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.

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.

How To Start A Social Media Breakfast Club

Are you someone that enjoys being a connector? A fun way to help connect people in your home town is to start a social media breakfast club. Here in my hometown of Mason City, Iowa we have been gathering to talk about social media for 3 1/2 years now. Our meetings are very simple and they bring people together. Each meeting is different an it’s not uncommon for us to focus on doing something good through social media for our community, as well.

Social Media Thrivent

Let’s face it, everyone is going this way and that way. Nobody wants to take the time to slow down and talk to their neighbors. Our North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club is just that. We talk to each other, we share stories and we also talk about social media. Some of us do have our smartphones out and others have a notepad and paper. But, the best part out of the day is that people are making new business connections.

When people connect with others, they have more self confidence and their communities begin to thrive. The most rewarding part of leading our social media group in North Iowa has been the fact that businesses are growing, out of the contacts that they are making at these monthly meetings. It’s not uncommon for an attendee to walk away with a “paid” gig in their pocket and a new friend or two.

My phone started ringing a year ago and it was then that I started to write my experience down. Several communities are now hosting their own social media breakfast clubs, as many started based out of the model we have in North Iowa. If you would like to start a social media breakfast club in your area, here you go How To Start A Social Media Breakfast Club is available for purchase at$2.99.

SM Breakfast Book Cover

As an entreprenuer, I have found that this is a great way to meet other people that are also working in their homes. Those that work from home are often longing for the opportunity to meet new people that think like they do, and this is the perfect opportunity. Go ahead, start your social media breakfast club and update me as to how it is going. I’d love to hear about it!

Tips For Networking At The Women In Travel Summit

The Women In Travel Summit is a conference where travelers and connectors unite. If you have not purchased your ticket to attend this year, I’d encourage you to do so here. I attended last year, and it’s fair to say that I made some connections that literally changed my career in the space of a travel blogger.

I would also like to invite 2017 Women In Travel Summit attendees to the Wanderful Happy Hour that Midwest Travel Bloggers is excited to be sponsoring!

Lisa and Sara

Join us for a drink and pizza on April 20th from 6-8 p.m.. Lisa, of The Walking Tourists, and I will be introducing you to six amazing midwest destinations that helped bring this event to fruition.

Here are some networking tips to help you get the biggest return on your investment.

ATTEND SESSIONS

There are several opportunities for you to hone in on your skills. From taking stellar photos to pitching magazines, there’s a lot to be learned while attending the Women In Travel Summit. The other neat thing about attending sessions is that you will meet someone new. Last year, I reconnected with Suzanne of Adventures of Empty Nesters, met Tam of Travels With Tam and Melody of WhereverImayroamblog. Guess what? We all four had something in common. We were all midlife travel bloggers. Fast forward to 2017, Suzanne and myself, along with Anne Parris of Mildlife Boulevard, are on a panel at the summit talking about how you can soar while writing travel in midlife.

Suzanee, Anne, Sara

Again, attend the sessions, that is where the magic can happen. The four of us now have a private Facebook group where we encourage each other and plan events together.

MENTOR SESSIONS OFFER 1:1 MEETINGS

I attended a mentor session last year at the Women In Travel Summit and again, it helped me grow my blog. This year, I am honored to be offering mentor sessions to attendees.

Sara WITS Speaker Badge

Local is very important to me. If you are wanting to step up your game on the local front, I have tips and some secrets to help you be the rock star blogger in your hometown. Want to start your own social media breakfast club, I’ve shared how to do it and now it’s up to you to start!

You can register here to sign up for one or two of these sessions. Again, by stepping out of my comfort zone while attending WITS and booking a 1:1 session, I was able to take things up a couple notches.

SMILE AND OFFER A HANDSHAKE

A smile and an occasional handshake go miles when it comes to meeting new people. The last time you met someone were you smiling or hanging your head low? Raise your head, smile, and offer your hand. It’s simple, yet very easy to do.

