7 Ways to Use Social Media for Your Business (Besides Marketing!)

Most business owners think of their social media accounts as marketing tools. They create Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Google+ pages, Pinterest and Instagram accounts, and LinkedIn profiles – all in the hopes of expanding their marketing efforts. However there are many more ways to use social media for your business besides marketing! Here are 7 additional ways to use social media for your business: 1. Recruiting LinkedIn might be your first thought for finding and hiring professionals in your field. However you can also use other social media platforms as well. Create a detailed listing of what you’re looking for and post it on your social media accounts. Ask your friends and followers to apply – or share if they’re not interested in the position. It’s more than likely that a candidate who responds to your post will be more compatible than using a large, impersonal job board. 2. eCommerce Many ecommerce programs have custom apps that you can use to sell your products right on your social media account. For example, popular ecommerce platform, Big Commerce, has a free Facebook application which is used by more than 10,000 businesses to sell on Facebook. Your Facebook fans can browse products, make purchases, manage orders, redeem gift certificates, submit product reviews and more — without ever leaving Facebook. 3. Rewarding Your Customers Provide games, coupons, discounts and more for your customers using social media. People love getting free things – or a great deal. So encourage more interaction and reward your fans and customers on your social media accounts. It’s a win-win situation! 4. Branding your Business It’s important that...

Premium WordPress Theme Giveaway

It’s time for another giveaway! Enter our Premium WordPress Theme Giveaway! ThemeFuse has generously offered to provide three premium WordPress themes. And to sweeten the deal, I am also offering 6 months of free web hosting for each winner. I will even install WordPress and your new premium theme for you on your new Digital K web hosting plan for free! Update 4/23/2015: 3 winners have been randomly drawn from all the entries and have been notified. THE PRIZE: A premium WordPress theme from ThemeFuse plus… 6 months of free web hosting from Digital K plus … free installation of WordPress and your theme… A $419.70 value! THE WINNERS: There will be 3 winners. Each winner will receive the template of his/her choice from ThemeFuse plus 6 months of free web hosting through Digital K. DATES: The giveaway begins April 10, 2015 at 11:00 am CT. All entries must be received by April 21, 2015 at 11:00 pm CT. Winners will be notified on approximately April 22, 2015 at 11:00 am CT. ENTERING THE CONTEST:  Enter your email address in the Giveaway Form. Confirm your entry by clicking on the confirmation link that will be emailed to you. To increase your chances of winning, share on social media! Your confirmation email will include your lucky URL. You will receive 5 extra entries for every person who enters via your lucky URL! Update 4/23/2015: 3 winners have been randomly drawn from all the entries and have been notified. ABOUT THEMEFUSE: ThemeFuse has a variety of different designs, which are built around providing an efficient and professional theme for many different types of sites. They’re all...

10 Tips for High Quality Blog Posts and Web Pages

QuickSprout recently created an infographic of tips for a high quality website, including 10 elements you need to have on your web pages and blog posts. Below I have summarized each of their 10 tips in easy-to-read text format. And for those of you who prefer to view it in graphic format, I have also included their infographic at the bottom of this post. 1. Create content for your website visitors — not for search engines. Google rewards high quality, relevant content by giving it higher rankings in search results. So focus on writing in a style that’s helpful to your audience – not to the search engines. Create content for your website visitors - not for search engines. Click To Tweet   2. Write web pages and blog posts with at least 900 words of content. Top-ranking sites have 900 or more words of content per page. The ideal blog post length for SEO is between 2,000 and 2,450+ words long. Whereas the ideal blog post length from a reader’s perspective is 1,600 words long. Write web pages and blog posts with at least 900 words of content. Click To Tweet   3. Include an image or video for each main section of your web page or blog post. Content with images and videos is more engaging for your visitors; and they rank better with search engines. Include an image or video for each main section of your web page or blog post. Click To Tweet   4. Proofread your content. Grammar and spelling mistakes not only make you look less professional; but search engines might also penalize you for...

