Tag Archives: connect

Why Local Partnerships Can Make You Rich

a store with glass cases with food inside and other merchandise

Do you know why local partnerships can make you rich?  Do you know that your local area could be your best asset?  Travelers tend to pick the area of their destination BEFORE they choose their accommodations.  So innkeepers can profit from thinking about: “Why do guests visit my local area?”

Word-of-mouth marketing can also be very powerful.  What do you want to become known for?  A big part of becoming more well known is developing ties with other local businesses and organizations in your community.

Who, in your local area, offers complementary products and services?  There are many reasons why it is in both your interests to form a mutually beneficial relationship:

  • You can refer each other business (since you don’t have all the same customers)
  • You can promote each other in a variety of ways (such as via social media)
  • You can form exclusive partnerships (more on that later)

So, you may be thinking, what types of places and with whom could I form local partnerships?:

  • Caterers
  • Chocolatier
  • Entertainment providers
  • Florist
  • Gift shops
  • Museums
  • Nonprofit organizations and charities
  • Realtors
  • Restaurants
  • Spas (if you do not have your own spa)
  • Sports
  • Tourist attractions
  • Wedding planners

There is a whole movement going on to support local businesses and service professionals.  Spread the love for your local area by featuring these other businesses:

  • Brochures (display them at your inn)
  • Coupons (arrange for your guests to receive discounts for using their services)
  • Menus (let people see what they offer by providing their menus)
  • Preferred list of vendors (such as caterers and wedding planners)
  • Social Media (share a picture of them and write about why people should want to use their products and/or services)
  • Video (partner with other businesses to promote your town as a vacation destination)
  • Word-of-mouth (if guests ask for your recommendations)

Develop “exclusive partnerships” in which you agree to only buy from them and they offer you a reduced rate for doing so.  This works out well in the case of using one chocolatier and one florist.  Especially if you offer packages to your guests which include chocolate and flowers.

An “influencer” is a person who has the power to influence many people.  How do you meet and form relationships with the “influencers” in your community?

  • Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce which will have local business owners and service providers as members.
  • LinkedIn is a powerful social media network for finding other local business owners
  • There is nothing like meeting face-to-face to discuss how you can help each other’s businesses grow
  • Look online (like at TripAdvisor) to find lists for the best restaurants near you and the top things to do in (and near) your area for ideas of people and places to contact

That is why local partnerships can make you rich.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Everybody Writes: Tweet & Post

everybody writes

 

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content discusses practical tips for writing on Twitter and Facebook.  Using social media the right way can be very beneficial to your bed and breakfast brand.  Using social media the wrong way has the very real potential to damage your B&B’s reputation.

 

Writing For Twitter:

  • Establish who you are (how your bed and breakfast improves peoples lives)
  • Tell your bigger story (your passion for hospitality and hosting guests)
  • Share the why & who, not just the what (ex: what specific book are you reading and why–do not just tweet that you are reading)
  • Personalized, not too personal (there is a fine line between sharing yourself and sharing too much)
  • Be cautious with automation (also do real-time tweets)
  • Use Twitter to float ideas and see what gets nibbled (see what people are responding to)
  • Use a clear call to action (be obvious about how you want others to respond)
  • Use Bitly to shorten links (offers rich analytics and saves characters)
  • Tweets around 120 characters are optimal (most likely to be retweeted)
  • Share your history (ex: share pictures)
  • Tap into what people care about (ex: travel, food, relationships, etc.)
  • Convey your personality (ex: be you!)
  • Track and follow trending hashtags (what is trending and how can you join in the conversation?)
  • Do not use more than 2 or 3 hashtags in a single tweet (#otherwise #it #can #be #annoying)

Writing For Facebook:

  • Connect with existing communities of potential buyers
  • Target by niche, not by numbers (ex: those who have liked other bed and breakfasts)
  • Your brand’s online voice and tone are very important (be professional and friendly)
  • Post when your audience is online (makes sense to be online when they are!)
  • Posts with images get the greatest amount of engagement (always use images with permission)
  • Keep each Facebook post brief (ideal is 100-140 characters)

Bed and breakfasts can take advantage of using social media websites like Twitter and Facebook to spread the word about their luxurious accommodations.  Be careful to tweet and post pictures and information that is consistent with the image you want to portray about your bed and breakfast.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Twitter

visual storytelling Twitter

The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand is a fantastic online marketing book for businesses.  Authors Ekaterina Walter (@Ekaterina)and Jessica Gioglio (@savvybostonian) do an excellent job of giving practical advice that businesses can apply to better market themselves online.  This particular blog post focuses on what the authors tell us about Twitter.