These are three very simple things that you can do while attending the Women In Travel Summit in Milwaukee. I hope to see you there and I’ll be ready to shake your hand!

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media

Tips For Reaching New People Through Your Business

Business owners are always looking for new ways to reach new people. Social media, in my opinion, is one of the simplest ways to do this. Find people that have the same passions as you and start talking. Yes, social media is a place to talk. Have a conversation on a Facebook Business Page, send an open tweet through Twitter, and comment on Instagram photos. When you have a conversation through social media, you are having a conversation with people.

North Iowa Bloggers Tweeting
Bloggers having an online conversation with others about their experience at a local restaurant.

I often find that business owners have a “private” Twitter account and my advice is to make it public. You will not find new people with any private social media account. People want to know who they are doing business with and why they should do business with you. They will quickly learn who you are through the things that you post online. Remember, as a business owner, people are watching.

Once you have developed an online relationship, take the relationship offline. Meet up at a local coffee shop or meet up at a conference. Chances are you have a lot in common and you will find that you both have the same needs and desires. This is where your entrepreneurial skills comes into play. This is an opportunity to brainstorm as to how you can partner together and grow your businesses together. Let’s face it, when you have someone cheering you on in your court, it’s a lot easier to meet even more new people.

Find a local social media gathering. Here in North Iowa, we have the North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club that meets the 4th Wednesday of every month from 8:30- 10:00 a.m.. The best tip I can give you, is to attend! Have a conversation with attendees and then meet up with them outside of this group. Folks with an interest in social media usually enjoy people and want to learn more about what makes you “click.” As an entrepreneur or business owner, this is one simple way to meet new people.

Owning a business is fun and challenging at the same time. What’s stopping you from taking your business to the next level? Step up today and make it happen!

Want to meet people in North Iowa that are also interested in growing their business using social media? Make plans now to enroll in “Bringing Social Home” on April 6th in North Iowa. You will walk away with new business connections and tools that you can implement to grow your bottom line. There are limited seats available, as this is a hands on event.

 

Social Media

How To Manage All Of The Facebook Groups That You Are In

Facebook groups have gained in popularity over the past 18 months, due to the ever changing algorithms that Facebook continues to have. If you belong to a group of two, there are some things that you do need to know.

READ THE GROUP RULES

Do not request to a join a group and then think that you can post whatever your heart desires. Facebook groups do not work that way. If the group administrators have said you cannot post ads in the group, this means you do not show up posting ads in the group. Saying, “I’m sorry,” is often not enough to let you stay in the group. Facebook Group administrators do not have time to babysit members, so make it easy on them and know the group rules.

If you are in a group that is working on sharing each other’s content, make sure you offer new content to share AND have updated information on your social media platforms.

NEVER ADD SOMEONE TO A GROUP WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION

I know this sounds like a broken record, but there are still people adding people to Facebook Groups without asking for permission. If you own a business, this is the quickest way to send business the other way.

http://socialsaraconnections.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Smart-Phone-With-Buttons.jpg

BE A GIVER, NOT A TAKER

When you give, your life will become much fuller. Seriously, Facebook Groups make it easy for people to be takers. Do not fall into that trap. Get to know the other members of the group, talk to them and work together as a team.

PLAY NICE

Remember, we’d all like to think that everyone in a “secret” Facebook Group will keep everything secret. It’s a good idea to remember that screen shots do exist and often times people are not afraid to take them.

GET TO KNOW THE GROUP ADMINISTRATOR(S)

The Facebook Group administrators are there to help you. If you have an issue, be sure to go to group members and click on Admin. Here you will find out who they are. If you have a question about the group, it’s perfectly acceptable to send them a direct message through Facebook. If you don’t have to, do not clog the feed of the group with please call me, please return my email, etc……..

So you see, Facebook Groups can be fun. Use some common sense and play nice! Are you enjoying Facebook Groups? I enjoy the groups I am in, although I will say that I get frustrated when people do not follow the rules of the groups. I’ve noticed more Facebook Group administrators are no longer giving people second chances when they post something they should not. Therefore, my advice is to follow the group rules and your life will be good!

