29 Mar

Using Images To Enhance Your Social Media Game

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 29.03.13 by John Meloche

Social-Media-Sales1-1000x500Do you have a Facebook and Twitter profile? If you’ve answered “no”, the truth is that you are already a major step behind many of your competitors. Social media is the wave, not only of today, but of the future. It’s all the rage because it provides people with free and easy ways to communicate with others all over the globe.

Pictures are what help to make social media sites so popular. Pictures, of course, are nothing new. But somehow, viewing them online or on smartphones is a wildly popular activity. Naturally, you’ll want to utilize social media to grow your business. And, as such, you should be up on how to use pictures to your advantage.

On DynamicBusiness.com, Greg Butler lists a number of tips on how to properly use images on your social media profiles. In yesterday’s blog, we highlighted his suggestions to avoid using straight product shots and go for more interactive, bold and eye-catching images to attract other social media users to your pages. In today’s blog, we’ll look at a few more of his tips.

Know where to find stock photos. There aren’t many rules preventing users from posting pictures that they didn’t take. So although your profile picture should be your own, feel free to locate stock photography for a background image or other interesting posts you may wish to make. Often, people post pictures that they find online and comment on them to start up conversations.

Cool images can be found on Flickr, says Butler. However, there may be some guidelines that you’ll need to review before snatching them up. “”Check out the requirements and make sure you have permission to use the images,” he writes, “you may have to credit the image’s creator.” The internet, of course, is home to tons of free images. Go ahead and Google what you’re looking for. You’re bound to find something cool.

Technological limitations. Consider whether or not your image can be properly viewed on a mobile phone, reminds Butler. It’s important to make sure that the full visual impact of your page is made regardless of what device a person is viewing it from. Take a look at your page on both your computer and your smartphone to be sure that your images work.

Consider the file formats. For images, JPEG, GIF and PNG are the most common, says Butler. JPEGs are most easily used because they are compressed. However, this sometimes reduces the quality. GIFs are good for low resolution images and are mainly used for solid colours like logos and other graphics. PNGs are great for transparencies. They also don’t lose their quality during editing.

Be inspired. Writes Butler, “Research success stories and take a look at good examples of how other businesses are using content on social media. Take your time, generate ideas and create a new image. Take advantage of great free photo editing software such as GIMP, Photoshop, and Picasa and get creative!”

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28 Mar

Making Your Profiles Picture Perfect

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 28.03.13 by John Meloche

social-media-advertising-platformsWe’ve been blogging all week about the importance of social media and the even greater importance that should be placed on using social media the right way. It’s all about engaging in conversations, not just promoting your business. But this is the new way to promote your business. Today’s internet era requires us all to get actively involved in conversations. This is what generates interest.

Facebook and Twitter are wildly popular. And they are popular not just because they are worldwide conversation starters. People love pictures, says Dave Kerpen on LinkedIn.com. And posting pictures is a great way to get people interested in your profiles. At the end of the day, this is what you want. Increased interest in your social media profiles means increased interest in your business.

On DynamicBusiness.com, Greg Butler writes that profile pictures and cover photos should not be overlooked. They are generally the first thing that people will notice about your profile. So it’s important to make a good impression. It’s all about being eye-catching and engaging with the images you choose to represent your pages. This will attract casual browsers to eventually become potential buyers.

Butler goes on to list a number of tips for business owners to follow in order to grab the most attention possible on Facebook and Twitter. Remember, you don’t need to get a professional photographer to get a good picture. People post pictures every day by simply snapping shots on their smartphones. But there is a method to the madness.

Don’t settle for boring product shots. It seems like the obvious go-to choice. But a simple picture of your product isn’t likely to do much in the way of grabbing people’s attention. Yes, increasing sales is the overall objective of your social media page. But you need people to actually check your page out in order to encourage them to buy anything. So think about using a more attractive image.

