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Businesses of all sizes are quickly finding that influencer marketing is an effective way to reach customers. By sponsoring content creators that have their own audiences, marketers can leverage user-generated content, expertise and trust combined with built-in social distribution to meet a variety of marketing goals. When implemented properly, influencer marketing can drive brand awareness, audience development, sales growth and more.97280163_s.jpg

 

Despite its efficacy, how to run an influencer marketing campaign is still unclear for many small (and large!) businesses. Below are six best practices to generate a strong return on investment from your influencer marketing activities.

 

1. Choose the Right Platform for Your Goals.

 

All platforms are not created equal and not all are relevant to your audience. “The first step in any influencer marketing campaign is finding the most appropriate platform. One platform does not fit all, as each has different characteristics, formats, engagement mechanisms and features. Depending on your specific goals, some platforms may be better than others” said Mike Prasad, the CEO of Tinysponsor, an inventory-based sponsorship marketplace that helps companies purchase the right sponsorships for their marketing goals (disclosure, I am also an investor in the platform).

 

For example, Prasad notes that “a permanent and visually engaging Instagram post will outperform on awareness and narrative goals, while an Instagram Story with a 24-hour lifespan will typically outperform on click-through and sales conversions with its swipe-up links and immediate call-to-action features. A blog sponsorship is fantastic for SEO and content creation, plus it can be effectively repurposed as ‘testimonial’-type creatives. You need to start with your goals.”

 

2. Know What Metrics Matter and Why.

 

After choosing a platform, you need to be measuring success. Operating on vanity measurements will not drive ROI. “Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook offer granular demographic insights, while others such as Instagram and Snapchat are more limited in their data offerings,” Prasad said. “Knowing what to measure is critical for driving bottom-line results.

 

“A post’s performance data may include a variety of measures,” he added. “Your key metrics will vary depending on your specific goals and platform. A campaign with conversion goals would use trackable links to correctly attribute credit and measure across overall reach, whereas a brand awareness campaign should compare true reach and distribution against light engagement (such as likes) and deep engagement (such as comments) to determine actual effectiveness.”

 

3. Find the Right Creators for Your Brand.

 

Every content creator has their own unique voice, focus, audience and style. Finding the right influencer to work with is essential to a campaign’s success.

 

“A common but flawed practice is to choose an influencer based on general category and overall reach,” Prasad warned. “This incorrect approach often results in negative ROI. To deliver meaningful outcomes, context and alignment is everything.”

 

For example, Prasad continued, “All metrics being the same, contextual alignment between your brand, the influencer and their audience will determine the outcome of a campaign. The best aligned influencer should look like an ideal customer or brand ambassador, but with their own individuality that is complementary to your business. Their content should also be specifically aligned, as well. Depending on the brand and goals, a creator that posts makeup tutorials will perform differently than one who posts product unboxings, even though both are in the same beauty category.”

 

Metrics show that the more aligned an influencer is with a sponsoring business, the higher the engagement rate and ROI will be. Tinysponsor reports seeing engagement rates range from a modest 1.2 percent to a staggering 12 percent, largely based on specific alignment. It also helps to test out a variety of influencers over time – say six to 12 months – to really be able to evaluate long-term results.

 

4. Pay the Right Price.

 

Celebrities have historically charged marketers exorbitant prices for sponsorships with no regard to performance. Smaller influencers have built solid followings of their own, but charge a wildly varying range of prices, furthering price confusion. Because small businesses need to ensure they pay the right price for their relative goals, they should consider several factors related to rates.

 

“First take into consideration reach and engagement when evaluating creators,” Prasad advised. “Creators who interact frequently with their followers drive more results than those who only broadcast. Many social media platforms will algorithmically rank engaged posts higher, amplifying their organic media reach.

 

“Second, you should verify your alignment with creators’ followers. A highly engaged audience is only valuable to you if they match your business objectives. Ultimately when measuring ROI, a targeted and engaged follower count provides a more meaningful cost basis than general reach.

 

“Third, consider paying higher or lower rates depending on industry categorizations. Creators posting about video games or luxury travel are generally more valuable to marketers than music or fashion. Similar pricing dynamics seen in search engine marketing also apply to influencer industry pricing.”

 

To help assess pricing, Tinysponsor has a free calculator here.

 

5. Stay Focused on Brand Safety.

 

Brand safety, the concept of using creators that won’t get your brand in trouble because of other content they have used, has been largely overlooked by many platforms, but is incredibly important for businesses.

 

“It is paramount for marketers to be fully aware of how aligned the creator is with the brands they work with,” Prasad said. “Fortunately, creators are generally consistent in their content. Businesses should be aware of both the nature and degree of their brand safety requirements, when sifting through the creators’ content for any problematic associations. For example, a food and beverage creator known for nightlife settings may be brand safe for an alcohol brand, but not be appropriate for a breakfast food product. Clothing companies should be aware of creators who may post risqué photos.”

 

Keeping an eye on this will keep your brand out of trouble and avoid “guilt by association.”

 

6. Ensure Your Campaign is Compliant with Regulations.

 

Governments and regulatory agencies consistently change guidance related to marketing, including influencers and other sponsored endorsements. Generally, creators must disclose clearly and explicitly any sponsorship relationships. As a business, you must ensure compliance, especially as the FTC will often penalize you as a sponsor first.

 

Make sure to stay abreast of guidelines and check to make sure your influencers have used appropriate disclosures.

 

Influencer marketing can provide a lot of bang for your buck and let you test campaigns on a small scale. Follow the advice above and get help from a relevant influencer marketplace or platform to see how influencers can help drive more awareness and sales for your small business.

 

Read next:

 

About Carol Roth

 

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Carol Roth is the creator of the Future File ® legacy planning system, “recovering” investment banker, billion-dollar dealmaker, investor, entrepreneur, national media personality and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett-produced technology competition show, America’s Greatest Makers and TV host and contributor, including host of Microsoft’s Office Small Business Academy. She is also an advisor to companies ranging from startups to major multi-national corporations and has an action figure made in her own likeness.

 

Web: www.CarolRoth.com or Twitter: @CarolJSRoth.

You can read more articles from Carol Roth by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Carol Roth to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Carol Roth is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Carol Roth. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Do you use Facebook and/or Instagram to market your real estate services? In this article, I’ll walk you through my top seven ideas for how you can promote your real estate business more effectively on social media.

 

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Whether local homeowners are looking to sell, or prospective buyers are searching for their ideal home, or other Realtors in your neighborhood want to check out your listings, your ideal audience should be able to easily find you via Facebook and/or Instagram. In fact, by amplifying your strategic use of the two largest social networks, you could find your business growing exponentially.

 

Following are my seven best tips to increase your visibility, reach, engagement and conversions.

 

1. Do Facebook live broadcasts

 

Facebook live videos get six times as many interactions as regular videos, on average. Facebook is really favoring live content, especially when you are also broadcasting via your Stories on your Facebook personal profile or your business Page.

 

     RELATED CONTENT: How to Identify Facebook Live Opportunities for Your Small Business

 

Of course, nothing can beat being physically in person with a potential buyer and taking them on a property tour. Or, of course, hosting an open house with prospects coming to visit the home.

 

However, streaming live really lends itself well to Realtors to at least spark interest. Think about doing virtual open houses in a ‘show’ format, on the same day and time each week, if feasible. Or, come up with a show name and provide interesting tours of your properties.

 

Live broadcasts help your audience get to know, like and trust you. When you do live virtual open houses on a regular basis, you’ll stand out in the news feed. Plus, make sure to encourage comments so you can follow up. See also tip No. 5 below for connecting a chatbot.

 

2. Go live on Instagram

 

Instagram boasts 1 billion monthly active users, and continues to grow at a rapid rate. The demographic also tends to be somewhat younger and more affluent than Facebook. Instagram is owned by Facebook, as you may know.