Customer Service and Social Media in 2015

The Rising Trend in Customer Service through Social Channels As we get started with business in 2015, let’s look to the marketing trends that will prevail this year. One such trend is the increasing importance of customer service and how customer service skills are being integrated into social media. As more consumers take to social media to communicate and complain to businesses, there is more of a need for social media teams to be trained in customer service tactics and techniques. Mobile Influencing the Rise of Social Media Customer Service Requests One of the reasons we are seeing this influx of social media inquiries that are customer service related is because of the increase in mobile shopping and mobile browsing. The weekend following Thanksgiving saw mobile search overtake desktop searches for the first time ever. Since so many consumers are already on their smartphone or mobile device, there is an increased tendency for them to use social media apps on those devices to contact those businesses. 45% of companies offering web or mobile self-service reported an increase in site traffic and reduced phone inquiries. (CRM Magazine) 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media site for servicing. (JDPower) 33% of users prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone. (Nielsen) 78% of active Twitter users are mobile. (Twitter) 81% of active Facebook users are mobile. (Facebook Newsroom) Increasing Importance of Customer Service Most companies are beginning to recognize the importance of providing an excellent customer experience and realizing that the success of their business hangs in the balance. Outsourcing customer service and customer support is...

Creating a Facebook Cover Image for the New 2014 Layout

Facebook recently announced that they will be rolling out a new look for Facebook pages. The updated Pages design has already rolled out to a small number of Pages and Facebook has said they will continue the roll-out over the next several weeks. With the new Timeline design, the large cover image at the top of your Page will be slightly modified. Here are the changes, using Guy Kawasaki’s updated Facebook page as an example:   The placement of the profile picture on top of the cover image has changed. It is moved up higher, covering up more of your cover image. So you will want to make sure it’s not covering up any important information that’s on your cover image. The Facebook Page Title and Category both appear on top of your cover image. This text appears to the right of your profile image. So you will want to make sure you don’t have any important text or graphics on your cover image that will be covered up by this text. Facebook Like, Follow, and Share buttons now appear on top of your cover image. These buttons appear on the bottom right side of your cover image, so again, make sure these new buttons aren’t covering up any important information on your cover image.   Image sizes remain the same: The cover image size stays the same at 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels high. If you upload an image that’s smaller than these dimensions, it will get stretched to this larger size. However to prevent distortion and ensure a high-quality image, I recommend uploading the recommended size of...

7 Reasons your Website needs a Redesign

People fear change. Marketers, focus groups, and even psychologists will tell you warn that shaking things up can do more damage than good. So the same must be true for your website, right? As long as it doesn’t look like a holdover from the Geocities era, surely you can just stick it out running with a classic? Giving your site a makeover is something that’s probably long overdue, and as long as it works better than the previous version, there’s little reason not to do it. But just in case you still need some convincing to begin remodeling, here are seven reasons your website needs a redesign: 1) Flaunt Your Features A few years ago, having a sterile, understated homepage was a way for businesses to say that they were serious, and not followers to fads or online trends. Now with HTML5 and a constantly-rising percentage of mobile browsing, creativity and shiny visual tricks are the calling cards of a business that makes it innovative and reliable. Not only is it important to use this technological shift to show off what you can do with your website, but with your line of products or services as well. 2) Make it Fit in a Pocket If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, whether that’s through a redirect to a full-featured mobile version, or it just functions terribly on phones, something must be done. In the era of smartphones, a site that doesn’t work on a phone is usually closed, and never returned to. That is a customer you might never see or hear from again. 3) It’s Not Up to Date Some...

