business, Design, Marketing, Social Media

USING COLOR

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One of the most overlooked aspects of digital posting is the use of appropriate color.

My favorite resource is from Pantone Color Resource  They publish each Season’s newest colors–trends and in-demand themes for fashion and home.  Take advantage of their research and begin to incorporate the season’s newest, hottest colors in your headers, newsletters, emails, and social media posts.

We Think With Our Eyes

Never forget that our brains are processing trillions of bits of data every single second. That is why images are such a strong part of your content strategy, but color is processed like an image.  The brain gobbles it up like ice cream on a hot summer day.  Make your seasons pop by using colors to highlight your business materials being shared across the Internet.  Don’t overdue it, of course!  But use color–relevant colors.

Themes

And if you want to go a step further….look at what the story is behind the colors

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How fun is it use Niagara when you want to showcase how dependable your products are?  Or are you talking about that great escape on the weekend?  How about Island Paradise.  Pantone doesn’t just pick these out of thin air.  They are researched and offered to anyone who wants to set themselves apart.

 

Design, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Social Media

5 Valentines Posts To Do Right Now

I am a huge supporter of the Annual Content Calendar for social media posting. With Valentines Day fast approaching its time to get serious about using it. So I will start with a few statistics and then share five ideas that you can incorporate in your posting efforts over the next couple of weeks.

Let’s Start With The Numbers by Statistic Brain

$116.21 is the average amount people spend on Valentines

61.8 % is the percent of consumers who do celebrate Valentines Day

Why are these important?

53% of women say they would end their relationship if they didn’t get something for Valentines day.

I love the 53% break-up statistic! Serious business Valentines Day! It’s the war between the sexes: Women want to be thought about and rewarded for all the things they do – even when they say they don’t want anything it doesn’t hurt to surprise them with a small token of your love. Same goes for customers. They say they don’t want you to post too much, but when it comes to dropping some dollars, they only are kind to those who share information.

So as a small business, you can (and must) help your customers by offering them information and ideas–for Valentines Day help them know what to write in their cards, put in their gifts, or just keep them focused on the most important events of the day. In other words, be relevant to your customers so they don’t “break up with you.”

So Let’s Get Started with Your Posts

You should be scheduling a post every day no matter what the theme or holiday. Let’s start with some post types: quotes, articles, images, stories, and offers. Use a program like Canva (below) to help you make pretty posts for your Facebook and Instagram accounts. Then start off the year by beginning to think about your products and services differently (like through the eyes of your customers, especially those who have no idea who you are) and then think about how you can repackage and offer them in ways that appeal to a different generation. The goal for every business is to grow your customer base.

So let’s begin with Valentines Day. I know what you are thinking: a good number of people only buy chocolate and flowers on Valentines Day, but offering your customers a warm, fuzzy feeling over the upcoming holiday theme of “Love” is good customer service. And remember: not everyone cares about Valentines Day as a day to “get something.” But we are all aware that the day is happening and it is nice to be included in some way.

Here are 5 ideas to Inspire Your Valentine Content:

#1 Create Gift Guides – Who doesn’t love a good gift guide? Come on, we are all really, really busy lately and spending a few hours figuring out what to get our significant other is a huge pain. So make it easy and fun by putting together a few of your products especially for Him or Her. Just in those two groups are lovers, spouses, family, and friends. Why not share the “love” with everyone by including everyone to give gifts? My Dentist is quite creative by offering unique gifts for his customers at Valentines—he buys a few boxes of chocolate and wraps them with a Teeth Cleaning Certificate!

#2 Contests – “Best Engagement Story”, “Silliest Valentines Gift”, “Cutest Pet Couple”…the possibilities are endless when it comes to contests that ask customers to share their stories with pictures. Ask people to post them onto your page with your specific contest Hashtag. Offer them a movie night as a prize. Why would you do that when you are not a movie theater? Because it is relevant to the holiday and the contest. But most important is that the more people who post on your page, the more they share with their friends (who don’t yet know you), and the more people who see your page, the more engagement your posting will have—and that is the goal here. Traffic and engagement! Becuase that will lead to sales.

