Tag: Tips

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!

Let’s face it, there are literally hundreds of social networking sites you could dedicate your time to these days. And I get it. Between keeping up with Facebook, trying not to feel overwhelmed by Twitter, and creeping the competition on Instagram you’re being told to add yet another social network to your repertoire. Except this one is different. As an entrepreneur this social network can make all the difference in the world… of course I am talking about LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is one of the most powerful business networking sites, and you absolutely should be using it daily! We can’t be everywhere, so for those times when someone is in need of a marketing specialist, a hair stylist, or even an engineer – your LinkedIn profile is there to tell them “I’m your gal/guy!”

LinkedIn should be an important part of your online networking strategy as it’s the ultimate platform for meeting key decision makers who need you and your services.

Interested in learning more about how you can use LinkedIn to grow your business? Join me on March 24th at 7:30pm at Kitchener City Hall for a LinkedIn workshop with WINC Waterloo.

In this 1 hour session you will learn:

  • • How to Set Up Your Profile to Get Noticed
  • • How to Add Connections & Screen Connections Who Add You
  • • The Importance of Recommendations
  • • How to Utilize LinkedIn Groups

Interested in learning these LinkedIn strategies? Members of WINC are welcome for free, while guests are $25. Register and get your tickets today!

As online browsing trends continue to change at an alarming pace, I find myself asking clients 1) do you have high quality photos to share on social, and 2) do you have a library of online videos readily available? As the internet shifts towards a more visual way of browsing (thanks Pinterest!), the pressure for brands and companies to produce high quality, eye catching images and videos is more important than ever! With 4 billion video views on YouTube each day, there’s no denying that video is hot… and I’ve seen its power!

Shooting-Online-VideosSo it should come as no surprise to hear me say… get on the video train! And get on it fast!

Video not only allows you to visually tell a story, it allows you to tell your story AND get your point across quicker (we have limited amounts of time to be mucking around on the internet these days!). One common misconception about online video is that it’s expensive. The truth is, it can be… but doesn’t have to be! If you dedicate the time, resources and energy, you can easily produce, shoot, and post your own online videos with minimal expense. I mean, I did this exact process last week when I shot a quick cooking video for a client… right from my own kitchen! (yes, that’s me crouched over a food processor!)

Follow these 10 easy steps, and you will have your very own videos up and running in no time.

1. Camera + Equipment // These days even your standard point and shoot cameras come with video recording capabilities, but I highly recommend something that can record in high definition (like a Canon Rebel). And almost important as the camera itself is the equipment: tripod, lighting, and reflectors. These three items alone can make or break a video. All these items can easily be rented or even borrowed… if your friends are really nice!

2. Topics + Style // Brainstorming time! Get together with your entire team and brainstorm 5-10 topics which are well suited to be represented using video. How-tos, tips, and product hacks are popular themes these days. Next, discuss your style. Will they be light and airy, dark and dramatic?

3. Write a Simple Script // Keep it short & sweet, stay on topic, and accomplish your purpose. Keep it light and informal if possible, you want people to feel comfortable while they watch. Studies show that short videos (around 1 minute) perform the best, so keep it simple. And don’t forget to end with a call to action; tell the viewer what they should do next. Yes, tell them!

4. Shoot It // Now it’s time to shoot this thing! Take a look at the scripts and allocate plenty of time for your shoot. You don’t want to be rushed. You don’t want to get sloppy. Take your time. Be thorough. Stay true to your brand. And for the love of everything holy, shoot more than one take! Your editing crew will thank you!

5. Video Editing Software // This is where patience and attention to detail come in handy! Most computers are equipped with some sort of basic editing software whereby you can splice together your clips, even adding transitions and other simple effects… fade in, fade out. Window’s Movie Maker is a great inexpensive resource or if you are looking for something a little more complex Adobe has an excellent suite of editing software.

6. Add The Goodies // Now’s your chance to get creative and have a little fun! If you want to spruce up your video you can do so by adding voice-overs, sound effects, background music, or stock photography. Just be careful not to use something that is copy-written, like music. There are plenty of resources out there to purchase inexpensive “goodies.” My go-to resources are VideoHive and AudioJungle.

7. Upload It // YouTube is the largest user-generated video platform in the world… and it’s free. Don’t forget to fill everything out; title, description, location, tags, and other settings. You can also upload to other services like Vimeo just to extend your reach and visibility. Now you are ready to share.

