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12 Small Business Marketing Tips That AREN’T Social Media

12 Small Business Marketing Tips That AREN’T Social Media

1. Printed Postcards.

Print out a fun, funny, or otherwise engaging postcard that doubles as an advertisement and use it as a mail out to prospective clients. Something of this nature is far more likely to reach customers then a standard advertising mail out. It is also more likely to be passed around and hung on to.

EXAMPLE: I spoke with one client who used this to great success in her market area. The postcards were so successful in engagement, that during one cold call, she noticed one of them hanging from the company fridge.

The Why: The success of a post card can be traced to its content. It consists primarily of an image and only the necessary text. Our society is increasingly image driven, with brief attention spans. The image compounds on our natural tendency to be drawn to imagery and the brief text is enough to present a quick brand statement, without losing them.

The postcard mail-out is not meant to make the sale, it is meant to generate the lead by drawing traffic to you and your website.

BONUS: Postcard’s are extremely budget friendly and dollar for dollar have one of the highest advertising impacts.

Marketing success is directly related to content. Keep it fresh (image source marketingassasin.wordpress.com)

2. Variety Works! So Don’t Be A One Trick Pony.

While relying on the same tried and tested techniques is not a bad thing, variety substantially increases advertising & marketing impact. Try varying your approach and rotate your tactics. Consider these points:

  • Customers, have a short attention span. Changing your approach will ensure that they don’t become numb to your efforts.
  • Customers want to matter. When they see that they are worth an effort, and not just a “programmed mass mail-out” they feel important, and that in turn means they are engaged.
  • Repeating the same thing over and over, breaks several key marketing rules (and besides, it is lame). You get bored and so do your customers.
  • Marketing & Advertising are all about showcasing your business and ingenuity. Clever advertising creates business / brand visibility and positions you as a stand-out to your customers.

The Why: Utilizing different tactics is one way to ensure that you are memorable and that is what leads to sales. Give your customers a reason to remember you, keep the content and the approach fresh.

There are literally thousands of different ways to reach your clients, however not every technique will be suitable for your customer base. Explore, try new things and have fun, but remember to do your homework and use the methods that make the most sense.

Partnering with other businesses on promotions increases impact, audience and exposure.

3. Partner Up.

Let’s face it, when it comes to small businesses, we are all in this together. We ourselves have had great success in establishing promotional partnerships with other small businesses spanning all manner of industries.

EXAMPLE: A great example occurred recently. We ran a summer promotion offering to build a “custom website” for the winner.

The winner of the promotion approached us to ask if we would like to team up to offer the website prize to a local auction. This customer had access to this auction, where we did not and all they asked in return was that they get secondary billing as a contributor.

What began as a individual promotion on the part of our business, became a partnered promotion to over 500 bit ticket clients! Our business and theirs got some great visibility as a result and everyone came out a winner.

Opportunities to partner on promotions abound and are only limited by your creativity.

The Why: Partnerships can greatly reduce costs, increase impacted audiences and breed goodwill. It increases your exposure and the likelihood of word of mouth referrals by your partners. Each time you can build better relationships between your business and others you are providing the best kind of marketing there is.

4. Improve Their Day Over The Phone.

It sounds too simple, but first impressions are indeed everything. When you pick up the phone, remember that your tone and your words are going to be what your are immediately measured by. If it is a new or potential client, this is especially important.

Don’t be syrupy, but be happy. If you answer the phone sounding stressed or grumpy, people will take it personally. They do not want to feel like they are inconveniencing you with their call, and they should never have to. Remember this: Every phone conversation is a direct representation of your brand.

No one wants to deal with grouchy people, we all have enough of that in a day. Give them a reason to perk up, even if it simply your tone of voice.

EXAMPLE: Our rule of thumb at Transition Marketing Services is “Make ’em feel like a million bucks”. It doesn’t matter how your day is going, enter each telephone conversation with the single intent of improving the day of the individual on the other end.

The Why: People need to feel valued. It is wired into us all. This is all too true with customers. We all want to feel that our business is important to a brand – and no matter how small that business may be, it should ALWAYS be treated as such. If you give them a good moment, experience and memory, that will stick with them – especially if they have already had a bad day. Making your business accessible and friendly will always generate leads.

5. Change-up Your Go-To Greeting.

When answering the phone, do not be afraid to change up your standard greeting. The opening statement on the phone can easily be used to quickly promo a special offer, or to announce a quick piece of news.

