Marketing for Food Businesses: Jennifer Lewis of Small Food Business

Jennifer Lewis of Small Food BusinessJennifer Lewis voyaged into entrepreneurship with her own food business, and now helps other food businesses become successful. Her site, smallfoodbiz.com, has lots of resources and advice for artisan food entrepreneurs. She tells us about the specific challenges of running a small food business, her favorite social media platform, and more.

My questions are in bold.

How is starting a food business different from other forms of entrepreneurship? What peculiar challenges does a small food business-owner face?

People tend to come into the food world because they’re driven by passion for the items they make but they can face an uphill battle getting their products to market because of the numerous regulations that are specific to the food industry. This can be anything from health code permits to labeling regulations. It’s a complex world and one that’s very different from other types of entrepreneurial ventures.

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How to Schedule Tweets using Twitter

Twitter announced its new scheduling feature yesterday. This has been expected for a while now, more so because of Twitter’s IPO and the need to project Twitter as a sophisticated advertising platform. Twitter’s official announcement says:

Starting today, all marketers using Twitter’s Ad Products can schedule organic or Promoted Tweets for specific dates and times up to a year in advance. These can be coordinated to go live with new or existing Promoted Tweet campaigns to enable you to plan your real-time campaigns at your convenience.

Twitter’s focus on advertising becomes obvious when you see that scheduling option is implemented as part of ads.twitter.com and not in the core twitter.com UI. But don’t worry, you can schedule tweets even if you are not advertising on Twitter. Here’s how:

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Monday Marketing Mashup: Video Marketing Ideas and Tools

Video marketing Everyone seems to be talking about video marketing these days. And the rise of apps like Vine and Instagram video means that very short videos are back in the marketing mix.

Do you want to use videos to market your business but think it’s too difficult or are short on ideas? Well, here are some useful resources to help you get started.

If you are not sure if videos are the right tool for you or wondering what kind of videos to create, start with this recent post by SpinSucks:

“More and more companies are producing PR and marketing videos, and thanks to the web and social media, they have become easily shared pieces of content.”

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Using Markitty: Facebook Likes and Unlikes (Daily and Monthly)

One thing most marketers and business-owners want to know is how their marketing is doing over time. Most of us have a pretty good idea of how many Facebook likes we have today, but forget how many we had last month or the month before.

Here’s where Markitty takes your data from Facebook Insights and gives it to you in a more useful form: apart from showing you your total page likes every day for the last three weeks, we also show your likes per month for the last three months. So you can see your fan base growing over time.

Total Likes Graphs on Markitty

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Monday Marketing Mash-up: Social Media Profile Cover Photos

Managing your brand’s presence on so many different social channels can be a pain, and one of the annoying aspects of it is getting the right cover photos for each one. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ — all have different guidelines for what the cover photo size should be.

Here is a list of official and unofficial references that will give you cover and profile picture specification for all social networks:

1. Facebook

The cover photo of your Facebook page is very important: not only is it featured on your page, it is also prominently displayed in the user’s newsfeed when your page is recommended (paid or otherwise) by Facebook. Facebook’s official guidelines give very little detail but this page covers all you need to know.

Faceboook Cover Photo Guidelines

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Twitter Analytics: A Quick Review

Have you got your Twitter Analytics yet? I’m pleased we finally get some stats on Twitter (but you still need to create an ad account, even if you don’t run the ads). But it seems like too little way too late, especially with all the tools that provide Twitter stats already.

If you have already created a Twitter ads account, go to analytics.twitter.com. Click on Analytics on the top menu.

You get three pages: Timeline activity, Followers, and Websites.

Timeline Activity

First, you get this graph that shows your mentions, follows, and unfollows. That’s great, except… the graph is frustratingly difficult to read and make sense of.
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How to Use Twitter for Business on 15 Minutes A Day

Think you don’t have enough time for Twitter? If you have 15 minutes in the day, you can do this.

Day 1: Sign up and create your profile

Photo credit: HubSpot

Photo credit: HubSpot

Choose a username that is as close to your name or your business name as possible and is easy to remember. For example, we didn’t get “markitty,” so we got “markittyapp”.

