Realistic Goals in Social Media

By Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media Wiz

I’ve been reading one of the latest books on social media, “A World Gone Social” by Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt. I highly recommend it for those of you who are still trying to figure out this newfangled marketing and those of you who are used to the old-fashioned or as the authors put it, “Industrial-Age” marketing.

One big discussion question is What is the return on investment (ROI) in social media?

Answer: There is no set way to determine that. It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. What are your goals and objectives?

Another questions is How do you sell on social media?

Realistic Social Media Goals for businessesAnswer: You really don’t. The big brands can do it, but they’ve built up their following and they’re working hand-in-hand with the networks in advertising and ways to get those impulse buyers to “buy now” and get them before they change their minds. It takes a solid plan, a hefty advertising budget and a staff.

Social media is a tool to accomplish several goals:

  1. Drive traffic to your website
  2. Become known as an expert in your field
  3. Search engine optimization (SEO) / getting on the first page of Google search
  4. Social amplification – getting folks to share your content with their friends
  5. Increase awareness and exposure
  6. Lead generation – it’s up to your site to capture the leads and then up to you to nurture them into sales.
  7. Reduced marketing costs – these are all free billboards – but if you don’t know how to use them properly, you need to invest in training. You may also need to invest in graphic designer to create quality graphics or a videographer to create quality videos.

A solid marketing plan is also key. Defining goals, your target market and the strategy you’re going to use to reach your goals.

So what are realistic goals in social media?

Again, it depends. The answer will vary depending on if you’re business to business or business (B2B) to consumer (B2C), your industry, your current customer base. If you’re starting from scratch, your goals may look something like this:


  • Facebook: 30 “Likes” – after 30 likes you get insights from your Facebook fans on your business page – you get demographics: age, gender and location; you can also see what posts got the most engagement.
  • LinkedIn: 50 connections on your personal/professional profiles along with a complete profile makes you an “All-Star” and you’ll come up higher in searches
  • Twitter: 100 followers – after 100 followers you can analyze them with SocialBro and get demographics like what time zones your followers are in and when’s the best time to tweet? You can also use SocialBro in combination with HootSuite to schedule out posts and tweets. Here’s a video to show you how that works.
  • Google+: 100+ active followers — you are engaging with each other — liking, sharing, commenting — you will be rewarded by Google by improving your search results ranking by 14 spaces! The more active you are on Google+, the faster Google will index links posted as “Public” in the Google search engine! You cannot ignore Google+!

It takes a lot of time and effort to build a following.

If you put in 90 minutes a day for 1 month, you should reach those goals. Once you’re following is built, it builds momentum and each “milestone” should become your next set of goals. As long as you keep feeding them content that they like, your following will grow and that social amplification will kick in.

Sites statics and analytics can provide another set of goals.

  • Page views – the more often you blog and share it on social media, the more traffic you will drive to your site. This should increase if you consistently put out good content.
  • Referral sources – knowing which networks are driving more traffic to your site is crucial in setting your strategy and tactics for the next months. Increasing the number of referrers from either of the networks is your next goal.
  • Most popular posts – tell you what type of content is most popular with visitors to your site. Keep feeding them and they will keep coming!

Register for the social media seminarIf all this seems overwhelming and totally foreign to you, then you need to attend my social media seminar that I’m giving on 10/28 for Greater Phoenix SCORE at the North Mountain Business Alliance in North Phoenix. Only $25 and I’ll be covering branding along with an overview of the major social networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest as well as blogging, hashtags and trends!

If you can’t make that one, I’ll be holding a seminar with SCORE each month. Coming up:

Content Marketing, WordPress & Blogging: How To Get On The First Page of Google

Friday November 14, 2014 from 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM MST
The Google search engine is looking for fresh, relevant content written for the human reader. That is content marketing, aka blogging. We will cover blogging platforms, designing your blog, how to blog, what to blog about, how often to blog, video blogs, promoting your blog, capturing leads, and statistics/analytics.

