Posts By: Kelly Gretzinger

Benefits of social media marketing

7 Benefits of Social Media Marketing for SMB’s

Let’s do this backwards.  Normally I would list 4 decent benefits of social media marketing, build you up to the big climax and then lay the big one on ya! But, not today. Today, we’re going to cut the crap and get right to it.

So, you wanna know the MAIN reason you and your business need to be active on social media?

And if they’re not, you’re missing the point.

Those fury cat pics are cute and the “Happy Friday” posts will probably get you some Likes. Oh and the video of Jimmy Kimmel performing the History of Rap with Justin Timberlake is sure to be a crowd pleaser, but where are all those posts getting you?  How much money are you making from them?

No answer required here.  Those were rhetorical questions.

You need to concentrate on posting original content created by you that takes your fans off of Facebook or Twitter and onto your website blog. And when you’re not promoting a blog post, you need to be directing your fans and followers to landing pages on your site. I’m not just talking about a page on your website that people “land” on. I’m talking about a webpage specifically designed to capture leads that has a free offer in exchange for an email address (and sometimes more info).

To learn more about landing pages and how to create a killer one, check out Chapter 3 in our FREE eBook “The 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks and Ideas.”

Other Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Increased Exposure: Obviously, this one goes without saying, but the power of social media is extraordinary in terms of reaching a lot of people with minimal effort. It is the perfect outlet for promoting your useful, relevant and timely content.  But, it better be all 3 of those things or your fans will start dropping like flies.

Getting to Know Your Customers: If you post intriguing material, fans will tell you what they think. And those comments are priceless when you are trying to discover who your ideal customer is, what they need, what they want and how you can help them. Social media gives you the opportunity to engage and interact with your fans not as a business, but as a human running a business. This is an easy way to set yourself apart from your competition because many of your competitors are not taking advantage of this.

Social Listening: There so many tools out there now that allow you to monitor conversations, hashtags and keywords of your choosing across multiple social media channels. There’s Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Sprout Social, Social Mention, Hubspot, etc.  The list could go on and on. Find one and use it!

Why should you care what everyone else is saying?  Suppose you have a local liquor store and you monitor words like #party, #rum, #goodtimes, etc.  Then, when someone tweets out “Getting ready to make my famous rum punch for our New Year’s Eve party!”, you can tweet back with a discount or some special deal to draw them into your store instead of a big guy like ABC Liquor.

Perhaps even more opportunistic is monitoring social feeds for your competitors’ names. Now-a-days, the first thing people do when they have a bad experience with a company is take to Twitter or Facebook to vent their frustration. Be there to offer a better alternative and be the hero.  Timing is everything in life and social media marketing is no different.

Social Proof: Your website tells people what you want them to know. Social media tells people what they want to know. Your website is going to look like a glowing resume of all your strengths….and it should! But, the interactions you have with your fans on your social profiles speak the truth….volumes of it. And you’re crazy if you don’t think that consumers check you out on social before buying from you. So, start capitalizing on it!

Marketing Budget Savings: Everyone has their panties in a bunch over Facebook only allowing less than 5% of your fans to see your posts. It’s not fair….I agree. But, the truth of the matter is that even though you now have to “pay to play”, it’s still cheaper than running magazine ads, tv commercials and radio ads. Plus, when you run an ad on Facebook (for example) you can choose your target audience right down to the type of food they like. You can’t control who picks up a magazine or hears your radio ad on the way to work.  You know the general demographics of their readers/listeners and hope the right people see/hear your ad.

SEO: The text you fill in under the bio section of your social media profile is SEO gold when optimized properly. Think of each one of your social profiles as another opportunity to rank for your keywords. Google crawls your profile bios much the same way it crawls your website pages in order to deliver the most accurate search results for Googlers. In addition, Google gives serious weight in search results to websites who have a Google+ page.  So, while its hard to picture Google+ as a social network like Facebook right now, the SEO benefits of it are crystal clear. Don’t miss this boat….you’ll be kicking yourself down the road.

How about you?  Have you personally experienced any of these benefits of social media marketing?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

By:  Kelly Gretzinger

Need more info like this? Let’s keep in touch!


what is a landing page

What is a Landing Page?

You hear the term all the time, but what is a landing page anyway!?

A landing page is a designated page on your website that is designed to capture leads. It must contain a form for contact information submission and should offer something for free in return.  It’s sole purpose is to convert website visitors into leads, so its unlike your other static webpages on your site that simply give information.

A good example of a landing page is this one giving away a free eBook about Online Lead Generation tips.

