Top 5 Tips To Increase Your LinkedIn Following | BizzeBee

Top 5 Tips To Increase Your LinkedIn Following

  • February 26 , 2014

LinkedIn is a powerful Social Media platform, and something up until now at Bizzebee we’ve not really spoken a great deal about. So I thought today would be a good opportunity to break that habit, and take a little look at how you can increase your LinkedIn page following.

Before I say anything, I want to share a video with you, Its from the official LinkedIn YouTube Channel, and talks about how to post an update within your company page on the site.

A Powerful tool don’t you agree?

So we need some quick fire ways to get people following your company on LinkedIn – Yes another site you can now engage with people away from your own name, under a company ‘hat’

As a business we should all want to increase our opportunities to network with clients, prospects, colleagues, peers, suppliers, and potential employees’ right?

LinkedIn gives us the opportunity to build a well-developed presence within its platform.

Did you know there are over 2 million businesses with a LinkedIn company page? Many of which are looking for new talent/opportunities.

As with every other social networking platform you MUST build up a network of followers, otherwise the content, updates etc. will not show up in newsfeeds and be seen by people. So like you make a commitment to turn up at Facebook and Twitter everyday …. Same goes for LinkedIn – the ability for the Viral Promotion is the exact same as most others, you can share content in your personal profiles which then becomes visible to all your friends / connections / followers.

It is NOT always about having masses of followers, I know I have previously said its more about quality than quantity, particularly if you are a business start-up / small business / SME. You want the most relevant people in your network following so they will share out to their subscribers.  If you build this steadily the numbers can and often do increase quickly!

Top 5 Tips to increase your company page following:

  1. Encourage existing employees, relatives and friends to link up with your company page share the status updates, and various links.
  2. Follow company pages of those in your industry, suppliers, experts, customers, prospects – most of the time people generally follow back – something about the courtesy of it, having good manners and generally being polite! You don’t need to stay pigeon holed in following your industry; you can follow those geographically near to you too even if they are in a completely separate niche / industry.
  3. Send An Announcement – Don’t be frightened to email your connections on LinkedIn.  ALWAYS provide 2/3 concrete benefits as to WHY someone should follow your page …. Remember people have the WII-FM mentality (What’s in it for me) so think ‘What will they get out of it?’ ‘How can it help them to be better at what they do?’
  4. Consider sending that same ‘Call to Action’ message to your existing database of customers & prospects, especially if you know they are using LinkedIn.
  5. Post a ‘Call to Action’ to follow your page within relevant LinkedIn groups

Remember! The more relevant a follower you have for your LinkedIn company page, the more opportunities you have to be seen and build that all important influence with your target markets!

There is a whole host of information and areas that we need to cover when it comes to LinkedIn and in due course you can expect to see a lot more discussions happening on our blog which focus on the different aspects of the platform.

Small Local Business Facebook Marketing Tips From The Van Man Lincoln

  • February 24 , 2014

Today I wanted to share some fun Facebook tips that I believe most small businesses should try and incorporate with their Facebook marketing.

I am going to use one wonderful example by showing you what Mark the Van Man Lincoln regularly does and I can tell you that many of his posts have me and my better half laughing.

Unlike other local businesses like Cake Makers or Furniture makers Mark cannot share pictures of recent products he has made or has for sale because what he has to sell is his service of van hire and delivery.

pallet furnitureSharing pictures of your products is a great way to get people to know more of what you do but what do you do if you do not have any products to show? You need to become more creative and have fun.

I can tell you that we have used Mark to deliver a couple of sofas for us which we bought on eBay and he will be our first choice if we need anything big delivering again and that is because we ‘Know of him’. Yes we now ‘know him’ from using him but what I mean by ‘know of him’ is that his name and services are securely ‘lodged in the front of our minds’ because of his Facebook posts and interaction.

If anyone asked me if I could recommend someone who can move furniture or deliver large items I would point them towards Mark Van Man Lincoln because he is the first person I would think of, I know him, I know what he does and I know how I or anyone can get hold of him easily.

van man lincoln Mark has fun with Facebook and he engages with people in fun ways and he has also shown me a great way to use business cards today. You might think that business cards are last year’s business accessory that are no longer viable today and that Facebook and Twitter are the way forward and they are to a degree but Mark has gone one step further and created a guerilla marketing approach to using both business cards and social media with the strategies from https://the-indexer.com/digital-marketing-agencies/.

As you will see from these images Mark places business cards in the strangest places and sometimes popular places, he then takes photos with his smart phone and uploads them to Facebook. Often they will have a funny comment attached or maybe he will ask people to ‘Spot the card?’

van man cards 5 Cards appear on buses, in shop windows and even supermarket bunting.

van man cards1 I love this one of his local shop keeper; he has appeared more than one.

van man cards 2Supermarkets and shops are his favourite targets. It took ages to choose the pictures for this post as there are so many great examples and I apologise if I have gone overboard with them but I need to share this great idea of business card bombing. You can see more of his marketing style here Facebook/VanManLincoln

Mark has posted cards and gone back days later to see that they have been untouched and still where he left them. This is good because the person buying a burger at Burger King, chicken and fries from KFC or anything from Tesco might see his details and that is great exposure for a local small business but even better it gives him another fun photo opportunity.

van man cards 4Mark also uses Facebook’s Place’s system to ‘check in’ and post status updates saying where he is going and what he is doing which shows how far he is prepared to travel and I know that he travels the whole of the country.

van man check inThis bit is very surreal; when he delivered the sofas to us and we got chatting he told me that ‘tomorrow’s job’ had him driving down to the south coast of England towards Portsmouth. The following day on his travels down south he ‘checked in’ on Facebook that he was at Farnham Castle in Surrey, I lived and worked in Farnham and had only recently moved back from there, I know it very well and was just a little surprised at the connection. It is nothing I know but as they say… small world.

