Promotion Idea: 28 Unique June Holidays

typewriter, promotion ideas for small businessCreative ways to gain the attention of your customers

Suffering from writers’ block? Stumped for what to post on Facebook, Twitter or your blog? Are you looking for a fun and unique way to gain more customers? Is your business in need of a new marketing tactic?

Well have we got a solution for you! Holiday promotions.  While this may sound like your typical holiday season advertising, it is a year round way to get your customers excited and coming back for more.

Take for example, June 22, National Chocolate Éclair Day. Have a business in the food industry? Run a special offering free Chocolate Éclairs with each purchase. Own a retail business? Celebrate the Bar Code’s birthday (1974) on June 26th by offering a discount. Unsure of what type of holiday would fit your business? Get creative. Sunglasses Day, on June 27th, offers a great opportunity to hold a sun glasses photo contest, offering a discount or prize to the winner.

You may even create your own holiday to match the needs of your business. Celebrate it yearly, make it fun and get creative. Creating holidays to celebrate your business’s milestones and successes is another good way to draw attention to what you have accomplished.

Whatever unique holidays you find on the calendar, or whatever holidays you choose to create, make sure they are fun and exciting! They are a great marketing tactic to get customers to notice you and spread the word!

Relate these fun holidays to your organization and share them with your online community:

June 1: Heimlich maneuver Day

June 2: Leave the Office Early Day

June 3: Repeat Day

June 4: Shopping Cart Birthday (1937)

June 5: World Environment Day

June 6: National Yo-Yo Day

June 6: Drive-In Movie Theater Birthday

June 7: VCR Birthday

June 8: Vacuum Cleaner Birthday (1869)

June 9: Donald Duck Day (1934)

June 10: Ballpoint Pen Birthday

June 13: Sewing Machine Day

June 14: Sandpaper Invented Day (1834)

June 14: Flag Day

June 15: Ben Franklin’s Kite Experiment (1752)

June 16: No Orange Clothes Day (1784 Holland forbad the wearing orange clothes)

June 18: Casual Day (Friday before summer solstice)

June 20: Ferris Wheel Birthday (1893)

June 21: Summer Solstice

June 22: Take Your Dog To Work Day

June 23: Public Service Day

June 23: Typewriter Patented (1868)

June 25: Paddington Bear’s Birthday (1958)

June 26: Bar Code Birthday (1974)

June 27: Sun Glasses Day

June 28: Insurance Awareness Day

June 29: Waffle Iron Day

June 30: Corvette Birthday (1953)

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for new promotion ideas for each month.

Social Media 2011 Just The Stats

Sometimes statistics and numbers tell a story better than words and provide a quick way to understand our world. The State of Social Media in 2011 is one of those situations. Reciprocate is pleased to share this presentation by Hubspot which captures the current state of inbound marketing using telling statistics and quotes.

The below presentation sums up the State of Social Media in 2011 in 64 thought-provoking slides. Spend a few minutes flipping through the presentation for a glimpse into how others are using social media. Then use this insight as you market your company online. Enjoy!

Social Media 2011 Just The Stats

Thanks to Hubspot for this great collection of social media stats. Reciprocate is not affiliated with Hubspot; we’re just fans of their ability to compile data and their willingness to share their knowledge with the rest of us!

LinkedIn: Join now and be 1 in 100 Million

LinkedInIf you have not already jumped on the LinkedIn bandwagon, it’s time. LinkedIn just announced it has reached 100 million members, and one new member is joining every second. LinkedIn members, representing all Fortune 500 companies and millions of entrepreneurs, in industries from aviation to zoology, join LinkedIn for the common purpose of networking.

Karen Emanuelson is featured in the LinkedIn 100 campaignLinkedIn 100 Million Campaign

To commemorate its membership milestone, LinkedIn launched an interactive ad campaign featuring 100 of its members, including Karen Emanuelson, owner of Reciprocate LLC. Reciprocate’s success can be traced to Karen’s active participation in LinkedIn groups. She was selected for this campaign based on her 140-character success story: “I kick-started my marketing consulting business through LinkedIn groups.”  Karen is currently a member of 58 groups on LinkedIn and serves as manager of two of these groups, Social Media for the Blogger and LinkedMinnesota Entrepreneurs.
 
