If you are like a lot of small business owners, one of your New Year's resolutions might have been to utilize your Facebook page to promote your business. Are you aware of the tools and features available within facebook to help you promote your posts? This article by Anne Hill is a quick read with good tips and advice on how to make the most of your Business Facebook Page. - Modern Mama
Author, Consultant, Radio Host
Lots of changes have been happening behind the scenes at Facebook. The platform now has a lot more functionality for business and professional users. If you have a Facebook page for your business, now is a great time to try out some of these new tips and tricks for increasing your exposure and reach on the Facebook platform.
Use Facebook Photo Tags
The ability to “tag” people in photos has been around for a long time. Clicking on the tagged person’s name will take you straight to their personal profile. Now, Fast Company reports that Facebook users can tag photos with page identities as well as personal profiles.
What does this mean for business page owners? Imagine that someone posts a picture of you at a social event in your town. You want people to know it’s you there at the raffle booth, but you want that tag link to send people to your page, not your profile. Simple! Just click on your face, begin typing the name of your business page, and Facebook will add that tag to the picture. Note: this only works for pages in the Brand/Company or People categories at present. If your page is listed as a Local Business or other category, you may have to wait for implementation of this feature. But it’s worth the wait!
Create Effective Page Posts
The key to building a successful page is posting relevant content on a regular basis. If you’re a Realtor, this may mean posting links to local news items, or recommending shops and other resources for buyers and sellers. For a non-profit, you will want to publicize events you are sponsoring, and engage your readers in discussion of topics related to your mission.
Thanks to the analysts at Buddy Media, we now know more about how to structure those posts for maximum engagement. First, keep your post on the short side. Posts with 80 characters or less had 27% greater engagement rate than longer posts. Second, the hard-sell approach is the least effective. Posts using words like “events” and “winning” in garnered much more activity than those with words like “buy” and “shop.” Finally, keep in mind the best days and times to post updates to your page. Updates posted on Thursdays and Fridays were 18% more popular than on the other days, and posting after regular business hours increased engagement 20%!
Continue reading the original article here:
A few months ago, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work on updating my Instagram account and I have to say, I really like it.
Instagram has more than 400 million active users around the world. That’s A LOT of people.
In the US alone, there are 64 million active users, a figure that is projected to hit 111 million by 2019.
According to comScore’s 2015 mobile trends report, Millennials spend upwards of 420 minutes a month on Instagram alone.
Another report by Forrester Research found Instagram users were 58 times more likely to like, comment on or share a brand’s post than were Facebook users, and 120 times more likely than were Twitter users.
Long story short: Instagram is the best social and mobile platform for brands to reach out to audiences who are willing to engage. Here are some ways you can grow your business using Instagram. #smallbusiness
1. LIKE PHOTOS IN YOUR NICHE.
Take some time each day to go through and like 5-10 photos on someone’s account. It would also help to leave a genuine comment and give them a follow. This helps to get your name out there and allows other users to discover you. I’d also suggest doing this primarily to users in your niche. How to find users in your niche? Check hashtags, or view the followers of your favorite Instagrammers.
It's not called social media for nothing! Respond to the comments you receive and leave comments of your own on others’ work. Rather than something stale like, “cute dress,” try to leave genuine comments that encourage them to post more photos.
3. BE CLEAR.
Be clear about your brand and create content your customers love. Post a steady mix of business advice, motivational quotes, and personal foolishness that resonates well with your followers. It’s up to you to figure out what your customers want to see. Are there themes or styles that resonate? Once you know what works, populate your account with images, quotes and promotions that tie into your business.
4. CREATE A HASHTAG AND ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO USE IT, TOO.
This is a great way to build community and gain new content for your account. First of all, create a unique hashtag (make sure it’s not already being used!) and ask others to use it. It works best if the hashtag has a specific purpose. For example, A Beautiful Mess encourages followers to use #ABMLifeIsColorful on all of their colorful, happy photos. Once people start using your hashtag (and YOU use it, too!), then you can repost images from your followers (giving them proper credit, of course!). Not only does this build community by showing your followers that you appreciate their photos, but it also gives you content for your own account.
