Tracy Petrucci: 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Current Classes

Here are some new class dates. For a full description of the classes click HERE.

1/6 One Hour (free) 10:30a  San Diego Downtown Library  Social Media (Registration Required)

1/10 One Hour (free) 10:30a  Hera Hub Carlsbad  60 Ways to Grow Your List (Registration Required)

1/13 One Hour (free) 10:30a  Co-Merge WorkSpace  60 Ways to Grow Your List (Registration Required)

2/5 One Hour (free) 10:30a  Hera Hub Mission Valley  Love Your Marketing Toolkit (Registration Required)

2/10 One Hour (free) 10:00a  Co-Merge Workspace  Email Marketing (Registration Required)

1/8 to 1/29 Thursdays  Four weeks 1:00p-3:00p  Poway Adult Ed  Social Media & Email Marketing for Small Business

3/4 to 3/25 Wednesdays Four Weeks 5:30p  Coronado Adult Ed  Social Media & Email Marketing for Small Business

January 2015 Full College Semester ONLINE CLASS MiraCosta College Social Media and Online Marketing

San Dieguito, Coronado, & Poway Adult Education Classes for the Spring/Summer will be updated later.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Small Business Spotlight: It's Kind of A Lovely Story

Article & Photography by Leesa King

 A few years ago, my mom's cousin embarked on a treacherous project...a book culminating our entire family history and recipes, five generations tall and about nine generations wide. She patiently and meticulously gathered all of our grandmothers' hand-written recipes, marriage licenses, boat documents during emigration from Italy, and hundreds of pictures for this grand masterpiece. And after a year of collaboration, research, and revision, she printed the most incredible memoir.

Now, not every family has this creative, ambitious cousin. But who's to say you can't also have a beautiful handheld family history book for all to share? Turns out, there's a guy in San Diego doing just that! Through interviews, pictures, and family stories, your own masterpiece can be born.

Last week, just before the holiday rush, I got to interview a true gem in the writer's world.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


I really enjoyed seeing this on my page. These two companies have no idea they placed beautifully matching color scheme ads on my Facebook page!


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Small Business Spotlight: Pacific Beach Peanut Butter

Article & Photography by Leesa King

Nowadays, grocery shopping isn't as easy as picking-and-choosing your favorite items. In fact, it has become somewhat of a moral debate! Making sure your breads and snacks are whole-grain, produce not sprayed with harsh pesticides, and animal products not treated with antibiotics and hormones can be quite a chore without good research. Not to mention confusing marketing and branding that make products appear to be small business that aren't. Take Burt's Bees for example, which are actually owned by The Clorox Company. Learn more here.

However, thanks to picky consumers, natural markets and even chain grocers, there is now a wide variety of healthy, local alternatives to the Wonder Bread generation of foods. Supporting independent businesses as they make their way into the supermarket scene is fueling a new economy of products with ingredients you can trust.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Facebook's Organic Reach Is Going Down...Again

The latest news is Facebook will yet again lower the amount of people who organically see the page's posts, starting mid January 2015. What do I think about this?


That's how I feel. I am so over caring about Facebook. Honestly all of those times Facebook goes down, I am secretly hoping it never comes back up. I stopped following all of my friends and family on Facebook over a year ago. I'm still connected to them...should I have a hankering to see what someone is up to in some magical moment of spare time, I can easily still navigate to their page and see what's new in their life. But I am 100% completely and utterly OVER Facebook.

Now that being said, I have a business to run, and I will absolutely keep using Facebook for business for myself and my clients as long as it keeps working as well as it does. This doesn't mean I care about it the way I used to. I hardly care about the changes they make that are now inevitably going to sideswipe us all of the time. Every single time I log on to Facebook something is new, some wording is different, some setting is missing, something else has a glitch. One page works one way and another works a different way. I really don't even know if it will still be around as a top marketing tool as long as my career and I are around. But Facebook is still so deeply integrated in most people's activity (and yes, contrary to a few studies that show teens have drifted off, they are still very much on there) if it fades out I see it taking a long time... But you can't really ever get too attached to anything in social media as a business in my opinion. You can't really overly rely on something you don't own.

