Do awareness months and days work? 6 best practices 0

Posted on December 18, 2017 by Rob Petersen

awareness months

Awareness months and days continue to grow each year because health awareness continues to grow.

The United States has almost 200 official awareness months and days. And that’s not counting all the unofficial ones. Here is a list of just the major months.

Like a birthday or anniversary, having a time set aside during the calendar year gives some assurance a topic will receive attention. Awareness months are a way for organization to stake a claim and establish “we’re here.”

Do awareness months and days work?

Here are 6 best practices for awareness months and days.

  1. DEFINE SUCCESS: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month raises an estimated $6 billion dollars a year. The ALS Association raised $115 million in one month with the Ice Bucket Challenge and helped scientists discover a new gene tied to ALS. Hearing Awareness Month is for the over 36 million American adults have some degree of hearing loss. The goal is to get them to have their hearing checked at an audiologist. Whatever your vision of success is, make sure you have established goals. And take a strategic approach to how you get there. Is it a big win? Or a series of small victories that add up?
  2. MAKE IT EASY TO PARTICIPATE: October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month from the Department of Homeland Security. They promote weekly education, a slogan (Stop. Think. Connect) and simple ways to participate with 10 best practices. They are: 1) Surf Only on Secure Connection, 2) make smarter passwords, 3) stay up to date on updates, 4) set up authentication, 5) utilize technology, 6) know fact from fiction, 7) don’t open sketchy files, 8) log out of everything, 9) back up information and 10) talk to your family. This are simple way to raise awareness and get involved.
  3. BE EXPLICIT ABOUT ACTIONS: Don’t assume an awareness month is going to create any actions unless you tell people exactly what you expect them to do. One of the reasons the Ice Bucket Challenge was such a success was the ALS Association was very explicit about what they wanted people to do by telling people: How do I participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?
    1. ACCEPT: Accept the challenge;
    2. RECORD: Take a video of yourself dumping a bucket of ice water over your head to increase awareness of ALS;
    3. UPLOAD: Upload your video to social media, tagging/challenging at least three of your friends;
    4. GIVE: Make a donation to support the ALS community.
  4. SECURE PARTNERS: Long standing awareness months can’t make it without partners. The National Breast Cancer Foundation, for example, actively solicits partners on an on-going basis by letting them know: 1) About NBCF, 2) our programs and 3) how you can help. The latter shows way individuals to corporate partners can get involved
  5. CREATE TOOLKITS: provides toolkits for several National Health Observances. The toolkits provide resources for organizations like schools, healthcare providers, health departments, and more to raise awareness about critical public health issues, like the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Whether you have government resources or you’re doing it on your own, materials that can be given out to educate and instruct are a requirement.
  6. THINK INTO THE FUTURE: Awareness months are created for the long term. They require human capital, financial resources, support for many sources and measurement. As a result, you should be clear about what success looks like and how you apply learning to the next year.

If your organization is up for the task, awareness months can be an important annual addition to business planning. Do these best practices show you how awareness months work?

10 myths about Instagram for business (Infographic) 0

Posted on December 10, 2017 by Lucy Benton

Instagram for business myths

Over 2 million businesses use Instagram for business.

Known for photo sharing and fueled by the popularity of Instagram Stories, roughly six-in-ten online adults ages 18-29 (59%) use Instagram, nearly double the share among 30- to 49-year-olds (33%) and more than seven times the share among those 65 and older (8%) according to Pew Research.

Instagram is largely made up of urban, youthful demographics, with a significant skew toward women. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, reached 9.8 million people in the U.S. aged 18 to 35 in eight days according to Business Intelligence.

Here are 1o myths about Instagram for business.

  1. Instagram is not for service-based businesses.
  2. Only professional photos should be used.
  3. Follow others to be followed.
  4. I don’t need a strategy for Instagram.
  5. Marketing results are not measurable.
  6. You don’t get leads from Instagram.
  7. Posting once a week is an effective strategy.
  8. A lot of images produces engagement.
  9. Small accounts cannot reach target audiences.
  10. Only businesses with a huge base of followers can make money.

Scroll down the infographic to learn why these myths are not realities about Instagram for business.

instagram for business

Instagram marketing is still a fairly new concept for brands and many businesses overlook its full potential. The reason for that might be the most common myths that stop businesses from using Instagram for marketing are not really realities at all.

Despite the fact that Instagram is now being used by 48.8% of brands  many businesses have yet to implement an Instagram marketing strategy. Unfortunately, there are still many myths that have created hesitation among businesses when it comes to using Instagram for marketing purposes.

Is your business one of these businesses? Do the explanations for these myth convince you of the the business building potential of Instragram? Does your brand need help with Instagram for business?

Lucy Benton - Facebook Ad Designs

Lucy Benton is a website content writer living in New South Wales, Australia.

9 social media trends that will take over in 2018 0

Posted on December 04, 2017 by Rob Petersen

social media trends

Social media trends and new technology go hand in hand.

