Social Media

Tips For Rocking Your Facebook Group

Facebook Groups are all the rage right now. If you don’t have one attached to your Facebook Business Page, now may be the ideal time to get it going. Let’s face it, we are all struggling with the constant change of the algorithms of Facebook and looking for the best ways to connect with our customers. Here are some tips on how you can keep the group active.

BE PRESENT

I cannot stress this tip enough. Often times business owners wonder why they are not reaching their customers through Facebook marketing and the answer is often that they are not present. Posting one thing, once a week is not going to help you reach your customers. Facebook recognizes the fact that you are asleep at the wheel and therefore, does not show your content to others on the social media platform.  Make it a point to have a minimum of one daily post to keep your group active. The North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club Facebook Group is an active group that shares relevant content related to social media.

Social Media Thrivent

ASK QUESTIONS

Ask questions that are related to your business. For example, if you own a Tupperware business, your Facebook Group would love to learn more about food storage. You could ask, “How long would you keep a container full of chili in your fridge?” This opens up the doorway for discussion about food safety, food storage and allows you, the business owner, an opportunity to share your knowledge. Again, you will need to be present to respond to the comments and questions your Facebook Group Members respond to.

SHARE RELEVANT CONTENT

The members of your Facebook Group expect you to be the expert. Share current content that is relevant to your industry. This can be an article, video, blog post or photo that relates to your industry. When you share the content of others, it shows that you are always learning what is new to your industry and willing to share what others are producing. After all, wouldn’t you like others to share your content? You can share from your Facebook Business Page, as this is a good way to build community. Keep in mind, that you don’t want to share everything from your Facebook Business Page, share the content that will make the most difference.  In the world of social media, it’s important to remember that everything that goes around, will come back around.

If you have been asleep while trying to lead your Facebook Group, I’d love to hear how you will be changing things up. If you are present, ask questions and share relevant content on a regular basis, your Facebook Group will grow and you will quickly become the expert in your field.

Iowa Bloggers Conference

Tips For Attending The Iowa Bloggers Conference: 2017

 

There’s a blog conference coming to my hometown and I’m excited to be a part of it. Mason City, Iowa is not a large metropolitan area, it’s approximately 26,000 people and offers stunning architecture and art experiences. The Iowa Bloggers Conference is going to be held in the offices of the Mason City Chamber of Commerce, 9 North Federal, in the heart of downtown. The fun will start the evening before, for a smaller get together for those wishing to arrive the evening before.

BUSINESS CASUAL

One of the biggest worries that people have when they attend an event, such as a bloggers conference; the biggest hangup seems to be what to wear. Remember that first impressions can often be last impressions, so my advice is to dress for business casual. This can be a nice pair of jeans paired with a sweater and/or top. If you want to wear a jacket and dress pants, by all means, go for it. But know, that it’s most important to dress for you! When you are comfortable, you will enjoy the day much more.

Rascal Flatts

LODGING

The Hampton Inn & Suites is our host hotel. It’s located a couple miles from our venue, but easy to get to.  This is one of Mason City’s newer hotels and you will be greeted with smiles and will have a hot, complimentary breakfast. Email: HomeGrownSocialMedia@gmail.com for a discount code for the hotel.

MENTORSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE

There are not many places where you can book an appointment with a mentor. We have two mentors at the Iowa Bloggers Conference, available for you. Jody Halsted & Miriah Whitehurst are experts at what they do. If you want to kick up your blogging game to the next level, we would encourage you to reach out and book a session with one or both of them.

FROM BEGINNER TO ADVANCED BLOGGERS

We have geared this conference towards bloggers or want to be bloggers that want to do things the right way. Each presenter will offer tidbits of information that beginner bloggers, as well as advanced bloggers, will find value in.  For myself, the networking opportunities that a blogging conference provides, are simply priceless! Come ready to learn and you will find yourself eager to apply the things that you learned while at the conference.

BRING BUSINESS CARDS

Some people don’t like carrying business cards around, but in reality, they still work. If you are a beginning blogger, make sure that you have some way for others to stay in contact with you. Business cards may be your answer.

I look forward to seeing YOU at the Iowa Bloggers Conference. Do you need a ticket? Here you go!

http://homegrownsocialmedia.com/iowa-bloggers-conference/  (VIP tickets are still available, as of today)

Note: Sponsorships & Tables are available for business owners & destinations to showcase their community.