#3 Date Night Ideas – This is a good time to think about your neighbors and ways to co-brand your business. What could be a fun “Date Night” on your main street? Outline it, have menus, ask people to share their ideas. Post lots of fun ideas, silly ones, and of course, ask people for their stories and ideas so they will share. Magazines are filled with ideas right now—share the links to the articles and offer your personal take on them. Be the source for information.

#4 Love Notes – Post some interesting poems and even some famous love letters to give your fans and customers ideas on what to say to their beloved. Do some DIY ideas here too—perhaps hosting a Valentines Card get together with craft items so people can make a personal statement and then post the card onto your page to enter them into a drawing. Emojis may be fun but they do not say “I love you” like a love note!

#5 Anti-Valentine’s Day – So think about my dentist for example. He is taking an anti-teeth product (sweets) and placing it with something he does (teeth cleaning)—and it says I love you, right? Well, there are plenty of people who hate sweets, hate romance, hate spending money on holidays. Post comics, gag gift ideas, and anything “Anti-Valentines” that gets people sharing your posts from your business page. Have fun and be sure to ask people to share their stories with you!

So now, just get to it and make the posts. Track your fans, likes, and foot traffic. Notice how many people are noticing that you are posting something daily and relevant instead of just “Buy My Stuff” content. And please, share your stories with me on well (or not well) things went.

Maria Bereket is a Digital Media Marketing Consultant and Coach, LinkedIn Strategist, and Social Media Trainer. Her work focuses on bridging the gap of the digital divide by teaching people how to use social media to grow their business through social media thought leadership. She is an innovator and creative task master, so don’t contact her if you are not looking for growth and change. Teaching people to embrace technology and learn how to communicate in a digital world is her super-power. Connect @mbear88 or email her at Maria@DesignBearMarketing.com

Original Post: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/five-valentines-post-ideas-do-now-maria-berekethttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/five-valentines-post-ideas-do-now-maria-bereket

business, Design, Marketing, Personal Brand

Is It Time To Change Lanes?

merging-800x398Have you looked at your website lately?  How about that Logo?

Is it Time To Rebrand Yourself?

Ok, so things are going well for you and your business.  Well maybe they could be better, right?  A few more sales, a few more people enrolling in your program?  Am I right?  Isn’t it time you stopped blaming the economy for the dip?  The economy is fine, face it—it’s your brand, and the 2000’s want it back.

So let’s get down the bottom line:

#1 “People Don’t’ Buy What You Do, They Buy Why You Do It” (Simon Sinek)

Stop rolling your eyes.  This is actually a thing.  It is called values.  People want to buy products and services from customers and people that share their values.  I know you value something, or you wouldn’t be in business.  Take some time and think about this one, because you need to get this right.  It is the foundation for your  future.

  • What is your mission statement?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Who are you trying to help?
  • What problems are you solving?
  • Are your customers happy? What makes them happy?  What makes you happy?

This is what defines businesses now.  Think Apple vs. Microsoft.  One makes computer things, and the other makes us feel happy.  Apple knows its passion. It knows its mission.  It knows that people are buying “why they do what they do,” and not “what they do.”

#2 Design Matters

We live in a very sophisticated marketplace.  A world where design highjacked an entire cell phone market from a strong marketplace leader and now dictates what we buy.  People know what “fonts” are, what colors mean, how visuals evoke our emotions.  We live in a world where design matters.

So why is your website still full of text?  Your business card in times new roman and doesn’t have your LinkedIn profile URL?

Take a look at the message you are giving us when we see your “brand” represented.  Is your logo readable and legible?  Can we find your contact button easily?  Can we read your information from our smartphones?  Have you even looked at your website lately?

And in regards to design, does this image you are using, does it portray the core values that you have grown into since you started?  A few simple design corrections can change everything, and I mean everything!

#3 Which Lane Are You Driving in?

What I mean by this, is that when you started out, last year, ten years ago, whenever that was, did you and your business change?  Are you stronger in one area, and not even doing another?  Are your strengths and skills capturing a completely different demographic now than when you started?