Click on the ad image above to check out the other 99 success stories. While you’re there, be sure to click on the blue “Submit Your Story” button for your shot at being included in the next LinkedIn advertising campaign. 

Contact Karen today to find out how you can take advantage of LinkedIn and LinkedIn groups to kick-start your company.

 

LinkedIn Strategy #3: Keywords

Keywords linked to LinkedIn success

Recently, I received a phone call from a local HR rep asking me to interview for a position — a position that paid $100K. I hadn’t applied and, at the time, I wasn’t even looking for a job! Turns out, the HR rep plugged a few keywords into LinkedIn’s search function and my profile came to the top! It wasn’t a good fit, but the moral of the story is that people are using LinkedIn to research and find potential employees and potential business partners based on words used in their profiles.

Makes you want to re-word your LinkedIn profile, doesn’t it? 

LinkedIn released a list of the top 10 buzzwords used in LinkedIn profiles. Here are the Top 10 Buzzwords translated into a LinkedIn professional headline: 

Problem Solver with Extensive Experience as a Results-Oriented, Innovative, Motivated Team Player. Proven Track Record in a Dynamic, Fast-Paced Entrepreneurial Environment

Unfortunately, this is about 50 characters too long to fit in the 120-character limit of a LinkedIn professional headline, but imagine what could happen if your professional headline included keywords that are actually being used to find people, products and services in your industry. These are the same keywords that are used in Google, Yahoo, and Bing searches everyday.

So how can you find keywords that could work for you?

Google has a very good instruction guide for creating successful keywords. You can use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to see which keywords are most popular for your industry. 

In addition to using keywords in your LinkedIn professional headline, Summary and Specialties and Employment title and descriptions, use these keywords throughout your website and online directory listings for even more impact.

What Color is Your Website?

Pick a Color, Any Color

Your brand is reflected in your company colors. When you are first forming your company, you need to decide the colors you want associated with your company, products and services.  Best Buy uses blue and yellow; Coca-Cola relies on red and white; Bachmans, a Twin Cities florist, uses purple and lime green. Which colors represent your company? What colors do you like? What image are you trying to portray?

Consistent use of colors helps to solidify your brand with customers. Use your brand colors everywhere: on your website, YouTube channel, Twitter background, email templates, product packaging, marketing and collateral materials, promotional items, stationery, and business cards.

If website visitors aren’t converting to customers, changing the color of your website might not be the solution. If your car stopped working, would you paint it a different color to make it work?

If you aren’t happy with how your website is performing, ask a third party to review your website with you or hire a website consultant. Does the text answer or raise questions? Are the pages laid out logically? Where are the calls to action? Is it easy to read and uncluttered? 

Notice I haven’t asked what color it is.  Pick a color. Any color.

Pantone just announced Honeysuckle is the 2011 Color of the Year. In the comment section below, post links to your favorite websites and list their dominant colors. (Can you find any using honeysuckle?)

LinkedIn: It is nice to share

 Share button available for LinkedIn

It’s nice to share — and LinkedIn now offers an easy way for visitors to your website and recipients of your email marketing campaigns to share your website pages, products, and services with others on LinkedIn.

What’s the advantage?

The LinkedIn Share button is powerful. It provides an easy way for others to post your company information as a personal update, as a post into a discussion group, and as an email sent to individuals.  With more than 85 million members on LinkedIn, this new Share button is a “must have” for every small business marketing effort.  According to LinkedIn, just one individual with 345 connections has potential connections of almost 6 million individuals!

How does it work?

