Win a Ticket to the Social Media Success Summit!

I am having a CONTEST!

In just a few days, I am going to give one lucky reader the opportunity to attend one of the biggest social media training events of the year —  the Social Media Success Summit, sponsored by Social Media Examiner — for FREE!

This online-only event will be led by 45+ of the world’s top social media marketing pros (including yours truly) and you don’t want to miss it.

And you don’t even need to leave your house to participate — all the sessions will be available for you to access online, from the comfort of your own home!

How to Enter:

To enter to win a FREE ticket to this awesome event (a $597 value), all you need to do is add a comment on this post, describing your biggest question or challenge about blogging (or if you’re not into blogging, tell me about your biggest online marketing challenge). Your questions can be technical, strategic, or everything in between — so add your comment today, and get yourself entered to win this incredible prize!

THIS CONTEST HAS CLOSED. You can comment on this post (and let me know your problems/issues/gripes) but you will not be entered into the contest.

RULES (Please read carefully before you enter):

  • Deadline for the contest is midnight on Tuesday, August 28th. That means you only have a couple of days to enter, so leave your comment today!
  • Winner will be selected at random from the entries. Please, only ONE entry per participant.
  • When you comment, you MUST use a working email address in the comment form. The email address will be used to send you your free ticket, so make sure it’s one that you check regularly (and don’t worry — no one will see that address except me and the Social Media Examiner administrator who will send your ticket if you win).
  • I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday, August 29th.

THIS CONTEST HAS CLOSED. You can comment on this post (and let me know your problems/issues/gripes) but you will not be entered into the contest.

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4 Ways to Make Your Business Extraordinary

I recently had an amazing experience with a local business here in Boulder, Colorado. I had been shopping around for a doggie daycare for my new puppy, so I asked my dog owner friends for their recommendations.

Many of my friends recommended The Dog Spot, a locally-owned daycare and boarding business for active pups.

I reserved Moose’s first daycare day with them, and right from the first moment, I got a great feeling about The Dog Spot. Here’s what I loved about my experience on the first day:

1. I was asked to fill out a complete profile for Moose, so that his caretakers would know his personality, including all his quirks and weird habits. I love that they wanted to know everything about my dog, in order to take the best possible care of him.

2. The owner, Shannon, greeted me warmly at the door, and as I was filling out my paperwork, she greeted each of the other customers (and their dogs!) by name as they came in the door.

3. Every dog who came in was incredibly excited to be there — some were actually scratched at the door to get in!

4. I was told exactly what Moose’s schedule for the day would be, so that I would know what to expect. I particularly loved hearing that The Dog Spot owners carve out the hours between 12-2 PM every day as “naptime,” so the pups can get some rest.

5. The place was clean, welcoming, and quiet when I arrived. It is obviously well-run and very organized.

6. During Moose’s first day, the caretakers posted hilarious photos of him on their Facebook page. When I picked up him that evening, I also received a full report on his first day, including a fabulous photo collage of pictures of Moose with all his new friends.

I am so thrilled with The Dog Spot that I have been talking about them non-stop on Facebook and Twitter. I have also recommended their facility wholeheartedly to my dog owner friends in Boulder.

Here are the lessons you can take from The Dog Spot, to make YOUR local business more extraordinary:

1. Know your clients! Greeting people by name when they arrive makes them feel valued and welcomed.

2. Go out of your way to provide a memorable experience. Because The Dog Spot owners provided an amazing experience for me and Moose, they are going to get tons of referrals from me. What can you do to provide an incredible experience for your clients?

3.  Integrate your social media presence in smart ways. The Dog Spot uses their Facebook page to post regular pics of the dogs’ adventures, so puppy owners can keep an eye on their pets during the day. What can you do with social media that makes your customers’ experiences even better?

4. Be nice. One of the things I love about the folks at The Dog Spot is that they are so warm and friendly. Studies show that as human beings, we most often do business with the people we like — so being nice is not only the right thing to do, it’s the profitable thing, as well!

Your assignment for this week: Take a look at what you’re doing with your business, and see if you can make some small changes that would make your company really stand out from the competition. Make your business better, and your clients will be delighted to refer their friends and family members to you.

 

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How Tamara Suttle Took Her Business to the Next Level

I first met Tamara Suttle in 2006, when I was teaching a group class called “Basics of Blogging.” Tamara is a therapist and marketing coach and consultant for therapist and coaches. After the class, Tamara became one of my consulting clients, and we worked together to build her very first WordPress site, AllThingsPrivatePractice.com. I coached her on how to use WordPress to publish useful and interesting blog posts, and taught her how to drive traffic to her blog, engage with her audience, and provide huge value for her readers.

