Personal Learning Network

Working with local small business in establishing an online presence and implement effective marketing strategy. For my personal learning network, I have curated a list of resources that will give me the insight to establishing an effective online presence through branding, and different tools and strategies that will aid in online marketing for small business.

Five (5) Blog links (or a blog roll) or a Twitter Feed: These are blogs or people on Twitter that you think are useful to follow each week.

  1. @smb2b
    -@smb2b is managed by @jeffreylcohen, Content Strategist of Oracle Marketing Cloud. What separates this twitter from the sea of twitter accounts out there that provide articles on social media marketing, is that @smb2b posts tailored content geared specifically towards Business 2 Business. With blog posts like “34 Ways to Optimize B2B Content to Drive Traffic and Conversion”, “The 20 Most Compelling B2B Statistics from the Latest CMO Survey” and “Breaking The Rules of B2B Social Media” etc. Following @smb2b on twitter will provide me with tips and B2B insight on developing marketing strategies specifically to serve other businesses that may also be potential clientele, broadening my social media marketing tactics instead of taking a one direction approach that only focuses on regular customers.
  1. @ThisIsSethsBlog
    Seth Godin is a New York Times Bestselling author, marketer, blogger, public speaker and all around renowned business man in the entrepreneurial/tech company spectrum of our generation. I’ve heard Seth Godin referenced in many podcasts, by various thought leaders in business and decided one day it was time to learn what he was all about. @ThisIsSethsBlog is his official twitter account, where he posts the links to his blogs which he writes daily. The blog articles are short but provide a simplified explanation of tips and strategies that are filled with great content, the modern day social media marketer can gain tremendous value from. By following @ThisIsSethsBlog, I am gaining direct insight from one of the most accomplished and well respected individuals in the world of marketing.
  2. @Hootsuite
    With a whopping 7.22 MILLION followers list, @Hootsuite is by far the most popular account that I follow on twitter. @Hootsuite the official twitter handle for Hootsuite Social Media Management Dashboard, posts daily tips on social media and social media news. While searching for the best twitter accounts regarding social media marketing for small businesses, I was quite impressed coming across their twitter stream. @Hootsuite does a fantastic job posting a variety of tweets that inform, entertain, and engage its 7.22 million followers. Another thing the twitter page does well is their consistency in great visuals, pictures and videos relevant to the tweet posted. @Hootsuite demonstrates exactly the kind of Feed I can learn from and examine in order to help me develop a twitter strategy for a small business.
  1. @YoungEnt
    -@YoungEnt Is a branch off of the magazine brand, Entrepreneur. @YoungEnt popped up in my “Who To Follow” section after I began following the main @entrepreneur twitter account. @YoungEnt posts tweet links to daily articles that provide advice on all things regarding business, social media and technology for the young entrepreneur.  Aside from the obvious topics dealing with entrepreneurship, @YoungEnt also posts articles titled such as “Embrace your listening skills” “Only have 30 minutes to workout? No Problem” that deal with the lifestyle and important advice on reframing your mindset that are relevant to the aspiring young entrepreneur like myself. Tailored towards the younger audience in the world of marketing, @YoungEnt knows the kind of content individuals involved in social media marketing myself can gain the most insight from.
  1. @socilamedia2day
    498k followers and while only following 415, @socialmedia2day ratio of following to followers not only gives them the credibility of a leader in providing quality content relating to social media, but exemplifies the kind of success you too can achieve in striving towards massive reach via twitter marketing for your business. With tweets to articles like “Here Are the Top-Performing Fast Fashion Brands on Social” and “YouTube Without Ads? Introducing the New Subscription Service, YouTube Red” @socialmedia2day delivers up to date social media practices as well as valuable insight to leading businesses and the future of whats to come for social media. Following @socialmedia2day provides me a feed of relevant content and news that helps me keep my finger on the pulse of the social media marketing industry.

Five (5) Embedded videos (5) Check out TED videos, or search on YouTube or Vimeo for social media, technology or business to get started.