Many forms of content on social networks that now account for the majority of views, likes, shares, re-tweets and comment didn’t exist 5 years ago. In fact, some of the social networks they are seen on didn’t exist either.

Social media trends help us know not only what’s going to occur on social networks but the internet in general. The people at  Filmora have created an infographic to show and tell you. And they have substantiated it with research and hard numbers that make predictions real.

Here’s a brief summary of social media trends for 2018 from their infographic with just a smattering of the research they’ve compiled in the inforgraphic below.

  1. VIDEO TAKES CENTER: 95% of the message in a video is retained by viewers vs. only 10% for text
  2. EXPANSION OF LIVE STREAMING: Facebook Live videos are watched 3X longer than regular ones
  3. DOUBLING DOWN OF EPHEMERAL CONTENT: Ephemeral means short lived, fleeting or passing and describe the nature of media on social networks accessible for up to 24 hours
  4. RISE OF AUGMENTED REALITY: In April 2017, Facebook Camera Effect’s platform is designed. And it’s for AR hardware
  5. AI AND CHATBOXES ARE WIDELY USED: 30% of chat conversations will be chatboxes in 2018
  6. FOCUS ON GENERATION Z: Generation Zers, born between 1995 and 2012, are “true digital natives.”
  7. INCREASED INVESTMENT IN INFLUENCERS: 94% of those who have used influencers believe it is and effective strategy
  8. MOBILE READY CONTENT: More content will be made specifically for mobile as the majority of viewership and virtually all social networks is already greater on mobile than desktop
  9. INCREASED BRAND PARTICIPATION IN MESSAGING PLATFORMS: Each of the top five messaging platforms has 255 users or more already

Scroll down this infographic made by Filmora. And get to know more about the hottest social media trends in 2018 and feel free to let us know what you think in the comments section.


social media trends in 2018

Do you think these are the top social media trends for 2018? Do you have any more to add? Let us know what you think.

Social Selling vs Social Spamming. 10 best and worst practices 0

Posted on November 27, 2017 by Rob Petersen

Social Selling vs Social Spamming

Social Selling vs Social Spamming. They represent polar opposites. One is a best practice and the other a worst practice for developing business using social media.

Social Selling is the use of social media to interact directly with their prospects. The interaction is through thoughtful content and timely answers to a prospect until he or she is ready to buy. Social Spamming is unwanted spam appearing on your social networks or email.

The former requires business acumen, people and social skills. The latter uses none of these. Many people think they are Social Selling when they’re Social Spamming.

So you know when it’s Social Selling vs Social Spamming, here are 10 best and worst practices.

  1. AUTHENTIC VS AUTOMATED MESSAGE: One begins a relevant conversation. The other is a bad sales pitch. When it is apparent in the first couple of sentences of a post or email someone has taken the time to get to know something about you or done some research, you are likely to read a little further to see what comes next. That’s Social Selling. It’s spam when you’re in receipt of a bulk message, even though your name may appear at the beginning,
  2. OFFER VS PITCH: The first rule of Social Selling is to offer something a prospect is going to value rather than launch into a sales pitch. It could be a download of relevant information, trends or forecasts for your industry. Or an invitation to an event you would go to. It may require your email address and a follow up call occurs. But someone has given you something of value and you took the first action. It’s spamming when nothing is offered; rather someone asks something of you that is purely for their benefit.
  3. ABUSE OF INMAIL: How many of you have received an invitation to connect with someone on LinkedIn or someone has followed you on Twitter? And you think, what the heck, I’ll connect or follow back. Then, within minutes, you are sent an Inmail or Direct Messaged. And it’s something they are selling or want with an inflated description of themselves or their product. Unfortunately, it is occurring more and more, especially on LinkedIn.
  4. LINKS IN COMMENTS: Links in a comment are a bad and potentially malicious spamming practice. At best, someone is taking advantage of content someone else has created to insert a self-promotional message about themselves. Or worse, they may be spreading malware that contains a virus or scrapes personal information. Don’t click. Delete.
  5. BRAGGING VS ENGAGING: When a message begins with a boast about a product, company or themselves, run for the hills. An expression of thoughtfulness is much different. If the message is sincere and the offer has value, it’s Social Selling vs Social Spamming.
  6. STARTING A 2nd COMMUNICATION WITH “DID YOU GET MY 1st COMMUNICATION”? A drip campaign is a method used in direct marketing to acquire customers through lead nurture programs. It involves sending marketing information to prospects repeatedly over longer periods of time in order to nurture prospects or leads through the marketing funnel. A 2nd message that asks if you got the 1st message isn’t even a drip, it’s spam.
  7. ASKING IF YOU HAVE “JUST 10 MINUTES”: Some Social Spammers think just cutting straight to the call will bring results. How many of you have gotten an email where the subject line ask for “Just 10 minutes” or “Time for a call today?” My hope is the kind of people who reply “yes” and have this conversation are as obnoxious as the senders.
  8. UNSUBSCRIBE VS NO ABILITY TO UNSUBSCRIBE: Even if someone has opted in or purchased in the past, you must have a way to unsubscribe when sending commercial email. Many email marketing platforms require and enforce an unsubscribe link for all messages. That’s Social Selling. But it’s spam if the message is emailed from a personal email account like Google Apps, Outlook or from their company’s mail server and you don’t give people the ability to unsubscribe. It’s also a violation of the CAN-SPAM Act, established by the Federal Trade Commission.
  9. ENDING WITH CALENDAR LINK Some Social Spammers are brash enough, after their obnoxious sale pitch, to put a link to their calendar to schedule a call at the end of their message. Maybe they think it only takes one to make this tactic worthwhile. But I wonder if they get none.
  10. TELLING SOMEONE YOU WON’T BOTHER THEM AGAIN: The type of Social Spammer who keep sending messages that don’t receive a response, eventually are reduced to try and evoke an action by saying something like “if you are not interested, let me know and I won’t bother you again.” I, of course, don’t respond. I just think “good riddance.”

