How Social Media Helped Save Lives During Hurricane Harvey

25 years ago this past week I was living through Hurricane Andrew in Miami. 13 years ago this Labor Day weekend I was enduring the 2nd of 2 hurricanes, Jeanne (Frances came 2 weeks earlier) in Palm Bay, FL.

After Andrew, though by the grace of God my home and belongings were spared, I spent 2 weeks with no electricity. I depended on the radio and the newspaper for news. After Frances and Jeanne, I was only out of power for 3 days each. Probably because I lived near the hospital. Nevertheless, I lost all my refrigerated food twice and the whole area was depressed. That’s why I moved to Phoenix, AZ.

Watching Hurricane Harvey hit Southeast Texas this week was heart-wrenching. After each of the hurricanes that I lived through (6 in total), there was a strong sense of community and people helping people — strangers in need. However, a form of communication that was not around 13 years ago is social media.

Those of you who think social media is silly, this will change your minds.

One of the news videos highlighted #HarveySOS on Twitter. Using this hashtag, people in need of rescue posted their addresses and needs. Rescuers could then go find them in boats, helicopters or trucks to get them to safety and shelter.

How Social Media Helped Save Lives During Hurricane HarveyWhen Harvey moved northeast toward Port Arthur, #PortArthur was trending on Twitter. Here’s what was there:Twitter screenshot of #PortArthur Hurricane HarveyTwitter Screenshot Port Arthur Rescue tweets Hurricane Harvey

Notice how many retweets under each tweet. That’s the icon with the 2 arrows. Thousands of people retweeted these cries for help to their followers. Dozens responded — that’s the first icon with the bubble. Hundreds “liked” or saved them.

Wow. Think about the impact social media has made.

Now, we can watch as companies, organizations and charities use social media to raise funds, get donated items and help rebuild Texas.

It’s true that…

News no longer breaks, it tweets.

I hope this has convinced you to take Twitter seriously. Thank God for Twitter and social media.

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How to Use the Google Keyword Tool for SEO

In today’s digital marketing everything from websites to social media profile pages need to be optimized for SEOsearch engine optimization. Besides Google having over 80% of both desktop and mobile searches, each of the social networks has their own powerful internal search engines.

You need to figure out what YOUR TARGET MARKET is going to enter into the search box to find you. Those are keywords, phrases and questions.

That’s where the Google Keyword Tool comes in. It’s free to use, however, it’s part of Google Adwords so you need to set up an Adwords account to use it.

This video is a demonstration of how to use it to optimize for SEO:

The tool also helps when you’re thinking of what to blog about. Nothing like finding out exactly what your target market is searching for so that you can provide it.

Link to the Google Keyword Planner

 

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Best Social Media News You Can Use – July Wrap-up

While here in Phoenix the kids are getting ready to go back to school, the heat is still in the 100s. I had all good intentions to provide these best picks of the social media news weekly, but thank God, business is booming. So, this will now be a end-of-month wrap-up.

One of challenges of social media marketing is that the networks are constantly changing. They either change the layout of the site or they add or remove features and services. For you, the business owner or social media manager, it’s tough to keep up with them. No worries. I’ll sort through all the social media marketing expert blogs and hand pick the ones that I feel are important and might affect your marketing.

Here’s July’s Best Social Media News You Can Use (in no particular order):

Social Network Updates:

Great Social Media Marketing Tips (I couldn’t have said it better myself!):

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How to Deal with Technology When it Doesn’t Work Right

Technology: love it or hate it, you have to live with it. Sometimes I have the desire to go live on a cruise ship — off the grid. But, alas, I have a business to run and clients to serve.

However, it does get a little difficult when your business email stops working or your website domain name (URL/web address) all of a sudden points to the wrong site. That happened to me last week.

I host my website with Siteground (ad). I moved it from GoDaddy on the advice of a friend of mine who’s a website specialist after my site was hacked twice in 2014. My domain name (the .com web address) was still registered with GoDaddy and pointing to the site hosted (residing) on Siteground.