Here are some thoughts regarding the article which was brought to my attention tonight. I will start off by saying that most popular social media sites did not start with the intention of hosting a profitable place for businesses to make 80% of their income (ie the jewelry maker in mentioned article) just to be nice. If I really have to explain why and how Facebook started...well needless to say it had NOTHING to do with trying to help businesses be profitable.

That is the evolution it took, as business owners started making profiles on MySpace and soon followed to Facebook to try and "entertain" relationships with their networks by posting work related stuff to their audience. This was, totally, smart. It also started to feel a bit like exploitation.

So then came along Facebook pages, to help put a protective barrier up against spam and said exploitation, and for a while there, everything was good. Then the rest of civilization followed suit, and users had a ridiculous amount of crap to sift through on the "news" feed and an algorithm was originally put in place to keep you from tuning out and going crazy at all of the stuff being thrown at you from the friends and pages you follow. Then Facebook realized they were sitting on a gold mine, and now we have to pay to promote posts and people complain that they are used to making all their money from Facebook and can no longer depend on it.

I guess my thoughts on that are, so what? And remember, this is coming from someone who really does NOT like Facebook. Don't forget that. I almost hate Facebook. I mean I really kind of do hate Facebook. But the truth is, Facebook doesn't owe you or your business anything. Can you think of any other website with the intricacies and complexities a Facebook page has, that was created with the intention of bringing you TONS and tons of sales at no cost?

Why shouldn't Facebook change its ways and get a piece of the pie? It built a totally successful platform for people to connect with a perfectly targeted audience. Due to the reasons mentioned above however, it's all just TOO much to see everything from everyone. You have to admit it's true. You'd go nuts if you saw every single post from every page you like (and don't really care about) and every friend and old high school acquaintance and distant cousin.

Yes I'm annoyed they feel they need to drop the organic reach even more now because now it's all about the money. No doubt in my mind it's no longer about filtering out junky posts. But because I checked out a long time ago on really caring about Facebook, it just doesn't get to me that much.

[Sidebar... watch the documentary Terms and Conditions May Apply. It is a good reminder that free services are never what they seem, and you are always giving up something when you partake in the free services of companies like Facebook and Google for example]

Here are some reasons I still like Facebook for my clients:

1. Creates a successful and cost effective place to advertise. Please read my whole post on why Facebook ads are actually REALLY amazing for most businesses here. If you have already read it just read it as a refresher if you're still upset about poor organic reach.

2. Posting helps your SEO organically, even if you aren't advertising your posts. It helps you rank higher in search engines.

3. It's an easy and free place to create community and brand messaging, because people will find it or look for you there and see what your business is all about, perhaps beyond what a website can do.

4. It's a nice place to do good ol' fashioned marketing as opposed to direct sales. In the article mentioned above, the guy from Superfly Kids says people aren't searching for superhero capes on Facebook, so they use more money on Google adwords. But what about the idea that sometimes you have to plant the seed or the idea in someone's mind that they even NEED that superhero cape to begin with. Maybe they didn't even think about that before they saw it on Facebook, for example. Nobody is going to search on Google for something they didn't know existed yet, or for an idea they don't yet have. That's what marketing needs to be about for many small business owners.

At the end of the day, you just can't put all your eggs in one social media basket. If everyone and every business started butting in on Instagram, the same thing would happen. People will leave. Pinterest is good today, but might not be good next year. Maybe people read your newsletter now, but some huge shift in activity may leave email obsolete within a decade.

Regular people (aka consumers) usually start using a tool, then slowly businesses catch on, then it gets saturated, then they move on. And the cycle repeats all over again. In the classes I teach around the county I always start off by saying social media is generally not the end all solution for any business. And shoot, this is what I do for a living. But I'm not afraid to say it.

