Social Media Tools for Small Businesses

There are surely more than a few small business owners who were happy to proclaim their independence from ‘those annoying social networks’ when the latter started booming. These same business owners no doubt felt unwell when Facebook and Twitter kept the boom going and grew to what they are now – an instrumental tool to engage past, present and future clients. If your social media presence is in a good place, consider yourself lucky – the hardest part is over. Moving onwards, you’ll want to manage said presence to become someone people enjoy following and talking about – here are some social media tools to help you do this.

social media tools

HootSuite

One of the best social media tools, HootSuite is so rich with options it might make your head spin: it will let you post frequent scheduled updates on various media sites, monitor past and present mentions of you anywhere on social media, tell you exactly how fruitful your social media endeavors are and much more. Many small business owners feel as if HootSuite is the best choice, with other similar programs being better-off in the hands of either larger enterprises or those dealing with a lot of online traffic.

Rival IQ

Every good businessman knows when it’s time to spy on the competition. Rival IQ will make doing so a breeze and won’t alert your competitors in the process. The tool focuses on the social media presence of your ‘rivals’ much more than your own – you’ll know what they’re posting, when and where they’re doing it and how beneficial it is to their business.

Mention

If you’d like to keep track on every single mention of you everywhere on the web, Mention is the tool for you. You’ll get a real-time alert as soon as the mention is made, no matter how brief it is and what site it happened on – from social media to some of the most obscure websites, you’ll know when you’re being mentioned, why and by whom.

Social Rank

As a small business, you probably don’t have tens of thousands of Twitter followers. That being said, even a couple hundred followers might be more than you can keep track of – not to mention, every follower becomes that much more important when you have less of them. Social Rank is a tool that will help you keep track of your followers by giving you three top ten lists: most valuable, most engaged and ‘best’. The first will include followers with the strongest Twitter presence and most influence on the site, the second will list those who most often interact with you and your content in some way and the third will show those with a favorable combination of both. Think of it as the VIP list of your Twitter followers.

Tweeter Spy

If you thought a VIP list of Twitter followers was useful, how about a VIP tweet list? This tool will tell you which posts on Twitter drive most traffic to your site – think of it as a smaller, more specific version of Google Analytics.

Marketing Your Business Online

One could say that the essence of marketing changed completely in just a couple of years: it might not be absolutely correct, but it’s still a good point to make. Whereas in the early and mid-2000s marketing was still about getting your ads onto as many TV channels and billboards as possible, the internet has now largely replaced these as the advertising medium of choice. Business owners and marketers who have revoked the internet in its earlier days are now undoubtedly realizing their mistake: without an online presence, you aren’t going to get very far in the business world anymore. Here’s what’s needed when marketing your business online.

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Untangling the web

So why is marketing your business online suddenly so important? Well, there are a number of explanations and theories. You could say that people, as a whole, trust the internet a whole lot more than any other marketing medium used in the past. The internet gives people the feeling that they’re in control: it makes them feel as if every business is handed to them on a silver platter, allowing them to pick and choose whom they want to work with.

However true this might be, it still provides only a partial insight into the state of affairs. In reality, those with big advertising bucks are still beating out the competition just as handily as they did when things were offline, albeit through different methods: instead of more airtime, companies with more money can often ‘buy’ better rankings, improved reviews, greater online exposure and much more.

Did we also mention ads never really went anywhere? Instead of being a nuisance in the middle of your favorite TV show, ads are now displayed on the website you visit every day, or as sponsored content on your online news outlet of choice. Some companies also make use of Google ads by, to put it bluntly, guaranteeing that their name comes up on top of the searches. Those being seen the most are – you guessed it – those with the most money to spend on advertising.

So how can you compete if your opponents are still buying Senate seats?

What smaller companies can do

Those with big advertising money have it easy, but the battle is far from lost. If anything, the move to online marketing has given smaller businesses and companies more tools to defend themselves and even beat out larger enterprises. Look around, and you’ll see plenty of small business owners making it big thanks to the power of the internet.

