Home » Blog » Uncategorized

Category: Uncategorized

Why Cops are Great Social Media Managers.

Do you ever wonder what makes a good social media manager? Take a look at some social media channels managed by police officers and I think you’ll find that many do an impressive job at being informative, helpful and, yes, entertaining.

Keep reading And you’ll see there’s a good reason why Lieutenant Tim Cotton’s content on the Bangor Police Department’s Facebook page has gone viral with over 327,000 followers.

YouTube is full of heartwarming heroic stories of cops rescuing people and pets. You’ll see quite a few clips of them country line dancing for the “Get Up” Challenge.

On Instagram, the Los Angeles Police Department surprised a little boy who had been hit by a car with a motorized toy car and helmet for his birthday. The D.C. Police Department showed officers dressed up as superheroes, visiting young patients at the Children’s National Hospital.

From what I’ve observed on multiple social media Police accounts, the motto “To Protect and to serve” is their mission statement, too. It’s the backbone of every post.

I suspect if it doesn’t meet that litmus test, it doesn’t get posted. They have the discipline and good judgement not to stray.

How do they excel as social media managers?

They make you feel like you’re a part of their community.

I don’t live in Bangor, Maine (But my grandparents did.) Whenever I log on to the Bangor Police Department’s Facebook page, I feel like I’m welcome there. Lieutenant Tim Cotton has developed such a following that this page attracts tourists, snowbirds, and new residents.

Social media is another form of community policing. — a strategy of developing relationships with members of their community. In business, we call it “marketing” or “social selling.”

They do it right.

Social media is meant to be a two-way form of communication. That’s what separates it from publishing.

When I look at the comments’ section of these police departments’ Facebook pages, I always see a response or acknowledgement of each individual’s comments.

Good social media managers make sure no feels ignored if they took the time to engage.

They instill trust.

People turn to social media for all kinds of reasons. I think their mainly looking for connection and an emotional cookie. They see enough heated debates online and in the news. Now, more than ever, they need a safe place to land. They need to see that someone has their back.

When police officers see disparaging posts or disagreements, they de-escalate them diplomatically and quickly.

I’ve noticed that these social media managers in blue exude trust. They provide regular, thoughtful engagement, so people will return.

They are authentic.

After watching more than a few cop shows over the years, we may all have some pre-conceived notions of what police officers are like and what they do.

It’s nice to see what they’re really like on social media — friendly, amiable, and professional. Some of them are gems.

The Bangor Maine Police Department regularly signs off with “As always, we urge you to keep your hands to yourself, leave other people’s things alone and be kind to one another. Sincerely, part-time page administrator, TC.”

I can’t read that without smiling.

How can you reach your followers in such a genuine way?

They vary their content.

Social media gives police officers a platform to communicate with the public more frequently — not just when it’s an emergency.

They give heads ups. They give high-fives. They give back. They give you a glimpse of what’s happening — at the station and in your community.

How do they vary their content? By acknowledging their fellow officers, new hires, and promotions. By warning people about recent scams, road work and closures for special events. By sharing information and camera footage of crimes they’re trying to solve. By offering gratitude for others’ kind gestures of pot luck meals and pizza deliveries during the pandemic. By chipping in to buy a new bike for the kid they rescued and sent to the hospital the previous week.

Or by showing you what it’s like to ride along with them on their beat. In my town, that may mean catching a dash cam live-streaming a gorgeous pink sunset from the beach. It’s pretty awesome.

Good social media provides a never-ending pipeline of posts that show how an organization shines from the inside out.

They’re good story tellers.

Some crimes never get covered in the news. And the summaries in the crime log of your local paper doesn’t delve into much detail.

But when you have an officer recount the details of said events with all the facts that are fit to post and a wry wit, that’s social media gold.

They show empathy as they describe the teachable moments of teenagers who didn’t show the best judgement on a Friday night, or boys who wandered off the trails too far from home.

They put people at ease, showing family members reunited after everyone’s cell phone lit up with silver alert when someone’s elderly mom or dad went missing.

And what could be more satisfying than reading about the porch package pirates getting caught? Or seeing a drunk driver get his sports car stuck in deep sand after doing some donuts on the beach in the middle of the night? Or the sauced sailor who beached his 35-foot boat in broad daylight?