 

Barn at Enchanted Acres

How To Keep Your Seasonal Business Active On Social Media 365 Days Of The Year

Seasonal businesses are seasonal. This does not mean that your business goes to sleep in regards to social media during your offseason. Here are some tips on how you can keep the conversation going, all year long.

BE PRESENT

Many of you have heard me say this over and over. It does matter! If you are not present, your customers will move on to your competition. Customers want to know that you are serious about your business and they want to know that you care. If you own a Christmas tree business, you are more than likely ramping up your social media game by the time October rolls around. For example, a Christmas tree farm waters their trees, they may have to mow around the trees, and they may even offer seasonal merchandise. A great way to drum up some conversation in the offseason is to ask questions that relate to your business. You, the business owner, can take that information and apply that to your marketing and products for the next season

ENCOURAGE REVIEWS

Encourage your past customers to leave you reviews during the offseason. You can incorporate this into your email signature. Incorporate your asking for a review in a blog post and share it through all of your social media channels. You may need to lead the conversion by asking, “What is your favorite memory of your day with us?” or “Share your pictures of your day with us!”

PROVIDE HELPFUL CONTENT

During the offseason, you can gain a lot of traction by sharing helpful information. For example, if you own a boating business, you could write blog posts about tips for storing your boat, tips for taking your boat our of storage, tips for keeping things nice in your boat while it’s in storage, or even offering stories about the best lakes and streams for boating in your area. If you own a pumpkin patch, such as Enchanted Acres, you may want to talk about how to choose the ultimate pumpkin during the offseason.

Enchanted Acres Iowa

Most importantly, make the time to grow your business during the offseason. The people that you meet along the way, will quite often turn into your biggest fans.

 

Laptop and Phone Social Media

Tips For Using Facebook For Your Church

Facebook is evolving and continues to evolve at a very rapid pace. Many churches have not hopped on the Facebook train due to budget constraints or the fact that they don’t have members that can run the page. In our world today, a Facebook Business Page is part of marketing. Churches do have to market themselves and Facebook needs to be included in that plan. Here are some tips for using Facebook for your church.

PROFESSIONALISM

The first thing that church members tell me, is the fact that they do not have money budgeted for a Facebook Business Page. Do not give the “ok” for the 13-year-old in your congregation to be in charge of Facebook or hire someone because they are “cheap.” A 13-year-old barely crosses the “legal” line to be using this social media platform and cheap, speaks for itself.  Hire a professional that understands marketing and why your church has a Facebook page. In an ideal world, this person is a church member and would love to “give” their time to this. Keep in mind, running a Facebook Business Page is more than posting status updates, it takes a lot of time and attention.

PROMOTE EVENTS

Churches have activities going on every day. You can post the activities that are happening in the status updates on your Facebook page. If you are posting pictures that include kids, be sure you have the parents sign a consent form before you share their child’s photo online. Keep in mind, your events should be welcoming for members and future members. Ideally, an event should be created through Facebook and then shared to your church’s Facebook page. You can then share the event to your Facebook page. Events do show up daily in reminders through Facebook. Is a Thrivent event on your calendar? Share, share and share!

Social Media Thrivent

INVITE MEMBERS TO PARTICIPATE

Let your church members know that they are welcome to share on your church’s Facebook page. Relevant content from happy church members is always attractive.

MONITOR THE PAGE

The page needs to be monitored regularly. This is something that needs to be discussed when the page is off and running. There’s nothing more frustrating for a church member to inquire about something through Facebook and to not get a response. This is where your church has the opportunity to shine and be a resource for people.

If you and your church are getting your feet wet in the world of Facebook marketing. We have put together a step by step guide for beginner Facebook users. It’s a class that is accessible on your time and your pace. Mos importantly, hop on Facebook and watch your church grow! It’s a tool that you can have in your marketing toolbox, so why not invest today? It’s an easy way to reach new members and a great way to stay connected with your current members.

desk black and white

Building Your Online Community Organically

There’s a lot of discussion about building community organically or paying to build that community. In today’s social media world, it seems that it’s all about the numbers. Truth be told, the numbers do matter. We live in a society where the number of friends, followers and likes often determine if we do business with a brand or company. Which leads us to ponder the thought of, is it possible to build a community on an organic level? Of course it is! Here are some tips to help you build your community organically.

