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Market your business through graphic social networking

Imagine saving and sharing the things on the internet you like, want to remember or want to go back to, without tracking it all on paper. The art and design industry were the first to use Pinterest as a way to share talent, crafts, photography, and passions. Soon clients, then clients of their clients, begin to share on Pinterest, too. Business’ are catching on and using it as a form of inbound marketing.

 Simply Marketing. While marketing your business is complicated, using Pinterest is simple. A virtual pin board, users share the unique things they find on web, and could become Mark Zuckerburg’s successor.

How it works: Pinterest is open to the public. Gaining access requires an invitation from a current user. Fill out the invite, submit and wait for your approval to start pinning. The fun is not only saving or “pinning” sites and images you find online, but also “following” others who pin things you also have interest in. You can save or “repin” your “likes” after scrolling through various images that catch your attention. This allows you to share your interests with others.

Curate Your Brand’s Content…Virtually! Recently marketing has been taking place through Pinterest’s use of graphics, quotes and categories. Pinterest doesn’t presently have a section dedicated to business; however, organizations that have a Pinterest account have been assigning various branding and marketing categories to their own pin boards.

What to Pin:  It’s important to understand what your audience and clients are interested in before pinning to the pin board. If it doesn’t appeal to the eye, your image will not get repinned; therefore, you will not attract new clientele or followers and your current clients may veer away from the site. Pin board suggestions may include but are not limited to:

–          Links to your webpage

–          Link to your blog and published documents

–          Current Projects

–          Company News

–          Articles or Columns of interest to your employees or clientele

–          Images or projects

–          Photos of the Office and Employees at work

Get ready, Get set, PIN!

How to bounce back from a business catastrophe

The 1980s was not just an era of big hair, it was an era of some of the biggest, or more appropriately, poisonous communication uproars. Seven people died in 1982 after consuming Tylenol Capsules that had been tampered with and laced with potassium cyanide. But despite its deadly attack on Tylenol’s reputation, the company was more than prepared to handle the media and its consumers. Although temporarily removing the product from the shelves of nearly every grocery and drug store nationwide, the company managed to eventually regain its profits and consumers. How did they do it?

 

1-    Tell it all and tell it fast: It’s been proven that in previous crisis management situations, one has less than 24 hours to make its publics aware of the situation.

2-    Go to the Media: It’s important to get to the media before the media gets to you. If your organization isn’t timely in approaching the media, they’ll generate preconceived thoughts about the crisis, and in turn, will put the company in a bad light in front of your audience.

3-    Do not remain silent: It’s imperative that your organization doesn’t remain quiet during the time of a crisis. Doing so will make the company seem guilty. The Tiger Woods scandal is a recent example of the silent technique failure. Tiger Woods was a culprit of not contacting anyone about his affairs. Since he remained quiet, the media was able to do more thorough investigation and find out he had more affairs than originally accused of.

4-    Do not lie: Even the slightest venture away from the truth does not only make a company guilty of the catastrophe but damages its reputation almost permanently as well. It takes years to rebuild trust within the business community, with its employees and with its publics.

Throughout your career, you’ll run into multiple small dilemmas, and potentially a few large crises. It is critical that you have a crisis communication plan set aside before a disaster happens so that your company is ready to handle the situation and face the media and its consumers. Remember, your reputation is everything!

 

 

Marketing Based Lead Generation is selling through the back door.

Very simply, this is a way to get your name to the public without making even one cold call.  

Generate free exposure by writing what you know. Authoring articles in your knowledge wheel house is a great way to get your name out as an expert in your field. You can write for trade magazines, which is good for B2B sales, but to reach the general public,  a publication with broader appeal or a blog is the way to go.

Don’t be intimidated by the task of writing, you’re putting yourself out as an expert on your subject, not on writing.

If writing isn’t your thing how about talking? Interviews, YouTube Videos  and Podcasts are all ways you can talk your way into lead generation. Again, it’s flexing your expertise muscle in public.

