There is definitely a shortage of free apps to use to conduct giveaways. I finally found one that works quite well – Rafflecopter. The thing I really like about it is the ability to use in a blog or on Facebook. Those are the two venues I use most often. They have been in beta and only adding a few users every so often. Now they are open for business and taking whomever wants to use their app. To kick it off they are doing their own giveaway of an Apple iPad2 or Kindle Fire. One of the really neat options is to allow others to repost your giveaway on their blog! So I’m going to do that right here so you can enter from my blog. Oh, and I get a few extra entries for including this in my blog so that makes it even sweeter! This giveaway is open for the US and Canadian residents and will close February 9th at 12:01 a.m. EST.
1. Log into your Facebook Account.
2. Go to your business “Page” and Click “Events” on the left-hand box on your Page. If you have never created an “Event” then click the plus sign (+) to the right of your tabs and select “Events” and then “Create One.”
3. Enter the date and time. Don’t forget to click “Add end time.” This is especially important for if you are running a special sales promotion for several days or more.
4. “What are you planning” is your even title that will be bold in your Event. Try to get creative. Something besides “BIG Sale”. That is boring. People want to have fun so let your personality shine through here. Make the customer feel attracted to you.
5. “Where” is your street address of your business. If you are doing an only party then just say “Online – anywhere, any time.” Or you can get creative here too. This is NOT the best place to put your website link. You can, but it will not be clickable and I like to make things as easy as possible.
6. “More Info” is where you want to describe it and also include your link (this is where it will be clickable). Please take some time to fill this out. Don’t just say “Hey, buy some stuff!” Tell people what you are doing and then explain a little about it. If your business is relatively unknown you may want to take a paragraph to tell a little about what you do.
7. Select guests and don’t discriminate. Plus you never know who is in the market for your product or services!
8. I’d strongly advise you leave the box checked to make Public and allow others to invite. Someone may invite some of their friends so they don’t have to go alone! The second box about sharing the guest list is entirely up to you. Do you others to see who is coming and who you’ve invited? If yes, leave checked and if no, then uncheck.
9. And finally, before you push “Create Event” to publish to Facebook and send the invites, you want to add a picture. You want it to look appealing so use images! Choose something that represents the special promotion. If you don’t have any professional images here are a couple of sites for nice looking free images (http://sxc.hu/ and http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/). After you have something ready click “Change event photo” and navigate to the photo you just saved. Once your photo appears you are done! Push “Create Event”.
If you like more than one save several and then each day you can comment on your party and add the photo in the comment section.
TIP: Believe it or not, people don’t check Facebook every day so try to set up your Event with as much notice as possible.
TIP: The Event invite you send will show up under their Events, which is not always very noticeable. Many that you invite will not even see the Event until it has passed. After setting up your Event and inviting guests I would suggest going to the button at the top right that says “Message Guests”. Send to “All” and let them know you have just invited them to an Event you are hosting and encourage them to check it out. This will go to their “Messages” inbox which is much more noticeable and generates an email to many depending on their settings. As you get closer to your event (if hosting in your home) or throughout your basket or online party, you may elect to message guests who have not responded or send a reminder to those who have responded. You can choose what portion of the list to message.
A common weakness for many startup businesses, small mom & pop shops, or independent consultants selling for another company is your email address. You’ve just had a great conversation with potential client or customer. They are interested and want more information so they ask for your email address. What happens when you provide them yourname @aol.com, hotmail.com, gmail.com, or even worse, HotChick32 @yahoo.com. At best they cringe and continue working with you. At worst you just destroyed your first impression. How many people have you spoken with who dismissed your business as NOT serious because of your email address. If you don’t take your business seriously why should they?
I would recommend that you register a domain name that represents your business and then set up an email account with your domain.
First, you need a domain. You could use your business name, something about your industry, or key words used together as a website. Be creative and think professionally. This will be the hardest part, but take your time. You will come up with the perfect name only to find out that it is already taken. Look at the suggested alternatives and then go back to the drawing board to try some other options. You might be tempted to register a .net, .biz, or .org, but keep working until you can find an acceptable .com. That is still the premier extension and what gives the most credibility. Unless you are a non-profit please avoid using .org. I think .biz sounds a little cheap and maybe even a little sleazy. If you have to use something else go for the .net.
There are many domain name registration services available. The most popular one is probably GoDaddy. I tend to gravitate toward the underdog and use Namecheap myself and have for many years. GoDaddy domain registration is currently $11.99/yr and Namecheap is $9.98/yr. There is no real advantage to using GoDaddy so you might as well save a couple bucks per year. GoDaddy will often offer sales on registration to get you as a customer, but then you’ll go back to full price renewal after your sale term has expired.
Once you have a domain registered you’ll need to do something with it. There will be people who see your email address and then look up your website. If they get a message from your registrar that will not leave a good impression. The best scenario would be to create a professional looking site with this domain. To do that you would need time and talent or money to hire someone (pick me! pick me!). If you do yourself you would also need to pay for a hosting service. However, this may not be an affordable option for some.
An alternate solution would be to utilize the domain forwarding service that comes free with most registrar services. Log into your account where you registered your domain and set it to forward to something else. Maybe you have a company provided replicating website, but don’t want to give out companyname.com/BigBunchofNumbers/username. For obvious reason that can be confusing. Set your domain to forward to your company website. This way you create a uniform brand image with a website address and email address that both match. To see a real life example of this in action check out my wife’s Scentsy Candle website – www.WicklessExpert.com will automatically forward to her company replicated site.