BE PRESENT

This should be simple, but it becomes difficult as we get busy going about our day to day lives. If you want to grow your online community, it’s a fact that you do need to be present. I often hear business owners complain that their online communities are shrinking or not growing. A glance at their online activity will show that they have been non existent. Take some time to be present and you will be pleasantly surprised at the growth within your online community.

POST SHAREABLE CONTENT

With Facebook’s Algorithms changing so frequently, it’s important to keep track of your reach. For people with smaller Facebook pages, under 30,000 “likes”, shareable content will help your reach.

calendar for editorial post

If you share from a Business Facebook Page with more follower than your page, your reach should be very good. Keep in mind, the content you are sharing,  should be of interest to your followers. Try it and see if it works for you.

ASK QUESTIONS

Engage your community with questions. Facebook Business Pages and Facebook Groups will grow when you involve your community in the growth. Most importantly, be ready to engage with your followers when you ask a question. There’s nothing worse than asking a question and the community goes dormant.

As always, if you are like most, you enjoy doing business with those you like. When you begin to have conversations with people online, your community will grow. Go ahead, give these things a try and let me know how they worked for you.

 

 

 

 

Fearless Tractor

Tips For Marketing Your Small Town Event

Small towns have many events that raise a lot of money to stay within the community. Here are some tips to help you get the best ROI out of using social media to market your event.

BE CONSISTENT WITH SOCIAL MEDIA

Being consistent with social media is of the utmost importance. Here is where you can connect with new sponsorships for the current and next year. When you are consistent in your social media postings, people begin to watch for your updates.

TAG SPONSORS

If your sponsors are using social media, be sure you tag them through social media. Often times, they will not respond, but it’s a small token of appreciation that you can offer them. Other fans will see their business and hopefully thank them for their support of your event, by spending a few dollars with their business.

NTPA Pull

PARTNER WITH A LOCAL RADIO PERSONALITY

Local radio folks can drive a lot of people to your event. They understand the importance of social media and will often share your event through their personal social media pages. A conversation on the radio can go miles for you. Tip: When doing an interview with a local radio show, take a selfie and share it to your social media pages.

HASHTAGS

Have a hashtag for your event. Make sure the hashtag is used throughout social media and included on handouts. A  lot of people are looking to use a hashtag on the photos they share through social media, so why not put them to work for you? The best part, there is no charge to you the event operator. Tip: Paint the hashtag on a 2×4 and distribute them throughout the grounds of your event.

Be sure to utilize your Facebook Business Page for your event, as well as an event page. Share things from your Business Page to your Event Page. This will help you track your insights and numbers. When you post directly to a Facebook Event Page, you will not receive the demographics, etc. that are often vital to events.

Most importantly, have fun and enjoy your event! When you have an event and it’s been running for 50+ years, it’s often hard to see that things need to change. Marketing through social media is one of the biggest changes that have occurred during that time frame and provide challenges for those that don’t want to change. Be the change, make things happen and introduce new people to your event through the use of social media.

Blogging

Tips For Working From Home Without Feeling Isolated

Working from home can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences. If you are someone who enjoys a challenge and the opportunity to set your own schedule, working from home is a good solution for you. I have worked from home for the past decade and I have some tips that can help you enjoy your work from home experience.

ONLINE NETWORKING

Working from home gives you an opportunity to meet many new people online. Use this opportunity to grow your business and make real online connections. Twitter is where I have made more business connections than any other social media platform. Facebook groups, as well as LinkedIn groups, give you more opportunity to make more online connections than ever before. Use your online networking time wisely and you will reap the rewards. The best tip I can give you in regards to online networking is to take those online relationships offline and let the magic happen.

GET DRESSED DAILY

Many would argue that they work fine in pajamas all day, not this entrepreneur. When I get up and get dressed, I am ready to conquer the world. When I sit around in pajamas, not so. There’s something about feeling confident about being dressed and “meeting” a new client from my home, would you agree?

EXERCISE

Make exercise a part of your day. If I find myself dragging throughout the day, I go for a walk, hop in the car to run an errand or tackle a room in my home that needs some attention. An hour of moving around will often reset my mind set, which will increase my daily productivity.

