Thursday, 28 March 2013

Tony Robbins on How to Turn Business Obstacles into Opportunities

Do you have a Cash flow business problem? Watch Tony Robbins help Shane turn his business obstacle into a business opportunity.

What obstacles are you facing in your business?
Please feel free to share your thoughts

Sunday, 17 March 2013

5 Creative Ways to Use LinkedIn Company Pages

Does your business have a LinkedIn company page?

Have you noticed how other businesses are using LinkedIn lately?

A number of larger brands are creatively using their LinkedIn company pages, and some of them are doing some cool things.

Here are five brands using their LinkedIn company pages creatively.

Check out what they are doing to learn how you can tell your story, generate leads and engage your communities through your LinkedIn page.

#1: LinkedIn—Develop a Campaign

Let’s start with LinkedIn. Why not learn from the source itself? LinkedIn’s own company page offers some insight into what works for effectively engaging your target audience.

In many cases, LinkedIn’s company page status updates are tied to an ongoing, larger campaign. Most recently, LinkedIn posed a question to its identified “influencers” who contribute their unique thought leadership content to the site. The question asked of these thought leaders was, “What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?”

 linkedin status updates
LinkedIn shared updates to create community dialogue.
Seventy LinkedIn influencers contributed their answers to this question. LinkedIn posted many of the responses to their LinkedIn company page as status updates in order to share the content with followers and build engagement.

What was great about this idea was that it has provided LinkedIn with a series of ongoing, fresh and interesting status updates for their company page. Not only did LinkedIn share the answers from various influencers, they asked followers to also answer the question to create community dialogue.

Developing a campaign that drives a related series of status updates on your company page can increase engagement and keep the conversation going and expand your company’s visibility as followers share and like your content.

Here’s how to develop a campaign on your LinkedIn company page.

Create a campaign that poses an interesting question to a group of influential bloggers in your industry who can respond via their own blog post.

Not only can you highlight each of these contributors on your own company blog, you can also create a series of shareable and engaging status updates for your page!

Remember to ask your followers to answer your question as well.

#2: HubSpot—Create Leads

It’s tough to find a company with a presence on LinkedIn making better use of the LinkedIn company page than HubSpot. HubSpot has been quite successful in generating a consistent flow of leads for their software product through their LinkedIn company page!

What HubSpot has done so well is determine which types of marketing offers work best to generate business leads from their LinkedIn company page.

For example, under the Products/Services tab, you’ll find marketing offers for a free demo of the software and some free educational materials (ebooks) related to utilizing the software.

hubspot free ebooks 
HubSpot shares lead generating updates on their LinkedIn page.
HubSpot has also done a tremendous job of gathering recommendations for their software product with almost 200 individuals weighing in.

 hubspot recommendations
HubSpot has many recommendations on their company page.
This “social proof” can be very powerful in encouraging a prospective customer to take that next step.

Here’s how to create leads with your LinkedIn company page.

Regardless of what products and services your company sells, create marketing offers such as free demos, a free consultation or free ebooks or special reports, and share information on these to generate leads from your LinkedIn company page.

Also, consider sending a LinkedIn message to your existing customers through your company page asking them to write a recommendation. These recommendations can easily be published directly to your page!

#3: CNBC—Cross-Promote Other Social Channels

CNBC is a global financial media brand with a fairly robust presence on LinkedIn. In fact, the company was named as one of the top LinkedIn company pages for 2012.

Aside from sharing timely financial and economic news on their page, CNBC is using their LinkedIn presence as an opportunity to promote their other social channels.

 cnbc products services linkedin
CNBC uses the LinkedIn company page banner to promote their other social networks.
In the first banner image, CNBC has a call to action to join them on Facebook. The second image as you scroll through is a call to action to join them on Twitter and the third is a call to action for a free trial demo of the CNBC Pro Product.

Using this real estate to blatantly cross-promote additional social media communities for CNBC is a great idea.