 

You access the live feature on Instagram through the camera app, where you’ll broadcast in the Stories section. You can go live for up to one hour. Stories has 400 million daily active users. This is a terrific captive audience as they are all proactively tapping in to the active Stories.

 

As Instagram is really favoring Stories and especially live broadcasts, your live video will get prominent positioning at the top of your followers’ feed.

 

Just like your Facebook Live broadcasts, use Instagram live to engage with your followers and to do virtual open houses. Again, encourage comments but especially direct messages so you can follow up.

 

     RELATED CONTENT:

 

3. Create short video content

 

Along with live video broadcasts, Facebook is really favoring all video content. More and more users are discovering video content through the Watch platform. If you publish video content on your Facebook Page – whether live broadcasts or uploaded native video – your video content can be surfaced on Facebook Watch. The Watch platform is accessible on desktop, mobile and the television set-top app.

 

Speaking of Watch, Facebook is launching a new property series called Most Incredible Homes. The five-part series consists of 12-minute weekly episodes that reveals stunning dream homes from around the world.

 

Consider how you could create short videos with a blend of stock assets and your own photos and video clips using an app such as Wave.video. Add some inspirational text overlay and a music track. This type of video tends to be highly shareable.

 

     RELATED CONTENT:

 

4. Publish stunning visuals

 

Real estate is ideal for creating eye-catching and thumb-stopping visuals in a variety of trendy formats such as 360 photos and videos, 3D photos, and drone video footage. From the simple panorama feature on your phone, you can capture images that Facebook will convert to 360 or 3D. Or, consider investing in a 360 camera and/or drone. I use the Ricoh Theta V 4k 360 Spherical Camera which you can find here. It’s super light and small, and takes terrific 360 photos and videos.

 

5. Use the right hashtags on Instagram

 

Hashtags may or may not make much difference to your posts on Facebook. But on Instagram, hashtags are an absolute must for reaching the right audience, growing your followers and even attracting leads. Each post can include up to 30 hashtags. Be sure to do your homework and research a variety of popular hashtags, but also use some that are less popular so you might have more chance of being discovered.

 

Refer to this helpful article by my friends at Adespresso.

 

6. Integrate a Messenger chatbot

 

This could be one of your easiest methods of lead generation. By encouraging prospects to message you via Facebook Messenger, you can begin an automated dialog and self-sorting process. You can gather your prospects’ phone number and/or email address and then follow up personally.

 

In addition to encouraging people to direct message you, you can also set up the chatbot so anyone that comments on your Facebook Page posts receives a message from you. This is why it’s important to encourage your audience to leave a comment on all your videos and live broadcasts and other types of posts.

 

Take a look at MobileMonkey for a free chatbot system for your Facebook Page.

 

     RELATED CONTENT: Facebook Messenger Chatbots Give Small Business Owners an Edge

 

7. Encourage reviews on Facebook

 

Facebook gives prominent positioning in the search results on desktop and mobile to businesses that have reviews. Especially when you have a good number of reviews. Be sure to follow up with all your past and current clients and direct them to your Facebook Page to give you a review. In fact, Facebook recently made a change that makes it even easier for people to simply one-click recommend your business. And then they can also leave a written review.

 

     RELATED CONTENT: How to Increase Authentic Business Reviews on Facebook

 

8. Participate in local Facebook groups

 

Search and join relevant, local groups to network with fellow professionals that are open to exchanging referrals. Also check out peer support groups. For example, my friend Dave Savage runs a thriving Mortgage Coach Productivity Mastermind Group that provides tremendous peer support to industry professionals.

 

     RELATED CONTENT: How to Use Facebook Groups to Build a Loyal Community

 

 

About Mari Smith

 

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Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

With the holiday season right around the corner, small business owners know it’s time to kick things up a notch. Especially with Black Friday and Cyber Monday only weeks away, this time of year is simply much too lucrative to do things halfway.

 

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Consider this: according to the National Retail Federation, the average American consumer plans on spends 4.1 percent more this year during holidays – and that is on top of the extra they spent last year.

 

People are getting ready to shop, and so we need to make it easy for them to do so at our businesses.

 

One way to do that is to get in on the Cyber Monday frenzy, which is the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday. That is the day Amazon and all other big online retailers pull out the stops.

 

For the small business owner, the “holiday” presents a golden opportunity.

 

It is kind of like this: Back in the day, my sweet dad owned a chain of carpet stores. His favorite place for a new location was across the street from a mall (like I said, this was in a different era!) Dad figured he could get the benefits of the mall traffic and buzz without having to pay the mall prices.

 

Cyber Monday is like that. There will be a lot of buzz, and with a little preparation, some of it should lead people to your online hive.

 

Here’s what to do:

 

Step 1. Prepare your loss leader:

 

The Internet generally, and Cyber Monday specifically, is about discounts. That’s the game. If you want to compete on Cyber Monday, you have to play by those rules, and that means offering something or some things at a greatly discounted price. In the world of business, this has traditionally been called a “loss leader.”

 

Essentially, a loss leader attracts customers to your business by offering them steep discounts on particularly popular items. As such, it is a strategy that involves selling goods or services at, or close to, a loss. Often, the sales price won’t even cover the costs of the product, what with advertising, overhead, cost of the goods, etc. You take a loss on the sale, hence the name, “loss leader.”

 

But the thing is, by offering a fantastic bargain on a specific item (or items), you lead customers to your website, with the intent of having them buy, not only the bargain, but other things from you that are not as deeply discounted. It is when they buy those other things from you that you make up for the loss you are taking on the sale item.

 

Step 2. Give your site a makeover:

 

Updating your website is part of why sufficient preparation time is necessary. You need to create specific web pages for the loss leaders (as that is critical to both good SEO and sales), and you must highlight the sale on your homepage.

 

Step 3. Make the most of your e-newsletter:

 

Take advantage of the fact that you have an opt-in list of people who have already given you permission to market to them. Begin to tease the sale now and get people ready for the big day. Be a player. (That said, what you cannot do is bombard inboxes with promotions as that will only lead to an influx of unsubscribe requests.)

 

Step 4. Advertise and market the heck out of the upcoming sale:

 

There is going to be a lot of noise in the next few weeks, what with everyone competing for eyeballs. Simply put, and frankly, getting noticed above the din will not be easy. But the good news is that you have a list and a name and a brand and a clientele that is all yours. Market to that.

 

Step 5. Sell and deliver:

 

Be ready on Cyber Monday, have enough inventory, have any customer service tools you use at the ready, and sell, sell, sell. Aside from the loss leader and related items  consider selling gift cards. Why? Because gift cards are the most popular gift in America. Because about 6 out of 10 people prefer to receive gift cards as gifts, it would behoove you to also advertise and offer them.

 

Finally, the next day, on Tuesday, begin to fulfill your orders. Remember – that is also the beginning of the busy shipping season, so be prepared for that as well.

 

Read next:

 

About Steve Strauss

 

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Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss.

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

Black Friday is always crazy—both for consumers and retailers—and this year promises to be even wilder than usual. According to a survey by Natural Insight, 20% of consumers plan to do most of their holiday shopping on Black Friday, up from 15% last year. Whether you own a brick-and-mortar store, an e-commerce site or both, advance preparation is vital. Follow these “12 steps to Black Friday success” to ensure you’re ready. 

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1. Review last year’s data. What kinds of products were hot sellers? What times of day were busiest? What marketing and advertising campaigns worked best? How well did you manage inventory?

 

2. Research. What’s trending in your industry? What “must-have” products are your customers clamoring for? Combining your research and sales projections with last year’s figures will enable you to make educated estimates this year.

 

3. Determine what products to promote. Focusing on those that are hard to find or unique to your store will help you attract more customers.

 

4. Staff up. Make sure you’re adequately staffed during the times of day you expect the most customers. If you’re hiring seasonal workers, get moving: The National Retail Federation projects retailers will hire between 585,000 and 650,000 temporary workers this year, and competition is stiff.