Elements of a Perfect Landing Page

A Giveaway

The most important aspect of a landing page (by far) is that you offer something for nothing.  Offer a free eBook, whitepaper, checklist, template of some sort, free trial or a free consultation in exchange for minimally a name and an email address.  Without your giveaway, you aren’t giving visitors any incentive to hand over their info.

A Form

So, you got the lead to your landing page, but that doesn’t mean squat if they can’t give you their contact information!  You should have a form with fields for minimally the visitor’s name and email address.

Add more fields requesting more info as the value of your giveaway increases.  For instance, a free eBook would warrant a name and email request and maybe one more piece of info.  But, a free consultation or trial with a $50 value would allow you to ask for name, email, website, phone number, etc.  People give more when they get more.

Cory Eridon over at Hubspot goes a little more into detail with the explanation of a form and how important it is.

No Navigation

You know all the navigation links you have at the top of your webpages to get around your site?  Get rid of ’em.

What is a landing page?

You want people focused on one thing and one thing only when they hit your landing page…….downloading or getting your offer.  If you give them the option to click around your site, there’s no telling where they’ll end up.  People get distracted because they have 100 things going on in the room behind them. Don’t make it easy for them to jump ship before becoming a lead.

Clear Title

This kind of goes without saying, but don’t try to trick people or be intentionally vague.  If you’re giving away an eBook, the title should say “FREE eBook on …” or even “Grab this Free eBook on …”.  Don’t be afraid to tell them what you want them to do right in the title. Grab it! Download it! Get it!

Short and Sweet Description

Less is more here.  Use bullet points and short sentences to give a brief description of your offer and list the ways they will benefit from it.

Try to leave as much white space as possible because it throws off that “clean and simple” look.  It screams, “This will only take a sec!” The idea is not to scare people off with 4 paragraphs of boring text, but instead to give them the option to skim if they need to.

Your time is valuable and so is their’s.  So, earn respect by not wasting it.

To take it one step further, a short, direct description just may spark a few questions that make them download the offer in an effort to find out!

A Call-to-Action

Your title and description let your visitor know exactly what you are offering. Now what?

Include a Call-to-Action (CTA)!  That’s what!

A CTA tells visitors what you want them to do next. “Try it free for 30 days!” “Download your copy today!” “Get your free checklist now and get organized!” You get the point.  Don’t leave it up to the visitor.  The best way to get anyone to do anything is simply by asking.

Thank You Page

Lastly, every landing page form should link to a thank you page where you deliver the offer. This thank you page should have clear instructions on how to get the offer as well as a secondary offer that will continue to move your new lead through your sales funnel.

If you’re not very tech-savvy and are concerned that these landing pages will cost you an arm and a leg with a web developer, don’t worry. There are many Do-It-Yourself (DIY) sites out there that do all the coding behind the scenes and allow you to visually build the pages with templates. But, our favorite so far is Lead Pages if you’re looking for an affordable option. They have tons of templates to choose from as well as video tutorials for just about everything.

We personally use Hubspot to build our pages and LOVE it.  Hubspot’s landing page builder is just one element of a larger marketing suite, so it costs more, but is well worth it.

Over to you!  If you have any other suggestions for killer landing pages, tell me in the comments below or tweet at us @scuttlebuttsm!

By Kelly Gretzinger


Need more info like this? Let’s keep in touch!


convert website traffic into leads

5 Tips to Convert Website Traffic Into Leads

Your website is a prime piece of real estate when it comes to marketing your product or service.  It’s the mothership.  It’s your foundation.  It’s the first (and sometimes last) impression you make on potential customers.  So, you’d better make it good and treat every website visit as a possible sales lead.

So, how exactly do you convert website traffic into leads?

Keep reading to find out 5 ways to make the most of every single hit you get on your site…

Know Your Audience and Focus on THEM

This kind of goes without saying, yet so many websites miss the mark on this one.  People are simply more receptive to your message when you’re telling them how you are going to help THEM instead of how great your product or service is.  Tell me what’s in it for me and you’ve got my attention.  Start babbling about product features and my eyes glaze over. That’s not to say the product info isn’t important…because it is.  But, make that a secondary goal of each page and put solving your reader’s problems at the top of the list.

Let’s take an example right out of the movie “The Wolf of Wallstreet”….”Sell me this pen,” Leonardo diCapprio said to one of his sales guys.  The salesman proceeded to tell him it was the best pen ever made…another one said it might be the last pen he’d ever have to buy….bla bla bla.  Then, finally, one guy says, “Write your name on this piece of paper.”