I do have a few clients who have never needed anything but a Facebook page and a Twitter account to double their business year over year. But I will never stay too comfortable in that zone even with them, it's all too new and it's too unpredictable and we don't own any of these platforms and their decisions.

What has worked traditionally for your industry? Trade shows? Networking? Farmers Markets? In my opinion we got kind of spoiled with Facebook pages and I don't blame them for getting hip to it. There's a lot of talk about Facebook already being antiquated and some people are saying it's already old news and to move on. I don't agree. If you look at the numbers it's as popular as EVER and my clients have the sales to prove it. So I will ABSOLUTELY keep using it. But what I have done instead is remove my attachment, my dependency, and as I said above, my overall care for it as a whole. And boy is it liberating!

If Facebook works for your business, keep using it! If it doesn't, get the heck out of dodge and never look back! There is so much heat on the topic, believe me it feels damn good to say, "Eh, it's just Facebook..."

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Small Business Spotlight: Ian Statzer of ICON Surfboards

ICON Surfboards
Oceanside, California

With modern expression of individuality reaching new heights, it's no wonder surfers all over the county are gravitating towards these iconic boards. Ian Statzer - local artist turned shaper - builds his individual flare straight into his work, and designs surfboards for the creative souls in and out of the water. Keep your eyes peeled along the coast and you're sure to see his ICON logo poking out of the waves at each turn.
With a humble spirit, and a modest business approach, Ian is the perfect example of an organically grown small business. While still working as a shaper for other big-name local brands, Ian sets time aside to meet with interested buyers individually, and creates specific boards custom to each surfer, a craft that has long been dismissed or that comes with a hefty fare these days.

There is such a humbling satisfaction in buying something when it makes a difference to the seller. There's a sense of camaraderie in supporting a company when you know the story behind their business, and that your contribution, no matter how small, impacted their success. Remember a few years ago when people began to turn away from mass-produced products, such as beer, for the locally-produced, hand-crafted alternative? There is nothing different in the surf community. Big brands have dominated the scene for the last few years, making it difficult for young bucks to entertain the idea of investing in a small-name start-up. However, recent merchandisers such as Captain Fin Co. and Brixton have brought modern day surf culture back the roots, and provided a platform for successful local business.

Interviewing Ian was the same sort of feeling.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Introducing...Small Business Spotlight!

Research on small businesses indicates that 145,000 new businesses start up each year in America. However, 80% of these fail within the first year. What?! Let's combat this dreadful statistic with a shining spotlight for some of our most beloved small businesses around San Diego county in the newest segment of this blog... Small Business Spotlight!

Independent writer and photographer Leesa King will be zipping around our big, bustling county (and beyond, wherever she wanders) interviewing and snapping pics of some of the best underground hot spots, up-and-coming professionals, and creative craftspeople you can't possibly wait to meet! Stay up to beat by checking in frequently to see who is next on our list of San Diego's most interesting small businesses and show your support by buying local.

Attend one of the many weekly farmer's markets [Little Italy every Saturday morning is a personal favorite], or by doing some holiday gift shopping at a local craft fair - starting with the Village Artisian Faire this Saturday in Fallbrook.

Introducing our newest blogger! Please submit business feature ideas to:

Leesa King
San Diego, CA

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Facebook Advertising: Is it a scam?

There's been a lot of talk lately about how Facebook advertising is a scam, and people are getting likes and engagement from LIKE FARMS OR MILLS in other countries. Instead of always responding with a semi rushed answer, I decided to write this blog post on the topic.

I'll start off by saying, I am running ads every day, for multiple businesses, all of the time. They work, most of the time. (I'll get to why they don't work later) Everyone's definition of success is different, but that starts with knowing the difference between marketing and direct sales and how every business owner needs to understand some core principals of branding, and have a reasonable expectation of how long it takes for a new customer to trust you, or buy from you.

Most entrepreneurs or business owners are NOT marketing experts, they are experts and skilled in something else, which is why they started their business in the first place. This can lead to disappointing results, when that basic understanding of marketing falls short and expectations are not realistic.

