Archive for September, 2012

Developing Quality Content for your Business’ Social Media Pages

With Guest Blogger Glen Hall of OSIM Interactive

So someone asks if your business has a Facebook page:

“Yes!” you proudly remark, “… it just hasn’t been updated for two months.”

Sound familiar?

You might return to social media sites to dish out a few days of content, but eventually day-to-day operations pick up and suddenly Facebook, Twitter, and the social media scene has fallen off the priority list.

Providing content for your social media pages can become a time-absorbing task; however, below you’ll find five tips to make generating quality content easier:

Share Published Articles

Simple, right? Well sharing articles can take a lot more of your precious time if you’re not organized, so organize!

Oh thanks Glen, but how?

Set up an RSS Feed:

An RSS feed is ONE page that organizes ALL the blogs you follow into ONE stream. All that you need to do is subscribe the web page (ex. blog.website.com, forbes.com/tags/social-media) to your RSS feed and voila: your RSS will fill with articles whenever those pages are updated.

You may have a few websites bookmarked that you use to find articles – if not try Google-ing “top 10 blogs for <industry>” to get you started.

I recommend Google Reader. It’s free, easy, and a great time saver.

Create Your Own Articles

When creating your own articles you should focus on three fields to report on: company, community, and industry.

        • Company: Do you have any successes to share? Any odd things around the office? Photos of your work?
        • Community: report your community involvements and share community events even if you aren’t necessarily a part of them.
        • Industry: what could you tell people about your field that they wouldn’t understand? What is- and How To- articles are great ways to show off your expertise.
Newsjack Articles

Newsjacking is capitalizing on a popular story by rewriting a similar, but original article.

Ex. An article is published 1 minute ago: “Steve Jobs has died”.

So publish your own article immediately, titled: “Can Apple Persevere without Steve?”

These stories do not have to be the same in scale as Steve Jobs’ death; depending on your industry, it can be as simple as a new type of flower being discovered or Facebook’s new timeline update.

But once the news gets out, people will flock for more information and if you newsjack industry-related articles you’ll have an attractive article that pulls in the leads you want to your website. So watch your RSS feed; you can hit the jackpot.

Share Photos

Photos are an easy way to place a face behind your company. Whether it be on-site work, new products, team building, or documenting the surprise dozen of Timbits in the office can generate interactions and even be fun to create!

Motivational or funny photos are also easy to share, and, so long as you keep it relevant, they can yield excellent results.

Ask a Question

This is the social media version of a call-to-action. Leave an open-ended question to encourage conversation. See our examples below:

Question: The iPad 3 has been released in China! Are you a tablet user?

Opinion: What do you think of Facebook’s new timeline?

Response: It takes _____ cups of coffee to wake me up in the morning.

I hope these tips help grow your online presence and nurture your brand’s community.


Glen Hall
OSIM Interactive

Posted in: Guest Blogger, Small Business Solutions, Social Media Tips

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Building Your Online Presence with WordPress

Your online presence, or lack thereof, can make a huge difference in whether your business is top of mind for potential customers. You’ve heard it before, but if clients can’t find your website, or if it’s noticeably outdated, you might have already lost the game.

As we discovered recently, a WordPress site outfitted with a theme can be a cost-effective, long-term solution for a small business and you don’t necessarily have to know how to code to make it happen. With the following steps, you can highlight your products and services online with a professional looking WordPress site of your own:

1. Determine if a new site is the right move

If you already have a site, take a look to see which parts of the layout are working and what needs improvement. Some questions to consider include:

        • When customers interact with my site, do they intuitively know where to find specific information?
        • Does my site make proper use of menu items to clearly present categories of content?
        • Are the pages of my site organized under the correct menu categories?

If you answered yes to the questions above, you might not need a new site. However, if your website is visibly outdated, you might consider the swap to a WordPress theme to enhance your credibility.

2. Draft content & menus

If moving forward with a WordPress theme, determine the pages and content your website needs to feature. You’ll need to draft a site menu that includes broad menu categories (e.g. ‘Services’), and the pages that will be featured as drop down menu items under these categories (e.g. ‘Installations’, ‘Staging’, etc.).