EXAMPLES:

  • “Good morning this is Ben, ask me about 2 for 1 print designs”
  • “Good Afternoon, TMS, your recent Okanagan Life Magazine winner!”

Try it out. Many businesses have an auto-attendant that plays pre-programmed promotional propaganda to customers on hold, very few have a live one!

The Why: A quick statement like this is a good way to generate further dialogue and to engage your customers. It can provide a segway into discussing your services, products or achievements – without forcing it into the conversation.

Stickers can be a great (budget friendly) way to generate brand exposure on just about anything.

6. Stickers Are Our Friends.

I LOVE STICKERS! 30 years old and my laptop still looks like a skateboard deck. Stickers are a great, inexpensive means of semi-permanently branding things. Of course stickers take many different forms.

EXAMPLES:

  • Brand Stickers: There are always uses for groovy stickers. Create a fun or slick looking sticker that your customers may actually WANT to put on something.
  • Stamps / Envelope Stickers: Mailing something out? Turn the envelope into a promo as well. Every piece of direct or business mail, provides an opportunity to promote your brand and business. If you cannot afford custom printed envelopes, stickers and stamps can be a great alternative.

As with most other advertising efforts, keep the stickers clean, sharp and to the point. They are stickers, not encyclopedias. Rule of thumb: If the sticker takes more than 5 seconds to read – too much!

The Why: Quite simply stickers are inexpensive and convert just about anything to a billboard for your business. The more your logo, brand name and/or image is displayed, the more brand awareness is generated.

7. Custom Stationary – Inexpensive Branding

In the same family of thought as stickers. Printing your logo and brand philosophy on all of your stationary ensures repeat brand exposure to anyone receiving written communications from you.

8. Newsletters.

Repeat sales are over 75% cheaper to drive home then sales to new customers. Newsletters (printed or emailed) are a great way to focus specific marketing on your existing customer base. Build a list of customers and their contact info, by offering a service, deal or insider info to those willing to subscribe.

Newsletters do not need to be a weekly thing. You can keep costs down by making it monthly or even quarterly – depending on your industry and market targets etc. E-newsletters (emailed newsletters) are often be less expensive, although they are less likely to be opened.

EXAMPLE: One of our staff operated a weekly newsletter for five years for an industrial manufacturer. The newsletter garnered quite the following, and was used as a direct line to the existing customer base. It was used to highlight new products, company achievements and other information used to drive engagement and generate leads. By the time is came to a close, customers were contributing information to the newsletter – a sure sign of engagement.

The Why: Newsletters are a direct line to your customers. This provides a door for direct communications on offers, promotions and other information relevant to driving sales. Keep in mind that a newsletters success is only as good as its content. If you want it to be opened and followed up on, you need to provide a reason and establish a reputation with the recipients.

9. Seminars, Events & Open Houses.

Anytime you can draw customers to you and gain that one on one face time, you are generating brand awareness for your company. Time spent in face to face communications is worth 100 x the time spent in emailing, telephone or online. There are a number of ways to generate this exposure, that do not involve the cold call.

Host an event, a seminar or an open house. Give your customer base a good reason to come to you. Done properly events can garner strong turnouts and generate great media coverage. Remember that the event must appeal to your targets. Do not make the event about preaching your brand, but rather about giving to your customers. Create the event around your brand, but make it a goal to add value to the attendees.

If you are offering a seminar never make it free. People see “free” attached to a seminar and they are immediately suspicious. “Free”, whether true or not, indicates that there is no value to be had or that there will be a string attached. Add a price tag for admission, make it reasonable, but make sure your seminar carries value.

EXAMPLE: We will offer a seminar on “Generating Sales Leads for Small Business Through Online Content”. This is a highly specific topic, but extremely valuable to many of our clients and targets. By offering this seminar, we are giving our targets something of value to them (equipping them for success), while also positioning our brand as a leader in the industry and generating face time with potential leads.

The Why: Events draw customers out to you. They provide an opportunity to directly engage them on grounds of your choosing, as opposed to the dreaded “cold call” which places you on THEIR territory. When hosting an event you are seen as in charge and it creates a less intimidating field to engage on. When you provide something of value to your customers, they will come to you and that is a good place to be.

10. Exchanging Services.

First off. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE WORTH OF YOUR GOODS & SERVICES. Having said that, working out deals to exchange product for advertising space, or for necessary items is not a terrible idea.

The caution here is not to underestimate the value of your products or your potential partners. You do not want to low-ball a potential partner and risk insulting them, however you also do not want to come out of the deal with less than you put in.

