Why Facebook and LinkedIn Are Good For Your Business

Have you been hearing all of the buzz about social networking? Feeling confused? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The great news is that it isn’t as complicated or time consuming as it may seem. Plus, it’s more than just social; it’s good for your business to get involved.

The list of social networking sites is long and growing. I don’t want to overwhelm you so I’m only going to focus on two that are particularly suited for you as a business owner, Facebook.com and LinkedIn.com.

So why should you care? What’s the big deal? Well, here are just a few reasons to enter the social networking realm:

* Gain exposure for your business that may lead to new clients or projects

* Increase the credibility of your business (give and receive recommendations on LinkedIn, post messages on friend’s pages on Facebook)

* Be connected to the people in your network in one location (OK, two if you’re on both Facebook and LinkedIn)

* Re-connect with business contacts you’ve lost touch with (sometimes they find you, sometime you discover them)

* Meet new people and expand your business network (meet your friend’s friends that you otherwise wouldn’t meet)

Here’s a quick overview of them (both are gratis and LinkedIn offers paid upgrade options).

Facebook:

– Informal and more social than business focused (this doesn’t mean it’s not good for your business)

– Almost 100 million members (according to Wikipedia)

– Anyone can ask you to be ‘friends’ (you don’t have to accept) and you can ask anyone to be friends (they don’t have to accept either)

– It is possible to share photos, videos, and add applications

– You can join groups within the network that interest you (or make your own group)

LinkedIn:

– Business focused

– 19 million members (according to Wikipedia)

– You can only invite people you know (people whose e-mail addresses you have) and vice versa.

– It is not possible to share photos and video (only your own profile photo)

– You can join groups within the network that interest you

To get started you just have to go to the website, sign up and follow the directions to create a profile. Because LinkedIn is mainly for business it is professional and the profile area is quite structured which makes it easy to follow.

Facebook is another story, although it does have a structured profile area, there are loads of additional features you can add to your page. When you join for business reasons be careful not to make your page too busy or too personal. You can be yourself and share your interests, just don’t reveal anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with a group at an in-person networking meeting.

When your profiles are finished you can start asking people to connect. The process is different for LinkedIn and Facebook but both are pretty straightforward. LinkedIn has a ‘Help/FAQ’ section on the website and Facebook has a ‘Help’ area as well (bottom right hand corner of the page).

You will learn more as you go, so just go ahead and get started. And as you meet new people you can ask them to join you on your networks. Networking, off-line or on-line, is about building relationships over time. So give first when possible, be yourself, and have fun with it.

The benefits of social networking for business owners are clear. You will be able to meet new people, build relationships with your network, improve visibility for your company, and discover new opportunities for more business. But that’s not all, it’s fun too. So why not get started and join the world of social networking today.

© Stephanie Ward, 2008

How “The Whine” Assures Small Business Failures

If you have dealt with many people in the Internet marketing field,
you have undoubtedly run across “The Whine”. This is an attitude
filled with self pity, the desire to have the rewards of Net
marketing without paying the price, and often a great deal of
hostility. It is an almost 100% certain path to small business
failure.

If you aren’t familiar with The Whine, two examples will clarify this
deadly attitude that you want to avoid at all costs.

I reward those who subscribe to my auction ezine with a free
ebook that I wrote. One morning when I opened my email I found
two emails from new subscribers – apparently the link to my book
was broken. One subscriber simply explained the situation and
asked for a remedy. The other sent me the email below:

– – –

Subject line: SPAM Complaint

I WAS PROMISED “HOW TO SUCK UP CUSTOMERS FASTER THAN A
VACUUM CLEANER ON STEROIDS” FOR SIGNING UP FOR ‘AUCTION
GOLD’ BUT WAS TAKEN TO A PAGE TELLING ME THE ITEM NO
LONGER EXISTS…

DON’T YOU THINK EVERYONE SHOULD NO ABOUT THIS ON
DISCUSSIONS BOARDS EVERYWHERE? I DO!

– – –

My response was courteous and professional ¨C and very firm. I
explained the link problem and assured him that the book did
indeed exist. I also expressed my curiosity over how this was a
SPAM complaint when HE contacted us and not the other way
around.

I expressed my dismay over the aggressive and hostile stance he
had taken before even bothering to ask about the book. And
further, I politely told him that we would not be a good match and
I would make certain he would not be bothered by emails from us
in the future.

In other words, I did not want him as an ezine subscriber or
customer.

I received a reply from him which said he reacted that way
because he had been ripped off in the past. Further, he
demanded a copy of my book.