The Right Way to Use LinkedIn to Promote Your Business

Tuesday December 9, 2014 from 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM MST
LinkedIn is the “Facebook for Professionals” and it’s not just an online resume! It’s your virtual Rolodex! Are you using it properly?
You need a solid marketing plan before you jump in and part of that is defining your target market – a SCORE mentor can help you with that for free! Click here to schedule a mentoring session.

About the Author:

Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media WizGiselle Aguiar, founder of AZ Social Media Wiz is a social media, inbound and content marketing strategist & trainer helping small to mid-sized business owners learn how to leverage the power of social media marketing, increase traffic to their websites, generate leads, increase brand awareness and establish themselves as experts in their fields. As with anything in business, using the right tools in the right way and at the right time are critical parts to your success. Learn from someone who’s known the Internet since it’s infancy. Official Social Media, Newsletter and Blog Manager for Greater Phoenix SCORE and Adjunct Faculty at Phoenix College. Social media training – 1-on-1 or for groups. WordPress sites and blogs. 602-738-1700. You can connect with Giselle online at LinkedIn or on Google+.


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SCORE Success Story: Prime Realty Group LLC

SCORE Business Success StoryCompany: Prime Realty Group LLC

Owner: Elise Sarmiento

Type of Business: Real Estate Investments

SCORE Mentor: Tom Loegering

SCORE Services:

  • Business Plan Development
  • Business Plan Review
  • Business Start-up
  • Home-based Business
  • Management
  • Real Estate
  • Office Admin/Mgmt
  • Real Estate Investment

SCORE’s Role:

I was very lucky to meet Tom Loegering in April, 2012. Although I was trained as a professional (veterinarian), Tom provided me with much-needed guidance in focusing on key parameters that are critical to balancing one’s life:

  • Personal
  • Financial
  • Family
  • Physical
  • Community
  • Spiritual

His message was simple —

Learn to control yourself in these key aspects of life and you can accomplish almost anything to which you set your mind.

Focus on Your Target MarketBy applying these principles, I found that much of the clutter and distraction that challenged me nearly every day, gradually became mitigated. I found that I was increasingly able to direct my energy and focus toward greater creativity and development of novel ideas.

The path, although simple, was not easy at first. I discovered very quickly that I needed to approach each of these life aspects in steps much like a business plan. Tom taught me to write down a plan for achieving each goal including the small and very personal ones. By putting each plan on a timeline, I gradually began to get my life under control. Then an interesting thing happened — I began to notice that a strong sense of peace began to enter my life as I achieved more and more of my goals. The peace and sense of personal control that came into my life began to clear my mind and I found that I had increasingly more energy and drive to be creative and to accomplish new goals.

Since meeting Tom, I have become licensed in real estate and am pursuing a career in locating multifamily properties that yield high cash-on-cash returns for investors. I also am a Realtor in single family residential properties with Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living in Scottsdale, AZ. Of course, I still work as a veterinarian, but now I find that I can provide a much higher level of care for my patients because I think more clearly and am much more efficient!

I feel that the sky is the limit, and I can’t wait to achieve sufficient financial wealth to allow me to establish a scholarship fund that will help others achieve peace and balance in life through education, self-discipline, and perseverance.

Many would-be entrepreneurs are wondering how to balance a day-job, family and a start-up company. A SCORE mentor can provide the guidance needed to manage everything and help you be successful – and it’s free! Click here to schedule a free meeting. We are located at several locations around the Phoenix Valley.

Is your business a SCORE story? Contact your mentor to get the success form and we’ll feature your story!

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Entrepreneurs & Small Business Owners: Can you Think like a CEO?

Leadership: Think like a CEOTechnically, if you own your own business, you are a CEO – Chief Executive Officer. You don’t need full corporation status to think like a CEO – it’s all about leadership.

What essential skill separates the small business owner from the Fortune 500 CEO?  It is the ability to make big plans with confidence.

