Ten Twitter Tips For Your Business

Ten Twitter Tips For Your Business

Twitter is an information network made up of 140-character messages called Tweets. It’s an easy way to discover the latest news related to subjects you care about.

Here’s a checklist of our ten tips for your business to get on Twitter and start seeing results.

1.) Find like-minded organizations & people to follow. (think: customers, trade organizations, business partners, suppliers, vendors, area businesses, convention bureaus)
2.) Retweet valuable info from them so their follows will in turn become yours.
3.) Include them in your tweets to draw more eyes to your message, and can even start a new conversation.
4.) Keep tweets short and sweet. The maximum length is 140 characters. There’s no magical length for a Tweet, but a recent report by Buddy Media revealed that Tweets shorter than 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate.
5.) Follow and reach out to media. Use the direct message feature to do so, especially when they’re writing about your subject matter or asking for submission information.
6.) Use hastags # to improve your visibility in search functions.
7.) Tie in your twitter to facebook, so you don’t have to double the effort. Go to Settings (the gears tab on the right) and then the Profile section to add Facebook.
8.) Add photos. Most posts should be just text, but adding a visual will always make it stand out. Of course, keep your Tweets timely for Twitter success it’s best to be prompt.
9.) Drive business and engagement to your website. Because of the length of it, shorten the link using tinyurl.com or a similar source.
10.) Engage in conversations. The @reply feature makes communication among users seamless.

How to Find, Show and Tell Your Story

How to Find, Show and Tell Your Story

Great stories happen all around you everyday.  What milestone did someone or something reach that you would tell a friend about?  What made you go “ahhh,” “are you kidding?” or “wow”? What is trending in the media, the calendar or your community that is being celebrated, or acknowledged in your retirement community?  What acts or heroism came about during a crisis?

One of the best ways to decide if you have or know of a story that you think might have media interest is to ask yourself:  “If I told this story to a stranger at a large party, would they be interested?”  If the answer is “yes” you probably have something powerful to garner the interest of the media.

So now that you know you have a great story, it is important to convince a few more people that you in fact do.  When we create a story at IVY, we ask ourselves:  So what (why is your story important)? Who cares (who would enjoy learning about this subject)? And what’s in it for me (does this make the editor/producer look good; will it engage their viewers/readers)? Answering these questions will help you compose your story that will achieve the greatest exposure possible and will minimize the dreaded self-promotion that media rejects.

Your next step is to determine how to substantiate the story.  Think about who can corroborate your account of the events that happened?  For example, if you have a terrific presentation, get a quote or two from people who attended and enjoyed it.  You should have at least one or two quotes to achieve this important verification of the story.

Now you can start writing!  Keep your facts towards the top of the story and make it as timely as possible.  Weave quotes into your content.  Be sure to include a standard “stock” paragraph about your community that gives the reader a bit of background about your community and of course a contact name, phone number, website and social media sites to view more information.  Next, establish the links you need to embellish the reader’s experience and find photos and/or video to further enhance your story.  We always try to own the photography — as that is often the most important part of reader’s/viewer’s experience.

Your next step is to decide who should know about your story both internally and in the media.  You may need to rewrite the story for several different venues:  social media, your blog, the website, different publications and media outlets. If you are lucky enough to get into the mainstream media with a story that will be written and produced by the sponsoring media, always offer to get photos for their stories.  You may only have a few paragraphs about your community in their two page spread, but having the photo will give you much greater presence that those communities who do not have one.

Spring Cleaning Your Marketing Campaign

Spring Cleaning Your Marketing Campaign

With the past few weeks of nicer weather after an extreme Chicago winter, all eyes are on spring and the sunshine ahead! Flowers are blooming, city dwellers are emerging and dogs are walking. However, there is one more important aspect of spring and that is to take a step back and evaluate your marketing efforts. With Q1 behind us, this is a good time to review where the company has gone and how this aligns with your strategic business goals.

As the main rule states, the customer is always #1, so first consider your engagement – have you utilized all consumer touchpoints (collateral, social media, website)? Why do your customers engage or buy from you? Are they repeat customers?

