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This question can be best answered by watching this video by equalman:

Now that you see the value of a Social Media Campaign for your company, where do you begin?

Many start with tactics. They add their business profile on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter and then ask themselves – now what? Or, worse still, they use the social networks to advertise their products without a full understanding of why they are there. What must be in place before implementing tools is a social media strategy. Here are 5 things to consider when building your strategy:

1. Research and listen – where do your existing and potential customers spend their time? (use industry keywords in Google Blog Search, Twitter Search or SiteVolume) What is being said about your company? (look at Google Alerts, SocialMention or Socialcast).
2. Identify goals – what is it you want to achieve with social media? To increase brand awareness, leads, conversion rates, etc? With an eye toward adding value, understand what your target audience cares about and wants to read, and publish and distribute content they need.
3. Begin a conversation – interaction is key to building trust, credibility and action among your prospective customers. (Conversation does not mean advertising to your audience as discussed in my previous post Using social media: how will you be human?) It does mean engaging with them. And, it means providing them with information they want, asking what they think and as a result, watching the volume of your fans and followers increase.
4. Define targets – interacting with your online community, becoming one of them, and writing compelling content, will help you gain momentum with prospects by allowing them to see how your business can help them. Conversion is an organic result of establishing trust online and people buy products from those they trust. Be sure to measure your progress using tools such as Google Analytics. And, as with any good strategy, identify weak areas and redefine your targets where necessary.
5. Establish parameters — as businesses using social media grows, so does the need to have a policy in place to help employees understand their role. The policy should set expectations of employee participation in both business and personal accounts which align with your company’s goals. Equally important is to have a crisis management policy to allow you to react quickly to a negative situation online about your company or brand.
What should I talk about?
Knowing what to say is probably one of the hardest things for those new to social media. Many businesses feel if they don’t make products, offer discount coupons, or are not a B2C company, they don’t have a real need for social media. But the fact is, no matter what product or service your company offers, social media provides a venue to engage with your existing and potential customers. It puts the control of improvements to products and services in the hands of your customers. Giving up control is tough, but critical for businesses to succeed with social media marketing. In return, businesses gain customer loyalty and trust through thought leadership without the direct sales pitch.

Still not sure what to say? Check out Alltop. It is a digital magazine rack where information is collected from different sources to help readers find sites of interest. It displays information you need on one aggregated page, listing the top 5 stories. To understand how it can be useful to you, read Eight Ways Marketers Can Benefit Using Alltop or How Business Can Benefit From Using Alltop. Alltop gives you industry news to share with your audience and saves you time. Which brings us to the next question …

How much time should I spend on social media marketing?
In his recent post How Much Time Should I Spend On Social Media #1 blogger and social media guru Chris Brogan talks about best practices for social media management. In a nutshell, he recommends spending about 2 hours a day, divided into chunks of time:

* Spend 1/4 of your time ”listening,” finding out what is being said about you, your competitors, your marketplace.
* Spend 1/2 of your time communicating to your audience. This is your time to connect with potential customers by making comments and replying to questions.
* 1/4 in creating content. Whether you’re blogging, writing e-newsletters or online articles, updating content is how you get found on search engines. (SEO is driven by updated content.)

Does 2 hours a day seem like too much time to dedicate to social media marketing? Consider the time and money you invest in SEO efforts, cold calling, conference calling, advertising campaigns, e-newsletters and customer visits. Social media reaches beyond territories, offering time-saving tools and an increase to Web site traffic at a fraction of the cost of other marketing methods.

How do I measure ROI?
Maybe you’re already convinced why you should use social media marketing. One question remaining is likely to be: How do I measure my return on investment? How do I sell it to company stakeholders? The ROI question is probably the biggest obstacle when trying to get buy-in from senior executives. Measuring social media ROI and its effect on the bottom line is still a challenge for even the best marketers. In Dirk Shaw’s recent post Moving beyond social media metrics to business outcomes he talks about early social media metrics having a loose tie to business goals, which raised the question whether social media could do anything for business. In a later post How do you report social media success? he examines how social media activity impacts business outcomes, which is key to achieving executive sponsorship. Also, How to Measure Social Media ROI for Business a post from Mashable offers tips on qualitative and quantitative measurement. And, if you still want more, read 6 Must Read Posts about the ROI of Social Media.