Well, you are driving in a new lane, so own it.  Turn off your blinker and get in the lane, it’s yours for the taking. Let go of the things that are not part of your identity anymore, and embrace the ones that empower your mission and values of today.  Keep the old stuff on paragraph three of the “About Us” page and tell us how far you have come.

This lane is your vision for the future.  It is the intention for the growth of your business in the years ahead, and it fortifies the direction of your brand.  So own it.  Show it.  Get a new haircut, new style, new colors, and fix your outdated graphics to reflect this new, empowered you.

#4 Figure Out Who Is Listening To You

Few businesses can survive exactly the same year after year.  Customers grow up and move on, people change, music changes, fashion changes: so why isn’t your business changing?

Even accountants have to rebrand themselves.  Why?  Because clients die off, grow up and move on, and the ones coming up from behind are younger, smarter, savvier.  And guess what?  They also use mobile –can we read your the stuff on your website from our mobile phones?  Have you checked?

You need to figure out who needs you and then discover who is really listening to you.  You might be surprised that your business is coming from a completely different demographic than you originally started with.  Get to know them.  What do they like? What do they read?  How do they get their information?  Then figure out how to give them what they want—not what you want, what you use to do, what is easier for you.

When your sales are so-so, enrollments way off, or phones not ringing, it is time to look at the brand image you are presenting to the world. If you are outdated, then it is probably outdated.  Get a refresh.  Go on, pamper yourself.  Put a little money into a new look and feel for what you know is an awesome product or service.  It is no different than going out and getting a new haircut, new suit, or even hitting the gym to lose a few extra pounds.  Your brand is a living, breathing thing.

And for those of you who think that spending money on social media is just crazy?  Well, you are probably the ones that need the new branding most because people are not using the yellow pages anymore, and that word of mouth thingy you keep telling everyone?  Well, that is what Twitter is for……

Maria Bereket is a Social Media Stress Reliever! She loves marketing strategy, and social media, especially LinkedIn; and she helps business owners and professionals feel stress-free when setting up their social media profiles and marketing programs. Design Bear Marketing is her Social Media & Design Company. @mbear88 http://www.DesignBearMarketing.com .

originally posted on http://www.linkedin.com/in/mariabereket

business, Design, Marketing, Personal Brand, Social Media

What is Your Profile Really Saying About You?

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When people take a look at your professional life there are two ways: Your resume and your LinkedIn profile.

They are one in the same.  You, your skills, your experience, your passion.  So what is the best way to figure out what your profile is saying about you?  Here are three quick tips.

  1. Word Cloud. The amazing thing about word clouds is that the computer will go through what you have written and pull out the words, count them, and then display visually the most often used words.  Once you pull out the grammatical words what you have left is what your colleagues, recruiters and potential employers see.  It is the essence of your work life.   Choose the top 20 words and this is the core of what you are telling people. I use http://tagcrowd.com/wordcloud linkedin
  2. Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words.  We all know this is true, but we fail to “see” our own image as something worthwhile.  Sure we are older, heavier, grayer, but we are who we are and if we want people to trust us then we need to show our faces so that people like and trust us.  Make sure you are showing your face.  Make sure you are smiling, even slightly.  Make sure it’s not too casual or awkward.  Artsy is for artists.  Go to https://www.photofeeler.com/ to get an idea of what people think of your profile shot. 05-misleading-first-impressions-1.w1120.h1382
  3. Your Profile Heading.  So you work at ABC company as an XYZ.  Big deal.  Unless that is some really hot stuff and you are totally happy with telling the world that, then no worries.  But, if you are like most people, is that what you tell people?  Do you get excited when you tell people that?  Then figure out what makes you excited about what you do and put that in your profile heading.  Go back to the word cloud and find the words that you are…passionate trainer, detailed engineer, creative writer, entrepreneur, visionary, strategist….what makes you different from all the other XYZ’s who do what you do?   Take some time and figure out the keywords that will make your profile POP.  Mirror that on your resume too.  Go ahead, be who you are!photo dec

 

#smallbiz #DesignBear #LinkedIn #Training #Profile

Source: Facial images http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/06/you-should-worry-more-about-your-profile-picture.html
business, Design, Marketing, Personal Brand, Social Media

8 Key Visual Trends in Marketing

Imagery, imagery, imagery

Getty images have been blowing this horn for years, but recently they changed their whole arsenal of stock photos to include descriptions you can search by the following trends. These trends are key when you are trying to find new ways to tell the stories of our brands. It is not just our words, but the images that resonate with our emotional need to join in the conversation.

