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To Blog or Not to Blog {The 4 Different Types of Blogs, and Whether you Need One for Your Business}

Blogging for Business

Many clients have been asking me lately “Should I Blog?” The truth is, yes and no. There is no right or wrong answer. Blogging has to be “right” for your business and could actually be terribly wrong for you. So because the answer to this question is multi-layered, I thought I would outline here the 4 different types of blogs, the favourite blogs that I follow religiously in each category, the reasons why you should (or shouldn’t) blog, and the 4 main free blog platforms that are available to you right now….

1. You May Consider Blogging to Share your Writing….

My favourite blogger that blogs to share her writing, is Danielle Colley in her blog  “Keeping up with the Holsby’s”. As a writer, and an incredibly funny one, she is busy in her studio writing cookbooks at the moment. And blogging to her heart’s content. Dani shares her world through her blog, and since I have the privilege to mentor Dani as well, and therefore seeing some insights into her life, I cannot imagine Dani living in a world without blogging.

 Business Blogging

Dani creates original recipes and in creating these unique creations, she either reminisces on stories about individual ingredients or she takes us vividly to a memory about the recipe. If you read her blog, it is clear that Danielle loves to write, therefore blogging gives her a perfect platform to launch her writing and with her 3rd cookbook coming out soon, blogging has been good for her. If you love to write, and you have a burning desire to share your ideas with the world, then a “written” blog could be good for your business.

So if you are an author, comedian, actor, chef, inventor, world traveller….. then starting a written blog sharing your own original short pieces, could be a place where your business could flourish online, as it would help you get visibility in your craft.

2. You May Consider Blogging to Share your Pictures….

My favourite “visual” blog is Suzy McLeod’s photography blog. I had the pleasure of meeting Suzi at one of the “Tweet-ups” I organised in Bangalow (a piss-up for Tweeters), and then again at my Social Media Club recently. But before then, I was already an avid follower of her photography blog. Man, Suzi can photograph! I am generally not interested in wedding photography, or upcycled tables that one may have their eye on at a local recycling store, but the way that Suzi captures the pictures that catch her eye and the people and stories that she encounters, is truly inspirational to me.

Business Blogging

Suzi has recently setup a new photography studio in Bangalow called “Down Bangalow Road” and you see many of her photography adventures posted via her Facebook Page. Yes Facebook is like a mini-blog, but if you always have loads of photos to post, or you have a story to share along with them, then a visual blog could help you.

So any photographer, designer, decorator, artist, tourist or anyone with a steady stream of their own original photos or artwork in their business, would benefit from starting a visual blog, by helping you share your portfolio.

3. You May Consider Blogging to Share Facts & Wisdom….

My favourite “factual” blog is Nikki’s from “Styling You“. This blog won “Best Australian Blogger of 2011, and one look at her blog and you can see why.

Blogging for Business

Nikki posts a steady stream of “tips” to help women style themselves if personal styling is not their natural forte. Now I am no fashionista by a long-stretch, but I love that each “fact” that Nikki posts is also accompanied with a little story about what’s happening in her life right now. She also posts lots of links to other articles and other pages which may be helpful on a particular topic.

So if you are a stylist, scientist, naturopath, lawyer, accountant, counsellor, mentor, trainer or coach, or anyone that is in a business of sharing “advice” or “inspiration”, then a factual blog could support your business to flourish online by helping you share your wisdom.

4. You May Consider Blogging to Share your Story or Cause….

Some bloggers simply blog to stir up controversy, to trigger a dialogue about current socio-ecnomic topics, just for the hell of it or because society desperately needs it. These are all good reasons to blog and I love blogs like this. And my favourite blog in this genre is “Edenland” by Eden Riley.

Blogging for Business

Eden won “Best Australian Blog” in 2012, and deservedly so. She shares everything in her life, and I mean everything. There is nothing too random or too intimate for this infamous mummy-blogger. So much so, that Mrs. Riley has gone on to become somewhat of a celebrity in the blogoshpere, now being booked for speaking gigs and other media appearances. So revealing her personality through her blogging has really been core to launching her new career as an online-rockstar.

If you are an activist of any sort, if you run a charity or you have a voice you need to share with the world on any topic that you are passionate about, be it random or organised, charitable or anarchist, a story blog could be the key to raising mega-awareness or visibility for your cause, NPO or business. A blog could get you the attention you are looking for and raise your profile  both online and offline.

Business Blogging

So if any of these stories pique your interest and you are keen to nurture your ideas online through the format of a blog, then here are the top 4 blogging platforms you could try (all are free)….

The Top 4 Blogging Platforms at the moment……..

  1. WordPress.com – this is the blog platform I use – It is the best, hands down (in my opinion) and is also a powerful and flexible website builder
  2. Blogger.com – one of the original and well-known blogging platforms, run by Google
  3. Tumblr – this is more of a “micro-blogging” platform, not a full-blown blog service, but allows sharing & posting
  4. Weebly – another blogging and website building platform available

Blogging is a wonderful way to create an embryo to nurture your ideas, business and stories. However if none of these blogs types above catch your fancy, then alas, blogging may not be for you.

There is no point starting a blog if you don’t like to write, photograph, paint, spin a yarn, share articles or kick up some dust. You start a blog to share your voice online and to start a conversation about a topic you are passionate about. If you force yourself to start a blog but you don’t really want to share your ideas, then it will be a frustrating waste-of-time for you….

But don’t despair, for all those non-bloggers out there, a Facebook Business Page is like a mini-blog anyway. You can upload photos and snippets of your business onto Facebook at any time. Provided it’s not a novella, then Facebook is a great platform to share your thoughts and wisdom about your business. However if you have more than a paragraph to write, you will lose most people’s interest on Facebook and you’d better consider starting a blog STAT.

And that’s a wrap.

If any of these tips have helped you, I would be as chuffed as an award-winning blogger in a wet dream about winning best blogger of the year, if you shared this blog post in your favourite online playground.

Cheers for now!  Thank you for reading. And here are the buttons to share with….

Read reviews about the awesome work I do, here Buy “Novice2Ninja – Facebook for Business” , eBook or Printed, here Request a Call-Back to chat about a 1-on-1 Session with Francesca Grab your seat to the upcoming Facebook Business Workshop here Join us at “The Social Media Club” here

With Gratitude
Francesca Esposito-Rose B.Inf.Tech.
Business Mentor, Online Strategist, Author, Speaker & Social Media Business Specialist

{All Photos Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net except blogger home page banners are from the bloggers blogs themselves and are their own copyright}

 

Storm in an F-Cup {Koche vs. Breastfeeding Mums and the Power of Facebook}

Facebook for business

It’s a sad day when breastfeeding mothers have to “protest” with a boob-in to make public breastfeeding acceptable. (If you missed the controversy between lactating mums and Australia’s famous “Sunrise” Show this morning, click here….)

Me, I’m a pro-public-mammary supporter, but it doesn’t matter which side of the fence you sit on, the Storm in an F-Cup this morning proved five things….