Social media strategy and ROI have yet to be clearly defined. As social media continues to grow and change, networks like Facebook and Twitter are looking for ways to monetize their own businesses, and will continue their efforts in making social media marketing more appealing (and profitable) for business leaders who will help keep them afloat.
This article is a compilation of ideas.
Deb Durkey, Social Media Director for Systemware, Inc.
http://www.SocialInternetExpertise.com

Excerpt from Linked in Q & A Dec 4, 2009
Question asked by
Dave Schneider, Sr. Vice President / Director of Client Services at Tribal DDB Chicago, IL
Answer:
Deb Durkey, President of Social Internet Expertise, Dallas, Texas

Q: 2009 is nearly done and gone. As the recession starts to break and we all get back to the “new normal” of business, what will digital marketing look like on the other side as we enter 2010? Several of our clients are starting to show an increased desire to be significantly more aggressive across all digital marketing platforms. What do you see? What opportunities are starting to emerge?
Answer:
Deb Durkey, President of Social Internet Expertise, Dallas, Texas
A: I teach Social Media and conduct training workshops for Small Business owners in the Dallas, Texas area. Small business is, without question, the heart of American business! I see an intense level of business interest in Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and LinkedIn here. This is going to increase for all of next year. These business owners have all sorts of range in computer skills, from excellent to…well…marginal. I let them know that Social Media is important, but it is not the whole picture for their business internet presence. I let them know that they still need to have a killer website (or two, or three), SEO and a great PPC campaign. That’s hard to wrap their mind around when they have a homemade template website and don’t understand what the above terms mean. I bring them information about how long it takes to develop a following on social internet. And the weekly commitment it takes to “link in” and “follow” and “find friends”. Then I explain that everything they do on social media is done to support their entire web presence and internet marketing plan. Everything must tie together and work together to bring in new business and revenue. I foresee that social media is going to raise the level of awareness among small business owners who have previously avoided the need to have a comprehensive internet marketing strategy for their business this year. This should bode well for reasonably priced website developers in the United States. And it will also help these small business owners quickly recover financially from the recession, simply because they are making this new investment in their business.

6
Secrets you MUST do for your Small Business to Succeed in 2010!
No Mystery here! And many of you may know some of these “secrets”. But are you doing ALL? And are you doing them with commitment and longevity?
Doing these things all the time and keeping it up is essential for 2010!

1. Website/Social Media/Blog
 Your website is the “Mother Ship” of your marketing plan for 2010 and the Social Media shines spotlights on it! Your website’s primary function is to drive or PUSH traffic to your business. Social Media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn PULL traffic to your business. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook have revolutionized the ability for businesses to reach out and touch former customers as well as finding new customers and referrals.
 If you don’t have a great website…GET ONE! Prices have come down if you shop around.
 Look at your Website with your developer and evaluate any improvements that need to be made for 2010. Can you capture emails on your website? Phone number and contact information on every page?
 Videos This year start making videos and post them to all of your internet venues. Twitter, Linked In and Facebook
Complete your profiles with pictures.
Add content at least twice a week or more
Post all of your blogs here
Post all of your videos here
Use *keywords unique to your industry in all of your wording on these postings and blogs
2. Networking Business to Business
 Get out in the neighborhood and meet your business neighbors!
 Networking is a two way street, ask your neighbors what you can do for them first!
 It takes 5-7 visits to make and impact and develop a reciprocal referral source.
 This is a long term commitment and will result in lasting relationships, good will and referrals.
3. Networking Business Groups
 Join one or two local business networking groups, BNI is a good organization, Chamber of Commerce is another.
 This is a once a week commitment. DO IT! It will pay you back hundred fold.
 Delegate one person in your organization who will be the “face” of your company, if you have to. But there is nothing like the owner/president/general manager being the “face” of the company!
4. Network through Community Service
 Pick one service organization, Rotary, Altrusa, Junior League or similar.
 Volunteer, attend the meetings, and develop relationships.
 Remember, even in service and volunteer organizations, referrals are a two way street.
5. Become a local Expert
Plan to hold some events at your place of business this year. At these events you will give a talk/lecture on your area of expertise. This will help to establish you as a local expert and provide great visibility and new networking opportunities for your business.
 Be Informative, Relevant and above all Interesting!
 Do a press release.
 Phone all the people you have invited two days before the event.
 Market your event to all the people in your business networking groups.