 

 

5. Prepare your people. You’ll need time to train those temps—and your regular salespeople—to provide stellar service. Your staff’s product knowledge, helpfulness and demeanor can make or break the sale at holiday time.

 

6. Test your tech.

    1. If you sell online, run a speed test to make sure your site loads quickly and a stress test to ensure it can handle at least double your normal traffic.
    2. Secure your website against cyberattacks and build customer trust by using trust seals from your SSL certificate provider to indicate site security.
    3. Test your website navigation and checkout processes for ease of use on both desktop and mobile devices: Holiday shopping will be more mobile-driven this year, eMarketer Retail predicts.
    4. Make sure your in-store point-of-sale system is running smoothly and accepts multiple forms of payment. Younger consumers are embracing mobile payment solutions. 

 

7. Embrace holiday décor. Enjoying holiday decorations is one of the top reasons consumers shop in-store instead of online, according to Natural Insight. Create a festive atmosphere with holiday décor, music and scents. Get creative with color: Bold, icy shades of pink, purple and green will be cool alternatives to plain old red, white and green this year, says Frontier Label.

 

8. Check your local directory listings. If you own a brick-and-mortar store, make sure the information in your local search listings (such as Google My Business and Yelp) is current and complete; if you have special holiday hours, add them.

 

 

9. Review your reviews. Do you have enough recent online reviews to convince new customers to shop at your store? If not, start a campaign to encourage reviews from satisfied customers.

 

 

10. Plan your inventory. Inventory management software can help you find the perfect balance between too much inventory (that goes unsold) and too little inventory (that disappoints customers).

 

11. Create your marketing calendar. Build excitement around Black Friday by starting your holiday marketing campaign early. (More than one-fourth of consumers start shopping before Thanksgiving, so it’s not too early to start promoting.) Plan your email marketing messages and cadence, creating different promotions for loyal customers and for new ones. Push to get more email signups before Black Friday.

 

12. Think social. Social media will have a huge influence on holiday sales this year, according to eMarketer, and it’s where SMBs will concentrate most of their ad spending this year, says Reveal Mobile. Plan now for special holiday-themed social media content, contests and promotions. Look for photogenic, fun and unique ideas to encourage social media sharing. You can even start selling products straight from Facebook with the Storefront Social app.

 

By following these steps, you’ll be well-prepared to succeed not just on Black Friday, but during the rest of the holiday shopping season, too.

 

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

by Mari Smith

 

With the recent security attack on millions of Facebook accounts, it’s vital that you tighten up your own account security if you haven’t already. Facebook offers a variety of settings to help protect your account from potential risks.

 

In this video guide, I walk you through the specific recommended settings you should review on a regular basis to ensure the maximize security of your Facebook account to protect your personal information and your business information.

 

If access to your Facebook account was compromised, you can imagine the ramifications could be detrimental. That is, both from a personal reputation standpoint and possibly from a business standpoint. It behooves you to very carefully protect your Facebook login and account security so you maintain control.

 

Navigate to Settings, then Security and Login. Then go through the various settings, specifically:

 

  • Change your password
  • Set up two-factor authentication. If you prefer not to submit your mobile phone number, you can use an Authentication app. Follow the on screen instructions. You can even add a backup option such as a Security Key and/or Recovery Codes.
  • Choose three to five friends to add as your trusted contacts
  • Review your authorized logins
  • Set up alerts

 

Also, review the Apps and Websites section and Business Integrations sections to ensure you’re happy with any and all authorizations there. Many apps you use for your business page will need to remain connected to your Facebook account. For example, I use the live streaming apps BeLive.tv and BlueJeans on a regular basis so they stay connected.

 

All these settings mentioned above can be accessed via desktop or mobile.

 

Always keep in mind that you should never share any highly sensitive information through Facebook such as your social security number, bank information, mother’s maiden name, or even your full birthdate or home address.

 

As a best practice, regularly review your Facebook security and login settings along with your privacy settings and authorized apps. This should help give you peace of mind as you go about using Facebook for both personal and business purposes.

 

 

Transcript

Mari Smith:         Hello there. It's Mari Smith here, Premiere Facebook Marketing Expert. Coming to you in the Bank of America Small Business Community. I want to make sure that you know exactly where to find the settings to secure your Facebook account. You do have control over numerous settings, and we want to make sure that nobody ever has access to your account if you can possibly help it. There's been some challenges lately with some Facebook security breaches, and in this video I'm going to walk you through where to find those settings on desktop and on mobile. Very, very important that you take control of those settings.

Mari Smith:         How to Secure Your Facebook Account, An Important Guide for Users and Businesses. Because, we're all users here, and we're all businesses as well. I'm going to walk you through it in a moment, I'll just show you on this slide. Security and login. Set up your two factor authentication. Consider changing your password if you haven't changed it in a while. Review authorized logins, and set up alerts about unrecognized logins. I really like that one. It's going to text you a message if you've ever got unauthorized login.

Mari Smith:         In those separate settings we're going to look at reviewing apps and websites that are currently logged in with Facebook. Then the final one, reviewing any business integrations.

Mari Smith:         All right, so hop over first to desktop, and on your profile or anywhere as long as you've got the blue bar, it doesn't matter where you're looking. It could be on your homepage, but what we're mainly going to look for is this little blue triangle at the top. Click that, and look at settings. You probably know that already, but here's how you get to your settings, and up in the top left we want to tap on security and login.

Thumb.jpgMari Smith:         Basically just working our way from top to bottom, if you want to, you can set up three to five friends to help you if you get locked out of your account. "Recommend to everyone," says Facebook. Then you can look at where you're logged in right now. If you see, you can see expand that. If you see any strange devices or locations that you should not be logged in as, you want to go ahead and you can either log out of all sessions, or you can tap the little three dots and say logout. Or, if it's not you, you want to let Facebook know that. For the most part you should be fine there with your devices, but definitely want to check that.

Mari Smith:         Here's where you change your password. If you have not changed your password in, I would say six months, or certainly a year. If it's been a year since you changed your password, well, well time for you to change it. Now, ideally super cryptic. I always say to people if you can remember your password, it is not cryptic enough. Clicking on edit in here, it will ask you to put your ... A little jumpy on me there. Current password, and then a new one. If you ... It's funny, if you forgot your password, you wouldn't be logged in.

Mari Smith:         You can also set this one up, which is login with your profile picture. You can do that on some devices. But, this is the main one right here that I want to make sure that you have, is logging in with two factor authentication. You set that up with a code from your phone. I think that's really one of the most secure ways to make sure you set your Facebook account. Then, I also want you to look at who right now is authorized logins. Again, same idea. You want to check all these. Oh my goodness, we've got a lot there. A lot there that I need to actually review myself. Those are all my iPad, or my Mac Book, or old phones. You probably want to actually un-log, log those out, okay? I can see I've got homework here to do too.

Mari Smith:         You could use app passwords if you want to. That's something that only works on some apps. You can use specific passwords instead of using your Facebook password to login. That's something you can check in on that. Here's one I mentioned that's really important, I recommend you have that on. You're getting alerts if there's any unrecognized login ever. Facebook will actually let you know by text message if someone's trying to login from a browser, or a device that you don't use. That's another layer of security. There they are reiterating the three to five friends down here, okay? That's it for now, you don't need anything else on that page.

Mari Smith:         Then over here I recommended two more settings. You've got apps and websites. Click on that. This is just going to let you know, way back earlier in 2018 here, Facebook really cleaned all this up, made it much easier for us to navigate. You should find that any, any apps in here are ones that you actually use, and you're happy for them to have access, and be logged in. If you haven't used them in about 30 days, Facebook will go ahead and expire them for you. It even keeps a list of the removed ones for you. You want to just keep an eye on that regular basis. Maybe once a quarter or so, come in here and go ahead and let's say, "Okay I no longer want Airbnb." I just check that, and I can hit remove, okay?