3. Choose a WordPress theme

There are plenty of professional themes available from sites such as Themeforest.net to choose from. Themes range in price; however, depending on your needs, you can get a basic template for free. When searching for a theme consider overall look and feel, but also choose a template that suits the menu specifications you established when drafting your content.

Other considerations when selecting a theme include: your industry, competitor’s websites, colour schemes, template restrictions (i.e. if you need drop down menus, choose a theme supports this feature), forums for template support, and theme ratings.

4. Populate the template 

After installing WordPress and setting up a theme, you can use the WordPress Dashboard to add content to the template. You can find WordPress documentation outlining how to create your site’s pages here: http://wordpress.org/support/.

If your business uses social media, make sure your feeds are prominently featured on your site. Additionally, if you want to demonstrate expertise in your industry, consider using a blog to post original content. This material can be shared by those you connect with and help establish you as a knowledgeable business owner.

5. Launch your site

Once your template is complete and error-free, contact a website hosting service such as Planet CPU to have your site launched. These friendly folks specialize in website design and can help you throughout the process. After launching your site, collect feedback in terms of how your customers find the layout and navigation and adjust accordingly.

Overall, your website should make it crystal clear who you are, what you offer, and how to contact you. A good site, combined with a social media strategy, can make a significant difference and direct new business your way.

Posted in: Small Business Solutions

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Brewing Better Signage Perks up Local Café

Robin Hansford & Marty Curry pose with the finished product outside the Robin’s Nest in Elmira.

With its warm colours, deep wood accents, and the smell of fresh, organic coffee wafting through the air, the Robin’s Nest Café is perfect for those looking to unwind or work away with a latte. But until recently those driving by might not have known to drop in and discover the inviting space. Although the Nest has dedicated patrons who rave about the lemon cilantro chickpea salad and open mic nights on Facebook, Robin Hansford faced an obstacle common to many business owners; the café’s outdoor signage needed a boost.

When allocating funds for advertising, small businesses naturally want the most value for their money. What’s more is that outdoor signage needs to be eye-catching, fairly large, and accentuate the business’ offerings to be effective.

When looking into options available, it seemed a horizontal banner or A-frame boards were going to be the best choice to attract attention; however, these mediums can be pricey and may not deliver on impact. Fortunately, as an innovative entrepreneur, Robin took advantage of her space in a resourceful way and serves as an example to other business owners. When looking to spruce up your signage, evaluate what you’ve already got. Facing a major intersection in Elmira, the café’s building wall was a huge empty space, or rather, as Robin realized, a huge empty canvas.

With a few calls to organizations such as the Kitchener-Waterloo Society for Artists, as well as the Elora Centre for the Arts, Robin was able to connect with Marty Curry, a skilled local painter with plenty of experience creating defined designs on a large scale.

The two created a mock up of the design and Marty got to work at the end of August to create impactful signage that combined business savvy with the underlying creativity that is fundamental to the atmosphere at the Robin’s Nest.

Overall, this case of café connection between artist and business owner really paid off and Robin recommends the strategy to others: “I was tired of trying to figure out what would work best, the associated costs, and possible by-laws involved, but the mural was a simple solution with a reasonable cost and BIG impact. Best of all it utilizes what we already had. My advice: don’t be scared to be bold and choose bright contrasting colours to get the attention of your customer, and be careful about putting up any content subject to frequent change. We’re already planning mural number two! It is kind of like getting a tattoo… addictive”.

If you’d like to get in touch with Marty to discuss collaboration, let us know and we’ll send you his contact information.

Posted in: Small Business Solutions, Success Stories & Connections

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Blog Content Coming Soon

Check out our new look!

It’s been in the works throughout the summer and now we can finally debut our new website designed to better suit your needs and showcase our services.

This News section of the site will feature regular blog posts of interest to entrepreneurs and you can expect some excellent content from successful guest bloggers working in our community.

Be sure to like our Facebook page to receive timely updates, links to business-related articles, and to be notified about the latest blog posts.

Let us know what you think of the new format in the comment section!

Posted in: Uncategorized

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