Monday, July 13, 2015

Using Instagram for Your Brand

Normally, when I have read enough about a particular topic to draw conclusions, I compile an article with links to various sources, and give action steps.

However, with this Hootsuite article, there is not need.  It is 100% ready to rock, action steps and all.

To be fair, I have been using Hootsuite for 5 years now, so I am obviously a fan, however, it has only been recently that I discovered that the speed of change in social media actually outpaces the technology that supports it, so I have begun reading all of the tweets.  Wow.  Worthwhile.

Anyway, on to the article.  Rather than restating why you should read the article (Click here to read the article on Using Instagram for your brand,) this is their introduction:

If you’re reading this post, you’ve already realized one fundamental thing: Instagram is a critically important social network. The photo-sharing app is not only important for retailers, restaurants, or travel companies; as one of the most effective brand-building tools available today, Instagram is increasingly important for every kind of business.

Instagram is now a hub where regular people find (and judge) the visual identity of a business. Without a strong Instagram presence, companies risk being ignored or forgotten, especially among the next generation of consumers. Among American teens, Instagram is actually considered the single most important social network.

If you do take Instagram seriously, it can open up a world of opportunity for your brand. Forrester has named Instagram the “king of social engagement,” citing the fact that top brands’ Instagram posts generated a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21 percent. That means Instagram delivered these brands 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.

So, you now know why your business should be on Instagram. Below, we tackle the “how,” walking you through the process of building an Instagram strategy, setting up your account, and best practices for brands. Read on for our beginner’s guide on how to use Instagram for business.

If you want to know more, Click here to read the article on Using Instagram for your brand.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Honey is Still Better than Vinegar - Even on Twitter

In the last few decades, American business has begun to dismantle the genteel nature of what used to be fundamental to well breed people.  Courtesy is not a tool, rather than a life style.  The proverbs and experience that have generated the Milena old Wisdom sayings have been all but wiped off the face of American business, leaving Darkenss with sudden bright flashes of Red as the landscape within which we all have to live.

This post is all about the long term, and how to returning light rather than fire, always, is a productive strategy to build recognition of you and what you stand for,

To do that, let me bore you with a few ancient sayings you most likely have heard a billion times, followed by what that axiom means to us in the #TwitterSphere or on Facebook.

1) "The trite saying that honesty is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy." ~ Robert E. Lee

Don't lie, exaggerate or make hyperbolic claims.  If you do, well, it will eventually bite you. It's true that the fastest track to success is to rely on the sucker who is born every minute, at P.T. Barnum once said, but that changes they type of person you will eventually be stuck with as clientele.

Example:  You will burn 1100 calories in our kickboxing class.  Just how do you know that?  Looked it up on google?  Compared your class to other people who are not, in your mind, as good as you? Someone told you?  Ask or hire a nutritionist or go to a university and have them do a study. Or, use a number that has been verified when you tweet. Once it's in the Twittersphere, it's there to stay.

Action Step: Tweet something every day that is absolutely true, and not necessarily self aggrandizement.  Example. Have your or a team member take a picture of themselves, and tweet it out with their name, thanking them for being there, helping your clients. @staffmember if they have twitter.

2) "Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage." ~ Theodore Roosevelt

 Nearly everyone in business is brave.  Be different. Everyone knows and remembers and passes on their experiences with people who live and show courtesy.  Be one of the few.

Example: Someone just tweeted and teed of on you and your product or system.  Be gracious. I read an article once that said if you showed courtesy you might be able to retain them as a client.  Ok. Good even, but that is not courtesy, that's manipulative. Show courtesy because it is the right thing to do. What you tweet in reply will show future clients, current clients and past clients who you really are.

Action step: Send a @them on twitter to every single person who follows you, thanking them for following you.  consider showing courtesy by following them.  Start now.

3) "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." ~ Abraham Lincoln

 Just because someone wrote something horrible about you does not make it true or necessary to respond.  They are either trying to bully you, or, they are right.  Don't prove their point for them by starting a twitter war.

Action step: Thank them for bringing issues to your attention.  If you can fix it, @them with the solution.  We use a free month,  free shirt, some Opps Gift that means something to them.

4) "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." ~ Cro Magnon Mother

 So you believe in Guns, or this or that presidential candidate. Say something NICE about what you support, or don't say or respond to it at all.  Example:  I see this alot.  Somebody says something against your political parties leaders, say the president.  Don't launch into a diatribe about how messed up their politician is.  Nobody trust politicians, and in general 50% of the people disagree with you before you even wrote a response.  Don't Do it.

Action step: See a tweet that grinds your gears.  Turn twitter off, come back to the news feed later. 

