WalMart Uh – Oh!

I have to admit, geography wasn’t always my strongest subject growing up.

Understandably, it can be difficult to differentiate certain states from others. Wyoming and Colorado can easily be confused, as can New Mexico and Utah. But hey, that is if I am just looking at a map and trying to point out states! It can get confusing!

Certain states, however, have unmistakable shapes. Texas, California, Florida, the list goes on. However, someone at Walmart was able to confuse the state of Massachusetts with the state of Maryland, placing  the University of Maryland Terps logo, stamped over an outline of Massachusetts. Capture

A customer spotted the goof last week, quickly tweeting it to Walmart directly. I still find it amazing that communications with big companies can easily happen over social media now, but I digress.

Walmart responded to the customer with and explanation that made no sense at all and eventually told the customer they would be pulling the shirts off the shelves.

How did this even happen? I can’t wrap my head around it, but this is a great reminder to double, triple, quadruple check before putting a logo of any sorts that will be out there for customers to see and buy! Clients trust us to know their logo’s in and out, that even if it is a simple pen or t-shirt, we better be sure we are getting it right. Lesson learned, Walmart!

 

 

Dominate Social Media!

Social media has provided a platform for anyone to gain the audience they desire.

In fact, many companies owe the success of their companies to social media. I know I have followed many projects and product lines that started very modestly on social media that now have huge followings, endorsed by the likes of celebrities and athletes. So how do they get there?

Divide and conquer!

Divide and conquer!

Well first, they divide and conquer. Social media can impact your business tremendously if you are actively present on multiple platforms. This extends your outreach tenfold. It also tells your audience that you are wholly and faithfully committed to providing the best services to them and most of all, being accessible to all. Platforms such as Twitter and Instagram allow you to connect with your consumer on a personal level. You can respond directly to consumer’s issues and also “like” or “retweet/repost” any positive feedback you have received. Many companies now schedule set “Chat Times”, which is when a representative is live “tweeting” or responding to any questions a follower may have. Or offer fun contests and giveaways. You want to share with them and you want them to share back. Again, this provides a sense of trustworthiness to your consumer through the keyboard, that behind these keys are in fact, humans.

These platforms all interact with consumers differently but they all provide the same free feature to you: ways to monitor your relationships with the consumer. On platforms that track “likes”, “ratings”, “or “repins”, it offers you the chance to monitor what posts garner the most attention. Probably one of the most popular ways to track data across any social media site is by using hashtags. The hashtag, once created is tracked, almost like making your own copyright then and there. From that point on, if someone uses the same hashtag as you, you can click on that hashtag and follow what everyone is saying or posting about you and your hashtag. You can track via programs such as Hootsuite which posts caught the eye of your consumer the most. From there, you can gear your content more to the likes of your clients.

Take advantage of all social media platforms!

Take advantage of all social media platforms!

Speaking of Hootsuite, this platform is one of many that allow you to easily streamline all activity across numerous social media accounts. These programs allow you to schedule posts in advance, allowing you to stay on top of your content across all of your accounts. This also will free up time opening and signing into all of your different accounts and posting individually content across severely accounts. It’s your social media one-stop shop.

Once you have all your social media platforms streamlined and active, it’s time to share. Share all your accounts with all of your other accounts. Make the consumer want to follow your every move, so they can stay up to date with the next context date, or know when you are going to be in their area. You want to engage with everyone across all platforms to enhance the experience of watching your social media presence grow. And once you share yours, do someone else the favor and share all of their accounts as well. This creates a sense of union ship and can only increase your reach to a wider audience once they share your accounts in return. Don’t miss out on potential opportunities to share and gain a new follower.

Connecting People via Twitter

Connecting People If you’ve ever read this blog, then you know that I love Twitter. I love that it lets me connect Gossett Marketing to people all over the world so that we can learn from one another. I love that, even though we don’t know each other in the real world, I interact with so many people who I consider to be friends. I just really love it! One of my favorite aspects of Twitter is the #FF mention. For those of you who are unfamiliar with micro-blogging, a #FF mention is a tweet that someone sends out to his followers to suggest that they follow you. These messages are typically sent out on Fridays, which is why the alliterative hashtag abbreviation was born.

Not to brag, but our Twitter handle, @marketngtidbits, tends to get a decent number of #FF mentions each week. The vast majority are from our aforementioned Twitter friends, and they often give a reason as to why they think their followers might be interested in following us. For example, last week someone #FF’d us and a couple of other Twitter handles and suggested that people follow all of us for marketing information. Another friend said that his followers should check us out because he thinks we’re engaging. These people use their #FF messages as min introductions, which I think is the best way to handle the hashtag.