    -Social Media and the Evolution of Consciousness. Venessa Miemis. October 15, 2011.
    Venessa is a writer, blogger, digital ethnographer. Taking place at Erikson Institute, MA, Venessa speaks on the valuable lessons learned through her blogging experiences and social media. Three main points discussed in the video. Following blogs where the content is curated for you provides easy accessibility to information and a focused learning experience. Social Media is a great tool for a personal learning environment. Revealing learnings, sharing intimate stories and leading by example by being vulnerable. Social Media can promote connectivity, trust building and generative dialogue. Totally immersing one’s self in the public space of social media, taking down boundaries of the self and taking down the layers of persona. Social Media becomes a space for understanding our own identity. Very insightful conversation, The more I go back and listen the more I learn and take in. Venessa speaks on ideas that will support me in understanding the fundamentals of the power of social media and how I can utilize it for my small business.
    -Using Social Media to Develop a Personal Brand. MC HAMMER. June 8, 2011.
    American Hip-Hop recording artist MC Hammer, speaks at Stanford University on branding guidelines and strategies used from big corporations like Apple, to artists such as Lady Gaga. The presentation is based around the concept of personal branding; and personal branding being a culture of you. In the example of Lady Gaga, he talks about her success in creating a culture around her personal brand, mobilized her fans and gave a name to her audience of “little monsters”. He addresses the importance of defining your brand early on, demonstrating your story through your brand, and the importance of marathon branding which is getting in, sticking with it, and riding it for the long run when your brand explores a new niche or new services. “The parallels between personal branding and corporate branding are very similar”. Case studies and examples provided in Hammer’s presentation are transferable to marketing strategies of brand building your small business.
    -How to Create a Content Strategy for your Content Marketing. James. April 16, 2014.
    Koozai is a youtube channel devoted to SEO, PPC, branding and various strategies in digital marketing. James breaks down an 8 step process in creating a content strategy, and practical actions for each step; The steps are Target audience, goals and objectives, social media presence, establish content ideas, editorial and promotional calendar, promote then measure. Example goals are driving referral traffic, driving shares on social media, driving more leads etc. Objectives can be to entertain, to provide information, to provide insight on a problem my target audience might have. Three practical takeaways, create 5-10 buying personas in target audience step, do a competitor analysis of 5-10 strongest competitors during establish content ideas, and input content ideas into an actual editorial calendar, of when to publish with key dates in mind. Understanding the fundamentals of developing a content strategy is essential for writing web copy or providing consistent posts through social media for the success of a small business.
    -Creating an SEO strategy (with Webmaster Tools!). Maile Ohye. November 12, 2013.
    Google Webmaster Tools is a free web service that allows website owners to check indexing status and optimize visibility of their websites. In this video, Maile Ohye of Google Webmasters (Now Google Search Console) breaks down the four steps to creating an SEO strategy with webmaster tools; Understanding searcher persona workflow, users needs, creating a seamless experience. Determine company and website goals. Audit your site to best reach audience. Execute and make improvements. This strategy has been broken down to very simple and actionable steps to follow. Another simple takeaway from this video is to implement diagrams via computer or whiteboard; the visual appeal is essential in productive workflow in creating an effective strategy. Google Webmaster Tools is a resource I can use to help maintain and assure effective SEO practices for my small business website.
    -10 Tips On How To Get More Yelp Reviews. Dillon Wilson. November 26, 2013.
    Social Media Top Team Youtube provides helpful tips and insights to leveraging social media, internet and high performance marketing strategies. Dillon Wilson of Social Media Top Team gives 10 tips on getting more yelp reviews, and provides great examples of actionable steps for each one of them. Tips #1 is Post yelp signage in store and website. Whenever customers enter your business in person or online, the signage or yelp badges will let them know of your yelp presence and encourages interaction through reviews. Tip #2 is showcase your positive Yelp reviews at your business, office and on your website.These positive reviews builds credibility between B2C and will allow them to feel good and comfortable when they’re buying your services. Good reviews on yelp create sales lead and customers for business. These steps will be vital in referencing in local search optimization strategy through the most accessed review site, Yelp.