“Put a face behind your brand, to help people relate to you,” suggests Butler. Social media give business owners the opportunity to put faces to their brands anyway. You may as well do so literally. This helps to add some charm to your company. Don’t be afraid to jazz your profile picture up a little bit to give people an incentive to click on it.

Make an impact. It’s important to be fairly consistent throughout your social media profiles. That means having similar or the same pictures on both Facebook and Twitter. You want to make sure that your brand is recognizable. Some people prefer certain networking sites over the others, so be sure not to miss the mark on any profile you have.

This includes having an effective background or cover photo. It should be “bold, eye-catching and harmonious with your overall branding,” says Butler, “This doesn’t necessarily involve a person. It can be like a hero banner – an artistic, attention-grabbing image that conveys what you do.” In tomorrow’s blog, we’ll round out Butler’s tips on how to use photos on your social media profiles in the best ways possible.

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27 Mar

Making The Most Out Of Social Media

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 27.03.13 by John Meloche

Hand holding a Social Media 3d SphereIn yesterday’s blog, we looked at some important tips directed at business owners who are looking to use social media to grow their companies. It only makes sense to make the most out of your Facebook and Twitter profiles in today’s internet-crazed world. As Dave Kerpen points out on LinkedIn.com, literally billions of people flock to each of these social networking sites on a daily basis.

Using Facebook and Twitter may be free and easy. But that doesn’t mean we’re all doing a perfect job getting “likes” and followers. This is because there are some important rules to follow to best use social media to your advantage. Yesterday, we highlighted Kerpen’s advice to both research what your competitors are doing and to give people reasons to like and follow you – don’t just expect them to because you asked.

In today’s blog, we’ll take a further look at Kerpen’s tips to get your company off and running in the right direction. We admit, here at Synergy Marketing, that we could be using our Facebook and Twitter profiles to greater extents. So join us in taking our social media game to the next level. And that includes asking a lot of questions.

Why ask questions? Kerpen insists that in order to develop worthwhile conversations, it’s important to make queries. How else will you be able to engage others and draw them into your profile? Remember, that social media is more about conversations than it is about self-promotion. It’s the difference between saying “Come and buy a pizza at half price” versus “What’s your favourite pizza topping?”.

The latter, insists Kerpen, is bound to get more comments. People don’t want to be spoken at, they want to be involved in the discussion. The first post offers no reason to respond. The second engages people and calls upon them to answer and express themselves. Make your next post or tweet an interesting question and watch what happens.

Share pictures and videos. This is a HUGE part of Facebook and Twitter – Facebook especially. As Kerpen points out, people love photos. In fact, he notes that “the biggest reason Facebook went from 0 to 1 billion users in 7 years is photos. Photos and videos tell stories about you in ways that text alone cannot.” And no one seems to be concerned about production value here.

Quite often, people take pics using their smartphones and upload them to Facebook immediately. People simply seem to enjoy checking out photos. Think of the various pictures you can take – not all having to relate directly to your business – that you would like to share with the public. This goes a long way in exposing the personality of your brand.

Spend at least 30 minutes a day on social media. New tools and opportunities pop up on Facebook and Twitter all the time. Becoming a social media expert will take time. So devote at least half an hour to it each day. It will be worth it. It’s important that you genuinely read, learn, listen and respond to the people who are out there. The more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it.

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26 Mar

Becoming A Facebook And Twitter Expert

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 26.03.13 by John Meloche

media logosIt looks like it will be a LONG time before social media are replaced as the top choices for people to communicate with each other all over the world. Millions of people tweet and post comments each and every day on such social networking sites as Facebook and Twitter. There is no way around it. These sites are all the rage and it doesn’t look like there’s any way to stop them.

But who would want to? They are free to use, easy to navigate through and for the most part, can be quite fun. In addition, they offer the ability for people from all over the world to communicate by engaging in conversations, watching videos and viewing pictures. Naturally, Facebook and Twitter are excellent tools for promoting your business, completely for free.