 Market your events to everyone in your database. Using Constant Contact or similar.
 Devote yourself to your DATABASE in 2010! Get it organized and keep it that way. This is EQUITY to your company. It will pay off in $$$.
 Have all of your employees practice a one minute “commercial” of your business that they can say when circulating with the guests at your event.

6. Advertising Cost Relief
Cut back your print ad budget in 2010. Go with Networking. One-to-one in person networking and Social Internet Networking. One-to-one Networking is inexpensive compared to print ads, and depending on your industry, more effective. Social Internet costs nothing except time. Value is HUGE!
 Expenses you will incur:
 Printing expenses
 Membership dues for professional business networking organizations
 Staff time and wages for the hours spent in networking planning and activities.

The dollar value of referrals and business gained through your efforts in early 2010 may be hard to estimate at first, but the return on investment in the long run is PRICELESS!

Author: Deb Durkey, President
Social Internet Expertise
Business Facebook ,Twitter and LinkedIn in DFW
Social Internet Marketing and Strategies
Email Blasts with Constant Contact
Business Blogging
durkey2@sbcglobal.net
Blog: http:// http://www.durkeygurl.wordpress.com
http:// http://www.facebook.com/SocialInternetExpertiseDFW
http://.Twitter.com/Durke
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedIn.com/in/DebDurkey
Website: http://www.SocialInternetExpertise.com
***KEYWORDS if you don’t understand what your keywords for your industry are, ask your web developer or your SEO manager.

No Mystery here! And many of you may know some of these “secrets”. But are you doing ALL? And are you doing them with commitment and longevity?
Doing these things all the time and keeping it up is essential for 2010!

1. Website/Social Media/Blog
 Your website is the “Mother Ship” of your marketing plan for 2010 and the Social Media shines spotlights on it! Your website’s primary function is to drive or PUSH traffic to your business. Social Media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn PULL traffic to your business. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook have revolutionized the ability for businesses to reach out and touch former customers as well as finding new customers and referrals.
 If you don’t have a great website…GET ONE! Prices have come down if you shop around.
 Look at your Website with your developer and evaluate any improvements that need to be made for 2010. Can you capture emails on your website? Phone number and contact information on every page?
 Videos This year start making videos and post them to all of your internet venues. Twitter, Linked In and Facebook
Complete your profiles with pictures.
Add content at least twice a week or more
Post all of your blogs here
Post all of your videos here
Use *keywords unique to your industry in all of your wording on these postings and blogs
2. Networking Business to Business
 Get out in the neighborhood and meet your business neighbors!
 Networking is a two way street, ask your neighbors what you can do for them first!
 It takes 5-7 visits to make and impact and develop a reciprocal referral source.
 This is a long term commitment and will result in lasting relationships, good will and referrals.
3. Networking Business Groups
 Join one or two local business networking groups, BNI is a good organization, Chamber of Commerce is another.
 This is a once a week commitment. DO IT! It will pay you back hundred fold.
 Delegate one person in your organization who will be the “face” of your company, if you have to. But there is nothing like the owner/president/general manager being the “face” of the company!
4. Network through Community Service
 Pick one service organization, Rotary, Altrusa, Junior League or similar.
 Volunteer, attend the meetings, and develop relationships.
 Remember, even in service and volunteer organizations, referrals are a two way street.
5. Become a local Expert
Plan to hold some events at your place of business this year. At these events you will give a talk/lecture on your area of expertise. This will help to establish you as a local expert and provide great visibility and new networking opportunities for your business.
 Be Informative, Relevant and above all Interesting!
 Do a press release.
 Phone all the people you have invited two days before the event.
 Market your event to all the people in your business networking groups.

