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On A Mission….To Do Good

Today I had the pleasure of meeting with David Comer at Iredell Christian Ministries in Statesville,NC. Iredell Christian Ministries is a food pantry and crisis center located in Historic Downtown Statesville and sees many visitors. David expressed an interest in social media exposure for this non-profit organization and that made  me think about all the options that are open to non-profits if they choose to view their surroundings in a new light. What are the options? Where should they focus their energy and what are they trying to achieve through this exposure? These are all questions I asked before giving my own ideas and suggestions. Listed below are my view points about social media marketing  in the non-profit world.

Facebook

Facebook pages are a great way to get the word out about the location, the hours and what is needed. If they are in need of canned foods, fruits and vegetables or even volunteers. This would be a great avenue to use but will it give them the maximum amount of exposure they want? Of course not. They need to do more.

Twitter

In Statesville, NC twitter might not be the best use of time or even information because of the lack of users within a mile radius. On the other hand its a great way to share information very quickly to mass audiences everywhere for funding possibilities and donations on a much larger scale, if you want to reach outside the city for exposure.

LinkedIn

We’re all familiar with this great job hub….but it’s also a useful tool to search for professionals who are in the same position as you. Search for directors of non-profits or even non-profit groups and you are surrounded by a wealth of knowledge and information you didn’t know was possible. By surrounding yourself with others in the same situation you become a mob of volunteers working together to achieve a common goal. This can all be accomplished with social media marketing as long as you know how best to use your time and efforts.

Other countless options are available but a non-profit organization needs to think about the staff, the volunteers and the time in which it takes to create and manage such a marketing strategy. It’s all completely possible for someone to volunteer such a service. Do you have your own ideas about non-profit marketing?

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Don’t Make Your Customers Feel Like A Number

Early on its important to set goals for your business’s social media accounts. I think one of the worst things you can do is check your fan page numbers to see if they’re climbing. When you start your social media presence you shouldn’t be focused on suggesting people to like your sites. This is a crucial period to build your platform so that you’re customers aren’t flooded with emails and requests to like a Facebook, Twitter or Youtube account that’s blank. Think out your social media strategy.  I’ve listed a few tips on making sure you’re customers don’t feel like numbers….and actually feel like a customer you care about.

  1. Create your social media platform and  connect all forums.
  2. Fill out all information sections and tabs linking information to your website and other social media sites.
  3. Upload photos of your business, your staff and your products if possible.
  4. Set up a plan to let all of your existing clients/customers know that you have a social media presence. If you have emails you can create a professional account and then import those contacts to then advise that there is a social media site you’d like them to follow you on.
  5. Make the environment fun and safe for all followers.  Create a commitment to the social community about post quality and return comments within a reasonable period of time.
  6. Once you have created a safe, branded, complete social media presence then you can start using it as a huge marketing/advertising tool for your business.
  7. I would stay away from contests that focus on numbers, for example…”Be the 1,000th fan and you win a prize!”…That doesn’t really work for most fans because it seems like you don’t really care about anything but the number.  Instead I would focus on doing charity fundraisers like “During the month of blank we will donate $5 per customer to a charity. Please “like” our fan page and write a local charity on our wall!” It gets fans involved and you’re giving back to charity so people are happy to like your accounts.
  8. Make sure you reward your fans for following you and following the rules for all your contests. Give away a gas card or movie tickets… something that’s not expensive for you but is still really nice to do for your fans.
  9. Let your fans/followers see that people are interacting with you. Take photos and shoot videos of as much as you can so your followers can visualize your commitment to them.
  10. Ok now you’ve become “likeable” but you’ve got to market your brand effectively. This is a great time to start educating them on your products and you as a business. Then you can use those same contests and gear them more towards selling a product or getting their business. Afterall that was the whole point of having your business on social media sites. You have to translate the “likes”, “follows”, and “tweets” into revenue. And now that your fans feel like part of the family and not like a number then I’m sure they’re the right kind of audience for you and your business.

