Archive for October, 2016

Grow Your Facebook Likes With These 5 Tips

Posted October 31, 2016 By Callie

Facebook is a place where conversations take place. On your Facebook Page do you chat with your fans or do you talk at them? The number of fans you have is a pretty good reference to how you deal with your fans. The more you chat with your fans the higher your number of fans will be. Make the most of your social space by understanding it and you will see your Facebook Page ‘Likes’ continue to grow. Here are 5 tips to help you grow your Facebook Likes.

1. Talk Back to Your Fans – You post a comment, then a fan comments on the post, and you need to reply to that comment. Ideally, what you want to achieve is conversation that goes back and forth between you and your fan(s). The more fans that participate the better. By allowing your fans to feel a conversation is taking place they are more likely to participate. If you post and a fan comments and you don’t reply the conversation dies off and the reach dies with it.
2. Make Sure There are plenty of Photos and Videos Posted – People prefer photos over texts. Make your Facebook Page visually appealing using graphics, photos and videos. This will draw the interest of your fans and they are much more likely to share photos, graphics and videos than text, which in turn extends your reach.
3. Choose the Best Timeline Photo – The latest Facebook format – the Timeline page is either hated or loved. It requires that you post a prominent horizontal image along with a smaller detailed shot that is inset. This is a good place for your logo. Make sure your photos are friendly and cheerful. It’s great if they interact or connect with your fans.
4. Take Advantage of the Social Tabs – It’s a good idea to cross promote any other social media pages you have. You can add tabs for Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
5. Post Regularly – Your Facebook posts are time and date stamped. Your posts are grouped monthly so your fans can easily scroll down your page and they can also see how often you post every month. So if you only post 7 times over the weekend and then not again until the next weekend your fans are going to lose interest and new potential fans aren’t going to be too excited about liking your page. It is very important that you post regularly to generate interest.

The Damage Botnets Can Cause

Posted October 31, 2016 By Callie

Botnets are a bunch of computer networks that are used in controlling and instructing things like attacking other computers, sending spam or phishing emails, and giving people ransomware or spyware. These are all very malicious acts that can cause damage to you and your computer.

You should know that all of this can happen without you even knowing. By the time you do notice something, damage has already been done. Listed below are some of the damages that botnets can cause to you and your computer.

1. Take control of your computer. This can happen as quickly as 1-2-3. All it takes is a browser plugin that you just keep postponing. Another way your computer can be taken over is by clicking on a link when you have no clue where it leads you. With the busyness and commotion of our lives, we tend to do things without thinking, making it that much easier for scammers to gain control of your computer and who you are.

2. Launch a Distributed Denial of Service Attack. This can be done to a company, website, or the government. This type of attack happens when someone sends so many requests for content that the server can’t handle it and it fails. Even the largest of networks have trouble “surviving” when botnets attack.

3. Commit advertising fraud. Computers all over the world can generate fake ads for people to click on. Once someone has clicked on them, they open themselves up to a world of dangers and possible loss of your own information.

4. Send off phishing emails. These phishing emails come from botnets and people who are fishing for your information and money. They will send you an email that looks like it’s from your bank. A link will be attached. Once clicked on, the link will send you to a website that looks just like your bank’s website. When you fill out your information, your information will be available to the people waiting for it.

Listed below are ways to prevent your computer and yourself from falling victim to botnets.

* Don’t click on any links that you find to be suspicious or have no idea where they lead to. Even if they come from someone you know, their accounts could have been compromised. Be safe and ask them what the link is about. Don’t blindly click on something just because you trust the person who sent it or because you’re bored. This is why scammers are so successful; because they know how to take advantage of you.

* Always make sure your firewall is on. Set the firewall to its maximum security. All applications will then be able to contact you when internet access is needed.

* Keep all your software updated. Many scammers get into your computer whenever it’s not updated. They gain control of the software that isn’t up to date and destroy who you are and your computer.

