Copyright Fair Use and How it Works for Online Images

Keep Up With Dean Kosage…

 

You’ve heard the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, but when that picture is protected by copyright, the picture is only worth three words: cease and desist.

OK, that’s kind of a lawyer joke. But it illustrates how protective people are about finding their images used online without permission.

Copyright laws were established not to give the author the right to deny their work to other people, but instead to encourage its creation.

Article I, Section 8, clause 8, of the United States Constitution states the purpose of copyright laws is “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

It’s a delicate balance between the rights of the creator and the public’s interest. When in conflict, the balance tips more heavily toward the public’s interest, which is often contrary to what the creator believes to be fair or just.

This article will cover exactly what copyright is and what it covers.

And then we’ll look at the concept of fair use as it pertains to using images online. The goal here is to better understand how to use images others create in a way that is both respectful of the author’s ownership rights and allows others to use it.

What Is Copyright?

copyright symbolCopyright attaches at the time of creation and there is no requirement to use the “circle c”. Image source: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Copyright is a federal law of the United States that protects original works of authorship. A work of authorship includes literary, written, dramatic, artistic, musical and certain other types of works.

Copyright attaches as soon as the original work is created, and applies to both published and unpublished works. As soon as you type words, click the shutter on your camera (or, for many of you, hit the home button on your iPhone), apply paint to canvas or paper or lay down tracks for your next hit, you’ve got a copyright (with some exceptions).

Copyright is an automatic right and does not require the author to file special paperwork, as is the case for trademark and patent. Registration is required to enforce the rights, but as a matter of right, an author is not required to register anything to get the right to use the “circle c,” showing the work is copyrighted.

One of the many terrific things about copyright is that it comes with a host of exclusive rights that allow the owner to do or authorize a number of things and exercise substantial control over his or her work. The copyright owner has the right to do four things (called exclusive rights):

  1. Reproduce the copyrighted work;
  2. Display the copyrighted work publicly;
  3.  Prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work; and
  4. Distribute copies of the copyrighted work to the public by sale, rental or lending, and/or to display the image.

Source: 17 USC Section 106.

Copyright does not apply to works in the public domain; words, names, slogans or short phrases (those may have protection in trademark law); blank forms; works that are not original; and government works. This is important to know because if the work is not protected by copyright, then there is no concern whether the Fair Use Doctrine will apply to allow you to use the work.

As online content creatorscurators and managers, you know the value ofusing images to get the reader’s attention, add a visual component to commentary, illustrate using an infographic or any of a host of benefits. Using the correct image can definitely take a post from drab to fab very quickly. It can also help tell a story that words alone can’t.

But unless you’re a photographer showcasing your own work, chances are you’ll need to use work created and owned by someone else. There are plenty of sources. While the general rule is that you can’t use a copyrighted work without express authorization from the owner, there is one significant legal construct that allows millions of people every day to see and share images online.

Please keep in mind that stock photo services, creative commons licenses and public domain repositories of images are not subject to fair use due to the rights they carry.

Stock photo services require you to pay for a license, creative commons licenses confer the right to use an image under certain circumstances and public domain images are not subject to copyright in the first place.

What About Fair Use?

Fair use is not the same as free use. Fair use is a legal exception to the exclusive rights an owner has for his or her copyrighted work.

It has little to do with what we may think is fair, and everything to do with keeping the balance tipped in favor of the public interest. It’s a delicate balance, mind you, but one that often leaves the copyright owner wanting to scream.

balanceFair Use is a balancing between protecting the creator and promoting the interests of the public. Image: cjansuebsri / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The purpose of the Fair Use Doctrine is to allow for limited and reasonable uses as long as the use does not interfere with owners’ rights or impede their right to do with the work as they wish.

Since this discussion will only pertain to use of images online, I will useexamples specific to this.

A classic example of fair use of an image to use online is product reviews. If you want to review a book, a new piece of technology, a food product or whatever widget, you’ll likely want to include a photo. But not some washed-out, overexposed, shadowy, laundry in the background kind of photo that you’d take.

So you head to the manufacturer’s website and right-click that image and save it to upload to your site. A photo will not substitute for the actual product, so the owner’s rights should be very minimally affected. Therefore, your right to use the copyrighted image would likely be permitted under fair use.*

Fair use is in place for the greater good, to allow copyrighted works to be used without permission for the benefit of the public. Imagine not being able to use images of a dead dictator to tell the story of how he died. Or not being able to talk about fashion without showing the outfit you’re referring to.

However, there are limits and only a court has the final decision-making ability. Section 107 of the Copyright Act states:

the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

the nature of the copyrighted work; the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Source: 17 USC Section 107.

All four factors are used in determining fair use, with the first (the purpose and character of the use) being the most important the court will examine. When it comes to photographs, copyright law has a long-standing deference to permit a photographer control over the first time an image is made public. In this discussion, we’ll assume that you’re not hacking computer systems or digging through rubbish bins looking for non-public images.

One of the issues with photos is that using just part of it is, well, a bit ridiculous. This is the third  factor courts will look at (how much of the work is used); however, it is often a very significant element of whether fair use exists.

Unlike the written or spoken word, where excerpting a portion to illustrate is possible, with images it is usually the whole that is necessary. A partial photo, unless you’re doing some kind of guessing game, does not portray the level of professionalism you’re likely going for.

Same with using a very low-resolution option. Not only does a low-res image look bad on your site, the image creator (whether photographer or designer) probably doesn’t want a bad-quality image circulated, as it could impact his or her reputation.

5 Things to Think About Before Using Copyrighted Images

list of 55 questions to consider when using copyrighted images online. Image source: Rawich / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So you’re likely thinking this is insane and who has that much time on their hands to figure out all of this just for an image on a blog? In reality, though, answer question 1 of the 4-part fair use test and you’re likely to get a very good sense of whether you’ll have a leg to stand on if challenged.

#1: Do you understand the term fair use? Just because you provide attribution and/or a link back to the original doesn’t mean you’re free and clear. Fair use has nothing to do with attribution. That’s an issue related to plagiarism, which is different from copyright.

Fair use basically means you’re allowed to infringe on someone’s copyright and they can’t do anything about it. If your use is covered by fair use, you don’t have to provide attribution anyway (although it would be nice).

#2: Why are you using the image? If it is “…for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research…” you’re on the right track.

