Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I've moved!

Good afternoon everyone!

I wanted to let you know that I am moving my blog to my own personal website. Please see all future blog posts and subscribe to my email list at

Thanks everyone, see you on my new site!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Breaking it Down: Twitter

After writing my blog two weeks ago on Pinterest lingo, I have had several requests to do the same for Twitter. Using 140 characters to get your message across and not knowing the language would make it difficult, but that's where I come in!

Since it's launch in 2006, Twitter has grown substantially in popularity. By 2007, there was an average of 60,000 tweets per day. In March of 2013, the Washington Post reported an incredible 400 million tweets per day enter the internet. This is not a market you want to miss out on!

So, let's breakdown the lingo so you can get started in this tweeting world...

-A Tweet: A tweet is a 140 character message that you as the user sends out. Each tweet is visible to anyone, whether they are following you or not. All tweets are public and stay on the internet for pretty much the rest of eternity (as far as we know).
-User Handle: The user handle is how other users can find you (along with searching your email address) and how you will be recognized on Twitter. You can see my handle above is @MOpitzMarketing. You can search people's or business's handles to follow them and/or look at their tweets.
-Private Account: Although all tweets and the profile page of a private account are visible to everyone and anyone, the account holder approves each follower. A private account cannot be followed until the account holder says it is okay. 
-Public Account: The tweets and profile page are visible to the public and anyone may follow that type of account.
-Your Profile: Your profile consists of a profile picture, background picture, handle, short description, location, and even a URL. The profile is everything in the dark colored box in the image above.
-Followers: Once a user follows you, all of the tweets you put out will appear in their Home Page news feed. Same goes for once you follow someone; every tweet they put out will appear in your Home Page news feed.
-Mention: To mention someone in a tweet, simply place the '@' sign before you type their handle. Twitter will automatically pull up your options once you start typing. When a user mentions someone, that tweet is viewable to all of their followers, but not to the followers of the company or person they mentioned (unless they happen to be following both!).
-#Hashtags: Just like with Pinterest, hashtags increase the likelihood that your tweet will be found and interacted with.
-Direct Message: There is an option to Direct Message (DM) someone you follow or for someone you follow to do the same to you. This shows up in a personal inbox. These messages are only visible to the user who was DM'd.
-@Connect page: The @Connect page is the user's 'personal' new feed. This let's them know if they've been mentioned, retweeted, favorited, or followed. These are not visible to your followers.
-Retweet, Reply, Favorite: If a user likes what another user has tweeted, they have three options: Retweet, Reply, or Favorite.
  • Retweet: If a user retweets your tweet, it makes your tweet visible to all of the people that follow that user. It also does the same for things you retweet; now all of your followers will see it as well. *If the account is private there is no option to retweet
  • Reply: This means you tweet directly back to someone who tweeted at you. This tweet is only visible on that user's personal "connect" page. The tweet is, however, visible to everyone that follows you.
  • Favorite: If a user enjoys what they see and want to "bookmark" its place, they can favorite a tweet. Favorites are not visible to anyone except the user that favorited it. 
Now that you know the lingo, let's talk about a little How To:

-Look at the most recent tweets: Simply click on the 'Home' button on the top navigation bar to go to your news feed. As it automatically updates, the feed will let you know how many more tweets came in since you've last refreshed your page.
-Interact with another user's tweet: If you hover over a tweet, the green words Reply, Retweet, and Favorite show up. Just click the action you are looking to use!
-Edit profile: To edit your profile, simply go to your 'Me' page and click 'Edit Profile'. This is where you need to go to change your pictures, your handle, your name, your location, and more.
-Check Direct Messages: This also needs to be done from your 'Me' page. Once you are on that page, just click on the little envelope next to where it says 'Edit Profile'
-Follow another user: Simply click on the handle of the user you want to follow. This will pull up a window within your screen (so you don't loose your spot!) with a white 'Follow' button on the page. If the account is private, the button will turn to the word 'Pending' once clicked. If the account is public, the button will turn blue and the word 'Following' will be visible.

I hope you found this blog to be useful! Please let me know if I missed any lingo or how-to instructions that you'd like to know.

Also, this will be my last blog on this site. I will now be blogging on my personal website! It's been a long, drawn-out project that I work on in my non-existent spare time and I can't wait to show you all! You will have to enter your email and subscribe from my new site, even if you are already subscribed to this site. If you enter in, it will automatically redirect you to my new site soon!

Thanks so much everyone, see you on my new site!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Trello: Review

As a company with many part-time employees, Michigan Creative needed to find a way to organize ideas, thoughts, tasks, and to-do lists. It needed to be all in one place, easy to access, and easy to use.

After doing some research, we came across an online system called Trello. Never heard of it before? Neither had we, but we are sure glad we came upon it!

In short, Trello is a free online organization system, where you can create boards, lists, and cards, and assign them to users. You can also assign due dates, categories, and a priority order to each of those cards.

My blog today is not going to be so much on how to use Trello, but what we like and dislike about the system. I've polled the office and we've come up with a complete pro and con list--just for you!

Our favorite pieces:
1) It's easy to create tasks and lists and keep them organized: In our office, we have one board for each client. Within that board we have three lists: To Do, Doing, and Done. It's easy to click and drag cards as projects are moved from step to step and as they change in priority.

2) You can assign cards to users and tag them in comments: By doing this, we can keep tabs on users and see who is doing what and when they are doing it. It helps limit the notifications the user receives to just the boards they are assigned to or tagged in.

3) You can view it from anywhere: Not only can you login from any computer, they also have an app. It makes it easy for the part-time employees to be able to keep up on what happens in the office while they are gone.