Why Social Media Giveaways are Great for Brand Identity

One of the most memorable social media giveaways in recent months involved a football game, an insurance company, a likeable actor and $1.5 million. As Business Insider explained, Esurance aired the first Super Bowl ad after the game, and had “The Office” star John Krasinski explain that the money they saved by not running the commercial during the game totaled over one million dollars, which the online car insurance company chose to give away to one person who tweeted #EsuranceSave30. Not surprisingly, there was a flood of tweets by social media hopefuls, and for a short while, the Esurance hashtag spread like wildfire. The promotional giveaway certainly grabbed people’s attention, with Business Insider suggesting that Esurance may have won out over other companies for Super Bowl social media supremacy. Some businesses may salivate at such an opportunity to promote their brands so grandly in one fell swoop, but the truth is that most companies don’t have $1.5 million in the bank, let alone that much to save and subsequently give away. Fortunately brands don’t need such extravagances. Rather, Esurance’s move should be taken as a cue to the potential value of social media giveaways for the development of brand identity, as well as an opportunity for businesses to learn how to adapt such strategies to their own situation. Social Media, Supply and Demand Social media is now a widely accepted form of marketing, and businesses would be remiss not taking advantage of it. Business 2 Community offered some eye-opening statistics indicating as much, including: 86% of marketers agree that social media is important for their business; (tweet this) 92% of consumers trust social media recommendations more than any other...

Win a WordPress Theme for your Website or Blog

Do you have plans to create a new WordPress website — or redesign your current WordPress site? If so you just might be in luck because I’m hosting a giveaway. You can enter to win a WordPress theme for your website or blog! Keep reading to learn how to enter the giveaway. THE PRIZE: A premium template from TemplateMonster, a US-based template selling company. THE WINNERS: There will be 3 winners and each winner will get a template of his/her choice. There are more than 1,900 WordPress themes on templatemonster.com – and many of them are responsive. So go ahead and visit templatemonster.com to find the template you’d like to win. DATES: All entries must be received by February 10, 2014. 3 winners have been chosen and were contacted on February 11, 2014. Signup for our newsletter below to be informed of future giveaways: Receive our email newsletter with social media and website tips for your business. Simply submit your email address below, and click on the link in the confirmation email you will receive.   NOTE: Your email will never be disclosed or sold to any third parties. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the...

Free Pinterest Buttons – Winter 2014 Colors

Here’s another freebie for your blog: 10 Pinterest Buttons in winter colors! The buttons come in both a solid version and a semi-transparent version in 5 different colors from this winter’s PANTONE Fashion Color Report Collection. (In case you missed it — we also have Free Pinterest Buttons in Summer colors too!) The dimensions of each button are 57 pixels x 57 pixels. And they are in PNG file format. You can use these buttons in two different ways: To link to your Pinterest account, so your website visitors can follow you on Pinterest As a hover button on your blog images, so your website visitors can easily pin your images. Here are directions for how to do that: How to Add a Pinterest Hover Button to your Blogger Images How to Add a Pinterest Hover Button to your WordPress Images To download these free images, simply fill out the form below. You will then receive an email with a link you need to click on to confirm your email address. In addition to receiving the free Pinterest buttons, you will also automatically be signed up to receive our email newsletter. We hope you find our newsletter helpful to your business; but if you don’t — you can always unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the Unsubscribe link in our newsletters. (But we’ll hate to see you...

Social Media Automation: Making it Work for You

Small business owners know that time is a precious commodity. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of managing social media campaigns alongside everything else. Social media automation can help. The return on investment from social media activity also can be hard to identify. Yet don’t write it off too quickly. Some of the benefits of a strong social media presence are less obvious, but can still give your business a boost. Social Media’s Hidden Advantages In the first place, social media can help get the all-important search engines to notice you exist. These all pay close attention to social signals in their quest to deliver search results that best meet searchers’ needs. Anyone can self-promote, but genuine enthusiasm from web users is hard to fake.  If something is receiving social recommendations such as shares, likes or +1 votes, this is a good indication that they’re producing quality content. However, people can’t promote what they don’t know about.  An online presence on a variety of social media sites helps both humans and search engines to associate your brand with a particular service or product. For the search engines, the benefit comes from being seen to be relevant, which boosts your chances of ranking well in your niche. For consumers, it’s all part of building a reputation as someone who can fill a specific need. Never underestimate the power of a customer’s voice. Today’s web users research products and companies online before deciding who to trust with their business. What others say about you online can carry a lot of weight, particularly with younger consumers. BazaarVoice research found that...

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