When making big plans such as: acquiring a distressed competitor, hiring managers, or buying an expensive piece of equipment, knowing the answer to the following three questions will separate you from the rest of the field.

  • How much more business do I need to break-even on the new expense?
  • How fast can I grow my sales to exceed my new break-even point?
  • How can I know I won’t run out of cash?

When you have the ability to quickly answer these three questions when making your plans, fear evaporates and you enter a whole new era that will shape the future of your company.

If you are you constantly thinking of new ideas to grow your business, but struggle with how to know which ideas you should pursue, and which ideas you can afford to pursue, the upcoming, hands-on workshop “Think and Act Like a Fortune 500 CEO When Growing Your Small Business Into A Successful Company” presented by Steve Meisenheimer of The Effective Leader, is for you. (Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, 3-5 pm in Ahwatukee.)

This is not a financial workshop.  Your skills in all four areas (sales, marketing, operations and finance) are equally tested when answering these three challenging questions.

Core Concepts

Audience members learn exactly what it takes to make big the decisions that will grow their companies in the most efficient and profitable way possible.  They experience, hands on, the actual process of thinking through the plans identified in #1 above.  They will then learn to quickly produce the answer to question #2 while monitoring the critical nature of question #3.

Who Should Attend?

Anyone who leads an organization, or wishes to be in a leadership role, will benefit and enjoy this workshop.  It is well suited for all levels of leadership skill. Aspiring leaders will get an expanded view of what leaders must do, and how to do it, to be successful.  Experienced leaders will learn new techniques and activities to further improve their skills, their effectiveness, and their influence.


The workshop includes extensive audience interaction with our planning tool.  Attendees will need to come with a laptop that can read a Microsoft Excel file, or be willing to look on with another.  iPads will not work with the tool.

About Steve Meisenheimer

Steve MeisenheimerMeisenheimer has owned nine companies in his career. Like most business owners, he spent much of it learning about leadership through trial and error. This was a risky way to learn when the futures and fortunes of his employees, investors, and many other stakeholders counted on his leadership.  Business audiences who want to learn the practices, and achieve the results, of the most effective leaders appreciate his content and motivational style.  After being at the helm of his own companies for 28 years, Meisenheimer now owns a company called The Effective Leader, which trains  business  owners  to  become business leaders.  He also speaks   professionally,  has  written  three  books  and  enjoys teaching others to succeed in the great game of business.



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7 Essential Skill Sets for Business Success

by George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

7 Essential Skill Sets for Business Success Everything is changing at such a dizzying pace that it is hard to keep up.  Whether you are an entrepreneur running an existing business or starting a business,  know that the pace of change has accelerated.  Although we have always had to deal with change, its magnitude, speed and depth is unlike anything we have had to fact heretofore.  All indications are this change proposition will continue to accelerate in the years ahead.  Anticipating and adapting to these changes faster than your competitors will help ensure your success.

Are you in a rut?  Are you thinking and operating the way you always have, or are you facing the future with a new vitality and resolve.  As the external environment changes, your thinking and strategies need to change as well.  For many of us that means acquiring new skills.  You need to engage change proactively, making the necessary business changes to maintain competitive advantage.  If you are in the process of developing your start-up business plan, you will need to be aware of the changes taking place within your business specialty.  You will need to anticipate how your customer expectations are changing so you are not caught “flat footed”.

Ram Charan, a noted management consultant and author, has identified seven interrelated learnable skills that separate the performers from non-performers:

  1. Pinpoint external changes and trends quickly and accurately.
  2. Use this information to position your business and to re-position your thinking.  This process has to happen quickly enough to be effective because of the pace of change.  This means aligning your actions with today’s realities.
  3. Quickly and accurately identify the changing needs of your customers and meet these needs better than your competitors.  You need to be quicker and more nimble in recognizing changing customer requirements.
  4. Set goals and laser sharp priorities.  Select the right set of goals, make them achievable, and get everyone involved.  Goals need to be stated clearly, be measureable and communicated effectively and often.
  5. Evaluate your key staff and determine whether they are high achievers, flexible, willing to adapt to new realities, have a positive can-do attitude and are team players.
  6. Develop in yourself and team leaders the ability to be “coaches” rather than “bosses”.  Bosses tell people what to do.  Coaches ask questions and together with their people work on goals, priorities and solutions to problems.
  7. As an entrepreneur you need to possess the following attributes:  integrity, character, ambition, drive, tenacity, “people skills”, communication skills, psychological openness, realism and an insatiable appetite for learning.