5. ASK YOUR OTHER FOLLOWERS TO FOLLOW YOU ON INSTAGRAM!
If you have a blog, Twitter, or Facebook, then you might assume your people are already following you on every platform. Hint: they probably aren’t! Share a quick tweet encouraging them to follow you on Instagram…it will reel in more followers than you think.
6. ENCOURAGE FOLLOWERS TO TAKE ACTION.
As simple as it may sound, people are more likely to do something if you ask them to do it. Sharing a quote? Ask them to “like” your photo if they agree with it! Sharing something funny or relatable? Ask your followers to tag a friend! If you put the idea out there, it will encourage your followers to act accordingly.
I hope you enjoyed this article. I'd love to hear your feedback on how these tips helped you grow your business and build your brand! Follow me on Instagram @Modernmamabiz and I'll be sure to follow you back.
It's funny how one event can be the ripple in the water that effects change in your life. My ripple was a life changing accident that occurred on a nice, fall evening almost four years ago. I spent six months at home, recovering from my injuries and during that time, Modern Mama Business Solutions was born.
I have always enjoyed helping others. My former career in retail management revolved around helping customers have a great shopping experience and helping associates grow their careers and expand their business knowledge.
My focus now is on helping Small Business Owners build their brand and grow their business. One important aspect of this is a strong online presence. I design responsive websites and unique logos for business owners and consult with them one on one to help them market their brand effectively.
Here are the stories of 17 Top Women Entrepreneurs and how they got started in business. Are you ready to make your dream business a reality? Contact me and let's come up with a plan to make it happen! Enjoy the article.
Peace, Modern Mama
Marketing your Small Business can seem overwhelming at times. Laura Dibenedetto has some great ideas in her blog so I thought I'd share it with you. A website is a great marketing tool as well and Modern Mama Business Solutions can help get you started.
by Laura Dibenedetto
Marketing your small business may have sounded easier in theory. It doesn’t take long to figure out that marketing isn’t a piece of cake. We’re always trying to empower our clients, fans and readers with free marketing ideas and advice for this reason. There are times when we cannot handle all of a company’s marketing needs for them, so we find other ways to help. Offering our expertise in the form of free marketing ideas is a way we can share our knowledge with others without obligation.
All of the following ideas are in fact free, but that’s assuming that you can handle these activities yourself. You may find that your schedule doesn’t allow for some of these tactics and you need to hire a marketing consultant or company to execute them for you.
click here to continue reading....
This article by Katyan Roach featured in the Huffington Post touches on the subject of how difficult it is to strike out on your own and stay true to your mission. She's got some good tips on keeping your chin up and your nose to the grindstone. Enjoy.
Have you ever sat back, looked at your business and thought, "I don't know how much longer can I keep doing this!" Have you ever been stunted by overwhelm, not sure what to do next or where to turn for help? Or have you ever just plain old, felt like throwing in the towel and giving up? I can relate.
When I started my Social Media business, I had big dreams of where it could go. I buried myself in blogs, online groups and tried to learn as much as I could about my chosen field. I virtually ate, drank and slept Social Media!
continue reading full article here:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katyan-roach/what-to-do-when-you-feel-_1_b_8362120.html?utm_hp_ref=what-is-working-small-businesses
Johna has some great suggestions on productivity for small business owners. Click the link to read the full article and please comment with your thoughts and/or tips on productivity.
- Peace, Modern Mama
Article by Johna Revesencio
Workplace productivity, production and staff efficiency -- there's a reason why, online or offline, efficiency and productivity never run out of press coverage. If there's one factor that can singlehandedly solidify the reputation and revenue-generating potential of a business, it's efficiency, which, according to Merriam Webster Online, is the "ability to do something or produce something without wasting materials, time, or energy."
Productivity, on the other hand, is defined by the same resource as the "state of being productive," where productive means "doing or achieving a lot, or working hard and getting good results."
