Use Social Media, E-Trends, and the Internet to Increase Sales and Productivity in Your Home-Based Business
By a Distinguished Panel of Online Experts
Each year, we dedicate an issue of Home Business Magazine® to cover what’s currently going on with social media and ecommerce — two hot topics which are relevant to and have a significant impact on home-based business. Social media is so much more than electronic communication on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. There is also much more to ecommerce than just the buying and selling of products and services via the Internet. Home-based entrepreneurs need to be aware of the larger scope of social media and ecommerce and how each can work with their businesses.
This story shares the advice and tips from online experts on how to successfully use social media, E-trends, and the Internet to increase sales and productivity in your home-based business in 2015. Under the categories of social media, E-trends, and the Internet, you will discover what the top social media trends are to follow; how to use social media with recruitment; how to get backlinks to your website to draw more traffic and sales; why you should use online video marketing to promote your products and services; how to manage the future of your online accounts; and how to stay safer online in 2015. The advice and tips shared by these online experts in these categories can help you become more profitable and productive this year.
How Businesses Will Use Social Media in 20154
By Bernard Perrine
Now that we’ve closed the books on 2014, it’s time to pull out the crystal ball to see what’s in store for social media in 2015. Overall, we see social media beginning to reach its potential as a marketing tool — businesses are finding they can use social media channels to sell their products or services while maintaining an authentic voice that social media is famous for.
I predict businesses will increase sales and productivity with these top social media trends in 2015:
Targeting audiences. Instead of trying to reach the masses to find a handful of customers, the idea is to specifically target several small, tailored groups of people via the social media channel that you are most likely to reach them on. That way, companies are reaching more people who are relevant to their business and more likely to become customers.
Engaging customers. Twitter fact: Businesses are finding that the @reply is a great way to engage customers one-on-one, or Tweet-to-Tweet, allowing a business to tailor its message, send a direct response, and create better grounds for established customer relationships.
Blending paid and owned content. As marketers have perfected their social media strategies, they have found that blending their paid and owned media together lets them get their content out to more people while keeping costs down and still maintaining an authentic voice. Striving to find the perfect blend of paid and owned media will be the challenge in 2015.
Enlisting employees to help share. When employees are sharing their company’s social media content on their own channels, businesses cash in with a higher organic reach and engaged employees who feel passionately about the company. How should a business organize this effort? Simply ask!
Laughing it up! Social media marketers have found that one of the best ways to resonate with their followers — many of which are Millennials —is to be silly and give them a good laugh. Businesses can achieve this through pictures, videos, or even corny jokes. Humor has boundaries — make sure that jokes are within good taste, tied to the business, and relevant. HBM
In August 2014, HipLogiq integrated its portfolio of Twitter marketing applications under a single product line, SocialCentiv. Bernard Perrine is CEO and co-founder of SocialCentiv. Businesses can visit SocialCentiv.com and find a user-friendly, do-it-yourself Twitter marketing tool that makes it easy to create a campaign that tracks keywords and reaches relevant consumers with greater precision by targeting local Tweets. Visit www.socialcentiv.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.
Social Media and Recruitment — a Perfect Fit
By Mike Scotney
Recruiting is selling the story of your company, a culture, and a job. Social media is all about sharing stories using words, images, and video. Having conversations in the digital space is like having conversations in the real world. The only difference is that online conversations are searchable, archived, and can come back to haunt you. Always bear this in mind. The positive of this is that it makes the conversations findable so people can join in. These people could be your future employees. Social media makes your recruitment process more productive in your home-based business.
Indeed, the outcome of these conversations is to build a pool of candidates who want to engage with you, and more importantly, work for you before you have even told them there are jobs available.
How to Have an Online Conversation
The most difficult part of social recruiting is deciding what to talk about. Forget the fact that you are online; talk as you would talk in the real world.
- Ask a lot of questions – listen to the responses and expand further;
- Tell great stories – people like hearing about people;
- Share interesting and useful insights;
- Show videos, images, and documents that help tell the story; and
- Don’t just talk about yourself.
