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MARKET LIKE A PROFESSIONAL

Building a social media following locally is harder in a seasonal community. We have our challenges but we also have the luxury of diversified customers and the ability to focus on the goods, services and skills we offer.

Remember to run your business like a local but market like a professional!

#northforklocal

Social Media Marketing How To Get more customers

Wow, things have changed! In the past few years, I have switched conversations with small business from WHY you need social media to HOW you can use social media marketing to your advantage.

The online world has witnessed the growing importance of Social Media as a crucial digital marketing tool that can give maximum exposure and greater marketing mileage for any brand, product or service. It has gone from being a mere fad or yet another simple platform where content is published – and evolved into one of the most powerful marketing and advertising tools and strategies.

We’ve all witnessed the growth of the online world and know the importance of Social Media as a valuable small business marketing tool that gives maximum exposure and greater customer growth for any business, product or service.

 

Here are the keys to maximizing growth potential and increase your income.

CARE

Your social profiles are the external/digital version of your business. The best way to gain customers and increase sales is to just care about your followers online.

CONSISTENCY

Do your business a favor. Pick a social media platform (I suggest Instagram) and post often. By often I mean at least four times per week if you can do more that’s great. To be clear, I don’t mean four times in one day I mean pick four days a week and post. Consistency is the name of the game because the more people see your business name the more they’ll be interested. More importantly, the more you post the easier it becomes and the more valuable your account will be.

TELL A STORY

Don’t ‘sell’ your stuff, talk about your product or service. Write posts as if you were speaking to a friend not broadcasting a special on tomatoes at the supermarket. Give your posts a friendly, inclusive feeling maybe if you are selling tomatoes offer up a delicious recipe and then mention that a pound of tomatoes this week are only $3.00 so dinner is cheap.

LIKE BACK & BE SOCIAL

One of the most overlooked aspects of a business owners social strategy is paying attention to other people and businesses online. Over the past few years, I find that I know a person Instagram name faster than their real name – you should be this way too.

RESPOND AND ENGAGE

Social media is “social” and customers expect some form of interaction from business owners to respond back when they react to a post, send messages or comment online. At least like their comment and be friendly – at best comment and engage in conversation. It’s easier now more than ever to Like a comment on Instagram; it’s easy to follow back a followers page, and it’s even more easy to Like a post by loyal followers feed.

COMPLETE PROFILES

There’s a Twitter profile of a local business that has their phone number as their Twitter handle. I don’t know if they think this is a good idea or if it was an oversight… but I’ll tell you this its a bad idea. What’s a good idea is putting your phone number in the designated area and your business name as your Twitter name. Wherever there is an opportunity to talk about your business, products and services take advantage of it. Fill in all profiles. Where photos and header images are concerned, make them look as good as possible. Sometimes these pictures are the first impression of your business.

CONTENT, QUALITY & VALUE

You are what you post. Sharing a blurry image of your product with a description that no one will understand is not the way to go. If you take the time to craft interesting content with your images and provide quality image you are offering your customers value and they will WANT to hear from you and look forward to your posts.

Building your social media reach will take some time, but if you’re committed to the steps above, we guarantee you’ll start seeing results.

How else do you recommend increasing your social media reach?

Hire A Dedicated Social Media Manager

As you can see, there are a lot of details that go into growing your customer base and providing quality social media posts. Social Media needs a strategy, and consistent attention this is not something a business owner can dedicate enough time to or a millennial can handle as a side job — especially with all the necessary changes and trends that are consistent. Eventually, you’ll need to hire a dedicated social media manager to manage your accounts, keep your profiles current, stay on top of trends, post great content, and do a whole lot of experimenting to provide analytics and data.

External vs. Internal Small Business Perception

By all accounts, my greatest strength and most needed service

is

providing small businesses the opportunity to take a deep hard look at what their small business looks like to their customers.

It’s not easy.

It’s not easy to tell a business owner that they should consider how their business looks to the outside world.
It’s not easy to remind business owners that just because they like their product, service or design doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
It’s not easy to tell clients that their customers just don’t ‘get it’ or can’t see their vision.

However, it’s absolutely necessary.

Look beyond yourself.

When considering the many options in marketing your business, a business owner needs to stick by their passions, remain true to their business goals and keep a keen eye on the brand message – BUT one must also maintain a consistent method of receiving feedback from customers. There are many ways to get customer feedback one of the easiest ways is to listen to their social media comments, reviews, and complaints. It’s not easy. But within the many details involved in a complaint or bad review – there is usually a thread of truth.

A good marketing manager will listen to those difficult comments and reviews (and all the good one’s too) and assess what voice and methodology a business needs to take in order to market themselves effectively.

External perception is what you distribute via social media, share on your website and advertise.

Internal perception is what you think of your business, and what goes on inside your shop or when working with customers.

By all accounts, my greatest strength and most valued services are creating the opportunities for small business owners to take a deep hard look at what their business looks like to their customers.
This External perception is not easy, it’s hard to peak outside of the proverbial curtain, forget about your to-do list for the day and what you need to get done to serve your clients or create products – but taking the time to focus on how your business looks to the outside world is invaluable.

Once you decide how you want your business to look and sound – then you have marketing.

Any time you use the same password on multiple websites, the risks to your security increase dramatically. A breach at one site could expose all of your accounts. If that password is a lame one like “123456” or “password,” a hacker could get into your account just by guessing. The problem is, avoiding same passwords and lame passwords is really hard—too hard for most people to manage without help. The solution is simple—install a password manager and change all of your passwords so every single one is different, and every single one is long and hard to crack.

Until our Internet culture evolves into some post-password Nirvana, everybody needs a password manager, even our own John Dvorak. There are plenty of good choices. All the commercial password managers listed here earned 3.5 stars or better. Don’t let a stressed budget stop you from securing your online accounts. We’ve rounded up free password managers separately.

Any time you use the same password on multiple websites, the risks to your security increase dramatically. A breach at one site could expose all of your accounts. If that password is a lame one like “123456” or “password,” a hacker could get into your account just by guessing. The problem is, avoiding same passwords and lame passwords is really hard—too hard for most people to manage without help. The solution is simple—install a password manager and change all of your passwords so every single one is different, and every single one is long and hard to crack.

Until our Internet culture evolves into some post-password Nirvana, everybody needs a password manager, even our own John Dvorak. There are plenty of good choices. All the commercial password managers listed here earned 3.5 stars or better. Don’t let a stressed budget stop you from securing your online accounts. We’ve rounded up free password managers separately.

Any time you use the same password on multiple websites, the risks to your security increase dramatically. A breach at one site could expose all of your accounts. If that password is a lame one like “123456” or “password,” a hacker could get into your account just by guessing. The problem is, avoiding same passwords and lame passwords is really hard—too hard for most people to manage without help. The solution is simple—install a password manager and change all of your passwords so every single one is different, and every single one is long and hard to crack.

Until our Internet culture evolves into some post-password Nirvana, everybody needs a password manager, even our own John Dvorak. There are plenty of good choices. All the commercial password managers listed here earned 3.5 stars or better. Don’t let a stressed budget stop you from securing your online accounts. We’ve rounded up free password managers separately.

Any time you use the same password on multiple websites, the risks to your security increase dramatically. A breach at one site could expose all of your accounts. If that password is a lame one like “123456” or “password,” a hacker could get into your account just by guessing. The problem is, avoiding same passwords and lame passwords is really hard—too hard for most people to manage without help. The solution is simple—install a password manager and change all of your passwords so every single one is different, and every single one is long and hard to crack.

Until our Internet culture evolves into some post-password Nirvana, everybody needs a password manager, even our own John Dvorak. There are plenty of good choices. All the commercial password managers listed here earned 3.5 stars or better. Don’t let a stressed budget stop you from securing your online accounts. We’ve rounded up free password managers separately.

The Basics
The typical password manager installs as a browser plug-in to handle password capture and replay. When you log in to a secure site, it offers to save your credentials. When you return to that site, it offers to automatically fill in those credentials. And if you’ve saved multiple logins for the same site, the password manager offers you multiple account login options. Most also offer a browser toolbar menu of saved logins, so you can go straight to a saved site and log in automatically.

Some products detect password-change events and offer to update the existing record. Some even record your credentials during the process of signing up for a new secure website. On the flip side, a password manager that doesn’t include password capture and replay automation needs to offset that lack with significant other assets.

When you create a new secure account or update a weak password, you don’t want to strain your brain trying to come up with something strong and unique. Why bother? You don’t have to remember it. All but one of our top-rated products include a built-in password generator. Do make sure your generated passwords are at least 12 characters long; some products default to a shorter length.

Entering a password like S$U?_wzF4boBQNLD on your smartphone’s tiny keyboard can be tough. Fortunately, almost all of our top password managers can sync across all of your Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. A few even let you authenticate on iOS or Android with your fingerprint rather than typing the master password. Most include some form of two-factor authentication, be it biometric, SMS-based, Google Authenticator, or something else entirely.

Fill Those Forms
Since most password managers can auto-fill stored credentials, it’s just a small step for them to automatically fill in personal data on Web forms—first and last name, email address, phone number, and so on. Almost all of the top-rated products include Web form filling. The breadth and flexibility of their personal data collections vary, as does their accuracy when matching Web form fields with their stored items. Even if they miss a field or two, the ones they do fill are ones you don’t have to type. Think about how many sites you go to that want all the same information; this feature is a huge time-saver.

Different products handle form-filling in their own ways. Some immediately fill all recognized fields, some wait for you to click in a field, some pop up and ask what you’d prefer. You’ll even find products that offer your choice of credit cards using realistic images with the correct color and bank logo!

Advanced Features
Given that all these products take care of basic password management tasks, how can one product stand out from the pack? One handy advanced feature is managing passwords for applications, not just websites. Another is provision of a secure browser, designed to protect sensitive transactions and invoked automatically when you visit a financial site.

As noted, these top products let you sync your passwords across all of your devices. Some of them also include a built-in mechanism for securely sharing passwords with other users. Some let you share a login without making the password visible, some let you revoke sharing, and with some the sharing goes both ways—that is, if the recipient makes a change it will change the original.

On a grimmer note, what happens to your secure accounts after you’ve died? A few products include some provision for a digital legacy, a method to transfer your logins to a trusted individual in the event of your death or incapacity.

The Very Best
Veteran password manager LastPass 3.0 Premium offers an impressively comprehensive set of features. Slick and polished Dashlane 3 also boasts a ton of features, even some that LastPass lacks. Sticky Password Premium handles essential tasks better than most, and a portion of every purchase goes to help endangered species. Any one of these three will serve you well, though it’s always possible you’ll fall in love with the particular feature set of another excellent password manager. Read our reviews to decide which will serve you best.

For more information on The Best Password Managers for 2015 read the full article on PCMAG

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5 Rules For Digital Marketing

Here are the basic rules of effectively digital marketing your small business!
Read ’em. Learn ’em. Follow ’em.

1. CONTENT IS KING

Understand that everything starts with content

The best marketing tool is your content. If you provide original, quality, authentic, content people will naturally talk about you. They will visit your site, and even recommend it to their friends.

Your content is your best weapon on the Web!  You can do all the shortcuts you want, or try to trick the search engines with SEO — and it may just work, albeit for a limited period of time — but nothing beats anything on the web except great content.. especially video.

2. NOTHING HAPPENS OVERNIGHT

Be persistent

Digital marketing is not a one-shot deal. It is something that you need to do on a regular basis using a variety of techniques. Competition on the Web is tough with millions of websites competing for visitors and sales. You are competing both with small and big businesses — both in your own part of the world and elsewhere. It will take a lot more effort to get the traffic and sales that you need.

3. VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE

Use different techniques.

One of the cardinal rules of digital marketing is: do not rely on a single marketing tactic. The risks are too high if you put all your eggs in one basket. Take for example organic search engine optimization where you rank high in Google – you may be #1 today in your main keyword but when Google updates their algorithm, you will get hit and lose as much as 80% of your traffic.

Make a list of what you can do given your resources to reach audiences online. Investigate what your competitors are doing to market online and whether you can use their techniques as well. Consider both paid advertising and guerrilla marketing strategies, such as:

  • Pay per click advertising
  • Banner advertising
  • Social media on a specific network
  • Text link advertising
  • Contextual text advertising
  • Lead generation
  • Email marketing
  • Organic search engine optimization
  • Online press releases (both online and print media)
  • Article marketing
  • Participation in forums and communities (without spamming)
  • Blogging
  • Link popularity

… and the list goes on. Choose the techniques that make the most sense for you.

4. KNOW THY DATA

Track and measure your results

You can only prioritize your internet marketing activities if you know which ones work and which ones don’t. Put more resources or dedicate more time to doing activities that can actually bring in traffic. Regularly analyze your web stats and marketing insights to get a clear idea of the most effective digital strategy for you. Hard data can also help you look at how you can improve the results of each campaign and strategy that you do.

Paid digital advertising offers the best data – you want to know which ad copy pulls in the most number of customers, what ad creatives are working, and which websites you advertised in can give you the most. Only by looking at the metrics can you assess how well your online marketing efforts are doing.

5. IF YOU’RE NOT LEARNIN’ YOUR DYIN’

Learn, learn and learn

Marketing is always evolving and so is digital technology: what may be acceptable in March 2016 may no longer work or be frowned upon in August 2017. I keep up to date with the latest updates and technology news, but if you don’t hire a marketing director it is necessary for you to keep updated on all the latest techniques that your competition is are successfully using in marketing online.

