Host Free Giveaways With Rafflecopter

On September 9, 2014, in Business, Technology, by Nealey Stapleton
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RafflecopterRafflecopter is a very easy, free way to host a giveaway on your blog or website. Have you heard of it? I found out about it because a bunch of my favorite DIY bloggers use it when they host giveaways.

It’s so simple and user-friendly to enter as a contestant that I had to give it a try as a host.

Recently I had a giveaway for my fans and the lucky winner received a signed, free copy of my book, Life Lessons: From People Who Shouldn’t Be Giving Them. The whole process was fun, so keep reading to learn more about the features and benefits of Rafflecopter.

Features of Rafflecopter

  • Affordable. You can use the free version to host a giveaway which is what I did the first time, and it was great. There are plenty of features with the free version to test out to see if you like it. If you’d like access to some of the more advanced features, their inexpensive plan for bloggers is only $7.99 per month.


  • Easy to use. Their software is pretty intuitive. I was able to easily navigate my way around setting up my first giveaway. First, you type in the title of your giveaway, then choose the options of how people can enter to win, and pick the start and end dates. That’s it. Easy peasy!


  • Multiple entry choices. There are a variety of ways people can enter your giveaway. Some options are only available with the paid version, but either way your following will likely grow with each giveaway. It’s fantastic!

People can enter by liking your page on Facebook, following you on Twitter, sending out a specific tweet, following your boards on Pinterest, subscribing to your e-mail list, taking a poll, and/or commenting on a blog post. There is even an option to invent your own entry method.


  • Several installation options. Once you’ve set up the giveaway, you can host it on your website or blog or your Facebook page. Both are super easy to set up and it’s so nice to have the choice.


  • Monitor entry data. As people enter your giveaway, Rafflecopter keeps a running spreadsheet with their information on it. It’s awesome to see who is entering and how many people are signing up each day. If you want to increase entries, this data is also useful for deciding if you need to send out more communication about the giveaway.
  • Effortlessly pick the winner. Rafflecopter can randomly pick a winner or winners with a click of a button. It’s easy and non-biased.


Benefits of Rafflecopter

  • RafflecopterIncrease your followers. Since entries are submitted by people getting engaged with you on social media, e-mail list or blog, your followers will probably increase by using Rafflecopter. That can lead to more social media engagement, more website traffic, more leads, and more sales. It’s awesome!
  • Spread some happy. When you use Rafflecopter, you can make your fans happy by offering them freebies. You can also make your vendors happy by putting a spotlight on their companies (i.e, spread awareness about them), and you can make yourself happy for making everyone happy!
  • Create new partnerships. This is an opportunity to increase connections with companies who have related products and services that are interested in growing their following. You can offer their product or service as the freebie in a giveaway, and it’s a great way to create meaningful partnerships for your business. Everybody wins!

All in all, Rafflecopter is a very useful service and I would highly recommend it for businesses that are both off and online. Have you used it? What did you think of it? What did you giveaway?



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How I Quadrupled My Twitter Followers in 6 Months

On August 12, 2014, in Social Media, by Nealey Stapleton
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Twitter-ProfileHave you heard of Twitter? Maybe that’s a silly question. Okay, chances are you’ve heard of it, but do you really know what Twitter is? For a long time, I saw Twitter as a lesser version of Facebook and saw no point in using the platform…until now.

This year, one of my resolutions was to really increase my followers on social media. While I had a Twitter account, I never used it and had a couple hundred followers that had trickled in throughout the years. I decided to really commit and make the most out of this thing called Twitter. Boy, am I glad I did!

What is Twitter?

Let’s begin with a simple introduction of Twitter. It is a free social media platform in which anyone can sign up and post status updates that are 140 characters or less. You could say it’s #shortandtweet. Pun intended.

What are Hashtags?

That’s a perfect little segway into my next lesson – hashtags. I’m sure you’ve heard “hashtag” this and “hashtag” that, but in the words of my husband, “So, what’s a hashtag?”

First, the hashtag sign – # – is just the number or pound sign. Although, when Twitter came into the world, everyone started calling it a hashtag.

