Stop with the Fluff Social Content

Stop with the Fluff Social Content

I am going to make this post short and sweet because I’m tired of seeing businesses let marketing companies do this…. STOP. POSTING. FLUFF. ON. YOUR. SOCIAL. ACCOUNTS.

 

What is this ‘fluff’ I am talking about?

 

Posts that talk about springing forward or falling back (U.S. time change).

Happy Spring!

Happy First Day of Summer!

Happy Fall!

Happy Winter!

Happy random-post-because-we-don’t-know-what-we-are-doing!

 

Get the picture?

 

These types of posts have absolutely NOTHING to do with a business’ overall content marketing strategy…unless you are a clock company or weather company. Or maybe an outdoor nursery. What business does a food distribution company have posting about the time change? Does that post help drive people to their website? No. Does it entice the follower to learn more about them? No. Does it help increase brand awareness? No. All it does it drive their followers crazy because it’s a pointless post that takes up valuable space in the newsfeed.

 

Unless you can prove – with numbers and results –  how a post that like works in your content strategy and provides value and return, DO NOT POST IT. This is common sense. If you are posting this for your business – stop. If you are using a marketing company that is doing this just to have something to post – fire them. Your social content should provide meaningful value that turn into results. Facebook users have said as much, and so have Instagram users as well. Research backs this up guys, not just my opinion.

 

Now, let me do say that posting about legitimate holidays, i.e. Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, are perfectly acceptable. In fact, they are expected from your fans and followers. Even random holidays that you can find on daysoftheyear.com are acceptable – as long as they fit into your overall content strategy, provide value, and are relevant.

 

Your business’ content strategy defines your business online. How do you want to be seen and known?

 

Stepping off my ranting block now…

 

 

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a marketing company specializing in digital & social media marketing located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of 17+ years. In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Elite. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

36 Marketing Stats to Help Your Marketing Strategy in 2019

Stats and analytics are the backbone of any good marketing campaign. If you are not using these to plan and review your campaigns, now is the best time to start! Even if your marketing strategy is done, it does not hurt to always look at it and change things as the year progresses based on the results you see from your current campaigns.

 

While reading through stats from the past year, these are the ones that stood out as being some of the most interesting.

 

Here are 36 marketing stats to keep in mind this year.

 

Digital Advertising Stats

 

Ad blocking in the US has increased from 15% to 30% since 2014. (Source: Statista)

 

60% of consumers click on mobile ads at least weekly. (Source: Business Wire)

 

Facebook Stats

 

100 million hours of video is viewed daily on Facebook. (Source: Facebook)

 

40% of consumers watch the most video on Facebook. (Source: Sprout Social Index 2018)

 

Instagram Stats

 

Within 10 hours of an Instagram post, users receive 50% of their total comments. (Source: Sprout Social)

 

Instagram posts using at least one hashtag receive 12.6% more engagement than posts excluding them. (Source: Sprout Social)

 

Instagram drives the most engagement per post compared to any social network–84 times more than Twitter, 54 times more than Pinterest and 10 times more than Facebook. (Source: Sprout Social)

 

7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded. (Source: Sprout Social)

 

51% of consumers used Instagram regularly, and more than half of those people (30%) like or follow a brand. (Source: Sprout Social Index 2018)

 

Millennial Social Media Stats

 

80% of millennial Pinterest users say that the platform helps them decide what they should buy. (Source: CoSchedule)

 

7 in 10 Gen-Xers are more likely to make purchases from brands they follow on social. (Source: Sprout Social)

 

50% of millennials use the internet to research products before purchasing. (Source: Marketing Sherpa)

 

Twitter Stats

 

Tweets with images are 150% more likely to get Retweets than text-only Tweets. (Source: AdWeek)

 

Twitter is accessed through a mobile device by 82% of its monthly active users. (Source: Sprout Social)

 

Tweets with videos get over six times as many retweets as tweets with photos. (Source: Wochit)

 

Search Marketing Stats

 

90% of searchers haven’t made up their mind about a brand before starting their search. (Source: Status Labs)

 

Local searches lead 50% of all mobile users to visit stores within one day. (Source: Google)

 

Over 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product while searching on their smartphone. (Source: Google)

 

Organic SEO is about 5.66 times better than paid search ads. (Source: New Media Campaigns)

 

70-80% of search engine users are only focusing on the organic results. (Source: MarTech)