 

Twitter is an innovative marketing tool as well as a keen way for businesses to connect with their audiences and provide quality customer service.  In fact, of all the social media platforms, Twitter is currently the most popular with Fortune Global 100 Companies.

Super Twitter Statistics:

  • More than half of all links shared on Twitter are images
  • Over 460,000 accounts are created every day
  • 20.6 million adults in the United States access Twitter at least once a month
  • 177 million tweets are sent every day
  • 24% of Twitter users check Twitter at least once a day
  • 54% of Twitter users are male and 46% are female
  • 46% of users are aged 18-34, so a high percentage of young people
  • 67% of users more likely to buy products from brands they follow on Twitter

Smart Twitter Capabilities:

  • Companies that use Twitter gain twice the number of leads each month that their non-tweeting counterparts
  • Twitter cards make it possible to attached media experiences to tweet that link to your content
  • Tweets that link to participating websites can be expanded by users to show a whole range of media
  • If you add the code on your own site, you can determine what sort of content will be shown by a Twitter link
  • Users interested in a particular offer or promotion will be able to fill out a field on the card
  • That field links their existing information, allowing them to quickly register

Savvy Twitter Strategies:

  • Develop your company’s voice
  • Tweet around several key passion points
  • Provide company news and updates
  • Offer unique deals to your Twitter followers
  • Give your clients (and potential clients) excellent customer service
  • Know what you want your followers to associate with your brand
  • Give them reasons to follow your company
  • The photos and videos you share should integrate with your overall strategy
  • Show a more relaxed side to your brand
  • Each tweet should be able to be understood on its own
  • Mix up your content
  • Ask questions to spark conversations
  • Use links to articles, photos, videos, and blog posts
  • Retweet your followers
  • Find out what your followers are interested in and share that
  • Use hashtags (#) to join in bigger conversations on a topic or start your own (#)
  • Use calls to action including RT (retweet)
  • Consider the locations and time zones of your audience
  • Use Promoted Tweet or Trend features to support your key messages

Given the popularity of Twitter and its capabilities, it makes sense for businesses to follow these social media strategies in order to promote their business and provide excellent customer service.  A special thank you to authors Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio for letting me share some of the content in their book.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Facebook

visual storytelling Facebook

The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand is written by authors and social media experts Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio. They devote a whole section of their book to informing the reader about Facebook statistics and giving profitable strategies for businesses using Facebook.

With over 1 billion active users, Facebook allowed brands and organizations to set up public pages in 2007.  Text, image, and video posts can all be seamlessly integrated in a user-friendly design.  Businesses can encourage comments, likes, and shares from their followers.

Facebook Statistics:

  • Half of Facebook fans prefer the brand pages to company websites
  • Posts between 100-250 characters get about 60% more likes, comments, & shares
  • Post at least one to two times per week to stay top-of-mind and relevant
  • Pictures receive 120-180% more engagement from fans than text-based posts.
  • 200 million photos get uploaded to Facebook on an average day
  • 80% of social media users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook.
  • Facebook is available in more than 70 languages
  • Facebook accounts for 1 in every 7 minutes spent online
  • Facebook accounts for 3 of every 4 minutes on social networking websites
  • U.S. desktop users spend an average of about six hours every month on Facebook
  • U.S. mobile users spend an average of eleven hours every month on Facebook
  • 2.5 billion content shares a day on Facebook
  • 2.7 billion likes a day on Facebook
  • 15 million brand pages on Facebook

Facebook Strategies:

  • Create photos specifically to generate conversations
  • Ask fans to upload their own videos
  • Create campaigns specifically for Facebook fans
  • Photos and videos work really well
  • Great creative with your header photo by choosing something eye-catching and inspiring
  • Change the header photo now and then to keep it fresh
  • Offer creative visual contests to engage your fans in a sustainable way
  • Ask questions to spark engagement
  • Improve customer service by talking to fans, encouraging feedback, and sharing images
  • Encourage user-generated content
  • Followers relate more to brands
  • Fans feel like they are an active part of the product experience than a passive consumer

The authors recommend that businesses use Facebook in order to attract fans, build brand awareness, and increase customer loyalty.  The key is engaging in conversations with fans, sharing useful content, and posting pictures and videos (from the brand itself as well as from the fans). Facebook is a valuable social media platform with which businesses can tell their story and interact with their fans.