Boom….the pen is sold not because of how smooth the ball point glides over the paper or how how comfortable the grip is, but because it solves my problem and the salesman put it in terms that matter to ME.

While this is more of a “sales lesson”, it also doubles as a lesson on how to grab attention and keep visitors on your site.

Offer FREE Value in Exchange for an Email Address

“Enter your email to subscribe to our monthly mailing list.” OR “Get a FREE eBook on How to Master XYZ when you enter your email below.”  Hmmmmm, which one is more likely to make you hand your email address over?  People love FREE and businesses love email addresses….it’s a win-win all the way around.

So, come up with something of value that you can offer like a free eBook, a checklist, an assessment, a consultation or even a free trial.  Then either plaster it all over your website coupled with an email signup box (ie the sidebar, at the bottom of blog posts, on the home page, etc.) OR place the offers on landing pages.  Keep reading…

Create Landing Pages

So, you’re talking the talk and you have a free offer and you are just asking for a teeny, tiny email address in return.  Sometimes the title of the giveaway is enough, but sometimes it isn’t! You normally need an opportunity to explain why the visitor needs this offer and how it will benefit them — not 5 paragraphs worth of an explanation, but just a few bullet points that really make the visitor understand that they are missing out if they don’t get the offer.  

These pages that contain the offer, email signup box and explanation are called Landing Pages.  You can see an example here.  The sole purpose of them is to capture leads.  Your visitors “land” on a specific page of your website (due to a little strategic marketing on your part) where they get something of value for free in exchange for some contact info.

Tip: On these pages, you will want to remove all navigation from the top of the page so the visitor is not distracted and tempted to click anywhere else on your site before entering that email address.  

Link to Relevant Landing Pages Throughout

Once you’ve got those golden landing pages live on your site, give people every opportunity to find them. You should be linking to them on static pages of your site as well as in blog posts wherever it is relevant and can add value to your page.

For example, if you are finding this blog post helpful, you’ll probably love our eBook about Online Lead Generation Tips and Tricks.

See the way I just plugged that landing page in there?  The eBook is relevant to this blog post and I think it will be uber useful to you if you are enjoying this blog post, so I let you know about it!

Place a Call-To-Action (CTA) on every single page

A cardinal rule of marketing, especially inbound marketing, is to be crystal clear as to what you’d like your reader to do next.  What steps do you want them to take after reading a web page or a blog post? Don’t leave it to question….tell them what actions you’d like them to take!

Click here….Call (555) 555-5555 now!….Get XYZ….Download this….Check out that.  Whatever it is….tell them.  You need to do this minimally at the bottom of every single web page and blog post…..every single one. And if you don’t have a specific, logical next step, minimally ask for their email address so you can continue to nurture the lead via email.

And it doesn’t hurt to make it look pretty!  A CTA doesn’t always have to be a boring line of text hyperlinked to another page.  You’ll notice the CTA at the bottom of this blog post is a simple, yet eye-catching graphic prompting you to download a free ebook about Online Lead Generation.  And then I also follow it up with an email signup box in the event my readers aren’t quite ready to download anything from me.

What about you?  Do you practice any of these methods on your website to convert more site visitors to leads?  I’d love to hear how they work for you or about any tactics that work better in the comments below!

By Kelly Gretzinger


Need more info like this? Let’s keep in touch!


Inbound vs outbound marketing

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing – ‘Tis the Question

Annoying pop up ads, junk emails that flood your inbox and billboards that beg you to look up for just a sec on your way to work….ahhhh the good ole outbound marketing days.  NOT!  Back in the day, that’s just what companies did.  They paid to get in front of their customers, who were ready or not.  As long as you could afford it, it worked.  But, the evolution of the internet changed all that (thank goodness!) and inbound marketing was born…..a form of marketing that, ahem, earns your attention.

So, inbound vs outbound marketing…which one is right for your business?  Well, first you have to understand what each one is.

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound Marketing is your traditional ole in “push marketing” that utilizes print ads, pop-up ads, billboards, spammy emails and radio/TV slot ads to get in ‘yo face.  It begs, no…pays, for your attention and pleads with you to buy a product or service.  Outbound Marketing is very company/brand/product/service centric in that the point of the ad is to tell you about the features of the product or service….period.  These tactics are, as you can imagine, get more and more effective the deeper your pockets go.  It ain’t cheap!

