How To Gain More Facebook Fans For Free

  • Encourage Sharing– Have fans share a post on their personal page to increase awareness to their friends. Examples include offering a coupon only available for sharing, free entry to an event you’re hosting, incorporate charity component where $1 from every share is donated.
  • Tag Like-Minded Fan Pages– Create a community, promote partnerships and expand your social presence to companies like yours persuades their fanbase to follow your fan page.
  • Linkage for Likes– Incorporate links to your social media accounts on your website, printed materials, press relations and blog, employee email signatures…and everywhere you can think of.
  • Incorporate Call To Actions– “Like this post if you agree” to encourage engagement. Or ask a question to learn more about your fans.
  • Change Your Cover Photo– Ensure that the image is periodically updated. Do this seasonally, based on what is happening in the news or in your brand. Keep fresh content for maximum fan engagement.
  • Host A Contest– Give away something on your property or linking to your community. Most things come down to “what’s in it for me” thought process so give fans a reason to follow your brand.
  • Use hashtags– This is a relatively new feature Facebook rolled out; use to create awareness for marketing campaigns. Search for hashtags used by your customers and participate in their conversation; also search for your competitors to learn more about what is working.
  • Review Analytics – Knowing your audience is a key marketing rule and the same is true in the social media capacity. With facebook providing analytics for each post created, learn what type of post gets most likes – photos, links, quotes, etc. – and when is most engagement occurring – weekends, nights, mornings. Utilize your findings for future posts to increase chance of showing up in fan’s newsfeed.

 

Looking for more tips?  Facebook Says These Are The 20 Best Brands On The Social Network

Content Tips and Tricks


Content Tips and Tricks

Debra Sheridan, president of IVY Marketing Group was invited to present a workshop at last month’s Life Services Network Conference in Chicago.  The prestigious event drew hundreds of professionals in all areas of the senior housing industry. “Being invited to be a presenter was really an honor as this conference draws the very best in the field,” said Debra.

Debra spoke about the importance of keeping good ideas flowing in order to advance the sales process with more interesting content used within blog posts, social media updates, videos, eBooks, newsletters and webinars. “This content serves you in many ways as it improves search engine rankings, drives traffic to websites, helps to nurture leads and assists in establishing you as an expert in your field,” she said. “But it can’t be just any content. It has to be relevant and remarkable.”

Generating a constant stream of interesting topics is challenging. Debra offered some tricks for indentifying intriguing topics.

  • Follow the news—if the media is already interested, if people are talking about a certain topic, join that conversation by writing a white paper, comment blogs, start discussions in social media, etc.  Follow industry news as well.
  • Subscribe to email newsletters from niche publications that cover senior housing and services.
  • Set up Google Alerts for non-branded keywords relating to your industry, products and/or audience.
  • Monitor social media conversations.
  • Recruit content creators such as bloggers.
  • Create “annual” and “best-of” features.
  • Bring a video camera with you to tradeshows, events, programs, etc.  Turn videos into blog posts and eBooks.

One of the best tips of all is to keep a backlog of stories and/or topics handy. This should include, but not be limited to, evergreen content. Not everything needs to be hot or trending or the latest buzz.  Evergreen content includes topics that are always interesting to your audience regardless of seasonal trends, economic conditions or other external factors.

Debra concluded that, as is the case with beautiful women, “all content is more attractive if it is well accessorized.  Use photos, videos, links to other sites, research, case studies, quotes ad anything else that will enhance the content of your publication.”

 

Dare to be Fascinating Presentation 2012

 

LinkedIn is Good for Business

Six degrees of separation is used to describe the power of LinkedIn.  In theory, any individual on earth is potentially connected to any other individual on earth, through a chain of six or less links.  In practice, LinkedIn, which is the largest professional network in the world, has the power for you to use your existing connections and to make new connections, which in turn will be used to secure additional connections.  The potential positive impact is enormous; and one that should be sought by all professionals looking to grow their business.

In February of this year, LinkedIn reported that it has more than 150 million members and is growing at an estimated rate of about two new members per second. LinkedIn members come from more than 200 different countries and territories.  Executives from all of the 2011 Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn, and more than 2 million companies have LinkedIn company pages.  These huge numbers of professionals and businesses are, through LinkedIn, literally at your finger tips.

