Say Cheeeeese!

It is imperative to have a good quality business photo for your website, LinkedIn profile, and articles you write for industry publications as well as to give it to journalists who request it. People who do business with you might want to see what you look like. Before you start with the excuses, let me be honest. Your selfie at the bar won’t cut it. Save it for your personal Instagram or Facebook account. If you are to be perceived as a professional, you need to hire a professional. Period. Think about it as an investment in your career. The cost need not break the bank. Here are a few quick tips to get the most out of your photo session:

  • Dress how your industry works. Are you an artist or a CPA? Needless to say, those in the art or advertising world may have a bit more creative freedom than say, an investment banker. The general rule of thumb from the pros is to dress classic, basic, and simple. This gives images longevity. Business casual is a broad definition and can include suit coats with informal shirts, polo shirts and tan pants, or turtle necks with jeans. However you define business casual, be sure to feel fabulous in your clothes, no matter the style!
  • Be yourself. Have fun, even. The key here is letting go. Look at the camera and imagine it is the face of someone you really care about and are comfortable with. Get creative with props, angles and your facial expressions. Show several sides of your personality. I loved the photo of myself (above) with my glasses because I was genuinely laughing. We were trying to get a serious headshot and I couldn’t pull it off. It ended up being one of my favorite shots. When you are comfy in your skin, you know it. The camera lens knows it. Your viewers know it. Be genuine. Always.

The creative adult is the child who survived. Show me your inner child.

  • What to wear tips for ladies. For headshots and professional photos in genera lavoid big prints and busy patterns. (Think grandma’s house dress). Oh, and your jewelry should not resemble “Gypsy Rose.” We want to see you, not your busy-ness. It’s fine to be fashionable but remember the picture is about your face not your soon- to-be-dated accessories or clothes. Also, keep in mind that different necklines will change the apparent shape of your face. Bring a variety of shirts or blouses to see what works best. No cleavage. No cleavage. No cleavage.
  • What to wear tips for guys. For a no-jacket casual look, bring colored shirts-ideally darker than your skin tone. The standard business look is still a suit jacket, dress shirt and tie, gentlemen. A casual business look is often a jacket and open dress shirt, shirt and tie, (no jacket), or dress shirt on its own. Quick note. A white dress shirt by itself is a bad idea. It just is. Trust me.
  • Tell the photographer how the photo will be used. Communicate your expectations and intentions for the picture, whether you plan on using it for your website, online marketing or print collateral. Be as clear as possible. Did you see some photos that you admire? Snap a screen shot and show your photographer what you like about it. The angle. The color. The pose. Whatever. If it is not appropriate, they’ll tell you.
  • Select and wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. We all have that go-to outfit we pull out of the closet when we want to feel our best. Don’t have one? Go shopping. Today. Make sure it fits your body and personality well. You’ll know it the second you try it on. If you have absolutely no clue in the fashion arena of your life, grab a friend, partner, or colleague who does. They’ll help.

 

Here’s to your success! Feel free to contact me if you need addtional help finding the right photographer.

Audrey Gotto

 

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2 Reasons You Should Use Emojis in Brand Marketing

When it comes to communication, I’m an impatient person. Voicemail takes too long and email often requires too much effort. Like most people I know between the ages of 12 and 70, text messaging is the go-to method for communicating- with co-workers, friends, family and (sadly) the person in the next room. Enter the EMOJI.

“Emojis help companies add a human touch to digital marketing communication. Brands should think about what their audience cares about.”

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and emojis are just the next evolution of communicating, sometimes even complex thoughts or emotions, with simple pictures.  Brands are recognizing the usefulness of the Emoji in online marketing communication.  Here are 2 reasons you should be using the cute smiley faces as a marketing tool.

1. Emojis can transcend  language barriers. A smiley face is universal, (you know this if you have ever traveled overseas) and now there are literally thousands of emojis that are gaining worldwide acceptance and allowing an entire generation to communicate across borders. A smile. A wink to a heart. The simplicity of these images breakdown linguistic obstacles, in turn, enhancing brand recognition and generating positive impressions. Marketing experts say emojis allow recipients to fully comprehend the intentions of the brand, no matter the worldwide location of the consumer.

2. Emojis help companies add a human touch to digital marketing communication.When I see a brand using an emoji, I can instantly relate on a personal level to the conveyed emotional message of that brand. Most marketers understand that emotion is more effective than promotion by more than 2 to 1. Let’s face it. They’re cute. Who doesn’t like cute? O.K. Maybe Scrooge. Or Archie Bunker. But you get my drift. Most people are jaded to perfect PhotoShop images and slick online lead generation tactics.

How can emojis  be used in brand marketing? They can be incorporated into instant messaging applications, text, email, promotional products and social media messages to convey brand emotions. Developing your own emoji image can be a great way to extend your marketing reach to millennials. HubSpot has an Emojis for Dummies Translation Guide to help you get started. Transport the online experience into tangible residual marketing. Check out these great specific examples of national brands using Emoji Marketing from Ad Age to get your creative ideas flowing.