The Why: Exchanges of this nature can be useful for cutting costs and staying on budget, however approach with care.

11. Quick, Follow Up Offers To Recent Customers.

One of my personal favorites. Taking the time to send a quick note, email etc. to a recent customer, with a special offer available only to them, is a great way to increase your B2C relationships and drive repeat sales.

EXAMPLE: A customer has recently purchased one of your products. Follow up with them, thank them for their recent business and offer them an additional discount off of their next purchase. You can provide them with a code, or coupon which they can redeem – Remember that to drive the sales urgency, you should always include an expiry date.

The Why: People love deals. They also love being appreciated. By offering a follow up coupon JUST TO THEM as a reward for their business, you are giving them both – A deal and direct appreciation. The key here is that it is DIRECT in contrast to say a “Customer Appreciation Sale” which does not shine the spotlight on the individual customer. By adding an expiry date, you are creating that sense of urgency and driving the sale home. It lessens the chance that they will forget or lose the coupon and it protects your business from having to honor it at an inconvenient time.

12. Tag-Along Marketing For Direct Mail.

Sending out mail? You are already paying the postage, so put that money to work. Include a flyer, advertisement, business card or promotion with your mail-outs. As with stickers and stationary, repeat brand exposure is always a good thing.

There are a number of ways to promote a business or brand. Many are surprisingly cost effective and can be customized to suit any size and budget.

For a any business or brand to succeed, marketing is required. Which marketing makes the most sense for you?

Transition Marketing Services. Our passion is educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how were doing or if you have any questions. TRANSITION MARKETING SERVICES – Small Business Marketing & Branding Specialists.

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From Brand To “Being” – Humanizing A Brand

Humanizing A Brand.

It is a common problem. All brands face it, although many of the larger brands, and those that have been in existence, longer seem to struggle with it the most.

Establishing humanity within a brand image – also known as “humanizing” a brand.

Humanizing is literally defined as:

hu·man·ize  [hyoo-muh-nahyz or, often, yoo-]

tr.v. hu·man·izedhu·man·iz·inghu·man·iz·es 

1. To portray or endow with human characteristics or attributes; make human.

Humanizing your brand

Image Source: Socialfish.org

The concept here is to create within the customer, an acknowledgment or association of a Brand with relate-able, human, ground level understanding. Essentially it is a matter of making certain the customer can relate to and trust a brand.

Humanizing is considered an essential part of modern day branding success. Examples of it abound in businesses like Coca-Cola, Apple, Transition Marketing 🙂 , Nike and Google.

There are many different avenues a business can take, whether in initial branding or re-branding campaigns. The key is to position (or re-position) your brand as one that is for the people, one that is engaging and REAL, one that wants to know its customers. One that is more than just a cold-corporate automaton.

Having Fun Is Human.

One sure fire method of creating human emotion, reaction and association with a brand, is to have fun.

Seriously.

Have fun and make sure your customers have fun (Gamify anyone?)

The more a brand can portray itself as fun, carefree, and humorous even, the more relate-able it becomes. This does not mean supplying the plant floor with Super-soakers (although an argument could be made for it’s YouTube worthiness), but it may mean rethinking everything that has been done to date.

Humanizing a brand, like any branding campaign, is about more than image. It needs to be rooted deep within the core of the company.

Where Is More Profit To Be Had?

It may mean letting go of certain preconceptions. For instance, is their greater overall brand and business profit in running your Customer Service Team lean and reducing head count, or could an argument be made for hiring that extra person to create a more relaxed environment where your CSR reps can dialogue with customers and promote brand integrity?

My years working with the Customer Service team for a leading Western Canadian Brand taught me that, by creating relationships with your regular customers through more relaxed communications, a brand can soar above it’s competition. When your CSR team has the time and motivation to get to know your customers by name, and when they can take a few minutes during a phone call to talk about non-business topics, they are developing your brands humanity – they are humanizing your brand.

Focused hiring, training and leadership are required for this. It is shameful when a brand contracts out their service department to the lowest bidder, or hires employees with the wrong caliper and skill set. Doing this ensures their brand will suffer.

Have Fun Or Else!

It is important to note that “fun” cannot be enforced. Too often we see Human Resources, Managers and Leadership attempting to force smiles and relaxation through faulty training exercises, well intended (poorly executed) mixers and events, or mis-directed communications (office space hawaiian shirt day anyone?)