4) It makes it easy to delegate big projects: With each employee having their own specialty, large projects are never handled by just one person. Trello makes it easy to assign different parts of each project to individual users.

What we really wish it could do:

1) We wish it could organize cards by assigned user, not just by board: It would be great if one user could pull up their cards to see all of the tasks that need to be completed. The only way to view cards is by board; this doesn't always prove useful when dealing with a business. This is by far the wish we want the most!

*Update: This can be done! By clicking on your avatar in the upper right hand corner you can select how you’d like to view the page-by boards or cards. Thanks to Michael P on Twitter for the tips!

2) It'd be nice if it included a schedule: For business use, it'd be helpful if we had a spot where employees could put up their schedules for each week. This could be either internally or possibly link to something like Google Calendar. They, just yesterday, added a calendar where you can see what tasks are due when. There is no way to see a staff schedule without adding a card for each staff member on each day.

3) Since there is the option to categorize cards, it'd be nice if we could sort the cards by category, not just by board: Let's say an employee wants to view all video project categorized cards. To do that, you currently need to go into each board and look through the cards to find what you are looking for.

4) When you create a new account, it'd be nice if the system prompted you to change your password: Although it's nice you can get started right away, the system will lock you out if you don't change your password before logging out. We had this happen when two of our employees created an account and didn't reset their password right away.

Of course no system will be perfect, but we think Trello really does a great job for the most part. It wasn't created for businesses originally, but it definitely can be used that way!

'Till next time

"The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual"
~Vince Lombardi

*The opinions written here are of my own and no one else. I was not paid by Trello or any of its affiliates to complete this review. I also welcome comments on updates or features that I am incorrect about or am unaware of.*

Friday, July 26, 2013

Breaking It Down: Pinterest

So I know that I have done a blog on Pinterest for Business, but I didn't really explain how to use it!

I thought that today we'd take a look at the basics of Pinterest: lingo, functionality, and overall instructions on how to use it. They say it's always best to start at the beginning so let's start with lingo.

~Pin: A full pin is pictured above. A pin is a digital bookmark of sorts. It includes a picture, description, a link (when you click on the photo), the pinner, and the board it has been pinned to. It is called a pin whether you are using someone else's pin or creating your own pin.
~The Pinner: David's Bridal is the pinner in the example above. This is the person or business that has added the pin to their board.
~A Board: The Aisle Style Sweepstakes is the board in the example above. A board is where all of your pins are stored for you to look at. You can have as many or as few pins as you'd like. You can also name and rename the boards at any time.
~Hashtags: The hashtags in the example above are #davidsbridal #olegcassini #weddingdress and #aisletestyle. By using hashtags, you increase the likelihood that your pins will be found and re-pinned.
~Description: The description up above includes everything from "Classic....#aislestyle". The description can be anything and doesn't really have a limit on length. This is where you can talk about an article, new website, promotion and so much more. To add traffic to your website, copy and paste the url in the body of the text so it makes it easy for people to find you. Do keep in mind that the people that repin your image can change that description to whatever they want it to be.
~Repin: A repin is when someone else adds your pin to their own boards (or when you add someone else's pin to your own boards).
~Picture: The picture is the photo of the women in the wedding dress above. This is the photo that will always show up when you see that particular pin. Each photo is linked to a website so that when you click on the link it will redirect you.
~Followers: This is the number of people who are following your boards, meaning that your pins show up in their news feed.

Now that we've got the lingo down pat, let's tackle some how-to!

~Repin? To repin someone else's pin, simply hover over the photo. You will see a "Pin It" button appear. Simply press that button and wait for this screen to appear:
There are many things you can do before hitting "Pin it" and putting it on your board. You can select which board you would like it to appear on, as well as alter the body of the text that will appear along with the pin. You can also click the Facebook button to have the pin appear on your Facebook page (if they are linked).
~Make my own pin? Not seeing what you are looking for or do you want to create a pin from your own photographs? Go up the right hand page of your Pinterest page. There is a small "+" button. Click that and it will ask if you want to upload a file or use a website. Select the option you would like to use and create your pin from there. Make sure to add it to the correct board and edit the description.
~Edit a pin after it's been pinned? (description, board location, source link)? Hover over one of your pins and in the left hand corner you will find a little pencil icon. Click that and the following screen will appear:
From here you can change which board the pin will appear on, the description, and the source. The source is where the pin will lead when a user clicks on the picture. You can also delete a pin from here.
~Create a new board? This can be done when repinning or creating new pins. When you go to select the board, a "Create a New Board" option will appear on the top of the selections. You can also create a new board by clicking the "+" in the upper right hand side of your Pinterest page. This is an option in the drop down list that will appear.
~Edit my profile? This can be done by going to the page with your boards on it and clicking in the pencil in the bottom right hand corner of the top profile box. You can edit your name, description, how your url appears, and even add your own website.

I know this was more of a technical blog, but it's an important one! With the popularity of Pinterest, you don't want your business to be missing out on this opportunity!

Until next time,

PS. Follow my marketing board on Pinterest!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Twitter as a News Source

First of all, I apologize for the lack of blogs lately. I have been very busy-I just got back from getting married and going on a honeymoon!

Speaking of our honeymoon, an event that happened while we were there sparked me to write a blog which, as the title implies, is about using Twitter as a news source.