Anyway, Mark often shares status updates which show that he will travel the country and that he isn’t just locally based. He will also share photos of some of the items he delivers and where they were bought from so people can get an idea of what he is prepared to do. As you can see in the image below Mark delivered a motorbike which was brought on eBay.

van man ebay deliveryMark also adds some fun to his page by sharing part pictures of music album covers and asks people if they can guess what the album and artist was. This gets people replying and often chatting with each other.

I recently sent him a message on Facebook saying that I loved his pictures and was planning on writing an article about him; part of his answer was that he just wants to have fun with his posts.

van man xmas postThis I believe is needed today; too many people are posting ‘woe is me’ style posts which are depressing and moaning. Many are posted simply in the hope to solicit compliments or the offer of help or company from friends. This usually works for a few times then just gets plain annoying with friends eventually ignoring these types of ‘Bat Signals’ as I call them and in some severe cases people will hide the posts from certain friends or even unfriended them.

bat signalMark knows full well that fun and helpful is the way forward, we got to know about his Van Man services when my better half was looking for a sofa in the local Facebook ‘things to buy and sell’ groups. Mark often goes in and comments on the bigger items that are being sold. For example we saw him commenting on a sofa saying that if anyone needed it being delivered then he was your person.

Sofas are big and not everyone has a vehicle that can take big items. I myself have a Fiat Doblo which has a big boot, it can take so much but we certainly cannot fit a large sofa in it. We eventually found a great deal on eBay and bought two 3 seater sofas with a large pouffe.  We just knew who to contact to arrange collection and delivery of the item from Lincoln to Gainsborough which is roughly 16-18 miles away.

van man cards 3Mark is pretty busy in these local groups, he will share posts that he thinks he can help with such as larger items and he will also share things he sees when out and about. For example he has taken pictures of furniture in shops that are drastically reduced to clear.

People may want a new wardrobe and cannot afford the full asking price but if it has 75% off then they might be interested and if they do not have a car big enough to collect the item… who posted the information? Van Man Lincoln… and what does he do? He has a van which will easily accommodate a large wardrobe. What a great way to drum up possible business.

Mark has embraced the modern mobile phone, we can take pictures and uploaded them to social media networks within seconds which is fantastic and something many smaller local businesses should be utilising. I have taken a leaf out of Mark’s book and recently took photos of my uncle and I fitting some doors. As I am a trained carpenter and joiner I gave him a hand for the day and I took pictures of various stages as we worked.

bp joineryI cannot say whether this will result in generating more work for my uncle but it took me a few seconds to do and it is free advertising, why would we not want to utilise that? The post resulted in getting likes and comments from friends and family living overseas within minutes. I don’t need to tell you how powerful that is.

Only last night I was asked if I was back in the building trade because someone had seen that I was working with my uncle. That conversation had come about from those pictures. It works and again I must stress it is free to do and takes only a few seconds to share pictures from a phone.

Remember Facebook is ideal for creating local networks as it is Geo specific, it gives us a fantastic free tool for networking with people allowing us to show what services we offer, why would you not want to utilise that? Doing it in a fun and light-hearted way just like Mark the Man with a Van from Lincoln does will benefit you greatly.

Mark appears to always be busy, he doesn’t just rely on social media, he does use flyers and business cards as you can see but I am sure his use of Facebook helps him a lot. Especially to connect with clients, that is one thing you cannot do very well with a business card unless someone rings you.

One thing I will say as I draw this to a close, Mark will reply and contact you if you contact him and that is what social media is about. Last week I contact our local vets through Facebook and have so far not had a reply, if you insist on using Facebook use it properly. Do not post pictures of your business services or products without any fun, personality or more importantly… any response to people who comment or contact you otherwise you will cause your business a lot of harm.

If you have a small local offline business then I suggest you start to use Facebook the same way Mark does and embrace the free advertising it can offer in a fun way.

After sending Mark a copy of this post and telling him I was going to publish it I got this excellent reply in seconds which I think just sums up Mark, social media, mobile phone technology and what a great age we live in today! 🙂

andi meets van man

If you do implement any of the things you have read here today we would love to hear from you if you had any benefits and successes from it.

Email Marketing, Why You Need To Give Away Quality Content

  • February 21 , 2014

The days of the old ‘Buy My Shit’ style emails are long gone and it’s about time. Email marketing has been the big thing for years and is still the best converting marketing method around. With that in mind, you have to wonder why so many marketers and newbies send their loyal email subscribers emails that are short and basically full of crap.Image result for marketing

I have been in this industry for many years now, with many of those as a beginner opting in to loads of email list from big ‘guru’ marketers offering what I thought were ground breaking reports and information. I was often wrong, the reports and videos were usually pretty useless. What was more annoying were the emails that I would receive later.

They said nothing, they had a distinct lack of words and information but all seemed to tell me about some new amazing software or program that their brand new best friend who lived overseas somewhere who had developed a way to make $1000 a minute while loafing around in their underwear. Probably wearing them on their head as they dance around partying 10 foot away from the laptop, I mean that is how amazing these software and programmes were! Or so I was led to believe.

Interestingly all of these secret products were being sold via Clickbank or JVZoo and were being promoted by loads more marketers who had also suddenly become best buddies with this new special underwear wearing wealth generating dude.

