2014 Blog in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,900 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Thank you, subscribers, readers, and visitors!!! I hope I have added some fuel for thought or  even a little entertainment! — Hania Whitfield

Click here to see the complete report.

Will Followers Be Content with Content in 2015?

As I had my morning coffee browsing others’ posts and cruising articles, I was struck by a sense of content productivity obsession. This is what we have taught ourselves must be done for successful marketing of our businesses.

But is it really true?

  • Yes, Google is constantly on the hunt for fresh content.
  • Yes, social media users are forever curating material to catch followers’ eyes.
  • Yes, business owners scramble daily for improved SEO.

But, are we truly capturing our target audience? Or instead perhaps overwhelming or, worse yet, losing them?

I can’t help but believe that quality will always rank over quantity. And, I am seeing more evidence that those who post less frequently with better and more relevant content to their desired target are winning.

Think. Are you posting content for the sake of content… or are you providing the right content for your efforts to be worthy of your audience’s precious time?

2015 – Let’s be more judicious in our marketing efforts. Agreed?

Every Santa Needs a Break! Put a Bench in Your Store

Every Santa Needs a Break!

Have you considered available seating as an integral part of customer service?

The weary, bag laden, and soon impatient non-shopper leaves to shop elsewhere or coaxes the rest of the groups to leave. It’s a lose-lose for you and your shoppers. So, why encourage the non-shopper to become grumpy and negatively influence your happy shoppers?

The most overlooked fixture for your store could be a simple bench.

A bench (or seating of any type) is an important facet of good customer service and therefore, an item with a deceptively good ROI. For mostly unjustified reasons, small shop owners often have a negative mindset toward extra seating in a store.

Rethink. During the holidays, gift shoppers are often in groups – family, visiting relatives, vacationing couples. And they get weary. And since not every member of the group wants to shop in your particular store, there is that awkward, and often uncomfortable, situation of waiting for others to shop. Big deal, you say? You’re not in the business of providing seating?

Everyone stays!

Small business brick and mortar is typically limited in floor space, but there is always place for a strategically positioned chair or bench. Isn’t it better if no one leaves until the active shoppers are done shopping your establishment? You may even leave a positive visual imprint for the next shopping visit. They’ll remember, “They have a place where I can sit.”

And because of certain health issues, seating may be a requirement during long shopping days. Do you want anyone to avoid your establishment due to lack of seating for Aunt Sally with her arthritic knees?

Do be mindful of positioning seating in a positive manner. Find a spot that creates a sense of belonging rather than of being placed in a cramped corner. And if you are a clothing store, place seating near the dressing room to enable “show and tell.” Shoppers are more likely to buy when they can get that “second opinion.”

Seating means comfort

Ask other shop owners who DO have seating in their store. What benefits are they reaping?

They’ll likely tell you potentially grumpy and impatient non-shoppers are relieved to find a place to sit. Their mood shifts more positively and the begin to observe the surroundings. They soon notice the inviting displays and consider shopping with you, too (because you have invested time and good marketing principles in your merchandising and displays, right?).

Create a sense of welcome

You absolutely must train your staff to take a moment to engage with the seated! The power of interaction is immeasurable for positive reinforcement. Keep bottles of water and snacks on hand. It all goes together.

QR codes – a Marketing Opportunity not to be ignored

You can easily create QR code and signage to enable seated visitors (and everyone else):

  • to go to your website
  • to read your blog
  • to subscribe to your newsletter
  • to become a follower on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, and all your other Social Media sites
  • to leave a review on sites like Yelp and more!

Give the seated an excuse to post or tweet about their experience waiting for their friends!

No money in the budget for a sturdy bench or chairs?

Buy used. Craigslist, Ebay, your local consignment store, used office furniture stores (very sturdy furniture), garage sales, … even your house!

Seating really is so simple and yet frequently dismissed. Don’t overlook it – especially through the holidays.

The Win-Win of Social Media Pt.1: The Perks of Pinterest

Screenshot of Pinterest Account

Social Media has become a source of everyday personal convenience as well as social! It has completely become a part of everyday life because of unexpected uses and applications. Consider the following.

Pinterest as a source or reference tool:

Example #1

A blog feed I subscribe to had a post on an easy slow cooker chicken! If you stumble on a recipe you must try, you need not print it, just pin it to one of your Pinterest boards. Pinterest is your scrapbook, idea book, memo board, and more.

With Pinterest’s great visual aspect, you need not remember labels. If you have installed the Pinterest App on your Mobile device, you can easily access your items anywhere. No paper, no ink and always ready to view!

