Tag Archives: social media

Profile Photos: Best Face Forward

 

If You’re A Mystery, You Could Be History!

silhouette_question_markI spent some time recently on Twitter® and LinkedIn® looking at profiles of Virtual Assistants. Sometimes I’m approached about projects that I don’t have time in my schedule to do, or requirements that are outside my area of expertise. In these instances, it’s good to have a name or two I can give to a potential client, and feel confident that the people I recommend have the experience and professionalism to get the job done right.

Frankly, I was appalled at the number of people who have no profile photo. This doesn’t apply only to Virtual Assistants, either. I’ve seen lots of social media profiles with no photo.  Someone can have the best résumé in the universe, but I’ll never know. When all I see is a silhouette on LinkedIn or an egg on Twitter, I keep scrolling. I wonder how many potential clients do the same.

Put Your Best Face Forward

Your profile photo is the first thing people look at to determine whether or not they want to interact with you and your business. Whatever social media network you use, if you want your business to be taken seriously, a good profile photo is a must.

If you have held off uploading a profile photo because you weren’t sure whether a photo you have is the “right” one for you, Top Dog Social Media lists five elements of a social media profile picture.

1. The background should be clean and either monotone in color or blurred. You want people to see you, not be distracted by the background.

2. You should always present yourself at your best. Photos of you with other people are confusing and won’t show up well. Photos of you with your pet may work if your business is pet-related. Otherwise, it’s not a good idea. Don’t crop other people out of a photo and post it on your profile. It may look good to you, but you run the chance of having someone else’s shoulder or hair showing. Don’t use photos of anything other than yourself, especially on LinkedIn. A long time ago, I used a computer keyboard as my profile photo. In those days, when people were extremely wary of revealing themselves online, it worked. I wouldn’t count on it working today. Who wants to hire a computer keyboard?

3. Keep it to a nice head shot. Let people see your eyes. It’s amazing what people perceive from a photo — kindness, honesty, sense of humor, intelligence.

4. Wear bright colors. You don’t have to dress in a clown suit, but you don’t want to blend into the wall, either. Keep reading for some clothing tips below.

5. Smile! A genuine smile attracts people. Yes, you’re serious about your business, but you don’t have to frown or be stone-faced. Think of it as meeting a potential client in person for the first time. What do you do? You smile and shake hands.

Dress for Success

Whether your profile photo is a selfie, a snapshot taken by a friend, or a photo done in a studio by a professional photographer, how you dress is important. Here are some tips from Deutsch Photography:

  • Wear solid colors. Patterns and prints are too busy. Big buttons can be distracting.
  • Make sure your clothes are pressed and clean.
  • No white shirts if you are Caucasian or have very light skin.
  • No bright red clothing. If you have fair skin and blue eyes, blue, pink, or gray work.  Browns, greens and oranges work well for people with green eyes. If you have medium or dark skin and brown eyes, most colors will work, but don’t wear clothes that match your skin too closely. Contrast is key.

You are Beautiful!

If you haven’t put up a profile photo on all your social media networks because you don’t think you’re photogenic, I understand. There are many of us who feel that way. If you can’t seem to get a photo you like well enough to share with the world, do some research on photographers in your area, and have a professional head shot done. They will bring out the best in you! Don’t believe me? Read this, from a professional photographer. Everyone is Photogenic.

Twitter_egg_who_are_you

 

 

No more silhouettes or eggs, OK?

 

 

 

Until later …

Toni

What Is The Best Time and Day to Post to Social Media?

social-media

Image by Stuart Miles

For those who use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to spread the word about your products and services, this is key information to know. We all want to reach the widest audience possible, since what good is it to post if nobody sees it?

In 2009, when I first introduced my business on Twitter, the social media gurus at the time said weekdays were the best and weekends were the worst. Sunday was considered a dead zone.

Has that changed? Maybe, maybe not. The article A Scientific Guide to Posting Tweets, Facebook Posts, Emails, and Blog Posts at the Best Time contains informative charts and graphs, and links to in-depth information. Studies found:

  • On Facebook, engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays.
  • Another study found that engagement was 32% higher on weekends, so the end of the week is definitely a good rough guide to start experimenting with.
  • On Twitter, engagement for brands is 17% higher on weekends, according to one study.
  • This same study showed that retweets have been shown to be highest around 5pm and the best time for click-throughs seems to be around noon and 6pm.
  • Twitter’s own study found that users are 181% more likely to be on Twitter during their commute which means there are a lot of people tweeting on their mobile devices instead of a desktop.

