What Inspires You and Your Business?

Recently, my husband and I took a trip to Yosemite National Park in Northern California. So many people have heard of the park, but not sure how many people have viewed its natural splendor, its beautiful waterfalls, killer rainbows, untamed wildlife, and jagged peaks. At first, it jolted me into a place I’ve never experienced before. And, before I knew it, I was writing much more creatively than I had previously. I started taking photos I dared not take in the past. Why? Because I was inspired. And, when I got back to Connecticut and started working again, it was feverish: “what else can I do, what more can I accomplish”. I realized that it’s inspiration that gets me all revved up and wanting more. Of course, you also have to have the perspiration to do the work and finalize the details as well. But it’s the inspiration that makes you see the forest through the trees. The plan behind the details. Take a look at the photo below, taken at Inspiration Point. Beautiful, magestic, steady, and strong. What inspires you and your business?

Half Dome, Yosemite Park

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LinkedIn: Ways to Stay Top of Mind

LinkedIn is a great BtoB Social Media tool for professionals looking to connect with one another and keep abreast of workplace changes. Here are a few ways to stay “top of mind” in your profile and remind folks that “hey, I’m here!” in a professional setting:

  1. Post and share insightful articles, especially for those target markets you’re looking to go after. A few times a week is perfect
  2. Engage with your Connections. If they have a Work Anniversary, congratulate them. Or, if you find one of their articles interesting, “Like” it
  3. Join Groups with like-minded individuals – converse with them and provide useful assistance
  4. Make introductions via your 2nd and 3rd degree connections. Be helpful to folks before you need the help yourself!
  5. Make sure that your profile is complete (full bio, education, work history, gave and received recommendations, causes, profile photo). If you click on “View Profile”, on the right hand side it’ll have a Pie Chart with your current strength

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Nobody Likes to be Pushed, Right?

There’s the old saying, nobody likes to be pushed. They like to guide themselves into making the right decision and how they feel comfortable doing it. This is a form of “Pull” rather than “Push” Marketing. An example of Push Marketing would include an advertiser saying “buy my products, buy my products, they’re the best!” See an example here. The best for whom? Well, the marketer of course. Pull marketing is based more on thought leadership and / or having a conversation. An example would include creating a white paper based upon your industry and posting on your Social Media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Not only does it establish yourself as an industry expert, it allows for those within your network to comment and engage with you. You’re pulling (or attracting / inviting) them into your sphere – a sphere that is more comfortable for those within it. Of course, we’ll always have television advertisements or radio spots, but as the future progresses and time gets more precious, wouldn’t you rather spend it on things that you enjoy and want to engage with? We’re curious to hear what your opinions are…

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Save Time With Social Media

There are numerous businesses who utilize Social Media on a regular basis, often posting 2 or 3 times a day. It’s a great way to spread the word about upcoming events, new product offerings, and providing insight into your particular industry. The time spent on these postings can be cumbersome, which is why there are Social Media aggregates available (most for FREE!). Try Hootsuite.com if you’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, and WordPress. You can post multiple communications, on separate days, and schedule them ahead of time. When Monday comes around, that communication will automatically post. You don’t even have to think about it (well, unless someone responds to your post – then, you have to give feedback). Another good Social Media aggregate is TweetDeck. Whichever system you decide to choose, saving time is so important to a business, especially one in its infancy stage or strapped for employees.

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Filed under Blogging, Branding, New Media, Social Media

Copywriting: How to Sell With Compelling Words

Recently I received a direct mail piece from the Sierra Club asking for donations to help save an endangered species. Receive these often, however this one took a different approach, from the perspective of the animal himself, see version here – SierraClub. The marketing and communications piece was so endearing and heartfelt that I couldn’t imagine not giving funds to help the animals. It put the reader in the mind of the animal. It starts out with “Dear Human”, then leads into “Imagine your family under attack…” and “Our fate is in your hands”. Often when the writer uses empathy they make an emotional connection between two or more things. And, good storytelling is about drawing people in with feelings, emotion and heartfelt stories.

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Keep It Simple – And, Keep Pushing

Being simple isn’t as easy as it looks. In fact, it’s harder! How do companies excel within this extraordinary world of complexity and so many options to choose from?

Look at companies like Apple and they keep it simple (yet still profitable). Their product lines (iPod, iTouch, iMac, etc) are easy to navigate and understand. Not a lot of extraneous buttons or manuals that take weeks to understand. Their advertisements are simple and to the point. Their “Think Different” campaign in the late 90’s, again, was simple, to the point, and EXTREMELY effective. Their message encompassed radical thinkers, those that stepped beyond their boundaries to produce something spectacular. And, for which the world will always love them for. Bob Dylan, the Dalai Lama, Amelia Earheart, even Steve Jobs himself, all in black & white with the simple tagline of “Think Different”. Everyone gets it. The short video, “Think Different” had simple dialogue and made people yearn to become something better than they were today.

Not that every company needs to model themselves after Apple, but oftentimes less is more. Whether it be product design, advertising, assembly lines or how corporate meetings are run – Keep It Simple.

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7 Ways For Businesses to Increase Facebook Fans and Engagement

Facebook is the huge behemoth people drop into daily conversation. But, are businesses capitalizing enough on fan engagement and following? Here are seven ways to assist in garnering attention, capturing interest and keeping those followers:

  1. Website: include a link on each page of your site. Or, include a scrolling log of Facebook updates (see example here)
  2. E-Mails: send regular e-mail marketing campaigns to your subscriber list notifying them that you’re on Facebook and post updates to your business on a regular basis.
  3. Promotions: Third Party Affiliates such as Wildfire or a less expensive solution called North Social partners with Facebook’s interface to provide promotions. Just about anything can be offered, from a Sweepstakes to a Deal Share. Fans are looking for info that’s not just relevant to your business, but what’s in it for them.
  4. Promoted Posts: Facebook recently started allowing businesses to promote their posts for a flat fee, see article here. Facebook estimates that only 16 percent of all posts are seen by the intended audience. Therefore, promoting your content can go a long way to increase engagement.
  5. In-Store Signs (for brick and mortar locations): strategically placed signs that encourages your presence on Facebook can be placed near the cash register or front door. In fact, you can even have cashiers mention to customers to “like us” on Facebook. Quick, easy and most importantly free.
  6. E-Mail Signature: place an icon on your outgoing e-mails to customers, vendors, anyone you might do business with
  7. Ask Questions: people love to engage with a brand or business that they love. Why not ask them questions that solicits feedback. Heck, you can even use it as Market Research! And, when they do interact, that interaction will appear on their friends’ newsfeeds.

Number 8 Communications provides social media strategy and consultations for small to mid-size businesses. If you have further questions or would like assistance on growing your fan count, please let us know.

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Filed under Branding, E-Mail Marketing, New Media, Social Media