There are certainly plenty of resource onInternet marketing online with experts, bloggers, forums and online publications. Spend time paying attention to what’s new. There are always a lot of things to learn.

👋🏻  If you enjoy my blog posts, please help me spread the word and share them with your small business owner friends. I would greatly appreciate it! -Jen Lew

NASA

There are 3 things I know about NASA

1. I’ve always loved the logo
2. They go to space
3. My bucket list includes the desire to watch a rocket take off from the roof of an RV parked in the parking lot of Cape Canaveral.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has invited little ole’ me to live out a dream.

Kennedy Space CenterI’m going on a road trip to see the next launch of a commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station, targeted for Tuesday, March 22, at approximately 11 p.m. EDT.

Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida. The spacecraft will carry crew supplies and hardware to the orbital laboratory to support the Expedition 47 and 48 crews.

 

This launch is the fifth contracted mission by Orbital ATK under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract and will be followed later this year by an Orbital ATK resupply mission launching from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia.

I’ll have the opportunity to tour NASA facilities at Kennedy Space Center for two days, and meet and interact with engineers, technicians and other team members from Kennedy, view and take photographs of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on the launch pad, meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media, meet members of NASA’s social media teams, and hopefully view the launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft.  

For launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/orbitalatk

Lucky me a week ago my friend Eric sent me a text with this link , I figured it was a home decor item or someone falling down the stairs but it was even better. I immediately applied and never thought I’d be chosen. I didn’t even look at the dates or anything just thought… cool I want to do this and filled out the form. To my surprise when I checked my email last night there was this from NASA;

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Dear Jen, nasalogo_twitter_400x400

Congratulations! Your social media credential application has been approved to attend the media events and launch of the Orbital ATK OA-6 cargo resupply flight to the International Space Stationat NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Liftoff is targeted for approximately 11:05 p.m. EDT on March 22.

The events will begin March 21 and span through March 22. Registration location and time will be communicated to you once you have applied for credentials in the online system.  During the two days, you will be provided with the opportunity to tour NASA facilities at Kennedy, meet and interact with engineers, technicians and other team members from Kennedy, view and take photographs of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on the launch pad, meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media, meet members of NASA’s social media teams, and hopefully view the launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft.  

Please read this entire e-mail carefully for instructions on securing your spot and planning your attendance. To complete your registration, you must:

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I’m going on a trip to see a rocket ship ?

Yesterday I learned that currently the US doesn’t have any astronauts in space but…

U.S. astronauts once again will travel to and from the International Space Station from the United States on American spacecraft under groundbreaking contracts NASA announced Tuesday. The agency unveiled its selection of Boeing and SpaceX to transport U.S. crews to and from the space station using their CST-100 and Crew Dragon spacecraft, respectively, with a goal of ending the nation’s sole reliance on Russia in 2017.

Needless to say, NASA marketing is gearing up to start promoting some serious events in the coming year and I’m proud to be at the forefront of this groundbreaking new chapter in U.S. history.

I’ve been lucky enough to hear the chatter through a few geeky friends about SpaceX (that little company owned by Elon Musk). Last year on my trip on Startup Bus my fellow Busprenuers introduced me to amazing people who participate in hackathons and cool things like this and this.

So now, in all my geekdom I’m off on a fun Space adventure of my own.
More updates to come.

If you’ve been to Kennedy Space Center I’d love to hear about it. Tweet me @jenlew

 ? I’m going on a trip to see a rocket ship fly through the sky. 

North Fork Web
Why Do You Need A Businessplan

Why Do I Need A Business PlanThinking ahead and coming up with a clear direction for your small business in the new year will help you focus on execution. You might not need a bank loan, or investors …yet. But you still need a business plan.

Here’s why you need a business plan!

Why do you want a business plan? You already know the obvious reasons, but there are so many other good reasons to create a business plan that many business owners don’t know about. So, just for a change, let’s take a look at the less obvious reasons first and finish with the ones you probably already know about. Think of this as a late-show top 10, with us building up to the most important reasons you need a business plan.

15. Set specific objectives for managers. Good management requires setting specific objectives and then tracking and following up. I’m surprised how many existing businesses manage without a plan. How do they establish what’s supposed to happen? In truth, you’re really just taking a short cut and planning in your head–and good for you if you can do it–but as your business grows you want to organize and plan better, and communicate the priorities better. Be strategic. Develop a plan; don’t just wing it.

14. Share your strategy, priorities and specific action points with your spouse, partner or significant other. Your business life goes by so quickly: a rush of answering phone calls, putting out fires, etc. Don’t the other people in your business life need to know what’s supposed to be happening? Don’t you want them to know?

13. Deal with displacement. Displacement is probably by far the most important practical business concept you’ve never heard of. It goes like this: “Whatever you do is something else you don’t do.” Displacement lives at the heart of all small-business strategy. At least most people have never heard of it.

12. Decide whether or not to rent new space. Rent is a new obligation, usually a fixed cost. Do your growth prospects and plans justify taking on this increased fixed cost? Shouldn’t that be in your business plan?

11. Hire new people. This is another new obligation (a fixed cost) that increases your risk. How will new people help your business grow and prosper? What exactly are they supposed to be doing? The rationale for hiring should be in your business plan.

10. Decide whether you need new assets, how many, and whether to buy or lease them. Use your business plan to help decide what’s going to happen in the long term, which should be an important input to the classic make vs. buy. How long will this important purchase last in your plan?

9. Share and explain business objectives with your management team, employees and new hires. Make selected portions of your business plan part of your new employee training.

8. Develop new business alliances. Use your plan to set targets for new alliances, and selected portions of your plan to communicate with those alliances.

7. Deal with professionals. Share selected highlights or your plans with your attorneys and accountants, and, if this is relevant to you, consultants.

6. Sell your business. Usually the business plan is a very important part of selling the business. Help buyers understand what you have, what it’s worth and why they want it.

5. Valuation of the business for formal transactions related to divorce, inheritance, estate planning and tax issues. Valuation is the term for establishing how much your business is worth. Usually that takes a business plan, as well as a professional with experience. The plan tells the valuation expert what your business is doing, when, why and how much that will cost and how much it will produce.

4. Create a new business. Use a plan to establish the right steps to starting a new business, including what you need to do, what resources will be required, and what you expect to happen.

3. Seek investment for a business, whether it’s a startup or not.Investors need to see a business plan before they decide whether or not to invest. They’ll expect the plan to cover all the main points.

2. Back up a business loan application. Like investors, lenders want to see the plan and will expect the plan to cover the main points.

1. Grow your existing business. Establish strategy and allocate resources according to strategic priority. You can find more information about growing your business with a business plan by reading ” Existing Companies Need Planning, Too .”

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

1. Develop Your Business Goals
Once you’ve solidified where the opportunities are in your market, quantify what it will look like for your small business in terms of your sales goals. Broad, nonspecific goals rarely produce the kind of results you want. Focus instead on 30-day sales goals, which means you can identify your weekly sales goals. Putting numbers on your business goals gives you a well-defined metric to reach for, and a way to design your marketing tactics to achieve your sales goals. Given that you’re just working on Q1, decide what specific goals you want to achieve during those three months of the new year.

2. Do a SWOT Analysis
Conducting a regular SWOT analysis is one of the best ways to see the big picture and home in on specific areas of your business to improve. Things in your business change constantly. What might have worked a year ago could work against you in the future.

Use this analysis to get a clear idea of where you’ve grown and where you’ve fallen short. You can also discover new areas where you might find more opportunities to make more money and grow.

3. Start Delegating
Savvy small business owners know how impossible it is to tackle everything alone. Once you have a clear direction in mind of where you want to go in Q1, hand some stuff off to experts who can help. Whether you pass off your blogging and SEO efforts to the marketing team or recruit the help of a CPA to develop your 2015 budget, delegating tasks frees you up to focus on what you do best.

4. Look at the Big Picture
Before you can plan for the future, you need a solid idea of where your business is currently and compare it to past growth and strategy. Figure out what your strong revenue months are and look for opportunities for repeat business. Seeing where you’ve grown, improved, or possibly digressed gives you an honest glimpse into what is happening in your small business. This helps you make better plans for the future.

5. Create an Action Plan
To keep everyone in your organization on the same page about how you will reach your new business goals for the quarter, create an action plan. This plan should incorporate every person involved in making these goals a reality. By defining each person’s roles in working toward the goal, you create accountability. As the motivation from a new quarter and new business goal dies down, use this action plan to keep your team on target to dramatically increase your chances at success.

As a business owner, it’s on you to complete certain tasks that aren’t necessarily your favorites, but are essential to your small business success. Having a roadmap with targeted goals and actionable steps will keep you on track for a successful 2015.

99 Problems and Not Reading Your Mind Is One
No one is the “problem” it’s small business. Business owners are varied, have different needs and expectations.

I’m not sure how many times I tell small business owners that the big difference between small biz and big biz is marketing. Large companies test the market, create a market or create a product built for a particular market. Small business owners create a product, service or thing that they like and expect the world to fall at their feet and love it also. This… this is the problem.

If you don’t know your target market, your aesthetic, your vision, your mission or your plan – you have no one to connect with. You have no community. You have no leverage.

The difference between a Web Designer and Web Developer

What you need to know when hiring a Web Designer.

If you’re looking to hire a web designer, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. There are millions of website design services – how do you make sure you don’t get scammed or end up with a designer who sucks?Long Island Web Design

Several friends have told me they don’t know what questions to ask when talking with potential designers. One in particular summed up her experience this way:

I have no idea what to ask, but more important, even if someone gave me a list of questions, I wouldn’t know if the answers were the “right” answers or even made any sense. If I understood this stuff, I wouldn’t need to hire someone!

Based on my conversations with clients and designers, that’s a common feeling, but one you can definitely work around. Armed with a little more information about the qualities you should look for, you’ll be able to find a web designer who can meet your needs without losing your mind in the process.

A few distinctions

Before we talk about what to look for in a designer, let’s talk about the differences between a designer, a developer, and an implementer. These labels aren’t set in stone, but knowing them can help you decide what type of professional you actually need.

In general, a web designer is someone who creates the look and feel of your website. A designer will work with you to choose colors, construct branding/logos if needed, discuss layouts for your website’s pages, and create mockups (which are pictures of how the actual website will look). Web design is more than just making pretty pictures; a designer should be knowledgable about concepts like calls to action, organizing your site’s content, and setting up layouts that will meet your goals for the site.

web developer is someone who uses a designer’s mockups to build a functional website. If your website will be built on WordPress (here’s why it should be), the developer may customize an existing theme or template to match the mockups, or s/he may build a completely custom theme. Developers may also add functionality to an existing website or help with things like troubleshooting.

An implementer (props Tom McFarlin and WP Valet) may fall somewhere between a designer and developer in terms of what s/he can do. This person might work with you to find a theme you like, install the theme along with any needed plugins, and teach you how to manage your site once it’s finished. Hiring an implementer is often cheaper than working with both a designer and developer, though your project may require things an implementer can’t provide. Working with an implementer is not automatically a bad decision – it just depends on what you need and what type of budget you have available.

Why this matters

Often, people think they should hire a web designer when they may need a developer or implementer (or some combination of the three) instead. Before you start searching, it’s important to decide exactly what services and skills are necessary for your project.

For example, let’s say I am opening a pet grooming business. I need a website that will do the following:

  • Tell people what my business offers
  • Allow customers to schedule appointments
  • Encourage people to sign up for my mailing list so I can send information (discounts, etc.) to pet owners in the area
  • Allow people to contact me if they have questions

That’s a pretty average list of needs, and I could choose to work with either a design/development team or an implementer to get the job done. There are plenty of WordPress plugins that allow appointment scheduling, email opt-ins, and contact forms, so it’s unlikely that I need a super custom website.

Another example: I have my pet grooming business, but I’d like to start selling products (shampoo, treats, toys, etc.) on my website and taking registration for obedience classes. I’ll need to add the following new features:

  • Ecommerce and SSL with a payment gateway
  • Inventory management that syncs between the physical store and the online store
  • More advanced scheduling that allows for both (1) grooming appointments and (2) obedience classes with a limited number of registrations per class
  • Different levels of access for employees or team members who may need to log into the website to process orders

Suddenly my project has become more complicated. There may be existing solutions that can do the job, but I might also need something created especially for my site. In this case I likely need the services of a developer, and perhaps a designer depending on how the new functionality will integrate with my existing site’s design.

Still need to hire a web designer? Here’s what to look for.

If you’ve read all this and still need someone to create the design for your site, here are five things to consider:

1. Does the designer’s style match the way I’d like my site to look?

Take a stroll through some designers’ portfolios, taking note of things like layouts, colors, and logos. This is kind of like shopping for clothes – some options will catch your eye more than others. If you want a very modern website, it doesn’t make sense to hire someone whose portfolio looks like a flashback to 1995.

2. Who will develop my website once I have the design? Is this included in the pricing?

Many designers partner with a developer so that clients pay one price for both design and development. Others may provide mockups that need to be taken elsewhere to be coded into an actual site. Either approach is fine, but you’ll want to be aware of the costs involved upfront so you can budget accordingly.