Five (5) News or journal articles: Articles MUST have an author and should come from credible sources ( such as scholarly professional journals, an established online news source like Pew Research, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, local newspapers, Economist, Scientific American, etc. ) You can simply start with searching on Google Scholar if you need some ideas.

    -The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Business on Twitter. Jayson DeMers. September 15, 2015.
    Forbes magazine/ is arguably the most established business magazine in America, providing updated news and content all things business, finance, investing and marketing related. Jayson DeMers a contributor to Forbes, writes a 6 page guideline of best practices for marketing your business on twitter. Three main functions of a business twitter profile should be to gain new followers, generate potential leads, higher CTR to business website, and to rank in on-site and google search for business name. Some practical steps listed are use industry hashtags to attract more followers, tweed most valued content on weekendsfor higher CTR, and use images in tweets for higher RT rate. Twitter is the second most used social media site among marketers according to Social Media Examiner. Twitter allows real-time accessible interaction from B2C. This guide will be a reference when creating a content strategy for twitter.
    -How to Maximize Your LinkedIn Profile to Find Potential Customers. Mitch Meyerson. April 16, 2015.
    Founded in 1977, Entrepreneur is a well renowned North American publication that focuses on all things business and entrepreneurial-ism. Mitch Meyerson, author of “Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstar” offers tips on creating an effective LinkedIn presence to attract potential businesses and customer relationships. Two essential tips provided in this article. Maximize background, experiences and interest sections on profile by planting keywords to attract potential clients via LinkedIn SEO. Establish a clear idea on your buyer personas before prospecting by developing keywords and keyword phrases your target buyer may have in their profile. “LinkedIn drives more traffic to B2B blogs and sites than twitter, Facebook and Google+ combined.” Establishing a powerful LinkedIn presence and utilizing LinkedIn tools are essential in appealing to potential business relationships and clientele.
    -How to Prepare Now for SEO in 2016. Dave Kerpin. September 21, 2015.
    Based out of New York City, Inc. Magazine has been providing premier publications for entrepreneurs and business owners since 1979. Dave Kerpin interviews Timothy Miller, CEO of Local Search essentials on the evolution of search engines, technology’s impact on forms of search, biggest challenges for SMB’s and predictions of SEO trends for 2016. Some observations for current trends; tablet sales are increasing which means marketing tools must be adaptable to tablets, 80% of local searches turn into a purchase, and smartphones expecting to achieve 90% U.S Market penetration by 2016. In order for best SEO practices for small business, being in the know and adapting to future trends is vital for continuing and reevaluating successful online marketing strategy.
    -Lessons of Internet Marketing From FreshDirect. Rick Braddock. May 11, 2009.
    For over 126 years, The Wall Street Journal has been one of the most prestige, business focused international daily newspapers in America. Rick Braddock, CEO of FreshDirect writes about customer centered strategy of his business, and the best practices that continue to transcend company goals and customer satisfaction. The secret sauce to FreshDirect’s growth and success is how they utilize they’re customer information database to better enhance the overall customer experience; a strategy best exemplified from the success of Amazon during the 2008 recession. The ability to develop customer knowledge and enhance customer experiences at a real time rhythm is the true power of internet marketing. FreshDirect is an example of a business that has developed success through a customer-centered online marketing model.
    -The Beginner’s Guide to B2B Influencer Marketing. Jeff Foster. May 5, 2015.
    Social Media Today is an independent online media company dedicated to curated content for the most up-to-date tips and practices for all things social media. Jeff Foster breaks down a simple starting guide to B2B marketing; identifying your buyers, identifying the right influencers, building bridges, turning customers into champions and being open to blogger outreach. Two key takeaways. Identify key influencers in industry, leaders who are in position to make real impact on your buyers and create a list of those candidates before you seek to engage. Strategically approaching B2B collaborations is half of the marketing strategy that will yield to greater connections, developed marketing practices, brand credibility and customer reach.

Five total* (5) of any combination of the following sources: Embedded or linked slide presentations, Links to books reviews, Links to social networking sites of organizations or individuals, Links to podcasts.