That doesn’t mean, however, that everyone can become an automatic expert at using social media. On LinkedIn.com, author Dave Kerpen reveals that over one billion people are on Facebook and that there are over 400 million Twitter accounts. But he notes that business owners need to stop thinking like marketers and begin thinking like customers whenever they use these platforms.

Keep in mind that it’s all about being “social” on social media, says Kerpen. In other words, to properly advertise on Facebook and Twitter, one must refrain from simply advertising. It’s about listening, telling stories, showing interest in others and being honest. In other words, it’s all about being likeable. This is how you gain both followers and “likes”.

This way, you will not only attract the average social media user but you also be more likely to gain the attention of people who are part of your target audience. There are a few rules to follow in order to properly achieve this. Thankfully, Kerpen lists some very helpful tips for small business owners that can assist them with securing greater success for their companies through social media.

Listen first and never stop listening. Search Twitter for people who may be talking about your business and its competitors. Consider what they are talking about before you start tweeting. Kerpen recommends that you search certain key words that are relevant to your industry. You never know – there already may be a long list of people who are searching for your products or services.

Don’t tell your customers to like you and follow you, tell them why and how they should. It’s true. There is a lot of “like us” and “follow us” requests on Facebook and Twitter respectively. But why should you like or follow someone just because he or she has asked you to? Kerpen asks business owners to take it a step further.

Give customers a reason to like and follow you and they will do so without you having to request it. Keep in mind that people always want to know what is in it for them. Provide an incentive. Offer tips. Give answers. Be funny, interesting and creative. Allow for people to want to follow you without being coaxed into it. Social media is a great place to reveal your charm.

Be sure to check out tomorrow’s blog for more tips on how to properly use social media to your advantage.

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25 Mar

Mastering Social Media To Boost Business

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 25.03.13 by John Meloche

SocialNetworkingAs you may know, each and every blog that appears in the Synergy Marketing Blog is also posted to the official Synergy Twitter and Facebook profiles. We’re well aware that being up on our social media game is an important part of advertising our business. These two social media websites are among the most popular ways in the world for people to communicate.

That means that your business should be on Twitter, Facebook and a number of other social media platforms as they can help to spread the word about your brand. You don’t have to take our word for it. On About.com, Alyssa Gregory writes that social media is effective because it is not only easy, but fun for business owners to open and keep updated. She also provides tips on how to navigate through your profiles to make them as effective as possible.

Pick One Social Media Site to Start. If you are new to social media, try not to overwhelm yourself by logging on to several at the same time. Take things slowly. Choose one site to start with and focus your attention there before moving on to any others, says Gregory. We recommend Twitter or Facebook as they appear to be the most popular. They are fairly easy to learn how to use.

Create a Social Media Time Budget. Many business owners insist that they don’t have enough time in the day to run their businesses, let alone start up and maintain social media profiles. Gregory recommends that you create a time budget that will help you to schedule your social media. Even a few minutes a day will help you to connect with more potential clients. Give it a shot!

Use a Social Media Dashboard. Keeping with the time constraints issue, Gregory notes that social media dashboards like HootSuite, TweetDeck or Social Oomph can help you to manage your time. These tools help you to set up alerts, notifications and messages that can be scheduled to update so that you don’t have to do them manually.

Clarify Your Social Media Goals and Objectives. It only makes sense to have a plan in place before you jump online. Many people use social media for fun. But when you’re looking to promote your business, it’s important to be clear about what your goals are. Do you want to generate leads? Find business owners to partner with? Establish your yourself as an industry expert? Be sure to clarify your goals.

Outline Your Approach. There are so many ways to use social media to promote your business, it’s hard to determine which way works best. It’s all about mastering your intended approach, says Gregory. You can choose to be a communicator providing industry-related news. You could also present a mix of business and personal information to get followers and fans engaged in conversation.

Lurk and Observe. Watch the pros, says Gregory. Be sure to take a look at other business profiles to see how they are being used. Each profile will have unique features. It may be wise to learn how social media profiles are used before you go to town setting yours up. When you learn the “ins and outs” before deciding upon your approach, your online marketing strategies will be that much more sound.