My husband and I traveled to San Francisco, California, for our five day, four night honeymoon stay. After a wonderful time filled with amazing food, beautiful scenery, and the best workout I've had in weeks, we headed to the airport that Saturday. That happened to be Saturday, July 6, at the San Francisco International Airport and our plane was to take off at 11:16 AM. We boarded the plane on time and taxied out to the runway. By that time we were running just a few minutes behind. We were second in line on the tarmac when suddenly people begin getting up out of their seats near the front of the plane. People start talking and getting louder and louder. The pilot of our plane came over the intercom and announced, "there appears to have been an accident on the runway". End of announcement. The people at the front of the plane could see some of it. The people near the back of the plane (like us) were left totally in the dark. People sit for a few moments and then begin to ask if they can use their phones. This is when the chaos started. Immediately people began powering up their devices to let their loved ones know that they were okay and tell them what little information they knew. We, of course, called our parents and put up a status online to let everyone know we were okay. The problem was that no one knew.

I, being the social media freak that I am, pulled up Facebook. Nothing. Not a single news source had released anything, no status updates, no anything.  Twitter was a different story. Immediately things like #SF #airport #planecrash #sanfrancisco were trending. There were pictures. There were posts about where the plane came from. There were posts about what the flight number was. ALL before the story was breaking news on television or any online media source.

From the time the plane crashed until it broke on a credible news source (like CNN, Fox News, MSNBC), almost 45 minutes had gone by. 45 MINUTES. Yet, on Twitter, it had broke almost immediately.

News breaking on Twitter is nothing new.

News broke of Whitney Houston's death hours before it was confirmed by AP news (source). The New York plane crash into the Hudson in 2009 broke on Twitter over 15 minutes before it broke on mainstream news (source). On the day of Micheal Jackson's death, over 30% of Twitter traffic was eaten up by tweets about him (source).

Nor is the breaking news always credible.

Remember when hackers broke into the Fox News Twitter account and fake tweeted about an Obama assassination? Or, just this year, when Burger King and McDonalds were hacked in the same week?

My point is for us to think-will social media become the first news source people go to instead of flicking on the television or turning on the radio? As more credible resources jump onto the real-time media train, this becomes more and more possible.

What about you? If you know news is breaking, where do you go first?

Until next time

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Why your Customers are Better than you

"This is just ridiculous" is what you may be thinking. But let's go back to the old adage the customer is always right and just think on that for a little while

Let's breakdown this claim and take a few steps back because you probably think I'm crazy. To help clarify my claim, we are going to start with that very statement:

The customer is always right
Whether you think so or not, this is always true*. If the customer says that t-shirt at Kohl's isn't worth $35 and doesn't fit right, it isn't worth $35 and doesn't fit right. Of course this only directly applies to the consumer that thinks it. However, the consumer that thinks it is likely to share what they think on social media, with their best friend, and on online reviews on the company website. Which leads me to my next point:

Customers are more influential and credible than you are

You heard me right, they are more credible than the company that sells the product. It doesn't matter if Kohl's thinks that shirt is fully worth $35 and fits consumers just fine. One consumer's opinion can influence another consumer's purchase quite easily. When it comes to decision time, a potential buyer will probably ask five of his closest friends what they recommend. They will also check out websites like Yelp and take a look at the customer reviews on the company's website. Which, surprise, are made from even more consumers! According to this article, a whopping 70% of consumers look at online reviews before making a purchase. That is a market you can't create and you can't control, but it is important to monitor the online chatter surrounding your product. It is also important to take those reviews and customer ideas and listen to them:

Your customers know what customers want.

According to Bill Lee, from an article on, in "one compilation of studies of 1,193 commercially successful innovations across nine industries by MIT's Eric von Hippel, 737 (60 percent) came from customers". This supports the fact that consumers know what buyers want; they work to fulfill their own needs and create and purchase products that they would want to buy.

So your next question is probably, "how can I be better than my customers?" because that's obviously where every business owner wants to achieve! I'm going to break it down into three basic tips:

1. Listen to your customer! Even though you can't meet all of their wants and needs, you can at least work to improve the products or services you sell to better fit your target customer.
2. Observe online chatter. It is important to Google your business and watch how often customers are posting about you and what kind of things they are saying. This obviously takes us back to point #1.
3. Make sure your customer receives the best service you can offer. Even if your product isn't right for that customer, ensure that their experience is a good one. Great customer service can go a long way in online review sites, social media sites, and word of mouth chatter between friends.

What else do you think your customers are better at than you? What do you do to make the best product for your customers?

Until next time!

Fun fact: No one really knows who first uttered the phrase: "The customer is always right". It is widely believed that is was first said by Harry Gordon Selfridge, an employee at the original Marshall Fields store back in the late 1800s. However, some say that Marshall Field, the founder of the original Marshall Fields and Harry's boos said it first and it was quickly picked up by his employee, who is widely given credit for this phrase.

*To clarify, I would like say that the customer is always right in the customer's mind and will tend to share with other people how "right" they are. Many times the customer has unsupported facts, terrible claims, and outrageous statements (I've worked in retail and sales, I've heard a lot of statements in which I utter under my breath "that customer is not right") but in the end will only make the purchase if it is right for them. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Five Easy Places to Find Social Media Content

Do you ever find yourself staring at your computer, wracking your brain for the answer to "what the heck am I going to post on Facebook today"?

Fear not social media mangers: there are easy ways and places to find content that are right under your nose. Many of the places I look for content are easy to search and filled with oodles of content just for you!

1. Google Images: The neat thing about Google Images is that you can literally search anything and at least something will come up. Let's say you are doing social media for a lawn care company and you are trying to find a picture to encourage engagement on your page. Google "funny lawn" in images. The page literally doesn't end and there are hilarious content pictures for you to use!

Caution: If you are going to be publishing something using one of the Google images, make sure you are not breaking copy write!