There are a number of reasons that these “enforcement’s” fail:

  1. The training may be (or may be seen as) another “flash in the pan” from corporate. Often these training modules are mandatory programs, which get zero buy-in from employees. They often lack realistic application to brand specific scenarios and seldom last more than a few months. The more modules you go through, the more jaded your employees will be.
  2. Mixers and Events are typically well intended. However employees do not want to attend after-work functions if there is not already a relationship with their colleagues. Similarly after work functions, where spouses etc. are not invited, or the employee is even remotely financially responsible,  is seen as an intrusion.

Humanizing is a delicate procedure. Creating a fun “human” spirit within a brand begins within the bedrock of the business. As with all aspects of a brand campaign, it must be rooted in every aspect of the business. Consistency is crucial.

Humanized Brand Success Stories.

We will wrap up with a handful of “humanized” brand examples.

1. Google:

Google continues to dominate many key markets. Their brand has become so well known that they can get away with “altering” their logo at will.

Google employs top notch minds to develop and innovate, they have the leading search engine algorithm and have generated a great deal of talk with their “super-empire” and more recently their consolidated privacy policy.

Yet at the base of this behemoth business, there is a spirit of fun. While not all of tech savvy, in-the-know types would agree with Google and all of their practices, the basic consumer is easily sold when greeted with a sense of camaraderie and of fun by many of Googles tools.

A Handful Of Google Easter Eggs:

Get your Google page to speak “Pirate”, “Swedish Chef”, “Hacker” and many more.

Try searching Google Maps for directions to “Mordor” under the “Walking Category”.

Try plugging in “Find Chuck Norris” using the “I’m Feeling Lucky” option.

More Easter Eggs Available Here:

Many of these Easter eggs are mainstream now, widely shared on social media platforms and amongst friends. It is this type of “inside joke” and the subsequent dialogue it creates, that has positioned Google, one of the largest brands in existence, as buddy-buddy with so many people.

2. Apple:

Apple has succeeded beyond all other brands before them, due to their acknowledgement of what truly matters to consumers. They have built a brand that is associated with care, quality and fun and they have gained their customers trust by standing by their products and being about more than just the bottom dollar.

A large part of this success can be summed up by one of there credo’s “We are at our best when we deliver enriching experiences”. 

Apple is (or projects a brand image of) being about people, about service and about products that go beyond the standard.

“Their Customer Service department excels thanks to careful interviewing, training, and a willingness to hire relate-able people. Mohawks, tattoos, piercings are all acceptable among Apple Store employees. Apple hires people who reflect the diversity of their customers”. – Taken From 14 Things Brands Can Learn From Apple

Apple’s success in humanizing their brand through light-hearted marketing is exemplified nicely in the Apple VS. PC Guy, ad campaign:

The campaign challenges you to decide for yourself, who you would rather hang out – who belongs by your side and in your social group? who is most relate-able?

3. Nike:

Nike has recently been seeing a lot of spotlight with their social engagement campaigns. They have been very successful in their efforts to reach out to consumers. Here are just a few examples:

The “Extra Day to #makeitcount” Campaign.

Nike launched the campaign in conjunction with the leap year. Based around a live 24 hour countdown broadcast on in-store screens and XTP screens through-out the London tubes. For 24 hours on February 29th they encouraged consumers to tweet about the extra day and how they were going to #makeitcount.

She Runs The Night -> She Runs…

Nike engaged its female audience with the she runs the night campaign, a 13km event that took place in Sydney’s Centennial Park on May 3rd. The race took place at the Royal Hall of Industries in the Entertainment Quarter. The course was fully lit underneath a halo of light.

Nike took that one step further hosting a Facebook page specifically for its female running market. The page, “Nike She Runs” is dedicated to creating a dialogue and engaging this very specific market.

4. Coca-Cola:

Coke is one of the all time best branding success stories. They hit some waves in the early 80’s but regained their stride and have since been batting them out of the park with their Social Media and engagement efforts.

Take for instance the Coca-Cola hug machine. Simply put, you hug it and it reciprocates with a free Coke.  Check out the video:

In a similar move there was also the Coca-Cola Happiness Machine, which dispensed multiple bottles to several surprised college students who then shared the Coke products with their friends.

Coke has also been involved in all manner of guerrilla street advertising, with non-traditional bill boards and signage geared at grabbing the eye.

Of course there is the whole Coca-Cola “My Coke Rewards” campaign as well. Purchasing their products gives you points that can be used to redeem online coupons and perks. Imagine the number of customers at any given moment clicking through to a brand controlled webpage. The customer gets their perks, and Coke gets their attention.

