Staying Connected with Facebook Messenger

DRLLC 2016 June Article

 

Have you noticed any of the Facebook Messenger profile codes floating around? Have you even heard of them? If you have heard of them, do you know how you can utilize them for your business? Keep reading to learn how!

It starts with unique codes…..

Facebook still reigns as the top dog in social media platforms. One area that they are devoting substantial business development to is Facebook Messenger. With the purchase of WhatsApp, they positioned themselves to make Messenger more robust and powerful. Facebook knows that businesses can benefit immensely by simply being reachable.

Snapchat has been growing exponentially within the younger demographics. One of the main ways you can start following someone is by using their Snapchat Code to add them to your list of folks you are following. Each user’s code is unique to their account/profile by using a specific sequence of dots like the image below.

Snapchat Code2

Not to be outdone, Facebook has designed a way to create unique profile codes that work in much the same way within Facebook Messenger. They are called Messenger Codes. These are a series of dots and dashes that are unique to each profile (much like the designs in Snapchat and QR codes). By sharing these codes, you can direct customers to the correct Messenger account for your business.

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The next step is the set up…..

Facebook has been on a slow and steady trajectory to beef up their Messenger App to become a mainstream way of communication – not just between you and your BFF. Now, businesses can utilize this tool to have quick responsive conversations with their customers. You may have noticed the response banner on your business page. Here is a local photographer that has the highest rating a business can have. She does a great job of replying quickly to all messages she gets in Messenger.

response rate

In order for this to be activated, you have to meet Facebook’s response criteria (you can read more in Facebook’s Help Center):

response criteria

One way to make sure every inquiry gets a response is to set up the Response Assistant. To get there, go to “Settings” for your business page.

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Then select “Messaging” from the list on the left side.

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Use the toggle switches to turn on the auto responders you want to activate. You can also customize what the different messages state by selecting the “Change” button.

responsive assistant

Now you need to get your code…..

Now I’m going to show you how to get your unique Messenger Code. First you want to go to the “Messages” tab at the top of your business page.

step 1

Once you are on your messages page, scroll to the bottom and select the information icon.

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This will bring up a pop up window. Make sure that you select” Messenger Code” at the top to see your code. Select the “Download” button and select the size you would like to download.

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You can place this Facebook Messenger Code wherever you think clients may go and might need to communicate with you. You can put it on brochures or flyers, in newsletters and emails. The possibilities are plenty. By making sure your autoresponders are set up and turned on, you know each inquiry will get a prompt reply!

Scanning Messenger Code with mobile devices…..

The main purpose of Messenger Codes is to allow others to contact your business with their mobile devices. You want to make sure you are using your business’s code in places that your customers (or potential customers) would have easy access with these devices. Here are the steps on iOS for scanning a Messenger Code.

Select the Messenger App on your iPhone.

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Select “People” at the bottom of the app; then select “Scan Code” at the top.

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Align the circle of the scanner over a Messenger Code to open a conversation with them.

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You can then message directly with the business or person whose code was scanned! This account has the autoresponder set up to reply as soon as a message is sent, which will improve the response rate for this account.

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Here are the steps for Android Phones.

Tell us where you use (or will use) your Messenger Code in the comments below!

Dianna
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Customizing your LinkedIn public profile URL

 

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Social channels change all the time. One day you perform a task one way, the next you have to go about it a different way.

Recently, as I was doing some follow up emails to the guests that attended my speaking engagement on LinkedIn, I realized that there was a feature I wanted them to take advantage of, but the articles I was finding on how to do that were outdated. So the next best thing to do was to create an instruction article myself!

One feature of LinkedIn everyone should take advantage of, is creating your unique LinkedIn URL. Why they don’t automatically create it for you is beyond me, but either way, we should all customize this item.

On your profile page, select the little gear icon next to your LI URL:

 

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When you click on that gear, it will open a new tab/window with your public LinkedIn profile screen. On the right side, you can see the box that allows you to change your public profile LinkedIn URL:

 

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While you are here, you might as well make sure all the sections of your profile are visible to the public that you want to share. Personally, I have them all selected as you want visitors to your profile to be able to see as much information about you as possible. With LinkedIn being a business social channel, you shouldn’t have the type of information that you share on the more personal channels like Facebook or Instagram. Therefore, all the information you put on LinkedIn should be safe to share with anyone.

