Category Archives: Marketing

Top 10 Websites You Know You Should Be Using but You Don’t!

Internet toolsEveryone wants to offer advice, uncover little-known resources and introduce websites that require more of your valuable time.  Many professionals overlook important and productive activities because they are too busy trying testing the next tool or website that claims to save time, maintain organization or improve productivity.


These are the 10 sites you are overlooking because you are too busy wasting time elsewhere and don’t realize what you are missing.  My favorite thing about the list is that it is “time-neutral”.  I’ll explain afterwards, but if you follow and execute the list it should become obvious.  I even threw in some bonus tools for good measure.  Start with the first 10, then move on to the bonus resources:

  1. Evernote – it’s not just for project management!  Download the app to your phone and use it to quickly save reminders, links, or content you want to share.
  2. IFTTT – don’t waste time posting and re-posting your content to multiple social networks.  Set up recipes using IFTTT to share content across several platforms with a single click.
  3. Quora – it’s LinkedIn Discussions on steroids.
  4. Google Plus – your profiles syncs with a Google account.  Strengthen your brand and social influence.  90 million+ members is no joke!
  5. – an academic approach to developing your brand.Crazy clock
  6. Yelp – establish yourself as a trusted source of feedback.  You offer your opinion through conversation anyways so you may as well reap the benefits of social influence.
  7. Foursquare – the easiest way to get on the mobile marketing bandwagon.  It’s a growing trend you can’t ignore.
  8. Google Voice – create a free account and use your Google Voice number to track response rates from specific advertising campaigns.
  9. – build a customized landing page for you or your business in less than 30-minutes.
  10. Cloud Storage Services – I wrote about how I use cloud storage services.  Whether you use Dropbox, Drive or Box, all of your files should be backed-up properly and accessible from anywhere with internet access.

Before you continue to the bonus resources, read through the first list again.  Evernote, IFTTT, Google Voice and cloud storage are all tools that should save you time.  These tools help offset the little extra time required to execute the rest of your list.  Now that you are on a path to success, check out some of the bonus resources:

Checklist accomplishedBonus Resources:

  • Hootsuite
  • – avoid inbox clutter with temporarily email addresses that expire when you want
  • Ted Talks
  • StumbleUpon


Filed under Branding, Marketing, Productivity, Professional, Social Media & SEO

Establish Your Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday Social Media Command Center

Small Business SaturdayBlack Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are coming.  Even if you’ve never logged-on to Twitter or check-in on Foursquare, you can position business to capitalize on these shopping holidays with a strategic approach to social media.


Perhaps you created a simple social media strategy and took a wrong turn along the way.  It’s time to emerge from your turkey coma and social media black hole!  Planning and management are the keys to an effective social media campaign for the holidays.  Proper planning requires a theme, budget, promoting the event, and a variety of activities leading up to the event.  Once the leg-work is completed, don’t let your event fall flat on its face due to poor management.  Here are some basic steps to help you plan and execute a successful event:


  • Set up your management system before you do anything else:
    • Use Hootsuite to monitor, schedule, and track interaction across your social networks
    • Create an event #hashtag to help follow the event on Twitter and Google+
    • Educate employees about the promotion, what to expect, and encourage them to participate
  • Create an exclusive theme, promotion, or giveaway:
    • Keep Facebook fans engaged with an extra 10% off purchases coupon or code they can apply to their purchase
    • Reserve popular items for an exclusive giveaway to Twitter followers
    • Encourage loyal customers to share pictures of their favorite product for a chance to win a prize
  • Promote, promote, promote – the excitement should keep people up at night!
    • Post signs inside your business that promote the event, encourage shoppers to check-in on Facebook, Foursquare, or Yelp
    • Use teasers on Twitter and other social networks to increase excitement
    • Tell everyone you see about the event – your hairdresser, the bank teller, the cashier at the grocery store!
  • Use the event to exceed expectations and create future opportunities:
    • Keep your online audience updated throughout the event
    • Give away more than customers expect to keep people talking & increase loyalty
    • Thank new followers on Twitter, Facebook, and everyone who participated

social network bubblesAfter a successful event it is imperative that you continue engaging your audience.  Evaluate analytics to understand what aspects of the promotion were effective and areas for improvement.  Encourage people to share feedback on reviews sites like Google Local, Yelp, and Angie’s List.  Use this information to make your next promotion an even greater success!

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Mid-Week Motivation: One Red Paperclip

Everyone needs a spark once in awhile.  That’s why the “Weekly Motivation” video is becoming a regular feature.  Mid-Week Motivation is here to offer the Hump Day pick-me-up you need to power through the rest of your week!