  1. Koche, the respected hero of the Sunrise show and esteemed business-man, didn’t see the protest coming. Why? Because all the chatter and brewing discontent happened online over the weekend. And the producers of “Sunrise” were none-the-wiser.here’s a snippet of the growing disgruntledness that no-one saw coming….
  2. Social Media can’t be ignored. Despite the “Sunrise” show turning down the blinds (quite literally) and not broadcasting the protest that was brewing outside their studio window, the protest continued on Twitter and Facebook. And after 2 hours of “ignoring” the nurse-in, the producers of the show decided to “tackle” the issue. This is the power of Social Media – Tweet after Tweet, the snowballing protest, eventually, could not be ignored.
  3. Communities are formed online. These breastfeeding mothers are all part of an online community. Some of them blog. Some of them Tweet. Some of them Facebook. And they have one thing in common. They are all connected. To eachother. To events. And to a wider community of like-minded people. YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS TO BUILD A COMMUNITY and leverage the power of the Internet.
  4. Your brand can be made or broken online. The “Sunrise” show was in serious damage control this morning. They swiftly pulled out every positive story they could think of and every happy-go-lucky angle to show their support of women and breastfeeding. I think the show did redeem themselves slightly by tackling the issue (eventually) even though they tackled the issue quite poorly (in my opinion) by pre-ambling “the debate” with a lampooning boob-centric weather report-skit. Quite poor taste but at least they addressed the issue. They had no choice really, if they continued to ignore the issue, the show would have been murdered, and the presenter, crucified. Online at least. I can only imagine the effect on TV ratings this would have if they refused to address the issue!
  5. It is vital that you understand your demographic. Why-oh-why would the Sunrise show, who’s major target market is MUMS-AT-HOME, drop a “feedback question” about “discreet public breastfeeding”? Surely the producers did not think this one through.
And after all the fuss, there is now a call-to-action for laws surrounding public breastfeeding to be reviewed. THIS IS THE POWER OF THE INTERNET. That you can organise a rally on an issue and get national coverage and perhaps affect real change. Maybe your business doesn’t hit such core-social-issues like this, but every business can learn from this Storm-in-an-F-Cup. I believe that every business needs to be mindful of some Basic Business Etiquette that the Sunrise Show clearly still needs to learn….

 

Here are My Top 5 Tips for Business Etiquette….

  1. Build a brand that is POSITIVE, both offline and online. Keep your brand upbeat, authentic, accessible and fresh. ALWAYS. There is no need to delve into the negative issues (there’s enough negativity in the world). Use Social Media to BUILD your Profile, not to draw negative attention to your company. These days, Social Media should be part of your front-line marketing strategy, so use Social Media to spread the word about what you do, how awesome your business is and to raise visibility about your company’s products and services.
  2. Use the power of online “community” to build up a following of Fans (and customers) that love your brand and will rave about your business. This is a powerful way to build a strong customer base that will buy repeatedly from you.
  3. Address all issues, especially negative ones. You can run but you can’t hide, so it’s best to remedy the issue on the spot, admit you’ve made a mistake and offer solutions. You can even turn a negative situation into a positive one, if handled correctly. Everyone’s human, so just be real and most folks are fairly forgiving, they often just want an apology, to be heard, or a replacement product that works and meets their basic expectations.
  4. And the obvious one, never, ever, ever “dis” a minority group (or any group for that matter). Not mums, not the vision impaired, not those with special needs, not those of ethnic decent, not white, yellow, pink or indifferent. Never put anyone’s nose out of joint, or that stuff that hits the fan will boomerang right back at you.
  5. Understand Your Demographic. A passing flippant comment can be very damaging to your brand. Make sure you truly understand what your customers want and need, and ensure your business fulfills these needs and solves a real problem.
If you want to discover how to build a positive brand online, Facebook is the number one Social Media platform, and can help you BUILD A COMMUNITY for your business. If you want to leverage the power of the Internet, the next Facebook MasterClass starts soon in Bangalow. This is a 3-day Intensive and Interactive Workshop with myself at the beautiful SummerHills Retreat Byron Bay. For more info and to book your seat, click here….

 

Buy “Novice2Ninja – Facebook for Business” , eBook or Printed, here Request a Call-Back to chat about a 1-on-1 Session with Francesca Grab your seat to the upcoming Facebook Business Workshop here Join us at “The Social Media Club” here

And I would be as happy as a babe suckling at a breast if you shared this post with your friends in your favourite online playground. Thank you xx

With Gratitude
Francesca Esposito-Rose B.Inf.Tech.
Business Mentor, Online Strategist, Author, Speaker & Social Media Business Specialist

 

Relevant vs. Random: A Strategy for Success

Last month, I ran a competition on my Facebook Page. The competition was asking a question in response to this video here by Eden Riley of Edenland….

And the question ran along the lines of ….

What does this blogger do to make her win the award of Australian Blogger of the Year?”

The person that answered this question correctly, not only won a free copy of my eBook Novice2Ninja, they also understood the primary factor that is the basis of online success. Jodie Heylen of The Gift Post (Gold Coast) won the competition and I promised to blog about this once the competition was over.

However this is such an important concept to get your head around that I re-ran this competition last night at “The Social Media Club” and yep, I gave away another free copy of my Book to the first person that guessed correctly.  This time, it was  a printed copy of my book. And for those of you that have followed this competition twice already, I promise there won’t be a 3rd!

So here goes, and the answer is.. {drum roll} RELEVANCE. Do you want to know why RELEVANCE is THE most important factor to ONLINE SUCCESS?

Here is “RELEVANCE defined”….

Relevance is like current, but current is only about timing.

Relevance is similar to important, but important is only about the order of priorities.

Relevant is almost like related, but not that’s only the half of it.

RELEVANT is the opposite to RANDOM, and a whole lot more.

You see, when I first started in Social Media about 4 years ago, I posted randomly for several months. My page sucked and I felt microscopic. I finally figured that RANDOM POSTING DOES NOT WORK. If you adopt “Random Posting” as your strategy, you will end up with a Facebook Business Page or Blog that is made up of loosely connected ideas, that may or may not be related to your business, and basically you will end up with a mish-mash of concepts. And guess what the problem with a random strategy is? It is not clear, it’s not focussed and not targetted. Bottom line, “Random Posting” will not help your business and will certainly not generate any sales.

There are many reasons why Edenland is a successful blog. But the one single reason why Eden Riley won “Australian Blogger of the Year” is because what she blogs about is RELEVANT. Edenland is a collection of thoughts and opinions on what is currently controversial and what is happening at the forefront of current culture. Riley’s “product” is controversy and anything topical. She is also very engaging, authentic, honest, real, human, kind, she’s all those things. But most of all, the essence of what she talks about is RELEVANT to her Fans. Why? Because her Followers are also concerned about the impact that these emerging issues have on society and how it will affect their lives, jobs and future security. Riley taps into that big-time.

So let’s start with “the Don’t's”….  Here is what NOT TO DO online….

  • Take for example, a lawyer that has mostly a Generation-Y market of 25-35 year olds. If this lawyer was to blog about Lady Gaga, this would make this lawyer’s blog current. But it wouldn’t be relevant because Lady Gaga has nothing to do with law.
  • If you were a real estate agent and you posted Footy Tips, this could be interesting and fun to some of your Fans, but this is NOT ON TOPIC. Footy Tips are not relevant to your business or to your customers (who are on your Page as property buyers and renters).
  • If you were a Tourism Page, posting about the gripes you have with city centre parking or the complaints you have about the new Highway coming through, this is NOT RELEVANT to the fans that are buying your products (Tourists are interested in the tourist experience, not the dirty laundry/behind-the-scenes-infrastructure-issues).
  • If you were an oil painter, and you blogged about jewellery, this would be INTERESTING and loosely related to canvas painting, however if you kept this up, you would soon start to lose your Fans or at least, they will stop engaging with you on your core topic of oil painting on canvas.

By doing any of the above you would start losing your Fans and your page would start to suck dismally, or worse, bomb all together. Put simply, you will lose your tribe. Your Peeps will simply go elsewhere to get their “fix” of the love they want on that particular topic. This is because your fans are following you specifically because they want to connect with WHAT YOU DO and WHAT YOU REPRESENT.

Let’s then define the “Do’s” of how to achieve Online Success….

You need to blog or post about what is RELEVANT to your business PLUS what is relevant to your TARGET MARKET.

  • So if you’re an oil painter, post about oil painting only. Best brushes to use at home, different techniques to achieve different effects, top-tips to properly wash brushes…..
  • If you’re a real estate agent, post about how great it is to live in your area, news about events coming up that make the region a joy to live in, renovation success stories that turned a mega profit….
  • As a business lawyer, blog about copyright issues that are currently in contention, business issues to watch out for, new workplace laws that may affect small business owners….
  •  In tourism, post about events coming to the area, restaurants and the accolades they have recently won, or the best coffee in town….