 

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Customizing your LinkedIn URL is really quick and simple to do.

Dianna
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Is your website mobile ready?

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Background image of cover photo courtesy of: freevector/vecteezy.com

It’s being called “Mobilegeddon”. But it doesn’t have to be so scary. You may or may not have heard that Google released a big algorithm change last week on April 21st. The biggest effect this change will have is on websites that are not mobile friendly. If you spent hundreds or thousands of dollars to get your site’s SEO up, it could’ve been wasted money if you don’t have a reactive website. Google will start penalizing websites that are not mobile friendly by positioning their results much further down the results page.

I would like to point out that this search “penalty” is only applied to Google Mobile Searches (meaning searches made on mobile devices). Desktop searches will not be affected. However, you must also keep in mind that with each passing year, mobile usage increases. Right now we are seeing about half of all searches on Google coming from mobile devices. Here are 5 Fast Facts from CNN about this change.

You want to check your website to first see if it passes Google’s analysis of what is mobile ready. To do that, go to Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. Simply type in your website’s address and click Analyze.

Google mobile friendly test

 

This is the result for my page:

My test results

And this is what my site looks like on my iPhone:

My mobile site

As you can see, it is slightly different in appearance than what my website looks like on a computer, but all the same functionality is still there. All the items are easy to read and navigate. Here is an example of a site that got a failing result.

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And here is what that site looks like on my iPhone.

Mobile bad site

As you can see, the first item Google stated that was not mobile friendly is the “text too small to read”.

If you are running your site on WordPress, it may be as simple as selecting a check mark in your settings to Enable a Responsive Layout (this is what it looks like for my site).

responsive check

Other website building sites may be just as simple, but you need to check.

Whether you paid someone to create your website or you did it yourself, you need to make sure it is mobile friendly. Google holds the power when it comes to search results (2/3 of online searches). And if Google does not deem your site mobile friendly, it doesn’t matter how much time or money you have put into it for SEO, you may not be at the top of search results.

Dianna

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Researching Your Competitors

The biggest point you want to keep in the back of your mind when looking at your competitors is NOT to do what they are doing, rather to see what they are doing and do something different and unique! When you started your business, it came from the place of seeing a need and knowing you could satisfy that need. Even if your industry seems saturated, there is always something you can focus on that will set you apart.

As I mentioned in my last post, your website is where you want to focus on creating and sharing your original content. Then you will use your social media platforms to point back to your website. You want to build your authority by creating this original content. Therefore, the first place you want to look is the websites of your competitors. Again, not to copy them, but merely to see what type of keywords are the most popular on their sites.

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The first (and easiest way) to start watching your competition, is to sign up for their e-newsletter if they have one. You also want to like/follow/connect with them on as many platforms that they participate on. This way you can monitor which types of content they get the most engagement on. You can see this by the number of likes & shares (on Facebook) or retweets and favorites (on Twitter). If you see a post all of a sudden get lots of engagement, take notice on what was different about that post from their other posts. Was it a photo, video, a paid ad or something humorous?

Another tool that can be really resourceful (and it has a FREE version) is Semrush. I highly recommend registering for their free account to be able to see the top 10 keywords that your competitors get found by. Simply go to www.semrush.com and create your free account now. Once you have gone through the steps to create your new account, simply enter the url for your competition in the search field to pull up statistics on that page. You can learn which keywords were entered in searches that resulted in their page being found. There is a limit to how many you can search per day (with the free version), so have 3-4 competitor urls determined ahead of time.

Here is a screen capture of the results I got when I did a search on Andrea Vahl’s website. You will see that not only did I learn which keywords were used to find her site, but also who her competition is. This can assist you in further research of competition in your area of expertise.

With the free version, I was able to drill down to see the top 10 keywords by selecting “View Full Report” under the section labeled “Top Keywords”.

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SEMrushAndreaVahlKeyWords

By using this feature, you can see what people are typing in to find your competitors’ websites. You want to incorporate those words into your original content on your website, so that traffic starts to come to you.

Another interesting section in the Semrush results is the backlink domains. When I drilled down into this section, I can see which sites are linking to Andrea’s website. For your purposes, you can see who is linking to your competitor’s page. These are then the pages you want to get noticed by, as they will likely link to you in the future when you provide valuable original content.