Of course, you can’t expect the web to do your job for you. To stand out among the countless ads and fight the competitors’ souped-up search placements, you’ll need to wield creativity like you mean it. Think long and hard about what makes your business stand out in a positive sense and then build your campaign around it. Are you a licensed and insured rain gutter company looking to establish a local presence with the help of the internet? Be sure to advertise your business as a team of customer-oriented, friendly professionals out to make a difference through quality of service.

While the prices of Google advertising might give off the opposite idea, you can reap great rewards from online marketing efforts that cost a minimal amount of money so long as you have something of value to offer.

Online Reviews: How Important Are They?

Think about the last time you did business with a company. How did you find out about them? There’s a good chance you asked your friends and family for a recommendation and that one or more individuals ended up naming the company in question. But what happens when a person is looking for a quality service and nobody in their circle can offer any suggestions? Most often, they’ll still look for word of mouth, but it’ll be found on those pesky online reviews  that so many business owners fear.

online reviews

The importance of online reviews

It’s not an over-exaggeration to say that online reviews play a huge part in a business’ ability to get customers. When thinking of hiring a contractor, people want what they’ve always wanted. The cold, hard truth about the company’s practices from someone unbiased and unaffiliated with them in any way.

Most experienced marketers have come to recognize that customers are gaining more and more power as time goes by. It’s not just the fact that more businesses popping up translates to people having more choices than ever. There’s also something to be said about the widely-available information regarding good and bad practices in virtually every profession. The number of uninformed customers is rapidly dwindling. People know what to look for and are hardly willing to take chances with so many options available.

You could have the slickest-looking website out there featuring all sorts of customer feedback, quotes and reviews of past cases. You’ll be happy if the informed customer believes a fraction of it before venturing out to neutral websites to get the real skinny.

How negative reviews impact your business and what you can do about them

Unfortunately, the massive presence that online reviews command means that business owners have a tough time rebounding from a single negative review, let alone a couple of them chained together.

People have a way of ignoring the good to focus on the bad, and things are no different here. In fact, lots of customers actively seek negative reviews as they want to know the worst case scenario.

If you’re looking to become a legitimate business with a strong presence in your local community, you can’t afford to ignore online reviews no matter what they’re saying. The game has changed, and businesses must evolve in accordance. You have little choice but to start building your reputation through good practices and making sure that lots of customers are satisfied enough to go out of their way to write a positive review.

It might seem grueling, but there’s no way around it. Just the opposite: as popular as online reviews are now, they’re only getting more widespread by the minute. There’s practically zero chance of the standard going away in the foreseeable future. Instead, expect online reviews to become the go-to method of getting information about a business. Those who went through the effort of keeping their record clean will benefit more and more as time passes. They are sure to beat out their less-attentive competitors before they even know what hit them.

Better Sleep, More Success: 4 Tips for a Restful Night

One could say that it’s never been as hard to get a good night’s sleep as it is today. Most people’s careers need them to wake up at a specific time in the morning, be it for school, internship or work. This has been around for a while, but what hasn’t is the amount of distractions available right now. Whereas before you could watch a bit of TV and doze off late-evening, the advent of the internet has given people the incentive to stay up long into the wee hours so they can check their Facebook/Twitter feeds, watch viral videos, search for pictures of funny cats and so on. The amount of people running on 3-4 hours of sleep a day is staggering, especially considering they have no organization in the form of sleep cycles. Now is the time to get better sleep.

To help you get a good rest every night and better prepare you for the day ahead, here are 4 ways you can better sleep throughout the night.

better sleep

Managing your sleep with sleep cycle apps

Up until recently, it was commonly accepted that we need 8 hours of sleep every night unless we want to feel groggy in the morning. Now, however, people understand that there’s such a thing as sleep cycles: 90-minute ’bouts’ of sleep that need to be completed in order to feel rested. You can feel good in the morning with just 3 hours of sleep, as long as you make sure each individual cycle was completed. Using a sleep cycle app can help you a great deal here, and will act as a type of advanced alarm clock – one that actually works, that is.

