AsiaTraining

How to promote your Business on Google Maps with Google Posts

How to promote your Business on Google Maps with Google Posts

Google has just rolled out yet another useful tool, especially for small business owners: Google Posts. This is an easy and effective way to help your potential customers to learn more about your company, brand or products & services. Google Posts are basically small pieces of information, including a picture, of any of your products or services that you would like your customers to know about. Think of it as something like a Facebook post, only that they show up on your listing on Google Maps or besides your listing in the Google Search results (see example below).

It’s a great way to show them your top products, tell them about any upcoming events, show daily specials or anything else you would like to share with potential customers. You can use up to 300 words and an image. If you want to promote an event you can add the event dates as well. As an example for this tutorial I will promote an upcoming Google AdWords Certification course to show you how it works.

Google Posts are free, but you need to have an existing ‘Google My Business’ account. If you don’t have one read our tutorial on how to set one up here (it’s also free!): How to make a Google My Business Page. Then come back here and write your first post.

To get started, log into your Google My Business account. In your account click on the ‘Posts’ link on the left, and a small pop-up will appear.

Google Posts

Click anywhere on the box and a new window will pop out. It will ask you to add a photo. This is optional, but I highly recommend to add an image to attract attention in the listing later. You can upload an image from your computer. The image should be square, if it isn’t you will need to crop it to a square shape. Once done click on the bottom left to upload your photo. Below the uploaded image you can now write your content. In my example I want people to register for our course, so I write about the benefits and ask them to register.

How to make a Google Post

If you want to promote an event you can move the switch and enter your event’s start and end date. In my case I want to leave the date open, so I can use this post for future courses as well.

The last part is the ‘Call to Action’ button. This will be useful if you want people to click on your Google Post and go from there straight to your website to read more details. For example, if you promote a product you can tick the ‘Buy’ button, or if you want people to make a reservation at your restaurant you can tick the ‘Reserve’ button. In the space below to the ‘Call to Action’ put the website link to which you want the user to go after they click on the button. Important: don’t send people to your home page. For example, if you promote a particular product from your website send them straight to that page. To do so go to your website and open the page with your product on it. Click in the address bar in your browser, this will highlight the web address (called URL). Right-click your mouse and select copy. Now go back to your Google Post, move your mouse to the section for the link, right-click and select ‘Paste’. Once done click ‘Preview’ on the top right. If you’re happy with it (make sure no spelling errors) click ‘Publish’, other wise click the arrow on the top left and go back to make any edits.

To see what it will look like click on the post and select ‘View’. This will open a new window and show how your post will appear. Here is my example on a desktop view:

Google Posts3

If you have put in a link make sure you click on the button to ensure it works correctly. If anything is not right go back to the page where you made your post, click ‘Edit’ and make your changes. That’s it, hope it works for you. You can make multiple post, and Google will select which ones to display.

Posted by AsiaTraining in Build a Website
How to build your free (simple) Google My Business Website

How to build your free (simple) Google My Business Website

Google My Business Website

Every businesses should have a website. More and more consumers do some degree of online research before engaging with a company, big or small. However, many (especially small) businesses don’t have a website. For those who would like to have one but are worried about cost or time to create one, Google has come up with a simple but usable free tool – the Google My Business Website builder. In this post we show you how to use it.

A word of caution before we start: creating a website with the Google My Business Website builder will result in a very simple, one-page site with very limited design choices. It is easy to use, but if you are looking for a fancy website for your company than this is not for you.

A pre-requisite of using this tool is that you have an existing (also free) ‘Google My Business’ page. If you don’t please read this post first on How to make a Google My Business Page. Once you’re done come back here and build your website.

Log into your Google My Business Page and click on the link ‘Website’ in the left navigation menu. A welcome screen will pop up like the image on top of this post. Click on ‘Get Started’. You will see a draft of your website that has been automatically put together using your ‘Google My Business’ details, including a header image, phone number, address (including a Google map), opening hours etc.

Google website select theme

In the left navigation menu in the Google My Business Website interface you will see ‘Theme’ on top. Click that and choose a color combination that is closest to representing your brand. As you can see it’s quite limited. Our corporate colors are red, dark grey and white, and there is no option for that so I stuck with the default ‘Retro’ theme. Once you have made your choice click on the ‘Edit’ menu. A small pop-up will appear asking you to save your theme. You can change the theme later at any time.

