GDPR & Small Business Bloggers

Disclaimer: This post is not legal advice. For full information and guidance please see the GDPR site and seek professional legal advice. This is an  interpretation of what I have read but I am not an expert or a lawyer and as such I can not be held liable for any advice taken from this article.

Is your blog a small business?

Are you earning money with your blog?

Are you a Brand Ambassador for other companies?

 

Are you ready for GDPR?

 

GDPR – General Data Protection Register is a new privacy law approved by the EU Parliament that will go into effect on the 25th May 2018

To be honest, at first I thought GDPR was only going to affect big business  because of the Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica debacle, but nope,  turns out it is going to affect business bloggers and other entrepreneurs.

 

GDPR logo

 

As a matter of fact, any individual or organization that receives or processes data is affected. It is important because there are fines for any data processor, big or small that is not in compliance.  If you are earning money from your blog, not only does the brand you represent need to be in compliance, but you too need to be in compliance.

Below are just a few of the many steps that need to be taken and I thought these would be the easiest to tackle before the deadline on Thursday.

Newsletters/Email Lists & Google Analytics

Do you use an email list to send out Newsletters?  If so, you will need to decide whether or not you want to keep a subscriber list (Mail Chimp/Constant Contact, etc).   Even if you don’t use it to market to your subscribers you might email them once a month to give them updates on your blog.   So if you do want to keep the subscribers, you will need to email them all (again) and get them to positively agree to allow you to keep emailing them. If you don’t get positive confirmation, then you will need to delete them.

If you use Google Analytics or a similar traffic tracking system, it applies.   If you have advertisers on your blog, it applies. If you have a Contact Me form, it applies, if you use a third party widget like Bloglovin, it applies.

Comments & Cookies

When people leave comments on your blog, using a standard WordPress Plugin, they leave their name, email address, or website and their IP address is also captured. That information is stored on the blog website.  So you will need to either get a widget that will make this data anonymous, turn off comments, (NO) or put in a disclaimer to explain what will happen when they leave a comment.

If you don’t already have a cookie banner at the top or bottom of your site or as a pop up when someone visits your site you need to have one in place.  Websites have always been required to alert visitors to the fact they have cookies in use but it didn’t have as heavy an influence as it does under GDPR.

It is now imperative that you let your blog viewers know that cookies are in use and, as with everything under GDPR, it needs to be in their face.

Privacy Policy/Statement

You will need to update your Privacy Policy to include a statement on what data is saved, how it is kept, and what you do with it.  If you do decide to keep any personal data connected with your blog, i.e. after running a Giveaway, you will need to register it with the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) as a Data processor. 

Please note that there is an annual fee involved and you will also need to register your business address (in most cases it’s your home address).

SSL Certificate

Secure sites are all the more important under GDPR so it’s worth checking if yours is or not. The easiest check is to type https:/ before your website address and see if it sends you to that site, not http.

Advertising:

Lots of blogs have clients who pay to advertise on their sidebar and then be promoted by the blogger. These advertisers collect a large amount of personal data including names, email addresses, blog URLs, social media handles and sometimes even payment information.

If you do have advertisers you need to get in contact with them and outline exactly what information you hold and how you use and secure it. You will need consent from them for you to store their data or request for it’s removal.

For any future advertisers you will need to have a form that outlines what information you require, how and why you store it and get their explicit consent allowing you to do so. 

There is a lot more information and I will try to update this post next week, however, if you are saying to yourself,  “I don’t market to the EU” remember that you may have readers in the EU so this new privacy law does affect you and your blogging business.

  • Update your cookies banner.
  • Check your SSL certificate.
  • Write your privacy policy.
  • Research your third party providers.
  • Update your mailing list.
  • Contact your advertisers.
  • Put in place GDPR compliant sign ups for future advertisers/collaborators/mailing list subscribers.

 

The EU countries are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands,Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Let’s Chat > Will you be in GDPR compliance on May 25th?

How To Become a Business Consultant

how-to-become-a-business-consultant

 

Wow, I can’t believe that it has been a full week since I starting working from home and really building my business, ABlake Enterprises, Social Media Management and Consulting.  Since I’ve announced this change I have been inundated with well wishes from family and friends as well as requests for meetings and conference calls.  The month of April is booked solid and I am loving it because it is all very beneficial to the growth of my business.