Visual storytelling can take place on Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Slideshare.  We will look at more social media platforms as the Visual Storytelling series continues.

 

How To Ask for a Link Request

how to ask for a link request

 

Do you wonder how to ask for a link request?  I am going to sum up the main points in the awesome book published by Entrepreneur Press called Ultimate Guide to Link Building: Build Backlinks, Earn a Higher Search Engine Rank, Increase the Authority and Popularity of Your Site by Eric Ward and Garrett French.

 

Steps:

  • Look over the website you want to have your link on to make sure it is relevant
  • Do not put the words “link request” in the email subject line
  • Start the e-mail off addressing the website owner by name
  • Introduce yourself, your website, and why you would like to the link
  • Identify the exact URL on their site where you think the link is a fit
  • List the exact URL from your site that you want them to link to
  • Give a valid email address and respond to any email requests they send
  • Provide your phone number–something a spammer would not do
  • Follow any link request instructions they give
  • If a reciprocal link, confirm that you have linked to their site and provide the URL
  • Be attentive, professional, courteous, and to the point

This book also lists Link Building Strategies written by Jon Cooper of Point Blank SEO:

  • Start blogging on your website
  • Have internal links to other content on your website
  • List resources and outside links
  • Build relationships with others
  • Find niche-specific directories
  • Write guest posts or have guests write posts for your blog
  • Provide educational content
  • Write compelling testimonials
  • Provide useful lists–there is power in making lists!
  • Be interviewed or interview someone in your industry
  • Offer timely/seasonal content
  • Use humor
  • Provide printable resources
  • Host contests
  • Cover news first
  • Give helpful infographics
  • Host online webinars
  • Promote National Days and Events
  • Survey people and post results
  • Debunk popular myths
  • Comment on relevant blogs
  • Do question and answer blog post
  • Ask customers what they want to see more of
  • Connect with industry associations and organizations
  • Attend relevant conferences
  • Call people
  • Host local group meetings
  • Retweet Twitter tweets
  • Provide email signature listing website & ways to connect with you via social media
  • and much more!

There are always things you can do to draw bigger audiences to your website. By taking the steps to ask for link requests and implementing the link building strategies, you will be well on your way to developing more a popular website.

Readers, I welcome your responses to this post as well as other ideas related to the topic of link requests and link building.  I read every comment and respond when appropriate. Thanks! Kristi

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

25 Ways To Write Creative Blog Posts

If you are reading this, then I assume you are looking to be CREATIVE (and definitely not boring) when you write creative blog posts.  This way you will have plenty of admiring fans! 25 ways to write CREATIVE blog posts:

1. ADVICE You have unique advice that only you can offer to your readers.  Once you understand who your audience is, then you can write like you are writing to a friend.  They will feel like they know you and you will develop a huge following.

2. CA– USE– Why not rally your readers behind a cause you support?  Let them know what you are doing to make a difference and how they can help. Give a call to action. Seriously, don’t leave that out.

3. COMMUNITY Your community could be defined by your local area or it could be people who share a common interest or goal.  Reach out to “your peeps” and connect with them!

4. COMPARISON Take two things and compare them.  Whether you compare two breakfast foods or two fun activities, the fun is in comparing and contrasting them. This could be educational, entertaining, or funny as well. Speaking of…

5. EDUCATIONAL– People like learning about things.  That is one reason why search engines are so popular.  Tell them something that not everyone knows, but you know because you are an expert at it.  Everyone is an expert at something.  Blog about what you know best.

6. ENTERTAINING Everyone likes to laugh and have fun.  You could blog about entertainment that is coming to your community whether it is a music concert, sporting event, or theatrical production. Be sure to make it “entertaining” to read!  Since blogging is writing that is typically less formal than say a report, let your personality shine in the post.