Now these guys who send you and me these emails are making money from their email lists, after all that is why they build them and there is nothing wrong with making money from your list, I am sure you have heard over and over again the saying ‘the money is in the list’ well it is true, kind of. The money is actually in the relationship you have with your list.

You do not monetize a list you monetize your subscribers and the biggest harm you can do to your list is upset them by sending them too many ‘buy my shit’ style emails without giving them any form of help, advice or ideas. In fact it is a downright disgrace that you should even think that it is ok to pitch to your list all the time.

It is disrespectful to your subscribers to see them as simply people to fleece with software and programmes that you have never tried or know to be any good.

When someone signs up to your newsletter or they hand over their email for information they are expecting it to be good. And that is what you should give them, to think differently is pure madness. You should see every new person on your list as a new love interest and every email you send them is the online equivalent to a date.

You would never turn up for a date with your dream person in your work clothes, unkempt and dirty would? No of course you wouldn’t, you know that you would probably upset your date and never seen them again.

The subscribers on your list have trusted you with their email address and expect to get help and advice from you, not to be sold to all of the time otherwise they will hit unsubscribe and run for the hills. Of course you want to make money from your list, that is why you have built it but you really want the maximum returns from your list and reduce the risk of list burn out. Remember it took time and money to carefully grow your list, why would you want to burn it out quickly and have to start building another list creating more hard work and expense for yourself? You don’t!

You will also need to get used to Email hosting, which is a service in which your email messages and associated files are all stored on a server, you can find the best platforms for hosting. When you receive an email to your website’s domain address, the email is routed across the internet and stored on the recipient server.

So what can you do to reduce the risk of annoying your list subscribers and prevent earl list burn out?

  1. Send out a newsletter that gives useful doable advice and tips for your niche once a week, once every two weeks or once a month. Include a roundup of the latest posts on your blog as well.
  2. Create special subscribers only reports and send them an email giving your subscribers access to the report stored somewhere on your blog.
  3. Create subscriber only videos that are embedded onto your site in pages that are only visible to your email list by sending out an email to them.
  4. Every now and then create a review of a product you KNOW is good and worth the money, send the review to your list. Never promote products you would not personally use. You can damage your reputation if you promote things that are simply rubbish.

Not promoting the same products that other marketers are doing at that time can help build your reputation just as much as promoting those you think are really good.

Now after all this, remember the people on your list are likely to be on multiple lists and they will see what the ‘new magical product’ is that everyone is promoting.They will know when a new product launch is imminent, sending an email that explains why you are not promoting it or basically ignoring it will make your subscribers realise that you are not there to simply promote the standard useless ‘get rich quick schemes’ and that you care for them. That is very powerful these days with many list subscribers believing that marketers are less than helpful and only out to fleece people.

I take my car to the same mechanic that I have used now for over ten years, he might be dearer than others and probably cannot always accommodate me as quickly as others but I don’t know because I have never looked around to see if I can get work done cheaper or faster and the reason is because he has always looked after me and been good.

On several times he has looked at the car when I thought something was wrong and he has not charged me for it, I have even took him a bottle of wine to thank him for doing something for free which was his way of thank me for being a loyal customer. But I am loyal customer because he looked after me, it has become an on-going circle and a very powerful relationship.

This is what you need to achieve with your email subscribers, to build a healthy relationship with them where they want to open your emails when they arrive, where they want to buy from you and choose you over other marketers and you will not do that by sending out too many ‘buy my shit’ emails. Don’t believe me, try and see what happens.

How To Get A Guest Post Published

  • February 17 , 2014

Guest Post Published

I have a bit of a love hate relationship with guest blogging.  It’s great when you get sent a really great article that you would happily publish on your site, but for every one great guest post there are countless really bad ones that never see the light of day.  I personally get emailed quite a lot of guest post submissions for my other site, but of those I’d say that I turn down 99% of them simply because they were not good enough.

Now I know from speaking to a lot of other bloggers that I am not alone on this matter.  That’s why I wanted to put together this post to explain EXACTLY what to do to get your guest post published!  Let’s get started.

Find A Site To Write For, Not To Blindly Submit To

Before you write a single word of your post, you need to find a site to write for.  That may seem counterintuitive to some, but that is by far the best way to get published.

Like I say, I turn down 99% of guest post submissions, and of them a large majority are simply because people keep sending posts that have no relation to my site.  Why would I want to publish an article about credit card interest rates, campervan buying tips or holiday deals (all genuine examples that I’ve been sent) on my “blogging” related site.  It makes no sense.

What people are doing is that they are writing out a generic post about something and then pitching it to everyone in hopes of getting it published.  What they fail to realise is that this approach will get them nowhere.

Instead, look for a website to write for that is related to the subject that you want to write about.  Then set about reaching out and getting in touch with the site owner.

Reaching Out To The Site Owner

You should be able to tell pretty quickly whether a site accepts guest posts or not.  Usually they will have a ‘Write For Us’ link somewhere that you can find, or you will notice that they have multiple different authors writing for them.  Either way, find the appropriate contact form and draft out your message.

At this stage you are simply enquiring about writing for them.  If you have a specific idea about a post, then let them know what it would be about.  This shows that you have thought about your idea and gives them insight into how it would fit in with their other content.  Be as detailed as you can, as this will greatly improve your chances of being accepted.  If you are too generic (i.e. I want to write about social media, business, etc.) then it doesn’t give them much to work with.

Another good thing to do is reference and link to other work that you have had published.  This allows publishers to read examples of your writing which will greatly improve your chances.  If you haven’t had anything published yet, don’t worry, just try to be more detailed with your initial idea.