3. What kind of maintenance and upkeep will my site need? Can I do that myself or will I need to hire someone?

Websites are not a one-time cost. Ahem. WEBSITES ARE NOT A ONE-TIME COST. You can’t make a million dollars on the internet (or even a few hundred dollars) without certain ongoing expenses. Websites have to be kept up to date, especially if they require third party plugins or software to function. Your designer may offer maintenance services or may be able to refer you to someone who does, or you can opt to learn how to maintain your site yourself.

4. What kind of design files will I receive?

At a minimum, your designer should provide mockups in either PSD (Photoshop) or AI (Illustrator) format. You should also receive an editable version of your logo that is PSD, AI, EPS, or PDF. If any premium fonts or photos/graphics are used in the design, you should have a license for those as well, or permission to use the designer’s license depending on the rules for that particular font/graphic. (It’s your responsibility to find that information – do not depend on anyone else to tell you how fonts or graphics are licensed.)

5. Is the designer available if I need revisions or changes? What are the costs?

When you hire a web designer, you are hiring him/her for a project as defined in your contract (if there’s no contract, run away screaming). That doesn’t mean the designer is obligated to provide free services for life. Find out ahead of time what costs you’ll incur if you need changes or new layouts down the road, and keep in mind that rates do change over time – the ballpark rates a designer gives you in 2015 will not be the same if you contact him/her in 2018.

Not the right questions? You may not need a designer!

If you’re reading this thinking, These questions don’t even apply to my project!, it’s possible you need both a designer and developer or an implementer. As I mentioned, those labels can overlap, so there’s no perfect way to tell you what you need. Knowing the scope of your project and what you’ll want in terms of looks and functionality are key in finding the professional who is best qualified to help you.

This post was written for Nuts and Bolts Media

Best of the Best Dans North Fork Hamptons
Best of the Best North Fork Marketing Agency 2015 WE WON!!!
Jen Lew of North Fork Marketing & Design Wins Best of the Best!

Who: [Jen Lew] Marketing & DesignBest of the Best North Fork
What: Dan’s Papers Best of the Best 20153 Award
When: December 2015
Where: East End, Long Island, New York

Jen Lew of North Fork Marketing & Design Nabs Platinum
Industry Award for Best Ad Agency/ Marketing/ Public Relations
Dan’s Best of the Best 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 Awards

(Mattituck, NY… November 2015North Fork Marketing & Design (northforkmarketing.comof Mattituck on the North Fork of Long Island. Jen Lew has been making moves in the digital world since its inception seven years ago. Her successes have been recognized by her peers on the North Fork and the industry when she was awarded Dan’s Papers Best of the Best 2015 for the Best Advertising Agency/ Marketing/ Public Relations Firm on the North Fork. The award is her fifth in a row after the Dan’s Papers Best of the Best in 2012, 2013, 2014 where she took home the gold. North Fork Marketing & Design specializes in digital marketing, social media, advertising, graphic design, public relations and WordPress web design.
Owner and founder Jen Lew has helped an array of clients breathe new life into local small business, by launching new projects, and positioning themselves as leaders in their respective markets. From Retail, Hospitality, Real Estate and Medical.

North Fork Marketing & Design has been a pioneer for the digital marketing trend on Long Island. By curating fun and creative content that is relevant and super social, clients have seen increased interaction across all social media platforms. Clients range from the top producing realtor on the North Fork and leading female plastic surgeon Dr. Tracy Pfeifer to an authentic Neapolitan pizza restaurant, Pizzetteria Brunetti, in New York City’s thriving West Village to a local charity Programa Sueños that benefits the education of school children in a small Guatemalan village. Utilizing the usual suspects like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, along with budding social media outlets such as Vine and Tumblr, the company connects with users across all platforms to create relationships with the brand. The mission of North Fork Marketing & Design is to improve communication throughout their clients small business both internally and externally, from staff to customers.

Jen says, “Let’s get your business message clear, seen and heard! I help fellow entrepreneurs to find solutions to their business challenges.” She loves collaborating with small businesses to assist them in bringing their brand to life. Her straight-talking approach gets clients’ vision out there, improves sales, productivity and communication. With a goal of building a unique and profitable small business, Jen helps to market products and services of any given business effectively.

For press inquiries or more information, contactNorth Fork Marketing & Design at northforkmarketing.com . Find Jen online  facebook /northforkmarketing@jenlew, instagram.com /northforkmarketing and in/jenlewmarketing.

About North Fork Marketing & Design
Founded in 2008 in both Mattituck and New York, NY by Jen Lew. Services include social media, branding, marketing, strategies, coaching, web design, email marketing, public relations and more. Small business today requires a new type of marketer; one that will help you navigate and manage your business message across niche groups and platforms – both online and off. Jen Lew is that girl. She specializes in providing innovative strategies and developing support services to manage marketing efforts with ease and social media strategies for highly motivated and driven clients.

Jen Lew Winner of Dan’s Papers Best of the Best Advertising Agency, PR Firm, Marketing Agency Three years in a row 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Mark Cuban’s 12 Rules for Startups

Anyone who has started a business has his or her own rules and guidelines, so I thought I would add to the memo with my own. My “rules” below aren’t just for those founding the companies, but for those who are considering going to work for them, as well. – Mark Cuban

I didn’t really know about Mark Cuban before Shark Tank – he was in the news a lot before the show but for all the wrong reasons and all I gleaned from news was he was a party boy, had a lot of money and owned the sports team the Mavericks and honestly I only know it’s a team called the Mavericks because I watch Shark Tank a lot and they call him a “Maverick” and I just love a great play on words.

Mark Cuban is my absolute favorite on Shark Tank – he’s always steady, fully invested and when he isn’t he pulls out quickly. Not sure what is happening with his app Cyber Dust and his take on SnapChat but I digress and will have to look into it.

Mark Cuban’s 12 Rules for Startups was created in 2010 long before the startup craze it is today – as a 4(*&^@ year old woman – the buzz word startup applies to everything now from a coffee shop to a Twitter but again digress. The rules are good and apply to any business.

Adapted from Entrepreneur Magazine

Anyone who has started a business has his or her own rules and guidelines, so I thought I would add to the memo with my own. My “rules” below aren’t just for those founding the companies, but for those who are considering going to work for them, as well.

1. Don’t start a company unless it’s an obsession and something you love.

2. If you have an exit strategy, it’s not an obsession.

3. Hire people who you think will love working there.

4. Sales Cure All. Know how your company will make money and how you will actually make sales.

5. Know your core competencies and focus on being great at them.Pay up for people in your core competencies. Get the best. Outside the core competencies, hire people that fit your culture but aren’t as expensive to pay.

Related: Mark Cuban on Why You Should Never Listen to Your Customers 

6. An espresso machine? Are you kidding me? Coffee is for closers. Sodas are free. Lunch is a chance to get out of the office and talk. There are 24 hours in a day, and if people like their jobs, they will find ways to use as much of it as possible to do their jobs.

7. No offices. Open offices keep everyone in tune with what is going on and keep the energy up. If an employee is about privacy, show him or her how to use the lock on the bathroom. There is nothing private in a startup. This is also a good way to keep from hiring executives who cannot operate successfully in a startup. My biggest fear was always hiring someone who wanted to build an empire. If the person demands to fly first class or to bring over a personal secretary, run away. If an exec won’t go on sales calls, run away. They are empire builders and will pollute your company.

8. As far as technology, go with what you know. That is always the most inexpensive way. If you know Apple, use it. If you know Vista, ask yourself why, then use it. It’s a startup so there are just a few employees. Let people use what they know.

Related: Three Steps for Getting Started in Mobile Commerce

9. Keep the organization flat. If you have managers reporting to managers in a startup, you will fail. Once you get beyond startup, if you have managers reporting to managers, you will create politics.

10. Never buy swag. A sure sign of failure for a startup is when someone sends me logo-embroidered polo shirts. If your people are at shows and in public, it’s okay to buy for your own employees, but if you really think people are going to wear your branded polo when they’re out and about, you are mistaken and have no idea how to spend your money.

11. Never hire a PR firm. A public relations firm will call or email people in the publications you already read, on the shows you already watch and at the websites you already surf. Those people publish their emails. Whenever you consume any information related to your field, get the email of the person publishing it and send them a message introducing yourself and the company. Their job is to find new stuff. They will welcome hearing from the founder instead of some PR flack. Once you establish communication with that person, make yourself available to answer their questions about the industry and be a source for them. If you are smart, they will use you.

Related: Is Any Publicity Good Publicity?

12. Make the job fun for employees. Keep a pulse on the stress levels and accomplishments of your people and reward them. My first company, MicroSolutions, when we had a record sales month, or someone did something special, I would walk around handing out $100 bills to salespeople. At Broadcast.com and MicroSolutions, we had a company shot. The Kamikaze. We would take people to a bar every now and then and buy one or ten for everyone. At MicroSolutions, more often than not we had vendors cover the tab. Vendors always love a good party.

This article is an edited excerpt from How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It (Diversion Books, 2011) by Mark Cuban (Available at Amazon and iTunes).

North Fork Web
Android vs. iPhone

Android Tablet vs. iPad I’m asked fairly often by clients which should they chose. I always have the same answer “get an iPad” but I never experienced another tablet for a significant amount of time so my opinion was based on a few website and my apple bias.

In 2008, I traded in my BlackBerry for my first iPhone. I’ve been a loyal Apple user personally since my first PowerBook in 1997 but for business, every company had Dell products. I’m insanely lucky to have been blessed with cell phones paid by my employers since 1994 with a Motorolla Flip Phone, then a Motorollaseries of Nextel phones that were equipped with the amazing walky-talky technology — ooooh aaah.

There is no discrepancy, I am an iPhone loving iOS having Apple devotee, but I always wondered what an Android was like. From the kickstand in 2009 to the larger screens that fold over the edge the geek in me always wondered what the device was like and how it worked. It seems Samsung has always come out with little differentiators to make the Androids seem a bit interesting. Clients always ask me questions on how to do things with their Androids and I would respond “I don’t know I have an iPhone – saying smugly to myself  you idiot upgrade your life. But I’ve been curious.

Somehow, at&t knew of my intrigue and offered me a free LG G Pad 7.0 LTE – I say it was free but in actuality I think I pay $10 a month for this thing for the rest of my life – but that’s beside the point.

LG G Pad 7.0 LTEIf this is my one and only Android device ever… I’ll be a happy girl. My test of an Android Tablet vs. iPad has ended. The interest has dwindled – this is by far the slower than any iPhone or iPad I’ve owned.        

Here’s the thing. Apple is faster. Period. Forget the bells and whistles the commercials advertise about half screen, better resolution or any low end draw. From my little test of using this specific product – my resounding conclusion is… iOS is way faster! Apple Apps load faster, Mail loads faster, Device opens and responds faster. Comparing my iPad to this LG thing is like using a hand held battery operated fan against one of those new fangled Dyson fans (Apple = Dyson).

From the early 90’s I’ve known that Apple was my chosen platform, years working with PC’s gave me the ambidextrous ability to work successfully on both platforms. I even owned a mammoth HP laptop running CS3 for about a year. When I switched back to a mac book I described it as spending a year not realizing that my hand was tied behind my back. This is how I feel about the Android Tablet vs. iPad and my iPad is 2nd generation and about 4 years old while the LG is brand new.

There you have it. The bottom line is Apple is better. Questions resolved – you don’t need to pay attention to all the gibberish like dimensions, processor speed or yada yada

If you want real backup stats on this check out this article in PC Mag on The Best Tablets in 2015 or this very cool article in How Stuff Works about the history of tablets.

LG G Pad 7.0 LTE

Apple iPad 2nd Generation

Password Safety | The Best Password Managers for 2015

jenlew-north-fork-marketingAny time you use the same password on multiple websites, the risks to your security increase dramatically. A breach at one site could expose all of your accounts. If that password is a lame one like “123456” or “password,” a hacker could get into your account just by guessing. The problem is, avoiding same passwords and lame passwords is really hard—too hard for most people to manage without help. The solution is simple—install a password manager and change all of your passwords so every single one is different, and every single one is long and hard to crack.

Until our Internet culture evolves into some post-password Nirvana, everybody needs a password manager, even our own John Dvorak. There are plenty of good choices. All the commercial password managers listed here earned 3.5 stars or better. Don’t let a stressed budget stop you from securing your online accounts. We’ve rounded up free password managers separately.

The Basics
The typical password manager installs as a browser plug-in to handle password capture and replay. When you log in to a secure site, it offers to save your credentials. When you return to that site, it offers to automatically fill in those credentials. And if you’ve saved multiple logins for the same site, the password manager offers you multiple account login options. Most also offer a browser toolbar menu of saved logins, so you can go straight to a saved site and log in automatically.

Some products detect password-change events and offer to update the existing record. Some even record your credentials during the process of signing up for a new secure website. On the flip side, a password manager that doesn’t include password capture and replay automation needs to offset that lack with significant other assets.

PC-MAG-LogoWhen you create a new secure account or update a weak password, you don’t want to strain your brain trying to come up with something strong and unique. Why bother? You don’t have to remember it. All but one of our top-rated products include a built-in password generator. Do make sure your generated passwords are at least 12 characters long; some products default to a shorter length.