If you’re just using the image to pretty up a post, then think twice; or better yet, get permission or buy a stock image.

#3: Have you transformed the image? If the new work which incorporates the copyrighted image is a “transformative work”—what you created no longer resembles the original—there is a greater likelihood of finding an exception to copyright infringement.

Are you taking an image and incorporating it into an infographic? Is the image now part of a video used for one of the reasons set forth in the Copyright Act?

#4: How much of the image are you using? If you’re using a thumbnail and linking to the original location, there is greater likelihood of finding fair use than if you just post the original image. If you’re doing a post about facial features and are just using a portion of the face from an image, you stand a better chance of arguing fair use than if you used the entire image.

#5: Are you willing to risk your site being taken down, getting a cease and desist/bill/DMCA or being sued? The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides very powerful options for a copyright owner to protect his or her works in the digital space. By hitting “publish,” you may be opening a can of worms.

In Summary

When it comes to photos, when in doubt, assume it’s subject to copyright and don’t use it without the appropriate permission. What it comes down to is that if you need to use another person’s image, make sure it fits clearly into one of the protected purposes or seek legal counsel if there is a significant investment of money or time in your project.

Fair use may be an exception allowing you to use copyrighted images, but chances are you’ll be in for a discussion or possibly find your site taken down by your host if the copyright holder disagrees. Unfortunately, there are no significant cases that establish hard-and-fast rules when it comes to fair use and images used on the Internet.

However, photographers and graphic artists often make a living from selling or licensing their work and if we all just poached what we wanted, we’d be circumventing not only the law but also interfering with their right to control how they distribute their images.

Copyright fair use has been fought over when it comes to using words and images in print publications. The Internet, though, is still very much in its infancy when it comes to fair use guidance.

Without bright line rules, we’re each left to interpret laws that were written long before digital communication was ever imagined and did not contemplate the ease of sharing that exists today. While it may be a remote possibility that the average blogger will be sued for copyright infringement relating to an image, bear in mind that you may be the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back.”

If you’re considering taking images from large agencies, they have legal teams that do nothing but look for infringing uses. There are inexpensive ways to search for images online, even if you change the file name. And if you’re thinking you’ll just crop the image so you can’t see the copyright notice or other identifying information, think twice about that because the penalty for doing so is very stiff— up to $25,000, plus attorney fees and damages.

There are many resources for free images, whether public domain, licensed creative commons or inexpensive stock images, so you really shouldn’t need to use copyright-protected works for beautifying your sitecreating that cool presentation or making a video. But if you really have to have that image, ask first. You’d be surprised at how many people would gladly grant permissionfor use of their images.

Fair use doesn’t mean fair game, but it’s there to allow for uses that will benefit society and the public good. Don’t be afraid to use images. Use this information to make good decisions and you’re likely to be just fine. Always, though, if in doubt leave it out (or get permission or ask a lawyer).

What do you think? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Disclosure: While Sara Hawkins is an attorney, this article is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered legal advice.
*Not intended to be legal advice.

Image source FreeDigitalPhotos.net: renjith krishnancjansuebsri &Rawich

How to Find and Add Facebook Apps to Your Facebook Page

social media toolsAre you wondering how to add all those cool links below the avatar of your Facebook page? Those links appear when you install an application (or app) on your Facebook page.

If you want to spruce up your page, there’s an app for that.

For example, Facebook apps can automatically showcase your YouTube channel, but they can also do much more.

You may have seen the post Top 10 Facebook Apps for Building Custom Pages and Tabs, but let’s take a step back and talk about what apps are, where you find them and how you install them on your page.

Defining Applications

When you first start your Facebook page, there will be some basic Facebook apps in the left sidebar. These Facebook apps include Photos, Videos, Links, Events and Notes. Any other app you install will be a third-party app, which means that someone other than Facebook made it.

click edit page

Click Edit Page from your Facebook wall and then Apps to see your installed apps.

So how do you get more apps than just the basic ones provided by Facebook?

First you find them and then you install them. Even though that might sound simple, both of those steps are not very straightforward. Finding apps on Facebook can be particularly challenging because the Facebook search feature is notoriously bad. Then steps used to install the app can vary.

Some apps can be installed from within Facebook, others are easier to install by starting on the app website first.

Sometimes it’s even difficult to tell an Application page from a regular Facebook fan page.

An Application page will still have a Like button, a wall and sometimes its own apps installed.

There are a few key ways to determine that it is actually an application. The page may have a Go to App button right next to the App button. Underneath the name of the app at the top, you will see the App classification. And then on the left sidebar you will see the Add to My Page link as you see in the figure below.

fb app

Note the different ways to distinguish a Facebook app from a regular Facebook page.

An indication of how well the app is established is the monthly active users. In the figure above, you see NetworkedBlogs has 990,000 monthly active users, which can indicate that it is a useful and well-established app.

Facebook applications also include games such as CityVille and Mafia Wars and some of the other apps you may have seen such as Give a Hug or the Birthday Calendar.

Since applications are developed by third parties, not all of them work very well and not all of them are reputable. You may have had an issue on Facebook where you click on some post and all of a sudden you start posting strange things on other people’s walls without your permission, maybe telling them to “check out a new diet” or “see who is viewing your profile.”

bad apps

If your Facebook profile starts posting strange things, you probably have clicked on a bad application.

Finding Facebook Apps

If you know the name of the application you are looking for, finding the app can be easier. You can use the Facebook search bar or go to www.facebook.com/search. Using the search tool is better because you can filter by People, Pages, Groups, Apps and more as shown in the figure below.

apps search filter

Filter by Apps in the left sidebar to search for apps only.

You can also find a Facebook app by taking a look at how something is posted within your news feed. Some apps will post into the news feed and you can find out more about the app by looking at the link underneath the post as shown by the HootSuite link in the following figure. If you click on the HootSuite link, you will be taken to the HootSuite app.

apps on post

Apps can be found by looking at the way they are posted.

If it’s an app that only resides on a page, you can sometimes find out what the app is by looking at the bottom of the page. Many apps have either a link to their external website or a direct link to the app within Facebook as shown in the next figure. Not all apps have this feature and some are custom apps created for a specific page only.

apps at bottom

Check at the bottom of the app on the Facebook page to find out how the custom tab was created. Not all apps have this attribution.

