50 (More) Things I’m Grateful For…

It’s been too long. I’ve had it in my mind to write this post since I published my first 50 Things I’m Grateful For… post last year. I kept finding cool things to blog about, and before I knew it, more than a year had passed. So here goes…

I’m grateful for (take 2)…

The sun sets on Lock 3

     

I love classic cars 

Wilson -- my idea generator

water view

Alright, so there’s my second list of 50 things I’m grateful for. (If you want to browse the first list, here you go.)

Now it’s your turn. I would love to hear about what you’re grateful for! No matter how tough life gets, we can all be grateful for something. Share your list (however big or small) in the comments below, hit me up on a social network or tag me in your blog post.  Cheers!

Grateful & blessed,
Jaime

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Facebook: Dead or Alive?

We’ve had some interesting discussions recently on the Clearly Conveyed Communications Facebook page. (If you haven’t checked it out yet, take a look and let us know what you think!) One of them this week was, coincidentally, about Facebook

                        Facebook: Like or Dislike?Facebook: Like or Dislike?

Is this social platform behemoth living large or dying a slow death? Facebook’s certainly been in the news a lot lately, and I came across an article from our friends at MediaPost entitled, Vine, Instagram: Hit It And Quit It, that made a strong statement. 

“Facebook sucks unless you’re over 40.”  -Karl Greenberg

That’s a strong statement but is it true? The article goes on to say, “Young people don’t use Facebook anymore. It’s too complicated and takes too long.” That thought is from Bernard Glaser, who heads the marketing operation at Mercedes-Benz U.S.A. While MB has a *few* friends on Facebook (1,766,687 at the time of publication), the company’s actually trying to move more of them to Instagram. 

Mercedes-Benz U.S.A. Instagram Content

Despite millions of fans on Facebook, Mercedes-Benz U.S.A. is trying to move them to Instagram — a social network they feel is better suited to a younger audience.

 

CCC’s Experience: A Case Study

Initially, we really struggled to gain traction on our Facebook page, which is frustrating. It definitely lags behind some of CCC’s other social platform presences (linked at the end of this post). However after much time and effort, we’re starting to increase our Facebook community as well as their engagement. Engaging with other pages (and page owners) is so important as well as posting content that’s intriguing to your specific fan base (oh, at the right time). We’ve really found the new and improved Insights tool to be a big help in determining our strategy going forward. 

New & improved FB Insights tool

The new & improved Facebook Insights tool allows you to dig deeper into your audience’s demographics.

For all the advice, statistics and studies available, it really comes down to your specific audience(s). For our page, we’ve found that text updates (generally questions or tips) receive the highest reach while pictures pull in the most engagement. Links typically offer the lowest reach and engagement; however, the last link we posted generated much better results in both of these categories. 

We’ve also discovered our best times to post throughout the day and have been varying our posting times more to see which types of updates resonate the best with our fans at different times on different days. In a nutshell, popular advice on content and posting times may be a good place to start, but dig deeper into your audience’s specific demographics to really tailor their experience on your Facebook page. 

Your Experience

So, is Facebook in your company’s social media plans? Why or why not? Also, who is your target audience(s)?

As a consumer, do you use Facebook? What are your primary reasons for using it? 

Despite its current status as the largest social platform (by a wide margin), do you think Facebook will ever become extinct? 

Drop your thoughts below to continue this interesting discussion or head over to the discussion on the CCC Facebook page

You may also be interested in our other Facebook posts

Photos courtesy of:
Wikimedia Commons (Facebook Like Thumb and Facebook Dislike Thumb)
Mercedes-Benz U.S.A. Facebook page (#CLA Take the Wheel Instagram Contest)
Clearly Conveyed Communications Facebook page (Insights Tool)

A dual Facebook user (for business & pleasure),
Jaime

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What Makes You, You?

