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Can you be alienating yourself because of Facebook?

3 Apr

People love to rant, rave and vent on Facebook. They figure it’s the best place to have a “convo” with like minded people. But what if your political, religious and overall dreariness is just bumming people out? Have you ever considered that that your multiple posts about how broke you are or how much you disagree with politicians or your posts about insignificant things that people may not really care, could alienate you from your actual friends. Well if you’re guilty of any of those things, chances are people are not following you or simply deleted you from their feed.

There are many people who enjoy the occasional banter back and forth with friends online about topics. The problem with this is when you’re doing this all day long, everyday of the week, it can get overwhelming to your followers/friends. So you need to find a balance on how you “vent” about topics. Perhaps getting a Twitter account and posting your thoughts there. It’s a bit more anonymous than Facebook, plus you get to let it all out as long as its under their word count restrictions.

Another idea is to just say things out loud before you go on Facebook. Give it a try, here let me give you an example, “I really don’t like Democrats/Republicans!” See, it’s that simple. You get it off your chest and you aren’t finding yourself in a middle of an online fight with a person you are going to see at Church on Sunday.

One thing you may not have thought about, the things you post on Facebook can be seen by people. I know you’re thinking, “but I set my profile to private!” Eh…you might be surprised that you’re not as private as you think. All someone has to do to see some of your status updates and photos is Friend a Friend. Make sense? Your privacy settings is limited because you’re allowing only your “friends” to see it, right? But if your friend likes or comments on your status/photo, then their friends will see that they’ve done so. Which opens up your “private” status updates/photos.

In conclusion, just be careful of what you post on Facebook. It may not occur to you that people don’t like you anymore because of what you’re doing on Facebook. One day you’ll find out that you’re trying to tag a friend in a post/photo, but you can’t because they’ve already deleted you from their friends list.
drama

Why it’s worth paying someone to do the job

25 Mar

Last month I met with a company that was interested in my services. I gave them a layout on what I could do for them. They said they’d think about it. A few days later I noticed that they started becoming more active in their social media. As great as that is, they were doing it all wrong. For one they were using their own personal profile to promote their business, secondly they fizzled out after 2 days.

In my experience, I’ve learned that companies will try and do their own social media after speaking with me because they think it sounds “easy” enough.” Unfortunately, they find out it’s not as easy as they think. It’s more time consuming than they realize, which means they end up abandoning the effort.

Fortunately for them, they did come back and asked me to manage their social media efforts. The moral of the story, I’m a professional. I’m good at what I do, just like how you are good at what you do. Whether you sell doo-dads or nick-nacks, you’re great at it and that’s why you have your business. But for stuff like social media, blogging and email marketing, leave that up to me so you can focus on your own day to day efforts.

How Contests Help your Brand

13 Feb

Over at BikeCommuters.com and MtnBikeRiders.com we’ve held a number of online contests over the years. What this does is help build a new fan base for the sites and for the sponsor who is donating your prize packages. We’ve often worked with Planet Bike in which they’ve donated thousands of dollars worth of goods over the years for our prize packages.

What do I mean by “new” fan base? Well the best way to do that is through Facebook. Just recently we had a content for our “4000 Likes” give away. Basically Planet Bike donated a bunch of goods to the winner of the contest. The premise is we gave our fans a few weeks to hit Like and Share the post. We even published it on the main site, BikeCommuters.com.
fan contest
Over the weeks we saw a spike of new likes in our fanpage. Now these are people who probably would have never hit LIKE on the fanpage before. But because we used a contest, their friends shared the info, so the friends on their feed saw it, then hit like themselves. Free advertising, it’s sorta like Word by Mouth. But this time it’s word by LIKE.

Contests don’t have to be extravagant, sometimes it’s a matter of giving away stickers or even a small item like a t-shirt can spark some new fans for your brand.

Reputation Management

13 Feb

Ever heard of that term before? Well let me explain this the easiest way I can. Take for example your company has been reviewed or blogged about in a negative way. There’s some folks that just aren’t too happy with the product or service you have.

There’s a few ways to fix this. Here’s the first one. Fix it. If someone wrote a bad review about you on Yelp or some blog, reach out to that person and see what you can do to make amends. But don’t do so expecting them to remove the bad review, just do it because you want to make things right. For the most part once you’ve basically said “sorry” and convert that person from being a Hater to a Fan, then you’ll end up having an advocate for your brand. They’ll post another review stating how you made things better or in some cases, they’ll tell their friends about it.

The other option is to combat those negative reviews with content. You can hire us to create content and publish it on a daily basis. Our content is fresh, written by a human and it always makes sense. The problem with some foreign content writers is that their English is really poor. Some of the stuff they generate doesn’t even make sense.