 

72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. (Source: Wordstream)

 

Social Media Stats

 

59% of Americans believe that customer service through social media has made it easier to get their questions answered and issues resolved. (Source: Lyfe Marketing)

 

96% of people talking about companies and brands on social media aren’t actively following those brands. (Source: Lyfe Marketing)

 

Facebook and Instagram are the choice platforms for marketers. (Source: Sprout Social Index 2018)

21% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands they can reach on social. The same percentage would rather message a brand on social media than call customer service. (Source: Sprout Social Index 2018)

 

The top reasons that consumers reach out to brands on social are that they had a question (57%), they had an issue with a product or service (45%) or they wanted to commend a company on their product or service (34%). (Source: Sprout Social Index 2018)

 

Consumers absorb influencer content across the major social networks at a surprisingly low level, between 1-11%, and prefer seeing posts that announce what is happening at a company 3x more than company posts that feature influencers or celebrities. (Source: Sprout Social Index 2018)

 

When asked what their reaction would be if a friend posted about a company, product or service on social media, 61% of consumer respondents said they’d be more likely to research that product/service, compared to 36% if a product or service were mentioned by an influencer or celebrity. (Source: Sprout Social Index 2018)

 

Top factors that impact whether or not a consumer watches a video on social are length of video (61%), caption or description of video (51%) and whether the video is an ad or not (40%). (Source: Sprout Social Index 2018)

 

Over half of consumers (58%) prefer visual-first content on social media, with graphics and images and produced video taking the lead. (Source: Sprout Social Index 2018)

 

Consumers are more like to engage with posts that include discounts or are entertaining. (Source: Sprout Social Index 2018)

 

Consumers are looking for social content that includes discounts and sales (72%), posts that showcase new products and services (60%) and posts that teach them something (59%). (Source: Sprout Social Index 2018)

 

30% of consumers surveyed wanting links to more information from brands on social, and most preferring discounts, sales and educational posts. (Source: Sprout Social Index 2018)

 

Mobile accounts for nearly 80% of time spent on social media networks. (Source: Pew Internet)

 

Other Marketing Stats of Note

 

Emails that display incorrectly on mobile may be deleted within three seconds. (Source: Campaign Monitor)

 

LinkedIn posts with images receive 200% more engagement than text-only posts. (Source: Sprout Social)

 

Which stat surprised you the most?

 

 

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a marketing company specializing in digital & social media marketing located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of 17+ years. In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Elite. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

Why Hiring a Marketing Specialist is Better than a Marketing Agency

I love the phrase that appearances are not always what they appear to be. That is so true in the marketing world. In this world, it’s our job to sell and promote – and some use smoke and mirrors to make it work.

 

There’s an emerging trend in the marketing world – specialists over the traditional agency. Agencies – marketing and advertising – are seeing a nationwide decline in favor of marketing being moved in-house or outsourced to specialists who work with strategic partners. We, of course, fall in the latter of that.

 

I’m going to take a bold stand and make a statement that needs to be said – when you work with a marketing specialist who works with strategic partners who are experts in their fields, you and your business will be better off than with a one-stop-shop marketing agency who does it all for you.

 

Why? Read on.

 

I know you’re saying, but wait, isn’t ME Marketing an agency? Well, no, not in the true definition of an agency. We are marketing specialists – yes, we can do all facets of marketing, but we specialize in the field of digital marketing, and going even further, social media. Social Media Marketing is our area of expertise. We are not a one-stop-do-it-all-for-you agency. We do not have a videographer, or photographer, or multiple account managers, or graphic designers on staff. We know what we are good at and stick with that. We are a speciality marketing company – specializing in the field of marketing on social media.

 

But what if I need more than that?

 

That’s fine – we have strategic partners we work with that are experts in their own fields. We are partners with an SEO expert. A branding and identity expert. A videographer. A graphic designer. A promotional products company. The ones we partner with do their own lanes 100% and when they have clients who need social media, they call us. A wise mentor once told me, “know what you are good at and outsource the rest.” So I started working with strategic partners (my theme for 2019 – strategic partnerships).

 

So why not just use that one-stop agency?

 

The problem with the one-stop marketing agency in this day and age is that rarely are any of the staff there experts in any one marketing field. They have some experience, yes, but they don’t specialize. So you get an overall half-way done job because you have a bunch of pseudo-experienced people handling your marketing. And marketing is expensive. The only exception to this would be if you were located in a major city like Atlanta, Chicago, or New York.