Everything was running smoothly until I started getting notifications from Sucuri (ad), my security company (also signed up for that after the hacks) that my DNS address had changed for my azsocialmediawiz.com domain. I thought it odd, but didn’t think too much as I was busy doing work for clients. (The DNS address is like telling the post office where your house is located.)

Where’d my site go?

I wanted to copy a blog post of mine to repost it on the SCORE blog and my site wouldn’t come up. What was coming up was my old giselleaguiar.com domain and subdirectory which I had set up when I first started my business. Yikes! What’s going on! Since it was a domain issue, I logged into my GoDaddy account and looked around to see what could be wrong. Not finding anything out of the ordinary, I called tech support.

How to Deal with Technology When it Doesn't Work RightThey said it was a Siteground issue. So over I go to Siteground and started a support chat. There were a few issues and they cleared it up and my site was back up.

Then every time I wanted to send an email from my business email, I’d get an error message that iMail can’t connect to the server. That happens every so often and it usually clears up on its own.

Now, my email was left at GoDaddy and everything was working fine till Siteground made some changes to the “MX”. I won’t go into detail, but it has to do with which mail server your domain name is pointing to. So after the tech support person at GoDaddy told me to go to Siteground, I decided to move my email over to Siteground — have everything in one place.

Now that you’re confused, let me interject something here.

The reason you want to have a business email address with your domain name is that it looks more professional. Having a Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL address is OK, but to look more legit for branding purposes and to give yourself credibility, it helps to have and address like “yournane@yourcomapany.com”.

With that said, I was getting anxious that anyone who’s been trying to reach me via email was not getting through. I emailed my clients and some business contacts to use my Gmail address (it’s a backup – which is why you always want a backup email). I switched my site’s contact form to go to Gmail as well as my email on Facebook and LinkedIn.

So after spending hours with the Sitegound tech support, it seems my Mac’s iMail program doesn’t like their servers or firewall and we couldn’t get the mail setup. Tried to go back to GoDaddy, but that wouldn’t work. I ended up having Siteground set up a forwarding to my Gmail account. So now my business email forwards to Gmail. I don’t have time to deal with it. That will do for now.

Lessons learned with all this technology fun:

  1. Always have a backup business email. Since you need to set up a Google account for Google My Business, you might as well have a Gmail account. It’s accessible from anywhere and easy to setup on Outlook or iMail.
  2. Have everything in one provider. Some of my web friends would disagree, but after this incident going back and forth between 2 service providers was a pain. I’d move my domain name to Siteground, but I just renewed it for another year on GoDaddy. I don’t want to go through the hassle of changing it.
  3. If you don’t know what you’re doing with the technology, don’t be afraid to say so and get help from trusted sources. Watch out because there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there who just what to take your money. If it sounds too good to be true it is.
  4. Back everything up. I lost files when a hard drive died and lost some emails when I switched providers.
  5. Block off time regularly to check on your technology. Make sure your website’s being backed up and it’s secure. I know a few folks that specialize in just making sure your website stays secure and running properly. It’s called a “peace of mind” service. Comment below if you’d like their names.
  6. Security is important. I use Sucuri (ad) and if it wasn’t for their warning messages of the DNS changes, I would not have known that there were issues.
  7. Don’t yell at the tech support people. Stuff happens. Their job is to fix problems and make you happy. I have to say, even after all my frustrations, both Siteground and GoDaddy’s tech support people were gracious. And they worked Saturdays and Sundays, 24 hours a day.
  8. Have a plan for when stuff happens. Living in Phoenix we don’t get many natural disasters, but I’ve lived through 6 hurricanes in my lifetime. It’s happened that major technology companies have been hacked or have lost power and they’re down for hours. Be prepared to work around it. Know where your website or ecommerce hosting provider is located. Also know what their tech support hours are and have their support phone numbers in your cell phones. And be prepared to spend some time on with tech support.