Next is to edit some of the text in your new page. Click the blue area in the ‘Edit’ pop-up on the left and edit your headline, description, summary header and summary body:

Headline: this should be your Business name, it will appear in the top part of your header image.

Description: this is the tag line that appears just below the headline. Make sure you include words or phrases that a customer would use to describe your products or services, and keep it concise. Google will use this info to evaluate what your site is all about, and it helps for your new page to show up in Google search results for the words/terms that you use in this description. In our case I used “Digital Marketing Training in Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Social Media and more.”

Summary Header: this will change the default line of text that says ‘About us’. In my opinion, rather than talking about my company in the subsequent section I’d rather talk about the products & services we offer, so I renamed the Summary header to “What we offer”.

Summary Body: Note: click on the word ‘Summary body’, not below the line. In this section you can provide details about your company and/or about the products & services that you offer. Again, keep it concise and to-the-point. Make sure you again use words or phrases that your customers would type into Google search if they wanted to find the products or services that you offer. You can use a numbered list or a bullet list to keep it neat and easy to read.

Google website make a link

If you already have a website or i.e. Facebook Page or LinkedIn Page then you can add these links here. Just highlight the words that you would like to use as links (called ‘Anchor text’), click on the icon that looks a bit like a chain link and paste the link your website (page), FB page etc in the box on top & save it. Once you’re done with all your text click the ‘✔’ on the top of the edit box to save your edits.

The section for ‘Photos’ is pre-loaded with images you have put on your Google My Business Page. You can add additional photos here. To remove a photo log into your Google My Business Page and remove it from there.

Lastly you can change the cover photo on the very top of your webpage. Click on the ‘Change cover photo’ icon and select a suitable image from your computer. You should use an image that well represents your brand. You may want to use a darker image so the text is better to read. This header image will be the first thing people with see, so if you don’t have a good image spend a few $$ and have one done, it’s worth it. You don’t want your company to look shabby with a lousy image. Optimal size for the Google My Business Website builder header image should have a 16:9 aspect ratio, i.e. 1000 x 563 pixels.

Google My Business Website

Once you are happy with your work click the ‘Publish’ button on the top right. Important: if you have an existing website make sure you un-tick the button next to ‘Make this my website address on Google Search & Map’. If this is your only website then leave it ticked for now.

To update/edit your website log into your Google My Business Page and click on ‘Website’ in the left navigation menu to launch the Google My Business Website interface. In the editor go to ‘Settings’ on the left and unpublish your website. Then do your edits. Once done click on ‘Publish’ on the top right and all updates will be saved. Remember to un-tick the box in case you already have an existing website. If this is your first and only website leave it ticked.

That’s it. If you want to take a look at ours, here it is: http://asiatrainingcom.business.site/

Posted by AsiaTraining in Build a Website
How to make a Google My Business Page

How to make a Google My Business Page

Google My Business Page

Have you ever wondered why some businesses show up with images and business info on the right side in Google Search results (see image below)? Or how to make your business show up on Google Maps? Here’s how to do it.

Google my Business SRP

Go to Google My Business Page. You will need to sign-in with your Google ID, i.e. your Gmail login and password. In the next page fill in your business name, location info, phone number and website. Under ‘Category’ start typing your business vertical, like ‘Car Rental’, ‘Hotel’ etc and choose the best option from the drop-down menu. If you deliver any of your goods or services to your clients (like plumbers, locksmiths) choose ‘Yes’ at the bottom, otherwise leave as ‘No’.

Google my Business map

The next screen will ask you to verify that all you entered is correct. If all is ok click ‘Confirm’, if not click ‘Back’ and edit your info. Once you click ‘Confirm’ Google will ask you how to confirm your address. The most common way is for Google to send you a postcard with a verification code. This is to prevent unscrupulous users from registering fake addresses. This verification process may take 1-2 weeks. Only once your address is verified it will appear in Google Maps and on the Google Search Results pages. In the meantime you can still complete your business info.

Once you are past the confirmation pop-up you get into your actual Google My Business Page. The page will show that your business profile is only partially complete (usually about 45%), the aim is to get this to 100%.