Spend Some Time Looking At The Site You Want To Write For

This should be an obvious one, though believe me many people don’t.  No matter how good your article might be, if that site already has posts covering that subject, chances are they won’t be that interested in publishing another.

It takes only a couple of minutes to search through a site’s previous articles.  Just search for keywords that are related to your idea and see if anything comes up.  If anything, site’s will be more interested in topics that they haven’t already covered, so if you have a burning desire to write for a specific site, look for what they are lacking.

Writing Your Guest Post

So you have got in touch with a site, pitched your idea and they are interested in what you have to offer.  Great!  You have your foot in the door.  Now you need to deliver a quality post for them.

Always, always, ALWAYS stick to the guidelines that the site has given you.  Those guidelines have been given to you for a reason, so ignoring them is not going to do you any favours.  For example, one thing I always stress to potential writers is that posts must be at the very least 700 words long, yet the number of people that come back to me a few days later with a 300 or 400 word post is ridiculous.  None of those ever get published!

Try to include images/videos where appropriate in your post.  That way, you save the publisher lots of time as they don’t have to add them themselves.  Also, if you mention other sites, remember to add links where appropriate (not just the backlinks you want adding).

Sticking with the “links” theme, one thing you can do that just about every publisher will like is to include internal links for them.  Read though your post and look for relevant articles on their site that you can link to.  Publishers will likely add these anyway to your post, so by doing this it makes their life much easier.

Essentially, the easier you make it for your post to be added to their website (images, links, videos, etc.), the more likely it is that you will be accepted.

The Waiting Game

Once you have emailed off your article, give it a couple of days before you chase it up.  Often, sites get sent that many that it takes them a while to get through them all.  If you still haven’t heard back from them after a couple of days then send a follow up email.

You must be prepared to make any adjustments that they may want making.  Just because you feel it is a brilliant article, an editor may not.  It could be as simple as fixing spelling mistakes or changing a section or two.

Another thing that you should be prepared for is that even if your post is accepted, it may not be published straight away.  Some sites have busy publishing schedules, so you could be waiting a week or two before your post goes live.  I know at one point I had a 4 week waiting period for posts as I had had that many scheduled to be published.

After It’s Published, Follow Up On Your Post

Once you have had your article published on a site, don’t just forget about it and move on, follow up on it.  Reply to any comments that people leave on it, answer any questions that they have, make sure to share it yourself across your social media sites, etc.

The whole point of guest posting is to help raise your profile with another audience.  If they can see that you are a good writer and helpful with your replies, they are much more likely to search you out for more of the same.  You are also much more likely to be asked back again by the same site if you prove to be popular, so it always pays to follow up on your post.  And of course, if anything else, you can add a link to your post in your next email when pitching to another site.

Do you write guest posts?  What tips do you find help you to get published?  Do you own a site that accepts guest posts and if so, what do you look out for in a guest post submission?  Please let us know your views in the comment section below.

The Best Of The Web. 15/02/2014

  • February 15 , 2014

Weekly Roundup

Where does the time fly? This week’s roundup is a few hours late which I (Andi) apologise for that and yes we did miss one out last week due to everyone being so damn busy we didn’t get to read anything so we collectively apologise for that too. When you have so many tasks on the go as we do sitting down to read stuff sometimes just doesn’t happen.

Anyway, this week we did manage to read a few posts and here are this week’s offerings for you to read this weekend.  We have some interesting ones this week and I hope you enjoy reading them.

Why Podcasting Is a Trend Marketers Need to Follow

The first article was put forward by Clair and is an incredible article about Podcasting. Mike Stelzner interviews Mike Wolf all about podcasting for marketers and also business owners. We all know podcasting is something we should all do, but getting round to it is a problem for most. Having listened to the points this article / podcast raised it has motivated Clair to want to get on with working this out into our own bizzebee schedules.

There is also a great reference to our friend Pat Flynn too who is a legend in the Podcasting world. Podcasting can be pretty cheap and easy to do too so get over and give this great post a read.

25 Ideas For Blog Posts To Kick-Start Your Content Marketing In 2014

This next post suggestion comes from Matt and it is a fantastic list of 25 blog post ideas for the content marketer by John Paul Aguiar. If you run a blog like we do and try to keep adding content regularly it can sometimes become hard to think of what to write about next.

You can get a kind of writers block and blindness, having this list of ideas at hand can help to set those creative juices and ideas flowing again. All 25 ideas are great and you should know them, trust me, it will make your life as a content creator and writer a lot easier.

The Best Way to Suck at Marketing – Whiteboard Friday

This post was put forward by John and is by Rand Fishkin over at his excellent Moz Blog. Rand is famous for his Whiteboard Friday sessions and today he discusses that we as marketers and business owners need to move away from thinking about transactions and conversions and focus more on long term marketing plans.

Instead of just simply seeing each person as a transaction worth a few dollars we should be nurturing relationships with them to create long term loyal customers who will have far more benefit to our businesses than a short term one off buyer.

Not Just Male And Female Anymore: Facebook Introduces Custom Genders

This post has been out forward by Clair our social media lover and is on the AllFacebook.com site which is, if you haven’t guessed it yet, is all about Facebook. 🙂

Today they report on the decision by Facebook to allow people to assign a custom gender to their profiles. They want people to be their authentic self and we live in a different world these days, we may be born male or female but some are born both and some chose to live differently to others.

Take the Ladyboy phenomenon in Thailand, physically they were born one way but mentally they are leaning towards another way and sometime not enough to be the complete opposite so they are often happy to be both. Life is not about judging but living and Facebook has recognised that and decided people should be able to say they are something which is not simply male or female. A controversial move maybe, but a very interesting one.

