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Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Humanizing your brand

Posted by Vicki Moulton on February 22, 2011

Borrowing an idea from a Mashable article I just read about preventing “badvocacy” (which is a new way of describing how certain unhappy campers can badmouth your business through social media channels), I’m thinking today about how brands can and have become completely dehumanized.

It’s easy to think of a huge corporation with a well-known brand as having no soul, as though everything were completely automated and run by robots. When something goes wrong with that company’s product or service, it’s easy to get angry at the machine. It’s not personal; it’s business. (Hey, didn’t Tom Hanks’ cutthroat bookseller character say that in the movie, “You’ve Got Mail”?)

So what happens when it’s your small business that draws the ire of an unhappy customer? And then, when that unhappy customer goes on Yelp, Facebook, and Twitter to complain about your company, how are you supposed to react? It certainly feels personal when you’re the only person behind your brand, like someone is mad at you–not your company, but you personally. It’s really hard to combat a growing chorus of online negativity if you don’t already have a personal association with your brand.

Now think about the positive side. If your business succeeds in making a customer happy enough that she wants to help other customers find out about you by singing your praises on Yelp, Facebook, and Twitter, does that feel like personal praise for you as a person or like good publicity for your brand? Any kind of feedback in this fast-paced online world reflects instantly on your brand, positive or negative. And that also reflects on you, the person behind the brand.

If you want to help your customers feel like they’re either shaking your hand in thanks or slapping your face in anger, put a human face on your brand. Post your photo on your About page, and use it as your avatar when commenting on posts and websites. It’s much harder for the viral feedback machine to go completely negative and out of control if your brand image is personal, warm, smiling, and human–just like everyone else.

Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, messaging | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Blurring the lines

Posted by Vicki Moulton on January 12, 2011

Well hello there! Remember me? No? Well, I can’t blame you for that. It’s not like I’ve been using this bully pulpit regularly.

I’m the first to admit that I’ve neglected this blog over the past several months. Part of my excuse is situational–moving from one coast to the other, getting through a second pregnancy while keeping my business going and making sure my toddler didn’t get into trouble, then having the baby just before Thanksgiving–and part of it is attitudinal, meaning most days I just didn’t put blogging at the top of my priority list.

Now that the baby is giving me longer stretches of sleep at night, I’m starting to see a third reason why I didn’t keep blogging here in 2010: the lines between business and personal have blurred to the point where posting something on Facebook feels kind of like blogging. But that’s a big lie because short, pithy little FB posts are absolutely no match for original thoughts and essays carefully written and purposefully shared on a business blog with a specific goal for a particular audience.

Case in point: I met my fabulously talented logo designer, Jenny Decker, through an online communications networking group. We completed a barter arrangement, meeting once in person, and then kept in touch via email. Then we became “friends” on Facebook, learning more about each other’s personal lives through postings and photos, and comparing notes on parenting babies and toddlers. Then I asked Jenny to join a small women’s entrepreneur group, further blurring the lines between our separate businesses and our personal lives. After that, she recommended me to one of her clients, who then hired me, and pretty soon I was reading her family blog and asking what she remembered about the last months of pregnancy while sharing my own toddler-raising advice and inviting her to read my birthing story on a personal blog after calling to ask how she invoiced a particular type of client.

So is this a personal friendship or a friendly business connection? The answer is both, and it’s the inevitable merging of these worlds that has so many businesses falling behind because they don’t know how to leverage these relationship-savvy social media tools.

If you’d asked me a few years ago whether I would someday have business colleagues in my social media network and actually develop real friendships using tools like Facebook, I would’ve said hell no. In fact, I actively avoided revealing my location, profession, and everything else about myself online in any capacity for many years. (I’m still unlisted in the local phone book–but that’s another story.) But I’m noticing that the people who steer clear of social networks are the ones who aren’t connected in any meaningful way to what’s happening in the business world today.

Yes, social media can be all about personal branding and marketing, especially if you’re using these tools to get more business. But it’s also about knowing where your audience, customers, potential employers, and colleagues (past and present) are spending their time and energy.

Dropping by the social media water cooler once in a while is good for your reputation and keeps you in the loop, at least for as long as those folks are sipping water. It reminds them that you’re still there, still interested, still part of the team.

