It’s a Snap are you using it for your business yet?

Snapchat is all the rage, people of all ages are on it.  Are you? Are you using it for business yet? Gary Vaynerchuk has been a strong voice for the success of this social media giant.  He predicted its success years ago-he was right.  It is a main stream communication tool.  I know what you are thinking- there are too many I cant keep up. I KNOW!

However as your marketing advice giver I need to hit you with the facts.  Here a few things you can use Snapchat for your business:

  1. Communicate one on one with fans
  2. Demonstrate products, share advice and information to build trust and sell  ( the fitness industry has embraced this and does a great job)
  3. Create a customized snap chat filter for a special event or promotion ( Dunkin Donuts just started doing this, go try it the next time you grab a regular -NE coffee reference)

 

But wait I don’t even know what to do with Snapchat.  Ok, let’s back up.  Go to the Ap store and download the Ap.  Create a name and profile, start playing with it.  The big button at the bottom, when you push it takes a picture, hold it down and it records a 15 second video. Once you have your picture or image you can draw something or type something-use the keys in the top right corner.  Ready for more? once you have an image or video you like you can swipe the screen to find filters.  What are filters? Some will change the image to a soft filter, black and white, Sepia etc.  Some will add a location icon, you can add the time, speed or temp to your snap.  Here is the important info for businesses: when swiping for filters – local or national companies that have targeted your location as being important to them will have a filter.  Here are two national examples from Under Armor and Lucky Charms. This is a great way to have snapchat fans in your desired geography promote and share your message in a fun way. Advertising is becoming more subtle and friendly, by being a part of peoples lives-not just to hit them over the head with BUY THIS!

 

IMG_2427IMG_1360

 

The last thing you will want to play with and know about is the face and voice changer filters.  People love these because they are fun, make you look attractive or silly.  National advertisers are already into this.  Taco Bell had one that turned your face into a Taco.  I wish I saved that one.  Side note- even though the premise of Snapchat is to have it disappear, you can screen shot it, download it to your camera roll and now with the new update you can save the ones you love to your memories.  Currently this weekend as I am working on this post the Olympics created  some of  these filters.  They are changing it everyday with different sports themes to encourage people to watch the Olympics on the NBC family of stations.  And that reminds me, you can now place a :15 second snap add into peoples feeds.  NBC has been doing that for a couple weeks to prep people for the Olympics.  Another smart way for them to brand their channels and encourage viewership of the Olympics.

Here are some fun filter examples: I made you a silly video to highlight some of the fun filters.

 

 

When it comes to attracting new clients and customers, it is worth trying everything, especially the tools that cost very little and have great sizzle and appeal. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat they are all tools to communicate your brand, your message on your time.

Give it a try, let me know how it works in your media mix, snap me back with your questions or feedback.

 

 

Back to School- what’s your plan?

We have all seen the Halloween candy in the stores, that means its August and time for back to school shopping and prep.  If you live in a major metropolitan area like Boston you know that this time creates a huge swing in population, traffic, and economic boom.  If your business attracts young adults,  you need to be talking to them today…..because they are coming!

 

In Boston over 250,000 students return to more than 35 colleges and universities.  They are bringing their appetite for learning and a whole lot of other stuff.

Some Important Facts:

 8.8 billion dollars will be spent on clothing in August( 2014 census)

77.2 million children and adults are enrolled in school (Oct 2014 census),  nursery school to college. That is 25.6% of the total population!

40% of the 18-24 are enrolled in college (2014 census)

52.1% of college students work while in school, of that 20% of them are working FULL TIME while going to school.  Money to spend! 

 

Some ideas to capture these students:

Be talking to them NOW….Radio, coupons, college papers , geo- targeted offers for towns where they live both dorms and off campus housing.

Create discount offers so new students can  try your business, if you can get a couple of them hooked on what you do or offer the word will spread.  Word of mouth is a powerful tool for advertising but you have to plant the seed with smart marketing!

Compliment all mass media messages with social, be consistent.  New people to the area will need that frequency,  to remember you and find your business.  Returning students will probably only need a reminder of you have been the long enough.

Talk to local colleges about including coupons  or information in welcome bags or packets.  New students read this to get acclimated quickly. The stronger the offer the more traction it will get.

 

Welcome Back Students!

