Cose Small Business Conference

Wednesday, October 19 and Thursday, October 20, 2011

The sixth annual COSE Small Business Conference, is a two-day, first-class conference experience packed with educational workshops, national keynote speakers, a business-to-business trade show and effective networking opportunities.

As a small business owner, your time is incredibly valuable. That’s why COSE designed the conference to fit your busy schedule. Each workshop is carefully selected to deliver immediate, practical tools and information that can be applied to your business right away. So whether you attend for an hour, a day or both days, you’re sure to leave with
valuable new strategies to enhance your business’s success.

http://www.cosesmallbusinessconference.com/conference-overview

101 Tips for Using Your Website and Other Online Tools to Market Your Business

The internet is quickly becoming the #1 way people gather information. If  your internet presence is lacking, you may be missing out. We will discuss messaging, using your website, and other internet marketing tools like search engines, social media, PPCs, and directories. We will also give you an overview of what type of costs you can expect, where to save, and where to spend.

Natalie Morris
Morris MC, Ltd.

http://www.cosesmallbusinessconference.com/workshops

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Q & A: If I add keywords to my profile will it help me get more hits?

Normally I would say yes, that will help you, however if you are not using social media the way it was meant to be used, then adding a few keywords are not going to help you.

For example if you only have a few connections then making some minor changes to your profile is not going to make a big difference in the number of hits you get. The only people who are going to see the update you made are going to be people you are connected to.

If you have 30 connections and you make an update, you are not going to be reaching large numbers of people. However, if you have 300 or 500 connections or more! Then you make an update to your profile, that includes a keyword you think people would be interested in, then all of a sudden you will be making an impact on a large number of people.

However as I have mentioned before, if you are not involved in your social media:

  • if you are not building relationships with people
  • if you are not updating your status on a regular basis

Then no one is going to care that you added a keyword to your profile.

Like I have said so many times before, social media is about relationships. Think of Social networking as live networking.

If you go to the same networking meeting every single week, or even every month, you build relationships, you help people, you interact with them, they get to know you and what you do. If you then walk in one day and say “guess what everyone! I just started doing this” everyone is going to be interested in what you are doing.

However if you go to a group once never go back or only go for 2 minutes to drop off your business cards then stand up in the middle of that meeting and say “guess what everyone! I just started doing this” no one is going to care, because no one there knows you.

The only thing about Social Networking that is easier than real networking is that you can do it on your own time. You choose WHEN to update your profile, when to comment on people’s status, when to read what’s going on, or to pass on good information. Social Networking does not let you skip that part of networking. You still need the relationships.

Adding keywords to your profile will help you if you have built a strong community. If you add new updated information to your profile, and there are people who are following you they will see what you are up to, and hopefully pass it on to their connections if it relates.

Adding keywords will also help if people are searching for the product or services you add. However, if you are not connected in any way it is going to be difficult for them to connect with you, and if they have other people who are related, they will appear above you.

For example if you sell insurance, and only have 10 connections, and those connections only have 10 connections. However your competitor has 500 connections and those connections all have 300 connections (who have connections) if someone does a search for insurance, they will probably see your competitor above you, and they will see who they know, who knows them.  This gives them the advantage of being “familiar” to the person searching. It also gives the person searching the advantage if they want a referral, they know who to call and ask. If there is no one in their network that can vouch for you, or who even knows you, then they are going to be lest trusting of you and your services.

Optimizing for keywords is helpful, but only if you are “using” the social media.

Thank you,

Natalie

http://www.morrismc.com

Internet Marketing – What the heck does that mean?

The world of marketing has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. Part of that change was adding Internet Marketing to the mix.

When the web really got going as a Marketing venue it was treated almost identical to any other marketing venue.

  • Determine who you market is – in a very broad sense
  • Sell your products and services
  • Wait

Now with the onset on Social Media, this formula doesn’t work the same way. In some ways it’s much better, in others it’s much worse.

How it’s better:

  • Small and medium-sized companies can enter into the marketing pool
  • Local businesses can easily reach global audiences
  • Customers can communicate directly with companies
  • Changes can be made instantaneous
  • Target audiences can be very specific

How it’s worse:

  • Large companies that had market dominance now need to share
  • It’s easy to shop price from your home
  • You need someone to be watching conversation about your company constantly
  • People expect an immediate response

So what is Internet Marketing? In a nutshell it’s coming up with a comprehensive plan that takes into account:

  • Website
  • Pay Per Click
  • Natural Listings
  • Social Media

Each one of these areas needs to be handled specifically for that particular media. For example it’s ok to “sell” your product on your website, but it is not ok to “sell” your product on social media.