Second, people use a hashtag and then a word or phrase after it with no spaces in a Twitter update like the one I mentioned above – #shortandtweet.

How Can You Use Hashtags?

Hashtags are great for finding others that have the same interests or are talking about the same subject. For example, if you’re an American Idol fan, you can search Twitter for “#AmericanIdol” and see what other users are saying about it.

You can also use hashtags to organize your tweets. For instance, when I share updates on Twitter related to getting organized, they can fall into different categories. So, I could put out a tweet about #homeorganizing or #organizingproducts and be able to find them again later by doing a simple search.

Still with me?

What’s a Twitter Handle?

The last basic thing you should understand for getting to know Twitter is the handle. My Twitter user name is @life_on_track. That is also known as my “handle.” All Twitter handles start with the @ symbol.




How to Increase Your Twitter Followers

Alright, so back to my new year’s resolution of increasing my social media followers with the ultimate goal of growing my online sales. Like I said, I had a couple hundred followers at the beginning of 2014, and now (as of July 2014) I have over 1,300 followers. That has led to some great networking opportunities and therefore great business relationships. There has also been a rise in my website’s traffic and my online income is up by 200% from last year. Wow!

Now I’m sure you’re wondering how I grew and continue to grow my following. My husband (John), who just joined Twitter, has been asking the same thing, so here’s the method to my madness.




My Weekly Twitter Routine

  • Make Connections. Follow at least 15 new accounts each week. You can make it a point to follow a few new users a day, or like me, you can follow 15-20 new accounts once a week on Monday mornings. This is SUPER easy with the “Who To Follow” box of suggested accounts to follow that shows up when you log in to Twitter.





  • Say Thank You. If anyone follows me back or I acquire any new followers, I tweet their handle with a thank you message. Doing this sends them a notification AND shows up on the news feed of all of their followers (which usually gets me even more new followers). Sending a thank you tweet can also open up a dialogue with my new followers and usually leads to a conversation, a developing business relationship, and then even more.




  • Post Regularly. I post on Twitter twice a day and try to mention other users who would find the update useful, give credit when it’s due, etc. FYI – I use a scheduling software and schedule all of my tweets for the week on Monday morning.
  • Organize Your Tweeps. I use Twitter lists to organize the people I follow so I can easily find them later. For example, if I want to find one of the food bloggers I follow but can’t remember the name or the handle, I can simply go to my “Food, Drink & Cooking” Twitter list.

That’s it! Those four simple tasks, if done regularly, are the path to successfully growing your Twitter following for free.

What do you think of Twitter? Have you stayed away from it? Do you use it for personal reasons? Do you use it for marketing your business? What, if any, successes have you had with Twitter? Share in the comments!

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LinkedIn: 3 Simple Tips To Increase Leads

On March 10, 2014, in Social Media, by Nealey Stapleton
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There’s a lot of buzz about LinkedIn these days, but what the heck is it anyway? As a small business owner (or someone who’s looking for a career change), LinkedIn can be a great resource. And, you might find potential clients there.

Increase your leads with LinkedIn


What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social media platform that serves the business community. In my opinion, it is one of the top social media websites and very worthy of checking out and getting involved in.  It’s like attending a networking event except it’s online, and you don’t have to get dressed up for it.

You meet new people, give out your business card, create relationships and hopefully work together in the future. It’s a fantastic resource and can be used to your advantage with small amounts of time and effort.

Why should you use LinkedIn?

I follow a bunch of social media experts online and found that they had some of the same ingredients when it came to LinkedIn success. I put their tips into action in the last few months and what do you know?! Success! I’ve already gotten a client that I meet with on a regular basis, and that alone is enough proof that LinkedIn is worth a shot and the following tips will work.

By doing a few simple things, you can achieve similar results.

How can you increase your leads with LinkedIn?

Here are the top three LinkedIn tips you can use to increase leads. I learned these strategies from social media experts far and wide and highly recommend you put them into practice.

1. Complete Your Profile. First, it is imperative that you simply complete your profile.  I know this seems obvious, but many people don’t do this and it costs them.