Mari Smith:         Then the third area to check is business integrations. This is similar to the apps and websites, but integrations with Facebook so that it can post on your behalf, things like that. Here's BeLive, I go live regularly on my page, and I use BeLive, different apps like that. Lots of different apps in here. Mobile Monkeys, my Chat Bot app that I use, Agora Pulse is the app that I use for community management. Lots of different apps in here that you just, you have to have them if you want to be able to operate on Facebook as a business for sure.

Mari Smith:         But, I want to make you aware of where to find those settings so that you can just keep a better eye on things, and make sure that you have full control. Then, let me bring up my phone because I want to show you, maybe you're doing everything by mobile and you're the type of person that just prefers mobile, and that's fine. You can go and pull up your Facebook. Similarly, it's the three little bars at the very bottom right. Tap on that. Scroll down until you get to settings right here. Tap that. Then you'll see, very similar to desktop, here is security and login. Tap that. Similarly, there's your login, there's your two factor authentication, extra security and so on. There are different settings in there. Then these ones right here, apps and websites. Then business integration, so you can do everything from your mobile device very, very easily.

Mari Smith:         Okay, hopefully that is helpful for you because sometimes it's just not obvious where to find these different settings, and what buttons mean when you press on them. But, hopefully you've gotten some value there. Make sure you go and review your security settings on your Facebook account. If you have any questions at all, reach out. I'd be to happy to help. Bye for now.

Are you among the 91 percent of marketers ignoring a massive consumer demographic with trillions of dollars to spend? Unless you’re marketing to baby boomer women, the answer is yes.

 

Baby boomer women (currently aged between 54 and 72), account for more than half of the 78 million baby boomers. The net worth of women aged 50+ is $19 trillion. They’re also poised to inherit even more money from their parents: Boomer women are projected to control two-thirds of all consumer wealth over the next decade.

 

Here’s what boomer women are doing, what they want and how to reach them.

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Embracing technology

 

Tech adoption rates among boomers have soared in recent years. Nearly seven in 10 boomers own smartphones, 52 percent own tablets, and 57 percent use social media. A whopping 94 percent of boomer women shop online.

 

Life transitions

 

Some boomer women are still in the “sandwich generation,” caring for both children and aging parents. Convenience is paramount for this demographic, especially if they work outside the home, and they’ll spend more for products and services that save them precious time.

Other boomer women, with adult children finally out of the nest, have more time and financial resources to devote to themselves. Still others are single for the first time in decades: The divorce rate among adults age 50+has doubled since 1995.

 

Hot products and services for boomer women

 

  • Travel: Regardless of where they go, whom they’re going with, or who’s paying, women make 80 percent of all travel decisions. They’re also more likely to travel solo than men. Consider offering women-only tours where solo female travelers can make new friends; “girlfriend” travel packages for women traveling with friends or daughters; or couples’ packages for empty-nesters revitalizing their relationships.

 

  • Fashion: Nearly seven in 10 boomer women believe the fashion industry ignores them; 82 percent say apparel for women their age is too old-fashioned. Take a cue from the profitability of plus-sized clothing: If you can take the physical changes of age into account and sell clothing that’s good-quality, flattering and current, you’ve got a ready market.

 

  • Health and fitness: Boomer women want to stay active and fit, but they’re not up for hard-core boot camps. Instead, try personal training and low-impact fitness regimens like Pilates, barre and yoga.

 

  • Financial planning: Boomer women need expert guidance for managing they money they control; divorcees need help navigating a new financial reality. Financial planners that cater to women instead of assuming men control the finances will find success.

 

                    Read more: Women and Financial Wellness: Beyond the Bottom Line

 

  • Adult education: Whether finally indulging a passion for watercolor painting, learning Italian or prepping for a late-life career change, boomer women are eager to learn new skills and rediscover old hobbies.

 

Marketing do’s and don’ts

 

Try these tips to market to boomer women.

 

  • Keep it real. Most ads portray boomers either as frail seniors who can’t work a cell phone, or uber-fit triathletes. Avoid these extremes and use realistic images of boomer women in your advertising.
  • When choosing images, keep in mind boomers tend to see themselves as 10 years younger than they are—but not 20 or 30 years younger. Avoid teenagers and 20-somethings as models.
  • Use imagery of boomer women
  • Target peers. Boomer women get their beauty information from friends and family, consumer reviews, and lifestyle and beauty blogs. Use social media and online review sites to spread word-of-mouth about your business.
  • Understand how women buy. According to Marti Barletta, an expert in marketing to women, women tend to have a longer sales cycle and ask more questions about products and services. Provide plenty of details and be patient. Check out more articles about marketing.

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

What’s the most effective kind of marketing email you can send? According to Optimove research on more than 1 million email campaigns, birthday emails get the highest response rate compared to other customer communications.

 

“Whether the consumers received coupons, free delivery, a gift or any other incentive as a part of their birthday campaign, they all turned out to be highly effective,” Optimove reports.

 

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One reason birthday emails may be so effective is because customers who receive them have already purchased from the business. According to a report by Belly, 58 percent of people willopen emails from companies they’ve purchased from previously. Since the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent, the added incentive of a birthday offer can easily tip the scales.

 

Of course, birthdays only come once a year — and you’d like your customers to buy from you more often. What other email tactics can you use to turn new customers into repeat customers, and keep your loyal customers coming back? Here are 7 email marketing ideas to build customer loyalty.

 

1. Make them feel welcome. When a customer signs up for emails, send a welcome email thanking them for signing up and helping them get the most from your business. For example, if you have an e-commerce business, your welcome email could tell customers to check out the “flash sale” section of your site where new products go on sale every Friday at noon.

 

     Related Content: The Importance of Timing Your Promotions

 

2. Go beyond birthdays. How about sending emails on your customers’ anniversaries (either their own wedding anniversaries or the day they began doing business with you)? Or build loyalty with offers on relevant holidays. For example, a Pilates studio could send customers emails in April encouraging them to get in shape for summer with a special “unlimited visits” offer in May.

 

3. Send relevant emails. Some 86 percent of consumers say email personalization plays a role in their purchasing decisions. Segment email subscribers based on factors such as previous purchases, pages they visited on your website, how frequently or recently they buy from you. The more targeted your emails, the more effective they’ll be. (After all, you want customers to stay “loyal” to your email list, too.)

 

4. Integrate email with direct mail. Using both channels can result in a 35 percent lift in sales compared to using just one or the other. Try using direct mail to emphasize a marketing message, surprise the customer, or deliver a special offer (like that birthday greeting). Make sure your direct mail piece reflects the same branding, look and feel as your email messages.

 

5. Ask their opinions. Don’t overload customers with a survey every time they make a purchase. Do periodically email targeted surveys to your best customers. Because they have a vested interest in your business, they’re more likely to respond. Let them know they’re receiving this survey because you value their opinion as loyal customers. You can also offer a reward for completing the survey, such as loyalty points or a discount on their next purchase.

 

     Related Content: 9 Ways to Discover What Your Customers Really Think of Your Business

 

6. Treat them like VIPs. Does it bother you when a company you patronize regularly offers special deals … but only for first-time customers? Don’t neglect your loyal customers when it comes to special treatment. Offering early access to a sale or to new products or services will inspire many recipients to open and act on your email.

 

     Related Content: The Small Business Guide to Customer Loyalty Programs

 

7. Keep them engaged in your loyalty program. If you have a customer loyalty program, use email to communicate with members about their status in the program, any special offers or events for members, or upcoming expiration dates for their points or rewards. Feature products you know they’ll be interested in or rewards that they have enough points to redeem.

 

Crafting emails for your loyal customers as carefully as you do for your new ones, helps you maintain their loyal fan status.

 

      Related Content: The Surprising Impact of Email Marketing and how to Maximize its Effect

 

About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

Facebook can be incredibly powerful for local businesses to attract a very specific demographic. In some ways, local businesses may find Facebook marketing easier to yield solid measurable results vs. global businesses, given they are only looking to attract a specific local market.

However, oftentimes, local business owners are so busy running their businesses they may feel they don’t have time to use Facebook regularly. The good news is there aremany simple and effective ways you can optimize your presence on Facebook that don’t take a ton of time or budget.