SEMrushAndreaVahlReferringDomains

Next you can use the tool Social Crawlytics. This site is free and can be quite resourceful in capturing data that you can use to come up with post ideas in the future. By knowing what types of content get shared the most by your competitors, you will know what people are interested in learning more about. Inversely, you can see what content is not interesting to your target market, and not waste your time creating content on that subject matter. You can also learn who is sharing this content and become engaged with those individuals and/or businesses.

The main takeaway I want you to get is there are resources out there which you can use to see what your target market is interested in learning more about. Find out how your competitors are being found, and then create original content that will set you apart from them. You do not want to copy what they are doing. Because at the end of the day, being different is what makes you stand out.

Dianna

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Making the connection between Social Media and your Website

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It was 1982/83 and I was pulled out of my 3rd grade class with 4 other kids in my Atlanta elementary school to go to the library and write computer code using BASF cassette tapes, keyboards and televisions. It was a bunch of 1’s and 0’s used to write very basic programs. I couldn’t tell you today what we created, but I remember trying to play that cassette tape at home weeks later in an audio cassette tape player, and all I heard were these screeching sounds.

1983 computer

The average Internet user today is more visually savvy than the best web developer 20 years ago. Not only have the older generations become more critical of what they find pleasing to see and use on websites, but the educational standard in schools today for the younger generations include learning programming code. And these kids are not using cassette tapes and televisions!

The point of this little history lesson is to point out how far programming has come, and why this is important to you. Printed media is on a downward trajectory. Many news and entertainment periodicals are going the way of electronic subscriptions. E-readers are replacing paper as a means to get your news. TiVo created a way to fast forward through commercials. Sirius/XM Radio & Podcasts created a listening environment that was commercial free. Through these developments, businesses lost their means to speak to their customers. Websites became the #1 resource for B2B and B2C businesses to get in front of their audiences.

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On September 26, 2006, a new player opened their doors to the public: Facebook. This company changed the way businesses would look at their marketing for years to come. The age of Social Media Marketing began and shortly after exploded. There are almost too many social media platforms to name today. However, some of the big players are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. This new marketing revolution helped level the advertising playing field for small businesses. We now have the opportunity to target our marketing efforts just as efficiently as the huge conglomerates with their billion dollar marketing budgets.

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The biggest “hiccup” of businesses’ pages on social media is that they do not own those platforms. We are all just visitors there. The most important feature of your website is the simple fact that you own it. This is why you need to make sure your website not only has as much information for your current and potential customers, but you also have the means to gather contact information.

Social media is a great way to make sure you are getting your message to the right audience. You can really drill down and target your ideal audience. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal of social media is to direct people to come to your website.

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Your main objective for using social media for advertising is to get traffic to your website, because this is what you have 100% control of. Realistically, most of these social media platforms are not going away anytime soon. However, I would like for you to think about what you would do if they all disappeared tomorrow. Do you have a way to reach out to all the connections you made on those sites? If not, it is time to start building your audience to your website.

When you engage with people on your social media platforms, be sure to create a way to also get their contact information. Typically you want to do this by offering them something of value (ie: ebook, whitepaper, trial, etc). You also want to consider making this offering free. Just because it is free, doesn’t mean it should be worthless. That will only upset the receiver. It must be something of value, so they know staying connected with you will continue to bring them value.

Remember, your website is the one thing you have 100% control over in the virtual world, not social media platforms. So take advantage of your audience on those sites and get them coming to your website. Today is the day to take control!

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Dianna

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Creating Images for Blogs and Posts

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Images. They capture us and invoke emotions when we least expect it. A picture is worth a thousand words. Our brains can process an image faster than it can read a string of text. We’ve all heard those descriptions about images, and those are the reasons they are so important in social media. Life is fast paced, and if you can’t get your message across in 1-2 sentences, then you have lost your audience (well, if you’ve gotten this far then I have captured your attention!).

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Now that we are snug into the second month of 2015, we are starting to get the statistics and data from 2014. And one of the biggest results is the importance of the use of visuals in posts (on any platform). If you want to really get into the numbers from 2014, I encourage you to read 17 Stats You Should Know About Visual Content Marketing in 2015, by the great minds at Hubspot.

You can find countless articles written on all the great tools available for designing images for your posts and articles. They tout numbers like “Top 30 tools for …” or “My 15 Must Have Tools…”. Today I just want to share ONE tool with you: Canva.

