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6 Tips to Succeed with LinkedIn

Filed under: Tip of the Day

LinkedInI gotta admit, of all the social networks that I’m part of, LinkedIn is the one I engage in the least. Sure, I check it from time to time, have over 100 connections (most of whom I’m not even sure how I know), but I’ve never really scratched the surface of this social network.

And according to Counselor’s January edition of “Tech Tactics,” that’s a huge missed opportunity.

Because not only is LinkedIn a powerful resource for connecting and networking with peers, but it’s also apparently a vast repository for sales leads. So don’t miss next month’s “Tech Tactics” on Counselormag.com, and in the meantime, here are six expert-recommended steps to maximizing the networking and selling power of LinkedIn.

  • Step #1 – Complete & Optimize Your Profile
  • Step #2 – Get Recommendations
  • Step #3 – Search & Connect
  • Step #4 – Create & Join Groups
  • Step #5 – Explore Applications
  • Step #6 – Upgrade Your Account

Now, excuse me while I go re-familiarize myself with my own LinkedIn account.

Vote – Ugliest Holiday Sweater

Filed under: Fun

‘Tis the season for mirth and merryment, gift shopping and crammed malls, endless cookie consumption and spiked egg nog, expanding waistlines, and, of course, holiday parties!

For this year’s annual ASI Editorial Department party, we added a new twist: wear your ugliest holiday sweater, win a prize! As you can see from the pics below, the department didn’t disappoint. The winner shall remain nameless for now … we wanted to know from you which sweater you believe is the ugliest. Simply comment below and let us know!


Sweater #1 – Chris


Sweater #2 – Mark


Sweater #3 – Carole


Sweater #4 – Patty


Sweater #5 – Diane


Sweater #6 – Larry


Sweater #7 – Jen


Sweater #8 – Joan


Sweater #9 – Chuck


Sweater #10 – Laura

Poll Results – Best-Selling T-Shirt Color for 2012

Filed under: Poll Results

Michael Jackson wrote a song about them, television began in this way, and there’s even a famous cookie named after them? What am I talking about? It’s the colors black and white! And not only are they famous for these reasons, but apparently those are the colors our users believe will be the best-selling for T-shirts in 2012.

On Dec. 2, we posed the following poll question on ASI Central: What do you think will be the best-selling T-shirt color in 2012?

Winning by a mere 15 votes, black was voted on most by our users (36%, 96 votes) with white coming in second (31%, 81 votes). Blue, the color I believed would be the top vote-getter, came in third (12%, 31 votes). Here’s the complete breakdown, including chart: (TOTAL VOTES: 265)

  • Black (96 votes, 36%)
  • White (81 votes, 31%)
  • Blue (31 votes, 12%)
  • Green (26 votes, 10%)
  • Red (19 votes, 7%)
  • Yellow (12 votes, 5%)

5 Trends for 2012

Filed under: Tip of the Day

What to Watch ForPhew, where did 2011 go? It seems just like yesterday that I was making (and breaking) my new year’s resolution!

Anyway, 2012 is right around the corner and we’re gearing up for a great year. This month’s Counselor magazine has a great article by Betsy Cummings titled “What To Watch For” where she breaks out her crystal ball and predicts the five trends that will impact our industry the most. Check out the article now, and here are the 5 trends:

  • Elections Are Local
  • Changing Buying Habits
  • All About The Brand
  • Competition And Pricing Are Fierce
  • Customer Service Is King

Seven Cool Things to Do With a T-Shirt

Filed under: Uncategorized

Wearables in the WorksThis month’s Advantages magazine has a terrific article titled “Wearables in the Works” that showcases four distributor case studies and their successful apparel-based promotions. From baseball battles to horror movies, there are some pretty creative ideas in this article, so check it out. And in the meantime, here are 7 cool things to do with a T-shirt, compliments of Advantages magazine!

  1. Queue Some QR: “I suggested a client put a QR code on the back of a T-shirt we were designing and printing for a community walk they were sponsoring,” says Jay W. Vandervort, owner of Proforma Nextidea Marketing (asi/300094).  “The code would link the walkers to the website the company was trying to promote. After testing it successfully, we went ahead and printed the T-shirts with the QR code on the backs, and the promotion worked very well.”
  2. Now You See it, Now You Don’t: “We called upon a nudist association and sold them T-shirts with an imprint of Michelangelo’s David,” says Mark Ziskind, COO of Caliendo Savio Enterprises (asi/155807). “We used light-sensitive ink to put a fig leaf over his private parts. So, inside you would see the naked statue, and outside he would be covered.”