But we’re not just about writing content. When we publish our work about your company/brand, we’ll provide you screen shots and links to all of the articles we’ve launched. That way you can track what’s been going on with your brand. The idea is we publish a ton of content to rank on the first page in hopes that it pushes down some of the negative content about your brand to page 2 and up.

If this is something you might be interested in, give us a call and we’ll talk you through our service.

RLPolicar@gmail.com
714 519 6661
Social Media, Content Writer, Blogger, Email Marketing

You wonder why your online business isn’t making money

15 Jun

Start with the person who is in charge of your online business. Is this person innovative, creative and always looking for ways to grow your brand? Does this person see the power and potential with Social Media?

If you answered NO to any of those, then you need a new person to oversee your online business. The problem with someone who doesn’t believe in social media or isn’t creative is that they tend to be stagnant. They don’t want to do anything different and they think that growing your online business is a matter of just getting visitors to your site. Yes it’s true visitors do become customers but having a closed mind on how to get them there is a financial danger you don’t want to mess with.

Take this situation I was in a few months ago. I met with an online company who wanted to grow their revenue and online presence. As the Online Marketing Director and I spoke I learned that she doesn’t like social media and can’t see how it would generate into income. I was a bit shocked to hear that the Online Marketing Director would be so opposed to social media. I sat there trying to explain to her the powers and potential of what social media can do for their business. I left her office scratching my head wondering how this person got to be the Director of Online Marketing when she wasn’t a fan of social media.

A bit of advice to those who have some sort of online brand, make sure that the person is oversees your online marketing effort is passionate about social media.

Get your brand involved

12 Apr

One of the things I love to do on my mountain biking website is create projects or what we call “builds.” For the last 6 years that I’ve had that line of business open, we’ve created at least a dozen bike projects. Some of them are basic builds and others like the tandem is pretty complicated.

When doing these builds, it does cost money. The website does pay for much of the expenses. But often times I’ll partner up with a brand who will donate hard goods to the cause. Doing this helps off set any costs that I may incur from the project. Besides, it’s a great way for the brand to further get their name out there on a grass roots level.

Take for example this stuff you see below. That was donated by a company in SoCal called Serfas. They make quality bicycle parts and accessories. We’ve had a great relationship with Serfas for the last several years. But this was actually the first project they jumped on board with.
serfas

Why do you think Serfas donated products? There’s a few reasons why they did it. For one, it’s cheap advertising. Another reason is that it’s CHEAP ADVERTISING. Third…do I dare say it again? CHEAP ADVERTISING! Yep, you guessed it, cheap advertising. How cheap? Let’s look at that picture again. I’m guessing that items that Serfas sells is marked up to 50-80% from the landed costs. Let’s pretend that a seat that retails for $50 has a landed cost of $20. If you didn’t know, LANDED COST means the total cost to you, the company of everything included. That means, “the end cost of an internationally shipped item. This includes purchase price, freight, insurance, and other costs and may sometimes include duties and taxes.”

Ok now that we have that in mind, let’s look again at that photo. There are other items in it such as tires, grips and the already mentioned, seats. Once more, we’ll pretend the landed costs for all those items hover around $100. Now take that $100 and see if you can buy any type of advertisement online or on a print publication. I’m sure you’ll find a few deals here and there. But what you run the risk of is an un-targeted audience (more on that later). I also doubt you’ll find a place that will take your $100 so you can run a full campaign for over a month.

On the tandem project that MtnBikeRiders.com has, they(as is me and the guys) are planning on doing multiple articles, multiple rides, races and events with the finished project. So this means, what ever they do with the tandem, Serfas will get some sort of exposure…to a TARGETED audience (more on targeted audience later). Why does that matter? Just look at that $100 investment they made. It will now become a permanent part of this tandem project. Every time these guys do anything with that tandem, Serfas products will be seen in photos, articles and videos they create. Given our history at MtnBikeRiders.com, anytime we do a project, we post tons of articles on just that project alone. I’ll give you an example. Here’s a project I took on, I called it Burt Reynolds. A simple search on the site will yield over a dozen articles on that bike alone.

Back to the title. Get involved! Make a bold move like Serfas did, get involved with bloggers and see what you can do to assist in their next project/activity or event. But make sure those guys have some sort of credibility on projects so you don’t waste your time and money.

Should you sponsor a team?

22 Feb

Sure why not?! Well here’s a few things to think about before plopping down money towards a team. Let’s start with this, does this team have the ability to provide you some “exposure?” The E-Word seems to be the very thing soliciting teams often use to entice their potential sponsor to go with them.