Another tool you can use to find Facebook apps is www.Appbistro.com. They don’t have every app listed but they do list a good cross-section of business apps.

Installing Facebook Apps

Once you have found a Facebook app, installing it can be challenging. Some apps install easier from their external website, and some are very easy to install from within Facebook. Many apps’ external websites will tell you exactly how to install it and make the installation process quite easy.

go to app

Once you click Go to App, you will need to give the app permission to access your information.

If you are installing the app from the Facebook App page, the steps will often be different if you click on the Add to My Page link on the left sidebar versus clicking on the blue Go to App button at the top of the page as shown in the NetworkedBlogs figure earlier. Usually you will eventually end up in the same place, but that Facebook “feature” makes writing directions on Facebook apps a challenge.

I usually prefer to click the Add to My Page link on the left sidebar. When you do, you will see a pop-up box where you can select the page where you want the app added.

add to my page

First click the Add to My Page link on the left sidebar, and then click the Add to Page button to add the app to your page.

Now you will navigate to the page where you added the app and find the app listed on your left sidebar.

configure app

Find the app on your left sidebar after you have installed it.

After you click on the app, there may or may not be added steps to configure the app. Follow the steps as listed and you are all set with your fancy new app to dress up your page!

If you would like to move the app position on your left sidebar, click on the Edit link under your complete list of apps on your left sidebar and then you will be able to drag the app to the position you want. When you have the list organized the way you want, click Done and the new position will be saved.

edit app position

Edit the position of the app with the Edit link.

So now you have the big picture on what Facebook apps are and how to find and install them.

What about you? What are your favorite Facebook apps? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

The Future Desk Looks Like

 

 

Keep Up With Dean Kosage…



This is what the desk of the future looks like.. EXOpc has posted a video of its EXOdesk — an interactive desk environment that lets you do all sorts of tasks on a virtual space on your desk — in action and it looks amazing. ~ Dean Kosage

 

 

The actual device is a tabletop computer, somewhat similar to Microsoft Surface, offering 40 inches of high definition space, where you can manipulate virtual objects by touching them and dragging them around.

The video offers a taste of what you can do with EXOdesk: add a virtual keyboard, an RSS feed stream and apps to your tabletop surface. A piano simulation app is shown, and though we don’t see much of its functionality, it looks stunning when expanded to the entire surface of EXOdesk.

Although the release date is vaguely set for 2012, we already know EXOdesk will cost $1,299. If that sounds like a lot, compare it to the recently announced price of Microsoft Surface 2.0, which is $8,900, and it will suddenly seem like a bargain.


How to Hold a Google+ Hangout and Why You Should

social media how toAs Google’s latest foray into social media, Google+ has brought some new tools to the digital table. My personal favorite is Hangouts.

Google describes Hangouts as a “front porch.”

Anyone can drop in and say “hi” just like anyone could drop by when you’re on your porch.



www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN38vHZjWXw

3 Reasons to Consider a Google Hangout

Your prospects are already here! Video conferencing has been available for a while, but Google+ Hangouts takes it to where people are.

Here are some ways you can use Hangouts:

#1: Part of the sales process: You could invite people who are already in your sales pipeline to hang out. Not to put a high-pressure sales speech on them. Just to further the relationship.

To make it more intriguing for people to join, try naming the Hangout “Overcoming _________,” where the blank is filled in with a key problem you know your prospects tend to have.

#2: Office hours: College professors have standing office hours—times students can be sure to see them at their desk. Why don’t you? You could set up a standing weekly or monthly Hangout as a way to increase customer service or to keep in touch with your staff.

#3: Fireside chats: Everyone seems to want time with the CEO, so why not give it? “Town hall”–style conference calls have been popular in recent years, but they are conducted over the phone. What if you were to set up a standing quarterly time for people to actually hear from your CEO? And more than hear, they’ll be able to see and interact.

Hangouts could be used by colleges to communicate with incoming students, or alumni, or even current students or their parents. Or you could use this as a way for your board and investors to interact with the CEO between meetings. If you have a circle of “investors” and only invite them, they should be the only ones who see the invitation.

This is an incredibly efficient use of your CEO’s time: she doesn’t have to leave her desk. No travel time means she can be doing work right up to the Hangout time and start back up when it’s done.

3 Steps to Start a Hangout

#1: Push the “Start a Hangout” button: Starting a Hangout is as easy as clicking on the “Start a Hangout” button on the right side of your Google+ profile!

start a hangout

Click on the button.

#2: Check your hair: The kind folks at Google even give you a virtual green room so you can check your hair before you go live!

check your hair

That's me looking into my web camera.

#3: Invite cool people: Hangouts are only as good as the people who join you on them! So even if you make your Hangout public (open to anyone), be sure to invite individual people too.

And then you’re ready to go live with your Hangout! The Hangout shows up on your timeline, and the timeline of those who have you in their Circles.

join this hangout

Google+ posts your Hangout on your live feed to everyone in the Circles you've invited.

In the Hangout

Here’s a video showing you exactly how to start a Hangout and what to do when you’re in there.



www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSsO6hiozlY

Once you’ve started the Hangout, you still have lots of controls. Along the bottom you have a series of buttons.

lots of controls

You have lots of control in the Hangout: inviting new people, chatting, choosing videos on YouTube and controlling your sound and video.

#1: Invite: While in a Hangout, you always have the option to invite new people. Just click on the “Invite” button on the far left to include individual people or entire Circles.

#2: Chat: Have you ever tried to share a web URL over the phone? It can be pretty challenging. The Chat feature is a great way to share web links and other information during a Hangout. Once you click on the “Chat” button, you’ll see the chat window for the rest of your time in the Hangout.

#3: YouTube: Google has already integrated YouTube videos into Hangouts. So now you can use the “YouTube” button to share a promotional video from your company or a video that illustrates a point. Find a cool video before you’re in a Hangout? Google now lets you start a Hangout right from YouTube.

#4: Volume and Video Controls: If you work at home or in a busy work space, the buttons on the right are very helpful! You can use “mute video” to turn your camera on and off whenever you want. Most people never use this but it is a nice feature.

The “Mute Mic” button allows you to turn off your mic. So if you get a call or someone pops into your office, you can still listen to the Hangout without him having to hear you.