Humanization and Social Engagement are the key to brand success in the new millennium. These are achieved through creative,  fun content and reaching out to the consumer base. It is not enough to advertise it though, Branding, and the Humanizing of a brand must take root in every aspect of your business model. Your employees must take an active role in it, if it is to succeed.

Ben Erickson is the Specialized Services Manager with Transition Marketing Services Contact us anytime for questions, conversation or for a free consultation.

Small Business: Partnering For Success

Partnering For Success.

One key concept we attempt to convey, both to our clients, and to the public: “Small Business Relationships are Key to Success”. Relationships with your consumer base and relationships with the local small business community. Both are intrinsic to business growth and brand development.

Developing Business to Business partnerships can make the difference in overcoming obstacles.

Business to Business (B2B) Partnerships

Developing partnerships with local suppliers, retailers and even competitors can be profitable for the small business owner. Relationships help us to overcome hiccups. They create goodwill and understanding. By taking the time to create these relationships, one positions their business and brand more positively in the eyes of the surrounding market.

By developing mutually beneficial relationships with surrounding local businesses, the small business owner creates a community in which he or she can thrive.

Relationships help foster partnerships. Partnerships take your business and brand to the next level. For example, partnering with suppliers can help a business to develop programs for more accurate inventory management (FIFO, reduced inventory, faster turn-around). These programs can reduce costs for both parties, thereby increasing profitability.

Partnerships can take on a myriad of different forms based on your business and your partners. As an example, we recently teamed up with a local web-host to offer a special promotion to our local small business community: A contest with a free customized website awarded as top prize.The contest is based solely on meeting the local business owners and it offers an ideal segway into further conversations, a relational stepping stone.

The website is in itself, a great prize, however we took it one step further. By partnering with this web-host, we were able to also offer free registration, and a year of free hosting. This partnership wins on three levels:

  • For any small business on a budget, this is high value prize. A little good will spread into the community.
  • This creates a deeper partnership with our web-host. Providing them with the opportunity to grow and promote their business at minimal risk.
  • Most importantly (to us) a dialogue is developed with the local business community.

The areas for partnership are there for any small business, they just need to be explored.

Business to Consumer (or Customer). Developing relationships gains repeat business. Image source: designzzz.com

Business To Customer (B2C) Relationships.

In many aspects the marketplace is changing. In order to communicate the social necessities for brand success, terms like B2C are making a come back . B2C is all about business to customer communications – relationships essentially. It is the means by which a business supplies goods, services and brand information directly to its consumers.

This term became far more frequent with the advent of online business – during the height of the .com period. It fell into obsolescence when that bubble burst, but has been making a comeback recently – more specifically since the initiation of what we now know as Web 2.0 – which encompasses such phenomena as Social Media. Some have even said that the B2C policy of the .com period is what helped usher in the new era of Web 2.0.

It could be said that business to customer relationships, is the primary purpose of Social Media Marketing. B2C is all about engaging your customers directly, supplying them directly and building your brand association and business with them directly.

Developing relationships with your consumer base is invaluable. Engage a customer, provide them with a memorable experience, create an association between a brand and a quality, and you will have them for life. Apple understands this – in fact their credo states “we are at our best when we deliver enriching experiences”.

Big Brands will spend tens of thousands of dollars attempting to “humanize” their brands – to make them accessible, to provide their consumers with a relational experience. The attempt to humanize a brand, is to do away with “cold corporate” image and create a brand that comes across as understanding to the individual customer. What is ironic is that many of these brands will spend money on advertising and marketing – when the money would be better spent on hiring and training support and after sales staff.

Small businesses however, are already perfectly positioned to take advantage of this brand aspect, to develop relationships one on one and create a brand image that cares about its products, services, people and end users.

Brand Power is built not directly on sales – but on quality products, services and relationships. Relationships create a powerful consumer bases, they create an atmosphere that is conducive to sales, thereby achieving the sale WITHOUT souring the consumers mind. Put another way, by giving the customer a positive experience, they will COME TO YOU to make the sale and they will return for subsequent sales.

To paraphrase “Build relationships and they will come”.

Build it and they will come so get active and build your business relationships.

Ben Erickson is a Design & Social Media Specialist with Transition Marketing ServicesContact us for a free consultation.

Small Business: Why You Need To Be On Twitter

You Belong On Twitter.

Every small business does. It is a tool of engagement and brand development. It is the means to find and learn from your market targets and it is quickly becoming a linchpin to modern marketing.