Here’s how to cross-promote your other social channels on your LinkedIn company page.

You are allowed to have up to 3 rotating banner images under the Products/Services tab. Within each banner, you can embed a link so the viewer can click through to an outside web page or to another social media profile.

Develop banner images and embed links for your company page’s Products/Services tab to cross-promote your other social media communities.

Keep in mind that businesses can run targeted ads on LinkedIn that lead directly to the Products/Services tab. (Running ads on LinkedIn is a paid feature.) Consider ways to use this to your advantage.

#4: Facebook—Find New Talent

Facebook is utilizing its LinkedIn presence primarily to attract and recruit talent on the world’s largest professional online network.

The Careers tab is a paid feature on LinkedIn, but many brands are successfully leveraging it to announce job openings and find new talent.

 facebook careers linkedin
The Facebook LinkedIn page appeals to new talent.
Facebook showcases a compelling banner image and tagline: “Making the world more open & connected” at the top of their Careers page tab. They also provide a simple yet motivating description of what it means to work at Facebook: “Working at Facebook means doing what you love.”

Facebook links directly to its other Facebook web properties further down on the page, and provides a short video overview that gives potential candidates an inside view of what it’s like to work at the company.

Overall, Facebook’s Career tab is an excellent example of providing a compelling and attractive value proposition for drawing in potential candidates for employment.

Here’s how to implement this tactic on your LinkedIn company page.

If you’re in the market for sourcing and recruiting talent, a paid Careers tab on your LinkedIn company page might make a lot of sense.

Through the numerous features available on this page, you will be able to showcase your company story and job openings effectively.

#5: American Airlines—Engage Your Audience

American Airlines is doing a couple of things well on their LinkedIn company page.

First, the main company page banner is a big, beautiful American Airlines airplane flying through the sky. This is a captivating visual that grabs your attention as soon as you land on the page.

 aa banner image
The American Airlines LinkedIn page banner captures your attention.
Why is a captivating visual important? Without a strong banner image at the top of your LinkedIn company page, the page just doesn’t look complete or attractive. It is doubtful that a visitor will want to further explore the page if it doesn’t have any visual appeal. Unfortunately, many large and popular brands still don’t have a banner image.

The other thing that American Airlines is doing well is that they are utilizing company page status updates to offer followers an opportunity to enter and qualify for a unique travel experience!

 aa status update
American Airlines posts updates to engage their audience on LinkedIn.
In order to enter the contest above, the visitor has to guess the landmark from an aerial view image that American Airlines has posted on the update.

These are exactly the kinds of status updates that have the potential to go viral!

How to engage your audience on your LinkedIn company page.

Make sure to create a banner image to insert at the top of your LinkedIn company page to make it more visually appealing.

Next, consider creating a series of contests or sweepstakes promotions that are relevant to your company and can be shared as status updates. This is a great way to generate buzz and build followers for your page.

Develop Your LinkedIn Company Page

LinkedIn company pages continue to evolve with newly added features and functionality.

These pages can help grow the visibility of your company and further engage with clients, prospects and advocates. Additionally, your LinkedIn company page can serve as a credible extension of your digital brand!

You don’t have to be a big brand to take advantage of and benefit from some of these same strategies on your page. It doesn’t matter if you’re just beginning to build a LinkedIn company page, or if you already have a few thousand followers on your existing page.

You can learn from the brands that are being smart and creative with their company pages.

Be sure to check out the new LinkedIn resource for Company Page managers.

What do you think? Do these creative ways brands are using LinkedIn company pages trigger some ideas for your own page? Are there other brands or businesses that you think are doing creative things on their pages? Please share in the comments section!

author:Stephanie Sammons

Thursday, 14 March 2013

How to Make Your Facebook Contests Stand Out

Do you run contests on Facebook?

Would you like to make your next Facebook contest stand out?

This article will give you 4 ideas to improve your next Facebook contest.