Success on a sustained basis in this world of change depends on your cultivating and practicing these seven skills sets.

About the Author:

George Obst, Certified SCORE MentorGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.


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Hitting the Target: Setting & Reaching Your Goals

By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

HITTING THE TARGET                  SETTING AND ACHIEVING THE RIGHT GOALSSetting and achieving the right set of goals are two of the most important skill sets essential to entrepreneurial and business success.

Setting goals is about determining the set of objectives that best balances what your organization can become and what it can realistically achieve. It is about setting goals that are achievable, and yet stretch the organization to greater accomplishments.  Goals need to be clear and discussed frequently and effectively.  Also, they need to be measurable with progress documented at frequent intervals.

Once the goals are set, the priority actions need to be identified.  These priority actions are the pathway for accomplishing the goals.  This truly is where the rubber meets the road.  The right priority actions, combined by relentless follow-up, keep the truly important things on the radar screen.  In most day-to-day work environments everything seems urgent and important.  Defining what the most important actions should be and pursuing their accomplishment attests to the tenacity, attitude, and judgment of leadership.

Typically, setting four to six goals are about as many as can be effectively handled.  Then, setting at most, three to four priorities (action steps) for each goal should represent the most important and timely actions that must be taken to achieve the goal.  Each action step should have a due date and be assigned to one or more individuals.  Full dialogue about the goals and priorities needs to occur to achieve buy-in from the people who will carry out the actions.

Setting the wrong priorities, or having too many priorities, dilutes the entire effort and results in non-performance. Often, priorities are set when too little information is available or when people filter the information through their own biases or ego.

Let’s look at a simple example to illustrate the concept.  The goal is to increase sales 8% in 2014.  This goal was arrived at after an analysis of why sales were growing at only 2%.

The priorities may be:

  1. Survey existing accounts (by a specified date) that showed a drop in sales or had flat sales to determine the reasons.
  2. Based on the result of the survey take a defined action. For example, if product quality was a significant reason, then identify a priority to make operational improvements.  Be specific about the step(s) you will take.
  3. Identify a hit list of potential new accounts and call on five of these a month.

Effectively identifying and implementing goals and priorities, and linking their accomplishment to individual and team performance, have a powerful impact on people’s behavior. The result will be sustained and significant organization progress and success.

SCORE, a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration has certified mentors who can help you identify the most important goals and priorities for your business or business idea. Call today, (602 745-7250) or click here to make your no fee appointment with a SCORE mentor.  There is never a charge and you can be assured of the very best counsel and advice.

About the Author:

George Obst, Certified SCORE MentorGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.


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Common Grammar Errors Bloggers Make

By Sharon Bohm

Grammar Check!

What’s wrong with this picture? It should be “Girls” plural. “Girl’s” is possessive. Ex. “It’s that girl’s bag.” If they had wanted to show possessive, then it should read, “Girls’ Room”.

Recently a SCORE blog post from GoDaddy talked about the importance of proofreading blog posts before hitting “publish”. I was asked to contribute these grammar tips as a sequel. Sure your proofreading, but do you know what to look for? Sometimes words seem similar and are easily misused. For instance, in the previous sentence, did you notice that it’s the wrong “your”? It should be you’re, a contraction of you and are. If you’re not sure which “your” to use, replace it with “you are”. If it makes sense, then it’s “you’re” if not, then it’s the possessive “your”.

Here are a few of the more common grammar errors and some tips to avoid them:

Witch Which Word?