In writing and talking, less is always more. Edit yourself. I try to use as few words as possible.

Has enough been said about social media?  It seems the social media emphasis is overdone but people really are reading , responding and ‘liking’ information put out on social media. You can’t drum up a following overnight;  it does require a strategy, but the effort really is worth it. Who knew 144 characters could be so powerful?  There are entire ad campaigns built around the constraints of twitter.

All this lead generation is completely free. Your own YouTube account, Facebook Fan Page or Blog are  all free and require little expertise to set up. They do need to be maintained, though. If your message is compelling, people will come back often to hear what else you have to say, so keep talking. The next thing you know, you’ll have a captive audience, and the phone will start to ring.

Looking for ways to give this holiday season rather than just exchanging gifts? Many non-profit organizations can use donations and volunteers. Here area few:

Build A Box- Fill a shoe box with various gifts and a small donation,  then drop it off at the nearest donation center. For more information click here.

  • Toys for Tots– A foundation sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
    • How you can help:
      • Donate new toys for underprivileged children at your local  donation center or drop-off box.
      • As an alternative to trading or selling your vehicle donate it to Cars for Tots.
      • Holiday Recognition Program- recognize clients, business associates, family and friends by sending a greeting card to them from “Toys for Tots.” Part of the proceeds benefit underprivileged children in your community.
      • Donate through Ebay- When buying or selling your item on Ebay, donate 10 percent to 100 percent of the final selling price to Toys for Tots.

Many of us eagerly await the arrival of the cheery old man in the red suit down our chimneys. Other children, not as fortunate,  wish Santa will remember them and make their Christmas magical. Your warm-hearted spirit or small donation can change the lives of these children who are looking for love and the gift of Christmas in their stockings.

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The advantage of a dashboard is that it’s easy to use, provides timely data and, most importantly, gives an idea as to how to go about implementing potential improvements and solutions. It helps explain your marketing metrics visually, making it a lot easier for people to understand the information… without geeking out on them.

Marketing DashboardFor example, you can use a dashboard to compare marketing expenditures to revenue earned. Unlike reading bar graphs and spreadsheets, a dashboard makes it easy for you to quickly see where the marketing money is going, and, more specifically, which activities are leading to sales. Many people love this because it allows you to measure marketing ROI. Even better than that, is it allows you to make changes to your tactics and rapidly notice the impact.

Now that you realize how great it would be to have a dashboard, let’s talk about a few best practices for creating one.

1. Use Clear Labels
Depending on who’ll be looking at your reports, be sure they’ll know what each graph means. Consider, Jersey, Jamaica Red, Caucasin and Florida.  These words all come from the same category, but if you didn’t know I was listing breeds of cattle you might think I was having a problem with Geography.

2. Avoid Acronyms
While an acronym might be convenient and easy to read, it could lead to confusion, especially if your data is shared with people outside of your field. In a recent meeting I was in, people were throwing around the term, “QSR.” This could mean Quick Service Restaurants, Quasi-Stellar Radio or Quality System Regulation. I thought they meant Quality Satisfaction Rate. Imagine my confusion until I realized they were meaning Quick Service Restaurants. (Click here to see what else QSR means).

3. Use Legends or Keys
Don’t just make sure your reports show your information well, but that they define and describe it well, too. A legend will allow you to use colors and abbreviations to your advantage, while making sure your audience knows what they’re looking at.

4. Use Color Wisely
I’m colorblind, so the use of colors on graphs sometimes is a problem for me. When making graphs with colors use the options that have a marker with the display.  It also helps when you print the graph with a black and white printer.

This week American Eagle Airline was fined $900,000 for keeping passengers on a non-moving plane for over three hours. $600,000 will be paid as a fine but almost $300,000 will be returned to passengers in refunds, vouchers and other incentives to come fly again.