So how do we “speak” the language of the branded story?

Here is the horrible truth: the selfie –even if you despise it–has redefined our need for the authentic look and feel, and its not a world of “self-absorbed” teenagers, it is the way everyone wants to be addressed in advertising and media: REAL.

Keep in mind the visual facts here: Our eyes are able to process billions of images and information every second in our day. We are thrown sounds, colors, light, words, and wavelengths that pull our attention away or into a message.

We think with our eyes.

Our eyes pull our attention into the world around us and acts as first-line filter to what we will stop and read.

#1 Authenticity:

Real people, Instagram-like photos. Source: Nike

#2 Glitch Aesthetics:

Messy, unexpected, double exposure. Source: Donna Karin

#3 Blurred:

Out of focus, user-generated, Polaroid feel. Source: Ataxia Non-profit.

#4 POV:

Point of View, raw and unfiltered: Source: Instagram

#5 Female Rising:

Women as strong, athletic, and in control. Source: Fidelity

#6 Dad as Important:

Connecting to their children. Source: Huggies

#7 Body 2.0:

Being comfortable in our own skin. Source: Aerie

#8 The New Old:

Seniors are not put out to pasture. Source: First Independent Bank.

These are the defining visual moments of marketing.

How are you getting in on this conversation? What can we as Marketers do to guide our clients to this visually important trend?

Post originally written for LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141021172724-57146434-8-key-image-trends-in-marketing

business, Design, Leadership

Three Simple Steps to Finding Your Next Opportunity

growing light bulb standing out from the unlit incandescent bulb

I want you to think about something that happened last week.

You were in your office preparing to meet with a rising star on your team…when “you know who” knocked on your door.

You lifted up your head, your eyes locked, and in they walked.

“So-in-so,” you said politely. “I am heading off to a meeting is this urgent?”

“Yes,” So-in-so said.

“Five minutes,” you responded authoritatively.

Ten minutes later you are still listening to a laundry list of complaints and dissatisfaction about another member of your team who didn’t do this or that on the project. You nod and listen, interject a word of surprise now and then to show support, and then it escalates where you need to push your appointment off so you can go down to the floor and deal with squabbling between coworkers about schedules.

You just picked the burned out light bulb.

As a team leader there are many opportunities in the day to “Lead First and Manage Second.”  But what does that really mean?   What are the issues throughout the day that avoid conflicts and gain insight into your next opportunity for results and growth?

Here is your first step:  Leave the burnt out bulbs in the bin.

What I mean by that is: these are your team members who cannot get along well with others, always have issues and complaints, and are in your office daily looking for you to solve their problems.  You cannot slam the door, but you can redirect the person.  In the case of So-in-so who interrupted you, try this next time:

“So-in-so I am meeting with “rising star” in five minutes, what do you need?”  Now the problem member knows that you are playing favorites with a high performer.  They go on about the problems.  You cut them off at five minuets and say, “Good to know So-in-so, I have a meeting now with ‘rising star’ so let me know what you resolve to do about the (scheduling issues, workflow, etc.)  And then go to your rising star and give them attention.

It is not your job as a leader to jump in and solve everyone’s problems.  You need to develop that person who has a problem.  Give them authority to go and fix their problem and then, when you meet up for your weekly review (and this is key) you can discuss how they did and offer solutions for next time these issues come up.  Fixing problems will not recharge that burnt out light bulb.  They need to recharge themselves with proactive solutions that they do–not you!

Second step is to pick the brightest light bulb every time.