Social Media Breakfast Group With Jody

Social Media Has Changed Christmas- Time To Embrace Social Media For Good

The Christmas season is upon us and today I was reflecting how social media has changed our lives. It’s true, our lives have been changed all year long, yet Christmas is a little more unique. I was thinking back to the day when our boys were young. They are now 21 and 25. There was no social media when they were young and excited for Santa. Oh yeah, and then somewhere along the line the Elf on the Shelf entered the scene. Thankfully I never had to deal with it. Those that choose to participate in the Elf on the Shelf, more power to you, enjoy the season!

The season of giving

Here are some things to remember as we celebrate Christmas this coming week.

PERFECTION IS NOT NECESSARY

Let’s face it, kids will be kids. How often have you tried to get that perfect family photo to post to Facebook? I have, many times. And I honestly kick myself afterwards and wonder why I do that to myself. Sometimes the photos that are the best for social media are the “real” life experiences. Now, that does not mean it’s OK to post those photos of your kids in the bathtub or on the potty chair, but it’s OK to show your kids in real life. Maybe your son and your dog enjoy ripping open a Christmas package or two, now that would be something fun and less stressful to share on social media.

OVER SHARING

Make time to enjoy Christmas, not your Facebook account. Your kids will not care to remember that all Mom did was  to worry about what to post on Facebook on Christmas morning. Your kids will want to remember how you joined in the celebration of Christmas! It’s not necessary to share every single present your kids get for Christmas through social media. In my opinion, that sends the message that the more presents you get, the more “likable” you are. Think before you post and don’t be that over sharing parent come Christmas morning.

START A FAMILY TRADITION

Does your community participate in a food or clothing drive over the holidays? Gather some items and take your kids with you when you make your donations. Often times your local food pantry will ask if it’s ok to take a photo for social media use. This is when you say, “Yes, please do!”

Social Media For Good

Your family tradition is now something that is shared through social media. You can share it from your personal Facebook account and let others know that your family is using social media for good. This also demonstrates to your kiddos a positive way to use social media.

If you would like to learn more about social media for good, join us at the North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club on December 28th. We meet in the Heritage Room at First Citizens Bank, 2601 4th SW, in Mason City from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Attendees are invited to bring items for the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank. Specifically: Toilet paper and soap are in high need. Any and all food contributions are also welcome. Let’s load up a truck!

Thank you to Warren Torkelson for bringing this event to our social media breakfast and to Shannon Latham of Enchanted Acres for preparing a catered breakfast!

Shannon Latham

Come hungry and come ready to learn. A special shout out to Thrivent Financial for giving us the opportunity to host this event in North Iowa.

 

Cupcake Bakers

The 1st Annual North Iowa Cupcake Throwdown Was A Smashing Success

The North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club was recently home to the 1st Annual North Iowa Cupcake Throwdown. Several cupcake makers from all across North Iowa brought their cupcakes to share, and social media breakfast club attendees learned how online reviews work. This event came to fruition after a few of our attendees noticed that North Iowans were flocking to the out of town cupcake truck that comes to North Iowa. We thought this would be a great way to showcase what our North Iowa Cupcake bakers have to offer.

I would personally like to give a shout out to Sweet Tooth Cupcakes, Cupcakes By Ivy, Nameless Gourmet and taste by Unc’s Cheesecakes, Inc. and Happy Sweets Cupcakes.

cupcakes

Without these participants this event would not have been held. Pat Palmer of The Computer Guy put a program together that shared how online reviews impact businesses. He also hosted a Facebook for Business Class that was held a couple days before the event.

The North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club is a group of people that meet monthly to learn how to be smarter and safer online. From online safety to building your business through social media, several topics are covered throughout the year. Meetings are held in the Heritage Room at First Citizens Bank, 2601 4th SW Mason City, on the fourth Wed. of every month from 8:30-10:00 a.m.

