Google social

How to Add Social Media Links to Your Google Search Profile

Google recently published instructions for adding code to your nonprofit’s website so that your social media profiles will appear in your website’s Google Profile, like in the example below.

Currently, Google only supports these social profiles:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Myspace

To add your social media profiles to your website’s Google Profile, follow these simple steps:

  1. Make sure you have the ability to add script to your website’s backend. If you don’t, send these instructions to your website developer.
  2. Copy and paste the following code into a plain text document:
    <script type="application/ld+json">
    { "@context" : "http://schema.org",
      "@type" : "Organization",
      "name" : "Your Organization Name",
      "url" : "http://www.your-site.com",
      "sameAs" : [ "http://www.facebook.com/your-profile",
        "http://www.twitter.com/yourProfile",
        "http://plus.google.com/your_profile"] 
    }
    </script>
    
  3. Add the name of your organization to the ”name” section of the script.
  4. Add your website to the “url” section of the script.
  5. Add your social media links to the ”sameAs” section of the script.
  6. Copy and paste your edited script into the head or body of your webpages. If you use WordPress, you should place this script where you place analytics or retargeting scripts.
  7. Troubleshoot your script with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
linkedin

Why Does Your Business Need LinkedIn?

These days in the business world, relationships matter more than ever. People tune out irrelevant or promotional messages. But they do want to engage with companies that focus on sharing useful and relevant information and content. The companies that inform and engage aren’t just selling — they’re building relationships.

LinkedIn is where, by far, the largest number of professionals gather to stay connected and informed, advance their careers, and work smarter. More than 467 million professionals are on LinkedIn. These are the decision makers, influencers, and leaders of today and tomorrow — the people you want to target, all in one place.

On LinkedIn, we have:
• 61 million senior-level influencers
• 40 million decision makers
• 10.7 million opinion leaders
• 6.8 million C-level execs
• 3 million MBA graduates

Professionals are not just coming to LinkedIn in huge numbers; they’re engaging with a huge purpose. They’re coming specifically to connect to networks, brands and opportunities by engaging with high-quality content across the LinkedIn platform. This is a very different mindset and intent from other social media platforms; we’re driven by our members’ professional aspirations. The world’s professionals come to LinkedIn for: • Industry news • Expert advice • Career training • Peer insights and recommendations • Content published by LinkedIn’s 500+ Influencers

The World’s Professionals Come to LinkedIn for Knowledge

There are 2 million publishers posting fresh content on LinkedIn — along with peer posts in the Feed, long-form content, LinkedIn Groups and 7 million brand-managed company pages. LinkedIn is the definitive professional publishing platform, where our members come to learn, share and get inspired.

LinkedIn
Source: “LinkedIn Announces First Quarter 2016 Results,” LinkedIn, 2016

LinkedIn is a platform enabling sophisticated marketers to forge relationships with these professionals. In fact, this is the first time in the history of media you can engage with the world’s professionals in one place. It’s no wonder LinkedIn has quickly become the go-to content publishing platform for marketers.

Quality Audience

Why are the world’s professionals now gathering in this one place, on LinkedIn? Because the people you’re looking to market to are just like you and me. We’re all searching for the right destinations to find the best information, and there are actually fewer places where we’re gathering in large numbers. With LinkedIn, you’re reaching a quality audience in a professional context. And, you can engage them in a very meaningful way: by sharing valuable content with products tailored to how professionals engage. By doing so, you become part of your audience’s conversations and education on the platform.

LinkedIn Announces

All it takes is a sophisticated marketer who seizes the opportunity to engage them. What do we mean by a sophisticated marketer? The idea of being a sophisticated marketer comes from the transition of social media marketing from pure theory to effective use. But marketers can’t just “do” social. Now they need to produce results and actionable insights in order to prove the value of their efforts. Fortunately, we are no longer forced to take a spray-and-pray approach to getting our messages heard in the noisy world of social. The technology is in place that allows us to adopt a much more refined approach — sophisticated if you will — to social media marketing, using the world’s largest professional network.

Sources: “B2B Marketing 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America,” Content Marketing Institute/ Marketing Profs. Webbiquity, 2013. “LinkedIn for B2B Lead generation” infographic, Oktopost as shared by business2community.com, 2014.

