Top 11 Reasons to Use Social Media in Business

Over the past few years, to say social media has exploded would be an understatement. Members of social media sites have discovered it's the easiest way to find, learn about, and share information that directly influences their purchasing decisions. It is this reason alone that every business should be on multiple social media sites in an effort to reach as many people as possible.

Below are the top 11 reasons to use social media in business:

  1. Build relationships – personal and professional; connect with all types of people – past and present coworkers, current clients, prospects, vendors, competitors, and marketing professionals to build your network
  2. Share your blog posts; share interesting and useful articles, other blogs, webinars, podcasts, presentations, and poll / survey results with your fan base
  3. Gather valuable information – research similar products / services, competitors, prospects, marketing tips, blog ideas, create your own poll / survey – the amount of information available is endless
  4. Join a social network of like-minded individuals or start a new interest group where you can further brand your product / service, build relationships, and share ideas and information
  5. Stay current with the latest trends – write a blog or join a discussion on a trending topic; become aware of new social media sites that might fit the needs of your business
  6. Land a great new job – using your new connections on various social media sites, you can get the inside scoop on companies that are hiring, as well as resume and interview tips
  7. Discover a new passion in life, become a volunteer, or start a fundraising event
  8. Get found by prospects by using inbound marketing tactics – spread the word about your product / service through social media sites; to form a complete marketing plan, combine this with outbound techniques (interruptive marketing)
  9. Build business reputation and brand – constantly add value to all your posts and become a trustworthy leader in your industry; to quote Bob Burg, "All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust."
  10. Build a marketing department inexpensively – for start-ups, employing inbound marketing tactics is a cheap way to start marketing your product / service; most social media sites are free to join, while others have a minimal monthly or annual fee
  11. Help increase conversion rates – use social media and inbound marketing to steer more organic traffic to your website and convert more leads into sales; the average conversion rate is 2.3%, but varies by industries according to ClickZ, Marketing News & Expert Advice, http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1691779/benchmarking-average-conversion-rate .

I recommend choosing a useful of sites to manage and start getting your feet wet. Not every social media site available will be right for you or your business and it would overwhelming to try them all. For example, consistently maintaining a blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ pages, a YouTube channel, as well as a Twitter account might be a great place to start. Depending on the type of business, a Pinterest, Tumblr, or Flickr account might or may not be worthwhile, but obviously they are great certain brands.

If you need help getting started, there are countless different types of resources. I have used the An Hour a Day book series on Facebook Marketing, Twitter Marketing, and Social Media Marketing. They address each entity in a step-by-step fashion that is very user-friendly. I also find Hubspot to be extremely helpful. They are continuously publishing user guides that contain valuable information, tips, and tricks. Lastly, when creating your profile on the various social media sites that best fit your marketing plan, it's a good idea to connect with other marketers to check out what they are doing to boost business.

Do you have a tip or trick to share with newcomers to social media? Share it with us; you are more than welcome to post questions and / or comments here!

Life Insurance 101, An Explanation of Various Types of Life Insurance

TERM LIFE INSURANCE – Life insurance for a set number or years. You can choose from 5 to 30 year terms. No cash value, if you die during the term you collect the death benefit. The policy dies after the selected term has ended and you receive nothing unless you have a, return of premium rider or you convert the policy to some form of permanent insurance.

RETURN OF PREMIUM TERM INSURANCE (ROP) – A term insurance policy that returns all or a portion of premiums paid at the end of the term if the death benefit has not been paid.

SIMPLIFIED TERM INSURANCE – Term insurance which uses a simple application. Underwriting is done electronically. No underwriting requirements by the applicant unless red flags arise out of the electronic underwriting process. Policy is usually issued much quicker than regular term. There is a limit of death benefit for this type of policy ($350,000 or less) depending on the insurance carrier. This type of policy is generally more expensive because of additional risk by the insurance carrier. Less underwriting =more risk.

CRITICAL ILLNESS INSURANCE – Applied for as a stand-alone policy or as a rider to another life insurance policy. Pay immediate benefit for a covered illness even if death does not occur.

ACCIDENTAL DEATH INSURANCE – Pays benefit in event of a covered sudden accidental death. Applied for as a stand-alone policy or as a rider to another form of life insurance.

MORTGAGE PROTECTION INSURANCE OR DECREASING TERM INSURANCE – Term insurance that pays the balance of your mortgage should death occur. The amount of death benefit decreases to match the amount owed on mortgage. The insurance is set up to end at the same time your mortgage is set to end.

UNIVERSAL LIFE INSURANCE (non variable) – Flexible premiums. Can be a permanent insurance as long as premiums are paid and policy is funded properly. Investment policy in which risk lies with insurance company.

Has a minimum guaranteed interest rate which differs by company. This policy has the ability to gain contract value. The death benefit can be set to level (death benefit stays the same throughout) or increasing (death benefit increases as contract value rises). You may obtain loans or make withdraws but you must be careful, if the policy is not funded, it will collapse.