It is not about where you start or the resources available to you.  Effort dictates outcome.  One Red Paperclip is a story about determination, perseverance, and opportunity.  What is one red paperclip worth?  Watch Kyle MacDonald’s approach and you will see new potential in items as simple as a red paperclip.

Additionally, the One Red Paperclip Challenge is great way to test your marketing and sales abilities.  What can you do with one red paperclip?

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Filed under Marketing, Motivation & Inspiration, Personal

12 Ways to Keep Tweets Under 140 Characters

Tweet 140 Characters or lessIt is a constant challenge for Twitters users to live in a 140-character world.  The elements of a successful tweet are a clear message, audience engagement, and influence expansion.  All this must be accomplished in 140-characters or less.


Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Content is the cornerstone of Twitter.  With a solid foundation is in place, you can focus on perfecting your delivery.  Next, you must master how to communicate effectively using 140-characters or less.  Use these 12 steps, each 140-characters or less, to conquer the art of short-form content delivery:

  1. Avoid the word “and”.  Replacing “and” with “&” or “+” is an easy way to save two characters.
  2. Use numbers over words.  Use digits (ex: 23, instead of twenty-three) instead of their respective longhand word form.
  3. Embrace contractions.  Although frowned upon in professional prose, it’s perfectly acceptable on Twitter.
  4. URL shorteners are your friend.  I use, but, and TinyURL are other popular options.
  5. Remove prepositions.  Readers on Twitter understand.
  6. Use synonyms.  Same meaning, fewer characters.  What’s not to love?
  7. Adopt 125 or less.  Leave room for retweets and make sharing convenient.  It’s Twitter etiquette.
  8. Be vague.  Better to raise curiosity than show your cards.
  9. Punctuation optional.  When in doubt, cut it out.  Only include items pertinent to understanding the message.
  10. Cut yourself off. Write “normally” but end tweets with “such as”, “including”, “like”,  etc. TwitLonger is a great tool for this approach.
  11. Limit Local.  Avoid including location info (ex: Foursquare, check-ins, etc).  Save the space for when it matters.
  12. A.C.E. content.  Acronyms Create Engaging content, command attention, and leave a lasting impression.

Here’s another acronym: K.I.S.S.  Keep It Simple, Stupid.  You may find that it’s easier to say more with less.  Or in abbreviated Twitter-prose: Say more with less.

Follow Dan Leavitt Twitter

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9 Steps to Stop Losing Your Facebook Page Audience

Grow Your Facebook ReachIt started with Fans, then you asked people to “Like” your company or brand.  Your audience and social outreach continued to expand.  Just when you were gaining momentum and thought you successfully navigated Facebook’s changes, Timeline torpedoed your page.


Saving your Facebook Page requires more than finding an acceptable cover photo and completing the missing information on your timeline.  The marketing value of a Facebook Page is limited by its Reach.  Facebook has indicated that posts are only seen by up to 20% of your audience.  Follow these steps keep your audience engaged, expand your reach, and prevent your page from becoming obsolete:


  1. Post unique & interesting content– duh!  People are not on Facebook to see your brand so your content needs to keep them entertained or they will:
  2. Be easy to find – encourage followers to add you to a list or visit your page directly.  Create and provide a custom URL so people remember and know where to find your page!
  3. Encourage social sharing – execute #1 properly and your audience will want to share your content with their Friends.  Sharing increases your Reach exponentially.
  4. Give a reason to come back – use contests, special announcements, and exclusive offers to drive traffic back to the page on a routine basis.
  5. Target posts by time, demographic, and location – track Page Insights to determine the most effective times to post, audience characteristics and behavior.
  6. Test Facebook Ads, sponsored stories, and promoted posts – these tools are affordable for any size business or brand!  Start with a $5 budget and closely monitor feedback to maximize your efficiency.
  7. Stop using third-party applications – Hootsuite and Buffer are great for organizing and tracking posts, but content delivered through 3rd party apps is less likely to appear in the Newsfeed.
  8. Grow audiences on other social networks – direct your Facebook audience to follow you on Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, and other social platforms.
  9. Promote your page everywhere possible:
    • Include the link in your email signature
    • Add a “like” box to your blog
    • Invite all of your Facebook Friends & encourage Friends to invite others
    • Connect with other page admins & cross-promote pages
    • Tag your page in posts and urge others to do the same
    • Interact with other pages using your brand/company identity
    • Include your unique page URL on all company correspondences, newsletters, business cards, or other outgoing materials

Don’t let the value of your Facebook audience go to waste.  Start by implementing one or two suggestions, monitor the results, and make any necessary changes to your approach before you introduce another idea.  Some opportunities will produce better results than others and certain steps may not be ideal for your business or brand.  Treat your Facebook Page as a component of a broader, more comprehensive marketing strategy.  There are more important things in life than Facebook!