And the “Settings” button allows you even more control. If you have more than one mic or camera, you can choose which one you want to use in the Hangout. And you can choose the “Echo Cancellation” option. That will allow you to use your computer’s built-in mic and speakers without bugging the rest of the Hangout participants!

hangout

There is a lot going on in a Hangout!

3 Things to Fine-Tune

#1: Your costume: If you’re using Google+ for business, you’ll need to decide how you’ll dress for a Hangout. When I speak, I wear bowties. Bowties are all over my social media avatars. But I don’t wear bowties 24/7.

I often work from a home office, so I have to consciously choose whether to don a bowtie or simply hang out in a t-shirt.

hangout

I chose to hangout in a t-shirt.

#2: Your background: What people see behind you is as important as the face they see. Do you want your business logo to show behind you? Or do you like the clean look of a blank wall?

Some people have found my office to be ideal: the books and degrees in the background speak of my commitment to lifelong learning. (I honestly hadn’t even picked up on that!)

In the picture someone took of a Hangout I was on, you’ll see that I have a trade show banner with my company name on it. Since I wasn’t in a bowtie, I wanted people to remember what I did.

#3: Your purpose: Are you just experimenting with a Hangout? Or are you holding a team meeting? Different purposes have different outcomes.

Google+ is still new enough that I’ve found it more effective to let people know I’ll be holding a Hangout so they can be on Google+ when I share the invitation. Starting a Hangout and having no-one show up is like having your tray of food in the high school cafeteria and wondering if anyone will let you sit next to them. It can feel a bit lonely.

Fortunately, Google has added a wonderful feature. Now, if no-one shows up for your Hangout, they remove the Hangout from your timeline. So you don’t have an embarrassing post saying you hung out with “0 people.”

Some Closing Thoughts on Google+ Hangouts

We all know that people only purchase from us when they know, like and trust us. That used to mean we needed to go to a lot of conferences to meet people. But a tool like Google+ Hangouts can help you do the interacting right from your desk. And as Google rolls out the ability to broadcast Hangouts, you’ll be able to extend your reach beyond the 10 people in the Hangout.

And as you do more Hangouts, and capture more images from those Hangouts, your company will stand out. People will know you’re approachable.

As I was writing this article, I popped in to a Hangout. A Google employee joined us as we were chatting, so we got to ask him lots of questions.

Why wouldn’t you take up this opportunity? The only thing it costs is time.

What do you think? How are you using Hangouts? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Google+ Integration: This Week in Social Media

social media researchWelcome to our weekly edition of what’s hot in social media news. To help you stay up-to-date with social media, here are some of the news items that caught our attention.

What’s New This Week?

Google+ Page Badges Are Publicly Released: You can now add a Google+ badge to your website. See the sidebar of this site to see it in action. Adding these badges do impact search results.

google+ badge

Check out Social Media Examiner's Google+ badge in the sidebar on the right.

HootSuite Announces Google+ Pages Integration in the Dashboard: HootSuite has been selected as an official launch partner for the Google+ Pages trial.  For the moment, only HootSuite Enterprise customers can benefit from this new service.

hootsuite

HootSuite Enterprise customers now have Google+ Pages functionality in their HootSuite dashboard.

LinkedIn Reinvents Business Cards With the New CardMunch iPhone App:  With the new CardMunch app, you now have access to deeper and richer information about the person behind the business card. Thanks to their LinkedIn profile, you can find out who you know in common, where they’ve worked, where they went to school and much more.



www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEsRH2vW74I

Foursquare.com Emphasizes Discovery: Foursquare has made some changes to its website to help you discover more places and people. “The first thing you’ll notice when you load up foursquare.com is a big map on the top (you can click on the arrow to make it even bigger). It shows everything interesting nearby – your friends, places that are trending (in yellow), places on your lists (green), places with Specials (orange), and places that are popular (blue).”

foursquare

Discover more places of interest with the new Foursquare design.

Here’s a social media tool worth noting:

AugmenteDev: A free augmented reality tool that allows you to add an image onto a QR code so that others can use their smartphone to visualize it or project it onto a wall. Use this tool to add an image onto a QR code printed on your business card, for example.



www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljqQv5FTWc4

Plus an interesting infographic:

More Small Businesses Willing to Use Social Media:

small business

Check the results from Constant Contact's recent survey.

And don’t miss this:

Social Media Examiner presents Small Business Success Summit 2011! (online conference)

Go here to learn more.

What social media news caught your interest this week? Please share your comments below.

5 Tips for Using the New LinkedIn Company Pages

social media how toHave you kept up with the changes at LinkedIn?

Did you know you can do more for your company on LinkedIn?

Keep reading to learn more.

What’s new with LinkedIn for businesses?

Do you want to increase your opportunities to network with customers, clients, vendors, peers, potential job candidates and even your own employees? If you’re a business of any size, you need to have a well-developed “business” presence on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn recently announced an update to company pages that can help companies and small businesses to become more engaged on the network.

Up until now, your company page existed in isolation. Now businesses can update their individual company pages to enable their followers to receive updates and insights about job opportunities, company news, employee moves and more.

Are these the only kinds of updates that companies can post to their pages? Absolutely not, and I’m going to suggest that you think about this as a brand-new opportunity to showcase your thought leadership and expanding your business!



www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMknZutnVWE

Although it appears on the surface that the new company updates are designed to help big brands and corporations become more connected with potential candidates and employees, I believe small businesses and professional services that get creative about their company status updates and commit to being active with their company pages can also benefit from increased engagement with industry peers, prospective customers, strategic allies and potential new hires.

There are some great resources from Social Media Examiner for building a business presence on Facebook and Twitter, and both of these networks are essential for positioning your business and engaging your community. Now you can extend the reach of your business with your LinkedIn company page to grow your influence as the industry expert!

How do you take advantage of this new tool as a small business or professional services company participating on LinkedIn?

Below are 5 steps for expanding your business through LinkedIn company pages.

#1: Update/create and complete your company page

Currently there are over 2 million businesses with a LinkedIn company page, many of which are corporations looking for talent on the network.

At some point, many professionals will choose to follow numerous company pages on LinkedIn just as they do Facebook business pages, and the stream will become noisier.

Keep in mind that with these pages, LinkedIn provides you with the opportunity to integrate rich media content such as images, hyperlinked banners, links to your website and blog and videos from YouTube into your company profile. Take advantage of these benefits to make your page more attractive, engaging and interesting to your target markets!