Yes, that it is playing favorites, but by patting the back of your motivated team member they will rise higher (i.e. give you more results) and hopefully the dud, will either take notice to your priority of performance over drama and rise to the occasion, or they will quit. And every leader has someone on their team they hope will quit.  You need to work with the willing.. that 20% that give you the results and enthusiasm that you need.  By constantly taking time in your day to solving problems for the bottom 20% you not only lose precious hours in your day for your own work, but you are showing your brightest stars that complaints–not passion–are valued.

Step three:  Meet with your team, one-on-one regularly–with an agenda.

This is going to explode your business.  Have a short agenda, say ten questions that you ask every week (ie. What challenges did you face this week?  What was most rewarding? What are your goals?  What actions will you take to accomplish them, etc.)  This process is going to give you insight into issues that are growing on your team. It is also going to open your eyes to opportunities for creativity and growth.  Whenever you make your team accountable to their actions you are creating opportunities.  And the critical part in meeting weekly is your feedback.  Offer quick responses to what you would find helpful to accomplish goals.  Explain what is hindering their results.  20 minutes a week because they come with the form already done!  You are already spending countless hours now solving problems, so why not schedule one-on-one meetings to direct opportunities and growth?

Opportunities are everywhere in the workplace.  These are the light-bulbs that are shining bright, but if you are constantly picking up the duds and trying to recharge them, the brightest ones on your team begin to lose their enthusiasm and will eventually jump ship. It is important to remember these three things:

1. Redirect your complainers to solve their own problems.
2. Focus on your performers.
3. Schedule regular weekly meetings for feedback and direction.

What actions are you going to take this week based on these insights?

 

Source: Photo IStock
             Reality-Based Leadership by Cy Wakeman

business, customers, Design, Marketing

In Your Face Branding

218393_1_600

I think you can guess from the bottle that this is milk, and guess what? It’s yummy!

Simple design, colors that attract the eye, splashing graphic.  It is all there to reach out and grab your attention from a shelf stocked thousands of products with same-old same-old packaging.  Square cardboard containers with milk….Beware, there is a new kid in town.

In a world where products have less than 30 seconds to capture our attention today, this is where graphic designers are going. Thinking out of the box, and with milk this one is really out of the box, and BAM, hit us with eye-catching, emotional images that get us to lay down the dollar.  Now, not too many consumers today remember the glass milk bottle, but images are popping up all over to recall the days of milk delivery.  Yummy?  Why of course, it says it right on the bottle!  Cool colors, and I don’t mean hip, I mean, cold and cool.  It has everything necessary to capture the attention of a new generation of milk drinkers who are all going vegan.  “Maybe this milk thing is worth a try?” they may ask themselves. (Well that might be a stretch, but you know what I mean)

cookie-packaging-design

OK, memories again.  Easy-Bake-Oven anyone?  Sure, every girl dreamed of one when she was seven, so why not bring back the current, grown-up version?  I personally love the snicker doodles, since they were the first thing I ever baked in “Home Economics” class.  But I do not know a single person, other than my Dad, who even knows what a snicker doodle is!  Who is this being marketed too?  40+ nostalgic?  Or are we looking to capture a generation of people who are not sure what that big, aluminum machine is next to the kitchen sink?  (oh, we cook in that thing….)  I love the idea.  It is cookies using the brilliant and easy to use pizza box packaging.  About time, right?

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I saved the best, and most enduring for last.  Nothing new, but why mess with the tried and true.  Images speak to the heart.  We are so lost in our smart phones while walking down isles that when we glance up, for just a second, our eyes capture what we really need and desire.  Images.  “Oh, yeah,” says our brain.  “Fluffy needs a bath!”  Reach up, find the image that resonates with you….Bam.  Done.

Our eyes capture millions of images in milla-seconds.  Feed it.  There is no guarantee the product will outlast the solid brands, but if it has a good product within the packaging–with a realistic price–people will keep buying it.  Sadly many of these boutique brands today end up on TJMaxx shelves with red stickers on them, but they do make for a good holiday gift.

Is is trending?  or is it going to be the trend?  How do you think designers should approach packaging?