Entering a password like S$U?_wzF4boBQNLD on your smartphone’s tiny keyboard can be tough. Fortunately, almost all of our top password managers can sync across all of your Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. A few even let you authenticate on iOS or Android with your fingerprint rather than typing the master password. Most include some form of two-factor authentication, be it biometric, SMS-based, Google Authenticator, or something else entirely.

Fill Those Forms
Since most password managers can auto-fill stored credentials, it’s just a small step for them to automatically fill in personal data on Web forms—first and last name, email address, phone number, and so on. Almost all of the top-rated products include Web form filling. The breadth and flexibility of their personal data collections vary, as does their accuracy when matching Web form fields with their stored items. Even if they miss a field or two, the ones they do fill are ones you don’t have to type. Think about how many sites you go to that want all the same information; this feature is a huge time-saver.

Different products handle form-filling in their own ways. Some immediately fill all recognized fields, some wait for you to click in a field, some pop up and ask what you’d prefer. You’ll even find products that offer your choice of credit cards using realistic images with the correct color and bank logo!

Advanced Features
Given that all these products take care of basic password management tasks, how can one product stand out from the pack? One handy advanced feature is managing passwords for applications, not just websites. Another is provision of a secure browser, designed to protect sensitive transactions and invoked automatically when you visit a financial site.

As noted, these top products let you sync your passwords across all of your devices. Some of them also include a built-in mechanism for securely sharing passwords with other users. Some let you share a login without making the password visible, some let you revoke sharing, and with some the sharing goes both ways—that is, if the recipient makes a change it will change the original.

On a grimmer note, what happens to your secure accounts after you’ve died? A few products include some provision for a digital legacy, a method to transfer your logins to a trusted individual in the event of your death or incapacity.

The Very Best
Veteran password manager LastPass 3.0 Premium offers an impressively comprehensive set of features. Slick and polished Dashlane 3 also boasts a ton of features, even some that LastPass lacks. Sticky Password Premium handles essential tasks better than most, and a portion of every purchase goes to help endangered species. Any one of these three will serve you well, though it’s always possible you’ll fall in love with the particular feature set of another excellent password manager. Read our reviews to decide which will serve you best.

For more information on The Best Password Managers for 2015 read the full article on PCMAG

For the Love of Type

North Fork Design TypeDear Small Business owners,
For the love of Type, please use the same font on all of your business collateral. This means that logos, invoices, printing materials and advertising should all look similar and your logo or business name should be the same font everywhere.
Sincerely,
@jenlew

 

North Fork Web
10 Super Smart Small Business Tips

smart-business-tipsI’ve always said that working in a restaurant is the best experience for a small business owner. Juggling 100 things in minutes is a skill you must learn when you are a waiter or an entrepreneur. The purpose of this list is to help remind small business owners of the little things that get lost when juggling all the working parts of running a business.

Here are 10 super smart small business tips to help you figure out how to run your business better.

1.

Vision & Mission

What was the concept for your business when you were first starting out? Recapture that love, drive and vision. Dust off that business plan (if you don’t have one – write one) keep your mission on a post-it, write it on a wall, put it as a reminder in your phone – no matter what you need to do to keep it fresh in your mind… do it. Remembering your ‘why’ is the most important part of your business. It’s the glue that keeps you together and actively participating and keep it alive.

2.

Communicate Value

Tell your customer what you can do for them, how you can help or provide value. Clearly identify what your business does. The smart business tip is to use the most frequent customer questions to drive clarity into your business. If your customers ask similar questions then you know your brand message is not clear.

3.

Update Yo Self

Your forms, contracts, invoices, project and team management and accounting need updating. A lot of businesses today are using accounting software, team and project management tools and contract documents that were state of the art in 1995. If the past decade has taught us anything, it’s that computers and their software are hella smart. Get with the times man.

There are hundreds of fantastic new tools out there and they did not come installed on your computer or are more advanced, powerful and useful than Quickbooks. The more advanced you get the more time you are saving.

4.

Community

Get involved! Join the chamber of commerce, community associations, organizations and networking clubs. Even though we’re all pressed for time and technology makes it easy to not see people face to face, for the benefit of your business it’s extremely important.

From giving back and assisting your community to network with your peers the return on your community investment will be well worth your time.

5.

Employee Engagement

Your employees matter. Their opinions matter. Their insight and experiences working within your business matter. No matter the size of your business; listening to your employees is imperative to fully understand and keep updated with your employees. From performance issues to customer service keeping your employees engaged and excited and heard is invaluable.

6.

Mindset 

Switch it up! Attitude is everything. A negative attitude decreases success and a positive attitude creates success. Without that belief in your business, you’ll never get anywhere. If times are tough or finances are getting low – change the game plan. I don’t mean changing what you do or sell, but try something new to market it or get it ‘out there’. Try something different and change your attitude.

7.

Staff Up

Having enough staff – whether it’s an intern and you are a business of one or a diner open 24 hours a day. Staffing is the single greatest issue – it’s hard, sometimes employees are more work than your business itself, but not having enough staff is more harmful to your business than the expense. Nothing is worse than promising more than you can deliver or a restaurant full of customers on a surprise busy night – have staff on speed dial. (that is an archaic expression – I guess you say to keep them in your favorites now- a-days).

8.

Cut Costs

Dig deep, and check your books. Years ago a client was having a very tough time financially, and with the support of the manager they were able to cut costs for cheaper paper cups to extracting needless condiments from the self-serve coffee bar. With a simple look at a spreadsheet they were able to save hundreds of dollars per month. Take a look at what you buy every month, from shipping and packaging supplies, subscriptions to ink toner.

9.

Relationships

Your rapport with your clients, customers or users needs to be rekindled and reevaluated the same way any relationship in your life does. Take the time to check-in and find out what your customers think of your products, services and your business as a whole. Pay attention to the details or read between the lines when they give you their opinions, it’s not easy, especially for businesses that rely on technology or provide services that don’t come into contact with customers or clients directly like a store or restaurant.

10.

Take a Break

Nothing. And I mean Nothing screws up your business more than you being tired, cranky, irritable and in need of a rest or reprieve from your day-to-day. It’s a sad way of life us Americans work all the time and forget about family, friends and the value of relaxing with a good book. They don’t call it “Running a Business” for nothing… you literally run your ass off. Usually, the best way to improve your business and re-ignite your passion is to take a break…. and by break I don’t mean a bottle of wine while watching Scandal.

If you have a tip to keep your head above water and be mindful of the little things that are important for your business let me know in the comments below or tweet them to @jenlew.

North Fork Web
How to use Hashtags

North-Fork-Marketing-Jen-Lew-HashtagsHow hashtags work, why everyone is using them, and how to use hashtags in your posts, here are some answers for you. The focus of this post is mostly in regards to hashtag usage on Instagram.

What is a hashtag?
Hashtags are an essential tool in growing your audience online. Whether you want more likes to a social media post or page or you want to follow your business reputation hashtags are the key differentiator in expanding your reach.
They are a word or phrase at the end of a Tweet, Facebook or Instagram post that starts with the hash or pound symbol # and refers to anything relevant to your business.

How to use hashtags.

  • A hashtag must be written as a single word, without any spaces.
  • You can include numbers in a hashtag, but punctuation and special characters (like $ and %) won’t work.
  • You can search for a hashtag using the search bar at the top of any page.
  • You’ll only see posts that were shared with you.

How hashtags work. 
You can add hashtags to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest posts. They are additional words that highlight your business, profession and topics related to your business. Hashtags are relatable words you use to build interest in your content. For example: When North Fork Marketing & Design posts on Instagram common hashtags are#startup #webdesign #startuplife #market #marketing #successful #motivational #nevernotworking #entrepreneurship #hardwork #succeed #goals #businessowner #business #working #businesswoman #purpose #socialmedia #hardworkpaysoff #grind #passion

Why use hashtags?
Hashtags are simply one of the most effective ways to grow your audience. If used properly you can find your target audience and skillfully drive traffic to your website. One of the ways to do this is by hinting toward specials or new updates to products on your website and direct users to visit your website

How many hashtags should be used?
This answer varies, not only does it vary from post to post but from expert to expert and social media platform.
Instagram: My golden rule is no more than 20 …but Instagram allows you up to 30. It’s up to you but I think more than 25 is excessive. That said, if there are a lot of hashtags that fit a particular situation, then use them but keep them specific and controlled and only pertaining to your topic.
Twitter: Recommendation is to use no more than 3 at a time. This is not only because of the 140 character limit but you certainly don’t want to exceed the words you use in your tweet.
Facebook: No more than 3, and keep them very specific to your post.

How #SmallBusiness can use hashtags effectively.

  • Popular Hashtags. The easiest way to get started is by using popular hashtags.#throwbackthursday, #tbt, is a weekly theme where people and brands share things from their past. This is one of the few hashtags to gain any traction on Facebook. Check out this post for more on popular hashtags
  • Uncover the hashtags popular in your industry. Easiest way to do this is by going on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and do your own recon and research hashtags in your field.
  • Use them in each post. Instagram posts should contain hashtags, but comments, should include plenty of relevant hashtags as well.

Today, hashtags are the most effective way to grow your audience. If used properly you can find your right audience and skillfully drive traffic to your website. Many people research products, news, celebrities, foods, exercises, clothing you name it. By using  hashtags you can increase the chances of being found.

Hashtags have evolved over the years, they have gone from a Social Media Manager’s secret, to a fun way for people to express themselves. Nothing explains this better than Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake showing you what a Twitter or Instagram conversation in 2013 sounded like in real life

 

 

Redefining Women in Leadership

How 6 Powerful Women in Media and Marketing Redefined the Rules of Leadershipwomenleadership-hed-2015_0

It starts with authenticity

A valuable talk with panelists Liza Landsman, Sarah Thompson, Mika Brzezinski, Rebecca Minkoff, Dawn Hudson and Kristin Lemkau. I’m filing this post under “Must Watch Repeatedly”. AdWeek

 

Women are having a moment.
Ignited by Sheryl Sandberg’s manifesto, Lean In, the issue of gender equality became part of the national discourse.

And it has remained there thanks in large part to inspiring creative like Under Armour’s “I Will What I Want” campaign by Droga5 as well as evangelists like Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe and author of the best-seller Knowing Your Value and this year’s follow-up, Grow Your Value.

Droga5, MSNBC and Adweek all saw the issue of female empowerment as one to be addressed, especially given that recruiting and retaining talent are top of mind today. So we pooled our resources and, with some ninja scheduling efforts, brought together a formidable group of leaders from the worlds of banking, advertising, media, e-commerce, fashion and professional sports. Here, these extraordinary women share valuable lessons on leadership and insights on how they get the very best out of their teams, and themselves.

Mika Brzezinski, co-host, Morning Joe: I just want to ask by a show of hands, and we’ll go from there: How many of you see yourselves as risk takers? (All raise hands.) Wow, I did not expect it to be unanimous! What’s your biggest example of risk taking, Liza?

Liza Landsman, chief customer officer, Jet.com: I just joined Jet.com, a brand-new startup, about four months ago. It’s a huge, audacious thing coming out of many, many years in corporate America.

Brzezinski: From eTrade? A comfortable job?

Landsman: As a chief marketing officer, I could have stayed for a long time. I’m in my mid-40s, and I just thought, if not now, when? And it’s interesting. A close colleague of mine said to me, “God, did you ever really consider that you have to be prepared to fail big and publicly if you do this?” And it never occurred to me. I’ve never made a decision based on fear in my life, and it seemed like a bad time to start.

Sarah Thompson, global CEO, Droga5: To Liza’s point, about seven years ago, I was very settled in a network ad agency. I had a lot of goodwill there, probably could have done anything I wanted, and I went to this tiny little startup agency called Droga5. I was also six months pregnant. I went in there and just felt like it was a point in my career—I was into my late 30s—that I would have regretted not doing something because of fear that felt instinctively right.

Kristin Lemkau, CMO, JPMorgan Chase: I take personal risks; I try not to take a lot of risks on my job without being thoughtful. One of the things you have to learn on the job is how to fail. When you’re at college, you get good grades and work hard, and it’s all equitable. But when you’re working, you need to actually learn to accept failure as important and necessary and part of your growth and learn that it’s OK instead of tearing your hair out.

Brzezinski: So, Dawn, do you like to take risks?

Dawn Hudson, CMO, NFL: I grew up playing competitive tennis. If you get on the court and play it safe and keep the ball in play, you’re going to lose. You’ve got to take some risks to see your opening, and you have to take it. And it actually has given me a lot of skills for the business world. You don’t want to take foolish risks, but success comes from taking appropriate risks. Wall Street rewards growth. Now I work for owners; they want growth, and that tends to not be static—that tends to be things where there’s innovation and big change. The ability to take risks is the ability to make big differences in businesses.

Rebecca Minkoff, fashion designer/co-founder, Rebecca Minkoff: I would say that I didn’t realize how risky some of the moves I made were. Moving here, no place to live, two suitcases, with an internship and then starting my company three years later on the heels of 9/11. Starting my company at 21 was a huge risk. Then we actually saw our biggest growth when the world was changing. Weblogs, as they were called, were just starting. Chat rooms were just starting, and I discovered these women were talking about me and the bags, and I thought I should probably talk to them. And every editor, every buyer said if you talk to your customer, it will destroy your career. You’re supposed to be removed. You’re supposed to be in your ivory tower, and we’re the people that should be talking to them. And my brother and I, who’s my business partner, said, “No, let’s talk directly to our customers. Let’s get on Twitter and let’s get on Facebook” when it went broad, and that changed the base of our company.