 

When you work with a specialist, you are not going to be upsold on other things your business may not need. For example, if you hired us to help with your social media marketing, we are not going to sell you on having new photographs done for your business. Or make you buy ads on TV. Or update your logo. Specialists do what they are hired to do and if another marketing need came up, that specialist would help to make sure that need was taken care of by someone who knows what they are doing.

 

Another reason to use a specialist is that you know who you are working with. Typically you work directly with that specialist – you aren’t signed then passed off to an account manager, who may or may not have any experience in marketing strategy or know your business.

 

I’m not going to lie, working with a specialist who pulls in other experts to fill the needs you have may cost a little more, but isn’t it worth spending a little more to have true experts who know their field handling your marketing and knowing it’s being done by experts?

 

I would pay. Gladly.

 

But it may just not be in your budget. And us specialists get that. We work to network with people so we have a broad network of professionals who can fit your budget.

 

What will you opt for this year for your business? The choice is yours.

 

This year, we are focused on strategic partnerships to bring our clients the absolute best to make sure their marketing is a success. If you are a creative and interested in being a strategic partner, contact us!

 

 

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a marketing company specializing in digital & social media marketing located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of 17+ years. In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Elite. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

12 Marketing Ideas to Try Out in 2019

By now I’m sure you’ve read numerous posts about your marketing strategy for this year. Although it’s beneficial and important to lay all of this before the end of the previous year, that doesn’t work for everyone.

 

If you are still working on your marketing plan for this year – or you are just open to new ideas – this is a post for you.

 

I love to see what other businesses are doing – that is one of the greatest resources we have, watching each other. We can see what worked and what didn’t. Who stepped outside the box and who fell on their face. Every great marketing campaign started with an idea from somewhere. And maybe this is that somewhere!

 

Here are 12 marketing ideas to try out for your business this year.

 

Review your existing strategy (and if you don’t have one, make one).

The beginning of any year is a good time to look at what you have planned and see if anything needs to be tweaked as we move forward into 2019. And don’t worry if you don’t have a marketing plan at all – it’s never too late to get started on one!

 

Focus on your best performing social media platform.

What platforms are you currently using? Do you see one (or two) out-performing the rest? Stop wasting time on the ones that aren’t working and focus on the one or two that are. It will save you time and give you time to focus on that core community.

 

Create an editorial calendar.

We create editorial calendars 30 days in advance, so we know what is going to post when – because you have to have a purpose behind every action you do. You can do this one or two weeks in advance if it’s easier, but have a plan and be purposeful about it!

 

Put your customers first.

There’s a rebellion coming, and your marketing will soon be in your customer’s hands. Put their needs first – solve their problems and stop pushing why you are better.

 

Get involved in something locally this year.

Not only is personal philanthropy important, but having your business involved is too. However, do it for the right reasons. Don’t do it to get your logo on a banner or your name mentioned in an article. Do it with a servant’s heart and you will be rewarded.

 

Use your data to guide your decisions.

Study your social media insights, Google Analytics, and email marketing reports and see what your audience is doing. What type of content are they clicking on? What are they responding to? Let these results help guide what you need to provide in your content marketing strategy.

 

Start a referral program.

In a time when customer loyalty is at an all-time low, reward the loyal customers you have by offering rewards and incentives when they refer their friends and family!

 

Add a photo booth in your store or office.

If allowed, set up a place for customers to take pictures and post to social media! Use a backdrop with your logo, or just a plain wall with some props. This is an easy way for your customers to share the love on social media.

 

Get stickers printed.

If you’ve been to a coffee shop, chances are you’ve seen laptops covered in brand stickers. Why not get some of your own and hand them out!

BTW, we have some FREE ME Marketing stickers that we will gladly send out – just email us and let us know you want one!

 

Get in front of the camera.

Video is here whether we like it or not, so grin and bear it and get in front of the camera! Your customers want to see you (and/or your staff), so take them on a tour, or just say hi. You can even do it very easily and take advantage of Instagram Stories.

 

Get your staff involved.

Employee advocacy is huge. Get your staff involved in sharing content – and creating it as well! It will show off your business online and can provide some light-hearted entertainment as well.

 

Personalize.