Maybe it just goes with the job. Bartenders and hair stylists are good listeners. Personal trainers are good motivators. Cops can be great storytellers.

You can be a great storyteller.

They provide value.

Police officers use social media to serve their audience. They provide the kind of information that’s good to know — and what you urgently need to know.

Tips to prevent thefts. And, in the event of a serious emergency, they keep us up-to-date there, too.

Ten years ago, we had a mass shooting in my small town. I witnessed firsthand how quickly they responded and saw them put the shooter in handcuffs. The streets were blocked off to allow cruises to respond at warp speed, so it took a little longer to get home.

Everyone here wondered what caused multiple sirens to blare at full volume. Rumors spread through town like wildfire until the news reports confirmed what tragically happened.

If they had a Facebook page at that time, that would’ve been the first place I turned for accurate information from the source. I have since seen them shut down rumors that pop up periodically.

As a business or organization, can you think of any information that should come directly from you? What would you naturally tell your customers in person that you’re not including in your social media feeds? How could you lead by being helpful?

They are responsive.

Social media managers are often fulfilling the role of customer service.

With Facebook and Twitter, the police can quickly update their followers about what occurred or why an area should be avoided, so their 911 system or community phone line isn’t overwhelmed with inquiries.

They do a great job of answering the questions that’s on their community members’ minds.

Good social media managers answer questions about a company’s products or services within 24 hours.

They’re good PR.

We all know there are good cops and bad cops. Unfortunately, and tragically, the bad cops have been getting too much of the limelight lately. And that too can create bias.

Social media provides a more balanced perspective. It puts the spotlight back on all the great things officers do day in and day out to protect and connect with the people in their community.

I’m reassured when detectives track a serial criminal based on, wait for it, a parking ticket.

And I have to say, it’s kind of nice to watch some cops in uniform join a flash mob group of college students dancing to Uptown Funk on YouTube. Good people moving to the beat (on their beat) in their black work boots.

It lifts my spirits to see them take up a collection to buy a new bike for a 10-year-old kid they recently rescued on a mountain trail. Or to see them perform CPR on a kitten.

What’s happening at your company or organization that the world should know about? Give someone some kudos. It will be boost morale and your brand.

They communicate clearly.

This is one attribute that I’m sure comes from Police Academy training and years on the job. Police officers make their posts calm and clear, so there’s little chance their words might be misconstrued. They get to the point.

They are thoughtful with their words and judicious in the length of their posts.

So people can enjoy what they read and keep on scrolling, left with a positive impression of their local police. Mission (statement) accomplished.

Those are the nine traits I’ve found in good social media managers who just happen to be cops.

Inspiration to help you think of all the ways you can serve your own online community.

After all, good deeds should never go unnoticed.

Can We Just Change the Subject Line? 5 Ways to Improve Your Email Open Rates.

Email is like the micro-equivalent of an elevator pitch. Except instead of having 30 seconds to make a favorable impression on strangers, you only have about 3 seconds to persuade your subscribers to open it. 

The subject line is the linchpin that drives your email marketing, Low open rates are lost opportunities for creating sales, building customer relationships or getting more referrals. 

So, the subject line has to be good. Or your subscribers will view your email as “junk” (ouch) and nothing more than a speed bump to getting other things done.   

I often think of the resources and logistics that go into creating an email, determining the strategy, the copy points, the imagery, and the call-to-action. And then I wonder how much time and effort went into crafting the subject lines.   

By the time I look at those emails, it’s the end of the day. Thanks to Sanebox, I get a daily summary of all the email newsletters that have been diverted to my SaneNews folder, so I’m no longer distracted by them coming into my inbox at all hours. 

Even though I’ve pared down my email subscriptions, like a lot of people, I’m still on dozens of lists. 

I may be experiencing a late afternoon bonk when I take a glance at the long list of emails that have arrived and decide what’s worthy of my attention. 

What I open depends entirely on the quality of subject line. Did it pique my interest? Did it offer any tangible value?  Was it the least bit relatable or even entertaining? Was it truly newsworthy? If it checks any of these boxes, I’ll read it eventually. It’s the least I can do for my peers who worked so hard to put together a decent email.   