Don’t have a company website? Can’t afford a custom website? Don’t know how to build a website? The easiest and cheapest solution is to set up a Facebook Business Page (not a personal profile) and forward your domain to your Facebook page. If you have something else in mind, maybe a blog, then that is fine as long as you do something with the domain.
Finally, you’ll need to set up a Pop3 Email account tied to your domain. I’d recommend using the same service you registered your domain, but you don’t have to. If you used GoDaddy then you should set up Group Email from GoDaddy.com. If you used NameCheap you should set up email from NameCheap (look under Web Hosting, Shared Hosting for email only plan). Both start at just over $1/mo for email service. GoDaddy provides more options, but I tend to avoid them because of stories I’ve heard with people having problems with them. I don’t have any personal experience with problems so do your homework and pick whichever will work best for you. Be careful about using other registration services that may have cheaper pricing, but may or may not be reputable businesses.
NOTE: Gmail does offer “Gmail for Business” at a cost of $50 per user account per year with much higher storage capacity. If you need that much storage it may be better to go ahead and set up hosting service for your domain which includes email service. You can get hosting for as low as $47.52 per year with their first-time customer 20% off coupon, but that would require a 3 yr purchase up front (not paid monthly). However, if and when you decide to set up a website for that domain instead of simply forwarding then you’ll be all set. There are also advantages to utilizing a hosting service like this with cpanel for administration, but that is not the scope of this blog post. If you would like more information on that please let me know.
If you have questions or comments please comment below.
With 500 million users there was a lot of talk that this would be an email killer. So is it?
The short answer is No, it is real-time communication. If you keep this thought in mind as the overall theme it will become more clear to you what the purpose of this new enhancement to Facebook is.
It is not email – it is Messages. We are already familiar with messages on Facebook so this is like Messages on steroids. You probably have a mental note for how to contact certain people in your life. Some prefer email, some prefer text to their phone, some prefer Facebook messages and so on. When we want to reach someone we adjust our communication to reach them the way they will most likely respond. The idea is seamless integration across all methods of communication.
Many of you will have selected a username to customize your Facebook URL, particularly if you have a business page with more than 25 fans. You will have an email that matches your username (firstname.lastname@example.org) that you can give out to people. However, that is optional so you don’t have to use it. Someone could send you an email to this address and if you are on Facebook live a chat box will pop up with that message. You can reply and that will go back to the sender’s email. If you leave the computer and they send a follow up message it will appear on your phone. There is an iPhone app that will provide for that. This does not require people to be on Facebook. Emails can come from gmail, yahoo, or wherever.
Your new Social Inbox will be grouped into 3 categories. Messages will be front and center and come from all your FB network. If you get an email from someone not on Facebook, then by default it will go into the Other folder. Third category is junk. You can move “Grandma” from the Other folder into the Message folder and FB friend that over contacts you into the Other folder. Additionally, as you will see in the image below, you can change your privacy settings to allow for message from Friends only in which case it will bounce all messages from people other than your Friends.
All of this real-time communication is stored in a single message thread more like you would see in a chat screen rather than indented after indented after indented for subsequent email threads. This history is stored forever, or until you delete it. But like email, you will be able to forward messages and include attachments.
Right now the roll-out will be very slow. You just have to wait until someone invites you to become a part of this new system. As it begins to spread Facebook will analyze and adjust accordingly.
I’m anxious to see if this will be incorporated into Business Pages as well. I’ll keep you posted. If you get access please post a comment on what you think about this new Message system.
Everyone knows about Wikipedia – the free encyclopedia that is a collaborative effort, a sort of combined collection of the world’s intelligence. Anyone can create an account and contribute by editing existing articles, updating content or adding new information. You have probably seen that Wikipedia dominates most organic searches. Search for anything on Google and one of the top listings will be Wikipedia, almost guaranteed. Well then, why not add your business to Wikipedia? The reason is that for most, it is a direct violation of terms and will be removed. For good reason, Wikipedia will not allow you to add or edit content for which you have a conflict of interest. Clearly, if you own business X you are going to say whatever you can to put it in a good light on Wikipedia and there is a conflict of interest there. So what if you get someone else to add your business? For most that is not going to work either because there is this little rule that anything included in Wikipedia has to be notable content. That means for a company to be included they have to be pretty unique and have been written about previously in multiple other publications that can be used as references in the conent added to Wikipedia. No, self-written press releases aren’t going to cut it. So for most small businesses, getting on Wikipedia is not a viable option. If you manage to sneak by for a day or two someone will flag it and you will get removed and banned from making future edits on Wikipedia.
That was the bad news. The good news is that there many wiki sites out there for a variety of topics. You can find a list of them here. This list is by no means all inclusive, but it is a good starting point and you should find one or two to which you can add your business. Here i sone I’d recommend for sure:
AboutUs.org – AboutUs.org is an open directory, and unlike Wikipedia does not restrict website owners from writing in their own comments, or referencing commercial information that has not already been published elsewhere. In fact business owners are permitted to engage in self-promotion in terms of highlighting their website’s features. Simply set up your own account, enter yourdomain.com in the search box. If found, you can edit. If not, it will ask you to wait while it searches the web for this site and then add it to the directory, at which point you can proceed to edit. Add your logo and business description.