Our clients are mainly small businesses, small charities and other organizations, and private individuals. Everything we do is geared toward this particular clientele including the social media strategy that we recommend.
Social Media Strategy for Small Business/Charities
(See details further down the page.)
- Install a blog on your website and begin blogging
- Create a Facebook business page and make it known
- Create a LinkedIn account and fully implement it
- Create a youTube or Vimeo video account
- Create a video or PowerPoint video and upload it
- Create a Twitter account and begin following your interests
- Install an email auto-sender on your website (comes with WordPress)
- Create a Scribed account and upload an article about your company
- Create a Flickr account and upload some photos
- Link all accounts back to your website and to each other
The Key to Success – Cultivating the Right Attitude
As with everything in life, attitude is the key to success. And it’s no different when it comes to implementing an effective social media strategy. When surveying the Internet one finds essentially two attitudes that motivate website owners when it comes to using social media.
WRONG ATTITUDE: Here the motivation is to grow an online community of “friends” and “followers” as big as possible, as fast as possible, in order to sell them as much stuff as possible, to make as much money as possible. Social media friends and followers are essentially seen as a market to exploit.
RIGHT ATTITUDE: As a website owner you are motivated first and foremost by your passion and commitment about what you do and your passion to share that with others. If you’re a landscaper, you’re passionate about landscape design, growing flowers, and all things concerning beautifying properties. If you’re a photographer you can’t stop talking to people about the wonders and intricacies of photography. If you’re a web developer, you’re excited about every new innovation that makes the internet more effective for your clients. If you represent a charity, a ministry, or some other organization whether a ball hockey league or a quilting club, you’re passionate about your group and what it’s doing.
Here your social media community really are seen as friends and followers. They are interested in what you do and they are interested in you, which is why they have chosen to connect to you. Authenticity and relationships are paramount. Your main concern is to care for these people by giving them real value for the time they invest reading your website, blog, Facebook postings, tweets, etc. With this kind of attitude your following will grow naturally and organically and some of your followers will eventually place an order, take your advice, send you a donation and refer you to others. And of course, they’ll keep returning.
1. Blogging Strategies for “non-Bloggers”
When it comes to blogging your basic objective should be to post something of value (worth reading - for example, interesting, entertaining, practical, helpful) concerning your particular topic or range of topics at least once a week, every week. This may sound daunting at first, especially if you’re not a writer or if you’re already so busy that you can’t imagine adding one more task to your insanely full life.
If this is you then first, take a deep breathe and don’t panic. Next, remind yourself that you’re an expert in your field and you have valuable things to share that people want to know. And third, get in touch once again with your passion for what you do.
Now try to figure out the best way for you to share that information with others in writing. An easy way to get started is to write out simple descriptive lists of practical things concerning your business. For example, “Tips for…” articles are great. If you’re a landscaper there are endless lists of tips you can pass on to your readers. Here are some possible topics:
- Tips for Spring Planting
- Tips for Controlling Slugs
- Tips for Greener Lawns
- Tips for Choosing Hardy Perennials, etc.
These can also be written as “How to…” articles:
- How to Control Crap Grass
- How to Extend Your Fertilizer Budget
- How to Grow “To Die For” Roses
- How to Give your Yard a Face lift for under $200
Then you can use the ”Keys to..” / “Secrets to.. / and ”Worst Mistakes…” lists.
- 5 Keys to a Beautiful Front Yard
- 7 Keys to Choosing a Landscaper
- The Secret to Growing Gorgeous Geraniums
- 3 Secrets for Great Cedar Hedges
- 3 Worst Mistakes When Planting Shrubs
I think you get the idea. You don’t have to write a best-selling novel or a Pulitzer Prize winning exposé, in fact people probably wouldn’t read them if you did. Your followers are looking for helpful, relevant information that they can use. You have it to give and now it’s just a matter of finding a practical way for you pass that on. If you’re a bad speller and your grammar, well … stinks, then you can write the articles and have your kids or your neighbour proof read and correct them. They key is to write about things you already know and that you’re excited about and want to help people with.
REPUBLISHING ARTICLES: For those who have more time and enjoy blogging and surfing the net, but aren’t great writers, you can do what’s called “republishing.” This where you surf the net looking for helpful and interesting articles relating to your topic(s) and when you find one you republish it. Begin by reading the article until you really understand it. Then write one or two paragraphs about what you think is important and valuable about the article and recommend people read it. Of course you need to include a link to the article (the original author will love you for it). This is exactly what I did for my blog post entitled “On Facebook everybody knows you’re a dog.” I thought it was a great article and I wanted more people to consider the point the author was making. I summarized it and gave it a catchy title and launched it into cyber-space where it has been attracting readers ever since. Oh yes, and make sure you work on developing your skills at writing attention-getting headlines, it’s a vital key to success in blogging and very important for attracting search engines to your blog.
PERSONAL STORIES: There are certain types of blogs that do not lend themselves to presenting practical “how to” lists like those above. These may do better by presenting personal stories. A friend of mine who is the director of a local charity serving the homeless community in Ottawa has been writing a weekly blog for over a year now. He tells me that his greatest readership and response comes when he writes personal stories about the people (whose names are changed) who they meet and serve and become friends with. The very best response comes when he writes a three to four article series about a person or persons, following them through a particular situation.