First thing to do is to add a profile photo. Click on the respective link and a new window will open. Here are all the possible photos you can upload, including a logo, a cover photo, photos of your business, photos of your team members, photos of your products etc. Try to add at least the minimum number of photos to get to the 100% completion score later. You can add or remove any photos at a later time if you like. Once you save all the images your score should be about 70%.

Next will be your opening hours. Move the small slider for each day you are open (will turn green) and tap on the ’24 hours’ and choose your opening times. Once done click ‘Apply’ at the bottom right. You can then also add Special Hours, for example if you are open during particular holidays on certain days. This is optional.

Below the Special Hours is a section for you to add your website. Make sure it includes the full URL including the ‘http://’ part. If you don’t have a website you can build a simple one-page business website from within the Google My Business Page – we have a tutorial for this here: How to build your free (simple) Google My Business Website, go check it out once you are done here.

Now scroll up to the top and click ‘HOME’. The page will reload, and you should now see that your score is 100% – well done! Now you just need to wait for your postcard to arrive. Once you have it go back into your Google My Business Page and click on what looks like a crossed-out shield at the very top right of your screen. A pop-up will appear for you to enter the verification code. This will also unlock the Reviews section and the Insights section.

I end with a word of caution: at the upper part of your Google My Business Page you are offered to get started with AdWords Express. Don’t! AdWords Express is not the same as the regular Google AdWords, it is a stripped down version with very limited functionality. If you at some point plan to use Google AdWords always go for the full featured version. I guarantee you that if you sign up for AdWords Express you will regret it later.

Good luck!

Posted by AsiaTraining in Build a Website
New Google AdWords Interface – a first Look

New Google AdWords Interface – a first Look

A revamp of the current, not very user friendly Google AdWords interface has been anticipated for quite a while now. A beta version of new Google AdWords interface has finally been rolled out, but only a very few selected advertisers have been invited to give it a try. While we were not among the lucky selected we still got our hands on some screen shots (many thanks to AccuraCast for sharing them with us), which in turn we are happy to share with you here.

The first thing in the new Google AdWords interface that stands out is that the main, top navigation menu has been moved to the left. This new design will be a challenge for smaller screens on i.e. laptops as it encroaches into the main data display area. The good news is that navigation will be a lot easier compared to the current interface. In addition, the new interface also adds more color to the data, which gives an easier visualization of important changes in your data over a period of time.

Google AdWords New Interface-AsiaTraining.com

The Opportunities Tab has moved from the top navigation bar to the left, and is now prominently displayed above the Campaigns tab and AdGroups tab. Now several opportunities are displayed simultaneously rather than one-by-one as in the old interface. This will make it easier for users to focus on the more important ones first.

new Google AdWords interface-Opportunities

In order to better assist advertisers in selecting the right audience, the new ‘Demographics’ tab is now available for both Display and Search, and gets it’s own tab in the main navigation menu on the left. A major new feature here is that, besides the familiar tabs on Age, Gender and Parental Status you can now also target your ads based on Household Income which was previously not available.

new Google AdWords interface-Demographics Tab

Reporting in the new Google AdWords interface has been simplified and now also includes Dimensions (renamed as Predefined Reports). You can now easily break down your reports based on pre-defined and custom metrics as shown in the screen shot.

new Google AdWords interface-Reporting Tab

Some Shared Library items like Business Data and Linked Accounts have been moved to a Setup tab which is now part of the main Tools tab, accessible from the top right menu. This tab now also consolidates popular tools like the Keyword Planner, the Preview Tool but also Shared Library items. I personally like this a lot, previously one had to hunt for different tools and settings all over the interface. Interestingly, the tools themselves have not changed and still look & work the same.

new Google AdWords interface-Tools Tab

Last but not least, and arguably quite ironic: the new interface is NOT mobile friendly. If you would like to manage your AdWords Campaigns on your smartphone you will need to get the official Google AdWords App instead.

new Google AdWords interface-Not mobile friendly

Image Source: accuracast.com

Posted by AsiaTraining in Learn about Google AdWords
Beginner Mistakes in Google AdWords: #1 – mixing unrelated Keywords

Beginner Mistakes in Google AdWords: #1 – mixing unrelated Keywords

Beginner Mistakes in Google AdWords: #1 - mixing unrelated Keywords

The mistake of lumping unrelated keywords together in one AdGroup is the single most common reason for unnecessarily high cost in Google AdWords advertising.

