Reconnecting

Believe it or not, it has been six months since we last connected via email. But all is well in EduCyber land. Yes, both Maki and Brian came down with the virus in the spring so a large part of April we were checked out and focused on healing. But we are back and doing well.

And we are busy. Many existing and new customers are realizing that, should another pandemic occur, it is best to have a strong digital presence to connect with new and potential customers.

If you aren’t one of those whose site we are currently working on and your site is hosted with us, call Brian to schedule your web performance review – he’s at 303-268-2245 ext. 4. We would love to reconnect and to review your website performance.

If you haven’t heard from us in a while, we would love to reconnect. This is a great time, when the weather is good to grab a beer during happy hour or get together for lunch.

Just as we want to reconnect with folks, you can and should be reconnecting with your network in person and online.

What can you do to reconnect digitally?

  1. Send out a nice email inviting your connections / customers / vendors to reconnect.
  2. Schedule an in person event whether it be a workshop, a seminar, a lunch and learn, a happy hour or a party and leverage your web site, your newsletter, and your email contacts to get the word out. This is a good opportunity to partner with others in your network to make the event special.
  3. Make sure you post to your social media AT LEAST once a week and more frequently as you have the bandwidth to do so.
  4. Search for organizations in your area to join – do the online search first. Many membership-based organizations lost members during the pandemic. This is your opportunity to help them out by helping yourself out. Join the right organizations that will help you grow.

Can you think of others? Let us know if you can and we’ll add them (and give you attribution).

In any case, whether it be digitally or in person, take the time to reconnect. You will be pleased to find out that others also want to reconnect and what opportunities arise.

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Building Your Brand Digitally

We work with a lot of smaller companies who tell us straight up that they are too small or below the radar to have a brand.

We say hogwash!

Every single organization – for profit or non-profit – has a brand. Included in the brand are tangible and intangible things like:

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  • Reputation
  • Logo
  • Standing of the leaders of the organization
  • Iconic images
  • Presence on the internet (web site)
  • Presence on social media
  • A song or ditty that represents your organization
  • What your customers think of you
  • A particular phrase or tag line that people associate with you

You can control a lot of these aspects of your brand digitally and those that you can’t control, you can still influence.

If you hear of a company or meet someone interesting at an event and immediately do an internet search for them or their website, you can understand the power of your digital brand. Sure it is easy for the big brands. I actually rewrote the first sentence of this paragraph, changing “google” to “do an internet search for”.  We get the big brands, from Nike’s swoosh to McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” to the theme song for “Game of Thrones”. But for “little brands” like you and I, what are we to do?

First thing is to do a search for your name. Don’t add a “.com” or “.org” on the end. Just your name. And look at the results. Check beyond Google. At least add Bing into the mix. Do you like what you see? Here are some things to look for:

  • Does your company or organization dominate all the listings? It should.
  • Have you claimed your location on each site you search on?
  • Are the images the location associates with you appropriate to your brand?
  • Are there reviews of your business? If so, are they favorable?
  • Do any of your competitors appear in the results?

If you don’t like any of the answers to these questions, we can help. Want to do it yourself? Here are key things to do:

  1. Claim your location in search engines like Google and Bing (and any others that pertain to you)
  2. Upload photos and other images that are related to you in your location profile
  3. Encourage happy customers to provide favorable reviews on sites like Google and Yelp
  4. Make sure you have a social media presence. If for no other reason, do it so that your search listings will have more links to your brand.
  5. Make sure your website is optimized for search engine indexing so that all of your pages will appear in search results.
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8 Ways to Defeat The Evil Blogger’s Block

Most of the new websites we build these days include blogs. We love blogs because search engines love blogs. Adding a blog to their website is the single easiest way for a business to get more visitors. Plus, it gives the business owner a real-time way to communicate with their customers. Hit publish and your message is out there! Very cool.

Except, I see a lot of new blog owners experience the dreaded “blogger’s block.” We’ve all experienced it. It’s also known as I’ve-got-this-new-blog-now-what-the-hell-do-I do-now syndrome.

Here’s my list of 8 Ways to Defeat The Evil Blogger’s Block

1. Feel the fear of the blank post page. Embrace the fear. Then, write anyway. (What? You thought I had some magic way to overcome this? Silly you.) Seriously, you have to practice doing it even when you’re not feeling especially motivated. Kind of like flossing your teeth.