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22 Mar

Promote Your Brand With Cash In Hand

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 22.03.13 by John Meloche

cash-in-handIn yesterday’s blog, we reviewed a Susan LaPlante-Dube article from Entrepreneur.com. The president of the Massachusetts-based Precision Marketing Group, LaPlante-Dube asserts that marketing your business doesn’t have to be an expensive process. And since all business owners do need to promote their brands, it’s important to find ways to do so on the cheap.

Simply talking to your customers by conducting a few interviews is a great way to start, she insists. Your current client base, in fact, is made up of the best group of people to tell you what you’re doing right and wrong in your company. You also want to be creative with your marketing strategies. At Synergy Marketing, we believe this greatly, knowing that our unique promo gifts help businesses go a lot further than the standard business card does.

Get the word out with publicity. You don’t need a high-priced advertising agency to get the word out about your business, insists LaPlante-Dube. The media can be used to generate interest in your brand if you’re able to generate a cool enough story. This is where playing a role in your community comes in very handy. If you participate or even throw a newsworthy event, alert the media.

The coverage you get can do a lot more for you than a 30 second television commercial. Not to mention, it will cost you so much less. Leverage will play an important role here. Explains LaPlante-Dube, “Though it does happen, don’t expect one story placement to generate thousands in revenue. Your success depends on leveraging each press release, each article and each published mention.”

Leverage existing relationships. Speaking of leverage, it’s important to utilize as many people as you know to help you. There should never be any shame in asking for help from the friends and family members who are closest to you. Develop these relationships and prioritize speaking with those who are most likely to be your advocates. Having “cheerleaders” is a great way to get referrals for your business.

“Educate, don’t sell,” says LaPlante-Dube, “The key here is to build relationships. These develop over time as you create credibility and trust. To be truly effective, you must always be on the lookout for ways you can help your network. Start from the perspective of giving more than you ask, and your network will become your most valuable marketing tool.”

Commit to e-mail marketing. This marketing strategy is cost-effective, flexible and easy to measure. It helps you to drive traffic to your website, which should also never be forgotten in your marketing strategy-planning. Reaching a broader demographic entails being up on updating all of your social media profiles as well. But email marketing ensures that you make people aware about your expertise.

Create newsletters with new product announcements and share news about the publicity you’ve attained. Be sure to develop appropriate messages in your newsletters and refrain from making them 100% commercial-based emails. You want to reflect your brand in a positive light while providing valuable information to your target audience. Good luck!

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21 Mar

Boosting Your Business On The Cheap

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 21.03.13 by John Meloche

website-marketing-service-cheap-pricesIt’s not uncommon for business owners to worry about the costs of marketing. In fact, our Synergy Marketing sales reps know all too well that advertising budgets often create a bit of fear in the minds of business owners all across Canada. And it’s not like this is an unfounded concern. Generally speaking, the cost of advertising a business is pretty hefty. However, it doesn’t have to be.

If we specialize in one thing, here at Synergy, it is how to advertise your business without having you spend a bundle. For those of you who don’t believe that this is possible, just ask Susan LaPlante-Dube, who is the president of the Massachusetts-based Precision Marketing Group. On Entrepreneur.com, she insists that entrepreneurs can expand their businesses even when they don’t have thousands of dollars to spend.

But how? LaPlante-Dube insists that there are at least five high-impact marketing approaches that don’t cost a lot of money. Just as importantly, these strategies are effective in doing exactly what a business owner needs. And that is securing an ever-growing client base and the generation of greater profits. These ideas, she believes, can work for any business. And they cost nearly nothing to implement!

Talk to your clients. LaPlante-Dube’s first suggestion is really that simple. Have you ever considered how important your current clients are when it comes to your mission to encourage more clients to visit your place of business? One’s already-existing client base is the best place to start when it comes to thinking of ways to increase revenue. Choose five to ten clients and ask them if they’d participate in an interview.

