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Sunday, January 1, 2017

5 tips to get your 2017 marketing strategy rolling

It’s the start of a new year, have you updated your strategic marketing plan?  Did you review your 2016 campaign benchmarks and determine if you accomplished the goals that your plan set out to achieve?  

It’s time to start a new year and revisit your tactics and strategy, and set new goals.  Here’s my quick top 5 list of marketing tips to get you going in this New Year:

  1.       Don’t completely re-do or overhaul your previous year’s strategy.  Stay the course, add to it by making updates to where you may have fallen short.  A marketing strategy should be a working document that is reviewed and updated often!
  2.       Don’t panic.  If you didn’t implement everything you planned for in 2016, that’s ok.  But, determine why and how you can accomplish all of your strategic goals that are worth the time and effort for 2017.  
  3.            What are the tactics that add value to your business and move you forward, rather than keep you stagnant?  Figure those out and focus fiercely on making those happen.
  4.            What worked great last year may not continue to work again this year, especially when it comes to social media marketing.  Review and refresh!
  5.            Where are you with your social media marketing plan?  Don’t try to be everything to everyone, but be glorious to your targeted consumer market.  Wow them and engage them.

Happy New Year and Happy Planning! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The value of a blog

In a discussion with my students, they wondered why anyone would ever want to blog, and saw it as a waste of time, just another thing to do, and just more content in a world that is already overburdened with unnecessary content.  I quickly turned the conversation from "don't think of the negative,"  but think of the positive, and in particular the business value of a blog. 
A blog is a  great way to start a conversation! The key to a blog is content.  Think Content is King!  And, a blog adds so much VALUE to your marketing activities.  Social media is all about creating valuable content that your community will appreciate and want to share.  Your blog can be the center point of your social networking activities.  You can link to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, etc. accounts to your blog. Link to your company website, or pull in your posts, feeds, pictures, from these sites and link to your to your blog. 
Some basics on blogs:
What is a blog?  It's really a web log, or an online diary. The author creates posts and they appear in reverse chronological order, so that the newest entry always appears first. 
Why blogging works for business:
  • It builds trust.
  • It builds an audience.
  • Increases search engine visibility (This means that Google, Bing, etc. find more value in websites/webpages that are updated more frequently, so a blog is perfect for this.  Now...think about if you're linking your company website, your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, and your blog.  Wow!  It is a VERY powerful for search engines to find you in these multiple locations, and you may show up organically in a higher position when searched for on Google for example). 
  • Traffic is driven to your website
  • You're positioning yourself with experts in your field.  Think about this--you own a floral shop or an organic food store.  You can blog about seasonal flowers, seasonal fresh foods.  News stories on shortages of peonies because they froze last year, or share a story on the nutritional value of grass fed beef versus non. Others who are interested in these topics are most likely to follow you, share your great content with others and it becomes the domino effect of spreading and sharing information. 
  • You're reaching a wider, broader market. 
  • You're creating VALUE for your customers.  You give them more product or service information.  You tell them things they may not have been told or may not have asked about through your website or in your retail location. 
  • You can create networking opportunities.  The more connections you can create, the better! 
(c) Amy Gajewski, February 2013

Monday, January 27, 2014

Effective Tweeting

I Tweet, therefore I am

You are what?  Visible to your followers? Are you certain of that? Maybe, if they are reading every post to their Twitter feed. 

Are they engaged with you? Do they RT (retweet), share, or respond to your tweets? 

How do you add VALUE to your tweets so your followers read your tweets and look forward to them, and want to come back for more?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Add a link to your tweets that takes your followers to a relevant place.  Perhaps it's your new blog page, your company's website, an offer to sign up for product samples, a useful instructional video, a healthy eating recipe with grocery list, or an interesting article. 

  • Be sure to track and monitor the results of your tweet.  What did you say in your tweet that generated your followers to click onto the link and check out your offer?  Try out a few different tweets and determine which one was most effective and why.

  • Promote what your company is doing.  So many times we're just bombarded with "buy this, this is on sale, limited time only, don't miss out" messages.  Step back for a moment and tweet about the charity basketball game your company just participated in, or how you helped seniors in your local community by raking their lawn. 

  • It's also ok to tell us about an award that was received for community service, or being an organization that is committed to using sustainable resources.  Tweet your own horn!

(C) Amy Gajewski, 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Building your Brand through Twitter

I recently taught a social media campaigns course and the class was pretty lukewarm on Twitter and the benefits of why and how to use Twitter.  The perception was that it was a way to follow celebrities, athletes, etc., but were trying to find the real VALUE behind it for business.  After several discussions, they did come away understanding and embracing the business value of Twitter.  Here's what we discussed as it related to building your brand on Twitter:

Twitter helps to build your brand and can generate leads.  It's an easy way to keep a brand top of mind to your consumers.  Remind your followers of your brand everyday in 140 characters or less.  It might not even have anything to do with what you sell or do as a business, but maybe you're just putting a message out there like, Hey, who's going to win the Super Bowl?  You've now posted a tweet with an open ended question, allowing people to converse back and forth, all stemming from your BRAND, when you might be a floral shop and have nothing to do with football!  But, you still got the brand exposed.  Do you see the power?  And, what did it cost you?  About 30 seconds of your time?

Of course, you want to promote your brand through Twitter, but how?  You need to optimize your Twitter profile.  By optimizing your Twitter profile, consider doing the following:
  • Use your logo as your profile photo
  • Be sure to use your brand/company name as your Twitter handle and Twitter username
  • Create an exciting and relevant Twitter bio, use your brand name, and add a link to your company's URL/Website.
  • Be sure to use your brand name as your hashtag and no, you can never "over" hashtag your brand in your tweets--so use it in all of your tweets!