When it comes to Blogs, studies found:

  • 70% of users say they read blogs in the morning.
  • More men read blogs at night than women.
  • Mondays are the highest traffic days for an average blog.
  • 11am is usually the highest traffic hour for an average blog.
  • Comments are usually highest on Saturdays and around 9am on most days.
  • Blogs that post more than once per day have a higher chance of inbound links and more unique views.

Some reports I’ve read say the best time to post your blog link to Twitter is around 2 PM. The article states:

Dan Zarrella has some more great stats on this topic, but he makes a good point about the pros and cons of the timing you choose. One thing Dan suggests we consider is that if we post during time of higher traffic, we’re more likely to have higher bounce rates and get lost amongst the noise of other content being published. On the other hand, posting at times when fewer people are online will garner less traffic and engagement, but give our posts more prominence and less competition against other content.

Email still is the best way to reach your audience, and this article has good info about the best times to send email. Do check it out.

Because not all experts agree, you have to assess your specific audience, target time zones, consider your content, and go with your gut on this.  That’s why it’s important to track your results: Facebook likes and shares, Twitter retweets, favorites and new followers, website stats, etc.

As a solopreneur or tiny business, which social media outlet are you getting the best results from? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Until later …

Toni

 

 

Pssst! SMM – Pass It On!

If you are not using social media to raise awareness of your business or brand, you’re missing out on reaching a huge audience. The following article  by Allison Kahn* originally was published by SiteProNews on July 14, 2011.   I like this article because it has all the basics to get you started, so I asked and received permission to publish it here.

social media marketing

Photo via commons.wikimedia.org

Social Media Marketing is the act of using social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) in order to promote a business.

Many companies will want to start their own social media marketing campaign and create a Facebook page or Twitter account. The problem is they don’t have a clue on how to run a successful social media marketing campaign. Here, I have listed 10 of the most basic rules when it comes to social media marketing. Follow these rules in order to have successful accounts with Facebook, Twitter, etc.

The 10 [basic] Rules of Social Media Marketing

1. Update! I shouldn’t even have to list this as a rule, but many forget how important it is. You should try and update daily because when consumers visit your page and it has not been updated in over a month, they will assume it is inactive and decide not to follow your business. Also, they could easily go with your competitor because their page is so active they feel that business will give them better service. You do not want that to happen, so update your social media accounts regularly!

2. No pitching! You are not Billy Mays. Therefore, you do not need to yell at consumers telling them to buy your product or use your business. Social media is meant to connect, not pitch. If your consumers feel they have a connection with your company through your Facebook page or Twitter feed, they are more likely to use you over another business that does not make an earnest effort to connect.

3. Communicate with your audience.
If you do not feel it is necessary to reply to comments, answer questions, or join in on conversations on your page, then social media is not for you. You need to be a part of the conversations on your page. If not, you will lose touch with your customers and what they want.

4. Choose Wisely. What you say will forevermore remain public record on the internet. Choose what you post on your page wisely. I cannot stress that enough. If you hire a company to post for you, be sure to hire someone you can trust. And, remember, if you manage your social media outlets yourself only post what you would want to see on the front page of the New York Times (or the Huffington Post).

5. Handle angry customers with class.
Some customers will just have a bad day and want to take it out on your page and blame you for everything. Do not delete any negative comments. Instead, ignore it if it’s only one comment (unless the comment has foul language and is completely inappropriate). If you are in a predicament like Nestle was several years ago where everyone protested on their Facebook page, post an update saying your business is making moves to fix the problem. Never directly respond to one individual, you will never win. Also, never make promises you cannot keep.

6. Link to others. If you find something interesting (and relevant) on the web, link it on your Facebook or Twitter page. Explain why you find it interesting (and relevant) and ask for their input. Link to other companies, articles, cool websites, whatever. Just be sure to ask yourself before posting, is this relevant to my business?

