To Blog or not to Blog…..

by Stephanie Frasco

blogGuess what?

If you aren’t blogging on a regular basis, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. In the changing business environment that we live in, missing out on something could mean the difference in earning more money, attracting new clients, getting more speaking gigs, or even that promotion you’ve been hoping to get.

For many “soloprenuers” and small business owners, the life and death of your online reputation can rely on this very simple fact: You must be blogging.

We know that blogging increases the bottom line of a smaller businesses by increasing leads and sales, but what about your personal brand?

Why Is Blogging So Important For Your Professional Success?

This advice is true whether you’re a consultant, a designer, an accountant, a lawyer, a doctor, a real estate agent, a therapist, a life coach, an author, a public speaker, or any other professional who’s business depends on what YOU know. And let’s be honest, in many cases, it isn’t WHAT we know but WHO we know that really helps grow our businesses.

What you know and who you know — both affect your personal brand. The best way to strengthen your personal brand is through a strong online presence backed by consistent blogging and social media.

For my professional life, blogging has been a key factor in growing my network and building my authority. With more authority comes more trust. And with more trust comes more clients. It’s a simple equation.

How Does Blogging Impact Your Authority?

1. Blogging Puts Your Name Out There
It’s all about the byline folks. Every time you blog, your name is attached. The more your name is out there, the more people will start to remember you.

2. Blogging Brands You As An Expert
When you blog about industry related topics, it shows you know what you’re talking about. And because you took the time to write about it, it shows you are dedicated to educating the world around you. It demonstrates that you are capable of providing value.

3. Blogging Gets Other People Talking About You
If you’re creating valuable content, people are going to share it, source it, and even link back to it. Talk about a nonstop referral chain!

4. Blogging Gets You Found Online 
The more you blog, the more “places” you can be found. And you shouldn’t limit yourself to a restricted list of “target keywords.” Sometimes it’s the things that you might not expect that people resonate with.

5. Blogging Gives You Something To Show Your Clients & Prospects
Have you ever needed that extra push to make the sale? By blogging, you can explain different topics from a different medium. You can show your expertise and look more official to your prospects.

6. Blogging Allows You To Answer Common Questions
I’m sure there are tons of questions you get day-after-day. Guess what? People are searching online for the answer. When you can answer their burning questions immediately, you earn instant trust.

7. Blogging Grows Your Network 
This is a no-brainer. When you share your content, people will be looking to you for more content. Start blogging and watch your network grow!

8. Blogging Keeps Your Website Fresh
Google is very keen on showing results from websites that have fresh content. Blogging is the best way to keep your website constantly updated with new, timely content your customers and prospects will love.

9. Blogging Gives People A Reason To Revisit
There is nothing worse than losing a visitor because you haven’t updated your blog. Keep the traffic coming to your website by blogging frequently and consistently.

10. Blogging Associates Your Name With Industry Trends 
When someone thinks about your industry you want them to think about you. Consistent blogging allows you to blog about different topics and trends in the industry and keep your name relevant.

Sold on blogging?

Article by Stephanie Frasco is a leading social media marketing consultant. Over the past 7 years, she has worked closely with clients from all over the world to help each of them get more results from online social networks. Through experience, Stephanie has mastered some of the most powerful social media websites. Today, Stephanie provides exclusive social media consulting services to a handful of global clients. .

Dec 11, 2013 / Blog / Musings

A Hollywood Affair


THE THEME

Now that I just finished making my oldest daughter’s Bat Mitzvah I would love to share some details of the behind the scenes of what went into designing the event, from concept to completion. My daughter Eliana is very into acting so naturally it felt right to go with the hollywood theme. I feel it’s very important when choosing a Bar/Bat Mitzvah theme to go with something that excites the kid.


THE LOGO

For me, everything starts with a logo. The logo, whether for business or for an event, sets the tone and even color scheme. Because Eliana starts with an E, the E! Hollywood logo felt like a perfect match for me.

I also loved the idea of bringing the word Hollywood into it and it just seemed like a fun fit to change the spelling to HollEwood with the E logo replacing Y.

E!_Logo


THE INVITES

Next invitations! An invite definitely gives guests a hint of what’s to come. I chose to do a pop up invite that definitely portrayed  the feel of the party.

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I added custom stamps as a finishing touch. Here are the designs for the stamps. I needed 2 stamps because the postage ended up being high. In the future I would design based on what I want to pay for postage…since invite couldn’t bend it meant it was considered a parcel and was charged as such.
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I also designed seals to seal the envelope. The one I used had the return address written in the black circular border.
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THE BAT MITZVAH WEBSITE

Instead of response cards I opted to do a website partywitheliana.com where people can rsvp and get to know Eliana. Of course I customized it to go with my invites and theme. I definately saw that response wise, you have to be more on top of your guests when you have a site. Most forget to do it. However it definitely is a nice touch and allows you to share with your guests much more tha an invite allows.