With that being said I have lots of clients where the strategy has to start out with education on their topic to the community they are after, and multiple ads for multiple months to the same group. On the other hand, I've also had just as many, if not more, clients where the first ad works the first time, and they close a sale, and it works every time. Lastly, I've had clients where we tried ads for a while, found it too hard to connect with the right group, and decided to move on.

It's going to be very different for every business, and NO, not every business has a good reason to be on Facebook or use Facebook advertising. If you don't clearly understand how to target on Facebook, you might not realize there are a few key groups that you just can not find on there easily with the options available. Those are people I suggest not bother. And unfortunately, I will have to save that topic for another time.

So, what is going on with all these videos and claims that people are getting likes from random other countries? Let me start off with a few key points:

1. When you target an ad, you do it by location. The DEFAULT is always the country your Facebook page is set up in. So the default is the USA for most of us. You can then target more closely to your area, if you are a local business only, and go by zip code or city name.

If you hired a company to set up your Facebook page and they reside in a different part of the world (which actually happens often,  when people use a company they found online... these companies set up shop to look like they are in the US but they are not) then that could be a reason this is happening when they advertise. If you don't pay attention to your ad targeting and make an ad lazily and quickly, you should check to make sure the default target country is the one you do business in.

Now I'm not saying this is even happening, but it's something I've considered the reason behind why there is rumor about this issue.

2. People buy likes, which is the worst idea. I'm talking about the companies that say "We'll get you thousands of likes for just a few dollars!" If you do this, then, YES, every single like is going to be illegitimate and from some random "Like mill" somewhere else. How else do you explain getting 2,000 likes for 5 dollars? You have to regain the philosophy that quality is better than quantity, and avoid the temptation to buy a bunch of likes overnight. Keep reading, I will share how I help people get just as many likes quickly, but making sure they are interested in your business. And yes, you have to spend money.

What happens when people people buy likes, is now every time they advertise to their fans, which is supposed to effective and affordable, they are advertising for nothing and wasting their money. This just happened to a past client of mine who bought an existing boutique in town. I remember being impressed when she sent me the Facebook link because it had a good amount of likes for a small business. She started complaining that every time she boosted a post all these random people from Turkey were the ones engaging. So thus, she is spending money and wasting it. I looked at the insights of the people who like her page, and yep, they are mostly all from Turkey. It is VERY likely that whoever launched this Facebook page for them also bought a bunch of likes in this way, and now we have a problem.

However it is NOT the case, that she is boosting to her fans but Facebook is sneaking in these likes from Turkey. Her fans are from Turkey, and that is the problem. Do we know how they got there? No, because she bought the business from someone else, but the scammy business who offers tons of likes for nothing is most likely to blame.

I know this also, because another client of mine sent me over an email telling me how excited he was they just got 2,000 likes for five dollars. I instantly said, "noooooooooo that ruins our entire strategy," because now we can not advertise to our fans anymore. They are all young men in eastern Europe, who are not all interested in a mommy product.

These are the two main reason I can think of, why people are having issues with ads. Because they don't clearly understand it, these rumors get around that it's a scam. I've seen it all, the video of the guy and his experiment, the confusion and the posts circulating all over the internet. I don't care, because I do the most experimenting of anyone I know, all day, every week, all year, and I've never, ever, seen this happen to me or my clients.

With that being said, let's take a minute and talk about some of the reasons I find Facebook advertising extremely effective.

1. Yes, it used to be free, but let's all get over it and accept that it's not anymore.
Trust me, if anyone is frustrated and upset by the fact our fans don't see our posts anymore, I am! I have been using pages since its beginning, and am spoiled by the fact everyone used to see everything all the time. There are two reasons this is not the case anymore.

If everyone saw everything from every friend and page they like, they would go insane and shut down and not use Facebook. The algorithm existed to help people see what is most important to them or what is actually a good piece of content, versus crap. Is it perfect? No.