Why Facebook Contests?

Facebook contests are a popular way for you to get your audience engaged and excited about your brand. More and more companies have adopted the use of Facebook contests to better track participation and engagement.
 facebook promo app

Contests are a popular marketing tactic for businesses on Facebook.
With so many companies using contests, even if you’ve read the 9 Tips for Running Successful Facebook Contests, it can be hard to differentiate yourself. Your Facebook fans are pummeled with tons of advertisements and other promotions. So it’s important to stand out against your competitors.

Simply giving out a free iPad or a gift card isn’t enough to attract the attention of social followers.

Here are 4 ways to make your next Facebook contest unique so it gets the attention and engagement you are looking for.

#1: Connect Your Facebook Contest to Other Social Platforms

When you plan your next Facebook contest, consider all the other channels you could use as part of the contest. Don’t limit your promotions to just Facebook, and don’t limit the activities for the contest just to Facebook.

HuHot Mongolian Grill held an annual contest where fans submitted their favorite recipes. A winner from each location was selected, and then they competed nationally against the other franchises.

The contest was published to their corporate Facebook Page.

Then HuHot decided to promote the contest by creating a Pinterest board dedicated to the recipe contest showing prizes, how to enter and past winning recipes.
 huhot pinterest board

HuHot’s Pinterest board.
By using multiple social media platforms, you will be able to reach a much larger audience. Utilize the strengths of different social channels and you will have higher engagement and reach more people.

For example, Pinterest is a great place to incorporate pictures into your contest. Twitter is a great way to give quick, short updates about the contest.

#2: Use Location-Based Services in Your Contest

One feature that is often underutilized by brand Pages is the ability to check into a location on Facebook.

However, using this feature for a contest can ensure that people are not only thinking about your brand, they are also physically going to a location to interact directly with your brand.

If you are able to convince your followers that your company is worthy of them taking their time to go to your location, you are closer to converting them into a customer.

Southwest Airlines hosted a promotion where they asked their fans to check into their physical locations at airports, and they would donate $1 per check-in to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Not only did they make a lot of money for a charitable cause, they also increased the number of followers of their Facebook Page from 991,200 to 1.2 million.
 southwest airline contest

Southwest Airlines’ Facebook contest.
Not everyone incorporates location-based services into their Facebook campaigns. However, using them can differentiate your company and the contest from all of the other Facebook contests.

Even if it isn’t incorporating check-ins into your contest, think about ways to get your followers to directly engage with your brand. Location-based services are a great option, but there are others out there to explore.

#3: Include Your Followers When Choosing the Winner

Interactive contests are vital to maintain engagement and keep your followers coming back for more.

When you have a contest where one person is randomly selected for liking your photo, it doesn’t give your followers a reason to keep checking back on your Page.

On the other hand, when you run a contest based on what your fans want, this will give people a bigger reason to keep checking your Facebook Page to see who wins.

When Zipcar hosts contests, they typically involve their social media followers to help pick the winner.

Last June, they hosted the Ultimate Ziptrip contest, inviting members of their social media community to tell them in under 750 characters why they wanted to take a vacation to one of Zipcar’s cities.

Zipcar narrowed down the entries to 50 people who were then asked to create a video about why they wanted to take a trip. The finalists were posted to Zipcar’s Facebook Page where 1,000 fan votes chose the ultimate winner.

During the contest, the Facebook contest Page was viewed over 53,000 times and shared by over 2,500 people. Zipcar also gained 9,200 more Facebook likes.

 zipcar contest
Zipcar’s Ultimate Ziptrip contest.
When hosting a contest on Facebook, including your Facebook fans is important. If you have a community on a social platform, you’ll want to consider making your contest part of the social experience.

When you include your fans as a core part of the contest, it leads to increased engagement, because your fans will feel an attachment to the person they vote for.