Whether these people knew you way back when or just met you last week at a networking event, they’re all part of your ever-widening circle–what some might call your sphere of influence. It’s actually smart to keep these folks informed about your activities. Just try to keep the truly personal information (the embarassing stuff you wouldn’t want publicized on the evening news) off Facebook, or else your sphere will shrink before you know it.

So, in the effort to win back some blog readers in this new year, I invite you to visit my Facebook fan page and follow my posts (Twitter account to be revived soon) as I share my thoughts and experiences with clients, colleagues, and friends. We’re all merged into one group now, so let’s have some fun while we’re at it!

Posted in communications, marketing, networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Moving west

Posted by Vicki Moulton on August 5, 2010

Hey, still here… Just on the other side of the country. And P.S.: the weather is great!

It’s official: Movick Marketing has moved to the west coast! The family made the move to Oakland, California, and so did the business.

Here is the new office number: 510.530.1580. The blog, Facebook fan page, and Twitter feed have been on summer vacation while we’ve been completing the move and getting set up in the new location. Look for increased activity this month… and continue to keep us in mind for all your marketing communications projects!

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Open for discussion

Posted by Vicki Moulton on June 20, 2010

I’ve posted a couple of discussion starters on the Movick Marketing FB fan page discussion board, in the hopes that readers would offer an opinion and get a dialogue going.

Topics:

These are hot topics among the marketing communications folks I know, especially one-person shops and small businesses. I’d love to know what you think, so please share your two cents. Thanks!

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Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Coping with changes

Posted by Vicki Moulton on April 16, 2010

What’s the difference between an excuse and an explanation? The answer depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If you need to buy more time, maybe build up a little sympathy for your situation, then that’s an excuse. If you need to clarify misinformation with a matter-of-fact statement, then that’s an explanation.

My excuse for not blogging recently has to do with a whole host of changes happening in my life, which have turned my attention away from the blog as a business marketing tool… but only temporarily. (Fear not: I’m still here, ready to work!)

When changes started happening about a month ago, I originally intended to take just a few days off from blogging, Facebook, and Twitter. A few days turned into a week. One week turned into two. And now here it is, mid-April already, and I’ve let myself fall out of the loop entirely. My good intentions were completely dashed to hell. Clearly I wasn’t coping well with the changes happening around me. And while all of this was going on, I had two computers crash and burn, culminating in the loss of three weeks’ worth of data and email. (Insert angry, frustrated expletives here.)

Sprinkled throughout these weeks filled with challenges were emails and phone calls with potential clients, meetings with colleagues and collaborators, and successfully completed projects for steady clients. So actually the work didn’t stop–just my means of communicating with the wider world.

Where does that leave me on this warm Friday afternoon? Feeling motivated to get back into the groove, glad to have posted something new here and on Twitter before the weekend, and intending to embrace those life changes instead of letting them derail me. Change is good. (Yes, it is.)

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Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Shameless self-promoting

Posted by Vicki Moulton on February 11, 2010

I’ve been snowed in for several days, and fortunately it’s resulted in a lot of productivity for my business. So, in the interest of tooting my own horn (after all, that’s what blogs are for), here’s the latest news from Movick Marketing:

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…Created a new page on the website–Featured Biz–listing and linking all woman-owned local “biz of the day” daily shout-outs from Twitter

…Added new social media package: Ghost-Blogging Special, for those folks who are ready to admit they need a little help writing a blog (you know who you are!)

…Got a whole bunch of new Facebook fans–enough to finally get that vanity URL! Now located at facebook.com/MovickMarketing

…Inserted AddThis sharing button on all pages and into most blog posts

…Now advertising social media marketing packages on three different websites: Market Mommies, Melissa Meman Designs, and Melissa’s blog

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Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Walking the talk

Posted by Vicki Moulton on January 30, 2010

After spending the past couple of months crafting some quick-and-easy social media marketing solutions for clients (and prospective clients), I finally decided to start using my Twitter account. 

Yes folks, it’s true: you can find me on Twitter @movickmarketing! I figure it’ll be much easier for me to convince my clients that Twitter can help with business promotion if I actually use it myself.

Yesterday I placed an ad at marketmommies.com for the social media marketing packages–in partnership with Fern Carbonell of Exemplus Virtual Assistant Services (tweeting @Exemplus_Fern)–which I’m cross-promoting through my Facebook fan page and Twitter, and on this website… look at the top of the left rail!

It feels like something great is right around the corner. Maybe it’s just as simple as finally taking my own advice.