If a technology company doesn’t have 24/7 tech support don’t use them.

As entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, we’re working odd hours as well as weekends. When something crucial is down, we need it fixed right away.

I’ve had my business email address for over 6 years. It’s everywhere — directories, business cards, flyers, social media profiles — everywhere! Having it down was crazy! It wasn’t till a client called me that he tried to email me and it bounced that I knew I had to drop everything and deal with it.

We can plan to retire off the grid, but in the meantime, learn to live with technology — it’s all around us and like it or not, we need it to function.

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Why You Need to Be On Pinterest for Exposure and SEO

There are a lot of stressed-out people on Pinterest. How do I know that? I wrote a blog post for one of my clients, Simply Smashing Rage Room (opening in Tempe, BTW) titled, How To Increase the Serotonin In Your Brain. It included an infographic (a graphic with data) which I pinned on Pinterest as soon as I published the article.

Why You Need to Be On Pinterest for Exposure and SEOAs of this time, and it was published on June 23, we’ve had close to 1200 views of that page! Wow! And look where the majority of the people came from! Mind boggling!

I’m not going to go into detail of how you can use Pinterest for your business – whether B2B or B2C. You can view my How-To class here.

What you need to understand is…

You Cannot Ignore Pinterest!

How Pinterest Works

See, when someone pins a picture or video from your website, it takes the link with it. Thus, helping with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) because Google likes relevant back links.

Furthermore, when someone sees the pin and saves it (repins) it to one of their boards, it creates yet another back link to your site.

When someone clicks twice on the pin, it takes them to your website!

The more people pin and repin your pictures and videos, the more “Google Juice” or “Link Love” you’ll get. Make Google happy and it’ll reward you with first page listings when people search for what you have to offer.

If you’re B2B, you might be thinking that it’s not for you. Not true! Go in and search for “technology” or “social media marketing” or “business tips” and you’ll see lots of pins and boards come up with infographics and videos.

People use Pinterest to bookmark and categorize anything that interests them. It’s like a huge bulletin board. We love visuals. The more eye-catching and easy-to-read, the better.

You might be afraid of Pinterest because it’s distracting. Yes, it can be. If I’m there working for a client and I’ve allocated 15 minutes, I set a timer.

Moreover, keep business and personal separate. Setup a business account or convert a personal one on Business.Pinterest.com. If I’m following you for business, I don’t want to see pet tips or hot hairstyles.

When social media marketing is done properly it can be very effective. However, you need to understand the nuances of each of the social networks. Each one is different. The only one that covers all generations is Facebook. The others have specific user demographics.

Free Download: Define Your Target Market WorkbookYou need to clearly define your target market(s) before you can effectively promote your business online. Click here to download the free workbook!

This also proves why analytics are so important. You must measure and go over your insights and statistics at least once a month. Here’s a free analytics class!

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How to Use Branding and Color for Your Online Image

Branding in today’s digital age is way more than just having a nice logo, a catchy tag line and a pretty website. Whether you’re just starting out or your business needs a new look, this is the place to start.

In this video, I show all aspects of online branding covering:

  • websites
  • social media graphics – updated!
  • psychology of color
  • reputation management
  • online image

 

 
Click here to download a PDF of the slides with notes.

Related Video: Website Planning 101 by SonFisher Web Studios

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Happy 6th Birthday, Google Plus! And They Said It Wouldn’t Last [Infographic]

When Google Plus (G+) first came out, many people thought that it was just another Facebook. Many people said that it wouldn’t last. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen articles saying, “Google Plus is dead.” And here we are celebrating Google Plus’ sixth birthday. Amazing.

This infographic, from FulleStop, highlights Google Plus’ milestones along with some current stats and important characteristics:

    • 440 million active monthly users (not too shabby!)
    • Over 2 billion profiles (imagine if all of these were active)
    • 8 new users join every second (constantly growing)
    • The average user spends 12 minutes a day on it (this is surprising)
    • 70 out of the top 100 brands are on it and they have more followers on G+ than on YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest combined! (even more surprising!)
    • It connects to YouTube. Setup your G+ page first then setup your YouTube Channel. (This is part of your online branding. Get it right.)
    • Everything posted public on G+ gets indexed in the search engine!