Also each item above may have multiple venues, for example your Social Media Campaign may include LinkedIn, a Blog, You-Tube, and Google Places. Similarly the Natural Listing may include your website, a blog, directories, and Google Places. As you can see items may overlap into other areas. Blogs will appear both in natural listing and are considered a Social Media venue.

A good internet marketing plan takes into account all internet venues and ensures they work together.  A blog that does not link back to your website, or to your You-Tube account is not going to be as productive as one that does.

More on this topic to come!
Natalie

http://www.morrismc.com

Q & A – Social Media tricks of the trade

What are some tricks of the trade business owners can use to optimize their Social Media efforts?

Social Media Leaps is a great resource! If you have the time to learn how to do things, and you have the patience to figure it out, all you need to do is go there.

There are a ton of tutorials out there that can walk you through pretty much anything. However spending a little money having someone who already knows all the tricks to set it up for you may be well worth your time and money. Be sure to think, how will people find me (or my page/group/etc) what terms would they be looking for, what else would your target audience be searching for? For example if you are a moving company, would you visitors be looking for real-estate advice, or packing instructions. Use that knowledge to write using keyword rich content. Fill your profile with keywords that will help someone find you.

What do you do to make it easier? 

For updates I want to appear throughout the week or the month, I use HootSuite. This tool allows me to take an hour of my time and get my updates done for the week and choose which Social Media venue it goes to. There are a lot of other features it offers, like allowing you to follow groups etc. but I don’t take advantage of that.

What tools and tricks don’t work?

I tried tweet glide but never felt comfortable using it. However it has evolved since the last time I used it. Also, I had gotten too dependent on HootSuite, I stopped using the different social media tools, I lost contact with what people were doing, what they were interested in, what was going on in their lives.

What do businesses do that doesn’t work?

They don’t plan. They think they can just jump in. It doesn’t work, they end up wasting more time than they have and get no return.

They treat Social Media like any other “media” it’s not, in fact it’s not really social media, that’s a deceptive term, it’s really “virtual networking”.

If you went to a networking event a week early, placed your business cards on a couple of tables and then waited to get called you would be waiting a long time. Social Media is the same way. If you don’t put the effort into meeting and greeting you will never form the relationships you are looking for. This doesn’t have to be a full-time job, but you do have to be sincere in wanting to build relationships. There is really nothing out there that is unique anymore, you may be brilliant in your field, but there’s probably someone writing a free blog that explains in-depth exactly what you do. The world is swinging back to personal relationships, we have realized the tech in Indonesia isn’t going to provide the same service as the guy down the street.

Share information with people, help them if you can, be friendly, be personable, build relationships.

Making the hard decisions

animals,cartoons,creatures,frogs,nature,thinkingNo I’m not talking about anything life altering, or heart wrenching, I’m talking about taking an honest look at yourself, your life, and what you are doing and figuring out if you really are the best person to handle things.

Ok, what am I really talking about, Social Media, I mean really what else do I talk about, ok maybe lions and tigers and some other topics, but Social Media is really my driving force so this is really a difficult thing for me.

I can’t keep up with it, I don’t have the time in my day to properly manage my own companies social media campaign, and because I am being a bit of a control freak, it’s just not happening. Now don’t get me wrong, this is totally not something I can just drop on someone elses plate, or something I can have a random intern take charge of. This is a VERY important part of my companies marketing campaign and it is imparative that it is handled professionally. The problem is, I can’t do that. So I need to be honest with myself and find a solution.

Thank you Tasha for the awesome picture :-)

Yes that's me before I donated my hair, and my wonderful hubby.

Luckly for me, I have a wonderful partner (both my husband and work associate) who knows my business as well as I do and who would much rather be conversing via SM than face to face (which is what I like). Although he know my business, and he knows social media I can’t just drop it on his lap without a plan, so even though I have made the decission to delegate, I need to actualy delegate and not dump.