I was really impressed with Tamara’s drive and motivation — she worked very hard to build her new blog into a thriving online community for therapists and coaches. Over the last few years, she has become a masterful blogger, even though she still refers to herself as a “technophobe”, and her site has become an incredible resources for therapist and coaches looking to build their practices and network with other like-minded professionals.

A few years after starting her blog, Tamara signed up for Twitter, and she came back to me for some additional coaching. I talked her through the process of learning how to tweet and using Twitter to connect with other therapists and referral sources for her business. She dove into tweeting with enthusiasm, and started building her community there, as well.

Then a few years later, she learned how to use Pinterest. Let’s just say that Pinterest and Tamara were a match made in heaven. She loves sharing interesting things on her pinboards, and people love to see the great images and resources she pins for therapists and coaches.

Tamara’s work has paid off. She now has almost 2,000 Twitter followers, and 2,500 followers on Pinterest.

Tamara is one of my Star Clients. She has worked incredibly hard to set up an very successful online marketing machine for her business. She not only gets invited to speak at industry events, but her private practice AND her coaching business are both thriving. Last month, she even launched a new blogging class for therapists, which has also been a huge success!

I’m absolutely thrilled that Tamara took the information I taught her about social media and online marketing, and turned it into a marketing machines for her business. I am unbelievably proud of her, and I am thrilled to be her coach!

If you’d like to learn more about how to set up a successful online marketing system, and see results like Tamara’s, consider making an investment in your business by signing up for my VIP Coaching Program. Registration ends Monday, April 8th at midnight, Eastern Standard Time.

Get all the details right here.

“Beth Hayden is the best investment that I have made in my business in the last 30 years.”

Beth taught me everything I know about social media. She was able to teach me – this tech-challenged professional counselor who had no real interest in all-things-tech – and she has turned me into a really effective social media fiend!

Thanks to Beth, I can not only maintain my own website, blog on a regular basis, tweet and stay active on LinkedIn. And, this web presence has truly caused my business to mushroom in growth! Best of all – this is all REALLY FUN!

Beth Hayden is responsible for all of this! She was able to chunk the information down into tiny, palatable, bite-size pieces that were not-too-scary for this tech-phobic psychotherapist.

I can’t say enough good things about the value and products that you receive from Beth! She helped me take my business to the next level; and it can take yours there, too.
–Tamara Suttle, AllThingsPrivatePractice.com

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How to Automatically Publish Your Blog to Facebook — and Why You Should Do It Manually Instead

The question I get almost every day is “How do I import my blog into Facebook, so my blog posts automatically get published to my Facebook profile?”

Facebook used to offer an easy way to import blogs using Facebook Notes, but they discontinued that feature, leaving bloggers struggling for an easy way to import their posts to their profiles and Pages.

Enter NetworkedBlogs – a Facebook app you can use to import your blog into a Facebook profile or Page.

Here’s a great video from Facebook expert Andrea Vahl that explains how to import your blog into the NetworkedBlogs app and then syndicate it to your Facebook profile or Page. The video is a few years old, but the process is essentially the same – don’t get freaked out if some of the steps look a little different. Just keep calm and carry on.

Okay, now that I’ve told you HOW to import your blog into Facebook, I’m going to tell you why you shouldn’t actually DO it.

All evidence points to the fact that Facebook is fiddling around with things in their system, and that it has ways of hiding some content from you, while highlighting other content. Facebook is making (somewhat arbitrary) judgments for you about what content it wants you to see. These judgements seem to be based on who and what you’re engaging with when you’re logged into Facebook.

What that means for us as publishers is that we need to do everything we can to counteract Facebook’s hijinks and make sure that our posts and updates are still reaching the people we are trying to reach.

The bottom line is this – while you CAN automatically import your blog into Facebook so your posts get published automatically, you shouldn’t actually do it.

Instead, you should manually link to each of your blog posts from a status update. It doesn’t take very long – 30 seconds, max – to write a Facebook status update and paste a link to your new blog post into that update.

The reason you want to add links manually — instead of relying on NetworkedBlogs (or any other tool) — is that when you import your blog (and your posts get published to Facebook automatically) your blog posts get shared and Liked less often. A LOT less often. That means less traffic for you. Here’s an article that shows you the research to back up my advice.

So it’s up to you – you can use an automated tool, or not. I definitely choose not to. I manually publish a link to each new blog post – and that’s what I recommend my clients do, too. I think I get more traffic and more engagement because I choose to do this.

Here’s my advice – You need to make a decision that works for you and your business. You should either install NetworkedBlogs in your Facebook profile and import your blog to your profile or page, OR you should add a task to the checklist of things you do every time you publish a new post that says “Publish a link to my new blog post to my Facebook page”.

What are thoughts on this issue? Has anyone experienced a dip in traffic when they publish blog posts to Facebook with a third party app?

