Are you tired of posting content to your social media news feed and having it fall flat in the insights?  Then you should think about adding some GIFs to your digital marketing. GIFs are probably the most under-utilized media that I’ve seen in the digital marketing space.

What’s a GIF?

Definition: GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is “a computer file format for the compression and storage of digital video images.”  Source:  Merriam Webster Dictionary

In general terms, GIFs are those fun little images or mini videos that play over and over.  They can easily be embedded into your digital marketing to add some movement to your content and bring a little flavor to your online branding.

The first thing you need to think about when it comes to GIFs, is if you want to find a GIF or create one of your own.

Finding a GIF

I use GIPHY.com as my source but you can also find them on TumblrTwitter or do a quick Google search.

Saving a GIF (that you found). 

Once you find a GIF, the next step is to save it to your system.  Believe it or not, you treat GIFs as images.  Simply right-click and select “Save Image As”.  Just make sure “GIF Image” is your “Save as type”.

Making a GIF

If you can’t find a GIF that drives the message home, you can make one of your own.  There are sites that let you do this such as  Giphy’s Make a GIF ToolMakeAGIF.com.  My personal tool of preference is the Ripl App(For iOS devices).

How to use GIFs in Social Media

You probably have figured out already that when it comes to social media marketing, images will always take preference over text, and videos will always receive more interaction than images.  However, sometimes we don’t have the time or interest to create a video for every post that we create.

Enter your new friend, the GIF

Find or create a GIF and voilà!  You’ve now made your social media marketing more interactive!  Rather than posting an image, you can make it dance across your news feed – and give your account some more attention and interaction online.

Here is an example of how I used a GIF in my social media.  It was Friday and I was personally feeling run down after a long week.  I thought my audience may feel the same.  So I sought out a fun GIF to lighten the mood – and groove into the weekend.

Looking at the reporting, this one post received a total of 33% of my entire reach for the week.  “Reach” in social media terms is defined by the amount of people that saw your post in their newsfeed.

GIFs Aren’t Limited to Your Social Media 

You can use them in your blog content, or add a little flavor to your email marketing.  This may depend on the email marketing program that you work with.  I use Constant Contact.  I have been able to use GIFs to spice up the material in a content heavy newsletter.

The best example I’ve seen of a GIF in an email marketing campaign is Olive Garden.  They were promoting their delivery service during a weekend that had both an awards show and football playoff game.  They used a creative subject line, “Cleats or Stilettos?” and when you opened the email, your eyes fell upon this gorgeous GIF.

As you can see, for 5 to 10 extra minutes of finding or creating a GIF, the payoff is worth it.  Go seek out a GIF or make your own – and watch as the content pops off the screen and your numbers skyrocket.


Jeannine O’Neil, (@Jeannine_Oneil) owner of JO Social Branding, is a digital media strategist who empowers and educates marketing professionals on how to make the best use of their social media and email marketing.  Through JO Social Branding, she has positioned herself as a thought leader in the digital marketing industry.  In addition to her work as a speaker and consultant, Jeannine has a weeklynewsletter and podcast titled, “Social Eyes”.

You already know that in corporate world, you only get one chance to make a first impression. But what you may not know, is that the “you” who is reading this may not in fact get that opportunity – your LinkedIn profile might beat you to it!

Indeed, more frequently than ever before, everyone from prospective clients and customers to potential business partners and associates are “checking you out” on LinkedIn, which is by far the world’s largest professional networking site with over 200 million members who visit more than 50 million times a week. What’s more, these people are forming opinions, making judgments, and coming to conclusions about you long before you have the chance (if ever!) to say hello over the phone or email, or go in for a hearty handshake or friendly fist pump in person.

Clearly, it’s in your best interest to have an outstanding LinkedIn profile — one that makes the fantastic first (and second…and tenth) impression that YOU want to convey. But how do you create this kind of elite profile? It’s simpler than you think – just focus on these 6 keys:

1. Create a Killer Headline

If your headline suffers from dreaded SOSO (“same old, same old”) syndrome, then to paraphrase Sun Tzu: you’ve lost the battle before it has even begun. Avoid this cruel fate by having a catchy, unique and bold headline that sets you apart, and positions you as someone that people want to connect with. It can also help to put your email address in your headline, so that you send the message that you’re accessible and responsive.

2. Add Relevant Keywords

Be sure to use relevant keywords in your headlines, and throughout your profile (which we’ll get to in a moment). Keywords aren’t just SEO friendly, but they help you stand out in a search.  They also send the signal that you’re digitally savvy, which is certainly a characteristic that you want associated with your personal brand.

