Saying It Social

Your Social Media Marketing Resource

Happy National Small Business Week

Why National Small Business Week?

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has proclaimed National Small Business Week to recognize the contributions of small businesses to the economic well-being of America. As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes this special impact made by outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners. This year, National Small Business Week will honor the estimated 27.2 million small businesses in America. Small businesses are major contributors to the strength of the American economy. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business. They also create 60-80 percent of new jobs in the country. Small businesses drive innovation, create 21st century jobs and increase U.S. competitiveness.

Taking place in Washington D.C. from May 23rd – 29th this year, the National Small Business Week event salutes the estimated 27.2 million small businesses in America.

2010 Schedule of Events

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Small Business Resources

Google is a proud sponsor of this year’s Small Business Week celebrations.  They’ve partnered with the U.S. Small Business Administration on a site to help your business thrive using online tools. Check it out, and then download their Online Tools booklet to learn how to put these strategies into action. For more useful resources for your business  visit the National Small Business Week website.

A Fun Way to Celebrate Your Business

YouTube recently rolled out Search Stories. In just a few easy steps you can create a great little YouTube video that creatively tells the story of your business.

See two examples here that we’ve create for two of our clients:

Sylvan Learning Center of Lynchburg, VA:

Senior Helpers:

Now take a few moments to create your own. When you’re done we’d love to see it so post on our facebook page at http://facebook.com/sayingitsocial and share in the comments here!

Here’s to hoping for many more prosperous and successful years to come for your company and all of the other small businesses across the country!

May 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Join us for a Webinar “Social Media Marketing for Franchisees & Other Small Businesses” on May 25th

Join us for a Webinar “Social Media Marketing for Franchisees & Other Small Businesses” on May 25th

As a participant you will learn why a social media marketing program must be included in your marketing plan, what social sites you must be present on, what you need to do once you get there, and why it’s all necessary! This webinar will be conducted by AK Stout, Owner & Social Media Strategist at Saying It Social, LLC.

About AK:

AK has been working with social media for the past 6 years, having been amongst the first group of people introduced to Facebook. With a degree in Marketing AK prides herself in finding ways to utilize her knowledge in conjunction with the ever expanding mix and advantages of online tools to increase a brand’s exposure while establishing trust and cultivating meaningful business-consumer relationships. Besides being the mastermind behind Saying It Social, AK is also a real estate agent who has working to expand her own brand online for the past 4 years. With more than 4,000 real estate agents in her area alone, AK knows what it takes to stand out amongst the competition. And just in case you were worried that AK might have too much free time on her hands, she also works in the corporate office of the Senior Helpers franchise. At Senior Helpers, AK provides support to the franchise owners and manages the Senior Helpers’ national social media presence. AK understands the time limitations and strict financial budget by which franchise owners are bound and has tailored her social media marketing program accordingly.

The Webinar:

Saying It Social will be increasing their prices by $50 on June 1st. This webinar will be the last chance to hear a little bit about how Saying It Social can help your business before the prices increase, so sign up today!

Space is limited and “seats” are filling up fast.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/211779617

Title: Social Media Marketing for Franchisees & Other Small Businesses
Date: Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Time: 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP, 2003 Server or 2000
Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4.11 (Tiger®) or newer

About Saying It Social:

Blog: http://sayingitsocial.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/sayingitsocial
Twitter: http://twitter.com/sayingitsocial

May 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 4 Comments

I Started A Social Media Marketing Program Two Months Ago, Where Are My Leads?

Cultivating your Social Media Marketing Garden

I received a question similar to this earlier today and I thought I’d share my response with everyone because I know this question is quite common surrounding the topic of social media marketing.

It’s been my experience that when implemented correctly it can take up to 6 months or so for a quantifiable ROI to begin to surface. Social media marketing is about forming, developing, and maintaining relationships. It takes time to establish trust with your target market. Your goal is to gain trust by engaging your audience, participating in conversations and sharing valuable, industry-related information, photos, videos, testimonials, press releases, etc. I recently read a comment on a blog where someone termed this process of earning trust and the results of this investment as a “return on connections”. As these audience relationships continue to grow, the people that you connect with via the social media sites will become more and more aware of your business’ name and the products/services that you offer such that when they have a want or need that your business can fulfill and/or when someone they know mentions that they are looking for the products/services that your business offers, the name of your business will be right at the top of their minds.

Beginning a social media marketing program can be likened to starting a garden; you can’t plant the seeds one day and expect a beautiful spread of fully developed plants and flowers when you wake up the next morning; the end result is a product of the nurturing and maintenance that you provide over time.

