“We’re getting the band back together.”

Just think how much easier it would have been for Jake and Elwood Blues if they had social media to help their cause. Of course, it wouldn’t have been nearly entertaining for us if they did.

Blues Brothers car

The getaway mobile that got the band back together!
Photo courtesy of Stig Nygaard via Flickr

Are you getting the band back together? Here’s four ways social media can help:

  1. Create an event on Facebook. This works for a public event or one where you’d only like to invite your friends or specific individuals. Get a head count and discuss details to make sure your event is a big hit. Post highlights and pictures/videos during and after the event to continue the momentum. Encourage attendees to snap their own pictures and shoot videos while tagging your company’s or brand’s page to spread the word.
  2. Google+ Events is a helpful planning tool for in-person or virtual get together’s (Google+ Hangouts). You can even invite people not yet on this social media platform via email, so check it out for your next party. Create a ‘circle’ of attendees to easily disseminate information to them.
  3. Finalize details and locate attendees as they arrive on Twitter. No, there’s not a specific ‘events’ function, but this micro-blogging platform is perfect for promoting your event, asking others if they’re attending or to find out if someone your meeting for lunch is already at the restaurant. You can also ‘live tweet’ an event by tweeting updates while they’re happening. Create a hashtag (#myevent) for your event so virtual (and even in-person) attendees can easily follow.
  4. Blog about your event to raise awareness and create excitement. Ask others to guest blog so attendees can get multiple viewpoints and learn more about specific activities, panels, etc. Engage attendees by asking for their feedback via comments and polls. Your event’s story can be continued during the festivities to update those who couldn’t make it or fill in the blanks for attendees who missed a specific session or interesting point. Add pictures, videos and links to follow-up content to pique interest and continue the conversation.

How have you used social media to plan, promote or follow up for your events? I’d love to hear about your ideas below. Feel free to ask questions you may have about upcoming events on your schedule.

Enjoy today!
Jaime

Cause-Related Marketing: Support or Scam?

Cause-related marketing campaigns seem like a win-win situation. Consumers and businesses help support wonderful causes while the benefiting organizations raise much-needed funds. Do they really make a difference though?

As in most cases, cause-related marketing brings both good and bad. As a consumer, you can ask a few questions to ensure you really are supporting a great cause.

Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives program

Since 1997, Yoplait has donated more than $34 million to breast cancer awareness through the Save Lids to Save Lives program, Race for the Cure and other initiatives.
Photo courtesy of Miss a Liss via Flickr

1) Is the cause meaningful to you? Do you believe in this organization and its mission? Target causes that you truly believe in and are close to your heart.

2) Who does the campaign benefit? Make sure that your purchase will support a reputable organization that will put the funds raised to good use. Charity Navigator is one place to check out nonprofit organizations that you’re not familiar with.

3) How is the program structured? Understand exactly how the charity will benefit through consumers’ purchases. For example, the sponsor may make a donation per purchase. Is the amount stated (i.e. 2% vs. 10%)? Is there a limit on the sponsoring company’s donation (i.e. first $100,000 raised)? Or is there a minimum amount to be raised before the company makes any donation?

4) How will the charity use the donated funds? Nonprofit organizations should be very clear on where their funds go, whether it be research, education, assisting those affected by their cause, administrative costs, etc.

5) Is the sponsoring company committed to the cause? If you’re not familiar with the company, review the packaging, display, in-store signage and/or literature for more information on its goals. Does it regularly support this cause? Does the company seem committed to making a difference?

Cause-related marketing programs can be a tremendous asset to nonprofit organizations or they can really be a scam. Do a little research to ensure that you are actually helping a worthy cause and that your hard-earned money wouldn’t be better spent.

For additional information:
Changing with the Times (MediaPost looks at what causes are hot in 2012.)
Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives Program
Charity Navigator
Best Practices for Taking Up the Cause

Happy Boss’ Day to all of the great leaders out there!

Jaime

5 Ways to Spice Up Employee Appreciation

Most of us know by now how valuable it is to keep good employees. Knowledgeable, happy employees are valuable assets to a company, helping to reduce costs, maximize productivity (and revenue) and enhance your company’s brand or image.

There are a plethora of ways to thank valuable, hardworking employees. Following are 5 ways that you may not have thought about.

