Why Social Media Marketing is Key for Small Businesses

Mod PR by Amy Wray Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses

Social media marketing is not a short-term fix but it can be a very effective long-term strategy for any size business to listen to and engage with customers and prospects. If you are looking for a short-term fix you are going to be very disappointed. Success does not happen overnight in any aspect of the word and when it comes to social media it takes at least 6 months to really start seeing solid results. Although, it might not be a short-term fix, social media is vital to growing your company in today’s business world. Social media marketing is here to stay and the sooner you embrace this new wave the smoother the ride is going to be.

In social media marketing there are three primary reasons and functionalities, which are building awareness, building sales and building loyalty. When you use social media for your business it is a totally different ballgame than when you use it for personal uses. If you think Facebook is simply Facebook no matter what you’re using it for, you are sadly mistaken. Social media can literally make or break your business.

When you decide to take the plunge into the social media world you need to know that just like with any business plan it requires a clearly defined strategy that incorporates goals and objectives. A recent survey showed 73 percent of small business owners are now using social media. Why? Because now with the world of social media people are reaching greater amount of audiences and social media marketing can do amazing things for your small business, but in order to do so social media must be properly implemented and maintained. Not one social media marketing plan fits all businesses. You must know how it will best be used for your business in your industry. It’s no secret that social media when added to your marketing plan can help grow businesses, boost brand awareness, skyrocket customer relations and even boost sales.

Social media helps to create a personality for your business that traditional advertising just doesn’t achieve. With social media you can create a likable personality that people will associate with your small (or big) business. Big companies have big budgets dedicated to branding and marketing… that’s a luxury that often small businesses don’t get. That’s why it is a must for business owners to take advantage of social media marketing… it is far less expensive than traditional methods.

Since we live in a incredibly well connected world, social media makes it super easy to reach out to your customers – in real time! If you’re experiencing a slow business day you can turn to your Twitter or Facebook to get people into your store by offering a special one day sale that applies when they mention your Twitter or Facebook post at checkout or use a special discount code at checkout online.

Customer Attraction and Engagement
One of the goals and objections of social media marketing is customer attraction and engagement. Social media is a wonderful opportunity to engage with customers by starting, maintaining and joining conversations. In reality in just a few clicks of the mouse you are connected to thousands of customers and contacts. It is also majorly important as a business owner to read comments left on your social media networks, this is an incredible tool for gaining direct insight from your customers (current, past and potential) and even from your competitors.

It’s not about Self Promotion
The whole idea of social media is building relationships and growing trust and you can’t do that in marketing or in real life if all you do is talk about yourself all the time. If you haven’t discovered this concept by now, here’s a newsflash: People hate hearing someone constantly talk about themselves. It’s simply unattractive and the same thing holds true in the business to customer world. Remember, social media is about creating a personality for your brand so don’t always stick to the self-promotion of your products and services. It’s okay to step away, I promise. You want to create a likable personality, gain trust and loyalty and you do that by answering questions, providing helpful information and keeping a light sense of humor that gives your customers a reason to smile.

You don’t have to be Everywhere
This is a huge mistake made by a lot of good intention business owners. When you implement social media into your business marketing plan it does not mean that you need to jump on the bandwagon of every single social media network that exists. There is absolutely no reason to be on every social media network… not all of them are going to be the right fit for your business and because there are so many different social media networks there is just simply not enough hours in the day to properly utilize all of them. If you are doing the social media yourself you know how time consuming social media can be and you also know that you need to also attend to the other aspects of running your business. Whether you run your own businesses social media networks on your own or have hired an expert, your money will be put to the best use by finding which networks are the most relevant and effective to reaching your customers. It’s important that you only focus on what is going to work the best for your business and sometimes that means just utilizing two social media networks. It’s even more important to select those most effective social media networks and then execute your time on them properly, effectively and (this is a big one) consistently! If you only take away one thing from this post make it this: A neglected social media presence will reflect poorly on your business – if you don’t have the time and resources to actively manage and participate in your social media networks, then it is crucial you hire a social media expert.

Something that I stress to all clients, potential clients and whenever I am doing a speaking engagement about social media is that the social media game is CONSTANTLY changing and if you don’t keep on top of it, you WILL get left behind. Social media is not a fad or new trend, this is here to stay in the business world whether you like it or not. The popularity of individual social media outlets may rise and fall and new networks will come and go, the overall concept and value of social media maketing is here to stay in the business world.