Let’s say you are an electronics store and want to boost sales of the latest state-of-the-art LCD flat screen TV you have just stocked up on.  Your objective is to sell this TV….a lot of them.  You decide to run some ads in a gaming magazine telling people how awesome this new TV is.

For example, you might run a print ad with the following text:  “Check out our new line of Brand XYZ’s flat screen TV’s!  They boast 600Hz refresh rates and have built in wifi!  Come by today to take a look and hurry because supplies are limited.”  The consumer will likely see this ad on the sidebar, on the top or maybe even smack in the middle of an article they are <trying> to read about the new Xbox One.  So, in this case, the consumer wasn’t looking for info on new TV’s, has no interest in purchasing one at this time and is more than likely a bit annoyed that his reading got interrupted with the ad.

Inbound Marketing attacks this same objective (to sell the TV) from a completely different angle….keep reading.

What is Inbound Marketing?

 

Inbound Marketing, on the other hand, is a term coined by Hubspot that entails “pull marketing” whereby you offer value to your potential customers via eBooks, blog posts, webinars, video tutorials, etc. in an effort to earn attention.  This approach focuses on the consumer and how it will benefit them as opposed to the product/service itself.

In fact, most of the time, Inbound Marketing isn’t about the product or service at all.  It’s about providing an abundance of education and value that will make the consumer want to take a look at what you’re selling…on their own free will.  Why?  Well, because you are positioning yourself as a thought leader…..someone who genuinely wants to answer their questions and give them the info they need to make an informed decision.

Let’s use the same example as before…..

You want to sell your new badass TV.  An Inbound Marketer, instead of running a print ad, would probably write a few blog posts and then share them on their social media channels and submit them to various news aggregators like Reddit and StumbleUpon.  The topics of the articles would probably be something along the lines of “Does the Refresh Rate of HDTVs Really Make a Difference?”, “Top 10 Reasons to Own an HDTV With Wifi” and “7 TV Events That Require an HDTV”.  With proper SEO and keyword research, these articles start showing up in search results when someone hits the Google machine for info on the best HDTVs on the market.

Likewise, John, who has been actively looking to replace his boob tube for some time, found one of the articles particularly helpful and decides to share it on Facebook.  It lands in the News Feed of his friend Bill, who happens to be casually looking for a new TV, but hasn’t had the time to research it yet.  What do you think Bill does?  He clicks on the link of course!  You just got Bill not only to engage in sales process of a product that he already wants (and you have) but to come to you first…all on his own free will.

You’re now not just an electronics store owner, you’re a thought leader.

Ahhhhh, the beauty of social media.

See the difference?  

Now, there are exceptions….

Say you build custom California closets for a living and place an ad in a local magazine titled “Homeowner’s Hub:  Find Contractors in Your Area” which consists entirely of ads for services that someone might need around the house.  It says so right on the cover.  In this case, the consumer is not going to even open the cover of that magazine unless they are in the market for some home renovations or improvement.  They aren’t looking to read an article about how to build your own custom closet…..they are looking to find a reputable company to do it for them, which is exactly what the magazine will tell them.  So, an outbound ad of this type usually works quite well.

As another example, I see a commercial for a big, fat, juicy burger on TV around 11:30 am.  I just may go out and get that burger (and of course make it a combo) because that commercial made my mouth water.

I’m not going to Google it.  I’m not going to call all my friends and poll them on the best burger in town.  I’m not going to check Yelp for a review of the establishment.  I’m going to go buy that delicious-looking burger, get it in my belly and go about my day.  I’d say that is pretty effective marketing considering I already had my salad prepared in the fridge.

So which one will be more effective for you?

This is a loaded question because there are so many things to consider.  

 

Reasons to use Outbound Marketing:
  • Looking for leads
  • Need fast(er) results
  • Have a high budget
  • Willing to repeat efforts continuously to get new leads
  • Don’t like to deviate from traditional methods
  • Sell very low cost products/services that people don’t often research before buying
  • Have very targeted advertising mediums available to you
  • Don’t use your website as a supreme piece of real estate

 

Reasons to use Inbound Marketing:
  • Looking for qualified leads
  • Willing to put in the time and sweat to see long-term results
  • Have a limited budget
  • Looking for more loyal, repeat business obtained over time
  • Like to think outside the box
  • Sell products/services at a price that is worth the time to research
  • Want to capitalize on opportunities that social media networks and search engines present to grow your business
  • Want consistent web traffic

 

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both.  But, I hope you have a clearer picture of which one is right for you after reading this article.  Often times, it’s a combination of both!

