Monthly Archives: April 2017

Building an Organic Following on Twitter

Twitter may be free to use, but the platform definitely requires time to leverage correctly. Using Twitter to market your brand also requires a strategy. Start by building an organic following on Twitter with these 10 steps.

Free Twitter Marketing Strategy

Use Your Real Name in Your Profile

If you put all the other pieces of a Twitter marketing strategy together properly, prospects will be interested in you. Success rests on having a completed profile that’s authentic. Use your real name and a real picture. If you’re looking to get creative, you can adopt a customized background. Remember to add a bio and website info too.

Get Verified

The blue badge gives your account the creds it needs to sell goods and services by telling visitors you’re authentic. Submit a request by filling out a form. You’ll need a phone number and verified email address as well as some other information you can find here.

Add Video

Seeing is believing. Besides, video helps you to engage with prospects and returning customers alike. Download the app that allows you to record, edit and share videos. Remember, videos don’t count toward your 140 character limit. You’ll also get an automatic loop for anything 6.5 seconds or shorter.



Use Twitter Chats

Engagement is the name-of-the-game and the best way to grow your Twitter following organically. Twitter Chats are effective. Why? Because they draw in users who interact. Those are the very people that retweet and spread the word about the goods and services you sell. Here’s some free Twitter chat tools.

Create A Post Schedule

It’s  good to have lots of ideas for compelling tweets. Better if you’ve got the time and ability to put them all into 140 characters and best if you schedule them to release incrementally. Scheduled tweets can be added  to existing campaigns and even organized for up to one year in advance.

Create Twitter Moments

You need to have a loyal following to to sell stuff and that’s just what this feature can do for you. These are current and relevant topics all corralled into one place. Create one of your own via the web, or through iOS and/or Android.

Take Advantage of Direct Messages

Following up is important when you’re looking to turn a prospect into a client. This private conversation feature allows for a personalized engagement touch. You can also receive and send them on your phone via SMS. There’s even a way to create a deep link to take public conversations private.

Put Together a Twitter Team

Use this feature via TweetDeck and you can have multiple people sharing one account. Perfect for the team with members on the road who still want to participate. Add up to 200 marketing team members but be sure to coordinate the image you want to show to the world.

Use Advanced Search

Chances are, when you’re running a small business, time is of the essence for everything you do. Using Advanced Search helps your marketing efforts by funneling searches to specific people, dates and more. It’s an important tool to see engagement patterns and trends so you can make the right decisions.

Engage

There’s no substitute for having the dedication to practice good customer service even in cyberspace. If you’re going to take the time to use Twitter for marketing, you need to be all in. That means responding to the Tweets your clients send you and to each and every query from prospects too.

Insurance and Home Based Business

How do you protect your home business from risk? People who run a business from their home may not know what kind of insurance is needed. Small Business Trends spoke with Gary Capone, Vice President of Field Services, Franklin Mutual Insurance, about 10 things you probably didn’t know (but should) about insurance and your home based business.

Home Based Business Insurance Facts

Your Homeowner’s Coverage Isn’t Enough

“Homeowner policies give almost no coverage for your business,”  Capone says, “and this is something that most people don’t realize.”  He says there’s usually no liability coverage under a homeowner’s policy and very limited contents coverage for your business.

You Can Have Off Premises Exposures

Your liability with a home business can extend beyond your front door. For example, it’s common to run a hair salon in your house. However, if someone has a reaction to the dyes you use after they leave, you can be held responsible. Same as any other shop.

You Can Get What the Big Guys Get

Many small business owners who work from home don’t know they qualify for the same coverage as bigger places.

“A commercial policy even has options like accounts receivable coverage,” Capone explains.

You Need Coverage When the Business isn’t Under Your Roof

If you’re just fixing cars in the garage part time, you can be held liable. What’s more, separate structures on your property that you use for business have no coverage at all without a business policy.

Renting the Home? You Should Still have this Insurance

Even if you’re renting the house, you need to be sure your business is covered entirely. These policies cover items like printers and computers even if you don’t own the place.

Take a Bad Bill? A Business Policy can Cover You

Business polices cover more than just the tools of your trade.

“Even a forgery or counterfeit money you’ve collected would be picked up under a business policy,” Capone says.

Lost Income Gets Covered

If you ‘re covered and something like a fire ravages your house, the policy covers lost income and additional expenses until you’re up and running again. A home based business insurance policy makes sure you can make a living even after a disaster.   Make sure you endorse this aspect.