Eden Riley blogs about topics that her Fans are interested in PLUS the topics that are current and are MEANINGFUL to her Followers. Therefore Edenland is a highly RELEVANT blog. The week she blogged about chicken fillets to represent breast implants, there had been recent debate in the media about young girls having plastic surgery to feel beautiful and accepted. So this video was ON TOPIC and relevant to her Peeps, at the time…

I therefore define RELEVANCE as being

  • BOTH RELATED to your business
  • AND ALSO RELATED TO your target market

I also use RELEVANCE as the number one FUNNEL to cross-check my content before I post anything on any of my Facebook Pages. So before I post to my blog or Facebook page, if the topic does not make it through the RELEVANCE funnel, then I scrap it. It is not the right CONTENT for my page or blog if it does not make it through my filter.

I consider this principle of RELEVANCE vs. RANDOM to be the most important underlying factor to your success online. Get this wrong and your Facebook Business Page or blog will bomb. Yes you have to be engaging, the more engaging you are, the more your Fans will dig what you do. But you can be engaging and still be irrelevant. You can be engaging and random. It is important therefore to be engaging AND RELEVANT.

So the keys to ONLINE SUCCESS are….

  1. UNDERSTAND your target market and what they want to hear & read about
  2. Make sure your topics are CONNECTED to your business and are ON-TOPIC with what you do
  3. With these two filters in mind, then generate posts that are both MEANINGFUL to your target market (1) and CONNECTED to your business (2) = THIS WILL GIVE YOU RELEVANT CONTENT

Laywers, I advise you hold back on blogging about the latest Monster-Ball rap and stick to the topics that your Peeps are interested in, and if your Fans are mostly Generation-Y, then why not blog about the latest “Stop & Search” laws which would be of huge interest to this age bracket? Knowing their rights when they go out may be at the fore-front of their minds and may spark some great discussion (and engagement) on your Facebook Page or blog. Yes you must understand what your target market likes and wants to read about, but that’s only the half of it. What you talk about on your blog or Facebook Page must also be related and connected to your business (see poster below).

Social Media Strategy

I share my extensive research on the topic of  “Content Strategy” in detail in my book “Novice2Ninja – Facebook for Business”. Hope it can help you too.

Buy “Novice2Ninja – Facebook for Business” , eBook or Printed, here

Request a Call-Back to chat about a 1-on-1 Session with Francesca

Grab your seat to the upcoming Facebook Business Workshop here

Join us at “The Social Media Club” here

And I would be as happy as a little girl in a lolly-shop if you shared this post with your friends in your favourite online playground. Thank you xx

With Gratitude
Francesca Esposito-Rose B.Inf.Tech.
Business Mentor, Online Specialist, Author, Speaker & FaceBook Business Specialist

 

 

 

 

Social Media for the Time-Poor Small Business

Business facebookLast month, we launched “The Social Media Club”, the world’s first. We had a great night of laughter and connection, and most importantly, brainstorming with like-minded business owners where we got to find out that every small business owner is in the same boat. When you’re a crew of one, you have to work smarter not harder, be savvy and efficient, whilst standing on one leg and singing la-la-la-la-lahhhh, in tune. So on this night, all “Clubbers” discovered that they were not alone, and that there are better ways of doing things… especially in the world of “Social Media”….

“The Social Media Club” is being held on the 4th Thursday of every month and at each “Club” meeting I will be giving a short talk on the hottest “Social” topic of the month, as well as answer your BURNING QUESTIONS that have been concerning you, in your world of Social Media.

Last month, the topic on everyone’s lips was “How do I manage my Social Media when I am time poor?” Do I hear you screaming too?

I thought I’d blog the talk I gave, in case you missed it, and the champagne, and the fun…. but come and join us for the next “Social Media Club” coming up on Thursday 25th October 6.30-8.30pm, and join in the fun, in person……

So here’s my Top-7-Tips on “How to manage your Social Media when you are Time Poor” (READ: How to Save your Sanity whilst riding the Social Media Train)….

  1.  Choose 1-2 Social Media platforms and DO THEM WELL. There is no point stressing about jumping onto all the social medias. There is simply no point being a jack-of-trades and master-of-none. It’s not going to help to brand and position your business in the market-place if you “do” a Social platform badly. I recommend to my clients to choose the one or two that will best suit their business, and focus on those. (If you need some help selecting these, reach out to me, I can help you get clear on what social platforms will best suit your business). The key here is to give your customers “some” way of  “connecting” with you on one or two of the Social platforms. But don’t worry about meeting all customers on all the platforms. It’s simply unrealistic in the real world of small business, to be everywhere. In my extensive research in writing my book Novice2Ninja, I discovered that Facebook is THE ONE platform that just about every business needs to be on (which is why I wrote a book about it). It’s very powerful, and THE platform that 1 billion peeps spend, oh, only 3 billion hours on, DAILY. And once you get the hang of Facebook, only THEN look at a 2nd platform. Perhaps Twitter, or LinkedIN or Pinterest, but this would depend entirely on the type of business you’re in and what your “personal strengths” are. For example, if you don’t like to write, then there is no point starting a “written” blog. However, you may consider starting a “visual” blog, if you like to take pictures, and if a visual blog would suit the aims of your business! This is part of the “Social Media Strategy” that I can help you define and get clear on in a 1-on-1 mentoring session….
  2. Add “Social Media” to your DAILY ROUTINE. Yup, good ol’ fashioned, “if it’s not in your routine, it won’t get done” trick. You know, like your mama always says. So when you’re sitting down to do your emailing or phone calls, your ordering or processing your enquiries, just add 10 minutes to that routine for Social Media management. Until you get the swing of it, it may take longer than 10 minutes a day, but once you get your head around it, 10 minutes a day is achievable. The key here is manage your Social Media DAILY. So whatever you do every, tag your Social Media management onto the end of that routine. Then you know it will get done. Consistency is key here.
  3. SCHEDULE your posts. There are some Facebook features that are “take it or leave it”, but every once in a while, Facebook actually add a function that is really, really neat. And the “schedule” button is one of those functions that I ADORE. It is a life-saver really.  I have written a separate post about how to use the “Schedule” function here, but bottom line is that it allows you to “calendarise” your Facebook posts. So if you wanted to release a particular post at 7pm tonight but you’d rather be watching the latest episode of “How I met your mother” with your teenager, then you can schedule the post to be released at this time. I have found this function to be the most-time saving of all functions because I can quickly type my posts when it is most convenient for me, and I am not tied to my PC when I would rather be having a life {shock horror}. Also don’t use Hootsuite or any other “External” programs to post to Facebook.  Yes you can use these programs to post to Twitter and other Social Platforms, but not for Facebook. It will affect your Edgerank, and not in a good way. I have written a previous blog post about what Edgerank is here, this is crucial to understand for Facebook Business Success, but in a nutshell, you need to be “inside” Facebook when you post. So don’t be tempted to post from an outside program to save you time, instead, the best time-saving function available to you within Facebook is the “Schedule” function. Use it to your heart’s content.
  4. Take the pressure off ORIGINAL CONTENT and supplement your posts with CURATED CONTENT. I do recommend in my book “Novice2Ninja” that posting about 2-3 times a week is ideal. If you wanted to read a more detailed guideline on how often to post and when to post, to suit your business, you can get my book here. But many business owners say to me “I don’t have time to write a post every day“. You don’t need to. Yes you do need to COLLECT your own ideas and write your own posts based on what is happening in your business, a couple times a week. This is so that your story is seeping through to your tribe of loyal fans. But for the other 4-5 days a week, just CURATE content instead and take the pressure off yourself! This means, share posts from your news feed! This will save you loads of time, and hopefully dispels the myth that you need to post something original every day. I don’t have a blog post about this topic as this subject area has many implications and can not be simplified in a blog post, however the best advice I have about HOW TO COLLECT & CURATE CONTENT, is in my book. In fact I have dedicated half the book to this topic, which should signal to you that the topic of content is of vital importance to your online success, on any Social platform platform, not just Facebook. TIP: When you share a post from your news feed, make sure it’s relevant to your business though. I talk alot about what is “relevant” to a business, and what is not, in  my book as well.
  5. REPLY to comments. On some days, this is all I have time for. But it’s SOMETHING. It is an activity that WILL get your business into the news feed of your Fans, and remember, the more eyeballs that see your posts, the better (more fans leads to potentially more sales. This is grossly over-simplified, again, the full process and cause and effect, of how to make money in your business using the platform of social media, is fully explained in my book). Many businesses ask me “should I reply to comments?” My reply always is “would you ignore someone that  walks into your shop?” You get the picture. Don’t ignore your Fans. If a Follower has taken the time to visit your Facebook Page (which is essentially like your shop, but online), then take the time to RESPOND to their comment. It’s good business practice, it may lead to sales, and it also gives you a “quickie” social media “burst” in the news feed of your Fans, if your plate that day is like a juggling act. Hey, we all have those days where 37 hours is not enough, right?!?!?!? Therefore replying to comments is a quickie solution on days like this…
  6. Don’t see Social Media AS A PAIN. If your head-space towards Social Media is that it’s a thorn in your side, and the bain of your existence, then you are not seeing the true potential of Social Media and how it can really work for you. If you can find a way to use Facebook as market research, your mindset towards Social Media will shift (towards the positive). Imagine being stuck on which product to launch but knowing that you had a place where you could take your products to the market place, ask your target market their opinion on which product they liked, and then only launching the product that is most well received? Imagine how much money and time you could save by not being sucked down the rabbit hole of bad product-launch choices? Weeeeeeelllllll. Facebook is one such place! I encourage all my clients to “test” their products before launch, on their Facebook pages, to ensure their Peeps are into what they are doing. I advised my client to do just this, and to test her 2 x book cover choices on her Facebook Page. Check out Dani’s form here at this link….  This “market testing” is giving us valuable data that we otherwise would never have had access to! This is Market Research being streamed straight from the market-place!!! THIS IS GOLD ! You can’t PAY for this sort of market research. Well, you can, but it would cost you thousands. On Facebook, you can do all your market testing , FOR FREE.
  7. Get some Training. Social Media is just another platform for you to sell your products for your business. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN –> these are all just systems that you need to operate to win these sales. And like all systems, you need some training to ensure you are avoiding the pitfalls and maximising the benefits. This is especially true for Social Media. I highly recommend reading a book, getting a mentor or doing a workshop in Social Media. And rather than begrudge this as “another thing you have to do”, see this as an investment in tech-proofing your business for the future. After all, there is no point building a Facebook page for a year and sucking at it. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to hit the ground running, know what to do and what not to do? My November Workshops are just about sold out, so jump in and grab your seat now while’s there’s one waiting for you. But if group-love is not your ‘thang’, then 1-on-1 mentoring might suit you better if you prefer to learn at your own individual pace. Or if book-learning floats your boat, then my book Novice2Ninja starts you at the beginning, and takes you through to mastery level of Facebook. However you like to learn, I’ve got the support you need covered to help you get your Business cracking on Social Media…..