Which marketing methodology do you subscribe to?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below…

By Kelly Gretzinger

Need more info like this? Let’s keep in touch!



How to Get More Facebook Likes

How to Get Facebook Page Likes

One of the most frequently asked questions we get from clients is how to get more Facebook likes on their business page.  And while I’m going to give you 6 ways to do just that, please proceed with caution and don’t get too hung up on the number.  Instead, focus on getting more fans that are genuinely interested in what you offer, or atleast have the potential to be interested, and will value your knowledge.  Having 1,000 engaged fans who comment on, like and share your posts is far more valuable than 1,000,000 fans who never interact with you.  Wouldn’t you say?  With a properly populated fan base, you increase your chances that those fans will turn into leads and those leads into paying customers.

Having said that, growing your social following should always be top of mind for any business.  Just do it right!

1) Create Sharable Posts

The posts that you create need to inspire people to share it with their friends.  With each share, your reach/exposure grows exponentially because it has the potential to show up in the News Feed of a high percentage of the sharer’s friends.  And with each new set of eyes on your posts, you increase the probability of more people heading over to your page and hitting the Like button.  So, what constitutes shareable content?  Eye-catching pictures, informative videos, links to helpful articles, infographics filled with cool stats, How-To Slideshare presentations…..these are all examples of things people will want to share.  Make it relevant, timely and most importantly helpful or entertaining to the viewer.  Don’t expect people to share boring details about the new hair blower your salon just got in or the new plush carpet your flooring company offers.  It ain’t gonna happen.

2) Stay Engaged

As the social media manager of your business page, you must be engaged with your audience.  The benefit to this is two-fold.  Not only does this help with your reputation by showing your existing followers that you genuinely care to interact with them (hence creating positive word of mouth), but you also prompt further engagement on their part.  They might respond back or continue to engage with future posts.  And guess what that means?  That’s right….every time they interact with you by liking a post, commenting on it or (even better) sharing it, it will show up in a portion of their friends’ News Feeds.  It won’t happen over night, but positive interactions (and sometimes properly handled negative ones) go a long way and will help grow your fan base.

3) Link Your Personal Page to Your Business Page

If you have a personal Facebook account, include a link back to your company page under your employment section.  By doing this, you will increase the number of individuals that might see the page. Encourage all of your employees to follow suit.  The more places people have the opportunity to bump into your page, the better.

4) Comment on Posts as Your Business Page

Most people comment on posts from their personal account…as themselves.  But, when you comment as your business page, you’re putting your name in front of people who otherwise never knew you existed.  For instance, if I’m a custom cake decorator who’s customer base widely consists of new brides, I might seek out Facebook pages related to weddings and jump in some of the conversations.  This should be done tastefully, of course, but if you attach enough value to your comment(s), people will click on your page to see who the heck you are and (hopefully) be intrigued enough to become a fan.  Oh, and forget the shameless plugs and self-promotion with this tactic.  People are smarter than you think and will go running for the hills if you pull that.

5) Run a Contest

People love something for nothing (or shall I say what they perceive to be nothing).  Give ’em a shot to win anything from an iPad to a free appetizer in exchange for a page “like” and you will get a lot of takers.  Make the free gift something good and you’ll have fans sharing your contest.  Can you say….EXPOSURE?  Boom!  And to make it easy, you can now run a contest on Facebook via a 3rd party app (like WooboxShortstack or Tabsite) or right on your page in the form of a post.  Check out #2 on this list of post ideas for some contest suggestions and be sure to abide by Facebook’s contest rules.  Scroll all the way to the bottom.

But, remember, you are looking for quality likes…..not just any ‘ole likes.  So, make your contest prize something relevant to your business….something that will attract likes from people who might ultimately be in need of your products or services.

6) Run an Ad

If its in the budget, consider using Facebook advertising. You should never “buy likes” for your Facebook page because they are typically shady, fake accounts that can end up hurting your page in the long run.  But paying for targeted ads in Facebook’s Ads Manager can result in huge fan base growth.  The Go-To Guy to learn about Facebook ads is Jon Loomer.  He has a lot of great resources available on his website as well as YouTube page.  But, if you wanna jump right in, get started here.

Take Action

I’ve given you 6 proven methods to get more Facebook likes…now go out there and try some of them!  Use your Facebook insights to help you track your results. You can find it at the very top of your Facebook page in the Admin Panel.  You will find out what’s working, what’s not and where you need to improve.  If you see that your audience engages with videos more than pictures and often shares them…….well, post more videos!  If you find that your audience likes and comments on posts related to one topic more than another….post more about that topic!  And don’t forget the obvious ways to expose your page and get more followers like placing a link to your Facebook page in your email signature or adding a “Like” box to your website.  Those can only help you.

