By Heather Lopez
 
In my day to day life, I constantly run into business owners who want to jump on the social media bandwagon, but have no idea how it relates to their business. Many business owners might be quite effective at the business end of things, but don’t know how to use social media effectively. Here are a few quick tips I put together to aid entrepreneurs and small business owners in developing a social media presence.
 
1. Engage your followers and fans through questions that require a response.
 
On Facebook, comments weigh more than “likes” in the algorithm that determines what shows on the top of your newsfeed. When people comment and like, it shows up in their newsfeeds for their friends to see, which could expose you to even more potential new fans. Plus, fans appreciate the chance to interact with you and give you feedback. It builds their sense of brand loyalty. On Twitter, requiring a response to a question makes a follower reply using your handle. They usually reply publicly and share your handle with their followers, who might even want to answer the question too!
 
2. Don’t just rely on third-party apps to post on your networks. Actually visit your profiles.
 
Visiting the networking sites can keep you in sync with others, while third-party apps can take you out of the network. You should not be looking at social media solely to sell your products and services, but as a way to connect with your customers in a more meaningful way. Third-party apps can help save time for posting, but it should not end with just posting.
 
3. Subscribe to Google Alerts using your keywords and daily notification.
 
It is a free service that lets you receive e-mails of other articles and info being shared on the web about those keywords. This will help you find some good content to share with your readers and followers. The readers and followers will appreciate the content (that you didn’t even need to write). The writers may appreciate the shares and in the future, return the favor by sharing your content to their readers. Share the link with a brief description or title on your social media profiles.
 
4. Think collaboration and reciprocation.
 
Visit other business profiles who have a similar target audience, but do not compete, and ask them if they would be willing to share your info with their fans and followers if you would do the same in return. DO NOT visit their fanpage and post your links and fanpages on their wall if you don’t know them or have not asked for permission. You could get marked as spam and suspended from Facebook.  On Twitter, RT interesting items posted by others, and they might do the same. Thank those who RT your items. Think about how developing relationships with others could be mutually beneficial in gaining both of you new sales and customers.
 
5. Offer special exclusive deals for your fans and followers.
 
Fans and followers can turn into customers when you make them a special offer. Plus, they feel appreciated for engaging with you. Notice that I did not mention giveaways? Giveaways are okay, but you have to be careful that you are not attracting those who just enter contests. Your prize should be something that would only be valuable to someone in your target audience (i.e. not an IPAD or a vacation).
 
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it should help give you a start if you implement the items consistently. In time, you will notice that your fans and followers will start sharing your profiles with others, building a strong word of mouth campaign (i.e. creating a buzz) that you don’t even need to orchestrate.
 

Heather Lopez specializes in assisting and teaching small business owners and entrepreneurs how to connect with their customers via social media, branding, pr, marketing, and events. You can work with her personally during her next mastermind program starting 7/21. Sign-up by 7/7 and mention Market Mommy to receive a bonus 1 hour pre-mastermind session.

Before I even received my stroller cozy from Betty & Petula, I was impressed with their customer service. They went out of their way to send me a variety of fabric samples to view and choose my favorite. I was able to choose a green polka dot fabric that coordinates very nicely with our new stroller.

When the stroller cozy arrived, I was once again impressed. The fleece is extremely soft and I know baby is going to love it. Winters in Ohio are cold and the cozy will be perfect for outings during the chilly months. Plus, it can be easily unzipped to use as a blanket or folded for a pillow.

The stroller cozy has a five point harness strap and fits standard strollers. It was very easy to install. And, they can also be used in car seats, jogging strollers, umbrella strollers, etc.

The cozies are handmade in Illinois. You can really tell that they put great care and effort into creating high quality items for their customers. The attention to detail is evident. I can’t wait to use our stroller cozy with our new baby actually in the stroller.

Betty & Petula has generously donated a stroller cozy to be given away during our 2nd Birthday Extravaganza! To register, simply visit our Extravaganza Giveaway page and get all of the details. This prize is valued at $55 and there are a ton of other great prizes to register for as well!

In addition to their website, Betty & Petula can be found on Facebook.