VARIABLE UNIVERSAL LIFE INSURANCE – Agent must have securities license to sell. Very similar to non-variable universal life. The difference is that the policy owner assumes investment risk. There is no guaranteed interest rate. Policy can collapse if investment does not do well and policy is not funded properly.

WHOLE LIFE INSURANCE – Simply put, you pay the premium and the policy will last your whole life. You usually have an option to borrow against the policy, amount depends on the value of the policy. This type of policy is usually much more expensive than the universal life policy.

GRADED BENEFITS WHOLE LIFE – Partial or no benefits paid until a named or tiered waiting period has passed. If you die before the waiting period has passed, you usually will receive the return of your premium payments with some sort of interest.

FINAL EXPENSE WHOLE LIFE INSURANCE – This type of whole life insurance is aimed at burial and funeral expenses and other final expenses. Usually, no medical exam required and death benefit is limited to $50,000 or less.

SINGLE PREMIUM WHOLE LIFE – This whole life policy is paid for by a single lump sum payment. In return the beneficiary receives a larger death benefit than the payment.

THINGS TO CONSIDER: You may be interested in mixing and matching different types of policies. For example; There is a need for 500k immediately. As time goes on, the kids have graduated college and are out of the house, the house is almost or totally paid off. Now the need is less. In this example you may want to purchase a 330k universal life and a 20 year 200k term. This plan will save you money and still protect your family for life.

Or, you may want to mix term, critical illness, accident, universal life, or whole life in various ways depending on your needs.

RIDERS:

Waiver of Premium Rider – pays life insurance premium if you become disabled and can’t work. There is usually a waiting period and rider usually expires at age 60 or 65.

Critical Illness Rider – Rider is explained above.

Return of Premium Rider – Rider is explained above.

Guaranteed Insurability Rider – this rider allows you to purchase an additional amount of life insurance at a later date without having to prove insurability again or take another medical exam.

Term Conversion Rider – allows you to convert a term insurance policy into a permanent policy without proving insurability again.

Accelerated Benefit Rider – this rider is only for permanent life insurance policies. This rider is usually included automatically for free. It allows you to collect a portion of your policy’s death benefit if you become terminally ill with a short life expectancy, usually one year. The portion paid out is subtracted from you policy’s death benefit.

Accidental Death Benefit Rider – This rider pays in addition to the death benefit if you die from an accident.

Child protection Rider – Usually used to pay final expenses if the unthinkable happens. Often, at a nominal cost and purchased in units of $1,000.

UNDERWRITING: requirements depend on insurance carrier, type of policy, amount of death benefit, age, build chart, gender, medical history, medications, family history, motor vehicle report, and other factors.

An application is always required, although, non-medical policies usually have a simple application.

Requirements could be: Paramed (certified medical processor or nurse comes to your place of choosing, takes you through a medical questionnaire, measures your height and weight, takes blood and urine sample, possibly EKG either resting or non-resting), Medical information from your physician or hospital, Medical exam, etc.

HEALTH CLASSES – Typical health classes would be, Preferred Best, Preferred, Select Standard, Standard, and then different nicotine classes such as, preferred nicotine, select nicotine, and standard nicotine.

It is possible to be rated less than standard depending on health and underwriting factors.

You must qualify for a health class. This is chosen by the underwriter after the underwriting process is complete. The agent can only quote you the different health classes but this can change with the underwriting process.

Real Estate Agent Job Description

Real estate agents liaise between home owners and buyers to conduct the sale, purchase or rent of properties. They work for brokers and play a major role in assisting people buy or sell residential, commercial or industrial property. They keep and maintain an up-to-date account of property listing and other relevant housing information to stay abreast with properties available on the real estate market. They subscribe to several listing services to advertise and market properties up for sale. They also contact property and market properties up for sale. They also contact property owners to obtain information regarding a property.

As part of their responsibilities, estate agents present sales and purchase offers to clients for consideration. They advise them on property rates, legal requirements and general market trend. They also interview clients to determine their property preference or specification. Usually, they prepare a list of properties that best match the needs and requirements of clients. They visit and inspect properties in order to establish precise property value. They also proffer recommendations to clients on properties that best suit their budget and preference.

Most estate agents oversee the preparation of closing statements, purchase agreements, representation contracts and other necessary documents required for estate trade. They conduct negotiations between property sellers and buyers to establish price and other terms of sales. They also liaise with pest control operators, home inspectors etc. to ensure the terms and conditions stated in a purchase agreement are met prior to the closing of sales.

In fulfilling their role, real estate agents oversee the closing of property sales, they ensure payment is complete and appropriate documents signed. They maintain contact with clients to offer them real estate services/products and assist with the resolution of issues. They also provide consultation services to clients to recommend strategies for the speedy sale of property. They often conduct training programs for junior/trainee sales agents to enhance their sales skill. This job position requires at least a high school diploma, state license for practice and an aptitude for sales. Qualities needed for the job include persuasion, interpersonal skills and problem-solving skills.