3. Write a Focused – and Fantastic – Profile

You know that blurb that might be on your resume – the one that describes your skills in pretty straightforward, ordinary terms? Keep it far, far away from your LinkedIn profile. Yes, people want to know what you’ve done and what you’re good at. But they aren’t leafing through resumes. They want to be impressed and engaged by something unique, authentic and written by a real person (a.k.a. YOU!). There’s so much possibility with LinkedIn to put personality in your profile. You can add photos, videos, special recognition, and so much more. And don’t be afraid to toot your own horn, either. If you don’t believe in your abilities and strengths, how can anyone else?

4. Get a Professional Headshot

I can’t emphasize this enough: if your photo is from the year 2008, or depicts you on a picnic, on a cruise, at the beach, or anywhere else that doesn’t convey the words “professional, poised and confident” then it’s time for a new headshot. As you already know, a professional image counts! Invest in a headshot or professional picture that does your personal brand justice.  You’ll turn heads, and what’s more, people will come up to you at conferences and meetings and say with warmth and familiarity that “they recognize you from your LinkedIn photo!”

5. Ask Others for a Pat on the Back

One of the best features of a LinkedIn profile is the “Recommendations” section. Build credibility with endorsements by asking for recommendations from colleagues, clients and partners. Every positive comment helps build your brand. And of course, remember to recommend others, too – “paying it forward” it always a good policy. Plus, believe it or not, but some people will want to see how you recommend others – so keep that in mind!

6. Keep it Current 

Things move ultra-fast in the corporate world, and it’s easy to let your LinkedIn profile gather dust and grow out of date. It’s essential that you stay on top of this, and ensure that your profile is updated at least weekly. Plus, be sure to join groups, contribute, post and share information that members within and beyond your network will find interesting. As a bonus, the more value you add, the more you’ll show up on news feeds – which will increase your name recognition and exposure in the marketplace. Don’t be the best kept secret in your industry!

The Bottom Line 

A rockin’ LinkedIn profile is just one of the many ways to brand yourself as an expert in your field. Make sure your brand is consistent and noticed on all relevant social media and online platforms. You’ll attract more opportunities and increase your professional reputation by building communities who recognize you as a thought leader in your industry.  Use LinkedIn as part of your online strategy to stand out – and stay ahead!

I’ve been promoting for most of my life. Ideas, interesting concepts, friends, schools, my kids, favorite consignment stores. You name it, I’ve always found a way to accentuate the positive. I learned it from my Dad, the ultimate promoter and influencer.

“When there’s a will there’s a way,” he would tell me.  By learning marketing, PR strategies and how to maximize ROI, he beckoned us to take advantage of every opportunity, live life – and live it up!

In How to Get Great Free Publicity from WikiHow.com, we get more than a few ideas to grab attention and get through to the media without spending a fortune.

  • I love the tip if a journalist “blows you off” tell them you’re new at this and ask for help.
  • Or, how about getting the right phone number for a journalist by researching Hoovers.com

 Click here to find other Free PR strategies.  

Lisa Furgison, from VerticalResponse.com shares 7 Tools to Get Free Publicity for Your Business for small business owners.  I’ve been a fan of  free online directories  for quite some time, but Lisa sweetens the pot adding these tips: 

  • Use a shortened version of your bio to create a resource box at the end of articles or guest blogs. Make every word count and include a call to action; Grab Your Free Report. Download this Checklist. Contribute to my trip to Bora Bora. (Why not?)
  • Sign up for a 7-day free trial to Contact A Celebrity and see for yourself how your brand or cause aligns with a potential 60,000 celebrities. See if they participate in a “gift program” where they’ll review your product. No guarantees of course, but why not try?  

 Find other Publicity Tips here that won’t cost you a dime.

I’ll add my name to the hat with a free report I’ve created called the ABC’s of Free Publicity. Discover how you can mix and match PR strategies with an alphabet of tips and tricks to choose from to maximize your visibility, credibility and expert status. Download the Report Now and Promote Your Business or Brand – Even Without a PR Budget.

Take advantage of all of these Free Publicity strategies and learn to market your business or brand on a dime.  Why not, Bora Bora might beckon you too!

It’s not magic.  It’s resourceful PR strategy.