*Market Mommy received a free product in order to write this review. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

Every order from Little Boo Creations is custom made to order. So, you’re not just limited to what you see online. The first thing I noticed about Little Boo’s products is how versatile they are.

For review, I was sent one flower clip, one cotton beanie, one crocheted headband and one ribbon wrapped headband. The flower clip fits into all of the other pieces so it can ‘grow’ with my daughter. How clever!

The clip itself contains various colors within the pattern, so it matches the pink beanie, the green headband, the black crocheted headband, etc. It can also be worn by itself. It makes it easy to be creative and add a little variety with the same pieces.

For our 2nd Birthday Extravaganza, Little Boo Creations has offered a gift set valued at $31 to one lucky winner. It includes; three flower clips, one cotton beanie, two crocheted headbands, one nylon headband and two ribbon wrapped headbands. This would be perfect for any little girl.

To register, visit our Extravaganza Giveaway page and get all of the details. There are a ton of other great prizes to register for as well! 

In addition to their website, Little Boo Creations can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

*Market Mommy received a free product in order to write this review. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

Sweet Bitty Bows offers just about everything you need for baby and toddler’s hair. They offer a variety of infant and toddler hair bows and clippies as well as hats and headbands. Their designs range from simplistic to more fanciful. They have something for everyone.

For review, Sweet Bitty Bows sent me two headbands. They are very cute and well made. They are made from a soft satin material and are my daughter’s favorite color, pink! They make a very nice addition to her growing collection of hair accessories.

Sweet Bitty Bows prides themselves on their reasonable prices and well-made products. I’ve browsed their website and all of the products look great. They also offer free shipping on all orders over $25 and shipping is a flat $2.50 for orders under that.

A bow from Sweet Bitty Bows is part of our 2nd Birthday Extravaganza. To register, visit our Extravaganza Giveaway page and get all of the details. This prize is valued at $7.99, and there are a ton of other great prizes to register for as well!

In addition to their website, Sweet Bitty Bows can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

*Market Mommy received a free product in order to write this review. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

Anyone else have trouble getting their toddler’s pants to stay up? Some pants have the adjustable waist, and that helps, but not all do. And, toddlers who are just learning to use the restroom don’t really have the skill or coordination to manage a belt.

That’s where Cute Beltz comes in. They make adorable belts for toddlers and they close with Velcro, making them easy to remove and the size adjustable. They come in a variety of cute colors and patterns, sure to match any little girl, or boy’s wardrobe.

Then, when you’re children are a little older, Cute Beltz offers d-ring belts in the same attractive patterns. Their belts are made to fit kids up to age six. They sent me two cute toddler belts for the product review and they were perfect for my kids. They look great and I was impressed with the quality, too.

Cute Beltz is giving away two Velcro belts during our 2nd Birthday Extravaganza. To register, visit our Extravaganza Giveaway page and get all of the details. This prize is valued at $29.90, and there are a ton of other great prizes to register for as well!

In addition to their website, Cute Beltz can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

*Market Mommy received a free product in order to write this review. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

Have a boy? I do, and may soon have another. The Boys Store offers everything you need for the boy in your life. Their store is literally loaded with great clothing and accessories. For review, they sent me a dinosaur wrap shirt by Teaching Togs.

My son absolutely loved it. He’s really big into dinosaurs right now and thought the shirt was very cool. I liked it too. The color and design was bright and attractive and it is very well made. It has a wrap around screen print for a cool look and it’s made from 100 percent pure cotton. It washed up very well, too.

The Boys Store offers a little bit of everything. They have dress clothes, t-shirts, hats, socks, sleepwear, outerwear and everything in between. I’ll definitely be shopping there for my son in the future and even have my eye on a couple things if new baby is a boy.

See something you like? They Boys Store has generously donated a $25 gift certificate to be given away at our 2nd Birthday Extravaganza. Simply visit our Extravaganza Giveaway page to get all of the details and register. There are a ton of other great prizes to register for as well!

In addition to their website, The Boys Store can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

 

*Market Mommy received a free product in order to write this review. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

Chesapeake Ribbons offers a variety of ribbon belts and accessories for the entire family. For review, they sent me a Navy Prep Set that included a belt (newborn size) and a pacifier clip. They are too cute. The fabric is very colorful and perfect for either a boy or a girl.