Understanding your internal clock

Our internal clocks can get messed up whenever we pull an all-nighter. Those working the night shift beat are almost sure to have their sleep messed up. If you used to hit the sack at 5 AM, you’ll have a much harder time sleeping(and resting) if you start going to bed at 9 PM. Understand this, and aim to make gradual shifts to your routine as opposed to sudden ones.

Working on your sleeping environment

Take note of any background noises in your sleeping environment, like running appliances or computer equipment. Some people can’t fall asleep with any background noise present – if you’re one of them, either remove the noise-makers or invest in some quality ear plugs. The latter won’t just help you with noise in your home – it will also protect you if the neighbor’s dog decides to go on a barking spree in the middle of the night. Likewise, artificial light coming from TVs or computers might seem soothing as you’re falling asleep, but can actually impede your ability to get proper rest later on.

Keeping a lid on distractions

You’ll need discipline more than anything here. When it’s time to sleep, turn off your cellphone and laptop. Don’t check your mailbox or Facebook wall that one last time – they’ll both be there for you in the morning. If you’d like something to help you fall asleep, a good book can go a long way – they might seem old-fashioned, but at least they won’t pave the path towards unplanned all-nighters.

Bulletproof Coffee – Biohacking For Health And Performance

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with some health “biohacking” as it’s called. I realized that sitting in front of a computer or in meetings with clients for 7+ hours a day wasn’t going to help me achieve my health goals. Sure, those things are needed for making money, but if you don’t have your health, all the money in the world isn’t going to matter if you’re dead… So at a conference I attended last December out in San Diego, I picked up a sample of Bulletproof Coffee at the urging of one of my friends over at Revved Business. I tossed it over by the coffee pot and hadn’t looked at it much until about a month ago. You see, I had stopped drinking coffee and was focused on a nutritional drink supplement that offered bio-absorbable vitamins and minerals as well as natural caffeine.

The Bulletproof Coffee Experience

One day I decided to take a closer look at it and do some more research about the Bulletproof Coffee. I ended up on Amazon and purchased a hard copy of Dave Asprey’s book called The Bulletproof Diet. I must say, I read it with great interest in about 3 days. For once, I was beginning to understand all the chemistry behind optimal health and losing weight, which I need to do… and it’s not going to happen sitting my butt in a chair for long periods of time.

So here’s what I started doing 2 weeks ago with a mind to succeed.

  1. I downloaded an app called Sleep Cycle, so I can monitor my sleep and wake when I’m not in REM.
  2. I purchased a supply of Bulletproof coffee and Brain Octane. Drinking it every morning. Don’t feel hungry till around 1pm.
  3. Eating a Bulletproof Diet. You can read more about it on their website.
  4. Getting up at 4:30-5:00am every morning to go for a 2-3 mile walk. Tracking it with Run Keeper app.
  5. Going to bed at 10-10:30pm (ok, I’m trying. Some nights it’s later)…

The Bulletproof Coffee Results

So far, I’ve dropped about 6 lbs in weight. I feel much more energetic and ready to work. I’m finally understanding to simply ignore the media and “common” knowledge on things related to health and wellness. After all, do you go to a doctor when you are well? I’m going to continue my journey to getting leaner and meaner. This is helping my business focus in so many ways. I’ll post a few links below (affiliate) if you would like to check out Bulletproof coffee yourself. You’ll like it. A lot…



So You Wanna Be An Internet Rockstar

internet rockstar wealthy internet entrepreneur

Who doesn’t? Right? Having a laptop business that you can run sitting on the beaches of Fiji or enjoying a sunset in the French Alps sounds like the kinda job you could handle. But any business, online or brick and mortar takes time to develop. It’s not going to happen overnight and what I’ve found particularly interesting, is while many people will say they want to be an internet rockstar, they really don’t. They use clever words and want to play the part, but when it comes down to putting the work in and doing the reps, they’d rather sit on the sidelines. It’s just too hard.