Then or Than

Then or than cannot be used interchangeably.

Then can indicate a period of time.

Ex. I didn’t eat breakfast when I woke up because I wasn’t hungry then.

In can also indicate an order in a series.

Ex. First, I went to the grocery store. Then, I went home and cooked dinner.

Then is also used in conditional statements paired with the word if.

Ex. If I run my errands today, then, I won’t have to run them tomorrow.

Than is used to compare two items.

Ex. I prefer chocolate than vanilla ice cream.

Important thing to note: Do not rely on Spell Check to catch a mistake misusing then or than or other words that are similar. It won’t. Always proofread your work. Proofreading is good practice in writing.

Affect or Effect

Like then and than, these two words cannot be used interchangeably and people often get confused when to use them.

Affect is generally used as a verb meaning to influence.

Ex. Not studying for finals will negatively affect your grade.

Effect is generally used as a noun that is the result of a cause.

Ex. Not studying had a negative effect on my grade.

Important thing to note: Again, Spell Check will not catch a mistake misusing effect and affect.

There, Their, or They’re

Although misusing these forms is common, it is not tricky to remember when to use each.

There generally indicates a specific place.

Ex. My car is over there.

There is also used to introduce a noun.

Ex. There is too much dressing on my salad.

Their is a possessive. It indicates belonging.

Ex. That is their car.

You can even use them both in a sentence.

Ex. Their car is over there.

They’re is a contraction of they are. That is the only time it is used.

Ex. They’re coming with us.

Other Possessives

Just about everyone knows that you need to use an apostrophe (‘) to indicate possession.

Ex. That is Lisa’s book.

There is an exception. The word it’s is not a possessive. It’s is a contraction for it is. Use its without the apostrophe to indicate possession.

Ex. The dog ate its kibble.

Other examples of possessives that do not use the apostrophe include: theirs, his, hers, our – to name a few.

And then there are common typos like:

  • form / from
  • out / our
  • too, to and two (also, where and the number)
  • now / own
  • of / off

The proper use of commas is another major topic that we’ll leave for another post.

‘Fess up: What are your common typos or grammar errors? Please comment below.


About the Author:

Sharon BohmSharon Bohm is a local  freelance writer. She taught English Composition for the Maricopa Community College District for many years. Connect with her on LinkedIn.


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4 Security Tips for Website Plugins

By Andrea Rowland, GoDaddy

Some WordPress Plugins can mess with website securityPlugins for websites built on platforms like WordPress® are wonderful … until they’re not.

Plugins can make your small business website stand out from the competition in terms of customization, speed, and integration with other systems — like social media networks. Plugins such as WordPress SEO by Yoast can help people find your site. You can monetize it with plugins like Ads Elite for Joomla!®. Separately or in bundles such as Jetpack for WordPress, they can take a so-so site to stellar status by improving its appearance, functionality and performance.

Plugins also can compromise your website if they’re not secure.

“While plugins and extensions provide useful features, it’s important to keep your website’s security in mind if you consider using these tools. A single security vulnerability in a plugin or extension can lead to the compromise of a fully patched application,” Kurt Payne, a seasoned developer over at GoDaddy, notes in “Zip it up: Security tips for plugins, themes and extensions.”

To keep your website safe while enjoying the myriad benefits of plugins, Kurt suggests four basic plugin security tips:

  1. Delete unused plugins. If you don’t have that code on your website, hackers can exploit it. Learn more about deleting plugins here.
  2. Be careful about where you get your plugins. Unless you get your plugins from a trusted source, you’re in danger of installing a plugin that contains malware. Malware is a type of malicious code that includes viruses and spyware, which can cause problems ranging from unwanted pop-up ads to the theft of passwords and other sensitive information.
  3. Use strong passwords. You hear this all the time, but really, this is where online security starts. “There are large, automated password guessing swarms of computers out there trying to break into WordPress sites, so keep your password hard to guess,” Kurt stresses. Here’s a helpful resource for generating strong passwords.
  4. Keep your plugins up to date. Kurt recommends a handful of resources to help you keep track of and manage necessary plugin updates, including:
  • WP Updates Notifier – This plugin monitors your WordPress installation for needed updates and alerts you via email.
  • ManageWP – If you’ve got more than a couple WordPress sites, this dashboard enables you to more easily manage and update them at once.
  • InfiniteWP – Another single admin panel to manage multiple WordPress sites.