Then there are people who send out dozens of #FF mentions for no reason. These tend to be long lists of names – maybe a dozen if space allows – that give absolutely no reason for following the individuals who are included. When I see those lists, even if they’re from a fellow Tweeter who I respect, I almost always ignore them. If you don’t take the time to write down why I should follow them, then, well, why should I follow this huge list of people? If you’re at a networking event and you introduce one associate to another, do you simply state their names and walk away? Probably not – I’ll bet you give a little bit of background, even if it’s just a sentence or two. You should do the same thing on Twitter! You can say even less (literally just a couple of words), and it goes a long way towards making your #FF introductions more meaningful.

Remember, the key to being successful on Twitter is to act like a human. Just because you’re on a computer, your networking should still feel personal. So for #FF mentions or any other interaction, put the “social” back into “social media” networking!

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!

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!

3 Tips to Foster Business Relationships

networking relationships

Of course the reason that any of us attend networking events is to build new business relationships. It’s easy to meet people at events, but it’s not necessarily so simple to turn those meetings into productive connections. It takes time and a good amount of follow-up to make yourself known and memorable to the people that you meet at an event, and even if you do put in the effort, there is certainly no guarantee that anything will come of it. So I’ve taken a poll of the Gossett Marketing team to see how this group of successful (and modest!) networkers does it. Here are 3 simple tips to foster the business relationships that begin at networking events.

  1. Have a reason to follow up with someone. After an event, it’s tempting to send out a generic “it was nice to meet you today” e-mail to everyone whose business card you received. Resist the urge! Instead, send a personal note that brings up the topics that you discussed. For instance, if you spoke with someone about a problem they are having, try presenting a solution in your e-mail. Not only will you look like a useful contact to have, but you will open up a dialogue that will help your relationship grow.
  2. Bolster your budding business association through social media. As Gossett Marketing’s blogger, I’m particularly fond of this idea – when I meet people in the real world, I like to then connect with them on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn because I find that it is a more casual, open way to connect than with them than by leaving stiff telephone messages. It’s amazing how quickly you can bond with someone via 140 word tweets!
  3. When all else fails, resort to snail mail. I think that everyone has been rejected when trying to build a business relationship with a new contact. You call, you e-mail, you tweet – all to no avail. At some point you have to throw in the towel (or else risk looking like a stalker). Before you do that, though, take the time to write the object of your business affection a quick note and mail it to him or her. Be sure to include your card, and just be honest about it. Say that you understand that he or she is busy, but that you wanted them to have your information. Everyone likes to get mail, so you know that he or she will read it, and perhaps it will move them to give you a call. If not, then at least they will have seen your name and company logo again – every bit of exposure counts.

I recognize that we aren’t reinventing the wheel with these tips, but sometimes networking – or the time spent following up after an event – can be frustrating. Rather than give up, try some different approaches. You never know, they could help you build new business relationships that could be profitable to both parties.

Online and Offline Networking at its Best

photo from www.jekyllisland.com

photo from www.jekyllisland.com

As a member of both the Greater Miami and the Coral Gables Chambers of Commerce, the whole Gossett Marketing team receives a heck of a lot of emails regarding their events. We also seem to get frequent communication from various other networking organizations around town, such as the Miami Beach Chamber, Chamber South, etc. I generally read all of these emails to see whether there is something that I might be interested in attending. One thing I’ve noticed is that all of the local Miami chambers are asking members and guests to help them promote their events by using Twitter hashtags in the lead-up and posting pictures online during and after.

Having attendees promote an event before, during, and after is a great idea in that it generates publicity for the happening. But even more so than that, I think it is a wonderful tool for the people who use it. If you know anything about hashtags, then you are aware of the fact that they make Twitter searchable. So if you know that you are going to go to a networking function that has a publicized hashtag, use it to see who else is going to be in attendance. That way you can begin to connect with them prior to the event, and then meet in person when you are there. Networking can be intimidating if you’re walking into a roomful of strangers but if you “meet” someone beforehand via a social networking site, then you have a built-in friend when you get there!

If you, as an attendee, are participating in hashtagging an event, it also gives you an automatic excuse to talk to people (not that you need one if you’re networking, but it might make it more comfortable to approach strangers). Introduce yourself, tell them that you want to get a picture of them exchanging business cards or some such so that you can share it online, and then post it. Be sure to get the Twitter names of everyone in the picture too so that you can tag them – and then definitely look them up and follow them once you get back to the office. Meanwhile, at the event, continue to chit chat and learn more about them in person.

After you’re done with the networking event, continue to follow its hashtags. Then befriend others who do the same. You can forge initial bonds with them online and plan on attending the next activity together to meet in person. And the cycle continues!