Consider the following points in regards to Twitter:

1. Twitter shrinks the world. Your brand instantly becomes apparent to both, the customer down the street and across the globe. “Twitter is a place where one person can help another person anywhere in the world” – Dave Larson, @TweetSmarter

2. It is budget friendly, easy to learn and easier to use. Here are a couple of quick Twitter references you should know:

  • Tweet: A message of 140 characters or less.
  • Retweet (RT): A reposting or sharing of someones else’s tweet.
  • @johndoe: The means by which you directly address another Twitter user within your tweet.
  • #Hashtag: Placing the hashtag (#) in front of any word or sentence turns it into a search reference for the Twitter search engine. It can also be used to accentuate the point behind your tweet.
  • “Via”: Source or author of the content being shared.
  • OH: Overheard. The means by which you share a rumour or story.
  • #FF: The Hashtag (search reference) for Follow Friday. The means by which you share people you follow with your followers, “paying it forward” if you will.

Bu utilizing simple tags like this, you literally have the world at your fingertips (whether they listen to you is another story).

3. It is here, it is now, it is real time. Ask a question, expect an answer. The power behind this as a market research tool is enormous. Not only do you have the tool to find your targets, you have the means to speak with them. If you doubt the power Twitter possesses to consolidate an effort – then consider the recent political uprisings that have begun to change the middle east.

4. There is no limit to what you can do with Twitter. Advertise, research, dialogue. build goodwill or address issues.

5.Twitter is a research tool – monitor competitors and other industry relevant parties to see what the latest buzz is from your consumers. This is a great way to see where your brand may be succeeding or failing, but it also works the same way for monitoring your competition.

5. You can spot trends and hop on board. You can spot fails and move out of the way. Twitter hosts communications on everything that is going in the world. You can monitor issues, big and small, relevant or not, and speak to them as you need to.

Twitter can act as a megaphone for your brand successes

6. It is flexible.The speed at which it moves, the nature of limited 140 character posts, and the speed on replies make Twitter the perfect medium to test the waters. Change message types and communications as needed based on real time feedback from sources that matter.

7. Twitter is a great way to spread goodwill. Position your brand on Twitter as an expert and proprietor of helpful industry tips and info. Be helpful and enrich others – the efforts are appreciated and can quickly build brand reputation.

8. Customer Service. Twitter efforts can play a huge role in partnering with your Customer Service and After Sales Service efforts. The speed with which you can address concerns, comments or questions is incredible. Use Twitter to address customer comments and build your brand at the same time (or use it to move them to a less “public” avenue such as email, in order to address more volatile concerns).

9. Immediate information spread. Why does this matter? If you have a sudden issue, crisis or concern – Twitter possesses the speed and wide range communication capabilities to get your message out asap.

10. Connecting. I have been thrilled time and again, with how useful Twitter is for searching out new and relevant contacts. By city, by industry, by name – no matter the parameters, I can seek out those I need to network with.

11. It builds your small business future. Your tweets are entirely public, they are being seen by not just your current customers, but potential ones as well. This positioning of your brand within the eyes of the consumer base, can translate into future sales.

12. Use Twitter as a megaphone for your successes. Don’t brag, but if you get a compliment, favorite, Re-tweet it, and/or reply to it. Doing so spreads the word that, “hey! someone thought you were pretty great!”

Going Viral: Twitter spreads information widely and quickly.

13. Build your brand. We have already addresses this briefly, but Twitter is an ideal medium for establish your brands philosophies, morals and standards within your consumer base. Use Twitter to reinforce your brand message, stay consistent and you will see positive brand growth.

14. Twitter provides a tool to humanize your brand. It is B2B and more. It is B2C (business to customer). You can dialogue directly with the people purchasing your products and services. You can avoid the cold corporate image and show your small business is human just like them.

All that being said, there are pros and cons to all things. Likewise their are correct ways to go about it. Some businesses and Social Media Specialists would purchase follows, but the best and most appropriate use of Twitter is to develop your audience through organic relationships – communicate, speak to them, ask questions and monitor results. Go to your customers and build your brand B2B and B2C.

If you do find yourself on Twitter – drop by and tweet “Hi” – @MarketingTMS

Ben Erickson is a Design & Social Media Specialist with Transition Marketing Services Contact us for a free consultation.

How to write and distribute your press release within 24 hours.

How to write and distribute your press release within 24 hours..

NOTE: “this content was sourced from Apples & Oranges Public Relations.”

Your news lives online forever, bringing you more business and publicity over time. Also, you can share with hundreds on line via social media. Press releasesshould be written, published and distributed nationwide at least 1 – 3 times per month.