Buy “Novice2Ninja – Facebook for Business” , eBook or Printed, here

Request a Call-Back to chat about a 1-on-1 Session with Francesca

Grab your seat to the November Facebook Business Workshop here

RSVP to “The Social Media Club” here

Either way, I look forward to answering your BURNING QUESTIONS at the monthly “The Social Media Club” and connecting with the brilliant and committed business owners that make up the very savvy and very smart, small business sector!

And I would be as happy as Larry if you shared this page with all your friends in your favourite online playground just here….

With Gratitude
Francesca Esposito-Rose B.Inf.Tech.
Business Mentor, Online Specialist, Author, Speaker & FaceBook Business Specialist

 

Optimism for Business is UP (lessons we can all learn from Walt Disney)

coaching small businessesMy friend who trades the stock market tells me that the Australian Stock Market hit rock bottom last week and that the economy is on the way up. Bear in mind that I am not a financial advisor, however I can certainly feel a signficant shift in market sentiment over the last few weeks. Everyone is alot more positive about their businesses, customers are spending, and willing to spend more.  It’s like the fear of potential world meltdown is over or the grief and shock of the stock market crash a few years ago has been processed into our psyches and we are now feeling “it’s okay, it had to happen, the bubble had to burst for us to all experience a rude reality wake up call“.

Maybe I’m overthinking this, perhaps  it’s just the happiness of Spring to complement a delightfully dry and delicate August after a long long long wet season in Australia (36 months, on and off, but who’s counting). Maybe everyone’s just happy that the sun is shining again, at every level, economically and psychologically.

Either way, OPTIMISM FOR BUSINESS IS DEFINITELY UP. So whenever my clients are feeling down about the outlook for their businesses (we’ve all been there right?) I remind them about this little quote that I have stuck to my PC….

Mickey Mouse® popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad . . . when the business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at their lowest ebb and disaster seemed right around the corner.
- Walt Disney®. Producer. Director

Yes I coach business strategy (after 24 years of running businesses, I’ve got a few tools under my  belt), yes I share my online business acumen and secrets (after 15 years online, I’ve learnt a thing or three), but most importantly, what I do is to help my clients work out what their super-powers are. Yes, that’s not a typo, and I’m not getting all hippie-dippie on you. Getting clear on what your strengths are is at the core of what I do and is at the core of your business success. And guess what, “owning” what you are good at is also going to help you survive the next few years in business as we navigate a new economic landscape, both online and offline….

So if you feel you’ve hit rock-bottom in your business, or not sure where to go or where to start in your business, reach out to me, because I’ve been there too, and it’s time we got you off the negative downward spiral and onto a positive trajectory… sound good? Here’s some reviews from some of my happy clients….

For more business inspiration and other great ways to optimise your Facebook for Business Page to help your business achieve success, get my book. Or if 1-on-1 is more your style, I am available for personal business coaching sessions in person, over the phone, over email or let’s chat over skype in our summer t-shirts (that’s how serious business is done these days)….

Buy Book Now “Novice2Ninja” Book a Session with Francesca

If you found this information useful, please share this post to your favourite online playground. I would be as happy as Walt Disney with appreciation for helping me share the knowledge and the love (I am a small business too)…

 

With Gratitude

Francesca Esposito-Rose B.Inf.Tech.

Business Mentor, Online Specialist, Author, Speaker & FaceBook Business Specialist

[Photo copyright en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mickey_Mouse.svg]

Vanity URL – How to Get One and How this Helps Build your Fanbase on Facebook

Facebook Business Vanity URLLook up to the very top of your screen on Facebook – where you see http://www.Facebook.com/YourBusinessName

Do you have a Facebook name with lotsa letters and numbers at the end? Like this….. http://www.Facebook.com/YourBusinessName8987234723-432802473

Ooooops! If you have one of these for your business, then you haven’t set your “Vanity URL” yet. Your Vanity URL is the fancy Facebook name for your page and guess what, you need to set this pronto! Why? Because a Vanity URL is one way to help build your Fanbase on your Facebook Business Page…..

Here are some great reasons why you need to get your Vanity URL now….