7. Share! Don’t be afraid to show your consumers what your company’s employees are doing when they are not in the office. Take photos of your office picnic, philanthropic event, or even a run/walk for a good cause. These photos create a positive image about your company for your consumers. They want to know you’re human and don’t wear ties all the time. If it’s casual Friday in the office, take a group photo of everyone wearing the company polo and post it immediately so others know what is going on in your office in real time.

8. Start a weekly trend. If you do something once a week, on the same day each week, your followers are bound to come back that day every week. For example, if you own a shoe store, every Monday you could post the shoe of the week. Include an image and a promotion for the shoe, such as a percentage off that week only. If you posted every Monday, consumers are bound to check every Monday to see what pair is being promoted that week and come into your store to buy. It’s a great way to get customers onto your social media pages as well as into your store.

9. Link to your blog. You put so much effort into writing that awesome post about trendy heels for the spring, but no one ever reads your blog. Link it on your Facebook, Twitter, etc. Don’t do it all the time, because if that is the only thing you do to update your social media outlets, people will get bored with you very quickly. But at the same time, don’t be afraid to link back to your blog. You put a lot of hard work and effort into it, and you want people to read it!

10. Spread the word!
If you have a Facebook, Twitter, blog, YouTube channel, etc. you really need to tell people. They are not just going to assume you have them. Put them on your company website, on your business cards, put a sign up in your store saying “Add us!” with all the little logos for each site next to the copy. Don’t be afraid to tell your customers you’re on Facebook. If they like you and your product, they will share it on their Facebook account and say, “Hey, I’m a fan of Sally’s Shoes and I want everyone to know!”

Until next time …

Toni

*Allison Kahn is the Marketing Assistant at Princeton Marketing Group in Greensboro, NC. She has a BA in English Literature from Wesley College in Dover, DE. She has a passion for Social Media Marketing. http://www.princetonmarketing.net  and  http://www.princetonmarketing.net./princetonmarketingblog

Target Your Market. Market Your Target.

Target Marketing

Photo via Wikipedia

I think it’s safe to say that most of us who are launching a new business or service usually operate on a tight budget, and need to start bringing in revenue as quickly as possible. It’s important to understand who is most likely to be a paying customer and direct our marketing efforts and dollars toward attracting that customer.

Here are some tips designed to help you market your product/service effectively.

  • Define your market segment. Will your initial focus be on your local geographic area, or on a particular type of customer? In some cases, it could be both. Obviously, a dog groomer will want to focus on dog owners who also are in their geographic area. If you’re selling the latest fantastic widget, will it appeal to the world on the Internet, or to specific people, like tourists, or senior citizens? Once you have honed in on the most specific target area and/or customer, then you can decide what approach to take in marketing.
  • Narrow your focus. Avoid the scatter-shot approach with your products or services. Keep your product line narrow and specialized. If you’re the only business in town selling “X,” everyone who wants an “X” has to come to you. The same rule applies to services. Don’t try to be all things to all people. A high-quality service or small service package will do better in the long run than a broad range of services that don’t provide the return on investment (ROI) you need to survive.
  • Define your prices. Depending on what you’re offering, a lower price can mean higher volume, but how will it affect your bottom line? On the flip side, a higher price may mean fewer customers, but a high quality product or service will keep those customers coming back and result in high quality referrals. For virtual assistants, pricing can be tricky, especially when one is competing globally with people who are willing to work for as low as $1.00 an hour. Additionally, fees for similar services vary widely across the U.S. Therefore, it’s important to understand what a fair price is, both for the customer and for the business owner who needs to keep a roof over her head.
  • Promote your business. Unless people know you’re out there, what’s the point of being in business? No longer do we have to spend a small fortune to advertise. If your business is local, networking in the community is vital. Join a service club, volunteer, find networking events in your area, attend charity dinners where you can meet new people, or, if you live in a small town, drop in at shops and introduce yourself. Follow local businesses on Facebook and comment on their pages. If your market isn’t confined to a geographic area, social media marketing is key. Get active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and all the others where people gather. Devote some time every day to interacting with people online so you can build a community of like-minded people and potential clients.

Have you found the marketing approaches that work best for you? If so, I’d love for you to share them in the comments.

Until next time …

Toni