An AdWords account is set up as individual Campaigns, and each Campaign is divided into individual AdGroups. Each Campaign is based on an individual, specific business goal. For example, we have one AdWords account for our website AsiaTraining.com which houses eight separate Search Campaigns for each of the eight courses and workshops we offer. Each course represents an individual and specific business goal (we also have some additional Display Campaigns, more on these later).

Each of our eight Campaigns houses a varying number of individual AdGroups, which in turn contain our relevant keyword lists and related text ads. The ‘holy grail’ of efficient AdWords advertising lies in getting these AdGroups setup correctly. What I see all the time when I look at client’s or course participant’s AdGroups is that they lump all kinds of keywords together and write a generic ad for it.

Let’s assume you sell shoes, and you make only one Campaign with only one AdGoup containing the four kinds of footwear that you sell: shoes, sandals, boots and slippers. Since your keywords are so diverse you can only write a generic ad for it, and send your potential customers to your homepage when they click the ad. From there your visitors would have to search again on your website for the products they are interested in. Most people will not bother and click the ‘Back’ button on their browser. You have lost the customer.

What you should do instead is to create four Campaigns: one each for shoes, sandals, boots and slippers. Each of these will then house related AdGroups – let’s take the ‘shoes Campaign’ as example:

You would create one AdGroup named ‘mens black leather shoes’ and build a keywords list around this core keyword, i.e. ‘mens black leather shoes’, ‘black leather shoes for men’, ‘buy black leather shoes’, ‘black leather mens shoes sale’ and so on. Make the list as exhaustive as you can with multiple variations, but retain the core keyword. A black leather shoe is not the same as a brown leather shoe! Since your keywords list is now very specific you can build a highly relevant ad for it, again using your core keyword in the ads headline and/or description. The final URL will of course lead to a landing page on your website that is only about black leather shoes, NOT to shoes in general and definitely not to your homepage.

You will then need to repeat this again for your brown leather shoes, blue velvet shoes and whatever other shoes you sell. Focus each AdGroup only on one type of shoe. You are allowed up to 10,000 AdGroups per Campaign, so don’t take any shortcuts and stick to this plan. Once you’re done with shoes move on to the other Campaigns and repeat the same again for each individual footwear type.

I can hear you say “Boy, this will take a lot of time to setup”.

You are right, it does – but trust me on this one: it’s worth the time! What you end up with are very targeted keywords lists with highly relevant ads. If someone does a search on Google for ‘black leather shoe sale’ your ad will trigger, and your ad will be about ‘black leather shoes’ so the chance for a click is high. Since the user is looking for a specific shoe type and you send him to a specific landing page on your website exactly about the product he is looking for the chance for a sale is high. This will make the initial work worth it.

To sum it up: Make your keyword lists as specific as you possibly can. Write a couple of highly relevant as for it and send the click to a relevant landing page. You’ll have a lot of work to do upfront, but your will get much better sales conversions from the initial effort.

Posted by AsiaTraining in Learn about Google AdWords
The most expensive 100 Google Adwords keywords in the US

The most expensive 100 Google Adwords keywords in the US

This post is derived from Chris Lake’s article on Search Engine Watch, all credits go to him as the original author.

Chris compiled the below list of the most expensive keyword bids on Google AdWords for US advertisers. The top prize goes to legal advertisements by lawyers for Mesothelioma, a cancer associated especially with exposure to asbestos. The cost for a single click is almost USD1000, that’s about RM4000 per click. Nuts!

Having said that, settlements for such court cases usually come up to at least 1 Million USD, and the lawyer takes at least half of that. This puts it a bit into perspective and probably makes it worthwhile. But it’s still nuts!

Here is the list of the top 100 most expensive keywords in the US. The cost is shown in US$ and are for one single click! Again, all credit goes to Chris Lake from Search Engine Watch, you can read the full article there.

most expensive Google Adwords keywords

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Posted by AsiaTraining in Learn about Google AdWords
How does the Internet influence Retail Buying Decisions in Malaysia

How does the Internet influence Retail Buying Decisions in Malaysia

How does the Internet influence Retail Buying Decisions in Malaysia

This article examines how retail consumers in Malaysia use the internet to gain awareness when shopping for products, how they research them and eventually complete a purchase. The data given are based on “The Connected Consumer Survey 2014 / 2015” and “Consumer Barometer by Google” with data from 2014 and 2015. Research sample sizes vary, but the data sampling should clearly show the current trend within a small margin of error. Not all data shown will add up to 100% as some less significant data were omitted for the purpose of keeping this article comprehensive.