To get the most out of your sponsorship/advertising money, the best thing to do is make sure the team you’re sponsoring has some sort of Social Media presence as well as blog. Part of your agreement with them is that they will always address their team your brand/company name. Here’s what I mean. A while back my websites, MtnBikeRiders.com and BikeCommuters.com sponsored a mountain bike race team. But they were also sponsored by a bicycle manufacturer called Airborne Bicycles which provided them free bicycles. The race team called themselves the Airborne Rangers. Since Airborne was the bigger sponsor, they got the title name. One of the agreements the race team had with it’s sponsors was to help promote the brands as often as they can on their website, race reports, at the venue and on Social Media.

airborne

If your sponsored team has some sort of Internet Marketing in place, then this will help stretch your reach further because you’ve got a bunch of people pushing out your brand to avenues you may not have had access to. It’s actually a great way to get into grass roots/guerrilla marketing.

Another thing to consider when you sponsor a team is the relevance of your brand to the sport/team your sponsoring. If you sell computer software and you sponsored a Men’s Slow Pitch Softball Team, what kind of exposure are you really getting? Unless the team uses Social Media and Blogging, then this might work, the key word is might.

If you sponsor a team, does it necessarily mean you give them free products or pay for their expenses? Nope. If you offer goods, then you can provide the team a Pro-Deal. Basically you are selling them your products at your cost. In this arrangement, you’re not really losing money, plus you’ve got some loyal fan-boys pushing your stuff.

Make sure you have some sort of agreement with the team that if they carry themselves unprofessionally, or inappropriately while participating in the event/activity you are sponsoring them for, that you could pull out of the deal. Just use Lance Armstrong’s example. Once the stuff hit the fan about him doping, all of his big sponsors pulled out.

So let’s recap:
1. Make sure you ask the team; “what’s in it for me?”
2. Ask them if they have at a minimum, Social Media in place to help promote their team as well as your brand.
3. Sponsor relevant teams and activities. Don’t sponsor a bowling team if you’re brand sells women’s underwear or something that has nothing to do with bowling.
4. Code of conduct. The team you sponsor needs to carry themselves in a professional manner at all times.

Now if you’re a food company, heck you can pretty much get away with sponsoring all types of sports teams.

Facebook Etiquette

31 Dec

In this article we’re going to cover some of the basics of Facebook(FB) Etiquette on a business level as well as personal. If you’re anything like me you’re on FB ALL THE TIME! Well part of that is due to my job. I am a Social Media Consultant so that means almost every working hour I have is spent on it. But for the rest of you folks out there, you’re only 2 clicks away from FB. We typically will have it open as another window or tab on our browsers. Then at anytime, you just click on it to see what’s going on.

I’m sure you have it on your Smart Phones too, right? That way you can be connected to the people you love or at least find interesting on a 24/7 basis. Let me guess, when you wake up in the morning, you reach for your smart phone or tablet and check your FB feed and email? I’m guilty of that myself, so don’t feel too bad…”because everyone does it.” Right?
Ok let’s move onto some basic etiquette on FB. Here’s a few that should help you avoid arguments or unfriending (is that even a word?) situations.

*Avoid political or religious posts.

We all know people who post things as their status that is related to some sort of politics and religious stuff. This goes along the same ways towards gun control. Basically you avoid this because when you start posting your view point’s there’s always someone that will challenge that and argue with you. During the Romney and Obama elections, there were so many HEATED arguments on FB on why you should vote for who or which propositions you should vote for. At times it got ugly between my own friends and some even unfriended each other because their views are different from their own. I’m not saying having a different opinion or having a great discussion isn’t healthy, but for the most part, people are not mature enough to do that on FB. So much is lost in text that the tone is lost.

*Emoticons are not guaranteed to work

Do you know what they are? It’s icons that are supposed to mimic your emotions. For example, do you use emoticons at the end of your posts like this to show you’re happy :) or sad :(? What about when you’re joking, I think the proper emoticon is using the colon and the letter P signify that you’re smiling and your tongue is sticking out to show you’re being silly. But the problem with emoticons is the person can’t see your face doing those same actions. So if I were to call someone FART FACE with  that could be taken as 1. Joke or 2. making fun of the person you called a fart face.

Yes there are hundreds of emoticons, even animals have emoticons, but they are still not great at REALLY expressing your facial expressions as if you were talking face to face with the person and that could cause problems in communication in which I’ll touch on the next point.


*The tone of your message may not be taken the way you want

A recent situation I had was with one of former my client’s FB page. A customer commented about his bad experience at one of the retail stores the company owned. I responded to his comment in a joking manner, very sarcastic in tone but he took it as a personal attack on him. That situation I had to immediately apologize to him after reading his rebuttal to my comment. The issue with tone is that sometimes people may not get your humor. Something that you may think is hilarious may not be as funny to another.

*Don’t send important messages through a status update or in a comment

This is one of my pet peeves. Basically what I’m saying is, if it’s important to the person to get you the message. Then pick up the phone! Here’s an example, I saw an argument start on FB and the people involved kept going back and forth on comments. Then they started sending each other private messages to continue their argument. Here’s the thing, if it’s a conflict, just call them. Don’t use PM or status updates to further argue or resolve things.