#4: Use Other Parts of Facebook to Promote Your Contest

You can promote contests creatively within Facebook.  Please make sure you follow Facebook Guidelines.

Some companies host contests by asking viewers to upload pictures of themselves interacting with the brand or company to become eligible to win prizes (using a third-party app). Other contests may be promoted through Facebook’s Sponsored Stories, whether within the news feed or in the sidebar.

When creating your contest, think about how it can spread on Facebook, whether by posting on others’ walls or seeing it in your news feed.

By using other Facebook features, you are promoting the Facebook contest throughout the entire Facebook experience. Users who are comfortable with Facebook and not other platforms may find it easier to participate in the contest by using the Facebook tools they are already familiar with.

Takeaway for Your Next Contest

The next time you are considering hosting a social media contest, think about ways to stand out. Instead of choosing winners based on the number of likes, consider having your followers select the winner.

Instead of creating your own promotional videos, ask the people involved in the contest to create them.

Instead of uploading your own pictures to Facebook, create a Pinterest board.

There are many ways you can think outside the box with Facebook contests, and these contests stand out more to your followers than others.

Consider what you know about your audience, and use the part of Facebook that you know your followers are the most comfortable with. The participation in your contest can be higher as a result, and you may see the results you are looking for.

What do you think? What other unique ways could you use Facebook contests? How have you seen other companies or brands use them? Please share your ideas and comments below.
Author: Rachel Sprung

Sunday, 10 March 2013

5 Tips to Enhance Your Facebook Graph Search Ranking

Do you want to know how to help your Facebook Page appear higher in Facebook search and beyond?
With the new Facebook Graph Search, this is a good time to revisit your page.

Here are five steps to make your Facebook Page more searchable and visible.

The first three steps outlined below are for entry-level Facebook Page admins. If you’re certain that you’re already implementing the most basic best practices, skip ahead to step four.

#1: Choose the Right Name

This sounds really obvious, but many businesses can’t help but cram lots of keywords in their name in the hopes of boosting searchability. This can backfire.

If you were, say, “Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.: Baked Shrimp, Shrimp Creole, Shrimp Scampi, Fried Shrimp and More Shrimp,” your name would look like spam. Just “Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.” says all anyone needs to know.
 bugga gump
For their main Facebook Page, Bubba Gump uses their name and the word Inc., to clarify that you've reached the official Bubba Gump Restaurants Page.

At the same time, you don’t want to be so generic (e.g., “Seafood Restaurant”) that you’ll get lost in the shuffle. Remember that the first word you include in your Page title is the one that Google will consider the most important.

By the way, if there are other Pages out there that use your name, such as Pages that have been created by fans, make sure to add “Official” to your Page. You can also add the location of your business to the name.
For example, if you own a franchise, you would call your Page “McDonald’s Reno.”
 bubba gump locations
Bubba Gump has locations throughout the world so when franchises have their own Facebook Page, they separate themselves by adding their location to their name, like "Philippines."

#2: Add Important Information in Key Sections

You should also include important details about your business in the About, Mission and Company Description sections.

Does your About section include your web address and a description of what you do? Have you included important keywords that search engines will like? The Mission and Description sections offer more places to use keywords—appropriately, of course.

If you’re “the world’s largest online social media magazine,” say so in the About section. If your mission is “to empower users to succeed with social media,” say so in the Mission section. [NOTE: These quotes are from Social Media Examiner's page.]

And in the Description section, elaborate on what your business does; for instance, “Our story began in 1971. Back then we were a roaster and retailer of whole-bean and ground coffee…” as Starbucks does.
Starbucks gets a lot of information across in their short description, mentioning their history and current success.

Finally, if your business depends on local traffic, include your physical address and phone number in the Basic Info section. You can see this in the example below for the Campo Restaurant Facebook Page.
 campo restaurant
Campo is a local restaurant in Reno, Nevada, so it's essential that they have their contact information easily available.