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Facebook #

#Irrelevant #Phrases #Facebook #Statusupdates

Are you wondering why all of your Facebook friends are using the # in almost every post they make?  They're turning what they think is a "clever phrase" into one long string of words smashed together.  Sometimes the # makes sense, other times, it's just to tag some phrase they just made up and they think it is clever, but the rest of the world would never understand it, nor would they care about it. 

Don't you want to just comment to them with "you're not THAT funny" or "Stop with all of this hashtagging on your status updates!" 


So what IS this # frenzy on Facebook all about?  The "real" reason behind using it is really about marketing about trending topics in real time, and making it easier to find what all is being said about those topics.  Just like on Twitter, you can search within Facebook for a topic using the hashtag to see what is trending.

For example, if you search  #superbowl you'll see all conversations where users hashtagged the superbowl.  It's really a chance to find a topic that you're interested in, and again, join the conversation on a social platform with others who share the same interest.

Again, this is a Social Networking Site...aka...where people go to exchange ideas and information with each other! Adding a # to your status update changes it from "just another status update" to a searchable public status update, that may be grouped into a pool of similarly trending topics.  Yes! Now you can search for people who are commenting on the same topic that you're interested in.  Now you can chat up someone with a shared interest. Afterall, isn't that what social networking sites are all about?

You probably have friends that are posting a status update such as:  "It's a sunny day. #Icutmylawninmyplaidshorts

Now, unless #Icutmylawninmyplaidshorts is a new Macklemore song, or this is being tweeted or "Facebooked" by a celebrity, you're not going to see this post trending because it is something that your friend posted that is really not relevant, or trending.

On the other hand, if they posted "It's a sunny day. #grasscutting #spring  Chances may be a little better to show up in a public # search with more of a trending commonly used # phrase. 

The power of the # for brands on Facebook is very effective as well.  A retailer or a brand can # their brand name and viola! Any conversation they started or others commented on can now be searched for and found on Facebook.  Again--the power of the search!

Remember, #don't #be #annoying

(C) Amy Gajewski 2014

Let's get the Twitter party started!

What the # and what the @ does it all mean?! And why is everyone hashtagging everything?

If you dabbled in Twitter, or are afraid to start, here's an overview of some basics to get you started.

The Hashtag #  (nope, it's no longer the "pound sign")

# groups or categorizes tweets that become indexed so they are easy to find when searching for them later. People are overusing the # these days on Facebook, not understanding what it's true purpose is really for (see my blog on Facebook #)

The @ Symbol (nope, it's no longer known as an abbreviation)
@ symbol will capture the attention of someone in a group, or within the body of your Tweet.  It's also a way to attribute an original tweet when you RT (retweet).  So, if I RT someone's Twitter post, it will show as:  RT @dracula

@ symbol is a good way to suggest a follow to others.  For example, if I want my friends to follow the Milwaukee Brewers, I may say #brewers @joesmith

Two important symbols to get you started are going to be the @ and the #.  If you're posting a tweet and you want to mention someone or something, you can say:  Wow, I really had fun at the Halloween Party @amygajewski @joesmith #halloween #spooky

So, if you or one of our friends posted a tweet like that, and if our twitter names were amygajewski and joesmith, we would get notification in our twitter feed that someone just mentioned us.  We could then reply and say @dracula thanks for inviting us.  Then, our response would show up on @dracula's page/Twitter feed.

By adding in the #halloween #spooky....If anyone wanted to see what people were tweeting about when it came to the topic of #halloween, you could enter #halloween into the search box on Twitter and all of the posts where someone hashtagged Halloween (#halloween) would show up.  So, maybe you'd see a bunch of tweets from candy companies, scary movies, retailers because they sell halloween costumes--and if they did a Tweet with #halloween #costumes, they'd show up in your #halloween search.  Likewise, if you search for the #spooky anyone who has mentioned #spooky in a Tweet would come up in the search feed. 

Try going to Twitter and search for different fact, I just did do the #halloween search and there are 1000s of posts.  For example, one that popped up in my search was from Tide.  It said "This house is clean. #poltergeist #scaredstainless #halloween  

If I wanted to let specific people know about my tweet, I could say @joesmith I'm excited to see all the little goblins trick or treating next week. #halloweencostumes #halloween  Now, in this example, JoeSmith would get notification of my tweet but you could also still search #halloween or #halloweencostumes and find any tweets that mentioned these 2 hashtagged things.
(C) Amy Gajewski January 2014

Thank you Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake for this:

Sharing is Caring

Time to Share

For several years now, I wanted to write a blog that covered a variety of marketing topics, trends, and have this be an interactive place to share ideas and best practices.  Throughout the years, I have chatted with many business owners and professionals who know there's buzz about social media, but aren't quite certain as to how to integrate it into their business effectively.   Let's face it, with all of the tools and resources we have today, it can get overwhelming, and fast.

I also want this to be an additional space for my students to come to and learn more about marketing, and share all of their great ideas. 

And, maybe my friends will appease me by checking out my blog entries from time to time out of sheer curiosity.

About a year ago, I completed my doctorate in business administration.  It was an extremely intense 3 1/2 years of writing...all...of...the...time.  I felt like I could not sit down and write another word, even for a blog.  However, I look at the valuable and interesting information that I learned from my research, and what good is research to anyone if it is not shared?  So, here it is, my space to share marketing best practices and information and knowledge I have gained and continue to gain through research and practice.

My passion has always been marketing and teaching, and I am so very lucky to combine those 2 passions into one by teaching marketing.   It is finally time to share!