#MomBizMondays: Social Media Power Tools for Busy Mompreneurs

 

TOPIC: Social Media Power Tools for Busy Mompreneurs

Welcome back, Mom Biz Owners! Hope you took some time off to enjoy your friends and family over the holidays. Here at Mom Biz Coach, we “go dark” during the holidays and are just now re-surfacing and re-connecting with our online friends. It’s time to kickstart the #MomBizMondays Twitter party tonight to talk about how to use some of our favorite power tools to make the time we spend on Social Media more productive.

Are you frustrated trying to “keep up” on Social Media? Feel like all your tweeting, posting, tagging and friending isn’t giving you the results you want? Maybe you created some new goals or revised your business plan to work on building your visibility and credibility to your target market this year, but you’re not sure how to do that? (What’s that? You haven’t updated your business plan lately/ever? Then you better get your ticket PRONTO for the MomBizRetreat Chicago so you can get it done!)

Tonight’s #MomBizMondays twitter party is all about great tools to make the time you spend on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other networks as powerful as possible. Learn how to curate and serve great content to your target audience that keeps them coming back to you for more! We’ll be talking tools and strategies tonight, including:

Hootsuite
Crowdbooster
BufferApp
SocialOomph
and many more!

Come prepared to learn some tricks and tips from seasoned Social Media pros who can share ways to help you grow your business in 2012 by leveraging Social Media to attract your ideal clients! And of course, be prepared to share your wisdom with all your friends.

The MomBizRetreat is a proud sponsor of January 2nd’s #MomBizMondays Live Twitter Chat

WHEN:
Monday, January 2, 2012

TIME:
EST 10:00pm to 11:00pm
CST 09:00pm to 10:00pm
MST 08:00pm to 09:00pm
PST 07:00pm to 08:00pm

SPONSORED BY:
Mom Biz Retreat Weekend Getaways for Mompreneurs
This party is sponsored by Lara Galloway, @MomBizCoach and Shelagh Cummins @BizTrainHer, co-hosts of the Mom Biz Retreat. The Mom Biz Retreats are mompreneur getaways that offer women the chance to unplug from their daily routines and responsibilities. They get business coaching and expert consulting to plan, develop, market and grow their business during 2.5 days of intensive workshops. And as a reward for all their hard work, the mom entrepreneur participants treat themselves to private Wake Up Yoga Classes, spa treatments, exquisite meals, delicious wines, and the chance to connect with other women who think talking business and family makes a really good time.

HOSTS:
Lara @MomBizCoach Website: Mom Biz Coach FaceBook: Mom Biz Coach
Shelagh @BizTrainHer Website: Practical Mum FaceBook: BizTrainHer
Melissa @TimeOutMom Website: TimeOutMom FaceBook: TimeOutMom

PANELISTS:

Mariah Humphries – @MariahHumphrieshttp://about.me/MariahHumphries
Manon Leroux – @sociallysavvy4u
http://savvysocialsolutions.com/

TWEETS:
We look forward to you joining us Monday night. We would love your help in promoting this chat your communities. Feel free to copy and paste the following tweets to help promote the Twitter Party.

RT @MomBizRetreat – We’re talking Social Media Power Tools tonight! Join #MomBizMondays tonight 10pm ET ow.ly/8gb7B

RT @MomBizRetreat – #mompreneurs: Be a power user of Social Media. Learn tips tonight! Join #MomBizMondays 1/2 10pm ET ow.ly/8gb7B

RT @MomBizRetreat – @MomBizCoach @BizTrainHer @TimeOutMom will be sharing their fave Social Media secrets Mon 1/2 10pm ET #mombizmondays ow.ly/8gb7B

TWITTER PARTY TWEETGRID LINK:
[to be provided shortly before the start of the party]

TWITTER PARTY HASHTAG:
#MomBizMondays

LINKS:
MomBizRetreat – http://bit.ly/uzBN17

AGENDA: THEME = SOCIAL MEDIA POWER TOOLS FOR BUSY MOMPRENEURS

RT @MomBizRetreat – QUESTION #1: What is your biggest frustration with social media?

RT @MomBizRetreat – QUESTION #2: What do you need social media tools to help you with?

RT @MomBizRetreat – QUESTION #3: What is your favorite social media manager?

RT @MomBizRetreat – QUESTION #4: How much time do you spend a day on social media?

RT @MomBizRetreat – QUESTION #5: What tips can you share about the best way to find more clients on social media?