Here’s what your readers will see when they click the LinkedIn share button:

4 Places to use the LinkedIn Share Button

  • Add it to your website
  • Include it in email newsletters
  • Add it to your email signature
  • Add it to your blog

If you are comfortable adding html code to your website, a visit to the LinkedIn publishers’ site provides three options for “share buttons” and instant access to the html code.  It took me less than 5 minutes to add the share button to my WordPress-based website as a widget. Check it out (above right, under the “search” box).  If you prefer, your web developer can add the Share button easily. Either way, make sure you include adding the LinkedIn Share button to your marketing “to-do” list.

If you are a small business owner or a member of a nonprofit organization and aren’t active on LinkedIn, you probably should be.  Check out these additional blog postings for other tips for maximizing your impact on LinkedIn.

Turn your 15 minutes of fame into 30!

Womans Day PR Opportunity

Taking Advantage of Media Coverage

Congratulations! Your small business is in the news.  Now what?

Here are five simple ways to leverage your positive media coverage for even more publicity for your small business or organization.

  1. If your media coverage is in print, create a .pdf of the article or news story.
    – Make a professional-looking copy. Newsprint often bleeds through the backside, so be sure to change the settings on your scanner when scanning newspaper clippings.
    –  Add a border as well as the publication logo and publication date.
    – Create a .pdf.
    An easy way is with a free shareware program, Cutepdf that creates a .pdf when you select cutepdf as your printer option. I’ve used this for years with great success.
    If your media coverage was on TV or radio, contact the broadcaster to obtain the audio and/or video file. Some may have links to past segments on their website that you can download.
  2. Upload your .pdf, video, or audio to your website.
    – Do you have an “News Room” tab or “In the News” section of your website?  Now would be a great time to add one.
  3. Create status updates on your social media networks with links to your media coverage.  Facebook and LinkedIn provide an easy way to attach links to your updates. Twitter posts can directly include the link.Reciprocate LLC on Facebook
  4. Thank those who help spread the word about your press coverage on other social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.  (Thanks, Kathy!)
  5. Press coverage often encourages more press coverage.  If your media coverage was national, seek out local reporters and outlets to see if they are interested in covering your national exposure from a local level. If your coverage was in print, perhaps a local TV or radio station would be interested in the story or vice versa.

Enjoy basking in your 15 minutes of fame — and good luck extending your time in the spotlight!

LinkedIn Strategy #2: Tell your story in 120 characters

With more than 75 million members on LinkedIn, how can you stand out from the crowd?  Start by telling your story in 120 characters that have people wanting to know more.

Which 120 characters?

Your LinkedIn “Professional Headline.” 

Your professional headline follows you everywhere on LinkedIn — when you post a status update, when you join a group, when you add or comment on a group discussion, and when you connect to someone else on LinkedIn. 

In addition to being displayed prominently under your name at the top of your LinkedIn profile, your professional headline pops up every time someone hovers over your name or photo anywhere on LinkedIn. LinkedIn uses your current position title as your professional headline unless you change it. To edit your headline, click the “edit” button next to your name when you are on the “Edit My Profile” page.

Which person are you more likely to want to connect to and network with?

 

Jeff Perry who piques your interest with his professional headline or David who just lists his title? 

 

It probably wouldn’t surprise you to find out that Jeff has 500+ connections on LinkedIn and David is struggling to reach 50.

The key to an effective headline is to be creative, yet professional. Create a headline that has LinkedIn members wanting to know more about you, your company, your interests, your passion. 

Using consistent keywords throughout your LinkedIn profile will help you rise to the top in LinkedIn keyword searches. Creating a captivating professional headline will be to your benefit every time someone hovers over your name on LinkedIn to find out more about you.

How creative can you be in 120 characters?

Here’s a few more curiosity-piquing professional headlines that stand out from the crowd that have  I’ve come across on LinkedIn:

  • Community builder, Storyteller.  Ryan Rudd
  • Courageous Coach, Precocious Procurer of Talent and Fantastic Facilitator  Ericka A Butler, PHR
  • Business Visionary…Able to bring competitive funding to almost any project worldwide.  John Busser
  • Catalyst for Revolution at Catura Creative   Michelle Schwantes
  • Forward Thinking Print Sales and Marketing Professional  Jared Martz 

Are you or any of your connections taking advantage of a creative, attention-getting headline? Share the best LinkedIn professional headlines you know in the comments section below.