Botnets are something you don’t want to mess with or come in any sort of contact with. They’re very powerful and can destroy anything they come into contact with. Be careful and always remain aware of the dangers that have invaded our wireless worlds.

Is Blogging Dead? > Blogging

Posted October 31, 2016 By Callie

Every few months I read an article or hear an interview where someone proclaims that blogging is dead. And every month I come across blogging success stories. Add to that the fact that my students and I keep seeing great results with business blogging, along with thousands of other bloggers, so I think we can put that myth to rest.

Is blogging changing? Of course it is. Like anything to do with the Internet and technology in general, it changes. Often it becomes easier and more user friendly. Yes, search engines are making it harder to rank web pages intentionally, but that’s their job. Put out great content on a regular basis that serves your audience and makes them want to share it and you’ll do well, no matter what changes come down the road.

Most importantly, ignore those claims that certain marketing techniques or methods are dead. Email marketing isn’t dead and neither is blogging. Spammy little short cuts people used to take and get away with are dead, but the basic strategies are sound and will stay around for ages. When you think about it, blogging is nothing more than sharing content on web pages. Blogging software simply makes it a lot easier to do.

During the first decade or two of the Internet, people, including savvy marketers, were sharing content. It was just a lot harder. You had to learn HTML, build a website or pay someone big bucks to design one for you, and then either hand code your articles to add them, or use a clunky website editor. Then blogging came along.

It levelled the playing field and made it easy for anyone to share their content on the web. In the beginning weblogs or blogs were digital journals of sorts. Do you remember the TV show Doogie Howser MD? He would end his day by recording what happened in a journal form on his computer. Put that out on the Internet and you have a pretty good idea what the first blogs were and what blogging software was designed for.

While it is certainly still used by some people in that way, blogging software these days has evolved into a CMS, a content management system. That’s nothing more than a fancy term for something that easily manages your website and lets you make changes and additions on the fly.

Don’t listen to rumours that blogging is dead. It is changing, and continuing to be an effective way to market your business. Give it a try and see for yourself.

Would you like to know the big secret to successfully marketing your business with your blog? It’s blogging regularly. Publishing fresh blog posts several times a week, or even daily will have an extremely beneficial impact on your business overall. It will accomplish several different things. Since search engines like websites that are updated regularly, adding fresh content every few days can help you get more free search engine traffic. Readers also appreciate new content and they will get in the habit of visiting your site regularly to check out the new posts. It also shows potential customers that you’re there, actively working on your business and sharing quality content with them. That creates a lot of trust.

Let’s talk about some simple little things you can do to get in the habit of blogging on a regular basis. Like with any habit, it takes some practice and discipline before this new practice becomes an ingrained habit. One of the best things you can do is to create a blogging planner. Start by deciding how often you want to blog. It’s best to take it slow and not try to do too much in the beginning. For example, start by committing to one new blog post per week instead of planning on blogging daily. Start slow and work yourself up to a level of posting you’re comfortable sustaining in the months to come.

As you start to blog more regularly, you’ll get faster at it and it will become easier. That’s another reason why you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with too many posts per week to begin with. Once you’ve decided on how often you want to blog, get out a calendar, grab a notebook, or open a spreadsheet and start making up your blogging schedule. In addition to noting what days you want to publish a blog post on, it’s also helpful to come up with the topics for each post.

After that it’s a matter of sitting down and writing the blog posts, editing them as needed and of course publishing them on the days you decided on in your planner.

Another good way to get in the habit of blogging regularly is to set aside a little time each day, ideally at the same time that you work on your blog. For example, you could block off 30 minutes each morning that you dedicate to working on your blog. While you may not be publishing a post every day, you’re getting in the habit of working on it each day. Spend the first day coming up with a topic and drafting a rough outline. Take the next day to write the content, another day editing and improving your post, and finally adding some graphics and formatting and publishing the post. Breaking your tasks up will make it less overwhelming.