This will forever be an idea because it’s what marketing is becoming – personalization for our customers, making the user experience unique. From emails, to ad campaigns, make sure you are tailoring your efforts specifically to them, the customers.

 

What ideas will you be taking advantage of this year? Share with us some of your favorites that either worked for you or someone you know!

 

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a marketing company specializing in digital & social media marketing located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of 17+ years. In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Elite. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

Why I Stopped Blogging for 6 Months

Hello! Let me introduce myself. My name is…

 

I’m sure you’ve noticed, but I haven’t posted a blog article is almost six months. I talk to clients about the importance of blogging and how it can help their business, yet I stopped doing it.

 

Why?

 

My heart just wasn’t in it.

 

I had a punch to the gut towards the end of 2017 when my father passed away and it took until about February or March of 2018 for me to really come out of the fog I had been in that previous five to six months. When that fog lifted, my priorities shifted. And with my business, that included my blogging.

 

I trucked along blogging the first part of 2018 and then got to the point where I was just recycling and updating old posts because I just did not feel I had anything new to say that someone else was not already saying. So around July, I just stopped. I figured why reinvent the wheel if it was already rolling.

 

But I missed it.

 

Blogging (writing) is a great exercise in getting out what you want to say. I can write out my thoughts better than I can say them (and also not stumble over my words, which I have a problem doing). Blogging gave me a platform to help other businesses – and help Google come back to my site over and over. Thanks to my Revive Old Post plug-in, older posts continued to be shared on my Twitter account so traffic still came, but nothing new ever published.

 

Social media news came and went and I just shared other’s content instead of my own. I mean, seriously, how many times can people report on an Instagram change or another Facebook data breach? It’s like beating a dead horse with a stick. People are going to go to the sources they are used to – I know I do.

 

That brings me to January 2019. I start this year with a renewed spirit and focus on the business, and more importantly, my blog.

 

So, welcome back to the blog, where you’ll see a new post every other Tuesday, and let’s rock 2019!

 

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a marketing company specializing in digital & social media marketing located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of 17+ years. In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Elite. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

3 Attributes of Today's Consumer

3 Attributes of Today’s Consumer

With the rise of online consumerism, it is crucial for businesses to understand their customers, and what they want in a product. Plus, in a digital age where anything and everything can be found online, the proper marketing tactics must be implemented to have the desired effect on the target audience.

 

Take a minute and imagine the world we were in 10 years ago (it’s hard to believe 2007 was 10 years ago). Facebook was still competing with MySpace for traffic, Amazon was primarily known for selling books, and the iPhone was just released. Back in those days, the way we shopped for products was drastically different from the way we shop today.

 

Today’s Consumer Is…

 

Curious

“Curiosity just might be the most important desire a content marketer has to elicit in a story.” Consumers enjoy browsing the internet for the latest and greatest products. With digital ads tailored to these consumer searches, websites have the ability to project their ads through social media outlets which then propels the consumer to respond to the click bait. “Curiosity impels us to do things beyond functional need. It makes us explorers, discoverers.” The social media powerhouse – Facebook – is notorious for using this tactic and marketing products based on what the consumer has previously searched. While this seems like an invasion of privacy, it is also how many people attain their desired products. They wish to know the best product available, where to buy it, and what’s open now. Information is power, and consumers have it.

 

Demanding

Consumers are now in control and they have a high expectation that their experience will be individually tailored to their demands. They are better informed due to the advancement of technology which makes it easier for them to acquire knowledge about a product. Consumers know what they want and are on the hunt to find it within an attainable price range. “This one, single device that we keep in our pockets can be used to review products, check prices, share purchases, request coupons – and sometimes even to purchase products from one retailer’s online channel while standing in a competitor’s store.” Consumers can research products and services thoroughly before deciding to buy. With various outlets and companies to receive products from, using digital searches is a main way for consumers to know what to buy and where to buy it. Companies have to be adapting to consumers evolving needs. Bottom line, today’s customer is better informed and harder to please.

5 Customer Demands:

1. be on our side

2. be personally accountable for our desired results

3. be proactive

4. solve our problems

5. be innovative in responding to our needs

 

Impatient

We are living in the era of impatience. Velaro recently commissioned a single-question survey of over 2,500 Americans and asked, “For customer service, how long are you willing to be put on hold?” 6 out of 10 said one minute or less. Another third of the respondents said 1-5 minutes.