7. EVENTS People like finding out about events–ones that will happen and ones that already happened.  If you have the “inside scoop” on the latest, you can “tell all” in your blog!

8. FAQ This common acronym is short for “frequently asked questions.”  Many websites have an FAQ page on them.  Blog about commonly asked questions.  Blog answers to familiar questions so you can refer your readers to when they ask them.  Saves you time in the process!

9. FAMILY Some of your best material can come from your family members and others with whom you are close. As long as you make it generic enough that you don’t single out any one person or you know they won’t mind your sharing it, go ahead.  You know you want to!

10. GUIDE A guide-type blog post could be a collection of tips about a specific topic. While similar to advice blog posts, they are different in that these tips can be applied by a variety of different people–not advice for one type of problem.  Example: Simple Tips to Get Clients To Pay on Time, Quick Ways to Find Just What You Want Online, etc.

11. HYPOTHETICAL Ask your readers what they would do in a hypothetical situation. Maybe answer that question as well. These types of blog posts tend to get a lot of comments because people like to imagine, “What if….?” Sometimes I imagine, “What if I win a ton of money in the lottery and get to quit my day job?!”  I kind of have to buy a lottery ticket first. Oh well.

12. INSPIRATIONAL Share something motivational with your readers.  Help them connect to you in a powerful way through your telling of someone overcoming a challenge and beating the odds.  Maybe that someone who overcame something big is you.  Don’t be afraid to share since it could encourage someone else!

13. INSTRUCTIONAL or “HOW TO” Give instructions on how to do something that others want to know how to do, and suddenly you have a captive large audience.  You can be creative with your titles of these posts as well. Two examples: How To Teach Your Dog Fun New Tricks, How To Make Delicious Homemade Ice Cream, How To Make a Memorable Family Scrapbook, etc.

14. INTERVIEW If you don’t have any famous celebrities you happen to know (most of us are in this boat), then you could always interview a person notable for what they do. A person who is accomplished in a career or sport or another area of life.  If you interview a person who has an inspiring story and then you have an “inspirational interview“! Wow, two different ways to write a blog post combined! You are an overachiever!

15. LISTS People love lists.  Examples: 10 Ways You Can Change Your Spouse, 20 Best Party Appetizers, Top 40 Bestselling Books About Fitness, etc.  You get the idea and they will too!

16. MEMORIES Often, we like to recall fond memories or retell funny situations.  We may even want to remember how we overcame a trauma for the sake of helping another person who finds themselves in the same emergency. When you blog about a memory, be sure to create a vivid picture in their minds of all the important details of your experience.

17. NEWS Did you know that sometimes bloggers are the first to break a news story? There have been cases where a blogger has gotten in trouble for sharing some kinds of sensitive information.  Keep your day job and don’t blog about company trade secrets. Another word of advice is to keep your love life private so no one tries to sue you for disclosing personal details.  However, if you are in attendance at an exclusive event that you have permission to be blogging about, then by all means SHARE!

18. OPINIONS If you loving sharing your opinions, then blogging is right up your alley!  As long as you are tactful and the topic is appropriate, it is alright to share what you think. You don’t have to have all positive comments from your readers.  In fact, it makes it more interesting when some of your readers do not agree with you.  Usually readers who do agree with you, will come to your defense when you are criticized by others.

19. PHOTOS If you took a great picture or want to share several incredible pictures, then you may want to have a photo blog post.  When your text is all about what is in your photo(s), then you have a photo blog post.  Whether your pictures are of smiling people, grand buildings, gorgeous nature, or something entirely different, there are others who would love to learn about how you managed to capture the photos and the techniques you used in getting it to look the way it does.

20. PREDICTIONS It is common at the end of the year (or the beginning of the new year) for people to come up with their predictions about some topic.  Examples: The Future of Technology, 10 Social Media Predictions, What is To Come in American Education, etc. Similar to the hypothetical “what if” posts, these are your thoughts as to what will come about in the next year (or whatever time frame you select) concerning a particular topic. Inquiring minds want to know!

