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Sales Tip of the Week - Marketing Tactics

Filed under: Fun, General, Sales Tip

marketingLooking to add a few new marketing tactics to your current approach?  Advantages magazine has some tips on how to boost your companies visibility.

Reach out to people on LinkedIn; attend a networking event; start a blog; speak at association events; conduct a webinar or teleseminar about your products; set up a Facebook page or Instagram account to post pictures of your clients using your products. When people see you everywhere, they will say, “Wow! I see you everywhere. I should do business with you!”


Poll Results: Facebook Rules the Ad Specialty Business World

Filed under: Poll Results

When I posted the June poll “Which Social Network Do You Use Most For Business?” I figured most of our ad specialty friends would vote for Facebook, and they did. Over 50% of the total votes went to the social network that now boasts over 1.1 billion users and growing. This definitely did not shock me …

However, what did shock me was that Pinterest, the social network that really lends itself to imagery, received just one measly vote! Given that this is an industry rife with new and interesting products, I personally believe that companies should be looking a little more closely at Pinterest as a platform to promote their products. But I digress …

The following is the breakdown of votes for the question: “Which Social Network Do You Use Most For Business?” (191 total votes)

  • Facebook, 103 votes (54%)
  • Twitter, 13 votes (7%)
  • YouTube,  7 votes (4%)
  • LinkedIn, 67 votes (35%)
  • Pinterest, 1 vote (0.5%)

Social Media Use In Promo Products Industry


3 Tips for Managing Your Brand During Crisis

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Crisis Tips for your BrandCall it what you will — I prefer Social Media Train Wreck of the Year — but if you haven’t been paying attention to what’s happening with the Facebook business page of Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro, then you’re missing out on a valuable lesson on how not to manage your brand during crisis.

Quick backstory: the restaurant was recently featured on an episode of Kitchen Nightmares but quickly dumped by Chef Gordon Ramsey because the owners were “too difficult” to work with. Ensuing backlash on the company’s Facebook page resulted in the owners taking to the keyboard to defend themselves in a, well, not-so genial manner. Nasty comments from users were met with even nastier responses from the owners until an all-out, ALL-CAPS war commenced, complete with F-bombs, physical threats and bad grammar — a trifecta of brand destruction.

It’s u-g-l-y ugly, and if you want a great play-by-play of what happened, check out Buzzfeed’s coverage of it.

Of course, now the owners are claiming they were hacked and weren’t responsible for the posts, which are now gone. Whether or not they were hacked, well, I guess we’ll have to wait until the “FBI computer crimes unit” is done with their investigation. But all this got me to thinking, how should one prepare for a possible PR disaster? I searched the ‘net this morning and found a good, succinct post by Startups FM that breaks it down to three main precautions:

  1. Make Reputation Management a Priority. In the case of Amy’s Baking Company, they never anticipated the kind of traffic their Facebook page would get from their fame (or infamy), and it shows.
  2. Pay Attention to the Messages You Are Sending. Once the Facebook chatter got too overwhelming, Amy’s should’ve just stopped allowing comments through Facebook settings. Instead, they (or the hackers?) chose not only to engage trolls, but to threaten them with physical violence, cusses and misspellings.
  3. Hire a Reputation Management Pro. In the case of Amy’s, anyone hired after this meltdown will surely earn their pay.

Tip of the Day - Optimize Your Online Presence

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Facebook FangateWhen it comes to your social media plan, how optimized is your online presence?

If you were quick to jump on the social media bandwagon but have yet to see any measurable results, you’re not alone. Many companies put the proverbial cart before the horse and create Facebook business pages before they even have a plan in place. A recent “Business of Wearables” article by Kathleen Booth presents some great ideas on how you can get the most out of your social media presence which can ultimately impact your business in a positive way. It’s a quick read, so check it out now. And in the meantime, here are 5 secrets to optimizing your online presence:

  1. Don’t Make It All About You
  2. Develop a Brand “Personality”
  3. Ask for the “Like”
  4. Integrate Your Social Accounts
  5. Let Them Know You’re Out There

And remember, this isn’t Field of Dreams here - just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come!