  1. It looks more professional when a potential fan/customer visits your page
  2. It gives you a nice neat name that you can put on your business cards and at the bottom of your email signature
  3. It “claims” your unique name on Facebook and therefore secures your brand “name” on Facebook. V. important to do this.
  4. Other people and businesses can more easily “tag” your business if you have a nice neat Facebook name (you may or may not come up in the list when someone is trying to tag your business. The lack of a vanity url could be one of the reasons why you’re not showing).
  5. If someone is able to “tag” your business, then you’ll appear in more news feed. What a great way to help build your fanbase!
  6. But most importantly, once you have a Vanity URL, your business is lodged in the Facebook directory, which  makes your business “searchable” in the top search bar. And we all want our businesses to be found on Facebook, right!

So, let’s fix this! Here are the steps to claim your very own “Vanity URL” for your Facebook Business Page…..

  1. Click on Edit Page (this is your Admin panel)
  2.  Select Update Info
  3. Click on Basic Information in the left hand side panel
  4. Click the Change Username in the middle of the page and set your fancy Facebook name there….

Some rules (of course!)….

  1. Letters are allowed, both uppercase and lowercase are okay
  2. Numbers and full stops are okay too
  3. No other punctuation is allowed
  4. Spaces are not allowed! So for example, “SummerHills  Retreat” needs to be SummerHillsRetreat (without spaces)….
  5. But most importantly, you will never be allowed to change your Facebook name ever again (yikes!) so be careful what you choose. Things to think about when choosing a Facebook name….
  • make sure the spelling is right!
  • think about other branches or offices you may have and decide if you are going to have one big Facebook page for all your offices or one Facebook page per office. If you’re going to have a Facebook page per office, then your Facebook name needs to be unique per office
  • make sure the name you choose now is a name you will be happy with in the future! something to think about….

Once you have your “Vanity URL” set, your business will….

  • start to appear in Facebook searches in the top search bar when someone is specifically searching for your business
  • be more easily “taggable
  • be your piece of “Facebook real estate” forver :)

For more great tips like this on how to build a successful presence on Facebook and how to build your fanbase, hop on over to my ebook and click “BUY” – you won’t regret it :) It’s jam-packed with great insights and loads of tips like this that will help you kick arse on Facebook, and it also supports me being able to deliver more great tips like this for you EVERY DAY for FREE xx
Francesca Esposito-Rose
Facebook Ninjette

How to Find the Voice of Your Business

business coaching

It’s no surprise that Virgin mogul Richard Branson (one of my business heroes) has a cheeky brand. And unashamedly so, he makes no excuses for letting his cheekiness seep into all of his businesses. From cheeky taglines in all of the Virgin advertisements to Facebook campaigns that are always fresh and a little bit left-of-centre. I love them.

Here’s a campaign that just came out a few days ago, for the “Virgin Produced” company…..

business facebook(c) Virgin Produced

And, here’s another cheeky Virgin post on Facebook from just the other day! Love it!

business mentoring(c) Virgin

So why is Sir Dick’s brand so unconventional? It’s because Richard Branson is himself cheeky. His personality therefore seeps through all of his business dealings including the marketing of all of his companies.

And of course, even the name of Branson’s whole empire “Virgin”, still lies somewhere between avant garde and shocking. We are all quite used to it by now, but I remember when “Virgin Music” first burst onto the scene in the 80′s, we were all a little taken aback. His style and attitude, even in business circles, was definitely “progressive” back then.

Branson is brash, a risk taker, and therefore, so are his companies, in every aspect. And so I bring you to my point that the “Voice” of any business follows the personaility of its’ owner. “The Voice” of a company starts at the top. It’s the only place it can start, really.

Following a presentation I gave last week at the Stella Group in Lismore, NSW, my inbox was flooded with lotsa folks asking me questions like….

How do I find the Voice of my Facebook Page? How do I find the Voice of my business? What is the process to do this?

You see, the topic of my talk was….

How to find The Voice of Your Business on Facebook

When I am coaching my clients, my advice is that the “Voice” of your Facebook Page actually starts with the Voice of your business. The Voice of your business stems from the business owner themselves, and this starts with your own story.

I always believe in leading by example, so I am happy to share my story with you. If you’re interested in reading a tale of what drives me, here’s my full story or a short bio here. If not, let’s push on so I can explain where I’m going with this post…..

But suffice to say, my bottom line is…. I was born to help. Some of my clients affectionately nickname me Dr. Francesca. If you’ve had the time to read my story, you’ll understand why….

If you don’t have the time to read my full story, here’s a brief snippet….

I wrote my first “computer program” when I was 14 years old, almost 30 years ago. This was a decade before the Internet was even invented. It was a high school assignment (I was lucky to be at a progressive school for the times)  and we were asked to program the rules of Snakes&Ladders with a 1 player and 2 player option. I remember being mesmerised by how you could join the dots together and how you could make the pieces of a concept fit beautifully, almost like composing notes on a page into a song. And I remember feeling equally distraught when the whole game fell apart when the structure wasn’t programmed right.

I was fascinated by this new phenomena called “Information Technology”, and I could see, even 30 years ago, that this “Technology” was no passing fad.

I could see that if we could program these machines called “computers” to do tasks for us automatically, that the whole of humanity could perform every task more efficiently. I knew this had to be a good thing, and something of a revolution in the way we did things. This was in the early 80′s after all, when things just clunked along pretty uncohesively, compared to the level of automation and ease we have now with iPhones, iPads, internet banking, WiFi, the list goes on!

So let me explain where I’m going with this post…. (stay with me on this one, I am telling you these stories for a reason, but stick with me because in a minute I’ll step you through a powerful exercise that will help You find The Voice of Your Business too)….

From that process of programming a simple Snakes&Ladders game, I became fascinated with automation. I was in awe of processes that linked together. I went on to learn about this new way of thinking in the IT degree that I later studied at University.

Combine this fascination with my inner “doctor” drive, I would have to say, that my heart and my story can be summed up as….

I’m passionate about helping people. I’m excited about connecting the dots. I’m driven to putting the systems and processes together that make life and business easier. I was born to do this job. I was cut out to mentor business people and to help them join their own dots between business and technology

So here’s how I coach my clients to “tune in” to “The Voice” of their own businesses…

First Step, you need to write your story. Yep, I mean on paper.

  • write what first sparked you to start your business
  • what captures your curiosity now
  • what still excites you in your business
  • what drove you to where you are now
  • ask yourself, “what am I passionate about in my business?”

This is Step 1 on Day 1 of a seven-day exercise. You see, over the course of the next week, you are going to do a little exercise that will help you tune in to “The Voice” of your business. It is simple yet powerful. And by the end of 7 days, you will understand exactly what your Voice feels like, looks like and sounds like. So why are we doing this over 7 days? Because this gets the best results, and I will tell you why it does, at the end of this post…oooh, a little surprise is in stall for you :) No peaking!

Step Two is to paint a picture. Yup, with paints, coloured pencils, watercolour, oils, crayons (I’m not joking by the way). Take a fresh piece of paper. It can be anything, butchers paper, a paper napkin, a proper stretched canvas or a lined scrap-pad. Whatever you have lying around. And….

  • draw what your ideal business looks like
  • what the heck, draw what your ideal life looks like
  • be sure to include as many details as you can, go nuts, truly, don’t be shy, the more details you can fill in, the more powerful this exercise will be for you and the more benefit for your business
  • have some fun with this, this is your time to shine baby
  • remember, no-one is watching and there’s no-one marking this, so pour your little heart out into this drawing. This exercise is more about the ideas and the content so don’t worry one iota about the quality of the artwork
  • draw what your ideal customer looks like
  • draw it all and get this all out of your head

And see how good it feels to have….

  1. your story written down, and
  2. your dream business and life drawn into a picture

Remember you don’t need to paint like Rembrant or write verse like Keats. This is not your Masterpiece or your Manifesto. This is part of your overall Business Masterplan, so let it flow, and let it take any shape or form. There is no right or wrong answer, though the only requirement here is to be real, honest and authentic with yourself.