 Market your events to everyone in your database. Using Constant Contact or similar.
 Devote yourself to your DATABASE in 2010! Get it organized and keep it that way. This is EQUITY to your company. It will pay off in $$$.
 Have all of your employees practice a one minute “commercial” of your business that they can say when circulating with the guests at your event.

6. Advertising Cost Relief
Cut back your print ad budget in 2010. Go with Networking. One-to-one in person networking and Social Internet Networking. One-to-one Networking is inexpensive compared to print ads, and depending on your industry, more effective. Social Internet costs nothing except time. Value is HUGE!
 Expenses you will incur:
 Printing expenses
 Membership dues for professional business networking organizations
 Staff time and wages for the hours spent in networking planning and activities.

The dollar value of referrals and business gained through your efforts in early 2010 may be hard to estimate at first, but the return on investment in the long run is PRICELESS!

Author: Deb Durkey, President
Social Internet Expertise
Business Facebook ,Twitter and LinkedIn in DFW
Social Internet Marketing and Strategies
Email Blasts with Constant Contact
Business Blogging
durkey2@sbcglobal.net
Blog: http:// http://www.durkeygurl.wordpress.com
http:// http://www.facebook.com/Social Internet Expertise
http://.Twitter.com/Durke
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedIn.com/in/DeborahDurkey
Website: http://www.SocialInternetExpertise.com
***KEYWORDS if you don’t understand what your keywords for your industry are, ask your web developer or your SEO manager.

To fully utilize Linked In as a Business Marketing tool more business people need to recommend each other. Give a recommendation to each person as you link up to them. (only if you really know them, of course) Tell in the recommendation how much you respect their business expertise, or what a great job they did when you hired them. Then recommend the Businesses that you can personally vouch for to other business link-ups on Linked In. Give, give, give and you will receive.

Try to target your link-ups who might be able to use the business you are recommending. (Obviously, you would not refer a plumbing company in Dallas to a business link-up Washington, DC) Send an individual email to each one. Tell them how great this plumbing businesses’ services are and don’t forget to ask them to refer this business to all of their Linked In link-ups. Linked In can work just as word of mouth business networking, but it is virally huge. The key is…. business people have to work it. Give, give, give and you will get Dollars.

To illustrate this concept so you will understand what I am saying: You need to start collecting link-ups on Linked In. As many as you can. Right now on Linked in I consult for a business in DFW that is Linked In to 64 other businesses as a first degree link. These 64 business people are linked in to 15,300 other business people
(mostly in the DFW area), as a first degree link. First Degree link means they can directly send these people an email without paying a fee. These 15,300 people are linked in to 1,518,000 people as a first degree link. That is 1,518,000 people mostly in the DFW area! Think about it!

If you do your recommendation for your 64 people, you can in turn, expect that they will do the same for you and your business. All of these 64 recommendations can be publically seen on your Linked In home page.

The next step is, everyone now sends a direct email to all of their contacts and says something like “ I’d like to recommend a business to you that has done an outstanding job for me when I hired then to fix the plumbing in my building. ABC Plumbing owned by Fred Mertz. I’ve known Fred professionally for 5 years. And I have used him numerous times for plumbing repairs at my business and my home. Please add ABC Plumbing to the top of your list when you or anyone you know needs a good plumber.” Now a business link-up has recommended your business to another business.

Most important, you are getting a direct recommendation for your business from someone who knows and trusts you to 1 Million people in the DFW area! And this is completely free!

Everyone who owns a small business needs to learn how to utilize this Linked In business marketing tool! If they don’t have time to work it and monitor it themselves, consider outsourcing to a professional.

Linked In has rules and you need to know them if you want to maximize it’s no cost potential. Otherwise you can get partially shut down on the service. Basically, you give and give and never expect anything in return. But when you refer & recommend, you get referrals back. It’s the unwritten rule of social internet marketing.
Get your small business on board with social internet marketing and I know you can kick some butt!

Facebook is similar to Linked In in it’s business marketing viral hugeness and it is growing rapidly. Facebook has a lot of potential that Linked In does not have. This topic will be explored in my next blog.


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