Accessing the Internet

To access the internet, a whopping 96% use a mobile phone to do so. In addition, 35% use computers (desktop, laptop and netbooks), and 14% use tablets.

Interestingly 40% of internet users go online using their smartphone while watching TV.

Product Awareness

20% of internet users gain awareness about a product or service from online discussions with other people, with the majority coming from in-person contacts and social media. Consumers who eventually purchased a product learned about the products online (48%) or in a physical retail store (41%).

Online advertising contributed 31% to gaining product awareness, compared to 21% TV advertising, 15% magazine advertising, and 2% radio advertising, the remainder being various other advertising channels.

Product Research

About equal amounts of customers did their product research moments before their purchase (18%), hours before purchase (19%), days before purchase (17%), and weeks before purchase (18%). 80% of customers used both online and offline channels to research their purchase, and the majority (30%) of customers were motivated to complete their purchase due to discount or promotion offered.

The major sources for online product research were search engines (74%), brand websites (42%), retailer websites (27%) and social media networks (24%).

The main reasons for customers to do online research before deciding on their eventual purchase were to compare products, prices and features online (55%), discover relevant brands (36%), getting ideas (33%) and looking for opinions, reviews or advice online (30%).

Product research was done mainly using computers (74%) followed by smartphones (45%) and tablets (16%), as well as combinations of these devices. Among the smartphone users, 23% did their product research within a physical store.

Purchasing Behavior

Internet users completed their purchase mostly in a physical store (58%) compared to an online purchase (30%) or phone orders (5%). Those who opted for an online purchase did so using their computer (72%), smartphone (20%) or tablet (6%).

Almost a third of customers (29%) who completed their purchase (both online and offline) shared their purchase experience via social media, and 16% posted reviews or ratings online.

Interesting Take-Aways

While the internet is accessed predominantly via smartphones their contribution to the shopping cycle is still much less prominent than computers.

Based on data not shown here (will be subject to a follow-up article) this may have to do with the lack of mobile friendly websites, which makes it inconvenient for smartphone users to do their online product research and purchasing. Concerns about secure online purchases via phones may be another reason.

Online product research and price comparison is a growing trend that poses substantial challenges for traditional retailers. Customers research products within a shop but use the internet to look for the same product online, hoping to get it at a lower price – a trend referred to as ‘showrooming’. With free price comparison apps on smartphones it becomes easy for consumers to ‘feel’ a product in a retail shop but to purchase it elsewhere cheaper.

Online advertising clearly outperforms traditional advertising channels like TV, print and radio. This is an ongoing trend that will likely become more polarized. In addition, some 40% of smartphone users go online while watching TV, quite likely during commercial breaks. This renders the effectiveness of TV ads questionable. It also indicates that advertisers who are currently using digital channels sparingly or not at all will need to re-align their marketing budgets to cater for this trend and invest more into i.e. online advertising. Since 74% of all online product research was started via a search engine it seems reasonable to allocate a share of the online advertising budget to search advertising, i.e. via Google AdWords.

A surprisingly high number of retail customers share their purchase experience via social media. This should be seen together with the data showing that about a quarter of online product research is also done thru social media. Consumers use this channel to give and take advice about products that are relevant to them, resulting in what is traditionally called ‘word-of-mouth marketing’. This makes proper customer engagement and brand monitoring an increasingly important factor of a retailer’s or brand owner’s social media tactics.

As always I welcome any comments or feedback. If you have your own experience with regards to the above data or conclusions please share them in the comments below for everybody’s benefit.

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Posted by AsiaTraining in Learn about e-Commerce
Why and how to create a killer LinkedIn Profile

Why and how to create a killer LinkedIn Profile

Why and how to create a killer LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is a bit different from the other social media platforms we discussed earlier. It will not help you much in getting traffic to your blog, although you can share high quality posts for this purpose. While LinkedIn has a news feed similar to a Facebook timeline not many people pay attention to it. The main reason for having a LinkedIn profile to to market yourself as a real estate professional to potential clients. The examples given below are for Real Estate Agents, but you can easily adapt this to your own profession.