PANELISTS + ATTENDEES:
Please be sure to you Twitter Party hashtag #MomBizMondays at the end of every tweet so everyone may follow along in the conversation even if you are not following that person specifically. Please retweet all questions. It would be great if you were able to share your answers to each question. Connect with others at the party and say hello, chat with others, & remember to HAVE FUN! Also be sure to share links to your websites, blogs, and FaceBook pages too! We love sharing! *If you meet some great like-minded people at tonight’s twitter party, be sure to follow them so you can connect afterwards!

MomBizRetreat Tweets

No laundry? No kids? No cooking? No cleaning? Weekend away with like-minded women? #MomBizMondays #MomBizRetreat http://bit.ly/uzBN17

Kids driving you crazy? Family not understanding you? Struggling in Business? We help. #MomBizRetreat #MomBizMondays http://bit.ly/uzBN17

The best gift this holiday season? A weekend away to work on and build your business. #MomBizMondays #MomBizRetreat http://bit.ly/uzBN17

#Mompreneurs – don’t hide behind your computer feeling lost and lonely. We can help. #MomBizMondays #MomBizRetreat http://bit.ly/uzBN17

I bet your moneymaker doesn’t involve carpooling and dusting. Come and learn how to manage it all. #MomBizMondays #MomBizRetreat http://bit.ly/uzBN17

Stop struggling with your business. We help you create a clear and definitive path for your business. #MomBizMondays #MomBizRetreat http://bit.ly/uzBN17

RELEVANT ARTICLES

SOURCES:
www.MomBizRetreat.com
www.MomBizCoach.com
www.BizTrainHer.com
www.TimeOutMom.com

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5 Ways to Improve Your Business on a Micro-budget

Guest post by Mike McClure, Partner, Executive Creative Director & Social Media Director for The Yaffe Group

LinkedIn photoIf you’re an entrepreneur or smaller business looking to get more business on a small to miniscule budget, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that with all the free and low cost tools available in the digital and social media world, you can be quite effective without spending a lot of money. The bad news? To make it work, you do need to invest a lot of time sprinkled with inspiration and innovation. Having a personality helps, too.

More good news: many individuals and companies are finding a lot of productive leads and connections through these channels. More bad news: it’s not a quick fix. It’s something you need to commit to and keep at. That doesn’t mean it will take you a year or two to see any results. But, it does mean you can’t just post a brilliant blog or open a Twitter account and expect the new business to start flooding through your doors.

Here’s 5 ways you can start improving your business without seriously hurting your bottom line:

1. Connect, connect, connect.

Use all the social networking tools available to you. Social networking is a great way to connect with people who may need your product or services. Just make sure you don’t start by broadcasting how great you are or trying to sell something. It’s like a cocktail party. Start with small talk; find out where you have common interests and where you can help them with their needs. It’s a good way to get to know someone you’ve never met before. Once they like and know you, they’ll be much more likely to want to do business with you.

I would suggest starting with LinkedIn if you haven’t gotten into any network. It’s the most business oriented site. Here’s a good post on how one business owner used LinkedIn to get a board of directors seat (http://bit.ly/21gfNB). From there, it’s a matter of preference and what type of business you’re in. You may want to start a Facebook fan page or personal page next. Or you may find the immediacy of Twitter is more to your liking. Here’s a good post by Lara Galloway on how she uses Twitter as one of her main new business tools (http://bit.ly/1wTAFo).

2. Answer Questions on LinkedIn

One the best features on LinkedIn is the Q&A section. Why? It gives you a chance to meet people out of your network, help them with a problem they have and display your expertise. Just go to the sections where questions are being asked on subjects that fit your business offerings and your area of expertise.

Here’s just one example of how that’s worked for me. I saw a question from a guy writing a book on social media. He was looking for examples of social media success stories. I told him about a campaign we’d done for one of our clients that had worked well. He liked it, we linked together and over the next 6 months had several conversations through LinkedIn messaging. This fall he was looking for judges for a big Blog Off competition his company was having. I volunteered and became part of an international “Dream Team” panel (http://bit.ly/6xs3XH) Besides the publicity of the contest itself, I will be listed in an upcoming book as one of the world’s top social media people, will be talked about on a Blog Talk Radio show that reaches millions and in video shows by one of Europe’s top providers of online content.  Not bad for a small business owner in Detroit.

3. Use Blog Talk Radio

This is a free, easy way to create podcasts for your own enterprise. There are two ways you can use Blog Talk Radio to help your business. One is to sign up at blogtalkradio.com and host your own show. This way you can have your own radio talk show.  You can invite guests who will speak on subject matters relevant to your audience or you can invite guests who represent companies you want to do business with. Or you can sometimes just speak on subjects you’re knowledgeable about and make those podcasts available to your potential clients. For an example of doing your own show, you can look at the Mom Biz Coach show. (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mombizcoach)

The second, and easier, way to use Blog Talk Radio is to volunteer your expertise to someone who has a show. Our head of Yaffe Direct, Michael Morin, went on the Chuck Talks Business show and had an hour long interview. It went well and, with Chuck’s permission, we downloaded the podcast and posted it on our Yaffe Tidbits site (http://www.yaffetidbits.com/podcasts/radio/morin_marketing.html). We then edited a 2-minute teaser of some of the best parts of the interview. We emailed the two minute version to a list of prospects along with a link to the full podcast. Within a few weeks we got several inquiries from potential clients who we never would have gotten to talk to otherwise.