Last week, on the night before a big speaking gig, I created a checklist to giveaway as a brand reminder and resource for my audience.  Since my topic was ‘How to Use Free Publicity to Grow Your Business’, it seemed like the perfect fit.

How to Turn a 900 Word Article into 36 PR Opportunities

>>You can download this free PR resource here

I stayed up late racking my brain for marketing ideas and clever ways to repurpose copy.  My thoughts are always the same. You should be getting the biggest bang for your buck, especially when it comes to PR and promotion!

Yesterday, one of my favorite clients picked five ways she’ll promote her brand. She already has articles on LinkedIn, pitches, a few interviews and blogs galore. She’s knows exactly what to do to get more PR!

Why reinvent the wheel when you don’t have to?

Take Advantage of this Free PR Resource Now!

Then, write, tweet @RobinSamora or send a smoke signal on what you’ll use to reach new audiences and share great content. I’d love to hear from you!

PS – If you’re in the Greater Boston area, I’d like to invite you as my guest to an upcoming Boston Women Connect, Building Business Connections Networking Event. In fact, I’m speaking there on Tuesday, April 26 at the Marriott Courtyard in Woburn. My topic?  How to Market Your Business and Brand. For details and registration click here, and use the promotional code power for your complimentary ticket.

First, check out this awesome tool that analyzes and scores the headlines you’ve written.  It’s a free headline analyzer from Co-Schedule.com. If you’ve never used it before, definitely give it a try. The goal is to come up with a score as close to 100% as possible.  Mine rated a 72%.  What I should do (note to self) is write a page of headlines and in my free time, analyze them.  Better yet, I’ll invite a few friends to come over and we’ll come up with titles over a bottle of wine. I bet they’ll rock.

There’s also another tool that analyzes the emotional marketing value analysis of a title. This fascinates me (as many things do) and I’ve included the link here.  It’s another perspective on how your headline is viewed and it’s available online at the Advanced Marketing Institute.

Next up is an article on how to tweak your headline using specific words and punchy phrases.  Author, Tamsin Henderson gives her advice in this article which was featured yesterday in HARO (you gotta love HARO). Read How to Tweak Your Headlines for Success and see what changes you can make in your copy. And yes, we do recognize that character counts do count.

HubSpot always has great information and articles on a variety of marketing and public relations topics. Here are more guidelines on How to Write Catchy Headlines & Blog Titles Your Readers Can’t Resist from Corey Wainwright. Be clear, accurate, brainstorm with others – and don’t forget to be a little bit sexy.

Lastly, let’s look at Megan Marrs’ article 19 Headline Writing Tips for More Clickable, Shareable Blog Posts from Wordstream.com. She asks her readers to think about adding numbers, digits and lists, educating your audience, breaking convention – and also suggests writing about breeding distrust, indicating we’re a pretty cynical society!

There you have it.  A variety of sources on ‘How to Write a Kick Ass Headline to Market Your Brand’.

I’d add to this with the following advice.

Practice makes perfect. Go to a supermarket and look at the headlines on tabloids and magazine.  Think about eliciting a response from your reader. And, try to use key words that align with your brand. Vary it up though. You don’t want to build on boring.  Remember, you can’t always use the headline alone to drive traffic. It’s just part of the mix. Write great content, be relevant and use free SEO tools, tactics and plug ins to help as well.

We’re not trying to be perfect here – we’re all learning as we go.  We’re also building our brands in ways that express who we are and how we can help others.

 

PS – I’ll be speaking about ‘How to Get Free Publicity for Your Brand and Grow Your Business’ in Cambridge, MA on Saturday, March 26th at Sleek Marketing University.  The theme of the event is Digital Marketing For SkyRocketing Growth – What’s in Your Arsenal?  Join me and fellow speakers Christina Inge, Kai Chung, Jamie Bradley, Chuck Goldstone and Craig Carpenter as we dig deep into online marketing and how you can ramp up your business in a big way. Use the code SOCMED for 40% off.

1. It’s OK not to know everything. There’s a learning curve to trying something new.  Scuba diving for the first time. Making the perfect crepe. Creating killer graphics with cool tools. Inspiring hundreds to take action when you speak. Some say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. But, when you embrace that we’re all really experts in training, you’ll find it easier to receive and share information. Viva the 80/20 rule.

2. Sometimes you don’t know what will happen. At the bottom of the ocean, you don’t know what you’ll see or what you might have to do. So, you have to be trained. Your mask might fill up with water. You push the wrong button and go flying to the top (don’t try that). When we’re in execution mode, the best PR and marketing plans might have to be tweaked at the last minute or even scrubbed. Being trained and knowing the options can be a dream come true.