2. Twitter: Twitter feeds are filled with a wealth of relevant information for your company if you know how to search for it. An easy way to find related content is to go into the search box and use a hashtag term to look for content. Let's use the example of a marketing company. A marketing company may search hashtags such as: #marketing, #SEO, #socialmedia, and #advertising. An endless Twitter feed of information will appear and I promise you will find at least one article or tip you can use for your social media.

Caution: Make sure to click the link before your re-tweet to actually read the article and make sure the link works. If bad content is present, you may upset your followers.

3. Wikipedia: Yes I know you are saying, "what is she thinking?" but seriously, it works for finding topics to search for. Let's say you run social media for a handyman company. Put "handyman" into the search bar and quickly skim through the article. Scroll down and you'll see a section of the article that gives you a whole list of "handyman jobs". Now, you can use those as search terms on other sites to find content.

Caution: Wikipedia is meant to be an "idea box" (in my opinion). It gives you a good overview of information, but many of the facts, figures, and articles listed on that site are not reliable and you want to caution yourself against giving false information to your customers.

4. Pinterest: The best thing about Pinterest is the variety of content. Not only can you find good pictures, you can also find articles on virtually any topic, websites you've never heard of, and that "perfect post" you've been waiting to find. It's easy to search for key terms and browse general categories until you find what you are looking for.

Caution: If you are re-pinning any of the material you find, make sure to click on the image and see where it goes. You don't want to direct your customers to a dead-end website or a competitor!

5. Social media sites for companies like yours: Who knows the industry better than your competitors? Similar social media sites can be a great resource. What I mainly use this for is seeing what topics they are posting about, how often they are posting, and maybe to use some of their content.

Caution: Is this content poaching? Well it can be if you steal all their content all the time,so use this one in moderation.

I hope that this gives you some ideas of where to find a variety of quality content for your various social media sites!

What resources do you use for finding content? How do you keep your ideas fresh and interactive?


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Resumes and Personal Branding: Basic Resume Building Tips

You may be thinking: Why is she writing about resumes on her marketing blog?

Well, resumes can be the first impression a potential employer receives of you and it is your chance to market yourself! Self-branding is extremely important in your career; think about what you want to do, what your long and short term goals are, and who you want to be as a career women or man.

Resumes can be tricky. It is hard to know what to include and what not to include. You may also struggle with making your minimum wage job sound like the best learning experience in the universe. And many people struggle with knowing where to start when creating a resume.

That's what I'm here for! I am going to run down my top tips on creating a simple resume and how to make it stand out and shape your personal brand.

We'll start with a simple list of what to include and what not to include.

  • Make sure to include: 
    • Education level: You worked hard to get into college and/or grad school and you want to make sure to include that hard work is on your resume. If high school is the highest level you completed, you'll at least want to state that you have your GED or high school diploma.
    • Your correct contact information: Be sure to include a current address, phone number, and email address that your possible employer may contact you at.
    • Keywords: Because employers receive so many resumes, many large companies will use something called a parser. Basically  they send your resume through a scanner and look for keywords, allowing the "best" applicants to rise to the surface. Applicant tracking systems are becoming more and more advanced and have become a staple at many companies. An easy way to make sure to include keywords is by seeing which keywords are repeated in the job description and using relevant terms from the industry.
    • Accomplishments, not just duties: Instead of simply listing the duties you performed, make sure to include accomplishments and goals achieved to support why they are important enough to be listed on your resume. Instead of saying "Sold medical equipment" say "increased sales of medical equipment by 11% from 2011-2012"
    • A custom file name: Simply saving it as "resume" and sending it over will allow your resume to get lost in a sea of job applicants. My recommended format is Lastname_Firstname_TitleofCompany. This shows them that you took the time to customize the resume to fit their company and will also allow them an easy reference point of who's resume they are looking at.
    • Bullet points and organization: Organize your resume in a way that fits the career best and that is easy to understand for any one looking at it. Use bullet points, white space, and lines to help aid in the organization and spruce up your resume at the same time.
  • Make sure not to include:
    • Your picture: This is a debated topic, but it my opinion, you want to avoid having a picture so the potential employer cannot make a judgement about you before even reading your resume.
    • Your age: This goes along with the photo-why would you want to give your potential employer a reason to pre-judge you?
    • Your objective: This is also debated. Many will say you need to include your objective to ensure that the employer knows your long term career goals. But let's be honest, the objective of turning in a resume is to get the job you are applying for, so why do you need to state that on the resume? A more appropriate place for this is in the cover letter attached to your resume.
    • Spelling errors: The wrong use of a verb, spelling errors, missed commas, and any other grammatical errors you can think of will be a huge turnoff for potential employers. If you cannot take the time to check for spelling errors as an applicant, what makes them think you will do a quality job as a new hire? 45% of executives said they threw away a resume after just one typo; 31% said they discard them after two
    • The award that you won for the spelling bee while you were in fifth grade: Yes this is oddly specific, but what I'm hinting to is that you should include only relevant, timely, and important information on your resume. Employers already spend so little time on your resume, why fill it up with information that they won't care about?

Having a solid base for your resume will help you create your personal brand piece by piece. Yes resumes need to be professional, but it doesn't mean it can't have some sort of personality! As you have more jobs that help you grow in your field, you'll see your personal brand develop right in front of you.

Two side notes: All resumes should also come with a custom-crafted cover letter in an appropriate format that outlines basically why you should get the job that you applied for. Resumes should also be an appropriate length-I recommend a one page resume with a reference to visit your LinkedIn profile to see the full resume.

What tips would you give a person that is new to applying to jobs? What has worked well for you in the past?