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Using Facebook for Business

I’m halfway through HubSpot’s latest ebook, “How to Use Facebook for Business: An Introductory Guide” and I can’t put it down. HubSpot has a solid reputation for providing useful, current content on content marketing and social media through their webinars and guides, and this book is no exception. You can click here to download your copy of this incredibly useful Facebook e-book.

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Why Blogging Isn’t Going Anywhere

About every other month or so, I have a client or a workshop attendee who asks me if blogging is a dying art. They tell me they heard from a friend of a friend or another social media expert that Facebook and Twitter are replacing blogs.

The answer is longer than I can usually give when I’m short on time and the person is standing in front of me wants a black and white YES or a NO answer.

But I have a little room here, so I’m going to pontificate.

Here’s why blogging is going to be around for a long, long time:

I want you to think about your online marketing strategy in terms of a bicycle wheel. Your website and your blog are the HUB, the center of the wheel – they hold everything together. Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are the spokes.

But the spokes always lead back to the hub. Without the hub, the wheel loses its center and the bike doesn’t move forward. But without the spokes, nothing will connect the hub to the outside rim, and the bike doesn’t move forward.

That’s why it is critical for anyone who is developing an online marketing campaign – whether you’re a business owner, a personal blogger or an author trying to market a book – to grow and nurture both your blog AND your social media tools. They work together.

Note: If you feel more comfortable doing so, you can mentally substitute the word “website” every time I used the word “blog”. It doesn’t matter whether you call it a blog or not, but what DOES matter is that you have a place on your site where you can consistently and easily publish valuable content for your audience. The key to success online, whether you call it blogging or not, is providing something valuable for your audience. And for that, you need a content management platform.

It turns out that WordPress, the world’s biggest content management platform, started out as a blogging tool. And it’s a fun, incredibly easy way to publish great content on your site. It’s also growing by leaps and bounds each year, as more and more people discover easy ways to use it to grow their sites and their audiences using blogging and content management tools.

So before anyone yells panic about blogging, and decides to ditch WordPress and their online content efforts, please consider this scenario:

Which is more likely to be found by the search engines two years from now – a meaty, informative blog post you write and publish today, or the Tweet you wrote two minutes ago? That’s right – the blog post wins.

Which one will be most likely to get you search engine traffic, develop relationships and encourage conversation? Probably the Tweet, right?

And you need both to make your online life sing. So when you sit down at your computer to build your platform and develop relationships with people who can move you toward your goals, please remember to nurture that bicycle – you’ll need the wheel hub AND the spokes to get where you want to go. Otherwise, you’ll just be stuck in one place…and with life moving this fast, you’ll want to be able to ride around with the wind whipping through your hair!

Wheeeeeeee!

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Blogging and Social Media Classes in January

Ready to start blogging, Tweeting or Facebooking in 2011? I’m super excited to be teaching two classes during the first week of January. As it turns out, these classes go really well together.

On Tuesday, January 4th, I’ll be at the Longmont Public Library as part of their Small Business Support Series. The class will focus on Facebook and Twitter, and we’ll talk about how using social media tools can help your business. The class is FREE!

Name of Class: Social Media for Small Businesses
Where: Longmont Public Library, 409 4th Avenue, Longmont, CO 80501
Date: Tuesday, January 4th, 2011
Time: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Cost: FREE!
Registration information: Seating is first come, first served – I’d advise you to get there around 6:00 PM if you can.

Then on Thursday, January 6th, I’ll be at Boulder Digital Arts, teaching my popular Basics of Blogging course. This is the course that launched a thousand blogs! Okay, maybe not 1,000 exactly, but quite a few! :)  I’ve been teaching this Basics course for about three years, and it’s a fun and engaging class for blogging beginners. Boulder Digital Arts also features an amazing training room, so you’ll be super-comfortable as you learn in style.

Name of Class: Basics of Blogging
Where: Boulder Digital Arts, 1600 Range Street, Suite 100, Boulder, CO, 80301
Date: Thursday, January 6th, 2011
Time: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Cost:
BDA Member Cost: Early registration discount $59.00 (before Saturday, January 01, 2011). Regular price $69.00.
Non Member Cost: Early registration discount $79.00 (before Saturday, January 01, 2011). Regular price $89.00.
Registration information: Click here to register online!

Please email me if you have any questions about either of these classes! I’d love to see you there!

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A Smart Way to Get Blog Traffic Using Twitter

Many of you have probably heard that a wildfire ripped through the area outside Boulder, Colorado on Labor Day weekend, and that 160 homes were destroyed by the blaze. The damage to the surrounding landscape was devastating, and many old and majestic trees were also lost to the fire.