WordPress.com’s Weekly Writing Challenge: A Pinch of You got me thinking. What makes you, you exactly? All of us are made up of a special mix of physical traits, intangibles and, shall we say, character flaws. So what’s your recipe?

Here’s mine. Enjoy!

Shine Soup
aka Shiner / jshine / James Soup

It's a short mug, but height's overrated.

It’s a short mug, but height’s overrated.

Ingredients

  • 2 c introversion 
  • 1 c water (fresh, salt, chlorinated or bath)
Mother Nature's beauty

Enjoying the serene Alder Pond at the Goodyear Heights Metro Park. I love water!

  • 1 thinking cap
  • 2 candles, melted (preferably island/tropical scents)
  • 2 tsp mud (from a trail somewhere)
  • 1 tbsp adventure
incoming!

Incoming! Skydiving is a rush of adrenaline… and surprisingly peaceful.

  • 3 laughs
  • 1 infectious smile
Laughing!

Having a blast at my brother’s wedding!

  •  a chip off the old block
  • 1/2 c espresso (or more if needed)
rafting the Green Valley Ranch in Las Vegas

Yes, I have an espresso problem. I even take it rafting.

Preparation

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Set out in the sun until desired temperature is achieved. Sprinkle with a bit of impatience before serving, but don’t wait too long!

relaxing on the beach

Soaking in the rays on Hilton Head Island…

If you make Shine Soup while watching The Bionic Woman, it just tastes better. (Ask Jaime Sommers; it’s true.)

Serve with homemade gnocchi, lasagna or other fine Italian cuisine. Oh, and alcohol.

leg lamp cookies!

They’re FRA-GEE-LAY… must be Italian!

Warning: Consumption of this food may force your brain into overdrive. Sorry, there’s no off switch, but the feeling should subside within 24 hours after eating.

Note: Do not make this recipe early in the morning. Trust me, it won’t turn out well.

Shine Soup is best enjoyed with a sibling, longtime friends or family.

Bonnie & Clyde... back in the day.

Bonnie & Clyde… back in the day.

What’s your recipe? 

Cheers from the chef,
Jaime

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Robin Roberts on Courage

Robin Roberts on Courage

“When fear knocks, let faith answer the door.” – Robin Roberts

Congratulations, Robin, on receiving the Arthur Ashe Award for courage at the 2013 ESPYS.

You are an inspiration.

Watch Robin Roberts’ Journey, a look at Robin’s amazing story, by clicking on her photo.

Photo courtesy of ESPN

Curiosity // by Alastair Reid

Curiosity

by Alastair Reid

Curiosity may have killed the cat; more likely

the cat was just unlucky, or else curious

to see what death was like, having no cause

to go on licking paws, or fathering

litter on litter of kittens, predictably.

Face It.

FACE IT. Curiosity

will not cause us to die —

only lack of it will.

Never to want to see

the other side of the hill

or that improbable country

where living is an idyll

(although a probable hell)

would kill us all.

Only the curious

have, if they live, a tale

worth telling at all.

Dogs say cats love too much, are irresponsible,

are changeable, marry too many wives,

desert their children, chill all dinner tables

with tales of their nine lives.

Well, they are lucky.

Well, they are lucky.

Let them be

nine-lived and contradictory,

curious enough to change, prepared to pay

the cat price, which is to die

and die again and again,

each time with no less pain.

A cat minority of one

is all that can be counted on

to tell the truth. And what cats have to tell

on each return from hell

is this: that dying is what the living do,

that dying is what the loving do,

and that dead dogs are those who do not know

that dying is what, to live, each has to do.

*****

I’m not typically into poetry — writing it or reading it. But this poem caught my eye in high school and I’ve loved it ever since. It’s graced a wall (printed out on tie-dyed paper) at various stops along the way and always has a prominent place in my mind.  

What do you think?

What does this poem say to you?

Chime in with your thoughts!

Cheers,
Jaime

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TED Radio Hour asks: “Why do we collaborate?”