Good luck to all of those career seekers out there! With the right resume, you can get your foot in the door of that dream job.


"If you call failures experiments, you can put them on your resume and claim them as achievements" ~Mason Cooley

Monday, May 13, 2013

Five Marketing Focal Points for Small Businesses

Are you a small business that is just starting out and needs to know what to focus on most? Of course with opening your own business, you know that there are many important things that you need to put your energy toward. I do not personally own a small business, but I've worked with many small business owners and based off of my own experiences, below are my personal top five marketing focal points for small businesses.

1) Social media platforms
Social media platforms are great; they are free and they are easy. They work well in trying to get out your message in an effective and engaging way. Social media platforms are growing in users and variety and really can cater to any kind of business.

Social media comes with its challenges, however. Although the platforms are free to use, they are not free to run when you take into account your time and effort that goes into them. And yes the platforms are easy, but you must learn the difference between how to run a personal account and how to run a business account!

2) Networking events
Networking events are a great way to market your business and yourself as a business owner. Many events have a networking portion where you go around the room to hand out your business card and collect others in exchange. There are also events hosted that are purely for networking; at these events people are asking to be told about your business and how it can help them. Be sure to prep your elevator speech and bring plenty of business cards.

Networking does take time, effort, and a little bit of money, but can pay off quickly when you meet that client that can help take your business off the ground!

3) Purchase a good website
You are going to want to pay a little more to get a website that is fully functional for your business needs, is mobile optimized, and has great SEO. Of course you want to live within your means when purchasing a website, but you want remember to create a website that is easy to use and provides your customers with valuable information. In this day and age, you need to make sure that your website is mobile capable if not mobile optimized. Many customers now access their information on a phone versus a computer—you want to make sure you aren't stopping your customers from doing so! And finally you want to spend at least a little time on SEO for your site. You need to make sure customers can find you via search queries and that you have a high page rank.

Websites can get expensive quickly, so make sure to be prepared for a large total if you are looking to build a large website with all the bells and whistles.

4) Blog
Blogs do many great things for your business and your website. It provides your customers with valuable information in addition to providing a reason for them to keep coming back to your site! If you are consistent on the timing of your blog as well as providing great content, you will attract subscribers and in turn, customers. An extra benefit of having a blog is that it keeps your site active and shows Google you are making updates to your site often, proving that you are a business that does real business!

Blogging does take time and effort to do correctly. You need to post consistently and constantly come up with new topic ideas that you think will interest your customer enough to make them subscribe.

5) Business cards
Spend a little extra money and get custom-designed, high-quality business cards. Having these from the start help you to establish your brand and your credibility. Business cards can be used at networking events as well as your place of business; they help to remind your customers you exist!

They can be expensive to get designed, but your business will thank you later.

Of course the marketing tips for small businesses are truly unlimited. Do you own a small business? What marketing tips do you have for potential entrepreneurs? 

Until next time!

"Behind every small business, there's a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores - these didn't come out of nowhere." ~Paul Ryan

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Social Media for Business Part 3: Pinterest for Business

I am completing a three-part series on social media platforms for businesses with one blog for Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Welcome to Part 3!

I will be highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of using Pinterest based on my own experience; I do social media marketing for almost ten different companies, so I'll be sure to take the best of the best advice to pass on to you!

Let's begin with the advantages of using Pinterest for your business:
1) Pinterest is a visual platform: In general, people are lazy! Pinterest makes it easy to visually share things related to your business as well as your product without requiring the user to do all that much work.
2) It's easy-really easy: Pinterest is basically a digital bulletin board and they make it work exactly as such. It's also very easy to browse content and search specifically for content for your pages.
3) Just like other social media platforms, you don't have to just talk about your business: Let's say you own a flooring company. You can make boards for the wood you sell and picture of houses you've done. You can also make boards of neat home remodel ideas, pin about the town your business is based out of, and even a DIY board for home improvements. The possibilities are endless with Pinterest and it's easy to gain interest just by having interesting content.
4) You can use hashtags and key terms to make your content more searchable: Just like Twitter, you can add hashtags to your pin to increase the reach of your pin.
5) It's good for your SEO: Google indexes Pinterest and can help your SEO greatly.

Pinterest is still new, so some of the disadvantages may be fixed soon. But for now, here are the disadvantages:
1) You can't schedule posts ahead of time: Pinterest does not have an internal scheduling system like Facebook. There are some early developed third party applications that let you "pre-pin", but I have yet to have the time to try to use it.
2) It's easy to create a "flood" in the stream of pins: A flood is created when you pin onto the same board many times over; this give the user a "flood" of pins from that board. This will often cause the user to skip over the entire bunch of pins.
3) It's a little difficult to get users to follow your brand: Pinterest is on the newer side as far as social media goes, so some users are still unfamiliar with the platform. Following company pages and brands is even newer. An added challenge is balancing promotional content with content users are interested in.
4) Watch out for copyright infringement and spam: Sometimes users pin things that they are not supposed to. Always click on the pin and see where it goes to make sure it is what the pin says it is!

Pinterest is new but it is growing quickly! Grab your business name as soon as you can and pin away.

Have you began a business Pinterest page? What do you like to pin for your business?

Until next time!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Social Media for Businesses Part 2: Facebook for Business

I am completing a three-part series on social media platforms for businesses with one blog for Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Welcome to Part 2!

I will be highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of using Facebook based on my own experience; I do social media marketing for almost ten different companies, so I'll be sure to take the best of the best advice to pass on to you!