21. PROBLEMS Life would not be nearly as exciting if there were no glitches.  Inevitably, snags come along.  You spill chocolate ice cream on your brand new white dress shirt.  You get a ticket for speeding on your way to work early one morning.  Your problem post could be written to be a funny look at everyday life or it could be a solution post in which you address how to solve a particular problem with a specific idea, product, or service. People are always looking for solutions!

22. QUIZZES Some people love taking quizzes for fun.  Why not write a blog post that is a quiz about something interesting?  Examples: 15 Questions to Discover the Vacation of Your Dreams, How Well Do You Know Yourself?, etc.  The point is to make your quiz blog post appealing enough to your audience, so that they want to take it.

23. REVIEW Everybody loves reading reviews.  You could blog a book review, a restaurant critique, or a movie screening.  Reviews help other people who, for example, were thinking about reading the same book, dining at the same restaurant, or watching the same movie; decide if they want to based on your review.  When you write a review blog post, you have the power to influence your readers to take action or avoid it.  Don’t let the power go to your head!

24. SECRETS This could mean quick shortcuts, little known facts, or juicy details.  Like news posts, people like finding out things they would not normally know had they not read your blog.  Same cautions apply!

25. STORIES People love reading fascinating stories.  A story blog post captures the attention of your audience yet is brief enough to be the length of a blog post. Stories with important lessons for your readers earn you loyal readers.

Try one (or a combination of several) of these types of blog posts the next time you write! Don’t be afraid to write CREATIVE blog posts. Most importantly, enjoy the process that blogging requires.  It always helps me to visualize my readers reading this.  Will they think this is funny?  Does that tell them everything they need to know?  etc.  Feel free to share your CREATIVE blog post ideas or to ask me a question related to this post.

Verify Your Website To Pin Smarter

 

pin smarter

 

Pinterest helps people discover things in a simple and visual way. Pinners might find something they love while browsing your boards, scrolling through a category you’re listed in or searching for your bed and breakfast directly.  It is important to verify your website to pin smarter.

 

 

Pinterest offers Business sites to help brands and businesses who wish to use Pinterest to connect with their audience. In this blog post I will tell you exactly why  you want to verify your bed and breakfast’s website for your Business Pinterest Profile. Without verifying your website, you will be missing some very important information!

First, to verify your website, visit your Settings page and click on the Verify Website button. When your website is verified, people will see a checkmark next to your domain in search results. They will also see the full website URL and checkmark on your profile.

The verification badge helps people identify high-quality sources of content and more easily find the business they want in search results.  There you’ll find Pinterest tools and resources relevant to you, and see examples of how other businesses are using Pinterest.

Pinterest offers tips to businesses, including:
  • Pinning from various sources rather than one specific site.
  • Pinning from within Pinterest to engage with others (pinning is one of the most social activities on Pinterest and it’s how any user really builds his/her network of followers)
  • Creating at least a few boards that cover a broad range of interests, rather than maintaining a single board devoted to one topic.
For businesses, pinning can be a great way to highlight aspects of your brand that may not come to mind at first when people consider your brand. For example, not everyone knows:

  • B&B’s can have spas, salons, and shops
  • Bed and breakfasts can offer retreats and some perform weddings
  • All the wonderful amenities bed and breakfasts offer
  • About your wonderful hospitality and homemade cooking

Pinterest can also be a great tool to learn what your audience and potential guests like. Once your website is verified, you have access to Pinterest Analytics.  This is the why I was talking about.  This shows you which pins are most popular with pinners and see which pins are driving the most traffic to your site!

You can also see what boards your stuff appears on, how the pins are described and what people pin along with your stuff.  All of these insights will help you make smarter choices about what you pin and even develop a pinning strategy when you pin smarter.  Watch out: pinning can be addictive!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Loving Linked In

loving LinkedIn

 

 

Linked In is the world’s largest professional network, with more than 250 million people. There are several advantages for bed and breakfast owners to join. You will be loving Linked In!

 

 

  • Build your professional identity online
  • Connect with other B&B industry contacts
  • Discover opportunities
  • Get the latest news, inspiration, and insight
  • Join Interest Groups such as B&B Breakfast Inns

Use Linked In as a way to promote your Bed and Breakfast.  Kristi Dement is on Linked In, too!