Intriguing thoughts on “Why We Collaborate” from the fine folks at TED. Worth a listen! Why do we collaborate? What are your thoughts?

Cheers,
Jaime

TED Blog

TED-Radio-Hour-collaborate

This week’s TED Radio Hour examines “Why We Collaborate,” exploring why, and how, millions of people come together to work on online projects, sometimes for free.

The episode begins with Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, who spoke at TEDGlobal 2005, back when the site was still very new. The incredible growth of Wikipedia since then not only illustrates the range of people who contribute to it, but how mass collaboration can improve the world in increments. Next, Luis Von Ahn approaches a similar problem from a slightly different perspective. His project Duolingo teaches students languages by getting them to translate the web, a daunting project. He suggests that some form of return, like learning a language, is necessary to get people to give up their free time.

The conversation continues with Clay Shirky, who advocates for a more productive use of the 35 hours per…

View original post 161 more words

Is Your Business Like Cheers?

Recently I’ve watched a few episodes of the classic show, Cheers (thank you, Netflix!), and remembered why I always enjoyed hanging out with the gang at the friendly bar in Boston. The show’s tagline, Where Everybody Knows Your Name, says it all.

Cheers logo

Cheers — Where Everybody Knows Your Name

The characters came across as regular people who you would love to discuss current events with over a beer (and by current events, I mean last night’s game or Sam’s love life). They made everybody feel welcome, whether you were a local or out of towner passing through. (OK, unless you were a rowdy New York fan.)

The point is, people wanted to come there because they felt welcome and accepted. I’m sure there were other bars they could have ventured to (even Norm), but Cheers is where they chose to spend their time — and money.

Does your business leave customers and prospects with a warm feeling? Do you have regulars (repeat customers) that you know inside and out and always try to add a little extra touch for?

Do it amazing, says Sir Richard

What’s the most amazing way to treat your customers, especially regulars?

I was always amazed when the general manager at the Panera Bread near my former company’s office would already be making my order when I got to the counter — whether it was a caramel latte in the morning or a cup of creamy broccoli cheddar soup (and possibly another latte if I needed a boost) for lunch. She always left me with a smile on my face. True story: I met some former colleagues there for lunch a year after I left the company to start my business and had not returned to this location. As I was ordering, the general manager walked up, greeted me by name and asked how I was doing.

Why did I choose to return there time after time? There were other places I could get espresso or soup, but I felt a connection to the company and this location — all because a general manager provided excellent service and remembered my name.

I see the same type of service (and smiles) at my local Starbucks and enjoy the atmosphere at a local coffee shop that’s really established itself as a part of the community.

rafting the Green Valley Ranch in Las Vegas

Yes, I have an espresso problem. I even take it rafting.

Are you noticing a theme? I tend to give my business to companies that provide excellent service, make me smile and remember my name. Are you nodding in agreement (or just nodding off)? Notice that I didn’t say anything about the cheapest price. Yes, I want to see value for my dollar, but that doesn’t translate to cheap. And I’ll take a wonderful experience over cheap any day.

So how can your business be that place where Everybody Knows Your Name?

  1. Establish a ‘frequent shopper’ program. If that’s not exactly applicable, reward repeat customers in other ways. At CCC, we discount our services on program business (i.e. repeat business/multiple services purchased together).
  2. Say thank you — on each order, payment, quote/opportunity, referral, helpful advice, etc. A Starbucks or iTunes card is an appreciated token of appreciation for referrals or loyal customers as is your expertise. We’ve been known to help out a loyal customer with his LinkedIn profile or offer complimentary suggestions on improving a fellow company’s online marketing efforts. But trust me, even saying the words thank you is noticed — and appreciated — in today’s rushed and flustered world.
  3. Communicate clearly. So much of our communication is digital today; emailing, texting, tweeting or messaging is convenient. At CCC, we like to communicate how our customers prefer, whether that’s Skype, Facebook or a good old-fashioned phone call. Also, make sure you’re on the same page about a project, including any applicable deadlines. Nothing’s messier than miscommunication; it causes stress all around, puts people in bad positions and costs both parties time and money.