To either create or enhance your existing LinkedIn company page, focus on the following tips: 

  • Populate your company overview page using informative descriptions about whom you serve (your ideal customer) and how you serve them. Include the key specialties of your company in the designated “specialties” area and use keywords here that will resonate with your target markets. Also be sure to pull in your blog posts by inserting your blog feed URL!
  • Build out your products and services pages on your profile. On these pages you can include an image, description, list of key features, landing page URL to your site, a link to a special promotion and you can even embed a YouTube video both on the products and services overview page as well as on each individual product/service page! Take advantage of the opportunity to integrate rich media. It will liven up your company page significantly.
    a company products/services page

    An example of a company products/services page from HubSpot.

  • Once you have completed setting up your LinkedIn company page, you will want to enable the page for status updates. You must officially designate who can update the company page within your settings. Once you’ve completed this, designated people within your company will be able to post status updates to your page.

    designated user

    Set a "designated user" for your company page.

#2: Build followers for your LinkedIn company page

Before you can really start to see any benefit from your LinkedIn company page, you’re going to have to work to get company followers just as you work to build a community of followers with your Facebook business page and Twitter profile! Otherwise, your updates won’t be visible unless someone visits your page directly and decides to share or comment on a status update.

Increasing your company followers will increase your company visibility. Your updates will be seen throughout LinkedIn and can easily be shared by your followers with their professional networks.

Building followers for your company isn’t just a one-time process. You should constantly be working to build followers for your company page on LinkedIn in order to expand your reach. It doesn’t matter if your business is big or small. Perhaps you don’t need the masses to follow your company page. You simply need to focus on gathering relevant followers as a small business or professional services company.

Below are some suggestions to quickly build your unique business community for your company page:

  • Encourage existing employees to link up with your page (existing employees can help extend your company’s reach by sharing your status updates with their connections on LinkedIn).
  • Follow the company pages of industry peers, vendors, current customers and prospective customers (many of them will reciprocate the action). Also consider following companies outside of your industry that are in your same geographic location!
  • Send an announcement to the appropriate LinkedIn personal connections. (Best practice: Always provide 2 to 3 concrete benefits for why someone should follow your page. What will they get out of it? How can it help them to be better at what they do?)
  • Consider sending that same “call to action” message to your existing database of customers and prospects, especially if many of them are on LinkedIn.
  • Post a “call to action” to follow your page within relevant LinkedIn groups.

Remember, the more relevant followers you have for your LinkedIn company page, the more opportunities you have to be visible and build influence with your target markets!

#3: Provide interesting and value-added company page updates

Although LinkedIn suggests that you post status updates to your company page about jobs and breaking news, these types of posts are all about you and your company. If you want to engage followers, make it all about them and provide interesting and value-added updates that can help them to succeed in business!

This is your opportunity to establish your company as the industry expert. Also, don’t forget to include rich media such as an image in your company updates in order to make them stand out and capture attention!

A great example of this is HubSpot.  They update their company page with valuable resources and insights that can help marketers and businesses to be more successful in their online marketing efforts. Notice how they end their status update with a question. This is a great strategy to engage your company followers.

updating a company page

An example of how HubSpot is updating their company page with business resources and insights.

#4: Engage and network with people from companies you follow

Want to get on the radar screen of a business you’d like to work with? Watch for their company updates and engage with them! Just as you can engage with individual status updates that you see on LinkedIn, you can do the same with company page updates.

Perhaps a company that you follow is looking for a qualified candidate to fill a position. Point them to several professionals in your network who might be a good fit!

Maybe a company posts something that is helpful to you in your business. Thank them for the resource publicly and share it with your connections!

By helping the companies that you care about grow their visibility, you’ll also expand your influence with the company. It’s a very simple concept that most people don’t think about. Promote and refer the companies that are important to your business by liking, sharing and commenting on their updates. These companies may also return the favor and help to promote your business on LinkedIn as well.

In order to find the right companies to follow on LinkedIn, I would suggest utilizing LinkedIn’s advanced search features to find and follow industry partners, companies in your geographic location, companies that you currently do business with, companies that you’d like to do business with and companies within your same industry (competitors and non-competitors).

company search

Filter searches to find relevant companies to follow!

Also, check out this article for more tips on using LinkedIn Company Search to expand your network.

Engaging and networking with relevant LinkedIn company pages will also help you develop and grow your personal LinkedIn network with other professionals who are engaging with these companies. You may discover other professionals who share the same business interests.

#5: Monitor and focus your efforts

LinkedIn does provide a nice “Analytics” feature to help you monitor and track visitors to your company page, but these metrics do not yet highlight how effectively you are engaging your target markets. However, on the main landing page for your company profile you will be able to see who has engaged with or commented on any of your company updates. Read more about the LinkedIn Company Page Analytics feature on the LinkedIn Blog.

insights

LinkedIn Company Page Analytics feature.

Carve out time specifically for “company” networking on LinkedIn. Update your company status frequently, check for comments and engagements on those updates to determine what’s working, and continue building followers for your page through the strategies mentioned in section #2 of this article!

Also remember to keep your LinkedIn company page fresh and interesting. Add new videos or images from time to time, run special promotions, etc.

I have found that if you focus your time with your social networking efforts, you can accomplish greater success rather than just skimming the surface.

There are several places within LinkedIn to focus on company networking. On your LinkedIn home page under “Companies,” you can view the updates from the companies that you follow.

Or you can visit “LinkedIn Companies” home page (see image below) to see the same update. I find this to be a better place for focusing, as you won’t be distracted by all of the other items on your primary LinkedIn home page. Finally, you can also visit a company page directly and engage with any of the status updates right there on the page itself.

LinkedIn Companies

Monitoring the companies you follow on the "LinkedIn Companies" home page.

Regardless of the size of your business, it’s important to invest in your LinkedIn company presence. I believe that going forward, this will be one of the very best ways to set your company apart and provide ongoing value to your customers and prospects.

Don’t forget that your LinkedIn company page will also be indexed by search engines, which can provide another positive gateway online to your business.

What do you think? Have you thought about how you might build and engage your following on LinkedIn through a company page? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

5 Ways Your Old YouTube Videos Can Triple Their Visibility

social media how toAre you frustrated with your YouTube and video marketing efforts?

Most business owners test the “YouTube waters” by uploading a few videos, then walk away.

