Author: Brittany

I am thrilled to announce that GroupTalk has merged with Rees Communications Inc, a web design and marketing company, owned by the talented David and Gillian Rees. After working on many client projects together, it became obvious that our teams could accomplish great things together.
Thus, Rees + Stager was born.

What does this mean to our clients? Only good.

None of your contacts will change, nor will any rates. It simply means that we are now even better equipped to support your business, and help you grow.

Every member of our new team brings our same level of care, excellence and talent that you have always received from GroupTalk.

Looking to get started? Head on over to ReesStager.com

If you’re connected with me on LinkedIn, you’ll notice that I try to post a new piece of content every single day. I’ll admit, it’s definitely a commitment to add yet another social site to my daily “to-do” list, but of all the social sites I use to promote my services LinkedIn is where it’s at! LinkedIn is where you are building relationships with key decision makers. The head honchos. The big wigs. These are the people who ultimately control whether or not their company hires you or buys your product.

LinkedIn All-Star ProfileBeing seen and recognized on LinkedIn is important. Essentially it’s your online resume; a picture of your professional self. The last thing you want is for a potential employer, client or lead to visit your profile and see it half filled out or blank – this can leave a bad first impression. So your main goal when using LinkedIn is to get your profile to “All-Star” status. Don’t know what “All-Star” status means? When you look at your profile you will see a little circle in the top right-hand corner indicating your profile strength. You want the circle to be full to the top and say “all-star!”

So how do you build a profile that not only gets noticed, but reaches “All Star” status? By ensuring these 8 key profile sections are filled out:

Headline // This is the first thing a visitor will see when they land on your profile, make sure your job title tells them exactly what you do while keeping it fun and interesting.

Profile Picture // Get a professional headshot. Grainy photos from last summer’s BBQ are just not going to cut it on LinkedIn. You are 11 times more likely to have your profiled viewed if you have a high quality, professional photo.

Header Image // The header image option that LinkedIn recently introduced is a great way to illustrate and extend your personal branding. Make it eye-catching, and again, high quality.

Summary // This is often the most overlooked section of a LinkedIn profile because it’s intimating. Sometimes it can be hard to summarize yourself in a few short sentences, but trust me, it’s worth it! If the viewer has made it to this section you need to entice them to not only stay a little longer to read what you are all about, but to contact you.

Experience // Your current work experience should be upfront and center. Make sure the description is filled out in its entirety, and you use industry terminology to describe your position and services. Past experience is also important as it will make your profile look full and complete. Make sure your past positions include a thorough description and keywords.

Rich Media // Adding rich media content such as SlideShare presentations, videos, and infographics to your profile is a fantastic way to showcase visual assets to profile visitors.

Projects // Projects was originally introduced to LinkedIn as a way for students to share their projects, but more and more LinkedIn users are finding the projects section useful, using it to highlight products, services or other portfolio pieces. You can also include direct links to the team members who worked on the project, passing a little recognition their way!

Skills & Endorsements // Having a skill endorsed increases your level of social proof. You can now say, “see, Susie and 10 others say I am good at blogging, or painting, or training dogs” whatever your specialty may be. Make sure you have added a minimum of 10 relevant skills to your profile for your connections to endorse you on.

As you can see, what started as an online networking site has really grown to become a career management and personal branding platform. As an entrepreneur and business owner, you should most definitely be using LinkedIn! What’s stopping you from stepping up your LinkedIn game?

For young professionals who are just starting their careers, navigating the online world can sometimes be scary. What if that picture from last weekend’s bachelor party makes its way into the office? Should a personal Twitter account be used to interact with work colleagues? Should I put my social networks on my business cards? These are just some of the questions young professionals have when it comes to building a personal brand online and offline.

I’ve invited my friend Gillian Rees, who happens to be a branding expert, to speak alongside me on the topic of building a personal brand on tomorrow’s PMA Foundation Young Professionals Webinar. This is a free webinar series and seats are limited, so if you are interested register today!