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Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, messaging | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Buying more time

Posted by Vicki Moulton on December 1, 2009

Wouldn’t it be great if Thanksgiving weekend, the traditional start of the mad holiday rush, happened about one week earlier? Then you’d have 7 extra days to get organized before all hell breaks loose at the end of December.

You could write your holiday letter, post updated family photos to your Facebook wall, answer all those emails that have been piling up since September, add some resolutions to your New Year’s wishlist, maybe finish that book you got for Christmas last year. Imagine getting all of that done before the insane holiday sale season began on Black Friday, so you wouldn’t have to spend one moment of that extra week focusing on shopping or getting incredible deals on stuff that will sit around in other people’s houses collecting dust.

Do I sound cranky today? Yeah, well, I probably am. As much as I love the celebrations that happen this time of year–all the lights, music, parties, dancing, drinking, crackling fires–I tend to feel overwhelmed by the pressure to get so much done in so little time. I especially dislike those braggarts (you know who you are) who never miss an opportunity to tell you how much time and money they saved by finishing their holiday shopping back in August. Or the amazingly wealthy people who can pay someone else to do all their shopping. Better yet, the better-than-you philanthropists who eschew gift-giving by donating money to worthy causes in your name. (Would it have killed you to ask whether I would have preferred an actual gift?)

December has arrived, and as usual I am not as organized as I would like to be. But this year I think I’ll try something different. This year I’m cutting things out of my to-do list to buy more time for the really important stuff, like being completely present–as in available, awake, aware–for my family. For example, I’m not going to mail out holiday cards this year. It’s a waste of paper, and I can save time and money by emailing everyone instead. More cuts this year: unnecessary schmoozing at holiday-themed business “parties” that are less than fun and real time-wasters, shopping for stocking-stuffers (once you’re past age 10, who cares?), and having people over because it’s “that time of year” and one is expected to play hostess.

I will spend my holidays being with people I care about, doing things and attending events that are meaningful, and laughing as much as possible. It’s my time, and I resolve to make the most of it.

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Managing social media time

Posted by Vicki Moulton on November 4, 2009

social media face_cr2As a small business owner, I can attest to the incredible time-draining potential of social media sites like Facebook. If you’re not careful about managing time spent on these sites, a quick updating session can turn into an all-day marathon.

Here are some great tips (from SmallBizTrends) for getting the most out of social media tools to help market your business:

*Be purposeful. Make a list of what you’re trying to accomplish with social media, and identify the actions that will help you achieve those goals. Don’t just click around on shiny baubles. That’s a neverending game with no winner.

*Focus your attention. Figure out where it makes sense for you to engage–Twitter, LinkedIn, a local listserv–and limit your time and energy to a handful of useful sites. Then outline what, how, and when you’ll be engaged beforehand to help maximize your time.

*Avoid overload. Use tools to help you manage the stream of information coming in. For example, if you’re using Twitter, a 3rd-party tool like Tweetdeck can help you manage conversation and schedule tweets ahead of time.

*Set limits. Schedule social media time the same way you schedule in all your other commitments. Set aside time to talk to people, to tweet fun things, to connect with your audience on Facebook. This helps users learn to trust that you’ll be online regularly.

Small business owners have an advantage over big companies because they already know how to talk and engage their customers in a more personal way, making communications more human and relatable. Social media sites are a perfect fit for small businesses.

Don’t be afraid of jumping into the social media pool. The water is a lot warmer than it looks.

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Trending toward video testimonials

Posted by Vicki Moulton on July 7, 2009

video cameraI keep hearing about the future of social networking being video rather than text. Everyone knows that YouTube is leading the way in making DIY video uploads easier than ever, and if you’ve got a fast Internet connection, linking videos to blogs and Facebook pages is a snap.

Last night, at our monthly Creative MasterMinds networking group meeting, one of my well-informed colleagues talked about how some experts are predicting that the not-so-distant future will have everyone carrying little digital video cameras to record and publish images to Facebook and Twitter (ad nauseum)–in essence, replacing written words with videos.

It’s an intriguing idea. This could prove useful even today, in the area of client testimonials. A video testimonial would involve interviewing a happy client in person or via Skype to capture a positive review, for posting on one’s website, blog, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, or wherever.

The written word is still priceless, as far as this longtime fan of writing is concerned, but video adds a new layer of excitement to the mix.

Posted in communications, marketing, networking, writers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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