Last but not least, spend a little extra time one day coming up with a list of future blog post ideas. This will be a great resource for those days when you can’t think of anything to write about. Don’t let “writer’s block” keep you from sticking to your blogging schedule.

If you’re feeling really ambitious and have a little extra time on your hands, write a few extra blog posts and save them as drafts. They will come in handy during those times when you get super busy with other aspects of your business, or you’re dealing with a family emergency. The posts will be there waiting to be published and you can stick to your blogging schedule no matter what happens.

Stick to your schedule and it won’t take you long to get into the habit of blogging regularly. Your business and your readers will thank you for this new profitable habit.

How Long Should My Blog Posts Be? > Blogging

Posted October 30, 2016 By Callie

Here’s a question I hear from new bloggers a lot. “How long should these blog posts be? How many words do I need to write to make sure they rank well, are read, and get lots of engagement”? While you’ll find so called and often self-proclaimed blogging gurus throw numbers from 200 to 4,000 words around, the honest answer is that it depends. There is no magic number that gives you the best results. Instead the length of each of your blog posts varies on the topic, your readers, and what you’re trying to accomplish.

As a general rule of thumb, you want to use a variety of word counts and make  your posts long enough to get your point across without getting too wordy, and worst of all boring. You don’t want to bore your readers and lose their interest before you’ve made your point. In other words, make the content as long as it needs to be, focusing on quality over quantity. When you do that, the final word count of your post doesn’t matter much.

Sometimes that may mean that you write a post that’s short and sweet. Maybe you’re sharing a helpful image or video that only needs a sentence or two of text. That’s perfectly fine. Other times, you may sit down to write what I like to call an “epic post”. These are long, thorough posts on a particular topic that cover a lot of information in detail. These posts can easily end up being several thousand words long. The idea is to increase your authority both with your readers and with the search engines. Having long blog posts every now and then can be very helpful. Not only does it give search engines a lot of content to process and rank, readers also love these long, content-rich posts and are more likely to share them on social media.

The important thing to keep in mind is that there is no magic number. Create content in a variety of formats and lengths. Switch it up and follow a long “epic post” with several shorter ones. Make it helpful and easy to consume no matter what format and post length you decide on. Much more important than word count is that the content is good, serves your readers, and that you publish new blog posts regularly. Do that, and you will do well on this new blogging adventure.

A blog is a great tool that can help you in all areas of your business. The simple act of regularly sharing great content can do wonders for your bottom line. Best of all, it’s easy and pretty fun to do. It’s also one of the least expensive marketing methods. Once your blog is setup, it’s simply a matter of sitting down and writing a new article or post every few days.

Let’s look at some of the ways blogging can help you grow your business, make the sale, and keep your customers happy.

Growing Your Reach

A blog can help you reach more prospects and customers. Consumers search the internet each and every day for solutions to their problems, answers to their questions, or to be entertained. If your content hits on one of these three areas, you can grab their attention, bring them to your site, and introduce them to your brand and your products. This can help bring in quite a few new customers each month.

Gaining Your Audience’s Trust

I don’t have to tell you that it takes a level of trust before someone buys from you, particularly online. You can start to gain your audience’s trust from day one by blogging. Show them that you know what you’re talking about, and don’t be afraid to share some personal stories and anecdotes as well. Give your readers a chance to get to know, like, and trust you and it won’t take long for them to turn into happy customers.

Highlighting the Benefits Of Your Products

There are only so many words you can fit into a product description on a sales page before it gets too long and boring. Plus you never know who actually reads those pages word for word and notices all the cool things your products can do. Why not use your blog to highlight various aspects and benefits of each of your products?

Not only will your loyal readers benefit from this, but each benefit-rich post is also great “food for the search engines”. Imagine you’re a consumer searching the web for the solution to a problem and you come across a post that highlights the benefit of a product that happens to be exactly what you’re looking for. That’s more powerful and convincing than any sales letter or product description you can write.