Managing Your Personal Brand and Reputation, both Online and in Real Life

Branding-Professional-WebinarsHosts: Brittany Stager, GroupTalk & Gillian Rees, Confident Entrepreneurs
When: Thursday, June 18, 2015 | 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time

It’s important to act like a business leader, online and offline. In this one hour webinar Brittany Stager & Gillian Rees will show you how to properly establish a strong personal brand on social media and how to carry that branding through to real life situations such as business meetings, customer dinners, and social gatherings. You will delve into the proper uses and settings for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and share business etiquette tips that will be useful in building a strong, respectable reputation in the business community.

REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR

Hope to see you there!

So you want to work with bloggers do you? Perhaps you saw the wonderful campaign Canadian Tire recently put together featuring decor bloggers. Or you read an article that said “influencers are the next big thing!” Or maybe your competitor just pulled off the most epic blogger campaign and you’re left in the dust thinking “why didn’t I think of that!”

Harnessing a blogger’s power and credibility is not as easy as sending them a press release or a basket of free product. You want bloggers to authentically tell your brand story in order to drive engagement, sales, and conversation within their community.

Here are five do’s and don’ts you should be aware of when working with bloggers:

The Do's and Don'ts of Influencer Marketing

1. Do Make Contact in Advance // Your relationship with key influencers & bloggers shouldn’t start as soon as you want something from them. Lay the groundwork a few months ahead of time. Start to build a relationship!

2. Do Your Research // Research the blogger before reaching out. Check out their media kit to gain insight into their reach/following and fees. See if they have used your product before. See if they are using your competitors products. Taking the time to read through their blog will give you plenty of answers.

3. Do Have Compensation in Mind // If you want high quality & authentic content created by your blogger partners, then it’s best to have a budget in mind before reaching out. You can either ask the blogger what their post rate is, or use your budget as a jumping off point.

4. Do Use a Creative Brief and Contract // Writing out the campaign details in a creative brief will ensure your vision is concise and well thought out. It will also help the blogger know what you are expecting out of the partnership. A contract signed by both parties will seal the deal, and ensure accountability.

5. Do Continue the Relationship // This is not a one night stand type of relationship. You put time, effort and money into building a relationship and a piece of content that you and the blogger should be proud of. Continue to converse with the blogger. Share their posts in the future.

The Do's and Don'ts of Influencer Marketing1. Don’t Send “Dear Blogger” Emails // Nothing says “I am not interested in getting to know you” like addressing a pitch email with “dear blogger.” Read the bloggers previous post, get to know them, address them by name.

2. Don’t Offer “Exposure” // Nothing turns a blogger off like the offer of exposure. Never tell a blogger that if they write a post about your product or service that you reward them by sharing it on Facebook and Twitter. This type of pitch is not only inconsiderate of a bloggers time and talent, it’s embarrassing.

3. Don’t Keep it to Yourself // You spent time and money to partner with a blogger to create an excellent piece of content, so don’t just keep it to yourself! Share it with your followers. Help spread their word of their amazing experience. Bloggers look to you to share their content!

4. Don’t Try to “Edit” a Post // It’s important to keep in mind that you selected and partnered with a blogger because you trusted them to carry your brand message in an authentic way. You want them to tell a personal story. Don’t ask to edit their post before it goes live – it destroys the trust you’ve built.

5. Don’t Close the Doors // Keeping the doors of opportunity open after that particular campaign has ended is a great way to build an ongoing relationship with your blogger partners. They should feel as though they can come to you with more great ideas for future partnerships and you’ll support them. Keep those doors open!

And while this whole outreach thing sounds easy, it’s important to note that if you don’t have the time or energy to build the relationships with bloggers, hire a professional that already has these trusting relationships built (like GroupTalk << shameless plug!).

You want your blogger outreach program and campaign to not only be a success, but truly reflect how great your product or service is!