Lemkau: You know, one of the best pieces of career advice I got was: If you want to get your job, you need to make your own job bigger because women wait and pull back. If you’re confident in your job, they already see you there. Men do that. Women, I think, don’t naturally do it as much.

Brzezinski: Dawn, I do wonder about the differences between working for Pepsi and the NFL. That must have been a big transition.

Hudson: I knew the NFL well when I was at Pepsi; I signed a sponsorship deal with the NFL. I thought I knew the NFL, but that’s from the outside looking in. It’s a very different organization when you’re on the inside looking out. The commissioner called me and said, “Will you help me find the right woman for my senior team? Will you help me find my person? Is there any chance you’d be interested?” And I very quickly said, “I would, of course, be delighted to try to help you find the right person.” He said, “Well, let’s talk again in a few days,” and hung up. And all of a sudden, I’m saying, find the right person? I want this job. And I called the next morning and I said, “I want to do this job.” Then, [the domestic-abuse scandal around former Baltimore Ravens running back] Ray Rice happened. So many people said, “Will you take the job now?” I said, “Absolutely. I’d be making more of an impact now. Actually, it’s a better situation, and I think the league will be open to more change, and that’s a good thing for somebody new coming in trying to think of new ways to do things.” The biggest difference is not the fact that I’m back in a male-dominated sport or that I’m in sports; the biggest difference is that we are a collection of people working on behalf of owners, and we’re a league. And there’s a different dimension to that than a publicly traded company.

Brzezinski: Any challenges getting your point across?

Hudson: Honestly, no. I came in with a perspective of a point in time in my career where I’m not climbing the ladder anymore. I’m coming in to do a job to make a difference, and you can listen to me and I can help you, or not. It’s not that big a deal for me. It is probably the most collaborative group. For the former players I work with, it’s really not about the business or about the sport; it’s about why they got into the sport. And I’ve learned so much from them. It’s just such a pleasure.

Defining Your Value

Brzezinski: We’re all in leadership with brands to build. If you could put a number on your value, would you know what that number is?

Minkoff: I’m going to still try to figure it out. I know I’m valuable, obviously, but I think I’m still learning, I’m still growing. I’m still in the wide-eyed excitement of my career.

Brzezinski: So Dawn, for your last negotiation, did you know your number?

Hudson: I asked for it. I got it. I did it over the phone, too.

Lemkau: There’s a number and then there’s a value that you bring to the organization. I think I know the number. I would struggle with that a bit more than my intangible value to the organization, which is broader than that.

Thompson: What I can say over the past five years is I am much more clear than I was in the 15 years prior. So I guess my answer is, it took me a long time to get to, in total honesty, really knowing what my value is and expecting it.

Landsman: I would love to say yes. I think I know it. I think I still sometimes struggle to ask for it. Actually, I know I know it and I know I sometimes struggle to ask for it.

The Balance of a Personal Brand

Brzezinski: I feel like it’s talking about weight or something. It’s hard. So, let’s talk about our brand. My brand is: I’m Mika Brzezinski, co-host of Morning Joe and founder and creator of Know Your Value, and I teach women to understand what their value is and communicate it effectively. If that’s my brand in 20 seconds or less, what’s yours?

Thompson: Let’s see. I am Sarah Thompson, global CEO of Droga5, and my brand is providing the leadership to take great ideas and creativity and create influence in the world.

Landsman: I’m Liza Landsman, and I am pulling a sequoia out of the ground in birthing Jet.com.

Brzezinski: I like it. That’s a good one.

Lemkau: I’m Kristin Lemkau. I’m Natalie and Sam’s mom and I’m trying to lead an organization to follow a purpose instead of a product.

Hudson: Oh, that’s a tough brand to follow. I guess my business brand would be, I’m somebody that understands, observes consumers and figures out how to use creativity and innovation to create opportunities with consumers. It’s a real lens into people and what motivates them. From a personal standpoint, I’d really rather be known for being a mentor and a leader—of men and women, somebody who galvanizes teams to achieve what they didn’t think they could be doing.

Minkoff: I’m Rebecca Minkoff. My greatest creations, like Kristin, are my two children. Second, I have a business and it is fashion-based, but what we are really striving to do is make a product that is accessible, that makes us feel confident and that won’t break the bank. It’s also about empowering more women to be self-made.

Walking the Leadership Tightrope Without Falling Into Stereotypes

Brzezinski: So, we all know what our brand is. How important is it to draw on that as you play out the role of being a leader in your company? What are some of the challenges leading as a woman, and what are the surprising open doors that you’ve seen along the way?

Lemkau: I talk to my team a lot about the difference between being a team and a tribe. As a tribe, you have each other’s back and you’re much more invested in work, and I find I get their output from them. They feel their work is more meaningful; they understand the value of it. I don’t know if that’s a gender-based thing. I’ll tell you, men are rallying around it, too. It just makes work feel more purposeful.

Thompson: I feel incredibly comfortable and confident now that I have a different style than many men that I work with who are leaders. And I like that style, and I know the results that come with that style of bringing tribes or teams together and getting everyone focused on a common vision and not always being the person who has to win the meeting.

Minkoff: I think it’s challenging sometimes because I don’t like to ever be a bitch, right? I want to lead by being nice, but then sometimes the team might not take you as seriously. And in my industry, being that it’s more female-driven, you see the women that are considered the ones to look up to as more mean and catty. It sets this ongoing example of how you should act. It’s an internal struggle for women at least in the fashion industry.

Brzezinski: Absolutely. I think you’ve tapped into something that is a huge issue for women as they develop their leadership skills. Knowing the difference between friendly, warm relationships and wanting to be friends with everybody and being tough and being a leader. I struggled a great deal before I got fired from CBS. I look back on my career there, and I realize I was friendly with like 100 people. And that’s unsustainable. It’s also not necessarily a way of life that generates respect. It’s respect that needs to come first; so all those qualities and ability to know where people are coming from are great, [but] they’re also stumbling blocks for us. Does that make sense?

Landsman: Yes. In a weird way, it’s the same with my children. I love them and I also like them, but there’s no question that I’m the parent and they are the children and we’re not friends.

Lemkau: People just want to know that you care about them, and part of caring about them is being honest with them or telling it to them straight when they’re struggling and even if they’re not making it in a role. If they know you care about them, you can be nice and tough.

Brzezinski: But the balance that Rebecca’s talking about is, sometimes we come off as a stereotype, and I do think that still is a little bit of an issue. Dawn, it doesn’t seem like you’ve worried about this.

Hudson: I would say my perspective has changed around teams because I think the definition of teams has gone from being linear—who works for you—to being matrix cross-management—leading people across different functions, and that really becomes an appreciation of diverse opinion as opposed to just gender-based. So I found myself focusing more on how do you teach people to be the good members and willing to offer different points of view in a team environment because it’s that diversity of experience and opinion that leads to better, quicker decisions. So it’s evolved for me a little bit more than just a male/female thing to more about, how do you encourage teams to respect different points of view and get them on the table?

Retaining Good Talent Starts With Good Managers

Brzezinski: I want leadership tips on retaining talent. How are you the greatest boss ever to work for?

Landsman: I have one of the closest mentor/mentee relationships I’ve ever had with a woman who, when she first worked for me, I gave a terrible performance review. And I worked at an organization where people did not do that. And she said, “I’m shocked. And why are you being a bitch about this?” I said, “I’m not. It’s because I think you’re incredibly talented with so much potential.” Sometimes you’ve got to be cruel to be kind.

Thompson: I know I have really high expectations and the agency works really hard across the board, but positioning people for success means empowering and believing in them. And I know certain people have moved up the ranks in our organization and have been pushed out of their comfort zones just like I was at different points in my career—and I think that is the world of leadership. It’s belief but not blind belief.

Brzezinski: And to your point, Liza, about that person that you gave the critique to, I truly believe that some of the best people I have worked with, I am incredibly blunt with from the get-go. The relationship had a place to go.

Landsman: I think for high performers sometimes that’s the thing that holds them back, which is that they are consistently told how wonderful they are …

Lemkau: No, but to get that person who’s been overpromoted and overpraised and who believes their own bullshit in a bad way. If you really care about them, that will make the toughness feel kind. They know you have their interest at heart and that you believe in them.

Hudson: The one thing that continues to come out of almost every personnel study I’ve seen is that people leave because of the immediate boss. (All signal their agreement.) The importance of the immediate boss to what they believe in their career, where it’s going to go, are they going to get training? Are they going to get development? Are they going to get sponsorship? It is so much the organization of great culture. They could be doing great things. They could be growing. Today, it’s about authenticity, and that doesn’t mean mushy kindness and it doesn’t mean meanness all the time. What it means is that I understand you, you understand me, and we are able to have an authentic relationship. I’ve spent a fair amount of my career mentoring women of color who are a key [group] for the business going forward. They’re graduating from college at high rates, they’re going to be a bigger part of the workforce, and they have a tough time getting an authentic relationship because they often have both a racial and a gender difference. And so they don’t feel able to speak freely, and the boss doesn’t speak freely to them either. If you don’t have an authentic relationship, then you can’t build from that to give direct feedback to a sponsor. So really, working on authenticity is what we want to do.

Lemkau: And you can show your scars—you’re not trying to be perfect. You let them know you have weaknesses, too, and it’s OK.

Minkoff: I think listening is key. No matter where they are in the organization, they can come to me and say, “I’m having a problem.” Don’t say, “Go speak to HR.” Also important is knowing that nothing you ask of them you’re not willing to do yourself.

Leadership Advice From Those Who’ve Made It

Brzezinski: We’ll close by just going around the table—leadership advice. Mine would be: Respect first, friendships follow. Liza?

Landsman: Certainly that, but I would also say: Know where you are going because you can’t bring people with you if you don’t know that.

Thompson: I’d say: [Have the] confidence to roll the dice. Sometimes a decision needs to be made and be comfortable weathering it if it’s a failure and have the energy to move on fast.

Lemkau: Learn from everybody, but be yourself. Be confident in who you are and your style.

Brzezinski: That’s hard. That takes years sometimes. Dawn?

Hudson: Share a vision.

Minkoff: Be your own entrepreneur whether or not you work for someone else. I’m most proud when someone says, “I quit. I’m starting my own company.” That’s what I’m most proud of.

Brzezinski: Very cool. Ladies, thank you so much.


Mika Brzezinski

Photo: Kevin Scanlon; Makeup: Wilbert Ramos; Dress: Karolina Zmarlak

As co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Brzezinski’s success didn’t happen overnight. It took time for Brzezinksi to realize her value and to share those lessons to help empower women in the workplace. Aside from her best-selling book, Knowing Your Value, and this year’s follow-up, Grow Your Value, she has partnered with NBCUniversal on a series of live, Know Your Value events across the country. Each conference gives women networking and coaching opportunities to help create a plan for success. The next event will be held in Boston on Oct. 23.


Dawn Hudson

Photo: Kevin Scanlon; Jessi Butterfield/Exclusive Artists

A self-described hard charger, Hudson is no stranger to adversity. Before serving as vice chairman of strategic consulting firm The Parthenon Group, Hudson spent 11 years at PepsiCo, where she rose to president and CEO of Pepsi-Cola North America. Hudson revived the cola wars and in 2002 convinced the NFL to replace Coca-Cola with Pepsi as the league’s official soft-drink sponsor. Hudson also held key roles at DMB&B and Omnicom. She joined the NFL last year, where she dealt head-on with the league’s domestic violence and deflategate controversies.


Liza Landsman

Photo: Kevin Scanlon; Jessi Butterfield/Exclusive Artists

Landsman has never been one to shy away from taking chances, leaving IBM in the ’90s to join the Internet startup Flooz as employee No. 11. She made another leap this year, leaving her CMO post at E-Trade for the startup shopping site (and Amazon challenger) Jet.com as chief customer officer. “I’ve never made a career decision out of fear,” says Landsman, who has also held top jobs at asset management giant BlackRock and Citi and serves on the board of Choice Hotels. “This was a once in a lifetime opportunity—and if not now, when?”


Kristin Lemkau

Photo: Kevin Scanlon; Jessi Butterfield/Exclusive Artists

Lemkau came to JPMorgan Chase in 1998 from AlliedSignal (the predecessor to Honeywell), rising through the ranks to become CMO in January 2014, a role that gives her responsibility for brand, advertising, media, sponsorships, marketing and market research. She also oversees communications for Chase-branded businesses. Lemkau, who is on the board of the Association of National Advertisers, believes taking personal risks is the only way to achieve success. “Learn to accept failure as an important and necessary part of your growth,” she says.


Rebecca Minkoff

Photo: Kevin Scanlon; Jessi Butterfield/Exclusive Artists

For Minkoff, it took some digital media savvy, an iconic handbag (the “Morning After Bag”) and an assist from her entrepreneur brother Uri Minkoff (her company’s CEO and co-founder) to ignite a global lifestyle brand in 2005. Her fashion-forward collection, which includes apparel, footwear and jewelry, is sold in more than 900 retail stores worldwide, including Rebecca Minkoff boutiques in New York, San Francisco and a high-tech flagship in Los Angeles. Minkoff also plans to open a “smart” store in Chicago this fall.