They return in a few weeks to notice each video has only a handful of views.

Is that your experience? If so, fret not! All is not lost…

In this article, I’m going to reveal to you five of the most powerful steps that you can put into action today to literally breathe life back into your existing videos, so your YouTube marketing efforts won’t be in vain.

Ready? Here we go!

You can watch this video for a step-by-step of these 5 Ways Your Existing YouTube Videos Can Triple Their Visibility (or keep reading…)



www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9eO9L8oJ5U

#1 Action-Step: Identify Your Keywords

Reworking keywords is the best place to start when working with your existing videos.

Using Google’s Keyword Research Tool, you can quickly uncover the exact questions, topics and issues your buyers are searching for, and you can market your videos accordingly.

Let’s start by picking just one of your videos. Did you use a highly searched keyword in the title and description? If not, add it to the beginning of your video’s title, your description and your tags. It’s OK to change your video title information at any time if the video has not been “pulling its weight.”

Once you’re logged into YouTube, simply click the “Edit” button above your video and you can change, tweak and improve your video information in seconds!

video sales letter

This video is ranked #1 on YouTube for "Video Salesletter." The keyword is in the title AND description.

Do this properly, and your video will start to get ranked at the top of YouTube and Google for your keyword. And this will obviously result in more targeted views!

#2 Action-Step: 3x Call to Action

If your video does not tell people what to do or where to go after the video ends, your viewers are simply going to move on and forget about you completely. You need to tell people precisely what to do next and exactly how to do it.

Here are three ways you can add a call to action to each of your existing videos to convert each view into highly targeted traffic.

  1. Use the Call-to-Action Overlay: This powerful, fully customized banner ad allows you to direct viewers straight to your site by clicking on the button right inside your video. It takes a few minutes to set this up, but it’s totally worth the extra effort!
    call-to-action overlay

    The call-to-action overlay.

    To add YouTube’s call-to-action overlay to all of your videos, sign up here.

  2.  Put your domain in the description: Don’t forget to add your domain name (with the “http://”) at the beginning of your description. It is simply another place people can click to go directly to your website.
    full domain name

    Notice the full domain name is at the beginning of the video description.

    To add your URL, simply click the “Edit Video” button at the top of your video’s page once you’re logged into your account.

  3.  Add Annotations: Annotations can be extremely beneficial if used properly. They take about 30 seconds to create, and can do wonders for your videos. You can’t turn annotations into clickable links that direct visitors to your website, but you can get people to subscribe, like your video or watch the next one in your playlist.
    annotations

    Use annotations to direct viewers to your next video.

    Adding annotations is fun and easy. Once you’re logged into your YouTube account, simply click the “Edit Annotations” button directly above your video.

#3 Action-Step: Upload Your Transcript

This is one of my favorite strategies, because 99% of video marketers simply fail to do it! Head on over to Fiverr.com or pay 12-year-old Billy down the street to write out a complete transcription of your video and save it as a .txt file.

Then, upload the transcript to YouTube so they can sync it with your video. Once you’re logged into your YouTube account, click the “Edit Captions” button directly above your video and follow YouTube’s instructions for uploading.

Using magical software, YouTube will now index every single word of your transcript (your video’s dialog) and incorporate it into its search algorithms. You’ve just put your video SEO (search engine optimization) on steroids!

add a caption track

Uploading your transcript is as simple as selecting the .txt file and uploading it to YouTube.

Most people will never upload a transcript, and YouTube is forced to determine what a video’s topic is based solely on the video’s headline and description. You’ll have the upper hand with a complete transcript of your entire video!

#4 Action-Step: Get Backlinks

Anyone who has ever had experience with SEO knows that Google loves backlinks to your website. This same concept applies to YouTube and ranking your videos at the top of search results.

Whether you hire someone to do this for you, use a service or do it yourself, adding a few backlinks or inbound links to your video AND your channel URL will make a considerable difference in where your videos will rank, and ultimately how many views you’ll receive.

getting to first spot

Getting to the #1 spot in YouTube search results can make a difference of several thousand views!

#5 Action Step: Promote the Video

Once you’ve completed all of the steps above, it’s time to go back to your sphere of influence and share your updated video with your friends and followers.

I like to embed my video on my blog and share the blog post with my email subscribers and my social media followers.

share your videos

Remember to share your videos on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Make sure to include a simple call to action and ask your friends and fans to share the video with their friends for that extra boost. This is the easiest step, but if you want more views, sometimes you’ve just got to ask!

Final Thoughts…

At the end of the day, the time, effort and energy you put into creating an incredible “video of value” is far more extensive than sending out a quick tweet or updating your Facebook profile.

Your video marketing efforts should never be in vain, and if you spend a little time on the “video aftermath” (everything you need to do AFTER your video is on YouTube), you’ll begin to see your video work for you for a long time to come!

Take the time to revamp all of your existing videos using these five simple action-steps. As long as you have created a “video of value” that is worth seeing and worth sharing, the views will happen!

What do you think? Do you have any tips to share? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

5 Tips for Creating Shareable Blog Content

social media how toIs your blog feeling a bit flat? Are you looking to attract more of the right kinds of people to your content?

If you struggle to attract a steady stream of quality readers to your blog, you’re not alone. The good news is that your blog isn’t a lost cause.

There are many smart strategies you can use to create compelling, bite-sized content your readers will devour—and share like crazy.

The secret is to tap into the power, speed and instant accessibility of social media. Here are 5 simple, foolproof ideas you can put into action TODAY:

#1: Build instant rapport

Rapport happens when there’s a relationship of mutual trust between you and your audience.

Social media conditions lead us to expect meaningful relationships to grow quickly, based on interests, likes and other searchable snippets that instantly highlight what we have in common.

But we do the exact same thing in real life. We connect to people at networking events based on first impressions—age, appearance, business niche, and so forth.

We talk to people in restaurants who are rooting for the same football teams. In other words, it’s human nature. The question for you is how do you achieve this same instant rapport on a BLOG—especially in a virtual world that’s full of distractions?

Quick Tip: Be personal, friendly and inviting by writing to ONE person at a time.

You can’t be everything to everyone. But you should write like you’re talking to someone—preferably, to just a single reader. Who is that person? What does he or she want to know?

In the image below, Derek Halpern of Social Triggers shows how he addresses his blog readers.

derek halpern

Derek makes it a point to always use a personal, friendly and conversational tone when writing blog posts to his ideal audience.

