4/HBCHZLW1JdM5iHp7L-Mng7OY_0Z9n3NrUX0xwnOJs2Q

Facebook Business Page Owners….Keep An Eye Out…Changes Coming!!!

Ever since Gillian and I created our Facebook Business Page, the one thing we had to get used to, was waking up most days and seeing a new announcement from Facebook about the newest update. Whether it be changes in the look on one’s phone or laptop, new categories or tabs, or interfacing with one’s audience, Facebook is always evolving. Their changes are driven by two factors. The first one is increasing the experience for people to be able to interact with their friends and family. That is primary. The second factor is Facebook makes their money with Ads, so getting businesses to advertise is key. Having a business page on Facebook is free. But the hope is, that eventually a Business Page will buy Ads. To make it easier for the business owner to create a presence on Facebook, a variety of templates allows a business to showcase their products and services, reviews, videos, photos, and e-commerce are offered.

Buying ads and boosting posts has always been optional.   If you had enough “Likes” you could count on your followers to see some of your organic posts in their daily Newsfeed.  But take heed, changes are on the horizon.

Facebook Announces Coming News Feed Changes Which Will Reduce the Reach of Page Posts

  1. Friend to Friend is primary. The news feed will allow more of the posts from your “friends” than from business Pages. Which means squeezing out a lot of those Business posts.
  2. Long and thoughtful replies get a boost. This was the second half of the announcement, and it seems to be a significant pivot. Recorded videos will not get nearly the weight they once did. Passive scrolling and low-quality engagement are now considered bad. Posts that get long, thoughtful replies will get priority in your newsfeed.

So, what does that mean? How can your Business Page counter this besides spending tons of money on buying Ads?

Facebook’s Head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri offers some suggestions:

“Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers, as do posts from celebrities. In Groups, people often interact around public content. Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events. And news can help start conversations on important issues.”

From Adam’s statement creating “live” video will get you more visibility in the News Feed. But what about those of us that aren’t comfortable doing “live” on Facebook? Does this mean we should dump our Facebook Pages? Or never build one if you don’t have one now? Absolutely not. There are still plenty of good reasons to have a Facebook Business Page, but you will need to use it wisely:

  1. Having a Facebook Business Page to send people to is still important. If someone Googles you, and finds your Page, they will be able to search your Page and learn about you and your services.
  2. Consider changing your “Call to Action” button to: Sign up for My Newsletter or Visit My Website, rather than Call Me or Email Me. They may only visit your FB page once, so get your best value and send them where you want the traffic.
  3. Make your posts more relevant. Showcase your “Blog” or “Podcast” or a new webinar you are hosting.
  4. Create a Facebook Group with your Business Page and provide a community for your followers to interact with each other. With you being the leader, you can announce workshops, webinars or when you have a lead magnet to share.
  5. If you want to have your “followers” see a relevant post, consider “Boosting” it. It will be fairly cheap to reach your current audience.
  6. You can still use your Facebook Business Page to buy Ads. Those Ads will show up in the Newsfeed of the audience you profile for your Ad.  Facebook makes their money in Ads. Those will not go away. Facebook is a great place to buy ads as Facebook can help you optimize your Ad to the right audience.

Hopefully this will give you a clear understanding of the changes. More to come I am sure. But here is one big HUGE takeaway from this story.  I didn’t hear this announcement on Facebook. I received the information from email. Just remember that Email Marketing is still the “King” for getting the word out. Use Facebook marketing to get prospects and customers on your Email list. You own your list. Facebook is just rented property.

Here is Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement of Thursday, January 11th from Facebook:

 

READ FULL ARTICLE:  https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10104413015393571

 

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

December is National Write Your Business Plan Month!

Is Your 2018 Business Plan Finished???

We are two weeks away from 2018 and besides St. Nick checking to see if we have been naughty or nice (kidding), he is finishing up his business plan for 2018. Are you?  If I asked for a show of hands on who has not, my guess is that many people would raise their hand and say, not yet. These are the most common responses: “Too busy now”, “I will get to it later in January”, or “Its really not that important”. Lots of other reasons I am sure. But, it is one of the most crucial things we as business people need to do every year. Here is my perspective on it and from someone who has faithfully completed a business plan every year before January. By doing this exercise each year, you have an opportunity to make some powerful decisions about what you want to do in the new year.

Whether it’s changes or new goals, this process will allow you to crystallize some new and old objectives. Allow yourself to review last years business plan. Did you meet all your objectives? If you didn’t, think through why. Were they unreasonable? Did you not like doing them? Did you not have enough time or money? Take notes from last year’s plan and use that knowledge to craft this year’s new plan. Try to find some new ideas that will really make a difference. More importantly, where do you want to be this time next year and how are you going to get there? How painful it will be if those objectives you missed last year, are still on your list not done this time next year. Either make an intention to get them done, or figure out some other options. Something is holding you back, figure out why. What can you really do to inspire your planning for 2018.

