Weekend Links 01: Small Business, Entrepreneurship & Social Media Tools


Here are some inspiring reads from around the web about small business, entrepreneurship, women in business and tools of the trade.  Enjoy!

Happy to Work in a “Pink” Industry via a Practical Wedding

9 Ways to get the most out of old blog content, via Elle & Company

A great list of apps that cover a wide variety of topics, via Design Love Fest

Sunny San Diego, via Amanda K. Jewelry

Increase Facebook Visibility, via Merit Media Archives

Learn more about what we do at Merit Media: Marketing, PR and Social Media

Weekend Links 01: Small Business, Entrepreneurship & Social Media Tools

40 Books Read in 2014

2014 booksHappy New Year from Merit Media!  In this space, we typically blog about why you need social media, and tips for Facebook and Twitter, but today I (Shay) wanted to personally say hello and tell you about the books I read last year.  I made it my goal to read 50 books, and although I’m a bit short, I got a good list going.  I’ve marked my favorites with asterisks–they’re ones I’d definitely recommend.


  1. Rules of Civility: A Novel, Amor Towles**
  2. Divergent (Divergent Trilogy, Book 1), Veronica Roth
  3. Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple
  4. Someday, Someday, Maybe: A Novel, Lauren Graham (from Gilmore Girls!)
  5. Pope Joan: A Novel, Donna Woolfolk Cross
  6. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Winifred Watson
  7. Redfield Farm, Judith Redline Coopey
  8. The Supreme Macaroni Company: A Novel (Valentine Trilogy Book 3), Adriana Trigiani
  9. The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd**
  10. The Time In Between: A Novel, Maria Duenas**
  11. How to Bake a Man, Jessica Barksdale Inclan
  12. Eve in Hollywood, Amor Towles
  13. Another Homecoming, Janette Oke & Davis Bunn
  14. Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline**
  15. The Fixer Upper, Mary Kay Andrews
  16. The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion


  1. Glitter and Glue: A Memoir, Kelly Corrigan
  2. Global Mom, Melissa Dalton-Bradford
  3. Notes from a Blue Bike, Tsh Oxenreider
  4. My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (with Recipes), Luisa Weiss**
  5. Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, Ruth Reichel
  6. Tables in the Wilderness, Preston Yancey
  7. Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet, Sara Hagerty**
  8. Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women, Sarah Bessey
  9. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, Malcom Gladwell
  10. Freefall to Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning, Rebecca Lyons
  11. The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown
  12. Restless: Because You Were Made for More, Jennie Allen
  13. The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful, Myquillin Smith
  14. Mended: Pieces of a Life Made Whole, Angie Smith
  15. The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst

Non Fiction

  1. Switch On Your Brain, Dr. Caroline Leaf
  2. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain
  3. Manage Your Day-to-Day, Jocelyn K. Glei
  4. The Money Saving Mom’s Budget, Crystal Paine


  1. The $100 Startup, Chris Gullebeau**
  2. How She Does It, Anne Bogel
  3. 500 Social Media Marketing Tips, Andrew Macarthy**
  4. Pinterest Savvy, Melissa Taylor
  5. The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users, Guy Kawasaki**

These are affiliate links–thanks for supporting Merit Media!

A few notes: I made friends with the public library soon after moving, which has been a huge help!  I also utilize the Kindle Deals Page on the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog, where many of these book recommendations came from.  My dad and I just recently figured out how to share our Kindle libraries, and it was a game changer!  If you have readers in your family, I would highly recommend looking in to this option!

What books are on your “must read list” in 2015?  I’ll need some more to add to my list!

40 Books Read in 2014

10+ Tips for How to Brand Your Social Media


If you’re more than a little overwhelmed where to start when it comes to social media, we have a great tip sheet for you!  By simply providing your email address and signing up for our Merit Media newsletter, you’ll receive over 10 specific and actionable items that will help you jump-start your social media branding.

On the Merit Media home page, enter your email address, and the tip sheet will arrive in your inbox shortly.

Once you see these tips, you may realize that this isn’t your forte, or it’s not something you have time to do.  Consider working with Merit Media to grow your branding.  See what other companies are saying about us!