 Image

Step 1 – Plan and choose the points of your story. (3 – 5 hours)

Make a list of your points. What are points? The what, who, when, why, where of the story to be published within your press release.

For example:

  •     What is the topic of the story?
  •    What makes this story news worthy?
  •     What do you want to communicate? 
  •    What keywords will you use to attract readers and increase SEO results?
  •   What current issues, holidays, or news topics does your story tie in to?
  •  Who is your target audience?
  • What is your goal? What do you want to happen as a result of releasing this story?
  •    When is the best time and date to release your story?
  • I  Keep your release between 450 – 700 words.

 Step 2 – Plan the small moments first. (5 – 12 hours)

Write down the topic, the beginning, the middle and the end of the story.

 For Example: this is a current press release/news story about one of our clients.

 The TopicBREAKING NEWS: THE FIRST FEMALE RABBI TOBI RUBINSTEIN SCHNEIER, ANNOUNCES HER NEW REALITY TV SHOW AND UPCOMING TELL ALL BOOK.

 The beginningTobi Rubinstein Schneier: Mother, Rabbi, Fashion Icon and an International Socialite is set to launch her first reality TV show: The House Of Faith N’ Fashion and her upcoming tell-all-book.

 The MiddleTobi grew up as the girl from Queens, New York whose creative interpretation of an Orthodox Jewish girl’s wardrobe constantly got her kicked out of her “All Girls Religious Paroquial School.”

 The endThe House Of Faith N’ Fashion debuts during New York Fashion Week on ABC Livewell Network, in September 2012.Visit this link to read the entire release.

Results: The above release mentioned was picked up by numerous outlets including USA Today, Top News Today, Albany Times to name a few, and we received call backs from local newspapers such as NY Post. This news story has received approximately 1,583 reads and 736 people shared this release in the last 10 days.

 Step 3 – Edit & Review (3 – 5 hours)

 Edit, edit and revise. Have your colleagues or business partner read the story and get their opinions.

Step 4 – Distribution & Setup (3 – 5 hours setup, SEO, keyword analysis, adding related photos and media)

 The most important step is to get your release to the masses and in front of your target audience.  On average, distribution costs range from $89 – $500+. For best results, we recommend using a combination of paid and free onlinepress release distribution services.

 Step 5 – Measure results & repeat

After your release is published, check the results from 2 – 30 business days. Repeat the process.  Do not expect the flood gates to open after 1 or 2 releases.  You will see maximum results overtime, by publishing your releases on a consistent schedule.

 Finally, thanks for utilizing this free information. Please open a word document and start to write your release.

  This wills certainly contribute to the success of your business overtime.

 Have additional questions? Please send us an email toinfo@applesandorangespr.com or call us to request release samples.

 For your convenience, this post is also featured on our Facebook page and in our notes on Facebook.

Please share this. You are free to reuse this content, as long as you mention:“this content was sourced from Apples & Oranges Public Relations.”

20 Tips For Pinterest

Pin Your Way To Success.

Pinterest. More than a flash in the pan.

Pinterest is a glorious platform. Beautiful, user friendly, and loaded with potential.

It is also a very big deal right now.

Despite the sudden explosion of excitement however, Pinterest contains enough “Oomph” to be more than just a flash in the pan. I have taken a close hard look at it from several angles and no matter what industry you represent, Pinterest holds marketing value.

It is full of clean and beautiful, new and relevant content. It is essentially what I imagine people envisioned for the internet 3 decades ago. Content that is easy to find and not lost in the junkie “bathroom-wall-clutter” of the world wide web.

The image-sharing-foundation behind Pinterest only compounds on it’s beauty and usefulness. In an image driven society, centering your sharing around key images is brilliant.

Recently I put through a conceptual proposal for Pinterest as a tool for a local Chamber of Commerce, to great response. If a small town Chamber can use it, can you? Let’s have a look shall we?

Pinter-what?

Pinterest provides an easy to navigate platform for content sharing.

Pinterest, a wonderful combination of the words “pin” and “interest” (if that was not clear). It is exactly what the name suggests. A place to pin your interests. Remember pasting your bedroom walls with posters, album covers and magazine cut-outs? That is Pinterest, only easier and online.

Think “social bookmarking” but at the next level and gorgeous (IE Stumbleupon, Delicious on steroids).

How Does It Work?

Once you have a profile setup it enables you to create “Boards” based on the topics you intend to share. Fashion, Animals, LOL, Marketing Blogs, whatever topics you can imagine.

