Tweet Some Love, Gain Some Respect

We all have them in our lives. A babysitter that’s always available when you really need a night out. A loyal friend who’s willing to interrupt her day to hear your latest crisis over coffee. A lifelong customer who loves your business’ story. A super fan who engages with and shares your content more than you do. People who just make your world turn a little easier. Now there’s a cool, new way to thank them.

Starbucks continues to embrace the digital realm and social media by partnering with Twitter to introduce tweet-a-coffee. After quickly connecting your Starbucks and Twitter accounts, you can easily send your loyal friend, awesome customer or super fan a $5 eGift card. Seriously, it’s that easy.

As a business owner, I immediately thought of some priceless opportunities for brands. Giveways? You no longer need to retrieve a winner’s physical address to mail swag, just a Twitter handle. Thanking loyal fans (and customers)? It’s easy on your end but is appreciated by the recipient. Your fans and customers will enjoy being publicly recognized for their loyalty, contribution to your digital marketing efforts and fabulous ideas. In turn, your business receives positive PR and the warm, fuzzy feeling associated with being good corporate citizens. And don’t forget about acknowledging employees!

I had to try this new service, so I tweeted a coffee to one of Clearly Conveyed Communications‘s super fans, Lance Wyllie. Lance is always willing to engage in thoughtful conversation, add insightful comments to discussions (on the blog and Twitter) and is so generous with sharing others’ information.

The process couldn’t have been easier. After quickly connecting my Starbucks and Twitter accounts, I sent a personalized message to @tweetacoffee to @LanceWyllie (as seen above). Starbucks’ @Tweetacoffee account immediately tweeted Lance a clickable link to redeem his eGift card (which can be scanned from your smartphone or printed out). On the back end, Starbucks sent me a receipt confirming my purchase and separately emailed me when Lance viewed the gift. A seamless process.

It’s always exciting when a new tool becomes available to add to your marketing mix. Just remember: tweet some love, gain some respect.

How can you or your business utilize tweet-a-coffee?

Who would you tweet-a-coffee to?

Tweets from my (@jaimeshine) Twitter feed
Tweet-a-Coffee video courtesy of Starbucks

An espresso addict (and Starbucks fan),
Jaime

p.s. As an espresso addict, it’s hard for me to fathom people who don’t drink espresso or coffee. Rest assured, Starbucks offers tea, fruit juices, water, fresh bakery items, delicious breakfast sandwiches and oatmeal, among other favorites, for all of you non-coffee folks out there. 

p.s.s. To help spread the word, Starbucks is giving a $5 eGift card to the first 100,000 people who participate in the tweet-a-coffee program before 11/06/13 and fund the purchase with a Visa card. Full details here.

Coffee lover or not, connect with me… 
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Social Media on Weekends: Are You In Or Out?

Over the weekend, I was thinking about social media usage on weekends. (Oh, the irony…) We’ve all seen the statistics and recommendations that encourage us to be social 7 days a week and keep our businesses top of mind with readers beyond traditional business hours. The theory goes that fewer businesses are social on weekends, so the content of socially active companies has a higher chance of being seen and engaged with.

Tweet on the weekends graph chart

Pic credit: Buffer

Many of us schedule content in advance or automate it, so that we have a social media presence while we’re out and about enjoying the real world. (If it’s been a crazy week, maybe we’re frantically scheduling updates on Saturday morning or squeezing them in throughout the weekend.) But a thought occurred to me… If a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound? Or better put…

If our content publishes on social media and no one’s around to see it, does it make an impact?

Here’s my point: do you actively engage with other people’s social media content on weekends? Not just schedule content in advance on your accounts but read, comment, interact with and share other content? In other words, are you part of a social media audience on weekends? Or are you simply publishing content? (Maybe that’s the case all the time, not just on weekends.) Please choose your response in the poll below. Be honest!

If there’s no audience to view our content on weekends, are we simply publishing content to publish it? Would that content be better utilized during the week?

Get Social

Do you publish content for your business on weekends?

Does your audience engage on weekends? More so than during the week?

Are you part of a social media audience on the weekends or simply a publisher?

Please feel free to leave your comments below, including additional thoughts on your poll answer above.

Your sister in social,
Jaime

p.s. I love social media, but I didn’t grow up in front of a screen. I do engage with social media over the weekend but am happy to take a break to live in the real world. 🙂 

p.s.s. If you’re still figuring out your audience or just getting started, Buffer has published a scientific guide on when to post on social media to maximize your content. It’s a great place to start!

On the weekend or otherwise, connect with me… 
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Go On Holiday, And Take Your Business With You

Wednesday was Boss’s Day and tomorrow is Sweetest Day; Monday, we celebrated Columbus discovering America (and railroading the natives out of town) while our Canadian friends were being thankful. Halloween, one of the biggest retail holidays of the year (second only to Christmas in money spent), looms large at the end of the month. Who am I going to see at my door more this year — Miley Cyrus or Anastasia Steele?