With that being said Facebook also of course, wants to make money off advertising. That has grown over the last few years, so put those two together, and you pretty much have to deal with the fact the reach is going to be low. Once you can accept that, let's move on to other reasons why you might still stay on Facebook...

2.  Facebook helps your SEO.
Posting on social media helps your overall endgame of being found on search engines, organically. This is true of all social media actually. I had a student in my college class who was an electrician. This is one of those industries where social media is harder to look good on, in my opinion. However, this student used to rank on the 6th page of Google, and just by making a Facebook and Twitter, and using it sparingly, he moved to the 3rd spot down on the first page by the end of the semester.

Maybe, just maybe, your objective for being on social media sites like Facebook is not to directly make sales or put pressure on yourself, or worry about the reach. But it is to help you be found in search engines. That can be your Facebook objective, and now you don't need to worry about it!

3. Facebook advertising is cheaper than pretty much anything else.
The reason I like Facebook advertising is because you can spend as little or as much as you want. It is not scary, it is not a commitment, and you can start and stop them as much as you want. Want to spend 50 bucks on an ad? Not liking how it's working so far, 20 dollars in? Just stop it.

Now, this is where it may not work for you if you don't try to learn from why it's not working. I say, just stop it. But then I'd say, tweak it, change it, try something else, and try again. If you do an ad and it didn't work, and you don't try to figure out why or change it or try long enough, you probably won't learn much from it.

Facebook ads are usually cheaper than google adwords, but that is because you are showing the ad to people who did not ask to see it. This is why it's crucial to do a good job niche targeting your ads, so they speak to people and they think, this ad is just for me! I would like to spend another hour talking about how and why to do this, but again I'll have to save that for another time.

4. You can capture leads and keep marketing to them.
So you spend 1,200 dollars on an ad in Yoga Journal (and I'm not saying this can't be a solid part of your strategy) but you have no idea who saw it, what they did, or have a way to contact them again.

You can place a nice offer, coupon, giveaway, or download to a niche group of people interested in yoga on Facebook, and make them like your page, or use a third party app to enter their email to claim the offer. Now you have gathered legitimate leads who are interested in what YOU have to offer, and you can continue to post to them, send email newsletters or promotions to them and put them through that sales cycle of trust and branding so they turn into a customer.

Yes you may need to pay to promote a post here or there so they see it, but with all the options out there for advertising, it makes complete sense to me that one should be able to afford a few bucks to promote to a group of people who are 100% into you and what you do. Seems smart to me! Again, we have to get over the fact it's not free anymore, and we can still realize this is a successful way to reach people if done correctly.

So. Like anything, there are people who know what they're doing and there are people who don't. If you're not a Facebook expert, maybe you're not going to do a perfect job on your ads, and you shouldn't expect to. I've been doing them for years across different industries, and I test, and test, and test my ads. I test them until I find the cheapest group, with the highest click through rate, and I let those babies run. I see my clients having robust email databases, likes, and engagement, with the proper targeting strategy. And I don't think I'm as well versed on it as someone who ONLY does Facebook ads. I know there are people who know way more than I do, and who can do amazing things I probably don't even know about!

Can I do a bang up job making a flyer or a logo for someone? Heck no! I'm not a graphic designer and I pay my favorite designer 110 dollars an hour to do that for me. Mine would look horrible. I think it's worth thinking about that maybe ads don't work for people because that's just not their expertise, and that is ok. We all put our energy into things we love, and that's why we are all good at what we do and are in business.

I just wanted to highlight some of the wonderful things about Facebook ads that my clients have experienced so people can understand the two sides of the coin. I stand by the fact they are still not for everyone and every business, and in no way is Facebook advertising the only option for a successful marketing campaign.

Social media is one tiny part of a marketing pie, and an understanding of traditional marketing and utilizing other channels are a huge part to any business being successful in their experiments online. 

I wish I could write 10 more pages on the topic, but it's Halloween tomorrow and my little one is begging me for her costume now! Until next time...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Power of Email Marketing: FREE

Please join me for these two fun and FREE presentations this month sponsored by Constant Contact.