LOCAL NETWORKING GROUPS

Find a local networking group where you can have face to face conversations with like minded people. This could be through your local social media breakfast club or even hanging out in your local coffee shop.

Social Media Thrivent

The best thing about these two things, they are usually a free activity. Face to face conversations do matter and it’s up to you to make them happen. When you sit at home, buried in your office, those face to face, real life conversations will not happen. Skype is a great tool, but those face to face conversations still come out ahead in the long run.

INVEST IN YOUR BUSINESS

Invest in your business, it’s as simple as that. Conferences, training sessions and anything you can do to help you be a better business leader in your arena, go for it. The real life meetups have always helped me and reminded me of how important people are in my life.

Working from home is a great opportunity for many of us, so use your time wisely. Network online and then build upon those relationships offline. There is no reason to feel isolated when you work from home in our ever-connected world of today.

So, tell me! Do you feel isolated working from home or have you found ways to avoid this awkward feeling?

 

Laptop and Phone Social Media

Tips For Writing Your First Ebook

If you cruise through Amazon, you know that ebooks exist in our crazy, busy world of today. Have you read an ebook lately? I’m guessing you have. Many people are reading books on their digital devices and it looks to be a fun space to be in. I do know that people want things simple, straight forward and to the point. Ebooks do fulfill that desire.

I do not declare to be the world’s expert on writing ebooks, but I can tell you that I have written four of them and found them very easy to publish. I have a few tips to help you navigate through the process as you write your first one, so you do not make the same mistakes that I did.

desk black and white

 

START WRITING

If you have not written anything down, the first step is to write! If you are a blogger, you may even have an ebook in a blog post or two. Most importantly, start!

KDP (KINDLE DIRECT PUBLISHING) IS YOUR FRIEND

KDP, self publishing through Amazon is very easy to use. They literally walk you through the process of publishing, step by step. Have a title for your book in mind and you will be set. I sat on my first ebook for several months because I’m not a graphic design person, and I failed to realize that KDP does that for you! They will design a pretty cover for you, in less than one minute. Yes, one minute! I had read online that people struggled with placing their own photos on the cover, but after publishing my fourth ebook I realized it was very simple to do.

BE PATIENT

Once you have everything completed, you may have to wait up to 72 hours for your ebook to be available for purchase. The ebooks I have written have all been available for purchase within 6 hours. I’m thinking it depends on the length of the book and if you have photos in the ebook.

If you are looking for a new way to reach new people in your business, I would highly suggest entering the world of ebooks. It’s another way to share your knowledge with others and offers you the opportunity to make a little money along the way.

So, what are you waiting for? START!

I started and this is what I now have in my ebook portfolio. This library will grow rather rapidly, as it’s a fun way to share a story.

Top 10 Things To Do In Omaha, Nebraska

Top 10 Things To Do In Mason City, Iowa

Top 10 Things To Do In Clear Lake, Iowa

How To Start A Social Media Breakfast Club

 

December North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club

Growing Your Blog Is Easier Than Ever, Or So You Thought

There seems to be a misconception that growing a blog happens overnight. I entered into the blogosphere towards the end of 2008. At that time I had not jumped on any social media platforms. In fact, I had no idea what social media was or how it worked. I see and hear many people say, “I’m starting a blog and going to make a lot of money in a couple months.” I shake my head and think, “If you only knew.”

Blogging

I’m not going to tell you that people do not grow a blog quickly, as some do. In all reality, most bloggers learn skills and then find themselves marketable. It is work. For some reason, people think that bloggers lead a glamorous life of hanging out in the kitchen in pajamas all day, while building a following through the use of social media. It does not happen that way. Trust me, if you are only focusing on social media and not making real face to face connections, you will not be successful in this world of blogging. When you put yourself out there in your community, I can guarantee you will make connections that will be life changing, in a good way.

Social Media Thrivent

You may or may not like what I’m going to say, as this is a reality check for anyone in or wanting to enter the blogosphere.

BLOGGING IS WORK

If you are going to be successful growing your blog, you need to be present. This means you need to be writing, making videos and sharing through social media. You also need to be out networking to help you build the base of of your business. Nobody has ever said that building a business is easy, and I’m here to tell you that it is not.