Design Bear
www.designbsquared.com

business, customers, Design, Marketing, Social Media

Small Business Marketing

Inc Magazine published a great infographic today.

20140214_MarketinTools_N_27183

It confirms what we all feared….drum roll….the old rules of marketing still apply.
*sigh

What?  No Facebook?  No Twitter?

Well, yes, but take a moment to remember the old rules.

Word of Mouth, Customer Remarks 86%
27e7a7a

Of course, in today’s tech world, word of mouth might be on Facebook or Yelp, but it is the review of a person who has experienced your product or service.  I meet people all of the time who have never heard of Yelp, or they say “I am not a restaurant so why should I bother?”  Well that doesn’t cut it anymore.  Dentists, Malls, Gas Stations, Graphic Design Studios, and even Restaurants, get reviewed through social media on Yelp.  I use Yelp to help me get addresses and directions…it is much faster than google by a long shot!  It matters.  Pay attention and respond to what your customers are saying.  Make it part of your business and  the happy customers will review you too.

Networking with Other Businesses 53%
Networking

I know, we all hate new situations.  Sweat and discomfort.  We gotta do it.  Just remember to do it regularly and correctly.  I just love it when a business owner goes out without business cards.  I have mentioned before why I think business cards are so important, but if you are going to meet other business owners, this would be networking 101.  But, even before you stuff that card in your bag, you need to make it a habit to go out and network, and not just with groups of people you like!  There are so many networking groups that it would take a full eight hours a day to get through them all.  LinkedIn Groups, Meetups, Local Chambers, local everything for that matter.  Just get a newspaper (yes the kind with black and white ink) and you will find several groups in your neighborhood that meet regularly.  Just attend.  Then attend again.  Smile, listen, shake hands, and hand out your business card.  It is human contact in a very non-contact world. You just need one new customer a month to make a difference.

Advertising – print, booklet, radio, etc. 52%

printed_brochure_not_dead_yet

Despite what the makers of Kindle want us to think, Print is NOT DEAD.  In fact, there are tons of studies in the tourism industry that highlight how important that take home tri-fold brochure is to the plans we make, or don’t make.  Plans are created and changed by good print pieces.  Once that brochure is made, you can follow it up with an interesting booklet–your story perhaps, and then if its possible, talk with the radio people and get some exposure.  Reading off the side of the cereal box is still accepted practice at breakfast.  We think with our eyes first, so have something to give out.  We all get stuck at the dentist, the train is delayed, the cab ride is stuck in traffic.  Our phones are not the only thing people read.  Place a nice ad once in awhile.  Consult a graphic person of course, and then do it.  It works.

Direct Mail or Email 45%
direct-mail

Most people hate writing.  It is a lost art really.  But nothing resonates more with people than something written.  Think out of the box too.  What would you like to read?  What gets you to open your mail?  Which things do you open first? Pay attention to things that work, and the things that don’t.  Model yourself after those.  But remember, writing can only capture us for so long.  You need a compelling beginning to keep us occupied for 2 minutes.  Throw in an image or two.  Make us laugh.  Have white space to guide us through your piece.  And of course, use good typography!  Apple knew the secrets.  One main font, maybe two colors, readable and legible.  Fancy does not keep our interest.  Learn the basics if you are doing it yourself.

Social Media 41%
Digital-marketing-services

Of course everything comes back to social media.  It is the core of the business world today.  But behind it are people.  People writing, people responding, people serving, people expressing their views.  If you are not using one or two social media sites to promote yourself, you are missing business.  For every person who says they found you there, I am sure there are several more who just didn’t tell you.  That is how social media works.  Its why “check in” offers are so successful.  Its the coupon of the new millennium.

The last is for all the old veterans who are determined NOT to accept Social Media Marketing.  Its fun if you would just stop being right and move on.  But hey, that is a whole other topic all together.

Design Bear
http://www.designbsquared.com

business, Design, Marketing, Social Media

Do You Have A Map?

 

multiple-signs1

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

After working with small business owners around the country, I hate to say this, but I am certain that this is their business strategy!