8 Share, Share, Share! // It’s your time to shine! Get your brand new video out there for the world to see! Embed it on your website, tweet the link, post it to your Facebook page, pin it, and blog about it! And don’t just do it once, you can continual drive traffic to this new and valuable resource!

9. Track It // Don’t forget about measurement. YouTube has built in tracking and analytics which allow you to see everything from the demographics of your viewers to view counts. This information will allow you to track the success of your videos against each other, and adjust your new videos based on what you have learned.

10. Do It Again! // You can never have too many videos, as long as they are unique, helpful, informative, and offer some way to help your customer, so keep shooting!

Have you ever shot your own online videos? Any tips or tricks you care to share?

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This year I wanted to try something new. Something different. Something 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 make 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, fun stuff!

So let’s go ahead and get the first Social Media SOS of 2015 started! Ask me your questions!

Happy New Year everyone! Glad to see you have made it out from under the piles of presents and the avalanche of food. I don’t know about you, but I am definitely going to need to get back into shape after the holidays… and not just physically, socially as well.

If you haven’t already noticed, the online world moves very quickly. There are new social networks popping up each day, bloggers are wondering what’s next and learning to adapt, some have even gone as far as to suggest the whole “social media” phase of the internet is over!

Every day things change slightly, so it doesn’t hurt to take a step back from your day-to-day hustle and examine your social strategy. Is it working? Now that you have 1, 2, 3 years of experience, does it need to be adjusted? It’s important to understand that social media is always changing; what worked today might not work tomorrow, so always be testing, evaluating and adjusting as needed.

Planning-Social-Strategy-Steps

And don’t worry, it’s all easier than you think! To help you along I’ve created this handy-dandy social media strategy worksheet that will allow you to evaluate and adjust your social media strategy accordingly. After all, we want you in the best shape for 2015!

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Managing several social accounts can be very time consuming, and let’s face it, you’ve got better things to do than spending 3 hours reading through your Twitter stream! Luckily there are many free & paid social media management tools out there that can help streamline your social activities, and make you more efficient when it comes to multi-management. That means less time tweeting and facebooking and more time building your business, networking, or even playing golf (no judgement here!).

I am often asked which five tools I find the most useful, and my response is usually “I can only pick 5?” So here are my Top 5 Social Tools + a few honourable mentions…

Hootsuite

Hootsuite // HootSuite is a Social Media Dashboard; it allows you to manage multiple social networks from one central website. The free version limits how many social accounts you can manage (up to 5), but is a great option for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The free version also allows you to shorten and track links, but statistics are limited to only 30 days (which is why I recommend bitly).

Bitly

Bitly // Bitly is an easy to use URL shorter. It allows you to effectively share and track your links. It tracks clicks, geographic location, and referrers; all important in understanding what your audience is looking for, where they are, and how they are finding you. What’s great about this tool is that it is free. The iPhone app makes shortening links on the fly easy, and if you are looking for something a bit more custom you can even create a vanity domain.

Wordpress

WordPress // Your website should be viewed as your central hub. All social media networks should be well integrated into your website for seamless sharing and engagement. A platform like WordPress allows you to integrate your website and blog, and has an easy to use Content Management System. To get the most of WordPress, I like to use the self-hosted option – it gives you much more flexibility in terms of designs as well as the plugins you can use. While WordPress itself is free, if you go the self-hosted route you will have to pay for hosting – but it’s well worth the investment!

AddThis

AddThis.com // Addthis.com is a sharing applet that can be installed on any website and blog. Signing up for a free account allows you to track what pages on your website are being shared, how many times, and on what social platforms. The new “Smart Layers” function allow you to entice visitors to stay longer by displaying “related posts” in the bottom corner of your website. A surprisingly powerful tool!

Analytics

Google Analytics // Google Analytics is a free web analytics solution that gives you insights into website traffic and marketing effectiveness. It tracks how many people visit your site, how many pages they looked at, how long they spent on your site, how they found it (keywords), who is linking to you, where in the world are your visitors coming from, plus hundreds more metrics. No website should be without this free tool!

Honourable Mentions

MailChimp // MailChimp is an email delivery platform which allows you to create eye-catching email campaigns, manage your email lists automatically, and dive deep into your delivery analytics. Very easy to use, you can create campaigns with everything from an RSS feed from your blog, to your most recent posts Pinterest pins. Best of all the basic level account is free.