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)


Save the Date - Randi Zuckerberg to be on ASI Radio

Filed under: asi radio show

Randi ZuckerbergThis just in! Facebook’s former Director of Market Development Randi Zuckerberg will be a special guest on ASI Radio on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 10:30 a.m. EST. Zuckerberg, who will be a speaking at The ASI Show New York in May of 2012, has a wealth of marketing experience and will be sharing her thoughts on everything from building a strong brand to the future of social media

According to the ASI Show website:

“Named No. 45 on Hollywood Reporter’s list of “Digital Power Players,” Randi Zuckerberg knows a thing or two about running a family business — and building a global brand that influences how we live, vote, organize and work. As Facebook’s former director of market development, and sister of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the Harvard grad led Facebook’s U.S. election and international politics strategy, in addition to managing media partnerships with heavy-hitters like ABC News and CNN.”

So save the date and don’t miss this show!


Counselor’s 2nd Annual Halloween Contest

Filed under: contest

Is your company throwing the best Halloween Party in the industry? Is your office being taken over by ghosts, goblins and Snookies? Join Counselor’s Best Places to Work community for our 2nd-Annual Halloween Contest and you could win $100!

Go now to our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BestPlacestowork to post your favorite pictures, stories and videos from your company’s Halloween outing. Plus, we’ll even feature the winning office in a story in an upcoming issue of Counselor magazine!

So what are you waiting for?! Enter now!

And for a look back to last year’s winner, click here.

CustomInk

Last year’s winner, CustomInk, as the cast of “Glee“.


5 Social Networking Tips

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Social Media TipsThis month’s Stitches magazine has a great article called “Social Media Smarts” that is rife with great online networking tips and marketing strategies that can help you find new leads and build your brand. What I find most helpful about this read is that it touches upon all the social networks, and not just the two big hitters Facebook and Twitter.

Advice on how to succeed with everything from LinkedIn and YouTube to Skype, blogs, QR codes and even mobile apps is included in the article. So do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to read this article — it’s definitely worth it especially if you’re just starting out with social media.

In the meantime, here are 5 quick social networking tips to whet your appettite:

  1. Update Twitter and Facebook regularly. “Once a day, or every other day, you should post new and interesting things,” says Dana Zezzo, vice president of sales and marketing at Pro Towels Etc. (asi/79750).
  2. Explore the social media pages of potential clients. Then, engage these people in discussions. Share information that would be useful to them. 
  3. Integrate your website. Use social media pages to direct traffic to your website by posting links back to your main site. Also, embed Twitter and Facebook feeds into your website. 
  4. Include photos and videos in your blog posts. This creates more interest and engagement. 
  5. Connect with remote customers. Use Skype to impress far-off clients by giving them a tour of your shop, demonstrating efficient production methods and the like.

Tip of the Day - Six Steps to Expand Your Brand with Facebook

Filed under: Tip of the Day

FacebookFrom Counselor’s July 2011 issue segment on “Management, by Genae Ginard …

Every company is trying to use Facebook in an attempt to move their business forward and stay connected to their customers. Why are some companies more successful at this than others? Content is the key to staying in touch with your customers and keeping them informed. The content, however, must be a rich mix of information, education, humor and fun.

Indeed, every Facebook effort is not equal. Some companies put forth a concerted effort to update their Facebook page consistently with news, tips and contests to keep their audience engaged. Others? Well, others don’t update their pages consistently enough to make any noise online.

No doubt, the former strategy is preferable. You can’t succeed with online social marketing right now unless you’re prepared to put in the time to create compelling content that engages customers and prospects. There’s a lot to be drawn to online right now, so you need a Facebook page whose content stands out from the crowd.

Here are six steps for ad specialty distributors to pump up their Facebook presence and connect with a whole new audience online. Use this approach to make your Facebook page more successful.