2. Keep a file of stuff to steal, er, borrow from. You don’t think Shakespeare made up all of his plots, did you? (He didn’t.) Neither should you. If a topic is trending online that relates to your field, do your take on it. But strive for a bit of originality.

3. Keep up with what is trending in your field. Create a Google reader account and subscribe to blogs and news feeds about your field.

4. Answer customers’ questions in your blog. Tired of answering that same question over and over? Create a category in your blog to answer them.

5. Review books written about your field. For bonus points, post that review on Amazon.com.

6. Got a meaty topic that you can stretch over several posts? Write a series over a week or two.

7. Repurpose your old content. Have you already written white papers, presentations, even a book? Chop ’em up into blog posts. (And don’t worry they’ll detract from your book sales. If people like your blog, they’ll still buy your book.)

8. Post photos and video of sales, events, presentations, and seminars you’re giving. Where is it written that your posts have to be, well, written?

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Finding the Best Social Media Sites

What media (or sites) are best suited to my goal?

Once you have determined what your goals are, it is time to determine which social networking sites will best help you meet those goals. There are literally hundreds of social networking sites available to you. Outside of three or four though, they all are designed to serve specific niches. The major sites that are available are:

Facebook: Until recently we recommended Facebook primarily as a Business to Consumer web site for Social Media Marketing purposes. No longer. You can create your own “Page” for your business and invite your connections to become “Fans”. When they become a fan, it appears on their profile which can get others to join and so on. Once established, you have the ability to interact with your fans, through posts to the page, events, importing your blog feed, and starting discussions.

Facebook can also be very good if your business targets consumers. One colleague who runs a travel company simply posted on his account about an upcoming overseas trip and got several new customers. The power of searching and matching makes Facebook powerful indeed. The matching comes in when Facebook suggests people you might know or other things you might like. As a business, you can target that matching by the kinds of content you write about. You can also try the Facebook Ads to target consumers.

LinkedIn: This site is definitely a business to business web site. If your goal is hiring people, LinkedIn could be a very good resource. It can also be a great way to connect with people in your industry or market so if your goal is to stay abreast of trends and innovations in your market, LinkedIn could be a good fit. We have found LinkedIn to be a very good way to stay on top of trends but also to connect with potential clients and with power partners. If extending your network beyond your physical reach is a goal, then this would be a good way to attack it. Basically, LinkedIn is an ideal social media site if your target is other businesses. It might also be within your goal if you need ot interact with others in your market segment.

Twitter: Twitter is still just a baby but is growing quickly. As such it is difficult to have long term goals for what you want to accomplish via this site. Having said that, we recommend it for both B2B and B2C purposes. If your goal is to get more exposure and learn of the latest trends it can be very helpful. If even 1/10 of the folks who claim they’re making millions on Twitter are close to the truth, it can fit into a goal of increasing sales to consumers as well as reaching out to businesses and consultants that need your goods or services.

What other sites should you consider? Do a search for social networking websites and you’ll find plenty of places to start but some other large ones include Plaxo, MySpace, Meetup and Ning. Another class of social media is social bookmarking. Sites to consider for bookmarking are StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, Delicious and Technorati.

You can just jump in to Social Media Marketing but if you first determine your goals and then determine which sites will help you reach those goals, you will be more successful.

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Setting Goals for Social Media Marketing

Question 1 from 10 Essential Questions to Answer for Your Social Media Marketing Campaign:

What are my goals (What do I expect to get out of this)?

Often when talking to people about Social Media Marketing, I’m asked “how much time does it take?” To which I reply “What do you want to do?” It’s that simple really. That’s like asking the swimming coach how much time it will take to practice. Michael Phelps might get the answer of “8 hours a day” but for my daughter’s lessons, it might be “2 hours a week”. Are you going for multiple gold medals or are you going to learn the basics?

But of course many business owners are just beginning to wrap their heads around this thing called Social Media Marketing and what it means for their business. So what would be good goals? Here are some goals from clients that we’ve worked with:

  • I want to have more than 200 fans on my corporate Facebook page.
  • We will have a 30% increase in traffic to our web site through social media.
  • I will have 5 new customers a month through LinkedIn.
  • My workshops will expand from 15 people per workshop to 30 through social media marketing.
  • Online sales will increase 22% through our social media efforts.
  • I will double the number of subscribers to my newsletter.