BLOGGING IS ABOUT PEOPLE

Bloggers share their experiences to help people. If people weren’t around, there would be no audience. When conversations occur, business begins to flourish. When you offer a solution to a problem, your business will grow. People will find you, they will look up to you and respect your opinions. Write, make awesome videos, take great photos and share your passion. People will get to know you and relationships begin to form. Again, it’s all about the people, it’s not about you or social media.

books and blogging

BLOGGING IS NOT ABOUT LINK DROPPING

I see way too many new bloggers thinking that dropping links everywhere is going to take them to the top. It’s great to share content that others write, but what I see happening; is that bloggers are not focusing on the people. They seem to think that a blog will grow overnight through the use of social media. When you combine social media and meeting others in real life, that is when your blog will grow. Again, it’s called work.

When you become the expert in your arena, wonderful things will begin to happen with your blog. The time you have spent building on relationships, the social media breakfasts you attended and the networking events you invested in will take your blog to a new level. These ladies in North Iowa have been my inspiration to work harder every single day.

Sky Deck Bloggers

I can also tell you, that success looks different for everyone and it will look different from what you set out for it to look like. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be part of a business that is a media sponsor at the Women In Travel Summit in Milwaukee. This opportunity came out of face to face connections, it did not come from link dropping or staying in my kitchen 24/7. I met Lisa of The Walking Tourists, in person, and have not looked back since.

Lisa and Sara

Do you want to grow your blog? The best advice I can give you is to connect with a blogger that inspires you and meet up in person. Your blog and your life will be on a path that will take you to a level you never imagined to be possible. Think big and work hard! If I can do this, anyone can.

Editorial Calendar

Tips For Creating An Editorial Calendar That Works For You

If you are a writer or a social media account manager, you are very familiar with the term editorial calendar. The challenge seems to be implementing what you write down. Here are some tips to help you follow through with your editorial calendar and how you can have a successful experience using one.

EVERGREEN CONTENT

Depending on the type of business you are marketing, your evergreen content will vary around your business. Evergreen content can be used over and over. I often describe it as “generic” to people, as it’s something related to their business; yet pulls people in. It’s important to not use it too often, but it can be recycled through blog posts, social media and even put together as a program for an event you may be speaking at. I would place evergreen content onto your editorial calendar, when you feel like your content for the day is weak. A little extra juice with some evergreen content, can help with visibility of your busines.

CENTRALIZED CALENDAR

Have a centralized calendar for all people involved in the marketing of your business. This calendar can keep everyone on track and in check.

calendar for editorial post

If you know you have a topic that will take more than two days to share through social media, be sure to allot that amount of time on your calendar. An actual calendar that you write on, calendar on your phone or a shared google calendar may be what you need.

SCHEDULING SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

The best way to share through social media is to post everything live. If you do need to schedule, be sure to not use a third party app when using Facebook. It’s important to use Facebook’s scheduling tool to keep your algorithms in check. Make sure your notifications are set, so you know when a customer or potential customer engages through your social channels. Social media is all about engaging, it is not about link dropping. Hootsuite, Buffer and Co-schedule are three third party apps that many have success with. The quickest way to lose your fan base is to not be present in your social media. You need to be present and get those conversations rolling.

SOCIAL MEDIA POST SUGGESTIONS FOR YOUR EDITORIAL CALENDAR

Sunday: Share a tip for the upcoming week related to your business
Monday: Offer words of wisdom from one of the employees of your business, share a picture of people visiting your business and how you help them, or ask a question related to an upcoming event in your industry?
Tuesday: Share a picture of people working in your business
Wednesday: Fill in the blank status update. Example: If I were to purchase a heated thermal mug, I would take it with me to _____________. (Fill in the blank)
Thursday: Share a customer testimonial.
Friday: Offer an opportunity for your fans to engage with you by sharing a national news story related to your industry.
Saturday: Share a video related to your industry or better yet, share a Facebook Live video if possible.

Most importantly, be consistent with your social media presence.

KEEP YOUR CUSTOMER IN MIND

When putting your editorial calendar to use, make sure you always keep your customer in mind. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Would I want to see “that” on social media? If you can say yes, proceed. Your customer will guide you, when you listen to them.

Most importantly, stick to a schedule and put your thoughts to work for you. Those blog posts and social media posts will help you grow your business. Be consistent and know that you are making a difference.