Hashing Out the Almighty Hashtag

photo from www.neboagency.com

photo from www.neboagency.com

If you are anything like me, then when you are on various social media sites you employ the hashtag. It makes terms searchable, it gets your posts noticed by others who share your interests, and ultimately they will increase your following on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the like. But are you using hashtags to their full potential? I know I’m not. Fortunately, I recently found a handy infographic that explains their importance and breaks down the most effective ways to use them. I am not going to waste your time or mine by writing out what is already conveniently illustrated; rather, I’m going to have you click here to check out SurePayroll’s blog. Hopefully it will help you boost your hashtagging game!

Completely Random Post

www.virtuousyou.com

www.virtuousyou.com

This post has absolutely nothing to do with anything else on the blog, but that’s why we have a section called “Everyday Life Vignettes,” right? I’m about to tell you a little bit about makeup so if you have zero interest in that feel free to read something else (maybe head to our blog archive to read less-frivolous content!).

I was puttering around the Internet, trying to come up with some sort of blog post inspiration and I stumbled across a Forbes article headlined “I Spent $28 On Mascara So You Don’t Have To.” I love makeup and wear mascara every single day so I simply had to read it! As the title implies the author, Emma Johnson, purchased a tube of designer mascara – and wasn’t impressed with the results. She dug a little deeper and found that the difference between drug store and their more expensive department store counterparts is, for the most part, the packaging. As a firm believer in Maybelline mascara I was not terribly shocked to learn that this is the case with that type of product, but I was surprised that some drug store foundations are dead ringers for drug store formulas. Could it be time to give up my beloved MAC powder? Probably not, but let me know if you know of a more economical alternative!

Click here to read the aforementioned article. And never fear, we will be back to more pertinent topics next time!

Top 5 Twitter Errors

Twitter Error

I have been handling the majority of Gossett Marketing’s social media for about a year now, so I’m getting more comfortable blogging and interacting on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Having somewhat of a handle on the various sites has also allowed me to understand what not to do. So many self-proclaimed social media “gurus” make egregious errors that are so easily avoided! Because of its fast pace, I find that these mistakes stand out the most on Twitter, so I am going to focus on that networking site for this post. Here are the top 5 Twitter errors that hold people back:

  1. Having no biography. If you don’t have a quick, informative blurb about yourself, then I am simply not going to follow you. You can’t take the time to tell the Twitterverse about yourself, so why are you going to take the time to get to know me?
  2. Having a horrible biography. I’m constantly amazed by the number of bios that I read that contain profanity or are sexually explicit. I do not follow those people! And I tend to stay away from people who have huge spelling or grammatical errors – if they can’t pull together 140 characters correctly, then chances are they won’t share meaningful content.
  3. Not having a picture. Our Twitter account, @MarketngTidbits, has over 2,000 followers and we follow about that many people ourselves. I use other accounts’ pictures as a quick and easy way to identify them. Some people really like photos of the account holder, but I’ll take anything: your logo, your face, your dog, just something that helps me pick you out of a lineup.
  4. Tweeting the same thing all of the time. I understand that most of the Twitter accounts that I follow are business related, so they try to focus on that. I recognize that I can get very myopic and talk about marketing all day long! But I don’t tweet the exact same information 17 times in a row, and I don’t think you should either. I know that you’re proud of your latest blog post, but if you throw it into your followers’ faces continuously, then they will stop paying attention to you (they might even unfollow). Give us some useful and varied info about your subject of choice – it’s all about content!
  5. Not letting conversations end. OK, the key to successful Twitter networking is engagement, and I know that I love to talk to my Twitter friends. However, sometimes our conversations need to end! For example, when I give @faketwitter a #FF mention and he thanks me, I usually say something like “you’re welcome, have a great weekend!” To me, that should be that. @faketwitter does not need to respond with an emoticon! If @faketwitter and I were having a conversation in person and I said, “have a great weekend” and walked away, he wouldn’t tap me on the shoulder to give me a goofy smile – treat Twitter like you would a real conversation.

Actually, I think #5 is a good stopping point. Treat the people on Twitter like you would people at a typical networking event. Don’t beat them over the head with the same sentence, let conversations stop naturally, and present yourself in a good light (both as a picture and in your biography). Basically, be a normal but engaging human being and you never know who you’ll meet or where your normal but engaging interactions will take you!