Another purpose for having a presence on the various social sites is so that when people go looking for your business, it is there to be found. Now days, people want to see what other people have to say about a business and how a business acts before they make a purchasing decision. Because social networks are so prevalent, all a consumer needs to do is hop online and search for the name of the business in which they are interested to see what is being said. For your business to be there when it is sought out shows the consumer that you are invested in earning their trust. To be absent shows a lack of commitment, with no option given to the consumer to establish any type of connection with your business, and that to me, is a very scary notion. Don’t let your competition win just because you didn’t show up to the field.

Social media has changed the game altogether. It is not enough to just have a website anymore. Websites are cold and corporate; a poker face that a business can hide behind. Putting your business out there shows that you are not afraid to be vulnerable. To be present on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress, etc., lets the consumer know that you don’t have anything to hide, or if for some reason there was something negative said about your business, you will at least be there to respond appropriately and let others see how you handle yourself and care about the concerns of your clients.

One more fantastic benefit obtained from utilizing these online platforms is the ability for you to easily keep your current clients (and/or their families) “in the know” about what your business is doing. All someone needs to do is connect with your business on the social sites and they will automatically receive a wealth of information related to your industry (because you are not just blasting out self promotions about how great your products/services are), updates on events with which your office is involved, photos of you, your office, your staff, and anything else that you wish to share – which just helps them feel comfortable and confident that doing business with you is the right choice.

I’m not trying to downplay the fact that an increase in leads does not happen over night or say that lead generation is not an important goal of a social media marketing program. What I am saying is that it just takes time and this is something that needs to be understood about social media marketing. It takes time to gain trust, establish a presence, be seen as an industry expert and develop a relationship with your audience – but the effects of all of these elements will be long lasting and the leads will come.


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May 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 40 Comments

A Step by Step Guide on Getting Started Using Facebook For Business


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May 8, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 20 Comments

Are You Skipping the First Step of Your Daily Social Networking Maintenance?


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Daily Social Networking Tasks: It’s not all about content blasting.

Sometimes we are overly anxious to jump online and start posting or sometimes we just don’t have a lot of time and a very important task of social networking maintenance falls by the wayside. While I strongly recommend that you employ the following practices each day, if you must skip this step every now and then due to time constraints, it’s okay, just make sure you are on top of it next time you do have an few extra minutes or if you always feel like you barely have enough time, make it a priority and block out a specific time.

The task that I am referring to is listening, reading, and responding. You may be thinking, “Woah you said one, that looks like three tasks,” but the three really do go hand in hand.

And so, my recommendation to you is this: each day before you start your routine posting, run through each social site where you maintain a presence and search for any questions/comments that you have not yet addressed.

Here are some spots to look for on various social sites:

-Facebook: Scroll down your business page’s posts as far back as the last time you checked and look for comments made by anyone who is not a page administrator (if you interact with Business related contacts via your Personal Facebook Profile, make sure you scroll through those comments as well)

facebooke business page comment

Facebook Business Page Comment

-Twitter: Go to your @reply & Direct Message sections

twitter @reply

Twitter @replies

twitter direct message

Twitter Direct Messages

-Blog: Visit the Comment section of the Dashboard (A note of caution, I use WordPress and sometimes legitimate comments are marked as Spam, so make you look at both Pending and Spam comments)

blog comments

Blog Comments

-YouTube: Look at comments (it is recommended, however, that you have your YouTube settings configured such that no one can post a live comment without your approval, so make sure you are reading these emails and taking the appropriate actions)

YouTube comments

YouTube Comments

-LinkedIn: Check for messages in your Inbox, responses to questions you have posed, and posts to discussions you are following

linkedin inbox

LinkedIn Inbox

linkedin questions and answers

LinkedIn Answers

linkedin discussions

LinkedIn Discussions

Make sure all questions get addressed. Even if you don’t know the answer right away, respond letting the inquirer know that you have gotten their question and you are going to get back to them. Make sure comments get attention as well. While it may seem that a comment doesn’t necessitate a response, let your audience know that there is someone listening by thanking them for reading and commenting.

Facebook Business Page Comment

Facebook Business Page Comment & Acknowledgment

Your goal is to establish and maintain trust in order to keep people coming back to your pages to receive your information, in hopes that they will do business with you in the future. The more you engage and interact with your audience, the more real you become, and ultimately the more likely you are to be seen as a trusted resource.

May 6, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Get the Biggest Bang for Your Time Online: A Look at Efficient Ways to Effectively Social Network When You Have Limited Time


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I recently posed the following question to the members of the LinkedIn Group, Social Networking & Social Media Marketing for Franchisees, “If you are not currently implementing a social media marketing program for your business, why not? What obstacles stand in your way?”