There are certain productivity/efficiency techniques that can easily be incorporated in day-to-day small business operations to help you achieve your goals of success. Below are 13 of them:
As a rule of thumb, goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely). In other words, they have to be concrete, grounded on reality, set within a timeframe, and include milestones for both the short and longer terms. Plus, it pays to keep the focus on what could be done instead of what could not be done.
Software like Goalscape lets you visually define your goals and keep track of their progress.
The following is an article that appeared in The Huffington Post on 1/12/15 By Damon Beres. It's great information to know, especially if you are posting pictures that you would rather remain private, or if you have children with an Instagram account. Teens and young adults should know that they can be held accountable for what they post long into the future. I know that I'll be checking my personal account settings and limit my posts. Enjoy the article.
If you ever posted any (ahem) questionable pictures to your "private" Instagram account prior to this weekend, then you may have given your boss, spouse or parent easy access to those images without even realizing it.
A Quartz report published Monday revealed that a (suggestively labeled) "privacy hole" on Instagram has been exposing the photographs posted to ostensibly private accounts. For example, say you snapped a selfie at a party but decided you didn't want it publicly viewable, then switched your account to private to conceal it -- that photograph could still have been seen by anyone via their web browser.
How? Any individual with access to your account via Instagram.com could click on one of your photos, copy its URL and share it with anyone else, regardless of who they were. If the photograph was initially posted while your account was public, it didn't matter that you later marked it as private: Anyone with the URL could still view the photo.
Instagram reportedly fixed the problem in response to inquiries from Quartz, but the loophole nonetheless proves an old adage: If you post something "private" online, don't assume it's completely safe.
In a statement to Quartz on Jan. 8, an Instagram representative seemed to suggest that the functionality that allowed individuals to share private photos was intentional.
"If you choose to share a specific piece of content from your account publicly, that link remains public but the account itself is still private," the representative said.
But following Quartz's investigation, Instagram appears to have reconsidered, and the company told The Huffington Post that it has nixed access private photos via public links.
"In response to feedback, we made an update so that if people change their profile from public to private, web links that are not shared on other services are only viewable to their followers on Instagram," an Instagram spokesperson told HuffPost via email.
Of course, even with the loophole closed, it's very easy for someone else to share your photographs online without your permission. While they can't grab an image's URL from Instagram.com by right-clicking on it, they can still access its URL by viewing the page source. Then they can circulate that URL to anyone. On Facebook, sharing "private" photos is even easier -- you can still right-click to copy an image URL. Simpler still: Take a screenshot of an image and share it that way.
If this all sounds complicated, we have some unfortunate news: It is not, and it's not like we're not giving away any secret hacks here. If you post something "private" online, then make sure you realize that word means something different online.
This is a great article by Nicole Denton regarding how to decide when your website needs a face lift. If any of these pertain to you.....please call me today and let's bring your website up to date and make you proud to promote it! - Michelle Apodaca, Modern Mama Business Solutions
by Nicole Denton, article featured on HubSpot Blog on
March 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM
They say a diamond is forever, but unfortunately, the same can’t be said about a website. Back in the ‘90s and early 2000s, you were ahead of the game as a company if you simply had a website.
Today, your company doesn’t just need a website...it needs a well-designed, easily navigable, engaging website that meets the needs of your customers and your business alike. According to Stanford University, 75% of people judge the credibility of a company based on the design of its website. And have I mentioned that website technology is evolving at record speeds?
Here are 10 reasons it may be time to update your corporate website.
1) It Doesn’t Work Well on Mobile
According to Smart Insights, over 20% of Google searches are performed on a mobile device, and when it comes to local searches, more than half are performed on mobile devices. In the United States, a whopping 25% of internet users only access the internet on a mobile device. If these stats tell you anything, it’s that the world has gone mobile, and if your website isn’t optimized, it’s officially time for a responsive re-design.
I wrote all about the 5 reasons why you need to make your website responsive in 2014 on the Pyxl blog, but the key is this: user experience on your site can make or break your business, and you don’t want to lose market share to the competition simply because you were slow to adapt to mobile browsing trends.
On the plus side, according to Econsultancy, 62% of companies that designed a website with mobile in mind saw increased sales, so going responsive is a win-win!