1. Bowl them over — A bowling outing can be a great way to boost morale and encourage bonding. Furthermore, many alleys also offer other perks, including a variety of food options to whet nearly any palate, arcade games, bocce, billiards, happy hours, karaoke, transportation to/from the event and variations to the standard bowling experience — black lights, special rules, etc.

cosmic bowling

A bowler enjoys the atmosphere of cosmic bowling.
Image courtesy of m4tik via Flickr

2. Cycle tours / special rides — A group bike tour or specialty ride can add some fun and memories to an otherwise typical day. These experiences can be turned into a team building event on their own or inject some serious fun into company picnics, appreciation days or a thank you for hitting key goals or metrics. Employees won’t forget getting out on the open road in an entirely different way anytime soon.

Rocket Ship Car

The Rocket Ship Car
“The Happiest Ride on Earth”

3.  A spa-like experience — Reward hardworking employees for pulling off a complex, last minute        project, crushing their quarterly goals or successfully making it through a crazy time of the year (i.e. tax deadline for accountants, a national convention). Various packages are available for many different budgets, and your staff will enjoy being pampered and waited on. From express massages to full service pedicures (yes, gentleman too), your relaxed employees will be grateful and energized.

4.  Casino night — Bring the thrill of Vegas to your staff! Employees will receive chips and move throughout the casino to play a variety of games. Friendly dealers will show less experienced players how the games work and bring an air of excitement to the festivities. Players redeem chips for raffle tickets and use these tickets to win prizes. Everyone has a chance to win, and best of all, there are no losers because no real gambling is involved. Hit the jackpot!

5.  A breath of fresh air — Nature has amazing restorative tendencies and employees will relish an opportunity to get out of the office. Thank your staff with a special trip to a zoo, an amazing retreat at a national park or a day trip on a scenic railroad. Attendees can unwind to a beautiful backdrop and rejuvenate for the next big project.

Hocking Hills Resevoir

Hocking Hills State Park is a great place to soak in the beauty of nature.

Remember, a fun experience can be had by all in a number of settings. Employees will appreciate your efforts to recognize their hard work and dedication and be inspired to continue to give their all to your organization.

What’s the most memorable employee recognition

experience you’ve had?

Enjoy your weekend,

Jaime

Local or Global — Where’s Your Business?

There seem to be a couple of different schools of thought on doing business today.

Local or Global?

Local or Global — Where’s your business focused?
Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Local has been a hot topic the past couple of years with mobile and check-in services, where you can help promote a company and/or receive special offers by checking in, downloading an app, opting in to receive text messages, etc. For example, I had dinner with a friend at a restaurant in downtown Akron, and it offered a discount on our dinner if we downloaded its app. (Neither of us did because we didn’t feel the app was worthwhile but the offer was there nonetheless.) Companies can even entice you to stop in by alerting you of special offers if you’re in the vicinity of their store.

However, some companies would rather market themselves globally or at least nationally. They don’t list a physical location on their website or marketing literature and use an 800 number so potential customers don’t know immediately where they’re located. These companies may project an image of being a large, strong company that has numerous resources at its disposal or simply one that takes advantage of technology to extend its reach.

I see pros and cons to both philosophies, and I’ve included some benefits below.

Local Pros

  • Encourage customers to support local business / economy
  • Focus marketing efforts on specific area
  • Take advantage of check-in services, special offers via mobile

Global / National Pros

  • Market image of large company with impressive resources (i.e. buying power, partners, locations)
  • Larger area for potential customers, referrals
  • Keep customers if they move

Does your business market itself as a local or global/national brand? Is that position highlighted in your marketing efforts?

My business -- Clearly Conveyed Communications

My marketing & branding company, Clearly Conveyed Communications, is based in Akron, OH but targets clients nearly anywhere.

As a small business owner, I’m targeting new, potential clients nearly anywhere but don’t shy away from where I’m located. I love living and working in Akron, OH and enjoy helping fellow companies and brands in the area with their marketing and branding efforts and event planning needs. However, I’ve made some wonderful connections over the past decade that have led to projects with companies out of state (technology rocks, doesn’t it?). So I guess I tend to think of myself as a local company with a national reach partly due to the services that I offer.

What are your thoughts?

  • Does the size of the company factor into this decision?
  • Products or services offered?
  • How did your company decide how to market itself?


So are you local or global? Or do you see yourself as a hybrid — a local company with a national/global reach? I’d love to hear from you.

Cheers,
Jaime