 

ABlake-Enterprises-Social-Media-Management

 

Wednesday, I had a wonderful conference call with Laura Burford, owner of of LAD Enterprizes, whom I had met when I presented Social Media Marketing for BusinessNAWBO event.  She is a consultant who assists other consultants in growing their business and during our conversation she offered some great advice.  There were, however, three questions that really struck a chord with me.

 

  1. Who is your ideal client?
  2. What is your client’s focus?
  3. What results will your clients receive from you?

 

As an Ambassador of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce and member of the Fortune Referral Group, every other week, I am giving an elevator pitch about my business, however, these three questions made me think about that pitch in a different light.

 

Fortunately, I was able to quickly respond to each of Laura’s three questions, however, I realized that I needed to become a bit more focused and precise with my answers.

 

do-you-want-to-become-a-consultant

 

How about you, have you ever met with a business consultant, or even perhaps thought about becoming one? I wasn’t sure what to expect as I had never met with one but felt Laura would be able to assist me in my journey.

 

Oftentimes, when people hear the word “consultant,” they think of a Harvard graduate with a MBA advising staff in large corporations and that can be intimidating,  However, that is not always the case, as a matter of fact, many people you probably know are consultants and they are doing quite well advising and assisting small business owners like myself.

 

Consulting simply means engaging in the business of giving expert advice to people working in a specific field and there are many who can provide this expert advice without having an MBA from Harvard.  

 

If you want to know more about becoming a consultant, check out Consulting.com to learn more on how you can enroll in their online training program to start your own profitable consulting business today.

 

 

Let’s Chat > Have you ever received advice from a business consultant and if so, what three questions were you asked?

 

20 Social Media Content Tips To Keep Your Fans Engaged

 

“Successful Social Media Marketing isn’t how many fans and followers your company can get, it’s how many it can actually keep!”

Listen to my Anchor Podcast on this topic

 

 

 

Most business owners understand that they can’t afford to ignore social media marketing, but how to gain and keep followers can be frustrating.

“Social media users thrive on meaningful online relationships”

 

FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS BUY FOLLOWERS!

When marketing on social media, it is important to have 2-way conversation with your fans, respond and check in with your followers.  You want your customers to share content with their circle of family and friend, so always provide them with content that is really useful to them and they will share it as well.  

 

content is king in blogging

“Content is King BUT Let Your Customers Wear the Crown”

 

When posting content, use social media to answer questions from customers around the world not just in your local communities or state.  Remember to use the 80/20 rule; eighty percent of the content a business shares should not be solely about its products or services, but should be the customers’ interests.

 

 

20 Social Media Content Tips To Keep Your Fans Engaged

 

  1. Entertain yet educate your audience with industry news
  2. Ask open-ended questions 
  3. Create polls
  4. Post “Caption This Pic” photos 
  5. Create Behind-The-Scenes or DIY videos 
  6. Work with bloggers for Product Reviews
  7. Host online parties and provide giveaways, discounts, or coupons
  8. Share funny videos from YouTube
  9. Invest in videos or Rich Media (GIFS/Meme)
  10. Do live broadcasts
  11. Use hashtags for more engagement and to expand your audience
  12. Talk with your customers, not at them
  13. Claim your business, create a Google+ Page and Google My Business then post on them
  14. Ask for reviews and testimonials then turn them into memes
  15. Follow other businesses and share their content 
  16. Give shout-outs to clients and customers
  17. Post interesting “little known facts” 
  18. Ask Trivia questions or post “Wayback Wednesday” or “Throwback Thursday” pics
  19. Posts about holidays and other community events 
  20. Get creative with your posts using Canva, GetStencil or Smartmockups

 

 

For more tips on how to market and grow your business using Social Media, please send an email to info@ablakeenterprises.com

 

The Power of Network Marketing & How To Be Successful

Lyft

 

In the past, many people have made fortunes in Network Marketing, and many still do today! They live their lives and enjoy a freedom that most people only dream about.  Fortunately, there are more resources than ever to help you become successful in network marketing, the challenge, however, is knowing who to trust.

 

 

There are companies that offer a multitude of products and services, items that the average person uses on a daily and consistent basis. And, many of these companies are online using social media to get their message out.

This evening’s Podcast guest was Jeanine Fusco-Lano, an Entrepreneur and Professional Network Marketer, as well as the Silver Team Leader with Young Living Essential Oils, who will share her secrets of success.

