Tips about using the Internet and social media — especially LinkedIn

FA Tactical Tips: 10 Questions for Twitter Beginners

Stategic Business Coach, Planning Strategist Maria Marsala
Do you feel left out when people talk about Twitter? Are you anxious to start tweeting but afraid that asking questions will reveal your lack of knowledge? Is your Twitter account set up, but looking silent and dismal? Answer these 10 questions, and you’ll be well on your way to chirping up a storm!

1. What name will you choose as your Twitter handle, company name or personal name or both? Learn more at: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/4495/Twitter-Handles-Dos-and-Don-ts-and-eBook.aspx

2. Where do I start? Sign up at www.Twitter.com

3. What graphic will you use as your Twitter background? What’s a background? Learn more at https://twitter.com/settings/design

4. What graphic will you use as your header? What’s a header? Learn more at https://support.twitter.com/articles/127871

5. What words, including keywords, will you place in your bio? (You have 160 characters to work with.)

6. What website do you want to link to from your business Twitter account? (Answer: your website’s home page or if you don’t have one, your LinkedIn account profile)

7. What photo will you use on your business Twitter account? (Answer: the same one you use on all other professional social networking sites)

8. What will your first tweet be?

9. Will your account be public or private? Will you protect your site or not. Learn more here:
https://twitter.com/settings/account

10. Who will you invite to connect to you on Twitter? Reading this in an email? Hit reply and let me know your handle. Reading this on my blog? List your Twitter account below and I’ll follow you. You can follow me at @mariamarsala

Bonus Tip
Social networking allows you to connect with your clients on a more personal level, too. It’s a way for you to connect without clients without them feeling like they’re being sold to. After you create your twitter account, you have an opportunity for your staff to call your AAA clients to learn what their Twitter handles are and then invite them to follow you. Other ways to notify clients that you’re ready for them to connect with you on Twitter are to mail them a postcard announcement, put an announcement notice on your blog, and create links from your website to your social networking sites.

Of course, don’t use Twitter or any other social networking platform if you aren’t sure how to do so in a compliant manner, consistent with
your firm’s social media policies. Always check with your Compliance Department before doing something new on any social media venue.

Stategic Business Coach, Planning Strategist Maria Marsala©2013 Maria Marsala guides independent financial advisors to reach their 5-year business and personal goals in 24 months. She is a business coach, speaker, and a former Wall Street Trader. Named one of the Top 30 International Coaching Gurus in 2011, Maria has been recognized as a thought leader whose ideas have been published in Financial Planning Magazine, RIA Biz, Advisor Max, Dow Jones, The Street, Entrepreneur Magazine, and numerous books, trade journals, and magazines. She has authored four business-building workbooks including, Attracting Clients You Love Working With: 6 Steps to a Profitable Client Base. Did you find this article thought provoking? Get more delivered directly to your inbox every two weeks by signing up at Sign up here

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Recommended: FirmSite’s Free WordPress Blog Theme

Once you add a WordPress blog to your website, you’ll have the “guts” of the program.  But its appearance may not match your brand.   Next, you can change the photo and colors of the theme WordPress provides, or you can change the theme altogether, as most business owners do.

 

Inside the WordPress control panel or dashboard, you’ll find a large number of free theme templates or you can search online to locate free themes to download.   PLUS, you can purchase templates from reliable sources such as http://www.elevatingyourbusiness.com/a/catalog/Marias_Website_Blog_Resources.html Elegant, Thesis, or other companies Your web designer can do all this work and create a “branded” theme for you, too.

 

As I update my own website branding, I recently tested many paid versions of themes, but didn’t exactly find what I was looking for.  I honestly didn’t even look at the free WordPress themes, as I’ve done that in the past, because they were so outdated.  But I decided to give free themes another “look-see”.

 

That’s where I came across two themes that I really liked, FirmaSite and Customizr.  I chose FirmaSite.  I am more than happy with the results. You can see what I created right here at the blog you’re reading.

 

There were a few tweaks that I wanted to make, so I wrote to the software developer, Ünsal Korkmaz, who was very generous with his help.  He offers a free forum to ask questions.  One or two of the things I asked for have actually been incorporated into the upgrades of the theme.

 

I was so impressed with the theme, and the support, that I decided to write this recommendation.  You can learn more about the theme at http://theme.firmasite.com/ where you can click on the link on the right hand side of the screen and view the different “skins” (looks) you’d like on your blog.

 

To insert it into your WordPress blog, go into your administrative control panel, click on appearance, click on themes, click on install, find the theme in your list of themes, install, and then activate it.   Then you or your web designer can customize it to mirror the look of your website.

 

What I like about the theme:

  • The support is beyond great.
  • It is modern and looks very professional.
  • It includes sliders if I choose to use them.
  • It was easy to insert my header graphic into the program.
  • It comes with 13 different “looks” (called skins) that can be customized to match your brand.
  • You can easily add information on the right side using widgets.
  • You can include 3 columns within the look of the page (see the bottom of this page).
  • In addition to the blog pages showing full articles or snippets of articles, you can tile the articles to show 10 or so articles on a page.

 

If you’re looking for a new blog theme, I recommend you try http://theme.firmasite.com/ first.

FA Tactical Tip: Are You Losing Potential Business Because Your Website Visitors Can’t Share You?

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©2013 123RF Stock Photos
See if you identify with this scenario…

You’re reading an article, blog post, or website. You want to share a page with a friend, your colleagues, or your social networking sites. You look high and low, and can’t, for the life of you, find your favorite share buttons. The usual collection of colorful tiles are not there, or you just can’t find them.