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THE DECOR

 

Now that invites and site were done (And it’s best to take care of invites right away as making lists and gathering addresses take a long time) it was time to come up with the decor.

I knew I wanted hollywood colors…red, black, gold. I contacted a very talented centerpiece designer named Danielle from party excellence and we came up with a game plan.
We decided on Black and red feathers in LED vases and custom E! centerpieces as well as a big “Welcome to HollEwood” sign when guests entered and big E! logos on either side of the stage.
I contacted Dina from D Squared for the linen and we picked the nicest gold and black velvet cloths as well as some cool red leather cloths for buffet to add a pop of red. Here is the result.

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No Hollywood theme is complete without a Step and Repeat complete with celebrity cutouts and a red carpet.

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THE PERSONILIZED EXTRAS

Of course it’s also all in the details..Kippas…benchers….sign in books and a sign in mirror (instead of a board) , sunglasses and a giveaway bag modeled after the bloomingdales bag with logo earbuds.

 

 


THE SPEECH

We found a creative way to make even her speech interesting using a powerpoint presentation to illustrate her Dvar Torah.
The concept…what if our forefathers had instagram. Here is a link to her speech complete with the powerpoint images.
And here is one of the powerpoint images depicting her Dvar Torah.

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THE MONTAGE

 

The highlight of the night for the kids is the montage. I love montages but often find myself drifting off when it’s too long and slow and repetitive. So for my daughters Bat Mitzvah I was determined to come up with a creative one. I teamed up with my daughters guitar teacher Lenny Manzo who happens to be a talented videographer and editor and together we worked months on a mini movie/music video. This is a parody of One Direction’s “Best Song Ever” video as well as a parody of Icona Pop’s song “We love her”. I was also lucky to have my comedian friend Elon Gold in it…he was amazing.

Here it is:


THE PHOTOGRAPHS

Of course the most important thing at the end of the day is enjoying the night, even if things don’t go perfectly, and of course the pictures! We were lucky to have Jerry Meyer Studio  do our photography and we are thrilled with the results!


THE THANK YOU CARDS

And of course matching thank you cards for all the gifts are always a great idea!
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For more information on logo, invite and montage creations for your next affair contact me anytime. 917-301-2584

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Nov 12, 2013 / Blog / Musings

ABC’s of Faceook Marketing

by 

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How can you make your Facebook Page stand out from the crowd?

We’ve put together a handy ABC guide of what works for your reference. Enjoy!

Attention Grabbing. Share posts that stand out from the crowd. Learn which post types turbocharge engagement, and focus on sharing these.

Branding. Does your Facebook page reflect your brand? From the content you share, do your fans get a good sense of your brand values? Does your brand have adistinctive voice? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you need to get your act together.

Cover. Your cover is prime Facebook real estate, and the first thing potential fans will see when they visit your page. Does your cover express what your business is about, and give people a reason to hit Like? It’s worth hiring a pro designer for your cover, or at least heading over to Fiverr rather than doing it yourself.

Design The cover isn’t the only place where you need to strut your stuff. Every time you share anything on Facebook, you’re out in public, so make sure your content is suited and booted for the occasion. Don’t let down your brand with shoddy design.

Edgerank. Not all your fans see your Facebook posts. You knew that, right? Facebook decides who sees each post by giving posts an Edgerank. The better the Edgerank, the more people see it. Check out Facebook to find out how edgerank is calculated so you can get to work improving yours.

Funny. Funny is money because it makes people feel good and it gives them a reason to share. Unless you’re running a funeral parlor, you’ve got no excuse. Lighten up and give your fans a giggle!

Giving. Have you heard of the strategy of pre-eminence? It’s a marketing idea, and it states that the more you give away, the more you get in return. It a do-gooder that came up with that. It was a money-spinning marketer. So go ahead and share your best stuff on Facebook. Hold it back, and it will only gather dust.

Happy. A virtual smile is infectious, and it doesn’t cost you anything, but it can brighten your fans’ day. Keep your grumps in your personal life, please.

Insights. If you’ve got a Facebook Page, you’ve got access to Facebook Insights. They tell you if you’re shooting for the stars, or crashing down to earth. Get well acquainted with them. They show you if what you’re doing works.

Jazz. We once said Twitter is like a Jazz band – a steady backing band, plus a brilliant solo artist. Facebook’s pretty much the same. Schedule posts to create a steady backing, and then be online in person from time to time to show off your improvisation skills.