#3: Customize your Facebook URL

Facebook used to require that a Page have 25 likes before it could have a vanity URL, but that is no longer the case. If you haven’t created a personalized URL yet, do it now.

By default, Facebook will give you a URL that includes a number. It will look something like this:

But you can—and definitely should—customize this URL to include the name of your business so that it looks like this:

 custom url

Having a custom URL makes it easy for people to search for your Facebook Page directly via a URL and helps with Facebook SEO.

To create your Facebook vanity URL, go to Facebook Username. If another business is already using the name you want, you have to come up with a variation (Facebook will suggest options).
And if someone has claimed the name of a business you own, you can file a copyright infringement claim with Facebook.

#4: Encourage Sharing

Even when Graph Search is available to everyone, Facebook will still be a social experience more than it will be a traditional search experience.

For Page admins, this means that your content—posts, photos, video, apps, etc.—must be content that people want to share with their friends.

Imagine Graph Search as a sort of net. The net will capture likes, shares, check-ins, tags, etc., and so it makes sense that the more incoming relationships a Page has, the more easily it will be discovered.

In the image below, Mari Smith’s post was of great interest to her fans.

Mari's post got shared 156 times, proving it was valuable content.
facebook share
The bottom line is the most popular and shared posts on Facebook tend to be the ones that are interactive, engaging and contain useful information.

Finally, don’t forget that Facebook is about connecting with people. Don’t sacrifice the social aspect of your Page for the sake of making it more searchable with Graph Search or any other search engine.

#5: Get the Most Out of Timeline and Custom App Content

More of your Facebook Page is visible to search engines (and presumably will be visible to Graph Search) than you may realize.

Status updates have a limited shelf life because as you make more, they naturally get pushed down the Timeline. On the other hand, apps that are pinned as a favorite next to your photos are there every time a user comes back.

Consider adding content strategically for more visibility inside Facebook.

Add apps that contain valuable content such as surveys, forms, menus, newsletters and ebooks that live for more than a few days. People will want to share them over an extended period and that will help your content live longer.

In the image below, Palmasola uses a Facebook app to provide welcome information.
 facebook app
Using a Facebook app eliminates the hassle of continually having to post information as a status update.
One final note, don’t focus on SEO at the expense of developing a vibrant and engaged community on Facebook.

The most popular Pages are the ones that are interactive and engaging and that (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again) embrace the ideology of Facebook.

If you cover all of the basics, including the ones outlined at the beginning of this post, people will find you.

What do you think? What strategies have you found to make you more visible on Facebook? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.
author:Jim Belosic

Sunday, 3 March 2013

How to Generate Leads With Video Marketing

Do you want to attract high-quality leads with social media?

Many business owners see a drop-off in new leads because they stop thinking strategically about conversions.

One way to enhance your social media marketing is to create a short, shareable social video—and implement a strategic “mini-campaign” around it to drive opt-ins.
In this article I’ll show 3 ways to supercharge your social media marketing with video.

#1: Create a Short Social Video

Converting social media fans into actual customers starts with getting fans off your social platforms and onto your email list.
First, you must move your fans from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest onto your landing page.
Use a short social video. Videos are quick, they’re visual, they’re personal, they work like gangbusters across multiple platforms and they’re very share-worthy!

To get the most out of your lead generation video, stick to a short script—2 minutes or less. Try this simple formula:
·         Get real. Start with a greeting that’s true to your personality and your brand. Be brief, but be real. And engage viewers quickly with a fun question or a thought-provoking statement.
·         Get their attention with your content giveaway. Think premium—ebooks, cheat sheets, book chapters, etc. Use storytelling techniques like sharing a personal anecdote or client story to KEEP their attention.
·         Get specific. What are 3-5 reasons that your fan simply cannot miss out on this giveaway? Lay them out, step by step. Always ask: “What’s in it for them?”
·         End on a clear call to action. Just one! And take care not to make your CTA platform-specific. You’ll use this on multiple social media channels.
Hint: Outline your script in advance so you’re comfortable ad-libbing on production day.