    -#AskGaryVee Show. Gary Vaynerchuk. Youtube.
    Born out of Belarus. NY Times and WSJ Best-Selling author, better known as “the wine world’s superstar” of the Youtube Era, Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the most recognizable figures in entrepreneurship and social media today. Gary has cultivated great success through his Wine Library, growing the business to $50 million a year by 2005. Founder of VaynerMedia, social-media digital agency which has provided strategies for Fortune 500 companies such as PepsiCo and General Electric. Gary hosts the #AskGaryVee show where he posts videos answering Youtube audience questions and providing insight and tips for the modern day entrepreneur. Gary is one of my biggest inspirations in the entrepreneur space. Keeping up with the #AskGaryVee show allows me to get up-to-date advice from one of the best marketers of today.
    -Make Facebook Work for Your Business by Alex Stearn. Anne Day.
    Social Media strategist and author Alex Stearn breaks down her strategy for effective facebook marketing. A part of a series of 8 other titles “Make (LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, Youtube, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Social Media) for your business”. Anne Day summarizes 3 take-aways in this book review. There’s more to Facebook that meets the eye, exceptionable understanding of customer creates the content you need and measuring your performance against your original goals on a continual basis is essential. Anne concludes that plenty of vital information has been presented in this book, but wished for more illustrations showing the links recommended for the visual audience. This book currently rates 4.6 out of 5 stars and priced only at $10.99. This book review gives me more insight on a possible tool for utilizing Facebook and executing effective strategy from social media expert Alex Stearn.
    -Grow Your Social Media Following with These 10 Different Kinds of Posts. This is Your Life Podcast w/ Michael Hyatt. October 29, 2014.
    This is Your Life Podcast is dedicated to intentional leadership for both personal and business management. In Season 2, Ep.3 Michael Hyatt and cohost Michele Cushatt share 10 types of posts you can use to engage and attract new followers on social media. Share a resource, repost another person’s post, make an announcement, reveal something personal, ask a question, provide a discount, reply to a question, report on what you’re currently up to, offer your congratulations and wish someone well. Providing a variety of different content and ways to further engage with social media audience is a great way to build brand awareness and credibility. This is Your Life Podcast is a source I utilize when needing insight on effective business strategies and mindset of intentional leadership.
    -Psychological Strategies to Get More People to Open Your Emails, Read Your Copy and Click on Links featuring Derek Halpern. Smart Passive Income Podcast w/ Pat Flynn. October 21, 2015.
    Well renowned in the modern day marketing and passive income community Pat Flynn invites guests to discuss all topics regarding online business, marketing, and various strategies for passive income. Pat invites Derek Halpern, founder and CEO of Social Triggers to share some insight on what’s worked well for him and his company that listeners can utilize to help them crush it in their own business. Main takeaway was interviewing actual customers’ vs creating ideal target. When interviewing actual customers, uncover PDO (Product, Desire, Obstacle). What are the problems in their lives, what does their ideal world look like and what are the obstacles standing between their problem and their desired world. Also email subject lines that address an obstacle “OMG I need more traffic” or peak curiosity “I was in the hospital” are more effective in grabbing customer’s attention. Smart Passive Income brings in guests who’ve seen great success to share their strategies and is a source I utilize to gain insight from the very best in the modern industry of online marketing.
    -Supercharging Your Facebook Marketing w/ Mari Smith. The EntreLeadership Podcast w/ Ken Coleman. September 13, 2015. 
    Founded by American financial author and radio personality Dave Ramsey, currently hosted by author Ken Coleman, invites some of the biggest names in the world of business to discuss topics on entrepreneurship and leadership. In this episode Mari Smith, leading expert on Facebook marketing often referred to as “The Queen of Facebook” discusses how to utilize Facebook to create content and build better relationships with customers. Mari’s form of a social media equation is to entertain, inform, call to action, put the spotlight on customers and provide behind the scenes content. Utilize video blogs as another form of content, interact with audience for engagement and ask for the sale to get the conversion. Focus on taking care of your current audience real before focusing on more and more. Your current audience will spread and grow your business for you. Effective Facebook marketing strategy is vital for all businesses. Listening from the experts like Mari Smith, and various leaders of the industry on EntreLeadership will give me the best insight on entrepreneurship, leadership and business strategy.

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