Kindness. Being online is no excuse for forgetting your manners. It’s totally okay to get into discussions and conversations on your page, but always remember there’s a human being at the other end. Plus, all your fans are watching everything you say. Sprinkle everything you say with a dash of kindness.

Likes. Sorry if we’re stating the obvious, but the more likes your page has, the better you’re doing. That is, unless you’ve paid for likes – which is a recipe for disengaged fans and a sluggish Edgerank.

Monitoring. Are you tracking your page stats? If not, you should be. If you’re not measuring success, you’ll never reach it. We show you how it’s done and what you should be looking out for here.

Name. Unless you’re a big brand, only a handful of people will know what your business does. As such, when people visit your Page, they should instantly get a sense of what you do from the name of your page. We’re Social Caffeine because we’re all about creating a buzz on social media.

Optimized. Just like websites, Facebook pages are indexed by Google. That means SEO principles apply just as much to the copy on your Facebook Page as it does to your website copy. Pay particular attention to brushing up the copy on your About Page (Want to know more about SEO? Check out our Short, Easy Introduction to SEO).

Plans. It’s a good idea to have an editorial schedule for your page. E.g. on Mondays you share an image, Tuesdays you ask a Question, Wednesdays is video day, etc. This lets your fans know what to expect, and keeps you on track for regular sharing.

Questions. If you do nothing else on your Facebook Page, ask questions. Questions pull your fans into conversation, and allow you to get an inside view on what your fans are thinking.

Regular Posts. The most successful pages are those who are consistent in their sharing. If you go quiet for a year, then suddenly blast your fans with updates, they’ll just ignore you or wonder who you are. Try to post at least one update everyday, even if it’s just to share an interesting article you’ve found.

Storytelling. On your Facebook Page, you’re sharing (and creating) your brand’s story. Make sure you’ve completed Milestones for your brand.

Targeted. Who are you trying to reach? The better you know your audience, the better you’ll be at striking to the heart with your message.

URL. Facebook lets you claim a custom URL for your Page. This is good for SEO, and means you can promote your Page in your print marketing. If you haven’t claimed your vanity URL yet, what are you waiting for? Choose with care, as once you’ve chosen your URL, you’re stuck with it.

Viral. Reach for the heavens, and even if you fail, you’ll have jumped higher than most people. When you’re creating content to share, aim to go viral. Most of what you share will just get a few likes, but when you hit the big time, you’ll be glad you kept trying.

Wisdom. As star of the silent screen Marlene Dietrich said: “I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself.” Facebook users love quotes too. Get sharing.

X-traordinary. Everyone has a Facebook Page these days. To mark yourself out as special, you have to be better than everyone else. Reply to every comment your fans leave. Share content that blows their mind. Don’t give up, even when the going’s tough.

You. You are the crucial ingredient in your Facebook page. Without your pizazz and personality, your Facebook Page would be bland and boring. Inject your unique energy, and your page will rapidly become a favorite with your fans.

Zeitgeist. What are people talking about today? Can you make it relevant to your brand? If so, get with the spirit of the times and jump on that bandwagon, baby.

 

David Masters is our lead writer, idea spinner and super blogger. He’s British, and lives in Wales, but we don’t hold that against him. Follow David on Twitter.

 

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Sep 18, 2013 / Musings

A picture speaks louder than words

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by boomsocial.net

It’s a fact: pictures speak to us in ways that words never will, right?

For instance, here is what the Social Media Manager for flash sale travel site Jetsetter had to say about Pinterest:

“We were looking for a fun way to involve our community to help us curate the world’s best travel experiences. Pinterest gave us a forum to engage with our most passionate advocates in a meaningful, creative, and compelling way.” 

Images tell stories; they capture our imagination, and entice us to engage in ways that words often don’t.

3 Ways to Use Pinterest and Instragram to Build Relationships

If you agree with me in theory, but are stumped as to exactly how and where to start with building relationships on Instagram and Pinterest, I am going to outline 3 ways you can make it happen.

And as always, please don’t forget to share your ideas with me at the end of this post!

1. Get Real

Image courtesy of the Boston Bruins Instagram page
Image courtesy of the Boston Bruins Instagram page

Images are great for putting a more human face on your business or brand. While other social media platforms shine when it comes to sharing and promoting written content, these image-rich sites allow for unprecedented levels of casual, relational sharing.

Be proactive about sharing fun, spontaneous pictures. These could be pictures of yourself, your dog, your company, or your employees.

You could even showcase loyal customers by having a ‘customer of the week’ board on Pinterest, or share real-time customer images on Instagram so fans feel like they are ‘really there’.

2. Invite Photo-Sharing

There are two ways you can do this:

1. Through creating photo-sharing contests, or
2. just by simply asking fans to share their favorite images.

#1: Photo-Sharing Contests

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What better way to invite engagement than by incorporating photo-sharing into a contest or giveaway?