  1. Humor Is Vital - Humor allows your audience to come away with a warm-and-fuzzy feeling and a friendly attachment to your message. It doesn’t have to be industry specific, although it can be. You can do viral searches on YouTube and/or sites that plug social media. But a note of caution: humor online shouldn’t cross a line that you wouldn’t be prepared to cross when meeting somebody in person. Always watch a video all the way through before posting, as you don’t want it to include any profanity or other unmentionables. Remember, video is king. Written blogs are being trumped by the clever, colorful and often fun video blogs.
  2. Ask Questions That Solicit Responses - Don’t be afraid to ask open-ended questions to your group. For example, think of timely promotional programs and ask something like, “What’s your favorite corporate summer outing?” The purpose here is to begin the conversation. People posting their answers will create a community buzz. Letting the responses unfold naturally also gives you a marketing advantage. You can then track the answers to find a pattern of summer promotions or even find specific information about potential customers that you can use to call them with down the line. The key is to track it. Don’t just let the responses occur in a vacuum – take notes off the Facebook page so you have actionable data about your new contacts.
  3. Consistent Content Is King - If you don’t provide a myriad of interesting topics, information and trends, current customers as well as future customers simply go away. Clicking “Unlike” on Facebook is just as easy as clicking “Like.” Smart, clever and challenging content will keep your audience waiting for more. Plus, the ability to provide that type of information consistently is what really separates your Facebook presence from that of other companies. Consistency and creativity count when it comes to providing content online. With most companies having a presence on Facebook, competition will become fierce and you have to stand out. 
  4. Talk About Current Events - If you haven’t done so already, get plugged in to all online media and/or online trade publications. When something interesting pops up, pass it along for other people’s knowledge. If something political or legislative occurs that could impact your customers or the ad specialty market in general, pass it along. Never make a personal judgment about the event. Let your community unfold.  One of the best ways to ensure that you’re always connected to current events that impact the market is to use Google Alerts to notify you of events and news feeds when you program in key words. You can also use a program like Hootsuite to consolidate and tweet events out to all of your feeds and accounts at one time. The more you can tie your Facebook content into current events that impact your audience, the more likely you’ll be to consistently connect with a growing audience. 
  5. Use Industry Facts - Keep your followers abreast of changes in the ad specialty market and relate them back to your own business. For example, product safety and legislation are important right now when it comes to ensuring the viability of products in the ad specialty industry. Post articles you find about changing laws and provide insights into how this can impact your customers’ orders. Think of Facebook as a way to educate your customers and prospects about information they may not otherwise seek out. Cotton prices, for example, have increased significantly over the past year or so. This isn’t information that your customers may be directly seeking out, but it does impact their T-shirt orders. So, they need to know about it, and you can be the vital source that provides the information to them. This would be a specific action that endears your customers to your brand. 
  6. Run Promos & Specials - Mention specials, promotions, new products and services on your Facebook page as much as possible. It shouldn’t be a hard-sell approach, but rather a way to entice customers. You can get creative here and run a coupon or contest. Talk about new employees, business awards or articles written by your staff. You can drive traffic to your business and services by using this concept.

For more, go to Counselor’s July 2011 Management section now!


Tip of the Day - Social Media Safety at Work

Filed under: Tip of the Day

FacebookI think we’re all starting to realize that social media is not a fad and is here to stay. Here are some great tips for any company when it comes to social media in the workplace. From Education Adviser newsletter, vol. 39.

The key for supervisors and executives is to recognize the uses and abuses facilitated by the innovation and what steps should be taken to control the relevant actions. Here are a few tips that you can implement in your enterprise today:

  1. Have Clear Policies. Very specific policies need to be in place, which govern the usage of the Internet and social networking sites. While some organizations may find it easier to just ban their access altogether, this is akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. 
  2. Educate Employees. Make sure that employees, as well as supervisors, understand what is expected of them as far as social networking conduct within and when referring to the workplace. While you’re at it, reinforce sexual harassment, related issues, and their relevant consequences even when they’re taking place within the virtual world. Take steps to assure them that such online networking etiquette expectations are in place to protect them, as well as the company.
  3. Take Technological Precautions. Be sure to keep one step ahead of the nefarious forces of the Internet. Continuously update your computers’ anti-virus programs, implement policies that mandate changing of passwords on a consistent basis, and put in strong firewall systems to ensure the safety of your data. 
  4. Monitor Usage. Be able to monitor Internet usage and, in particular, social networking within the workplace. Also, speak to employees so that you’re sure they understand that their computer interaction is being recorded. This oversight is vital, as the company may bear civil or criminal responsibility for some actions of their employees.

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