Feedly // Once Google Reader fell by the wayside, a new face showed up in town – Feedly. Feedly is an RSS feed reader which allows you to follow all of your favourite business and personal blogs all in one place. It is also easy to add RSS based Google Alerts to track company & product mentions (making “listening” easier!). Both free and paid options are available.

Canva // Let’s face it, some of us just don’t have what it takes to be professional graphic designers, but that should stop us from sharing beautiful images on social media! Canva is a great online visual editor which allows you to create stunning and simple graphics for your Facebook page, blog or email newsletter.

Iconosquare // Although Instagram is super-popular right now there is one thing it lacks – built in analytics. Fortunately for us Instagram addicts Iconosquare has a brilliant analytics dashboard. You can find simple statistics like number of comments and likes, however where this measurement tool excels is analytic data on best times of day to post, media lifespan, filter impact and community relationships. Well worth a look!

Now go look into these amazing tools and get your social strategy streamlined, tracked, and running efficiently!

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Can we get honest for a minute? I feel I am overdue for an honesty post. I travel a lot for work. I’m gone at least once every month; anywhere from 2 to 7 days. There is this preconceived notion that travelling for business is sooo fun and glamorous; well, yes and no. Being away from the office for a week only to come back to 100+ emails is not fun. Getting to hang out with celebrity chefs at a cooking demo is fun. Driving past all the beautiful scenery, shops, and interesting museums in a city you’ve never been is not fun, because chances are you will only see these places one more time – on the way back to the airport. Enjoying team dinners at unique and interesting restaurants is fun. You see where I am going here!?

Travelling-For-Business

One thing you do gain when travelling so much is knowledge; and with that knowledge you form tips and tricks that help you along the way. With well over 30 business trips under my belt, I do have a few tips for those who are just starting out in the “travelling for business” game…

  1. Carry-on only! It will make breezing through the airport so much faster.
  2. Street view it! If you are going to multiple places in a city you have never been, it never hurts to check out the building(s) and surrounding area using Google Street View before travelling. That way you are not wandering around all over the place.
  3. Book it right away! If you know about your trip months in advance, book your flight right away. Chances are very slim the price will do down (more often than not it goes up!), so save yourself the stress and money, book it!
  4. Travelling takes time. There are lots of line-ups, crowds, and waiting. You never know when you are going to encounter these. Assume at every location there will be a crowd to wade through, and line to stand in, and someone to wait for; book your time accordingly.
  5. WiFi on the plane. If your flight is over  3 hours, splurge on the in-flight wifi. Better to use that “spare” time in a productive way.
  6. Carry on must haves. Gum, kleenex, chapstick, advil, hand sanitizer. Have them on you at all times… because you just never know.

Travelling for business is touch and go. Sometimes it can be a really fun experience, other times, not so much. I’ve been lucky enough to have amazing clients, so travelling for business is quite enjoyable.

Speaking of travel, if you are wondering what I got up to last week in Seattle, you can see my guest post over on The Mushroom Channel.

Safe & Happy Travels!

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Whether it be on Twitter or Facebook, busy business owners and brand managers should most definitely be making use of Facebook’s highly underutilized “Interest List” feature. Didn’t know Facebook had a list feature? I know, it’s well hidden. There are a few key benefits to adding your favourite pages to Facebook lists; it can streamline your efficiency, it can filter out the noise, and you can follow a page without having to “like” it first. (a bonus for those of us who secretly want to follow the Kardashians without a notification showing up in our news feed!).

Adding a page to a list is easy. Simply navigate to the page you wish to add to your list, and instead of clicking the “Like” button, click the gear button to the right, below the cover image. A drop down will appear showing several different options.

Adding-Pages-To-Facebook-Interest-Lists

Select “Add To Interest List.” You will then be prompted to add that page to a corresponding list. To create a new list, click the “+ New List” at the bottom of the drop down. A new dialogue box will appear prompting you to name your new list and select the privacy settings. Lists can be set to public, friends or private. Done!

Similar to Twitter lists, Facebook’s “Interest Lists” can be a great way to filter out the unwanted “noise” generated by your master news feed. You can find your lists in the left-hand column on your Facebook homepage under “Interests”.

Get organized, create efficiencies, and start engaging with other Facebook pages!

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