 

(research sourced from US census data)

 

 

 

Facebook Live for your business

My #1 priority is to help my clients grow and attract new customers.  Right now I am talking to  my clients about Facebook Live.  As a full service Marketing Professional, I keep on top of all marketing trends to educate my clients.  Clients are  busy being great at what they do, that they miss an easy solution. Most clients want to find affordable ways to make their business stand out and Facebook Live is just the thing.

#1 its free-you broadcast a live from your business Facebook account

#2 you can do it yourself, your employees can do it, anytime

#3 it has a live interaction, so you can answer questions during the broadcast and it also has great shelf life- people can still watch it later because it lives on your Facebook page

81% of people are going on line to research a product, service or business, it is important to find ways to get noticed.  I have talked about using social media for your business in previous posts and  Facebook Live is a great new tool to build a one on one relationship with your existing  customers and potential new customers.

Here’s how you can use Facebook Live to showcase your business.

Retail Business: take a tour of the showroom, present what new merchandise has just come in.  You can create a virtual showroom to entice customers to come in.

Fitness Coach or Gym: build a relationship with potential clients. Show the work out space, demonstrate simple exercises.  Answer questions live and present special offers.

Service Business: Facebook Live can show you doing “your thing” in action.  You can invite a satisfied customer to join you and share their story to highlight real world success.

Auto Dealers: Take potential customers through a test drive of a new model.  Show people how to do the simple things they need to know-like change the time in your car 🙂

Below is a link to a local pre owned auto dealer using Facebook Live to showcase cars and do special promotions.

https://www.facebook.com/midstate.autogroup?fref=ts

Adding Facebook and Facebook Live to your traditional media mix is an affordable way to build a one on one relationship with your customers.  It costs nothing but your time and passion.

A few things to think about before you “go live”.  Think of it like television, you are speaking directly to your audience.  Think about the goal of the “live episode” and do your best to stay on course. Remember its live, you may stumble with your words and that’s ok.  You will get better and your following will build.  A little quirkiness will be endearing and work well.  My most popular video to date had a cameo of my dog in it, real can make you likable.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes…and ACTION!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snapchat- a commentary: is it the new TV and the new ads

I have recently jumped back in with both feet to Snap chat.  I love it.  It has changed some of my habits with media, which I find an interesting thing to “watch”. I would consider myself a busy, hard working adult.  I am by no means the busiest but lately  I only have about an hour of “chill before bed time” these days.  My old habit is to watch TV in bed, this has been my favorite thing to do for YEARS.  I still love TV, however on certain nights of the week when there isn’t a favorite show on, I will just go deep on my social.  I will watch all the snap stories, scroll forever on Instagram, search around Twitter etc. I am beginning to watch my  habits change, this evolution has occurred over the last 6 month or so.  And I find it fascinating.  If you told me last year I would trade in my precious TV time for watching strangers (and friends)  on Snapchat- I would have told you, you are nuts. I will continue to monitor this from a marketing and time spent perspective to see where this takes me. I am a student of life and this is very interesting.

Additionally,  just in the last few weeks, Snapchat has added ADS to your story feed.  When I first heard the news, I thought “ugh” but  I have experienced it for the past few weeks and  I like the ads.  The creative is very good, lively and fun-like Snapchat. I think that is the KEY- the creative should match the environment.  If you hate advertisements, you can tap through it, which I think is good for the user feeling in control.  This is not as good for the advertiser.  I will be interested to hear more about the data in the coming months  and percentages of people who swipe by or view the ads.The cool factor will carry the wave for awhile, but in the end the clients need for a strong ROI will override the cool factor.

When the discussion turns to the ROI for clients the term target-ability will come up.  Snapchat is a younger tool, Snapchat started out for kids and today more adults and businesses are prime users. I wonder when the UBER target-ability will come into play. Many of the ads that I am served are not directed at me.  Although I am very flattered they think I am so young and hip.  That being said, many of the messages are wasted on me because I am not 15. I can still appreciate a good ad, but I will be very curious to see where the target tool will go with Snapchat.  They have a lot of information about the user, so the ads could be incredibly targeted- some day.  This product continues to get a lot of press, chatter and attention- more to come.