Closing The Sale

Along the same lines, your blog posts can help you close the sale. Your product description may get readers and prospects interested in your product, but leave them on the fence. Use your blog to show them the product. Take and share some videos or pictures of you or other customers using the product. Ask customers to share their success stories, or simply show them different ways your product can work. Follow it up with a strong call to action to buy and you’ll be closing sales with your blog posts.

Customer Retention and Customer Service

Happy customers will come back to buy from you again and again, and they can also be your best advocates, recommending you to their own circle of influence. It’s important to keep them happy and make sure they know how to use and make the most of what they’ve bought.

Use your blog to show them how to use your product and answer frequently asked questions there. Make videos or write picture-rich tutorial posts that walk them through each step of the way. Keep your customers happy, take care of them, and they will in turn help grow your business.

Easy Ways To Brainstorm Blog Post Ideas > Blogging

Posted October 30, 2016 By Callie

There’s nothing worse than sitting in front of a blank screen with no idea of what you should blog about today. Whenever that happens, it’s time for a little brainstorming to come up with fresh blog post ideas. Here are a few different options for doing just that.

A Simple Brainstorm

The easiest thing to do is a simple brainstorm. Get out a piece of paper and a pen, open a word document, or log into your blogging software and start coming up with ideas for future blog posts. Start writing down anything that comes to mind. Don’t feel obligated to write every single post. Don’t judge the ideas that are coming into your head, just write them down. You can edit, change, and cull later. By doing this, you can come up with an impressive list in just a few minutes. As you go back to edit later, or grab ideas for blog posts for the week, those initial blog post ideas may even spark others that you can add to the mix.

Start With Categories – Brainstorming With Intent

One of my favorite ways to brainstorm blog post ideas is to start with categories. Look at each of the categories you have set up for your blog. Then come up with at least 10 ideas for blog posts for each main category. It can be a bit of a challenge at times, but it is well worth it.

Not only do you come up with another extensive list of blog post ideas, you also know that they are very targeted and that you will end up with content that’s balanced across all topics that are covered on your site.

What Does Your Audience Say – Getting Brainstorming Help

Now let’s talk about getting some help from your target audience. They are an endless source of inspiration when it comes to blog post ideas.

Pay attention to the emails you get from your existing readers, the comments they make on your blog, and any interaction you have with them on social media. They ask great questions that make the perfect starting point for a blog post.

You can even head to forums and other sites where your ideal customers congregate and take a look at the things they are talking about. Read through it and jot down ideas for future blog posts as you look through those pages and posts.

In addition, it’s also helpful to write down blog post ideas as you come up with them. Keep a small notebook that you carry around with you, start a file or document on your phone, or just send yourself an email if you’re in a pinch, so you have a record of your idea and can come back to it when you’re getting ready to blog.

One of the most important blogging skills you can pick up is writing with intent. This means that you think about what you want your blog post to accomplish before you sit down to write it. Think of it as starting with the end in mind. Let’s run through an example to give you a better idea of what I’m talking about.

Let’s say your goal for this week is to grow your email subscriber list. As a result, you want to write a blog post that entices readers to join your list. With that goal in mind, it’s time to brainstorm some blog post ideas that will help you accomplish this.

If you’re short on time and need a quick blog post, you could simply pick some helpful content you’ve shared with your email subscribers. Maybe you shared a helpful tip with them last week. Copy and paste the relevant information into a new blog post draft, add an introduction and you’re almost done. Toward the end of the post explain that this is one of the many helpful tips you share with your subscribers on a regular basis. Invite them to join your list and add a signup box right at the end of your blog post.