These branded emoji “Flingers” fly through the air with a flick of their tongue! The cute guys  (we have girl emojis too) are a fun new item that is sure to grab attention at your next function. They are part of Fina Promos emoji based product line. Why not run an Emoji contest? Think about using these guys as part of your next tradeshow giveaway, meeting, Facebook or newsletter sign-up gift. Take simplistic messaging to a whole new level!

All my best,

Audrey Gotto

 

Linking Your Way to SEO Success

Links from your website to other related websites, and vice versa, play a role in your business’ local SEO visibility, because they help to establish the authenticity and credibility of your business. Without appearing “spammy” use these 5 action items in your website link strategy:

  • Consistently share links to your website via your Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels, and encourage others to pass along the information as well. Speaking of links; Here’s a few of ours: Fina Promos Website  FinaPromos Facebook Page  I find myself struggling with this at times. But really, the next time you are sending off an email try and take a few seconds and include a link to a special blog post or article from one of your social sites or website that would help, entertain or amuse your recipients.
  • Include links to your website in email newsletters and other updates to customers. Posting a link back to your website on your LinkedIn and GooglePlus Page updates/posts can greatly increase your search engine optimization efforts. Again, without being a self-serving spammer, try to include your website link if it would actually be helpful to your associates or readers.                                                                             breastcancergirls
  • Host or sponsor local events, or provide discounts for neighborhood students, and then encourage neighborhood businesses, the local chamber of commerce, charity organizations and other partners to link to your website when talking about those activities. And don’t forget to return the favor.
  • Create a local directory of community resources including your favorite nearby restaurants, stores and cultural attractions, to provide an opportunity for you to link out to others (and for them to return the favor). Even consider starting a blog where you can talk about your business’ neighborhood and link to businesses and places of interest.
  • However, be sure that your link strategy is authentic in that you know who you are linking to and that they have relevance to your business. Also, do not create link schemes like spamming your business’ domain name on websites, forums or blog comments.

Here’s to your success!

Audrey Gotto

How Social Media Helps SEO Rankings

Social media sites play a key role in local business’ visibility in search results. When a potential or current client Googles your business, (and believe me they will before deciding to do business with you) ideally, your business website should appear first, followed by social sites. The more proactive your social media strategy, the higher likelihood your pages will attract followers- and in turn, appear within search. Give it a try. Google your name or company name. Does your website appear first? Where do your social sites appear and in what order? I tried this with my company name – Fina Promos My website appears first followed by Fina Promos Google Plus Page, Fina Promos Facebook Page, Fina Promos LinkedIn Page, Fina Promos Pinterest,  My You Tube Page and finally my blog.

What can you (or you social media marketing partner) do to help your local (organic) SEO rankings? In two words- Engage Regularly!  Here are 5 action steps you can take to regularly engage with your online audience:

  • Develop a strong social media strategy  that includes engagement and follower goals like the one in this inforgraphic from Social Media Online Classes

 

SOCIAL-MEDIA-STRATEGY-Fina-Promos

  • Post updates on your new products or services offered. Can you feature a “product of the day, week, or month”  and highlight the benefits?
  • Create promotions or giveaways that require engagement from your audience. Everyone loves a chance to win a promotional product, branded gift or premium. Gift cards also make great promotions since they are easy to distribute and less bulky than larger gifts.  Give away a chance to win your product or service for free if this is possible
  • Highlight stories of relevence to your customers. Who is your target audience and what are their concerns? Posting about things happening in your city or town  puts you on the map with local rankings!
  • Engage on social media by responding to those reaching out to you via your social sites with questions or feedback on their orders.

I hope these few tips help  you see good results with your visibility online.

All my best,

Audrey Gotto-Fina Promos

 

 

3 Ways To Market Your Brand to Teens and College Students

According to the American Psychological Association, teens influence over $600 billion (with a “B”‘)  worth of spending annually. That’s a ton of crayons, folks! What is your small business doing to market to this growing group of purchasing giants? Back-To-School marketing for colleges, high schools, and even elementary grades can add significantly to your bottom line while showing goodwill as a local business.

Whether you want to reach students, teachers, professors, parents, or the community try these three tips to get your brand image out there before the bell rings in September.

  1. Follow Their Eyeballs.

Have a legit account on the social media sites that they visit. No, it’s not a waste of time. Instagram is now the most popular photo-sharing site among teens age 12-17. One million of them visited the site last July alone.

Add to that the 93% of social media–using teens who have a Facebook account (according to Pew Internet research), and the 16% who use Twitter (a figure that has doubled in recent years), and you’ve got a lot of teenage eyeballs.

But to connect with a teen target market, you must do more than simply have a presence on the sites they use. You must also pay attention to what motivates and inspires them. Pay attention to what they post and WHY they post.  Most teens (and adults) love to be associated with the latest cool gadget, piece of technology or brand fashion item that everyone else seems to be enjoying. (Remember carrying ginormous boom boxes to school?) They want to be recognized and validated for their unique contribution to the world around them. How can you help them do so? Think outside the box. Could you offer a social media contest that appeals to these needs?