 

Let’s look at a variety of Facebook marketing best practices for local businesses, exemplified by several fabulous examples.

 

Dundee’s Restaurant On The Waterfront – Cairns, Australia

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Dundee’s is a local restaurant in Cairns, Queensland, Australia and is a client of my longtime Inner Circle member, Lisa

Monks of Chipmonk Media.

 

Dundee’s embodies many excellent Facebook marketing best practices.

 

Publish a variety of visually compelling posts

 

With a glorious location on the waterfront and a scrumptious seafood menu, Dundee’s has amazing features to showcase on Facebook in visual format.

 

Dundee’s shares regular videos of the restaurant inside and out, and the spectacular waterfront view. You really get a feel for the venue from the video posts.

 

In addition, you can find an abundance of photos and slideshows of Dundee’s yummy dishes.

 

Our friends at Buzzsumo analyzed 100 million Facebook videos last year and the most popular video topic by a large margin is food.

 

Garner plenty of reviews

 

It’s very important for local businesses, especially restaurants, to showcase reviews. Everyone wants to know what peers thought of the food, experience, service, ambience, location, etc.

 

Dundee’s has a 4.5 of 5-star rating out of 422 reviews. In addition, Dundee’s added a tab to their Facebook page with TripAdvisor Reviews where we can see well over 2,000 reviews with very high ratings.

 

Refer to this post and Facebook Live training for ideas on how to increase authentic business reviews on Facebook.

 

Run fun and relevant contests for lead generation

Dundee’s encourages fans to enter a contest to win a $100 dinner voucher by simply sharing their favorite Dundee’s dish, or choosing a dish from the menu that they would like to try. The strategy here is to get the audience talking about their favorite meals so others can get a sense of the amazing menu.

 

In addition, the contest is hooked up to a Messenger chatbot which helps Dundee’s to grow their Messenger subscription list.

 

Whereas email open rates are around 20 percent on average, Messenger open rates are as high as 90 percent. Ideally, businesses include both email marketing and Messenger chatbot marketing in their mix.

 

Additional best practices to point out on Dundee’s Facebook page include a gorgeous cover image, profile photo and Our Story photo. These are three prime pieces of visual real estate on your Facebook Page and a picture says a thousand words. You can also put a cover video instead of a photo. In this case, Dundee’s chose a striking image that embodies the ambience and view.

 

Becca Rose Mystic – Mystic, Conn

 

Becky Mashuta owns the Becca Rose cosmetic store in Mystic, Conn. She is a client of my longtime Inner Circle member, Molly Mahoney, The Prepared Performer, who helps refine and implement her marketing strategies.

 

What can we learn from the Becca Rose Mystic page?

 

Publish regular video content and Facebook Live broadcasts

 

Becky shares fun Facebook Live broadcasts from her phone in vertical (portrait) format for personable updates, with fun masks and filters. Plus, she does desktop Facebook Live broadcasts using the BeLive.tv app to share behind the scenes, live gemstone sales, free Tarot card readings and more.

 

Integrate a Messenger chatbot app

 

The Becca Rose Mystic page hooked up an interactive chatbot that helps customers and prospects engage and discover more about the store. Additionally, on Becky’s Facebook Live broadcasts, she uses a keyword comment trigger to do free giveaways via the Messenger chatbot. This is a superb method for lead generation. Fans simply comment on the Live video with the appropriate keyword, and the chatbot automatically delivers the giveaway.

 

In this post, I talk about my favorite Messenger chatbot platform, Mobile Monkey.

 

Place Facebook ads

 

Becca Rose Mystic is also a savvy marketer that integrates paid promotions on Facebook. For instance, this simple comment trigger photo post ad invites the target audience to receive a free tarot message.

 

Placing Facebook ads with either a Messenger call to action or a comment trigger is an excellent way to begin 1:1 conversations with your audience.

 

Play City – Chula Vista, Calif

 

Play City is a fun indoor inflatable playground for kids ages 1-12, based in Chula Vista, Calif. My longtime Inner Circle member, Alita Mighela, is the marketing manager at Play City and is extremely passionate about her work.

 

Showcase your venue with a Facebook cover video

 

First impressions count and you want your page visitors to immediately get an impression of what your business is all about. Play City has a vibrant video depicting the epic fun kids can have at this venue.

 

Play City also makes regular use of video content, including Live broadcasts. Videos feature the daily buzzing atmosphere at Play City, kids doing their favorite dance moves, and Alita sharing fun behind-the-scenes peeks.

 

Use the Facebook Events feature

 

Play City makes regular use of the Events feature. A little-known secret about using the Facebook Events feature is that your event also shows up in Facebook’s newly revamped mobile app, Local. Local is one of my favorite Facebook apps; it’s super easy to use and has a comprehensive range of search features making it very easy to find all manner of activities to do in your local area.

 

Use Facebook’s Shop feature

 

Play City also makes use of the Shop feature on their Facebook page with simple admission tickets, membership and gift cards. Fans can easily purchase online on desktop or mobile. The images for each item are colorful and eye-catching.

 

Willowglen Garden Centre - Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

 

The owner of this lovely garden center is a client of my Inner Circle member, Diane Murray of Orbit Agency Ltd.

 

Willowglen Garden Centre owner, Richard Robinson, is a third-generation gardener and Diane tells me he would openly admit that before he set up his Facebook business page, he was terrified of social media and putting his business 'out there.'

 

Now, Richard has become quite the whiz at getting on camera and chatting with his fans in such a personable way, showcasing all the lovely offerings of his garden center.

 

Over a short period of time (around 15 months), Willowglen has managed to gain quite a following, reach a wide audience and has seen a significant increase in footfall and sales.

 

Just like Dundee’s Restaurant with their compelling food photos, a garden center lends itself perfectly to visual content. Willowglen’s Facebook wall beautifully showcases their range of flowers, plants, garden tools, pet products and more. Plus, Willowglen runs regular contests with fun prizes that helps spark engagement. This dog talent show contest is a great example with hundreds of shares and comments.

 

Facebook offers small, local businesses such a variety of great ways to not only showcase your products and services but, more importantly, to connect with your audience. Make your business more personal and inviting through engaging video and photo content, contests, and Messenger chat conversations. Amplify your efforts with boosted posts. And you’ll be well on your way to achieving greater success with Facebook, too.

 

About Mari Smith

 

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Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and

socialmedia. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day.

Forbesrecently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

It’s always easier to sell your products and services to people who know you than to those who don’t. More important, one of the better ways to increase your client base is to restart the sales conversation with prospects that have been through your sales process before.

I know what you’re thinking: “But what if they said, ‘I’m not interested in doing business with your company?'” That’s a fair question but the wrong one to ask. Better questionsare:

      1. How do I get past prospects interested in doing business with my company?
      2. Has anything changed from our original interaction?

 

Answering those two questions will dictate whether it makes sense to pursue past prospects. We recently helped a small business owner improve their sales process and increase sales by turning their past prospects into clients.

These are the 3 steps to turn past prospects into future clients.

 

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1. Identify why the prospect came to your business originally

Why did the prospect originally call or email your business? People spend money for products and services to solve a problem they have or to get a desired result. Companies that can clearly identify the true need of their clients can easily create predictable revenue. Knowing why your prospects came to you will help with identifying how to approach them again. There was something about your business, solution or messaging that led them to believe you could help them.

 

2. Ask the hard questions

 

Ask yourself and your customer difficult questions. For example, why did your prospect choose another company? Have they found the solution they wanted? What does their ideal situation look like?

 

If you know why people spend money, you can ask the hard questions to solve their problems. Asking prospects important hard questions is uncomfortable but necessary. Your prospects will appreciate your honesty and they will respect your professionalism for sincerely trying to help their business.