The One Secret to Growing a Blog Quickly (Really Quickly)

The last post of the week comes from Ramsay over at his excellent blog BlogTyrant.com. I love Ramsay’s blog and I love his approach to blogging and writing. He writes epic posts and I don’t just mean seriously long and epic I mean they are full of great content and information. It is all epic really.

In this post Ramsay talks about the best way to grow your blog quickly… I was going to copy and paste the sub heading which gave away that one secret but I decided not to, you need to go over and read his post yourself and while you are there keep looking round and reading. It is a great site and Ramsay is living proof of what the one secret to growing a blog quickly is all about. He has a huge following and a lot of respect within the industry.

So that is it for this week, 5 very interesting articles covering several different topics and today we also have an interesting wildcard bonus post.

An artist has been recreating popular children’s cartoon and TV characters as evil people. I think TinTin is my favourite, this tintinversion would have made a big difference to the books I read as a child, there would have been a different ending if he was a gun carrying and petrol bomb throwing Tintin in Tibet!

These images are pretty special and I love them. 🙂 You can see more of those brilliant images by clicking the link below.

What If Your Childhood Characters Were Evil Villains?

have a blog

Should You Have A Blog?

  • February 14 , 2014

should you have a blog

In this day and age each and every website that offers a service should have a blog. Simple as that, and in this post I will tell you why. Gone are the days of complex code and hours of pain to set one up. The costs have come down dramatically and hosting can be found at very reasonable rates now. You can get a blog setup with your own domain for under $10 and hosting for less than $10 per month. So, no excuses in that department.

As mentioned the technical side of things are no longer a big stumbling block. In fact in the Hive you can get access to several step by step videos that will show you exactly how to do this in no time at all.

Does My Company Need A Blog?

Yes. I don’t care if you are the local PC repair man in your village, the garden center, the hobby cupcake designer or a multi-million pound enterprise. You should have a blog. Your blog gives you the potential reach unrivaled by any other of your marketing strategies. Why companies pay to have a large advert on a billboard on a highway is beyond me. Sure – your advertisement is going to get in front of thousands upon thousands of cars each day but how many of them are targeted? A very low number I can tell you.

Whereas your blog is about your chosen niche, and will only get in front of eyes that want to read it. It opens up many doors of opportunity.

What Should I Blog About?

Let’s go back to the local garden center. They should be writing a blog giving tips on all things gardening related and could also do reviews of mowers, products, sheds, you name it. Sounds daft? No – it’s exactly what their audience will be looking for. If they wrote a post on “Top 5 Tips For Growing Tomatoes This Year” the people that read that post would almost certainly be looking at growing tomatoes fairly soon. Giving away free advice like this builds trust and people who have this relationship are more likely to buy and use the services. The blog could be a nice way to bring in leads for more expensive high ticket services. The key point here is that they are putting their services in front of an already interested audience.

For a more established high revenue business the blog should be no different. It should be aimed at the company’s audience and customers again. This is where the real Q & A should come in, even a complaints department should be utilised here. Your customer service department will have complaints, questions, improvements and suggestions. You should take these very seriously. And answer them on your blog! This is the perfect platform to do this.

customer service

If you had a small team of 10 people working in a customer service center why not get them all to write 1 post a week on a topic or suggestion from a customer? In no time at all you would have a well-established blog that the search engines would love and more importantly your customers would love – as it is from their input that you are creating the content!

This brings me on to the next point. Get your customers feedback, without this you will struggle. Spend the time to get your customers or audience’s point of view where you can. You can set up a simple form using Google Docs, I highly recommend doing this from the outset.

A simple survey of just a few questions can give you a gold mine of data that you can extract ideas from hopefully with solutions to the issues.

So, with all that in mind and everything outlined above can you or your company really afford not to have a blog?

When Is Just Enough Too Much?

  • February 10 , 2014

Enough is a great word isn’t it? It means not too little and not too much. We say things like, “just enough for…” or “make sure there is enough”  We the bizzebee team talk regularly about how great social media can be for small businesses especially for building brand awareness and informing the local community of what you do, where you are and any special promotions you are running but we also must warn of the dangers of overdoing it.

If you look closely at Facebook and Twitter you will see that there are all sorts of people and groups bombarding their followers constantly with pictures and messages, some are interesting but most of the time it is just ‘chatter’.

If you imagine social media is a huge football stadium full of shouting people, all shouting different things, it is believed that you need to shout louder to be noticed. This might work to a degree, but in truth, you are doing nothing more but adding to the annoying and undecipherable noise pollution.

liverpool kop enoughThe reason many people/businesses post a lot is that these social media networks are huge resources of free traffic, they are also social so fun and interesting stuff can be shared potentially leading to some posts going viral meaning more traffic. Also more importantly these newsfeeds are fast, they can soon be filled up with new stories and status updates meaning yours could soon be lost in the ‘chatter’ and pushed further down the feed with very few people actually seeing it.

Again it is assumed that most people have a fairly big list of Pages or people they follow so their newsfeeds are soon filled with new information and all businesses and people need to be seen. With Twitter people follow thousands of people so it doesn’t take long before a Tweet is replaced by another.

Facebook is slightly different to Twitter, they do not show you all of the posts that are shared from the Pages you follow, they generally show those you interact with more but again these posts can soon be lost so it has become common practice for many to share a new post, Tweet or status every hour or so. This is ok but it can soon ‘cheese off’ a lot of people.