If you have a little more time on your hands, you can try something a little more elaborate. Come up with a topic that’s easily broken up into two parts. This article for example could easily be split up into two parts. The first part is the quick blog post idea I shared above. The second part is this more advanced strategy that will hopefully generate even better results – in this case more subscribers. You share the first part in a blog post and then briefly mention the second strategy without giving too much away. In order to get the second, more powerful strategy, they have to sign up for your list. You can even make this time sensitive to encourage them to join your list right away. You can do this by letting your blog readers know that you’ll share the second part in an email this coming Wednesday and that they should sign up now if they don’t want to miss it.

Do you see how this works? You start with the end in mind (in this example, growing your list) and create content based around that goal. That’s all there is to blogging with intent. It won’t take you any longer to write your blog posts, but they will have a much bigger impact on your overall business. Give it a try for a few weeks and see if you’re getting results with blogging intentionally.

Want to build a big social media page with thousands of followers? Hoping you can use this to build awareness for your brand and drive traffic and sales? Great!
But if any of that is going to happen, then you need to ensure that you’re approaching social media in the right way and that you understand the secret to success.
The good news? That secret is very simple and easy. And we’re going to share it right here…
The One Thing You Need to do to Succeed
When you’re trying to succeed on social media, there is just one thing you need to do and that is to provide value.
In other words, you need to make sure that you have a social media account that is offering something useful to the follower. That might take the form of jokes and entertainment, it might take the form of inspiration and encouragement, or it might take the form of useful links and posts.
But whatever the case, it needs to be actually useful. And a good way to know whether you’re accomplishing that is to imagine that your social media were to get taken down tomorrow. How would people react? Would they be genuinely disappointed that something they enjoyed reading or found useful is no longer available?
Or would no one care?
If you answered the former then well done: you’re on the right track!
What a Lot of Businesses Do
But unfortunately, a lot of businesses just don’t do this. That’s because they think the purpose of social media is simply self-promotion. Sure, it is in a way, but if that’s all you’re doing, then what incentive is there for anyone to follow you?
A lot of small businesses will create social media pages and then all they’ll post is the occasional statement like ‘We Make the Best Till Systems in the Area!’ or ‘Find out why we’re number one… call today!’.
But ask yourself: if you followed a page like this, would you stick around for long? Or would you eventually unsubscribe? Most people would say the latter.
Not only that but using this kind of approach will just make a business look out of touch and outdated – they appear to not understand how to use social media!
So think differently and start asking what your followers would want to see from you!

If you have created a Facebook Page, your next goal is to increase your ‘Likes’ and fan base. There are many ways to do this and we want to share some of the best kept secrets to growing your Facebook Page fans.

1. Develop a persona for your audience. Some businesses have a description of what their ideal customer looks like. This can help you to visualize your communication and what your posts should look like on Facebook.
2. Install an Engagement App on your Facebook Page. There are many great apps on the market that can help you to accomplish this such as Booshaka or Fan of the Week.
3. Facebook has imposed some restrictions on what you are allowed to put on your new cover images, but it only applies to brand pages not to your personal profile, so you might consider introducing a business aspect on your personal timeline through your cover image.
4. If you have several page admins, take advantage of the latest page admin settings that lets you assign authority to each person. Go to your Admin Panel then ‘Edit Page’ where from the drop-down menu you select ‘Admin Roles’. Once on the page you will see the Profile Pic of each Admin with their current role. To change their current role, just click on the down arrow to the right of the current role title and make your selection.
5. Sort your post insights so that at a glance you can see your most successful updates. Go into your insights. On the first page you’ll see real time post specific statistics, click on the arrow at the top to sort the updates based on which have gotten the most engagements.
6. If you are using Pinterest, why not install the Pinterest app on your Facebook page.
7. Add the ‘Message Button’ to your Facebook Page so readers can send you a private message. This also lets you reply privately.
8. Take advantage of Insights to learn more about your fans, their age, sex, where they are from, etc. This will help you with your marketing.

These 8 tips are some of the best kept secrets to growing your Facebook Page fans. In addition, make sure that you are sharing quality content that your fans will want to share with their friends. This will increase your reach and help you to grow your fans further.