Consumers now enjoy increased levels of convenience, simplicity, and knowledge. Smartphones have connected consumers instantly to markets and information no matter where they might be, which allows them to find answers to almost any question, at any time. Fetch and YouGov conducted a research poll that reports 41% of respondents say technology has made them more impatient than they were five years ago. Among Millennials, the proportion is 45%.

The bar is being raised for fulfillment services with speed and flexibility both expected as standard. It’s 2018, almost everyone has bought something from Amazon one way or another. Amazon Prime, with it’s free 24 hour shipping, has only aided in the grown impatience of consumers as they want their product to be delivered yesterday. According to Google the average U.S. retail mobile site loaded in 6.9 seconds in July 2016, but 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. In this digital, high speed world, we are the epitome of instant gratification.

 

Whether the consumer is curious, demanding, impatient, or all three, the rapid popularity of online consumerism does not seem to be slowing down – and neither does today’s consumer.

8 Interview Tips for Gen Z and Millennials

8 Interview Tips for Gen Z and Millennials

Going into a job or internship interview is almost always a nerve-wrecking thing to do. It is stressful, a lot is riding on it, and your nerves aren’t helping anything.
Preparing as much as possible ahead of time is such an important key to feeling good about an interview. It helps calm your nerves and gives you more confidence going into the interview. Hopefully, some of these tips will help you like they’ve helped me.

1. Always dress up.

Regardless of what the day-to-day environment of the office is, you should be dressing up for your interview. Regardless of if they wear jeans every day or business casual, you should probably be in a suit, or at least dress pants and a dress shirt or blouse. This shows everyone that sees you that this is important to you.


2. Always be early.

Plan to get to the office about thirty minutes early to account for unexpected traffic, wrecks, a plane landing on the interstate, et cetera. With this in mind, plan be at the office ten minutes early. If you encounter no issues on your way there, use that extra twenty minutes to sit in your car and prepare a little more, and walk in ten minutes early.

3. Going off that… you never know who will be watching you.

When you’re waiting for the interviewer to get you from the waiting area, be conscious of what you’re doing. If you’re talking on your cell phone, or even sitting there on Twitter, these may be things the receptionist is watching and reporting. A good rule of thumb is to graze over the literature they have laid out in the waiting area.


4. Never lie about anything.

Do not lie about qualifications, things from your past if they are brought up, social media behavior, anything you can think of – don’t lie about it. If you are confronted about something that you are less than proud of, they may be willing to move past it if you’re honest with them about it when confronted.

5. Research the company and those interviewing you.

Search them on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Google. Browse their website. Look at any other recent content about them on the internet. And if you know who you’re interviewing with, look them up on LinkedIn or maybe even Facebook to know a little bit about them (just like they likely do for you).

6. Be enthusiastic.

You likely would want to work with people who are happy, enthusiastic, and trustworthy – so its safe to assume other people want to work around that as well. Demonstrate that as best as you can (without it being forced) in your interview. Be upbeat, enthusiastic about potential employment there, and smile. Sometimes it doesn’t feel natural to smile in an interview when you’re having a nervous conversation with someone, but make a conscious effort to smile.

7. Be prepared to answer your strengths and weaknesses.

This question is never fun to get asked and have to answer, but from an employers side of things its a great one to ask – which is why everyone asks it. Have two to three strengths ready, and one to two weaknesses, along with a sentence or two about each. Make a conscious effort to not ramble on these answers.

8. You should be asking questions too.

Its easy to forget in an interview process that you want the good fit to be both ways. Often times we get wrapped up in needing an internship or job, and we get bent up on selling ourselves and we forget that the company may not be a good fit for us personally. And at the end of the interview, its always acceptable to ask what the next step in the hiring process is, when you should expect to hear back from them, and if you will hear back either way (meaning if its a “yes” or a “no” from them).
No one knows you better than yourself, remember that and utilize it as the upper hand that it is in an interview!
Twitter as a News Source

Twitter as a News Source

With Gen Z-ers on the rise, strategies and tactics everywhere are adapting to how the generations work. One peculiar thing that sticks out to me, but I think is often overlooked about this generation, is the look to Twitter for news.