For example, my better half is a keen ‘pruner’ of stuff on Facebook, more so than the average person but she can soon become fed up with the constant posts by Pages of ‘nothing’ as she calls it. She has Fibromyalgia and M.E. and once followed a Page dedicated to the subject mainly to get new information. It wasn’t long before she hid it from her newsfeed due to the constant posting of images with quotes on them and the constant complaining and moaning from other sufferers.

fibro tv enoughShe doesn’t like to complain and would rather find a solution or soldier on with a smile but even the constant sharing of positive and uplifting images and quotes becomes annoying when your news feed is awash with them.

Imaging if you liked only 80 Pages and Facebook with their odd system showed you the posts of 40 of them, those 40 Pages posted a new status update every hour over the 8 hour working day. Your newsfeed would be filled with 320 images and posts about ‘stuff’ each and every day. And then there will be all of the posts from your friends and family.

The problem gets worse when you realise that Facebook is open to the world and Page owners know this so they schedule posts to go live every hour of the day to cover different time zones. That would be 960 posts over the period of a day if those 40 Pages all posted every hour!

Your newsfeed will be crammed with images, videos and texts from around the world and it won’t be long before you start ‘pruning’ your list of Liked pages. And to be honest who can blame you?

Building a company brand, building exposure and trying to keep in the ‘limelight’ is ok but do it too much and it can be very damaging.

Twitter is often used to share news, articles and inspirational quotes by others which again is fine but these will soon be lost in all of the chatter. I at times get fed up with social media because when you are working with it daily you get exposed to a lot of ‘noise & chatter’ and it can be very off putting and depressive.

twitter chatter enough I have often finished a week thinking I could just walk away from it all and never look back.

So I advise you to think carefully about how much you post and what you post, many of the bigger reputable marketers and small businesses use Twitter more as an international text message service where they will broadcast some news of a promotion and then interact and chat with people.

Some companies use it as a service help desk, I have chatted to my broadband provider over Twitter and had issues sorted by them there and then. I have chatted to friends and fellow bizzebees using Twitter, people start worldwide debates using Twitter and the # hastag system.

qanda enough The screenshot above is from the national Australian political debates known as #qanda (Questions and Answers)

Twitter is a great tool for conversation and interaction and using it correctly in my opinion is often down to ‘less is better’. My only big issue with Twitter is I say a lot or at least have long worded sentences and need more characters; I never have enough which is why a lot of people use Twitter to post a lot of one liners and quotes due to character restraints.

It can be annoying seeing Tweets and RTs of articles or quotes that are shared for the sole purpose of trying to ‘be seen’.

hoax quotes enoughI have started to play the ‘Hoax Quotes Game’ on Twitter these days just to see if a quote I have made up gets shared by someone who has only half read it. Just today I shared a quote by cartoon character Stewie Griffin to see if anyone notices.

Stewie Griffin Quote EnoughBelieve me when I say it is likely people will not notice it because it has become the norm to share pap that people simply ignore, it blends into the rest of the chatter.

Facebook allows more words and characters with a comments system that in my opinion is easier to follow conversations with however Facebook have a terrible system of deciding what posts are seen and by whom based on who has interacted with each other.

If you have Liked a post, shared a post or commented on a post from a specific Page or person then you will more likely be shown more by them because Facebook deem it to be more relevant to you. If you Like a page or make a friend with someone but do not do any interaction then eventually they will stop showing you any posts they make which is just crap in my honest opinion. I often like to see stuff without having to like, share or comment.  I know it is hard to believe but I am actually quite a quiet and reserved guy with little to say. 🙂

However even with Facebook’s terrible system I would still advise that you try and not share too much too often and I would limit the images and positive quotes to a few now and then because people will get fed up of seeing them. (If they are the lucky few who see them!) And instead of your business or website name being etched on the back of their brain as you first hoped with your branding attempts you will instead be seen by eyes suffering with the Facebook equivalent to ‘snow blindness’ or even worse, be un-Liked or hidden from view.

I think personally the motto is share less, share quality, and converse more. These tools are free; they can be very powerful and have saved many local businesses from going bust. Use them wisely and try to remember, sometimes ‘Less Is More’

Membership Sites and the Magical Wall Of Cash

  • February 7 , 2014

The internet is a great place to make money, the technology we have around us in our homes and the use of the internet means that walls and boundaries no longer exist like they used to, much of the problems you get with an offline business do not exist in the new online world.member 1

Let us take a quick look at the offline business of the traditional local shop.

Small shops were the heart of local communities in towns and villages of the UK , they relied on the custom of that little community. People from the surrounding streets and the occasional passer-by were the only customers who they could really only sell to.

They had to have stock on the shelves for them to be able to sell; orders had to be taken on the shop premises and maybe in writing before the invention of the telephone. Delivery services were not cheap for the smaller business who could ill afford vehicles or staff to do the rounds.

If competition came along and opened up another shop near by then trade could fall and earning money would become even harder. If you did not own your own shop premises the landlord could up the price of rent to match the upward trend in society and today councils charge a business rate which means you pay for the privilege of running a business from a property?!?!? I know! You get nothing for it.

You often had to be brave with a huge set of dangly bits to take risks and turn your small business into something like the size of Tesco.

Competition and the cost of running a business could destroy small business and has in some places destroyed more than one or two shops; bigger stores with plenty of spare capitol would build bigger super stores with more stock that wiped out many small businesses. Having a traditional off line bricks and mortar business can be very tough.

Now the online world is a lot different, depending on what your business model is the start-up costs can be very cheap. Being online can have a lot more benefits for businesses, the three biggest ones are

  1. You can take the cash up front for the product; many offline businesses still work on the rule of work/service first then payment later. This is not the case online.
  2. The rent/rates are a lot less than offline businesses. Selling things like eBooks and access to websites requires very little storage costs. The cost of hosting a website can be as little as $3.96 a month.
  3. An online course of videos and eBooks requires no manufacturing costs. Once a video is hosted it can be watched by many at the same time.
  4. You can sell your products to anyone, at any time anywhere in the world and no longer rely on just the local community to buy your products.