Your professional LinkedIn profile page serves as a free advertisement for yourself that is accessible 24/7 to practically anyone in the world who wants to see it.

Let me repeat this: your LinkedIn profile is about you, and you only. Never ever post your property listings on LinkedIn! They will be received as spam by the LinkedIn community and will kill all the reputation you worked so hard to build up.

Most people think that LinkedIn is only valuable if you are looking for a new job, or if you’re a recruiter scouting for new employees. While this might have been true at an early stage LinkedIn is now of much wider use. Many professionals (including myself) use it to demonstrate their achievements and credibility to potential prospects and clients. It serves as an extended online display of who you are, what you can do for your clients and why people should engage you for your services. One of the most powerful features is that past clients can leave recommendations and endorsements for you, these obviously carry a lot of weight.

I have spoken to many influential people over the years, and many tell me that they use LinkedIn to check out their counterparts in any transaction before they make any commitment to meet face-to-face. For example, they reviewed my LinkedIn profile before inviting me for their conference or engaging me for their corporate training. You can check out my profile here:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/drfrankpeter – please connect with me while you are there.

For the personal investments of such clients this also includes checking out any real estate agent before they engage him or her. What interests these investors most is a demonstration of verifiable achievements and recommendations by relevant people. For this LinkedIn is the perfect platform.

Here I will guide you thru the setting up of a personal profile on LinkedIn. If you already have one just follow the parts that are applicable to your existing profile in order to improve it. Please keep in mind: a highly professional LinkedIn profile will serve as your probably most important personal advertisement to the world, you should treat it like that.

Go to LinkedIn.com and sign up using your email and a password that you can remember, but that others cannot too easily guess.

Use the same profile picture that you have used for i.e. Facebook, this will help your personal branding as your presence is consistent over different social media platforms. Here the picture on top of your profile is square at 200 x 200 pixles in size.

The headline allows you to describe yourself in 120 characters, and is arguably the most important part of your profile page. The headline is displayed just below your name and features dominantly in LinkedIn’s own search engine. Use it to market yourself but don’t use hype language. Consider something like ‘Experienced Real Estate Professional for your suburb or area | Proven Track Record | Client Satisfaction is my Priority’. In case you’re wondering, the ‘|’ character used here to separate the skills is called the pipe symbol and can be found to the far right of most keyboards. Some agents display their contact phone number in the headline as well. I don’t think that this is a good idea, in my eyes it makes you look desperate for someone to call you. Contact info can be shown at other, more appropriate parts of your profile page, including phone number and website. The purpose of the headline is also to get you found when a potential client searches on LinkedIn, so keep your headline rich in keywords you would like to be found for.

The “Summary” is the main content part of your overall personal ‘advertisement’. Here you should start out with one or two sentences that introduce you (think of a 15 second elevator speech) and draw the reader into the rest of your summary. You may also want to include that you are licensed, and of course your license number. The summary should have a list of your most valuable professional skills, a list of important achievements or results like recently completed sales or rentals. If your past clients allow it mention them by name. The section allows you to add some pictures, so consider adding some pics from recent sales/rentals that you completed. Also, add a ‘Call to Action’ to your summary that tells prospective clients how they can contact you, something like “Please get in touch with me so we can discuss how I can help you fulfill your ambitions” or whatever makes sense to your specific profile and area of work.

The “Experience” section is a place where you can display your resume. Here you should list at least your past two or three employers/agencies plus your current employment/parent agency (if any). Don’t only list dates and basic info, show off your past achievements while working for these agencies, provided it makes sense. You could add something like “Personally closed 27 sales worth $XX during my 2 years with ABC Agency” or “I was member of the million dollar round table at ABC Agency” or any other important achievement you made during your time. Use this section to show your past achievements, and don’t write it as if you were looking for a job.

The “Honors and Awards” section is quite self explanatory. If you have anything to show off don’t hesitate to do so, provided it is relevant to your professional profile. A hole-in-one at your golf group is not an appropriate mention, and neither is any of your high school achievements – all awards here should be directly related to your professional career. If you have any picture of yourself getting the award or a picture of any award certificate you received you can post it here. Don’t be shy, most people appreciate the proof.