Once you have a few boards setup you can begin adding your “Pins”. Pins are images that Pinterest searches directly off of the site you are sharing. In other words, when you share a link, Pinterest automatically searches that link for images that match it’s requirements. You are then presented with the available images, and may choose which one to pin, as relevant to the link you are sharing.

Lowes is one of the forerunners on Pinterest – for more on their great example visit here.

If you still don’t get it, visit our last blog on “how to” or just head on over to the Pinterest site and play with it yourself!

20 Tips For Maximized Pinterest Pleasure!

  1. Exposure, exposure, exposure! Make sure you brand your profile! Have your name and logo displayed prominently for all to see.
  2. Tell us about yourself. Fill in the “about” section. This is displayed beneath your profile photo and name. It reinforces your branding and offers insight.
  3. Bridge you accounts. Connect Pinterest with other available profiles, such as Twitter or Facebook. Doing so means followers on one can now find you and your brand elsewhere as well.
  4. INCLUDE YOUR WEBSITE URL! Social Media is all about engaging people and bringing them closer to you. Giving easy access to your website does just that.
  5. Add the Pinterest Icon to your website and other content. Let people know you are there!
  6. Share your pins across other profiles. Pinterest has built in Twitter use, so tweet your content!
  7. One of the top tips for blogging, is to view and comment other user’s profiles and posts. Pinterest is the same – get out there and engage, communicate and comment.
  8. Share the love! Don’t be afraid to compliment good content with a “Like” it works the same as comments and spreads engagement.
  9. Get out there and Pin, Pin, PIN! The more content you share, the newer, the fresher it is, the more traffic you will see.
  10. Re-Pin. Like Re-Tweeting – spread community, builds engagement and creates great traffic.
  11. You can tag other Pinterest users the same way you do with Twitter. Place @JonDough in the description to direct your pins at users.
  12. Have fun with your board names. Be creative, make them catchy and keep them relevant. The names are what users will be checking out, so make them count.
  13. VARIETY is the spice of life. Post and share content from all over, do not just share the same site over and over.
  14. Pin your own content, but don’t be self-centered. Just as talking about oneself incessantly is both rude and annoying, pinning only yourself is a party faux pas.
  15. You can Pin videos! Pinterest has a special section just for videos, and it accommodates YouTube content easily.
  16. Adapt and Improvise. Holiday coming up? Create a festive board to capitalize on traffic.
  17. When pinning, put thought into your description.The description will stay with the pin as it circulates around the world. Make sure, when possible, to include your brand or company info in the pin.
  18. Embed your pins into your blog and other related content, keep in mind you may want to include a description of what it is, until Pinterest becomes a little more mainstream.
  19. Get the app and pin directly from you iPhone.
  20. Keep Pinterest in mind as your create content. Make sure images are in your content to allow for easy sharing.

Ben Erickson is a Design & Social Media Specialist with Transition Marketing Services Contact us for a free consultation.

Coca-cola social media strategy 2012 does it again

I love it when people like, comment or press my blog, because then I find THEM and discover that they have awesome blogs themselves. Here is a great article from Wariohelena:

(She hits the nail on the head with here comment: “online doesnt mean building sites and links its about interaction and building relationships”).

Coca-cola social media strategy 2012 does it again.

Coca-cola social media strategy 2012 does it again

I love the brains behind Coca-cola marketing strategies across the globe. I love the spirit in Coca-cola to always adopt thinking out the box. Its very hard to find a brand as huge as them that is so unpredictable. Truth is with every brand communication campaign, Coca-cola seems to increase brand loyalty an inch higher.

Right now I am loving the stretchy hand game that is aimed at increasing Facebook members. how cool.. lesson to learn here is that, online doesnt mean building sites and links its about interaction and building relationships.

Check out the stretchy hand here http://ow.ly/aN50a

Second how cool is the Coca cola hugging monster.Instead of inserting money into the machine you just need to hug the machine and out goes some coke for you.. as spooky as this sounds its still very cool. http://ow.ly/aN5Ae

Still asking why Coca-cola is the leading social marketing brand? ..http://ow.ly/aN5JX

Coca-cola have discovered that marketing is;

  1. Not about what you want to tell your audience always, its also about what does my audience want to hear, what will excite/draw them to my service or product.
  2. Viewing your marketing strategy from the shoes of the audience.
  3. Being listening brand- listening brands give a chance for the audience to interact hands-on with their products also let their audience talk to them.