If Twitter is where you go to meet people you don’t know and Facebook is where you go to talk with people you already know, then LinkedIn is where all of you can meet up to get stuff done together.

How are marketers getting it wrong with LinkedIn?

Basically marketers do these three things wrong:
• Selling too much
• Not making use of the tools
• Not realizing its potential

Selling

I always tell people you will never sell your stuff on LinkedIn. The likelihood of someone seeing an update you have posted on how you sell the best gadget and then buying Expand Your Network of Influencers. LinkedIn is about creating relationships with people. Once you have established a connection and are moving from the “know” each other to the “like and trust” each other level of engagement — only then do you have a good chance of sharing your products and services with someone likely to purchase them. But these relationships take effort and nurturing. Establishing that sense of “like and trust” might seem like a lot of work, but the payoff can be monumental. Getting people to buy from you on LinkedIn means a time investment, but to me it is well worth it.

Tools

LinkedIn has so many cool little tools. My favorite is their “Sharing Bookmarklet.” To find the Sharing Bookmarklet, you just come down to the “Tools” link and then on the right hand side click on the tab that says “Sharing Bookmarklet.” Drag the Bookmarklet button up to your browser bar. Then no matter what web page you’re on, all you have to do is click on the ‘share on LinkedIn’ link and you can easily share that page. Not all websites are LinkedIn-centric. So if you find a website, blog post, or article that doesn’t have the LinkedIn share button, you can still share it by clicking on the “Share on Ask the Expert” button. You can post the page as an update or as a tweet. You can post it to your Groups by clicking the Group option, then typing in the name of the LinkedIn Groups you wish to share the post with. You can even send it to an individual. This is a very quick and easy way to post helpful, useful, and interesting content with your network. These updates will show up on your connection’s homepage as well as in your profile under “Activity.”

Potential

Hopefully some of the things I have mentioned will open a few eyes to the potential of LinkedIn. There is just so much you can do with it. It is a completely underutilized tool from Groups to Company Pages and beyond. But I guess that’s why I have a job! If you have questions about how it can help with prospecting, lead gen, relationship building, and top of mind awareness, please feel free to reach out to me!

social engagement

How to Attract Massive Social Shares

Psychology Tactic #1: Use Images of People

How to Attract Massive Social Shares? Social media posts that include an image perform better and see 2.3x more engagement on average than image-free posts.

But you probably already knew that.

Where you may be messing up is the type of image you share. You can’t just add any stock photo and expect your post to inspire and delight the masses.

After all, you’re competing with crazy cat videos and a never-ending slew of hilarious memes. So to combat these attention-stealers, start posting more photos of yourself and your work crew on social media. Sound kinda cray? Trust me, it’s not too far-fetched.

Photos with faces see a 38% increase in likes on Instagram than face-free snapshots.

Why?

Because research proves we can’t help but become captivated by the human gaze. And we’ve been powerless to resist this since we were diaper-clad infants. Psychologist Robert Frantz discovered during one study that infants looked at images with black-and-white human faces twice as long as they did when peeping pictures of a bullseye target. This makes sense for babies as they’re instinctively looking for their caretaker (and their next meal), but we as adults haven’t grown out of this.

We’re still majorly drawn to human faces.

And when we look at attractive faces, as it turns out, the reward system in our brain lights up like fireworks on the Fourth. We experience an initial burst of feel-good hormones, which makes us enjoy and relish in the moment of those feelings for as long as we possibly can.

What does this mean for your posts?

How to Use This in Your Social Media Strategy

If you’re determined for more engagement, it’s time to stop hiding behind the camera. No, we’re not suggesting that every post turns into a selfie, but we are saying you need to cut the coyness. Your audience wants to see the real people behind your brand. They want to connect with who they’re buying from. It’s totally possible to accomplish this task without amassing a Kim Kardashian trove of selfies and turning off your followers.

Just check out how writer and entrepreneur Marie Forleo does this on her Instagram:

instagram

Out of these nine photos, a third of them include pictures of Forleo.

While she balances the photos of herself by including shots of flowers, her dog, and a few positive quotes, she also maintains an authentic vibe by avoiding selfies and posed shots.

This key choice makes all the difference.