Don’t you find the months with the nicest weather go by in the blink of an eye? May was such a lovely month packed with fun projects, business trips, and a few all-nighters. In May I had the opportunity to travel to Nashville for a meeting (Nashville is really an awesome city – you should go!), I developed and photographed 13 recipes for some of my favourite Ontario commodity groups for Local Food Week (which is next week!), and I published a basic & easy to understand Google Analytics 101 blog post. May was a great month! But let’s dive in to why you are really here today… Social Media SOS!

If you’re new to Social Media SOS here on GroupTalk, here’s what it’s all about. This year I wanted to try something new and fun! I want to get your social media juices flowing… and nothing gets my clients more excited than giving them the opportunity to ask their burning questions, like “how many times a day should I tweet? How many words should my blog post be? What is your favourite link shortener?” Getting your questions answered makes you feel motivated, and that’s exactly what I want to do… So with that, welcome to Social Media SOS!

How does it work? On the last Friday of every month I invite you to leave a question, concern, a link, and I will reply with a simple tip, how-to, and/or instructions on how you can improve! Questions will be taken between 9AM and 5PM ET, afterwhich I will go through and provide an answer. Easy, simple, fun!

So let’s go ahead and get the May’s Social Media SOS started! Ask me your questions!

How many times have you opened your Google Analytics dashboard only to become flustered and confused by the numbers? You sit there asking yourself, “what does bounce rate mean, and is a 62% good?” Sometimes numbers are confusing, but of ALL the numbers you track (ie: followers, reach, etc) the numbers associated with your website are the most important!

But what does it all mean!? Why track these numbers? The answer is simple; the more you know about your site’s performance, the more capable you become in making informed content decisions that propel your success. Simply put, once you know what your audience likes, you can create a better experience for them! And we all want our visitors to enjoy their time on our site, right?

In an attempt to make this as painless as possible, I’ve created the following Google Analytics 101 guide. I suggest you start using Google Analytics by taking a look at these four sections in order to gain a better understanding of your audience. Here are the sections and here is what you should look for:

Audience Overview Google Analytics 101

AUDIENCE OVERVIEW // This is the most basic report; it gives a very general outline of what happened on your site over a specified period of time.

Sessions: This number tells you the total number of times your site was visited (within the specified time period). This number includes all visitor types (new + returning).
Users: This is the total number of people that visited your site (within the specified time period).
Pageviews: This number represents the total number of pages that were visited by users (within the specified time period). For example, you can see here 21,323 users looked at 56,490 pages (which means the average user looked at 2.36 pages – which is good because it shows they looked around).
Avg. Session Duration: The average length of time a user remained on your site. Anything over 60 seconds is ideal!
Bounce Rate: The percentage of people who land on your site and then leave after only looking at one page. As a rule of thumb, a bounce rate in the range of 26-40% is excellent (this means people find your site and continue to browse). 41-55% is average. 56-70% is higher than average, but should not cause alarm as it really depends on the content of the site. Anything over 70% might signal a need for a content re-write.
% of New Sessions: The percentage of people who visit your site for the first time.

Audience Geography Google Analytics 101

LOCATION // This report tells you where in the world your visitors are coming from (within the specified time period). You can drill down by country, province, and city by clicking the list below the map. Regardless of the nature of your business, it’s important to understand where your site visitors are coming from.

New and Returning Visits Google Analytics 101

NEW VS. RETURNING // The percentage of people who visit your site for the first time (within the specified time period). This number is important to note because while you always want to be acquiring new visitors, it’s important to always be enticing visitors to return to your site.

Visitor Acquisition Google Analytics 101

ACQUISITION OVERVIEW // This report shows you where your site’s traffic is coming from (within the specified time period), and breaks it down into six categories: Social, Direct, Referral, Organic Search, Other and Email.

Social: The number of click-throughs to your site from social media. If you click on “social” it will break the numbers out into all the individual networks (note: Instagram does not allow live-linking within posts, so it will not show here).
Direct: The number of visitors who simply type your URL directly into their browser (or have your site bookmarked) and are taken to your site.
Referral: Referrals are visitors that come to you from another site. If you click on “referral” it will show you the top referring sites.
Organic Search: This report shows you some of the search terms people have used to find you via Google. (note: not all keywords that drive traffic to your site are listed here, as seen in the “not provided” section.)
Email: This is the number or visitors that have come to your site after clicking a link within an email client.
Other: If you are setting up UTM parameters for custom campaigns the numbers will appear in this section (<< a little too advanced for this 101 email!).