Now you need to mull over what you have written and drawn for a few days, let it wash over you, and come back to this process in 3 days time. It’s really important not to skip this “mulling” step. So perhaps print this post and place it into your diary 3 days forward as a reminder to pick this exercise up again in a few days time. But to give this your best shot, I recommend not doing all these steps at once….

[3 days have passed now and we're ready to move onto Step Three....]

Step Three is to write the sensory values of your business. Whether you have a new or existing business, write down (on a separate piece of paper), what you want your business to

  • look like (is there a white or orange glowing lamp in your B&B foyeur? or do you want your cabins to feel like a Hawaiian cabana by the sea? or a black and white old fashioned photo? sepia maybe?)
  • feel like (do you want to walk into your restaurant and feel like you have bitten into a slice of watermelon or do you want to feel like you’re walking into a cafe in a Rue in Paris?)
  • smell like (is there a vanilla scented candle burning in your shop or can you smell freshly roasted coffee wafting in the background?)
  • sound like (is your business fast and racy with contemporary music playing eg a DJ or Zumba class, or does your business sound calm and peaceful with quieteness or birdsong eg a Yoga class or a quiet retreat)
  • write down all the sensory values of your ideal business, how it looks, feels, smells and sounds like
  • whether you have a shop-front or online business, home-based business or separate office, whether you are selling professional services or tangible goods, everyone can identify the look, feel, smell and sound of their business and their products. This is an important step in order to identify the voice of your business.

You see, what I want you to be doing here is to be connecting with the emotion of your business. How you feel about your business is how your customer is going to feel about your business. And this single factor, how your customer feels about your business, is one of the most significant factors that determines whether a customer will buy from you….

Step Four. Unique Selling Point or UPS. You need to write down on another piece of paper….

  • what is different about your business compared to your competitors
  • what is different about your products compared to businesses similar to yours
  • what is different about the service that you offer compared to other businesses in your industry

They key here is to understand that what you are selling is not the product itself. What you are selling is what is unique about your business. For example, if you sell handbags with detachable covers, the fact that your handbags have a detachable front cover is your unique selling point, not the fact that you are a seller of handbags.

Step Five. Solve a problem. Write this down on another piece of paper….

  • identify what problem your product solves. This is what you are selling. Hint. You are not selling stilettos, you are selling longer, sexier legs.

Step Six. Let this all wash over you for 3 more days. Let the voice of your business simmer, bubble and brew for a little while.

Step Seven. It’s Day 7 and you have now mulled over this for a week, in the background, while you have gone about your regular activities. And if you have done every step in this exercise, you should now be able to lay out in front of you, five bits of paper with these ingredients on them….

  1. your story
  2. your dream life/dream business
  3. the sensory values of your business
  4. your unique selling point
  5. what problem your business is solving

You now have the ingredients of the voice of your business in front of you, and more importantly, out of your head. And this all stems from your own personality, your passion and what drives you, what you are curious about and what you are most excited about in your business. THIS is The Voice of your business.

All the subtleties and nuances of the voice of your Facebook Page lay in the ingredients above. And now that you have let all these ingredients simmer and brew over the last 7 days, it’s time to serve up your beautiful soup. Your dinner party guests are arriving now, and they are arriving in the form of your customers. So go make them something delicious and memorable, go make them a meal they’ll never forget :) And I’ll be here cheering for you xx

PS. Oh, so why do we do this exercise over the course of a week? It’s because by allowing your subconsious to bubble up over a period of time, you are more likely to bypass your thinking brain and connect emotionally with your heart. Once you access how you feel about your business (not what you think about it), only then can you access the true heart and passion of your business. And it is this heart and passion that your customers will be connecting with too, the instant before they buy from you. It is this heart and passion that will open the door to The Voice of your business :)   And if you need a l’il help to find the authentic voice of your business, click here, I’m born to help :) Or if you’re more into DIY, my book “Novice2Ninja” was birthed to help too :)

Cheers

Francesca Esposito-Rose

Helping You find the Voice of Your Business Online

For more posts similar to this, check these out….

The Juice in Your Business

The Voice Feature on Facebook

 

 

 

Isaac’s Live Lip-Dub Proposal – The Power of YouTube for your Business Marketing

This is a video blog post, you can watch this video here or there is a full transcript below…..

Hi, I’m Francesca and I’m your Facebook Business Specialist. And I’m super excited today. I’ve just watched Isaac propose to Amy on YouTube along with 7 million other people around the world. Absolutely brilliant, original, clever, fun. This video really warmed my heart, it made me cry actually. And it got me thinking as well about how business can leverage and harness the power of YouTube to help them build their business. I’m always talking about business building with all of my clients. YouTube is a really important business builder. I thought I’d record a very quick video today to have this conversation with you. I recommend clicking pause on this and going to watch Isaac’s proposal on YouTube if you missed it the last few days. I’ve also included a link below. So I recommend pausing, watching it and coming back, and let’s have a chat about it…..

Isaac’s Live Lip Dub Proposal to Amy

 

So what did you think? Pretty fantastic huh? And for anyone that’s thinking of proposing to their partner any time soon, I know it sets the bar really high. But in terms of a video, it has not only gone viral over the internet over the last 3 or 4 days, it’s also dominated news and morning and evening shows, and it’s also dominated conversations on the street. In terms of a video, it’s really showing that it’s very important for businesses to harness the power of YouTube. For two main reasons. Number one, YouTube, is the second biggest search engine in the world. This means that when a customer is looking for a product or service, they’re going to go to YouTube as one of the biggest platforms to search online. It’s really important therefore to have some video content, so that your business can be discovered, your business can be found easily online. The second reason why it’s absolutely crucial to have some video content for your business, is because video content actually generates fantastic link juice, or SEO (Search Engine Optimisation/Optimization) for your website and your Facebook Business page. So by having some videos linked from your website and your Facebook page, your website and Business Facebook Page will rank higher just by the very fact that you’ve got some video clips linked from them.

It’s really important to start generating some video content for your business. It’s a great opportunity for you to be yourself, show your customers the human side of your business, make your videos fun and engaging, generate some great content and give your customers some important information. So that’s also another fantastic reason to have some YouTube content linked to your website and Facebook for Business fan page.

Now I’m just holding a mirror up to my camcorder, I just bought this a couple of weeks ago. I just wanted to show you that this is a very simple setup, so I’m just holding up a mirror just to show you how I’m recording this.

This little setup has cost me under a couple hundred dollars, it doesn’t need to be expensive.  You can actually set yourself up quite inexpensively. It’s really worth doing though, you can also record with your iPhone or SmartPhone. It’s just really important to start recording some video content for your business. If you’re used to taking photos, or writing blogs or articles or any other way that you generate content, it’s just important to start adding some video content to your business stream as well. and you will benefit from not only in the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation/Optimization) but you’ll also benefit from the fact that the discovery of your product will be a lot more readily available and that will drive sales to your door. So it’s really important to start getting some video content happening. It also allows you to engage your customers and provide some useful information to your fans. So I definitely recommend checking out my channel on YouTube called thelikeffect. Especially my first two videos are a great example of what not to do! My first couple of videos are very grainy and very poor lighting. But they’re great learning examples  of how not to shoot a video, but hey, I’m on a steep learning curve here  too guys. I’ve only just got this Camcorder and I’m also learning about video recording which I’ve never done before, so this is a new area for me too. But it’s definitely worth learning and definitely worth generating some video content.

And remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, YouTube is not about perfection . It’s more important to have some content and to have some YouTube clips recorded than not having any at all. The benefits in SEO and all the other benefits I’ve talked about far outweigh being perfect. So don’t worry about perfection. Don’t be self conscious about it. Just launch it. It’s better to have some content than not to have any content. So stay tuned to my channel, I will be filming alot more now that I’ve got this wonderful toy to play with and I look forward to connecting with you soon. Oh, and please do leave me a comment in the box below, like my Facebook page and I look forward to talking with you again soon.