2) It’s in Flash
If your site’s still in Flash, I hate to tell you, but it’s been outdated for the past 5+ years. Not only do iPhone and iPad not support Flash, but search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo can’t read it, which means it’s terrible for search engine optimization. In addition, users have to install a plugin (and make sure they have the latest version) to see it, which really detracts from user experience. Flash is difficult to use, difficult to create and difficult to maintain.
Luckily, those who love the look of animations now have HTML5 at their disposal. Developers no longer have to rely on Flash to create interactive, animated features, and the best part is that HTML5 is compatible with all browsers and smartphones.
According to a CEI Survey, 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, which means having a strong user experience on your site could actually mean more revenue for you!
3) Your Search Engine Rankings Are Low
Search engine algorithms have changed quite a bit over the years, so if your organic search engine rankings are low, it could mean it’s time for an update. At one time, the key to SEO was to plug your content with as many keywords as possible. Thanks to Google’s recent Hummingbird update, today, it’s all about having original, high-quality content on your site, which is why sites with blogs perform so well.
If the content on your site wasn’t written with current SEO trends in mind, or it’s buried within Flash elements or images, it may be time for an update.
According to Search Engine Journal, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. Creating your site with SEO in mind will ensure that potential customers can find you online.
4) Your Visitors Aren’t Sticking Around and/or Aren’t Converting
If your web analytics show a high bounce rate, low time on site and low average pages per visit, that’s a pretty strong indicator that your visitors don’t find your current site useful for one reason or another.
Likewise, if you’re trying to see ROI from your site, and you’re not seeing conversions – either because conversion opportunities aren’t set up to begin with or your visitors just simply aren’t converting – it’s likely time to re-evaluate your approach to web and re-design your website with both your target audience and your goals in mind.
By having both your audience personas and your goals in mind before your re-design and working with your design and development team to map your site design to those, you’ll undoubtedly see an increase in qualified traffic and leads!
5) It Just Looks Outdated
Let’s face it: web design trends are changing rapidly, and if your website is a few years old, it may just look outdated. Maybe it’s an obvious thing like your copyright info still saying 2009, or you have a musical intro when a visitor lands on your site, or maybe it’s the whole site that’s the problem.
Websites have evolved quite a bit over the years. Today, it’s all about clean design and easy navigation. If your site is a cluttered mess that looks outdated, it’s time for a re-design.
According to a study by ResearchGate, 94% of people say that websites with good designs are more trustworthy. It’s important that your customers and potential customers trust you, and a strong re-design can help make that happen.
6) It’s Slow
According to KISSmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% of people will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load!
If your old corporate website is slow, you not only risk annoying your customers (and causing them to give up and leave), but you also hurt your search engine ranking. There are lots of ways for a developer to speed up a website, so if yours is slow, it may be time for a re-design.
Having a fast-loading website will not only ensure that your customers stick around, but also that they’ll have a great experience on your site!
7) You’ve Outgrown It
Businesses evolve and grow over the years, which means a website that worked well in 2010 may not work so well in 2014. If your navigation is too long, you don’t have room for calls to action, or visitors have trouble finding the pages and content that’s relevant to them, chances are you’ve outgrown your current website.
The nice thing is, a new website could be just what you need to grow your business into the future!
8) You’ve Changed Your Brand Positioning or Messaging
Similar to the point above, if you’ve changed your brand positioning or messaging, it’s likely time for a re-design.
Your website is one of your most important business assets. It’s the hub of your online activity and in many cases the first impression a potential customer will have of your brand. If the look and feel of the site doesn’t line up with your current target audience and your current messaging, it’s time to update it so it does.
9) You Can’t Easily Make Content Updates
Content management systems (CMS) have come a long way over the years, so today, there’s no excuse for not using one to easily manage your website content without the use of code. For a variety of reasons, it’s important to keep your content relevant, which means you need to be able to edit it without having to bug a web developer to edit the code. If you can’t easily make content updates to your site, it’s time for a new one.
