As blogging becomes more popular, you might be approached to give an interview to a Blogger (aka Writer, Journalist) so they can create a story about you or your business for their blog. Here is some etiquette on giving the interview and interview follow-up that I have learned by working with various media and publicity personnel over the years in traditional media. I have updated it here to apply to social media as well.
1. Everything is on the record. Bloggers are typically very good interviewers and they will ask you to provide the highs and lows of your business. The Blogger will also assume that everything you say is okay to print. So, if you do not want something in print, don't say it.
2. Make time for the interview. Typically, a Blogger is on a time schedule to make a deadline. If you can provide the interview when they call you, that is typically most effective. You can ask the Blogger to schedule the interview at another time, but this can lose momentum. You want your story to get out immediately. A third party endorsement is great publicity. So try to make time for the interview as quickly as possible. You may lose the Blogger's interest, or get smaller exposure, if you delay.
3. Be honest and intimate. Bloggers are like bloodhounds. They can sniff a story and don't appreciate bull. Be honest. Be yourself. It goes a long way. They can tell when you're holding back information. Try to give the Blogger a nice new tidbit of info that nobody has written about you or your business before. Maybe a new revelation you've had, an award you've just received or a new client would be something to talk about.
Reveal something sort-of intimate or personal, like an "inside scoop" or breaking news or developments. If you make a mistake and say something personal that you don't want in print, tell the Blogger that right away. Say, "Oops, I didn't mean to say that. Can you make sure that stays out of print?" Yes, this goes against the "Everything is on the record" point I made above. But Bloggers want to be able to come back to you later-on for more stories, so they don't want to damage their relationship with you. They will recognize your mistake and respect your wishes, usually (unless you are the former Mayor of Vernon and you are fudging receipts, lol.)
4. Follow up with information or photos quickly. Bloggers are usually working with inspiration, or a timeline in mind. I write when I feel inspired. Then, I want to get the story posted as soon as possible so I can rest easy and feel a sense of accomplishment. I'm not as organized as other Bloggers who have a story plan and a publishing schedule. No way. So when I ask someone for a logo or a photo, I want in NOW. (Sorry, I'm a Type A personality.)
Additionally....a story looks better with a photo. In fact, your story gets greater exposure with a photo or video and has more credibility. If you can provide large web resolution photos to the Blogger for their use with the story, it will get you more mileage.
In terms of information...if you don't have it at your fingertips during the interview, tell the Blogger you'll get it right away and then do it. If you can't get the information you want right away, let the Blogger know when you can get it and see if that timeline is adequate. Maintain your integrity as a good source of information by updating the Blogger about the status of that information or following through with it.
5. Thank the Blogger publicly. Once the story is published, leave a comment on the blog endorsing the story or adding something extra to it. Tweet or retweet the story on Twitter. Promote the story on Facebook and/or leave a Facebook comment. These are great ways to build links and traffic back to your website, to show appreciation to your local Blogger who took the time to write about you, and to "toot" your own horn.
Blog interviews are now the new "media" interview. They are important and necessary for promoting your business. Bloggers are often looking for new, refreshing stories, so don't be afraid to approach them about your business.
Have you given a blog interview lately? Leave a comment at the bottom of my blog with a link to the story. I would love to read it.
Thanks for reading my blog.
Many bloggers ask the question, "How can I get people to stay in my blog longer?" Linkwithin (not to be confused with LinkedIn) is my new secret weapon for getting readers to stay on my blog longer. If you have a blog, it's something you may want to add.
It's very simple to add.
It doesn't come with advertising (other than an unobtrusive linkwithin link).
I have been very pleased with how it looks, how it pulls related articles and how it makes my site more "sticky" (people stay longer).
Photos are so important to a blog, and this little widget drives that point home. Linkwithin automatically pulls suggested articles to the bottom of your most recent blog post, and all of your other posts, along with a thumbnail photo from each article. You can tell it to pull three, four or five suggestions depending on how you would like it to look on your site.
Platforms it works on include:
(Other) ie: your own site
It is so attractive that it entices readers to stay longer on your blog. Readers poke around in other articles you've written.This is what the sign up form looks like.
If you add Linkwithin to your blog, please let me know how you like it by leaving a comment on this blog post. I love to hear your feedback.
Thanks for reading!
Courtenay Pitcher, Blogger
p.s. If you would like to get a blog and have it customized to your other branding, please contact me for a quote.
How can social media help your career? If you are a client or an alumni of the CBD Network in Vernon, B.C., you can find out on March 25, 2010 from Noon to 1:00 p.m. when I speak to that group. If you are thinking of jumping careers, or if you are looking for work, you may want to consider becoming a CBD Network client and attending this event.
CBD Network stands for Career Business Development network. They help professional and highly skilled people find work. They are great at it too. In fact, I was a client in 1999 after I was laid off from a full-time marketing position. (My lay-off was a result of the restructuring of a majour ski resort.) I also became a client in 2006 when I decided to put self-employment on the backburner for a while and get a "job" with a regular paycheque. (Obviously, I got bored with a regular paycheque and returned to self-employment because here I am writing this blog and promoting myself as an on-line marketing coach.)
The CBD Network's process teaches you how to identify what you really want in a career and put this information into a resume that positions you as an expert in your skill set. Then, they provide coaching around how to network and market yourself to that perfect career, or one that will be the stepping stone at least. In my case in 1999, I chose a career of self-employment. With that choice, they referred me onto a self-employment program and I started my company Lava Marketing. In 2006, they were definitely instrumental in helping me land a great job that I enjoyed thoroughly and did well at until I got over my self-employment, life, baby-making, father-dying, fire-evacuating burn-out and got bored. (There are some stories there I will tell another time, or upon request.)
My career and self-employment transitions were made a bit easier with Government of Canada money that I accessed with the assistance of the CBD Network. And I didn't have to pay for the CBD Network's assistance because some government agency paid them.
The Okanagan is not exactly plentiful in the job department and finding a good job requires guerilla marketing techniques that you will learn as a client of the CBD Network.
In the one hour presentation on Thursday, March 25, 2010, I will review social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter and provide some tips on how blogging can help a career.
If you are an out of work professional, contact the CBD Network in either Vernon or Kelowna to see if you are a good fit for their services. If you don't qualify as a CBD Network client or alumni, I offer one-on-one or group coaching on those techniques too.
Thanks for reading.
Courtenay Pitcher, not burned out, happy, professional job hunter
1. Broadcast your message on YouTube.
I didn’t watch the live speech on T.V.. I watched it on YouTube as a result of seeing someone tweet about it. Tiger was wise to employ one of the top social media platforms to broadcast his message.
2. If you, your brand or product messes up, give a heartfelt apology.
The fourth sentence in Tiger’s speech is his apology. Tiger says, “I want to say to each of you simply and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behaviour I engaged in.” The beauty of apologizing is that it allows everyone to relax and listen to why you messed up and how you plan to fix it.
3. Surround yourself with supporters.
In Tiger’s first line, he points out, “Many of you in this room are my friends.” In one of his last lines, he says, “In recent weeks, I have received many thousands of emails, letters and phone calls from people expressing good wishes.”
When your brand is in a spot of difficulty, it’s really important to show, explain or demonstrate that you still have supporters. It’s also nice if they pick you up and brush you off. It’s a time when you need cheerleaders, not detractors.
4. Make sure everyone knows that mom still loves your brand.
Tiger’s mom was prominently placed for the video cameras in the front row when he delivered his speech. She was the first to hug him at the end of it too. If mom trusts and loves your brand, who can argue with that?
7. Ask your customers to overlook your weaknesses and focus on what you’ve learned from the experience.
Tiger says, “I once heard, and I believe it’s true, it’s not what you achieve in life that matters, it’s what you overcome. Achievements on the golf course are only part of setting an example. Character and decency are what really count.”
This is the classic red herring that says, forget about the past (how he messed up) and focus on the future (what he has learned from this experience and how it has shaped him into a man of character).