2. Know where the parents hang out. 

Always, always, always try to associate your brand and logo with having a good time, being helpful, or educating the community (value). One of my favorite clients, Clearview Credit Union decided to give away a “college student laundry bag” to every parent who opened a college savings account or college loan with them. On one side of the bag, we printed the bank logo along with laundry instructions. The opposite side had the logo of the participating college. Talk about helpful, fun, and educational!! They were a huge hit.

Click for 13 Back To School Promo Items

Click for 13 Back To School Promo Items

3. Give them sweet promo items as a gift. 

Who doesn’t love cool FREE gifts? I still get excited when I see a great logo or graphic on a promotional product and I’ve been in the business for 25 years. (think…your favorite t-shirt, logo’d sports bag, athletic shoes, purse or pen) I continue to love my Pittsburgh Pirates logo’d baseball I received as a gift for signing up outside PNC Park for another credit card I didn’t need. I still have that Pirates baseball and yes, I still use the Mastercard.

Word of caution: Be sure your promotion has a purpose. In other words, what is it that you want the promotion to do, exactly? Perhaps you can capture email addresses to build up your newsletter readership by gifting an item in exchange for an email address. Do you want to drive more traffic to your website or add more followers to your social media sites? Use the promotional products to ensure your marketing goals are reached.

Feel free to contact me any time if you need specific suggestions for your next project. Any more ideas? Comment below in the reply section.

All my best,

Audrey Gotto

3 Ways to Get More Twitter Shout-Outs ( Retweets)

Twitter Tips, Social Media Marketing

The goal for any marketing effort is to be create awareness of your product or service and attain new business. How can you increase your company’s exposure on social media channels such as Twitter? When a follower retweets your post, his or her followers are now exposed to your business or organization. This kind of shout out is immeasurable! Here are the top three tips I share most often when asked how to get tweets, well, retweeted. If you’re new to Twitter, just pick out one and start there. Retweets are sure to follow.

1. Add facts, figures, stats, and images to your tweets Most people like to see facts, figures and stats in tweets. I know I do. And, I’m pretty sure it’s not a coincidence that the tweets at Fina Promos that get re-tweeted almost ALWAYS contain a relevant statistic or fact, figure, and/or image. Tweets with images are 94% more likely to be retweeted. Twitter rewards people who get their dimensions just right by displaying images in the feed, so keep your images 440 by 220 pixels. Below is an example of an image I shared on twitter that quickly and clearly incorporates this idea.

Embedded image permalink

Share one interesting and relevant stat or sentence from your blog post with a link to read more. Remember to attach a photo if possible, as tweets with photos are twice as likely to be retweeted.

2. Use hashtags properly

Less is more. One or two relevant hashtags is more than enough for any tweet. Any more and you risk becoming known as a hashtag spammer, and nobody wants to talk to that person. In a study of 1.2 million tweets, it was found that a sprinkle of relevant hashtags can increase your retweets by 55%. Twitter offers guidance on how to use hashtags, as incorrect use can lead to a violation of their T&Cs, so give that a read before embarking on your hashtag journey. I’m a big fan of placing my “hashtagged word” at the end of my post. It might look like this; “Life only demands from you the strength you possess. Only one feat is possible-not to have run away.” #quoteoftheday #inspiration Whatever your personal style, be uncluttered and professional with your use of hashtags.

3. Have a PURPOSE for your tweet Always think about the purpose of your tweets. Are you sharing awesome information with your followers? Promoting your latest blog post? Talking about a current event? Keeping your tweets focused, interesting and relevant will dramatically increase of your tweets being retweeted by your community. Maybe you’re trying to do all three. Choose your reason for that ONE tweet, and have at it! Vague or generalized tweets will not be share worthy most (if any) of the time.

I have provided a link below to my  FREE Ultimate Twitter Checklist. Feel free to download and use it to audit your own site.

http://finapromos.net/images/twitter-checklist1.pdf

Regards, Audrey Gotto

Got any other tips or stats for creating tweets that will get retweeted? Let us know how you succeed in the comments.

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile For Maximum Exposure

LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for building our own personal/professional brand (or persona) as well as our company brand image. A well optimized LinkedIn profile will support the “LinkedIn activity” your brand is associated with. Be sure to use key words in your professional bio or that of your business.  This should be the NUMBER ONE item on your list of priorities. Get it right. Experiment with key words until you are sure you are representing yourself and your brand precisely where you want to be found in  the “webisphere.”

I have included a 22 item LinkedIn “checklist” for you to download or print as a free guide to help optimize your entire LinkedIn presence. I hope it is helpful for you. I’m still trying to get through all of the steps, myself!  Please feel free to leave a comment or suggestion in the “reply” section. I’d love to hear from you.

Regards,

Audrey Gotto

Click on the link below

LinkedIn-checklist(1)

 

LinkedInInfographic