Making local online advertising easy with Google AdWords Express

Today, we’re officially introducing AdWords Express, a faster and simpler way to start advertising online in under five minutes. We first launched this product as Google Boost last October for a small number of local businesses. Since then, we’ve continued to improve the product and enabled all U.S. businesses new to online advertising to reach customers with ease. AdWords Express is designed to help local businesses that aren’t already AdWords advertisers create effective campaigns—watch the video below to see how you can create and run an online campaign from start to finish in just a few clicks:

Click [HERE] for full article| Google Small Business Blog

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Bootstrapping – The Way To Survive a Recession

Many of our clients currently find the going tough, although I happy to report that they are surviving better than the average micro business out there. You may ask why is that? Answer: “Business Bootstrapping!”

Here are a couple of techniques on how to use business bootstrapping to survive a recession:

Click [HERE] for full article| The Small Business Blog

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Twitter Exclusive: Rethinking Team Followback

Don't just "follow"...start a trend and engage

As a small business owner you are probably considering or have been implementing social media as a part of your overall marketing strategy for your company. Regardless of your size, social media can catapult your business into a world where the audience and business engage each other like never before. However, like most marketing tips, some strategies work better than others.

I would like to talk today about a movement on Twitter known as Team “Followback”. This term was mostly used for personal, day-to-day interactions on Twitter; however, I am seeing an increase of small businesses using this term to describe their social media presence. I think it is essential to break this term down and understand the implications it has for your brand’s marketing strategy.

A BreakDown of #teamfollowback

“Team” is referred to as a collection of individuals who share similar interests about a particular person, place, or thing. The use of the hashtag allows you to connect with these other individuals and can serve as a great platform for finding your audience

The term “followback” is used to describe individuals who will follow your company or brand back AFTER you have followed their Twitter account.

Reasons to Rethink #teamfollowback

This all seems great, right? Some business owners see this as free advertising and an increase in followers. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of #teamfollowback? I think as small business owners; however, we should be more strategic when following these users? I am not suggesting we totally disconnect from these users but I think we should be cautious.

These individuals, in my experience, are more concerned with building their Twitter count and briefly acknowledging their new members without really seriously considering engaging in your brand, your interests, or your other followers.  The sense of building community using social media is relegated then to a row of ducks or an assembly line.  Twitter and social media become a machine or repetition as opposed to building vibrant communities for your audience.

As a result you are gaining more followers but these followers aren’t going to engage in your brand beyond Twitter. This in turn limits your social media influence and prevents your marketing strategy from developing relationships and thus engagement with your brand that can yield a return on your social media investment.

What are your thoughts on #TeamFollowback?

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Pentagon Set To Track Social Media

Doubt the power of social media? The Pentagon doesn’t.  A new project from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency focuses on social media tracking.

It’s possible you haven’t heard of The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). They are a secretive agency within the United States Department of Defense whose “mission is to maintain the technological superiority of the U.S. military and prevent technological surprise from harming our national security by sponsoring revolutionary, high-payoff research bridging the gap between fundamental discoveries and their military use.”  They are credited with everything from weapon development to ARPANET, the predecessor of the Internet.

Click [HERE] for full article| Social Times

 

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5 Types of Content that Every Business Must Employ

The word content is confusing enough as it’s bantered around these days, but it’s also difficult for many small business owners to come up with a big picture view of the role content plays in the acquisition of clients.

Strategically, the word content must mean more than a blog post or a blank sheet of paper each day. You must begin to think of your content as a total body of work that is being built to serve your business over time.

You must understand and create content for the most important keyword phrases for your industry, the essential themes of education in your business, and your company’s core points of differentiation.

Click [HERE] for full article| DuctTape Marketing

 

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Avoiding Social Media Disaster: Part I

We have ALL seen them—small businesses that aren’t quite sure how to best use social media. Often times these small business owners either try to update their own sites (knowing they have limited time) or they ask someone who has limited knowledge and expertise to handle their social media, which is a recipe for disaster. Much like other digital advancements, social media is an burgeoning field of professionals. Knowing how to avoid a social media “hot mess” is essential in maintaining your authority in your industy and a trusted source for your audience. This is Part 1 of a 4 part series that will examine how to best avoid a social media catasphroe.

 

Have a SMCM:

Social Media/Community Management Plan and Policy

Every business owner should have a clear policy for managing their community and social platforms in one document. This should be in a secure place and should be thought out at the creation of the document. Of course you can update this policy later but it’s important to be clear about goals, expectations, and policies such as

  • What content is off limits. Make sure your policy includes language surrounding profanity, deragorty comments about other brands or individuals, or other “touchy issues.” Pending on your industry this can range from politics to religion. You need to be extremely clear when developing your plan and that each of your platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc.) have their own set of standards.
  • Hire a community manager (CM) or strategist. Many business owners may have a difficult time hiring an outside party to handle their brands image. If you are one of them, please let this go. Not only will it free up time for you to focus on other important matters of your business it also provides a non-objective lens which can be extremely important in how content is presented.
  • Create a Relationship with the CM. I  think you should have a working relatiosnhip with your community manager to ensure content is being shared in a way that is in alignment with your company’s vision and values. This relationship also helps develop clear lines of communication so if “hot-button” or “popular” issues arise your community management team can be equipped to address these issues in the best way possible. The community manager will also be equipped with knowing the ins-and-outs of which social platforms and communities can best serve the needs of your company and audience.

 

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“Why Should I Read Your Blog?”

This is a question you don’t hear everyday.  Probably because your audience reads tons of blogs a day and simply sifts through posts that they deem not of quality, boring, or too long to read. Whatever the reason proving your worth and value (if you don’t already have it) is hard work.  The first step to counteract this is to understand your audience’s needs and how you want your audience to engage your blog:
1. Are folks even visiting my blog?
You may have visitors linking to your blog through your social media efforts and email blasts, however, an unfocused blog is sure to stay at this level.  At this point you may be savvy enough to create a catchy title, include an awesome photo, and may have influence in the field but if your blog has no focus and no goal people may visit, glance, and never return again.
2. FEEDBACK, FEEDBACK! 
A higher level of engagement is viewers engaging your post to want to comment and add to the conversation. Comments shows that what you are saying motivates your viewers so much that they want to contribute their own thoughts to support or challenge (in a good way) your arguments. Make sure that you engage these viewers by responding to comments and offering substantial value to what they are saying.  Be aware you will receive spammers—those folks who are only interested in commenting to promote their brand or product.
3. Subscribing
  Some people think subscribing is dead.  In fact, I have often been guilty of digesting information and commenting but not necessarily subscribing to the blog.  Subscribing to a blog is a huge commitment for many of your viewers.  Sometimes one or two posts may be interesting for your readers but not enough to want to invest in.  Creating content that is relevant and focused on your audiences needs ensures those who need to subscribe will subscribe.  You must also make your blog accessible to your audiences—if you don’t who will?
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