Make your profile description interesting and snappy. Don’t just copy your boilerplate company description. Make it clear what your business is about or what you stand for; people should be able to look at this and figure out what you tweet about and whether to follow you.

Ours is:

Specific marketing tips and insights on the product, general marketing advice on the blog. Managed by @Unmana and @NileshBhojani.

Done? That’s it for today.

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The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter for Business: Free Download

We have put together our most useful Twitter tips in The Beginner’s Guide to Using Twitter for Business. This includes:

  • Important Twitter features you should know
  • Who you should follow
  • Tools and tips to easily find relevant people on Twitter
  • How to use Twitter for business in 15 minutes a day: a step-by-step guide that tells you how to get started and keep going, in just 15 minutes every day
  • Twitter mistakes you should avoid
  • Tools and apps you can use to get more out of Twitter

Get all of this for free!

The Beginner's Guide to Twitter

Managing Negative Reviews of Your Small Business

Photo credit: HubSpot

Photo credit: HubSpot

One objection I had heard from business-owners or CEOs about participating in social media was, what if someone writes bad things about us?

If they would write bad things about you… they probably are anyway.

You don’t own social media. A disgruntled ex-employee, an unhappy customer, is likely to be venting on Facebook and Twitter anyway.

If you’re also on social media, at least you get a chance to present your side of the story. As I say in my guest post on the Entrepreneur in Heels blog:

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How Small Businesses Are Using the #backtoschool Hashtag on Facebook

It’s “back to school” season in the U.S. and some other parts of the world, and many businesses have special promotions during this time. Let’s see how small businesses are using the #backtoschool hashtag on Facebook.

This hashtag isn’t important for you? You should still know how to use similar seasonal hashtags for your Facebook page.

1: Offer a discount or deal

The most obvious way to cash in on a seasonal trend is to offer a special deal or promotion.

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Monday Marketing Mash-up: Listening and Responding

Much of the marketing advice you read will be about conversations you should initiate: by writing blog posts, tweeting, or emailing. But what online marketing allows you do most effectively is listen, and you’re not doing your marketing any favors if you don’t take the time to do that.

As Tea Silvestre says:

There’s a LOT of marketing advice out there about how to reach more people. Get more fans. Build your list. And just plain dominate the world with your empire.

But there’s another way to grow your business, and it doesn’t require you to talk to anyone new.

And:

Are you having enough two-way conversations with the folks who are standing right in front of you?

Read the post to learn how you can listen better.

But why should you listen?

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Target Your Facebook Posts for More Effective Reach

The People tab on your Facebook Insights shows you the age, gender, language and city as well as country of your fans, of people you’ve reached, and people who have engaged with your page. Does this data match your expectations? In other words, have you succeeded in reaching your target customers?

Targeting Your Facebook Posts to a Segment of Your Fans

Did you know Facebook has a targeting option when you create a new post? Target Facebook Post

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Using Markitty: Links You Share, with Referrals

Markitty’s Links You Shared table answers the question: which of the links you’re sharing on social media are getting you the best results?

As I wrote earlier, the table shows the performance of links you’ve shared on Facebook and Twitter. It includes the number of posts (in which you’ve shared that one link), impressions, likes, and stories for Facebook, and tweets, retweets, and favorites for Twitter.

Now we have expanded the Links You Shared table to include referrals from social media, Twitter, and Facebook. So if you shared a blog post link on Facebook or Twitter, you can not only see Facebook and Twitter stats for that link, you also get website referrals (from Facebook, Twitter, and all social media).

Markitty table:  Links you shared on Twitter and Facebook, with referrals to your website

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Facebook Finally Explains Why All Your Fans Don’t See All Your Posts

Facebook has been recently making efforts to serve its business users, by dramatically improving Page Insights and adding other new features. Now it has started a Facebook for Business site with more resources for page owners and advertisers.