5) "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." ~ Somebodies Mother

 We run a rather successful travel blog called, with the hashtag, #ThisIsNewEngland. and twitter handle of @TripNewEngland. When we are asked to review a destination, or we go on our own, we will NOT review it, if it is less than 3 Maple Leaves.  We do; however, find 1 or 2 points that make each location worthy, if they are worthy, and remark on them. No lies, to exaggerations, just honey.

Action step: Turn on your twitter feed, and favorite or favorite and retweet 3 to 5 things every day. 

6) "You reap what you sow." ~ Somebodies Father

 You start a twitter war, you will be attacked, by trolls, by friends, by the press. If you are nice, you will get less of a response, but it will be generally good, tending toward helping you.

Action step: Send 1 @them tweet every day with a complement or acknowledgement.

Want help, but don't really want to ask anyone for it?  Reasonable.  I have found the Idiot guides a good place to get enough information to ask intelligent questions.  Click this book to be taken to Amazon, for The Complete Idiot's Guide to Twitter Marketing

Finally, we have gone to seminars, bought many books, dozens if not hundreds of hours on-line and on the phone.  We picked Nice over aggressive, and it does work, quickly.  If you want to be the Book of 5 Rings warrior business monk ... can't help you.  That part of my life is over.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

YouTube Marketing for Small Business - Issue 11

If your first thought is, "Everyone is using YouTube," then this
photo credit: andymag via photopin cc
article is for you.  "An idiot's Guide to Using YouTube" states that 99% of businesses are NOT using YouTube.  It's always good to start riding the wave when you are the only one on it, long before it crashes into the shore. Most of us know that any action is better than no action.  The example I most often use is the one where a child is standing in the middle of a road, and hears his mother yell, "Car." If he does nothing, just looking at the car, he gets flattened where he stand.  If he runs left, right or backward, he at least has a chance.  Using YouTube is like that this same article suggests.  Don't let your ignorance or fear of making a video get in your way.  Just Do It.

Wishpond in it's article titled "12 Tips for Using YouTube" suggests that not only should you make a video, but you should include IN THE VIDEO and the description, a Call To Action.  Calls to action can be to subscribe to your channel, giving you access to them over and over again, calling your business or visiting your website or facebook page that will collect their contact information.  The go on to remind you to ALWAYS ANSWER COMMENTS.  Dialog is good for your video.  The old adage, good news, bad news; it does not matter.  They all bring attention to your Chanel.

Finally, there is the step by step flow chart found in "The Small Business Guide to YouTube."  This is s step by step guide bringing you from Getting a Youtube account to advanced marketing, simply by answering Yes or No questions.  I would start here.

One of our first YouTube ads that really helped was to a Social Event at our karate school.  We made it with AfterEffect from Adobe.  This is it.


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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Social Media Marketing Plan for Small Business - Issue 10

Stellar Evolution - click to Read
When I started studying stellar physics back in undergraduate school, I distinctly remember looking at the math involved, partial differential equations, and thinking to myself, "You're screwed."  I knew calculus and differential equations but even the notations involved in partial differential equations looked foreign.  I was out of my element and I knew it.  I had no idea where to start, how to start or even if I could start. That feeling that in the movie the Replacement Players was expressed as "Quick Sand," where you knew you were sinking and even trying to save yourself, accelerated the rate that you were sinking.

As it turns out, it wasn't the death of me.  I had to pick a point, any point, and just move forward.  For me, that point was admitting I was clueless and asking for help.  2 days later, I was out of confusion and into the interior of stars. Social Media Marketing Plans felt like that for me too, and once again, I was wrong.  

At the end of this article, I list two web resources from which I drew this advice, and I suggest you go there for more information and clarification if you like what you read and want to do it.
1) Who are you trying to reach? - For example, in American Express Open forum, I read, "Women between the ages of 18 and 29 comprise Facebook’s primary audience, for instance, while LinkedIn’s users are predominantly males with graduate-level education. Find out where your target customers are networking online." If you are using Linkedin, and you're selling books on why education is a waste of time, you might want to rethink your strategy. 

1a) Sit down and write down who you are trying to reach, and why, then go after the network or networks that touch that demographic. The Pew Research Internet Project list the demographics of most of the major Social Media networks. Start there.

1b) Now make sure that your profiles are completely filled out. It's hard to find you if your information is missing. Buffer Social suggests that you keep your pictures consistent with your business and each other across platforms and that you make sure they are sized correctly. "You can consult a social media image size chart that will show you the exact breakdown of dimensions for each photo on each network."

2) Your USP, or unique selling proposition, needs to be well in hand.  Greg Silva, the CEO of United Professionals, retaught us this vital concept 20 years ago when we couldn't answer the question, "What Makes You Different than Everybody Else?"

Once you know, and can be written down, what makes you unique, you can begin to write social media posts that talk about your "USP," and even know what products you should sell or discount to stay consistent with your USP.