Be friendly and direct, and never forget that your readers are individuals with interests, families, jobs, etc.

For example, to promote a recent blog post to my email list, I might start by saying something like, “Halloween’s almost here. We just got back from picking pumpkins. I can’t wait to carve mine. I hope you’re enjoying the cooler weather too!”

The first time I did that, emails came back to me—with colorful personal stories, anecdotes and even photos. Those relationships are priceless.

#2: Create relevance

After you succeed in building rapport with your readers, you’ve hooked them—at least temporarily. But how can you be sure they’ll come back?

The key is to consistently provide engaging, actionable and relevant content.

Focus on delivering added value to your core market at every opportunity. Deliver actionable takeaways. Cater to their interests. Remember to educate, entertain AND empower—no matter what topic you’re covering.

learn more

I know my blog readers value additional resources when I blog about a new topic. That's why in this blog post, "5 Reasons Google+ Will Change Your Content Marketing Strategy for the Better," I added links to relevant articles as a way to further their education on Google+.

Quick Tip: Make your posts meaty.

If you want to educate AND empower your readers, you’re going to need to give them evidence that what you’re saying or doing really works—and that’s where you can go above and beyond your competitors.

Statistics, infographics, research and quotes from experts (especially from a new interview YOU conduct) are great ways to add value and create truly unique content.

In the image below, Vistage International (a training agency for CEOs) created an in-depth infographic.

vistage

Vistage International used this graphic to share their recent findings about CEOs' confidence in the economy.

For another eye-catching example of a “meaty” post, check out crowdSPRING’s recent post on how small businesses are using social media. It’s jam-packed with data that really delivers a punch both statistically and visually.

#3: Provide instant gratification

If you’re really passionate about what you do, then chances are you’ve got a ton of ideas you’re itching to share.

But you might want to put the brakes on that instinct. One of the cardinal rules of social media is speedy delivery of good ideas. Remember: quality, not quantity.

Providing instant gratification is all about effectively delivering high-quality content in bite-sized pieces. It’s about making your blog readers’ lives easier.

Take a look at Seth Godin’s blog. He’s the undisputed master of instantly gratifying, bite-sized blog content. Even his post on Steve Jobs’ passing, “A Eulogy of Action,” boiled all of our complex feelings down into one simple, compelling, actionable idea—would we live up to Jobs’ example?

seth godin

Seth Godin's blog posts are a perfect example of delivering instant gratification. With each post, Godin only touches on one idea, keeps it simple, short and extremely valuable.

Quick tip: Stay off the “tangent train.”

Instant gratification is also about restraint. Our fidgety readers are scoping out a ton of blogs, posts and feeds every day—you need to catch their eye and keep it in a short enough time to give them one main idea or action item that they’ll remember—and come back for more. Don’t indulge the urge to go on the “tangent train.” Stick to one idea, develop it, give it some meat and watch your blog engagement rise.

#4: Ignite shareability

Serious bloggers know how valuable their blogs really are. But most of us won’t see real business results from blog content until we take the next step and give our content wings.

Content with wings takes off—people send it to everyone they know, because they love it so much. To make sharing easy, provide the right mix of sharing buttons with each post. Put prominent share buttons where they’re easy to see, reach and click.

In the image below, Free Blog Factory uses the DiggDigg share buttons to encourage sharing on their site.

free blog factory

Adding share buttons increases your viral reach and introduces your content to a new audience.

Another important component of shareability is harder to pin down—it’s about providing value in unexpected ways. And sometimes, that means thinking outside the box. A great example of this is a post Chris Brogan wrote, “The Practice Is the Reward,” where he manages to connect his workouts to social media, business, happiness and beyond.

Quick Tip: Put down the vacuum.

Don’t be afraid to branch out and introduce a new concept or idea into your posts. Face it: we get so hung up on our business or niche that we all forget to put down the vacuum and look outside ourselves for a pick-me-up.

Talk about a book you think your audience will like, even if it’s not directly related to your service or product. Interview someone new whom readers will benefit from learning more about. Select ideas that matter to you and your audience—but in a new or challenging way. This will inspire YOU—and in turn, your readers.

#5: Make your closing count

Great content isn’t enough.

The final challenge? Getting your readers emotionally invested in you, your brand and your business. Invested readers comment, share and engage in higher numbers—and they’re also more likely to become future customers.

Don’t let readers just walk out on you. Instead, make every closing count. Ending a post with “Make sure to post a comment” is accurate, but it’s not a very effective way to close a blog post. (Full disclosure: we’ve all made this mistake, including me.)

Stop telling your readers WHAT to do. Instead, spark conversation—ask them to think, participate and invest in your content.

your turn

I often use the "Now it's your turn" approach to encourage blog comments.

Quick Tip: Close with one of my Top 3 No-Fail Social Media–Influenced Questions.

  1. Encourage self-promotion:
    “Do you have a Facebook page? Post your link here.”

    Let your readers promote themselves. They love it—and you can get great insight about who your readers really are.
  2. Ask for advice:
    “What’s one tip for ____?”

    Make it about THEM, not you.
  3. Request feedback:
    “What’s your biggest challenge with ____?”

    Ask for feedback on a topic you cover, and follow up with a link. For example, “What’s your biggest challenge with creating killer blog content? Check out my own tips in my post, How to Create Killer Blog Content Without Spending Hours Staring at Your Computer.

Better Content Leads to Better Results

Improving engagement on your blog is just one part of your content strategy, but I’d say it’s the MOST crucial—because you can then use your blog as a hub, driving traffic to and from your social media streams, email list and even YouTube channel.

Remember, the best blogs aren’t necessarily the best written, or the ones with the newest ideas. They’re not necessarily the shortest. (We can’t all be Seth Godin!) But they DO share one thing in common: meeting, and often exceeding, the expectations of content-hungry readers—who are happy to devour, share and come back for more.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think? What ONE piece of advice would you give a friend to help take his/her blog to the next level? Share your thoughts and comments in the box below!