FEATURE NEWS, EVENTS & PEOPLE: Another great source of ideas for blogging topics are your organization’s in-house news (or your industry’s news), upcoming events and write-ups of recent events, and features on your people such as employees and volunteers, or notable people in your field. Articles could cover topics such as: What Makes a Great Volunteer, Four Leading Causes of Burn Out, Employee of the Month, Monthly Volunteer Profile, How to Grow in Compassion, What You Should Know About…(fill in the blank), Why I Love My Job, Why I Love to Volunteer, The Importance of Sense of Humour, … the list of ideas for topics is virtually endless once you get the creative flow going.
ENLIST GUEST WRITERS: Another effective way to add variety to your blog while lightening your personal writing load is to invite guest writers to make contributions to your blog. These can be other experts in your field, knowledgeable customers who use your products or services, employees and volunteers in your organization, the list is a long one. Your readers will appreciate the variety, you’ll enjoy enlisting valuable guest writers, and they’ll appreciate sharing their knowledge and experience with others. It’s a little like inviting interesting people to your party, everybody wins.
FINALLY, A WORD ABOUT GOOGLE: As we stated on the Social Media page on this website, ”Google Loves Blogs.” Why is that? If you know the central philosophy of Google you’ll understand. Google’s primary objective is to provide its clients (those who use Google to search the Internet), with a qualified short list of the best websites offering the kind of information the searcher is looking for. Therefore, if you use Google to look for information about how to grow orchids, Google is determined to provide you with a short list of the very best websites explaining how to do this.
Content is King: In determining which websites are the best websites in any topic in a geographic area (physiotherapists in Ottawa) Google assesses these websites according to 200 different criteria. However, one criteria that is near or at the top of the list is the written content found on the website. There is nothing Google likes better than the regular addition of new, relevant, keyword-rich, well-written, original (not copied and pasted) content. And there is simply no better or easier way to accomplish this than with a blog.
A Recent Example: We have a client who is one of the most competitive a crowded markets on the Internet, second only to real estate. He was not a blogger before we built his website and didn’t even know what the term meant. But in the summer of 2010 he began writing a brief weekly blog in which he reviewed the key events of his industry the previous week. It was what he knew best and was passionate about. The site slowly moved it’s way onto the bottom of page 1 of Google which was quite an accomplishment given a number of factors, and it stabilized there for several months. Toward the end of the year my client was unable to do his weekly blog posting for almost 5 weeks, during which time the site slid to the middle of page 2 of Google. Finally, three weeks after resuming his weekly blog the site is back on page 1 for certain keywords and at the top of page 2 for others. Proof positive that blogging makes a huge difference when it comes to search results ranking.
Cost for installing a blog on a non-WordPress website: $520 (8 hours @ $65/hour)
WEBSbyU Facebook business page seen here. If you haven’t already done so, take a few minutes and go to our Social Media page and read about Social Networking with MySpace and Facebook. As of this writing Facebook has over 500 million users world-wide, 50 percent of whom log on every day. This is huge demographic. And even if you don’t do anything active on Facebook at first, like developing a community of interested followers or making frequent news posts or product offers, your company’s presence within the Facebook environment is very important in getting your name out there on the Internet. Facebook has its own built-in powerful search engine similar to Google, and if you have a Facebook presence you will get preferential placement and searchers are referred to your website from within Facebook. One of our clients recently told me that now almost half of all his search engine referrals come from people doing searches while inside Facebook.
2. Create a Facebook Business Page
As part of a comprehensive social media strategy you should consider creating a Facebook business page and letting your contact know about it. You can make one yourself fairly easily or you can have one professionally designed and installed such as our
Cost for a Facebook business page: $520 (8 hours @ $65/hour) <a name=”LinkedIn”>
Rudy Pohl’s LinkedIn profile here (that’s me).
3. Create a LinkedIn account and complete your profile
What is LinkedIn? LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 80 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals (description quoted from their website). Unfortunately, many people who sign up with LinkedIn seriously underestimate it’s networking power and it’s high ranking in search engines, and therefore under-utilize it. Many sign up when in a hurry and quickly input their name and a few pertinent details, but then leave and don’t return to complete their profil. This is a huge missed opportunity.
As you develop and complete your profile on LinkedIn the requested information about yourself and your experience, you establish an authoritative resource presence on the Internet regarding your capabilities that lets people find you when searching the Web. LinkedIn states that “Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.” Due to its shear size and extensive cross-networking on the Internet, LinkedIn profiles score very highly in Google searches. Plus with just a few mouse-clicks you can easily connect your LinkedIn account to your website, your blog, your Twitter account, and other accounts thereby creating a significant web network presence on the Internet. As well, on my LinkedIe profile page you can read the latest entries to my blog and my Twitter posts seconds after I make them. LinkedIn is a must for anyone wanting to establish a broadly networked web-presence on the Interent. It is definitely worth your time to set up, and once it is done requires no additional maintenance. You can view
Cost to set up your LinkedIn account: $260 (4 hours @ $65/hour – we use your supplied resumé)
Please note… this page is not quite finished… more coming soon. Thanks for your patience. Rudy Pohl -Feb 21, 2011.