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Jody Higgins

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If you use Dropbox - Dropbox has changed it's policy regarding arbitration and you may want to opt out. Check out this blog post which deciphers the legaleese so that you can make an educated decision. I opted out.
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Curious about Twitter? Here are the basics that you need to know…

What do you know about Twitter?  Most people think of Twitter as a fancy schmancy instant messaging service but it is much more powerful than that. Twitter is a great way to share content, meet like-minded people and have a lot of fun.

Below is some basic information to help you get started on your Twitter journey:

What is a tweet?

A tweet is just a short little communication.  It must be 140 characters but try to keep your tweets around 120 characters. That gives other tweeters some room to retweet you and comment on your tweet.

What is a retweet?

A retweet is how you share a tweet with the people who follow you.  You should do this when you see a tweet that you like or want to respond to.

What is a direct message?

A direct message is a private message that you send to someone else or that someone can send to you.  They are private and no one else can see them.

What is a mention?

A mention is when you talk to someone or about someone in a tweet. It’s exactly like mentioning somebody in a conversation.  Your Twitter handle/name has the @ sign in front of it and when someone talks to you or mentions you in a tweet it is called a mention.  My Twitter handle is @myvaservice.  Here is an example of a mention (also called an @mention) using my Twitter name:

“Hi @myvaservice.  Please tell me about your business.”

To see if people are mentioning you in their tweets you can either search for your Twitter handle in the search bar or you can look at the “@ connect” tab on Twitter.

What the heck is a hashtag?

A hashtag is a fun way of tying conversations together. It is a word with a hash mark in front of it and it pulls together topics and categories that are being discussed.  A good example of a hashtag is #superbowl. If you log into Twitter and search on #superbowl you will find plenty of tweets that discuss anything from what kind of snacks to prepare to location of festivities. You can also use multiple hashtags. For example when I search on #superbowl and #Detroit I find lots of tweets talking about Detroit and the superbowl.

What is a follower?

A follower is someone who is following you.  This means that they like your content (in this case your tweets) and they want to see what you are tweeting about.  Follow people who tweet content that you are interested in.  Follow people you want to follow you (they will probably follow you back).  Follow people that you want to do business with.  Bottom line, one of the best ways to get people to follow you is to follow them.

What should I tweet about?

Twitter is a little like attending a cocktail party so use the same etiquette that you would use there. Talk more about others than yourself by asking them questions and engaging with them, share good content (like a link to your blog or newsletter), and avoid strong topics like politics or religion (although a little controversy can be good).

How should negativity be handled?

In this case you have 3 options: you can ignore them, you can block them or you can report them.  In most cases I would just ignore anyone who is being negative or unkind.  Only report or block someone if they become really nasty and you think that you need to take stronger measures.

So now that you know the basics…START TWEETING!

Once you start tweeting be consistent and share good content that others can benefit from. Don’t start tweeting and disappear.  Make your tweets more about others than yourself and you won’t appear to be spammy and people will want to talk to you more.  You should go onto Twitter and engage daily.  Remember to thank people for mentioning you and retweeting your content (this tells their followers who you are and can increase your following so be sure to be grateful as this is a powerful way of getting known online). Share some original quality content (like your blogs or links to your newsletters…and don’t post fluff.  Make it valuable) and make sure that you share, retweet and comment on other tweeter’s content that you like.  Be interactive, be yourself, and be consistent. Most importantly, have fun.

Twitter is a great way to market your business and can be quite a powerful tool. I have had clients who found me through a Twitter search.  Other marketing activities that you can perform daily include participating in your other chosen social media platforms as well as writing blogs, newsletters and articles.  Before you know it, you will be well on your way to an active, solid Twitter presence and a stronger overall presence online.

By the way…don’t forget to follow me on Twitter. My handle is @MyVAService. I will be looking forward to your tweets.
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Yes…I know.  I’ve been telling you why you need to blog and use social media.  Now I’m telling you that you need to provide a newsletter too.  Hear me out on this one.

Newsletters and E-zines are an effective way of providing information to your “list” directly to their email inbox.  This is a very powerful tool in growing your “know, like and trust” factor.  By sending out a regular, content-rich newsletter, you will grow your list of potential clients and you will build a loyal following.  It will also help you to be seen by your followers as an expert, the “go-to person” in your industry.  By investing time into your relationship with your followers, you will build their trust and become the first person they think of calling when they need the services you offer.

And by showing up in their email inbox regularly you become UNFORGETTABLE!!

There are some things to remember when it comes to your newsletter:

- Be Consistent – Weekly, Bi-weekly or Monthly doesn’t matter as much as the consistency.  It’s better to start with a monthly newsletter and increase the frequency later than to start out weekly and drop off the planet after 6 weeks because you have over committed yourself.

- Share Valuable Content – Give your readers something beneficial.  They won’t continue to subscribe if you aren’t helping them.

- Be personal – if someone doesn’t want to read about your dog or your kids, yet you are also providing valuable content…they will just skip that part.  But it is valuable for them to know you on a personal, as well as business, level.

- Do re-purpose other content.  Your email list is different from the blog subscribers.  It’s perfectly acceptable to use your blog content in your newsletter.

- Link to your website.

- Purchase an email service if you can afford one – Mailchimp and other free email vendor services are for the newbies and there is a perception that you are not well-established if you are using them. Constant Contact can be purchased for less than $15 a month.

In order to grow your list, you will need to have an opt-in box on your website.

- Include a graphic to draw attention

- Have a free giveaway – give them a reason to surrender their email
address to you

- Don’t ask for too much information – only require a first name and email address

- Make sure that your website visitors can find your opt-in easily (I prefer the top right hand corner of the website right below the header)

The most important thing to remember is that newsletters help you build your list – an organic list that you can market to.  By nurturing your relationship with potential clients, you will then become the “expert” that they think of when they need services that you offer.  It’s one piece of the marketing pie that should not be ignored!

Remember – the people on your newsletter list ASKED to be there. They want your information and updates. Make sure to provide the valuable information that they are looking to you for.
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My dogs are family. They will never be left outside to the elements or abused or neglected.
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