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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

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 »

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 »

Helping a sister out

Posted by Vicki Moulton on February 8, 2010

Using the Twitter bully pulpit, Movick Marketing is now featuring woman-owned local businesses!

I started last Friday with the first tweet to promote Melissa Meman Designs, and today I tweeted for Lisa Koehler’s Singer Source.

Look for a new section on this website with a complete list of links to all featured businesses. I’m starting local, with people I know well and/or businesses that I have patronized, to show how the social networking community gives back to its own. In the case of Melissa’s jewelry business, we are old friends and I wear the jewelry myself, and Lisa is my friend and professional singer’s agent.

But beyond that, I really admire what these two dynamic and talented women have done with their business ventures–while simultaneously raising their families.

If you’d like for your business to be featured, email me or comment on this post. Come on, let’s give back to woman-owned small businesses! And don’t forget to become a fan of Movick Marketing on Facebook. The more fans I get, the more value I can add to the fan experience!

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Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, networking | 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 »

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

Being authentic

Posted by Vicki Moulton on October 4, 2009

abstract panelsThe experts agree: authenticity is key to building a memorable, believable, and irresistible brand.

Be yourself. Embrace and tell your story. Find and follow your true passion. All of the experts that participated in the “Brand Reinvention Summit” said pretty much the same thing. Either they all drank the same kool-aid before they were interviewed, or this is good advice. I’m betting on the latter.

Here are some selected nuggets of wisdom from the Summit (specifically from the 6 out of 10 interviews I had time to listen to):

“As you build your business, you are the torchbearer for your brand.”

“Your website needs to reflect a live presence, someone who is taking care of their brand. The lights need to be on, and someone needs to be home.”

“Your website is an extension of your brand—a living embodiment of your company. If you don’t keep it current, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.”

On using social media effectively: “If there’s something you really love, let it come through. Whatever makes you excited is something good to convey to the world.”

“We use war metaphors for marketing… launch, campaign, etc. Marketing isn’t war. Effective marketing is really more of a seduction. You take someone out, turn the lights down low, pour the wine, and make them fall in love with you.”

“If someone challenges your thinking, that opens up a new opportunity to think creatively. Welcome diversity and invite challenges. This brings more energy into your communication.”

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

 
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