Just remember, your fan count may seem like sign of social proof, authority and dominance in your industry.  And to some degree, it is.  But, in reality, numbers are just numbers if there’s no substance behind them.  Use these tactics to attract fans that have the potential to be leads and leads that have the potential to be customers.  If you’re just looking for generic “fans”, you’re missing the point. Build your fan base the right way and start seeing some real ROI from your Facebook page!

Have you already tried any of these methods?  I’d love to hear how they worked for you…tell me about it in the comments below.

Need more info like this?  Let’s keep in touch!




How to use Google Drive and Google Docs

How to Use Google Drive and Google Docs

The Google Drive and Google Docs are, in my opinion, one of the most under-utilized features on the web today. They’re both convenient and free and you won’t be able to live without them once you start using them. Let me tell you why and then show you how to use them…..

The Google Drive…..I stumbled upon this little gem in June of 2013 and it literally changed my life. Before you call me a loser, hear me out. At that time, which I affectionately call my BG (Before Google) Days, my computer hard drive had just crashed and I lost a great deal of my files. I was dev-a-stated….pictures from my kids’ birthday parties, tons of files I used for work, emails, family videos…..all GONE. I was in a flat spin and could-not-eject. (RIP Goose)

Sidenote: If this has ever happened to you, then you can relate and can appreciate my mental disarray. If you haven’t, well, you’re probably wondering when my next medication dose is. It’s all good. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So, once I brought my computer back to life, I decided to be proactive and come up with a disaster plan so that I never had to relive this hellish nightmare again. I decided to store all my files online and let someone else worry about backing them up everyday.

I researched all kinds of online data storage including Carbonite, Dropbox, SOS, and Mozy and ultimately kept coming back to the Google Drive. It is free for the first 5GB and the best part is that if you have a Gmail account, you already have it!

Google Drive

That’s right!  The Google Drive comes in your Google Bag-O-Goodies when you sign up for a Gmail account.  For direct access, you can go to drive.google.com.  But, I’d like to show you where you can find it without the link.  First go to Google.com and sign into (or create) your Gmail account.  Look in the very upper right hand corner to find the login button.  Once logged in, you will see this…

How to use Google Drive

Click on the Apps icon at the top that looks like 9 little squares and you will see this…

How to use Google Drive
Click the “Drive” icon and you will arrive at the Drive.

How to use Google Drive

It operates much like your own hard drive, only online.  If you’re like me, you’ll love that you can create folders, folders within folders and folders within those folders.  You can even share documents or entire folders.  This is a great tool if you collaborate with others on projects at work or even if you want to share personal photos or files with friends and family.  No more trying to email photos or files that are too big and get returned.  It’s all in one place for however many eyes you choose.

Note:  Anyone you choose to share documents with will need a Gmail account.  More on that in a minute.

To upload files and documents, just click the upward facing arrow in the upper left corner and navigate to the file on your hard drive.

How to upload a document to Google Drive

To share a file or folder you have stored on your Google Drive, simply select it by checking off the little box in the upper left corner, click the More button at the top, then click Share and Share.

How to share a document on Google Drive
You will then see this box where you can choose how to share it….

How to share a document on Google Drive
Anything you upload can be found under My Drive and anything shared with you will show up under…..you guessed it….Shared with me. You can even drag a folder or file from Shared with me to My Drive for easy access and organization.

If you need to check or change the sharing on a particular folder, just click on the folder on the left and you will see small photos of each person it is shared with in the upper right corner. Click the icon to the right of the photos that looks like a person with a plus sign to add, remove or change the rights of people it is shared with.

How to use Google Drive
In addition, Google has this nifty little tool that allows you to install the Drive on your local hard drive for easy read/write capabilities.  The files are not actually stored on your hard drive.  This app merely allows you to see what’s on the drive, copy new files to it and grab files off of it.  When I’m done typing this blog for instance, in Word, I will Save As and choose Google Drive as my destination instead of say, “My Documents”. The file will be saved on my Google Drive (online) and I never even went into my browser to upload it.

You can install the Drive from the link at the bottom of your left navigation bar.

How to install Google Drive on your computer

Nice huh!?

