When Profiling Gets Out of Hand (I’m talking Twitter)

  When I first created an account on Twitter most of my docket was freelance writing so I used my name, my byline, as my Twitter handle: @LeslieAMSmith. Using simply your name allows a lot of latitude as far as your brand is concerned. I could post about most any topic and it was fine. As my business ticked back toward marketing and public relations, I started posting more about those things. I could see followers increase when I posted about certain topics (#leadership, #entrepreneurship, #business, #consultant). I also attracted followers when I used hashtags with much different descriptors (#humor #comedy #creative #arts), but whenever I did, the followers of the other tweets went away. Juggling Personalities Recently, I separated the two and put the PR and marketing squarely with a new identity: @McCormickLA_PR (my company name). Feel free to follow me on one side or the other, or both. Of course, as soon as I created @McCormickLA_PR I noticed individual PR consultants going by their names alone and experienced some dissonance. I also have inadvertently shared things on the thread I didn’t mean to simply because I was logged in to the wrong one. It’s no big deal, really, but that is one of the reasons I had kept to just one place for Tweets—personal and business. I limited some of the snark, though, knowing that clients and potential clients might be following me and be surprised by my sarcasm or turned off. However, so far, it’s more good than bad by splitting my interests. I’ve also started to read more people’s profiles with a critical eye. Tips for your Twitter Profile If you are trying too hard to fit in everything that might make someone inclined to follow you, it might just be too much. I recently saw a person’s profile include his business interests, and “preemie issues.” I read it twice to know if he was calling premature start-up businesses “preemies” or if he meant babies. He meant babies. Sure, those are things that he’s interested in a 360º view of his personality. But I don’t want to follow him if that’s what he posts about. I can’t relate and therefore that one incongruent fact stands out more than anything. I love knitting and crocheting and therefore follow people who are experts in those crafts, but I don’t list that in my profile because I don’t post about...
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Shop, Don’t Shop … Why So Much Shame?

‘Tis the season for shopping and however frivolous that activity is, lately it has attracted advocates on all sides and has drawn a lot of energy. The big question on the Internet is: should we shop on Thanksgiving just because some stores will be open? It makes no difference to me. I actually think it could save a few families. Debates about potatoes and gravy styles can escalate pretty quickly to deeper issues. If someone can get out of the house and take their frustrations out at Walmart, I think that’s just dandy! Avoidance might not be a recommended therapy, however, Thanksgiving is not the day to deal with every old hurt you can muster. The shopping festivities continue on Friday with the traditional Black Friday sales, which now last weeks and even the whole month. Even so, I have friends who live for door-buster deals and it is as much a part of their family traditions as marshmallows on their sweet potatoes.  This Saturday is American Express’ Shop Small Day! I laugh—no, I guffaw––that American Express is the big beast behind Shopping Small. Think about that. American Express is anything but small and whether they are promoting you to use your AmEx on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Shop Small Saturday, they still benefit with their merchant fees, annual membership fees, and any interest on balances not paid. Yes, American Express offers $10 back on $10 purchases up to three times on Shop Small Saturday at participating merchants. I wonder how many new cards they issue for this event with an annual fee of $55. It’s easy to recognize it’s worth their while, as they are still $25 ahead just in the membership fee. I think that if you are vowing to Shop Small, then do the merchant a real favor and use cash. This Shop Small movement is one more way the pendulum has swung. I remember the debates here in Long Beach in the 1990s when Downtown was being redeveloped. The outcry was for flagship merchants that would transform Pine Ave. into a destination shopping row. Specifically, they wanted a Nordstrom. Well, we got a Nordstrom Rack and a Walmart—demographics matter and a “build it and they will come” mentality did not win out. The developer did get a Z Gallerie and a Pottery Barn Outlet, but where are those now? If today’s trend is boutique, that’s...
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More Than One Way to …

… Increase Your Bottom Line You’ve seen it done before: cereal as a snack food, baking soda as an air freshener, and so on. Products get marketed for other uses. It’s a great way to go! You increase your sales, your reach, expand your target market, everybody wins! I saw this packaging at Target one day and was impressed with the length that Q-tips would take to show men it’s okay if they want to buy a box. I’m certain these cotton swabs were used in car detailing long before the swabs created this packaging. That is often key in marketing your product for a new use—the users blaze the trail. How do you know whether people are using your product in some new way? Well, you have to ask them and then you have to listen to them. You have to really listen and see if what they’re saying is viable and if there is a large enough market for it to warrant unique packaging and other promotional attention. On Q-tips website, they have a tab called TIP JAR where they share tips for using their product in all areas of your life including using them with your pets. FYI, the automotive tips are under the HOME category. Incidentally, I did not see these specially packaged Q-tips in the auto care section of the store, they were solely in health and beauty. I suspect that’s an inventory issue that would require a separate stock-keeping unit, but that’s a whole other story. However, Q-tips also has baby packaging that is displayed in the infant care department. This repackaging idea is also a viable route if you offer a service. Ask people why they called you, hired you, keep you, refer you. You might be surprised at what they are getting out of your services. For instance, maybe what you offer people is tax prep service, but the packet you give to your new clients helps them learn bookkeeping so well, that they refer you to all of their entrepreneurial colleagues. You could capitalize on your ability to teach start-ups how to create a proper chart of accounts and stay on track to meet their financial goals and obligations. It’s worth a shot! Be open to new uses and opportunities. Just like these cotton swabs, it’s a good tip. McCormick L.A. has been helping businesses and organizations in and around...
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Word Doodles

Have you ever heard of Wordle.net? It’s a great tool any time you are writing copy and want to make sure that your main thoughts are really what is coming through. When your eyes glaze over from reading it too many times you can’t see straight and certainly can’t edit appropriately. I use Wordle from time to time. You visit Wordle.net, click on CREATE and it gives you a nice big blank dialog box. Just paste your text in, or type in a URL where it can extract the copy. Once you press GO, Wordle creates a fun graphic that incorporates all of the words you incorporated in the piece showing the ones you used the most larger than the ones you used the least. I’m currently revamping my website so I stuffed all my copy for the site onto Wordle and here is the result. (I promise it turns out much larger on the Wordle site, I just don’t know how to code it to make it larger here.) My company name is the largest followed by terms like marketing, public relations, and Smith. Try it to see if you are writing what you intend to write. You need the most recent version of Java for it to work. You can download it at Wordle.net if you need it. Happy Word Smithing! McCormick L.A. has been helping businesses and organizations in and around Long Beach with their public relations and marketing needs for 20 years.  If you haven’t already, please follow me on...
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