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Mary Wu, Social Media Consultant

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7 Steps to Starting Your List — Part 3

Email Envelopes On Screen Showing Emailing Or ContactingOver the next few weeks, we’ll be discussing email in detail. By the end of this series, you should be able to start up a list and keep it running. Here are the items we’ll be addressing:

  1. Build your list — define your target email audience.
  2. Create Freebie Offer
  3. Promoting your sign-up form
  4. Remember CAN-Spam
  5. Set up your program
  6. Create your email
  7. Test and Track

We’ve already given some thought to your target audience (your clients and strategic partners) and your free offer. Today we’ll talk about your sign-up form. In the “Related Articles” section below, I’ve added instructions from MailChimp and iContact on how to add a Sign-up Form. Most email marketing platforms have fairly good instructions for how to set up. But how do you actually get people to sign your form? Here’s some ideas. Put it EVERYWHERE. If someone knows you they should EASILY be able to find out how to sign up for your email list. Some of the ideas I’ve seen used:

  • Email signature file – everyone you send a email to, be it a client or a vendor or a joint venture partner or someone you met networking and you’re following up with, sees your email and your signature line. Mine has “Sign up for my newsletter and receive 3 Simple Steps for Getting Started in Social Media.” It’s one line at the bottom of my email, it doesn’t interrupt any messages; but if someone does take time to look for contact information, they do see a way to receive my email.
  • LinkedIn – In my LinkedIn summary, I have the following sentence: “To get weekly insights into client communication through social media, blogs, and newsletters, sign up for her newsletter at http://bit.ly/MWuVaList.” While it doesn’t allow someone to go directly to the link, by the use of a bit.ly and a simple name, they can easily find their way.
  • Website – Link to your sign-up form from your website.
  • Invoices – Add a sign-up form link to your invoices.
  • Trade Shows – Collect names at trade shows (make sure it is clear you’re adding someone to your list – we’ll talk more about this next week).
  • Speaking engagements – Offer a drawing or incentive to people when you’re at a trade show or when you’re speaking at a networking event (again, make sure to make it clear you’re adding them to your list).
  •  Facebook Sign-up – If you have a Facebook Page for your business, one of the options available is to link to a sign-up form.  If you look at the picture below, you’ll see where the Sign-up icon is on the Social Media Examiner page.

fbsignup As you can see, there are many ways to get the word out about your mailing list. Do you have any great ideas? Leave a note in the comments.   Related articles

(Rough week — sign and sing, form and from – I’m putting my proofreader through his paces today).

5 Days of Celebrating Small Business #4

May 4-8 2015 is National Small Business Week. SBA_NSBW2015_FINAL_v2

I’m going to mark this occasion by posting some business tips (for small businesses) and articles each day geared toward small businesses.

 


Thanks and giving all year long.
Another tip from my own archives. Some tips for thanking your clients.

  1. ID-100113560Be specific. At a minimum, send out a note that says, “Thank you for your business this year.” But for special clients, if you’ve got the time, you can be more specific. “Thank you for allowing me to work on your project. I enjoyed learning more about Acme Widgets.
  2. Give a social shout out. If you have a client or service provider you’ve enjoyed working with, it’s a good idea to send them a note of thanks. It’s a GREAT idea to put that note of thanks in public view, whether through a shout out on their Facebook page or a testimonial on their LinkedIn page. If you do send a specific thank you note, be sure to let the person know they are welcome to use that information on their website or on LinkedIn. Give them permission to quote you in advance.
  3. Pass it along. If you have a service provider that has gone above and beyond for you, or if someone you know is always willing to help out or give just a little extra, don’t keep that secret to yourself. Your colleagues or friends might also be able to use their services.
  4. Go old school. Often it’s fairly simple to toss off an electronic thank you. Written thank you notes are even more appreciated. We all have mailboxes full of bills and junk mail. Send someone something that will brighten their day.
  5. Be authentic. When it comes time to send a thank you, be authentic. Your thank you note will mean more if it’s honest and heartfelt.