3. Follow best practices. PR specialists and marketers in every stage of their growth learn from a variety of sources. The internet, coaches, books, You Tube, fellow colleagues and the list goes on. To save time and to be more effective, learn from the experience of others and follow established guidelines, hopefully not repeating their mistakes. Best practices in marketing can increase revenue, expert status and visibility, and showcase the star you really are.

4. Paying attention matters. There have been a number of instances where paying attention has been critical to my survival. Scuba diving is one example, hot air ballooning and surfing others.  I could say jumping out of a plane, but I haven’t done that yet. As influencers and marketers, we need to pay attention to what’s going on around us, and what’s really important to our brand, not just what would be nice. Paying attention can put you ahead of the crowd or keep you at rock bottom. It’s always your choice.

5. Listening = Watching. 
There isn’t one of us who couldn’t learn to listen better. When you’re underwater, listening means watching the signs – of your instructor and fellow divers. In business, learning to read the signs could include understanding body language or noticing office discord, without hearing a word. Watching for positive and negative signs of your team and key players could save you time, effort and a big HR mess. Keep your eyes and ears open. Your gut reaction is usually right.

Everyone in my family is back to work on Thursday. One of my daughters is prepping for a 3 week trip to Australia, another is head high in client work and training for a trek to Patagonia.  I’m excited about new business opportunities this month and upcoming speaking gigs at Constant Contact and Sleek Marketing University.

This New Year will bring us new adventures.

What ‘bout you?

Ah, the year in review! I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the Top 10 of a few categories in 2015.

The top 10 business lessons compiled by Fastcompany, top 10 leadership stories by Entrepreneur.com and for visual learners in the public relations and marketing world – a look at the top 10 infographics by Marketingprofs.

In this article from Fastcompany staff, top business lessons from 2015 are shared from a variety of leaders and entrepreneurs. What were they? Calling yourself a freelancer might not be such a good idea, world travel can teach you how to expand your comfort zone and stepping back from the CEO position may actually prove to be the best leadership move.  Other lessons? Alone time works, crisis can help your company and more.

Could you have improved your leadership this year? Entrepreneur.com’s Laura Entis shares top 10 leadership stories worthy of mention and each has a valuable lesson. What’s important to note is that successful entrepreneurship starts with successful leadership and we can all learn to be better communicators and more effective leaders.  Worth reading — 50 Rules to Be a Better Leader, 7 Toxic People to Avoid When Starting a Business, 10 Examples of Companies with Fantastic Cultures. All here.

And where would we be without visual stimulation? Marketing Prof’s Editor, Veronica Maria Jarski gives us insights of her company’s top 10 infographics of 2015. Take a look at 12 Secrets of Human Behavior to Use in Your Marketing, The Only 10 Slides You Need in a Pitch and Best Days and Times to Post Content  — and how could we forget the Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Social Media.  These are great infographics to post on the wall (if you like doing that sort of thing).

A year in review by observers, seasoned marketers and entrepreneurs.

All good for your business. All good to keep in mind for the New Year!

We’re a society that’s definitely on the move. There’s no denying that!

But, what do you do when you’re busy and on the go? I hope that you hire people to help and outsource as many tasks as you can.

There are times though, that you’ll need to address business in the now — and the only available resource might be your Smartphone.

When you normally have access to your computer and a desktop full of programs, and you only have a phone – where do you turn?

To mobile apps for sure!

The world of apps can be confusing, but here’s a tip that might change your perspective and save you hours of time…

Ask a fellow entrepreneur (or fellowpreneur as I call them) what apps they have on their phone and more importantly, ask them which apps they use every week!

Filling up a ‘toolbox’ is a great way to be more productive on the go! Unfortunately, not every app or program will be for free. I suggest you try out the free version of an app first (usually there is one) and if you like it and use it, pay an extra few dollars for the upgraded version.

Now, here are my three must-have apps for the Business Owner on-the-go!

For photo enhancements, check out the app Over. I like Over because with just a few clicks, I can add a logo and/or text to my images before I post the picture to social media. The spinning wheel is easy to use and once you’ve edited your image the way you like it, you can save it to your photo gallery.

What do you do when someone hands you their business card? I used to put the card in my purse and I know many men who put them in their wallet or suit jacket, where they’ll remain until they are forgotten – or washed till there are no remains! You can download one of many business card scanners and upload the business cards directly (and immediately) to your phone where you can store the info and start the process of connecting!  (You know it’s a process, right?)