4. Buy a Flip Camcorder

You can get a really nice Flip Camcorder for around $125; I’d also pop for the small tripod that’s about $20-25. The Flip is an extremely easy way to shoot, edit and post videos to your site, blog, Facebook fan page, YouTube channel or wherever you can add video to your online presence. Video is a way to really put a face on your business. You can simply set it up on the tripod, point it at yourself and record a video blog. You can also record and post client testimonials. (http://bit.ly/8UXVZ8)  It’s also small and portable that you can carry it with you when you go to a conference, meeting, seminar, tweetup or wherever. At these events you can ask people’s opinions on whatever issues you’d like to cover for your clients/potential clients. It takes nothing to plug the Flip into your computer and use the included edit system to string together the comments you like and post that video to one of your sites. All this adds to both your content and your credibility.

5. Blog about potential clients

If you have a blog for your business (if you don’t, start one now), you can meet potential clients simply by asking them if you can interview them for an upcoming blog post. It’s a great way to meet and get to know someone in a non-sales environment (important note: don’t try and sell yourself or company during the interview). Who doesn’t like the idea of someone wanting to interview them for their expert opinion? More often than not, you’ll be able to find someone willing to talk about their business for the free publicity for both their company and themselves.

Even if you don’t get an interview, do research on the company and write a blog post about what they’re doing right as a company. Here’s an example of a post I wrote about Biggby Coffee. (http://bit.ly/6Hferc) After creating it, send the post to them. Even if it doesn’t peak their interest in you, they may link the post to their own site or blog. We still get traffic to our blog from companies that have linked to a post about them from many months ago.

There you have it. Five ideas that should get your business some attention without spending an arm and a leg. I’d say good luck, but it really is just a matter of good hard work.

To learn more about Mike McClure, The Yaffe Group and the great marketing work he does for his clients, visit his site and be sure to follow him on Twitter!

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Umm…225 views to my blog yesterday???

Holy smokes! I’m humbled! The most visitors I’ve had in a day before yesterday was 61. What happened?

Well, I checked out my stats, thinking something must be wrong or broken with WordPress. And then I saw that the referrer for most of those posts was StumbledUpon. I got Stumbled!

Aha!

Social Media and Viral Marketing strike again!

Now I’m writing a blog post talking about StumbledUpon. The blog post will automatically show up in several places, like my LinkedIn Profile, on my twitter updates, on my personal Facebook profile as well as on my Facebook for Business Page. And I’ll include tags for StumbledUpon and eventually install a widget here on the blog so that others can Stumble this post (although I’m having a technical difficulty with that widget right now…).

And I think that the source for all this Stumbling must have had something to do with my participation in an online twitter event last night. http://mommygossip-gno.blogspot.com/ hosted a “Girls’ Night Out” (or GNO) last night, where zillions of twitterers logged on at the same time and chatted about holiday shopping (among other things) while entering contests to win lots of free stuff made by some of the other mom entrepreneurs participating in the GNO. The activity was frenetic. I stepped away from the computer once for about five minutes and there were 96 new tweets to read. Geesh!

Within the space of an hour, I had a great time chatting with an online community about Christmas toys, chocolate, kids and their bedtime routines, how to stay fit, what to do if you’re laid off during the holidays, and ways to be grateful. I also found about 30 new twitterers I was interested in and decided to follow. And my total number of followers went from something like 350 at 8pm to 423 this morning! Whoa! I even connected with about five of these new followers and am excited about the possibilities of developing a better releationship with them over time.

I’m not a huge “numbers” person. Instead, I prefer building relationships with people. But Social Media and its viral marketing capabilities increase the total number of people I’m possibly interested in developing a relationship with. If ever there were a good excuse to believe in abundance, it’s when I think about all the possibilities that are out there for connecting with other mompreneurs and how we can all support each other!

Have you experienced a crazy jump in your online presence? If so, what happened? Was it intentional? What was the most significant value you realized from having your message/biz/profile reach more people? And how do you manage this increase in traffic?