There are steps to follow in order to do this right, says LaPlante-Dube. 1) Send a letter requesting permission to have someone make contact for an interview. 2) Have the interviewer call to ask value-based questions. 3) Compile the information gained from each interview to discover various trends and themes.

4) Send thank-you letters to each and every client who participated in the survey. This actually presents an excellent opportunity to reward your survey respondents with a useful promotional gift. You may want to include with it an explanation of the changes you may be making to your business as a result of the help given to you by those who took the survey.

Creatively package your marketing campaigns. Think outside the box, encourages LaPlante-Dube. She promotes the use of promotional gifts over postcards as an example of how to impress your would-be prospects. The more interesting your marketing campaign is, the more impact it is bound to have.

“Don’t be afraid to see what other people in other industries are doing and adapt that to your business,” she writes, “Think about the little details that will get attention.” In tomorrow’s blog, we’ll wrap LaPlante-Dube’s list of cost-effective marketing strategies that may help your business to increase its client base in the near future.

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21 Mar

Boost Your Business Without The Big Budget

Posted in Promotional Products on 21.03.13 by John Meloche

google-rankingEvery business owner dreams of making his or her business a success. In the real world, dreams can only go so far. A successful business requires a lot of planning during the start-up stages. But it requires even more hard work once the business is actually off the ground. The smartest entrepreneurs never rest on their laurels.

They know that coming up with new and inventive ways to promote their businesses is an extremely important part of the job. The problem, however, is coming up with enough money to properly advertise. Many times, business owners get frustrated with the idea of advertising budgets. For the most part, most marketing strategies demand a lot of money.

Naturally, big bucks for the purpose of promo is not always that easy to come by. Especially for the small business owner, once a business is finally up and running, a marketing budget is sometimes non-existent. So what to do? Advertising is necessary, so one can’t simply give up on the idea to push their brand to a wider audience.

Promotional gifts are the answer. At Synergy Marketing, our many years of experience have taught us that promo gifts not only work, but they’re cheap! And we’re not talking about poor in quality, of course. We’re talking about the fact than when compared to your average budget for traditional marketing strategies, the cost of promotional gifts is very low.

And what are traditional marketing strategies exactly? Well, let’s see. There are television ads, radio spots, billboards, flyers and posters just to name a few. And while these ideas can run quite a budget, it’s also important to consider exactly what they are really worth. How often have you made a purchase because of these types of advertisements?

Does it happen? Of course, it does. But we’ve found that without making a personal connection, such ads can only be so effective. And that’s where promotional products come in. When business owners hand out promo gifts to their customers, they are making personal connections. The gift-giving is representative of a “thank you”, and customers appreciate this.

Making a client feel valued and appreciated goes a long way. In addition, a gift is far more than an advertisement. It’s a useful and practical product that can be used time and time again. That means that your promo gift has the ability to promote your business for weeks, months and even years to come. What’s the average length of a television commercial campaign?

When you consider cost to effectiveness, promo products can’t be beat. Call up Synergy Marketing at 1-877-748-9884 to discuss with one of our experienced reps which of our products would work best in boosting your business. Choose from pens, mugs, water bottles,  key chains, knives, tools, sunglasses, flashlights and so much more!

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19 Mar

Happy Workers Make Thriving Companies

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 19.03.13 by John Meloche

Closeup portrait of happy business groupA happy staff is a productive staff. We’ve likely written and spoken those words so often, here at Synergy Marketing, that we should have t-shirts printed up with the saying. The saying is true! And as Gwen Moran writes on Entrepreneur.com, there are several ways to make your employees happy. It’s all about conveying to them how much you appreciate them.

Your staff members don’t have to become your best friends. But treating them as friends will go a long way. Talking to them and recognizing specific accomplishments are two simple ways to increase productivity at your business. Naturally, it makes employees happy to know that their efforts matter. Moran provides a few other methods of making your staff both a happy and productive one.