Second, the first thing people should read on your profile is how you can help them. This way, they can quickly learn what you offer instead of immediately clicking away, and then you can funnel them to your website or e-mail list.

2. Do The Networking. Add connections on a regular basis. As a frame of reference, I invite two new contacts to connect per day. If you don’t want to commit daily time to it, then add fourteen new connections one day a week. The bottom line is to add contacts regularly, so that your network is constantly growing.


Once you connect, send your new contact a welcome message. I HIGHLY recommend this. I crafted a customizable welcome message and it’s saved in my Drafts folder. When I have a new connection, I copy the welcome text into a LinkedIn message, customize it with their name and send it. I’ve gotten great responses from new connections by doing this simple, quick task and have also grown my social media following because of it.

3. Get Active. It doesn’t have to be every day, but get involved regularly. I would recommend some sort of participation at least once a week. This can include taking part in group discussions, posting status updates of your own, and liking and commenting on others’ status updates.


What has been your experience with LinkedIn? Do you have a specific question? Please share it below. I’d love to hear from you!

If you want to connect with me on LinkedIn or take a look at my page as an example, feel free to check out my profile here. Looking forward to connecting!

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Fact Friday: Fear of Missing Out (FMO) on the Rise for Social Media Users

On July 26, 2013, in Fact Friday, Time Management, by Deb Lee, Certified Professional Organizer®
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Organizing and productivity facts every Friday at Organize to Revitalize Blog56% of people are afraid of missing out on events, news and important status updates if they are away from social networks. In the same vein, about 51% of people visit or log on more frequently to social networks than they did just two years ago. And users want their updates first thing in the morning: About 27% of participants flock to social sites as soon as they wake up.

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Report: 56% of Social Media Users Suffer From FOMO | | 7.9.13



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Social-Media-ButtonsOne of the questions I am asked most frequently by my colleagues is where to start when it comes to social media. There is so much to learn, and it’s understandably overwhelming to implement it…let alone try to take it all in!

So, here they are – my top 3 social media tips on where and how to begin. I hope this gets you going, and please feel free to ask me any questions or to add your best social media advice in the comments section below.

1. Learn from the social media experts.
If you don’t know how to do something, then consult an expert. Get advice from a knowledgeable family member, friend, or colleague, read online articles written by social media gurus, take a class, hire an expert for one-on-one help, or do all of the above.

There are so many ways to do research and learn from those who have it figured out, so there’s no need to waste time reinventing the wheel and definitely no need to do it all by yourself. Get online, start reading, be a sponge and absorb as much social media knowledge as you can. And, then, I’d recommend that you …

2. Start with one social media platform.
Taking my own advice, I have learned so much from social media experts. I’ve read articles, listened to interviews, attended teleclasses and conference workshops, and I noticed a common piece of advice that they were each giving out. They all recommend starting with just one social media platform instead of getting overwhelmed with several at the same time.

The idea is that you begin with the social media network that best fits your business model and to get really proficient using it. For example, if your ideal client is a small business owner then perhaps you may want to start with LinkedIn since that is the platform geared towards business-to-business connections. Once you are comfortable with one social media outlet, then you can focus another.

3. Create a plan.
Like with anything else, the best way to be successful is to have a plan…a plan that works for you. My social media plan is composed of two very important parts that have majorly contributed to my online success.

The first is to create a master document where you keep notes of best practices, things you’ve learned from experts and any other juicy pieces of information related to regular weekly social media postings (mine is in Microsoft Word).

My master document lists exactly what and how I need to post on my social media outlets each week as well as valuable tidbits that I’ve learned from others or from my own experiences along the way. For example, I remind myself to use hash tags when creating tweets in Twitter. I refer to it every Monday when I’m scheduling social media posts, and it’s very helpful. I’m more productive because of it and I’m never stumped about what to write.

The second vital part to my plan is I have time blocked off on my calendar every single week that’s completely devoted to social media. You’re going to love this…it’s only a 1-hour block of time for each week! Because my master Word document is so straightforward, I am extremely efficient when it comes to creating social media posts. I use HootSuite to schedule the whole week, and it only takes me an hour. Then I have the rest of the week “off” from social media; it’s awesome!