8. Underscore the charitable side of your work, brand, or product.
Tiger says, “Thirteen years ago my dad and I envisioned helping young people achieve their dreams through education. This work remains unchanged and will continue to grow. From the learning centre students in southern California to the Earl Woods scholars in Washington, D.C., millions of kids have changed their lives and I am dedicated to making sure that continues.”
In talking about his foundation, it shows that Tiger could still be likeable because of the charitable work he does for his community.
9. Reveal an intimate secret value that people can connect with.
“Part of following this path, for me, is Buddhism which my mother taught me at a young age. People probably don’t realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist and I actively practiced my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years. Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint.”
The phrasing “people don’t realize it” says, “Listen closely, I’m going to tell you something intimate about myself.” In this “reality-show-day-and-age”, people want to know the intimate secrets and values of your product or brand. Give them a taste of it, and they’ll be coming back for more.
10. Assure everyone that you will play by the rules.
Tiger says, “I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn’t have to go far to find them. I was wrong. I was foolish. I don’t get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone, apply to me.”
This is a clever way to assure everyone that Tiger is not above everyone. He can still play in the same sandbox and get along.
11. Make sure everyone knows you still have a spine.
Speculation that Elin beat up on Tiger made Tiger look like a weakling. Tiger had to put that fire out by saying, “Some people have speculated that Elin somehow hurt or attacked me on Thanksgiving night. It angers me that people would fabricate a story like that. Elin never hit me that night or any other night. There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage, ever. Elin has shown enormous grace and poise throughout this ordeal. Elin deserves praise, not blame.”
What a clever way of phrasing it. He was made to look like a hero for defending Elin, when in fact this whole statement was designed to show he still has a spine and wasn’t emasculated by his wife.
12. Ask for the sale.
Tiger says, “Today, I want to ask for your help. I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again. Thank you.” This is the classic trial close to see if you will buy.
(sniffle, hugs his mom and front row supporters)
Thanks for reading.
(please subscribe to receive this blog by email.)
Courtenay Pitcher, Skeptic
Software (like Google Analytics) that provides search engine reports can tell you which search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) visitors are using to find your site. By knowing which search engines people are using to find you, you’ll be able to tell which search engines aren’t working for you. Then, you can attempt to fix your ranking in those search engines where you need improvement.Keyword Reports
Here is an example of my keyword report. Recently, I posted a YouTube video to my site and ever since then, my traffic has gone through the roof for K.D. Lang Olympic video searches.Referring URLs (or Referring Sites)
Other Items Which Can Be TrackedSoftware can track everything from the most common monitor resolution settings used by your visitors to their language setting, country and operating system.
*Tracking programs can track just about everything. Focus on the tracking information that helps guide your Internet marketing the best.
If you would like coaching on how to set up and interpret Google Analytics to track your on-line marketing, please get in touch.
Thanks for reading!
Courtenay Pitcher, Google Analytics Cheerleader
When I posted the video of k.d. lang singing Leonard Cohen's song Hallelujah, I never dreamed my blog traffic would explode, it would make it to number one one Google and I would be having a discussion on Twitter about its relevance to the 2010 Olympics.
But that's exactly what happened. If you're interested in how I got traffic to my site, read on. If you're interested in my deep philosophical thoughts as to why I think k.d. lang's performance was completely relevant to the 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies, read on. And if you would like to see lang sing Hallelujah, read on.
How my blog traffic rose
Look at this picture of how my blog traffic rose yesterday (February 12, 2010). As you can see, my visitor traffic has always hovered well below fifty visitors per day. Probably closer to thirty. But yesterday, there was a spike. Above 200 visitors. Amazing!
Now look at this image of my number one placing out of 6,750 on Google for a search "kd lang sings at olympics". This is only one search term. There are over 250 search term combinations that people are finding my blog through that are related to lang's performance at the Olympics....and growing.
Those are only the statistics from yesterday. Today, my traffic is even much higher, but I will not know exactly how high until the day is complete and I can check my Google Analytics report.
How easy is it to post video to your blog?
It's easy. Very very easy.
It takes only minutes.
How do you do it?
First, find a video on YouTube that you like.
Second, find the "embed" html code that is located to the right of the video as highlighted in yellow on the right of this screenshot I took from my vernongirl YouTube channel page.
Then, cut and paste that "embed" code into the html code (sometimes called the source code) of your blog post. It is that simple. And, it's legal. If someone who has posted a video on Youtube chooses to share their video, they will make sure that the "embed" html code is accessible to you. This allows you to cut and paste the code and use their videos on your blog or website. Now, how great is that?
There is advertising that comes up on the video that you have no control over, but it's worth it.
Blog about current topics and trends
This experience has taught me that it is a very good idea to be on top of current topics and trends, and to comment on them quickly on your blog if you want traffic. Sometimes it can pay off. I've been wondering when this day would come.
But it's also important to go with your heart. And since tomorrow is Valentine's Day, what a great segue into my next point about heart in sports and life and the relevancy between Cohen, lang, Hallelujah and the Olympics.
Why are k.d. lang and Hallelujah relevant to the 2010 Olympics?
This morning on Twitter, someone tweeted to me that they didn't see the relevance in lang singing about biblical infidelity.
This sparked a big discussion between me and my husband over morning coffee. He didn't see the relevancy either. So I looked up Leonard Cohen on the internet. I was pretty sure he was Canadian. (I'm not saying this tongue-in-cheek either.) Yes, I was right. According to the LeonardCohen.com website ....
"Cohen ironically describes himself as “the little Jew who wrote the Bible,”.
....He has immersed himself into Jewish culture, Christian imagery and Buddhist detachment. He believes that our human imperfections are finally what will bring us whatever transcendence we can attain." (I edited.)
Human imperfection seemed particularly relevant to me since the Georgian luger flew off the track yesterday and slammed into a pole, killing him instantly. I watched the video on the internet just before I sat down to watch the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics (but refused to send out links to it.) Human imperfection is apparent in the design of the track and the execution of the luger. Poignant. Plus Cohen is a celebrated poet and songwriter. Here is a link to Leonard Cohen's biography.
k.d. lang grew up in Alberta, but now makes her home in Los Angeles, California. An incredible talent, she is no stranger to adversity. Being a lesbian in Alberta, I'm sure, had its challenges. (I grew up in Calgary.)
But overall, Canada is an amazingly diverse country. Not only is our landscape diverse, but so are our people. We are a cultural, religious and idealism melting pot. So to have k.d lang singing a song written by a self-proclaimed Jewish poet is completely relevant.
It celebrates diversity, art, expression, freedom, overcoming obstacles and choice. Choice in religious beliefs, sexual orientation and how you will triumph over human imperfection. Isn't that what Canada is all about?
Here is a link to the original blog post that sparked this story, and my blog traffic, where you can see the video of k.d. lang performing Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. Enjoy!
p.s. I have to give credit to Danielle Laporte’s White Hot Truth blog for giving me the idea to put this video onto my site. One day, I was looking through her blog and I came across this inspirational video of k.d. lang. (I read Laporte's blog for creative inspiration.) I love inspirational women. Laporte also writes about sex. I love that in Canada you can do that. And Danielle is from British Columbia too. Go Canada!
Thanks for reading.
Courtenay Pitcher, Born in CanadaRelated posts: Automated reply system for Twitter: Antique collector and web designer unite to brand Twitter.
Here is a video tutorial on how to add your Facebook Fanpage to your Hootsuite.com account so that whenever you send a tweet from Hootsuite, you can update your Facebook Fanpage automatically.
Or, here are the written directions:Open Hootsuite.com
Social media is changing the way that real estate agents advertise. (Photo credit: The Salt Team Re/Max Real Estate Agents at The Rise overlooking Okanagan Lake in Vernon, B.C.)
Lisa Salt, Re/Max Real Estate Agent in Vernon, B.C. says, “Social media is the main focus of the speakers and panels right now at all of the industry trade shows and conferences I’ve attended. Everybody is using it to differing levels. The people who are doing it well have a system in place to make sure everything is updated every few days. They have information going on everything: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc..”
