Wednesday

Actionable Takeaway: Four Professional Social Media Commerce Secrets

Here are four marketing strategies you don't want you to forget. Commerce is your goal — but "social" will get your business front and center with prospective customers. Include videos and engaging content on your website, and interact on other sites and blogs.

  • Keep your website fresh: With all the pressure about posting in social media, keep in mind that ultimately you need to direct visitors to a core website where they can learn all about your business — and make purchases. Create a web presence that reflects your business and your company culture. Make it accessible and engaging.
  • Include instructional videos: Build a library of Facebook videos or YouTube uploads that pertain to your business and demonstrate your products. Link to these videos from your website and post them on your Facebook business page.
  • Friend and tag other businesses on Facebook: It's just as easy to tag friends on your Facebook personal page and fans on your business page, but you can also tag other business pages as well. See the screenshot above. Go to friendly businesses and "Like As Your Page." Be social — and help spread the word — by including other businesses in your posts.
  • Make social media fun: Keep the social conversation going. Post more often on a couple of sites instead of posting rarely on many. Aside from posting relevant content regularly (and not self-promoting all the time), reply to those who post to your accounts. Answer and ask. The most desirable social media personas are those who interact regularly.
Let's talk on Twitter! You'll find more tips in my book pictured below, "Social Media Commerce for Dummies"

Friday

The Reader is My Customer: Social Media Commerce For Dummies


by Marsha Collier

To many people, it's not news when I come out with a new book, I write books for a living; I don't write books to get speaking engagements. What most people don't realize is that writing and researching is my passion. Readers can go on the web and get "common knowledge" anywhere. My secret sauce is the pressure I put on myself to delve deeper. There will be no mention of a hot new tool unless I personally have tried it - and have checked out the company who provides the service. Nor will I tout expensive solutions, I know small business needs to run a tight ship. Money is time - and time is money.

The reader is my customer. In over a decade of writing on e-commerce and customer service, I feel a strong responsibility about what I write. I don't want to steer anyone in the wrong direction. When you read one of my books for small business (whether the book is directed at beginners or advanced readers), know you are getting honest and well-thought out advice. My books reflect hundreds of hours into investigation into the tools, strategies and ideas in each book. I try to update my books to a new edition every 18 months, so the information is always fresh.

I especially enjoy, over the years, getting emails from my readers. I put my email address in all of my books - even back in the 90s when people thought I was nuts for doing so. Readers keep me apprised of their successes and failures.

Below is the first review of the book that appeared on Amazon (I'd like to thank "Dad of Divas" whoever he is). I hope you'll give my latest book a look. I think it might clear up some social media misconceptions for you. You will find it here.

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Thank you to everyone who has read my books. If you've never read one, I think this book might be a great place to start. (Here is the press release from my publisher - I've never thought of myself as a "blockbuster)!

Wiley Announces Latest Book by Bestselling Author Marsha Collier - Social Media Commerce For Dummies®

Blockbuster author Marsha Collier empowers brand owners to capture customers, sales and revenue using social media
Social Media, For Dummies, Marsha Collier, Social Media Commerce, Dummies
Social Media Commerce For Dummies
Indianapolis, IN (PRWEB) December 13, 2012
Today, the world’s bestselling reference series, For Dummies® announces Social Media Commerce For Dummies (Wiley, 978-1-118-29793-3, November 2012) to help brands and small businesses understand why social media is important to their bottom line and how to adapt their online presence to include social commerce.
The undisputed expert on eBay and a recognized authority on social media marketing, author Marsha Collier delivers another one-of-a-kind For Dummies guide that introduces readers to social media commerce and explains how to use social media to provide better customer service, generate sales online and build a customer base. Social Media Commerce For Dummies helps readers determine where the best market reach opportunities exist, which sites to integrate with, and more.
"Social media enables small business -- even professionals -- the opportunity to compete on a level playing field with big brands. After much research, I've found the strategies in this book will change the marketing game as we know it,” said Collier.
Social Media Commerce For Dummies is now available for purchase online and at retailers nationwide in both print and all e-book formats. For a full list of retailers, visit http://www.dummies.com/buy/9781118297933. Additionally, the Cheat Sheet on Dummies.com includes helpful hints for social media commerce including useful Facebook keyboard shortcuts, Marsha’s Social Media Commerce Toolkit and more. For additional information about this book and related For Dummies products, visit http://www.dummies.com.
About the Author
Marsha Collier (Los Angeles, CA) is the world's bestselling author on eBay topics. Her books combine for over a million copies in print. Leading titles include eBay For Dummies, Starting an eBay Business For Dummies, and eBay Business All-in-One For Dummies. She has recently branched into social media topics, authoring Facebook & Twitter For Seniors For Dummies and The Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide. Marsha is also an in-demand speaker and trainer who appears at over 50 events per year.
About For Dummies®
After 20 years, more than 250 million copies printed, and millions of e-books downloaded, For Dummies is the world’s bestselling reference series, well known for enriching people’s lives by making knowledge accessible in a fun and easy way. Loyal customers around the globe agree that For Dummies is “more than a publishing phenomenon … [it is] a sign of the times,” [The New York Times]. With more than 1,800 active topics covering everything from health to history, music to math, sports to self-help, technology to travel, For Dummies is dedicated to Making Everything Easier. The For Dummies brand presence continues to expand wherever there is a need to know, including e-books, mobile apps, e-learning courses, a corporate custom publishing program, a robust consumer website and a licensed product line that includes consumer electronics, culinary, crafts, video, software, musical instrument packs, home improvement, automotive, game and more. For more information, visit Dummies.com. For Dummies is a branded imprint of Wiley.