The Power of Email Marketing: Featuring Social Media Marketing

There are two dates available and you must register to attend.

Thursday September 25
Hera Hub Carlsbad
Register HERE

Tuesday September 23
Hera Hub Mission Valley
Register HERE

This presentation will provide a deeper look into the importance and effectiveness of why email marketing with social media engagement drives action.

This session will reveal some simple but effective best practices and considerations for the small business or nonprofit seeking to make their email newsletters more effective. Attendees of this presentation will learn:

• Campaigns in general: what is a campaign, types of newsletters

• What to write about in your newsletter or announcement and how to consider using images

• Subject line best practices, and when to send your newsletter

• The importance of understanding how connected email and social media are…and how to use them together.

• What types of additional tools might be useful

Join us and learn some great new strategies to help your email and social media efforts be more effective components of one of the core campaign types, newsletters and announcements.

12:45p Registration and light networking. Coffee and tea available
1:00p Grow your business with email marketing begins
2:00p Program ends

Friday, August 29, 2014

The San Diego Chamber's Rebranding Event

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the San Diego Chamber's big summer extravaganza. I attended with Jillian Rose Darlington, the founder of a new app MomCo, where moms connect.

I used to attend the chamber networking events years ago, but found them a bit dry and predictable, and when I didn't really need to worry about growing my business, I decided to defer my energy elsewhere. BUT they really impressed me last night! They have a new direction, are ditching some of their poor performing member tools, and maybe just maybe might rope me back in if I see a new crowd start to attend these meetings.

Once we were there we really enjoyed checking out all the booths. Please enjoy the following pictures, as we snapped a shot with most of the vendors at the event. They were all so great, and it was fun being silly at a networking event. ;)

Car's Jars: AMAZING salads delivered to you.

Thorn St Brewery

Gordon Biersch is always a classic choice.

Still have never been here but need to go!

Grove Pastry Shop rocks! There is the owner (?) behind us.

I've always seen FTzeeFoods around, it's pretty cool!

Who doesn't love a little retro visit to the Corvette Diner?

This guy was great. Go Stone Brewery, go.

Buffalo Wild Wings anyone?

Oh and course, we met the Mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer.
And there you have it. Around SD with the chamber, Tracy, and Jillian. Now back to real work.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New Classes & Events

Here is my upcoming late Summer and Fall workshop and class dates. For a full description of the classes click HERE.

8/26 One Hour 10:00-11:00a  Hera Hub FREE Social Media Overview Sponsored by Constant Contact.

9/9 Half Day 9:30a-12:00p  Hera Hub Facebook Advertising Workshop (details here)

9/18 One Night 6:00p  San Dieguito Adult Ed  Social Media Overview for Business

9/30 to 11/4 Six Weeks 1:30-3:30p  Poway Adult Ed  Social Media & Email Marketing for Small Business

10/8 to 10/29 4 Weeks 5:30p  Coronado Adult Ed  Social Media & Email Marketing for Small Business

11/13 One Night 6:00p  San Dieguito Adult Ed  Social Media Overview for Business

September 2014 Full College Semester ONLINE CLASS MiraCosta College Social Media and Online Marketing

Friday, August 8, 2014

Free: Shark Tank Jumpstart Your Business

I am a huge fan of audio books. I never have time to read even though I love it, and when I do try at the end of the day, I get one page in and I fall asleep.

When there is a book I really want to read, I generally see if the library has it on audiobook and in no time at all, I've "read" the whole thing by listening to it on my way to work everyday.

However sometimes I just scan to see what else is available, and the other day I came across Shark Tank Jump Start Your Business: How to Launch and Grow a Business from Concept to Cash.

This audiobook is FREE on audible, so even if you don't have a kindle, you can download the Audible app to your phone for example, and listen from there. That is what I did and so far I've really enjoyed this book! I think it would be perfect for so many of my students and clients who don't know what to realistically expect when they want to start a business.