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PR Opportunities for Direct Sales

Mod PR by Amy Wray Direct Sales Home Parties

Do you sell Thirty-One, Pampered Chef, Tastefully Simple, Pure Romance or any other home party products? I am willing to bet you haven’t even considered the possible public relations opportunities available! I have worked with several clients who have grown their at home party businesses into their full-time jobs. Wouldn’t you love more time to focus on yourself, your family or even just your business? When you hire Mod PR we can help you do just that! Here are some of the favorite services used by our direct sales clients:

– Mailings
– we will address, seal and mail party invitations as well as catalogs to your customers. That in itself frees you a huge chuck of time!

– Newsletters
– We will set-up your monthly newsletter to your recruits as well as customers to let them know of new happenings.

– Blogs
– Blogs are a GREAT way to get your name out there, let people know about you and your products. These are becoming more and more popular among people who are part-time and full-time independent consultants. We can set one up for you to post on or we can maintain it by ghost posting for you!

– Parties
– We can also oversee online and catalog parties

If you are a direct sales independent consultant, I highly recommend you think about adding these services to your business. Contact me today to set up a free consultation to learn more! amywraypr@gmail.com

 

What is Worthy of a Press Release?

typewriter-pink-Press-Release_zps571e6ad7

Press releases are a fantastic way to gather attention and publicity for your business. Many small businesses miss out on this great opportunity because they either simply do not think of utilizing public relation services or they don’t think they are big enough yet to utilize such services. Truth be told, press releases are perfect for small businesses to get their name out there.

Although, a press release doesn’t guarantee to get your business mentioned in the media, it does get your name out there at least to the writers, editors, bloggers and whoever else you send it to. It plants a seed in their mind that just might see the light of day in a future story, collaboration or business opportunity. So even if your press release doesn’t get immediate media attention it isn’t a total loss. Of course, if your press release does make it into some write up, that is always great publicity and gets your name out to the readers and consumers.

Many often wonder what is worthy of a press release, so I have put together quite a list of different topics related to your business that deserve a press release. Just remember, like with any news, a press release must contain timely information. Keep your business relevant by announcing things currently happening or happening in the very near future.

Branding, Events, Charity, Leadership

Business rebranding
New website or significant upgrade to existing website
Company name change
Product name change
Celebrity and public figure endorsements
Involvement with a charity
Local event or team sponsorships
Internship Programs
Pro bono work
Scheduling of in-person seminars
Success of events
Event sponsorship
Holiday-related events
Helpful tips for customers, related to your business
A new award win
Milestone accomplishments
Free educational information, ebooks, newsletters and white papers
Media and speaker appearances by executives
Educational online and in-person events
Debunking of common “myths” related to your industry
Tips sheets or feature stories like “Top 10 Christmas Gifts for 2013″ or “How to Land a Job in 30 days”
Commentary and product or business tie-ins to current events

Products/Pricing Promotions, Company Growth,  Strategy Shifts

New website or significant upgrade to existing website
Free shipping offer/changes in shipping rates
New products and services
Product name change
New product production process
New products, services, pricing and promotions
New contests and sweepstakes
Holiday-related sales and promotions
Unique and new uses for existing products
New promotional programs like referral rewards
Free consultations, trial offers and samples
New website or significant upgrade to existing website
Creation of a new company or spin-off
Milestone accomplishments
Company anniversary (eg. 50 years in business)
New office opening or relocation
Company Name Change
Strategic partnerships and alliances
New executives and other personnel changes
Transfer in ownership
Holiday-related sales
Major steps towards “going green”

 

 

 

The Dos and Don’ts of Newsletters

the dos and donts of newsletters

Newsletters can be a fantastic marketing tool for your business… if executed properly. Some people who have done their research can do this task wonderfully on their own. However, a lot of people try to save a buck by trying to do their newsletters themselves and soon discover they’re not getting the results they hoped for. You can save a lot of money, time and energy by outsourcing your newsletter needs to a public relations professional or agency. Whether you are currently doing your own newsletter, have hired someone to handle your newsletters or just tossing around the idea of starting a newsletter I have put together a list of tips for successful newsletter marketing for your business.

Do know your target audience.
Just because you have a email contact list a mile long does not mean every single person is in your target audience. Do not send your newsletter to all of your email contacts. When you start your newsletter, send an email to your contacts inviting them to subscribe to your newsletter and provide them with a link to do so.

Do decide on the frequency of the newsletter, and be consistent.
As a general rule, I recommend to my clients to send a newsletter once a week or once every two weeks and stick to that schedule. Strategic consistency is key. People don’t like to be bombarded with anything. If people feel like they are constantly seeing your name appear in their inbox they get annoyed. Annoyed is the opposite of what the goal of a newsletter. You want to captivate your audience, not drive them away!