Re/Max has brought in a number of social media professionals to give people an idea of what users of social media are expecting, who the audiences are, and a little idea of how to start with it.
“I’ve had a few realtors call me and pick my brain. We’re starting, but we’re still feeling our way around. We could do so much better. I can’t say I’ve had x number of sales from social media. Two people contacted me directly through Facebook. One Re/Max referral came directly from LinkedIn. We’re in the beginning stages. It’s a long term effort.” says Salt.
Salt is using Youtube to post video tours of houses she has listed. She says, “Sellers are impressed when their house is on Youtube.” She also posts other videos about local schools and is slated to post videos with beaches, parks, golf courses and lakeshore developments.
“Social media helps us create connections and give our listing clients more exposure. We’re able to contact way more buyers. If you’re not there, it’s going to be a problem.” she says. “The realtors who use social media will be the ones that shine in the next five years. Then it’ll be something else, or it’ll look different in five years.”
That being said, Salt knows realtors who have advertised on Facebook, but have discontinued it. She hasn’t made a commitment to advertising with Facebook yet. But she has been using Twitter and blogging for around the past six months. She is following Steve & Greg Hamre Re/Max agents out of Ottawa on Twitter because she thinks they are doing a good job.
As far as her predictions for Spring/Summer real estate in Vernon, B.C., she says, “I think the market has stopped falling. We’ll see a more balanced market with a one to three percent growth. More back to what we would consider to be normal. Nice and calm. Not a buyers or a seller’s market.”
In terms of traditional marketing, she comments, “Some sellers expect us to have their houses in the newspapers. It’s tough to get rid of what we’ve been doing. Social media doesn’t cost a lot in dollars, but it does cost in time. Re/Max is looking at putting out a monthly booklet rather than have it hodgepodge in the paper every week. It’ll help with the transition to get away from the paper and move forward with online and social media. We’ll advertise with them [the newspaper] in a different way.”
There are six licensed realtors and two unlicensed realtors with The Salt Team(including Lisa Salt and Gord Fowler).
Thanks for reading!
An interview with Mitch Joel, President, Twist Image and Author of "Six Pixels of Separation" as part of the TVO series in an
online Podcast called Digital U.
In this video, you can hear Mitch Joel’s discourse about:
Thanks for reading!
Courtenay Pitcher, Digital Facilitator
Despite an eighty-two year old law that prevents cross-provincial shipping of wine in Canada, Gray Monk Estate Winery in Okanagan Centre, British Columbia is focusing more marketing dollars to Twitter, Facebook and on-line publications and cutting back on traditional marketing like magazines and newspapers.Steven Heiss of Gray Monk Estate Winery says, “We are changing our focus. It’s instant, you don’t have to wait to get the information on line. Plus there is the green side of it too, saving some paper and ink.”
That’s a very humble statement from a third generation member of a very successful and respected wine-making family. His parents Trudy and George Heiss established the Gray Monk Estate Winery in 1972 and his grandparents started a vineyard, first, up the road. The family produces some of the world's finest wines from a breath-taking fifty acre vineyard overlooking Okanagan Lake. The Grapevine Restaurant has a seating capacity of 50 patrons. There is an on-site gift shop and wine tours. It seems to me, they have plenty interesting stuff to tweet about.
Courtenay Pitcher, lover of anything Gray Monk and wine writer wannabe
Follow me on Twitter @vernongirl
Listing your website on the tweet saves your followers, or potential followers a step or two in getting to your website, thereby increasing traffic.TweetBrand is the tip of the larger iceberg, a product (to be named soon), which will launch the third week of January 2010. Both applications are part of the company MarketMeTweet.
Courtenay Pitcher, Twitter Conversation Starter
Sabra Mottram is a Designer who makes earrings, cuffs, one of a kind handbags and moccasins out of leather. She launched her design career, Sabra Mottram Designs, a little over one year ago on Facebook. She says, "I started off displaying the things I make on Facebook for my own satisfaction in an album called: Things I Make. I made a bag for a friend on her birthday. Friends of mine would say, "I want one." The more bags that I put up on Facebook, the more orders I got." Now, she has a website, Facebook Fan page, Twitter account and blog. Avenue Magazine, last October, featured a bag of Sabra's as part of the Style section. Calgary Fashion has accepted her as one of their top designers. (Pictured above: Littlest Hobo Airporting Bag by Sabra Mottram Designs. Photo credit: Sanja Lukač)
In 2010 she plans to be part of Alberta Fashion Week and Vancouver Fashion week. "I will have two launches this year. I am going to be adding some clothing to my collection. Most likely some leather, but other fashions as well. The clothing line will be extremely small to start, but it will grow." she says.
Sabra Mottram's current collection is the Fall/Winter 2009 Collection. She hopped a plane in Calgary last Fall and flew to Italy where she hand picked the leather hides at Primorepelli, a leather distributor in Fucecchio (about half an hour from Florence) in the heart of the tannery district of Tuscany where fine Italian leather comes from.
"I picked good Fall/Winter colours I like and staples like black. After my trip to Italy I came up with new designs and decided to change the style of the bags slightly. I created three new patterns, cut out templates and starting sewing. I made a Hard Bag Overnighter style, Saddle Bag style and a completely Hard Bag which is a men's style. I also use Lindsey handbags which are Tandy Kits I stamp and carve myself with designs I make or use stencils for." she says.
(Pictured above: Swallow Lindsey handbag with custom design by Sabra Mottram Designs. Photo credit: Sanja Lukač)
The collection has a lot of appliques, which is the biggest change from the last collection. The collection was inspired by Nice, France and Pisa near Florence, Italy. Sabra says, "I went to Pisa and looked at the architecture in Florence. The architecture was classic looking and there was lots of French influence. I started the collection with one I made for myself, the Fleur de Lis of Florence. It has Fleur de Lis pull tags for the zippers and a large Florence Fleur de Lis on the side of the bag. It is named in French because I was going to France and Italy. I kind of tie things together."
(Pictured above: Larsen B Saddlebag by Sabra Mottram Designs. Photo credit: Sabra Mottram Designs)
All of her bags are named by their unique attributes. For example, she made a bag with white patent leather with holes and a turquoise back side. It reminded her of the Larsen B Ice Shelf that dissolved recently. It comes with wooden nautical-looking accoutrements for the zipper pulls.
She purchases all the material for the satin and lace interior linings of her handbags in Calgary. She chooses lace that accentuates the satin and buys enough satin lining for two or three bags only. "I don't purchase too many materials at once because I do things as one of a kind, so it doesn't go out of fashion. I get bored with styles rather quickly." she says.
Most of her bags have been sold to friends and family, but recently a Calgary Flames player's wife purchased one and and she sold two custom ordered bags to a company as parting gifts for two male employees. "I had one men's bag already made, and I got the call. I asked the client what the bags were for and she told me she wanted a unique one of a kind gift. I ran to Tandy to purchase some leather that was more metropolitan and less rustic to show her. She ordered two."
Sabra has received many orders through Facebook from friends and family. Sabra remarks, "People want to buy local and from people they know. They like to support the Arts Community in Calgary, small endeavours, and the barter system."
Using Facebook, she announces art and fashion shows that she is at or is involved in. "Facebook events are easy because I can upload a picture, give all the details and send it out to everyone in my Facebook, as well as people in my email who are not on Facebook."
She has a Facebook Fan Page for Sabra Mottram Designs in addition to her personal page, which is only for close friends and family. "I have 51 fans. It has brought people from the public into my circle who are not my friends or family. They are friends of friends who I wouldn't normally have access to."
The barter system also works for Sabra. She put a request to exchange photography for a handbag on Facebook. "I got 5 replies immediately and the first I liked I went with." she says.