The 7 Tweaks Every Business Needs to Apply to their Facebook Page

If you already have a Facebook Business Page, you may be missing out on some vital data. In this post Francesca shares the 7 optimisations (optimizations) every business needs to apply to their Facebook Business Page to ensure they are getting the most out of their Fan Page. You can watch this video here or read the transcript below….

Here’s a transcript of this video here….

Hi, I’m Francesca and I’m your Facebook Business Specialist. I’m at my Retreat in the beautiful Byron Bay hinterland and a lot of my clients lately have been asking me how to best optimise (optimize) their Facebook pages since the new timelines were released on 31st march.

Now, a Facebook Page is very easy to setup but what my clients are finding tricky is knowing what to do to best optimise their Pages so that search engines can easily find their businesses.

I’d like to share with you today my Top 7 Tips on how to best optimise (optimize) your Facebook Business Timeline. This is also called “SEO” or (Search Engine Optimistion” for your Business Facebook Page.

Firstly, the Cover Photo. Facebook has been very generous and the Cover Photo is the whole width of the page. My tip is ==> go crazy! Don’t hold back! Choose the most beautiful photo that represents your business. Choose the most appealing photo – it is the 1st thing that a new visitor will see. So make sure you capture the attention of a new visitor enough so that they feel compelled to click the Like button on your Page. Make sure it’s a high quality, high resolution photo and just remember, it can’t be a promotional photo or anything salesy so choose a fantastic photo that really represents your business overall.

My second tip is for the Profile Photo and Facebook allows 180×180 pixels for your Profile Photo. Most people use their logo or another great high quality photo here but my tip is to check how this photo actually looks when it’s used a thumbnail which is only 32×32 pixels, because it is this Profile Photo that is reduced down to a mini size as a thumbnail which is propagated all over Facebook when you leave a comment on another Page. So my tip is to check the thumbnail and if it looks squashed or strange or cropped in a weird way, then you can resize this photo to make it look good in both sizes. Get familiar with a photo editing program like PhotoShop or get a friend to do this for you. It is important to get this photo resized and uploaded so that it looks good in both sizes both as a Profile Photo and also as a small mini thumbnail size.

My third tip is about the Application Boxes. There are 4 of these that you can see straight away on the right hand side but you can actually have up to 12 of these if you click the triangular button on the right. The first application box must be your photos and you can’t change this. I do recommend your 2nd box to be your Likers. It is nice for a new visitor to see how many Likers you have, it is something that a new visitor will naturally look for. Now your App Boxes are meant to be a channel or view of your business. So my recommendation for App Boxes is to set up your 3rd box as a video channel. And I’ll tell you why. It’s because YouTube is the 2nd biggest search engine in the world. And a lot of people don’t know this, but YouTube is a very common place these days where customers are searching for products and services. YouTube is not only a place to find videos, customers are also now using it as a search engine like Google or Yahoo. My advice is to make sure that a customer can find your business on YouTube. This means you need to get some videos happening! Record them on your SmartPhone or check your digital camera as a lot of them will have a video recording function. Or perhaps you own a camcorder or can borrow one from a friend? But I will talk alot more about how to choose topics to video that are relevant for your business in another video. But if you’re stuck for ideas to record, then why not create a how-to series on a topic related to your business? That’s always a good place to start. Either way, it is important for you start generating some video content that you can upload into this 3rd App Box on your Facebook Business Page. Also so that you can load these videos into YouTube because by having some YouTube videos, this will start to generate a lot of link juice for the search engine optimisation (SEO) of your Facebook Page. Your website will also start to rank higher in all the search engines too. Simply having a presence on YouTube will have positive search engine impact for your business. Videos are really great content to have on your Facebook Page.

My fourth tip is about your vanity URL. This is the nice neat short link into your Facebook Page. When you first setup your Page, Facebook assigns a name that has lots of letters and numbers and it’s really long and quite unattractive. I do recommend applying for your nice and tidy Facebook vanity name so that you have an appealing short name that you can use on your business cards and also to link from your website. To do this just go to facebook.com/username and you can apply for your vanity URL there.

My fifth tip I’d like to share with you today is about the Description box, also called the About box. I see a lot of great descriptions on Facebook. You actually have 2 sentences to play with here so you need to describe your business as best you can and make this your best BIO ever.  But I see 2 things missing time and time again from many About boxes and one of those things is keywords. Make sure you include the core keywords that will link to your business in your About box. This will trigger a search not only in Facebook but also in other search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. This is so that when a customer is looking for a product or service that you offer, the keywords in your About Description will actually make your Facebook Page come up in their search when they type in those keywords. By including keywords in your About Box, you’re making your Facebook Page more easily found both in search engines and also within Facebook itself.

The 2nd thing I see missing a lot from the About Box is the URL that links back to the company’s main website. It’s really important to include the www. FullDomainName that links back to your primary website. Make sure it also includes the http:// at the start of the website name. The reason I recommend this, is because this makes your Facebook Page friendly to search engines so that they can more easily find you. This also ranks your primary website higher. So by including Keywords and a Hyperlink back to your main website from your About Box you will be generating quite a lot of search engine juice or Search engines optimisation (optimization) for your business. I talk lot about tips like this on how to optimise (optimize) your Facebook Page so that it’s more easily found in search engines, in my book. So it is important to setup your Facebook Page so that when a customer is searching for a product or service that you offer, that your business comes up first at the top of the list so that any new customer can easily find your business. Being optimised and having a Facebook Page that is search engine friendly is a great way to bring new business to your door.

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My sixth tip is about Highlights, Milestones and Pin Posts. One thing I found myself talking about with one of my clients this week is why it’s important to use the different types of posts in the course of a week. I do recommend mixing this up and using a variety of different posts during the course of a week simply to make your Page interesting enough so that a new visitor will more likely Like your Page. By mixing up the different types of posts, this also makes your Page engaging so that a Fan will visit your Page again. One of my clients also thought she could only pin a post that was recent. A lot of people don’t know that the pin posts that you can feature at the top of your page for 7 days, can actually be any posts from last week, last month or last year, so I just wanted to share with you that you can actually pin a post from the past. This means that if you have a successful post, one that attracted a lot of comments or Likes, why not run it again and feature it at the top of your page for 7 days? This will hopefully attract more Likes and more comments from new visitors since the post was successful before, so why not run it again?

My seventh tip is about the Friend Activity area. A lot of people haven’t noticed this yet but it’s on the right hand side in the middle of your new Timeline. This area shows the Friends that have Liked the business and Friends that have commented on your Page. The most important tip for this area is that it’s not only important to collect Likes, it’s also important to collect comments. So what I mean by this is, if a Fan leaves a comment on your page, make sure you respond to them within 24 hours. And keep the conversation rolling, because comments are 4-5 times more highly valued by Facebook than a Fan that only clicks Like on your post. Lots of comments on your Page show Facebook that people are actually interacting with your Page because Facebook knows that it’s harder to engage a Fan in a conversation than it is to just Like a post. It’s really important for you as a business to really cherish these comments, really engage your Followers. Because it’s one thing to have Likes and Likers, but the more highly commented your Page is, the higher your Facebook Business Page will rank in both Facebook searches and also in search engines. I know this sounds very interesting! But it’s also a proven fact. Again, we’re talking about really tweaking and optimising your Page here to get the best results so that your Facebook Page is as friendly as it can be to search engines. You really want your Facebook Page to rank as high as possible so that your business is more easily found by a customer that is searching for a product that you sell, so that you can be generating more sales.