Griswold's House in Christmas Vacation

Holidays are excellent marketing opportunities for your business. Just don’t take it too far.
Pic credit: Hooked on Houses (CCC)

What does this have to do with your business? More than you think, actually. Holidays, from the sincere to the commercially created (thanks Hallmark!), present excellent, and often missed, opportunities to successfully market your business.

This is your chance to be creative and think of unique ways to tie your products and services into a holiday or special day. Keep your business’s voice in mind as you come up with a campaign. Is your tone cheeky? Conservative? You don’t want to stray too far from your regular marketing efforts or the association will seem far-fetched or forced. We’ve all seen one too many President’s Day car commercials which have no point beyond an obscure ‘Lincoln’ reference.

A few holiday-related marketing efforts have caught my attention. One such effort was from Durex, the condom manufacturer. As you would expect from a company in its field, Durex likes to have fun with its subject matter, in order to erase some of the taboo associated with its product. This Father’s Day ad is eye-catching, spot on tone-wise and priceless.

Father's Day Durex ad

Happy Father’s Day from your friends at Durex — especially if you use their competitor’s products.
Pic credit: Adweek

Another effort that stood out to me was from the leader of the digital world, Google. The search giant put together an impressive Mother’s Day effort, showcasing how many of its products and services could help you celebrate this sentimental holiday. A special landing page brought everything together, including this fun video (remember, YouTube is owned by Google):

Holiday Talk

What’s your favorite holiday-related marketing effort?

What holidays or special days can your business associate with?

What’s your favorite holiday or celebration?

Happy Holidays!
Jaime

Every day’s a holiday on social media… 
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Winning As The Underdog: Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths

I’m only 30 pages into Malcolm Gladwell’s latest, David And Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, And The Art Of Battling Giants, and I’ve already learned much.

David And Goliath bookcover

Pic credit: Gladwell.com

This highly publicized new book starts off with a bang, taking a closer look at the ultimate underdog story: David vs. Goliath. Upon further review of this epic confrontation, David wasn’t nearly at the disadvantage we all thought he was. Therein lies the answer; oftentimes, the very features that make the favorite the favorite also make him vulnerable. Make sense? Read the book; it’s definitely worth your time.

The very features that make the favorite the favorite also make him vulnerable.

Next, Gladwell moves on to discuss how a small army and an inexperienced basketball team are successful by not going toe-to-toe with their much better, highly favored opponents. That’s noteworthy and can be applied to your business. Do one or two behemoths dominate your industry? Don’t worry, you don’t have to beat them head-to-head. Target a different demographic; offer your customers a different experience.

Target's bulls eye logo

Bulls eye? Target’s famous logo.
Pic credit: Target

Who’s a perfect example of this philosophy? Target. The discount retailer never tried to go head-to-head with Wal-Mart, who has dominated this landscape for years. Instead, Target aimed for a slightly more affluent, design-conscious consumer who still liked to be money-savvy. From the beginning, the discount chain aimed to be invested in its stores’ communities, donating to local charities and giving back to local schools. It also was into being green before being green was cool. Target was a leader in its industry with pushing reusable bags (by offering a 5% discount on each purchase bagged in one) and offering in-store recycling centers.

The irony is now that Target is very competitive with Wal-Mart’s pricing (its calling card), and is even less expensive on some items. In keeping with its philosophy, you’ll never hear Target advertise this fact specifically though. The company is staying true to its vision and will not directly confront Wal-Mart, even when it proves to be superior.

Take a tip from David, Target and all of the other underdogs out there. You don’t have to be big and mighty to win. Sometimes your ‘weaknesses’ turn out to be your biggest strengths, when you use them to your advantage.

How have you outmaneuvered a favored opponent?

How have you turned a supposed weakness into a strength?

Who’s your favorite underdog in history?

Always the underdog,
Jaime

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Have you found your social media voice?

I’ve written about various aspects of social media before, including the importance of profiles, and especially, the profile picture. (Seriously, why does anyone want to be an egghead?) These are essential aspects of the social media game, but I was really getting ahead of myself. What comes before completing your profile?

empty spotlight

Find your voice before jumping into social media!
Pic credit: Danielle Buma (CCL)

Your voice. You have to find your voice and decide what type of image you’ll project. Really, that comes before anything. Your voice will help determine the rest of your strategy and where you go from there.

So how do you find your voice?

  • What is your company’s mission? Reason for being? To put it simply, why are you in business?
  • Look at your offline marketing efforts. What type of image do you portray with your collateral, logo, tagline, etc.?
  • What type of customer experience do you offer? (Hint: ask your customers!)

These questions will help you find your voice and determine what type of personality your company has. Are you a new company? Fantastic! You still have time to figure these out. Change the questions above to a future tense… What type of image will you portray? What type of customer experience will you offer? Don’t get overwhelmed by everything involved with getting set up; just take one step at a time.

Try to focus on essential services that you do well and think about bringing in help for the others. That may be social media, that may be accounting. That’s one thing I wish I would have done differently. You may be Superman (or Wonder Woman), but you can’t do everything by yourself.

Put time and thought into finding your voice, because everything else flows from there. It’ll make your social media efforts a little easier down the road.

Find Your Voice

What type of voice powers your social media efforts?

Have you changed your social media voice at any point? Why?

What social media account best portrays your voice? Feel free to leave URLs, handles, etc. in the comments.

Any other thoughts about your social media voice? Drop them in the comments or reach out on a network below.

If you have any questions regarding social media or would like to discuss your efforts, please let me know.

Cheers,
Jaime

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This Blog Is Made For You And Me

This blog is your blog, this blog is my blog…

In my last post, To Blog, or Not To Blog: That Is The Question, I touched a little bit on why I started this blog in addition to the topic of blogging in general. As readers of my thoughts and musings, I value your feedback and welcome your insight and opinions.

First ask, then bribe…

Where should this blog go from here? In general, my posts are wide-ranging but fall into four main categories: marketing, writing, social media and personal reflection. The first three categories mentioned mirror the main services that my company, Clearly Conveyed Communications, provides.

While focusing on these areas, the topics themselves are broad. Below is a current tag cloud of this blog (and a clickable version is housed in the right-hand side menu if you’d like to delve deeper).

blog tag cloud

Yes, I can look at analytics and see which posts draw the most eyes and engagement, but analytics don’t always tell the whole story. People do. Share your thoughts and help shape the future of this blog (and possibly other blogs).

Step Into the Spotlight

empty spotlight

Original photo credit: Danielle Buma (CCL)

What’s your favorite type of post? Or your favorite post specifically?

Would you like to see the content of this blog narrow? Or shift focus?

Would you like to see different types of posts than what’s currently here?

The Incentive

Anyone providing sound feedback will be entered into a drawing for a Starbucks or iTunes gift card. There will be at least one winner but may be more based on the quality of the feedback left. Please share freely… Thank you!!

The keeper of your blog,
Jaime

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To Blog, or Not To Blog: That Is the Question

Original photo credit: "Portrait of Duranty Blogging, after Degas," Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Original photo credit: “Portrait of Duranty Blogging, after Degas,” Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com (CCL)

Why do you blog?

That’s assuming you do blog, which millions of people do across the world, on millions of different topics for millions of different reasons for audiences of one to (yes, you guessed it) millions.

Some blog for business while others type their hearts away purely for pleasure, a way to scratch that itch deep inside or satisfy a longing need. Some blog to motivate themselves to lose weight or graduate from school while others share a deep knowledge of a particular topic while still others hope to be discovered.

–> Here’s my question: is it worth it? 

Blogging takes time. No matter how organized you are or how many tips you read about becoming a more efficient blogger, it just takes time. (Although you may want to check out this handy post from Jeff Bullas entitled How to Streamline Your WordPress Blogging Workflow to save some of that precious time.)

Is all of the time you spend on your blog worth it? I guess that depends on your objectives.

Related Reading: Do You Mow Your Blog?

This blog grew out of starting my company, Clearly Conveyed Communications, just over a year and a half ago. It functions as a place where I can share marketing, writing and social media (the main services CCC offers) tips and resources as well as reflect on my personal experience of being an entrepreneur, small business owner and on life in general. Yes, it has a varied overall direction, which works for me (and I hope for you).

As a new business, I really wanted this blog to generate exposure for the services I offer while connecting me with people who have shared interests. Sure, I would love to generate some business as well, but that wasn’t the original point and still isn’t today. I’m not a big fan of hard selling via blogs or other social media channels, so I hope that I haven’t come across as trying to sell you anything.

My goal every time I click on New Post is to add a little value to your day.

Whether it be insight into a business decision, a social media tip, marketing ideas or how to write a little more effectively, I want you to walk away from the CCC blog with just a little more knowledge and a smile on your face. I hope I do that, and if you have any ideas on how I can do that more effectively, please let me know. Seriously, I would love to hear from you.

So now we’ve come full circle… why do you blog?

For business? For pleasure? To share your knowledge with others? To keep yourself on track?

Leave your answers in the comments below, and feel free to leave your blog URL as well.

To blog, or not to blog: that is the question. Do you?

Related Reading: Attention bloggers! We want you.

Blogging away,
Jaime

p.s. Thank you to each and every follower of the CCC blog. I truly appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to read my musings, and I really do hope that you find them valuable in some way, shape or form. Cheers!

As always, please reach out to me and join the conversation: 
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