A Fortune Cookie can Motivate

I had lunch at a local Chinese Restaurant in which I wanted to talk to the owner about my services. At a certain point I thought that I should come back another day since they were busy. But after cracking open my fortune cookie and read it, I walked up to the owner to tell her about my services and not only did she ask me more about it, but we spoke for several minutes and I’ll be doing a follow up to show her examples of my work.
fortune cookie

The Importance of Product Reviews

Have you ever gone shopping for an item and once you got it home, it just wasn’t as great as you thought it would be? What about that restaurant you ate at, the food kinda sucked? If you’ve ever had a similar situation like that happen to you, then you may want to consider reading product reviews before you spend more money on anything.

I’ve been in the Product Reviews business for the last several years. I own and operate 2 bicycle websites, one is MtnBikeRiders.com and the other is BikeCommuters.com. What do my sites do? We provide product reviews, news, articles, How To’s and provide our readers any relevant information they might find useful.

When I first started my websites, there were other sites that offered product reviews for free, but they did offer a package where you pay them a certain amount of money, then you’re guaranteed a great review. Those sites are no longer around and for good reason. My sites offer FREE PRODUCT REVIEWS, why? For one, my self and the rest of my staff are consumers just like you. We shop for the same things you do and why not share the info we discover about product that we test to others.

The way it works for my sites and I’m sure for other sites is a company contacts myself asking if we’d test out their products. We don’t say yes to everything, but as long as the item is relevant to my readers, we’ll consider it. Once we get the product, we typically will do a First Impression of the item. Basically we’re telling you what we thought of it during our first few uses of it. Then we’ll publish a formal review a few weeks later with photos, videos(if applicable) and links back to your site.

The Formal Review consists of a more in-depth look at the company’s product and we test it against the claims they make as well as look at the overall quality, workmanship and ease of use. There are more factors we throw in, but it all depends on the item we’re testing.

So why is it important for companies to have independent websites test out their products? Mainly it’s for exposure! It’s basically free publicity on your company and products. Here’s the thing, if your gadget, apparel, device or doodad claims it’s going to do A,B,C and D, then make sure it does all those as you describe it. But if it fails to do any of those and the review finds flaws, then you’ll be hit with a bad product review.

I’ll give you an example, a few years back I met a guy who had a magnetic bicycle pedal company that wanted MtnBikeRiders.com to review his product. He said the magnets on the pedals would keep a rider’s feet on the pedals. But during my review, that never happened. The magnets were weak and it just didn’t work they way he said it would. This was the last line I put in the review: “Truth be told, I was really disappointed in how these pedals performed. ”

Let’s say you’ve got a stellar product review from an independent site, heck share all that on Social Media! Push it out on Facebook, Twitter, Blog about it and even include in your next newsletter.

Now that you have that in mind, start reaching out to independent websites and have them test out your products, c’mon, it doesn’t really cost you anything and it has a reach greater than you may think.

It’s Cyber Monday, well…are you shopping?

If you’re still not sure what Cyber Monday is, well it’s basically the Monday following Black Friday where online retailers are trying to lure you to their site in hopes you’d spend the same amount of money on their virtual store as you did in a brick and mortar shop just a few days ago. Basically it’s been slated as the “Biggest shopping day of the year, online.”

For some Cyber Monday is the day where they go shopping. I know for myself, I didn’t bother with the crazy lines on Black Friday because I knew that I could easily shop for the same items online and most promos today would include free shipping as a way to entice people to spend money.

As much as I love Cyber Monday for all it’s great deals, you really should do some research on items that you want to buy. A bit of Googling will yield answers on where the best prices are and product reviews. I think it’s important to read up on reviews that consumers post on the items you’re seeking. This gives you an inside view on how the items really works and if the quality sub par.

If you’re set on getting what ever items you want, may I suggest a few sites where you can really save money on. For 2012, Amazon.com is boasting that some of their items will be discounted by as much as 90%. There are other sites like Target.com and Walmart.com that are offering some great deals. One thing cool about Walmart.com is you have your order delivered to a nearby Walmart so it doesn’t arrive at your home where the person you got the gift for see’s it. Oh and that service is free.

Just about anyone that has a website will be offering some sort of Cyber Monday sale today. If you’re into sunglasses, you’ll find deals on it, or what about Jeep accessories or Harley Davidson parts, ya, those deals are out there for Cyber Monday.

Social Media means YOU being more Social

So what do I mean by being “Social?” It’s pretty simple. You have to be your own brand’s best ambassador. I’ll give you an example. Yesterday I was at a store and I noticed that they had a small signed that said, “find us on Facebook.” I immediately asked the clerk who handles their Social Media and she told me that it was a collection of the employees who really didn’t know what they were doing. So I began to tell her about my services and what I can do. From that I got the contact info of the owner of the company.