 

Related articles

Related songs 

Image courtesy of Naypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 Days of Celebrating Small Business #3

May 4-8 2015 is National Small Business Week. SBA_NSBW2015_FINAL_v2

I’m going to mark this occasion by posting some business tips (for small businesses) and articles each day geared toward small businesses.

 

 

business_1100010234-012914-int Delegating. Today another tip from my own archives, how to find a relialble service provider.

Here are three tips that should help you whether you’re looking for a plumber, a lawyer, or a virtual assistant:

  1.  Just ask. Ask everybody you know. Ask your friends, ask your neighbors, post a request to Facebook. Rest assured, if you don’t know somebody, you know somebody that knows somebody.
  2. Do background checks. I’m not talking about the background checks that go with hiring bank employees or Sunday School teachers*. But if you do a Google search on a name, look at a service like Angie’s List, or look at a person’s profile on LinkedIn. Not only will this give you an idea of their professional persona, you can see if you have any common connections.
  3. Interview. Most reliable service providers, in any area, are more than willing to sit down and talk to you for some amount of time for free (or at a greatly reduced rate) so that you can see if a working relationship is possible. You can use Skype or other services to “interview” someone virtually.

I honestly can’t think of a single time I’ve made a decision based solely on cost that I’ve been happy with that choice. On the other hand, I’ve often been happy with work done by people that have come with strong personal referrals.

Related articles

3 Ways to Handle LinkedIn Connections

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a solopreneur that finds a great deal of value in LinkedIn.

Today, however, we’re going to focus on connections.

The first way to add connections is to go to your LinkedIn profile and click on “Connections”

connections

If you then go down to “add connections,” you can connect your address book to LinkedIn.

You can then add everybody in your address book. If you have an address book that is strictly for business, then you will only get business connections. But, if you use the same email for both (or have Gmail and it just grabs all of your contacts), then you will get a listing of

*E*V*E*R*Y*B*O*D*Y*

…your son’s soccer coach from when he was 6, your daughter’s third grade teacher, the health tech from the middle school.

You get the idea. There might be some people in there that might not really be considered business contacts.

So it might be time to step back and see who you WANT to actually add to your connections.

From what I can gather from what I’ve read and what I’ve seen, there seems to be three schools of thought.

  1. Grab for ALL the connections you possibly can. This is where you would add your son’s soccer coach and the ex-boyfriend of your second cousin once removed.
  2. Be purposeful and specific in the people you do or do not add.
  3. Change with your whim week by week. 

As you can see, I’ve put a strikethrough through #3. This plan doesn’t have any logic.

#1 has some benefits, and there are advantages to having a large number of LinkedIn connections. This is spelled out in the first article below (9 Reasons Why LinkedIn Friendship is the Mightiest of Magics). This was written by someone that does Online advertising so increasing the size of a market is a significant part of their business. (As a complete aside, as the mother of a “brony”, I have got to admire someone that manages to write a blog post outlining their professional services while using lessons from My Little Pony – props to Larry).

The second option is the one that I’ve personally chosen. I want to have the ability to speak to the business acumen or character of my connections.

As I was working on this blog post, a call came in from another member of the Virtual Assistant community looking for graphic artists. I sent her information about 3 graphic artists that I know and their LinkedIn profiles. This way she can see their experience and recommendations right off the bat.

THURSDAY TIP – Give Credit Where it’s Due

ID-10079666Let’s say you’re starting up a business on a shoestring, because let’s face it, most start-ups are on a tight budget. You’ve heard that it’s important to have a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter and that you need to have a GREAT profile picture. So you’ve found a friend that does wonderful photography and he (or SHE – KERRY LYNN) does a photo shoot for you and you find the perfect profile photo, as happened for me with Kerramel Studios when I first opened my doors two years ago.