Online courses are big business for many companies, educational companies like Stonebridge used to send out books and question sheets as part of distance learning programmes that they advertised in magazines and papers, slowly they are moving their catalogue onto the web, using online advertising and social media they are now starting to turn many of their postal programmes into online only programmes.

The cost for them is not particularly cheap because of the size of their business and the amount of information they need to get online as well as the functionality the site needs but when you consider the amount of books they needed to print and send out along with the question sheets that went with them, the envelopes and postal costs that is required for each person.

Now they only need to have the book online once that is accessed by everyone as a PDF document that can be downloaded to anywhere. A PDF document is like an Amoeba, it replicates itself when someone downloads it. There are no manufacturing costs so once their programme books are converted into PDF documents and placed online then they are done.

Question sheets can be printed off and filled in at home and sent in or simply filled in online and emailed to the course tutors taking away the cost of paper, printing and posting.

Now the example of Stonebridge is a big one, they are a big company selling a lot of courses. You could simply sell one course and the website needed would not need to be as big as Stonebridge’s. A simple WordPress site can easily house enough video tutorials that can be accessed by enough people to make you a great monthly income.

If you know how to do something that others don’t then you can create a series of video tutorials showing exactly what to do and then charge a monthly fee for people to get access to them. If you think creating videos is hard then you should think again. You do not need to create a Hollywood style movie. As long as they are of a good clear non fuzzy quality and easy to follow then they are likely to be good enough to sell.

Software like Camtasia can be used to create screencast tutorials, it is quite expensive however if you want you can use a cheaper software called screencast-o-matic which costs only $15 for the year or does have free version that will record 15 minutes of video.

Most people have smart phones or tablets these days that are capable of recording video for face to face speaking, laptops come with built in webcams if not cheap plugin webcams cab be bought for less than $20 and software like Camtasia will record what the camera sees and convert it to MP4 video file.

An intro can be made by computer animators found on sites like Fiverr.com for a few dollars which will add branding and higher perceived quality to your videos. Again when this short video animation is created, you only need it once, you add it to your raw video files when editing your recordings by simply importing it.

member 2

Membership sites are called the wall of cash because members were normally billed at the same time of the month usually the beginning or end which meant the membership site owner would receive a flood of cash into the bank account like a wall of water.

If you were earning roughly $2000 a month from your day job, you would need to work a full month to earn that money but with a membership site you create the work once and then each month you receive money by paying members continuing the course.

5 videos each month over a year is 60 videos, if each video was around 10 minutes long and let’s assume you spent 20 minutes editing them then all each video takes 30 minutes to make.  It would take 30 hours to make all the videos which is less than a full working week so if you add another week for creating the website a few PDFs and etc the full years course could be made in 2 weeks!

If you charge just $25 a month per person, you only need 80 members; we are not talking about thousands. How hard can it be to get 80 people to become members when there are millions of people online each day?

Not all memberships need to be video course, people buy magazines like garden magazines which are a monthly subscription, online memberships can be online magazines, one members only website was for lovers of gardening and the owner charge $5 a quarter or $15 for the whole year and what is impressive is not only can you find gardening information for free everywhere, the site had 75,000 paying members. That is over $1 million in subscriptions a year. Wouldn’t you like just a fraction of that?  I will leave you to think about that. J

Slow & Steady Wins The Race

  • February 5 , 2014

Good Morning to you all, your resident Queen Bee is back at the reigns today for another snippet of Social Media gold dust for you all to digest.

As a child, my teachers, my parents even my extended family members always used to tell me to slow down …. Life isn’t a race! (Still not sure I agree) However, the tale of the Hare & The Tortoise has always stuck with me, mainly because of the famous saying “Slow & Steady Wins The Race”

There are a lot of people in Social Media who know this statement to be very true (the entire team at Bizzebee being one collective), and personally the more I learn about how social media works through my different connections and people I work with the more I realise it really is true!

Have you ever felt like a kid in a candy shop?! I did when I was first introduced to all this Social Networking – and I’m pretty sure that I’m not the minority here either!

Wanting to be on EVERY social networking site, writing on walls of all your friends, tweeting your favourite people, tagging photos, post micro blogs, and follow pretty much everyone we come across.

In the short term this will work as a ‘strategy’ but to sustain for the long term is not so realistic. Especially if you are handling a lot of clients and that responsibility for them grows, or your own business online presence really does start to take off with social media.

It’s natural to want to take it all on, but it’s virtually impossible to do it without burning yourself out quickly *take my word for this PLEASE; I was one of those people who did it all and spent 15 hours a day on my laptop!!*

So what steps can you take to ensure you finish this ‘Race’ without running out of steam?

Slow & Steady Wins The Race | Bizzebee

I’ve got 5 steps I want to run through with you (imagine now I’m your pacemaker, remember we don’t want to run out of steam before finishing the race!)

Never Forget Your Goals – It is very easy to get distracted, especially by looking at what your competitors are doing. Some of these may have a bigger, louder presence than you – don’t let that put you off what you are doing. It’s ok for people to be doing different things. Stick to your goals and work harder and smarter to achieve them.

Evaluate & Re-Evaluate Your Social Media Platforms – It can be fun and exciting to put yourself or your client on every social platform, it is very unlikely that every platform is right for either you or your client. This is why you must monitor your audience interactions on the different social networks, so that you can decide which ones work best for you / your client, and then not waste time on the rest. Personally I think it’s best to focus on a couple of key platforms with success rather than be engaged in all and only giving 50%.