Here's the snapshot from their description:

From the ABC hit show "Shark Tank," this book - filled with practical advice and introductions from the Sharks themselves - will be the ultimate resource for anyone thinking about starting a business or growing the one they have. Full of tips for navigating the confusing world of entrepreneurship, the book will intersperse words of wisdom with inspirational stories from the show.
Throughout the book, listeners will learn how to:
  • Determine whether they're compatible with the life of a small business owner
  • Shape a marketable idea and craft a business model around it
  • Plan for a launch
  • Run a business without breaking the bank (or burning themselves out)
  • Create a growth plan that will help them handle and harness success
  • Pitch an idea or business plan like a pro
Responding to the fans' curiosity about past show contestants, readers will also find approximately 10 "Where Are They Now" case studies in which they learn what happened to some of the most asked-about and/or most popular guests ever to try their luck in front of the Sharks-and what they learned in the process.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Instagram Tool You NEED to Start Using Today

Instagram has been one of the hardest tools to offer as a marketing service, due to the difficulty in both managing and posting. Even though there are third party apps that let you comment, search, and interact from your Instagram account via a computer, posting the actual photo has always had to be done from a phone.

For business owners, that's not horrible because chances are you'll always have your phone logged in as your business. However for a service provider, it means lots of logging in and out, emailing photos to your phone, and missing out on opportunities because it's hard to monitor closely.

UNTIL NOW! I finally found a program that works to post photos from the computer. This means so many things, but here are my top four reasons I am in pure JOY over this discovery:

  • Upload high quality images from your camera in less steps (no need to send to your phone)
  • Easier typing of photo caption (again from a regular keyboard vs the phone typing)
  • Scheduling in advance so you can relax and know your IG content is taken care of
  • Easier teamwork, meaning I can share the upcoming posts with clients for approval or so they know when to expect posts and don't post at the same time
The developer of this program is awesome. He's responsive, proactive, and has really impressed me. I used it in a trial form for a while first to make sure it worked well, and I definitely approve it and hope everyone gives it a try if Instagram is something you are planning as part of your marketing strategy.  
You can sign up for a free trial here and  please let me know how it goes for you! The service does have a cost, but it's nothing compared to the value of the freedom and ease it will give you to manage your account.

I have also found a new tool that helps you track hashtags, topics, leads, and geo target on Instagram (and other social sites), again NOT something easy to do until now. I will write more about it soon so stay tuned. If you're antsy to dive into that program though, click here to try it out. I am still getting used to it, but I think it has more potential than any of the other scheduling and tracking tools out there right now.

How to find your business' photos
Lastly I will leave you with a tip if you are not sure if Instagram is for you. This tip is inspired by a conversation I had with a business owner once whose teen daughter told her Instagram is old news and her pizza shop did not belong on there. I looked on my own and saw TONS of people on there taking photos, sharing, commenting, and checking in at her restaurant. In my humble opinion as a marketing professional, I had to step over the teenager's opinion and claim that anywhere your customers are dwelling and talking about your business is a place you ABSOLUTELY need to be!

In fact, it's one of the best places to get user-generated content. Don't have time to take photos or don't know what to post? Users posting beautiful photos of your food is the perfect thing to re-gram and it practically does all the work for you. If you are trying to find all the photos of your business, try first looking up the hashtag of your business name, and from there, search until you find a person who also "checked in" at your location. You can then click on the hotlink location and see all photos that are associated with your business via the check in feature.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Catchy Headlines and What They REALLY Mean

Catchy subject lines have always been important. They need to convey something of importance or great interest, in a short sentence, AND with urgency. However the rash of trending HEADLINES right now across social media is driving me nuts.

Has anyone else noticed the trend I'm talking about? Today I saw this one pictured below, and even though I've been thinking about this topic for months, it finally prompted me to write this blog post.
With each article varying slightly of course, the formula goes something like this:

Something will shock you

They specify a number (like, you have to believe me, I said especially #14!)