When we study the response from her followers, we see that her photo with Star Wars garnered over 2,700 likes as opposed to the 1,700 she received for her pink bloom.

instagram followers
instagram followers

Her candid moment with Darth Vader also earned her 93 comments, far more than the 64 responses to her flower post.

instagram followers
instagram followers

Giving your audience a way to see and connect with who’s behind the brand (i.e., you and your team) makes engaging second nature for them.

Psychology Tactic #2: Build Curiosity

Back when we were evolving from our caveman days, curiosity helped us explore uncharted territories in search of the best food, shelter, tools, and water sources.

Fast forward to today and we’re still curious adventurers.

Except instead of roaming the Sahara, we’re scrolling through the vast internet on the hunt for new information.

We love reading the news to learn about what’s going on in the world.

We check our social feeds a zillion times throughout the day to see what’s new and fresh.

We read tutorials, watch how-to videos, and listen to podcasts from successful gurus all to satisfy our desire to have more knowledge than we currently do.

Curiosity compels us to seek out and learn more.

And you can harness this inherent curiosity for higher engagement rates by strategically teasing your followers on social media.

How to Use This in Your Social Media Strategy

The ladies of Tone It Up know how to pique their audience’s interest with curiosity-driven Insta posts:

Social Media Strategy

Their followers see that new workout videos are on the horizon, but they have no idea when they’re coming or what they’ll even be.

Loyal followers will be on the lookout for this new content and casual lurkers may be coaxed into hitting the “Follow” button to make sure they don’t miss out when the videos go live.

Users are more likely to pay attention to your upcoming announcements to see what’s in store if you don’t give it all away up front.

So as you’re busy working on your latest and greatest project, snap a shot while it’s still a work in progress and check out the response you get.

You’ll either see a boost of excitement from your followers, or you may stop what you’re doing and change direction if they don’t seem thrilled about it (or inspire a better idea).

Either way, the engagement you receive will ultimately help you create better content that resonates with the people who matter most (your audience).

And by combining this game plan with our next tactic, you’ll reap double digit engagement rates at a minimum.

Psychology Tactic #3: Use Fear or FOMO Wisely

Along with curiosity, the fear of missing out on the next viral video, trending topic, or social event forces many of us to keep our smartphones glued to our face.

That’s because the FOMO is real, y’all.

It’s the driving force for us to even use social media.

Be honest: When you first wake up, is your go-to move to hop on social media to see what everyone’s been up to while you’ve been away?

For most of us, this has become the only way we know how to start our day.

You can blame FOMO for this.

We naturally experience a feeling of regret or anxiety when we see other people having more fun or trying new things without us.

We end up thinking that if we don’t constantly check in, we’re bound to miss something funny or important.

So we check in as often as possible.

It’s this exact tendency that makes FOMO a good strategy to use in your social media plan.

How to Use This in Your Social Media Strategy

Have an upcoming event or webinar you’re promoting? What about an exclusive group you’re creating?

Instead of only promoting the benefits of what your audience can expect when they sign up, show them what happens if they don’t follow your call to action.

Basically, give them a taste of FOMO.

Tim Eisenhauer created a sense of financial FOMO with just one tweet:

one tweet

If his audience doesn’t sign up for his app, they’ll probably miss out on the latest IPO.

For savvy investors, this could mean losing the chance to make a crap ton of money.

As research shows, losing something (or feeling as if you’ve lost out on something) hurts us twice as much as the pleasure we receive from gaining something.

It explains why some people hate to lose more than they love to win.

Head, Heart & Hustle also knows how to instill a sense of FOMO in their audience.

tweet

They hope when followers read their tweet, they’ll feel compelled to subscribe to their podcast so they never miss the latest episode or interview.

For creative business owners, the advice shared here could lead to a breakthrough in their own endeavor so of course they’ll want to stay in the loop.

Play around with creating a sense of FOMO for your audience.

Find out what your audience stands to lose if they don’t follow through with your call to action — and tell them about it straight up.

You can also use FOMO to help you tackle the next tactic.

Psychology Tactic #4: Focus on Inclusivity

According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, we all have a hierarchy of needs:

hierarchy of needs

But where does eating Oreos on the couch and watching Netflix fit in?