Hopefully these goals will help you determine what your goals should be and then you’ll be able to consider strategies and tactics to go about meeting your goal.

What are my goals (What do I expect to get out of this)?

Often when talking to people about Social Media Marketing, I’m asked “how much time does it take?” To which I reply “What do you want to do?” It’s that simple really. That’s like asking the swimming coach how much time it will take to practice. Michael Phelps might get the answer of “8 hours a day” but for my daughter’s lessons, it might be “2 hours a week”. Are you going for multiple gold medals or are you going to learn the basics?

But of course many business owners are just beginning to wrap their heads around this thing called Social Media Marketing and what it means for their business. So what would be good goals? Here are some goals from clients that we’ve worked with:

· I want to have more than 200 fans on my corporate Facebook page.

· We will have a 30% increase in traffic to our web site through social media.

· I will have 5 new customers a month through LinkedIn.

· My workshops will expand from 15 people per workshop to 30 through social media marketing.

· Online sales will increase 22% through our social media efforts.

· I will double the number of subscribers to my newsletter.

Hopefully these goals will help you determine what your goals should be and then you’ll be able to consider strategies and tactics to go about meeting your goal.

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10 Essential Questions for Your Social Media Marketing Campaign

Everybody is all abuzz about Social Media Marketing Campaigns whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or some niche site that fits their needs. But we keep getting the same questions from customers and we basically turn the questions back around to ask them. Here are the questions that you should think through for your needs as you develop your plan. And of course, if you need help, give us a call at 303 268-2245.

Social Media Marketing Campaign Questions:

  1. What are my goals (What do I expect to get out of this)?
  2. What media (or sites) are best suited to my goal?
  3. How much time am I able or willing to spend on marketing?
  4. How can I use my physical network of contacts to help in Social Media Marketing(SMM)?
  5. What tactics will help me accomplish my goals?
  6. What niche social networking sites might be useful for my goals?
  7. What tools are available to make my time in SMM more efficient?
  8. How personal does the SOCIAL part need to be?
  9. How does my company reputation fit into SMM?
  10. How can I evaluate my SMM campaign?

By thinking through and writing down your answers to these questions, you’ll be able to keep a laser like focus on what you want to accomplish. It is important to do this so that  you don’t get sucked into the social vortex and find yourself spending all your time chatting with old high school friends or getting lost in the college daze.

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5 People I Follow on Twitter and Why

  1. PublicityHound (twitter.com/PublicityHound)
    Joan Stewart is the queen of getting publicity and has developed quite a following. For any business looking to get more and better publicity, Joan provides a lot of free and low cost tips. On Twitter she mostly stays on task -focusing on Publicity, with just enough personal info to make life interesting
  2. Mashable (twitter.com/mashable)
    Pete Cashmore is so on top of what’s happening in Social Media and Social Networking that you’d be crazy to follow him on Twitter.
  3. Copyblogger (twitter.com/copyblogger)
    Brian Clark is seriously into social networking but he also posts great quotes like this recent one “I have no particular talent. I am merely inquisitive.” From Albert Einstein
  4. Schwarzenegger (twitter.com/schwarzenegger)
    The Governator actually has harnessed the power of twitter for good – using it to disseminate information and links useful to Californians. While not a Californian myself, I’d like to see more elected officials make the attempt to use new technologies to help them better communicate and stay in touch.  I guess twitter.com/govritter should get mention as well since I live in Colorado.
  5. MattCutts (twitter.com/mattcutts)
    I’ve been a fan of Google since they started at Stanford – for real. Matt is a great public face for Google on Twitter. He lets you know what Google is up to and provides some really cool information such as how to link to a specific point in a YouTube video.
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Are you Linked In online?

LinkedIn is one of the largest business networking sites out there. Based on the premise that if I have 10 connections (people I know and network with) and each of those has 10 connections, I’m only one relationship away from 100 people.  If you have 100 connections and they have 100 connections each, well, you do the math.