How to improve your email newsletter subject lines:

1.) Start by getting feedback on the emails you’ve already sent. 

Dive into the data to see what your open rates have been. How do they compare to others in your industry? You may view the average open rates by industry compiled by Constant Contact and Mail Chimp. It can be very motivating to be able to track your improvement and compete for better metrics. 

2.) Stop channeling late-night TV infomercials.

Certain phrases will automatically send your email to spam folders. In fact, there are hundreds of phrases that may result in your email being penalized. You can learn about them by reading this helpful post by AutoPilotHQ. You can also test your email in advance for any spam triggers with free tools such as Spam Check by Postmark or Send Forensics.

3.) Brainstorm several lines. 

Take the time to prioritize the subject line development. There are many helpful online tools available that will grade your subject line, before you ever hit “send.” For example, Email Subject Line Grader by Net Atlantic or SubjectLine.com. Play with a few variations to see how you can improve the performance of your next email’s open rate.

4.) Consider the length of the subject line. 

What is the email subject line character limit? Ideally, it should be between five to seven words, 50-65 characters to be precise. When you preview your subject line, does your line get cut off because it’s too long? Can you make a more compelling statement in fewer characters? Or do you have extra wiggle room to say something more persuasive? Another free tool, Email Subject Line Grader by Net Atlantic will give you immediate feedback on the subject line length as well as suggestions to improve it. 

5.) Bear in mind, the frequency of the emails you send. 

If you’re sending out multiple email newsletters weekly or monthly, you may be relying on the same keywords over and over again. Which may lead your readers to lose interest since they’ve grown to expect the same lead-ins and sales copy. You may find using different verbiage will not only keep your messaging fresh and enticing, but also lead to better open rates.  

By following these email subject lines best practices, you’ll be able to test rather than guess which lines will work better for you. 

Make the Holidays Less Ho-Hum and More Memorable with Experiential Marketing

The holidays are right around the corner. While many businesses focus on Black Friday offers, advertising, email campaigns and traditional holiday cards, I think experiential marketing is an ideal way to connect with your audience during this time of year. This is when so many people are looking for an escape from the ordinary and the perfect gifts for their loved ones. They are more open to soaking in everything sensory around them.  

What is experiential marketing?

It is creating a sensory experience that makes the audience feel more connected with your brand or product. Rather than focusing on the art of persuasion, it’s about making the consumer feel engaged, included, entertained or in awe. 

Which is why I love this holiday “Uber Karaoke” effort by Absolut. Not only does it encourage consumers to drink responsibly by opting for a designated driver – a delightful cabbie with a British accent, but it integrates something very trendy – carpool karaoke. The effect? 

Lucky for us, we get to see several clips of different customers cheerfully entering the back of the cab, surrounded by holiday lights, enthusiastically pony up to the microphone to sing Christmas carols. 

It’s also a wonderful example of unity to see so such a diverse audience, enjoying the same holiday experience. The lit-up tagline at the end says “Enjoy your journey home.” And it’s every bit as entertaining as late-night television. 

How does one measure experiential marketing and ROI? 

The video from last year has nearly 6,500 views. This is just one way to measure the effect of experiential marketing. 

You’ll be able to measure the effectiveness of your own experiential marketing efforts through Key Performance Indications (KPIs) such as shares, clicks, brand mentions, likes, active followers, and subscribers. The take away? If you can create a remarkable experience in person, people will surely talk about you online.    

Though there was never any mention of Absolut’s vodka here, this manufacturer of spirits sure did find a way to raise everyone’s holiday spirit.

How Copying Product Descriptions is Cheating Your E-commerce Business

When you have an e-commerce business to run, the logistics involved can be overwhelming. Lots to juggle when you have to anticipate what customers want, maintain an inventory of hundreds or thousands of products, hire and schedule staff, pack and ship orders in a timely manner, and keep your e-commerce website up-to-date.

It seems like a no-brainer to take advantage of using the product descriptions that the manufacturers provide you. With everything else you have going on, it probably didn’t occur to you that this could actually hurt your online business.

What’s wrong with using manufacturer product descriptions?