When we meet our physiological need for food and water and find a safe place to sleep (safety), our next goal is finding love and a sense of belonging.

Because as it turns out, no man is an island.

Psychologists Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary say it’s part of our human nature to form and maintain positive relationships with the people around us.

If we don’t feel included or interact and engage with others on a frequent basis, we’re likely to feel isolated and depressed.

That’s why our pack mentality doesn’t stop when we roll out of high school.

human nature

The best way to feel included is to find others who share the same values and welcome you with virtual bear hugs.

Thanks to #hashtags that act as filters, all it takes is a few clicks to browse profiles of users with similar interests, challenges, and goals all around the globe.

How to Use This in Your Social Media Strategy

Instagram fitness buff Zoe Rodriguez of ZBody Fitness gives a solid example of exactly how to capitalize on our need to belong:

Social Media Strategy

In her photo, she’s not only instructing her audience to join her booty workout revolution, she’s letting them know that 20,000 people have already done so.

Even though Rodriguez sold over 20k copies to prove she’s a trusted booty expert (something I had no idea was a thing until this guide), it’s her action words like “join” and “revolution” that give followers the push to join her tribe.

By creating an inclusive environment, you’ll foster an engaged group of followers who want to be part of everything you do.

Rodriguez probably could have sold double the copies if she took advantage of our next social media tactic: creating a sense of urgency.

Psychology Tactic #5: Create Urgency

Urgency also creates a sense of loss for people.

If they don’t act soon enough, they’ll miss out on a worthwhile offer or event — hello again, FOMO.

But to avoid this situation, readers have to know they have a limited window of time to follow through your calls to action before their chance disappears.

It’s up to you to create that urgency and compel your followers to act ASAP.

So how do you use this tactic to your advantage?

How to Use This in Your Social Media Strategy

Let’s dissect a post from the awesome ladies of Simple Green Smoothies.

Here, they’re introducing their 21-day seasonal cleanse:

Social Media Strategy

They start out with a punchy, funny opener to grab everyone’s attention.

Then they give their followers all the info about what the Fresh Start program’s all about — including where they can hunt down more information if they have questions.

As users scroll further down the post — and subsequently deeper into their social post’s funnel — they’re greeted with a special early bird discount.

Social Media Strategy

Sign up early and you’ll receive access to a live community cleanse via a private Facebook group. Pretty neat.

Now here’s where the urgency comes in:

Followers only have two weeks to snag this exclusive offer.

If they don’t act fast, they’ll lose out on the $30 private group access that won’t cost them a dime if they make a decision to sign up right now.

While we can’t see how many sales were actually closed, we can see that the post attracted over 700 likes and about 20 comments.

Use this strategy in your social media posts and you’ll see a boost in engagement (and sales) as well.

Our next and final tactic has good vibes written all over it so you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the engagement it brings you.

Psychology Tactic #6: Use Reciprocity

Just like avoiding loss is part of our human nature, so is reciprocity.

Robert Cialdini, psychologist and author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, found that when we’re given a gift, we feel a strong urge to return the favor.

And this gift is not only limited to tangible items.

Cialdini found that reciprocity holds true for everything from party invites to random acts of kindness.

If you’re feeling cynical, enjoy this next bit of cold, hard research.

In these two studies, researchers discovered:

  • Customers forked over more money for a tip when they received a small piece of chocolate with their bill (3% increase)
  • If the server delivered a mint and made eye contact with their customer, their tip went up by as much as 20%

These simple, small gestures were enough to convince patrons that they should return the thoughtful gift in the form of a little extra cash for the tip.

That’s reciprocity in action.

But how does this translate in the world of social media?

How to Use This in Your Social Media Strategy

If you give valuable content to your audience, you’re more likely to see the favor returned: fact.

But asking for this favor to be reciprocated won’t work.

So instead of forcing your followers to like, share, or comment on your post, give them a reason to on their own.

Here’s a great example of this in the real world.

Caroline Kelso-Zook of Made Vibrant creates a monthly lettering challenge for her readers.

Social Media Strategy

She sends the deets to her email list and dedicates a special page on her site just for the challenge.

Social Media challenge

She also devises a clever #hashtag every month to round up the contributions made by her fans in one place.

So far, #expandyourstyleApril has over 700 posts.