The good news is: when you have a site on a CMS, you’re in control. If you need to make a content update to support a campaign, it’s easy! Re-developing your website in a CMS is a great move that really empowers your marketing team.
10) You’re Embarrassed to Give Out Your URL
For any of the reasons mentioned above, or maybe for some reason I didn’t mention, if you’re embarrassed to give your URL out, it’s definitely time for a website update!
Your website is an investment in the future success of your business, and it’s important to view it that way. Having a strong online presence is no longer optional. In addition, your website can be the vehicle that helps you achieve your goals of better awareness, more leads and ultimately more happy customers.
As a web designer, I get to experience the excitement of a new client watching their dreams come to life by designing and launching a website for their business. I also get to witness the inevitable disappointment that customers aren't immediately flocking to their newly created website. No matter how much I talk about the importance of marketing your website and techniques to improve a website's ranking, most times it falls on deaf ears due the flurry of excitement involved in putting a new website out into the universe. Here are some manageable and easy tips to help search engines find your website and show up when potential customers use key words to search for what your business has to offer.
First you will need to perform a "Status Check". To do this, follow the steps below:
1. Check your index status. You can find out if your site's been indexed pretty quickly by doing a couple of simple searches. While your first thought may be "Google it," there are actually 2 primary search engines: Google and Bing. Note that Bing actually comprises Bing, MSN, and Yahoo.
2. Go to Google.com and search for your URL. If it does not appear, it has not been indexed yet.
3. Repeat with Bing. It's possible one will show as indexed, and the other not.
Searching for your site's content as opposed to its URL could give you misleading results. For example, if you have a site about juggling, you do a search for "juggling" and don't find your site on the first few pages, you might assume it hasn't been indexed. But consider that "juggling" returns nearly 7 million results, and you will see that it's possible you are indexed, just not in the top 50 results. Or even top 5,000!
Next you will need to "Get Indexed". Again, follow the steps below:
1. Get linked. Search engines use "spiders" to crawl around the web on existing links, looking for new ones. There are several ways to get a spider to weave a web to your site.
If you already have a blog or another website that is indexed, put a link to your new website, and don't bury it. Make it big and bold. You want people to see it, to click it, and to visit your site!
2. Ask somebody with an indexed website to link to your website. It could be as simple as an embedded reference, or an ad for your product. The more people linked to your website, the better, so don't be shy if you want to self-promote.
3. Submit your website to popular social bookmarking sites like Digg and Stumbleupon.
4. Submit your website to the Open Directory Project (ODP). ODP is a multilingual open content directory of links that is reviewed and maintained by volunteer editors.
5. Include a link to your new site on your Facebook page and Twitter profile. In fact, put a link on every website you can. This will not only ensure you get indexed quickly, it will help you raise your search rank as well, through what's called Search Engine Optimization.
Modern Mama Business Solutions is available to help with this process as well. If you have an existing website and need help submitting to search engines and/or promoting your website, give us a call.
Here is an interesting article on the topic of starting your own company vs. working for "The Man". Speaking as a small business owner, I will contribute that it is an unbeatable feeling of accomplishment to follow your dream and work hard to watch it come to fruition. It's not a task for sissy's, however. If you're a glass half-full kind of person, then starting your own company may just be for you. For some great tips, read the article below by James Green which appeared on mashable.com on April 20, 2014. - Modern Mama Business Solutions
IMAGE: MASHABLE COMPOSITE. ISTOCK, POLYGRAPHUS
Creating a company from the ground up while generating a successful revenue steam is the essence of the American Dream; but if this were an easy task, there would be a flood of employees quitting their "nine-to-fives" to found startups.
The autonomy that comes along with building a business around personal goals, talents and interests is compelling for many workers who are fed up with their daily grind. On the other hand, leaving a stable employment situation can be stressful — and it's a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly, even if you're not entirely satisfied with one or more of the aspects of your current job.
As an experienced entrepreneur, I’ve learned a few pointers along the way that may help others looking to take the leap. Below are a few considerations to take into account when making the decision to start your own company.
Continue reading: http://mashable.com/2014/04/21/starting-your-own-company/