Whether they are following the pack, or remembering what their father did when he ran the company, or worse, what they read in college in the 80’s; small business owners need a clear map in order to succeed.  And success can be defined as just one extra customer a week, but without  clear goal and plan, just waiting for things to happen is like trying to figure out which way to turn at that sign above!

Social Media Strategy begins with a calendar.  It is a plan, written out, viewed with perspective, and guided by the mission of the business. Sometimes, it is the cart before the horse (with the horse being the business plan.)  No matter how it happens, using a social media calendar will force you to look at your business with clear goals in mind.

Here is a calendar idea I found and modified to meet my own needs:

social media calendar-DB2-template-1

 

First, looking out over the whole month you can see where you are going.

Second, you can delete items that you are not going to use.  I know that this one makes most small business owners happy. “Twitter and Facebook posts in one day?!” they are thinking. “When will I find time to do that?”

Start with one item.  Facebook is easy because you can schedule posts.  Choose topics that are important to your business.

If you own a school, you might want to highlight the monthly lesson goals.  If you own a restaurant, how about a specific seasonal food category.  Even if you are not cooking that food item, people want to get information from people they like….they did “like” you, right?  well then give them something to enjoy.

Look ahead at the month.  Take a pencil and write out some ideas.  Think of articles you read and saved, quotes about food or education.  If you like them, your “friends” will like them.

Themes
I love having a theme.  It makes things more fun for people.  Look at your calendar…it has a picture above it–a theme of sorts to explain how that month will be.  Snowmen for January, fireworks for July, beaches for August…you get the point.  So pick a theme for your business month.

As a dentist you might want to highlight teeth cleaning.  Toothpaste, brushes, floss, that new water sucking machine you invested in.  It is all part of your business, and if you make it accessible to your customers, they will enjoy the humor in a good spit cup photo.  It makes you real, approachable and most importantly, likeable.

dentist-cartoon

Posts
You know what these are, yes and it involves writing stuff.  UGH!  Well one of the most overlooked posts are not words at all, rather they are pictures and business owners miss this opportunity a lot.  Do you make organic juice?  Do you have hand lettered menus?  Is your receptionist’s smile the absolute best?  Well, TAKE A PICTURE!  Posts that include an image are 60% more likely to be read.  So get out your phone and snap something–up close and personal.  Post it.  Make it a goal each week to take a picture in your office.  Write it out, do it.  Download Instagram and make it fun (plus you get another digital social media site that will attract attention.)
fb posts

Actions
These are for your LinkedIn profile.  You need to interact here too.  How about making it a goal to post an article a week?  It makes you look interesting, knowledgeable and helpful.  Who cares if no one “likes” it?  This is about your digital imprint.  Are you out there?  HELLO?  Just one or two posts a month is all you need to begin to see your business grow in an internet world.
linkedIn

Time
Pinterest is a beast in itself.  If you have ever lost several hours, or one long weekend to the temptation of pinning images of puppies and beach wedding ideas, then you know why I have “time’ here.  You must have a Pinterest account for your business.  It is not optional.  Take a weekend and set it up, or hire someone to do it for you, but it MUST be done.  Once set up, you just need to download the APP on your phone and then take the “time” to post.  Do it on the commuter train, at the doctors office, at the PTA meeting, in the bathroom.  Just do it.  Pick a board and take the week to fill it up.  Add things to your blog just so you can pin.  Devote time.

http://www.pinterest.com/bearmarketing/color/
http://www.pinterest.com/bearmarketing/color/

Topic
Topics are not themes.  Topics are things that relate to your business that your clients and potential clients will find interesting.  Pick one or two and then seek out content for it.  Gum Disease–find cartoons, Dr. Oz articles, anything relating and not to technical on topics to post.  Schedule time to find this stuff.  Put in in your desktop folder marked Content Ideas or better yet, save it to your Delicious.com site for use later.  It will be fun, and you might just find yourself reading all those newsletters you subscribe too and just delete in your inbox!

delicious

Print out two months in a row and schedule simple tasks.  Start out small and just begin to strategize.

roadmap

 

Where is your business going?