That last point is reason enough to be posting regularly on G+ — just for the SEO value alone.

Happy 6th Birthday, Google Plus InfographicSo are you convinced that you need to be on G+? Click here to watch my Google+ video class on YouTube. It’s free!

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What Social Amplification Looks Like When It Works Right

Posting on Facebook or any social media network is fruitless unless you have a following. You want social amplification. That’s when one of your followers shares your post with their friends. Your reach grows by how many followers they have. If they have 100 followers, your post has the chance of being seen by 100 people.

I recently started working with a nonprofit, House of Refuge SunnySlope (HRS), a faith-based, transitional housing program. They’ve been around for a almost 30 years and have over 800 Facebook likes. Until I started with them, no one was blogging. Yes, their website was being updated with pictures from events, but not blogs.

What Social Amplification Looks Like When It Works RightMy 3rd post for them was a video with the story of the gal who was the Women’s Program Director who was leaving. The “featured image” was a picture of her and her family.

What blew me away was with only 18 shares (that is people who shared the post with their friends), they got a reach of over 1700! That means that 1700 people had the potential to see the post. For a non-profit that is huge!

Non-profits have actually 5 target markets. Their main goals are to get donations, build awareness and recruit volunteers.

The more visibility they get, the better.

Also, telling stories is what attracts people to posts and blogs. Especially positive ones. That’s what I love about working with HRS — the stories of people who were as down and out as one can get and how God worked wonders in their lives. The eye-catching picture didn’t hurt either!

Everyone wants more visibility and exposure and that’s what social media and content marketing provide when done properly.

There is no reason why your business — for-profit or non-profit — new or existing — cannot get social amplification.

However, it takes time and effort.

So you need to either budget dollars to hire someone outsourced or in-house to do your social media or budget time to learn how to do properly and effectively and then actually implement your strategic and tactical plans.

It’s your choice.

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Video: How to Find the Best Time to Tweet with Audiense

How do you know when your followers are online and you have the best chance for your tweet to be seen and retweeted to get the maximum exposure? Use Audiense, a free tool (used to be SocialBro). Audiense also helps you to find influencers – folks with a lot of followers. The idea is to get noticed by them and get them to retweet your tweets. See the 2nd video.

How to Find the Best Time to Tweet with Audiense:


Note: you need to have at least 100 Twitter followers for it to be effective. If you can’t devote the time it takes to build a Twitter following, check out my Jump-Start service.

Finding Influencers on Twitter with Audiense

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How to Measure Your Social Media Marketing with Analytics

Social media marketing analytics and insights are your friend! They play a crucial role in your marketing success. Basically, they tell you what’s working and not working. Each of the social media networks has their own analytics or insights. Moreover, they give you data — information about your followers or fans to help you market to them more effectively. Here are all the analytics classes.

Note: These are advanced classes! You should go through the individual network classes first!

First an overview of the information available to you and then below are some of the individual networks and where to find their analytics and insights. Some networks offer better analytics than others.

Analytics 104: An Overview


Class notes: https://azsocialmediawiz.com/wp-content/uploads/Analytics104.pdf 

Facebook Insights:

Facebook Insights tell you the demographics of your fans, where they’re located, what posts got the most engagement, even the best time to post.

Pinterest Analytics:

Pinterest Analytics tell you a lot about your followers and which of your pins got noticed and saved. It also gives you info on what else your followers like as well as data from anything pinned from your website.

Twitter Analytics:

Similar to Pinterest, Twitter tells you a lot about your followers: where their located, what else interests them and which of your tweets got the most engagement.

WordPress JetPack Site Stats:

WordPress JetPack site stats tell you how many people visited your website or blog, where they came from and which posts or pages were most popular.

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