Don’t have a strategy?  Contact me for a free strategy consultation.  Ask me about the 48-hour, no-cost marketing strategy that  incorporates the online marketing elements that are critical to a successful strategy (SEO, content generation, website optimization, reputation management, etc).  At the very least I’ll teach you how to put the solicitors of these services in their place!

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Why Klout Is More Important Than Street Cred

Word on the street is that your “street cred” may be on the decline because there’s a new player on the block: Klout

Street Cred Klout started gaining steam in the second half of 2011 and an algorithm update in August 2012 helped silence some of their critics.  Why should you care?  Your reputation precedes you.  Street cred measures your outside influence on peers and their acquaintances, but Klout places a value on your influence across the entire worldwide web.  You can forget being a big fish in a little pond when it comes to measuring your Klout.

speech bubbles people talkingOnline reputation management and monitoring social influence are growing trends.  Employers, competitors, friends, and even potential dates are diving deep into your online archives and judging you based on the material they find.  The occasional Google search is not a sufficient approach to monitor your online reputation and relevance in the online community.   Your Klout score is a great first step to measure your influence across various social networks.  However, nobody is promising a squeaky clean and positive influence.  Start with your Klout score and work backwards to uncover what material you are associated with on the web.

Popularity and street cred were different when you were an awkward teen on MySpace so those kissy-face pictures in the mirror won’t save your online image even if your Klout rivals President Obama.  A respectable Klout score is a good start but you need an effective social networking strategy that helps your score and protects your online reputation.  With your own identity under control, you can pay it forward by helping your friend that suffers from verbal diarrhea on her public Twitter feed.


Filed under Branding, Marketing, Reviews, Social Media & SEO

A Perfect Social Media Strategy in 2 Hours or Less (Part 2)

social networking cartoon bubblesNow that you created an identity and general online presence, it’s time to focus on maximizing the impact of your efforts.  There are hundreds of social sites, profile pages, and databases that you will never have time to monitor.  With a solid framework in place, steps 6-10 are designed to optimize your results, protect your image, and measure the effectiveness of your social media strategy.

Steps 6-10 that complete your 2-hour social media makeover (see steps 1-5):

6.  Go Pro.  Professionals rely on social media for prospecting, hiring, and monitoring their brand.  Maintaining a professional image and establishing credibility are simple.  If nothing else, create a LinkedIn profile with your name, company, and position.  Joining groups, answering questions, and receiving recommendations are additional steps to improve your presence in the business world.  Use Quora and to establish additional credibility and create your professional footprint.
7.  Become a trusted source.  Everyone has an opinion.  Reviews and feedback influence our decisions every day – Oprah’s O List, political polls, restaurant recommendations.  Establish yourself as a trusted source of information.  Start by posting your feedback on Yelp or Google.  Add details and examples to increase the value of your reviews.
8.  Drunk failA picture is worth a thousand words.  Too much to drink at a wedding?  The awkward headshot for your high school soccer team?  Don’t spend hours perfecting profile content only to have it destroyed by the first picture of you that people see.  Post a public photo album using Picasa or create a YouTube channel so you can control the material available to the public.  Photos and videos are also a great way to add depth to your social profile online.
9.  Be in the know.  You cannot always control the materials other people post.  Set your notifications on each profile so you’re aware of photos, comments, and other material tied to your identity.  Sign up for emails from Google Alerts to receive emails each time your name or alias shows up somewhere online.
10.  Where do you rank?  Before you started this makeover you were virtually non-existent.  The purpose of establishing an online identity and social media strategy is to improve your presence and influence others.  Sites like Klout, KredStory, and TrustCloud use complex algorithms to measure your prominence and impact on the online community.  Use this information to find areas you can improve and see where you stack up against others!

Steps 6, 7, and 8 represent trifecta #2 and should be a secondary focus in your overall social media strategy.  Steps 9 and 10 are designed to measure and monitor.  It took you less than 2 hours to go from social zero to social hero, but you’re not done yet!  A successful social media strategy requires commitment.  Once you’ve established a presence, neglecting your online identity is worse than not having one.  Stay current, provide content, create interactions and don’t use social networks as an excuse to procrastinate!  Revisit these steps in 30 days to see if you are still on track!

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