Check out: Seth Godin on Miscommunication

What did I miss?

How do you make your loyal customers feel special?

Put a smile on everyone’s face?

Photos courtesy of Brad via Sitcoms Online and Richard Branson’s blog

Cheers (or a toast),
Jaime

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America the Beautiful

Freedom isn’t free… Thank you to the men and women of the Armed Forces who have served and sacrificed at home and around the world to keep us free.

Independence Day collage

We hope our US friends had a safe and happy Fourth of July and continue celebrating (and remembering) through the holiday weekend.

Wow, 237 years old. I’m sure our Founding Fathers would have been thrilled if they had known the fledgling nation they founded on blood, sweat, tears and a heap of courage, would still be going strong today.

What’s your favorite Fourth of July tradition? Did you start a new one this year?

The picture collage above showcases some of my favorite memories that come to mind when I think of America and Independence Day. What comes to mind for you?

Independence Day also brings to mind one of my favorite songs, God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood. I was fortunate enough to see Mr. Greenwood perform this iconic song live and it’s chilling. I still get goosebumps every time I hear it.

I’ll leave you with that beautiful song to enjoy your weekend. To our International friends, have a wonderful weekend and thanks for reading! We get a little patriotic this time of year. 🙂

Video courtesy of ccmytubenz YouTube channel

God Bless the USA,
Jaime

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Wild: A Journey That Takes You Along For The Ride

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild, an amazing memoir by Cheryl Strayed

I recently crossed an entry off my ever-growing reading list by tackling Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Part memoir, part cathartic experience, this gripping read brings you along during Strayed’s journey of hiking the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT).

“I was alone. I was barefoot. I was twenty-six years old and an orphan too. An actual stray, a stranger had observed a couple of weeks before, when I’d told him my name and explained how very loose I was in the world. “

During this life-altering experience, Strayed dips back into memories or moments from her life that explain her actions, decisions and how she arrived at her starting point of the trail in the Mojave Desert, via a hitchhiked ride, completely unprepared even though she was overloaded with the weight of her pack (aptly named “Monster).

Cheryl Strayed on the PCT

Cheryl Strayed on the PCT in southern California, June 1995.

From page one, I was hooked. It’s not only the life-or-death moments (although those do happen on the remote PCT); it’s the inner journey that Strayed takes to finally heal from her mother’s death and move on with her life. Despite the rapidly changing conditions, wild animals and extreme exhaustion, the author is able to hear her own voice on long, lonely stretches where it was only her and Mother Nature.

Cheryl Strayed at Crater Lake

Cheryl Strayed at Crater Lake near the PCT, August 1995.

You actually feel like you’re along for the ride. For a lot of us, this is as close as we’ll ever get to hiking the PCT, but you feel a connection with Strayed early on. Why? She’s grieving, lost and flawed, yet determined to find herself and right her ship before it’s too late.

Haven’t we all been there on some level? Maybe you’ve made a poor decision, let a close friend down or found yourself in a depressing relationship that you can’t get out of. We’ve all faced obstacles, some more than others, and had to overcome them in order to move on with our lives. That’s where Strayed’s story fits in.

Wild reaches out, grabs your heart and makes an emotional connection. When you’ve read the last page, you may feel like you’ve made a journey yourself — not hiking the PCT but tackling a demon or problem in your own life.

If I haven’t piqued your interest enough, check out the book’s trailer…

Have you read the book? What did you think?

If not, are you interested in reading this book now?

What’s the best memoir that you’ve ever read?

Photos and video courtesy of Cheryl Strayed’s website

An early happy birthday, America! Best wishes to you and yours for a fun, safe and reflective 4th of July.

Cheers,
Jaime

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