 

What does LinkedIn allow you to do?

  • Aside from its enormous reach, perhaps the most significant characteristic of LinkedIn is that it levels the playing field. LinkedIn effectively permits you to compete with larger and more well-established businesses.  You have the ability to tell your company’s story, share interesting content in multi-media formats, highlight specific products or events, engage followers, and establish yourself as experts in your industry.  Professionals, who otherwise may not know about your organization, have access to all of your pertinent information on LinkedIn.
  • LinkedIn members rank more predominantly on Google and other search engines meaning that your membership will greatly enhance your visibility to a global marketplace.
  • LinkedIn capitalizes on what every marketing professional knows is the most valuable tool for generating new business: referrals/word of mouth.  It does so by permitting you to prove your expertise in your industry (see next bullet point), and also through recommendations that your colleagues, customers, business associates, and others can document on your page.
  • LinkedIn helps you to establish yourself and your employees as experts.  By engaging in informative and interesting dialogue and by participating in LinkedIn Groups and LinkedIn Answers, you have the ability to set yourself up as leaders in the industry.
  • While exchanging ideas, information and knowledge with your peers on LinkedIn you are also keeping yourself updated on industry happenings and trends.  Furthermore, you are positioned to keep track of your competition.
  • LinkedIn has been used since it was first established as a resource for employment, both from the perspective of potential employers, and potential employees.  LinkedIn can help you find the very best employees and the very best employers.
  • LinkedIn helps you to maintain the connections you’ve worked so hard to create.  As customers or colleagues change jobs or move, you stay connected.
  • In addition to linking LinkedIn to your website, you can connect all of your social media sites including Twitter and Facebook ensuring maximum impact.

 

Tips for optimizing your LinkedIn Company Page:

  • Put your best face forward.  Make sure your information is current, interesting and engaging.  Don’t make silly type or grammatical errors!
  • Invite people to follow you.  Email your contacts, post on your Facebook, and tweet about it on Twitter.  Place a Follow button on your website.
  • Update your status in a creative and engaging way to help to maximize your visibility. You can do this by asking questions, starting dialogue, posting a call to action and more.
  • Join groups! Groups are considered to be the most powerful feature of LinkedIn, serving as a way to connect you with thousands of like-minded business professionals.  Join all relevant groups and engage in dialogue with them.  Better yet…start groups!  This places your website as the featured site, and your name as the owner, helping to showcase you as an expert in your industry.  Use these to direct traffic to your website.
  • Participate in LinkedIn Answers! By establishing your expertise, you are also establishing yourself as the go-to-person that business professionals will seek out.
  • Used LinkedIn Ads!  Because LinkedIn is comprised of business professionals, your ads are likely to be seen by real decision-makers.
  • Encourage people to make positive recommendations for your business. Even better– do the same for others, without being asked.
  • Use LinkedIn Apps to better showcase your videos, documents, presentations and more.

 

Many professionals have used at least parts of LinkedIn for many years. If you’re not yet doing so, join these savvy business people in this enormous network.  You won’t be sorry!

 

Preparing for a Crisis

Most of us make New Year’s resolutions and many organizations plan to update their crisis management strategies in 2012.  That’s a great idea in this world of instant information and potential misinformation about a difficult or embarrassing situation happening at your organization.

Here are a five things to minimize the negative impact and perhaps even turn something into a positive in a new or updated crisis management plan that meets today’s advanced communications challenges.

 

1.  Identify potential crisis.  Consider the services you provide and to whom, the inherent risks associated with your industry, your employee base, location, and any judgments that have been levied against your organization.  These are all minefields for you to navigate.

2.  Chose your spokespeople and have them media trained. Who will speak for the organization?  It should be limited to one or no more than two people.  However, anyone who might need to be involved in an interview, such as key senior management and/or specific board members, should be trained on how to speak to the media.  A good trainer will discuss how to stay on topic, what key points to make and how to make them, ways to minimize nervousness and how to listen for hidden agendas.

