moment, it’s far behind it’s main competitors Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter, who boast over 1 billions users between them, with Facebook out in front with 800 million users.

Google+ provides a clean, fresh, uncluttered user interface which is best described as a mixture between Twitter & Facebook. Users are grouped into Circles which can be a one way relationship based on Twitters Follow/Following model, however the content sharing platform has more Facebook features such as integrated photos, videos, links and the ability to share paragraphs in updates.

Google+ have brought some cool features to the table, however I’m not sure they are enough to get the masses on board and it’s not until that happens that the site will get some traction. The main benefit for Google+ is it’s integrated search feature, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, and is one of the main reason I’m encouraging business owners to look more closely at getting on Google+.

Some of the features include:

Circles: Similar to Facebook’s Friends List, where you can group contacts into different circles and hence control the content you view and share. However, just like Facebook’s Friends Lists, it’s a underused feature with most users sharing content to everyone.

: A free video chat conference feature which allows groups of up to 10 people to communicate at one time. Can be ideal for internal business conferences or as an alternative to Skype.

Instant Upload: When snapping pictures on your smartphone, Google will store a copy in their ‘cloud’ available for you to access at a later date, without the need to post them to the Google + site.

: In early November Google+ introduced Pages for business. Previously the only the option was for personal accounts in your own personal name, which caused a media frenzy. Currently your business page can only be linked to one personal account making it difficult for corporates to get started, but ideal for the small business owner who can link it directly with their personal Google+ account. Check out my Google+ page and if you want to set up your own here are some instructions.

I’m sure you are asking yourself now, do I really need another social networking site? My answer for this is - It depends - but here are five elements you should consider when making your decision.

1.) Target Market: The Google+ current user base is over 70% males with the largest age group 25 - 34. They are made up of mainly US users, followed by India. Currently there are 1.45% Australians which is roughly 362,000 users. If this demographic is your target market, then YES, you should set up a Google+ account. If not, read on.

2.) Search Engine Optimisation: It’s still early days, however all reports indicate an increased Google ranking for Google+ Profile and Page. Therefore if ranking at the top of the search engine is important for your business, then Google+ may be an option for you.

3.) Page & Profile Link: As mentioned previously, pages can only be set up and manged by one personal profile which can make it difficult for larger companies with community managers and marketing teams. Pages have only been released in the last month and I would assume this would change in the future.

4.) Time: In business time is money and do you really have time to maintain another social media account. I find that many of my clients are struggling to understand Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter and get time to manage them. Before you create your account, determine who your target market is and then find out where they are online. If they are on Google+ then yes, create and manage an account.

5.) Integration with other google services: Are you using Gmail or maybe Google Docs? It’s handy to have only one Google login to control all your accounts and I believe in the future these will all be integrated together.

6.) ‘Average People’: One of the reason why Facebook is so benefitical for business owners is that they have over 800 millions users who are ‘average people,’ such as your mum and dad. And these are the people who are their consumers. It wasn’t until all age groups where represented on Facebook that it truly became a powerful marketing platform. Google+ won’t get this same traction until more ‘average people’ are on board.

So what do you think... Is Google+ worth the fuss?

Natalie Alaimo is a Social Media Expert, Trainer and Speaker. Natalie provides business owners, women and entrepreneurs with straight forward advice on how to build their business using the power of social media and online marketing via a series of live workshops, webinars, online training and do-it-yourself products. Natalie is an International Speaker, a published author and an avid blogger. For more information visit her website Natalie Alaimo and get your copy of her 9 Tips to Social Media Success. Valued at $29.95 but for you, it's FREE.
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Using Social Media In Your Business (A Business Coach Tries To Make Sense Of It)

The Small Fish Social Media MeshIt’s OK, I know I’m a business coach and not a social media expert but we’ve been learning a little lately and I thought you might find it interesting. I’ll defer to the experts and I acknowledge the input of a few experts in this field. Mark Barrett from CI Marketing (our Internet marketing adviser and website custodian), Natalie Alaimo, coaching client of Melanie Miller and Social Media specialist, Seth Godin (who I’ve never met but who writes and speaks with considerable authority), that guy who wrote “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and Michael Stovin-Bradford of Tactical Resources.

No-one knows all the answers, everything is changing so quickly that there are no answers in the way we used to think of them – that there’s a right way to do things that will give you guaranteed results. There’s not and it’s likely that that old certainty is gone forever, at least where the Internet is concerned.

This article tries to share what we’re doing when it comes to social media and how it meshes with our online strategies. I’ve been thinking about why people use social media (it’s not because they want to hear how good you are or why they should buy your stuff); the social (media) contract; relationships and the mesh (thanks
Lisa Gansky).

The Social (Media) Contract

Why do we use social media and the Internet (I’ve lumped them together here). As I said, it’s not so that we can be advertised to, we use it when we want to find things out or when we want to find out about things (including where we can buy them and how much they cost; we use it to be entertained, interested, informed – in a sort of lazy, passive way.

I’m not sure where this assertion came from but it rings true – we use the web (Google mostly) to look for things. We expect to find them quickly and, if we don’t, we’re back to the search results looking for a more useful site before you can say “click here to find out more”.

We use social media like
Facebook and Google+ (watch for this one – it promises to be huge) to be mindlessly entertained, to see what our friends ate for lunch and to see what they’ve shared – because we’ll probably be interested in some of the stuff they’re interested in.

I know from my own habits that overt sales messages or someone talking about themselves too much gets boring. I’ll read posts or articles or click through tweets or subscribe for emails if I think they’ll be interesting.

And our tolerance is low, too. I only read about 10% of the regular emails that come my way (and I know that only about 20% of the people who receive our Fish Tales open it to read it). We scan the heading and make a very quick decision about whether we read on or not – there’s so much stuff out there, we’re not interested in checking to make sure we don’t miss something interesting. If it’s really god, someone will share it again, anyway.

So, the social media contract – be interesting, useful, entertaining. Reveal something of yourself, share what you’ve learnt recently, pass on interesting and useful titbits (but not too many, that’s boring, too). It’s ephemeral – what you share or write is soon lost.
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