Think about the people you like to chat to the most. What do they talk about? They probably engage with you by asking lots of questions, share information about other people, places and experiences, and are approachable, funny and personable.
What Can You Talk About?
Try to create and share content that is interesting, funny, informative, and relevant as you want people to pass it on.
Insider info. Offer insights into the culture of your company. What is unique about you? Do you offer great training or strong career progression? Is it a fun place to work? What do employees do?
Community news. Are you working in the local community? Do you work with local charities? Use this information to demonstrate the values and culture within your company.
How-to guides. These are useful information pieces on the company and the roles within the company. Mix up words, images, and video. Infographics are great ways to do this.
Diary. Share a day in the life of different job roles within your company. Show the work involved, the people candidates would be working with, and the building and department. Give people a real flavour of what it would be like to work with you, and bring your company to life.
Ask questions. Ask for other people’s tips and stories, encourage candidates to share experiences, and ask current employees to comment or share their experiences.
Jobs. Obviously the whole idea is to recruit people, so don’t forget to post jobs to this newly engaged audience all hoping to now work for you!
People don’t want to engage and interact with a company; they want to engage with the people who make it happen. So, don’t talk like a corporate press release. Talk like a person, as you would in a face-to-face chat. HBM
Mike Scotney, director of specialist recruitment agency Applause IT. Visit http://www.applauseit.co.uk/.
Get More Backlinks to Your Website to Increase Traffic and Sales
By Terri Seymour
A backlink, also known as an inbound link, is simply a link to your website. Obtaining a good number of quality backlinks is an important e-trend to follow, because the search engines will take into account those backlinks and give your website more credibility and relevance, thus increasing your ranking, traffic, and sales in your home-based business.
The following are 18 ways to start gathering quality backlinks to your site.
1. Submit guest posts to relevant blogs. Many blog owners do accept guest post submissions, but be sure to follow their guidelines. You can find a long list of blogs that accept submissions at GuestBloggingTactics.
2. Submit your site to high ranking quality directories. Example: Dmoz.
3. Participate in forums. Add your link to your signature, follow the moderator’s guidelines, and post helpful informative posts whenever possible.
4. Run a contest. Offer a valued prize, but require entrants to link to your site. Be sure to check out all the entrants’ sites.
5. Engage in social media. Getting involved in social media can give you many opportunities for backlinks to your website. Be sure all of your profiles contain a link to your site.
6. Link exchanges still work. Contact blog or website owners of quality relevant sites, and see if they would be interested in link exchanged.
7. Update your content regularly. Provide useful information, and let people know they can link to this information. Give them permission to post it on their sites as well — as long as your link and other information are posted as well.
8. Have social media buttons on your site. These will make it easy for people to share your content.
9. Join discussion groups. Become an active member and networker in these groups. Don’t just post messages like “Me too.” Or “I agree.” Make your posts informative, helpful, and relevant. Offer your opinion, advice, and guidance.
10. List your website with bookmarking sites.. Find a directory of bookmarking sites (such as StumbleUpon and Digg) at Wikipedia.org.
11. Use power words in your content titles. Words like ultimate, amazing, secret, discover, and how to could attract more attention and get you more backlinks.
12. Utilize questions and answer sites such as Yahoo Answers. Share your expertise and acquire backlinks all at once.
13. Write detailed tutorials. Post them to your site encouraging people to share them with their visitors as well.
14. Comment on DoFollow blogs. A dofollow blog is simply a blog that allows the search engine bots to crawl the comments. When you comment on a dofollow blog, the search engines will notice this and consider your comment a backlink. You can find a list of dofollow blogs at eduBlogFinder.
15. Number posts are very popular. They could get your more backlinks. Example: 10 Ways to Pump Up Your Profits.
16. Create videos and post them on YouTube and other video sites. Always include your link.
17. List posts do very well. and could get you a large number of quality backlinks. Example: Top Ten Ways to Make Money Online.