The matching set will be great accessories to add to baby’s wardrobe. They look great and they are made very well. I’m sure they will stand up to the test of time. Products from Chesapeake Ribbons are handmade, making them exceptionally durable and well made.

I was definitely impressed with the products I received and as I browsed their site, there are several other items that caught my eye. They even have dog collars for the family pet. And, their prices are very reasonable as well.

For our 2nd Birthday Extravaganza, Chesapeake Ribbons has donated another Navy Prep Set to be given away to one of our readers. Simply visit our Extravaganza Giveaway page to get all of the details and register. This prize is valued at $33, and there are a ton of other great prizes to register for as well!

In addition to their website, Chesapeake Ribbons can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

 

*Market Mommy received a free product in order to write this review. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

The Bag Holder is a very innovative new product. I was immediately impressed when I received one to review for our 2nd Birthday Extravaganza. The container is designed to hold open gallon-sized storage bags so you can mix, pour, store and assemble food with a lot less mess.

One of its best features, I believe, is how it helps you marinate mean and make quick freezer meals. Each Bag Holder comes with a ‘how-to’ DVD and a cook book. There is also a cook book available that is geared especially toward kids. This is a great, easy way to get kids involved in the kitchen without creating an enormous mess.

There are also a ton of miscellaneous uses for The Bag Holder. You can use it for storage, a filling piper, or to break down and store bulk items. It is a very handy addition to any kitchen and I would highly recommend it.

Luckily, you can win your very own. One Bag Holder is up for grabs during our 2nd Birthday Extravaganza. Visit our Extravaganza Giveaway page to get all of the details and register. This prize is valued at $20, and there are a ton of other great prizes to register for as well!

In addition to their website, The Bag Holder can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

 

*Market Mommy received a free product in order to write this review. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

Care 4 Hire is an online database for families and caregivers. In addition to babysitters and nannies, they also provide listings for housecleaners, pet sitters, tutors, eldercare and miscellaneous help.

I was granted access to a free membership so I could log in and check out all of the features the site has to offer. However, you can also search your local area before you register. I was surprised, living in a less populated area, that there were so many caregivers listed for my area. I thought there would be few, but there were several.

When you create an account, you can set your profile to hidden or viewable so caregivers can find you based on your current needs. There were also several features that I found beneficial. You can manage your references within your account and you can pay for a background check and have it in your profile and viewable by others.

The site also provides samples of interview questions, contracts and background check questions. All of these are of value to those looking for household help for the first time. Overall, I found the site very easy to navigate and full of great information. Care 4 Hire has also recently started a business referral program and you can earn free months of membership by referring new members.

Care 4 Hire has provided a one-month free membership to be given away during our 2nd Birthday Extravaganza. Simply go to our Extravaganza Giveaway page to get all of the details and register. This prize is valued at $34.99, and there are a ton of other great prizes to register for as well!

In addition to their website, Care 4 Hire can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

*Market Mommy received a free product in order to write this review. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

Bugalug specializes in simple and sassy accessories that stay in place. For review, they sent me both a set of pony loops and a soother saver. Both are very cute.

My daughter really loves the pony loops. They fit in her hair nicely and we haven’t had any issues with her pony tail loosening or coming out while they’re in. And, the band is made from ouchless elastic, which is a definite bonus in our house!

The soother savers offered by Bugalug are all handmade and their quality is great. In addition to clipping on the typical pacifier, they can be snapped to hold a toy or sippy cup. Or, you can clip two together for a nursing cover clip, mitten or bib clip.

The prints/designs that I received were very attractive and I’ve browsed all of their other designs as well. I love the look of their products, as well as their functionality and durability.

Bugalug has graciously donated a $50 gift certificate to one lucky Market Mommy reader. Go to our Extravaganza Giveaway page to get all of the details and register. This prize is valued at $12, and there are a ton of other great prizes to register for as well!

In addition to their website, Bugalug can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

*Market Mommy received a free product in order to write this review. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.