Is your website still producing leads and is your viewership consistent? If not, immediately make changes. Then, google your company and see what others are saying about you. Review Yelp or other review sites and respond to comments (both negative and positive).  Update your email distribution list.

Ensure your brand message is strong. This can be as simple as employee or friends/family feedback or as involved as focus groups or revitalizing advertising campaigns. Confirm that your content for marketing is relevant and intriguing. Since content is key to driving inbound traffic and leads, deliver a consistent message.

Review online profiles. Are they utilized to the fullest extent? Is the brand messaging you’ve just reiterated strong? Update the information as needed. Include as many links to your site as possible. Find a way to utilize these customer testimonials. Let others do your bragging!

If you haven’t yet, establish measurable goals. Good luck with your spring cleaning!


Email Marketing Still Effective

With the influx of social media, mobile marketing, online advertising, some in the field think email marketing is dead.  They’re dead wrong.  With the right message, email marketing is even more effective than ever before.

Be consistent with your email marketing.  Coordinate a schedule to send the e-blasts and stick to it giving the readers something to expect and appreciate.  Stick to a design that works to increase brand recognition.  Don’t forget to build your list at every opportunity you can: tradeshows, sales calls, promotions, etc.

Email marketing is still very valuable.  Email still proves powerful social influence, according to a study by SocialTwist.  Over an 18-month period, SocialTwist monitored 119 referral campaigns from leading brands and companies.  The results showed a significant advantage to email’s ability to convert new customers compared to Facebook and Twitter.  Of the 300,000 referrals who became new customers, 50.8 percent were reached by email, compared to 26.8 percent for Twitter and 22 percent for Facebook.

Here are some key objectives every email communication must possess:

  • Timeliness – with the influx of messages to our inboxes, try strategically sending messages around days and times when other companies aren’t.  This will make your email stand out.
  • Value – what’s in it for the consumer?
  • Call to action without being pushy
  • Personalization – ensure this is the preferred type of communication for the recipient
  • Share features incorporating social media
  • Ensure the email is viewable on mobile devices (Stats say 48% of email is now opened on a mobile device)


To know if your email marketing is on the right track, review analytics including open rates and clicks.  Is your list growing?  Are your social outlets growing due to your communications?  Do you know how many purchases are being made from your email?

We love the 10 Simply Awesome Examples of Email Marketing on HubSpot.

What’s In A Logo?

A logo, a graphic mark commonly used by brands, businesses, organizations and even individuals helps with instant public recognition.  Logos are either icons/symbols or are composed of the name of the organization.  Consider first-class brands like Apple, Starbucks, McDonalds and one of the first instincts and associations with them comes down to the bitten fruit, golden arches or mermaid.  Is your brand identity so strong that people can identify it merely from a logo?

We believe that a good logo should incorporate the following:

  • Simplicity to allow for easy recognition
  • Be able to work in all kinds of sizes for design purposes
  • Timelessness – will it still work and align with company objectives in 10 years?
  • Appropriateness for the intended purpose (utilize typeface and images that speak to the brand)
  • Differentiating factors to set yourself apart from competition


If your logo doesn’t have easy recognition within your field, it may be time for a change.   Ask yourself if it looks outdated or too trendy?  Or has there been a change within the company to expand offerings?  Keep in mind this can be a very daunting and expensive task.  Some brands have gone through a complete rehaul just to find out the consumers lost the connection and worst sales plummeted.

The infographic below (made by glow new media) displays logo evolution for the following brands: Internet Explorer, IBM, Nokia, Ford, Apple, Pepsi, Microsoft, Cannon, BBC, Kodak, Atari, Volkswagen and British Airways.  Let us know which is your favorite logo featured in the infographic by leaving a comment below.

Check out this fun logo quiz from Business Insider and try to guess the brand without words.

Evolution of Logo Design
Evolution of Logo Design by Glow New Media

It’s addicting!  The fast-paced, ever changing world of public relations and marketing captures your interest and keeps you charged up to learn more everyday.  I love to find the best ways to tell our client’s stories and man, they have awesome stories!