Using iWeb on her Mac laptop, Sabra created her website through painstaking hours of trial and error. The website features a Gallery to view her handbags in a slideshow format and Shop where purchases can be made by Paypal. Instead of going through MobileMe for hosting, she purchased hosting through Go Daddy. The clean design templates of iWeb suited her style and matched her brand which is her SM signature stamped on all tags and dust jackets for each handbag hand-sewn by her. Every bag is named individually, so it is a one of a kind collector's item. "Most designers use their name as their brand." she says.
Her fan page on Facebook automatically updates her Twitter. If she posts photos to her Fan Page on Facebook, a tweet is sent. For example: I posted 13 photos on Facebook in the album "AW09" http://bit.ly/8YdHw.
Fearless in the social media realm, she just launched Sabra Mottram Design's Blog on Wordpress discussing the archaeology of style. Sabra is a University of Calgary graduate with a B. Sc. in Archaeology. She says. "Nothing is really an original idea in reality. Styles change through time, they come and go, ballooning out like a battleship curve and then fading away again. You can see aspects of certain styles that have carried through more than just costuming, but in small elements as well."Sabra's designs are featured on a blog for a store called Worth. She keeps the bags in that store to sell at retail but if one sells through Facebook or other methods, she can pull them out any time because they are on consignment.
"When I was a little girl, I was sick a lot, so I used to stay at home with my mom. My mom taught me how to use a sewing machine.I always wanted to make drawstring handbags like Polly Pocket or Anne of Green Gables. I stopped sewing things for a while because I had so many problems with the bobbins. Instead, I began to bead things and make costumes from scratch." she says.
Sabra was an Account Manager for a sub-prime lender up until about a year and a half ago. When the financial crises hit, she was laid off immediately. She took a watercolour painting class, woodworking class and ceramics class. She says, "My creativity spilled out into new areas where I wanted to work with leather. My grandfather on my mom's side was a leather saddle maker, and on my other side of the family, the Mottrams, they were leather makers. I bought a turquoise deer hide to make a vest and couldn't find a pattern I liked, so I got bored and decided to turn it into a handbag. My friends on Facebook wanted me to make them one."
Sabra follows Fashion Television on Twitter so Jeanne Beker will some day find out about her. There is lots on the horizon, so it's really exciting. And this is just in one year. In three years, I'll be in London."
Sabra's website: http://sabramottramdesigns.ca/Sabra_Mottram_Designs/Home.html
Sabra on Twitter: http://twitter.com/sabramottram
Sabra's Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabra-Mottram/117153635506
Thanks for reading!
Courtenay Pitcher, Sabra's biggest fan
Jenelle Turpin (pictured above with MP Ron Cannan in front of an Antonov) is the Airport Communications Coordinator, Community & Media Relations, for the Kelowna International Airport. She is at the forefront of her industry for using Twitter as a communications tool, pushing the envelope of this medium to make a difference in the government sector to the airport’s passengers and business tenants, the economic development of the Okanagan region and even brides and grooms who want to be married at the airport.
Her experience with traditional media, organizing events for dignitaries such as Wayne Gretzky, Desmond Tutu and Adrienne Clarkson and her determination to find a way to get the job done (learned while wearing Army boots), help her find and implement creative social media techniques like Twitter, Facebook and Flickr for public relations, airport communications, emergency response, marketing and customer service.
Before taking the leap into social media, Jenelle wrote up a social media plan. “I needed to explain it and get the buy-in from management which at the airport was an easy sell.” she says. She started Twitter on September 8, 2009 and her goal was to have one hundred followers by October 30th, 2009. “By October 1st I had my first one hundred followers. It’s a strange concept, this social media, it’s like you’re asking for stalkers. If I have five hundred I’ll be so excited. I think five hundred is a good sampling of people using the airport.”
Frustration with Facebook’s inability to provide customer service on setting up a simple fan page for the airport has moved her social media efforts into communicating in 140 characters on Twitter. Although she is disappointed in Facebook, who she has been emailing since September 2009 to get approval as an airport organization, and with no response from them, she likes using Twitter.
“I’m not promoting Facebook as much as Twitter. I’m surprised, because I wanted to focus on Facebook, but it’s not as easy or convenient. I like to explain things [she says putting the emphasis on explain, as if it’s a very long word]. I’m long-winded so it’s hard to explain in 140 characters. Writing on Twitter is still is a whole new culture and this is one portion of my job.” she remarks.
Jenelle says, “I saw not a negative side, but a surprising side of Twitter when we had an incident. A while ago, a Cessna crashed just outside the property at 9:59 a.m.. Thirty-one minutes later when I got back to my computer, I realized a media outlet had heard a radio transfer about the crash and they started tweeting at 9:59 a.m. Then others started tweeting. The media outlet suspected a death. It was twenty-five minutes before it was clarified by the same media outlet on site that there was no death or injuries. That can be dangerous, because what if the family saw that? In future I know to keep a closer eye on it. If I have a majour incident, I will have a staff person assigned just to watch social media outlets and get direction from me. If out of context they can let me know.”
Jenelle proves that social media really can build relationships. Jenelle was seeing complaining tweets from an influential person who follows the wine industry quite closely, about flying in general. “I tweeted to her that there is wine tasting in the wine shop or she could buy a flight of wine at the Wine Café – a new expansion we added in. She was much happier and it turned a negative into a positive.”
“I try to follow
every one of the airports we fly to [on Twitter], all airlines as well as other
airports to see what they’re up to. Horizon Air, Air Canada
with other airports on Twitter. One day the weather was bad and snowing in Calgary and flights were
delayed. “I sent a tweet to one of my contacts at the
If I notice
people talking on Twitter, I see how flights are running. I will tell them if
they are late or on time and remind them that if they are picking people up or
dropping off that there is free fifteen minute parking in the short term
parking lot. I will tell them if it’s raining or cold to remember the free
courtesy ride to the terminal when parking in the long term lot. And with the
holiday season what they can or can’t take on the flights, packing smart links,
and shuttle rides right from
Jenelle uses Twitter to send media releases. “Media are great ones to follow and they follow me. Don’t just send your media release out by fax or email, but link them and have an attachment on Twitter.” she says
Jenelle will also take photos of their new gift shops and drag them onto Tweetdeck. And she tweets out links to their Kelowna International Airport Magazine YLW Connection.
In traditional media for years, Jenelle began her career with the Military Police. She was with them for six years and she found herself speaking to school and youth groups and doing many public relations related roles with the military. That positivity appealed to her so she did some research and determined to take a career path that would offer her the chance to make a difference. She then became Public Affairs Officer.
When she was with the Edmonton Army/Airforce base, which was becoming the western headquarters for the Army, the business community tapped into her military knowledge. She said, “I found there was great opportunity to work in business. I was expecting my first child. Wearing army boots and going away for six months didn’t appeal to me.”
After ten years
with the military, she began working for the
Her proudest moment was her role in the Desmond Tutu event. All of the events planned for his visit were paid venues. The Edmonton Mayor at the time wanted Desmond Tutu to hold a public event. So Jenelle proposed the idea to invite school children to ask questions to the Nobel peace prize winner. She said, “Questions were submitted and vetted, and they would get up to the microphone and ask questions and Tutu would respond. He accepted only our idea and ours was the only free event to the public. It was a phenomenal event. School children across the city were invited.”
(photo above: Jenelle Turpin at a Valley Wide Chamber event promoting the Kelowna International Airport)
About six years
ago she landed a short-term contract with
industry is constantly changing. I work with three levels of government and the
business community who are our tenants. We need them and they need us. For
example, Kelowna Flightcraft brings in revenue and employment. When we extended
the runway, the Antonov (in this case the world's second largest fixed-wing aircraft) flew non-stop from
We also have our
passengers. They live here [in the Okanagan] for the lifestyle, but they work
elsewhere. One point four million passengers go through
Many go at 6:00
a.m. Monday to
Jenelle is a graduate of Grant McEwan University and a member of the International Association of Business Communicators, BC chapter. She says, “It’s a great organization of communicators.”
Thanks for reading! I look forward to your comments on this article.