 

 

Half year-check in & Happy Fourth of July

Happy FIRST of July.  The year is about half over for the year 2016.  A nice long weekend is coming up, as we observe July 4th on Monday and many businesses are closed.  It is a great time to assess the plans you made in the beginning of the year and see how you are tracking.  I am spending some time reviewing my work plan and life plan to see how I am doing today.  This is not  time to say ” bad Alison”,  but to look at -what is working, what needs a tweak and what do I need to completely revamp and re-energize.  To be honest with yourself and understand that: things come up, plans change, customers needs change-today more than ever our business culture needs to recognize the shifts and adapt towards them or with them.

One of the areas I am working on is,  this,   sharing opinions, ideas  and knowledge with you.  This,  on line page that goes into the universe.  Sometimes it strikes someone and they enjoy it and gain some nugget of info- that brings me joy.  Sometimes,  I am just clicking away for my own enjoyment.  But I like to do it, I think it has value, so I want to continue to find away to make this more of a priority.  This is one of the things that seems to fall off the list when life gets busy.  I need to find a away to make this more manageable.  So what does that mean? Shorter messages, setting an alarm in my phone ” time to write something” – not really my style.  I like to write when it strikes me.  I am sure, I am not alone with this,  I follow many people on social media who talk about this topic.
I will give this some time to marinate and hopefully something will come to me that will help me improve on this for the later half of 2016.

So- HOW are you doing with your business plans for 2016?  What one small change could you make today to help get you moving the direction you desire.  The year isn’t over.  You have time to effect WHATEVER you put your mind to .

 

Have a Happy Forth of July- God Bless America

Things I say and believe

Happy Friday. I hope everyone had a productive week and is ready to recharge for the weekend. I think we all have things we say ” all the time”, things that we  become known for saying.  I thought I would keep things light and share some of my “sawhill-isms”. Things I learned and adopted as my personal code from an early age in marketing and sales.

  1. Be kind and respectful to everyone. The intern today could be the CEO who hires you in 10 years.
  2. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Look your best, show up on time and be prepared-always!
  3. Do business with people,  who do business with you.  Whenever possible I like to return the loyalty and buy goods and services from my clients. I just believe with my whole heart is the right thing to do.
  4. Do everything with a smile.  Dealing with people can be tough some days. Handling every situation, both good and not so good with a smile, will keep things moving forward in a positive direction.
  5. Do the hard things.  Most people get tired, lazy and bored- they will give up. Send the thank you notes, remember birthday’s and anniversaries, pick up the phone or drive over, offer assistance and ideas with out expecting anything in return to your best customers (that comes back to you 10x), actually listen, with your ears and heart-you will learn so much.

 

I will continue to share my “sawhill-isms” and I would love to hear some of yours.  Have a great weekend!

 

Sometimes you have to re-pot yourself to grow

I have a small tree in my home that has been struggling  in the last year.  The leaves fall off, it looks spindly no matter what I did.  I gave it more water, less water, more sun, less sun, nothing seemed to make it happy again.  Until recently, it occurred to me that I have never re-potted it.  That lovely little tree has been in the same pot since the day it came home.  I don’t know how many years ago that was, but it was awhile.  And just like that,  I popped it into a new pot with fresh soil.  I could almost hear a little sigh of relief that it would now finally be able to grow again.  I was hindering its growth by keeping it in the same small pot.

Sometimes life is like that, especially personal relationships and business relationships.  We stop growing where we are planted and we need to be re-potted.  I know people that have  been fired from their jobs, or lost a business,  that is an abrupt re-potting. I have experienced both business and personal abrupt re-potting in my own life, so I know what I am talking about.  And trust me, I was one unhappy plant at the time.  But I can say from my own personal experience, from each of those uncomfortable times I grew- I grew in glorious ways.

People are typically adverse to change, they get in a comfy spot and settle in.  In business today that can be deadly. Words in today’s business landscape are: nimble, agile, evolving etc none of which says, “grab a blankie and nestle in”.  Its hard.  How can you look at your business critically and recognize where you need to grow and change. Take a hard look at the things that keep you up at night.

Here are some things to think about:

Could you focus more time on cultivating new clients, if you fired that one that drains you?

If you gave up some control and brought on a partner or investor,  what could you gain?

What growth could you see if you left your first location for a new, bigger, prime location?

What could you out source so you have more time to do ” your thing”?

What do you need to learn or get better at to be more successful?

Sometimes life will change your pot, sometimes we do it for ourselves- when we decide to grow,  we can do it anywhere!