You put this photo on Facebook and your friends say, “You look awesome!” There are two things you should now do. If your photo is drawing engagement, make sure to say, “And the photo was taken by _photographer_ making sure to tag @photographer on that platform. (I find a get more personal photo engagement on my personal Facebook profile, and not so much on my business Facebook Page.)

After that (I’m using Facebook as the example here), click on your profile photo (bottom left corner of your banner)

fbbannermwva

 

 

In this example I clicked on the picture of me, and not on my logo.

fbeditmwva

 

From here, we’d click on the words in blue that say “Add a description”

In this example, I typed “Thanks @Kerry Lynn at @Kerramel Studios”

Finding great people to work can be easy if we work together and give shout outs to the people with patented “awesome sauce.”

 

Images courtesy of:

“Tips,” Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mary Wu, Kerry Lynn at Kerramel Studios

Logo, Suzanne Wills

And a special thanks to Deb Zelman, my bestie, for asking the question which encouraged this post.

Top Three Things to do on LinkedIn This Week

Hi, my name is Mary and I am a self-avowed LinkedIn fan girl. Time For Technology Message Shows Innovation Improvement And Hi Tech

As a Virtual Assistant, I help a number of clients with social media communication. I spend a lot of time on Facebook and other platforms like Twitter and Pinterest and Google+. While I spend fewer hours per week on LinkedIn, I find that LinkedIn has values that are not offered on the other social media sites. Some examples are:

  • E-introductions.    More than once I’ve referred to someone’s LinkedIn Profile when I was looking for that “just right” turn of a phrase for a virtual introduction.
  • Memory jogging. Have you ever had that person that you met once at a networking event six months ago contacts you interested in your services? And you realize that you don’t remember them at all? If you take a quick at their LinkedIn profile, you’ll find out who they are, what they’re doing, and you’ll even (more often than not) get a picture to go along with it.
  • Background Checks. Have you ever gotten a tip about someone who is “great” at “something.” You can look up the person on LinkedIn, find their history, read their recommendations, and see if you have any common connections.
  • Search. If you’re looking for a service and type in the proper search term (and then narrow things down) you might have luck finding a service provider. Just today someone I know was looking for someone to do mold removal – I found a local contractor who had 3 people in common with me.

So – what THREE THINGS should you do on LinkedIn THIS WEEK?

  1. Make sure your profile photo is up to date and recognizable. If you’ve still got the same selfie that you took when you first signed up for LinkedIn in 2009, it’s time to update (consider a professional profile photo).
  2. Make sure your summary is clear, current, and concise (in case anyone wants to use it to e-introduce you to someone.)
  3. ASK for (and give) recommendations. Request recommendations from former employers, current customers, or anyone you’ve done business with. And look for a person or two that has done great work for you, whether it be a lawyer, an insurance agent, a virtual assistant, or a mold removal service.

LinkedIn might not be the platform you spend the most time on, but it might be the platform you spend the most valuable time on.

 

Thursday Tip – The Why and How of LinkedIn Recommendations

If you’ve done business with a person and are extremely satisfied, you may want to tell the world. There are a number of ways to do this:

  1. You can pick up a megaphone (which will only tell a few neighbors).
  2. You can pick up a phonebook (that might take a while – heck in 2015 it might take a while to FIND a phonebook).
  3. You can post on their Facebook page (which will soon disappear further down on the timeline).
  4. You can post a recommendation on their LinkedIn Page. This will be permanently on their LinkedIn Profile page and easy to find for anyone wanting to use their services.

Click here to go to a page (on LinkedIn) that gives details on how to give a recommendation.

Let’s say you’ve given a colleague a recommendation but there’s something you want to change. Perhaps you’ve done more work with a person and you want to change some details, or maybe you were looking at their profile and noticed that you made a typographical error.

Click here to go to a page (on LinkedIn) that gives details on how to EDIT or REMOVE a recommendation.