Something important to note is that you get 15GB of FREE space.  After that, they offer pretty reasonably priced disk space.  Keep in mind that any photos you upload to your Google+ page DO count against your storage space IF they are larger than 2048 x 2048 pixels.  Any images smaller than that are free to store on G+.  So, if you upload a ton of high resolution pics to G+ AND use the Drive for file storage, you may eventually max out on space and need to purchase an upgraded plan. But, it’s really not bad and beats the price of several other data storage sites.  You can view the pricing here and more info on how to use Google Drive here.

Google Docs

This leads me to my second favorite thing in the Google Bag-O-Goodies — Google Docs! These are documents that can be changed on-the-fly and completely online. You can access them right inside the Google Drive.

To create a new Google Doc, click Create, choose the type of file you want and type away…or paste away.  You can copy content from a Word/Pages or Excel/Numbers doc on your local hard drive and paste it right into a Google Doc.

How to create a Google Doc
So, if you collaborate with several other people on your social media content calendar (for instance), this will be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Just create a Google Doc in spreadsheet form, create a simple calendar using the cells (or copy it from your existing calendar in Excel/Numbers), share it with your team members, and get cracking on this month’s Facebook posts.  That’s it!!!  It auto-saves every 5 seconds so changes are live and can be seen by all contributors immediately.

Tip:  You can also upload a file and let Google convert it to a Google doc. 

Now, you may be asking, “Why wouldn’t I just upload my Content Calendar that I created in Excel/Numbers to my Google Drive and share it that way?”  And you CAN do that, BUT you won’t be able to change it on the fly.  Anyone you share it with would have to download it to his/her hard drive, make the changes, save it, and then upload it back.  This equates to a big ‘ole pain in the ass if you ask me!

So, for me, Google Drive and Docs are no-brainers.  They’re safe.  They’re secure. I can access my docs from any computer with an internet connection by signing into my Gmail account.  And perhaps best of all, it gives me piece of mind knowing I won’t lose data ever again.

What about you?  Do you use Google Drive or Google Docs?  Tell me in the comments below.

By Kelly Gretzinger

Need more info like this? Let’s keep in touch!


facebook post ideas for small business

18 Facebook Post Ideas for Small Business

In small businesses, employees (if there are any) are often forced to wear many hats…one of which is managing your social media channels.  Unfortunately, coming up with Facebook post ideas will make you crazy when you’ve got 1,000 other things to do.  It’s frustrating.  It’s stressful.  You worry about what to post today, tomorrow and next week and you’ve got about 45 minutes to get it done before you have to do your real job.  It shouldn’t be that hard.

Well, there’s good news!  With this list I’ve created, it isn’t that hard…..

I decided to jot down all the things a small business might post about….all to help others just like you.  Ok, not really…I did it for myself.  :-)  But, I hope you find it useful too.  Keep this list of post ideas handy and you’ll never be sitting there staring at your computer on Monday morning asking yourself, “What the #### am I going to post today?!”

1) Company Events or News:

These are the types of posts that allow your fans to see behind the scenes and really get to know the people behind your company name.

Examples:

• Post pictures from your employee softball game, company banquet, or company holiday party.
• Announce new employees or location changes.
• Celebrate employee birthdays or milestones with the company.

2) Contests:

All the cool kids run contests.  You can run it straight from your timeline or through a 3rd party app site like shortstack.comtabsite.com, or woobox.com.  However you choose to do it, you will certainly fill up some posts promoting it.

Types of contests you can run:

• Photo Contest – Best photo wins OR photo with the most Likes wins OR winner chosen at random
• Caption This Photo – Best caption wins OR caption with the most likes wins OR winner chosen at random
• Like This Post – Winner chosen at random
• Comment on This Post – Winner chosen at random
• Like and Comment on This Post – Winner chosen at random
• Fill-in-the-Blank – Best answer wins OR answer with most Likes wins OR winner chosen at random
• Q&A – All correct answers get entered into contest and winner chosen at random
• The list could go on and on……

3) Caption This Photo:

No contest….just ask for engagement in the form of captions.

4) Ask Questions:

Again, no contest, just ask questions….Polls, multiple choice, fill in the blank, true or false, etc.

5) Ask for Advice:

Let’s clarify this one.  Pleeeeease do not ask your fans what you should have for lunch.  We all have to see those people in our personal news feeds.  No one cares.  Ask things that matter or atleast things that make people feel like they are contributing to something.  The whole idea is to get your fan base involved and engaged…

Examples:

• For restaurant owners:  Tell fans you are going to run a special this weekend and need help deciding which entrees to include.
• For a Dentist Office:  Tell your fans about your remodeling project at the office and need opinions on a color scheme….one that might make going to the dentist a little less miserable.