Canva Header

 

Not only is this a FREE tool, you don’t have to be a graphic designer to create stunning images. As with other tools, there are paid features. However, if you do end up using their paid features, they only cost $1. And that’s pretty affordable in my book.

The first thing I want to point out is the pre-made templates they offer for creating your images. As everyone knows, every social media platform out there is in constant change. That means that image size requirements for different locations are changing all the time. Canva keeps on top of this for you. When you go to change your Facebook cover photo, they will have the most current dimensions for you.

I’m going to go show you step by step how I created my cover image for this article using Canva. You will see just how easy it is to do this for yourself!

Step One: Select type of image to create

Choose the style/size image you want to create from the header selections (I’m assuming you have already created an account with Canva – remember….it’s free). I have chosen the “Presentation” design.

Choosing Canva style

Step Two: Name and design image

This will open up a new tab/window where you will create your image. The first thing you want to do is name this image/file. Click on “Describe and #tag” and name this image (you can also use hashtags if you want to track this image in any way).

Naming image 3

One the left side panel, you are given several options for creating your image. If you do not have any stock photos, I recommend looking through the “Layouts” tab. There are both free and priced items you can choose from. For this example, I am going to use an image I already uploaded by selecting the “Uploads” tab on the left. If you have an image you want to use on your computer, simply select the green “Upload your own Images” bar to start the process.

Header photo 1

Now you simply drag and drop the image you want to use (this method also applies to any other features you want to ad to the image you are creating).

Now I’m going to go to the “Search” tab. In this area you will find lots of features you can add to your image. We will be looking under the “Text Holder” category.

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Here you will see the Text Holder feature I selected. I simply dragged it into my image and added the text and colors I wanted to use.

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Next I just drug my logo from the uploaded images in my account and placed it in the image.

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Step 4: Save image

Once you are satisfied with your image, select the “Download” button in the top right of your screen. You will be given two options to save your image to your computer (I typically use the “As an Image” option).

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Here is my final image (and it is the version used as my header image).

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It really is that simple to create images for all things online. There are many other tools out there for you to choose from. I didn’t want to overwhelm you, so I stuck to just one. Now go out there and be creative!

Dianna

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4 Simple tasks to improve your Newsfeed on Facebook (and 1 LinkedIn bonus)

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Have you ever wondered how you can take control of some of the information that is bombarding you on your different social media platforms? Do you want to tailor things a bit more to your liking? Don’t get derailed by stuff you don’t care (or need) to see. Here are 4 simple things you can do to improve your Facebook Newsfeed (and one bonus tip for your LinkedIn updates).

Facebook is constantly looking at their platform and trying to determine the best way to develop their product. In 2014, the biggest message for businesses was “You have to Pay to Play”. As consumers, that meant yet another avenue for us to be bombarded with advertisements. None of us should be too quick to discredit this methodology. While, yes, as businesses we need to spend a little $$ to get in front of our audience(s), Facebook is doing a pretty good job of giving us the tools to really drill down and target the right folks. However, Facebook is also giving a little power to those end users to choose whether or not they want to see our messages.

 

1) How to hide certain posts

There are mainly two types of posts: those you signed up to see and those that are paying to be in your newsfeed. Those you signed up to see then fall into two categories: friends and businesses. If you have a friend that you don’t want to “unfriend”, but don’t necessarily care to know what they ate for lunch (you know the type, they tell you EVERYTHING they do), you can simply click on the small arrow in the top right corner of the post and decide if you want to see fewer posts like that one, or unfollow the person. Unfollowing allows you to stay friends, you just don’t see their posts anymore.

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Or you can “unfollow” your friend from their personal profile page.

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If it is a business that you like, but don’t want to get 10 posts a day from them in your newsfeed, then you can do the same with their posts. Or, if you want to support a friend’s business by “liking” the page, but don’t necessarily want to see the posts, you can select to “unfollow” that business.

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Another option would be to go to that business profile page and click on the “following” button to quit following that page, but you still “like” that page.

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2) Saving Posts

If you are going through your newsfeed and see an article that you want to either read more about later, or simply want to save for future reference, you can do that! Simply click on that small arrow in the top right of the post for a drop down list. Then select “Save….”. Now you have it for later!