I hope that my top three social media tips have given you a very clear jumping off point for diving into the social media world. Again, ask any questions in the comments section below and definitely feel free to share any of your best practices. Here’s to your social media success!

Organize Your Social Media With HootSuite

On October 15, 2012, in Social Media, by Nealey Stapleton
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There are so many social media outlets these days, and it can be challenging to keep up with them all. Wouldn’t it be great if you could organize your social media streams and make posts from one central command center?

Enter HootSuite.

HootSuite is an online app that helps us organize our social media. I use it almost every day to save time and increase efficiency.

This is what it does and how I use it to enhance my business.

Post on multiple platforms. Why log in to several different social media sites, so that you can post the same status update? HootSuite allows you to manage your social networks from one central dashboard including posting status updates and monitoring recent activity of those you are connected with.

For example, if I want to make an announcement related to my business or post a new organizing tip from my website, I can do so on all my social media outlets by logging in to HootSuite once. This saves me so much time when it comes to social media marketing, and in a snap, I’ve done some superb, widespread online promotion.

Schedule messages. With HootSuite, you can schedule status updates to be posted on your social media sites for the day or the week or the month all at once!

I block off time on Monday mornings to do social media marketing for my business/website. During this time, I use HootSuite to schedule different status updates throughout the week; then I forget about. It’s like having an assistant work for me and perform little tasks that I don’t need to remember to do.

Link social media to my RSS feed. Want to automatically feed your blog posts to your social media outlets? Do it with HootSuite.

Another thing I don’t have to remember to do…Using HootSuite, I set it up so that my blog feed automatically posts on my social media outlets.

Track traffic. HootSuite has a feature built-in to shrink links in status updates, which is very Twitter-friendly. Using their analytics reports, you can track how many clicks your links get and gauge how much traffic is being sent to your website.

My status updates almost always contain a link, so this is just fantastic. I can see how many clicks I’m getting on my links, compare which status updates are doing better than others and so on.

Go mobile. There’s an app for that! Take this awesome software with you anywhere you go. It’s available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, and Keitai.

Like with anything else, being able to do things for my business on the go is convenient and welcome!

It’s free. All of the above mentioned features are included in HootSuite’s free version. Wow! Want access to even more options? Upgrade to the pro version for just $9.99 a month.

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Essential Elements of a Successful Facebook Business Page

On November 4, 2010, in Business, Guest Posts, by Deb Lee, Certified Professional Organizer®
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OTR friend, Rajeev Edmonds is back with more tips for small business owners.  In his last post, he shared tips about blogging.   This time, he tackles Facebook.

Businesses across the world, be they small or big, are turning to Facebook to get more customers. Facebook pages are an effective medium to attract a large user-base of this most popular social media platform. They are easy to create and administer, provided you spice them up with the right ingredients to pull your customers convincingly. What makes a killer Facebook page and how it can help grow your business?

Basic Elements

Image – The very first thing that grabs the attention of a new visitor is the image used on your Facebook business page. Normally businesses use a logo or a combination of logo embedded in another photograph. The rule of the thumb is – “make it eye-catching and don’t hesitate in experimenting.” Here’s an excellent tutorial about facebook profile image hacks. You may consider changing this image every six months to give a fresh new look to your business page.

Description – Your business page description should clearly explain what the page is all about and what fans can get from it. You may include some lines about promotional stuff a fan may get after liking the page. This may include free ebooks, premium video tutorials and similar things. Whenever I visit any Facebook page, it’s the first thing I read before going ahead.

Essential tabs – Apart from default tabs, you must create a welcome tab for new visitors. Other important tabs may include discussion board, events, notes, photos, videos and reviews. Your Facebook business page may or may not require all of these tabs. For example, if you produce video content on regular basis and maintain a dedicated YouTube channel, you may want to create a separate ‘Videos’ tab on your business page.