I’m Addicted To The Internet…And I’m Not Sure That’s A Bad Thing

This entire week I have been stricken with internet connection problems. No WiFi, no direct cable…nada. The only internet connection was mobile apps on my cell phone and let’s face it after a while that gets old. You can only do so much on a smart phone. In order to feel complete I need to feel the keys of a keyboard beneath my fingers and hear the sound of the snap and pop as the words come to me. So how did this make me feel? I was stressed out, flipping out and feeling completely useless. I decided to breathe deeply and focus on what I could to make me feel useful. I used this time to do my “busy work”. So in a way it was good for me to be forced to let go of the internet. After all I spend most weekends without it entirely. But the control freak in me was very close to throwing a tantrum. Which made me take a good look at myself and my work ethic. I had to admit certain things to myself that I need to change or understand better. Every person needs to do this in life…every person needs to realize that there are things that cannot be changed and some that can be changed. Before having this conversation with your business partners please have it with yourself.

1. No matter how much I schedule and plan for the day surprises are hidden around every corner and I have to make myself more flexible.

2. Do not…I repeat…Do not spend your time trying to solve a problem that you already know cannot be solved alone.  Ask for help before you frustrate yourself and exhaust your energy. You do not have all the answers. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

3. Take a few minutes everyday to get inspired. Read a few pages of a self-help book, listen to a new music artist, or take a quiet walk. Whatever gives you inspiration…try to spend a few minutes a day doing that.

I’m going to stop at 3 because I’ve found it’s too hard to get people to stick to more than 3.

I’m glad I realized I was addicted to the internet, those days of pure frustration opened my eyes to an understanding of my own limits that I had never experienced before. Now I will move forward everyday to make myself well-rounded  and I hope that this experience has given light to your own addictions, and will help you take the steps in personal and professional life to be well-rounded.

Social Media Superpowers

I am no Wonder Woman when it comes to social media marketing. I post what I like, what I think is newsworthy, and ultimately what I think will help give you insight into growing a successful social media platform for your business. There are always questions about what sites are hot or trending right now. A few automatically come to mind like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Foursquare. Is there more out there? Of course there is…but do you need to be on every single social media site just because everyone else is? I’d say no…didn’t your mother ever ask you “If everyone decided to jump off a cliff would you jump with them?” You need to make the decisions for your business that make sense. Understand your audience and find out where they are. You can also decide what platforms to choose based on the direction you want your company to travel in. Let’s say you’re an insurance agent and you want to attract some big commercial clients….where would you start? Well they’re businessmen/businesswomen so of course sending them business or helping them grow would be a friendly and extremely acceptable way of getting in their good graces. But how would you send them business? Simply sending referrals isn’t going to be enough…you need to think bigger! Think outside of the box. Offer them something no one else can, knows how to, or is even willing to do for another company.

Let’s Be Partners

Teaming up with another business to host events or giveaways is an awesome way of attracting business and having fun with your potential clients! Call it Partner Spotlight or something catchy that draws in other businesses. Pick one a month or one a week to partner with to spotlight their business, entertain, have door prizes, etc. If you were trying to get their business wouldn’t you jump at the chance to take them to lunch or dinner to get to know them? Well here’s a better opportunity to get to know them and help them grow.

How Do We Use Social Media To Promote It? What Would It Look Like?

There’s no need to re-create the wheel. Go talk to your local chamber of commerce and pick out some clients that you think you could help grow and would love to have their business. Give them a call or stop by welcoming them to the community and to the chamber of commerce and ask about their business. Ask what they do and how they impact the community. Ask if they have a website or social media site that you can send traffic to. Sometimes you can come right out and say “I’d love to help you grow your business! How do you feel about partnering together to host some events and attract new business for both of us?” I always say honesty is the best policy so don’t waste time beating around the bush.  The normal reaction after telling someone you want to help them grow their business is usually “That’s awesome! I’d love to! What can we do to make it work?” So hit the ground running with actual ideas and plans that way the client knows you’re serious! Create events on Facebook, send out tweets from the event, post photos on all social media sites, record video promotions before and after the events. It’s really a simple process as long as you don’t let yourself get caught up in all the “tools”. You can make these marketing attempts…so the next time your mother asks you “If everyone jumps off a cliff are you going to jump too?” you can say you have a plan…you can say you have a safety net.