Courtenay Pitcher, Travel wannabe and Social media maven
Find me on Twitter
Here is a quick Twitter video (less than four minutes long), showing you two time-saving automated features you can tap into through Socialoomph online software:
1. Auto Follow: automatically follow any new followers.
2. Auto Direct Message: send a quick welcome message to new followers.
My personal philosophy is to follow everyone who follows me. I think it is a nice courtesy. So the auto follow feature in Socialoomph's online software is a great tool for me.
As for Direct Messages, some people don't read them, but some people do (maybe 10%). So if you want to send one, automating them is convenient.
Do you think either of these tools are useful? I look forward to your comments.
Here is the video:
If for some reason, you can't see the video, click into my Youtube site.
Thanks for watching and reading!
Twitter efficiency expert
Find me on Twitter @vernongirl
Video on how to upload tweets and schedule them later using Socialoomph.com
Why you should follow absolutely everybody on Twitter - even the annoying ones.
Driving economic development, promoting members, attracting new members, getting donors and sponsorships, selling event tickets and building relationships are just a few ways Twitter is helping Val Trevis, General Manager of the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce in Vernon, B.C.
Val Trevis, Manager of the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce (GVCC), started looking at social media (Facebook, Twitter) at the end of 2008. The GVCC signed up for Facebook, but ran into issues about privacy and posting pictures. So they kept the Facebook site active, but not proactive.
Val says, "One
of the most
valuable things I learned from Scott Davis, is that you have to be
human on Twitter." That is one of the reasons why Val did not set up an
automated message on Twitter, why she does her own tweets and why she often retweets her members and, even, non-members.
Val says that it has also created a network in Vancouver who want to have accessibility to the Vernon market. One Vancouver company sent two gift certificates worth $1800 when Val put a call out for donations on Twitter for GVCC's upcoming Christmas party. She says, "I've done over $2200 worth of business this week alone, selling tickets for the Christmas Party and getting door prizes for the Chamber, on Twitter."Val is now working on a "Tweet Up". This will be an event to get members and non-members into one room to discuss Twitter and how it can benefit their businesses, provide Twitter training, introduce the Chamber benefits to non-members, get examples of how Twitter has helped local businesses and allow the Twitter community to connect with one another.
She says, "I tell businesses that you can isolate yourselves. Or, you can expand and look outside your boundaries of who can support. I am a huge proponent for shopping local, but try to draw people to your business from outside your community."
One board member asked Val why she was spending so much time on Twitter. Val asked the board member to try to understand Twitter, think about the role of the chamber and connect the dots. The board member got it.
"My husband says I'm a Twitter junkie. It's social. I don't have TV. I look for news on Twitter, email or the web. In that way, I'm never really off the clock," Val says. The GVCC just hit one thousand tweets, something Val is very proud of.
Val says, "We are looking at
working with a social media college student to help us with Facebook
and Twitter. We want to know what else we can do that we're not already
doing." Val, at one time an anti-blog proponent, is also looking at blogging as a potential social media marketing opportunity.
A couple of weeks ago, Val wrote a Morning Star Article called "Unsung heroes" about how volunteers are the backbone of our community. She said, "I tweeted out a link to it and got two responses from New York, one from Columbia, one from Boston and one from the UK. They all said it was a great article. To think that people retweeted a local column written for our little Chamber in our community makes me think that blogging is no longer a bad idea too."
Membership has its benefits. Join the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce. (I just joined today.)
Thanks for reading!
Courtenay Pitcher, brand spanking new Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce member and Twitter touter too.
One of the direct messages greeting me yesterday in my Twitter inbox said, "Your direct message was received but we do NOT read DMs for this account. If you do want to contact us via Twitter, use the @TMpodcast."
Now, either this is a very clever way to get people to reply to this company (and hence push up their followers and exposure), or direct messages are on their way into the grave.
Maybe, they've already been put in the ground and buried?
Actually, @TMpodcast told me on Tweetdeck, through a reply, that "...95% of all our DM's are spam. At least with email we can filter."
I liked direct messages when I started tweeting. They felt kind of personal and intimate. Then, I realized I could set up an auto direct message to new followers thanking them for following. In fact, my direct message to new followers says, "Thanks for the follow! Watch for twitter tips and Vernon, BC info on Vernon Girl . I send it using a software called Socialoomph.
When I discovered another software named Tweet Adder, I realized that users can filter out all direct messages that contain links.
So, are direct messages on their way out?
I think they are still powerful with new Twitter users who are unjaded. I have to admit, I still look forward to piling through them in my in-box to get a quick overview of who is following me and how many followers they have, even though there is a column in Tweetdeck for new followers.
If you want to give some life-support to your direct messages, I would recommend leaving out your link.
(I'm going into my autobot now to delete mine.) That way your direct message won't be filtered out by software like Tweet Adder.
Also, I find it nice when people personalize their direct message.
If you put my name in a direct message, it feels like it is actually meant for me and it isn't an autobot.
But, like one of my readers commented on this controversial article about direct messages, Twitter is a platform for having public conversations. So don't rely too much on direct messages. Use the reply or retweet buttons instead.
Thanks for reading!Bookmark this on Delicious
(If you're not a ski product or a ski destination, read on. This article, and its accompanying video, can still apply to your product or service no matter what you sell.)
Ski destinations, snowboard shops, ski manufacturers, or ski magazines will be really intrigued by this video on how to use a program called Tweet Adder to find new people to follow on Twitter. Why? Because the more new people you follow, the more they might follow you back.
Following others doesn't guarantee they will follow you back, but at least when you do begin following someone, it sends up a smoke signal to them that says, "Hey, look at me".
In this video, I perform a search to find people who tweeted about the word "ski" in the last 5 days to demonstrate the ability of the Tweet Adder software to quickly and easily pull up the user id's of Twitter followers who tweeted about "ski". The same search principal can be applied with any word, depending on the topic, service or product you are interested in. See how it's done using the word "ski" and then try it for yourself by downloading Tweet Adder's free trial. Enter in the key tweet word you want to search and see how many people you can begin following.
Thank you for reading and watching!
Courtenay Pitcher, Powder skier and Twitter trainer
My book, Secrets of Internet Marketing: Streamline, promote, communicate and sell more effectively on-line is a 170 page paperback. It's now available in .pdf, with chapter links, for cheap. Just $1.95 USD. Yes, that's under two bucks.
Yesterday, I was looking this book over, that I wrote and published in 2003, and it is still a great read. I originally only printed 100 books. Today, those original books sell through used booksellers online (for more than triple what I originally sold them for) as rare, out-of-print books.
The introduction to the book gives a little history about me. It tells you how I began selling adult novelties (a.k.a. marital aids, bedroom toys, sex toys) on-line in the early internet days, twelve years ago. This part is really quite revealing (so to speak). If I've already captured your attention, there is a buy button at the bottom of this story. If not, read on (if you can concentrate that is, ha ha ha).
The book is somewhat historical, because it has some references to people getting started in using email and the internet that seem kind of funny today. It also has a very good overview of H'obbe's Internet Timeline, written in layperson's language. As well as other details, this timeline includes when the Queen of England sent her first email, when Amazon launched its business plan for an online store, and when "surfing" the internet became available for everyone through browsers.
What I also still like about my book is the section on analytics (Strategy eight: tracking your success) and how you can use them to track your website traffic and make improvements to your internet marketing. Now, I use Google Analytics for free and it gives me great daily reports on my blog traffic, traffic coming in from search engines, traffic coming in from Twitter, the types of searches people are finding me from, and so on. If you have a website or a blog, I highly recommend that you incorporate Google Analytics. If you want insight into what their reports mean, you should read that section of my book.
Strategy One: Determine your objectives, is still relevant and helpful. It talks about your overall marketing strategy and what you want your internet marketing to achieve. These concepts still apply today, whether you are marketing on Twitter, Facebook, blogs or through your website and traditional media.