Social Media post

Kelso also shouts out the winners of her challenge in a separate post.

Conveniently, this also introduces the next challenge so the engagement train keeps on keeping on.

Social Media post
followers and likes

These posts garner triple digit likes without Caroline ever having to ask for a like, comment, or share.

For the price of one prize — in her case less than $20 for the art supplies — she gets her audience excited, involved, and engaged.

Instead of watching from the sidelines, many participate and share their art on their social media walls, which gains additional promotion for Kelso-Zook and her Made Vibrant brand.

To practice the art of reciprocity, consider giving away one-on-one coaching sessions, access to a small coaching group, or your latest digital product.

These small tokens of appreciation will go a long way with your audience.

Want Other People To Share Your Articles 24/7?

I bet — that sounds amazing.

It’s pretty powerful once you use the tips in this guide to create insanely shareable stuff AND get others to share for you.

That’s why we created this free 77 page Ebook to show you all the ways you can get your audience to share your content.

Written by Devan Ciccarelli

How to become a designer

I got my job as a designer without going to design school. I had hacked together my own design education in 6 months while working a full-time job. I didn’t think I was ready but started applying for jobs anyway – and got a job at a great startup, Exec.

To be clear, I’m nowhere near as good as those design prodigies that come out of a 4-year education at an elite school like RISD. But I’m definitely good enough to do my job well. I’m the only designer at Exec, so I do a pretty wide range of things – visual and interaction design, print, web, and mobile app design.

Maybe you want to change careers and become a designer full-time.
Or you want to learn some basics for your startup or side project.

This is a guide to teach yourself design.

Update: I first published this blog post over a year ago. Since then I’ve gotten hundreds of emails asking for more guidance and easier to follow steps, and I finally found one: Designlab. This course wasn’t around when I was learning, but man do I wish it was – it would have made the whole process a lot less daunting. What I really like about it is that it gives you project assignments, and then connects you to a design mentor who gives you feedback (they have really good ones who work at Facebook).

Step 1. Learn to see
The biggest mistake is jumping into Photoshop too fast. Learning Photoshop does not make you a designer, just like buying paintbrushes does not make you an artist. Start with the foundation.

First, learn how to draw.

  • You don’t have to sit in a room with a bunch of other artists trying to draw a naked woman.
  • You don’t even have to get that good at drawing. Just learn some basics so you can be comfortable sketching with a pen.
  • You only have to do one thing to learn how to draw: get the book You Can Draw in 30 days and practice for half an hour every day for a month. I’ve looked at a lot of drawing books and this is one of the best.

Learn graphic design theory

  • Start with the book Picture This. It’s a story book of Little Red Riding hood, but will teach you the foundations of graphic design at the same time.
  • Learn about color, typography, and designing with a grid. If you can find a local class to teach the basics of graphic design, take it.
  • Go through a few of these tutorials every day.

Learn some basics in user experience

Learn how to write

  • Here is a sure sign of a bad designer: their mockups are filled with placeholder text like Lorem Ipsum. A good designer is a good communicator. A good designer thinks through the entire experience, choosing every word carefully. Write for humans. Don’t write in the academic tone you used to make yourself sound smart in school papers.
  • Read Made to Stick, one of my favorite books of all time. It will teach you how to suck in your readers.
  • Voice and Tone is a website full of gems of good writing examples.

Step 2. Learn how to use Photoshop and Illustrator
Hooray! Now you’ve got a pretty solid foundation – both visual and UX. You’re ready to learn Photoshop. Actually, I recommend starting with Illustrator first and then moving on to Photoshop after. Illustrator is what designers use to make logos and icons.

Learn Illustrator

  • There are a ton of books, online tutorials and in-person classes to learn Illustrator. Choose the style that works best for you. Here are the books I found especially helpful to learn the basics of Illustrator:
  • Adobe Illustrator Classroom in a Book – It’s boring, but if you get through at least half of it, you’ll know your way around Illustrator pretty well.
  • Vector Basic Training – This book teaches you how to make things in Illustrator that actually look good.
  • Now for the fun stuff! Follow these online tutorials and be impressed by what you can make. Here are two my favorites – a logo and a scenic landscape.