Example #2

No time to shop? Shopping has become a luxury many of us can’t afford the time for and it can become difficult to keep up to date on trends. Cruise the Pinterest Women’s or Men’s Fashion categories for quick reference and ideas. In addition, you can often click through to the shopping source and make a purchase. Many pins provide ideas for complete outfits, ideas for accessories, and more. A big time saver.

There are countless categories to browse for any and every interest. A font of ideas.

Example #3

Are you a blogger? Always provide a picture with your blog content!

Visuals always provide higher response. If you choose your visuals well for your posts, you’ll draw more attention to your blogsite via pinning the visual of your blog from your blog.

Residuals of Pinterest as a whole:

  • Whoever follows your boards may repin your pins – giving both you and the source more exposure. They may start to follow that board or all your boards.
  • Anyone who clicked on the blog photo may start to follow the blog.
  • Potential new followers from outside of my network for your blog.
  • Potential new business via your blog to your website.
  • Share from Pinterest to other Social networks.

Viewers do not have to sign in or have an account to view pins and click through.

What have you discovered you can do with Pinterest?

Couldn’t Resist Reblogging a Blog About Reblogging :D

Hania Sudymont Whitfield:

Couldn’t resist reblogging a blog about reblogging :D

Hania aka bizcommunicator…
Do you reblog?

Originally posted on Deb's Answers:

Do you reblog? Do you like to be reblogged? Is reblogging sharing, stealing or curating?

When I first encountered reblogging on Tumblr, it looked a lot like stealing content from other people. Various platforms use reblogging differently. Tumblr and Pinterest seem to be about curating, Facebook and Twitter are more about sharing. I hate following a link from Pinterest to Tumblr and only finding reblogs, sometimes you can go through several layers of reblogs without ever finding the original source. At least Pinterest does save the source link and not just the repins although it still depends on the original pinner to choose a good source page.

To me, it’s only legitimate sharing when the original source is obvious and available. Sharing on Facebook does include the link and when it is an article, only a small portion is shown, you have to follow the link to read the full article…

View original 146 more words

Never Put all Your Marketing Eggs in Just One Basket

Don't put all your eggs in one basket

So you finally got comfortable in social media, but the recent changes and demands are making you a little more than nuts. You spend a lot of time learning how to stay up in edge rank, but they keep changing the rules. Facebook’s recent stock decline forces scrambling with monetization strategies to keep stockholders happy, Twitter is playing with ads and tweet promoting, and LinkedIn is knocking at that door. (related post – Facebook – Stop Charging the Cows for Providing the Milk …)

It’s case by case with some generalities and your online presence must have a firm foundation. But as so many small businesses focus primarily on Facebook, it’s important to consider that the Facebook you are using today may be nothing like the Facebook we use next year.

Never, never put all your marketing eggs in one basket!

So what IS your foundation? What can you rely on for marketing your business? No one knows what’s coming down the pike, but two things you should be thinking more about are your website and your blog.

Your website and blog are the online presence(s) you have (almost) total control over.  In the scurry over social media, have you neglected both?

Is your website up to date with current promotions, pictures and captivating information about your business?

When is the last time you took an objective look at your website content? Does it still look the same as the day it was uploaded?

Does it have flash? Get rid of that. It messes with your search engine rank and flash is NOT mobile friendly. Yes, both very important considerations.

Is the About information still correct? Pictures of staff current?

Do you have link buttons for your social media and newsletter?

Do you blog and is your blog linked to your website?

Blogging is not a specific social media platform, but no other social media platform is as effective in generating new content for search engines as blogs. And the beauty of blogging is the ability to re-purpose the content to your social media. And when is the last time you posted? No excuses about not knowing what to write. If you can converse with your customers and clients, you can put a version of those conversations online. Those customer queries on your product or service are gold for content. If they have the question, so do many others! Share your knowledge, tips, anecdotes, experiences….

But what about your social media?

No, I’m not saying to dump Social Media. But make the time to blog and keep website content fresh! That content can be virtually duplicated across all social media platforms,  so tweak and tailor your content to the medium and you’ll have plenty to post. Think of your blog content as evergreen content to post when you get stumped on what to post.

Don’t stay at the mercy of the whims and bumps of dealing with the unknown controls of the various platforms.

Now get to work.

Spooky stuff on the eve of Leap Year Day… hmm…

I happened to notice the number of visits I have had and thought there must be some significance to this number!

7,777 visitors! And boy, I made the screen shot just in time, because it has already moved up. Guess I was meant to see that number? (everybody now – Twilight zone music begins…)

But check this out? Even Einstein thought it was worth a mention :)

Have a great extra day tomorrow! Now only if we could have an extra day in this week, too, for more social media interaction!  =)

(oh, and I changed my layout since I did this printscreen – what do you think?)