Marketing with Photos | What small business can learn from Domino’s Pizza & Monster Energy

Marketing with Photos
Domino’s delivered 400 million pizzas last year. Monster Energy is the Number 1 energy drink by volume in the U.S. What can a small business owner learn from these mammoth companies? Plenty, including how marketing with photos can be used to promote your business. Regardless of the size of your staff or the industry you are in, you can take advantage of photos and photo opportunities to market your company online.

6 creative ideas for marketing with photos

Here are 6 creative ways to use photos to promote your products or services online:

  1. Run a contest.  Ask customers to submit photos featuring your products or services. Offer a prize or discount for entries.  Domino’s Pizza created a special URL to promote a photo contest in 2010 called ShowUsYour Pizza.com.Reciprocate LLC, Twitpic, KarenEman
  2. Create an account on Flickr for your business.  Upload photos that build anticipation for an upcoming event or new product line. I use my Flickr account to showcase community and nature photos I have taken as editor of the North Oaks News as well as to promote my company.
  3. Feature one photo on each page of your website to add visual interest. While too many photos can be distracting, one large image can have a lasting impact on visitors. Additional photos may be placed in a less dominate location lower on the page. Photo gallery pages are an obvious exception to the one-photo rule.
  4. Send photos via Twitter. Using TwitPic, you can share photos from your PC or camera phone via Twitter in real time. TwitPic also provides stats on how many people have viewed your photo, and you can add the TwitPic widget (above right) to your website for additional exposure for your photos.
  5. Upload photos to Facebook. Create albums based on themes. The Monster Energy Facebook page has more than 70 company-created albums and encourages customers to post their own photos.  The result?  More than 5,000 photos uploaded by Monster Energy customers. Examples Facebook albums small businesses could create include:
    • Holiday Gift ideas
    • Why customers love us
    • How we make (product)
    • Before and After
    • On the road
  6. A quick, fun way to promote your small business or organization using photos is Smilebox. This website offers a free (or relatively inexpensive if you choose to upgrade) way to create a short video display of 8-15 photos. Below is the Smilebox I created in just a few minutes using a free account to promote Reciprocate LLC.

Click on the play button above to view the Reciprocate LLC Smilebox creation.

5 small business “photo op” ideas

Opportunities for using photos to promote a small business abound. Keep a camera or camera phone handy as you go about your day. Make a conscious effort to take 5 photos each day for one week.  By the end of the week, you’ll have created a photo gallery to choose from and you will have also created a mindset to look for and create photo opportunities.

Here are some possible photo opportunities to get you started:

  1. Products or services
  2. Company-sponsored events
  3. Employee meetings, client successes, awards, and celebrations – especially if you can feature your product, service, or company logo somewhere in the photo
  4. Company representatives and/or your product at trade shows, speaking engagements, and events.  Stage photos in front of banners and signs which promote the event or in front of recognizable location signs.
  5. Before and after photos — this can translate into almost any industry but works especially well for organizers, home improvement companies, and decorators.  Think outside the box. Even accountants can show a “before” photo of a mountainous pile of receipts and an “after” photo of a clean desk, featuring their company logo displayed on the monitor along with a happy customer.

Use your imagination. Get creative! Unless you are in the professional photography industry, don’t worry so much about getting the perfect shot with perfect lighting. Some applications (like TwitPic) atually lend themselves to impromptu camera phone images. Have fun but do keep your company image and marketing goals in mind. I encourage you to share links to your favorite use of company photos in the comments section below.

Twitter: Phishing Attack

Twitter recently reset passwords on numerous users’ accounts. 

If you cannot log into your Twitter account, check your emails to see if you have received one from Twitter that looks like this:

If you received this email, you will not be able to log into your Twitter account without clicking on the emailed link.  Additional information may be found on the Twitter  help page.

As a precaution, Twitter users are advised to not share their Twitter password and account information with third party companies that offer to increase follower counts rapidly.

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