I would hazard to guess that there are many people who don’t feel a business plan is necessary. Perhaps what holds that person back is a structure, or template. Maybe not sure how to executive one. The good news is only time and patience are needed. No MONEY required.

The Small Business Association (SBA) has put together this great article which quite frankly says anything I could say and much better. It’s great. With templates and the key ingredients of your plan, this article provides you with everything you need to create a great 2018 business plan. Click this link and begin the process to complete your 2018 business plan. Let 2018 be your best year yet.

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

Do You Know What This Person is Thinking?

How Do I Have a Winning Communication Experience?

I have just come back from a Thanksgiving family reunion.  Everyone came happy and excited to be with each other and have fun.  You have seen enough Movies to know how that goes.  You can always expect there will be some friction and some heartache.  Why?  Because as much as we all love each other, we have communication breakdowns.  Why?  Because we don’t always communicate in a way that the other person knows or understands.

Sometimes we don’t understand what was said, or we don’t understand their facial expressions.  What am I, a mind reader???Family is one thing.  Even if we have fights we all love each other.  We will have a few tears, maybe even some angry words, and then we hug, and say “I love you”.  We make it all better.  We forget the bad memories and come back for the next  family reunion.

 

Business, however, can be another thing.  If you are having this interaction at work or if you are trying to network with someone for business or you are having a one on one with a customer, that is another story all together.  There is no bond of love and friendship that will keep you together.  What do you do?  Even if you think you are the best communicator in the world, if you have a customer that is not a good communicator, your whole presentation or engagement could blow up in your face.  How do you overcome that?

Many, many years ago, I went to a two-day Communications course to learn how to be a better communicator.  We learned how to be good listeners.  But somewhere in translation, I didn’t quite grasp how to engage with people that are terrible communicators.  Trust me, there are plenty.  Now add to that, the additional issue of trying to communicate with someone while on a mobile phone.  That was not in that training, because mobile phones didn’t exist.  Here is a personal example: I was having lunch with one of my sons recently and I was sharing a story while he was doing something on his phone.  It became apparent to me that he wasn’t listening to anything I was saying.  I asked if he was listening.  Being honest with his Mom, he sheepishly said “no”.  Now what if that situation was with a customer.  They would have probably said “of course I am listening” and be totally lying.  Then whatever I said, would have been missed.  At least I was able to repeat my story with my son, or if it just didn’t matter in the big scheme of things, moved one.  But if it is work related, you can’t move on, you want to be sure they received your message.

Here are some good suggestions that I have learned from painful experiences:

  1. Make sure the person you are conveying your message too, wants to hear the message.  (Otherwise going to deaf ears.)
  2. Don’t try to have that important business conversation when there are distractions like loud music or other chitchat around you. Otherwise they may only hear every other word.  They will nod their head that they are hearing you and understand you.  But in reality, you know they haven’t a clue what you have been saying.  They are just being polite.
  3. Body language. This is critically important and probably my worst pet peeve.  I hate it when people respond to me with a face cringe or bobbing of the head and think I know what that means.  Try and ask questions that will elicit a response of a statement rather than a “yes” or “no” answer.  Otherwise, you may get a bobbing head and not get the answer you need. Some people may be afraid to answer your question as they are not ready to make a decision at that moment.  Asking questions that require a statement rather than a yes or no, will be more helpful.  Or that encourage them to ask a question back to formulate that decision.  That might allow for a better dialogue eventually giving you the response you need.  As hard as it might be, we need to ask gentle questions, so they don’t have the feeling of being interrogated.
  4. Try to allow that person you are engaging with to feel comfortable to speak and let you know what they are thinking and feeling. Sometimes, that just means “shut up” and “listen”.  Bite your lip if you have too.  Depending on your personality style that might be a little hard, especially if you are an extrovert like me.  But believe me if you want an introvert to respond, you have no choice, you have to give them the space and time to feel comfortable to answer.

Try this exercise: next time in a work discussion whether it is an associate or customer, look at their body language.  Do they look comfortable, or do they look anxious?  Use that intuition to decide how to “be” with that person so you can have a winning engagement.  Is it their personality or are they dealing with an issue that is making life tough right now?  You might have to ask some warm up questions to know the answer to that before you delve into your business conversation.

I found this YouTube and thought it really represented this subject.

 

We never know what someone is going through.  I would never in a million years have known what these expressions meant.  But it goes to show you, that we have to be sensitive to everyone and their needs, whether it is family, friends, business associates, or customers.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Same time, next year, better equipped.  Have a better customer experience.

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

The World is Your Oyster!