Sure, everyone want’s to make 7 figures and drive around in limousines to all the great parties and impress their friends. But just wanting to doesn’t mean deep down you will do whatever it takes to make it happen. It’s not that people don’t have good intentions. Heck, you’ve heard the saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” and just having intentions doesn’t mean you will do anything about it. Truth be told, being an internet rockstar probably isn’t where you want to land your laptop. What your end goal should be is to make a difference in other people’s lives and your own. Get out of that cubicle lifestyle and mind set. You first have to believe that you can. Then you can take the next step on to actually making it happen. (more…)

How to create content for your online blog

create-content-for-your-online-blog-las-vegas-business-conference-meeting-notes-750x500

First off, get it in your head that there is no “easy button” to being a wealthy internet entrepreneur. Sit back for a moment and think about this statement. If it were that easy, wouldn’t everyone you know be successful and wealthy? It’s not easy and frankly, if you ask those who are those successful “5 year overnight success stories”, they will tell you it took them 5 years of hard work, learning, growing, being mentored and understanding that it will take, no matter what, hard work. Very rarely was anyone an overnight success. In fact, I struggle to come up with even 1 person who was an overnight success.

Second, you’re not going to be able to sit behind your computer and become a wealthy online entrepreneur. Contrary to the belief you can bang away on your keyboard and make magical dollars appear, you are going to have to get up out of your chair and go talk to some real humans face to face, shake some hands, and share some pints. People like to do business with people. This is deep within your programming as a human. (more…)

Why Simply Wanting More Vacations Is Wrong

I was listening to an interesting audio recording from one of my mentors the other day. The topic was on vacations. After listening to the audio while driving, I was in agreement with him. And I thought to myself that I too was a victim of this vacation mentality. We go through our daily lives not thinking much about how “taking a vacation” is ingrained into our culture. The Europeans often have 6-8 weeks of vacation time per year. Most Americans have 2-4 weeks per year and only build up to the 4 weeks over a long period of working years.

Are you living for your vacations?

It’s an interesting and profound question with huge implications for your life and mental well-being. So let’s break this question down a bit. Supposing you are “living for your vacations” and your desire is to have more of them. What does this imply about your life outside of your vacations. I think it implies that you probably don’t enjoy what you are doing very much for work. You probably land in the arena with most people. You are just getting by, punching the clock and then going home to watch some television. But here’s the inverted flip-side of this equation. Vacations don’t change anything. You still go back to the crappy job that you dislike so that you can pay bills and get by. (more…)

Sam Walton’s 10 Steps To Business Success

What can you discover from Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, who opened his first Wal-Mart at age 44 in 1962. This wasn’t where Sam started though. He was involved in building his business years before 1962 learning the business and life skills that would ultimately birth Wal-Mart. It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t easy, but Sam had determination and he wasn’t afraid to try new things and fail. He also encouraged people around him and that worked for him to try new and different things. He was a discount store “scientist” and that tenacity and ability to change netted him billions and billions of dollars in net worth.

So what exactly are the 10 core steps to business success from Sam Walton? You must read Sam Walton: Made In America to see the entire story unfold.

But here’s my short summary to get you interested in learning from a self-made billionaire… (more…)

Wealth Is A Product Of The Mind

“Wealth is a product of the mind.” – Tony Robbins

No amount of money is going to make you wealthy… What you are looking for, what you are striving for is a moving target. You have to understand this in order to truly become wealthy. Your wealth is not the amount of money in your bank account. Just ask the 37-year-old who was just told he has cancer and 6 months to live. Your health is more important than your bank account. (more…)