I'll start with the advantages that Facebook has for businesses:
1) It's easy to use: Facebook works hard to be user friendly; easy to post, easy to see your analytics, and easy to keep track of customer engagement. They also make business pages similar in format to personal pages so it will seem extra familiar to the regular Facebook user.
2) There is a large number of active users: According to Facebook's website, they have more than a billion monthly active users and 618 million daily active users (as of December 2012). This is a huge market to tap into and you don't want to miss out on it!
3) You can schedule content directly through Facebook: Facebook allows you to schedule posts directly through your business page. It lets you schedule posts up to five months out; posts can have links, pictures, videos, and text built right into them.
4) There are analytics built in: Facebook is constantly changing and updating their internal analytics to give you the best view of your business page as possible. It's very easy to see what kind of content or post does well and which does not.
5) It gives customers multiple ways to interact with you: People that like your page can send you messages, write on your wall, write recommendations, like your posts, share your posts, and comment on your posts. This is a large part of building your brand and gives customers an option of how they want to interact with you.

No social media platform is perfect though! Here are some disadvantages of Facebook for businesses:
1) It's difficult to gain and retain "likes" when first starting: Just like with any business as it starts out, a business facebook struggles to gain "likes" when first beginning (*without the use of promoted posts). A new facebook page will struggle with engagement and interaction as not all of your "likes" will see your posts. Once you gain a larger number of followers, you should see a steady increase of approximately 2-7% new "likes" per month (at least this is my experience).
2) It takes time and hard work to do it right: Although Facebook is free, you have to take into account time and effort spent into growing your Facebook "likes". On top of that, you must learn the difference between running a personal account and a business account.
3) Facebook limits who sees your posts: Not all of your "likes" will see every post. Most of my posts see an average of 30-70% of my total "likes" (Of course some get less and some get more). If you pay attention, you'll notice that Facebook limits certain types of posts (like pictures and certain links) to even fewer of your "likes".
4) Facebook lumps third party posts together and identifies where you post from: Yes you can schedule through Facebook directly, but in addition to that, you can post from many third party applications. These are convenient but can hurt the reach on your posts. Facebook may lump your posts together, may limit who sees posts from certain applications, and also identifies where you are posting from (i.e. Hootsuite, Gremln).

Even with its ups and downs, your business must have a Facebook page. With so many users waiting for you, you must not miss out! You have to use and manage it, but it can do wonders for building your brand and serving as a communication tool for your current and potential customers.

Does your business have a Facebook account? What are your favorite and least favorite aspects?


"Move fast and break things. If you aren't breaking things you aren't moving fast enough."
             ~Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook

See Part 1: Twitter for Business here

Part 3 coming soon: Pinterest for Business

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Social Media for Businesses Part 1: Twitter For Business

I will be doing a three-part series on social media platforms for businesses with one blog for Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Welcome to Part 1!

I will be highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of using Twitter based on my own experience; I do social media marketing for almost ten different companies, so I'll be sure to take the best of the best advice to pass on to you!

I'll start with the advantages that Twitter has for businesses:

1) It's easy to gain followers: In my own experience, I see an average month to month growth of  Twitter followers between +5-20% for the business Twitter accounts. It's easy to gain followers because (usually) when you follow people, they'll follow you back! 

2) Twitter doesn't block your content: Twitter will post everything that you ask it to-whether it's 2 tweets per day or 200. Other social media platforms limit who sees your content based on what they want their users to see.

3) Twitter doesn't block third party post-scheduling apps: Twitter will allow you to post from any third party application (Such as HootSuite and Gremln); it will not block content, nor will it identify where the post is coming from. 

4) It makes you think about what you are going to say: Because tweets are limited to 140 characters, you really are forced to think about what you'll say and how you'll say it best. Messages must be concise and straight to the point-you don't risk boring your followers!

5) Following a brand on Twitter increases likelihood to purchase as well as recommend a brand: According to eMarketer, 37% of respondents are more likely to purchase from a brand after following them on Twitter (this is compared to only 17% that say the same about a brand they like on Facebook). Numbers are about the same when asked if they would recommend a brand.

6) Hashtags make it easy to use Twitter like Google: When using hashtags in tweets, you are making it easier for users to find your content. They can use the search bar to look for words like "marketing" or "twitter" and Twitter will pull up every tweet that has mentioned this word via hashtag for the past forever. This is an added way that new followers can find you and discover your content quickly and easily.

Of course, no social media platform is perfect. Here are what I would call disadvantages about using Twitter for businesses:

1) The half-life of a tweet is only two to three hours: Not only do you have to provide excellent and engaging content all the time; you must be careful about when you post your tweets! After just a few hours, the odds of a user seeing a tweet are minimal. It also means you need to post quite a few times each day to get your content in front of your followers.

2) It's really hard to respond to complaints in a small amount of characters: If a customer provides a long and confusing tweet complaint, you may have to tweet back and forth several times to ask all of the questions you need to. The character limit may also make your tweets sound cold or "canned", which may upset the user further.

3) Customers expect an instant response: Because Twitter is such an instant platform (many users use it as an instant news source), customers have very high expectations of response rates. I've had a user tweet back within just a few hours that they were disappointed that I "never" got back to them. This can, however, be turned into a positive if you have a great social media manager that is on top of responding to tweets coming in.

4) There aren't any analytics built in to Twitter: Yes, there are third party programs that will create analytics for you, but you have to find which one will work for you. Other social media platforms offer analytics for managers within the platform itself for extra convenience.

5) The larger your follower number becomes, the more difficult it is to manage: This is a good problem to have-people like to hear what you have to say-but it makes responding to questions and tweets that come in extremely difficult. This can make engaging with your customers via Twitter tricky.