How Promo Items Lead to Networking

photo from calendar2015.loveitsomuch.com

photo from calendar2015.loveitsomuch.com

You know how I always tell you that promotional products are smart giveaways because they help your customer remember your name? Well I’m not lying! For the last few holiday seasons Gossett Marketing has sent a single-page annual calendar to our customers in lieu of cards. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve walked into a customer’s office and seen it tacked to their bulletin board, meaning that they see our company’s name each and every time they glance at it. Well, last week – months after the calendars were delivered – I received an email from a customer that read, “Just want to let you all know that the 2015 calendar card you sent for the holidays is a great help and useful. I look at it every day to help me schedule things throughout the year without having to flip through a monthly calendar.”

That email let me know that our own giveaways are working!

You might wonder why I am using the networking portion of our blog to sing the praises of promotional marketing products when the latter subject has its own category. You see, the prom item that we sent to our customer months ago inspired her to reach out to me. She was then at the top of my mind and when I had a vendor meeting later on, I saw a new item that I knew she would enjoy. I got her a sample and, lo and behold, she ordered it! Essentially, my promotional product spurred networking and got me a sale!

Networking Results in Party Time!

questgarden.com

questgarden.com

When I need inspiration for a new blog post, I very often turn to the Internet to see what I can drum up. Usually I can read other people’s words, something in my brain clicks, and I can rattle out a post of my own in no time flat. Today I had planned to seek inspiration from another writer and roll with what I came up with, but the article I found was just too good not to share. It’s about networking and one of the first lines involves drug kingpins – how can I compete with that?! Rather than try to come up with an equally entertaining blog piece about business networking, I thought I’d share what I found.

From the website The Week, I give you Eric Barker’s article, “Barking Up The Wrong Tree.” Click here and learn how networking results in party time!!

Recipes and Home Remedies

photo from rsanityrvtravels.blogspot.com

photo from rsanityrvtravels.blogspot.com

Good thing we have a section in this blog in which I can write about whatever I want because today’s chosen topic has absolutely nothing to do with promotional marketing materials, business networking, or anything else that I’ve ever discussed in this forum. Nope, this post is about me burning my hand!

I’ve been in a cooking rut lately, so I decided to have an “Experimental Dinner Week” during which I would only make recipes that I had never before attempted. It was going smashingly well because my first dish was goop’s Kapama (Braised Cinnamon Chicken). Say what you will about Gwyneth Paltrow, this bird tasted amazing!

After the Kapama, my next new dish was Real Simple magazine’s Skillet Soufflé, which was a cinch to whip up and is an incredibly inexpensive way to feed yourself dinner. If you take a look at the dish’s name and/or the recipe, you’ll see that it is an egg dish cooked in a skillet in the oven. I took my soufflé out, slid it onto a cutting board, and then proceeded to grab hold of the fiery hot skillet handle with my bare hand. Needless to say, I got quite the burn, featuring blisters on my palm and every finger. I hadn’t done that in quite a long time and man does it hurt!

A few days have gone by since my Skillet Soufflé incident and since then people have been offering me their home remedies to assuage the pain. Two topical treatments that several individuals have recommended are honey and toothpaste. Just spread a layer of either over the affected areas and they’ve said that the stinging and tightness will abate. So here’s my question to my readers out there. Do you have any burn relief home remedies? Now that I’m asking things of you, what about more “Experimental Dinner Week” recipe ideas? Leave either or both in the comments below and wish luck as I begin to cook again!

A Misconception about Promotional Products

photo from amazingasset.com

photo from amazingasset.com

I recently posted an article that pretty much just linked my readers to an excellent list of blog post ideas. (You can see it again by clicking here.) I’m certainly glad that I did so because today I was searching for a topic, so I referred back to the very extensive list! Reading all the way down to the second idea I came up with an idea – I figured I’d tell my readers about the biggest misconception regarding my company.

As I’ve written about ad nauseam on this blog, my company, Gossett Marketing, is a promotional marketing products distributorship. To simplify it quite a bit, that means that our customers ask us for ideas for imprinted products, we find suppliers with the best items at the best prices, and then we present those to the customer. When he decides to order, we then send an order to the supplier, they imprint the products, and they ship them directly to our customer.

So you’ve now read two paragraphs of this post in which I tell you that I’m going to write about a misconception regarding our company and then describe what we do. So where’s the misconception? Well, very often when our customers order items they ask whether they can pick their products up from us to save on shipping charges. The answer is no because we do not do the imprinting here. Contrary to popular belief, I do not spend my days embroidering logos on backpacks or laser engraving flashlights – that is all done by my vendors. Instead, my time at work is spent finding and pricing items, providing customer service, building my network, etc.