10+ Tips for How to Brand Your Social Media

Why do you need social media?


According to the Huffington Post:

  • The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket
  • Every second 2 new members join LinkedIn
  • 93% of marketers use social media for business

So why do you need social media?  We think the facts can speak for themselves, but just in case you needed a few more reasons,  here are a few to ponder:

  • Social media gives a personality to a brand.
  • Social media connects you to your customers.
  • Social media increases sales and generates interest.

See what others are saying about how Merit Media has increased awareness for brands, and also some examples of the ways Merit Media can manage your social media accounts.

Contact Merit Media today to see how we can help you grow your business.


Why do you need social media?

9 Twitter Tips that Get a Response

Tips for Twitter from Merit Media

Many of  my clients have a robust Twitter following, and I’ve been able to capitalize on that and grow it by focusing on these five tips each time I pull up their brand.

  1. Be friendly!  Did someone you admire write a really moving post?  Tell them, and link to it.
  2. Shorten links.  You’ll get more use out of 140 characters if you use a short URL, like bit.ly or tiny.url
  3. Connect with a specific number of brands each day.  Before I did this, I was just aimlessly tweeting.  Now, I’ve made it a goal to connect with 20-30 brands each day.  This gets my clients’ names out there, and fosters friendship in Twitterland.
  4. Utilize it for Customer Service.  If you offer a product or service, your followers will ask questions about how to care for it, or when something will be back in stock.  Reply back to them within 24 hours (at the latest).  They will love it.
  5. Use images.  When you post about your brand, it’s great to use photos, as they are more attention-catching than words.
  6. Ask for RTs.  (But do it sparingly.)  It’s amazing what your followers will do when you ask for Re-tweets.
  7. Tweet the same content various times a day.  Because there are so many users, and the fact that it moves quickly, you can tweet the same thing several times in a day (or week) and hit different users.
  8. Look for what’s trending.  On the home page, they’re are always the top 10 trending items.  This week, it’s been Ebola, Lunar Eclipse, October and Go Pink that have popped up pretty regularly.  Contribute to the conversation and get your brand in there.
9 Twitter Tips that Get a Response

Best Practice Tip #1: Laptops


This may seem like a “no-brainer,” but here at Merit Media, we’ve made it one of our Best Practices to always bring in our laptops & expensive equipment inside.  This means that when our laptops are in the car, we bring them with us.  E v e r y w h e r e.

Convenient?  Not exactly.
Practical?  Not hardly.
Risky? Definitely not.

Having “Best Practices” helps us form habits that become second-nature to us.  They are good for business and good for our clients.

We don’t want to put our client information in jeopardy, and bringing in our laptops is a simple way to keep that a priority.

What Best Practices to you utilize?

Best Practice Tip #1: Laptops

How Do I Increase My Facebook Presence?

Optimize Facebook

Today we’re discussing some ways to increase your Facebook presence.  This is assuming your company/brand/product has a Facebook page already.  If not, you’ll definitely want to do that!

  1. Consistency is key.  Set a goal to post three to five times a week.  Be intentional about it.
  2. Comment on other brands and pages that you follow.  Being friendly is a common theme around here.  It doesn’t always need to be about you and your product.  Encouraging others is good for you and good for others.  Don’t forget that.
  3. Have you posted a video?  Right now on Facebook, the algorithms are set in the following hierarchy:
    • Videos receive the most opportunity to be seen.
    • Posts with photos are next.
    • A link will receive some views, but you will see better results if you insert an image in a post with the link, rather than just letting an image populate.
    • Only words in your posts?  I would really reconsider.  See above!
  4. Should you pay for page or post boosting?  Well, it depends.  Since Facebook went public, they are responsible to their shareholders to make money.  The easiest way for them to do that is by selling ads.  I would encourage you to start a page and implement the points above before paying too much.  However, if you have the means to do it and you’ve got plenty of content posted, then it’s definitely worth a shot.

If you’d like to talk further about managing your social media presence, contact us today.


How Do I Increase My Facebook Presence?