Thursday, December 12, 2013

Why aren't you looking at the analytics for your blog?

A few weeks ago I spoke with a new small business blogger. I asked this person a few questions about their blog strategy and how they were planning to measure if the blog was successful. Their answer was, "We aren't measuring anything right now. It will eventually take off."

This answer is a total misconception in my humble opinion. If you don't know how many people are reading your blog, which posts are getting the most hits, and where your readers are coming from then why are you blogging?

Having no strategy is still a strategy - and here it is: I'll throw whatever I can at the wall and see what sticks. Bad idea, people! Take fifteen minutes and put Google Analytics on your blog. Use this free tool to look at each post you've done and see what's popular with your readers and what's not. See where people are coming from. It's really not hard. You can do it.

Just as you must have a business plan in order to run a successful business you must also have a blogging plan. Who is your target audience? What are they interested in? What other blogs do they follow? Review the data monthly and adjust accordingly. Blogging can be rewarding, but not if no one is reading your blog or if you think no one is reading it. Do yourself a favor, make a plan. Follow your plan. Measure your results. And celebrate when you reach your goals!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Using Twitter effectively and free unfollow tools

Twitter has been a big part of my life lately. If you would have asked me four months ago what I thought about Twitter I would have adamantly responded, "I hate Twitter." And I did. In fact, I remember speaking at an event and someone specifically asked me if I found any value in Twitter and I had to honestly say,"Not yet." My love for Facebook clouded my objectivity towards Twitter. I believed I couldn't have a separate but equal relationship because Facebook was where I primarily have found most of my business success. I was dead wrong.

After that fateful speech where I recognized that I had not truly researched Twitter enough to find its value, I decided I would do my due diligence. I read tons of blogs on Twitter, I set a Google alert for Twitter marketing trends, and I listened to my marketing mentors explain how they used Twitter to effectively reach their audience. I often publicly speak on the topic of shifting your thoughts to impact your world, so I am always willing to admit when I have a thinking error. I have since quickly changed my thoughts about Twitter.

I decided to pull away from Facebook and Pinterest and dedicate fifteen minutes a day to Twitter. Twitter is a totally different animal than Facebook and herein lies the problem. You can't possibly keep up with all of the total strangers who will start following you and Twitter is completely hit and miss. Unless you set it up properly. The key is to make sure when you follow someone that you truly want to keep up with is that you put them in a list. Lists can be public or private, and you can organize all of your followers and all of the people that you follow in a list. I have a list consisting of close friends, fellow writers, marketing gurus, and even a list of my favorite local restaurants. When I want to get updates on what is trending in marketing, I quickly look at tweets from people in my marketing list. If I want to see if there are any specials happening at my favorite watering holes, I can see those tweets in a matter of seconds.

Finding people with common interests is easy. Just use the hashtag (#) to identify people who may be fun to follow. For instance, I like #entrepreneurs #speakers #writers, etc. You can block spammers who send you stupid Direct Messages or DM's by clicking on the User Actions tab and clicking block user. I  have realized that although Twitter may differentiate itself from Facebook in that total strangers can see your posts, it actually opens up unlimited opportunity to randomly connect with anyone in the world. I just had a conversation with an author from Israel via Twitter. I also had a follower send me a link to a classic car for sale on eBay after I posted a picture of a hot rod I loved but didn't know the make or model. I have also converted followers into clients by just being friendly on Twitter.

It's important to weed the spammers out of your stream and this includes the uber-annoying tweeps who follow people and then unfollow them the next day. I love the free tools that tell you who follows you and then whether they unfollow you or not. You can then return the favor. Visit Manageflitter and Justunfollow to get this accomplished for free.

All in all, I am now sorry that I didn't give Twitter a chance much sooner. My teenagers are telling me that Twitter will soon trump Facebook; I have learned to listen to them as they have not been wrong yet in predicting social media trends. The beauty of Twitter is that you can talk about your blog posts, your business, or your product every hour and it's totally ok. If you did that on Facebook you'd probably lose all of your friends! Give Twitter a shot, you might be surprised at how much it can do for you.