Whether you are purchasing promotional products from Gossett Marketing or someone else (why would you go and do that?!), just note that your distributor is not actually printing those for you. Rather, they are making sure that you get the best items for your budget with the right logo, delivered on time!

How E-Mail Enhances Networking

email networking If you are a diligent networker who frequents networking events, makes strong connections there, follows up with those you’ve met, and really created relationships, then you know that over time you can build up a large business network. Having so many business contacts can actually prove difficult – how do you maintain relationships with so many people? If you ask me, you’d better start to harness the power of the internet, and e-mail in particular, to keep yourself relevant to your network even if you do not have time to connect with each and every one of its members personally on a regular basis.

The easiest way to stay top of mind with your vast business network is to send out newsletters. Your newsletters should be informative and relevant to your industry, providing helpful tips that your contacts will appreciate and/or use. The key to a good newsletter, though, is not to send it too frequently. I stop and take the time to read the newsletters that I receive biweekly or monthly, but I delete those that come through daily or twice weekly. I just don’t have time to read that many non-work e-mails, so individuals who e-mail their newsletters too frequently get deleted, and ultimately forgotten.

Writing a blog is another excellent way to stay top of mind with your network. Like your newsletter, your blog should largely be pertinent to your business, although it’s always fun to throw in some “Easter Eggs” to keep your readers interested. The nice thing about a blog is that members of your network can subscribe to it and get e-mailed updates when a new article is posted. In the case of this blog, I write new posts three times per week, meaning that my subscribers see my name that frequently. I recognize that in the previous paragraph I griped about receiving too many e-mails and ultimately trashing those that come in too frequently; however, blog updates are different. Because the people who receive e-mail updates have elected to do so, they are less likely to be annoyed by receiving them.

Now, I’m not saying that sending out a newsletter a couple of times each month or jotting down a few blog posts are all of the networking/networking follow up that you should do. But if you have an extensive network, then both are great tools for your arsenal. The old adage “out of sight, out of mind” is especially true in the networking world, so make sure that you are visible!

Blogs Can a Useful Networking Tools

photo from inneractionmedia.com

photo from inneractionmedia.com

When I write my weekly article for this, the networking portion of the blog, I always focus on going to events and meeting people that way. Call me old fashioned, but when I think “networking” that is what comes to mind. Which is kind of a silly thing to admit as I write a blog post because I think that all of our interactions online can now be considered networking.

Saying that a blog can be for networking is probably strange, but I do believe that it’s true. I wrote about guest blogging as networking a while ago – check out that article by clicking here. In addition to that, though, writing a blog post is like starting a conversation. I write something, you read it, you agree or disagree strongly, and you comment, I comment back, etc. That can quickly foster a relationship even if we live on opposite sides of the country or the world.

When I write a blog I also have Danette tweet it out from her account @Marketngtidbits. She has over 4,000 Twitter followers, many of whom tend to retweet or share links back to the article. Very often she will end up having 140-character-at-a-time discussions with them about the post. Again, that is spreading her network.

Posts from this blog are also automatically channeled to Danette’s LinkedIn profile, so the people with whom she has connected with on that platform can read articles on InterestingMarketingTidbits. Her connections on that network are mainly people that Danette knows personally, not just from behind the keyboard, and when they reconnect in the real world they very often mention articles from this blog and SalesPromotions.org. That means that this online conversation starter has worked in real life as well as within the confines of the internet.

By no means is a blog the only online networking tool – in fact, it might be the least effective one out there – but for us, it does work. Do you blog? Do you think of it as a way to expand your business network? Whether your answer is yes or no, go ahead and tell me about it in the comments and maybe we can start to do business together!

Blogging Ideas

photo from ideachampions.com

photo from ideachampions.com

This category of the blog is called “Everyday Life Vignettes,” meaning that I can write about anything rather than having to stick to our usual topics. Because it’s so open I can usually come up with tons of topics – just not this week. As always when I run out of blogging ideas I was rooting around online to see what I could come up with, which is when I came across an article on LinkedIn in which Darren Rowse shares tons of excellent ideas for business blogs. I am certainly going to use his suggestions the next time I have writer’s block (so…next week), but I thought I’d share the entire post with you today.

Click here and check it out!

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