Another great tool I love is having a voice recorder app. This article by The Social Media Hat aka Mike Allton talks about using your driving time wisely to record blog ideas. Consider taking this app to the next level and record to-do lists, marketing copy or comments from your last sales meeting – while ideas are flowing.

Here’s to making life easier, more productive and applying these tools to save you time!

Have a burning small business marketing, PR or promotions question?  Email me at Robin@RobinSamoraInc.com or take 15 minutes out of your busy day and call me at 617-921-3448.

As a busy entrepreneur and bon vivant, I know about scheduling and prioritizing in all aspects of my life and business. I’ve learned how to shave valuable time through trial and error so I can concentrate on what’s important to me.

Marketing is no different. There are definite ways to save time – valuable time, while marketing.

Plan – Create a business plan and a marketing plan! Your marketing plan should be based on your marketing budget and include traditional marketing as well as online marketing line items.  Without a plan, you plan to fail. Without a plan, you can’t outsource (see below). Use these 5 steps to create a marketing plan.

Outsource – As a small business owner, it’s not always feasible to hire a full-time marketing manager. Often, we rely on our own ‘wits’ to do what seems like endless tasks — from social media to blogging to graphic design to web management. But, if these tasks take too much time, it’s time to reevaluate. How do you know it’s time? Read this article from Forbes; ‘7 signs it’s time to outsource your marketing’. You’ll find your options to outsource marketing are plentiful.

You can outsource:

  • Marketing tasks to a virtual assistant (who may save your life too  — xo )
  • Management of social media distribution
  • Graphic and web design
  • Additional training for your staff
  • Research and platform building to an intern

Tools – There are plenty of tools that will help you streamline your marketing. If you aren’t sure what I mean with ‘tools’, read this article ‘Top 5 Small Business Marketing Tools’. I’m sure several on the list you may be familiar with.  If you don’t have the time or want to learn about them, hire someone who’s an expert.  The point is, save yourself time!

Are you are ready to save time and get direction on what you should be doing with your small business marketing and PR? Let me show you the way!

Brand Ambassadors, whether paid or unpaid, have a critical role that’s often overlooked and sometimes regarded as a line item first to cut, budget time.

The truth is, the best Brand Ambassadors mirror your voice and attitude in the marketplace. They take a company’s concept, stats and goals and create, then deliver, a message that feels authentic. Their job is to connect with your target audience and influence them in a positive way.

Busy managers and executives with aggressive goals sometimes forget that the Brand Ambassadors who carry your flag are people too.  Unconsciously, they can change their marketing tone if you forget to treat them as part of your team, barely pay attention or put inexperienced managers — who don’t understand group dynamics or the value of outsourced staff — as first command.

Brand Ambassadors who showcase your products and services are valued allies in your PR and marketing efforts.  Maximize their output and high energy when you work together.

Here are 3 Ways to Motivate Your Brand Ambassadors   

  1. Acknowledge that a Brand Ambassador has an important role, just as important as a sales or marketing team member.  They’ll wear your brand, give a face to your company and hopefully convey heart and soul as well.  Show them the respect that they deserve as they interact with your prospects, clients and colleagues.  There’s an incredible upside to being valued as part of a team.
  2. Appreciate Brand Ambassadors as front line reps and show them love, even if it’s in small ways; invite them to company meetings, trainings and give them VIP access and parking if available when they’re working a high profile event. If tickets are plentiful at a certain venue, consider offering them as a thank you. Often, complimentary tickets get discarded, and it’s heartbreaking for some to see the waste. As in life, the gesture of sharing goes a long way and generosity is seldom forgotten.
  3. Allow Brand Ambassadors the flexibility to deliver your message, in their voice.  Every Brand Ambassador, like every person, has their own unique style, tone and timing  —  and the ways that people listen can be as varied. Be open to different communication styles to reach a wide and multi-cultural marketplace and honor their freedom to express themselves within the guidelines of the brand. With the high-tech world that we live in, there’s never been a better time to reach out and touch someone.

Brand Ambassadors touch one person at a time in ways that social media can’t.

Make every touch point count, from the top down.

Like this article?

Check out others I’ve written about promotions —  3 Key Traits of an Elite Brand Ambassador; The Power of PRiorities, PRofit and PRomotion3 Promotion Secrets of the Rich and Famous