Long story short, if you see that a chamber of commerce is offering a hashtag for an event then be sure to use it so that you can meet people before, during, and after it happens. It’s online and offline networking at its best!

From the Archives: An Example of Effective Social Media

Miami Bike Polo Logo While I keep up with the news because I think it is important to be informed, my favorite stories are always of the quirky, human interest variety. The Miami Herald never lacks for this type of article – probably because we have so many quirky humans living in South Florida!

I just read a piece on their Herald’s website about Miami Bike Polo, a league that was created just a few months ago which really seems to be taking off. Bike polo is just what it sounds like: polo played on a bike instead of a horse. It was invented in 1891 but this is the first time I’ve ever heard of it. It’s probably the first time a lot of people have heard of it, but the Miami league is doing a great job of promoting itself. They have a blog that teaches visitors about the game and talks about events, a good Twitter following, and a nice Facebook fan page. All of this great social media exposure has gotten them attention from WLRN, the Herald, and Deco Drive, a local television show.

As Miami Bike Polo expands, I think they should throw promotional products into their marketing mix. During TV spots, it would be great logo exposure if the interviewee was wearing a polo shirt that featured their logo. And regular participants need bags to carry their mallets and helmets! Exposing their logo to more pairs of eyes would definitely pique the public’s curiosity: I know I would ask someone who was drinking from a Bike Polo water bottle about the sport.

Keep up the good marketing work, Miami Bike Polo. And when you need promotional products, please do not hesitate to contact Gossett Marketing!

Click on this YouTube video to see Miami Bike Polo in action:

Remember Your Customers so They Remember You

photo from danoah.com

photo from danoah.com

Ever find a blog that you really like, read it religiously for a while and then totally forget about its existence? I hate to say it, but I’ve definitely done that on several occasions. It’s no one’s fault but my own – I read a lot of articles every day and some just slip through the cracks, even if I follow the blog’s author/company/the blog itself on Twitter and/or I’m connected on LinkedIn. Sometimes I miss new posts, and when that starts happening I simply lose track of the site. Fortunately for me, it is easy to not miss a post and therefore not forget about a particularly good blog: simply subscribe to it! That way new posts are automatically routed to your inbox where you can read them at your convenience.

I’m sure that you know all about the magic of subscribing to blogs, but do you do it? You should! Especially if your customers or people who you want to be your customers are its authors. By subscribing and thus reading what they write, you can easily get to know them better and ultimately better anticipate their needs. For instance, Gossett Marketing is a promotional products distributorship, so let’s say that I’ve subscribed to my customer Sally’s blog and she posts about an event that she is planning. A good idea for me would be to write her an email saying something along the lines of, “I read your blog and I think that giving away imprinted favors at your event would be a strategic marketing move. Here are my suggestions…” That type of email is a proactive way to get a sale or to at least remind my customer as to who I am and what I do.

Don’t limit yourself to just subscribing to your customers’ or potential customers’ blogs. Keep in mind their YouTube channels, Tumblrs, Spotify playlists…whatever! If you want to do business or expand your business with someone, be sure to stay in touch with them on as many social media platforms as possible. Keep their sites top of mind to help yourself stay on the top of their minds as well.

Networking at the Keyboard

photo from therealdeal.com

photo from therealdeal.com

There’s a reason why summer is Miami’s off-season: it’s gross outside. Tourists do not want to be here during the hot, humid months between May and October because it’s rainy, there could be a hurricane, you sweat upon walking outside, the mosquitoes are relentless, and it is impossible to have a good hair day. Gosh, did I sell my hometown to you there or what?! Anyhow, much like how tourists don’t enjoy our climate in the summertime, nor do many Miamians. It’s pretty annoying to get dressed for work only to get rained on or to perspire – yuck! But life goes on and so do we (we just keep rubber flip flops at our desks in case of downpours). Work doesn’t quit just because of our climate; however, I do find that networking tapers off a bit during the sweatier months of our year.

I think it’s pretty understandable that businesspeople in Miami aren’t rushing out to networking events when it’s steamy or stormy out, and I just use that as an excuse to ramp up my online networking during this time of year. If I’m trapped inside, then it’s a perfect time to check out my LinkedIn connections and maybe shoot a few emails to individuals with whom I’ve lost touch. I also like to take rainy days to focus on expanding my Twitter reach. I check out the people I follow to see who they follow and start connecting to other people that way.

Summer is the best time of year in some parts of the country. If you live in one of those idyllic climes, then by all means continue to pound the pavement and hit any and all in-person networking events that you can. Surely there is a less-fun season during which you can hunker down and do your networking from your desktop. But for me, this is when I give myself a bit of a pass as far as events and look at it from another angle – summertime is prime time for my networking at the keyboard.

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