Miscellaneous Tips For Managing Facebook Business Page

  • Create a “Freebies” tab visible only to fans. Give a sneak peak of this page on the default landing page for non-fans.
  • Keep a secondary administrator in case of an emergency. Pages with large fan-base usually have more than 2 administrators and in different time zones.
  • Fostering a community is an art. Keep your business page updated and regularly reward the most active fans.
  • Import your blog and various social media updates (Twitter, Linkedin) on a separate tab via Facebook applications.
  • Create privacy & spam policy and set appropriate permissions for fans adhering to that policy. If you experience too much spam, you may restrict posting to selective tabs.
  • If your budget allows, use facebook ads to drive targeted traffic to your business page. Take my word – It’s worth the money.
  • Tag liberally to let others know you care for them and you listen to them.

Whether you’re running a non-profit organization or own a small business, Facebook business pages have the potential to kick-start your conversions/sales. Don’t be left behind and create one today.

About the Author

Rajeev Edmonds is a Social Media Enthusiast who blogs about how to blog. A developer by profession, he started blogging in 2008. Rajeev is also a technical reviewer of books with subjects ranging from Web Developement, WordPress and Social Media.

Connect With Rajeev: TwitterWebsite

Create a Better Business Blog

On May 6, 2010, in Business, Guest Posts, by Deb Lee, Certified Professional Organizer®
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Are you a small business owner who’s interested in blogging? Do you want a well organized blog? Do you know what elements you need to ensure maximum impact?  In the first of this two-part series, Problogger, Rajeev Edmonds, explains the reasons every SMB should have a blog.

Businesses across the world are turning to new media channels to reach out to maximum prospects. One such medium is  a blog that has the power to build a strong online presence facilitating direct interaction with customers. Business blogging came into existence with the start of this century, and since then, it has gone under several transitions. Any business, that is really serious about pulling more customers through internet cannot afford to isolate themselves from this excellent and powerful medium.

What makes a good business blog that brings more sales and authoritatively asserts your dominance in your domain? Well, here are some of the essential components that can make a successful business blog, provided they are followed and implemented in a correct manner.

Business Blogging

Purpose : Why Blog?

Business blogs are made with a purpose that clearly underlines the primary goal for which they are made. They are governed by company policies that define their scope and objective. Depending on the requirements, a business blog can take any shape that may or may not look like a regular blog.

1. News and Announcements Outpost – A good percentage of business blogs falls under this category. They start as a normal blog and gradually mutates into a news and announcements platform with virtually no interaction with visitors. What a waste of time and money.

2. Hardcore Selling Counter – Blogs have the power to influence and change human minds. It’s a powerful tool if cleverly used, can help boost your sales exponentially. Some businesses use their official blog to aggressively promote and sell their products. They do it through extensive reviews and sales pitches driving prospects to the main web site product’s sales landing pages.

3. Community Building – This is one of my favorites, where the focus is more on creating a large fan base and converting them into returning customers giving you much more business in the long run. Some popular business blogs manage to create a huge fan base that not only brings more sales, but also work as a marketing army who spread positive reviews to their extended network.

4. Hybrid Approach –  This is perhaps the best approach to business blogging. You hard sell on it, you build a community, you announce new products and services leaving no stone unturned to help grow your business. Maintaining such blog requires considerable effort and careful planning, but the end-results are equally rewarding.

It’s up to you which approach you choose for your business blog. Community building and hybrid approach are two of the favorites that can pump new life in your business yielding results above your expectations.

Design And Integration

Normally, business blogs are tightly integrated with company’s web site. The strategy behind this tight integration revolves around driving traffic to-and-fro from both ends increasing the probability of more conversions. What do we mean by tight integration? How does this help in getting more conversions?

Part II:  Design/Integration and Community Building Strategies.


Image Credit:  Flickr


About the Author

Rajeev Edmonds is a Social Media Enthusiast who blogs about how to blog. A developer by profession, he started blogging in 2008. Rajeev is also a technical reviewer of books with subjects ranging from Web Developement, WordPress and Social Media.

Connect With Rajeev: Web | Twitter


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