3. You need to ‘Follow up’


They say that there’s riches in niches. I say, “There is financial freedom to follow up!” How many times have you wanted to buy something and added time to the equation because you were unsure of the decision to buy? You ask yourself questions like, “Is this product or service good for me or my business?”, “Am I paying too much money?”, “Will this solution work for me because the previous company let me down?” Prospects think the same thing.

 

Following up with your current and past prospects allows you to restart the conversation, answer questions and position yourself as the expert.

So, how should you follow up?

 

Create a sales cadence on following up with them. In other words, how much do you contact them and in what manner? That can be via emails, phone calls, direct mail or a combination of all three. How impressed would you be if a company constantly reached out to you in different ways answering your questions and addressing your needs before you ask them? How many times have you heard of someone who needed your services but forgot you were the expert so they googled someone else?

 

The goal is to be top of mind for your prospects. You want to be the first person they think about when they think of your industry. If people know you, they can buy from you. Your past prospects already know who you are and they came to you for a reason…so remind them how awesome you are at what you do!

 

 

Read next:

Understanding the Sales Cycle: The Top 5 Tips for Prospecting and Closing Sales

5 Tips for How Not to Feel Salesy When Selling

The Five Best Customer Relationship Management Tools to Increase Sales

 

About Ebong Eka

 

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Ebong Eka is no stranger to the world of personal finance. As a certified public accountant and former professional basketball player he offers a

fresh perspective to small business planning and executing. With over fifteen years of accounting, tax & small business experience with firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte & Touche and CohnReznick, Ebong provides practical money solutions tailored to the everyday person, the aspiring entrepreneur or the small business owner.

 

Ebong is the founder of EKAnomics, a sales, pricing and leadership firm. He is also the founder of Ericorp Consulting, Inc., a tax andmanagement consulting firm. Ebong is the author of “Start Me Up! The-No-Business-Plan, Business Plan.

 

Ebong is also the founder of The $250 Tax Pro, which provides tax preparation and consulting services in the Washington, DC area.

 

Web: www.ebongeka.com or Twitter: @EbongEka.

You can read more articles from Ebong Eka by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Ebong Eka to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Ebong Eka is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Ebong Eka. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

Who are “Affluencers” and why should small business owners care? The most recent Ipsos Affluent Survey has identified a subgroup of affluent consumers who have outsized influence on others’ purchasing decisions.

 

Dubbed Affluencers (a combination of affluent and influencer), these consumers have huge potential to positively affect how others perceive your brand.

 

Let’s learn who the Affluencers are, what purchases they influence, and how a small business can influence them.

 

Who are the Affluencers?

  • Ipsos defines “affluent” consumers as adults with $125,000+ in annual household income (the top 16 percent of American households).

  • The median age of affluents is 46 and their median household income is $178,200.

  • A whopping 71 percent of affluent consumers are Affluencers.

  • Younger people are more likely to be affluencers: 81 percent of millennial affluents, 70 percent of Generation X affluents, 64 percent of baby boomer affluents and 57 percent of senior affluents are Affluencers.

  • The face of affluent consumers is increasingly diverse. More than one-fourth of affluents are nonwhite; 17 percent speak another language at home; and 6 percent identify as LGBT.

 

What do Affluencers influence?

Affluent consumers have long driven trends in luxury and high-end products, but the influence of Affluencers goes beyond luxury to be felt in nearly every category. They spend more than non-affluent consumers and affluent consumers impact the following areas:

  • Alcoholic beverages

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  • Art and collectibles
  • Vehicles
  • Boating
  • Children's apparel/accessories
  • Computers, electronics and home entertainment
  • Home decorating/remodeling
  • Leisure/entertainment/dining out
  • Men's apparel and accessories
  • Insurance
  • Personal care and wellness
  • Skincare, cosmetics and fragrance
  • Sports/athletic equipment
  • Travel
  • Watches and jewelry
  • Women's apparel and accessories

 

Why are Affluencers so influential?

Affluencers wield influence because:

  • They make a disproportionate amount of purchases.
  • They’re trendsetters. Affluencers are early adopters of everything, from technology and fitness trends to restaurants and obscure travel destinations.
  • They’re a source of advice for friends and family considering purchases. Nearly all Affluencers (97) say people “often” ask them for purchasing advice, and half influence others’ shopping and purchasing behavior in five or more categories.

 

How can you influence the Affluencers?

Affluencers are a powerful target market for businesses to leverage, Ipsos notes. Seven in 10 U.S. marketers say influencer marketing budgets will increase in 2018, and 89 percent of survey respondents believe influencer marketing can positively impact how people feel about a brand.

 

Influencer marketing pays off. On average, businesses generate $6.50 in revenue for each $1 spent on influencer marketing, Business2Community reports.

So how can you reach Affluencers? Think media. The average Affluencer consumes far more media than non-affluents or affluents—their readership of both print and digital publications increased over 9 percent from the prior survey.

 

What’s surprising is the strong reach of traditional media for the Affluencers. TV is their No. 1 media source, followed by the web, mobile apps, printed magazines/newspapers, social media, traditional radio, digital magazines/newspapers, and podcasts. For comparison, 97 percent watch TV, 77percent listen to radio, 72 percent use social media, 48 percent read digital editions and 15 percent listen to podcasts.

 

In addition, 26 percent of Affluencers “like” brands/products on social media, primarily because:

  • It’s something they want to buy soon or already use
  • It’s something they want updates/information about

 

Tips to influence the Affluencers:

  • Reach out to Affluencers via the media they prefer. This will differ based on what you’re selling and your target Affluencer niche (technology vs. travel, boomers vs. millennials).
  • Share useful information that helps them assess a possible purchase. Affluencers do a lot of research before buying.
  • Appeal to their desires to be “the first” to have the coolest, newest thing.
  • Once they’ve purchased from you, maintain an ongoing relationship and collect as much data as you can.
  • Harness their power as referral sources to get new customers.
  • Enlist them to help promote your brand with online reviews or social media mentions.

 

Want to dig deeper into data on the Affluencers? Check out the full presentation.

 

Related Content: The Dos and Don’ts of Connecting with Influencers Online

 

About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

Summer is the season for family vacations, backyard barbecues and days at the beach. For a small business, it can also be a profitable season. With summer underway, how is your business doing at capturing customers’ summer dollars? Here are some creative midsummer marketing ideas to boost your business’s sales.

 

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  • On a scorching hot day, attract passersby into your business by promoting your air conditioning. Put up a sign saying, “Come in and cool off!”
  • Give away ice-cold lemonade or bottled water outside your business, along with a coupon for 10

 

Get Outdoors

  • Have a company picnic for your customers at a local park, lake or beach.
  • Put up a tent in the parking lot; grill hot dogs and hamburgers and scoop ice cream for customers.
  • Have employees wear sandwich boards, twirl signs or hand out coupons on busy street corners.

 

Hit the Road

  • Choose a tradeshow or conference relevant to your business. Make it a mini-vacation by building in a bit of sightseeing before or after the event.
  • Take a road trip to visit key clients. Many B2B companies’ schedules slow down in the summer, so your customers will be less frazzled and your meetings more productive.

 

Team Up

  • Get together with your Chamber of Commerce or other local business owners to plan a sidewalk sale you can all participate in. Put tables outside the stores selling small items, and keep your door open to attract customers inside.
  • Put together a monthly “First Fridays” or “Second Saturdays” event featuring musicians, face painting, and refreshments in your business district to attract customers one evening a month.

 

Join the Crowd

  • Find a local community event your target customers attend, like a fun run, classic car show or music festival. Sell products at a booth there or give away free samples, along with a coupon to get recipients into your business later.
  • If you don’t have the bandwidth to have a physical presence at the event, become a sponsor to get your businesses’ name in front of the crowds.
  • Farmers markets are especially popular in the summertime, and can be a great place to sell products or promote your services to locals.

 

Be a Good Sport

  • Take your best customers out to a baseball game, surf competition, volleyball tournament or whatever summer sport is hot in your area.
  • Put on a golf or tennis tournament for clients at the local links or country club.