I believe that no matter how large or how small your business is, you should have a Twitter account! Yes it does take work to do it right, but it can be a great platform to expand the reach of your business and communicate your message with your customers.

Does your business have a Twitter account? What are the advantages and disadvantages you've run into?

See you for Part 2 and Part 3!

Follow me on Twitter:

“Twitter represents a collective collaboration that manifests our ability to unconsciously connect kindred voices through the experiences that move us. As such, Twitter is a human seismograph.” – Brian Solis, Principal of FutureWorks

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Do's and Dont's of Email Marketing

So you're a small business and you want to start an email marketing campaign. You know little about this topic except for you probably open very few of them yourself. So you're asking, how can I run a successful email marketing campaign for my business?

A good place to start is a solid list of Email Marketing Dos:

  • Do: Make sure your message is clear and makes sense
  • Do: Provide value to the reader through interesting, relevant, and current information
  • Do: Update your contact list frequently and correct addresses that come back as undeliverable
  • Do: Design your email newsletter with mobile platforms in mind
  • Do: Mail consistently--most suggest at least one email newsletter every 90 days
  • Do: Use short paragraphs and use things like bullet points or dashes to organize your content
  • Do: Create a solid subject line
  • Do: Let readers know about upcoming events
  • Do: Spell check and proof read for confusing content
  • Do: Provide contact information and links to your social media accounts
  • Do: Include links that direct people to your website
  • Do: Provide readers will an "unsubscribe" link
  • Do: Pick an email marketing platform that best suites your business needs

And another great place to start that pairs well with the first list is a list of Email Marketing Don'ts:

  • Do not: Write subject lines or content in all captial letters
  • Do not: Use hard to read fonts or colors or use a distrtacting background
  • Do not: Mail too frequently
  • Do not: Hide your unsubscribe link
  • Do not: Only talk about your company, your sales, and how awesome you are

Overall, the best way to answer your questions about social media is to try things out and adjust from there depending on what works and doesn't work. Just like social media, there isn't an official list of rules when it comes to email marketing; the rules need to be adjusted to fit the needs and interests of a company and its customers.

Until next time!

“I believe if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions, they will be moved to act.” 
                                                                                                                          ~ Bill Gates

I'd like to thank the following two websites for helping me out with this content!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Difficulties of Real-Time Marketing

Of all things that could happen during a Superbowl that you could possibly be prepared for-injuries, crazy plays, time rivalry-few were ready to react to something as simple as a power outage. Oreo cookie won the fastest-and-most-innovative-response-during-the-Super-Bowl-Blackout prize according to many marketers and judging by its rate of re-tweet (over 10,000 times in the first hour).

This crazy response to such an event spurred a new marketing term: "Real-Time Marketing".  The inevitable need for constant monitoring and virtually instant response is wanted by today's population. With the ease of social media and the usually quick response to a text message, people today strive for immediate gratification for their complaint and even their compliment. 

This is an incredible challenge for marketing and public relations companies. They are now having to adapt to a 24/7 marketing model and act more like a news room than a marketing firm. Usually the lack of staffing or the inability to staff around the clock gets in the way of running this kind of marketing model. 

There have been advancements and tools made to make real-time marketing a little more manageable. Here are just a few that you can use:
  • Facebook allows you to become a manager of as many pages you control. They make it easy to see notifications when you flip between profiles.
  • Applications such as HootSuite, Tweet Deck, and Gremln allow you to manage multiple sites at once and even have "news feeds" right on the pages themselves.
  • Mobile applications for social media platforms such as Facebook, make it easy to access and updates all of the Facebook pages that you manage right from your phone.
  • Social media platforms on their own are information hotbeds, giving virtually real time information updates at the tip of your fingers! Consistent monitoring of news feeds alone will give you updates that you can work off.

There are issues that come with real-time marketing, however. If not done properly, it can lead to negativity about the company or brand that attempted real time data monitoring  If your quick response is not well thought out, has a spelling error or has a failed attempt at humor, among other things, your efforts behind real time marketing will be wasted. Another large issue that comes with social media monitoring is the lack of resources to collect data; these can be items such as a social media management data base, man power needed to gather the data, and the time it takes to sift through the overload of information that exists. 

So, my advice for real-time marketing is to do as much as you can, but in the end remember: if you don't have anything groundbreaking, crafty, and timely to say, then say nothing at all--you will most likely be better off!

Until next time

“It’s less about being real time and more about being predictive. You can plan ahead, to a certain extent and have content and ideas ready to go if and when you can use them.” ~Unknown Advertising Executive

Friday, March 22, 2013

How do I drive engagement on Facebook but still post relevant content?

Let's start by having you think of the business pages you interact with on a regular basis. What kind of status updates do you like? What kind of status updates do you share? What makes you want to interact with their page?

Some answers you may have come up with are funny pictures, funny status updates, cool facts, and maybe a really great sale announcement. Your answer would most likely not be, "man, I really love when businesses post about themselves all the time".

So, we have already learned something just by taking a look at our own habits! This is a frustrating point to learn, however, because we all want our Facebook business page to make our company shine above the rest. We want all current and potential customers to really care about everything in our businesses  We want them to share our status updates and get all of their friends to share it as well.

So. How do we drive engagement while pushing our company at the same time? Well, it has to do a lot with the content you put out there and how you position it to be most effective for your business. I've come up with three easy tips for posts that drive engagement and promote your business at the same time!

1) Post a funny picture that relates to your business. An example of this would be posting a picture for a sign company like this:

Then, make the caption relate back to your business!.
"Are you effectively getting your message across to your customers? Let us help you with a new sign!". 
Your caption will travel with the photo and each person that shares it because it is funny will share a sales pitch too!