 

 

Today there are companies that offer a multitude of products and services, items that the average person uses on a daily and consistent basis. And, many of these companies are online using Twitter and Facebook to get their message out.

No matter where you look, you will at least find one if not more companies offering something you are passionate about like: Communication Services, Internet Access, Nutritional Products, Weight Loss Programs, Water Filtration Systems, Financial Programs, Electrical Power, Solar Power, just to name a few.

But before becoming successful you have to understand what network marketing is.  Many individuals fail to understand this and attempt to diversify instead of focusing on the tasks that will ensure their success. 

 

 

Listen to this evening’s Podcast to learn more about The Power of Network Marketing and how to be successful.

Blogging to Build a Better Business

Delaware Blogger

A blog is a better business card for businesses in promoting their brand!

 

A blog is a better business card for businesses in promoting their brand

 

Blogging for business is not a new concept and for many small businesses, it can be an extremely effective tool to add to their social media footprint.  A blog will help establish and/or broaden their brand or position themselves in their area of expertise.

A strong social network can become an asset for any business. Social media offers every business the opportunity to strengthen relationships with their target audience, creating loyal customers and even brand advocates. 

Unfortunately, many companies are still not getting the best out of their social media accounts. Yet social media is big business: 74% of all internet users use social networking sites, and for younger adults, the percentage is even larger.

However, marketing on FREE social media platforms is not always FREE nor do you own them.  Anytime the creators of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platform gurus decide to change the algorithm, privacy settings, advertisement guidelines or timeline promotion, there is nothing you can do except roll with the tide even if it means losing fans and followers.  

On the other hand, a blog created and hosted on WordPress, for example, is owned by you and you have total control as to what you want to promote and when you want to promote it.  This is your choice, not Mark  Zuckerberg.  The ultimate benefit of blogging is the opportunity to communicate expertise and establish the business as a reliable resource.

 

content is king in blogging

 

While “Content is King Platform is Queen.”

Creating a platform is about building a social media presence, a stage that can be seen above the crowd. Content is the message, but a platform provides visibility, amplification, and engagement with your targeted audience.

Social media is a great tool for driving traffic to a website, but a blog will do more to build a platform. While there is much debate about the return on investment (ROI) for time spent on social media, the results of blogging are easier to evaluate with Google Analytics.

 

Google Analytics charts your unique visitors, comments, interactions, time on site and other social media metrics which help businesses learn more about their customer interests and problems that need to be solved.  Any owner of a small business could benefit from creating a blog as part of their website or as a stand-alone platform.  

 

When first starting it is important to make friends or engage with bloggers in the same niche if you are looking for partners in promoting your products.  You might be interested in reading more about working with bloggers in this post.

 

There is proof that not only can your blog help promote your business, it can even become an additional source of revenue.  Blogs are one of the top online services to influence a purchase. When making overall purchase decisions, consumers rank blogs third behind retail and brand sites.

 

As a blogger and the content creator of DeDivahDeals.com, which received the 2017 Best Blog Award from NorthDELAWhere Happenings Magazine and in 2013 the Reader’s Choice Best Blog Award from Delaware Today magazine, I have conducted workshops and training programs for many years teaching others how to blog.  

 

award winning blogger in Delaware

 

In these workshops, I have provided training to over 500 small business owners, entrepreneurs, and solopreneurs, teaching them how to create a business blog, how to use social media to drive traffic as well as ways in which to monetize their blogs.  

As a matter of fact, I will be presenting to a small group of business owners at the YWCA in Wilmington on Thursday evening.  If you are interested in learning more and would like to engage my services, head over to ABlakeEnterprises.com to learn more.

 

ABlake Enterprises rack card

 

ACCORDING TO THE CORPORATE-EYE.COM “The power of blogs in influencing consumer purchase decisions is stronger than you might realize. According to data from a research study conducted by Research Now, nearly nine in 10 consumers (84%) make purchases after reading about a product or service on a blog. Among consumers between the ages of 18-34, blogs ranked as the most important source of information to make buying decisions. Among consumers between the ages of 35-54, blogs ranked as the second most important source behind friends, family, and colleagues. Even older consumers (55 and older) value blogs when making purchase decisions ranking them third in terms of importance behind friends, family, and colleagues and editorial articles”

 

A Blog is a better business card that will broaden the brand and expand their exposure online.

 

Let’s Chat:  Do you enjoy reading business blogs?  If so, which one is your favorite?

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