Learn Photoshop

Step 3. Learn some specialties
Do you want to design mobile apps? Websites? Infographics? Explore them all, and pick and choose the ones you enjoy to get better at them.

Learn Logo Design

  • Learn how to make a logo that doesn’t suck: Logo Design Love
  • You’ll want to take it a step further than a logo though. Learn to create a consistent brand – from the website to the business cards. Check out this book, Designing Brand Identity.

Learn Mobile App Design

  • Start with this tutorial to get your feet wet on visual design for mobile apps.
  • Read this short but very comprehensive and well-thought out book on iPhone design: Tapworthy. It will teach you how to make an app that not only looks good but is easy to use.
  • Geek out on the apps on your phone. Critique them. What works and what doesn’t?

Learn Web Design

Now for the hairy question of whether you need to know HTML/CSS as a designer: It depends on the job. Knowing it will definitely give you an edge in the job market. Even if you don’t want to be a web developer, it helps to know some basics. That way you know what is possible and what isn’t.

There are so many great resources to learn HTML and CSS:

  • My favorite free one is Web Design Tuts.
  • My favorite paid one (pretty affordable at $25/month) is Treehouse. If you’re starting from the beginning and want someone to explain things clearly and comprehensively, splurge for Treehouse tutorials.

Step 4. Build your portfolio
You don’t need to go to a fancy design school to get a job as a designer. But you do need a solid portfolio.

How do you build a portfolio if you’re just starting out for the first time? The good news is you don’t need to work on real projects with real clients to build a portfolio. Make up your own side projects. Here are a few ideas:

  • Design silly ideas for t-shirts.
  • Find poorly designed websites and redesign them.
  • Got an idea for an iPhone app? Mock it up.
  • Join a team at Startup Weekend and be a designer on a weekend project.
  • Enter a 99 designs contest to practice designing to a brief.
  • Do the graphic design exercises in the Creative Workshop book.
  • Find a local nonprofit and offer to design for free.

Resist the temptation to include every thing you’ve ever designed in your portfolio. This is a place for your strongest work only.

Steal, steal, steal at first. Don’t worry about being original – that will come later, once you are more comfortable with your craft. When you learn a musical instrument, you learn how to play other people’s songs before composing your own. Same goes for design. Steal like an artist.

Go to Dribbble for inspiration on some of the best designers. Check out pttrns for iOS inspiration, and patterntap for website inspiration.

Step 5: Get a job as a designer
When I first started learning design, I went to a job search workshop for designers. I walked into a room full of designers who had much more experience than I did – 5, 10, 15 years experience. All of them were looking for jobs. That was intimidating. There I was, trying to teach myself design, knowing I was competing with these experienced designers.

And yet 6 months later, I got a design job. There was one key difference between me and many of the other designers that gave me an edge: I knew how to work with developers.

The biggest factor to boost your employability is to be able to work with developers. Learn some interaction design. Learn some basic HTML and CSS. Designers in the tech industry (interaction designers, web designers, app designers) are in extremely high demand and are paid well. That’s where the jobs are right now.

If you don’t have any experience working with developers, get some. Go to Startup Weekend, go to hackathons, or find a developer through a project collaboration site.

Make a personal website and make your portfolio the centerpiece.

Go out and make serendipity happen – tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a job as a designer. You never know who might know someone.

Research companies and agencies you might be interested in. Look on LinkedIn for 2nd and 3rd degree connections to people who work at those companies and ask for intros. The best way to get a job is through a connection. If you don’t have a connection, there’s still a lot you can do to give yourself an edge.

Once you’ve got the job, keep learning
I’ve been at Exec for a year now and have learned a ton on the job. I seek out designers who are much more talented than I am, and learn from them. I find design classes (good online ones are Skillshare, General Assembly, Treehouse, and TutsPlus). I work on side projects. I geek out at the design section of bookstores. There is still so much to learn and to improve on.

Keep your skills sharp, and always keep learning.

This article is repost from http://www.karenx.com/blog/how-to-become-a-designer-without-going-to-design-school/

cow

Art of Cristian Girotto – Social Animals

Paris-based talented digital artist Cristian Girotto has created a digital character design series called “Social Animals”, showcasing animals taking selfies. He describes his new humorous series as “Social networks are a zoo made by extrovert beasts taking selfies“.

social media

How can social media help your business?