Want to connect on Twitter? Follow me by clicking here.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Social Media Etiquette

Today I received a great question via email regarding social media etiquette. The question was this: "In the social media world, is it appropriate etiquette to follow everyone who follows me?" The question was specific to Twitter and so my answer is specific to that social media site. It is customary to follow back everyone who follows you. My exception to this standard is that I don't follow back obvious scammers, self-promoters or anyone who says, "I will get you 100k Twitter followers." Whenever I receive a new follower, I quickly look at their profile and their last three posts. If I like what I see, then I will follow them back. I will also usually send them a tweet thanking them for the follow (not a direct message aka DM) and ask them a question that pertains to the information that they have on their landing page. I have noticed that most people are not checking their @ mentions so I usually don't get a response, but I least I try to engage them without spamming them.

My personal feelings toward Twitter DM's is that I HATE THEM! Notice how I used all caps to convey strong emotion. I don't care what all of the marketers are telling you. Don't spam new followers with a DM. Send them a personal public tweet instead. I never click any of links that new followers or people I have chosen to follow send me via DM because if I did that, I'd be on Twitter all day long. Use the DM sparingly. If you want to tell someone they have an email from you, or if you want to meet up with someone then this would be a great use of the direct message feature within Twitter.

Remember that the whole point of this social media marketing thing is that you are trying to build a platform and an audience. If you don't spam people (Buy my book! Buy my product! etc.) and if you provide engaging and entertaining content, Twitter will eventually pay off for you. And don't pay someone to get you 100k followers. That's just dumb. But you're all smart enough to know that, right!?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Book Marketing for Indie Authors

After an author writes a book, the natural next step is to start to figure out a strategy to market the book, right? Wrong! I'm sorry dear Author, but you really should have been thinking about this before or while you were creating your masterpiece. Why do I say this? Marketing your book should begin months before your release date, especially if you are an Indie Author. No one cares as much as you do about your baby. It is important to identify your target market, how you will reach them, and how you will keep them engaged long before your book hits Amazon. Marketing nowadays is almost completely word of mouth, either via social media or face-to-face. You want to create a buzz about you, your topic, and the release of your book in advance of the release date so that you already have the snowball rolling down the hill.
A few practical steps would be to create a website, regularly start posting to a blog (and make sure to label your posts so that people can find your topic), start a Facebook Author page, start Tweeting about your topic so that you can engage interested readers, and start telling your friends and colleagues about your upcoming book. People generally want to see their acquaintances succeed - unless they are the jealous type, and you shouldn't associate with those people anyway. Make sure you are spreading the news within your local writing community about your upcoming book, and have a media specialist craft a killer press release for you.
If you do just a few of these things,

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Author Jerry Mathes II blogs about his experience with social media strategy

This blog post was written by an Idaho author, Jerry D. Mathes II. Jerry just released his newest book, "Ahead of the Flaming Front" through Caxton Press. Please check it out on Amazon here

Getting Tweaked And Finding Your Category by Author Jerry Mathes II

Who me?
Not but three days ago I didn’t know how to check Amazon’s rating system and then Social Media Advisor Christy Hovey alerted me that my memoir, Ahead of the Flaming Front: A Life on Fire was listed at #97 in like books. I was excited as all get out to be in the top 100. Christy had been retained by my publisher Caxton Press as a social media consultant to help me tweak my web presence and advise me how to increase book sales and increase my self-esteem.
So she asked me a battery of questions, and I gave her a battery of answers and only managed to say one awkward thing when I said, “I’d love for you to tweak me…I mean… ah…my sites.. tweak my sites I mean!” My daughter Sophia close by face-palmed and let out a long sigh signifying the word Dad. So cut to a morning not a couple of days later (yeah, this morning) I was excited to find:
#10 in Books > Professional & Technical > Civil Service > Firefighting & Prevention
#27 in Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Specific Groups > Adventurers & Explorers
#28 in Books > Science & Math > Nature & Ecology > Conservation
#10! Wow. I was shocked And top 30 in two other categories that were close to my heart.