In 999, Leif Erikson, famously known as “Erik the Lucky”, sailed from Iceland to travel to Greenland and accidentally discovered a new land, Canadian shores. Why was he traveling?  Certainly not because he wanted to go on a vacation. He was looking for business opportunities. He brought back to Iceland a cargo of grapes and timber. Anyone who has been to Iceland knows that timber has more value than gold because trees are rare.

Throughout history we have heard the many sagas of men and women taking dangerous adventures to explore and travel to new places to seek their riches as entrepreneurs.  500 years after Leif made his discovery, Christopher Columbus set out for his business opportunity, to find spices. Thank goodness today we do not have to brave the cold and unknown do connect with people around the world for business enterprise. Leif would have been shocked to know that a thousand years later a phone and a computer can bridge one country to another in a blink of an eye.

If you have a business that is not dependent on local geography, the opportunity to do business with countries around the world is truly amazing. What really helps in the success of your business is the fact that so many people around the world speak English. Definitely an advantage for us English speaking business owners. I just recently returned from a trip to Iceland. Imagine this little island all the way to the north neatly positioned between Greenland and Norway at 66 degrees Latitude and yet, almost every one of the 350,000 inhabitants speaks fluent English. How could that be? From restaurant people, to maids to the local bus drivers, all spoke English to me. Iceland is just one example. Many people in Europe, China, Russia, South America and definitely India have worked hard to be bilingual. It starts at an early age in school. Why do they do it? So, they can create their own business opportunities with other English-speaking people, whether it is industry or tourism. Just like American business people, these English-speaking individuals all over the world need our coaching, courses, software and more to be able to be successful in their businesses.

There is only one major difference that I have noticed in my travels. You need to keep this in mind. These people do have different cultures. When they translate from their language to ours, it may sound peculiar but its correct for them. You can even see this with people from the UK. Their mannerisms and choice of words are reflected in the conversations which are slightly different from those of us living in the USA or Canada.  It is very apparent to me. I was born in England, but yet I am more American in my speech. When visiting my family in the UK, I realize the differences in how they talk to each other versus how we do in the US. Keep that in mind when you are trying to communicate with them. Don’t dominate. Keep it simple. Be careful that you do not say anything that could be considered insulting. Don’t use swear words or a lot of slang. Don’t ramble on. That will help in the understanding.

Iceland has many long-named words. I can’t even pronounce them. Try this. Eyjafjallajokull. That’s a mouth full isn’t it? This is the name of the volcano that erupted in 2010 that caused major air traffic havoc. Or SnæfellsjökullI, the place Walter Mitty went to find the photographer, Sean O’Connell. I asked my guide “why does your language have so many long words? Surely it is difficult to have a conversation with such long words.” She laughed and explained that Eyjafjallajokull is three words. It translates to island-mountain glacier.  SnæfellsjökullI means snow-fell glacier. They just take out the spaces. English must be a piece of cake I think for Icelanders. She agreed.  So that is a reminder that not all translates exactly as “we” think.

Knowledge is golden and common language is diamonds. Think about how you can market your business across the world. The possibilities are endless. Even if you have a business that is local perhaps there is a new business opportunity for you with books, courses, website design, blogs, podcasts, YouTubes and more. You can take your business knowledge and share with other parts of the world. Currency is not an issue today with Stripe and Paypal.

I had an “ah ha” awesome moment in my visit to Iceland, the ability to stand on the spot where the North American plate and the EurAsian plate meets. Only in Iceland can you do this on land. As I stood on that bridge between the two plates, I realized I can be the bridge between cultures learning and teaching to develop globalization. You too can be Leif the Lucky and forge new business opportunities. But without the rough ride. The world is your oyster.  Just add horseradish and ketchup for seasoning.

P.S.  If you haven’t seen the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, here is a short trailer.  After you see it you will want to see the movie and go to Iceland.

 

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

Why Aren’t They Using Zoom?

This past week, my son had an online job interview. I was shocked when I learned that the potential hiring company would be interviewing him using Facetime. While Facetime is a great app for chatting with family and friends via an iPhone or iPad, it’s not exactly the professional video conferencing program you’d expect a large organization to be using. As I watched my son interviewing, while trying to keep his iPhone propped up, I just couldn’t help but wonder, “Why aren’t they using Zoom?”

Zoom is one of the best web conferencing programs out there. With the click of the mouse, you can launch an online meeting with people face-to-face from anywhere in the world. The high definition quality of both the video and audio is incredibly crisp. In addition, you can even switch back and forth between video chatting and screen sharing during your meeting.  Best of all, if at anytime you wish to record a meeting in progress, you simply click the in-program record button. At the end of the meeting, you will have an mp4 video and a mp3 audio file that can be downloaded. Sweet!

So, I’m sure I know what you are thinking, “Zoom sounds awesome, but how much does it cost?” Well, this is the best part, you can start using Zoom immediately for free. Yep, that’s right. You can have access to this incredible web conferencing tool and all it’s great features without having to spend a dime. What a deal!