It’s my job to discover our client’s goals and then match the best processes to achieve them, within their budgets, of course.  I get to explore traditional, digital and every manner of communication to determine which tactics, whether it is direct mail or TV advertising, a new website or PPC (to name just a few) will efficiently and effectively capture the attention of prospects. 

I also get to work with great people at IVY – they’re creative, fun, caring and super smart.  We’ve all been around the industry a while so there is not a novice among us.  Our clients are very cool too and totally passionate about the services they offer.  We’ve been working with most of them for years so we know they truly care about being innovative and responsible to the markets they service.  I have great admiration for all of them and look forward to every day. 

It’s true what “they” say, if you love what you do, you won’t work a day of your life!


IVY was established in 1990 with a basic premise to offer professional, ethical and highly creative marketing, advertising and public relations services. We have successfully maintained our core values and have been part of many amazing projects, client growth and changes in the world of marketing that continue to happen at lightening speed. Most of our clients serve older adults in some capacity so we keep abreast of the opportunities and challenges they face.   Each day, we keep it real and fun and consistently deliver positive results to our clients and their markets.


As a hybrid graphic and digital designer/web developer with over 17 years of experience, I am always on the lookout for innovative digital and print visual communications. IVY Marketing Group’s broad range of projects keeps my job challenging and rewarding, as each campaign is a new and exciting opportunity to effectively communicate our clients’ messages and help them achieve their goals. It’s my passion!

My body of work encompasses a diverse design style and wide base of clients, ranging from national associations, small businesses and big name brands like Hyatt and LiftMaster. I firmly believe that form follows function and highly value the communicative power of simplicity. 

Areas of professional expertise include Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Word Press, Responsive Design, CSS3, and HTML5. The industries I’ve served include senior living, health care, hospitality and finance.


All my life, I have loved writing. As a child, I could often be found in my room “writing a book.” While “novelist” is not (yet) on my resume, I am a storyteller. I believe that everyone and everything has a great story, and it is my joy to find that story and share it with the world.

After earning my bachelor’s degree in journalism and completing my master’s studies in the same field, I joined a small advertising agency with powerhouse clients in the hospitality industry, such as Hyatt, Hilton International and Carnival Cruise Lines. I began as a proofreader and achieved the position of senior copy writer within a year.

After my first son was born, followed by two more, I started a freelance writing business that included (among several others) such clients as Advocate Health Care and Coldwell-Banker Realty. Clients in the education arena included DeVry University’s Becker CPA and Stalla CFA Reviews, DePaul University, and Naperville School District 203, for which I won two state public relations awards.

For nine years, I was employed as Communications Director for a large faith community, where I managed all aspects of internal and external communications. I was writer, editor, designer, web master, and content manager.

As such, I am experienced and comfortable writing multimedia for a broad variety of industries, products and services.

I joined IVY Marketing Group in 2013, when I began writing client press releases on a freelance basis. I loved the work—and my teammates—so much, I was thrilled when I was invited to come on board in a greater capacity.

I have immensely enjoyed getting to know our valued clients in the senior housing industry, the people they serve, and telling the many wonderful stories that come out of content marketing done right—with the love and care our IVY teams puts into everything we do.


It all starts with one idea. Working with the Ivy creative team for over two decades has always meant taking one great idea and bringing it to life to help our clients meet their goals. We enjoy the challenges offered with every creative opportunity and try to make the design process itself enjoyable for our clients.


Making certain that the projects IVY produces are word- and picture-perfect is my specialty. But I also love implementing marketing campaigns and programs that bring our clients success. Details are my thing, so it is a pleasure to have worked with IVY twice now, first after college four years ago and, recently, for the past two years.

The IVY Group is a terrific team of creative, positive and talented professionals that I love working with and, judging from the length of stay of our clients, I think they love our team, too!


Rock-climbing, training for an 80-floor stair climb event, running a 5K…This is just a tiny peek into what people 20 and even 30 years older than I am, are doing on a fairly regular basis at some of the retirement communities that IVY represents.

I’m of the generation that still has reoccurring nightmares about what the next step looked like when my grandmother could no longer live by herself. The very best option at that time was living at a “facility” and  included eating rubbery chicken and playing an occasional game of BINGO. Period. That’s why my parent’s generation begged us not to ever put them into “one of those places.”