#2: Plan a Social Media “Mini-Campaign”

A mini-campaign on social media is exactly what it sounds like: a planned marketing effort across several different social media channels for a short period of time.
A few pointers on laying out yours for the best, most consistent results:
o   Use a theme to unite ALL of your content. For example, HGTV focuses oneye-catching photos and valuable blog posts showing off architectural touches to support their “Dream Home” giveaway.
dream home
o   Create a theme around your promotion by using blog posts, images and videos as value-added content.
o   Prepare your irresistible offer (ebook, 3-part video series, teleclass, etc.) that solves one of your fans’ biggest pain points.
o   Create a professional landing page outlining benefits—the same benefits you highlighted in your video. Here’s an example of one I used:
 spotlight the benefits
For each of my webinars, I always spotlight the benefits so my followers know what’s in it for them.
Next, you’ll want to plan an editorial calendar with two types of supporting content:

1. Indirect Content (a.k.a. value-added, “barrier-free” content)
Indirect content is all about building trust, so that when you do ask for a name and an email on your opt-in page, fans have already had a good experience with your free content—and eagerly want more!
Examples: This is the kind of content you’re already creating weekly: blog posts, short teaching videos, images for Facebook and Pinterest, etc. During your mini-campaign,craft content that keeps your theme top of mind.
For example, HGTV uses this strategy by posting helpful content that easily ties to their “Dream Home” giveaway:
 hgtv how to posts
HGTV uses valuable “how-to” posts on their social media sites that do not directly highlight their “Dream Home” contest (to avoid over-promotion), but the posts always complement the “Dream Home” promotional posts.

2. Premium or Direct Content
Here’s where your lead generating video comes into play. Regularly post direct opportunities for your fans to sign up for your offer, using your video as the teaser.
Examples: Images, status updates and tweets work best when thematically tied together and implemented over a short time period. Fourteen days works great!

#3: Leverage Your Video Across Multiple Social Channels

With your video—and plan—in hand, it’s time to identify how you’re going to maximize its shareability and drive traffic to your landing page.
Here are a few specific ways to promote your video on the big four platforms:
First things first: upload your video to YouTube and optimize it with a URL (in the description), a great title and a clear call to action. Also, consider adding a video overlay that links to your landing page for extra traction. These are basically clickable banner ads.
 include call to action
Make sure to include a call to action and link in the description box.

Share your video in a status update with a clear call to action. Then you can push additional traffic to it using Promoted Posts (set these up right on your post) and Page Post Ads (which also appear in the right-hand column and can be targeted to non-fans too).
Hint: With 60% of Facebook users now accessing Facebook from a mobile device, learn how to set up mobile-only ads in the Power Editor as well.

Twitter is a platform we don’t associate strongly with video yet. So tweet your YouTube link (along with a link to your opt-in page) and stand out from the crowd!
Bonus: YouTube videos display right on; no click-through is needed.
 video capabilities on twitter
To stand out from all of the noise, take advantage of the video capabilities on Twitter.

Adding YouTube videos to Pinterest is a great way to spark shares. Whenever someone comes across your pinned video, the PLAY button is featured over the image, so it stands apart from all of the static images around it.

Remember: Fill in your pin’s description with a URL and call to action.

 pinterest video
Many people don’t know that you can pin your videos and that they play inside the Pinterest platform. Yet another place to spread the word!

Making Your Mini-Campaign a Success

Armed with a quarterly strategic plan and premium content (your video, your giveaway, plus all the indirect content that supports both), you can convert fans into quality leads and eventually, loyal customers.
And you can continue to do so all year by focusing on new campaigns, themes and content, giving structure (and measurability) to your editorial calendar.
Now it’s your turn. What’s one list-building tip that should be part of every “mini-campaign”? Share your experience in the comment box below.
Author:Amy Porterfield