The “Recommendations” section is often the most undervalued section of a LinkedIn profile, but should be the one that receives special attention. Make an effort and ask your past clients to not only connect with you on LinkedIn but to write you a recommendation. A few sentences each will do. Once they have done so send them a ‘Thank You’ message yourself. These recommendations have an incredible value when prospective clients look at your profile when they check you out. A third party recommendation for a particular skill you have rates much higher than you just listing your skills in your profile.

The section of ‘Skills and Endorsements” is a much simpler version of the recommendations section. Here you can pre-select your most important skills from a drop-down menu and ask you connections to tick any they feel are appropriate. Pick up yo 10 skills as a start, you can add others later if you want.

Fill in any other bits and pieces here and there like education, languages, interests, as well as any personal details if you feel comfortable with it like marital status. Indicate if you would be available as volunteer, are member of any professional association and so on. Very important is to include up-to-date contact info, including the web address of your blog/website, your email and your daytime phone number.

Make your profile as complete as you can. On the top right of your actual profile is a circle that shows how high your current profile ranks, your goal is ‘All Star’ with a fully filled circle. LinkedIn states that a complete profile will appear 40 times more in search results, so you would have a chance of getting 40x the business compared to an incomplete profile. LinkedIn’s definition of a 100% complete profile is:

  • Your industry and current location
  • An up-to-date current position with description
  • Two past positions
  • Your education
  • A minimum of three skills
  • A profile photo
  • At least 50 connections

I personally see a good LinkedIn profile as very important. I know real estate agents who get almost 50% of all business inquiries via this channel. Even for me in the training business LinkedIn is a major lead contributor, second only to our website/blog. It is free, and it will take you no longer than an hour or so to set up, so don’t delay and do this now. The sooner you can be found on LinkedIn the sooner to get business from there. Once you’re done please connect with me, I’d be happy to be one of your first 50 connections so you can achieve the ‘All Star’ status faster:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/drfrankpeter – or search LinkedIn for my name.

For some additional thoughts about the content in your LinkedIn profile take a look at the blog post by Azleen Abdul Rahim here: How To Turn LinkedIn Connections into Tangible Business Leads. A very worthwhile read!

Posted by AsiaTraining in Social Media Tactics
Setting-up your Facebook Business Page

Setting-up your Facebook Business Page

Website hosting - how to choose the best hosting provider

A Facebook business page is different from your personal profile. Your personal Facebook profile is where you connect with your friends and post your holiday pictures, what you had for breakfast, your favorite cat videos and all the other stuff that you fancy – in your personal profile anything goes as long as you’re happy with it. The business page on the other hand will only showcase your professional side and has to remain focused on it’s main purpose, which is to drive qualified traffic to your blog. The main difference between a profile and a page is that from your personal profile you can message anybody, even people not in your friends list. In a page you cannot, people need to message you first, only then can you respond.

Facebook makes this important distinction so Facebook users cannot spam others with any offers they are peddling. This is also the reason why Facebook does not allow you to use your personal page for commercial activities, use a Facebook business page instead.

In order to start a Facebook business page you need to have a personal profile on Facebook, I will assume you already have one. Log into your profile and follow these steps to set-up a business page:

On the very top right of the Facebook screen you will see a little downward arrow. Click that arrow and a drop down menu will appear. Somewhere on that menu it says ‘Create Page’. Click that link.

Now you need to choose a page category. I suggest to choose ‘Local Business or Place’ rather than any of the others. The reason is that with this selection visitors to your page can leave reviews of your services, these can be a very powerful endorsement once you get some good reviews. With this selection you also get the widest variety of methods of how people can contact you, including phone number, email, website (blog), address and map. The term ‘Local Business or Place’ is not limited to only a physical address but can represent the area you serve predominantly.

Setting-up your Facebook Business Page

Once you click on the ‘Local Business or Place’ icon Facebook will guide you thru a wizard where you fill in your basic information including a suitable category for your page (i.e. Real Estate or Property Agent) and a brief description of your services and the location you are active in. Add your blogs web address below the description, i.e. ‘JohnSmithProperty.com’. Below that you can choose your own personalized Facebook domain. I strongly suggest to again enter your full blog website address here, so it will look something like …facebook.com/johnsmithproperty.com’. The advantage of using your blogs address here is that it will be much easier for people to remember it as it’s very similar to your blog. It’s also easier for you to communicate: “Hey, my website is JohnSmithProperty.com, and you can find me on Facebook under facebook.com/johnsmithproperty.com as well”.