18. Join blogging communities such as BlogEngage. You can find a list of the best communities at TheLinkMedic. HBM
Terri Seymour has over 16 years of Internet marketing experience and has helped many people start their own business. Visit her site for three free gifts, including “The Big Book of Social Media Tips” and “How to Market Your Online Business for Free.” Visit http://www.SeymourProducts.com.
Start Video Marketing in 2015
By Mike Martinez
Within the global strategy of “marketing online,” video marketing continues to grow, not only in popularity, but also in effectiveness. You are using video for sales pages, product demonstrations, testimonials, and even response to complaints— all of which can increase your sales and productivity. There is a ton of compelling evidence suggesting that online video marketing should be an e-trend to follow and a major focus of your advertising and marketing strategy in 2015. Here are five reasons why.
1. Cost effectiveness. Probably the biggest reason to utilize video marketing is its cost effectiveness. Videos are 24-hour, 7 days a week sales tools. Produce a video, upload it to your YouTube account or website, and watch the magic happen. And, the more videos you have, the larger your reach. From an economic stand point, video marketing makes a lot of sense.
2. Search engine ranking. Search engines look for video. In fact, Google loves video so much it purchased YouTube back in 2005. Why is that important to you? It is because Google is the #1 search engine on the planet. When people search any keyword, Google provides video links pertaining to that keyword on its first page. Google wants you to visit YouTube, because YouTube will be displaying ads. That is how Google gets paid. Video marketing for search engine ranking is a proven strategy.
3. Creating a strong connection. Video allows you, as a marketer, to make a connection that is simply not possible with a static page. There is a different dynamic that video provides that cannot be duplicated in any other form. Video opens the door for you to unleash your personality. People readily make connections with other people they deem to be like themselves.
4. Growing platform. Video marketing continues to grow. Statistic show that by 2020, nearly 80% of all online sales will come from some sort of video marketing. A recent study from ComScore, an online statistical analysis company, reported that in 2014, the average Internet user was exposed to 32.2 videos a month. That number is expected to triple by 2017.
5. Becoming mainstream. According to Forbes magazine, executives are watching more industry-related videos. Here is the more important issue: These executives are watching over 50% of those videos directly from YouTube. Of those, 65% are visiting the sites connected to the videos. This is an excellent resource for top level marketing.
Mike Martinez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safeguard Your Online Information
By Gary S. Miliefsky
Do all you can to stay safer on the Internet this year, which can result in higher productivity and profitability for your home-based business. Here is everything you need to know.
- Assume you’ve already been compromised. Whether it’s your baby monitor, your SmartTV, the Webcam on your laptop, or the apps you installed on your smartphone or tablet — your antivirus is not enough protection. It’s time to take those devices’ and apps’ privacy policies, and the permissions you grant them, much more seriously.
- Change all of your passwords — now. And do this as frequently as you can tolerate. Also, if you don’t want to change your passwords often, then use any unique characters you can think of, such as a dollar sign ($) or exclamation mark (!), or replace an “oh” with a “zero” (0). This goes a long way in preventing attacks against your passwords.
- Turn off wireless and geolocation services. Protect your smartphones and tablets by turning off WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, and GPS, except when you need them. That way, if you are at a local coffee shop or in a shopping mall, people can’t spy on you using nearby (proximity) hacking attacks, and they can’t track where you were and where you are going on your GPS.
- Assume most of your apps are creepware. Do you really need them? Delete all of the apps you aren’t using too often. Replace apps that ask for too many permissions and take advantage of too many of your privacy settings — like GPS, phone and sms logs, and personal identity information —with similar apps that don’t.
- Opt out of sharing your information. Opt out of every advertising network that you can. Visit the National Do Not Call Registry and register your smartphone and home phone numbers at www.donotcall.gov. If you use a Google email account and have an Android phone, even with your GPS off, it’s tracking your every move. Go into your smartphone, Android phone, or tablet settings, and turn this feature off. Do the same for your Apple iPhone, iPad, and iTunes.
- Your browser is a double agent — keep it clean. It is spying on you for advertisers unless you block and remove cookies and delete the cache frequently. In your web browser settings, delete your history, all cookies and passwords, and the cache frequently.