From the announcement:

Whether you’re just getting started or looking to amplify existing efforts, Facebook for Business can help you understand your options and choose the appropriate strategies. In the Getting Started section, you’ll find tips for meeting specific business goals, like increasing online sales or launching a new product. The Solutions section organizes our advertising tools and strategies by both product and industry.

This seems to be more geared towards advertisers rather than people looking for organic growth, but if you are spending on advertising, the extra resources to help you make more effective use of your money don’t hurt!

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Monday Marketing Mash-up: Facebook Changes You Should Know About

Photo comments, embedded posts, more text in your page’s cover photo… there’s so much you can do with the recent changes Facebook made.

Use photo comments to increase fans’ engagement with your page and to crowdsource contentFacebook introduced photo comments: Ask your fans to submit pictures!

Facebook introduced photo comments, first for people and now for pages. You can now add a photo to your comment just like you can add one to your status. This is a great opportunity for businesses: you can ask your fans to submit photos through Facebook comments! For example, you can ask them to submit pictures of them of using your products or eating at your restaurant, and say you’ll use the best photo as your cover for a week.

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Facebook Insights: What’s Great and What’s Still Missing?

Facebook recently overhauled its Page Insights: i.e., the stats page owners get for their page. Let’s take a look at what’s great and what’s not.

Tour of Facebook's new Insights for pages

Facebook’s clearly made an effort to cater to its business users (or page owners) with the new Insights. Instead of being the difficult-to-understand, difficult-to-navigate mess the old Insights was, the new Insights (and the nice tour of it) talk directly to the user and actually offer insights. 

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Five Kinds of People You Should Follow on Twitter

Twitter is a tricky medium for small businesses. You will find a lot of people saying it’s a waste of time and enough people who swear by its benefits. You need to build your following, but when you start out you have to focus on following the right people.

Here is a quick guide on what kinds of people you should follow.

1. Customers – existing customers or people in your target customer group

You should follow your customers to see what they are talking about — what they are interested in, what products/service they like and what they are complaining about. Also this is a good way of letting them know that you are on Twitter. If they are interested in what you offer, they might even follow you back.

But don’t start selling to them on Twitter, not yet. Listen, engage and offer help but don’t be pushy.

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New Page Like Sources on Facebook: What Do They Mean?

Facebook has changed the Like Sources in Insights, adding more sources and changing some of the names of existing sources. At first glance, this makes it more confusing, but I think it helps to have more insight into where exactly your likes are coming from.

Facebook like sources line graph

This is how Facebook Insights used to show your Like Sources. If you’ve got the new Insights, you might see something like this.

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Marketing for a Publisher: Interview with Maegan Chadwick-Dobson of Tara Books

Maegan manages marketing and social media at Tara BooksWe haven’t done an interview in a while, and I’m especially pleased with this one because it focuses on an interesting industry: book publishing.

Maegan Chadwick-Dobson manages social media for Tara Books, an independent publisher based in India. Tara Books has an awesome Facebook page with lots of lovely photos of their books, events, and “the Book Building.” The Twitter account shares interesting info as well, and Maegan is behind it all! We asked her about social media, marketing to an international audience, and more.

My questions and comments are in bold.

You share a lot of interesting updates on Facebook. Do you keep a publishing calendar or just decide at the moment what you’re going to post today?

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5 Lessons for Social Media Marketing from Cricket (Yes, the Sport)

I was really excited to find a blog dedicated to social media and sports analogies. I have always been a cricket fan and even though I don’t watch all the games now, I still follow the updates.

This was originally published on that blog and if you are a sports fan you’ll find a lot of other interesting posts there.

I came across this blog a few weeks back and loved the idea of relating social media with sports. I don’t know how many of you follow or understand cricket but Brian agreed to publish this and I am hoping you will share your feedback in the comments. Even if you don’t like what I have here, do say ‘hi’ if you love Cricket or would like to learn more of it.

Comparing social media to a five-day long game of cricket seems a bit odd but that’s what I am going to do. There are so many similarities between the two that I had to limit myself to writing only from a batsman’s perspective. So here we go.

Social media is like test cricket

Originally uploaded to Flicker by fiverlocker

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