Advertising Injury is Covered Too

This is another coverage resting under the umbrella of what’s good for any business. However, it’s good to have this for a home based business to cover you for libel, slander , copyright infringement and such. It’s perfect for those creative types working on the internet.

Online Issues are on the Radar

Worried about protecting customer contact information and other important data in cyberspace? The chances are your insurance company now has something to cover you.

“It’a a new area,” Capone says. ” A lot of insurance companies are getting into it.”

Your Overall Exposure can be Bigger than you Think

Even if you’re only working from home part time, you’re probably wide open for some kind of liability    Capone concludes by stressing what these small business owners don’t know, can hurt them.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of home based business it is, everybody has exposure ,” he says.

Editing Your Blog Posts

Writing, whether it’s for blogs, social media posts, web copy, marketing messages, presentations, etc., has become part of a small business owner’s responsibilities these days. As a journalist of many years, I don’t think that’s quite fair—but it’s reality.

Bad or sloppy writing, filled with typos, reflects badly on your business. That’s why it’s imperative you edit your work, before posting it.

Tips for Editing Blog Posts

At the recent Unbounce Conference in Vancouver, Canada, Lianna Patch, the Director at Snap, shared her best editing tips. You can find Patch on Twitter @punchlinecopy.

1. Don’t hit send before you edit. Many of you will want to get through the writing and editing process quickly, but that will just result in typos and other errors. “Editing,” Patch says, “is like grooming—you cando it badly.” As the legendary Ernest Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is [crap]”—so make sure you take the time to carefully edit your work.
2. What to look for. Patch says there are three questions you need to ask yourself as you start to edit.

  1. Are there jumps in logic or breaks in flow? Don’t expect the readers to fill in the blanks. If your copy isn’t flowing well, they’ll just stop reading.
  2. Is this the way my reader understands and speaks about this topic? You are not writing for you or your friends. You want to write in the language your reader speaks, whether that’s formal or more casual and chatty. Use words and phrases that are common in your industry, but don’t use too much jargon. Your writing should sound authentic, showcasing your expertise, but remember, this is not about you.
  3. Do I need to eat something? While this sounds trivial, I agree with Patch. If you’re hungry, thirsty, tired or otherwise distracted, you will inevitably struggle with your words.

3. The Inverted Pyramid. Patch recommends you tackle editing in four parts, and she adds, don’t try to edit all levels at the same time. Her pyramid:



  • Structure. When you’re editing the structure of your work, you’re looking for gaps in logic. Does the overall piece make sense? Are you asking your readers to take step 3 before you’ve explained step 2 to them? Look at the finished copy, Patch says, and ask yourself what points you made? Are they the ones you set out to make? Is anything missing? When you edit for structure, you’re looking at the big picture, and you’ll be able to recognize where the flow is off, or whether you’ve omitted anything relevant. Don’t overstuff your blog—you don’t have to tell them everything all at once.
  • Paragraphs. Now, go back to your work and make sure your paragraphs have smooth transitions, with simple transition sentences. Patch says it’s important to “format for easier readability,” using subheads and bold type to break up big paragraphs.
  • Sentences. Sometimes, Patch says, sentences aren’t doing enough work. Are your sentences clear? Other times, sentences may be doing too much work. Do you have sentences that over-explain or simply don’t need to be there? Are there run-on sentences (you can recognize these by the appearance of too many commas)? Be aware of how many times you use the words “if” or “while” in a sentence. Use a variety of sentence lengths. Patch cites research showing varying the length of sentences increases reader comprehension and keeps people reading. She recommends using Hemingwayapp.com which shows you how readable your words are.
  • Words. Avoid “danger words.” These are the words readers don’t understand the same way you do. Don’t use jargon or buzzwords. And stay away from generalities—be as specific as possible in your choice of words.

4. General editing tips. Patch recommends you:

  • Edit your own work.
  • Edit later in the day. Research shows we humans are more creative in the morning (so do you writing then) and more analytical in the afternoon.
  • Give your brain a break. Get up, stretch, walk around.
  • Change the font and the text size of the work you’re editing. She says this makes it easier to spot typos, and recommends you blow up the type to at least 16.
  • Print it out and look at it. This too, makes it easier to spot problems.
  • Read the piece out loud. This is one of my favorite writing/editing tips—it helps you spot “danger words” and typos.