I am so proud that IVY’s clients are at the very forefront of an industry that creates opportunities, challenges, and most of all freedom for seniors, allowing them to explore hobbies, interests, passions…the next chapter of their very full lives.

I feel reassured for my own future. Even more, I feel honored to be able to share the impactful stories about this paradigm shift in the world of senior housing. What we hear and see at our clients’ communities is fascinating and inspiring!


Keeping up to date on new public relations strategies, online engagement tactics, and promotional tools is my passion.

With my hospitality background in marketing top Chicago restaurants and hotels, I was eager to bring fresh concepts and communication strategies to our clients and have really enjoyed learning various industries.

Our clients have such exciting and unique events and programs, which really makes it motivating for me to make the most of their content.  Results like increased sales leads, website visits and social media connections make everyday rewarding and interesting.


I oversee, plan and implement projects and processes at IVY.  Often,  I am the conduit between our writers and designers, with printers, and other vendors to fulfill the marketing needs for our clients. I also manage media buys and coordinate production of advertisements.

Working for a flexible and fluid company that is constantly growing, changing and evolving is fun and rewarding. There is always something new to learn.


My bio has a big blank in the beginning—Mom and Dad rescued me in Wisconsin, and no one really knows my origins. They were probably ruff. What matters though is where I am now, running IVY Marketing Group. There are humans here who think they’re in charge. In truth, they do actually have amazing experience in content marketing and public relations, but I’m super important and the center of attention. I mean, look at this face. Right? And I know I’m the top dog because honestly, I’m the only one allowed to sleep through staff meetings and eat things that people drop on the floor.

The fact is though that I truly love staying awake at staff meetings. Everyone talks and laughs and they’re always excited. That surprises me a little because it’s not like anyone has thrown a ball to play fetch or anything. But I guess what gets my pack of peoples’ tails wagging is their work and their clients. I don’t know what a website or a blog is, but I do know that my pack must be good at them because they’ve earned all sorts of awards for these and other things. My bed had to be moved because the framed certificates were taking up so much room. Despite the inconvenience, I’m proud of these awards!

I serve several important purposes at IVY. I always let Mom (and the world) know when the mailman is here. When people come into the office, just one (usually) quick non-invasive (usually) sniff, allows me to determine important characteristics…like if they had anything good for breakfast, own any pets (pet owners are the best!) or if they stepped in anything on the way in. (It’s sort of like me conducting a first job interview.) I generously share my tummy because I know people like to give it a good scratch. I always give kisses, whether one is feeling lonely or not. And I’m always happy to share someone’s meal, especially if they’re trying to lose weight. My pack describes me as being engaging, amusing, and entertaining. (When I hear a siren, I “sing” along and it makes them laugh.) NPR talks about the benefits of having a pet at the workplace. Studies show pets lower stress hormones and improve morale and productivity. I wholeheartedly agree that a dog in the workplace is the best thing since rawhide bones.

As for my pack of people at IVY…they are amazing and always make my tail wag!


I could not be more thrilled to work alongside the IVY team.

For over 25 years, I have been employed in top executive positions across the Chicago area and have consistently built profitable businesses, generated sales, and developed and launched new product lines.

Strategically positioning companies and commodities for growth is a strong suit I’m eager to bring to ResponderHub™, IVY’s new crisis communications solution. I’m also excited to help expand IVY’s reach in the senior marketing industry.

I believe people are more open than ever to thinking outside the box and looking at new ways to reach their customer base, while at the same time reducing their cost of sale. The senior industry is exploding, and IVY is perfectly positioned to respond to the need for innovative, quality content marketing services and effective crisis communications.


I love being able to use my skills to help improve other people’s lives, and with a growing elderly population, it’s important to create meaningful and user-friendly digital solutions to aid the senior living industry.I have a wide range of technology and design skills with a deep interest in Human-Computer Interaction– helping IVY provide outstanding web design and print design services. IVY has a long-proven track record of excellence, and I’m proud to be able to help carry on that tradition.