- Only shop on the websites of companies you already trust. If you don’t know where the merchant is located, don’t shop online there. Also, if the shopping cart experience is not an HTTPS browser session, then everything you type in — your name, address and credit card information — is going over the Internet unencrypted and in plain view.
- Turn off geotagging — your photos are full of information. Twitter and Instagram, as well as your iPhone, will give away your location. Most people don’t realize that Twitter and Instagram both use geotagging for everything you send out. Geotagging stores the latitude and longitude of your tweet or image. Pictures you take on an iPhone usually store geotagging information, as well.
- Don’t use cash or debit cards — use credit cards, wisely. Credit cards allow you to travel with less cash, and if you’re purchasing online, it’s safer to give your credit card than your debit card information. The same holds true when you visit your local retail outlet. The reason? If you experience identity theft, credit card laws allow you to keep all of your credit, with no responsibility during an investigation. With a debit card, your bank can tie up your money in the amount equivalent to the fraudulent transactions for up to 30 days. HBM
Gary S. Miliefsky is CEO of SnoopWall (www.snoopwall.com) and the inventor of SnoopWall spyware-blocking technology. He is a founding member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, serves on the advisory board of MITRE on the CVE Program, and is a founding board member of the National Information Security Group. He’s also the founder of NetClarity, Inc., an internal intrusion defense company, based on a patented technology he invented.
Plan Ahead for Your Online Hereafter
By Hillel Presser
Many of your online accounts — from automatic bill payments to eBay — may remain active after you pass away, unless you take steps to ensure they don’t. Automatic bill pay, for example, can theoretically keep tapping your bank account long after you’re gone or, at least, until your money is. It’s important to make sure your online bank and shopping accounts, even your social media, can be closed out after you pass away, or that your loved ones are authorized to access them. There’s also the sentimental stuff — photos and emails — that your family may want as remembrances of you, and the libraries of music and ebooks.
What can you do to ensure your family isn’t left with a virtual nightmare after your passing? Here are three tips:
1. Create a list of all of your accounts, including log-in names, passwords, and answers to any security questions. Obviously, your list will need to be securely stored. Since you’ll need to update it regularly as you add accounts or change passwords, it will be easiest if you keep the list on your computer in a password-protected folder. Some versions of Windows allow you to create protected folders, but you may need to get third-party software to do this, such as freeAxCrypt. Remember to create a backup of your list —whether it’s on a jump drive or printed out on paper. Store the backup in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box. Do not put password information in your will, which is a public document.
2. If you have a Google account, set up the new inactive account manager. In May 2013, Google became the first site to give users an option for choosing what becomes of their content if they should become debilitated or die. Under the profile button, click “Account,” scroll down to “Account Management,” and you’ll find instructions for “Control what happens to your account when you stop using Google.” You can select how long the account should be inactive before your plans are set into motion. You can choose to whom you want to offer content, such as YouTube videos, Gmail, Google+ posts, Blogger and Picasa web albums, or whether it should simply be deleted.
3. Appoint a digital executor. Perhaps the simplest way to ensure your online life is taken care of after you pass away is to appoint a digital executor — a tech-savvy person who will be willing and able to carry out your wishes. Authorize the person to access your inventory of log-in information, and spell out what you want done with each account after you pass away —whether it’s providing access to loved ones or business partners, or deleting it.
Attorney Hillel L. Presser’s firm, The Presser Law Firm, P.A., represents individuals and businesses in establishing comprehensive asset protection plans. Presser is the author of Financial Self-Defense (Revised Edition). Complimentary copies of “Financial Self-Defense” are available through www.assetprotectionattorneys.com.
Stay on Top of Social Media and Ecommerce
It’s important to keep up with what’s currently going on with social media and ecommerce and how both can impact your home-based business. Closely follow the advice and tips suggested by the panel of online experts in this article. Take action and make the necessary changes or enhancements in your business operations. You can achieve success using social media, E-trends, and the Internet, and can become more profitable and productive in your home-based business in 2015. For additional information on these topics, go to http://www.homebusinessmag.com or http://expo.homebusinessmag.com/. HBM