I was not at all surprised that the very first answer was simply lack of time. Fortunately, with a little strategic planning and implementation of some very helpful tools, you can accomplish your social networking/social media marketing tasks for the day in a very short amount of time.

Let’s start with the blog post. I am a huge advocate of the business blog. Blogs lend so many benefits to a social media marketing program that they really can’t be overlooked. Creating your blog post for the week is going to be your most time intensive task so it’s understandable if you can’t sit down and crank it out all at one time. It is okay to create your blog post over the course of a couple of days before publishing the final product; just make sure you re-read what you’ve pieced together before you publish!

After you’ve published your blog, you should post it on your Facebook Business Page, tweet it on Twitter, share it on LinkedIn, bookmark it on social bookmarking sites, and post it on document sharing sites. While that sounds like a lot of posting, there are some tools to help you streamline this process.

The Mozilla Firefox browser has an Add-On called, Shareaholic, which helps you share your work across many sites by clicking on the Shareaholic button from your browser’s toolbar, logging into each site, and posting.shareaholic

Another button you can, and should implement into your blog posts is the Share button, also known as the Add This button. When you are posting online it is essential to make it as easy as possible for your readers to share your information with their networks. Therefore, you need to have a Share button either at the top or bottom of each of your posts. You can grab the HTML for the Share button at http://addthis.com. So, after your post is published, go ahead and use the Share button within your post to share it across your other social sites.share button, add this

Now that your blog is done, you still need to find content to share with your networks throughout the rest of the week. Finding content to post can turn into a big “time suck”. But, what if you could have the content delivered to you, instead of having to search it out? Good news. You can. Google has a free product called Google Alerts that will send you emails when the Google web crawlers come across content on the web that contains keywords of your choosing.  It is really important to share value laden information related to your business’ industry with your networks instead of just sharing information about your business’ offerings. One of the goals of your social media marketing program is to be seen as an expert in your industry. By consistently providing great content, your audience will begin to see you as the “go-to” person/company for information related to the products and services that you offer and will be more likely to refer you in the future.

Another great (free) Google product that you can use to have content delivered to you is Google Reader. Google Reader allows you subscribe to RSS feeds across the web. An RSS feed is simply a real-time running list of posts, tweets, blog posts, Facebook links, etc. When I stumble upon posts from an individual or company that  I know I’ll want to read on a continuous basis, I subscribe to their RSS feed in my Google Reader and then I can open Google Reader whenever I’d like and grab relevant information all in one place.

Now that you’ve chosen what you are going to share it’s time to post. But, WAIT! Before you post please READ the content.  You cannot assume what an article is going to say simply based on the title. It sounds like a no-brainer but I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen articles shared by companies that end up bashing their own services or raving about their competitors. If you don’t have time to read the article, hold off on posting until you can.

You should try to post to your networks multiple times throughout the week.  Since the search engines have started crawling and indexing tweets and Facebook posts it is even more beneficial to you to post frequently with content related to your products and services that could help your business show up in the search engine results pages. This does not mean to bombard your audience with self-promoting, keyword stuffed posts. It is important that you learn a little bit about each social site to see what frequency of posting seems acceptable to the users. For example, on Twitter you can post many times throughout the day, however, on Facebook people want quality versus quantity.

To save time, there are sites you can use to post to multiple sites at once. Ping.fm is great for posting to many sites in one fell swoop. Hootsuite is another site that facilitates posting to multiples sites at once and also allows you to schedule future posts.  Socialoomph allows for scheduled posting as well. Using one site to post to multiple sites at once is also a great way for the ADD social marketer to keep from being distracted on the social sites when there is work to be done since you don’t have to visit each site individually to post.

Something else you can do to save time online involves linking your sites together where applicable. For instance you can set up your Facebook Page to automatically update your Twitter status by going to http://facebook.com/twitter. You can add widgets to your blog’s sidebar to display real-time posts from some of your other sites. Sites and services like Friendfeed and Google Buzz among others, also allow you to link to your other sites to automatically stream in real-time posts.

By implementing these tips and strategies you should be able to get some great posting done in 15-20 minutes/day, however, you will also want to block out a lengthier time slot once a week to visit each site where you have a presence to see what your audience is saying. Visit your Facebook page and address any comments/questions; Go to your Twitter account and respond to your @replies and direct messages; Stop by your blog dashboard to check and respond to comments; etc. Remember, social networking is about a two-way conversation. Nothing turns me away from a company more than when I post a question on their Facebook page or blog only to be ignored.

Hopefully you’ve learned some tips here that you can use to help keep up with your social presence. There are only a couple of reasons that I know of that would really keep someone from implementing a social media marketing program; lack of time is not one of them.

What methods have you found save you time online?

May 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments