Monthly Archives: November 2012

Being Thankful is More Than Saying “Thanks”. How I Learned This Lesson.

thanks

I think it is wonderful that people use the month of November to list the many things they are thankful for, but what about the rest of the 11 months in the year? Being thankful is more than saying “thank you”, or even recognizing the many things we are thankful for by sharing them through posts on Facebook. I believe that we should show our thanks by living life to the fullest and through our actions every day of the year. By realizing how lucky each of us are for a variety of reasons, and living each day to the fullest, is the best thanks any of us can give anyone.

Trials and Drama

Through our lives we are faced with happy moments, and unfortunately we are also given negative trials. How we react to both forms of emotions is how we show our strength, love, and thanks. Some of us may believe that we are given more negative moments than others, but in reality, it may be the Universes way of letting us know that we need to make a change, or to remind us to live every moment being thankful for what we do have.

Getting caught up in the drama that surrounds us in our professional and personal lives can be easier than removing ourselves from the situations and telling the individuals causing the drama that although we are there for them for whatever they need, we do not want to get involved in the negative recap, but that we look forward to assisting in creating a solution.

My Son Taught the Lesson

My son was born a very healthy 8 lb. 13 oz. baby. As a new parent I did not think about what could happen in the future regarding his health. At that moment I only cared that he was born healthy with all of his toes, fingers, and typical baby fat. While celebrating his first birthday he got a cold and was hTimaving a difficult time breathing. He quickly went downhill and we were rushing him to the emergency room. That day was the first of many trips to the E.R. He contracted RSV twice before the age of three, and spent weeks in the hospital because he developed asthma with every cold. He received steroids, breathing treatments, oxygen, and a plethora of medication with each visit.

His last trip was three years ago on our way back from Disneyland. We rushed him to the E.R. of the local childrens hosptial as soon as we arrived in Utah, and within hours he was in a medicated coma. Although he had the Swine Flu shot, he caught the Swine Flu along with double-pneumonia and his asthma problems. He got so bad that they had to intubate him, keep him in a medicated coma, pump his poor seven-year-old body with so many medications we lost count, and inserted a PICC line for his medications because the other methods were too harsh. They also inserted an IV, a feeding tube, a catheter, and so much more.

The Whoopee Cushion Perspective

I kept a blog during his time in the hospital to try and keep me sane while updating our friends and family. We received calls from the State Health Department frequently to check on his status, and the worst part of all was when the doctor’s told us we may never take him home. Through it all, my husband and I clung to the hope that he would recover, and when we felt true despair our son woke up and was on his way to recovery.

QuoteTimWhat put this event in perspective was when he was finally able to leave his room in a wheelchair. We pushed him through the hallways and although he was still hooked up to a handful of tubes and he was too weak to do much, he could be heard through the hospital laughing hard because he had a self-inflating whoopee cushion hidden under his blanket. Each time a nurse or visitor would bend over or walk by he would squeeze the whoopee cushion with all his might. His laughter was infectious and was one of the most wonderful sounds in the entire world.

On that same trip we went outside on a patio and there we found hundreds of different colored ribbons. Each ribbon was tied around a portion of the wire fence wishing for the recovery of other children, and several were from individuals mourning the recent death of their one. That scene made us cherish the fact that our son beat the odds even more; he was still with us.

We were not concentrating on the hell we experienced the past 14 days, we were not bemoaning the medical bills, nor were we curious about what our employers thought of our long absence. No, we were cherishing the laughter of our son, and silently wishing for the same outcome of the other children in the hospital.

Three years later my eyes still get watery thinking about that last hospital visit. I am grateful for every single day that I can hear my son’s laughter, for every time I can hug him and he will hug right back, and for the loving family we have become. Only two days before my son was on his way to recovering, a friend of mine from High School had lost his daughter who was the same age as my son, only two days before my son started showing improvement. We had not seen eachother since graduation, and 14 years later we were reunited in the ICU of the local children’s hospital. Sadly, he left without his daughter and we lost touch once again.

Cherish and Recognize

Cherishing the time you have with your family, and creating happy memories that will last a lifetime, is more important than the latest gossip at work, than the drama that is created by others, and more important than the next raise from work. You can never get years back.

Recognizing the many things we are thankful for once a year is not enough. Living our lives with the goal in mind of sharing joy is a better way of saying “Thank you for my life and for allowing me to make a difference!”

I would like to say, “Thank You” to the many higher powers for my family, for my son being the most amazing boy any parent could imagine, and for every blessing I have been given.

–Amber

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Identify Social Media Platforms and Create Calendar to Reach Your Customers

Reach Your Target Audience by Identifying Your Top Social Networking Sites and Being Intentional by Creating a Social Media Calendar

Platform Identification

To continue our discussion on developing a social media campaign, it is important to choose the platforms that are the most effective sites to reach your target market. To discover the plethora of social media sites available, visit: http://namechk.com/. This website will allow you to check your name on the numerous social media sites, while displaying the many different platforms available.
The top three platforms are LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Remember that LinkedIn is used by business professionals, Twitter is widely used and is more instant, and Facebook is more of a relationship-building site.