 

Get Social

  • Get customers to engage with your business on social media. Have employees share their vacation photos and ask customers to do the same.
  • Give away company T-shirts or baseball caps with your logo and offer a prize for the customer who posts a picture of them wearing it in the most exotic vacation locale.
  • Hold a contest or drawing to give away summer-related products or services, like beach toys from your toy store or a summer spruce up at your hair salon.

 

Share Summer Content

  • Summer-ize your content marketing with seasonal information relevant to your customers. That could be serious stuff like pool safety tips for children, or fun stuff like 10 top nail polish colors for summer pedicures.

 

Heat Up Your Promo Products

  • Invest in fun summer promotional products, like beach towels, sunglasses, Koozies®, coolers or beach balls.
  • At an outdoor event, give away promo products to cool customers down, like fans, visors or spray bottles with your logo.

 

Help Customers Enjoy the Summer

  • If you own a service business, put together packages that help your customers get the most out of summer. An auto repair shop could offer a “pre-road trip inspection” special to get cars vacation-ready. A yoga studio could hold special “Mommy and me” classes.

 

Summer is short. Don’t waste your chance to make the most of this special season.

 

Related Content:

8 Stops to Prepare Your Business for Summer Tourists

5 Simple Steps for Giving Your Team Time Off This Summer

Top Hacks to Make your Store Profit from Summer Tourists

 

About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

Facebook-owned Instagram launched Stories in August 2016 as a direct copy of an already popular Snapchat feature. Today, Instagram Stories has 300 million daily active users. As a result, Snapchat growth slowed 82 percent.)

 

But what, exactly, is a "Story?" And are there benefits for business use?

 

Stories Demystified

 

A Story is a piece of micro-content that disappears after 24 hours.

 

73658149_s.jpg

Stories can be photos/images, recorded videos, text with a colorful background, live video or 'boomerangs' (short, looping video content like an animated GIF).

 

Photos or videos can be uploaded from your camera roll, or you can record within the app. You can add effects, filters, stickers, text, interactive polls, animated GIFs and all manner of fun stuff to your Stories.

 

You can also add a clickable hashtag, @ mentions and locations to your Stories. This all helps with gaining extra visibility. Both hashtags and locations have Story feeds users can follow.

 

In 2017, Facebook also introduced the Story feature to both Messenger and the main Facebook app after Stories had already gained quite a foothold on Instagram.

 

“The way people share and connect is changing; it’s quickly becoming more real-time and visual.” ~Facebook [Source: TechCrunch]

 

Should you include Stories in your marketing mix?

 

The short answer is a resounding yes! For several reasons, to name a few:

 

  1. Micro-content is extremely easy to create.
  2. Both Instagram and Facebook position the Stories feature at the very top of their respective mobile apps. This provides tremendous visibility for your followers. Stories on Facebook are also very easy to create on desktop and are visible on desktop.
  3. People have very short attention spans these days and Stories are incredibly easy and fun to consume.
  4. For Instagram business accounts with over 10,000 followers and/or verified accounts, you can also add a URL to your Stories where your followers swipe up to go to your designated web page. (Now, with the launch of Instagram’s IGTV, you can choose to direct your followers to one of your IGTV videos or an external URL).
  5. Stories are growing 15X faster than feed sharing.
  6. Instagram boasts over 300 million daily active users and Facebook has over 150 million DAU’s.

 

“The Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year.” ~Chris Cox, Facebook Chief Product Officer

 

Regularly publishing Stories for your business is a great way of producing micro-content for top of mind and top of feed awareness.

 

5 Story ideas for your business

 

  1. Do live broadcasts. Live Stories get the most prominent positioning at the top with a red “LIVE” icon. You can also do a “Live with” where you invite a guest on and Instagram splits the screen in half. Both your followers and your guest’s followers will see the telltale Live icon at the top. Your Live Story could be a product sneak peek, behind-the-scenes, meet the staff, customer spotlight, Q&A session, special offer, exclusive discounts and more.
  2. Conduct polls. I’ve found interactive polls to be an excellent method for sparking increased engagement. Instagram makes it super easy to add a simple and fun voting button as a slider, or a simple two word or emoji choice. You can even share the poll results later as another Story.
  3. Highlight user generated content. If you gather user generated content across your social channels, you could share screenshots with the relevant user @tag and an appropriate hashtag. These could be simple shout outs, or testimonials and reviews. Instagram auto-suggests hashtags when you start to type. Be sure to first search and settle on the best hashtag for your Story, as this can really help others discover you.
  4. Announce new content. If you publish blog posts/articles, podcast episodes, vlogs (video blogs), and/or live streaming videos, be sure to use Stories to let your Instagram followers know. Always include the related URL in the Swipe Up feature, if you have it.
  5. Share exclusive deals. Entice your followers to keep coming back to consume your Stories by regularly sharing special offers, codes, or unexpected bonuses.

 

Embrace micro-engagement, too

 

Whether you choose to include Stories in your marketing mix or not, I highly recommend starting to at least view and engage with Stories. This is a great way to create what I call micro-engagement.

 

When you view Stories on Instagram, the person/business will see that you've seen their content in their Insights. Granted, not everyone necessarily views their Insights for each Story, but many do, including myself.

 

When possible, try sending a quick reply or even an emoji response to a Story. This goes to the account holder’s private inbox. (Depending on user settings, the ability to reply may not be available on all Stories).


In closing, it is worth noting here that at YouTube’s 2018 VidCon video conference, the company announced that it, too, will be launching a Stories feature.

 

Clearly, Stories are here to stay and businesses would do well to map out a powerful micro-content strategy.

 

Related Content:

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Social Media

Facebook Privacy: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

Facebook Messenger Chatbots Give Small Business Owners an Edge

 

About Mari Smith

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Since the first photo with the hashtag #selfie posted to Instagram in 2011, selfies have taken over the world.

 

According to one survey, 30 percent of photos taken by people between ages 18 and 24 are selfies. Why not celebrate—and market your business at the same time—by launching a grassroots social media selfie campaign for National Selfie Day on June 21?

 

For a small business owner, sharing selfies can be a way of promoting your business’s authenticity. Showing customers and prospective customers the faces behind the business demonstrates you’re not a faceless corporation—you’re a real person.

 

Social Selfie Suggestions

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A social media selfie campaign works best if you have a lot of customers on Facebook or Instagram, the two social platforms where selfies are popular. You can either focus on the platform where your target customers spend the most time, or create one campaign for each platform.

 

Have a specific goal in mind for your National Selfie Day campaign. Do you want to build awareness of a new product or service? Do you want to get people to visit your location? Do you want to promote a sale and spark purchases? Set a measurable goal and figure out how National Selfie Day can help you reach it.

 

    Related Content: The Social Media Time Suck: How to Pick Your Platforms

 

You don’t need a physical location to market National Selfie Day, but if you do have one, make it “selfie-worthy.” Paint a wall inside your store, restaurant, salon, etc. with a backdrop that inspires customers to take selfies. Set up a selfie station: If you own a toy store, paint a wall with a circus theme and put out props like clown noses, crazy wigs or top hats for kids to pose in. Want to really go crazy? Make your entire location selfie-worthy (look up images of the Museum of Ice Cream for inspiration).

 

To promote your social campaign, create your own hashtag and make sure customers use it (along with #NationalSelfieDay) when submitting selfies. This way, their selfies show up not only on their Facebook or Instagram pages, but also on yours.

 

Here are some ideas:

  • Ask customers to post a selfie holding/wearing/using something they bought from your business.
  • National Selfie Day falls on the first day of summer, so ask for selfies doing something summery, like grilling, sunning or camping.
  • Do you own a hair salon or other beauty business? Ask customers to post a selfie showing why they need a new haircut or a makeover.
  • Own a bar or restaurant? Ask customers to post selfies digging into their favorite menu item or toasting with their favorite beverage.

 

Related Content: The Small Business Owner's Guide to Social Media

 

What's My Motivation?