Sarah Thompson

Photo: Kevin Scanlon; Jessi Butterfield/Exclusive Artists

Thompson left Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York, in 2008 to become president of then-fledgling agency Droga5. Now with some 450 employees across three cities, Droga5 has become a powerhouse creative shop famous for award-winning work like Under Armour’s groundbreaking “I Will What I Want” campaign. Thompson was named CEO of the agency in 2013 and last year took on global responsibilities. About success, Thompson says: “It’s never been about purely seniority or monetary gains; it’s about leading people toward a common vision.”

This story first appeared in the Sept. 28 issue of Adweek magazine.

StartupBus North America 2015 A Life Changing Week

They say everything from your past does not belong to the present… this might be true for most grueling experiences…but not StartupBus.

Everything that happens on StartupBus needs to remain in the present. From learning to work without power and Wi-Fi to functioning with complete strangers who are a perpetual inch away from you, along with every nuance, challenge, catastrophe, meltdown and good, time in between. They are all equally memorable and hopefully never forgotten.

I’ve enjoyed my fare share of experiences through my over 40 years of life, traveling for both work and fun throughout the US. I’ve even traveled for a year in a van with a boyfriend who was a VJ… yes a VJ not a DJ but a Video Jockey who “spun” (the word video is so antiquated there isn’t even a term for what he was paid to do with music videos obviously you don’t spin them) anyway he was paid by a cable company to host Video music dance parties and we travelled all over the U.S. in a van. I booked gigs, and arranged equipment rentals long before cellphones and laptops. I’ve traveled excessively on both TV commercials and feature film to the most remote places in the south, to fancy schmancy places in the north. Always working with talented and amazing people and spending months at a time working 16–20 hour days for 6 days a week. During all of these experiences you get to know your co-workers, make friends, and learn to work with people in extraordinary situations.

But, nothing I have done before StartupBus compares to the 3-day journey, on a bus to destinations unknown, doing something that, requires a unique amount of self-motivation, a keen sense of focus, agility, the ability share ideas, serious capabilities of not getting overly emotional, and the skills to keep up with some of the most talented, and imaginative people I’ve ever met.

What is StartupBus: It’s a 3 day, immersive startup and business building experience, with a combination of training, hand holding and a whole lot of taking the ‘busprenuers’ (as participants are called) out of their comfort zone. Thirty strangers are joined together on a typical long-haul bus with a few tables and a bathroom and what should be equipped with Wi-Fi and electric power. They’re asked to build teams, then take an idea and create a start up. Then compete by pitching their ideas to judges on days 4 & 5 to win… nothing but satisfaction, pride, and recognition in the eyes of some of technologies brightest minds.

Day 1

We’re barely out of the Lincoln tunnel at 6 am when we begin the early morning start of idea pitches by everyone from the front of the bus. Then it’s a scramble to find Startup Bus North America 2015people, ideas, and teams to work with, sleep with, and build a startup with. It’s a mad rush to not only choose your favorite pitch idea but also people that you feel would be great to work with. I was told at the launch party the night before that I should pick the people and not the pitch. I followed this advice — I over thought each prospective team and unequivocally ended up choosing the perfect teammates against what were my original assumptions.

I wish I could take all the credit for my choice but it was a conductor who all but forced us to stick together — Jenn Shaw a StartupBus alumni and savvy business owner in her own right, grasped my arm and one of my teammates looked calmly and intently in the eyes and said “this is a good smart team”. I didn’t move and neither did the 4 incredible guys around me. As our collective eyes darted around the bus — wondering if this decision was right and what pitch idea we would go with, I wondered if they could read my mind “Aaah what the hell did I get myself into”. Two of my teammates had pitched ideas about creating something with Virtual Reality and I had pitched 2 app ideas that weren’t as challenging or interesting in hindsight as I’d hoped. My ideas were more about finding solutions to my own needs and less something interesting enough to work tirelessly on for 72 hours straight. As we assembled our gear to sit together it seemed like we silently freaked out that we might not have picked the right team, the five of us deliberated for hours — back and forth debating which idea we should go with. I’m pretty sure we all wanted to do a virtual reality idea but I had never even put on an oculus, no less knew how the technology functioned and my teammates knew exactly how hard we’d have to work to blow the judges away with a virtual reality idea. We deliberated whether we should work really hard or make something cool and have fun.Startup Bus North America 2015

It was during our first lunch together, when we all agreed that not only were we there for a great experience, but we also wanted to win the competition. From then on it seemed that we started to behave as a team. Even though it still took us long after lunch to make our final decision on what idea to choose.

Many hours later, and as the preverbal wheels turned, we finally had a focused idea for our burgeoning start up. We shared our idea with the alumni “coaches” Rait, Nate, Edwin, Mike, and Jenn — they challenged us to think further, consider business functionality and determine our key differential, scalability, and monetization. We proved to be a group who had tons of ideas and we all shared them freely. For whatever our individual reasons were, we all firmly decided to create an app using Virtual Reality technology that will affect concentration and be designed to take the user out of their current mental state and bring them into an immersive virtual environment to relax and help maintain focus.At the time of writing this, it’s only been 5 days since day 1, and I can barely differentiate one day to the next no less write about what happened on which day. But as I try to remember I’m pretty sure that by the time we arrived at our first hotel around 11 pm in Detroit — we were still trying to figure out if our concept could work.

At the time of writing this, it’s only been 5 days since day 1, and I can barely differentiate one day to the next no less write about what happened on which day. But as I try to remember I’m pretty sure that by the time we arrived at our first hotel around 11 pm in Detroit — we were still trying to figure out if our concept could work.

Day 2StartupBus North America 2015

No one was more surprised than me to find that I was up early and ready to go, my team and I got to the bus early and sat at one of the tables as a group — except for Dre coding away by himself in the back Jon, Liam, Fern and shared ideas, tried to meet the imposed milestones of the StartupBus Game and I struggled to get Wi-Fi via my hotspot. As the day progressed, I wavered through fear, frustration and an insatiable need to prove myself in some way to these strangers. Plus, ultimately have the most fun one can have with barely any sleep and sitting on a smelly bus.

By lunch, we were full steam ahead with a business outline for SPACES and a concept we all believed in. Day 2 was long, it ended in North Carolina with little sleep and a lot of desire to collectively build something worthwhile and impressive. We spent the day writing and rewriting the best pitch to impress the judges at finals, show off the best demo product and to win the online StartupBus game.
We were a true team in every sense of the word and acted like one.StartupBus North America 2015

 

Day 3

My brain is mush on the bus, and spending an exceptional amount of time with people is not my forte. I became grumpy and started second-guessing what I brought to the group and if I was contributing enough. I’m the only girl, I’ve never played a video game, no less built anything with virtual technology, and I’ve never really thought about cognitive environments playing their part on the human brain — but the guys supported me and I supported them and by the end of day three I’m pretty sure I fell in love with each of these four unique, talented, smart, funny, beautiful men. At the end of the day during dinner, we realized that we hadn’t met a number of milestones we were required to reach in order to be in the finals the next day! From 9:30 pm to 12 pm we rallied together, stressed out, and exhausted we each pushed hard to reach all of the markers by the midnight cut off.During our frenetic rush to compete for the milestones — it dawned on me that we were building something bigger than this ‘game’ and experience; that hitting each milestone as prescribed by StartupBus might not be the order I would do it if we were launching our app in the real world. I shared my thoughts with my teammates and as we do when any of us has a thought or suggestion, it was heard and understood and we mutually decided that even if we left this environment and pursued a business together we still wanted to win the competition.

Day 4 — NashvilleStartup Bus North America 2015

Pitch day is totally nerve wracking! Everyone is exhausted and motivated at the same time. You walk down a hallway and find teams practicing their pitch, and “hustlers” repeating to themselves their rehearsed lines. We were finalizing our last touches on the technology and our website, distributing press releases and fielding emails about outside interest in our concept. It was frenetic and crazy but our pitch went fairly well. The one note that seemed to stick with me was our lack of energy during our pitch. You can watch it here… (3:41:49)we’re pretty dang stiff.

Throughout the trip, we got excited about the technology that was being developed and how our concept was coming to life. Each of us discussed fears about of the VR community hearing our idea and we actively researched and did a competitive analysis. By the time we officially made it to semifinals and finished the first round of pitches, we had shown a few demos, called a few influential people in the technology community and our start up SPACES had been touted as a revolutionizing experience by a few of the most experienced virtual reality experts in the country. We were offered funding and a lot of interest in the idea of the medical community. It was less than three days later, and we created a viable revenue earning business with committed investors and we had advanced in the StartupBus competition.

 After we delivered our pitch we were ecstatic, not just because we had jumped a hurdle in the competition and made it to semi-finals and built something we were incredibly proud of, but we raised funding and to top it off the five of us were a strong enough team to move forward together as partners beyond StartupBus. I had joked that I would create anything and go into business with these guys… even if it were making honey. I just loved how we respected each other and communicated beautifully we were in a honeymoon phase on day 4 and thought we could take on the world.
Startup Bus North America 2015
 As the day moved on; we were happy but stressed-out working hard to hone our final pitch. We wanted to show the judges the full technology we had worked to build, and how much fun we had doing it. We deliberated over every detail, from who was holding what, to how each feature, pricing structure, traction goal and experience was going to impact us as a business. We tweeted, Facebooked and emailed our friends to watch us on the live feed and to offer tips — we felt confident. We were convinced that what we had to show was epic and we were happy that we all liked each other so much and we really wanted to win.

Then one of us mentioned concerns again …what if someone watching would understand our idea and use the technology to create their own version. There was doubt in my mind flittering in two directions 1) is this really as cool and awesome as we think it is. 2) Is someone going to emulate our idea once it’s heard over the Livestream?

Startup Bus North America 2015

I just need to clarify that I’m not one to fall for the — don’t share an idea because someone might steal it frame of mind. I tell clients all the time that if you have an idea…go for it. Create it, build it, and sell it. If someone takes it before you have the funding to put it together the exact way you want, so be it… get it out there anyway. Everyone is faced with the same struggles you will be, and everyone interprets things differently. Follow your heart and you’ll be fine. Who cares about the competition!

But at some point, I got a weird nervous feeling that if this is all real, like really real and the feelings I have working with these smart fellas and the fact that I believe so much in the technology and our unique creative way of delivering the technology for a good cause. We’ll maybe we should continue a conversation among us as a team about the business viability vs. the good of the competition.

The next few minutes went by in a flash, and we agreed collectively to drop out of the competition. To not give our rehearsed pitch and demo to the judges, audience and those sitting in front computers watching the Livestream. Instead, we took our conductors aside privately and asked what the protocol would be if we pulled ourselves from the competition. We then went on stage and thanked StartupBus for introducing us and told everyone we were committed to perusing our goal and that — we believe so much in our company and ideas that we don’t want to share them publicly for the sake of the company’s survival.

Startup Bus North America 2015I started writing this 24 hours after that epic mic drop (not really, we didn’t drop the sad little mic) as I sit in the airport waiting for my connecting flight to go back to New York, I’m in a group text with the guys on my team — it’s only been a few hours since we’ve seen each other but it’s the longest we’ve been a part of a week. I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt this exhausted, invigorated, and changed.

Since being home and back to reality worrying about all of the details and my to-do list for clients and the challenges keeping my own business prosperous. I’ve added a whole company and partners to my workload and I couldn’t be happier. The SPACES team has had a 6-hour meeting, multiple texts, and conference calls. We have the support of investors and they feel we made the right decision in not exposing ourselves to the tech audience during the StartupBus Livestream.

SPACES is proving to be as successful as we anticipated in the heated moments of the competition. As a team, we will continue to work independently and diligently to bring our company to life with a product. We’ve started the process of becoming an LLC and strategized our company goals. We feel it’s important as a team to work intensively together as often as possible to hit our new company milestones — we are going to try to relive the StartupBus environment as best as possible. Not on a bus (dear god no), but confined to an environment every few weeks or as best we can while still supporting ourselves outside of our new company.

During my interviews with Edwin and Jenn, before I was chosen to go on StartupBus NYC they talked about this life changing experience and how incredible and profound it would be. I am a skeptic, I thought “ok this sounds cool, but they’re young, how great can this REALLY be”. It’s pretty darn great. The experience is different for everyone, as far as I know each of my teammates feels different about what they learned and liked about the trip. What I love about it is that StartupBus is an environment that breeds people who want to push themselves beyond their initial capabilities unlike any other environment I’ve been a part of. Anyone who is motivated to seek personal or work growth, should hop on the bus and give it a try. It’s just a ridiculously fun and challenging experience.

This productivity hack actually made me more efficient

Announce the time is a mac feature that has helped my productivity. This productivity hack actually made me more efficient

At least twice a day I answer the phone or run around the office looking for notes for a meeting mumbling …”holy shit, I can’t believe it’s that late!” Since toggling the Announce the time feature I find I’m hella productive and maintain a more balanced schedule.

Get it done.
Announce the time

How will you OWN your audience in 2016?!

That’s the ? you know, owning your followers by making them subscribers. The greatest challenge is the average small business biggest mistake. You post your little heart out, you send email newsletters and update your blog – But are they engaged? Are they subscribed? Do they look forward to hearing from your business? Do the ‘get’ what you are selling?