6) Create a #hashtag Discussion:

(and be ready to monitor it)  All the big dawgs do this, but so can the peanut gallery.

Example:

• If you’re a local dance studio promoting your week long dance camp “Gettin Jiggy With It – 2013”, encourage your fans to post their favorite dance style <with their friends> including #gettinjiggy2013 to get a feel for what your customers want to see and learn at the camp.  I hope that’s not what you call your camp, but you get my point.

7)  “How to ________”:

Pretty self-explanatory…..no one knows your industry like you do (ok, maybe some people do).  But you have a wealth of knowledge that is probably second nature to you….share it!

Examples:

• How to Change Your Own Oil, How to Identify a Real Diamond, How to Build a Birdhouse, How to Bake a Moist Cake, How to Do the Perfect Pushup.

Sharing is caring…..atleast that’s what my 5-year-old tells me.  Do it.

8)  Client Testimonials:

Ask for them and post them!  They don’t have to be 15 page PDF’s…..just a couple of sentences about why you or your company is awesome.

9) Quotes:

So many options here, so little time… My 2 cents here is that you may want to pick 1 or 2 types that you want your business to be identified with and go with them.

Examples:

• Inspirational quotes
• Quotes by industry experts
• Favorite quotes of employees
• Funny quotes

10) Sporting/Special Events:

Unless you live under a rock, you know when the Superbowl, NBA Championship and World Series are going on.  Try to find a way to relate your business to the event (even loosely) and post it.  And if you can’t do that, post about it anyway.  It’s ok to post off topic things just for fun once in a while.

Don’t forget about local events in your community like fairs and carnivals, Cinco de Mayo celebrations, etc.  You also have things like Fashion Week, Black Friday or my all time personal fav….Shark Week! (It’s a bad week to be a seal.)  You don’t necessarily have to be a fan, but if your fans are fans of it, it is worth recognizing.

11) Holidays/Nationally recognized tragedies:

Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, St. Patty’s Day, 9/11, etc.

In regards to tragedies, you’re only recognizing out of respect.  Nothing more.  Don’t even think about trying to gain something from one of these posts.  It’s in very poor taste.

12) Good causes you support:

Autism Awareness, St. Judes, Breast Cancer Awareness….maybe even change your cover image or logo to pink in honor of it???  Maybe you even raise money for a charity…..tell people and ask them to join in your efforts.  It shows people who you are.

13) Fill in the Blank:

“I hate people because ______________.”  Kidding…..probably not a good idea.  As a mechanic, maybe you would post, “The biggest challenge I face with maintaining my truck is ____________.”  And then reply with tips in the comments to help them solve their problems.

14) Meet the Employees:

People do business with PEOPLE, not companies.  Someone may dig that your Warehouse Manager, Hugh Cumber, (not even kidding….this is a real name…Google it) sports a Mohawk and plays hockey in his spare time.  Or how about your Office Manager, Anita Knapp, (still not kidding) who brings in donuts for the whole office every Friday?

You will, of course, be limited to what your employees are and are not willing to share.  But, have fun with it.  The shared info doesn’t have to be personal.

15) Industry News, Tips, and Best Practices:

White papers, press releases, and links to articles or blog posts from other resources in your industry are great.  However, sometimes the blog links don’t get quite as much engagement with the auto-generated preview.  You may be better off posting a tip or 2 that you made up yourself with a fitting picture.  And if you want to post others’ links, try posting just the link <no preview> and then an actual image from the blog or your own image.  You’re still sharing the link to the content…..you’re just making it a little more visually appealing.

16) Social Buzz Words:

These things have taken on a life of their own (just for fun). TBT (Throw Back Thursday), Wacky Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, Hump Dayyyyy (can’t get that Geico camel out of my head), Funky Friday…

17) Case Studies:

Success stories of people using your products and/or services are priceless!  Much like testimonials, case studies take it a step further and really dive into one person’s story.  They may take a little more time than your average post, but make a blog post out of it as well and kill 2 birds with one stone.  Maybe even do it in video form???

18) Promote Your Products and Services:

Specials, discounts, etc.  Be VERY careful…..only 20% of the time….if that.  Social networking etiquette says you should post good content that benefits your audience atleast 80% of the time.  The other 20% can be used for tasteful self-promotion.

That’s all I’ve got….for now!  Do you have any other Facebook post ideas you think should be added to this list?  I’d love to hear them in the comments below…

By Kelly Gretzinger

Need more info like this?  Let’s keep in touch!