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Brand Ambassadors

February 21, 2015

Brand AmbassadorWhen Facebook and Twitter first arrived, there was a lot of talk about creating two accounts: one for professional use and one for personal use. People didn’t want to mix up the two audiences.

I never thought having two accounts was a good idea, unless you were a public figure. Being just a “regular joe” it seemed like a lot of effort to maintain two accounts for each social media platform. If your account was supposed to be YOU, isn’t your work and personal life what makes up YOU?

When I follow people on social media, I like to know the whole person. It’s interesting to know what people do as well as their personal interests. By knowing a bit about someone professionally and personally, you never know when that person might be able to help you.

People who follow me know I post a lot about Legos and soccer (because I have two boys who are VERY into both of those things). I also post things about public relations (because that’s my job) and credit unions (because I work in the credit union industry).

In the past couple of weeks, I have had two instances where someone has reached out to me via Twitter and Facebook asking about credit unions. If I had kept separate accounts, those following my personal account would have no idea I could help them with a credit union question. I have become a resource for those folks.

As a communications professional for the credit union industry, my job is to promote the value of credit unions. I don’t know if either of these folks ultimately became a member of a credit union, but I gave them some insight into these not-for-profit financial cooperatives.

I’m not suggesting everyone put every little detail of their life “out there,” but you never know who might reach out to you for you knowledge and expertise.

Either I’m getting older and harder to impress, or the Super Bowl commercials just aren’t what they used to be. Maybe we all have such high expectations of being entertained that nothing less than spectacular will do.

At any rate, I do look forward to watching the Super Bowl, mainly for the commercials (and food). So here’s my two cents on Sunday’s #SB49 commercials:

The Nationwide commercial depicting the child who won’t ever grow up because he was killed in an accident was a total downer. A buzz kill. I get what they were trying to do…and it did get people talking. But Super Bowl Sunday is about food, friends and fun, not fatalities.

I loved the Katie Couric/Bryant Gumbul spoof on the “What is the Internet” from 1994 (“What is internet anyway? Like you write to it or something?”), partly because I remember when there was no “internet.” Katie and Bryant played it off nearly 20 years later…even calling this “Allison” (who told them what the internet was before) in hopes that she could explain the BMW i3 car.

The Budwesider Puppy commercial was sweet, and then heartbreaking, and then joyful. Or maybe that’s because I’m a dog owner now. It’s a #BestBuds #win.

Dove reached for the emotional heartstrings with their #RealStrength commercial. They were hoping for a few tears from all those Dads watching. At our party, there were Dads, but I think they were all playing it tough.

On the other side, Always was pushing Girl Power with their #RunLikeAGirl ad. This one isn’t new, and I’d seen it before, but it does make you think about the stereotypes we place on women.

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#Hashtags Done Right

January 13, 2015

Hashtags have become a Twitter staple. They are used in everyday language. My middle schooler’s school newspaper’s name includes a hashtag. Jimmy Fallon had a hashtag conversation with Justin Timberlake.

They are used on television and in news stories….and as a baby name.

They are so popular that tweets with hashtags get twice as much engagement as those without hashtags.

Today, Adweek posted this fun article about well-known brands using the #FiveWordsToRuinADate trend…and here are some of my favorites:

I even included my employer in on the fun:

These are examples of hashtags done right. Using a Twitter hashtag to your advantage can be a great way for brands to humanize their companies and add humor to their posts.

For all those awesome, funny or snarky uses of hashtags, there are twice as many “hashtag gone wrong” stories.

Make sure you know exactly what the hashtag means and don’t post something inappropriate or  offensive. For a few Hashtag #Fails read Caution: Watch for falling tweets. Although written more than two years ago, it still has valuable advice.

Here are some more recent Hashtag #Fails, as reported by the Washington Post.

And for those brands wanting to start a Twitter hashtag campaign, be aware that a hashtag can easily become a hashtag.

Facebook logoBeginning next month, Facebook is removing Page’s updates from user’s news feeds unless Pages pay to boost their posts. They are also threatening to remove any post that is “too promotional” in nature, or “tricks” the user with click bait.

These changes are based on user complaints, and have really ticked off brands that have built their audiences using Facebook.

As a Facebook user, a Page administrator, and a marketer trying to get drive consumers to see my message, I see it from all points of view.

Facebook lured brands onto their platform as a way to reach their audience for free. Cool! Post relevant updates targeted to your followers! Use Facebook as a customer service tool to manage questions! Then years after you have built up your audience, Facebook says, “Oh wait. Some of you aren’t playing nice, so we are going to punish all of you and make you pay for your fans to see your content.” It’s the one bad apple spoils the bunch type attitude.

Come on, Facebook. Lots of small business and non-profits have limited budgets, and see Facebook as great marketing tool. These small organizations have been posting useful content their fans love. By forcing brands to pay, you are pushing out those businesses that need your platform the most. And here’s the deal, people voluntarily SIGNED UP to receive a brand’s update. If they don’t like what they are seeing, it should be up to that person to unfollow the Page.