Reward good ideas. Recognizing a job well done is one thing. Acknowledging a great idea is another. And they are both equally valuable. If an employee finds a way for your company to save money or improve operations, show them how thankful you are for it. It’s a big deal when improvements are made. So, as Moran suggests, make a big deal about it!

“Thank the person publicly,” she writes, “Depending on the idea and situation, an email blast might be appropriate in addition to the one-on-one appreciation, and let other employees know that type of innovation is valued.” There’s no need to go overboard or anything. We’re not talking about throwing a party here. But letting everyone know how happy you are with someone will motivate them all to want the same treatment.

Don’t forget to praise productive failure. Even when certain ideas don’t work out, it doesn’t mean that the person who came up with them shouldn’t be acknowledged. This can be a tough one, as some entrepreneurs don’t see failure as anything to commemorate. Nor should it be. It’s the effort that matters and should be recognized.

If team members gave their all to a project that didn’t succeed as planned, they still deserve some praise. Give them the encouragement to keep working hard, coming up with new ideas and shooting for lofty goals. They will need your motivational skills especially after a presumed failure, as they will feel defeated. It’s up to you to get their heads back in the game.

Recognize milestones. Writes Moran, “When an employee hits the five or 10-year mark with your company, do something. Keeping good employees is critical for any business to succeed. Thank the employee and incorporate a small gift or incentive to show you appreciate his or her loyalty.”

You want your company to be special, right? Then make your employees feel special. In a sense, they are your company. There’s no way for you to run it without them. Give them the feeling that they matter. Because they do! Making your employees happy will make your business run so much better. Would you have it any other way?

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18 Mar

Motivating Your Staff To Work As Hard As You Do

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 18.03.13 by John Meloche

4-happy-employees-SmallOn the Synergy Marketing Blog, we talk a lot about the various tasks that are required of the entrepreneur. Putting in great planning and being dedicated and confident are just a few things that can help any business owner be successful. But at the end of the day, no one person can run a business completely alone. You got to have a strong team. That makes your employees your most valuable assets.

We’ve also talked a lot about how important it is to have a happy staff. Happy employees are the most productive employees, we believe. And our very own staff is proof of that. Therefore, motivating and appreciating your employees should always be a top priority. A place of business where people enjoy going to work is one that is bound to be successful.

On Entrepreneur.com Gwen Moran confirms as much noting that too many business owners comment only upon the things that their staff members do wrong. This is the wrong approach (sorry, but we had to comment on that!). Instead, praising the jobs well done will take your brand a lot further. Moran shares a number of ways that company owners can motivate their employees to work as hard as the owners themselves.

Stop and talk to employees. You may have once been told that your employees are not your friends. But as you walk through your office, there’s no good reason to not treat them cordially. Stop and talk to them. Get to know them personally. Make sure that they are aware that you appreciate their hard work. This goes a long way.

“I make it a point to know names of their family members,” offered one of our clients, “That way, I can ask about their children, husbands and wives by name. It shows that I actually care. And I do. I find that it makes them actually care. And that matters. It’s so much better to work in a warm and caring environment. You get so much more out of your staff that way. It makes everyone happy.”

Pinpoint praise-worthy acts. You may have once been told never to single anyone out. But when you’re recognizing a job well done, why not? “Encourage managers and employees to point out team members and co-workers who are working hard on a project or going above and beyond their job descriptions,” advises Moran, “Then, write a note or make a point to personally thank that person right away.”

It’s important to be specific too. Instead of just saying, “great job today”, go out of your way to compliment the exact work. “I was really impressed by how well you organized today’s meeting and handled everyone’s questions in under an hour. It’s a pleasure having you as part of our team.” How do you not give your employee an amazing feeling after that?

Appreciate your employees. They will appreciate you right back. And it will be shown through their efforts on the job. When you make your working environment a fun place to be, people will want to be there. You’ll see a significant decrease in absenteeism and just as importantly, an increase in productivity. In tomorrow’s blog, we’ll review a few more ways that you can motivate your staff to work as hard as you do.

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