 

The Impact “I Have A Dream” Has Made On Me

Today we celebrate Doctor Martin Luther King Jr for his courage and his bravery in the civil rights movement. He shared the same dream with so many Americans. To view the full text from his speech click here. I have posted the video of Dr King’s speech and his words throughout the day and have listened to his voice more today then I think I ever have. In school we usually focus on the fact that the schools are closed and we get a day off. Or the week of the holiday you spend your days in class learning about the civil rights movement and how it affected so many. What I would like to focus on is how did the words of “I have a dream” make you feel? Did you feel empowered? Did you feel like you could conquer any obstacle that stands in your way?

Listening to the words makes me feel grateful that I did not grow up in a time during such civil upset. The civil rights movement has come along way since the day of the speech. Of course the issue is not gone. Of course the issue is not completely finished. And I’m not certain at this point if it will be in my lifetime, but I’m proud that we are still moving forward in equality not just for races but also for sexes. So I will leave you with the video of Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s speech from 1963. Please share with me your thoughts  and your dreams below. I’m sure you will find that we have similar dreams, so let’s all work together in making them a reality!

Let’s Just Make A Community Video

On Sunday January 9th in Downtown Statesville, NC I had the privilege of organizing, choreographing, and filming a video with the help of many others. I want to thank the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce President David Bradley for voicing his interest in creating a video very similar to the Today Show’s viral video using the Black Eyed Peas song “I Gotta Feeling”. The original concept for the video was to focus on the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce with key spotlights of the video being Chamber employees, groups and members. However after several discussions the video transformed into a community wide project. Which meant shutting down streets, moving vehicles off the roads, and dissecting the song into sections that could be managed.

The streets were shut down for 3 hours on Sunday Jan 9th

The song was split into 7 sections and the 7 sections were managed, organized and choreographed by their section leaders. Section 1 was David Bradley president of the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce and his main focus was the beginning of the song moving from the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce to City Hall where section 2 and the section leader Nancy Davis took charge. Nancy Davis starts her section off with a handoff of paperwork from David Bradley to Mayor Costi Kutteh. He then lip-sings the words of the song and takes you on a tour of City Hall along with other people from the community. Once you open the front doors of City Hall you are welcomed with open arms into section 3 with its leaders Bailey Wiberg (daughter of Susie Wiberg), Cameron Bradley, and Brooke Bradley(both daughters of David Bradley). Section 3 focuses on the youth of Statesville’s community and gives you a taste of the young talent we have before us.

Section 2 led by Baily Wiberg, Cameron Bradley and Brooke Bradley

Section 4 leads you to the doors of 220 Cafe, a new restaurant in downtown Statesville. Here section leader Susie Wiberg of Iredell-Statesville Schools illustrates the storefronts in the city and has some amazing tumblers from Tilley’s Dance Academy and Tilley’s Too Gymnastics showing off their skills. Flipping straight into Section 5, which was my section (Ashley High of Bell & Howard Chevrolet Cadillac and High Profile Marketing Solutions).  Section 5 starts at the old court-house downtown with a soldier from Fort Dobbs! Fort Dobbs is such an important piece of Statesville and it had to be showcased! Our soldier sends you on a journey through the streets with more tumblers, a juggler, a dancer and fire straight from a hot air balloon! There’s a lot going on in section 5 so make sure you pay attention or you might miss something!

Greg from Fort Dobbs with section 5 leader Ashley High

Section 6 led by Cathy Morris of the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce takes you charging across the square into Groucho’s Deli where you dance through the doors and see all the patrons including Groucho himself!  Groucho leads you out the side door and into the square  for section 7 led by Denise Tilley Levan where you see the fabulous dancers from Tilley’s Dance Academy surrounded by all the people involved in making the video!

Tilleys Dance Academy in Section 7

Behind the scenes was a wonderful pairing of Billy “Buck” Blevins and Jill Gibson of Binder Chiropractic I had so much fun working with everyone on the project and hope you all enjoy the video as well when we show it at the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting on January 25th. After the Annual meeting the video will be shared on youtube, facebook and the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce’s website for everyone to see!

That's a wrap! Thanks everyone!

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