It's unbelieveable

It's a total secret

What happens next will AMAZE you

I could go ON and ON. But here are some examples I just googled on the internet:

A Man Played Music Next For Elephants – What They Did Next Will AMAZE You! 

A Skydiver Is Knocked Unconscious in Mid-Air. What Happens Next Will Blow Your Mind.

Warning: Once You See These 21 Pictures, You Can Never, Ever Un-See Them. OMG.

These 29 People Learned About Gravity The Hard Way. How’s The Kid In #2 Even Alive?!

What I can tell you, is the articles are usually completely ridiculous, the number they point out is the same as all the other ones in terms of lack of importance, and it is a complete waste of time to even read them. Maybe some of the articles could be interesting. But they never EVER stack up to the hype of the headline.

I will say, at least the one photographed above is not as shallow as most of the articles with these misleading headlines, but the photos are random and I can not say I have any confidence in the captions or where they were sourced from. And I'm sorry, once I see these photos I'll NEVER forget them? I could have done without the one of Arnold Schwarzenegger all decked out in the US flag thank you very much.

Do these insanely desperate article headlines bother anyone else?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Down to Earth...Literally

I always see business reporters asking for tips on how to be successful and gain the trust of your customers. I know that means different things to different people. My advice has always been, and will always be:

Be yourself. Be authentic. Be transparent.
Sit on the floor if you have to <3
Working on a client's yearly goals...
She opened her brand new white board just for me!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Announcement: New Community Education Class

Here's an exciting update! I'll be teaching a community education class through MiraCosta College on the Oceanside Campus this quarter. This is an easy class for anyone to sign up for, you don't need to be a college student. Click here for more information.

Practical Marketing You Can Use

Do you have a general idea of how to market a product, program, or your company, but you're unsure of where to start or need someone to provide advice? This course will help you understand the different tools available and choose the ones that make sense for your business.

During this class, students will learn the basics of marketing, as well as have time to apply theories and best practices to their own business.

• Find your target market (those people who represent your best potential customers).

• Learn to engage with social media. Use tools in class to create a social media presence.

• Get started with promotion. Learn low cost, effective strategies to find and retain customers.

• Create a marketing plan to enhance your bottom line.

Supplies: A $5 material fee will be collected in class. Please bring an empty USB flash drive, notebook and pen to class.

Fee: $99

Oceanside Campus, Room 4610

3 Saturdays: 2/8, 3/8 & 4/5, 9 a.m.–12 p.m.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

MiraCosta Class Reviews

At the end of our MiraCosta Online Marketing class, we have the students write a blog post about their experience. Here are some excerpts I've pulled that reflect their thoughts... enjoy!

"My view of social media has changed dramatically. Before taking this class my only experience with social media was from social interaction, connecting with friends, and just mindless chatter. I never looked at these websites from a business standpoint or how I could utilize and integrate each site into my own social media marketing campaign. I learned the most through Facebook, using a business page, analytics etc. This was probably my most favorite one to experiment with because I have never had a business page before.  I think what I will take away from this class the most is the value of social media for business purposes and not purely a social based site(s). Also, what sites work best for what type of business you are trying to promote."

"Overall, I think this semester has been a great learning experience for business moves in the near future.  Even though my business was not real, I have learned many useful social media sites and tactics to use when I plan on starting a business. I loved this class because it let me have my own freedom.  I had all week to do my assignments when I had time and I had the freedom to write what I actually felt rather than a strict right or wrong answer.  I feel like this helped me learn a lot more because I was open to interpretation and did not fear getting the 'wrong' answer.  Lastly, I am glad I took part in this class this semester because business and technology are my passion and I was able to participate and effectively learn and pursue these topics in a school setting.  Thank you for teaching me and taking the time to read my thoughts and feelings."

"I chose to take this class to get better acquainted with social media as a way to advertise my wife's business. Although she is a conscientious and skilled tax preparer and immigration consultant, the economy and her lack of resources for marketing have kept her work flow stagnant over the last few years.