With this very basic understanding of Google Analytics and the goldmine of data it shows you, I hope you are able to understand your visitors and take a deeper look into their actions on your site. There is definitely a lot more to Google Analytics, but this 101 should get you started!

And for those of you who check everything from their mobile device (like me!), there is a handy Google Analytics app which you can download! It’s perfect for getting a snapshot while on the go!

And wouldn’t you know it, April is over just like that! And wouldn’t you know it, I actually missed the last Friday of the month! Yes, the 24th was the last Friday in April! But don’t you fret, I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to answer your burning social media questions, so this special edition of Social Media SOS will take place on the last day of the month! So let’s dive right in!

If you’re new to Social Media SOS here on GroupTalk, here’s what it’s all about. This year I wanted to try something new and fun! I want to get your social media juices flowing… and nothing gets my clients more excited than giving them the opportunity to ask their burning questions, like “how many times a day should I tweet? Is this blog post too long? What is your favourite link shortener?” Getting your questions answered makes you feel motivated, and that’s exactly what I want to do… So with that, welcome to Social Media SOS!

So let’s go ahead and get the April’s Social Media SOS started! Ask me your questions!

Let’s face it, owning a business and being an entrepreneur can sometimes be incredibly tough, frustrating, time consuming, and downright dirty. We are the manager, the marketing team, the social media department, the accountant, and sometimes even the intern. But in the end, we do it because we wouldn’t have it any other way. Deep down it makes us happy. And that is what we strive for at the Academy for Happy Entrepreneurs, to see you happy!

That’s why my good friend Gillian Rees (of Confident Entrepreneurs) and I created a series of workshops for entrepreneurs and small business owners! We want to give you the tools, guidance, knowledge and confidence to grow a thriving business that at the end of a long day makes you happy. Our quarterly workshops will focus on just that! With topics ranging from how to market your business (online and off) to how to plan and set goals for the year ahead, our 2015 workshops will set you up for success!

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA FOR YOUR BUSINESS WORKSHOP

Coming Soon!

In today’s world, marketing and social media are a must for your business. Whether you are a retail store or a consultant, businesses thrive when time is spent on marketing. In this workshop you’ll learn business and marketing strategies that you can implement right away to get noticed and sell, sell, sell!

This workshop will include…
• In-Person Networking
• Intimate Class Size
• Private Facebook Group for Continued Learning
• Discounts on Other Workshops
• Access to Two Experienced Coaches
• And Plenty More!

Morning Workshop

The morning workshop includes coffee, donuts, and the two sessions below.

Business Strategy and Marketing
• How to identify your ideal customer
• How to create a marketing budget (time and money)
• How to position yourself within your market + pricing questions answered
• Why you need a good website

Social Media
• Why social is right for you
• How to build relationships not followers
• Top 5 Do’s and Dont’s
• Top 5 Tools for Efficiency
• How to create a content plan
• Social Insights and Analytics

Afternoon Workshop

The afternoon workshop includes the morning sessions, lunch, and a group mastermind.

• A Deeper Dive
• Morning Session Included
• Dive Deeper Q&A About Morning Sessions
• One-on-one time with the coaches to go over your Social Media and Website scorecards (includes 3 action items for how to improve)
• Mini-Mastermind Session

Business-Social-Media-Workshop-KW
If you’re looking to take your marketing and social media to the next level this workshop is for you! Not only do you get access to two professional coaches, you get actionable advice and a list of tactics you can implement right away to generate results.