I recently had a situation where I commented in a joking manner to a serious tone. The person asked if I could keep it serious since this was something he was being sincere about. I said no problem and obliged to his request. Then here’s the best part, he picked up the phone and CALLED ME! Yes, he called me to make sure that I wasn’t offended that he asked me to keep it serious. I told him that I wasn’t and that I really appreciated his heart behind wanting to make sure no bitter root grows between our friendship.

*Posting photos

This one is a double edged sword because not too many people really want to see you having so much fun in Hawaii zip lining while drinking a pina colada while kissing your hot wife. Why? It’s due to the fact that people don’t like show offs. I’m sure there’s a friend that will see your photos from Hawaii who is sitting in his mom’s basement in Dayton, Ohio who is super jealous of your exploits and is probably single or has an ugly girl friend that wishes he could do what you’re doing…but he can’t. Besides, no one really cares about those photos of you looking to the left or right or pictures of your designer purses and shoes that you bought or what you are having for lunch.

The flip sides to this are business fanpages. Fans love to live vicariously through the pages they LIKE. I say post as many photos of your products being used, office shenanigans, customer photos and anything that shows off your product. If you make dog sweaters, then post as many photos of dogs in sweaters, preferably your own brand.

That’s about it, I’m sure there’s so many other things I could touch on, but we’ll leave that for another day.

Should you be doing Content Marketing?

13 Dec

Not sure what that term means?

Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to attract, acquire and engage clearly defined and understood current and potential consumer bases with the objective of driving profitable customer action. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty.

To answer the question above, Yes you should be doing content marketing! Why well for the very same reasons it says in the definition above, but summarized; “get people to like you, your brand, keep them loyal and make money.”

One of the best ways to generate Content Marketing is to create a blog, update it with relevant articles to your audience (customers). For example, if you’re a Mountain Bike Website, then having articles on how to fix bicycles or the latest product reviews would definitely fall under the category of Content Marketing. But if the mountain biking website only posts videos of talking cats, which can be cute, but are not relevant to their audience, then you’ll lose them as readers.

Now the problem with most businesses is that they either don’t know how to write well or they don’t have time. I’ve spoken to 2 owners whom one of them has so many ideas in his head that he’s confident that he could come up with an article a day for his blog, but he’s so busy running his company that he doesn’t have time. Then another owner I spoke with just this week said he wants to get a blog going and start getting some content on his site, but he HATES writing.

One of the services I offer is Content Writing for ANY business. I’ve published over 2000 articles in last few years and I’ve covered things from Real Estate Investing, Bicycles, Retail, Women’s clothing and even Rugs…yes Rugs, like the kind you put in your living room that can cost thousands of dollars. Another thing I need to mention, Content Marketing is really inexpensive to do. If you write the content yourself, then it’s free! If you can’t do it yourself, then I can help you (for a small fee).

Anyhow, I can could literally go on for hours on why and how Content Marketing Works, but I won’t. However, if you’re interested in further discussing it, feel free to contact me via email: RLPolicar@gmail.com

Why helping the needy is good for your brand

13 Dec

Have you ever considered having your company/brand contribute to a non-profit or help out in some sort of charity or noble cause? If you have, ever consider the societal implications it could have on your image?

Before I get started, I want to make it a point that I do not believe that people/companies/brands should only help out the needy in order to bolster their image. But they should do it because they can and that they want to make a difference.

One of the brands I represent is BikeCommuters.com. Recently I spearheaded a new initiative with the website to start helping out the local bicycles who had needs. I contacted one of the site’s advertisers whom they’ve had a long standing relationship with, to see if they’d be interested in helping out with some product donations. We also started helping out with Operation Feed The Homeless, a local non-profit that aides the homeless of Santa Ana, Ca. While they are out there providing food, clothing and other needs, I’ve gone around as a representative of BikeCommuters.com and would hand out bicycle lights and locks to people who I saw needed it.

We didn’t do this to make BikeCommuters.com look good, though it dos help, but because there are good hearted people that run the site as well as the generous donations, they were able to pull this off. In fact they’re going again with more support from another company that wanted to donate their time and products to the cause.

So here’s the thing, when your brand does something good like meeting the needs of the less fortunate or help build a house and etc, your brand will automatically touch a nerve with your audience. Not only does it show that the brand is conscientious of the needs around them, but it helps give the brand a humanistic touch that may never been seen before. When this happens, it tends to build brand loyalty, thus repeat customers.

I don’t know about you, but I’m more willing to shop at an establishment or online retailer who commits to some sort of advocacy or community service. It even helps when I read about their projects on their blogs or on Facebook. If anything at all, look at it as this…It makes for a great marketing opportunity for your brand. You’ll have tons of content for your site, it gets your employees excited and it’s also a great team building exercise.

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