Let me show you what happens when you just cut-and-paste those manufacturer product descriptions onto your site. Here’s an example of a leading manufacturer’s bike shoe copy:

Next, I copied that exact description and pasted it into Google’s search box and here’s what came up:

Here’s what else I want you to know:

1. The manufacturer came out on top for their copy. Why? Google recognized that they were the original source of the copy because the manufacturer used a canonical tag, which tells search engines to index their copy first before any content that’s duplicated. Google rewards originality.

2. In the middle of the first page, you’ll spot a couple of outliers who did not use this manufacturer’s product description.

3. Then there were pages and pages of stores that came up with the exact same verbiage.

It pays for your e-commerce business to go rogue.

The next time you’re offered a new product description from a manufacturer, don’t treat it like a piece of inventory that you automatically stock on the shelf. Never, ever use it verbatim. Think of it as a piece of clay that you can shape into something better. You can. Look at everything else you’ve accomplished with your e-commerce business.

Now, take a glance at those product descriptions with a more discerning eye. All too often, manufacturers go with a “just the facts” approach to writing content. They list the features of a product and leave out the benefits, which would actually make the copy more compelling and persuasive.

10 ways to write better product descriptions that drive sales.

1. Look at the manufacturer’s copy and brainstorm what’s missing from it.
2. What do you or your staff love about the product?
3. Why did you decide to stock it?
4. What problem does it solve?
5. How would you sell it to different customers face-to-face?
6. How you could you infuse it with warmth and authenticity (without sounding like an informercial)?
7. Give it a thorough edit. Don’t just change a word or two. Google will see right through it.
8. Include the brand names and model numbers in brief titles and subheads for better search results.
9. Be verbose enough for Google to notice: aim for 150-250 words.
10. Be concise enough to keep consumers engaged.

Deep down inside, we all know copying is just wrong. In grade school, it meant a bad grade or a trip to the principal’s office. With an e-commerce business, it results in low search engine rankings, especially if you’re not mindful of all the other best practices of search engine optimization. I highly recommend taking a deeper dive into this subject by viewing Google Q&A on Duplicate Content. (Prepare to have quite a few “ah-ha” moments.)

If you just don’t have the bandwidth or the writing skills to take this on yourself, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for help. It’s time to outsmart your competition by being an outlier.

10 Tasty Marketing Lessons Served Up by Food Trucks

The first food truck I ever saw didn’t have a lot of competition. In fact, it pretty much had a monopoly on the market. All it had to do was play “Pop Goes the Weasel” as it drove around the neighborhood at the dinner hour. And instantly this picky eater was scavenging Dad’s coat pockets for loose change and sneaking out the back door for her next sugar rush.

My how I’ve changed since then. And so has the food truck industry. Ever since Los Angeles-based Kogi, a purveyor of Korean-Mexican cuisine launched in 2008, the food truck industry’s growth has accelerated across the U.S. with 4,130 food trucks in close to 300 cities.1

I believe the Food Network’s “Food Truck Face Off” and “The Great Food Truck Race” inspired a lot of entrepreneurial chefs to venture out on their own without the cost-prohibitive capital and overhead required to start a typical restaurant.

Despite the reduced start-up costs, it wasn’t easy for them to gain acceptance. Food trucks had to conquer numerous barriers to entry and dispel the stereotype of being “roach coaches” parked outside construction sites.

They showed their culinary flair and overcame the doubters. And no matter what industry you are in, they offer some important lessons worth emulating.

Here are 10 food truck growth strategies to put on your own plate:

    1. Adapt to your environment. The food truck industry had to overcome local parking ordinance restrictions, preconceived notions about food safety, and competing restaurants lobbying against their presence. They had to work with the limitations of municipal codes and their community to ensure their tiny businesses on wheels had mileage. You may be facing an entirely different set of obstacles. But with perseverance and creativity, you can find your way around them.
    2. Be disruptive. How can you solve a problem and deliver it in a non-traditional format? Butcher Box sells grass-fed and organic meat online. ROMWOD.com provides daily online mobility classes. Hulu delivers our favorite old shows. Even if you already have an established business, perhaps there’s a way to increase your profits by marketing it in a different way. Gillette now offers OnDemand replacement blades to compete with newcomers Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club.
    3. Be bold. Food truck branding is often as colorful, fresh and unique as the selections on their menus. It has us salivating before we even have a chance to taste the food. Good branding creates that sense of anticipation, long before the sale.
    4. Make the most of what you have. Food trucks don’t have big media budgets. But they sure do have big trailers that are on par with expensive outdoor billboards to showcase their name, logo, tag line, URL, social media platforms, and phone number.