What is the best course of action when a customer has a bad experience with a company? The moments after an episode of bad customer service will determine the client’s future actions. Will they return? Will they tweet or blog something detrimental to your business? There are a few ways to take control of your fate by offering outstanding service to correct a wrong.

Good customer service is organic. Either it is part of who you are as an organization or it is not. If service is the priority, everyone from the CEO down should practice it. Toot your own horn at meetings or in the company newsletter. If you are offering something exceptional, the whole company should know and follow the example.

Good customer service means empowerment. Is every member of the staff empowered to make things right for an unhappy customer? While there are boundaries around what can and should be offered to correct a wrong, a company that values the customer experience will make their policies part of employee orientation and on-going team-training. Are clients empowered to talk to whomever they need to because your company hierarchy is easily accessed on a website or somewhere else the public can find it?

Good customer service means saying, “I’m sorry.” Our society values being right more than empathy but in a good service environment, people are often seeking empathy and an apology. Being genuinely regretful that someone has had an unpleasant experience while working with your company is not weak, it’s good service.

While we may not all have $300,000 to buy clientele back, we do all have the tools to correct a disappointing experience and save a loyal customer.

Rock Wall At Clif BarIn a Job Satisfaction Survey released recently by the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) workers revealed benefits, compensation, and work/life balance are the most important factors to their overall job satisfaction.

Job benefits and compensation don’t look like they did in your Dad’s day. This generation of workers values a variety of things that can be provided with a small effort from the employer or strain on the company’s budget. Aside from employee retention, think of what these perks can do for your brand and corporate culture!

Check out this infographic to see what Google, Twitter and LinkedIn have done for their employees.

Here are a few simple ideas for you to consider…

Flexible hours & comp time.
Allowing employees to begin their 8-hour workday early or a little later is a small thing on the part of the employer, but can be very helpful an employee. Giving an employee the freedom to put in extra hours this week to get a few hours off next week is another way employers can help their employees have a good work/life balance. Job sharing isn’t a new concept, but it still has great application in this economy. Two part-time workers with flexible hours can do a full-time job for less than one employee.

A dog friendly atmosphere is more common than ever, especially in the high tech and creative industries. Allowing Fido to come to work is free and brings a whole new vibe to the office. Visiting canines should be well-behaved but, with a few guidelines, they are a great way to lighten the mood of any office.

Once or twice a month the entire team should eat together. While the whole crew brown-bags their lunch, you’ll be surprised what you will learn about each other. This is also a chance for the boss to be accessible to visit with employees, which is rare in some companies. At Holy Cow, we call it “grazing in the bull pen.”

Flexible space. Do decor guidelines stifle your employee’s creativeness? Asana, the company owned by Facebook Co-creator Dustin gives a $10,000 allowance for office setup/decor. While we don’t all have that kind of budget, encouraging employees to take ownership of their space helps them connect to work in a new way.

Do you have the ability to barter with your vendors or customers? Perhaps some of them can provide your employees with goods or services in exchange for something you do. This is a better deal than a cash benefit since there are no taxes with this kind of perk.

Competition. No, not the sales kind, but the creative kind.  A chili-cook off or a birthday cake throw down might be a great way to spend a Friday afternoon, or Monday if you want to kick off the week right.  A Raleigh hotel hosts an employee pumpkin carving contest. The team carves their pumpkins, then sets them out around the hotel for guests to enjoy.

Bike Racks. If employees live close enough to bike to work, encourage their commute by giving them a place to park. The Clif Bar Company in Emeryville, CA has loaner bikes for their employees to use for errands close to the office. What an easy perk!

Gaming. A foosball table takes up a minimal space but is a fun lunch time distraction. Besides, you’ll be in good company. Facebook, Twitter & Linked In all have foosball tables at their corporate offices.

What do your employees value? Finding the perks that speak to the needs of your employees then providing them is what will keep them off Monster.com.