That interaction was of me being “social.” I gotta be gut level honest with you. I come from an IT background and us IT folks have a reputation to be introverted so being social doesn’t really come easy to me as it does for folks out there. But just being out going isn’t really enough. You also have to be somewhat friendly to the people you deal with, right? Besides, who’s going to want to work with a Social Media guy who’s a jerk or condescending? I know I wouldn’t.

With that in mind let’s list some things down that might help you with your branding/social media efforts when interacting with REAL people.

1. Be friendly.
2. Smile.
3. Ask questions directed towards the person you’re talking to. People love talking about themselves (More on that later).
4. Engage in conversation about their business.
5. Tell them about you and your brand.

I know some of these things are basic human interaction things that we all do on a daily basis, but heck some of us can easily forget. Hopefully this helps!

Why is blogging important to your business?

There’s a few good reasons why. Let’s start off with the most obvious, it gets your message out fast! When I first brought up the idea of blogging to one of my old clients, they really didn’t understand it nor did they think it was beneficial. For one they didn’t understand what it meant. Blogging, Blog or Blogger all stems from the term “Weblog.” But to shorten it, became blog. What it entails is a log of sorts that you fill out much like a diary and the most recent “post” you have sits on top. By the way a “post” is what an article is on a blog.

One of the things I told my old client is this, “Blogging allows you to get information out to your customer base without having to update your website or do any major changes to your existing site.” For the most part you can install WordPress (my preferred blog platform) to an existing website and have it under a sub-directory. For example, one of my current clients now has their blog set up as: blog.piratemfg.com. Others may have it set up as http://www.domainname.com/BLOG. Either way it works.

So now you’re thinking, “Should I be blogging for my business?” The short answer to that is YES. Here’s a why. Let’s say you’re a Personal Trainer who has a successful business. You NEED to be blogging to get more info out to your current customers and potential customers. What kind of information should a personal trainer be blogging about? EVERYTHING! If you’re a personal trainer, you get people asking all the time about the latest supplement, workout equipment and techniques as well as nutrition, right? Why not fill up your blog with useful information that gets people coming back for more?

Now that you have an idea on what kind of things you can post about, how often should you be doing it? My answer to that, as much as possible. Anytime you have a free moment, crank out a post. Why? Because search engines love fresh content. Google, Yahoo, Bing and etc love making new content available to people who use their service. Just think of it this way, let’s say you’re a Butcher at a meat market. Aren’t you more excited to show your customers the freshest cuts to them? Same thing with blogging and search engines. Your article is the meat that the search engines(butcher) wants to show case.

Blogging will also help your site traffic go up. Here’s how, remember the whole thing about search engines? Well what they’re doing is telling searchers that your blog has the keywords (more on that later) that they’re looking for. Then if your keyword is linked to a product or service you’re selling back to your site, then you’ve got direct traffic(more on that later) going to your main site.

I could literally go on for hours why Blogging is awesome, so for now we’ll end it here and I’ll publish a Part 2 on this subject. So stay tuned.

My new logo

Though I’ve been doing Social Media for the last several years, I’ve never actually come out with my own logo. So here’s what I’ve decided on.
Rl policar

The Twinkie Frenzy

If you haven’t heard, the parent company of Twinkies, Hostess, is going bankrupt. With that in mind, Ebay has been a-buzz with people selling boxes of Twinkies marked up. I’ve even seen some listed in Amazon for as much as $89.99!
twinkies on ebay
This whole Twinkie-Frenzy is reminiscent of the 90’s Tickle Me Elmo craze where people were spending as much as $300 for the doll.

The Week Before Black Friday

Have you ever noticed that things slow down about week before Black Friday?

From a consumer stand point it makes sense. You really don’t want to be spending money when we know the holiday shopping season starts next week, right? What about retailers? You know they’re holding out on inventory that is meant for Black Friday. How do I know this? From personal observation, that’s how. I was recently at a local WalMart and Target to get some household goods. I noticed shelves were running a bit thin and less shoppers too.

If you look online any retailer who is planning a Black Friday Sale has already started advertising or emailing out their store fliers. Did you hear that Target and WalMart are both starting their Black Friday Sale on Thanksgiving at 8pm? Well apparently they want to get a jump on their bottom line for the holiday season. Sucks to be the people who work for either company, but great for consumers. Heck I might even brave the crowds in search for a new laptop…or maybe not.

Hello world!

Hello indeed! My name is RL Policar. I am a Social Media Consultant. I’ve been doing Social Media Marketing for the past several years. I started off blogging for my own websites and eventually I freelanced for other websites who needed content. Eventually I discovered the world of Social Media, and man it was addictive. I bet as you’re reading this you have Facebook open in another window or tab.

I hope to use this site to capture my thoughts about anything that might be interesting. It won’t always be about Marketing or Social Media, heck if I wanted to post a video about a talking dog…

Blog at WordPress.com.

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