Do these examples help you see the difference between Social Selling vs Social Spamming? And  they best and worst practices to you? Do you have any more to add?

7 lessons learned from 9 years since starting a business 0

Posted on November 20, 2017 by Rob Petersen

starting a business

Starting a business can be one of the best decisions a person makes in their life. But most go through what Seth Godin says is “the dip.” – a temporary set back that can be overcome with persistence if it’s worth pursuing. At least, this was the case for me.

Last week, LinkedIn congratulated me on my 9-year work anniversary of starting a business. According to The Telegraph, the average person spends 4.6 years at a job for company in the U.S. My milestone was 2X longer than the average person who work for a company.

To help anyone who is on or considering this journey, here are 7 lessons from 9 years since starting a business.

  1. IF NOT NOW, WHEN? Most experts say, when starting a business, to never quit your day job until your financially secure enough to go out on your own. Great advice. But not everyone has the luxury of the best of both worlds until the right time arrives. Many people start a business because they are on a road to nowhere where they work or get downsized and lose their job. Equally important to any successful venture is the belief in yourself and your ability to do something extraordinary. Unlike waiting for the right time to arrive, this is a moment to be seized or it passes.
  2. INVEST ONLY WHAT YOU HAVE TO: When starting a business, you spend money before you make it. Minimal or major. It involves costs and services ranging from a lawyer, registrations, subscriptions, insurance, staff, office space and travel. Your investment strategy when starting a business sets a philosophy about how you treat money. You will carry it with you and it will make a long-term difference in the company operations.
  3. BEING BY YOURSELF: For anyone starting a business, even if you have partners, you spend time by yourself. This is an adjustment for anyone. Because most of us can’t stand to be alone. A recent study in the journal, Science, shows people would rather give themselves electric shocks than be alone with their thoughts for just 15 minutes. But there is a difference between loneliness and being alone. And being along, or solitude, can be great for boosting creativity, learning self-reliance and carving a sense of self. It takes time to learn to be by yourself but, ultimately, it’s one of the great personal benefits from starting a business.
  4. LEARN FROM MISTAKES (WHICH YOU WILL MAKE): Even with a business plan, outside advice from people who started a business, online marketing and a clear vision (or so I thought), I made mistakes. And no shortage of them. In my case, my business is a services company. Our revenue is from recurring services with clients who we generally have a six-month or a year contract, renewable each year. But when starting a business, tt was not easy to convince someone, no matter how much I believed in what we did, they should sign a six month or a year contract with a fledgling company. So I offered an analysis of the business with recommendations at a nominal rates. I made lots of mistakes with the wrong types of people and businesses before the right ones surfaced.
  5. BE FAIR TO YOURSELF AND AFFORDABLE TO YOUR CLIENTS: From my mistakes, I learned pricing, positioning and the right business model. All of these elements were in my business plan, but it was only through trial and error that I was able to make it work. I also learned how to determine if trust was going to be in the relationship. This latter proved to be as important, if not more, than the former. These tangibles and intangible came down to being fair to yourself and affordable to your clients.
  6. RECOGNIZE DEFINING MOMENT: Certain events, people and collaborations have a big impact on business growth even if they don’t produce major financial rewards. An example, in my case, was being invited to join the MBA faculty of the Rutgers Business School Executive Education where I have taught for 7 years. From this experience, I found a new skill, revenue stream, friends and colleagues and referral generator. And it gave me a competitive edge from other company heads in businesses like mine. This probably never would have happened if I had not gone out on my own.
  7. REMEMBER WHY YOU BEGAN: Regardless of how successful your business is or isn’t, or how long it takes, it soon seems pointless if results don’t produce a better work and life balance. Celebrate successes when they happen. With yourself, your team, clients, friends and family that helped you get there. The goal of starting a business is to be personally as well as professionally enriched and achieve an independence that worth persevering for. This is something you should remind and reward yourself every once and a while.

Were these lessons helpful? I hope they give you direction if you’ve started or are considering starting a business.

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