 

We know that traditional news sources have been on the decline for a while now: just look at traditional newspapers versus the internet and television. Since the major increase in internet popularity and use around, I would say the 2000s mark, the newspaper market has been steadily decreasing. Newspapers were forced to require online outlets of their publications in order to keep up with the flow of instantaneous (and in many cases free) flow of news and information happening. When smartphones hit the game about a decade later, things got even harder for traditional print.

 

However, another shift in the news source spectrum has occurred in recent years that I think gets overlooked: Twitter as a primary news source.

 

Twitter.com is an online social networking site that started in 2006, became one of the ten most visited sites in 2013, and currently has over 100 million monthly active users. While Twitter started as a social media site for people to share blurbs and thoughts in under 140 characters, it has since become a hub of information in all different ways…

 

When I personally start my day, I turn to Twitter first. Not only is it where I get a good laugh at jokes and see what my friends are up to, but I also get a pretty instantaneous look at current events and news. And under the umbrella of a now 280 character limit these blurbs are (at first) mostly just facts and not so much opinions.

 

Sure, traditional news source and media outlets have Twitter accounts that they use – and that’s definitely one of the ways Twitter helps in being a news source. But more than that, Twitter compiles “Moments” that are collections of tweets from news outlets and citizens that accumulate into one tweet slide show that highlights what is happening with a specific event or topic. And along these lines, Twitter is also a whole new way for citizen journalists to shine. While we all know citizen journalists have their pros and cons, they are still crucial to stories being told to the public.

 

A quick fact to throw in here: those who use Twitter may recall that in the Parkland, Florida shooting on February 14thof this year, students who were in the classrooms on lockdown took to Twitter almost immediately to share their experiences and update what was happening from their points of view. Furthermore, in the aftermath of the incident, students also took straight to Twitter to take a stand and plan a protest on the topic of gun control.

 

A similar instance happened in the 2013 Amtrak Metro North train derailment: citizens who were there took to Twitter to discuss their experiences. This kind of access to citizen journalists and the public is, in my opinion, vital to a news cycle.

 

Businesses even take to Twitter to announce big news – just take a look at IHOP’s recent bold move where they took to Twitter to announce their new rebranding: IHOb, International House of Burgers. Many other businesses also jumped on this media frenzy to throw in their two cents on the beloved chain’s brash name change. Whataburger Tweeted that they’d never change their name to “Whatapancake,” and Burger King even temporarily changed their name on Twitter to “Pancake King.” In fact, here’s a whole article on how multiple businesses clapped back at IHOb with jokes after their name change announcement.

 

So, next time you’re looking for news and want it in one place from all the major traditional outlets and some citizen journalists – give Twitter a try. While it may not be what everyone thinks of when they hear “news source,” it could be worth the shot!

IHOb - Marketing Stunt or Marketing Genius_

IHOb – Marketing Stunt or Marketing Genius?

In the past month, the media has been in a frenzy over something so simple… IHOP (International House of Pancakes) is changing their name to IHOb (International House of Burgers… Burgers?)

 

Before they revealed the inspiration behind their new name the company offered up a guessing game to see if people would guess what the new letter stood for. One of the most common answers was International House of Breakfast, which makes much more sense than burgers, and people were shocked to hear what the new letter stands for.

 

As a ridiculously brilliant marketing strategy, IHOP (or IHob…) took the media world by storm. Even other food chains are commenting on the name change, therefore bringing even more attention and press to IHOb.

 

 

All of these tweets and changes also made a huge break in the media therefore giving IHOb even more publicity.

 

Before anyone actually thinks this name change is happening, Forbes revealed that “shockingly, once we got the official word, it turned out to be merely a publicity stunt designed to highlight the chain’s new focus on meals other than breakfast.” As absurd as the internet is taking this name change, it is doing EXACTLY what it is supposed to be doing… generating buzz. Some people find the name chance comedic genius while one site even deemed this marketing strategy “a new wrinkle in the dystopian hellscape of viral marketing”. Ouch. But, just like all media, in about a weeks time nobody will even be talking about it anymore.

 

Forbes brings to attention to the essential concept of branding – a name is not the same thing as a brand. A name is what we call something. A brand is something different entirely—and far more meaningful.

 

“In an era when brands are spending millions or tens of millions of dollars to stand out from the crowd, what you’ve seen IHOP do is take a moment in time — a small event, the addition of a menu item — and made it a pop-culture event, that’s PR at its finest.”