UnderKnow your target audience and the social network they are a part of. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest may all work or none at all. Infographic by Vocus on Facebook for business and personalstanding Your Audience

Understanding your audience is important. If your target market consists mostly of the general public, Facebook may be the perfect option. An interesting infographic describing Facebook in relation to business versus personal was published by Vocus to give you more insight on whether or not it is beneficial for you to focus on. If you need to reach the business professional to advertise your services, LinkedIn is an ideal platform for you to invest your time on. Have an amazing product that can only be told through pictures? Pinterest may be the site where you need to have a strong presence.

NOTE:  If you are not going to invest the time required to develop a strong presence on any social media site, do not create a profile! It is worse to have an outdated profile, than to not have one at all. Delete any profile you do not frequently use.

Developing a Social Media Calendar

Again, understanding your audience is vital to your social media success. Once you have chosen a select few sites to invest your time on, develop a social media calendar to keep you in line with your goals.

Your calendar should be based on your keywords mentioned in an earlier post, “Before beginning a social media campaign, you must develop a focused marketing plan,”, your selected social media platforms (including your blog), and the days of the week you will be submitting your information.

Hint: When developing your calendar keep in mind that you will want to check your Twitter feed, LinkedIn wall, and Facebook wall at least twice a day. With the use of keywords you can search for items of interest to comment on and begin engaging individuals you want to connect with.

Amber Gold Marketing, Amber Dixon, How to social network, what are marketing techniques, how to use social media, public relations and, marketing collateral, brand awareness, build brand, humanize brand, brand development
Humanizing Your Brand

The calendar will assist you with being intentional with your posts, while lessening the amount of time you spend on social media marketing. Using sites like “Hootsuite” are useful when you want to write a single message across numerous platforms. Using Hootsuite also allows you to schedule your posts so you can create bulk messages to be sent through the week. You must remember, however, that although your posts are pre-written, you still need to scan the sites to create a dialogue with your audience. You are humanizing your brand, and to do this you need to comment on posts (not simply “like”). Although you can outsource your initial posts, you can not outsource your dialogue with your connections.

To avoid looking like a self-promoter or “spammy”, you should share posts you find interesting and could benefit your connections, retweet news items that coincide with your keyword for the week, and write a blog post or article that adds value to your audience. You never want to write your posts that translate as “Look at me! I am wonderful and you want what I have to sell.” Instead, you want to be viewed as an authority in your industry while providing value.

Sample calendar: Representing one week

Sample Social Media Calendar

Sample Social Media Calendar

As you can see from this sample, each social media site is listed and the keyword chosen for that week is consistent across all platforms. This allows you to be intentional with your posts and reminds you to build relationships in the process.

Although I only listed a week, I recommend laying out a month at a time with a different keyword per week. You may want to choose two keywords per week if it would fit your audience better. A social media campaign and calendar is not a one-size-fits-all solution, so tweak the information to meet represent you and your company’s goals. Also know that you can reuse some of your posts in future weeks or even in the same week, but you must rewrite the posts to appear fresh. Do not cut-and-paste your posts. Remember to rewrite them if you are reusing them.

Next Educational Post

In my next blog post I will provide tools you can use to maximize your time on your chosen platforms to discover what is being posted or discussed on topics that interest you. With these tools and hints, you will be able to quickly find topics you can share information about, comment on, or gain exposure simply by sharing why you like a particular post or article. This is all part of the relationship building component that is required for a strong online presence.

Reminder: Bookmark and subscribe to this blog to continue learning marketing tools, tips, and insight. I also enjoy feedback and look forward to furthering this discussion.

–Amber

Marketing and public relations strategist assisting businesses by filling the marketing and public relations gap. Want to learn more about how we can help you grow your business?  Learn More about AGM

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Common LinkedIn Mistakes to Avoid Now

Mistakes

We all hear the many tools and tasks we MUST do with LinkedIn and other social media platforms, but what about things we should NOTdo, but most likely are? Good questions! I’ve listed some mistakes to avoid and should change immediately:

  • Your profile is incomplete. Just because your profile may say “100% complete”, you need to review it and confirm that it is complete with all 10 components involved in an optimized profile. What are the 10 components? I’ve listed them at the end of this post.
  • You have not personalized your LinkedIn URL. This is a huge mistake that many people are currently making. Remember that your LinkedIn profile is like a personal website. Customize it immediately!
  • Your profile is full of typos. You should make it a common practice to type anything you are going to post including status updates, profile changes, and emails into a word processing program with spell check. You do not want to promote that you are a phenomenal copy editor, but have typos on your social media page!
  • You have not organizedyour profile. Know that you can drag the sections of your profile in an order that highlights the areas you want. It is easy and effective. Also, consider separating your profile into sections like employment, organizations, education and certifications rather than lumping items together.
  • You fail to personalize your requests. No one wants to see the automated LinkedIn request to connect response. Personalize your request with why you believe you two should connect, how you can assist one another, and mention something about his or her profile to show that you actually read about that person.
  • You are not using the Answers area of LinkedIn. if you want to be viewed as an expert by your peers, you want to participate in this forum.