Pro tip: Kurt even developed a plugin, the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler), to help you target WordPress plugins that are causing site slowness.

Be sure to read the full post to get all of Kurt’s helpful hints for keeping your website’s plugins, themes and extensions secure.

About the Author:

Andrea RowlandA former small business owner and newspaper journalist, and a published nonfiction author, Andrea Rowland helps craft compelling communications for today’s go-getters through her work as a copy editor at GoDaddy. Connect with Andrea on Google+. The world’s largest domain name registrar and Web hosting provider, GoDaddy gives small business owners the tools to name their idea, build a beautiful online presence, attract customers and manage their business. To get more tips for your small business—including articles, videos and webinars—check out the GoDaddy Training Hub.


Free WordPress Plug-ins to Make Blogging & SEO Easier

Cyber Crime and Cyber Security – what you need to know

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Is Arizona the Best Place to Start Your Own Business?

By Brian Burt, Snell & Wilmer, LLP

Is Arizona the Best Place to Start Your Own Business? There are few things as exciting as starting your own business.  But is Arizona the place to do it?

According to Forbes and the Kaufmann Foundation, Arizona was ranked the most entrepreneurial state in the nation.1  The same Kaufmann Foundation study ranked Phoenix the 3rd best city in which to start a business.

So, whether you have been nurturing a business idea for years, or have been forced by a recent change in circumstances to re-think your career path, it may be just the right time to launch your new venture!

Is Arizona the Best Place to Start Your Own Business?And key to the success of any business is its employees.  But, it’s not easy being an employee these days.  The current downturn has brought layoffs, salary cuts, and benefit reductions to virtually every industry.  Even those who have not been personally affected must contend with an uncertain economic future, and the fear and stress that such uncertainty breeds.  Little wonder that employee morale is at an all-time low.

Business owners know that low employee morale translates into deteriorating productivity and, ultimately, reduced revenue.  But what can today’s cash-strapped owner do to re-energize his or her team while protecting the company’s long-term value?

There are many questions when planning to open your own business:

  • What’s the difference between an employee and an independent contractor?
  • I did an LLC. Did I set up my business correctly?
  • As my business grows, when do I switch from using independent contractors to hiring people full-time?
  • What can happen if I make mistakes?
  • How do I motivate my employees to support all facets of the company?

If you are unsure of the answers to these questions or more, you need to attend this Greater Phoenix SCORE Seminar:

Register Now!On September 30, 3-5 pm, Greater Phoenix SCORE is offering a seminar for business owners – especially those who are going to or already have employees.

North Mountain Business Assc /SSC Boring Building

1951 West North Lane
Phoenix, AZ 85021
$25 (Can’t get legal advice for that price!)

In this seminar, you will learn how to dramatically increase your chances of success by creating a strong business and legal foundation, avoiding the pitfalls that often result in the untimely death of the start-up, and motivating your employees to help you realize potential of your company!

1 Forbes (September 2012); Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity (June 2012).

Brian BurtBrian J. Burt is a Partner with Snell & Wilmer L.L.P., and serves as Chair of the firm’s Emerging Business Group. Founded in 1938, Snell & Wilmer is a full-service business law firm, with over 400 attorneys practicing in nine offices throughout the western United States and Mexico. Brian is a business lawyer advising entrepreneurs and emerging growth companies in all stages of development, from formation to liquidity. He also represents banks, financial services companies, private investors, and venture capital funds. Having previously founded, raised capital for, and run his own company, Brian brings a “real world” perspective to his practice. Read Brian’s complete bio here.


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