NOTE: Olike-elements-glossy-icon_zy7r0hIdn the above link step 1 reads “go to your profile” and step 2 reads “scroll to the recommendations section.” This is missing step 1.5 which is “enter edit your profile mode.” If you go straight to your recommendations without entering “edit” mode you will not be able to edit.

Whether you want to give your colleague some “stars” or a “thumbs up,” LinkedIn is the place to go.

 

 

How to Add a Video on LinkedIn

Nederlands: Linked In icon

Nederlands: Linked In icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In order to give potential clients (or employers) an idea of the type of work you do LinkedIn allows you to show media samples on your profile.

One of the notes from the LinkedIn help center states:

“You must use a compatible file type or content provider for best results.”

Or – to quote William Shakespeare, “ay, there’s the rub.”

The (amazingly simple) trick to this is to know what content providers work well with LinkedIn. Two that I’ve found work for all purposes that I need are slideshare.net and YouTube.com

So, first step is to upload a slide show to slideshare or upload a video to YouTube. (If anyone needs tips on that let me know, I’m always looking for more blog posts).

Now it’s 5 easy steps:

  1. Go to your LinkedIn profile page.
    (It’s the second tab on the top)
  2. Now, hover over where it says “Profile” and click on “Edit Profile.” This will put you in edit mode.
  3. Go to the section you’d like to add the video or slideshow to (I often use the “Summary” section.)
  4. Click on the icon that looks like a box with a “+” sign. LinkedInicon
  5. Now, add the link.
    After you’ve added the link it will give you a chance to change the title and the description.

Thanks to Beth Tomas of BTomasDesign for the question.

 

3 Tips on Who To Delegate To

Yes, I’ve talked about delegdelegateation before. It’s a topic that comes up often. The other day I was reading a Facebook Status from a friend that has a spouse in the construction business.

“Watching all these shady contractors on the news ripping people off makes me sick when there are good guys out there like ____________ who follow all the guidelines and have insurance and proper registration and do a great job for their customers and lose jobs to these clowns that rip people off. If the bid is low, there is a reason. You get what you pay for.”

Sometimes we think it’s hard to find the “good guys,” but if you do your research ahead of time, you’ll save time and frustration in the long run.

Here are three tips that should help you whether you’re looking for a plumber, a lawyer, or a virtual assistant:

  1.  Just ask. Ask everybody you know. Ask your friends, ask your neighbors, post a request to Facebook. Rest assured, if you don’t know somebody, you know somebody that knows somebody.
  2. Do background checks. I’m not talking about the background checks that go with hiring bank employees or Sunday School teachers*. But if you do a Google search on a name, look at a service like Angie’s List, or look at a person’s profile on LinkedIn, that will give you an idea of their professional persona.
  3. Interview. Most reliable service providers, in any area, are more than willing to sit down and talk to you for some amount of time for free (or at a greatly reduced rate) so that you can see if a working relationship is possible.

I honestly can’t think of a single time I’ve made a decision based solely on cost that I’ve been happy with that choice. On the other hand, I’ve often been happy with work done by people that have come with strong personal referrals.

Think about what you can do if you release some of the things that make your life difficult. No dollar amount can be placed on time with your family or on peace of mind.

No Secrets (Carly Simon album)

No Secrets (Carly Simon album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 *As an adoptive parent what I often tell people is that if I had any skeletons in my closet, they would have been found during the background check process. I’m like Carly Simon and I have no secrets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Can I Find You

Beautiful Girl Looking At A Hand Mirror And SmilingWhen I’m looking for help, whether it be a plumber, a graphic artist, or an oral surgeon, I am the type of person to do background research before making a phone call. If I’m going to be spending my hard-earned money with you, I want to know that you are a knowledgeable and trustworthy businessperson.

“Back in the day” if you wanted to know about businesses, you asked neighbors, friends, and coworkers, or you looked in the Yellow Pages. Now if you want to know about a business, you ask neighbors, friends, and coworkers — except you don’t actually “ask” them in person; you can reach all of your friends, neighbors, and coworkers with one Facebook post. (more…)