The section about Strategy Three: Gather text, is also still a great one for giving you ideas on how to get content for your website. I've personally seen how new content gets me Twitter followers and traffic and increases my credibility. In fact, just this week, I did a lucrative training session with a Kelowna business on how to use social media tools. I attribute it solely to publishing new stories on my blog this past month. They were so happy with the training, they gave me a nummy almond flavoured coffee on my way out the door, a hug, and a cheque. Now, those are the kind of results you want from putting good content on your blog or website. (Okanagan wine and dark chocolate would be good too.)
If you are a brand new internet marketer, you will find that this book will give you many ideas on how to develop your website. Even experienced professional internet marketers will find Strategy Seven: Promotion helpful. In that section, I talk about media relations and how to feed the press with stories about your business. There is nothing better than good press to push your site traffic and Twitter followers up.
If you are a professional internet marketer, you'll probably get a kick out of reading this book. It will take you back a few years and you'll say to yourself, "I remember that. Wow, that's different now". If you do read it, I'd love your comments about it on how things have changed, or what sections you think are still helpful and relevant to those new (and old) to internet marketing.
The .pdf is $1.95 USD, and I will email it to you. It is laid out in chapters and you can connect to various parts of the book from the table of contents through links. (There is a buy button at the bottom of this Table of Contents.)
Here is the Table of Contents:
Internet Marketing History
Strategy One Determine Your Objective
What is Internet Marketing?
Leave it to the pros!
Internet Marketing Manager
Give Your Customer A Reason To Visit
Who Benefits From Internet Marketing
Consider Your Timeline
Don’t get e-screwed!
Summary of Strategy One Determine Your Objective
Strategy Two Gather Images
Images – Graphics
Hire a Photographer
How to choose a Photographer
Setting Up a Photo Shoot With Models
Getting Extra Mileage From Your Images
Dressing your models for a photo shoot
Using the right model for your target market
Go digital and do it yourself
Product shots with a digital camera
Maintain a portfolio
Give credit where credit is due
Supplying Files To The Webmaster
Size – Bigger is Better
Not all scanners are made equal
Summary of Strategy Two Gather Images
Strategy Three Gather Text
How To Get Text
Hire a copywriter
What Text To Include
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Business, Training or Franchise Opportunities
Sample Mission Statements
Community Involvement and Sponsorships
Format & Content
Issue, Volume Number & Date
Summary of Strategy Three Gather Text
Strategy Four Digital Asset Management & Delivery Systems
Digital Asset Management
Store Finder or Store Locator
Summary of Strategy Four Digital Asset Management & Delivery Systems
Strategy Five Send it to Bid
Graphic Design For A Static Site
Photography and Illustrations
Databases (shopping carts, etc.)
Credit Card Processing
Website Tracking & Statistics
Detailed Web Statistics
POP3 Email Aliases
Email Virus Scanner
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP Mail)
Email Control Panel
Raw Log Files
Perl Support & PHP Support
Password Protect Directories
Weekly and Daily Backup
30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Summary of Strategy Five Send It To Bid
Strategy Six Construction & Presentation
Meeting With The Web Design Team
Incorporating all Images and Text
Under Construction Process
Back It Up
Timeline, Pricing, Terms
Summary of Strategy Six Construction & Presentation
Strategy Seven Promotion
What Is A Domain Name
How To Register A Domain Name
How To Choose A Good Domain Name
How To Purchase A Domain Name
How To Park A Domain Name
Top Search Engines
Submitting To Search Engines
Checking Your Rank
What is a good Rank?
Ranking high – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
Fixing Low Rankings
Questions To Ask To Determine The Best Banner
Advertising For Your Company
Ask Customers To Bookmark Your Page
Involve Your Audience
Sell Something New For Cheap
Community Shopping Malls On-Line
Associations – Trade Related Sites
Media Release To Announce The Site
Summary of Strategy Seven Promotion
Strategy Eight Tracking Your Success
Search Engine Reports
Most Requested Pages
Average time spent on the site
Other Items Which Can Be Tracked
Summary of Strategy Eight Tracking Your Success
Strategy Nine Maintenance
Useful Information, Resources & Suggested Surfing
The following video shows you how to upload a list of tweets from a simple .txt file and schedule them to go out at a future time using an online software program called Socialoomph.com.
If you found this video helpful, please post a comment on my blog.
Thanks for watching!
Courtenay Pitcher, Socialoomph cheerleader
While some businesses have few employees, others have many with a very diverse range of products, departments and services. That means that engaging in Twitter marketing may mean that you enlist several people in your Twitter strategy, or just a few. Whether you pay people to Twitter, do it yourself, or get volunteers like Avaya did, there are many roles and job descriptions to consider. You may need to cover them all yourself, or with a couple of staff or volunteers, if your business is small. But, if your business is large, or diverse, you may consider a few people. I've made up some job titles and job descriptions below, in no particular order. Who knows, they may catch on. Primarily, though, the idea is to give you an outline of the various tasks involved in Twitter marketing and how they can be divided.
Direct Message Monitor: Someone who monitors direct messages that come into your Twitter "in box" and replies to them or deletes them. While many direct messages are generated by autobots, there are still several genuine ones that ask questions and sometimes need a response. This person doesn't mind pouring through endless amounts of tedious information to find a few gems.
Retweeter: Watches followers and people you are following to see if there is good information to Retweet. This position builds a lot of goodwill with the people you retweet, and establishes your company as a helpful source of already-posted information. Retweeting is an important task, because it keeps your company top of mind in the Twitter feed if done regularly and pushes helpful information to those who follow you. Often, this person may have to be good at editing, because most people's tweets are just a bit too long to retweet, and may need to be shortened.
Tweet Scheduler: The person with this responsibility will source information that is coming up and schedule it to be tweeted in the future using a software such as one I've found effective: Socialoomph. Events, event reminders, regularly scheduled classes that repeat, useful tips, jokes or whatever you can think of can be scheduled to go out on certain days in the future so that you have a presence on Twitter at all times, but don't physically have to be pressing the tweet button. This role requires attention to detail, the ability to use online software, and someone comfortable with going between online software programs. A computer-literate administrative or marketing assistant would most likely be ideal for this position.
Link promoter: This position involves writing catchy tweets that promote links to content within your website, websites of your suppliers or partners, or even other sites. The primary purpose of this position is to provide information of value to your followers and push traffic into your website. The secondary purpose is to provide links to information that may be helpful to your followers. Thirdly, these links could push traffic into your supplier or partner websites, thus upping the traffic to your partner's sites and further reinforcing your connection and relationship to them. This person most likely has writing skills or is in marketing. They also enjoy reading and understand which information will further the company's goals and objectives if promoted.
Live Tweeter (also known as Top-Of-Minder): This is probably one of the most important Twitter positions to hold. He or she monitors various conversations, may follow groups of people or watches out for tweets using specific words. For example, they may monitor when your company is mentioned, or when your product or a similar product is mentioned. This person is listening, reading and watching, and then is commenting in an intelligent and timely way (ie: within minutes of the tweet). They've got their finger on the pulse and are truly involved in the Twitter stream. They've got experience in your business and understand your industry well. They keep you top-of-mind with your followers by being in front of them consistently.
Writer/Blogger: This position involves writing keyword rich content for your website, on a regular basis, that can be tweeted out. There is nothing more powerful on Twitter, and for search engine positioning, than new, relevant, intelligent content. Content is "queen" when it comes to attracting followers, getting people into your site and being listed on search engines. The writer/blogger is creative, has constant new ideas, understands your unique selling points, your goals and objectives and how to get an edge up over your competition in the search engines.
Graphic designer: This artistic individual will create a custom Twitter background page for you and pretty pictures or diagrams for your blog or website.
Stakeholder: The business owner or entrepreneur, probably you, who comes up with the overall Twitter vision, objectives or goals and then decides who to hire, consult, rope-in or volunteer to develop Twitter tactics and execute the Twitter marketing strategy.
Outside marketing strategist: Someone from a marketing company, internet marketing company or advertising agency who advises you, the Stakeholder, on new technology or ideas about how to use Twitter.
