The Importance Of Having A Strategy, Especially Marketing

Sure, guessing games can be fun, but they rarely lead to long-term, sustainable success. Which is why having a strategy in the business world, especially a marketing strategy for your business is crucial to its success. Companies that have formalized strategies are more focused and driven. They experience more productivity and more achievement. Why?

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Shared from Rich Brooks on Flickr

Having a marketing strategy provides reasoning behind your tactical choices. Instead of executing an email marketing campaign just because, you can execute it because you know that emailing is the most effective and efficient way to reach an audience. A strategy also gives companies focus and keeps them on the right path throughout the week, month or year.

Part of having a marketing strategy is tracking and analyzing it, which means recognizing and recording results. Employees that create impressive marketing results for clients can more easily be found and acknowledged. People are more likely to do the right thing when they are being watched, in the marketing world, employees are more driven to produce results when they are being captured and evaluated.

The marketing strategy also keeps members of the marketing team on task, as they know what they are responsible for and when each task or project is due. A clearly outlined plan keeps everyone organized and on track. It has specific objectives that marketing employees must work hard to implement so they don’t hinder the rest of the strategy. In fact, the more effectively that they accomplish the objectives of the strategy, the better the strategy as a whole will work.

Teams that are organized achieve more. They hit goals and reach objectives as a whole and individuals work together better. Having a strategy also makes it easier to prove that success. It’s hard facts and numbers that when reached can be provided for the organization to show how your marketing strategy improved communication, produced leads and even brought profit to the bottom line.

When was the last time you reviewed your strategy?

Facebook Privacy Basics

In an effort to make their terms and policies easier to understand and to control, Facebook is rolling out Privacy Basics on January 1, 2015.The post, in it’s entirety is featured below.

Updating Our Terms and Policies: Helping You Understand How Facebook Works and How to Control Your Information

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Over the past year, we’ve introduced new features and controls to help you get more out of Facebook, and listened to people who have asked us to better explain how we get and use information.
Now, with Privacy Basics, you’ll get tips and a how-to guide for taking charge of your experience on Facebook. We’re also updating our termsdata policy and cookies policy to reflect new features we’ve been working on and to make them easy to understand.
These updates take effect on January 1, 2015. As always, we welcome your feedback about our policies.
Privacy Basics
Privacy Basics offers interactive guides to answer the most commonly asked questions about how you can control your information on Facebook. For example, you can learn about untagging, unfriending, blocking and how to choose an audience for each of your posts. This information is available in 36 languages.
Along with our privacy checkupreminder for people posting publicly and simplified audience selectors, Privacy Basics is the latest step we’ve taken to help you make sure you’re sharing with the people you want.
Helping you get more out of Facebook
Every day, people use our apps and services to connect with the people, places and things they care about. The updates to our policies reflect the new products we’ve been working on to improve your Facebook experience. They also explain how our services work in a way that’s easier to understand. Here are some highlights:
Discover what’s going on around you: We’re updating our policies to explain how we get location information depending on the features you decide to use. Millions of people check into their favorite places and use optional features like Nearby Friends (currently only available in some regions). We’re working on ways to show you the most relevant information based on where you are and what your friends are up to. For example, in the future, if you decide to share where you are, you might see menus from restaurants nearby or updates from friends in the area.
Make purchases more convenient: In some regions, we’re testing a Buy button that helps people discover and purchase products without leaving Facebook. We’re also working on new ways to make transactions even more convenient.
Find information about privacy on Facebook at the moment you need it: To make them more accessible, we moved tips and suggestions to Privacy Basics. Our data policy is shorter and clearer, making it easier to read.
Understand how we use the information we receive: For example, understanding battery and signal strength helps make sure our apps work well on your device. We ask for permission to use your phone’s location when we offer optional features like check-ins or adding your location to posts.
Get to know how the family of Facebook companies and apps work together: Over the past few years, Facebook has grown and we want to make sure you know about our family of companiesapps and services. We use the information we collect to improve your experience. For example, if you’re locked out of your Instagram account, you can use your Facebook information to recover your password. Nothing in our updates changes the commitments that Instagram, WhatsApp and other companies have made to protect your information and your privacy.
Your information and advertising: People sometimes ask how their information is shared with advertisers. Nothing is changing with these updates—we help advertisers reach people with relevant ads without telling them who you are. Learn more about adsand how you can control the ads you see.
Giving you more control over ads
We’ve heard from some of you that it can be difficult to control the types of ads you see if you use multiple devices and browsers. In the past, if you opted out of certain kinds of advertising on your laptop, that choice may not have been applied for ads on your phone. We know that many people use more than one phone, tablet or browser to access Facebook, so it should be easy for you to make a single choice that applies across all of your devices.
That’s why Facebook respects the choices you make about the ads you see, across every device. You can opt out of seeing ads on Facebook based on the apps and sites you use through the Digital Advertising Alliance. You can also opt out using controls on iOS and Android. When you tell us you don’t want to see these types of ads, your decision automatically applies to every device you use to access Facebook. Also, we’re now making ad preferences available in additional countries, beginning with Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland and the UK.
We hope these updates improve your experience. Protecting people’s information and providing meaningful privacy controls are at the core of everything we do, and we believe these announcements are an important step.