Here’s what you get on the free version of Zoom:

  • Host up to 100 participants in a meeting
  • Meeting participants do not need a Zoom account in order to join a meeting
  • Attendees can join from their computer, tablet, or mobile phone
  • Zoom works cross-platform: Mac, Windows, Linux, iOs, and Android
  • Meeting participants can attend meetings by dialing in via telephone
  • Zoom offers telephone dial-in number for 90+ countries
  • There is no limit on the number of meetings
  • Meeting can be scheduled or immediate
  • Multiple attendees can screen-share in a meeting and even allow remote access to their computer
  • Unlimited 1 to 1 meetings – meaning you can meet online with absolutely no time limit

NOTE:  The only “catch” with the free plan is that if you meet with three or more participants, your meetings will be limited to 40 minutes. If you find this to be a limitation, you may want to consider moving up to the pro version of Zoom.  The pro plan runs about $14.99 a month.

 

The Launch4Life team has been using Zoom for several years now. With both of us living in totally different states, Zoom is our go-to program for business collaboration on a daily basis.  And, since we are both avid travelers, we often use Zoom to keep in touch, when one of us is abroad.

When we work together on Zoom, we often jump back and forth between face-to-face meetings and screen sharing. When we’re on a call, we often hit the record button to capture our brainstorming sessions, or to film our video training scenarios. Also, whenever we are working one-on-one with clients, we meet via Zoom, so we can send them a video recording of our session.  Clients appreciate not having to take notes during our calls, so that they are free to just sit back and focus on the content being discussed.

We highly recommend you check out Zoom. Once you give it a try you will be amazed at all Zoom has to offer. There really is no other web conferencing program works on as many platforms and devices as Zoom – that are free.  And, the very fact that Zoom is free, makes it the ideal tool for bootstrap business professionals.

By the way, my son did well on his interview, despite the clumsiness of having to use Facetime. If he ends up getting the job, I suggested one of the first things he should do is introduce his employer to Zoom. Just think how many job applicants they can’t interview, simply because they don’t have access to an iPhone or Mac computer.  After all, Facetime is not accessible on Windows or Android devices. With Zoom’s ability to be cross-platform on any device, interviewers have a better ability to accommodate all job applicants.

To learn more:

Register for a Free Zoom User Training

This free 60-minute user onboarding session with live Q&A will review features applicable to Zoom Meetings and using the Zoom Client software. They will discuss scheduling and hosting your events with an emphasis on best practices. This session is public and open to all Zoom users (you do not need a Zoom account to attend). Attendees will be muted and can submit questions via text.

Watch a previously recorded Zoom Training

Don’t have time to join a live Zoom training?  View a recently recorded Zoom training session.

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

Need a Free Business Phone?

You have set up your business.  You are ordering your business cards.  You are setting up your Facebook Business Page.  You have an email platform. You are setting up a Yelp Page. So what phone number do you use?  Whatever your purpose, have you thought through what phone number you want people to call you on.

Unless you have a brick and mortar store, most of us usually opt for our mobile phone.  After all, it will take calls from anywhere in the USA.    But one moment……….lets think through why maybe that is not such a good idea.

How will you answer the phone when it rings? Professional or informal. Only easy if you know who is calling.

If you don’t recognize the phone number you will probably let it go to voice mail.  You might have missed a potential customer.

Your voice mail won’t know the difference between a personal or business call.

You may only want calls during specified hours.  How do you determine if you should take the call?

What is the alternative?  You could have two cell phones.  That is a possibility but who wants to carry around two phones.  You could have a land line but that can be expensive and you can’t answer when you are on the road.  Here is my suggestion- get a free Google Phone.   You are going to love this.

  • Google will give you a real phone number (usually with your local area code).
  • You can have callers go directly to voice mail with a customized message.
  • You can get a transcript of the voice mail on your phone or email.
  • You can have calls transferred to your mobile phone (great during your working hours).
  • You can check your messages on your phone or in your email.
  • If you use your Google voice app on your phone, callers will see the caller ID of your Google number not the phone you are using.
  • You can receive and send texts to and from your Google number

When someone calls, you will identify immediately that it is a business call. The bonus, with these wonderful features, you will have unlimited free calling within US and Canada for up to 3 hours per call.

Check out this link to find out more details about Google Voice.  You can set it up from a desktop, android, or iPhone:  http://bit.ly/2xRny3X

You just need a Google account to set one up.  Easy peasy.  Here is a YouTube Step by step instruction video.

 

So if you want to keep your mobile number private and not be splattered all over your advertising, Facebook, and in your business cards, Google Voice can be your answer.

Always coming up with ideas to help you with your marketing on a shoestring budget. Save your money for things you can’t get for free.

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com