If you have an interest in social media, you will enjoy these meetings. The group is casual and eager to learn more in regards to social media.

Congratulations to Kim of Sweet Tooth~ Kim was the winner of the North Iowa Cupcake Throwdown.

Kim of Sweet Tooth

Online reviews are important when it comes to your business. If you are a business owner, are you paying attention to what people are saying online about your business? It’s important to remember that it’s up to you, the business owner, to share your story. The fact of the matter is, if you don’t, someone else will share it for you and it may not be in the way you would like it shared.

If you are a cupcake baker we would love to see you participate in our 2017 event. Follow Social Connections, LLC Facebook page for business and social media tips, as well as information about the North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club.

Social Media Signs

Has Sharing Through Social Media Gone Too Far When It Comes To Elections?

Social media is an interesting space. In 2012, very few people were sharing who they voted for through social media. Fast forward to 2016 and it seems that everyone expects everyone else to share who they voted for and why. This process is tearing friends apart, breaking up families and it’s even causing division in business relationships. Can I say this, “Stop it! Just stop it!”

We are better than this. To the best of my knowledge it’s ok to vote and be done. All because of social media, there are people that believe everyone has to share who they voted for. Not so. There’s a reason we have “secret” ballots in our country and you know what? There are some that like to keep parts of their lives private. I can respect people for that and will continue to. A young adult said this to me the other day, “Why should I go vote? All of my Facebook friends expect me to share who I voted for.”

Laptop and Phone Social Media
If I don’t see you posting who you voted for on social media, I will continue to be your friend. If you choose to post who you voted for on social media, I will continue to be your friend. Would someone enlighten me as to why this concept is so hard to comprehend?

I love social media, but it truly saddens me that an election has brought such divide in our country through expectations that are only hurting people. If you feel you are in too deep when it comes to pressure from your social media friends, by all means, take a break from social media. It’s OK to take a break from social media, as your mental health comes first.

I challenge you to do something good in your local communities. Go out and make a difference. When you can be part of exciting change in your local community you will feel good. Talk to your friends in real life, go for a walk in the park with your friends or mail an actual card to a friend. There are options when it comes to moving on after an election.

From my observations on social media, on the day after an election; it appears that many of you will benefit from a little break from social media. Let’s be kind to one another and make a dent in our local communities. We can be the positive change that our communities desire.

Tips On How To Use Social Media To Plan Your Next Vacation

Social media is one of those things that we all use on a daily basis and we often times forget that it’s a great tool for planning vacations. Here are some tips on how you can use social media to aid in your planning.

POST A STATUS UPDATE ON FACEBOOK

Ask your friends on your personal Facebook page where their favorite vacation spot is. Chances are, you will see photos, read stories and your friends may even link you to the resort they stayed at. This does not mean that you have to disclose the dates you will be gone, all it does is gets the conversation going. And let’s face it, our friends are going to be honest with you when it comes to recommending a spot for your next vacation.

Business connections through social media

SEARCH HASHTAGS ON INSTAGRAM

Instagram is the ideal place to follow up on your vacation ideas. Key in the hashtag of where you would like to visit. If you want to visit Iowa, type in #Iowa. Here you will find several posts that others have shared that show Iowa. Maybe you want to go to California, key in the hashtag, #California. These may not be the official hashtags for these destinations, but they may be the key words that other travelers, as yourself, are using. There was that one time when my husband and I found a dream vacation spot in Florida, all due to a hashtag search on Instagram.

SEARCH HASHTAGS ON TWITTER

Type in a hashtag of a destination you would like to visit. Search #FindYourPark to find all things related to national parks. If you are looking for a particular attraction, you can often search an attraction with a hashtag in front of it. Remember that tweets are short, as they are limited to 140 characters. Twitter is a quick, simple way to search out anything.

There you have it! These three tips will easily help you plan your next vacation. When you ask your friends and search out hashtags that interest you, things will come together nicely. Have you planned a vacation through social media? If so, I’d love to hear about your vacation.