Thursday

How to automate your social media marketing efforts

Social media marketing requires an intense commitment to providing content, sharing links and attracting readers. While it may be tempting to think that social media marketing involves sending only links to social sties, there is significantly more involved. Effective automation can help companies tap into the power of social media marketing if they understand the various techniques that are available.

Automating blog posts

In order to have content to share on social media sites, users must have blog posts, articles or other relevant information.  Most of these options can be automated in a number of ways including using RSS feeds, article widgets or self-populating newsletters like Paper.li.  Using these methods can help provide relevant content without a lot of additional work.

Automating Twitter activity

There are numerous programs available for automating Twitter accounts, some offer similar features while others offer features that are not found in any other applications.  Most of the programs allow users to automate RSS Feeds that will automatically feed new work that is placed on a website or blog (and on some writing sites) directly to Twitter as they are posted. This allows users to have their newest information send directly to followers.

HootSuite, TweetAdder, SocialOomph and numerous other programs allow users to upload tweets in bulk to be sent out over time. This can be a significant time saver for many Twitter users, allowing them to completely automate the process of sending information out to users. In addition, many of

Wednesday

How Social Media should not be used

Individuals and business owners alike have turned to social media for keeping up with friends, family and customers. While social media has gained in popularity, there are some things that could be inappropriate to place on a social media page regardless of whether you are using the account for personal or business reasons. Not every person who sets up a social media account is there with good intentions, and for people as well as businesses, these less than scrupulous individuals can be problematic in numerous ways. One of the necessities associated with social media is knowing how social media should not be used.

Sharing financial data

While it may be tempting to send a “private” message to someone in Facebook sharing personal financial information, it is a bad idea. There have been countless articles from well-respected publications stating how Facebook information may not be as private as we are led to believe. Financial information that is personal or corporate should never be shared on any social media site as this opens up the potential for identity theft and other cases of fraud.

While Twitter has not had nearly as bad a problem with privacy concerns (or at least not as well published) they settled a suit with the Federal Trade Commission in 2009 which barred them from misleading users about just how private their information was. This should serve as a wake-up call to all social media users; privacy is at an all time low when you register at most social media sites.

Sharing detailed location information

Some of the newest social media applications allow users to share their location. While it may be sensible to share a town or city where a company or person is located, sharing specific details such as

Tuesday

How New York's property tax waivers for nonprofits work

If you are a board member of a nonprofit organization in New York, you might be trying to determine the property tax requirements. New York, like many other states, does offer waiver of property taxes under certain circumstances.

These include:
  • You must own the property - the nonprofit organization must hold the deed to the property in the name of the nonprofit organization
  • Purpose of Nonprofit - the nonprofit organization must be one of several “charitable” categories in New York. These include cemeteries (Section 446 in NY); parsonages (Section 442), charitable (Section 420(a)) or benevolent (Section 420(b)).
  • Subleasing - if a New York nonprofit property is subleased to any organization which does not fall under the “charitable” categories as defined in New York, that portion is not exempt from property tax
  • Subleasing II - if a New York nonprofit organization sub-leases a portion of the property to another entity which does fall into the “charitable” categories, you must supply all documentation supporting such claim
  • Unimproved property - if a New York nonprofit organization can prove the purposes of the unimproved property (defined as one in the stages of construction) a property tax waiver will be considered.
There is special paperwork which is required to be filed with the New York City Department of Finance that would allow a nonprofit organization to obtain a property tax waiver. The paperwork must be filed with the property tax exemption unit by January 5 of the year immediately following acquisition unless it was transferred from one nonprofit organization to another.
The documentation that must be provided is extensive. These documents include:
  • photo-copies of the deed
  • copies of Articles of Incorporation
  • copies of the nonprofit's Constitution or By-Laws
  • copy of tax filings (when required by the IRS) and a copy of the IRS ruling showing the tax-exempt status of the organization
In those cases where the determination has not been formalized with the Internal Revenue Service, a copy of the request for this exemption may be included.
In the case where one New York nonprofit organization is leasing to another nonprofit organization any portion of the property, the same documents along with a copy of the lease must also be attached to the six page application for waiver of property taxes. Should the property have past due property taxes that might be owed, if an exemption is granted the prior year’s taxes will also be waived. This does not apply to taxes that are more than one year old.

If you are a board member of a nonprofit organization in New York, you should carefully review all of the information available regarding New York nonprofit property tax waivers. It could significantly reduce your tax liability.

Monday

Using Google Adwords to drive targeted traffic

Google AdWords make it possible for you to target your prospects. More importantly, effective use of AdWords means you target your prospect when they are looking for your product or service.

Explaining Google AdWords

Let us for a moment assume you are looking for a car. You open your favorite browser and in your Google search field you type car'. You will now have thousands of lines showing up on your browser window. The first thing you see are sponsored ads. These "sponsored ads" are the ones that are paid for. They are quickly identifiable because they say "sponsored" in the heading.
However, below that you are going to see what is called an "organic" result. These are the links that are unsponsored i.e. someone just happened to have the right terms in their marketing materials to get Google to notice them!

Google has basically set up an auction. Sponsors (the advertisers) are bidding on the word "car"! They pay for that if you click on the advertisement! If you do not click on it, they do not pay for it. The higher the bid, the higher the visibility. Most advertisers are interested in getting top quality clicks at the lowest possible cost. Clicks lead to new business leads, new leads lead to new sales.

Make Google AdWords work for you

We all understand that competition is fierce! The key to making Google AdWords work for you is to test your niche keywords and determine what happens. You have the benefit of putting your keyword to work for you, watching it and if it does not work, replace it! Your AdWords need to generate not just leads but sales to be effective.

Using AdWords

Set your goals early! This is the best way to get direct sales. If your goal is to create 20 new sales leads a day, then that should be the consideration in placing your AdWords. Turning those leads into sales should also be a consideration (and another goal).

Set your website up to be well organized, informative, and focused. Make sure that it clearly explains your product or service. Find out what your competition is doing! If you are offering product make

Wednesday

Insurance brokers: Need a reason to hire a blogger?

Let's face it, insurance is not a sexy topic and chances are that your blog is in desperate need of new content. The insurance market is ever-changing and you have two choices: You can get out there and drum up new business or you can spend your time blogging insurance information. 

There's a better way: Hire a blogger. Some bloggers have lots of experience writing insurance blogs just like this one:

Is your insurance plan failing your employees?

Most companies set up employee benefits plans and then stick with them religiously throughout the life of their business. The fact is that you should review your plan at least every couple of years to determine if your plan is still meeting the needs of your employees. As an employer, you have a fiduciary responsibility to your employees but more importantly, a great benefits plan can help you save money by not having to train new employees to replace the ones you have lost.

Employee demographics matter

If your employees are all in their 20's then the chances are that they either are covered under their parent's insurance plans or they can purchase insurance inexpensively through your group plan. This age group tends to go for coverage that has higher deductibles for one simple reason: They are generally healthier than older employees.

As employees move from their 20s to their 30s, many of them marry and have families of their own. This often means their medical insurance and life insurance needs will have to be adjusted. Anyone with children knows that the chances of a child not seeing a doctor at least once a year is practically nil. Therefore, this age group, with younger children will probably be looking for a plan that offers lower deductible and co-payment amounts. Additionally, they will want to be able to cover their spouses and partners under the policy you are offering.