Jetsetter, for instance, launched an online scavenger hunt , asking their fans to pin images from the Jetsetter website to Pinterest. The result? Not only did the company undoubtedly receive a huge influx of traffic to their site, but their fans created over 800 boards and 16,000 pins.

How’s that for user engagement?

#2: Photo-Sharing, Just Because They Want to!

High-end retailer Tiffany & Co  recently launched a downloadable Instagram filter that allows it’s followers to submit their own love photos.

They also launched a campaign to photograph real-life love stories in Paris and New York, inspiring fans to share their own ‘photo-stories’.

3. Collaborate with Other Businesses in Your Industry

Both of these sites can be fantastic for engaging with other business owners or bloggers in your niche or industry.

Using the principle of ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine’, sharing images from complimentary businesses can not only be a first step to building a mutually-beneficial relationship, but it can supplement your own content beautifully.

For instance, the team at Etsy had the idea to launch a ‘guest pinner ‘ program. By inviting inspirational pinners to contribute to guest boards, they are not only building relationships with Etsy store owners and experts in the field, but they have a steady stream of unique, inspirational content being posted to their boards.

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When using Pinterest and Instagram to build relationships – whether that’s with potential customers, influential bloggers, or other business owners – the key is to remember it’s all about ‘give and take’.

Invite collaboration, sharing, and above all, interaction. Repin, comment, and share when appropriate, and you’re well on your way to forging new relationships and solidifying old ones.

What are some creative ways that you’re using Pinterest and Instagram for your business? Would you agree that pictures have the potential to create greater engagement and interaction? Why or why not?

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Sep 10, 2013 / Musings

Facebook Ads 101

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by Kim Garst of Boom Social 

What kinds of Facebook Ads are there?

Right now, Facebook has a total of 27 different ad products and this past week, they made an announcement that in coming weeks and months, they will be working to simplify their advertising products by reducing the number of options in half in order to provide a more focused experience for their business customers.

The reason there are so many different kinds of Facebook Ads is that each different ad product is optimized and placed to achieve a different goal. This is why part of the process of making your Facebook Ads more effective is to make sure you are super clear about what your goals are, so that you choose the ad type (not to mention copy and graphics) that will be most effective to help you reach your goals.

How to Use Facebook Ads to Boost Your Business

1. Know your ideal customers and target your ad to them

The success of your Facebook ad – no matter what kind you are using – seriously depends on making sure it is seen by the people most likely to take the action you want. Whether you want people to LIKE your page, engage with your content, or you want your leads to convert into paying customers, targeting is critical. In this case, the more specific you can be about your ideal customer, the more effective your ad will be.

Another way you can target your ideal customer is to use Facebook’s “Custom Audiences” feature. This allows you to upload your e-mail list to Facebook and select them as your target audience for your Facebook ad. Given that your e-mail list includes people who have opted in to receive more marketing from you, chances are good that advertising to this audience will lead to significantly higher conversions.

2. Use Facebook Offers to accelerate lead generation – not sales

For people who are new to Facebook advertising, it might seem like you want to advertise your product or service right away, right?

It might seem crazy, but work with me here.

Instead, try using a Facebook Offer to promote something valuable you are giving away for FREE – in exchange for users’ name and e-mail address. This will grow your e-mail list and give you a highly targeted list of people who are more likely to be interested in buying your product or service when you send them an e-mail about your latest product launch or service.

3. Grow your audience by using ads to boost your Page Likes

Facebook advertising is a step by step process. As I mentioned in the previous step, it’s about attracting specific prospects to your page and building a community to engage with. Then, when you advertise your product or service, you are more likely to be seen as an expert with valuable content, and they will be more likely to purchase from you.

Facebook Like ads are useful if you are in the beginning of this process, trying to build or grow your community. Keep your ad copy short and to the point, making it as clear as possible what the benefit of liking your page is.

4. Use powerful images

The best images with Facebook ads are those that are clear and enticing. Many studies have suggested that a clear picture of an attractive woman or a beautiful outdoor setting like a beach are the best kinds of pictures. Pictures of appetizing food also pulls well IF it relates to your business. Choose a picture that is appropriately sized so the details are not lost because it is too small.

5. Use A/B testing to refine your results

A/B testing might sound complicated, but honestly – it is no more than having 2 versions of your ad and checking results against each other to make sure it is as effective as it can possibly be.

There is just one key thing you need to remember. When you test one ad against another, you want to make sure you are changing only 1 variable at a time. If you are testing 2 different pictures, keep the same headline and copy. If you are testing 2 different headlines, keep the same picture and ad copy.

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Jun 10, 2013 / Musings

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