Real Estate Agent Job Description Sample

Given below is a sample of the job description usually handed real estate agents by most employers:

  • Act as liaisons to conduct real estate trade between property buyers and sellers
  • Present sales offers to clients as well as bid on available properties
  • Carry out investigations to determine client credit status and ability to complete payment
  • Inspect properties to appraise its value and estimate the worth on the property market
  • Interact with clients to identify their requirements and proffer recommendations on properties that best suit their budgets
  • Assist home sellers in promoting their buildings on property listing services to attract clients for purchase
  • Prepare and deliver sales pitches to clients in order to secure real estate contract
  • Provide clients with a list of properties available for sale to assist them in making choice selection
  • Conduct price negotiations between property buyers and sellers to ensure a fair bargain for both parties
  • Provide clients with a tour of residential, industrial or commercial properties to showcase and explain property features
  • Carry out investigations to confirm clients have clear property titles
  • Provide appropriate reply to client’s enquiries concerning property appraisals, financing, maintenance etc.
  • Examine property premises to recommend maintenance measure required to improve the face value
  • Assist clients in evaluating mortgage options to obtain the best rate and terms
  • Attend conventions, conferences and seminars to improve existing job knowledge and expand personal network.

If you are a recruiter needing the best real estate agent to hire, you can use the sample job description above in making one for your company, for use in hiring and assigning duties to the successful candidates.

10 Marketing & Social Media Tactics to Boost Holiday Sales

Tis the season for holiday sales!

Shoppers are flocking online in search of gift giving ideas. According to Mashable, "65% of shoppers tap social media looking for the perfect gift … and two out of three shoppers purchased a gift they found via social media."

So what are the best ways to cash in on seasonal sales with your business?

Whether you are a service-based business or sell products, here's some suggestions to get in the spirit with holiday sales.

1) Learn from the Ghost of Christmas Past

Look at metrics from last year's holiday sales. What products were bestsellers? Which promotions created the largest lift in sales? What special offers were a total bomb?

Discover what worked and did not so you can capitalize on it when you plan this year's promotions.

2) Make a Holiday Social Media Cover Image

Decorate your social media business pages with a specially designed cover image. It's the perfect place to announce special holidays promotions and deals.

Be sure to create one for all of your social media accounts.

3) Use Holiday Hashtags

Twitter shoppers may use hashtags to find their next purchase. So take advantage of hashtags to get discovered.

Some popular hashtags include: #blackFriday, #DIY, #holidaysssavings, #stockingstuffers, #holidays, #Christmas, #Hannukah, #Kwanzaa, #NewYears

4) Create Social Media Graphics for Promos and Deals

Everyone loves getting a great deal when holiday shopping. Make festive graphics promoting special promotions that make purchasing the perfect item irresistible.

Deals can include:

• one day only,

• limited quantity sales,

• buy-one-get-one free,

• special discounts or holiday coupons.

Consider offering a "12 days of Christmas" promotion with a special deal each day!

Canva makes it easy to make custom holiday social media graphics.

5) Boost Sales with Free Shipping

Consider offering free shipping for holidays gifts. Create highly visible buttons or banners promoting it on your website.

Or you can boost the order size by offering free shipping on orders over a bigger dollar amount such as $ 100.

Studies show that shipping costs are one of the largest detracts to making a purchase online so this one tactic could result in big returns for you.

6) Offer Gift Ideas

Holiday shopping can be frustrating when you do not know what to buy for the person who has everything. You'll want to promote your bestselling gifts.

Make gift buying easy by sharing gift suggestions like:

• 5 gifts for mom,

• 10 gifts grandparents love,

• 5 gift ideas for tech savvy teens etc.

Then offer links to purchase each of the items you mention on your blog and on social media.

Better yet, if you have a blog, write articles based on these topics and refer to your products within the article with links back to the purchase page.

7) Write Reviews

If you offer one of the hot new products of the season, consider writing and reviewing a review about it on your blog. In this review you could mention your own offers that would be a great gift accompaniment.

As an example, do a review of the top three smart phone accessories for Mom this Christmas and share pictures of them with a red bow on them along with a side-by-side features comparison. Then mention how your offer go great with these gift ideas while including links to purchase.

You could also incorporate your Amazon affiliate link for those products

8) Suggest Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Help idea stumped shoppers by offering suggestions for small items for everyone on their shopping list!

Write a blog post with the hottest stocking stuffers for the season. Share daily stocking stuffer ideas on social media using hashtags like: # beststockingstuffers2016 #cheapstockingstuffers #stockingstuffersforwomen

9) Reward Loyal Customers

Offer to give a $ 100 Gift Card to a randomly selected customer cutting posting a picture or video with your product on social media. Set up a campaign having them use a special hash tag like #christmascountdown.

This can help your promotional campaigns to go viral as customers share on their timeline and family / friends see their post.

10) Share Holiday Spirit

Connect to the spirit of the holidays in your customer's hearts. Engage your customers by asking them their favorite holiday tradition.

Get people to interact with your brand by asking them to share:

a. Their most-loved family recipes from Thanksgiving or another holiday event.

b. What their most loved Christmas song is.

c. DIY Christmas decorating tips.

d. Easy gift wrapping suggestions.