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Now say it’s “later”. How in the heck do you find it again? Simple! Scroll back up to the top of your Home page. On the left hand side under your name is a list of your “Favorites”. You will see your “Saved” link there!

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3) Learning “why” you see certain sponsored posts

When you come across a sponsored post on Facebook and are wondering why that post ever crossed your Newsfeed, well, now you can get a little information on that. While Facebook doesn’t disclose all the ways that you fall under that posts’ target market (because that would give away too much information on their dynamic algorithm), they do provide some info. Once again, go to that useful little arrow in the top right corner of the post and select “Why am I seeing this?”

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This is the result I got for this particular ad:

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You can also Manage Your Ad Preferences from this screen too. I suggest you do this if you want to get even more control over what you see in your Newsfeed.

 

4) Take a short survey

This is another tool Facebook has created to give the end user more control over what they see in their Newsfeed. Here is an ad from Living Social. Once again I’ve gone to that little arrow in the top right corner.

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This time I selected that I didn’t want to see that ad. That prompted a series of windows to come up asking me more questions.

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As a former brick and mortar business owner, I was extremely unhappy with my experience with Living Social, hence my “Something else” response.

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By taking the time to click through a few windows on my computer, I was able to garner a little more control over what I see in my Newsfeed.

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Bonus – LinkedIn

As promised, here is one little tool you can use to better improve the content you see in the updates on LinkedIn. Many folks view this social media platform as a more professional site. This in turn makes it a go to place where professionals may not want to be bombarded by a bunch of advertising. Therefore, if there is a certain person or business that you wish to see a bit less of on your Updates page, this is how you do that. Up in the top right of the update hover your mouse until you see “Hide” (this one happens to be a paid post). Simply click “Hide”.

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And that’s it! 4 really simple quick things you can do to take control over your Facebook Newsfeed (and one quick LinkedIn bonus). I would love to know in the comments below if you found this valuable. I’m also continually looking for suggestions on future posts as well, so feel free to leave those recommendations too.

Dianna

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It all starts…….Now!

It’s a leap of faith.  But an exciting one that I am thrilled to be making.

Since this is the beginning of this chapter, I feel you deserve some earlier chapters in this book.

Veterinarian. That’s what I wanted to be from the young age of 6, until I graduated high school. Initially in college, my major was biological sciences. And it was interesting. But it was not what I was feeling in my heart. With a move half way across the country (from Georgia to Colorado) and a few “working” years under my belt, I started to notice in myself another yearning….

Accounting. Numbers….I get them. We aren’t talking engineering levels here, but numbers none the less. So my college major changed. I ended up with a Business Degree from CU-Boulder (with an Accounting major). Work was great! It was stimulating! And then…..

Family. I got married and had two beautiful children (two boys if you must know). And well, they became my heart’s song. But as anyone who lives knows, time does not stand still. Those two beautiful babies turned into toddlers, then young boys who were off to school. So it was time to get “back to work”. Having been a stay at home mom for almost 6 years, I still wanted to be there for my sons whenever they needed me. At the time, that answer was to start my own business. And that business was……

A salon & spa. It was so invigorating to be stimulating my brain again with real adult situations! Yet at the same time, it was extremely stressful running the business….and employees. There were some aspects I didn’t like very much about being a business owner. Then there were some I really liked – social media marketing. After a few years, we decided to close the salon & spa. But my entrepreneurial spirit was still soaring high. I didn’t want to go back to accounting. I wanted something new. Something that would keep me on my toes. I wanted to be a …….

Social Media Marketing Consultant. Through my work with the Boulder Chamber as a salon & spa owner, I learned there is a disconnect in my local community between what the small business owners’ marketing needs are and what they can actually afford with their marketing budgets. I get it. I was there. I would interview everyone from solopreneurs to corporations to see what social media marketing help they could give me with my budget. I could never afford them.

My goal is to fill this gap. To offer high quality services at prices that small business owners can afford. Whether that means they become a client, or I can help them in some small way with my published articles, helping them is my main objective. Social media platforms have leveled the playing field between the big boys and the little guys. I just want to make it a fair game.

This is a start, a new beginning. So bear with me as I find my rhythm and flow of these articles. And feel free to chime in whenever the urge arises. I want to listen to you – my audience, as much as I want to share what I learn.

Dianna Rands

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