These are the most important attributes of your social media content.

  • Email
    Still the most important of all subscribers. You have the most control because you can deliver the exact message you want need to your followers and direct them to where they need to be.
  • Print subscribers
    The only difference today from years ago regarding Print Subscriptions is cost. The birth of social media made print subscriptions and mailing costs cost prohibitive.
  • Twitter followers: You have full control over what you send to followers, but messages have an 8-second life span, so it may be challenging to reach audience regularly.
  • Facebook fans: Facebook continually modifies its algorithm, which is out of your control. Fans may or may not see your content depending on this algorithm, although quality, helpful, and interesting content has the best chance of breaking through. Promotional content almost always is shut down by Facebook.
  • LinkedIn connections: You have full control over what you send to followers and connections, but the channel is congested like other social platforms, so it may be challenging to break through with a consistent message.
  • Medium/Tumblr/Instagram/Pinterest subscribers: You have full control over delivery of content. Users will see your content if they choose to. No ultimate ownership over platform.
  • YouTube subscribers: You have some control over content, but YouTube can decide to hold some of your content back if subscribers aren’t engaging with your content (this is called “subscriber burn”).
  • iTunes subscribers: You have full control over the delivery of audio content, but iTunes doesn’t give you access to who subscribes to your content.
Marketing for the Holidays in 2014

The competition is greater than ever. Be prepared!
It’s simple: If you you have a sale, special, great products, a good atmosphere, delicious food, exceptional gifts …whatever it is that brought you to owning your own business — that’s what you ‘sell’ to your customers.

Facebook: Now is the time to try your hand at a bit of facebook advertising or boosting a few posts.
Twitter: Tweet more often about interesting tid bits of news about your offerings – don’t sell the products – sell you.
Instagram: Did you decorate your store, post the photos – sell the spirit of the holidays

Use Hashtags that are appropriate for the holidays and your unique experience.
#santa
#holidays
#gifts
#xmas
#ornaments
#santaclaus
#christmastree
#happyholidays
#christmas2013
#winter
#gift
#carols
#presents
#lights
#green
#red
#decorations
#tistheseason
#christmas
#elves
#rest
#enjoy
#smile
#hohoho
#future_new_year #happy
#holidaymarketing
#stockingstuffers
#shopholiday
#giftideas
#holidaydeals
#lastminutedeals
#christmas
#gifts
#countdown
#itschristmas

What’s the difference between a Kilobyte or a Megabyte

by Frank Marino for Jen Lew Marketing & Design

KB, MB, GB, and TB. These are a family of “bytes” and its pretty darn important to know about and its hierarchy.  When using your computer, cellphone, tablet, or anything that relies on digital storage. There are many more “bytes” out there, but these four are the most used and seen by consumers.

The most common question is which measurement is larger than the next and how much data do I need to use on my cell phone. So for examples of sizes here is a breakdown in terms of usage on a mobile phone. From smallest to largest they are in this order: KB < MB < GB < TB
Kilobyte (KB) is the smallest measurement (small photos, documents and low storage apps),

Megabyte (MB) is next size up (music data, videos, photography and apps with larger data) songs or videos on your cell, gigabyte the largest measurement on mobile phones – your phone is measured in Gigabytes such as variations of iOS devices 16G or 32G.

These units pop up everywhere besides cell phones, so what are they, and what is the point of them?

Essentially, there are “bits” of digital information that are then grouped into bytes. Bits are the 0’s and 1’s, or binary digits, in English. Binary digits are the language of computers. A kilobyte, KB, has 1024 bytes. You don’t see many files or items that take up 1KB of space, but things that would have a KB label include your average Microsoft Word document, Excel spreadsheet, and some Powerpoints. Depending on the amount and density of the pictures (and other media) in your Powerpoint, you could be looking at a couple of MB’s. Wait, what are those?

A megabyte, MB, is 1024 KB. MB is the next step above KB (Kilobyte). Applications for smartphones and tablets and digital songs usually have “such-and-such” MB. Depending on the size of the update, updates to programs can hover in this region as well. A gigabyte, GB, is when you start hitting the big leagues. 1 GB = 1024 MB and GB are usually seen as the unit of measurement for computer software, hard drives, and lengthy HD videos. So the next time you need a new tablet and see that is has 64 GB inside, you will know that you will be able to store many, many, many documents on it, and all the Angry Birds games you can find. A terabyte, TB, can be seen as a little much for the average consumer, but for media junkies and hardcore gamers, a couple (maybe even several) TB are needed to keep themselves satisfied. 1 TB is equal to 1024 GB. There isn’t really a type of file or single item that takes up a TB, at least not anything I’m cognizant of.

External hard drives and even some computers’ internal hard drives carry the TB moniker. Just know that they store A LOT of stuff.

Like any other unit of measurement system, there isn’t just that one prefix unit (kilo-byte, in this case) because we like to keep the numbers low when we can so we don’t end up with a video file that is 1,000,000+ KB… You get the idea.

KB < MB < GB < TB and TB > GB > MB > KB. This is the key to being a content (and knowledgeable) media consumer.

What Went Wrong After DailyCandy’s $125 Million Sale

Daily-Candy1Maintaining a brand’s integrity and how it’s culture is defined is the cornerstone of everything Jen Lew Marketing & Design.

When Dany Levy first started Daily Candy it was the first email marketing platform that (my friends and I knew of) had a very specific and unique brand message, but was also strategically curated with products, brands and new designers. We all felt it was The place to launch your product or service outside of traditional press in magazines.

The goal of Jen Lew Designs Soy Candles & Matchboxes was to get “press” on Daily Candy. We did, it was a small blurb that I was sure to put in every media kit for many years.

It added the caché and notoriety that helped get a meetings with both Henri Bendel and Fred Segal.

How the demise of Daily Candy ultimately happened I never knew until seeing this post in Inc. today. But the WHY of the crumble of that business was always in the back of my mind. Just like Dany – I had unsubscribed. Even though the great graphics remained and I was still receiving an email in my inbox as usual – there was a completely different brand feel when I read the content or looked at products. Curation was gone, the brand culture was completely gone and so was I and a thousands of subscribers.

The brand was dead.

That feeling, that creates a connection is your single most valuable asset to your consumer – there is no way to fake it or copy what a competitor is doing in order to survive. You need – as a business owner to develop your own brand culture. You need to connect with your audience in an authentic and genuine way.

Chris Brogan says the Most Successful Small Businesses Do THIS

Succeeding in business is difficult. Many people work 9-to-5 jobs for 30 years — praying only for the day they can retire. And they complain the whole time on Facebook about how much they hate their jobs. Yuck! I can’t fathom that.

What does it take to REALLY succeed as an entrepreneur and own a small business?

Chris Brogan is the publisher of OWNER magazine. He wrote “The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth” and “The Impact Equation“. And during a recent interview with MSNBC, Chris dropped some serious knowledge about staying weird & making your customers feel like they belong to your tribe.

One of Brogan’s best small business tips is that you’ll attract opportunities by standing out & being different. Follow outgoing examples from free-spirited entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, he says.

Here are 4 other juicy nuggets from this stellar interview:

1.  Business is About Belonging

People want to be part of a tribe or community.

2. Share the Passion Not Just the Product

Passion drives folks to do what they love. How can you leverage that passion for your business?

3. Make Your Buyer the Hero

Discuss how your product or service makes your customers heroes — not too promotional, though. Always make it about them.

4. Tell Their Story, Not Yours

Instead of:

Our product helped Johnny make $100k this year.

Try something like:

Johnny’s work has changed the lives of thousands of people.

Conclusion

  • People rally behind companies they believe are important —  companies that make them feel important as fans. That’s why you stress benefits over features when building a website or sales page.
  • Apple created amazing products, but when it came to marketing — the focus was culture & the movement.

–> This post originally appeared in Post Planner 

 

 

Organic Reach is Down, But Facebook Says “Don’t be Sad”

Seems like everyone is talking about their organic reach falling through the floor lately.

Organic reach is the number of people who see posts from your Facebook page in their news feed.Here’s how Facebook defines organic reach:

Organic reach is the total number of unique people who were shown your post through unpaid distribution.

Many page managers still think their posts are (and should be) shown to all their fans.
Four years ago… maybe. But not today!

Facebook now uses a complex algorithm to determine what users see in their news feed. And there was outrage recently when some page managers & marketers realized Facebook’s algorithm was showing their posts to fewer of their fans.

Facebook is screwing us!
Show our posts to all our fans!
This is bait & switch!

You get the point.

But people complain whenever Facebook makes a change on the website.

And yes, there was a time when I hated the news feed algorithm — but then I learned to leverage it for good.

Organic Reach is Down, But Facebook Says “Don’t be Sad”

organic-reachFacebook has always had trouble explaining changes & new features to its users.

The social network has done a poor job informing page owners about how the news feed works. Though, they have made improvements.

Facebook now updates users more frequently about changes — especially changes to the news feed algorithm.
A Facebook official wrote a great post recently about impacts to organic reach.
The article addressed questions like:
Why Organic Reach has Dropped There are 2 main reasons.

1) More and more content is being created and shared every day. Today, thanks to devices like smartphones, many people can share this content with just a few swipes of the finger or taps of a button. On average there are 1500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time you log into Facebook.

2) Rather than showing people all possible content, News Feed is designed to show each person on Facebook the content that’s most relevant to them. Of the 1500+ stories a person might see whenever they log onto Facebook, News Feed displays approximately 300. To choose which stories to show, News Feed ranks each possible story by looking at thousands of factors relative to each person.

Why All Your Fans Don’t See All Your Posts Several other online feed platforms display all content in real time. But the real-time approach has limitations. People only have so much time to consume stories, and people often miss content that isn’t toward the top when they log on. This means they often do not see the content that’s most valuable to them. In our tests, we’ve always found that the News Feed ranking system offers people a better, more engaging experience on Facebook. Additionally, given the amount of content in the average News Feed, using a real-time system for content would actually cause Pages’ organic reach to decrease further.

Why Facebook isn’t Just Trying to Make Money organic-reach(great question that I’m glad Facebook had the guts to address.

3) Our goal is always to provide the best experience for the people that use Facebook. We believe that delivering the best experiences for people also benefits the businesses that use Facebook. If people are more active and engaged with stories that appear in News Feed, they are also more likely to be active and engaged with content from businesses. How Reach has Declined on other Websites Many large marketing platforms have seen declines in organic reach. Online search engines, for instance, provided a great deal of free traffic to businesses and websites when they initially launched. People and businesses flocked to these platforms, and as the services grew there was more competition to rank highly in search results. Because the search engines had to work much harder to surface the most relevant and useful content, businesses eventually saw diminished organic reach.

4) While many platforms experience a change in organic reach, some are more transparent about these changes than others. Facebook has always valued clear, detailed, actionable reports that help businesses see what’s happening with their content. And over time we will continue to expand and improve our already strong reporting tools. The Good News Some page managers are wondering whether to invest time & money getting more people to Like their Facebook pages.

They ask: What’s the value of someone liking my page if fans don’t see my posts in their news feed?

Fans absolutely have value. Fans make your ads more effective. When an ad has social context — in other words, when a person sees their friend likes your business — your ads drive, on average, 50% more recall and 35% higher online sales lift. Fans also make the ads you run on Facebook more efficient in our ads auction. Ads with social context are a signal of positive quality of the ad, and lead to better auction prices. You can use insights about your fans — like where they live, and their likes and interests — to inform decisions about reaching your current and prospective customers Fans can give your business credibility Fans may represent your best customers, but it’s important to note that they don’t represent all of your customers or potential customers. For example, if your auto dealership has 5,000 fans, those fans represent only a fraction of the people that matter to your business. Fans can help you achieve your business objectives on Facebook, but having fans should not be thought of as an end unto itself.

How to Use Facebook for Business Organic content still has value on Facebook, and Pages that publish great content — content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or in some other way adds value to their lives — can still reach people in News Feed. However, anticipating organic reach can be unpredictable, and having a piece of content “go viral” rarely corresponds to a business’s core goals. Your business will see much greater value if you use Facebook to achieve specific business objectives, like driving in-store sales or boosting app downloads.

How to Stay on Top of the Changes We’ll always innovate on behalf of the people who use Facebook. And we must be more transparent with and helpful to the businesses that market on Facebook. We’re working hard to improve our communications about upcoming product changes.

For example, in April we let you know about how right column ads will be changing to increase engagement and to make it easier for businesses to create these ads. We’re committed to helping your business grow and making sure you get the most from your investment in Facebook.

Key Takeaways organic-reach
Now that you’ve read Facebook’s side, here are some ways page managers can respond to this new information:

Continue whining about loss of organic reach Ignore changes — keep doing what you’re doing
Embrace changes — leverage for your success I chose #3. Sure, this means having to change my Facebook marketing strategy – or spend more than I expected on Facebook ads. But that’s part of business!
Times change, platforms change. What works & doesn’t work changes. Deal with it!
You have to spend money on Facebook ads to get new Likes. You have to spend money on Facebook ads to show off your products. You have to spend money on boosted posts so that your fans see your content.