So what does this mean to the average Facebook user?  More simple controls over your privacy, right at your fingertips. This has needed to happen for some time now, and Facebook is finally responding to requests for a more simplistic and easier to understand policy system.  BUT, as with all terms of service within the digital world, these privacy controls are only as good as the user. So take this opportunity to review Privacy Basics and to review your own privacy settings on Facebook and other social platforms.

Lunch N Learn with ZAAR Design Center

One of the great aspects of social media is the opportunity for strangers to connect through a shared interest, platform, hobby or need.  My plans to speak at ZAAR Design Center, as part of the Spring High Point Furniture Market is an example of a need, someone reaching out and plans set in motion thanks to social media.

Ruth Olbrych, the owner of ZAAR Design Center contacted me on February 12th after her friend, Alicia Connolly forward to Ruth a conversation I had on Twitter with Dana Helms, Social Media Manager at Social North. Dana is also involved with an amazing organization, WithIt.  Due to our open conversation on Twitter about WithIt, Alicia mentioned to Ruth that I may be interested in speaking to a group at the Spring Furniture Market in High Point.

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The subsequent emails and phone conversations with Ruth, has led to the ZAAR Design Center hosting a Lunch and Learn on Sunday, April 6th at their showroom in High Point. I will talk with their guests about How Best Maximize Your Social Media Presence as a Designer.  You can pre-register for the event here:   Lunch N Learn + Jewelry/Accessory Sale

How Do I, as an Interior Designer, Maximize My Social Media Presence?

The Social Media map changes at such a rapid pace it can be daunting to know where you should be focusing your energies for maximum impact for your Interior Design business. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Houzz, Google Plus, Linked In. Which portal serves you best?  Hint: Might not be what you think. What are the keystones for a Social Media plan? Yes, it can be manageable.

For me, this Lunch and Learn is an opportunity to talk about my passion, social media, as well as network with professionals within the furniture and design industries. For Ruth, it is an opportunity to showcase her Design Center and to provide the Designers in attendance with valuable information that can help their business and industry.  Truly a win-win; something I see every day within social media.

If you are attending the High Point Furniture Marketing this April, we hope you can join us for our Lunch N Learn at the ZAAR Design Center!

2014: The Year of Pay to Play in Social Media

As the new year starts to unfold, we see a multitude of articles offering up predictions for the 2014.  From fashion, to music, to the economy and of course, social media. What’s funny about these predictions, is, well they are predictable.  Some of them foretell the death of Facebook (not going to happen) while others predict that Google+ will be the king of social networks this year (Want to know a secret?  Google+ isn’t a social network the way most define it).  So, what do you believe?  What predictions are on the mark and what predictions are just plain silly?  Look at the history or experience of the people making the predictions and use common sense!

With all of that being said, I can confidently state: 2014 will be The Year of Pay to Play in Social Media.

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In December, TechCrunch published an article, Facebook: Brands Will Have to Work Harder (Or Buy Ads) For Your Attention – But Fans Still Matter.  The post highlighted what Facebook finally admitted – and brand managers suspected – organic, or non-paid reach for business pages had been decreasing.  Why?  Mainly because Facebook is not showing that content in the newsfeed.  According to Facebook their Billion plus users are sharing so much content that a business breaking through that noise is unlikely just by sharing content organically.  The solution? Promoted Posts and paying to advertise your page. If you have a business page on Facebook, you have probably noticed your reach decreasing and, if you want to reverse that trend, you will have to pay.

So, on Facebook, it is definitely Pay to Play for businesses. What about the other platforms?  Google+ is testing ads that will show up in their newsfeed, promoted accounts and Tweets have been part of Twitter for years, plus you can pay to monetize your Video’s on YouTube.  In other words, pay to play isn’t new, it’s just becoming more apparent and necessary.

One of the fallacies of social media over the years has been it’s free or low-cost. Thankfully that is not true or I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills. Social media is a tool, or a set of tools just like direct mail, advertising, PR and everything else that you can fit under the umbrella term of marketing. However, it is not free. Never has been. Never will be. Especially now.  Business owners, marketing professionals, social media consultants, et.al, must face the fact that to cut through the clutter of these various social platforms will require advertising. In addition to advertising, it will require a well planned strategy that includes using and utilizing the social platforms that fit into the niche or target demographics of the  business.

Paying to Play on Social Media also highlights the importance of a business optimizing their own website, but more on that later.

No matter what social platform or platforms you decide to hang your business hat on, get ready to pay; in 2014 and beyond. Those are my thoughts; what are yours?  Will you pay to play?

Thank you, Teddy Burriss

One of the most exciting aspects of  social media is how a connection can lead to a friendship, a business opportunity or just the ability to connect with someone that has shared experiences and abilities.  Teddy Burriss would fall under the categories of friend, colleague and in some ways a respected mentor.  I have been friends with Teddy for a couple of years now, after initially connecting virtually on Twitter.  Thankfully, we have expanded our social media relationship to one that has included meeting face-to-face whenever possible.  I encourage you to do that as often as you can; meet face-to-face with your connections.