Many more mistakes exist, but those are the more common mistakes. Below are the 10 sections of a profile that need to be completed to maximize your exposure and credibility. Overview

  1. Publications
  2. Summary
  3. Experience
    • Organizations
  4. Skills and Expertise
    • Endorsements
  5. Education
    • Certifications
  6. Recommendations
  7. Personal Information
  8. Contact Prompts
  9. Additional Information

** Can be in any order you would like to highlight by using the “drag and drop” method

Also, remember to be consistent with your profile information with all social media platforms. Consistency increases your SEO value, credibility, and takes less time to maintain.

–Amber
Marketing and public relations strategist assisting businesses by filling the marketing and public relations gap. Want to learn more about how we can help you grow your business? Learn More about AGM
____________________________________________________________
Follow Amber Gold Marketing on Blogger for additional insight and tools for social media, marketing techniques, and public relations Follow Amber Gold Marketing on Blogger for additional insight and tools for social media, marketing techniques, and public relations Follow Amber Gold Marketing on Blogger for additional insight and tools for social media, marketing techniques, and public relations Follow Amber Gold Marketing on Blogger for additional insight and tools for social media, marketing techniques, and public relationsFollow Amber Dixon on Stumbleupon for marketing tips, techniques, public relations, ideas, and Utah eventSubscribe to Amber Gold Marketing, social media tool, how to public relation, social network, learn more

Research Your Target Market for Social Networking Campaign

You Must Understand Your Target Market to Effectively Reach Your Audience. Questions to Ask Your COI’s for Research Gathering.

COIpict

In my previous blog, Before beginning a social media campaign, you must develop a focused marketing plan,” I mentioned reaching out to your COI’s for guidance when deciding the markets you want to focus on for your business. As promised, I’ve listed some sample questions that you may want to ask during your phone conversation or meeting with each of your COI’s. Remember that you can never have too much information regarding how each market communicates, which events and meetings you should attend, and who should know to gain entry into the market.

Sample Questions:

Gain access through associations.

The following questions are with the assumption that you are asking these questions to a member of an association’s board, or an established and active member:

  • How many members does your association have locally?
  • Do you meet often? Where do you meet and when?
  • Do you encourage outside speakers on topics of interest to your membership? (This would give you an idea if you would be able to add value to the group by speaking to its members.)
  • How do members find out about the association?
  • What are the demographics of your current members?
  • What do members of your association value most about belonging?
  • What are some of the trade publications and newsletters you and your members read?
  • What is the best approach to build relationships with your members, and becoming a resource?
  • What would you say are some of the biggest concerns of your members? (This information would provide you with ideas of how your business can help alleviate these concerns.)
  • If applicable:  Would you be willing to allow my company to help with those concerns if there is a fit?
  • Who are considered the more influential members of your association? (Ask for an introduction.)
  • Would you allow me to use your name when speaking with one or more of your members?
  • If applicable:  How can I become more involved in your organization? Is there a board or advisory position that I could apply for?

Ask your COI to learn about his or her own business as it pertains to your target market.

  • Depending on your business, your questions should include the executive structure of the business, type of business, the marketing techniques and methods currently being used, top competitors and why, and concerns (if any) of the corporation.
  • Take detailed notes so that you can discuss with them how you can help.

Ask your COI to give you feedback.

Most individuals do not turn someone way when asked for help. A good method to use to not only gauge your approach methods, but to also inquire about some form of professional relationship, is to ask for help.

  • Ask your COI if you may inform them of what you have to offer and your background, and in return ask if they would give you feedback on who they think could benefit from you. If you have a tailored approach based on what you have learned, many times it is your COI who will tell you that they are interested. If it is not them, they most likely will have referrals for you based on what they have learned about you during your meeting.

What does this all mean for your social media campaign implementation?

When you have completed your research of your target market, you can now be more intentional with your posts on the various social media platforms. But, you may be wondering which platforms you should be using based on your target market, and how to be most effective.
In my next post, I will be discussing the importance of keywords, how to identify your keywords, what to do with these keywords, and how to discover the many social media sites available.
Remember, because there are so many sites available to you, that you should simply start with the top three (3) for now: LinkedIn (more professional and business oriented), Facebook (more relationship building related), and Twitter (in 140 characters you must deliver your message effectively.)
Until next time!

–Amber
Marketing and public relations strategist assisting businesses by filling the marketing and public relations gap. Want to learn more about how we can help you grow your business? Learn More about AGM
___________________________________________________

Follow Amber Gold Marketing on Blogger for additional insight and tools for social media, marketing techniques, and public relations Follow Amber Gold Marketing on Blogger for additional insight and tools for social media, marketing techniques, and public relations Follow Amber Gold Marketing on Blogger for additional insight and tools for social media, marketing techniques, and public relations Follow Amber Gold Marketing on Blogger for additional insight and tools for social media, marketing techniques, and public relationsFollow Amber Dixon on Stumbleupon for marketing tips, techniques, public relations, ideas, and Utah eventSubscribe to Amber Gold Marketing, social media tool, how to public relation, social network, learn more