Twitter statistician: This analytical type enjoys statistics. They make sure you have some sort of tracking system in your blog or website, like google analytics, a free system to track your traffic and generate reports about which articles are giving good push to your website or blog, where your visitors are coming from (search engines, organic searches, Twitter, bity links), how many page views or unique visitors you are getting, how long people are staying on your site and top landing and exit pages.
Follow Automation Technician: This person, who is comfortable using databases and software, is responsible for finding individuals to follow (in the hope they'll follow back) that fit according to the Stakeholder's vision. They seek out individuals (based on geography, profile information, or tweet content) who fit the mold, so to speak, of the ideal client. Because this process can be automated using Tweet Adder, the person in this role needs to feel comfortable using database-type software. In this role, they also determine who to unfollow. This position would marry itself well with the Twitter statistician, since it also entails following conversion ratios on follows to followers.
Twitter sales follow-up: This is the person who follows up on any great leads generated by Twitter and converts them to a sale. In the Avaya example mentioned on the site SocialMediaExaminer.com, one tweet led to a $250,000 sale. Twitter is not to be underestimated.
There are probably some job titles and descriptions I've not thought of, so if you can think of others, please post a comment on this blog.
Thank you for reading!
cheers, Courtenay Pitcher, Twitter job title and job description crafter extraordinaire
When Melissa Fowler, Re/Max Real Estate agent of Calgary, Alberta approached me to develop a new logo and tagline for her, I was delighted. Here is a quick story about how we strategized about the tagline and the imagery we would use.
Melissa Fowler has been in real estate for a number of years in Calgary. She is a second generation real estate agent, following in the footsteps of her father Gord Fowler, a well-known real estate agent in Calgary, Alberta who now makes his home in Vernon, B.C. and is part owner in the Salt Team with Lisa Salt, his wife, of Re/Max Vernon.
First, I met with Melissa by phone. I asked her who her ideal customers were and how she pictured herself. She mentioned that she wanted to be known as a cutting-edge agent who uses social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to market her client's homes. Also, that she truly cares about her customers. What she was most proud of, however, was that fact that her father still has such a good reputation as an agent in Calgary, that often times she'll be asked by a prospective new client if she is related to Gord and, "How is he doing". Then, she'll hear stories about how he helped them choose their first home, or how he helped them sell.
As a Marketing Strategist, I wanted that pride to translate into her new tagline. "What is a tagline?" you ask. A tagline is a short statement after your company name that quickly and succinctly tells your customers and prospects exactly what you're about. It's a feeling. It's a bold statement. It implies your values or what is important to you. It is also a statement that positions you against your competitors, or sets you apart in the minds of your customers.
Here is what we came up with.....drum roll please...... "The Next Generation"
This statement, first off, lets us know that Melissa Fowler is indeed related to Gord Fowler. Next, it tells us she is leading-edge. It implies that she is using the latest technological and social media tools available to market, which is one of the main objectives of a great real estate agent. Thirdly, for anyone who is thinking about tearing down their old bungalow and putting an infill in, which is so popular in Calgary, it implies that the next generation of home can be accomplished. Fourthly, it speaks to those young professionals who are either thinking about having children, or have just had them, and are looking for a larger home.
Once the tagline was established, we moved on to an image for her company, also known as a logo or icon. We chose a font that looked fast and next generation-like for the main word that we wanted everyone to see: "Fowler". We used really easy-to-read fonts (typeface) for the rest. And we came up with a futuristic looking building on top of them all. Most important, was that this logo would be easily read on real estate signs.
We made over 27 designs for her to choose from, and then refined them from there. We had the first 5 designs to her within 48 hours of our very first telephone meeting. The whole process took less than 30 days from start to finish.
Here is the final result of the blue version of the logo:
Once the logo was complete, we created it in black on white, white on black and red and blue, for marketing in other materials. Here is the black on white version:
Plus, we provided Melissa with the logo in .psd, .jpg, .ai, .pdf and .eps formats so that she could easily email the files to her printing partners in one single zip file to work with the format of their choice, depending on the size, colour and software they were using.
How do you like it? I would love to have your comments back right in my blog comments section.
For your next logo or tagline, please think of my company, Lava Marketing, to design it for you. The cost is way less than you probably think and I've been doing this for over ten years now.
Thanks for reading.
Courtenay Pitcher, tagline writer extraordinaire
Owner of Lava Marketing & VernonGirl.com
This morning, when I arrived at my desk, I had a direct message from them that said something to the effect of: Thank you for using Blenz in your tweet. You have won. Claim your prize with this code.
Then, I was given a link to a page that asked my prize code, name, address, email, twitter handle and if I would like to receive notifications and specials from them. I was also told that my five dollar pre-loaded gift card would arrive in the mail soon. And, "Tell your friends."
There was also a space for comments, so I told them their new location on Anderson way across from Superstore is lovely and I really enjoyed my dark chocolate latte there last week.
Now, don't you think that Blenz coffee got an awful lot of information from me in exchange for giving me a pre-loaded five dollar gift card and contacting me through direct message on Twitter?
They are doing a brilliant job at Twitter marketing and this case study should serve as one example of how you can reward potential clients for following you on Twitter. It also emphasizes how Twitter can open the door to creating a relationship with people, and building a database. Direct messages through Twitter offer you another way to communicate with, and market to, potential clients.
Do you want to create an effective Twitter marketing strategy? I provide a 14 day free trial.
Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/vernongirl
Thanks for reading,
Courtenay Pitcher, Twitter Marketing Strategist and dark chocoholic
Vernon, B.C. - Lava Marketing launched a new pay for tweet service today for businesses who do not have the time, interest or tools to tweet.
Twitter is one of the four top social media marketing tools that business owners new into social media want to become involved in, but many business owners are not sure how to tweet or how Twitter applies to their business. A tweet is a short marketing message, 140 characters or less, that keeps a business top of mind in Twitter, or pushes traffic to the website of that business. It is an ideal medium for offering time limited specials, news, events or new products. It is also proving to be a great way to find new clients, make sales and share information.
Courtenay Pitcher, Marketing Strategist and Owner of Lava Marketing, says, "The first step is for us to review the business objectives with the business owner and provide strategies around what to tweet. Then, we will find and set up followers for the business, ghost tweet interesting and relevant tweets that will further those objectives, and provide statistics on page views and clicks. We have studied the art of the Twitter and are continually reading up on it to uncover automation tools to keep the business in front of its clients and suppliers and build prospects. We have made Twitter our business so that our clients can concentrate on their business."
Lava Marketing can isolate Twitter users to follow by geographic location, tweet subject, or interests expressed in the Twitter user's profile. The company also trains users on time effective, and automated, ways to tweet, follow tweets, find and add followers, and send direct messages to new followers.
Lava Marketing is charging a small fee per tweet, with no minimum investment. The more tweets, the lower the cost per tweet. Hourly telephone coaching is also available at an hourly rate.
For pricing and information, please contact Courtenay Pitcher, Owner of Lava Marketing:
Today one of my business associates asked me how to retweet from TweetDeck.
A retweet is when you want to tweet out what someone else has tweeted to all your followers.
In Tweetdeck, you hover over the profile picture of the person you would like to retweet. Four icons will show up under your mouse where you are hovering. You click the bottom left icon that says retweet. Then, RT @username* and the message will show up in the "What are you doing" area of Tweetdeck. You can hit enter, and the retweet will show up in your Twitter feed. *The username I'm referring to here is the username of the person who sent the original tweet.
Here is an example of an original tweet that i retweeted the other day:
What often happens though, is that the person's tweet is too long. This is when I find I have to edit the tweet that I am retweeting. For example, I removed some information about Big White from his tweet since I only wanted the information relevant to Vernon, B.C. I also added the hashtag #Vernon so anyone performing a search for #Vernon would get my tweet.
Also, it's a very good idea to edit the retweet so that there are at least 20 characters remaining. The reason, is that once your tweet username is added to the retweet, the retweet may become too long. Also, if others want to retweet you, the additional room in the tweet will allow them to do this.