So these are my top 7 tips to optimise your Facebook Business Timeline and I do I talk about lots and lots of these sorts of tips and tricks in my book so that you can best optimise (optimize) your Facebook Business Page for best results. So grab a copy if you’d love to read the juiciest information and the best methods to help you optimise (optimize) your Facebook Page to be more easily found both in Facebook and also on search engines. My book is called “Facebook Business Success in 10 minutes a day” and you can purchase this for $39.95 at this link here  and I promise you it will be the best 40 dollars you will ever spend…. and of course it’s tax deductible.

Buy eBook Now Only $39.95

My main message to you today is that it’s not only important to have a Facebook Page setup for your business so that you can keep social in this new online economy, but it’s also really important that you know how to setup your Facebook Page so that it has the most search engine juice that will allow your business to be easily found by customers. So you’re looking for tweaks and optimisations (optimizations) that will give you the best SEO.

If you loved this post and found it useful, please do leave me a comment in the box below, I’d love to hear from you. If you want more great tips like this please click the Like button (on the righ hand side of this page) and join my Facebook page on www.facebook.com/TheLikeEffect and you can receive all my updates there as well. So if you love this video, you know what to do, leave me a comment and Like my Page.

Thanks for watching and I’ll see you again soon.

Cheers

Francesca

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The New “Offer” Feature on the Facebook Business Timeline: “To Discount or Not to Discount?”

HOT OFF THE PRESS: Facebook Pages just rolled out a new feature last night on Business Timelines called “Offers”. Facebook have only made this feature available to a few businesses to start with but they say they will be rolling it out to more Business Pages over the coming weeks/months. Check out an offer we made today at SummerHills Retreat using this feature which attracted 2 x offer-takers within minutes….

Business Facebook Timeline new offers featureNotice that you can….

  • Upload a photo
  • Put in a description

The new Facebook Business Timeline Offers features also allows you to….

  • Enter an end date
  • Outline clear terms and conditions

It then allows your Facebook Fans to….

  • “Claim” the offer by clicking a “Get Offer” button directly visible on the offer box
  • See how many other people have “claimed” the offer

So, check your Facebook Business Timeline Page today. Do you already have the “Offers” feature available on your Timeline? If not, when the  “Offers” feature does roll around to your Business Facebook Page, what offer will you be making? Or will you not be making any offers at all?

Which brings me to some bigger questions that we all face as business owners…..

  • What do you think of the discount economy?
  • Does it degrade the value of your service?
  • Or does it give initial traction to a new product or service in your business?
  • Does it make the call-to-action very clear?

These are questions that we as business owners face every day and the root of all this is the big question “to discount or not to discount“. Here’s my thoughts on this:-

  1. Only discount if it suits your brand and brand values. If you are a high end product, then perhaps discounting is not in line with the ethos of your services
  2. If your products are mass market and are cheaper products to start with compared to your competitors, perhaps there’s no room to further discount
  3. Check the margins of your product, ensure that you can afford to discount
  4. Of course you can offer a discount below cost price to you, but only if you have a very good reason to do this. See below….
  5. Discounts are a great way to offload a product that has “gone stale” or is not selling very well. Often you can recoup your costs (or at least close to, which is better than recovering nothing at all)
  6. Discounting is one way to check if you have priced yourself out of the market. If your sales have reduced, perhaps your products are now overpriced compared to your competition? Offering discounts is a great way to keep you in the game. If your service is price-sensitive, your finger on the (price) pulse is important. Discounting is one way to re-gauge a price point in order to bring your price back into line with your competitors
  7. Discounts are a fantastic way to see if there is a new market you can tap into that you never had access to before. For example, when I was working in an Italian restaurant whilst at University, the owner always had a “specials” blackboard. Always keen to understand business even as a youngster, I asked her one day what was the benefit of the blackboard? She said simply in her broad Sicilian accent “Bella, it’s just testing. We test a new dish on the blackboard, and if it’s popular, we transfer it to the regular menu. If a new dish doesn’t sell on the blackboard, it’s won’t sell on the standard menu either” So at 18 years old I learnt that discounts are therefore a good way to “test” your product to see if it attracts a new set of customers to the different price-point or the different product
  8. Following on from the previous point, discounts are a great way to introduce a new product line. We’ve all seen “Introductory Offer Only” from time to time right? Offering a discount at the initial launch of a product tests the market to see if your new service has strong demand, and again is testing one price point for your product
  9. Discounts are a great way to keep your existing customers excited and interested in your business. The anticipation of the bi-annual Clarins skincare “free makeup bag and goodies with any purchase over $100″ kept me hooked on their skincare range for years!
  10. Discounts are a great way to generate buzz around your brand and this gets people talking about your business. {One-girlfriend-to-another-font} “Oh, did you hear that Business X is now offering 25% off those gorgeous black t-shirts with the moulded cuffs and tailored waist? Let’s duck down and grab a few”. By starting a conversation about your brand, this leads to new referrals (friends-of-friends giving you a big rap) and hopefully generates new customers
  11. Only discount a limited line. Don’t discount your whole range (unless you have a good reason to!) You still have to make money in the rest of your business during the discounting period. Ensure you stay profitable during the time of the offer
  12. Of course you can discount your whole range if you want to but consider limiting the number of offers to say, the first 100 or 1000 customers only. Once you reach that limit, cease the discount.
  13. If the discounted product has sold like hotcakes – you have a winner. Either reduce the price point permanently of that product to ensure regular trade in that area of your business, or offer a similar product again at that price. Either way, if you’ve sold the limit, your discount test has worked. So learn from it and implement changes to make this work for you by adding this product at this price to your regular product range (not on your specials list)
  14. Following on from the previous point, if you do decide to discount, make it for a short period only. An unlimited discount that seems to last forever actually erodes the appeal of the discount. The whole idea is to catch a customer’s attention to your company and the discount is merely a vehicle for attention. If your discount lasts forever, then the next time the same customer sees you, they will ignore your company (the product/brand has gone “stale”). Think: FRESH
  15. If you decide to run regular discounts, make sure they are different each time. This flows on from the last point. The next time a customer sees your business, the discount needs to be new to catch their eye
  16. Beware of the discounting mentality. This can be defined as, when a customer sees one discount, they may ask for more freebies because they assume you are desperate to offload the product. The subset of customers that ask for a discount on top of another discount are in the minority and are called “freeples” (people that scout and hunt for anything that is free). There is nothing wrong with this (I’m no stranger to a great bargain!), however there are ways to ensure you don’t get caught up in this cycle (see next point). It’s also important to remember and focus on  why you are discounting in the first place (any of the reasons above)
  17. Be very clear about the terms of the discount. Make sure the terms and conditions are written alongside the offer or point to where the T&C’s can be found. If the discount is not available with any other offer, then say this. If multiple discounts will run you at a loss, be very clear about this from the start and don’t allow multiple discounts to happen, regardless of how tempting it is to make the sale
  18. If discounting is not for you, why not offer a discount in a non-monetary way? Offer “two for one“? Or value add by “get X for free if you buy Y“. Perhaps offering a package deal could work better for your company where one item is reduced in the package provided other items are also purchased?

Either way, whether you decide to discount, value add, package deal or not, none of us are operating in a vacuum. With big cartel “group discount” machines operating around us for some time now and customers naturally magnetising towards the ease (and better price) of buying alot of their goods online, the traditional way we trade is no doubt in the decline. It is important therefore to at least consider how discounting fits into your business model. Whether you decide to discount or not, these questions need to be asked. And you may just decide to never discount, and that’s fine too, then your focus needs to be more on reputation management, brand awareness and brand engagement and that’s where Facebook can help! I cover all these areas in detail in my ebook Facebook Business Success in 10 minutes a day.

So what do you think about discounting? Do you discount, value-add or none of the above?

And if you need more help exploring the right direction for your business, just shout out and connect with me one-on-one or come on a business mentoring retreat with yours truly. Or if you simply love this post, drop me a comment in the box below, I would love to hear from you. Better still, Like my Facebook Page and let’s connect there.

Cheers Francesca