– Carreen Winters, chairman of reputation and chief strategy officer at the public-relations agency MWWPR

 

Louise Pritchard of Pritchard Volk Consulting offers a more in-depth differentiation as she and her business partner discusses your brand story – your brand or brand story is not a marketing stunt or marketing materials, it is the essence of who your business is.

 

As far as marketing is concerned, IHOP’s recent name change is generating vast amounts of buzz. While the “burger” reveal left a lot of people confused, IHOP accomplished exactly what they were after: drawing attention to an increasingly popular non-breakfast item that’s always been on their menu.  says that “time will tell is the stunt will actually translate to sales, but there is absolutely no denying that, in theory, the campaign was incredibly successful. Consumer conversations show that IHOP popularity has skyrocketed since the announcement, turning the brand into a trending topic.” IHOP posted the announcement of the name change on Twitter, and even went further to include a quiz prompting users to guess “what could it b?” Various interpretations were presented, and IHOP even bantered with celebritiespro sports teams and news outlets, saying things like, “the blot thickens.”

 

While yes, IHOP will not actually be changing their name to IHOb and it was all simply a marketing troll – it was clever, it generated a lot of buzz for the company, and judging by the influx of IHOP being mentioned in media, it worked.

 

Balancing Life as a Mompreneur

Balancing Life as a Mompreneur

Many women have the same struggle as I – balance owning a business with being a mom (not to discriminate, this can apply to dads too!).

We feel pulled towards giving 150% to our businesses while having children that need us to care for them, take them to school, dance, sports, etc.

#thestruggleisreal

My daughters are 9 and 13, and I am now the “mom Uber” going from school to dance four days a week (and multiple times each day) to church, all week long. I’m not complaining – I have looked forward to this since they were babies. However when they were born I never imagined owning my own business. The freedom and flexibility of owning my own business is something I won’t ever leave. I love being able to still be a mom and a business owner.

During the school year, it’s easy – work while they are in school, and while they do homework, and maybe a little after bedtime. The summer is something different. We have a slew of things on the schedule for the summer – VBS at church, dance camp, church camps, a trip to the beach, a trip to Texas – wow, I’m already tired just typing all of that! Working from a home office, I am fortunate that I can do more than some 9-to-5 office moms can do (props to them and how they fit in all in too!).

But all boils down to balance.

Let’s get something straight – there is no such thing as work/life balance. It’s a myth. Life is all about balancing and managing what season of life you are in and this is an ever-evolving thing. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.

Here are some things I do to balance owning a business and being a parent, and maybe one or a few of these will help you!

Set a schedule.

This is very important. Know when you are going to work, and when you are going to put on the parent hat. This could be different every day of the week – and in the summer. Set the tone with your children so they know when mom (or dad) will be working. I will admit, there are times that I cannot do it all, so there are friends and babysitters that pitch in. It’s okay to admit that you have help. We’re not Superwoman (or Superman).

Set expectations – for both your clients and your kids.

If you are going to be on summer vacation or having to work different hours because of school activities, let your clients know.  Be upfront about it – they need to know when they can contact you. Also, tell your kids what you expect from them during school breaks, after school, and the summer. With your schedule, tell them when you need to be left alone (if they are older) for a period of time each day or what you expect of them if you have a conference call. They need to know that even though you are home, you still have a job.

It’s okay to bribe every now and then.

I do this more than I care to admit. We have a pool & waterpark we like to go to in the summer. I tell my girls, during the summer, if they let me get my work done, then we can go to the pool that afternoon. This especially comes in handy if I have a big conference call. The reality is that sometime we do what we have to do to get it done. It’s easier during the school year because they are gone from 8am-3pm, but if I am chaperoning a school trip, expectations need to be in place.

Enjoy the time.

Yes it may get crazy working with kids around, but your kids are only kids for so long. If you need to take a day and just be a mom (or dad), do it and don’t feel guilty. Next year your kids will be a year older and may not want mom or dad around, so soak it up as long as you can! Chaperone school trips, go to honors day and school parties, take a mental health day and go to the beach. Make sure to spend quality time with them. It’s so hard to believe how fast my girls have grown up in the seven years I have had ME Marketing Services. Blink and they will be all grown!

 

How do you find balance and manage it all? Share what you do so we can all learn from each other!

 

 

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a marketing company specializing in digital & social media marketing located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of 17+ years. In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Elite. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

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