2) Always ask questions in your status updates. This is a very simple and easy way to drive engagement with your customers. An example of this would be posting a statement like, "Our next First Friday event is coming up next week! Will we see you out and about for the festivities?". This kind of status lets people know about your event but also instantly engages them in the post and really invites people to communicate with you.

3) Provide fun facts and then spin them to fit your message. An effective way to get likes and shares is to use status updates with fun facts that most people will not know. To make them relate back to your business, add a simple sentence at the end that directly mentions your company or mentions a product that you sell. An example of this is, "One barrel of wine equals 20 cases, or 240 bottles. That equals approximately 1,200 glasses of Burgdorf wine!". Here we gave the customer a neat, widely unknown fact but mentioned the company name to make it a more effective post.

I use these tactics all the time on pages I manage and they are generally quite effective. Once you figure out what works, keep using the same techniques. If your customer is enjoying what you post and regularly liking or sharing statuses, it will quickly increase your visibility and your overall reach on Facebook!

What posts do you find create the most engagement with your company page? Please share!

Until next time-

"Already companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the horse-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone" ~The Cluetrain Manifesto

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My Blue Networking Shoes

Yes I do own blue networking shoes and I do wear them. Often. And here's why!

A few months ago I purchased a pair of blue mary jane Merrell shoes from a local shoe store. I purchased them simply to have an option besides arch-less flats and high heals. I would wear them every once and awhile but was worried about them matching my outfits, so I tended to stray away from wearing them.

I was in a sales position at the time and was attending several networking each week. My feet were becoming tired and my arches began to hurt; I started wearing my blue Merrell's more and more.

It turned out to be a huge advantage for me and helped me excel at networking events! Many people would come up to me and introduce themselves, "Hey, we met last time, I remember your blue shoes!", "Blue shoes, huh?", or "I've never seen anyone wear blue shoes to a networking event before...".

So what is my point? No, I do not expect all of you to run out and purchase a pair of blue Merrells to improve your networking skills. I do, however, want you to think of something that makes you stand out from all the rest. Whether it's a piece of statement jewelry, a catch introduction phrase, a cool business card, or a sweet name tag, you must find a way to be remembered. The average networking event I attend has between 10 and 100 attendees.

As a general networking tip, don't be afraid to get your feet wet, you never know who you are going to meet and what they have to offer. And whether you wear statement shoes or not, you still have to actually talk to people to be remembered! This is difficult for many people I know. My best advice is to be yourself and relax at these events. People ask me often how I know so many people. It simply comes down to not being afraid to introduce myself and hand out my business card. The worst thing that can happen is that it is awkward and you had them your business card and walk away!

This will not be the last blog about networking tips you'll see as networking is a large part of marketing. If you have any networking topics or tips you would like me to blog about, please comment below!

For now, blue shoe power.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Are users taking a break from Facebook? What does that mean for my business?

With the coming of the new year, many companies are asking "are people taking a break from Facebook?". It has been a recent trend in articles and news sites all over, but this is not a very new concept. For years users have come and go from using Facebook regularly. Most return, some do not.

According to a research study by the Pew Research Center, about 61% of Facebook users have taken a Facebook "break" in the past few months. The reasons vary: New Year's resolutions, the coming of Lent, sick of politics or gossip, and just plain don't have any time. According to an article on, it breaks down as follows:

  • 21% said they were too busy
  • 10% said it is a waste of time
  • 9% said there was too much drama, gossip, and/or negativity
  • 4% left due to security or privacy concerns
  • 20% quit and never turned back

So what does this mean for you and your business? Honestly, not a whole lot. You will never be able to predict when people are going to leave or why. You cannot control their friends and family and what they post. You cannot control what other businesses post either.

You can control what you post and focus on keeping the users and likes you have though! The main way to maintain regular users is to keep posts relevant, helpful, and informational, time and time again. You have to give the user value or they will not have any reason to keep on "liking" your page. Your goal is to have your page stick out above others; if a user is limiting their time on Facebook you want to make sure they are seeing as much of your content as possible!

To encourage engagement use questions, funny pictures, and useful tips to help people want to stay with your page. You of course want to push your product or service as well, but make sure you have a good balance between interesting and selling.

There is no promise that a user will stay on your page just because they love it that much, but you can always try!

'Till next time!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Why Nostalgia WORKS

Who doesn't love an ad or product that "takes you back", makes you remember, and makes you reflect on the times that were?  

Nostalgia marketing is not a new concept; many companies have been successfully using nostalgia marketing for years: Pepsi Throwback series, McDonald's McRib sandwich, bringing back Furbies in 2012, NFL and MLB, apparel, Coca-Cola glass bottles, cars, Nintendo...

There are many reasons why nostalgia marketing works:  
  • This kind of marketing does a fantastic job of bringing back memories for the older crowd but also appeals to a younger generation because retro is cool.
  • Nostalgia commonly brings up positive memories of better times.
  • It is very cost effective-you have already done the creative once before and you know what works!
  • It does not have to be product specific; a company can use nostalgia purely to grab attention whether or not it has anything to do with the product (check out Microsoft's new campaign).
  • A company can use successful past campaigns, hand picking the ones that worked the best!
  • Many times a company will not have to market the product very hard.  Friends and fans will share, post, and re-post about the product, completing most of the work!
  • You can play "hard to get" and customers will wait for your product to re-appear.
Nostalgia plays off of a customer's emotions and memories.  Emotions create strong branding and brand recognition; emotional attachment is a huge plus and will ultimately increase sales and create life time customers.

Which nostalgia campaigns are your favorite?  Why do these campaigns appeal to you? Please share below!