Here is how I retweeted the original tweet above:
@vernongirl: Big snow on both our Resorts!! Silver Star will open for Xcountry Saturday!! via @MJBallingall #Vernon
Note that rather than RT showing up at the beginning of that retweet, I edited it so that the message of the retweet showed up first, and then I added "via @MJBallingall" to the end of the retweet. That allowed my username to show up at the beginning of the tweet.
This is what the retweet looked like when others retweeted what I said:
RT @vernongirl: Big snow on both our Resorts!! Silver Star will open for Xcountry Saturday!! via @MJBallingall #Vernon
There is a Tweetdeck support forum where you can perform a search for TweetDeck questions.
Here is the entry on how to retweet from Tweetdeck.
Thanks for reading!
Twitter is the top social media marketing tool that business owners want to learn about if they are just getting underway in using social media as part of their marketing arsenal according to a social media marketing report by Michael A. Stelzner, an expert in writing white papers. Twitter is also the top tool used by 86% of the social media marketers surveyed in his report along with Blogs (79%), LinkedIn (78%) and Facebook (77%).
If you are a small business owner who is just getting underway with social media, what is your Twitter marketing strategy?
Here is what I suggest:
1) Sign up for a free Twitter account by going to the twitter sign up page.
2) Go to Hootsuite and sign up for a free account. Watch their video tour on how to use Hootsuite. Hootsuite makes it easy to track what people are saying about your business, organize your twitter streams so you can keep up with the people you are following, schedule tweets to go later, perform searches on key words and easily follow those key words continually, view statistics on how often your tweets are being opened, track your direct messages (these are messages other Twitter users send you directly and are also known as DM), track who is mentioning or "retweeting" you (also known as RT), and even set up administrative tools for your assistant to tweet for you.
(Note: a few blogs ago, I told you to use Tweetdeck for following Twitter. I still like Tweetdeck too, especially on my iphone, but I'm liking Hootsuite more now because of its ability to schedule tweets for later.)
3) Follow everyone who follows you. This allows you to Direct Message them later. Believe me....you will want to market to them as you become more sophisticated at this important social marketing tool. You can filter out the ones that annoy you using Hootsuite, so don't worry about them cluttering up your streams with noise.
4) Tell people you are on Twitter. Post a Twitter follow icon to the home page of your site, or your blog. Put your twitter handle on your business card and email signature. Announce to all of your customers and suppliers that they can follow you on Twitter. Find your customers and suppliers on Twitter and begin following them. Begin following as many people as you can. Most of them will begin following you too, which will help you build a nice new Twitter database.
5) You most likely want to use Twitter as a method for directing people into your website or blog. That means that you need to have a blog or a site that can be updated with new information quickly and easily. This needs to be in place before you can begin tweeting. Put your webmaster on notice that you'll be engaging his or her services more often for updates so you can begin your Twitter action plan.
Think of a tweet as a mini call-to-action marketing piece. Usually it has a link embedded into it that directs people to your site. One strategy of using Twitter is to get traffic to your site. However, I've also found that Twitter builds goodwill and positions you as a leader if you RT (retweet) other people's interesting tweets.
6) Begin thinking about how you can use Twitter as a useful, timely, informative tool that you can track. You want to know if it is working or not, right?
For example, can you offer specials on Twitter that you are not offering anywhere else? Yes. That is one way to track how it is working.
Can you offer time limited offers on Twitter? Definitely. Twitter is immediate.
Can you offer contests on Twitter? Yes. Radio stations are doing it. It's a smart idea.
Can you issue media releases on Twitter? The media is all over Twitter. Make sure you follow the media. They will most likely follow you back.
Can you announce events on Twitter? Events are a great reason to push people into your website or blog.
Tell your followers about new products or advances in your industry.
Give your followers information first, that they cannot get through other marketing methods. One idea that comes to mind is real estate. I'm sure that it takes a few hours to post a listing to the MLS site. At least, it used to. Maybe it's more immediate now. But with Twitter, you could notify your followers the instant a home was listed, before it was ever posted to MLS. Or, you could have spontaneous open houses, only for Twitter followers. Heck, you could even put fresh cookies in the oven and tweet it out. I'd go to an open house for fresh cookies, especially chocolate chip, wouldn't you?
One of my associates is using Twitter to announce special markdowns at the electronics store he works at. Markdowns happen every day on product that his managers want to move to make room for new stock. These markdowns are spontaneous. The manager comes by with his or her pen to the home theatre department and slashes the price in their flyer. In the past, if you were in the store, you would get the deal. Now, my associate can tweet out the deal to his followers. Twitter allows him to build a new database of prospects and offer another service to them. Instead of prospects or clients, though, now they are called "Followers". And instead of database, now they are called "Twitter users".
7) Follow your competitors on Twitter. Okay, your competitor may not let you follow. If that is the case, try to follow people in your same industry. Lurk around and read what they are saying on Twitter. Can you get any good ideas that you can use for your own business? Are they offering deals, contests, specials or information you can tap into? Pick up Twitter marketing strategies by watching other people in your industry.
Hey, don't forget to follow me eh?
Thank you for reading!
Today I was at a photo shoot helping one of my clients. This client is a very savvy marketer. I asked her if she was on Twitter. She said, "Yes I am, but I'm just not sure how to use it yet."
I was somewhat shocked at her response because I assumed that her industry (real estate) was already using Twitter. I thought Silver Star Mountain would already be using Twitter too. But their Twitter page is set up and they do not have any tweets. Followers, but no tweets yet. Weird huh? I've offered to tweet for them in exchange for free skiing on their double black diamond runs, but I guess they're at a Ski show and will get back to me. Man! If they were actually really using Twitter, I could have tweeted them.
I've been studying Twitter for nine months to try and figure it out. It wasn't until about two days ago that I watched a Guy Kawasaki video on a Blog World Expo website, when he spoke to a Vancouver, BC crowd, that it all made sense. Thank you Guy for the clarity! Guy is a Twitter guru and a hockey fan.
One of Guy's recommendations was to download http://www.TweetDeck.com and so I did. That is when the light went on! TweetDeck is free and it downloads to your desktop, so it is an application you can have on at all times. It is very cool in that you can set up columns for different groups of people in your network. I have groups set up for Vernon people, Social Media people, Mentions, Direct Messages and all people I am following. There is quite a rush when you see that something you have tweeted has been retweeted by a complete stranger, or when long lost business associates begin following you. TweetDeck makes it so much easier to understand Twitter.
Many small business owners and entrepreneurs in Vernon, B.C. Canada are like me....sort of just dipping our toes into the deep water that is Twitter. We're wondering......why?
So far, I think Twitter is useful for pushing out new information that you may not see through traditional media, or traditional search engine searches. It's also useful for following a variety of news sources. It's an excellent resource for learning about Social Media too. And, it's a fantastic way to stay in front of the media.
I've read that we should intermix some personal tweets in with the useful and helpful tweets so that we don't appear like robots. But don't put useless stuff on there too often. It gets tiring really quickly. Putting quotes of what people said gets tiring really quickly too.
Guy recommended that we sign up to SocialOomph.com http://www.socialoomph.com/90646.html so we can schedule our tweets. There is also a way to automate a thank you message on there. That way, when people begin following you, you can thank them and send them to a useful link.
I went to http://www.Twibs.com at Guy's recommendation to see how some of the largest businesses are using Twitter. That is a very cool site. Oprah is on there, along with the New York Times, Perez Hilton, you name it, and you can just start following them.
When you are tweeting, keep it fresh. New, hot, breaking news or ideas are the best. Linking your tweets to new content that you have posted to a blog is cool, because then it is original and fresh. I find a lot of useful content about social media and twitter is coming out of a new site called http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/. It just launched October 12th, but I've been subscribing to emails from some of their writers for a while.
I hope this article about tweeting has been helpful.
Please follow me on twitter. My handle is vernongirl
Cheers, Courtenay Pitcher