Quality not Quantity – Understanding this is probably one of the hardest steps you will take! Not all relationships online will be beneficial to you. You need to understand that some relationships WILL be one sided, some will take from you, without you getting anything in return. No matter how many followers, fans, friends or connections you have if they are not in line with your business philosophies, it may be time to get rid of them from your networks. It really is about quality tuned in connections rather than LOTS of uninterested ones!

Pace Yourself – Remember  ‘slow and steady wins the race’ Whether you are managing your business, starting your business or someone else’s, if you lose a few followers or ‘Likes’ because you are not always updating your twitter or posting content on your Facebook page, then they weren’t very loyal to begin with.  It is far better and important (in my opinion) to establish lasting relationships with fewer followers than superficial meaningless ones with lots of people.

Dust Yourself Off & Try Again – Not every Social Media campaign will pick up at the rate you expect it will. Not every tweet will get 50 retweets or 50 likes on Facebook. That is ok – don’t’ be afraid to try or experiment. If something does not work, then just try something different. People using social media have short attention spans, in 22 hours and 51 minutes they will have forgotten what you said anyway.

At the end of the day, social media is a means to an end, but if you can stick to your goals, work hard, pace yourself and not be afraid of failure there is a high chance you will succeed in this ‘marathon’ and you might even score a medal! (Metaphorically speaking)

As your online help to success, Bizzebee understand more than  most, often we are all juggling one or two different things at any one time – so I highly advise you to head on over to our Hive, and grab your 30 day FREE access to our training library 🙂

Until next time,

Queen Bee – over & out!

5 Pages Every Website Needs

  • February 3 , 2014

5-Pages-Every-Website-Needs

No matter what your site is about, there are just certain pages every website needs to include.  Whether you have a small site that only consists of a few pages or one that has hundreds, you need to make sure that you have these up and running for people to find.  In this post we will take a look at these vital pages and explain just how important they are.

About Us Page

Many websites seem to overlook having an ‘About Page’, which is daft really as it is arguably THE most important page of a site.  For anybody wanting to find out more about a certain website after finding it, the ‘About Page’ is the perfect place to go.

Here you can introduce yourself/business and share information about what the main aim of your site is.  This might include when you first started the site, what made you set it up in the first place, where you are based (perhaps with a map), or simply what you can expect to find whilst browsing the site as a whole.

You’ll often find that your ‘About’ page is one of the most visited pages of your entire site.  This means that it is crucial that you make a good first impression.  Think of it like a big advert for your site that people can find, so be open, honest and welcoming to all your new visitors.

Contact Page

No surprises to see that a ‘Contact Page’ made our list.  Having said that, I do see many sites that seem to forget to include one.

There are a million and one reasons why someone would want to get in touch with you/your site, for example;

  • To ask a question,
  • To ask for advice,
  • Advertising options,
  • To point out a problem with your site,
  • Guest post submission,
  • Product question,
  • Customer service,
  • Complain,
  • To say thank you,
  • …and so on.

I have personally had people contact me for every one of the above points, some of which have led to building some great professional contacts.  Now it’s always nice to hear some positive feedback now and then, but some of the best emails I’ve received are when people spot something that’s wrong/not working on the site that I have not noticed.  It’s almost impossible to keep an eye on every single image, link, URL, etc. of a site that keeps growing, so having someone point that out via the contact page is always welcome.

Contact pages are really simple to set up as all you need is a contact form for people to send you an email.  There really shouldn’t be any excuse for not having one on your site.  As well as an email form, make sure to include your social media links so that people can contact you that way as well.

Sitemap

One page that is easily forgotten about is the sitemap.  For anyone that doesn’t know, a sitemap is… well exactly that, a map of your entire website.  It consists of a list of every single link that makes up your site in one easy to find place.

A sitemap has 2 main reasons;

  1. Help people find your pages,
  2. Help search engines crawl your site.

By far the most important of the two of these is to help search engines crawl your site.  Search engines will naturally find your site whilst crawling the web, but only tend to go a couple of pages deep into your site (follow all links on any one page > follow the links on the following pages).

The more of your site that you can show to search engine spiders, the more likely that they will index all of your content.  This is where the sitemap comes in.  By adding a link to it in your footer, search engine spiders will be able to crawl your entire site and find your latest content.

Legal Page(s)

Yes, they are boring and dull, but you need to make sure that you include the proper legal information on your site for people to find.  “Which” legal information will depend heavily on the type of site you are running, for example an eCommerce site will likely need legal info about payment details and shipping costs, or blogs (like ours) may need affiliate/advertising disclosures.

There are plenty of copy & paste type legal information that you can use online, so find the ones that are most appropriate for your site and add them in your footer.

Blog Page

This may seem like an odd one to include, especially if you don’t run a blog type website, but a blog page is pretty important for most kinds of sites.

You may run an online shop selling different colours widgets and thingamebobs, but you will still need a blog.  You see sites need to publish regular content in order to be seen as “active” by the search engines.  Without regular content, your site could be viewed as “dormant” or “inactive”, in which case they won’t send you as much traffic.

There is an infinite number of things that you could write about for your blog.  Try and keep it themed around your website (or perhaps product line) and it will help attract traffic.

These are just some of the types of pages every website needs.  Depending on your niche, you could also include pages such as;

  • Subscription page,
  • Landing page,
  • Thank you page,
  • Confirmation page,
  • FAQ page,
  • Product page,

What other important pages would you add to this list?  What pages couldn’t you do without?  We want to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.

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