3) What's Your Flavor? You need to know your company's personality, Buffer Social suggest, by asking questions like "If your brand was a person, what kind of personality would it have?

Once you know what personality you are going to project, you company's flavor, be consistent in all of your posts. Don't let emotions, attitudes or other people or companies drag you out of your personality.  Nobody likes false people or companies.

4) Start slow, but START NOW.

Finally, we suggest something like to help you organize your posts.  Its easy, inexpensive, and organizes your own content the way you want it.  One way or the other, however, start.

The 2 Awesome sites we borrowed most of this from are:
American Express & Buffer Social.  Click their name here, and read their take on a social media marketing plan.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Instagram for Small Business - Driving Sales

Click Picture to read Article

Issue 10 - 12/12/2014

Small businesses use Instagram to drive sales - from Crain's Detroit Businesses - AP This article starts out with a case study of a small Hair Salon and how the owner drives sales to her business just by posting picture of what she has done. The picture to the right is an example. One single photo generated $10,000 in sales. Since many are relying on ROI, the investment in times is minutes, the return 10K. Not Too Shabby.

The main take aways for our business use were:

  • Right now instagram does not have a way to pay to boost readership of your posts, though they are working on it. However, much good results have occurred by paying bloggers or celebrities to post you pictures linked to you website or account. 
  • There are less expensive ways to promote use. One is to scan Instagram for use. Say, you post everything with #MAK, and ask your clients too. Then you link back to their hastags. 
  • Hashtag everything! 
  • Pick a number of photo's you are going to post a day, compete with hashtag, keeping it consistent. One business in the article post 6 a day. 
  • Post a photo for a discount campaign. One business in this article posted a product discount for mother's day. Boom! 
  • Consistent use and # tag use builds your brand over time. 


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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Issue 9 - Social Media Guides for Small Business

Click to Read
This is an article that is written for small business owners, about small business owners and in a language that assumes you are not an IT expert, yet is is surprisingly complete.  Some of the topics, but by now means all, are listed below:

  • Why Social Media for Small Businesses?
  • Do Your Homework
  • Coordinate Your Social Channels
  • Get Started, but Start Small
  • Listen and Share
  • Create Your Daily Plan
  • Boost Results With Social Advertising
If you want to understand what all the Buzz is about, and how to create your own buzz, read it now.


10 Ways to Make Your Small Business Social Media
Click to Read
Activities Rock
  - by the  U.S. Small Business Association - one of the traditional enemies of Small Businesses is government. No matter what side of that argument you stand on, it should be clear that the U.S. Government would know more about what makes businesses tick than the average bear.  This article is a collection of that wisdom, collected and presented in a way that is both useful and understandable to small business owners.

Not only do they give you 10 ways to make your social media ROCK, but they also have links to other useful information, including articles like: "8 Ways to Develop Online Content for Your Business – Even if You Hate to Write" and "Never Run Out of Blog Topic Ideas: Here are 36".

Two of the 10 ideas might strike a cord of fear or inquisitiveness: 

  • Have an Authentic Voice
  • Don’t Overly Automate
One of the mistakes that small business make, according to business publications, is jumping at the chance to "automate" everything, and that leads directly to having a mechanical or inauthentic voice.  The good news is, you can prevent it.  The bad news is, people will notice if you do not.  

Let the US Government teach you some tricks.

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Using Tabs on Your Business Page - Saturday November 29, 2014

This is a complex, though easy to follow through on, subject. As such, this issue is about only 1 aspect, App (application) Tabs. In this case, collecting email address and sending membership action emails to prospects.

To give a clear example of how this information can be used,
Click to see the Page Live
I followed the examples above directly, and I will illustrate the results here for greater understanding.

To the Right, you can see the App, "membership offers" on our facebook page, @mccoysactionkarate

We changed the picture from the Aweber Icon to a picture we made, and the words to "Free Email Membership Offers."  The App itself is supplied by We have chosen Name, Email and Phone number because when we ask for more, use declines, and when we ask for less, i.e. just email, no change occurs. 

Once the subscribe, the start receiving email, 1 a week for twelve weeks, automatically, unless they unsubscribe or join. Aweber stores the information for our later use.  If we get a phone number, we call.

Our consulting firm, United Professionals, designed the letters we send and our webdesigner, put this exact form on our marketing web site,, but many organizations supply a similar service and app.

We purchased a domain name,, as the video suggested, and pointed it to our email tab, also as suggested.

When you either click on the TAB marked by the yellow arrow or the tab shown above, you go to the page shown with the red arrows above.

The somewhat surprising information for me was that this alone would have nearly ZERO impact or utility.  The video above suggested you register a URL just for this purpose, and then run facebook ads that drive or funnel people to this tab.  


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