What Is Changing With Social Media In 2013?

Facebook has now reached 1 billion users and other Social Media sites are thriving. How can we use this as an advantage to creating customers?

1. With so many choices, how will we continue to use all of these media outlets? Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Foursquare and Tumblr are the top 9 sites you need to be on right now with complete profiles and solid, interesting compelling content. You can post to many of these sites using aggregators like HooteSuite or SocialOomph.

2. Who will be around in 5 years, and who will fade! Top 5 listed above will be around, others may fade and new ones will arrive.

3. How to create engaging content? Quality fun photos, creative videos, well written blogs, articles and press releases.

4. What processes can we take to make the most out of our social media campaigns? Hire someone to manage this for you or if doing it yourself, plan on 15 to 20 hours per week. Create and control your online brand, build a massive targeted following and tie it into a search marketing campaign. Build a list and create a relationship to the list with email or video sales funnels.

5. What’s the future hold for SEO? Search Engine Optimization is not going away but I feel it has lost some of its importance. Social Media Sites, Articles, Videos and Blogs are getting ranked on Page One of Google faster and staying longer.

6. How are the big players controlling the way we use social media? The big players, meaning Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn? They are all doing their best to make the user experience better while including a way for businesses to reach new customers.

7. Community meets entertainment, what’s the future hold for our online experience? Online experience will become more like television. More videos will be watched, added to websites, Social Media sites and blog platforms. More videos will be watch on smart phones and tablets. Vlogging is hot right now.

8. How being connected opens your influential reach? Love this question. Brand yourself as a leader by creating excellent content and building a massive following. You don’t need to be a rockstar, athlete, actor/actress and politician to be famous anymore. Create your own industry/niche network.

9. What are some of the biggest misconceptions? That it’s easy and a teenager can do it. Social Media and Internet Marketing MUST become part of your monthly marketing budget.

10. How to distinguish ourselves in Social Media, is it for friends, is it for business, what impressions do we create online? Brand yourself as a leader and expert in your industry. Then build a massive following and email list. If this is done correctly, you will attract your clients to you. Selling will be easy.

7 Content Marketing Strategies for 2013

Far too often, content marketing seems to be more “famine” than “feast”. Make 2013 the year you finally have a reliable, abundant flow of marketing content without having to struggle for ideas or inspiration by following these seven simple steps.

1. Compile customer questions. Contact every person within your organization and ask them to provide a list of the most common questions or complaints they receive from prospects and customers. That list of questions can then become fodder for your content marketing throughout the year.

2. Commission research. Dig deeper into your list of customer questions and determine where there are information gaps within your organization or industry. Commission a research study or survey to gather that information. The research can then become the framework for months of marketing content: turning a single research survey into 20 separate content marketing pieces is a very achievable goal.

3. Develop an arsenal of tools. Don’t settle for one way to address each topic or question with your content. Use a wide variety of tactics including articles, white papers, webinars, slide-sharing services, social media, newsletters and tradeshows. Assign one person to become the company “expert” on each of the key tools you identify such as YouTube, Twitter, SlideShare, Facebook and LinkedIN.

4. Invest for your customer’s benefit. In today’s business climate, your customers are likely scaling back on their attendance of industry events. Send a journalist and photographer to key events and disseminate the information they gather to your customers in a variety of ways.

5. Expand your team. Look beyond the marketing and sales departments to form a truly inclusive marketing environment at your company – one where employees within all departments are providing content ideas and creating their own content.

6. Form relationships. Discover ways to team up with outside partners to create content together. Great places to start are industry publications, your industry’s top bloggers and your business partners.

7. Enhance existing efforts. Identify marketing and sales initiatives you already have in place that can be enhanced by additional content. For example, provide a white paper for sales staff to offer when making cold calls or make downloading a company-sponsored research report the call to action for your next direct mail postcard.

Best Mutual Fund Investment for the Clueless in 2013

If you’re clueless in 2013, your best investment and the best mutual fund is one and the same: an investor-friendly mutual fund sometimes called a fund of funds. I call this the best investment for the inexperienced investor because it offers two huge advantages.

Investors need a balanced investment portfolio of stocks and bonds to smooth out the risk of investing. Few investors have the experience or inclination to go it alone. The first advantage of what I call the best mutual fund for most folks in 2013: the fund company (investment company) does the investment management for you. You simply decide whether you want to be conservative, moderate or aggressive in terms of risk.

To find your best investment, go to the investment company’s website and search for the mutual fund category called BALANCED or ASSET ALLOCATION. When you invest money, you will actually be buying shares and will own a small part of a large investment portfolio of stocks and bonds. Often times, the portfolio will simply consist of stock and bond funds managed by that investment company. That’s why I say your best mutual fund is sometimes called a fund of funds.