And here are 5 more clever ideas from Marsha Londe, owner of industry consulting firm Tango Partners:

  1. Flip the Script: “Print the graphic upside down so when wearers hang their heads, they see the art. It’ll make everyone else look, too,” she says. “I saw such a shirt recently: On the back, printed upside down, it said, ‘If you can read this, pull me into the boat.’ And, because it was upside down, I focused on it to read it.”
  2. Fold and Roll: “Take the shirt, fold and roll it, and stand it on end to turn it into a figure. As a display at a convention, shirts were rolled and put into a standing position,” Londe explains. “Sunglasses were put at eye level, and they were topped with a hat as the giveaway. It was a great presentation of gifts to attendees or trip winners, and a fun use of a shirt gets everyone in the mood to party, celebrate and enjoy.”
  3. Supersize It: Londe suggests making T-shirts oversized for wearers to use when sleeping, or as a beach or pool cover-up. “A comfortable cotton tee could be a hit with a sleepy recipient,” she says.
  4. That’s a Wrap: “Use a wraparound imprint to attract attention,” she says. “People can’t help themselves; they have to walk around the wearer to capture the full message.”
  5. Bright Idea: This concept is perfect for kids on a field trip, adult groups on a hike, or a club. Suit up everyone in the same bright color – think neon pink or squint-inducing yellow. “It makes it easy to spot another member of the group. You can even add a number on the back of the shirt, so it’s easy to know who’s missing,” Londe says.

10 QR Code Tips

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Mobile MarketingIf the social media marketing pundits are correct and the wave of the future really is mobile — listen to what former Facebook employee Randi Zuckerberg had to say to ASI Radio about the future of social media — then it’s time to get up to speed with your smartphone.

This month’s Advantages magazine has an entire section devoted mastering mobile marketing, including 10 tips on building your knowledge of QR codes. Check out this month’s Advantages University section, and in the meantime here are the 10 tips to whet your appetite!

  1. Creating a QR code doesn’t cost any money. There are several free sites – QR Stuff, Kaywa and Mobilefish, to name just a few – that will turn your URL into a QR code in a matter of seconds.
  2. No licenses are required to use QR codes.
  3. Currently, most smartphones can scan codes as small as .75 inches.
  4. While QR codes are usually printed in black and white, other color combinations can work as well.
  5. Roughly 62% of people have scanned a QR code two or more times.
  6. QR-code usage is highest among people between the ages of 25 and 54. Early data shows women scan more QR codes than men by a two-to-one margin.
  7. Phones developed by Apple currently scan the majority of QR codes (68%), followed by Android and then BlackBerry devices.
  8. Linking a QR code to a Flash site is something to avoid. Most smartphones can’t display Flash animations.
  9. If your goal is to link someone to a URL and you want to track the number of scans, using Web service bit.ly may be the best option. After someone scans a QR code, bit.ly can redirect a visitor to a target URL. The reporting tool offered by bit.ly then allows you to track visits via your QR code.
  10. Explain what the QR code is, how to read it and where it will take the user. Use a directive like, “Scan this QR code with your smartphone using a tag reader to be entered for a chance to win $500 in promotional merchandise.” If room allows, provide a backup URL in case the recipient has problems scanning.

Poll Results – Social Network Usage Per Week

Filed under: Poll Results

So, just how much time do you dedicate to online social networking per week?

That’s the question we posed to our users in the latest ASI Central poll, and the results were a little shocking (well, at least to me!). Of the 365 total responses, over 40% (151 votes) said they spent less than 1 hour a week in the social networks. Considering the enormous popularity of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, not only with the new generation and Millennials, but with Gen X’ers and even Baby Boomers, I was a bit taken aback that this was the most popular answer. The next most popular answer, 2-5 hours a week, was selected over 20% of the time (74 votes). The most extreme answer, more than 10 hours a week, came in fourth at about 12%. Here’s the breakdown, along with the chart:

  • Less than an hour (151 votes, 41%)
  • 1-2 hours (68 votes, 19%)
  • 2-5 hours (74 votes, 20%)
  • 5-10 hours (30 votes, 8%)
  • More than 10 hours (42 votes, 12%)

How Much Time Per Week Do You Dedicate to Online Social Networking? (365 Responses)

Five Creative Ways to Celebrate the Holidays

Filed under: Tip of the Day

5 Creative Ways to Celebrate the HolidaysNow that it’s December and we’re finally experiencing seasonable temps here in the Northeast (I sure was getting tired of those beautiful, September-like 70-degree November days), I suppose it’s time to get that good ol’ “‘Tis the Season” feeling going and start thinking about the holidays.

This month’s issue of Supplier Global Resource has a great Sales & Marketing column by Kenneth Hein that takes a look five creative ways to celebrate the holidays. Want some ideas for motivating and building a foundation for a solid 2012? Then you should check out this column now! In the meantime, here are the five ideas:

  1. Celebrate Diversity
  2. Give the Gift of Time
  3. The Gift of Helping
  4. Remind Clients You Appreciate Them
  5. Give an Idea During the Holidays


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