      It fascinates me how many businesses fail to wrap their vehicle or fleet with professionally designed graphics and messaging to extend their brand.

      I recently met a State Farm Insurance agent, Alex Mora, at my local state park. You couldn’t miss his vehicle. How has it worked for him? “It’s paid for itself more than ten times over,” Alex reported, “And with every new customer, I typically get three or four referrals.”

      It also gives his business extra visibility when he parks there. His prospective customers take him more seriously because he’s already demonstrated his penchant for details. Good branding magnifies your professionalism.

    1. Be trustworthy. Food trucks use social media to alert everyone where they’ll be each day. They show up. That’s how they grow their following and reputation. How and in what ways can you show up? It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Just do what you say you’re going to do. In this modern age, the old-fashioned virtues of punctuality and reliability are key contributors to a growth strategy.

      Of course, the world will forgive the occasional breakdown if you should falter. Last year, one of my favorite online stores missed the mark on an order. It was a few days late. I received a nice e-mail apology, admitting they were deluged by their sale. They handled it well. I’m still a customer.

    1. Find your niche. My favorite food truck of all time? Cousins Maine Lobster. These young cousins figured out that there was a huge market of New England transplants in Southern California and other warm climates. As a New Englander, I can attest to the fact that we are as obsessed with lobster rolls as our beloved Red Sox. Since Cousins Maine Lobster first appeared on Shark Tank, it has expanded into eight other cities with 18 food trucks.2  Your business may not be this narrowly defined, but could you be overlooking the real sweet spot for your product or service?
    2. Show your passion for the product. No matter what these food trucks serve – mac n’ cheese, Cuban sandwiches, French crepes, you name it – they are obviously, whole-heartedly all in. You can clearly see the pride in their product. Especially when it’s so humbly served on paper plates.
    3. Be transparent. People look into food truck order windows and they instantly see an enthusiastic culinary crew prepping their meal. How can you give your customers a glimpse of the people behind your product? Demonstrate how they go the extra mile through social media. Make customers feel more connected with your company through a series of blog posts that tell your story and build your authority.
    4. Encourage word of mouth. At the point of sale, remind your customers to help spread the word about your business. Ask them to post about it on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat and Yelp. According to Yahoo! Small Business, “50% of shoppers have made a purchase based on a recommendation through a social media network.”3 And the more active you are on these platforms, the more likely your business will be mentioned in their conversations.Food trucks count on social media to announce where they will be on a daily basis. Their livelihood depends on it. In this new age of social media, it’s reached the point where every business does.
    1. Keep your wheels moving. Since most municipal laws prevent food trucks from parking in the same place for more than two hours a day, they must find new markets for their cuisine on a daily basis. Now, you’ll find food trucks at apartment complexes, colleges, corporations, events, or retailers. They book their calendars well in advance by continuously finding new places to serve on a repeat basis. Have you kept your business parked in the same place for a little too long? Imagine where you could go to form new business relationships, change your momentum and flourish.

    Why do I love food trucks so much? It’s not just their tasty meals. I can see behind each one, there’s a gutsy, David-and-Goliath approach to marketing and sales that serves as inspiration for the rest of us.

    1. Medium: “America Loves Food Trucks”
    2. Shark Tank: Cousins Maine Lobster Update
    3. Yahoo.com: “15 Social Media Statistics Every Business Needs to Know”

A Wonderful Invention: CTRL Eyewear

When I first watched this video, I’m pretty sure my eyes dilated from the sheer surprise of this innovation. My mind instantly thought of the boys in the Tour de France peloton. I always wondered how these cyclists handle stages such as the one on the Champs-Elysees where the lighting goes from bright sunlight to dark tunnels and back again at speeds of over 40 mph.

Read more