 

Some customers will post selfies just for the fun of it, but others need incentive. Here are some rewards to offer:

  • Something free: If hair salon clients post selfies of their new ‘do, give them a free sample-size hair-care product. If diners post selfies eating at your restaurant, provide a free appetizer.
  • Contest prize: Contests can exponentially increase your selfie campaign’s reach. Ask your social media followers to vote for the winner, and watch the entrants spread the word to their friends in an attempt to win. Make the contest prize something that gets the winner back to your business, like a $100 store gift card, a day of pampering at your spa, or a catered event from your restaurant.
  • Giving to a cause: Tie your social selfie campaign into a charitable cause that your business supports. Own a pet grooming business? Ask for selfies of people with their pups and donate $1 per selfie to an organization that helps abused animals.

 

     Related Content: A First Step for Small Businesses Wanting to Support a Social Cause

 

For more ideas for using selfies in your marketing, search for posts with the hashtags #selfie or #NationalSelfieDay, or search for “selfie booth” or “selfie station” online. With a bit of creativity, you can make your National Selfie Day social media campaign a success—and get to know your customers a little better in the bargain.

 

About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

The popularity of Facebook groups has exploded in the past year. The good news is Facebook really wants users to embrace the ‘groups’ feature more, including small businesses.

 

Groups can now be created and administrated by business pages, and posts by groups are getting more priority in the news feed. All the more reason for you to create a companion group linked from your Facebook business page.

 

Facebook’s focus on groups51696884_s.jpg

 

There are a variety of reasons why Facebook is pushing groups more. One of the main reasons is to enhance user well-being.  In a status update on Facebook in January 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated:

 

We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people's well-being. So we've studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities.

 

And, in Zuckerberg’s epic manifesto published in February 2017, the word “group” is mentioned 30 times!

 

Facebook has also hosted invitation-only live event called Facebook Communities Summit. Facebook’s intention with these live events is to help recognize and empower community leaders, and to equip them with better tools to be able to manage their groups.

 

Facebook has released a slew of new features for groups, including:

 

  • Group insights
  • Member request filtering
  • Scheduled posts
  • Linking other groups
  • Welcome posts
  • Badges
  • Member profiles
  • Watch Parties

 

Watch Parties is one of my favorites. This allows any group admin or moderator to create a playlist of any public video on Facebook for group members to watch together. Facebook is giving significant priority to these Watch Parties on the new Watch Platform.

 

Facebook page vs. group?

 

This is a common question among the small business community. It takes effort to manage your page, including creating original content that resonates with your audience, responding and engaging with your community, and ensuring your message gets to the right audience with paid campaigns.

 

Adding a Facebook group into your marketing mix can make a big difference in building a very loyal, engaged following. It may not initially be about growing huge numbers. You might look to have a group of ‘super fans.’ This is what author Kevin Kelly refers to as 1,000 True Fans.

 

Setting up your group

 

Facebook offers three types of groups: Public, Closed or Secret. Refer to this guide to determine which privacy setting will meet your needs.

 

To first create a group as your personal profile, navigate to https://www.facebook.com/groups and click on the green Create group button. You’ll need to add at least one person to be able to proceed further. I usually add my partner or a team member. You can easily add your business page as an admin of this group once set up.

 

Alternatively, to create a group with your business page as the owner/admin, navigate to the Groups tab on the left and follow the directions.

 

Growing group members

 

Link your group to your page and reorder your tabs so the Groups tab is towards the top.

 

Publish a post about your new group, what it’s about, who it’s for and what content you’ll be sharing. Pin this post to the top of your page.

 

Send an email broadcast out to your subscribers encouraging them to join your new group and why they should. Share on all other social channels about your new group with a link to join.

 

Don’t be shy about regularly promoting your group. Be sure to reiterate the benefits of being a member.

 

Building your loyal community

 

Finally, you’ll want to ensure your group has plenty of ‘stickiness.’ What will you do to encourage participation? How can you mobilize group members to contribute even during times when you’re not personally active in the group?

 

I recommend assigning additional moderators to help engage with members.

 

Also, consider doing regular live video broadcasts with exclusive content for your group members. My friend Joey Vitale, attorney at Indie Law, does a terrific job with this strategy. His group Friends of Indie Law has over 7,400 members who are highly engaged with Joey’s weekly live video broadcasts to the group.

 

I love to use Facebook groups as a powerful support community for my various programs and masterminds. One of my longest running groups is my Inner Circle, where I lead bi-monthly live trainings using third-party Facebook Live video conferencing apps. This allows for so much more connection and loyalty when group members also come on camera and share and contribute.

 

Related Content:

     New European Law Impacts U.S. Small Business Owners – Are you Prepared?

     Facebook Privacy: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

     Facebook Messenger Chatbots Give Small Business Owners an Edge

 

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Has your business’s social media presence become ho-hum?  Are you fresh out of ideas for creative photos or inspiring images? Then try going live with a digital event.

 

There are a wide variety of online events you can take part in, from Tweet Chats (or Twitter Chats) to Facebook Live or Instagram Live streaming videos. In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of digital events for a small business, give you an overview of digital event options, and share some ideas for digital events you can host.

 

What are Digital Events?

 

A digital event is any online broadcast usually on social media—that takes place live. Among the most popular formats are Facebook Live videos, Twitter live videos and Instagram live videos.  You can also participate in or host Tweet Chats or Reddit forums, which are real-time online chats on a specific topic.

Live digital events are becoming more and more popular. According to TechCrunch, one-fifth of videos shared on Facebook are now live.

 

Why Should a Business Participate in Digital Events?66061204_s.jpg

 

Live digital events have many benefits for a small business. Like all kinds of social media marketing, they help promote products or services, build awareness of your business and gain a reputation for thought leadership. However, a live digital event has unique advantages:

 

  • It can generate a sense of excitement and anticipation
  • It helps to foster a community with your customers and followers
  • It enables real-time interaction with customers
  • It offers a sense of authenticity because it’s live
  • You get instant responses and feedback from viewers

 

Ideas for Digital Events

 

A Tweet Chat or Reddit forum is essentially a Q&A session. For example, you could invite an industry expert to answer questions, or answer questions yourself about your business, product or service. You’ll need a moderator for the event to field questions and manage the flow of interactions (if you’re the one answering the questions, you won’t be able to pay attention to incoming questions at the same time).

 

Here are some ideas for live videos:

 

  • Go behind the scenes at your business. Give viewers a tour of your brewery or introduce them to your team.
  • Hold a demonstration showing viewers how to use one of your products.
  • Interview an industry expert on a topic of interest to your customers.
  • Live stream an event at your business, like a grand opening for a new location or a fundraiser for a local charity.
  • Live stream an event, conference or tradeshow you’re attending. If you’re speaking at an event or moderating a panel, live stream it.
  • Promote a sale at your business. Take viewers through your store showing off the hottest selling items or biggest promotional discounts.

 

Tips for Digital Event Success

 

  • Promote your event in advance. Use email marketing, social media and your business website to spread the word and create anticipation.
  • Create a hashtag for your event so people can find it. If you’re hosting a Tweet Chat, you’ll need a unique hashtag to tweet or respond to tweets in the chat.
  • Plan ahead. Your event is live, but don’t try to wing it. Facebook recommends Facebook Live videos be a minimum of 10 minutes long—a long time to talk if you don’t have some idea what you’re going to say. Plan a few topics to bring up or questions to get the ball rolling.
  • Create a series. For example, hold a Tweet Chat with an industry expert once a month, or live stream a demo of the best-selling products from your store every week. (If you plan to do a series, remind viewers at the end of your video to “follow” you for notifications of future live videos.)
  • Engage with viewers. Digital events let you can see exactly how customers are responding in real time. Learn from their questions and comments, and ask some questions of your own.

 

Once your digital event is over, assess its success, (measure participation, use of hashtags, etc.) and use what you learned to make your next digital event even more effective.

 

Related Content:

 

About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

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