Thursday, December 18, 2008

Do you have a social media marketing plan for 2009?

Well another year is coming to an end, a year of hard work, scary decisions, exciting surprises and countless g-r-o-w-t-h opportunities (in more ways than one!) which makes it a great time to take stock of our businesses, see what worked (accomplishments!) and what didn't (lessons learned!), and map out a marketing plan for 2009 (let's dust off those business resolutions & wishlists!).

This year we saw how social media evolved from being a cool site for kids to hang out at, to a major marketing tool for corporations to engage with their customers. Are you making full use of this new trend? Nowadays a big chunk of marketing plans should be dedicated to social media, so I've put together a list of questions to help you get started on that:

Online Social Networks
Are you active in at least one online social network (signing up alone doesn't count!)? Selling is all about repetition - the more you connect with your customers -- in a helpful, friendly way -- the more they'll think of you when they're ready to buy the type of products you offer or refer you to a friend. Online social networks are perfect for this. These are some ways you could be using your networks:

  • Facebook - update your wall & your status with comments, events and links of interest to your target market
  • LinkedIn - showcase your talent in the "Answers" section, download your virtual resume, get testimonials
  • Twitter - let others in your industry know when you attend conferences or networking events; comment on articles or breaking news
Make sure to also check out niche sites that fit closely with your brand, for example:
  • A Small World - if you're targeting the luxury market
  • MiGente - if you're targeting the Hispanic market
(For a more complete list visit this Wikipedia page)

Strategy: Schedule 15 minutes a day to participate in one or two sites of your choice.

Blogs are a great way to keep your community updated on your business/industry, plus they're great for search engine optimization. Are you regularly updating your blog? How long has it been since you changed the widgets on your sidebar? Have you explored the different affiliate sales programs so you can sell complimentary products and receive commissions? Do you know what the best sources of ad revenue are for you, whether it's joining an ad network or striking deals directly with advertisers?

Strategy: Enter at least 1-3 posts a week. Designate a special time or day to do this and stick to your schedule. Freshen up your blog's sidebar once a month by adding a new poll, or widget or product announcement. Track your site's analytics monthly (or more often if you have a special campaign going on) to see if there are ways to increase traffic/ad revenue.

Online Directories
Forget the phone book. The new online yellow pages offer you lots of space to add company info (including video), feature special promotions, offer discount coupons, and allow customers to engage with you by writing reviews and posting pictures. Users can also send a link with your information to a mobile phone, and this is important because mobile is the next new internet frontier. Are you on these local online directories?
Citysearch (basic package is $149/mo)
Yahoo local ($299/yr)
Google local, maps
Judy's Book

Strategy: Get on as many of them as you can, especially the free ones! Also check if there's any specifically targeting your industry, like if you're a restaurant there's, etc.

Collectively these actions will help you build your online reputation the way you want to, and you won't have to wait around for the press to find you and write about you, when and if. The more you participate in social media, the more you'll get out of it, it's that simple. If you need help creating and/or executing a customized social media marketing plan for the new year, please contact me.

I'd like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season, and here's to hoping 2009 bring lots of good things to all of us.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Mogulette Holiday Mixer

Nothing like throwing a party to get into the holiday spirit! That's why I decided to throw my 2nd annual Mogulette Mixer early in the month this year, and had a terrific time with a most talented group of businesswomen.

Luckily my mom was visiting and she helped me put up the Christmas decorations (thanks Mom! I copied the idea for the cute tree on the left from this month's Domino magazine). The orange-pine scented candles were aglow and classic holiday tunes played on the stereo as the first guest arrived, right on time. I was still arranging the baked ham and potato salad on the table (The Silver Palate Cookbook saved the day, as usual) when the doorbell rang.

Moments later more ladies walked in and the networking began in earnest. Marisa works in Wall St. and just started a blog, Jodi recently became a holistic nutrition and wellness coach, Alix is a writer & a journalist, and Simmy owns Nyingzemo, a company that makes Tibetan rugs with modern designs. There were about 15 women in total but the wealth of knowledge and expertise was huge.

Ginny, left, is an architect and Lillian is Director of Admissions at Loyola School and also a writer.

Melody, left, who makes educational video games for children, chats with Karmina, who works for MediaLink.

Jen, above, has a PhD and runs her own management consulting firm, WhiteWave.

Donna, a therapist, far left, who's wearing a sweater she made herself, gave everybody a quick numerology forecast for the new year. Others in this picture: Jennifer, in the beige skirt is owner of Greenwich Jewelers, and Cecilia, dressed in black in the middle, has worked for many years at Brasserie Julien, which she co-owns with her husband but is currently looking for a job in social media. She snagged the grand prize at the raffle: a free makeup lesson valued at $150 from Laura Geller. I also gave away four free 1-week passes to the new, ultra sleek Equinox gym on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Other fempreneurs in attendance: Stacey, director of global production at Sesame Workshop, Stephanie, a web consultant, and last but not least BL Ochman, a social media consultant & blogger who is thrilled to be launching her new venture,

The business cards were flying left and right but some people ran out of them so to make it easy for everyone to stay in touch I have created a Facebook page, which everyone is welcome to join (females only!). I added more pictures there and will post upcoming events and other info. Hope to "see" you all there.

This was so much fun I hope to be adding more networking nights to the calendar next year, along with my regular workshops. Now the big question is, what will I do with all the leftovers?

Til soon!