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Why Social Marketing is Critical for Mom Entrepreneur Businesses–Part 1

Those of you who have spent any time around me, or on the phone with me, or reading my blog have heard me get a little preachy when it comes to Social Media and its marketing capabilities. Especially now, when the economy is giving us “the gift” of more time to plan, organize and market our businesses, I’d like to help you get some great exposure for the hard work that you do. For FREE!

Lately, I’ve been busy. Yahoo! In the last week, I’ve been invited to give a workshop to a parenting group in Ontario, I’ve been interviewed for a mini-documentary about my Mom Biz Coach business for a London, ON radio station, and I’ve been asked to contribute an article I’ve written and to consider collaborating with a phenomenal group of women coaches. In fact, I’m thrilled to have just received another invitation to be interviewed by a talk show hostess this morning.

How did all this happen?

I didn’t cold call anyone. I didn’t take out a large print ad in the local magazines and newspapers. I didn’t pay for specialized SEO for my websites. I didn’t pay for a booth at a networking event. I didn’t send out a press release to anyone. In fact, I didn’t pay for anything and I was probably wearing my pajamas in the comfort of my own home when my marketing was working for me. And rather than “pushing” my marketing message out to the world, I’m “attracting” an audience who is interested in what I do.

So what is Social Media? The easiest way for me to think about it is to compare it to a Chamber of Commerce or a small business networking group (like BNI). All of us entrepreneurs know that marketing is important, but we seldom choose to allocate large portions of our budget to it. Instead, we often choose the “free” marketing route of appearing at various business networking events, introducing ourselves to other small business owners, exchanging business cards, and giving and asking for referrals.

I did this for the first two or three years of my business. But then, when I moved across the border to Windsor, and had no babysitters for these morning Chamber/BNI meetings, I started seeing just how much these “free marketing” opportunities were costing me in time and headaches. As a mom of three kids aged six and under, attending a weekly 7am coffee at the local chapter of BNI simply doesn’t work. So how can we mom business owners effectively network, give and get referrals, and in general get the world “buzzing” about our businesses?

Enter Social Media! You may also have heard some other terms associated with it, like Social Networking, Social Marketing, Viral Marketing, etc.

Here’s the skinny:

Social Media is a fast, professional, easy and effective way to market your business. And in my own humble opinion, it beats using the traditional methods (print ads, radio ads, tv ads, booths at tradeshows, etc.) since it is 1) free and 2) working for you when you’re not even awake!

Some examples of Social Media I’m using are LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter and my wordpress.com blog. There are countless others out there, but I’m going to focus on the ones I use. Each of these sites allows me to set up an account for free. I create a profile of my business (including my bio/resume sometimes, or my background and interests, or my expertise on a certain topic), upload a professional photo of myself, and include links to all my other sites (websites, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter accounts).

All of these media allow me to build my online network by making connections (LinkedIn), inviting more friends (Facebook), increasing my followers and the people I follow (twitter), and offering an RSS/subscription service (blogs). Just as you would build your professional network via business card exchanges, referrals, attending networking events, etc., you build your community of people you are interested in and who are interested in you. Unlike traditional networking and marketing, you don’t have to hire a babysitter, dry clean your suit, and spend time commuting to and from your home or office. In fact, I do most of my social networking just two or three minutes at a time with at least one child on my lap.

As a coach, I’m in the services business. I don’t have a product (other than myself) to sell (yet!). My intention when I market my business is to get people to know, like and trust me. People like to buy from people they know, like and trust. Of course, you can use Social Media platforms to socialize with friends and family, but the reason I use it for business is because I find the online business community to be extremely approachable. I am able to introduce myself and be introduced to others by typing a quick message like, “Hi! I love your work. Look forward to learning from you!”

In very little time, I usually get a message back. There: a virtual handshake that’s informal, yet powerful. And if this new contact is interested in learning more about me, s/he can do so via my profile, which in turn links them to my websites, blogs and other Social Media platforms. After reading about me in these platforms, a potential client is pre-qualified to do business with me since I explain how I work, what I offer and what I charge on my website. So you see, I can end up with a pre-qualified sales lead as a result of typing 11 words and hitting send. How easy is that?

And it can be even easier. Since most Social Networking platforms (like LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter) allow all of my friends/connections to see who I’m connected to and to read my posts, I often get messages from people who are “friends of my friends” who I never contacted directly. This passing of information continues to spread, like a virus (hence the term “viral marketing”) to all of my friends, then to their friends, and so on. And it travels fast!

So this is where I’ll end my first installation about Social Media and why you should be using it to promote your business. I hope you’ll take a peak at some of the options out there. I’ll go into greater depth about how it works (including some examples) and offer some resources for more information in the next two issues of my ezine. If you have questions, please ask. I’m excited to help you grow your business!

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