There it is … The Whine. He’s been ripped off in the past, and
that’s a justification for rudeness and hostility (though he could be
cheated when the book was free was a mystery to me).

Have you ever been ripped off? If you haven’t, it’s because you
haven’t bought much of anything. I have wasted thousands of
dollars on material that has gained me nothing.

But you know what? I don’t regret it. It’s a necessary part of the
apprenticeship fee that I paid to learn the net marketing business.
I still buy things often – ebooks, software, services. But I rarely
buy wrongly anymore. Why? Because I’ve learned the business
well enough to recognize value when I see it. I am so blessed to
be in this exciting, wonderful Internet world. Some wasted money
is a small price to pay.

As a little girl, once I got past the fairy princess and movie star
stages, all I ever wanted to be was a teacher. To realize that
dream cost me four years of hard work in college and many
thousands of my parents’ dollars.

Further, once I had a teaching position I went on to get advanced
degrees. That cost me many summers, most weekends, thousands
more dollars and long days of going to class after working all day.
No complaints – it’s just part of the price I paid to do what I
wanted.

So, why do people assume that having a net business should
require no sacrifice or preparation? Once I was coaching a new
auction student, explaining how she could get started. I asked her
if she had any questions and there was a long, long silence.
Finally, in a whiny voice she replied, That sounds like a lot of
work.

Well, guess what … it is! And here’s the analogy I used for her: If I
created a $10,000/month auction business and just handed it over
to her .. free gratis … Here, it’s all yours. – what would happen?

I can assure you that in a very short time it would all fall apart,
because she didn’t have the skills she needed to keep it going! It’s
like starting the first grade and being assigned to an algebra class.
Skills build on each other and there’s no way around the learning
curve.

So, The Whine will kill you in this business. Don’t blame others, no
matter what. Take responsibility for your actions and get to work.
Decide what you want, and start looking for mentors who can help
you find it.

5 Ways To Effectively Advertise A Top Christian Home Business Online

These days, Christians wishing to establish and market a faith-based business from home are especially fortunate. Consider the fact, for instance, that the Christian consumer market today is in excess of at least 8 billion dollars a year, and that about 1 out of every 3 Americans buy books at a Christian bookstore. Moreover, such purchases aren’t just confined to devotional fiction and nonfiction materials. People buy everything including music, home decor, accessories and clothing expressing the faith, gifts, as well using faith-related services. So, establishing and promoting a top Christian home businesses certainly within reach for those wishing to get involved. Here are at least 5 effective online marketing strategies which will help turn such a desire into reality.

Pay Attention to the Product or Service On Offer

Most web users, including Christians, tend to favor niche products and services, looking for information that’s not available at the local church or retail outlet. Again, this is where believers have a chance to capitalize on the expanding market involving faith-related goods like clothing and accessories, counseling services, and retreats. Of course, writing and selling relevant ebooks, and promoting video and audio materials on a website or blog are excellent means to reach into millions of homes across the globe.

Give Freely

Today’s major social networking sites that consistently draw millions of online users are built on giving away free tools, information, gifts, and gratis entry into competitions. Adopting such an attitude helps to establish one’s credibility and goodwill. In addition, and more importantly, it’s bound to generate a tremendous amount of traffic and business coming from search engines.

Use Multiple Marketing Strategies

Most profitable internet business promoters combine marketing strategies, using, for example, articles and audio/visual means to advertise a website and/or blog. Expertly written, fresh, short articles about various aspects of the faith, which include information about a product or service, are ideal as channels of information, and helping to answer relevant questions. Audio-visual promotional material also offers an immediate and personal avenue with which to stay in touch with consumers, providing content that’s popular and current.

Take Copywriting Seriously

When visitors arrive at a site’s homepage, the quality of the copywriting determines to a great extent whether someone is converted into a customer, or simply clicks elsewhere. In short, when the copywriting is poor, the conversion rate suffers. To be a top Christian home business necessitates employing skilled copywriters. These people’s expertise helps to distinguish one business from its competitors, and ultimately sells a service or product.

Take Customer Service Seriously

Even having all the search engine optimization know-how in place won’t be enough to turn visitors into active consumers, if the customer service is casual and neglectful. It’s vital to maintain a response time of 24 hours to enquiries from customers. One way to ensure that sales go out the window quickly is to take long in responding to the questions of visitors.

It’s important for any online business to integrate and streamline it’s marketing efforts with those taking place offline. Hence, ensure to display the website address at the physical business location, as well as on brochures, business cards, promotional materials, in newspaper ads, and in the yellow pages. Applying these 5 advertising strategies conscientiously will convince any believer that running a top Christian home business is not just possible, but can also be a source of fun and excitement.