We will be hosting quarterly workshops to help you grow & market your business. Sign up to receive notification of our future events!
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Google updates come and go often in the dark of night. Unless you are an SEO wizz, most website owners go on with their day unaware of a recent Google update or algorithm change. April 21st’s algorithm update however, has marketers, bloggers, and website owners scrambling to stay ahead. Why should you be concerned? Because this update could severely affect traffic sent to your website via search.

With 80% of Internet users using smartphones to search online, Google is putting the steps in place to make searches made from mobile devices more functional, friendly and relevant. Starting April 21st Google will begin calling out websites that are “mobile-friendly” in search results. But it doesn’t stop there. Google will now take mobile responsiveness into consideration when ranking your site.

Here’s what Google had to say about the upcoming algorithm changes:

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

So while you might be sitting pretty at the top of the first page today, if your website isn’t mobile friendly by April 21st, you could come crashing down!

So what can you do to stay on top? The first step is to ensure your site is mobile friendly. If you are unsure whether or not your website is mobile friendly, you can use Google’s Mobile Test Tool. Simply type in your website URL and click analyze. If the results say “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly” you are going to be a-ok! If not, you may want to consider investing in a mobile-friendly (or responsive) website upgrade.

I understand how overwhelming this information might be, and you’re probably thinking “how and where do I start!?” I’ve pulled together some frequently asked questions that will help guide you through this update.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why should I make my website mobile friendly?
A mobile friendly site is just that: mobile friendly. This means any visitor who lands on your site while on a mobile device, such as a phone or tablet, will be able to easily navigate your site without pinching, zooming or squinting. The focus is providing the visitor with a seamless and positive experience.

How do I know if my site is mobile friendly?
You can try visiting your own site on a mobile device to see if it is responsive, or you can use Google’s new Mobile Test Tool.

Is this something I can do myself?
It really depends on how web-savvy and confident you are. While some content management systems and blogging platforms (such as Blogger and WordPress) make it easy to implement a mobile-friendly site, some websites that don’t use a CMS may require help from a developer.

How much does this type of upgrade cost?
I wish I had a more concrete answer for this, but it all depends on your website.

Where can I find a mobile friendly theme for WordPress?
If you were considering a website refresh, then now would be a great time to do it! There are hundreds of thousands of new WordPress themes created every day that have responsiveness built in (bonus!), it’s just a matter of picking one that works for you. I like to use ThemeForest to source my WordPress themes.

Where can I find a mobile friendly theme for Blogger?
If you are using the Blogger platform (which I know a lot of my blogger friends are!), you are in luck! Blogger has a simple “on-click” mobile template built right in, you just need to activate it. To turn your mobile template on, log into your Blogger account, navigate to “Template,” and click the “Gear” icon under “Mobile.” In the pop-up select “Yes. Show mobile template on mobile devices,” choose a mobile template from the dropdown, and click “Save.” Done!

Need more guidance and advice? Please feel free to shoot me an email!

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Here we are on the last Friday of the month already! March was such a great month! I had the wonderful opportunity to speak at AMPED on the topic of blogger outreach and influencer marketing. I attended a fun business bookclub as part of my women’s networking group… AND I gave a presentation on how you can use LinkedIn to grow your business!

And since it’s the last Friday of the month, it’s time for Social Media SOS! If you missed last month’s questions and answers take a look at this post here. Thanks Paul for leaving your question, Facebook can be a tricky nut to crack!

If you’re new to Social Media SOS here on GroupTalk, here’s what it’s all about. This year I wanted to try something new and fun! I want to get your social media juices flowing… and nothing gets my clients more excited than giving them the opportunity to ask their burning questions, like “how many times a day should I tweet? Is this blog post too long? What is your favourite link shortener?” Getting your questions answered makes you feel motivated, and that’s exactly what I want to do… So with that, welcome to Social Media SOS!

How does it work? On the last Friday of every month I invite you to leave a question, concern, a link, and I will reply with a simple tip, how-to, and/or instructions on how you can improve! Questions will be taken between 9AM and 5PM ET, afterwhich I will go through and provide an answer. Easy, simple, fun!

So let’s go ahead and get the February’s Social Media SOS started! Ask me your questions!


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