Brands, listen up. Those of you who screwed it up for the rest of us by posting only “ads” or click bait, shame on you. Social media is NOT the place for those advertising messages. People who use social media want to be educated, informed or entertained. Save your advertising message for actual “paid” opportunities on social networks, or traditional paid outlets like print, broadcast, billboards or direct mail.

As for those users who complained about Brand’s posting items that were too “sales-y” or “promotional” in nature, you are following a company who is trying to sell a product or service to you. You voluntarily signed up to receive updates from these Pages. If you don’t like what you see, unfollow them. It’s that simple.

Facebook’s changes is a good example of why it’s so important to have a mix of marketing strategies and not just relying on social media.

Lessons from Ali

November 20, 2014

Lessons from AliThree months ago, we got a dog. My 11 year old had been begging for one. We made him do research about dogs, attend an animal camp at the local Humane Society, and promise to take care of the dog.

I’m a cat person, so I was kind of “against” the dog. But the 11 year old did everything we asked, and has really stepped up to care for her. And she adores him.

I’ve come to learn some life lessons from our four legged family member.

She’s always happy to see you.

It doesn’t matter if we’ve been gone for five minutes or five hours, she is excited to see us.

Companies and organizations should treat their customers like friends. Be genuinely glad to talk with your customers and listen to them. A little cheerfulness can go a long way.

There’s always something new to see (or smell).

Our dog takes walks daily and we usually take the same routes. It’s nothing she hasn’t seen before. Yet, she is always anxious to get outside to see if there is anything new. Sometimes she goes to the other side of the sidewalk, or even in the street. She checks everything out again, even though she has walked this sidewalk a hundred times.

We usually do the same routine in our work and home lives. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…but how about looking at a “same old” project with new eyes? You’ve done it before, but is there something different you can do?

Reward good behavior.

When our dog sits and stays, we reward her with a special treat. That makes her want to do it again, so she can get the reward, a big hug and our praise.

A little praise can go a long way. And I’m not talking about a treat. When was the last time you publicly praised your team for a job well done? A few kind words and a “job well done” is all it takes.

VoteThis is not a political post, so don’t make it one.

I don’t like politics.

I don’t like to talk about politics.

Half the time, I don’t even understand politics.

But what I do know is that it’s the day before Election Day and I’ve received six “robocalls” from political candidates asking for my vote. My neighbor said she received nine phone calls.

This election season has been one for the record books. I’ve never seen so many television ads,  received so many phone calls or seen so many direct mail pieces. Granted, we have several interesting races this election, but here’s the deal: A television ad or phone recording is not going to sway my vote. In fact, it’s irritating and exhausting. So much so it makes me NOT want to vote. Which is bad.

What if candidates were only allowed to say what THEY were going to do to better life in Kansas? What if they weren’t allowed to call households with their cheesy recordings?

I don’t want to hear what your opponent did or didn’t do…I want to hear what YOU are going to do.

And don’t spew out statistics and studies because we all know you choose the numbers that make you look good and your opponent look bad. Why wouldn’t you?

And do you really think sending your people to my doorstep is productive? You think I’m going to say “Oh wow…thanks for giving me this information. I will for sure vote for you now.” You know what? If I want to know something about you, I can find the information myself.

I jokingly posted on Facebook about starting a “Voters against Robocalls”…but it’s not a bad idea.

[END OF RANT] –> Now go vote!

The good news is…we are not here anymore:

The Trouble With Women in the Workplace.

And don’t have to have literature like this:

Women are cooperative
But even after more than 60 years, women are still treated unfairly, and paid less than their male counterparts in the workplace.

Typical statistics say women make 77 cents for every one dollar a man is paid. Those numbers include the fact that women tend to have lower paying jobs than men. But dig deeper and there is still a gender salary gap.

According to the New York Times post Pay Gap Is Because of Gender, Not Jobs: “ …in the majority of the pay gap between men and women actually comes from differences within occupations, not between them.”

So even if all things are equal, women still make seven percent less than men…doing the same job, with the same qualifications and the same years of experience. Why?

Women have to work harder and smarter to prove we are just as qualified as a man. But often, this type of behavior is seen in a negative light…being too aggressive…while a man is seen as a leader.

In a recent article in The Atlantic “The Confidence Gap,” researchers show that if two co-workers (one male and one female) are essentially acting at a high level of confidence, the man is usually rewarded for his assertiveness and great ideas, while a woman is seen as bossy or worse…bitchy.

And this Women in the Workplace Bias study by ABC News, showed us first hand our bias toward strong women. The study showed two job candidates (one male, one female) with identical resumes, who said exactly the same thing in their interviews. People (men and women) then rated the candidates. Even other women rated the female candidate as aggressive and unlikable, but the man seemed confident.

Why this double standard? Women entered the workforce almost 70 years ago now make up about half of it. Why are we still fighting this? How do we change it? What does this say to young girls now?

Blog Action Day 2014

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