Reasons To Be Cheerful October 2016

A-maze-ing Laughter - Yue Minjun - Sculpture

A-maze-ing Laughter – Yue Minjun – Sculpture

For those of you who have been longstanding followers of this blog, you will likely remember our Reasons to Be Cheerful posts. It has been over three years since our last one. It’s not that we’re not cheerful it’s just that we’ve been kind of busy growing.

The whole point of the reasons to be cheerful posts is to share websites, tools, apps, blogs and other cool stuff we use or have discovered lately. After 3 years, we have quite a long list but we won’t dump them all on you at once!


We use Canva regularly, and have done for ages, to create images on the fly. You can upload your own photos and images or access the Canva repository images (they don’t cost much usually $1), add great graphics and text and best of all Canva has preloaded templates for social media, Facebook posts, blog graphics and more. This is a must have in any marketer’s toolbox.


Every small business owner wants to write a book right? Or at the very least an ebook. Often the content and design are the only things holding us back. Designrr is a great tool that make this happen. You simply grab a URL (i.e. a blog article you have written), choose a template, tweak, tune and publish.


MentionMapp makes discovering Twitter’s gems easy. It visually displays people, places, events and conversations so you can see the connections, track conversations, hashtags and trending topics all in one view.


Find out if your website has been impacted by Google’s algorithm changes using this Penguin Tool.

Twitter Analytics

Most Twitter users don’t know this exists! If you are using Twitter for your small business it is important to track your top tweets, impressions, mentions and followers. Twitter analytics is a great tool to let you do so.


If you are looking for a marketing platform that is affordable, easy to use and has all the bells and whistles you need to manage campaigns across multiple platforms, Wishpond is the one. Its a great alternative to Infusionsoft at a much lower price point. Use it to build landing pages, manage social promotions, website popups, online forms, lead activity tracking, lead management, lead intelligence, marketing automation, email marketing and measure success with marketing analytics.


If you want to accept credit card payments for your small business then Square is great. It’s easy to set up an account, they send you a dongle that you attach to your phone or device to accept payment (or you can do this manually too). You link Square to your bank accounts and you’re ready to go. Even better, it’s much more cost effective than traditional tools since there’s no monthly fee and the percentage they take is smaller.

Starbucks App

We all need caffeine to get us through the long days as entrepreneurs right? The Starbucks apps is not new but using it to order your coffee and pick up without waiting in the queue is. It’s particularly useful at conferences when you have a short break and long wait for your latte. I really shouldn’t be sharing this one….

Personal Brand – Use Social Media To Build Yours

Thanks to the internet and social media there has never been a better time to build your personal brand. There’s over  1.7 billion people on Facebook (and counting), 450+ million on LinkedIn and personal branding and social media reach300 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, just to name a few social networking tools you can use to connect, reach, influence and lead.

Ten years ago if you wanted to be seen as a thought leader in your industry you had to get out there and network one on one, you had to write a book, do lots of speaking engagements, you had to interact face to face. I am not saying that these techniques are obsolete, face to face is still important but now, thanks to the internet and new technologies, we can do all of these things and more from the comfort of our office (or car, or home – practically anywhere you have a device and a connection!).

Networking is key to building your brand and proper use of social media makes this easy. There are thousands of different social networks you can’t use all of them effectively so choose the ones that are most likely to help you reach your intended audience.

Using Social Media To Build Your Personal Brand

Two important tools that you should consider are blogging and LinkedIn.

Blogging to Build Your Personal Brand

When it comes to using blogs to influence and share your knowledge you have 3 options:

  1. Create your own blog. This is a great long term investment and a fantastic way to showcase your knowledge. It’s easy to set up (use WordPress) but takes longer to build your following.
  2. Comment on other blogs – this is a great way to introduce yourself to industry influencers and to add value.
  3. Guest blog – writing guest blog articles gives you the biggest bang for your buck in the short term. There are blogs in your industry that already have thousands of readers and they’re looking for content. Write for them.

LinkedIn For Personal Branding

LinkedIn isn’t simply tool for jobseekers it’s a professional network where people showcase their career experience and knowledge. It is the perfect forum for to build a strong reputation. Make sure your profile showcases your knowledge and expertise (what it is that you are a thought leader in should be highlighted in your profile and summary), connect with the right people (450m of them – that means a lot of influencers in your industry and, even more interestingly, a network of 450 million people you could potentially influence.

Key Points to Remember When Using Social Networks to Build Your Brand

Connections – it is important to connect with the right people – the influencers in your industry and the people you want to influence, but connections are just the start. Focus on enhancing those relationships and taking your connections to the next level through regular interactions. Build relationships rather than collect connections.

Content – share content that is related to your area of expertise and add your own perspective in the post. The more content you share, the more people will notice, the more you will be perceived as a thought leader in your industry.

Consistency – this is key. Don’t start a blog then neglect it. If I land on your blog and it hasn’t been updated in ages what does that tell me about you? Same goes for LinkedIn. To get the most out of these forums you have to be active consistently.

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Learn About Social Media and Online Marketing Tactics at Small Business BC

Join Mhairi at Small Business BC or from the comfort of your office and learn about the basics of social media as we share our tips and tactics for success.

Seminar Date

Friday,  September 23rd, 2016 – 1:00pm to 4.30pm

Social Media and On-line Marketing Tactics

Just because you know what social media is, does not mean that you necessarily understand how to use it to grow and develop your business. This workshop focuses on understanding social media, what is it and how it’s connecting people.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how/if social media should be an important part of your marketing strategy.
  • Understand what opportunities are available for you to leverage social media for business growth and prospecting.

This seminar is hosted at Small Business BC in Vancouver and delivered to other locations via live webinar. All webinar participants will also receive access to a recording for seven days after the live session.

Register to attend at:



Rogers Talks Small Business Events In Review

rsz_20160713_175149Rogers is celebrating small business across Canada this summer by launching their Small Business Centres with Rogers Talks.

In British Columbia, small businesses are the life blood of our economy. Over a million people in the province are employed by these firms.

Rogers Talks provide a networking opportunity for local small business owners. The focus of these events is on helping entrepreneurs learn tips and tricks that will help them succeed in growing their business. We were lucky enough to play a lead role in events at their Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey and Abbotsford locations.

At these events Mhairi talked to other small business owners about ‘How to Maximize your Small Business Social Media to get Better Results in Less Time’.

Here’s a recap of some of the key points.

  • Have a plan – one that aligns with your overall business plan, and write it down.
  • Determine which social media tools you should use. You can’t use them all so choose one or two and do them really well.
  • Get in the habit of listening out for opportunities (and never stop!).
  • Make the most of your digital time – do not let cute cats or Donald Trump distract you.
  • Share great content that engages and adds value for your audience.
  • Make sure your website is social media ready.
  • Be authentic and real – find your voice and let your passion show through.
  • Put in place tools and practices to measure your success.
  • Have fun – most important of all!

Thanks to the team at Rogers, the caterers and technicians who made these events a success.


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