One of my clients, Boulder resident Priscilla Stuckey, wrote a beautiful, heartfelt blog post on her blog, This Lively Earth, about the loss of a particular Ponderosa Pine. Then something rather surprising happened.

Priscilla’s a smart blog marketer who uses her Twitter account to promote each new blog post, so she also tweeted about her new article. Here’s her original tweet:

Priscilla Stuckey Tweet

Did you notice the way she used a hashtag (#boulderfire) in her tweet? That ensures that people who are tracking the Twitter conversation about the fire and its aftermath will read her tweet and follow the link to her moving blog post.

People did indeed find her tweet (and read her post), and her update was retweeted by several people, each of whom also used the #boulderfire hashtag.

What happened next was even better – The Daily Camera, Boulder’s local newspaper, found Priscilla’s tweet and read her blog post. They called Priscilla for an interview about her moving story, and then they ran the interview online and in the print version of the Camera on October 14th. The Denver Post also picked up the story and ran it the following day (October 15th).

The result of this flurry of publicity for Priscilla and her story? An avalanche of traffic to her blog. She doubled her previous one-day record for visits to her site.

Since Priscilla has added an option for her new readers to subscribe to her blog via email, hopefully that flood of new traffic also converted to a bunch of new subscribers!

So what does Priscilla’s story teach us about blogging and Twitter? Here are the lessons we should take away from this story:

1. Write great content for your blog. Excellent blog posts will get attention and traffic, are more likely to be retweeted, and can translate into (FREE!) media coverage from traditional newspapers and magazines. Priscilla’s blog post is beautifully written and includes compelling images.

2. If you’re using Twitter, make sure to promote each of your blog posts by tweeting about it. Include the name of the post (or some other short description) and a shortened link back to the post.

3. Be open to interviews and publicity opportunity, both online and offline.  When the Daily Camera contacted Priscilla to do an interview, she said yes! The Camera actually did a video interview with her, which may have been somewhat daunting, and Priscilla agreed to do it. It paid off in spades! Have courage, bloggers!

Congrats again, Priscilla, on being a smart blogger, and for being willing to write such a personal blog post. Your readers clearly value your vulnerability and accessibility.  And while I’ve very sorry for the loss of your special tree, I’m extremely proud of how you put yourself out there in the online (and offline) worlds.

Keep up the good work!

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How to Publish Your Blog Posts to Facebook (automatically)

I’ve had a lot of questions recently regarding publishing blog posts to Facebook. It’s quick and easy to connect your blog to your Facebook profile so that every time you publish a new blog post, it will appear on your Facebook profile automatically (and will therefore be visible to all of your Facebook friends).  This saves a lot of time and effort – you don’t have to re-post your new content every time you publish!

Here’s how to do it:

1.  Log into your Facebook account.

2.  Go to the lower left hand corner of your screen, where there’s a little Facebook logo and the word “Applications”.  Click on the word Applications.  A big menu of all of your FB applications will pop up.

3.  Go to “Notes”.

4.  You’ll be sent to a screen that says “My Friends’ Notes”.  On the right side of the screen you’ll see a box that says “Notes Settings”.

5.  In that box, click on “Import a Blog”.

6.   You will then be sent to a screen that says “Import a Blog”.

7.  Enter the full URL (including the http://) of your blog (or the feed of your blog, if you use a Feedburner feed) in the Web URL field.

8.  Check the box beneath the URL field to acknowledge that the content is yours.

9.  Then click on “Start Importing”.

10.  Facebook will show you a Preview of the content that it thinks it should publish.  Click on the “Confirm Import” button on the right side of the screen to confirm the import process.

You’re done! Facebook will now pull your most recent blog posts into your profile (it may import several at one time at the beginning).  Then from now on, Facebook will check the RSS feed of your blog automatically every 2-3 hours.  If you’ve written a new blog post, if will import it automatically into your profile as a Note.

Please note – You may only import one blog at a time using this process, so if you’ve got multiple blogs, you’ll need to pick one.

Another note – You can use this same process to import your blog into a Facebook Page (if you have one for your business).

If you would like to delete a post from the Notes area once it’s been imported, just go to Applications > Notes, then hit the “My Notes” link close to the top of the screen.  There will be delete button next to the title of each Note.

Have fun, and happy posting!

UPDATE:  Facebook has changes it’s NOTES process since this post was published, and you may need to look in a different place to find the Import settings. If you’ve checked Facebook help and are still stuck, please contact me and I’ll help you out.

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A Great Little Post on Social Networking

The folks over at Click to Client put up an excellent, succinct post recently about how Facebook, Linkedin and other social networking sites work – mainly, you get OUT of it what you put INTO it. I was nodding and smiling the whole way through the post, and I'm considering making it mandatory reading for any client that wants me to help them launch a social media campaign.  Check it out here

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