Setting-up your Facebook Business Page

Click ‘Save Info’ and you get to the profile picture section. Here you can upload a nice profile picture, it should be square in size and be at least 180 x 180 pixels. Use your own picture, not your company logo or a picture of your cat. Use a picture that demonstrates your professionalism. The picture should show that you are credible and can be trusted. It doesn’t have to be one in jacket and tie, but it certainly should not be one of a recent holiday shot in swimming attire, or a picture with your friends in a local pub, or you sitting in a flashy car and so on. People remember faces, so stick with a recent headshot. If you don’t have a suitable profile picture spend a bit of money to get one professionally shot.

In the next step add the page to your favorites so you can easily access it from the left section of your own personal page.

In the last section put in your preferred audience. Add the area you serve a location, this will help you in getting preferred ranking in case someone does a search on Facebook. Gender and age demographics you can leave as is, and in the interest section choose as many as make sense by starting to type in major keywords like ‘Property’ and ‘Real Estate’ and choose the most appropriate ones in the results.

Once you’re done with this you will automatically be brought to your new Facebook business page. Besides the info you just provided it will be empty. It is very important that you DO NOT LIKE your own page yet. The reason is that if you do all your friends will see what you liked and come to check it out, only to find an empty page – they will be disappointed. For the same reason also do not invite any of your friends to like your new page yet.

Your profile picture will already show, and you can now add your cover photo as well. This should be pre-prepared and have a size of 851 x 315 pixels:

Setting-up your Facebook Business Page

The cover photo should also have a professional look to it and represent your business. Take a moment and look at other realtors facebook pages for some ideas and inspiration, or google for ‘real estate facebook cover photos’ and take a look at the resulting images. Once you have a suitable one hover your mouse over the top left corner and click on ‘Change Cover Photo’ to upload your own.

Next you need to update your detailed information: look for the ‘About’ tab just below the cover photo and click on it. Fill in as much details as you can provided it makes sense: you won’t have any parking info, but for example the opening hours could be the time you work and can be contacted. Try to be as comprehensive as you can.

The last part to set up is your ‘Call to Action’ button. This is the button on the lower right of your cover photo, it will say ‘Like’ by default. Tap the button and a small menu will drop down and give you choices for your button text and target once someone clicks on it. You want people to come to your blog, so you might want to change this button to include your website URL.

That’s it with the setup of your new Facebook business page, well done. Now it’s time to add some content.

Go to your blog and choose any post or page you would like to start your promotion with, preferably one that is not so important. The reason to start with a less important post is that it will end up at the bottom of your Facebook timeline, so it will get less views. Remember, the aim is to only post an interesting snippet as well as the post picture and, most importantly, a link to the actual blog post. Once you have chosen your post copy the URL from your browsers address bar. Go to your Facebook page and paste the link into the status update box on the top right of your timeline. Give it a moment and Facebook will load the pages picture and snippet automatically. Then write something catchy in front of the link you just pasted, and make clear to your readers that they should click on the link to read more. Here is an example from our own AsiaTraining Facebook page:

Note that I limit the text to just 3-4 lines, including the link. It is important that the link is clearly visible and not abbreviated, so if you have a long link then give it it’s own line of text. The link should not break! Publish your post and try the link. It should open up your referenced blogs in a new window. That’s it. Now you can add more of your blog posts the same way, and add new posts over time so your profile fills up with solid content.

In addition don’t forget to also share some of the curated content I mentioned in the previous chapter. Don’t be stingy in sharing other people’s content for the benefit of your readers, just make sure that it is in line with your business goals. There is nothing wrong with posting more curated content in case you have no current updates of your own. Some experts even state that a Facebook page should post up to 80% curated content and only 20% of your own content. This is not a hard rule, if you don’t come across any good article that is worth sharing then don’t post any for the day. Remember that everything you post (own or curated content) reflects back on you and your professional image, so quality counts more than quantity.

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Posted by AsiaTraining in Social Media Tactics