Do provide up to date information that is interesting, relevant and engaging.
There’s a saying, “content is king,” and it’s a saying for a reason… it’s true! Before you hit the send button make sure you ask yourself these questions, “Will people want to read this information? Is this content timely? Will my readers find this information interesting?” Just because you find something interesting or think your readers should read it doesn’t mean your readers do want to read it. This is always brings the first tip back into play, when you know who your target audience is it’s much easier to decipher what they do and don’t want to read.

Do make the newsletter easy to read and visually engaging.
Think of a newsletter as short tid bits of information. It’s not a newspaper, it’s a newsletter. Make sure to keep the info short and to the point or use it to entice the reader to click on a link to read the rest of the article on your website or blog. People are also very visual creatures, so it’s important that the newsletter looks appealing. The use of colors, fonts and images help with this.

Do include upcoming events of interest to readers.
Including upcoming events in your area that would interest your readers is a great way to get the word out about events.

Monitor the open and click-through rates.
Not only pay attention to the percentage of people who clicked to open your email, but also pay attention to what links are generating interest and utilize that information as a base to develop more content.

Provide an opt-out or unsubscribe option – and honor requests.
This is golden, people! Just because you like your newsletter doesn’t mean everyone is going to like it. And that is okay! If someone doesn’t want to receive your newsletters anymore, provide them with a link that allows them to unsubscribe.

Never show email addresses of newsletter recipients in the To section. Use the BCC field.
This is mandatory. Some people are very private about their email addresses and they don’t want the world to know it. It is also just bad etiquette to put the addresses of a newsletter in the To field. This is why there is a BCC option.

Don’t sell or provide a newsletter contact list to other companies without recipient consent.  
Not only is selling or giving away email contact lists without recipients’ consent bad ethics, but it also causes your readers to lose your trust. This also goes back to not adding people to your own newsletter contact list without their consent.

Include a call to action for social media.
Include links/buttons to your Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other professional networks you use.

Client Note: Are you getting married this year?

bridesmaid-gifts

Are you a bride that is getting married this year? Do know what you are going to give each of your bridesmaids as a gift of appreciation for sharing your special day with you? While browsing Pinterest I came across these adorable bridesmaid gifts. Maybe one of these ideas will be the perfect gifts for your ladies.

Continue reading by clicking here to discover several amazing bridesmaid gifts —>

Why Public Relations Matters to your Success

Public relations is literally one of the most cost-effective methods for small businesses to raise awareness about their products, services and brand. Yet, many small business owners often overlook public relations for advertising. Advertising can be a great tool for you business, but public relations is much more than advertising. Many are unaware of the role public relations plays in the articles you read and the way the public views your business.

Placing advertisements can get very expensive and people don’t realize that public relations is often less expensive than advertising and can often result in being more valuable to your business. People don’t trust ads as much as hearing endorsements from third parties. A successful public relations campaign allows for businesses to shape third party influence, which often leads to greater trust with core audiences. Bottom line is, it’s no secret small businesses have very tight budgets, but when choosing public relations over advertising you typically get more bang for your buck.

Save time and money
Small businesses need to hire a public relations pro because pr is this person’s job. It’s what they went to school for and what they’re trained to do. They have media contacts, knowledge, expertise and they’re creative. It’s their job to know how to get your business noticed. You are the expert at what you do, allow a public relations pro do what they’re an expert at. Public relations is a full time job and as an entrepreneur you already have a lot on your to-do list. By hiring a professional you are ultimately saving you and your business a lot of time, energy and money. If you try to do it yourself without the proper expertise chances are you are not going to yield the results you desire.

Creating your brand
Since you are a small business and building awareness of what you do, you also need to be developing your brand. A public relations pro will help you develop your brand, promote it as well as position you and your business into industry experts. This not only creates credibility but it also story ideas for media that often leads to media placements.

Finding your unique factor
Every small business has competitors and the challenge of promoting your business in a sea of competitors is finding what differentiates you from the rest. Public relations helps to create awareness about your business because a public relations pro will be able to convince targeted audiences that your business is uniquely better in some way.

 Maintaining visibility
It’s vitally important to maintain a constant visibility in the public eye. Public relations does this and a pro knows how to keep your business visible on many different platforms with proactive pr without causing over-saturation. Successful businesses know that public relations doesn’t sleep. It’s much easier to maintain visibility with your core audiences than it is to totally rebuild your image due to cutting pr from your budget.