So what all can you do on LinkedIn? You can connect with people, join virtual groups, many times they are virtual versions of physical networking groups. So this can be a great way to communicate between physical meetings. You can send or post reminders, share announcements and more. The benefit of doing this online is that you can reach a wider audience that might otherwise not know of your group.

If you’re looking for work, LinkedIn can be a great way to find the right job for you. There are hundreds of jobs posted but also by working your LinkedIn network, you can find opportunities that you would never know about through other ways. Through recommendations you can also let or encourage others brag about you.

Speaking of recommendations, this is another way to promote your business. Why “toot your own horn” when you have friends, customers and colleagues who are often more than happy to tout your benefits or service or value. Let word of mouth marketing work for you.

Spend a few minutes a day – literally just a few minutes, and you can build your network over a couple of weeks to the point where it can start working for you.

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10. How Can I Use Word-Of-Mouth Marketing to Improve My Web Site?

The 10th question in our 10 questions to ask when you’re ready to take your site to the next level is probably THE most important question around today. Word of Mouth marketing. I’m a pretty good customer. When I’m happy with a business, I will go out of my way to tell others about it. During any given month I might tell five to ten others about a business I like.

But we can translate Word Of Mouth Marketing onto the web in all kinds of powerful ways. Welcome to Web 2.0 and in particular the social nature of 2.0. There are lots casino online wiesbadenbaccarat online spielecasino online gamekostenlose casino onlinegames roulette spielenwww slotsonline europa casinokostenlose online casinojack black downloadflash casino gamesroulette downloadenblack jack online spielecasino spiele online spielen,casino spielen,spielen im casinoroulette casinoscasino tropez bonusonline casino lastschriftcasino roulette spielinternet kasinocasino video pokerspiel erlebniskasino spielencasino spiele mit echtem geldonline spiel raumcasino online hamburgkasino comonline casino betrugkeno online spieleslot machinescasino online comcasino im internetcasino online liveroulette lernenblackjack spieleonline casino slotswww casino spiele deslot maschinen spielenkasino onlineonline kasino spielonline gewinnspieleparty casinoonline spiele automatengames roulette online spielengames roulette onlinecasino online no deposit bonuscasino spiele,kostenlose casino spiele,online kasino spielcraps spieleninternet gewinn spielslotmaschine spielengratis kasinofreeware spiele casino of ways you can interact with others on the Internet in a meaningful way. When I say meaningful, I mean actual interaction with others, not just logging on, spouting off your sales pitch and logging off.

Here are three sites you can log into, create a profile, and find others of similar interests:

  1. Facebook.com
  2. Myspace.com
  3. LinkedIn.com

Visit the sites above to connect with others. Make sure you spend FIVE minutes a day logging in and communicating.
Here are three sites that have a slightly different focus that those above but allow you to establish your expertise on a given subject:

  1. Propeller.com
  2. Squidoo.com
  3. Scribd.com

Take some time on a daily or weekly basis and share your knowledge with the world. And be bold about putting your name or site address or product out there as you write.

Here are three social bookmarking sites you can use to generate additional buzz about your posts in the links above and about your own site:

  1. Digg.com
  2. Reddit.com 
  3. Del.icio.us

At first some of this might seem a bit arcane but if you spend just a “wee bit” of time on this on a regular basis, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised to see how the traffic starts beating a path to your web site.

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8. What colors and images or logos do I have that can be used to keep my BRAND in front of people?

Brand. Brand. Brand. It really IS all about brand. We’ve worked with several small businesses who started out saying that they were too small to need a brand. As they saw it working though, they realized that even their small business benefited from having a brand.

There are lots of good resources for building your brand and understanding how to build your brand.  Here’s the first video in a series of videos on branding your small business.

Are you saying “But I don’t have a brand”, let’s stop and think about it for a minute. Pull out your business cards. Take a look at  your brochure. Point your browser to your web site. And ask yourself these questions:

  1. What images do you see?
  2. Are there similar or identical images?
  3. Do those images / pictures / clipart resonate with you?
  4. What colors are you using consistently? Do they represent who you are?
  5. Are there other images that more accurately reflect your business?
  6. Are there colors missing from our schemes?

If you need help with your brand we can help you and partner with some of our colleagues who specialize in this area. Give us a call if you’d like some help or a referral. Once your colors and brand are determined, make sure that you integrate it or have your web designer integrate it into your web site.

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