Now let’s talk about the other big advantage, using a $10,000 investment as an example. It can cost you $500 off the top in sales charges and more than $200 a year in fees and management expenses if you go through a sales representative. Or, you can go with a NO-LOAD fund company like Fidelity or Vanguard and pay less than $100 a year for expenses, period. That’s what I call the best mutual fund, your best deal and best investment.

Some folks are lead to believe that you get what you pay for in the investment world. I spent over 20 years as a financial planner, and I know the truth. The best investment company is a low-cost investment company. The two I mentioned above qualify, plus they are the two largest in the business. Every dollar you add to the cost of investing in a mutual fund is a dollar subtracted from your net investment return.

If you are clueless in 2013, and want to own a very small part of a large professionally managed investment portfolio… the best investment and the best mutual fund for you is a no-load, balanced fund. Simply search for “no-load funds” on the internet, and you’re on your way to investment success and low-cost investing.

Jewelry Trends for 2013 – How Can You Sell More Jewelry?

Jewelry comes in all shapes and sizes. We’ve seen wild trends and trends that only last for a moment; designers held up as the next big thing and celebrities touting over-sized pieces on the red carpet. As consumers, we are inundated with fashion ideas from every which way we turn, but only two things really pique our attention and keep our loyalty: customer service and a comfortable retail experience.

I was always amazed when I went out to dinner that the food, for the most part, was usually all the same. What made the dinner memorable and what made me want to come back was how I was treated and what ‘vibe’ I got from the room. If I felt comfortable and had a good time, I would always remember that for next time. Jewelry stores are a lot like that too. I think we forget that after we’ve been in the business too long and end up focusing on the next big thing or the bottom line.

2013 will not be a very forgiving year for the lazy retailer. Coming out of the recession, consumers have tightened up their pocketbooks and will demand a more personal and unique experience. Not so much with jewelry designs, but the ease of shopping, attentive service, quality assurances, interesting display ideas, an online presence, a wide variety of color choices and a custom just-for-me style delivery. Whether you are just an artist or have a nice store, spend some time looking at your peers: how are they doing things? Then do something different.

Any kind of lighting and display ideas that stand out from your competition in the eyes of your customer. Greeting visitors to your store and finding out as much about them before they start browsing is key to a personal experience. Having the ability to put together pieces that are selected custom by your customer will always be a crowd pleaser. This means a variety of metals married with generous gemstone choices. Spend some time on your website. Most are in need of serious repair and updating. Consumers are spending more online than ever before and they often look there first even if the plan on visiting a local store. Education is also key to help customers make the right choices. There will be less product returns and more return visits if they make the wisest choice in the first place.

5 Inexpensive Ways to Manage Your Meetings

With the beginning of 2013 and the corporate enterprises already planning for their annual meetings, this would be the right time to share with you the 5 most inexpensive ways to manage corporate meetings.

Online Event Registration

Moving your meeting registration process online will help you save significant expenditures. For example, you will not need funds to hire a venue or even set up a booth to open up registrations to interested attendees. Online creation and publication of forms require no paper usage and you get instant access to soft-copy forms that can be made ready for public access almost immediately. Online event registration actually increases the chances of getting higher attendance in any event. It is because of the universal accessibility of online registration forms from any place that makes this mode a popular one amongst the modern youth today.

Online Acceptance of Tickets Price/Registration Fees

While managing the registration fees or tickets sales can be a daunting task for most event managers, using an online payment or ticketing platform seems to be a viable alternative. The software helps you accept funds from prospective attendees located in different cities and towns. You can ask them to pay you via using credit cards, through wire transferring service or through a payment gateway; PayPal being the most common and widely used option.

Communicating Online

Start chatting and sending out emails online. Create an online forum or message board where you can post news and updates covering your year-long meetings and such similar corporate events. Use an emailing application to send out multiple invitations, reminders or RSVPs to acquaintances and your target audience. Emailing application that comes embedded with an online event registration software lets you send out thousands of emails in a single day.

Surveying Pre and Post Meeting

If you are one of those who prefer conducting a pre event survey, then it’s a better idea to move your surveying experience online. You will get a number of surveying applications available in the market. However, there really isn’t any need to buy or install one a separate application, as a Cloud-based meeting registration software has an incorporated surveying application built-in; it lets you create survey sheets/forms anytime, 24 hours. You can conduct surveys before, during, and post a meeting. You can customize your survey sheets by adding your company logo and editing sections/fields depending on your business interests.

Generate Multiple Reports Anytime

Reports on sales, attendee check-ins, payments, and more can be generated quite easily using an online reporting platform. You can save on costs including buying piles of paper to create the reports. Multiple reports once produced can be sent to the concerned departments via email and may also be viewed by accessing the reporting dashboard where you can check out various reports within a consistent interface.