Tay Zonday Fixes the Economy With Music

 

Keep Up With Dean Kosage…

 

“Are you confused about the economy? Well have no fear/I’m going to explain the American economy right now,” sings Tay Zonday in his newest video titled “Mama Economy.” ~ Dean Kosage

 

Zonday shot to fame after his by-all-rights-ridiculous video for “Chocolate Rain” went viral. The song hit the web in April 2007 and has since racked up more than 73 million views. The song, in which the always-strange Zonday singing about … something, gained popularity more for Zonday’s odd, amateurish naivety than for the merits of the song. Intent-be-damned, “Chocolate Rain” ended up in shows like South Park and was covered by musicians such as John Mayer. Zonday himself went on a mini talk circuit, including stops on Jimmy Kimmel LiveGood Morning America and write ups in USA Today and The Toronto Star.

Throughout, Zonday kept his head high and kept making songs. The production values improved (marginally) but he kept his characteristic baritone and cringe-worthy lyrics.

In “Mama Economy” it’s apparent the recession has been getting Zonday down. The song is sort of like if an auctioneer tone-dropped his voice and tried to explain, more or less, the entire economy in four and a half minutes over a violin and 8-bit bloops. And it rhymed … Sort of.

Zonday hits on corporations, money valuations, the national debt, principles of borrowing from a bank and the fact that razor blades oxidate when you… wait, what? Zonday was never (ever) known for his word play but, to his credit, he actually has some decent chops and the kind of optimistic confidence that could fell a tree.

 

More Wonderful Post from Dean Kosage…

 

 

Small Businesses Set to Excel with Social Media in 2012

social media reviewsDo you own a small business? Are you tired of hearing how big businesses are succeeding with social media?

If so, Social Media Examiner has some exciting news…

But first, much has been said about big companies such as Red Bull and Cisco, and how they harness social media to drive massive traffic to their sites and generate enormous sales.

But when small business owners are asked about social media, many have no idea how to use it in a practical way that can impact their business goals.

And frankly it’s hard for small businesses to get ideas from the big guys that seem to have unlimited resources.

Small Businesses Thriving With Social Media

Not knowing “how” to leverage social media is a huge problem for small businesses, because they typically get most of their customers through word-of-mouth referrals.

Savvy entrepreneurs are tapping the power of social media marketing.

Take Curtis Kimball, for example. In the Mission district of San Francisco where he’s known as the Crème Brûlée Man, Curtis uses Twitter to advertise his daily specials, “secret menus” and specific locations where his cart will be parked.

creme brulee cart

Curtis, who says he has no marketing budget, currently has more than 20,000 followers, many of whom literally follow him around from neighborhood to neighborhood to get a taste of his delicious custard treats.

And then there’s the story of Alex Morrissey. He leveraged Facebook to garner 500,000 fans and a very successful business called JamaicansMusic.com.

Responding to his social media experience, Morrissey said, “It’s better than traditional media or even advertising.”

What about you? Has your small business really tapped into the massive opportunities presented by social media marketing?

Small Business Social Media Stats

Here’s evidence of the opportunity for small businesses:

  • Mass consumer adoption of social media: There are more than 800 million active Facebook users, 80% of all Americans use a social network and Americans spend more time on Facebook than any other U.S. website (Nielsen). Your customers are there.
  • Small businesses see big results with social media: A significant 61% of small businesses are landing new customers through social media activities (CrowdSPRING). Plus, more than 70% of small businesses using social media see increased traffic and more than 60% improve search rankings (2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report).
  • Smaller businesses find social media costs very low: Nearly 60% of small- and mid-sized businesses spend less than $100 to market via social media (Marketing in a Digital World, Zoomerang).

Are you “all in” with your social media activities? Want to fast-track your success?

Social Media Examiner Announces Small Biz Success Summit

Acknowledging the massive need to empower small businesses, Michael Stelzner (founder of Social Media Examiner) said, “It’s time to help ultra-small businesses really thrive with social media. Heck, we’re really small ourselves and I just don’t see anyone focusing on the needs of the small guys.”

sbssMike and his team recruited 25 of the world’s top small business experts with strong social media backgrounds for a brand-new summit: Small Biz Success Summit 2012.

If you’re not familiar with these events, they’re large online conferences (so you don’t need to travel).

Typically, thousands gather at Social Media Examiner Success Summits to discover new social media tactics, network with peers and discover how other successful small businesses are using social media.

Here’s what’s unique about this summit:

  1. 100% small business focus: No big businesses and no speakers who target big businesses. This is fully for the tiny business.
  2. This is totally new content: Broadcast new media, Google+, video marketing, blogs plus search and much more. Social media is always in flux and this event will cover what you need to know now about Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. If you’re working off what you learned six months ago or longer, you are ages behind.Need more??
  3. Social Media Examiner’s biggest conference ever: Study the line-up—25 speakers. If you learn some useful new tactics, then it pays for itself.
  4. Every presenter is a small biz owner. This is highly customized for you.
sbss

There's a free sample class if you click above and look for the yellow box near the top right.

All the speakers are themselves small business owners who are deeply entrenched in social media marketing. They include:

  • John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing
  • Anita Campbell of SmallBizTrends
  • Jesse Stay, author of Google Plus for Dummies
  • Hollis Thomases, author of Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day
  • Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner
  • Mari Smith, co-author of Facebook Marketing
  • David Siteman Garland of The Rise to the Top
  • Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute
  • Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger
  • Ramon Ray of SmallBizTechnology.com
  • Lee Oden, founder of Top Rank Online Marketing Blog
  • Amy Porterfield, co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies
  • Ed Gandia, co-founder of International Freelancers Academy
  • Marcus Sheridan, founder of The Sales Lion
  • And many others

Because this is a fully online conference, you don’t have to worry about missing a session. If something comes up and you’re not able to attend, transcripts and recordings are provided!

There also will be plenty of networking opportunities via LinkedIn and you’ll have access to thousands of people who are expected to attend.

Justifying Your Expense

Are you worried about getting funds to pay for the summit? It’s a valid concern.

Can you really afford to not give social media marketing a try?

If you land just one or two customers as a result of attending the summit, the investment may have paid for itself.

Even if you don’t need the summit for yourself, it would make a very special Christmas gift for a friend, son or daughter who owns a small business.

Here’s what Paul Rodriguez, an attendee at our previous summit, had to say:

“If you’re using social media to promote your business (and you’re crazy if you’re not), this summit is a must. The instructors and content were excellent!”

Tickets are currently on sale for 50% off if you act now. Click here for details.

What do you think? Is your small business struggling with social media? Share your story in the comments box below.