3.  Consider the power of photography.  As you consider the crisis that might arise, also consider what photographic or video image you would want to project to the news media.  Create a plan that could match a photographic image to a crisis in a more positive light.  The image used by the press initially is usually the image that remains throughout the story coverage.

4.  Outside influences.  Your plan is only as good as you are able to avoid  misinformation .  Your current and former employees and customers, residents, families and vendors  might all have an opinion to share with the media.  Communicate with them as early as possible.  Nothing can stop a “man on the street” interview, a Facebook post or Twitter Tweet, so your constituents should know first about your situation, position and actions being taken.

5.  Messaging.  Nothing is more important than the message — whether it is verbal or non-verbal.  As soon as a crisis occurs, call in the key people to discuss the situation.  During that discussion, it is most important to think about how the victims and their families and friends are going to interpret the crisis.  If you can keep that in mind, you are more likely to understand what the message should be:  factual, compassionate, simple, consistent and with a swift and manageable resolution.

 

For more information about Crisis and Reputation Management, call IVY Marketing Group at 630-790-2531.

 

Dare to Create Fascinating Content

Content rules… your website, your blog, your online and offline newsletters and your customer experience.  Make it fascinating by selecting topics that are interesting, entertaining and informative.  The right content will shed a bright light on your organization. A strategic choice of media will create a wide net for your content to fascinate prospects and residents.

As senior housing and service providers embrace the inbound marketing strategies necessary to gain the attention of prospects, they are also challenged to continually create the meaningful content that supports the sales process.

Content marketing is the art of creating compelling and valuable content and distributing it through a variety of channels, online and traditional.  It is the practice of developing relevant content in a consistent fashion to target buyers, focusing on all stages of the buying process, from brand awareness through to brand evangelism.  Good content can circumvent the consumer’s desire to block unwanted messages because they find it personally or professionally beneficial.

Content marketing is also a science born in the strategic plan.  Subjects are planned.  Accessories and outside content to support the topic is decided.  Distribution is determined.   The voice(s) suited for each target group is honed.  Metrics that gauge consumer influence during both the buying and retention process of a customer experience are established.

Here’s an example of how to make a less than dynamic story relevant to your strategic plan, your sales prospects, customers, general audience and media.  The principles in this example can be applied to all the content you are considering.

Your news hook…

You have an ice cream social for residents, family and guests at least twice a year and would like to send  a story and caption to the media for some free publicity and better attendance at the next ice cream social.  You know people really enjoy it — but will the media help you tell your story with free publicity?

Let’s get strategic…

Consider why you want to have media cover and if this placement will hurt other placements you may seek with this publication.  If you still want to move forward with it, think it terms of the publication’s readership; let’s say they are baby boomers who live within a 5 to 10 miles of where your ice cream social took place.  Next, do the photos you took of the participants reflect the image you want to portray for your organization?  At this point, you may decide that you really don’t have a very compelling story, your photos do not reflect the high energy and independence you want your community to be known for and finally you still have to get photo releases from the people whose photos will be submitted to the publication.  Is it really worth it?  It will be!

Look at all the angles…

First, think about the possible story angles that this can take on:  the popularity of ice cream — why is that?  What benefits does it possess?  What are the most popular flavors?  How many places can you buy ice cream within the area of the readership?  Is there a physiological change within a person when then eat ice cream?  Think about what would expand the interest of the reader and what could be relevant or entertaining to them.

Add the extras…

Then look at the photos you have.  Can they be cropped to be more appealing?  Can you add stock photography to the shot to make it more interesting?  Do you have video to add?  Links to other great sources and stories?

Make it last…

Review your distribution options:  local print, online, your website, newsletter.  Consider if this story now interests the readers of any or all of these venues; now, it probably will.  Send it out, email or call to follow-up with the editor(s) and print it out when it is published.  Create links to and from the publication and your website.  This article has just begun to work for you….

Get permission for reprints and put them in your sales folders.  Frame and wall mount the story in a prominent place, post it on your website and feature it in your newsletter.

How your content benefits marketing…

You have just developed a sweet little event into a marketing tool that helps people know what kind of community they are considering, the lifestyle they will enjoy when they move.  You’ve also honored the activities of those who live at the community.

Wow, now you have created something really fascinating!

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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. 

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