If you’re like most people, you’ll move on. You’re very unlikely to open up your individual Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or email account, copy and paste the URL link, and then write a title or subject line. That’s too much work and too many clicks.

If you make it difficult for your readers to “share” you, then you’re losing opportunities for many people to learn about you and your services.

Below are three important ways that allow others to connect online with your firm:

a) Have at least one way (two ways are better) for people to contact you PERSONALLY from every page of your blog or website.

b) Include links to YOUR FIRM’S blog and social networking sites.

c) Give your readers a clear way to SHARE your website or insightful articles with share buttons located near the top or bottom of each page or blog post. OR add a social networking ToolBar to the top of each page.

Action

1) Today, view your website and blog as if you were one of your readers. How easy is it for someone to contact you, follow your company, or share what you’ve posted?

2) Add what’s missing (see a, b, or c above in the article) to your website and blog.

Using WordPress you’ll find the sections to change on the left side of your administrative control panel.

a. Add another navigation tab to the top of your blog called Contact Us by adding a page called Contact Us, along with all the information you’d like to provide your visitors.

b. Add links directly to your social networking sites by creating a Widget (text) where you can add text and links to your blog.

c. Search for sharing options in the Plug-In section. With just a few clicks on one of these programs, you can add all the popular sharing buttons to your website or any other blog platform.

3) Popular Plug-Ins for sharing that can be used on most websites include:

Share This

Add This

Sociable (recently purchased by Share This)

Blog Plan (for WordPress only)

©2013 Maria Marsala guides independent financial advisors to reach their 5-year business and personal goals in 24 months. She is a business coach, speaker, and a former Wall Street Trader. Named one of the Top 30 International Coaching Gurus in 2011, Maria has been recognized as a thought leader whose ideas have been published in Financial Planning Magazine, RIA Biz, Advisor Max, Dow Jones, The Street, Entrepreneur Magazine, and numerous books, trade journals, and magazines. She has authored four business-building workbooks including, Attracting Clients You Love Working With: 6 Steps to a Profitable Client Base. Did you find this article thought provoking? Get more delivered directly to your inbox every two weeks by signing up at Register here

Where Did LinkedIn Groups Go?

If you’ve visited your LinkedIn account tin the past 24 hours, you’ve noticed that the navigation bar, on the top of the page, has changed.  Gone is the quick link to Groups.  Instead, you’ll find it under the Interests tab.  That means that you click once, view a drop down, then click again to get to Groups.  Ok if you don’t go there often but…

If you’ve determined that spending a majority of your  social networking marketing time on LinkedIn,  there is a better way — a one click way — to get to your Groups, pronto!

If you are using Internet Explorer, you can add your GROUPS page to your Favorites Navigation Bar (FNB).  Then, you’re back to one click to get to your Groups.

 

ACTION

Bring Groups to your FNB this way:

1) Go to your groups page  http://www.linkedin.com/myGroups

2) Click on Favorites

3) Click on Add to Favorites Bar

And wa-la, it’s there for you to use 1 click to get to!   Yes,  you can add other favorite pages to your navigation bar this way, too.   You can also add Groups to your favorites tool bar, but then again, that’s 2 clicks to get to it instead of 1 click.

 

HELP US

If you are using Chrome, Firefox or the other browsers, can you provide me with the direction on how to do something similar using those browsers?   Use the comment box below to let my blog readers know how to get to their Groups with 1 click, too.  And add your name, title and a link back to your website!  It’s our way to thank you for taking the time to share the directions.

 

P.S.

If you’re a financial advisor or professional, join our Group just for you!  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Elevating-Your-Financial-Business-4624383/about

 

 

 

© 2013 Elevating Your Business.  Maria Marsala is a business coach to financial advisors.  She helps independent and fee-based financial firms systematize their business processes, master marketing, multiply the bottom line, and increase free time.  Maria has been published in Financial Planning Magazine, Advisor Max, Dow Jones, The Street, Entrepreneur Magazine, and numerous other trade journals and magazines.  If you liked this article, you’ll enjoy Maria’s complimentary newsletter.  Subscribe at http://www.ElevatingYourBusiness.com

FA Tactical Tip: Keep Visitors on Your Website with Better Links

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©2013 123RF Stock Photos

Check the links on your website. If a link takes your reader OFF your website — maybe to someone else’s article on another site — change the way that the link works.

Ask your web master to code the link to open a new window or tab. In other words, add a target attribute before closing the HREF tag. The target attribute is written target="_blank"

When a visitor clicks on an outbound link, a new window or tab will open. In the background your site will still be open, too. DON’T use this code to link between pages within your own website or blog or you’ll really annoy the heck out of visitors who want to stay on your site.

Action

Tell your webmaster that you want to keep people on your website by opening a new window or tab when you provide an outbound links. Read the information regarding Target Attributes, just so you understand how this works at http://www.w3schools.com/HTML/html_links.asp

If you write your own WordPress blog or WordPress-based website, when creating a link, place a check mark near "Open link in a new window/tab".

©2013 Maria Marsala guides independent financial advisors to reach their 5-year business and personal goals in 24 months. She is a business coach, speaker, and a former Wall Street Trader. Named one of the Top 30 International Coaching Gurus in 2011, Maria has been recognized as a thought leader whose ideas have been published in Financial Planning Magazine, RIA Biz, Advisor Max, Dow Jones, The Street, Entrepreneur Magazine, and numerous books, trade journals, and magazines. She has authored four business-building workbooks including, Attracting Clients You Love Working With: 6 Steps to a Profitable Client Base. Did you find this article thought provoking? Get more delivered directly to your inbox every two weeks by signing up at Register here