These are all requirements for running a business on Facebook. Nobody should expect a free ride! If you unfollow, unfriend or unlike the folks you don’t care to see in your news feed, your experience on Facebook will improve dramatically. Use Facebook interest lists to keep track of important people & pages.
And don’t just skim your news feed, when you see content from your favorite pages or people — Like the posts or leave a comment, so you see more from those pages in the future.

What do you think of the recent changes to the news feed?

Was Facebook’s explanation sufficient?

This post originally appeared on the Post Planner blog.
About the Author: Scott Ayres
Co-author of Facebook All-In-One for Dummies and “Ambassador of Awesome” at Post Planner, Scott became addicted to social media before even MySpace (the first time around!). Any given day he spends 20+ hours on Facebook! He’s been married for 20 years and has 3 kiddos who are his world! Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

– See more at: http://www.postplanner.com/facebook-organic-reach-down/#sthash.p5lehxND.dpuf

3 Things To Do To Increase Facebook Reach, Today

Facebook reach has dropped.. considerably. Facebook definitely wants you to pay-to-play and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, because facebook advertising is potentially a very successful method of gaining revenue and maintaining a strong brand presence online. What I am saying is that the following tips are fool proof, essentially free, ways guaranteed to improve your facebook reach and gain you more revenue. Plus, I’m telling you what you should not do – so now you have no excuses.JenLew_FacebookReach

1. Be personal
Let your personality shine, I like to say “let your freak flag fly”. It is necessary to entertain your fans and share stories and create engaging content that you would ordinarily share in person to your friends or customers if they were standing in front of you.

Don’t: Just post about you and information about your business.
Don’t: Ignore your fans and followers – Like their posts and respond to their comments.
Don’t: Only go on facebook when you have something to post.

2. Use Facebook to push traffic to other platforms.
Each social network is a unique and fantastic way to target your niche customer because not all sites function the same. If you find that you enjoy using another social network, then use Facebook to push traffic to other platforms. You do not need to have a great presence on every social network – you need to pick 1 or as many as you can truly handle and then make your presence known via engaging and posting content regularly on just that one site. But, you do need to create profiles on as many social sites as you can, with photos and information about your business so someone who doesn’t use Facebook, will be able to find you on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Yelp, Google+ or someplace else on the web.

Don’t: Rely on just Facebook
Don’t: Post sporadically and then never check the site again
Don’t: Follow and Like every single person, place or thing humanly imaginable and think that will gain you more followers
Don’t: Ignore your analytics and insights
Don’t: Forget to upload your email list and share your page from your personal friend page

3. Grow an email list
Email addresses are way more valuable than a Like on Facebook. Emails are the strategic way to reach your community outside of Facebook. You are in control of an email address, you decide when to reach out to them and what you want to say directly to that contact. Create engaging, fun and smart ways to encourage customers to opt-in to your email list.

Don’t: Rely on staff to ask for emails when customers check out.
Don’t: Leave a sign in book on the desk or counter and never look at it again
Don’t: Forget to add an email sign up to your website and facebook

The way I see it is… the only thing we can do as business owners is to adapt as much as possible to the inevitable changes ahead.

For more indepth tools, tricks and strategies that will keep your business traffic flowing and stay ahead of the competition; contact us directly at hi@jenlew.com – join our email list for more tips or give us a call: 917-289-0749

#howtobyjenlew

Let Louie C.K. Simplify Your Decision-Making Process

Louis C.K.: comedian, philosopher, problem-solver. The next time you’re in an analysis-paralysis decision-making panic, apply his “70 percent rule,” which he explains in this month’s GQ.

…My rule is that if you have someone or something that gets 70 percent approval, you just do it. ‘Cause here’s what happens. The fact that other options go away immediately brings your choice to 80. Because the pain of deciding is over.

And…when you get to 80 percent, you work. You apply your knowledge, and that gets you to 85 percent! And the thing itself, especially if it’s a human being, will always reveal itself—100 percent of the time!—to be more than you thought. And that will get you to 90 percent. After that, you’re stuck at 90, but who the fuck do you think you are, a god? You got to 90 percent? It’s incredible!
And there you have it, Louis C.K.’s foolproof way to achieve 90 percent satisfaction in all areas of your life. You’re welcome!

Vulture
By Margaret Lyons

Louis C.K. speaks onstage at “Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash” presented by SiriusXM, produced by Howard Stern Productions at Hammerstein Ballroom on January 31, 2014 in New York City.

North Fork Web Marketing & Design
Gorilla Marketing

ode to old school from a social media marketers perspective.jenlew_marketing

Being on the front end of Marketing socially for clients – I’ve had the privilege of seeing first hand people shy away – and reject the art of marketing your business online.

But, In the past few months I’ve seen friends use social media to personally market their business, book, movies, tv shows, careers in a much more savvy way.

This turn of events seems to be the result of facebook advertising – it’s now common to see your friends businesses in a little sponsored post or shameless plug in your news feed.

Seeing my friends who are successful filmmakers, just unabashedly beg for you to watch their film or watch their directorial debut on a hit tv show proves the power of social marketing and the fact that you can’t shy away. Everyone does it. Whether it’s the baby’s first walk or the time they made All State in Football you are advertising.

For us here at Jen Lew Marketing & Design – this is a good reminder that we need to do our job. Talk about our clients, keep it friendly, happy, jovial but directly informative… and not be shy on their behalf. Gone are the days of being coy with your audience – get your point out there and find unique and interesting ways to sell what you got – not like a Sham Wow yelling at you but providing a resource to achieve awareness of a service or product that a potential customer might otherwise not know about.

Facebook announced another tweak to the news feed. Here’s how to take advantage of it

News Feed FYI: Showing Stories About Topics You Like

Tag you’re it! At least that’s what you should be doing on your facebook pages. The ubiquitous @ symbol is getting more powerful by the year.

Facebook just announced that when you tag pages that tag other pages in a post – Tagging will finally increase visibility in the News Feed for both the posting Page and the tagged Page. This is a long long time coming. Yay!!

How to:
For those newbies out there. When you put the @ symbol in front of a facebook page name in a post – it highlights that page and creates a clickable link to that business page. So…if Jen Lew Marketing & Design posts a story to Facebook and tagsnorthforker ‘s Page, the post could now appear in the News Feed for both Jen Lew fans and northforker fans.

Marketers couldn’t be happier that this is finally here and fully functioning. Since facebook created this – it’s been widely used as a tool for marketers to highlight businesses to make posts more visually appealing.

Facebook say’s “Now, when a Page tags another Page, we may show the post to some of the people who like or follow the tagged Page. For example, this post by the Bleacher Report might be shown in News Feed to people who follow or like Dwight Howard, in addition to people who follow or like the Bleacher Report.”

“We look at many factors to make sure the most relevant stories appear in News Feed, including which posts are getting the most engagement (such as likes, comments, shares and clicks) across all of Facebook. We also consider which posts are getting the most engagement from people who like both the Page that posted and the Page that was tagged.”

What the experts are expecting…
We Mashable expect to see additional exposure for Pages that are being tagged more frequently through objects similar to the one above. While the Dwight Howard Page isn’t controlling the message in this object, they are getting additional exposure.

Brands that are talking about popular objects should get more exposure due to “piggybacking” off of popular content. We believe that if multiple brands attempt to piggyback off of one tagged Page, the larger and more engaging Page will get the space in the news feed.

How to have a better website

If you don’t keep improving your site on a regular basis, you may as well be serving sales prospects day-old doughnuts or sending out holiday cards in January. You need to hold the attention of your Web audience … the only way to do this is to build a better website.

Top Web Design Trends In 2014

1)      Responsive Design: the most critical for small business. Why? Because it is quickly becoming the standard, and if you don’t comply, it will negatively affect your Google GOOG +0.49% ranking. Responsive design means a set websiteis a thing of the past. Instead, we must not feel like all elements that fit on a desktop must be present on the screen of a smartphone. That’s where the design comes in, finding a pro who knows what will work best on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop-size screen, and including the elements that make for the most seamless and enjoyable format.

2)      Simple Design: Simplicity refers to the integration of best practices so site visitors get what they need seamlessly and without complication. What simplicity does not imply is generic. Yes, to powerful images. Yes, to meaningful content. Yes, to sleek and purposeful navigation. So how do you decide what is and what is not important? The right designer, of course. See, instead of random guessing, a qualified designer or team will do split testing to gauge response – taking out much of the guesswork. Plus, an experienced design team will have worked with similar companies/formats and should have a pretty good idea what is working, and what is working well. They will also be able to use pragmatism and remove your own personal bias and emotion.

3)      Storytelling Design: this methodology suggests that users are told a story through concise, compelling copy coupled with strong imagery as they scroll down the page. Another way to say it? MAKE. IT. FUN. Let them discover who you/your company are by letting it unfold before their eyes, so to speak. Let them start where you did and fast-track them to how you arrived at a solution. Gone are the days of “I am so great” over and over again – in every nook and cranny of your site. (At least we hope it will be after reading this.) Imagine scrolling down to the bottom of a website page, where the process unfolds like a fairy tale, or an evolution of sorts. Set a goal/challenge your designer, with something like this: “I want new visitors to be able to move down from the top of the page to the bottom in 30 seconds and have a crystal clear idea of who we are and what we do. And for repeat visitors, I want them to easily identify where to go to make a purchase, or visit our blog, virtually without having to look.” Sure, an effective “storytelling” website is easier said than done. But it’s a worthwhile challenge – and if it’s done well, you’re pretty much assured of a website that will be the belle of the ball.

Story Credit: Forbes

Busy is a choice.

I’m busy. This is what I’ve been saying for most of my life. I have no real clue as to how busy I can truly be but I think I say this phrase more than any other. Fuck you is also common, but that’s not what this story is about.

It’s a hereditary trait this turn of phrase “I’m busy”. For all of my life I’ve heard my mother and sisters say it all the time. We’re a very busy group of people. Yet none of us have cured cancer, started a revolution or performed surgery …but yet we’re busy.

I am noticing lately that I’ve been less busy. I don’t have kids going off to college or a husband tinkering away in the garage ..but as I’ve grown older I’ve noticed that my time is more …mine. I think there’s still a lot to do and it just might not be all about work. I love to write, I’m horrible at grammar, terrible at spelling (you might have noticed) but I love words.

It’s time to get busy writing. I’m making a choice to be busy doing this and writing on this new fangled blog thing.

Dan's Hamptons Best of the Best
Dan’s Best of the Best 2013 Awards Jen Lew Marketing & Design Platnum
Dan's Hamptons Best of the Best Second Year in a Row!!

Dan’s Hamptons Best of the Best Second Year in a Row!!

Who: [Jen Lew] Marketing & Design

What: Dan’s Papers Best of the Best 2013 Platinum Award
When: December 2013
Where: East End, Long Island, New York

[Jen Lew] Marketing & Design Nabs Platinum Industry Award for Best Ad Agency/ Marketing/ Public Relations
Dan’s Best of the Best 2013 Awards

(Mattituck, NY… February 2014[Jen Lew] Marketing & Design (jenlew.comof Mattituck, NY has been making moves in the digital world since its inception five years ago. Her successes have been recognized by her peers and the industry when she was awarded platinum by Dan’s Papers Best of the Best 2013 for the Best Advertising Agency/ Marketing/ Public Relations Firm. The award is her second in a row after the Dan’s Papers Best of the Best in 2012 where she took home the gold. Specializing in online marketing, social media, advertising, graphic design, and public relations, owner and founder Jen Lew has helped an array of clients breathe new life into business, launch new projects, and position themselves as leaders in their respective markets.

[Jen Lew] Marketing & Design has been a pioneer for the digital marketing trend on Long Island. By curating fun and creative content that is relevant and super social, clients have seen increased interaction across all social media platforms. Clients range from the top producing realtor on the North Fork, and leading female plastic surgeon Dr. Tracy Pfeifer to an authentic Neapolitan pizza restaurant, Pizzetteria Brunetti, in New York City’s thriving West Village to a local charity Programa Sueños that benefits the education of school children in a small Guatemalan village. Utilizing the usual suspects like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, along with budding social media outlets such as Vine and Tumblr, the company connects with users across all platforms to create relationships with the brand. The mission of [Jen Lew] Marketing & Design is to improve communication throughout their clients small business both internally and externally, from staff to customers.

Jen says, “Let’s get your business message clear, seen and heard! I help fellow entrepreneurs to find solutions to their business challenges.” She loves collaborating with small businesses to assist them in bringing their brand to life. Her straight-talking approach gets clients’ vision out there, improves sales, productivity and communication. With a goal of building a unique and profitable small business, Jen helps to market products and services of any given business effectively.

For press inquiries or more information, contact [Jen Lew] Marketing & Design at jenlew.com or call 917-289-0749. Find Jen online atf/jenlewmarketing@jenlewinstagram.com/jenlewmarketingdesignpinterest.com/jenlewpins, and in/jenlewmarketing.

About [Jen Lew] Marketing & Design
[Jen Lew] Marketing & Design was founded in 2009 in both Mattituck and New York, NY. Services include social media, branding, marketing, strategies, coaching, web design, email marketing, public relations and more. Small business today requires a new type of marketer; one that will help you navigate and manage your business message across niche groups and platforms – both online and off. Jen Lew is that girl. She specializes in providing innovative strategies and developing support services to manage marketing efforts with ease and social media strategies for highly motivated and driven clients.