Sunday

Want to Write A Book? Guy Kawasaki's APE Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book is a must read

As one who makes a career as a book author, people come to me with a book idea. They ask a bevy of questions: Should I write it? How do I write it? Do I need an agent? How do I get a publisher? Although folks think I am a fount of knowledge on the subject, these questions cannot simply be answered in a one hour phone call.
Guy Kawasaki’s new book, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur - How to Publish a Book, answers every query and more. Guy’s words mirror my own experiences and add actionable tasks and tools to guide you through the process of writing and publishing.  I will no longer dodge requests from budding authors; I will just recommend they read his book. If you want to be an author in today’s digital world, this book is a must have.

As Guy points out, writing is a very personal endeavor.  It is not an easy art; not for everyone. Writing a book takes discipline and organization -- on top of creativity. The prolific story-teller, Paul Gallico, best known for “The Poseidon Adventure” (although my favorite of his is "The Silent Miaow”) said “It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader.” Even with my non-fiction I feel responsibility to the reader; I bleed to be sure my words are clear and engage the reader along the way.

By reading APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur - How to Publish a Book, you may not avoid the bleeding, but Guy keeps you from making rookie mistakes. His top notch tips on producing a book and self-publishing are worth the read. So much so, that reading this book has convinced me to update and self-publish my great aunt’s French Normandy cookbook (a solid old time seller in Europe).

If you’ve ever thought of writing a book, you must read Guy’s latest work.

Wednesday

Social Media Policy: Why You Should Have One and What to Consider When Creating One

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If you intend to promote your brand and interact with customers through social networks and social media channels – and I highly recommend that you do – you must realize your employees will be there as well, with their own personal accounts. There’s no reason not to encourage your employees to explore and engage in social media communities online, but remember, they are also the face of your company to all their friends and associates – as well as to the customers they know. What they say online or the type of photos they post on their personal accounts may reflect, albeit in a roundabout way, on your business. When they directly talk about you or your business, it will have a cause and effect relationship.
It is your job to guide your business’s online culture and protect your brand’s online persona. Provide guidelines for your employees in the form of a Social Media Policy. This written document, similar to other codes of conduct you have for employees, will let them know what type of behavior you expect from them online and any limits as to what business-related information they can share in the public stream.
Here’s how one of our nation’s biggest companies handled it. Back in 2009, before most people thought about setting guidelines, Adam Brown broke ground by developing a 4R social strategy (review, respond, record, redirect) and spearheaded the development of social media guidelines for the Coca-Cola Company. Aside from designating a code of conduct for their official online spokespeople, Coca-Cola also laid out specific principles for their associates. By taking a look at what Coca Cola deemed appropriate, perhaps it will help you forge a set of standards for your own employees. From Coca-Cola’s Online Social Media Principles, the guidelines below with my explanations outline expectations for any online activities – personal or professional – where employees reference the company or have made their association with the company known.
  1. “Adhere to the Code of Business Conduct and other applicable policies” – Coca Cola has several policies regarding specific business activities, including general conduct, information protection and insider trading. All employees (from the CEO to interns) are expected to follow these when mentioning online that they are employees of Coca Cola. 
  2. “You are responsible for your actions” – This point is a reminder to exercise sound judgment and common sense when posting online because employees will be held responsible if their actions negatively impact the business or its image.
  3. “Be a ‘scout’ for compliments and criticism” – This guideline acknowledges that employees are “vital assets for monitoring the social media landscape.” Coca-Cola even supplies an in-house email for forwarding both positive and negative comments employees observe online, so they can feel confident negative situations will be addressed without feeling like they must be the one to take action.  
  4. “Let the subject matter experts respond to negative posts” – This point stresses, again, that should employees encounter a potentially damaging post about the business, the post should be referred to those trained and approved as official online spokespeople to handle responding.
  5. “Be conscious when mixing your business and personal lives” – This principle recognizes that personal and business personas often intersect online and reminds employees that everything that is posted online – even when channels or profiles are “private” or “protected” – can still ultimately be seen by anyone at any time through sharing, forwarding and general unintentional carelessness.