People buy from people, not from websites. Shocker? Come on… you all know it’s true. But what does “people buy from people” really mean, and how can you take action now so that your business can benefit from it?

It’s all about getting your business out into the sphere of social media and then WORKING IT.

How social media affects your business is completely up to you. Regardless of whether you sell your products or services out of a storefront or online, you have the potential to build a strong social media presence that will help you grow and connect with your audience, convert more leads into actual customers, AND get those customers to refer their friends and colleagues to you. (In case you didn’t catch that, getting customers to refer business to you is like having people PAY YOU to market your business for you… pretty cool, right?!)

How does this happen? Well, social media is pretty cool in that it makes it possible for you to be everywhere. Peoples social networks are massive, and so for every one person you can connect with on social media, you’re opening a door to potentially connecting with their social network as well. It also provides you with a platform to build strong relationships with your audience and your current customers – relationships that can be very valuable.

Picture a virtual snowball – what I like to call the “social snowball”. You start a business, have a website up and running (your “hub” or homebase), and you’re ready to start getting the word out. You start a Facebook page and you tell five of your friends about it. They’re supportive and love what you’re doing, and so they go to your Facebook page and they “like” it.

Those five friends you told about your page have an average of 150 Facebook friends each (150 x 5 = 750 friends). Let’s say 5% of those 750 friends notice in their Newsfeed that their friend “liked” your page, and it’s now being recommended by Facebook that they like it, too – and they do. So, hypothetically, just by telling five of your friends about your Facebook page, you have about 40 “likes”.

See how fast word travels on social media, and why it’s important for you to get out there already? This example is just related to building your audience and getting page “likes”, but it also holds true for people referring their friends and colleagues to you for any number of things: products, services, etc.

Now that you know it’s important to get your social media presence rockin’ and rollin’, let’s take a look at how you can do this from the ground level up: from building your audience to connecting with and nurturing your audience.

Let’s break down each of these steps:

Step 1: start building (or enhancing) your audience

1. If you haven’t already, create a business page or profile on each of the main social media platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • Pinterest

2. Think about how you want your business to be viewed on these sites. It’s important to know what message you’re sending and how you’re going to send it. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is your ideal audience? (Who are you trying to reach?)
  • What will your voice “sound like” across your social networks? (Will you be to-the-point, all business? or will you have some fun with your social media pages?)
  • What are your marketing goals on each platform? (i.e. Facebook: to attract more email subscribers; Twitter: to attract more followers; LinkedIn: to gain more authority in my niche; Google+: to drive more awareness.)

3. If you’ve already started building your social media presence, then try some different tactics to enhance it, like running a campaign on Facebook, (example: to get more page likes, or maybe to get more interactions). This will help increase the number of fans and followers you have, giving you a broader social media presence.

Step 2: start connecting and nurturing relationships

Now that you have fans and followers, think about how you can really engage and connect with them.

1. Be open

  • People want to get to know you, trust you: be transparent.
  • Care about your social networks, and they’ll care about you: don’t always post about you and your business – post about others and what they’re doing. What does your audience care about and what would be interesting to them?

2. Provide value

  • Create a give-away or offer a special. This will help attract more people to your business, plus, who doesn’t like give-aways and specials? If you’re an online business, offer a free eBook or webinar series to your audience and post about on your social media sites. If you’re a brick and mortar business, run a special: “stop in today to receive 10% when you mention this post!” This will not only provide value to your audience, it will also provoke action/engagement with your business on their part.

3. Don’t stop

  • The important thing to keep top-of-mind when you’re getting into social media is that it takes time, and you simply have to be consistent. Be sure you’re monitoring your pages and responding to inquires, messages and posts. If you want people to engage with you, then you have to engage with them, too!

Building a strong social presence and connecting with your audience on social media is time consuming and can be tough. These platforms are constantly changing, and so it’s not something you can just put up and expect it to run itself. Continue the conversation and you will continue to build relationships with your audience and your potential customers. If you take the time to nurture those relationships and provide value, then your business will benefit as a result.

Social networks are powerful, and in a world where people buy from people, the relationships you build online can mean everything for your business.

What’s one thing you’ve done on social media that has really helped your business?

Source: www.eofire.com

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