Which brings me to another point, I was blessed to be able to speak at the 2010 COSE Conference this year, and to go to 5 other break out sessions and WOW were they wonderful. One of my favorites was “Delegation – an Underused Skill” presented by Amanda Hershberger at AssistNOW http://assistnow.org/.

Not only was she a delightful speaker, presented a huge amount of wonderful information, but also had us work through how to actually decide what to delegate, and how to delegate. It was a wonderful experience, and left me – the control freak I am – excited to delagate some of my responsibilities!

So it’s on my short list of things that need done, sooner rather than later.

Have a terrific Halloween!

Natalie

www.morrismc.com

nmorris@morrism.com

Using Social Media to Promote a Non-Profit Event

Although you can use this method to promote any event, non-profits have the benefit of making people feel good about promoting them. If you are an accountant and want people to come to your accounting seminar this might not work to well for you. However save the lions, polar bears, starving children, or even the local stay has a tendency of pulling on heart strings.

 So what to do to promote your event?

  1. Who’s your audience?
    • Families? Parents? Boomers? Genx? GenY? Are you looking for corporate sponsors? Big money?
  2. Where are you going to find them?
    •  Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter?
  3. What are your objectives
    • Attendance? Donations? Sponsorship? Education?
  4. How can you engage them? 
    • What else are they interested in? Are they local? What other groups are they part of? What other groups would promote you?
  5. How can you use your existing resources?
    • Add a Facebook Fan Page link to e-mail signatures? Send out an e-blast with your group’s link? Try a viral e-mail to friends and family? Put a post-it in mailings?
  6. Determine campaign champion
    • Who can do this? Who has the time? Who has the know-how?

Now your plan is close to being functional. Bring out a calendar and chart everything you plan on doing for the plan. Do it all right now. If you put it off to do later, it just won’t get done. What tweets are you sending? Who is responsible for updating the events? When will the e-mail blast go out? Determine the exact tools and tactics you are going to use. Determine the exact wording each post/update/tweet will have. The more you do right now, the more likely your campaign is to succeed if you put it off it will either not happen or you will put so much ramp-up time into it each day that it won’t be worth the effort.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing for this whole process to work is to ask people to help you and to give them a good reason why they should.

So here it goes! Please help the Cleveland Animal Protective League! They rescue thousands of animals every year and place them in loving homes. They work with the community to promote animal health even in the feral populations. Through April the Cleveland APL is collecting Doggy Dollars and Kitty Cash to help save the cats and dogs of Cleveland.  http://www.firstgiving.com/nataliemorris

Natalie Morris

www.morrismc.com

www.myteamsocialmedia.com

Social Media Seminars

picture out my windowSo every time I go to a social media seminar I have waves of emotions. When the presenter stands up and starts talking about how easy social media is I think, “maybe I shouldn’t be in this business“… “If anyone can do it why would they hire me?”  When they talk about all the free tools… I think “why would someone pay me?” Then as the presentation goes on and he or she starts getting into the nitty gritty and starts really diving into some of the details and I look around and see the blank stares, looks of utter confusion, or sometimes complete fear I feel better! “People DO need me!”

I went to a COSE seminar today where Sage Lewis gave a very energetic presentation on Social Media. I learned allot, and was reminded of the importance of many other things I had put on the back burner.

The two points he stressed most – even if you decide NOT to use social media in your business are these:

  1. Set up a Google Alerts to monitor what other people are saying about you and your business http://www.google.com/alerts.
  2. Get a Social Media Policy in place so that if something happens you will at least have something in place to fall back on.

A few other points he made that I found helpful are here:

  • People buy from people they know – Social Media makes that possible over the Internet
  • Social Media is primarily used for branding and customer retention, however with proper management it can lead to sales
  • You MUST be excited about what you are doing for social media to work
  • If you don’t want to do Social Media then don’t – there is no moral obligation to being connected

If you want to read some of the tweet notes and get the links go to Twitter and search #COSE or go here http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23cose 

If you want to see some businesses that are using Social Media check out Sage’s Delicious Social Business Page http://delicious.com/sagerock/social-business

Have a terrific day!

Natalie

Natalie Morris/McAninchMorris MC, Ltdnmorris@morrismc.com www.morrismc.com www.myteamsocialmedia.com Cell: 440.552.0131HO: 440-247-7117