Earlier this year, Teddy reached out to me and asked if I would share a social media success story for a book he was authoring.  I am no fool, of course I said YES to his request!  What followed was a book I highly recommend; and its not because I am featured in it, but because it is a valuable resource on social media and networking. Success Using Social Media hits the nail on the head:  Start By Building Relationships! 

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Click the link, buy or download the book and start building those relationships!  I encourage you to start by connecting with Mr. Burris.

Update Your Social Bio’s

A few weeks ago, I asked the following question on my Facebook Page:

“How often do you update your social media bio’s?”

Responses to the question ranged from, “not often enough” to “not lately” to “just last week.” But the response that made an impact to me was from Amanda Wright, CEO of Learning Connections. Amanda stated that she updated her bio’s the first of every month. I thought, what a great idea! Now normally I update my bio’s every month or two , but thanks to Amanda, I have actually scheduled it as a task on my calendar  month.

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Used under Creative Common License via Flickr

So, how often do you update your bio’s? I suggest you follow Amanda’s suggestion as I have, schedule the update on your calendar!

Why would you want to update them monthly?  Here are three quick reasons as to why:

1. You gain new followers and friends on a monthly basis, so make sure they have the updated information about what is important about you.

2. You may want to attract a different group of followers. As an example, if you work in education, you may want to focus your bio on your field of study to gain followers or connections in education.

3. Hobbies and interests change. If your new hobby is sailing, then use some keywords that related to sailing in your bio.

Social media, just like business, changes on a daily basis. You gain new followers, you lose followers, interests change, or your market can change. Change with your market and your interest; update your bio’s monthly.

Let me know in the comments below when you last updated your bio’s!  In the meantime, please excuse me; I need to update my own bio’s!

25 Blogging Tips on List 25

Thanks to my friend Misty McPadden, (@mistygirlph) I was recently included in a terrific resource post: 25 Blogging Tips You Need to Learn Today.  List25 was started by David Pegg (@iamdpegg) and Syed Balkhi (@syedbalkhi). The site compiles lesser-known intriguing information on a variety of subjects.

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My tips for this post encourages bloggers to  “Use Your Voice” when writing.  Allow me to expand on what I submitted for the article.

  • Write as you speak. When you write, make sure you are writing the same way you speak, using your words and your manner of speaking. For some reason when most of us sit in front of a screen to prepare an article or blog post, we try to write as someone else, not as ourselves.  Think about how you speak; how you carry on conversations with your friends or colleagues. Write in the same manner and vocabulary that you use daily.
  • Write for one person. As my manager told me when I was a new DJ at a radio station; picture yourself talking to one person, or having a conversation with one person. Obviously you want a lot of people to read your blog, but write it as if you were writing for just one person. This goes along with writing as you speak; if you write your posts in the same manner that you would speak in, the readers will get to know you.
  • Record yourself.  Yes, we all hate to listen to ourselves, but this can be a very valuable process. Recording yourself talking about the blog topic will help you to write as you speak and can help you avoid writers block. Relax and talk about the topic, then listen back to the recording and write your post! This can also help you to make sure you are not forgetting an important point in your post.
  • Don’t Post Just to Post. Regular blog posts are essential for your business and can greatly improve your search engine rankings; however, posting just to post is wasted time and space. It can also potentially alienate your readers.

Those are some of my tips; what are your favorites? Thank you again to Misty for asking me to be part of List25!

STOP the Social Media Insanity!

Do you remember the Stop the Insanity weight loss program from Susan Powter?   In the 90’s, you couldn’t turn on television without hearing her infomercial with that famous catch phrase, “Stop the Insanity!”

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Do you ever feel the need to scream, STOP the Social Media Insanity?  Websites, Blogs, RSS feeds, Emails, Email newsletters, Facbook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, FourSquare, Yelp, and on, and on, and on!  Do you get overwhelmed as you try to keep up with reading information, posting or joining various social platforms for yourself or your business? If so, I have a few suggestions that may help you stop your own insanity.

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Own and Protect Your Content!

Other than the devastating news out of Oklahoma, the digital world is buzzing this week over the news that Yahoo has purchased blogging site Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Or as some are now referring to it: Yumblr.  It is too early in this process to know what plans Yahoo has for Tumblr, but one thing is for sure: Tumblr will change. Tumblr subscribers will either embrace the changes or they will leave. In droves.

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Image Courtesy of Slate

 

In March 2012, the headline was Twitter Buys Posterous. Many people speculated that Posterous would stay around; that Twitter only wanted the owners/management team but would leave the product alone.  Alas, that was not the case. Posterous shut down May 31, 2013.

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#MeetMaxwell

I am starting this post with a disclaimer: I am not employed by Maxwell Health in any manor; nor do I do any work for their company. I am just someone that is impressed by their approach to healthcare and to serving their customers.

Maxwell Health believes in an investment minded concept; accomplishment reaps rewards.  Isn’t that how life, business and our health should be?  We invest then we reap the rewards? I think so.

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